GOP lawmakers in multiple states are advancing voter suppression bills. Interview with chair of the Progressive Caucus, Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington state.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: I`m a Cubs fan. We both were avidly watching the 2016 World Series before Trump was elected.
This year, they have a new rule where they took -- they kept it over from last year, that in the extra inning, you start with a runner on second base, and all the purists hated, and I thought I hated it. But I`ve now come around and I am prepared to say on this show, the heresy, I like the new rule of runner on second base.
Where do you stand, Senator, on the runner on second base?
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): I`m still concerned about the DH, whether the DH is ruining baseball or not. So, well, it`s clear the games are too long, and seven-inning double header, I thought you were going there which I think is a little peculiar too.
I guess I`m fairly indifferent. All I know is I continue to hate the Yankees, and I am not crestfallen when the Mets signed Francisco Lindor, the best shortstop in the Major Leagues in the last years, that he is not even hitting .200, I guess my heart is not (INAUDIBLE).
BROWN: But the other New York teams, I`m okay with all that.
HAYES: All right. The last question, for real this time. There is a Senate race coming up in your state, Rob Portman, your colleague that you served with for a long time, he is retiring.
What do you make of the race that is shaping up and the political context in your state in advance of that?
BROWN: Well, it`s a race we can win. We ran with a sharp dignity and work message. You never compromise on marriage equality or choice or opposition to the NRA. You talk about minimum wage and dignity of work and the overtime rule and cutting child poverty.
There are five Republicans in the race, I think, if that count is right. And they all remind me of kids on a playground sticking their tongue out at each other saying Donald Trump loves me more than he loves you.
I mean, that`s really what this race has become --
BROWN: -- which side (INAUDIBLE). It`s nationally. But it`s just something to watch in Ohio.
These candidates that are already pretty (ph) far right --
BROWN: -- the extremism and just getting in line for Trump in ways that -- still is astounding in this country, and I watch it up close, and it breaks my heart. And it also means it`s real opportunity for us to win. Trump carried my state by eight points twice.
We can win here and I think our chances in 2022 are pretty good, the governor`s race and the Senate race.
HAYES: Senator Sherrod Brown of the state of Ohio, thank you so much for that. I appreciate having you on. Great to see you.
That is "ALL IN" on this Thursday night.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend. Much appreciated.
I will apologize, we have been having some studio technical difficulties. So, if things seem a little hinky, it is totally on me, it is not on you. But we`re going to see if we can fix this on the fly.
I want to thank you for being with us tonight. This is what some people call Thursday. We know it by its true name, which is Friday eve. Even if we are having technical difficulties, you can`t take Friday eve away from me.
We do have a big show tonight, lots of news to get to.
We`ve got Marc Elias here in just a few minutes. He is the powerhouse lawyer who won more than 60, 60 different lawsuits against Republicans in the Trump campaign as they tried to use the courts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Marc Elias will be here tonight to talk about his latest fight, which he just joined today.
That happening as Vice President Kamala Harris today held a roundtable at the White House, on what is starting to seem like a new voting rights emergency, in lots of states across the country.
Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signing the latest new law to dramatically roll back voting rights in the Republican controlled state. Governor DeSantis is not making the intent of this one very subtle. Not making it very subtle as to who this is intended to benefit, who it is for. He signed this new voting rights restriction bill live on TV, at an event hosted by literally a Donald Trump fan club, while he was in the middle of an interview on "Fox and Friends".
So, if you are a Democratic voter or an independent voter in Florida, you can be rest assured, you can be sure your governor is looking out for you and your interests, definitely taking care of the whole state and everybody`s interests, that`s for sure. Did I mention he signed a voting bill at a Donald Trump fan club? Subtle.
Okay. The great state of Texas tonight is holding a big vote to move their new draconian anti-voting rights bill to the Republican controlled state legislature. It`s already harder to vote in Texas than it isn`t any other state in the country. But they think they can do better than that.
We will get all that coming up tonight. Again, with Marc Elias as our first guest this evening.
But we`re going to start tonight with what it feels like a bit of a heads up from politico.com. This is one of those stories that at the face of it, it`s about a small piece of news, a small piece of news about something happening today. But it`s newsworthy because it seems to portend something potentially much bigger.
"Politico" today reporting that the personal lawyer to former President Trump, Rudy Giuliani, appears to be broke. Or at least he appears to be worried about money, for a litany of reasons. You will recall that Mr. Giuliani`s home and office were both raided by the FBI last week. Since then, things have apparently gone downhill for him, in terms of the standard of living to which he has become accustomed.
Quoting from politico.com. Rudy Giuliani, the personal lawyer for ex- President Donald Trump, has reduced the size of his personal entourage, according to three people familiar with the matter. He has laid off several staffers and contractors. The ousted employees were told that Mr. Giuliani was seeking to cut costs. Mr. Giuliani no longer moves around Manhattan, with the full complement of as many as five people he has kept around him in recent years. Instead he just now has a part-time driver. He is the son of one of his friends.
Now, whether or not it matters to you if Rudy Giuliani still has his --his valet, his door opener. I`m not sure what he needs five other people for, when it comes to moving around Manhattan, in daily life. But, whether or not that change in his lifestyle is significant, the news implication here is that Mr. Giuliani appears to be in money trouble. And that may have implications in terms of how he is approaching his legal jeopardy, and how he decides to handle his legal jeopardy, and whether he perhaps decides to cooperate with prosecutors who are seeking his cooperation, in order to earn him some leniency on charges he otherwise might be facing.
Now, that`s a big deal, when you`re talking about somebody who is the personal lawyer to the president of the United States. A former president of the United States, who he himself is already facing multiple, active criminal inquiries in New York state, in Georgia right. If his lawyer is going to face pressure to cooperate, in order to get himself out of legal trouble, and he`s having money trouble, which means he may not feel that he`s adequately able to defend himself, in this style to which you would like to become accustomed, that is potentially a big deal.
And it follows reporting earlier this week in "The New York Times" that Mr. Giuliani is somewhat desperately seeking financial help from directly from former President Trump. Among other things, he reportedly wants former President Trump to join in a lawsuit for him, to sue the government for executing the search warrants last week in his home and office. So, it wouldn`t be Giuliani versus the government, it would be Giuliani and Trump versus the government in any such lawsuit.
CNN reporting today that Giuliani`s own defense lawyer has reached out to lawyers for President Trump, trying to get them to pay for Giuliani`s legal costs, in this and other matters. But when he was asked what the response was to his request, he had no comment.
Public statements for Mr. Giuliani`s son and some of his friends have also made clear in the past few days, that Mr. Giuliani expects someone, the Republican Party, former President Trump, one of Trump`s political slush funds, someone, please to bail out Mr. Giuliani, and start at least paying his legal fees.
Mr. Giuliani`s son telling CNN today that he believes the nut will crack, sometime in the next 36 hours. I don`t exactly know what he means by that. But if he is suggesting that the president needs to help out his father financially, or something may crack, that is not going to benefit anybody. That is a sort of ominous portent in terms of what might be coming next.
I should also note that when Mr. Giuliani`s son made this public case, that somebody should bail out his dad, or else, or the nut will crack. The younger Mr. Giuliani today appears to have confirmed something we did not previously know. He appears to have confirmed that Rudy Giuliani, his father, is now facing potential disbarment in New York state.
There are been reports in February that Mr. Giuliani was the subject of disciplinary complaints before the New York bar. Now, publicly, we had no sign of what had become of those complaints, those kinds of processes are not played out in public in New York.
But Mr. Giuliani`s son, tell CNN today, that among the things he wants Donald Trump`s help to pay for are, quote, the legal costs with him, meaning Rudy Giuliani fighting to retain his law license in New York. And with that comment, I guess we now know that Rudy Giuliani is in a legal fight right now, to retain his law license in New York.
We contacted Mr. Giuliani`s attorney tonight to ask about, why his son described as him fighting to retain his law license, we will let you know what we hear back. But overall, the picture does at least look expensive. There is the federal criminal case against Giuliani being pursued by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. That`s what led to the search returns being executed in his office last week. There is apparently, in courting to his son, his legal fight to retain his law state. We did not know that fight was on today, if that indeed is something Mr. Giuliani is fighting legally right now, that has to be a priority for him, given that is occupation on the line.
There is also the not small matter of Dominion Voting Systems, having filed a $1.3 billion dollar defamation claim earlier this against Mr. Giuliani earlier this year. Mr. Giuliani has asked the court to have that defamation case dismissed, but it is still pending. Dominion told the court that it should not be dismissed against Giuliani. They told the court that Giuliani amplified and promoting these bizarre conspiracy theories about the company, as part of his efforts to overthrow the presidential election results.
The company says, that dramatically affected their business prospects for the future, their existing business interest now, the value of their business. Not to mention what they described as the hundreds of thousands of dollars his conspiracy theories forced the company to spend, on providing security for their employees. It`s part of the conspiracy theory, naming a least one individual employee of Dominion Voting Systems, they`re trying to blame the whole imagined scheme on him.
But again, this defamation suit against Giuliani is for more than a billion dollars, against him personally. For a man who`s already cutting out his entourage to just using his friend son insist part-time driver.
Defamation suits by Dominion and other companies roped into the pro-Trump election fraud fantasies and conspiracies, they are not only looming financially over Trump conspiracy promoters, like Mr. Giuliani, they have also lead to several news organizations running big awkward apologies and retractions of their claims, to avoid being sued into oblivion. The most recent of these was just a few days ago, the rabidly pro Trump outlet Newsmax, just a few days ago, had to run this abject apology, to Dominion. In one of Dominions employees, who was named and targeted as part of the bizarre Trump election fraud fantasies.
And again, this is them not just, not just apologizing for promoting those conspiracies, but apologizing to this employee for making his life hell. They are admitting that those conspiracies that they promoted about this voting rights company and its employees, they are admitting that those conspiracies are false, and they are retracting them in their entirety.
That is happened a few times already, most recently with a Newsmax. But, one of the promoters of the Dominion conspiracy theory is sticking to his claims and insisting they are all true and he believes, and he stands by it. It`s a man named Douglas Logan.
Now, he is a name you probably don`t know already. You`ll recognize it in a second. Douglas Logan is the author of this document. It`s titled "Election Fraud Facts and Details". He says he drafted it for Republican U.S. senators, who wanted to object to the certification of the presidential election results, in the Electoral College.
If you look at the metadata of this document, it appears to have been authored by Douglas Logan. It`s dated January 3rd, and also January 6th, the day the Capitol was attacked by Trump supporters, while Republican U.S. senators were objecting the certification of the vote. This document is still live. You can still find it today, posted on the website, of another one of the Trump lawyers who`s being sued for $1.3 billion, by Dominion Voting Systems.
In this case, Mr. Logan`s document is posted on the website of the Trump lawyer name Sidney Powell. And this document, on Sidney Powell`s website, this document by Douglas Slogan, it spells out the whole made up fantasy, right?
The core software utilized by Dominion originates from intellectual property from a company founded in communist Venezuela, with links to Chavez, which is Hugo Chavez which has been dead since 2013. And none of those allegations are true, by the way. Dominion is not connected to the other company that is named there. Neither of those companies have anything to do with Venezuela, let alone communist Venezuela, let alone dead Hugo Chavez who`s been gone for eight years.
But it goes on and on in this thing. Dominion, it says, has significant security vulnerabilities, that could be exploited by a nation-state, in ways that would be difficult to detect. It could be exploited by a nation state. How about by a nation? Or by a state?
How about a city-state, like could Singapore do it? Monaco. Somebody looking to Liechtenstein. Check Gibraltar.
This is my favorite part though. Again, this is a -- this is a document, by Douglas Logan. Still online today. It`s billed as the facts and details of election fraud in the 2020 election. Among those facts and details detailed in the document, Douglas Logan produces this evidence, that the Chinese have been plotting this since 1963, since Joe Biden was in college.
Chinese goals in 1963 to take over America without firing a shot. This is part of his, this is part of his election for hard facts and details. His evidence for the Chinese plotting this in 1963, is something from the John Birch Society? That was posted from something called the uhuh websites. Which you yourself low cost of $74,999 if you want.
But, you know, it`s all here. The facts and details of the fraud, at uhuh.com. How they plan their attack in 2020 election back in 1963. How are you going to refute that you commies? Have you checked uhuh.com? Maybe it`s now owned by Hugo Chavez.
In this document, again, which you can still get online, Mr. Logan continues at length with this conspiracy theory, about Dominion Voting Systems, and communism, in Venezuela and blah, blah, blah.
It`s the exact conspiracy theory, that led to the billion dollar defamation lawsuits against Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani and lots of other people and entities. He even goes on to name the specific employee of Dominion Voting Systems, as the real villain, saying this guy was overheard telling his Antifa buddies that he would rig the election against Trump.
And needless to say, that is a completely made up claim. Ask Newsmax, that`s one of the fantasies that they repeated on air, until a lawsuit force them to try to prove it, and then they had to admit that it was false and wrong and they retracted and now they`re very sorry.
It`s all just nonsense. The Venezuelan thing is nonsense. The connection of the two voting companies is nonsense. The Hugo Chavez thing is nonsense.
The guy from Dominions, you know, scurrilously conniving with Antifa, to tweak the election in a way that would take care of Trump`s hopes. Like all of this stuff, this is the stuff that they have been pushing since the election. It`s all nonsense.
If you don`t believe it`s nonsense, ask yourself why the people who are being sued by defamation for making those claims are retracting them and apologizing for them and admitting they are false. But, former President Trump`s contention that he lost the election is based on this exact craziness. It`s based on this exact nonsense. And so far, it really has led to multiple billion dollar lawsuits, against the most prominent purveyors of these fantasies.
But this guy Douglas Logan, who is still to this day promoting this exact junk, at least in his case he`s not retracting anything. He says he absolutely stands by it. In an interview with the "Arizona Mirror", quote, Logan stood behind all the assertions in the documents. Some of which is been debunked or disproves, and other that have been little or no supporting evidence.
Logan telling "The Arizona Mirror" quote, some of its based on my own research. But quite a bit is information I got from other people, but then personally vetted. He personally vetted all of this information, about how the Chinese planned it in 1963. And then there was the Antifa guy, and then dead Hugo Chavez, in the two companies it`s really one company in there from Venezuela, and it`s all been -- he stands by it, he personally vetted it all.
As far as we know, Douglas Logan, has not been hit with one of these billion dollar defamation lawsuits. Like Rudy Giuliani has, and Newsmax has, in Sidney Powell, and some of the other people who have peddled the same stuff. But, Mr. Logan at least is gainfully employed right now. He is in fact very busy.
And the reason "The Arizona Mirror", reporter Jeremy Duda at "The Arizona mirror" even thought to ask Mr. Logan if he`s still today stands by all of that crazy stuff, and still maintains its true, is because today, what Douglas Logan is doing, is that he is the man who is running, the recount an audit of the presidential election race in Arizona. He is in charge of it. That`s why Arizona Republicans hired to run the audit, the recount of the presidential election in Arizona.
And surprise, under his leadership, it turns out to be completely nuts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: The other day at the press conference, you`re talking about bamboo. What was that about?
JOHN BRAKEY, HELPING TO OVERSEE ARIZONA AUDIT: Well, there`s accusations that 40,000 ballots were flown in --
REPORTER: To Arizona?
BRAKEY: To Arizona. And it was stuffed into the box, OK? And it came from the southeast part of the world, Asia, OK?
And what they`re doing is to find out if there is bamboo in the paper. That camera right there that they take a picture of the ballot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: They are trying to find out if there`s bamboo in the paper. Yeah, when you put Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, Trump electric fraud fantasy, QAnon conspiracy people in charge of counting the reelection results in a real American state, I mean, this is what you get. This is what the headlines look like out of the local press today, in Arizona.
So, now, it`s bamboo in the ballots? Are there any limits to the audit lunacy?
Department of Justice asks Arizona to respond to concerns about election audit. Arizona audit ignores federal law, on election records. Recruitment of ballot counters raises concerns. Arizona election auditors, include those who touted voting fraud.
That last one is where we learn today, thanks to the "Arizona Republic", that one of the people working in some capacity on the Arizona audit, alongside Douglas Logan, the communist did it conspiracy theory guy, one of the other people working on the audit in a capacity that must be kept secret, because of the nondisclosure agreement, is an Arizona woman who has taken it upon herself, to prove the election fraud fantasy, that Donald Trump is still really the president, by personally collecting allegations of fraud, via a website that she set up in Arizona, after the election. Her website is itsmellsfunny.com.
It smells funny. So the proprietor of itsmellsfunny.com, and the communist plotting this all out in 1963, guy, they in our country, somehow got control of the actual physical ballots cast in actual federal election, and they are doing Lord knows what with them now. It smells funny.
"The New York Times" is reporting that President Trump has now told multiple people, that this is why he believes is going to put him back in the White House. Not in 2024. Now. He believes the Arizona audit, quote, could undo the election, and he is told multiple people that.
And that of course is nuts. But if he believes that, of course he will promote that idea. To his followers in something that seems completely nuts at the onset, will become an article of faith among those who follow him. And he will tell them to believe it and he will expect them to believe, it and to promote it.
This week, House Republicans are busy replacing Liz Cheney, the number three Republican and House leadership, with an election fraud conspiracy theorist. New York congresswoman named Elise Stefanik. Representatives Stefanik is essentially auditioning for that leadership gig today by doing a podcast interview with recently pardoned Trump advisor Steve Bannon, in which she described Trump as still president, and where she went on and on about how much she very much supports the very, very important audit in Arizona which, of course, will reveal the fraud and show that Trump actually was reelected.
She appears poised to get the number three leadership job in the U.S. House of Representatives in the Republican Party. Because Liz Cheney doesn`t believe Trump won the reelection. She acknowledges that Trump lost and Joe Biden is the president, and so she must be banished and replaced, with somebody who will advance a conspiracy theory. That`s how it`s playing out in Washington.
But, I`m -- it`s everywhere. Look how it`s playing out on the, ground in Republican politics everywhere we know. This weekend in Virginia, Republicans will meet to nominate their candidates for statewide office this year, Virginia and New Jersey that are holding big statewide elections in this off year.
And for the Virginia elections, we have been covering the irony, the sort of sad poetry in the fact that Republicans in Virginia, also want to follow the Trump fantasy, about massive election fraud. And they want to pass all sorts of laws to make voting more difficult, because of the Trump election fraud fantasy. But the changes they are insisting on in, Virginia that, they`re trying to get past in Virginia, have made it so difficult and so annoying two votes, even in their own nominating contests this weekend, that Virginia Republicans are already exempting themselves, from the voter, the restrictor voting rules, they want the whole state to have to follow. They find them to be too much of a pain, really way too awkward way too difficult, so they are not holding themselves to those rules. But those rules should be put into effect for the state of Virginia.
Even beyond that though, one of the candidates who is in the right to become the Republican nominee for governor in Virginia, is a candidate, a Republican state senator who calls herself Trump in heels, that`s how she`s campaigning. And advance of this weekend`s vote, which is the Republican Party of Virginia, counting its own members votes, to nominate their candidates, in advance of this weekend`s vote, she has sent out a fund- raising email to her supporters.
That says, in all capital letters: Do not trust the party to deliver accurate results. Who should you go to for the proper results? Me. Me in my campaign.
Think about that for a second. So this is, this is the Republican Party, holding its own election, but the message from the Trumpiest of all the Trumpy candidates is, do not trust the results of that election, even though it`s being held by the Republican Party, do not trust the results of that election, just come to me. I will tell you whether I won or not. And I`m the only one you can trust.
It is, you know, as ever, Republicans using claims of voter fraud, to try to get themselves in advantages over Democrats in elections. That is something we have been living through our whole lives, something I`ve been reporting on every year for my entire career in the news. This is part of what we are seeing.
But we are also seeing something new. But never reported on before, and they don`t think any of us have ever lived through, at least not in this country, and that is, what is new about the Republican Party, and it`s politics right now. It isn`t just, you know, don`t trust the other side, let`s make voting harder for their voters. What they`re saying now is, don`t trust voting.
Voting itself, elections themselves -- even when conducted by and for Republicans -- voting itself, elections themselves, are inherently untrustworthy. And we should not look to them, to decide political outcomes. Just asked me if I wondered I`ll tell you if I won. And then you`ll know if I won. And that`s the only thing you should trust.
That`s the Republican Party`s message to America in 2021. That`s the message from the 2020 presidential election and. That is what`s Trumpy candidates in the Republican Party now running for office, in states like Virginia, are telling voters.
Go ahead and feel free to vote, but the election result will be declared, by me, who would declare myself the winner of the election. And I`m the only one you should listen to about that. That`s not running against the Democrats, that`s running against democracy.
In this fantasy of election fraud in the 2020 presidential election, is what is driving all of that. And it has absolutely paved the road we are now on to what is turning into a real voting rights emergency and states across the country.
Tonight as I mentioned in Texas, they are moving their draconian anti- voting rights bill, in Texas.
Today in Florida, the Republican governor there did sign that state`s new bill. It is more draconian than what they passed in Georgia. The Florida bill limits voter registration. It limits voting by drop axes, it limits voting by mail. It limits voting in person, and as much as Florida Republicans have been laughing through the charade that this is all about the integrity, the integrity of the vote, about improving the Florida elections.
When it came time for Governor Ron DeSantis to actually sign it, he literally went to an event, hosted by something called, Club 45 USA, which "The Palm Beach Post" describes as a President Trump fan club. He went to a President Trump fan club event, he excluded local press from the signing. He instead signed it live on TV in the middle of an interview on "Fox & Friends", which is, sure, exactly the way to do it if you`re trying to reassure everybody about the nonpartisan, good government, technocratic, small D democratic intentions, behind what you are doing, right?
Have the votes and a presidential election, recounted by the lady from itsmellsfunny.com. And have that whole audit run by the Hugo Chavez conspiracy theory, guy who says the Chinese planned in 1963. Disavow, we cut lose the car crash lawyers you had to lose dozens of legal cases for you. That actually tested these theories, when you lost them all.
But then expects, demand, and get your party, to purge anyone who refuses to go along with the scam. It seems legit, right? It seems like a party that`s ready to govern? Ready for their shot?
Marc Elias joins us live here, next.
MADDOW: When Republicans in Iowa passed a law ruling that about voting rights early this year, Democratic voting rights attorney Marc Elias filed a lawsuit try to stop them from doing that in Iowa. When Republicans in Georgia passed a law rolling back voting rights this year, Marc Elias filed a lawsuits to try to stop them from doing that in Georgia. When Republicans in Montana passed a law rolling back voting rights this year, you guessed it, Marc Elias filed a lawsuit to try to stop them from doing that in Montana.
Well, now, today, Republican governor of Florida signed a bill rolling back voting rights in that state, and like clockwork, Democratic voting rights attorney Marc Elias has filed a lawsuit to try to stop them in Florida as well.
Joining us now is Marc Elias.
Mr. Elias, you`re a busy man. It`s always nice to see you but I really wish we could stop being because Republican controlled states are rolling back voting rights.
MARC ELIAS, DEMOCRATIC VOTING RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Me too. It`s great to be here, but it`s really -- it`s terrible for democracy what we`re seeing.
We`re seeing in state after state, Republican legislatures, are tripping over themselves to see who can pass the most outrageous and suppressive law in furtherance of sucking up to Donald Trump and the big lie.
MADDOW: And, Marc, are we seeing essentially a flock of the same type of laws? Or I know they all differ a little bit in states, I know I`ve been following you at Democracy Docket and seeing the different ways that different groups of Republicans in different states are approaching this in different ways. But it does feel like they`ve all got the same sort of impetus in some ways sort of the same skeleton in terms of what they`re trying to introduce in all these states.
ELIAS: Yeah, very much so. So there are a couple of things that are in common. Number one, they are making a harder for people to vote absentee, by reducing drop backs opportunities, and in general making the application process for getting absentee ballots harder. The second is there doing things that will increase lines on Election Day for in-person voting. And then having done that, they are then making the in-person voting processes unpleasant as possible, by, for example, preventing food and water, for people waiting in long lines.
MADDOW: Are all of these similarities because they`re coming from the same place? We saw the Republican National Committee formed an election integrity committee, we have seen lobbying groups promote these sort of things essentially in bunches to the states.
Is there sort of a nest from which all of these things are coming?
ELIAS: That`s a good question. That`s a question I get a lot and obviously the Republicans don`t read me in on their efforts to block voting. But it does seem like there is something of a concerted effort on the other side.
Remember, Rachel, in 2013 the, legislature in North Carolina passed a monstrous anti voting law that was ultimately struck down for targeting African Americans with surgical precision. In other words, the legislature in North Carolina have looked at provisions across the board and pick the provisions that would have the greatest negative impact on black voters.
There is no reason to think, that the Republican Party, of 2021, is any more genteel than the Republican Party of 2013. So, I think there`s likely some commonality, about how they`re driving the strategy, and I suspect it`s targeted at black and brown young voters.
MADDOW: In Texas, where they tonight are moving to try to pass one of the most draconian bills that any state is pursuing, I feel like I have two contrary impulses in trying to understand the politics there. Part of it is that Texas is a growing state, increasingly diverse state. The Republicans have reason to worry about increasingly diverse electorate and whether they will keep reelecting Republicans to every pinpoint position in the state. And so, they want to make voting harder, so new voters and diverse voters, don`t vote as much.
The other thing though is that Republicans have been able to keep Texas a very, very red state, even through these demographic changes. And it`s already so difficult to vote in Texas. Are they potentially approaching a place where they`re making it hard, even for their own voters, making it inconvenient even for their own voters to cast some of these ballots? We saw some of these concerns with Florida with Florida Republicans cracking down on some of the ways their own voters like to vote.
ELIAS: Yeah, look, you mean an excellent point, about what we are seeing in Virginia, with the Republican Party. So, there are two impulses going on. The first is making voting harder for everyone, but in the process making voting for everyone, making it especially hard for black voters, brown voters and young voters. That`s one piece of it. That`s what you said is driving their efforts to fight the inevitable demographic changes.
The second, though, is what you described in Virginia, which is that they are just tripping over themselves to undermine confidence in free and fair elections generally. So, their effort to undermine voting as a whole, and to make voting harder, becomes this bizarre signaling device to their base. That voting is not to be trusted.
So I think it`s both impulses. But the net effect is really the same, which is make voting harder for people. But it`s going to target, young voters and minority voters the hardest.
MADDOW: Marc Elias, Democratic voting rights attorney, founder of Democracy Docket, and one of the busiest man in politics -- Marc, thank you so much for helping understand tonight.
ELIAS: Thank you for having me.
MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more ahead tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: It`s true that sometimes politics can be complicated. Sometimes, but not always. Sometimes a political moment can be fully captured in one short headline. Like this one.
Quote: Republicans promote pandemic relief they voted against. Give that "A.P." headline writer an award for clarity and brevity. That really is the whole story in just seven words. Republicans promote pandemic relief they voted against.
Every single congressional Republicans voted against President Biden`s COVID relief bill. The House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said it was socialism and would turn the United States into Venezuela. But Kevin McCarthy and more and more of his Republican colleagues are still busy telling their constituents about all the great stuff that`s happening because of that bill they hated, touting all the federal money that`s flowing into their districts to do good stuff.
I mean, this is rich, New York Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis celebrating more than $3.7 million in his district, even though she voted against the bill that did that.
North Carolina`s Madison Cawthorn announcing his pride at the healthcare grants coming to his district, even though he voted against the bill that made that happened.
West Virginia`s Alex Mooney declaring himself glad that tens of millions of dollars for a secure for his district even though he voted against that happening. They all voted no on the bill. They`re all nevertheless taking credit in their district for all the good that the bill will do.
That is what is happening with legislation that President Bide and the Democrats have already passed.
In terms of stuff they are gearing up to pass, the new poll from Politico and Morning Consult shows that the American families plan that they`re going to try to pass is already supported by nearly 60 percent of Americans, most of the individual policies into plant things like child care subsidies and free preschool, those are pulling even higher than 60 percent. The same poll finds that not only does Biden infrastructure plan also get nearly 60 percent support, but support actually goes up when the two trillion dollar price tag is mentioned, which means that all the Republican attacks on how much the bill cost are having the opposite effect. Those attack make people like the bill more.
So if you`re a Democrat this has to be encouraging, if you`re the Biden administration in congress, this has to encourage you to go for it, right? After all the last time the Democrats did something on their own with zero Republican votes, the country loved it, it was really popular, had a positive impact so far, it`s so well-liked and so at least apparently effective that the Republicans voted against it are trying to claim credit for having made it happen even that only happened despite their opposition.
That should encourage Democrats to keep going, right? The other thing that should encourage them to keep going is the popularity of the new proposals they are after. Which in some cases are even more popular than the very popular COVID relief bill and they get even more popular when you tell the public that they`re big pieces of legislations that have big price tags. That is the main Republican attack on them, that Republican attack makes the public like them even more.
But if that is not enough to encourage you, as the Biden administration or as a Democrat in Congress, you can be further and perhaps ultimately encouraged by Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, who he is now telling Democrats that they can stop worrying about the fact that Republicans aren`t going to sign on to Biden`s legislation. Republicans not voting for this stuff, turns out that`s not a substantive critique of the legislation whatsoever.
Senator McConnell now saying out loud that no matter what is in the legislation, Republicans guaranteed they will provide zero votes for it, and he is saying it explicitly now. He says that 100 percent of his focus is on blocking whatever the Biden administration is doing.
So if you`re a centrist Democrat and you`ve had some worry about what Republicans aren`t signing on to legislations, you like things that are bipartisan because it means that there are good things, well, now you have permission to not wear about that anymore because Republicans have said overtly that the only reason they`re not signing on to anything is because they are categorically not signing on to anything no matter what it is.
So, Democrats can feel free to move ahead alone without Republicans which means negotiations for the legislation will have to happen within the Democratic caucus. It will have to be Democrats talking to Democrats figuring out how to get things done because Republicans are not part of the equation. They have taken themselves off the table. They are not part of legislative processes anymore. They will vote "no" no matter what it is so you don`t have to talk to them about anything.
That is freeing to the Democrats but it means that intra-party conversations among Democrats are now the most important thing. And one of the most powerful players in the middle of those conversations among Democrats joins us next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): One hundred percent of our focus is on stopping this new administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: One hundred percent of our focus is on stopping this new administration. Public service. Good to know.
That was yesterday from the top Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell. Tonight in Kentucky, he tried to dial that back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: Well, I`m anxious to stop the Biden agenda depending on what it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Depending on what it is. Oh, I got it, sure. There will definitely be things you support him on, right?
Joining us now is the chair of the Progressive Caucus, Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington state.
Congresswoman Jayapal, it`s really nice to see you. Thanks for making time.
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): It`s s great to see you, Rachel.
MADDOW: One of the reasons I wanted to talk to you tonight is because I feel like you are now more center stage than you were before Mitch McConnell admitted this out loud. If the Republicans are overtly taking themselves out of any discussion about legislation saying that they are only interested in stopping things that the Biden administration wants, then there is no point in Democrats trying to constructively work with Republicans to make things happen, they are not going to vote yes no matter what.
That seems to me that that puts you and the other groups within the Democratic caucus that know who I can speak on your own terms in the conference seat in terms of negotiating legislation now among Democrats.
JAYAPAL: Well, that`s absolutely right. And, you know, this is who Mitch McConnell was during the Obama years, it`s who Mitch McConnell is today, it`s who Mitch McConnell will probably be in the next term all he cares about is stopping legislation. He tried to back off but I honestly didn`t know how to react with that last quote of his because we`re going to stop the legislation depending on what it is? Well, are you stopping at 100 percent focused or not?
The reality is Mitch McConnell has no interest in doing anything for the people. The last time I was on your show, Rachel, we talked about how one of the things we have going for us right now is that people across America want us to deliver results. That is Democrats, Republicans and independents.
That`s why you saw the rescue plan was so much support. That`s why the survival checks were so important to include in the last package. That is why support for the minimum wage is so high, because the people are with us. They know they need this relief.
And so, that puts us in a very unique place with an enormous amount of responsibility to really deliver. Without the talk of, you know, well, we need this to be bipartisan, Mitch McConnell has told us he doesn`t want this to be bipartisan. So, now, we can get to work on crafting a big, bold relief package that really addresses infrastructure, the care economy that lowers the Medicare eligibility age to 60 and expands Medicare benefits, that addresses environmental justice.
I mean, all of these are big priorities and we see it reflected in the popularity of the Jobs Plan and the Families Plan.
MADDOW: Washington Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, leader of the Progressive Caucus -- Congresswoman Jayapal, thank you so much for being with us. I feel like you are going to be the key member of Congress to watch here as the beltway adjusted to this new reality where Democrats are going to decide the size of these packages and the priorities. Thanks for helping us understand tonight. I appreciate you being here.
JAYAPAL: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Before we go, some late breaking news tonight that I don`t think anybody saw coming. "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution" reporting that the mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, will not run for reelection.
She reported she said so tonight on a call, we don`t know the reasoning behind this decision, but Mayor Bottoms had announced before tonight that she was going to seek reelection. She even held a big fund-raising event with President Biden just a few weeks ago. She is widely seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party. She was reportedly under consideration to potentially be President Biden`s running mate. She was reportedly offered a cabinet position in the Biden administration that she turned down so she can stay on as Atlanta`s mayor and run for reelection.
But, tonight, again, a serious shock, "The Atlanta Journal Constitution" reporting that Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms will not seek a second term as mayor. We don`t know why, we expect to learn more tomorrow when she gives a news conference at 10:00 a.m. I will definitely be watching.
That`s going to do it for us tonight. We`ll see you tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL."
Good evening, Lawrence.