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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 7/22/21

Guests: Sheila Jackson Lee, Tammy Duckworth


Interview with Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. Interview with Iraq veteran and Illinois Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, "ALL IN": Yeah, trust I guess is the theme of our era in many ways.

Pat Kane, thank you so much for making time tonight. Really appreciate it.


HAYES: 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.

And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Here`s the front page today in the "Shreveport Times" in Shreveport, Louisiana.

You see the arrow there, new surge. It says low vaccination rates and delta variant fuel rising numbers in new COVID cases across the South. That`s "The Shreveport Times" in Louisiana.

Here`s the front page in "The News Star" which is up in Monroe in northeast Louisiana. Hospitals see rise in COVID cases.

Here`s the front page today in "The Daily Sun", which is the newspaper of The Villages in Florida, delta variant fuels rise and hospitalizations. It`s right there on their front page.

Here`s the "Marietta Times" right in Marietta, Ohio. Marietta, Ohio, is right on the border of Ohio and West Virginia. I should tell you that in Marietta, Ohio, it is literally front page news that they want people to start backing into parking places on Main Street instead of going in head first.

That`s the usual level of like news you can use in "The Marietta Times". Look at their banner headline today. COVID cases in the U.S. triple over two weeks.

Up in Idaho. The front page of "Idaho Statesman" today. Idaho leaders urge shots as COVID cases rise.

In Austin, Texas, the front page of "The Austin American-Statesman" today, delta variant driving virus spike. East Austin lags in vaccine coverage.

Over in San Antonio, Texas, the front page of "The San Antonio Express News", says 40 ill in assisted living outbreak. Also on the front page on "The San Antonio Express News" today, at the top there, Governor Abbott shuns more mask rules.

In western Pennsylvania, here`s the front page today of "The Tribune Review", COVID on the rise again in the state. In Raleigh, North Carolina, the front page of the news and observer, state reports over 1,000 new COVID cases, nearly 9 percent positivity rate in new COVID tests.

Head over to St. Louis, Missouri, front page of "The St. Louis Post Dispatch" today, not enough people are getting vaccinated. Missouri reports virus count not seen since January.

We have been following the situation in Missouri closely over the past couple of weeks. Obviously, we`re seeing a surge nationwide. But in Missouri, hospitals there sounded the alarm a couple weeks ago that they were nearing capacity, and then after that, they sounded a further alarm that they were at capacity. And after that, they sounded a further alarm that they were over capacity including in their ICUs.

Hospitals in southwest Missouri had to get more ventilators shipped in from other places within the past couple of weeks. Hospitals in southwest Missouri radically upped the number of traveling nurses they had to bring in from other states.

One Springfield hospital has hired 175 traveling nurses already on top of their usual complement. They say that`s still not enough. They have 46 more arriving on Monday.

Two different hospital executives from two different hospitals in Springfield, Missouri, put out calls on Twitter of all places, begging for respiratory therapists from anywhere in the country to please come augment their staff in Springfield. We`ve been watching and reporting over the past couple of weeks, they`ve had to open up a second and then a third new COVID ward at one of these Springfield, Missouri hospitals.

And it`s not easing off. I mean, Missouri has low vaccine uptake, particularly in the southwest part of the state. They`re doing their best. Even religious groups, clergy have a whole new campaign to turn it around, to try to up the vaccine uptake numbers. But they`re amid a crippling spike in infections that is overrunning their health system.

For the first time, though, we do have a bit of positive news to report. It`s been more than a week since the two CEOs of Springfield`s two major hospitals and the county health department there did this fairly desperate press conference which we covered on the show where they proclaim that they were in crisis in terms of hospital capacity, and they ask in very plain terms for the Missouri state government to please come help. Please come into the Springfield area and setup an alternative care site there, some sort of field hospital or relieve some of the pressure on the existing hospitals that are overrun.

Again, that was more than a week ago that that cry for help went out. And it has been unnerving ever since to watch silence from the state government and from Republican Governor Mike Parson in response. Governor Parson initially basically blamed the hospitals for what they were going through in southwest Missouri.


He gave a press conference yesterday about COVID vaccination, which is good. But at that press conference, he talked about how the real problem is all the doom and gloom from the press. And he attacked all the local papers in Missouri for reporting on the COVID crisis there. He said he was sure that George Soros was putting them up to it. Really?

I mean, it`s one thing for a governor to beclown himself like that in normal times, whatever, we`re used to it. But here`s a situation where one corner of that state is begging for help, for something really specific. Their hospital system they say is overrun, and they basically need to be rescued. They have pulled the fire alarm.

This is not the time for the random George Soros anti-Semitic illuminati conspiracy nonsense you guys. We can do that later. We have some real thing to do right now. We can come back to the crazy later. I swear. I know you love it.

But I said there`s good news and there is. Tonight just as we were getting ready to get on the air, the Missouri state government finally said something in response to that cry for help. They finally said they`re going to act. They`re sending ambulance teams. They actually sourced the ambulance teams from Arkansas, but whatever.

They`re also sending teams of staff and specialized equipment to setup an infusion center. This is really interesting. An infusion center, so people who test positive for COVID who are at high risk of proceeding to get really sick, people can get monoclonal antibody infusions just like President Trump did. Those monoclonal antibody infusions if you get them in time, if you get them after you test positive but before you have to be in the hospital, those drugs are really, really, really effective at keeping people out of the hospital. So they`re setting up a monoclonal antibody centralized infusion center in Springfield.

In terms of setting up effectively a field hospital, they`re still not there yet. Hey, what`s the rush? But the government says tonight they have identified a site for such a facility, a hotel in Springfield, Missouri, chosen by the local health department. The state government says they`re now asking FEMA to do that. They`re asking the feds.

So, you know, better late than never. And that is legitimately movement there, finally. That`s good to see it. But as I said the situation in Missouri continues to get worse at this hour. I mean, at this point Missouri according to the federal government Missouri is one of three states. Missouri, Texas and Florida, that account for 40 percent of the new cases nationwide.

And that might not be a big deal if there weren`t that many new cases nationwide. But, in fact, new cases nationwide have tripled in the last couple of weeks. And so for three states to amount to almost half of that, that`s really saying something about the size of the crisis.

Here`s another piece of encouraging news, though. Again out in Missouri, this today was a unanimous Supreme Court ruling from the state Supreme Court in Missouri. And this is a big deal. Last year in 2020, in Missouri, in a state where the former President Trump just romped in the general election -- Trump beat Biden in Missouri by more than 15 points. Nevertheless, in 2020, Missouri voters also voted by a large margin to get health insurance to hundreds of thousand of people in Missouri who currently don`t have it.

And Republican politicians in Missouri were loudly and uniformly opposed to this ballot initiative. And Missouri is for sure a red state with, you know, Republican leaders dominating every level of state government. But a big healthy majority of Missouri residents voted for this constitutional amendment they put in the ballot last year that would get more people in had health -- more people in the state health insurance. It would get them health insurance through Medicaid.

And it is a hugely consequential life changing thing for so many people at the individual level and individual Missouri families. This is going to be 275,000 people who live in Missouri right now who don`t have health insurance, who are going to be able to get cover, to get health insurance because of Missouri voters passing that constitutional amendment last year.

Here`s the thing, though. After it passed by a large and clear margin, the Republican governor in Missouri, that same guy Mike Parson, and the Republican-dominated state legislator in Missouri, they tried to say that vote didn`t count because they didn`t like the way that vote turned out.

Missouri legislators and the Missouri Republican governor spent the whole last year trying to figure out now and creative ways to pretend that that law didn`t pass, to pretend they weren`t bound by it even if it did pass. They just refused to do it.

Well, today the Missouri Supreme Court ruled unanimously the Republican governor and the Republican legislature actually do have to accept and follow the results of the vote.


The election cannot be overturned. Its results cannot be ignored.

The ruling today from the Missouri Supreme Court says explicitly that the state government is, quote, bound by the results of the election.

"Kansas City Star" put out an editorial about it tonight after the ruling came saying, quote, it was a good day for the rule of law. All Missourians should be happy their voices have finally been heard. It is tempting to ask Republican state legislators who disobeyed the will of the people to apologize. Their decision to refuse to recognize the new requirements and the new law passed by voters clearly violated the state constitution while slapping voters in the face.

They say, quote, it took some time but the Missouri Supreme Court has said what everyone knew -- the voters had a right to require Medicaid expansion, a right which they exercised. They conclude in Missouri the people still rule.

And, you know, with Missouri suffering through this storm, still increasing storm of COVID cases with the southwest corner of Missouri having its hospitals overrun already, with Kansas City hospitals starting to divert patients and hit capacity, too. There`s honestly no better time for 275,000 uninsured people in that state to finally get health insurance, anything that will persuade people who are having any sort of concerns about their health to actually go get checked out. That`s good.

So, you know, time is once again of the essence here in Missouri, and delay means death. But God bless Missouri for starting to move on this issue and to help those beleaguered health workers who are suffering through an incredible influx, particularly in the southwest corner of the state but now spreading across that state.

I will say, though, this whole ignoring the results of the election thing is also a theme that we can`t seem to stop humming anywhere in the country right now. Today, a small county in central Pennsylvania, a county in south central Pennsylvania right on the border with rural Maryland, they were just advised today by the state that the state has decertified their entire voting system. Their voting machines, the counting equipment, the software, everything it`s now decertified and cannot legally be used in any future election. They have to buy all new stuff.

And that`s because local Republican officials in that one little county, they handed over all the voting equipment in that county to a random uncertified private company to do some kind of, you know, Wizardy Spanish inquisition on the counting machine. This was after pro-Trump Republicans in the Pennsylvania state Senate demanded that. The Trump Republicans in the state Senate demanded other counties in Pennsylvania do that, too, but it was just this one little really pro-Trump Republican county that said, yes, yes we want to do that.

And now that one county in south central Pennsylvania has this giant expense they`ve got to bear on their own. To replace every single piece of voting equipment that they`ve got in their entire county because in their rush to participate in the Trump fantasy the election shouldn`t have counted and there`s some monster you can find in the machines that can show it, they`ve now insured their voting equipment cannot be used to count anything ever again. Well-done.

That was, again, a small county in south central Pennsylvania that`s now put itself to considerable expense for having wanted to indulge this fantasy. But the same thing happened just last month in one of the biggest counties in the country, in Maricopa County, Arizona, which is the fourth largest county in the country by population. They, too, had their entire voting system decertified, and they too need to buy all new everything for elections after Trump Republicans in the state Senate forced them to turn over their entire voting system and all the ballots from the presidential election to a random, uncertified, totally inexperienced one band man company called Cyber Ninjas, even though it`s really just one guy so it should be Cyber Ninja.

And he`s a Trump conspiracy theorist QAnon promoter who has literally done anything like this before in his life. He`s the one that got all the voting equipment from the fourth most populous county in the country. Arizona taxpayers will therefore be shelling out millions of dollars to replace all that equipment which will now have to be junked because those guys have been doing Lord knows what with it since they got it in April.

They started that scam audit thing in April. They said it would take three weeks. It`s July and nobody seems to know what they`re up to anymore. They don`t really feel the need to update anybody anymore because they`re like we`re looking for the bamboo and the country laughs at them, so they don`t give any updates anymore. But they haven`t said they`re done.


What are they doing? What are they planning on doing with whatever results they finally announce?

Well, the day after tomorrow former President Trump Donald Trump is going to Maricopa, Arizona. This is his first trip to Arizona since he lost re- election with the help of his loss in that swing state. He`s going to Arizona on Saturday to hype the Cyber Ninja audit thereafter what he`s calling a rally to protect our elections.

"The Arizona Republic" sort of gently puts it to their readers, quote, Trump continues to falsely claim he did not lose the 2020 election and sees the Arizona review as a mechanism to spread his unfounded theory and perhaps reinstate him and former Republican U.S. Senator Martha McSally to office.

You and who? Raise your hand if you think not just Trump but Martha McSally is going to be returned triumphantly to Washington because whatever the guy from Cyber Ninjas is going to say? Raise your hand.

Now, I can see all of you through the TV screen because I am "Q" and as "Q" I have the power to see backwards through cameras, so I can see a few of you have your hands up right now. Very few of you actually think Trump and Martha McSally will be reinstated by this process of pro-Trump Republicans trashing voting equipment and spewing conspiracy theories about communist ballots being airdropped from Italy or whatever, ask Mike Flynn.

I can see you don`t believe it many of you. But enough die-hard Trump supporters do believe it to make this a very lucrative gig.

"The Arizona Republic" reports tonight that one of the Republican state senators in Arizona who`s been promoting the audit thing in Arizona all along, he`s now selling T-shirts promoting his cause. The cost of his T- shirts, it`s a sliding scale by size. They`re $35 to $45 for a T-shirt. Wow, order yours today. It`s $35 for a small or $45 for a double extra large, which frankly just seems rude.

"The Washington Post" reports tonight former President Trump seems to have found a tidy path through the wreckage to pay his living expenses via this nonsense he continues to stoke. The headline in "The Post" tonight, quote Trump`s PAC, political action committee, collected $75 million this year, but so far the group has not put money into pushing the ballot he touts.

Here`s the lead: Former President Donald Trump`s political PAC raised about $75 million the first half of this year as he trumpeted the false notion the 2020 election was stolen from him. But the PAC has not devoted funds to help finance or push for similar endeavors in other states, according to people familiar with the finances. Instead the Save America Leadership PAC, which has few limits on how it can spend its money -- instead of paying for the actual audits and stuff, what it`s instead paying for is some of the former president`s travel, legal costs and staff along with other expenses, according to the people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the group`s inner workings.

So they`re raising money for this PAC, Save America, by saying he needs to save America. And the way he`s going to save America is you need to give him money so he can fund these efforts to overturn the election results so he can be rightfully reinstated along with Martha McSally. But then he`s not actually spending any of the money on anything like that at all.

What is he using it to pay for again, though? What`s the list there? The PAC is being -- the PAC money is being spent on, quote, the former president`s travel, legal costs and staff and other expenses.

Yeah, other expenses. Stop the steal. Buy me lunch.

Quote, since leaving office, Trump has repeatedly pushed for various states to overturn the election results sending out a blizzard of statements with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. He`s consulted with state officials in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Georgia. Is that what we call it, consulting?

And he`s described state ballot reviews as the key to prove he won the 2020 election. His political group has repeatedly urged donors to give by claiming that Trump is working to protect their vote. Fund-raising pitches that his advisers say remain the most lucrative.

One recent Facebook ad says, quote, we need you to join the fight to secure our elections. Join the fight to secure our elections.

Pay for my private jet gas. Buy me a sandwich. Pay for my staff and my other expenses.

Save America. That is a -- that is a world class grift, man. Seventy-five million dollars just in the first half of the year.


But -- you know, the predicate for this grift, the false idea that they are selling to the masses of Trump supporters is this idea that there was some kind of consequential election fraud, right? And eventually they`ll get around to finding it someday. Maybe if there were more than one Cyber Ninja it would be easier.

But that predicate for the grift, that idea that they are selling literally to pay for Trump`s living and travel expenses now that they`re getting rich on, right? You could buy a $45 T-shirt to support, right, the predicate for that grift as the Brennan Center reports today is a shared predicate with Republican legislators all across the country who so far this year have passed -- not just introduced but passed 30 new laws restricting the right to vote.

Here`s the Brennan Center today, quote: As of July 14th, 18 different states have enacted 30 new laws so far in 2021 that make it harder for Americans to vote. In the same time period, zero states have produced evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. In Iowa and Montana, they have reduced the hours and location of polling places. In Florida and Georgia and Indiana and Iowa they`ve limited the number and the location and the availability of drop boxes for ballots.

In Georgia and Iowa, they have cut early voting. In Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma, they`ve shortened the time you get to apply for a mail ballot. In Arkansas, they`ve also shortened the amount of time you have to get that ballot back in.

In Arizona and Florida, they`ll be kicking people off the absentee voter lists. In Arizona, Iowa, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Texas, Utah, they`ll be expanding voter purges, kicking people off the voter rolls entirely. In Florida, Georgia, Montana, Arkansas, New Hampshire, Wyoming, there`s new harsher, stricter, narrower voter ID requirements.

And yes, in Florida and Georgia, they`re banning water or any food or snacks for anyone in line no matter how long the line gets, no matter how hot it is that day, no matter how old the waiting voter is.

Eighteen different states, 30 different voter restriction laws and counting. Those are passed. Those are law.

And the effort to find a way to stop it, to try to put a floor under voting rights nationwide so no state can restrict voting rights below that nationwide floor to hold them up, that fight still hinges on the For the People Act, which has passed the house, which stuck in the senate. It is still stuck in the Senate because of uniform Republican opposition to it, and the help the Republicans are getting in that effort from Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.

As we`ve been reporting for the past couple of weeks, that impasse in Washington is so unacceptable to so many people who are clamoring to protect the right to vote against this onslaught in the states, who are finding a new purpose in their life, that what they ought to be working on right now is trying to protect the right to vote against the worst kind of voter restriction we have seen in generations.

There`s such a clamor to do that, there`s such desperation to do it we are now seeing the start of a high summer of direct action, peaceful, nonviolent civil disobedience. In Washington and elsewhere that`s designed to try to change the game, to try to make a new way possible, to try to unblock this impasse by finding a way into the conscience of the country and the conscience of lawmakers on this issue.

Today, it was a group of about 50 lawmakers and activists and civil rights leaders, most of them African-American men who gathered in front of the steps to the U.S. Supreme Court. There were members of Congress, state lawmakers from Texas, civil rights advocates calling on the federal government to step up, to find a way to protect the right to vote for all Americans, to get the for the people act passed.

They gave speeches there where they started and then a group of those activists and lawmakers and leaders, they left the steps of Supreme Court. They marched to one of U.S. Senate office buildings. They held signs, they chanted "no justice, no peace," said "this is what democracy looks like."

When they arrived at the Senate office building, they stood in a line in front of the door, momentarily blocking anyone from coming in and out as an act of civil disobedience. They said the filibuster has to go. They said if we don`t get it, shut it down.

And you see that police officer there kind of pacing in front of them. That`s how you know there were about to be arrests. Eventually, the arrests started and even so, the protesters kept chanting while they were handcuffed, in handcuffs waiting to be loaded into the police vans. They`re doing a kind of common response to the people watching saying black voters, they matter here.

Ten people were arrested today, including a member of Congress.


That`s Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson in the purple tie and sunglasses there, participating in that momentary blockade in the Senate office building today to try to push the envelope, to try to demand action on voting rights.

So he was among those arrested today, put in handcuffs, hauled away by police. Hank Johnson is the second sitting member of Congress to be arrested in the past week for participating in direct action, in nonviolent civil disobedience around voting rights.

Last week, you`ll remember our coverage it was Ohio Congresswoman Joyce Beatty arrested in the lobby of that same Senate office building. Today`s protest was organized by the group Black Voters Matter. You notice it was black women leading the protest last week, black men today.

It`s the latest of what has been a string of direct action, nonviolent civil disobedience, biog public displays of commitment and calls to conscience this summer to try to push Congress, to try to change the game, to try to make something new possible to protect voting rights. Civil rights leaders tell us this is just the start of what they`ve planned for the rest of the summer, to do what they can to stop the stripping of voting rights in this country in state after state after state.

One of the members of Congress who was at today`s protest is going to join us live next.

Stay with us.



REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): The 15th Amendment said the rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged.


LEE: -- by the United States or by any state on the count of race, color or previous condition of servitude. And it says the Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. Why are we stuck here right now?

So the message to those who are being obstacle, obstructionists, delayers, dilettantes, all of those is to get to work. How long do I have to speak? How often do I have to talk? And where do I have to go to tell that story?

Whatever it takes, we will be there as nonviolent perpetrators of the civil disobedient persons we are. And I leave you in the name of the late John Lewis who said, carry on. Carry on. Carry on. I will carry on.


MADDOW: Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee today urging senators to ditch the filibuster and pass federal voting rights legislation. You heard her talk about civil disobedience there. Well, shortly after those remarks from the congresswoman, several of the activists and leaders she was speaking alongside as well as one fellow member of congress, Congressman Hank Johnson who you saw in the background there, she spoke, several of those men were arrested in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience at the Senate office building.

It`s the latest protest in what civil rights leaders have called a summer of activist and nonviolent direct action to try to win new federal protections for voting rights.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee represents a congressional district that`s ground zero for the current battle over these rights. Houston is the most diverse city in Texas, had a record voter turnout in the last presidential election. That was thanks in part the ways in which county leaders made it easier for people to vote.

Republicans in the Texas legislature looked at that and promptly wrote a bill outlawing basically by all the methods in which Houston expanded voter access last year. The bill incurring those restrictions is currently blocked from passage only because Texas Democrats got on a plane and left the state en masse, so there can`t be a quorum back home.

Those Texas Democrats are still in D.C. pressuring the U.S. Senate for the same thing Congresswoman Lee was with them and Congresswoman Hank Johnson and those leaders demanding today, passage of the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to set a federal voting rights standard that would block the voting rights attack in Texas and other Republican-led states around the country.

Representative Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas joins us now live.

Congresswoman, it`s a real pleasure to have you with us tonight. Thank you for taking time. I know it`s been a long day already.

LEE: Thank you for having me. It`s certainly good to be with you this evening.

MADDOW: Let me ask you about this event today and this dramatic protest today including this nonviolent civil disobedience that resulted in multiple arrests including one member of Congress, your colleague Hank Johnson. Let me ask you whether I sort of fairly portrayed it and what the aim was of that event.

LEE: Rachel, it was a powerful moment, and I was glad to be there as a supporter of black men who if we look historically at racism, discrimination and slavery, they bore the brunt. They were the ones that were beaten the most, discriminated against the most, incarcerated the most. And even as black women have suffered, black men were the examples of what white racism is could do to a human being.

So it was a powerful moment that reflected members of Congress, organizations such as fraternities and one of the black men in pastoral groups, et cetera. We saw Congressman Hank Johnson offered himself with the others to be arrested, we are fighting for our voting lives. In essence, we`re fighting for the life or death of the ability and the right to vote.

When I spoke, I indicated that we were standing in front of the Supreme Court. And when Thurgood Marshal walked into that Supreme Court, he walked in after the aftermath of those who lost their lives in the fight of the civil rights movement that John Lewis came out of to right the wrong, to have civil rights and to be able to vote. People died.


And now we are here some 56 years after the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and Rachel, I ask the question why. Why can we not have the protection of the 15th amendment, which instructs the Senate constitutionally that they have a duty to end all laws that abridge the right to vote on the base of race. And it has not occurred.

And so I`m a legislator. I`ve been told I`m a legislator. I know I`m a legislator and I sit on the committee. I have written voting rights legislation years ago often and they`ve been passed in a bipartisan way. But because we have the cancer of the big lie, we now have this fight.

And because we have the reincarnation of the filibuster used in the 1960s to block civil rights laws, and it is now being used -- and I don`t know if the senators today realize what tradition they`re in. They`re in a tradition of segregationist senators who use that filibuster.

And frankly, we`re all going to be participating in civil disobedience. We`ll be back again next week with women, and you`re see members of Congress engaging in civil disobedience as legislators because we want to legislate, but we`ve got to move in order to legislate.

MADDOW: Talk to me about the tactical decision to move into direction action? We spoke with the Reverend William Barber last night and Beto O`Rourke who are planning a Selma to Montgomery-style march in Texas, Georgetown, Texas, to Austin, Texas next week. We`ve spoken with a number of other people who have talked to us and sort of let us know we should expect non-violent civil disobedience and direct action to only continue but to escalate over the course of this summer.

Is the idea that sort tactics outside the electoral system as it`s nearly defined are needed to break this impasse?

LEE: I believe that we are Americans, and we live in America. And over the history of America, we have seen direct action, nonviolent. Can anyone remember the outraged taxpayers in Boston who threw tea into the Boston harbor? Didn`t get a chance to have some good tea they probably wanted because they were outraged. They did it as civil disobedience.

We have seen over the years as I`ve served in the United States Congress, I participated in a quarter of a million person march in New York against the Iraq war, against the continuation of the Afghan war. And people have come from all over.

We have (AUDIO GAP) voices that are spoken and people who are not listening. So I think the idea, Rachel, is that one, one, those of us who are legislators, organizations, regular citizens, we want to teach them. We want to do this nonviolently.

We expect not to throw any stones and not to represent any form of violence. But we do expect as I said in the book that`s just been written with John Lewis` name on it, it`s a carry on. I`m saddened as he was a dear, dear friend only one year since his death, one year of his death was on Saturday. And we were christening a ship at that time in San Diego.

To think that all that he did, that it had come to a point where we have friends, allies in the United States Senate who want to put a rule -- and let me be very clear. The filibuster is a rule. It has no place in the Constitution. It is not a constitutional amendment or provision. And therefore from my perspective, Rachel, it has no authority.

And the Senate -- and I know that the leadership there are eager to do two things. One, roll the filibuster off in compromise to those who believe it`s sacred, to be able to pass budget reconciliation. If we have to the infrastructure bill, the voting rights bill, the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act, and I hope HR-40, the commission study to develop and repair, reparations.

But even so I think it`s important to note the Constitution never wanted the tyranny of the minority to overcome the majority. The majority should be protected. In this instance, it is Mitch McConnell. They should be protected, but they cannot dominate. They cannot undermine the voices of the American people that spoke in November of 2020.

And so, we`re taking that lead, frankly. Hearing those voices who ask us every day why can you not protect us. The Texas Democratic delegation leaving their families, their jobs, their income, their livelihoods, as one would say, and living in conditions that are not the best.


And they have come.

And so I believe (INAUDIBLE) cannot tolerate that bill. Texas cannot their bill, and neither can the other 46 states that have put these onerous anti- voting bills in place.

MADDOW: Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, joining us tonight from Houston -- thank you so much for being here tonight, ma`am. I know this was an intense day and I appreciate you being here to help us understand. Thank you.

LEE: Thank you for having me. Look forward to seeing you again. Thank you.

MADDOW: Indeed. We`ve got much more ahead tonight. Stay with us.


MADDOW: As the U.S. prepares to end the 20-yearlong war in Afghanistan and withdraw all U.S. troops from that country, we`ve been following really closely this story that U.S. veterans are acutely and intensely focused on, and I know because I hear from them about it all the time. The story of -- the question of what will happen to the Afghans who worked as translators, who risked their lives to serve along side and help U.S. forces during that 20-yearlong war.


Well, today, news -- the hopes for those translators got a big boost in large part thanks to veterans who are currently serving in Congress. Retired Army Ranger and Democratic Congressman Jason Crow, he served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Well, today the House voted on a bill of his that would increase the number of these special visas for these translators from 11,000, which is the number that`s available now to 19,000. It would also cut down on some of the bureaucratic hurdles on who can apply for these visas that would speed up the application process.

Jason Crow`s bill passed the House today overwhelming 407-16. Doesn`t that make you want to know who the 16 were? They were all Republicans, a group you might describe as the usual suspects except for the fact "The Usual Suspects" was a really good movie in the `90s that doesn`t deserve to be associated with this particular bunch of groups.

Jason Crow`s bill is passed, passed overwhelmingly. It now heads to the United States sept. Will it pass? Will it pass in time to do good and save lives?

More ahead. Stay with us.



MADDOW: This is brand-new. It`s from the veteran advocacy group Vote Vets, which always makes really good ads and content. But watch this one. It is totally worth seeing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I grew up in Zakho City, after graduating from nursing school. I work with the U.S. Special Forces. We worked with U.S. forces for six years shoulder to shoulder, every single day.

SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-IL): As a helicopter pilot, the interprets were there on the ground with U.S. infantry. It was local interprets on the ground making sure the LZ was safe for us to come in. They were like brothers in arms. They were our comrades. They faced the same dangers, even greater dangers because even as they were helping us, their families were there. Their families could be targeted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s why they promised, we promise you we`re not going to leave you behind. We were scared until we left Turkey. And then we know we are safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Operation Iraqi Freedom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When the U.S. decided to go back to Iraq again, I spent two years training National Guards in Louisiana and also New Jersey. Then I deployed to Kurdistan again. I spent four years over there. Now I`m working with the senator. She served my country during the Iraq war.

DUCKWORTH: You`re not going to find a more patriotic American than Abdulla, as someone who put his life on the line for this country, even before he became a citizen.

With the U.S. pull-out from Afghanistan, we are about to leave literally thousands of interpreters behind, and that puts a target on their backs and on their families. Many of these interpreters and observers carried wounded troops off the battlefield. And as someone who was carried off a battlefield myself, I can tell you that the phrase we do not leave fallen comrade behind is indelibly marked on my psyche.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For those guys, years, it`s been 20 years the condition has been in Afghanistan, we woke up in the morning and everything was gone, they don`t know what to do right now honestly.

DUCKWORTH: We need to bring them out of Afghanistan, they believe truly in our cause and in protecting our troops, and now we owe them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know exactly how they feel. I`ve been in that same situation in Iraq. We need to take them to.


MADDOW: We need to take them to.

It is a new ad from Vote Vets featuring Iraq veteran and Illinois Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth.

As I mentioned before the break, there is a bill to help these Afghan translator sponsored by congressman and army veteran, Jason Crow, just passed the House today with usually overwhelmingly support. Now that bill heads to the Senate, veterans like Senator Tammy Duckworth say that they are ready to take up the cause in the Senate.

Joining us now is Illinois Democratic senator, Iraq war veteran, Tammy Duckworth.

Senator Duckworth, it`s a real pleasure to have you here. Thank you so much.

DUCKWORTH: It`s good to be on. Thank you for shining a light on this, Rachel. It is critically important.

MADDOW: Will the legislation that`s now headed to the Senate, which Congressman Jason Crow championed in the House? Will that make a difference? It will increase the number of visas, speed up the way in which their process, will it pass and would make a difference in time?

DUCKWORTH: It will pass, I don`t know if it will make a difference in time because we have almost no time a left. We are doomed to be completely out of Afghanistan by September. Let me tell you what happened with the Iraqi translators that Abdulla, my staffer, was part of. In fact, President Clinton sent aircraft into Turkey and told those translators get across the river, get across the river, run away from Saddam, if you can get to turkey we will fly you here.

He actually flew them to Guam where they were there for three months while we figured out a visa process, we may end up having to do that and I support President Biden if he decides to do that. We will do everything we can to pass this bill, but we can`t leave these guys behind. We have to take them too.

MADDOW: Senator, "The Wall Street Journal" broke a story tonight, they said -- I`ll read you the lead: The U.S. military is preparing to house as many as 35,000 Afghan interpreters and their families at two American bases in Kuwait and Qatar, plans are underway to build temporary housing in facilities at those U.S. Army bases, they`d be designed to house the interpreters and their families for at least 18 months.

Is that plan, does that sound right to you, is that the sort of thing that is the right approach?

DUCKWORTH: Yeah, I do think that that is exactly the type of thing that needs to be done. We are leaving Afghanistan so quickly that we`ve not had a chance for the State Department to catch up, processing visas.

And so this is what we need to do. We have to physically get them in their families out of Afghanistan because they will be hunted down and retaliated against by the Taliban.


What happened in Iraq is a great example of what could happen if we don`t do right by these folks, and Iraq according to Abdulla, but you didn`t see in that ad which he left out was the fact that for months, they were in a no man`s land beef between Iraq and Turkey while Saddam hunted them down and he said, Tammy, we starved in the mountains. Every newborn child died. Every old person died, and it wasn`t until Americans started dropping MREs down to us that were able to survive. And then President Clinton sent those aircrafts and airlifted us out.

So, we can`t -- you know, I want to go straight to the airlift them out of their, and by the way, America`s word is on the line here. How are we ever going to go into any other country in the future should there be a future conflict and say to the folks there, help us, work with us, work with Americans, we will take care of you, and they will turn around and say that you didn`t take care of your Afghan translators. You know, this is about keeping our word to a group of people who upheld American values and bled - - some of them died for America, even before they`ve become Americans. We have to take them to.

MADDOW: Illinois U.S. senator, U.S. combat veteran, Tammy Duckworth -- Senator, thank you so much for your time tonight. We`ve been covering this story pretty intensively, pretty much every day. I think we will be doing until the very end. Thank you.

DUCKWORTH: Thank you.

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


MADDOW: All right. That`s going to do it for us tonight but I`m here to tell you, you are already out of time to go to bed tonight.

I knew the opening ceremony new for the Olympics was tomorrow, I had not done the math though, and I did not know because of the time difference, you know what time the opening ceremony starts for the Olympics, you know the time the live coverage starts? Seven in the morning, 7:00 a.m. Eastern. Actually NBC, the coverage starts at 6:55 Eastern.

So, you officially have no time to go to bed tonight. You should just settle in, you`re going to be up all night, settle in.

The next thing you`re going to watch is called "THE LAST WORD". And our friend Ali Velshi is in for Lawrence there tonight.

Good evening, Ali.