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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 9/29/21

Guests: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mark Bergen


YouTube said today that they will take down content that contains misinformation about approved vaccines. Interview with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend. Much appreciated.

And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy to have you here. There`s a lot going on this hour. There`s a million things to get to this hour.

Tonight, we`re going to be speaking with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez. She`s going to be here live with us in just a few minutes. It is, of course, just over 24 hours now until we`re facing an absolutely pointless federal government shutdown tomorrow at midnight.

I say that it is absolutely pointless and I mean it in a technical sense. Previous government shutdowns were all dumb. But they were at least nominally for a reason. There was some dispute, a policy matter which the two parties couldn`t agree upon. And a shutdown ensued until they could figure it out.

In this case, I say this is a pointless shutdown that we`re facing tomorrow night because although Republicans in the Senate are blocking the legislation that would keep the federal government from shutting down, they`re not doing so for any particular reason. They`re not even really bothering to say why they`re doing it. They`re only doing it because they can.

So, we will talk with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about that, as the House passed legislation to keep the government open. It`s gone to the Senate where the idea will die because of Republican opposition. We`ll talk about that, and the high-stakes fight to try to pass the legislation that makes up the bulk of President Biden`s economic agenda.

That is either going to happen or it`s not. If it`s not, it looks like it`s going to be because of two conservative Democratic senators, Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, who apparently do not want to pass President Biden`s agenda, but they won`t say what they want to pass instead. They`re just saying no. And nobody really seems to know what they want to do instead. But they`re blocking everything that is otherwise possible without them.

Again, AOC, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will be with us live for the latest on that in just a couple of minutes here.

We`re also going to be taking a look at what may be a very consequential decision just announced by YouTube. YouTube, which is, of course, owned by Google now. YouTube announced today they will finally start taking down anti-vaccine misinformation videos.

If you know people in your personal life or in your work life or at school who have crazy misconceptions about vaccines, or who believe wildly untrue things about vaccines, anecdotally, I`ve found in my own life that these beliefs even among smart people, even among otherwise reasonable people are almost always trace back-able to stuff they saw on YouTube, to a single thing they saw on YouTube. Because they watched that, and it suggested they watch similar things. And they ended up going down a rabbit hole, going into a universe in which they thought this was the available information about vaccines.

These YouTube videos that present nonsense and false information about vaccines, as if that information is real -- claims like, you know, there`s microchips in vaccines, or vaccines make you sterile, or vaccines can kill more people that COVID has. Or you don`t need vaccine, you just need these vitamins which you can get from clicking on the box in the corner of your screen.

YouTube videos that people watch on YouTube, YouTube videos that people watch embedded on Facebook or Twitter or other platforms, YouTube just has been an absolute sewer for vaccine disinformation and fear-mongering of all kinds. And the company today says they are going to finally take that horsepucky down.

This could be very consequential and we`ll be talking about that tonight with a reporter who has been all over that story. I have to tell you, there`s also this amazing twist in that story, where Vladimir Putin`s government, the government of Russia, is now angrily threatening YouTube today and threatening to take YouTube off of all Russian Internet systems.

They`re threatening YouTube, they`re very upset with YouTube because the Russian government`s Kremlin-funded propaganda networks have been promoting anti-vaccine nonsense conspiracies all over the world, particularly in Western democracies, and the Russian government is mad that that stuff their government produced to target Western democracies is now getting taken down.

It`s amazing to see the Russian government furious about this, like really the content at stake here is disinformation, deliberately false misinformation hyping fear about vaccines with false information about them.


Russia is mad at that because they`re like, wait, how can we destroy the West from within? By stoking extremism and divisiveness and self-defeating radicalization in the United States and other Western democracies, how can we continue to do that? Which we`ve been so successful at, if these Western technology companies no longer help us shovel that Kremlin-produced toxic waste into their social media streams.

Yet, we will cancel you, YouTube. We need you for our war against the minds and democracies of the West.

So, YouTube has not distinguished itself. Google has not distinguished itself even in recent days in terms of caving to bullying and threats from the Russian government. There is a big new twist on that tonight with this vaccine disinformation crackdown. So we`re going to have more on that tonight as well.

We`re also watching for reaction from Trump world tonight as the committee investigating January 6 -- Trump supporters attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, that committee tonight has sent out new subpoenas demanding testimony and documents from people who were involved in the events of January 5th and January 6, the rallies to essentially overthrow the election results which immediately preceded the Capitol attack.

Today, "The Guardian" newspaper reported that former President Trump has made clear to the people who already got subpoenaed in this investigation, that he expects them to defy those subpoenas and not turn up to testify. We`ll see.

The group that got subpoenas in the investigation last week were former Trump administration officials, including the White House um chief of staff, Mark Meadows, also Trump advisor Steve Bannon. The group that was subpoenaed today is a much less high-profile group. It`s all people who were involved in setting up the events of January 5th and 6th, events for which the pro-Trump crowds were summoned to Washington which then quite easily quite readily turned into a mob that marched itself across the Capitol and became a concerted sustained violent attack on the seat of government.

So we`ll see what happens with the subpoenas that went out last week we`ll see what happens with these new subpoenas to much sort of lower profile people who got them, 11 of them, who got them tonight.

The week after the January 6th attacks, just a few days after the January 6th attack happened, Texas Democrat Wendy Davis -- you remember her -- she was a Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Texas, very high profile Texas Democrat, she did an interview with "The Texas Tribune" in which she said that the January 6th attack on the Capitol shouldn`t have been that much of a surprise. It particularly shouldn`t have been that much of a surprise to Texans.

She made that argument because Wendy Davis had been on board this Biden- Harris campaign bus just a few days before the 2020 election. It was October 30th, 2020, the election was four days later, November 3. And that Biden-Harris campaign bus was heading from San Antonio to Austin with a car full of Biden-Harris volunteers just behind them.

A whole crowd of vehicles bearing Trump signs and Trump flags all surrounded them and tried to run them off the road this was on Interstate 35 in Texas. It started apparently really in earnest in the town of San Marcos, Texas. Wendy Davis and others on board the bus later explained that they kept calling police for help as these cars were trying to run them off the road. The police in San Marcos, Texas, wouldn`t respond police had helped protect them in San Antonio, they had helped protect them in Austin where they were heading ultimately. But in between on that stretch of I-35, the police wouldn`t respond.

And so, the Biden-Harris campaign bus, people on board that, their volunteers, they were left alone and these Trump supporters in this sort of caravan screamed at them and threatened them, tried multiple times to run the bus off the road. They almost succeeded in stopping the campaign bus at one but what time they succeeded and they slowed the bus down to about 25 miles per hour on the interstate, also at one point one of the Trump vehicles steered into and hit that white vehicle there that was following the bus which was driven by Biden-Harris volunteers.

That violence and intimidation worked that day. You see a still there of the Trump supporter truck smashing into the into the white vehicle deliberately. That happened on I-35 while they were in motion. That intimidation effort that day on the highway, it worked in the short run. It caused the Biden-Harris campaign to cancel their planned events in Texas that night after they arrived at their destination.

And once video started circulating of what had happened there, particularly the collision, the FBI said that they would investigate. But nothing apparently ever came of that FBI investigation.

President Trump tweeted a video of the incident and praised it. I love Texas. These patriots did nothing wrong.

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio praised what happened there as well.


He literally told the Trump rally, quote, did you see it? We love what they did.

Nothing appears to have come out of any FBI investigation of what happened there. No local law enforcement in Texas apparently bothered with it either. There were no consequences for anybody who was involved in that.

Eventually, last summer, this past summer, that the bus driver and the other people on board brought a civil suit against the Trump supporters who bragged about doing that online, who bragged about running the bus off the road, bragged about hitting the volunteer`s vehicle. They filed that lawsuit civil case again in June of this year, but I guess that`s still the only hope for any recourse? Otherwise, there`s been no consequences for anybody who did it. They just got praised by Trump and by Marco Rubio.

So, Wendy Davis said after January that incidents like that where she was one of the targeted people, there should have been a red flag, that there was something wrong, that a line had been crossed in terms of violence in American politics. That Trump supporters at least appeared to be poised for violence and the lack of law enforcement taking it seriously at all in fact the praise for the perpetrators and the lack of any negative consequences for them she warned that that was an emboldening thing for anybody thinking they might be able to get away with threats and physical intimidation and violence as part of the Trump movement certainly what happened on October 30th, 2020, in Texas was a sign that they were good to go and if they wanted to do anything like that there wouldn`t be any consequences for them.

It was October 30th. Three days later, it was November 2nd, the day before the election, and someone hit the Democratic Party headquarters as well in Harris County in Houston.


REPORTER: Staffers arrived for work this morning to find the front door splashed with paint. Its locks filled with super glue, and slogan smeared on the front window saying, quote, don`t vote.


MADDOW: That was Houston. Harris County Democratic Party headquarters on November 2nd, the day before the election.

Two weeks later, November 16th, it was Travis County, Texas, Democratic Party headquarters there in Austin, the headquarters smashed up windows broken paint and graffiti again. And that incident actually at the Austin Democratic Party headquarters, Travis County, that was the reason that that Democratic Party headquarters in that county, they got a new security system after that incident.

I mean to be a Democrat in Texas around the Trump-Biden election season was to face threats and intimidation and violence on the campaign bus, at campaign headquarters, multiple campaign headquarters.

And in all of those incidents, as far as we know, even all these months later, nobody was ever arrested, nothing was ever solved by law enforcement. FBI never did anything. In the case of the Biden bus being run off the road and the Biden campaign vehicle compared -- driven by campaign volunteers that was following the bus that actually being hit, that vehicle there being subject to a deliberate collision by one of the Trump supporters.

I mean, in that incident, local law enforcement not only didn`t solve whatever happened there, they didn`t even care to try to stop it, while the attack was underway, despite them getting multiple 911 calls while it was happening. They just chose not to do anything.

I mean, this is the kind of thing for which the word emboldening was invented. But you know, these things have consequences down the road and they change the plot down the road, whether or not the perpetrators are in fact sort of made worse, whether the perpetrators are emboldened by a lack of law enforcement response and a lack of consequences, because there`s consequences on the other side too. The people who are targeted in these kinds of attacks, it changes them too.

And that can change the plot sometimes, which we`re going to show you tonight, because that last attack the Travis County Democratic Party headquarters attack in Austin, Texas, just after the election in 2020, when they got their windows smashed in paint graffiti, that did lead Travis County Democrats to install a whole new security system, linked security cameras, whole bunch of them.

And because of that, because that was the consequence of that attack for them, I can now show you something that you should see that happened last night, and I will tell you if you are listening to me and not watching me, I`m saying this because my partner Susan is often cooking dinner or doing other house things and listening to me and not watching me live when the show is on so honey this is me telling you this is one of those things for which you actually want to sit down and watch this is a visual. It`s not going to work just listening to it, I`m just saying.

This is a visual and you will want to see it it`s remarkable that we have this. But what I`m going to show you is something that all takes place over a period of about 12 minutes.


I can break it down for you and show you how it goes. This is last night. It`s actually early this morning. It`s just after 2:00 a.m. local time, in Austin, Travis County, Democratic Party headquarters. Roll the first video.

This first video here, we`re going to -- we`re going to loop this so you can see it, so you can get used to what you`re seeing, this is obviously a dude. He`s got a flag, like gator type thing, sort of a nylon looking thing on his head. Gray shirt, black shorts, black and white sneakers, a mask covering his face.

And the vantage point here is an external security camera on the Democratic Party headquarters building in Austin, the dude obviously throws a rock some sort of projectile maybe chunk of concrete or something and then he kind of prances away to the lower left-hand side of the screen afterwards. Now, look at the time stamp here, okay? See the time stamp? You see the date, that`s today`s date, Wednesday -- that`s 9-29-21, Wednesday, it`s today, 2:06. This clip starts at like 2:06 a.m. and 32 seconds. It goes about seven or eight seconds.

Now to the next clip. Look again at the time stamp here, just a few seconds later, there`s about five seconds later. When the guy scampered off to the lower left of the screen, he`s obviously picking back up whatever he had been throwing.

The dude comes back in from the lower left side of the screen, he makes another go of it. He throws that rock or that chunk of concrete or whatever it is, throws it at the same target harder but from a different angle and again he sort of scampers away. And it is still, as you can see in the timestamp, there it`s still 2:06 a.m. Now, it`s about 46, 47, 48 seconds by the time he scampers away again.

Now, different camera, same time. We have an interior view of that exact same moment again check the time stamp you can see it`s the same time stamp here, 2:06 a.m., 45, 46, 47, 48 seconds. And you can see here again we`re looping this so you can see it as the guy whatever it is, this rock, this chunk of concrete, he`s throwing it at the Democratic Party headquarters, he actually breaks the window. You can see it come through the window, right, and the time stamp shows us that that`s the interior view of what you just saw him doing outside in the sidewalk.

All right. So that`s all taking place between 2:06 and 2:07 a.m. A couple of different tries to break the window with a rock, we know from the interior view, it`s the second try that appears to succeed and he breaks the window.

Now, watch this. Look at the time stamp here. It`s not 2:06 a.m. anymore. It`s taken him about five minutes, four and a half minutes to go away, and he`s come back with something in his left hand walking down that same sidewalk.

And you get a good view of his various head adornments here, but most clearly, you see something in his left hand looks like a bottle with something sticking out of the top of it. And you see as he walks by the building where he just threw the rock through the window down low by the ground, look see how he looks at it, he looks at that spot where he just threw the rock through the window, he looks at that closely as he walks by just before he walks off the bottom. See him check out his handiwork. That`s 2:11 a.m.

Now, two minutes later, it`s 2:13 a.m. See the time stamp? Yes. Dude walks back the other way, crouches down and puts something in there where he just broke the window with the rock the spot he was just looking at with that bottle in his hand with that rag sticking out of the top of the bottle, he put something through that place, where he just threw the rock through the window and look the bottle isn`t in his hand anymore.

And we know what it is he was dropping in there at 2:13 a.m. because we have an internal view. We have that internal camera at that same time again look at the time stamp, 2:13, and you can see that what he put through that window, what he put through the broken glass where he broke the window with that rock, it is on fire, some kind of lit incendiary device and what appears to be that bottle with the rag sticking out of the top of it that he was carrying in his left hand down the street just a moment ago. That bottle is there, laying on its side.

Some other thing is in there that is sparking and on fire and starting to billow smoke, whatever it is starts to catch and you can see it starting to fill the Democratic Party headquarters in Austin, filling them up with smoke. Again, look at the time stamp, this is 2:13 a.m.

And what we can see from the security footage is apparently the guy who`s doing this recognizes that he`s now broken the windows or broken the window, he`s put something through the window that appears to be a Molotov cocktail and something else that`s on fire, he apparently maybe thinks that things aren`t going well enough, things aren`t burning bright enough, there hasn`t been enough fire, there hasn`t been enough smoke, hasn`t been enough damage, the threat isn`t grave enough yet -- that firework or incendiary device whatever`s producing all the smoke in there, it goes for about four and a half, five minutes that`s all on the security footage.


But then four and a half five minutes down the road, the guy comes back. And again this is an internal view from the internal security camera, look at the time stamp 2:18. Dude comes back puts something else on fire through the broken glass that he smashed where the fire and smoke had already started and as you can see this time he gets what he was looking for. We get a real fire and considerably more smoke.

At 2:18 and 41 seconds, we get a big follow-on explosion. Again, watch, yeah. That larger explosion, that secondary explosion there just seconds later perhaps that`s the Molotov cocktail finally going off it blows inside the Democratic Party headquarters and we get a conflagration.

And curiously, we also know that the dude almost blows himself up in the process here and we know that because of again the external view. Look at the timestamp, the external camera caught him at that exact moment when he came back to put something else incendiary in there to try to hopefully set off a larger explosion, just like we saw from the inside view at 2:18, and about 34 seconds, he put something else on fire through the broken glass through the door the window that he broke and seconds later we see the smoke billow and the flames leap out and he takes off.

Almost set yourself on fire there, didn`t you? Can also tell you from that external view, thankfully, not long after just moments later, we see a neighbor -- a neighbor arrive from across the street with a fire extinguisher. There he is. Tries to put it out. See a car slow down to see what`s going on.

The neighbor who`s trying to put it out then sort of looks around to see where the guy went, see who the attacker was.

First of all, thank you to the neighbor, but second of all, they only had those cameras because of the previous attack on their offices at the Democratic Party in Travis County, Texas. Now, we can tell you tonight that the party has been told the FBI is treating this as a credible threat. We can also tell you this attack was accompanied by a written threat to Texas Democrats. The exact content or any sort of visual of that written threat is not being released for security purposes, but we are told tonight is it is an explicitly political threat.

The note says in essence: this is a warning. This will continue to happen because Democrats can keep states like New York and Texas -- excuse me New York and California, but not Texas. And that note delivered alongside that Molotov cocktail and those other incendiaries and the broken window.

Violence and intimidation as a means of sorting trying to either achieve a political end or defeat political processes, they don`t go away on their own. Violence and intimidation, if you get away with them, they take root, they become the norm, unless they are punished.

In this case, this stuff isn`t hasn`t been punished thus far and in fact, it`s been celebrated and encouraged and cheered by the political party it`s been designed to benefit. Unless this stuff is punished, it is emboldening for the people who get away with it because they know that intimidation and threats work. After the Biden bus was attacked on I-35 in Texas, just before the election, they didn`t do their events that night. And you can`t blame them for doing it, but physical violence and intimidation worked in that instance. Physical violence and intimidation works unless it`s punished and when it isn`t punished when people get away with it, they do it more.

We now have a political party on the right that isn`t interested in condemning stuff like this at all, and in fact, has praised it from the highest levels and even from the side of the party that`s supposedly the reasonable side, Senator Rubio. We ought to know what we can expect from our society, our government, our law enforcement, for the perpetrators of this kind of thing, for people who commit political violence and intimidation. That needs to work better than it has particularly in Texas as Texas Democrats have come under now repeated and increasingly frequent violent intimidation.

But you know, they`re not the people doing this aren`t the only side of the story. We also need to look in on the folks who are targeted with this kind of intimidation and violence, to see how it changes them and to see what we can do to hold them up.

Joining us now is Katie Naranjo. She is the chair of the Travis County Democratic Party in Texas. Her office was vandalized last night.

Ms. Naranjo, I really appreciate you making time to be with us tonight. I`m sure it`s a stressful time.

KATIE NARANJO, CHAIRMAN, TRAVIS COUNTY DEMPOCRATIC PARTY: Definitely been an eventful morning, to say the least.

MADDOW: Well, first of all, let me tell you if I explained any of that wrong or in walking through that security footage, if -- if that seems to you and your colleagues to be sort of the way this unfolded and the scope of the attack.


NARANJO: In working with the Austin Fire Department as well as the FBI, it is our understanding that that definitely is how events went that in fact, it was due to the ineptitude of the perpetrator or domestic terrorist, if you will, because he fits the definition of it, that we`re in not for his inability to actually make the bomb go off that our office would definitely have been put up into flames. And thankful to Blake who works at Latchkey Bar that we were able to still come back to an office and that we didn`t have an entire office up in flames. Ultimately, the Molotov cocktail which was then followed by those fireworks actually didn`t explode and so that`s why we were able to still have an office standing.

And frankly, the letter that was accompanied with that did come with a warning and it was a clear message of, you know, political nature, but more importantly intimidation and I wanted to share a message if you don`t mind, with the person who left us a message.

Democrats in Texas are unafraid. We have fought my entire life and for generations for the rights of black, brown, yellow, Hispanic, black, Asian and white Americans to vote. We`re fighting for your vote too, and we`re fighting for our right to free speech, and we will fight every day at the ballot box.

So you may try to throw small bombs into our office, but we will be there at the ballot box this November voting and in the Democratic primary in 2022, in the general election in 2022, and we will make sure our voices heard because you will not silence us. There are more of us than you. You represent a small minority of hateful right-wing extremists and I represent teachers, students, healthcare workers, small business owners, union members, artists and everyone in our community, because we are going to stand together united. We are one Travis County, we`re one Democratic Party, but more importantly, we are one state and one country devoted to the democratic process of our right to vote.

MADDOW: Ms. Naranjo, I know the FBI has told you that they are treating this incident as a credible threat and that`s sort of a term of art in law enforcement circles. What do you understand that means? And are you getting help from law enforcement? What actions are they taking to protect you and your colleagues?

You said you worked with Austin`s Fire Department today in terms of investigating this arson, but what sort of protection do you need now and what are you getting?

NARANJO: The lieutenants who we met with this morning as well as the captain of the arson unit for Austin Fire Department as well as the FBI and Travis County Sheriff`s Office who`s also investigating another incident nearby, as well as Austin police department, have all let us know that there are open active investigations that they are following leads and that they do feel confident that some of those leads are going to get them to the perpetrator. And I really have to thank them for their response.

We may not always agree about what comprehensive safety looks like in our community, but there are good people and public servants who serve our community and we have to lift them up. It`s a lot easier to try to burn down an office building than to address the complexities of our community and address the complexities of law enforcement, as well as Black Lives Matter and come together and say we`re going to work through those complexities together as a community so that way that the people who are trying to divide us will not win overall.

MADDOW: Katie Naranjo, chair of the Travis County Democratic Party in Texas, thank you for your time tonight. Again, I know this is a very, very stressful day. I appreciate you helping us understand.

NARANJO: Thank you so much.

MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more to come tonight.

Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is going to be our live guest here next. Stay with us.



MADDOW: This was the headline at about the state of the Democratic party three months before the 2020 election. Quote: Progressives prepare to put the squeeze on Biden. They`re working to elect him but there will be no honeymoon if he wins. That was three months before the election.

This was "Politico`s" headline one month before the election. Progressives unveil 2021 agenda to pressure Biden.

Here`s a bunch more headlines around the election, quote, no honeymoon. Activists on the left prepare for a possible Biden presidency. Progressive`s patience with Biden wears thin. Progressives turned out for Biden. Now, they want a role in his administration. Progressives ready to push Biden leftward immediately.

Noticing a theme? That was the Beltway line like -- the unanimous Beltway line when Joe Biden got elected. Sure, progressives helped him beat Trump, but no honeymoon.

And for the next four years, progressives are going to be his worst nightmare, they`ll be the thorn in Biden`s side as he tries to pass the agenda he campaigned on which progressives won`t like for some reason and they`ll want him to do something else.

We`re less than a year into the Biden presidency but, boy howdy, has that unanimous prediction of the Beltway press turned out to be exactly and 100 percent totally wrong. Right now in Congress, Democrats are in the middle of high stakes negotiations over whether and how to pass the agenda that Joe Biden ran on as a presidential candidate and Biden`s biggest allies in that fight the members of Congress who are working the hardest and willing to play hardball the most aggressively to pass the agenda that Biden ran on it`s the progressives, who turns out aren`t the thorn on his side. They`re the ones who are trying to get his agenda done and don`t just take it from me.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: I`m going to stick to the plan of our party to preserve the agenda of the president and make sure that -- you know, to send the message that we`re clear, we will vote for this if we also get the entire plan voted for. I think what`s important to lay things out on the field and how we explain this back home essentially is that 96 percent, myself included, of the Democratic Party is in agreement that we need to pass both bills.


MADDOW: Ninety-six percent in agreement. I`m going to stick to the plan of our party to preserve the agenda of the president.

As of now, Democrats plans are to hold a vote on the smaller bipartisan roads and bridges bill tomorrow. But progressives say there is no reason to do that and they have no intention of passing that unless and until President Biden`s Build Back Better bill, the big -- the big agenda item moves as well. They are committed. So what happens next?

Joining us now is New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, member of the Progressive Caucus.

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, pleasure to have you here. Thanks for your time.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Of course, thank you for having me.

MADDOW: I wanted to ask you. Obviously, we`re getting to crunch time. There is some reporting tonight that the Senate may have agreed amongst themselves that they will avert a government shutdown tomorrow night. So that may take some of that immediate pressure on but we`re still obviously looking at this string of hurdles in terms of passing the president`s big $3.5 trillion plan.

Is there a different conversation happening inside the Progressive Caucus than is happening inside the Democratic Party caucus as a whole? I know the whole Democratic Caucus meets now and the Progressive Caucus meets amongst themselves. Are those conversations materially different?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: You know, I think the conversations that happen within the Progressive Caucus are very focused in how do we expand child care, health care, climate action and restore power to working class people in the United States of America. That is what we talk about every day, all the time, from week to week.

And, you know, there may be some differences between the Progressive Caucus and the overall caucus in some of those centers of conversation, but I would say that we have been laser focused on this agenda and delivering for working class families across the country all year. And that does not change. It`s really just a discussion of how do we best do that in a way that most people can feel in their everyday lives.

MADDOW: For people who don`t follow congressional process very closely, a lot of people who I know who I respect their sort of news judgment on these things, they say all of our intensive coverage of this process and the will there won`t they discussion is alienating to a lot of people, none of the process makes much sense, the filibuster itself is a mystifying thing. Can you explain for folks who maybe haven`t been covering this or following this super closely why there is an insistence that this smaller bill tomorrow, this bipartisan roads and bridges bill shouldn`t pass on its own tomorrow, right away and then move on to the larger bill later? Why is there an effort to link them both and make sure that the big bill doesn`t get delayed indefinitely after the small bill passes?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yeah. So I am I completely agree with you. That a lot of this discussion about process and tit for tat just is very difficult to follow and doesn`t really cover the heart of this conversation, which is that we have two bills at present one which covers -- which underfunds most priorities across the board so there are very few priorities that even get the full funding that they even need.

And then there is the larger what is known as the budget bill, reconciliation bill that has the stuff that you`re going to feel in your everyday life, universal pre-K. We`re talking about college, you know, community colleges. We`re talking about expansion of Medicare, and we`re debating, including vision and dental in Medicare, conversations about lowering the age of it, robust climate action, renewable energy -- all of that stuff that you`re going to feel in your everyday life is in what is known as the Build Back Better Act, aka the reconciliation bill.

Now, when we were discussing uh the scope of this bill way earlier in the year, this is the original infrastructure bill and we have a vast majority of Democrats, about 95 percent, that are that are in agreement of the entire agenda.

Now a very small handful of Democrats, about 4 percent of the party, are trying to essentially split these two priorities up, you know, and I personally don`t think it`s an accident that the ones that a lot of lobbyists love are in the much smaller underfunded bill, that don`t make prescription drugs easier to buy and more affordable, et cetera, and what they want to do is split them apart, force a vote on the first one, and because we have such narrow margins in the Senate and the House, you know, the read that we have is that they`ll just dump the second one. Leave the other one out to dry and just never actually vote on it.

And so, the way that we bring our two parts of the caucus together is by say, you know what, my bill is bound up in your bill and your bill is bound up in my bill. So do I love this very -- you know, what I would argue a conservative underfunded bill? No, but I will vote for it if we pursue them both together.

But what we should not take is this approach which is what people are trying to do by forcing a vote tomorrow on an under-considered, under- amended bill by itself by saying we want to force this vote right now and it`s either my way or the highway, we don`t work together. I want your vote, but I will give you nothing for it. Your community will not benefit from this as much as mine will.

We don`t have to pursue that route. We can instead of saying it`s either mine or yours, we can say both of us can succeed together, and that is the case that the progressive caucus is making.

But if we vote for this bill tomorrow, Rachel, and I want to be very clear about this, if we vote for this underfunded, too small infrastructure bill alone, instead of voting for it with the rest of the president`s agenda, if we vote for it alone, it could make our climate crisis worse and it risks being the only or the last substantive piece of legislation that we will pass.

I do not believe we do not have the assurances necessary to believe in good faith that reconciliation will pass if infrastructure passes tomorrow, because it gives that small narrow margin of Democrats that have, you know, really been making this process quite difficult.

You know, there was a there was an overall agreement between the process two months ago and then there was a reneging of that. And so, if we can just stick to our original plan, stick to the promises we`ve made each other, we can proceed in good faith and transform the lives of millions of Americans for the better.

MADDOW: Do you feel optimistic that`ll happen?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I do feel optimistic because the Progressive Caucus and not just the Progressive Caucus, but we are now seeing a lot more Democrats, even not part of the Progressive Caucus, join and say, you know what, child care, health care, the climate crisis, this is too important to shelf. It`s too important to shelf.

And I also want to really thank people at home for supporting House Democrats who do not accept corporate PAC and lobbyist money and those sorts of Democrats are not just progressive, they`re not just conservative, they really transcend a lot of party ideology. But they`re a recent phenomenon and that have really been surging since 2016 and 2018, and I really do believe that that is what is changing the dynamic that we`re seeing in Washington today, where that stranglehold that lobbyists have traditionally have had over Washington that still very much do in a lot of sectors is starting to loosen, because everyday American voters and everyday people at home are starting to support members of Congress and send members to Congress that don`t just do what lobbyists tell them to do but say we`re going to make tough decisions.

This is a moment of heartburn, but I want to be clear that not voting for this tomorrow is not a permanent decision. We can always reconsider it when the time is right and when these tensions have been have been assuaged. And I do believe that they will be assuaged.

MADDOW: New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, making a really important structural point there about what motivates individual members of Congress and their decisions at moments like this, moments of heartburn as you say -- thank you, Congresswoman, for joining us tonight I know tomorrow is going to be fraught. And I appreciate you helping us set the stage. Thank you.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Of course. Thank you.

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



MADDOW: Today, YouTube did something that might very well save a lot of lives. YouTube said today that henceforth they will take down content that contains misinformation about approved vaccines. If this works, if YouTube can effectively manage to keep that increasingly fatal toxic disinformation off their platform, it could be a big deal. I mean, how many people do you know in real life who have been slow to get vaccinated or otherwise inexplicably opposed to vaccination because of something wrong that they saw and believed from YouTube?

Already, the company is facing blowback and threats about this new policy from among other places the Kremlin because the Russian government has been using its propaganda networks worldwide to gleefully spread anti-vaccine disinformation all over the Democratic West, because they are just that concerned for our health.

Joining us now is Mark Bergen. He`s a reporter who has been covering the story for Bloomberg Technology.

Mr. Bergen, it`s nice to have you back on the show. Thanks very much for making time.

MARK BERGEN, BLOOMBERG REPORTER: Yeah, thanks for having me.

MADDOW: How hard will this be for YouTube to enforce? Is this something that they might have resisted doing for a long time because it`ll be hard to actually effectuate, or is this something that they resisted doing for other reasons?

BURGIN: I think for two reasons. One is there are strategies so far and mind you this has been since the beginning of 2019, sort of historically, they had a very hands-off approach to videos about vaccines and health in general.


But since 2019, they`ve basically done de-ranking. So, you know, YouTube is owned by Google, so think about when you search for something on Google and you have to click through to like pages which nobody does. It`s a similar thing on YouTube. It`s hard to find they`re not recommending it with their algorithm these certain videos.

Now, they have decided that that is clearly not enough. I think a major issue with enforcing this policy will be the two loopholes that they`ve given. One is they say scientific discussions about vaccines and about vaccine treatments are still allowed on the platform, as well as what they`re calling personal testimonies, and that`s something where they`re really going to have a difficult time determining where that line is.

MADDOW: Mark, part of the reason I wanted to ask you back tonight is because the last time you were here we talked about this confrontation between Google which owns YouTube and Apple in Russia. Around the Russian elections, the Russian government pressured those two big American tech companies that they should take down content from the Russian opposition, around the election, and both Google and Apple acceded to those demands.

Now, we`ve got sort of a weird next beat in that with the Russian government saying they`re very angry with YouTube and they`re going to block access to YouTube in Russia if because of this vaccine disinformation policy, YouTube`s going to take down Russian government-sponsored propaganda that has been spreading vaccine disinformation. They say that`s a hard enough violation in terms of YouTube`s ability to operate in Russia that they may take them off take them off the internet there.

How do you think that YouTube will deal with this sort of one-two punch from the Russian government bullying them like this?

BERGEN: So this is as far as I understand it is in Germany. Germany historically has had pretty strict laws and so I think the context here too is, you know, YouTube and Google are very cognizant of the E.U. regulation which even more aggressive than in the U.S. I think, you know, they`ve clearly shown that on certainly on COVID and now on vaccines, that they`re kind of where they`re leaning on health authorities.

And they`re saying, we`re consulting with experts we`re going with the WHO, and we`re going with the CDC, and we`re going to take a pretty hard stance compared to what they have historically. You know, that being said, that they -- you know, YouTube has been able to have these loopholes. You know, earlier today, I watched a clip of Joe Rogan talking with a guest about their experience with the vaccine and the side effects, you know, the issue with YouTube is their videos are long and it`s much more difficult both to moderate and for not just people in the company but certainly for regulators to actually watch and see how they`re enforcing these policies.

MADDOW: Mark Bergen, reporter for Bloomberg News -- Mark, thank you for being here. It`s a fascinating story and obviously still developing. Appreciate it.

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



MADDOW: Quick update on something I mentioned earlier that has just been breaking as we`ve been on the air. As you know, tomorrow night midnight is when the government was set to shut down if the U.S. Senate didn`t pass legislation to keep the government funded and keep the lights on. Well, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer has just announced that that deal is in place. They have a deal apparently to only keep the government open until December 3rd, at which point we will get to do this all over again. But at least as of now, that deal should produce a series of votes that start tomorrow morning that keep us from shutting down tomorrow night.

Now, do we still hit the debt ceiling and default on our debt? That one`s still not settled. Republicans still not dealing on that.

Stay tuned.


MADDOW: Just one last thing to show you before we go tonight. The congressional baseball game has been under way at Nationals Stadium tonight in Washington, D.C. At that game, there`s been a few banner drops encouraging the Democrats to hold the line. We have this footage, yeah -- reconciliation first, hold the line. That was held up tonight in the crowd today at the congressional baseball game.

There were a couple of other signs, one of which had a swear word on it. We got that blocked out? Yes. One says, our lives are not a game. Pass the $3.5 billion bill. The other one said, Dems don`t "f" this up.

We`ll see if that lights an appropriate fire under Democratic baseball players at the congressional baseball game tonight.

That`s going to do it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.


Good evening, Lawrence.