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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 9/8/21

Guests: Jocelyn Benson

Summary

FBI releases new video of person suspected of placing pipe bombs found in D.C. in January 6. Election officials nationwide continue to face threats over 2020 elections.

Transcript

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: David Roberts, thank you very much. It`s great.

That is "ALL IN" for this evening.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. I`m not going to try to figure out all the ways to rework religion-based words to make them filibusterism, but that idea is going to stick with me.

HAYES: It is amazing how central it is when you see something pop up and you`re like, oh, right, because of that. It is this thing that everyone orbits around, the super majority de facto requirement we have in our politics.

MADDOW: Right. Oh, this is the vortex. This is the center around which everything swirls and which never can be spoken of. Yes, exactly.

HAYES: Yes.

MADDOW: Well done, my friend, and well put. Thank you very much.

HAYES: Thank you.

MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Super happy to have you here tonight. Thanks for being here.

The Washington field office of the FBI today released new footage., this new footage showing the person who they believe placed pipe bombs, real bombs, operational explosive devices at the headquarters of the Democratic Party and the headquarters of the Republican Party in Washington, D.C. the night before the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Again, this is new footage. The FBI says this was shot quite near the DNC headquarters where the first bomb is placed. And you can see. I mean, not much happens in the footage, except you get a long look of the person in question. The person sort of wanders in, sits down on that bench, appears to look at their phone for a while maybe and eventually they move on again.

This new footage released by the FBI today is of course in addition to the other footage of the same suspected bomber that has previously been released by the FBI. It has been eight months since these bombs were placed. There has still been no arrests in this case.

The FBI and the ATF are offering 100,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the suspected bomber. And their statement about the new footage they released today and also a new map they released showing what they think was the walking path of the bomber that night between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. on January 5th.

The FBI is getting newly specific about what they know about the suspected bomber and what they are looking for from the public. This is from the FBI`s release today.

Quote, reviews of the suspect`s behavior and video footage and interviews with views of the Capitol Hill neighborhood head the FBI to believe the suspect is not from the area. You can see that in a little bit in the roundabout route the suspect seems to take, not knowing where he or she is, apparently. At least you might surmise that from the route the person took.

Quote, based on the suspect`s route of travel to the DNC and from the DNC to the RNC and the manner in which the suspect carries the backpack after placing the pipe bomb at the DNC, the FBI believes the suspect had a location in the vicinity of Folger Park in Washington, D.C. from which the person was operating.

Folger Park, if you know Capitol Hill at all, it is a pretty little small park in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Washington, D.C. It`s not far from the eastern metro station.

Quote: In light of this new information, the FBI is issuing a national call for tips from the American people who have been tremendously helpful to date in providing information to further this investigation. The FBI is asking the public to view the virtual map and watch the new video of the suspect and come forward with any information you recognize about this person`s glasses, shoes, backpack or any of the items, mannerisms and characteristics in the photos and videos the FBI has released. Anyone who may have seen the suspect or anything unusual at all in Folger Park in Washington, the evening of January 5th is also asked to call the FBI. The person who placed these bombs wore a face mask, glasses, a gray hooded sweatshirt, gloves and black and light gray Nike Air Max Speed Turf shoes with a yellow logo.

That`s a lot of detail about the shoes. More on that in a second.

The FBI also says, quote, the suspect used a pack back to transport each of the devices.

The head of the Washington field office in fact FBI then gives this quote: We know it is hard to report information about a friend or family member, but these pipe bombs were viability devices that could have detonated causing innocent bystanders to be seriously injured or killed. Your tip could be the one that prevents this person from harming themselves or anyone else.

Again, the FBI Washington field office releasing this new plea to the public, this new video, this animated map shows what they believe to be the walking path of the bomber that night trying to find the bomb maker who laid active pipe bombs at the Democratic and Republican headquarters the night before the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol.

[21:05:10]

I mentioned that was a lot of detail about the shoes that the person was wearing and that they can see in this various surveillance footage they`ve got of the alleged bomber.

They have also released a number of different close-up detail photos of the type of sneakers the person was wearing. First, on the left they are showing the person wearing them. And then on the right showing what they believe are those sneakers in a clearer image with those arrows identifying sort of distinctive marks on those shoes.

I think the idea with all the detail on these sneakers is that they think these are rare enough and distinctive enough that you might remember if you knew someone who had these sneaks, a person who could have been in D.C. that night.

That said, at this point in our nation`s politics, you do have to be specific. You do have to, as they say, disambiguate when you talk about mad bombers on Capitol Hill because this suspected bomber from January 6th, for whom there is $100,000 reward, this suspected bomber is not to be confused with the other bomber from three weeks ago, the guy who pulled up on to the sidewalk in front of the library on Congress, also on Capitol Hill, claiming to have a bomb in his black truck, claims that he had packed his truck with enough explosives that we could blow up several square blocks of that part of Washington, D.C.

So, again, don`t be confused. The January 6 pipe bomb suspect, not the same as the August 19th Capitol Hill would-be black truck bomber who said he was demanding to see President Biden and he was there to start the uprising so all the Democrats would have to resign and go to jail and then President Trump would be president then and then Trump would pardon him for his bombing, plus all the pro-Trump revolutionaries who he was activating to come attack D.C., in order to re-instate Trump in office. Two different bombers we`re talking about there.

But, again, even further is necessary because neither of those two attempted bombers should be confused with this other one. A man named Lonnie Coffman. You see him in the black square there circled by the FBI. Lonnie Coffman didn`t come to Washington on January 6th as part of the pro- Trump mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol that day. His red GMC pickup was found that day parked near the U.S. Capitol in an area that had been closed off in part because of the pipe bombs found in the local party headquarters in the Republican and Democratic parties.

His GMC pickup was found packed with a loaded rifle, a loaded shotgun, two nine millimeter pistols, both loaded, also a 22-caliber pistol, also loaded, also a cross boy, also several machetes, also a stun gun, a bunch of smoke bombs and notably 11 Molotov cocktails, fire bombs, all assembled and ready to go stacked in his pickup.

Kind of makes you pay more attention to the fact that in the photograph they say was him among the Trump mob on January 6th he was smoking. Did you smoke in your truck, too when you drove it up with the 11 Molotov cocktails in it?

Prosecutors say those Molotov cocktails, those fire bombs he had stocked in his truck were ready to go and filled with what amounts to, basically, homemade napalm.

Lonnie Coffman was arrested that day, one of the few people from the mob who was actually arrested that day. He was actually the first person indicted for the January 6th attack on the Capitol.

Prosecutors today told the judge overseeing Mr. Coffman`s case that they have reached a plea agreement with him which likely means he`s likely to plead guilty to at least some part of the felony indictment he was hit with in January. I mean, we shall see. They put in their notice about their proposed plea deal today. He won`t plead guilty until his next scheduled appearance which is at the end of the month. Only then will the judge and by extension we the public find out what he`s pleading to and under what terms and whether he`s cooperating.

The judge, of course, then still has to decide whether to accept any guilty plea from him at this point. So this has a ways to go to spread out. But the first person indicted for the January 6th attack, the guy with 11 Molotov cocktails and all of those guns and weapons stacked in his truck on Capitol Hill, he has told his lawyers that he will plead. We shall see.

Still, though, do try to keep your politically motivated would be Capitol Hill mad bombers straight at this point. There is enough of them around and about that it can be confusing over these last few months since the election.

[21:10:07]

Next weekend, not this upcoming weekend, but next Saturday, the 18th of September, a former Trump campaign official is organizing another Trump supporter rally on Capitol Hill to try to glorify and celebrate and demand the freedom -- demand the freedom of the people who attacked the Capitol on January 6th.

This is a rally specifically to lionize the Trump supporters who attacked the Capitol saying those people have only been arrested because they`re being politically persecuted for their beliefs as Trump supporters, not because they actually did anything wrong when they attacked the Capitol.

This is distantly ringing a bell. You might remember this was Russian President Vladimir Putin`s take on the January 6th protests as well. He said they were all political prisoners. It is gravely unjust they were all arrested. That`s the justice for January 6th rally that`s going to happen in Washington next weekend organized by a Trump campaign official. Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked about preparations for that. She said bluntly, quote, these people are coming back to praise the people who were out to kill members of Congress on January 6th.

Speaker Pelosi has also asked the top Democrat and top Republican in the Senate, Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell as well as the top Republican in the house, Kevin McCarthy, to come to a full leadership security briefing with her on Monday about preparations for next weekend`s rally and efforts to protect the Capitol that day.

Capitol police and D.C. Police said they will activist their entire force that day. All officers will have to be on duty to protect the Capitol that day, protect the Capitol once again from Trump supporters.

"The Associated Press" was first to report tonight that the protective fencing that went up in the immediate wake of the Trump mob on January 6th, that fortress-like fencing that went up in January and stayed until July, that fencing will go back up again next week in anticipation that Trump supporters may try yet again to age another physical attack against the U.S. Capitol that day.

Meanwhile, tomorrow is going to be a really interesting day for the investigation of what actually happened in their first attack on the U.S. Capitol. Tomorrow is the deadline for 35 different telecom companies and social media companies to respond to the records requests made to them. A bunch of federal agencies will have to respond by tomorrow, but also three dozen telecom companies and phone companies.

The committee told all those companies to retain and produce records, communications records related to specific individuals who may have been involved in the January 6th attack or in the Trump ally that led immediately to the attack. The list included Republican members of Congress who spoke at that January 6th rally or who were otherwise connected to it.

A bunch of those Republican members of Congress have since written threatening letters to all those telecom and cell phone and social media companies warning those companies that they shouldn`t comply with that congressional request, which is sort of amazing in its own rights. Members of Congress telling companies don`t comply with requests for information by Congress.

The top House Republican Kevin McCarthy actually threatened all the companies himself, telling the companies that when Republicans were back in control in Washington, Republicans will not forget what these companies do if they do respond to this request for information and hand over these records. I mean, honestly, if these companies don`t go along with these requests for information, they`re just be subpoenaed for information and then they won`t have a choice.

But these Republican members of Congress screaming such bloody murder about having their own January 6th communications reviewed, hey, it`s pointless except to antagonize the companies and to show that Republicans are very, very comfortable with threatening private enterprise in order to protect their own personal political interests and potentially to protect themselves from criminal liability. But then screaming such bloody murder about how terrible it would be if their communications records from January 6th were handed over, them screaming such bloody murder about that is making everybody much more interested to know what`s in those communications after all. Why are you so worried about?

Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell posted a copy of that threatening letter from the Republican members of Congress threatening about all the terrible things Republicans will do to those companies if the companies comply with this request from the committee and hand over those records. He posted their threatening letter online with this caption, quote: Tell me you were involved in the January 6th insurrection without actually telling me you were involved in the January 6th insurrection.

[21:15:09]

So, again, them screaming such bloody murder about having their records reviewed in conjunction with the January 6th investigation puts the stakes and the spotlight -- raises the stakes and puts the spotlight brighter and hotter in terms of what those records are going to show. Again, tomorrow is the deadline for that request as well as the requests that were sent to eight different federal agencies including the National Archives, which maintains the records of the Trump White House. So, the deadlines for that is tomorrow. We will see.

But this -- this part of our politics isn`t in the past. It is not getting any better. It is getting worse. It`s getting worse or, I should say, at least it`s taking deeper holds on the right.

On Tuesday, next week, as you know, California voters will decide whether they`re going to recall Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom. If California voters choose to recall Gavin Newsom, the leading Republican candidate to replace him as governor would be a right wing talk show host who has literally like hosted Mike Lindell, the My Pillow guy, and entertained all the Trump fantasies about how the 2020 election must have been stolen.

He, that candidate, and also former President Trump in a recent interview on Newsmax and also one of the host on the Fox News Channel`s "Fox Nation," they have all said in recent days that if Governor Gavin Newsom wins on Tuesday, if he is not recalled by California voters next week, they won`t accept that result is real. They`re already saying in advance if Gavin Newsom wins in the recall election, it will definitely be because of some kind of voter fraud. It`s not plausible. It`s not possible for there to be an election result in which the Democrat wins and heads off a recall effort. Any such purported election result is by definition fraud and must be rejected.

That election isn`t until next week. But just like Trump spent months leading up to November 2020 saying if he lost he would claim it was fraud, they`re already saying that about California. They`re already seeding the ground for the California`s governor race next week as well.

It`s everywhere now. It`s what Republicans are doing everywhere.

In Nevada, the front runner for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat that`s up there next year, his name is Adam Laxalt. He`s not actually in a primary for that seat for another nine months. Even if he wins the Republican primary in nine months, he wouldn`t be up for the general election contest for that seat for 14 months. But he already right now is campaigning on how he`s going to bring great lawsuits to contest the election results. Nine months before the primary he`s already saying that the election is definitely going to have voter fraud and he`s definitely going to be challenging the results.

I don`t have to tell you he has former President Trump`s endorsement for that senator seat in Nevada. Former President Trump himself yesterday sent out a fund-raising e-mail that claimed that 15 million ballots were not counted in the presidential race in 2020, which is absolutely insane. But he sent that out as a fundraiser literally two minutes after his PAC confirmed he`s doing a rally next month. He`s basically telling his reporters he`s going to Iowa to do a rally because he`s going to run for president again. That`s a very obvious subtext there.

But then as Aaron Blake notes on "The Washington Post" today, literally two minutes after that he sent his supporters a demand for money because of 15 million missing ballots from the presidential election which all, of course, must be avenged.

The Democrats right now are concerned about, you know, voting rights being rolled back and the strength of the economic recovery given the ongoing problems with COVID. They`re also concerned about the ongoing problems with COVID and whether Biden`s big economic infrastructure climate bill can get passed with the narrow Democratic majorities they have in the house and the Senate.

They`re concerned about the Supreme Court letting states ban abortion now and managing the ongoing hurricane from Hurricane Ida, particularly in Louisiana, where there are still hundreds of thousands of people without power. They`re worried about the ongoing fallout from the end of the war in Afghanistan and, and, and, and. Democrats are working on all of those things, worried about all of those things and others.

And the other party, the energy is like, elections are a lie! We don`t believe in the election results. Even before we know what they are. And if our supporters literally physically mounted a mass assault on the seat of U.S. government because of that, you should leave them alone.

[21:20:12]

If the two parties were like both governing parties, right, equally responsible mirror images of each other, one slightly to the left and one slightly to the right, with different policy preferences, you`d think the Republicans would be, you know, animated right now about the bills that Democrats are trying to pass, particularly because one is a $3 trillion bill. You would think that would be what they`re talking about, what they`re working on. They`re not.

That is a marginal concern in terms of right wing political energy right now. What they`re still actually trying to do is campaign not to win the next elections by competing with Democrats, where all their energy is now is on invalidating elections from here on out, unless they win those elections and maybe even still then.

"Reuters" today has posted the results of a new serious and fascinating investigation into the threats from Trump supporters and right wing operatives against election workers at all levels, threats that haven`t gotten any better since November and they`re still in full force today and worryingly, they are almost never being prosecuted by law enforcement.

Here`s "Reuters" lead today. Quote: Through public records and interviews, Reuters documented 102 threats of death or violence received by more than 40 election officials. Excuse me, by more than 40 election officials, election workers and their relatives in eight of the most contested battleground states in the 2020 presidential contest. Each was explicit enough to put a reasonable person in fear of bodily harm or death, which is the typical legal threshold for prosecution.

In addition, to the messages that directly threatened violence, hundreds of others contained harassing language that was disturbing, profane, sometimes racist, misogynistic, the intimidation affected all levels of administrators from rank-and-file poll workers all the way up to secretaries of state. Almost all of the 102 explicit threats of violence by Reuters are inspired by President Trump`s debunked claims that the election was rigged against him.

The messages often included highly personal, sometimes sexualized threats of violence or death not only to the officials themselves but also to their family members and also to their children. In only four incidents out of those 102 threats that Reuters documented was Reuters able to document an arrest. Those four open cases have yet to result in a single conviction.

And this is actually a follow-up investigation from Reuters. The same news organization in June documented very, very explicit death threats made to the Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, and his family, including geographically specific and specifically-timed threats against individual family members, threats so specific they sent folks into hiding. In the intervening months, even in the intervening months since those were publically reported by Reuters, not a single person has been arrested, let alone charged with making threats to Raffensperger or his family members.

Reuters today documents threats to Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold who got threats like these online: quote, watch your back. I know where you sleep. I see you sleeping. Be afraid. Be very afraid. I hope you die.

The same person sent these threats online as well. Gina Griswold will hang for the high crimes of treason. Patriots will take care of you. I would move and change your address, dot, dot, dot, quickly.

Same man wrote to her an Instagram. Guess who is going to hang when all the fraud is revealed? Hint, look in the mirror. Under a childhood photo she posted online to wish her father a happy father`s day, the same guy wrote to her, quote, prepare for the gallows.

In the case of those explicit threats to the Colorado secretary of state, I know where you sleep. I`m watching you sleep. I want you dead, Reuters reports today that police did identify and locate the man who made those threats against Jena Griswold. Despite that, they decided, eh, who cares. Let it slide. No reason to act on any of those. And she`s a secretary of state.

How well protected do you think like random poll workers feel when they have had these kinds of attacks and direct death threats, direct, specific, repeated death threats from identifiable people?

[21:25:02]

The local elections chief in Fulton County, Georgia, a man named Richard Barron received this call, a threat by voice mail. This also warranted no apparent response from law enforcement, at least none that`s visible to public reporting.

And I`m going to play the call for you. I will warn you. It is short. It is less than 30 seconds but it is unpleasant. If you don`t want to hear it, it will give you a chance to mute me for a second.

All right. Here it comes.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Time is running out, Richard. We`re coming after you and every mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED) that stole this election with our second amendment. Subpoenas be damned. You`re going to be served lead you (EXPLETIVES DELETED) communist, sucker. You will be served lead.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW: You will be served lead. We`re coming at you with our Second Amendment. You will be served lead.

Again, that was directed to the elections chief of Fulton County, Georgia. And that threat and dozens of other threats to that official and other people who work in that same office were all sent to law enforcement authorities for investigation. Nobody was arrested for that threat or any of the threats that came in.

But this is where things stand right now in our politics. This is what it`s like to be like a professional technocratic election worker or poll worker in America right now when these are the animating politics on the American right.

Now, I`ll tell you, there is a really interesting and, I dare say, heartening story that we`ve got up next about a new just announced today major effort, a big ticket marquee name effort that is a bipartisan effort to stand up for elections workers and poll workers who are getting these kinds of threats. Law enforcement has been next to zero help across the country on these matters thus far.

Even with the Justice Department setting up a special task force in which they say they`re going to go after these things. Even with the FBI saying they care very much, on the ground truth is that election workers have been able to get basically no relief in terms of help from local law enforcement or from these people making explicit threats being arrested, even though that is illegal on the face of it. It is illegal to do that to anybody. It is a different level of crime when you do that to somebody as a matter of trying to intimidate election officials from doing their jobs.

But there is a new effort, a new effort, as I say, a big ticket marquee name effort that is bipartisan, mounted today, opened today to try to defend and stand up for elections workers who are facing these kinds of threats even as the attacks by the -- the attacks by the political right on elections themselves keep fueling them and keep getting worse.

You`re going to want to see this next story. It will restore some of your faith. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:32:09]

MADDOW: Here`s a brand-new thing I don`t think has ever been done before, probably because it`s never been needed before. It is a new legal effort from a sort of unlikely pair. Two very high-profile election lawyers who have their whole careers been on opposite sides. This is the announcement today from Bob Bauer and Republican Party super lawyer Ben Ginsberg.

Quote, election officials are coming under unprecedented attack for their doing their jobs. Some states are trying to criminalize their trained professional judgments. Some officials have been the target of threats to themselves and their families. The two of us have been part san opponents in the past representing opposing political parties to the best of our abilities. But at this moment in time, we share a grave concern about a tax on these public servants.

We are launching the election official legal defense network, which will connect licensed, qualified pro bono attorneys with election administers who need assistance. State and local election workers in the country can call this toll free number at any time to request to speak to a lawyer who can help them at no cost. This new resource comes as we ghetto day`s new reporting from "Reuters"" details how state and local election workers are not just under attacks, they are also still frequently on the receiving end of just a barrage of death threats and harassment from pro Trump voters egged on by Trump`s claims that the election was stolen from him and there has been little effective response from law enforcement thus far to those threats.

I should say one of the notable things about this legal defense network is the long bipartisan list from election officials across the country who signed on to this mission. Their advisory board includes the Republican secretary of state from Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, who you will recall was denounced by former President Trump were not succumbing. He and his family were briefly forced into hiding by the death threats they received thereafter.

Also on the board, the Democratic Secretary of State in the great state of Michigan, Jocelyn Benson. You may recall that there were dozens of armed protesters outside Jocelyn Benson`s house a month after the presidential election threatening violence if she doesn`t overturn Biden`s victory in that state, too. She and Raffensperger both are among many other officials of many other parties who have been threatened in states around the country now advising this effort to stand up and provide top shelf, free, pro bono legal defense to these election officials who really need defending.

Joining us is Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn. She`s on the advisory board of the new election official which is just announced today.

Secretary Benson, thank you so much for being with us tonight. I appreciate you taking the time.

[21:35:01]

JOCELYN BENSON (D), MICHIGAN SECRETARY OF STATE: I appreciate you covering this, Rachel. Thanks so much for having me.

MADDOW: Well, let me ask you, first of all, about your own experience these last few months starts after the election and how that led you to decide to take part in this effort.

BENSON: Yeah. Listening to your recounting the ongoing threats, the very specific threats we continue to receive, I was reminded about last December when it took law enforcement nearly 40 minutes to arrive at my home despite knowing an hour before people were going to arrive and it would likely be a gathering at my house that night. And, you know, so there is, I think, an ongoing need for more support for election officials.

And with this network of 30 bipartisan election administrators, lawyers and experts around the country is about is essentially protecting and defending those election administrators who protect and defend our democracy every day against these historic, real, specific threats that we are receiving daily, even now eight, nine months into 2021.

MADDOW: You know, when Bob Bauer and Ben Ginsberg first wrote in "The New York Times" about the need for this effort in June, they mentioned the threats against election officials but it felt to me or at least my understanding of it at the time was that it was more about new laws being passed in Republican-controlled states essentially trying to intimidate people working in the elections system in a partisan way, making it a criminal offense or making it a punishable offense for elections workers to do all the things they have to do in their job, sort of hanging a sword of Damocles over all of them.

Now, though, it does seem that it`s sort of a -- it`s sort of a two-lane idea, both that election officials may need to be defended from new forms of legal liability that are written as intimidation into these new laws, but also to try to get them physical defense, try to get them some sort of recourse against people that continue to make these threats. I guess having been through this yourself most acutely in December, did you think these threats would have eased out of by now and that wouldn`t have been so much of a concern any further?

BENSON: You know, I think, in the weeks up to January 6th and the strategy that happened in our Capitol that day, every week would begin with this being it, that we would be able to move on, certify the election and prepare for the next round of elections. And I think after January 6th, we realized that this is not -- this is not the end. This is just the beginning.

And we have seen really how the big lie, this idea that last year`s election was anything but a secure e flexion of the will of the people. This big lie has become the foundation not just for hundreds of laws that have made it harder to vote, but also for laws empowering partisan officials to interfere with the counting of the votes, with the professional administration of elections and to really stoke fear in many election professionals, fear that could keep them for doing their jobs, not just to protect and administer the election securely but to ensure that every vote counts and every voice is heard.

Now, I know I and many others on both sides of the aisle who see it as our responsibility to defend democracy, we`re going to keep doing everything we can to ensure everyone can vote and that we can trust the results of that election. With that said, we need this force, this network that is being created to protect and defend all of those thousands of election administrators all across the country who are living in fear right now against these ongoing threats, not just these violent threats but these potential legal threats against them with these new laws in place simply to try to scare them from doing their jobs well.

MADDOW: Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on the advisory of the Election Official Legal Defense Network, Secretary Benson, thank you for joining us tonight. Thanks for helping us understand.

BENSON: Thanks for having me, Rachel. Thank you.

MADDOW: I will tell you, if you are a lawyer watching me right now, particularly if you are affiliated with some big law firm that does pro bono work, if you go to the Official Legal Defense Network website, which was set up to day, there`s basically two places that you can input information in there.

One is if you are an election official who needs help, you can ask for it there. You can also call their toll free number. But the other thing they`re asking for there is they`re soliciting help from lawyers. They want good lawyers to represent election officials potentially in all 50 states in the country to sign up and volunteer to do that work. Again, the website is the election official legal defense network, we`ll post online on our website tonight how to reach them directly.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:43:49]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just drove like a bat out of hell to get to the day care because I knew that Shelly would meet me there and get the kids out. I pulled over and I ran down there and I found the kids. And that was the happiest moment of my life. And, you know, right there, turning on a dime, it became the worst moment of my life because I knew Shelly would have been there if she could have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: That man`s name is Don Marshall (ph). He lost his wife in the terror terrorist attack at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. The reason we have that footage of him telling that story when it was still so fresh in his mind is because of a project by an artist who wanted to give people space to just talk in the months after 9/11. She set up with a booth with a camera and microphone, and anybody who wanted to could come.

It was totally private. They were the ones who would hit record. They would hit stop when they were done. That little plywood booth traveled from New York City to the Pentagon to Shanksville, PA, where United flight 93 crashed.

The stories collected in that booth are just raw and incredible. Lots of people who were witnesses to the attacks, lots of people who lost loved one.

[21:45:05]

Now, documentary filmmakers David Belton and Bjorn Johnson have brought this story forward. They recreated that booth. They tracked down a bunch of people who participated in the project 20 years ago so those same folks could tell their story now 20 years on.

And the resulting film is called "Memory Box." It is incredible and it`s airing here tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, as soon as this show is done. We`re going to show it tonight with no commercial breaks. It starts in 15 minutes from now.

You should watch it. To try to convince you, I will show you one more clip of Don Marshall, the man who lost his wife Shelly at the Pentagon. This is him 20 years later, in 2021, telling his story since then.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Losing a spouse was a horrible place to be. I mean, when I opened that booth door, it was almost literally looking out into darkness and wondering what was coming next. I didn`t know. I didn`t know how things were going to shake out. We moved to Shepherdstown, West Virginia. I wanted to get the kids out of D.C. because I was afraid there could be another attack. I lived in pretty constant fear of that.

So we had been there about a month and I was trying to be a full-time dad. I thought the kids needed that. But obviously, it was not always easy. Then one day, I was cleaning out the family car and I apparently didn`t do that very often because I found a little notepad under one of the seats, and it was Shelly`s notepad. It had a bunch of, you know, grocery lists things like that, but it also had some words that she wrote down.

And they were: We have only a finite number of days on this earth. Make them extraordinary and fill them with passion.

And I have sort of taken that as my guidance from her, to approach life with purpose and make a positive difference.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Once the participants were done speaking to the camera, they were allowed to write notes to leave on the new booth, the 2021 booth. You could see Don Marshall doing that here. His note was the same as his wife`s. Make your life extraordinary and fill it with passion.

Again, the film is called "Memory Box." It airs tonight right after the show. You should plan to watch it. Okay? Okay.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:52:07]

MADDOW: Have a look at the front page today of the "Times News" in Twin Falls, Idaho. Top story above the fold says, quote: Hospital rationing begins. Northern Idaho hospital under "crisis standards of care".

Last night I mentioned at the top of show that Idaho has now to do something no state ever wants to have to do. They announce that they are implementing crisis standards of care for ten hospitals and medical centers in north Idaho due to the overwhelming COVID-19 surge there. This is the first time in Idaho`s story that the state has ever had to take a step like this.

Here`s how the "AP" describes what this announcement means in practical terms. Quote, those deemed in most need of care and those most likely to benefit from it are put on priority lists for scarce resources like ICU beds. Others with lower needs of surviving will be given comfort care to help keep them pain-free, whether they succumb to their illnesses or recover. Other patients with serious but not life-threatening medical problems will face delays in receiving care until resources are available."

Between dire need but you might not survive, you`re going to get comfort care. The situation in Idaho is dire, hospitalizations at a record high. The largest hospital in North Idaho, Kootenai Health, has been promising as fast as they can with this influx of COVID patients and nowhere to put them. They had a conference converted into a COVID surge unit.

We got this video in today, it`s a conference room that now holds 22 beds for COVID patients. Kootenai Health just two weeks ago had to install a larger oxygen tank for the whole hospital, because COVID patients required double the oxygen normally use. You can actually see with the red circle there, that`s the new oxygen tank on the ground about to be hoisted into place, double the size of the old one.

Officials at the hospital are running out of options. That`s why they`ve had to go to these standards of cares. But it`s not just North Idaho. Officials in the state are warning they`re dangerously close to implementing these same rationing standards, same crisis standards of care statewide in Idaho.

And with this new reality, the state`s top health official is issuing a stark warning saying, quote, wear your seat belt, take medications as prescribed, reconsider high risk activities that could land you in the hospital. Because that`s where we are in terms of hospital capacity at this point.

Keep Idaho in your thoughts. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:58:43]

MADDOW: This Saturday, as you know, it`s the 20th year since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. For the 20-year commemoration of the takes, President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden on Saturday will visit the World Trade Center in New York City. They will also visit the Pentagon and also visit Shanksville, Pennsylvania where United Flight 93 crashed after an uprising by the passengers that may have stopped that flight from crashing into the United States Capitol.

As I mentioned earlier in the show, tonight, MSNBC is premiering a new documentary called "Memory Box." It begins with the stories told years ago by people who lived through the September 11th attacks in one way or another. Captured on video by an artist who wanted to give people space and freedom to tell their own stories in their own terms uninterrupted.

And those recordings from the first months after 9/11, people just speaking in their own terms, are amazing enough. What is more remarkable, though, is the footage from those same people, 20 years later, the same people speaking today about how their stories didn`t end with September 11th. They`ve continued through these 20 years. It

is powerful, it is ultimately hopeful, it is totally worth watching all the way through. After you watch it, stick around afterwards for a conversation moderated by my colleague Jonathan Capehart.

But "Memory Box", it is a remarkable thing. It airs commercial free right here starting right now.