tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC May 20, 2021 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
have raised think voices. there are protests now. we have to fight at this at level to make sure it doesn't metastasize. >> this is about the truth. we will fight for it. thank you very much. appreciate you being here. "all in" with chris hayes starts now. tonight, the republican attack on their own continues. their leader runs away from questions about a coverup. >> i don't think so. >> are you certain none of your members were in any communication with any of the people who stormed capitol hill? >> thank you for the question. have a nice day. >> tonight, congressman jeffreys on the future of a january 6th commission. new reporting on how the tactics of arizona's phony
election audit are being exported around the country. plus, the ceo of planned parenthood on the republican crusade to end a woman's right to choose. all that and former mueller prosecutor andrew weissman on the criminal investigation into the trump investigation when "all in" starts right now. good evening from washington, d.c. every day the party of the insurrection, the party of donald trump is showing us exactly who they are. 35 republicans in the house joined democrats to vote to create a commission to investigate what happened on january 6th. hundreds of rioters mobbed the united states capitol building.
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the u.s. capitol building, sending members of congress literally fleeing for their lives, all in an attempt to overturn the results of the election and keep donald trump in power. that came after a four-month negotiation between democrats and republicans. kevin mccarthy sent congressman katko to advocate for his side. he worked out the details with his democratic counterpart on the homeland security committee congressman bennie thompson of mississippi. when they came to an agreement, kevin mccarthy knifed john katko in the back. he said he would not support the bill and urged his caucus to do the same. congressman katko was left alone to defense himself and the bill from the false attacks coming from within his own party. >> another charge i heard was that the commission could be controlled by partisan staff
hired unilaterally by the commission chair. that's not true. the commission creates the rules as a team. then they hire as a team. lastly, there's been some concern or arguments made about the criminal investigation. make no mistake, this commission has nothing to do with the criminal investigations. this commission, by law, cannot interfere with criminal investigations. >> today, kevin mccarthy took the backstabbing further, calling the deal that congressman katko negotiated for him, the democrats' commission. >> this pelosi commission that we tried to work on -- remember i asked pelosi for one on january 13th. she spent four months playing politics. i think it's a lol lot of
politicians. >> part of what's going on here is that the vast majority of the party remains loyal to the retiree in mar-a-lago, former president donald trump. they do his bidding. he does not want this commission to move forward. in a statement about the voe, trump said, 35 wayward republicans can't help themselves. the democrats stick together and the republicans don't. here is the thing. whatever trump and mccarthy do not want to come out about january 6th, that will most likely come out with or without a commission. probably before the midterm elections next year. democrats could hold hearings. a commission would actually be a better strategy for republicans. and yet, they remain afraid, so, so very afraid that they literally ran away from questions today. >> do you think it's a conflict
of interest for members to be voting on a commission that they might have to potentially be witnesses for and provide information on? >> no. who knows what they're going to do on the commission. i don't think so. >> are you certain none of your members were in any communication with any of the people who stormed capitol hill? >> thank you for the question. everybody have a nice day. >> instead of the commission investigating the insurrection, republicans are focused on nonsense. like the bill congresswoman ashley hinson of iowa introduced. to de-fund vice-president kamala harris' international travel until she visits the southern border. i'm sure a pressing issue for her constituents who live in iowa. i want to bring in congressman jeffrey. a member of leadership who has to pull together diverging
perspectives, congressman. do you have any empathy for the position kevin mccarthy is in right now? >> i have zero empathy for him. the house republican conference is a three ring circus. donald trump is the ring master. kevin mccarthy is not in control. we see that time and time again. it's a complete embarrassment. donald trump referenced policy. all we see is the big lie. that is what happened to liz cheney. she chose patriotism over party, and they threw her out. >> were democrats thinking about alternatives to a commission? obviously, there's precedent for a select committee given what republicans did for benghazi. are you thinking about holding
hearings or another alternative? >> we are focused on making sure we get the bipartisan commission over the finish line. the bill passed the house. under the circumstances, substantial republican support, 35 house republicans broke from their leadership to do the right thing. in the aftermath of the attack on pearl harbor, america had a bipartisan commission. in the aftermath of the attack on september 11th, america had a bipartisan commission. in the aftermath of this january 6th violent insurrection and attack on the capitol, we should have a bipartisan commission. in all three instances, there was a massive intelligence failure and existential threat to our way of life. that bipartisan commission bill that passed house was negotiated, as you pointed out, by the lead republican on the homeland security committee, john katko, a former federal
prosecutor, a law and order member of the wing. >> you tweeted earlier, we must never let the cult win. how do you see the cult of trump taking over in the house right now? what, if anything, can be done about it? >> we will continue to govern with a focus on the build back better agenda. i think that's the most important thing that we can do. if the republicans are willing to work together with us to continue to crush the virus, to provide direct relief and assistance to everyday americans who are struggling to create millions of good paying jobs through the american jobs act and lay the foundation to supercharge our economy and create prosperity and opportunity in every single zip code, we welcome that. we will not allow the cult to dictate the agenda. we certainly will not engage in
an unconditional surrender. >> when i look at what happened to congressman katko, who is in the republican party and sent by kevin mccarthy to go forth and negotiate, he tried the bipartisan tact and it failed. how can you guys, on the other side of the aisle, work with republicans in a bipartisan fashion if one of their own can't even work in a bipartisan fashion? >> president biden has made clear that he is going to be the president for those people who voted for him and those americans who did not vote for him. he will be the president for democrats, republicans and independents. i think the agenda that he has set forth is broadly popular amongst the american people. those who are running the republican party in the house and senate, what's most important is that the american rescue plan, the american jobs plan, the american families plan are all popular, not just
amongst democrats but amongst republicans and independents. because they see the leadership that coming forth from president biden, vice president harris, leader pelosi and our respective caucuses to get things done for the people. >> congressman jeffreys, thank you so much for being here tonight. stay safe. >> thank you. a former republican congressman from florida and a congressional reporter at politico, they both join me. carlos, i want to start with you. how do you see this as a former member of the republican conference in the house? what are your former colleagues thinking right now this is? >> the first thing i want to highlight is something that congressman jeffreys said. by today's standards, this was a
win in the house of representatives. 35 republicans, more than 10% of republicans, despite donald trump's threats, despite leadership whipping against this vote, joined the democratic majority, unanimous democratic majority, to underline the truth about this horribleevent, this horrible threat to our democracy. that's the good news. the bad news is that republican leadership worked against this bill. most republicans voted against it. even though this was a bipartisan win, there's still a lot of members of congress and a lot of people in the country who are following someone who only leads people to lies and to dishonesty and untruths.
there's some good news and bad news. we have to celebrate that. >> i think americans, no matter their political persuasion, can look at what happened to our capitol and say, we want to make sure that doesn't happen again. especially in terms of the loss of life. what does that look like from capitol hill? does it seem like republicans are reading hostage notes from donald trump? he called a couple of them out by name. >> i think the important part that we are looking at is if you look at what kevin mccarthy's motivations are, you have to look the prism that he wants to be speaker and hoping to win back the majority. he knows the house freedom caucus will not support him if he is behind this commission, which is why you say, okay, no finger didn't
fingerprints and vote your conscience and then he becomes involved. i have heard from sources who say they had their minds changed because of mccarthy's stance on this commission. some are say they could have had upwards of 50 votes if not more if he had not gotten involved. mccarthy is really trying to go and, yes, needs trump on his side, he needs the freedom caucus on this side. that's where he is coming at the commission. if it is run -- if democrats end up running their own special investigation, you can imagine they're going to attack it at every single turn. they're going to claim another another witch hunt. it's probably similar to their tactics we saw during the first impeachment inquiry into donald trump. that's something they won't be able to market themselves on.
>> to that point about the freedom caucus and kevin mccarthy looking at the different sections of the republican conference and saying, i need the freedom caucus, it feels like he is being led by the extremists. do you think everybody will walk together off the cliff? >> the problem is that this is a no win situation. he appeased the freedom caucus with the stance he has taken. i think a lot of the 35 republicans who voted for this commission, who maybe feel like the leader wasn't there for them or hung them out to dry, he needs their votes if he wants to be the speaker of the house. you win some votes on one end. you lose votes on the other. kevin mccarthy is taking a big risk here that the issue that i see is that he is taking a risk
not on the side of the truth but on the side of what the former president is advocating for. had is a no win situation. no matter what kevin manage carria -- mccarthy did, there were some republicans upset. how those republicans vote, if republicans do win back the majority, that's the question here. if. >> reggie:s -- if the republicans win back the majority. there's a commission or hearings. i mentioned the select committee on benghazi. nancy pelosi could do that. what's the republican strategy if they decide to hold congressional hearings telly -- televised? are we going to see more of, it was a normal tourist visit? >> you will see republicans fighting this as fearly as possible.
they have been shown to do in hearings when it relates to donald trump's activities. [ inaudible ] it's going to be hard to he will, depend on what democrats decide to do. there was frustration of the moderates that the leader -- the gop leader would throw his frontline members under the bus with a deal that he task him with negotiating. i heard that personally from different members. that was not cool. exactly to his point, he needs to make sure he is keeping the moderates in his camp. that's something that's worth watching. >> it is a balancing act these days in the gop conference. thank you so much for being here tonight. stay safe.
>> thank you. >> thank you. we knew about the pact funded by billionaires that was exporting voter restriction laws to states around the country. arizona is one of the states where the heritage action fund was coaching them on how to slim down the voter rolls. arizona is also the first state where republicans were conducting that phony forensic audit looking for bamboo chutes with uv lights. you will notice i said the first state. because the phony recount model is also being exported around the country. the reporter who can tell us where it's happening is up next. . it's a dark, lonely place. this is art inspired by real stories of people living with bipolar depression. emptiness. a hopeless struggle. the lows of bipolar depression can disrupt your life and be hard to manage. latuda could make a real difference in your symptoms. latuda was proven to significantly reduce bipolar depression symptoms,
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with your parents. here are a few tips to stay safe. know how to get in touch with your family. write down phone numbers for your parents, siblings and neighbors. pick a place to meet your family if you are not together and can't go home. remind your parents to pack an emergency supply kit. making a plan might feel like homework, but it will help you and your family stay safe during an emergency. the republican led audit of votes in arizona is still ongoing. nowhere near close to done. after about a month of counting, only about 500,000 of the 2.1
million ballots have been hand counted. it was paused all week. why? because the coliseum where it was taking place was previously booked for high school graduations. it is set to start back on monday. this audit has been anything but usual. from the hiring of the firm sign are ninja who had zero experience to using microscopes and uv lights to examine ballots. to my personal examining ballots for bamboo fibers. this is finding support outside of arizona. "the washington post" reporting that in michigan, new hampshire and california, there have been republican calls for similar audits. in emails, phone calls and public meetings trump supporters are questioning how their
elections are administered. joining me is the author of that piece and columnist and editor haze browns who looked at that security firm, titled cyber ninjas. which is a funny name. arizona's audit of the 2020 election say con artist's dream. how is the audit a grift is your view? >> cyber ninjas is a firm out of florida that has no experience with this. the founder was out there posting conspiracy theories on his twitter account. he saw an opportunity in arizona and took it. you know what?
props to him in a weird way. the good con artists can see someone and can convince someone, the skeptic about whatever lie i'm telling. the great ones see the people who want to believe whatever it is that's coming out of their mouth. in this case, the arizona senate gop wanted to believe that he was the person and his firm were able to conduct this audit, despite evidence that they are not able. the president of the arizona senate, she's doubled down on this firm. she's trying to claim that despite all the wackiness, everything is going the way she wanted it to. the whole thing wasn't about finding fraud, per se, but about checking to make sure the election went well. despite the fact that that's not what anyone on the floor is saying was the point. >> i mean, for me, it's just -- you plan an event when there was
a carnival taking place outside. that's my editorializing. is this an organized effort by republican activists to spread the arizona audit strategy to other states or a grift? >> i mean, i think that there is some of both. there's a financial motivation. there are various groups, including anchors from oan, the pro-trump news organization who are raising money for this. you know, donald trump himself, we have reported, is really fixated on this arizona process. he is talking about it constantly. he is asking for updates about it. multiple times a day. the reason why he is doing that is he believed -- a lot of his fans believe it's the first domino. we will see this in arizona. then we will see it all over the country and it's going to vindicate his false claims that
he actually won the election. this was the greatest fear of elections officials, who i spoke to as this process started in late april. now we see it really happening. my colleague and i found examples just this past month, just in the month of may, seven months after the election, in counties in multiple states where you have ordinary people calling their local officials and demanding an arizona-style audit of their own election results. >> what statements are they focusing on in terms of how trump sees the strategy to overturn the election? it starts in one county in arizona. then what? arizona doesn't do it. >> sure. if you talk to trump or if you look at his statements, he is focusing on the swing states. he is talking arizona, georgia,
pennsylvania. where we have actually seen this bubbling up from local activists has been in small places. really, republican-controlled places. what appears to be the strategy is this is local people focusing on counties where they believe they might find friendly local officials. they are fixated on this false and disproven theory that dominion voting machines could have somehow flipped votes. they are focused on republican counties that used dominion machines with the goal it appears of trying to come up with some vulnerability or anomaly that they spotted in the dominion machines, even if places that voted for trump, that they can argue, my goodness, if this happened in a republican county in north michigan, it might have happened all over the country.
>> it's an interesting strategy. do you see any other organizations like cyber ninja popping up anywhere else? these firms that never existed and all of a sudden they are experts in auditing elections. >> i myself am not familiar with any of them. it's a good gig if you can get it. while the contract that cyber ninjas signed with the arizona state senate is worth about $150,000. but what they have been able to do is leverage that into fund-raising more from private donors. there's many, many people out there who are willing to throw money at these project. the election was stolen from him it will show. i would not be surprised if we see a surge in these kind of firms who are trying to bilk honest people. on the one hand, you have people
who want to believe that trump was taken out through illegal means during this election and all that was nonsense. on the other hand, there are people who -- there are questions about the election. we should have an outside firm come through and figure all this out. that's what will bet argument -- be the argument from a lot of them. they are there to make money or promote this conspiracy theory that trump won. >> isn't it always about fund-raising? last question. how far can these local groups take this? should we be concerned that joe biden is going to not be the president any longer? it feels to me like stuff like this starts small, but it can spin out of control. >> there's no legal avenue by which joe biden is not going to the be the president of the
united states. the concern is the ongoing undermining of faith in democracy and faith in our democratic elections. also just today, the secretary of state in arizona said that they will have to get rid of all of the voting machines that have been handed over to cyber ninja. we cannot longer trust they don't have malware or other problems with them. once people start to see just how costly this has proven to be in arizona, there's a possibility that other places will not be interested in going down this road. >> we will pay attention. the future of our democracy is at stake. thank you for joining me. stay safe. next, an attack on women's rights in texas, where the governor banned abortion. the ceo of planned parenthood is
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now we're about to make it law. [ applause ] [ cheering ] >> texas governor greg abbott in a room filled mostly with men signed one of the country's strictest abortion restrictions into law yesterday. it bans abortion even in cases of rape and incest. before most women know they are pregnant. texas is the 12th state to pass a law banning abortions as early as six weeks. courts have stopped those other laws from going into affect. it's all part of a broader
attempt by the republican state legislatures to limit women's reproductive rights. over 500 abortion restrictions have been introduced in 44 states just this year alone. access to abortions are threatened on the federal level, too. the supreme court's recent decision to hear a challenge to mississippi's abortion ban poses a direct threat to rroe v. wade. abortion would be banned in ten states which have passed a trigger law to automatically ban abortion the minute roe doesn't exist. the president and ceo of planned parenthood joins me now. thank you for being here. >> i really appreciate. before we jump in, i want to rewind member that abortion is still legal in all 50 states right now.
despite the damnest to try to create all of these horrible, diabolical restrictions, it's possible and legal to get abortion in texas. are intended horribleness. >> one example that sticks out in terms of something bad -- it was highlighted by "the texas tribute." instead of having the government enforce the law, it turned it -- it turns it over to citizens who are able to sue anyone who helps someone get an abortion. how bad is this law?
that feels like an overreach. anyone can sue even the person who gave you a couple hundred dollars to get an abortion. >> it's not anyone in texas. it's anyone from any state is able to sue you for creating access to abortion. what they are saying here is that they want to make these laws, but they don't want to be responsibility. they don't want to be held accountable for enforcing them. again, clearly designed to shame, intimidate providers, people driving their partners to a clinic to access abortion. all of these things, they are putting into question so people are literally afraid to access abortion. we had -- i talked to one of my colleagues today in california who had a patient from texas who ubered from texas to california to get access to abortion, because they literally did not know what to do. i think that is the intent of
these laws, to create these unbelievable extra burdens on patients who are seeking access in an effort to essentially control our bodies. >> you mentioned at the top that abortion is legal in all 50 states. access, it depends where you live in the country. in terms of how things are right now, the state of things right now, in mississippi, there's one clinic left. it's not like access it abortion is easy. is it getting worse? or is it sort of the way it has been since 2010 with this concerted effort to restrict abortion access? >> i think the restrictions are certainly getting more intense, as you mentioned. there are upwards of 530 restrictions we have seen since the beginning of this year. with the supreme court taking this case in mississippi that the center for reproductive
rights have brought, which is the last abortion provider in mississippi, we are seeing now a full challenge to roe. it goes to the heart of roe. the period in which we have been able to make decisions about our own bodies. the court is stepping in to rule whether that is constitutional. i think what our reproductive justice partners have said roe is the floor. it's a right that only depends if you have access. what we are seeing is now additional restriction taz are -- restrictions layered upon this right. if something happens with this particular case in mississippi next year, it will mean that many will have access and yet to right. that's the fight that we are fighting and gearing up for. >> one of the things we don't talk about enough is the role of state attorneys general in
challenging unconstitutional abortion laws or any laws passed by legislatures. in oklahoma, we have the attorney general mike hunter acting in the interests of personal politics, urging the supreme court to take up the mississippi abortion ban. there are alternative ways attorneys general can approach this issue. should we talk more about that and getting advocates and supports of roe to focus in on the importance of that role of attorney general in many of the states? >> yeah. look, i think attorneys general play an important role. i'm really proud of the democratic attorneys general association who decided that they would not endorse any attorney general that was not in support of access to abortion under roe. i think that they have choices. as we all do in terms of supporting proactive relation.
i was in new jersey today with governor murphy. their state legislator leadership talking about how important it is to pass the reproductive freedom act. we know that in many states, we will have to, given what's happening right now, really push the boundaries to make sure we are expanding as much access as we can knowing there are states set to have these trigger laws click with roe being overturned potentially. there's a lot of work that has to happen. this is going to be a state by state fight to make sure that we are focusing on constitutional amendments, making sure that we are working as much as we can with our congressional partners as well to identify where there can be federal protections. i think that our attorneys general are going to play an important role as the chief enforcers in each state to make
sure that we are continuing to protect people who, again, are going to be traveling and needing to access abortion. that's what we know is not going to happen. people will not stop seeking access. we saw when they were trying to add restrictions, the executive orders during covid. people drove 18 hours from texas to colorado to get access. they had to take off work. they to put their kids in the car, parents in the car to travel through a pandemic. that's what the reality is going to be. the more we talk about what that retail is, how it impacts low income people, people of color, trans, non-binary folk. that's what the fight is. >> last question in the last minute here. we talk a lot about the laws that are passed and the impact on people around the country. you spoke to this a little bit.
pre-emptively, what can be don't knowinglaws are coming down the pike? what can be done in the offensive position additionally to those things you mentioned to protect women's access? >> i mean, i think that this is exactly where we need people to focus on what's happening in their state legislatures now. when they reconvene in the coming quarters, that they can actually focus on whether or not their state has a constitutional amendment and the work they can do to protect and codify roe in their state constitution. that's a protection on a state level. we also know that we need to continue to educate people and have them understand what is at stake if something happens to roe and it's overturned. we know in a number of states because of the trigger laws,
there will be 25 million women without access to an abortion provider. the impact and the extreme burden on those people seeking to access abortion is going to be incredibly intense. we have to think about how we support them, how we make sure that we are creating a right structure for them to gain access, just as we have seen over the last year in particular. certainly, these laws -- usa -- as you mentioned, since 2010, coming with restrictions. we are trying to make sure that we are engaging in everything we can. >> again, as you said, abortions don't end just because they are made illegal. rich women who can afford abortions can get safe abortions. it's everyone else that suffers as a result of these
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now that donald trump no longer has the protection of the white house, we're starting to see decades of bad behavior catching up with him. the legal website just security has put together a detailed list of all the legal peril donald trump still faces. those include at least ten civil lawsuits with accusations ranging from defamation to fraud to incitement and at least three separate lines of criminal inquiry. and there are the duel investigations into trump's
taxes and the trump organization that the manhattan district attorney and the new york state attorney general are conducting. and that does not even include the mounting legal trouble for trump's former lawyer, rudy giuliani. and now we are learning that the trump organization's chief financial officer is also -- guess what -- under criminal investigation, and his name is allen weisselberg. he was first hired as an accountant by trump's father, fred, more than 40 years ago. he has been the chief financial officer of the trump organization for nearly 20 years. when donald trump was elected president, his lawyer actually said, quote, trump had relinquished leadership and management of the organization to his sons, don and eric, and longtime trump executive allen weisselberg. so alan weiselberg is a very integral part of donald trump's business.
and two days after the new york state attorney general letitia james announced there was a criminal investigation into the trump organization, nbc news confirmed that her office is also conducting a criminal investigation into allen weisselberg's personal taxes. "the new york times" reporting that investigators have examined whether taxes were paid on fringe benefits that mr. trump gave him, including cars and tens of thousands of dollars in private school tuition for at least one of mr. weisselberg's grandchildren. this development is bad for allen weisselberg, but it might be even worse for donald trump. as "the times" reports, two assistant attorneys general from ms. james' office have joined the district attorney's team, which has been seeking to turn mr. weisselberg into a cooperating witness against mr. trump and the trump organization. harry litman is both a former u.s. attorney and former u.s.
deputy assistant attorney general. he is now the host and creator of "talking feds," a podcast, and he joins me now by telephone. so, harry, break this down for us. allen weisselberg, that's the money man. what can he do in terms of making things very difficult for donald trump personally but also the trump organization, which is also now under criminal investigation? >> right. he's the money man, but you could also think of him as the accountant. in other words, all the funny business, and by all accounts, trump did this again and again and again, paid off people with sort of gratuities that were misreported. all of that goes through him. he would have signed paper after paper. so this is maximum pressure on a 73-year-old man who isn't primary liable to donald trump, but as you mentioned, to fred.
and the big point here is all roads to the highest level of the trump organization, trump himself but also the children -- all of them lead through weisselberg. from there, they fan out, and you could go in different directions. but you need to secure his cooperation in order to dispense with any defense, oh, we had no idea. it was just the accountant. he's the guy, more or less the only guy, to say as michael cohen said before, trump knew exactly what was going on. this was the way we did things here. and they are really putting the lean on him in a maximum way to get him to do just that. >> we're almost out of time, but is there any irony to the fact that as you said, this is the accountant? so you would imagine -- i mean, i know big companies have, you know, accounting firms. but if the company accountant is
being investigated for tax fraud, is that a bad sign for the organization? >> terrible. the organization is in huge trouble anyway, but the question is the personal liability. it is ironic because trump is a guy who has always wanted to keep his crimes, if you will, close to home, to a small confederate that he can trust. so he's now done that, but he's put all the power to bring down the kingdom, having given weisselberg the keys to the kingdom, to this pretty fragile person, who is, it doesn't seem to me, likely to pull a kind of manafort and resist and go to jail for donald trump. >> so last 30 seconds here. how do you see this playing out? do you think that, you know, with all of this pressure from a variety of prosecutors on allen weisselberg, that he will flip
given his long history with the family and business? >> yeah. always precarious to predict, but, man, i think this is more than he can probably handle. and he is the linchpin here. i think if she doesn't get him or the combined investigation with her and the d.a. does not get him, then her particular financial crimes are not going to pan out. if she does, they probably will, at least up to a level above, not necessarily yet the former president. >> we'll have to leave it there. harry litman, thank you so much for being here. that is "all in" for this evening. the rachel maddow show starts now. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, zerlina. thank you so much. great to have you here. and thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. we've got so much to get to this hour. we're going to jump right in. this last 11 days of fighting in israel and gaza, of course, has been absolutely horrifying, a