tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC June 16, 2021 12:00am-1:00am PDT
>> tonight on all in, the trump plot to steal the election was worse than we even knew >> one doj official called the conspiracy theories pushed by the white house, quote, pure insanity. >> tonight, the stunning email from the white house pressing the department of justice to help steal the election. then, manhattan d.a turns up the pressure on donald trump's money man, the new york times reporting on the final stages of the weisselberg
investigation. plus, incredible new reporting on the moral panic machine scaring school boards across america, and nicole hannah jones on the history behind it all and while you may see a summer sequel to the airport run of senator ted cruz but all in starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. i know my own name. i have said it before and i'm sure i will say it again, it was not for lack of trying that donald trump did not steal the election. the reason that the will of the american people was respected that we had a transition of power, albeit not a peaceful one, was because of a combination of a few islands of integrity. officials and judges and folks like that, some dumb luck and the incompetence of the faction attempting to sabotage american democracy. we have more evidence of this today. but it's just the latest example. it has been clear since last november, donald trump would bully, badger, intimidate anyone he could in an attempt to install himself in
essentially an auto coup. we heard his phone call to georgia secretary of state brad raffensberger when he said, i just want to find 11,780 votes which is one more than we have because we won the state. we later found out that was trump's second call to a georgia elections official. he also phoned the chief investigator of the secretary of state's office telling her something bad happened. when the right answer comes out, you'll be praised. he called republican members of the wayne county michigan board of canvassers, remember that? after they initially refused to certify the election results in the county with the largest population of black residents in the state. he then summoned the republican leaders of michigan state legislature to the white house but not convince them to change the outcome of the election in their state. and as the former president was doing all this to try to overturn the election, it was fair to assume he was also probably trying to use one of the most powerful tools at his disposal, the department of justice. there are a few well sort of
obvious but i'd say circumstantial clues at the time, right? first, remember that attorney general william barr left abruptly. announced on december 14th, effective december 23rd, which seemed really strange and suspicious because who leaves with one month left on the job? and it of course prompted the question, what was trump getting up to with barr's replacement acting attorney general jeffrey rosen? in fact, democratic congressman jerry connelly of virginia asked rosen that very question recently at an oversight committee hearing. >> prior to january 6 were you asked or instructed by president trump to take any action at the department to advance election fraud claims or to seek to overturn any part of the 2020 election results? >> well congressman as just alluded to in your prior question, i can tell you what the actions of the department -- >> no sir -- >> i cannot tell you-- >> mr. -- >> consistent with my obligations today about private
conversations with the president one way or the other. >> oh consistent obligations one way or the other. now at the time, this seemed like a tell. i mean obviously if the answer to that question is no, you just say no. well, now we have a new trove of documents unearthed by the house oversight committee that prove the president did, of course, repeatedly attempt to pressure the department of justice to overturn the election results. this is an email sent from trump's assistant to incoming acting attorney general rosen an hour before he announced bill borrow be stepping down, in case you're wondering what the point of all this was, with the subject line from potus. it contains talking points and a forensics report about entirely fictitious election fraud in michigan claiming, quote, this is the evidence that dominion voting machines can and are being manipulated and michigan cannot certify for biden. there are also emails from trump's chief of staff, mark meadows, who, by the way, was instrumental in this attempted
coup and should be a pariah everywhere he goes and should be seen as essentially a traitor to the country's democratic principles. that man should be remembered henceforth pushing utterly deranged infowars level conspiracy theories. meadows sent rosen this email on january 1st containing a link to a youtube video about, wait for it, a theory that claimed italians were using satellites to change the election results. rosen forwarded that to his deputy who replied, quote, and i would say accurately, pure insanity. rosen wrote back quote yes after this message i was asked to have fbi meet with brad johnson, that would be a man pushing this conspiracy, i responded that johnson could call or walk into fbi's washington field office with any evidence he purports to have. on a follow-up call i learned that johnson is working with rudy giuliani who regarded my comments as an insult, asked if i would reconsider i flatly
refused, said i would not be giving any special treatment to giuliani or any of his quote unquote witnesses and reaffirm yet again i will not talk to giuliani about any of this. so when you read these emails and there's a bunch of them okay, they bring i would say additional clarity but what was already pretty clear i mean we watched it happen right? donald trump and his allies, people like mark meadows, for example, again mark meadows, right? tried to overturn the election they did everything in their power and they failed because of how clumsy and vulgar and plotting the entire thing was. i mean obviously the department of justice cannot get behind a video that says italians are using satellite technology to change votes. it's too embarrassing it's too bonkers okay?
if you're going to overturn an election you need a more professionalized version, a laundered version of a plausible legal story to tell. and keep in mind there were people working hard at that. like republican senators josh hawley of missouri and ted cruz of texas, right? who led the charge of objections the electoral college results on january 6th. voted against them after the mob and stormed the capital and of course texas attorney general ken paxton, who filed a case in the supreme court to block certification of the electoral results in other states. not because the italians were switching votes via satellite right? this became a republican tax across the board, taking the cringe-inducing insanity of president trump's conspiracy mongering and then trying to turn it to some kind of plausible constitutional theory they could use. oh, the states changed their voting laws too late and the constitution says that the state supreme court can't do that, that's why we're objecting not the satellite
theory. again though, the aim was the same all oars were rowing in the same direction right? across the spectrum, overturn a democratic election and spell the end of the american experiment as we know it. that i mean that's it. put the loser in power over the winner in contravention of the popular will. that's a coup! they were trying to drive a stake through the heart of this country. they just missed barely. they're going to try again. all of these people are still out there. they're still dressing up attempts to subvert democracy and legal arguments using their supreme court clerkships, using plainly pre-textual legislation to make it harder to vote in several states, attempting to take power away from key election officials who might stand in their way the next time they want to do this. it's the very essence of american democracy they're trying to destroy. i know that sounds so dramatic but it's true. that's the story, they were crying then in public and private using all the means of their disposal.
they failed, luckily. they are trying now, they will try again. democratic congresswoman jackie speier of california is a member of the house oversight committee which released those documents today. also member of the house intelligence committee and she joins me now. congresswoman, it's great to have you as someone on that committee who unearthed these documents what was your sort of take away from them? >> i was stunned when it became known that, parlor, a conservative social media website contacted the fbi with emails 50 times and those 50 emails never reached the director. one of those emails talks about congress has to hear glass breaking and doors being kicked in and blood being shed. this is the time to get violent, we are at war.
now, if parlor, that is this conservative website, thinks these are alarming and sends them to the fbi and it doesn't get elevated then we've got a serious problem within the fbi in terms of assessing intelligence. the capital is a target. we need to recognize that. it was shown to be a target on january 6. we need to make sure that it can't be done again. >> just just to recent parlor which is a sort of social media platform that is sort of bills itself as a kind of conservative antidote to big tech and a place where a lot of the january 6 sort of insurrection participants and plotters took place. that you're you're talking about documents that your committee got a handout hold up today in your in your questioning of christopher wray the head of the fbi that that showed that they were freaked out they were flagging things and they were sending them to wray. >> except they never got to wray. >> right, of course. >> the question becomes what happened to those agents who
didn't recognize that this was serious and that it should be elevated? and i think we need to find out more. >> i want to talk about the jeffrey rosen emails that that were released the house oversight committee, the house oversight committee got its hands on. you know, what does it mean that the acting attorney general united states is being pressured by the president to investigate utterly both fictitious and and sort of frankly insane conspiracy theories in pursuit of using the department's power to do things like stopping states from certifying electors? >> so it's very consistent with who donald trump is. we saw it with the ukrainian president where he was going to withheld money that we had already authorized to be sent to the ukraine because he wanted them to do an investigation of hunter biden. i mean he--
it's always a quid pro quo with him. and in this case he was threatening i think jeffrey rosen in terms of whether or not he'd keep his job for one month and was asking for yet another absurd review of the election and from my standpoint, if it's more absurd, becomes more relevant to the trump white house. >> final question for you is about the the next path for the january 6 commission. there was i guess some thought that maybe the senate would have another vote? they're not going to. today the speaker talked about what the possible ways forward, either a special committee or or giving some committee jurisdiction the task of an inquiry. do you have a preference between those two? >> i think it should be a select committee and i think that we have to be clear-eyed about what our colleagues are interested in, which is nothing. they don't want to remember january 6. the video we saw today was bone chilling.
to see that kind of violence going on in the capital something they want to erase. but meanwhile, benghazi there was more than two years of hearings. there were 33 hearings, they spent 7 million. but somehow, an attack here at home where we know by director ray's own admission domestic violence, violent domestic violence, is a critical problem right now in this country and we have to address it. >> congresswoman jackie speier, thank you so much. >> thank you chris. >> we'll bring in stuart stevens, former chief strategist for mitt romney's 2012 campaign, author of it was all lie, how the republican party became donald trump. and ryan goodman, former special counsel department of defense now co-editor-in-chief of just security and professor at new york university law of school. law school. stuart let me start with you. so part of the thesis embedded what with the monologue at the top of the show was basically that trump was too vulgar and too kind of embarrassing in the way that he went about this plot to be effective but that was really what it was like rosen and his deputies saying
this is nuts. but it wasn't that like there weren't necessarily willing accomplices there they just didn't quite have the language to pull it off. >> yeah i mean i think the biggest mistake we would make is to think this is about donald trump. >> right. >> it's not, it's about the republican party. and look at what there's tons of proof for that what did they do right after the election? they went out and they passed these laws that give more power in most cases to the state legislatures which are controlled by republicans. so when you don't have consequences and there were no consequences because senate voted not to convict donald trump, this is just a practice. and you know we talk a lot about 9/11 as a failure of imagination. and i've struggled with this as someone who worked in the republican party for decades really imagining what it has become. but it is a failure of
imagination to think that republican party has not become a powerful autocratic force in this country that is, as you said, up front in opposition to the american experiment. >> ryan it's also you know at some level again a lot of ukraine situation right? like they didn't quite get it done the asks were kind of too -- again they were almost too kind of you know gangster-y right? like here's a guy with a viral video saying the italians are using satellites. like that that's not gonna -- that doesn't work right so this that's that's a tough one to sort of get biden for, but it also confirms that like what was happening at doj was exactly what it looked like was happening at doj at the time. >> that's right. so you know we could speculate like did people inside doj actually think there was any legitimacy to these concerns, and no they're they're actually just saying this is, as you said, one of them says pure insanity the acting deputy attorney general and then attorney general says him back to him about another claim that comes to mark meadows, i'm just not going to respond. because they're just so groundless so baseless there's
nothing there so it definitely does demonstrate that this was absolutely nothing behind the claims. and it also has i think you very well zone in on, it's not just donald trump. look at the enablers around him. mark meadows who it looks like might testify before congress is just a henchman. i mean, he's he is himself acting for the president on these baseless allegations and five times reaching out into the department of justice to pressure them to try to overturn the election. and there should be any communications between the white house chief of staff and department of justice. >> yeah that's this this is your point steward about lack of of accountability you know i'm a big believer you know probably because i was raised catholic i really believe in guilt. it's a very productive emotion for moral formation. there's just obviously there's no guilt here and there's no shame but there's also no social sanction. like mark meadows like that's haldeman mitchell level stuff right?
this is like, this means like you're you're doing this means that like you are sort of declaring yourself in opposition to again the basic democratic experiment that is america. and he's just going to walk around and bop around like just a normal guy and get backslapped at republican functions. >> yeah the republican party is what the republican party wants to be and we should understand that. >> right. >> the party with object and we look at the republican party and in many ways we're horrified. we should understand they like this. this is what they want. and it's it's not a coincidence that someone like mark meadows could be accepted. how did mark meadows he came out of congress for christ's sake. so it is really important to realize what they want and it is anything that we say at the beginning of this, and this is just the beginning, is going to seem alarmist, like you were saying up front. but i can promise you at the end it's going to seem inadequate. and that's the reality that we
have to come to grips with, and the battle that we're in. >> and ryan you you made the point about meadows possibly testifying jerry nadler's launched an investigation the house judiciary committee again it always feels a little like swimming upstream right? like there's lots of things democrats want to pass they have a limited amount of time probably with unified government. so i like, but all this stuff feels very important because unless we reinforce these structures someone's going to take another run at it. >> i completely agree and i also agree with the way we should describe accountability. that accountability must be, only legal accountability and accountability from congress but also socially. the fact that he is well accepted in certain companies on the republican side of the equation is devastating. this this is as you said somebody who should be treated like a pariah. and you know this is just part of the avalanche of the information that's now coming out because we have a new administration that fortunately
provided this information to congress, which shouldn't be overlooked. i think maybe they did that. it's so outrageous it was just a request by congress and they turned over the information. so i think congress is forced to have to kind of grapple with it. >> yeah it's a very good point for all this sort of flack that merrick garland has gotten and i think a lot of it fair that this was a place where the doj could have fought that and they didn't that's why that's why those documents are in the hands of congress. stewart stevens and ryan goodman, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> all right so breaking news tonight, new reporting the investigation into trump's money man, allen weisselberg, is wrapping up and there could be charges in a matter of months. oh and they have his taxes. what that means for his boss, donald trump, next. why not both? visibly diminish wrinkled skin in... crepe corrector lotion... only from gold bond. did you know prilosec otc can stop frequent heartburn before it begins? heartburn happens when stomach acid refluxes into the esophagus.
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the investigation into donald trump and his company in the manhattan district attorney's office. prosecutors there now appear to have the tax returns of trump's main money man and could be close to charging him. new york times reported, the manhattan district attorney's office appears to have entered the final stages of a criminal tax investigation into donald j trump's long-serving chief financial officer, allen weisselberg, setting up the possibility he could face charges this summer according to people with knowledge of the matter. the prof prosecutors have obtained mr weisselberg's personal tax returns, people said, providing the fullest picture yet of his finances. rebecca royfee is a former
assistant district attorney in manhattan in that same office who worked in the very office that is investigating weisselberg and the trump organization. now a law professor at new york law school and she joins me now. rebecca, first just your sort of top line take away from the times reporting today. >> i think this is a really huge story. you know, there are two possibilities here. one is that, you know, and i think this is probably a pretty off chance and that's that weisselberg is a rogue actor and he's embezzling from the company. and if that's the case then again i think that's probably not the case, but if that's the case then you know he's not loyal to the company. he's not loyal to trump and he would flip in a second. now far more likely that than this is that, look, this is the chief financial officer of this company. and so you know you said in the last segment you were brought up catholic i was brought up jewish. this is like the chief rabbi being caught eating pork. what does that say about the congregation as a whole? like clearly this is something that much more likely is runs
throughout -- this is the way the company does business and if this is the way the company does business then the manhattan district attorney's office is not planning to stop at the cfo. they're planning to look at the organization as a whole and likely to trump himself who runs this organization. so you know, i think this is huge news and you know really worrisome news if you're former president trump. >> that's so there's a great point right the cfo i mean you know people can can screw up their taxes. people can find themselves in hot water over taxes right. but we're talking about the guy who's the actual the bookkeeper, right? the person who should be the person most sort of read in and most scrupulous about this. it's not like oh i didn't know any better. >> exactly i mean that's the whole point this is supposed to be the gatekeeper. this is supposed to be the person who's making sure that things are running properly. if this person is doing this, if he's receiving these payments, there are two possibilities. he's a rogue actor, i really doubt that. much more likely this is just the way the company does business in which case it's not
just him it has to be lots of people. in which case this is the organization itself and probably goes all the way up to the top. >> so this is a jurisdictional question but but i think of tax cases often being brought through the federal government, right? through the the department of justice and the fbi and there's a criminal tax division there. i guess the manhattan da's office has tax case. i mean, there's there's intimations in the piece saying this is revolves around taxes. like is that a thing that's normal, is that rare? where is that? >> yes i mean of course you know new york state prosecutors go after people for evading taxes. it's not you know a usual thing. i mean as the experts in that new york times article suggested, you know these kind of fringe benefits these perks they're not normally brought as criminal tax cases. but that's kind of missing the point here as i was saying before. it's not about this as an isolated case. obviously that's not what they're looking into. they're looking into a far broader you know pattern and
practice of the way the company is doing business and if this is the way the company is doing business this is a big deal. and the manhattan da's office has the jurisdiction to bring it just as the federal government would. >> so the the final part of this is just it looks i mean people who watch movies write about organized crime and you know the the the leaning on people not to cooperate or cooperate. i mean really looks like there's a ton of pressure being put on alan weisselberg however way you read it right? i'm not -- that's clear. >> i mean definitely clear and look, you know, he has the reporting at least through public reporting he has held out for a long time and not been willing to cooperate with the prosecutors here. but that also is really not all that unusual. i think, you know, in a lot of a lot of cases you'll have witnesses unwilling to flip, unwilling to cooperate until the very end. and so you know that could be where we're going here and it may be that he never does but it certainly is increasing the amount of pressure and as you say leverage on him to cooperate.
>> all right rebecca roiphe, that was great. as always, thank you so much for making time for us tonight. >> thank you. >> still ahead, incredible new reporting about the president's -- state of the contemporary unserious republican politics right now than congressman dan crenshaw and senator ted cruz. metamucil. support your daily digestive health. and try metamucil fiber thins. a great tasting and easy way to start your day. pain? yeah. here. aspercreme with max-strength* lidocaine. works fast and lasts. keep it. you're gonna need it.
unserious republican politics right now than congressman dan crenshaw and senator ted cruz. two politicians from texas who seem way more interested in producing hot takes and meme content than anything resembling policy. you may remember congressman crenshaw from the series of action movie political ads he made which culminated with him jumping out of an airplane to attack antifa and save the georgia republican senators from losing to raphael warnock and john ossoff. i don't want to spoil the ending but well, then of course there's senator ted cruz who's super focused on his podcast right now.
i mean really who isn't? pumping out a new episode every few days despite having a full-time job representing nearly 30 million people and sitting on five senate committees. ted still makes a time. last year, you may remember the state of california was experiencing power outages and urging people to ration consumption. public servants cruz and crenshaw jumped up to rub it in with a series of hot tweets baselessly blaming democratic policies and renewable energy mocking california requests that people curb their use of air conditioning by, say, putting the thermostat at 78 degrees. now when this february the texas power grid infamously failed right amidst a winter storm, days of freezing temperatures left millions of texans without power or water for days. killed as many as 700 people across the state. texas congressman dan crenshaw leapt into action to tweet about how it was all the fault of windmills which it was not. well ted cruz very famously decided to flee the state and country to cancun for a vacation with his family.
now it's summer and there's trouble with the texas power grid again as it struggles to keep up with high demand in the summer heat. there are outages across the state and texas which again has its own independent energy grid, ercot, had to issue the same exact warnings california had to make last year, including asking texans to set their thermostat 78 degrees or higher. so how will our texas heroes respond to this latest energy crisis in their own backyard? well congressman crenshaw is throwing a fourth of july party with a blink 182 cover band a drone light show and a live dj. senator cruz has posted a new video. in this one he stands right next to an american flag and boldly recites the pledge of allegiance because the closer you are to that flag the more that pledge works? i don't know. these republicans who are so eager to jump all over california for energy problems which itself was gross right, like people are suffering, are now doing these kind of
gimmicks as their people in their own state suffer. there's one thing that's abundantly clear right? it's not a texas problem or california problem. the entire nation's energy grid and infrastructure are unprepared for the era of climate crisis. that's the headline takeaway. that is why it is so concerning that the bipartisan group of senators and maybe with the ascent to the white house could remove key climate proposals from the white house's infrastructure plan. because that's the necessary stuff. we're watching it play out. america's infrastructure needs desperately a climate upgrade. because climate change is not a california problem or a texas problem, it is an everywhere problem. etes and heart risk with jardiance. jardiance is a once-daily pill that can reduce the risk of cardiovascular death for adults who also have known heart disease. so it could help save your life from a heart attack or stroke.
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critical race theory as a sort of technical term is basically a set of analytic tools that academics in some fields use starting in law for studying systematic racism in our society. the right has rendered the term meaningless through over deployment making it into a culture war rallying cry. since february month over month the mentions of the term have more than doubled. entire right-wing media machinery has become obsessed, whipping up a moral panic almost entirely among white people that their children are being taught toxic truths about america's long history of racial oppression hierarchy. now, the history of race in the u.s is obviously an extremely complicated subject. all kinds of scholarly historical debates about the proper emphasis. stuff i tend to get into myself but this is really not a debate about all that. instead we are seeing just a classic mobilization of right-wing backlash politics that's really meant to punish and intimidate teachers and educators, administrators, school board members who would deign to discuss racism and
white supremacy. our colleague brandy zadrazni co-authored an incredible piece today on msnbc.com about how one disgruntled parent in small town maine launched a relentless campaign against school administrators with the help of the national right-wing organizations and fox news. in an email, the school superintendent last month he wrote this is just the tip of the iceberg on media coming your way and national support aligned with our cause to fight crt. the next day, he appeared on fox news's tucker carlson tonight. brandi is a drawing senior reporter for nbc news, one of the authors of that article joins me now. brandy just tell us about this town and how this all got started. >> well, first of all i think we've watched over 100 hours of school board meetings so i'm gonna tell you this crazy story but this is in no way central to this place. it's in maine. there was a there was a parent who saw that the school board had sent a letter after the murder of george floyd saying basically we denounced white
supremacy and that single action led this parent on a crusade against what he coins critical race theory against wokeness, against reverse racism against all of these sort of invented ideas by conservatives that, you know teachers in schools are indoctrinating children and causing, you know, white kids to feel like they are oppressors or somehow endangering them in that way. so that that's what happened in maine and it just turned into this insane thing where now the police are involved. somebody set up a billboard in front of his lawn with school board members. and what it's really indicative of is that people, school boards, teachers, like you said, are really being targeted by conservative provocateurs, by parents who maybe are fueled with misinformation and by
people who want to really sit on the school board. and they're being targeted for this thing that again doesn't truly exist. >> right so in this case there was no change to school curriculum, it was just this letter that used the term white supremacy in the wake of the george floyd murder. there was i think that there was a there then followed all these foia applications, up to 50 i think. and that's where it takes this interesting turn which is that this one parent who was sort of launching this struggle was getting help from a national organization that is just helping do this everywhere and help file these foias to try to get at these school boards. >> yes so it's hard for me as a reporter because i don't want to put foils in a bad light right. freedom of information laws are wonderful things but it is in fact a tactic of national and just hyper and fast-growing local organizations to use onerous public records requests. so we'll see what we saw in maine is asking for all of these records requests of you know how much money did you spend on anything involving race and then that is used to sort of frame again the school board as paying for crt which again is just not the case.
and so that's what happened there. in nevada we saw again this local group called a nevada family alliance who was really known for trying to get drag queen story hour stopped at the local libraries. and now one activist there told me that this was the opportunity she had been waiting for. so she files these onerous foia requests gets them and then translates them in a way that's just not correct or accurate in a way to suggest that, again, the school board is coming from your children and teachers are specifically teaching kindergartners, white kindergartners, that they're somehow oppressors. it's just not really tru. so onerous foia requests, school board meetings being showing up in mass and yelling at school board members all of this is sort of a tactic. and it's being left up on by national organizations from the heritage foundation to alec to other groups that have popped up after the trump presidency to sort of push this american
first agenda. and it's also being you know roundly embraced by news organizations like you mentioned like fox news, breitbart other right-wing organizations who are just covering this stuff and mass when it's really a local issue. >> yeah and and that that email basically from that one parent in maine being like here it comes and then appearing on tucker carlson like that is the threat. like it's explicitly like oh now we're going to come for you this is jeff porter superintendent of schools in cumberland maine. i was very naive at the beginning of the year. i thought i was a concerned parent who had taken it a little too far. i didn't understand this until recently these were tactics from national organizations to discredit the entire district. so you've got these like local officials who have now ended up the crosshairs of big national media and organizing and it's like they're now public enemy number one. again, not even, there was no substantive curriculum change in this place. there wasn't a thing that happened that prompted this right? >> not a thing, no not at all. it was just someone with a direct line to tucker carlson
and his producers and then you can see how long it takes by after by that evening you know you could be on his cable news show sort of promoting this lie. and again, like you said really targeting and endangering the school board members. >> excellent reporting. you should check it out nbc news.com thanks for making time tonight. all right, don't go anywhere. the pulitzer prize winning journalist whose work inspired this entire national reckoning of nicole hannah jones joins me next. simply shake and spray to unlock the breakthrough power of touch-activated scent technology. that lasts, even hours later! that's because febreze touch stores scent in your fabrics so you get bursts of freshness with every touch. your whole world will come alive. welcome home to fresh with new febreze touch.
named alan bakke who had twice been denied admission the university of california davis medical school claimed he had been unfairly rejected because of the school's racial quota system. the supreme court ruled today that alan bakke must be admitted to a school which turned him down in a case of reverse discrimination. bucky was not admitted to the university of california
medical school at davis because he is white. the place he might have had was given to a minority applicant with lower test scores than he had. the court said that was wrong. but the court also said that race can be a legal factor in a school admission program. the court was deeply divided five to four and the various opinions ran to 40,000 words. >> you hear that? reverse discrimination, right? we've heard that term a ton. since then, it's basically the the concept that was used in the argument the supreme court chief justice john roberts made in 2007 in an opinion in a school desegregation case that he famously wrote, quote, the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race. okay the whole race neutral colorblind shtick, as exemplified there, as a means of defending entrenched disproportionate racial inequality is the central argument that mainstream conservatives deploy to combat targeted attempts to address and redress racist harms.
so it is not surprising to see a recently proposed republican bill in the north carolina state house announced that it aims to ensure dignity and non-discrimination in schools while putting strict limits on what schools can teach when it comes to race, including a ban on promoting, quote, the belief that the united states is a meritocracy is inherently racist or sexist or was created by members of a particular race or sex for the purpose of oppressing members of another race or sex. huh, the idea that meritocracy could be elevated to sacrosanct american civics under force of law is just insane to me. first of all, obviously the word is nowhere in the constitution or our founding documents. it was invented by a leftist british sociologist, michael young in the 1950s to describe what he conjured as a dystopian and unjust future society where all positions in society were remorselessly determined by high stakes testing. that's the origin of that term.
i literally wrote an entire book critiquing meritocracy and saying in some ways it, is kind of racist where at least it leads to indefensible radically unequal outcomes and entrenches racial hierarchy. i guess they can't teach my book in north carolina schools if the bills passed? what is also insane is the second part of that clause in the north carolina bill about not teaching kids the nation was founded by a particular race or sex. i mean have you seen the paintings of the constitutional convention? it really was quite literally all white men. we have their signatures, it's just a plain fact about it. now they want to ban it from north carolina public schools? i guess i mean i guess the terrible reading is like the four part like for the express purpose also applies to that clause but i don't know. that just gives up the game doesn't it? nicole hannah jones, a correspondent for the new york times magazine where she created the 1619 project, which was an examination of racism and slavery in this country and its centrality to the spine of
american history. for that, she was awarded the 2020 pulitzer prize for commentary and she joins me now. nicole, part of what is so nuts about this entire debate or discourse is just the the malleability of the terms. like when you look at the actual legislative text, this is like intensely regulating basically a set of like substantive conceptions about america's goodness and innocence inherently more than anything else. >> yes, so one, we should just think about that these laws are prescribing a patriotic education. well what does that mean? if you read my opening essay in the 1619 project, it's actually probably the most patriotic thing i've ever written because it says that even though black americans weren't intended to be the recipients of these majestic ideas, they actually believed in them and fought to make them true for all
americans which is the highest calling of patriotism. but then you have to ask yourself, well what is the purpose of an education? is the purpose of an education to help us to understand, to become critical thinkers, to to teach us, to you know be able to discern a wide range of ideas, or is it to indoctrinate us into ideas of nationalism and patriotism and and the belief that america is an exceptional nation that could do no wrong? so they're not really fighting for an accurate education. they're not arguing that we need to teach the truth about our history what they're arguing is that we need to teach a history doesn't ever make anyone uncomfortable. i was talking to some of my black friends about this earlier today and saying, we spent our tire k-12 education feeling uncomfortable, feeling left out of the story, feeling demeaned by the story and there was no laws against that. but now the laws are being passed to really stop us from
preventing the truth of our history. and the language chris as you pointed out is very important, the language shows us what these laws are actually about. >> i should note that essay, for which he won the pulitzer from not mistaken is your father raising the flag, very memorable. the other thing about this, this is a little bit adjacent to it, this is not the first curriculum panic that i have watched happened. when i was growing up in new york city the superintendent of schools put a book on the curriculum called heather's has two mommies and this was huge back wing backlash. but there are already curriculum process for all of this. the state legislator stepping into this, it's not like it's just some free-for-all. they already have a ton of control, they're already controlling the textbooks in
texas in louisiana. >> this isn't really about determining what is being taught in the classroom and at the classroom level. this is about white resentment. we need to be really clear, as i've said. the same states that are passing these laws are also passing laws trying to suppress the vote, black americans and other marginalized groups. so it is not really a practical thing, are you going to ask every teacher to submit their lesson plan? are you going to have buddy cameras? that's not really practical things. >> that's a good point. it is essentially a kind of, it's playing with expressive function rather than a strictly legal one. when you say you can't in north carolina, if this bill is passed, i don't think it is going to be, you can't say the meritocracy is a races i gander north carolina school. what are we talking about, how
that could ever be enforced or even adjudicated? >> do we have nicola did she freeze? i think we just froze nicole, nicole got the pulitzer prize -- are you there nicole, do we have you? >> yeah, having trouble with my internet connection right now. >> it's not an actual law to be adjudicated, it is an expressive function of people that have state power to say this is what we believe, this is our creed and this is what children should be taught to believe. >> yes. and there's a reason why this is happening in schools. schools have long been this central place of a culture war. when we look at some of the most visceral opposition to civil rights, it took place in
the schools. the sense that you can really soak a lot of hysteria when it comes to peoples children, people being word of what is happening to their children. it's all part of this right wing thought that schools are indoctrinating our children. there is a reason why they're targeting schools and there's a reason why it is so effective. i wouldn't say that there is no attempt of the north carolina lobbying past, because we're seeing these laws being passed in the republican led states across the country. but it is clear, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to enforce. but, it sets these communities in opposition with each other. but they're really trying to do is divide this crossed racial, cross class coalition that we saw coming out the george floyd protest and race has always been the biggest rebellion, the way you can divide populist movements. >> nikole hannah-jones, thank you for making time tonight, we really appreciate it.
that is all in on this tuesday night the ritual maddow show starts right now, good evening rachel. president vladimir putin it's been a white knuckle day for democracy back here at home. in a congressional hearing today on the january 6 attack on the u.s. capitol, there was no explanation. none. for why the national guard stood down for hours while the capitol was over run that day by a huge violent mob of trump supporters. the committee and the house documented 12 different requests to the pentagon that day, trying to get help from the national guard.ge 12 different requests while the attack was under way. five different times, the national guard was told that ua they neede