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tv   Alex Wagner Tonight  MSNBC  August 19, 2022 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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worthy of martin sort. and on that pretty wonderful note, i wish you all a very good night. thank you for staying up late with us. i will see you all next week. i am very lucky to be in this seat. that was pretty spectacular. see you monday. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ we have a lot of news for our friday. tonight, florida governor ron desantis goes to pennsylvania to support trump endorsed january 6th attendee and candidate doug mastriano. all back in florida, desantis is bringing his far-right agenda to the classroom. the state telling educators what they must teach and what they are not allowed to say. tonight, part two of our special report. and democrats, hopeful as republicans run scared. new polling showing the gop is trump backed candidates could cost them a chance at taking the senate. republican strategist mike
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murphy who is fed up with this party joins us live. plus, trump ally lindsey graham is told he must testify next week. andrew weizmann, former prosecutor and senior member of robert mueller's team is our guest. but tonight, we begin with this story. the man waiting in the wings. while donald trump is fending a torrent of investigations, there is one person who has been ready to take the mic, should the former president go bankrupt, be caught in jail, or fall into a classified box. that man is florida republican governor ron desantis. the first term governor has catapulted to celebrity status among republicans thanks to his abrasive style and his relentless desire to weigh into the culture wars on behalf of the far-right. with his sights clearly set on 2024 run, governor desantis is now taking his show on the road. he is headlining rallies for key gop candidates all across the usa. just last week, he visited arizona to stop on behalf of the far-right election deniers
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running for governor and senate in that state. there, he was praised as the beast from the east, and the best governor we have in this country. gubernatorial candidate kari lake was downright giddy when saying that she had been described as the desantis of the west. she called it the greatest compliment one could imagine. short of being called a trump in address. different strokes for different folks, i guess. well, today, governor desantis held back to back rallies in pennsylvania and ohio to whip up support for candidates in the states. and to say that the mastriano camp in particular was effusive in his race to desantis, that would be a total understatement. the pennsylvania rally today included a highly stylized video, i think desantis as a man who has terrified the left and the leftist's, and the media. mastriano himself praised defense scientists as the best governor in the country,
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building upon his insistence that he once pennsylvania to be the florida of the north. given that republican candidates want to use florida as a model for state government, it's worth taking a look at what has been happening in the sunshine state just this week alone. yesterday, the governor announced that the states controversial new elections police force had made its first arrests. some 20 people out of 14 million voters statewide. even before this week, experts had voiced concerns that this new elections police unit could have a devastating effect on vulnerable groups of voters, particularly formerly incarcerated people who have had their voting rights restored. already, those fears seem to be warranted. while desantis has portrayed those who are just arrested as criminals hell-bent on committing voter fraud, free
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the people named said in sworn affidavits that they truly, honestly believe that they had the right to vote, having already served time for previous crimes. those folks say they were even issued voter i. d. cards and had been told by state officials that they were indeed cleared to cast their ballots. so that is one headline out of desantis's florida this week. here is another, just yesterday, a florida judge blocked the governor's so-called stop woke act as apply to private companies. that law, which has become a rallying cry for the desantis administration, restrict certain destruct conversations about race that could make anyone feel uncomfortable. and those restrictions extend to both public schools and private companies. many of whom in the year 2022 offered diversity and inclusion programs to their employees where, gasp, racism may come out. the law has already made an impact in florida.
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at least one organization removed statements condemning racism from its website. with many workers believing that was a response to the new stock will claw. yesterday's ruling, blocking at least for now pox of stock woke was quite consequential. but the law still applies to public schools and colleges, and universities, all across florida. so we went down there to see what students, teachers, and school board members had to say about the stop woke act. >> i think it's really frightening how we have such limited outs as to all this information, important parts of history, and now we are restricting it even more. it's very scary that there is gonna be even more ignorance. >> it's pretty pitiful to think that now, kids that are going into school, younger kids, younger generations that are being made into the future are gonna have no idea what is going on because we cannot pick and choose the past. we cannot pick and choose what to teach in history classes. >> i think the governor thinks you can pick and choose what you teach. >> i guess i wonder, are students going to accept that? it seems like you think some of them are. >> i guess, if that's what we are taught from a young age, that is what we will accept,
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and start to repeat back to other kids. >> the actual name of the stop woke act as the individual freedom act, and it has been confusing and controversial since its inception. from the moment governor desantis put pen to paper and signed it, a lawsuit hit the docket in a federal court in tallahassee. the lead plaintiff in that suit, which is ongoing, is a florida high school teacher named don false who works in manatee county, near tampa. mr. falls is the kind of teacher you might have remembered from high school. he's been in the classroom for 38 years and has lived in the community for even longer. he's the kind of teacher who keeps up with his students and calls them, and talks to them. so much so that when one of them is now an attorney, called him to talk about stop woke and its implications outside the classroom, mr. falls not only gave the former students some guidance, but offered to join his lawsuit as a plaintiff. on the first day of the new school year, mr. fall sat down with me to talk about why he felt the need to join that lawsuit.
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and fight back against ron desantis and his agenda. key >> is this the first time you feel like the government has been in the classroom with you? >> i think from a political standpoint, this is the worst i've seen. in all of my years. this is kind of the biggest attack i have seen upon the freedom of the classroom, as i call it. >> there was no attempt to disguise the political currency that desantis was trying to get from the passage of this. when it was signed into law, it had a fanfare of a campaign rally. >> absolutely. and you see that as a teacher, and you, think well what does this do as far as my classroom, my curriculum? one of the aspects of it, for example, is we, as teachers, can do anything that makes a student feel bad about
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themselves. okay? how do i do that? how do i know when you are looking at, let's say, 30 students, and i was talking about, for example, the civil rights movement. and i show them a video, for example, of the -- what happened at the end of the bed is bridge, i hope there is a reaction. as a teacher. i hope those kids are taken back by that. and, now, under what i am hearing from the governor and hp seven is, that maybe dangerous ground for us. >> to what degree are you thinking about this law? how much is it with you when you are in the classroom right now? >> i'm in a wait and see mode to see where we go with this. to see if there are going to be teachers who will be called on the carpet. because some students will come home and say something to a parent who will then say something to a school board member, who would then sell -- so forth, they threw this law out there. and i don't think that there's any guidance. my principal and i have had
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some conversations about this, and she's a former social studies teacher herself. and we are both on the same boat, let's see what happens here. >> well, some things are happening not related to stop woke, that have -- that connect to that agenda. there is the civics training that have been happening in the summer. that is very real, those are slides the teachers are told to process, teach from, effectively. which are a real overhaul of what we think of as traditional civics. >> it's an agenda for the long haul. not all that different from the pro-life community and roe v. wade. when roe -- >> we know how that turned out! >> exactly. and the pro-life community realized when roe was passed in 73 that they were not going to get it overturned then. so they played the long game which was, how do eventually win? you get the right people in power, the right people into the courts. so that some, where you are not going to win then, but, two generations, three generations down the road, then you win the
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game. i think it's a similar kind of thing here. it's not about august of 2022, it's about the next generation of kids, or the generation after that. because once you start molding the curriculum to an ideology that you want, and then you are going to train generations of kids that this is the way the world looks. >> don falls is not the only person i spoke to who sees what's happening in florida as part of a long game. a diligent, coordinated effort using individuals at the local level to shape politics at the state and national level. which is, to be honest, why a lot of governors are doing the same thing. governor glenn youngkin in virginia, bill ye in tennessee. desantis also knows that in order to control the schools themselves, you need to control the school boards. in florida, the school boards are supposed to be nonpartisan. but this year, governor desantis decided to put his republican thumb on the scale by endorsing dozens of school board candidates across the state ahead of the school board elections that take place next
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tuesday on august 23rd. the governor is so connected to these races that he has even reportedly paid for campaign materials for at least some of these candidates. and desantis is doing all of this because he knows school board members are the frontline at his fight to take over classrooms and change the culture of education. and that effort has not been lost on the school board members themselves. in fact, a lot of them find it terrifying. when i was crisscrossing florida, i sat down with jennifer jenkins who was a member of the school board in buffered county, on florida's east coast. if her name sounds familiar, it maybe because because during the height of the covid pandemic last, year she says that she was the target of a campaign of harassment from parents who were against mask and vaccine mandates in schools. but it didn't end there, and it doesn't end there. take a listen. >> tell me, if you could recount the experience you've had facing the animated crowd of people who are proponents of this anti crd stuff. you understand in a visceral
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way the passion that is ignited when you talk about this stuff. >> you know, i've had people on my front lawn protesting, i've had people sent me death threats, i've had people try to recall me. and none of that has anything to do with crt, none of that has anything to do with lgbtq, they just use those as tools to target and attack me. and truthfully, the reason i feel like i even had to deal with any of that animosity is because i'm a loud, proud dominant democrat on the school board. >> i guess so, what you are saying is, this is basically for a political movement that is much more about republican power than actually summed deep-seated emotional belief about correcting wrongs in schools. and i wonder, on the other side of the coin, do you feel like you are equipped with the tools to counter what has been a pretty successful multipronged
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effort to change this whole system of education in the florida public school system. >> i hate to be a pessimist, but the reality, as we need the voters to get out and vote. if we have these people running office, there's not a whole lot we can do because they put this into law. >> do you hear from teachers who are grappling with the changes that are going to be in place with the classroom this fall? >> all the time. people asking for answers to how do we implement these laws, or these policies? how is this going to affect my classroom and my instruction? one of the things that is very frightening about these laws that are passed is, the state passed them with no instruction. >> what do you think -- people who are concerned about the direction things are headed in -- what should they be focused on in the months and years ahead? >> i'm so scared of for the future of public education here in florida.
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and i'm scared in might create this movement across the nation. this is a concerted effort to de-fragment public education, to make it unstable, in order to privatized education. so you have over 9500 in such role vacancies in the state of florida and we are starting school tomorrow. the fact that we are making them feel like they can literally be brought to court for teaching actual facts about history, or about real families that are in their classroom, at the same exact time, we have a governor that is taking over what power the school boards have, putting in place essentially school board candidates that he chooses to be on the school board. it's scary. i think about the kids that are going to start kindergarden this year. and they are going to be impacted by his decisions and policies, even if desantis loses the election in november, for years. because it's not just going to magically be reversed. what are these kids going to look like when they go to middle school, and high school, and go off to college? it's so much more big picture than just a history lesson. and don't get me wrong, men, that is a concern for me. absolutely. oh god, it's so much bigger than that.
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that. >> joining us now is catherine joyce, investigative reporter at long who's been reporting extensively on the effort to shape schools and florida and across the country with conservative christian principles. the donor networks used to make it happen, the right-wing resources behind it, and the key players in the network to overhaul public education in america. you can read about it in her three part series -- the headlines like salon investigates the war on public schools has been fought from hillsdale college. coming to a school near you, stealth religion and a trump version of american history. and, the far-right's national plan for schools. plante tried to, defund public education. it is an intricately woven web of power and resources started at public schools. and catherine joyce has done the investigative work delay at that. catherine, thank you for the work and for being here tonight. >> thank you so much for having me. >> i'll say, your reporting was like, very much a reference to home as we went down to florida and tried to understand how this is happened.
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right? just for people who don't really understand, and i mean i was among them into literally last week, what is the political influence that is behind desantis's agenda as far as schools in florida? >> sure. i mean, i think that education has become the political battlefield for republicans right now, but a big player in that is hillsdale college. and the networks around that. hillsdale college is this small, conservative christian school in michigan that has become just a really influential part of conservative politics. conservative politicians really love to go and speak there. they get a lot of attention there. activists go there. the president of the school is close with governors in tennessee, in florida. ron desantis, -- christine noem in south dakota. he has had, you know, the
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school has had people like justice clarence thomas come and speak in their campus, and ginni thomas, justice thomas's wife actually helped hillsdale create a washington, d.c. campus. so this is a school that, despite being small, and outside of the washington corridor, is really punching way above its weight class in terms of the influence that it's having within the republican party and the conservative -- in general. >> i think we have a handy graphic to explain some of the connections. hillsdale is in michigan, but its president is a guy named larry march -- >> larry arnn. >> larry arnn was -- on the shortlist for trump's education secretary. is that right? >> indeed, yeah. >> betsy devos got that position, but betsy devos's brother went to hillsdale. >> yeah. he went to hillsdale. he's a graduate of the school. the devos family foundations have been connected to it for a long time. you know, pretty much many of
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the think tanks or conservative media figures that you can think of, many of them have connections to the school. >> how is hillsdale -- talk more about the connection between hillsdale and ron desantis specifically. we know that larry arnn is a big fan of ron desantis. but hillsdale is actually in some of the florida laws regarding education. what happens there? >> absolutely. several years ago, florida decided to completely overhaul its civic standards, which is basically kind of the overarching framework that -- civics curricula would be based on in the states. they want to make it more, quote unquote, patriotic. >> we reported on that on wednesday. >> that was wonderful. and so, hillsdale college is one off the organizations that florida tapped to advise on this project. more recently, and i believe i saw this in your coverage on wednesday, hillsdale was also involved in the teacher training.
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the training of teachers to implement this new civic standard that a lot of them, you know, reportedly, the miami herald had amazing reporting on this, felt that this was, you know, promoting christian nationalism, that this was minimizing slavery and the history of racism in the u. s.. >> so hillsdale also has some affiliated networks around the country. it looks like when you hear about all this, this overhaul of the public school curricula, the lessons, the way teachers can teach, there's also a secondary push towards charter schools. is that fair? is that the endgame? in all of this. i mean, we talk about the sort of the way in which desantis has made public education a public concept. it's difficult for teachers. it's difficult for parents, students, and school board members. is the driving goal here to get kids in charter schools? i mean that is at least part of
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the goal. hillsdale college, back in 2010, started this network of public charters. public track classical education charters around the country, that were teaching a curriculum that is kind of really big on american exceptionalism, western civilization, the idea that the u.s. was founded on judeo-christian principles, which is sort of secularized language for christian nationalism. and, since then, they have grown to have an influence in 53 of the schools around the country that are paid for by public tax dollars but are advancing this very private school classical education -- >> christian nationalism. >> exactly. and so, you know, since then, that has become a driving push in a lot of different places. florida has a number of these schools. tennessee, recently, in the state address in january, governor bill lee in tennessee
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announced that he wanted to create 50 of these hillsdale affiliated charter schools in tennessee. other states have, you know, expressed interest in implementing hillsdale's curricula. so, it just really has quite a big footprint. >> i will say, we have to leave it there, catherine. this is such important reporting. as we talk about ron desantis, and then we very well be the republican nominee for president, we talk about a movement that is going across the country. this is not something that is in florida. this is extending to colorado, california, wisconsin, tennessee, indiana. this is the bread and butter of the new conservative movement. your reporting is fabulous on this, and i encourage everyone to go read it. catherine joyce, investigative reporter excellent, thank you so much for your reporting in time tonight. >> thank so much for having me. >> up next on this friday night, new polls showing just what happens when donald trump gets involved in senate races. far-right candidates giving democrats hope or, as they say, trumptimism. and a dutch tells lindsey graham he must testify in the
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investigation when experts say is the most perilous for donald trump. we'll be right back. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ new astepro allergy. now available without a prescription. astepro is the first and only 24-hour steroid free spray. while other allergy sprays take hours astepro starts working in 30 minutes. so you can... astepro and go. are you tired of clean clothes that just don't smell clean? downy unstopables in-wash scent boosters keep your laundry smelling fresh waaaay longer than detergent alone. if you want laundry to smell fresh for weeks, make sure you have downy unstopables in-wash scent boosters.
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right now suggests that despite joe biden's well earned on popularity, the democratic party still, again, as of tonight, as a strong chance of holding congress in november. >> fox news's tucker carlson has admitted the previously unthinkable. democrats may actually have a
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shot at holding on to congress in the midterms. carlson was reacting to new polling from fox news which shows democratic candidates besting the republican opponents in the midterm election cycle that is supposed to favor republicans. and the race for senate in wisconsin, democratic lieutenant governor, mandela barnes, is leading incumbent republican senator ron johnson by four points. and the race for arizona senate, democratic senator mark kelly is leading his republican opponent blake masters by eight points. and then, the race for arizona governor, democratic secretary of state katie hobbs is leading the republican candidate, kerry lake, by three points. in addition to those fox news numbers, there is new polling this week out of the state of pennsylvania, where democratic senate candidate and current lieutenant governor john fetterman is leading republican mehmet oz by 18 points. and then, the race for governor there, a democratic attorney general josh shapiro is a leading republican dog mastriano by 15 points.
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democrats are up in all five of those races across those key swing states, and it is starting to make conservatives freak out. so tucker carlson's advice was to urge republicans to campaign more on demonizing immigrants and homeless people, because, tucker carlson. but the problem that republicans are facing right now isn't simply a messaging problem about demonizing poor and brown people. the fact is republicans have nominated a truly bonkers crop of candidates. >> i've never really felt it was societies responsibility to take care of other people's children. >> on january six, i never felt threatened. it's where tens of thousands of black lives matter and antifa protesters, i might have been concerned. >> the fact of the matter is, this didn't seem like an armed insurrection to me. >> don't tell me joe biden won 81 million votes. don't insult my intelligence.
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i refuse to have it. >> the largest standing army in the world are american gun owners. we've got over a trillion rounds of ammo out there. and that fact is the only reason we are a country right now. >> we do have a gun violence problem in this country, and it's gang violence. very often, you know black people frankly. >> i've got the word paint on, as you can see. who said i have cultural insensitivity? >> i'm pro-life. i don't give away exceptions either. >> it's not your body. it's somebody else's body. >> when you are campaigning 18 hours a day, i got my kids name wrong as well. i don't think that's a measure of someone's ability to lead the commonwealth. >> our good air decided to float to china's a bad air, so when china gets out good air, they are bad air got to move. >> at one time, china said, it may have came from aids. if that is true, why there's still aides? think about it. >> think about it. that is the current crop of
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republicans who now find themselves, surprise, trailing in the polls that survey normal people, candidates claiming donald trump all promoted by a channel called fox news. in fact, those candidates rely so much on fox news and other conservative media, they have begun shutting out all other media from their events. and all the extreme and absurd things they say like the 90 election, defending january 6th rioters, or scapegoating so-called, black on black crime, all of it comes straight from donald trump and fox news, except for maybe herschel walker, who nobody can take better for. but with the midterms master protesting, how will the republican party graphical with a field of glut candidates that were birth with a conservative lab and nurtured by donald trump. i will ask a veteran republican strategist, mike murphy, that question and more. and i'm sure he will have a lot to say right after this break. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ with downy infusions, let the scent set the mood.
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between two initiatives on sports betting. prop 27 generates hundreds of millions every year to permanently fund getting people off the streets a prop 26? not a dime to solve homelessness prop 27 has strong protections to prevent minors from betting. prop 26? no protections for minors. prop 27 helps every tribe, including disadvantaged tribes. prop 26? nothing for disadvantaged tribes >> on day one, critical race vote yes on 27.
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theory and whatever else they call, it is over. that's right. it's done with. on day one, follow the science, no more men on the girls teams, come on. it's not that hard. pennsylvania will not be host to illegal immigrants anymore. >> lines like that from
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pennsylvania republican gubernatorial candidate doug mastriano elicited plenty of chairs with a mega friendly crowd in pittsburgh this year, but they resonated less well with pennsylvania voters statewide. a poll shows that mastriano is trailing behind his opponent by 15 points. he -- trump endorsed candidates are behind, and democrats are starting to get maybe a little excited. joining me now is longtime republican strategist mike murphy who is advised republican candidates including john mccain, jeb bush, and mitt romney. he is the co-host of must listen. thank you for joining me. whose fault is all of this? mitch mcconnell is bemoaning the quiet candidate quality. is it his fault, is it fox news, is that donald trump? how is it? how did we get here? >> one, congrats on the show, alex. great to see you. two, if you have to blame somebody, start with the crazy that spoken up the republican primary, and i think has been whipped into a problem for
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republicans by none other than donald j trump. if -- generically, this is supposed to be a great election for republicans. off year, presidents got weak numbers, inflation. but then the circus came to town in the senate races. so what should be a negative referendum on the president, from the republican point of view, is becoming a, who are these clowns discussion of someone -- like oz is on life support on pennsylvania, a lot of the others can't raise any money. the party is running out of money so they are getting beat on television which is critical. so it's almost a perfect storm of screwing up and i think leader mcconnell, you can see he's trying to lower expectations. like, hey, we have some candidate problems here. and it's true, they do. >> doesn't to point to a vacuum of -- of course, donald trump is stoked all of this. but in terms of actually someone, on the hands of but the captains wheel, it suggests
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that no one can have their hands on the captain's wheel. no we can't even try to grab the captains we'll at this stage of the game. we have reporting that a lot of these far-right candidates aren't allowing any media, but conservative media into their rallies. i think an event with ron desantis and j. d. vance in ohio today asked journalists to give them access to the footage in order to get entry into the event. this just makes that echo chamber even more echoey are, if you will. >> that's the problem is, it's bubble think. a lot of these candidates don't understand who the primary is over. because the crazy stuff, and the aluminum foil hats, and as sam sud are working in the primary, not enough, but a lot to when in many places. but they're getting to a different general election, which is a different ball game. and they took a look at the trump, and they took a look at the crazy, and all of sudden democrats who should be in trouble aren't. i will put one caveat to this, you look, back you have a lot of -- look back to 1980. if it is a big enough wave of a box of hammers can get elected to the u.s. senate.
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that's still a question. these campaigns can be really wobbly to me. herschel walker in georgia. you know? it's not what we call an ideal campaign. the campaign staff were passing bottles of whisky around. but he's still a couple of points on winning because of that big force, which is why the house may pop in republican. as bad as it is, they are still on the hunt because it's a different kind of year. if joe biden can move his numbers a little, then the wave will go down, and a lot of these senate races can pop in democrats. >> i was wondering if they're not pivoting to a more political message because they can't, because they actually believe this stuff. it's not just a strategy, this is actually their governing thesis. >> right, that's the problem. the authenticity of the crazy helped them in the primaries. but they're one hit wonders. so at the general election, you
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have guys like mastriano in pennsylvania who is going to go up looking for aliens. because they believe it. and the problem is swing voters in the suburbs no, they don't believe it. so the race instead of being about, hey, send a message to joe biden for inflation, is about the republican candidate maybe certifiable. and that is not where the winning campaign looks like in these vital senate seats. still, if the wave is big enough at the end, it will be less about them, and you could have some upsets worth real chuckle heads at winning. >> box of hammers, boy oh boy. mike murphy, longtime republican strategist, friend of the show, thanks for your time tonight, mike. >> thanks, alex. >> still ahead here tonight, new details in the georgia investigation into donald trump 's efforts to change that states 2020 election results. former federal prosecutor andrew weissmann joins us to talk about that investigation and the battle over the search of mar-a-lago. and a judge gives abortion rights advocates a major victory in their fight to protect the right to choose. we will be right back. ack. what can i du with less asthma?
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on our capital on january 6th, president trump made the now famous phone call to brad raffensperger, in which trump demanded he find quote, 10,000 votes. and another connection between the january 6th investigation and at that rate on mar-a-lago, and investigation into trump's former company, there's so much going on can be hard to keep it all straight. but you should not lose sight
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of the importance of the investigation that fulton county district attorney fani willis is conducting into that infamous phone call. now, in part, that is because this is the case in which president trump's most directly implicated. they have him on tape. multiple witnesses corroborate it. that is hard to deny. but the other big reason to keep tabs on this case is that it wasn't just a trump pushing raffensperger on this. trump's phone call was part of the larger fake electors scheme that led up to january 6th itself. last month, fani willis's office notified georgia fake electors that they could be prosecuted for their actions. earlier this week, the president's personal lawyer, rudy giuliani, was also notified that he is a target of the investigation for his role in the scheme. trump legal advisor, jenna alice, is scheduled to testify before that investigations granted show enough thursday. the guy who got trump into the fake electors scheme in the very first place, john eastman, he will testify the week after that. but there is one central figure
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to all of this, who is doing everything he can to avoid this investigation. south carolina senator lindsey graham. two months before secretary raffensperger was pressured by trump on that infamous call, senator graham made a very similar call. graham asked whether raffensperger had the power to toss all mail ballots in counties found to have higher rates of non matching signatures. raffensperger said he was stunned that graham appeared to suggest that he find a way to toss legally cast ballots. it sure looked like he was wanting to go down that road, raffensperger said. now, lindsey graham claims he was just calling to ask some questions, to do his, you know, due diligence. and he has been trying to get out of testifying about that call for months now. today, a federal judge in georgia rolled that senator graham couldn't do that. he was subpoenaed, and he has to testify. a date is now set.
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lindsey graham is supposed to testify next tuesday. but tonight, we got the news that graham has asked for an even higher federal court for a state in his case, basically delaying, again. senator lindsey graham really does not want to talk about his due diligence. and no, this case has been overshadowed in the news by all of trump's other legal insanity. but things in georgia are getting really interesting. joining us now is andrew weizmann, former fbi general counsel and former senior member of special counsel robert mueller's investigative team. he is currently a professor at nyu law. andrew, thank you so much for being with us on this friday night. >> nice to be here, alex. >> so, this lindsey graham stand a chance here? or is this just running out the clock as long as he can? >> well, i think he does not stand a chance. and i don't think he is gonna be able to run out the clock anymore. you know, he lost twice this
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week. the district judge ruled against him earlier this week, and the decision today was her saying, i'm not granting a stay, bending appeal, because this is so frivolous. your claim that you have no information that will be unprotected by the speech and debate clause is laughable. the claim that he made that this is protected under sovereign immunity, meaning because he is a federal government official, he should not have to respond to a state grand jury. that is sort of an incredible claim for a sitting senator to make, and that was rightly rejected. i don't anticipate that the 11th circuit is gonna grant a stay here. >> so, lindsey graham is gonna be up to that. one of the sort of notable things about this atlanta investigation is the caliber of boldface names that are now being also cold up to the ballot. we are talking about lindsey graham, but also rudy giuliani, john eastman, jenna ellis. having the big fish, if you
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will, testify, something that tends to happen towards the end of an investigation is, that right? and if so, what influence do you draw about where fani willis is right now in her investigation? >> yeah. i mean, these are the key people. to have them go into the grand jury, i commend her. because that's what you need to do. you need to have the people who are actually on the calls. she is actually set forth to the district court what she wants to talk about. two phone calls that lindsey graham made to raffensperger. and his coordination with the trump campaign. none of that is something that is protected by the speech and debate clause. and frankly, as somebody who is a public servant, he has an extra duty, and should want to give his testimony. if there is nothing to hide, and he did nothing wrong, i mean, i know this sounds naive but he really supposed to be going into the grand jury, just like any of us would have to. >> i want to switch gears, if i could, andrew, because we do
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have so many parallel investigations happening at the moment. i want to talk about mar-a-lago. trump's intent, or at least they say their intent on releasing these surveillance tapes of the fbi search. and there's a lot of concern that could actually, in turn, endangered the fbi agents who could be identified in those states. what can be done at this stage to protect their identity? how much of a threat, do you think the release of the surveillance tapes is to them and their well-being, in this very pitched political moment? >> well, you know, unfortunately, we have seen precedent for that, because when the court issued the search warrant, it was redacted to remove names, that of of particular agents. but that didn't stop trump from doing, you know, from releasing names. to say the same thing of a special counsel investigation, a whole bunch of names, and specific information was provided by defense council. so, here, i think the government would have to go to
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court to make an application, to at least try and remove the features of people's faces, which obviously can be done. i don't suspect, though, that that tape, the surveillance tape, or anything that's gonna actually help donald trump. so, this claim that he's gonna do that because it's going to help him, this is one where i haven't been a government prosecutor, and i don't think putting evidence out there, when you actually did something wrong, is a particularly good strategy to defend yourself. >> a puzzle of donald trump. andrew weissmann, former fbi general counsel, professor at nyu law. thanks so much for joining me tonight. >> you're welcome. >> and we have one more story ahead here tonight. michigan governor gretchen whitmer's legal strategy pays off in her battle to protect abortion rights. we'll be right back. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ with downy infusions, let the scent set the mood. ♪
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>> we have one last story before we go tonight. even before a supreme justice samuel alito's draft decision overturning roe v. wade was leaked, there are elected officials around the country who are prepared for the very real chance that the conservative court would turn back the clock on women's rights. democratic michigan governor gretchen whitmer, in april, sued to stop at the states archaic 1931 abortion ban from being enforced. michigan's abortion ban, which bans all abortions except those saving the life of a pregnant person, it also makes abortion a felony. and it is remained on the books for 91 years, but had not been enforced for the past nearly 50 years, because of course, wrote with all the land. but governor whitmer, for seeing what the high court with would do, and restrict abortion rights from americans, she sued the states prosecutor attorneys,
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13 counties, where all of the states abortion clinics are located. those attorneys will ultimately be charge of prosecuting these laws if it took effect. and whitmer sued to stop them from enforcing the draconian 1931 ban. and as our case has made its way through the courts, a historic number of michiganders, over 750,000 of them, signed a petition, ones that signals their support for a ballot initiative in november, that would codify the right to an abortion in the state's constitution, and therefore, make the state's 1931 ban looped. for the end of the month, the state board of canvassers will officially decide that constitutional amendment with all that support will be on the november ballot. so, with that in mind, today, the circuit court overseeing governor whitmer's case handed down a ruling. the judge decided whether the prosecutors can enforce that 1931 ban. >> the ultimate expression of political power in this country comes not from the branches of
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our government and those that serve as public officials and them, but from the people. this court finds it is overwhelmingly in the publics interest to the people of the great state of michigan decide this matter at the ballot box, assuming the constitutional amendment initiative is on the ballot on november 8th. there for, and for all these reasons, the court grants a preliminary injunction in this case. >> this is a rare glimmer of hope in the otherwise extremely disturbing array of news stories we keep hearing about, as far as abortion rights, and access, being blocked in state, after state, after state. while michigan's abortion ban is for now, blocked from being enforced, the decision will most likely be appealed. at the end of today's hearing, for good measure, the judge make sure to remind the public at october 24th is the last day to register a vote in the state of michigan. and come november, if on the ballot, michigan may be the first state with an abortion ban already on the books to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution. just 81 days until election day, folks. tiktok. that does it for us tonight.
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rachel will see you on monday, and i will be back on tuesday. and now, it is time for the last word with ali velshi in for lawrence tonight. ali, i just want to say to you personally as we hand this show off, thank you, thank you, thank you for everything you have done to keep everything afloat at 9 pm! >> it has been a tremendous and to a tremendous week, alex, congratulations for that. you are in great hands with that team, it's one of the finest teams and journalism, and you've done a great job with it. and it's been my pleasure to be there. the story you just ended with, it's kind of pro marco bowl the judge basically saying, the should be in the hands of the people, so let's get it into the hands of the people, let's get it on to the docket or at least on the ballot for november. this is a difficult situation in michigan, because while it does allow for exceptions for the health, the life of the pregnant mother, doctors i've


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