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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  September 12, 2022 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT

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announcement after getting hired to do cpr for the saudis golf league, voila. ari fleischer is denying any link between the two. we know for certain what the leader of his party is capable of, when there is money to be made, even when it is blood money. and that's tonight's read out. all in with chris hayes starts now. all in wit h chris hayes starts now. >> tonight on all in -- >> what do you think the possibilities are the indictment of former president trump? >> i think they're very high. >> new alarms from the ex presidents ex lawyers, as the new york times report a major escalation in the department of justice a grand jury probe of trump's inner circle. and marc elias on the part of the big lie, and they claim they have 45,000 new poll watchers for election day. plus, 57 days out. new caution on what will look like great numbers for democrats, and why even the
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abundance of russian cable news are openly and loudly disagreeing with their favorite pundit on american cable news. >> vladimir putin is not losing the war in ukraine, he's winning the war in ukraine. >> when all in starts right now -- ♪ ♪ ♪ >> good evening from new york. i am chris hayes. in a major escalation, the department of justice has now sent 40 subpoenas to trump allies, just the past, week as part of its investigation into the attempted coup, and the insurrection. new york times reports, the doj also seized cell phones from two of trump's coup plotting aids, boris and mike roman. now, mike roman might feel a little remote in your memory. there's a lot of characters here. he was actually the director of trump's 2020 election they operations, and crucially, according to reporting we have, he reportedly hand-delivered slates of fake electors to congress as part of trump's attempt to go.
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in addition to his own role in the fake elector scheme, epstein was also the appointed person between white house and john eastman. john eastman, of, course trump lawyer who wrote the comey, mostly called for mike pence to throw out the results of the 2020 election. mason also has had his phone seized by the feds. we are also learning that former new york city police commissioner bernie kerik, the guy who promoted a number of ludicrous false election fraud claims, he was there at the infamous landscaping for president. he was subpoenaed today, along with trump's social media director and advisor, dan scavino. now reports of a new series of doj subpoenas first broke last week, it appeared as though and we reported on this program, they were largely related to shady fund raising tasks by the trump campaign. the calm campaign says super packed races a quarter of a billion dollars for legal challenges, for funding that never even existed. but now, we've got the sort of full picture of all the subpoenas that have been sent out, at least the ones we can
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track. the latest revelations revealed investigation may be more closely wing to the larger investigation into the attempted coup itself and the january six than we first thought. and while all this is happening, trump apparently himself, running around his golf course today this is just the latest example of the ex president avoiding accountability, while those around him face legal consequences. we are seeing this play out with former trump attorneys, who are basically lived with two options, both of which we see unfold in the realtime. the first is, to do a kind of desperate public dance, where now you're no longer employed by trump. you're trying to distance yourself from his obvious defeats. we've seen this with trump white house counsel pat cipollone, who remember we first met publicly, right? first public facing roy, public prominence as the face of trump's defense during his first impeachment trial. how dare you impeach this guy? leave it to the people. he is now publicly among trump's big lie of a stolen election, as part of his eight hours of testimony to the
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january 6th committee. >> there was a real question in my mind and a real concern, particularly after the attorney general had reached a conclusion that there wasn't sufficient election fraud to change the outcome of the election. one other people have suggesting kept suggesting that there was, the answer is what is it? and at some point, you have to put up, or shut up. that was my view. >> pretty testy top there from pat cipollone, and the relative quiet of the deposition. now, another trump white house lawyer, and remember, this guy his name is ty cobb. he was brought on around the time during the mueller stuff now, he recently told cbs news he thinks trump will be indicted. and get this, the trump should be disqualified from running again. >> what do you think the possibilities are the indictment of former president trump? >> i think they're very high. it was popular early on, but
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the fact that it's been delayed and delayed, when we could, you know, easily modify the conversation by disqualifying, and now whether these prosecutors or not, i find sad. >> there's trump attorney general bill barr who misled the public on the mueller report, and enabled many trump's worst impulses. barr clearly sees which way the wind is blowing. he is now attempting to re-brand himself as someone who critics, appeared on multiple news where multiple times he declared the ex president broke the law. >> i think that the fundamental dynamic of the case are set, which is the government has very strong evidence of what it really needs to determine whether charges are appropriate, which is government documents were taken, classified information was taken and not handled appropriately and they are looking into, under some evidence to suggest that they were to see. >> that is the one strategy former lawyers counting. the other is just lawyer up themselves. that is particularly relevant
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if you are currently advising or representing the ex president. as the new york times pushes this weekend, quote, a dark joke has begun circulating among lawyers following the many legal travails of former president trump. maga actually stands for, making attorney, get attorneys. one of trump's most recent attorneys, a woman named christina bob, who he apparently hired because he admired her work as a tv pundit, has now retained the legal counsel of her own for the new york times. she reportedly signed a letter back in june, claiming that she and other lawyers had conducted a thorough search of mar-a-lago, and that no classified documents were made on the premises to the rest of their knowledge. something the fbi would later determine is not true, when they executed that search warrant on trump's property last month, and seized 100 more classified documents, including some more top secret, and at least one reportedly related to nuclear secrets. trump's coup plotting lawyers are also -- trump's leading lawyer in his attempt to overturn the 2020
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election, rudy giuliani is now the target of a fulton county georgia district attorney's investigation into election interference. it's been notified that he is a target of that criminal probe by the district attorney's office. that investigation of fulton county may also be whitening, to include another trump who, sydney powell, who is now facing scrutiny for her role in her alleged scheme to steal election. remember, she heard that from that what into one county's election offices, and apparently, took a bunch of data. the department of justice has also seized cell phones from eastman, that's the cool lawyer i mentioned a moment ago, and jeffrey clark, former trump chief doj to the attempted coup. that doj investigation is running parallels and the house committee investigating january 6th which is now set to resume as public hearings later this month. the committed both ali considering whether to request testimony from mike pence or even from trump himself. e while the committee can't brig committee charges itself it could make refers to sharing
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the information with a doj, which has already demonstrated following the committee's findings closely. ben rhodes is the executive -- danya perry search as you know deputy attorney general and assistant u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york. and he joins me now. first, let's start with the news reported by the new york times. again, this has been an incremental and moving story, we now have the best sense of the scope here david. 40 subpoenas, to cell phone's taken from individuals close to trump, or mike roman. subpoena being served to bernie kerik. this seems bigger than just a focus on the super back. this seems like a big case that the federal government is making. what do you make of it? >> i think they are systematically collecting evidence. they are being aggressive as they can be. and i think they are pressuring these various trump associates to become cooperating witnesses. we see that in all of these different investigations, you know, the subpoenas that they
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want to come, turn over records, maybe they want some of them to testify before grand jury. you mentioned the case of christina bob, who signed that letter, saying there were no classified documents at mar-a-lago. she is now in legal jeopardy, and i think investigators in that case are eager to get her under oath, because she is a choice. she sort of explains that president trump had her say this. that implicates trump in wrongdoing, or does she, you know, lied to a grand jury. and this is a kind of a classic prosecution tactic for a wide-ranging investigation where you, again, go with these lower lover people, and pressured him to flip. >> danya, what do you think about the legal trouble of trump's attorney here? i mean, it does strike me as look, if you are a criminal defence lawyer, right? you're going to be adjacent to people accused of doing illegal things, as a matter of what your job is. but it does seem striking, when you look at michael cohen and rudy giuliani, and now, his
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current attorneys who have retained legal counsel, i don't think i've ever encountered someone who has seemed to put his own lawyers in as much legal jeopardy as donald trump has. >> it's unprecedented, in my experience as well. it was remarkable to hear you tick off the laundry list of attorneys, who have gotten themselves into legal jeopardy. and i represented michael cohen, so i'm well familiar with it, and that wasn't his bid to be released from federal prison, after he was unconstitutionally and ended. and as for people who filed a disciplinary complaint against rudy giuliani. so, you're kind of aware that it's kind of a slow boil, but when you put it all together right now, it really is remarkable, and it really goes to what we've been hearing from people like michael cohen for a long time. that there is a tremendous amount of pressure by the former president on his advisers to, as you say, do his bidding. and we've seen that for a long
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time now. and if anything, it's only, it pressure has only increased, as we see now with a more recent lawyers who are hiring the lawyers. and it's interesting to say, a russian nesting tall, where lawyers who have managed to avoid criminal or other investigations are now representing some of the lawyers who are now under investigation. from reporting and common sense, it's a little hard, for obvious reasons, for former president trump to -- the state. >> david, let's talk about the dynamics at doj which is something you've been reporting on. we now have these two seemingly separate inquiries. there is an investigation into the, you know, the unlawful retention of classified material, which was found in the ex presidents florida home. and the escalating, you know,
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investigation into that. then, there is the january six grand jury. i mean, those are presumably being won by entirely different sections of doj, but they have to make similar calculations about investigation of timing as we come near the election. what is your reporting suggest about how the department is looking at all of this? >> my sense is that the investigation is being carried out as they should. these implies low-level prosecutors. it's not merrick garland himself used to fighting to issue the subpoenas. but you have teams that are attacking evidence and trying to find criminality where it exists. they are investigating the heck, i'll say, out of this. it's how one person put it to me. that's what they wanted to do they want to collect more evidence. they want to see if there are cooperating witnesses one idea, i, think they could be pursuing in florida, they want to see if president trump, did he sort of show off some of these classified documents to people? they want to talk to guests and mar-a-lago who maybe did that. there is no confirmation he actually did that, but they
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want to investigate every possible thing they can. and then, the classic, the big step here is when they prepare a prosecution memo each of these teams will prepare a different memo about these different crimes and they'll make a recommendation on whether or not donald trump should be indicted. and that's when the decision goes to merrick garland. so right now, these low-level groups, working, you know, intensively to collect all the evidence and all the witnesses they can. and i don't think you'll see any, you know. there's no way i think you'll see a prosecution memo presented to garland or any kind of decision until after the midterm elections. >> danya, one of the points in the times reporting was the fact that it does appear that the general six committee has unearthed things that have served as very, very fruitful prosecutorial leads or at least investigative leads, for the doj. and at least some of the new subpoenas, in fact, requested all records who were simply turned over to the house committee investigating january 6th, according to a person familiar with a matter.
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so there's an interesting relationship here in terms of what the committee has unearthed, and how this d.c.-based grand jury investigation is unfolding. >> yeah, not surprisingly. one of the things that has mystified me, and i haven't heard reasonable explanation for it, why there has been so little sharing information between the committee and the doj? but for whatever reasons, that may be a political one. the doj now is sort of circumventing that, and as we pointed out, and as the reporting points out, it's now directly requesting the documents. so, i guess that sidesteps some of those issues. but the select committee has unearthed the tremendous amount of information, and they've done a remarkable job, i think, marshaling it, and making a very compelling case. so, it's not surprising at all that doj has been paying attention like the rest of the country. and it's picking up some of
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this from the results of the investigative work. >> final question to you, david, i mean, all of this comes down to, you talked about this is being done by the book. you know, people down the chain, making these decisions, writing a prosecution memo. but of course, there's sort of existential stakes here about the integrity of the rule of law, the appearance, the legitimacy, you're right about this. a growing concern that trump's false claims about the tissue very are steadily undermining the public's view of judges as neutral, nonpartisan arbiters. trump cynicism feels a public cynicism about the fairness of the court system and american democracy. what is so pernicious and successful about trump's approach is his shamelessness and contriving the worst possible explanations for judges rulings, in ways that play on many americans along running distrust of government. and this all, jimmy, seems like there is no way out of the test of the system. for either doj or the judiciary, when all is said and done here. >> absolutely. it's an enormous amount for the doj, and i think for the
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judiciary. judge cannons ruling, or she said there's gonna be a special master, you know, criticized and turned on appeal. and that's the kind of, you know, cynical partisan ruling that donald trump wants to have happen. just tonight, the doj agreed to one of trump's lawyer suggestions, for a judge who could be a special master. his name is judge diary, and he's a great judge. there are good judges, and this, investigation can be carried out properly and fairly. i think it definitely will. >> all right, david rohde and danya perry, thank you both. coming up, with less than two months into election day, republicans are trying to undermine voting from the election. from the insight, election work marc elias explains the latest on democracy next. democracy next.
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have been a number of special elections across the country in different jurisdictions, that have largely gone pretty smoothly now, there have been a few republicans who quite fraud when they didn't win their primary races against other republicans crucially, the three republican-controlled counties and pennsylvania, who tried to throw out a group of mail in ballots from the may 2022 primary election, was also an illegal battle that took months for the justice department to resolve that's really an ominous note. but by and large, the election system have held. and as we head towards the first big election day since 2020, the midterms in november,
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is fully embracing the big lie of the stolen election ahead of the republican national community, this is the parties official arm, ron mcdaniel, says they have recruited 35,000 poll watchers and workers in an effort to uphold what they call election integrity. one of the people tracking and fighting against to undermine election marc elias, an expert in voting rights litigation and the founder of democracy docket and he joins me. now i was struck by that tweet by the head of the official arm of the republican party. some of that can be bluster, and of course, election workers and officials and poll watchers, part of american election administration for many many years, you know, you'll have one democrat, one republican in the polling place. you have one from each. so does it necessarily need to be ominous. but that unprecedented election integrity ground game wrangling on this, to me, how did not ring to you? >> it's very ominous, and it's very clear what she's trying to signal, which is that the republican party will be
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working in concert with the bench right-wing, or who used to be the right wing, to make voting harder, voting in person more difficult, voting by mail, substantially harder. and to try to come up the works to undermine the free and fair elections that we expect, and the accurately certified elections that we rely on. >> what do -- how? i mean, i guess it's a question of what does that look like, right? at this sort of ground level, as you understand it. there's this great reporting by politico about that michigan plan, utilizing rules designed to provide political balance among poll watchers. workers trained party volunteers to challenge voters and democratic majority polling places, developing i will try to connect those workers to local lawyers. that's one example. how do you see this. what are you most concerned about? >> look, i think the problems
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start with their efforts to intimidate voters in person who vote at the polls. you know, we saw, we have seen this before by the republican party, the republican party for decades, it was under a court order not to engage in election activity at all, or election monitoring poll worker activity at all, because of its history of violating the civil rights of black and latino voters. we have seen at the rhetoric that has come out of the republican party about the big lie. and probably, most ominously, we are seeing across the country a challenge program by republicans and by their allies to essentially, engaged election vigilantes. to challenge the eligibility of voters to be able to vote at the polls, and trying to disenfranchise those voters in their entirety. we are seeing tens of thousands
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of those challenges, already taking place, even two months out from the election. >> there is also this, this struck me from the washington post yesterday, that lots of public information requests -- now, public information requests, it's good that we have them as a possibility. and as a journalist, i am used to them, and use them in my whole career. but these being used as a kind of tool, of basically, again, kind of muddying the waters, or at least, gumming up the works, right? nearly two dozen states and scores of counties, election officials are fielding what many described as an unprecedented wave of public records request and the final weeks of summer. the avalanche of sometimes identically worded requests has forced some to dedicate days to the process of responding even as they scurry to finalize polling locations, mail out absentee ballots and prepare for -- their some seems a concerted effort to try to attack the system as much as possible. >> this is really, really
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important, chris. because i think and that article, they also talked about many of these requests, seeking information from 2020. so, it's not that like there were seeking information on the actual 2022. it's simply to divert the resources of resourced election officials, and election officers so that they can be doing the work that they have to be doing preparing for 2022. the frivolous challenges that i mentioned, these mass challenges they're submitting, are in part an effort to disenfranchise voters. but it takes enormous resources for election officials to have to look up these voters, say, if they are in fact correctly registered, have they moved? have something happened that they're not registered? all of these things are aimed at preventing election officials from doing the one thing that they need to be spending their time doing right now, which is registering voters, sending out absentee ballot applications, and beginning to cite polling locations and prepare for a high turnout of elections in
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2022. this is not an accident. this is part of the plan. >> all right, marc elias who is vigilant on this and is working on some of the responses to it. thank you so much for your time, appreciate. >> thank you. >> still ahead, democrats have a reason to be optimistic about the midterms, after recent special ex election success. but are the promising poll numbers part of another blue mirage? that's next. ♪ ♪ ♪ are you gonna stop me? uh-oh... i'm almost there... too late! boom! earn big time with chase freedom unlimited with no annual fee. how do you cashback? chase. make more of what's yours. if you have this... consider adding this. an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan from unitedhealthcare. medicare supplement plans help by paying some of what medicare doesn't... and let you see any doctor. any specialist. anywhere in the u.s. who accepts medicare patients. so if you have this... consider adding this. call unitedhealthcare today
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into the midterm elections, we've entered the post labor day period where people start paying more attention to politics. and crucially, polls generally become more accurate. right now, the latest data shows an upward trajectory for the democratic party heading into november. democrats hold a small advantage over republicans in polling average, they definitely did not earlier this summer. what presidential biden's average approval rating is up, five points from the mid summer, while creeping closer to positive territory. voter enthusiasm among democrats is on a swing, close to matching republicans. typically, they have the advantage when democrats are in control of both houses of congress in the white house. the ceo of the polling firm found that in the six months before the decision of the return of overweight, women outnumbered men by a three percentage point margins among registrations. after the decision, that gender gap skyrocketed to 40 points. now, of course all of this will
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feature down to individual races, where all kinds of local issues really matter. plus, there's two months left of events in the world that might change that. there are a number of big senate races to watch in particular. in ohio, democratic congressman tim ryan has a slight lead over conservative author j.d. vance. and wisconsin, the latest poll shows democratic lieutenant governor mandela barnes leading incumbent republican senator ron johnson by two points. and in pennsylvania, the democratic lieutenant governor there john fetterman has a comfortable lead in the average over trump-backed tv doctor mehmet oz. in georgia, the combat democratic senator raphael warnock is holding on a small lead over republican herschel walker. and erased many republicans see as one of their best chances to flip the senate. one race it's not really down the radar, but hopes to get a good chance for democrats to flip the seat, at least according to reporting now, as the north carolina senate race for trump backed republican congressman ted but recently fell in the polling average, and now trails as democratic
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challenger cheri beasley, as election day closes in five. but all of this comes with an asterisk, a very, very big one, which is the significant polling misses we have seen since 2016. and in the election of the following years, in 2018, 2020, particularly 2020, particularly the greater industrial midwest. now, nate cohen, top ulcer at the new york times says those warning signs are flashing again. so if less than two months until the election, we look for the democrats in november, we've got good news and bad news on that front, right after. thister. thislming. so, ask your doctor about botox®. botox® prevents headaches in adults with chronic migraine before they even start. it's the #1 prescribed branded chronic migraine treatment. so far, more than 5 million botox® treatments have been given to over eight hundred and fifty thousand chronic migraine patients. effects of botox® may spread hours to weeks after injection causing serious symptoms. alert your doctor right away, as difficulty swallowing,
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much better for democrats this summer. we are seeing that in special elections, as well as polling, we can all remember the really astonishing pulling messages in recent years. remember back in 2020, when a poll released less than a week before election day, that democrat sara gideon, up by four points over public an incumbent senator susan collins of maine. we never saw senator sarah gideon, who won by nearly double digits on election night. there's a south carolina poll, a month before the 2020 election that had democratic jaime harrison tied with republican senator lindsey graham, only for graham to win decisively in that reelection bid, 54 to 44. it's pretty obvious, there's concerned about politics and the fate partly of the pro democracy majority here in america, having good reliable informations -- and it prompts the question,
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are we seeing a repeat now of past polling error? here with me to help understand the polling, landscape cornell belcher, a pollster and democratic strategist. for now, there's this piece out today that got a lot of attention. they said, look, certain places wisconsin, for one example, we have seen repeated systematic polling errors in which the polls, the public polls have failed to adequately capture republican strength. they've missed by six or seven points. we've seen the same, to a lesser extent, in pennsylvania, michigan, and making the case that a lot of the warning signs there that there's something similar going on here now. what do you think of that? >> first of all, i'm a little bit cautious about this entire topic. but that said, let's dive into it a little bit deeper, and hopefully, we can unpack a little bit. let's start with your opening segment, and where you went through several races, and this conversation, it was a democrat
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lead. the truth of the matter, it was, and all those races the two minute named, except for fetterman, no candidate actually has a lead. and i just want to be careful about, the narrative that you talk about, because you see often in newspapers, i remember two months out from the last election, and newspaper ran an article and said, you know, biden leads florida. and that biden was up by two points. now, the layperson or the regular voter will see that and say, biden has done a win in florida. and that's not what that means at all. and until you get to 51%, chris, anything can happen, because these races are not static. if you look at that, you know, that race, say that, you know, 44 or 43 -- that is a toss-up, anything can happen. because you know what, chris? we'll are spending millions and millions of dollars to in fact move that rate, move those numbers around, so we still
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have that large share of voters who are fluid and persuadable to change the outcome of that race. so, you know, i hear the conversation that the polling is often off, but i think we want to be careful about how we're trying to use polling in the public space, and for one, as you know, as someone who studies history, polling is actually never infinite to determine one candidate race. it's not what polling was made for at all. and i always tell my candidates, listen, three, four months out from a race, the least important number in the poll i gave you is in fact a horse race, because that's gonna continue to change, because we're gonna build a strategy to change. >> right, so there's a few things i take away from that. one, and i think we've been pretty clear on this in the show, these are all essentially dead heats, you know, georgia, ohio right now, wisconsin i would assume. i would assume pennsylvania. i have basically assumed any of the top tier races are pretty close right now. within a few points, you know,
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so, i totally agree with that. and then, that other key point, bluff and other political people talk about this all the time, balling up on someone 44, 43 doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot. whereas polling at 51 or 52 to 43, if you're over 50, 51, 52, that is saying something a little different than those numbers, when there's a big group of people that haven't started, or on paying attention. but i guess, the third thing -- right, so the third thing, though, that's interesting to me, and i think it actually corresponds to the question about public opinion polling, which is where polling was born, right? not as a predictor for races, but to try to get a sense of what people thought, and what their views are. is whether the polarization in american society along a high trust, low trust means that certain centuries of people who are not gonna talk to a pollster, also tend to vote a certain way, and have certain views that are being missed in some way. and whether that's a concern of yours? >> yes, well, there is a rate
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of participation that has been dropping, but there's been a lot of studies that have shown that it's not as of yet had a huge impact. but what i tell, you know, from time to time, i get asked to go to college campuses and talk to people about polling politics, because i've been doing it for a while. and i tell these young people, look, when i was polling 2000, in 2004, or 2000 -- 2004, you kids walking around in college campuses, i couldn't get to you. you know, there are so many ways for me to get to you right now, and the bad news is there's so many ways for me to get to you right now. the biggest problem we have as a predictor in polling, if you ask me, as about volatility. look, you run it on your show already. the questions about the number of people who are beginning to
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register is enormous. the changes that you see and the intention to vote is enormous. if you go look at 2010 and 2014, versus 2018, there is -- there's so much difference in those electorates. so, you have so much volatility. in 2018, you had an electorate that looks like a presidential year electorate, where in 2010, you had an electorate that was 42% of eligible voters. democrats won by one points. so, for 2010 to 2014, if you look at the last, two of the last three midterm elections, you know, democrats were with one, three, four points for women. in 2018 and they were plus 18. so, if i look at this that's happening right now, let's use some common sense. do i think it's gonna be some more at one point, gap for
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women, or is it gonna look more like 2018? we don't know for sure, but there are indicators along the road that say, this is not 2010. >> yes, i mean, i think the one thing having nothing to do with polling, just fundamentals and specials shows that this is not a 2010 environment right now. it certainly wasn't over the summer, just having lived through covering 2020 and now. i think that's pretty clear. what happens in the next two months? again, lord knows what happens in the actual real world. cornell belcher, it was a great pleasure to talk to you. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> still to come, it looks like the ukrainian military has russia on its heels, regaining territory in the truly lightning pace. is this a turning point in russia's unprovoked invasion? next. next first and only 24-hour steroid free spray. while other allergy sprays take hours astepro starts working in 30 minutes. so you can...
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turn of events in ukraine, six months after russia's unprovoked invasion. the ukrainian military has succeeded in taking a broad swath of territory from the northeastern parts of the country, forcing russian soldiers to treat. >> on the 200th day of war, ukrainians celebrating a surprising victory. soldiers breaking russia's military stranglehold on parts of the country, and reclaiming territory at lightning speed. ukraine saying, its forces have recaptured more villages.
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a total of more than 1100 square miles since launching the counteroffensive two weeks ago, liberating more than 30 settlements, mostly in the northeast. the russian military's grip on the northeastern territory of kharkiv grumbling. its soldiers retreating, leaving tanks and artillery behind. in a rare admission of a setback, russia is saying it's not leaking. it's regrouping. >> now, to my mind, this is an good news for months of discouraging stalemate. and shifting attitudes about how this or might come to an end. back in february, when russia launched their initial attack, it seemed like they were basically three possible outcomes. the first, and the beginning perhaps most likely or most anticipated was a swift outright russian victory. but within just a few weeks, as ukraine beat back russian forces protecting their capital kyiv, it became clear that doesn't want to gonna happen. then, the second possibility was some kind of negotiated peace between the two sides, after both sides came to a
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point where the cost of continuing to fight will be higher than the possibility of a victory. until recently, that seemed to be the most likely end, in some iteration. probably, it will require concessions on ukraine's part, for instance, crimea, remaining in russia's orbit, some sort of closing independents for the southeastern states of donetsk and luhansk. and the third option seems, just an outright ukrainian military victory. they just beat the russians. even after the ukrainians repelled russians advance, and during the stalemate that followed, concrete territories almost much harder than holding them. and russia conquered a fair amount. that's exactly what ukraine has now done, they have retaken back territory in a major successful offensive military operation to breach new hope to the ukrainians and their allies. and then use of this other route seems to have actually gotten through, so the russian people. reaction is manifesting in a fascinating round of state tv, where a former opposition lawmaker publicly stated the
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current strategy is not working. and argues that russians need to make peace. >> [speaking non-english] [speaking non-english] [speaking non-english] >> so the first time in 200 days of war, i think this is a really encouraging situation for both the russian airways, the ground in ukraine. ben rhodes served as deputy national adviser for obama, now co-host of podcast saved the
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world. he joins me now. ben, it's very hard. i mean there's a real fog of war problem in trying to track in realtime, advances, defeats. obviously, a tremendous amount of propaganda. but it's quite established in the last four, five days. a pretty remarkably successful counteroffensive by the ukrainians. what's the significance here? >> i think the significance, chris, is that this undermines what putin's political strategy has been, which since his failure to take kyiv, he clearly tried to wage a war of attrition, in which inch by inch, he could consolidate territory in eastern ukraine and southern ukraine, and taking the swath of land that connects down to crimea, which the russians invaded in 2014. and then, weaponize energy, gas and oil, to punish those countries, particularly european countries who've been supporting ukraine, and try to demoralize ukrainian's, new battlefield attrition, and demoralize their supporters or arming them in the west. and i think with this advance, it completely undermines putin's argument that a war of
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attrition serves his interest. what the ukrainians are showing to their own people is that they should have their morale up, and it's possible to read beat the russians back and we take their territory. and importantly, the ukrainians are showing their western allies, look, if you continue to support us, if you even escalate your support for us, we can take back more territory. so it really shuts the dynamic on which this war is being fought. >> yeah, i mean, obviously, there's been -- you know, the ukrainian blight and in captured the u.s. and europe's attention, and imagination. tremendous outpouring of solidarity. i think it's time have gone by, it was obviously harder to maintain that attention. we've seen protests against the support of ukraine in parts of eastern europe. and also, they are now facing energy costs as a massive problem this winter. but the u.s. support that seem crucial here. i mean, both in terms of that money and the kinds of weapons they've been given, which are more offensive in nature, and
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which iranians have been asking for, and had not gotten in the beginning. they seem to play a pretty significant role. you've heard it from that russian commentator in these offenses as well. >> yeah, i think at the beginning, it was a lot of defensive weaponry, you know, anti-tank weapons to try to repel a russian invasion. the u.s. shifted over the course of the war, and to providing the kind of long-range artillery that can be used to weaken, soften up russian positions, and enable an offensive, as well as providing more air defense systems, that can allow those advancing ukrainian forces to operate without, as a bigger risk from russian air power. so it still took some of the battlefield dynamic in favor of ukrainians. and the same time, i think part of what we're seeing, chris, and that fully the oppression, you mentioned in its own comments, when you have the military that's full of conscripts who are poorly paid, who weren't even told why there are in ukraine, mercenaries have been sent in there for, to hire them. the morale among russian units have been worn down.
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clearly not high, those guys -- as soon as they could. where is the morale and the ukrainians high, and the fight has been very high and very resilient. and i think it will be reinforced by the success, success can we get success. now, i caution, russia still occupies a large swath of ukrainian territory. they still have a lot of manpower and firepower. and the danger, frankly, putin begins to feel like he is losing, does he resort to even more dramatic actions? and we've already seen that with where he cut off power and water to kind of punish the ukrainian people for the success of their military. so, there is a long road ahead. but for the ukrainians, i think they have hope. and hope is obviously an incredible powerful course when you're doing this kind of existential conflict. >> well, to me, there is a deeper question here which, again, at some point, at some level, i'm not a party to this. i think that the invasion was an atrocity. and never should have happened. it has made the world worse.
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it has led to tens of thousands of avoidable deaths. and i want to see russia repelled from ukraine. at the same time, the longer the war goes, the higher level of human misery, you know, six months of this, it has already produced unbelievable amounts of destruction and death, both the military and civilians, both sides. two years, three years, four years, we saw what happened in syria, a nine year battle. and i guess the question is, what is your assessment of the way this ends, given this offensive and what it might mean, in terms of what a possible outcome could possibly be, that will actually head into this war? >> first of all, i think one of the reasons why zelenskyy, to get their peace negotiation in the previous months is that they saw that any areas russia was taking, that russia was occupying. they were the populating those areas. they were shipping ukrainians into russia, or they were just leveling the place. and, so any negotiation the
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kind of started with the status quo russia is occupying those plans, ukraine's not gonna get those back. and frankly, those people are gonna live under serious misery. i think what ukraine wants is to gain back as much territory as they possibly can, to be in a much stronger position when they enter into any peace negotiation. and that, hopefully, it's how this can in. >> end. >> ben rhodes, thank you for your time tonight. that is "all in." the rachel maddow show starts now. >> thanks, my friend. much appreciate it, and thanks for joining us this hour. very happy to have you here. we've got it, we've got it. comes out tomorrow. but we've got it. here's how it starts. my lead deputy, robert khuzami, revved an urgent phone call from a top official at the u.s. department of justice. the midterm elections were less than two months away. the results would determine not just which party would control the house and senate, but also if the next two years of the trump presidency would be plagued by investigations. he spoke with a high level trump political appointee a