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Transcript: The ReidOut, 2/11/22

Guests: Symone Sanders, Al Franken, Michelle Goldberg, Yascha Mounk, Wajahat Ali, Questlove, Jaime Harrison


Right wing cheers Canadian trucker protest. 2009, Santelli rant kicks off tea party movement. Grassroots tea party movement was funded by big oil and big tobacco. GOP searching for the next tea party movement.


SYMONE SANDERS, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: So, things remain to be seen. There`s a lot going on. I know lots of huddling on the Supreme Court pick. We look forward to see that soon. So, I`m watching very intently, just like the rest of us.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: There you get it. Symone Sanders, very informed report card as we go into, as you say, always busy times. Good to see you, Symone, in your Fallback. Aida, thanks for coming on "THE BEAT." I wish you both a great weekend.

THE REIDOUT starts right now. Hi, Joy.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: How are you doing, Ari? TGIF, have a wonderful weekend. Cheers.

All right, everyone, good evening. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the conservative lovefest for the anti-vax Canadian trucker protest. Now, as we`ve said before, this is not the grassroots movement of masses of outraged truckers that some in the media would want you to think it is, not even close. Here are the facts, 90 percent of Canadian truckers are vaccinated. And the Canadian Trucking Alliance has said that many of the protesters have no connection whatsoever to the trucking industry. In fact, the Ottawa Police chief has said that a significant element from the United States has been involved in the funding and organization of the small but very disruptive little convoy. Indeed, the American right is salivating over the chance to bring a similar protest to the United States.

Now, this should come as zero surprise, because this is not a new movement that just popped up during the pandemic. It has been here for decades, right in front of our eyes, in modern times, starting with the tea party. Now, a lot of people worked very hard to make you think that the tea party was this spontaneous populist movement. But like almost everything in U.S. politics, it came straight from the top, from the financial elite.

Let`s take a quick trip down memory lane, shall we? I`m sure you can recall in 2009 when CNBC`s Rick Santelli had this meltdown on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is America. How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor`s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can`t pay their bills? Raise their hand. President Obama, are you listening?

We`re thinking of having a Chicago tea party in July. All you capitalists that want to show up to Lake Michigan, I`m going to start organizing.


REID: That comment sparked seemingly spontaneous protests across the country. But as Jeff Nesbit points out in his book, Poisoned Tea, the tea party`s rise was orchestrated, well-funded and deliberate, with the goal of breaking Washington on behalf of the super rich. Nesbit detailed how the Koch brothers teamed up with cigarette company Phillip Morris, noting, no one would be the wiser or even care that these grassroots anti-tax groups would be jointly created and funded by the largest private oil company and the largest cigarette company in the world.

I mean, it was perfect timing, stoking outrage over the Affordable Care Act, which the Democratic Congress was only able to pass after nearly a year of vicious protests, and when Senator Al Franken finally won his court fight over the race in Minnesota, giving the party its crucial 60th vote. And with the Obama hate at those rallies came rather predictable racism.

The Koch brothers` strategy failed to stop Obamacare, but the tea party helped the Republicans sweep the House in 2010. Now, 2012 didn`t go as well for them. President Obama won a second term and Mitt Romney absolutely tanked with minority voters. So, Republican strategists went home, they did some thinking, and came up with an autopsy report that stressed that they needed to show Hispanic, black, Asian, and gay Americans that they cared about them, too.

But a strategist named Sean Trende had a different idea. He said that the 2012 elections actually weren`t about a demographic explosion of non-white voters. Instead, they were about a large group of white voters not showing up. He said the real challenge was for Republicans to figure out who these vanishing white voters were, why they stayed home and whether they could be reactivated in 2016.

Enter Donald J. Trump. The tea party crowd seamlessly morphed into MAGA- ism. After all, that is where birtherism was born. And when Trump won, he did it by getting more white Americans, particularly the same non-college white voters who fell in love with the tea party, to come to the polls.

And Republicans have recycled that same exact strategy multiple times since, with right-wing media and social media acting as accelerants, think anti-vaxers and QAnon, and critical race theory freakouts and book bans, and now these Canadian truckers. In fact, some of the participants actually cross over. Two QAnon supporters were elected to Congress in 2020, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, and QAnon helped fuel the insurrection, which members of the tea party movement were also involved in.

So, while the tea party is officially gone as a thing, it never really died.


And now that same faux grassroots strategy is being applied to these anti- vaccination truckers. Mother Jones reports on white nationalists and anti- vax moms planning a copycat convoy with this call to action on TikTok. You don`t have to be a trucker. We`re looking for mom vans too.

And it is not coincidental that these movement always seem to spring to life not long before elections, when Democratic presidents are in office, or Democrats control parts of the government. As The New Republic put it, the Biden era has provided grist to right-wing media mills and to Republicans, but it has lacked a true tea party-like group on to which every culture war bubble can be stitched for endless infotainment.

In a group of Canadian truckers, Fox News thinks it`s found the next golden goose. Now, it just needs to spark its own version into existence.

Joining me now is former Minnesota Senator Al Franken, Host of the Al Franken podcast, New York Times Columnist Michelle Goldberg and NBC Senior Reporter Ben Collins. Thank you all for being here.

And, Senator Franken, I have to start with you, because you filled in that 60th vote back when the fight over Obamacare was producing these just absolutely vicious protests all across the country. But I think people forget that the tea party, the rant on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, was not about health care. It was about cramdown. It was about the fear that the Obama administration was going to let people that are over or underwater in their mortgages write down their mortgages and only pay what they owed. It was about everything to do with regular people being able to benefit financially from government assistance. And so they threw everything on top of it, but it then turned into a thing about Obamacare.

Talk a little bit about the change that happened when you started to see some of these tea party people, including Rand Paul, you can name a bunch of them, who then wind up in the Senate, they ended up wind up with power, because that`s what happened. The tea party actually produced political gains for Republicans. How did that change the way things worked inside the Senate in particular?

FMR. SEN. AL FRANKEN (D-MN): You`re right, we started getting these tea party types, including Rand, and it was -- it was very upsetting, of course. Now, they did very quickly shift to opposing the Affordable Care Act and, of course, when they finally saw what the affordable care act was in 2017, when Republicans tried to pass a health care bill that would have left 22 million people, taking their insurance away from them, people finally saw what was in the Affordable Care Act, that`s why we picked up 41 seats in the House in 2018.

So, yes, this is -- right now, what we`re seeing in Canada is about the spread of disinformation. What`s sad about this is people are 45 times more likely to be hospitalized if they aren`t vaccinated and boostered, 97 percent more likely to die. The number one cause of death in America now is Joe Rogan. That was a joke.

REID: Yes, I mean, yes, it`s funny and not funny.

FRANKEN: It`s actually --

REID: I mean, the reality is, Michelle, I`ll link you on this, because this is a recycling project that is much older than the tea party. I mean, you go back to the liberty league, right? The richest men in America damn near planned a revolution to overthrow FDR to stop health care, to stop the new deal. You then fast forward and some of the richest people in America then try to do everything they can to stop there from being universal health care when President Obama is doing it. They used everything it takes. White nationalists jump in to it. Everyone jumps in.

But the goal, to the point that Senator Franken is making, to make you think that this tribal fight is more important than me getting health care, to the point that the father of the current governor of Kentucky, the previous governor there, the Democratic governor, had to like lie and say, this isn`t Obamacare, it`s Connect. And when a Republican came in and tried to get rid of it, they threw him out quickly, they`re like, no, no, we want to keep our Connect. They realized, Connect and Obamacare were the same thing. But you had to like hide it because people were like so angry about Obamacare but they wanted the health care.

So, I mean, tell me what this, in your view, says about what the Republican Party actually thinks of its voters, because they seem to understand that if Democrats could actually pass things, like health care, it would be so popular, they wouldn`t be able to get rid of it. So, they have to fight it on like tribal terms.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: So, I tend to see these movements -- I mean, I think you`re right, that there`s this top-down element to the funding and sort of infrastructure building, but there is also, to use the phrase of Philip Roth, an indigenous American berserk, right? There is this kind of strain of madness and conspiracy theorizing and resentment that really is a sort of a grassroots well spring for this stuff.


And I think that right now you have in some cases the Republican Party being incredibly cynical in fomenting this, but you also have the Republican Party sort of being pushed around by this. This is why you are able to see Ron DeSantis, for example, gain an edge on Donald Trump by sort of outflaking him on the anti-vax front.

So, the Republican party, in some sense, have no choice but to -- well, they have a choice, but at least from a purely mercenary point of view, it makes sense for them to indulge this sort of thing, because it is really where a lot of their voters are.

REID: Yes. I mean, when you think about it, the old-school type of Republican, they got their big tax cut out of Trump, which is the main thing he did legislatively when he was president, and a lot of them bounced, like a lot of them are gone. The Paul Ryans are gone. Some of these others ones are leaving. You look at this list, just cut three from our producers, they`re leaving, right? The old-school Republicans are leaving. Now, the tea party is like the base level. The QAnons are the new people. And they get even wilder and weirder.

Ben, you`ve done a lot of reporting on this, because it has, to Michelle`s point, eaten up the party to the point where it`s not controllable by the Mitch McConnells. They have to go along with it because they really can`t fight it.

You`ve got a story out right now about the fact that some of the stuff that the fomenting of this trucker brigade, it`s being done through the usual means, Facebook, social media, but in an interesting way that sort of co- ops existing Facebook groups. Can you talk a little bit about that?

BEN COLLINS, NBC NEWS SENIOR REPORTER: Yes. So, there are some foreign elements here. In Romania and in Vietnam and in Bangladesh, there are these content mills that are taking over these groups. What they`re doing is they`re taking previous pro-Trump groups, they`re just like generalized groups, that have 50,000 to 60,000 followers, renaming them trucker convoy groups, and they`re selling merch within that group.

So, it`s unclear if that merch is the end game. Sometimes that`s all it is. They took this over so they could sell some fake T-shirts from the internet. Or it could be something different. It could be some sort influence op, because even influence operations have these fronts of these fake merchandise sales as well.

So, one way or another, a lot of these groups are being run by people who do not live in the United States, who have nothing to do with this, but they`re telling people to drive down the highway, get in a big rig and head to D.C.

REID: Right. And, Senator Franken, I mean, as this takes over the party, it is like a wave that you either need to -- you either jump or you just get knocked over by it. I mean, there are people that are the hard-core Trump really won the election, which I think like 37 percent of Republicans believe that are running for Congress, people who are running in order to try to disrupt the next election.

FRANKEN: I think it`s more.

REID: It`s -- yes, they`re kind of everywhere. It`s more than that. And so I guess, what does that mean -- I mean, we`re putting up on screen now that Marjorie Taylor Greene`s endorsement is like second only to Trump`s in terms of what is useful to you as a candidate. So, at a certain point, the Republican center can`t hold. There is no center. The center is the far- right. And I wonder what that means long-term for even the United States Senate, which seems like it could very well turn into the House, just smaller and weirder.

FRANKEN: The Republican Party has become something almost unrecognizable. When I started there, it was tough then but it just got worse and worse and worse and worse. And, yes, this party, all he has to do is see what the RNC did, by calling it legitimate political discourse, you know, gouging cops` eyes out and breaking their vertebrae. And, I mean, this is who they are.

And they`re just awful. I mean, don`t get me started on like Ted Cruz. He`s like encouraging this thing in Canada, but it`s hurting our economy. So, now, the whole point about, oh, well, we don`t want these mandates because it hurts our economy to close the -- this is really hurting people in Michigan and in the upper Midwest. And it`s really, really hypocritical and awful, but that`s what you expect from these guys.

REID: Well, I mean, and they all jumped on -- I mean, people will Marco Rubio, who is a norm core Jeb Bush Republican at one time, switched and was basically was crowned king of the tea party, Michelle. Like he was on the cover of like a major magazine, he`s the new king of the tea party. They all do it. They all play the game, because, as you made the point, there are a lot of people who want this message.

Here`s a little just to show what the media is doing to help this out. This is just the Fox News coverage. This is a chart. This is how much they`re getting. This is being fed into people`s veins. This is being injected in through Fox, and then, to Ben`s point, through social media. You can`t escape it. It`s a constant message that you need to be enraged because the tribe is under attack.


That`s it. They just changed the thing that`s attacking. But it`s always something of color, something, something critical race theory, something, something black people, something, something vaccine.

GOLDBERG: Also I actually think it`s worth recognizing what`s new here. Trucker convoys, we`ve obviously seen convoys before. I remember them racing through New York City before the election. But this idea of sort of occupying a downtown, of using -- you know, it`s perfectly legitimate to have protests, even to set up encampments, occupy, did it, but anyone who`s ever gone to a big protest knows it`s pretty common for them to shut it down to traffic.

So, this idea of using vehicles to really take over a big city, also to shut down international trade, this is a tactic that`s seeing the success that it`s had in Ottawa, seeing the excitement that it`s generated among the right-wing around the world. We are going to expect to see this in a lot more places. And I think -- and one other thing I think that`s notable is that in Canada, these encampments aren`t armed, right? When they come to the United States, they`re going to be. And so it`s going to be an even more volatile situation.

REID: Absolutely. I should note that a Canadian judge has ordered the border bridge blockade to be cleared by 7:00 P.M. Eastern Time in Ottawa. So, we shall see what happens. Thank you, Senator Al Franken, Michelle Goldberg, Ben Collins, thank you all very much.

Up next on THE REIDOUT, mask mandates are beginning to fall all across this country, but is it the right time with 2,000 people still dying every day, almost all of them unvaccinated?

Plus --




REID: Questlove, the director of the Oscar-nominated documentary, Summer of Soul, joins me.

Plus, the totally not surprising Republican hypocrisy about Trump hiding, flushing, ripping and apparently even eating official White House records.

THE REIDOUT continues after this. Munch, munch.



REID: So, we have breaking news on Pfizer`s COVID-19 vaccine for children under 5, but not the news many parents were hoping for.

The Food and Drug Administration and Pfizer pushed the pause button today, saying they will wait for data on the effectiveness of three doses of the vaccine before the FDA can authorize it for that age group. This means that parents anxious to vaccinate their babies will have to wait until at least April to do so.

The news comes as the pandemic and how to move forward means different things to different people. COVID hospitalizations are starting to decline after a surge in December and January. And states are moving to end mask mandates for indoor settings and schools.

Still, close to 2,600 Americans are dying from COVID per day, as a growing chorus says it`s time to move on and open everything, with one writer for "The Atlantic" saying the time to end pandemic restrictions is now.

Joining me now is the writer of that piece, Yascha Mounk, professor of international affairs at Johns Hopkins University and author of "The Great Experiment: Why Diverse Democracies Fall Apart and How They Can Endure," and Wajahat Ali, columnist for The Daily Beast and author of "Go Back to Where You Came From."

So we`re recommending two books tonight as we introduce our guests.

So, let`s just start.

And the way I`m going to do that, this is kind of a debate. But the way I`m going to do it is, since you wrote the piece, Mr. Mounk, I`m going to read pieces of your piece, let you comment, and then I`m going to allow Wajahat to respond.

So I`m going to do it that way. I`m just the moderator. So here we go. I`m the moderator in this situation.

So let me read the first piece that you wrote, a chunk of it.

You wrote: "Since social restrictions are strictest in those parts of the country where most people are vaccinated, they are unlikely to help those who are the most in need of protection" in the, like, way unvaccinated states.

Please explain.

YASCHA MOUNK, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: Well, look, here`s the great news.

We have incredibly effective vaccines against this disease. It`s a great shame that not all Americans are availing themselves of those, that there`s still a lot of people who haven`t gotten vaccinated.

And so the question is, how should we treat them? At the moment, we treat him in a really paradoxical way. On the one hand, there`s a lot of people who have a lot of schadenfreude towards them, who celebrate when prominent anti-vaxxers die of the disease.

On the other hand, one of the big reasons why we still have a lot of restrictions is that there are some people who are still at risk because they haven`t gotten vaccinated. To me, that`s completely backwards.

Every victim of this pandemic deserves our compassion, even if they made bad choices, even if they didn`t choose to protect themselves against this disease. We have to have compassion for our fellow citizens.

But there`s no reason why we should be stopping ourselves from living a normal life because people who have chosen not to get vaccinated are still vulnerable to it. And since in places like blue states, which have the most protections, the most restrictions, and places like red states, in which most people are unvaccinated, a lot of it is not actually very effective.

If I were a mask here in New York, which is highly vaccinated, it is not going to help a lot of the unvaccinated people in Missouri or in Mississippi or in Tennessee to be protected from COVID.

REID: OK, Wajahat Ali, your response?

WAJAHAT ALI, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes, I`m glad we`re now in the pro-death, pro-COVID, F them kids portion of the pandemic. We started with F grandpa and grandpa, right, to get to herd immunity.

I just came back from New York, the gazpacho police, which are oppressing New York. Things were open, by the way. It wasn`t that bad. I went on the subway. I went on the Amtrak. I got a coffee. I even got a coffee.

All people are asking you to do are two things, number one, vaccinate, so you don`t go to the hospital and you don`t die. Number two, where a mask, so you don`t spread the infection. By the way, those people, like me, who traveled to the gazpacho police and came back, I have an immunosuppressed daughter who`s 5, who unlike Yascha, actually washes her hands, wears a mask, cares about people, got shots, didn`t get antibodies.

Kids under 5, I got one name Khadija. She`s 2 years old. She is not vaccinated. So she`s now -- obviously, we know that she`s not vaccinated. Kids are getting long-form COVID, right? Some kids are dying.

There`s also the elderly, others who are immunosuppressed. And, also, in this absurd country where 61,000 people died in January, and 10,000 people died over four days, and 3,000 people died yesterday, only 70 percent of this country is unvaccinated, which means 30 percent of those people are unvaccinated. Many of them also are not masked.


So that means they spread this disease.

And Yascha came out with a piece last year that says, take off the masks. Remember, in May 2021? Take off the masks.

What happened in the summer, Delta, then Omicron. So people are dying. I`m not asking you to do much. I`m just asking you to care about everyone else, because we live in a country, in a community. Wear a mask. Wear a vaccine. That`s my response to that section of the article.

REID: So, OK, so let me go back to you just for a second on this, Yascha Mounk, because let`s take the two pieces of it.

One of it, what about the fact that, even in New York, in a place that`s highly vaccinated, little kids, now per this new Pfizer news, can`t be vaccinated?


REID: And people who are immunocompromised, like the kids, like Wajahat`s kids and other kids, they can`t be vaccinated. They don`t have it.

So why not continue to mask to protect children and the continued vulnerable?

MOUNK: Well, first of all, Wajahat is making me out to be some kind of general opponent of measures to contain this pandemic.

I was actually one of the first people to write an article called "Cancel Everything" in "The Atlantic" on the 6th of March, 2020, saying that we are not taking this pandemic seriously enough, we need to have real restrictions in order to deal with a virus that was then surging, that was actually overburdening hospitals in places like New York City.

The question is, what is our game plan here? What is the actual purpose of these restrictions? At the beginning, it was supposed to be to root out the virus. We have all realized that zero COVID is not going to work, that we will have to find a way of living with the virus.

Later, it became flatten the curve, make sure the hospitals aren`t overburdened. Well, they are now not overburdened. We are on the downslope of the Omicron wave. We don`t just have vaccines. We also have a new generation of over-the-counter COVID pills which can be taken at home, rather than in the emergency room, when people get diagnosed, which is going to cut serious disease and mortality by 90 percent additionally.

And so the question is, do we keep on restrictions forever? Do we continue not to lead a normal life for the indefinite future? Or do we at some point recognize that there has always been some amount of infectious disease, but, actually, the levels of infectious disease are much lower today than they have been 100 or 50 or 25 years ago in this country, but the risk for children is very, very low, and that we need to, at some point decide that we`re going to reenter life?

And, by the way, this is not just about wearing a mask, which I`m perfectly happy to do, and which I absolutely do where it`s suggested. It is, for example, about, in fact, that Social Security offices are closed to such an extent that widows of people who have died of COVID have been unable to access their survivors` benefits.

REID: Right.

MOUNK: It is the fact that it is very hard to get a new driving license because government offices are closed. It is the fact that children have to wear masks during the whole of the school day.

REID: Right.

MOUNK: It is the fact that only 18 percent of Americans feel that we have gone back to normal life.

So it`s not about wearing a mask. It is about whether or not we`re able to connect with each other, to access government services, and all the other benefits that we have when we are able to socialize.

Let me give Wajahat Ali the last word on this.

Your response?

ALI: You might be done with COVID, but COVID isn`t done with you.

You and Bari Weiss might be over COVID, because you want to go to parties, like you mentioned in your article. You want to go to restaurants. But guess what? Everyone`s over COVID. We`re not sociopaths, right?

But I care about people. And 61,000 Americans died. And I care about elders and those who are immunosuppressed. And I care about those who are getting breakthrough cases, like our friends who are healthy and got vaccinated. I care about this article I just read that came out of "Nature" that said even a mild case of COVID leads to long term-health -- heart disease, right?

So all we have to do in this country is not be a Harry Ellis from "Die Hard." Do not be selfish and do not be useless.


MOUNK: How long? For the next 10 years? For the next 20 years? For the next 50 years?

ALI: Wait. You talked.


REID: Hold on.

ALI: If want to get on the team, Yascha, if you want to get on the tam, I`m just asking you to do two things, get vaccinated and wear a mask.

And then you can go and party all you want. And, by the way, this is a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. I`m not asking you to storm the beaches of Normandy. We know you wouldn`t. I`m not asking you to do that. I`m just asking you to wear a mask, get vaccinated, and just care.

Give an F about people during a pandemic. We`re still in it. And then you can go to your parties with Bari Weiss.

REID: I`m going to -- I`m going to have to leave it there.

You guys, please continue this on social media. We`re going to have you guys back up, because I want to continue this conversation. This is the conversation that`s happening in the real world, right? This is the back- and-forth.

And I wanted you all to hear two sides of it. And then you can decide where you stand on it and keep the conversation going on social.

I wish we had more time.


Yascha Mounk, Wajahat Ali, thank you both.

Up next, Questlove is here to talk about his powerful Oscar-nominated documentary, "Summer of Soul."

Stay with us.


REID: Well, happy Black History Month.

It is still legal for now, even in Florida, so let`s just keep celebrating. Whoo.

For most Americans, the summer of 1969 is often associated with the iconic music festival Woodstock. But you probably didn`t know that, 100 miles to the south, also in New York, an equally phenomenal music festival was taking place at the same time.

Thanks to first-time director and founding member of The Roots Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, now you do. With the incredible and now Oscar- nominated documentary "Summer of Soul," the long-overlooked 1969 Harlem cultural festival has finally gotten its due.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We brought everything to the park, the blankets, the Vaseline for the knees. It was the ultimate black barbecue.

And then you start to hear music and someone speaking, and you knew it was something bigger.


REID: The event drew more than 300,000 people over six concerts in a space now known as Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem and featured legends like Nina Simone, B.B. King, Mahalia Jackson, The Staple Singers, Sly and the Family Stone. The list just goes on and on and on.


Through new interviews, the artists tell their stories of that epic moment in black culture?




GLADYS KNIGHT, MUSICIAN: When I stepped on stage, I was totally, totally taken aback, because I didn`t expect a crowd like that.




REID: OK, it isn`t just a collection of unbelievable performances.

"Summer of Soul" chronicles black history at one of the most turbulent periods of the 21st century. And it`s so good.

With me now is Questlove, Grammy Award-winning musician and Oscar-nominated director of "Summer of Soul."

OK, so first of all, congratulations on the Oscar nomination for your first directing effort.


REID: That`s pretty badass.

Let`s talk about this movie. I enjoyed it so much. But I have to admit, it took me so long to watch it because I kept zooming in and -- I mean, I kept going close to the screen and trying to see if I could see my mama in the crowd. That`s all I wanted to know is, was my mama there, right?


REID: I mean, this was so epic. And I didn`t know it existed at all. Talk about the origin of creating this film, and how, how, how did you get all this amazing stuff?

QUESTLOVE: You know, I think, for people that know me relatively well know that I`m kind of under the hashtag music snob category.

So when these two gentlemen are telling me about this mythical Harlem festival that was like the equivalent of black Woodstock to 300,000 people, and you couldn`t even find it, you couldn`t Google information, none of my music experts knew anything about it, I kind of was cynical, as if this even happened or not. You know what I mean?

And so I didn`t quite believe that this was a thing. And then, when they brought me the evidence, which was like 40 hours` worth the footage, and even then, I was evidence sorting. Like, well, maybe the sound is bad. Maybe the audio is horrible.

Even then, I got more cynical. I got more defensive. Like, wait, why do you all want me to do it? Like, how did this wind up in my lap? Like, why not Spike? Why not -- you know, so, yes, that was three years ago.

And I have to say that this is probably one of the most life-changing things I have done, besides tell my dad I`m not going to Juilliard, and start a band.



REID: Well, listen, you made all the right decisions. Let`s just tell your dad that. He should understand that.

I mean, this is the thing. It is literally every single one of my mother`s favorite groups, most of them. This is all the music I love. This is the music I still love. This is so epic that I cannot believe that a music festival with this many superstars from black music, from American music, from music, period, was an unknown thing.

How did this thing fall through the cracks of American history? How?

QUESTLOVE: I think, in the beginning, I didn`t know about a direct answer to it.

But it finally hit me that, especially watching your channel a lot, and seeing the evidence of it, a lot of times, I think, when people think of like racist acts or whatever, they`re thinking of like the most extreme, violent versions of it, like castration or firebombs or that sort of thing.

But there`s also, like, benign levels of racism as well that come in the form of passive aggressiveness or just a scant dismissiveness, like, no big deal. And the thing that sort of burnt me to the core was the fact that I arrived at this place of euphoria with my journey of music without this film.

But can you imagine the millions of children and the millions of lives that could have been affected had they had this film to see when they were 5, 6 years old, the same way that Prince watched Santana as an 11-year-old watching the Woodstock film?

REID: Yes.

QUESTLOVE: Like, this film could have also inspired.

Like, you see the way the audience is watching Nina Simone do this performance, this could have saved lives. This could have changed perception.

REID: Yes.

QUESTLOVE: Because not many people count black joy as an actual important component in our story, so that`s...


REID: Amen. And, listen...




REID: Well, I mean, the thing is, this is during the same -- well, this is during the same era where they were creating "Sesame Street," right for that very reason of saying kids need some -- this positive affirmation through education, through music, through song.

Like, it`s the same era. I got to talk to you. You mentioned kids. You are doing a children`s -- a cartoon series. This is amazing, OK? So you`re doing something for Disney Junior, an animated series. Please tell us what that is.

QUESTLOVE: Oh, "Rise Up, Sing Out."

I think we kind of got bitten by the bug when we did that Juneteenth "Black-ish" episode, where it`s like -- you know those "Schoolhouse Rock" interstitial things?

REID: Yes.

QUESTLOVE: This is sort of that, but for something that I would have needed as a kid. Like, what happens when you get called out of your name? What happens when someone pulls your hair?

What happens -- there`s a lot of questions that kids of color have that were deemed controversial maybe 10, even 10 years ago. These were things you couldn`t bring up. And now I really applaud Disney for kind of ripping the -- ripping the Band-Aid off and really getting to the core of the matter.

So these are like little two minute interstitial songs that both myself, Black Thought, and James Poyser and the rest of The Roots put together called "Rise Up, Sing Out."

REID: You -- and, by the way, Black Thought, if you guys are not up on this, please, audience, you need to really be up on him. He`s one of the greatest rappers, I believe, of all time.


REID: And, obviously, you are one of greatest musicians of all time.

Questlove, I have one more thing to ask you. And this is actually something that my producer found that I did not know this story.


REID: You tell a story that Dr. Dre sampled your parents in nothing but "Nuthin` but a G Thang."


REID: Please explain. Please explain.

QUESTLOVE: Yes, my parents -- my father was an oldies doo-wop singer back in the `50s.

And by the time I was born, he was sort of having his second go-round, as in they had a group called Congress Alley back in 1973. The albums -- you can search it on streaming sites -- it`s there.

The album didn`t do much, but, for some reason, it was samplable. And imagine watching "Nuthin` but a G Thang" on "Yo! MTV Raps" and then hearing -- is that my mom moaning? What the...


QUESTLOVE: Yes, so, my mom and my dad are...


QUESTLOVE: They have hip-hop pedigree, like I do.

REID: And we have now immortalized that on the TV. And I`m glad that we did.

Questlove, congratulations. Thank you so much.

QUESTLOVE: Thank you.

REID: My girl Traci Curry are both nominated for Oscars this year. I`m so proud of you. Thank you so much. Brilliant.

QUESTLOVE: Thank you. Appreciate it.

REID: "Summer of Soul" -- cheers.

"Summer of Soul" is streaming on Hulu, or you can watch it on ABC for free on Sunday, February 20, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. You should watch it. You will love it.

Still ahead: But her e-mails, Republican lawmakers keep finding new and innovative ways to demonstrate their galling hypocrisy. This week, it`s their deafening silence on Trump`s mishandling of official White House records. Yum, yum, yum. He ate some of them.

Stay right there.




REID: In an extraordinary move today, President Biden rebuked the Taliban by moving to freeze and split $7 billion in assets deposited in the U.S. by the former government of Afghanistan, steering half to the suffering Afghan people as humanitarian aid and the other half to families of the victims of 9/11 who have active lawsuits against the group.

The president also met with European leaders, as Russia continues its unprovoked military buildup on the Ukraine border, and he will again speak with Vladimir Putin tomorrow.

In other words, Biden is busy presidenting.

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers are doing other things, attempting, for instance, to dance away from the oopsie when their political arm called the violent insurrection legitimate political discourse.

They have tied themselves in knots trying to justify the absurd double standards that have come to define their party. I mean, this is the supposedly pro-law enforcement party that`s going along with Trump`s idea that the January 6 defendants deserve pardons, while the Capitol Police who were beaten and bludgeoned that day deserve blame.

It`s a party that`s taking credit for infrastructure spending after they voted against it. And it`s a party that wanted Hillary Clinton locked up for mishandling her e-mails, but turns a blind eye when Donald Trump illegally steals and destroys public records from the White House, including possibly flushing them down the toilet.

The hypocrisy is pretty stunning, given how relentlessly Trump and his party went after Secretary Clinton for far less.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People who have nothing to hide don`t bleach. Nobody`s ever heard of it. Don`t bleach their e-mails or destroy evidence to keep it from being publicly archived, as required under federal law.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Hillary Clinton on her e-mail server had 22 top- secret e-mails.

RICK PERRY, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF ENERGY: There`s a pattern here of nontransparency, I guess, is the real concern for most people.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): She put classified information her computer.

FMR. GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ): She put America`s secrets at risk for her convenience.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): No other American could get away with this.



REID: OK, now some of those same Republicans, like Senator Lindsey Graham, have suddenly come down with selective amnesia.

Here is Graham then and now, first on Clinton, then on Trump.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Eighteen devices possessed by Secretary Clinton she used to do business as secretary. How many of them were turned over to the FBI? None.

QUESTION: A lot of reporting about the National Archives, and the National Archives having concern about former President Trump`s removal of papers.

GRAHAM: Then let them look into it.


QUESTION: Would you have any concerns about papers being...

GRAHAM: I don`t know anything about it. I don`t know if he did anything. I don`t know what the rules are.

All right, anything else?


REID: Ah, the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind.


With me now, Jaime Harrison, chair of the Democratic National Committee

Jaime Harrison, thank you so much for being here.

But I just have to get your take. I mean, you are the head of the DNC. So, messaging, this is your game here. What do you do with a party like that, who -- it`s so hypocritical, it`s almost comedic. There are only a couple of those people that I showed that montage that are up for reelection, including Marco Rubio.

What do you all plan to do messaging-wise about this?

JAIME HARRISON, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Well, Joy one, I`m chuckling, because you don`t find Lindsey Graham getting in front of a camera not having much to say.

That`s because he`s scared that that free meal that he`s going to get at Mar-a-Lago, that he would lose out on that.


HARRISON: It`s so sad, Joy, to look at this.

The party of Lincoln is no more. The party Trump is a party that is built on fraud, fear and fascism. And that is the moniker that has to be on this party as we go into the midterm election. This legitimate political discourse, how many people do, Joy, take paper and either chop it up and eat it or flush it down the toilet, or rip it up and to shred?

But that is what we see with this former president from the GOP. And now all these folks who talked about Hillary Clinton`s e-mails don`t have a damn thing to say about the fact that this guy had top-secret document in boxes down in Mar-a-Lago, when he knew and his people knew that those documents needed to stay in Washington, D.C., at the National Archives.

It shows their hypocrisy. It shows that they are a party of nothing. And we cannot allow them to get the power that they so, so desperately want.

REID: You know, there`s a sort of shamelessness to it that that, if you do it so shamelessly, after a while, the media -- it`s sort of built into the media`s expectations, so they don`t get asked about it as much as they really honestly should.

But, I mean, I`m thinking of this Arizona guy who`s running. He bought a Super Bowl ad. He`s only going to run it on local TV, but he`s literally -- a year after people stormed into the Capitol, hunted Speaker Pelosi, and chanted "Hang Mike Pence," brought a noose, when we know the volatility of the far right, right now that includes white nationalist elements all chiming in, did an ad in which he showed basically a mockup of shooting at Speaker Pelosi, President Biden, and Mark Kelly...

HARRISON: Mark Kelly.

REID: ... whose wife was literally shot by an assailant. Let`s play a little of that ad.


JIM LAMON (R), ARIZONA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: The good people of Arizona have had enough of you. It`s time for a showdown.




REID: That`s a year after the insurrection, which they have now called legitimate political discourse. Your thoughts?

HARRISON: Well, it goes to show that the Republicans don`t care who they put up, Joy. There is no litmus test for decency in that party anymore.

Gabby Giffords, 10 years ago, was shot. And Gabby`s a dear friend of mine. And Mark Kelly has become a good friend. That`s disgusting to run that type of ad in that state. It`s disgusting in the climate that we`re in right now.

But you look at the pack of juvenile delinquents in the House right now in the GOP Conference, and you see that Mitch McConnell really doesn`t care. He has Herschel Walker. And some report came out today about Herschel Walker and some possible shoot-out because of his interactions with his wife. They don`t care about the quality of people. They just want a body, so that they can put up and they can take power.

They don`t care about working on behalf of the American people.

REID: Well, you`re in a position now where you, in theory, could do something in return, right?

So, you have a bunch -- of let`s just start with infrastructure. You have a lot of these Republicans who are in their states touting the infrastructure bill. They didn`t vote for it. They actually voted against it. And they railed against it and said it was the worst thing ever.

Now they`re at home running ads on it. In the House, the DCCC could run ads against them. I don`t know if the DNC is going to. Is -- are Democrats going to run ads against these people and make their hypocrisy plain on things like this and on things like January 6?

HARRISON: Joy, they will have ads run against them.

We were already putting up digital ads against them, calling out the hypocrisy of these people who have said that they don`t want the money, it`s about socialism, this and that. All the while, once they get the money, they want to lay claim for it. So, if you voted no on it, you can`t take credit for the bill.


We`re also going to launch a lot a number of truth squads when we have these ground-breakings in some of these states, where we`re going to send some of our volunteers and Democrats to go to those ground-breakings with signs to let people know and tell -- talking to the newspapers and the TV stations, letting people know that these people did not vote for this legislation, so, thereby, they cannot take the credit for it.

REID: Jaime Harrison, we will see what happens.

The message man for the Democratic Party, thank you very much. Very much appreciate you.

We will be right back.


REID: All right, well, that is tonight`s REIDOUT.

Next week, on Monday, we will be in Los Angeles, where we will do a post- Super Bowl show. It`s going to be great. We`re going to talk NFL, all the race issues in the NFL. And we may talk about the game, depending on who we have on and how interested we are in it.

I do not have a dog in the fight, in terms of who wins this football game. I am just going for the halftime show, because the halftime show will be from the greatest musical era ever. Cannot wait to see the halftime show.

That is tonight`s REIDOUT.

Hope you guys all enjoy the game. Whoever you`re rooting for, I hope they win. See, I`m even, fair and square.