U.S. officials skeptical as Russia pledges to reduce military presence around Kyiv. Russian forces continue bombardment of key cities. U.S. officials say Putin at odds with his defense ministry. Refugees flee humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the intense skepticism over Russia`s pledge to scale back military to scale back military operations in Kyiv. Of course, by invading Ukraine in the first place, Russian President Vladimir Putin violated his neighbor sovereignty flowing norms and breaking international law, which is why Ukrainian and U.S. officials were dubious of Moscow`s claim that it would drastically reduce military operation around the Ukrainian capital.
Despite their rhetoric during peace talks in Turkey, the shelling has continued. In other words, there is what Russia says and what Russia does. And what Russia continues to do is to indiscriminately bomb cities, homes, hospitals, buildings and schools. Two main regions mentioned during the peace talks were Kyiv and Chernihiv.
But not even a full day after those talks, regional officials in Ukraine say Chernihiv and other towns outside Kyiv were bombed overnight by Russian forces, while another city, Mariupol, still fights for its survival. Here are satellite images of that city published Tuesday by Maxar Technologies, the ones bustling coastal port city that citizens now describe as hell, leveled by Russian artillery shelling and airstrikes.
Meanwhile, it is uncertain Putin himself is being accurately briefed on his own invasion. A U.S. official provided NBC News with the classified intelligence claiming that there is persistent tension between Putin and the Russian ministry of defense, allegedly because Putin senior advisers are too afraid to tell him the truth about Russia`s battlefield failures.
Putin allegedly being misinformed is just another reason Ukraine and its allies have little reason to believe anything that Russia says.
The reality of the situation on the ground is more than dire and unlike Putin, the rest of the world is seeing the inhumane consequences of this war through countless interviews with refugees like this elderly couple rescued by Ukrainian troops yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t have anyone she told the emergency worker. I don`t have anyone at all.
Her husband and her have been sheltering in her basement for a month. She gulps her tea with sheer relief. It`s her first hot drinks for weeks. They`ve had no electricity, gas or water.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Today, President Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that the U.S. will send an additional $500 million in aid to the Ukrainian people. And that aid cannot come soon enough. The United Nations says the number of refugees fleeing the country has now surpassed a staggering 4 million people in just five weeks. It`s a number that strikes at the heart of the matter. The Ukrainian people, most of all, have no reason, no reason to believe anything that Putin says.
Joining me now from Lviv is Ali Velshi, MSNBC Correspondent and the Host of Velshi.
This is a humanitarian disaster. Those pictures of Mariupol are shocking and terrifying. It looks like, you know, Armageddon. Tell us what is going on there and have you talked to anybody who believes in this idea that Russia is pulling back?
ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: No, zero people at all. In fact, there is no trust here in Ukraine, or at least with the people I`ve been talking to or the refugees that I`ve spoke to in Hungary and Poland for anything that Vladimir Putin says, because right from the beginning, he`s been disingenuous about what this effort actually was.
So, there was no sense when these negotiations were going on that they were meaningful and there was no sense that anybody in Ukraine wanted Ukraine to give up anything, any land or territory in exchange for peace because they said we didn`t want this war in the first place.
Joy, you showed that woman taking that sip of hot tea. How many times, you and I were on T.V. together a month ago when I was at that train station in Budapest where people got their first hot drink or their first sandwich.
This desperation, think about this, 4 million refugees out of the country, more than 6 million in the country, in fact, where I am in Lviv is full of people from the east, from Kyiv and places like that.
And I will remind you, that Ukraine before this war was the poorest country in Europe, the lowest GDP per capita in all of Europe. Their tax base is low. They have trouble paying for things, which is why people thought their military won`t be able to stand up against the Russian military.
And, obviously, the spirit and the military and civil defense has come through, but they need money, which is why the money authorized after an hour-long conversation between Zelenskyy and Biden today for $500 million, that money is going to go into the general budget.
That`s for paying salaries for keeping government office`s open, for helping people out who have lost their homes.
Ukraine really needs that in addition to the weaponry, in addition to the no-fly-zone that Zelenskyy keeps asking for.
REID: And very quickly, you know, Ali, is there any sense of how long this country can keep this up? I mean, they have valiantly resisted what people thought was a superior army -- obviously not that superior because they weren`t prepared, not motivated doing a terrible job of what they`re intended to do. But is there a sense that you`re getting even from Ukrainian officials of how long they can keep this up?
VELSHI: No, I`m not getting that. They all want to go home. They think they`re going to go home. They`re all clear that they`re not going home in the next few weeks, everybody who`s left. So, they think this is a probably a month`s long thing.
And when you speak to certain members of parliament and staff, they start talking about a martial plan type of thing that what they want when this is over is for Europe and the world to invest in rebuilding Ukraine and that could work out quite well. It worked out very well for Germany.
Everybody is thinking about that, so they`re thinking in terms of Ukraine will prevail. But in the short-term, when you see images that you are showing right at the top of the show of Mariupol, of Chernihiv, of Kharkiv, this is devastating and people understand that there is not going to be a quick end to this. They just hope that their president`s constant pleas to the west will result in something that is meaningful that finally, you know, nails this thing for Russia and gets them to pull out.
REID: Yes, indeed. Well he`s done heroic work. I mean I think the whole world is moved by Volodymyr Zelenskyy. And I thank you, my friend, Ali Velshi, who is doing yeoman`s works, not only doing this and coming on and being kind enough to be on with me but also hosting the 9:00 P.M. and doing a brilliant job of that. I never miss it.
Ali, you`re the best. Thank you so much. I really appreciate you.
VELSHI: Thank you my friend.
REID: Cheers. All right, and I`m joined now by Naveed Jamali, Editor at Newsweek and a former FBI Double Agent, and Charles Carithers, former Staffer for the House Homeland Security Committee advising Chairman Bennie Thompson, who is now principal of the consulting firm Corner Stone Government Affairs. It`s great to have you both on, and, Naveed, my friend, as well.
Do you have a sense, just as a military guy, somebody who knows intimately the way the Kremlin operates and the way the Russian government and official operates, do you have a sense of how long Russia can keep this up? No one believes them. No one has trusted anything they say. Nothing they say has any credibility. They`re claiming they`re pulling back but still bombing. Do you have any sense of how long they can keep this up?
NAVEED JAMALI, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, NEWSWEEK: Well, I think to answer that it`s really two questions, Joy. Because I think that how long the Russians can keep this up is independent with how long Putin is going to try to force this on. Because I think that, you know, any logical metric that you would use would say that the Russians should leave. I mean, they`re not going to achieve strategic goals. They are not going to remove Zelenskyy. It`s unlikely they are now will be able to take Kyiv but that doesn`t matter to Putin.
And this is the fundamental problem, Joy, is that Putin has no peers, as we`re hearing from the reports that came from NBC. You know, there is a lot of consternation amongst his advisers. But that doesn`t necessarily matter. He doesn`t have anyone he can turn to, to trust, to walk him off the ledge and I just don`t know when Vladimir Putin will decide that he wants to stop. And, you know, that`s the major question when it comes to trying to figure out what happens next.
REID: Just to some notes here from NBC News reporting here, the U.S. officials told NBC News they believe, as I said, that he`s being misinformed because of this fear that people have of him, and I`ll ask that question are you surprised by that?
But they`re also saying that Putin was unaware that the Russian military had used and lost conscript soldiers in Ukraine, saying most -- that his lack of information showed a clear breakdown in a flow of accurate information to the Russian president.
You know, it sounds like he`s deluded but are you surprised that his own defense officials are afraid to tell him what is happening?
JAMALI: I think so. I think that it`s -- you know, when it comes to Putin, look, Joy, he`s a despot, right? I mean, I think that people -- you know the joke of Russia`s, how does a Russian joke start, by looking over your shoulder. This is exactly what Russia has become. And I think that you saw this on Saddam Hussein. It was clear that Saddam Hussein was losing and his ministers were not back out, Bob (ph), like they were unwilling to tell him.
So, it is a problem and that makes this very dangerous because I don`t think Putin is operating in sort of a rational plane. Not to say he`s crazy but, clearly, he thinks for whatever reason he can be successful and I don`t think anyone around him has the heart to tell him that he probably can`t.
REID: Let me play for both of you and I bring you in here, Charles Carithers. This is the mayor of Chernihiv. His name is Vladyslav Atroshenko. And what he said and I`ll -- let me play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR VLADYSLAV ATROSHENKO, CHERNIHIV, UKRAINE: This is yet another confirmation that Russia always lies.
They are saying about reducing intensity. They actually have increased the intensity strikes. So whenever Russia says something, this needs to be checked carefully.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And, Charles, I guess that brings us to what we ought to do in terms of our policy. We`ve already crippling sanctions are already being implemented against Russia, we`re starving them economically. They`re being isolated. China has been more not to try to help them out. Is there anything else in your view that the United States and that the west can do to hasten the reality to set in for Putin that this can`t be done?
CHARLES CARITHERS, FORMER HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE ADVISER: Thank you, Joy. I think, first and foremost, I agree completely with the mayor. You can`t trust the Russian government here. They have a history of being disingenuous throughout their military occupations. They`re disingenuous about the purpose of invading Ukraine, a sovereign nation. They were disingenuous when it comes to them saying that they`re going to pull back on the shelling.
You know, we`ve seen the hard images. We`ve seen the satellite imagery, the brave photos from the civilians, but as far as what we, the United States government, can do, I honestly think we`re going to have to have a global effort here to help Ukraine. I mean, there are 4 million refugees, right? I mean, that`s roughly about the size of Los Angeles. And the amount of aide that we`re giving already is not going to be enough. We`re talking about, you know, $1 billion in additional funding toward humanitarian assistance. Well, like the number of refugees are going to keep increasing. You know, the devastation is not stopping. So, you know, those figures, you know, the amount of aid is only going to increase.
And then when the refugees at some point come back home, there are no homes to come back to. There are no roads. They`ve all been destroyed. Basic infrastructure has been collapsed. There is no water, no running water, no electricity. No gas to heat homes. This is a very chilling problem and it`s going to take a global effort. The United States cannot do this alone. It`s going to take all of Europe.
REID: And 4 million out of 40 million, I wasn`t a math major but that sounds like the tenth of the population is on the move. If it was -- you had your way, you`re still advising the U.S. government, Charles, would you give them the jets planes? Would you give them the jets?
CARITHERS: You know, that`s a very, very, very serious question, and I think we have to start considering what are the next steps are going to be if the shelling continues. Because how much -- how many more people are going to die, right? How much more infrastructure is going to be destroyed? I mean, what is going to be left?
I think at some point, we`re going to have to start thinking about how we increase the lethality of the aide that we`re going provide to Ukraine.
REID: Yes. I don`t think anybody disagrees with that. Naveed Jamali, Charles Carithers. Thank you both very much.
Up next on THE REIDOUT, the former president is asking for Russia`s help again, and Russia appears to be eager to see him in the White House again.
Plus, Ted Cruz, one of the captains of Trump`s scheme to overturn the election, is now accusing Democrats, Democrats of not believing in democracy. Don`t laugh.
Meanwhile, Madison Cawthorn seems to knows more than he should about orgies and using cocaine to a point where he`s lost Kevin McCarthy`s trust. I don`t know.
And before we go to break, I have an exciting announcement. On Friday, I will go to Greenville Mississippi to sit down with Vice President Kamala Harris for an exclusive and wide-ranging interview, Putin the threat to democracy, the historic vote on Ketanji Brown Jackson. We have got a lot to discuss. You do not want to miss it.
REID: If there is one thing our disgraced, twice impeached former president is consistent about is his saying unfortunate habit of saying the quiet part out loud.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Russia, if you`re listening, I hope you`re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: He claimed he was joking but he wasn`t. The very same day Russian hackers launched the first attempt to spear fish email accounts belonging to Clinton aides. In 2019, Trump was terrified of Biden beating him, so he attempted to extort Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to look into Biden`s son, Hunter. Responding to Zelenskyy`s request for military aid by saying, quote, I would like you to do us a favor, though. Well that didn`t work, thanks to Zelenskyy not entertaining that absurd request and to U.S. whistle blower Alexander Vindman, and that`s why Trump was impeached the first time around.
And now Trump wants mother Russia to help him dig up dirt on the Bidens again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: One thing while I`m on your show, as long as Putin now is not exactly a fan of our country, why did the mayor of Moscow`s wife give the Bidens, both of them, $3.5 million? That`s a lot of money. She gave them $3.5 million. So, now, I would think Putin would know the answer to that. I think he should release it. I think we should know that answer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Well, that allegation that he`s making is unsubstantiated horse puckey, but Russia certainly is listening. And it is no surprise that they would still rather have a Putin enabler in office than Joe Biden.
A Russian T.V. host took that sentiment a step further yesterday saying Americans should change the regime in the U.S. before its term expires and to, again, help our partner, Trump, to become president.
Let me just say that one more time: "again help our partner Trump to become president."
I`m joined now by Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, former director for European affairs at the U.S. National Security Council, senior adviser at VoteVets, and author of "Here, Right Matters."
And, Colonel -- Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, I wonder what you make of that, this Russian state TV a person saying -- calling Donald Trump their partner and saying they would like to change the regime and help their partner Trump get in again.
And just to add to that, Julia Davis, who did that reporting, said the Russian state media has made a habit of boasting about the Kremlin`s successful influence operation to get Trump in office the first time, brazenly asserting "Trump is ours," mocking the American intelligence community for sleeping while Russia elected a new U.S. president, and joking that U.S. lawmakers traveled to Russia "to make deals with our hackers, so they could rig the midterms in favor of Trump`s team."
Putting aside whether or not we find those things factual, because Russians are -- the Russian government doesn`t always tell the truth and Russian state TV doesn`t. What do you make of them calling Trump their partner and saying they want him back in office and they`d like to help?
LT. COL. ALEXANDER VINDMAN (RET.), FORMER DIRECTOR FOR EUROPEAN AFFAIRS, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Well, I think there`s a sincerity in that comment.
Certainly, they -- they prefer him to Joe Biden. With Donald Trump in office, you could kiss NATO goodbye. You could kiss any kind of -- any harsh response to Russian aggression, goodbye. And he`s easily manipulated.
But, as you pointed out, some of those -- some of those message are a bit overstated. They know which ones are going to trigger kind of backlash within the U.S. community, which ones are going to sow discord and hyperpartisanship.
To me, the most important part is the fact that Donald Trump keeps asking you for help.
VINDMAN: He keeps asking -- offering, extending his hand of friendship to Vladimir Putin and saying, hey, I`m here to work with you. Give me what you need -- give me what I want, and help me get into office. That`s the part that`s the troubling part.
I mean, the fact that the Russians are manipulating this, that`s a given. They will look for different ways to sow discord. But President Trump still has his -- he is still enamored with Vladimir Putin, in spite of the fact that Vladimir Putin is committing these horrific atrocities against the Ukrainian population.
The news coming out of Mariupol and any of the occupied territories is deeply disturbing. And I think this is also posing a useful distraction to the business of government and the fact that, frankly, the U.S. should be doing more with regard to Ukraine and supporting Ukraine in this very, very difficult moment, where the Russians are getting their act together and likely to refocus on much more limited objectives, and have the potential to achieve some legitimate gains for the first time in this war.
REID: I mean, and, to your point, I mean, while most of the country, the vast majority of people are looking in horror at what`s happening in places like Mariupol, and watching it being wiped off the map, and watching four million Ukrainians become refugees, you have Trump still making excuses, claiming, well, he didn`t really say Putin was a genius -- but he did -- and stoking specific conspiracy theories that are now popping up all over the right.
This Hunter Biden stuff, you still have like actual investigations. Does it trouble you that, within our government, inside of the DOJ, you still have an embed from the Trump era that is investigating Joe Biden`s son that was put in by William Barr, who was Joe -- who was Donald Trump`s lackey, and that you still have the right and Donald Trump whipping up conspiracy theories on everything from claiming there are bioweapons that the U.S. has in Ukraine, and all sorts of other mess, that they`re still doing this sort of disinformation here, which distracts from our support for them there?
VINDMAN: Sure. Joy...
REID: Your thought.
VINDMAN: Joy, I would just put it this way.
I mean, I`m looking at the footage of the last couple of rallies that Donald Trump had. And he`s a clown. He`s kind of turning into a circus act or something of that nature that`s really catering to a very, very small number of people, a diminishing number of people, which is, frankly, to me, heartening.
I mean, the fact that most of the American public is behind Ukraine in a huge way, they don`t have to conceptualize what the struggle for democracy is, they see it with their eyes now and understand that what authoritarian -- authoritarianism is, kind of see the resemblance between Donald Trump.
He`s being rejected wholesale by large portions of the public. I think what we will see is, we will see how his ability to kind of blackmail some of the Republican candidates going into 2022 election -- if that turns out to be a flop, he`s gone, he`s done. His ability to kind of rabble-rouse is going to go away.
And I think, again, this war is not going away anytime soon.
VINDMAN: It`s going to be something that is going to be in our face for months.
And I think that we haven`t seen the end of this tragedy by a long shot.
VINDMAN: And the American people are going to see how that connects with Donald Trump and the large swathes of the Republican Party establishment that`s in power.
REID: Well, I mean, he`s just going to be replaced by another one, right?
I mean, he -- the movement doesn`t need him anymore. It`s got Ted Cruz. It`s got DeSantis. It`s got all of these other people that are just mimeograph of him. But I want to ask you this.
John Bolton, who a lot of people remember as the warmonger behind the Iraq War, but he did work for Trump as well, he said that Donald Trump actually made the Ukraine invasion more possible. He said that Trump`s delay of military aid to Ukraine in 2019, as he pressured President Zelenskyy for dirt, actually made the invasion more likely.
He said: "You still have people in United States who think the DNC server is there, that Hunter Biden`s missing zillions of dollars there, and -- and to the extent there was an unnatural environment created made it much more easier for Putin."
Do you agree with that?
VINDMAN: He must have been listening to some of my interviews, which is OK, because I worked for him as his European affairs director.
And it`s consistent. I think that`s right. He did make it a lot easier. He offered the opportunity, this notion that this would be a low-cost operation, that the right, the Republicans, Donald Trump would be in his corner and undo or weaken the ability for Joe Biden to impose costs.
And I think that`s really one of the major things in the weeks before this war, a temperature check for Vladimir Putin that was critical to the green light to conduct this war. But that`s been the case for, frankly, years.
I mean, Putin saw the way Trump made Ukraine radioactive. He saw the way, basically, Ukraine maintained this pariah status for quite a bit of time. So I think that`s the opportunity that Putin has seized on.
REID: And it is not over, at least for Republicans.
Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, always appreciate the opportunity to talk to you thank you.
Still ahead: Perpetual "Absolute Worst" candidate Ted Cruz achieves peak irony by accusing Democrats of not believing in democracy one day after "The Washington Post"`s scathing rundown of his own attempt to steal the last election, believe it or not.
We will be right back.
REID: This year`s midterm elections are a little more than seven months away, and the stakes couldn`t be higher.
In an interview this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she fears for our democracy if the Republicans were to gain the gavel, a reasonable statement, since Republicans would happily strip away the rights of women and LGBTQ people and people of color, the same party that deemed the January 6 attack on the Capitol as legitimate political discourse. Cannot imagine what would go wrong with handing them the keys.
But what say you, occasionally working Texas Senator Rafael "The Canadian" Cruz?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Nancy Pelosi is not going to quietly. She`s going to scream. She`s already preparing to scream the election was stolen.
And, by the way, what she means by stolen is, people showed up to vote against Democrats. That`s what stealing the election is. And, remember, Democrats don`t believe in democracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Oh, irony, how you taunt us.
Trump dubbed him lying Ted for a reason, since, for one thing, Speaker Pelosi didn`t say anything about this year`s election being stolen. But while we`re at it, Ted, this you, the subject of this exhaustive report in "The Washington Post" on your role in supporting a coup for Trump after he lost? The same Ted Cruz who pledged to support a GOP nominee, but couldn`t endorse the man who insulted his wife`s looks and accused his father of assassinating JFK? Again, this you, Ted?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: That pledge was not a blanket commitment that, if you go and slander and attack Heidi, that I`m going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say, thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Ah, it only took a few years of getting dog-walked by Trump to turn his frown upside down and his nose doo-doo brown.
"The Post" reports that Cruz`s efforts are of interest to the January 6 select committee, in particular, whether Cruz was in contact with Trump lawyer "Mike Pence could overturn the election memo" author John Eastman, who`s been friends with Cruz for decades.
According to the report, Cruz proposed objecting to election results in six states, delaying acceptance of the Electoral College votes, in favor of a 10-day audit, allowing state legislatures to overturn the result.
What`s actually surprising is that Ted Cruz has a friend.
Anyhoo, let`s not forget that, in addition to his behind-the-scenes work, Cruz was the first senator to formally object to the Electoral College resort -- Electoral College result on January 6. And, within an hour of that objection, the mob had fully stormed the Capitol.
So Ted Cruz can take his claim that Democrats don`t believe in democracy on his next trip to Cancun. And, please, just stay there.
Cruz also cannot figure out why President Biden isn`t his pal, like the former president was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: Biden`s been president, what, 15 months? In that entire time, I have not spoken with him once.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: I cannot imagine why President Biden sees no urgency in speaking to someone who tried to coordinate an effort to overthrow American democracy, or maybe, like Ted`s current and former colleagues, he just doesn`t like him.
Check your Twitter mentions, Ted. People don`t like you.
In the meantime, there are new revelations about one Republican scheme to subvert democracy on January 6. Spoiler alert: His name rhymes with chump.
REID: When you take a second and really, really look at the Republican Party, you get a clear sense of what they despise, like transgender kids, and books about slavery and segregation, and easy access to voting.
And if you want a good sense of what they stand for, well, just take a look at the leader of their party. That guy has successfully cheated on his taxes and his wife. He`s been credibly accused of sexual assault by multiple women and paid a former adult film star six figures to stay quiet about his minuscule assets.
And, on Monday, a federal judge concluded that he attempted to obstruct Congress on January 6, which is a crime.
Yesterday, we also got a sense of how far he would go to cover up that crime, when "The Washington Post" and CBS reported that the Trump White House failed to provide an honest accounting of who Trump spoke to during a crucial seven-hour window of time on January 6, as his supporters stormed the Capitol and his congressional cabal objected to the fair election he lost.
But if you`re convinced that Republicans are experts at, like, QAnon trolling, oh, don`t be so sure. Behold, Hitler`s bunker enthusiast and resident tree puncher Madison Cawthorn. He tried to own, what, the R`s, but was forced to have a chat with absentee dad Kevin after Cawthorn pushed stories about his congressional colleagues having cocaine orgies, only to have Kevin say, wait there now, son, you`re supposed to be owning the libs, and saying Cawthorn admitted to exaggerating re: the cocaine orgies.
I guess McCarthy has no problem with some members of his caucus attending white nationalist rallies, but tales about in-house cocaine orgies, well, that`s a bridge too far.
Joining me now, Jill Wine-Banks, former assistant Watergate special prosecutor and co-host of the "Sisters in Law" podcast, and Jason Johnson, professor of journalism and politics at Morgan State University and host of the Slate podcast "A Word With Jason Johnson."
Now, before we get to the Cawthorn mess, because, oh, we`re going to get to the Cawthorn mess, let me just go back for a second to the -- to Jill Wine- Banks, so we`re going to want to start this with some dignity here.
REID: Justice Department -- I have this story here that my team printed out for me about the Justice Department supposedly expanding the scope of their probe on January 6, saying, in the past few months, a federal grand jury in Washington has issued subpoena requests to some officials in former President Donald Trump`s orbit who assisted in planning, funding and executing the January 6 rally.
I am skeptical, I will be honest with you, Jill, because I have seen complete inertia from the DOJ. I`m skeptical. Are you?
JILL WINE-BANKS, FORMER WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Unfortunately, Joy, I am skeptical.
I am of the belief that it could no longer be possible that a serious investigation is taking place, because there has not been a word leaked. And, at this point, I`m not expecting the attorney general or any U.S. attorney to come forward and say, because that would be completely improper. It would be what Comey did. It`s horrible.
But some defense lawyer would have gone to court to say, my client isn`t going to testify, or I`m not turning over these documents. It just isn`t credible anymore.
WINE-BANKS: So, I was hoping I`d get to talk with you about all the other stuff with Cawthorn too. I can get down in the dirt for that one.
REID: We`re going to -- oh, we`re going to let you in on this, sister.
JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Oh, we`re getting to that.
REID: Oh, no, I`m not going to leave you out of that. You`re getting in there too.
But I`m going to go to Jason real quick on this, because here`s the thing. What I have seen and what this story said to me is that they are still repeating that, yes, they`re looking at Enrique Tarrio and the Proud Boys, and they`re looking at seditious conspiracy, but only the violent actors.
And then when they say, well, people who planned it, I don`t believe for two seconds that anyone anywhere near Trump is a part of that. It just seems to me that they think that they can get by with just indicting the grunts, but never get to the planners. That`s how I see it.
How do you?
JOHNSON: Joy, you`re exactly right. We have seen inertia, we have seen ineptitude, we have seen cowardice from Merrick Garland`s DOJ.
Like, at this point, the DOJ, the Bat Signal has burned a hole in the clouds, and no one has responded, right? Like, no one has shown up to really do anything one way or another. And the idea that we`re going to get justice in this country, the idea that we will get to the bottom of the January 6 insurrection by picking up a bunch of corner boys, but Stringer is still tweeting from Florida, that is the problem that we`re seeing here.
I am disgusted, disappointed, and ultimately concerned, because their failure to do anything in the last year, almost a year-and-a-half now...
REID: Yes. Yes.
JOHNSON: ... from the insurrection, it becomes all the more dire as we move into the fall, if Republicans take over the House.
REID: It feels like Donald Trump might actually be above the law. I mean, I have never seen anything like it, Jill.
I mean, this man has gotten away with tax evasion. New York stood down. It looks like the DOJ is standing down. What is it about this one person and everyone close to him that they do feel like they are above the law?
WINE-BANKS: He has got more than Teflon than anybody I know.
It is inconceivable to me that he has gotten away with all of the things. When the campaign was still going, I thought that the statement about grabbing something would have been the end of the candidacy.
WINE-BANKS: But it didn`t bother anybody.
And so it is very troubling that this continues on. I have been working on a piece that is arguing that, if we, during Watergate, had indicted Nixon, maybe it would have set a precedent...
WINE-BANKS: ... that would have allowed prosecutors to be brave enough.
WINE-BANKS: And it shouldn`t take any bravery.
WINE-BANKS: It takes facts, which we`re all seeing. I see the facts.
REID: That`s right.
WINE-BANKS: There`s enough there for an indictment.
REID: A hundred percent.
WINE-BANKS: I don`t think that there`s any way to avoid it, and that it is far worse politically to do nothing than to bring an indictment.
REID: It is political.
OK, let`s move on. And speaking of -- you mentioned the grabbing folks by the undercarriage. Let`s go to Madison Cawthorn, who apparently was invited to grab some undercarriages, per him.
Let me read what he said. This is what Madison Cawthorn claimed.
He said: "The sexual perversion that goes on Washington, I mean, being kind of a young guy in Washington, where the average age is probably 60 or 70, and I look at all these people, a lot of them I have looked up to throughout my life," meaning they are Republicans, "and all of a sudden you get invited to, oh, hey, we`re going to kind of sexual get-together at one of our homes, you should come. And I`m like, what did you just invite me to come to?
"And then you realize they`re asking you to come to an orgy, or the fact that they`re some of the people that are leading in the movement to try to remove addiction in our country. Then you watch them do a key bump of cocaine."
Merriam-Webster had to literally issue an explanation of what a key bump of cocaine is, because, if you don`t do cocaine, you generally don`t know the term key bump of cocaine.
I`m going to go ahead and let you speak, Jason, and start this off, before we let Jill comment on this. Kevin McCarthy finally found something unacceptable to him. He didn`t care if you go to a white nationalist rally. You can go to a Klan rally. He doesn`t care. But he`s like you said in- house, we`re having orgies with cocaine.
JOHNSON: Look, as far as Kevin McCarthy is concerned, the only white lines we`re happy with are the ones that go into MAGA rallies, right? Like, we can`t talk about the other ones.
Look, this is -- I`m not shocked by this, because Madison Cawthorn seems like the guy in high school who`s always bragging about the girlfriend at the other school that he has that you just haven`t seen.
JOHNSON: Like, remember, this is the same guy who says I was bringing weapons in during the insurrection, and I`m at these wild parties and everything else like that.
Matt Gaetz isn`t calling him to come hang out. Madison Cawthorn ain`t in the cool club. So I think he was probably lying about this, not to say that there aren`t members who may engage in this behavior, but his propensity for running his mouth and exaggerating and conflating what may be stories vs. what he actually experiences is a problem for the Republican Party.
I`m not surprised that he`s been shut down. I`m not surprised that some people are engaging in this activity. I don`t think he`s getting the phone calls.
REID: I`m sorry, but, Jill, listen, if he`s not being invited out with Matt Gaetz, it`s because he`s afraid that he looks so young that he might be competing for the 17-year-olds.
REID: I mean, Matt Gaetz don`t want no competition for the high school girls.
So, I don`t believe -- and, listen, and my thing is, I am no longer ready to listen to anything Kevin has to say. Kevin claims that he`s admitted to exaggerating. That`s what he said. That`s Kevin`s story.
Why should we believe that? As a former prosecutor, don`t you just want Madison, Jill, to just give us the names? I want the names of the men who are at these orgies doing key bumps of cocaine. Don`t you?
WINE-BANKS: If I were a prosecutor in Washington, D.C., I would certainly be wanting to talk to him, because he apparently knows about crimes.
The sex orgies, well, are they Matt Gaetz type, where they`re young girls? That`s illegal. If they`re adults, well, maybe not. But cocaine is clearly illegal. I remember when the mayor of Washington, D.C., got indicted, got - - went to jail for cocaine.
So why not members of Congress? And the interesting thing is, let`s focus on, it`s clearly Republicans he`s talking about, because no Democrat is inviting him anywhere. So it has to be -- and he also said he respected them. He looked up to them. Well, he didn`t look up to any Democrats ever.
So it`s all -- it`s just more of the ridiculous comments of Ted Cruz that you have had on. It`s just -- it`s absurd. And the people on the other side...
REID: Hashtag I believe Madison.
I think -- I believe Madison should trend.
REID: Jill, what`s your pin today?
WINE-BANKS: My pin is in honor of Ukraine. It is a sunflower, which is one of their biggest products, sunflower oil.
And I`m supporting them in any way that I can and sending them my love and my support and encouragement.
WINE-BANKS: So, I`m going to wear a Ukraine pin until this mess is over.
REID: We are with you on that.
Thank you, my friends. I appreciate you both, Jill Wine-Banks, Jason Johnson.
I believe Madison. Just going to leave it there.
REID: Thank you both very much.
President Biden delivers an update on COVID variants and boosters. Oh, you`re going to want that information. Can`t we get another booster? We will bring you the latest.
Stay right there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re now in a new moment in this pandemic. It does not mean that COVID-19 is over. It means that COVID- 19 no longer controls our lives. That`s what it means.
QUESTION: How does it feel, Mr. President?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Today, President Biden announced the launch of COVID.gov, a new Web site to get the latest information on where Americans can get vaccines, tests, treatments, and masks.
The president also got his second booster shot. It comes just after the FDA and CDC signed off on the additional shot the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for people aged 50 and older.
And while new infections have been down recently, they are starting to creep up in a few states due to the highly contagious Omicron subvariant BA.2, which now accounts for nearly 55 percent of new cases nationwide.
Health experts say it spreads faster than the original Omicron variant. But, so far, it has not been shown to cause more severe illness.
Joining me now, Dr. Vin Gupta, MSNBC medical contributor, and a critical care pulmonologist, and our friend.
Thank you so much for being here, Dr. Gupta.
So I feel like we have reached the point where people are less afraid. Even I -- and I`m the most COVID fearful person ever -- are less terrified of COVID. I mean, former President Trump -- former President Obama got it. Hillary Clinton got it, and we didn`t panic, because we knew they were vaccinated, and we feel like, if people are vaccinated, they`re not in mortal danger.
Do you think that we have gotten too comfortable? And do -- what do you think about this booster? Like, would you recommend we run out and get it?
DR. VIN GUPTA, NBC NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Joy, so good to see you. Good evening.
I would say, for all your viewers out there that are 60 and older, there is some data -- it`s not -- it hasn`t gone through significant vetting yet, but out of Israel -- suggesting that, if you`re 60 and older, and you`re four to six months out from that third shot, that that fourth shot will help keep you away from somebody like me, keep you out of the hospital.
I have seen this with my own eyes, that folks that are not up to date with their booster series that are older, and, by definition, higher risk, that they are ending up in the hospital. So there is some merit here, if you`re 60 and older.
If you`re 50 and older, and you`re watching this, and you have a underlying medical condition, like high blood pressure, diabetes, it`s encouraged that you get this fourth shot, but is it as essential as if you`re over 60? No.
So, there is a -- there`s going to have to be a difference here and how we perceive our own risk to determine whether or not you rush out and get that fourth shot. But if you`re 60 and older, by all means, you should go get it.
To your point about comfort level, Joy, I do think that I have long said April 1 is going to be a watershed moment, where we`re really going to feel like hospitals will continue to become unstressed.
GUPTA: I think that`s going to be the reality for six months. November, I worry about, though.
REID: That`s what I worry about too, is that we`re getting so sort of come.
I mean, there are states that are suing to, like, end the mask mandates on planes and public transportation, federal public transportation, which strikes me as really premature. Are you worried that, when fall comes around, particularly if people don`t get even their first booster -- let`s look at you. You have said that fully vaccinated really should mean boosted, which means that really only 44.8 percent are what you would consider fully vaccinated, even though seven in 10 are vaccinated.
Are you worried that people have gotten so comfortable that we may see a huge surge and more hospital stress in the fall?
I -- people who should be getting a third shot have not gotten a third side, Joy, much less a fourth shot. And so -- and we think that those dynamics will continue well into the fall, into the winter. So that`s going to be problematic. People are not going to be staying up to date with their boosters who absolutely must, those that are high risk because of age or underlying condition.
Couple that with the fact that 25 to 30 percent of the adult population hasn`t gotten even one shot, winter `22 is going to be a significant concern. This next six months will feel like normal, like, will feel in many ways like December of 2019 -- or the year 2019. But, yes, that winter month is going to be really difficult.
I will also say, let me put a plug for teachers and flight attendants out there.
GUPTA: Many have reached out to me.
They`re worried, because they`re -- they don`t want to be in an airplane cabin, or, frankly, even in a classroom until their kiddos back home that are under 5 have had at least one shot in their bodies. And so I do think there has been a premature removal of masks in schools.
And now we`re talking about potentially this federal mask mandate ending in airplane cabins come April 18. I think that`s premature. Until parents of young kiddos feel comfortable, have those vaccines in the kids` arms under 5, I think we should be continuing to take these added protection.
So, just a quick word on behalf of flight attendants and teachers.
REID: And, also, people -- we were just on a plane a little while ago, and my husband was sitting near somebody who was wearing their mask down and had to keep being reminded by the flight attendant to put it up.
Like, people are violating it. Do you think it is that people just don`t care? I mean, hospitals are still overrun in some places, right? Like, this isn`t over.
I mean, we still lost 8,000 people from this pandemic just in the last seven days. There is a lapse here. I am concerned, in the next six months, that people have completely let loose, and people will needlessly die as a result.
Where we can control it, masking in airplanes and in classrooms, ideally -- I know pretty much the spigot has been loosened there -- we should, until everybody that needs a vaccine has at least accessibility to -- accessibility to it.
GUPTA: And that`s going to happen in the next, hopefully, two to three weeks.
GUPTA: Lastly, I will just say, Joy -- and I know we have talked about this -- access to these antivirals needs congressional funding.
That congressional funding is being lapsed right now. If we do not have that, we`re not going to have these oral antivirals in time for the winter.
REID: Yes, and we need to.
It`s always great to talk to you. Dr. Vin Gupta, really appreciate you.
That is tonight`s REIDOUT.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES," tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, starts right now.