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Transcript: The ReidOut, 4/11/22

Guests: Maria Teresa Kumar, Anthony Fauci


A general known as the Butcher of Syria takes over command of Russian forces in Ukraine. Congresswoman Liz Cheney says the January 6 Committee has enough evidence to refer Donald Trump for criminal charges. As Philadelphia reimposes an indoor mask mandate, Dr. Anthony Fauci discusses the current state of the pandemic. A Texas woman charged with murder over an abortion has the charges dismissed.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone.

We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the terrifying new face of Russian brutality in Ukraine. The brutal, but faltering Russian offensive has a new commander, this man, army General Aleksandr Dvornikov, a veteran of Russia`s atrocities in Chechnya, also known as the Butcher of Syria for overseeing Russia`s air campaign there targeting Syrian civilians, indiscriminate bombardment that flattened entire cities, which earned him one of Russia`s highest military awards from Vladimir Putin.

Dvornikov is already overseeing Russian troops in Southern and Eastern Ukraine. And, today, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby spelled out the general`s track record of brutality.


JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: He and other senior Russian leaders have shown in the past -- and you mentioned Syria as one example -- have shown clearly in the past their disregard for avoiding civilian harm, their utter disregard in many ways for the laws of war, the law of armed conflict, and the brutality with which they conduct and prosecute their operations.

We`re probably turning another page in the same book of Russian brutality.


REID: And just tonight, Kirby said the United States is monitoring a report from the Ukrainian National Guard of a possible chemical weapons deployment in the besieged port city of Mariupol.

The U.K.`s foreign secretary said their government is also looking into the report, noting that any use of chemical weapons would be a callous escalation of the conflict.

This comes as Mariupol`s mayor told the Associated Press that more than 10,000 civilians have been killed in Mariupol, adding that the death toll could surpass a staggering 20,000.

Meanwhile, new satellite images show an eight-mile-long Russian military convoy moving toward the Donbass region and the city of Kharkiv. The regional leader there said there were 66 new strikes on the city and surrounding areas in 24 hours, killing at least 11 people, including a child.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed South Korea`s Parliament, warning that the Russians are deploying tens of thousands of troops for a renewed assault in the east. And in an interview with "60 Minutes," Zelenskyy renewed his call for additional military support and a no-fly zone over his country.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I remember, all of us remember books about the Second World War and about the devil in uniform, Adolf Hitler. are those countries who did not participate in the war responsible, the countries who let German forces marched throughout Europe?

Does the world carry responsibility for the genocide? Yes. Yes, it does. When you have the ability to close the sky, yes, it`s scary that a world war could start. It`s scary. I understand that. And I cannot put pressure on these people, because everyone is afraid of war.


REID: With me now is former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, an MSNBC international affairs analyst, and Clint Watts, former consultant to the FBI Counterterrorism Division and an MSNBC national security analyst.

And, Clint, I do want to start with you.

The devil in uniform, it appears there is a new devil in uniform, Vladimir Putin. I mean, these reports of chemical weapons attacks, and what appears to be an attempt to almost sort of draw a half-moon around Ukraine and push their territory, Russian territory in, almost to make Ukraine smaller, and to create the sort of buffer, because, if you just look at the places where they`re attacking -- and there it is.

We`re going to put that up on screen. Where they`re attacking, it isn`t in the west in Lviv. It`s along their border and, of course, in the south, where they have already got Crimea. It`s almost as if they want to essentially shrink the size of Ukraine, and do it by shedding as much blood as possible.

What do you make of this convoy and this focus on the east by the Russians?

CLINT WATTS, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Joy, the initial plan was to try and win everywhere, and, instead, now they`re just trying to win somewhere.

And that somewhere is the Donbass. Ironically, this is where Vladimir Putin said that he initially was going in. This was his justification for seizing this part of Ukraine in the east. But, at the same point, he`s done a couple other things too.

That push in the south out of Crimea essentially created a land bridge over to Mariupol. That`s a city which is essentially under Russian control for the most part. There`s a few pockets of resistance. It`s unlikely that the remaining Ukrainian military that are there will be able to endure. And there`s just civilian devastation.


What you`re seeing Vladimir Putin do at this point is just take all of his forces and mass them in the east and use total war, total war, in the sense of surrounding cities, bombing cities, leveling them.

And I -- as we hear, there are rumors of chemical weapons. I would not be surprised at all, if not now, in the coming weeks, you saw chemical weapons used to clear population centers that the Russian military just cannot take.

So what you`re seeing Putin essentially do is go for the east by creating those concentric circles. If he can unite those concentric rings, he will seal off pockets of the Ukrainian resistance. He will be able to smother them over the time, both in terms of just holding out all humanitarian aid, but also in terms of pounding indirect fires and total warfare.

REID: You know, and, Ambassador McFaul, what do you make of the idea of introducing this man, this -- this Butcher of Syria, General Aleksandr Dvornikov? Because that does feel like it`s an indication that they really essentially want to go Aleppo on Ukraine.


One, he`s being appointed because the other generals lost the war for the battle of Kyiv. Let`s remember that. They wanted to take Kyiv. They failed. That`s a major victory for the Ukrainian forces, a major setback for Russia. I think it`s one of their biggest losses in a long time.

But, yes, they have already gone Aleppo, I would say, Joy. I think, when we find out, if we ever do, depending on what happens in Mariupol, we will be completely shocked by how many people have been killed. I don`t even like to use the word war to describe what`s going on in Mariupol, because they`re just killing people.

REID: Yes.

MCFAUL: They`re just literally killing everybody and destroying everything. That`s exactly what they did in Aleppo. That`s what they also did in Grozny, Chechnya, back in that war in 1999-2000. It`s horrific.

But I also, tragically -- I agree with Clint. I think the city one day will fall. And the strategy now is very clear. Connect the red on your map in the south to the red in your map in the east and then try to sue for peace with Ukraine divided.

REID: And let me play for a moment President Zelenskyy, who did a remarkable interview on "60 Minutes" this weekend calling for more military aid.


ZELENSKYY (through translator): All depends on how fast we will be helped by the United States.

To be honest, whether we will be able to survive depends on this. I have 100 percent confidence in our people and in our armed forces. But, unfortunately, I don`t have the confidence that we will be receiving everything we need.


REID: I mean, Michael -- no, actually, let me give this to Clint first.

The other thing that he said was that Ukrainians are fighting for the right to a modern world. They`re fighting for the basic right of freedom, the freedom from Russia deciding your borders or deciding who gets to join the E.U. or NATO.

That seems so fundamental. He is sort of fighting for the free world, not even sort of. Ukrainians are bleeding and dying for the free world. And I think, for a lot of people, Clint, it`s hard to understand why the world wouldn`t just give them whatever it is they`re asking for.

There`s this convoy again trained on them, but they can`t do much about it if they don`t have airpower. At this point, is there a rational explanation? This sort of fear of World War III is real. But is there a rational explanation for not just finding a way to give them what they want and what they need?

WATTS: Yes, Joy, we`re at an interesting inflection point, because, in press conferences today, you have the U.S. military saying, we will basically send them all sorts of weapons up to a certain extent.

And that line keeps marching forward. And we seem to be much more open about what weapons we`re providing. Talking about Switchblade drones, Javelins. This is some of our best military hardware for a dismounted unit. That`s essentially a defensive sort of posture, to some degree. And they can only go so far.

And I think what President Zelenskyy was saying is, the only way to take on large armor formations and wide open train, which is the Ukrainian east, is to have some sort of offensive capability. And that`s very different from what happened in Kyiv. In Kyiv, a dismounted force in an urban environment that they know with interior lines and resupply can hold off a large formation, like they did.

But it`s very different going out into these open territories. Similarly, you have Boris Johnson appearing in Kyiv. I mean, this is outright support by a European country, again, I think the right thing to do, but it`s also somewhat strange, because we make these moves.

The U.S. make some moves. The U.K. makes these gestures. And we say we will do everything, except for give you exactly what you need to win. We want you to win, but we`re afraid to cross this line.

And throwback on this is always that if the U.S. does anything, or the NATO does anything to really back Ukraine, it will trigger a nuclear war. And I just don`t know that that assumption is correct anymore. I think there are some room to budge around there.


And things like dealing with airpower, I mean, President Zelenskyy needs that form of airpower. Much of this could be ended very quickly. And I think we need to test some of those constraints, because Vladimir Putin is absolutely stretched at this point.

I`m not sure he can continue this battle on much longer if he doesn`t do it in the next two to four weeks out in the east.

REID: And, Ambassador McFaul, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was doing interviews this weekend, and he made, I thought, a really good point.

Vladimir Putin loves his life. He`s enjoying being a neo-czar, living off of the backs of his people living very well, living very rich. In his mind, the idea that he would trigger what would be mutual assured destruction, he doesn`t think seems rational, because he said this man is rational. He`s decided that he can get away with almost anything.

He got away with it in Syria. He got away with it in Chechnya. He got away with taking Crimea. He got away with occupying the Donbass, which he`s already in. He keeps getting told by the world, we`re so afraid that you will do the craziest possible thing, that you go ahead and do the next craziest thing. You kill as many people as you want because there`s only so far we`re going to go to stop you.

The Ukrainians have already shown they have got all the courage to stop him if you let them. To you, when you look at this, isn`t it the case that he actually has to be militarily defeated at this point? I mean, he has now arrested Vladimir Kara-Murza, friend of the show. We have had him on. He went back to Russia.

He`s now arresting, again, opposition politicians who he knows have access to American TV, who we knows are known in this country. He has no limits. He`s arrested an American WNBA player. He doesn`t care, because he really genuinely believes he can get away with anything.

Isn`t the world telling you, yes, you can?

MCFAUL: Well, it`s a mixed message, because, on the one hand, we are arming the Ukrainians in a way that we haven`t done historically ever. And it`s impressive.

And, at the same time, I think we do fear escalation in an irrational way. Rational is a weird word, right? It`s not rational to kill children at a train station. It`s not rational that to bomb innocent people in Mariupol. But let`s leave that word aside. I`m the one that just brought it up.

Putin -- you`re absolutely right. He will do things within limits. They have made very clear, by the way, since he first made those comments about nuclear weapons that they`re only going to use them if Russia is threatened itself, existential threat. Well, nobody`s doing that. So I think that`s off the table.

The second thing people worry about is them attacking NATO. But if you`re having so much trouble in your war with Ukraine right now, you think Putin is going to attack the largest, most powerful alliance in the world, anchored by the most powerful military in the world? I don`t think so.

And so I think, yes, I support the president when he says no-fly zone. That`s where I disagree with President Zelenskyy. That`s a declaration of war. But everything short of that, we have got to give them those weapons, and we have got to do it in a way that will matter in the fight in the coming weeks. It can`t be slow.

So everything below that, I think we need to be delivering now.

REID: Yes, I don`t think anyone watching this show disagrees with you, because Putin has shown that, you want to call somebody the devil in uniform, I think he has earned that title, alongside the person to whom Volodymyr Zelenskyy was initially referring.

Ambassador Michael McFaul, Clint Watts, thank you both very much.

Up next on THE REIDOUT: Congresswoman Liz Cheney says the January 6 Committee has enough evidence to refer Donald Trump for criminal charges. Meanwhile, another key figure in the insurrection is cooperating with the feds.

Plus, a major city is reimposing an indoor mask mandate. Should we be concerned about the rise of COVID cases across the country? Dr. Anthony Fauci joins me.

And you might have read about the Texas woman arbitrarily charged with murder over an abortion. Those charges have now been dismissed. But don`t be fooled. This is the future Republicans are writing into law.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: The January 6 Committee has enough evidence for a criminal referral of Donald Trump, according to Vice Chair Liz Cheney.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): We have not made a decision about referrals on the committee. I think that it is absolutely the case, it`s absolutely clear that what President Trump was doing, what a number of people around him were doing, that they knew it was unlawful. They did it anyway.

There`s not really a dispute on the committee.


REID: Cheney pushed back on reporting that indicates that the committee is split over sending the referral to the Justice Department over concerns it could backfire by politically tainting any move that Attorney General Merrick Garland makes in the DOJ`s investigation.

Cheney isn`t the only one making the case that Trump likely committed crimes. Last month, a federal judge, ruling on a case involving Trump`s lawyer and insurrection memo author John Eastman, said that Trump probably committed a felony when he tried to stop Congress from certifying the electoral vote for Joe Biden.

Judge David Carter wrote -- quote -- "Based on the evidence, the court finds it more likely than not that Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021" -- unquote.

So, while the January 6 Committee is still contemplating whether to send a criminal referral to the Justice Department, one thing is very clear. It is getting harder and harder to ignore all the elements of this conspiracy and how high it might reach.


And while Merrick Garland has been tight lipped about the DOJ`s investigation, leading to growing criticism that he`s not doing enough, there are new signs that the investigation is expanding.

Last week, Ali Alexander, the self-described lead organizer of the Stop the Steal rally on January 6, said he is taking a cooperative posture with the DOJ investigation after receiving a grand jury subpoena.

"The New York Times" reports that, in an indication that the inquiry could reach into the Trump administration and its allies in Congress,the subpoena also seeks information about members of the executive and legislative branches who were involved in the events or who may have helped obstruct the investigation of the 2020 election."

With me now Joyce Vance, professor at the University of Alabama School of Law and a former U.S. attorney and friend of the show.

And so, Joyce, this is -- to me, when I saw this, I was like, this is actually interesting. I have been touting Ali Alexander as somebody interesting since he kind of vanished after January 6 and seemed to almost go into hiding. Then he popped back up in the Tuckums documentary that tried to make it sound like it was an FBI, like, fake insurrection to try to make Donald Trump`s people look bad.

But let me let people listen to Ali Alexander just to remind folks who he is. Here he is.


ALI ALEXANDER, JANUARY 6 RALLY ORGANIZER: I`m the person who came up with the January 6 idea with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Mo Brooks, and then Congressman Andy Biggs.

We four schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting, so that who we couldn`t lobby, we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body hearing our loud roar from outside.


REID: Our loud roar from the outside. Whoever we couldn`t lobby, we could change the hearts and minds of Republicans.

That sounds like a confession. And it also sounds like a snitch. Mo Brooks, Andy Biggs, Congressman Gosar.

Your thoughts?

JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: You know, it`s awfully interesting, because he seems to be saying, if there are people that we can`t convince with logic, we will convince them with violence.

And I agree to -- you. That sounds awfully close to a statement about a criminal conspiracy in the works.

So, look, if I`m a prosecutor, and I have access to Ali Alexander and what he says is a cooperative posture, first off, I`m a little bit cynical as I approach him. I want to make sure that everything that he says is corroborated.

I`m interested in listening to his story and his narrative. What I really want to know is, are there text messages or other documents that back up anything he has to say, for instance, about the congressmen?

And I`m also very interested in what insight he might have between the different factions that showed up on January 6, these MAGA groups, these white supremacist groups, the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, because there was obviously a lot of friction between them and the organizers of the different events.

And it`s possible that Alexander may have a narrative that will be very helpful to prosecutors in putting together a case that works ever higher up and closer towards Trump`s Oval Office.

REID: And so just talk to us about the strategic here.

You`re absolutely right. So you have Donald Trump Jr. days after the election, before any election results were even certified, texting to the chief of staff, Mark Meadows, right after election: "It`s very simple. We have multiple paths. We control them all. We either have a vote we control and we win or it gets kicked to Congress."

When? January 6. You have that. Put a pin in that.

You have Ali Alexander saying: I came up with this plan that we were going to hear the -- they would hear the roar of us if they wouldn`t be convinced on January 6 to flip the election.

Then you have the actual things that happen. You have the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers show up. Both of the leaders of those groups are now in trouble. You have the Proud Boys leader Chris (sic) Donohoe having pleaded guilty. And you have the Oath Keepers leader Joshua James. These guys are cooperating with the DOJ. So they`re there.

And then you have the sort of academic, like, sort of overhang of, here`s how you do this. You need to find a way to get them -- to get Congress to not actually certify the election, John Eastman outlining a scenario in which Vice President Mike Pence could deny certifying Biden`s election. Cruz crafted a complementary plan -- that`s Ted Cruz of Texas -- crafted a complementary plan.

Eastman asked in an inquiry by lawyer for the January 6 Committee whether he had any communication with Senator Ted Cruz regarding efforts to change the outcome of the 2020 election declined to answer, invoked the Fifth.

I`m just going to let you talk while I put up this sort of chart that our wonderful producer for this segment put together. There are so many people, Joyce, who all seemed to have the same plan, somehow delay the certification on January 6, somehow convince members of Congress to not certify, somehow convince the vice president to overturn the election.


Can it be a coincidence that all these people had the same idea, some of whom acted violently?

VANCE: I had a wonderful mentor who used to say, there`s no such thing as coincidence in law enforcement. And, by and large, that tends to be true.

But, Joy, you have done a great job of laying out the problem that DOJ faces. And I`m going to be a little bit wonky here for a second...

REID: We love that.

VANCE: ... and explain that there`s a concept in the law about conspiracies where sometimes you just have one big conspiracy, everybody`s part of it, they all entered into the same agreement, they`re all working together.

On other occasions, you can have multiple conspiracies, each with its own set of players. They can be overlapping, but they can have different objectives.

And without boring people and causing them to turn off their TVs, I will just say that there are legal implications for prosecutors in getting that right. You can have cases get reversed on appeal if you`re not careful about identifying conspiracies and charging them properly.

And so that`s an issue I think DOJ faces here. You do such a great job of laying out all of the players. And there`s also the folks in the Willard war room and this question of how much command-and-control, if any, the former president had.

So I have -- and I think you and I have discussed before, I`m very empathetic to the situation DOJ`s prosecutors are in. If they`re going to charge, they have got to get it right, not just complicated legal issues, but this factual overlay, which, as we look at this evidence, I think we all have a little bit of confirmation bias, because we don`t like what Donald Trump did.

We saw in real time that he tried to commit an insurrection against Americans. When a jury hears this evidence, the judge will instruct them that they have to start with a presumption of innocence. And juries take that very seriously. And the government will have to present specific evidence on specific charges and get it right.

But, increasingly, between the January 6 committees work and this increasing pile of cooperators DOJ is developing, it looks like progress is being made.

REID: And you`re right, because I have had no -- I have had almost no empathy for the DOJ. But you have been very great about coming on and being like, hold on a second, hold your horses, because we saw in Michigan that what looked like an airtight conspiracy, when it gets in the hands of a jury, anything from nullification to just a case that wasn`t put together, right?

You -- anything could have happened in that range. They didn`t get a conviction there. There`s a couple of people maybe retried. And you saw the back-down in New York that people were very upset about by Alvin Bragg, DA out Alvin Bragg, who was sort of hold your horses. But he then did say this weekend, no, they`re still investigating.

Is that what you`re talking about, that, if you`re going to aim for the king, you better be accurate? Because the risk is, you jump out there, you do some sort of a prosecution, and you lose.

VANCE: I think that`s right.

Prosecutors have a very serious obligation to evaluate their evidence before they indict. And this is the America we want to live in.

And this Texas case, this prosecution that I know, you will talk about later, of the -- the attempted prosecution of the woman for an abortion, when Texas law didn`t make that a charge that could be brought, that`s reprehensible. And prosecutors shouldn`t engage in that sort of conduct, subjecting people to arrest because they have the power to do that, even when their case isn`t any good.

We don`t want to be that America. We want to be an America where a former president is held accountable properly for his acts. And that means we are living through tough times and difficult times. There are some fair and legitimate questions about Merrick Garland, but, increasingly, we see a lot of work going on behind the surface.

And I think, unfortunately for those of us living through it, we have to wait a little bit longer, but I think we should have confidence that the system is doing its job.

REID: I have to say, as much doubt as I have heard about Merrick Garland, I do have confidence in the prosecutors at the DOJ.

And one of the many reasons is because I know you. And if they`re anything like you, my friend, Joyce Vance, I know that they are great and they are diligent and they`re doing their job.

So, God bless them. And let`s just see what happens. And we`re hoping we can get justice for this country.

Joyce Vance, thank you.

Still ahead: Philadelphia reinstates indoor mask mandates, as some parts of the U.S. report an uptick in new COVID cases.

Dr. Fauci joins me next.



REID: COVID cases are ticking up across the country, fueled by a highly transmissible Omicron subvariant.

High-profile names in the Biden administration and Congress are no exception. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is the latest House member to contract COVID-19. Meanwhile, 80 -- 80 -- people have now tested positive after having attended the annual Gridiron Dinner in Washington on April 2.

That includes New York Mayor Eric Adams, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Senator Susan Collins. More than two years into the pandemic, with three types of vaccines and a lot of COVID fatigue, many Americans are stepping back into public life with more confidence.

And yet questions remain over how to navigate the risks. For Philadelphia, those risks mean the mask mandate is back. It is the first major U.S. city to reimpose a mask mandate for indoor public spaces amid this latest surge.

Joining me now is Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to President Biden.


Dr. Fauci, it is great to see you again.

But, usually, seeing you again sometimes means I have to discuss bad news with you. And this one is tough, because this -- 80 people testing positive at one event has scared a lot of those of us who are here in the nation`s capital. We have got things coming up, like the White House Correspondents Dinner.

Should I be afraid?


REID: Should we be afraid?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well, if you have vaccinated, Joy, and boosted, then you are in a very low risk category of getting seriously ill if you get infected.

You`re protected predominantly against infected, but not nearly as well as we`d like, because the vaccines do much better than protecting against severe disease than it does against infection. So, the organizers of these groups do whatever they can to try and mitigate the risk, requiring people to show proof of vaccination, and even requiring a test, a negative antigen test, within 24 hours of whatever event we`re talking about.

So the risk is still very low, but it`s not zero. And that`s -- if you want to get back to some form of normality, you look at the CDC guidelines about giving some broad general framework upon which you can make your choice, but the choice is up to the individual about the level of risk that they`re willing to take.

I mean, if you are totally risk-averse, and you don`t want to get infected at all, no matter what, for any of a number of reasons -- you might have an underlying condition that would make you more likely to get a severe outcome. You might have someone in your home who is a compromised person, so that you might bring it home, even if you don`t have the symptom.

You put all of that into the equation of whether you might want to go to a big dinner or not.

REID: Yes.

FAUCI: And that`s the individual choice.

That`s going to be part of living with a level of infection in the community that`s not stressing the hospital system, that`s not killing a lot of people, that`s not sending a lot of people to the hospital, but, still, people are getting infected. And that`s really the name of the game of what it`s going to be like, and you just follow it very carefully.

REID: Yes.

There`s -- it feels like they`re sort of mixed messages, right? For those of us who are vaxxed and boosted, right, it feels like the sort of overall message is, you can go back to your life. You can go out to dinner. You can do things.

But then you hear about people who are mainly vaccinated getting sick, right? And I even know of somebody that I know who passed recently who was vaccinated and boosted. I don`t know what underlying conditions they had.

But then, on the other hand, you have the federal government imminently taking away the mask mandates. The mask mandates, they`re trying to decide -- the Biden administration is trying to decide whether they should extend the mask mandates requiring masks on airplanes, trains, and transit hubs. But Philadelphia is putting the mask mandate back on.

That feels like a mixed message. And I think I`d be afraid to fly without wearing a mask. Do you think it`s wise to even talk about getting rid of the mask mandates on transit?

FAUCI: Well, certainly that is being very actively discussed.

And I think what we`re dealing with -- or I know what we`re dealing with, Joy, is that we`re dealing with a bit of a moving target. No doubt, when you pull back the way the country has on the requirements for masks, according to the new CDC metrics, we see in other countries, like the U.K., when you do that in the context of BA.2, which is more transmissible than BA.1, and you have waning immunity, you have the risk of their seeing an uptick in cases, exactly what they`re seeing in the U.K. and in certain of the European countries.

So, we`re looking at what we`re seeing right now. I don`t think there`s any question you are going to see an uptick. About half the country -- half of the states in the country are already seeing an increase. It isn`t nearly as high to trigger a change in color of the so-called color code, but it`s going up.

So, we really need to see what`s going to happen in the next few weeks before you make a decision about pulling back on a mandate for travel like you asked.

REID: Yes.

FAUCI: It may be it`ll be kept, or it may be that it`ll go up and then things will come down, and they will pull back.

REID: Yes.

FAUCI: I can`t tell you what the answer to that is right now.

REID: Yes.

And very quickly, before we let you go, if you are over 50 right now, would you get that fourth shot? I mean, should those over 50 go ahead and get that fourth shot, or should they -- or should all of us wait?

FAUCI: I recommend you go and get the shot if you are over 50.

REID: All right, then you have heard it from the man himself, Dr. Anthony...

FAUCI: Pretty clear recommendation.


REID: Very clear. We love clarity.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, thank you very much. Really appreciate you. Cheers.

And up next: A Texas woman is arrested for murder after what authorities say was a self-induced abortion. Those charges have now been dropped, but it is a chilling preview of the future if Roe vs. Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court.


Stay right there.



DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think I`m the most honest human being perhaps that God ever created. Perhaps.



REID: I`m so sorry for making you listen to that guy today.

But, honestly, he is the leader of the Republican Party, the one to whom every Republican from Moscow Mitch on down bends the knee. And, for once, he is right. He does say what he means.


Take this comment from 2016, when he was running for president.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, FORMER HOST, "HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS": Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as a principle?

TRUMP: The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.

MATTHEWS: For the woman?

TRUMP: Yes, there has to be some form.


REID: Mm-hmm. At the time, anti-abortion activists condemned his statement and said they in no way wanted to punish women.

Fast-forward to the president. A Texas woman, Lizelle Herrera, was charged with murder and held on a $500,000 bond due to what the Starr County Sheriff`s Office described as an intentionally and knowingly causing the death of an individual by self-induced abortion.

Now, we don`t know the details of the case. And it`s still unclear if it was Herrera`s abortion or if she aided one. But if she was arrested for actually having the abortion, that is unprecedented. Texas does have extremely draconian laws that are hindering patients from abortion care throughout the state and putting even bounties on women.

But the laws haven`t gone as far yet as legally punishing a patient who obtains an abortion, which is why the district attorney dismissed the case today.

And the anti-abortion Texas Right to Life group says that they actually agree with that decision, you have got to presume, due to the terrible P.R.

But it does raise the question. After Roe v. Wade is overturned by the right-wing Supreme Court majority, which seems likely, will women be punished for abortions? Before Roe v. Wade, seeking an abortion was a crime in six states, though women were very rarely imprisoned, but they were punished in many other ways.

As Slate points out, being captured, examined, interrogated occasionally jailed and forced to testify in court punished women for seeking abortions even if they were never prosecuted or convicted of a crime.

In today`s environment, it is hard to see a way to make abortion illegal while not holding women responsible. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, 26 states are already certain are likely to outright ban abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

And as Paul Waldman writes in "The Washington Post" today, once it`s overturned -- quote -- "Red states will start competing with one another to see who can pass the most draconian abortion ban."

And if you think that doesn`t involve throwing women who dare to exercise control their own bodies in jail, you haven`t been paying enough attention. That`s going to be just the start.

So, what should Democrats do about it? That is up next.



REID: The conservative dominated Supreme Court is inching closer and closer to telling American women, your body belongs to the state the moment you get pregnant, however that happens, even if it`s by rape or incest.

And so you cannot decide what to do with your body the instant that happens, this while Republican statehouses across this country are being flooded with restrictive abortion bills in gleeful anticipation by the right of the imminent end of Roe v. Wade, despite the fact that, according to Pew Research, 59 percent of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 39 percent say it should be illegal in all or most cases.

A majority of adults across racial and ethnic lines -- across racial and ethnic groups express support for legal abortion. Two-thirds of Asian and black adults say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, as do 58 percent of Hispanic adults and 57 percent of white adults.

But congressional Republicans are not waiting around for the court to put an end to choice in America. "The National Review" got a hold of the Republican Study Committee`s messaging memo ahead of the Supreme Court`s decision, which argues that Republicans -- yes, you know the ones who want guns in every school, but not books or funding or lunch for kids who can`t afford it to pay -- who can afford to pay -- that they are the pro- life/pro-family party.

The memo argues that it`s Democrats who are out of step with Americans because they support -- quote -- "abortion on demand through all nine months paid for by taxpayers," a compound lie, but a politically lethal one.

With me now is Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino, and Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher.

Where to begin?

MTK, what seems to be happening right now, with this prosecution, this attempted prosecution of this woman in Texas that was then withdrawn, it seems like the hand was shown, because you logically cannot say that abortion should be illegal, but that women getting abortions are not committing a crime.

The logical -- the logical outcome of that logic -- or the outcome of that logic is that women are guilty of criminal offenses. I can`t see how it doesn`t end up with women being prosecuted. Can you?


And I think that`s one of the reasons why the judge actually had to throw it out of court, right? But this was after it was physically presented. And the other question one has to ask themselves is, were any HIPAA violations actually done?

This -- the idea HIPAA is, you have a privacy with your -- with whatever health care you have. Your doctor cannot tell your employer, cannot tell your neighbor, by law. So what HIPAA violation is there?

If I were her, I would try to identify, how do we actually sue this, because it was a violation of her privacy at a very bottom level that is upheld by the federal government.


But taking a step back from that, it is a chilling effect for women everywhere and our loved ones when the government is trying to decide what is right for us at that moment. And we do not know or understand her circumstance, but she decided that this was -- this is where she was, in the fact that, again, a medical procedure that she went and sought extra help in the hospital all of a sudden lands her in jail.

There`s not a woman in America and a partner or a family member that should not be outraged by the government stepping so personally into our space.

REID: And, Cornell, it seems to me that Democrats are missing -- hopefully, they`re not going to miss this huge opportunity.

I mean, here`s the thing. This is a dog that caught the car problem, that it was always a great electoral strategy to say, we`re going to end the scourge of abortion, until you do it, because, when you do it, now you start to see how that looks when you actually implement it.

It means arresting women. It means putting bounties, as you just heard Maria Teresa Kumar say, disclosing that women got an abortion so that you can collect money on their head. It means a lot of cruelty to the woman.

And I wonder if that message is getting through, at least the way that Democrats are talking about this issue? Or are they running away from the issue?

CORNELL BELCHER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it`s certainly not getting through.

And, quite frankly, I would argue that it is not the main focus of the conversation. I mean, look at the latest NBC polling out, Joy. The abortion issues is not even a -- it`s not a top-tier issue. It`s not even close to being a top-tier issue. It`s an issue with less than 5 percent of the electorate.

So, right now, it is not an issue that, for that -- 59 percent of Americans who don`t want it to go away, it`s not an issue for them. It`s not a top- tier issue. Look, in the end, politics isn`t rocket science, Joy. It is fear and it is hope. And we have seen hope break through. But, in the history of this country, fear has worked a lot more than hope.

And I think the dynamic here possibility for Democrats is, this is one that where they actually can drive fear in a way that helps them politically, because the moment that you see this issue of abortion and a woman`s choice rise up to a top two, a top three, four issue consideration, I think Republicans are in trouble, because, at that point, they are not where the vast majority of voters are, and particularly the vast majority of suburban, college-educated women, that they need in order to swing these swing districts in these swing states their way.

And the moment that this issue -- the moment that these college-educated white women think that their choice and their daughter`s choice is going to go away from them, I think it`s a realignment. I think it`s a change and shift in the dynamic.

But we haven`t seen it yet, because, quite frankly, we`re all talking about gas prices.

REID: No, it`s true.

And, Maria Teresa, I mean, here`s the thing. The political incentives for Republicans are going to end the minute Roe v. Wade ends. The new political incentive will be to then prove to these rural white voters, which is who they`re catering to, that we`re going to pass the most egregious, the strictest laws.

It`s not going to be -- you can`t promise you`re going to get rid of Roe because it`ll be gone. It`ll be, no, our law is going to be stronger. No, my law is going to be stronger.

I can see Texas and Florida competing with each other to pass the most "Lock her up" laws possible. And that seems to me to be a message that needs to get through. I think about West Texas, where Latino voters or Hispanic voters are basically being messaged, no, you`re a Catholic, you should be with us because we`re against abortion, rather than saying, no, you all are going to get arrested.

KUMAR: Right.

Well, and this is the thing, is that if you -- when you actually do polling in the Latino community, abortion is something that people believe is literally something between themselves and their God, and that`s it. But no one should be talking about it, because it is something that is a personal decision, and there should be no judgment.

And this is where the Democrats over every -- over and over during every single midterm -- and I think Cornell will agree with me -- this is where they miss the point. In 2020 and 2018, we grew the electoral base of young black and brown and Asian Native American folks. And that is where the progressive party, that`s their opportunity.

This year alone, we`re expecting almost 3.5 million youth to turn 18 years old since last election. You know who cares about abortion and access an agency over their body? Young people, young women, who all of a sudden are strapped with student loans...

REID: Yes.

KUMAR: ... who are trying to struggle in this economy.

And the Democratic Party can send them a very clear message that they are going to protect their body and their choice, because, at the end of the day, yes, it may be spiritual for some, but for some, it may be just plain economics.

REID: Yes.

KUMAR: I can`t get this right now because I want to go to school or I want to have a job.

REID: Yes.

KUMAR: That is where they miss, because every single time the midterm comes around, and all we hear about is, what are we going to do with suburban white voters?

Not that we can`t do both, but we have to extend that electoral base. And this is a missed opportunity, because it`s dead center on what they actually really care about, young people.

REID: Very...

KUMAR: You talk about the price of milk, but you can`t buy the price of milk if you`re basically on maternity leave and you`re maybe not even getting that -- even that benefit of maternity leave.

REID: And not only that. If you are essentially the property...


KUMAR: ... go on.

REID: Oh, no.

If you are essentially state property -- I think we`re missing the point here. What they`re saying is, the minute you are pregnant, you are state property. You all need to think about that. You need to vote.

Maria Teresa Kumar, Cornell Belcher, thank you both.

That is tonight`s REIDOUT.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now, followed by the great Rachel Maddow, who is back from her break.