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Transcript: The ReidOut, 4/22/22

Guests: Stewart Acuff, Adam Schiff, Ben Rhodes, Rick Wilson


An explosive new recording proves that House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy told his leadership group he was considering asking President Trump to resign after January 6. A Russian commander now says that Russia is seeking control of Southern Ukraine. Congressman Adam Schiff discusses the January 6 Committee, Kevin McCarthy, and the court hearing for Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. Senator Joe Manchin`s role in holding back the fight against climate change is examined.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: It`s an inspiration list. It`s a set of thoughts about where we`re headed as a society and communities around the country, Saturday, May 7.

That`s on NBC, MSNBC and CNBC. Plus, it will air the next day, May 8, on Telemundo, plus on all of our streaming platforms. What I`m saying is, you can find it, and we recommend it. That`s "Inspiring America" from our NBC partners.

That does it for us. Have a great weekend.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone.

We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with more proof of the idiocy and sycophancy of the Republican Party, led by Trump puppet Kevin McCarthy, whose plot to become House speaker comes with a new twist. That twist comes in the form of audio recordings confirming how Kevin really felt about Trump in the days after the January 6 insurrection.

Just yesterday, McCarthy vehemently denied a "New York Times" report saying he was among Republicans who thought Trump should resign over his role in the Capitol attack. Hours after that flat-out denial, we heard McCarthy saying exactly what "The New York Times"` excerpt of a new book said that he said in an audio recording heard for the first time on "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" last night.

Hey, Kevin, ever heard of a tape recorder, audio recordings? That`s what ultimately brought down the Nixon presidency. They are a thing.

And this damning one that we just heard occurred days after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol. It was a conversation between McCarthy and the Republican leadership team, including Representative Liz Cheney, who was ousted from party leadership weeks later over her opposition to Trump.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): what I think I`m going to do is, I`m going to call him. My -- this is what I think. We know it`ll pass the House. I think there`s a chance it`ll pass the Senate, even when he`s gone.

Again, the only discussion I would have with him is that I think this will pass. And it will be my recommendation you should resign.


REID: New reporting by "The Washington Post" reveals that McCarthy spoke on the phone with Trump last night after Rachel Maddow played this audio. NBC News also reported that McCarthy called Trump to apologize, saying he was just placating Liz Cheney and was paying her lip service.

Our source added that Trump isn`t really mad. Phew, right, Kev?

And then we got more audio this morning, this time of McCarthy saying that Trump admitted to bearing some responsibility for the attack.


MCCARTHY: But let me be very clear to all of you, and I`ve been very clear to the president. He bears responsibility for his words and actions, no ifs, ands or buts.

I asked him personally today, does he hold responsibility for what happened? Does he feel bad about what happened? And he told me he does have some responsibility for what happened. And he needs to acknowledge that.


REID: Keep in mind, this is now the second time that we know of that Kevin has made a dash to kiss Trump`s ring, the first time being when McCarthy made the pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago shortly after the insurrection.

This is a guy who in 2016 said that he believed Trump is on Putin`s payroll. And, no, he wasn`t joking. He knows Trump was responsible for January 6. He knows it was unacceptable, but he`s willing to swallow every indignity in exchange for power, reducing himself to the spineless wormy little puppet of a Florida retiree.

The same goes for his Senate counterpart, Mitch McConnell, who said about Trump -- quote -- "The Democrats are going to take care of the son of a B for us."

This is according to the forthcoming book "This Will Not Pass" by "New York Times" reporters Alex Burns and Jonathan Martin. Unlike Mike McCarthy, who`s denied this new reporting, McConnell has decided to just stay mum.

We know Republican leadership is spineless and cowardly, that they are beholden to a twice impeached kleptocrat whose thirst for power struck at the heart of our democracy, but these tapes make McCarthy`s position in the party highly questionable. He must now face the Twitter pitchforks of the MAGA cult wing of the party.

And he has two choices, either the rabid Republican sect takes him out, or Trump keeps them in place as his personal puppet. Either way, McCarthy is walking a tightrope, as he vies to become House speaker, a path that now glaringly reflect his lies and his party`s anti-democratic demise.

And joining me now is Rick Wilson, former Republican strategist and co- founder of The Lincoln Project, Democratic strategist Juanita Tolliver, and NBC News presidential historian Michael Beschloss, host of the "Fireside" - - of "Fireside History" on Peacock.

Thank you all for being here.

Rick, it`s a whodunit, partly, because, if you think about it, I see Republican civil war kind of everywhere. Folks are leaking photos of folks and leaking audio recordings and handing them over to these authors. And they say they got lots more.

Is this, in your view, a sign that, within the caucus, there are those who simply want to throw Kevin McCarthy out of the way or something else?

RICK WILSON, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Oh, there`s no question Joy. There are a half-a-dozen aspirants to the throne. Of all of them have had -- have had a closer relationship with Trump than McCarthy has had.


Kevin is not of that world. Remember, in 2016, Kevin said: Oh, I think Putin pays Trump.

That divided those two men. It never got better. They always have had some sort of hostility between them because of that, and Trump never forgets a slight.

But with the people that -- the horse race right now in Washington, it was Jim Jordan for a while, who looked like the one who would take out McCarthy. But, today, the buzz in D.C. is all about Elise Stefanik, that she`s the one who`s behind some of this and she`s putting the knife into this guy. And she`s extremely ambitious. She has a very close relationship to Trump.

She`s gone full MAGA in every way. And so I think, if Kevin is thinking through his immediate future, telling major donors, as he has been, that, unless they keep him, he can`t block the Trump people, I think Kevin should get a food taster at this point.

REID: And, by the way, Elise Stefanik is Kevin McCarthy.

This is Elise Stefanik. Let`s go -- this is cut six for my producers.

Before she became a Trump cult leader, she called him misogynistic. She called him soft on Putin. She called him to recognize that Russia attacked the 2016 election. She urged him to release his tax returns. She went after him for his calls -- she is Kevin McCarthy.

So, to stay with you for a minute, Rick, they`re just exchanging -- all of them are Kevin McCarthy. Mitch McConnell can`t stand Kevin McCarthy -- can`t stand Donald Trump. You can tell.


REID: And he literally said: I`m glad the Democrats are going to take him out.

None of -- the problem I see here is spinelessness, cowardice, and this desperation for power at all cost. They`re all clutching for the ring. And they all think they`re going to get it.

WILSON: Right.

They`re all after this. They all believe they can get Trump`s blessing. Trump`s -- Trump`s fickle love will fall on them the day of the vote. But the reality of the caucus of the Republican Caucus, Joy, it`s not the Republicans we grew up with. It will be more nuttier. It will be more MAGA. It will be more conspiratorial. It`ll be more crazy.

And Stefanik, who is very good with Trump right now -- but you`re right, though. She is from the DNA of Kevin McCarthy. She was a George W. Bush person. Now she`s sort of like a Dressbarn Jim Jordan. And it just...


WILSON: This is a totally...


WILSON: ... now in Washington in order to take that job from Kevin McCarthy.

REID: And, Juanita, I see the Democrats sort of sitting off on the side while this party dissolves into just a hot, crazy mess.

I mean, the -- there`s going to be more tapes that are going to prove that none of these people really believe any of this, but they`re willing to do it. They`re willing to throw their dignity aside. They`re going to throw the United States and our democracy aside in this desperate clutch for power, where they think they`re going to be the new Duma, when Trump becomes the czar.

It`s undignified, but it`s also not being answered. I mean, J.D. Vance of Yale is out there pretending that he represents the little guy and the Trumpists, when he hates Donald Trump and said he was nearly -- he said he was maybe Hitler.

And none of that matters. They`re all genuflecting toward this man who has no power currently. And I wonder if you feel that there is sort of a missed opportunity here to message about not only the danger of these people taking over, who clearly will all just be little -- Trump`s little hand puppets, but also the danger that poses that they actually don`t care that he tried to overthrow democracy?

JUANITA TOLLIVER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that is absolutely a big opportunity in messaging for the midterms, Joy, because what we saw even the president say today, this isn`t the party that we grew up with. This is the party of MAGA.

And making that a central theme and outlining and just replaying what Republicans have already said they`re going to do if they flip the House, if they retake power is critical. I`m talking removing Democrats from committees for no reason, like false investigations, and impeachment trials, and then hearings into Biden.

Like, all of that needs to be replayed, so that the public fully knows what they`re up against, because all this entire Congress, while Democrats have been trying to deliver for the public, Republicans have been doing everything they can to break down every institution that exists in this country, the latest being our elections and our democracy.

And so having all of that footage, Democrats absolutely need to deploy it. And they can`t just sit back and let this moment play out, because, yes, Republicans are going to keep coming for each other. Trump is absolutely going to wade into this and blow it up even further.

But Democrats have to jump on this as an opportunity to continue to explain to voters what they are in for if Republicans win the midterms.

REID: Let me bring you in here, Michael, because I know, as a historian who`s chronicled the occasionally dignified practice of American politics, your head has to be exploding.


REID: I mean, we have a situation here where you have a party that I don`t even know what to describe it as.

It`s sort of the last stages of the -- of a cult, sort of at the endgame stage, where they all start to take the Kool-Aid.


REID: And then you have the Democrats, who don`t seem sufficiently alarmed about it, and who don`t seem to really know how to respond to it.

Is there any equivalent moment in American history where it has been this mad?


BESCHLOSS: Well, let`s take a look at another moment in American history. And that was August of 1974.

Richard Nixon was revealed on his tapes to have committed crimes against the Constitution. But there`s a very good chance that Nixon`s crimes were much less than what Donald Trump may have done on the 6th of January.

Kevin McCarthy obviously knew that, because, on the tape that we`re talking about, he`s talking about the 25th Amendment and Trump should resign, and almost certain impeachment and possible conviction by the Senate. He knew that a big crime had been committed against the Constitution.

So did the House majority leader -- minority leader of 1974, which was John Rhodes of Arizona. And what did Rhodes do? Rhodes went down to the White House, saw Richard Nixon, said: You have to resign. You have gone way too far. I don`t care if we`re both Republicans. You have to be out now.

What did Kevin McCarthy do? He said the things that we have heard on this tape: I have had it. And maybe, Liz, I should talk to him again.

And then, very quickly, that moment where Kevin McCarthy went down to Mar- a-Lago -- you said he kissed his ring. I think he probably kissed another body part of Donald Trump on the 28th of January...


BESCHLOSS: ... in that famous picture that looked almost like other surrenders in world history that I don`t want to specify.

But here`s a case where, within eight days -- there`s the picture -- within eight days of Trump leaving office, Kevin McCarthy, who shortly before had been on this tape talking to Liz Cheney about resignation and impeachment and 25th Amendment and crimes against the Constitution, here he is running down to Mar-a-Lago, posing with him and bringing him right back into polite society eight days after Biden`s inauguration.

REID: And, you know...

BESCHLOSS: If any of us do not like the fact that Donald Trump is as powerful as he is today, thank Kevin McCarthy, because he`s the one who did it.

REID: You know, it`s been described as sort of this sort of Bolshevik version of the Republican Party


REID: And, Rick, I mean, Kevin McCarthy is the -- wants to be speaker, yet he`s the man who sorts Donald Trump`s candy to make sure that there are only red and pink ones in it, because that`s what Trump likes.

Like, he`s -- and I`m not making that up. That`s an actual thing that he did, right?


REID: He`s such a sycophant -- it`s "The Washington Post" reporting that -- that he literally sorts his candy to make sure it`s the right flavors.

That is not a speaker of the House. And so I`m going to let each of you sort of answer this question, because what becomes -- what does the House even look like if and when these freaks take over? Because, listen, they will take over whether or not Kevin is the nominal speaker, because it`s very clear that Kevin is simply a hand puppet with the hand of Donald Trump up him.


REID: He doesn`t speak for himself. He has no agency whatsoever.

I will let each you answer.

I will start with you, actually, Michael.


A speaker of the House, if he is going to be that, or a Republican leader - - good chance he is going to be a speaker of the House -- that used to be a pretty honorable position. What is that, number three in line to the presidency?

REID: Yes.

BESCHLOSS: And this guy has no shame. I mean, he lied within the last 24 or 48 hours, was proven to have lied on this tape. And it`s as if this never happened.

For young kids growing up in a democracy to see that there are no consequences for lying to the country, it`s not a great thing to see coming out of your speaker, let alone the president of the United States.

REID: Let`s also play -- let`s not -- and let`s not leave out Moscow Mitch. Let`s play Mitch McConnell.

This was Mitch McConnell. This is his flip-flop on Trump. Take a look. This is cut four.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Former President Trump`s actions, preceded the riot, were a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty.

There`s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day, no question about it.

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: If the president was the party`s nominee, would you support him?

MCCONNELL: The nominee of the party? Absolutely.


REID: Juanita first and then Rick.

What does America look like if we wind up with that and Kevin McCarthy as our leaders in Congress?

TOLLIVER: Honestly, Joy, I don`t think it`s about McConnell and McCarthy at all, because whatever it -- if Republicans are able to flip that chamber, it`s about Trump.

And the same way he deployed the DOJ while he was president to investigate or dig into whatever he wanted to dig into, he`s going to leverage the House and the Senate to probe and investigate and launch claims at whatever target is on his mind that week.

And so whoever the puppet is going to be in the power of leadership for the Republican Party will already have bowed down to Trump and made it clear that they will do his bidding no matter what.


REID: Yes.

But, Rick, what does Trump have on these people? I mean, what is the secret? Is it just that they`re -- they so fear his base and they fear their potential violence? What is it?

WILSON: They fear the base, because the base -- the base -- they fear the base.

They feared them before 1/6. But they fear the fact that Trump can motivate people who would charge the doors of the Capitol, invade the Capitol, and look for people to assault or kill. We are providential -- so providentially lucky that that day did not go a different direction, but they live in absolute terror of Donald Trump.

Now, some of them are nihilists, Trumpati crazy people, but Kevin McCarthy and these -- and Mitch McConnell and these relatively more sophisticated individuals...

REID: Yes.

WILSON: ... they are doing this because they fear Donald Trump can destroy them politically, personally or physically. It is -- this is the classic authoritarian slide.

And if they take power again in the fall, they will be the errand boys of Donald Trump. They will be his enablers, and that will be it.

REID: Welcome to Bolshevik America or some strange sort of version of Cuba or whatever it is they`re going to create here.

Rick Wilson, Juanita Tolliver, Michael Beschloss, thank you both very much -- thank you all three very much.

And don`t go anywhere. Congressman Adam Schiff from the January 6 Committee will join me with his thoughts on Kevin McCarthy and today`s court hearing from Marjorie Greene, where she very conveniently couldn`t seem to remember, well, anything.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I don`t recall. I don`t know. I have no idea. I don`t know. I do not recall that, no.


REID: But, first, when we come back: Putin`s expansionist vision. First came Crimea, now Donbass and Southern Ukraine. And a Russia general is suggesting it won`t stop there.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: Despite Russian claims of a scaled-back military offensive in Ukraine, there are new indications today that Russia`s goals are wider than previously indicated.

As cities in Eastern Ukraine remain under assault, a senior Russian general said he plans to take full control of not only the Donbass region in the east, but also a wide swathe of Southern Ukraine, opening a land bridge for Russia all the way to a pro-Russian breakaway region of a neighboring country, Moldova.

It is not clear if his comments are official Kremlin policy, but, tonight, Ukraine`s President Zelenskyy said the comments show invading Ukraine is just the beginning for Russia. It wants to take other countries too. It also underscores the significance of the besieged port city of Mariupol.

Satellite images appear to show mass graves just outside the city. Ukrainian officials say as many as 9,000 civilians could be buried there. The city`s mayor says 20,000 civilians have been killed in the flattened city. The last Ukrainian forces holed up in a steel plant are still standing, with civilians also sheltering there.

One fighter inside sent NBC News this message.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most heartbreaking thing is that we have limited supplies here, and we`re trying to share everything with civilians.


REID: Joining me now is NBC News correspondent Ali Arouzi in Lviv and former Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes.

Ali, I`m going to start with you, because these horrors just continue and continue and continue. But now it appears that we`re starting to see a strategy, this idea of basically land-grabbing Southern and Eastern Ukraine. Is that what is being seen in practice?

ALI AROUZI, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: That`s exactly right, Joy.

And that goes to what President Zelenskyy was saying and the Ukrainian military leaders as well, saying that this was not about the denazification of this country or concerns about this country joining NATO becoming an E.U. member. This was about Russia wanting to expand its borders by crushing the sovereignty of other countries, and not apparently just Ukraine, but he seems to have his sights on Moldova as well.

So there were no real peace deals to be made with Vladimir Putin while he has a much wider range on this. And the Russian Defense Ministry laid out its plans of what it calls for the second phase of this war. And it`s taking the whole Donbass region, connecting that to Crimea and connecting that to the mainland of China -- to Russia, and then creating -- taking over the south of this country and creating another corridor to Moldova, to a place in Moldova called Transnistria, which has been described as a mini- Donbass, because there are Russian separatists there.

And it`s a very vulnerable place, Joy. It`s a place that really doesn`t have a functioning army. It`s not protected by NATO or the E.U., so it wouldn`t be very hard for the Russians to take that if they were able to get there. But in order to get there, they have to break through Odessa.

Now, the Ukrainians have heavily fortified Odessa, but, as we have seen time and time again, the Russians are not worried about decimating cities to gain battlefield momentum and achieve their objectives. So the fear here is now that the Russians are going to go down to the south, go through Odessa, and possibly take Transnistria.

REID: Committing war crimes all the way and leaving just mountains and mountains and pits full of dead bodies.

Ali Arouzi, harrowing stuff. Thank you very much, my friend. Really appreciate you.

Let me go to you, Ben, because the idea that of the expansionism of Russia, that their aims are not just to take Ukraine, this is what President Zelenskyy has been saying for the beginning. Now we see Moldova in the crosshairs. Does this change the calculus, in your view, for the West?


And it`s not particularly surprising. This was always one of the scenarios that people worried about at the outset of the war. I think what happened is that Putin tried to decapitate the Ukrainian government in a way that might have made this much easier, because you get a compliant Russian, backed kind of puppet government in Ukraine, and then you kind of have your way with territorial annexation.

He couldn`t do that. So now he`s reconstituted those forces in the east and the south. And what it changes, I think, as Ali referenced, is, how can you have a piece that goes Jason with someone who`s literally trying to bite off big chunks of the country as a part of his deliberate strategy?


Russia does not seem like it`s in a position where it would want to return any of the part of Ukraine that it has occupied, places like Mariupol or, potentially, if they`re able to make advances in the Donbass, as a part of any peace agreement. And how could Ukraine agree to a peace agreement that essentially would involve them giving up big chunks of their territory?

I think what`s also very harrowing, Joy, is that one of the problems that Russia would face in occupying territory is the clear resistance of Ukrainian people. But if you look at Mariupol, their strategy may be to essentially depopulate, terrorize these places with a mixture of mass killing, displacement. There have been deportations of people from Mariupol back into Russia.

So what is truly harrowing is to think that the way in which Russia might try to avoid long-term resistance is just by the tactics that we have seen in such extreme display in Mariupol.

REID: Well, ethnic cleansing...


REID: ... meaning that they would rather have empty land full of dead bodies and have more of the territory of Ukraine.

If that were to happen, there`d be no way that Ukrainians could ever live in a sense of peace and safety, even on the land that`s left, because why wouldn`t Russia just take a pause, reconstitute, and come back for more and more and more, until they eat it all up?

They don`t believe that Ukraine exists, that it`s a real country, and that they are real people.


And if you look at what Putin has been doing for a long time, right, there are these pieces of other countries where Russia has supported either separatists or used the presence of ethnic Russians as a pretext to move in military forces, to get two chunks of Georgia that Russia has de facto occupied. You have got Transnistria in Moldova.

And Putin now seems to be moving to a much more aggressive policy of trying to link up territorially those places as a part of Russia itself. And Crimea was the first place in which there was a formal annexation. But that`s what seems to be the case here.

And you can bet that he`s probably thinking along the lines of what the Soviet Union used to do, where you would literally repopulate areas with Russians who are brought in from other places.

REID: Yes.

RHODES: China`s done this in some cases too, truly harrowing stuff from the 20th century...

REID: Yes.

RHODES: ... and rooted in that kind of blood and stool nationalism, where you claim territory just because there are Russian speakers there.

REID: It`s despicable.

Let me quickly ask you. I would have loved to ask you about Vladimir Kara- Murza, who I will just note for our audience is now facing 15 years in prison under that law that you can`t call what he`s doing a war. And so we`re going to talk about that another day.

But I do want to ask you about the election in France. Marine Le Pen, who is a Putin ally, is getting pretty darn close. What happens if Macron doesn`t win this?

RHODES: Well, I still think he`s the most likely winner here.

But let`s be clear about Marine Le Pen. She`s a xenophobic bigot who`s basically capitalized on anti-immigrant, anti-refugee sentiment, but she`s also someone who is an ethno-nationalist, who has literally been financed by Vladimir Putin.

REID: Yes.

RHODES: I mean, these are not casual ties that she has.

And so I think, in a Le Pen victory, it`s a very dark sign about the direction of politics generally in the West. But it also deeply complicates the alliance. Le Pen has been a skeptic of NATO, I think, clearly, you would expect her to become a weak link in any efforts to continue to arm Ukraine, to continue to have a united front on sanctions.

Sanctions only work if you have the buy-in of a broad set of multilateral countries, especially big ones like France. And, keep in mind, France is one of the biggest shot-callers in the European Union, maybe the biggest, along with Germany too. So it doesn`t just complicate relations with France. It could complicate relations with the European Union, which runs on consensus.

So we have a lot at stake.

REID: Yes.

RHODES: And liberal democracy has a lot at stake in her not winning.

REID: Isn`t it wild that every country has them? We got one, Trump.


REID: They have got one. They are in every country in the West.

RHODES: Different flavor everywhere.

REID: Different flavor of the same rotten thing.

Ben Rhodes, thank you very much. Really appreciate you.

Still ahead: digging deeper into the Republican Party`s ongoing identity crisis and what it means for America with January 6 Committee member Congressman Adam Schiff.

We will be right back.



REID: If you want a taste of just who is in charge of the Republican Party, take a look at Marjorie Taylor Greene, their shining star, born out of the bowels of QAnon.

Greene was forced to testify in Georgia state court today in a legal challenge to her candidacy. The plaintiffs accused her of violating the Constitution by inciting violence because of her incendiary comments rallying political terrorists to the Capitol for January 6.

For someone who loves to speak her mind, she sure had a lot of trouble remembering a number of key conversations.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you discuss with Mr. Alexander the idea of you coming to appear at a demonstration on January 6?

GREENE: I do not recall that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My question is just about whether anybody at all ever mentioned to you the possibility of violence?

GREENE: I don`t remember.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. So you`re not denying it. You`re just saying you don`t recall?

GREENE: I don`t recall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you talk to people at the White House about the fact there were going to be large demonstrations on January 6 in Washington?


GREENE: I don`t remember.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did anybody on your campaign staff or did you authorize the provision of funds, of money to people who were planning a demonstration on January 6?

GREENE: I don`t think so. I don`t recall that at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ms. Greene, did you advocate to President Trump to impose martial law as a way to remain in power?

GREENE: I don`t recall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you`re not denying you did it? You just don`t remember?

GREENE: I don`t remember.


REID: Two sources told a "Rolling Stone" reporter that there were dozens of planning briefings with members of Congress and White House staff ahead of the January 6 rally.

One source, an organizer, said: "I remember Marjorie Taylor Greene specifically."

Now, if that doesn`t jog her memory, then let`s just go to the videotape.


GREENE: Just finished with our meeting here at the White House this afternoon. We got a -- had a great planning session for our January 6 objection.


REID: Representative Greene was joined in court by Florida Representative Matt Gaetz, who is being investigated by the Justice Department over whether he had a sexual relationship with a minor.

America, take a good look at these folks, because they are dangerously close to controlling Congress.

Joining me now is Congressman Adam Schiff of California. He`s a member of the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Congressman, it`s always good to talk -- speak with you.

I don`t know if you had a chance -- and you`re a busy man -- to watch much of this hearing today. But it -- watching it made me think, huh, maybe the January 6 Committee might want to talk to Marjorie Taylor Greene. What do you think?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, it looks like we`re getting a real sense of what her testimony would look and sound like.

And there would be a considerable failure of recollection on some very key things. It`s hard to imagine, if you were calling for the imposition of martial law to overturn an election, that you wouldn`t remember doing so.

But, look, as we are reminded again so vividly this week, there are a number of members, probably Kevin McCarthy principally among them, with very relevant information about our investigation.

McCarthy earlier said, when we asked him to testify, that there was no point in his testifying because he had said everything that he knew publicly. But, of course, we found out that was yet another lie. And we found out just the magnitude of that lie in the last 24 to 48 hours.

REID: And you brought up Kevin McCarthy. I mean, these new tapes that are coming out of this new book that show that he said precisely what was reported in "The New York Times" that he said about Donald Trump, he had a moment of clarity, like Lindsey Graham, and then suddenly reversed it.

And I think a lot of people are wondering, what happened in between the moment of clarity and reversing it? Was it just talking to Trump? Was it just people suddenly laying on him how much the Trump base loved him?

And a lot of people have that question. Do you think that it might be worth even trying to talk to Kevin McCarthy?

SCHIFF: Well, I think these latest revelations will kindle another discussion among our committee members about what to do about these members, like McCarthy, who have relevant information who are refusing to come in voluntarily and do their duty.

I don`t know how those conversations will conclude. But what is so staggering to me about this, Joy, is, Kevin McCarthy talks to his Republican colleagues after this attack on the Capitol. He acknowledges the president bears responsibility. He says he talked to the president, the president admitted bearing some of the responsibility for that attack.

He talked about calling on the president to resign. And then, when he`s asked about this, he lies about it, not just lies about it, but he attacks "The New York Times," and how dare they suggest this, and isn`t this just them doing their fake news thing?

Just the audacity of his lies, and the fact that the reason he drove Liz Cheney out of the party is that she wouldn`t join him in those lies. And those tapes gives such evidence of the fact that he knows what he is saying is just another big lie.

REID: Do you -- and what do you make of the fact that this series of events, that he`s on these leadership calls with Liz Cheney?

She at the time was in leadership. So he must know that he was on the calls with her. Then he flat-out denies that he said what she heard him say. A lot of people are trying to source those tapes to Liz Cheney. Do you want to disabuse anyone of that, the release of the tapes?

SCHIFF: You know, Liz Cheney is not the kind of person that`s going to be leaking tapes and denying it. That`s just not who she is.

One of the things that this chapter of our history has revealed, and something that the historian Robert Caro once said, power doesn`t corrupt as much as it reveals. It doesn`t always reveal us for our best, but it says a lot about who we are.

Well, power revealed Liz Cheney to be a person of great courage and conviction. It revealed to Kevin McCarthy to be utterly craven, and, in fact, so many of the other members of his team, like Elise Stefanik, who, when Liz Cheney said, I`m not telling a big lie that eats the heart of our democracy, Elise Stefanik put up her hand and said, well, I will tell that lie or any other you need if I can have her job.


REID: Yes.

SCHIFF: And so I think that those attacks suggesting that the Liz Cheney was the source of this are just an effort to tear her down, when it`s Kevin McCarthy who is being torn down by his own falsehoods.

REID: Let me play one more thing, because this is the person who -- for whom, beyond Donald Trump. Kevin McCarthy works, Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Here`s another thing she did not recall. And this was calling Speaker Pelosi a traitor. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In fact, you think that Speaker Pelosi is a traitor to the country, right?

GREENE: You`re -- I`m not answering that question. It`s speculation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have said that, haven`t you, Ms. Greene, that she`s a traitor to the country?

GREENE: No, I haven`t said that.


Put up Plaintiffs Exhibit 5, please.

GREENE: Oh, no, wait. Hold on, now. I believe, by not upholding the -- securing the border, that that violates her oath of office.


REID: According to the attorney for Georgia voters who are challenging Marjorie Greene`s candidacy, there was a plan A and a plan B.

Plan A was that the vice president of the United States would simply overturn the election. Plan B had a code name, 1776.

Apparently, Marjorie Taylor Greene has tweeted out a rumor that the lawful objections by Republicans will be blocked by a rules change. And Ali Alexander, who was an organizer of the insurrection, replies, saying: "1776 is always an option."

By 1776, he means 500,000 people will do what they will do to that building if the objections are suppressed by a rule change.

Do you believe that Marjorie Taylor Greene knew and understood that violence was coming to the Capitol?

SCHIFF: Well, I`m...

REID: And to the speaker?

SCHIFF: Yes, I think, listening to just the excerpts she played, where she has a failure of recollection about her conversations, raises serious questions about what she knew about the propensity for violence on that day.

I`m not ready to draw a conclusion. And, as a member of the committee, we are reserving judgment until we hear all the evidence, about the role that members played. But she is certainly a person of interest to our investigation.

She and others who played a role in January 6, some speaking at the rally, others meeting with the organizers, such as that meeting that she just described walking out of in that clip, these people have relevant information about the first effort in our history to stop the peaceful transfer of power. And they ought to do their duty.

But, of course, it doesn`t appear that`s at all what they have in mind.

REID: Yes, indeed.

Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you very much, sir. Really appreciate your time.

And up next: OK, happy, Earth Day. But is it really?

An Earth-altering climate crisis, oceans littered with plastic and waste, a poisonous addiction to fossil fuels, and an apparent lack of political will to actually do anything about it. The Republicans are certainly to blame, but one of the culprits is also the Democratic senator from West Virginia.

We`re back after this.



REID: Today is Earth Day.

And while it should be a celebration of life on our little blue planet, it`s also a reminder of how the Earth is dying. Today`s Google Doodle is a stark reminder of that.

You`re watching a time-lapse of Greenland melting before our eyes. We received yet another warning earlier this year from the U.N. We can still stop the worst of the climate crisis, but time is extremely short. And while it`s necessary to draw as much attention to the climate crisis as possible, that`s not actually the problem here.

The problem is the lack of will and frankly the lack of active morality from our elected leaders. Republicans are certainly guilty of this, but one of the biggest culprits is a Democrat, Joe Manchin, who has been profiting off of and contributing to the climate crisis for decades.

It goes back to the 1980s, when Manchin was a state senator. He helped the Grant Town power plant secure a permit, and he went into business with them, selling a particularly nasty type of cold waste called gob for the plant to burn, spewing toxic chemicals into the air.

And as he continued to gain more influence in politics, Manchin was able to use that influence to benefit the plant. As governor, he oversaw legislation that actually designated waste coal as an alternative energy. Years later, as a U.S. senator, Manchin helped fight off attempts by the Obama administration to more strictly regulate coal ash, a toxic byproduct of waste coal.

And, surprise, surprise, he used the infrastructure bill to increase federal funding for clearing abandoned mine sites of waste, the type of work that`s performed by his company, now run by his son, this while holding up President Biden`s legislation that would help transition the U.S. away from dirty energy, which is absolutely necessary to address the climate crisis.

And while Manchin made gobs of money off of his dirty gob, getting a check from his son`s company for almost $500,000 in 2020, he actually cost his constituents money, with a rate increase for the plant driving up electricity costs for West Virginians.

And those constituents aren`t just struggling financially. Health impact reports produced by the EPA estimate that those emissions are associated with 18 deaths, 169 asthma attacks, and eight heart attacks for West Virginians every year.


And they`re not being quiet about it. Hundreds of West Virginians have been protesting the Grant Town power plant over the past month.

And up next, one of those activists joins me. Stay with us.






REID: Sixteen people were arrested earlier this month after forming a human chain blocking West Virginia`s Grant Town power plant, protesting the money that Senator Joe Manchin has made off of the plant, while local West Virginians suffer the toxic consequences.

And joining me now, Stewart Acuff, a member of the Poor People`s Campaign in West Virginia and former national organizing director for the AFL-CIO.

Mr. Acuff, thank you so much for being here.

Talk about that protest. How long have you all been protesting, and why?

STEWART ACUFF, FORMER AFL-CIO ORGANIZING DIRECTOR: Thank you so much, Joy. It`s great to be with you.

Folks have been calling for a new relationship with Earth and the climate in West Virginia for a long time. It`s really accelerated in the last year because of President Biden`s initiatives and because of the activity of folks who understand we have to have a different relationship with the Earth if humanity is going to survive.

So, for the last year, we have really stepped it up with as much grassroots pressure as we can put on Joe Manchin, and now calling on him to sever those personal ties which taint his thinking, which corrupt his actions, and which influences decisions.

That coal that he sells that plant is toxic coal. It`s not coal mined from the ground. It`s coal they have picked up at the mouth of other mines, and sold it there, and making a ton of money off of it.

And even beyond that, beyond it`s poisonous to the people in that community, and beyond what it has not done to lift their living standards, because poverty there is very desperate, but it -- that connection to the - - that direct connection to the fossil fuel industry that Manchin has now opened the doors for him to align himself with the Koch brothers.

It`s allowed him to become the chairman of the Senate Energy Commission, which is probably one of the most dangerous things that could happen, and it`s allowed him to make a fortune for himself and his family.

REID: And, meanwhile, West...

ACUFF: We`re also fighting Joe Manchin -- we`re also fighting Joe Manchin over a toxic insulation factory in the Eastern Panhandle called Rockwool.

We have had not only those demonstrations at the Grant Town power plant, but in the Eastern Panhandle, Jefferson and Berkeley County, we had a 23- mile, four-day march involving hundreds of West Virginians, calling on Manchin and the governor to use their weight to relieve us of this toxic insulation factory that, after seven months, has already admitted to 11 times that they violated their air permit, that`s already releasing toxic liquid waste, toxic water, with 400 percent of the aluminum in it of bedrock levels, 400 percent more aluminum in it than it is supposed to have.

REID: Yes. And...

ACUFF: That is a quarter-of-a-mile from a Title I school, one of our most diverse, and with over 50 percent of its of its students disadvantaged.

REID: Yes.

ACUFF: It is environmental racism sponsored by Joe Manchin and Jim Justice and visited on the people of West Virginia.

And whether you`re white or black or Native or brown, it affects all of us. And it is these kind of -- I`m sorry to -- I`m trying to get a lot of information in.

REID: That`s OK. Please do.


ACUFF: I really appreciate you.

It -- this is how -- if we`re going to win this climate fight, we will win it with local struggles like this, with regular folks like us fighting what our kids are breathing, what is sending our kids to the hospital with asthma attack.

I was with a man today. Seven years ago, he had a double lung transplant. What do you think he feels like living in the same county --

REID: Yes.

ACUFF: -- as a factory that burns natural gas and coal to melt rock into building insulation?

REID: Yes.

Well, I have to tell you, sir, it is very educational, I think, for our audience to learn what`s happening in West Virginia. And Manchin claims that this is what West Virginians want. But West Virginia ranks 50th in infrastructure, 49th in cancer mortality, 48th in the economy, 47th in health care. And Manchin ain`t helping.

I want to thank you, Stewart Acuff. Thank you so much for all that you do.

ACUFF: I`m going to see you June 18 with the Poor People`s Campaign.

REID: All right. I will be there. I will be there.

And that is tonight`s REIDOUT.

Thank you, sir.