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Transcript: The ReidOut, 5/2/22

Guests: Damario Solomon-Simmons, Michael Eric Dyson, Nicholas Confessore, Elizabeth Warren, Jill Wine-Banks


The unprecedented threats facing American democracy are examined. Senator Elizabeth Warren discusses the student debt crisis. "The New York Times"` Nick Confessore discusses the world of Tucker Carlson. The three centenarian survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre get some good legal news.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: We went "from "Charlotte`s Web" to Bobby "Blue" Bland and a little Jay-Z reference.

You can always tell us what you think we need to add to the show on our social media.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone.

We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the defense of democracy at home and abroad. Over the weekend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, vowing that the U.S. would support Ukraine until the fight is done. Pelosi, second in line to the presidency, is the highest-ranking American leader to visit Ukraine since the start of Russia`s invasion.

Here at home, at the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, D.C., we heard similar messages from President Biden and host Trevor Noah, who shared comedic and urgent takes on stepping up to save democracy right here in the U.S.


TREVOR NOAH, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH": I stood here tonight and I made fun of the president of the United States. And I`m going to be fine.

I`m going to be fine, right?


NOAH: Ask yourself this question.


NOAH: If Russian journalists who are losing their livelihoods, as you were talking about, Steve, and their freedom for daring to report on what their own government is doing, if they had the freedom to write any words, to show any stories, or to ask any questions, if they had basically what you have, would they be using it in the same way that you do?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The free press is not the enemy of the people, far from it.

The truth matters.

American democracy is not a reality show.


It`s reality itself.


REID: The First Amendment is in peril because democracy is in peril. The authoritarian impulses of Trump are not behind us. They are very much still here.

The infamous phone call Trump once made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asking him to find the votes to steal the election in his favor, that phone call is now at the center of a criminal investigation, what may be the biggest threat of criminal prosecution that Trump currently or has ever faced.

In Atlanta today, a special grand jury was selected for the investigation into whether Trump and others illegally tried to influence the 2020 election in Georgia.

We also learned a bit more about that phone call. According to CNN, during the call, a Raffensperger aide fired off a plea for help, texting then- White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows -- quote -- "Need to end this call. I don`t think this will be productive much longer. Let`s save the relationship."

That isn`t the only investigation, of course. As the January 6 Committee aims to wrap up its fact-finding phase, it has asked three Republican lawmakers to cooperate with the panel and share what they know about the deadly attack. Those lawmakers are Congressman Andy Biggs, Mo Brooks and Ronny Jackson.

Jackson quickly declined the offer, telling NBC -- quote -- "I will not participate in the illegitimate committee`s ruthless crusade against President Trump and his allies" -- unquote, a predictable response from TRUMP: sycophant accused of harassing staff and drinking while serving as White House physician.

And, late today, Congressman Biggs tweeted he will not be participating in the -- quote -- "illegitimate Democrat-sympathizing panel," also calling the committee a sham aimed to destroy Trump.

Now, let it be known too that these Republicans are shielding someone who tried to steal the presidency. He also wanted to shoot unarmed civilians exercising their First Amendment rights. Remember, during the George Floyd demonstrations, when Trump had to hide in his underground bunker while protesters clashed with police near the White House?

Well, according to a forthcoming memoir by former Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Trump said of those protesters -- quote -- "Can`t you just shoot them? Just shoot them in the legs or something."

Well, it didn`t happen, but it very well could when one day a different Trump Cabinet agrees to shoot protesters and as a different official is more than willing to find enough votes.

Joining me now is Jill Wine-Banks, former assistant Watergate special prosecutor and co-host of the "Sisters In Law" podcast, and Michael Eric Dyson, distinguished professor of African-American studies at Vanderbilt University and co-author of the brand-new book "Unequal: A Story of America."

Thanks to you both.

Jill, I want to start with you, because you have experience dealing with our previous authoritarian -- attempted authoritarian president, who, by the way, it`s child`s play almost what Richard Nixon was doing compared to what Donald Trump did.

I think the biggest concern I have about Trump is not even Trump anymore. He`s retired. And no one even knows if he`s going to run. It`s that what he is has metastasized into the whole party. I mean, you have a governor in Florida who has pushed for a law that says that protesters can drive their cars into and hit protesters. And that was directed at Black Lives Matter protests to try to make protesting in Florida damn near illegal, but really only for and directed at George Floyd era and Black Lives Matter protesters.

He has a secret police force to for election fraud, which we all know is going to be targeted at voters of color. Trumpism isn`t Trump anymore, is it? Isn`t it more dangerous, because it`s now all infected almost every Republican official?


JILL WINE-BANKS, FORMER WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Absolutely. You are 100 percent correct.

And that is, I think, what`s scaring so many people in America now, is exactly how close we came in the past to losing our democracy, but how dangerous it is going forward, because all of the Republicans who participated in this and those who are now running for office who weren`t even in office before who have adopted the same Trumpian policies are putting their past learnings to work.

And it could be much worse. And if Congress doesn`t get its act together and pass some laws or fix existing laws, like the Electoral College Act, to prevent a takeover and ignoring the will of the people, just throwing away the votes of Americans, we will be in very serious trouble.

It`s something that we all -- every one of us has to be concerned about, and has to go and work to make sure that not only we vote and that other people vote, but that our votes are counted, that we elect secretaries of state who will count our votes as they were cast.

REID: And Dr. Dyson, it -- the metastasis is sort of -- it`s total, right? I mean, the next most likely president, I just mentioned him, DeSantis, is also blocking the right to vote, is stripping black representation.

I mean, he`s doing everything Trump does, just without the sense of humor. And so I have no doubt that, if he were president, he would then not only utilize the powers that Trump attempted to utilize, but that he would be more effective in doing it, because they`re also -- as Jill Wine-Banks just indicated, they`re also putting in place from top to bottom, from the secretary of state`s office, to local city councils, to school boards, people who think this way.

And they have put them everywhere, and I haven`t seen much to push back. Let me give you an example. There`s a -- this is -- this is the people who actually do get prosecuted. One of these guys who was an insurrectionists, one of the grunts that broke into the Capitol, 56-year-old former NYPD officer, has now taken the old self-defense argument that police normally use in situations where they harm a civilian, he tried to apply that to his defense.

He didn`t -- he didn`t succeed. He actually was convicted. But all of it is then usable to then be reinterpreted for Trumpism.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: There`s no question about it. This is not an individual. This is not a personal vendetta. This is not an individual assault.

This is a pathology that has invaded the body politic. If we`re talking about COVID as a metaphor, then this is something that has spread broad and wide in the body politic, especially of Republicanism, of Trumpocracy in American culture.

This is a return to Reconstruction, post-Reconstruction, when white folk who lost the war, but who won the battle of interpretation, got on their haunches, so to speak and rode hard against black people through violence, through voter suppression, through intimidation. Having denied women the vote, having denied African-American and people who didn`t own property, they were angry at the prospect that America would now live up to the true meaning of its creed, as Dr. King said.

So what we see now is the Manchurian Candidate has nothing on Donald Trump. You have to go to fiction, you have to go to the outlandish imaginations that is at the further ends of paranoia to even conjure the prospect of what we see going on.

We had essentially an American president who was complicit with a nation that has now gone to war against another nation. And he gave justification for that. He preferred the words of Putin to the words of his own intelligence agencies.

So, yes, we see at the very local level, at the police level, at the law enforcement level, and, God forbid, at the jurist -- at a jurisprudential level with the sitting benches here, as these feckless, spineless, uninspired politicians who give in to every whim and caprice of Donald Trump.

And when Donald Trump is not there, they still have a machinery in place that will destroy the infrastructure of democracy, if we don`t raise the red banner of warning and resistance.

REID: You know, and I mean, Jill, I mean, I -- just think about Georgia for a second.

I mean, think about it, that, next time, Brad Raffensperger would do it, right? I mean, this time, he did stand up to it. There was a there was a moment of clarity and a moment of moral clarity for even Kevin McCarthy. When the -- when the walls started crashing and the gates started crashing in and they were overrun with these MAGA people on January 6, pretty much, most Republicans had the normal reaction. But they are all now willing to do it.

I don`t doubt for a second that the next Brad Raffensperger, if he doesn`t win his seat back, will do it next time.

Let`s go to some of the things that I -- I see stories, and now I see America in them. There is this Russian oligarch who spoke out -- he`s a multibillionaire -- he was -- against Vladimir Putin. He spoke out against the war. We just talked -- Michael Eric Dyson just talked about the war.


He was essentially threatened by the state, by the Kremlin. And his bank was said -- his president in the bank is a problem. They said: "The statement of your shareholder is not welcome. We will nationalize your bank." They threatened to nationalize the bank if he was still involved.

He was forced to then fire-sale his share of the bank. That idea of punishing an individual corporation for speech sounds -- wow, that`s Russia. No, they`re doing that here. They`re doing it in Florida to Disney. Laura Ingraham and -- has said on FOX that they will do it to every company that doesn`t comply when Republicans are in charge.

Rick Scott, the former governor of Florida, has written a manifesto. And he has said, we`re going to get you, any corporation that doesn`t comply when we`re in charge. It`s -- there`s no difference now between the ethos, except for the Kremlin also has lethal potential attacks on people who don`t comply.

Your thoughts.

WINE-BANKS: My thoughts are, it`s horrifying.

I had the privilege of interviewing Ruth Ben-Ghiat for "iGen Politics," my other podcast. And as she was describing a fascist dictator, starting with Mussolini, the characteristics that she described were chilling because she was describing Donald Trump. She was describing Putin.

And that is terrifying, because, once that starts to slide, then we have lost our democracy. So it`s something that only we can protect. When you mentioned Brad Raffensperger, I don`t know what he would do the second time. We will have some idea when he decides how to handle the disqualification of Marjorie Taylor Greene, because it is up to him whether she stays on the ballot, whether she was guilty of insurrection.

He may not have the courage to do it and stand up to the Trumpists. And you`re right. It`s not just Trump anymore. It is DeSantis. It is Mo Brooks. It is that whole category of people. So I hope he`s strong enough to stand up to it. I don`t know enough about what the evidence is. He may be right in not barring her from the ballot.

But they are preparing, by what they learned in trying to overturn this election, how to do it better. And unless we fix the laws, so that they can`t do these kinds of things, so that the vice president can`t just willy-nilly say, I`m not counting that vote -- there has to be evidence. There has to be something more than that.

And the hearings, I think, will be very important. I look forward to them, to hearing the evidence all put together in a compelling closing argument, so that Americans, both Republican and Democrat, can hear the facts and hopefully listen to them, and not just continue with this business of, I`m only listening to FOX News interpretation. I`m listening to the original evidence.

REID: And, very quickly, let me play Jonathan Martin, because I`m not sure.

I mean, the Republicans, Dr. Dyson, seem to be more focused on nationalizing anti-abortion laws and passing a national ban on abortion. That seems to be what they`re sort of cooking up at the moment, not saving our democracy. I`m not sure there any of them who would stand up to it.

Here`s Jonathan Martin talking about the hold that Trump still has on the party.


JONATHAN MARTIN, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": He is still the leader of the Republican Party.

Even the candidates who is not endorsed, those who he had snubbed, they`re still kissing up to him. They`re still mentioning his name in their speeches and their TV ads. They want his support. So that tells you everything about the grip he still has.


REID: And that was on "The View" earlier today.

Dr. Dyson, all the political incentives are to go further in the MAGA direction, not to pull back from it. So how do we pull back from it?

DYSON: Sure, they`re loading their automatic weapons with their MAGAzines.

So the truth is that they are beyond truth. I listened to my gracious colleague here speak with the authority of a jurist who looks at adjudicating competing claims. You got one claim over here, one claim over here. We look at the evidence. We decide what`s true.

They are beyond truth. They are beyond fact. They have already announced alternative facts. Now they have alternative truths. They live in an alternative universe. And the problem with them is that they are enforcing their created, imagined world as the real world.

They are supplanting what are deep principles of democracy, justice, freedom, equality. They are supplanting the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights with their own vicious assault upon freedom. Isn`t it amazing that Trumpers and First Amendment people who have been Republicans are now the ones who are undercutting freedom?

So, yes, his hold is extremely strong. And unless they loose that vise grip of death, they will go down with it. But we will be going down with them as well.

REID: Yes, unfortunately so. A lot of alarming stuff going on out there.


Jill Wine-Banks, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, thank you both for being here.

Up next on THE REIDOUT: No, Laura Ingraham, it is not acceptable to be forced to work into your 70s to pay off your kids` college loans.

Senator Elizabeth Warren joins me on the student debt crisis.

Plus, "The New York Times"` Nick Confessore joins me on his deep dive into the mad, mad world of Tucker Carlson and how he built -- and I quote -- "what may be the most racist show in the history of cable news" -- unquote.

And one last chance for justice. Late today, the three centenarian survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre got some very good news, as they made their case for reparations.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.




JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS: This asinine "I want to pay off student debt" is an insult to the senior citizens, to the people who pay taxes, to people who decide, do I want to buy meat this week or pay for my medicine? That`s hogwash.

You got so many jobs. You got a great economy. Let them work and pay off their bills, just the way all of us do.


REID: Well, that`s certainly rich coming from someone whose judicial campaign owed $600,000 in unpaid bills for more than a decade.

But, OK.

Jeanine Pirro is unfortunately not the only person on the right with a bad take on student loans, as President Biden considers forgiving some student debt.

Laura Ingraham tweeted: "My mom worked as a waitress until she was 73 to help pay for our college, even help with loan repayment. Loan forgiveness just another insult to those who play by the rules."

Now, I don`t know. Back in the `80s, before she became a FOX News star, Laura, who graduated from the Ivy League college in 1985, then University of Virginia Law School in 1991, worked for a top New York law firm, as a speechwriter in the Reagan administration and as a clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas.

Way to look at for your mom, while still letting her -- while still letting her pay off your student loans by slinging hash as a waitress into her 70s, instead of just picking up the tab for her, Laura.

But you know what? I feel like Laura actually did us a huge favor by explaining modern conservatism in a nutshell perfectly. Just put the working class on the wheel, even if they`re family, while the affluent and the rich eat.

And while they may be cruel, Republicans aren`t dumb. They know that if President Biden and Democrats actually do something about student debt, it could activate young and progressive voters, who overwhelmingly prefer Democrats, when they vote. And so they have introduced a bill to try to block Biden from doing just that.

But what about voters in the middle who say, hey, I paid off my loan, so other people should be able to do it as well? Well, see, that argument is usually presented without a lot of context.

Take this report from Georgetown, which points out that, today, two out of three jobs require an education beyond a high school diploma, while, in the 1970s, three out of four jobs required a high school diploma or less. So, a college degree is not a luxury. It`s a necessity for most people who want to earn decent wages. It is a literal ladder into the middle class.

But the price of college has skyrocketed. From 1980 to 2019, the cost increased by 169 percent -- that is not a typo -- while worker pay for those aged 22 to 27 years of age has increased by just 19 percent. That is the mismatch, you all. You need the degree, but the degree puts you into so much debt, you still can`t get ahead. And that means that your contributions to the economy are also limited.

That is how we have gotten to a world where 43 million Americans, collectively, owe $1.7 trillion in student debt. That is a number that is only going to keep rising.

With me now, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

And, Senator, thank you so much. I really appreciate you being here.

And I will note that I graduated. I had a lot of scholarships. I graduated with about $15,000 worth of debt from Harvard in 1991. But the whole cost of a Harvard education back then was like $22,000 a year.


REID: Our kids, my husband and I, we -- our kids, each of their educations cost double that.

So, do you understand the sort of moral hazard argument that people make when they say, why can`t you pay it off? It took me like a decade to do it. Why should people not get their debt paid off?

WARREN: So, let`s start on this question about who it is who`s carrying that student loan debt.

It`s not Harvard graduates. I appreciate that you had some, but the reality is, more than 99 percent of the people who are carrying student loan debt are not graduating from Ivy League colleges. In fact, 40 percent of the people who have student loan debt do not have a college diploma.

Think about that. These are people who, God bless them, they tried, right?

REID: Yes.

WARREN: But life happened. Pregnancy. They were trying to work three jobs. Their mom got sick. The family had to move to another town. Whatever it was, they weren`t able to make it through to a diploma.

So now look at the position they`re in. Because they weren`t born into a family that could pay for it, but they tried, they now earn what a high school grad earns, but they`re trying to manage college level debt.

REID: Yes.

WARREN: And it is crashing their bones.

So I see this as a moment when we just have to kind of decide, what kind of a country do we want to be? What is it that we think we do to build a future? And I heard Laura Ingraham say the answer is, make them work until they`re 73.


REID: Unreal.

WARREN: And, look, that is right now, in effect, the official position of the United States government.

REID: Yes.

WARREN: In fact, did you know that tens of thousands of people who are living on Social Security have had their Social Security checks garnished to pay for student loan debt?

And, sometimes, it`s their own, because, mid-career, they went back, tried to get a diploma. A lot of times, though, it`s because they guaranteed a debt for a beloved child or a beloved grandchild.

REID: Right.

WARREN: Now, we could decide, as a nation, just keep grinding on those people as hard as you can, squeeze every last nickel out of them, and watch them get deeper and deeper into debt because you hit them with penalty fees and raised interest rates if they stumble and can`t make it.

Or we can decide, as a nation, that we actually are all better off if people try to get an education. Those who succeed, it helps them individually, but it helps all of us. And, look, that`s not a novel idea. When I went to college, I graduated from the University of Houston when it cost $50 a semester, 5-0.

And the reason that I could graduate from a college that could be paid for on a part-time waitressing job was because American taxpayers invested.

REID: Yes.

WARREN: And they said, you know, kid, if you`re going to get out there and try, we`re going to support you and help make that happen, because that`s what we want people to do.

We want them to try to get an education. We don`t want to just grind up their bones when they try and can`t manage the debt.

REID: Yes.

You know, the thing about this argument that I think is so disingenuous, Senator, is that we`re acting as if the government doesn`t constantly forgive other kinds of debt. Like, rich people will take out tens of billions of dollars to make a shopping mall, and then go into bankruptcy. And there`s a special kind of bankruptcy just for rich people.

We forgive rich people`s debt. Donald Trump got his debt forgiven five times that way. And so the thing is, is that how have we gotten to a point where the government, without a second thought -- Steve Mnuchin, back when he was in business, was like, you need money? Here`s a check.

And then when people who are regular people say, I would like some money, they say, get out and work.


WARREN: That`s exactly -- but I will take part of the reason for that.

Part of the reason for that is just plain old, the rich people got lots of lobbyists...

REID: Yes.

WARREN: ... and lots of P.R. folks, and lots and lots of friends whose campaigns they have donated to.

REID: Yes.

WARREN: Folks who are struggling with student loan debt, they don`t have a big lobbying arm to get out for them. All they have got is each other.

REID: That`s right.

WARREN: But that is the key that you mentioned earlier about voting.

This is something that`s very popular, activates voters up and down the spectrum. And, understand, when I say very popular, it`s popular among people who have student loan debt, but it`s also popular among people who don`t.

REID: Yes.

WARREN: A majority of Americans who do not have student loan debt, say: I want to see us forgive a chunk of student loan debt, because most of them know somebody who does, a beloved friend, a child, a co-worker.

REID: Yes.

WARREN: They see what`s happening to people and how student loan debt, trying to pay for an education...

REID: Yes.

WARREN: ... instead of education being the thing that`s the equalizer, everybody gets to be a level playing field, it actually is tilting the playing field further apart.

It`s dividing people more economically.

REID: Absolutely.

WARREN: And that`s not the America we want to be. We can do better than.

REID: Before I let you go, I would be remiss if I didn`t ask you about the story that ran today, which is not shocking, but it is -- it`s not surprising, but it`s shocking -- Republicans pushing -- it`s on a totally different subject -- a national abortion ban.

Is that something that the Senate Democrats are bracing for, an attempt by Republicans to take their supposed federalism, throw it in the trash, and try to ban abortion nationwide?

WARREN: Yes. Yes.

Actually, you`re exactly right. Yes, we are braced for this. No, we are not going to let this happen. We will fight them every inch of the way.

But, actually, these two stories have something to do with each other. And I want you to look at where the Democrats are and where the Republicans are. The majority of Americans, Americans who have debt, don`t have debt, who are young, who are old, say cancel a big chunk of student loan debt.

The overwhelming majority of Americans say keep Roe vs. Wade as the law of the land. The Republicans are on the short end of the stick on both of those. In a democracy, we know what the world ought to look like, a whole lot less student loan debt and a whole lot more protection for people who want access to abortion.


REID: Yes. Yes.

WARREN: The Republicans are fighting us every inch of the way.

My view is, bring it on. We need to be ready to fight them back.

REID: Yes.

It`s -- they have a minority position, but they are aggressive as all get out.


REID: Senator Elizabeth Warren, thank you.


REID: I want to have me come back and talk about Elon Musk on another show.

But thank you so much for being here.

OK, still ahead: how the poster child for America`s white nationalist movement and Putin`s lead apologist is turning the fears of older white conservatives into a ratings bonanza.

We will be right back.



REID: Now, we have told you many times on this show about Tucker Carlson`s obsession with trying to recast American racism to present white Americans as the oppressed group in this country, and that the so-called ruling class is threatening everything his loyal viewers believe in.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: They don`t care what you think. They want to control your mind. They want you to do what you`re told. They want you to kiss the ring. They`re not sentimental. They want the power. They want power. They hate you. They want to hurt you. They call you a racist.

They call you racist. They want to control what you do. And, of course, they want to control your children too. And they want you to know it. They couldn`t be clearer about that.


REID: "New York Times" reporter Nicholas Confessore is out with an exhaustive investigation of Tucker`s life, career and FOX News show, and it`s interviewed more than 1,100 -- has viewed, viewed more than 1100 episodes of that show.

Confessore`s stunning conclusion is that the frozen TV dinner heir oversees the most racist show in the history of cable news that teaches loathing and fear. The embrace of these fixations that fester among white nationalists is by design. A former employee who worked frequently with Tucker says: "He is going to double down on the white nationalism because the minute-by- minutes show that the audience eats it up."

Nick Confessore, political and investigative reporter for "The New York Times," joins me now.

And, nick, this was an excellent reporting. One of the interesting things about it was the power that Tucker seems to wield in the building and the sort of viciousness with which he`s gone after other people at FOX who have questioned him in any way.

Is that something that Lachlan Murdoch encourages? That environment doesn`t seem healthy.

NICHOLAS CONFESSORE, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": You know, it`s hard to say who encourages it.

I can tell you that it`s not punished at FOX. And we document a few examples, two in particular, where pretty junior people at FOX complained that his rhetoric was either making an unsafe work environment for some colleagues, a Muslim colleague who was being just attacked with racial slurs online, and the second incident in which a reporter said that white supremacy is in fact real, it`s not a hoax.

And Carlson heard about this somehow. He was on vacation at the time, called her from a blocked number and yelled at her: "Shut up. Shut your mouth."

This is from the guy who talks about everyone else wants to shut his viewers up, big tech and liberals and so forth. So, with that kind of thin- skinned behavior, I`m not sure he was punished for that. And you can see that it`s basically enabled, that he`s allowed to wield his power, that he can say what he wants on the air.

And he certainly isn`t reeled in. In a previous era on FOX, if someone goes too far, someone like Roger Ailes comes and reels them back in or benches. And Tucker is not benched.

REID: The thing is FOX News, what Roger -- what Rupert Murdoch sort of discovered, it`s really literally no different than what Rush Limbaugh used to do, to be honest with you.

And I used to listen to Rush Limbaugh back when I was doing talk radio because he was sort of the -- sort of top of that of the craft. And so you wanted to listen to see what he does. I mean, it is a tactic. If your audience -- and, as you point out in your piece, this is a 92 percent white audience. It`s an older audience. It`s the oldest audience in cable news out of the three cable news networks.

And if you`re -- if that`s who you`re talking to, what Rush used to do was, his shows were on all these little rural stations all over the country. And he was constantly feeding that very white, largely rural audience constant nervousness, constant -- a sense that you`re being besieged, that black people are coming for you. The brown people are coming for you. The immigrants are coming for you. They`re taking your stuff.

And they`re taking your stuff, sort of boiled down, that`s what his message was, whether it was women, and it was feminists, and it was everyone`s taking from you. Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch just really did that on FOX too.

What is Tucker doing that`s different from what Rupert set up, what Rupert Murdoch set up? Because I feel like that`s been -- that`s been the trajectory the whole time. But you reported that Tucker is doing something different. What is that? Or what is the difference?

CONFESSORE: Look, a big difference is that Carlson is taking themes and ideas from the underbelly of the far right, things that appear in the old days on VDARE, which is a nativist site, on The Daily Stormer, on places that most of us aren`t visiting every day.

REID: Which is a Nazi site, by the way. the Daily Stormer is Nazis.

CONFESSORE: A neo-Nazi site.

REID: I just -- yes.

CONFESSORE: That`s right.

And these ideas are then polished up lightly and presented.

And I will give you a great example, Replacement Theory. I think everyone noticed in April when he got a lot of flak for defending Replacement Theory. But, in fact, it wasn`t the first time it`s been a growing part of his broadcast since 2017, when he was put in the 8:00 hour.

There are 400 episodes of the show, Joy, in which he embraces a version of Replacement Theory, which is a conspiracy theory that says that an elite cabal of leaders, either in the Europe or the U.S., are conspiring to replace the native-born population of America with people who are foreign- born.


And it`s often Muslims in the European context or it`s people from Latin America or Africa in the American context. On the very far right, it`s blamed on Jews.

REID: Yes.

CONFESSORE: In the polished-up version, it`s blamed on the ruling class.

And that`s the version you see on "Tucker Carlson Tonight." And you see it all the time.

REID: And very clearly, for those who are watching the show, when those men were chanting, those young men were -- neo-Nazis were chanting "Jews will not replace us," that is what White Replacement Theory -- that`s the embodiment of it.

It`s this idea that Jews are somehow conspiring to replace white Americans with non-white Americans.

Why does it go -- why does it work from a business model? They have lost at FOX some actually really good journalist. Chris Wallace left. Some of their commentators left who sort of wrote for the big conservative magazines, sort of traditional conservatives. Shepard Smith, who was very popular at the time, left.

Why does it work as a business model?

CONFESSORE: I think that the more that news becomes jarring to a certain viewer and unpleasant, has facts that are unpleasant, it`s harder and harder to keep that audience and show them real news.

And the tension becomes greater and greater. I think a lot of those guys left because it was just too hard. And I think FOX was not too unhappy to see some of them go, because the viewers didn`t always like seeing those points of use, seeing straight news or FOX versions of straight news. It`s everything you would see on NBC, but it was there.

I think the second reason is, look, this is a programming edge, and you`re looking for stuff that will rile people up and get them angry and fearful every night. And so, in the search for that edge, I think that Carlson and his team found that, if they just borrowed some of this stuff from weird sites from the far reaches of the Internet, and gave it a light polish, it was very powerful.

And it is powerful. There`s a former colleague of Carlson`s who calls this strategy rage inflation. It`s not enough just get them angry. You have to really spin it up. And as the cable audience declined, which it is for every number, including this one, you got to find a way to squeeze more juice out of the lemon. And this is how they figured out how to do it.

REID: And, by the way, it`s also saved what had been a fairly, pretty pretty middling cable news career for Tucker, who, you all, remember, he used to work here. He used to work at MSNBC.

He tried CNN. He tried MSNBC. This is a model that has made him a lot of money. It`s very popular. And I don`t think he minds that he has to borrow from neo-Nazi Web sites to make it happen, because it`s working for him.

Nick Confessore, great reporting. Thank you very much. Really appreciate you being here.

And up next: A ruling late today by a district judge in Oklahoma gives survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre a last chance for justice.




VIOLA FLETCHER, TULSA RACE MASSACRE SURVIVOR: We lost everything that they, our homes, our churches, our newspapers, our theaters, our lives.

Greenwood represented all the best of what was possible for black people in America.

LESSIE BENNINGFIELD RANDLE, TULSA RACE MASSACRE SURVIVOR: I was so scared. I didn`t think we could -- we could make it out alive. I remember people were running everywhere.

HUGHES VAN ELLIS, TULSA RACE MASSACRE SURVIVOR: We live with it every day, and the thought of what Greenwood was and what it could have been.


REID: Just before last year`s 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, the three remaining survivors testified about what they had endured.

It was one of the worst atrocities of terrorist violence in American history. A mob of white men bombed, burned and looted the prosperous Greenwood neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as Black Wall Street.

Over two days of horrific violence, as many as 300 people were slaughtered. The search for mass graves continues to this day. Now they will get an historic chance to make their case in court for reparations from the city and from other entities.

Today, a Tulsa judge heard arguments in a reparations lawsuit filed by those survivors and ruled that a trial can go forward, denying a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Attorneys for the survivors argue that the events of those two days in 1921 created an ongoing public nuisance for them and their descendants.

It comes at a critical time for those survivors. Viola Fletcher, Lessie Benningfield Randle and Hughes Van Ellis, for them to see those reparations in their lifetime, well, you would have to act fast, because all three are centenarians. The oldest, Viola Fletcher, turns 108 years old next week.

Joining me now, Damario Solomon-Simmons, civil rights attorney and founder of Justice For Greenwood.

Thank you so much for being here, Mr. Simmons. And congratulations on moving the case forward.

What does that mean in regular person terms?


It means that we are still alive. That`s the main thing we wanted to have happened today was to be able to move forward this case. And it`s never before in the history of this issue for one -- over 100 years have a case related to the massacre been able to move forward.

And we were able to do that. That`s the great news. The unknown is, we don`t know exactly what`s going to happen next, because a judge only ruled from the bench, which was unexpected...


REID: Yes.

SOLOMON-SIMMONS: ... to say that she was going to allow a part of our case to move forward.

We don`t know what exact part is moving forward. We don`t know when discovery will start. But we know we will have another day in court. And we know we`re still alive.

REID: Let me show you.

This was back -- back when we did this story around this anniversary, and we showed this "New York Times" interactive, it`s really -- it`s jarring to see it. And it just shows the scope of what was destroyed. And let`s see if we can show that. This is -- there it is.

So, you had this beautiful area known as Black Wall Street. And it was prosperous. And, literally, these men, this mob, I guess, a January 6-style mob, came, burned, looted, shot people, dragged people out of buildings, and it just destroyed it.

Let me play for you what the mayor of Tulsa, G.T. Bynum, told my friend and colleague Tiffany Cross when she went out there and asked whether there should be repair for that.


TIFFANY CROSS, HOST, "THE CROSS CONNECTION": With you specifically, the Bynum family, as you -- I`m sure you know, enslaved nearly 1,000 people, and you inherited that wealth from the family, where the African-Americans here in the community had their wealth taken from them.

So, when you say no cash payouts, I think people look at it and say, well, wow, you inherited wealth. You inherited your position in life because of enslaving people who look like me. How do you reconcile saying, yes, but that was then and we don`t owe you anything for that now?

G.T. BYNUM (R), MAYOR OF TULSA, OKLAHOMA: Because you`re asking me about reparations for an event that was a criminal act 100 years ago.


REID: What do you -- what would you say to people like the Tulsa mayor who say, happened, it`s over, no one owes anyone anything?

SOLOMON-SIMMONS: I would say he was wrong.

And that`s what our case is about, because it was a criminal act. He`s right about that. But it didn`t happen in this -- it`s not about what happened 100 years ago. It`s the continuation of the harm that continues to this day.

This public nuisance law that we`re utilizing is very powerful, because it specifically states, if there is a triggering act, which it was, the Tulsa Race Massacre, and if there is continuing harm, which it is, then that -- until that harm is abated or fixed or eradicated, then the public -- the claim is still a valid claim.

And that has been a law in Oklahoma since 1910. And it has been affirmed on many, many occasions by the Oklahoma Supreme Court. So, Mayor Bynum is wrong. It`s unfortunate that he would say something like that. It`s unfortunate that he represents so many people in his city who have that type of attitude, when you have three living survivors, when you have videos, you`re showing pictures that you`re showing, insurance claims that were not paid.

So, we`re just happy that a judge is giving us this opportunity to move this case forward.

REID: Yes.

How did Ms. Viola, Ms. Lessie, and Mr. Hughes Van Ellis react to the case moving forward? Did you get a chance to talk to them?

SOLOMON-SIMMONS: Oh, absolutely.

And it was just the greatest feeling for me personally, after working with hundreds of survivors, seeing so many die without sin this opportunity, to have those three in court with us the entire time, they were elated. I looked back. I went and talked to Uncle Red. And he was just bawling. He was just crying.

And he had told me -- he sent me a text message a couple of days ago. He said: Let them know they`re trying to wait for us to die, but we`re not going anywhere.

So that`s the best feeling in the world. It`s unbelievable. The community was there. It was packed, it was literally standing room only. We are just really excited about the team we put together with my colleagues, my co- counsel with Schulte Roth Zabel, and just to get this small victory. We got a lot of work to do.

REID: Yes.

SOLOMON-SIMMONS: We got a lot of understanding to get from the judge, but are we excited about the opportunity.

REID: Yes.

Well, I`m always happy every so often. We never get to do much good news on this show. So thank you so much for being here.

Please tell Ms. Viola, Ms. Lessie, and Uncle Red, which is Hughes Van Ellis, we`re very happy for them.

They were 6 and 7 years old when this happened. Imagine seeing that as a little kid. I can`t even imagine what they went through.

But thank you, Damario Solomon-Simmons. Appreciate you.

SOLOMON-SIMMONS: Thank you so much, Joy. Appreciate you.

REID: Up next -- cheers.

And up next: The Republican primary in Ohio tomorrow will be a big test for Trump and Trumpism.

Back in a sec.




MARTIN: He is still the leader of the Republican Party.

Even the candidates who is not endorsed, those who he had snubbed, they`re still kissing up to him. They`re still mentioning his name in their speeches and their TV ads. They want his support. So that tells you everything about the grip he still has.


REID: That was "The New York Times"` Jonathan Martin today talking about the hold the former president who lost by seven million votes has over his party.

With primary season now upon us, we are about to find out whether that hold is starting to fade. In Georgia, early voting has begun ahead of their primary election on May 24. Get out there and vote. And, in Ohio, primary voters go to the polls tomorrow.

And let me tell you, it is a race to the bottom, with a string of Republican Senate candidates falling all over themselves to parrot the Florida retiree.


JANE TIMKEN (R), OHIO SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: President Trump asked me to take over the Republican Party. And I delivered Ohio for President Trump.

JOSH MANDEL (R), OHIO SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: The 2020 election was stolen from Donald J. Trump.

MIKE GIBBONS (R), OHIO SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t think questioning and trying to find a legal way of overturning the election is in any way treasonous or even slightly illegal.

J.D. VANCE (R), OHIO SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: These people know that I supported Trump in 2020.


REID: Up until April 15, it was a wide open race.

Former state Treasurer Josh Mandel was leading the pack with his Trumpian delusions, xenophobia and bigotry. Then Trump endorsed the Peter Thiel- funded J.D. Vance. And Vance got a considerable bounce from that endorsement.

But here`s the thing. Vance has proved to be so unremarkable, that even Trump forgot his name.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have endorsed J.P., right, J.D. Mandel, and he`s doing great.

They`re all doing good.


REID: So, tomorrow, we will find out whether, in Ohio, at least, Trump`s political bite is as big as his rather confused bark.

And that is tonight`s REIDOUT.