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Transcript: The ReidOut, 6/20/22

Guests: Andy Campbell, Sheila Jackson Lee, Dana Nessel


Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel discusses the plot to overturn the 2020 election. Trump`s plan to overturn Georgia takes center stage at the January 6 Committee hearings tomorrow. Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger warns that January 6 wasn`t the end of MAGA violence. Texas Republicans show how far to the right their party is willing to go to please its base, embracing guns, Trump`s big lie, and ugly anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee discusses the complicated history of Juneteenth and how it finally became a federal holiday.




DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.


REID: Trump`s crooked plan to steal Georgia take center stage before the January 6 Committee, as we`re learning more about the equally crooked effort to submit fake electors, which everyone in Trump`s inner circle seemed to understand what`s completely illegal.

Also tonight: It`s right out in the open now, new evidence of the violence and menace at the heart of today`s MAGA-driven Republican Party.

But, first, I want to show you a bizarro moment from the 2020 news wormhole that you probably don`t remember.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The electors are already here. They have been checked in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re also electors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not all the electors are inside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The capitol is full.

All 16 electors that have been advised by the governor`s staff that were going to be here to vote in the Electoral College have been checked in. They`re already here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But these are the rest of the electors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s the official sealed document. The certificate of ascertainment has also the GOP electors. They are here. They`re trying to do their constitutional duty.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And their constitutional duty requires them to be at the Senate chamber today at 2:00 p.m.


REID: Now, once you just watched with a group of people claiming to be official electors from the swinging swing state of Michigan on December 14, 2020, demanding to be allowed in to participate in the Electoral College process, despite the fact that Joe Biden won Michigan by more than 150,000 votes, and his electors, the official ones, were already in the room.

Michigan was one of seven states that Biden won where Trump electors showed up anyway that day, insisting that Trump had actually won and that their electoral votes should be counted too, just in case. They even signed legal-looking documents falsely claiming to be the real electors.

As "The Washington Post" points out, at the time, the gathering seemed like a slapdash, desperate attempt to mimic then-President Donald Trump`s refusal to concede. But they report that internal campaign e-mails and memos reveal that the convening of the fake electors appeared to be a much more concerted strategy.

In fact, Trump advisers began strategizing just days after the election about how to construct a legal argument for advancing their own completely illegitimate electors in what a federal judge is described as a coup in search of a legal theory.

"The Post" reports that, two days after the election, Trump lawyer Cleta Mitchell wrote to John Eastman, asking -- quote -- "What would you think of producing a legal memo outlining the constitutional role of state legislators in designated electors?"

By November 28, Eastman had penned a seven-page memo entitled "The Constitutional Authority of State Legislatures to Choose Electors," and a copy was e-mailed to White House staffers, directing them to pass it along to Trump.

Trump`s legal team was aware that this was not legally sound, as an aide to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told the committee. Despite that, the Trump campaign pressed full steam ahead in organizing their electors telling them not to tell anyone about their plan, keep it hush-hush, which someone who thought their plan was aboveboard would not have to say.

On the day of the Electoral College vote, Trump`s ultra-loyal Attorney General William Barr met with Trump and then promptly resigned, later telling the January 6 Committee that he told Trump multiple times, including at that December 14 meeting, that his claims about election fraud were B.S., but that the president remained undeterred and, frankly, uninterested in hearing the facts or the truth.

Four days after that December 14 Electoral College vote, in which his fake electors were not seated, Trump met in the Oval Office with his favorite little gang of conspiracy theorists, including Rudy Giuliani and Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell, the Kraken lady, where they threw around various ideas on how to steal the election Trump had lost, including imposing martial law to seize the voting machines.

The very next day, Trump tweeted his infamous invite for his MAGA faithful to come to the Capitol on January 6, the next big date on the electoral calendar, when the vice president officially enters the winning candidates into the record. He tweeted: "Be there. It will be wild."

Look, it is very clear at this point that this was a coordinated campaign to help Trump hold onto the presidency at any cost, one that started before the votes were even counted.


Here is Trump in September 2020:


QUESTION: Will you commit to making sure that there is a peaceful transferal of power after the election?

TRUMP: Well, we`re going to have to see what happens. You know that.

I have been complaining very strongly about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster.

QUESTION: I understand that, but people are rioting. Do you commit to making sure that there`s a peaceful transferal of power?


TRUMP: We will want to have -- get rid of the ballots, and you will have a very trans -- we will have a very peaceful -- there won`t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation.


REID: Get rid of the ballots, and we will have a peaceful transfer. There won`t be a transfer of power.

And here`s how former Attorney General Barr described election night to the January 6 Committee, as a plan that had been in the works for weeks.


WILLIAM BARR, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Right out of the box on election night, the president claimed that there was major fraud under way.

I mean, this happened, as far as I could tell, before there was actually any potential of looking at evidence. And I didn`t think much of that, because people had been talking for weeks. And everyone understood for weeks that that was going to be what happened on election night.


REID: We`re about to learn even more about the role Trump played in these schemes to overturn the election during tomorrow`s January 6 hearing, with Congressman Adam Schiff saying that they will show evidence of the president`s involvement in pushing for these fake electors, as well as covering his pressure campaign on state officials.

We will hear from those officials, including Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his deputy, as well as Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers. We will also hear from Georgia election worker Shaye Moss, one of the women who faced a barrage of threats after the Trump campaign falsely claimed that she had opened suitcases of fake ballots.

Joining me now is Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and civil rights attorney and former prosecutor Charles Coleman Jr.

Thank you both for being here.

And, Attorney Nessel, I want to start with you, because I want to point really quickly to two pieces of reporting. This is from CNN. They had obtained previously audio where Meshawn Maddock, who is the co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party in your state and who was a fake elector, admits that the Trump campaign requested they send fake electors.

And this is what the quote was: "We fought to seek the electors. The Trump campaign asked us to do that."

Another piece of CNN reporting is that a Trump campaign staffer told CNN that Rudy Giuliani had worked closely on the seven-state stunt with these fake electors with Christina Bobb, who`s a correspondent for pro-Trump propaganda network One America News.

Is it your understanding, just on looking at the facts just in Michigan, that this was a coordinated Trump campaign effort to seat fake electors that went back, not to December, but to the actual election?

DANA NESSEL (D), MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, Joy, first of all, thank you for having me.

There`s no question that this was a coordinated effort. I mean, it started, quite honestly -- the day before the election, I had a conversation with both of our U.S. attorneys. And I said, hey, listen, you guys are going to stay out of this, right? You`re not going to intercede where it`s inappropriate for you to do so.

And they said, no, of course we`re not going to do that. Well, immediately after the election, contrary to what DOJ policy had been, they started to investigate in both the Eastern and the Western districts. Now, our U.S. attorney from the Eastern District, the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney, just came out last week and said that he was ordered to look for election fraud, and he reported back that he found no election fraud in the city of Detroit.

But, nonetheless, you might remember that Trump actually ordered our state`s House speaker and our Senate majority leader from Michigan to the Oval Office to have a conversation on November 20, right before the election was certified in Michigan, to try to mount a pressure campaign on them.

Now, they did ultimately the legal thing and the right thing, and they refused to cave to his demands. But, of course, it was then later, after the election was certified November 23 in our state, that those individuals -- and you just showed it on screen -- including the co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party and one of our state reps, tried to storm into the state Senate.

The reason they did that is, because according to our Constitution, the electors have to officially vote at 2:00 p.m. that day in the state Senate, or it`s not counted, it`s not legitimate.

But, of course, they sent in that fake slate of electors nonetheless, even though I can tell you I was in the state Senate that day, and they were outside, because Governor Whitmer had ordered dozens and dozens of MSP, Michigan State Police, troopers to guard the Capitol, so they could not force their way into the building, which I -- we were afraid they would try to do. And there was the threat of violence that day by one of the state reps.


So, clearly, this was a coordinated campaign.

And let me say one other thing. We received information not long thereafter that, of course, this false slate of electors had officially been filed with the National Archivists. Yes, so we were placed on notice that this was fraudulently filed with them.

So, clearly, there was a campaign from the beginning to the end, and it was coordinated by the Trump campaign. All you have to do is look at the public information and open sources to see that that is what occurred.

REID: And, Charles, I mean, what we have here, just my producer really sort of laid out a timeline.

I mean, going all the way back to November 7, you have Trump calling Republicans on the Wayne County Board of Elections, saying, hey, I need you to certify these other electors. Like, it`s a relentless campaign that goes all -- almost to election night on November 3 to try to pressure Republicans in multiple states, even calling people, as Attorney Nessel just said, to the White House and saying, hey, I`m going to pressure you in person.

The thing about it that makes it feel illegal is that these state -- the state laws in all of these states say that the electors are based on the vote. And the result of the vote was that Biden won. These electors had neither any -- they had no connection to the state legislature. They had not had -- they had no connection to the secretaries of state in the states.

They literally had no legal foundation. And everyone Eastman, et cetera, knew it. That is a crime, right?

CHARLES COLEMAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it`s clear -- it`s clear, Joy from what we`re learning and from the information that continues to come out is that President Trump had an equivocal intent to commit conspiracy to basically steal this election.

And so everything that you`re talking about that is surfacing is being sort of wrapped up with the DOJ, in hopes that Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice will go ahead and charge him on the myriad different acts that he at this point has shown clear intent of doing.

One of the things that has been a challenge in the past has been connecting any of the behavior with the requisite intent, and then connecting that to the president. In this case, with everything that has been coming out, all the information and this direct timeline that you`re talking about before January 6, it shows how intentional, how deliberate, how purposeful the president and his team were in setting this up in order to have what happened on January 6 take place.

So, you`re right. It does sound illegal. It absolutely is illegal. And what they`re doing in this by releasing this information is showing the clear intent that`s necessary, because we don`t have a successful action. We don`t have the conclusion. All we had is the attempt.

So, in terms of being able to establish the attempt, we have to establish the intent. And that`s the thing that we`re doing with connecting all of these dots and why all of this information is as powerful as it is.

REID: Indeed.

And let`s go -- I want to go back to Eastman, because he is sort of one of the most sort of fascinating figures here. He`s somebody who is -- he is a law professor. I mean, he`s a mentor of people like Ted Cruz. People know this -- people know him. I mean, or he was mentored, I should say, by some of the same people who mentored Ted Cruz.

He then writes an e-mail, Eastman does, on December 19. He writes this e- mail that says that electors would be dead on arrival in Congress. So he knows it`s illegal. His reasoning is no state legislator had acted to certify them as valid. That`s true. Four days later, however, he then writes to other Trump advisers and saying: "The fact that we have multiple electors in states demonstrates the uncertainty of either. This should be enough," he writes.

Four days after the January 6 insurrection, he then gets a redacted e-mail about the elections and he admits the plan was illegal, saying: "Tell us in layman`s language" from someone whose name is redacted "what the heck happened with the dual electors, please?"

"No legislators certified them," he responds, "because governors refused to call them into session, so they had no authority."

As attorney general of Michigan, Dana Nessel, is there any way to uncover who these people are that he`s interacting with? Because, in the first case, who else could he be talking to but his client, Donald Trump, to make him change his mind all of a sudden and say something he knew was illegal was legal? And then, in second case, he`s getting dressed down for it not working.

Is there any way that the public can find out who these mystery people are or that a state could, like yours?

NESSEL: Well, right.

No, I mean, listen, I referred our case to the feds and to the DOJ quite some time ago, actually sort of begging for them to take this case up, because, initially, the Department of Justice was refusing to look at this matter. And it was so clear, and I think it was very cleverly laid out actually by your network.

MSNBC, I think, did a tremendous job of connecting the dots, so much so that I thought it was inescapable that people could conclude anything other than that there was this effort to completely undermine the election and subvert the vote utilizing this -- this -- what seems like a harebrained scheme using the false slate of electors that actually almost worked.


But what I pledged to do in our state, because this was too obvious, was to charge these individuals myself. But the problem is, as individual attorneys general, there`s only so much we can do in our individual states, because we don`t have jurisdiction outside of our respective states.

REID: Yes.

NESSEL: And so that`s something that really needed to be coordinated and done by the Department of Justice.

I`m glad that the January 6 Committee is laying it out as plainly as they are, and I don`t see how the DOJ can do anything but take action. It`s -- the evidence is overwhelming.

REID: And six in 10 Americans at this point believe that Donald Trump should be charged with a crime for his role in the insurrection, and six in 10 also believe the committee is conducting a fair and impartial election.

I`m with the 60 percent.


REID: Let`s see what happens.

Thank you, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Charles Coleman Jr.

Up next on THE REIDOUT: Adam Kinzinger warns that January 6 wasn`t the end of MAGA violence. And we`re seeing new examples of the menacing and threats being used by Republicans against other Republicans.

The REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: On the far right of the Republican Party, the so-called MAGA movement has morphed from just die-hard support for the former president into a violent, increasingly extremist political faction that is dangerous, not just to Democrats, but also to Republicans.

Take a look at a new digital ad from the front-running Missouri Republican Senate candidate and former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, screenshots from the actual Greitens brandishing a pump-action -- a pump-action shotgun, declaring "I`m a Navy seal" and calling for the hunting of so- called RINOs, Republicans in name only, while flanked by men in camo and tactical gear, breaking into a house in what looks like a military raid, with Greitens and his pet shotgun inviting his followers to join the MAGA movement to get your own RINO hunting license.

Now, it is worth noting that, while Eric Greitens is a former Navy SEAL, as he boasts in the video, he isn`t one now. The Navy refused to reinstate him as a SEAL in 2019, only allowing him to return to the Reserves.

Also, using military uniforms the way he does in that video is strictly not allowed by the actual U.S. military, not the fake one he`s raiding that fictional RINO house with to, what, kill them for not being MAGA enough?

The year before he was turfed out as a Navy SEAL, Greitens resigned as Missouri`s governor amid criminal charges and an ethics investigation stemming from reports he tried to blackmail a hairdresser he`d had an affair with after allegedly locking her in his basement and sexually assaulting her while he recorded her on video without her permission.

And earlier this year, his former wife alleged in court documents that he physically abused her and their young son. Those allegations led to Greitens being temporarily unable to even have a gun.

This latest apparent endorsement of violence in the name of MAGA comes as one of the two Republicans on the January 6 committee, Adam Kinzinger, revealed a threat sent to his home in a letter addressed to his wife. We


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): We got it a couple of days ago. And it threatens to execute me, as well as my wife and 5-month-old child. Never seen or had anything like that.

There`s violence in the future, I`m going to tell you. And until we get a grip on telling people the truth, we can`t expect any differently.


REID: The same extremism was also on display at the Texas Republican Party Convention, where far right activists targeted right-wing Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw using a derogatory nickname coined by none other than Tucker Carlson.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eye patch McCain. Hey, Eye patch McCain.

Look at Eye patch McCain right here. You`re a RINO. You`re a globalist.


REID: This radical behavior may seem new from the Republican Party, but it`s not a bug, not anymore.

It`s part of an increasingly overt shift since Donald Trump came along toward open political and physical thuggery inside the once Grand Old Party embodied by the increasing mainstreaming inside the party of far right extremist, even fascist groups like the Proud Boys.

The longtime leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, is charged with seditious conspiracy related to January 6. So is the leader of the far right Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes. And Tarrio`s history of political extremist violence and harassment has been long known in the state of Florida.

In 2018, he led a mob-style attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a protest organized by the Miami-Dade Republican Party. The Miami-Dade Republican chair had to apologize for the harassment of Speaker Pelosi in 2018.

But we have come full circle. Tarrio was later the head of Latinos For Trump sitting behind the former president at speeches and visiting the White House. And the Proud Boys have since been fully absorbed by the party in a marriage of violence and politics. They have now effectively taken over the Miami-Dade Republican Party.

And with me now with NBC News senior reporter Ben Collins and Andy Campbell, senior editor for HuffPost and author of the upcoming book "We Are Proud Boys: How a Right-Wing Street Gang Ushered in a New Era of American Extremism."

Thank you both for being here.

And, Andy, Ben hipped me to you, so I`m going to ask you to just answer that question. How did a right-wing extremist group become a mainstream part of the Republican Party and our politics?


ANDY CAMPBELL, SENIOR EDITOR, HUFFPOST: Absolutely. Thanks for having me on, Joy.

And what you`re seeing here is a culmination of the normalization of political violence in this country. The Proud Boys have helped foment that atmosphere by positioning political violence as legitimate political discourse. And so what you`re seeing with these Republicans getting attacked by their own party is a machine, an apparatus that`s ready to mobilize.

Whenever Tucker Carlson or Donald Trump point at something they dislike, you have extremists like the Proud Boys ready to jump in there and bring violence to that situation.

And so you`re seeing it. The people who attacked Crenshaw were Proud Boys, right? You`re seeing the Proud Boys show up at Pride events now, because FOX News is angry at LGBTQ at this point. So what we`re seeing is a normalization of political violence.

And what`s scary, and, as Ben will tell you, it is going to lead to more violence.

REID: It is.

And, Ben, you have written about the fact that they have migrated. I mean, we know Tarrio was arrested for pulling a Black Lives Matter sign down and having magazines, gun magazines, he wasn`t supposed to have an industry in the District of Columbia. Then he got charged with seditious conspiracy.

But you have written about the fact that this kind of thing has migrated from being very race-focused and very-Democrat focused, like the attack on Pelosi, to now being trans-focused and LGBTQ-focused. Why?

BEN COLLINS, NBC NEWS SENIOR REPORTER: Yes, in this space, we call it the main character effect.

There`s a main character every week on FOX News or on The Donald or all these far right-wing Web sites. And they focus on one specific totem that will embody this larger culture issue they have a problem with. Last week, it was Drag Queen Story Hour. A few months ago, it was Critical Race Theory.

But, regardless of what it is, it comes from the top down. It`s a FOX News, targeted thing, or maybe from a specific politician like Ron DeSantis. And then, from there, they get their marching orders. The militias go to the same message boards these people do.

They say, hey, we`re angry at drag queens this week. Well, there`s a Drag Queen Story Hour in San Francisco. Let`s go there. And that`s exactly what the Proud Boys did two weekends ago. They went to a Drag Queen Story Hour. And now one of the drag queens who was there is scarred for life.

The kids who were there are scarred from being yelled at from these -- from these people dressed up in militia garb. So, that`s the thing. Right now, every week, there is a new main character on the right. And if you are the main character, you`re in deep trouble, and you`re probably a minority or part of some other group that`s, like, regularly persecuted on FOX News.

REID: That`s the chicken-and-egg conversation I want you to answer for me, Andy.

I mean, you have had Adam Kinzinger call out Kevin McCarthy, who wants to be speaker of the House. He`s the leader of the Republicans in the House.

And he said: "Where is Kevin McCarthy? He`s supposed to defend his members. Now, granted, Crenshaw is MTG or crazy -- or isn`t an MTG or a crazy, but the Republican leader should say something. Does McCarthy appreciate McCain`s war record? Maybe after the speaker race. Yes, that`s it."

Like, he`s sort of going after him. But I wonder, how did the Proud Boys, which is an extremist group that -- what do they call themselves, western chauvinists, whose leader is a black Cuban who hates Black Lives Matter. So I don`t get him at all. But where did the Proud Boys come from?

And are they really connected to the Republican Party or using the Republican Party for their own ends?

CAMPBELL: Absolutely.

Well, listen, a number of Proud Boys are running for office, even after their outsized role in January 6, are running for office in this election. I think something like 30 of them are running for office. And that`s because they know that, even if they don`t win any seats, that securing friendships, running for office makes them look more political than the other street gangs you might have seen at Unite the Right, which the Proud Boys were at too, by the way.

REID: Yes.

CAMPBELL: But they know that the political aspect, by gaining relationships in the GOP, they look more like a political arm than a street gang.

And it`s worked, because they have relationships with the GOP elite. Ann Coulter used them as a bodyguard. They were bodyguards at Matt Gaetz events. They are good friends with Roger Stone, who counts Enrique Tarrio as one of his best friends, right?

Enrique Tarrio, the leader of a street gang, is one of Roger Stone, Trump`s confidant`s best friends. And so the GOP has not only embraced them, but it celebrates them, even after January 6.

REID: What do they want? I mean, they were founded by the guy who started VICE News. And now Tarrio`s -- what is it that they want? What`s their endgame?

Is it low taxes for the rich, like Republicans want? Like, what do they want?

CAMPBELL: Well, Gavin McInnes, the founder of both VICE and the Proud Boys, wanted them to be the enforcement arm of the GOP. They wanted them to bring violence into the streets and bring violence to anything that the GOP wants them to, because they recognize that these old, crusty conservatives aren`t going to get out there and fight.


These guys are going to get out there and fight and give it such a political bent that it has justification. And so they have done that very, very successfully. And we found that, even after their leaders have been arrested for sedition charges in January 6, these guys are still out in the street every weekend fighting the battles pointed out to them by Tucker Carlson and the Republican elite.

REID: Ben Collins, that is called brownshirtism. That is fascism, no?

COLLINS: Look, that`s where it`s coming from.

That is -- and that`s where it`s headed, Joy. This is certainly where it`s all going. This is a street gang. That`s what it is. And if they need marching orders, they go to the same people. And if those people are in office, they think they can get diplomatic immunity. That`s what they think is happening.

And, by the way, they will try to ingratiate themselves. Andy knows all about this. They will try to ingratiate themselves into police departments, local municipalities, sort of make it so that, when things get a little hectic at these protests events, they`re not the ones who are getting collared. It`s the people they`re protesting against.

They want to start fights that somebody fights back at. That`s the point, to make them look like the victims that they are fighting back against. That`s the whole point of this thing. They don`t want to look like they`re starting to fight. They just want to look like they are sort of in the line of fire of the left. That`s the -- that`s the game plan here.

REID: Yes, the physical enforcers, basically the brownshirts for the Republican Party.

And they want to ingratiate themselves with police, until they`re beating the crap out of police at the Capitol on January 6 during the insurrection.

Ben Collins, Andy Campbell, please come back. I think this is such a valuable conversation. We need to know more about these groups. Thank you both.

Still ahead: Texas Republicans show just how far to the right their party is willing to go to please its base, embracing guns, Trump`s big lie, and ugly anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.

We will be right back.



REID: Texas Republicans held their convention over the weekend and laid out a far right platform with red meat for the MAGA fanatics, who now dominate a party that once belonged to the likes of George Herbert Walker Bush.

It should be no surprise that they embraced the big lie, declaring President Biden`s victory against Trump illegitimate. They scolded one of their own, Senator John Cornyn, for even participating in the watered-down talks on gun legislation.

Listen to them booing him.


SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): May God continue to bless our great state of Texas.



REID: But it is their 40-page platform that displays just how far right they have shifted, including calling homosexuality an abnormal lifestyle choice, calling for an end to all gun safety measures, and requiring Texas students to learn about the humanity of the preborn child in school, while also prohibiting teaching sex education.

Joining me now, Matthew Dowd, MSNBC contributor and founder of Country Over Party.

Matthew, what is going on inside the Texas Republican Party? I mean, this platform, it`s bananas. They also want to retain the right to secede. They want to repeal the entire Voting Rights Act of 1965, rejecting the Equal Rights Amendment for women, repealing hate crime laws. They want hate crimes to be legal, I guess.

Arming teachers, defending capital punishment. I could go on. Oh, protecting Confederate monuments, can`t miss that, and ending gay marriage, reversing that right, also penalizing corporations in Texas who boycott the state because the state apparently is nuts.

Your thoughts?


MATTHEW DOWD, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean, my fear is, which is this is connected so much to January 6, because what Texas is showing is what the Republicans want the country to be.

And so Texas is just one step ahead in this craziness of where they want the rest of the country to go. And so, as we saw with the anti-abortion, anti-choice stuff that Texas did, as soon as Texas did it, five, six, seven, eight other states did it.

And so I think what they`re -- which actually is, in somewhat good news, they`re telling us what -- why they want to dismantle democracy and why they don`t want to be held accountable for January 6, because this is their plan. This is what they want to do.

And, as you laid out, the leaders of the Republican Party have lost control, have lost any guardrails for the grassroots of the Republican Party. The grassroots of the Republican Party, which is crazy far right, is now in charge.

REID: Yes, clearly.

I mean, they`re talking about they want us to secede. I mean, they`re -- don`t threaten us with a good time...

DOWD: Which is...

REID: ... if you`re going to try to create an apartheid state in America. We don`t like apartheid and don`t want it.

I mean, I want to ask you just about some other elements. I mean, this -- the Republican Party has really -- to me, we -- they -- we mainstreamed the Tea Party. The media allowed them to mainstream themselves. Then they were the baseline.

Now this MAGA crew is the baseline, but, increasingly, it`s the Proud Boys who are the baseline. We just did a piece -- did a segment with a couple of experts on that. They are becoming the new baseline, the thug crew.

DOWD: Well, yes.

REID: And you see Eric Greitens embracing the idea of storming into Republican homes if they`re not MAGA enough and killing them, I guess, with a pump-action shotgun and an army

Your thoughts?


DOWD: So, I think you have hit it right -- as usual, you have hit it right on the head, is, it`s like Frankenstein made a monster, and then the monster woke up and now is destroying the village, and he`s lost control of it. And that`s the way it is.

Eric Greitens is a perfect example. He`s one step further than Donald Trump, who was one step further than Sarah Palin. And Doug Mastriano, the Democrat -- Republican nominee in Pennsylvania, who was at the January 6 -- and organized buses to go to the coup down there, he`s the Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania.

So we can`t consider these people isolated. They`re the dominant theme of a major legacy party of the United States of America who has an opportunity to win the Senate and win the House in 2020 -- in this year, 2022.

REID: Yes.

DOWD: That`s my fear, because, if that happens, goodbye, democracy.

REID: Oh, 100 percent mean.

I just read -- this is just before we were in the commercial break. The man who is running for attorney general in Nevada has said that the black current attorney general, Aaron Ford, should be hung from an effing crane, should be hung -- he should be hung from an effing crane, lynched, the black attorney general of Nevada.

This person`s name is Sigal Chattah. So that kind of -- that is the way that they talk now, which is why, when I saw the Eric Greitens thing, I`m like, he`s mainstream Republican. That`s what the party is now.

How does the Democratic Party respond, when they are everywhere, in every state, increasingly openly touting violence, lynching and insurrection?

DOWD: So, the first thing that Democratic Party has to do is realize we`re in an entirely different time and a different scenario, and their old plans of talking about 22 different policies, and what`s their plan on X, Y and Z, they ought to throw it out.

We`re not in the normal time. We`re not in that. They have to realize that a culture war and a war for America has been launched. And it`s been launched for 10 or 15 years. And the Democrats keep trying to think they`re going to organize the kitchen at the barracks while this war is going on.

Democrats have to step up and believe and talk like this. This is a war for the soul and heart of America. That`s what they have to realize. It`s not about whatever rate on education or a tax rate. It`s not about any of that. It is about the heart and soul of America. And Democrats have to run that campaign just like the Republicans do, not the violence, and obviously rational thought, but they have to realize they`re in a war.

And you have to come to the war with that understanding.

REID: And do you think that -- I mean, give us some advice for the media, because, again, the media did mainstream the Tea Party and wants to -- doesn`t want to be in a war with the Republican Party. Let`s just be clear.

In general, the media does not want to be at war with the Republicans. They want to treat both sides the same. But both sides are not the same, right?


REID: At this point -- you were a Republican strategist. I have been a lifelong Democrat. We agree on all of this.

How do we get us all out of this both sides sort of trajectory?

DOWD: Well, I mean, I think that`s the fundamental choice, and that the fundamental choice is, if you`re a person in the media that covers the news, it can`t just be, well, the Republicans stand for autocracy and Democrats stand for democracy, and let`s see how this game plays out...

REID: Right.

DOWD: ... because as part of democracy is free -- is media. Part of democracy is freedom of the press.

REID: Yes.

DOWD: And the media has to -- I actually thought of one thing I thought that the media should do a better job of, which is how do people in the media conduct themselves in an autocratic country, the ones that believe in free media?

REID: Yes.

DOWD: We need to think more like that in the media, and less like this is just A and B and decide -- let the voters decide.

REID: Yes.

DOWD: That`s the point we have to give up. We -- it is, we have to tell the voters what the threat is, just like we do, Joy, we tell them about inflation, and we tell them about job growth.

REID: Yes.

DOWD: And we tell -- we tell them about a hurricane, and we tell them about tornadoes, and we tell them about wildfire.

We have to treat this assault just like we have to tell them about the assault on democracy.

REID: Yes.

Adam Kinzinger is as conservative as it gets. If he and I sat down, we would agree on literally nothing politically. He`s getting death threats to his little kid and his wife. That`s where we are. The monster is eating itself.

DOWD: Yes.

REID: Matthew Dowd, thank you.

DOWD: Thank you.

REID: Up next: the complicated history of Juneteenth and how it finally became a federal holiday, thanks to the tireless work of advocates like Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.

She joins us straight ahead. Stay with us.



REID: On June 19 1865, Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas, with a message: Enslaved people in Texas were now free.

The day became known as Juneteenth, the blend of June and 19th, one of the oldest African-American holidays, marking one of America`s early efforts to reverse a brutal human experiment. The order that black Texans were free is known as General Order No. 3.

It wasn`t very long, quite simply, a belated announcement of freedom, arriving 2.5 years after President Lincoln`s Emancipation Proclamation. You see, it was one thing to free enslaved people, quite another thing to enforce that reality in parts of the country that were clinging to keeping humans in bondage to maintain white financial prosperity, especially in places like Texas, where cotton and sugar plantations relied heavily on slave labor.

Another thing about General Order No. 3,it included that freedom meant an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves.


Well, this didn`t go over so well, inciting white violence. Black Texans were shot and killed, rather than set free. Slavery continued in other forms and by different names. The violence continues today by those refusing to accept black freedom and humanity, including insurrectionists who waved Confederate Battle Flags and erected a gallows at the U.S. Capitol, and a gunman who targeted and massacred black people in Buffalo only a month-and-a-half ago.

And so, today, as in 1865, Juneteenth is a day that celebrates freedom. But, until true equality arrives, Juneteenth is also an act of resistance celebrated boldly and in defiance of every attempt to take equality away.

Some call it Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, a precursor to the Fourth of July, our actual independence day, a collective expression of black freedom. Today, for the second time, it is recognized nationally as a day for all Americans to commemorate the end of the abomination of slavery here, thanks to Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who was pivotal to getting Juneteenth recognized as a federal holiday.

Like the long road to freedom, this holiday also came with a fight.

And Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee joins me next.



REID: Today, the U.S. recognizes its newest federal holiday, Juneteenth.

But it`s a day black Americans in states like Texas and Colorado have been celebrating since the late 1800s. It`s day of hope mixed with a hard look at the tensions and hostility black people still face in this country more than 150 years after emancipation.

And joining me now is Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas.

Congresswoman, it is great to see you. And I have to show you this. I hope you can see it on your monitor. This was your reaction -- and this is from "The Big Payback" movie that you`re very much featured in -- when -- essentially when Juneteenth passed and became a holiday. Take a look.



REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): I declare and proclaim that American has just gotten a gift. They have the ability now to call themselves the supporters of the Juneteenth national holiday.


JACKSON LEE: This is America.


REID: For black Americans who say, we want stuff, not -- we want stuff done, like, we want things like police reform, we wanted things like voting rights reform, that`s the -- like, the stuff that we need done that`s more critical than something symbolic, like a holiday, what would you say to them?

JACKSON LEE: Well, first of all, Joy, thank you so very much for having me.

And happy Juneteenth.

REID: Same to you.

JACKSON LEE: I would say what I have said, that Juneteenth was actually the beginning.

And I have been in the fight for police reform, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, George Floyd Law Enforcement Integrity Act, voting rights over the decades that I have been in the United States Congress, privileged to be represented -- representing my constituents.

But here`s where we are. One of the things that Juneteenth, after a decade of fighting for that legislation and introducing it for the first time, the federal holiday, in 2020, and receiving a million petitions from Opal Lee, working collaboratively, it is now a statement that has never been made before.

Juneteenth, of course, commemorates two years of waiting past 1863 for Texans remaining in slavery, the brutality of slavery. But what it does is, it opens up the nation to a discussion of the brutality of slavery, the strength of the slaves, how they built this nation, which means the next step should be an understanding why voting rights is absolutely imperative and the John Robert Lewis bill should be passed, or why H.R.40 should be passed.

So the idea was that, once all of my colleagues, unanimous in the Senate, 415 votes in the House, voted for it and saw that nothing happened, nothing collapsed, we were able to look at this issue together, and all of the festivities and commemorations -- I was in church yesterday with what I had promised my constituents that we would honor the slaves and our ancestors in a memorial service.

I believe it opens the door to pushing now for voting rights, for pushing now for ensuring that we, in fact, have real gun safety laws, for pushing now that we protect democracy and for pushing now for H.R.40, the commission to study slavery and develop reparation proposals, the big payback.

REID: You know, not everyone is -- not everyone is trying to sort of celebrate together.

Dr. Oz, Dr. Mehmet Oz, who`s running for statewide office in Pennsylvania, he originally went on TRUTH Social, which why would anybody do that? But he goes on TRUTH Social, and he tweeted -- he deleted the word equality that he`d written on a post, that he was celebrating the equality and justice, et cetera, on Juneteenth.

What is going on in a party where you can`t write the word equality and get away with it if you`re running for office?

JACKSON LEE: Well, I think people should distinguish who now has taken hold of the Republican Party, the Grand Old Party, the party of Lincoln, the party of H.W. Bush, the party of George W. Bush, the party of the secretary of state the late Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice. That party is off to the side.

What we have now are individuals that embrace insurrectionists, embrace false stories and falsehoods about the election.

REID: Yes.

JACKSON LEE: And so what I would say is, I wish that Mr. Oz, Dr. Oz, would have kept to his own views, his heart.

REID: Yes.

JACKSON LEE: But he did not.

REID: Yes. Yes.

JACKSON LEE: He got beat up, and he immediately dropped the word equality.

REID: And he backed down.

JACKSON LEE: I would want to be standing on equality, rather than dropping equality.

And I ask him to look into his heart. What kind of America are we if we can`t fight for equality?

REID: Amen.

And the Texas Republican Party is something else. We`re going to have to come -- bring you back on and just talk just about that.

Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, thank you.

JACKSON LEE: I just...


JACKSON LEE: ... their platform.

REID: Whew.

JACKSON LEE: It`s atrocious.

REID: Well, I mean, it is.

JACKSON LEE: It really is.

REID: Congresswoman, thank you. And happy Juneteenth.

That is tonight`s REIDOUT.

And "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.