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Transcript: The ReidOut, 6/21/22

Guests: Asawin Suebsaeng, David Henderson, Errin Haines


Former President Donald Trump`s efforts to overturn state election results take center stage at the January 6 Committee hearings. Is Donald Trump preparing to throw attorney John Eastman under the bus for January 6?




WANDREA "SHAYE" MOSS, FORMER GEORGIA ELECTION WORKER: This affected my life in a major way, in every way, all because of lies.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): If the most powerful person in the world can bring the full weight of the presidency down on an ordinary citizen, who among us is safe? None of us is, none of us.


REID: The human beings who became targets of Trump`s relentless effort to overturn the election, the threats and the slander that ripped their lives apart, their devastating personal stories were revealed today in the most emotional January 6 hearing yet.

Plus, new details on Trump`s highly illegal campaign to pressure state elections officials to install fake electors. Just a few hours ago, the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection laid out in clear terms just how broad Donald Trump`s thirst for power and how deep his acceptance for violence really went.

The committee outlined how Trump knew he had lost, but plowed ahead anyway with a plan to get what he wanted. Part of that plan included a coordinated campaign of harassment, where he and his allies repeatedly bullied state elections officials in key battleground states to reject ballots outright, while also targeting local election officials with unfounded claims of fraud.

Privately, he and his allies led by an unmoored Rudy Giuliani, hounded officials, while publicly waging a smear campaign fueled with lies that led to a wave of violent threats across the country. When these legislators refuse to break the law and bend the knee, he upped the public intimidation campaign, and even exposed their contact information.

At his disposal was a massive and devoted following, who served as his foot soldiers a following that had already demonstrated their thirst for mayhem.


PROTESTER: You`re a threat to democracy! You`re a threat to free and honest elections!

PROTESTER: We love America! We love our rights and our freedoms!

PROTESTER: You are a tyrant! You are a felon! And you must turn yourself in to the authorities immediately!

JOCELYN BENSON (D), MICHIGAN SECRETARY OF STATE: We don`t know what`s going to be -- the uncertainty of that was what was the fear. Like, are they coming with guns? Are they going to attack my house?

STATE REP. BRYAN CUTLER (R-PA): All of my personal information was doxxed online. It was my personal e-mail, my personal cell phone, my home phone number.

In fact, we had to disconnect our home phone for about three days because it would ring all hours of the night.


REID: Rusty Bowers, the Republican and devoutly religious Arizona House speaker, refused to break the law for Trump.

And this is how he was rewarded.


STATE REP. RUSTY BOWERS (R-AZ): We have various groups come by. And they have had video -- panel trucks with videos of me proclaiming me to be a pedophile and a pervert and a corrupt and -- politician.


REID: Some of the threats of violence were reported in real time.

Despite all of that, the pressure campaign continued, as Georgia became a central focus for Trump and his allies because the recount -- because of the recount there.

Gabriel Sterling, a Georgia election official, had this prescient warning at the time as they were receiving death threats.


GABRIEL STERLING, GEORGIA VOTING SYSTEM IMPLEMENTATION MANAGER: Someone`s going to get hurt. Someone`s going to get shot. Someone`s going to get killed. And it`s not right.


REID: But his warning fell on deaf ears.

His boss, Brad Raffensperger, testified that his family also fell victim to the threats.


BRAD RAFFENSPERGER (R), GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: I was getting texts all over the country. And then, eventually, my wife started getting a text. And hers typically came in as sexualized texts, which were disgusting.


REID: What was most depraved about this pressure campaign led by Trump and Rudy Giuliani to try to overturn the election were the attacks on innocent civic-minded Americans like election workers.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Tape earlier in the day of Ruby Freeman and Shaye Freeman Moss and one other gentleman quite obviously surreptitiously passing around USB ports as if they`re vials of heroin or cocaine.

I mean, it`s obvious to anyone who`s a criminal investigator or prosecutor they are engaged in surreptitious illegal activity.


REID: Vials of heroin or cocaine.

For the record, none of that was true.

This is a woman, Shaye Moss, a Georgia election worker in that state`s Fulton County, who became fodder for Giuliani`s efforts to overturn the election at any cost.



MOSS: I have always been told by my grandmother how important it is to vote and how people before me, a lot of people, older people in my family, did not have that right.

So what I loved most about my job were the older voters.


REID: And this is what was left of her life after they were done with her.


MOSS: This turned my life upside down. I no longer give out my business card. I don`t transfer calls. I don`t want anyone knowing my name.

I don`t want to go anywhere with my mom, because she might yell my name out over the grocery aisle or something.


REID: Her mom, Lady Ruby, as she`s known in the community, also fell victim to the president`s lies.


RUBY FREEMAN, FORMER GEORGIA ELECTION WORKER: There is nowhere I feel safe, nowhere.

Do you know how it feels to have the president of the United States to target you? The president of the United States is supposed to represent every American, not to target one. But he targeted me, Lady Ruby, a small business owner, a mother, a proud American citizen.


REID: Joining me now is former Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri. She`s an MSNBC political analyst, Tim O`Brien, senior columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, and Errin Haines, editor at large for The 19th.

And, Errin, I`m going to start with you, because Lady Ruby went on to say: "I don`t feel safe anywhere."

And I want to play one more thing that her daughter said. This is her daughter, Shaye Moss, describing how even her grandmother was targeted.


MOSS: I felt horrible. I felt like it was all my fault. Like, if I would have never decided to be an elections worker, like, I could have done anything else, but that`s what I decided to do.

And now people are lying and spreading rumors and lies and attacking my mom. I`m her only child.


REID: She`s talking about an attempt to make a -- quote, unquote -- "citizen`s arrest" at her grandmother`s house and how people were knocking on her grandmother`s door. And the grandmother called her, and she said, don`t open the door.

A citizen`s arrest in Georgia, where you are from. That sounds like a lynching party to me. This is what the price that people like Shaye Moss and her mom paid for being good citizens. Your thoughts?

ERRIN HAINES, EDITOR AT LARGE, THE 19TH: Yes, I mean, Joy, I think what you have just done such a great job of recapping, what we focused on also in our story that`s up right now on, is the human toll of the big lie.

You have two veteran election workers who once considered their service a badge of honor. And then they found themselves being painted as corrupt, being painted as incompetent to their fellow Americans. They didn`t sign up for this.

You mentioned that I am from Georgia. I was born and raised in Fulton County. It`s where I first registered to vote. And watching Shaye Moss testify, I recognized her immediately. I mean, she and Ruby Freeman look like every single poll worker who ever greeted me every single time that I cast my ballot as a young voter in South Fulton County.

They welcomed me to the polls. They helped me to participate in democracy. And they were basically just a fixture of the franchise. And I looked forward to greeting and thanking them every single time that I voted.

Shaye Moss talked about her grandmother, who told her about the value of voting and then became a target of the mob. And Shaye talked about how her -- she didn`t blamed that mob. She blamed herself for what was happening to her grandmother.

And then you have Congressman Bennie Thompson, chairman of the committee, who was born in Jim Crow Mississippi and is himself a lifelong defender of voting rights, who was the one who had to apologize to her for how she and her mother and her grandmother were treated.

And speaking of Mississippi, Mississippi was on my mind watching this hearing, Joy. As I`m sure I don`t have to tell you, it was 58 years ago today that Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner were murdered for trying to register voters in 1964 on that fateful day on June 21.

We are reminded that violence has been used in this country before to enforce who gets to participate in our democracy. So, just as you are asking, what`s the price of democracy, historically, we know it`s been violence.

Lady Ruby and her daughter have paid a price. This ordeal and the big lie have cost them their roles, their standing in the community, their good names, their freedom to move through their town without fear. What does this country owe people like that?

I mean, this happened on our watch, and they deserve more than our thanks and our hugs. They deserve accountability. Brad Raffensperger is on the ballot in November. Ruby and Shaye won`t be working the polls for the first time in years because of what happened to them.


REID: Yes, I mean, Shaye Moss, Claire, she talked about how she felt guilty, right? She did as -- as Errin just said: "I felt horrible. I felt it was all my fault. Like, if I never would have decided to be an elections worker, I could have done anything else. But this is what I decided to do. And now people are lying and spreading rumors and lies and attacking my mom. I`m her only child."

I mean, that is the -- as somebody who has been an elected official, it`s the opposite of what we want in a democracy. We want people like Shaye Moss and her mom to want to be elections officials. They`re the root of our democracy.

CLAIRE MCCASKILL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that Shaye and her mother today put the human toll in front of the American people, the human toll of Donald Trump`s effort to overturn the will of the American people.

To me, it was the most compelling. Now, Rusty Bowers was powerful.

REID: Very compelling.

MCCASKILL: And, by the way, did you notice that Trump was so freaked out about Rusty Bowers and what he was going to testify to, he felt the need to lie about him immediately before the hearing?

REID: That`s right.

MCCASKILL: Which I thought was a real tell that Trump knows these hearings are powerful in the presentation of evidence.

So I think that Shaye and her mother will go down in history. She got the Profile in Courage Award this year from the Kennedy Institute.

REID: Yes.

MCCASKILL: She deserved it. I think they will go down in history as examples of the abuse of power and the painful result of that in people`s lives that are merely doing the right thing.

REID: Yes.

MCCASKILL: It was really -- it was powerful stuff.

REID: It was powerful stuff. And I don`t know if we played the right sound bite before.

Can we play sound bite one? This is the description of the alleged -- of the attempted citizen`s arrest. This is sound bite one.


MOSS: She called me screaming at the top of her lungs, like, "Shaye, Shaye, oh my gosh, Shaye," just freaking me out saying that there are people at her home and they -- you know, they knocked on the door. And, of course, she opened it seeing who was there, who it was.

And they just started pushing their way through, claiming that they were coming in to make a citizen`s arrest.


REID: I mean, Tim, you know Donald Trump. You have dealt with him. You have -- I think we have all been targeted by him. I think we have all been recipients of the Trump attack tweet. And we know what that unleashes.

In addition to that, this is the continued abuse of this woman in her family. And Claire actually reminded me of this earlier today. Weeks after the 2020 election, a Chicago publicist for hip-hop artist Kanye West, who was a supporter of Trump at the time, traveled to the suburban home of Ruby Freeman, a frightened Georgia election worker who was facing death threats after being falsely accused by the former president of manipulating votes.

They knocked -- the publicist knocked at the door. They -- she ends up essentially threatening her, essentially telling her, you`re going to go to jail. They threatened them with legal consequences, this publicist who had no authority. That`s how Trump rolls.

How do you think that he received hearing these women testify, essentially testify against him today?

TIM O`BRIEN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, I don`t think he cares.

I think Donald Trump is craven enough and unhinged enough, and he revels in violence and racism, to the extent that all of this, to him, seems a logical outcome of people not doing what he wants. So I don`t think we have to look at whether or not Donald Trump will be chastened by any of this, because he won`t be.

REID: Yes.

O`BRIEN: He has to be held accountable.

And I think that one of the -- I think that one of the important things about today`s hearings and all of them is the themes in these hearings aren`t new. We have seen them in the media, and we have talked about them for a long time.

But each of these hearings are doing two important things. They`re filling in the fact pattern. That really matters from a prosecutorial standpoint. But it also really reminds us -- and I think today specifically -- of the human costs of Trump`s violence and lawlessness.

REID: Yes.

O`BRIEN: We can`t say we`re a civilized country if someone who is an election worker in a low-level position cannot go shopping and cannot keep her job because Donald Trump feels abused.

REID: Yes.

O`BRIEN: And I think we saw all of this, obviously, with Brad Raffensperger and Rusty Bowers as well.

But one of the differences there is that both of them have resources to protect themselves...

REID: They have security.

O`BRIEN: ... that one like Shaye Moss doesn`t.

REID: Yes.

O`BRIEN: And, at the end of the hearing, Liz Cheney said, our -- something to the effect of, our institutions are only as strong as the individuals who defend them.

REID: Yes.

O`BRIEN: And if we don`t protect those individuals and if we don`t make it safe for those individuals to be American citizens and American workers, and speak their minds as Americans, then we have failed as a country.

And people like Trump, Trump`s fascism and racism gets empowered.

REID: And, Errin, I mean, it is true. Brad Raffensperger has security for because of his job,


His daughter-in-law doesn`t. And his daughter-in-law had a home invasion, where she`s a widow with young children. I mean, we`re talking about physical menacing of elected officials, but, even worse, as Tim points out, of people like Shaye Moss, who have no protection whatsoever.

Her mom had to leave her home. She had to move out of her home. I mean, what does this portend for 2022? I know you`re doing a lot of work on what`s going to happen in Georgia. There are some big elections that Trump really cares about coming up in that state.

What`s the mood? What`s the temperature down there going forward?

HAINES: Yes, I mean, look, January 6, to your point, could have also been a dark day for Shaye Moss` grandmother -- I mean, for Shaye Moss` mother had she not left the house, as FBI officials advised her to do on that day, because there could have been violence at her home that day.

I think the -- what this means going forward, again, Shaye Moss, Ruby Freeman will not be poll workers in upcoming elections, because of the chilling effect that this has had on her, that this had on every other election worker that was shown in that video that was played during today`s hearing.

She said none of those people are still working in elections in Georgia as a result of what happened to them. What is that going to mean for poll workers going forward, most of whom we know are women, many of whom we know are people of color who want to help to defend democracy?

What does this mean for the organizers, for the volunteers who help to try to turn out people, what they can expect to meet at precincts, where we know that Republicans are strategizing to show up, to be a presence for -- that could be an intimidating presence for some people?

Listen, I mean, life as Ruby and Shaye knew it will never be the same. It ended after the 2020 election. They will never look at this country or their role in our democracy again, because there was no persuasion campaign for them, only pressure.

REID: Yes.

And, Tim, I mean, we now know -- we did a piece yesterday with Ben Collins and a really great author. We now know that the Republican Party and the Trumpist wing of the party, which I guess is the party now, they have got the Proud Boys on call. They have got plans to follow people to their cars.

You have had Proud Boys even pressure Republicans and intimidate them. They essentially have brownshirts this time. What does this mean for 2022, from your point of view?

O`BRIEN: Well, it means that we have to focus very clearly on what it means to live in a country that has the rule of law.

And whatever smokescreen or diversion critics of these hearings are laying down to defend Trump and his actions, at the end of the day, it comes down to a very clear issue: Trump broke the law, and Trump should be held accountable for it. Trump has used violence and other tools at his disposal to continue trying to corrupt the law and corrupt democracy.

And if we didn`t have brave public servants like Brad Raffensperger or Rusty Bowers, who put their physical well-being at risk...

REID: Yes.

O`BRIEN: ... and did the right thing legally and morally, we`d be in a lot of trouble.

And I don`t think we can expect to see any of that from Trump or the people who support him and his party.

REID: Yes.

But my question is, would Raffensperger do it again? He`s -- if he gets back in office, will he stand up for the law, or will he be too intimidated and go along? We will see.

Tim O`Brien, Errin Haines, thank you both very much.

Senator Claire McCaskill is staying with me.

And up next: new revelations about Trump`s pressure campaign against state officials and his push to find votes in Georgia.

The REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: The horrific threats of violence against election officials and workers in Georgia stemmed in part from a conspiracy theory about alleged fake ballots stuffed in suitcases, Rudy Giuliani`s so-called smoking gun.

At today`s hearing, that baseless claim was thoroughly debunked. Georgia elections official Gabriel Sterling said the footage from the counting room in fact showed county workers engaging in normal ballot processing and moving ballots the mundane way, on carts.

And Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger decisively shut down the former president`s claims of election fraud, including allegations about thousands of dead voters in Georgia.


SCHIFF: Mr. Secretary, is there any way that you could have lawfully changed the result in the state of Georgia and somehow explained it away as a recalculation?

RAFFENSPERGER: No, the numbers are the numbers. The numbers don`t lie.

We had many allegations. And we investigated every single one of them.


REID: Today`s hearing once again showed that Donald Trump knew his claims were bogus, having been told repeatedly by members of his own Justice Department.

But he continued to make conspiracy theories a central part of his pressure campaign towards Georgia elections officials, including a call with Georgia`s chief elections investigator, who he asked to do whatever you can do, and added this:


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Do you think you`ll Be Working after Christmas to keep it going fast? Because we have that date of the 6th, which is a very important date.


REID: Today`s hearing outline new information about former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows` intimate role in pressuring Georgia officials, including text messages showing Meadows wanting to send those investigators a bunch of MAGA swag, before the White House -- before White House staff intervened.

Meadows also texted or called Brad Raffensperger`s office 18 times to set up the now infamous call on January 2, asking Raffensperger to find the votes needed to overturn the election results.

The committee walked us through more than 67 -- that more-than-67-minute call and Trump`s deluge pressure on Raffensperger.


TRUMP: Why wouldn`t you want to find the right answer, Brad, instead of keep saying that the numbers are right?

So, look, can you get together tomorrow? And, Brad, we just want the truth. It`s simple.

And the truth, the real truth is I won by 400,000 votes, at least. So what are we going to do here? Because I only need 11,000 votes. Fellows, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break.


REID: Yes, I won four fafillion votes. Give me a break.


Joining me now -- back with me now is former Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and joining us is Barbara McQuade, professor at the University of Michigan School of Law and a former U.S. attorney.

But, real quick, before I bring you in, Barbara, I want to play this -- another sound bite from Gabriel Sterling. And this is about trying to compete with the deluge of Trump lies just to do his job. Take a look.


STERLING: It was kind of like a shovel trying to empty the ocean. And, yes, it was frustrating.

I even have family members who I had to argue with about some of these things.

I remember there`s one specific -- an attorney that we know that we showed him, walked him through, this wasn`t true. OK, I get that. This wasn`t true. OK, I get that. This wasn`t -- five or six things.

But, at the end he goes: "I just know in my heart they cheated."


REID: "Know in my heart they cheated."

Claire, I`m -- you`re from Missouri, so I`m guessing you know a few people who are like those family members.

I was commenting to you in the break, and I wanted you to comment on air. One of the reasons that this hearing -- these hearings feel so effective is that you don`t have the counternarrative of like the screaming Jim Jordan yelling at these witnesses, and the fact that the witnesses, but for the elections workers and a few, are all Republicans.

MCCASKILL: Yes, this has been done really well.

And let`s be honest. Kevin McCarthy really screwed up.

REID: Yes, he did.

MCCASKILL: He walked away.

First of all, McConnell walked away from a bipartisan commission.

REID: He did.

MCCASKILL: Then McCarthy walked away from participation on this committee.

But the committee has been very smart. The witnesses that are testifying voted for Trump.

REID: Yes. And they established that in the beginning. They say, I want to establish, you`re a conservative and you wanted Trump to win, right?

They`re like, yes.


MCCASKILL: All of them.

REID: Yes.

MCCASKILL: All of them, with the exception of police officers. We don`t know what they were.

REID: Right.

MCCASKILL: And Shaye and her mother.

REID: Yes.

MCCASKILL: But everybody else...

REID: Yes.

MCCASKILL: ... were Republicans.

So, even if they had Republicans on that committee, I would put Rusty Bowers up against a Jim Jordan.

REID: Yes.

MCCASKILL: I think Jim Jordan would have a tough time with Rusty Bowers.

REID: Indeed.

MCCASKILL: Because Rusty Bowers knows who he is. He knows why he did what he did.

And, most importantly, what he emphasized -- and I can`t say this enough. Everybody, please, remember, there`s no evidence of fraud. They had -- everybody asked them, show me the evidence. Give me the names.

REID: That`s right.

MCCASKILL: Courts, show me the evidence. Give me the names. They had nothing.

In fact, today, we finally heard Rudy Giuliani.

REID: Yes.

MCCASKILL: I have got theories. I don`t have evidence.

REID: Yes.

MCCASKILL: Well, duh.

REID: Yes.

MCCASKILL: That`s pretty obvious right now. That`s why this is so criminal, what they did.

REID: Yes.

And, Barbara, you are the lady who goes into court and deals with evidence. I know Claire`s a former prosecutor as well.

Let me play Rudy Giuliani. His name has been called.

This is a phone call that he made actually to Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler. Take a listen.


GIULIANI: Mr. Speaker, this is Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis.

We`re calling you together because we`d like to discuss, obviously, the election.

Hey, Bryan, it`s Rudy.

I really have something important to call to your attention that I think really changes things.

I understand that you don`t want to talk to me now. I just want to bring some facts to your attention and talk to you as a fellow Republican.


REID: Stalking.

Claire, when you put together that 67-minute-long call between Raffensperger and Trump, where he essentially threatens him, cajoles him, begs him, everything to give him the votes, then you have Rudy Giuliani, his lawyer, who`s relentlessly calling other elections officials, plus the Eastman pressure, what do you see in terms of conspiracy coming out of that?

MCCASKILL: I think you said Claire. You met Barbara.

REID: Claire. I meant Claire. I meant Barbara.

MCCASKILL: You meant Barbara.


REID: You know what? My brain is fried.

MCCASKILL: Got the two prosecutors. You got two prosecutors here.

REID: Too many prosecutors, so little time.

Barbara, my dear.


BARBARA MCQUADE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Sure. Sure. I will take a stab at that.

One of the things you keep hearing Rudy Giuliani say, which I find so interesting, is, we`re all Republicans here.

REID: Yes.

MCQUADE: They were trying to create this bonhomie that we`re all on the same side. We`re all on the same team. Help a brother here.

And, as we heard from Rusty Bowers, like, I need evidence.

REID: Yes.

MCQUADE: I am not going to violate my oath just because it feels good.

And so it does seem that Rudy Giuliani still has some heft in Republican circles. So he`s making these overtures to try to get people to play ball, despite his complete absence of evidence. And what is so disturbing is that exchange that we heard from Gabriel Sterling, where he said, even an attorney friend of his, even when all of the evidence was debunked, said, yes, but I feel in my heart that they cheated.

REID: Yes.

MCQUADE: That is the power of disinformation, is that once people get an idea in their mind, it`s very difficult to move them off that.

And Rudy was trying to exploit that by reaching out to Republican power brokers within those individual states to get them to come along.

REID: Were you surprised, Barbara, that we didn`t hear about the same thing being done by one South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham?

Because we know he was doing it too,.

MCQUADE: Yes, that is a curious omission, isn`t it? Because we have heard some evidence of that.

I don`t know. I think that the committee here has to be very careful politically, and may be choosing its battles shrewdly. I`d like to hear what he said, if they have evidence about that.

But I know, sometimes, when you -- even when you have what could be very good at evidence of some things, it could be a distraction from the bigger picture. And so there may be some selective reasons they chose not to present that evidence today.


But, to the extent that the committee`s mission is very different from, say, a DOJ criminal trial would be, to sort of demonstrate all of the evidence, all of the facts that are out there, I would be tempted to share that information. And I`m very curious to know what it is.

Maybe we will hear it in upcoming hearings, but it seemed like today was the day, because it did fit with this theme of reaching out to states, particularly Georgia, to get them to overturn the election results.

REID: Absolutely.

OK, Claire. You know, sometimes, you have those little text insider scoops on what people are saying,. Is there -- is anyone -- I mean, Ron Johnson`s name was called today. We didn`t hear Lindsey Graham`s name called, but we definitely are hearing Andy Biggs` name.

We`re hearing about -- we`re starting to get a better sense of how lawmakers were involved here.

MCCASKILL: Well, Mike Lee has been pulled in some of these hearings.

REID: Yes.

MCCASKILL: Certainly, you have got Ted Cruz on the periphery, a wannabe.

REID: Yes.

MCCASKILL: And Lindsey was involved in talking to the folks in Georgia.

I think that Barbara is right. I think this committee is doing a very smart thing. They are really presenting discrete piles of evidence that translate into a sprawling conspiracy to fraudulently overturn the will of the American people.

REID: Yes.

MCCASKILL: And here`s the thing, is that there is power in cumulative evidence.

I used to say, give me a good circumstantial case, rather than a witness whose credibility can be impeached. They are building an incredible pile of circumstantial evidence, including his state of mind and whether or not he knew that he was lying to people when he was trying to push either fraudulent electors or recall your legislatures or find me 11,000 votes.

REID: Right.

MCCASKILL: And, by the way, all this started even before the election.

We heard that today too...

REID: Yes.

MCCASKILL: ... that some of this talk was before the election even occurred.

REID: Yes. Yes.

MCCASKILL: I`m just telling you, I think that Merrick Garland, they`re -- you talk about building pressure.

They are -- they`re putting out evidence that`s building pressure.

REID: Absolutely.

What did the judge call it? A coup in search of a plan.

Former Senator Claire McCaskill, Barbara McQuade, thank you both very much, two great prosecutors, two great ladies.

Thank you very much.

And Georgia -- up next: Georgia election workers and officials weren`t the only ones of subjected to Trump`s strong-arm tactics to lie. That relentless pressure was also felt in Arizona. And that is next.

Stay with us.



REID: Today`s hearing showed that not only was the Trump campaign working to overturn the election, but that sitting members of Congress were aiding and abetting that effort.


CASEY LUCIER, JANUARY 6 COMMITTEE INVESTIGATIVE COUNSEL: Text messages exchanged between Republican Party officials in Wisconsin show that, on January 4, the Trump campaign asked for someone to fly their fake electors` documents to Washington.

A staffer for Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson texted a staffer for Vice President Pence just minutes before the beginning of the joint session. This staffer stated that Senator Johnson wish to hand-deliver to the vice president the fake electors` votes from Michigan and Wisconsin.


REID: Senator Johnson`s spokesperson tweeted that he had no involvement in the creation of those electors and no foreknowledge that it would be delivered, noting that it was his new chief of staff who contacted Pence`s office.

We also learned that, on the morning of January 6, that Arizona Congressman Andy Biggs called Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers asking him to sign the letter to decertify the state`s electors.

This came after John Eastman had called Bowers two days before with the same ask, telling him to decertify the votes now and just let the courts sort it out later. Bowers` testimony today was a compelling glimpse of a man who stood his ground, despite being pressured for months.

Here`s how he described a call from Trump and Rudy Giuliani right after the election.


BOWERS: He said: "We`ve got lots of theories. We just don`t have the evidence."

And I don`t know if that was a gaffe or maybe he -- he didn`t think through what he said. But both myself and others in my group, the three in my group, and my -- my counsel, both remembered that specifically, and, afterwards, we kind of laughed about it.


REID: Bowers stressed multiple times today that he had sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution, and that he wouldn`t disregard that oath for conspiracy theories.

Here`s how he concluded his testimony, reading from a diary entry he wrote in December of 2020.


BOWERS: "I may, in the eyes of men, not hold correct opinions or act according to their vision or convictions, but I do not take this current situation in a light manner, a fearful manner or a vengeful manner. I do not want to be a winner by cheating. I will not play with laws I swore allegiance to."


REID: Joining me now is David Henderson, civil rights attorney and former prosecutor.

Thank you for being here, David.

I thought that this man`s testimony was actually really powerful. He was very much a Republican. He made it very clear, because he was asked, like all the rest of them. You`re a conservative Republican. You wanted Trump to win? He said, yes, I did.

Very religious man. Let me play a little bit of that. He`s -- he talked about his faith a lot. Take a look.


BOWERS: It is a tenet of my faith that the Constitution is divinely inspired, of my most basic foundational beliefs.


And so for me to do that because somebody just asked me to is foreign to my very being. I will not do it.


REID: I know this is not a prosecution, but, if it were, how great would it be to have a witness like that?

DAVID HENDERSON, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: I mean, Joy, he`s a great witness.

He`s a great witness, to start with, for reasons you have already been discussing. Like, I have got no love for him overall in terms of his ultimate point of view. And he said it himself. He was a supporter of Trump.

REID: Yes.

HENDERSON: He went along with everything, up to the point where he was asked to do something that he said, I just can`t do.

That`s what gives him so much credibility in the content of this hearing. And that doesn`t even get to how much Trump tried to strong-arm him.

REID: And threaten him.

I mean, he absorbed a lot of threats for this from his -- from people who were in basically his same base.


REID: This is a phone call I want to play you from a Trump campaign staffer, because here`s what we got.

The other thing we got out of today, other than the emotion and the news about the threats and all of the sort of context to how much people were threatened, was just how much of this was tied directly to the Trump campaign.

Here`s a Trump campaign staffer pushing for these new slates of fake electors.


ANGELA MCCALLUM, FORMER NATIONAL EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT, DONALD J. TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT: Hi, Representative. My name is Angela McCallum. I`m calling from Trump campaign headquarters in Washington, D.C.

You do have the power to reclaim your authority and send a slate of electors that will support President Trump and Vice President Pence.


REID: In addition to that, you had Ronna Romney McDaniel, whose name you might remember, testified to the committee that the Republican National Committee, which is, again, tied very much to the president, was asked by one of Trump`s aides in late 2020 to help gather contingent electors in case any of the legal challenges that were ongoing changed the result of the slates.

Quote: "My understanding is that the campaign did take the lead, and we were just helping them in that role."

How important is it to establish that this was a part and parcel of the Trump campaign`s strategy?

HENDERSON: Joy, I think it`s critical for proving what they knew about what they were doing.

But you know what? We have bogged this down so much in legalese, that, sometimes, you lose track of it for being the hustle that it was. And before these hearings began, Judge Carter out of California, a federal judge, produced an opinion establishing that Trump was probably already guilty of a couple of crimes.

One of them does not require you to prove that he knew what he was doing was wrong. And I don`t want that to get lost in this discussion.

REID: Yes. Yes.

HENDERSON: That`s for obstructing an official government proceeding.

Now, with regard to whether he defrauded the United States by interfering with the certification process, this information regarding his campaign is irrelevant because it shows what they knew, when they knew it, and how aware they were of how wrong it was, what they were trying to do.

REID: And let`s extend that to some of these members of Congress.

I mean, Andy Biggs` name came up today, an Arizona senator (sic), who was also trying to pressure Rusty Bowers to go along with this. He clearly wanted a part of it.

He`s also cited by Ali Alexander, along with Mo Brooks and Paul Gosar, as the people Ali Alexander, who organized the rally at the Ellipse, the June sort of -- quote, unquote -- "Stop the Steal Rally."

He names Andy Biggs too. If you`re Andy Biggs and some of these other senators and members of Congress or people like Ron Johnson, do you lawyer up?

HENDERSON: I think that`s the advice to follow, Joy. You better get yourself a very good lawyer.

And with the way that these proceedings have gone so far, if we don`t make it necessary for them to lawyer up, we lose our values as a nation, because we are simply saying that, if you`re rich enough or powerful enough, we won`t come after you, even when you have done something blatantly wrong.

REID: What message, in your mind, would it send in terms of the rule of law if all of this -- I mean, I think they have -- we`re only three hearings in, and we really have a really strong case that Donald Trump orchestrated, planned and desired, even if it meant violence, to stay in office, regardless of the law and the votes.

If he is not held legally accountable for that -- and that is not what this committee is for. This commission is to get the information out. They are not a prosecutorial committee. If he gets away with it, what then?

HENDERSON: Joy, before I answer, understand that I began these hearings familiar with the record and what`s in court filings and thinking, what`s likely to surprise me, if anything?

REID: Yes.

HENDERSON: It`s just going to unfold what I already know.

I have actually been floored by what I have seen...

REID: Same.

HENDERSON: ... especially after today, with how they went after Shaye Moss and her mom.

And I think that, if you don`t do something based on the evidence we have heard thus far, what you`re saying is, we`re not going to do the right thing when doing the right thing is just too hard.

And that`s really difficult to stomach in a culture that values fighting against impossible odds...

REID: Yes.

HENDERSON: ... especially when it`s the right thing to do.


HENDERSON: We lose that if they don`t move forward after these hearings.

REID: Indeed.

And there should be some consequences for the people who busted into Shaye Moss` mom`s house trying to make a so-called citizen`s arrest...

HENDERSON: Absolutely.

REID: ... and the people who went after Raffensperger`s daughter.

David Henderson, thank you very much.

Up next: It looks like the MAGA crowd have found their patsy in attorney John Eastman. Now new reporting says that they are getting ready to throw the author of the coup memo all the way under the bus.


We will be right back.



QUESTION: Did the Trump legal team ask you to prepare a memorandum regarding the vice president`s role in the counting of electoral votes at the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2020?


QUESTION: Dr. Eastman, did you advise the president of the United States that the vice president could reject electors in seven states and declare that the president had been reelected?


EASTMAN: Fifth. Fifth. Fifth.


REID: Fifth, Fifth, Fifth, Fifth, Fifth.

One hundred, that is a number of times Trump`s lawyer and author of the infamous coup memo, John Eastman, pleaded the Fifth when deposed by the January 6 Committee.

That was probably a smart decision, considering that he was pushing a plot to overturn the 2020 election that even he admitted privately was illegal, but continued to do so even on the Ellipse in person on January 6.


EASTMAN: And all we are demanding of Vice President Pence is, this afternoon at 1:00, he led the legislators of the state look into this, so we get to the bottom of it, and the American people know whether we have control of the direction of our government or not!


REID: Yes, I bet he regrets that now.

As we learned last week, just days after the insurrection, Eastman e-mailed the guy who was standing next to him right there, Rudy Giuliani, seeking a pardon from Trump.

Perhaps it shouldn`t be too surprising then that Trump and his cronies are looking to make Eastman their fall guy for the failed coup attempt. Two people familiar with the matter told "Rolling Stone" that, in recent weeks, Trump has confided to those close to him that he sees no reason to publicly defend Eastman.

In another telltale sign that Trump is prepared to throw Eastman under the bus, "Rolling Stone" adds that Trump has repeated an excuse he often uses when backed into a corner as investigators confront him with an associate`s misdeeds. He has privately insisted that he hardly or barely knows Eastman.

Joining me now, ow the "Rolling Stone" senior politics reporter who broke this story, Asawin Suebsaeng.

It`s good to see you, Asawin. It`s been a long time.

Let me just throw up this tweet, because he does know -- he does know John Eastman. Here he is praising John Eastman -- you cite this in your article -- in 2019, calling him a brilliant constitutional lawyer. And he was very excited that, at the time, Eastman said that Mueller should have never been appointed.

How is this guy that authored the whole plan ending up thrown under the bus?

ASAWIN SUEBSAENG, "ROLLING STONE": Well, because somebody has to be sacrificed, right, especially when there`s this much a level of potential criminal exposure, when there`s this level of scandal, when there are these many lawsuits and investigations.

Somebody has to be given up. And if you talk to people who are still operating at the upper ranks and the upper echelons of Trump world and in Donald Trump`s current political orbit and inner circle, you will quickly find that he that -- that John Eastman does not have that many friends at all, even less so than someone who might be as comparatively radioactive as, say, Rudy Giuliani.

So, as you alluded to at the top of the segment, in our reporting, we found that Trump has told confidants in recent months that he sees no need to talk about John Eastman in public. In fact, he is very annoyed at Eastman nowadays, due to all the negative attention and negative press coverage, shall we say, that his efforts attracted.

And when -- and Trump over the past year or so has been repeatedly advised by his lawyers and some of his top advisers that you shouldn`t even bring up Eastman`s name in public. And you should definitely avoid seeing him, if the opportunity would ever arise, just because they`re sort of spooked by the potential criminal exposure that this guy has brought down upon him.

Now, just to be very clear, Eastman was only doing what he was doing in service of Donald Trump, because Trump told him to, and he was coordinating directly and very closely with Donald Trump while Trump was leader of the free world.

So, when you say -- if you`re someone working in Trump world right now who says, oh, this guy`s bad news, whatever happens to him happens to him, it is impossible to -- from a good-faith, objective standpoint, to implicate John Eastman in anything without implicating his then boss and client, what was, of course, then-President Trump.

REID: See, that is what confuses me about this, because the reporting and what we have seen come out of this committee has been very clear, that Eastman, from beginning to end, right up until January 6, where you saw him actually speaking at the Ellipse and on phone calls, and talking to Pence`s top legal adviser, he was the person who was the most intimately involved besides Giuliani.

Are people in Trump world not concerned that he might flip on them and go to the Justice Department and turn state`s evidence?

SUEBSAENG: Well, some people are. Some people aren`t.

But this is something we have seen throughout this past several years of Trumpism. And whenever Donald Trump, including, obviously, while he was president for four years, gets wrapped up in a scandal, that -- where he`s bitten off more than he can chew, he is almost too, not to use a too clinical term, narcissistic to be worried about too many people flipping on him.

He does from time to time. But it`s strangely not something where he operates as if it is a top tactical concern. And that has just been a feature, not a bug, of his presidency and his post-presidency.

REID: Let me -- I don`t know if we have time to play this.

Here`s Mark Levin, who I think was part of the reason Eastman was on board, saying, hey, wait.


MARK LEVIN, CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST: How many lawyers did Trump have?


He had several. Some said yes. Some said no. And John Eastman has turned into the fall guy. He`s a lawyer. He`s an advocate for the president. Whether you agree with his legal judgment, his legal findings or not, that`s what lawyers do.


REID: Any word, any reporting that Eastman is aware he`s being thrown under the bus and might be willing to do something back?

SUEBSAENG: Well, we reached out to him for comment on this story before it ran...

REID: Yes.

SUEBSAENG: ... asking if he would like to weigh in, and we didn`t hear back from him.

And, look, this is something that, if Mark Levin can read the tea leaves without doing any intimate, behind-the-scenes reporting himself...

REID: Yes.

SUEBSAENG: ... then it stands to reason that a guy like John Eastman would be able to as well.

REID: And he`s a supposedly very smart lawyer, John Eastman.

Asawin Suebsaeng, great reporting. Thank you very much.

That is tonight`s REIDOUT.

But do not go anywhere. I will be back in a moment with my colleagues and friends Rachel Maddow, Nicolle Wallace, Chris Hayes, Lawrence O`Donnell, Ari Melber, Stephanie Ruhle. The team is getting back together for a recap of today`s dramatic January 6 hearing.

Stay with us.