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Transcript: The ReidOut, 6/22/22

Guests: Sewell Chan, Kurt Bardella, Peter Strzok, Cherelle Griner


Cherelle Griner, the wife of Brittney Griner, discusses the WNBA star`s continued imprisonment by Russia. The January 6 Committee turns its spotlight on Jeffrey Clark, the critical figure in Trump`s corrupt plot to put the DOJ`s imprimatur on his fake electors scheme. Donald Trump is reportedly not happy with Kevin McCarthy over the January 6 hearings. Senate negotiators finally reach a deal on gun safety legislation, as new information emerges about the Uvalde massacre.




RICHARD DONOGHUE, FORMER ACTING DEPUTY GENERAL ATTORNEY: The president said: "Suppose I do this. Suppose I replace him, Jeff Rosen, with him, Jeff Clark. What do you do?"

And I said: "Sir, I would resign immediately. There is no way I`m serving one minute under this guy, Jeff Clark."


REID: The January 6 Committee turns its spotlight on Jeffrey Clark, the critical figure in Trump`s corrupt plot to put the DOJ`s imprimatur on his fake electors scheme.

Also, tonight, Trump is not happy with Kevin McCarthy, because the January 6 hearings are completely devoid of the clowning, trolling and disruptions that Trump was apparently counting on to obscure the truth about his attempted coup.

And I have a very special guest tonight. Cherelle Griner joins me. She is the wife of basketball star Brittney Griner, who has been held captive in Russia for four months.

We begin with the January 6 Committee hearings, which most people can agree have been extremely substantive, so much so that they`re going on longer than we thought.

Chairman Bennie Thompson said today that the committee received so much new information on the tip line that he`s been promoting during each of the previous hearings that, after tomorrow, additional hearings will be held in July.

One of the latest developments, never-before-seen footage subpoenaed by the committee from a British documentary filmmaker who was embedded at the White House. The footage includes interviews with the former president and his family. That filmmaker, Alex Holder, will be deposed privately tomorrow. He will then join us live on THE REIDOUT.

What we learned in Tuesday`s hearing, aside from the violence and the threats that Donald Trump`s scheme unleashed on the Capitol, on the vice president, and all the way to local election workers, was how extensive the plan to install fake electors really was, extending from the campaign, to the Republican National Committee, and how intimately the former president was involved in the plot to pressure state lawmakers to go along with what Trump needed.

And what he needed was to pull the plot -- and what he needed to pull the plot off was an official investigation to give it all some legitimacy. And, tomorrow, we will hear more on the effort to pressure the Justice Department to provide that cover, zeroing in on Jeffrey Clark, the former DOJ official who Trump considered installing as attorney general and his related plan to use the DOJ to encourage states to choose their own electors.

After loyal foot soldier William Barr`s resignation, Trump was desperate for anyone to provide the investigative cover that he needed to stay in power, reminiscent of his "I want you to do us a favor" extortion of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy in 2019, which, of course, was the subject of his first of two impeachments.

At one point, Trump even told acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me. Rosen and his deputy, Richard Donoghue, went out of their way to tell Trump that his claims were bogus.


JEFFREY ROSEN, FORMER U.S. DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: There were instances where the President would say "People are telling me this" or "I heard this" or "I saw on television."

We were in a position to say, our people already looked at that. And we know that you`re getting bad information, that that`s -- that`s not correct.

DONOGHUE: But there were so many of these allegations that when you gave him a very direct answer on one of them, he wouldn`t fight us on it, but he would move to another allegation.


REID: Trump found the man he was looking for in environmental lawyer Jeff Clark, who had no elections experience, zip, zero, but who found -- but who had found an ally of his own in Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Scott Perry.

Remember, the committee said that Perry sought a presidential pardon for his role. "The Washington Post" detailed a meeting between Clark, Trump and top DOJ officials inside the Justice Department three days before the insurrection. At that meeting, Clark told Trump that, if he became attorney general, he would conduct real investigations that would uncover the phantom widespread fraud.

Clark also vowed to send a letter that he drafted to Georgia and other states urging the appointment of separate electors, saying -- quote -- "This was the last opportunity of -- opportunity to sort of set things straight with this defective election, and he could do it."

The proposal to install Clark as A.G. led to its own Saturday Night Massacre of sorts. Rosen and Donoghue, as you heard, threatened mass resignations, including their own. And Trump eventually backed down. We will hear from Rosen and Donoghue in person tomorrow, along with former DOJ Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Steven Engel.


And joining me now is Jill Wine-Banks, former assistant Watergate special prosecutor and an MSNBC legal analyst, and Peter Strzok, former FBI counterintelligence agent.

Thank you both for being here.

Jill, I`m going to start with you.

What do you think is the significance, I mean, of having these DOJ officials come forward and tell the story that I kind of just summarized before the committee? What do you think will be the impact?

JILL WINE-BANKS, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: So, first, before I answer you, I want to say I`m looking forward to the rest of your show with Brittney Griner`s wife, and tomorrow with the documentarian. That`s going to be very exciting.

REID: Thank you.

WINE-BANKS: As to your question, tomorrow is very important, because this is another lever of government that the president, Trump, abused.

And it`s the closest that we come to Watergate, where Richard Nixon also used the Department of Justice to get information that he had no right to have. And then he used the FBI and the CIA -- had the CIA tell the FBI, you can`t follow the money trail, because it`s national security, when, in fact, all it was a direct trail to the White House and the Committee to Reelect the President.

And I think what we`re seeing here is an attempt to totally undermine the Department of Justice, our system of justice. And, in this case, it was part of undermining our democracy, our right to have our vote counted.

In the Watergate era, it was only to cover up -- and when I say only, it`s a bad thing.

REID: Yes.

WINE-BANKS: But, in comparison to undermining democracy, undermining a trial for burglars is hardly the same comparison.

And this is so much worse. It`s really terrible. And I think that this should be a very dramatic part, because it is just one more plot that is part of the overall scheme to undermine our democracy.

REID: Yes, Peter, let me play you what Liz Cheney said, because she is very clear that she would also like to hear -- the committee would also like to hear from Trump`s White House counsel, because it is sort of relevant what kind of counsel he was getting from the person that the United States pays with their taxpayer dollars to give him good legal advice.

Here`s what Liz Cheney had to say.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): But the American people have not yet heard from Mr. Trump`s former White House counsel Pat Cipollone.

Our committee is certain that Donald Trump does not want Mr. Cipollone to testify here. Indeed, our evidence shows that Mr. Cipollone and his office tried to do what was right. They tried to stop a number of President Trump`s plans for January 6.


REID: And, Peter, what she means by that is there is reporting for "The Washington Post" that we have talked about before on the show that Pat Cipollone, who, again, was White House counsel at the time, he told Trump that this proposal by Mr. Clark, that proposed letter to all of these states was a murder-suicide pact.

And that is according to Mr. Donoghue`s deposition. And he quotes him as saying: "It`s going to damage everyone who touches it. And we should have nothing to do with that letter. I don`t ever want to see that letter again."

What do you think would be the significance of maybe getting Pat Cipollone to say all of that to the committee on the record under oath?


I think, first and foremost, it gives testimony from somebody who was sitting in meetings with President Trump, not people around him, not people beneath him, but there with him, who can give direct testimony about what was and wasn`t said.

And the other thing is, I -- he can speak to a wide range of things that were alleged to have occurred. I mean, and, at the end of the day, Jeff Clark doesn`t bother me as much as what Jeff Clark could do as the attorney general, what he could direct the FBI to do.

And when you look at some of the other plans, I mean, on the far kind of least worrisome end is this sort of announcement that the election was corrupt. But you got to keep in mind we have had all this reporting that there were meetings allegedly in the White House with Giuliani and others encouraging Trump to use the FBI, to use DHS, to send agents out to seize voting machines.

And when you move from simply a statement that an election was corrupt to thinking and considering using armed agents to go out on the streets of America, seize voting machines conduct actions, that`s an entirely far more chilling prospect than a lot of the detail that we have heard to date.

So I`m very curious if that comes. And, certainly, Pat Cipollone would be one of the primary people who, again, allegedly pushed back to those plans as well, but who could speak to exactly what was being put forward to President Trump at the time.

REID: He`s no longer White House counsel. Can you think of any good reason why he wouldn`t accept an invitation or a subpoena?

STRZOK: Well, I think he might claim that there is -- and I will let Jill, who I`m certain has better insight than I do.

But I think he could claim privilege that he does not -- either for himself or for future White House counsel, that he does not want to dampen the kind of candor that a sort of counselor relationship has when it comes to the White House counsel.


But I think I have heard some indication that he has cooperated with the committee in the past. So, to the extent there`s any sort of privilege, that privilege would appear to be waived. And, certainly I`m interested to hear what Jill has to say.

REID: Yes, the same question, because, Jill, I mean, we`re dealing with people who, in the end, did do the right thing by the country and by our democracy.

There`s no -- I don`t know if there`s -- no crime-fraud exception applies here, if Trump wanted to commit a crime. It seems that he didn`t. Can you think of any reason why Pat Cipollone wouldn`t want to come forward and say what he knows?

WINE-BANKS: I cannot think of any reason why he wouldn`t want to.

And as to a claim of any attorney-client privilege, the counsel for the White House is the counsel for the presidency, not the president. He is not a personal attorney for the president. And so his client is the American people and the White House.

It is not Donald Trump. So I think that his claim of attorney-client privilege, should it be raised, would fail. And we have a very good example going back to Watergate. He would be the successor to John Dean, who was the White House counsel, who testified brilliantly.

And I think that he could be the narrator, as John Dean was, of this whole conspiracy, because the White House counsel actually gets a lot of information from a lot of sources, and, therefore, might be able to be the one who goes from the beginning to the end.

And, remember, this conspiracy did not start on January 6. That`s only one element of the conspiracy. It started a long time before that. And I think that Pat Cipollone might be the one who knows enough to tell the American people how long this was in the planning and what Donald Trump`s mind-set was, what his intent was.

I think he could be very dramatically important. And I hope that the call to him will be answered with his duty to the Constitution, to the country, and even to his party. To the extent that it can be saved from Donald Trump, someone needs to speak up.

And the people who have testified now, many of them stood up at the time. They didn`t wait until now. I mean, Rusty Bowers did the right thing at the right time. Gabriel Sterling did the right thing at the right time. Brad Raffensperger did the right thing at the right time. Lady Ruby and Shaye Moss did the right thing at the right time, and they have suffered for this terribly.

And we need to get our democracy back.

REID: And, Peter -- and, I mean, you know. You have been there to and know what it feels like to take incoming from this former president.

But just as an investigator, as somebody who`s also been an investigator, the fact that they`re hoovering up so much information -- Chairman Bennie Thompson put out this tip line. He says, hey, look, we have got a tip line. There`s a Web site, he gave it out.

They`re hoovering up so much information that now they have to add more hearings and delay it because they have to process it and create material for it. As an investigative matter, can you understand and explain to my audience and to everyone who texted me all day this question, how it could be possible that the Department of Justice wouldn`t be watching these hearings and saying to themselves, we ought to make some time to do a prosecution here?

Because I`m not even a lawyer, and this looks like a very straightforward conspiracy that also has a $250 million fraud element to it. Can you imagine how it could be possible that the Department of Justice would not be investigating this too?

STRZOK: I can`t imagine they`re not. I mean, I think there`s every indication.

And, today, there`s reporting that at least two individuals were served with subpoenas, individuals that it appears were involved with the fraudulent electors slate. So that -- and that`s, again, as you`re pointed out -- as you pointed out, that`s one aspect of this broad, broad criminal enterprise.

So I think there is, from what I have seen, indication that DOJ is moving forward on a number of fronts. I -- it does not surprise me that we haven`t seen a lot of detail. I understand a little bit of the friction between DOJ wanting transcripts and the committee being concerned that DOJ, they haven`t seen in some cases investigation where they might wanted to have seen an investigation.

But I think DOJ, unlike the committee, does have some sort of speed regulators placed on them, in terms that they have to move through the judicial process, which inevitably takes time, that the committee has a much -- comparatively, has a freer hand to kind of charge ahead and get to the facts in a way, because they`re not worried about locking people in evidence in a way that will be challengeable and sustainable in a criminal trial and building up.

So the committee has a little bit freer rein to go do it. But I don`t think silence from DOJ should be interpreted as being inaction by DOJ.

REID: I hope...

STRZOK: I know that`s frustrating for people.

REID: It is, yes.

STRZOK: But I do think it`s going on.


REID: I hope that it is, because I will tell you, as a taxpayer and as a citizen, if what we get out of four years of this attorney general and this Department of Justice is Andrew Gillum getting illicit "Hamilton" tickets and such, if that`s what we`re paying for, we`re paying too much for the Department of Justice.


REID: Thank you.

STRZOK: I was going to say a quick point to that.

Keep in mind, the committee is working with a January deadline. They assume they`re going to be done. DOJ has got another two years. So it`s a different horizon time-wise.

REID: It will a different horizon if the Republicans take over the House and Senate and shut down everything. And all of the fire hose will shut off if they get control of the government. We are on a quicker timeline, I think, than they think.

But, Jill Wine-Banks, Peter Strzok, very much appreciate both of you.

Up next on THE REIDOUT: Kevin McCarthy seems to be back in Trump`s doghouse. Trump is clearly rattled by what he`s seeing from the January 6 Committee.

The REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: If there is one thing the TV-obsessed former president of the United States really cares about, it is ratings.

And on the first night of the January 6 hearings, at least 20 million people tuned in. Here`s another thing the former "Apprentice" host cares about, casting. And during this show, Republicans refuse to cast any MAGAs and he is pissed.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In a way, the Republicans should be ashamed of themselves. Unfortunately, a bad decision was made. This committee -- it was a bad decision not to have representation that committee. That was a very, very foolish decision.


REID: Now, frankly, you should be angry, because this might be Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy`s biggest blunder since he blurted out on camera that the Benghazi hearings were designed to stop Hillary Clinton from becoming president.

Kevin, the man who would be speaker, somehow thought that giving the committee hours of uninterrupted airtime to paint a coherent story about how Trump and his allies orchestrated a coup was a good idea.

That never happens in Congress these days. MAGA Republicans are constantly interrupting hearing, shouting MAGA trigger words, like woke, just so that they can get on FOX News. Look at this hearing with the NFL commissioner from earlier today.


REP. GLENN GROTHMAN (R-WI): I`m a little bit troubled by your embracement of what I will call left woke anti-American propaganda.

REP. BYRON DONALDS (R-FL): So, Madam Chair, if you want to understand why members on this side of the aisle are frustrated, it`s not about holding sexual harassment in the workplace accountable. It is not that.

It is about us conducting show trials.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): And it seems to me the NFL encourages all to speak out, unless you`re Dave Portnoy, and not allowed to a game, unless you`re Jack Del Rio. You get fined.


REID: Because wokeness is so bad.

Well, thankfully, with the January 6 investigation, we have been spared their performative theatrics. For the record, Republicans did have a chance to be part of this process. In fact, Leader McCarthy directed John Katko, the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, to come up with a deal.

In coming up with the agreement, Katko got Democrats to agree that any subpoenas would have to be jointly agreed upon. The committee would have had an expiration date, and the commission would not have any current politicians serving on the body.

That sounds like a pretty good deal for the Republicans, right? Alas, it would not come to pass, because McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell killed it. Why? Wait for it. Because they were scared that it would make Trump angry, and you wouldn`t like him when he`s angry. That brilliant game of strategery gave Republicans a select committee controlled by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Yes, McCarthy handed control the committee to Speaker Pelosi, because she had the ultimate authority on who would participate, up to 13 members. Five were to be chosen in consultation with McCarthy. And when the name -- when he named two members who had participated in the attempt to decertify Biden`s win, Jim Banks and Jim Jordan, she said no dice.

McCarthy, being a very brilliant political strategist, pulled all of his chosen Republicans, just pulled them off the panel, leading us to where we are today, with a truly bipartisan committee. For God`s sakes, there`s a Cheney on it, plus Adam Kinzinger.

And we, the American people, are getting a clear, coherent story free of screamy nonsense of how Trump, his allies and congressional Republicans work together to upend our democracy.

Thank you, Kevin.

With me now, Kurt Bardella, adviser to the DNC and the DCCC and, for those who don`t remember, someone who used to work for the guy who used to do the screamy hearings against Democrats, one of them, Darrell Issa, back in the day.

So you know what this is supposed to work. You and I have texted about this, but just say the things that we have said privately. How big of an error was this in the end to keep screaming people off the committee for Kevin?

KURT BARDELLA, DNC AND DCCC ADVISER: Well, Kevin McCarthy`s loss, Joy, was America`s gain in a lot of ways.

And in a backwards kind of way, Kevin McCarthy did this country a favor...

REID: He did.

BARDELLA: ... by withholding his Republican appointed members from this committee.

But it was a massive strategic blunder and, as you alluded to, perhaps the biggest blunder of his time as Republican leader, to allow this committee to operate and function in an uninterrupted fashion, to allow them to operate in a way that they can tell the story from start to finish without any of the Republican propaganda B.S. nonsense we have grown all too accustomed to seeing during proceedings like this.


In many ways, Joy, this is perhaps the most nonpartisan congressional investigation in modern history, when you consider the participation of Liz Cheney, of Adam Kinzinger, when you consider that most of the witnesses that we have seen and heard from are actually Republicans, some who to this day would tell you they intend to vote for Donald Trump if he`s on the ballot in 2024.

REID: That`s right.

BARDELLA: They have provided the testimony.

This is the least partisan congressional proceeding we will probably ever see.

REID: A hundred percent.

In my lifetime, I have never seen -- because I remember the Clinton era, where everything was a food fight, all the way through President Obama. Obviously, anything about Hillary Clinton was a dogfight.

But in this case, you actually can. I think especially that first hearing, where it was in prime time, so people who would normally be watching "The Masked Singer" or whatever, they watched it, and lots of people did. For a lot of people for the first time, they were probably actually hearing and seeing the full unvarnished information about the insurrection and what Trump`s part in it was.

But let me show you what people have missed. Just for those of you who don`t really know about Jim Jordan, here`s Jim Jordan. And he`s yelling and screaming about something today, and this is him from Newsmax.


JORDAN: They tell us this is the most solemn, serious, important investigation in the history of our republic.

And then, by -- the same people are inviting Colbert`s comedy crew into the Capitol Complex, letting them enter the facilities illegally.


REID: Oh, yes, Courage the cowardly dog, that`s what he wants to talk about.

Your thoughts about Courage, if you like.

BARDELLA: This is a preview of what -- this is a preview of Republican oversight looks like, by the way, isn`t it? Let`s focus on what a late- night sketch comedy show was doing, and not domestic terrorists who assaulted police and wanted to hang the sitting vice president of the United States.

It just goes to show that Democrats were right and Speaker Pelosi was right to deny Jim Jordan a place on this committee, to deny the theatrics and the nonsense and the B.S. that we constantly see. I`m so glad -- I was telling this to Ali Vitali earlier today. I have not missed not hearing the words: "My time is almost up. Because of my time is so short, I have to now run on and do this filibuster about things that make no sense at all."

I have to cut the witness off.

REID: Yes.

BARDELLA: We have been spared all of that, and instead allowed -- and I really do think, Joy, that this has got to be the blueprint for congressional proceedings going forward.

REID: Absolutely, yes.

BARDELLA: That we need to ditch the nonsense five-minute volley between Republicans and Democrats.

REID: Yes.

BARDELLA: Let`s let the facts speak for themselves. Let`s let the witnesses that we have asked to be here actually speak to us.

REID: Yes.

BARDELLA: There`s a novel concept, something we don`t usually get to see.

REID: Yes.

BARDELLA: This is exactly how it needs to be done. And this committee has done an extraordinary job.

REID: And just again, you made a really good point. Rusty Bowers had said he`d still vote for Trump to this day, even though his family was threatened and he`s still being threatened.

William Barr, who trashed him, set back with the wide stance, said he`d vote for him to this day. So this is Republicans going at Republicans.

I do want to let you have a crack at this Ron Johnson situation, because I think that`s been one of the good revelations here, the courier, Ron Johnson, AKA senator who`s up for reelection. Here he is running away from Manu Raju of CNN.


QUESTION: How much did you know about what your chief of staff was doing with the alternate slates of electors?

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): I`m on the phone right now.

QUESTION: No, you`re not. I can see your phone. I can see your screen.

QUESTION: Can you explain what happened there Why was your chief of staff even offering this to the vice president?

JOHNSON: That`s a complete nonstory. We have issued a statement. And it`s a nonstory. I don`t know what you`re -- what you`re even concerned about here.

This was a staff-to-staff exchange. And I was basically unaware of it.


REID: I mean, between people like him, who was apparently being -- willing to be a courier for Trump, Mo Brooks, who showed up at the Ellipse in a bulletproof vest, and now was turfed out. Trump`s -- Trump dumped him because he wasn`t MAGA enough.

How important is it, do you think, that we`re starting to get to see how much lawmakers, Republican lawmakers, were involved in this plot?

BARDELLA: Joy, it`s vital that we understand the full totality of what Republican members of Congress were involved in this, which Republican members of Congress were helping with it.

Ron Johnson is basically a courier for domestic terrorists. The idea that he didn`t know what his chief of staff was doing when it comes to something this delicate, this sensitive, this confidential is complete nonsense.

And I think that one of the things that we`re going to see tomorrow at the hearing, as we look at what the Justice Department`s role in the effort was under Trump to overturn the election, I think that we`re going to see more revelations about the broadening circle of accomplices that encompassed the Republican Party and members of Congress.

We remember, in the very first hearing, it turned a lot of heads when there was an allusion to, well, were there members of Congress asking for pardons?


REID: Yes.

BARDELLA: What Republicans were doing helping give tours.

I think that we`re going to get a lot more information on that.

REID: Yes.

BARDELLA: And even though the committee is going to go on a little two- week break to continue their investigation, I think that the rest of us are going to have a lot to talk about after tomorrow`s hearing, and a lot of Republicans are going to be very uncomfortable when they see Manu Raju or Ali Vitali in the hallways.

REID: Indeed. And I got to give Frank Thorp credit too, because, apparently, he was the one -- I think he`s the one who said, "I can see your phone. "

So, giving them credit for some great journalism.

Kurt Bardella, thank you very much.

Still ahead: Senate negotiators finally reach a deal on gun safety legislation, as we learn disturbing new details about the police response in Uvalde.

We will be right back.



REID: Following the recent mass shootings in places like Buffalo and Uvalde, the Senate is actually moving forward on gun safety legislation. And it`s likely to become law with Republican support.

The lead Democratic negotiator on the bill, Senator Chris Murphy, is calling it the most significant change in our nation`s gun laws in 30 years.

Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, died in the 2018 Parkland school shooting, wrote on Twitter: "My heart is bursting over how big a deal this is."

While the bill does not include some of the tougher restrictions that Democrats had sought, it does finally codify the boyfriend exception, which could save the lives of abuse victims. And it includes state funding to implement red flag laws, which allow guns to be removed from a person considered to be a threat to themselves or to others.

Meanwhile, as we`re now learning -- we`re now learning that, in Uvalde, Texas, that the reverse actually happened, when a gun was taken away from off-duty police officer Ruben Ruiz as he tried to rescue his wife, teacher Eva Mireles, who was shot and later died on the way to the hospital.

It`s just one of the damning new revelations about how poorly the situation was handled. The head of the Texas State Police, Steven McCraw, testified at a state Senate hearing on Tuesday that law enforcement`s response to the Uvalde school shooting was a -- quote -- "abject failure" and that the police at the scene actually had enough firepower and protective -- protective equipment to storm the classroom within minutes of their arrival, but they still waited around for over an hour, and that the door to the classroom was unlocked the whole time, contrary to what law enforcement initially said.

McCraw blame the indecisive this of the on-scene commander, Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, who McCraw says placed the lives of officers before those of children. As of tonight, Arredondo has been placed on administrative leave.

New reports from local publications like "The Texas Tribune" show surveillance video images that appear to corroborate McCraw`s statement that there were numerous officers on location with ballistic shields and high-powered rifles well before federal law enforcement officers eventually took out the shooter.

Joining me now is Sewell Chan, editor in chief of "The Texas Tribune."

And, Sewell, thank you for being here.

It is a horrifying story, but let`s just go through the pieces of it, because one of the things that has always -- Arredondo jumped out early and did a couple of interviews on the record. And one of the things he said was that he was frustrated that, when he went in to the classrooms 111 and 112, the door was locked. He literally said -- he said he checked to see if the door from 111 would open. Another officer tried 112. Both were locked.

That appears not -- that is now being called into question. Is there reporting that confirms it either way?

I can`t hear you. So let`s see if we can get your audio to work. Hold on one second.


REID: There we go.

CHAN: Can you hear me now?

REID: Gotcha.

CHAN: Thanks. Thanks. Great question.

Listen, this is a key discrepancy. Chief Arredondo gave us an exclusive interview. And we asked many, many tough questions. And one of them, of course, was,did you try the doors before -- and his account was that they - - the officers had found them locked, were unable to kick them in or burst in and had to wait for a master set of keys to finally arrive, and that that accounts for the excruciating delay.

Now, the transcripts, video footage, bodycam footage that we and other media outlets have now been able to see and the testimony yesterday from the head of the Texas Rangers suggests that, in fact, those assertions are not supported by the footage, that, as you say, the authorities now believe the doors may never have been locked.

Clearly, the gunman was able to get in. There`s a lot that still unanswered here. I would point out that there are significant state and-local tension that has erupted. The city`s mayor has said that the Texas Rangers are kind of putting all the blame, scapegoating the local folks, and taking -- denying their own responsibility.

And, of course, tonight, the Uvalde School District placed the school`s police chief on leave.

REID: Let me play actually -- this is the mayor, who I thought was oddly quiet for quite a while, but this is the mayor. His name is Don McLaughlin. This is last night. Take a look.


DON MCLAUGHLIN, MAYOR OF UVALDE, TEXAS: Colonel McCraw has continued to whether you want to call it lie, leak -- excuse me -- lie, leak, mislead or misstate information in order to distance his own Troopers and Rangers from the response.

Every briefing, he leaves out the number of officers -- of his own officers and Rangers that were on scene that day. Colonel McCraw has an agenda, and it`s not to present a full report on what happened and to give factual answers to the families of this community.


REID: And I know that -- there`s "Houston Chronicle" reporting, another paper there, that state Senator Roland Gutierrez, he is accusing -- he`s sued the Texas Department of Public Safety for withholding records on this shooting.


He`s alleging the agency violated state open records law by denying his request for documents related to the shooting. As of last week, your paper, "The Texas Tribune," has submitted about 70 public information requests.

Have you been able to, first of all, get those requests answered? Are they are they cooperating with what you need to do in terms of the reporting? And do -- can you tell us about this reporting that there were many, many police officers from whichever department inside that school with long guns and shields?

CHAN: Yes, one answer at a time.

Joy, unfortunately, this is -- the government at all levels, state and local, has been very, very opaque. Of our 70 records requests, only a small number have actually been fulfilled. That`s not unique to us. All Texas media are actually trying to get together right now to see if there`s legal action that can be taken to get access to these records.

I think the fact that they`re -- this has been, I don`t want to say death by 1,000 leaks, but there have been so many individual revelations in different news outlets, all of them interesting or promising, but it has not -- there has not been kind of a comprehensive just dump of the data, frankly, that would allow independent analysts, independent investigators to take a look.

Now, as to what happened in the school that day, yes, by the end of that hour-plus of waiting, there were something like 60 to 80 lawful law enforcement officers from multiple agencies, DEA, U.S. Marshals Service, the Border Patrol, Uvalde City Police, the sheriff`s office, really a multiplicity.

And the Texas Rangers, the Texas Department of Public Safety, actually had at one point up to eight people inside the building. Now, that`s actually more people than the entire Uvalde school district police force, which is only six officers.

I am not at all taking sides. I`m merely observing that there is a lot to still examine here and a lot of finger-pointing.

REID: And, just to be clear, a lot of officers inside that building with long guns, not just pistols, with shields, but no one opened that door, that unlocked door to either of those classrooms and went inside where the gunman was, killing children?

CHAN: It sounds so inexplicable.

And I don`t want to speculate. Military and police, of course, are taught to follow chain of command. There appears to have never been an order, breach that door, right, even though there were officers whose spouse or a child was were literally dying inside the classroom, which is just so agonizing.

And I think that`s really what the focus is going to be on, like, who was in charge, right? That`s the fundamental question. Chief Arredondo told us he did not believe he was the incident commander. Law enforcement experts and now the Texas State Police say that he effectively was in charge and failed at his duties.

REID: Very quickly. We`re out of time.

But do you know every, has your reporting said whether other schools in the community or in the school district have similar issues with doors that don`t lock and that kind of thing? Do we know if there`s a broader issue?

CHAN: Well, Joy, just yesterday, Texas announced that more than 300,000 external locks on schools across the state are going to be checked to see if the locks are functioning correctly.

REID: You would think. You would think that would be something they would know in advance.

Sewell Chan, great reporting. Thank you very much. Really appreciate you.

And don`t go anywhere. Brittney Griner`s wife, Cherelle, joins me next, as Russia continues to hold Brittney captive.

We will be right back.



REID: WNBA star Brittney Griner, who has been detained in Russia since February for allegedly carrying hashish oil in her luggage, tried to call her wife, Cherelle Griner, nearly a dozen times through the American Embassy in Russia, but they never connected, because the phone line at the embassy was not staffed.

This is according to Cherelle, who told the Associated Press that, for two weeks, she had a phone call scheduled through the U.S. Embassy with her detained wife for their anniversary, which was last Saturday.

Cherelle called the error unacceptable and said -- quote -- "I have zero trust in our government right now."

According to Russian state media, Griner will remain in Russian custody through at least July 2. Today, Griner was named an honorary All-Star and starter by commissioner Cathy Engelbert for the July 10 WNBA All-Star Game in Chicago.

And Cherelle Griner joins me now.

Cherelle, thank you so much for being here. I appreciate it.

And I -- happy anniversary, belated. And I understand you`re going through -- I can`t understand it, honestly, I can`t relate to it.

Have you had a chance since her detention to speak with Brittney?


First, thank you so much for that.

And, no, I have not had a chance to speak with Brittney since February the 17th.

REID: And have you been able to get information about how she`s doing, either through the embassy or through some other way?

GRINER: So, the answer to that question is yes.

But I have to rely on just people that do not know Brittney at all. So, I`m relying on the embassy when they were able to see her twice, told me that she seemed well, all things considered. And her attorneys will tell me their version of how they feel she`s doing.

But I know my wife. And so being able to actually hear her voice would have been that one moment where I could have actually known for myself how she`s doing, because she could tell me she`s fine, but I would know if she`s not fine.

REID: Yes.

I mean, so, Putin`s spokesman, Vladimir Putin`s spokesman, has said that your wife is not a hostage and said -- they disputed the State Department`s position that Griner is a Russian hostage, saying it`s not about being a hostage.


She has been classified as such, at least as being wrongfully detained.

And I want to let you listen to what Vladimir Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, said about this detention.


KEIR SIMMONS, NBC SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She was coming to take part in sport in Russia, effectively trying to build bridges through sport.

It`s a terrible message, isn`t it, that she should be arrested?

DMITRY PESKOV, KREMLIN PRESS SECRETARY: It is also a terrible message to bring some forbidden essences and materials to this country. And it is prosecuted by Russian laws.


REID: Given that`s the position that the Russian government is taking, what do you -- what in your mind can the U.S. do about that?

Since, of course, we`re on the opposite side of Russia on what`s going on in Ukraine. Not clear what the diplomatic relationship is like. What do you believe that the Biden administration could do differently?

GRINER: So, what I believe that the Biden administration can do differently is to actually take the words and the rhetoric -- the rhetoric that they have and match them together.

For example, an American that`s deemed wrongfully detained, to my understanding, from what the State Department is saying, America will negotiate their release. It`s not a maybe. It`s a will. They will negotiate for their release.

And so, right now, my wife has been wrongfully detained. So, despite whatever the Russian authorities are saying, despite whatever press conference they do to say anything about B.G. and the legal matter over there, America has already determined that she gets no justice in that system and that they will negotiate her release.

And so my push is for the American administration right now, the Biden administration, to do exactly that, to make a deal for B.G., because she is wrongfully detained.

REID: Does she have an attorney in Russia who`s dealing with -- because they`re saying it`s a legal case. Does she have an attorney in Russia, to your knowledge?

GRINER: Of course.

I have literally just graduated law school. So, at the end of the day, whether my wife is in any country, this one or another one, and she`s in a legal proceeding, we`re going to make sure that she has an attorney. Despite the fact that she`s in a position where there`s a great chance that she probably will get no justice in it, we`re still going to make sure that she has representation.

REID: There was a "New York Times" -- there`s now a campaign, really, that`s being built around getting your wife freed from where she is, supporters calling on President Biden to indeed strike a deal for her.

The campaign from dozens of organizations representing people of color, women, LGBTQ voters came out, amid some frustration, I think, that people are feeling that they don`t feel the case has been made prominent enough.

Has the White House reached out to you? Has the State Department reached out to you? Have you been able to speak with someone in the administration about what you want to see done?

GRINER: So, the answer to that question is kind of twofold.

And so the White House has a lot of personnel working in there. And so I have been able to speak with Secretary Blinken inside of the White House. I have been able to speak with some persons from the SPEHA department.

However, the person that has the power, the Biden administration itself, being President Biden, Vice President Harris, I have not spoken to them. I have asked. I have requested. And, at this point, it almost feels like they`re indirectly telling me no.

It almost feels like, indirectly, they have told us as a family they will not be with us, despite the fact that everybody is saying, when I do speak to people: B.G. is a top priority. We know she`s wrongfully detained. We`re doing everything.

But the people that have the highest power, no, they have not spoken to me and my family.

REID: Well, we hope that that will change, Cherelle Griner.

And we hope that Brittney`s situation will change. We all would like to see her home, but none more than yourself, obviously.

Cherelle Griner, thank you for taking the time. I really appreciate you.

GRINER: Thank you for having me.

REID: Of course.

And coming up: the major decisions coming any day now from the Supreme Court and the very consequential rulings that you might have missed.

Stay with us.



REID: In a country that`s supposedly founded on the separation of church and state, we Americans find ourselves being held hostage by a far right Christian court.

Under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts, the court has ruled in favor of religious organizations more than 80 percent of the time, far more than any court in the past seven decades.

There was the Hobby Lobby case, which allowed businesses to refuse to include birth control in their health care coverage, and the time they allowed a bake shop to refuse to bake a cake to celebrate a same-sex marriage. Just yesterday, the court ruled that state programs providing money for public schools cannot exclude religious schools, requiring taxpayers to fund Christian education.

And that`s far from the only important decision coming from the court this session. Most notably, there`s the looming end of Roe v. Wade, a dangerous reversal of decades of women`s rights. There was a decision that could make it even easier to carry guns, likely striking down New York`s restriction on concealed firearms, as America endures an epidemic of gun violence.

And we`re also waiting on a decision that will impact the future of our planet as we know it, a case that could limit the EPA`s power to fight the climate crisis. All of those decisions will likely come in the next two days or next week. And we will be watching.

And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT.