IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Transcript: The ReidOut, 8/15/22

Guests: Nayyera Haq, Joseph McGinley, Asha Rangappa


Donald Trump continues shifting his excuses for why he may have stashed classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. Rudy Giuliani receives bad news from prosecutors in Georgia regarding their election interference investigation. FBI agents face an increasing number of threats, as Republican leaders stay mostly silent about the dangerous rhetoric coming from the right. Congresswoman Liz Cheney faces a primary tomorrow in Wyoming. What cryptic message did Donald Trump send to Attorney General Merrick Garland? The anniversary of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is examined.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: We are going to air that special discussion for you tomorrow night on "THE BEAT", as "Mavericks" continues into the summer.

Thanks for spending time with us.

THE REIDOUT with Tiffany Cross is up next.



DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In my administration, I`m going to enforce all laws concerning the protection of classified information.


CROSS: Well, that didn`t age well.

Six years after that remark, Trump is now changing his excuse almost daily for why he may have stashed classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

Now, meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani received some bad news from prosecutors in Georgia regarding their election interference investigation.

And also tonight, FBI agents are facing an increasing number of threats as Republican leaders stay mostly silent about the danger -- dangerous rhetoric coming from the right.

Plus, a preview of Liz Cheney`s primary tomorrow in Wyoming, where MAGA supporters seem intent on pushing her for telling the truth about Donald Trump.

Good evening, everyone. I`m Tiffany Cross, in tonight for Joy Reid.

And we begin THE REIDOUT with significant developments in a number of investigations involving former President Donald Trump. Today, Politico reported that a federal grand jury investigating the January 6 attack has subpoenaed Trump White House lawyer Eric Herschmann for documents and testimony.

Now, this makes him the third White House lawyer to receive a DOJ subpoena, along with Trump`s White House counsel Pat Cipollone and deputy counsel Patrick Philbin. Now, as you may remember, Herschmann`s testimony to the House January 6 Committee was featured throughout their hearings.

What this means for Donald Trump, though, according to Andrew Weissmann, the former lead prosecutor in the Mueller investigation, is that there is - - quote -- "no question" now that Trump is the target of the federal January 6 probe.

Weissmann added -- quote -- "Correct moves here. Lock people into the grand jury."

Meanwhile, in Georgia, you have the investigation into Trump`s alleged election interference led by Fulton County DA Fani Willis. Today, NBC News learned that Trump`s former personal attorney Rudy Giuliani has been named a target of the criminal investigation. He`s expected to testify in person before that grand jury on Wednesday.

And that is all on top of what we have seen play out this past week with the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago over classified documents Trump stored there. Today, federal prosecutors are asking a federal judge to keep the affidavit, which details probable cause for the search, under seal to -- quote -- "protect the integrity of an ongoing law enforcement investigation that implicates national security."

The prosecutors write that any disclosure could compromise future investigative steps. Now, when it comes to those documents, we have seen the ever-shifting explanations from Trump and his allies over why they keep being found at his Florida home.

Now, for those who have paid any attention to Trump while he was in office, this past week followed a very familiar playbook. And it started with him saying, I didn`t do anything wrong, followed by, well, if I did do it, there`s nothing wrong with it, to, I did it, but it`s not a problem.

Now, we have seen that show before. And, of course, he landed on, everyone does it. In this case, "The New York Times" lays it out perfectly. First, he said that he was working and cooperating with government agents who he claimed had inappropriately entered his home. Then, when the government revealed that the FBI had actually recovered a dozen sets of documents that were marked classified, he suggested the agents planted evidence.

Finally, his aides claimed he had a standing order to declassify documents that left the Oval Office for his residence, and that some of the material was protected by attorney-client and executive privilege.

Now, of course, the various excuses are often contradictory and unsupported by facts. But when does that stop them? As for the latest one, that material at Mar-a-Lago was already declassified because there was a standing order to declassify materials, former National Security Adviser John Bolton disputed those claims.


JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: When a document is declassified, it`s not just declassified as to Donald Trump. It`s declassified for the whole world. So, in theory, if that order existed, which I don`t think it did, the news media could today file a Freedom of Information Act request for every document he had declassified, which, over a four-year period, could be a pretty high stack.

So I think this is made up, and I think a key point here is, when somebody`s making up stories like that, I think it indicates a level of desperation.


CROSS: All right, let`s get into it.

Joining me now is Marc Caputo, NBC News senior national political reporter, Paul Butler, Georgetown law professor and a former federal prosecutor, and Asha Rangappa, former special agent with the FBI`s Counterterrorism Division and the assistant dean of Yale University`s Jackson School of Global Affairs.

Paul, I have to start with you.

This DOJ news that they have subpoenaed Herschmann, just to remind our viewers, he represented Donald Trump in the former president`s first impeachment trial and later joined the White House as senior adviser, and he was kind of an interloper there, because he was somebody who was pushing the big election lie and really in conflict with a lot of the folks in the White House around that time.


What do you make of the DOJ subpoenaing and him? And what could they be looking to get from him?

PAUL BUTLER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: So, we know that Herschmann was in the room for a lot of the meetings about how to overturn the election.

He was present at that crazy January 4 -- January 4 meeting, where Trump was explicitly informed that the fake electors scheme was illegal and unconstitutional, but he apparently didn`t care.

So, Tiffany, at some point, in a grand jury investigation, prosecutors started to preserve the testimony of witnesses if they`re contemplating a prosecution. I think that, at this point, Trump is clearly a subject of the federal grand jury investigation relating to January 6. He`s still a few steps away from being a target.

CROSS: What`s the -- explain to our viewers the difference between a subject and a target.

BUTLER: So, certainly, Rudy Giuliani learned this the hard way today, when he became a target of an investigation in Georgia.

A target means that you are likely to be prosecuted, that prosecution may not be eminent, but the prosecutor believes she has evidence to charge with a crime. A subject is a step before being a target. It means that the grand jury is focusing on you. Sometimes, state departments -- or state police departments say that you`re a person of interest. That`s like being a subject.

CROSS: Yes, I remember when person of interest entered the lexicon.

Marc, I want to get say your latest reporting, because it sounds like there was just a clear disregard by this president, whose first job in government was as president of the United States -- there was a disregard for handling sensitive materials.

What did you learn? What are people saying? I saw in some of your reporting that aides would literally have to tape documents back together and pull them out of the trash. Give us the details.


Those weren`t classified documents, from what we understand. Those were documents, records, common pieces of paper that should have been set aside for the Presidential Records Act.They had to have an aide pick up the stuff that he would tear up and throw in the garbage or sometimes just throw on the floor.

Other times, John Bolton whose quote we just played there, told us that the president had a penchant for just grabbing classified intelligence, sensitive documents, and wanting to read them, taking them elsewhere. And it was kind of a challenge to keep him from kind of walking off with it.

John Kelly, the former chief of staff, verified that account. So it was just this kind of broad, sort of typical Trump, where he wanted to do something, and then he just kind of did it, and didn`t regard what the norms were, what the practices were, what the laws had laid out at the time.

And, as a result, you just have this kind of mishmash of different stories of the president just -- or the former president, president at the time, just kind of constantly disregarding aides. Some of them said they actually warned him that they were worried about it, and him just kind of stashing documents hither and yon.

In the last days in the White House, it was described to us there was a chaotic scene where they were throwing various things in boxes, and some sensitive records could have been thrown in there. And then all of these things wind up in Mar-a-Lago. And the next thing you know, after a series of different events, you suddenly have FBI agents sort of storming the gates there, and finding all of this stuff in all of these boxes.

And now there`s a criminal investigation.

CROSS: Asha, based on what Marc just said, I want to bring you in here, because this sounds -- you could take this a couple ways, right?

Like, maybe he was just unintelligent and was careless. But then I want to remind our viewers that he did have the Russians in the Oval Office. He did leak sensitive information to the Russians from a U.S. partner that led to quite the upset when he had the Russian ambassador and the national security person from Russia, Kislyak, in the Oval Office.

And that caused quite a star. So, I wonder if this is intentional chaos to throw everyone off. And if that is the case, what would be his objectives?

ASHA RANGAPPA, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, I mean, as was just mentioned, he`s been incredibly cavalier with classified information.

In addition to the example that you just mentioned, he`s tweeted out very sensitive satellite photos, for example. And while he was president,the defense was, well, he`s an original classification authority. He can declassify anything. He can just put it out there.

And I think that that`s become a little bit of a red herring in this investigation, because, particularly with regard to the Espionage Act, there`s no mention of declassified or classification in there at all. It talks about a specific type of information. It`s national defense information that the person who possesses it, Trump, has reason to believe could injure the United States or help a foreign government.


And, in this case, he clearly understands that. He was president for four years. And so it`s going to be a factual determination. It either is or it isn`t. And changing the classification on it, declassifying it, putting another label on it, I mean, you could call it a pepperoni pizza. If it`s a sensitive secret that can harm the U.S., that is true, regardless of the label you put on it.

So I think it`s trying -- this defense tries to avoid the big question, which is, why would he want to declassify these kinds of secrets? Why would he want sensitive sources and methods to be revealed? And it goes back to these examples that you mentioned, Tiffany. Why is he putting this stuff out there?

And I think it only bolsters the justification for the Department of Justice to be very concerned with what Trump`s intentions were with having this voluminous secret material and classified material in his home.

CROSS: And that`s really been key. We have always questioned Donald Trump`s intentions, from a lot of the careless mistakes he made that perhaps were not mistakes, but quite intentional.

Paul, it seems like we have reached the point of no return here, honestly. I don`t know how the DOJ does not -- or the multiple investigations against Trump. I mean, you have got Tish James in New York. You have got Fani Willis in Georgia. You have got the DOJ. You have got the January 6 Committee hearings.

I don`t know how you walk this back and Trump does not face some sort of consequence. But we have never seen this in our history. So I`m just curious, what does it even look like if the DOJ were to pursue charges against a former president?

BUTLER: So, Tiffany, Merrick Garland has to assess the damage done, and then decide whether to charge the former president with a crime, based on one of the three federal offenses that are listed in the search warrant.

And, as Asha says, the most important question is, why in the world was Trump hoarding these materials? What has he already done? And what was he planning to do? And, with Trump, it`s always the question of criminal intent.

But, here, I think the evidence looks incriminating. Trump knew the feds wanted these materials. And he knowingly and -- he knowingly and willfully refused to give the government back some of its most sensitive information. We know that he got this polite request from the National Archives.

When that didn`t work, they ratcheted up the pressure with the grand jury subpoena. And when that didn`t work, that`s what brought Trump the FBI raid.

CROSS: Which is -- it`s kind of frightening to see how democracy survives all this.

Marc, I want to ask you, because Rand Paul, one of Kentucky`s finest, he suggested just simply getting rid of the Espionage Act, essentially saying, if there was no law, then Donald Trump didn`t break it. And it seems like Republicans are all too eager to commit their blind loyalty to this president.

And it`s hard to imagine that someone can be pro-Trump and pro-America at a time where the evidence is really stacked against him. Have you seen any sign that anyone other than Kinzinger and Liz Cheney are willing to buck this administration and buck this president and say, yes, I will stand up for America today and say what I`m seeing is not right?

CAPUTO: Oh, God no.

Right now, the Republican Party has a strong cult of personality of parents. The personality, the center of that cult is President Trump. And the amount of grassroots Republican support for Trump has increased. The -- you hear this, see this anecdotally. There`s some evidence of it in polling.

According to his PAC, the people affiliated with his PAC, he`s raising more money than ever. There`s a real rally around the chief in the Republican Party. You`re not going to see people cross him right now, at least not at the echelons of, say, Rand Paul.

Remember, we just got through essentially with a primary season where more than 200 Republicans from up and down the ballot from coast to coast, north to south, and east to west begged President Trump for his endorsement. It`s just a sign of just how he is the beating heart of the party, how he is its center of gravity.

And that gravitational pull he exerts has only gotten stronger with this investigation being broken wide out into the open with the FBI executing the search warrant.

CROSS: And then there`s still Georgia, Asha, with Fani Willis. So I do want to talk a little bit about Giuliani.

He will testify before the grand jury on Wednesday. Of course, grand juries are sealed. But the interesting thing, when it`s a federal grand jury, they pull from the entire area. A local grand jury will pull from Fulton County. We know the demographics of Fulton County. We have seen it`s a majority minority area.

It`s my neck of the woods. I grew up in Atlanta. I am curious how you think the grand jury might play out, particularly since we won`t know what evidence is really presented to this grand jury.

RANGAPPA: Well, we know that, clearly. Rudy Giuliani is in the crosshairs, that he`s likely to be indicted that there are many other people in this fake electors scheme.


Remember that Giuliani`s role -- I mean, this is such a sprawling conspiracy. This is what strikes me often when I`m thinking about it, is how many people are involved in this.

But Giuliani was involved with speaking to state legislator -- legislatures, to get them to try to overturn their state legislative electoral results, and also to try to push this whole fake electors scheme. And he`s in a bit of a pickle here, Tiffany, because, first of all, any claims of attorney-client privilege are not going to go anywhere with him.

You cannot use the privilege as a shield to conceal the commission of a crime, which is what would have been happening if you were doing this with other individuals, including Trump.

And, more importantly here, if he does end up in the slammer, even if Trump wins in a couple of years, Trump will not be able to help him, because this is a state crime. And there`s no way that Trump would have the power to pardon him.

And so I think that there`s going to be a lot of pressure. And I think the key is going to be whether Rudy Giuliani is going to spill the beans on exactly how involved Trump was in this part of the overall conspiracy.

CROSS: I want to stick with you for a second, Asha, because, according to Donald Trump -- we learned this from him, not from any law enforcement agency or any news reporting -- but he has said that the FBI sees three of his passports.

I thought that was a really interesting piece of information. Why might they seize his passports? One suggestion could be that he was possibly planning to leave the country. Is that realistic to think?

RANGAPPA: I`m not really sure. I think it`s really hard for a former president to leave the country undetected.

I think -- so, first of all, he probably has multiple passports, because, when you work for the U.S. government, you can be issued an official passport. You can also be issued a diplomatic passport. So he likely had one of these other ones, in addition to -- or both, in addition to his personal passport.

One possibility is, these are government records. Passports belong to the government of the United States. The -- the search warrant was to recover government property under 2071. So it wasn`t just for classified material. It was for government records that belong to the U.S. government. So they might have picked it up there.

Or it might have been to, essentially I.D. the information, to associate that these did kind of belong to him in the course of gathering all of these documents, and then maybe they will return them. So I think it`s too early to speculate.


RANGAPPA: We don`t even know if it`s true. You know what I mean?


RANGAPPA: Like, he`s tweeting all kinds of stuff right now. I think he`s in a bad place.


RANGAPPA: So we have to see how much of this is actually...

CROSS: I think you have a good point. I think you have a good point about him leaving incognito.

He`s definitely going out Richard Nixon style with the big waves, everybody. He loves the fanfare.

Paul, before we get out of here, I do want to ask you. Let`s just pretend that Merrick Garland is at home watching this brilliant panel right now. And he`s looking at Mr. Paul Butler to say, how should I handle this going forward? Because you said Merrick Garland will assess the evidence and the situation.

What advice might you offer Merrick Garland when it comes to pursuing to shifting Trump from a subject to a target?

BUTLER: Tiffany, with federal and state prosecutors going after Trump, it`s kind of like, take a number and stand in line.

I think that, given all the investigations, still, the most troubling is January 6. I think that`s the right choice for a historic first indictment of a U.S. president, because we don`t have to speculate about damage. We know that, on January 6, human lives were lost. We also know the cost to our democracy is ongoing.

And, finally, Tiffany, the January 6 House panel has provided a road map to the Justice Department for how to bring Trump to justice for his -- for his worst misdeeds.

CROSS: Yes, really good point, Paul.

All right, thank you, Marc Caputo. Great reporting, by the way. Paul Butler and Asha Rangappa, you have to come back.

And up next on THE REIDOUT: Trump and his allies continue to fan the flames of violence against FBI agents.

Plus, the cryptic message Trump sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland.

THE REIDOUT continues right after this.



CROSS: All right, you guys remember that whole Republican bit about backing the blue?

Well, we now know it`s a sham. They don`t really support law enforcement, not when there are elections to steal and coups to attempt. And they certainly don`t mean it now, as the pro-Trump crowd is calling to defund and even destroy the FBI following its raid of Trump`s Mar-a-Lago club.

Right-wing media outlet Breitbart has poured gasoline on the matter, revealing the identities of two agents when it published a leaked copy of the warrant that authorized the search. Now, the leak, of course, serves no purpose, other than to dox the -- and encourage violence.

And the FBI and Department of Homeland Security have now issued a joint intelligence bulletin warning of a spike in threats to federal law enforcement official since the raid. The bulletin cites an incident in which a man fired a nail gun into an FBI field office in Ohio last week.

And then, just today, a Pennsylvania man was arrested for making threats against the FBI on the right-wing social media site Gab. The man posted that employees of the bureau deserve to die.


Joining me now is Clint Watts, MSNBC national security analyst and former consultant with the FBI Counterterrorism Division.

Now, Clint, aggressive language doesn`t always directly cause physical harm, of course, but it does certainly create an environment where aggressive and violent people feel more emboldened, which ultimately makes actual violence against people or institutions more likely.

We`re seeing this happen. I mean, within less than a week, Friday to Monday, we have seen two men try to declare war with agents of the federal government. What do you think we as a country should be doing to prepare? Because I do not anticipate that these attacks will just suddenly come to a screeching halt?


This is a version what`s known as mediated terrorism. What`s fascinating is, 10 years ago, we`d be talking about Anwar Awlaki. He would make pronouncements online, he would designate targets in America, and then supporters who have no direct contact with them would try and take up violence on behalf of that cause.

Now what we`re seeing is our elected officials targeting institutions, federal employees, in a very similar way, or what I worry about most heading into the fall, which is election workers in polling places. I really think that`s going to be a frightening period for us, and they have no resources or very limited ability to secure and protect themselves.

We can do this, though. We did it over the last decade. We developed an international terrorism operations center and processes for detecting things online, and then interdicting them in person. You saw that happen today.

But it`s still not done seamlessly in the way that we would do it if it was international terrorism, because we don`t have a domestic terrorism law. Without a law, you can`t designate domestic terrorist groups. And you can`t also at the FBI level open cases that are inspiring cases, meaning it`s much more difficult to say domestic terrorism-inspired cases when you can`t really put a name on it.

So it always puts the FBI or law enforcement in general on a rear ward, rather than a proactive footing.

CROSS: Yes, you brought up two interesting points there, definitely the first about we have to stop separating the GOP and right-wing extremists, because I think you make such a good point.

Elected officials are demonizing institutions. We`re seeing it play out before us. Second, the poll watchers, I think about states like Texas, where the Republican governor there, Greg Abbott, has declared guns for everybody, regardless of background check or training, also empowered partisan poll watchers there, also emboldened people to deputize themselves as the protector of fetuses when it comes to abortion rights.

And so the confluence of all these things could certainly declare mass violence. Now, the question is trying to stage off or stave off a massive attack by droves of people is one thing. The individual acts of violence that can pop off at any second across the country, how do you combat that, or can you combat that?

Because that`s the example of violence that we have seen in -- over the weekend.


And, to do that, you must be intelligence-led, meaning you have to be proactive. You have to take tips and leads in from across the country, from the online space, for example, and then figure out where those people are in the real world. It`s a very difficult task.

And I would like to add that, whether it`s mass shooters, poll watchers, extremists showing up based on elected officials and what they say, in all of these cases, for state and local law enforcement, it`s nearly impossible for them to detect it and be able to mitigate it, because you don`t know who people are online.

So it takes a triaging system at a national level. It takes working with the private sector to identify individuals who are making these violent threats. And then, ultimately, it takes tight coordination between state, local and federal law enforcement and Homeland Security, which is very difficult to do, by the way, when elected reps from certain parts of the country are making such baseless and harmful claims against the FBI.

CROSS: I want to ask you about this cryptic message between Donald Trump and Merrick Garland, where he essentially says, the country is on fire. What can I do to reduce the heat?

Very strange. I mean, it is somewhat comparable to, all I need is 11,000 more votes. Or is this his way of doing his art of the deal with, I will give you something for something? It`s just a cryptic message._

Curious your thoughts.

WATTS: Yes, it`s fascinating, because he likes to believe he can control this entire movement or these mobilizations.

But he`s also a little arrogant to say that, because, as we saw on January 6, he did come out and make a statement. And that sure didn`t stop everybody from running into the Capitol or staying at the Capitol that day. It did affect some. It did turn some people away.

But some just continued on. And immediately after, there were additional threats. The same thing would happen today. He can say what he wants, but the problem is, people interpret it differently. And when there is no direct communication, when no one`s really sure what the president saying because it changes back and forth all the time...


WATTS: ... guaranteed you would have a lot of extremists say, oh, he`s just saying that, wink and a nod. Remember, stand back, stand by? That`s a signal.


WATTS: And they will interpret it the way they want, maybe not the way that President Trump intended it.

CROSS: Yes, very good point.


He`s got to save that grease for the comb-over. There`s no greasing any palms, I don`t think, in the DOJ.

All right, Clint Watts, thank you so much for being here.

And still ahead: Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney is facing a tough primary in Wyoming tomorrow. Her brutal honesty about Trump`s dishonesty has not been well-received back home. We`re going to dig into that after the break.

Stay with us.



CROSS: All right, big Election Day tomorrow.

Voters in Wyoming and Alaska could end one political career and possibly resurrect another. In Alaska, Sarah Palin is looking for a rebirth as she vies to fill in the congressional vacancy left by Don Young. Palin is backed by the former president, of course. She has been out of office for 13 years, and she abandoned her job as governor midterm, mind you.

Meanwhile, in Wyoming, Liz Cheney is fighting to hold on to a seat she`s held for three terms. Cheney is the vice chair of the January 6 Committee and has staked her political career on exposing the former president`s role in undermining American democracy.

Now,a recent poll from the University of Wyoming has Cheney trailing her challenger, Harriet Hageman, by 29 points. In 2016, Hageman was a proud supporter and friend of Cheney. She supported Ted Cruz for president that year and was among a group of Republicans who sought to block Trump from getting the nomination. She also called Trump somebody who is racist and xenophobic.

Well, now she has fully embraced the big lie that the 2020 election was rigged, and security threats have mostly prevented Cheney from attending public events and rallies as she campaigns. Wyoming is a Republican stronghold, delivering Trump his strongest victory of any state in the 2020 campaign.

Here`s what some of Wyoming`s voters had to say about Liz Cheney.


QUESTION: Why not Liz Cheney?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think because she went against Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She voted for impeachment, and she -- well, she didn`t go against Trump. She went against the people of Wyoming.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am supportive of Liz Cheney because she stands up for what she believes in. She`s a constitutional conservative. She`s willing to fight the good fight, and she stands up for what people in Wyoming believe in.


CROSS: All right, joining me now is Dr. Joseph McGinley, former chair of the Republican Party in the Natrona County, Wyoming. He`s supporting Congresswoman Cheney.

So, let me ask you, does Cheney survive tomorrow?


And I think those polls really don`t reflect the pulse here in town, especially in Central Wyoming and Casper. I think we`re going to see a much closer race tomorrow once the results roll in.

CROSS: Well, the Dick Cheney ad that`s airing there, I want our viewers to take a look, because this ad is actually going to be playing, not just locally, but during Sean Hannity and "FOX & Friends" in the morning.

So take a look. And then I will ask you about it on the other side.


DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In our nation`s 246 year history, there has never been an individual who was a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump.

He tried to steal the last election, using lies and violence to keep himself in power after the voters had rejected him. He is a coward. A real man wouldn`t lie to his supporters.


CROSS: I mean, Wyoming is a Republican stronghold. Dick Cheney used to be the darling of the right. Is this going to have any impact, do you think?

MCGINLEY: Well, Dick Cheney, Vice President Cheney is well-respected here in Wyoming. So is Representative Liz Cheney.

This ad was very powerful. The vice president really spoke his heart. And he spoke the truth, as far as where he sees the Republican Party and where he sees principles above the party itself. I think it`s really going to help Representative Cheney.

Dick Cheney really is a heavy voice here in Wyoming. And people will listen and respect what he has to say.

CROSS: Well, we will see what happens tomorrow.

But I do have to ask you, because I know, Cheney and her opponent, they were once close. She even campaigned for Cheney. We have seen a lot of that footage over the weekend. But much like Cheney and Hageman, there was also Cheney and Trump. And Liz Cheney once supported Donald Trump.

She even after the "Hollywood Reporter" (sic) tapes came out in 2016, she thought his remarks were appalling, but she still supported him. She voted with him 97 percent of the time. Do you think she bears any responsibility in what we`re seeing play out with Donald Trump because she helped put him in office?

MCGINLEY: Well, Representative Cheney is a true conservative.

I mean, she supported President Trump`s policies throughout his presidency, because they agreed on policy. I don`t think there`s any doubt about that. She has a very strong conservative voting record. I don`t think that`s enabling what we`re seeing right now.

Most Republicans supported President Trump. So I think they`re two different things. I think, once the election results came in, and it was clear that President Biden won the election, and President Trump and his supporters were questioning the election, I think that`s where the divide really came about.

Representative Cheney, when he disagreed, was very vocal throughout President Trump`s entire presidency. They did have a few run-ins throughout that term. And, again, she stuck with her conservative values and principles. And that`s what we`re seeing playing out. So you`re seeing leadership vs. a politician, Representative Cheney showing true leadership right now.

CROSS: I just -- I want to push back a little bit and just get your take, since you were a leader in the Republican Party, because you`re saying she did support his policies.

But there was so much even about his policies that were and contrary to democracy, like with the Muslim ban, for example, she supported. In 2010, she attacked Eric Holder`s Justice Department and called it the department of jihad.


This was also very consistent with Trump`s rhetoric. And so this wasn`t something that came about after the election. Wyoming essentially has an open primary. Like, Democrats could step in and try to save Cheney. If they wanted, they could switch their party affiliation on the day of the election.

Given that she might need some Democratic support, I`m curious what she might say to those Democratic voters, given her history with the Republican Party before Donald Trump.

MCGINLEY: Well, things change over time.

I mean, if you just look at her support on same-sex marriage, her opinion has changed on that over her career and over the past few years. So, she`s listening to the constituents. She`s listening to the people in Wyoming.

We are seeing crossover voting. It`s been rather impressive, the number of new registrants we have seen in the Republican Party. I`m assuming a lot of these individuals are Democrats and independents. And they may not -- as to your point, they may not necessarily agree with Representative Cheney on her policies, but they really believe in her and her principles.

And they believe that she`s going to do the right thing, even though they may disagree. She may listen, and she may have that conversation. And, again, she shown a willingness to change, even if it doesn`t increase her popularity within the party.

CROSS: Well, we will definitely be watching tomorrow, Joe.

So thank you, Dr. Joseph McGinley, for joining us tonight and giving us that important context.

And coming up next: It has been one year since U.S. forces left the Taliban in control of Afghanistan, and no one`s feeling the pain more than women and girls. They`re now living under their rule. We`re going to dig into that on the other side of this break.

Don`t go anywhere.



CROSS: All right, it was just one year ago today, August 15, 2021, Kabul fell to the Taliban after 20 years of democracy and freedom for the Afghan people.

Now, in the year since, the Taliban has imposed severe restrictions within the country, particularly on women.

NBC`s Kelly Cobiella took a deep dive into what`s happened over the past year.


KELLY COBIELLA, NBC NEWS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A defiant and dangerous protest by women in Kabul, beaten by Taliban fighters for gathering in the street, chanting "Bread, work and freedom."

A year ago today, thousands desperately trying to escape as the Taliban encircled the capital, fighting to get on the last flights out of the country, handing over their children,many terrified they would be hunted down for working with the U.S.

Kabul fell in hours with almost no resistance, the country`s former president fleeing in a helicopter.

ASHRAF GHANI, FORMER PRESIDENT OF AFGHANISTAN (through translator): And the reason I left was because I did not want to give the Taliban and their supporters the pleasure of yet again humiliating an Afghan president.

COBIELLA: The new rulers promised to be more moderate than the Taliban of the 1990s and vowed to not harbor al Qaeda or others planning to attack the West.

After the U.S. drone strike that killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri this month in Kabul, the Taliban insisted they didn`t know he was living in the capital, the White House claiming in a newly declassified intelligence report that al-Zawahiri was the only key al Qaeda figure trying to reestablish himself in Afghanistan, adding that the terror group does not have the capability to launch attacks against the U.S. or its interests abroad from that country.

Drought and sanctions have destroyed Afghanistan`s economy. More than a million children are at risk of severe malnutrition, as we saw firsthand back in January.

Today, women`s freedoms have all but disappeared. Morality police make sure they`re covered and traveling with a male escort. Girls older than 11 can`t go to school. Yet some women and girls, so determined to learn, are studying in secret, a network of underground schools reportedly springing up across the country.


CROSS: All right, joining me now is Nayyera Haq. She`s a former senior State Department adviser and former House senior director under President Obama,

Nayyera, thanks so much for being here.

Watching that package -- and I have been reading about the anniversary all weekend and what the women -- women and children are facing there, really everybody, but I`m just, I guess, partial to women and children and what they`re going through.

Tell me, what do you think their future holds after we have seen what the past year has done to them.

NAYYERA HAQ, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: Well, we should be partial to what women and children are experiencing, because they`re -- they bear the brunt of the war.

And they are often the ones who have to deal with the day-to-day realities of not having access to water or food or education. We saw many women throughout the 20-year war being widowed, not having the men in their lives to help support them, having to take on that role as well, despite the fact that the Taliban around them were discouraging them from advancing themselves.

We also saw that women were advancing in society. We had girls attending college. If you were born on 9/11, you were an 18-, 19-year-old by the time the United States was drawing down from Afghanistan.


HAQ: You have an entire generation of girls who became women, who had hope for a future that was instantly taken away from them when the United States left.

CROSS: Which is so devastating to see.

And I really don`t understand it, because Afghanistan is experiencing a terrible economy right now. And depriving girls of secondary education, UNICEF is reporting, translates to a loss of at least 500 million U.S. dollars for the Afghan economy in the last 12 months.


And if the cohort of three million girls were able to complete their secondary education and participate in the job market, they would contribute at least $5.4 billion to Afghanistan`s economy.

Why are they shooting themselves in the foot, for lack of a better expression?

HAQ: Well, the Taliban is not actually really interested in advancing the interests of the Afghan people, let alone advancing Afghan society and women and children.

They`re interested in power and imposing a fairly rigid interpretation of theology. It`s actually the same Taliban that existed 20 years ago, the same Taliban that harbored al Qaeda back in the day. They are now back in power. But they have realized over the course of 20 years how to better use technology and how to message themselves better.

So, on the surface, they will say -- been made for women. And they will say that simply to keep international monitors off of their back, simply to get access to money that they can then use as a grift to support their power. They have not changed. The Afghan people know they have not changed.

But what we`re seeing in a lot of rural communities is that Afghan villagers, Afghan people were willing to accept Taliban rules simply to have security and peace. So we`re seeing the tradeoff being made of it having security, instead of having human rights. And that`s a choice that no one should ever have to make.


I began my career in journalism around this time, and it was very disconcerting to see people immediately take down signs and immediately adhere to the Taliban wishes. And, again, I don`t think that was necessarily ideology, but a movement out of fear. It was something that even they knew perhaps democracy was only temporary for them, which was a sad sight to see.

I do want to ask you about this report that`s coming out from the House Foreign Affairs Committee`s Republicans, where they are chiding Biden for the evacuation. They said he -- it was a failure to adequately plan and execute the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

And the Republicans are alleging that President Biden misled the public about the consequences of a withdrawal. Listen, I -- to be fair here, I do remember watching, when this first -- this news first came about, and it was really challenging to watch in the few days.

But then, when they executed the withdrawal of thousands, tens of thousands of people, it was quite a sight to see. Is there any credibility or truth to what the Republicans are suggesting here in this report?

HAQ: Oh, there are several administrations` worth a fault to be found here.

And we can start more recently, actually, with the Trump administration that, despite years of efforts to negotiate and create a peace deal with the Taliban, something I was involved with in the Obama administration, Trump decided that he was going to cut a deal directly with the Taliban insurgents and cut out the Afghan government entirely, so immediately undercutting any hope of having a sustainable democracy, and showing the Afghan people that the United States was only interested in leaving.

In addition to that, President Trump also undermined and diminished the capacity of the United States to process visas, to evacuate refugees from all over the world. So, suddenly, you have President Biden now having to execute a date of withdrawal that Trump picked with minimal resources to actually make any of that happen, and this despite the fact that, as vice president, he was one of the lone voices that wanted the withdrawal.


HAQ: He was against surges. He has a long record of saying he wanted to draw this war down.

But it was not ideal in any way, shape, or form. And a big part of that was because of the 19 years of what he inherited.


And I -- look, this is not Afghanistan. And we -- women here in America are certainly not living the terrors of the women in Afghanistan. But it`s just striking to me that the Republicans are focused on this as they actively oppressed women`s rights here in our own country.

But I do have to shift gears because we`re running out of time, Nayyera, and I do want to ask you the latest on Brittney Griner. Her lawyers are appealing her conviction. Walk us through that. What does that mean for her? Is this helpful or harmful to her case? And does it delay or expedite her coming home?

HAQ: Her agreeing to plead guilty, her making a statement of apology for violating Russia law does not actually mean in this case that she did those things.

She`s -- it`s a tactical decision to plead guilty to get leniency from the Russian court and to set up the situation where the Russian government and the United States government can negotiate a prisoner swap. That is the harsh reality she is facing right now.


Already, she has served more time for a minimal drug charge than anybody else has ever had to serve for the same drug charge in Russia. So she`s a political prisoner. She will be used by both governments to negotiate some kind of deal to exchange people. Hopefully, it`ll be Brittney Griner, as well as Paul Whelan, who is still in custody in Russia.

CROSS: Yes, Paul Whelan, can`t forget about him either.

Thank you so much, Nayyera Haq, for always delivering such important context. Thank you for joining us.

And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" is coming up next, so don`t go anywhere.