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Transcript: The ReidOut, 8/26/22

Guests: LaTosha Brown, Alicia Garza, Nicholas Nehamas, Eric Swalwell, Renato Mariotti


The much-anticipated redacted copy of the search warrant affidavit for Donald Trump`s Mar-a-Lago home is released. Congressman Eric Swalwell speaks out. How secure is Mar-a-Lago? Are Republicans beginning to backpedal on their abortion stance?


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone.

We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the much-anticipated redacted copy of the search warrant affidavit of Donald Trump`s Mar-a-Lago home.

And here it is, the 38-page affidavit. And, as you can see, nearly half of it has been redacted. Those redactions by the DOJ and approved by U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart are designed to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation by not disclosing highly sensitive information about witnesses and other grand jury material.

But what is now public tells a damning story about the former twice- impeached president, who, by the way, is the one who originally called for the affidavit to be released, trying to play chicken with the DOJ, before they called his bluff.

Now, first, in the government`s 13-page memo explaining the rationale for the redactions, they say that parts must remain sealed to -- quote -- "protect the safety and privacy of a significant number of civilian witnesses, in addition to law enforcement."

In other words, the FBI`s probable cause was not based on a single informant, but on a number of different witnesses, likely having to be people inside Trump`s orbit. And I`m sure that fact is not sitting well with Donald tonight.

And the affidavit explains why many of them might have cooperated. It describes in specific detail the nature of some of the documents that were just laying around Trump`s golf resort. In the 15 boxes of documents returned to the National Archives in January, the FBI found 184 unique documents bearing classification markings, including 67 documents marked as confidential, 92 marked as secret, and 25 marked top secret, in many cases just mixed in with magazines and, like, newspaper clippings and other detritus in the same box.

But even more alarming is the following line that indicates that some of the -- that indicates some of the other markings. HCS refers to HUMINT control system, which generally refers to a program from a CIA officer about conversations with a confidential source overseas, namely, a spy.

These reports don`t normally leave the CIA. S.I. refers to special intelligence, which is communication intercepts by agencies like the NSA of foreign leaders or other individuals overseas. And then there is NOFORN, which is intelligence so sensitive, it can`t even be shared with any foreign nationals, even our closest allies.

The affidavit adds that several of the documents also contain what appears to beat Trump`s handwritten notes, notes Trump is believed to have written after he left the presidency.

Now, we already knew that Trump has a terrible track record when it comes to keeping intelligence to himself. He divulged highly classified material given to us by Israel with the Russians in, of all places, the Oval Office.

So, beyond the fact that he has shared this information before, why in the world would he need to have these kinds of sensitive documents in Florida or really anywhere? Remember, these are some of our government`s most highly protected materials. And they were just laying around, laying around there in boxes at Mar-a-Lago where who knows what and who knows who could have access for a year-and-a-half.

Joining me now is John Brennan, former director of the CIA and an MSNBC national security and intelligence analyst, Katie Phang, MSNBC legal analyst and host of "THE KATIE PHANG SHOW," Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor and currently legal affairs columnist for Politico.

Director Brennan, I have to start with you.

I`m going to put these classifications back up again. HUMINT HCS, which is human intelligence, ORCON, which is originator controlled, NOFORN, which means you cannot share this with foreign nationals, FISA, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and signals intelligence, meaning when we spy on foreign governments, et cetera.

Can you, as a former CIA director, think of any innocent explanation for why any president would have in his possession outside of a SCIF, outside of a safe place to read it in Washington, D.C., information on who our spies are, information like the information that Donald Trump had?


There is no plausible explanation for any type of retention of this -- these documents, this information that contains some of the most sensitive national security information that our government has.

These are the markings that are on documents, whether they be the raw intelligence reports that the CIA generates, or even the finished analytic products that are shared with policymakers. But they are required to be held in certain compartmented facilities to ensure that they`re not going to be exposed and there will be no unauthorized disclosure that could put our sources and methods and people`s lives at risk, as well as our national security.


And so, therefore, a president, when they`re in the Oval Office, they will see some of those documents. There are times that some presidents may take those documents back to the residence to work on them or to review them, but they are always kept under lock and key, under very close, tight supervision.

But there is no reason why any president would remove them after they have finished office to their personal residence. They`re supposed to go to the National Archives, where presidents can actually review them and access them if they`re going to write their memos and memoirs.

But, again, Donald Trump had no basis, no reason, no legal basis to retain those documents at Mar-a-Lago.

REID: Just one more. I`m going to drill in one more time. Lots of presidents have written memoirs. They all write memoirs. Have you ever heard of a president putting the -- putting information, specific information names, locations, of our human intelligence assets, our spies in a book, in a memoir?


BRENNAN: No. And...

REID: I know it`s a crazy, silly question.


And the HCS marking does not mean that the documents contained any names of sources.


BRENNAN: But they do contain sensitive information that come from those very sensitive sources.

And there will be a source description that is included in those documents. So there is no reason for a president to keep those documents outside of the work environment of the White House or the West Wing. And, therefore, whenever any president leaves office, they should not take any of that with them.

And their staff has an obligation, a legal and professional and ethical obligation, to make sure that that information does not leave the White House and go back to a personal residence.

REID: Renato Mariotti -- thank you, Director, for making that very clear.

Renato Mariotti, I want to read from Title 18, Code 18 -- U.S. Code 2071 that talks about the concealment, removal or mutilation generally or whoever having the custody of any such record, preceding map book, document paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both -- and here`s an important part -- and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.

Donald Trump apparently wrote notes, personal notes on these documents, meaning he altered them without any authorization to do so. He clearly took them, concealed them, and held on to them for 18 months. Do you see evidence of a crime here?


I mean, I think concealment, Joy, is the straight -- most straightforward way of approaching this. The Justice Department really, I think, bent over backwards to be very fair and treat Trump with kid gloves. They asked for these documents politely.

If it was me or you or one of my clients, they would not be asking polite. They would be coming to get those documents. So they asked very politely. They issued a subpoena. And after all of that -- and they received an assurance from Trump`s attorney that they had everything. And, of course, that turned out not to be true.

That`s why a search warrant was executed. That`s why they ultimately recovered documents in that search warrant. So I think this is ultimately going to be a straight-up concealment case. And I think it`s, frankly, much easier to prove than a lot of the other potential criminal charges that have been discussed in the past.

It`s just much more straightforward.

REID: This is from -- what the Department of Justice had to say.

"Premature disclosure of the contents of this affidavit and related documents may have a significantly negative impact on the continuing investigation, may severely jeopardize its effectiveness by allowing criminal parties an opportunity to flee, destroy evidence, destroy evidence stored electronically or otherwise, change patterns of behavior, notify criminal confederates."

If the DOJ is that concerned that Donald Trump could copy, could mail out, could conceal, could destroy any of these documents, how on earth, Renato, did they wait 18 months and let him have and hold on to these documents for a year-and-a-half?

MARIOTTI: Well, I think that there`s actually an argument to be made here that they took it -- they took things too easy on Trump.

REID: Yes.

MARIOTTI: I mean, I will just say, I actually plan on as -- look, I`m a defense attorney now.

And I plan on making it clear to the Justice Department in some of my cases that, hey, I want to send you a letter that you should include with a search warrant that you try to obtain, let the judge know my point of view.

I mean, they went out of their way to make things easy for Donald Trump, to bend over backwards, give him every opportunity to not have the ability to charge him.


And so I think that`s actually -- what you just quoted there, by the way, is really telling, Joy, because they talk about an ongoing investigation. And that`s really remarkable. I mean, we`re sitting here.

One of the baselines here that we`re not even -- it`s not even, in many ways, the headline, but it`s underneath at all is, there is an ongoing investigation of the former president of the United States. He`s a subject to that investigation. And I don`t think there`s any possibility to deny that. It`s unbelievable.

REID: And just to talk about how easy they went on Donald Trump, here`s the timeline, May 6, 2021, to December, NARA, which is the agency that should have these documents, made multiple requests, give us our records back, until January of 2022, this year.

They received 15 boxes from Trump and realized, hey, there`s classified stuff in here. May 11, Justice Department subpoenas them. June 8, the DOJ sends Trump counsel a letter, reiterating, Mar-a-Lago is not an authorized place to store classified information and requests the preservation of the boxes that had been moved.

August 8, the FBI executes the search warrant.

Katie, again, for Donald Trump`s defense attorneys, I don`t see what argument they could possibly make. They cannot say that this was an overly aggressive attempt to get these documents back. It seems like it was overly slow.

They cannot say that Donald Trump was surprised. He`s known for 18 months that he had -- I mean, he knew he had them. And he`s known they wanted them for at least a year. So what possible defense could Donald Trump offer if he is charged with concealing, having custody of, when he didn`t have a right to have, altering these documents?

Because it seems pretty straightforward to me, and I`m not a lawyer.

KATIE PHANG, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it`s also going to hinge on whether or not he likes to blame everyone else except for him.

That is always a go-to defense for him, the understandable reliance upon others. But, Joy, the problem that is going to happen is that the reporting suggests that Donald Trump himself monitored and oversaw the organization of these boxes.

And to the obstruction of justice or the obstruction of evidence or the obstruction of an investigation standpoint, he actually coordinated moving things in and out of locations at Mar-a-Lago, as well as in and out of certain boxes.

To Renato`s point, this is the affidavit in support of a search warrant. There is an ongoing investigation. There could be numerous others that are charged, not just Donald Trump, as well as additional crimes that could be charged.

We only know what was located in the boxes that were -- quote -- "voluntarily turned over" by Donald Trump. We don`t even know what was seized by the FBI during the execution of this warrant.

And it raises the question as to, when will it come to a point when the Department of Justice says there is more than enough probable cause for the crimes that are set forth in his affidavit for the search warrant? Is it enough now to charge him and then, frankly, file a superseding indictment later on, when we get more charges?

You have to read two critical documents together. It`s that memorandum of law that was redacted and the affidavit itself. That memorandum of law spoke to destruction of evidence, intimidation of multiple witnesses, criminal confederates, the idea of grand jury investigation or the information that`s normally confidential being disclosed.

So, we are kind of farther along in a timeline, Joy, that we probably want to -- Donald Trump would want to be comfortable with. We`re not even at the finish line. And that`s what everybody has to remember about where we are.

REID: And, Katie, what does it say to you? I mean, we`re talking about multiple witnesses that they want to protect, not just the FBI agents who`ve already been threatened by Donald Trump`s super fans. In one case, somebody physically went and tried to threaten FBI agents.

What does it say to you that it seems like more than one person, significant numbers of people, not one person, told on him?

PHANG: It means that it runs the gamut from people who were either family or close enough to know that he had these documents, because the search warrant, the affidavit identifies his personal residence, Pine Hall, which is the foyer leading into his personal residence, and I want to be more specific, his bedroom, which is a little skeevy, if you think about it.

But his bedroom, the foyer leading into the bedroom, these are places where only family or close people are going to be. It could run the gamut from family, to maybe staff members at Mar-a-Lago, to maybe people that were within his immediate staff that were working with him.

But the fact that it`s more than one -- and I know Renato and Director Brennan would agree -- it further buttresses the credibility of this search. It further buttresses the credibility of the fact that this magistrate judge found that there was probable cause to have this warrant be executed.

REID: Absolutely. I just have so many more questions.

Katie Phang, thank you very much, my friend.

Director John Brennan and Renato Mariotti are going to stay with us.

And up next: Trump still, still claims that he had the power to declassify anything he wanted by waving a magic declassification wand. The search warrant affidavit reveals, nope, no, he does not.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: Today`s affidavit included a May 25 letter from Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran, who, in defending Trump`s dangerous decision to stash away highly sensitive material at his Florida home/resort, argued that Trump had ultimate classification authority, basically carte blanche power to just declassify anything he wanted.

He writes: "The criminal statute that governs the unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material does not apply to the president."

It`s like a version of Nixon`s, if the president does it, it`s not illegal.

Trump`s lawyer made that claim after telling the FBI that the documents with classified markings were packed unknowingly and sent to Mar-a-Lago.

So, here`s the thing. Trump`s power to declassify ended with his presidency. Additionally, any material that he may have declassified could have been reclassified by a subsequent president. And, lastly, and most importantly, the president of the United States cannot just declassify at will anything he wants.

He can`t, like, declassify the codes to the nuclear football or the name the locations of all our spies in Russia. I mean, if a president could do that kind of thing, it would make presidents incredibly dangerous.


Meanwhile, in the affidavit, the government makes it clear to the judge that they aren`t even arguing the question of who classified what, because the issue is much more fundamental than that.

The government in a footnote cites at 18 U.S. Code 793, which deals with the gathering, transmitting or mishandling of defense information. That specific statute doesn`t just cover classified information. Rather, it criminalizes the unlawful retention of any information, any information, related to the national defense.

Joining me now is Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, a member of the House Intelligence, Judiciary and Homeland Security committees.

And, Congressman, all of this begs the question that, in your oversight responsibilities on the Intelligence Committee of the House, where do you even begin to deal with the potential national security implications of 18 months of classified documents laying around in Donald Trump`s bedroom in Mar-a-Lago?

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Yes, Joy, did he copy them in any way? Did anyone else have access to them and digitally copy them and upload them or send them or share them?

The guy clearly loves foreign nationals. He`s been hosting a golf tournament with foreign nationals. So there`s so much exposure and vulnerability here around these secrets. And in your viewers should know, when we say national defense information, we are talking about information that protects our troops.

That`s why we don`t want him to have it at an unsecured beach house. So, yes, we need to do a battlefield damage assessment to understand just where these documents were. But it shows in that affidavit over and over and over they asked him, they showed deference to him that he wasn`t even worthy of being shown, to give them back.

And he didn`t. He gave some back, held on to others, which, again, I think shows his guilt, because if he truly declassified them, why would he even have given some back? And it shows that he was trying to deceive them.

And, Joy, do you think that a man who leveraged 300-plus-million dollars of taxpayer money to get dirt on Joe Biden with the Ukrainians wouldn`t try and use classified documents to help himself if he ever found himself in a pinch?

REID: That is the challenge.

And the other thing that I have been -- that I cannot get out of my mind today, Congressman, we have had you on a lot to talk about January 6 and the investigation into January 6. It would be one thing for a president who`s just too much of a jerk and a baby to admit that he lost an election to throw the Proud Boys and other insurrectionists violently at the Capitol to potentially kill members of Congress like yourself and members of the United States Senate.

It`s a whole `nother level for somebody who`s also holding on to top secret, classified information at his house and refusing to give it back.

Do you think that this -- these facts that we now know about what Trump was doing in any way change or make much worse what we`re learning about January 6?

SWALWELL: Yes, it means that we should always assume the worst with this guy.

He showed that with the deal he tried to cut with Zelenskyy, trading U.S. taxpayer dollars, military aid for dirt on Biden. It shows with how he incited and aimed the mob at January 6 on the Capitol. And it shows what -- why he would want to keep these documents.

The guy never showed an interest any day of any week of taking an intelligence briefing. So now he`s going to take these documents to Mar-a- Lago? No, this is a guy who saw their value as something that could benefit him.

And, Joy, as we think about, 80 days from now, we`re going into the midterm elections, this election is now being framed that Republicans have shown themselves in the way they`re defending Donald Trump for keeping top secret documents that protect our troops, if they are given the majority, they will fight every day in Congress to protect Donald Trump.

And Democrats are showing, responsibly, if we keep the majority, we will spend every day in Congress fighting for everyday people. And so that`s the frame now that they have given us by showing their true colors.

REID: It is quite a time to be alive.

Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you very much, sir. Really appreciate you being here.

Let me bring back in former CIA Director John Brennan and former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti.

And I want to ask you the same -- a version of the same question, Director Brennan. What does it -- to me, it says something materially different. It was bad enough that we had the January 6 insurrection, in which the president of the United States attempted to overthrow the government using a violent mob, basically, as his battering ram against Congress.

It`s quite another thing when we find out that that same person has been retaining national security information in his private custody at his house, and refusing to give it back, and that, even when he gave some of it back, he still kept things and retained things, to the point where he had to have his place searched by the FBI.

Does it give you that same even worse pit-in-the-stomach feeling as an intelligence professional?


BRENNAN: Well, it does, Joy.

And it just underscores that Donald Trump never should have been entrusted with the office of the presidency and certainly never should be in the future again.

His arrogance and his feelings that he`s above the law has been reckless, irresponsible, and has blatantly disregarded the responsibilities of that office. And so I think we saw on January 6 the culmination of his presidency, which was to just do things that were going to benefit him personally.

And that`s why he rallied those individuals at the Capitol. And so I still shake my head when I see these individuals, including elected officials of the Republican Party, making excuses and apologies for -- excuses for Donald Trump.

He should be roundly denounced and condemned him for his actions that really has put this country at great risk. And we still don`t know what type of disclosures might have taken place at Mar-a-Lago in terms of the intelligence material that was there. And that`s what the national security community is doing right now, trying to understand what has been the extent of the damage that has been done as a result of his recklessness.

REID: I mean, if you think about it, this is somebody who knew he lost an election, refused to accept it, attempted to remain in office illegally, but still managed to secret away national security information.

For what purpose? I think we have to know, for what purpose? We still -- it`s something we must find out.

Renato Mariotti, I want to play you -- speaking of people making ridiculous defenses of Donald Trump, here is a former clerk to Justice Gorsuch -- this does not surprise me that that`s who he worked for -- claiming essentially that Trump has the authority to declassify whatever the hell he wants.


MIKE DAVIS, FORMER LAW CLERK TO JUSTICE GORSUCH: The president has the absolute constitutional authority to declassify anything he wants for any reason he wants. And he doesn`t have to get permission from any bureaucrat at the National Archives to do that.

It is legally impossible for a former president to obstruct investigations into noncrimes. But the Justice Department did not have the power to even look at these crimes, because it doesn`t matter what the evidence shows in this affidavit. No matter what that evidence shows, as a matter of law, it is legally impossible for President Trump to have committed espionage -- espionage or to have violated some Presidential Records Act.


REID: Renato, when President Nixon said it, he did it more succinctly: If the president does it, it is not a crime.

Your thoughts?


Well, I would say, as the first point he meant he made regarding declassification, it really is almost irrelevant here. And you made -- you summarized some of those points a moment ago, Joy.

First of all, Trump is no longer the president of the United States. And so anything that he did after he was president does not matter. All the super -- the superpowers that they want to ascribe to him ended on January 20, and -- when he was no longer president of the United States.

But, more importantly, you had mentioned that letter a moment ago, Joy, where they talk about the supposed superpowers that Donald Trump had. And, if you notice, his lawyers didn`t say that there was a standing order. They didn`t say that he had declassified those documents.

And I will just tell you, as a defense attorney, if I had those arguments in my back pocket, I would use them. Of course I would use those arguments. I would make those points to the government.

The reason he didn`t make those points, because that`s not even something they have evidence to suggest is true. I think that they realized -- I think everyone knows that that didn`t really happen.

And so they`re left with saying, sure, he had the power to do this. But he didn`t actually do it. I don`t think they have any evidence that he did it. So I really think it`s really beside the point. And, as you mentioned, really, these statutes don`t -- nothing actually turns on classification, which I think is a smart move by the Justice Department to focus on the statutes that really don`t require classification at all.

So I really just end up mostly saying it`s besides the point.

REID: Yes, not surprisingly.

Really quick rapid fire to you, Director Brennan. If I took documents, and then was told, give them back, they`re classified, and I kept some, what would you think of me, as you being an intelligence professional? What would you think?

BRENNAN: I would think that the FBI would be knocking on your door or with a search warrant the following day to retrieve those documents, because one of the things the government wanted to do was to take those documents away, so that they could be appropriately stored and protected.

But if you were to do something like that, Joy, I`d expect you to be put in handcuffs and charged with crimes. And I do believe that there are going to be multiple charges that are going to result from what we have now seen happening at Mar-a-Lago.

REID: And you can better believe I would be under the jail, and it wouldn`t have taken 18 months.

Director John Brennan, Renato Mariotti, thank you both.

Still ahead: No, Trump`s Florida resort is not Camp David, which is secured by miles and miles of high-security fencing and a bunch of highly trained handpicked sailors and Marines. It is a golf resort, OK, a golf resort.


More on that next.


REID: As we`re learning more about why FBI agents searched the former president`s compound, another reminder that storing government documents at a public events venue is a dangerous idea.


"The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette" reports today on a fake heiress who went by the name Anna de Rothschild who, as the report notes, was invited to Mar-a- Lago, where she mingled with former President Donald Trump`s supporters and showed up the next day for a golf outing with Trump and Senator Lindsey Graham.

Turns out the woman was not a member of the famous banking family, and she is now the subject of an FBI investigation into her past financial activities and the events that led her to the former president`s home.

The woman, who`s actually a Russian-speaking immigrant from Ukraine, made several trips into the estate, posing as a member of the Rothschild family. It is just the latest in a long line of security episodes at the former president`s resort.

Nicholas Nehamas has reported on those problems for "The Miami Herald." He joins me now.

And thank you. welcome to the show, Mr. Nehamas.

And there`s a "New York Times" piece that talks about the fact that Donald Trump actually wanted Mar-a-Lago to be Camp David, instead of Camp David.

This is a report From 2017: "You`re not going to visit Camp David. You`re not going to be able to get away with shout -- in shouting distance of Camp David. It`s surrounded by maximum security fencing. More important, the site is also known as Naval Support Facility Thurmont, which sums up its level of protection. Members of the Navy and the Marines are permanently stationed there."

So, Trump thought that was just not fun. He would rather entertain people at Mar-a-Lago. What do you know about whether Mar-a-Lago has the kind of security that they have Naval Support Facility Thurmont?

NICHOLAS NEHAMAS, "THE MIAMI HERALD": Well, I think that`s a great question. And it almost answers itself.

This is a resort and a public event space and a club in Florida. It is not a military facility. It is not a government facility. Until 2019, it didn`t even have a no trespassing sign at the side gate.

And so, when we talk about security and Mar-a-Lago, it`s not high-tech at all.

REID: Let`s talk about how it works when it comes to the Secret Service even, because once Trump decided -- I mean, every president has their winter White House. I mean, President Biden goes -- runs off to Delaware. President Obama would go to Hawaii.

But, when that happened, the lockdown was serious, and they weren`t staying in a resort where everyone could go. "The entire island of Oahu is essentially turned over to the Secret Service for the president`s two-week Christmas vacation when President Obama would go. Concrete blockades and security patrols blocked the entrance to the neighborhood where the president stays. The Coast Guard enforces a temporary security zone in the waters of Kailua Bay near the president`s rental home."

That`s what it was like when President Obama would go to Oahu for his vacation. And he grew up in Hawaii.

Is there anything like that happening at Mar-a-Lago? Because my understanding is, it just kept operating like a regular old club.

NEHAMAS: It did, because Mar-a-Lago is a place where very wealthy people go to spend money, have dinner, play tennis, go swimming. They do not want to feel like they`re living or they`re visiting a high-security enclave.

They want to feel like they`re going to the club. And the president knew that. And he`s a masterful marketer. Camp David, that idea, having Mar-a- Lago serve as the meeting point for summits with foreign leaders was truly masterful marketing.

The whole world learned about Mar-a-Lago, thanks to President Trump`s meeting with Shinzo Abe, Xi Jinping and foreign leaders.

REID: Was there ever a time when Mar-a-Lago actually increased its security protocols, other than having the Secret Service there, to make it someplace that, in theory, one might want to store top secret documents?

NEHAMAS: Well...

REID: Or did they just pretty much leave it the way it was?

NEHAMAS: There was a famous incident where a very confused, possibly deceptive Chinese tourist crashed Mar-a-Lago and was arrested.

And up to that point, the Secret Service had never done counterespionage training with any of the staff members. And this was in 2019. So it was not until 2019 that the staff members, who were temporary workers, often from abroad, got trained in counterespionage measures.

We were told by intelligence experts that any foreign intelligence service that did not have a guest or a staffer at Mar-a-Lago, on their payroll, or at least feeding them information was committing spycraft malpractice.

REID: And all they had to do was toddle over near the boss` bedroom, and they could have read all our secrets, all our national security secrets. Perfect.

Nicholas Nehamas, thank you very much. Nicholas Nehamas, thank you very much.


Coming up, "Who Won the Week?" is still ahead. We`re still going to do that.

But, first, Republicans are furiously backpedaling on their anti-abortion stances, as it slowly dawns on them that, oh, you know what? This is not a winning issue.

Stay with us.



REID: President Biden marked Women`s Equality Day, today, by meeting with state and local leaders to discuss protecting access to abortion.

The day was created to celebrate women`s right to vote, but it is worth noting that women are not currently guaranteed equal rights under the U.S. Constitution. Now, that could change if Congress were to certify the Equal Rights Amendment, which could play a big role in protecting abortion rights.

But, for now, the administration is focused on actions to strengthen access to care, such as privacy rights and the right for doctors to provide emergency care.


The administration got a win on the emergency argument this week, with a judge blocking part of Idaho`s abortion law that didn`t have an exception for when a pregnant patient`s health is at risk. But a Texas judge ruled that the administration cannot require Texas hospitals to provide emergency abortions.

Idaho and Texas, along with Tennessee, had their trigger bans go into effect this week.

And joining me now is LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter, and Alicia Garza, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement and principal of the Black to the Future Action Fund.

Thank you, my friends, for being here, sisters. I appreciate you.

And I want to start with you, Alicia Garza, because you have a pretty groundbreaking poll out. And this is a -- I want you to talk a little bit about the poll overall. But this is one of the findings from the Black to the Future Action Fund poll. And it is the largest recurring poll of black adults.

And it says here 48 percent of respondents are dissatisfied with the direction of the country, dissatisfied in general. They think the country is going in the wrong direction.

Were you able to determine -- so far, have you been able to determine how much of that has to do with the loss of women`s rights?

ALICIA GARZA, PRINCIPAL, BLACK TO THE FUTURE ACTION FUND: Joy, first of all, it`s so good to be here with you and my sister LaTosha.

Hey, sis.

So, a lot of what this has to do with, Joy, is a few things. Number one, in 2020, black voters turned out in massive numbers, and moved an agenda that we wanted to see in terms of change happening in this country. And, actually, what we`re seeing is that there`s not been at the agenda that we want to see moving forward, from the economy, to health care, to voting rights.

There were a lot of promises made that are still yet to be delivered on. I think the second thing, Joy, that`s really important for us to pay attention to here is that, for a lot of people, abortion is an economic issue. It`s not an ideological issue. And while people may have personal feelings about whether or not they themselves would participate in an abortion, people understand the dollars and cents of what it means to be able to make decisions over your own life that make sense for you and your family and your economic status.

And, at the end of the day, Joy, ideology doesn`t lead here. And that is why Republicans are having such a hard time on the campaign trail with this issue. It`s because they`re not talking about it in terms of dollars and cents. And that is the way that we understand it.

REID: Yes, I mean, you have to think about what they are talking about, LaTosha, Tudor Dixon, who is the Republican nominee for Michigan governor, she`s out there saying that rape victims and a child born of rape could form a bond, and this is a good thing to force young women who`ve been raped to have a baby.

You have got Herschel Walker attacking the climate bills, and we have too many trees or enough trees. Arizona, you have Blake Masters taking and scrubbing his Web site to try to take off the stuff about banning abortion and banning even contraception. Dr. Oz saying if he -- attacking John Fetterman`s health. You have J.D. Vance going on and on. I could just go on, J.D. Vance appearing with a podcaster who once said that feminists need rape.

I mean, it seems that, at this point -- you spend a lot of time on the road talking with voters. One party seems to be so out there that I wonder if they`re even getting a hearing, or whether voters are just scared and thinking, dissatisfied or not, I`m voting for the other side.

LATOSHA BROWN, CO-FOUNDER, BLACK VOTERS MATTER: You know, I think there`s three things.

One, I think that this speaks of -- reeks of desperation. They are desperate. They have gone too far. And instead of actually pulling back, they`re actually even going further, which is hurting them.

That`s why what you saw is, you start seeing the scrubbing of Web sites. You start seeing the changing of positions of some -- certain Republicans, but, because, at the end of the day, what they thought is this playbook that Trump used, which was using lies, literally being able to mislead the public, that that in itself was going to be enough.

And so they felt some power, like, let`s go a little bit deeper. And it`s not working. Particularly when you`re looking at this issue around abortion rights, they are losing ground tremendously around that.

And so I think that that`s one issue. I think the second issue is, people are sick and tired of that you just can`t have a sound bite and that`s enough anymore. People want what I call the Janet Jackson principle: What have you done for me lately?

People on all sides want to really understand, what is the party going to do for them? I don`t think that it`s going to be enough, even in the Republican Party, to actually just continue to have -- to have these sayings that there`s -- that they know it`s not true, they don`t stand with, that they can just agitate -- agitate the base.

And then the third thing is, what they have been consistent around is that they don`t stand for anything, that they are the party of anti-freedom. They are the party of anti-rights.

It`s so interesting that the party that says that we need smaller government wants to seek to use government to actually infringe upon everybody`s rights. And so I think that there`s an inconsistency with their message, and I believe that they`re going to pay a price for that in the midterms.

REID: And I want to let you both comment on this.

I`m going to start with you, though, LaTosha, because the other thing they`re doing is saying, we will just make it harder to vote.

You have in Florida now, last week -- Governor DeSantis, he has this -- these election police. It was announced last week they`re in the process of arresting 20 former felons, mostly in South Florida, for voter fraud in the 2020 election.


Several of them who were arrested as part of this crackdown were notified by official government entities that they could vote, that they were eligible to vote, according to actual court documents and interviews. And now they`re being arrested by Donald -- by DeSantis` election police.

How frightened are people, particularly in states like Florida, that essentially their right to vote is going to subject them to arrest? Because that`s his strategy.

BROWN: So, I always talk about that.

If you look historically in America of how voter suppression, there`s always been three strategies. One first strategy has always been centered around restricting access to the ballot. Second has been around creating a culture of fear. And third has been about weaponizing the administrative process.

We saw DeSantis do that in Florida, where he`s established this voter fraud -- voter fraud office for $1.1 million that he set aside. But these people who actually registered, they received documents from the county. So there`s a tactic to actually create fear, so others will not dare to take advantage of this expanded right that people on the ground like my friend Desmond Meade and others actually have fought for in 2018, and actually got passed with the restoration of vote of formerly incarcerated people in that state.

So this is what this is a tactic of. It is to create a culture of fear, so people who have been pushed out the process will not engage.

REID: And, Alicia, I want you to comment on that too, but I also want -- because we can`t know what people need, unless we have data.

And I think what you`re doing in terms of getting this data is so important. So, you can -- talk about this, what`s happening in Florida, but also talk about this data that you`re pulling together in a way that is really profound. I have never seen anything of this size and scale.

GARZA: Well, we really appreciate that, Joy.

And, yes, at the Black to the Future Action Fund, we ran the largest recurring poll of black adults in the country, with over 6,000 black adults being polled over the course of a year, trying to understand people`s policy priorities, trying to understand people`s experiences, but, bigger than that, we wanted to understand the solutions that black folks want to see coming from our government.

And what`s important about this poll, Joy, you`re absolutely right, is that so many of our traditional polling methods really miss the nuance in black communities. We make sure that we are getting to people who aren`t included in traditional polls from our communities, in order to kind of broaden out, right, what it is that our folks are experiencing.

We find, time and time again, that what people are talking about is the most important issue is the economy. People want to see relief and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. And we have been doing some research this year. And we found out that, in many states, where COVID-19 dollars are coming from the federal government, they`re not actually going to the things that they`re supposed to be going to in states, things like education relief, housing relief, mortgage relief, right?

They`re not going to health care. They`re going -- at least a third of those dollars are going to police and law enforcement.

REID: Yes.

GARZA: That`s a challenge.

The other thing I will say, Joy, is that, again, Republicans right now are the party of no proposals and no policies. And black communities and black voters know exactly what it is that we want to see. We want to see ongoing relief and recovery from the pandemic.

REID: Well, I mean, listen, I took the poll. I think it`s so important that people get data and you give data. So, when you have the opportunity to take a survey like this, please do it.

OK, my sisters are going to stay with me. LaTosha and Alicia are going to stick around, because guess what we`re going to do after the break? We`re going to play "Who Won the Week?"

And that is next.



REID: All right, you all, we made it to the end of the week. And, whew, a week it has been, lord Jesus, but that means it is time to play, yes, "Who Won the Week?"

Back with me, LaTosha Brown and Alicia Garza.

Where shall I go first? I`m going to go to LaTosha Brown first.

LaTosha, who won the week?

BROWN: I love this.

It is going to be the Southern Black Girls and Women`s Consortium won week. They actually launched -- we literally are working with Megan Thee Stallion and her foundation, and we the Joy Is Our Journey Tour, going to 10 states all around the South, and literally generating joy with these dream festivals, where girls are doing arts and culture and cosmetic chemistry and STEM.

It`s just beautiful. So, I think who won the week are Southern Black Girls and Women`s Consortium.

REID: Well, first of all, I like the name. I don`t know why, but there`s something about the name, the Joy Is Our Journey, that I just -- I just like. I don`t know what it is.


REID: Alicia Garza...


REID: I don`t know what it could be.

Alicia Garza, who won the week?

GARZA: The White House Twitter account won the week...


GARZA: ... when they read Marjorie Taylor Greene for filth about her condescending position about loan relief, when she got a lot of loan relief.

They`re out here talking about, girl, this you? White House Twitter account wins the week.

REID: Come on. And they had a whole thread and did all the people who got PPP, all these congress -- why do they need money? They have -- they make $174,000 a year.


GARZA: Read them for filth.

REID: Listen...

GARZA: And I was here for it. We need more of this energy...

REID: Please.

GARZA: ... all the way through the midterms and beyond.

REID: More of that.

Well, I was picking the folks who got student loans. If you had a student loan, and you had between $10,000 and $20,000 worth of student loans, you won the week.

Let`s do our Moment of Joy real quick. Here goes our Moment of Joy, Moment of Joy.

Thank you, LaTosha and Alicia.

Moment of Joy, it is Jamie Foxx doing this:


JAMIE FOXX, ACTOR: They tried to give me the virus.


FOXX: I beat the virus.

I love Death Row. I love Death -- excuse me. Excuse me.


FOXX: Excuse me. Fake news.


REID: He has an Oscar and a Grammy.

Is Alicia and LaTosha is still there?

I have to say, that brother right there won the week. I think, LaTosha, him get on the bus. I want him on the bus, Joy Is Our Journey.

BROWN: That`s right, the pinkest, prettiest bus all around.

REID: OK? I want him on the bus. And I will come hang out with him too.

That is tonight`s REIDOUT.

Alicia, LaTosha, thank you all very much.

Thank you, guys. Have a great weekend. Bye-bye.