The FBI investigates alleged crimes committed in support of Trump and the big lie. Verdicts continue to be handed down for the violent criminals who attacked police on January 6. The prospect of Doug Mastriano being in charge of Pennsylvania elections as governor is examined. Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist speaks out.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: We will cover it. We will see what he found, as always, following the facts. But after years of taxpayer money, it is clear that that effort has in many ways already fizzled.
Thanks for spending time with us here on "THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER". You can always find me online @AriMelber.
THE REIDOUT WITH JOY REID starts now.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on THE REIDOUT:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL LINDELL, CEO, MYPILLOW: Today, the FBI -- you`re going to hear this, and you`re probably already hearing in the news -- the FBI came after me and took my phone. They surrounded me at a Hardee`s.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: The MyPillow guy didn`t even get to finish his breakfast biscuit, as the FBI investigates alleged crimes committed in support of Trump and the big lie, which has now almost completely taken over the Republican Party.
Plus, verdicts are being handed down for the violent criminals who attacked police on January 6, the same criminals who are being embraced as heroes by Trump and his MAGA lackeys. So, where is the accountability for Trump?
And the frightening prospect of Doug Mastriano being in charge of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania elections, as governor. "The Philadelphia Inquirer" is calling it a 10-alarm fire for anyone who believes in a functioning democracy.
But we begin tonight at a Hardee`s drive-through in Minnesota, where, yesterday afternoon, the FBI seized the cell phone of pillow manufacturer turned election conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell as part of a federal investigation into an alleged breach of voting machines in a totally different state.
After Lindell went on a rampage on his online TV show, the fast-food chain brilliantly took to social media, writing: "Now that you know we exist, you should really try our pillow biscuits."
Please give whoever runs Hardee`s social media accounts a raise stat.
But despite Lindell doing his darndest over the past 20 or so hours to make this all about him, it`s not. The case actually goes back to a county clerk in Mesa, Colorado, Tina Peters, a once ordinary public servant who got sucked into the vortex of Donald Trump`s election fraud conspiracy.
Peters is now under indictment for allegedly allowing some of those conspiracy theorists to copy data from the county`s elections equipment after the 2020 election. Some of those right-wing activists include people close to -- you guessed it -- Mike Lindell.
Peters` story is just one example of how Trump`s election lies have trickled down to local offices. And as "The New York Times" points out, this is not an isolated case. This episode is one of several instances in which local officials and activists motivated by those theories have gained access to voting machines, in hopes of proving the theories true.
Prosecutors in Michigan and Georgia are also investigating whether data was properly -- was improperly copied from machines. The lie has taken over the entire party. And, as we have told you before, out of the 541 Republicans running for major offices this year, 199 of them flat-out deny the legitimacy of the 2020 election. Only 74 have actually fully accepted the results of a free and fair democratic election.
And last night in New Hampshire, one of those election deniers got one step closer to a seat in the United States Senate. Don Bolduc won the Republican nomination, much to the chagrin of national Republicans, including the state`s Republican governor, who endorsed his opponent.
Meanwhile, video has surfaced of another election denier Mark Finchem, the Republican nominee for secretary of state in Arizona, in a campaign speech, saying former Vice President Mike Pence stole the election from Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK FINCHEM (R), ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE CANDIDATE: Mike Pence seized power over an existing president. He was not president. Donald Trump was still president at that moment.
How long has he been ordering those folks around? Well, apparently, from January 6 to January 20. Ladies and gentleman, that`s a coup.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Ooh, lordy.
So, that man right there that you just saw, he could be in charge of Arizona`s elections in 2024 if Republicans win in November. This is what the Republican Party publicly stands for. And I do say publicly, because their actual agenda, when they actually, like, reveal what that is, is wildly unpopular and equally terrifying.
You have Senator Rick Scott of Florida proposing that, every five years, Congress has to revote to re-approve Medicare and Social Security, or else those programs will just end. Then you have Senator Lindsey Graham introducing a bill that would ban abortion nationally after 15 weeks, an idea that is so unpopular even some of his fellow Republicans are running away from the bill, which he has all but guaranteed will pass the House and Senate if Republicans take over.
They`re running from it like it has the cooties.
Joining me now, Juanita Tolliver, MSNBC political analyst and opinion writer for The Grio, and Charlie Sykes, editor at large for The Bulwark and an MSNBC contributor.
And, Charlie, I`m going to you, because I also know you. I have known you for a long time. And back in the day, you used to be Republican. And you used to talk to these people on the radio. And you know what? We have both been in talk radio. There were some real gems that we have both dealt with that used to call into radio shows. And so we know they`re out there.
Could you have ever imagined that the people who used to call in on the radio are now the mainstream, and they are not -- just they`re not just the base of the party; they`re the candidates? Your thoughts?
CHARLIE SYKES, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: What a strange and wild ride?
And, no, it is like your crazy uncle that you have kept in the basement has now suddenly appeared and is running the -- running the show. I mean, look, you -- it`s almost as if we have gone post-Trump here, where the craziness has morphed into this mass psychosis, where it`s not just a few scattered anecdotes anymore.
It is state after state where you are seeing some of the most extreme election deniers, not people running on some conservative or right-wing agenda, but people who have embraced the most bizarre conspiracies. You have Donald Trump himself who is tweeting out -- tweeting out pictures of himself, Photoshopped pictures of himself wearing the QAnon button.
You have Donald Trump calling into the D.C. jail to rally the January 6 protesters. And then, of course, you have -- you have voters around the country in Republican primaries that are given a choice between reasonably -- reasonably rational Republicans and complete kooks, and they are going with the hardcore complete kooks.
So, when "The Philadelphia Inquirer" says this is a 10-alarm fire, they are not exaggerating. And, by the way, I would also point out how dangerous it has been for Democrats to spend tens of millions of dollars, or millions of dollars, boosting some of these election deniers, on the belief that they can`t win a general election.
Well, anything can happen., If this is really an existential threat, we ought to act like it. But, no, it is bizarre. It is -- I have been pessimistic for some time. I have been amazed over and over again how the craziest voices have become dominant. And, unfortunately, it is -- it`s getting worse.
REID: And, I mean, to that very point, I mean, the governor of Maryland has essentially accused the Republican nominee in the state of Maryland, his last name is Cox, of being mentally unstable.
You have the governor, the Republican governor of New Hampshire, saying, don`t vote for that guy. Right.
It`s at the point now, Juanita, where even Republicans are saying, oh, absolutely not. We -- you cannot support our candidates, right? That`s how bad it is.
So, on the Democratic side, there has been some criticism that Democrats have been like, no, no, no, please get the nomination. And I do remember people saying that about Donald Trump back in 2016, saying, oh, please. They -- the Hillary Clinton campaign was like, please make him the nominee...
JUANITA TOLLIVER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
REID: ... because nobody`s going to elect the guy from "The Apprentice," who`s clearly...
SYKES: Be careful.
REID: ... not -- all the cheese ain`t off his cracker. There`s no way they`re going to elect him, and poof.
So, I mean, the question is, are we underestimating the size of the mad wing of the Republican Party? Or are we -- is there a danger that we`re overestimating people`s understanding of how important it is not just to snark about them on Twitter, but to actually get out and vote and make sure they don`t get elected?
TOLLIVER: Right. That`s the through line, Joy, because I will agree that it was a huge risk for Democrats to invest in these extremist candidates.
But the reality is and the hope is that voters will see them for what they are. They are the Trump devotees who are out trying to outdo Trump. They are the ones who have made it explicitly clear that they will steal an election if they are elected. They are the ones who are absolutely looking forward to pushing the most harmful components of a Republican agenda and the biggest conspiracy theories and lies that they can come up with.
That video you showed earlier of the Arizona secretary of state candidate was explicitly -- it felt like it was like a confessional of ultra right- wing MAGA group meeting where he was just trying to test his latest material, test to see how far he could go.
But that is the reality that we will be facing. And that is an explicit threat.
Now, what I will say Democrats have been doing well as of late is calling that out for what it is. President Biden has been doing it for weeks, naming these extremists...
TOLLIVER: ... these conspiracy theorists, these MAGA Republicans who are a direct threat to our democracy.
And I hope that that message is on replay for the next eight weeks, because it`s not hard to draw contrast with the anti-democracy, anti-abortion, anti-freedom party that the GOP up-to-date is.
And so I want Democrats to hit that on the head every single day for the next eight weeks, because that is the only way that voters are going to be crystal clear on the contrast between Republicans and Democrats and what`s explicitly at stake in this election, because it could be the last election that we recognize if these people are elected to these secretary of states, these gubernatorial positions that will decide and control elections in the future.
I mean, you`re talking about letting these people -- and let`s just remind us that QAnon is the belief that there is a cult run by celebrities and Democrats...
TOLLIVER: Right. It is a cult.
REID: ... that are eating and running a sexual ring of children and eating them and things.
I mean, this is -- and people are legitimately believing this and then running for office on it.
Let me play President Biden. This is what President Biden has been saying. He`s trying to quarantine this MAGA faction for everybody else. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to be very clear up front. Not every Republican is a MAGA Republican. Not every Republican embraces the extreme ideology.
I know because I have worked with them. And the mainstream Republicans -- and there`s still a few of them left. But the extreme set of MAGA Republicans has chosen to go backwards, full of anger, violence, hate and division. And that`s what their game is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And I don`t want to put all the responsibility on Democrats to do this messaging, to be honest with you...
REID: ... because Republicans really could have stopped this, the way they did with the John Birch Society back in the olden days.
REID: They just have chosen not to, and they stood down.
Rick Scott is supposedly one of these ordinary Republicans. Dark Brandon got at him, because he`s out there being like, no, make Social Security temporary, make Medicare temporary. And Dark Brandon took -- he had a go at him on Twitter. So he must understand that it`s all of them.
This is the Tea Party version of the Republicans that were the predecessor to what we have now, Charlie. They weren`t any better. That`s Rand Paul`s crew. That is Ron DeSantis`s crew. So, you even roll back one step from MAGA, you end up with the Tea Party people. So it`s not like they`re not extreme.
So, I mean, where is the Republicans` responsibility to say, we want this out of our party...
SYKES: Oh, yes.
REID: ... and not just back away from their candidates, but actively try to stop it?
SYKES: Well, I mean, there`s been decades where -- what the Republicans have done is, they have worked with, they have tolerated, they have appeased the conspiracy theorists and the extremists, under the assumption that they could -- they needed them to win elections, but they could somehow control them. And, of course, it hasn`t worked out that way.
But, to your point about establishment Republicans, you cited the governor of Maryland, who`s calling out the Republican nominee, but, in many ways, he`s an outlier. Larry Hogan is an outlier, because what you`re seeing in state after state is the established Republicans ignoring all of the lessons of history and saying, OK, these guys are nuts, they`re extremists, they are embracing big lies, but, in the interest of party unity, we are going to support them anyway.
So you`re seeing that in Arizona. You`re seeing that in Pennsylvania. You`re going to see that in New Hampshire as well, that Republicans who understand how dangerous this is nevertheless decide they`re going to put party over country and over the truth.
And so, for any of you, anybody out there who is under any illusions, after all of these years, that Republicans are at some point going to draw a red line and saying, I`m sorry, that`s going too far, no, we can`t have QAnon adherent...
REID: Oh, he`s frozen. Oh, no. Oh, we have lost Charlie. Ah!
We -- look at that. The robots have taken Charlie down.
But I totally understand where he was going with this, Juanita.
REID: I mean, the reality is, is that I think the end of his sentence was going to be, you`re dreaming if you think they`re ever going to stop them.
So, it is up to voters.
TOLLIVER: The end of the sentence was, don`t hold your breath to expect the Republicans...
REID: Don`t hold your breath.
And so I will give you the last word on this. I mean, it is the fear of that same crowd also being in charge of whether you can have an abortion or birth control. Putting that group of people in charge of your physical body is what you`re talking about if Republicans would.
Let`s just be clear, Lindsey Graham has already told you that. They`re willing to lay down on the ground for people who want women to be state property. Is that going to be enough to make sure people do more than just get freaked out on social media and actually vote these people down?
TOLLIVER: The one data point that I`m holding on hold -- two, actually -- Kansas had historic turnout in their primary, 250 percent increase in voters in their primary, when abortion was explicitly on the ballot, and that`s in a red state, which ultimately voted down a ban on abortion.
And I think it`s also important to note that the number of votes on that ballot initiative on abortion had more than 200,000 votes over the gubernatorial and Senate races. And so that`s something I`m holding on to. That shows that voters can connect the dots and turn out about this threat.
REID: All right, Charlie is back. The robots have released Charlie Sykes, so I can thank him for being here and thank Juanita Tolliver.
REID: And we know Dark Brandon didn`t do it, because we didn`t see any lasers. So we know it wasn`t him. It was definitely the robots.
REID: Thank you, guys, very much. Really appreciate you.
OK, coming up: January 6 insurrectionists, well, they`re getting convicted of serious crimes, and some are going to do serious time. So, why not Trump, the guy who they did it for?
THE REIDOUT continues after this.
REID: It has been nearly a year-and-a-half since a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop this country`s peaceful transfer of power.
Since then, more than 875 insurrectionists have been charged with crimes, and that number continues to grow. Yesterday, a federal judge convicted three of them on numerous criminal charges, including 14 felonies between them. All were convicted of assault charges against police officers that included some of the most violent attacks we saw that day.
You may remember this video of officer Daniel Hodges being crushed between a doorframe and a shield, screaming out in agony. That was at the hands of one of these now-convicted men. This comes as members of the Republican Party continue to sympathize with the attackers and downplay what happened that day, including the alleged ringleader, Donald Trump, who yesterday called into a Washington, D.C., protest praising Ashli Babbitt, one of the insurrectionists who died while trying to break into the House chamber.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s a terrible thing that has happened to a lot of people that have been treated very, very unfairly.
We love Ashli. And it was so horrible what happened to her. That that man shot Ashli is a disgrace. And then he goes on television, and it looked like he was actually bragging about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: A man who`s a police officer.
And just last week, Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert flew to Miami to president an American flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol to another convicted Capitol rioter on the day she was released from federal prison, falsely calling her a political prisoner.
Joining me now, Danny Cevallos, criminal defense attorney and MSNBC legal analyst, and Sandra Garza, longtime partner of fallen officer Brian Sicknick.
And, Sandra, it`s always good to see you.
I wonder what you make of the former president of the United States praising Ashli Babbitt, who was -- you could see her on video attempting to climb through the chamber, where the only -- which was the only piece of glass that was between these screaming insurrectionists who were trying to get in clearly to harm members of Congress?
And she went through that glass. And she wasn`t killed in the street. She was killed trying to break into those offices, and him praising her. What do you make of it?
SANDRA GARZA, GIRLFRIEND OF BRIAN SICKNICK: Well, Joy, thank you for having me on your show.
First, I want to say, Trump is disgusting. The comments that he made were incredibly insensitive. I do feel terribly for Ashli Babbitt`s family. I mean, I know their pain is just as significant as my pain was.
But what he said about Lieutenant Byrd, the officer who had to make that terrible decision -- and making that shot was terrible -- he put everybody there that day in a terrible position. I feel he`s responsible for Ms. Babbitt`s life being taken, as well as putting Lieutenant Byrd in that terrible position.
Justice for me will not be clear and a day where I can celebrate until he`s in prison, as well as all of his cohorts who helped January 6 unravel that day. So I`m disgusted by his comments and by Louie Gohmert doing what he did for that person who was released from prison. It`s a slap in the face for all the law-abiding citizens who would not behave in that manner and assault law enforcement and our democracy, the way that those people did that day.
REID: Yes, I mean, Danny Cevallos, good to see you.
If I sent a bunch of people into a bank, and I said, go in there and rob that bank, and in the course of committing this armed robbery, one of them was injured or killed, and it was my plan, and it was for me, and the money was going to be mine, I highly doubt that I would be left out of the justice system`s response to that.
But Donald Trump is out there celebrating and heralding the suckers he got to go in there and attempt to overthrow an election for him. And he is walking around on a golf course with no golf clubs, meeting with his friends, doing whatever God knows what. He`s walking in, jumping into a private plane with random boxes of we don`t know what. He got to hold on to top secret classified materials in his personal house for 18 months, while the U.S. government politely begged him to give it back.
It definitely feels like the people who were at the mark end of the January conspiracy, the January 6 conspiracy, the people who were dumb enough to commit the brutal crimes against police officers and, in some cases, get themselves injured or killed, they`re paying the price by themselves.
How is that possible?
DANNY CEVALLOS, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Yes.
If I were Donald Trump`s attorney, and if he were inclined to listen to his attorneys, two big ifs, I would say, listen, you -- right now, there are members of Congress and members within the DOJ separately investigating you, trying to connect you, to create a link between you, a speech you gave, and the insurrectionists.
And so far, your best defense has been, look, I just gave a speech. Whatever those rabble did was on their own. It was their own choice. It`s not like your bank robbery analogy. That`s what the defense would be. Instead, I gave a speech. If they chose to do something violent, I wanted nothing to do with that. And you can`t prove that I incited it.
And yet he`s walking around giving prosecutors and members of Congress evidence that maybe there was a link, that maybe he did support this kind of violence by calling in to a rally, a very sparsely attended rally, and supporting Ashli Babbitt, which is supporting the insurrectionists and all the other people who are presumably jailed or being prosecuted.
That is not a good look. If you`re thinking like a risk-averse criminal defense attorney, going around and saying, hey, I had nothing to do with the insurrection, but I sure do support those insurrectionists, it`s not a good look. And it might even be evidence after the fact that gives prosecutors at the DOJ and members of Congress investigating him that link that they need to connect up Donald Trump to the activities on January 6.
REID: Yes, I mean, he`s said on a podcast that he`s paying for some of their legal defense, which I highly doubt, because he doesn`t pay bills and things.
But, I mean, he`s essentially trying to tie himself to them politically, because he thinks that would be helpful to him politically. But you`re right. It does feel like he`s making himself a target, right?
And the only reason he is doing that could possibly be because he doesn`t fear DOJ or the congressional investigation. And, of course, DOJ should be the greater fear, if at all. But he likely believes that we are now over a year-and-a-half out. Yes, they may be sending out subpoenas for this, that or the other, but if they haven`t indicted yet for his activities on January 6, then he probably believes he`s in the clear, and they`re just making cartoon noises at this point.
Otherwise, there`s no way he would feel this comfortable going around and generating evidence that he supported the insurrectionists...
CEVALLOS: ... the very thing that must make his criminal defense attorneys gasp and almost have a heart attack.
REID: Yes. And he wouldn`t care about that either.
Sandra, I`m going to give you the last word on this. I mean, some of these insurrectionists have received sentences up to 20 years. People are finally beginning to pay. Some of the early sentences were lighter. But what do you make of the sentences that you have seen so far?
Do you feel like justice is being done?
GARZA: Well, in one way, I feel, for -- obviously, for more of the sadistic offenders, I think their sentences are well-deserved. For some of the other offenders, it`s difficult, because I feel, clearly, this is a delicate issue, because, obviously, I know, the officers that were there fighting that battle that day probably feel very differently than I do.
But I feel that all of those people there were brainwashed, in a lot of ways. I heard, earlier in the segment, you were talking about the QAnon and stuff and that Trump is pushing that. And some of his allies are pushing that too.
I think Trump and his allies are preying upon these people`s vulnerabilities. I mean, we know that a large percentage, at least in my field, of the population has what we call ACEs -- and I think I have shared that with you, Joy, a long time ago -- which is adverse childhood experiences, which is -- involves physical abuse and emotional abuse, childhood sexual abuse.
And that`s what QAnon really focuses on.
GARZA: A lot of this stuff, about, oh, these politicians are physically abusing and sexually abusing these children, which, of course -- I talked to Denver Riggleman about.
I asked him specifically, where did this QAnon stuff all start?
GARZA: He said, really, it`s all trolls. It`s all made up.
REID: Yes. Yes.
GARZA: These people really believe this. And they feel that they`re fighting the good fight and really saving America.
So, I think there`s one segment of people that really believe they`re really doing the right thing. And, of course, then there`s another segment of people that were just sadistic, nasty people to begin with, and they jumped on the bandwagon...
REID: Yes. Yes.
GARZA: ... and thought they were -- oh, I`m going to take advantage of this and be violent and nasty.
REID: Yes. Yes.
GARZA: So, I have mixed feelings about it.
REID: Yes. I hear you. And you`re a good person for having mixed feelings.
But you know what the worst place to wake up to reality? In prison.
REID: Maybe don`t do insurrections. Not a good idea. Not wise.
GARZA: Exactly. Exactly.
Sandra Garza, thank you very much. Appreciate you both.
Still ahead: how Florida Republicans are normalizing right-wing extremists, like the Proud Boys and Mike Flynn -- yay -- next.
REID: OK, trigger warning.
Imagine it, America under President Ron DeSantis, which, I know, shudder. Ugh.
But this is a man who clearly wants to land in the White House. And we can already envision what that horror show would look like and feel like, given how he`s governed what is now a laboratory for the ultra MAGA right and where freedoms go to die.
It`s also a state that saw a sharp increase in antisemitic incidents last year, according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League, and where violent extremists and deeply problematic people choose to call home, people like the Proud Boys` former chairman Enrique Tarrio, who has been charged with seditious conspiracy for what federal prosecutors say was a coordinated attack on the U.S. Capitol.
And then we have Michael Flynn of Sarasota, who has worked with the Proud Boys to influence local politics there, earning victory when their favorite candidates won control of the county school board in August. You know who also endorsed those candidates? Ron DeSantis.
Joining me now, former Governor and former Congressman Charlie Crist, who is the Democratic nominee for Florida governor and the man who I still called Governor Crist, since I was a Floridian.
So, Governor Crist, let let`s go through this.
FMR. GOV. CHARLIE CRIST (D-FL): Sure.
REID: What I recall about your exit from the Republican Party was that it kind of began in 2008, when you, as governor said, no, don`t shut the lines down, allow people to vote. This is when President Obama, when then-Senator Obama was running, and those long, long, long lines happened. That angered your party.
Then you sided with teachers when the Republican legislature tried to go after their tenure and to make their lives miserable. You sided with the teachers. That was too much for them.
Did you foresee that we would get to a point where the Republican Party in your state would be looking the other way, for instance, at Nazis marching openly with Ron DeSantis signs? Did you see it sliding as far as it has slid in your state and nationally in the party?
CRIST: No, Joy. I mean, I don`t think anybody saw it getting that metastasized or that extreme.
But that`s exactly what we`re witnessing in Florida right now. And what`s really disturbing about it is that these neo-Nazis that have been demonstrating in Florida with not only Nazi flags, but Ron DeSantis flags, and he won`t denounce it. And that is shocking to me. Frankly, as a Floridian, it embarrasses me that our governor won`t stand up to that.
I mean, is it really that difficult to call out Nazis and say that they shouldn`t be doing this and shouldn`t be waving my signs, meaning DeSantis` flags, with them?
It`s unconscionable. But that`s where we are right now. That`s what I`m running against to be governor of Florida again. And the other extreme that he`s exhibited relates to women and their right to choose. He signed a law that will have no exceptions for rape or incest, which I believe, Joy, is barbaric. It`s like medieval.
I`m pro-choice. I`m running to give women a right to choose in this election. And if women want a right to choose, I hope they go to CharlieCrist.com and help us, because what we`re seeing in Florida right now is extreme, with the neo-Nazis, with the fact that our governor signed such a draconian bill as it relates to women having a right to choose, which he is against and I`m for.
So I think Floridians deserve better. I know they deserve better.
REID: I mean, the thing is, why is it then the national media has sort of crowned Ron DeSantis as the next big thing and good thing in the Republican Party?
National Republicans are looking to him to be a presidential candidate, despite the fact that, in addition to what you have said that he`s done to women and to women`s rights to choose, the don`t say gay bill, this Stop WOKE Act that says you can`t even talk about racial discrimination if it happens in your workplace.
REID: Screaming at people`s children because their parents sent them to school with a mask on the war on Disney, for God`s sakes.
How is it that that is being portrayed nationally as some sort of moderate agenda?
CRIST: Well, I think what`s happening and the reality is and the truth is that Ron DeSantis is running for president.
And he`s trying to cater to the hard -- the very hard right part of the Republican Party. I don`t want to paint too broad a brush here, because there are good Republicans in Florida. There`s good Republicans in America. But he`s catering to the primary voters in Iowa, in New Hampshire, and going down every single one of these red meat issues in order to please and appease them.
That`s what we`re witnessing. That`s what we`re seeing in Florida. And he is forgetting my fellow Floridians, forgetting women in Florida and their right to choose, forgetting African-American voters and their right to vote by not having drop boxes in minority communities throughout the state of Florida, making it harder for people to vote.
I mean, it`s harder to utilize a mail-in ballot now in Florida. That`s more difficult for my 90-year-old father,my 87-year-old mother. So, he`s anti- senior, anti-women, anti-minority, anti-education. I mean, the list goes on. It`s astonishing. He`s anti-democracy.
That`s why I`m running for governor, because our state deserves better. Floridians are good people. They deserve a governor with a heart, who doesn`t berate children, who doesn`t give LGBTQ people a hard time, and understands that women should be respected and should have their right to choose, and have it respected.
I have already said, on the first day of the Crist administration, I will sign an executive order protecting a woman`s right to choose in all 67 counties in Florida. That`s what they deserve. That`s what they should have.
REID: Well, I wish we had more time, because I had a whole bunch of questions about Michael Flynn, who is going to be a poll watcher, apparently, at least according to The Daily Beast.
And we will have to have you back to talk about that, Governor Crist, the once and he would like to be future governor of Florida.
Thank you very much, Governor Crist. Appreciate you.
And coming up next: In the increasingly right-wing Republican Party, speaking of that, there is nobody right-wingier than Pennsylvania`s Doug Mastriano. His campaign for governor should get every -- give every democracy-loving American some serious chills.
More on that next.
REID: OK, so, this year, it really does feel like every single race will make or break this country.
From the statehouse to the U.S. Senate, who we elect will determine how much freedom we have and if democracy will even still exist. There is no clearer example of that than in Pennsylvania, where voters will choose a new senator and a new governor.
The state legislature, which is Republican-controlled, has been eager to roll back access to women`s health care. They have also been champing at the bit to make voting harder. The only thing standing in the way, for now, has been the veto pen of Democratic Governor Tom Wolf.
Now Pennsylvania gets to choose between Democratic state Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Republican state senator and religious extremist Doug Mastriano. The winner will have incredible power, because Pennsylvania`s governor gets to choose the state`s top election official overseeing the 2024 presidential election.
This morning, the editorial board of "The Philadelphia Inquirer" took an emphatic stance against Mastriano, writing that his "relentless efforts to thwart the results of the 2020 presidential election, spread Donald Trump`s election lies and suppress votes in future elections is a 10-alarm fire for anyone who believes in a functioning democracy. Pennsylvania does not need election-denying conspiracy theorists deciding the outcome of elections with the stroke of a pen."
And, today, Agenda PAC, a new national political action committee focused on beating anti-LGBTQ politicians released its first ad slamming Mastriano.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: A woman`s right to choose?
DOUG MASTRIANO (R), PENNSYLVANIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: My body, my choice is ridiculous nonsense.
NARRATOR: Mastriano supports a total abortion ban.
How about gay marriage?
MASTRIANO: Absolutely not.
NARRATOR: Anti-discrimination laws?
MASTRIANO: That`s madness.
NARRATOR: Oh, and guess who tried to overthrow our democracy on January 6? He even paid to help the rioters get there.
And don`t take Doug Mastriano to your Halloween party. Oh, trust us on this one.
Governor Mastriano? That`s just crazy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Joining me now is Pennsylvania state Representative and former U.S. Senate candidate Malcolm Kenyatta. He chairs the board for Agenda PAC, which put out that Mastriano ad that I just showed you.
It is so good to see you.
STATE REP. MALCOLM KENYATTA (D-PA): It`s so good to see you in...
REID: It`s good to see you in person.
KENYATTA: That`s right.
REID: Yes, we love this.
So, this ad is pretty -- it`s pretty strong. But the sad thing about it is, it`s not an exaggeration.
KENYATTA: It`s not.
It was one of those things. And we say it in the first piece of the ad. Making this is a little tough, because you have to decide what you want to talk about...
KENYATTA: ... with somebody who`s so replete with awful examples of the type of xenophobia and nativism and religious extremism that`s exemplified throughout Doug`s life, frankly, and certainly in this campaign.
But the issues we focused on are issues which we believe are going to make the difference in terms of who follows Governor Wolf, who`s been such a champion, as you mentioned. And so we`re talking about the fact that Doug has the most extreme position possibly of any candidate running to have a complete total ban on abortion, no exceptions, no time, him wanting to turn the clock backwards as it relates to rights for LGBTQ folks and for families, using, in particular, LGBTQ kids as a political football.
He centered that in his campaign, but also the pivotal role that he played in trying to overthrow our democracy, not far from where we`re sitting right now.
KENYATTA: Doug bused people down to the insurrection that we saw.
And so he has much -- he is as much a part of that as Donald Trump, frankly.
REID: Yes, I mean, the fact that the guy is from Pennsylvania and dressing up in a Confederate -- a Confederate uniform for cosplay, it kind of tells you who he is.
What has gone on with the Republican Party? You have served in the state legislature in Pennsylvania. You have served clearly with a lot of Republicans, because they are the majority. Is this the standard issue of what a Republican is in Pennsylvania at this point?
KENYATTA: Unfortunately, it`s the what I call the 70/30 rule.
I think there are 30 percent of these folks who truly believe this. I think Doug Mastriano is in that bucket...
KENYATTA: ... somebody who`s like dyed-in-the-wool. He believes the nonsense that he is spewing.
And then you have the other 70 percent who are willing to say and do anything. And that`s why Agenda PAC is so important, because folks need to pay a political price for engaging in this -- type of attempts to roll the clock backwards.
KENYATTA: And so I have not been shocked -- I have been saying this -- that we have been seeing people, like, flood to AgendaPAC.org...
KENYATTA: ... saying, how do we get involved? How do we get engaged?
There was a great article out recently that says Democrats are winning the culture war. But, at the end of the day, we don`t get to debate my right to exist, exist in my fullness.
REID: Right. That`s right.
KENYATTA: And I will tell you, Doug has picked the wrong community to try to mess with, because we are going to be targeting -- with this ad and with our other guerrilla marketing, things that we`re going to be doing in the coming weeks here...
KENYATTA: ... we`re going to be targeting those independent voters in the Philadelphia suburbs in particular, who decide elections in Pennsylvania, voters who have a history of voting for Democrats and for Republicans...
KENYATTA: ... but who I think are repelled by this type of xenophobic, racist, anti-freedom message.
This is the question I have, because I think we here the sort of makeup of the House in the state House and Senate.
Is Pennsylvania so gerrymandered that that cannot be undone? It`s not that big of a yawning gap. I think we have it here in the House and Senate. I can`t find it at the moment.
KENYATTA: We need 12 seats.
REID: You need 12 seats. There it is. There it is right there.
Is this state so gerrymandered that that can`t change? Because, at this point, in every state, not just Pennsylvania, whoever your state legislature is determines whether you have any rights, whether you`re an LGBTQ person, you want your marriage to be legal, or whether you`re a woman and you want to be a full human being, and not an incubator.
Is there enough to flip it?
KENYATTA: So, I think we really have an opportunity to do it, and, frankly, issues of choice and not just freedom to choose to -- what to do with your body, but also freedom to choose who you love and to be respected as who you are in Pennsylvania.
KENYATTA: Pennsylvania is a better place when it`s fairer.
KENYATTA: And I think that so many people are looking at the contrast between Josh Shapiro, an attorney general who has stood up to election denial, who`s taken on housing discrimination, who has gone to the bat to get ghost guns off the street, and somebody like Doug Mastriano...
KENYATTA: ... who has spent his entire career trying to throw out votes of black and brown folks...
KENYATTA: ... trying to silence women, try to take away rights from LGBTQ folks.
And, listen, I have said it. We wake up at Agenda PAC every single day laser-focused on beating bigots.
KENYATTA: And we`re going to beat him.
REID: There we go. I see you.
Good to see you in person.
KENYATTA: Good to see you.
REID: Pennsylvania state Representative Malcolm Kenyatta, thank you very much
Up next: how a former Mississippi governor -- get this -- reportedly helped football star Brett Favre get his hands on welfare funds to build a new college volleyball facility. You cannot make it up.
We will be right back.
REID: The state of Mississippi is in the midst of the largest fraud investigation in its history, after investigators found that $70 million that was supposed to go to child welfare was spent on pet projects for the wealthy, including retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre, who got $1 million for speeches he never made and $5 million for a volleyball court at the University of Southern Mississippi, where his daughter was on the team.
Just this week, we learned that this scandal goes all the way to the top, to Republican former Governor Phil Bryant, who had previously denied having close involvement with the project. Texts were released showing Bryant directly texting the nonprofit founder and asking her to help Favre.
In later texts, the founder reassured Favre that the media would not find out where the money came and that Bryant was on board. Brett Favre`s attorney told NBC News that Favre behaved honorably and never knew that the grants came from federal welfare money. He also returned to money, they said, for the speeches that were never made.
Former Governor Bryant did not respond to NBC`s requests for comment. Neither have been charged with or accused of any crime, we should note.
While the current governor, Tate Reeves, was not involved in any of this fraudulent spending, he was involved in the decision to fire the lawyer who had been hired to claw back some of the money, after that lawyer issued a subpoena seeking more information about the roles of Favre and Bryant. Reeves accused him of having a political agenda.
While this would be a scandal in any state, it is particularly egregious in Mississippi, the poorest state in the nation, where some more than 90 percent of welfare applications are already denied. It`s a state that has truly disinvested in its population, particularly its overwhelmingly majority black capital, Jackson, where a boil water advisory is still in effect due to the city`s failing infrastructure.
Just take a minute to think about this. If you live in Jackson, you have to take the time to boil water before you can use it, and it has been a problem for years and years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBORAH BELL, JACKSON RESIDENT: You got a choice between water, gas, food. But it brings tears to my eyes to know that somebody may have gotten sick from drinking that water.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: This is explicitly tied to racism.
Tax money dried up in the 1970s because of white flight during desegregation, as this local historian points out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT LUCKETT, JACKSON STATE UNIVERSITY: There has been always been in the history of this state resistance to progress for the poorest and the neediest of people, predominantly African-American.
And so the work that is needed today and that is happening today is very much a direct result of ongoing work since then. The civil rights movement never ended. It`s still happening today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Now, there have been a few positive developments in the past week, with the EPA launching an inquiry and the county allocating $17 million to fix the water tower.
But the problem is going to take more than a billion dollars to fix. Again, this is the capital city of Mississippi.
And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.