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Transcript: The ReidOut, 9/23/22

Guests: Victor Shi, Maya Wiley, Nse Ufot, Terence Moore, Adrian Fontes


Republican candidates across the country follow Trump`s lead, threatening democracy by refusing to say whether they will accept election results that they don`t like. What`s next after a very bad week for Trump? As Kevin McCarthy makes his pitch for speaker, President Biden reminds Americans of the Republicans agenda. Arizona secretary of state candidate Adrian Fontes speaks out. A series of scandals and controversies shake up the world of professional sports.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: That`s an update we wanted to share with you.

As we end the week, you can always find me online @AriMelber on social media. You can also go to to find the January 6 report and my forward that we told you about this week.

Thanks for spending time with us.




DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would like to promise and pledge that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election, if I win.



JOHNSON: Six years after those remarks, Republican candidates across the country are following Trump`s lead, threatening democracy by refusing to say whether they will accept election results that they don`t like.

Also tonight, what`s next after a very bad week for Trump, with the special master telling his lawyers to put up or shut up and New York`s attorney general exposing years of alleged fraud?

And as Kevin McCarthy makes his pitch for speaker, President Biden reminds Americans exactly what Republicans want to take from you if they win, things like reproductive rights and Social Security.

Good evening, everyone. I`m Jason Johnson, in for Joy Reid.

And we begin tonight with the cancer that continues to rot what`s left of the desiccated corpse of the Republican Party.

Moments from now, the former president will stand shoulder to shoulder with Ted Budd, North Carolina`s Republican Senate nominee, but has refused to say whether he would accept this year`s election results, only if he loses, but voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election as a member of Congress just hours after the attack on the Capitol.

And he`s not the only one. From the Carolinas to California, from Cancun to Grant`s Tomb, election denialism has infected the Republican organization, because they barely act like a party.

According to the Web site FiveThirtyEight, 60 percent of Americans will have an election denier on the ballot this fall. Out of the more than 500 Republicans running for office, nearly a quarter of them have fully rejected the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

If you want a preview of just what life would look like with these kinds of folks in control, just take a look at Georgia, where election deniers are now using false claims to challenge the legitimacy of more than 60,000 voter registrations. And they just happen -- I know this is shocking -- to be voters that are in counties full of black and brown people.

These challenges were brought about because Georgia`s secretary of state, the one who`s pretending to he stood up for rights, refused to overturn the 2020 election for Trump. But state Republicans, afraid of making the MAGA king and all his other people look angry at them, decided to pledge their allegiance and change state election laws to fix problems that don`t exist.

Earlier today, the duly elected president of the United States, Joe Biden, just warned how dangerous this election denialism really is.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s become a litmus test in their party to pledge loyalty to Donald Trump by buying into the big lie.

You can`t let the integrity of our elections be undermined. Democracy can`t survive, it cannot survive -- not a joke -- can`t survive when one side believes there`s only two outcomes to an election: Either they win, or they were cheated.


JOHNSON: One of the most prominent election deniers he`s referring to is currently running to control Arizona`s elections.

Mark Finchem is the Republican nominee for secretary of state. He`s currently a state legislator and actually tried to decertify the Arizona election results back in 2020. But he failed. He`s also a member of the Oath Keepers, that right-wing paramilitary group, and he attended the Capitol insurrection.

According to Politico, a fellow Republican in the Arizona House was shocked at Finchem`s success, given that -- quote -- "Mark is known as the guy that`s probably the dumbest -- well, there`s a long list -- but one of the dumbest legislators in the House."

With friends like these.

Look, last night, Finchem faced off with his Democratic opponent, Adrian Fontes, the former Maricopa County recorder who oversaw the 2020 election for really the entire country. It was a jarring side-by-side of two vastly different perspectives, one grounded in reality and the other grounded in the unhinged fever dreams of the big lie.


MARK FINCHEM (R), ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE CANDIDATE: Knowing what we know today, there are certain counties that should have been set aside as irredeemably compromised. Maricopa County was one of them.

ADRIAN FONTES (D), ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE CANDIDATE: When we have conspiracy theories and lies like the ones Mr. Finchem has just shared, based in no real evidence, what we end up doing is eroding the faith that we have in each other as citizens.


JOHNSON: Later, Finchem pretty much made President Biden`s point when he said that the reason we can trust results of his primary and not those of the 2020 election was because he won.



QUESTION: Was the August midterm election fair? Were there any improprieties you saw?

FINCHEM: I have no idea. It is what it is.

QUESTION: What changed?

FINCHEM: What changed?


FINCHEM: The candidates.


JOHNSON: While Election Day name might be weeks away, you can already vote in North Carolina, Minnesota, South Carolina -- sorry -- South Dakota, Virginia, and Wyoming.

Joining me now to discuss all this is Adrian Fontes himself, the Democratic nominee for Arizona secretary of state.

Thank you so very much.

I have to mention this, Adrian. I watched -- I watched that debate, and it reminded me of that old "SNL" sketch where the character is like, oh, how am I losing to this guy? Like, I just can`t -- I can`t imagine what it was like being on stage with someone like that.

I just want to start with this. You`re running for secretary of state. That is an incredibly important responsibility. What are the responsibilities of the secretary of state in Arizona? Because it changes state by state. So what would you be responsible for in 2024?

FONTES: First, thanks for having me.

The secretary of state in Arizona is the chief election regulator, chief election officer in Arizona. The 15 counties run the actual elections. And the secretary really kind of herds all of those cats.

We also have business services and public services inside of that office. Near and dear to my heart are the archives and libraries. But we really are sort of a ministerial office. The secretary of state does, critically, certify the election results that come out of the canvasses of each of Arizona`s counties.

And I think that`s the main point of discussion for today.

JOHNSON: And so, the certification process, that would be, you look at all the different counties, they give you their election results, and it`s your job to evaluate if those are legitimate.

It`s your job to rubber-stamp what they do. How does that certification process actually work?

FONTES: Well, it`s not really a rubber stamp.

A good secretary will work with the counties as they are building their canvasses, will review them ahead of time before the counties actually perform the canvass, do the vote that certifies and then sends to the secretary`s office.

Good teams don`t just rubber-stamp. They make sure to work together along the way through the entire process, so that it is smooth, so that we do have free and fair elections, so that we do have predictable government, rational government, and not just weird chaos, which is what my opponent is presenting.

And we just -- we just want things to work normally, right? And that`s really how the process is supposed to work.

JOHNSON: Exactly.

Your job is to scrutinize what is delivered to you, and then make sure it`s fair for the entire country. And, frankly, Arizona will be one of the states where the entire country`s eyes are going to be on you.

With that being in mind, I want to play you some sound here of your opponent. The country was all focused on something that he was involved in last year. I want to get your thoughts about it on the other side.


QUESTION: Do you think Arizona voters want their chief elections officer at a riot at the U.S. Capitol to overturn an election? Is that what you think Arizona residents, citizens, voters want?

FINCHEM: The last time I checked, to be at a place when something`s happening is not illegal.


JOHNSON: I will be honest with you. If I was at something that turned into a riot, I would have left. I would have condemned it.

If I`m at a party where there was like drinking going on, and I was in high school, I left. I was that kid. So I guess my standards are too high for someone running for office.

But what are your thoughts about that? It`s not only someone who`s going to be responsible of holding a sacred oath, of counting the ballot in the state of Arizona. What are your thoughts about running against someone who was basically a participant, bare minimum, an observer, in an attempted coup of the United States government?

FONTES: It was a crime scene. And he claims to have been a law enforcement officer, although the "do not rehire" from Kalamazoo Police Department speaks a little more to that.

It was a crime scene. And it wasn`t just any old crime scene or any old riot. This was an attempted overthrow of the government of the United States of America, where they had a gallows setup to hang Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi. This was an attempted coup.

And for him to minimize it like that is not just callous. It`s obscene, as against the constitutional order of the greatest democracy this planet has ever seen. And folks like this are all over the country. And they`re dangerous in their delusion. And the delusion is that it wasn`t that big of a deal and that this is just some kind of political gamesmanship.

Their lack of capacity to understand the gravity of the moment and the destructive nature of their advocacy for this unpredictable chaos, that`s bad. And it`s really a negative reflection on the rest of us that we haven`t fought back with a lot more vigor, that we haven`t held them to account with a lot more disdain, that we haven`t moved more quickly to hold those who committed acts of violence that resulted in the deaths of law enforcement officers, by the way, to hold them accountable.


So, shame on us for not going harder against these guys. Shame on us for not swinging back with the strength that they are coming at our democracy with. Shame on us for not standing up, like so many other generations have, for our own voting rights and our own democracy.

JOHNSON: This is the kind of thing we want to hear from our elected officials.

Thank you, Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes. We will definitely try and have you back. Really appreciate it.

Let`s bring in Nse Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project and one of the most impressive voter organizers and activists that I have ever had the opportunity to interview.

Nse, I`m going to ask this, because we just talked to Adrian Fontes. He`s running for secretary of state in Georgia. Georgia still has a secretary of state whose claim to fame is that he did the minimum in 2020. He decided to not overturn an election.

But there are still concerns about voter suppression and questionable practices on the part of the secretary of state`s office in the state of Georgia right now. What is going on in Georgia with the electoral system and with certain voting places that`s making it harder for people to go out and practice the franchise?

NSE UFOT, CEO, NEW GEORGIA PROJECT: The Georgia Republican Party, of which our secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger is a member, has taken a sledgehammer to our elections infrastructure, and they`re doing everything that they can to cheat in advance of the November 8 elections.

We -- a lot has been written and said about Senate Bill 202, which was George`s own version of the anti-voting bill. I will remind your viewers that over 50 provisions in Georgia`s laws were changed, including creating five new crimes for voting-related behavior, two of them which are felonies which carry with them penalties that are several years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

Just this Wednesday, Gwinnett County, the second largest county in Georgia, soon to be the largest county in Georgia, the most racially and ethnically diverse county in the Southeastern United States, an individual random citizen was able to -- was trying to challenge the voter status of 37,500 Gwinnett County voters, again, the most ethnically and racially diverse county in the Southeastern United States.

Why that number matters so much in a state where there are seven million voters because Georgia is America`s newest battleground state. Georgia is America`s newest swing state. The margin of victory for the president of the United States was just over 11,000 votes. That`s .00015 percentage points.

And the Republicans have allowed it that any individual can challenge an unlimited number of voters in any county in Georgia. That is deeply problematic. We don`t have the resources. We are 46 days away from a historic election where there promises to be historic levels of participation.

They are trying to break the machinery of Georgia`s elections infrastructure, because, when everyone votes and every vote is counted, they will no longer be in power. It`s obvious, and it`s disgusting. And Brad Raffensperger has endorsed it.

He has endorsed it. He is in lockstep with his party. He has not in any way come out against these attacks on Georgia`s elections, as an individual citizen, as a patriot, nor as Georgia`s chief elections officer.

JOHNSON: Well, look, we have all known that you can`t really trust anything out of Raffensperger at the staff label and an organization.

The secretary of state`s office is clearly compromised, and has been since before, when you had Brian Kemp, who was in charge of these sorts of things and got to sort of administer his own run for governor.

My question just very quickly, because a lot of people are concerned about this. When they hear this kind of news about Georgia, when they hear about these challenges, when they hear about the kinds of things Brian Kemp are doing, and they see, the poll numbers, they`re like, oh, my gosh, is there any chance that any of these candidates that care about democracy, like Bee Nguyen and Stacey Abrams and Raphael Warnock, can win, what is something that people don`t know about Georgia?

Are there large numbers of people who haven`t been counted in this polling yet? Are there places where registration has gone up that may counter some of this voter suppression? What`s actually happening on the ground that may give people some home about what the future might look like in that state in 46 minutes -- 46 days?


UFOT: What people need to know is that, one, the New Georgia Project alone has registered an additional 30,000 black people and young people this year, since MLK day of 2022, not to mention people who continue to move to the state, one.

Number two, what people need to know is that almost seven out of 10 absentee ballots that have been requested up to this point have been requested by women. And we are absolutely in a post-Dobbs era. What people need to know is that there has been a 300 percent increase in black Georgians requesting absentee ballots.

And so there`s polling, which takes a snapshot of what people think about in this moment, and then there`s the data that`s coming from the actual ballots that people are requesting that they are going to submit, right?

I think what people need to know is that, while there are challenges with the brand of the national political parties, that Stacey Abrams, is not the DNC, right...


UFOT: ... and that they -- people know her. They know her work. They know her leadership, and they know what is at stake for Georgians in this moment.


UFOT: And that`s what folks don`t know and understand.

JOHNSON: Nse Ufot, we could talk throughout the entire show. Thank you so much for starting us off on THE REIDOUT today.

UFOT: Thank you.

JOHNSON: Up next on THE REIDOUT: Are the walls closing in on Trump? It sure looks like it after a week of major legal setbacks.

THE REIDOUT continues right after this break.



JOHNSON: It`s been a very bad, no good, horrible week for a bunch of folks with the last name Trump, as the legal challenges not only continue to mount, with the addition of the civil lawsuit announced by the New York attorney general, but because of the direction of the challenges are heading in, like in the case of Trump`s gross mishandling of classified documents he took to his Florida golf resort.

Beyond the fact that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has sided with the DOJ in its effort to continue using those documents in their criminal investigation, the special master that Trump`s legal team nominated and Trump is footing the bill for is quite literally telling Trump`s legal team to put up or shut up in regards to some of Trump`s most absurd defenses.

Earlier this week, special master Judge Raymond Dearie called out Trump`s legal team to provide any evidence backing up Trump`s repeated claims that he declassified the documents. They declined.

And just yesterday, Dearie gave Trump`s lawyers until next Friday to backup another of Trump`s public claims, that the FBI planted evidence. It`s all playing out as we learned this week that Trump was warned by one of his former White House lawyers last year that this exact situation would happen if he did not return all the documents he took from the White House, particularly the classified material.

Of course, it was a warning that Trump did not heed.

Joining me now is Philip Rucker, deputy national editor for "The Washington Post" and an MSNBC political analyst, and Maya Wiley, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on the Civil and Human Rights, who previously worked on the Civil Division of the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Thank you, guys, so much for joining me this evening.

Phil, I will start with you.

I`m usually very hesitant to get into sort of the, this is the worst week ever for Trump. But help put this in context for the audience. He had a special gambit. Hey, I`m going to get this special master, and that`s going to allow me to delay things.

But it seems like the special master hasn`t really been on his side. Is that a huge blow? Was the special master Trump`s Hail Mary? Is that what they`re sort of saying in Trump world right now? Or was this just another delaying tactic?

PHILIP RUCKER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it wasn`t exactly a Hail Mary. But it was more than a delaying tactic. I think this was a strategy by Trump and his legal team to try to gain an advantage in this investigation, frankly.

They thought that they could recommend as a special master someone who would be more beholden to what Trump wants than what the law necessarily dictates. And what`s happened this week is, we have seen the special master exert some independent judgment and kind of put Trump in a position that I don`t think he anticipated after getting the approval of the special master.

So it`s not quite a Hail Mary, but it`s certainly -- this is all a setback for Trump. And I think it comes at a time when he`s facing these converging legal threats, including most especially out of New York this week.

JOHNSON: Not a Hail Mary, maybe a half-court shot, maybe a 64-yard field goal. Yes, that`s a Seahawks comment.



JOHNSON: Maya, I will take this to you.

Here`s what appears to be, according to "The New York Times," Trump`s legal strategy. I want to see if you think this makes any sense. So Trump`s strategy over the declassification claims is, he seems to be saying: "During the hearing before Judge Dearie, Mr. Trump`s lawyers provided a glimpse of what the declassification gambit may actually be about.

"It appears to be a strategy that the former president`s legal team is holding in reserve should he ultimately challenged the legality of the Mar- a-Lago search in a suspension motion or file court papers, known as a Rule 41 motion to get some of the seized materials back from the Justice Department."

Now, my understanding of this, with only a couple of years of "Law & Order" under my belt, is that his hope is to say the entire search was somehow illegal, and, consequently, not only does this investigation have to come to a grinding halt, but somehow he can get back some of the papers that shouldn`t have been his to begin?


JOHNSON: Maya, does any of that have any legal chance one way or another? Or did he get this from the Alex Jones school of legal theories?

MAYA WILEY, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, I`m going to have to go with choice B.


WILEY: Because it was very, very hard to actually even read Judge Cannon`s decision, the underlying decision that the 11th Circuit quickly threw out, where Donald Trump said, hey, the Department of Justice shouldn`t even be able to look at the classified documents, which are owned by the federal government, by the way, in an ongoing criminal investigation about whether any crimes were committed with those documents.

The whole thing, the whole process seemed to me to be grasping at straws and using anything they could find to try to not only mount some semblance of a defense, but also, frankly, to try this case to some degree in the court of public opinion, to do what Trump does quite frequently, which is just make stuff up in order to make it look like he`s not doing as much wrong that he`s actually doing wrong and convince his base.

Because the truth is, it`s why the 11th Circuit moved very quickly, why the Department of Justice rightly moved very quickly. And in terms of whether or not he`s got some ability to throw these documents out if, in fact, there is an indictment, but let alone get them back, when they`re not his documents, it`s very hard to imagine.

JOHNSON: Right?. Right. Yes, it`s very difficult to say I want those library books back that are actually in the ownership of the library.

Philip, I want to play you some sound from a Trump interview earlier this week where he also sort of lays out, as Maya sort of suggest, his public gambit, his let me try to make this a public spectacle and have the court of public opinion handle this, because I`m not winning in the actual courts, and get your thoughts on the other side.

This is him talking about the unwritten rule that was violated by Tish James earlier this week.


TRUMP: And there`s a rule. It`s an unwritten law. You never do this politically. They won`t -- you won`t see Hunter Biden attacked during this period -- 60 to 90 days out before an election, nobody gets attacked. They attacked me.


JOHNSON: So, Phil, I will start with you.

Just from the pure politics standpoint, how does that play, right? I mean, if you`re part of Trump`s base, you already think that everything is against him. And if you`re sort of a moderate American who actually functionally cares about democracy, the vast majority of polling has shown people say, hey, I don`t think he should have this, how does that kind of interview play with the audience and the public as a whole?

RUCKER: Well, it just plays right into Trump`s effort to politicize all of this, and plays into what his base wants to hear, which is not that these are sort of legitimate legal and criminal investigations and charges that are brought, but, rather, in Trump`s mind, they`re political attacks brought by his enemies with a campaign purpose in mind.

That`s not what this is. This is the state prosecutor leveling pretty serious charges against Trump and his company. And what you have at the Justice Department, of course, is a federal law enforcement investigation into his handling of classified documents.

Also, just so your viewers understand, that rule that he`s talking about, that 60-day rule, it is an unwritten rule in the Justice Department. It`s not a law. But it is a rule, a norm that the Justice Department has followed. But the action by Tish James in New York is separate from the Justice Department.

That`s not a federal action. That`s a state action. And they don`t -- Tish James` office does not adhere to federal Justice Department rules.

JOHNSON: Maya, very quickly, we have dual investigations, one from the DOJ, one from the state of New York. Which one do you think gets a conviction faster?

Do you think that the process that Tish James laid out this week, will we see somebody in an orange jumpsuit from Trump`s inner circle from her or from the DOJ faster?

WILEY: Well, let`s remember the Tish James` suit is civil, not criminal number one, and it`s probably going to be a lengthy process. It usually is.

I have to say, Department of Justice, on these documents, it is very clear that they have recovered documents from Donald Trump`s residence he did not own, should not have possessed, should not have kept. Some attorneys told him so. And so that`s where we are.

JOHNSON: Philip Rucker and Maya Wiley, thank you so much.

Maya, I think I hear a cat meowing in the background on set there.


JOHNSON: So, it added some real passion.



JOHNSON: Thank you, guys, so much for joining us this evening.

Up next: a series of scandals and controversies shaking up the world of professional sports, with Brett Favre`s alleged involvement in a sordid fraud scandal topping the list.

We will be right back after this break.



JOHNSON: NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre is known for many things, leading the Green Bay Packers to victory, showing up in "There`s Something About Mary," ridiculous career stats, sexual harassment, possible painkiller addiction, and also the $140 million he earned during his two-decade career.

Alas, the mighty, the praised have finally fallen, These days, Favre is embroiled in a scandal in Mississippi, where millions of dollars in federal welfare money went to projects that benefited the not-so-needy, including a new volleyball facility at Favre`s alma mater, where it just so happens his daughter attended and played the sport.


The scandal in the nation`s poorest state is heating up. On Thursday, John Davis, a key figure in the welfare spending scandal, pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges.

Elsewhere in the world of sports, the Boston Celtics shared more on its suspension of coach Ime Udoka, saying the penalty came after a months-long investigation that found multiple violations of team policies. The team`s interim coach is now assistant Joe Mazzulla, who comes with some legal issues of his own. He was arrested on suspicion of domestic battery in 2009, which was later settled out of court.

Joining me now is Terence Moore, sports journalist and columnist at "Forbes," to discuss all these things.

Terence, goodness gracious, when they say that sports are soap operas, this is the week.

I want to start with Brett Favre. One of the things that strikes me about this case is not just the corruption, but the introspection that it has caused in some of the sports media. Many people -- there have been tweets and commentary about the fact that Brett Favre should be being covered with the same relentlessness that was -- that Jameis Winston got when he sold $32 worth of crab legs, that Brett Favre should be treated with much more hostility than Michael Vick or Colin Kaepernick were.

How do you think the sports media has handled covering this Brett Favre story, given the depth and breadth of the crime that he is allegedly involved in?

TERENCE MOORE, "FORBES": Well, Jason, I`m going to start with this.

Depending on how this turns out is going to make me decide whether or not I`m going to burn my Brett Favre T-shirt here.

MOORE: And I`m leaning toward...


MOORE: And I bring that up because, being a member of the media, I can speak for all of us. Brett Favre a delight to talk to. He really was.

And that`s part of the problem here. He was such a likable person, yes, not so much on the field when he was throwing interceptions and the other things. But, for 20 years, I mean, he was a great player, needless to say.

That should have nothing to do with this. And it should have nothing to do with the fact that he was a very cooperative player with us. So, yes, there is a double standard here. There`s no question about it. There is no way in the world, when Brett Favre says he knew nothing about this, when you`re getting a million dollars to speak, and you don`t speak, OK, when your alma mater is getting $5 million for a volleyball facility -- and, by the way, Jason, that must be one heck of a volleyball facility.


MOORE: Nothing against volleyball, but $5 million? And then when your daughter plays a part of that there, and you`re talking about the poorest state in the country, this is not a good look, to say the least.

JOHNSON: Yes. I was struck by that, because, again, being likable is something that can change how a lot of the press covers you, but it doesn`t necessarily change the crimes or the seriousness of the things that you committed.

With that in mind, I want to turn to Ime Udoka now. Now, look, there`s all sorts of memes. There`s all sorts of commentary. There are strange tweets going out about his personal life. But I`m struck by two things about this story. And I`m curious what your thoughts are.

First, you have it first leaked by the Celtics organization that they`re going to suspend him for a year. Then there`s a press conference where they say, look, he violated lots of team policies. He gets a one-year suspension.

Terence, what confuses me about this is, we still don`t know the specifics of what he supposedly did. But, more importantly, there`s not been a peep out of the NBA coaches -- coaches union. And, usually, the union steps in at this point and says, hey, we`re going to investigate this or we`re going to appeal the one-year suspension.

Why do you think there has been no word from the NBA coaches union about a one-year suspension of a coach who, in his rookie season, took a team to the NBA Finals?

MOORE: Well, in the words of my late grandmother, this is a hot mess, OK?

No one has ever seen anything like this in the history of the NBA, a coach being in this situation. So a lot of this, Jason, is that, that this is just a totally unprecedented situation.

And let`s face it. The person to blame the most is Udoka. And he`s the one who got himself into this situation. Let`s deal with what we know. We know that the Boston Celtics, they have some rule out there, you cannot be involved in any kind of affairs with somebody who is part of the organization. He violated that rule.

Now, what went on beyond that? Who knows. But it`s obvious, from what you just said right there, that this is pretty bad. I mean, you have got not only his peers not defending him, not saying a word about it. There`s something else, there`s more that`s involved here.

And what`s so sad about this, just from a basketball standpoint -- human standpoint, it`s discussing if he did what he was alleged to do. But from a basketball standpoint, here`s this guy, first year as a head coach, did a splendid job. I mean, they were under .500 in January and streaked all the way to the NBA finals.

But all that just gets washed away because there`s this more serious matter of, what did he do here? We don`t know. But it does not look good, whatever it is.


JOHNSON: And the other thing is, I think the way, in some ways, that the Celtics handled this led to a lot of unfair and sexist and problematic speculation about other people on staff...

MOORE: Oh, no doubt.

JOHNSON: ... because they failed to be clear about what happened.


JOHNSON: Terence Moore, thank you so much for joining us this evening.

We`re going to go to "Who Won the Week?" ahead.

But, first, we only have 46 days until the midterm elections, and the political jabs are flying fast and furious.

That and more -- next on THE REIDOUT.



JOHNSON: With the midterms now, just 46 days away, we actually have some breaking news.

Just released now, an Arizona judge has just ruled that the state can enforce a near total ban on abortion, a near total ban on abortion, this just coming from a judge in the state of Arizona, right in time for leaders of both political parties to be sharpening their messages to voters.

Look, this is a serious, serious issue and something that`s going to be of concern to many voters throughout the country. So, while Kevin McCarthy is trying to make his pitch for speaker of the House and introducing the Republican committee -- the Republican Commitment to America and his agenda and Pennsylvania, he`s also got to deal with the fact that you have got more and more Republicans and more Democrats and more Americans ho are concerned about their future.

But he figures he can cover all that with the predictable MAGA Republican buzzwords.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): On our very first bill, we`re going to repeal 87,000 IRS agents. We can build an education system that has a parents bill of rights.

We should ensure women only compete in women`s sports.


JOHNSON: Yes, in case you missed it, yes, that was none other than Marjorie Taylor Greene sitting directly -- seated directly behind McCarthy.

A short time later, in Washington, President Biden rebuked McCarthy`s plan as goals with little or no details and laid out for voters a clear contrast between the parties running for office this fall.


BIDEN: In 46 days, America is going to choose. If Republicans win control of the Congress, abortion will be banned.

But if you give me two more Democratic senators in the United States Senate, I promise you...


BIDEN: I promise you, we`re going to codify Roe.

America is going to face a choice. If Republicans control the Congress, Social Security will be on the chopping block. But if you support the Democrats, I promise you this. Social Security will be protected, period.



JOHNSON: Joining me now is Mara Gay, MSNBC political analyst and member of "The New York Times" editorial board, and Victor Shi, strategy director for Voters of Tomorrow, co-host of the "iGen Politics" podcast, and the 2020 Biden delegate.

Thank you all so much for joining me this evening.

I`m going to start with this, just your reactions to this new ruling from an Arizona judge allowing a near total ban on abortion in the state of Arizona.

I will start with you, Mara.

What do you think this does for voters in the state of Arizona right now? If they were having any questions about whether they want to participate, what do you think this is going to do?

MARA GAY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I mean, first of all, I`m thinking about women, pregnant people in the state of Arizona right now, just the heartbreak I know as a woman that comes when you know that your government does not protect you and, in fact, is seeking to control the decisions that should be made between you and your health care provider.

These are life-and-death decisions. So, unfortunately, we`re going to see more tragic stories, I fear, coming out of yet another state, as women`s rights are being stripped away.

I think the political impact is pretty clear. If you look at what -- the movement that really started in Kansas at the ballots this year, it`s clear that American voters, not just Democrats, and not just women, are -- they see what`s happening, and they see that not only are women`s rights under assault, but really basic fundamental American freedoms that we have come to enjoy in this country, though imperfectly, are at risk, no matter who you are, because of the move to really start controlling Americans` lives.

And I think that Americans don`t like it. And I think that`s why the Republicans aren`t talking about it, because they know these are unpopular with voters who are not in their deepest red base. And they`re hoping that American voters forget come November that they are the ones that are taking our rights away.

JOHNSON: Victor, with your work and your organization, you`re dealing with new voters, the youngest voters, first-time voters. When legislation like - - well, it was actually not legislation -- when rulings like this come down, how does it hit sort of first-time voters?

Is this the kind of thing -- after they deal with the shock, after they deal with the offense, the fear, the heartbreak, as Mara was just talking about, does it tend to mobilize them, or does it frustrate them that the system seems to continue to ignore what their needs and desires are as American citizens?

VICTOR SHI, VOTERS OF TOMORROW: So I think it`s that frustration and anger that is really turning out young voters come this November election. This is why young voters are so mobilized and so engaged in this election.


In the past, we have seen the young voter turnout really tick up. But I think, in this election, you`re going to see that really change, because Republicans are clearly coming after our lives. Dobbs, that decision overturning Roe vs. Wade and access and limiting the ability for young people to access abortion and women to access abortion, that was a key decision, because that`s the first time that people in my generation saw a right literally get overturned by the Supreme Court.

And then you have states across the country, like Arizona today, that are seeking to impose a ban on abortion. This is something that young people know all too well, especially young girls who are -- who might be seeking abortions. They cannot access safe and legal abortions.

And that is what`s riling up a lot of people in my generation. We feel the anger. We feel the frustration. And I think you`re going to really see that turnout come November.

And I`d also like to point out one thing, which is that this is going to happen if Republicans win in 2022. And you just have to listen to someone like Senator Lindsey Graham. It`s not just in the states. The federal government wants to do this. So, Senator Lindsey Graham comes out and says he wants to impose a nationwide ban on abortion.

I think voters really have to pay attention to that. And I think that young voters, especially this time around, aren`t oblivious. We understand what`s going on, and I think we`re going to act on it.

JOHNSON: Mara, I want to play you some sound from President Joe Biden talking about abortion, and how it, in particular, affects women voters in these midterms.


BIDEN: Justice Alito said that women can decide the outcome of this election. I`m paraphrasing something -- a quote in the actual decision.

Well, he ain`t seen nothing yet.


BIDEN: I don`t believe the MAGA Republicans have a clue about the power of American women.



JOHNSON: Mara, the data is there that there has been a huge uptick in voter registration, first-time voters amongst women, especially women under the age of 30.

The question is, we have seen in many times in the past that, while there may be an uptick in women voting, they don`t necessarily vote for candidates who are always about protecting abortion rights. There are large numbers of white American women voters who vote for Republicans who want to restrict their rights, but at the same time want to vote to protect those rights.

How do you think these new numbers that we`re seeing now, how do you think they play out? Is Joe Biden right? Is this -- are the power of women voters, is that going to protect abortion rights this fall? Or do we just not know until Election Day, because we don`t know how the women are going to vote?

GAY: Yes, it`s a great question.

First of all, I don`t think any of us can take anything in our democracy for granted right now. So the elections in November will be won not just at the ballot box, but by get-out-the-vote efforts and organizing across the country.

But I also think, generally, for Democrats, new voters and more voters is a good thing. So, broadly speaking, it is the case that the more people who vote nationally, traditionally, Democrats tend to do better. And so that`s a good sign for the Democrats.

I think the other factor here is that people who are newly motivated in this environment to vote may very well be coming out in support of abortion rights, because let`s just remember that the most hardcore Republicans are likely to vote in primaries, which they have already done. They have already gotten their Supreme Court picks, so they may not be quite as motivated.

We really don`t know. Again, nothing can be taken for granted. I think the big question for Democrats, as well is not only what happens in Congress, but can they motivate Democratic voters who are exhausted to show up in their state elections and really understand the importance of what happens in statehouses across the country?

Because they`re the legislator...

JOHNSON: Looks like Mara is freezing up a bit.

Well, look, Mara and Victor are sticking around to help us kick off the weekend with a round of "Who Won the Week?"

So, that`s next after this break. Stay right here.



JOHNSON: We made it to the end of the week, which means it`s time to play "Who Won the Week?"

Back with me are Mara Gay and Victor Shi.

Mara Gay, I will start with you.

Real quick, who won the week?

GAY: Yes, my person of the week is Bexar County Javier Salazar, who has opened a criminal investigation into the flying of the migrants from San Antonio to Martha`s Vineyard. And thank you to the sheriff for reminding us that there are consequences for hateful political conduct.

JOHNSON: Yes, police doing a good job.

Victor, real quick, who won the week?

SHI: In the same vein as justice and accountability, I`m going to choose New York Attorney General Letitia James. She is just amazing. And she showed us that the rule of law matters, equal justice under the law. And I hope that this is just one out of many of the, hopefully, acts of accountability and justice that will be facing the former guy in the next weeks or months to come.

JOHNSON: These are both great winners.

But I am saying the winner of the week is the Writers Guild of America West, which has announced their new board of directors. Look, we talk about Amazon. We talk about Starbucks, but there are unions for the men and women who bring us the TV shows every day that we watch, from our "Housewives" to what we watch on HBO, and everything else like that.

They have a brand-new board that will be fighting for the rights of men and women to get paid for the content that they create, that we consume every day. So, thank you for the new board, WGA West.

Thank you, Mara Gay and Victor Shi, for joining us tonight.

And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT. Joy is back on Monday.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.