Florida prepares for a monster storm, with landfall expected tomorrow, setting up a test for Governor Ron DeSantis. New documentary footage of Roger Stone is revealed. The Senate takes up the Electoral Count Act to protect democracy. Why do Republican lawmakers still back Donald Trump? Jury selection begins in the trial of Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes and four of his associates for their role in the January 6 insurrection.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on THE REIDOUT:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have four dogs. I got my girl, so going to go ahead and do the right thing and just get away and come back, and, hopefully, nothing is damaged.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So they`re predicting a lot of water. I live South Tampa. So, it`s a flood-prone area. So....
QUESTION: This one feels different.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Florida prepares for a monster storm, with landfall expected tomorrow. Governor Ron DeSantis is going to be put to the test, force to actually do his job, when he`s used to spending most of his time hanging out on FOX News and owning the libs. Is he up to the task?
The approaching hurricane has also changed the January 6 Committee`s plans. But we have gotten our hands on some documentary footage of Roger Stone laying out Trump`s plot to steal the election, which the committee is expected to show when the hearing is rescheduled.
Also, tonight, the Senate takes up the Electoral Count Act to protect democracy. And we`re going to try to answer this question of why Republican lawmakers still genuflect to Trump and promote his lies.
But we begin with Florida bracing for Ian, a major hurricane that could submerge large portions of the Gulf Coast. And it will be a test of leadership. Governing, you see, is hard. It`s unsexy and not always television-friendly. And governing through a crisis, well, that is where the proverbial rubber meets the road.
President Biden has had to juggle a bunch of competing crises while still trying to deliver for the American people. I mean, it is what it is. That is the executive gig.
And, today, the juggling act was on full display. Biden spent the day talking up his plan to lower drug costs and bolster Social Security, unveiling a plan to end hunger by 2030 and reaching out to Florida mayors ahead of Hurricane Ian`s landfall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I told each one of them in my conversations separately, whatever they need -- I mean this sincerely -- whatever they need, contact me directly. And they know how to do that. I have a lot of personnel down there already.
We`re here to support them in every way we can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: On the other side of the spectrum, while Biden has been grinding out the sometimes thankless job of governing, Republicans have been waging these giddy little culture wars, you know, to own the libs, while ignoring their citizens` basic rights and needs.
Take for example, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, who told a crowd of supporters how thrilled he was to leave Jackson, the state capital, in the midst of a devastating collapse of the city`s water system, this after he spent years bragging about how successful he`s been at blocking funds to fix the water crisis in the past.
Then there`s book-banning Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, who`s drawn massive protests and walkouts by high school students over his use of his executive power to force schools to out transgender students` birth sexes against their will. That`s the priority of a whole entire governor?
In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis has spent the majority of his turn waging wars against Disney, while pretty openly running for president on the side, sticking Florida taxpayers with a $2 trillion bill in the process, while also attacking books and history and masks and Venezuelan migrants who aren`t even in his state, flying them from Texas at exorbitant rates to Massachusetts, again, at Florida taxpayer expense, maybe even breaking the law in the process.
And let`s just be clear. He is doing this as his audition to have Joe Biden`s job. But is that what voters really hire an executive for? While DeSantis is fighting with Mickey and scoring hits on FOX News, Florida teachers are fleeing his state, climate change is ravaging the coast, and the state`s home insurance market is literally collapsing, leaving thousands of Floridians in danger of having no coverage for their homes when natural disasters like Hurricane Ian strike.
And that last bit is important, because preparing for and dealing with hurricanes is kind of what Florida governors do. And making sure that people have insurance, well, it is kind of key. Right now, Ian is a fierce Category 3 hurricane, curving its way up the Gulf Coast of Florida. It is expected to strengthen into a catastrophic Category 4 over the warm Gulf waters, with anticipated landfall tomorrow evening.
The entire Gulf Coast of Florida could suffer devastating storm surges and rain. Both mandatory and voluntary evacuations are in place for more than 2.5 million people in multiple counties, where schools have already been closed. President Biden has preemptively declared a state of emergency and already sent aid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I directed my team to surge federal assistance there before the storm hit. FEMA has already deployed 700 personnel to Florida, and the governor has activated 5,000 state National Guard, with another 2,000 Guards coming from other states.
FEMA is also proposing and prepositioning 3.5 million liters of water, 3.7 million meals and hundreds of generators.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Which, again, is literally the job.
Joining me now from Anna Maria Island on Florida`s Gulf Coast is NBC`s Kerry Sanders. I`m also joined by Democratic pollster and strategist Fernand Amandi and retired Lieutenant General Russel Honore, the former commander of the Hurricane Katrina Joint Task Force.
But, Kerry, my friend, I do want to start with you. Talk about how things look, where you are, and how bad local folks expect the storm to be by tomorrow.
KERRY SANDERS, NBC NEWS SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Joy, I`m way down here by water`s edge to just sort of share a feeling.
The water here that I have my feet in, it`s warm. In fact, there are parts of the Gulf of Mexico which are feeding Ian that are 89 degrees. So we know that a hurricane gets its strength from the warm water. And at 89 degrees, that`s like throwing gasoline on a fire. I mean, it is just incredibly warm, at least four, in some cases, five degrees warmer than we would typically have.
So that`s why we`re going to see perhaps even more of a rapid intensification of the hurricane. Where I`m here on Anna Maria Island, pretty much a ghost town. Same thing down on Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, on some of the smaller islands, like Useppa, Cabbage Key. That`s because they have these mandatory evacuations because they know, in addition to the wind that will be whipping, there will be something called storm surge.
So you see the water here behind me right now. The wind will be so strong at 100 plus miles an hour, it actually blows the water. And that water comes up like this. And it sort of kind of goes in a dome, but it has nowhere to go. So it just keeps traveling. And the prediction is that the storm surge could be as high as 10 feet.
So, right now, I`m at sea level. I`m 5`5``. Ten feet is way up there. As we get a little bit closer to the homes, some of the homes are up maybe about two, 2.5 feet. So it is possible here and on other islands like Sanibel, Captiva. It`s possible that the water will actually wash over the islands.
So there`s a great amount of concern. The authorities said, got to get out, mandatory evacuations. We know that some people have decided to stay behind. And the police and fire say, look, if you stay behind and you`re in the middle of a hurricane, and you do dial 911, nobody`s coming to the rescue, Joy.
Real quick, to stay with you just for a second, Kerry, because I only -- because anyone who`s lived in Florida for any length of time, and I lived there 14 years -- that`s where I met you, my friend. You just have to say Andrew. I mean, this was such a catastrophic change in everything about Florida. And Jeb Bush was sort of made by his handling of hurricanes.
Can you just talk just briefly about how important managing hurricanes is to the job of being governor in Florida?
SANDERS: Well, during Andrew, it was a complete failure on all levels in terms of the response afterwards, especially with FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
FEMA, which is supposed to -- and this case, and we have seen in recent other hurricanes, have gotten professional. At the time, it was like a political dumping ground, where they just gave people political favors, stuck them into these jobs. They didn`t know anything about responding. It is now very much a professional organization.
And we know, for instance, Kevin Guthrie, who does the state version of that here in Florida, that they have experience, that Kevin, in fact, worked at Pasco County. He`s dealt with hurricanes, but he`s also dealt with sinkholes. He knows what has to happen when you respond in an emergency.
So I think that, when we just heard the president talk about prepositioning water and food and generators and all...
SANDERS: ... that is pretty much -- very much a professional operation, as opposed to what we once had, lessons learned from Andrew.
And, of course, the hurricane, if it does come in just a little south of here -- it was 2004 when Category 4 Hurricane Charley came in. And so there are lots of people who remember that, and there are a lot of people who say they will work forward from those memories of how to better respond to this hurricane -- Joy.
REID: Yes, indeed.
Kerry Sanders, thank you very much, my friend. Stay safe. Really appreciate you.
And the other sort of one-word name that you can just say that everyone understands what it is, is Katrina.
And, General Russel Honore, people know you from having been in the middle of that.
Just talk about just the level of government sort of intersectional cooperation between the state and the federal government that is critical and crucial to doing this right.
LT. GEN. RUSSEL HONORE (RET.), U.S. ARMY: Yes.
On any given day, a storm like this could break and overmatch the state`s capacity. It can overmatch the federal government capacity. And we have to work in harmony. And we put a lot of money in the federal public to be able to help the states respond when they become overwhelmed.
And by the fact that the governor asked, and the president has declared this a major disaster, and FEMA is already sending the Region 4 directly to sit with the governor from Atlanta to Florida, joining a very experienced team in the state of Florida, who sets Andrew as a mile point.
Another mile point was Wilma, and another mile point that...
HONORE: ... was Katrina, have developed procedures. All a governor has to do is read the script. And he`s doing a darn good job of doing that right now.
They have procedures in Florida to protect the people, as best they can from a storm this magnitude. But I think, Joy, this will set a new bar, on something they had not seen, or America has not seen before, if this storm come in the way it`s predicted.
REID: And I lived through Wilma, so I definitely remember that. And it`s terrifying to actually live through.
And I want to bring you in, Fernand, to the very point that General Honore has made. Like, today, Ron DeSantis did not have room to troll or play troll. He actually has to play governor now.
Here he is in part of the press conference. It was about an hour ago that he -- a little over an hour ago. This was his press conference, talking about the federal response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We feel like we have a good relationship with FEMA. I`m happy to brief the president if he`s interested in hearing what we`re doing in Florida. My view on all this is, like, you got people`s lives at stake. You got their property at stake.
And we don`t have time for pettiness. We got to work together to make sure we`re doing the best job for them. So, my phone -- my phone line is open.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: I mean, that happens to be true.
I mean, over the course of the last -- of this summer, we have watched the Florida insurance market collapse. We have watched a lot of drama coming out of that governor`s office that`s been around immigration, even though Florida`s not even close to the state with the most migrants or the most people who are seeking asylum. Florida`s like way at the bottom, below Ohio.
And yet the governor has been just fixated on this one thing, on immigration. Is it arguable, if this doesn`t go well -- and we pray that it goes well, and for you down there, my friend, as well -- that he`s now really in a spotlight for the actual job he was hired for, not for the trolling?
FERNAND AMANDI, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, how shameful to hear those words, too little, too late, Joy, because, as you said, all of us here in Florida, in this very ominous and sobering moment now, we`re on the brink of not one, but two catastrophes.
First, there is the catastrophe of Ian, which, God forbid, I mean, have any impact on human life and any other folks that are in the path of that storm, including, by the way, my parents and many of my friends up and down I-4, all the way through the Panhandle.
The problem here is the second catastrophe, which was totally preventable. And that, as you said, is the property insurance catastrophe that Ron DeSantis and the Republican legislature in this state have conscientiously avoided doing a single thing about. They have been rolling the dice. And they have been lucky over the last couple of years.
We haven`t really had a major storm, but now we got a Cat 4 catastrophe knocking on our door. And after the damage to life and property comes the accounting. We don`t have a private insurance market. They`re fleeing the states. Rates are skyrocketing, Joy.
And despite the begging and pleading of members of the Democratic side of the legislature, even some Republican senators, who said, please, we have to solve this property insurance prices, Ron DeSantis did nothing, partially because he`s in the pocket of the insurance industry.
But even state Senator Jeff Brandes, who is a Republican from Saint Petersburg, the area that is now in the direct line of that direct strike, said they did nothing. They didn`t do nearly enough. And now the people of Florida are going to face this catastrophe, not once, but twice, because Ron DeSantis and the Republicans that have been in charge of this state for 28 years, Joy, have done nothing.
It is shameful. It is unacceptable. It is disqualifying. And, as you said, governing is hard. Trolling is easy. They chose to troll, when they could have governed.
REID: And, Russel Honore, two million Floridians are on the move. Now, we don`t know if they`re leaving the state or where they`re going to move to.
It`s a bit ironic now that you might have Floridians having to actually pour over the borders and go north and get out of the state of Florida in the exact same crisis that we have been talking about on a trolling level in that state for a long time.
What do you think that the federal government should prepare? If you`re talking about two million Floridians on the move, and some of them actually have actually have to leave the state, what kind of coordination needs to be happening right now in these Southern states to prepare for -- because, remember, Houston received hundreds of thousands -- tens of thousands, I should say, of people who had to flee Louisiana because of Katrina?
HONORE: Well, I tweeted about this earlier today.
I think the federal government needs to prepare some ships to come in behind the storm. The National Guard has done a good job. They have got some helicopters from other National Guard units. And we need to have federal helicopters on standby.
And the Department of Defense needs to buy into that and follow hurricanes like this in. This is a scenario, a nightmare scenario, Joy, that we have been planning for since I got into this business and most of my time in the Army that a major storm like this would hit. Miami is where we thought it would go.
And now it`s going across the entire state. That needs to be dealt with. And they -- all the pieces are there. The team know what to do. But the overmatch of the capacity they have locally will soon be overmatched if the storm does as it is predicted to happen.
REID: Yes. Yes.
HONORE: So that has to be worked out. And the role of the governor right now is easy, Joy.
All he has to do is get on TV and tell people stuff. The test for this government will be in recovery...
HONORE: ... when they make the decision where the money go and how it go.
REID: And that`s...
HONORE: That will be the real test of this governor, because recovery is a living hell dealing with the federal government and the bureaucracy.
We will see what kind of governor he is during recovery.
REID: When it`s a -- and be careful about attacking people who have to move to save their own lives and safety...
REID: ... because you never know when it`s your people that have to move, when it`s your people who have to migrate, when it`s your people who have to get on that road.
So, just a thought.
Fernand Amandi, please stay safe. Retired Lieutenant General Russel Honore, always a pleasure, sir. Thank you.
And up next on THE REIDOUT: no hearing tomorrow for the January 6 Committee, which faces major decisions on its next moves.
THE REIDOUT continues after this.
REID: Tomorrow`s much-anticipated return of the House January 6 Committee, the first hearing in nearly two months, has been postponed, as Hurricane Ian advances toward the Gulf Coast of Florida.
The storm has halted what Trump and his MAGA supporters and Congress could not, a series of highly effective hearings, as laid out by member Jamie Raskin as he rebutted Republican criticism last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): You pulled the plug on the investigation you originally advocated, because Donald Trump didn`t want it. Let`s tell some truth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you like to?
RASKIN: You`re talking about truth. I`m giving you the truth.
Again, you guys boycotted it, because you wanted to put pro-insurrection members on the committee. And so we ended up with a bipartisan committee of people really interested in getting to the facts.
And you know what? And this is what you guys can`t stand. America listened to it, because we had real congressional hearings, and 25, 30 million Americans watching because we told the truth about Donald Trump`s assault on democratic institutions and the right to vote in America. And maybe you can`t handle the truth. But that`s the reality. And nobody`s laid a glove on any of the testimony that has come out during those hearings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: You can`t handle the truth, said Jamie Raskin.
We have learned that among the tranche of new evidence we are likely to see when the hearings are rescheduled is documentary footage from Trump`s former adviser and longtime friend Roger Stone filmed by Danish filmmakers in the months leading up to the attack on the Capitol.
That includes a clip where Stone seemingly predicts four months before the election that they would never accept the results if they lost.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: What they`re assuming is, the election will be normal. The election will not be normal.
Oh, these are the California results. Sorry. We`re not accepting them. We`re challenging them in court. If the electors show up at the Electoral College, armed guards will throw them out. I`m the president. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you. You`re not stealing Florida. You`re not stealing -- I`m challenging all of it. And the judges we`re going to are judges I appointed. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you. You`re not stealing the election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
That clip a reminder that the idea that an election can simply be overturned is a longstanding belief of Roger Stone`s, since he was involved in a nearly identical scheme in Florida in 2000, complete with the same false claims of voter fraud.
Stone then used those claims of mass hundreds of operatives -- to mass hundreds of operatives on Miami-Dade County staging, the so-called Brooks Brothers riot, demanding an end to the statewide recount on George W. Bush`s behalf to take away from a legitimate statewide recount and force Bush into office.
The postponement of tomorrow`s January 6 hearing adds to the many moving parts for the committee to contend with before it completes its work. It`s expected to interview Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in the coming weeks.
As "The New York Times" notes, it must still decide whether to issue subpoenas to Trump and to former Vice President Mike Pence. It also has yet to settle on whether to enforce subpoenas issued to Republican members of Congress, who have refused to cooperate with the inquiry.
Joining me now is former U.S. Senator Doug Jones of Alabama, who`s a distinguished senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and Neal Katyal, MSNBC legal analyst and former acting solicitor general.
And, Neal, I do want to start with you, because Roger Stone -- and we have done this -- talked about this on the show before -- is an interesting character, because he had exactly the same idea 20 years ago, and so did John Eastman, this idea that you just simply say, we won, and then you effectuate maybe even a little violence to see to it that no one really challenges you.
Let me play another clip from him. This is from November 1. This is before the election, two days before the election, more Roger Stone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STONE: Let`s just hope we`re celebrating.
STONE: I suspect it will be -- I really do suspect it will still be up in the air. When that happens, the key thing to do is to claim victory. Possession is nine-tenths of the law. No, we won. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you.
Sorry. Over. We won.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
STONE: You`re wrong. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And his response to that clip, his response today is: "The lesson of 2000, when the election was in dispute, James A. Baker got George Bush to declare victory. He was considered a genius. I suggest the same thing, and they say, oh, well, that`s criminal conduct."
Is there a difference?
NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Oh, yes, he is anything but a genius, Joy.
So, first of all, this guy is letting a camera crew go and follow him around and videotape him in the weeks leading up to the January 6 riot. And even if the film doesn`t show that he directly committed a crime, I have no doubt that it`s going to have intensely valuable insight for both the January 6 Committee and federal investigators.
And I think that Roger Stone is likely to soon join Steve Bannon in the esteemed club of Trump henchmen who received pardons for their criminal convictions, only eventually to commit further crimes.
REID: Yes. And there`s no...
KATYAL: So, like, this clip that you just showed is really good evidence that Trump and his allies had prepped their election denial strategies far before the election ever took place.
Trump`s whole claims, they weren`t genuine concerns about election fraud. This was a preplanned thing in the playbook, a desperate, undemocratic attempt to cling to power.
And, I mean, the thing is, Senator Jones, I mean, it was fairly -- if you looked at the polling, it seemed pretty clear to me that Joe Biden was going to win. And there is some reporting out there that Trump was concerned that he was going to lose. And so it`s kind of hard to claim that they had a genuine belief that there was some sort of fraud, when they`re saying before the election even takes place, a month and then two days before, we`re just going to say we won, meaning it doesn`t matter if we won.
FMR. SEN. DOUG JONES (D-AL): No, I -- I think you`re absolutely right, Joy.
I mean, to me, everything -- the first thing that hit me when I was hearing all of that is that these guys knew they were going to lose. They were setting up what is going to happen after they lose.
And Neal is just absolutely right. I mean, the fact that they thought they were going to lose, the fact that they probably knew they were going to lose, and setting this all up is pretty damning evidence about the plans that were going to be put in place going forward. And I think the January 6 Committee has done a pretty good job of putting some compelling evidence for connecting all those dots.
And, Neal, this Islamist question I have. Does the committee need to prove that, in addition to knowing they were going to lose and having a plan in place, this Eastman-style memorandized plan to sort of play with the electors, did Trump need to also know that you had Proud Boys and Oath Keepers and 3 Percenters meeting the day before January 6, on January 5, in the garage in D.C., and that they had violence in mind?
Does the committee need to make that connection that these guys -- you see them there, Oath Keepers Proud Boys -- you see Enrique Tarrio on the end. You see the lady in the front that`s an Oath Keepers. Does he need to know that they also planned to use violence in order...
REID: ... for him to be guilty of seditious conspiracy?
KATYAL: No. I mean, it`s what we call on the law gravy. I mean, it`s like it`d be -- if that evidence does exist, that establishes a seditious conspiracy, or at least a conspiracy to commit violence between Trump himself and the Proud Boys, who are going on trial right now, as we speak.
But there are other conspiracies that the January 6 Committee has been investigating, as well as federal and state investigators, Joy, including this whole fake collectors plot that John Eastman and others cooked up. And there doesn`t need to be any overlap between the two.
It`s kind of an old law all the way going back to the Supreme Court case in 1943 of (INAUDIBLE). You can have multiple different conspiracies. Prosecutors just need to prove one.
KATYAL: And, at this point, Donald Trump is facing many, many different investigations into many conspiracies.
REID: Yes, absolutely.
And just one last note for you, Senator Jones.
So, Chris Kise, this is the guy who got $3 million up front. He was smart to get his money, because Trump doesn`t really usually pay his lawyers. He got $3 million retainer to lead Trump`s legal team. He`s now not the leader.
What do you make of the fact that he`s essentially been demoted after they decided who they wanted? They picked Judge Dearie as their choice to be special master, and turns out, surprise, surprise, he`s a real judge, and he`s acting like a real judge, and he`s not helping them.
JONES: Well, look, I don`t think it`s any surprise that Donald Trump wants immediate positive results. And when he doesn`t get them, he will go to somewhere else, where he thinks he can get those immediate results.
I think the legal strategy that his -- we have seen coming out of Mar-a- Lago, and some of the other cases, by the way, I just -- I have been baffled by, including the fact that these guys can`t put at least some kind of controls on their client that he doesn`t talk.
JONES: Because some of the things he said to Sean Hannity was really damning the other day.
So, sometimes, you just got to clean sweep, start with a fresh team, and move on and hope the damage can be resurrected.
REID: I`m going to nominate Chris Kise as one of our "Who Won the Week?" finalists, because he got $3 million to not have to work. And he didn`t even have to be a good enough lawyer to keep his client off TV. He might have just got himself a free $3 million.
Former Senator Doug Jones and Neal Katyal, thank you both very much.
Coming up: In a rebuke to Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell has come out in support of the Electoral Count Reform Act -- huh -- which would reassert that the vice president does not, not have the power to change electoral votes. Ain`t that a kick in the head?
We will be right back.
REID: A win for democracy appears to be in sight.
The Senate is voting on a bill that would be the first legislative move to prevent another January 6. The electoral count reform bill clarifies the role of Congress in certifying presidential election results, in short, making it harder to steal a presidential election.
Today, the bipartisan effort got a major boost when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell endorsed it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I strongly support the modest changes that our colleagues in the working group have fleshed out, after literally months of detailed discussions. I will proudly support the legislation, provided nothing more than technical changes are made to its current form.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Seven Senate Republicans voted yes to reform -- to report this bill to the full Senate. Senator Ted Cruz, of course, was the lone no-vote, calling it bad for democracy.
Which brings us to a very puzzling, but very important question for our democracy. We understand why the Republican base is determined to keep Donald Trump in office forever. I mean, he feeds their sense of entitlement and grievance, makes them feel like victims and also triumphant over the libs at the same time.
But why are Republican elected officials, some of whom despise Trump, who believed his impeachment was warranted, why do they keep going along with him and his big lie?
Just last week, a House version of this very electoral reform bill passed. Democrats unanimously supported it and were joined by just nine Republicans, enough to put on two hands. None of those nine will be members of Congress next year. This was their chance. This was their opportunity to rid themselves of Trump by securing elections, to prevent stolen elections.
If that isn`t a vote for democracy, we really just don`t know what is. And yet so many of those Republicans, 203 of them, couldn`t support it, leaving us with the perennial question, why?
Join me now is former Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo of Florida, who`s now an MSNBC political analyst.
Thank you for being here, Representative Curbelo. I thank you for being here.
I want to talk -- I just -- explain it me like I`m 5, OK, because I understand why Mitch McConnell voted for this bill. I totally get it. It seems surprising to folks. I`m not surprised. We know from lots and lots of reporting, names he`s called him, Mitch McConnell despises Donald Trump. He was a means to an end. He was a means to get his magical judges on the court. He got his judges. He don`t need Trump no more, doesn`t need him.
So I understand Mitch McConnell. He`s a ruthless person, does ruthless stuff, but he really doesn`t like Trump. There are other people who are in that same category, Representative Curbelo. Why do they not take easy opportunities to rid themselves of this man?
CARLOS CURBELO, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Joy, the difference between Mitch McConnell and many other Republicans is that Mitch McConnell, aside from not liking Donald Trump, is also not afraid of Donald Trump.
Mitch McConnell is one of the few Republicans who has actually stood up to Trump on a number of occasions, not all, but certainly on a number of occasions, and...
REID: For like four seconds.
CURBELO: So he`s (AUDIO GAP) Donald Trump.
The problem in the House is that a lot of these Republicans operate in fear. They are constantly looking over their shoulder, hoping that Donald Trump will not show up in their districts to support a primary opponent. So it`s very difficult to lead when you`re afraid.
I do think, Joy, that once this bill gets out of the Senate, if it comes back to the House, it should get more Republican support. But, without question, reforming the Electoral Count Act to prevent the kind of disaster we had on the 6th of January of 21 should be a fairly easy issue to get to yes on.
REID: It should be, right, but because do you want Kamala Harris to have the power to overturn the election? Because, if you don`t support this, that`s what you`re saying. You`re saying that lady can just do whatever she wants and -- OK, anyway, let`s move on.
Here is Matt Gaetz. He`s not afraid of Donald Trump. He`s his homey. Here is Matt Gaetz, and he`s on Steve Bannon`s show, because of course he is, saying what he thinks the priority should be if Republicans take control of the House. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): If we don`t engage in impeachment inquiries to get the documents and the testimony and the information we need, then I believe that our voters will feel betrayed.
And we can do that without the Senate and without the White House. And that`s why it should be investigations first, policy, bill-making to support the lobbyists and the PACs as a far, far diminished priority.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Carlos Curbelo, these people get paid six figures of taxpayer money to legislate. And he says, no, bill-making to support the -- bill-making is a diminished priority.
We just need to impeach Biden for whatever. It doesn`t even matter what. It doesn`t even matter that we have no chance of actually convicting him in that -- in the Senate. Just do it because our base just needs the drugs. He sounds like a crack dealer.
CURBELO: Well, Joy...
REID: Is that really what it is, that they are just performing for the most bananas part of their base all the time?
CURBELO: That`s what he`s doing.
I mean, Joy, this is a problem for House Republican leadership for two reasons. Number one, House Republican leaders have told their members to please only talk about three issues in the last few weeks of this campaign, inflation, immigration and crime. They think those are the issues they can ride to victory.
Clearly, Matt Gaetz is not following those instructions. He`s in another world. Secondly, if, if Republicans do in a slim majority in the House, Kevin McCarthy and his lieutenants are going to have to find a way to include Matt Gaetz in their coalition, because they`re not going to have very many votes to spare if he wants to become speaker.
So this is a big problem for Republicans. And the -- what makes the problem even bigger for them is that people like Matt Gaetz really don`t care what they think.
REID: No, they don`t.
And, by the way, the other thing, the other sort of Occam`s razor answer is that their actual real agenda, Rick Scott has told you what it is, and Lindsey Graham has told you what it is, basically, control women, make them give birth, and destroy Social Security and Medicare, and they don`t want anybody to know that. But some of their senators are just telling you all.
Former Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo, it`s a puzzle. Thank you very much. Appreciate you being here.
OK, jury selection began today for the trial of -- in the trial of Oath Keeper leader Elmer Rhodes -- he calls himself Stewart -- and four other members of the militia for their actions leading up to and on January 6. They are charged with seditious conspiracy over trying to overthrow the U.S. government.
We will be right back.
REID: Jury selection today began in the trial of Oath Keepers leader Elmer Rhodes, who calls himself Stewart, I guess to sound cooler, and four of his associates for their role in the January 6 insurrection.
The five are facing charges of seditious conspiracy, the most serious crime leveled so far by the Justice Department, in the Capitol insurrection probe. The judge is working to winnow down a pool of 150 prospective jurors using written and in person questioning.
But in the case of January 6, perhaps the biggest threat to our democracy that country has ever seen, what does an impartial jury even look like? Is it is it even possible? According to NBC`s reporting from the courtroom, out of that pool of 150, 45 percent say they hadn`t watched the January 6 Committee hearings, and 40 percent hadn`t ever heard of the Oath Keepers.
One prospective juror was disqualified for answering the written questionnaire saying:"I think January 6 is one of the single most treasonous acts in history of this country."
Another potential juror who was struck today told the court she strongly believed January 6 was an insurrection by far right groups intent on taking over the Capitol and overturning an election.
And joining me now is Glenn Kirschner, MSNBC legal analyst and former federal prosecutor. He was also in that courtroom today.
So, Glenn, give us a flavor of this. I mean, those two jurors, I think, speak for a lot of people probably watching the show right now. How many of the prospective jurors did they speak for?
GLENN KIRSCHNER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: It`s an open question, because they`re only midway through jury selection. They`re trying to qualify a group of 45 potential jurors.
And then, once those 45 are qualified, each side will get a series of what are called peremptory strikes, where they can strike jurors for any reason at all, except race, ethnicity, or gender.
But here`s the thing. People often believe that we try to select jurors who know nothing about a case.
KIRSCHNER: And in a high-profile case, that`s difficult.
In the highest-profile case -- and this is one of them -- the seditious conspiracy, the attack on the U.S. Capitol, it`s really hard to get people who haven`t heard something about it. But the key is not whether they heard about what happened on January 6 at the U.S. Capitol or not.
Frankly, I question the fitness of somebody to serve who knows nothing about the attack on our Capitol.
KIRSCHNER: But the key is, if they know something about it, as long as they can swear under oath to the judge that they can put all of that out of their minds and decide the case based solely on what they see unfold in the courtroom, that`s what makes a qualified juror.
REID: Well, let me ask you this.
Like, if you`re going through, and you`re a prosecutor in this case, are you looking for people, let`s say, who have police officers in their family. Does that help or hurt? Because there were police officers on both sides of this thing, right? We know that a guy just got sentenced for -- to seven years for what he did to -- the beating and Tasing, almost killing Officer Michael Fanone. He got a seven-year sentence.
But some of the people who were doing the things that were done to Officer Fanone were also cops. So, are you looking for people who are pro-law enforcement? Are you looking for people who have attitudes about Donald Trump? Is being in D.C., meaning you live close to the Capitol, maybe have some feelings about the Capitol -- like, what are you looking for as a prosecutor?
KIRSCHNER: Yes, this may sound like a trite answer, but I`m looking for jurors who can be fair, because, just as a defendant is entitled to a fair trial, the people of the United States are also entitled to a fair trial.
And, in a very real sense, as a federal prosecutor for 30 years, I spoke for the people of the United States in criminal prosecutions. So, was I looking for a juror who was a little bit more pro-law enforcement than anti-law enforcement? Of course I were, but it has to be within reasonable bounds.
KIRSCHNER: So, for example, every jury that is selected as asked the question, can you judge the credibility of the testimony of a police officer fairly, just as you would judge anybody else`s testimony?
And you have to wait to hear the response from the juror. And jury selection is an intensely individual endeavor. You`re eyeballing every single juror as they`re answering the questions. You`re trying to gauge not only their fitness, but their sincerity, their candor, when they`re answering these questions.
REID: Let me ask you this. This is about the defense.
And "The New York Times" is reporting that lawyers for the five defendants are set to argue at the trial that the Oath Keepers were waiting on January 6 for Donald Trump, as president, to invoke the Insurrection Act, a Revolutionary era law that grants the president wide power to deploy the military to declare unjust -- unrest and emergencies.
Can they claim that? They weren`t a real militia. They didn`t work for the government. They weren`t in the Army. Does that even matter if Donald Trump had -- he didn`t do it, but would that even matter?
KIRSCHNER: Sometimes, defendants have a good legal defense. Sometimes they, have a good factual defense. The Oath Keepers on trial have neither.
It feels like they`re trying to argue they were following Donald Trump`s orders. And, in a sense, they were, because Donald Trump ordered an attack on the Capitol to stop the certification of Joe Biden`s win. But they`re not even arguing that directly. They`re saying, we thought we might be enlisted into assisting the government if Donald Trump invoked the Insurrection Act.
Let`s set aside for a minute that that is not even a legal thing. But they weren`t even following orders. They were hoping they might get some orders that they could then follow, which also wouldn`t have been a defense.
You know what I think they`re trying to do, Joy? I think they are hoping to confuse just one or two jurors into hanging up the jury, because, based on what I have seen thus far, they really don`t have much of a defense.
REID: Yes, it`s like, we`re Brownshirts. That doesn`t seem like a really strong defense, right? Like, we wanted to be Brownshirts.
I don`t think that sounds good. Let`s talk about this. The sentences that we have seen -- as I just mentioned, you did have one January 6 defendant gets seven years. Some of the sentences have seemed really light, like 10 months, probation. They haven`t seemed that strong.
You`re starting to see a little bit longer sentences for the people who were the most violent. When you look at these sentences, some of them have been short of what the government wanted. People say they want -- the government says they want 10 years. They get seven.
Do you think that these sentences are in line with what seems reasonable to you?
KIRSCHNER: Yes, these are really difficult to gauge, because sentencing is also an individual endeavor. You have to take the history of the offender, any expression of remorse, and whether it is legitimate or not, just putting on a show for the judge.
KIRSCHNER: So, yes, I do expect, as we move through the more serious cases, and then as we move up into the command structure of the insurrection...
KIRSCHNER: ... I`m hoping that the sentences will increase.
REID: You would -- one would think.
Glenn Kirschner, always a pleasure. Thank you very much, my friend.
And up next: The war, well, it isn`t going well for Russia. And now come sham referendums, asking four occupied areas of Ukraine if they wanted to be part of Russia. Well, guess how that turned out?
We will be right back.
REID: In this country, you have a twice-impeached former president and his MAGA followers continuing to cry wolf over what was a democratically run free and fair election in 2020.
If you want to see what a rigged vote actually looks like, just look to the sham referendums that have concluded today across four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine, all to give Russian President Vladimir Putin a pretext to annex those regions.
Early votes from this Russian-choreographed process is showing more than 96 percent of residents in those areas in favor of annexation. That is according to a Russian news agency, which you can totally trust.
Perhaps that should not be all that surprising, with reports of people being forced to participate at gunpoint. These numbers are mirroring a similarly contested referendum in 2014 that led to Russia`s illegal annexation of Crimea. Just like with Crimea, this is being slammed by Ukraine and its allies as a violation of international law.
This may be Putin`s only strategy left, as military-aged men in Russia are rushing to the border to escape his partial mobilization order of up to 300,000 more Russians to head to the front lines in Ukraine.
Stunning images show miles of cars caught in traffic jams leaving for neighboring countries like Georgia and Mongolia, reportedly waiting as long as 48 hours. Officials in Kazakstan -- Kazakstan say 98,000 Russians have already crossed into their country over the past week.
Throughout Russia, protests have broken out, recruiting centers have been attacked, and a recruitment officer was shot and seriously wounded. And, remember, all of this is being done to feed into one man`s obsession with power. We can all, sadly, relate to that part here in this country.
And that is tonight`s REIDOUT.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.