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Transcript: The ReidOut, 9/6/22

Guests: Roland Gutierrez, Kurt Bardella, David R. Cohen

Summary

Republican hypocrisy regarding Donald Trump`s Mar-a-Lago top secret documents is examined. Is the judge who granted Trump`s request for a special master in the Mar-a-Lago case creating rights out of thin air for the man who appointed her? How are families coping in the grief-stricken community of Uvalde, Texas, as they send their kids back to school for the first time since the massacre at Robb Elementary? Texas state Senator Roland Gutierrez discusses the return to school. How did an Internet message board became the new epicenter for online hate and harassment?

Transcript

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: What protest song or any song, whatever you want to call it, out there do you want to share?

You can tell me @AriMelber on social media. You can always connect with me at AriMelber.com in the comments there or @AriMelber. What protest song should we all be listening to in today`s America?

That does it for me.

"THE REIDOUT WITH JOY REID" starts now.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on THE REIDOUT:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): This is really, at its core, a storage argument that they`re making. I don`t think a fight over storage of documents is worthy of what they have done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Storage. The shameful hypocrisy of the Trump defenders after years of attacks on Hillary Clinton over her e-mail server.

Speaking of shameful, the judge who granted Trump`s request for a special master is creating special rights out of thin air for the man who appointed her, rights that you and I would never, ever receive.

Also tonight, how families are coping in the grief-stricken community of Uvalde, Texas, as they send their kids back to school for the first time since the massacre at Robb Elementary.

But we begin tonight with the 1974 Supreme Court case that was credited with ending Richard Nixon`s presidency.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening.

President Nixon has not yet responded to the sledgehammer decision of the Supreme Court today, which ruled that he must immediately turn over tapes of 64 presidential conversations.

In a unanimous decision written by Chief Justice Warren Burger, the court rejected 8-0 Mr. Nixon`s claim of absolute privilege on those tapes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: The case, United States vs. Nixon, was all about the Watergate prosecutors` demand following a subpoena for those audiotapes of conversations recorded by Nixon in the Oval Office.

Chief Justice Warren Burger, who, by the way, was nominated by Nixon, wrote: "We conclude that when the ground for asserting privilege as to subpoenaed materials sought for use in a criminal trial is based only on the generalized interest in confidentiality, it cannot prevail over the fundamental demands of due process of law in the fair administration of criminal justice. The generalized assertion of privilege must yield to the demonstrated specific need for evidence in a pending criminal trial."

Nixon was ordered to turn over the tapes. And we all know how that ended. That brings us to yesterday`s nonsensical decision by the Trump-appointed judge to not only approve the twice-impeached former president`s request for a special master, but that this person will be able to sift through the more than 11,000 documents and items the FBI seized from Trump`s Florida golf resort to make a ruling on both attorney-client privilege and executive privilege.

Now remember, executive privilege is granted to the office of the presidency and to the person presently in that role, which Trump is not. And President Biden has not offered to assert -- to exert privilege in this case. It`s also meant for use during a dispute between the different branches of government, not inside the same one, as in this case.

The president and the Justice Department, they`re part of the same executive branch. I mean, it doesn`t take a legal degree to understand that.

But, in her ruling, Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon wrote: "Even if any assertion of executive privilege by plaintiff ultimately fails in his context, that possibility, even if likely, does not negate a former president`s ability to raise the privilege as an initial matter."

Huh?

I mean, what should be clear from the 1974 court decision, even to a Trump judge, is that executive privilege cannot be used to cover up a crime. It also should be noted that, when it comes to executive privilege, neither Trump nor his legal team even appeared to utter that phrase when they handed over those classified documents to the National Archives in January or to the FBI in June.

And now, all of a sudden, they are so concerned. Also, to be clear, executive privilege material only covers communications between the president and his advisers. It does not cover already created materials, like the hundreds of classified documents that were seized from Mar-a-Lago.

The effects of yesterday`s decision, they go well beyond this one case.

As Andrew Weissmann, the former FBI general counsel and a senior member of special counsel Robert Mueller`s investigative team, writes: "One of the most dispiriting aspects of the decision yesterday by Federal District Court Judge Aileen Cannon is that it undermines the work of all the other judges who have tried to adhere to their oath to administer justice without respect to persons and do equal right to the poor and to the rich and to faithfully impartially discharge and perform all of the duties incumbent upon the office. Her ruling is untethered to the law and presents a skewed recitation the facts.

[19:05:02]

"Her actions make the question who appointed the judge a sadly relevant one in evaluating a judicial opinion.

Joining me now is Neal Katyal, MSNBC legal analyst and former acting solicitor general, Cynthia Alksne, former federal prosecutor, and David R. Cohen, who is a former federal special master.

Thank you all for being here.

Neal, I am so glad that you are around to -- available to be around tonight, because your tweet thread on this ruling, it captured my vibe, my entire vibe. Even as a non-lawyer, I read that decision as ridiculous, because she seemed to be, number one, defending the idea that an ex- president could exert executive privilege -- assert executive privilege, which I quickly Googled the Nixon case, in which it`s like, no, you can`t - - even a current president can`t do it if there`s a crime involved.

And an ex-president certainly can`t. And then there was this piece. And I just want you to comment on this, because this is the one that I think really got me the most annoyed.

This is her quote: "As a function of plaintiff`s former position as president of the United States, the stigma associated with the subject seizure is in a league of its own. A future indictment based on any -- to any degree on property that ought to be returned would result in reputational harm, reputational harm of a decidedly different order of magnitude."

Neal, my friend...

NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Joy, you`re asking about...

REID: Isn`t any investigation representative -- doesn`t any investigation of you harm your reputation?

Go ahead.

KATYAL: A hundred percent. So, calling this ridiculous is generous to this ruling.

So, first of all, you`re asking about Supreme Court cases like the 1974 Nixon case, so you are a woman after my own heart. This is what I love talking about. When I ran the solicitor general`s office, we had an informal rule. If you`re the president, and you`re citing a Nixon case, that`s bad news for you, and for two reasons.

(LAUGHTER)

KATYAL: One, the case makes clear that executive privilege gives away in the context of a criminal investigation. That`s what we have at Mar-a-Lago.

And, second, you can`t have executive privilege against the executive branch. It`s not some like post-presidential privilege that allows you to keep any documents you want after you leave office. At most, it means that there are some hard documents that have to be returned to the Archives, which is just a sideshow here.

So, I think there are three big problems with the judge`s ruling yesterday, the scope, the separation of powers intrusion, and then just the craft of the thing.

So, for the scope, even if you think that a special master might be helpful, like, perception-wise or something, she does more than that, Joy. She enjoins, she stops the entire federal investigation while we wait for a special master. I have never seen anything like that. That`s obviously an intrusion on separation of powers and why I think the Justice Department will have to seek some further reconsideration of this ruling.

And then, as a matter of craft, I mean, just think about it. This is the most important professional thing this judge has ever done in her lifetime. You would expect the A game. This is more like food court than it is judicial court.

(LAUGHTER)

KATYAL: Every defendant would love a special master. Every defendant says, what you just put on the screen, Joy, oh, the stigma of this investigation is hurting me. Every defendant says their reputation will be sullied. Every defendant says they`re being unfairly targeted and set up.

None of them get special masters, only this person. And it`s because, unfortunately, it looks like there was a forum-shopped federal judge who wanted to stop an entire criminal investigation. It stinks to high heaven.

REID: It does.

And, Cynthia, I know, just because I know you, I know that you used to deal with a lot of sex crimes, really horrible crimes that you used to prosecute. If you want to talk about reputational harm, that`s reputational harm. You get accused of something awful, you get accused of anything illegal, your reputation is harmed, full stop.

For this judge to hinge the idea that Donald Trump stole some things that belong to the federal government and had them in his house, and that going and getting them and then using them to investigate the theft causes him reputational harm is ridiculous.

I`m sure every defendant that was in a courtroom facing you would have said the same thing. What will the investigators -- in your view, how do they deal with this? Because my guess is, if they go to the 12th Circuit, which Trump appointed, what, like more than half of them, or they go to the Supreme Court that are like his people, they aren`t going to win and it`s going to take forever.

So what do you think investigators do now?

CYNTHIA ALKSNE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Right. Well, they would go to the 11th Circuit, but that`s...

REID: Eleventh Circuit. Sorry.

ALKSNE: And you put your finger on the difficult position for the Justice Department. They`re between a rock and a hard place.

Their choice is either to go back to this judge, who is not so wonderful and brilliant, to go back to this judge and ask her to maybe change it or fix it or get the special master going. And she`s somebody who`s obviously in Trump`s court who may figure out ways to delay it. And then she`s a problem.

[19:10:02]

And then the other choice is to go to the 11th Circuit, and then maybe that gets appealed, and maybe it goes up Supreme Court. And maybe it takes a year-and-a-half, and maybe all kinds of other terrible things happen. So they`re in a difficult position.

But probably, on balance, they stay and get a special master, because, probably, it will take less time than the 11th Circuit Supreme Court route, even though that leaves in place this terrible ruling, which essentially is telling people Trump gets special treatment, Trump is different, and just know that, if you`re rich and famous, you can get a different kind of justice.

That`s a terrible thing to leave kind of on the table for the American people. But if you want to get this case moving, you really don`t have much of a choice. That`s the problem for the brilliant minds at the Justice Department.

And I would just say, I think we need a special master, and I think Neal would be a good one.

(LAUGHTER)

ALKSNE: He has the temperament that we`re looking for. He has the pedigree. He`s done all this stuff. I think he`d be really good.

I would like to formally nominate him.

REID: I would happily nominate Neal Katyal.

But you -- as you know, Trump is probably going to ask for Devin Nunes or like the Kraken lady, or like Rudy Giuliani. Like, we`re in like bizarro world territory right now.

We have a former special master here on this panel, David Cohen.

So, I just want to ask you, can you go through, what are the qualifications for this job?

DAVID R. COHEN, FORMER FEDERAL SPECIAL MASTER: Well, Joy, let me begin by saying that I disagree with almost everything everybody has said, believe it or not.

Look, the key to being a special master and to being a federal judge is to be neutral. And so everything that any of you said, you should be willing to say if the same thing had happened to President Obama or President Bush or President Anybody Else.

REID: I think all of us would. All of us would.

(CROSSTALK)

COHEN: Right.

And the simple fact is that this is an exceptional case, right? This is -- this is an instance where the president -- and maybe for good reason. I`m not arguing that, on the merits, eventually, all of the documents that were in Trump`s basement were there improperly. I`m not -- I have no opinion on that.

What I am saying is...

(CROSSTALK)

REID: Wait. You don`t have an opinion that?

Wait. Hold on a second, Just one moment, please. You don`t have an opinion that?

COHEN: No, I don`t.

REID: Who do the documents belong if they came from the -- but one moment.

If these were documents that belonged -- these are national security documents. Who do they belong to?

COHEN: The reason I don`t have an opinion it is because, as a special master, if I were to take this job, I`m not allowed to have an opinion on it. I shouldn`t have an opinion on it, until I spend the time to understand exactly what there is, what is there, whether attorney-client privilege applies, whether executive privilege applies, learning the law to make that assessment?

(CROSSTALK)

REID: One second. Can I ask you a question? Let me just ask you a question, just a factual question.

Can you have attorney-client privilege over a classified document that`s in a folder that says classified on it that`s a government document? Can one assert attorney-client privilege over that ever?

COHEN: I`d have to see the -- well, ever? Yes. I would -- never is too big a word. To say never is too big a word.

REID: So, you`re saying that Donald Trump could take control of government classified documents legally, and just store them in his basement, and that`s potentially legal?

COHEN: No, that`s a very different question.

Whether he stored them there appropriately is a different question. I am guessing the answer is no. It seems unlikely that anybody, any president, anybody should be able to take a classified document and keep it in his basement mixed up with other documents. That seems...

REID: OK. Thank you.

COHEN: ... a fair assessment.

REID: Good.

COHEN: But that`s not what`s being examined.

That`s not what`s being questioned right now. What`s being questioned is whether the documents are privileged, whether there is a privilege that the president has, any president has, from turning those over.

And to get a neutral party, who I think should probably be a retired judge or another judge who is used to this kind of inquiry who understands the law of privilege, who will have to learn the law of executive privilege, because there isn`t a lot out there, that`s something that has...

REID: There isn`t -- he doesn`t have executive privilege. The current president -- let me let Neal respond, because I`m not equipped to, because I`m not an attorney.

Neal, I want to let you respond to that, because there is now -- at least Mr. Cohen, who has every right to have his own opinion, is asserting whether there`s a question whether the former president of the United States, who is not at office now, can exert executive privilege over government property.

That, to me, sounds absurd, but I am not a lawyer. I will let you respond.

KATYAL: Yes, with respect to Mr. Cohen, I guess I`d say several things.

One is, the harm here is not the appointment of the special master, as much as it`s a federal court stopping in its tracks a federal investigation. That`s just not something that ever happens. And so that`s a serious intrusion into the separation of powers, regardless of whether you think a special master might be justified.

Second, the idea that you need a special master because you need a neutral person just seems to me poppycock. That is, of course, what federal judges and magistrate judges do time and time again. Sometimes, they can go for a special master. But that`s only when the volume of documents is so large or something like that. There`s no allegation that it is here.

[19:15:03]

And, D, that brings me to the third point. President Trump has never actually formally asserted executive privilege over any of these documents, Joy. And you`re absolutely right. The idea that there`s executive privilege over national security documents and covert operations, give me a break.

Never. And, to the extent there is any, it would be against another branch of government, like Congress, in the context of a hearing or something like that, not against the executive branch itself. That`s what that Nixon case you`re referring to is so powerful on.

Here, the assertion is executive privilege against the executive branch? That`s nonsense. It`s a loser claim every day of the week, which is why the judge buried it, and she tried to pretend, saying, oh, President Biden didn`t actually waive executive privilege, when the Justice Department filed a formal letter from the Archives saying exactly that.

REID: Mr. Cohen?

COHEN: Sure.

So, first of all, we`re talking about 11,000 documents. Any judge, if it was her job, and not a special master`s job, any job is going to need some help. That`s a big job to go through 11,000 documents. That`s part one.

Part two, look, he can assert the privilege. It doesn`t mean that it`s well taken. I may agree with you, if I were to spend time going over those documents and looking what they say and understanding the contours and the scope of executive privilege, which is probably going to end up being decided by the Supreme Court at some point, and also the contours of attorney-client privilege, and apply the law to each document.

But to say that he`s not allowed to assert it because he will lose, that doesn`t make any sense.

(CROSSTALK)

REID: No, he`s not allowed to assert it because he`s not president.

COHEN: But, like it or not, he`s the president of the United States.

(CROSSTALK)

REID: But, like, he`s not president, OK? He`s not president. He`s a literal civilian like me. He`s just a regular dude.

(CROSSTALK)

REID: Let me just give Bill Barr -- I`m going to do something I would never do. I`m going to give William Barr the last word. Here`s William Barr.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM BARR, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The opinion, I think, was wrong. And I think the government should appeal it. It`s deeply flawed in a number of ways.

I don`t think the appointment of a special master is going to hold up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: I`m going to leave it there.

But I would love to have you come back, Mr. Cohen. I love -- the spirit of debate is wonderful. We love to debate on the show.

So, Cynthia Alksne, David R. Cohen, thank you very much, and Neal Katyal. Much appreciated. Thank you very much.

All right, coming up next on THE REIDOUT: the enormous number of election deniers on the ballot this fall, plus the sheer hypocrisy on the right over Trump and classified documents that he stole from the government.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:21:42]

REID: We are now exactly nine weeks away from the midterm election.

And following up on his speech in Philadelphia last week, President Biden has sharpened his attacks on MAGA Republicans and the threat that they pose to American democracy.

Speaking in Milwaukee yesterday, the president made clear that not every Republican is a MAGA Republican, but, in a separate event in Pennsylvania, he made clear exactly what those Republicans stand for.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s clear which way the new MAGA Republicans are. They`re extreme. And democracy is really at stake.

You can`t be a democracy when you support violence when you don`t like the outcome of an election. You can`t be a democracy and call yourself one if you continue to do what they`re doing.

Trump and the MAGA Republicans made their choice. We can choose to build a better America or we can continue down this sliding path.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Underscoring that choice, the former president also spoke in Pennsylvania, where he spent a good chunk of time complaining about the FBI search of his Florida compound and calling the FBI vicious monsters, before it devolved into, what else, "Lock her up."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AUDIENCE: Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Now, if that sounds familiar, no, it`s not 2016 all over again. But, yes, yes, that was the same "Lock her up" chant that he used over and over again back then because Hillary Clinton had a private e-mail server as secretary of state.

Now, you may remember they had all sorts of but her e-mails feelings about that, like then-presidential candidate and really always presidential candidate Marco Rubio.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

M. RUBIO: She wouldn`t just be a disaster. Hillary Clinton is disqualified from being commander in chief of the United States.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

M. RUBIO: Someone who cannot handle intelligence information appropriately cannot be commander in chief.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Really?

Well, it seems that, in 2016, Senator Rubio was very, very concerned about Clinton`s handling of sensitive material, so much so that he also put out a series of statements saying that there was no excuse for Secretary Blinken`s actions and that she left us vulnerable to America`s enemies.

Fast-forward six years, and little Marco, who is now running for reelection in a MAGA Republican Party in a MAGA Republican state, says he doesn`t see the big deal when it`s an FBI investigation into handling of sensitive materials, in this case, top government secrets involving Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

M. RUBIO: This really at its core a storage argument that they`re making, right? They`re arguing there are documents there. They don`t deny that he should have access to those documents, but they deny that they were not properly stored.

I don`t think a fight over storage of documents is worthy of what they have done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Storage.

Joining me now -- storage -- Kurt Bardella, adviser to the DNC and the DCCC and former spokesperson and senior adviser for Republicans on the House Oversight Committee back in the day, and Fernand Amandi, pollster and MSNBC political analyst.

Storage. That`s the new -- it`s not -- it used to be plastics, and now it`s storage.

(LAUGHTER)

REID: Let me just let you guys listen. This is hot off the presses. This is from -- this was on CBS tonight, Hillary Clinton responding to these comparisons with Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: So I think it`s a really different comparison to what`s going on here, when it appears that the Justice Department and the FBI have been incredibly patient, quiet, careful, until they finally, apparently, thought that national security was at stake.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[19:25:03]

REID: Fernand Amandi, it is down to you to explain why little Marco has a problem with that lady, but he`s fine with storage of classified materials in Donald Trump`s house.

FERNAND AMANDI, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Easy answer.

It`s because Marco clearly has not been invited to milk and cookies from MAGA Republicans at Mar-a-Lago recently. The invites have gotten lost in the mail. So that is nothing more than 100 percent pure-grade sycophancy, appealing to Donald Trump and trying to get in the good graces and doing his best Lindsey Graham imitation in the process.

It goes without saying it is stark raving hypocrisy, Joy. But, as we have always said, you cannot shame the shameless. You cannot try and drag out and make calls to hypocrites to folks that are absolutely amoral and have no regard for the truth.

So it`s why I think you need more of the type of comments that President Biden finally, thankfully said, which is that these MAGA Republicans are a danger to the Constitution. They`re an existential threat to America. And President Biden has drawn the battle lines for Americans now to decide: Are you part of the MAGA Republicans or are you part of the rest of us, including Republicans who are mainstream Republicans, independents, Democrats, anyone that loves this country and loves the democracy?

And Marco Rubio has made his choice.

REID: Absolutely. No, he -- that`s it`s the reason I call him Mr. Cellophane. There is a saying that, if you`re waiting for Marco Rubio to grow a spine, you`re already dead.

You can now add, if you`re waiting for Marco Rubio to save democracy, also already.

(LAUGHTER)

REID: Kurt Bardella, so we know what Mr. Cellophane is doing, whatever you like, Donald Trump, whatever you like. That`s his attitude.

But my thing is, the Republicans have made an entire career out of being the national security party. But now what you have are -- this is an example of some Republicans. Cowboys for Trump co-founder has now been barred by the sedition amendment, the 14th Amendment, from ever serving on the county commission in Otero County, because he`s an insurrectionist.

They have actually used the 14th Amendment Civil War provision on an actual Republican. Another item, in "The New York Times," they report that: "As the nation is hurtling close to the midterms, those who will oversee the election are taking a range of steps to beef up security." They`re having to get security at polling places for low-paid, completely civically minded polling workers.

The Republican Party is the party of violence. Isn`t Biden right to try to quarantine them?

KURT BARDELLA, DNC AND DCCC ADVISER: Yes, I think President Biden is effectively and truthfully laying the stakes out for what we`re facing right now in this moment of history.

And, oh, by the way, it`s not political to tell the truth about the threat to democracy that MAGA Republicans pose. It`s not political to uphold your oath of office, which literally states to defend the Constitution of the United States.

When you have people out there saying that, if they don`t get their way at the polls, they will resort to violence, when you have people out there, sitting United States senators saying, if the Justice Department actually upholds the law, there will be riots in the street.

When you use violence to try to achieve a political means, you need to be called out. And that`s not political. That`s just existing in the real world with the rest of us and telling the truth and being honest. And that`s what President Biden is doing right now.

Meanwhile, Republicans are bending over backwards, trying to somehow make the case that they`re the party of national security, the party of law enforcement, while, at the same time, putting a target on the backs of FBI officers, while putting a target on the backs of poll workers, volunteers, the people who are literally on the front lines of our democratic process, the people that we have all seen when we go to the polls and seen the volunteers, the senior citizens, the civic-minded people who don`t have a partisan agenda, just want to do their part to try to make democracy work.

Those are the people that MAGA Republicans are targeting, and it`s despicable.

REID: Hey.

And, Fernand, let me read you something from "Washington Post."

The Pentagon leader -- Pentagon leaders are now warning of strains in the civilian military relations -- quote -- "Former defense secretaries and top generals warned on Tuesday that political polarization and other societal strains are creating an exceptionally challenging environment for maintaining the traditional relationship between the military and civilian worlds. The leaders do not blame the political -- one political leader or party for the situation, but note that the last presidential election was the first in more than a century to have the peaceful transfer of power disrupted."

That`s a quiet way of saying what we have all heard, is that we now live in an era where there`s one party willing to overthrow the government.

AMANDI: That`s exactly what it is.

And I hate to use this metaphor, but it`s a cancer. It`s metastasizing and spreading, because, once the American people start to question the very foundations of what this country is about, are we a constitutional republic democracy that elects our representatives and we accept the outcomes of those free and fair elections no matter what?

Once that comes into question, Joy, it starts to become unraveled, which is why I think you need to make this, along with the other element, the Republican Party of today, this MAGA Republican Party, is full-throated in a race stripped away rights. It doesn`t matter if these rights have been granted to you by the Constitution.

[19:30:04]

It doesn`t matter if these rights have been granted to you over the progress of time in the 246-year American experiment. That, along with their call for political violence, if necessary, their fascist approach to how they see the American century going forward is what this race needs to be about.

And I think President Biden did right. And I think the reaction by these Republicans, Joy, listen to what they say and what they do, more importantly. They screamed bloody murder after that speech, because they know that speech drew the lines for every American to ask this question about: Are they a MAGA Republican fascist, or they do believe in democracy?

REID: Yes, operation quarantine.

By the way, as Joan Walsh said yesterday, if you`re not a fascist, then somebody calling folks fascist shouldn`t bother you.

Kurt Bardella, Fernand Amandi, thank you both.

Up next: how an Internet message board became the new epicenter for online hate and harassment and what`s being done about it.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:35:36]

REID: The fringe, dark part of the Internet is a scary place and includes sites like Kiwi Farms, an Internet message board associated with vicious anti-trans harassment campaigns.

Clara Sorrenti is a target of one of these campaigns. She`s a Twitch streamer known to fans as Keffals, and she is spearheading an effort to take down the fringe site. Sorrenti became a target after speaking out against anti-trans legislation in the U.S.

Kiwi Farms users doxxed her, creating a thread that included sexually explicit material of her, along with personal contact information. What followed was stalking, threats and violence so severe, she actually fled the country.

Amid this harassment, Sorrenti reported receiving a threatening voice-mail that has been obtained by NBC News.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi there. This is (INAUDIBLE) calling in here to let that you know you have been doxxed.

How do you think this happened? Well -- well, you see, your personal information got posted all over the Internet. And I`m just letting you know that someone`s special has it out for you. Don`t worry. Nothing bad is going to happen. Just a friendly reminder. Have a nice day.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

REID: Citing an imminent and emergency threat to human life, Cloudflare said on Saturday that it would block Kiwi Farms.

Yet experts fear that these tactics are being duplicated in the political world to intimidate political enemies.

Joining me now is Ben Collins, who covers disinformation and the Internet for NBC News.

I`m so glad that you`re here tonight.

I had never heard of Kiwi Farms until I saw your tweet thread. And so we were like, get this guy. Let him talk on -- let our friend tell us.

What is -- where did Kiwi Farms come from? And what is its relationship to 8chan and 4chan?

BEN COLLINS, NBC NEWS SENIOR REPORTER: Sure.

Kiwi Farms came from an administrator, an administrative Josh Moon, who used to work for 8chan. And then he moved over, due to a specific thing that he had with this guy named Chris Chan. It was called see CWC Forums, for basically Chris Chan forum, then moved over to Kiwi Farms.

Basically, they got tired of stalking and harassing one person, and they opened up their playbook to everyone. But they have their own set of people they like to stalk and harass.

And, recently, it`s mostly trans people. They try to chase them out of their homes. They try to chase them off the Internet. If you have a picture of yourself next to someone, they will try to threaten that person, that someone, not just you.

If you -- they can find out who your employer is, they will call your employer and tell them that you are a pedophile, until you get fired. They will try to make it so you never post anything on the Internet.

Until about last week, they were incredibly successful. People have been in droves coming to me saying, I am a trans person or I -- for some reason, I was targeted by them. I have a disability. They target people with disabilities. I couldn`t post anything on the Internet for the last few years, because if I poked this hornet`s nest, they would come after me next.

This site has been down for a couple of days. And people are finally coming out of the woodwork and saying how bad this has been.

REID: And the issue now is that they may not be active and be able to be active right now because it`s been taken down, but their tactics are now part of the political landscape. Explain.

COLLINS: Yes, I want to stress, by the way, three people were driven to suicide by this Web site over the last eight years.

REID: Wow.

COLLINS: Clara was not. Clara had an army of fans and she had money.

But here`s what they did to her. They first swatted her at her home. So, that means a -- they sent a police officer to her home under false pretenses trying to get her killed by state violence. They were trying to get a police officer to shoot her for them.

She had to flee her home after it happened again. So she went to a hotel and she brought her cat. She took a picture of her cat on the bedsheets at her hotel. They identified her and hotel by the bedsheets. She had to flee that hotel. She went to Northern Ireland, to Belfast.

They identified the background of her safe house by the doorknob on the wall and compared it to real estate listings on Zillow. They hacked her Uber, because people haven`t logged into Uber for eight years or so. They have not logged out and then logged back in. So they`re probably using a password from about eight years ago.

That is what was happening with her. So they hacked into her Uber, everyone in her family. That`s what`s going to happen to political enemies in this country. If you think -- if the right thinks that they are absolved of this, they are not. They are in trouble as well.

We have a massive data apocalypse with this stuff. Anybody can be traced -- traced and tracked on the Internet, stalked, harassed for any opinion, or because they look funny, or because they sound funny, or anything that will make people angry. And once this becomes a political playbook, which it absolutely has for the anti-trans lobby in the last few months.

[19:40:03]

They have started calling in bomb threats against children`s hospitals, things like that. Once it becomes a political issue, it can affect any single person. So that`s what the information world will look like in 2022 and 2024, unless we work to stop this thing.

REID: And why -- is there a reason they are only targeting trans people? Is this -- is that the specialized sort of target list, or are they targeting other people as well? Because why were they fixating just on trans people?

COLLINS: Because it`s a spawn of 4chan culture. These are -- these are chan-based people.

And 4chan culture hates people that they are told to hate. This is inherently a white supremacist, anti-trans, pro-white space. They are testing this out on trans people because they know that not everybody is on board to fight back with this. They are the most persecuted people in this country in terms of Internet harassment.

And they know that there is no lobby to stand up for these people, to work with them. They will do this to everybody eventually if we don`t find a way to stop it.

REID: Wow. It`s scary.

You learn something new every day, something horrible a lot of the time. But we say scaring is caring on this show. So I very much appreciate you.

Ben Collins, excellent reporting. Thank you very much.

And still ahead, wow, it is back-to-school day for students in Uvalde, Texas. How students and parents prepared for this day -- next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:46:02]

REID: Today is the first day back to class for students at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, after a gunman killed 19 of their classmates and two of their teachers in may.

My colleague Jose Diaz-Balart spoke to the family of one of the victims, 10-year-old Lexi Rubio.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KIMBERLY RUBIO, MOTHER OF UVALDE SHOOTING VICTIM: Yes, it`s like it just happened, but then it feels like we haven`t had her forever already.

JOSE DIAZ-BALART, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Ten-year-old Lexi Rubio is one of the 19 children and two teachers murdered at Robb Elementary in Uvalde. Texas.

FELIX RUBIO, FATHER OF UVALDE SHOOTING VICTIM: I haven`t accepted. It`s just hard.

DIAZ-BALART: Felix and Kim Rubio`s youngest daughter was compassionate, an athlete and an honor roll student.

K. RUBIO: The opportunities were just endless. So, she has had that stolen from her.

DIAZ-BALART: This is the last picture they took together, at the end of school awards day, just hours before the shooting.

Three months later, they`re faced with a new school year for their other five children.

(on camera): What are your thoughts, as this school here begins?

K. RUBIO: Just scared. I don`t know that the school district has done everything that I`d like to see as far as security measures. But I also know it`s important for the kids to have some sort of routine, so trying to balance what`s best for them.

DIAZ-BALART (voice-over): Their children will attend school in person, but are signed up for virtual classes as a backup.

K. RUBIO: This week, we had our youngest son`s meet-the-teacher. It`s incredibly difficult, incredibly difficult to go on campus, knowing that Lexi`s not going to be meeting the teacher this year.

F. RUBIO: You will always be our baby.

K. RUBIO: This is the flowers from the funeral and a rosary. It says, "God will hold your hand until I get there."

DIAZ-BALART: Kimberly and Felix live in a whirlwind of emotions, of mourning, of sadness, of grief...

K. RUBIO: I want her here.

DIAZ-BALART: .. and have one recurring question weighing heavily on their mind.

Felix, what do you still want to know?

F. RUBIO: If she had a chance, or was it quick? I just want to know if she had a chance.

K. RUBIO: I think the same question as my husband, because there really is no answer, because, no matter what, I just still won`t have my daughter.

DIAZ-BALART: The Rubios have traveled to the nation`s capital and the state capital this summer demanding change.

(on camera): One of the things you have been doing is focusing on fighting for some change in gun laws.

What is it that you want?

K. RUBIO: A federal ban on assault weapons. I live in Texas. We`re going to stay here now, because we want to stay with Lexi. So, anything else just isn`t going to work for us.

DIAZ-BALART (voice-over): They will return to D.C. next month, as they continue to be a voice for Lexi. Her father, an Iraq War veteran and a sheriff`s deputy, will be wearing the pink dog tag he always wears to keep her memory close.

(on camera): You have her thumbprint on your chest.

F. RUBIO: Pretty much have it on...

K. RUBIO: Every day.

F. RUBIO: Yes, every day.

DIAZ-BALART: You have one too of a heart with her thumbprint on it.

K. RUBIO: And on the back, it says: "I carry your heart."

DIAZ-BALART (voice-over): Carrying her heart with theirs forever broken.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

REID: Wow, wonderful reporting by my colleague and dear friend Jose Diaz- Balart.

And I will be joined by Texas state Senator Roland Gutierrez, who represents Uvalde, right after this break.

Stay right there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:54:23]

REID: Today is the first day back to school for kids in Uvalde, Texas, but 19 of their classmates and two of their beloved teachers will be missing.

Students from Robb Elementary have been relocated to two other schools in the district. They were greeted today by loving teachers newly trained to help students displaying signs of grief and trauma and friendly comfort dogs. Some of the State Troopers who responded to the attack, well, they were also on site this morning to -- quote -- "ensure the students` safety."

Joining me now, Texas state Senator Roland Gutierrez.

Thank you so much for being here.

And I don`t know if you were able to see that heartbreaking package that Jose Diaz-Balart did, but your heart breaks for the students. But, also, I can understand why the kids would be afraid to go back.

[19:55:00]

And you have these DPS officers who are still there in the school. How are they still assigned to deal with the students?

STATE SEN. ROLAND GUTIERREZ (D-TX): Yes, Joy, I mean, it`s all very problematic, especially after you have been hearing more breaking news today about the Department of Public Safety actually sending five of the Troopers that were on the scene on the 24th to an investigative forum to do -- the inspector general`s office.

And so there`s a lot of issues with the Department of Public Safety that need to be fleshed out. The community is not happy with having those officers in their community, especially the ones that were there on scene.

REID: Yes. They...

GUTIERREZ: They want to have changes. They want to have laws change.

Go ahead. I`m sorry.

REID: Well, no, the idea is that people want to be safe. And I don`t know how they can feel safe with those same officers who waited for an hour or more to do nothing.

There`s also been a lot of requests. You heard the mom in that piece that she would like to see an assault weapons ban. The parents would like to see eight-foot fences, security cameras, door locks, campuses closed to visitors.

Like, there`s a lot of like concrete changes that families are asking for demanding. It doesn`t seem like any of those things are happening. Am I wrong about that?

GUTIERREZ: No, you`re absolutely right. And we`re asking for it.

Listen, I represent South and West Texas, a very rural community, people that are very much into their guns, and we get it. The vast majority of these same parents are simply asking for the minimal thing, which is an age increase to 21. And yet Greg Abbott has refused to call a special session.

Last week, he actually lied to the entire public of Texas by telling us that it`s unconstitutional; 18 states have age limits. We in Texas have an age limit for handguns. But he is telling us now that it would be unconstitutional. He knows better. He`s a lawyer, former attorney general, former Texas Supreme Court justice. He knows the Constitution. He knows better, but yet he doesn`t have the courage to do what`s right.

REID: And Beto O`Rourke had a statement today.

And this is what he said. He said: "Thinking of the students and teachers who are walking into their classrooms this morning and remembering the 21 who are not. We must act. We will act. We`re going to keep our children safe."

That was his statement. Greg Abbott didn`t give a statement, which is odd to me to be the governor of a state where something as horrific and wrenching as Uvalde happens, and he did comment, but only after he was asked about it by a reporter.

What do you make of the fact that he didn`t seem to put any sort of overt compassion out without being -- it being solicited?

GUTIERREZ: Joy, this governor has been tone-deaf on everything that`s happened in Uvalde and all of rural Texas, quite frankly.

We found out last week in a FOX affiliate, local FOX affiliate, that he knew about these broken radios that didn`t work inside the school for the last seven years. They were requesting money to be able to fix these radios. The biggest user was the Department of Public Safety of that radio system. He was exposed last week.

And so this story that we have been living, this horror story we have been living for the last 90 days, was as much a horror story as it is a story of extreme neglect of rural Texas by one man and one party that likes to pretend they`re cowboys, but, quite frankly, they don`t act like cowboys. Cowboys wouldn`t do what they`re doing to the people in Uvalde.

REID: Yes.

Are you -- do you -- have you had a chance, like, to speak with anyone from Uvalde to just know how the community is holding up? Because this is such extreme trauma that I can`t imagine how these families are able to even get back into the school routine.

GUTIERREZ: The whole thing is so tragic, Joy.

And what they really -- they want answers. They want changes, for sure. But they want people to listen and be compassionate. They don`t want just -- the school district the other day, they fired the cop, and then they shut down that meeting really quickly.

They want to be heard. People always want an opportunity to be heard and felt. And I think that that`s missing in this whole dialogue that we have had. I mean, I think a few of us -- even the mayor has tried to give them some answers. But, unfortunately, he`s been shut down by a district attorney that says that we`re -- that the whole thing is under investigation.

The shooter is dead. I mean, who is she covering for, but for the Department of Public Safety? We have asked for radio transmissions, we have asked for communications, and we have gotten absolutely nothing from this state agency.

And the one person that can ask for these that can get these things is the governor of the state of Texas. They direct report to him. He`s failed this community, and he`s continuing to do so.

REID: And do you think there`s any chance that you`re going to wind up with a special session to address some of these things, including the mom`s request? She`d like to see an assault weapons ban.

They`re going to D.C. to protest for it.

GUTIERREZ: I don`t think we`re going to see a special session, because this governor has refused.

As I said last week, he suggested that this whole thing is unconstitutional. He`s dead wrong.

REID: Yes.

GUTIERREZ: He likes to talk about mental health. Well, let`s have a special session on mental health.

My God, we are last in funding in mental health in the United States. Let`s have a special session on school hardening.

REID: Yes.

GUTIERREZ: We spent $110 million in 2019.

REID: Yes.

GUTIERREZ: They spent $4 billion this Operation Lone Star nonsense.

REID: Unbelievable.

Yes, he`s -- all he`s talking about is undocumented people. That`s what he`s talking about, instead of the safety of these little children and their teachers.

Texas state Senator Roland Gutierrez, thank you very much.

And that is tonight`s REIDOUT. Thank you all for tuning in.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.