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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 10/3/22

Guests: Tim Snyder, Elie Mystal, Andrew Warren, Paola Ramos


Trump posted violent threat and racist attack at GOP Senate majority Mitch McConnell and his wife Elaine Chao, which Republican Senator Rick Scott avoided to address during interviews. Trump MAGA supporter claimed with no evidence election fraud in Brazil`s presidential election. The Nation Justice Correspondent Elie Mystal joins Katie Phang to talk about day one of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson on the bench. Former Florida State Attorney Andrew Warren joins Katie Phang to talk about how he was removed from office by Governor Ron DeSantis last month for refusing to enforce laws involving abortion, transgender health care, and certain low-level nonviolent crimes.


NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: Thank you so much for letting us into your homes during these truly extraordinary times. We are grateful. THE BEAT with Katie Phang in for Ari Melber starts right now.

Hi, Katie.

KATIE PHANG, MSNBC ANCHOR: Hi, Nicolle. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

And, everyone, welcome to THE BEAT. I am Katie Phang in for Ari Melber.

We start with newly enflamed fears of political violence just over a month before the midterms. Donald Trump unleashing new violent and racist attacks on his perceived political opponents. Trump writing Mitch McConnell has a, quote, "death wish," because he negotiated a government funding deal with Democrats. Trump also going after McConnell`s wife, Elaine Chao, saying, quote, "must immediately seek help and advice from his China-loving wife Coco Chao."

"The Wall Street Journal`s" conservative editorial board condemning Trump, saying it`s all too easy to imagine some fanatic taking Mr. Trump seriously and literally, and attempting to kill Mr. McConnell. McConnell himself has not publicly responded but watch GOP Senator Rick Scott, a top party fundraiser, repeatedly dodge when pressed about Donald Trump.


DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: You`re a member of the Senate GOP leadership. Are you OK with this?

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): Well, look, I can never talk about -- respond to why anybody else says what they say.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The language is what I`m talking about. Isn`t that dangerous?

SCOTT: I think we all have to figure out how do we start bringing people together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you would agree that that language doesn`t bring people together?

SCOTT: I believe that what the -- I believe what President Trump was talking about is the fact that we can`t keep spending money.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, that`s not what the former president said. And Coco Chao was the phrase he used to refer to a former Cabinet secretary, Elaine Chao.

SCOTT: Look, he likes -- you know, he gives people nicknames.


PHANG: That`s not a nickname, that`s a racist name. Rick Scott also declining to condemn these remarks from Marjorie Taylor Greene this weekend at a Trump rally.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): We`re all targets now, though, for daring to push back against the regime, and it doesn`t stop at a weaponized legal system. I`m not going to mince words with you all. Democrats want Republicans dead, and they`ve already started the killings.


PHANG: This inflammatory rhetoric giving rise to real fears of violence to lawmakers. The "New York Times" reporting that in the five years after Trump`s election, the number of recorded threats against members of Congress increased more than tenfold to 902,625. "The Times" saying that in just the first few months of this year, Capitol Hill police opened 1,820 cases based on potential threats to lawmakers.

Joining me now is Juanita Tolliver, Democratic strategist and the host of "Crooked Media`s" "What a Day" podcast, and MSNBC political analyst, and Mark Liebovich, staff writer at the "Atlantic" and the author of the "New York Times" best-seller, "Thank You for Your Servitude."

I thank both of you for starting off our show and I`m going to lead off with Juanita. Your reaction to Trump`s violent and racist attacks on Mitch McConnell and Elaine Chao. I mean, it`s a day ending in why, so we shouldn`t be surprised but why is it still so shocking to hear?

JUANITA TOLLIVER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: That`s exactly right. We shouldn`t be surprised, but in a post January 6th reality where we know his supporters take him literally, arguing in court that he summoned them there to commit violent acts on the Capitol, like they could take this literally as well. That piece you mentioned earlier, name that. It doesn`t require a fanatic. It just requires someone who believes in Trump.

And what`s also frustrating with those fights and violence against members of Congress, I think it`s important to mention that that`s on both sides of the aisle. So where we see Trump attacking McConnell, that`s something that I think is only going to continue if he is showing people that they have permission to do that. And what`s really, really frustrating I think and that voters are paying attention to is this juxtaposition of Trump and the Republican Party making violent rhetoric and racism a corner part of their party while you have the juxtaposition with President Biden down in Florida, down in Puerto Rico, providing aid to people in need.

That is something that I think voters are going to be paying attention to and taking with them into the polls in November.

PHANG: You know, Mark, you just heard Senator Rick Scott`s refusal to condemn Trump`s words. Your take on why he won`t condemn it for what it is. I mean, it`s almost cowardly to see Rick Scott dodge having to answer those questions.

MARK LEIBOVICH, THE ATLANTIC WRITER: Yes, I mean, Donald Trump puts Republicans in a difficult position, I mean, an impossible position.


Having said that, Rick Scott is especially bad at this. I don`t quite know why he keeps going out there and what he -- I mean, I guess there are savvy ways to perry these kinds of questions. He hasn`t solved it yet. And you think he`d be better prepared.

The larger point is, Donald Trump is operating like a person who is in a consequence-free environment, which he is in the Republican Party. I mean, this is sort of a pet issue of mine, but it`s been true for six years now, and he knows that he can throw out the most bizarre, counterproductive -- I mean, there`s no reason for it. I mean, it`s not going to help anyone win an election, it`s not going to help any strategy or work in the service of elevating his own brand. He just does it.

And what would truly be shocking is if, I don`t know, Senator A, Senator B, Senator C in the Republican Party just said, enough, this is ridiculous, this is racist, this is inappropriate. Even, I mean, the most mild rebuke of this would itself be shocking and of course we hear nothing, which is, you know, just absolutely emblematic of the kind of pathetic complicity that we`ve seen from the Republican Party where this continues to take place and thrive.

PHANG: Yes, Juanita, though, we know that when people speak up on the side of the GOP, it`s the death knell for their careers. I mean, we see people like Liz Cheney who couldn`t win a primary. We see Adam Kinzinger who had to say, peace out, I`m not doing this anymore, right. People who actually stand up actually face political repercussions in terms of their jobs.

Susan Collins, though, telling "The New York Times," I wouldn`t be surprised if a senator or House member were killed. What started with abusive phone calls is now translating into active threats of violence and real violence.

Putting aside the fact that Susan Collins is one of the most wishy washy people we see in D.C., though, do you think that that is a widely held feeling among other lawmakers? Because it`s not just Democrats who are being targeted. Let`s be clear. There`s also Republicans that get some of these death threats and these threats of violence.

TOLLIVER: Right. I honestly hope that`s not what it comes to, but considering what we witnessed on January 6th, considering the violence that we`ve seen and the spikes in domestic terrorism generally in this country, I don`t think that`s a far-off statement. But coming back to why Republicans are not calling it out, though, I don`t think that folks like McConnell are concerned about political well-being for his own career.

But we know what he is fixated on is any type of chance that he could get at taking back control of the Senate. And same with Rick Scott. Remember, Rick Scott was following McCarthy down to Mar-a-Lago in the days and weeks after January 6th to kiss Trump`s ring, to get his support, to get his help selecting candidates, because Trump is their big bet for 2020. And so even at the expense of Secretary Elaine Chao being called racist names, even at the expense of a threat to his own well-being, you can expect McConnell not to speak up because that`s what he`s got his eye on. Any type of political power grab he can get to on the back of Trump.

PHANG: Mark, I`m kind of sick and tired, though, of hearing that Trump lives in a consequence-free environment. For the rest of us, just regular Joes and Janes, there would be consequences. Many of us wouldn`t be employed after using rhetoric like that. Do you think there`s any dawning regret among top D.C. Republicans about their failure to hold Trump to account before even the insurrection on 1/6 and then thereafter that date?

LEIBOVICH: Yes, I mean, they`re not -- you don`t hear a lot of soul searching on this. I mean, you`re absolutely right. I mean, there would be -- I mean, if Donald Trump had to -- was accountable to a corporate board, to shareholders, to pretty much anyone except the U.S. electorate, he would be just -- you know, or to the cowardice of an entire political party, he would be no one.

I mean, yes, he wouldn`t have a job, he wouldn`t have friends, he wouldn`t have a lot of employees. I mean, you know, he -- I mean, unfortunately, he`s created a reality distortion field where an entire political party lives. But I mean what we need to call out here basically is this is fascism. I mean, this is mob rule. This is, I mean, when you sort of connect the death threats that we`re talking about on one hand with the utter fear that the Republican Party is operating under, I mean, that is sort of the net results of this whole thing.

And again, it`s not a party of ideas right now. It`s a party of fear, it`s a party of obedience, and it`s a party of whatever it was that Rick Scott was trying to say on Sunday shows yesterday, which, you know, I don`t think was terribly effective.

PHANG: I think it`s a party that`s rotting from the head down inside and out.

Juanita Tolliver, Mark Leibovich, thank you for starting off the show and for being our first panel.

And we`re going to turn now to MAGA cheering on election lies internationally. Steve Bannon claiming without any evidence that the Brazilian presidential election is being stolen from the far-right, Trump- like candidate, you know, the incumbent president who has also cast doubt on the election results.


STEVE BANNON, HOST, "THE WAR ROOM": This is the Bolsonaro election down in Brazil, absolutely central, and very stark warning to MAGA and to all the Republicans of the games that are being played in these elections.



PHANG: And over the weekend, the conservative group CPAC sent a pro-Russia tweet despite Vladimir Putin`s brutal invasion of Ukraine. CPAC writing, quote, "Putin announces the annexation of four Ukrainian occupied territories. Biden and the Dems continue to send Ukraine billions of taxpayer dollars. When will Democrats put America first and ends the gift giving to Ukraine?" Now CPAC later deleted the tweet calling it, quote, "unproved."

Joining me now is Yale historian, Tim Snyder. He`s also the author of the book "On Tyranny."

Tim, thanks for being here. I wanted to get your reaction straight off the top to CPAC`s, quote, "unapproved" tweet. It`s a pro-Russia stance that echoes something that Tucker Carlson does night in and night out on his show. Remember, this is CPAC, though, right. CPAC who hosted its conference this year again in Viktor Orban`s Hungary.

TIM SNYDER, YALE HISTORIAN: I guess the first thing to keep in mind here is that the war to keep in mind is that the war in Ukraine is a war of a democracy against the tyranny. Ukraine is the democracy, Russia is the tyranny. The second thing to keep in mind is that the Russian war in Ukraine has been one atrocity after another. It`s not just an il legal invasion, it`s not just a series of war crimes. It`s clearly what we would characterize as genocide.

So the war in Ukraine is a historical opportunity for Americans and others to be on the right side, to do right thing. It`s also a historical opportunity to win a war, to support the winners of the war, who are the Ukrainians, and be on the right side. So at this moment when Russia is not only wrong, but losing, it`s particularly striking that a major American organization would choose to somehow say that what Russia is doing is legitimate.

PHANG: You know, Tim, though, the fight for democracy is not just happening in Ukraine. You got people like Steve Bannon, like I just said, MAGA ringleader Steve Bannon claiming voter fraud in Brazil. What does it say, though, that somebody like Steve Bannon decides that he wants to take the lies and he wants to propagate them in another country internationally and not even in our own backyard.

SNYDER: Yes. Well, it reminds us that the international right is very well- coordinated, that these ideas have been circulating for quite a long time. This is all actually connected. It`s Putin who pioneered the strategy of pretending to be a democracy and using what the Russians call the administrative resource to rig the elections time after time. When Bannon talks about Brazil, what he`s saying is that any time we lose, any time the people on our side lose, it must be cheating.

Obviously what he`s saying is totally implausible. Bolsonaro is running the government. If anyone would be cheating it would be people running the government. Not only that, Bolsonaro did better than expected. Right? So if you`re in a cheat, why would you make the other guy do better than expected? But the whole point is just to get the story across that it`s not elections that matter, it`s not really counting votes that matter.

It`s to get the idea across that our side always wins and if it doesn`t win, we`re going to be upset, and there`s going to be violence.

PHANG: And so more generally, and speaking to that idea, do you think that MAGA figures are intentionally embracing anti-democratic leaders abroad, the Bolsonaros, the Viktor Orbans, in order to normalize the behavior that`s going on in the United States, to give it even more cover? Because like you said, it`s an end result, it`s a result-oriented strategy to say, if we don`t get what we`re asking for, if we don`t get what we deserve, then there must be some foul play involved?

SNYDER: Absolutely. It`s everywhere the same. I mean, no one has ideas. None of these people have any ideas. It`s all about staying in power at all costs. So you pretend to be a democracy, you find some way to bend the rules, break the rules, use as much violence as necessary just to stay on top. This is the system in and of itself.

And of course what`s sad about this is that it`s Americans who once claimed that at least in some way they were setting an example for other people, taking an example from around the world and taking the worst possible example. You`re plagiarizing the worst stuff, and that`s just sad.

PHANG: Tim Snyder, thank you so much for rounding out this block.

Still ahead in this hour, KBJ`s first day on the bench at the Supreme Court. We`ll show you what she had to say to a conservative lawyer during today`s arguments. Plus, our live interview with a prosecutor who`s suing MAGA Governor Ron DeSantis.

But first, Neal Katyal is here on a big new admission in the Trump classified documents probe when we`re back in just 60 seconds.



PHANG: The Trump classified documents scandal taking a new turn. The National Archives revealing some records from Trump White House are still missing. That does not mean that Trump himself took them, but the feds did find hundreds of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. And today newly revealed audio of Trump in an interview with "The New York Times`"` Maggie Haberman, he admits he took some documents like letters to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and appeared to walk it back.


MAGGIE HABERMAN, NEW YORK TIMES: Did you leave the White House with anything in particular? Are there any memento documents you took with you? Anything or note?

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: Nothing of great urgency. I have great things, though, you know, the letters that Kim Jong-un letters. I had many of them.

HABERMAN: You were able to take those with you?

TRUMP: Look at what`s happening --


TRUMP: No, I think that has the -- I think that`s in the archives but most of it is in the archives.



PHANG: Quote, "Nothing of great urgency" is what Donald Trump says, but the National Archives today confirming in newly released e-mails to Trump`s lawyers that they did not have the Kim Jong-un letters. And as the DOJ investigates, Trump is trying to once again delay the special master appeal. Now the DOJ asked to expedite the ruling on the balance of the seized documents. Trump`s lawyer objecting in the filing, writing, quote, "Trump will be prejudiced if this appeal is expedited.

Now it`s unclear how Trump would be prejudiced for a ruling to come sooner rather than later, but this is the Trump playbook, delay, delay, delay.

Joining me now is former acting United States solicitor general Neal Katyal.

Neal, my friend, good to see you. I mean, what do you think are Trump`s chances to get the 11th Circuit to reject the DOJ`s request for an expedited appeal? The DOJ has already ruled on the classified documents portion of Judge Cannon`s order, so it`s the balance of that order appointing the special master that the DOJ wants to have heard on an expedited basis.

NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL: So first of all, thanks for having me. And I know I won`t be on your segment talking about Justice Jackson`s first day, but since I did argue there today in front of her and her eight colleagues, I just wanted to say what a thrill it was to be there. She and the other justices were super engaged. After three years of not being fully in person it was just thrilling and exciting. And what a historic appointment.

Now, from the sublime to the ridiculous, your question. Yes, Trump has decided to try and resist the Justice Department`s attempt to expedite the appeal of the special master. This isn`t really the main game anymore because the most serious documents Trump already tried to, you know, argue with the Court of Appeals that the Justice Department which should be forbidden to look at them and use them in its criminal and national security investigation, and already lost that before a bunch of Trump appointed judges.

So, you know, that`s going nowhere. Now they`re saying for the rest of the documents they should give -- Trump is saying, go it slow, and it`s not surprising to me that Trump is resisting. Delay is the name of this game, and they know the prospects before the Court of Appeals are quite weak, so they`re just trying to buy as much time as they can. I don`t think that they`re likely to get much time, and I think it`s not going to matter.

Their appeal is a dead loser every day of the week. I mean, they claim executive privilege. Trump`s claim to executive privilege is as baseless as his claim that he won the 2020 election.

PHANG: So, Neal, to that point of Trump wanting to ask for more time, they`ve actually asked to push that special master appeal hearing until January 2023. Is there something special about January or do you think it`s just an arbitrary date that was selected by Trump`s legal team in order to delay?

KATYAL: Well, I think they want as much time as possible. There is a theory floating around that if the Republicans take the House, that they could try and shut down the government over this investigation and say, we`re not going to fund the Justice Department, and, you know, they could threaten a complete shutdown. You know, the party seems so, unfortunately, in the pocket of Donald Trump, that is a possibility.

But it is a tough one. I mean, to shut down the government over this, you know, particularly when all the indication are Donald Trump committed not just a crime but a really serious federal felony, and then lied about it afterwards or at least sent his attorneys out there to lie, and it`s looking very bad for him.


PHANG: You know, we mentioned in the intro that the National Archives are claiming that they`re still missing documents from the Trump administration. Legally, Neal, what can be done to get them back other than launch maybe yet another DOJ investigation into missing documents?

KATYAL: Well, I do think it is just part of an investigation. I think that`s really the ball game. But I think we should take that story about the National Archives correspondence together with that audio clip that you played today from Maggie Haberman`s interview with Donald Trump because the truth is, the biggest threat to Donald Trump is Donald Trump`s own mouth. He has terrible impulse control, he has an inability to stay away from the press, and that just gives the Justice Department new and incriminating evidence against him.

I mean, here, this audio clip is the kind of thing prosecutors dream about. In like 30 seconds, he says, one, I took the documents, and two, that he backtracks on his claim, demonstrating that he know he shouldn`t have, you know, kept the documents from the National Archives.

PHANG: Neal, and that Maggie Haberman audio that we just played that you`re referencing, interviewing Trump about the documents, from a legal standpoint, because there`s obviously been some chatter on social media about this, right? The fact that these things are not revealed until years later after they have occurred, from a legal standpoint, do they have an impact in terms of that delay disclosure on prosecutions of Donald Trump?

KATYAL: No, I don`t think it has an impact on the delay. I think, you know, evidence is evidence. And, you know, he`s been trying to pitch his credibility by being older or something like that, but I don`t think it undermines the basic case. To be a crime, you have to have a bad mens rea, a bad criminal intent and a bad act, an actus reas. And this audio tape is evidence of both, that he, you know, took some documents and that he had some sort of bad intent about doing so.

And the letter from the Archives, which I think is more than a year old, demonstrates that Trump was on notice about all of this missing material, and yet he still sent his attorneys out after Mar-a-Lago was searched, saying, oh, everything is returned. You know, it`s really, really a problem.

PHANG: Neal Katyal, I`m so glad that you actually got to be there for the very first oral arguments for Ketanji Brown Jackson. Another quill, right? Another feather to put in your very large container of that.

Neal Katyal, thank you so much. Appreciate you.

KATYAL: Thank you.

PHANG: Coming up, Governor Ron DeSantis facing legal pressure as troubling facts behind his migrant flight to Martha`s Vineyard emerges. A special guest who was fired by Ron DeSantis is here.

But first, the new Supreme Court term kicks off with approval at historic lows. The impact of the Roe decision and cases to watch coming up next.



PHANG: It was Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson`s first day on the bench, and she`s already getting after it. Take a listen.


JUSTICE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Isn`t the issue what Congress would have intended with respect to adjacency? Are you saying that neighboring wetlands can`t impact the quality of navigable waters?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Swank, for its part, said 404G is unenlightening as to the meaning of waters of the United States.

JACKSON: Well, let me try to bring some enlightenment to it by asking it this way.


PHANG: Justice Jackson offering to bring some enlightenment, and folks, this is just day one. Today Jackson actively questioning lawyers taking aim at a landmark environmental landmark law, the Clean Water Act. At one point she even sparred with conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch, appearing to suggest the Clean Water Act could hurt landowners who simply don`t know how the statute applies to them. Jackson then responding like this.


JUSTICE NEIL GORSUCH, U.S. SUPREME COURT: How does anyone know, any reasonable person know within maybe several hundred square miles? If the federal government doesn`t know, how is a person subject to criminal time in federal prison supposed to know?

JACKSON: Is there a process by which a homeowner can ask?


JACKSON: So, you`re not really facing criminal liability without the opportunity to get an assessment from the government regarding your particular circumstances?

GORSUCH: That is correct.


PHANG: In this new term, the court is poised to hear cases on voting, redistricting, affirmative action and more. Who else but Elie Mystal can join me to talk about what we can expect from this term? He`s the justice correspondent for "The Nation" and the author of "Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy`s Guide to the Constitution."

Elie, my friend, your thoughts. Justice Jackson`s first day on the Supreme Court bench. She came in with no fear and she jumped on to that hot bench.

ELIE MYSTAL, THE NATION JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think she was ready, right? She was ready for her closeup. But the issue is that, you know, she`s almost like that meme, that brother coming in with all the pizza boxes? He comes in and the room is on fire, and people are going -- like that`s kind of who Justice Jackson is right now. She`s showing up with some pizzas and the house is on fire because all that started -- it was a great day of questioning.

She`s going to be on point. She`s going to be a thorn in Neil Gorsuch`s side when he tries to pull his stuff, but at the end of the day all the Supreme Court is right now is a Republican wish fulfillment machine.


It is just the enforcement arm of the Republican Party agenda with people wearing fancy robes. And in the minority, there was almost -- there was only so much that Justice Jackson, Justice Kagan, and Justice Sotomayor can do to stop the damage and stop the bleeding that the six conservatives have charted out for the country.

PHANG: But Ellie, I`m going to take a little bit of a less defeatist maybe approach to this idea, though. KBJ she`s now on the bench. She does these oral arguments where she`s hearing these, you know, positions coming. And maybe it is a six-three supermajority that a conservative supermajority right now in SCOTUS, but somebody has to hold the door, somebody has to put it on the record and make these questions and assert these positions.

So, do you think KBJ will do that, and she`ll approach it in the same way for the cases that are coming up? Because this is a consequential term, I know people keep on using that phrase. But the kinds of cases that are said in this term are life altering for Americans.

MYSTAL: I hope so. I think that the interplay you had with her, and Gorsuch was indicative. Because one of the things that conservative Supreme Court justices have taken to doing in recent cases is lying, is just straight up making up facts that did not happen. We saw this last term in the quote that praying football coach case where Gorsuch and Alito and his (INAUDIBLE) Kavanaugh kind of made up a set of facts that didn`t exist in her dissent.

Sonia Sotomayor went to the videotape like literally put pictures in her dissent, to show that course, which was lying. Sorry, there was a more wolf callback for those who were very old like me. But what we`re going to see, I think, from Jackson, if she wants to do this is on the bench to kind of call out those lies and those misrepresentations from the bench online audience so people can see that.

But again, what`s the ultimate effect, Katie, what we`ve already seen the Supreme Court legitimacy, kind of on a downward spiral, right? When the Supreme Court is kind of in a time of finding out, right? They messed around and now we`re in the time of finding out what messing around us, right? Because their legitimacy in the eyes of the American people has taken a nosedive.

But what does that mean, so long as we still have people in Congress who are not willing to take the steps necessary to actually reform this broken, illegitimate institution, right? We still don`t have enough Democrats signed on to the bill to expand the Supreme Court to reform these people. We still don`t have enough Democrats even signed on to the idea of ethics reform.

And when you talk about Supreme Court legitimacy, and when you look at what`s happening in the country, the fact that an insurrectionist, his wife is insurrectionist wife, and Clarence Thomas, are linked is ridiculous to me. And we could solve that with ethics reform, but we still don`t have enough people in Congress willing to push ethics reform upon the Supreme Court.

So yes, the legitimate (INAUDIBLE) -- yes, Sheldon Whitehouse is out there by himself in the Senate. We`ve got people out there. You know, there`s a bill from -- I was talking to Hank Johnson this weekend, Congressman from Georgia, he`s like they`ve got a bill in the House ready to do this, right?

So, there are people who want to do this, but not enough. And so, when you see the legitimacy of the Supreme Court taking a nosedive, at some point, you have to question, when is it going to take legitimacy in the eyes of people of Congress? Because the American people are already there.

PHANG: Elie Mystal, I always run out of time, I always wish I had more time so we could talk. Come back and talk about the biggest cases that we should be looking at in this term, some of which include independent state theory, right? Independent (INAUDIBLE) -- Elie Mystal, thank you so much for being here.

And later in the show, why the Obamas are celebrating a development decades in the making. But first, new legal heat on MAGA Governor Ron DeSantis. I talk live to a prosecutor suing DeSantis in a case that could get DeSantis to post.



PHANG: The legal pressure on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is ramping up as the New York Times reveals the disturbing story behind his migrant flights to Martha`s Vineyard. The Times reporting the Venezuelan migrants were promised jobs and up to eight months of cash assistance for income-eligible refugees. DeSantis offered this spin.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): They actually give him a packet and, in that packet, included a map of Martha`s Vineyard. So, it was obvious that that`s where they were going. It`s all voluntary. I mean, these are voluntary transportation that they`re signing up for. The legislature gave me $12 million. We`re going to spend every penny of that to make sure that we`re protecting the people the state of Florida. These are just the beginning efforts --


PHANG: He might want to reread that $12 million budget appropriation language because the asylum seekers telling a different story here, saying they were duped by a mysterious recruiter named Perla who offered them $10 McDonald`s gift cards if they signed waivers in which language specifying that the journey would take place from Texas to Massachusetts was not completely translated into Spanish.

The Times identifying her as Perla Huerta, a full former combat medic and counterintelligence agent who investigators believe was sent to Texas from Tampa in order to fill up the planes. DeSantis now facing a federal class action lawsuit for his political stunt, as well as a lawsuit from a Democratic Florida State Senator Jason Pizzo.


But joining me now is former Florida State Attorney Andrew Warren, who was removed from office by Governor Ron DeSantis last month for quote, refusing to enforce laws involving abortion, transgender health care, and certain low-level nonviolent crimes. In response, Andrew Warren is suing DeSantis on free speech grounds.

Andrew, it`s so nice to see you, as always. We`re going to get to your lawsuit in a minute. But I`d like to get your reaction to this new New York Times reporting on tricking the migrants with false information to get them on a plane and to take them from Texas to Martha`s Vineyard.

ANDREW WARREN, FORMER FLORIDA STATE ATTORNEY: Katie, thanks so much for having me. This is a really important issue to discuss. Before we get there, I just want to acknowledge the Floridians to the south of Tampa who`s have been decimated by Hurricane Ian and so many of us had started to move on across the state across the country.

But for the people who were really impacted by this, you know, it`s going to be a long time before they can get past this. And we just want to keep them in our thoughts and prayers.

You know, to your question. A lot of the facts on this are still coming out, I can tell you that as a former federal prosecutor at the heart of every fraud is a lie. And so, if you`re lying to someone to get them to do something, whether it`s to give you money, or to get on the plane and take you somewhere, a crime may have been committed.

And ultimately those decisions are going to be left to the investigators and to the grand jury to sort out what laws were broken and what crimes were committed. But when you`re lying to people, you`re usually running afoul of the law.

PHANG: And to your point, Andrew, The New York Times reporting a migrant named Pablo called home to Venezuela from Martha`s Vineyard Community Center, and here`s the quote, he said, my love, we were tricked. He told his wife weeping uncontrollably. This woman lied to us. She lied.

Now that woman Andrew is reportedly a former army counterintelligence official by the name of Perla Huerta. If Ron DeSantis did nothing wrong, in transporting these asylum seekers from Texas to Martha`s Vineyard, why not acknowledge Perla and her involvement from the very beginning?

WARREN: Well, I feel like that`s question for the governor and his team. I mean, I`m not sure what -- what facts they`re trying to hide here. But hopefully, someone`s looking into this. In the reports that this, you know, some of this was connected to the Tampa area. We have great law enforcement here in the Tampa Bay area, I`m confident that if given the opportunity to investigate, they will do so thoroughly.

And to get to the bottom of this, regardless of who is behind it in the politics behind it. At the end of the day, we want people to be held accountable for their actions. And so, if anyone did anything here that is not just improper, but illegal, they need to be held accountable.

PHANG: And let`s talk about accountability, Andrew, and speaking truth to power, I want to pivot to your lawsuit. It`s an important one. Walk us through what`s happened since you were dismissed, in summarily, frankly, with no justification in my legal opinion, by Governor Ron DeSantis in August. Where do things currently stand procedurally for your lawsuit against him, and do you expect him to ever take the stand?

WARREN: Well, last week, the judge set the case for trial. And the governor had tried to have the lawsuit thrown out saying that, I know, I didn`t have any constitutional rights. But apparently, they haven`t read the constitution, which talks about protecting free speech and not just my free speech rights, but the rights of the 1.5 million people who live in Hillsborough County to have the state attorney that they elected through a fair and free election.

So now the case is proceeding to trial. And the ultimate question is going to be for the governor to try to explain his actions. You know, he has to be able to justify how this was lawful, how it wasn`t a political stunt. These were the questions that the judge was asking. You ask about discovery. You know, we expect that discovery is going to come out. Discovery is ultimately like a trial of search for the truth.

And Floridians and anyone who cares about democracy is going to want to see that truth as it plays out. There`s an old saying that, you know, the public has a right to every person`s evidence. That`s been a staple of our legal system for 250 years. The U.S. Supreme Court said it again in the last couple of years regarding the Donald Trump, you know, tax case.

So, I`m not sure what the governor`s arguments are going to be for why he wouldn`t have to go through discovery. But we certainly think like any other law-abiding person and any other American is going to have to go through discovery to show what actually happened in this case.

PHANG: Because at the end of the day, no one is above the law, right Andrew? Andrew Warren to time elected Hillsborough County state attorney. Thanks for being here and for keeping us up to date on what`s happened with the lawsuit and come back and let us know when things develop. It`s good to see you.


WARREN: Thanks so much. Have a good night.

PHANG: The midterm election just 36 days away, we have a report from the field and news on a key voting bloc. Coming up next.


PHANG: We turn now to the midterms only 36 days away. We are a key part of the electorate is in flux, signs pointing to eroding support for Democrats among Latino voters. A new NBC News Telemundo poll showing that Democrats have a 21-point lead over Republicans in terms of which party and Latino voters want to control Congress.


That`s a hefty lead. But I want you to consider the following though. It`s half, half of what the Democratic lead was just a decade ago when Democrats had a 42-point advantage over Republicans. MSNBC series "FIELD REPORT" hosted by Paola Ramos seeks to unpack this shift.


PAOLA RAMOS, CONTRIBUTOR, MSNBC: Why are we suddenly seeing a Republican having so much momentum? What do you all think?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were already conservatives. We were already with conservative values, it`s just nobody noticed, they took us for granted. The party, the Democratic Party left me. I didn`t leave the party.


PHANG: Joining me now is the host of a "FIELD REPORT" and MSNBC contributor Paola Ramos. Pao, it`s so good to see you. Tell our viewers, what are you seeing as you`re talking to the voters in this very diverse and varied electorate? Because the messaging cannot just be the same.

RAMOS: Yes, I think it`s probably what you just saw on the screen. Now here you have a Latino voter that saying, we`ve always been conservative, the problem is that no one noticed, right? And so, in that field report, we specifically went to the Rio Grande Valley to understand the case of Mayra Flores who was a -- the first Republican to win Hidalgo County in over 100 years.

And she bet on this idea that Latinos are innately more conservative than when the media and what people want to see, right? And that`s why she bet on her slogan, which was God, family, country. And you know, Katie, it`s not a new idea. Right, Bush, bet on this idea. Reagan bet on this idea. Trump bet on this idea.

But up to this point, they weren`t really able to fracture and really divide the Latino diverse coalition until someone like a Latina Republican, like Mayra Flores, comes around. With a message that`s conservative, and with a face and an identity that resonates, right?

She`s a brown, daughter of immigrants woman that is telling Latinos, you no longer have to vote for Democrats if that`s what you don`t want. Now, there`s also the elephant in the room, which was where is and where was the DNC.

PHANG: (INAUDIBLE) Pao, what`s the reconciliation, though, of the brown, daughter of immigrants, you`re in the Rio Grande Valley, she`s a Republican, Republicans are putting these brown children in cages, right? These Republicans are having a completely draconian approach to immigration.

How is that reconciliation working for that older gentleman that we had in that video who saying I was always a conservative? I mean, are people challenging and pushing back and saying that those things really cannot coexist on the same plane?

RAMOS: I mean, I think there`s a dangerous undertone to this all, right? I mean, if you look at the polls, and you look at the Telemundo poll that you decided, Latinos are now leaning more with Republicans specifically when it comes to border security and when it comes to crime, right?

And so, there`s this whole idea, right, that this fearmongering that we saw play out really well, in 2020, in Florida, in Texas, that same fearmongering about communism, about the divide between us and them, that this whole idea that they`re invading the borders. That`s working to the extent that now there`s a segment of Latino voters in the Rio Grande Valley, that are brown, that speak Spanish, that come from places like Mexico, that now also are leaning into that divide.

That want to see a wall of separation between themselves and where they come from, right? And that what you see is, is the Republican machine working really well. Now, the fearmongering machine, the messaging, and that`s where Democrats really have an end because the other issue that always comes up is this idea that Latinos really care about the threat of democracy.

Now the threat of democracy is personal to them. These are families that are fleeing, you know, democracies that are stumbling, and so that isn`t in for Democrats, right? That is where Democrats can say, look, this is what you really care for, Republicans, the party of MAGA, the party of the post- January 6th insurrection, they are not about democracy. So, I think that`s the real end that I see.

PHANG: Paola Ramos, thank you so much for being here and giving us a little bit of some spoilers into your show. You can catch the first two episodes of "FIELD REPORT" now streaming on Peacock. Paola Ramos, it`s always so good to see you. I appreciate you. And coming up next, Barack Obama in celebration mode today saying he quote, won the lottery. I`ll explain.



PHANG: Finally, tonight, we leave you with a bit of good news. Barack and Michelle Obama are celebrating a milestone anniversary today. 30 years together. The former first lady tweeting quote, happy anniversary to the man I love. These last 30 years have been an adventure, and I`m grateful to have you by my side. Here`s to a lifetime together. I love you, Barack Obama.

Heart emoji, winking kiss emoji. She also tweeted out these two photos showing her and Barack now and 30 years ago on the date of their wedding. Now over the years, these two have been known for their playful public affection.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How lucky am I to be married to Michelle Obama? For you men out there who are not yet married, let me explain the whole goal is to marry up.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: The man who has been leading the way is standing right next to me. And ladies, I think he`s kind of cute.

B. OBAMA: Everything I love about Michelle, her grace, her intelligence, and the fact that she`s fine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) just a moment ago. A presidential smooch.


PHANG: That does it for me. You can also catch me on "THE KATIE PHANG SHOW" weekend mornings at 7:00 a.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC and stream new episodes on the MSNBC hub on Peacock as well. "THE REIDOUT WITH JOY REID" is up next.