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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 5/13/22

Guests: Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Jill Wine-Banks, Pamela Jenkins, Julian Castro, Dahlia Lithwick


GOP panicked by possibility of Barnette candidate in the general election with her history of anti-gay and anti-Muslim views. Five Trump allies including Kevin McCarthy continuing to defy subpoena from the January 6th Committee, calling its investigation illegitimate. Julian Castro joins THE BEAT to talk about fact-checking the Fox News hosts scapegoating of immigrants in baby formula shortages. Dahlia Lithwick joins THE BEAT with Alicia Menendez to talk about the right-wing that is outraged over the peaceful protest at the Supreme Court justices` homes.


WALLACE: Thank you so much for letting us into your homes for another week of shows. We are so grateful. THE BEAT with the fabulous Alicia Menendez in for Ari starts right now.

Hi, Alicia.

ALICIA MENENDEZ, MSNBC HOST: Hi, my friend. Thank you, Nicolle. Have a wonderful weekend.

WALLACE: You too.

MENENDEZ: And welcome to THE BEAT. I`m Alicia Menendez in for Ari Melber.

We start with MAGA`s Frankenstein, a monster taking on a life of its own coming to a head in just days in a primary that has MAGA world brawling with itself.

Meet Kathy Barnette, the ultra MAGA candidate in next Tuesday`s Pennsylvania Republican primary, who has folks like Sean Hannity and Trump himself scared as she channels the worst anti-immigrant, anti-gay sentiments of MAGA.


KATHY BARNETTE (R), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE PRIMARY CANDIDATE: The mindset of a Muslim is very different from the mindset of Americans.

The new natural law is two men, two well and pretty soon since it`s based on love and feelings and respect and dignity, who to say -- who are we to now say that your love is legitimate love but then I say a pedophile, man- love with a boy, a 12-year-old boy, is illegitimate?

Barack Hussein Obama, I try to mention his name as much as possible, thinking that at some point a lightbulb is going to go off in someone`s head.


MENENDEZ: Barnette has repeatedly called Barack Obama a Muslim, tapping into Trump`s birtherism. Tonight she is in a statistical tie with the two other GOP candidates. Trump-endorsed Dr. Oz, millionaire businessman, David McCormick.

Now, to be clear, all three are election deniers succumbing to the big lie, but Barnette isn`t speaking in code like some MAGA candidates do. As blatant as the Muslim ban was and the "Don`t Say Gay" bill is, Barnette is, if you can believe it, going even farther.

NBC`s Dasha Burns pressing her.


DASHA BURNS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: There were tweets that people uncovered from your past targeting Muslims, targeting people who are gay. What do you feel about those messages when you look back on what you tweeted out?

BARNETTE: Yes. Well, I believe it`s very unfair to take a snippet -- I don`t know how many characters that is -- and say, OK, we`re going to take this clip and this is what she meant, right. We have no beginning. We have no end. We don`t know what the context was.

BURNS: When you say -- I mean this tweet says pedophilia is a cornerstone of Islam.

BARNETTE: Yes, nope, I -- I don`t think that`s me. I would never have said that.


MENENDEZ: So here`s that tweet. You know, the tweet that Kathy Barnette now denies writing, right here in black and white. You can read it for yourself. Folks like Steve Bannon are calling this race MAGA versus ultra- MAGA. "Politico" reports the GOP is launching an operation to stop Barnette, worried she can`t win in the general election. Trump says she would lose to the Democrat. Folks like Sean Hannity are freaking out.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX HOST: And now we are uncovering many troubling comments and tweets that would very likely cause her to lose badly in a general election. This is a very important state. There are so many questions she has never answered and many tweets that likely render her unelectable in Pennsylvania.


MENENDEZ: The GOP is reaping what it sowed as more and more extremist candidates not only run but win races, like J.R. Majewski who has supported QAnon, was in D.C. on January 6th. He just won a GOP House primary in Ohio. Mitch McConnell warned Republicans could hurt themselves this year with extreme candidates.

We may be seeing that happen right now.

Joining me now Tim Miller, MSNBC political analyst and writer for "The Bulwark." His new book "Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell" comes out soon. And former Democratic congressman from Florida, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.

It is good to see you both.

Tim, if Kathy Barnette wins on Tuesday, what does that tell you about the state of this Republican Party?

TIM MILLER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, hey, Alicia. I think we already know about the state of this Republican Party by the fact that somebody like Kathy Barnette has a legitimate chance to win on Tuesday, by the fact that J.D. Vance, and J.R. Majewski, and on and on we`re going to continue to see extreme candidates throughout primary season.

I think what`s more telling about this is it is that Kathy Barnette has revealed that the MAGA establishment and they`re -- you know, all the MAGAs like talk about the Republican establishment. There is no MAGA establishment that is trying to crown candidates of their choosing.


They don`t dislike her because of her views about Muslims, which are not all that different from what Donald Trump has said in the past. What they don`t like is, when you showed that clip from before, they don`t think she`s very good at selling it and they`re worried about electability. They`re worried that Pennsylvania is a state the Democrats can win in. It`s a swing state and it could cost Mitch McConnell a Senate majority.

If Kathy Barnette was running in Alabama you wouldn`t see the supposed freak-out on Sean Hannity`s show and from, you know, Trump`s advisers. The reason why they`re upset is because they`re worried she is not good at selling all of the dangerous, bigoted material that has been part and parcel of the Trump movement ever since he came down that escalator. So I think that is kind of what is revealing, is that there is this new establishment, a MAGA establishment within the Republican Party that is trying to wield influence and pick and choose candidates based on, you know, who they think is going to be loyal to Trump if he tries to steal the election next time and who they think is capable of winning elections in November. That`s what we`re seeing in Pennsylvania.

MENENDEZ: I mean, Debbie, part of what I`m hearing from Tim is that if she is not as good at selling it, then it makes it clear what some of the other people who might be better at dog whistles are in fact selling. What kind of threat does this candidacy pose for Republicans, even Republicans who might be outside of Pennsylvania?

Look, Alicia, I have to say I have to disagree with Tim. They`re probably threatened by her because she is a woman. This is the party that is trying to suppress women`s rights. They don`t like women of color. That`s probably why they were undermining her and now they`re not very happy with the fact that she`s actually gaining some ground here in this state.

DEBBIE MUCARSEL-POWELL (D), FORMER FLORIDA REPRESENTATIVE: I can tell you that in Pennsylvania the majority of Pennsylvanians are not where this radical Republican Party is or this MAGA movement is. I think that any candidate that gets out of that primary is going to have a really hard time beating the Democratic candidate.

This is a state where one of the top issues for Pennsylvanians is the rate of gun violence in the state and in the country. We know from polls that more than 80 percent of Pennsylvanians want a candidate that`s going to support universal background checks. We know that the majority of Americans want candidates that are going to go to D.C. to stop this division, to stop this hatred.

I think that the MAGA movement has gone so far, so radicalized that they are going to be losing ground. This is just one more example of the Republican Party, the MAGA party really just eating itself up. And I don`t think anyone is going to win at the end.

MENENDEZ: Tim, it`s worth noting, underlining, even Trump has said that Barnette can`t win. He wrote in a statement, "Kathy Barnette will never be able to win the general election against the radical left Democrats."

I want to loop back to something you said which is what does it tell you that he now wants limits on the radicalization? He wants limits on the ugliness that he`s unleashed, not because it is wrong, right. That`s the point that you were making. He`s not saying this is abhorrent, she shouldn`t be saying it. He and Sean Hannity are out there saying, I don`t like this because it could lead to the thing I fear most, which is losing.

MILLER: Yes, which is losing power. That`s what this is about, this is about power and control, and they don`t feel like they can control Kathy Barnette in the same way that they can control Dr. Oz, who is just going to do whatever Donald Trump wants him to do, right. He`s just a complete empty suit. And so I think that the MAGA and the Trump world and, you know, their little posse down in Mar-a-Lago is worried about losing control of the party and worried about losing control of maybe the Senate and the House next year.

The danger to all of this is, the big danger I see is I`m not sure that it`s a certain loss for candidates like this, right. Sometimes extreme candidates get swept in in wave years depending on what`s happening with the economy and the inflation. So, look, I think that people need to take this threat extremely seriously, and in some ways I hear from Democrats something that worries me, is echoes of 2016, which is like maybe we should let Trump win and beat Jeb and Marco because we`ll beat him easily in November.

Trump will get beaten easily, and I worry -- and I worry about that, having extreme candidates in there going to, you know, be much more likely to go along with a subversion of the election next time.

MENENDEZ: Well, to that point, Debbie, I want you to take a listen to the five candidates for this race. Here you go.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Former president Donald Trump continues to talk about the 2020 election. Is it time for the Republican Party to move forward?

MEHMET OZ (R), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE PRIMARY CANDIDATE: I have discussed with President Trump and we cannot move on.

BARNETTE: Absolutely not. There is nothing more important than making sure that my one vote matters.

DAVID MCCORMICK (R), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE PRIMARY CANDIDATE: We have a tragedy here that most Republican voters in Pennsylvania don`t believe in the integrity of the election.

CARLA SANDS (R), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE PRIMARY CANDIDATE: Senator Rand Paul said the election of 2020 was stolen by the Zuck bucks.


JEFF BARTOS (R), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE PRIMARY CANDIDATE: The 2020 election was a catalyst for what we are seeing now.


MENENDEZ: So election denying clearly the new litmus test for any Republican, Debbie. I think we knew that. I would add that I think part of the danger of a candidacy like Barnette is that it makes all of those radical, illogical, not based in fact views, right, the lying, the doubling down on the big lie, it makes those folks, because now you are in comparison to someone who is really wildly, truly out there, seem even more mainstream. Your reaction?

MUCARSEL-POWELL: Yes. I mean I think what they`re doing is that they`re using this disinformation platform to get at their base. They have given power to the QAnon movement, Alicia. This is a movement that is threatening not only our public health with vaccine hesitancy, but it`s now threatening our safety, our security. We`ve seen a rise in political violence. It is now threatening directly our democracy.

This is completely un-American, and we shouldn`t allow this to be happening in the United States. And I think that we need to make sure that the Democratic Party, that the Democrats have a strong message coming into the election, that they call it for what it is. This is complete insanity. What is happening? Where is the IQ of America going? The rest of the world is watching.

It is our time now to show who we are. We still have a country where we`re going to protect the rule of law. We need to find a way to get those accountable for those that attacked the Capitol on January 6th. We need to ensure that we provide a framework for democracy here in the United States so that we can provide a democracy framework for other countries in the Americas and globally.

And I have to say I completely deny the fact that we even have a party at this point. There`s only one party, it`s the Democratic Party that`s working for Americans and that is protecting the way of life here in America.

MENENDEZ: Tim Miller, former Congresswoman Mucarsel-Powell, thank you both so much for getting us started.

Coming up, new details tonight on potential contempt charges for GOP lawmakers like Kevin McCarthy, defying the bombshell January 6th subpoenas. Plus, accusations of racial profiling. I`m going to talk to the coach of the women`s lacrosse team that was stopped and searched for nonexistent drugs.

And later, FOX News has a scapegoat for the baby formula shortage, undocumented immigrant babies. I have a fact check.



MENENDEZ: All of the options are on the table, that is what the January 6th Committee is saying after those unprecedented subpoenas for five GOP lawmakers with potential ties to January 6th. At least two of those subpoenaed, GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, Congressman Jim Jordan, were in direct contact with Trump on January 6th.


REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): We have all of the options that would be available to us for someone like Steve Bannon or Mark Meadows, and then additional options because they`re members of Congress.


MENENDEZ: Like Bannon or Meadows, who have been held in contempt. Bannon currently facing criminal charges for stonewalling the probe. So the legal heat is on these five House members. It`s also on the panel to follow through with those threats. So far none of the five House GOP lawmakers has said if they will comply with the committee`s request.

And Republicans are furious. The move opening a Pandora`s box of retaliation with the GOP feeling more emboldened than ever. That`s according to "Axios." Sources saying to prepare for committee removals, retaliatory subpoenas and even impeachments if Republicans take back the House in the upcoming midterm elections.

Joining me now former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks.

Jill, I want you to take a listen to what committee chairman Bennie Thompson said today.


REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): I think the precedent ought to be for Republicans to honor the subpoenas. If Republicans choose not to and then they take control of the House, then obviously they don`t have many legs to stand on.


MENENDEZ: Jill, understanding that you are not a betting woman, do you think they will comply?

JILL WINE-BANKS, FORMER WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: No, I don`t. Every indication we`ve had in the past is that they just aren`t going to cooperate in any way. They`ve even resisted subpoenas. One of the witnesses has been held in contempt and has been indicted for that. Another, Mark Meadows, has been referred for contempt but hasn`t been indicted yet. Obviously when Representative Raskin talks about options, a criminal referral to Justice to be indicted for contempt of Congress is one of those options.

Civil contempt is another. A resolution of Congress to fine these members, because, remember, these are now members of Congress. So they`re subject to the rules of Congress and a majority could vote to fine them for not complying. But none of that will necessarily get them to testify. They may still accept the penalties.

MENENDEZ: Jill, we know that the information we have, right, some of the documents that have sort of come out, some of the information that we know the committee is mulling over, we know it is a fraction of what they have, right? How much do you think the committee knows about these five lawmakers?

WINE-BANKS: I believe they know a great deal, not only from tapes and testimony, they`ve had about 1,000 witnesses cooperate with them. That`s a lot of evidence. And so I think they know a great deal.


It`s not the same as hearing it directly from them. There is a reason to subpoena them. There is a reason to get them to cooperate, and this is not, you know, they`re not threatening retaliatory subpoenas if they take over in the midterms. This is not a question of retaliation. This is not a political judgment. This is an assigned task to protect democracy where Congress is looking at what went wrong, what happened, how can we pass laws that will stop this from ever happening again.

Those are legitimate legislative purposes. This is not partisan, and I would think that everyone, Democrat and Republican, would want to protect our democracy. I know I am terrified at what is happening. I`m terrified at the propaganda that is making Republicans or Trump Republicans at least believe that the election was stolen, that all of this is justified. There is no evidence that supports that, not a single shred of evidence.

MENENDEZ: I wonder, given that we know, right, that they`re already threatening retaliation, the fact that the best they seem to have is to call this committee illegitimate. You`ve already spoken to why that is so bonkers. Do you think that is the same line of pushback they`re going to use during these upcoming public hearings?

WINE-BANKS: Yes, and they will have to deal with, if they do take control and they start issuing retaliatory subpoenas which have no basis to have a factual predicate for asking these questions, Democrats could simply say, you didn`t cooperate, we`re not cooperating. But that doesn`t get us anywhere in terms of bipartisanship. It doesn`t get us anywhere in terms of legislation.

So it is not good for our democracy to have that happen, but I do fear that either way it`s sort of a win for Democrats if they don`t cooperate. Democrats can say, rightfully so, well, what are they hiding? If they don`t have something to hide, why aren`t they coming in to tell their side of the story? They also can say in response to anything the Republicans say is, well, that`s all just not true, it`s phony baloney.

Well, you had your chance to come in and tell the public what your version of events is, but you chose not to. You can`t now say the opposite. And I have worked with enough juries that juries believe that sort of thing. They know that when someone doesn`t come in and then tries to say something opposite, it is not believable. So I don`t think it will work. I think it will be very unfortunate.

MENENDEZ: Jill Wine-Banks, as always, thank you for spending some time with us.

WINE-BANKS: Thank you, Alicia.

MENENDEZ: Coming up after a 60-second break, fact checking FOX hosts trying to scapegoat immigrant babies in the baby formula shortage.

And later, Dahlia Lithwick on the fight over Roe, but first a special guest. I`m going to talk to the coach of the women`s lacrosse team that was hold-over for drugs that did not exist, triggering allegations of racial profile. We`re back in just 60 seconds.


MENENDEZ: New body camera footage contradicts a Georgia sheriff`s claim that`s now a civil rights claim. A Historically Black College`s lacrosse team was pulled over on a bus in Georgia for an alleged traffic violation, then searched for drugs without probable cause.

Here is video taken from inside the bus.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why I`m coming on the bus right now is to tell you we`re going to look through and check y`all`s luggage, OK? If there is anything in y`all`s luggage, we`re probably going to find it. OK? I`m not looking for a little bit of marijuana, but I`m pretty sure your guy`s chaperone probably going to be disappointed in you if we find it. You guys are all on a lacrosse team, correct?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So if there is something in there that is questionable, please tell me now, because if we find it, guess what? We`re not going to be able to help you. OK?


You are in the state of Georgia and marijuana is still illegal in the state of Georgia. Anything that you can put marijuana in, maybe a device where you smoke it, maybe somebody that you would weigh it like a set of scales, anything. OK. If there`s nothing, then I`m thankful. It makes my job a lot easier. We`re going to get this done and we`ll have you guys on your way. You guys have any more questions for me?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did I explain it pretty good?




MENENDEZ: The Delaware State University president saying today it violated their civil rights and filing a formal complaint to the Department of Justice.


TONY ALLEN, PRESIDENT, DELAWARE STATE UNIVERSITY: From our standpoint, the evidence is clear and compelling. We believe this stop and search raises serious constitutional and civil rights issues. I do believe that there was some implicit bias in how those officers conducted themselves.


MENENDEZ: Six deputies and a police dog searched them for drugs and found none. Liberty County Sheriff William Bowman saying this week no personal items on the bus were searched, but the body camera footage tells the real story. You can see the officers rifling through personal belongings. Contradicts the sheriff`s account.

Here the deputies are opening a gift given to one of the students. A team player asking the deputy the key question.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How did we go from being in the wrong lane to going through our bags and checking for marijuana?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What he stooped you for a traffic -- he didn`t stop you all for a traffic violation. He stopped you the driver for a traffic violation, OK. While he`s conducting his business, I can bring my dog out and look through your stuff. All right? So that`s what I`ve done.


MENENDEZ: Delaware`s attorney general calling for a federal investigation writing, quote, "These students and coaches were not in the proverbial wrong place at the wrong time."

Joining me now, Pamela Jenkins, head coach of Delaware State University`s women`s lacrosse team. She was on the bus.

Thank you so much for being here. Watching that footage, I just need to know what was going through your mind as this was all unfolding.

PAMELA JENKINS, WOMEN`S LACROSSE COACH, DELAWARE STATE UNIVERSITY: Still in disbelief that coming from a game that we experienced that. It is just traumatizing to think that our ladies were accused of something like that.

MENENDEZ: Yes, I imagine it was shocking in the moment. I imagine it continues to be shocking now. How are you doing? How are the players doing?

JENKINS: We are a strong group of strong women, and we`re banding together with our families and we`re thankful to get this story out to create change. It`s overwhelming, and, you know, seeing the video over and over again just reminds us of what we went through, but we know that there`s a bigger cause of why we`re doing this and why this happened. So it is our hope that as we go through this and at the conclusion that no one will have to go through this again.

MENENDEZ: Have you spoken with any investigators? Have your students?

JENKINS: Not that I am aware of. I have not, no.

MENENDEZ: As I mentioned, the new body camera video contradicts the sheriff`s account from this week. Watch.


SHERIFF WILLIAM BOWMAN, LIBERTY COUNTY, GEORGIA: No personal items on the bus or person were searched. The deputies was not aware that this school was a historically black or aware of the race or the occupants due to the height of the vehicle.


MENENDEZ: Your reaction?

JENKINS: So upsetting to watch them just go through their things, their personal items. Just such a violation of their privacy. Just thinking of the scholar athletes that we have on our team, it just makes me very upset that the world now is seeing what they carry with them on their trips, and that`s not just our players` bags but then as coaches as well, going through our personal belongings. It`s such a huge invasion of our privacy.

MENENDEZ: Sheriff Bowman also said he didn`t think this was racial profiling. Here is that clip.


BOWMAN: Although I do not believe any racial profiling took place based on the information I currently have, I welcome feedback from our community on ways that our law enforcement practices can be improved.


MENENDEZ: What feedback is he getting? What feedback would you want to give?

JENKINS: So the racial profiling took place after the bus driver came off of the bus to talk to the police officer and the police officer then went to address our team. That`s when he saw that we`re a predominantly black team, and he goes off the bus. And that`s when the search starts. So that`s where the racial profiling comes into play. Yes, when they stopped the bus, they had no idea who was in the bus. But before searching our belongings, and then accusing us of having marijuana on the bus, they knew -- they knew the makeup of our team.

MENENDEZ: This has been called -- I`m sorry, finish your thought, Pamella.

JENKINS: I was just going to say I welcome talking to him if he wants to hear that from us. But I think the message from our team has been pretty clear that we felt violated. And that was happened because we were African- American. And the majority of our team was.

MENENDEZ: You`ve said to me that you believe in all of this, there is a greater purpose. What is that greater purpose?

JENKINS: That greater purpose is to bring awareness that this is still happening. I`ve never heard of this. And all of my years of coaching -- been a part of a team getting stopped like this. And I think the purpose is that we`re the last ones that this happens to, and hopefully, in the future that no one has to worry about this when going to a game or returning to campus.

MENENDEZ: Pamella Jenkins, thank you so much for being with us and for your time.

JENKINS: Thank you for having me.

MENENDEZ: Ahead, more protests on the row fight, as Justice Alito breaks his silence on what is happening inside the court in this unprecedented time. But first fact checking Fox hosts trying to scapegoat immigrant babies, and the baby formula shortage. That`s next.



MENENDEZ: Now to the very real baby formula shortage in the U.S. and the fake outrage over at Fox News, which is using the shortage to gin up xenophobia. First, the facts. The supply of baby formula is running very low and out of stock rate of 43 percent. There are a bunch of causes including the closure of one of the nation`s top formula plants due to contamination.

Experts also cite panic buying and general supply chain issues. But on the right, it`s being used to attack immigrants and President Biden. Texas Governor Greg Abbott, accusing Biden of being quote, happy to provide baby formula to illegal immigrants. And Fox hosts saying this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: American families there`s a shortage but if you`re a migrant, don`t worry because Uncle Sam has a stash of that.

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS: The Biden administration will give them food supplies that you can`t buy. Those would include baby formula.

JESSE WATTERS, HOST, FOX NEWS: We can feed the illegal alien babies, but we can`t feed our own babies. It sad.

JEANINE PIRRO, HOST, FOX NEWS: Do you know how fired up I am that they`re - - they`ve got these on pallets at the border. I mean, what about our kids?

SEAN PATRICK HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS: These are not people that respected our borders, our laws, and our sovereignty. Why wouldn`t all the pallets go to American families first?


MENENDEZ: That is repugnant, divisive, and misleading. The Washington Post giving it four Pinocchios. There is baby formula store to migrant facilities because that is the long-standing law. Going back 25 years, no obligation for the government to provide adequate treatment for migrant children held in migrant facilities, including the appropriate food such as baby formula. Same law the courts compelled Trump to abide even when he didn`t want to.

And does one fact-checker points out that migration facilities accounted for a miniscule portion of the formula used across the country. For Republicans, this isn`t about baby formula. It`s about finding an excuse to attack immigrants and President Biden. Biden meeting with key retailers and manufacturers this week announcing new steps to address the shortage. Plans to speed up manufacturing, crackdown on price gouging, and increase imports. Biden`s speaking today on increasing imports from abroad.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In places like Europe, where we can get more product on U.S. shelves. That`s underway, I think we`re going to be in a matter of weeks or less getting significantly more formula on shelves.


MENENDEZ: Joining me now Julian Castro former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the Obama administration, he is also an MSNBC political analyst. Julian, it is good to see you. Your reaction to Fox News` latest attack on immigrants.

JULIAN CASTRO, POLITICAL ANALYST, MSNBC: You know, it`s election season, Alicia because they never miss an opportunity to try and divide people. This is one of the most cynical and twisted attempts to divide people. And really, it`s been Yatta (PH) politics. Every election cycle, these folks choose a vulnerable community, in this case, immigrants, and they just swing at it and swing it and swing at it and they expect the reward to be political victory in November.

And so, whether it`s diverting COVID funds to Operation Lone Star or saying that he`s going to challenge Biden versus Doe. The ability of undocumented immigrant children to get an education, or this basically saying, why don`t we just go ahead and let these young immigrant babies starve?

If that`s what it takes to get formula to other people. It is the height of hypocrisy for them to say also in one breath where the pro-life party and in the next breath -- hey, it`s OK if we starve these babies. Only certain lives matter if you`re a black man to the GOP you don`t matter. If you`re a brown baby to the GOP you don`t matter.

MENENDEZ: It`s devastating. Elise Stefanik the third-ranking Republican in the House has also latched on to the xenophobic angle. She tweeted this today. Rather than present any plan -- all caps, or urgency to address the nationwide baby formula crisis, they double down on sending pallets of formula to the southern border.

Part of what frustrates me beyond the xenophobia, the racism, the hatred, the lies is the complete lack of interest in actually working to solve the problem, right? Because if you are a member of the House of Representatives, there is this ongoing crisis, you would hope that that would be where they would be pouring their time and attention.


CASTRO: Yes. And I think that`s the biggest difference that you saw there in the clip with the Biden administration. The administration and Democrats see a problem and they`re trying to fix it on behalf of the people they work for. Whereas the Republicans are just demagoguing on it. You could call for Biden to invoke the domestic production act. You could see what you could do to lower tariffs. So, you can import more of a baby formula that you can get from other countries quickly.

Or are there other companies that could stand up their production more quickly than Abbott Labs can. And you know, and this shortage. There are a lot of things you could do to actually contribute to solving the problem. Republicans haven`t been interested in doing any of those things. They just want political gain, to juice up more people from their base to come out and vote November.

MENENDEZ: Here`s the thing Julian, just part of the reason that I wanted to speak with you, which is this is coming from Governor Greg Abbott, it is happening in your state. Right? It continues -- we -- I think we keep thinking that we`ve seen sort of the most extreme thing that he could possibly say, possibly do. And then he actually sort of continues to move the needle on what the most extreme thing is, for example, this time, going after immigrant babies, it would seem to me that there is no bottom.

CASTRO: But they just keep going lower and lower. Every time you expect that you`ve reached an end, they go lower. And here`s the thing, we still have several months to go until November. And this really isn`t only about November of 22. It`s about the Republican primary that Greg Abbott thinks he might jump into in 23, 24. So, he`s just going to keep going lower and lower and lower along with Ron DeSantis. And a number of other Republican governors and senators and everybody else in the state of Texas and these other states is held hostage to that. It`s terrible.

MENENDEZ: And do you think at some point there is that -- there`s political consequences or political backlash?

CASTRO: Oh, I believe so. I mean, Texas during the Trump era moved toward Democrats decidedly, and in 2020 it was basically an even wash. The more they do these things pull the stunts I think the quicker it accelerates turning Texas blue.

MENENDEZ: Julian Castro, as always great to see you. Thank you for joining us. Ahead, we`re going to tell you what Justice Alito just said about the Supreme Court amid the Roe uproar as protests continue at justices` houses. Will a pressure campaign work? That`s next.



MENENDEZ: Fury and golfing the Supreme Court after that bombshell leaked draft opinion on Roe versus Wade. And for the first time, we are hearing from Justice Alito who wrote that opinion. When asked how he and the other justices were getting along. His response was curt, saying quote, we`re doing our work. It comes as protests erupt outside the homes of Supreme Court justices. Those legal and peaceful protests drawing criticism from Republicans now accusing Democrats of bullying the court.


SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): Reasonable people can disagree, but no reasonable person can believe that it`s appropriate to protest at the home of a sitting judge while there`s a case pending on the matter of the protest. And the silence from the White House and the Department of Justice is only the half of it. They shouldn`t be arrested and charged with a federal crime.


MENENDEZ: This line of attack completely sidelines the decades of anti- abortion protests that have been anything but simple as Roe cleared the way for legal abortion in 1973. Opponents organized as swiftly as clinics sprang up across this country by the 1980s and 90s. The protests growing more violent, sometimes deadly. With a wave of bombings at abortion clinics and assassinations of abortion providers.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An abortion facility was hit by a bomb blast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bomb blasts at three abortion clinics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A propane gas bomb exploded last night in the Washington office of the National Abortion Federation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. David Gunn was shot after getting out of his car as he came to work at a Pensacola abortion clinic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Tiller who performs third-trimester abortions had been shot twice outside his clinic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Barnett Slepian an Amherst New York doctor well known to anti-abortion protesters was shot dead by a sniper last night while at home with his wife and four children.


MENENDEZ: That is how the modern-day abortion fight has been waged in this country ever since Roe was decided. The stakes have always been intense. With violence against abortion clinics hitting record highs as recently as 2019. Joining me now senior editor and legal correspondent for Slate, Dahlia Lithwick. Dolly your takeaway from Justice Alito`s first comments there about the ways in which the justices are working together.

DAHLIA LITHWICK, SENIOR EDITOR AND LEGAL CORRESPONDENT, SLATE; Yes, I mean, he clearly doesn`t want to talk about it. We`ve heard over the course of the week -- Chief Justice Roberts, we`ve heard Clarence Thomas, some of the other justices have been a little bit more apt to at least express or and dismay about the betrayal. But Justice Alito seems to want to just move on.

MENENDEZ: Dahlia you`ve wrote about a footnote in Alito`s draft saying, footnote 46, quantifying the supply-demand mismatch of babies, discounts the emotional and financial costs of childbirth and the increased medical risk of forced childbirth. I tell you, that the physical response I have to hearing the supply-demand of babies. What is the key point to know here?


LITHWICK: The key point is in that footnote is right next to a footnote where he cites to Amy Coney Barrett`s point that she made it made an oral argument in Dobbs. Where she said there`s no harm, there`s really no burden in carrying all the way to term because these safe harbor laws that the states have mean, you could just drop the baby off at a fire station, no harm, no foul. And I think the two footnotes working together signal this notion. A. that there`s no hardship on a person who does not want to be pregnant, carrying to term, even though we know that the odds of dying in childbirth are much higher than the odds of an abortion.

But more I think it starts to feel as though what they`re saying is that there is commodity called Baby and that that`s somehow relevant to this discussion. That as long as there are adoptive parents out there who want babies, women can be conscripted into baring them for them. And so, the point of that article was just to link it back to the 14th Amendment, what it meant, in a time of chattel slavery to have babies be commodities, and how when the drafters of the 14th Amendment talked about what liberty really meant.

What they were saying it is the freedom to not have your body used that way. The freedom to marry who you love, to choose that your children live in your home. All of that was a response to slavery. And the idea that Justice Alito doesn`t see the irony in saying the 14th Amendment has no meaningful protection of these liberties that are being cited. When the 14th Amendment protected against exactly the notion that you could be asked to breed babies that you didn`t want to bear is really, really just a such a profound misreading of history that it makes you want to -- a little bit it makes you want to cry.

MENENDEZ: Dahlia, we`ve seen the right outraged over peaceful protests outside of justice`s homes. I want to know both what -- both what you think about these demonstrations. And what you think about the right`s outrage.

LITHWICK: Well, I mean, it goes back to your baby formula conversation you just had, right? Which is you just find a deflection and a distraction and you start howling last week, they were howling about the leak, it`s a way of not talking about the absolute catastrophic harms. They`re about to be full. Millions and millions of pregnant people in the country. So, I think it`s a distraction and as you said, these are some of the same folks who think that people who were breaking into the Capitol on January 6 with weapons, who were assaulting folks, those were peaceful protesters.

And these folks who are standing outside the homes of justices with signs are somehow violent radicals who should be charged with federal laws. So, you can see the hypocrisy and also the ways that it changes the subject. I don`t think this is going to change Brett Kavanaugh`s mind. I don`t think it`s going to change Amy Coney Barrett`s mind. But I think to some degree, their mind was not really open for debate.

I think that in a sense, what it does is signal to the court. The people are very, very, very angry and upset. And that this decision if becomes in the face of polling that shows that Americans hate this decision is going to have consequences for the court. Maybe that`s all that it can do but it`s not -- nothing it`s not trivial.

MENENDEZ: I only have about 30 seconds left. But I do want to know where you see this going next.

LITHWICK: This being the leak. I mean, I hope that we keep talking about abortion, I really hope that we keep focused on the harms, particularly in red states, particularly in states with low infant and maternal health consequences. I think we have to be prepared to talk about this and talk about this all the way till July when the decision probably comes down.

MENENDEZ: Dahlia Lithwick, thanks for being with us.

LITHWICK: Thank you for having me.

MENENDEZ: We`ll be back quick with one more thing.




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MENENDEZ: That notorious Matt Damon ad for cryptocurrency now being seen in a new light. The end of a week in which we may have seen the crypto bubble burst. Bitcoin, Luna, Tether, and other crypto crashing this week. And what experts say is a total meltdown. The crash highlighting the volatility of Wall Street and the age of technology and flash trading. It`s the focus of the new MSNBC documentary "DIAMOND HANDS." Going inside the infamous GameStop short squeeze with the players who made it happen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wrote this post called the Greatest Short Burn of the Century. My brother who`s an actor is going to come and read it for me because it`s too cringy for me to do it myself.

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MENENDEZ: You can catch "DIAMOND HANDS, THE LEGEND OF WALLSTREETBETS" Sunday 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC. That does it for me. You can catch me on "AMERICAN VOICES" weekends at 6:00 p.m. Eastern like tomorrow. "THE REIDOUT WITH JOY REID" is up next.