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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 11/11/21

Guests: Christina Greer, Jackie Speier, Elie Mystal, Matt Miller, Betsy Woodruff Swan, Malcolm Nance


New wave of violent right-wing threats. GOP lawmakers gets death threats after backing Biden bill. Interview with Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA). House Dems pushing censure over rep`s video showing attack on AOC. Defense rests in Rittenhouse trial. New ruling in January 6th Trump probe. A.G. Garland under pressure to prosecute stonewalling Trump allies. Biden honors veterans at Arlington Cemetery.


NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: Thank you so much for letting us into your homes during these extraordinary times. We`re grateful.

"THE BEAT" with Jason Johnson in for Ari Melber starts right now. Hi there, friend.

JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC HOST: Hi there, Nicolle. Thank you so much. And welcome to "THE BEAT." I`m Jason Johnson in for Ari Melber. Big, big show tonight.

We start with a new wave of violent threats on the right, surprise, surprise. And like the Capitol riots which replaced the orderly transfer of power with deadly violence, it revolves around what used to be the routine workings of government and infrastructure bill. President Biden planning to sign it next Monday after it passed the House with strong support from Democrats, as well as shockingly 13 House Republicans. And that`s where the story kind of goes off the rails.

The "AP" reporting today on the death threats now facing those 13 Republicans, quote, "harsh blow," that shows conservatives growing more militant, fanned by Trump`s bellicose time in office. The times detailing some of that blow back.

Quote, "One caller instructed Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois to slit his wrists and `rot in hell.`"

Quote, "Another hoped Representative Don Bacon of Nebraska would slip and fall down a staircase."

The third lawmaker has been inundated with messages tagging her as a "traitor."

And NBC News has obtained a profanity laced voice mail message sent to Congressman Fred Upton.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) traitor, that`s what you are. You`re a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) piece of (EXPLETIVE DELETED) traitor. I hope you die. I hope everybody in your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) family dies.


JOHNSON: Now the lawmakers fanning the flames, Marjorie Taylor Greene calling the 13 lawmakers, traitors. And tweeting out their office telephone numbers.

Matt Gaetz making it clear this isn`t about the policy of infrastructure. It`s about 13 defectors failing to be partisan enough.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): I can feel your blood pressure rising, Grant. And I`m right there with you. We had the Democrats on the ropes. We have the ability to make Joe Biden a lame duck president to stop his agenda. The question for Leader McCarthy and the rest of our conference, really, is whether or not we will allow people to be designated as Republican leaders on major committees and subcommittees while they fight for the Joe Biden agenda.


JOHNSON: Also, tonight, top Democrats calling to censure House Republican and Trump die hard Paul Gosar after Gosar posted a violent cartoon of his likeness killing Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter. We`re choosing not to show the full video, but you can see the screen grab ahead. I`ll talk live to a top Democrat leading the charge on this issue.

All of it coming amid broader concerns from law enforcement. Department of Homeland Security issuing this new security warning, quote, "Extremists have called for attacks on elected officials, political representatives, government facilities."

Y`all, this is not a drill. This is a real warning. These are real threats coming from the right. Coming from networks, coming from individuals, coming from politicians, once again, targeting the normal workings of American government.

Joining me to discuss is Christina Greer, associate professor at Fordham University. And NBC News presidential historian, Michael Beschloss, host of "Fireside History with Michael Beschloss" streaming only on Peacock.

Michael, I`m going to start with you because I want people to understand historically where -- where our current times sort of fit in. This kind of vocal violence towards elected officials. This -- it seems like every other day we`re reporting on school boards and people being threatened with death, elected officials being threatened with death and targets being put on their heads on social media.

How common is this era, and if we have seen this in the past, what does it usually lead to?

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: We`re watching the clock be turned back to 1859 to the eve of the civil war where there was violence on the floor of Congress, and there was - there were threats of violence. But the difference is that those who were for violence and insurrection were not the Democrats or the Republicans. They were the secessionists that finally formed the confederacy, so in a way, this goes a step beyond the time of before the civil war.

The Republican Party, as both of you, all of us, we all got our BA`s in Political Science, all three of us and I`m glad you`re here Christina, too. And you know we all know that the Republican Party started as the anti- slavery party in the mid-1850s, the party as it soon was of Abraham Lincoln, civil rights, rule of law, ultimately national security. They talked a lot about law and order.


That`s what Republicans were until relatively recently, at least professed to be, and what are they tonight, Christina and Jason? They`re the party that says that January 6th was not, what I think it is, and the two of you think it was, which was a violent insurrection that threatened to overthrow the government of this country.


BESCHLOSS: And rob Joe Biden of the presidency, and hand it to Donald Trump who was not elected, something we had never seen before in our history, with the help of the incumbent president, Donald Trump. The Republicans are now the party that flirts with Viktor Orban of Hungary, authoritarianism.

You were just talking, Jason, about what members of the Republican Party, you know, the kind of sanctions against them just for voting for an infrastructure bill. You know, the idea of James Madison and our founders was that you know people would consult their conscience, and they wouldn`t normally be in lock step with factions, they refer to parties.

So, all I`m saying is tonight, we`re in a situation where often times the Republican Party reminds me less of Abraham Lincoln than it does of Mussolini.

JOHNSON: Well said. Dr. Greer, so a recent poll just came out, 47 percent, it`s not the majority, but 47 percent of Republicans say that they should find space for members of their party and political leaders who describe Democrats as evil. And when you take that into consideration, you look at what Gosar has done and you look what Marjorie Taylor Greene is doing, harassing people around the office place.

You and I, anybody watching the show right now, if we were tweeting threats to our coworkers, we`d be fired. Our key cards wouldn`t work when we tried to get back into the building. So, not just politically you know, Dr. Greer, but what is lacking on the part of this administration that they`re watching violent threats be lobbied at coworkers and staff members and none of these people are being kicked out of Congress, none of them are being kicked out of the building, none are being escorted for engaging in the kind violent language and rhetoric that would have anybody from a university to chipotle sitting outside the door.


JOHNSON: Oh, we`re having a little trouble with Dr. Greer. She`s being silenced. She`s being canceled. All right. We`ll go back --

GREER: Here we are. Here we are.

Yeah, but you have a Democratic Party who isn`t taking this as seriously as they should. You know we still have a committee where they`re talking about January 6th. Any member of Congress who even flirted with individuals on January 6th should have been expelled from Congress. We shouldn`t be having that he is conversations.

And sadly, as Representative Ocasio-Cortez has said, you know because the vast majority of the people were really being harassed are women of color, in or just women, white women specifically. It doesn`t seem as though it`s a priority.

And so, when we have Cori Bush saying I need to move my office. Marjorie Taylor Greene is harassing me with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez being harassed on the steps of Congress trying to go to work. You know I said this last night on Joy`s show, you know Representative Shirley Chisholm was stabbed while she was campaigning.

This is not a drill. And we need more Republicans also to say this will not be tolerated. They too will have blood on their hands sadly. And we see that it`s escalating, this conversation around the Second Amendment. You know the fact that George Washington warned us about this in his preamble address. The framers constantly debated this. "Federalist 10," if your viewers haven`t read it yet, reread it, read it for the first time. Because this was something that our framers were really concerned about.


GREER: And we`re in this moment, especially now that we have women of color who are in leadership positions. And we have far too many members of the Republican Party who are not just threatening them but essentially, we -- Jason, you and I know this, when someone tweets at these representatives, -


GREER: -- these people of color who are representing us in Congress, what they`re essentially doing is saying, hey, my army of, you know bigots and racists and people who are armed to the teeth, --


GREER: -- go after them.

And then, unfortunately, if something happens, they`ll say, well I didn`t do it, I don`t know how that happened. It`s like, you have been saying this and inciting this type of violence on a daily, consistent basis.

JOHNSON: Yeah. I always know when I have been on right wing web sites because my e-mail is filled with lots of colorful words. Dr. Greer, I want to stick with you for a second. I`m going to play this audio from a package on the "Today" show talking specifically about what you`re saying on this issue of not just that this is violence being directed by the right, but violence being directed in particular at women in positions of power.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a way to shut you up.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And trying to drive you from office.

GRISWOLD: I think that`s exactly what`s happening. And we`re seeing a lot of these threats focused on Democratic women, secretaries of the state.


JOHNSON: Dr. Greer, it`s targeted not just racially but also gender-wise, right?


GREER: Absolutely, we can think about Governor Gretchen Whitmer from Michigan, you know where there were threats to not just murder her but to kidnap her. And then begin to kidnap members of the Democratic Michigan caucuses. I mean, we know that as, you know, journalist, and political scientists, and academics, you and I and our colleagues consistently get threats. Mine are oftentimes intersectional, as a black person and as a woman. So, raping and lynching which is you know sort of par for the course that far too many women have to experience in leadership positions in elected office.

And sadly, you know you continue to do your job, but knowing that this threat is real, and we can look at January 6th to really see the extent to which people will go to take back what they view as theirs from people who they don`t view as full citizens. From people who they don`t view as belonging or deserving -


GREER: -- of American democracy, or American citizenship.

JOHNSON: Michael, I want to make sure that we get to this before we go to break. I have got to point out, we have this other story here about book burning. The fact that you talk about going back to the 1850s. We now have Republicans at school boards, conservatives at school boards saying that they want to burn books. They want to burn books that they think are sexually explicit. They want to burn books that they think have materials or information in them that they don`t want their children exposed to.

Above and beyond the fact that anybody who was a parent or teaches kids right now should be thrilled that a child actually wants to go into a brick-and-mortar bookstore or a library and grab an actual book, we should be thrilled about that. What does this say about the current direction of the right that you now have people non-ironically saying we should be burning books.

BESCHLOSS: It`s getting violent. It`s getting authoritarian, and it has no sense of history because anyone with a sense of history knows that in 1938, book burning meant Nazi Germany. That what was being done on Kristallnacht, which was actually just about this week, the anniversary of the attack on Jewish people in Germany, and the ratcheting up of everything we came to see in the time of the holocaust and Nazi Germany.

Dwight Eisenhower or who as we all know was the leader of allied forces in Europe, became president in 1953. He gave a wonderful commencement speech at Dartmouth, 1953. It was a time of Joseph McCarthyism, the time that you heard a lot of the same stuff.

You know let`s ban certain books.


BESCHLOSS: Let`s ban, cancel certain people. And Eisenhower said to the students, don`t join the book burners. I wish Eisenhower were back.

JOHNSON: Dr. Christina Greer, Michael Beschloss, thank you so much for starting us off.

Joining me now is Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier who was behind the push to censor GOP congressman Paul Gosar.

Thank you, Congresswoman, so much for joining us this evening.

I`m going to start with this. And I think this is important. We`ve been having this conversation since the beginning of the year.

What is the mood like in Congress right now? What`s the morale like when you have these three or four members, Republicans, who are consistently attacking and threatening their colleagues? Are people becoming despondent, are Republicans coming to you in the cloak room and saying, yeah, I feel really bad about this, but I`m afraid to say anything. What`s the mood like in Congress?

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): Well, it`s actually quite toxic, Jason. And the fact that we have members who will make motions to adjourn regularly or force suspension bills to be taken up for roll call votes are throwing sand into the gears of the democracy that we value. And it slows the process down.

The fact that we have members of Congress who voted for an infrastructure bill that were Republicans, and Republicans on the Senate side voted for that same bill. And now they`re being attacked. And you don`t have the leader of the Republican caucus, Kevin McCarthy speaking up about it. He lets Ms. Greene go ahead and post their telephone numbers. I mean, this is a truly dangerous set of circumstances.

JOHNSON: So, you can censure Paul Gosar, but I don`t know that censuring means anything to most of these members of Congress because whether it`s Gosar or Gaetz or Marjorie Taylor Greene or Steve King before - I mean, most of these folks seem to spend most of their time on Twitter of Fox News anyway. They`re not really doing their jobs.

So, is there a plan or are there tools at your disposal beyond simply censuring. Because again, if this was happening at chipotle, if this was happening at amazon, if this was happening at any other government office, anywhere in Washington, D.C. right now. Someone engaging in the behavior that Paul Gosar engaged in would be suspended and they would not be allowed to come back in the building. So, is there anything you can do beyond censure?


SPEIER: Well, there`s censure, there`s reprimand, and there`s expulsion. Those are the vehicles we have.

Now, we can strip them off their committees, much like we have for Ms. Greene, but in the end, if we sit silently, and that`s why I decided to move forward with the censure resolution. If we sit silently, it`s tacit approval. And he keeps crossing the line, and others keep crossing the line.

And it`s important that we speak out. Violence against women is a problem in this country. It`s a problem for women in powerful positions around the world. 85 percent have been surveyed and said that they have had problems. I have had two persons charged for making charges against me. One was actually convicted. But we have allowed this to get out of hand, and it`s time to put a stop to it.

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez was chosen by Mr. Gosar to be killed in his little cartoon. It wasn`t a cartoon. And he to somehow minimize that is reprehensible, and to suggest that the president of the United States should be slain, it is -- it`s out of control, and it`s time that we force our colleagues to be held accountable.

JOHNSON: Congresswoman Speier, thank you so much for your efforts to maintain some sanity and decency in Congress. We appreciate that.

Coming up, the defense rests in that chaotic murder trial for Kyle Rittenhouse. We`ll talk about it with Elie Mystal.

Plus, a new ruling in the January 6th probe as the pressure grows for a criminal case against you know Steve Bannon.

And on this Veterans Day, our special look at what America owes its vets after the end of our longest war.



JOHNSON: The defense is resting its case today in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, accused of murdering two Black Lives Matter protesters, wrapping up with testimony from an eyewitness who claimed that one of the men Rittenhouse killed was a threat to him.


DREW HERNANDEZ, JOURNALIST: As the first firearm goes off, Rosenbaum is already charging Kyle from behind, attempts to throw a bag at him, not sure what`s inside of it. Rosenbaum is lunging towards him very clearly and Kyle fires.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you observe him acting in an aggressive manner to anyone that you observed?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In no way, shape or form. The first time I saw Kyle, he actually deescalated a situation.


JOHNSON: That defense in contrast to prosecution claims Rittenhouse knowingly crossed state lines with a rifle. The trial was marred by theatrics yesterday when Rittenhouse sobbed while testifying, a move so disingenuous, even Webster`s dictionary had to get involved, a very different image than what we saw when he was boldly walking through the streets of Kenosha, a town over four hours from his home with an AR-15 that he obtained illegally.

The trial resumes on Monday, the judge and lawyers will meet tomorrow to discuss legal issues. Remember, the defense has filed a motion for a mistrial. The judge has not yet ruled on that, but he sparred with a prosecutor yesterday and today questioned him about the look on his face.


JUDGE BRUCE SCHROEDER, KENOSHA COUNTY: Is there something that I`m seeing that draws the face that you`re making?

THOMAS BINGER, KENOSHA COUNTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I have to say, your honor, yesterday, I was the target of your ire for disregarding your orders. Today, the defense is disregarding your order.

SCHROEDER: I was talking yesterday about the Constitution of the United States. That`s not what we`re talking about here today.


JOHNSON: This judge has come under fire for bias, one lawyer who has appeared before him telling "The Washington Post" quote, "if you get him, you are happy as a defense attorney."

In another day of testimony wrapping in the trial of the man who fatally shot 25-year-old jogger Ahmaud Arbery. One police officer who spoke with one of the suspects, Greg McMichael, testifying that McMichael told him, Arbery was quote, "trapped like a rat."


LINDA DUNIKOSKI, PROSECUTOR ON AHMAD ARBERY TRIAL: So, when asking Greg McMichael to speculate about what`s going through the mind of Ahmaud Arbery, what does Greg McMichael say on lines three through six.

RODERIC NOHILLY, GLYNN COUNTY POLICE SERGEANT: He - he was - he was trapped like a rat. I think he was wanting to flee. And he realized that, something, you know, he was not going to get away.


JOHNSON: He was not going to get away. Have the perfect guess to break all of this down with.

Elie Mystal joins me live in just 60 seconds. You don`t want to miss it.


JOHNSON: Joining me now is Elie Mystal, justice correspondent for "The Nation" and the Lewis Black of lawyers and politics. Thank you so much, Elie, for joining me this evening.

Now, I - I -- I want everyone to understand what is actually happening in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial right now. You have tweeted and talked about the fact that the judge is racist, and you think that impacts how he is managing this trial.

First, just for the audience to understand, why do you say that this judge is racist.


And how does that actually impact the trial? Because those are words that get thrown around a lot in the Tucker Carlson`s and Glenn Greenwald and the world get upset because they`re used to defending people like that. But why does that matter and why did you make that charge?

ELIE MYSTAL, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, "THE NATION": Because if you look at the judge`s history, he has a history of disregarding civil rights information on rulings and that sort. If you look at his specific history in this case, all of his pretrial motions tended to favor the defendant, favor Kyle Rittenhouse, even leading up to this trial. And then, certainly, his behavior in the trial, as the presiding officer of the trial has just been grotesque in terms of his combativeness with - with the prosecution, his -- his willingness to let the defense slide on many issues, his American flag tissue box, his cell phone ring tone that is actually the same song that was played at the beginning of the Trump rallies, which by the way, is one of the only songs that Trump doesn`t get a cease and desist letter whenever he uses it.

It`s never just one thing.


MYSTAL: And that`s the thing that I think other people have trouble understanding. It`s not just one issue or one decision.


MYSTAL: I`m not saying one plus one equals two. I`m saying one plus one plus one plus one plus one equals five, and that`s why you can kind of defend any individual decision, when you look at the policy of his actions, what you have is a racist biased judge who was putting his thumb on the scale in every way he can for the defense and for Rittenhouse in this case.

JOHNSON: I suspect that if there was a judge in a trial who, you know, when their phone played it was like a Black Lives Matter anthem or something else like that, or you know screw the police by public enemy, people would have a problem with that. And yet this guy is able to get away with everything he is doing.

I want to play some audio from today which sort of speaks to your point and get your thoughts on the other side. This is - this is something that just randomly came out of the judge`s mouth today talking about ordering food for lunch during the trial.


SCHROEDER: Let`s hope for 1:00. I don`t know. Hope the Asian food isn`t coming, it isn`t on one of those boats in Long Beach Harbor.


JOHNSON: Who says Asian food? I mean who actually says that. But - but Elie, this sort of speaks to what you`re talking about. I mean, it`s this sort of off color, insensitive racist commentary. The first question I think a lot of people have whether or not they`re not following you or even they`re just picking up this trial is, what can be done about a judge like this. Because all of these things that you have laid out, which seem to me, be reason to call a mistrial or seek a change of venue, because clearly this guy has biases that are affecting the administration of this case.

MYSTAL: Yeah, unfortunately nothing can be done. He`s an elected judge. So, the time to get rid of him, during, whenever he was last up for election, as I understand it, haven`t independently verified this but I have seen that he was initially appointed to his position by a Democrat, by a Democratic governor, which kind of goes to show how little Democrats pay attention to the courts in these situations.

Look, the judge is the king of his or her own courtroom. There is very little that can be done, even this kind of motion for a mistrial, who gets to decide, the judge gets to decide whether or not he is so prejudiced that he needs to order a mistrial. You think that`s going to happen. And sure, there`s a chance to like appeal and appeal.

But remember, and this is another thing that people kind of forget. Remember that generally mistrials favor the defense. Because what`s going to happen on Friday is that the defense is asking for a mistrial.


MYSTAL: And to dismiss the case with prejudice so that Rittenhouse can never be retried again. And if that motion gets denied, remember that if he - if Rittenhouse is acquitted that decision cannot be appealed because that would place Rittenhouse in double jeopardy, and that would be a violation of Rittenhouse`s Fifth Amendment rights.

So, once you draw a bias, prejudice judge in our state court system, there`s very little you can do about it, and quite frankly, every African American attorney I know knows that. Like one of the -- I don`t think the prosecution has been bad, all right.


MYSTAL: I really, I think that sometimes Twitter is a little bit mean. I don`t think they have been bad at their job. But I do think that they were not ready to go up against a judge that`s not on your side because usually prosecutors expect a judge to be on their side.

It`s you know -- so, if you look at the difference between this prosecution, versus how Keith Ellison went at Derek Chauvin, right?


MYSTAL: Keith Ellison came out there with that defense trial energy, right? Like he had a dream team. He had a defense. He was ready for anything, and I don`t know that this prosecution team was ready to be - to deal with fighting not just Rittenhouse`s defense lawyers but also the judge. It`s a - it`s a huge problem.

JOHNSON: When the judge asked the entire room if there are any veterans here and demands that the entire room clap for a veteran, and the one veteran in the room happens to be the expert witness coming forth to testify on behalf of Kyle Rittenhouse, that`s an example of a pretty biased courtroom.


Elie Mystal, thank you so much for your time. We`ll bring you back as we`re going through the rest of this trial.

MYSTAL: Thank you.

JOHNSON: Ahead, breaking news on the riot committee and the records Trump wants to keep secret.

Plus, pressure mounts on Trump`s former chief of staff to cooperate.

And later, Malcolm Nance on the first Veterans Day to take place without troops in an active war zone in 20 years.

We`ll be right back.


JOHNSON: Breaking news in the January 6th MAGA terrorism probe. Just hours ago, federal appeals court temporarily barring the release of Trump White House records to the January 6th committee. The National Archives were set to tone over the first collection of Trump documents tomorrow after a judge ruled, they couldn`t be blocked. Trump doing anything he can to keep it in the closet. Right now, he`s buying time. But the probe is still getting closer to Trump with a slew of new subpoenas this week.

Today, Trump`s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows seems to be listening to the old boss and is ready to risk it all, refusing to comply with his subpoena. Quote, "under the instructions of Trump to respect longstanding principles of executive privilege."

The White House rejecting his executive privilege claims because there is no executive privilege here. This is called executive fear.

Now, any prosecutor for Trump ally stonewalling comes down to Attorney General Garland. Oh, boy, Steve Bannon was held in criminal contempt of Congress last month.


And we have seen no action on the prosecution from Garland. The pressure is on Garland to, you know, do something, as Trump feels the heat with documents one step away from heading to the committee.

Joining me now, former chief spokesperson for the Justice Department Matt Miller, and national correspondent for "Politico," Betsy Woodruff Swan. Thank you so much both of you for being here this evening.

Matt, I`ll start with you, count me in the group of people who are extremely frustrated with the Department of Justice that Steve Bannon has not been brought in a black and white striped outfit in shackles by now. It seems like they are moving very slowly on many of these prosecutions. We are told occasionally by defenders of the Department of Justice that hey, they are crossing T`s and dotting I`s. What is taking so long on Bannon? And if this is how long it takes for somebody who is clearly in contempt, what can we expect down the road as more information comes forward from the committee?

MATT MILLER, FORMER CHIEF SPOKESMAN, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: You know, I think what you have to remember about DOJ is this is a place where before they decide where to go to lunch, 25 lawyers have to write a memo laying out their opinion, and they have to have three or four meetings. That three weeks seems like a long time for this case. It is a nano second in DOJ time, the way DOJ - the way DOJ usually goes about making decisions.

And look, there are some complicated issues that they have to work through here before making the decision. I think they do want to make sure they get this case right. That`s obviously very important, but I do hope what they`re cognizant of is in this case, getting it right, also means getting it quick because this case is not just about holding Steve Bannon accountable for defying the - defying the committee`s subpoena. It`s also about sending a signal to all these other witnesses.

Look, I think Mark Meadows, even if the department prosecuted Steve Bannon, Mark Meadows might roll the dice and say, look, I`m going to have good counsel.


MILLER: I might - I have a better, stronger executive privilege claim than Bannon does. I might see if the department tries to indict me. But not every witness will make that same calculation. A lot of them will say, I don`t want to tangle with DOJ. I don`t want to risk racking up millions of dollars in legal bills and having my reputation (inaudible). So, I`m going to come and cooperate. So, I hope that the department is cognizant of that, and is going to move quickly to reach a final decision in this.

JOHNSON: Betsy, if we look at this from sort of inside Congress, what is the feeling about the effectiveness of the January 6th committee at this point? Look, it took a lot of difficulty to put it together. Republicans didn`t really want to participate. You know most of them are sort of pushing against it one way or another. One of the biggest people who has been brought in has already said, hey, I`m not coming into court. He`s in defiance.

Is there confidence that this committee is going to really accomplish anything because right now it seems like the greatest revelations we have gotten from -- have been from a rolling stone article in the "Washington Post." What is the faith in Congress right now on the effectiveness of the January 6th committee?

BETSY WOODRUFF SWAN, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, "POLITICO": The situation is highlighting the fact that congressional subpoenas just don`t currently have the power that members of Congress would like them to have.


WOODRUFF SWAN: The reality is that even if DOJ brings charges against Bannon, it could be too little, too late to actually have an effect on the subpoena working by getting members of Congress, not just the information they want but when they want, at the point in their investigation, when they need that information. One thing that has been discussed on the Hill, that I believe Congressman Schiff has talked about is legislating, passing new laws to make these congressional subpoenas more muscular.

That`s the kind of thing frankly that should have bipartisan support. Every member of Congress loves being able to do investigations and force people to come in. It`s very much one of the very few issues that those Republicans and Democrats are excited about. Although with dramatic variations in terms of the investigations that they get excited about.

That said, it`s very hard to foresee if any of that type of legislative effort is going to get serious momentum in the coming months. There`s so much Congress has to do. Things are -- there`s a lot of folks with their hair on fire over there.

And I think the likelihood that they make this type of change in the next few months is pretty low, but this January 6th situation as it continues to really frustrate the members of that committee is something that without question is going to heighten the appetite for some sort of legislative change for Congress to say the status quo is not working. We`re Congress. We can change the status quo.

JOHNSON: So, Matt, I`m wondering about this, there`s a -- I want to know what the chart is here, right? So, right now, you`ve got a former president of the United States, the retiree who is hanging out in Florida is trying to keep documents from getting into the hands of the January 6th committee, and judges have said hey, sometimes you can`t, et cetera, et cetera.

When the January 6th committee gets documentation, are they then free to give it to the DOJ. How much is the DOJ working with the January 6th committee to prosecute people who were involved in the terrorist attack on January 6th. Are they sort of parallel tracks or are they sharing information and both putting pressure in order to get to the bottom of this?

MILLER: They won`t be sharing information in real-time as the investigations go forward. They are kind of going on separate tracks, but the committee always has the ability at the end of its investigation or anytime in the middle of the investigation if they find something that they think is important to send it over to DOJ.


Usually, they would do that at the end when they write a splashy report. They like to have revelations that draw public attention, and at that time, make a referral.

And there`s no statute of limitations where here will -- you know statute of limitations for these crimes are in five years where it`s kind of long time before this investigation is over. And still, many more years for DOJ to investigate and prosecute. So, that`s not a concern. But if they found something, they thought was really urgent, there`s nothing stopping them from picking up the phone and calling the attorney general and getting something over right away.

JOHNSON: So, when you talk about getting something right away. When you talk about things moving faster. And this is again, this is the question that I get from regular people on the street all the time. That`s the question I get from my students at Morgan State.

You know Travis Scott can get in trouble for putting on a concert, and supposedly getting people to riot and trample folks, et cetera, et cetera. There are folks who are going to get arrested in that, and yet, we have members of Congress and a former president who are involved in leading a terrorist attack on the White House, and we still are getting sentences that are 14 months and 13 months, and 48 hours and people still being given free time to go on hunting trips, go on vacations and everything else like that.

I know that the Department of Justice is supposed to be a "political," but is there any concern from your former colleagues that the lack of punishment being meted out against people who tried to overthrow this country is making the Department of Justice look weak or feckless in the eyes of American citizens who were concerned about our safety.

MILLER: I think DOJ always is concerned about its public reputation. They`re always concerned about that people don`t think they`re doing the job that they`re supposed to, not just because they worry about their personal reputations but it`s important that the public have faith in law enforcement doing its job.

And look, you have seen judges, the chief judge for the district court in D.C. express some concern that DOJ is coming and talking about these as the crime of the century, but in some cases, recommending low sentences.

I do think as more of these cases work their way through, the ones that have -- have mostly, have pled out so far have been some of the lower-level infractions. You did just see a sentence this week of - of I think between three and four years for the - the - the -- you know, the guy, you know, who was waving the flag on the floor of the U.S. Senate.


MILLER: And as we get to some cases that you know, the Proud Boys, and the Oath Keepers, that`s where I do think you will see more serious sentences than the ones who just entered the Capitol and were there.

JOHNSON: Definitely hope so. Matt Miller and Betsy Woodruff Swan, thank you so much for joining us tonight.


JOHNSON: Ahead, F. W. de Klerk, the man who freed Mandela and brought an end to apartheid has died. We`ll take a look at his complicated legacy.

And honoring our veterans, what we must do to take care of those who have sacrificed.

Malcolm Nance is here live, next.




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have many obligations, but one truly sacred obligation, to properly prepare those and equip those who we send into harm`s way and care for them and their families while they`re both deployed and when they return home.


JOHNSON: President Biden speaking on a Veterans Day that`s different. First in 20 years when America is not in a major conflict. Biden focusing on what the country owes soldiers back from Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere as they readjust to life here at home.

A recent federal court reveals one in 10 veterans have been diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder. Slightly higher than the general population.

A DOJ report estimates more than 100,000 veterans are behind bars. A third of them for drug offenses.

Over 9 million veterans enrolled in the veteran`s health care system, but many still struggling to get care.

Nearly 20 million appointments were delayed or cancelled due to COVID.

Calls to crisis hot line spiking as veterans grapple with the aftermath of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Biden today pledging to address these issues for a community that sacrificed so much.

Joining me now is Malcolm Nance who is a U.S. Navy veteran.

Happy Veterans Day, Malcolm.


JOHNSON: So, I want to start with this. I - I -- you have served. I grew up in a military family, lots of military veterans in my family. How is this Veterans Day, just in the community, different because it`s the first time that we don`t have a major, major, major investment in troops abroad. Is this a - is this a time of reflection? Is this a time to sort of look at our wounds? How is this Veterans Day different amongst many soldiers who have served?

NANCE: Well, I think we are still sort of in a period that`s afterglow of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. And for the average American, they`re really not seeing anything different about Veterans Day. It`s the veterans` community, as you mentioned earlier on in your blog. It`s the veterans` community that`s really feeling this.

And you know, the Afghan war, which was called a forever war 20 years in activity there. We still have low intensity conflict occurring all over the world.


NANCE: Our deployments in Africa command you know have U.S. troops in harm`s way every day, same thing in Iraq and Syria. They`re still striking fighter forces and special forces hovering around the fringes of Afghanistan.

But what`s different, as you say, is we do not have a massive troop deployment -


NANCE: -- rotating in and out of Afghanistan in a country that we essentially broke and had to own. And I`m not quite sure that, you know, even the American public on a day where you can go to Apple Bee`s and get a free lunch and tell someone thank you for your service. Well, remember, what these real sacrifices were come tomorrow.


NANCE: The president on the other hand has the opportunity to become a real leader in chief, a commander in chief here and take this gauntlet away from the Republicans who are trying to use it as a cudgel.


There`s many things the veteran community can do, and that he can do besides have the occasional Medal of Honor Ceremony.

JOHNSON: With that in mind, I want to play this audio from President Biden today and get your thoughts on whether he is doing enough and whether he is communicating what he is doing enough, on the other side. This is him speaking earlier today.


BIDEN: 53,323 American servicemen and women wounded in the conflicts of Iraq and Afghanistan. 7,074 gave their lives.

We`re going to work with Congress -- Republicans and Democrats together -- to make sure our veterans receive the world-class benefits that they`ve earned.

Keeping the needs of veterans, front and center.


JOHNSON: Do you think he is in a position now, given the difficulties he`s had, getting other things to Congress. Do you think President Biden is in a position now to establish himself as hey, I am the great post-war president who will make sure that our soldiers, men and women are taken care of?

NANCE: Well, he could. And let me play Donny Deutsch here for a minute. Let me give him a little branding assistance in terms of this.

Donald Trump and his administration literally pretended like they were responsible for everything. Any decision they made, even if it was detrimental to our troops like Donald Trump saying that there were no injuries after 13 2,000-pound guided missiles slammed into our base in Iraq after the killing of Hassan Soleimani, and telling them that they don`t have an injury, that they don`t have anything going on with them is absolutely ludicrous.

So, for the most part, for President Biden, he can jump up and take the mantle of, I`m going take care of them. And the first thing he should do is he should immediately bring the 39 wounded and give them their Purple Hearts at the White House. And remind them that traumatic brain injury is a very, very serious matter.

And then, from that point onward, transmit that you`re going to have a Medal of Honor Ceremony to someone other than C-Span. Make sure that the media is there. Make sure that military families are there. The right wing is using military families as a weapon.

And let me tell you something. When people say thank you for your service, my response is no, don`t thank me. Thank my wife. Thank my kids. Thank my mother that had seven nonces in the Navy at one time, including her husband who joined at 15 in World War II. Those military families need to be honored. I would bring them to the Rose Garden and help them put the roses back inside that place and honor them every day. Michelle Obama did that.

And you know what? Because they didn`t really want to highlight that. They really didn`t get a lot of - you know they really didn`t get a lot of political capital out of it.


I`ll tell you this, Malcolm. You are exactly right in honoring the families of veterans. There was a story today about a -- one of the last survivors of Tulsa who also served in World War II. And he hasn`t gotten all the full benefits of the GI Bill. So, look, President Biden, if you really want to make a difference, make a difference to people who survived a massacre 100 years ago after, before they went and served this country.

Malcolm Nance, thank you so much for your service. Thanks for coming on tonight.

NANCE: My pleasure.

JOHNSON: Ahead, Nelson Mandela and the death of F.W. de Klerk, the last president of apartheid South Africa.



JOHNSON: Finally, tonight, a story that reminds us how democracies are often born through struggle and the cry for freedom. The last president of - South Africa -- apartheid South Africa F.W. de Klerk has died. He was 85 years old. De Klerk got to tag along with Nelson Mandela for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, despite only one of them being truly committed to ending white majority rule.

Many will describe de Klerk`s legacy as complicated. The term we use in the media when someone was mostly terrible but did enough decent things late in life that we have to mention it. De Klerk defended racial apartheid until the moment he became president in 1989, when he abruptly reversed course and released Nelson Mandela from prison.

Later, Mandela said de Klerk wasn`t the great emancipator many believed him to be, writing in his memoir, quote, "He did not make any of his reforms with the intention of putting himself out of power. He made them for precisely the opposite reason: to ensure power for the Afrikaner in a new dispensation."

The apartheid system wherein black people were literally given passes that determine whether or not they could enter white neighborhoods. Where routinely, black people were raped and killed with impunity by the police lasted for over 70 years. It was changed by internal and international pressure.

Protests around the world to sanction South Africa led to pressure on big businesses. Coca-Cola withdrew from the nation in 1986. American college campuses protested, demanding that schools divest from the South African government. This included historically black colleges and universities, which is exemplified by an episode of "A Different World" that I remember watching as a kid.


JOHNSON: Love it.

Unlike the United States, once de Klerk was out of power, South Africa didn`t deny its racist past, but held a truth and reconciliation commission to expose the human rights abuses and crimes committed in the name of racial apartheid. This has allowed the country to make the long and difficult journey to a more functioning and inclusive democracy, perhaps taking responsibility for the past, actively including all citizens in elections and not honoring racist former leaders are a series of lessons that the United States could adopt as well.

That does it for me tonight. "THE REIDOUT" with Joy Reid is up next.

Hi, Joy.