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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 2/4/21

Guest: Jonathan Greenblatt, Kurt Bardella, Ashley Allison, Daniella Gibbs Leger, Karen Bass, David Hogg


Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg discusses being publicly

harassed by Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. Congresswoman Karen Bass

speaks out. The House of Representatives votes to strip Congresswoman

Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments.



REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD): "Squad`s worst nightmare."

Is that what was intended to do, that each one of these ladies would have a

nightmare about somebody with a gun? An AR-15 can carry up to a clip of 60


I urge my colleagues to look at that image and tell me what message you

think it sends.


NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: A powerful moment into on the House floor

moments ago ahead of the vote, which is about to get under way.

My colleague Ari Melber picks up our live coverage right now.

Hi, Ari.


I did want to get your views on this. Of course, we have been listening to

your coverage. But votes like this are relatively rare in Congress, when

there`s actually a time to choose. What do you see, especially as we count

this hour, as the revelation of a vote like this tonight for the nation?

WALLACE: I think -- yes, look, the Kevin McCarthy speech erased the

element of suspense. He is all in with Marjorie Taylor Greene, who, as

Steny Hoyer -- just showed exactly what she`s about. She`s about a powerful

weapon being pointed at her colleagues.

And I worked for a president who was loathed by Democrats, but nothing like

that was ever created about him. Politics is rough-and-tumble. That is our

country`s history, for better or for worse.

But Marjorie Taylor Greene is in a class of her own. She is an avowed

conspiracy theorist who talked about assassinating former President Obama,

Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi. And I hadn`t seen this image before. But

Steny Hoyer shows that it`s a pattern, not a blip or something she can

apologize for.

MELBER: Yes, I hear you on all of that. And it comes at a time when the

tensions are high, when the Capitol is still in a partial siege mode

because of other political violence.

So, it`s a -- obviously, quite a serious one.

Nicolle, thank you, as always.

WALLACE: Thank you, Ari. I`m going to go upstairs and watch you.

MELBER: There we go.

I want to thank Nicolle.

I want to welcome you to this special edition of THE BEAT. I`m Ari Melber.

We are tracking breaking news.

At this hour, 6:00 p.m. in Washington on the East Coast, we are all

awaiting a House vote which would remove Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor

Greene from her committee assignments. That would strip her of one of the

main powers of being a congressperson, the control you have over committee

business and bills and those votes before things get to the floor.

This is a proposed punishment for what I was just discussing with my

colleague Nicolle Wallace, what over the past days and weeks has emerged as

an even longer history than many initially knew, as the research and the

documentation piled up, of directly espousing and advancing support for

violence, as well as a range of discredited conspiracy theories, hate, and


Many see this vote as a revelation for the Republican Caucus.

Now, we have special coverage on the crucial vote throughout this hour. Our

guests include a lawmaker who is casting a vote, a Parkland survivor, David

Hogg, who was actually publicly harassed by Greene. That was on camera.

Historian Michael Beschloss for context tonight, as well as the head of the

Anti-Defamation League.

And this debate thus far over this vote, the underlying issues, as well as

where to draw a line, all of it has been heated.


REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL): We are dealing with conduct that

brings shame on this House. It is exactly the kind of conduct that helps

fuel domestic terrorism.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Who`s next? Who will the cancel culture attack

next? Now they`re coming after Ms. Greene.

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): Every single day that goes by without outright

condemnation from every single one of her Republican colleagues, without

consequences for her extremist views is an outright endorsement of white



MELBER: If you watch the news at all, you have probably seen some of the

lowlights, the embarrassing and at times, to almost any person, enraging

reel of things that Greene has said and done and advocated in the past.

If you watched our coverage this week, you may have seen her say that this

was -- quote -- "no big deal or she had nothing to apologize for."

She is now trying to defend herself. She spoke on the floor, making claims

that were different from some of what we have seen recently.

As part of our coverage, of course, we`re going to show you part of what

she said today, as well as the context of what she said in the past.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I was allowed to believe things that

weren`t true, and I would ask questions about them and talk about them. And

that is absolutely what I regret.

I don`t think I have anything to apologize for, asking questions about it

on Facebook. Big deal.

Nine-eleven absolutely happened. I do not believe that it`s fake.

The so-called plane that crashed into the Pentagon. It`s odd there is never

any evidence shown for a plane in the Pentagon.


MELBER: We show you the side-by-side because, like anyone, this

congressperson is entitled to her views, as well as her defense, and the

Congress, lawfully, is entitled to decide what, if anything, to do about


But that contrast there also speaks to the powers that Speaker Pelosi says

are necessary. You have someone who was publicly denying that 9/11 happened

-- thank you about that as an American and what that means -- and under

this pressure is now changing her position.

You have someone who, as recently as the last two weeks, said there was

nothing to apologize for, now, under pressure of potentially losing her

committee power, changing gears.

Here was Speaker Pelosi discussing the vote:


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I remain profoundly concerned about House

Republicans` leadership acceptance of extreme conspiracy theorists.

QUESTION: Are you worried at all about the precedent that it would set?


PELOSI: None. Not at all. Not at all. If any of our members threatened the

safety of other members, we`d be the first one to take them off of the



MELBER: We begin with Congresswoman Karen Bass. She serves on the

Judiciary Committee.

Thank you for being here.

What does tonight`s vote mean to you and to this Congress?

REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA): Well, I think it`s a sad day. It`s another sad day

in U.S. history that we would actually need to take a vote to remove

someone off of a committee.

You would think, if she had any kind of a remorse, any kind of dignity,

that she would have actually pulled herself off the committee. And if not

that, then you certainly would have expected House leadership, House

Republican leadership to remove her.

And so I think it`s just another sad day that continues from January 6.

MELBER: When you see what she has been moved to retract and adjust today,

what does that mean, if anything, to you?

BASS: It doesn`t mean anything to me at all, number one, because her

statements were so extreme, that it`s hard for me to accept that she

extracted them.

But, meanwhile, she`s also fund-raising off of them too. So the tweets that

she has sent or her fund-raising appeals, she was saying with pride she has

raised a heck of a lot of money because her profile has been raised now.

So, I don`t believe that there is an ounce of remorse or regret in what she

has said. I think she`s just passing lip service to cover herself around

this vote. But I don`t believe that there is anything that has changed

there at all.

MELBER: As a member of Congress, what do you say to a little bit of what

we showed earlier and what I think if folks have watched some of this on

the floor throughout the day heard, which was the counterargument, whether

offered in good faith or not, the counterargument in theory, that, if you

go down the road of stripping committee powers from someone who just joined

for things said or done before they joined the Congress, that that is, as

one Republican put it, a -- quote -- "slippery slope"?

BASS: Well, I don`t think that it is a slippery slope. We have had members

who have said lots of things. When it`s happened on our side, they have

apologized publicly.

I do not believe that that`s what she has done. You can`t apologize, or,

put it this way, explain yourself and say that that`s an apology while you

leave the room and send out a fund-raising note. And so I think that it`s

very disingenuous.

And, again, I think if she was genuine, she would have pulled herself off

the committee. Of all committees in the House, to be on the Committee of

Education, when children have been mowed down in our country and you think

that that is perfectly OK, and that you`re literally going to harass a

survivor, just thinking of the young man who I know will be on in a few

minutes -- but to follow him down the street and harass him, knowing that

I`m sure he is still going through the trauma of what he experienced when

he lost his friends and classmates.

MELBER: Yes, and that was one of the extreme examples.

Also, an important, I think, example for -- if people want to take the due

process issue seriously here, right, that there are tougher questions if

something is confined strictly to speech. The example you gave -- and we`re

going to speak to Mr. Hogg later -- is not conventionally strictly speech.

When you are pursuing someone, when you are potentially, allegedly menacing

them, there is an element of that that`s not just words anymore, and that`s

one of the many things that I think has that come to light.

You mentioned, though, the political side of it. All of this, of course,

has become quite infused in politics. Democrats are tying Republicans

increasingly to QAnon. There is an ad here that is a bit of an attack ad.

Take a look.


NARRATOR: QAnon, a conspiracy theory born online, took over the Republican

Party, sent followers to Congress, and with Donald Trump incited a mob that

attacked the Capitol.


MELBER: Now, I understand Democrats would say, unlike the congresswoman,

who is dealing with falsehoods, they find that that ad is about something

that is real and a case they want to make.

But what do you say to people who look at that and say well, OK, this vote

is conveniently aligned with a political tactic or attack on trying to say

all of the Republican Party is QAnon?

BASS: Well, you know what? I think that the Republican Party needs to tell

us that they`re not, because how is it that you can`t denounce that?

You are talking about the people that led an insurrection, that put

people`s lives in jeopardy, that said -- and she has said the only way the

deal with Speaker Pelosi is a bullet in her head. You know, the picture

that majority leader Hoyer was showing, the poster that showed the

congresswoman before she was a congresswoman holding an AR-15 and the faces

of three members of Congress, how do you not take that as a threat?

And the problem that we saw on January 6 is that there are a lot of folks

out there that take cues. It provides a license for actual physical harm.

And so the idea that she would sit in the floor of Congress and continue to

fight to be on that committee just shows that there is no change


And I think the Republican Party has to decide, is it the QAnon party or


MELBER: Yes, and that brings me to the final question I want to ask you,

because we have all been dealing with this.

And I know, as a member of the Judiciary Committee -- and you and I have

spoken about due process and civil rights and many issues which sometimes

have unpopular positions, right? If you`re advocating for, for example, the

due process rights of someone not to have the police illegally search them,

and people say, some people say, well, if I don`t like that person or I

think they`re bad or they did something bad, I don`t care about their

Fourth Amendment rights.

And the answer is, the Constitution does care, even if they may have done

something illegal. That`s why we have rights. And so I want to end on that

question for you and the seriousness of tonight, as we track this, which

is, do you ultimately view this vote, if she is, as potentially expected,

if the Democrats and others hold the majority here, stripped of these

powers, do you see this as a line in the sand for -- against her speech or

a line in the sand against, more specifically, her advocacy of political


BASS: Absolutely, it`s the advocacy of political violence.

And we have not seen her make a major departure on that. To me, it`s not

just about free speech. I mean, free speech, an example that`s always used,

you can`t use in the middle of a theater fire. Well, in our opinion, that`s

what she has done, because it can lead to violence and it can lead to

actual violence.

The three congresswomen that are in that picture are constantly under

violent threat. Ilhan Omar, for example, there`s a couple of people who

have been arrested for threatening to kill her. And for a member of

Congress to do that, it just agitates and whips up that sentiment.

It`s completely irresponsible. I am sorry that we had to do it this way.

Like I said, she should have done it herself, if not, the Republican

leadership. If they abandon that, then it is left to us to be responsible.

What happened January 6 was a profound movement in our country, and there

are elements that are out there that are trying to rewrite history and say,

well, what`s the difference between that and what happened in Minneapolis,

a riot, windows were broken?

This was an attack on our democracy, an embarrassment in front of the

entire world. We never thought that our democracy had that fragile side. We

have learned now, and we have to take this very seriously.

MELBER: Congresswoman Karen Bass, thank you, as always, for joining us,

especially at a busy time on a news night here on the Hill. I appreciate


BASS: Thank you.

MELBER: I want to bring in NBC`s Garrett Haake, who is live on -- thank

you -- who is live on Capitol Hill and has been tracking all of this.

This is a breaking news night. This is a vote that many people might not

have expected a month or two ago would be dominating Congress at such an

early and pivotal point in a new administration.

And yet, Garrett, we have shown now our viewers some of what the speaker,

other members of Congress -- we just heard from one -- said about why this

is necessary.

What are you seeing? And walk us through what we`re going see in the

moments ahead.

GARRETT HAAKE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, we`re watching the vote begin to

tick up. And, remember, House votes are very slow these days because of

COVID precautions. And so far, we have only seen one Republican cross over

to vote with Democrats.

I`m told that`s Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who has been a pretty outspoken

critic of the Trumpist wing of his party. And you talk about the idea that

it`s surprising that we`re here having this vote at all so early in this

new administration.

And I would contend that we probably wouldn`t be having this vote at all if

it weren`t for the events of January 6. You talk about all the things that

Ms. Greene has said and done, the conspiracy theories, the QAnon

connections, the Parkland school shooting doubting. All of that sort of

thing, while abhorrent, is not typically the kind of thing that would have

created this unprecedented action by essentially one party to try to strip

her of her committee assignments.

But the specter of political violence after January 6 here has made all of

this language, all of this symbolism completely intolerable, intolerable to

the members of Congress, intolerable to their staffs.

And you saw Democrats want to take some action. And I think the speech,

which we heard a little bit in the last hour, from Majority Leader Steny

Hoyer really powerfully brought that back home, that the imagery of

Marjorie Taylor Greene holding an AR-15 with the sort of frightened faces

of three Democratic congresswomen on the other side is the kind of thing

that creates a culture of violence around politics and the kind of thing

that a lot of people believe led up to the January 6 attack here.

And that`s why we`re in this unprecedented moment.

As we continue to watch the votes come in, I will be surprised if we see

more than maybe three Republicans cross over to vote with the Democrats

here. Republican leadership made this into a very tribal vote, a kind of us

vs. them, they`re going to cancel us, rally the troops vote here.

But I think that argument rang especially hollow after hearing Steny Hoyer

on the floor kind of remind everyone of the stakes here, which I can tell

you, nobody who was in this building on January 6 has forgotten, Ari.


Garrett, how many years have you been covering the Hill?

HAAKE: Five years now, I guess.

MELBER: So, how would you compare the security environment even that

you`re obviously reporting from, that these folks are going to work in the

last month, as compared to the last five?

HAAKE: It`s completely different.

This is still something of a fortress. We still have nine-foot security

fences with razor wire, armed National Guards men and women standing behind

them ringing the entire complex.

Today there was an evacuation order for a car that had to be towed. And

it`s the kind of thing that, every time something like that happens,

everybody gets nervous all over again. It`s unprecedented. It`s like an

Inauguration Day level of security every single day for a month now.

MELBER: Yes, it`s really -- it`s important context, because you`re there.

And we`re in a world right now, I think everybody at home knows, where a

lot of things are being done as safely as possible remotely.

The Congress is still a place where, with rare exceptions, you show up, you

vote on that floor, people are there. We saw that January 6. And the

security concerns are obviously quite real. We will be coming back to you

and MSNBC coverage all night as we track the story.

Thank you, Garrett.

HAAKE: Thanks, Ari.

MELBER: I want to turn now to presidential historian Michael Beschloss,

who joins us as we are tracking this story, about 17 minutes into the 6:00

p.m. hour on the East Coast.

You see we`re tracking the floor speeches, the looming vote. We have been

playing some highlights, and we will continue to update our viewers,

Michael, when there are important moments on the floor.

But the battle lines and the clear arguments have now been sketched out.

And all that awaits is a vote that the Democrats say -- and we don`t

predict around here, but the Democrats are saying that they`re united, so

they have the votes, so they will strip Greene of her powers.

And I showed viewers at the top of the broadcast, Michael, what power might

look like. Whatever you think of her and her reasons -- and I can`t read

her mind -- I can report that, days ago, she said, big deal, nothing to

apologize for. Today, she went to the floor trying to stave off her de-

credentialing from these committees, Michael.


know what to believe, whether the apology is what we believe or what she

said not very long ago.

This is a woman who is a racist, an anti-Semite, an Islamophobe,

xenophobic, talks about conspiracies in this country. And it goes back to

some of the darkest periods in American history, in the 1850s. A lot of

Irish immigration came. People blamed everything that was wrong on


In the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan gained a big footing in this country,

blaming things on Jewish people and black people. 1950, Joe McCarthy blamed

whatever was wrong with the society on hidden communists in the government.

This is a strain in America, but it`s even worse now, because these people

are now elected to Congress and maybe to the Senate. We have had one of the

biggest conspiracy theorists in American society, Donald Trump, as

president for last four years giving credence to all of this.


As you say, that long history -- and we have discussed this before, but

it`s history. We will keep discussing it now, and especially living

history, from the Birchers, to the conspiracy theories, to the elders of

Zion, to where these pockets have been found on the Internet, to the way

Donald Trump mainlined it and tweeted it.

And all of this has led up tonight to tonight, where post-violence -- as

our own Garrett Haake was reporting, post the violence of the 6th, the

Congress wanting to take this harder line.

I also want to draw attention to something that you can educate us on,

which is, how important is it, as we go through this as a society --

everything goes through this partisan lens, but how important is it to make

sure that everyone who wants to condemn violence and its advocacy does so

as precisely as possible?

Because there is also a history, and I don`t want to be misquoted -- you

know I work on television, Michael.

BESCHLOSS: Correct, and very well too.

MELBER: I`m not saying tonight we are in -- thank you.


MELBER: But I`m not saying tonight we are in any kind of McCarthyist mode.

But I would ask you, as our historian, to walk us through how we can learn

from potential excesses. Take a look at Speaker Pelosi`s press release.

This is a formal government press release. But it`s quite harsh in taking

Leader McCarthy, and instead of putting the typical R by his name, she put

he is Q of California.

She is saying he is from the party of QAnon. And Leader McCarthy and others

have strenuously pushed back to argue that, if he stands up in public and

condemns QAnon, which he did, and makes his break with her clear, while --

with Taylor, while they may still debate possible sanction and punishment,

that he is objecting to being lumped in that way.

Your historical context on all of that, for those of who care and want to

be precise?

BESCHLOSS: Well, rumor has it that there was a standing ovation by an

awful lot of Republicans after Congresswoman Greene spoke. It doesn`t

exactly suggest a lot of criticism of her point of view.

One thing is, does the House want to give this kind of platform to such an

awful figure with these conspiracy theories, but more than that, one who

promotes violence? Violence on the House floor is not a free-floating


On the 6th of February -- of January, just a month ago...


BESCHLOSS: ... Speaker Pelosi was almost assassinated.

I mean, a couple of minutes sooner that those people had gotten in there

with weapons, and there were handcuffs, God knows what might have happened.

And the same thing is true of the vice president. What kind of warnings do

we need?

Do we have to ask of members of Congress that they walk on to the House

floor and every minute that they`re there, they`re worried that one of

their colleagues might take out a pistol and shoot them? That`s the

situation that we`re in right now, when they say that we`re not going to

worry about excluding people who make these kind of threats.

MELBER: Right.

And, as you are underscoring -- and there is a connection here with some of

what Congresswoman Bass said as well -- is, that is an important difference

to keep many mind, and that you can respect people`s general ideas, because

we want to do that in this nation. But what we have seen leading up to the

6th and since then and particularly much of the advocacy that is under

deserved scrutiny and microscope tonight is not just speech.

BESCHLOSS: You`re right.

MELBER: And, boy, it could have been so much worse than five lives were


Go ahead, sir.

BESCHLOSS: Totally right.

It happened. We got our warning. We better not ignore this warning, because

it could happen again. And it is possible that, as time goes on, we may

find out -- we don`t know for sure yet -- that members of Congress gave

tours to people who intended this possible assassination and hostage-taking

and interference with the election.

You know, that`s an element that we haven`t seen in American history. And

it`s hard enough to be a member of Congress. I just do not know what it is

like to go on to the House floor or the Senate floor knowing that that

specter is there.

MELBER: Right. And those items are under investigation, and there is a

whole multistate investigation going that`s complex, all of this, of

course, also in the backdrop of something that we haven`t mentioned yet

tonight, but that hangs over all of this, which is the events of January 6

will be tried in the Senate starting next week over whether to hold the ex-

president accountable.


MELBER: That`s how it all fits together.

Michael Beschloss, thank you, as always, sir.

BESCHLOSS: Thank you, Ari. You`re welcome.

MELBER: We have our shortest break of the hour, 30 seconds.

We will be back with Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg. And our

coverage continues. I will see you in 30 seconds.



We are in the middle of special coverage, watching and tracking this scene

you see here, 6:25 p.m. in the Capitol, and the House voting on agreeing to

a resolution that would strip Rep. Greene from her committee powers, a

major rebuke and an effort to provide actual sanction and punishment, given

much of what we have been reporting on, her conspiracy theories and her

public advocacy of violence.

All of this, of course, in the backdrop of much that she has documented

herself and that`s been documented in her public remarks. Videos surfaced,

for example, of Taylor Greene harassing Parkland shooting survivor David

Hogg, who has become a gun control activist.

What you`re about to see is this video that occurred before she was elected

to Congress.


GREENE: If the resource officer at Parkland had done his job, then Nikolas

Cruz wouldn`t have killed anybody in your high school.

How did you get over 30 appointments with senators? How did you do that?

If school zones were protected by -- with security guards with guns, there

would be no mass shootings.

And yet you`re attacking our Second Amendment. And you have nothing to say?


MELBER: We`re joined now by David Hogg, who is the Parkland shooting

survivor. He is also the co-founder of March For Our Lives.

Thanks for joining me.

DAVID HOGG, CO-FOUNDER, MARCH FOR OUR LIVES: Yes, thanks for having me on.

MELBER: I will start with a bit of half-apology. I`m sorry that the

conditions are such that we`re partly talking about this, not your other

work and your other advocacy, which, of course, you have spoken out on and

been on MSNBC about.

And yet I think you would agree, and I know you agreed to the interview,

that it`s newsworthy because it goes to the evidence that the Congress is

considering today in taking this -- what is a severe measure.

Your thoughts tonight?

HOGG: Yes, I think it`s important that there is accountability here.

I understand that there is criticism, for example, where Republicans say

this is a slippery slope, and that they would possibly do the same in the

future when they have a majority.

But I will tell you what the real slippery slope is here, in my opinion, is

a sitting congresswoman who has repeatedly violated federal law by

threatening to assassinate the speaker of the House.

It`s not like there is no precedent for this. Elected officials have --

there is a history of elected officials shooting and killing other elected

officials throughout U.S. history. This is a very serious matter. This is

not just like they had some opinion that we didn`t agree with. This is

about literally the safety of our democracy and the people that work within


And I`m glad that there is some form of accountability here, although I

would prefer that they resign. And I`m actually working on that right now.

And if people would like to help support our petition that`s gotten over a

quarter million signatures for that, they can "Resign" text to 954-954.

Again, they can "Resign" text to 954-954.

MELBER: How did you come to learn about her during a little bit of the

interaction we just showed? And what did you think or feel, if you will

share with us, when you saw that she was not only a candidate, but a rising

one, getting the nomination and then winning?

HOGG: I don`t even know what to say about that.

For a while, I was just trying to block it out. I try not to think about

those kind of people, because she is certainly not the only person that has

done that. There have been many, many people that have recorded me in that

manner. It`s just this time that they got elected to Congress.

And, frankly, when that video was being taped, for example, what I was

thinking about wasn`t so much myself. It was the safety of my staff and

friends that I was around. There was this woman chasing us. Many of the

people I worked with, including myself, of course, were about 18 years old

or 19 years old at the time.

There is a woman chasing us, threatening us -- essentially threatening us

with a gun for advocating for gun control. And say what you want. You may

not agree with me on everything, but there is nothing that can justify

threatening people that are just barely older than minors with a gun

because you don`t agree with them in the first place.

It`s just fundamentally wrong. And, ultimately, it`s just unfortunate,

really, because I want to see bipartisan action around gun violence.

Bullets don`t discriminate. People are dying in red states and blue states

across the country, and we`re -- every state is bleeding out at this point.

And I want to see bipartisan action. But when people like Marjorie Taylor

Greene do stuff like that, it makes it incredibly hard.


HOGG: But I will say I`m thankful to Republicans like my father that have

spoken out and have resigned from the Republican Party in disgust, because

they realize that kids like -- or kids like I was at the time of the

shooting deserve more protection, deserve more protection than a weapon

like the AR-15.


And you have, unfortunately -- as you explain, you and folks around you

have been drawn closer to this.

And I think this is important because people are still learning. That`s

what the news is. We get information. Some of it is new, and we try to make

sense of it.

And, as I think you know, there was a time earlier where some of this stuff

was more commonly minimized or dismissed, and not always for bad faith

reasons, but people just thought, well, that`s really fringe, or who really

believes that, or the most recent "Borat" movie looked at people who were

maybe tricked into conspiracy theories, and it was almost absurdist.

And in some cases, it may just be that. But in your case and in these

others that we`re tracking, it`s quite serious. So, I wonder if you could

share a little more of the point that you`re making, that you were brought

in, I think, closer to the real-world consequence of these kind of hateful

conspiracies because people go out and do real things in response to these

hateful lies online.

HOGG: You know, I think one of the most -- we have seen one of the most

remarkable and truly, honestly, a horrific change in the Republican Party

over the past 30 years.

I would say it really started in the `90s, but you could even go back to

the primary of Barry Goldwater and the new conservative movement way back

in the 20th century, as I study my history classes in college.

But it`s scary. It`s really scary, because people used to think they`re

mostly a group of good people that truly want what`s best for the country,

and, yes, there is a fringe of people that may or may not be white

supremacists, but that`s a very small minority of people.

But now what we`re seeing is, there are actual conspiracy theorists and

white supremacists that are becoming the party. And the fringe are those

people that were originally believed to be the majority. And it`s truly

terrifying, because it`s -- what if we were -- what happens in an instance

-- how are we supposed to get along as a country?

How are we supposed to -- we can`t even get the things done that we do

agree on. There are so many homeless people across the country right now.

Kids are dying every day from gun violence. Why can we not just getting --

stop getting at each other`s throats and just focus on helping the American



HOGG: That`s the frustrating thing to me.

MELBER: And before I lose you, the last thing we did want to show is new

reporting here from the House floor.

Congresswoman Lucy McBath, her son Jordan Davis was shot and killed in gun

violence in 2012. She spoke out here about the vote and these school



REP. LUCY MCBATH (D-GA): This is about a member stalking the children of

tragedy, attacking survivors and threatening violence.

This is about a member denying the existence of dead children at Sandy Hook

Elementary and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.


MELBER: Just thought we`d get your response and reflections on that moment

just tonight on the floor.

HOGG: I think it`s incredibly powerful, and I am so thankful to the

congresswoman for her strength that she has shown me, as a survivor that`s

able to be in Congress and work through so much.

You have got to think that people like Congresswoman Lucy McBath are people

too. This stuff has got to affect them, even if they don`t necessarily show


And with that, I just wanted to highlight as my last thing that the most

frustrating thing about Marjorie Taylor Greene is the people that we`re not

talking about right now that are affected by gun violence on a daily basis,

predominantly in black and brown communities, that face systemic, massive

amounts of systemic racism, poverty and injustice that plays into so much

gun violence in this country, because those are the people that really need

the attention, because they`re the ones that are hurting the most right


MELBER: David Hogg gets the final word on this piece of our special


I want to thank you for joining us.

I`m bringing in Daniella Gibbs Leger from the Center For American Progress.

She also co-hosts "The Tent" podcast.

Daniella has been following along, as we and much of Washington has in the

political world and perhaps beyond, on what is becoming a really signal

vote here in these early days of a new administration with the specter of

political violence.

We also want to spotlight again, as we try to do here, Daniella, the wider

context of all of this. There are voters, whether people want to judge them

or not, who go in, they make their call. They don`t know a ton about the

person running, or they think, well, if they got the party nomination, how

wacky can they be?

And whether that`s the best premise or not, that`s a part of what`s going

on and a part of why perhaps the public education here matters.

I want to play a little bit of some Georgia constituents here reacting to

what they have learned.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s just, like, crazy and a kook. I think she needs

to resign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It makes me embarrassed that she our congressman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She fights for the people of this district.

Washington`s corrupt.


MELBER: Daniella?


interesting footage right there.

And you can just see the divide and the difference between the various

constituents of her district. I mean, look, you touched on something that`s

really important. And it`s that people often are just voting by the R or

the D that is next by somebody`s line.

And she comes from a very solidly Republican district. And so whoever was

going to win that primary was going win the general election. And so what

does it say about the Republican Party that they couldn`t put up a

candidate that could beat her? What does it say about the voters in that

district? Did they not care? Did they not have time to learn about her? Or

do they like the conspiracy theories?

Because that, to me, is the thing that frightens me and scares me. What

frightens me and scares me is that there is multiple reporting that when

she walked into the Republican House Caucus, that half that room stood up

and applauded her. That was yesterday. That was after everything that we

know about this woman. They stood up and applauded her.

That, to me, says that they cosign -- these members of Congress cosign what

she says, cosign what she believes. And that is really troubling, and for

our democracy and for the Republican Party. So, there is so much to unpack


This vote that`s happening tonight is going to be along party lines. The

bare minimum that Republicans could do would be to strip her -- to get her

off of the Education Committee. But there is so much more that is deeper

and disturbing and troubling about the fact that she is even in Congress in

the first place.

MELBER: Yes, and you mentioned the vote, and viewers can see on the

screen. We don`t have a final call yet. In other words, this is still going

on. But you have the Democrats saying that they`re united on this, very few

Republican defections.

And so based on the material we have, we see the Congress going as expected

on the road towards stripping her of these committee powers, towards there

being a real sanction, as I mentioned earlier, Daniella, for viewer, that

that was the only thing that even got her to change her public defense,

standing by most of this stuff and calling it no big deal.

She showed up today a very different person fighting for those powers,

which may speak to Speaker Pelosi`s point, that you have to have real

lines, and that maybe, whether it`s in good faith or not, that`s actually

what moves people.

You said there is so much to unpack. Part of this also comes back to the

words and headlines that will come out of this. We obviously watch it

closely. Our viewers are deep into the news. But will the larger takeaway

be, a line was drawn against violence, something that several of our

experts have discussed -- and we just had, of course, ad David Hogg on from

Parkland -- or the other talking points about speech, censorship and cancel


Congressman Jordan, a Republican, was saying, well, they came for her

first, they will come from you next, and talking about it in the context of

cancel culture.

And I wonder if you could speak to that, because, even if she is the worst

poster child in the possible world for that, to the extent that you`re

talking about freedom of thought and speech, there are problems with just

saying people can`t think freely. We have a rich tradition of that.

But if the headlines coming out of this are not about that, but about

security, if somebody says, well, I refuse to go through the metal detector

to get on the plane, in America, they don`t get to get on the plane. And

that headline is not that they were canceled off the plane. It was that

they refused to do the bare minimum to prove that they weren`t going to

attack the other passengers and bring the plane down.

And it seems that in the wake of January 6, Congress is looking at this

issue a little bit more like that.

GIBBS LEGER: As they should.

And, you know, I think -- I have lots of things that I could say about Jim

Jordan, and I won`t share them with your viewers, but they`re trying --

this is a distraction. This is like a tactic, that they`re trying to say,

oh, yes, they`re going to come for Democrats next when Republicans are in

control, and they will go back and look at the things that you tweeted and

they will look at the things that you said in the past and hold that

against you.

This is about inciting violence. This is about cosigning threatening the

life of the speaker of the House. You can`t do those things. It`s not

because you said some mean tweet. It`s not because people disagree with her


It`s because she did things that led to an attempt to violently overthrow

our government, where five people got killed. Like, they seem to forget

that. They seem to just not want to talk about that fact. They want to

gloss it over and try to distract us with these other things.

But at the end of the day, it is about safety. It is about condemning


MELBER: All starkly put. And I hope people are listening.

Daniella Gibbs Leger, thank you, as always.

Our special coverage continues. We have been in breaking news mode, so we

have had fewer breaks. This is our last break of the hour.

I`m Ari Melber. We will be back right after this.


MELBER: We`re back with Ashley Allison, a former senior adviser for Joe

Biden`s transition team.

We are tracking what you see here now, 11 Republican lawmakers voting with

Democrats to penalize Rep. Greene. That is actually a higher number than

some early estimates.

And you can see the numbers piling up for a vote to succeed what Speaker

Pelosi demanded, stripping the controversial representative, a freshman

Republican who has backed QAnon and other controversial theories, as well

as advocating violence, to strip her of her committee powers.

Now, as mentioned, we`re joined by Ashley Allison, who has worked with the

administration and the transition team, Kurt Bardella, a former House

spokesman for the Oversight Committee as a Republican, and Daniella Gibbs

Leger back with us.

Kurt, your thoughts, having made the migration that others have made from a

traditional Republican politics to The Lincoln Project, where you`re

looking for the opposite of what it looks like most Republicans voted with



jarring to see a party that spent so much of its time talking about the

orthodoxy of personal responsibility and accountability -- and we heard

that mantra so much in Republican politics -- and to now, when confronted

with the opportunity to live by the words that they have preached for so

long, that they completely abandon it.

And it`s kind of like the definition of insanity. The more you keep

repeating the same behavior with no results, no consequences, the message

you`re sending is, keep doing it. And that`s what we have seen time and

again with this Republican Party.

And Marjorie Taylor Greene is just the latest iteration of that.


MELBER: Now, Kurt, I heard the definition of insanity is going on the

Internet to look for QAnon conspiracy pages and reading them.


BARDELLA: You would think so.

MELBER: It`s a close tie.

BARDELLA: But I will tell you, it`s been interesting.

In the last 24 hours -- and I know you`re a big music guy, and so am I. And

in the world of country music, we saw in the last 24 hours one of their

biggest artists, breaking streaming records, the number one album right

now, Morgan Wallen, be completely cut off from the community, dropped from

every playlist, suspended from his label, because he got caught on tape

saying a racial slur.

How is it that the country music community, not regionally known as the

bastion of liberalness or progressiveness, has done more to hold one of

their own more accountable than the Republican Party leadership is in the

United States Congress?

MELBER: It`s an interesting point you raise. And it goes to something that

a lot of our experts have discussed tonight, which is, how does

accountability work?

I want to briefly play the comparison we put together, because I think it`s

really important. And for folks just joining us, we`re tracking what is now

a vote to strip the congresswoman, Greene, of her committee powers because,

up until very recently, she was both caught on tape espousing this hate,

calling for political violence, standing by it until recently, and we will

see that.

We will see her standing by it, and then what she did in breaking news

today, which was claiming, no, no, now she has a different view. Take a



GREENE: I was allowed to believe things that weren`t true, and I would ask

questions about them and talk about them. And that is absolutely what I


I don`t think I have anything to apologize for, asking questions about it

on Facebook. Big deal.

Nine-eleven absolutely happened. I do not believe that it`s fake.

The so-called plane that crashed into the Pentagon. It`s odd there is never

any evidence shown for a plane in the Pentagon.


MELBER: Kurt and then Ashley, your response to that shift?

BARDELLA: Well, I mean, it just goes to show that, when someone reveals to

you who they are, it`s best to believe them and take them at their word.

Marjorie Taylor Greene has time and again showed us who she, what she

believes, that she is unfit for office. And, really, the action being taken

right now by Congress, by House Democrats, it`s not punitive. It`s an act

of self-defense. It`s an act of self-defense for the institution, for

democracy, for the House Education Committee.

And it just says a lot about the Republican Party that, once again, when

confronted where the opportunity to actually hold someone accountable, to

show real consequences for actions and extreme rhetoric, they have done

nothing. They have chosen to stand with QAnon over common sense. That`s all

you need to know.

MELBER: Ashley?


for having me on.

I think that she should resign. And if she isn`t going to resign, I

appreciate the Democrats and the 11 Republicans who have the courage to

actually vote to strip her from her committee responsibilities.

I totally agree. If someone shows you who they are, believe them. Now,

today, she tried to say, oh, I`m not that person. I`m someone else.

Well, OK, if you want to submit that claim, we will receive it, but now you

need to let your actions actually back up your words. We don`t have to

believe you today. We will watch you. And over the course of your two-year

term in Congress, prove it to us, and then your constituents can reelect

you and perhaps you can go back on committee.

But you don`t get to flip-flop and say one day I am A and one day I am B,

and then we just take you at face value. You have to actually let your

actions back up the words.

MELBER: And, Ashley, given your work with the Biden team, what do you

think about the larger political winds we`re seeing, which is, while

everyone knows, I think, that Joe Biden wants things to be as bipartisan

and unified as possible -- and he certainly made that a centerpiece of the

inaugural address -- votes like today, which are largely party-line -- it`s

definitely a headline that 11 Republicans broke, but everyone can see 90

percent-plus party -- and the conference meeting that the Republicans held

last night, which -- yesterday, which we got reporting out of, doubling

down on this, cheering her.

All of this does cut against the idea that somehow there`s going to be any

new kumbayas any time soon, because this has a loft folks digging into

party-line votes.

The Republicans themselves are complaining, whether people buy it or not,

that the speaker making this such a priority is a political beginning to

the new chapter.

ALLISON: You know, I wish that there were more Republicans that had the

courage to vote to strip her from her powers, but I have got to be honest.

I`m not surprised that the vote is what it is.

And so these will be the same people in a week or two that will hope that

we forget what is happening right now, that we will forget what happened on

January 6, and ask us to forget that someone who has put out racist tropes,

who has attacked and said terrible things and put out threats towards

elected officials, that we unify.

I don`t want to unify with someone who has that type of belief. Unity is

that there is some type of alignment. I am not aligned with people who

would put a threat out to the speaker or to the vice president or, quite

honestly, any living creature.

So, I am concerned that so many Republicans have not voted, but also, when

you think about the political winds, what happened on January 6 was a

direct attack on our democracy. But our democracy is a living and breathing


We just finished one of the most important elections of our lifetime. We

just finished the census. We are about to go into redistricting. All of

this is about the democracy we are living in. They are breathing and living

actions that we have to take.

And the people that are voting right now on whether or not to strip

Marjorie Taylor Greene from her powers are the people who will be making

some of these same decisions. So, I hope that, tonight, more Republicans --

and I am proud of Democrats who are standing in truth and saying, not

anymore -- take courage, but I hope as they take other votes on real issues

that are going to impact the American people, they have that same type of

courage to lead with courage, dignity and what our democracy really needs

to be.

MELBER: Daniella?

GIBBS LEGER: Yes, I will just cosign everything that has been said.

And I will just say, in the words of our great songwriter Justin

Timberlake, cry me a river. I do not want to hear from anybody...


MELBER: And I`m only jumping in to do -- I`m only jumping in to do the

breaking news.

We are going to go full here. I`m telling my control room. We`re going to

take a look at the House floor, because, 6:52 p.m. on the East Coast in

Washington, you can mark it. The vote is called. The votes are in, the

House voting to eject Congresswoman Greene from the committees, to strip

her of those powers.

That is now official. And that`s what it looks like.

Daniella, that was breaking news there. Our panel stays.

But we`re going to hear from Garrett Haake now that it is official live on

Capitol Hill -- Garrett.

HAAKE: Ari, it may not sound like much, but 11 Republicans broke with

their leadership here to vote for the expulsion of Marjorie Taylor Greene

from those two committees.

I have to be honest with you. That`s significantly more than I anticipated.

Remember, last night, Republicans had this five-hour family meeting. They

came out preaching about how they were so unified, they had voted to keep

Liz Cheney in leadership.

They had heard a version of the Marjorie Taylor Greene speech that we heard

on the floor today. And, all day, Republican leadership was really pushing

back. They were saying this was a power grab, and this was Democrats

overreaching, and this would be unprecedented and a slippery slope, and on

and on and on.

And to have 11 members break is significant. And as I look at the list,

it`s a weird mix. There`s freshmen. There`s newly elected members from

Florida and from New York. There`s longtime members like Fred Upton, who`s

been in the Congress for decades. There`s geographic diversity to this.

So, I`m very interested over the next couple of days, I think, to try to

find, what was the common thread between these members? But as I look at

the list of folks here, a lot of these newer folks are from these perennial

battleground districts, these suburban districts, these places where QAnon

and conspiracy theories and all of this is just never going to fly.

So, whether that`s the beginning of a broader rejection of this kind of

thing for Republicans, or whether it`s really just these 11 who found some

electoral reason to vote against one of their own, I do think it`s striking

that the vote went the way it did tonight.

MELBER: Now, Garrett, this is the news that Speaker Pelosi had pledged.

She`s known to count votes, so people did expect she would have them.

And yet, if folks are coming home and turn on their TVs and seeing this

breaking news now, Garrett, give us the perspective of just how rare it is

-- it has happened, but how rare it is for the Congress to take the step of

completely stripping committee powers from a member.

HAAKE: Well, typically when this is done, it`s done by one party punishing

one of their own members. It`s a kind of step that might be taken and was

most recently taken for Steve King, who was a constant thorn in the side of

Republican leadership, that said racist comment after racist comment.

And it`s a way for one party to kind of clean house against one of their

own. King lost his committee seats, was effectively rendered powerless in

the Congress, was immediately defeated in a primary the next year.

For Democrats to reach across the aisle and say, we`re going to do this to

another member speaks to what they believe is the severity of her offenses

in this case.

MELBER: Garrett Haake, thank you very much for being with us on a fairly

significant night in Congress. We will be checking back with you.

Again, the news here is that the House has voted to formally sanction this

congresswoman for these QAnon views and espousing violence.

I wanted to give Ashley Allison one more turn here, because we were

discussing this earlier.

Your thoughts on the meaning of this?

ALLISON: Well, I think it shows that actions have consequences.

You are an elected official. You were charged to lead this country, and you

failed. And, because of that, because you will not resign and take

responsibility for your actions, other people had to step in.

And so I am happy that the Democrats and those Republicans stood up, stood

for the people, stood for our country, and stood for our democracy, and

said, enough is enough.

And I hope that other people are -- who are following QAnon, who are in

Congress, who are in public officials, from the White House all the way

down to the dogcatcher, take note. There is a responsibility.

MELBER: Well, yes.

ALLISON: We have people that are dying because of COVID. We have people

who are unemployed.


ALLISON: We have people who cannot put food on their table. It is not a

time to play games with people`s lives. We need to -- we need leaders.


ALLISON: We need people with courage.

And I commend the people who took the steps to say no more.


Ashley Allison, thank you very much.

As our special coverage continues, we are joined by a guest we`re going to

hear from for the first time. Jonathan Greenblatt runs the Anti-Defamation


We should note "The New York Times" has reported on some of the anti-

Semitism at issue here. I think we have this. We will take a look here, Ms.

Greene circulating and endorsing a seemingly endless array of -- quote --

"hate speech and conspiracy theories" rooted in, among other things --

quote -- "Islamophobia and anti-Semitism."

You have been patiently waiting, and I only have about two-and-a-half

minutes here because we were following the breaking news. But walk us

through that piece of her history.


Look, it shouldn`t surprise us that anti-Semitism or raw hatred of the

Jewish people is at the core of these conspiracy -- conspiratorial ideas.

And from her claim that Charlottesville was an inside job to further the

agenda of the elites, to the preposterous idea that there were Jewish space

lasers causing forest fires in California, to the recently unearthed video

where she talked about an unholy alliance between capitalists and Zionist

supremacists, I mean, Ari, she literally is breaking new ground in anti-

Semitism, stringing together so many crazy ideas, it`s hard to keep track.

But the one thing we know is the place she doesn`t belong is on a committee

with any influence in the U.S. Congress, or I daresay any government body.

QAnon is a danger. And the people who adhere to these lunatic ideas don`t

belong in policy-making roles, where, again, people`s lives are at stake.

MELBER: And QAnon is relatively new, and it works off the Internet.

But a lot of the underlying hatred is old, including the conspiracies and

hateful attacks and lies that suggest that Jews control the world in some

way. And we have seen that obviously linked in the past to political


Your view on the link between that old set of tropes and their new delivery


GREENBLATT: It`s a great question.

Anti-Semitism is often called the oldest hatred, but it`s found new

currency because of social media and the Internet. So, we watched QAnon

kind of come to life on 4chan in 2017. And, indeed, it wraps -- it puts a

wrapper around some of the oldest anti-Semitic ideas that are out there,

that Jews control the media, Hollywood, Wall Street, government, you name


And, indeed, it blows up and has real-world consequences. The people who

rampaged through the Capitol on January the 6th were wearing "Camp

Auschwitz" sweatshirts. And we have seen again and again a rise of anti-

Semitism in the last few years, Ari, fueled by these conspiratorial, crazy


I mean, words have consequences, whether you are saying them on the well --

in the well of the House of Representatives or saying them on Facebook.

MELBER: Right.

GREENBLATT: And we have got to recognize that link, and push people out of

the public conversation who would spew such venom and hatred.

MELBER: Yes, many facets to this. We wanted to get your expertise as well.

Jonathan Greenblatt from ADL, thank you.

A programming note to viewers on a busy news night. We mentioned Dr. Fauci

was supposed to be on the program. That was preempted by breaking news. But

Dr. Fauci will still be on THE BEAT tomorrow. Our thanks to him for his


Dr. Fauci on THE BEAT tomorrow 6:00 p.m. Eastern.




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