Pfizer announces it`s making a third booster vaccine dose to combat the Delta variant. Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs discusses calls for investigations into election meddling in her state. Donald Trump`s lawsuit against Facebook, Google, Twitter is examined. President Biden meets with civil rights leaders at the White House to discuss voter suppression efforts. Rudy Giuliani faces serious new accountability for spreading the big lie.
NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: THE BEAT with our friend Jason Johnson, in for Ari Melber, starts right now.
Sorry if I took a few of your seconds.
JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC HOST: No, I was listening. Thanks so much, Nicolle.
And welcome to THE BEAT.
WALLACE: Isn`t she awesome? Yes.
JOHNSON: I`m Jason Johnson, in for Ari Melber.
Big, big show tonight.
Breaking now: Pfizer just announced it`s making a third booster dose vaccine to combat the Delta variant. A doctor will join us, answering your and my questions.
Also, Rudy Giuliani lost his law license and now makes it worse in an interview with Steve Bannon.
And the Trump Organization makes a surprise move with its indicted CFO, as questions swirl about Ivanka flipping.
But we start tonight with the fight for voting rights and what Nicolle was covering there at the end of her show, an all-out push from the Biden administration to pass a federal Voting Rights Act, as Democrats push them to do more, with Republicans ramming through voter suppression laws across the country.
Since January, 48 states introduced at least 389 bills that would suppress votes; 28 of those bills are signed into law in 17 states. President Biden meeting with civil rights leaders at the White House today, making it clear this is a top priority.
One of the members of that meeting speaking afterwards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARC MORIAL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE: Democracy is under vigorous, vicious and sinister attack, beginning with the events of June -- January 6 at the Capitol and cascading like a tsunami through state legislatures across the nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Today, Vice President Harris announcing a $25 million -- read that -- $25 million DNC initiative to protect voting rights ahead of the midterms.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s about all voters. This is not about Democrats or Republicans. This is about Americans -- let`s be clear about that -- and who is prepared right now to stand up for what we say are some of our fundamental values, some of the fundamental pillars to a democracy to our democracy?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: This blitz from the White House coming as the Republican governor of Texas convened a special legislative session to muscle through new voting restrictions.
It comes after Democrats stormed out in May, denying the bill`s passage. The bill restricts voting hours, requires I.D. for mail-in voting and bans drive-through and overnight options for early voting.
In Pennsylvania, a Republican state senator now wants to review election equipment, software, hard drives and wireless router logs. In Georgia, the state rammed through a voter suppression bill behind closed doors with nothing but white guys looking. A Democratic lawmaker was arrested for just trying to see that bill signing.
Vice President Harris vows to fight all of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: These laws create obstacle upon obstacle. These laws make it harder for you to vote, because they don`t want you to vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Let`s be clear what`s going on here. These laws are being pushed through on the basis of Trump`s big election lie.
But, more importantly, these laws are being passed with the explicit intention of stopping black people from voting, thus hobbling the core of the Democratic Party.
Joining me now is Jelani Cobb with "The New Yorker, " and Errin Haines, editor at large of The 19th.
Thank you all so much.
I want to make this clear, because I don`t like to sort of dance in vague nuance sometimes. These laws are being passed to stop black people from voting. That is the number one goal and intention of Republicans, to stop black people from voting.
I will start with you, Jelani.
I need you to sort of remind the audience, explain to people how tenuous our democracy is if these laws are not stopped and removed. Like, what`s our worst-case scenario if none of these laws is overturned or none of these laws are stopped?
JELANI COBB, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: So, I mean, I think the worst-case scenario is that we return to the status quo anti.
And by anti, I mean anti-civil rights movement, before the civil rights movement. And so, when you look at this combination of the legislatures and the Supreme Court, it is like that tide of suppression laws that swept through the South after Reconstruction at the end of the 19th century.
COBB: And so this was a two-pronged attack. It was these state legislatures that were disenfranchising black voters, despite what the 15th and later 19th Amendment said in terms of people having access to the ballot.
The other thing I think that`s important here is that, when we talk about the period of disenfranchisement, and we see those police dogs in the civil rights movement, we have had some of those things up as racism, which, of course, they were.
COBB: But we don`t take it a step further and say that these Southern states were particularly invested in preventing black people from voting because that is where black people were the largest portions of the electorate.
COBB: They were trying to remove people from the electorate in a way that is reminiscent of now, because we`re looking nationally. The South is a model what has happened in national politics.
There is a whole tide of people, a majority, an emerging majority, that they`re interested in disenfranchising for the exact same reasons that the Jim Crow legislatures of the late 19th century were interested in disenfranchising black people.
JOHNSON: Errin, I have been saying all along, we have all been saying all along that this needs to be the number one priority of the Democratic Party, of Joe Biden.
My fear is that President Biden and Harris are going to mess around and find out next fall that if they didn`t take this seriously enough, that we won`t have a democracy to even fight for, if you allow Republican legislators to overturn votes, if you allow people to just sort of wipe out whenever people are voting one way or another.
My question for you is, from the administration -- you have talked to many people in this administration -- how dire is this? Is this an alarm bell situation to them? Or do they see this as part of an overall series of policies that they want to push through? How serious is this for the people you have spoken to the administration?
ERRIN HAINES, EDITOR AT LARGE, THE 19TH: Well, in the administration, President Biden and Vice President Harris both certainly acknowledge that they understand that it was the black voters who turned out in record numbers in the middle of a pandemic who got them to the roles that they currently occupy.
And so Vice President Harris certainly talked about that today at her alma mater, Howard University, saying that they -- black voters exercised their power in 2020, and that this is a direct backlash to the exercising of that power.
All of these bills that we`re seeing, voter suppression bills masquerading as election integrity bills, we know what this is about, because the measures that are being proposed and are passing in state legislatures across the country are in direct response to the strategies that black voters had to use, frankly, to be creative in the face of 21st century voter suppression.
And so, if they don`t get the message, civil rights leaders, activists are continuing to impress upon this administration the urgency that they feel and the reality that, if now is the time to be a single issue voter, the single issue that they need to care about is voting rights, because, without that issue, none of the other priorities that this administration and that the black voters that elected them want to see come to pass are going to happen.
And that is on the march even as we speak. You mentioned the Georgia law and so many other of the laws that were passed in state legislatures. A lot of those laws took effect July 1, so at the beginning of this month. So some of these laws are already on the books, as Vice President Harris pointed out.
And so I think seeing them increasingly using the bully pulpit on a day like today, I think this is something that organizers and activists want to see. But they certainly want to see both President Biden and Vice President Harris going further on this.
JOHNSON: So, and here`s the thing that I think is also important for everybody to understand.
Contextually, the measures that were put in place last year during the pandemic led to record turnout across the board for Republicans and Democrats. Like, there was more turnout last year than the United States ha has had in decades.
So, you have to understand that what the Republican Party is trying to do right now is not because there was some sort of surge one way or another. They just don`t want people voting, because, clearly, last year worked for them as much as it worked for anybody else.
Jelani, I want to play some audio for you from one of the members of the Texas House talking about how important this is and what they`re facing, and get your thoughts on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE REP. CHRIS TURNER (D-TX): My message to them would be, we need your help and we need it now. We need H.R.1. We need the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to be able to block suppressive laws like the Texas legislature wants to pass, Republicans sure want to pass, and in other states around the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: I`m seeing this sort of hologram projection. Help me, Merrick Garland. You`re my only hope.
What should the Department of Justice be doing right now, in particular in Texas? We have seen these laws all over the place, but I think the Texas legislature, the Democrats have done a really good job of saying, hey, hey, help, help now, help now. We`re in the compacter. We need some help here.
Jelani, what should Merrick Garland be doing? I mean, the first lawsuit is in Georgia, but should they go straight to Texas next, or is this a larger legislative issue?
COBB: No, no, no, I mean, I think this is all hands on deck.
And I think the Texas is at the center of this, especially when you look at Harris County. I`m a proud native of Queens, New York, which is statistically the most diverse county in the United States. And Harris county is right there right after it, which is right in around Houston -- in around Houston.
And so there are these emerging majority in Texas.
COBB: And Texas is really a textbook example of what`s going on here, because the legislature has been Republican-controlled. And if they win in the zero year, they just gerrymander again, and then gerrymander the next time, and gerrymander such that they can hope that they can forestall whatever demographic changes happen over the course of the next decade.
And so Texas has been the real model of what Republicans are trying to do nationally.
COBB: And so I think, yes, that needs to be a priority for the administration too, particularly for the DOJ.
JOHNSON: I want to point this out, because I think this is a great point, Jelani. And we will show this in another segment.
If you look at some of the congressional districts in Texas, they look like a Rorschach test. I mean, like, Dan Crenshaw`s district is absolutely ridiculous the way it sneaks around, and is written in a way for no other reason than to try to suppress and choke out and limit the access and the voices of non-likely Republican voters.
Errin, I want to play you some sound from a member of Congress from Texas making a more specific pledge or making a more specific request of this administration and get your thoughts on that on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. COLIN ALLRED (D-TX): I think it`s certainly time for the president to make pushing to pass H.R.1 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, to make those as high priority as anything else on his agenda.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: So, we`re hearing it from the state legislature. We`re hearing it from the caucus that`s coming from the state.
We see Joe Biden talking about these kinds of issues. We see the money going out. Errin, my question for you is, even with, say, what Vice President Harris talked about, $25 million, where does that money actually go, right? I mean, like, where does that money go that actually ends up making a difference?
Because you can give me $5, $25, $25 million. If I have only got one polling place in my neighborhood of 400,000 people, I don`t know that $25 million is necessarily going to change anything.
HAINES: Yes, and another thing here, so -- yes, so, the $25 million is going to go to things like voter education, voter registration, voter turnout, and also some monitoring of polls to make sure that there are no shenanigans at these precincts in upcoming elections.
But, I mean, let`s be clear, $25 million, yes, that is a lot of money. I would not be sad to have it in my bank account tomorrow, P.S.
HAINES: But $25 million is really a drop in the bucket when you think about the tsunami of voter suppression efforts that are happening across the country that Marc Morial, the head of the Urban League, mentioned after the meeting that they had with President Biden and Vice President Harris.
And so, yes, I mean, it -- Marc Elias has already said, to your previous point with Jelani, that, if Texas passes this law, then they plan to sue. But, really, these organizers -- Congressman Allred and others realize that the time is now, because we are in a very narrowing window here, towards the end of the summer, where people like him and his colleagues in Congress are going to be shifting from governing to campaigning again, so that they can get reelected in this climate where you have voter suppression.
HAINES: And so having laws on the books like For the People Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement act would certainly be beneficial to Democrats who are hoping that the electorate will continue to be expanded and that voters won`t be up against the kind of challenges that they were up against in 2020, as these state legislatures are trying to make it harder for people to cast their ballot up and down the ticket.
JOHNSON: Twenty-five million dollars spread over 17 states, that doesn`t break down to a lot. That`s like one tweet from Stacey Abrams. Like, they really need to be putting a lot more money into this effort.
Jelani Cobb and Errin Haines, thank you so much for starting off the show today.
Coming up, breaking news from Pfizer, developing a third booster shot that targets the dangerous Delta variant. Our medical experts will break it down.
Plus, new legal pressure on the Trump lawyers pushing the big lie. We will talk to Joyce Vance.
Also, our live interview with a top elections official calling for a criminal probe into Trump and his allies.
Stay with us.
JOHNSON: Breaking news in the fight against COVID, Pfizer announcing it`s developing a booster shot for its vaccine, designed to target the highly contagious Delta variant.
Clinical trials could begin as early as August, subject to FDA approval. This is in line with Pfizer`s guidance that a third vaccine dose would likely be needed within 12 months of full vaccination. And it comes as the CDC says the Delta variant is now the dominant strain in the U.S.
Joining me now is Dr. Kavita Patel, a physician and fellow at the Brookings Institution. She also worked on health policy in the Obama White House.
Dr. Kavita Patel, thank you so much.
So, I have a lot of questions.
If somebody sends me a letter in the mail and says, hey, you might want to bring your car back in, like, it sounds like a factory recall to me. So, the fact that Pfizer just came out with this announcement to come get a third dose, is that a sign of concern? Like, if I have been vaccinated by Pfizer, does that mean that it`s weaker than Moderna or Johnson & Johnson?
DR. KAVITA PATEL, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: No, Jason, quite the opposite.
This is really kind of our preventive way, by having a third shot available, and by -- I will talk through kind of what this means briefly. But it`s just a way to prevent any concerns about future variants, as well as the Delta variant, escaping our immunity.
The current vaccines, all three of them, hold up against the Delta variant for severe hospitalization and death. I think the concern has been that, over time, that immunity just will decrease.
PATEL: And so, Jason, we need to see the details. I need to see the data. But they have -- Pfizer has reported that they can boost the antibody response anywhere from five- to 10-fold with that third dose.
And, remember, they`re doing this because there`s a whole process after they put this application into the FDA. So this isn`t something to worry about, like a recall of your current vaccine. It`s a reminder, though, that COVID hasn`t ended with just that two-shot series.
JOHNSON: So, let`s say I have Johnson & Johnson, let`s say I have Moderna. Would it be safe or would it be dangerous for me to say, you know what? Why don`t I just go back down to the health center and get a third dose of the vaccine I have? If everybody`s doing it with Pfizer, why can`t I do it with mine?
Is that safe? Would that be dangerous for people to do?
PATEL: Yes, it would be dangerous. And, again, like, you really can`t get that third shot. This is just Pfizer, the company, announcing that they`re going to apply to the FDA, and that process will start.
The reason it`s dangerous, it might be appropriate in some situations, very limited ones, Jason. There`s trials for organ transplant patients. I have had these patients who have not mounted any response, and they do need a third shot, because that will help give them a response.
But for the majority of people, Jason, if you got and -- walked in and got a third shot, it could actually cause more side effects. And that could cause more harm, so the side effects get amplified. And if you felt bad at the second shot, you could have an even more -- kind of stronger effect after the third one.
So here`s -- and everything we`re talking about is why I`m concerned the public is getting confusing messages, when half our country still hasn`t been vaccinated.
So I want to ask a little bit about these increasing variants before we sort of go to where the country is vaccinated. So we`re at the Delta variant. Are these variants potentially coming out like hurricanes? Are they named? Are we going to get an Epsilon variant? Are we going to get a Gamma variant that makes you angry?
Like, what potentially could we see if people continue to not get vaccinated? Will we see more of these variants down the road? Or are we thinking that this might be a limited outgrowth?
PATEL: No, we will.
I mean, we are already watching additional variants, the Lambda variant, et cetera, for interest. We`re calling them variants of interest. They`re not variants of concern, like the Delta one, is yet.
So, you`re correct. There will be follow-on variants. And why is that? It`s because, when the virus replicates, as it does in infected people, Jason, it has a chance to mutate. Mutations are normal, but it`s that series of key mutations to the spike protein and to other things that can make it more infectious.
And that`s when it becomes this kind of variant of concern like Delta. Jason, all you have to do is look to Indonesia, 70,000 cases a day.
PATEL: And that is a breeding ground, along with unvaccinated Americans, for more of these mutations, more of these strains.
JOHNSON: So, we have basically four states that are hotboxes right now in the United States, that have not done a good job. They have the lowest vaccination rates. They happen to be red states.
I want you to sort of lean into this. Regardless of what is being done in other places, regardless of what your neighbors in Texas or Oklahoma or Colorado are doing, if these places continue to have these low numbers, they will spawn the next variants, right? They will keep the rest of the nation sick, because I don`t think COVID needs a passport, nor does it need a plane ticket to go from place to place.
And we learned this lesson the hard way over a year ago. You`re right. It`s not going to be limited to just those areas with low vaccination rates. It makes everybody in any part of the country vulnerable, starting with unvaccinated people. Almost 100 percent of the deaths that we have had in the last several weeks, Jason, have been unvaccinated individuals.
So I worry that we`re creating this culture of the vaccinated against the unvaccinated. Quite the opposite. I don`t want anyone to die. And this is what`s happening.
PATEL: And you`re right. This is how it spreads, not just across the United States, but across the world.
JOHNSON: Yes, literally.
Tokyo has just announced that there will be no spectators after 920 new cases popping up in Tokyo.
Dr. Kavita Patel, thank you so, so very much for keeping us informed on this issue.
Coming up in just 60 seconds: Trump lawyers, like Rudy Giuliani, are facing serious new accountability for spreading the big lie.
Plus, a twist in the Trump Organization criminal probe. Joyce Vance is here.
Back in 60 seconds.
JOHNSON: We turn now to Trump`s various legal troubles, as lawyers promoting the -- promoting the litigation to overturn the election is under fire.
The -- quote -- "Kraken team" -- what kind of name is that? -- facing sanctions hearings in Michigan for making false claims in court filings, a judge ruling that they must appear in court. And even though Giuliani is not part of that hearing, he has other sanctions coming his way.
He`s facing disciplinary proceedings that could result in stripping him of his law license. And he`s currently suspended from practicing law in D.C. and New York until that pans out.
But he`s still talking, repeating the lies that got him suspended in the first place, in an interview with criminal Stephen Bannon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: There are 20 to 25 witnesses who testify under oath that over 700,000 ballots were counted which they had no opportunity to observe. And that is against the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: And he`s not the only one still talking.
Trump appearing with Bill O`Reilly last night, saying he will sit for a deposition in his social media lawsuit, and repeating false claims about election fraud. A reminder: There was no fraud.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O`REILLY, FORMER HOST, "THE O`REILLY FACTOR": I want to take a deposition from you. Are you going to sit for deposition?
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sure. I mean, I look forward to it, actually. I look forward to it. I love talking about the election fraud.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Joining me now is former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance.
Joyce, I`m going to start with this. On a scale of one to 1,000 on the likelihood that I will one day win an NBA championship, on the chances that I will be a millionaire lottery winner tomorrow, what are the actual chances of Donald Trump sitting for a deposition in this ridiculous lawsuit that he has against social media companies?
JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: If one is the lowest, then I`m going with one, Jason.
JOHNSON: And the reason is because -- and this is this would be my thought as a non-lawyer -- one, Donald Trump doesn`t want to go through with this lawsuit to begin with.
It would lead to discovery. It would lead to all sorts of investigations. It might reveal e-mails of intimidation attempts between him and members of his administration during the election, during the campaign. So, again, from a legal standpoint, what could he be doing by claiming that he actually wants to sit for a deposition?
How is that helping him? How`s that helping any of his lawyers?
VANCE: This looked like a fund-raising stunt from the minute he filed the lawsuit. And that was followed up, as both he and the Republican Party sent out fund-raising e-mails almost as soon as the lawsuit hit.
It`s not a meritorious lawsuit. It would be surprising to see it go as far as discovery because of the fallacy of this legal claim that the social media platforms are government entities. It just really boggles the mind to see this sort of lawsuit filed. It clearly doesn`t have a legitimate, lawful purpose.
And so that leaves us with fund-raising.
JOHNSON: So, Joyce, I want to play you some audio. This is Trump at a recent rally sort of praising and jumping up and down for the people who tried to overthrow this government.
I want to ask you a question about the legal consequences of this on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: People are being treated unbelievably unfairly, when you look at people in prison, and nothing happens to Antifa.
The person that shot Ashli Babbitt, boom, right through the head, just boom, there was no reason for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: So, Joyce, at a local level, you have Black Lives Matter activists, being arrested, thrown in jail brought up on charges for supposedly being a part of or activating riots or supporting riots or engaging in behavior that`s disruptive to the public.
Why is the president of the United States, former president of the United States, not being sued, not also being brought up on charges for basically advocating for and inspiring a riot that led to not only an attempted overthrow of the government, but also people dying?
Isn`t he legally liable for that?
VANCE: I think -- I think first thing that we have to say, Jason, is that this is just despicable conduct from the former president, because what he`s doing by trying to lionize Ashli Babbitt -- and her death is tragic. Her death occurred after he set those incidents on January 6 in motion.
But, nonetheless, this is how many of these groups that are white supremacist in nature, groups that targeted our government on January 6, this is how they go back into their communities and recruit new followers.
So, it`s absolutely horrific conduct. And, ultimately, the question here is whether what the former president did is protected by the First Amendment. It`s possible that he may be immunized from criminal liability in that way.
And whether it is possible to mount a successful civil challenge may ultimately turn on something sort of interesting, Jason, something that we saw raised in the context of the E. Jean Carroll defamation suit against Trump. That`s whether or not he was acting in his official capacity as president of the United States the morning of January 6 and when he set these events in motion, because, if so, the government will take the position that it may come in and substitute itself for him in any litigation and prevent him from being civilly sued.
JOHNSON: So, right now, I want to make sure we get quickly to the current status of the investigations in the Trump Organization.
So we have Weisselberg, who`s given some information. There`s questions as to whether or not Ivanka will flip one way or another. I have asked this question because I think it`s important, right? These investigations, they`re complicated. They`re not super easy. It`s barely an inconvenience.
This is work that`s being done here. My question is, as we`re saying, elections and changes in leadership in the state of New York, does that have any changes?
Is there a concern, for example, that some of the people who are heading this investigation now may not be able to see it through to the end? Is that going to change the likelihood of Trump or any of his organization being accountable? Or is this something that we can trust can be handed off two or three years down the road, even as this case continues?
VANCE: Prosecutors are professionals. And good professionals always engaged in succession planning.
Knowing that Cy Vance would be leaving the district attorney`s office in Manhattan at the end of the year, one suspects that there`s a good bit of succession planning involved. But the reality is, the prosecutors who are charged with the day-in and day-out operation in these cases are folks who stick around when administrations change, and they are the folks who are primarily responsible.
I have confidence that this case will follow the facts and follow the law and go to its logical conclusion on the basis of those two elements.
JOHNSON: Joyce Vance, thank you so very much for coming on tonight.
Ahead: Juvenile`s "Vax That Thang Up" rap goes viral. We have a special announcement on that.
And the Arizona secretary of state calls for a criminal probe into Trump`s election interference. She joins us next live.
Stay on THE BEAT.
JOHNSON: Republicans are in full obstruction mode, and they`re getting brazen about it.
Here`s GOP Congressman Chip Roy caught on tape while talking to a right- wing group this week.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): Honestly, right now, for the next 18 months, our job is to do everything we can to slow all of that down to get to December of 2022.
I don`t vote for anything in the House of Representatives right now; 18 more months of chaos and inability to get stuff done, that`s what we want.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Wants to create chaos and to stop things from getting done. And he admits it`s all political, part of the GOP strategy to win seats in the midterms.
It`s right in line with the number three Senate Republican declaring he wants to make Biden a half-term president. It`s clear the GOP is shook, because they should know there ain`t no such thing as half-term presidents.
And it echoes McConnell, who said he was 100 percent focused on stopping Biden, before trying to walk it back.
This all comes with a cost for Republicans. You may have seen Biden taunting McConnell for acknowledging he voted against the COVID relief bill that is bringing billions to McConnell`s home state of Kentucky.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mitch McConnell loves our programs. You see what Mitch McConnell said?
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): You`re going to get a lot more money.
BIDEN: Look it up, man. He`s bragging about it in Kentucky.
MCCONNELL: Kentucky will get close to $700 million or $800 million.
BIDEN: It`s a great thing for Kentucky. It`s getting $4 billion to help poor -- it`s amazing.
MCCONNELL: The total amount that will come into our state, $4 billion.
BIDEN: Check out Mitch McConnell. You can even see it on TV.
MCCONNELL: Not a single member of my party voted for it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Politically, this could backfire on Republicans; $4 billion to help people sounds pretty good to me.
On policy, the question is, what can Democrats get done on housing, education, guns, voting, and more?
Joining me now live from the White House is Eugene Daniels, Politico`s White House correspondent and an MSNBC political contributor.
Eugene, I`m going to start with this, because I think what Congressman Roy said is amazing. There`s this monologue in "The Dark Knight, " right, where the Joker says, oh, we should introduce a little bit of chaos, because chaos is fair, right?
But here`s the thing. Chaos by the Republicans isn`t fair in this instance, right? Like, there could be millions of people across this country who lose their health care access, who lose their unemployment benefits, who don`t have access to hospitals if they basically decide they don`t want to do anything for the next 18 months.
You`re at the White House, you`re in the Capitol, are there any Republicans in purple states or blue states that are worried that this obstruction tactic will actually harm their chances next year?
EUGENE DANIELS, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: No, absolutely, they will say that behind the scenes, right? They`re not going to say that in front of this camera or any other camera, even on the record.
But they are worried about it, because one thing that we do know, if you keep pushing President Biden, you keep obstructing, he may have no choice but to call for that effort, right, the filibuster reform, finding a carve- out for voting rights and civil rights, those kinds of things, things that he has not wanted to do.
And so Republicans are making a bet that the moderate Biden of yesteryear, who isn`t -- who wouldn`t shake things up in the Senate -- or for the Senate, who wouldn`t call for that is still here. And I don`t know that that`s exactly where we are.
I`m here at the White House. Civil rights leaders just met with the president for just under two hours, talking about the Voting Rights Act, talking about police reform. And they`re going to be pushing him hard to make things happen here.
And so I think Republicans kind of banking on Biden not doing anything as they obstruct are making a dangerous bet.
JOHNSON: So, I want to play you some additional audio from a member of Congress talking about how they want to sort of make him a half-term.
And I want to talk about specifically what that terminology and how that really plays out, both in the halls of Congress and with voters. Get your thoughts on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY): Mitch McConnell`s come under a lot of criticism for saying he wanted -- at one point, he said he wanted to make sure that Barack Obama was a one-term president.
I want to make Joe Biden a one-half-term president. And I want to do that by making sure they no longer have House, Senate, White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Now, Eugene, I have been ringing the alarm bell ever since this insurrection became basically the mainstream idea of the Republican Party.
If the Republicans somehow, through stacking the courts and passing voter suppression laws, if they took over the House and Senate next year, they would impeach Joe Biden. Like, there`s no question they would vote to impeach Joe Biden, just on principle.
And so, when you hear members of Congress say that, I want to make him a half-term president, we want to make sure he can`t get anything done, again, I wonder, how does that play for Democrats? Does that sort of put the fear into their feet and a lot of fire under them? Or do they still think that talking about infrastructure and voting rights is going to be enough to stave off what the Republicans intend to do the next fall?
DANIELS: Yes, that`s one of the differences sometimes with Democrats and Republicans, is that Democrats, they tend to focus on policy. They`re very wonky. They`re very nerdy at times. And they want to talk about the ways in which they -- their plans are going to help the American people.
And what we`re hearing from Republicans is about pure power, right? It isn`t about the legislative levers that you have. It isn`t about negotiating and compromising. It`s about power, right, and what you can do when you have it.
And that`s the difference between the two parties right now. And there are Democrats, obviously, who are talking about this as well in the Senate and the House. But Joe Manchin, the other big Joe in Washington, D.C., he`s still is operating, it seems, under kind of old Senate rules, where obstruction wasn`t the first play that Republicans were doing, when people can negotiate in good faith and compromise a little bit.
That`s not how the Senate has been working for the last six months and for years, right?
DANIELS: And so those are -- those are different rules.
And so it`s going to take a lot, it seems, for him and some of these other moderate Democrats to kind of make moves and make changes to kind of protect the majorities that they have in here in Congress and to protect President Biden.
And, right, those are the kinds of things that they`re talking about. And something that`s really important -- and I say it a lot because I think it bears repeating -- is that Joe Manchin, we have to remember, is serving as a proxy for many other moderate Democrats who won`t -- who don`t want to take shots, who don`t want all the attention on them, don`t want Democrats and left-leaning people knocking on their doors and yelling at them.
He serves as a proxy, because there`s a lot of them who won`t say the things he says that don`t want filibuster reform, that don`t want -- that want to do compromise above all else. When push comes to shove, they won`t say anything.
So that`s something that people should remember. It`s not just one person.
JOHNSON: Eugene, I give you credit for being the first person to cast Senator Joe Manchin as a brave stalwart in favor of equally cowardly Democrats who are hiding behind him.
JOHNSON: Eugene Daniels, thank you so much for your time this evening.
Ahead: a new call for a criminal investigation into Trump and his allies over election interference.
I will talk to the official leading the charge, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, on THE BEAT next.
JOHNSON: Arizona`s top elections officials is calling for a criminal investigation into potential election interference by Donald Trump and his allies.
Secretary of State Katie Hobbs citing bombshell reports in "The Arizona Republic" revealing a campaign to intervene on Trump`s behalf. One state GOP official texting an election supervisor -- quote -- "We need you to stop the counting" and -- quote -- "I know you don`t want to be remembered as the guy who led the charge to certify a fraudulent election."
Donald Trump also attempted to reach that election supervisor, leading to this voice-mail from the White House:
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WHITE HOUSE OPERATOR: Hello, sir. This is the White House operator. I was calling to let you know that the president is available to take your call if you`re free.
If you could please give us a call back, sir, that would be great. You have a good evening.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Rudy Giuliani also reached out to multiple election supervisors.
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RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Rudy Giuliani, President Trump`s attorney, calling.
I would like to see if there`s a way that we could resolve this so it comes out well for everyone. We`re all Republicans. I think we all have the same goal. Let`s see if -- let`s see if we can get -- get this done outside of the courts, gosh.
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JOHNSON: "We`re all Republicans. Let`s see if we can get this done."
That is not how democracies are supposed to work, not to mention those are some of those intimidating calls you can imagine ever getting. Donald Trump is already facing a criminal probe for his alleged election interference in Georgia.
Joining me now is the official calling for this new investigation. Katie Hobbs, Arizona`s secretary of state and candidate for governor.
Thank you so very much, Secretary Hobbs.
So, I have so many questions.
One, what inspired you to call for this investigation? Because it would have to be taken care of by the sort of state`s attorney general. And that person is a Republican, correct?
KATIE HOBBS (D), ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE: Yes.
And that`s a -- he`s a Republican who took the same oath that I did to uphold the Constitution and laws of the United States and the state of Arizona.
And what we have seen here is what appears to most people to be clearly violating -- violating laws and clearly calling for interference into the election, and warrants, absolutely warrants further investigation, regardless of anyone`s party that`s involved in this.
JOHNSON: I want to play you some sound that we have of the Arizona Republican Party chair also talking about what`s going on here in the state.
And I want to get your thoughts on this on the other side.
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KELLI WARD, CHAIR, ARIZONA REPUBLICAN PARTY: It`s Kelli Ward.
I just talked to President Trump. And he -- he would like me to talk to you and also see if he needs to give you a call to discuss what`s happening on the ground in Maricopa.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Secretary Hobbs, I have had bill collectors in my youth less aggressive than what we have been seeing from the Trump administration here.
When you see that the head of the state Republican Party is also putting on this full-court press, do you think an investigation might lead to criminal charges, maybe not just at the federal level, but at the local level, for election interference?
HOBBS: Well, I certainly don`t want to jump the gun.
But I think it`s clear to everyone watching that this absolutely warrants further investigation and whatever that leads to. I think that most laypeople can look at this and say, this doesn`t look right, it doesn`t smell right. It seems to be interference and trying to influence the outcome.
And it is against the law in Arizona, and it certainly violates some federal laws too.
JOHNSON: Look, I could get cited for standing too close to a voting center in a Joe Biden or Kamala Harris T-shirt. So I can`t imagine that this too isn`t at least worth a citation.
I want to step back a bit and talk about some of the numbers in Arizona in general. I think a lot of people were very excited to see that Arizona helped push Joe Biden over.
But Arizona is -- it`s not a blue state. It is -- he won by the thinnest of margins. And some recent polling that I have seen shows that many Republicans there and many voters in Arizona, they would vote for Joe Biden again if he was running against Trump, but if he was running against another Republican, he would be in a tight race.
Talk a little bit about some of the voter suppression laws that have been passed by Republicans in that state that they`re hoping will play into being able to send that state back into the Republican column in 2024.
HOBBS: Well, I think what we have seen since the election by folks who are not happy about the outcome is an orchestrated effort to continue to undermine the integrity of elections...
HOBBS: ... continue to sow doubt in voters` confidence, and to make it harder for those voters to vote, and -- because -- simply because they don`t like the outcome of the election.
And so this is really unfortunate. It`s why I have continued to stand up for the process that we oversaw in 2020, which was free and fair, and the results we certified are accurate, and why I`m going to continue to fight to ensure access for every eligible Arizona voter.
And that`s what I was elected to do. I`m going to continue to do my job.
JOHNSON: Many people in Washington, D.C., and concerned election observers around the country, Republican and Democrat, think that the only way that you can combat the kind of laws that we`re seeing in Arizona and Texas and Georgia would be to reform the filibuster and pass the For the People Act.
Have you had conversations with Senator Sinema, as secretary of state, telling her or imploring her to reconsider some of her positions, given how difficult it`s making your job and the potential impact it could have on her as well?
HOBBS: Well, our office has spoken with her staff about the provisions of the For the People Act that are important for Arizona and to uphold Arizonans` access to the ballot.
And I have made my position very publicly clear on this issue. And I will continue to do so. And I have called on every senator, Republican or Democrat, to do the right thing and get this through to ensure that Americans all over the place have equal access to the ballot and continued access to the ballot, in light of these pushbacks that we`re seeing across the country.
JOHNSON: Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, thank you so much for your work, and thank you for coming on THE BEAT tonight.
HOBBS: Thank you.
JOHNSON: Ahead, Nikole Hannah-Jones`s major move, a critical race theory debate, and a big announcement -- coming next on THE BEAT.
JOHNSON: Finally, tonight, we just wanted to let you know about two very special guests on THE BEAT tomorrow, first, Howard University president Dr. Wayne Frederick.
Howard made huge, huge news this week for bringing in Nikole Hannah-Jones and Ta-Nehisi Coates as faculty, both journalists at the forefront of the movement to reassess U.S. history and to make the teaching of history something that includes all Americans. We will talk to Dr. Frederick about that and the right-wing effort to stifle any honest teachings about race, slavery and how America truly came to be.
Also on THE BEAT tomorrow, a very different special guest. Rapper Juvenile will join us to talk about his new remix of his `90s hit "Back That Thang Up, " turning it into a pro-vaccine anthem aptly titled "Vax That Thang Up."
Let`s take a look.
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JOHNSON: I feel like I`m throwing out vax cards as we`re going.
Look, I want to make this clear. We`re not just focusing on this because it`s Juvenile, although that`s a key part of THE BEAT, but also because it`s a key component in our attempt to make everybody in America understand how important it is to get vaccinated.
If we could appreciate "Get Your Booty to the Polls" last year for 2020, we can appreciate "Vax That Thang Up."
Two very special guests and a lot more tomorrow on THE BEAT.
Thank you very much. That does it for me.
"THE REIDOUT WITH JOY REID" is up next.