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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 7/9/21

Guests: Roger Sollenberger, Tristan Snell, Wayne Frederick, Christina Greer, Juvenile


The Justice Department released new police body camera footage showing one of the most disturbing assaults during the Capitol insurrection. The Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg, the former president`s long-serving chief financial officer, have been charged with a "sweeping and audacious illegal payment scheme" of tax-related crimes. A teenager from Louisiana has made history by becoming the first African American winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.



JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to "The Beat." I`m Jason Johnson in for Ari Melber.

A really big show tonight. Ahead, new details in the Trump Organization indictments and the legal pressure on Trump`s adult children. Plus, legendary rapper Juvenile will be here to discuss how he wants all Americans to "Vax that Thang Up" this summer. But we begin tonight with the new warning from the DOJ that Donald Trump is inflaming the same right wing lies and paranoia that led to the insurrection, and new video evidence showing rioters dragging Capitol Police officers. This video was released by the DOJ at the request of NBC and other news organizations. I will warn you, it`s hard to watch.


JOHNSON (voice-over): That video comes as crews removed the fencing around the Capitol, erected following the attack. Even as Trump spreads the big lie fueling conspiracy theories that spill over onto TV networks like Fox. The new court filing involving an accused rioter or prosecutors write, "Trump continues to make false claims about the election and minimize the violent attack and television networks continue to carry and report on these claims.


JOHNSON: And on cue, here`s Tucker, last night, sympathizing with accused insurrectionist.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: At some point they become political prisoners, so I try not to use that phrase, you don`t want to hype anything or sensationalized. But at what point does it become like a political prosecution?


JOHNSON: He`s gaslighting, pure and simple. Talking as if the DOJ is jailing like freedom fighters battling apartheid of South Africa. No, these are alleged terrorists accused of an insurrection. This new video released by the government and many others like it highlights that fact. His lies are potential prelude to future violence as Republicans engulf themselves in this distorted white nationalist reality.

Joining me now is Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winning Columnist for the Washington Post and New York Times Columnist Michelle Goldberg.

Michelle, I`m going to start with you. The Republican Party as a whole continues to defend people who tried to overthrow the government, who tried to hang my pants, and who tried to basically discount the votes of millions upon millions of Americans. I want to play this audio and get your thoughts on the other side.


MATT BRAYNARD, FOUNDER, LOOK AHEAD AMERICA: The only reason these people are being pursued this way is because of their political beliefs.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: People are being treated unbelievably, unfairly, when you look at people in prison.

REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): The DOJ is harassing peaceful patriots across the country.

BRAYNARD: Political persecution by the Department of Justice and the FBI.


JOHNSON: So, Michelle, here`s the thing that gets me. I don`t have any question that the Republicans, obviously a lot of them, were in favor of overthrowing the government. They don`t consider Democrats to be legitimate members of our political process. That doesn`t surprise me. But what`s strange about these defenses is what part of the electorate do you think they`re trying to talk to? Like I know some Trump supporters, most Trump supporters are not in favor of overthrowing the government, so who are these Republicans talking to when they`re trying to praise people who beat cops and try to kill members of Congress?

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, look, I think that in Donald Trump`s case, probably in Paul Gosar`s case, they are expressing their legitimate admiration for these people. In Fox News, I think they`re talking to their base. It is true, I suppose, that most Trump supporters aren`t in favor of the violent overthrow of the government but most Republicans do believe that Biden`s election was illegitimate.

And I think you`ve seen this sort of strange rewriting of history, even just over six months, where initially when the attack was so raw, was so new and kind of raw and shocking almost everybody tried to distance themselves from it. And yet over the last six months, they`ve developed this revisionist history and sort of martyrology around some of the people who died that day, right? So they`ve gone from saying this was horrible, then antifa did it, then this was unfortunate to this was justified.

JOHNSON: And that`s the thing. I`m glad that you took us through that entire art. Because not only were most Republicans trying to distance themselves from this, they actually complained about it, initially. During the impeachment hearing many of them said, hey, Donald Trump, you were partially responsible for this.


They tried to call the president and stop him from encouraging this kind of behavior, McCarthy, lots of other people. But now suddenly, these folks were just tourists who got lost and couldn`t find their brochures.

Eugene, this is the other part of this that`s very strange to me. Now, I remember all through last year, Republicans screaming and yelling, the Democrats want to defund the police. The Democrats want to abolish the police. But right now, on the Capitol, you have Republicans holding up funding for the Capitol Police. Are Democrats going to be smart and say that Republicans are trying to defund the police now? Are they actually going to be smart enough to use that? Or is this more of a hypocrisy of the Republican Party that`ll go by the wayside?

EUGENE ROBINSON, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: Every Democrat on Capitol Hill ought to be calling a news conference to talk about that, to talk about how the party of law and order, the party of the keeping the thin blue line and all of that, is who will never adequately fund the Capitol Police. It`s outrageous.

And to your first question to Michelle, a lot of Republicans are talking to Donald Trump through this, staying in his good graces. But it is, you know, we could talk endlessly and have talked endlessly about the devolution of the Republican Party into nothing but a cult of personality, a dangerous cult of personality of that. But this is a party that used to have law and order as its rallying cry. And the irony is it`s beyond irony. Irony left the bill many years ago.

JOHNSON: Yes, irony left the building screaming. Look, the last time the Republicans cared about law and order, like Brisco and Patterson were still prosecuting cases on NBC. So they haven`t care about that for a long time.

But what I do think, Michelle, I want to sort of go back to this idea of, this sort of defense and where this defense leads. So every single national security, domestic security analysts have been saying since January, like that was a test run, right? You`ve got for over 400 people have been arrested, not that many people have been jailed. It is a testament. What we saw at state capitals last summer over mask mandates is indicative of where these people could go?

So my question to you is, as Republicans are engaging in this kind of rhetoric, as they`re continuing to promote the big lie, as they`re pretending to say that the country is run by evil, terrible globalist and everything else like that. Do you think that any of them fear potential backlash at home? Because when these mobs break in the state capitals, they`re not making a distinction by party. Do you think any republican worries that some of this may splash back on them?

GOLDBERG: I think that maybe they worried about that, again, in the immediate aftermath, right? I think that most Republicans in Congress are personally opposed to angry mobs breaking into Congress and trying to drive people out to homemade gallows. But as it`s become a little bit more distant, I think, again, that they fear that less than they fear or a negative word from Tucker Carlson, a negative word from Donald Trump. And I think that again, and again, we`ve sort of seen that they have tried to incite doubt about the legitimacy of our democracy and assume that it will never actually come back to boomerang on their party. So again, I think that what they fear is Donald Trump far more than they fear and another angry mob.

JOHNSON: So, along those same lines, Eugene, this is what`s interesting to me. I get it if you`re just a supporter of Donald Trump, like Matt Gaetz, like some Gosar, like they actually believe in him. They want him to be dictator for life. They like Don Jr., all those things are fine. That makes sense.

But here`s the thing, how powerful? I mean, I`m just thinking this as from a campaign strategy standpoint, how powerful can Trump really be to some of their local political futures when he`s off social media? Like I remember, hey, for the last four years, Republicans would always say privately and sometimes publicly, the thing that you fear is a tweet from Donald Trump. He can`t tweet right now. He can`t tweet, he can`t post on Facebook, all he can do is complain about you. So why do some Republicans continue to promote a lie when the consequences, when the wizard behind the curtain, he can`t even yell at you anymore?

ROBINSON: Well, how powerful is Trump without Twitter and Facebook? I guess we`ll find out. But clearly, Republican officeholders think he`s still powerful enough to end their careers, still powerful enough to support a winning primary challenged them next year. That`s what they think. And they`re not going to get on the wrong side of that. And they`ve sort of -- they`ve made that bet, I mean, and they keep doubling down on that, but they`ve made that bet. I don`t see how they get off that at this point. They`re going to ride it.


JOHNSON: And I will say this. I don`t think, and I always want to make this point, I don`t think enough Americans recognize like how tenuous our situation is, right? We just saw a world leader in Haiti, just across the ocean, get killed. Assassinations happen, violence occurs.

Michelle, when you`re just out sort of talking to regular people, not folks highly involved in politics, how often do things like the insurrection even come up? Because I also think some of this is a bubble in Republican world. I think most people are still talking about buildings reopening and COVID. I don`t know how many people are being driven either in favor of Republican Party or against them by discussions of something that happened six months ago?

GOLDBERG: No. My sense is that it`s a sort of people have moved past it, even if they haven`t forgotten, you know, are only forgiven. Where I do see a lot of anxiety among rank-and-file Democrats is less than about another insurrection, than about a legally stolen election, right? You`re seeing all of these, both voter restriction laws and laws that would make it easier for Republican operatives to legally interfere with an election. Meanwhile, you have the Supreme Court that is increasingly hostile to the Voting Rights Act.

And so, I think that there is a sense of ambient doom about the future of our democracy that people don`t quite know how to act on because we have, you know, we have two senators sort of standing in the way of reform. People feel a lot of desperation but also, I think a fair amount of hopelessness.

JOHNSON: Yes, nihilism might be creeping through if we don`t see some sort of change in for the end of the year. Eugene Robinson and Michelle Goldberg, thanks so much for starting off our show tonight.

GOLDBERG: Thank you.

JOHNSON: Coming up, new heat on the Trump kids and the Trump Organization criminal probe with a new focus on Ivanka Trump. The reporter on that story joins us. Plus, Howard University President Dr. Wayne Frederick joins us after bringing in Hannah-Jones and Ta-Nehisi Coates as faculty. We can`t wait to talk to rapper Juvenile on his viral pro-vaccine anthem, "Wax that Thang Up." Stay with us.



JOHNSON: We turn now on the latest on the Trump Organization indictment and new questions surrounding the former president`s children. New analysis of the indictment shedding light on more Trump Organization companies that could be in legal peril. The Daily Beast reporting that seven, seven Trump Organization companies exhibit a "pattern of paying a substantial portion of year-end bonuses to Weisselberg and other executives as if they weren`t employees. And the prosecutors also claimed the company`s executives knew the practice was wrong. And at one of those companies, Ivanka Trump held an executive role for eight years, adding context to these statements by Mary Trump that Ivanka maybe the next to flip.


MARY TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP`S NIECE: There will be other people who might be more willing to flip than Allen. And I think among those might well indeed be my cousins.

MOLLY JONG-FAST, EDITOR AT LARGE, THE DAILY BEAST: Oh, interesting. Like the Trump kid?

M. TRUMP: Ivanka also received, I don`t remember the amount, but hundreds of dollars --

JONG-FAST: Yes, consultant money.

M. TRUMP: Right., consulting fees. That`s not a thing. You`re either an employee or you`re not an employee. So I think we`re going to find a lot more of that kind of thing going on. And she`s much less likely to stay loyal than Allen Weisselberg.


JOHNSON: Joining me now is Daily Beast Political Reporter Roger Sollenberger. He wrote that Trump article about Trump`s seven other companies, and former New York Assistant Attorney General Tristan Snell who prosecuted the Trump University case. Thanks so much.

Roger, I`m going to start with you. So this is what I think is key in your radar from Daily Beast. So Ivanka was in-charge of one of these companies for eight years. She was in a key executive role. What are the chances that massive bonuses could be handed out to executives at the end of the year that don`t seem to square with finances, and she wouldn`t know? Because that`s what this boils down to, she`s going to claim she didn`t know. Or maybe she`s going to say that they were grabbing her laundry for or something else like that. But what are the chances that she could claim complete ignorance for those kinds of payouts at the end of every year?

ROGER SOLLENBERGER, POLITICAL REPORTER, DAILY BEAST: That I actually can`t answer because I have really no idea. But what I can tell you is that it`s pretty likely that they`re going to plead ignorance, right, take the ostrich defense in their heads were in the sand. That they were not involved with the day-to-day calls, the actual dispensation of the salaries, whatever like that.

But what we also know is that Ivanka Trump was listed as an executive on this company, and on dozens of companies. And the Trump Organization, they tried to sort of blur the lines, she says, oh, we don`t care about titles. We`re not big on title. She said that in a 2016 deposition. She said earlier this year, apparently that she didn`t quite know what Allen Weisselberg`s role was with the company. So you can sort of see that they`re sort of paving that road, but it remains to be seen what they would actually, say, if they were indicted or questioned by investigators in this case.

JOHNSON: So, Tristan, you prosecuted Trump on the Trump University case. And here`s the thing, my understanding of a lot of this is that part of the shell game, the house of cards that Trump often does in his businesses, and even in his organization is. He gave a bunch of people a bunch of different titles so they can get paid five ways, even if they`re not showing up, right?

So with that in mind, Tristan, is it possible that that`s what was happening with Ivanka? That she was an executive in multiple companies and was collecting paychecks from lots of locations that she wasn`t in? And if that`s the case, is that some of the kind of how Trump was running Trump University?

TRISTAN SNELL, FORMER NEW YORK ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL VERY MUCH. So I mean, the key is that the Trump Organization is the holding company, right? And then there are about 200 or 300 LLCs that are all of these subsidiaries, each one runs a particular business. So, the ones that were identified in the indictment and that Roger wrote about, those are all LLCs, each of which probably, each of which managed one property or one business, and then had, at most, a couple hundred employees in each of those businesses.


So, each of these things was basically treated as just another division of the Trump Organization, even though it was supposed to technically be a separate company. And we actually got a ruling in the Trump University case, we sued the Trump Organization and we sued Donald Trump in our case. And we did get an intermediate ruling in that case, that said that the Trump Organization and Donald Trump were liable for Trump University`s misdeeds, so that even though Trump University was broke Trump Org and Donald Trump we`re still going to have to pay up personally.

JOHNSON: So, what you`re saying for, in say layman`s terms is, imagine like a McDonald`s but they have a separate burger company, and a separate fries company, and a separate McNuggets company, but they`re all pretty much just handing around the same finances or whatever, so they can`t get caught. That`s more or less what how he tries to set these things up?

SNELL: Yes. The kicker there is why does he set it up this way? It`s so that one of the businesses and this happened with Trump U could go under, and then they could just be like, well, that went under so we`re not going to pay that things, expenses or even valid debts anymore. But to bring it back to Ivanka, the kicker is it`s not necessarily a problem if she`s getting paid by a bunch of these different entities. The problem is that she was an employee and then also getting money as an independent contractor so that the Trump Organization could avoid paying payroll taxes on all of that employee comp.

That`s the problem here is the tax evasion that went on here. And it was clear that it was rampant throughout the company for well over a decade, and that it happened with Weisselberg. It probably happened with Jeff McConney who we all believe now to be an unindicted coconspirator number one. And then the question is, is Ivanka one of those other executives?

JOHNSON: So, Roger, I want to go back to this, Tristan just mentioned Trump does pay for things. This is how they paid for folks. I want to play you just some quick audio of Don Jr. Talking about the generosity of his father. And I guess trying to set the stage for, he was trying to put his kids to work and trying to help people out as opposed to hide money. We`ll get your thoughts on the other side.


DONALD TRUMP JR, DONALD TRUMP`S SON: My father, after almost 50 years of employment, paid for his grandkids private school in New York City. My dad did that because he`s a good guy, takes care of his employees.


JOHNSON: I don`t know if that`s from cameo or only fans. I don`t know why Don does these kinds of videos. But I got to ask you, Roger, like is that a real defense? Like, can you basically say, my grandpa was nice enough to pay for his kids` school? And that explains how it plays for employees? Like, who is Don Jr. talking to when he makes these sorts of defenses?

SOLLENBERGER: Well, I mean, just being generous doesn`t mean that you didn`t commit a crime and limit generosity, right? So what we do have here is what you could perhaps classify as generosity but what prosecutors say is a crime. And what we see with the bonuses, which is what my report is about, at the Daily Beast, that those bonuses appear to be -- have been improperly paid out to these employees.

And we know Weisselberg for sure, right? But on the other side, we have the company`s responsibilities for this, and they would be shirking their tax students. And so, yes, you could say end of the year bonus, yes, great, great job. You`re being generous. You get a hefty bonus. But how did you give that bonus and why did you choose this method that is improper? Is it that companies knew this improper? The prosecutors also say in the indictment, this is key that it was a practice across the Trump Organization.

And then they named seven of those companies. They named them. They didn`t have to do that. They didn`t name all of the companies, there were others too. But they named some. And one of those companies does have Ivanka as a vice president. The others also have different connections to the Trump kids. And we already know that from New York Times reporting last year that Ivanka did take consultant fees when she was not an employee, or the Times reported that.

And so, if we see this practice across the board, this new company is different from the New York Times report. It`s connected to a hotel just like the times was right, Times reports was. But it`s a different company and the setup could be similar, we don`t know.

JOHNSON: If you`re seeing the same pattern across seven different companies, that`s not just smoke. That`s fire. That`s a tornado. That`s everything. Roger Sollenberger, Tristan Snell, thank you guys so much for your time this evening.

SOLLENBERGER: Thanks, Jason.

JOHNSON: Coming up in just 60 seconds, a special interview of the president of Howard University on hiring Hannah-Jones and Ta-Nehisi Coates. And later AOC and the Democratic strategy to beat McConnell. Plus, the new culture war target on Fox, Captain America. I`ll explain. I`ll be back in 60 seconds.



JOHNSON: We are back with a very special guest at the center of the debate about teaching honestly about US history in our schools and colleges. The president of Howard University Dr. Wayne Frederick. This week, Howard made headlines for two huge hires, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Hannah- Jones and award winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates. Both journalists known for the writing about race and the impact of slavery in the United States, the very topic that many conservatives want to literally ban from American schools.


TUCKER: Curriculum that teaches their kids to hate their country.

SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): Critical theory is in fact very real. It is very influential. And it appears to have become the animating ideology of this administration. And that is cause for great concern.

GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS HOST: Joe Biden now wants to spend your money on critical race theory lessons for a country`s already distressed students.

STEPHEN MILLER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SENIOR POLICY ADVISER: The political left in perpetuating this myth that America is a fundamentally racist country.


JOHNSON: Fox News has launched these kinds of attacks over 1,300 times so far this year. And at the state level, lawmakers are pushing bills to force teachers to avoid topics like race and slavery. Parents in Tennessee are even objecting to a book about Ruby Bridges who emigrated in New Orleans school when she was just six years old. Norman Rockwell created a famous painting of her experience. I literally have this in my house, including the racial slurs she faced. That painting later hung in the Obama White House, where a grownup Ruby Bridges met with the President. This is a book that some Tennessee parents are objecting to. They also disapprove of teaching crazy dangerous words like injustice and inequality, and grammar lessons.

Joining me now is Howard University President Dr. Wayne Frederick. Thank you so much, Dr. Frederick, for being here. First, I want to say as faculty at Morgan State University, we`re tired of you taking everybody. And so we just got to point this out. This tendency that you guys have a standard, the big names, we`re coming for you. We`re coming for you.

First of, I just want to know, what was the thought process because most of the rest of the country, this was this was like bigger than draft day, right? Most of the rest of the country was paying attention to Nikole Hannah-Jones, whether or not she was going to be given tenure at UNC, what was going to happen there. And literally it was, when she announced that she was not only not accepting the job at UNC but going to Howard, reminded me that scene at the end of any given Sunday, where Pachino is like, yes, all right. I`m going to another place and I`m taking Ta-Nehisi Coates with me. Where you guys always in the mix in this situation? How did this happen?

WAYNE FREDERICK, PRESIDENT, HOWARD UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT: Yes. I`ve known Ta-Nehisi Coates for a few years now, we`ve developed a relationship. And so in May after the news broke about the fact that the boy at UNC had never voted on Nikole Hannah-Jones as tenure, he introduced me to her we started a conversation. And I think as we got to know one another, I then started to formulate the opportunity to have both of them come to Howard.

I`ve been working on Ta-Nehisi for a while and I saw an opportunity, they both seem interested. And the issue was to make sure that in coming to Howard, she didn`t come at any lesser value as it will. Because I think sometimes that`s a narrative as well, that also gets twisted in here.

JOHNSON: So one of the things I want to discuss with this because I think this is also really important. As president of Howard University and you were once medical faculty there, there have been massive changes and the sort of fortune of HBCUs over just the last six or seven years. Attendance is up, applications are up, the quality of students are up. What do you think has been the catalyst for these kinds of changes that we`ve seen at premier institutions like yours, like Hampton, like Morehouse, even down to sort of smaller schools? Why have HBCUs been sort of in this renaissance this last six or seven years?

FREDERICK: Yes. I think a few things. One is I think we`ve been telling our story a lot better, because the reality is that we have consistently In supplying America with great talent, talent that has been influencing the country`s prosperity. But we have not been taking credit for it. And I think that we`ve tried to change that narrative. And I think if you look at the current corporate presidents, including, you know, your president at Morgan State and others throughout the country, they -- we`ve all been very aggressive about that. UNCF and David Marshall, I think they`ve also been at the forefront of making sure that people know what they get when they come.

And you have very shrewd consumers in terms of students and parents now who are looking for those outcomes. And reality is, if you want to go to med school, and you`re black in this country, how the university says more African Americans to medical school anybody else.

So it -- once you start really putting the data out in front of people, they see it and then we have to perform, lower graduation rates also up. So while enrollment is up, I want to make it clear, the outcomes that we have on the other side have been up as well. And so we`ve been really working on that infrastructure to build it. And it`s good to see students coming in.

One thing I must correct you on is I`m still part of the medical faculty, I still operate.


FREDERICK: I don`t want to -- I don`t want to lose my street cred in my faculty.

JOHNSON: Don`t want to lose your edge. I want to play some audio from Nikole Hannah-Jones on my colleague, "The ReidOut", or Joy Reid of "The ReidOut" earlier this week talking about the influence of Howard and her decision, get your thoughts on the other side.


NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALIST: Howard University has played of any kind of academic institution in this country plays the largest role in black people achieving right of any institution in this country.

TA-NEHISI COATES, THE ATLANTIC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But political audit in this country is predicated on a bedtime story. They justify the anti- democratic power that exists in this country.


JOHNSON: I want to point out to our audience that tomorrow, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Nikole Hannah-Jones will be interviewed tomorrow by Tiffany Cross on Cross Connection 10 to 12 Eastern. Make sure to catch that in the morning.

But Dr. Frederick, I want to add to this, you know, Nikole Hannah-Jones talks about how HBCUs have been at the forefront of some of our greatest thinkers, and some of the changes and everything else like that. Do you find that some of these outside arguments about critical race theory and everything else like that? Are they actually seeping in to a prominent HBCU campus? Are we kind of looking on the outside saying, why are these people debating things that we know to be facts already at our institution?

FREDERICK: Yes, I mean, you bring up a good point, one of the things that I encourage my students to do is to come into question the knowledge, our motto at Howard is truth and service. We`re trying to give you that truth in the classroom. But we also want students to be independent thinkers to be critical thinkers.

And part of it is for them to come and question whether these things are true or not. And for that matter, to come up with your own theory of they find it not to be true. The thing that is different, I think, at Harvard or any other HBCU is we`re willing to confront that truth. We`re willing to expose it for what it is. And we`re willing to change the narrative if we find it not to be true.

And I think that that`s what our higher ed institutions should be about. And I think over the years, that`s what you`ve seen at HBCUs. And that`s what has led to major change when you look at Brown versus the Board of Education and those types of changes came out of that deep strong connection to the debate that we were willing to have in order to meet the change that was necessary.

JOHNSON: Dr. Frederick, thank you so very much for joining us this evening. Congratulations on those fantastic hires. I`m sure all the suits are going to be thrilled this fall.

Ahead, Fox News is going off on Captain America for being whoa. Oh, yes, I have a fact check on this one. Also split on the left between the AOC wing and the moderates how it plays out. And later, rapper Juvenile is here to discuss his viral public service announcement backs that thing up, you`re watching The Beat. Stay with us.



JOHNSON: Big month ahead for Democrats and is highlighting the debate between the progressives and the moderates in the big old tent party. Today, Chuck Schumer warning Democrats to brace for a jam packed July trying to push through Biden`s infrastructure agenda with quote, moderates and progressive still at odds over how much you spent.

It`s not just spending though. This battle is taking many forms from policing to the green new deal to student debt forgiveness and more. Politically, we`re seeing it play out across the country and local races. Like in Buffalo were a socialist candidate shocked the incumbent democratic mayor just last month.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Buffalo, self-proclaimed democratic socialist India Walton defeated incumbent mayor Byron Brown.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A democratic socialist candidate running her first political campaign is expected to become the next mayor of Buffalo, New York.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Community activist and socialist India Walton is currently on track to become the city`s first woman mayor.


JOHNSON: A socialist one in Buffalo. But in America`s biggest city, Eric Adams, a moderate Democrat and former police officer one of the primary. The AP calling it part of a quote, recent trend of some of the party`s most fervent voters breaking away from its most progressive candidates, signing primaries for a US House seat in New Mexico, a congressional primary in Louisiana and a gubernatorial primary in Virginia. Democrats have slim majorities in Congress and big policy choices to make so where does the party go next?

Joining me now is Dr. Christina Greer Professor with Fordham University. Thank you so much, Dr. Greer for joining me on a Friday night.

So I`m going to start with this. My professional mentor when I was an undergrad at UVA, Larry Sabato always said, look, all politics is local. And there`s a tendency sometimes in the media to try and take every single little race and make it part of some grand philosophical agenda.

So take us first, how does Eric Adams, a former police officer in a city that was wracked with protests last year, how does he end up being only the second African American mayor or likely the second African American mayor of New York City?

DR. CHRISTINA GREER, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY ASSC. PROFESSOR: Right, I totally agree. All politics is local. And it`s been so frustrating to watch people from the national media try and paint broad strokes. Because if you look at the political map, roughly 25 percent of the voting eligible public showed up for the Democratic primary on June 22 with early voting.

But if you look at Eric Adams strategy, he led basically five of his challengers fight over Manhattan and part of Gentrified, Brooklyn, and he took the rest of the city. You know, he`s was also one of the eight sort of top candidates, only two Eric Adams and Scott Stringer had previously won election. before. And so everyone else was a political newcomer, relatively speaking.


So when we walk through all of the ways that Eric Adams won, you know, there are lots of homeowners black, white, and other who do not believe in defund the police, who are a little sympathetic to stop and frisk, who are interested in Eric Adams style of, you know, Black Lives Matter. And also we have to deal with crime and address those issues.

So the way Eric Adams articulates a vision to working class New Yorkers, to New Yorkers who live in the outer boroughs, to New Yorkers who are concerned about these rising spikes in crime in major and minor violent uprisings that we`ve seen in the city, and people who aren`t as sympathetic to some of the protests that we saw last summer --


GREER: -- creates a scenario where we have many shades of blue in New York City, and Eric Adams capitalize on say, the darker shades of blue that are more centrist.

JOHNSON: So I want to continue with that. I want to play some audio from Cedric Richmond, talking about this idea of policing and what it does and does not necessarily do to Democrats last year and get your thoughts on the other side.


CEDRIC RICHMOND, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: Defunding the police is a title that hurts Democrats, and especially when the fact of the matter is nobody`s calling for defunding the police.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): It may sound strange, but many affluent suburbs have essentially already begun pursuing a defunding of the police in that they fund schools, they fund housing and they fund health care more as their number one priorities.


JOHNSON: So first, I want to go back to this and hear from another political scientist. Do you actually believe that defund the police actually hurt Democrats? I always point to Carolyn Bordeaux, who won her seat in the seventh district, I believes the seventh district in Georgia, she got attacked with defunded police. She still won in Georgia. It`s a seat nobody, no Democrat had had an almost 20 something years. Do you think that slogan actually hurts Democrats? Or is it just a red herring that some Democrats have put out there because they can`t understand why they`re losing races?

GREER: Both end Jason. I do think that for certain communities, people hear that phrase, and they don`t understand the nuance of it.


GREER: When AOC says that there`s a reallocation of resources. That`s what many Democrats are comfortable with. That`s what they believe in. But when they hear the phrase defund, they get a little skittish because they`re afraid that all of a sudden crime will spike and come to their neighborhoods, not just in the newspapers that they read.

So it`s a little more of a nuanced, complicated argument when it comes to Democrats. Because, you know, we can`t fund our way to safety. As we have shown, you know, New York City is one of the largest paramilitary organizations historically and present day. And clearly, no matter how many millions upon millions of dollars we drive that organization, we still haven`t figured out how to have zero crime or police who know how to behave themselves on a consistent basis.

So there are ways that we can finance police departments across the country, maybe reallocating resources from particular departments and putting them in education, housing services, supportive services, diversion services, so people don`t end up in jails and prisons. But that`s a nuanced way of saying defund the police without the slogan that makes people slow down.

JOHNSON: We`re really quick, right up against the wall. But I got to ask you this. India Walton wins as Democratic socialists. Now the incumbent that she beat is going up against her and her writing candidacy. Do you think that has much of a chance of knocking her off, I mean riding candidacies can be really difficult.

GREER: They can be you know, the thing is only 21 -- 22,000 people showed up. Mayor Brown has six months to convince people and try and scare them that she will take away everything from them. And, you know, all of a sudden, there`ll be lawless streets in Buffalo. It could work with some more moderate Democrats who chose not to turn out because he`s been mayor for 28 years, and they possibly assumed he cruised to reelection.

So we have to wait and see Jason, that`s a very local specific ground game to see whether or not Walton or Brown will be able to mobilize enough people in November.

JOHNSON: Remember, everybody all politics is local. Two political scientists just told you that. Dr. Christina Greer, thank you so much for coming on Friday night.

GREER: Thanks.

JOHNSON: And still ahead, Fox News is attacking Captain America. They`re going to get roasted for it. And I have a fact check. Also legendary rapper Juvenile is here on turning his hit song into a pro vaccine at the anthem. That`s coming up next.

But first a 14-year-old from Louisiana became the first black American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee in nearly 100 years. Zaila Avant- garde, Zaila Avant-garde won the $50,000 prize on the word Murraya.





JOHNSON: Avant-garde is a better speller than me. Avant-garde is multi- talented. She holds three Guinness World records for dribbling, bouncing and juggling basketballs. She says she intends to go to Harvard, play in the WNBA and travel before ultimately ending up at NASA. Congratulations Zaila. We`ll be right back.


JOHNSON: First it was Mr. Potatohead then it was Dr. Seuss. Now the people at Fox News are attacking Captain America for being too woke and too political and a new series Marvel just launched.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Marvel has newly woke Captain America. Can you believe this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Marvel Comics under fire for Captain America getting political and far from patriotic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Captain America claims the American Dream is a lie. So what is Superman think of the Marvel hero abandoning the truth justice and the American way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perhaps Captain needs to be demoted to Lieutenant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s see what happens when you when you allow left wing activists to write your comic books.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Captain America can`t love America, then who can?


JOHNSON: OK, first off, Dean Cain plays Superman who`s from DC. Why does he attack Captain America?


Anyway, yes, they`re devoting entire segments on Fox News to this hard hitting topic. Now, let me be clear as an actual comic fan see the pin, we need to fact check this.

First off, Captain America is political and has always been political. His first issue in 1941 featured him punching Hitler in the face. He`s talking about the American Dream is something to strive to, because it isn`t there for everyone.

Steve Rogers, Captain America has always been fighting against bullies, whether they were foreign or domestic or on Fox. He`s pro-immigration. He`s pro-aliens, and he`s always been pro labor.

And Falcon runs up next to him in Winter Soldier and says on your left, he`s not just talking about directions. The only people who think comic books aren`t political on the right or the left, but those who`ve actually never read a comic book in their entire lives. The X-Men are about civil rights. Superman is about an illegal alien finding his way. The Hulk was a commentary on the nuclear arms race.

I promise you, Tony Stark isn`t trying to pay capital gains taxes on his armor. If Captain America were a real person, if taken out the insurrectionists and then handed out voter registration cards on January 6.

Captain America face Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon and Thanos. I`m pretty sure he`s not worried about being canceled by Tucker Carlson.


MICHAEL LOFTUS, "THE LOFTUS PARTY" PODCAST HOST: Marvel Comics is the embodiment of the American dream. And now they want to convince children it`s not real. It`s horrible. I`m done with Captain America. He`s dead.


JOHNSON: And network crying about canceled culture now trying to cancel America`s greatest superhero. Stick to defending white nationalist and voter suppression. Though, Captain America slander is allowed when I`m here. Steve Rogers always says I can do this all day.

Coming up rapper Juvenile is here. And why every American needs to back that thing up this summer. We`ll be back on The Beat.



JOHNSON: We`re about to be joined by legendary rapper Juvenile. He sold over 10 million albums and top Billboard Hot 100. His mega hit song "Back That Thang Up" skyrocket his fame and the 90s when a billboard award and a Soul Train Music Award. And now he`s out with a reworked version of that hit a pro vaccine anthem call "Vax That Thang Up" going viral with nearly 2 million views. I play it for you.

Juvenile joins The Beat live. Juvenile, thank you so very much for joining me this evening.


JOHNSON: First off, I have to say, first off, I love you music. Big fan. Appreciate you doing this. I want you to quote, you slow motion for me. All right, like how did this happen? How aim to you and said I want you to remix this? Help us out here.

Oh, my guy. My guy from BLK reached out and said they wanted to remix"Back That Thang Up" with me and Mannie Fresh. And they told me they wanted to change it to "Vax That Thang Up." And I just thought it was a great idea. And when he told me what they was trying to do, they told me was for a date nap and they wanted to warn everybody that`s out there dating, before they date they need to make sure the person that they want they out to date is vaccinated, I think it was a great idea.

JOHNSON: Yes, and part of what worked so well. Not only of course, there`s the rhyme, work and the beat work and everything else like that. But it actually focuses on what will compel people to get vaccinated. I`m going to ask you, look, I`ve had the same thing sometimes in my own family, my own community, what kinds of things were you hearing from people who were apprehensive about getting vaccinated? You know, or people telling you that they were afraid of it? You know, what are the kinds of concerns that you think this song will help counter?

JUVENILE: Yes, they`ve been talking about, you know, conspiracy from the government. You know, they were saying they don`t know if this vaccination, if they took the right amount of time to make this vaccination, it was too quick.

You know, I`ve heard all kinds of stories, man. I`m not saying anybody is, you know, they wrong for having these feelings or these, you know, being skeptical and scared because, you know, everybody didn`t have a great reaction from this cure, but I think it`s good to be vaccinated. And I think it`s great to be vaccinated, especially if you got a family and you got, you know, loved ones that that that`s around you that plan or not get vaccinated.

JOHNSON: And I think what you mentioned there is key because it needs to be a collective thing, right? If you get vaccine, get it for your mama too, right? Like bring the whole family --

JUVENILE: Yes. Right.

JOHNSON: -- to get vaccinated, because that`s going to keep the entire community safe. When you`re putting this together, I have to ask this just as a technical question, how long did it take you to remix this? Like, did you just get in the lab with a pen and a pad, and you were done in like an hour? Like, how long did it take to make this remix?

JUVENILE: Actually, shorter than that being honest, it didn`t take us too long to do it. Because, you know, we already had the blueprint that a whole Back That Thang Up. We just had to change a few words up. But it was a great experience. Being in the studio with my guys, man, especially being a Trombone Shorty, Trombone Shorty Studio with my guy, Mannie Fresh and also, you know, having a female president, like, you know, Mia X. I think it was a great look, especially for all everything else is taken over everything.

But I think it`s a good look, man. I`m trying to, you know, encourage my people, people that look like me to go out there and let`s change these numbers, man, because right now, we black folks, we`ve been taking a hit.

JOHNSON: It`s only 35 percent of Black folk in Louisiana are vaccinated. It`s only 9 percent of black Americans overall are vaccinated. So yes, I mean, this is an absolute emergency.

First of all, I just want to say again, thank you so much, Juvenile. Thank you so much for joining us this evening. I also want to mention you launch a luxury furniture business called Made By Juvie for real, y`all need to check this out.


JOHNSON: It is repurposed stuff. It is absolutely incredible. This is brilliant artwork. Check it out at

JUVENILE: Thank you, man.

JOHNSON: On behalf of myself. Oh yes, yes, definitely. On behalf of myself, The Beat and Juvenile have a great weekend. The ReidOut with Joy Reid is up next joy. Joy, we brought Juvenile (INAUDIBLE).

JOY REID, THE REIDOUT HOST: I know. I know. And I say I appreciate y`all giving me a few minutes.