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Transcript: The ReidOut, 1/13/22

Guests: Maria Teresa Kumar, Ari Berman, Raul Ruiz


11 Oath Keepers charged with seditious conspiracy. DOJ accuses 11 Oath Keepers of conspiring to prevent the peaceful transfer of presidential power. DOJ says Oath Keepers discusses weapons and training for 1/6. Judge blasts Trump silence on January 6th violence in civil liability court hearing.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: We will stay on the story.

That does it for us on a very busy news day where I think it`s time to keep it locked with a lot of interesting developing stories that I will be keeping an eye on as THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid begins. We will be watching. Hi, Joy.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: How are you doing, Ari? Yes, we`re going to have a lot to say about Kyrsten Sinema`s tearful performance, a very interesting day. Thank you. Have a great evening.

MELBER: Thank you.

REID: All right, cheers.

Good evening, everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with a major escalation in the January 6 investigation. For the first time, the Department of Justice has filed seditious conspiracy charges related to the insurrection, charging 11 people, including the leader of the far-right militia, the Oath Keepers` Stewart Rhodes.

Now, sedition conspiracy is defined as if two or more persons conspire to overthrow, put down or destroy by force the government, or by force to prevent, hinder or delay the execution of any law, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property.

Now in plain English, this is the first time our government has called some of the events that happened on January 6 a conspiracy to use force to prevent the presidential transition. It`s important to understand who we`re dealing with here.

Now, unlike the randomly thuggish Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers are an organization largely of current and former military, law enforcement, and first responders, they aren`t. And they`re trained by our own tax dollars to know how to use those weapons.

In their statement announcing the indictment, the DOJ alleges that Rhodes and his co-defendants conspired by organizing into teams that were prepared and willing to use force and to transport firearms and ammunition into Washington, D.C., recruiting members, organizing trainings to teach and learn paramilitary combat tactics and bringing and contributing paramilitary gear. They`re also accused of breaching and attempting to take control of the Capitol grounds and building using force against law enforcement officers and plotting -- continuing to plot after January 6 to oppose by force the lawful transfer of power.

The indictment also provides a timeline of the encrypted group chat messages that Rhodes set encouraging his co-conspirators. Two days after the election, November 5th, Rhodes urged his followers to refuse to accept the election results and states, quote, we aren`t getting through this without a civil war, unquote. On November 7th, he said we must now do what the people of Serbia did when Milosevic stole the election, refuse to accept it and marched en masse on the nation`s Capitol. And by November 9th, he held a call outlining a plan to stop the lawful transfer of power.

The organizing and the paramilitary training continued over the next months with Rhodes advocating for the use of force on the Oath Keepers` website.

On Christmas Day, six days after Trump`s be in D.C. will be wild tweet, Rhodes wrote, I think Congress will screw President Trump over. The only chance we have is if we scare the S out of them and convince them it will be torches and pitchforks time if they don`t do the right thing. But I don`t think they will listen. The planning continued, and by January 5th, they were in the D.C. area, stocked with weapons.

On the morning of January 6, they split into two so-called stacks, one on each side of the Capitol. At around 2:12 P.M., Rhodes entered the restricted Capitol grounds. At 2:25, he instructed his co-conspirators, come to south side of Capitol. And as the DOJ notes, at approximately 2:30 P.M., Oath Keepers and affiliates, many wearing paramilitary clothing and patches with the Oath Keepers name logo and insignia, marched in a stack formation up the east steps of the Capitol, joined a mob and made their way into the Capitol. And we all know what happened next, an insurrection ensued. Rhodes was arrested today and is currently an inmate in Collin County, Texas.

The Oath Keepers are one of two major violent groups accused of orchestrating the insurrection, along with the Proud Boys, you know, the group Trump told to stand back and stand by during the presidential debates. The January 6 select committee is investigating both of these groups but Rhodes hasn`t decided yet whether he will testify. This comes as the committee is continuing to investigate the online rhetoric that led to the insurrection.

Today, they subpoenaed four major social media companies, Alphabet, aka Google, Meta, aka Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter. Committee Chair Bennie Thompson said in a press release, two key questions for the select committee are how the spread of misinformation and violent extremism contributed to the violent attack on our democracy, and what steps, if any, social media companies took to prevent their platforms from being breeding grounds for radicalizing people to violence.

Joining me now, Joyce Vance, former U.S. Attorney and MSNBC Counterterrorism and Intelligence Analyst Malcolm Nance, whose new book, They Want to Kill Americans, The Militias Terrorist and Derange Ideology of the Trump Insurgency, is due out in July.


Joyce, I`m going start with you. Here is the indictment. I`ve been reading through it with great interest. It reads sort of like a Tom Clancy novel. I mean, these people took real, detailed planning to try to overturn the election that they said could not be accepted. Please explain what is the significance of the Department of Justice going with a seditious conspiracy charge.

JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: So, selecting this charge is really DOJ framing the issues around January 6th. And, Joy, as you noted, this indictment is careful to set forth that they`re looking not just at that day itself but at what preceded it and what followed it. So, they`re looking at a conspiracy and ongoing course of conduct.

And unlike prior indictments, this is not an indictment that alleges obstruction of Congress. This is not an indictment that talks about being on the Capitol grounds without permission. This sets forth the seditious conspiracy, an effort to interfere with the transfer of power. And it brings new gravitas to the way that DOJ is viewing these events, confirming that they`re going after the heart of a conspiracy to take down democracy.

REID: Yes, I mean, it`s a relief to see the DOJ acting and they`re acting in a pretty big way.

You know, Malcolm Nance, what stood out to me in reading through this indictment was the way that the leader of the Proud Boys was referencing Milosevic, referencing what Serbians did to try to overthrow that -- you know, him taking power, him stealing the elections.

And also, if you look at what they had, I mean, these are just some of the weaponry and tactics that were discussed on these group chats. They brought shotguns and scopes, magazines, sight, optics, A.R. platforms, rifles, firearms, night vision devices, a boat that could handle a Potomac crossing. They said, we could have our team with the heavy weapons standing by, quickly load them and ferry them across the river. This was not a casual conspiracy. This sounds like an active military plan.

MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC COUNTERTERRORISM AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: It was an active military plan. And believe me, I`ve been monitoring the internal communications of these groups since this time last year well before the insurrection. And, you know, when I wrote my last book on this, one of the things that I found very, very early on, well, it wasn`t just the oath keepers that were planning to be seditious. You`re going to find out further in subsequent indictments, I`m certain.

The Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters militias had multiple meetings about this. They started and really started getting people ready in late October, early November, sending them to training schools, having them have 1,500 -- 150 rounds of combat load ammunition on their weapons, getting their body armor together.

What you saw on January 6 was the command cell of the Oath Keepers. There were many, many, many hundreds more Oath Keepers there. It`s a big organization. It`s just that this was Stewart Rhode`s teams that he was bringing into the building.

And if you recall that very night, we were on this very program, I said, it`s quite possible that these people may have had capture and kill teams that were organized to go in there, murder cells is another way that we put them, and that they would be very well-organized.

This entire sedition was -- the insurrection in itself was well-organized. Because not only did they plan it, they also sent orders out to everyone. And thousands of people came dressed like them.

REID: And, you know, and the million dollar question, of course, is what the sitting president at the time knew or understood about it. But just to give our audience a little context, the last time that we had a federal sedition prosecution was 26 years ago when Omar Abdel Rahman, also known as the Blind Sheikh, and nine others were convicted of plotting to blow up the United Nations, the FBI building, bridges and tunnels between New Jersey and New York. Before that, more than a dozen Puerto Rican nationalists were convicted in the early 1980s of sedition in their role of Armed Forces of National Liberation that found a group that claimed credit for bombings across the United States. So, people really need to understand. This is a very, very serious charge.

And, Joyce, the question then becomes what Trump knew. Now, we know that Trump is trying to say that he cannot be held responsible for anything that happened that day. But Judge Mehta who is hearing that case in court said the following, whether Trump should be immune from civil lawsuits, not talking criminal right now, bust said, what do I do about the fact that the president didn`t denounce the conduct immediately? Isn`t that from a plausibility standpoint that the president probably agreed with the conduct of the people inside the Capitol that day?


You have an almost two-hour window where the president does not say stop, get out of the Capitol. That`s not what I want you to do.

But beyond that, you also have tweet after tweet after tweet from Donald Trump going back to December saying be at the Capitol. It will be wild. You have his associates hiring members of the Oath Keepers as security, hiring Proud Boys as security, associating themselves with him.

Is it possible from your point of view, Joyce, for the DOJ to look at this conspiracy without looking at Donald Trump?

VANCE: Well, this is exactly the sort of inquiry that prosecutors will have to engage in, Joy. I think you`re right at the decision point that they`ll ultimately have to look at to prove that someone participated in a conspiracy, you have to prove that they entered into an agreement with people to achieve an illegal goal. Here that goal is to interfere with the transfer of power.

So it`s not enough to watch approvingly from the sidelines. You actually have to have engaged with them in this enterprise. And that`s the question that`s always swirled around January 6. It`s whether or not there was involvement by Trump or anyone around him. That is still the unanswered question here. We just don`t know enough to answer it.

We do know that many of this Proud Boys previously were involved in guarding Roger Stone. So that raises this obvious question whether there is a link-up, I`m afraid we`re going to have to wait a little longer to find out whether prosecutors have the evidence to go that far.

REID: Right. And you think about the fact that we still don`t know who planted pipe bombs, you know, at the DNC and the RNC. The DNC when the current vice president of the United States Kamala Harris was inside during one of those planted pipe bombs.

I mean there is so much that we need to know. We know, Malcolm, that Donald Trump tweeted at least these three things. January 6, be there, it will be wild that was December 19th. We know January 6 see you in D.C. December 30, he know something was -- I mean at least he knew there was going to be a rally there.

You can just say he just knew that. But why did he say it`s going to be wild? Why is Bannon saying all hell is going to break lose? And then there is this January 5th tweet where he starts teeing up the idea that Antifa is violent, randomly. That was the last tweet of the day. Where he`s talking about the group that has nothing to do with anything but teeing up, later on he`s followers also obeyed it.

If you`re looking at this, let`s put it in the Al Qaeda perspective. If you have someone like Osama Bin Laden, also a sort of I itinerant real estate guy, right, who is out there saying we`re at war with the United States.

But he himself doesn`t get on one of the planes. But all of the people who listen to him, who he is egging on get on those planes and they commit the terrorist acts on 9/11, is it possible to look at just the people who were in the planes flying them and doing the terrorism without looking at Bin Laden?

NANCE: No. And the people who were actually down there smashing the windows, breaking their way in, these are the level zero heroes, as they like to portray themselves.

But let me put it in this perspective so that you understand if in a counterterrorism world and why this sedition charge is so significant. You have tier four people, right? That`s the average schmo who came to that thing. 40,000 people, 10,000 engage to the building, 2,000 penetrate the building. The next level up is this tier three, which is the Stewart Rhodes command and control people on the grounds of the Capitol who helped organize the military aspects of it may have been actually doing command and control.

Then there is the level that Stewart Rhodes will lead up to and the Proud Boys will lead up to. And that`s what I call treason command, which was operating out of the Willard Hotel, which was the people who were the political leaders, the Steve Bannons, everyone in there who seemed to know what the plan was and had established a command organization in that hotel that was directly linked to the White House.

And then you have the tier one, you know, conspirators, you know, the Mark Meadows. I mean, all you have to do is watch Rachel Maddow and you can start seeing. These people were organizing entire bodies of states, the House of Representatives, and others to layer down all of the effects that were happening that day to consider themselves an entire coup d`etat. And that`s what it is. You had four tiers that all -- this is way beyond sedition. I mean, this is literally a plan to overthrow the government.

REID: And the final question to you, then, Joyce, if Donald Trump sought to benefit from an attempt to overthrow the government, an attempt to intimidate Congress and to not certifying the election, and then false slates of electors being served up on a silver platter that Mike Pence was supposed to then take, he is seeking to benefit from a violent overthrow of the government with a plan to substitute other electors. I find it very hard to believe that he can be completely ignorant of that and still be enthusiastically sitting in the White House watching it happen and not stop it.


VANCE: You know, judges love to tell juries when they go back to deliberate after all the evidence is in at trial, you don`t have to check your common sense at the door. You can use your common sense in evaluating the evidence. And that`s true here.

We all know what we saw. We draw logical conclusions. Now it`s up to prosecutors to do the heavy lifting of making sure that they have sufficient admissible evidence so that they can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt before they bring any charges.

That`s why we see this painstakingly slow and frustrating methodical effort to put together the evidence. Sometimes as a prosecutor you`re able to go all the way to the top. You have enough admissible evidence to bring charges. And other times you don`t.

And one possibility here, Joy, is the possibility that it`s not one linear conspiracy that starts with the foot soldiers on the ground and goes all the way up into the oval office. It`s possible that there are different groups, each trying in their own way to interfere with the transfer of power. We`ll have to wait and see what the Justice Department decides its evidence will prove.

REID: I`ve been very frustrated myself with Merrick Garland. But on this one, I have to say kudos to the Department of Justice. This is an important case. Joyce Vance, Malcolm Nance, and yes, you all, you better be watching Rachel Maddow, because you don`t want to missed it, literally, you`re going to get so much information. This is a very big, big, big story.

Up next on a very busy night. President Biden goes to Capitol Hill to fight for voting rights. But Kyrsten Sinema sabotaged the effort before he even had a chance to arrive.

Also, more than 800,000 COVID deaths in this country, the right wing Supreme Court ruled today in favor of the virus.

Plus, tonight`s absolute worst spent thousands of dollars on a TV-ad targeting an audience of one. And she is not the only one sucking up to the biggest loser. THE REIDOUT continues after this.



SEN. KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-AZ): While I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country.

The debate over the Senate 60-vote threshold shines a light on our broader challenges. There is no need for me to restate my longstanding support for the 60-vote threshold to pass legislation.


REID: That was the conservative freshmen Democratic senator from Arizona cry-talking an hour before the president of the United States came to rally Senate Democrats to pass voting rights legislation, basically telling him he`s wasting his time.

Senator Sinema paid lip service to two voting rights bills, the Freedom to Vote Act and the John R. Lewis Act, just as she`s paid lip service to the late civil rights leader on Twitter and bragged about co-sponsoring the bill named in his honor.

But with her dead-set opposition to changing the filibuster, she`s ensuring that the bills are going nowhere. Apparently, for Senator Sinema protecting the rights of the minority party in the Senate is more important than protecting the rights of minority voters.

Over the past 24 hours, the House and the Senate worked out a complex maneuver to pass the two bills in one package, the combined Freedom to Vote John R. Lewis Act. The House passed it in a party-line vote with a goal of passing it in the Senate by Monday, MLK Day. So much for that.

Despite being intentionally undercut by a senator from his own party, after meeting with Senate Democrats, President Biden acknowledged the challenges ahead, but said that he would continue to fight election subversion.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope we can get this done. The honest-to-God answer is, I don`t know whether we can get this done.

But I know one thing. As long as I have a breath in me, as long as I`m in the White House, as long as I`m engaged at all, I`m going to be fighting to change the way these legislatures have moved.


REID: After President Biden spoke, not to be outdone by his colleague, West Virginia conservative Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said that he too would not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster.

With me now, Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino, and Ari Berman, senior reporter for "Mother Jones" and author of "Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America."

Ari, you have been on a tear about this all day.

I note the disrespect of Senator Sinema standing there, like, acting all emotional, as she says, I`m killing this bill, before the president even got a chance to come down and talk to the caucus. The disrespect of that to the president, I think was -- I mark that.

But, also, apparently when the president did meet with the caucus, she didn`t even listen as Jon Ossoff gave a standing ovation-inducing speech passionately defending voting rights. She was looking at her phone, per NBC News reporting, looked at her phone the whole time, and didn`t look up until her name was mentioned, like Donald Trump would.

This seems to be someone who has essentially declared that voting rights don`t matter. All that matters is what Republicans want and what they -- and what they desire and what they will vote for.

So you, as somebody who has made it your mission, your life`s work to try to achieve access to the ballot, where are we now?

ARI BERMAN, "MOTHER JONES": Well, Kyrsten Sinema didn`t just disrespect Joe Biden. She disrespected American democracy.

And it`s incredibly ironic that she called John Lewis her hero, but she`s going to allow Republicans to filibuster the John Lewis Voting Rights Act on Martin Luther King Day. And, really, she is allowing Republicans -- her and Joe Manchin are allowing Republicans to set the terms of the entire fight, because what`s happening is, Republicans in the states are passing all of these voter suppression laws on simple majority party-line votes.

But Sinema is saying, we can`t protect voting rights in the U.S. Senate on a party-line, simple majority vote. And so what she`s essentially saying is, it`s too late partisan and divisive to stop laws whose entire purpose are to be partisan and divisive.


So, basically, Republicans are plotting the next coup. They`re doing everything they can to take over election operations in every key swing state. And Sinema and Manchin are basically saying, we`re not going to do anything to stop it.

REID: Yes.

BERMAN: Imagine the message that sends the Republican Party and the message that it sends to voters all across the country who need badly federal protection for voting rights right now.

REID: You know, I -- and I hate to say it. I don`t want to read into her. I don`t know this woman, Maria Teresa Kumar, but she probably feels she will be fine, right, if there`s an autocratic takeover of the United States, right?

She`s got all these rich donor friends. She`s a well-paid white lady with like lots of friends in high places. She probably feels it ain`t going to hurt her. But her state, it might hurt quite significantly. The state of Arizona is 31.7 percent Latino. It`s 5.2 percent African-American. It`s 4 percent Asian, Pacific Islander. The indigenous population makes up 5.3 percent of the state.

It`s going to hurt somebody, but it`s not going to hurt her. So she clearly doesn`t give a damn.

But let me not even argue with her. Let me let her argue with her.


REID: This is Kyrsten Sinema back in 2010 on the false pressure for 60 votes. Here she is.


SINEMA: The Democrats can stop kowtowing to Joe Lieberman and instead seek other avenues to move forward with health reform. And so it`s likely that the Senate will move forward with a process called reconciliation, which takes only 51 votes.

The Republicans controlled the Senate for quite some time, in fact, since around 1994. They never had 60 votes, and they managed to do a lot of really bad things during that time.

So the reconciliation process is still quite available, and we will use it for good, rather than for evil.


REID: Your thoughts, MTK, as somebody who has made it your life`s work and your passion to ensure that the rising majority in this country, that Latino voters have access to the ballot?

MARIA TERESA KUMAR, FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, VOTO LATINO: Well, Kyrsten Sinema seems to be very much of the political stripes that she will change to whoever is calling her name the most. In this case, it seems to be being courted by the rich and the wealthy of the Republican Party.

The challenge, though, is that she does not represent the interests of the state at all. You mentioned the rising electorate there. The young people that you talked about, African-Americans and Latinos, are disproportionately young Arizonans. They are aging into the population.

They are trying to define their future for this country. And it`s by no coincidence that the modern-day Jim Crow laws, Joy, are -- coincide with the rise of young diverse America. For the second time in a row, for the second decade in a row, Latinos were responsible for 50 percent of our population growth, American-born children who happen to be Latino.

And when you look at states like Georgia, when you look at states like Arizona, when you look at states like Texas, together with the African- American community and the Latino community, it`s an incredible force.

And instead of having the Republicans compete for us on policy issues, they want to control and -- control and centralize power. And Sinema wants to be part of that apartheid, autocratic government. And that`s the question we should ask.

We should also ask, where are the patriots on the Republican side? Where`s the Mitt Romneys? Where is he? Why isn`t he standing up? Because I can tell you that, from what I understand from his father`s legacy, which is what he claims is why he`s here, his father would be completely, I believe, really upset and angry at what the Republicans are doing, because they are not talking about party politics in this case.

What they are trying to do is that they are trying to erode little-D democracy. As the president said the other day, voting, the access to the voting booth, that is the threshold to a functioning democracy.

What Kamala Harris said the other day at Atlanta, when she said that these voting rights are going to affect every single American, she is not wrong, because what happens in autocratic governments is that it hasn`t -- it gets to a point where it`s no longer about the color of your skin. It`s the amount in your bank account, because you centralize power on your cronies and your friends.

REID: Yes.

KUMAR: And that is not only the antithesis of America, but it actually goes against our promise.

And so what we need -- people say, well, what do we do now?

REID: Right.

KUMAR: We need every single American right now calling their members of Congress, calling their senators, and saying that it`s not OK.

And we need to look for new leadership in Arizona, quite frankly.

REID: Yes. Yes.

And people who love democracy need a long-term plan to replace every single one of these people who think that an autocracy in which they think they will be the us and we will all be the them, they think that`s better than a democracy. They need to all go. Start thinking about those long-term voting plans.

Maria Teresa Kumar, Ari Berman, thank you both very much.

We still have a lot to get to tonight.

Up next: The conservative majority Supreme Court deals a major blow to the Biden administration`s efforts to get this ongoing, never-ending pandemic under control.

We`re back after this.



REID: We have a lot of breaking news on the COVID front, including the U.S. Supreme Court siding with the virus today by blocking the Biden administration`s rule requiring vaccine mandates for companies employing more than 100 people.

But the court said a separate mandate requiring vaccinations for an estimated 20 million health care workers can be enforced. This comes the day President Biden stepped up his response to the Omicron surge, pledging to provide Americans with free tests and masks. He`s also sending 120 military medical personnel to six states where hospitals have been overrun by cases.

Let`s bring in Congressman and physician Raul Ruiz of California, who`s joining us from the Palm Springs Convention Center, where he`s helping the FIND Food Bank distribute COVID-19 antigen test. Also with us is former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal.


And thank you both for being here.

And, Congressman Ruiz, I want to start with you.

And thank you for what you`re doing. I love that you are helping to actually get tests, because that`s what people so desperately need.

But, just as a physician, as somebody who is out there trying to represent the people and help them, what do you make of the Supreme Court doing away with this mandate?

REP. RAUL RUIZ (D-CA): It doesn`t make sense.

And in a public health perspective, it only hurts us. It is only good for our public`s health and for the large corporations, businesses to keep their employees safe. And they can do so by either ensuring that they get vaccinated or that they get tested and, if they`re positive, to stay away from other individuals that can also spread the virus and cause more sick days and loss of productivity for that company.

So it is a bad day for our public health efforts. But we still have some good news. The Biden administration has purchased over 500 million tests. They`re on their way to providing 300 million a month. We also have these pilot programs with the Health and Human Services and USDA that we see here, where they`re taking the test to the people into the communities that are vulnerable.

If you`re food-insecure, then your immune system is probably weaker, and, therefore, you will get more severely sick. You also more likely live in resource-poor settings, where you have lack of access, lack of space in your household to prevent from getting infected and quarantining, being able to quarantine away from other family members.

And, therefore, this is a very high-risk, vulnerable population. And I think it`s very smart. And the pilot program is working. This organization FIND Food Bank, under the leadership of Deb Espinosa, has already distributed 50,000 tests. Today, they`re going to distribute over 800 tests -- testing kits to household right here in Palm Springs in the Coachella Valley.

REID: And God bless that and everyone involved in doing it. And credit where credit is due. That is actually a wonderful program. And the Biden administration really deserves credit for it. I mean, we`re trying to save lives here. That is the end goal.

And, Neal, I have to say, I don`t have faith in the Supreme Court. I think they are ideologues. I think they are right-wing ideologues. I think they`re sort of doing sort of a Christian nationalist version of whatever it is the Supreme Court used to do.

But I just look at the numbers. Biden talked today about United Airlines, where he said -- well, let me just let -- listen to what he said. This is President Biden today talking about one company that benefited from these mandates.


BIDEN: United Airlines was averaging one employee dying a week from COVID- 19. After implementing its requirement, it led to 99 percent of its employees being vaccinated.

United had 3,600 employees test positive, but zero hospitalizations, zero deaths in over eight weeks.


REID: I mean, the administration had made an estimate that it would -- that the mandate would result in 22 million people getting vaccinated and prevent 250,000 hospitalizations.

The usual six that voted the way we would expect them to vote, the six right-wingers, at this point, Neal, have they not just simply stated, by their actions, that they are more in favor of right-wing politics, the kind of DeSantis-style right-wing politics, than they are in favor of saving lives?


REID: They don`t really care if this causes less people to die, clearly.

KATYAL: Well, Joy, I do think that this is a really dark day for the court and for the country.

And today`s Supreme Court opinion is kind of like the Kyrsten Sinema of Supreme Court opinions.

REID: Yes.

KATYAL: And I don`t say that lightly in attacking the court. I rarely do attack the court. Indeed, I lost another case today at the Supreme Court about veterans` benefits, but you`re -- I`m going to stay silent on that.

But today`s decision vaccines, it`s such a grave threat to public safety. And the idea that the Supreme Court is responsible for it, it`s really hard to imagine.

I mean, the justices are now living in their own bubble. I just argued there recently, and I can`t tell you all the COVID restrictions they had. I had to go get a negative test. They barred all the visitors and the public from being there. They moved the podium back 15 feet, so that I was farther away.

They did all sorts of things to control their work environment.

And what President Biden did and what OSHA did is say, look, if you`re an ordinary employee, we know you can`t control your work environment the way that Supreme Court justices can, so we`re going to do it for you and impose these restrictions.

And the court had a legal fiction to get around it. What they said today is, well, it`s not a -- quote -- "occupational hazard," because you could get COVID at work or you could get it at a baseball game. I mean, you could get it at school or a baseball game.

Well, by that logic, then OSHA, this agency, shouldn`t regulate fire prevention plans...

REID: Right.

KATYAL: .. because you could forget to turn off the oven or your kids could be playing with math. I mean, it is ludicrous.


And I just think this is such a bad thing for the court and a bad thing for public health. And I`m so grateful to people like the congressman for doing what they can to patch the gaps when our justices aren`t protecting us.

REID: I have to ask you very quickly, what did they do to veterans benefits, because -- just very quickly?

KATYAL: The Social Security benefits, they cut them back for a certain category of veterans today.

REID: Of course. Of course.

At this point, Neal, it is hard to think of them as anything other than right-wing ideologues. They should all just have right-wing talk radio shows. They are not justices in the great tradition of Supreme Court justices. They`re just politicians. They`re just added to -- as far as I`m concerned. I see nothing about what they`re doing that I can possibly respect. It`s sad, what`s happening to this country.

But I thank you for being here, Neal Katyal, as always.

Congressman Raul Ruiz, thank you for what you`re doing. You are doing God`s work out there. We really appreciate you.

Stay tuned for a little bit more, because we have still got tonight`s "Absolute Worst," how the twice-impeach disgraced former president`s toadies are tripping all over each other trying to win a front-row seat in his craven cult of personality.

We will be right back.



REID: There are at least eight Republican candidates in Nevada vying to challenge incumbent Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak in November, among them, Las Vegas Councilmember Michele Fiore.

She believes that all COVID mandates need to be banned, that teaching factual history in schools is a threat against our children, and that activists who oppose police brutality are domestic terrorists, you know, normal stuff for the Republican Party these days.

Even more interesting was her first ad announcing her candidacy. Take a look.


MICHELE FIORE (R), NEVADA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I`m Michele Fiore, and I`m running for governor.

I spent my whole life fighting the establishment. I was the first female majority leader in the Nevada Assembly, and one of the first electeds to endorse Donald J. Trump. And you better believe I was attacked for it.


REID: Again, not too surprising to see a candidate tying herself to Trump. And, of course, no Republican ad would be complete without the candidate brandishing a firearm.

But it`s where the ad was played that I find so compelling. Let`s show it on the screen. Now, as you can see, her campaign purchased ads in the Nevada media market, which makes sense. But if you look all the way to the lower right there on the map, you can see another ad buy that -- correct me if I have my geography confused -- is nowhere near Nevada.

In fact, it`s more than 2,100 miles away in Florida. In fact, the Fiore campaign purchased 62 television spots on FOX News in West Palm Beach, hoping it catches the eye of her dear leader.

It`s just another example of the cult of personality continuing to play out over the twice-impeached retired golfer in Florida.

Case in point, last night, you had Senator and part-time Trump caddy Lindsey Graham, who miraculously manages to sit up without a spine, demanding that the Senate minority leader join him in kneeling to Trump.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): He`s the most consequential Republicans since Ronald Reagan. It`s his nomination if he wants it, and I think he will get reelected in 2024.

But here`s the question. Can Senator McConnell effectively work with the leader of the Republican Party, Donald Trump? I`m not going to vote for anybody that can`t have a working relationship with President Trump, because, if you can`t do that, you will fail.


REID: Hard to believe that, a year ago, Lindsey went on to the Senate floor after January 6 and said, enough was enough, and to count him out when it came to Trump.

And then we come to the man vying to be the next speaker of the House, at least in name only, Kevin McCarthy, who is previewing his future subservient role, telling the January 6 Committee he will not cooperate in their investigation.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): There is nothing that I can provide the January 6 Committee for legislation of their moving forward.

There is nothing in that realm. It is pure politics of what they`re playing.


REID: Of course, there is plenty that he could provide the committee, but that would involve having a shred of integrity.

The vice chair of the committee, Republican Liz Cheney, said last night: "I wish that he were a brave and honorable man. He`s clearly trying to cover up what happened."

Unfortunately, brave and honorable are not words that have been used to describe this Republican Party. And there are real consequences to them being the "Absolute Worst."

And we will get to that with former RNC Chair Michael Steele next.




GARRETT HAAKE, NBC SENIOR NEWS CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: How problematic is it if all the House Republicans refused to talk to you guys?

REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): Well, it`s unfortunate if people who take the same oath that I took to uphold and defend the Constitution don`t want to talk about efforts to thwart that Constitution and to prevent a free and fair election, to prevent a peaceful transfer of power.

Those are things that are deeply problematic. And that`s what we`re seeing on the other side.


REID: The refusal so far of Republican members of Congress to cooperate with the January 6 Committee begs the question, what are they so afraid of?

Is it the orange man down in Florida, or the truth of their own culpability?

Joining me now, former RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

And, Michael, it must be head-spinning for you to watch the party that used to call itself the party of law and order, and that you used to be the chairman of sort of en masse decide that they don`t have to respond to subpoenas.

Let me put up a list of some of the people who are saying they don`t have to cooperate with this committee or respond to subpoenas. They just don`t have to cooperate at all. It`s Scott Perry, who called the committee illegitimate. It`s Jim Jordan, who is a committee chairman right now, called it unprecedented, inappropriate demand, and Kevin McCarthy, who wants to be speaker of the House.

Your thoughts?

MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I think a lot of that was set in motion probably, oh, my gosh, what, when Trump started out, and everybody was coming after him.

And the reality was, I don`t have to do anything. There was no accountability embedded in the system. So, when the Republican leadership saw how much Trump could get away with, that inspired, it incentivized, it offered protection.

And so what is really interesting to see play out is how the January 6 Committee now tackles that and is actually pushing into and up against that idea. It`ll be interesting to see whether or not they make McCarthy and others hold and honor that subpoena in some form.

REID: Yes.

STEELE: Never been tested, never been tried. But the expectation on the Republican side is, well, they don`t have the you-know-what to do it anyway.

REID: Right.

STEELE: They don`t have the cojones to go there. So we`re good. And we will just go in front of a bank of microphones, despite that I said, oh, yes, I would show up, and say, no, no, no, this is all politics.

Well, this is not all politics. January 6 is not about the politics. January 6 is about the attention overthrow of our government. And as elected officials who serve within that government and who were threatened by those outside the walls and doors knocking to come in, you would think that they would care enough to want to participate to get to the bottom of it.


But there`s no incentive there for them to do it.

REID: You know, what`s sort of fascinating, I mean, we talk a lot about norms.

And I think that that word might just need to be thrown out. I mean, Donald Trump sort of reset the sort of parameters for what you can get away with as a political figure.

STEELE: Right.

REID: I mean, these people literally had their lives threatened by the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys and this mob.

But they`re more afraid of some retired loser in Florida who can`t even tweet. He can`t even get on Twitter. What do you -- why are they so terrified of him? Is it because he has so primed the base into a cult, and they fear for their lives if they stand against him?

STEELE: Yes, well, that`s the -- yes, that`s the key thing, Joy.

He`s primed the base. And he continues to prime the base. Look at the arc on Lindsey Graham from January 7 to today...

REID: Yes.

STEELE: ... right, where, last night, he`s out there talking about, well, if nobody -- if you don`t stand with Trump and support Trump, I`m not voting for you.

Well, OK, until you do, because, if it starts to go South with Trump, like it did on January 6, what are you going to do? Oh, I`m done.

Well, guess what? We`re at a point now, as citizens, we should be tired of this crap. We have seen this movie. We have heard the dialogue over and over and over. We can say, the moment they open their mouths, that it`s words leading to nothing. It means nothing. When they speak, they literally mean nothing.

REID: Yes.

STEELE: So it`s incumbent on the rest of us to work past that.

I just -- I cannot -- I cannot stress enough how profoundly important it is to understand what this November`s election means.

REID: Yes. Yes.

STEELE: In many respects, it`s more important than last year`s. I mean the 2020 election.

REID: Yes, I agree with you.

And just for you, I mean, because when you and I used to spar on MSNBC, we used to be on panels together, and we had like real sort of political disagreements that were like legitimate and political.

You were -- even at the time when you were RNC chair, were saying, no, I want us to expand this party. I don`t want it to be 90 percent white party. I want us to, like, be talking to hip-hop artists. I want us to be talking to black folks. I want us to be talking to Latinos.


REID: But you actually actively -- what do you think made Republicans say, we absolutely don`t want that; what we would rather do is simply lock people of color out of the ballot box, and just outright flip elections that we don`t like the way -- how did they get to the point -- because Trump cannot have personally been responsible for making the party what it is now.

It can`t have been him by himself. He`s not that smart.

STEELE: No, no, it certainly wasn`t.

This goes back -- this goes back all the way back probably to Goldwater in the `60 campaign. It goes back to the John Birch Society, the response of the party leadership at that time. It goes back to McCarthy and McCarthyism.

So this has been a long train. There`s a reason why, in 2009 -- I believe was in 2009 -- I gave a speech at the National Press Club declaring that the Southern Strategy, the Nixonian Southern Strategy, was over, that the party could no longer exist in a compromised position with voters, that you either have to stand with them, or you`re going to be against them.

And when it comes to voting rights, when it comes to civil rights, when it comes to all the things that are important to white folks, they`re also important to black folks. And our party should be able to go forth and make that articulation.

So, what happened, you look at the numbers, and you see the demographic shifts, and some white folks got scared. And they got more and more scared. And the political calculation very much that was made in the 1960s was made again, that that`s the salvation, that`s the salvation. There will always be white people, and they will always vote Republican.

REID: Yes. Yes.

STEELE: And that mind-set is what has kept the party, I think, landlocked.

You don`t believe me, just look at what they did with the autopsy.

REID: Yes.

STEELE: I mean, you spend a million dollars to tell America, we want the Hispanic vote, and then you let this guy come down a staircase and tell you, well, all Mexicans are rapists and murderers.

REID: Yes.

STEELE: And the chairman of the party sits there and goes to New York and starts the groveling process to keep and appease a guy who was sitting at about 3 percent approval in Republican primary polls.

REID: Yes. Yes. Yes.

STEELE: So it played to a negative narrative inside the party, because it bought money and power.

REID: Yes. Yes.

And you know what? The only way that somebody with Trump`s level of intellect can take over a party is that it`s just a beta male party. These are the beta-est males I have ever seen in my life. There is no sort of manliness about it. There`s no -- they just literally wilt in front of him and grovel on the floor and beg for his love.

And he can`t even hurt them anymore. But he still...

STEELE: He can`t hurt them.

REID: ... gets to be the autocrat. It`s amazing.

Michael Steele, I appreciate you, my brother. Thank you very much.

STEELE: You got it. Take care, Joy.

REID: And that is -- cheers. That is tonight`s REIDOUT.