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Transcript: The ReidOut, 1/25/2021

Guests: Chris Murphy, Jill Wine-Banks, Paul Butler, Sacha Buchert


House delivers impeachment article to Senate. The once Grand Old Party is clutching its pearls over everything other than the insurrection that killed five people, crying to forego impeachment because it would be so weird and divisive and confusing and stupid. President Biden signed an executive order today reversing the previous president`s policy banning transgender individuals from openly serving in the military


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Thank you, sir. Our MSNBC special coverage continues now. We are seeing managers make their way through this hollowed chamber, and Joy Reid picks up our live coverage now. Joy? JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Thank you very much, Ari, very much appreciate you. We are definitely witnessing history. Good evening, everyone. We are indeed watching this walk, a historic walk, the second impeachment of the former president of the United States, Donald J. Trump. I will just lead out the names of the people that you see walking, Jamie Rasking, who is the lead impeachment manager, Diana DeGette of Colorado, David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Joaquin Castro of Texas, Eric Swalwell of California, Ted Lieu of California, Stacey Plaskett of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Joe Neguse of Colorado, Madeleine Dean of the state of Pennsylvania. What you`re seeing now is the ceremonial walking of the impeachment articles over to the United States Senate. The Senate, of course, where the trial of the former president of the United States will take place, this is the ceremonial part. This is the part that we are preserving from all of a long history of this country, 245 years as a republic. This is the way it`s done. This is the way it`s been done in a small number of impeachments that we`ve witnessed. The House of Representatives having impeached the United States president walk the articles physically, in this case, one article of inciting insurrection, over to the United States Senate, where these ladies and gentlemen will serve as the prosecutors. They will prosecute the case against the former president. The jurors -- and it`s a pretty strange situation. The jurors will be the self-same United States senators who are witnesses, just as these House members were, to the horrors of January 6th. So, as we watch them walk across the Capitol bringing the articles to the United States Senate, this is the beginning of a historic process. We`ve never had a president of the United States who`s been impeached twice. We do have that now. They`re pausing. They`re going to enter the Senate chamber in just a moment. You can see Jamie Raskin right there. You can see them pausing before they enter. This is it. You see Jamie Raskin right there in the front. We`re just going to wait. We`re just going to watch this moment. Let`s just give it a moment. Let it breathe for a second. We are going to wait because we`re going to see the sergeant of arms who will announce them, the sergeant of arms will announce the House impeachment managers before they enter and then you`re going to see -- Patrick Leahy is going to be the president pro tempore of the Senate. He is going to be presiding over the actual impeachment trial. It will not be the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court because the impeached in this case is a former president, not a current president, so that is the protocol. That`s the sergeant of arms gaveling in. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): Without objection. The hour of 7:00 P.M. having arrived, the acting sergeant in arms will present the managers on the part of the House of Representatives. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President and members of the Senate, I announce the presence of the managers on the part of the House of Representatives to conduct proceedings on behalf of the House concerning the impeachment of Donald John Trump, former president of the United States. LEAHY: The managers of the power of the House will be received and escorted to the wall of the Senate. Sergeant in arms will the proclamation. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye, all persons are commanded to keep silent on pain of imprisonment while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States an article of impeachment against Donald John Trump, former president of the United States. LEAHY: The managers on the part of the House will proceed. REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Mr. President, the managers on the part of the House of Representatives are here and present and ready to present the article of impeachment, which has been preferred by the House of Representatives against Donald John Trump, former president of the United States. The House adopted the following resolution, which with the permission of the Senate, I will read. House Resolution 40 in the House of Representatives United States January 13th, 2021, resolved that Mr. Raskin, Ms. DeGette, Mr. Cicilline, Mr. Castro of Texas, Mr. Swalwell, Mr. Lieu, Ms. Plaskett, Mr. Neguse and Ms. Dean are appointed managers to conduct the impeachment trial against Donald John Trump, the president of the United States, that the message be sent to the Senate to inform the Senate of the appointments and that the manager so appointed may in connection with the preparation and the conduct of the trial exhibit the article of impeachment to the Senate and take all other actions necessary, which may include the following, employing legal, clerical and other necessary assistance and incurring such other expenses that may be necessary to be paid for amounts available to the committee on the judiciary under applicable expense resolutions or from the applicable accounts of the House of Representatives to sending for persons and papers for filing with the secretary of Senate on the part of the House of Representatives, any pleadings in conjunction with or subsequent to the exhibition of the articles of impeachment that the managers consider necessary, Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives. With the permission of the Senate, I will now read the article of impeachment. House Resolution 24 in the House of Representatives of the United States January 13th 2021 resolved that Donald John Trump, president of the United States, is impeached for high crimes misdemeanors and that the following article of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate. Article of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States of America in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America against Donald john TRUMP, president of the United States of America, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against him for high crimes and misdemeanors. Article 1, incitement of insurrection. The Constitution provides that the House of Representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment and the president shall be removed from office on impeachment for on conviction of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors. Further, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution prohibits any person who has, quote, engaged in the in insurrection or rebellion against the United States from holding any office under the United States, unquote. In his conduct while president of the United States and in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of the president of the United States, and to the best of his ability, preserve protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, Donald John Trump engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors by inciting violence against the government of the United States in that on January 6th, 2021, pursuant to the 12th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the vice president of the United States, the House of Representatives and the Senate met at the United States Capitol for a joint session of Congress to count the votes of the Electoral College. In the months preceding the joint session, President Trump repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted by the American people or certified by state or federal officials. Shortly, before the joint session commenced, President Trump addressed a crowd at the ellipse in Washington, D.C. There, he reiterated false claims that we won this election and we won it by a landslide. He also willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged and foreseeably resulted in lawless action at the Capitol such as if you don`t fight like hell, you`re not going to have a country anymore. Thus incited about President Trump, members of the crowd he had addressed in an attempt to, among other objectives, interfere with the joint session`s solemn constitutional duty to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election, unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced members of Congress, the vice president and congressional personnel and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive and seditious acts. President Trump`s conduct on January 6th, 2021 followed his prior efforts to subvert and obstruct the certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election. Those prior efforts included a phone call on January 2nd, 2021, during which President Trump urged the secretary of state of Georgia, Brad Raffensperger to, quote, find enough votes to overturn the Georgia presidential election results and threatened Secretary Raffensperger if he failed to do so. In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power and imperiled a coequal branch of government. He thereby betrayed his trust as president to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Where for, Donald John Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office and has acted in a manner of grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. Donald John Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States. Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives. Mr. President, that completes the exhibition of the article of impeachment against Donald John Trump, president of the United States. The managers request that the Senate take order for the trial. The managers now request leave to withdraw. LEAHY: Thank you, Mr. Raskin. And the Senate will duly notify the House of Representatives is ready to proceed with the trial. Thank you. REID (voice over): So that`s the reading of the impeachment articles and that was Congressman Jamie Raskin, who will be the lead impeachment manager, playing the role of Thaddeus Stevens in this version of impeachment. It is also unusual to see members of the House inside of the Senate chamber. You will see it for certain events, whether it`s, in some cases, nominations, et cetera, but it`s not a usual thing. It`s absolutely a historic moment to see that happen. And this is the second time that we are seeing such a thing happen for Donald Trump. That was just Chuck Schumer again taking the microphone. But now we see a procession of the House members. They will head back to the House chamber. This is a big deal historically. You`ve seen Donald Trump impeached for threatening the security and safety of members of Congress by trying to imply per this impeachment resolution that the election in which he lost re-election was fraudulent, that he took steps to try to state that it was fraudulent, that he stood on the ellipse of the Capitol and made statements to an increasingly unruly crowd stating that the election was fraudulent and then that crowd took action to threaten the safety and lives of the members of the House and the United States Senate, resulting in multiple people being killed, including a law enforcement officer or dying as a result. Perhaps the most serious charge ever leveled against the president of the United States, insurrection against his own country. That`s not a normal and usual thing. Let me bring in Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who was just sitting in that chamber, listening to the recitation of the impeachment article, the lone impeachment article against Donald Trump, former president of the United States. Senator Chris Murphy, hopefully you`re there. SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT) (voice over): I`m here. REID (voice over): So I just want to get your first-beat reaction to this. This is impeachment not for cheating on an election or for firing the secretary of war, as occurred with Andrew Johnson in 1868, or it didn`t quite happen to Richard Nixon. This was for insurrection against the United States. This is perhaps the most serious, I would dare say the most serious impeachment charge we`ve ever seen against an American president. Your initial thoughts on hearing those articles read out loud. MURPHY (voice over): It`s an extraordinary and very, very sad night, unfortunately. There is truth in everything included in that article. This is a president who knew exactly what was going to happen as he turned thousands of angry supporters, a mob on the United States Capitol. He had the chance to stand them down as things got out of control and he chose not to. I guess what I really was thinking about was the last time that a House member was in the chamber speaking. It was Adam Schiff`s closing argument in which he essentially said Donald Trump is not going to change. Donald Trump is going to do this again. If you don`t impeach him for using, in that case, the Oval Office to try to get a foreign country to interfere in an election, then he`s going to do something else, perhaps more grave, more serious, to use his office to attempt to stay in power illicitly. And that`s exactly what he did. And so, to me, I was brought back to the last time that I was sitting in that chamber listening to Adam Schiff`s case. Unfortunately, this president now has a pattern of using the tools at his disposal as commander-in-chief to try to essentially either rig elections or to stay in power beyond his constitutional mandate, this last time through the use of violence. REID: Yes, indeed. And Adam Schiff was eloquent, indeed, in his closing arguments. And there were so many of your fellow members of the United States Senate on the Republican side who said that just the act of impeaching him alone, he had learned the lesson, that that would be enough, that he wouldn`t do it again. And now we are where we are, where in these articles, it is described the president`s own words to his fans, to his supporters in the ellipse were, if you don`t fight like hell, you`re not going to have a country anymore, thus incited by the president, members of the crowd that he had addressed in an attempt to, among other objectives, interfere with the joint session`s constitutional duty to certify the results. You`re seeing increasing evidence, it seems quite plain, that the goal was to stop the counting, stop the certification of the results of the election and that this was something that Donald Trump was doing not just with the crowd but potentially doing in the Justice Department. I don`t know how many of your fellow senators you`ve talked to on the other side of the aisle, but if they disagree with that, if they don`t see it that way, have they explained to you how they don`t see it that way? MURPHY: Well, I think it`s really important what you said here, right? The reason that the article that was presented to us today has context around it is because what happened on the January 6th was not an isolated event. In fact, every single day leading up to january 6th, Donald Trump was trying to find every avenue he could to try to stay in power despite the fact he definitively lost the election. And when all of those avenues failed, he then ultimately turned to the mob and told them to march upon the Capitol to intimidate members of Congress or to storm the building, as it turned out they did, to try to stop the vote from happening. And your question is, do Republicans deny this? And the answer is, no, they don`t. We know that because their main argument today is not that Donald Trump is innocent, it`s that by convicting him, we would somehow be disunifying the country. Well, listen, the American rule of law is built on a series of rules and a series of consequences if you violate those rules. And if we just skip the accountability phase for what Donald Trump did, then I`m not sure why future presidents wouldn`t engage in the same of action. And believe me, Donald Trump still has a grip on this party. There are going to be others like him coming up through the ranks, whether aspiring to be president or governor. We have to make sure that we go through the accountability phase for the injustices he committed. REID: And, Senator, when you talk to members on the other side in the Republican Party, this article explicitly sets out as a charge that the crowd whipped up by the president of the United States menaced members of Congress, yes, members of the very Senate who will be the jurors here, menaced members of the United States House but also menaced the vice president and congressional staff. When you talk to members on the other side, does it give them pause that one of the victims was indeed Donald Trump`s own vice president? MURPHY: Listen, I think you have to take these rioters at their word. There were hundreds of them yelling in unison, hang Mike Pence. We know now that Mike Pence escaped harm narrowly, as did the entire body of the United States Senate and House. Listen, I think my Republican colleagues understand that we came within a hair`s breadth of real harm that day. I think many of them are considering voting to convict the president. Those that are not are creating this elaborate justification, in which, through placating the president by avoiding accountability, they believe that they are calming the nation. That`s just not true. What they are providing is an invitation for this to happen again. But I think that that`s the rationalization that`s going on inside many Republicans` heads right now. REID: Yes. And a last question to you, sir, and then I will release you. And I know you have plenty to do this evening. I appreciate you giving us some time. Do you think that Senators Cruz and Hawley should be a part of this process? We do have that now infamous picture of Senator Hawley raising his fist to that very crowd that stormed the Capitol. You had Senator Cruz. The two of them, they engaged in the exact same big lie that the president did. Do you -- does it give you discomfort that they get to be jurors here? Should they be somehow disinvited from this procedure? Should they be expelled? MURPHY: Yes, I don`t know whether there is a process in place to essentially take two senators out of the process of considering articles of impeachment. I do think there has to be a consequence. I am very willing and eager to participate in a conversation about a censure resolution. I do think, though, that it`s important to note that what gave that day January 6, such gravity, what gave that crowd the belief that they actually could step in and stop the certification of the vote was not just what Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz did. It was the fact that they had 10 other members of the Senate who had signed a letter saying Donald Trump effectively should remain president for the next four years. And so, while I agree that Senators Cruz and Hawley deserve special recognition here, I also don`t think that you can essentially exonerate the other 10. There has to be a broader discussion about the expectation that was created by the actions of that dozen in the crowd that they were going to be able to overturn the election that day. REID: Yes. Senator Chris Murphy, thank you so much for some of your time. It`s in historic day, and I really appreciate you spending some of this evening with us. Thank you. MURPHY: Thanks. Thank you. REID: Stay safe. Cheers. And I`m joined now by Claire McCaskill, former Democratic senator from Missouri, Paul Butler, former federal prosecutor, and Jill Wine-Banks, former Watergate assistant special prosecutor. Claire, I have to go to you first on this, because it is strange to have a trial set to begin in the United States Senate. Having watched that presentation and listened to the presentation of the case against Donald Trump, it strikes me that among those listening to that presentation eloquently given by Jamie Raskin were two people who were participants, just as much as Donald Trump was, Senators Cruz and Hawley. And I wonder, just as a former senator yourself, just how do you feel about the fact that they sat there and listened to that presentation, knowing that they were a part of it, and then, as the senator just said, there were 10 senators who said, overturn this election and give the loser power for four more years, if not more? CLAIRE MCCASKILL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: And there were six more senators besides Hawley and Cruz who voted to try to overturn the election by some phony argument about Pennsylvania and Arizona that was not grounded in fact or the law. And the leaders of that, as you say, Hawley and Cruz, are both highly educated lawyers who knew better. So, yes, they hold some responsibility. But make no mistake about it. This plan to try to steal an election was hatched by Donald Trump months ago. He began talking about this months before people ever voted. He tried to instill in his followers a belief that, if they didn`t win, they had been robbed. And many of them, millions of them believed him. And when he called them to Washington for something that was going to be wild, they knew they were going there to try to stop what was happening. And what was happening was the orderly transfer of power. So, I think what`s important to remember here is, Donald Trump`s intent is relevant in this trial. As I`m sure the professor will tell you, his intent is relevant. And what wasn`t included in Jamie Raskin`s presentation was what he tried to do at the Department of Justice, which was overturn the leadership of the Department of Justice to do his will in trying to overturn a fair and free election in this country. It is startling in its scope. REID: Indeed. And to that very point -- and I want to welcome you, Jill, Jill Wine-Banks, my friend, to the show. I`m so glad that you were available this evening. I`m going to go to you first and then Paul Butler. And you have been through this. You know how this works in terms of impeachment. And this one is much more serious in fundamental ways than anything that Richard Nixon did, to be clear. To Claire McCaskill, former Senator Claire McCaskill`s excellent point, before we even got to January 6, Donald Trump had tried to switch out the leadership at the Department of Justice to try to change the election. He had requested that the acting attorney general of the United States investigate a company called Dominion Voting Systems, which is now suing folks for lying about their role in the election. He requested that the Department of Justice support his campaign`s state level lawsuits. That was denied. He tried to appoint a special counsel to investigate his fake claims of losing the election -- of being -- of the election stolen from him. He called the Georgia secretary of state and said: I need you to find me 11,000 votes. We now have a -- the Department of Justice watchdog opening a probe into a possible attempt to get -- to fire the existing acting attorney general, install a new guy, and have that guy go in and interfere to try to overturn the election, a gentleman named Jeffrey Clark. This is a lot. And it`s before we even get to this moment. And let me just show a little bit of that. This is the kind of incitement that we saw on January 6. Take a look. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And after this, we`re going to walk down. And I will be there with you. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) TRUMP: We`re going to walk down. We`re going to walk down, anyone you want. But I think right here. We`re going to walk down to the Capitol. We`re going to walk down to the Capitol. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes! (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Storm the Capitol! TRUMP: And we`re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we`re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you`ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes! (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) TRUMP: And you have to be strong. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Raid the Capitol Building. TRUMP: We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing... UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s take the Capitol! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take the Capitol! TRUMP: ... and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take the Capitol! (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: Jill, this feels like an open-and-shut case to me. Does it feel that way to you? JILL WINE-BANKS, FORMER WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: It does. I think that both what Senator Murphy and Senator McCaskill said are completely true. The evidence here started long before the 6th, though. The evidence of his motives and his intents and his actions go back to all the months of lying about winning the election, about the election being fraudulent, about the Democrats having done bad things. There is no evidence of any of that. And the foreseeable consequences of his words on that day were that the Capitol would be stormed, that insurrection would take place by domestic terrorists inspired and incited by him. So, to me, there is no question that guilt is proved. And at the end of the trial, the senators don`t get to say it`s impeachable or not impeachable conduct. They have to say guilty or not guilty. And, to me, the most painful thing at the last trial of Donald Trump was when the senators who knew that he had done the acts charged said "Not guilty." That just cannot happen again. They know how much in danger they were. And it`s so different than what happened with Richard Nixon. Richard Nixon was bipartisan support for this -- for a vote of impeachment, and was told that he would be convicted in the Senate. It`s a time before there was FOX News. It was a time when we all agreed on the facts. But the videos are horrifying, and particularly as you see them climbing the walls and breaking the windows. It`s -- it is the end of democracy if we do not take and hold the president accountable for what he inspired. He was the proximate cause of this. He is responsible for the deaths that happened, for the damage that happened, for the threat to democracy. REID: You know, and, Paul Butler, we see -- we see people on the streets of Russia right now protesting for a democracy, trying to reclaim for themselves the right to have free and fair elections, right, and not to have a president who installs himself for life. We came so close. And we had members of the United States Senate agreeing that the loser of the election should be reinstalled. And once they`re reinstalled, how do you uninstall somebody who`s then been installed, over the objections of the majority of the population? They were trying to put us in the position that Russia was in. Yet they are sitting there as part of the jury. People who, as Claire McCaskill just said, were part of it are part of the jury. That is a very unusual case to be trying. Your thoughts, Paul. PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It`s extraordinary, Joy. So, we have something different here than in the first impeachment. What`s unique here is that the senators are not just jurors. They`re also witnesses and victims and survivors of the crimes that led to the impeachment. So, unlike Trump`s first impeachment, the evidence isn`t overheard phone calls or e-mails between government bureaucrats. This impeachment is more like you were the victim of a violent home invasion by some gangbangers, and now you get to decide whether the leader of the gang is guilty. It should be an open-and-shut case. If it`s not, that`s also going to be a sad story about our democracy. REID: You know, and I will go back to you then, Claire. There have been some senators who`ve tried to mount the ludicrous argument that you can`t impeach Trump because he`s no longer in office. Mitt Romney has already batted that down, said, that`s ridiculous. It`s happened before. People have been -- left office, they have resigned, and still been impeached. That`s absurd. And so, listen, I`m a nerd, but I`m not that great at math. But I still can`t count to 17 here. Despite how obvious it is, and the fact that these people were victimized too, with their staffs, some of whom are 20-something kids straight out of college, they saw the terror in their staff members` eyes. They probably felt the terror of themselves as they heard people banging on the doors, the way that we heard Speaker Pelosi describe. I was just in that building last week interviewing the speaker. Some of the glass is still broken. And yet you talk to these folks. They`re not going to convict him. That is what`s shocking to me. They experienced this. They`re not going to convict him, right? MCCASKILL: Yes, this trial is going to be wrapped up with a lot of politics. And there are still members of the Senate who are very worried about their political future and how Trump plays into that. And I get everyone saying, hey, are, aren`t we excited that Trump is gone? Aren`t we excited? Do we really want to talk about him again? Do we want to make him a martyr blah, blah, blah? I get all that. But this is a moment. This is a moment for our country. This is a moment for us to decide whether or not someone can take the reins of power in one of the most heralded democracies the world has ever known and conduct this kind of abusive conduct that threatened the actual lives of people who had been sent to Washington by American citizens. I mean, I just don`t think we can look the other way under any circumstances. Will there be enough votes to convict? Probably not. Will those people ultimately be held accountable and have on their conscience the votes they cast? Absolutely. And that`s the way it should be. REID: Can it -- do you think -- Claire, if it could be a secret ballot, do you think he`d be convicted? Because the other thing that`s on the table, the political incentives to convict are that you don`t have to deal with him anymore. MCCASKILL: Absolutely. REID: He can`t run anymore. He can`t run against you anymore. MCCASKILL: Yes. REID: You think it would -- he would be convicted? MCCASKILL: No, absolutely, if it were a secret ballot, he would be convicted in a heartbeat. REID: Jill Wine-Banks, I wonder, if looking back -- Nixon did not ultimately get impeached because he had the decency to resign and was told, you`re going to be convicted, get out of here, and he did. But then he was pardoned. I wonder if you have a sense of whether or not the lack of sanction against Nixon set in place a set of incentives that, at the end of the day, got future President Donald Trump to believe that he was impervious, that he was above the law? WINE-BANKS: I`m so glad you asked that question. I was on a panel with Gerald Ford`s son and Benton Becker, who was the young lawyer who delivered the offer of pardon to Richard Nixon. And they almost made me feel sorry for him. And for a moment, I thought maybe Gerald Ford did the right thing. But, as I look at it now, I was right then that he should have been indicted and convicted. He should have gone through with a trial in the Senate. He was impeached. He just wasn`t committed because he resigned before that. But had he been held accountable, maybe, just maybe, even Donald Trump, even the man who has broken every norm and every rule, would have realized that there could be consequences for his conduct. And maybe we wouldn`t be in the horrible situation we are now and the divides that we have now. And lying to the public, by the way, was one of the pieces of evidence that we sent as part of the road map to impeachment. REID: Yes. And, Paul, I will give you the last word on this, because what prosecutors generally say is that the reason that we sentence people is not just to be cruel, but as a disincentive to others to commit the same crimes. BUTLER: Yes. REID: And we now have a president who`s retired in Palm Beach playing golf and redecorating his mansion, after having incited an insurrection. It`s on tape that he did it. This is going to be an easy trial. I`m not a lawyer, but even I could try this. (LAUGHTER) REID: It`s not difficult. It`s -- the people who were the jurors saw it happen. It happened to them. If he`s not convicted, if and when, what do you think will be the consequences, Paul? BUTLER: So, if he is convicted, that would express that we remain a democracy where nobody is above the law. If he`s not convicted and removed from office, that`s also expressive. It expresses that our democracy isn`t what we think it is. I thought that the words from Congressman Raskin at the end of his reading, he said that Trump should be disqualified from holding any office of honor for the United States. I think that that is very evocative. According to the House of Representatives, the president of the United States unleashed a mob that caused five deaths and had the potential to kill congresspeople, to kill the vice president, and to overturn a democratic election and install a dictator in the White House. If that`s not impeachable, if that`s not grounds to remove Trump -- or he`s already removed -- but to bar him from ever running again, then impeachment doesn`t mean anything. REID: As we watch this multiracial, multicultural, multireligious group of Americans that really represent what new America looks like walking those impeachment articles there and back to the United States Senate, it`s a moment of history, an historic moment. And I am very, very grateful that we had former Senator Claire McCaskill, Paul Butler, and Jill Wine-Banks, friends all, to be here with us to experience it together. Thank you all very much. And still ahead: The Republican Party, they are hip-deep in an existential crisis of their own making. Now supporters of the former one-term president are trying to form their own political party. But what does that mean for the future of the GOP? And don`t miss my colleague Rachel Maddow`s exclusive interview -- you`re going to want to watch this -- with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. That`s the guy that you want to hear from tonight. That`s the guy you`re going to hear from tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. You must watch that. I certainly will be sitting there, maybe with some popcorn. He spoke about the need for a Senate trial. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): But we still can look back. And we have to. You can`t sweep some of these egregious things under the rug, plain and simple. Trump was -- his act on the 6th was the most despicable thing any president has ever done. And he is the worst president ever. And you cannot just: Let`s move on. You have got to look back. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) REID: The once Grand Old Party is clutching its pearls over everything other than the insurrection that killed five people, crying to forego impeachment because it would be so weird and divisive and confusing and stupid. With the House minority leader offering his version of very fine people on both sides. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I thought the president had some responsibility when it came to the response. I also think everybody across this country has some responsibility. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: Oh, who knew, you`re responsible. There you go, America. Then you have Senator Josh Hawley, as the boy who cried censorship, claiming he feels so muzzled in an op-ed, mind you, that was published by a major newspaper and tweeted to hundred of thousands of his followers on Twitter. But all of these farcical tears have one thing in common, and that is keeping those fresh, stimulus checks out of your hands. Joining me now is Charlie Sykes, editor at large for "The Bulwark". And, you know, Charlie, I laugh, you know, you laugh or your cry, where you got people saying I feel so muzzled as I`m on TV with a muzzle mask on every major network is watching me and I`m tweeting. The things that Republicans are concerning themselves about while we just watched the president -- former president of the United States being impeached for inciting an insurrection against his own country, they`ve blown right past that and have gone right to BS stuff. I guess that`s the party now, yeah? CHARLIE SYKES, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, THE BULWARK: Yeah, and unfortunately we had sort of that brief moment where it looked like maybe that they would look themselves in the mirror but that passed very quickly and now there`s a search on for heretics. Look, I think what you`re about to see in the Senate is Republican senators wrestling with their consciences and their consciences losing once again. It is fascinating listening to people like Marco Rubio say that we can`t go ahead with this, it`s stupid because it would be so divisive. It`s like pouring gasoline on the fire. Well, who lit the fire? And the argument that somehow holding Donald Trump accountable is more divisive than what Donald Trump actually did, and you`ve been talking about this for the last hour, here the president of the United States who spent months stoking the flame with the big lie, the big lie is the incitement, trying to get an election overturned, bringing a mob to D.C. to attack the capitol, to try to maybe capture and kill members of Congress. But it`s divisive to hold him accountable? That is what is more divisive? This is what Republicans are seriously going to argue, that we have to heal without coming to grips with what just happened less than three weeks ago in this country? It`s a ludicrous argument but unfortunately, this is the reality of the Republican Party post-trauma, which is that it`s not going to be post-Trump. REID: Yeah. I mean, listen, lived in Florida for 14 years. I can tell you if you look up shameless self-interest in the dictionary, Marco Rubio`s picture kind of pops up. I mean, these people are thinking I want his base, I want these people to vote for me, I don`t care that my staff were threatened and feared for their lives, I don`t care that the vice president of the United States who was Trump`s own vice president had a scaffold wheeled -- rolled out in front of the White House meant for his neck, they don`t care. I mean, you`ve got the Arizona Republican Party throwing out Cindy McCain, their own Governor Ducey, who`s been a Trump sycophant the whole time, and throwing out Jeff Flake, who`s not even in power anymore. So what? You`re right. Right now, we are seeing a search for heretics rather than a search for justice. I wonder if you think the real fear here is that Trump will make good on the threat to start another party and that`s what they`re more concerned about, that if they don`t keep sucking up to him, he`ll just start another party and take all of their voters away? SYKES: Well, there`s been a lot of muscle memory being afraid of Donald Trump but I don`t see the reason why he would create a new party. He`s got a party. He owns it lock, stock and barrel, and we are seeing the party sticking with him despite the fact he`s defeated, disgraced, twice impeached and incited this insurrection. If that`s not enough, what would be? So, what does he need a new party for? He`s got -- he`s got Kelly Ward in Arizona. I mean, look where we`re going here. You`re having a lot of the mainstream Republicans saying we just can`t take anymore. Pat Toomey is leading the Senate. You`re seeing Richard Burr leaving the Senate. Today, we`ve got to know that Rob Portman is leaving the Senate. So, you know who we could be looking at in a couple of years? We`re going to be looking at Senator Lara Trump from North Carolina. Kelly Ward being the Republican nominee in Arizona. Jim Jordan being the Republican nominee in Ohio. You get a sense of where this party is going right now? REID: Yeah. And, boy, maybe Ivanka Trump running against Marco Rubio, oops, it doesn`t work to try to be loyal to him. SYKES: Yes. REID: I wonder if you`re also looking at Republican legislatures, including in places like Georgia where they stood up to Trump, or at least they got a lot of credit from it, but learning from what they saw, but saying we need to restrict people from voting, stop black and brown people, just stop people from voting. You are already seeing this push for more restrictions on voting across the country by Republican legislatures. That`s where we`re going, right? They`re just going to try to keep more people from voting? SYKES: And it`s almost like they`re throwing out the master and they`re not even really pretending that it`s about voter integrity, or the integrity at the ballot box. They`re all in on this, that -- the real problem with 2020 is that too many people are allowed to vote, we made it too easy to vote, the wrong people voted. If we could go back to the way it used to be, we would be better off. So, this is going to be a huge fight. There`s another big fight as well. And, you know, you mentioned how important it was we had officials in Georgia who did the right thing and in Pennsylvania and Michigan and Arizona. Well, what happens the next time around if those people are not in place? What if you have this MAGA base overrun people and become secretaries of state and take control of the board of canvassing? What if they`re more aggressive? Think about the way this year could have been even worse if you didn`t have Republicans in office who cared about the rule of law? And they may not be there next time. REID: Yeah, well, and the same ones who cared about it this time are also the same people trying to restrict the vote this time. They aren`t actually good guys. Charlie Sykes, thank you very much. Really appreciate you being here. Up next -- a huge victory for transgender people hoping to serve in our nation`s military. It`s a big story. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And what I`m doing is when all qualified Americans serve their country in uniform and essentially restoring the situation it was before with transgender personnel if qualified in every other way can serve their government in the United States military. (END VIDEO CLIP) REID: President Biden signed an executive order today reversing the previous president`s policy banning transgender individuals from openly serving in the military. And he abruptly announced that via tweet, one -- the one that he abruptly announced by tweet in 2017, a move that blindsided many including his own defense secretary. Biden`s order reversing that decision states that the all-volunteer force thrives when it`s composed of diverse Americans and inclusive military strengthens our national security, unquote. I`m joined by Sasha Buchert, transgender military veteran and senior attorney at Lambda Legal. And so, I want to just get your top line reaction to the reversal of this policy that was put in place by the previous president. SASHA BUCHERT, LAMBDA LEGAL SENIOR ATTORNEY: Thanks, Joy. And thanks you for having me on your program. Yeah, we are thrilled that President Biden and Vice President Harris moved forward with their commitments to end the ban on open transgender military service today. You know, state -- decisions about who should serve in the military should be based on generally applicable standards across the board. If you can meet the physical standards, the medical standards, the background checks, any -- any generally applicable standard should be able to serve. The question, though, it shouldn`t be -- are you transgender or not, and if you are, you are presumptively unfit to serve. We have been litigating this case for three and a half years, and President Trump`s Department of Justice has introduced no serious evidence to show that`s the case. In fact, the opposite is true. Transgender service members have been serving for over three and a half years and meeting and exceeding all of those generally applicable standards, including worldwide deployments to places like Afghanistan. So, we`re just absolutely thrilled that tomorrow morning, transgender service members are going to be able to put on their uniforms, do their jobs, serve their country and not look over their shoulder and worry that their commander in chief is going to pull the rug from underneath them and force them out of the military. So, we are deeply grateful to the administration for this move today. REID: So, I listened to Jen Psaki`s press conference today and there was a question that was put up about people who might in legal limbo as a result of the previous ban and I don`t feel like I got a clear answer to what happens if somebody was in the midst of being turfed out of the military or was sort of caught in this, you know, this very unclearly weirdly weirded tweeted out ban. Are you clear on what happens legally now to folks who are in that limbo? BUCHERT: Yeah. Well, maybe, we need to -- you know, the Biden administration and the executive order that was issued today was very clear that they will go and look at all those people that were not able to assess, to enlist or those people that were not able to become officers or the people, you know, that were turned away. So, I think that there`s going to be an ongoing assessment of those situations and they will be dealt with on a case by case basis and I`m confident they will be treated appropriately. REID: Okay. So there`s an executive order issued on inauguration day and the order directs all federal agencies to implement the Supreme Court`s landmark decision 2020 decision which established that LGBTQ people are protected from deployment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of `64. It builds on that decision. So, there`s also a change in pronoun usage that is now going to be used for LGBTQ people. That kind of stuff, you know, for a lot of people is why is that so important. Can you explain why it`s important to have the pronoun changes and that srot of thing also implemented? BUCHERT: Yeah, absolutely. The order on the inauguration day was enormous and will have a ripple effect helpful for LGBTQ people across the country. You know, it`s been a frustrating experience over four years in my view. The Trump administration has flouted the rule of law and ignored existing case law precedent, including Supreme Court case law precedent. So, it`s deeply gratifying to see the Biden administration move forward with the executive order clarifying protections under a federal nondiscrimination law and applies to federal nondiscrimination employment law and Title VII, but it also applies to any nondiscrimination law, the previous discrimination case on sex. So, we are excited to see how that will develop through the agencies and with regard to the pronoun change, yeah, that was also another deeply welcomed change that they added to the White House so visitors can self affirm identity, especially exciting to acknowledge the existence of non-binary folks which was going to be helpful. And it`s also in contrast to the last administration who tried to erase the word transgender from being used at the CDC. So, you know, all positive developments, and I hope the things to come throughout the administration. REID: And all under a brand new first African-American secretary of defense. I want to make sure we get that out there, too, because that is also historic. I have to ask you, on a whole other note, we have been talking stuff that`s great and positive, on the whole another note, you had Senator Tom Cotton. I have to get your reaction to this. Senator Tom Cotton sort of represented himself as being an Army Ranger. As a military member, how do you feel about that? Because he`s not an Army Ranger. He actually went to ranger school but he is not an Army -- how do you feel about him using that title for himself when it isn`t true? BUCHERT: Yeah, it`s deeply unsettling. There`s a distinction between going to Ranger school and going to the Ranger Assessment Selection Program or RASP which is the program before you become a ranger and get a tan beret, and my understanding is that Senator Cotton did neither of those things and went to the Army Ranger school which is open to everybody. So it`s a huge difference and it`s deeply unsettling like a lot of things that Senator Cotton has done, including encouraging the military to deploy against unarmed civilians. But, yeah, it`s deeply disturbing, and, you know, something I wouldn`t sleep well putting myself out into the world in that way, for sure. REID: Yeah. It`s a thing. I guess rules are different in Arkansas. Sasha Buchert, thank you so much for being here. Really appreciate you being here. Stay safe out there. And that is tonight`s REIDOUT. Please stay with MSNBC tonight. We have a big, big night. Chris Hayes is coming up next with the lead House impeachment manager, Jamie Raskin. You`re not going to want to miss that. And, later, right after Chris, Rachel Maddow will talk with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on the need for an impeachment trial, why that is so important. This is a day when we are seeing history made over and over and over again. Don`t go anywhere. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.END