High: Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy has been hospitalized. Biden scrambles to address Trump administration`s failures. Biden uses DPA to expedite vaccine production. Biden signs executive order addressing racial inequities. Congress is making slow progress on COVID relief. Federal court blocks Biden`s 100-day deportation pause. Senate Republicans drop push to preserve filibuster. Congressman Adam Schiff of California is interviewed. President Biden moved to address discriminatory housing practices, end federal contracts with private prisons, ensure the tribal independence of indigenous people and make sure his administration combats xenophobia against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, something his predecessor refused to do.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: You can find me online @arimelber across social
Thank you. We`re in this together. And "THE REIDOUT" with Joy Reid is up
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. Lots and lots of news ahead
on tonight`s REIDOUT, starting with word that Senator Patrick Leahy of
Vermont, the pro tempore of the United States Senate, and the man set to
preside over the impeachment trial of the former president, has been
hospitalized tonight. We`ll have more on that coming up.
But we turn first, however, to Joe Biden`s presidency, now seven full days
old. We`ve already seen a serious turn of page. The president took several
calls with foreign leaders today, and they were notable for being
uncharacteristically opposite of what we`ve seen over the past four years.
They were friendly to America`s traditional friends and confrontational
with our traditional adversaries. Go figure.
During his final foreign leader call of the day with Russian President
Vladimir Putin, Biden replaced his predecessor`s dictator envy with
objection, Kremlin interference in our elections and confronted the Russian
autocrat over the hack of our federal government systems, election
interference and alleged bounties placed on U.S. troops, again, quite a
change of season.
The new administration has already agreed rejoining the Paris climate
agreement, ending the travel ban, strengthening DACA while reversing the
policies of the former White House occupant who remains a climate change
denier, even as his MAGA oasis, otherwise known as Florida, is sinking.
President Biden`s victory is a story about change. It`s also a story about
what he`s inherited, a country nearing collapse under the strains of the
coronavirus and racial inequities, national reeling through a violent
constitutional crisis and a Republican Party that loathes Democrats as much
as they loathe democracy and who, today, largely indicated that they would
rather look away from an attempted insurrection that even threatened their
President Biden inherited a government still occupied by operatives of the
former president, from the Defense Department to the U.S. Postal Service,
along with the pandemic, one year in, that has killed nearly 425,000
people, more than have died of COVID in any other country on earth.
We now know what we`ve always known that the former administration had no
plan. Vaccines are missing. The economy is gutted with millions out of
work. So, yes, there is a lot of work to do.
But with Democrats in control of both Houses of Congress and the presidency
for the first time in a decade, the Biden administration is moving quickly
to turn the page. The administration is working to purchase an additional
100 million doses of each of the two FDA-authorized vaccines, providing
enough to fully vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of summer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: More than 400,000 Americans have already died.
More than all the people who died in all Americans who died in World War
II. This is a wartime undertaking. It`s not hyperbole. And as such, I
directed the team to be ready to exercise all the authorities I have under
the Defense Production Act and expedite these vaccines.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Joining me now is Yamiche Alcindor, White House Correspondent for
PBS NewsHour. And, Yamichie, great to see you, as always.
I want to start by asking about Senator Leahy, any news that you have on
his condition or what the White House is thinking or whether or not they`ve
been in contact with him.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I was just talking to White
House official about this. White House is, in some ways, just taking in
this information, which is that Senator Leahy was taken and admitted to the
hospital out of an abundance caution. Senator Leahy, of course, was seen
today. He was out on the Senate floor presiding over impeachment where Rand
Paul was trying to stop the impeachment trial for being unconstitutional.
I think a lot of eyes are still trying to watch what happens. Of course,
one, the Senate is so, so tight with a 50-50 tie, you can`t really afford
to lose anybody, not only, of course, wishing him well to recover, but also
just for the time being, if there`s anything that you want done, you need
all 50 senators to be there. The other thing is, of course, that is top of
mind that there could be issues and complications going forward.
REID: Well, and that is the other issue, right? Because there were a lot
of executive actions, there were more than 30 executive actions taken so
far. There was another one today on racial equity. But there is this
question of how much they can get done through executive actions and how
much they need to legislate. There is that less 100 days, we`re seven days
into the 100 days when you get the most done. Is the fact that they are now
really thinking top of mind about that Senate majority changing their
strategy at all about what they intend to send to the floor?
ALCINDOR: It`s a good question. And the big question is, how are they
going to work with Congress and what are they going to get passed? Because
there is, of course, this issue where, yes, Joe Biden has now passed some
30, 35, almost, executive orders, we`re nearing that high number there. But
the big question is, real money, real change, real change in this country
comes through legislative action.
And what you see here is Joe Biden trying to push in and push through this
$1.9 trillion COVID relief package, and he`s already getting bipartisan
pushback on that. Lawmakers are telling me that right now there aren`t 50
votes for even that idea.
So there is a big question on whether or not some of these executive orders
and, really, the focus on equity is going to somehow turn into legislation
because there is so much to legislate, including, of course, one that
wasn`t mentioned today, which was policing in this country. They talked
about private imprisonment. But we didn`t see a policing bill.
Joe Biden talked about George Floyd and the 8 minutes and 46 seconds that
he died. But, again, I`m asking the White House, and I haven`t really
gotten a clear answer yet how are they going to also look at success? How
are they going to measure that? What does rooting out systemic racism
actually look like in numbers and data? That`s a critical issue when you
think about the fact that racism is something we`ve been living with for so
REID: No, it`s a really good question, and I`ve been watching the
briefings, which -- it`s refreshing just to see a briefing at all. But I
don`t feel like we`re getting a lot of specifics on timing, as you said.
What legislation is going to the floor when, whether it`s on policing,
whether it`s the specifics on the rollout in terms of the vaccine rollout?
Do you get a sense that the White House has put things in an order where
the first thing they want to see go to the floor is X? Do you think that
they`ve got that in mind, or is it just seven days in and they just haven`t
figured that out yet?
ALCINDOR: The number one thing I`m hearing is the COVID relief package.
That is what they want to see go to the floor. Lawmakers that I talked to
that are familiar with the White House`s thinking here think that they
might even break up that $1.9 trillion package to really cut off a couple
hundred billion that they can get passed. That would be dealing with
getting more vaccines, more vaccinators and more vaccination sites. So
vaccines is really top of mind that they want to get pushed.
They`re also, of course, are looking at minimum wage and other things, but
they really understand to get Republican buy-in and also to get critical
Democrats who don`t want to, at this point, take votes that might put their
tie in jeopardy. They want to focus and be seen as doing emergency relief,
and that, in some ways, means focusing specifically on the vaccine and
COVID and not so much on other things like worker wages.
REID: Good point and great reporting, as always. Yamiche Alcindor, thank
you very much, always appreciate you. Thank you.
And joining me now is Cedric Richmond, senior adviser to the president and
Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. So, let`s engage
the public then, Mr. Richmond.
On this question of what needs to go to the floor when, a lot of Americans
chose not just this president, Joe Biden, but also voted in that Georgia
election on the basis of a promise that there would be $2,000 checks in the
hands of Americans ASAP. How quickly can Americans expect the White House
to push through, to push Congress to get that money into people`s hands?
CEDRIC RICHMOND, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISOR: Well, Joy, you`re exactly
right. I think that`s why you saw us within the first two or three days in
office introduce the American rescue plan, because, one, we made
Two, what people got in December was a down payment. It was $600. We wanted
to see that number at 2,000, so we introduced legislation, and we`re
requesting Congress to hurry up and act on it, which would increase it to
1,400. It would also put out there money for vaccinations. It would put out
there money to safely reopen schools and get our kids back in school.
So we`ll do a number of things that we desperately need, including getting
another 100,000 health care workers out there to properly administer the
vaccine, mobile units to make sure we`re hitting hard to reach
neighborhoods in rural communities. And so we need Congress to act on this
plan, and we want to do it in a bipartisan manner, but this is an emergency
for the country. And so we`re stressing it and we`re talking to everybody
REID: Well, you talked about a bipartisan manner. I think for a lot of
Americans, they understand what Republicans are. They watched Republicans
for eight years under President Obama when then-Vice President Biden was a
part of that administration. They know how Republicans operate.
We just saw Mitch McConnell fight with the now majority leader for over a
week over an organizing resolution. If he is willing to try brinksmanship
with that, are we at the point now, especially given Senator Leahy in the
hospital, which just clarifies the mind about how narrow the majority is,
does the White House think it might be more prudent to just get something
on the floor now, get the $2,000 checks -- I assume you mean by 1,400,
1,400 added to the 600 to get 2,000 -- should they just start sending
things to the floor now?
RICHMOND: Look, that is a legislative strategy that some people have
advocated for, but others have clearly articulated, that if you separate it
out, then we`re going to leave families behind, like the enhanced earned
income tax credit, the doubling of the child tax credit or the increasing
of the child tax credit that lifts so many of our families that are living
in poverty out of poverty this year.
And so we don`t want to leave anyone behind. The $1,400 is a priority, but
also getting vaccinations in the arms of American people is just as
important. We`re not sacrificing anything. We have until March 15th before
the eviction and foreclosure moratorium expires, unemployment insurance
And so we`re looking at a deadline, but we are pushing this as hard as we
possibly can. We are calling and asking Congress to act on this
legislation. Because at the end of the day, this pandemic is not picking
people based on party affiliation, color or income level, and we want and
expect Congress to come along and help us help the American people.
And so we`re not going to compromise our values in an effort to reach a
bipartisan compromise, but we promised that we would reach out and extend a
hand of bipartisanship, but we also promised we wouldn`t sacrifice our
values on helping the American people. So, right now, we`re doing both.
REID: We`ve already seen a federal court in Texas try to block the
deportation pause that the president has implemented. You`re already seeing
a pushback there. You`ve already seen complaining about some of the
language about racial equity coming from the other side. There has been
this executive action on racial inequity, which I expect to get a lot of
pushback as well that directs HUD to mitigate racial bias, get the DOJ not
to renew any contracts with private prisons, all kinds of stuff that
Republicans like and they want to keep.
Is it worth pursuing bipartisanship instead of encouraging Democratic
senators to use the power they have while they have it, this power can be
temporary, to force these pieces of legislation through now and make up
with Republicans later?
RICHMOND: Well, Joy, the pieces of legislation, like the president called
for restoring the Voting Rights Act today, the John Lewis bill. But that
takes 60 votes. And so we`re talking about a 50/50 majority with the vice
president breaking the tie, a lot of this is going to require 60 votes.
But for those things that we can do by executive order, we`re going to do
by executive order, because it`s a priority. And when you started off
talking about whether it`s the deportation pause, whether it`s protecting
our DREAMERs, whether it`s the diversity inclusion rollback of the
embarrassing 1776 Commission. Those are things we can do by executive
order, and we`re going to do them.
And so we`re the first administration to roll out a whole of government
approach to racial equity, and it`s going to create a very intentional
movement by this administration to make sure we tackle systemic racism
across agencies and government-wide. So we`re excited about those things we
can do on our own, and remember, this is day seven, one week. I think we
still have 1,450 days left, and we`re going to work each one of them.
REID: Hopefully, you all will come back, but you can come back anyone of
those 1,400-plus days and answer some more questions. We know that our
audience loves to hear from the administration directly. So, thank you very
much, I really appreciate your time, Cedric Richmond, cheers. Thank you
And up next on THE REIDOUT, now in firm control of a political agenda, can
Democrats avoid the mistakes they made 12 years ago, hoping for kumbaya
Plus, as senators take their impeachment oath, the Republicans still seem
unwilling to hold the former president accountable for his coup. Can
Democrats convince more than a handful of them to convict?
Back with more of THE REIDOUT after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): He is not the majority leader, he is the
minority leader. And he is not going to get his way. We are not going to do
what he wants, and that is universal, Rachel, in my caucus.
We will not let Mitch McConnell dictate to us what we will do and not do,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: In his interview last night with our very own Rachel Maddow, Senate
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed that Democrats would stand firm in his
negotiations over a power-sharing agreement with Minority Leader Mitch
About 15 minutes into that interview, McConnell jumps on Twitter to
announce that he is dropping his demand for a guarantee that Democrats
would preserve the filibuster, a total cave on his lone demand which he
tried to Twitter spin into victory.
That means that at least for now, the requirement that the majority find 60
votes to pass most major legislation will remain in place. And McConnell,
though, if he goes back to his old Obama-era ways of filibustering
everything and anything will only have assurances of two Democratic
centrists who oppose nuking the filibuster to rely on, test their patience.
And the filibuster could still die of quick death.
Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Krysten Sinema of Arizona have said, they
would honor that 60-vote threshold for now, meaning that Mitch might not
want to stand in the way of the things that West Virginians and Arizonians
want and need, or else. It`s the first of many confrontations that are sure
Now, Washington Post Columnist Eugene Robinson says that when Republicans
stand in the way, Democrats should not hesitate to exert the power that
they earned in November. He says that GOP senators have to realize that
compromise doesn`t mean Republicans win and Democrats lose, not anymore.
And Eugene Robinson joins me now, along with David Jolly, former Republican
congressman who`s no longer affiliated with the party.
And, Eugene, I`m going to go to you first.
There is a thing that Democrat -- that frustrates Democratic voters, that,
when Republicans win, they say, we win, F your feelings, we`re doing
everything we want. And they find some magical way to get what they want
done, and that, when Democrats win, they go, oh, please, Republicans, won`t
you be our friends and compromise with us? What do you need? How can we
give it to you?
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
REID: It is frustrating.
REID: Now Democrats have the power. I`m with you. What would you advise
them to do right now, with just the 50 votes that they have got in the
Well, first of all, they got their organizing resolution, right? So they`re
going to organize the Senate and name the committee chairs and move
forward. And I would advise them to move ahead with the big COVID
legislation in regular order.
They don`t have to do anything rash right now, but they should keep that
threat in abeyance. And that threat is very much still there, by the way,
with Manchin and Sinema. In politics, never actually means maybe, and -- as
ROBINSON: And it depends on the situation. It depends on the
But, look, they have just watched a years-long master class in the use of
naked power by Mitch McConnell. And he`s been really good at it. And you
saw what he did to Merrick Garland. You saw what he did with Amy Coney
Barrett. You have seen what he did with all those judges that he pushed
He had the power. And he used it. And Democrats watched this for years,
must have learned something. That`s how you run the Senate. And that`s how
Chuck Schumer needs to run the Senate.
And Mitch McConnell knows he lost last night. He came out with a tweet
today, further statement saying, well, if they go ahead and get rid of the
filibuster, we`re going to scorch the earth. And I guess he would.
But that was -- to me, that was a sign of weakness. That was a sign that,
gee, I`m -- I don`t run this joint anymore. He does. And I think everybody
should keep that reality in mind.
REID: Oh, no, I immediately thought that.
David, as soon as I saw that tweet at 9:14, I`m watching the Rachel Maddow
interview. Fourteen minutes in, suddenly, he pops up on Twitter like, uh,
so here`s what I`m going to do.
It`s like, dude, you`re admitting you lost.
REID: But you`re trying to spin it. And at least some journalists picked
up and went, well, OK, I guess he won.
He tried -- one thing I will give Republicans credit for is, even when they
lose, they say they won. Even when -- Donald Trump actually got almost
nothing that he said he was going to do. He did not repeal Obamacare. He
did not build a wall.
FMR. REP. DAVID JOLLY (R-FL): Yes.
REID: But they spin it like they win it.
And Democrats don`t do that. Can you just explain a little bit of that DNA
of -- is it fear? Because, look, right now, the state parties are cuckoo,
right? They`re terrified of their own voters.
REID: They`re afraid their voters will actually blow up their homes and
hurt them. So the state parties are absolutely bananas.
Is it because of fear that makes them so, like -- I don`t know. What is it?
JOLLY: Look, I mean, Republicans have demonstrated in the last decade that
they play cutthroat politics in a way that Democrats simply don`t.
And whether you have got to play cutthroat or not, look, the baseline to
all of this we`re about to see play out in the Senate and with Joe Biden,
Joy, is the only way, the only way Joe Biden`s agenda passes through the
Congress is if Chuck Schumer does an end-around the legislative filibuster
by either eliminating the filibuster or by using the reconciliation
There is no pathway to getting 60 votes in the Senate for Joe Biden`s
agenda. So, Schumer and the Democrats need to accept that and then make the
political calculus that they think makes the most sense for them.
And that political calculus is an interesting one. Did you -- did Democrats
sweep everything based on an ideological platform, or was there are a
segment that was just trying to get rid of Donald Trump? And even if it
wasn`t a full ideological platform, is it worth it to move through
Democratic priorities and then -- and then test those priorities at the
ballot box the next time?
You can look at the Affordable Care Act as an example of Democrats pushing
through something that some would make the case ultimately lost them the
Congress in 2010, but I think every Democrat would probably say it was
worth it. We got it done.
Schumer needs to make the calculation, what is it worth, what agenda is
worth the public clinical calculus, and then forget about the 60-vote
majority, because you`re not getting there, so just play hardball.
REID: Well, I mean, and the bottom line is, in the short term, the
Affordable Care Act lost Democrats the House, but I would argue it then won
them much, much more, because defending Obamacare became a calling card of
the Democratic Party once people realized what it was.
JOLLY: That`s right.
REID: Even in Kentucky, they threw a governor out who said, I`m getting
rid of Obamacare. And people are like, get rid of Obamacare!
Oh, wait, you mean my health care? Hold on a second.
REID: Well, hold on. Don`t get too crazy, right?
ROBINSON: That`s right.
REID: Like, so, I mean, can we just talk for a moment about the fears of
the Republican Party?
I just started talking about the state parties. Oregon`s Republican Party
called the U.S. Capitol riot a false flag. That`s the party itself.
REID: You have Arizona Republicans throwing Jeff Flake, who`s not even in
power anymore, and Cindy McCain out, and getting mad at the governor.
Like, the state parties have lost it, and they`re all beyond the former
What do you think those incentives wind up doing to Republicans and to
And I will start with you first, Eugene.
ROBINSON: Well, I mean, I think you`re absolutely right that some of these
state party officials are literally afraid of their constituents.
And the Republican Party at the grassroots is a Trump cult of personality
at this point. And the elected officials are still trying to deal with
that. I mean, some of them are pandering to it. Others are getting out of
I mean, they`re trying to deal with this party has become.
ROBINSON: And this is going to be something for Republicans to try to work
out over time.
But I agree with David. In terms of the Democrats, do reconciliation on the
COVID package, get it through.
ROBINSON: And then move to the next thing. Just move to the next thing.
And if it`s got 50 to pass with votes, plus Kamala Harris, do that. And
then move to the next thing.
REID: Just do it, and move to -- and...
ROBINSON: Just do it.
And I wish I had more time, but we`re out of time, because, David, you have
to come back, though, because I`m doing a whole segment on your -- on my
former state in your state, because...
JOLLY: All right. Very good.
REID: ... lord Jesus have mercy on Florida, because -- lord have mercy.
We`re going -- we`re talking about this. You have got to come back.
JOLLY: You got it.
REID: Eugene Robinson and David Jolly, whew. Be safe, David. Whew.
REID: Still ahead -- Florida.
As senators are sworn in for the impeachment trial, Republicans are also
busy putting on a stunning display of hypocrisy and hubris.
REID: The second impeachment trial of the former president is effectively
Today, all 100 senators were sworn in, with Democrats in the majority, as
would-be jurors to hear the case against the now retired MAGA cult leader
and full-time Florida man for inciting an insurrectionist riot in a Senate
chamber that was, in effect, a crime scene.
The trial won`t start until two weeks from today, but Republican senators
are already back on their, well, you know. The majority of them, 45, to be
exact, voted in favor of a motion from Kentucky Tea Party Republican Rand
Paul to dismiss the trial as unconstitutional.
Those voting with Paul included Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Only five Republicans joined Democrats in opposition to the motion, which
Today`s vote is a litmus test for what we could see when senators finally
vote on whether to convict, except they were already saying it out loud.
The man who will forever be known as little Marco Rubio tweeted this
morning that the "waste of time impeachment isn`t about accountability."
Not surprisingly, Florida`s Mr. Cellophane felt differently when
Republicans were obsessing over Benghazi in 2013.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Because this is not about politics. This is about
accountability. Someone needs to be held accountable for what`s happened
here. But it`s also about preventing this from happening in the future.
This is not about hurting anybody politically. This is about getting to the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Oh, really?
I`m joined now by Senator Alex Padilla of California, who will consider the
case against the former president.
And, Senator, I feel like Senator Rubio is just one example that I could
pull from, but it seems to me that they have flipped the Benghazi standard
on its head for the former president.
How -- do you think that this is going to be a legitimate, real trial? Or
do you think Republicans have already made up their mind to let the former
president off the hook?
SEN. ALEX PADILLA (D-CA): So, look, Joy, I think you bring up a great
point, right? Republicans can`t have it both ways.
They`re in this job to execute the oath of office that we have all sworn to
do, to uphold the Constitution of the United States against all enemies,
foreign and domestic. And while, yes, we have a formal trial ahead of us,
the whole nation, the whole world saw in real time on television the
insurrection, the violent insurrection, the deadly insurrection in our
nation`s capital, absolutely instigated by Donald Trump and his enablers.
REID: You know, what`s really sort of madness, if you think about it, is
that the people who will be voting, including yourself, sir, were the
victims of this attack.
The former president sent a riotous mob into the Capitol to hurt people,
some of them to maybe do worse. They had a noose. They had a hangman`s
noose and were chanting, "Where`s Mike Pence?" "Produce Mike Pence." They
were demanding to have Nancy Pelosi. They were going to hurt people, if not
-- and five people died.
I wonder if you, in conversations with -- other than the five who voted to
go forward today, only five of them could see their way through to say that
it should even happen, a trial.
When they talk to you outside of these five, do you think that your fellow
members are too afraid of their own constituents to go forward, or that
they ideologically think it`s OK for the former president to have tried to
overthrow the election?
PADILLA: Look, honestly and sadly, it`s a mix, right?
Is it facing a constituency? Is it standing up to the Trump base within the
Republican Party? I don`t know.
But let me make it one better, Joy. It`s not just that the members of the
Senate, along with the House members that voted on the impeachment in the
last couple of weeks, are the victims of what happened on January 6. The
trial itself is happening at the scene of the crime.
If there`s any doubt, just look outside the window, because the physical
impact of January 6 is still there.
REID: Well, yes.
And when I went in to do an interview with the speaker, you could -- you
could still feel it, right? There are windows that are still broken. It`s
shocking to me that this is going to take place, as you said, at the scene
of the crime.
Do you think -- in your view, is it right that -- two of the people aren`t
victims. Two of them are perpetrators, to be honest. Josh Hawley and Ted
Cruz participated in what happened. Do you think that they should be
allowed to sit through this trial? Or do you think they should be expelled
PADILLA: Look, absolutely, I have been saying from the beginning, nobody
is above the law. Donald Trump must be held accountable. But it does not
end with him.
He`s had far too many enablers both in the White House while he was there
and throughout his administration, including the two members of the United
States Senate that you just named. So, there must be consequences all
REID: And you`re a newer -- newer to the United States Senate.
As you just walk around and deal with these senators, do you get the sense
that there is an equal agreement between the two parties on the importance
PADILLA: I certainly don`t sense that, not in the last couple of weeks, as
a conversation has been around impeachment.
But look at the last four years, and, frankly, a lot longer than that, when
you talk about fundamental faith in our democratic institutions. Is our
democracy inclusive and representative or not?
You look at the voter suppression activity that took place, not just in the
2020 cycle, but over the course of our nation`s history, and the tactics
that Republican leaders are taking yet again in state after state across
So, sadly, Joy, the answer is no, which means it`s both my opportunity and
responsibility, right, as the face of California, representing so many
other constituencies in California and throughout the nation, to be the
physical representation in the United States Senate, to say, no, this is
our country, too, and we deserve a seat at the leadership table.
It`s one of the many, many things that incited...
PADILLA: ... so many people on January 6.
They want to have a debate as to who`s an American, and this is a chance
for our democracy to show its resilience.
REID: Senator Alex Padilla, who I cannot believe is the first Latino
United States senator from California, congratulations on that. It has been
a long time coming, sir. And I think that America is better for having you
Thank you very much.
And up next: The strategy for this impeachment trial, it should be pretty
straightforward, right? You just heard the senator. Just roll the
If a picture`s worth 1,000 words, well, these pictures, coupled with the
former president`s words, well, will that ensure a guilty verdict? You
Congressman Adam Schiff, who led the last impeachment trial, joins me next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): He has betrayed our national security and he will
do so again. He has compromised our elections and he will do so again. You
will not change him. You cannot constrain him.
He is who he is. Truth matters little to him. What`s right matters even
less. And decency matters not at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Joining me now is Congressman Adam Schiff of California, chairman of
the House Intelligence Committee, and the lead impeachment manager from the
first impeachment trial of the former president. I hate to say you told us
so, but you did, sir.
And I wonder just what you make of this coming trial. I mean, your Thaddeus
Stevens-like eloquence could not convince more than one United States
senator on the other side, on the Republican side, to convict when it seems
so obvious to so many people that the former president was guilty.
What do you think might be said differently given that the scene of the
crime is where the trial is taking place?
SCHIFF: Well, it`s a very different trial, very different facts, and as
you point out, all these senators were really witnesses to the crime. But
even so, you know, I think what we learned in the first trial is we thought
that, you know, the hearings in the House which were so well-publicized
meant that the senators would be very familiar with the facts.
When we got to the Senate, we learned that that was not the case, that many
of them only knew about the facts of the president`s Ukraine scandal
filtered through Fox News or Breitbart or these other, you know, highly
politicized news presentations by Sean Hannity and the like. So when we
showed them the actual evidence, a lot of them were quite stunned that it
was as powerful and overwhelming as it is, and I don`t think we should
assume that all these senators have seen all the video, that are familiar
with everything the president said in that speech, know what the president,
for example, said to the secretary of state in Georgia. And it`s -- of
course, all of this is part of a pattern.
And telling that story, I think, to the senators is important, but maybe
even more important, telling that story to the American people is
important, to try to protect our country from someone like this ever
occupying office again.
REID: Well, I mean, I think you make an excellent point, right, that
Republican senators are probably taking in the same kind of news sources as
their voters. And so, you`re right, they may not have seen it all in sort
of linear fashion and looking through it.
I wonder if you -- if you were involved in this -- this particular trial,
do you expect to see members of the Justice Department, the current and
former, called? Because we now have information that Donald Trump was going
into the Justice Department, thinking about switching out the acting
attorney general, trying to impact the election from multiple angles,
whether it was from Georgia or from the Department of Justice.
Would you expect to see people called both from Georgia and from the DOJ?
SCHIFF: You know, I have every confidence in Jamie Raskin. I think he`s a
brilliant lawyer, and he has a wonderful team. So they will make those
right, strategic decisions.
And, you know, the challenge for this team, and we had a similar challenge,
is not the scarcity of evidence but the overwhelming abundance of it and
trying to figure out what`s the most important thing to communicate to
these senators and also to the country that`s watching. And so, they`ll
have to decide, is that the most powerful evidence or do we want to spend
time on that, or is it better to be focused on certain things that are very
simple, that are very easy to communicate, and with those decisions, as I
said, I have every confidence in this team.
REID: And you were so -- you know, so wise about talking about the
potential jeopardy to the country if there was an acquittal, and there was
an acquittal. And we did see, as was prognosticated by yourself and other
impeachment managers, this president then go after governors, tried to go
after our democracy itself and try to undermine it.
In your view, what is the big risk if there is no conviction this time?
SCHIFF: That`s a great question, and it goes to the heart of this tragic
procedure we saw today where senators contrary to the text of the
Constitution, contrary to the logic of the Constitution and history
essentially voted you can`t try a president once they left office. We`ve
tried people once they left office before.
The risk is this: if a president is going to essentially try to overturn
their election defeat, that will always happen at the end of their term. If
they succeed, they become president for life. If they fail and were to hold
there was no repercussion, you can`t try them, you can`t disqualify them,
then we can expect that will happen again. So, the profound danger here is
that Donald Trump or someone just like him runs in four years and loses and
tries to cheat again, and maybe this time, they`re successful, because,
Joy, we came really close to losing our democracy.
If it wasn`t for a handful of brave elections officials and judges who had
true independence, we might have lost our democracy.
REID: Yeah, indeed. And, you know, I have to ask you this question as the
chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Your thoughts on seeing the
fact that we did have the current president have a very different kind of
call with Vladimir Putin and rebuke him for the allegations of, you know,
putting bounties on our troops and rebuke him for the mistreatment of pro-
Just what did you make of that, and what do you think that change is going
to mean for our national security?
SCHIFF: It means the world, and, Joy, I can`t tell you how grateful I was
to see a U.S. president acting like a U.S. president. Joe Biden
communicated, you`ve got to stop meddling in our elections, there are going
to be consequences. You know, I`m going to raise with you and confront with
you these reported bounties on the heads of our troops, this major Russian
hack, and other activities like the poisoning of Navalny, this Russian
But the president also said, look, we need to also find our mutual
interests. Our mutual interest is in the extension of the new START Treaty.
That`s exactly what a president should do. It puts our values first, our
Gone are the days of a president being the sycophant of a dictator like
REID: Yeah. And isn`t it weird that normal stuff is like revolutionary
now? It`s sad that`s where we are, but, yeah, it was a good day today.
Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you. Really appreciate you. Thank you very
And up next, President Biden`s executive orders addressing racial
inequities includes policing reforms and an end of federal use of private
prisons. Those are good first steps, but is it enough?
Stay with us.
REID: A coalition of 81 million diverse Americans elected President Biden,
and now it`s time for him to deliver. So far in the face of an obstinate
Republican Party, he`s using his presidential authority to deliver at least
Today, he moved to address discriminatory housing practices, end federal
contracts with private prisons, ensure the tribal independence of
indigenous people and make sure his administration combats xenophobia
against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, something his predecessor
refused to do.
Before signing the new executive actions, President Biden made clear that
racial equity benefits every American.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For too long, we`ve allowed a
narrow, cramped view of the promise of this nation to fester. You know,
we`ve bought the view that America is a zero-sum game in many cases. If you
succeed, I fail.
If you get ahead, I fall behind. If you get the job, I lose mine. Maybe
worst of all, if I hold you down, I lift myself up.
We`ve lost sight of what President Kennedy told us when he said a rising
tide lifts all boats. When we lift each other up, we`re all lifted up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: For more, I`m joined by Patrisse Cullors, political strategist and
co-founder and executive director of Black Lives Matter.
Patrice, always great to talk to you.
So, let`s dig into it. The executive actions that we saw today on equity,
including restoring collective bargaining and worker protections for
federal workers, it goes all the way through getting rid of that silly 1776
commission and having a COVID task force on making sure there`s racial
equity in terms of the vaccines, et cetera, when you see those executive
actions as an activist, what`s your reaction, is it enough?
PATRISSE CULLORS, BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT CO-FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE
DIRECTOR: Well, I want to just say that it`s a nod towards much of the work
that has been happening across the country, organizers and advocates have
fought for many of these directives in this executive order. But we know
it`s not enough. We are literally dealing with 400 years of white
supremacy, 400 years of anti-black racism.
And so there`s so much more to do. And we will push this administration to
REID: And we know that the emancipation proclamation was an executive
order, right? So executive orders can have power, but they`re also not as
permanent as legislation. The given the fact that there`s such a razor-thin
margin in the United States Senate, are you concerned that anything that
President Biden and Vice President Harris enact now can just be overtaken
when the inevitable backlash happens, whenever the next person that`s like
the former president gets in and they take it even further? Are you worried
that it will all be whisked away?
CULLORS: Absolutely. I mean, I think we need to go beyond executive order.
It`s great that this administration is using executive order to undo much
of the Trump era. But we have to have legislation. You know, we`ve been
talking about the BREATHE Act with the movement for black lives and Black
Lives Matter for the last six to eight months.
This is federal legislation that will look at reinvesting into black
communities, communities that have been divested from for decades. We need
to look at that. We need to look at that now.
REID: I`m curious what you think. Black Lives Matter protests were the
subjects of just thousands of arrests. Nothing like what we`ve seen with
these MAGA insurrectionists who have been arrested by the dozens.
I wonder what you make of the fact that the one black guy, you know, the
one black guy who decided he was going to go MAGA with the rest of them, is
being held, his name is Emmanuel Jackson. He was allegedly wielding a
baseball bat. He turned himself in. He`s still being held pending trial.
Whereas you have the woman who allegedly stole the laptop belonging to the
speaker of the house is on home release and cautioned because she
apparently still logged on and got online when she wasn`t supposed to. You
have others that were accused of violence against police officers, et
cetera, who are chilling at home awaiting trial.
Your thoughts on that?
CULLORS: Well, it`s rather simple. We have a criminal justice system that
actually discriminates against black people in particular. It`s a criminal
justice system that allows for white people, white passing people to get
away with often murder.
Let`s talk about George Zimmerman. And so this is not surprising to me.
It`s why this administration has to look at police violence in particular
and mass incarceration as key components to upending.
REID: We know that Joe Biden as a human being opposes the death penalty.
Would you want to see something like a moratorium on the death penalty? And
just -- what do you think criminal justice reform in general should look
CULLORS: Absolutely, there have been advocates and organizers trying to get
a moratorium on the death penalty for years. Here in the state of
California, Governor Newsom called for a moratorium on any deaths and the
death penalty in particular. But I think we have to go further and imagine
We know that police and prisons are the most invested in social service in
our cities, states and in the country. So we have to re-imagine and
reinvest into black communities. We need to pour dollars into housing
infrastructure, into healthy food infrastructure, into adequate education.
All of these places that have been completely divested from in black
America in particular.
REID: Has the White House or anyone from the Office of Public Engagement
reached out to talk to leaders of Black Lives Matter and maybe bring you
all into the White House for a conversation about all of this?
CULLORS: Yeah, we -- the minute that President Biden was declared the
president, we sent an email and a letter to him and now Madam Vice
President Kamala Harris to sit with us. Their team has contacted us. We
have sat with the transition team. We`re still looking forward to meeting
with the president and madam vice president of the United States. We think
that`s important. And we have been reached out to by other people in their
cabinet as well.
REID: Yeah. And what do you think black lives matter, the movement, looks
like very briefly under this president as opposed to the last one? What is
the movement going to look like?
CULLORS: I mean, very different in that we are not fighting fascists and
don`t have to spend all of our energy every single day trying to challenge
irrationality, but I do think we will be pushing this administration.
That`s how it works with activism, and indeed. Patrisse Cullors, thank you
so much for being here, really appreciate you.
And "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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