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Transcript: The ReidOut, 1/29/2021

Guest: Cori Bush, Tim Miller, Charles Blow, Billie Winner-Davis, Celine Gounder


GOP Representative Greene accused of creating toxic work environment. Representative Greene under scrutiny after support for far- right conspiracies. Lawmakers spar over security as fear of violence grows. Representative Bush moving offices after saying Representative Greene berated her. Representative Greene, GOP lawmakers refuse masks during Hill riot. Lawmakers spar over security as fear of violence grows.



JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone, Happy Friday. We begin THE

REIDOUT tonight with an exercise.

Now, imagine for a moment that you had to go into the office every day

fearing that your co-worker tried to have you killed, that this co-worker

liked comments on their social media calling for your boss to be executed

by putting a bullet through her head and that your other co-workers

broadcast live for months that put you and your family at risk of

harassment, infection, even death? Wouldn`t that be like a massive priority

for your company`s H.R. department, a conflict management issue of, say,

epic proportions?

All of those examples are happening right now to members of Congress and

nothing is being done about it, certainly not by the one person whose

literal job it is to manage his party`s caucus, where one Republican House

member is quickly becoming the ultimate toxic employee. Instead, that

(INAUDIBLE) Republican who is a promoter of the QAnon cult now sits on the

House Education Committee despite having publicly claimed that school

massacres are staged.

And I can`t believe that I`m actually about to say this, but we have now

learned that this same toxic congresswoman also believes that laser beams

from outer space ignited California`s deadliest ever wildfire, laser beams

from outer space.

But here is the thing, maybe, just maybe Marjorie Q. Greene isn`t the

Republican outlier that some imagine that she is. Maybe she is more

representative of the Republican caucus than anyone in the party would like

for you to think. Remember, a majority of House Republicans, a majority, as

well as six senators voted to try to overturn President Biden`s victory,

and that`s after the mob stormed the Capitol.

Again, imagine if this was your workplace. Would the hiring of a known

racist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobe be admissible under your company`s

commitment to anti-racism? Would your company`s anti-harassment policy

stand for any employee berating another employee while not wearing a mask?

Would any of this be okay where you work? So why is it okay for Congress?

Joining me now is Congresswoman Cori Bush of Missouri. And, Congresswoman,

thank you for being here.

You have been all the talk today because of this confrontation between

yourself and Marjorie Greene. You`re now moving your office away from hers.

Please explain why.

REP. CORI BUSH (D-MO): Yes. So, first of all, thank you for what you just

said. You know, it is unbelievable that this is how so many of us get to go

to work every day when, you know, I`ve worked fast food, I`ve worked in

child care, I`ve worked in health care, I`ve never been in a work

environment like this before.

And, you know, one day I was -- it was -- we were just walking down the

hallway through the tunnel headed to go and vote and I`m hearing this loud

talking behind, this loud talking in the hallway. But I kept going. I

didn`t buy it, it was no big deal. All of a sudden as I`m walking down the

tunnel, I`m hearing the voice get louder and louder, and then the voice was

closer and closer. And then at one point, I realized that it was like right

behind me. So I turned around because now -- because it was aggressive and

it was loud, and I`m like, why is this right behind me? So I turned around

and it was Marjorie Taylor Greene without a mask on.

And so -- and so I looked and I`m like -- so I turned back around, I didn`t

say anything at first. I looked at my team and I`m like, she does not have

on a mask, like let`s just keep walking. And then I thought about it, like

you`re putting me at risk, you`re putting my team at risk, everybody else

in this tunnel is at risk. And

just the day before we found out that our colleagues had contracted COVID

after being on lockdown with this same person and other people who were


And so, no, I`m a nurse. I take care of my community. I take care of my

people. You will not put us at risk like that. And so I moved out of the

way. I saw my little brother, John Bowman, down the hall. I moved out of

the way to let her pass. And as she`s passing, I`m like, you know, look,

she does not have on a mask. And so I said, put on a mask. And then she

started to, you know, go off some more. She`s on her phone, she`s like


And my point with that, Joy, was my point with that, Joy, was that she has

the audacity to be walking through this space on her phone showing people

that she was bucking the system, showing people that she was not going to

adhere to the rules of the House. And so I wanted it to be on her

livestream that we are saying put your mask on and then her team turned

around and her too. But then her team is yelling, stop inciting -- stop

inciting violence, Black Lives Matter. What does Black Lives Matter have to

do this, put on a mask and save lives?

REID: Yes. I just want to point out to the audience that on January 12th,

the House leadership, the speaker announced there is a mandate that on the

floor of the House, all members must wear a mask. What was the policy as of

-- as you were walking through? Was it -- I mean, as you said, you had just

known that several members had been diagnosed with COVID after locking down

on January 6th with Republicans who refused to wear masks?

I want to show some video actually because Marjorie Taylor Greene was

actually one of the people who was mocking congresswomen, Congresswoman

Lisa Blunt Rochester, who was trying to give them masks and she was mocking

them. This is while they were being locked down.

This is not the video that I`m showing. Sorry, this is -- it`s Cut 2 that I

wanted to show. So, we`ll pull that one back for a second because I`m going

to show that one -- there it is. There it is. And there she is mocking

other members.

So, at the time that you were confronted by her or she`s yelling in the

hallway, wasn`t it generally accepted that people should be wearing masks

in the tunnel?

BUSH: Yes. We`re supposed to wear masks but that time, I believe that time

(INAUDIBLE). And the entire House was --

REID: Gotcha. Now she went on Twitter when my colleague, Tiffany Cross,

tweeted at her that she may want to go on to CROSS CONNECTION, which is

Tiffany`s show, which airs tomorrow, and explain herself, she then accused

you of lying about the interaction and she posted a piece of video.

Now, I want to just for the audience let you know that we`re not playing

the full video, because before the part we`re showing, she`s ranting and

raving about Black Lives Matter, about you, about members of Black Lives

Matter being a part of Congress and then this happens. So here she is. This

is the video where you describe where we only see her face because she`s

live streaming showing her own face as she`s walking. You can see she

doesn`t have a mask on and here is what she says.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): Then they supported bail bond links --

bail bond links for criminals.

BUSH: Follow the rules and put on a mask. Stop inciting violence with Black

Lives Matter.

GREENE: you know what, yes, don`t yell at people. You know what, you

shouldn`t bring COVID positive members in here spreading COVID everywhere.

Stop being a hypocrite.

Yes, this is how it is here now.


REID: She is claiming that that disproves your account. What is your


BUSH: It actually -- it actually says exactly what I said. She was walking

behind me, directly behind me. You know, and she`s yelling into the phone

directly behind me. I moved out of the way because now you`re a threat. You

know, you`re a threat to me and then you don`t have on a mask. You don`t

care enough about us to put on a mask. So, I said -- now mind you, by the

time you heard my voice, she was further down the tunnel. And we`re in the

tunnel so, of course, it`s echoing. But you could hear me saying put on a

mask. And what happened? She put on a mask.

But I was not -- and let me say this too. We`re here with staff, team

members, congress members yelling at other congress members. Where do you

hear that happen at? That doesn`t happen. And for her to turn this around

to be a Black Lives Matter issue, that`s not what it was. You should care

enough about your colleagues.

And if you don`t believe in that, if you don`t believe we should have

safety, if you don`t believe that this is a true health crisis where

400,000 people in this country have lost their lives, if you won`t, if you

will not honor that and respect those families and respect the people in

your community, 750,000 that you are supposed to protect, that you are

supposed to serve and represent, if you won`t do that, then let go of this

job. It is not for you.

And she can say whatever she wants to say, but the thing is she did not

have on a mask in that tunnel and I absolutely spoke up.

And it`s not just about her, Joy, this is anybody, any congress member who

will not wear a mask. I`m going to speak up. Lisa Blunt Rochester spoke up.

If many of us, we will speak up, not just about that. We don`t want you

bringing your guns on the House floor. We don`t want you bringing your guns

into your office. We don`t want you to just evade security and try to run

through the metal detectors. No. Abide by the rules so that we can do our

jobs to take care of our communities.

We moved our office, Joy, not because I`m scared of her, like not because I

think that I can`t -- like, you know what I mean, like, I`m, oh, my gosh.

That`s not why I moved my office. I moved my office because I am here to do

a job for the people of St. Louis. They deserve that. And what I cannot do

is continue to look over my shoulder wondering if a white supremacist in

Congress by the name of Marjorie Taylor Greene or anyone else, because

there are others, that they are doing something or conspiring against us.

Our focus has to be on St. Louis and the work that we can get done.

And also, my team deserves better. They should not have to come to work and

have to wonder if that door is going to open, that does not have a

peephole, if that door is going to open and it is somebody that does not

want to do them well.

REID: Congresswoman Cori Bush, very eloquently said. I think at any

workplace people would want that just as a minimum condition to go to work

every day. Thank you so much for spending some time with us this evening.

Please stay safe. Thank you.

REID: And I want to now bring in Tim Miller, he`s a writer-at-large at The

Bulwark, and MSNBC Counterterrorism and Intelligence Analyst Malcolm Nance.

And, I mean, this is serious. Tim, I want to start with you. You have

members of Congress, you just heard the congresswoman speak, that her staff

and she have to worry that on the other side of the door with no peephole

on it could be somebody who is a member of Congress who might be armed, who

has made very vocal statements against black people, against Black Lives

Matter, who has an issue -- that she was ranting about Black Lives Matter

as Marjorie Greene was walking down that hallway. She has a fixation, a

negative fixation on it and Cori Bush was a Black Lives Matter activist

before she was in Congress. I don`t understand how Ms. Greene is still a

congresswoman. Do you?

TIM MILLER, WRITER-AT-LARGE, THE BULWARK: Look, I thought Congresswoman

Bush said was right on. Look, this is the reality, Joy. Marjorie Taylor

Greene and Lauren Boebert and a number of other members in the House

caucus, Mo Brooks, were on the side of the domestic terrorists. There have

been a lot of other Republicans, we can talk about this, who have been

basically coup neutral. But when it comes to Marjorie Taylor Greene, she

was on the side of the domestic terrorists that stormed the Capitol. And

this is not something that we have a precedent for in modern America,


And so, I think that it is absolutely appropriate for Congresswoman Bush to

be concerned about that. And why is she still in Congress? Well, it`s

because the Republican leadership doesn`t have the courage to stand up to

her, because they think their base is on her side and they`re probably

right about that.

And, look, I think the most telling thing that happened this week, Joy, was

that Matt Gaetz flew to Wyoming to chastise Liz Cheney, not because of her

positions on any policy issues, but because she was willing to say no to

the domestic terrorists, the insurrectionists. Meanwhile, not a single

House Republican has said anything about Marjorie Taylor Greene, or flown

down to Georgia, or talked about how we need to get rid of her, talked

about how we need expel her, kick her out of committees. I think that tells

you where the caucus is right now.

REID: And to that point, let`s just play really quickly. This is Matt Gaetz

and this is a rally that he did. And it`s shocking to me that anyone,

Malcolm, would do a rally like this after what we saw on the 6th inciting

people and naming the names of the people that he wants the crowd to

invade. Take a listen.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Leadership doesn`t mean backing a Nancy Pelosi dual

impeachment by reflex (ph). You can help me break a corrupt system. You can

send a representative who actually represents you. And you can send Liz

Cheney home.


REID: Malcolm, you wrote a really great piece in The Washington Post that

we`re not taking seriously the idea that we have an insurgency on our hands

that`s embedded within the Republican Party. You wrote, the insurgent`s

goal is to make existing government powerless, feckless and incapable of

protecting the common citizen and then exploiting that vacuum to seize

political power.

That sounds to me like what the QAnon folks and Marjorie Taylor Greene and

Matt Gaetz believe in. How concerned are you that this -- that these people

are an actual insurgency like what we see in places like Iraq?


know, I mentioned this on Bill Mahr`s show back in November right after the

election, that we were looking at the face of insurgency. And after the

election, we saw their strategy which was to completely discredit the

entirety of the election, mobilize their people and create a false

narrative, a false reality that led to a full scale attack on the United

States Capitol.

These people were not there just to protest and to show their support for

Donald Trump. They fully intended to stop the certification of the

election. And I mentioned this on this show before that there were likely

assassination teams, what we would call a murder cell, within that group.

And we`re finding the FBI is charging people for that very conspiracy. They

intended to go in, find and kill high value persons, just like Nancy Pelosi

and AOC.

This is not the end of this. What we`ve seen happen is only the beginning

of what will be a long-term series of insurrections. Matt Gaetz`s speech

was him re-centering the body of conservatism to show that old school

conservatism, Liz Cheney, they`re done. They`re done forever. It is now the

war party of Donald Trump. And all they`re doing is waiting for Trump to


We`re going to have a multiyear problem. You know, it could go -- it could

be as bad as Northern Ireland. Who knows?

REID: And, you know, Tim, the thing is that there have been so many

warnings, right? You can go all the way back to Timothy McVeigh era when

Bill Clinton was president, surprised the Democratic president. You`ve had

the national -- the NARAL points out that some of the same people that were

a part of that insurrectionist mob have popped up at vehement, sort of

quasi-violent anti-abortion protests as well, that they are part of that

movement as well.

And I want to play for you a gentleman named Allen West. This is the kind

of talk that we heard from a member of Congress, Allen West from the state

of Florida, back when President Obama was elected. This is in 2009.


ALLENT WEST (R-FL), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: If you`re here to stand up, to

get your musket, to fix your bayonet and to charge into the ranks, you are

my brother and sister in this fight.

You need to leave here understanding one simple word. That word is



REID: And I remember because I was covering Florida politics at the time,

Tim. And he would say this all the time. And this was not considered

remarkable speech in the Republican Party. He`s talking about bayonets and

muskets and march on the Capitol. That was then. He then loses ultimately

to a Democrat, but that has existed for a while in the party, no, this kind

of talk.

MILLER: Now he`s the chairman of the Texas Republican Party, Joy. I don`t

know if you knew that. But he`s moved across the south a little bit. So, he

isn`t going anywhere, he`s talking about secession now.

Look, I think that, yes, you know, you can point signs at this going back

all the way to the tea party, but I think, really, the bright red flashing

warning signs when Donald Trump was running in 2016, when he said he

covered the legal bills for his fans if they beat up protestors at his

rallies, and then you have the domestic terror in El Paso. You have Cesar

Sayoc, the bombs that he sent, and thank goodness, it didn`t go off, the

mail bombs, Gretchen Whitmer, attempts to capture and assassinate her.

So, there were so many warning signs in the Trump era where it had moved

from the area of rhetoric to action. And so, none of those things were

wakeup calls for people in the House or in the Senate in the Republican

caucus. You would have thought when it came to their house that they would

have had a wake-up call. And it seemed like there might have been, by 24

hours, some of them were a little bit shook. Mitch McConnell was talking

differently. But here we are three weeks later and it`s like business as

usual again.

And so, I agree with Malcolm on the point that there`s no reason to believe

this will stop if nothing changes in the way Republican officials are

dealing with these insurrectionists.

REID: And we know now that Kevin McCarthy was warned. Great Axios reporting

on that, they did nothing to stop it. Now, it`s in the House.

Tim Miller, thank you very much, have a great weekend. Malcolm Nance is

going to be back later in the show.

And up next on THE REIDOUT, journalist and author Charles Blow joins me on

how white nationalism and QAnon extremism in the Republican Party, as we

just discussed, and what that growing threat means for black America.

Plus, new COVID concerns, mutating strains look ominous, but -- but there

is hope with new vaccines on the way.



DISEASES: Over the last 24 hours, there have been the announcements of two

other trials and the results really are very encouraging.


REID: Back with more of THE REIDOUT after this.


REID: It should come as no surprise that the goal of the Capitol

insurrectionists was to exert their perceived white privilege to try to

overturn the will of millions and millions of voters, specifically of black


It`s battles black and brown voters have had to wage ever since our right

to vote was affirmed. But what`s especially troubling is how common the

rhetoric has become from elected officials, fanning the flames of these

far-right groups.



people, they`re not sending their best. They`re bringing drugs. They`re

bringing crime. They`re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

GREENE: The generations of black and Hispanic men, do you want to know what

holds them down? Gangs. Being in gangs and dealing drugs is what holds them


The gangs are holding them back. It`s not white people.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): All of these people trying to force their way

and it`s called an invasion.

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): We have to study the history of slavery and its

role and impact on the development of our country, because, otherwise, we

can`t understand our country.

As the founding fathers said, it was the necessary event upon which the

union was built.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I care about everybody. If you`re a young

African American, an immigrant, you can go anywhere in this state. You just

need to be conservative, not liberal.



REID: The 2020 election ushered in not only the first female vice

president, but the first black and the first Asian American in that role.

And "New York Times" columnist Charles Blow describes in his new book how

moments of social advancement for black Americans nearly always coincide

with white backlash.

"Emancipation and the Civil War gave rise to the KKK, which formed just

months after the war ended. The Supreme Court`s decision in Brown vs. the

Board of Education, striking down racial segregation in schools, gave rise

to the white supremacist citizens councils. The election of the first black

president gave rise to the Tea Party, which was formed soon after Barack

Obama was sworn in."

And joining me now is Charles Blow, "New York Times" columnist and author

of the new book "The Devil You Know: A Black Power Manifesto."

Charles, I am so excited to talk with you. You`re one of my favorite

writers, favorite columnist. And your books are amazing.

So, I am partway through this wonderful book, "The Devil You Know."



REID: Talk a little bit about -- we were just talking with -- of course.

We were just talking with Congresswoman Cori Bush about having to go to

work in fear, as she said, not necessarily because she`s afraid of this one

individual person, but that her -- the movement that this fellow

congressperson represents is hateful toward black people, hateful toward

Black Lives Matter, and fixated on it.

From your point of view, where are we in this country?

BLOW: It feels like we`re stuck in a Groundhog Day of racial oppression in

this country, that every now and then, the groundhog pops his head back up,

and never having really, truly gone away.

There is -- hard to find a period where this hatefulness doesn`t resurrect

itself, where white supremacy doesn`t react violently to change. This is a

fixture of American society. And we keep -- not we, but people keep trying

to make an excuse for it, blame it on something else, say that now there`s

some economic anxiety at some point, or now there`s anxiety about

displacement at the ballot box.

White supremacy will not...


REID: I`m sorry. I didn`t mean to interrupt you. Go on.

BLOW: I was done.



REID: Well, I want to show you -- let me show you this picture, because

this is one of the most galling images of the siege, which -- the 1/6

siege, which, to me, is like 9/11, in that we should never let it go.

This is a picture of somebody carrying a Confederate Flag into our Capitol,

something that didn`t even manage to get done during the Civil War. They

managed to fly the Confederate Flag inside of our Capitol proudly, didn`t

even bother to put a sheet on, openly do that.

So, where -- we in some senses still in the aftermath of the Civil War? It

almost feels like the Civil War is like the war in -- between North and

South Korea, that it`s an armistice, that it didn`t even in a lot of ways.

BLOW: Well, white supremacists have been trying to win it back ever since.

There`s one historian who said that we lost -- that the South lost the

Civil War in 1865, but then they won it in 1890, because that`s when the

South called all these constitutional conventions to white supremacy

literally into the code and DNA of those states.

As soon as that got knocked down with the civil rights movement, they -- it

re-erects itself in a more elegant form, a different form. That`s the idea.

Like, it keeps coming back, because it`s never going anywhere.

That is the part of the whole discussion that we don`t grasp. It`s never

going anywhere. And you have to deal with it as a thing that cannot be

compromised with. It cannot be placated. It cannot be assuaged. You have to

crush white supremacy. That is the only way you`re going to be able to deal

with it, because we have been trying to coax it and cajole it for 150 years

after slavery.

REID: And your book is subtitled "A Black Power Manifesto," because -- and

I think it`s important that you include that subtitle, because, as this

white supremacist monster has continued to thrive, like the -- like the

alien in the "Alien" series of movies, black people have actually managed

to acquire real power in small ways.

I mean, there`s only been 11 black United States senators. It`s not like in

huge ways but managing to claw power out of this system. So, what do we do

in this moment, in terms of how we exercise it, in terms of how we grow it,

in this system as it is?

BLOW: So, right now, we have mostly municipal power, the 1,200 majority

black cities in America -- 90 percent of them are in the South, by the way.

But we don`t have a lot of state power. But Georgia is a window into how

that can be achieved. You just mentioned we have had -- I think it`s now 11

black senators in the history of America. All of them before Warnock were

elected by coalitions led by somebody other than black people.

Warnock is the first black senator in which the major part of the coalition

who elected him, the majority of it, was black people. And that is a real

shift. It is a seismic shift in understanding how power can be exerted.

And that is partly because of the reverse migration. In 1990, there were

only 1.7 million black people in Georgia. It has doubled. In 2020, it was

3.4-plus million black people in Georgia.

If you want to be able to elect who you want in a -- on a statewide level

and exert some state power, that is required.

REID: And we`re seeing already the backlash to that. We started off this

conversation talking about backlash. We`re already seeing bills going up,

popping up all across the country, including in Georgia, in Arizona, et


BLOW: Absolutely.

REID: ... trying to claw back the ability of the voters` decisions to be

actually be mandated in the end.

Are you more hopeful, or do you see more peril ahead of us in the short

term, politically?

BLOW: This is what is going to happen.

People do not relinquish power easily. Absolutely, systems built on white

supremacy will not relinquish power easily. They will -- this is an

existential threat to white supremacy. They will do everything they

possibly can to maintain that power.

But you have to -- if you are interested in acquiring their power, you have

to be just as resilient, just as diligent, to have just as much

steadfastness to hold on and to stay in that game and to stay in that

fight. This is a revolutionary act.

REID: Indeed. Indeed. Indeed. Indeed.

Charles Blow, I -- every column you write, I wish I`d written it.


REID: This book is fantastic. And thank you so much for being on to talk

about it.

BLOW: Thank you.

REID: Really appreciate you, sir. Be safe and be well.

BLOW: Thank you.

REID: OK, thank you so much, and cheers.

Today, by the way, on his way to visit wounded soldiers at Walter Reed

National Military Medical Center, President Biden stressed the need for

coronavirus relief with or without Republican support.



with support from Republicans, if we can get it, but the COVID relief has

to pass. There`s no ifs, ands or buts.


REID: We will have more on the coronavirus, including the news that a third

vaccine could be coming very soon.

Don`t go anywhere. We will talk about that after the break.


REID: There is good news today from pharmaceutical company Johnson &

Johnson, which announced that its vaccine trial was 72 percent effective in

preventing moderate to severe cases of the coronavirus.

The vaccine, unlike two -- the two currently available, can be administered

fully in one dose, instead of two. And it doesn`t have to be frozen. The

company plans to ask the FDA for authorization as soon as next week.

But the company says, though, it was less effective against the highly

contagious South African variant of COVID-19, which is currently spreading

inside the United States. Both Pfizer and Moderna have also said their

vaccine is less effective against this particular strain of the virus.

In a briefing today, Dr. Fauci called the news a wakeup call.


FAUCI: This is a wakeup call to all of us that we will be dealing, as the

virus uses its devices to evade pressure, particularly immunological

pressure, that we will continue to see the evolution of mutants.

This all tells us that it is an incentive to do what we have been saying

all along, to vaccinate as many people as we can as quickly as we possibly



REID: Joining me now is Dr. Celine Gounder, former Biden transition COVID

adviser and an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist at NYU and

Bellevue Hospital.

And, Dr. Gounder, so just to set the stage here, 25.9 million cases,

437,000 deaths. I almost gag reading these numbers every time. And now, on

top of all of that death, we have this new variant.

Dr. Ashish Jha tweeted the following. "Imagine this. Some nations are

largely vaccinated, but outbreaks are surging everywhere. What might

happen, we might see a rise of variants that eventually escape the

vaccines, requiring us to update our vaccines and vaccinate everyone again.

It`s a nightmare scenario of a never-ending pandemic."

This scares me, because this variant seems like it is really scary. Do you

think that this new Johnson & Johnson news means that we can fight this new

variant? Or is it still working on the old version?


the most important thing we can do to stop the rise of variants is to stop

transmission of the virus.

Every time the virus moves from one person to another, it is given the

opportunity to mutate and for new variants to emerge. There is a reason

that the countries from which we have seen variants emerged, the United

Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, these are countries that didn`t do as good

of a job controlling the virus. They allowed the virus to spread like

wildfire through its population.

And that is why we have seen some of these new variants emerge from there,

not from countries like South Korea or Vietnam, Japan and some of the other

Southeast Asian countries that really did a very good job of controlling

the infection.

So, we need to be using all the tools at our disposal, whether that`s

vaccines, or the masking and social distancing, and all the things we have

done over the last several months.

REID: Yes.

I mean, and I have been just saying that I feel like the coronavirus is

like the alien in "Aliens," and like you guys are like Ripley. Like, we`re

-- and every time that it jumps into one person`s body, it jumps out as

like a whole different kind of alien.

So, let`s talk about how we stop it. Apparently, the U.S. didn`t do a good

job of sequencing what they call this new variant. So, does that mean that

it might have been here longer, and we just didn`t know it was there?

GOUNDER: Yes, I mean, this is a great example of massive underinvestment in

public health over decades.

This is technology that was at our disposal. The U.K., for example, uses it

routinely to look for variants. We were not doing so. We were doing a

handful from every state over the last several months. That`s not nearly


And so, to really stay ahead of something like this, you need to be doing

the testing. And that means investing in public health, investing in the

labs, investing in the bioinformatics necessary to analyze these variants

and figure out how to move forward.

REID: And that means we`re doing it, because we don`t even have a national

health system.

Let`s talk about the Johnson & Johnson efficacy of that version of the

vaccine. It seems great, because it`s only one shot, right? But I think

what`s alarming a lot of people is when they say it`s only 72 percent

successful in the U.S. at preventing moderate, severe disease.

But it`s only 57 percent effective in South Africa, where the variant comes

from. I didn`t realize that the flu virus is only about like 50 percent

effective too, right? So, is 72 percent good news?

GOUNDER: I guess, it really depends on, what is it you`re focused on? Are

you focused on not getting coronavirus at all, or are you focused on

preventing hospitalization and death from COVID?

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was 100 percent effective in preventing

death. So, no, it may not prevent that cough from COVID, but if it prevents

the death, if it saves your life, to me, that is a tool worth having.

REID: That is. That will be 100 percent good, yes, absolutely.

Dr. Celine Gounder, thank you for that clarification. Really appreciate

that. Stay safe.

Up next: Apparently, Republicans -- thank you.

Apparently, Republicans need a reminder of what happens when you start to

tear down the framework of democracy. Well, we have got that covered.

Stay with us.


REID: The regime in Russia is bracing for another weekend of protests over

the detention of Alexander Navalny, the anti-corruption activist and chief

opposition leader to Vladimir Putin.

Navalny was arrested this month upon returning to Russia from Germany,

where he was recovering from being poisoned. And the use of a Soviet era

nerve agent left little doubt that the Kremlin was responsible.

Now, with his chief rival behind bars, Putin is cracking down on the pro-

democracy protesters who are pushing for Navalny`s release, literally

trying to snuff out the opposition.

After all, Putin has plans to remain in power until 2036, thanks to a

fraudulent referendum last July. It`s the kind of behavior you would expect

from the man who ended Russia`s brief flirtation with democracy.

But it`s also a playbook that the former president of this country tried to

replicate during his four years in office. He tried to lock up his

opponents, encouraged officials to fabricate votes and attempted to steal

an election.

The orange one`s envy of Putin is one of the reasons he was so solicitous

toward Russia, despite their flagrant attacks on our voting system,

coincidentally, to benefit him.

And that brings us to a young former Air Force specialist Reality Winner,

who leaked proof of Russia`s malign activity in this country back in 2017.

That leak was intended to expose the Kremlin and bolster U.S. security.

But her identity wasn`t protected by the very news outlet she entrusted

with that message. And we`re going to shine a spotlight on her case next.


REID: In 2017, Reality Winner was a 25-year-old Air Force veteran working

as an NSA contractor when she leaked some of the earliest evidence of

Russia`s attack on our voting system.

She printed out a classified NSA report confirming that Russian hackers had

targeted an election software company and 122 election officials. And she

sent it to the news outlet The Intercept.

That leak served as a warning about the vulnerability of our voting system,

something that even the Department of Homeland Security was slow to

acknowledge at the time.

But Winner was quickly arrested, thanks in large part to the carelessness

of the reporters at The Intercept, who failed to protect her identity as

their source.

As "The New York Times" details: "The lead reporter on the story sent a

copy of the document, which contained a crease showing it had been printed

out, to the NSA Media Affairs Office, all but identifying Ms. Winner as the


Winner ultimately pleaded guilty in 2018 and is still serving a sentence of

over five years. That`s the longest ever sentence imposed in federal court

for an unauthorized release of government information to the media,

according to prosecutors.

Winner is languishing in prison, while figures like Edward Snowden have

become the darlings of civil libertarians. Her petition for clemency was

overlooked by the former president, who went on to pardon his cronies

convicted in the Russia probe.

Now, Winner`s mother is pinning her hopes on the new president, as the

Biden administration takes a harder line toward Russia.

Joining me now is Reality Winner`s mom, Billie Winner-Davis. And back with

me is Malcolm Nance, U.S. intelligence expert.

And, Ms. Winner-Davis, thank you so much for being here. It`s been a long

road trying to get to this interview to happen. So, thank you for being so

flexible with us, as breaking news overturned our previous attempts to do


Talk to me about Reality.


REID: What did she -- what was her goal, in your mind? And do you think

that she was treated the way other leakers have been in the past? Put it

that way.

WINNER-DAVIS: So -- so, first of all, thank you so much, Joy, for having me

on. It is such an honor. I`m truly grateful.

I believe that my daughter -- first of all, my daughter, and I have never,

ever had a conversation with regard to why she did -- why she did this, why

she released this vital piece of information.

But, knowing my daughter, and looking at her social media posts and the

interrogation that the FBI did with her, my daughter believed that Trump

was the very worst thing that could ever happen to America, for many

reasons, as a lot of us.

And here my daughter was torn with hearing the lies that this

administration was telling the American people, trying to say that the

Russia investigation was all a hoax. And my daughter had a piece of

evidence right in front of her, and she needed this to get out to the

American people.

And no one else was releasing it. And she took it upon herself to do it for

-- do it for us.

REID: Do you think that she went to this particular news outlet because it

had been involved in the past in issues like the Edward Snowden case?

Did she think that that was a sympathetic outlet for her? And what do you

make of what happened as a result of that same news outlet not really

concealing her identity?

WINNER-DAVIS: Yes, I`m not really sure about why Reality went to The


I know that anybody in NSA is warned about Edward Snowden. And I know that

there`s a natural curiosity to go there, go to The Intercept. And so I

really don`t know that piece of it.

And I do realize that mistakes were made. Mistakes were made both by The

Intercept and by my daughter that led the FBI straight to her door.

But I can`t blame The Intercept for what`s happened to my daughter. I blame

Trump and I blame Trump`s DOJ for what`s happened to my daughter. They`re

the ones who arrested her, who denied her bail, who have persecuted her

under the Espionage Act, who have denied her compassionate release, and who

have made sure that she got the longest ever sentence for a crime of this

nature in the United States.

I blame Trump. I blame his DOJ for this.

REID: And, Malcolm, let me bring you in here, because you and I have talked

a lot about the Snowden case.

And he is sort of a cause celebre for people who see themselves as civil

libertarians` sort of purists. But the House Intelligence report in 2016

found that the vast majority of the documents that Mr. Snowden stole really

had nothing to do with programs impacting individual privacy interests.

They instead pertained to the military, defense and intelligence programs

of great interest to America`s adversaries.

And he is now in Russia, where he has safe haven. And yet you have seen

Republican lawmakers pushing the former president to pardon him. There been

a lot of people on other sides of the aisle also pushing for a pardon for


Why do you suppose that Reality`s story has not become the kind of cause

celebre for those who care about information getting out that could help

the public? This is helping expose our voting systems were targeted.

NANCE: Well, first, let me -- let me give my thanks to Ms. Winner`s,


I know exactly where your daughter comes from. I was a cryptologic

linguist. She was a Persian linguist. I was an Arabic linguist. We went to

the same schools, the same training facilities. I have been assigned to the

same place that she was assigned at some points in her career.

And when she became a civilian contractor, you can understand the allure of

wanting to go out there and make a significant impact in a very important

story of the day.

But, on the other hand, what she did was wrong. She released classified

information. And there`s a way to do this. Take a look at Colonel Alexander

Vindman and others. That`s water under the bridge.

But why the right wing has Edward Snowden as a cause celebre? That man is a

straight up traitor. I mean, he literally exposed programs I swore to die

before I would ever release in the hands of our enemies. And he did it with

such blithe spiritedness. He joined the CIA and NSA with the intent to

release this information.

(AUDIO GAP) person who released lots of classified information. There is a

way for Ms. Winner to get a pardon. She needs to show remorse, come out and

expose what she did? We all know what that is, and to show that, in

comparison, General Michael Flynn, the former director of Defense

Intelligence Agency, was -- I mean, was committing crimes that he admitted

to the FBI.

Put it in context. There`s a system out there now. There`s a new president.

And it won`t be considered or corrupt pardon if Reality Winner is released,

as opposed to, I don`t know, Steve Bannon.

REID: Yes.

And is that something that you intend to do, Ms. Winner-Davis? Do you

intend to try to seek a pardon for your daughter? And do you -- are you

hopeful that it could happen now that there is an administration that

actually sees Russia as an adversary, and not as something to aspire to


WINNER-DAVIS: So, right now, Reality has a petition for clemency on file.

And that`s pretty much what we`re pushing right now. Just commute her

sentence, let her out. She is suffering not only in a maximum-security

prison, but in a maximum security prison that is infected with COVID. And,

also, they`re in lockdown conditions.

She is suffering. And I just want her home. I want her out. We can look at

the idea of a pardon later on. But what I want right now is, I want Joe

Biden to look at her. She`s no threat at all to society. There is no reason

to keep her locked away in prison at this time.

And I just want for President Biden to look at her and to commute her

sentence and bring her home.

REID: Yes.

Well, we hope that your daughter does get that opportunity to -- and that

the Biden administration will take a second look at this case.

Billie Winner-Davis, Malcolm Nance, thank you both very much.

And that is tonight`s REIDOUT. Thank you all for watching.



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