Latest on deadly shooting involving Alec Baldwin. 1/6 committee Member Raskin on Bannon contempt vote. Biden administration pitches pared- down build back better. Biden administration optimistic on build back better.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Tiffany.
TIFFANY CROSS, MSNBC HOST: Hey Ari. I`m wondering, did you asked George Clinton that age old question, why must you be like that, why must you chase the cat? Nothing but the dog in him. Excellent interview. I love being lead-in by George Clinton. Thanks Ari. We`ll catch you next time.
MELBER: Nothing but the dog. I love it.
CROSS: Exactly. I`ll take it from here, Ari, have a good weekend.
And good evening to everyone at home. I`m Tiffany Cross in tonight for Joy Reid and we`ve got a lot to get into in the next hour, including stunning new details about what happened in the hours before that deadly shooting on a movie set in New Mexico.
And in a little while, I`ll be speaking to Congressman Jamie Raskin about the vote to hold Steve Bannon in contempt and that bizarre scene on the House floor yesterday when Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene literally tried to pick a fight with both Raskin and Liz Cheney. Yes, we`re going to talk about it.
But we begin THE REIDOUT with progress that will impact millions of working class Americans. Now, it sounds like Democrats are finally getting close to the finish line when it comes to delivering the build back better agenda, but the questions we all need answers to, what exactly will be in there and will it include what was promised?
Now, Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to the boogie down today. She was in the Bronx with families in part to promote administration`s plans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: This right now is a moment that will not last. It is a particular moment of incredible opportunity and a moment to transform our nation. In this moment, we have an opportunity to build an economy that works for working families.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROSS: And last night, President Biden seemed to appear hopeful that it would actually get done. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: We`re down to four or five issues, which I`m not going to negotiate on national television, as you might guess.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We would be interesting in hearing it if you want.
BIDEN: I know. But all kidding aside, I think we can get there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROSS: But there are two major hurdles that Democrats have to overcome, and that is West Virginia Senator, I love the filibuster, Joe Mansion and Arizona Senator, nobody know what she wants, Kyrsten Sinema.
Now, in order to ensure that both remain on board in passing this once in a lifetime legislation, the White House and fellow Democrats have to trim their proposal from $3.5 trillion to somewhere around $2 trillion.
So, here is where we stand on the legislation and what exactly it means to you. Now, according to NBC News, the bill currently include a year extension to the child tax credit, four weeks of paid family leave, that`s down from 12 weeks, universal pre-K, vouchers for dental cost, funding for child care centers and increase in Pell Grants to help pay for college, elder care provisions and some type of climate change funding.
Now, let`s talk about what is probably out. That`s free community college, expanded Medicare, a more aggressive climate change proposal and, thanks to Sinema, no increased corporate tax hikes to help pay for this bill. And additionally, The Washington Post is reporting that the bill will most likely include a smaller investment in housing and homelessness.
But in a promising sign, it does seem like Democrats are finally looking to finalize the plan that would tax 700 of the wealthiest Americans as a source of spending for the legislation. House Democrats will aim to take up the legislation, which would give Americans more but in smaller amounts instead of hardier investments into fewer things by October 31st. As you know, that`s Halloween. Let`s pray it`s not a doomsday.
I`m joined by Dr. Jason Johnson Professor of Politics and Journalism at Morgan State University and Host of one of my favorite podcasts, A Word with Jason Johnson, and my friend, Fernand Amandi, Democratic Pollster and MSNBC Political Analyst. This should be an exciting discussion for sure.
Jason, you have the benefit of being onset with me, also the added benefit of being my nemesis, so I`ll start with you. Look, Democrats have to get something done and we`re going in the midterms. People of color, younger voters, they came out in droves to deliver the power of the federal government to Democrats. What`s their message going in 2022 if this is what the bill looks like, and can they even get it passed?
JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: So, here`s the thing Tiff. I know that sports is your strong suit.
CROSS: Absolutely. Thank you.
JOHNSON: So this is an example. We talk about young people and young voters and everything else like that, they are looking past this game towards the second one. These infrastructure bills, the build back better plan, all those things are great and wonderful, but a lot of activists on the ground are like, okay, if you do this, what happens to voting rights? Because the fact to matter is these negotiations are setting the frame work for how we think we`ll have to negotiate whether or not we`ll have the right to turn out and vote to thank them for punish them for not getting these policies through afterwards.
So that`s what I`m sort of paying attention to now. It looks like they`re about to land the plane here. They`ll eventually get some sort of policy through but they`ve got to then immediately move to voting rights. If that is put on the back burner until 2022, there will be chaos next fall.
CROSS: Yes. And can they even keep the power to the federal government if that`s move to the backburner. And that a good point, Fernand, so I want to bring you in the conversation here. What is the message that Democrats should be carrying if it`s 2022, and like I just made the point to Jason, can they keep the power of the federal government?
FERNAND AMANDI, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Tiffany, they are going to have to do it around what I think is a central component that really has been lost thus far, and the Democrats have to be seen as the party that took control of a nation in chaos around COVID and was able to right the economic (INAUDIBLE) and help solve the COVID crisis.
Now, a lot of work was actually done as a preliminary step with the American rescue plan. Remember, the vaccine rollout that we`ve seen now on getting close to 70 percent, we`re about to see it fund 28 million children in this country. That is critical. But that economic recovery and the sense that COVID is being fixed by the Democrats, if the Democrats aren`t perceived as having gotten credit for that, they are going to have a hard time selling anything.
And I think to Dr. Johnson`s point, it can`t be said enough, A, they`ve got to get this reconciliation and this infrastructure bill passed. They`re in desperate need of a win now because there is this question of competence. And if they get that done before the Virginia election, which is right around the corner, it would be disastrous, Tiffany. If they don`t get it passed before then there is a loss in Virginia and all of a sudden, whatever momentum is halted, so it`s critical that they get this done.
And then as Jason said, save democracy. This open assault on the democratic process that is happening before our eyes by a GOP that is now unhinged and unhinged from the tenets of American democracy, if they don`t address, there may not be a 2024 to defend the case that the Democrats fixed the country in 2020, 2022 and beyond.
CROSS: Yes. Fernand, you raise a really good point but honestly, I think a lot of people watching at home, if you don`t cover this stuff, you don`t want to get in the minutia of like Capitol Hill drama. It`s really about what is in this bill that impacts you.
So, I want to talk a little bit about housing because Congresswoman Maxine Waters said she`d fight for it. I want you to take a listen. I had her on the show a few weeks ago. Take a listen to her response and then we`ll talk about housing on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): If there is going to be a real effort to deal with the discrimination and the exclusion of people of color and people who are working every day but can`t afford to have rent, then we have got to spend the money in order to deal with the housing crisis in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROSS: Look, Jason, I`ll tell you right here in D.C., there are a lot of people who are homeless. The population of homelessness keeps increasing. There are millions of people facing homelessness or eviction. That is a frightening feeling. This money in this bill will give money for down payment assistance. I mean, it really impacts everyday American people. If this goes or if it shrinks --
JOHNSON: So here`s the thing. You can`t kick people on the streets in the middle of a pandemic that comes from people, you know breathing and being around each other. So this has to be taken care.
This is part of the messaging that I think Democrats should using against Sinema, against Manchin. If you look at -- you know, you can do back of the envelope math here, right? If you look at the Trump tax cuts and you look at the Bush tax cuts, you add those up together, that`s about $3.6 trillion in tax cuts. This whole plan by the Democrats is only going to come in at about $2 trillion. It`s actually a discount. It`s going to be keeping people in their homes, providing people with the resources that they need and helping kids go to school. They should be putting this in contrast to the cheapskates in Congress right now who are saying, we can give money back to the billionaires but we can`t give it to you to keep your house.
CROSS: Right, exactly. And, look, let`s talk about Sinema. You know, this is driving me quite insane. Fernand, I want your opinion here because Biden said yesterday during the Town Hall, she`s smart as the devil. Yes, my friend, on that we agree. Why is she concerned about corporate tax hikes and the wealthiest people in this country more than she is American people? It just feels like she`s a plant.
Look, the Republicans have a vested interest in this administration not getting anything accomplished. She seems to be somebody who is hell bent on this administration not getting anything accomplished. What are your thoughts here?
AMANDI: You know, trying to understand Krysten Sinema is like trying to understand Rudy Giuliani. I mean you figure out because I can`t. I mean, at this point, all I concern about is getting her vote on the line, the yes that matters to get this bill passed.
And, fundamentally, it`s not really going to be about Krysten Sinema, it`s not even going to be about Joe Manchin. It`s can the Democratic put it across the finish line.
One other quick point on this, you know, I think another potential land mine is if the Democrats don`t celebrate the passage, whether it`s a $2 trillion bill or $3.5 trillion as a success.
You wanted a new car for Christmas, you didn`t get the Lamborghini Diablo, you got the tricked out Cadillac. It`s just as good and it`s going to save and help the lives of millions of Americans. But until people begin to feel that, and that still may be a year away from when the bill passes until people start to feel the effects real time, I`m not sure it`s going to have that political benefit. And that`s why it`s important that it has to be framed around the case of this is being done to fix the country`s problems economically with COVID and then in the future, the Democrats are the party that are enhancing every American`s quality of life.
CROSS: Well, yes, I echo your thoughts, Fernand. Look, I think Sinema is going to have some trouble when it comes to midterms when she`s up for re- election. She may have a challenger. What are your thoughts on her being an obstructionist to this scale?
JOHNSON: Well, Joy -- she`s going to be in trouble because her state is unhappy with her. And the thing you can`t do as a politician you can sellout to the rich, you can offend people. You can`t look like you`re not doing your job. Where is Kyrsten Sinema, like Waldo and Carmen San Diego are easier to find. She`s also here, she`s making wine (ph). So, she doesn`t look like she`s doing her job. So, it`s not just being abstractionist. That`s Joe Manchin. At least he says he believe or something. She`s just not there.
So, I think it`s going to be easy to eventually bring her along once she sells out to the people who are paying her bills but her long-term political future in the Democratic Party is next to nil. And she`s not going to be a Republican because she would have no power there.
CROSS: Yes. I got three words for you, Congressman Ruben Gallego. There is an effort to draft him to run and challenge her. And when you look at her record here on helping the build back better plan, it is very dismal.
Fernand, let me ask you because there are other things in the bill that I think we don`t talk enough about. Again, people get so caught up in a minutia of Capitol Hill. I think it`s important for viewers to understand the benefits that are in this bill that will impact them.
There is a provision in the bill that would authorize $5 million a year for the small business administration for an entrepreneurial program for formally incarcerated individuals. That is a major piece of legislation that we`re not really talking enough about or paying enough attention to. This will impact a ton of people particularly people focused on ban the box legislation when they can`t get a job anywhere else.
These are the talking points that Democrats need to be out there selling. Do you think that the media and Democrats have done a good enough job of selling this to make sure that this bill gets passed?
AMANDI: Well, no, I don`t think they have. But by the same token, Tiffany, I think strategically, it doesn`t make sense to sell it until it passes. We already know the polls are clear, the American people think these individual policies are very popular. They want to see these types of legislation that are going to make the country move forward and be (INAUDIBLE) until real progress.
The problem is, right now, the reason we`ve seen President Biden`s approval kind of blow up over the summer is this seeming sense that nothing is getting done. The infighting, the sausage-making, folks don`t really go into the minutia. Once it`s passed, however, that changes the dynamic because then you can say, look at this transformational piece of legislation that the Democrats, not the Republicans, because there is not going to be a single Republican vote on most of these items that the Democrats passed, and if it were not for the Democrats, this would not be happening.
But back to the point, get it done, get it passed and hopefully, all indications are, it looks like, it might happen this coming week.
CROSS: Yes, we hope so. And we got to get off that talking point of infighting among Democrats. We going to put the blame back on Republicans who are being obstructionists here. So, thank you so much Dr. Jason Johnson and Fernand Amandi.
But don`t go anywhere at home because up next on THE REIDOUT, the feeble and embarrassing Republican opposition to holding Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Congressman Jamie Raskin, a member of the January 6th select committee, will join me next.
Plus, new information tonight in the tragic shooting death on the set of an Alec Baldwin movie with crew members reportedly very concerned about safety, and this was before the shooting actually happened. So, you don`t want to miss that.
Also, seriously, where is the accountability? The stunning report about a Miami police officer who still has a job despite years of complaints and hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawsuit settlements.
And with voting rights legislation facing major road blocks, we just talked a little bit about that, facing major road blocks in Congress, President Biden may be re-evaluating his position on the filibuster. Sometimes prayers are answered.
THE REIDOUT continues right after this.
CROSS: All right. In a bipartisan vote yesterday, the U.S. House of Representative referred Steve Bannon to the Department of Justice for charges of criminal contempt. Now, during the debate on the measure, we learned that Republican Congressman Jim Banks is apparently still bitter that he wasn`t appointed as member to the select committee investigating January 6th.
Now, you guys may remember, Banks was summarily rejected by Speaker Pelosi back in July. So, it must have been especially humiliating for him when his GOP colleague, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, revealed that he has been pretending to be a member ever since. Cheney devolves that Banks has written letters to federal agency falsely describing himself as the ranking member of a committee that he literally has no part of.
Now, Banks, of course, was among the 202 Republicans who voted to let Steve Bannon defy a congressional subpoena and yet, none of those Republicans could articulate a legitimate argument in opposition to the measure. Instead, we heard a litany of incoherent complaints and I`m not even kidding you guys, some were not even on the subject. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM BANKS (R-IN): The select committee despises Steve Bannon`s politics so they`re abusing their power to put him in jail.
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): These are the folks who assaulted our democracy for two years under the specter of the Russia hoax.
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): When President Trump was president, Americans got Christmas presents on time.
GAETZ: And because they can`t build back better, they have just decided to build back meaner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROSS: It always comes back to a war on Christmas some kind of way.
Now, listen, Marjorie Taylor Greene was apparently so enraged that Congress would dare hold Bannon accountable that she tried to pick a fight with Liz Cheney and Jamie Raskin on the House floor while the vote was taking place.
Now, according to Axios, Congresswoman QAnon reportedly called the vote on contempt a joke. In turn, Cheney responded that Greene was a joke and asked whether she needed to be focusing on her anti-Semitic space lasers. She was referring to, of course, that conspiracy theory that Greene had posted to Facebook in 2018.
This woman`s a member of Congress, by the way.
Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a member of the January 6 select committee, joins me now.
Congressman, so happy to have you here on a Friday night. Thank you for being with us.
And I`m really sorry what happened yesterday, I really -- can you tell our viewers what exactly happened when you were confronted by someone who clearly seems a bit disturbed?
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Well, but I have never met Marjorie Taylor Greene. I have never been properly introduced to her. And she began by approaching me and asking when we were going to have hearings about the violence in the Black Lives Matter protests.
And I said, we really did need to have a hearing about Kyle Rittenhouse and the two protesters that he shot and killed with his assault weapon. And so she turned to Liz Cheney, and then began engaging with her about something.
And, well, I was impressed by the fact that Liz, who is about the best- mannered, most poised member of Congress we have got, gave as good as she got from Marjorie Taylor Greene and was not letting her get away with anything.
RASKIN: So I appreciated the fact that Liz stood up for our position.
CROSS: Well, you both did. I think that was a pretty quick comeback on your part.
Listen, I mean, we can kind of laugh at this because she`s laughable, but it`s kind of scary that she sounds like the homeless woman who sleeps on my block, right? And this is a woman who is actually an elected member of Congress, that it feels a bit unsafe. Like, she keeps asking for these encounters.
But I don`t want to spend too much time on her.
RASKIN: Well, look...
CROSS: Oh, go right ahead. Go right ahead.
Well, no, I will just say there is a serious issue here, because Donald Trump has taken over the GOP and they have organized themselves literally around a lie, a lie that`s been rejected in 61 federal and state courts all the way up to the Supreme Court, a lie that was rejected by numerous election officials, including lots of Republicans, like Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state of Georgia, and a lie that`s even been repudiated by their own concocted commissions that they create, like in Arizona, somehow to try to ferret out the fraud.
And it`s never there. In fact, in Arizona, they found that Biden had an even bigger victory than was legally declared. And yet still they organize themselves around the big lie. And then that turned into the big violence. And now it`s turning into the big cover-up with Steve Bannon, who refuses to do what every other American has got to do, which is to testify when called upon to testify by your Congress or by a court.
And, look, I think that`s the scary part that you talked about, the big lie. It`s not so much that members of Congress are perpetuating this. It`s the millions of people who believe this. And it`s got to be scary going in the midterms, because will these people ever accept an outcome of an election that they don`t like?
I want to ask, because I think the question people want to know overwhelmingly is, will any of these people ever face accountability? If Steve Bannon gets away with thumbing his nose at a congressional subpoena, I mean, there`s got to be other subpoenas in the work. You think about Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, all the other people, Congressman Mo Brooks even.
If he gets away with thumbing his nose at a subpoena, what does that mean for your committee`s work?
RASKIN: Well, before we get there, the good news is that the vast majority of people we have called up for interviews or that we have subpoenaed have either come to testify in interview or are engaged in good-faith negotiations with the committee.
I mean, if you get a subpoena from the U.S. Congress for Friday at 9:00, and you can`t make it, and you say you want to come Monday at 4:00 or reschedule for some valid reason, we can do that. We`re not trying to put people in jail. We`re just trying to get the information we have been commanded to do by statute about the worst attack on the U.S. Capitol since the War of 1812, a political attack that really could have kicked off a civil war.
In fact, I looked at hundreds of tweets today that were sent out calling this civil war part two or locked and loaded, people who were ready to come to Washington to do violence to the Capitol, to threaten Vice President Mike Pence, and to try to overthrow the election.
CROSS: Listen, I want to tell you I was among the people. I was actually walking into our bureau when that attack happened on our Capitol.
And these people were coordinated, Congressman. I mean, they had on T- shirts. They were color-coordinated. They had hats. I understand the committee has broken up its work into five committees, and that there is one specific forensic financial person who is looking into the financing of what happened there.
What are you looking -- what information are you looking to gain with this forensic financial expert who`s looking at the financing of this attack?
RASKIN: I`m not aware of that reporting.
The select committee, we meet as a whole. There might be some reference to different groups of people on the staff perhaps, but don`t believe everything you read about the January 6 committee.
But in any event, we are very interested in the coordination among the different violent elements. We know that the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the 3 Percenters, the Aryan Nations, the militiamen, the QAnon followers all acted as a violent vanguard at the front of the march and helped to lead the violence, which led to the wounding and injury of more than 140 police officers, who were beaten over the head with the steel pipes and Confederate Battle Flags and two-by-fours and so on.
And then, of course, there was coordinated entry into the building and they were chanting, "Hang Mike Pence, hang Mike Pence," and threatened to go and get Nancy Pelosi and put a frigging bullet in her brain, as one of the insurrectionists said.
So this was very serious business. Donald Trump`s efforts to play this off as a rowdy protest, where the protesters were hugging and kissing the officers, is just a farce...
RASKIN: ... and a further extension of his big lie.
CROSS: So, I just want to nail you down on this. Has the committee brought on financial -- a forensic financial litigator to look into the finances of the incident that happened on January 6?
RASKIN: I`m not aware of that specifically. Obviously, a number of us, including me, are very interested in the financing of it.
You don`t knock over the U.S. Congress and disrupt Electoral College counting for the first time in American history by accident, and you don`t do it for free. I mean, this is a very expensive operation, bringing in the buses and bringing in the protester, rioters by planes, trains and automobiles, the hotels, the motels, and the operation.
We`re going to see that there was millions of dollars, I think, involved in this operation when all is said and done. And we want to know exactly how the violent insurrection part was coordinated with the attempted political coup.
In other words, the violence that was mobilized against our officers and against other officials inside the building, how that was coordinated with Donald Trump`s attempt to get Mike Pence, for the first time in American history, to declare unlawful powers to reject Electoral College votes, lowering Joe Biden`s total below 270, kicking the whole contest into the House of Representatives for a contingent election, where, of course, we would vote not one member, one vote, but one state one vote.
That was the whole purpose of this thing. And the GOP had 27 states, although I don`t think they would have gotten Wyoming`s Liz Cheney, who is the at-larger up there, but it still would have left them with 26 states in the majority. And I think that that was the purpose of the political coup and also the purpose of the violent insurrection.
CROSS: Well, Congressman, I`m sure you have heard many times by now that old phrase that, what do you call a failed coup? Practice.
So we will definitely be watching the work of your committee as we enter midterms, as people -- we hope that people will believe in the democratic system that we have and accept the election results, even when they don`t like them.
So thank you so much, Congressman Jamie Raskin, for being here on a Friday night.
And up next: new information tonight about safety concerns before that deadly shooting on a New Mexico movie set involving Alec Baldwin.
We will be right back after the break.
CROSS: So many questions remain over the tragedy that unfolded yesterday on a film set in New Mexico.
During production of his new movie, actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun that killed the director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, and injured the film`s director.
NBC`s Miguel Almaguer has more.
MIGUEL ALMAGUER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shortly after the fatal shooting, a distressed Alec Baldwin outside the sheriff`s department in Santa Fe. Investigators say the veteran actor fired a prop gun on his New Mexico movie set Thursday, killing the film`s director of photography and seriously injuring the director.
911 OPERATOR: So, was it loaded with a real bullet or...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don`t -- I don`t -- I cannot tell you that.
911 OPERATOR: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have two injuries.
ALMAGUER: But just hours before the deadly shooting on the set of "Rust," an independent movie in which Baldwin is also one of the producers, NBC News has learned several crew members walked off the set over safety concerns, including multiple previous misfires of the prop gun, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Baldwin, who is 63, expressing remorse: "There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours. I`m fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred."
LARRY ZANOFF, HOLLYWOOD WEAPONS EXPERT: One of the things about firearms on set that people don`t realize is that, even if it`s set up the fire blanks, federally, it`s still a real gun.
ALMAGUER: Larry Zanoff, a Hollywood weapons expert who was not on the set of "Rust," says when strict safety guidelines are followed, accidents should never happen.
The industry safety bulletin spells out: "Blanks can kill. Treat all firearms as though they`re loaded. Live ammunition is never to be used. No one shall be issued a firearm until he or she is trained."
Tonight, it`s still unclear if Hutchins was killed by a blank, live round or other projectile.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The way we handle firearms and the blank ammunition on set, that seems very difficult to imagine how a blank would do that.
ALMAGUER: In 1993, after Brandon Lee, the son of Bruce Lee, was killed in a filming accident involving a prop gun, industry safety measures tightened.
ALICIA HAVERLAND, PROP MASTER: To my mind, this accident happens because somebody missed some check that they should have done.
ALMAGUER: Hutchins, who was 42 and posted photos of horseback riding near the set, was quickly becoming a Hollywood star.
"Rust" actress Frances Fisher posting this tribute, saying: "Rest in paradise, dear Halyna."
Tonight, a tragic accident and now mounting questions as to how something like this could ever happen.
ALMAGUER: The production company involved in this incident says they are not aware of any safety concerns, but add they are fully cooperating with investigators -- Tiffany.
CROSS: All right, NBC`s Miguel Almaguer, thank you so much.
And still ahead on THE REIDOUT: Ever wonder how police officers with dozens of citizens complaints against them actually stay on the job? Well, meet Miami Police Captain Javier Ortiz, who a fellow officer described as a bad cop protected by bad leaders.
What history tells us about police accountability -- after the break.
Stay right there.
CROSS: The very long road to police reform was dealt another blow this week, when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of two police officers` qualified immunity defense against allegations of excessive force.
Now, this sends a clear signal that a majority of this conservative court is still overwhelmingly in favor of providing this controversial shield for law enforcement. And this comes one month after bipartisan police reform talks in Congress collapsed. And this is partially over the issue of qualified immunity.
So, without the ability to hold police truly accountable, we are seriously left with some truly heinous and violent actors who time and again abuse the badge they wear without any repercussions.
Now. Politico`s Marc Caputo took an in-depth look at one such officer in Florida who was described as Miami`s least fireable man. Captain Javier Ortiz, who is also the union president of the Fraternal Order of Police in South Florida, has packed up numerous headlines over allegations of excessive force, false arrest, racist social media posts and bullying.
And, as Caputo reports, in his 17 years on the job, 49 people have complained about Ortiz to internal affairs. He`s amassed 19 official use of force incidents and accrued $600,000 in lawsuit settlements. And throughout all of this, he remains on the force with no more than a paid suspension to show for it. Some might call that a vacation.
Ortiz did not comment on the Politico story, but one of his lawyers describes him as a man of deep integrity who adheres to an older code of no-nonsense lawmen.
We know exactly what that means.
Joining me now is Marc Caputo, senior writer for Politico.
Marc, I`m so glad you`re here. And let me say bravo, my friend. This was amazing reporting. It`s very comprehensive. It was like reading a mini- novel.
Looking at this guy`s offenses, it is disgusting to read. Do you think anything is going to change now that your article is out?
MARC CAPUTO, POLITICO: Well, things started to change during my reporting -- and I`m not the only one who`s reported about Javier Ortiz -- is, there`s a new chief in town or new acting chief, and he made sure to put Ortiz on, as you said, a suspension. It`s paid suspension.
But they can`t suspend him without pay under state law. But one of the things that makes Javier Ortiz worthy of study in the context of today`s discussion and debate about police reform is, he kind of embodies all of the different elements. His record is so long and in-depth concerning police allegations of abuse, misconduct, bullying, and the like, is, we have state law.
We have a law enforcement officers bill of rights, which gives law enforcement officers a lot of job protection. You have at the local level...
CROSS: That`s what I`m...
You have at the local level a collective bargaining agreement. You have the fact that he was also a union boss for a number of years. And so there were these intersecting of policy and political matters that made it very difficult for him to be fired.
Now, even his own lawyer in our story said that the Miami-Dade -- or, better said, the Miami Police Department`s internal affairs division has been a joke for 40 years. And that`s been a big problem as well. And you teased this episode or this segment by talking about one of the quotes from one of his fellow officers, Jermaine Douglas, who`s a lieutenant, who said that he`s a bad cop protected by bad leaders.
The other problem is, a lot of leaders just haven`t really had the stomach to take him on. But the new chief, Morales, the acting chief, seems to be willing to do that, albeit his suspension appears to be for his conduct involving other officers, potentially creating a hostile work environment.
It`s not concerning his interactions and the accusations made against him by citizens on the job.
CROSS: So, in your great reporting, you talk about the acting chief, this guy Manny Morales.
Now, even if Morales fire him, there are still provisions in this contract that would potentially challenge that firing and protects him. I just want to give our viewers an idea of who this guy harassed, because although he`s done these racist posts, He clearly is not discriminatory when it comes to who he`s harassed.
These are just some of the people who have complained about him, a teacher, a college student, bar patrons, motorists, a maintenance worker installing electrical lines, a drone operator, a woman who claimed she was flung down an escalator outside a bar. A man lost his nerves from having handcuffs tightly -- he reportedly had -- another man had his eye socket cracked in a beatdown that Ortiz did.
So, I ask you, Marc, if there are still provisions that if Morales fires this guy, he could still wind up back on the force, if the courts will not do anything about police reform, if Congress will not do anything about police reform, what`s the recourse for people who are on the receiving end of this level of abuse?
CAPUTO: Yes, that`s a great question.
I would say let the process play out. I don`t have the ability to predict that. Now, if past is prologue, he`s probably going to get this job back. However, ultimately, a firing of a police officer under the union`s collective bargaining agreement goes to an arbitrator, a quasi-judge, who rules kind of yea or nay.
One of the concerns that a lot of the former chiefs and perhaps the current chief -- I haven`t talked to him about this -- have is that the arbitrator is picked in part in concert with the union. And the arbitrator will have a tendency to give the city a few firings now and then and then he will give the union or the cop a firing now and then -- or, better said, will reinstate him now and then.
It`s kind of like a 50/50 proposition. Now, that having been said, one of the interesting things about Ortiz is, while he was the former union chief for the Miami Police Department, he has since had a big falling out with a membership when they decided not to reelect him or to elect him again as president.
But he`s now trying to get another union involved. So there might not be a lot of love for the union for him anymore. Certainly, a lot of the rank and file don`t like the direction that he`s gone, and they don`t like the appearance or the reputation that the Miami Police Department has gotten.
Now, that having been said, as my story says, the Miami Police Department has a real history of brutality. The FOP, the Fraternal Order of Police local chapter, is named after Walter Headley. He was the chief, the racist chief in Miami who, in 1967, famously said, "When the looting starts, the shooting starts."
CAPUTO: And that`s something that Donald Trump repeated word for word a few years later, or just last year during the post-George Floyd uprisings that we saw across the nation.
And even though the unions have rejected this guy, they -- I will not shed a tear for the unions. The police unions are a huge part of police brutality. And, honestly, Marc the $600,000 that it`s cost taxpayers for bad cops -- when people complained about where their tax dollars go, start with bad cops.
Listen, bravo, Marc Caputo. Amazing reporting. I encourage everybody to check out your story in Politico. It was riveting. Thank you so much, Marc, for joining us on a Friday. And go have a wonderful weekend.
Up next: a major development today in the almost total abortion ban in Texas.
Plus: the fight for voting rights. Greg Abbott picks an actual advocate for the big lie. No kidding. This guy`s going to oversee elections in Texas, and as President Biden shifts his position on the filibuster, to boot.
We will be right back.
CROSS: The U.S. Supreme Court is allowing Texas to remain America`s version of "The Handmaid`s Tale" for now, but they have agreed to hear a case relating to its law effectively banning all abortions in the state. So the justices will hear oral arguments on November 1.
That`s just 10 days from now, but they have declined to block the law for a second time. Only Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented on that, and blasted her colleagues, writing: "The promise of future adjudications offers cold comfort, however, for Texas women seeking abortion care who are entitled to relief now."
I`m joined now by Dr. Christina Greer, professor of political science at Fordham University, and Matthew Dowd, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor of Texas and the founder of Country Over Party.
Chrissy, I got to start with you here. Are we seriously going to trust a conservative court with an actual handmaid on it to protect the woman`s right to choose?
CHRISTINA GREER, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: No, we can`t. And so that goes not just with the Supreme Court, but state courts all across the country.
And I think, honestly, Tif, this just highlights the real importance for us to really pay attention to local elections, to pay attention to statehouse elections, and to pay attention to statewide elections, because so many of these people leave the statehouse and they go to Washington, D.C., and they make decisions based on our bodies and our lives.
But, obviously, we`re seeing this play out in the great state of Texas. And, sadly, what I really want people to think about are the elections that are happening on November 2, so making sure that you call your friends in Virginia to make sure that they`re voting, because we don`t need Virginia to turn into Texas.
And in the upcoming years, we don`t want more states to roll back not just a woman`s right to choose. But, obviously, that goes hand in hand with voting rights legislation as well.
CROSS: And more states are actively trying. The Supreme Court will also hear that Mississippi case when it comes to abortion rights as well.
Matt, I want to ask you because you`re running in the state of Texas. Chrissy says, yes, pay attention to those statehouse -- those state legislatures. But you can pay attention. If voter suppression is keeping you from the ballot box, what can you do beyond paying attention?
The Texas governor, Greg Abbott, just appointed as secretary of state a lawyer who briefly joined Trump`s challenge to the 2020 election results in Pennsylvania. Honestly, with this level of voter suppression happening in Texas, what impact will that have on the elections? And can you win when the state is actively suppressing the right to vote?
MATTHEW DOWD (D), TEXAS LIEUTENANT GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I mean, Texas has become the epicenter of all the awful, I mean, absolutely all the awful, from everything from choice to guns to not dealing with fundamental issues to now voting rights in this.
And it`s because these politicians don`t feel like they`re going to be held accountable in a general election. And their goal -- and it`s their unstated goal, but it`s very clear -- is they don`t want Election Day to look like Texas. That`s what their goal is, because Election Day looked like Texas, they would all lose and they know that.
So it`s their desire not to be held accountable for all these awful policies. Yes, we can win. Yes, it`s going to take a turnout to overcome impediments. We have done it in our history before. We thought we were over this 50 years ago or 80 years ago or 30 years ago. But we`re returning to a time when we had voters back then and 50 years ago who were beaten and were killed along the way fighting for voters rights.
We`re not honoring their legacy. We`re dismissing their legacy in this moment of time. But yes, we can win, but it`s going to take extra, extra effort and extra work. And the worst thing we can do is to sort of abdicate it.
I think part of the Republican strategy is to do so many bad things and so much that we feel so beaten down that we give up. And I think that`s part of their unstated strategy, because people are so -- with this onslaught. But we have to overcome impediments, just like all those leaders before us overcame impediments in their time.
And, look, Matt, I totally take your point. I hear you.
But, Chrissy, I have to say we never thought voter suppression was over, because even though the Supreme Court struck down Section 5, voter suppression ran rampant in all our communities. When you see those long lines on Election Day wrapped around buildings, that`s voter suppression.
When you saw increased voter I.D. laws, that was voter suppression. So can we just admit that Republicans do not want people who look like you and me at the ballot box? This is targeted suppression for black, brown indigenous people to keep them out of the ballot box. It`s like they`re spitting in our face, trying to convince us it`s raining.
I mean, we have we have been having the demographics is destiny in conversation. We also know that the Democratic Party`s become the party of the bigger tent, right? They`re welcoming to immigrants, to people of color, to people of multiple classes, whereas Republicans have decided to cast their lot with white supremacy.
And so that slowly, but surely makes their pool a much smaller pool. They also don`t believe in science or facts. And so, obviously, with COVID-19, they`re losing a large percent of their base as well. And so voter suppression is a way for them to win races. It`s the only way they can win, in many ways, by cheating.
We saw it in Georgia in 2018 with Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp, and then we have seen it subsequently in races across the country. I think, though, what we should remember from our lieutenant governor candidate is to say, even though we are exhausted -- and we know that black women have been the backbone of not just the Democratic Party, but democracy writ large -- we must keep going, because this, as you said, Tif, is not new.
So, we do have new strategies. We have to actually try and stay one or two steps ahead, whether that`s fund-raising, whether that`s calling people in other states to make sure that they even know that races exist. We know that even, in presidential elections, only 60 percent of the voting eligible population bothers to show up.
GREER: So we still need to tap into people who are sitting on the sidelines who we actually need at the ballot box.
CROSS: Yes, that`s a good point. We`re not new to this fight. We`re true to this fight.
So, Matt, you just heard Chrissy`s point.
Let`s assume that President Biden might be tuning into this program tonight. He did tease that he might be willing to nix the filibuster. If he`s watching right now, what advice would you give him when it comes to the filibuster?
DOWD: My advice is abandon the filibuster yesterday. And if you can`t go back in time, abandon it today.
The filibuster is being used to undermine democracy in our state. I actually thought we should have done voter rights before anything else, because it`s the most fundamental thing.
DOWD: Infrastructure is great. And, fine, and we need it. But everything else depends on voting rights. Every single other issue depends on voting rights.
It should have been the priority. And until that was done, we should have put everything else off until that was done.
CROSS: Very good point.
Matt, we will be watching your race. Good luck to you.
DOWD: Thank you.
CROSS: I hope you are -- I hope I`m talking to the next lieutenant governor of Texas.
And thank you, Dr. Chrissy Greer. You will be with me tomorrow on "THE CROSS CONNECTION." So I will see you then.
And, you guys, time flies. That`s THE REIDOUT for this evening.
But, before we go, I want to tell you why I`m here. It`s because Joy is off celebrating her son`s birthday. I want to wish a happy birthday DeJoy son Miles Nasir Reid. Yes, he is named after Nasir Jones, the rapper, because Joy`s has been loved him that much. I don`t know if I have permission to tell that story. But I did.
Don`t hate me, Joy.
All right, but, tomorrow, coming up on "THE CROSS CONNECTION," I`m going to talk to Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, and we`re going to talk about getting that reconciliation bill passed, despite major concessions progressives had to make.
And as jury selection gets under way in the murder trial of three white men for the death of Ahmaud Arbery, we will do a deep dive on the process of how people of color are often kept out of the jury pool. You don`t want to miss this discussion.
So join me tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. for "THE CROSS CONNECTION" right here on MSNBC.
But "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.