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Transcript: The ReidOut, 10/8/21

Guests: David Jolly, Elie Mystal, Anita Hill, Lizz Winstead


Fox News host says masks on kids is child abuse; Texas appeals ruling blocking abortion ban enforcement.


JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC HOST: It`s a Squid Game reference. It`s a Squid Game reference.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Got it. Well, you know what, I enjoyed -- I love it. I enjoyed your hosting so much and I`m going to try to keep you. Don`t move, stay there, because I want you to stick around for this segment, so don`t go anywhere. All right, thank you very much. He`s going to be right back. Jason is going to be right back.

Good evening, everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with one hell of a question on this Friday, how dumb can a nation get and still survive? That question, courtesy of our friend, Columnist Eugene Robinson, has posed in today`s Washington Post, and it`s a really good question at a time when we`re faced with not one but two viruses coursing through this country.

Now, one of them, COVID, is so deadly, it can literally take your breath away and hits randomly. Some suffer barely any effects, others, men, women, children, wind up on a ventilator or dead. But the other virus is one that people are acquiring not by breathing in an airborne virus or germ but rather by taking in ignorant, malevolent garbage on their T.V. or on the internet social media, and that virus may make you sick from COVID or from ingesting horse medicine but it most definitely makes you stupid. And right now in America, ignorance and stupidity feel like they have taken over. And it`s not that here, stupid is on a rampage worldwide. Remember Brexit?

But the American variant turned stupid into art, albeit low art, the kind we find in like one of those mall kiosks next to the dogs playing poker. I`m talking about the Republican Party`s full-on, full-grown embrace if dimwittery at every turn. You know the party that pumped itself up on the ideas of family values and fiscal probity only for Mitch McConnell and his ghoul army to play a game of chicken with the debt ceiling and nearly tanking the economy and country with it with only 11 measly Republicans willing to even vote to let the Democrats fix it. The party of owning the libs has also chosen to die on the hill of dying on the hill after not protecting yourself from COVID. They are fully the party screaming at little kids on the way to school because they`re wearing masks, little kids just trying to do what their parents tell them and not don`t die or infect grandmas.

Emboldened by the endless right-wing dopamine from their favorite demagogues over at Fox News, Tuckums telling them that masks are child abuse, while he and his very vaccinated co-workers tell them to get out there and fight the power, cost those little kids for the sake of freedom while we sit back here in our studios while you suckers die. The party of don`t get vaccinated during a global pandemic to own the libs has given us the rise of what killer Republican governors, guys like Ron DeSantis in Florida and Greg Abbott in Texas, banning mask mandates and rushing Regeneron pop-up clinics to enrich their donors, anything but the free vaccine that definitely works.

Under the influence of all that ignorance, trying to reason with these people is like -- I don`t know, I`ve seen this movie before. It`s like a dystopian farce that now feels more like a documentary. Yes, yes, welcome to Idiocracy.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What you`re saying is that you want us to put water on the crops?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Water, like out of the toilet?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it doesn`t have to be out of the toilet but, yes, that`s the idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But Brawndo has got what plants crave.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It has got electrolytes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay, look, the plants aren`t growing, so I`m pretty sure that the Brawndo is not working. No, I`m no botanist but I do know that if you put water on plants, they grow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I`ve never seen no plants grow out of no toilet.


REID: Okay. So we didn`t have to wait 500 years to get to there. We`re not waiting to find out how dumb we can get. We`re in a nation in the strangle hold of Republican zombies who are so high on their own supply, they even shouted down their very own king for daring to suggest that getting vaccinated might be a good idea. I mean, how is not doing the absolutely least to save your own life by getting a vaccine in the middle of a pandemic smart? It`s not.

But the stupid doesn`t even end there. In Texas, they`re bounty hunting doctors and women for trying to exercise abortion rights, a perfectly legal, medical procedure. And since their only organizing principle is getting their way, as we saw with the deadly January 6th Capitol insurrection fueled by the factually, intellectually vacant claim of a stolen election, one they continue to push to this day with their silly fraudits, Republican elected officials, like Arizona Congressman Andy Biggs are still out here saying, we don`t know who won the election in his own state.

There is something wrong and fundamentally broken with the Republican Party, y`all. And it`s quest to be the stupid party, it`s making us look like the stupid country. Imagine if you were an alien looking down at the United States right now, you would not believe we`re a first world country. You`d believe that we`re a nation in deep and advanced decline with a far- right army of the undead lighting themselves on fire and taking the rest of us with them, and you know what, you might be right.


Joining me now is Jason Johnson, Professor of Politics and Journalism at Morgan State University and Host of the slate podcast, A Word with Jason Johnson, Charlie Sykes, Editor-at-Large for The Bulwark and an MSNBC Columnist, and Lizz Winstead, Comedian, co-Creator of The Daily Show and Founder of Abortion Access Front. Thank you-all for being here.

I have to start with you, Charlie. I`m going right down the center of my guest list on my screen. I`m sorry. I do it to you every time. This used to be your people. Why are they pushing -- they are pimping stupid at this point. It`s like their brand.

CHARLIE SYKES, MSNBC COLUMNIST: 20 years ago, I wrote a book about Dumbing Down in Education, and all those people have grown up and gotten into power. It is -- you know, our discourse in this country is dumber, meaner, crueler, but let`s focus on the dumb right now. It`s almost as if we are too exhausted to even try to come up with coherent arguments.

Now, I was listening to that and going -- and part of the problem is that nobody feels the need to have facts and logic or try to persuade anyone of anything, so all you do is you come up with these sort of mad lib word salads or these little demagogic memes that you throw out there because, apparently, that`s what all the incentive structure is, right? Why bother to be intelligent when you can go on Fox or you can go on the internet and say the stupidest thing, you know, be monosyllabic and get people stoked up and outraged and that`s where you get all applauded.

So, it is a stupid era and I think that Eugene Robinson used the phrase at one time, droolingly stupid tactic and, you know, you can`t push back on all of that. I mean, you watch how -- this might be one of the legacies of Donald Trump. I mean, Donald Trump, by the way, is obviously a product of a gummed down political culture, no question about that. But now he has all of us talking like we are eight-year-olds and you have politicians who talk to their electorate with such condescension and contempt, they just assume the voters are so stupid. And so you have guys from Yale and Harvard who are like vying with one another who can come up with the dumbest possible approach and appeal.

So, all of this is going to get worse and all of it is going to get dumber. Who said no one ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence of the American voter, he had no idea. I mean, you couldn`t even imagine.

REID: It`s so important, Jason, to make that point because the people who are pushing the stupidest crap are Ivy League-educated, DeSantis, Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz. These people are, in the construct of the way America likes to say, intelligence works, they`re supposedly intelligent but they`re competing with each other, as Charlie said, to out-stupid each other and saying, no, I can debunk better than Trump, I can be dumber than that. And like they`re all trying to appeal because they think the people who vote for them are stupid.

JOHNSON: Well, yes. I mean, I remember this, Joy, and I`m sure everybody else remembers this. Like you remember ten years ago, remember Christine O`Donnell who literally had to do a campaign commercial saying, I am not a witch. Like we thought that was (INAUDIBLE). We`re like, how dumb has this country that a woman has to say, I`m not Sabrina, right, and make it a campaign commercial? It wasn`t a debate. But we have gotten worse since then.

And I think what boils down to, it`s not just the sort of condescension of educated people like Ted Cruz blatantly lying or Brian Kemp basically lying, it`s that they fear a smart public, because they remotely intelligent public would have figured out, Ted Cruz, you`re lying, you are going on a vacation with your family. And, remotely, educated public would say, look, DeSantis, you should figure out how to put a mask on your face. Like they want people to be dumb because that way they won`t be held accountable for the lives they`re making.

And, look, once we get a new President Camacho or some of their nonsense and we have complete Idiocracy here and then they`re trying to fill a farm land with Mountain Dew, but we`ll learn our lesson. But until then, this Idiocracy seems to be working for a lot of Republicans.

REID: Liz, they made the guy from The Apprentice president of the United States. Let`s just take that in for just five seconds. You do comedy for a living. If you wrote, that people would be like, get out of here, Liz. And this is the guy that used to wear a bow tie and this is the intellectual genius of Fox News who used to wear a bow tie try to show off that he`s smart. Here is Tucker Carlson saying, here is how you should treat a child when you see them in a mask.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: As for forcing children to wear masks outside, that should be illegal. Your response when you children wearing masks as they play should be no different from your response to seeing someone beat a kid in Walmart. Call the police immediately. Contact child protective services. Keep calling until someone arrives.


REID: I promise he took the mask off so that he wouldn`t seem like too much of a smarty pants. But it would be stupid if it weren`t so dangerous, Lizz. You have got the Proud Boys now showing up at these things. I`m starting to wonder if you`re going to start needing a higher private security to get kids into school because the Proud Boys are showing up to intimidate them.


You`ve got the Koch brothers funding organizations that are lying and putting up a propaganda, claiming that putting masks on kids is causing them some sort of harm and dumbing these people down more even though they know better. It is dangerous, Lizz, it is not just stupid.

LIZZ WINSTEAD, TOURING IN BANG THE DUMB SLOWLY: Joy, I saw a woman holding up a sign that said, I will not mask my unborn child. And I`m like, ma`am, you`re wearing pants. You`re wearing pants. So, I don`t even know at this point -- Harvard, I think, has lowered the bar exam at this point in their law school. It`s all so absurd and I just try to figure out, like, I think it started, Jason, you got a sweat pant -- when people just stopped getting dressed, when people just started wearing sweat pants in public, it`s I`m just not going to do it anymore. I just don`t want to put on clothes. It just -- we started devolving when we actually just wanted to literally live and do the least.

And when I look at these people, I`m like you`re so mad that someone is actually requiring something of you to be part of a community. Don`t live in a weird Ted Kaczynski hut if you don`t want to live amongst us.

REID: Yes. And, Lizz, I really wanted to have you -- first of all, I miss you and I haven`t seen you too long. But also the serious side of this is that in Texas, they looked at the Handmaid`s Tale and saw a life plan instead of dystopia. And so now you have from the stupid party the idea that you can put a cash bounty on a woman because she`s pregnant and on anyone who helps to get an abortion. I know you have an organization that`s trying to fight to preserve those rights. We`re at a point now where the Supreme Court, who are supposedly the big intellectuals, and I try to believe that always, among those folks, they could wipe away a woman`s right to choose just like that this year.

WINSTEAD: Yes. And, you know, there was a stay-put on it yesterday and Texas just filed an emergency injunction right now. By the time this show is over, the law could be in place. And I think what a lot of folks don`t know is that there was a cause in this law that said, if it goes on stay and you perform care, you perform abortions, if that law goes back into play, you could be prosecuted for actually performing procedures during the time they made it legal again.

I mean, it`s so wild. All of this is based on as we have seen -- as we have seen conspiracy theories happen, there has been abortion conspiracy theories also, right? And so you see this judge laid out brilliantly in this case, like that there is no such thing as a heartbeat, there is cardiac movement. There was an op-ed at The New York Times where they`re talking about a jaw being formed at six weeks. I`m like, maybe if you`re Jay Leno, but, no, that`s not real. People just keep saying things that aren`t true and then we`re basing laws and facts on them. And when it comes to abortion, it`s been happening for ten years and, sadly, we haven`t been paying enough attention to it. Texas didn`t happen in a vacuum and there is a jillion states happening -- doing stuff that`s equally as bizarre right now as we talk about it.

REID: And so, Charlie, I have to come back to you on this because you and I both were in the talk radio business and we both know that part of the vibe is just to say whatever, to keep people amped up, keep people on ten.

And, unfortunately, that form of entertainment has seeped into the information space where people think they`re getting the news. I mean, I have met people who used to believe the late Rush Limbaugh was delivering the news, not just the news but the news that the rest of you sheep are getting and that they`re getting secret, special news.

And so I think isn`t that part of the problem that people have come to believe that what used to be entertainment is actually information that they ought to use to live their lives.

SYKES: No, that`s exactly right, you know. And it didn`t have to be this way. I mean, you could have actually -- these shows could have dealt with ideas and maybe in the early days, they did but, no. Rush Limbaugh`s career, I think, is a perfect example of it. I mean, he always was an entertainer. And in the beginning, maybe he pretended to care about ideas. At the end, it was just basically stoking up the anger and the outrage.

And the reality is, in order to understand Donald Trump and the era that we`re living in now, I mean, Donald Trump really is the first longtime listener, first time caller president of the United States. He gets his clues from talk radio, and not just any talk radio, but if you find all most the lowest common denominator, there`s no talk show out there, and you listen for long enough, you can predict what Donald Trump will say the next week or the week after all of that. And so that has changed our discourse. This is the triumph of the entertainment wing of the Republican Party.

REID: That`s right.

SYKES: The leadership of the Republican Party is not in Washington D.C. It is the entertainment wing which has decided that it will continue to go for the lowest common denominator.


REID: And last word from you, Jason -- go on, very quick, Lizz.

WINSTEAD: I was going to say, Charlie, to your point, people ask me constantly why isn`t there more conservative comedians? Why do all the comedians seem to be liberal? I think because conservatives have a problem with any kind of humor, and when they do it badly, the world burns.

REID: Yes, yes. Last word to you, Jason, because you can`t avoid the fact a lot of the anger that they`re using to stoke, they` using the demographic changes in this country to freak people out and not inform them.

JOHNSON: Well, yes, yes. It`s all about this is a scary world of brown people and tan people. And that`s not just from entertainers. That`s from people who are news people who vacillate between being entertainers and saying they are just commentary and also providing news. It fascinating to me as you play that clip with Tucker saying, this is what you should do when you see people mistreating children. You should call child protective services. Does he do that when he hangs out with his buddy, Matt Gaetz, when they have dinner? I doubt it.

So, the fact of the matter is, a lot of people out there who are constantly spreading disinformation and dumbing down their audiences knowing full well not only will they not be held accountable one way or another but they can also -- if they`re ever called into question, just go back to saying, you know what, it`s the brown people and the tan people, we have got to stop them too.

REID: Absolutely. And, by the way, he`s not calling child protective services if he`s out with Mr. Gaetz and there are any teenagers around, he should.

Thank you, Jason Johnson, Charlie Sykes, Lizz Winstead, I appreciate all of you. Have a great weekend.

Up next on THE REIDOUT, request denied, President Biden rejects Trump`s claim of executive privilege as Trump`s henchmen learn they will not get away with ignoring the January 6th select committee.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT (voice over): Take a look at what is happening in Haiti, a tremendous problem with AIDS. Many of those people will probably have AIDS and they`re coming into our country.


REID: The former -- disgraced former president goes full racist on Haitian migrants again.

And NBC Correspondent Jacob Soboroff joins me with new reporting on the desperation in Haiti.

And tonight`s absolute worst, they`re never going to give you full membership so why are you beclowning yourself to get into the right-wing circus?

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: They tried it.

The Florida retiree and some of his closest aides try to stand MAGA-ly strong and say that they would not respond to the subpoenas issued by the January 6 select committee, relying on the disgraced ex-president`s claim of executive privilege.

However, they just found out how executive privilege actually works. It belongs to the office of the presidency, not to the individual. And, by that, I mean the current president.

So, today, the actual current president informed his predecessor that those claims will be denied.

Quote: "These are unique and extraordinary circumstances. Congress is examining an assault on our Constitution and democratic institutions provoked and fanned by those sworn to protect them. The constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to shield from Congress or the public information that reflected clear and apparent effort to subvert the Constitution itself" -- unquote.

Also today, the select committee announced that Trump`s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former DOJ official Kash Patel are engaging with the committee, whatever that means. But for others, like Steve Bannon, who has said he will defy the subpoena, and former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino, who still appears to be MIA, the committee writes: "We will not allow any witness to defy a lawful subpoena or attempt to run out the clock, and we will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral."

With me now is David Jolly, former Republican congressman from Florida who is no longer affiliated with the party, and Elie Mystal, justice correspondent for "The Nation."

Elie, I`m going to start with you.

So, Donald Trump sent a letter to the National Archives claiming that he was going to -- he was going to request executive privilege. He argued that some of the records requested by the committee contain information subject to executive privilege, including presidential communications, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Steve Bannon, who used to be his political director, said that he is not going to comply. And here`s what he said in his letter, saying that -- his lawyer said: "We will comply with the directions of the courts when and if they rule on these claims of both executive and attorney-client privilege. Since these privileges" -- and this is important -- "belong to" he says "Trump, and not to Mr. Bannon, until these issues are resolved, Mr. Bannon is legally unable to comply with your subpoena request for documents and testimony."

Here is what Steve Bannon was doing on January 6, the day of the insurrection. Let`s just show a picture of that. This is what Steve Bannon was up to. There he is, not in the White House, not working for the president, not in an official capacity. He was doing his radio show. He is not subject -- the executive branch does not apply to him in any way, right, Elie?

ELIE MYSTAL, "THE NATION": I cannot emphasize how stupid Steve Bannon`s arguments are. They carry no legal water. He wasn`t even working for the White House within years of the time where the documents are requested.

It`s like if a kid comes up -- if a kid a mask comes up to your house and says trick or treat in June, he`s not looking for candy. He`s looking to rob you. Like -- and that is what Steve Bannon`s argument basically is. He is saying trick or treat in June. He is looking to rob people.

But here`s the thing -- and you were right. You read the line from the select committee. We will swiftly move to stop -- swiftly would have been at 12:01, because at 12:01 this morning, that is when Steve Bannon was in defiance of a congressional subpoena.

Swiftly would have been to recommend him for contempt at 12:01, have that sent to the full House by this afternoon, have that at the Justice Department tonight, so that Merrick Garland -- and then Merrick Garland is going to do his thing -- but so that Merrick Garland can go start the process of arresting Steve Bannon again and forcing him to comply with a subpoena. That would be swift. This is not swift.


REID: I mean, the thing is that the impunity creates outcomes, David.

Donald Trump`s aides defied subpoenas just willy-nilly during impeachment. They pretended the subpoenas meant absolutely nothing when Trump was president.


REID: Now Trump is not president.

The person who actually has jurisdiction over whether or not executive privilege is going to be used -- that is the current president -- said, no, thank you. You`re not getting that.

There is no claim that is valid, OK? We can show it again. Steve Bannon was a radio host, not a White -- there`s no way on earth any court that is rational, unless Donald Trump himself is the judge, is going to support -- so this is a done deal.

But not prosecuting and not giving Steve Bannon any consequences before is why he`s out there still grifting claiming that Trump is coming back in 2022, instead of preparing to go to jail.

In your view, do you think that Democrats have made a mistake or that the Justice Department, I should say, has made a mistake in not being swifter and tougher on these people? Because they just -- they`re -- they don`t believe that the law applies to them.

JOLLY: Yes, Joy, I don`t think Congress does oversight well. That`s true of the Democratic majority. It`s true of the former Republican majority.

Any body that`s only in session part-time, and while they`re there are spending more time raising money than in committee hearings, does not do oversight well. So we have to modulate our expectations.

But I would also say this. I -- look, I agree on the merits with Elie and with your premise, but I expect this to go to court. I expect this to be litigated. I expect Donald Trump to draft a petition for an emergency injunction. I do think there are some novel questions here.

Ultimately, I think Trump and his minions will end up on the wrong side of any decisions. But here`s the most critical thing. Here`s what jumps out at me, Joy, that I think is very telling. Elie`s right. Bannon hadn`t worked for Trump for years, right?

Well, then what information would he be suggesting there`s a privilege for? And that could only relate to communications between Donald Trump and Steve Bannon. I think there`s a tell in what Steve Bannon has suggested, that he`s going to let the president assert privilege. I think it`s because Steve Bannon has information directly related to the behavior, the activities and the communications of Donald Trump as it relates to January 6.

REID: I do too.

And, Elie, I do not want to modulate my expectations. I`m just going to be honest, because we`re in the midst of a crisis of our democracy. They`re already planning these fake audits in multiple other states. Republicans are not even -- not even hiding the fact that they`re already trying to set up to steal the next presidential election by putting their minions all throughout the government from bottom to top.

And so my question is -- and I know it`s something you talk about and tweet about a lot -- what should we be expecting the Justice Department to do? Because David is right. Congress ain`t good at doing this kind of oversight. What should the Justice Department be doing?

MYSTAL: They need to start putting people in jail. They need to start bringing charges and putting people in jail.

In the specific issue of the subpoenas, like I said, the way that the criminal contempt works, it`s got to go to the full House first. And so, at this point, literally, the House is the problem right now today.

But as I think we all know, once it gets to Merrick Garland, he could put Steve Bannon in jail like that, but nobody thinks that he will. We all think that all Merrick Garland is going to do is, like, maybe write a sternly worded letter expressing -- like, he`s not -- Merrick Garland is not using the full powers of his office, the full powers of the FBI, the full powers of law enforcement to hold these people to account.

What can he do? Charge people. Charge people with obstruction of justice that as -- yesterday story about Trump calling the Justice Department nine times to try to overturn the election. Charge him with obstruction of justice. If you don`t like that story, there was a whole Mueller report where 10 issues of obstruction of justice were laid. Charge him for those.

There`s just so many different ways that the current Justice Department could be holding these people to account. And Merrick Garland is not doing it. Instead, he`s doing things like taking up Betsy DeVos` appeal as she tries to continue to get away with her loan manipulation scheme, her alleged loan manipulation scheme.

Like, Garland right now is not rising to meet the moment that our constitutional crisis requires.

REID: And the last word to you on this, David.

I worry about that, too, that Garland is trying to be the kind institutionalist and our democracy is slipping away right under his nose.

JOLLY: Yes. And, look, in many ways, I will yield my time to Elie to keep on going, because I couldn`t agree more.

And I think to add one final context to this, Democrats, the Democratic administration, Democrats in the House have to realize this is unfortunately all on them, though it shouldn`t have to be. We saw during both impeachment trials that Republicans are not willing to accept the framework of law and order that the Constitution puts in front of them, puts the responsibility of accountability on senators and members of the House, regardless of party.


Republicans will not do this...

REID: Yes.

JOLLY: ... which means this is the moment that Democrats have to rise to the occasion.

REID: Amen.

David Jolly, Elie Mystal, thank you both very much. Have a great weekend.

Up next on THE REIDOUT, author and legal scholar Anita Hill joins me to talk about her new book on combating sexual harassment and assault and her place in history.

Stay with us.


REID: Thirty years ago next week, the way that we as a nation address sexual harassment started to change, as attorney Anita Hill delivered testimony before that then-all-male, all-white Senate Judiciary Committee about allegations of sexual harassment from her former boss, then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.

The committee eventually advanced Thomas` nomination to become the second black man to sit on the high court, taking the seat previously held by the great civil rights icon Thurgood Marshall. But the impact of Hill`s televised testimony opened the floodgates for more women to openly discuss gender-based violence that they had endured, sexual harassment in workplaces and sexual assault.

Thirty years later, Clarence Thomas still sits on the High Court, and he`s now joined by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who, during his confirmation hearing, was accused of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford. Kavanaugh, like Thomas before him, denied the allegations.

And then there is our twice-impeached disgraced former president, who even, after the "Access Hollywood" tape surfaced, allowing voters to hear for themselves his boasting about grabbing women by their private parts, who faced numerous charges of sexual misconduct, claims of sexual harassment or assault from at least 20 women, charges he`s denied, was elected president in 2016, despite all of that, with 74 million Americans backing him a second time in 2020.


So how much has really changed?

In her new book, "Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence," Anita Hill takes on the slow pace of change and what needs to be done for real systemic change to address gender-based violence as a cultural and structural problem that hurts everyone?

Anita Hill, professor of social policy, law and women`s gender and sexuality studies at Brandeis University, joins me now.

Professor Hill, it`s great to talk with you. Thank you so much for being here this evening.

ANITA HILL, BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY: Well, it`s wonderful to be on your show, Joy.

REID: Thank you.

So let`s just get right to the -- I guess the main question. I think, for a lot of us who were young women at the time that we saw you go through what you did with now Justice Thomas, to see it happen all over again in -- with the Kavanaugh nomination, to see Christine Blasey Ford in your very position, also attacked by people who wanted Kavanaugh on the court, to see the way that she was treated, the death threat she got, et cetera, it feels like the only progress is that the Judiciary Committee was not all white and all male.

Like, very little else has changed. I mean, three people who were on the committee that approved Thomas also voted for Kavanaugh. What has actually changed, in your view?

HILL: Well, there has been greater awareness of the problem of sexual harassment and all forms of gender violence over the past 30 years. And that is tremendous. We shouldn`t overlook that.

However, when we witness the Kavanaugh hearings -- and you are correct. It was just like nothing ever happened. And I think what we can take away from that is that, in fact, when the processes that we go into as victims and as survivors of gender violence, when the processes don`t change, then the outcomes and the public reaction doesn`t change.

And so we have got to work on changing our processes. It`s as simple as that.

REID: Yes.

I mean, and if we put back up that list of people who were on the Judiciary Committee at the time that Clarence Thomas was approved, you can see right at the top of that list is a guy named Joe Biden, who then was a senator from Delaware. He was the chairman of the committee. He`s now president of the United States.

He, of course, wrote the Violence Against Women Act. He was responsible for that being passed, and has fought for that act. Have you had and had the opportunity to have conversations with the president either before he was elected president or since about this very issue, about what can be done to make things actually begin to change?

And if you have, can you tell us what he`s had to say?

HILL: Yes, well, I have been having a brief conversation with him before he announced his presidency -- or run for the presidency. And he did apologize for the way he managed the hearing in 1991.

What I need to hear now, and I think what the American public needs to hear, given his role in `91, even given his role with the Violence Against Women Act and the efforts on college campuses to stop sexual assault, all of those put him in the position to be a leader for change, to be a leader that acknowledges the enormity of this problem.

And I map that out in "Believing," the enormity of it, and the pervasiveness of it throughout our institutions. Given the reality of today, it`s no longer acceptable just to apologize for the past. What we need to be doing is looking to the future and acknowledging the problem and putting together an agenda to eliminate it.

REID: You know, what I think is distressing, I guess, particularly since we have had a MeToo movement that felt like it was going to add to the changes that came, that really were launched in many ways by your testimony and your bravery at that time -- so you have had MeToo.

But then you have also elected a president like Donald Trump, and somebody who on tape said that he had the right, because of his being a celebrity, to grab women by their genitals. And people said -- they look past that and said, you know what, he`s fine to be president.

We now have multiple candidates for governor, for senator. We had a candidate for governor in California. We have had all of these people who, you look at their history, and you would think that some of the things that they have done when it comes to women or alleged to have done would be prohibitive of them gaining power.


But it feels like men like that are getting more power. Does that concern you?

HILL: Well, what we do know is that -- and I -- again, I talk about this in my book -- that there is denial of the problem.

Even with -- after the 19 million tweets of the MeToo movement, there still remains a culture of denial and dismissiveness. And it begins when we tell children, girls, small little girls, that they the abuse that they are experiencing from a classmate or from somebody else, sometimes even an older child or an adult, when we tell them that it`s not so bad, or we explain to them, well, that`s just boys being boys.

What we`re doing is accepting violence. We`re accepting the precursors to violence. And we`re telling girls that they should accept it too, and not complain. So, we have got a cultural denial and dismissiveness of the problem.

And it does even spread to adults, who will accept the explanation from someone like a Governor Cuomo, who says, well, that`s just what I do, instead of really understanding and acknowledging for what it is, behavior that`s unacceptable.

REID: Yes.

Or someone like Sage Steele, a fellow woman who was saying that to other women. It`s shocking to hear coming from a woman.

But I want to just thank you for being here. I hope that everyone will read your book. You are one of the voices who for me as a young woman was a voice of bravery and standing up for women`s rights to be able to work and have dignity in the workplace without being harassed. So I want to thank you for writing your book. And thank you for just all that you have done.

Professor Anita Hill, thank you so much. Really appreciate you.

HILL: Thank you for having me.

REID: Still ahead on THE REIDOUT: new reporting from Haiti, as the nation grapples with political upheaval, vicious gang violence, the aftermath of a massive earthquake, and the spread of COVID.

We will be right back.




DANIEL FOOTE, FORMER U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY TO HAITI: Deportation back to Haiti is not the answer right now. I am not saying that intending migrants who are in illegal status shouldn`t be deported.

But Haiti is too dangerous. Deportation in the short term is not going to make Haiti more stable. In fact, it`s going to make it worse.


REID: That was former Special Envoy to Haiti Daniel Foote, who resigned last month because of how the Biden administration was treating Haitian migrants.

The U.S. has used a Trump era law to deport more than 7,000 Haitians after a surge at the border last month, denying their asylum pleas due to the pandemic. But the situation in Haiti, which has faced both a presidential assassination and a deadly earthquake in the past few months, is dire.

NBC`s Jacob Soboroff is just back from Haiti. Here`s what he saw there.


JACOB SOBOROFF, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Across Haiti`s capital city, a landscape of despair, one that extends far beyond Port-au-Prince.

(on camera): We`re on our way to Les Cayes, the area that was devastated by the recent earthquake here. We`re going to board a plane operated by the World Food Program. They`re doing food and cash distributions. This is it.

(voice-over): We flew with Pierre Honnorat, the organization`s country director in Haiti. When we arrived, we drove towards a remote commune called Aquin, an area that faced extreme poverty even before the quake due to a lack of jobs in the area.

PIERRE HONNORAT, WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: Here, you have the most vulnerable among very vulnerable people. And you need to properly identify who they are

SOBOROFF (on camera): They might be starving, literally.

HONNORAT: Exactly.

SOBOROFF: This is one of their food distribution sites. Pierre is leading us into it right now.

(voice-over): We met several women waiting in line, including this single mom of four kids.

(on camera): Can you tell me what life is like here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): This is not a great place.

SOBOROFF: Do you know anybody who`s left, anybody who`s leaving Haiti?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Yes, there are a lot of people leaving.

SOBOROFF (voice-over): Hunger isn`t the only life-threatening reality for Haitians.

HONNORAT: Some areas are already like war zone. You don`t go there anymore.

SOBOROFF (on camera): It`s a war zone.

HONNORAT: It`s really a war zone.

SOBOROFF (voice-over): We flew back to Port-au-Prince on a U.N. chopper now used to avoid violence, in addition to delivering aid. On the city streets, you understand why.

(on camera): We`re making our way through Port-au-Prince and much of the city right now is controlled by violent gangs. We`re heading to a clinic run by Doctors Without Borders. They say they`re seeing an uptick in violence.

That`s trauma hospital.

(voice-over): Half of the patients who arrive here have life-threatening gunshot wounds, often from high-power firearms.

(on camera): The patient that`s in this bed inside this room right now is a victim of gun violence.

(voice-over): Haitian trauma surgeon Xavier Kaniza (ph) tends to the neediest patients.

(on camera): How many of the people that you meet as patients do you think would consider leaving Haiti for another country, including the United States?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe 90 percent.

SOBOROFF: Ninety percent? Why so high?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Violence, poverty.

SOBOROFF: And those are the patients you treat every day?


SOBOROFF: Victims of gun violence.


SOBOROFF: Stabbings, car accidents, because they have to move from one place to another due to violence in their community?

And even you, as a doctor, is it fair to say that you might think about one day leaving Haiti because of the situation here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I do, because, at the end, I have got dreams too. I want a better life too. I don`t need to be rich. I don`t need that. But I need to have enough to feed my family.

SOBOROFF: There is enormous pressure for you as well.



REID: Joining me now is NBC News correspondent Jacob Soboroff.

Jacob, my friend, thank you for doing that report and going to Haiti.

Just a simple question: From what you saw of the country and flying and being in different parts of it, is Haiti somewhere where it seems to you it makes sense to be deporting people right now?


SOBOROFF: I think anybody who sees it, Joy, can see that this is a country in multiple crises.

You heard it from the former special envoy himself. Nobody told this man, who was supposed to be our government`s representative in Haiti, about these deportations. They have got a crisis of extreme poverty and hunger, a crises of gang violence that is so prevalent throughout the country, these aid organizations can`t even drive on the roads any longer, and, on top of that, political instability with the assassination of the president and natural disasters.

It`s a place people are fleeing, not a place people want to go back to.

REID: Haiti has been so undermined as since it freed itself from French slavery and colonialism. It`s never really had a chance to get off the ground as a country.

The administration has said they want Haiti-based solutions to the what`s happening there. Did you see any evidence that this is a country that can create these solutions without massive assistance from overseas?

SOBOROFF: Well, that doctor himself is a Haiti-based solution. And he wants to leave the country. This is a man who`s treating people, victims of gun violence, multiple victims of gun violence every single day.

And he said to me directly -- I mean, this is an essential worker, if there ever was one -- he wants to leave the country. So nobody ever wants to leave their home country if they have the opportunity. But whether it was the woman in Les Cayes, in the area that was hit by the earthquake, or this doctor, this Doctors Without Borders doctor in Port-au-Prince on the outskirts, they don`t see any option to stay. And leaving is their only hope.

REID: More than 20,000 Haitians right now are in Northern Colombia. Thousands more are in Panama.

These people in some cases have been there for years, maybe even 10 years. They haven`t been to Haiti. What do they find when they go home?

SOBOROFF: Devastation.

And, actually, on top of that, Joy, it isn`t -- I think so much of the conversation has been about Haitian migrants staging in South America on their way to the United States. But Haitians in Haiti want to leave. The U.S. Coast Guard has picked up three times as many Haitians leaving by sea this year over last year, and just hundreds in the last couple of weeks, 199 on the Thursday that I was in Haiti.

There are people on their way out right now. And I think that`s getting lost in this conversation. It`s not just people who have left 10 years ago. It`s people leaving today.

REID: Yes. Yes, absolutely. It is a crisis that needs to be addressed, and not by deporting people there.


REID: Deporting people to there.

Jacob Soboroff, thank you so much. Really appreciate you.

SOBOROFF: Thanks, Joy. thanks.

REID: All right, have a great weekend.

Don`t go anywhere, everyone. Tonight`s "Absolute Worst" straight ahead, as we explore the strange saga of black MAGAism.

Back in a second.



REID: There is perhaps no state that better demonstrates the promise of our democracy, as well as its demise, than Georgia.

It`s the state that turned blue for Biden, but then reacted to that decision by passing a Jim Crow voter suppression bill that stacks the deck in the GOP`s favor, none of which is surprising. I mean, look at who`s running the place.

We have Brian Kemp, the O.G. vote suppressor who signed that bill in front of a painting of a plantation where black people were once enslaved. We have professional tax-paid troll Marjorie three names, who spends her time screaming at Democrats while on the taxpayer clock.

Then we have the cast of characters who may be in charge one day, like former NFL star Herschel Walker running for U.S. Senate, a Trump devotee whose ex said he threatened to shoot her in the head.

And then there`s Vernon Jones. Jones is running for governor of Georgia, primarying the aforementioned Mr. Kemp. He used to be a Democrat, only to announce that he was joining the Republican Party at the rally before the insurrection, moments before all the noose-hanging, poop-smearing and deadly anti-democratic violence popped off at our Capitol.

But the string saga of Vernon Jones doesn`t end there, no, no. Back in 2010, when Jones was the first black CEO of DeKalb County, a jury awarded buckets of cash to white plaintiffs who said that they were victims of reverse racism.

Yesterday, Jones joined Stew Peters, right-wing podcaster for a little chitchat that was supposed to be about his campaign. Let`s just say things went a little off the rails.


STEW PETERS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: You`re accusing them of lying and you`re accusing me of being foolish.

FMR. STATE REP. VERNON JONES (R-GA): Fake news. If you want to talk about a...

PETERS: You`re accusing them of lying and you`re accusing me of being foolish, if there was shocking evidence of an overt and unabashed pattern of discrimination in your administration.

Yes, absolutely, he did. That`s what bullies do. That`s what bullies do. They gaslight, shout you down. So, if court rulings are anything to go by, we can now clearly say Vernon Jones doesn`t care much for white men.



REID: OK, Stew. Screen went black and everything.

Ooh, but you surprised, Vernon? I mean, are you are you really, really surprised?

It just goes to show you that you can kiss the dear leader`s ring. You can call the Democrats demons and crowd-surf during COVID. But, in the end, the party that legit, legit fears that they are getting replaced and eradicated by people who look like you, Vernon, will never embrace you, especially if you have been accused of the old reverse discrimination against white people.

Jones isn`t the only one. We have Diamond and Silk and Candace Owens and also Jason Whitlock, who went on Tuckums` show to say that President Obama rejects the white side of his family, never mind that Obama literally called his white mother the single most important influence on his life.

When Tuckums is defending you, you know you are in the sunken place, which is why black conservatives who have to beclown themselves for a seat at the Jim Crow table are tonight`s "Absolute Worst."

That`s tonight`s REIDOUT.