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Transcript: The ReidOut, 11/10/21

Guests: Olivia Troye, Paul Butler, Jeffrey Sachs, Melissa Bumstead


The insurrection on our democracy continues. GOP attempts to gerrymander their way to victory. 1/6 committee success depends on enforcement of subpoenas. Representative Liz Cheney says, GOP leaders have made themselves willing hostages to dangerous, irrational Trump.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: So, if you`re keeping score, right now, it is, as you can see here, Big Bird doing big things in the Sesame Streets and Ted Cruz all alone owning himself.

That does it for us. As you can see, we take the news very seriously, Joy Reid is up next. Hi, Joy.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: It`s very serious. I have only one question for you, and it`s a very important question, Ari. Where is Grover? The world`s greatest Muppet, Grover? He has to be involved here somewhere?

MELBER: Shout-out to Grover. I don`t want to take too far. That`s not something I do, Joy. But one Grover would be great especially at softening the image, and, two, is there room for Count Chocula somewhere to do the negatives?

REID: This is the conversation we need to be having. I mean, seriously, right? We got to get Kermit involved. It`s not easy being green. He could relate. But, anyway, let me move on. We got to do some news. But let`s work on this. This is going to be investigative.

MELBER: Good luck, Joy.

REID: Thank you very much. Cheers.

All right, everyone, good evening. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with a stark warning on a much more serious note, on a stark warning that the insurrection on our democracy is still alive and sadly thriving. What we saw play out on January 6th was just the beginning. While the House select committee investigates what happened at the Capitol, as well as the events that transpired behind closed doors veiled in secrecy, the slow rolling insurrection is now unfolding in front of our very eyes.

And we should be concerned. The attacks on our democracy are happening state by state with Republicans taking steps to allow them to fraudulently claim victory in future elections. At least 19 states have passed new laws this year making it harder for you to vote. That includes making it harder to register, restricting absentee and mail-in voting and shortening early voting periods.

Then there is fear mongering over issues of race and boogeyman, like critical race theory, to scare particularly white voters towards the GOP. We saw how that played out in Virginia. We also see Republicans trying to gerrymander their way into far more seats than they deserve based on the demographics and the census results. As of now, it`s basically an apartheid democracy in Georgia, where, yesterday, the Republican-controlled Senate passed a new map giving Republicans nearly 60 percent of the seats, even though the Democrats won the state with a nearly even partisan split in 2020.

And if somehow Democrats are able to overcome all of that and win, Republicans are setting themselves up to simply reverse those victories by allowing themselves to put their people this charge of elections, especially in places with a lot of black and brown voters, like Fulton County, Georgia.

This is all happening for one reason, their unquenchable thirst for power. If Republicans regain control of the House next year, for example, you better believe one of their first moves will be to end any investigation into January 6th.

And speaking of that investigation, despite Trump`s repeated effort to bury potential evidence, he once again finds himself on the losing end with a federal judge rejecting his attempt to withhold his records from the House select committee. And this has got to sting. The judge wrote, presidents are not kings and the plaintiff is not president.

And with a series of new subpoenas going out this week, the committee needs to make sure Trump`s lemmings will actually cooperate. Steve Bannon has already said he is not showing up, and Stephen Miller is looking to follow his lead.

Now, why does this matter? Because this should be about consequences. If the Department of Justice decides not to bring contempt charges against Bannon, why would any other person bother complying with Congress` subpoenas? And for those people arrested for the January 6th attack, the consequences, quite frankly, have been pretty mild.

How can we prevent another January 6th from happening? The vice chair of the January 6th committee, Liz Cheney, laid out the threat that this country is now facing.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): At this moment, when it matters most, we are also confronting a domestic threat that we`ve never faced before, a former president who is attempting to unravel the foundations of our constitutional republic aided by political leaders who have made themselves willing hostages to this dangerous and irrational man.


REID: With me now, Glenn Kirschner, former federal prosecutor, Olivia Troye, former Senior Aide to Mike Pence and Director of the Republican Accountability Project, and Malcolm Nance, MSNBC Counterterrorism and Intelligence Analyst. Thank you all for being here.

Glenn, I`m going to start with you. I want to read a little bit of the letters that were sent to Kayleigh McEnany and Stephen Miller. Here is the letter in part of the January 6 committee`s letter to Kayleigh McEnany, who was an aide to Donald Trump. They`re saying that you, McEnany, made multiple public statements from the White House and elsewhere about purported fraud in the November 2020 election that were echoed by insurrectionists and that she popped in and out to join Mr. Trump as he watched the attack on the U.S. Capitol.


A letter to Stephen Miller, Miller, they`re saying, you were aware of and participated in efforts to spread false information about alleged voter fraud as well as efforts to encourage state legislators to alter the outcome of the November 2020 election by, among other things, appointing alternate slates to electors to send competing electoral votes to the United States Congress.

Here is how Stephen Miller reacted to that when he was on Fox News.


STEPHEN MILLER, FORMER TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: I haven`t received any documents, Laura, or any communication at all. But what I`ll say is this, it`s just an attempt, and you know this, as well as anybody, to distract from the horrific failures of the Biden presidency and --

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: So that means, no, you`re not going --

MILLER: And it`s just one more attempt to change the subject.

INGRAHAM: You`re not going to be showing up to testify in this so-called select committee?

MILLER: First, I don`t even have the documents, Laura.


REID: You`re not going to show up, Laura Ingraham said. I mean, if we`re at the point now where Republicans no longer believe that subpoenas apply to them, then I think we have fallen out of the rule of law. What are the consequences if, for instance, Bannon is not held to such an account that people like Kayleigh McEnany and that creepy fellow, Stephen Miller, decide they have to comply? What are the consequences of that?

GLENN KIRSCHNER, MSNBC LEGAL ANLYST: Yes. Subpoenas are not supposed to be viewed as party invitations. You can`t decline. And here is the problem. We`re in a holding pattern, Joy, because we`re on day 20 of the Steve Bannon indictment watch and Congress, being a co-equal branch of government, is waiting on the executive branch, the Department of Justice, the U.S. attorney`s office for the District of Columbia, to do its Congress` enforcing.

I`ve been saying all along, as have many others, including members of Congress, Congress needs to take the bull by the horns, use its own lawful power of inherent contempt and bring Steve Bannon, you know, to justice. Lock him up. Detain him until he testifies there by purging the contempt. The nice thing about that is Steve Bannon will have the keys to the cell in his hand. All he has to do is testify.

And the problem is it feels like we`ve lost sight about the difference between criminal contempt and inherent contempt. Criminal contempt is designed to punish somebody who has the crime of contempt of Congress. That crime is complete and Steve Bannon ought to be prosecuted. Inherent contempt is designed to compel testimony, that the testimony that the House select committee so desperately needs so we can ensure that this doesn`t happen again. They have the power. They need to use it.

REID: You know, and, Olivia, the thing that should concern everyone, there is this sort of a laxity that it feels like there is at the DOJ. You know some of these people. Isn`t it the case that they are most likely simply waiting for what they believe will happen because they are engineering for it to happen, that they cannot lose, right, in 2022, they are sort of trying to bioengineer Republican victories across the country such that they get back control of at least the House. Because the minute they get back control of the House, people like Kayleigh McEnany, people like Kevin McCarthy who could be subpoenaed, and likely will be, he was talking to Trump too, just like she was on the day of the insurrection, they`re just going to wipe this insurrection -- not the insurrection, they`re going to wipe away the investigation. They can simply end the investigation. All they need is power. All of this feels like a setup, right, that they think they can simply avoid justice by taking over all of the machinery and making sure that justice disappears. You know these people. Is that how they think?

OLIVIA TROYE, DIRECTOR, REPUBLICAN ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT: Absolutely. They are dragging their feet and they are going to slow roll the process as much as possible and obstruct it because that is what they want. And they`re hoping that people don`t move fast enough. They know how this works.

Look, I watched these people firsthand. I know how they passed the child separation stuff. I saw them do horrible things and the executive orders that they worked on. And they knew the workarounds and legality things and knew when I watched what`s happening with the first impeachment and how they behaved with subpoenas and the things and the types of tactics that they used are being repeated now today, and they know exactly what they`re doing. And they know if they hold on, they will be in power and this investigation won`t matter.

And it`s unfortunate. It`s a detriment to national security because we need to get to the bottom of this. There are so many questions left to ask. There are so many answers and so many gaps that would really benefit the homeland security enterprise. That`s the other aspect of this, right? There is accountability and also preventing this from happening again. But they don`t care about that. They don`t care about our democracy, the Constitution, the rule of law, Americans. All they care about is themselves, covering for themselves and this one man sitting in Florida eating cheeseburgers all the time trying to dictate everything.


REID: And, Malcolm, it`s sort of autocracy 101 that the autocrats party is not subject to the laws, right? The laws don`t apply to them. And so if you have a political party that at this point believes that they can simply steal enough elections and rig enough elections for themselves, such that no one can ever hold them accountable, then reintroduce the autocrat, put him in power or whoever else they decide they want to make president, they`re tired of the orange guy down there and simply control the process, that means that we are an insurrectionist society period, right.

Because you already have -- I can`t imagine any other time in my life when a sitting member of Congress would post a video making mockery of killing the president of the United States with swords and of harming or killing another member of Congress, which is what this person did, Paul Gosar, whose own family finds him unfit to hold public office, nothing is going to happen to him, right? I mean, he is able to do that. Kathy griffin got tracked down by Secret Service for doing a joking meme about Trump. This guy is a member of Congress. And this is where we are. Your thoughts, Malcolm.

MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Glenn and Olivia are both right. What we`re seeing here is, and I think we`re using the wrong word, and you`ll have to apologize if I keep emphasizing this word, we are not in a slow rolling insurrection. The insurrection has happened. We are in the slow rolling insurgency and that is a series of insurrections, political actions, battling and taking the fights off of the halls of power, moving them into the states, into the streets through populous movement or through political or terrorist action to create chaos for a government with the intent to seize power and never give it back. And that`s where we`re going.

So, you`re analogy saying that, come next November, if the Republicans take the House of representatives, you will see not just these investigations -- they`re not going to end. They`re going to be disappeared, as if nothing ever happened. You had Marjorie Taylor Greene and others go to the D.C. jail this week going along -- tagging along with another crew that was making a visit there and referring to the people who have been held there who are on felony charges for attacking law enforcement for destroying -- attempting to destroy the Capitol and over throw America democracy calling it the patriot wing of the jail.

You know, ISIS had patriot wings. Al Qaeda had places which we referred to as terrorists finishing schools, where all they became was a hard core leadership of future insurgents or terrorist groups. What we have here is the political wing of the Republican Party now coddling and embracing the very people that attacked democracy if this -- if the election is lost next year, the Republicans take the House of Representatives, those people will become your future -- you know, your future congressmen, will become your future leaders in the Republican Party and host on other conservative news channels calling themselves political prisoners. You will see the end of representative American democracy. They will seize power. They will not give power back.

REID: And that is -- it seems clear to me, I`m not sure it`s clear to all the Democrats and, Olivia, you know these people. Again, I go back to you because you know them. This is a kakistocracy in the making, and we`ve seen this happen before. I mean, the tea party was out there hanging Barack Obama, President Obama and having N word signs and just blatant racism calling him a monkey and everything else, next thing you knew, tea party people are all over Congress. They`re members of Congress. They`re now part of the mainstream of the Republican Party. The tea party movement was the old version of extremism. They`re totally mainstream.

Do you believe that at some point -- I mean, there are half a dozen that have been elected. The future of the party essentially is the insurgents, the insurrectionists. They will become the main leadership of the party at some point, right?

TROYE: That`s certainly the direction and trends we`re seeing. There is no room for anyone who stands for anything that has told the truth or actual policy or governance. Look at what happened to the Republicans this week that voted in favor of the --

REID: Death threats.

TROYE: Look what`s happened to them. Look at the death threats. And look at their own members. Their own members of the party elected officials releasing their personal information, releasing the information but they know it`s going to lead to threats. They know it`s going to lead to the vitriol. This is the pattern of behavior that is repetitive and repeated, and yet Kevin McCarthy stands there, enables it, coddles it and does nothing to put a stop to it, same as what you mentioned with Gosar.

We all know he is one of the worst of the worst.


He is unfit to be in office. Many of these people are unfit to be in office but yet, here they are. And my concern is that this movement, they have a movement behind them. They have supporters behind them. And if you don`t actually start to call them out as a party, as a political party and take a stand against them -- they`re actually mainstreaming them. And then those numbers are growing.

And you`re seeing these type of people run. These people are running right now for office for the midterms. These extremist candidates are going to be on the ballots.

REID: Yes. They`re mainstreaming white nationalism, violence instead of politics, all of it. And there is nothing happening to them. It`s wild.

Glenn Kirschner, Olivia Troye, Malcolm Nance, thank you all very much.

Up next on THE REIDOUT.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are already, you are -- I was astonished when you began your examination by commenting on the defendant`s post-arrest silence.


REID: What in the world is going on with the judge in the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse?

And President Biden hits the road to promote his victory on infrastructure but what can he do for families facing surging inflation?

Plus, a mother fights for the truth about the cancer risk in her California community decades after a partial nuclear meltdown. It`s the subject of a new MSNBC documentary.

And tonight`s absolute worst are in their clown cars driving the wrong way on the highway of infrastructure and racial justice.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: If you want to know why Critical Race Theory exists, the actual law school theory that emphasizes that supposedly colorblind laws in America often still have racially discriminatory outcomes, then look no further than the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse.

Earlier today, the teenager accused of murdering two men and wounding a third in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year took to the stand in his own defense. And the circumstances are almost built for an actual CRT course. The white now 18-year-old faces and almost entirely white jury of his peers, with the exception of one black man.

And then there`s Judge Bruce Schroeder, who has barred the prosecution from calling the people Rittenhouse killed victims. He`s barred the prosecution from introducing evidence of Rittenhouse posing with the Proud Boys while flashing white supremacist signs, and denied the prosecution`s request to increase Rittenhouse`s bail after he failed to notify the court of his changed address, which he was required to do.

In fact, the prosecution has been repeatedly hamstrung by the judge at almost every turn. Into all that stepped Rittenhouse himself today, giving the jury his best sweet innocent teen while describing the moment before he shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum with a semiautomatic rifle.


KYLE RITTENHOUSE, DEFENDANT: I look over my shoulder and Mr. Rosenbaum -- Mr. Rosenbaum was now running from my right side.

And I was cornered from in front of me with Mr. Ziminski. And there were -- there were people right there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take a deep breath, Kyle.



REID: At one point, Rittenhouse claimed that the initial victim used threatening language that he did not want to repeat, even though he had been caught on camera flashing a white power hand gesture.


RITTENHOUSE: He was screaming. He said: "I`m going to cut your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) hearts out and kill -- I`m not going to repeat the second word, but "kill you and worse."


REID: During cross-examination, Judge Schroeder berated the prosecutor, at times yelling at him, for questioning Rittenhouse about whether it was appropriate to use deadly force to protect property.

The judge then accused the lead prosecutor, Thomas Binger, of improperly trying to introduce testimony. An hour later, the defense requested a mistrial with prejudice, meaning no retrial, claiming that the prosecution was attempting to provoke a mistrial.

The judge took it under advisement after admonishing the prosecution once again.

Joining me now is Paul Butler, former federal prosecutor and Georgetown law professor.

Paul, I feel like I was having flashbacks to the George Zimmerman trial, right? I mean, everything from Kyle Rittenhouse using sort of cop speak about trying to stop the threat, saying this sort of really dramatic thing that the person he shot supposedly said that sounded like a gangster movie.

And then this whole thing of -- the whole breaking down and dry heaving in court, that was one thing that we didn`t see from Zimmerman, but making himself the victim and sort of making himself seem more innocent, which the Zimmerman trial also featured.

And the judge was sort of almost like it was his dad. I don`t think I have ever -- I mean, since the Zimmerman trial, I haven`t seen anything like it, but it feels very similar to me. What did you see today?

PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Joy, today, the jurors saw what must be the greatest performance of Kyle Rittenhouse`s life.

He was well-prepared by his defense attorneys to disrupt his image as a trigger-happy vigilante who went on a shooting rampage at a Black Lives Matter protest. On the stand, he was polite and deliberate.

When Rittenhouse got emotional, it may have come across to the jury as a genuine expression of remorse. Or, on the other hand, maybe it was crocodile tears designed to elicit sympathy.

But with the help of the judge, Rittenhouse did avoid most of the risks that defendants incur when they take the stand. He probably advanced his own defense in front of the jury.


REID: Well, I mean, because, if you really do get a jury of your peers, right?

He`s an 18-year-old now. He`s a teenager. The defense has really been -- managed to construct a jury that could be his uncles and aunts and his parents, right, where they can look at him and see perhaps their own son. And that was what it felt like his testimony was designed to do today, to take away all of the stuff about him throwing the white power sign and posing with the Proud Boys and jumping -- not telling where he was living, when he was supposed to.

All that other stuff, even in the -- the things that were interesting were, when the jury was not present, all the times that the judge was literally berating the prosecutor, saying he couldn`t bring in evidence that spoke to perhaps Kyle Rittenhouse saying he wanted to hurt people and use it.

I mean, it was clear -- was it as clear to you as it was to me that this judge has already decided that Kyle Rittenhouse was in the right here?

BUTLER: Well, it`s clear that the defense wants the jury to look at Rittenhouse as a Boy Scout who was just in Kenosha to render aid and earlier had helped scrub graffiti off of churches.

And most of the judge`s rulings have favor the defense and that portrait. So the judge barred evidence that, on a previous occasion, Rittenhouse beat up a teenage girl. That`s on video. The judge won`t let the jury know that, before this episode, Rittenhouse saw some people he thought were shoplifting at a CVS. And he said, "Man, I wish I could shoot those people." The judge won`t let the jury know about that.

On the bench, he yells at the prosecutors. Some of the judge`s rulings are consistent with how he handles other cases. But we know, in this case, conservatives like Donald Trump have made Rittenhouse a martyr. And they`re concerned that the judge`s rulings and his emotional outbursts against the prosecutor are steering the jury towards an acquittal.

REID: Yes, I mean, that`s what -- I mean, he`s charged with so many things, first-degree reckless homicide, recklessly endangering safety.

I won`t even tell you all this, because he`s not -- it doesn`t feel like a conviction is coming on any of it.

Let me play one more thing that Rittenhouse said that I cannot believe a black or brown kid ever getting away with saying. Here he is talking about why he wanted an AR-15 in particular.


THOMAS BINGER, KENOSHA COUNTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: You didn`t pick up the AR-15 for any other reason?

RITTENHOUSE: I thought it looked cool, but no.

BINGER: You didn`t pick it up because you wanted to go hunting with it, did you?


BINGER: You didn`t pick it out because you were going to use it to protect your house, correct?


BINGER: You picked it up because it looked cool.

RITTENHOUSE: I thought it looked cool.


REID: Dream with me, Paul. Could any child of color, young person of color ever, ever, ever, ever do that on a stand and get away with it?

BUTLER: You already know, Joy. Of course not.

This is white privilege on steroids. Rittenhouse testified that, after he shot all of these people, he approached the cops and told them that he had been involved in a shooting. And the officers told him, be careful so that you don`t get pepper-sprayed, and go home.

It`s impossible to imagine that happening to a black or brown person. They would have been in handcuffs, if they were lucky enough to survive that kind of encounter with cops.

REID: Let me just remind people of the names of the victims, Joseph Rosenbaum, who was 36 years old, Anthony Huber, who was 26. Gaige Grosskreutz, who is only 27 years old, was injured.

These are the victims. These are the people that people ought to remember are the people who were hurt here, not the person who was crying on the stand today.

Paul Butler, thank you very much my friend.

Up next -- whew, we need Critical Race Theory in this country.

President Biden his next big task, addressing inflation, as he touts his big success on infrastructure.

More after the break.



REID: OK, unless you have been living under a rock this year, you have probably noticed that your money isn`t going as far as it used do, with higher prices on gas, food and your energy bill.

That would be inflation. And, today, the Labor Department announced that it`s at its highest level in 30 years, which actually should not be super surprising in the wake of an historic pandemic, in which families` financial resources were essentially holed up, pent up waiting for a chance to be spent.

And with the uptick in demand to buy and ongoing challenges for people to get back to work in key industries, the country is facing a drastic supply chain issue, with demand for goods overwhelming our production and shipping capabilities.

Here`s how economist Jeffrey Sachs explained it earlier today.


JEFFREY SACHS, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: We`re still in the midst of a pandemic and all the disruptions. We have to remember this has been the biggest shock economically worldwide since World War II.

And so, last year, lots of supplies were cut because demand plummeted. Then, this year, there`s been a resurgence of demand, and some of those supply chain cuts, the oil production, for example, has not returned.


REID: People care about their pocketbooks. So it is not surprising that it`s become a significant political issue, with Biden`s approval rating dropping, even as the economy itself remains strong and unemployment really low.

That`s partially due to the Republican talking point that it`s entirely Biden`s fault if your Christmas presents are late. In Baltimore today, President Biden addressed those concerns, making it clear that prices will go down and those shelves will be stocked, thanks to the new infrastructure bill and the administration steps that it`s taking to take -- taking to work with ports and with shipping companies.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With the bill we passed last week and the steps we`re taking to reduce bottlenecks at home and abroad, we`re set to make significant progress.

We`re already in the midst of a historic economic recovery. And thanks to those steps we`re taking, very soon, we`re going to see the supply chain start catching up with demand.

So, not only will we see more record-breaking job growth. We`ll see lower prices and faster deliveries as well.



REID: Joining me now is Juanita Tolliver, a Democratic strategist, and Jeffrey Sachs, economist, professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University.

Dr. Sachs, I want to start with you first, because you did a great job explaining it this morning, but I want you to, if you could, just re- explain it for our audience, because I think people see a huge disconnect when we report record low, like, 4.6 percent unemployment. Stock -- the stock market looks good.

But then, in your real life, you`re feeling like, well, wait, everything costs more. Why is this so bad? And the economy feels bad. So can you explain, like, what is going on? And why are we seeing this inflation?

SACHS: I will try.


SACHS: But this is a very confusing period for all of us.

COVID was a huge disruption to our lives and to the economy. Last year, when we had the shutdown, starting around March 2020, incomes plummeted, jobs were lost, millions of people lost work.

So the government did a lot of things to keep people`s incomes. The Federal Reserve, our Central Bank, pumped up the money supply. And this was smart, in that it prevented the closure from creating an ongoing economic collapse.

Now, for a while, people couldn`t spend that much of the money because so much of the economy was closed. So, when you look at the saving rates, people put money into the bank account. They actually were able to save some of that money. They couldn`t go out to restaurants. They couldn`t do go out as tourists or other things. And so the saving rate shot up.

Now, this year, there`s been a rebound of spending because the economy is opened up again, as the vaccine coverage has taken place. And people are spending a fortune now -- or not a fortune, but they`re out spending a lot of money...

REID: Yes.

SACHS: ... including what they saved before.

REID: Yes.

SACHS: Now, when, last year, the shutdowns occurred, not only is there a rebound of spending, but some of the supply side has not recovered.

And one very notable point, the biggest source of the increase of the prices is energy. Well, what happened there? Last year, you might remember there was actually a day when the price of oil fell not only to zero, but negative, because there was more oil than people were using, and there was no place to store it.

REID: Right.

SACHS: So the price of oil basically fell to zero.

The big oil producers, mainly in the Middle East, cut their production tremendously. Now, this year, with the rebound, they didn`t increase the production back to the previous levels.

REID: Just raise the prices.

SACHS: So oil prices are soaring. So people are seeing this at the gas pump also.

This is hard. One thing I will say is, the port congestion, all the rest, that`s part of it, for sure. But we have not had a disruption to our lives of this scale, an economic disruption, since World War II. Since we`re in a society that`s very short-term now. What are we going to do now, everyone is extremely upset.

REID: Right.

SACHS: But I think, if you take a step back, what`s amazing is, we did not go into an economic collapse.

REID: That`s right.

SACHS: We went into a closure, and then a recovery, thank God.

REID: Yes.

SACHS: And that was through a lot of very active government policy.

REID: Yes.

SACHS: Fine-tuning this, well, no, we`re still bouncing around getting out of COVID. We`re not done with COVID yet.

REID: Yes. Yes.

SACHS: So, all of this means that normal economic management is not simple.

REID: Well, and the thing is, it`s not simple. And thank you for explaining that, Dr. Sachs.

Because, Juanita, it`s also not politically helpful, right? When you`re in charge -- people are very short-term in terms of the way that they view politicians. It`s, what have you done for me lately? They got shots and check. They were happy. Then they`re like, oh, now prices are up. I`m mad.

So the polls are showing that, right? They`re showing that Biden is facing challenges in the polls. And Republicans are so leaned in to taking Biden down that they`re literally like -- some of the base are calling in death threats to anybody who voted for the infrastructure bill to give them roads, right?

So, I mean, do you -- what would you say that the Biden administration ought to be doing differently in terms of the way they`re talking about this? Because it`s hard to explain all this, as Dr. Sachs just said.


It`s hard to explain that no one planned on a pandemic, right? Like that is the undercurrent here. And you named it, though, Joy, right? Like, they need to go out and talk about the tangible benefits. This is about making sure that people have what they need, and they can see what they need.

And so what -- Biden, what he did with the American Rescue Plan, he said, it`s about shots and arms and checks in people`s accounts. It needs to be distilled down to that level of understanding for individuals.


So, when he today said, look, it`s about clearing up these ports, so that your stores can be stocked, best believe as people start holiday shopping, they`re going to look at stock in their stores, and the same thing about good-paying jobs, access to broadband, cutting costs, especially with the Build Back Better plan.

These are the things that the White House needs to get distilled down into their language, so that it`s fully accessible to laymen, because I appreciate the explanation about supply chains and inflation, but regular folks are like, hey, I`m struggling now.

And I think Ron Klain named that with Nicolle Wallace earlier today, when he said Tuesday was about voters saying they want more. And that`s exactly right.

REID: Right.

TOLLIVER: Politics is about getting the voters that progress.

REID: Well, and the problem is -- and I think Dr. Sachs will agree with me on this -- fixing things like this normally involves spending government money, and people get upset about that, because, even though they need the things, they don`t like it when the government spends money.

It`s like they want the government to somehow give them the things, fix the bridges and the roads, do all the things, but don`t spend any money, because then they get like weirded out about the spending.

So -- but, Dr. Sachs, very briefly, they have got to spend money. I mean, the infrastructure bill plus the other bill that would really help people get back to work, I mean, they need to do both those things, right?

SACHS: I think one of the hardest parts of understanding all of this is that there`s the short-term adjustment in solving the pandemic issues. But then things like infrastructure and things like the Build Back Better are about our lives not next week...

REID: Yes. That`s right.

SACHS: ... but over the next five, 10, 15 years. I wish, I hope Americans can have a little bit of foresight to look ahead.

And in terms of paying for this, the real basic point that needs to be understood, the rich people have gotten so rich in recent years, including during the pandemic.

REID: Yes. They`re going to space.


SACHS: Unbelievable.

Do you know, people, six Americans have a trillion dollars of wealth? Twenty Americans have $2 trillion of wealth. And then this -- the Congress is saying, oh, we don`t want to touch them. We don`t want to tax them.

REID: Right. Yes.

SACHS: But if we don`t pay -- we need to pay for this stuff.

REID: That`s right.

SACHS: But the companies with all the money and the rich people with all the wealth need to chip in now. That is very important.

REID: They got to do it.

I -- absolutely. I wish we had more time. We need to a whole show on this stuff.

Juanita Tolliver, Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, thank you both very much. Appreciate you both.

Important stuff, guys, important to understand.

OK, up next: A shocking new documentary explores a community near Los Angeles with a heartbreakingly high rate of cancer among their kids. Parents say it`s related to a nearby nuclear research lab.

We will be right back.



REID: In 2013, Melissa Bumstead`s 4-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia.

While at the Children`s Hospital in Los Angeles, she noticed there were a lot of other families that had children with cancer who lived extremely close to her in California`s San Fernando Valley.

The MSNBC Films documentary "In The Dark of the Valley" details Bumstead`s journey of learning that those families all lived directly downhill from a nuclear research lab with a history of mishandling waste and an accident that was covered up for years.


MELISSA BUMSTEAD, PARENTS AGAINST SANTA SUSANA FIELD LAB: I met a family that said, oh, we live on your street. And, granted, we live on a long boulevard. It`s three miles, but they lived on our street.

And she said, and my neighbor had the same exact brain cancer that my son had. And there were two of them, neighbors, plus my daughter. That`s three on the same street. And for a long time, we couldn`t find the connections.

And it was about a year after that someone mentioned for the first time the Santa Susana Field Lab. I`d never heard of it. We all had to start wrestling with the fact that maybe our children`s cancers could have been avoided. Maybe other children were in danger.

Maybe our government hadn`t protected us the way that they should have.


REID: Melissa Bumstead, grassroots coordinator at parents against the Parents Against the Santa Susana Field Lab, joins me now.

And what a terrifying story. Melissa. Thank you so much for being here.

I`m your daughter`s name is Grace. How did you first start noticing that there was a problem?

BUMSTEAD: Well, when she was 4 years old, she was a very active girl.

And so the bruises were normal. But they started to look like someone had (AUDIO GAP). It was so dark and so -- and then she just got tired. And our daughter never slows down. She`s driven by a motor.

I knew something was wrong. But I would have never guessed that it would be cancer.

REID: And so there`s a study in 2007 that showed that there`s a 60 percent higher rate of cancer for those like you who were living close to the Santa Susana Lab.

When you first put it all together, and you and these other parents started realizing, oh, wait a minute, this is tied to where we live and to this lab, when you raised that issue, what was the response?

BUMSTEAD: Well, I mean, it was hard for me to even want to admit that a choice that I had made by wanting to live in this community had somehow possibly (AUDIO GAP).

When I started bringing that up to the community, I was told that it was an urban legend or that I was a hysterical mom just trying to justify my daughter`s cancer, or that I was just trying to make trouble and stir up drama.

It wasn`t until we were able to start to bring the reports and the studies to the public that people started to realize, this really is a big issue and the cover-up really had been happening. But that`s hard. That`s hard to accept.

REID: Yes.

I mean, the thing is, I mean, everything then feels like it sort of starts to cascade. I mean, you have the Woolsey Fire. And this is in 2018. The downwinds from that actually caused more problems, right?


Here, high levels of radioactive particles landed in neighborhoods from Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley during that 2018 fire, which started at the contaminated same Santa Susana Field Lab.

What`s stunning about the findings is that they ran contrary to what California Department of Toxic Substances Control said to calm public fears in the hours after the fire.

So, everything that happens affects your children and your neighbor`s children. It`s doubling and tripling down. At some point, has anyone offered to try to make you all whole and help you out with at least the health care bills or do anything to try to help your families?

BUMSTEAD: Well, and it`s the regulating agency out here, the Department of Toxic Substances Control. They`re under the California EPA.

They wanted to enforce this. They signed historic agreements in 2010 to do an almost unprecedented -- unprecedented in the nation sort of a cleanup here. It was meant to be done by 2017. And it hasn`t even begun.

So those who are supposed to be protecting us, those who are supposed to be enforcing this cleanup, our government isn`t doing it right now. They`re completely -- they have essentially abandoned us. And we`re fighting giants, like Boeing, NASA, and the Department of Energy.

And that`s made this just -- it`s already difficult having your child have cancer, and we have buried several of her friends. The emotional toll, the financial toll has just been so much on my family, but then on top of it, having to fight our own government to get the cleanup.

REID: Yes.

BUMSTEAD: It`s just -- some days, it just doesn`t feel real. Some days, to be honest, I feel like I must be living in Russia.

REID: So, I know that you have a petition to clean up the area.

Just my final question, how is little Grace doing?

BUMSTEAD: Thank you for asking.

She`s actually almost exactly had her four-year bone marrow transplant anniversary. And an anonymous donor saved her life.

REID: Well, all our prayers are going up for Grace. We will keep her and you and your family in our thoughts.

Thank you so much. It was brave of you to come forward. And we are going to absolutely watch this documentary and support you all in any way that we can. Thank you very much, Melissa Bumstead.

BUMSTEAD: Thank you so much.

REID: Cheers.

You can watch "In the Dark of the Valley" Sunday night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC. You absolutely should.

Up next on THE REIDOUT: Tonight`s "Absolute Worst" has pivoted from attacking puppets to denying institutionalized racism. What an easy transition.

We will be right back.



REID: With President Biden`s infrastructure deal, the largest investment in our highways since President Eisenhower, there is also an opportunity to address Eisenhower era systemic racism in our infrastructure, something Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg noted.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: I`m still surprised that some people were surprised when I pointed to the fact that, if a highway was built for the purpose of dividing a white and a black neighborhood, or if an underpass was constructed such that a bus carrying mostly black and Puerto Rican kids to a beach or would have been in New York was designed too low for it to pass by, that that obviously reflects racism that went into those design choices.

I don`t think we have anything to lose by confronting that simple reality.


REID: Naturally, right-wingers caught all the nasty feels.

Ted "Cancun" Cruz took a break from bashing Big Bird to declare: "The roads are racist. We must get rid of roads."

Not to be outdone, Florida Governor and baby Don Ron DeSantis and Tuckums Carlson had to have their say.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I heard some stuff, some weird stuff from the secretary of transportation, trying to make this about social issues.

And, to me, a road is a road.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: Roads can`t be racist. You can`t build racism into a road. They are inanimate objects. They`re not alive. That seems obvious, but, apparently, Pete Buttigieg didn`t know it.


REID: Actually, Secretary Buttigieg does know what he`s talking about.

He was talking about infamously racist New York City planner Robert Moses and an anecdote and Robert Caro`s 1974 biography "The Power Broker" that Moses instructed a top aide to build bridges on his new parkways too low for buses to pass, because he wanted to prevent black New Yorkers and Puerto Rican New Yorkers from having access to Jones Beach State Park.

While "The Washington Post" notes there`s some dispute about that historian`s account about that anecdote, which Caro got from the aide himself, what is not in dispute is that Moses deliberately enacted racist policies that drove black and brown people out of their homes. He even said in 1959 -- quote -- "Our categorical imperative is action to clear the slums, and we can`t let minorities dictate that this century-old chore will be put off another generation or finally abandoned" -- unquote.

Moses also said highways must go through cities, not around them, and he did just that, bulldozing black, Jewish and Puerto Rican homes for his Cross-Bronx Expressway.

That same kind of racist infrastructure design can be found in cities all over this country. In Syracuse, New York, the predominantly black 15th Ward was razed for an overpass for Interstate 81. Similar situations played out in New Orleans` Treme neighborhood and the multiracial Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles.

There are even multiple examples in Ron DeSantis` backyard. Miami`s once thriving Overtown neighborhood, once the Harlem of the South, was decimated to make way for I-95. And in the Tampa area, where DeSantis grew up, communities founded by the formerly enslaved were demolished for an interstate.

So, Pete Buttigieg was right. And the same Republicans who rail against the teaching of institutional racism are willfully ignoring the well-documented history of racism that is literally baked into America`s infrastructure.

Or maybe they`re just ignorant to it because they didn`t learn about it in school, which is why it`s so important to teach about institutional racism.

And, for that, Cruz, DeSantis and all the other ignorant folk who are trying to erase the past, you are tonight`s "Absolute Worst."

And that is tonight`s REIDOUT. We will see you back here tomorrow night with special guest comedian Jordan Klepper from "The Daily Show." You do not want to miss it.