Steve Bannon indicted by federal grand jury over January 6. Meadows skips 1/6 committee deadline, may face contempt. Bannon charged with two counts of contempt of Congress. Steve Bannon to self-surrender, appear in court Monday.
NICHOLAS MIHIM, DIRECTOR: Because the matter of fact is that you probably lived closer than you think because they`re everywhere. And these are dangerous and need to be cleaned up.
JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC HOST: Nicholas Mihim and Melissa Bumstead, thank you so much for your work. Thank you so much for this documentary. Watch In The Dark of The Valley Sunday at 10:00 P.M. Eastern on MSNBC.
That does it for me. THE REIDOUT with -- that`s not Joy, I guess it`s Tiffany Cross, coming up next. Hi, Tiffany.
TIFFANY CROSS, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Jason. Listen, first of all, very good job, my friend, juggling all the breaking news. And, look, I got to ask you before I pick this up here. Look, this is the clap back of the Justice Department heard around the country today. And I think all week we`ve been looking at these twin justice systems to play out, right? So, to see some actual consequence happen, it was a really big deal. I`m sorry we`re not sharing the screen more today but I just want to get your thoughts really quickly before I pick it up.
JOHNSON: I think it`s fantastic. I`m sure Elie Mystal is pulling out some liquor now because Merrick Garland has actually done his job. And I hope this is the beginning of a lot more prosecutions like that because that`s what this country needs to see. If you try to take over the country, you should be held accountable.
CROSS: I agree. We`ll talk about it more in I.V. Live, my friend. I`ll pick it up from here right now.
And good evening to everyone at home. I`m Tiffany Cross, as you just heard, in for Joy Reid tonight. And we begin with the contempt of Congress. In a major breaking story late today, a federal grand jury handed down criminal charges against Steven K. Bannon, the long time Trump confidant who`s under investigation for his involvement in January 6th.
Now, NBC News reports that the 67-year-old is expected to surrender to law enforcement of Monday and is set to appear in court that afternoon. You guys remember last month Bannon willfully defied a subpoena from the select committee for documents and testimony, refusing to even show up on the day of his scheduled deposition. His defiance prompted a rare bipartisan vote to refer him for contempt, a vote that saw a mere nine Republicans across party lines to uphold the authority of Congress.
Now, today`s indictment charges Bannon with two counts, one for his refusal to provide testimony and another to turn over documents. And each of these counts carries a sentence of up to one year behind bars.
Now, by prosecuting Bannon, the Department of Justice is now making it very clear, even to Trump`s closest allies, that they cannot weasel their way out of a lawful subpoena. Moreover, it sends a very strong message to reluctant witnesses that they face real life consequences if they don`t come comply.
Now, this may come as unwelcome news to Trump`s former Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, who has been playing a dangerous game of chicken with investigators. For months now, Meadows has been snubbing the committee`s efforts to secure cooperation. And in September, he delayed his deposition and then he denied the authority by claiming executive privilege. And just today, he out right disappeared, ghosted refusing to show up for his scheduled deposition.
Now, as Chairman, Congressman Bennie Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney said in a joint statement today, Steve Bannon`s indictment should send a clear message to anyone who thinks they can ignore the select committee or try to stonewall our investigation. No one is above the law. We will not hesitate to use the tools at our disposal to get the information we need.
A member of the January 6th committee is going to join me shortly, but, first, Glenn Kirschner, he`s a former Federal Prosecutor, and Elie Mystal is a Justice Correspondent for The Nation and bringer of the fire.
Elie, I`ll get to you in a second. Glenn, I want to kick it off with you because, listen, this was a huge deal that happened today and it definitely send as strong message, like we said. However, this doesn`t guarantee that Steve Bannon is going to cooperate. I mean, this says that you have to show up. Do we anticipate that he will still cooperate with the select committee and be truthful in his response?
GLENN KIRSCHNER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, that`s a great question, Tiffany, because contempt of Congress, criminal contempt is designed to punish Steve Bannon for the crimes he committed. But the inherent contempt power of Congress is designed to enable Congress itself to enforce its own subpoenas that and compel testimony.
But here is where these two different vehicles begin to come together. Now that Steve Bannon has been indicted on two criminal offenses and is facing up to two years in prison, the attorneys, the prosecutors at the D.C. U.S. Attorney`s Office may decide to enter into plea negotiations with him and those plea negotiations could take the form of, look, Steve, if you plead guilty and agree to testify truthfully and fully before Congress, then we may recommend a sentence of probation or 30 days or 60 days or 90 days in prison. So, this criminal prosecution can now be leveraged by the D.C. U.S. attorneys who are prosecuting the case to try to compel him to testify truthfully.
Now, will he decide to take that avenue? Can Steve Bannon put three truthful words together if they might incriminate his man, his mentor, his protector, Donald Trump? Perhaps not but at least that`s another vehicle and another avenue that`s now open.
CROSS: Yes, absolutely, it`s open. And, Elie, let`s remind our viewers, this is a guy who is used to lying. I mean, this whole build the wall farce that they had, he was living high on the hog on a yacht while people were giving their hard earned dollars for this extremely racist policy that the Trump administration was trying to push. Now that he`s 67 and indicted, I think this is what people were anticipating. What is the DOJ going to do now that we`ve seen that, what message do you think this sends? Because I have to anticipate that the long list of subpoenas that the committee has come out, all those folks were most certainly on the phone with their lawyers today.
ELIE MYSTAL, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: Look, I`m happy that Garland did something. I believed in the CMC-borne (ph) strategy, let`s ignore the fact that you`re late to the party and embrace the fact you showed up at all. I think this is a good move from the DOJ. I think this is a good move from Garland. But, and Glenn would know this even better than I do, let`s say Steve Bannon doesn`t take Glenn`s deal, let`s say Steve Bannon decides that he`s going to take the wait and hold out, how quickly can we get from where we are now to an actual criminal prosecution of Steve Bannon? Do you think we can maybe get it done by the holidays? Okay. Let`s say we get it done by the holidays.
Okay, now, it`s in front of a judge, if that judge, by the way, happens to be a Trump judge that used to clerk for Clarence Thomas, but that`s okay. Let`s say you get it in front of a judge and he gets convicted at a district court level, then he appeals. Then he appeals to the D.C. circuit court, which has a bunch of Trump judges too. So, how long does that process to take?
Now, maybe we`re into Valentine`s Day, now, maybe we`re into March, but let`s say he loses at the district court level, well, then he appeals to the Supreme Court, where you have got six conservative justices waiting for. And even if the Supreme Court decides they`re not going to be partisan hacks that day, if we`re talking about an appeal in March or April, do they hear the case by June? No. Or does John Roberts decide that he`s going to delay hearing the appeal until September or October when the Supreme Court is back in session.
And then let`s say he loses at the Supreme Court, does Steve Bannon lose in like October of 2022 right before the midterm -- you see what I`m saying, Tiffany?
CROSS: Yes, I do.
MYSTAL: Like, if that is the calculus, if that is the calculus that Steve Bannon plays, that might also be the calculus that Mark Meadows plays. There are lots of opportunities here for Trump cronies to continue to delay, delay, delay, try to get to the midterms, try to hope Republicans take over and end the select committee, and that`s why Glenn`s first pound inherent contempt of Congress, put them in jail now, make them, force them to respect the subpoena as opposed to punishing them after the fact for refusing to respect the subpoena, that might have been the stronger way to go.
CROSS: Yes. And, look, I mean, that`s a very scary calculus that Elie just laid out, Glenn. The DOJ took awhile here. I mean, they had to needle through a lot of thorny issues, especially if they approach this from the executive privilege perspective, right? Because I`m curious, previously, there has been the case of you cannot even go after these underlings because of executive privilege. I`m curious how that`s still the policy because, one, Donald Trump is no longer in office, he`s not president anymore, and, two, how was the DOJ able to compile with that, you know, instead of saying, yes, your executive privilege doesn`t exist anymore, you are indicted?
KIRSCHNER: Well, first of all, Steve Bannon had exactly zero executive privilege rights to invoke, none. Now, we could talk about Mark Meadows, who just committed the exact same crime today for which Steve Bannon was indicted. And we can talk about whether he will have a slightly greater opportunity to raise executive privilege. But this did take 22 days, right, from the day that Congress voted Steve Bannon in contempt and referred him for criminal prosecution.
And I actually think there is one data point that answers the question why did it take 22 days. Because, remember, just last week, the Senate confirmed the new U.S. attorney for the District of Colombia, a former colleague of mine, Matt Graves. He`s only been in the job one week. Before he arrived, there was an acting U.S. attorney, a gentleman named Channing Phillips, wonderful guy, great lawyer. But what I can tell you tiffany from inside the Department of Justice where I spent nearly a quarter of a century, acting U.S. attorneys who are not presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed generally don`t make any bold moves. So, I think Channing Phillips did yeomen`s work, just trying to keep the train running on time, which is not easy when we`re prosecuting hundreds and hundreds of insurrectionists.
But think about this, just one week in the job and Matt Graves, the new top dog at the D.C. U.S. Attorney`s Office, said, indict Steve Bannon. Let`s hope that`s a sign of things to come and let`s hope they will now have their sights on Mark Meadows and Stephen Miller, who was yucking it up on the Fox Entertainment Network laughing at the rule of law, and Kayleigh McEnany, and anybody else who decides to defy a congressional subpoena, prosecute them.
CROSS: I think that is the message here, Elie, because, look, it`s one thing for these underlings and these sheep who are following the Fox to try to overthrow the government, it`s another for his inner circle, from Kayleigh McEnany to Steve Bannon, to comply with this committee.
Elie, if people continue to thumb their nose at the committee, if no one has ever held accountable beyond these indictments, what message does that send to would-be insurrectionists who may not like how the the midterm elections turn out next year?
MYSTAL: Yes, a coup that isn`t punished is just practice. It`s just practice. And so if you don`t punish the people who try to overthrow the government, then they will just try to overthrow the government again until they eventually get it right. So, prosecuting these people, holding these people accountable is critical work. It`s critical work that the select committee is doing. It`s critical work that the FBI and Department of Justice should be doing independently of Congress, which I guess we don`t always know what goes on there, so maybe there are still bigger fish for the FBI to fry as well coming down the pipe. We can only hope. But some kind of accountability is critical to help our country move forward.
CROSS: All right. Thank you very much, Glen Kirschner and Elie Mystal. We`re going to bring in now Congressman Pete Aguilar of California. He`s a member of said January 6th select committee that we`ve been talking about. Congressman, it must be a busy day for you. Thank you so much for making time to join us.
Very major news coming out of the committee today. I`m curious your thoughts on what that means for Trump`s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who, again, today defied the committee`s authority.
REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): Thanks for having me, Tiffany. This is an important step for the rule of law. And I think that`s exactly what the Department of Justice upheld here is that the decisions that Steve Bannon made have consequences. He chose to defy a lawful subpoena and anyone else should take note, including Mr. Meadows, of the tools that we have at our disposal, and this clearly one of them. And so I appreciate the swift action the Department of Justice took.
As your prior guest mentioned, this was a process, this took a little bit of time, and it`s supposed to. But they upheld their duty to send this to the grand jury, which is exactly what the law says. And so we would expect that they would continue to do so and they continue uphold those rules and those laws if we take further action.
CROSS: So, among the nearly 35 subpoenas that are out there, I`m just curious given the news that happened today, has the committee heard from any of the other people on your list of subpoenas where maybe they`ve had a change of heart and they`re proactively reaching to the say they`re willing to cooperate?
AGUILAR: Well, 16 of those subpoenas went out this week, and so those have some dates attached to them to provide information in the next few weeks and then to come in for an interview. I`m not going to get into the conversations that were had earlier today but I can tell you that we continue to make progress. We`ve had 150 witness interviews so far. We continue to engage people. And, obviously, we have those say subpoena dates coming up as well.
And so we`re going to continue to push. We`re going to continue to find the truth and tell the story of what happened on January 5th and 6th in the insurrection and the attack on democracy because it`s important for our legislative work that the committee continues to identify areas moving forward. And it`s important for our country that we tell this story completely.
CROSS: Well, I want to go back to Trump`s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows. He doesn`t appear to be too worried. In fact, he was appearing on a conservative media outlet earlier today, this was after the news of the indictment came down. Originally, he was allegedly searching for documents to cooperate with the committee, then he did an about-face and saying that he felt duty-bound to follow Trump`s lead on this.
I`m just curious your thoughts if he remains defiant, do you anticipate that we will see Mark Meadows indicted, as well?
AGUILAR: Well, his posture is just laughable. There is not absolute here that can`t come before the committee or can`t talk about some of his work previously.
And so it`s important that we continue to do this work and we`re going to continue to have conversations about Mr. Meadows in the future. I`ll let Chairman Thompson and Vice Chair Cheney continue to break that news. But we continue to be serious about this and I think that`s what the public can expect. And the committee is meeting. We`re having conversations and we`re going to continue to seek the truth.
Well, your chairman has already made some comments earlier this weekend and said that Meadows has no valid legal basis for not submitting to question from the committee. So, we`ll certainly keep our eye on this developing story. And thank you so much, Congressman Pete Aguilar, for joining us on what a very busy day today is.
CROSS: Still ahead for you guys at home, much more on tonight`s breaking news. The indictment of Steve Bannon, who, just hours before the DOJ decision came down, was telling his audience that Trump Republicans were, quote, taking over all the elections.
Also, the stunning recording of Donald Trump defending the hang Mike Pence threats made on January 6th, not that stunning.
Plus, as the trial continues for the three men who hunted down Ahmaud Arbery and killed him, one of the defense attorneys singled out my colleague, friend and big brother, Reverend Al Sharpton, and said, we don`t want any more black pastors coming in here. Reverend Sharpton will join me later this hour.
THE REIDOUT continues right after this.
CROSS: The indictment of former top Trump aide Steve Bannon charges of contempt of Congress is a first, with the Biden Justice Department showing that no one is above the law and that they will do their part to uphold Congress` subpoena power.
And no one has ever been prosecuted for that charge after asserting executive privilege. The indictment by the federal grand jury comes just weeks after the House voted to hold Bannon in contempt for refusing to testify or produce documents, but a conviction would not require him to testify before the January 6 Select Committee.
NBC News reports that Bannon is expected to turn himself in on Monday and appear in court that afternoon.
With me now is Congressman Ted Lieu of California. He was an impeachment manager earlier this year. And "New York Times" Washington correspondent Michael Schmidt.
Congressman Lieu, I want to start with you.
I want you to take a listen to Mark Meadows talking to Laura Ingraham on FOX News, and hear his comments. We will talk about it on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS: What are you accusing Rod Rosenstein of specifically?
MARK MEADOWS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, really, for nine months, we have asked for documents. And that`s all we want are the documents.
And what we found is not only have subpoenas been ignored, but information has been hidden. The efforts have been stonewalled. And I guess, for us, it`s all about transparency, so the American people can judge for themselves. And so they may be able to ignore Congress, but they can`t ignore the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROSS: Congressman, it`s all about transparency for the American people.
Your thoughts on Mark Meadows`s words tonight, given the news and situation we`re in today.
REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): Thank you, Tiffany, for your question.
While Democrats with delivering for their people with our historic infrastructure law, you have Republican enablers like Steve Bannon and Mark Meadows who are flouting the law. And Americans need to ask, what is Mark Meadows and Steve Bannon hiding from the American people about what they said or did on January 5 and January 6, and what did their former president do or not do on those crucial days?
CROSS: And the questions that the committee is eager to get answered.
Michael Schmidt, I just -- I reminded the viewers in the last block, but I just want to punctuate this point, Steve Bannon is a long established liar. You remember his farce with the -- stealing funds from the build the wall fund-raiser that they were doing.
I want you to take a listen to Trump`s call with the Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, asking him to essentially help cheat.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There`s nothing wrong with saying that you`ve recalculated.
So, look, all I want to do is this. I just want to find 11, 780 votes, which is one more than we have.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CROSS: Who coordinated this call? Chief of Staff Mark Meadows? Who does Trump surround himself with? Steve Bannon, a well-documented liar.
What`s your take on this situation? And what message do you think -- or what do you think this means for the 30-plus other people who`ve been subpoenaed by the select committee?
MICHAEL SCHMIDT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, I think that the impact of this, we will be able to measure by how much other people are willing to come in.
The biggest problem that this investigation has is time. They want -- the Democrats want this investigation to be done by the late spring, early summer of next year, to make sure that they have a detailed, authoritative narrative of what happened around the election heading into the 2022 midterms.
That is their goal. Now, are people like Steve Bannon able to throw a wrench in that investigation by not cooperating? There are other people that have obviously indicated that they -- that they are going to take a similar stance to Bannon. They have not been as dismissive as Bannon. They have engaged the committee in some way.
But what you have here and what we will have to see is that, do other people fear being charged by the Justice Department like Bannon, and do they come in and participate, and do they participate in fulsome ways that illuminate the major questions around what happened in the lead-up to the insurrection and during it?
So, the -- it`s an extreme and extraordinary measure by the Justice Department here. It is sending a clear message. But we will have to see how much others respond to it to really know the true impact on the fact- gathering of the committee.
CROSS: Congressman, Michael makes a good point.
And we talked last -- the last block with our guest Elie Mystal, who played out a really scary calculus that, even now, after this indictment, people can delay, delay, delay until it`s time for midterms. And if the Republicans take over the House, if they take over Congress, then all these may go away.
I think that`s part of their plan. I want you to take a listen to Steve Bannon on his podcast. And this was right from today, right before the indictment came down. And we will talk about it on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: Remember, there are no whining and no tears in "The War Room." We`re taking action.
And that action is, we`re taking school boards, we`re taking over the Republican Party through the precinct committee strategy. We`re taking over all the elections. Suck on this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROSS: "Suck on this."
What do you make of Steve Bannon`s remarks? Look, I have to say there is some accuracy to that, with Republicans aggressively trying to target local school boards, state legislatures, introducing voter suppression schemes, et cetera.
What`s your thought here?
LIEU: Well, first of all, I agree with Michael in Elie that time is an issue.
That is one reason I introduced legislation to authorize a House to use our inherent contempt power. And that only requires a vote of the House to change our House rules. That would let us immediately use our power to enforce subpoenas against witnesses like Steve Bannon and Mark Meadows.
Hopefully, the House will pass that if we don`t get cooperation from other witnesses.
And then in terms of what Steve Bannon just said, I do note that, in the elections that happened recently, some school board members lost, some won. It is by no means a Republican takeover. We do have people fighting back who simply disagree with some of the crazy things that school board candidates are saying.
And I think it remains to be seen whether or not you can have conservatives take over school boards. It`s really a much more local issue. And I think very few people in America want to see books banned at school libraries.
CROSS: Well, I have to tell you, Congressman, this is something that has been going on for a long time. Republicans have used the school board as a launching pad to find their way to Congress to introduce some of these draconian policies.
I used to work in education for a while at the National Education Association. And this was a political arm of our operation.
Really quickly before I let you go -- we`re running out of time -- but the DOJ has not charged anyone with contempt in 38 years. Just before I let you go, what significance do you think this has with the committee? I mean, it feels like the wind is at their back now. But, again, there`s a lot of legal maneuvering to happen to see full cooperation.
LIEU: No one wants to be indicted. And the consequences of this are not only a fine, but also possible jail time.
So, if you`re not Steve Bannon, and if you`re other witnesses out there, and you don`t really want to go down flames, you may just want to cooperate with the committee right now, knowing that the Department of Justice is going to indict you if you simply ignore congressional subpoenas.
CROSS: All right, we will certainly keep our eye.
Thank you so much, Congressman Ted Lieu and Michael Schmidt, for joining us on a very busy Friday evening.
And up next on THE REIDOUT: Donald Trump actually defends the threat against his own Vice President Mike Pence.
We will talk about that after the break. Stay with us.
CROSS: OK, well, Steve Bannon is now under indictment.
The man he worked for, Donald Trump, remains brazenly flippant about what happened that day when his supporters attempted a coup and called for the murder of his vice president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIOTERS: Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROSS: Those chilling threats made crystal clear what would have happened had the insurrectionist laid their hands on Mike Pence that day.
And now we`re getting some unsurprising, but new insight into the warped mine of Donald J. Trump on that very subject. In an interview released just today, Trump actually defended the lynch mob that was rooting for Pence`s murder. And he says it was common sense for them to threaten the life of the vice president.
So, in other words, Trump is still very much on brand. Take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS: Were you worried about him during that siege? Were you worried about his safety?"
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I thought he was well-protected, and I had heard that he was in good shape. No, because I had heard he was in very good shape.
But -- but, no, I think...
KARL: Because you heard those chants -- that was terrible. I mean, it was the...
TRUMP: He could have -- well, the people were very angry.
KARL: They were saying, "Hang Mike Pence."
TRUMP: Because it`s common sense, Jon. It`s common sense that you`re supposed to protect. How can you -- if you know a vote is fraudulent, right, how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress?
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CROSS: Cool, cool.
His remarks come from a March interview with Jonathan Karl of ABC News for his upcoming book "Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show."
And with those words, Trump is signaling to his base of radicals that violence, even murder, is justified in the name of the big lie.
Now, we should know that Pence was not in good shape, as Trump falsely claimed. He was evacuated just seconds before the mob could reach him and narrowly escaped with his life. Now, that`s not to mention that Trump literally directed the insurrectionists to seek Pence out, specifically targeting him in a tweet as the violence was unfolding on national TV.
Simply put, Trump almost had Mike Pence killed, and now he`s saying he`s OK with that.
But this is not surprising, given his sick fascination with violence, which has been abundantly clear since the early days of his campaign in 2016.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I would like to punch him in the face, I will tell you.
Knock the crap out of him, would you? Seriously, OK? Just knock the hell -- I promise you I will pay for the legal fees.
In the good old days, this doesn`t happen, because they used to treat them very, very rough.
In the good old days, they`d rip him out of that seat so fast.
You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They`d be carried out on a stretcher, folks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROSS: So, if nothing else, Donald Trump is consistent.
But we have recently seen how the Republican Party is now following Trump`s lead, increasingly embracing the threat of political violence as a way to acquire power.
Madison Cawthorn, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, and even little Kevin McCarthy himself, they have all spoken of using physical violence against political targets.
Joining me now is David Jolly. He`s a former Republican congressman from Florida who is no longer affiliated with the party. And my friend Angela Rye, a political strategist and host of "On One with Angela Rye."
Angela, I have got to tell you, I`m on one today.
CROSS: I think this was the clap-back we were all waiting for.
But the more important thing is, I feel like there are a lot of people on Capitol Hill who are asking for that smoke. I mean, you have seen Marjorie Taylor Greene be very confrontational with her colleagues. When I hear the media talk about how shocked and stunning this revelation is of Donald Trump, it`s like, were you not paying attention? This man has always invited violence.
And you see the Republican Party following suit. What are your thoughts about all this?
ANGELA RYE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I`m wondering when people are going to catch up, when they`re going to wake up and realize that there was a terrorist attack on Capitol Hill on January 6, and that that thing was literally being cultivated throughout the duration, not only of Donald Trump`s presidency, not only of the campaign, as you so aptly put, but let`s not forget that this was also the man that questioned the citizenship of Barack Hussein Obama, right?
Like, this is someone who thrives in that type of nonsense. They have accounts that create whole conspiracy theories, right? Like, this is what they do, and they do it so well. And so there`s only a matter -- it`s only a matter of time before the make-believe becomes real.
We saw pieces of this in Charlottesville, when the man rammed through the protests and killed this woman. We saw it with the tiki torch riots that took place there. This is not new. It`s been happening in different parts of the country for some time.
And so what we have to acknowledge now is, it`s only, again, a matter of time before it reaches the top. And for him to be so, as you said, flippant about Mike Pence, about his life -- the fact that we`re defending Mike Pence`s well-being...
RYE: ... over the president, I think, speaks volumes.
And I think that this goes back to what we have been talking about, Tif, and that is human decency. This isn`t political. This isn`t partisan. This is about what is right and what is wrong. The fact that Congressman Thompson, who, of course, chairs the select committee, has issued 35-plus subpoenas, and Steve Bannon is one of them, he`s not the only one that`s saying, I`m not going to -- I`m not going to participate in this.
We have to fact-find. And we`re trying to fact-find with people who are just, like, abhorrent. Like, you`re not trying to participate in the process at all. That is where we have to get our information from, the fact that the image that I keep seeing in my mind from January 6 isn`t Mike Pence running down the stairs.
It`s Lisa Blunt Rochester on her knees praying with her colleagues that they would be safe, that there will be a hedge of protection around them. That should sear the consciences of people on both -- in both parties, independents, libertarians, whomever. Human decency has to be the basis of this.
And where it is lacking is with Donald Trump and, of course, with how he treated his own -- the vice president he picked, his own vice president.
CROSS: And while we`re defending Mike Pence, Mike Pence is defending Donald Trump. He spoke out this year in April before a crowd of evangelicals, and did not have too many negative words, quite honestly, about Donald Trump.
David Jolly, you worked on it on Capitol Hill. So you and Angela both spent time on Capitol Hill, so you understand how this works. It`s very scary to me to see that you have Congresswoman QAnon being very confrontational.
FMR. REP. DAVID JOLLY (R-FL): Yes.
CROSS: You have Proud Boys who are running for Congress. Donald Trump is doing this with the full embrace of the Republican Party. He just spoke at an NRCC event this week.
Again, no one has rebuked him. Everyone`s following suit. I`m curious your thoughts. What happens when the same group, the Republican Party...
CROSS: ... what if they don`t like the election results next year during midterms? What do you anticipate the party doing then?
JOLLY: Tiffany, that`s exactly the danger of an interview like Donald Trump gave to Jonathan Karl and the comments from Republican leadership, or lack of.
Donald Trump has created a permission structure. He is the leader of today`s Republican Party, the loudest voice in the room, until somebody pushes him off the seat. And he was unable to condemn the notion that some people were suggesting hanging the vice president of the United States, not only unable to condemn it, but suggested that it was understandable.
That is a permission structure that allows the Marjorie Taylor Greenes, the Madison Cawthorns, the other nutjobs in the Republican House Conference to engage in similar language. And it will lead to more violence. I mean, that that`s the bottom line, Tiffany. It will lead to more violence.
That`s not political commentary. That is the opinion of our domestic intelligence agencies of the Department of Homeland Security, that it is this right-wing organic violence that could create a threat and ultimately take the lives of more people.
What Donald Trump did there was not simply a failure to condemn. It was to further a permission structure that violence in the face of your political grievance is now permissible. That was the attitude of Donald Trump. That`s the message received loud and clear by rank-and-file Republicans.
CROSS: And, Angela, since you worked on Capitol Hill -- you actually worked for Chairman Thompson. You were the executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus, so you know this space very well.
One thing that we don`t talk enough about, I think, is the staff. The staff experience these things on Capitol Hill as well. So when I look at this slate of GOP candidates, you have got Sean Parnell out of Pennsylvania, whose wife has accused him of excessive violence against her and their children.
Like I said, you have got a Proud Boy on the ballot. Six of the people who participated in the January 6 insurrection won elections a couple of weeks ago.
I`m curious. You still talk to staff there. One, would you feel safe working on Capitol Hill knowing these people are roaming the halls of Congress. And the staff that you still talk to, do they feel safe?
RYE: Well, no.
And I think a perfect example is Marjorie Taylor Greene gun-toting in the halls of Congress. The members don`t feel safe either, right? And I think that we ultimately have to get down to the fact that there are some standards that have to shift.
And I really don`t see an end of the matter, Tiffany. The reason why is, of course, there was a census last year. Of course, we`re in the process of redistricting, many of those plans already submitted and approved. They are making these districts hyper-Republican. And when they`re in hyper- Republican districts, they can get away with anything.
And we have seen, with the election of Donald Trump, that there are millions of people who either support or give permission, talking about the permission structure that David just mentioned, to people to do these types of things.
Everything is on the line. Freedom is on the line at every stage, whether we`re talking about challenges to abortion in Texas and other states following suit, or we`re talking about the restrictions put in place to prevent us from even being able to exercise our votes in hyperpartisan, hyper-Republican districts.
We have a huge challenge on our hand. And if we don`t really take our power back and understand what is at stake, we`re going to have this problem for at least another decade.
CROSS: That`s right. And we have to remember Capitol Hill is very protected. These state legislatures across the country are not protected the same way Capitol Hill is. So, this is a huge threat to our country that we have to keep an eye on.
Thank you so much, David Jolly and Angela Rye.
Don`t go anywhere at home, because, up next on THE REIDOUT, the man himself, Reverend Al Sharpton joins me. This is after a defense attorney in the trial of the men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery mentions the Rev by name before saying he didn`t want any more black pastors in court.
Keep Rev`s name out your mouth.
Stay with us. We will be right back.
CROSS: OK, there are three high-profile court cases under way across the country that we`re keeping a close eye on, one in Wisconsin.
There`s the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, who shot and killed two people and wounded a third during protests after the death of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year. In Georgia, there is a trial of three white men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was hunted down and killed last year while he was out for a jog.
And, in Virginia, there is a civil case under way against neo-Nazi and white nationalist groups that organized the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville in 2017. You guys remember that rally ended in violence with the killing of Heather Heyer.
Central to all these cases is race and racism in this country, something we`re seeing play out inside the courtroom itself. Yesterday, a defense attorney in the Arbery case had the temerity to object to the president of Reverend Al Sharpton or actually any black pastor, for that matter, in the courtroom, saying that they could intimidate the jury.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN GOUGH, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The idea that we`re going to be serially bringing these people in to sit with the victim`s family one after another, obviously, there`s only so many pastors they can have.
And if their pastor is Al Sharpton right now, that`s fine. But then that`s it. We don`t want any more black pastors coming in here or other -- Jesse Jackson, whoever was in was in here earlier this week, sitting with the victim`s family, trying to influence the jury in this case.
I`m asking the court to take appropriate steps to make sure that the gallery, which is already limited in this case, isn`t being utilized for a purpose that could be viewed as improper.
If a bunch of folks came in here dressed like Colonel Sanders with white masks sitting in the back, I mean, that would be...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROSS: Yes, this morning, playboy attempted to apologize, but it fell way short.
For more, I`m joined now by the amazing Reverend Al Sharpton, host of MSNBC`s "POLITICS NATION," president of National Action Network that just celebrated their 30-year anniversary, and my friend and big brother.
Rev, I`m so happy to have you here. I`m so sorry you were subjected to that loony man`s comments.
But I want to start out and just ask you, how is Mrs. Arbery doing? Because we all saw her break down in court when she had to bear witness to see her son murdered for the first time. It was difficult to watch. You spoke with her and spent time with her. How are her spirits?
REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST, "POLITICS NATION": Her spirits are strong. She`s a very spiritual woman.
But, clearly, her and the father are going through what is an unbelievable, painful experience, to sit in the courtroom on a daily basis with three men that killed their son, only, in as far as I can see, because of the color of his skin, and to sit behind their family, and now to be told they can choose who can sit with them.
According to the court, they can bring in one person each. And they chose to invite me. They came -- I preached in Georgia about three weeks ago. They both came, stood before the press and invited me to come. I have been working with them and their attorneys since the killing.
And to all of a sudden make an issue -- they brought others since the trial started, but, when I came, all of a sudden, it became an issue. And notice what they`re saying, Tiffany, that my presence could intimidate or influence the jury.
Well, what is that supposed to mean?
SHARPTON: How many cases have we seen of police related cases where policemen stack the courtroom in uniform? We sat on the back row of the court, having no disruption.
How is that influencing and intimidating anyone, other than the same way those three men are on trial, feeling that Mr. Arbery was somehow intimidating walking through a construction area that is building a house. It is blatant racism, and his so-called apology today said, if someone was offended...
SHARPTON: ... like not even recognizing the blatant racism of his statement that: I don`t want any more black pastors.
Well, we`re going to bring plenty there next Thursday, the 18th, because I`m coming back. And there`s going to be a lot of ministers with us for a prayer vigil to stand with this mother and father to say they`re not alone.
CROSS: Let it be known, the doors of -- the doors of the church are open in Georgia when you return. Happy to hear it.
You know what`s a lot scarier, Rev, than black pastors? Three white men chasing you down with a gun.
I want you to take a listen to the 911 call from the gentleman who called the authorities when he allegedly saw Ahmaud Arbery in the house. We will talk about it on the other side.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRAVIS MCMICHAEL, DEFENDANT: There`s a guy in a house right now. There`s a house under construction.
911 DISPATCHER: Do you have your address or the other -- that house`s address?
MCMICHAEL: Right at 219 or 220 Satilla Drive.
911 DISPATCHER: And you say someone`s breaking into it right now?
MCMICHAEL: No, it`s all open and it`s under construction, and he`s running right now. There he goes right now.
911 Dispatcher: OK. What is he doing?
MCMICHAEL: He`s running down the street.
911 Dispatcher: OK. OK. That`s fine. I will get them out there. I just need to know what he was doing wrong.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CROSS: What was he doing wrong, Rev?
I mean, we see this twin justice system play out this week. You have to ask yourself, who deputized these people law enforcement? And that`s the problem so often, Rev. You just want to send a message: Mind your business. You are not deputized law enforcement over everybody.
What`s the mother saying as she hears this testimony play out? They even described Ahmaud Arbery as a colored fellow in the house.
SHARPTON: Well, she said -- and she said it to the media -- that it is unbelievable to hear this.
And to think that her son was killed by these people. They didn`t even want to arrest them until the tape came out. And we had began working with them. Both the mother and father had even been on "POLITICS NATION" with me before the tape showed exactly what happened, because we understand -- you must remember, Tiffany, almost 10 years ago next March, Trayvon Martin was killed the same way by a self-appointed a person that wanted to take the law in his own hand and killed Trayvon, saying he was doing something wrong.
We have got to stop this. And we have to make sure these courts do not tell who can stand with people when they have had a loved one killed. We`re not going to stand for it. Thursday the 18th, we will be back, and we will be back strong.
CROSS: And interesting thoughts, considering the role that white conservative evangelicals play in promoting some of the domestic terrorism that we have seen. The data bears it out. Look it up.
Thank you so much, Reverend Al Sharpton. And please be safe when you travel back down there to Georgia on November 18. And we will be in touch.
We will be right back.
CROSS: OK, welcome back.
I just want to make a very quick connect correction. Last block, we incorrectly said that Jacob Blake was murdered. However, he is, of course, alive. He was paralyzed after being shot seven times in the back by a police officer. So our apologies for that.
Moving on, if you`re tired of the echo chambers of cable news, do please tune in to "THE CROSS CONNECTION" tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. We disrupt the monotony, and it is unapologetically for the culture. Tomorrow is no different.
You know how you have heard people say that our country is so divided, and they come up with all types of political euphemisms as to why? Well, we are keeping it 100 and calling a thing a thing. Race is the dividing issue, people. And we will get into a new report from Pew that dives deep.
Also, I know you have heard a lot about that supply chain demand and the waning amount of truck drivers that contribute to the bottleneck. Well, the industry that`s mostly white men over the age of 55 is in desperate need for newer, younger, more diverse candidates, much like, well, everywhere. But that`s another story.
And puff, puff, pass the pardon, because Senator Elizabeth Warren is pressing President Biden to issue blanket pardons to nonviolent cannabis convictions. So, let`s be blunt. The chronic problem of overincarcerating people needs to be weeded out of the criminal justice system.
So, you don`t want to miss "THE CROSS CONNECTION" tomorrow. It`s sure to be a smoker.
And, on Sunday night, MSNBC Films presents "The Dark of the Valley." This is an new feature documentary. And it explores the decades-long cover-up of a nuclear accident in the Los Angeles area, the families that suffered, and one mother`s journey to activism after watching her own daughter fight cancer twice.
"In the Dark of the Valley" airs Sunday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern on MSNBC.
All right, and that`s tonight`s REIDOUT. Joy is back here on Monday.
And "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.