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Transcript: The ReidOut, 11/17/21

Guests: Nikema Williams, David Gosar, Matthew Dowd, Elizabeth Warren, David Henderson, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Mara Schiavocampo


House votes to censure GOP Representative Paul Gosar over violent anime video targeting AOC and Biden. Representative Gosar defends himself ahead of censure vote. Republicans defend Representative Gosar ahead of censure vote. GOP Representative Gosar censured for sharing violent anime video.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: We will continue to cover this story for you, which is a reminder of how the death penalty often does work in America.

Thank you for watching "THE BEAT," as always. THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid starts right now. Hi, Joy.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Ari, thank you very much. Have a wonderful evening.

All right, good evening everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the extraordinary scene that played out on the floor of the United States House of Representatives today, where Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez addressed Paul Gosar`s stupid, violent anime fantasy video, produced by his taxpayer paid congressional staff and posted to his official House social media account, which depicted him killing Representative Ocasio-Cortez and then turning a pair of knives on President Joe Biden.

In her speech, the New York congresswoman delivered an eloquent denunciation of the Republican Party, which refuses to take seriously a casual threat of violence from a member of their caucus.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): I`ve seen other members of this party advance the argument including, Representative Gosar himself, the illusion that this was just a joke, that what we say and what we do does not matter so long as we claim a lack of meaning.

I am here to rise to say that it does. Our work here matters. Our example matters. There is meaning in our service. And as leaders in this country, when we incite violence with depictions against our colleagues, that trickles down into violence in this country.


REID: Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez`s impassion appeal came just before the house voted to censure Congressman Gosar and strip him of his committee assignments. Only two Republicans joined the Democratic majority to pass the resolution, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, not surprising.

Censure is the most severe punishment the House can issue short of expelling a member from Congress. In fact, according to The New York Times, fewer than two dozen members have been censured since the early 19th century.

It comes ten days after Gosar posted the animated video and after Republican, after Republican took to the floor to justify it and to use their time instead of addressing the video at all, to scream about brown people at the border and Afghanistan and inflation, whining about having to wear mask on the floor and basically talking about anything, any talking point they could think of not related to Paul Gosar indulging in the fantasy murder of a Latina colleague, as one does.

And, of course, it`s also comes as the House select committee continues to investigate the Trump-inspired violence against Congress on January 6th, and as you know, Gosar`s threat against a co-worker would literally get anybody else fired from any other job.

But in the House, the Republican minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, doesn`t care. Because if it takes violent anime fantasy memes to make him speaker, that is good enough for him. He ignored questions from reporters about Gasar in his press conference today, though he was more animated just hours later in a contemptuous speech from the House floor, where he delivered a master class in whataboutism and non sequiturs, complaining about everything from gas prices to the Mueller probe to inflation.

Here is how Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez responded to Kevin McCarthy.


OCASIO-CORTEZ: What is so hard about saying that this is wrong? This is not about me. This is not about Representative Gosar, but this is about what we are willing to accept.

When the Republican leader rose to talk about how there are all of these double standards and a list of litany of all these different things, not once did he list in example of a member of Congress threatening the life of another.


REID: I mean, the truth is this is a long time coming for Congressman Gosar, who`s made no secret of his radical believes. This is a guy who openly associates with known white supremacists, like Nick Fuentes, who has denied the Holocaust and joked about genocide. And the Republican Party not only tolerates him, they embrace him, and why wouldn`t they?

And not so subtle ways and in some subtle ways, Republicans are just openly now issuing the threat of political violence to reach their extremist base. Madison Cawthorn, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert and even little Kevin himself have all spoken about using physical violence against their political targets.

And this comes as an actual trial of white supremacists, people who like Paul Gosar also associate with the believes of Nick Fuentes and who used violence and murder to try and defend a racist statue in Charlottesville.


That trial is taking place right now in Virginia.

And joining me now is Congresswoman Nikema Williams of Georgia.

Congressman, let me play for you Paul Gosar defending himself and his really stupid -- I call it violence porn anime video. Here he is defending it.


REP. PAUL GOSAR (D-AZ): I rise today to address and reject the mischaracterization accusations from many in this body that the cartoon from my office is dangerous or threatening. It was not. And I reject the false narrative categorically.

For this cartoon, some in Congress suggest I should be punished, I have said decisively there is no threat in the cartoon.

If I must join Alexander Hamilton, the first person attempted to be censured by this House, so be it. It is done.


REID: First of all, that man is no Alexander Hamilton. It`s insulting to the memory of Alexander Hamilton for him to spit his name out. But I want you to respond to that. Do you accept that as a woman and woman of color who has to serve with that guy in Congress that he says that video is not threatening?

REP. NIKEMA WILLIAMS (D-GA): So, Joy, my third day in Congress was January 6th, where we were literally afraid for our lives. After that, I had to get security at my home. My five-year-old had to have -- when I went to drop him off in the carpool line, I had security with me because of leaders in our country like him who are following Donald Trump and white supremacists in this country who have made it unsafe for me to serve in this body of Congress.

And no matter how many times he called it a cartoon doesn`t make it okay and person after person after person came up. And these all right same people that tomorrow they`ll ask you why you`re not signing on to their bills or why you`re not working in a bipartisan fashion. But I think we need to go back to the Maya Angelou quote, when people show you who they are, believe them the first time because his siblings try to tell who he was when they all came out and campaigned against him when he was running for Congress and not enough people listen to his own family members.

So, we -- I was a proud co-lead on this resolution today to strip him of his committees and to censure him in front of the House, but then to watch his colleagues, Republicans stand down with him in the front of chamber, standing with him with pride, as if everything that he did was okay.

REID: Let me play for you -- and this is three for my producer. Here are Jim Jordan, Louie Gohmert, Matt Gaetz. And I want playing them because I don`t have any respect for anything they say, but I just want -- I have a question for you on the other side. Listen to them.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): And what are they doing today? Censuring a member for a cartoon, you got to be kidding me.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): When there was violence against us there was no condemnation.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Today, we`re critiquing Paul Gosar`s anime. Next week, we might be indicting the Wile E. Coyote for an explosive ordinance against the Road Runner.


REID: I note that, that last guy is accused of allegedly sexually trafficking a teenage girl. But if the Republicans take over the House and they are sworn in as the majority in 2020 -- after the 2022 midterms, Kevin McCarthy will be speaker and those three will be empowered, they`ll probably be committee chairs. People like them will be in charge.

Probably mask mandates will be gone. People will be able to walk around and cough COVID all over the House of Representatives and, apparently, violence against women and fellow members will be a okay. And they will probably -- they said today pretty openly that they`re going to try to exact revenge on the Democrats for this. Will you feel safe serving in Congress if Kevin McCarthy is the speaker?

WILLIAMS: I don`t feel safe today knowing that I have to walk in a chamber with those people every day who tell -- they`re telling us exactly what they believe and what they subscribed to and they walk in that chamber every day and they`re serving in this body with us and they have these people across the country who they are encouraging to do this, though, I have to get on this plane when I go home, go to the grocery store, live my daily life in the deep south.

I`m from Georgia, Joy. And so I`m in the south. And I have to live this every day when they are continuing to perpetuate the violence in this country. And we -- I hope maybe one day Matt Gaetz will have his day in court for the crimes that he`s committed. So, we will see what happens. But I`m going to do everything that I can to make sure that Kevin McCarthy is not the speaker of the House. We have some elections coming up in Georgia and I`ll be working around the clock to make sure that we continue to keep the majority because we can`t let Kevin McCarthy lead this country.

REID: As we always know, of course, Kevin -- Matt Gaetz denies the charge against him, but, yes, it will be -- there will be some elections in Georgia.


That`s for sure.

Congresswoman Nikema Williams, who serves in the seat formally held by the great and late John Lewis, who knows a lot about political violence, he did in his brilliant life, thank you, Congresswoman. I really appreciate you being here this evening. Thank you.

And with me now Matthew Dowd, candidate for Lieutenant Governor in Texas and the author of the book Revelations on the River, Healing a Nation and Healing Ourselves, and David Gosar, brother of Congressman Paul Gosar.

And I`m going to start with your, Mr. Gosar. Your brother denies that his anime violence porn video wasn`t all dangerous. What do you think?

DAVID GOSAR, CONGRESSMAN PAUL GOSAR`S BROTHER: Well, Joy, you know, given Paul`s track record, if he tells you that it stopped raining outside, grab your umbrella. You know, I mean, he`s just an evident liar anymore. And, of course, he meant this, as you know, just stoking controversy.

I mean, they cook this up with the intention of, you know, getting attention, raising funds, like they always do. You know, with these House trolls, they all have to one up each other, okay? So he knew this would be controversial. And he was heavily involved. And he would likely moved to blame it on their staff, seriously.

And then he knew it was going to happen. It was intended to raise funds. So, clearly, it was intended. You know, it wasn`t any joke. You know, Paul, explain to all of us what humor is now because I`m having a hard time understanding the humor, even when it`s from the theoretical basis.

REID: And the fundraising, you know, the last time Marjorie Q. Greene did, you know, she gets record fundraising when she was kicked off to her committees. They use this as a grift but they also mean the violence. They seem to be very sincere about wanting the violence and attacking members of the other party.

Matthew Dowd, let me play for you what Speaker Pelosi said about this video.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Disguising death threats against a member of Congress and a president of the United States is -- in an animated video does not make those death threats any less real or less serious. And indeed conveying them this way makes them potentially more dangerous by normalizing violence.


REID: So here we are, Matthew. Lauren Boebert did an ad in which she had a gunshot that was, you know, referencing the speaker of the House. Political violence is now de rigeuer and apparently very acceptable to the Republican Party. And only two Republicans found what Gosar did objectionable enough to vote to censure him. Your thoughts?

MATTHEW DOWD (D) CANDIDATE FOR TEXAS LT. GOVERNOR: Well, we have had a long history, Joy, of knowing that treat threats of violence and words of violence result in violence. We have a history of it in our country. It happened to African-Americans long before they were -- violence was committed on them, they got violent words at them. Asian-Americans, same thing happened. Gay Americans, Muslim-Americans, Jewish-Americans, all of it is preceded by words of violence. And I think that`s where we are today.

I was the subject of and I`m still the subject of death threats. I was the subject of death threats at ABC directly related to Donald Trump`s speech in this. I was at a campaign event a month ago where a guy came with a glock handgun screaming about a stolen election, screaming about that in the midst of this. We know it.

My issue today is, and I`m glad they did the censure vote, is that there is supposed to be a line between right and wrong, between robust rhetoric and encouraging violence. There is supposed to be a line. But if we don`t cause people in this day in age to suffer consequences, there is no line. And I apply that to everything. I apply that to Gosar, I apply it to Donald Trump, I apply that to January 6th.

If consequences are not suffered by those who do it, then we might as well say there is no line because it`s totally allowed in this moment in time. And I think that`s the problem. We know what happens. We know what happens when people speak like this. And when there is no guard rails from the Republican Party, zero guard rails, zero condemnation, zero ability to say you can`t do that, don`t do that, then the fringe elements of people in the society are free to do they feel are free to do whatever they want to whomever they want.

REID: Yes. And as a reminder, you know, we live in a country where multiple presidents were assassinated, where President John F. Kennedy, the kind of vile rhetoric putting him on wanted posters. You know, this kind of rhetoric against political leaders has resulted in real death of political leaders. We used to have duals. You know, he wanted to mention Alexander Hamilton. We used to have duals in this country where people settled their supposed political and personal disputes through violence.

I know I`m having issue with David`s audio, so I`m just going to ask you this final question, Matthew, because I don`t see how -- where this goes.


If the Republicans take over the House, I don`t see where the limit will be because they`ll know that they are just one presidential election away from full autocracy and there is almost nothing they won`t do. Their third in charge already said he`s David Duke without the baggage and they promoted him after that. I don`t know where we go if they get the House back.

DOWD: Well, to me, every day I thought it can`t get worse, it gets worse. And I thought 2020 was the most important election in my lifetime and I`ve been doing this for 40 years. I actually think 2022 is more important. Because after everything that happened to me, aftermath of 2020 it`s gotten worse since Donald Trump left office. It`s gotten worse. If they get away and take power in that after all of that, it`s only going to be extended further and further and further.

The Republican Party today is a failed political party in a democratic country. It is a failed political party. It no longer is interested in governing. It`s no longer interested in policy for the sake of bringing people together or solving our problems. It has no interest in that. It is an aggrieved party that all their worried about is trying to cancel the idea that were -- they do not want us to be a multi-cultural, multi-diverse country. They don`t want it.

REID: They don`t want it. And there is a name for what they are doing now and it`s called fascism. We need not be afraid to say it. Mathew Dowd, Dave Gosar, thank you both very much.

All right, up next on THE REIDOUT as we wait for a verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial, the man that shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery takes the stand in Georgia.

And Senator Elizabeth Warren joins me on the concerns Americans have about inflation and what Congress and the White House still need to do to help people who are struggling.

Plus, an exclusive interview with Julius Jones on the eve of his execution in Oklahoma.

And I`ll talk with Nikole Hannah-Jones about America`s long history on convicting people of color without even being sure they`re guilty.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: We continue to watch the two major court cases in Brunswick, Georgia, and Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The jury in Kyle Rittenhouse`s trial has just ended its second day of deliberation without a verdict. Today, they asked to rewatch all the video evidence they saw during the trial, including video of Rittenhouse shooting Gaige Grosskreutz in the arm after Grosskreutz approached him with a handgun, apparently viewing him as an active shooter.

There was a different video that led to Rittenhouse`s attorney asking for a mistrial, claiming they received an inferior copy of video showing Rittenhouse turning and shooting Joseph Rosenbaum, video that the jury also wanted to rewatch.


COREY CHIRAFISI, ATTORNEY FOR KYLE RITTENHOUSE: We have talked to Mr. Rittenhouse. And I`m going to be asking the court for a mistrial.

I think that is required in a case like this where he`s looking at a life sentence potentially without parole if he`s convicted.


REID: Judge Bruce Schroeder did not rule on today`s mistrial motion or on the previous mistrial motion from the defense on Monday.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, the judge in the trial of the three men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery has once again dismissed two motions by the defense to end or dismiss the trial. After the defense`s opening remarks, they called defendant Travis McMichael, the man who ended Arbery`s life, to the stand.


TRAVIS MCMICHAEL, DEFENDANT: I want to give my side of the story. I want to explain what happened and to be able to say what happened from the way I see it.


REID: Now, mind you, Ahmaud Arbery doesn`t have the luxury of telling his side of the story because he`s dead.

All we`re left with is the evidence and the words of the men who killed him.



MCMICHAEL: I shot him.


MCMICHAEL: He had my gun. He struck me. It was obvious that he was -- it was obvious that he was attacking me, that if he would have gotten the shotgun from me, then it was -- this is a life-or-death situation.

And I`m going to have to stop him from doing this. So I shot.

SHEFFIELD: Did he stop when you shot?

MCMICHAEL: He did not.


REID: In a scene same very reminiscent of the Rittenhouse trial, McMichael wiped away tears after recounting the events.

The prosecution began a brief cross-examination and is set to continue tomorrow. The prosecution has threatened to bring in additional evidence suggesting racial animus with Travis McMichael.

With me now, David Henderson, civil rights attorney and former prosecutor.

Let`s start with the Rittenhouse trial. Thank you for being here, David.

This mistrial request should worry anyone who`s concerned about this judge, I would think, because the judge talked about having qualms about even admitting this video. It`s aerial video from a drone, that, when you blow it up, because the prosecution wanted to show that this young man was aiming his gun at protesters earlier, and you blow it up big and it loses some quality.

So he said he had some qualms about admitting it at all. He then said that the request for a mistrial would have to be addressed if there`s a guilty verdict, literally meaning, couldn`t he just void the verdict?

DAVID HENDERSON, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: You know, Joy, that`s what he`s suggesting. I have never seen a judge do that before.

I think there are a couple things going on here. Number one, if your client gets caught doing something wrong on video, you want to keep that video out. The more clear that video is, the more you want to keep it out. That`s all you have to know to know where the defense is coming from.

The judge is harder to predict. And he`s made so many rulings that were so unusual. I think that`s why they keep emphasizing this. And keep in mind also prosecutors have made this judge mad several times during the trial. I think that probably what`s going on here is the judge wants them to have to sweat it as long as he can possibly make them sweat it, because, otherwise, he should have ruled on this motion a long time ago.

I have never seen it take this long.

REID: I mean, I think they made him mad just by bringing this case. It seems he didn`t like the fact that this case was brought at all.


HENDERSON: No, I think you`re right. He basically said that.


REID: They should find out if Rittenhouse is his, like, nephew or something. Like, he seems to be just angry that the case is happening at all.

Let`s go to the McMichaels trial. This was the most -- well, it wasn`t strange if you have ever watched like police officers. These -- some of these are former cops. They`re not current cops now. But the claims that they`re making, McMichael, and his other co-defendants against the dead man, Ahmaud Arbery, are bizarre, but they sound familiar, the way that police sometimes get away with killing people.

McMichael is claiming that after these three, because they believed that somebody had been doing property crime and they thought, well, this must be the guy, and they go and jump into their truck with their guns and chase him. They claim -- they are armed with firearms, and that, when Ahmaud Arbery saw them, they claimed that he ran toward them and grabbed McMichael`s gun.

Have you ever heard of anybody, a black man, running, jogging, whatever in Georgia, in the South, anywhere seeing three white men in a truck with guns and run toward them and try to grab their gun, like they`re in a movie or something? Have you ever heard of that?

HENDERSON: No, because you have to remember too they have been chasing him for four or five minutes already. So he`s being chased by trucks with white men with guns and a Confederate Flag vanity plate on the front of one of them.

No one who`s black wouldn`t have thought their life was at immediate risk of being ended. And what gun owners don`t seem to understand is, you can own a gun, you can carry again. You cannot point your gun at people. The moment you do that, Ahmaud has the right to defend himself.

But something else you have to remember here, Joy, is, they`re not saying they didn`t do it. They`re acknowledging they did it. They`re just saying they were justified.

So, in order to get an instruction on self-defense, which is what they`re going to want, same as Rittenhouse did, they have to offer some evidence to support that claim. And so one of them, with the evidence this overwhelming, has to get on the stand and admit that they shot and killed Ahmaud him the way they did.

REID: You know what a police officer would say? Thought he was going to grab my gun. I feared for my life. I had to shoot.

They`re using the same lingo. It worked for -- it worked in the case of the killer of Trayvon Martin. They think it`s going to work for them.

David Henderson, thank you very much.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

REID: Up next: Republicans jump on the inflation buzzword bandwagon, ignoring all the signs of America`s economic comeback.

Senator Elizabeth Warren joins me next with the truth about our economy.

That is straight ahead.



REID: So, Republicans want you to believe the economy isn`t doing well, that it`s terrible.

But, in reality, unemployment is at its lowest Point since before the pandemic began. Prices are higher, which is never good. But Americans are also spending a record amount of money that was pent up during the pandemic, which, economics 101, will tell you drives prices up, AKA, inflation.

And that conflict between how much we want to spend and what we can get into our hands quickly is contributing to how pessimistic many Americans feel about the economy. Consumer confidence is at its lowest level in a decade, according to a University of Michigan survey.

And that lack of confidence has translated into a drop in Biden`s approval rating, in part because Republicans are seizing on inflation and blaming Joe Biden for it personally, which is a fun twist, after Republicans and Trump maxed out the national credit card on tax cuts for the super rich and a partial wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for.

I`m joined now by Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

And thank you, Senator, for being here.

I want to let first you -- the White House has put out this sort of good news on today. And they said -- here`s what they said. Major retailers are saying that the stock the shelves are well-stocked. According to government statistics, there was a big jobs boom in the summer, not a bust. The ratings agency says Build Back Better will not add to inflation, and 10 percent of 5-to-11-year-olds are vaxxed in 10 days, which is way ahead of schedule.

And, in fact, "The Washington Post" does report that, with revisions, the economy added 194,000 jobs in September. Headlines at the time called it ugly, dismal, and disappointing. It turns out it was 312,000 jobs when they revised it. So the economy isn`t bad. It`s just that people are mad because everything is late and things cost a little bit more.

What do you make of all of this?

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): So, I look at it this way.

There are a lot of strong signs in this economy, and particularly coming out of the pandemic, a lot of good economic indicators. But I always try to look at what`s happening to families all across this country. And keep in mind the big expenses here, Joy, child care.

For the time, I was trying to get child care to today, child care expenses have gone up nearly 1000 percent for parents. Anybody who`s trying to take care of an elderly parent and needs home-based care for it has seen the prices go through the roof. Anybody who`s taken a prescription, to have it filled, has just seen huge price increases.

These are big arch-increases that really hit a budget hard. This is the reason that we need Build Back Better. If we really are talking about what affects people`s pocketbooks every single day, week after week, year after here, it`s these big expenses.

And this is what the next bill that`s teed up right now -- House has got its toes right on the line to pass this thing -- that will give us universal child care and pre-K, that`s going to give us home and community- based care, and that`s going to get us negotiation on drug prices and help bring those costs down.

So I want to see us move to lower the cost for American families, for hardworking families. Way to do that, pass Build Back Better. I hope this means the Republicans are ready to join us on it.

REID: Oh, I wouldn`t count on it.

I mean, look, the reality is, as you have said, what they say has nothing to do with reality, because they just want to get back in power. So I sort of set them aside.

But I`m glad that you said -- the way you did, because here`s the thing, people are frustrated because of the supply chain issues, meaning you order some stuff online, you order a couch, and it takes like 12 weeks for it to get there.

But the things that are making it hard for people to work in the jobs where they ship stuff to you, the people who work in shipping, the people who work as clerks, the people who work driving trucks, but especially, as you said, the people who work in those jobs that are part of that supply chain that are women, they`re not going back to work because they can`t afford the child care.


They are not going back to work. They can`t -- it`s like the things that you could actually do to get people back to work, you would fix the supply chain if you passed that bill.

WARREN: That`s right.

All these small businesses that say they need those workers, then, let`s get Build Back Better done, so that we`re really creating the infrastructure, so we have got the child care, so those mamas in particular can go back to work.

And, by the way, while we`re at it, let`s raise the wages of every child care worker and preschool teacher in America. Let`s make those jobs. The way we made construction jobs two generations ago, good middle-class jobs, let`s do the same thing in the caregiving industry. You want to talk about something that`s good for families and that`s good for our economy overall?

And, this time, instead of being predominantly men`s jobs, let`s do it because these are women`s jobs...

REID: Yes.

WARREN: ... and mostly women of color.

Let`s make that investment as a nation. Let`s lift up those families.

REID: And here`s another thing, because a lot of people are really upset about gas prices.

But people weren`t driving for a year, and somehow gas prices still went up. There have been some calls to investigate these oil companies, because, also, they don`t really like Build Back Better either, because it deals with their issues on the environment. But how is it that, when people stay home for a year, suddenly, the price of gas went up? Can you explain that?

WARREN: Yes. Yes.

So, come, on, Joy. We know exactly who the oil companies, what the oil companies pay attention to. What is their number one priority? Profits. And so think about it this way. If we really -- this were just ordinary inflation, we might see prices go up, but prices at the pump have gone up. Why?

Well, let me give you a hint. Chevron, Exxon have doubled their profits. This isn`t about inflation. This is about price-gouging for these guys.

So, I get it. When we see prices go up, we`re all concerned, and the Republicans want to come in and just try to hammer on one theme about this economy. But we have got to pay attention to the fact that folks like the oil companies say, I think it`s just another opportunity to make profits.

And we need to call them out on that.

REID: Yes.

And one last thing. I know that yourself, Ed Markey, Jeff Merkley have asked President Biden to pardon nonviolent cannabis convictions, at a time when weed has become hugely profitable for people who don`t look like me, and people who look like me are serving long sentences for it.

Talk about why that pardon would matter.

WARREN: So, look, we now in 49 states have done something to make marijuana legal in one form or another. We have recognized that the war on drugs put a lot of people behind bars for doing nothing more than smoking marijuana.

We also know that the odds that you would be prosecuted were much higher if you were a person of color than if you were white. It is time to acknowledge the changes, acknowledge our mistakes from the past, and say...

REID: Yes.

WARREN: ... let`s just take nonviolent offenders, people...

REID: Yes.

WARREN: ... people who have violated those old marijuana laws, and let`s turn them loose, and let`s expunge those records.

REID: Yes. Amen.

WARREN: These are people who have every right to get a good job, have every right...

REID: Yes. That`s right.

WARREN: ... to apply for college loans, every part of it.

REID: Amen.

WARREN: They need to be part of all of this.

REID: Amen.

WARREN: And we need to acknowledge our mistakes, make it better.

REID: Amen. Amen to that.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, thank you so much, as always.

All right, and up next: The fight over teaching the true history of America, instead of just the rosy parts, has entered the political mainstream right.

We will be right back.



REID: One day in 1944, in a segregated mill town in South Carolina, police came for George Stinney after the bodies of two white girls were found near his home.

Police accused the 14-year-old boy, who knew the girls, of killing them. He was arrested and questioned without his parents or legal counsel. The threat of lynch mobs ran his family out of town. And George himself was moved to an out-of-town jail. And then a sham trial and a legalized lynching ensued.

It took an all-white jury 10 minutes to convict George Stinney of murder. His sentence? Death by electrocution. George was about five feet tall and not even 100 pounds. They had to sit him on books to reach the headpiece because he was too small for the electric chair. And then the state of South Carolina executed this child, ignoring cries for mercy.

Seventy years after his execution, he was exonerated, because, of course, it turns out he was innocent. But we`re still executing people in this country who we`re not even sure are guilty.

Julius Jones is set to be executed in Oklahoma tomorrow, tomorrow, despite grave doubts about his guilt in a murder that he says he didn`t commit. It`s yet another case riddled with doubt and racial bias, another story reflecting the racial disparity that pervades the criminal justice system and beyond.

Now, if you haven`t heard of George Stinney or Julius Jones, well, that`s by design, because we don`t teach the parts of American history that makes some people feel embarrassed and uncomfortable.

Nikole Hannah-Jones is fighting that erasure, so that we can face these stories head on.

Joining me now is Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for "The New York Times" magazine and inaugural Knight Chair in race and reporting at Howard University, Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of The 1619 Project, which has now been expanded into a book. It`s out now, along with The 1619 Project`s picture book, "Born on the Water."


I have a lot of questions for you about the book. But, before that, I just want to read you a quote, Nikole.

And thank you, as always, for being here.

There was a piece that was written in "The Boston Globe" opinion section that published on Tuesday, and it said: "Being a black child afforded George Stinney no mercy from a death sentence. For Kyle Rittenhouse, his lawyer is wielding Rittenhouse his youth as a reason to acquit an accused murderer."

I feel like one of the things that we don`t talk about is black children and what being a black child has meant historically, all the way from enslavement to today. Oftentimes, it`s meant nothing, nothing, when it comes to whether or not people have empathy or sympathy for you.

Your thoughts?


We know that what happened to George Stinney is what happened to Trayvon, it`s what happened to Laquan McDonald when he was shot 16 times by police, is a sense that black children are not actually children, that black children get treated as adults from a young age.

We often don`t even refer to them as teenagers, but as young men or young women, and that that innocence of childhood really gets stripped away from children. And we`re -- as you pointed out, our system of the death penalty is a racialized system.

We know that you are the most likely to be put to death for a crime if you are a black person who kills a white person, and you are the least likely to be put to death for a crime if you are a white person who kills a black person.

And we are -- we were one of the only countries that allowed the death penalty to be used against children. And, until recently, we were the only country in the world that allowed children to get life without the possibility of parole in prison for charges that weren`t even murder.

So, we know who are those children who are serving life, who are the most likely people in this country to get the death penalty. And this is something that is ongoing, just the way that we`re talking about Kyle Rittenhouse, which is a young man, a child who committed a crime just by taking that gun across state lines.

And it`s just a completely different narrative than we see of black children who have no weapon whatsoever.

REID: Yes.

And so -- and I want talk about The 1619 Project, because I think, last time we were on, we talked to -- you and Ta-Nehisi Coates were on. And we talked about the fact that, in a way, you`re the most dangerous woman in America, because people -- when people are fighting Critical Race Theory, they`re fighting you.

They`re -- what freaked them out is you. It was The 1619 Project that reframed the definition of how this country came to be and forced people to reckon with the fact that child abuse, child kidnapping, the kidnapping of moms, the rape of women, that this was actually a founding part of the country, that the men who founded this country weren`t saints, they were slave owners and child -- and slave breeders.

Talk about making this into a book, and why you thought it was important not to just make a book, but to also create a children`s book as well.

HANNAH-JONES: That`s absolutely -- it didn`t take long for us, after we published The 1619 Project, to decide that this was something we wanted to turn into a book, for a number of reasons.

One, there were so many other areas of American life that we weren`t able to get to in the original project. We don`t talk in the original project, for instance, about settler colonialism, and you can`t expand slavery in the United States without the theft of indigenous lands.

And so we are now addressing that. We address the diaspora, how the Haitian Revolution and the fear that black people -- because, of course, black people resisted slavery. The fear that black people were going to rise up against the white Americans who held them in slavery led to an enduring fear of black people, which is what leads to the young man Stinson (sic) being killed, which is what leads to Trayvon Martin being killed, is this fear of black people that is an inordinate fear.

So we wanted to expand the project so that we could really dig more deeply into the aspects of American life that are still being shaped and corrupted by the legacy of slavery.

And for the children`s books, specifically, when the project came out, I kept hearing from parents again and again, particularly black parents, that we don`t want our -- to wait until our children are grown into adults for them to have an origin story, for them to have an understanding of the role that black Americans have played in shaping this country, and, most importantly, the democracy.

And they wanted something that they could put in the hands of their children to give their children a sense of pride about our story and our legacy, because, as you know, Joy, so often, we`re taught that black people just took it...

REID: Yes.

HANNAH-JONES: ... that we just were in Africa doing nothing, waiting for someone to come steal us, and then, once we were enslaved, we just waited for someone to come free us, and as if we have no agency in the American story.


And we do. We are the primary democratizing force in this country. And the children`s book really is the book that I wish I would have had when I was a child.

REID: Me too. Me too.

I want to show great picture as we -- we are running out of time, unfortunately. But I want to show this great picture. There`s some archival photos in the adult book. And this is a picture of your dad. I hope you can see it on the screen in the chapter on democracy.

Give us some context. What is that picture?

HANNAH-JONES: So, this is my father in Germany. He was a military veteran.

The time in Germany -- this was a man who was born on a cotton plantation in Mississippi. And joining the Army is what allowed him to see the world...

REID: Yes.

HANNAH-JONES: ... and to see himself as an American in a way that he couldn`t at home. And so these were some of the greatest years of his life.

And he didn`t live to see this day, but I have to imagine, wherever he is, he is so proud.

REID: Absolutely.

The book "The 1619 Project" by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renee Watson, it`s illustrated -- I love great illustration -- by Nikkolas Smith.

Congratulations on the book. I will be buying not only for myself, but as Christmas presents to give to other people, because you know I love to give out your books, sister.


REID: Thank you very much. I appreciate you, Nikole Hannah-Jones. Thank you.

HANNAH-JONES: Thank you so much.

REID: Cheers.

All right, still ahead, an exclusive interview with Julius Jones on the eve of his execution.



REID: We`re less than 24 hours away from the execution of Julius Jones, which will take place tomorrow afternoon if Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt doesn`t stop it.

The Oklahoma parole board has said twice that Jones` sentence should be commuted. Yesterday, journalists Mara Schiavocampo spoke to Jones, asking him what he would say to the family of the man he was convicted of killing.


MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO, HOST, "RUN TELL THIS": What do you want to say to Paul Howell`s family?

JULIUS JONES, DEATH ROW INMATE: I love them. I love them. And I forgive them.

They hate me. They don`t really know why. But at the appointed moment, they will know the truth. And I hope one day that they open up their eyes and see the truth. But, at this point, I hope they heal first of all.

And, of all things, I hope they find healing. I have never had any ill will towards them. I don`t wish them ill will. I pray for them constantly.

SCHIAVOCAMPO: You seem to almost always be worried only about your mother. What do you want to say to your mom?

JONES: I`m blessed that I was able to come into this world to be raised by you and my father.

To have the brother and sister I have, I don`t really have the words. I wish I was always there to protect them, comfort them, lift them up. But, hopefully, if I`m not here, they will remember, you know what I`m saying, that that was always my intention.

I`m sorry I was a bad kid. I`m sorry I made mistakes. But, you know, I`m not a killer. I`m not a murderer.


REID: Whew.

All right, Mara Schiavocampo, journalist and hosts of the "Run Tell This" podcast, joins me now.

And my dear friend, Mara, whew, this is hard.

Did Mr. Jones` mom get to see him today?

SCHIAVOCAMPO: Yes, Joy, this is one of the most heartbreaking stories that I have ever covered.

And I just watched your segment with Nikole Hannah-Jones and kind of talking about the history of black children. And, as a black mother, I feel so much empathy for his mother.

His family did visit with him today. But they told me that they were denied a contact visit, meaning they were not allowed to touch him. They were -- had the visit through the glass, as they would have in a standard visit, even though it is very possible that that is going to be their last time seeing him alive ever.

And he told me that the last time he ever touched his mother was when he hugged her during the trial in 1999. His mother has not hugged her son for 22 years. She went there today to hold him in her arms for one final time, and she was denied even that dignity.

It is inhumane, the way that this is being managed. And the governor still has not said a word about his own parole board`s recommendation to commute this death sentence.

REID: It`s shocking to me that this is -- well, it`s not shocking to me, actually. This is exactly what we should expect, because this is what we have done in this country for decade after decade after decade after decade.

Is there anything left that the Jones family can do? Is there anything left that the people can do? I have gotten so many D.M.s and texts and people saying, what can we do?

Is there anything left that can be done?

SCHIAVOCAMPO: Yes, well, there`s a problem built into the fact that not enough people even know about this.

REID: Right.

SCHIAVOCAMPO: And that tells me a lot about how little black life matters, because a lot of people are just learning about this today.

REID: Yes.

SCHIAVOCAMPO: And we`re less than one day out from this scheduled execution.

People can call the governor. The Justice for Julius Coalition has put out information on reaching the governor`s office. They can sign a petition on That petition has almost seven million signatures. And this family is an incredibly faith-filled family. And they are asking people to pray. There is still time for the governor to rule on this.

And, just as a reminder, commuting the sentence is not a pardon. It`s simply commuting it from a death sentence to a life sentence, so that the mistake is not made of executing a potentially innocent man.

And a lot of people have had questions about Julius` guilt for more than 20 years now.

REID: And what else did he say? You spoke to him. How long did you get to talk to him? And what else did he want the world to know about him?

SCHIAVOCAMPO: Well, we spoke for about 20 minutes.

And we have spoken several times over the last year that I have been covering this story. And he`s incredibly respectful, so he has never authorized me to record our calls or to report any of what we discussed, because he doesn`t have permission to do media interviews.

But, yesterday, he did give me permission to record the call, because he is aware that these are likely going to be his last words to the public. And what has been most important to him consistently every time I have spoken to him is that he wants the world to know he is not a murderer.

He is adamant about his innocence. And he is also focused almost exclusively on his mother and his sister`s well-being. So, this is someone who is really concerned about how they`re going to do after he`s gone.

REID: Yes.

I -- as well we should all be. We should just be praying for that family.

Governor Stitt, if you are watching this or you get a clip of this, you can easily show mercy to this young man. Let him fight for his freedom. My God, we are -- we have to be better than this at some point in our history.

Mara Schiavocampo, thank you. Thank you.

And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT.