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Transcript: The ReidOut, 11/18/21

Guests: Tim Miller; Juanita Tolliver, Paul Butler, Jonathan Karl, Jimmy Lawson, Madeline Davis-Jones


A tale of two parties. GOP Representative Matt Gaetz says he'd offer Rittenhouse a job so he can continue helping the country. Republicans defend Representative Gosar ahead of censure vote. House to vote on Build Back Better tonight.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: That does it for us. THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid starts now. Hi, Joy.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Ari. Thank you very much. Have a fabulous evening. Cheers.

All right, good evening everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with our dark Republican future. Now, what we saw during yesterday's House floor debate on censuring Paul Gosar was a useful demonstration of our two political parties. So they're kind of like parents. You have the Democrats, the responsible parent telling you to be decent to people who are different from you and take care of the earth, and don't threaten to kill people, even as a joke, and who pass things like health care and roads and bridges and food for people who can't afford it.

And then there is the other parent, the YOLO parent, the Republicans, who lets you stay up all night and eat snickers for dinner, and take off your mask in a COVID cloud, and, sorry, you can't have health care if you get sick because YOLO. And who's answer to anything and everything, sort of just scream about the border and the scary brown (ph), they're taking over America and then history is mean, cancel it.

Now to be clear, this is not a substantive party. Take, for example, Congressman Matt Gaetz, who is still under investigation for alleged sex trafficking of a teenage girl, which he denies, and who has faced zero consequences from Republican leadership for that embarrassing mess. Here he is defending Kyle Rittenhouse.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): You know what? Kyle Rittenhouse would probably make a pretty good congressional intern. We may reach out to him and see if he would be interested in helping the country in additional ways.


REID: This is not a joke. Kyle Rittenhouse is on trial for murder. It's as serious for his family as it is for the families of his victims. It is not a joke, but it is to Matt Gaetz. And that, that is the kind of unserious thing that you only say if you're from a party that is so bereft of purpose that it is now dominated by internet trolls obsessed with dangerous violent memes, like the dumbest member of Congress, Lauren Boebert, which is saying a lot with Margie Three Names out there, who used her time on the floor yesterday to spread stupid, racist conspiracy theories about fellow Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

And if you're wondering what it would be like if this bag of Trump Cheetos retake power next year, just put that prospect in your mind for a minute. These people are the leaders of the Republican Party. That's the only reason we show them to you on this show. And they would be running this country. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and let's just be clear, he would be working for them, he made it clear that if his party is back in power, he will put Gosar and Margie Q. Greene back on their committees, maybe even better ones.

McCarthy is just stating what we already know, that if this party comes back, it's going to be one giant revenge fantasy.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): What they have started cannot be easily undone. Their actions today in the past have forever changed the way the House operates. And furthermore, it means that under the Pelosi president, all the members that I have mentioned earlier will need the approval of a majority to keep those positions in the future.


REID: That's not a serious man. He is just not. So, while the responsible party, the only party left that cares about democracy at this point, the, yes, sometimes irritating party that keeps the lights on and makes sure you go to the doctor, that part of the Democrats, well, they spent today working to clear the messy final hurdles to pass the Build Back Better Bill, which will get Americans day care and home health care and cheaper prescription drugs and help save the planet. A vote on that is expected later tonight. While they are doing that, like regular politics, your drunk mostly absentee Nazi curious authoritarian Republican parent is doing this circus, just waiting around for you to put their ridiculous embarrassing democracy-hating Trump cult authoritarian open racism embracing dangerous behinds back in power.


REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): If I must join Alexander Hamilton, the first person attempted to be censured by this House, so be it. It is done.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): 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.

GAETZ: We're critiquing Paul Gosar's anime. Next week, we might be indicting the Wile E. Coyote.

REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): This is a dumb waste of the House's time.


REID: They are all are cartoons.

I'm joined now by Juanita Tolliver, Democratic Strategist, and Tim Miller, Writer-at-Large for The Bulwark.

You know, Tim, the only thing that is scarier than the fact that there are people walking around in the caucus who the minute they got back in the majority would take off their masks and maybe cough COVID all over their colleagues and maybe get some people sick or dead, the only thing scarier than that is the fact that I cannot imagine any other scenario than those people actually being the leadership of the party.


The fact that our democracy rests in the hands of that crew is terrifying to me. I feel like our democracy rests on the eye of a stupid needle. I don't know. Your thoughts.

TIM MILLER, WRITER-AT-LARGE, THE BULWARK: Well, as the YOLO parent in my Household, I'm going to do my best to get inside their head for you, Joy. Look, I think that -- I think that it's clear right now that this is not a House caucus that has a plan if they take over next year to work with the Democrats to advance legislation that will help -- that will lead to the betterment of the American people, right? This is a nihilist House caucus. Kevin McCarthy is completely irresponsible and has completely thrown himself in with Donald Trump. And despite the fact that he said after the January 6 insurrection that he knew better, he still has now decided to do apology. He knows it's the only way to stay in power. And he is only the most reasonable one.

If Kevin McCarthy gets pushed aside, it's that jacketless fellow, Jim Jordan, that would be taking over as speaker of the House. And I think it's decently likely that he might take over even if Kevin McCarthy stays. He might win a challenge.

So, look, I think that Kevin McCarthy has told everybody what the Republicans will do if they're in charge next time. You know, they're going to try to turn the corner and they'll attack Ilhan Omar and try to censure her and they'll try to block everything that the Biden administration does. And then when 2024 comes around, I don't think there is any reason to believe that they won't to try to do exactly what they did in 2020, an attempt to overturn a free and fair election. So, I think that there is good reason to be concerned about that.

REID: And the reality -- I mean, that will be their agenda, Juanita. They're going go after Adam Schiff. I mean, I could see them just trying to expel any members of Congress that they don't like, right? They'll go after Ilhan Omar. They'll go after the squad. They're just going to spend all of their time doing fake investigations, try to impeach Joe Biden for God knows what, for having a son they don't like this. They're going to -- they're just -- this is what they're going to do, and not -- and only tit- for-tat.

I am still convince that the reason that Republicans impeached Bill Clinton, they were hunting for a way to impeach him because for payback for Nixon. Like this is how the party operates. It's just the payback party. There is not going to be legislation other than maybe like banning the 1619 Project nationally and making it illegal to say anybody white ever in history was ever mean. Like, I mean, I guess that will be their agenda, build a wall with our money? Your thoughts.

JUANITA TOLLIVER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Retribution is the only goal. It's the only motivator at this point. And, frankly, Speaker Pelosi hit the nail on the head at her press conference today where she said Republicans are a clear threat to our democracy. And hearing that, you would think that Democrats would say, okay, let's do everything that we can to shore up our systems before they get in here and create more chaos and create more damage.

You would think they would pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, the Freedom to Vote Act, Women's Health Protection Act, right, because we know what is going to be on the chopping block with Republicans. They've been explicitly clear, and they're not exaggerating, Joy. And that's why I think Democrats need to do everything they can to shore up our systems and our institutions.

I also think that this shows that the people will never be at the forefront of Republicans' minds, right? Like the bar for accountability, for delivering on agendas, for responsible behavior is so low with Republicans that they've been able to run on these fluff feelings agendas without delivering anything, except for maybe tax cuts, right? That's their priority. And that has always been their priority. And we can expect more of the same from them.

And so anybody who voted for that return to normalcy, that stability that came with the 2020 election with Biden and Democrats, all of that is gone the moment Republicans take control of the House. And so people need to keep that in mind.

And Democrats should actually hold up a mirror to the GOP and the voters to communicate that, because you're not trying to convince GOP voters who we know facts don't do anything for them. But for independent voters, for women voters, for young voter, this is something that Democrats can absolutely leverage going into the midterms to maybe scare folks into voting when we know that the party in power typically is at a disadvantage.

REID: And that is the challenge that I have, Tim, because I don't think that Democrats understand what they're facing. Because the thing is -- and I did this sort of thread that was kind of what inspired us to do the thread this morning, and which I was trying to communicate that Democrats are the government party. And so if you're mad at the government, you're generally mad at Democrats, because they're the ones who are actually governing. So when government irritates you and things about the government irritates you, that's the Democrats.

And they're also the party that's telling you, you know, you really shouldn't cut all those trees down. It's ruining the environment. You know, you really should wear your mask when you're walking around because of COVID. You know, you really should -- they're like the parents that you think of as mean because they're like you really should go to bed at the right time.

Republicans, what they do, while it is fascism curious in many ways, is also -- it's more attractive in some ways. They're the permission party. They're saying go on, tell that racist joke, that's okay. Don't worry about it. You don't have to wear your mask.


Don't worry about COVID. I know 700,000 people died. That's not your problem. They are the party that's basically permitting you to do what you want.

And so for a lot of voters -- I look at this Quinnipiac Poll. Let's go through some of this. The Quinnipiac Poll, Biden is down to 36percent, 53 percent, and yet everything is incoherent about it. 42 percent of people in this Quinnipiac Poll say that Democrats -- only 42 percent say Democrats care about your needs and problems. 54 percent say no. But more people say Republicans don't care. This whole thing about immigration, border security, inflation, Republicans are pretending that's what's taking Biden down, only 8 percent said either of those things are the most important thing when unprompted. Which party would you like to see control the House of Representatives? After saying all these things that they think indicate that they think Republicans care less about them, more people say would give them control.

None of it makes any sense, Tim. The only way I can explain it is there was another number in here that said economic things, only 25 percent collectively said those are the problem. 75 percent said noneconomic- related things were the problem, it's feelsy things. It's some about this country doesn't feel right to people. And I think that is what Republicans are using to win, is that people just feel off. My Amazon stuff is late. I just don't like the vibe. I don't like wearing a mask. I feel annoyed. And when you feel annoyed, you want Republicans.

MILLER: Look, I think that that's pretty close to right. And I think there is a vibes element to this, if you will, Joy. I do think that Quinnipiac Poll a little bit of an outlier and below what Biden's numbers are. But still, it (INAUDIBLE) in the mid-40s instead of the 30s, yes, that's not going do for next year in the midterms.

I think in addition to what you just said about how Democrats being the government party, they're particularly the government party right now.

REID: Yes.

MILLER: And if you look at the Virginia election a couple of weeks ago, right, if you're a voter in Virginia, you're looking at Washington, you say, well, Biden's in White House, the Democrats are in the Senate and the House. My governor is a Democrat. The Virginia legislature is a Democrat. So, if I'm annoyed about schools, if I'm annoyed about masking, if I'm annoyed about all these various different things, let's give somebody else a try, right?

And so I think that there were a number of things happening in that Virginia election. I think we'd be wrong to dismiss that. That's why it's so hard for a party in power in the first year of a midterm any way. The stakes are so high this time, though. And I do think that my criticism of the Democrats is that there is a little bit of business as usual. And that if I were advising them, I'd say like let's look at the things that people are concerned right now and see how we can signal to them, do everything we can to signal to them over the next year that we're trying to address them.

Now that's not going to change the vibes concern that you laid out but I think it would help kind of mitigate this gap a little bit.

REID: And here is the thing, Juanita. If Democrats could put the same passion that they put behind censuring Paul Gosar into telling their base that we're going to really fight for voting reform, we're going to really fight for policing reform, we're going to really fight to protect you from those guys because we understand that they want to put autocracy and fascism curious and take down this Democratic experiment, we're going to put the same passion behind that we put behind rebuke. And that guy, I think they'd be in better shape. Your thoughts?

TOLLIVER: I think I should absolutely follow that same through-line, Joy. And I specifically want to point to the speech that Representative Ocasio- Cortez made word towards the end of it. She said, this is about human dignity. This is about human value. This is about human work. And get back to that core of just basic humanity as appealing language that we know is going the reach voters, not just on their thoughtful side that talks through legislation and technical things every day, but actually hits them with some ethos to make them feel something about what is happening in our country and empower them to do something about it.

Because we know that voters have every power and especially when that power is coming under suppression from the GOP to act on this and to take action. And so that's why we need more of that energy from Democrats and go ahead and pass those bills to make sure people can vote and vote easily in the midterms.

REID: Republicans fear their base and Democrats go, they'll still be there. It's fine. You need to show your base some passion. You know who knows how to do that? The squad, the ones you're all always mad at, and the progressives. They know how to do it. You all need to do more of that.

Juanita Tolliver, Tim Miller, thank you both very much.

Up next in THE REIDOUT, prosecutors in the trial of the three man accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery make it clear Arbery was no threat to anyone the night he was killed.


LINDA DUNIKOSKI, LEAD PROSECUTOR: So you're telling this jury that a man who has spent five minutes running away from you, you're now thinking is somehow going to want to continue to engage with you, someone with a shotgun, and your father, a man who's just said stop or I'll blow your (BLEEP) head off by trying to get in their truck?

TRAVIS MCMICHAEL, DEFENDANT: That's what it shows, yes, ma'am.


REID: Also, Reverend Al Sharpton singled out by name by defense lawyer in that very trial joins me on a prayer vigil which he led outside that courthouse today.


Plus, I'll talk to ABC News Journalist Jonathan Karl on the very real threat to democracy in the final days of the Trump administration.

And just hours from the scheduled execution of Julius Jones in Oklahoma, his sentence is commuted. Just a tremendous relief for his mom, who will join me tonight, alongside his best friend.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: After three days of jury deliberation, there is still no verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial. The judge adjourned court for the day a few hours ago.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, the defense for the three men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery rested their case today, but not before the prosecution got its chance to cross-examine Travis McMichael who fired the shot that killed the 25-year-old black jogger. McMichael called his actions self-defense but acknowledged that Arbery never actually threatened him.



DUNIKOSKI: You testified under oath to this jury that I'm not going to chase or investigate someone who is armed, right?

MCMICHAEL: That's correct.

DUNIKOSKI: And yet you want this jury to believe now that he was a threat to you, OK, and that you perceived him as a fact, yet you continued to chase him down Burford.

MCMICHAEL: I didn't know if he was a threat or not.

DUNIKOSKI: Because you pulled up to him once. He doesn't want to talk to you. You back up. He doesn't want to talk to you. You pull down Burford. Your dad's yelling, cut him off, cut him off.

And all of a sudden, he runs back, he doesn't want to talk to you. That's three times he's demonstrated to you that he does not want to talk to you, correct?


DUNIKOSKI: He's also demonstrate he's no threat to you. He hasn't pulled out a gun.

MCMICHAEL: That's correct.


REID: Closing arguments in that Georgia trial will begin on Monday.

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

And, Paul, let me play one more sound bite from this prosecutor, because it seems to me that she's done a good job at establishing that the people -- the person who felt threatened was Ahmaud Arbery. Here's this clip.

This is cut one.


DUNIKOSKI: You could have made sure that you and your dad called the police from your house (EXPLETIVE DELETED) before you ever got in that pickup truck, correct?

MCMICHAEL: I could have, but I was under the impression that he has called the police.

DUNIKOSKI: You could have just continue to drive behind Mr. Arbery and not even speak to him or confront him at all. Isn't that true?

MCMICHAEL: I could have, yes.

DUNIKOSKI: And you could have stayed in your truck until he ran by and then driven away to go ahead and follow him, right?

MCMICHAEL: I could have, yes.


REID: Establish how you think this cross-examination is going.

PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I thought it was very effective, so effective that it was difficult listening to Travis McMichael testify.

Joy, the way he described these three white men chasing Mr. Arbery and demanding that he stopped and justify his presence reminded me of slave catchers. And, of course, that's where the Georgia citizen arrest law comes from. So, defendants don't usually take the stand. But the calculus is different in self-defense cases. They still have a Fifth Amendment right not to testify, but jurors want to hear their story.

So it's an opportunity for them to gain some empathy. But the risk is that the defendant is subjected to cross-examination. And that's where Travis McMichael fell apart. He admitted that Mr. Arbery never verbally threatened anybody. He was just running.

And there's compelling evidence that Travis McMichael was the aggressor. He started the fight. He admitted that there was no reason to suspect Mr. Arbery from stealing any more than any of the white people who've been surrounding this construction site.

And if Travis McMichael was the aggressor, he cannot claim self-defense.

REID: Let me play another one, because I agree with you. And I feel like his lawyer, the lawyers for the defendants, they have introduced race in a very aggressive way, we don't want black pastors, and all that sort of thing.

But here's another piece. This is Travis McMichael talking about the fact that they are now claiming this citizen's arrest is what they were trying to do. Like you said, it does feel more like either a lynch -- the preview to a lynching, the way in the olden days or like slave catchers, because they're chasing this black man down the street and demanding that he follow their orders, which they're not the police.

But, anyway, here he is talking about whether or not they actually indicated they were doing a citizen's arrest in the moment. Here you are.


DUNIKOSKI: During your statement to the place, did you say that you and your father were trying to arrest Mr. Arbery? Did you?

MCMICHAEL: In the statement?

DUNIKOSKI: Yes, to the police.

MCMICHAEL: No, ma'am.

DUNIKOSKI: You never told the police that you said to Mr. Arbery, "You're under arrest," correct?

MCMICHAEL: I did not.


In fact, you never did tell Mr. Arbery, "You're under arrest for the crime of" fill in the blank?

MCMICHAEL: I didn't have time.


REID: It's so damning in my -- it seems to me.

Do you get what their strategy is? Do you think they're just trying to get jury nullification and get this almost all-white jury to say, we don't care what the facts are, we just aren't going to put -- send these men to prison?

BUTLER: I think that may be this tragedy, that jurors should see the citizen's arrest as an after-the-fact justification, something that the defendants made up to try to explain what to many people looks like three white men lynching an African-American person.

And, Joy, you're right. It's the defense who's made a big deal about race. But the prosecution, in fact, has evidence that all three men are racists. According to the -- one of the defendants, Mr. Bryan, right after Travis McMichael pumped those three bullets into Mr. Arbery, he called him the N- word.

All of the defendants that racist things on social media, but the prosecution didn't offer this when it put on its case, and the judge wouldn't let them use that information on cross-examination.

REID: Next, let's go to the Rittenhouse trial.

Are you surprised how long this jury has been out?

BUTLER: You know, it's six days of testimony, over 25 witnesses. There's no rules to these things.

I think the only thing that we can guess, based on how long it's taking, is that this is a tough case for the jury. It may mean that there are a group of jurors who are in favor of conviction and a group of jurors who are in favor of acquittal.


And, if that's the case, then the lesser included instructions that the prosecution got the judge to instruct on may give those jurors away to compromise, to convict, but not in the most serious offenses.

REID: Paul Butler, as always, thank you very much, my friend. Appreciate you.


REID: All right, still ahead -- cheers.

More than 100 high-profile religious and civil rights leaders joined the family of Ahmaud Arbery for a wall of prayer, as the trial of three men accused of killing the 25-year-old continues.

Reverend Al Sharpton led the effort, and he joins us next.

Stay with us.


REID: As we have mentioned before, the defense attorney for one of the men on trial for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery has a particular obsession with the black pastors supporting the Arbery family, calling for a mistrial multiple times because of appearances in court by the Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.


KEVIN GOUGH, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: There's only so many pastors they can have.

And if that -- 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.

The Honorable Reverend Jesse Jackson is here yet again in the back of the courtroom.

There is or was an individual walking about in the foyer outside the courtroom earlier today with a black sweatshirt saying, "I support black pastors."



REID: What decade is this?

Here is how the Reverend Al Sharpton responded to that today at an event outside the courthouse attended by hundreds of pastors in support of the Arbery family.


REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST, "POLITICS NATION": No lawyer can lock us out.


SHARPTON: Because, wherever you are, God is already there.


SHARPTON: So, he wanted to know why I was there last week. I'm here this week with the same Bible, the same God for the same parents. And we're going to keep coming until we get justice.


REID: I'm joined now by the Reverend Al Sharpton, host of "POLITICS STATION" on MSNBC and president of the National Action Network.

And, Rev, what a what a world in which a lawyer thinks it's a good, solid argument to say, we don't want any more black pastors in here, and try to throw you and other pastors out of the courtroom.

What has the Arbery family said to you about this whole spectacle, while these men are on trial for killing their son?

SHARPTON: Well, it seems unbelievable to them and very insulting.

You must remember, Joy, that, over a year ago, when this happened, and the lawyers and then themselves reached out to me, I had not even heard about the case. And I put them on "POLITICS NATION" to talk about the case, even before the video had been discovered.

So I'd been in the case since day one and had tried to comfort the family, because what people don't understand is that you're sitting in a courtroom, a mother and a father looking at the three men that killed your son every day.

So you want somebody there to counsel you and to console you. We weren't in there protesting, though we do protest. We were in there as ministers. I have been in courtrooms from every case you could think of for the last three decades.

I have never heard this. I have been in courtrooms where policemen were either victims or were accused. And they fill the courtroom with uniformed policemen. No one objects to that.

So, all of a sudden, for black pastors to come in a courtroom is to intimidate or to influence? By what standard? We don't know who's sitting with the defendants' families.

I think this is the height of bigotry and bias. I think the judge is right to not give it to him. And I think what he's done is develop a movement.

We -- I called for 100 pastors to meet us when he started this last week on me. And we had well over 350 pastors and Martin Luther King III and others, Reverend Jesse Jackson and others, with us today, because he insulted all of us that have gone into courtrooms for years, and have seen people on the other side bring who they want to court.

REID: You know, what's interesting about this -- and we were just talking with Paul Butler.

And he said that the description of the way these men chase down Ahmaud Arbery, it was like the old slave catchers, right, or like an old-time lynching, where they just chase a man through the streets, demand that he do what they say, just because these white men are telling you to do it, you must do it, and then killed him, and then thought nothing of it, never even told the police this excuse that they're now using.

But just sitting in that trial, tell us how this looks to you, having dealt with so many civil rights cases and murders of black people.

SHARPTON: This is the most blatant example of a mentality that we are allowed, we are empowered to do we want to any black.

For him to admit today on the stand, one of the defendants, they never even said "You're under arrest, this is a civil arrest, a private arrest" or whatever he want to call it, so then what is it?

If you're claiming you were making a citizen's arrest, and you didn't say that, if you're claiming self-defense, which you never said until now, then it really was saying, we have the right to do whatever we want to do. We're back to Dred Scott that a black has no right that we are bound to respect.

REID: Yes.

SHARPTON: And they were not given -- and they were not arrested for days. They were not dealt with for many weeks, until this video came out and until some of us started exposing this and stood with this family.

The mother said today she thought, when it happened, she didn't know where she'd get a lawyer or any help. And it just made her feel good to see people coming out for the last several weeks, all kinds of people, and to see all those pastors come today at the call that we made for them to come.

REID: Let's talk about another case, because the unequal justice in this country is the reason Critical Race Theory exists. Ta-da. That's the real reason it exists.

We just saw the exoneration of two men who spent basically their whole formative lives in prison accused of killing Malcolm X. One of them has already died.

What do you make of that exoneration so many years later? These men lived with the stain of being said to have been the murderers of Malcolm X. And it turns out it wasn't true. Cyrus Vance apologized to them, the district attorney.

SHARPTON: Not only did they live with the stain. They spent decades in jail.


Imagine spending decades in jail for something you know you did not do. And the irony of this is that Malcolm X preached about the corruption of the criminal justice system. And, even in death, he's the victim of it. And, in life, these men that went to jail was a victim of it.

If there was ever an example, I'm sitting here today, having left Brunswick, Georgia, with the Ahmaud Arbery case, looking at the stories about Malcolm X, whose widow I was very close with. Dr. Betty Shabazz is -- was the godmother of my two daughters.

And looking at a case in Kenosha, Wisconsin, that has race. It's almost like we're being put back in time. But some of us are saying, you can change the clock, but you can't turn back time. We're not going back to those days.

REID: And, meanwhile, there's another case in Pennsylvania, this teenager who had his hands up. The police released the video, cut out the part that showed his hands were up, put out a false story. Turns out they were lying. He had his hands up. He was killed.

Your thoughts? And his name is Christian Hall.

SHARPTON: Well, here we are -- here we are again, which is why we have to keep the pressure on the Congress on these police reform bills, like the George Floyd bill.

Until the local police understand there's federal law and they will be prosecuted, and they will be treated like anybody that breaks the law, they will continue to edit, leave out what they wanted to do and did not want to exposed, as they did in the Malcolm X case, until they understand that we will not tolerate it, and there will be federal law. It will not go municipality to municipality, county by county.

We need federal law. As they vote tonight on BBB, they need to come in with voting rights, and they need to come in with the George Floyd bill immediately. We cannot keep being policed by people that need to be policed, and there's no federal law to protect us.

REID: And we don't have a limit on how many pastors, black pastors are allowed here. So I can -- you can get an amen from me on that.


REID: Thank you, my big brother and friend, the Reverend Al Sharpton. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

SHARPTON: Thank you.

REID: Thank you.

And up next: A new book offers up revelations about the troubling lengths to which the twice-impeached disgraced former president and his allies went in trying to tear down our democracy.

Author Jonathan Karl joins us next.




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...

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS: 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.


REID: Whew.

That was Donald Trump telling ABC's Jonathan Karl that it was common sense for the angry MAGA mob on January 6 to threaten the life of his own vice president.

It's just one of the many revelations in Karl's new book, "Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show."

Among other things, Karl reveals that Trump fired Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on the recommendation of the guy who formerly carried his bags for him, 30-year-old John McEntee, who Trump picked to lead the White House Personnel Office.

Secretary Esper's offenses, according to McEntee, included focusing on Russia and promoting diversity in the ranks of the military, which it seems were considered betrayals of Trump's mission.

The book also covers the lunacy of Trump's allies who pursued baseless election conspiracies, including, including the claim that wireless thermostats made in China might have been used to manipulate voting machines in Georgia. Trump actually asked his director of national intelligence to look into that one.

Karl also discloses that, during the insurrection, the official vice presidential photographer was in hiding with Mike Pence at the Capitol. However, Pence refused to allow Karl to publish any of the photos from during the siege, despite the fact that the photographer's salary was paid by U.S. taxpayers and the images are public property.

There are also some unflattering details about former financial journalist and current Trump media personality Maria Bartiromo of FOX News, who reportedly called Attorney General Bill Barr to complain that the Justice Department wasn't intervening in the election to keep Trump in office.

Barr told Karl: "She called me up and she was screaming. I yelled back at her. She's lost it."

Joining me now, Jonathan Karl, ABC News chief Washington correspondent, author of "Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show."

Here's the book. I hope people will pick it up, because -- and you -- and just when you think you cannot learn anything weirder about Donald Trump, it gets weirder.

But you open the book talking about the scene. And I have heard this before from other people who have interviewed Trump about the way he sort of puts himself on display at Mar-a-Lago, and not because he had to, because he could have gone somewhere more private to have a real interview. But he wanted to do in public.

Talk about that.

KARL: Yes, this this was -- first of all, this is in March. So this is just about two months after he's left office, barely two months after January 6.

So, the -- I mean, everything is raw and fresh. He invites me down to Mar- a-Lago to do the interview. And the interview takes place right in the middle of the lobby.


KARL: Big, towering ceilings, the ornate walls.

And he hasn't -- the interview happened right before dinnertime.

REID: Yes.

KARL: So you actually hear on that tape people coming in for dinner, for happy hour.

And I was looking for something. I mean, a book interview is different than a television interview. You can take a step back. There's no cameras. There's a level of intimacy you can have. I mean, this was -- I wanted to see any hint of regret, any hint of remorse for what happened on January 6.

And you hear it.

REID: None.

KARL: Absolutely none.

REID: You actually describe him in the opening of the book as being sort of gleefully vengeful, that the sense of vengeance is what made -- made him happy? Is...

KARL: He was in a good mood.

OK, so he's talking about how awful all these Republicans were who betrayed him, that, if Mike Pence had had more courage, if he had done what he wanted him to do, he'd still be president, the terrible things that Bill Barr had done to him, that Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell had not fought for him.


And he was like -- it got him excited.

REID: Yes.

Do you believe, having sat down with Donald Trump, looked him in the eye and talked to him, that he genuinely believes the election was stolen, or that this is just an act because he doesn't want to admit that he lost?

KARL: So, I believe that he has come to believe this.

I don't believe it was always that way. I believe that he -- that this was an act, he knew -- it was very strategic. His whole brand is based on the fact: I'm the guy who wins.

REID: Yes.

KARL: So, if he loses, it's done.

REID: Yes.

KARL: So, he had to at least convince his supporters that he had not lost.

But I think now -- I mean, I had one final conversation with him over the phone, over the summer as I was about to go to press. And he was telling me that Texas was going to do an audit of the vote too, which now we know. But this was -- I didn't even know it yet.

REID: Right.

KARL: He was telling me. I was like, this doesn't make any sense. You won Texas.

REID: Right.

KARL: What are you talking about?

And he just got so agitated with me that he ended up hanging up the phone. He was no longer in a good mood.

REID: So, you think he believes it.

KARL: I think he believes it.

REID: And you talk about Kevin McCarthy here.

KARL: Yes.

REID: You're right that it's not clear to you -- and I have had this same theory -- that Kevin McCarthy would automatically become speaker if the House were to flip to the Republicans, because, despite the fact that the minority leader has done everything he can to kiss up to Trump and to make up with him, he would probably really rather have like a Jim Jordan.

KARL: Well, yes. And...

REID: And it's not clear the caucus would even support Karl.

KARL: Right, to support...


REID: I mean -- support Karl.

Support McCarthy. Sorry.

KARL: Yes.

I mean, look, Mark Meadows, who is still very close to Trump and doing everything you can to help Trump out, Mark Meadows has told people that he -- that he wants to bring McCarthy down. I mean, that's -- so, we will see.

The thing is that what McCarthy has going for him is, who else is going to take -- who else can get a majority?

REID: Jim Jordan?

KARL: Well, first of all, Jordan has been very close to McCarthy. McCarthy has brought him in.

REID: Yes. Yes.

KARL: You keep a friend close. He's even closer.

And so I don't think Jim Jordan would challenge him.

REID: What about this idea?

Because there's the assumption that a lot of people are making that Donald Trump is putting in place all of the pieces that he needs, taking down all of the people who resisted. And, as you said, he's extremely vengeful, which is a lot of what this book is about...

KARL: Yes.

REID: ... about everyone he thinks betrayed him and didn't keep him in office, and that he's put in all the people and the flunkies in place, that he will run again in 2024 and then be triumphant.

You're saying you don't -- you write that you don't necessarily believe that.

KARL: Look, he may run. People around him say that they -- that he's definitely running, he's off to the races.

And, certainly, Donald Trump wants us to believe he's running, because that's what makes him relevant.

REID: Right.

KARL: But I don't think he's going to run. I won't be shocked if he does run.

But, that said, he is putting in place -- he is going out methodically to defeat and to destroy anybody that was not with him in his crazy drive to overturn the election.

I don't know how successful he's ultimately going to be in that. I mean, there are -- I mean, we will see how this goes. But it is an effort to take out anybody who wasn't sufficiently -- not just the people that voted to impeach him in the House, but this is obviously local officials.

I mean, one of the great -- one of the moments that I thought was very significant during the transition is when the Michigan Republican leaders - - these were Trump people, and their constituents were solidly Donald Trump.

And Trump summons them to the Oval Office in late November, and says, I need you to reconvene the Michigan legislature and send -- get -- take back those Biden electoral votes and send Trump votes.

REID: Yes.

KARL: And they told him flatly no.

REID: Yes.

KARL: He doesn't want those kinds of people around anymore.

REID: And he's working to get rid of them?

KARL: And he's working to get rid of them.

REID: What about...

KARL: Not with across-the-board success, by the way, but he's working to get rid of them.

REID: You also write about some of the sort of interesting characters, the Sidney Powells of the world.

KARL: Yes.

REID: Did Donald Trump genuinely believe that they were capable, that this crew of people, including the pillow guy and all the -- and Rudy Giuliani, were actually capable of keeping him in office?

KARL: Well, it's interesting.

There's a dramatic scene when he's confronting -- when Bill Barr -- after Barr has said there is no election fraud, and Trump is, like, screaming at him in this meeting in the dining room off the Oval Office.

And Barr says: "Look, first of all, your legal team has been a clown show. And if you had any chance of challenging anything, you needed to have the best people in there from the start."

And Trump actually says: "Well, on that part, you might be right."


KARL: So, I think he understood that.

But you mentioned that conspiracy theories, the thermostats, the Chinese thermostats...

REID: Yes.

KARL: ... the Italian military spy satellites that supposedly switched votes, that Gina Haspel got injured trying to secure a server in Germany that controlled all this stuff, I mean, bat -- I mean, I can't say that, but crazy stuff, OK?

REID: Yes. Yes. Yes.

KARL: And -- but here's the thing. You can find it on QAnon. You can see it in the outer fringes.

This was talked about in the Oval Office, and the president of the United States was pushing it. And his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was demanding not -- you mentioned Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence. Told him to look into it, told the Department of Justice to look into various things and over at the Pentagon.


This was -- I mean, you can laugh about it, but this was -- this is what was driving the top levels of the executive branch of our government.

Crazy stuff.

REID: And I guess the obvious question I have to do is, did -- and you have talked to him. You have sat across from him. He says he -- he seems to believe all this stuff.

Did Donald Trump come across to you as somebody who is rational, mentally all there?

KARL: It's a very strange thing. He comes out, he's very -- he's gregarious. He's got -- he's got a way of trying to charm you.

He doesn't seem like he's somebody that's completely insane at all. I mean, he conducts himself. He talks his business. But it's the lack of any sense of remorse, I think, that really comes across as there's something that's just not right.

REID: Yes. Something is wrong. Yes, very clear.


REID: "Betrayal" is the name of the book.

Jonathan Karl, excellent job.

KARL: Thank you.

REID: And you're going to want to read this one. It is a page-turner.

Thank you all very much. And -- I mean, thank you very much.

And up next: celebrations in Oklahoma, as Governor Stitt actually commutes Julius Jones' death sentence just hours before his scheduled execution.

His mother and his longtime friend join me next to share their elation at the last-minute reprieve.

We will be right back.



REID: You know, sometimes, you get a remarkable news day, and for the right reasons.

Earlier today, the governor of Oklahoma commuted the death sentence of Julius Jones just hours before he was scheduled to be executed for a 1999 murder that he insists he did not commit.

And joining me now is Madeline Davis-Jones, the mother of Julius Jones, and Jimmy Lawson, friend of Julius Jones and a candidate for Oklahoma City mayor.

It is such a relief to do a story that is hopeful and positive.

And I'm going to start with you, Ms. Davis-Jones. The last time we had you on, you said that you were in prayer, and that you were believing on God that your son was going to live. He had already been moved into the solitary place where he was going to get his last meal. He had already been served his last meal.

So, it had gone all the way down the road. When did you hear that your son was going to live?

MADELINE DAVIS-JONES, MOTHER OF JULIUS JONES: How about 11 -- I said 11:59. They told me 11:55.

I really don't know. I know it was sometime this morning.

And, Jimbo, he woke me up this morning to -- he really did.


REID: It's a good reason for somebody to wake you up.

DAVIS-JONES: God is good.

REID: Oh, God is good, isn't he, all the time?

I got to ask you, Jimmy. You have been out there talking about your best friend and saying that he is innocent and proclaiming it. Give me your thoughts on today.

JIMMY LAWSON, FRIEND OF JULIUS JONES: It's an amazing feeling.

When you put that 22-year (AUDIO GAP) and that grind in, and all the notes that we took over the years to get to this point where we are today, it's an indescribable feeling. It's like somebody took a boulder off our shoulders and just -- and just tossed it, right, relief and joyness, and knowing the fact that we saved a man's life today is paramount.


REID: Yes.

LAWSON: It's legendary.

In my opinion, this is going to change the course of Oklahoma.


REID: I spoke to Mara Schiavocampo, who is the amazing journalist who has been -- who told me about this case.

And I was embarrassed that I didn't know about it before she brought it to my attention. And she was just elated, praising God as well for what happened.

And, so, momma, I have to ask you. You didn't get a chance to hold your son before what we thought was going to be the end of his life. Is there an opportunity now that you're going to get to go in, you're going to get to hold him and hug him?

And what would you say? What do you have to say to Governor Stitt, who did make this decision?

DAVIS-JONES: Well, I would just like to say God bless and that I thank him.

But I just thank God most of all...

REID: Amen.

DAVIS-JONES: ... for giving me that opportunity, because I was really, really just hurt not being able to hug him.

And God is good. He's turned it around. This is just a chapter. And we're - - we have just begun. We have just begun. God is good.


REID: Don't tell -- don't let anybody tell you that there is nothing that God can't do, right, and then that pressure can't do.

Because, Jimmy, this was also public pressure and people bringing this story to light. Talk about the next steps, because I am sure that what this young man wants to now do with his life is prove his innocence.

LAWSON: Yes, absolutely.

As you say, this is a huge moment to understand that faith outweighed fear today. God gets all the praise. We turned an impossible to a possible today. And it just shows the world that prayer, unity, togetherness, right, anything is possible.

So the next step is try to figure out a plan to get ultimately Julius' freedom. So that's the next step.

REID: We know that this state of Oklahoma has some terrible issues with the death penalty, with people who've been found to be innocent.

The Innocence Project has worked on it. And so is The Innocence Project perhaps getting involved with you all? What's the next steps, mom?

DAVIS-JONES: Honestly, I don't know.


DAVIS-JONES: We just -- I know God's (AUDIO GAP)

Right now, I'm trying to breathe this in.

REID: We are too.

DAVIS-JONES: I don't know the next steps, but I know they're going to be good, yes. Yes.

REID: We are too, absolutely.

And, Jimmy, the good thing is, is that whatever happens next, he's alive to be able to clear his name. He's alive. He's still alive. He's still here.

Well, I'm out of time.


REID: But I just want to tell you all, thank you for being here. We're sending our love to you both, to you especially, momma.

We love you, Ms. Madeline Davis-Jones. Thank you very much for being here. Jimmy Lawson, thank you both.

And that is tonight's REIDOUT.