Jury finds Rittenhouse not guilty on all charges. Rittenhouse judge under scrutiny for perceived bias. Vice President Harris says a lot more work to do on making the criminal justice system more equitable.
GINA SCHOCK, ROCK AND ROLL HALL-OF-FAMER: Thank you baby.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: I love it. Hall of Famer Gina Schock, John Stan, thanks to both of you.
That does it for THE BEAT tonight. It`s Joy Reid time now. Let me pass it on. I think Jason Johnson is in for Joy Reid. So, it`s still hard time but it`s Jason I`m passing to. Hi, Jason.
JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Ari. It is always Joy time. I`m just a messenger right now. Thank you.
Good evening, everyone. I`m Jason Johnson in for Joy Reid who will be joining us in just a few minutes.
We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with yet another judicial gut punch. 18-year- old Kyle Rittenhouse, a militia man wannabe, who crossed state lines and killed two human being at a Black Lives Matter rally was found not guilty on all five counts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The state of Wisconsin versus Kyle Rittenhouse, as to the first count of the information, Joseph Rosenbaum, we the jury find the defendant Kyle H. Rittenhouse not guilty.
As to the second count, not guilty.
As to the third count, not guilty.
As to the fourth count, not guilty.
As to the fifth count, not guilty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Oh, now he`s really crying. Rittenhouse who faced life in prison broke down in court after the verdict was read. One of his attorneys later said that Rittenhouse would like to get on with his life, that the judge, who was heavily criticized for seemingly bias towards the defense, was fair. He then dismissed the larger implications of the verdict.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK RICHARDS, ATTORNEY FOR KYLE RITTENHOUSE: When you want to talk about implications and precedent and things like that, is it ever going to happen again? You know, is there ever going to be just a total unrest in Kenosha or some other city and that is going to happen? You know, I just don`t see that. It was a case about self-defense, the right to protect one`s self.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: President Biden told reporters that we have to respect the jury`s decision. And the parents of Anthony Huber, Rittenhouse`s second victim, released this statement, quote, today`s verdict means there is no accountability for the person who murdered our son. It sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any town, incite violence and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people in the street. Make no mistake our fight to hold those responsible for Anthony`s death accountable continues in full force.
The lawyers for it the other two victims, Gaige Grosskreutz and Joseph Rosenbaum said, while today`s verdict may means justice delayed, it will not mean justice denied. We`re committed to uncovering the truth of that night and holding those responsible to account.
People outside the courthouse had a range of reactions to the verdict.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s the law. That`s the verdict. That`s what they chose. We accept it. That`s how it goes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like they made the right choice, you know, it was simple self-defense. That kid was attacked out here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This argument that he killed them because of what they did and it`s okay, no, it`s not right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: The demonstrations at the heart of the trial were in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times by a white Kenosha police officer, almost paralyzed from the waist down. His uncle, Justin Blake, was unsparing in its criticism of the verdict.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTIN BLAKE, UNCLE OF JACOB BLAKE: There was no self-defense. Self- defense is when you`re protecting your home, you`re protecting your family, he, in a very bastardly and dastardly way, used the law to work for him. There was absolutely no self-defense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: While it is shocking that Rittenhouse was not found guilty, it`s not surprising at all. In fact, it`s a return to normal for America after the conviction of former Minnesota Police Officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.
Joy Reid the Host of this show, Reverend Al Sharpton, Host of MSNBC`s POLITICSNATION and President of the National Action Network, Paul Butler, former Federal Prosecutor and Georgetown Law Professor, and Elie Mystal, Justice Correspondent from The Nation, join us now.
I cannot imagine a better panel of people that I would rather be talking to or texting with tonight. Joy, since it`s your show and I`m blessed to be sitting here, just start us off. What was your first thought when you heard the verdict that Rittenhouse was going to get free?
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Well, I want to first thank you, Jason, for holding on fort tonight. I was actually on a flight because, as you know, I took today off, I was on a plane, I was watching it on the flight. I was not at all surprised.
We`ve talked about this. I mean, this is what we expected to happen because I think we have to keep in mind when we`re watching the criminal justice system at work that it was designed to do exactly what it did today.
Gun laws helped to enhance the design to allow this verdict to happen today. This country was built on the idea of white men had a particular kind of freedom and a particular kind of citizenship that only they have that gives, you know, from the slave catchers on the right to inflict violence in the name of protecting property.
That`s like the foundational creation of the United States. So, it would have been shocking.
The real is -- I`m glad you mentioned the Derek Chauvin verdict. That was a surprising verdict. This should have been unsurprising. But what I do think we have to think about is not only the families of the two men who died and the family of Mr. Grosskreutz, they should be in our minds right now because they suffered. And there have been a lot of white people who have defended black lives and paid for it with their lives. That goes all throughout of our history going back to John Brown and to civil rights movement.
But what I am concerned about is the precedent this sets for what people will believe that they can do under law when Black Lives Matter protests happen in the future. And that people may use this as an excuse to go out of state and do what this teenager did, believing that they`ll get away with it, and in some cases, getting away with it.
JOHNSON: I want to keep on that point, Joy. Paul, that`s the first thing that occurred to me. The first thing that occurred to me after this ruling is, oh, well, okay, now it`s just open season. Like if I`m walking around and I`m a white nationalist, you know, coward little kid with an AR-15 and I see someone drive by with a Black Lives Matter bumper sticker and I feel threatened, I can open fire. If I go by a youth group standing outside a local target and their chanting Black Lives Matter and I feel threatened, I can open fire. Paul, is the ruling today really a precedent or is this the kind of thing that was always going to end up happening and we shouldn`t see this as a real watershed moment?
PAUL BUTLER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: It`s not a formal legal precedent, Jason, but make no mistake, Rittenhouse will be the poster child for reactionary white men who want to take the law in their own hands, who want to bring assault weapons to Black Lives Matter protests and who think that violence is a legitimate form of political discourse.
In the eyes of the law, Rittenhouse is now actually the victim of the three men who he shot, even though the evidence suggest that Rittenhouse went to Kenosha spoiling for a fight, that`s why he brought that semi-assault gun, a bulletproof vest and full metal bullets.
The verdict doesn`t mean that the jurors bought this Boy Scout image of Rittenhouse that the defense presented. It just means that they have reasonable doubt that they were 95 percent certain. But, Jason, I can`t imagine they`re happy about an immature and reckless 17-year-old bringing a semi-assault rifle to patrol their streets. And I agree with Joy. I think we should be troubled that other people who want to take the law into their own hands might view this verdict as an invitation.
JOHNSON: Rev, so earlier this year, you know, I saw you on the air and you talked about, hey, part of why Derek Chauvin was convicted is because you had just massive nationwide, global multicultural protests about George Floyd. The issue that I think a lot of people have, especially my students and young people, people who I know who aren`t actively involved in politics, is they`re like, well, darn, it took a year`s worth of protest to get one cop convicted but now we`re right back to what we had before, whether it`s Ahmaud Arbery being killed three white random white men, or Kyle Rittenhouse. What is the activist response when there is a ruling like this, because I can`t imagine a lot of people don`t feel despondent about years what their protest about these kind of violence and people still getting off for essentially murder?
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: What you must also factor in is that even when the George Floyd murder happened, it has now come out that some of the violence in Minneapolis was done by right-wingers who pretended to be burning down places in Minneapolis that they were part of the movement and they were not, which means that now we can see people baiting violence to have a reaction to justify doing what Rittenhouse got away with today.
This is a very, very serious problem for activism because now we`re being told that someone can cross state lines with a semiautomatic rifle and kill people and say it`s self-defense and they have this case to site as saying that I`m like Rittenhouse.
Let`s remember, Rittenhouse is now being offered internships by members of Congress, like he`s some hero. So, in the frame of one week, ministers go to Brunswick, Georgia, with bibles in their hand and we`re condemned and he goes with an automatic weapon and he`s given offers of congressional internships.
This is where America is tonight. It is startling, not surprising, but startling and it brings a real threat to those white and black that want to stand up against systemic racism in this country.
JOHNSON: And the thing I tell my students like, you know, the key to an internship is being a good person, a moral citizen, apparently just have go to out and murder people who you disagree with.
Elie, part of this -- and you`ve been tweeting about this sort of inconsistency. I sometimes feel like you were actually in the courtroom, Part of what the national story is -- from Kenosha is the degree of empathy that African Americans had for these victims. I think in contrast to how many white Americans are sometimes ambivalent or trying to explain what happened to George Floyd or what happened to Walter Scott. Why do you think that is? Why do you think this case, even though the victims were white, why do you think it resonates so much with African-Americans and why so many people are so passionate and disturbed by this ruling?
ELIE MYSTAL, NAT NATION JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That`s a great question. And my answer is because black people don`t care about race, they care about justice. We want justice to be done. This person came outside of his community, armed himself with a legal weapon and shot two people in the street, people during a protest for police brutality.
Yes, we care. It doesn`t matter that the victims were white, not to black people. It doesn`t matter that the victims were white. It matters that justice was not done. And that is something that honestly I do not understand why so many white people can`t see that. It`s like they`re telling on themselves, right? The whole point here is that -- and this is where, you know, I`m going to bring up, oh, I think there is a theory about it that asks you to critically think about how systems work in this country, right? Like there is a poll (ph) of permissiveness towards white violence. And black people, regardless of the victim of any one instance of while violence, black people know that, overall, white people aren`t with guns patrolling the streets being able to shoot whoever they want to doesn`t work out so well for us, right?
So, there is a concern about justice, there`s a concern about fairness. There is some self-preservation, there is -- I know that doesn`t work out for me very much, but it`s also that we understand the system.
And last point I`ll say is just that, you know, the people who kind of can`t see that, who can`t see the bigger picture, they`re like people who are chewing on rosemary like a cow and like saying, this rosemary tastes better. And it`s like shut up, you uncouth idiot, it supposed to go in the soup. There is a whole soup here, there`s whole soup of racism. And if you only pull out one bit or another bit like you might miss the whole meal here, and black people care about the whole meal.
JOHNSON: I like your chant of, yes, we care, because that is a key part of this. I, as much as this is a black political cliche, I literally watched the ruling in the barbershop this afternoon. Not a person in the room was at all surprised. No one will surprise. In fact, everyone said we`re surprised that the judge didn`t give him a gold star and medal when he was done.
Speaking of which, Paul, I want to go back to you. One of the most galling things about this entire experience, and there`s not a person on this panel who didn`t think that Rittenhouse was going to get off. But what did shock a lot of people is the behavior of judge, of just the judge.
I want to play you a clip of just some of his greatest hits and get your thoughts on the other side as to what this does to our legal system when you see somebody behave like this in a trial that`s so important.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE BRUCE SCHROEDER, KENOSHA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: The word victim is a loaded, loaded word.
I will tell you this. I`m going to think long and hard about live television at trial again next time. I don`t know. I`ve always been a firm believer in it because I think the people should be able to see what`s going on. But when I see what is being done, it`s really quite frightening.
I was astonished when you began your examination by commenting on the defendant`s post-arrest silence. That`s basic law. It`s been basic law in this country for 40 years, 50 years. I have no idea why you would do something like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: You know, Paul, I saw that, and I want to make this clear to anyone out there, you know, legal Twitter or legal commentary, there is not a prosecutor on the planet, okay? Johnny Cochran mixed with McCoy from Law and Order couldn`t win a case when you have a judge behaving in this particular way.
So, Paul, my question for you is, what does this do to people who were just observing this case? I mean, is this judge that common? And if he is that common, what hope is there for any future cases that have to do with Black Lives Matter, that have to do with criminal justice if you have got guys like this planted throughout the country who are able to basically completely put their thumb on the scale of justice when it comes to a case?
BUTLER: Unfortunately, Jason, there are many judges in this country who tip the scales of justice in favor of the cause or side they like. And when there is a verdict of not guilty, those concerns don`t go away but there not resolved in any legal form because when a defendant is found not guilty, the verdict is final. The prosecution cannot appeal.
I want to say, though, that the defense gets a lot of the credit or a lot of the blame. Mr. Rittenhouse had the best defense money can buy. His $2 million legal defense fund enabled his lawyers to use O.J. Simpson`s jury consultant. And before the trial, they held two practice jury trials that paid off well with Mr. Rittenhouse`s well-rehearsed testimony when he took the stand.
Most criminal defendants don` have those kind of resources. Rittenhouse wouldn`t either, but for people like Donald Trump and Matt Gaetz acting as cheerleaders for a man who gunned down three people.
JOHNSON: Whenever we have a case like this, it has a larger sort of political resonance. I want to play Vice President Harris` comments after this. And, Joy, I want your thoughts on other side. What tone did she hit and is it right tone after this kind of war?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: The verdict really speaks for itself. As many of you know, I spent the majority of my career working to make this criminal justice system more equitable. And, clearly, there is a lot more work to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: That left me a little cold. Joy, what was your thought when you heard that from the vice president?
REID: Right. I mean, listen, she`s a former prosecutor. And so, you know, as somebody who worked in the criminal justice system herself, she has a sort of foundational respect for the system. So, you know, I wasn`t expecting her to necessarily come out and emote about the case. Barack Obama didn`t do when he was president. Joe Biden isn`t going to do it.
But I think one that that is important to remember, this is also a woman who, as a senator, tried to get an anti-lynching law enacted. And we have not been able to have an anti-lynching law enacted in this country, which has had more lynchings than any -- I don`t know -- than any other country that`s done it than we`ve done it here in this country. We can`t get anti lynching law here because people don`t want it. They don`t want to legislate in that area.
She tried to do things to push criminal justice reform, police reform. She was behind that. She and Cory Booker strongly supported it. That is dead.
And I want to also remind you, we talked about this judge. He is elected. He is a politician. He is an elected official in the state of Wisconsin. He was an appointed there. So, a lot of this has to do with the other piece that she is attempting to work on, which is the vote, is can people get access to the means by which you could replace this man and also do you bother? He was -- re-ran unopposed the last time that he was put in that office.
And the last thing I`ll say is that we need to really zoom out. We want Kamala Harris to be all things to all people, right? She has to represent everything black. But she`s not the only person responsible to do that. This system is not on her shoulders. She didn`t create it. She`s as much a victim of it lives under it, just like we do on this panel. It`s not her job to fix it.
This is a problem white America has to do and they need to look inward and don`t look for a black lady to come zooming in on her white horse to fix it and to fix your feelings about it. Because the problem is -- there is an L.A. Times reporter that talked about the fact that all the far right groups, from the Proud Boys on, who are just absolutely licking their chops today, they were acting like they won the Super Bowl, according to this Los Angeles Times reporter, because what we need to worry about is that we have nothing in place legally. We have nothing in place culturally or socially to stop the next group of white nationalists, Proud Boys, MAGA people, whoever they want, to take from this verdict when they want and to use it as permission to attack Black Lives Matter.
And Black Lives Matter ain`t just black people, as we just saw. Mr. Huber and Mr. Rosenbaum are white. They are Jewish. They are also victims and easily made victims because anyone who supports Black Lives Matter should be very afraid tonight.
JOHNSON: She was only president for a couple hours today. We can`t expect her to fix everything. Joe Reid, thank you so much for letting me sit in this seat. Paul Butler, Elie Mystal and Reverend Al Sharpton, thank you for joining us for starting off this show as well.
And don`t miss POLITICSNATION tomorrow. Rev has Wanda Cooper-Jones, the Mother of Ahmaud Arbery, and Jacob Blake Senior, Father of Jacob Blake Jr. that`s 5:00 P.M. Eastern on MSNBC.
Up next on THE REIDOUT, why the Rittenhouse verdict is so ominous and what it could mean for future of domestic terrorism in America.
Plus, a historic vote in the House of President Biden`s Build Back Better bill, but the fight for the president`s agenda is just beginning.
And while Democratic legislator are doing things like, I don`t know, legislating, Republicans are focusing on rigging the system to their advantage.
And Joy returns later to wrap up the week with tonight`s "Absolute Worst." You don`t want to miss it.
THE REIDOUT continues right after this.
JOHNSON: Kyle Rittenhouse killed two white men protesting on behalf of Black lives and got away with it.
That`s the single most important thing to understand about today`s ruling. By allowing him to go free and potentially commit other crimes, this jury sent the final and loudest warning to white America about the dangerous rise of white nationalist terror in this country, one I suspect will be ignored by most thought leaders, politicians and the press.
Kyle Rittenhouse was able to kill Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and face no consequences because those men were race traitors, white man who had the audacity to protest that police shot Jacob Blake, a black man, in the back seven times in his own car.
They stood against the core conceit of white supremacy, that straight white men have dominion over everything, especially black bodies. And when you stand against that position, you can be subjected to the same violence used against Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, and, yes, George Floyd.
The Rittenhouse ruling isn`t so much a warning to black America. Black folks have known the impact of white terrorism since we were first told that we were technically freeish. It`s a warning to every white suburbanite with a Black Lives Matter poster in their window, every white church youth leader chanting about George Floyd in front of the local Walmart, every white dad from Lorain, Ohio, to Lubbock, Texas, who dares have a BLM sticker on their car.
Those people now know that they too can be shot by a white 17-year-old with an AR-15 if he feels threatened by their desire to see America live up to its potential.
Too many Americans think they have the complexion for protection against the same forces behind Charlottesville and the insurrection. But Kyle Rittenhouse and Judge Schroeder have just blown a hole in that belief. Only time will tell if enough Americans heed the warning shot that was just fired off.
I`m joined now by Malcolm Nance, MSNBC counterterrorism and national security analyst, and Dean Obeidallah, host of "The Dean Obeidallah Show" on SiriusXM and an MSNBC columnist.
Malcolm, I want to start with you.
My primary concern about this ruling is that it is now open season, and that white nationalists and domestic terrorists across this country are high-fiving.
What kind of impact does a ruling like this have for everybody, from the Proud Boys, to militia groups, from Savannah, South Carolina, to Seattle, Oregon -- Seattle, Washington?
MALCOLM NANCE, NBC COUNTERTERRORISM AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, let me confirm for you that they are high-fiving, and they view this as a major victory.
For some time, the "Free Kyle" T-shirt and "Kyle Did Nothing Wrong" types of T-shirts have been going on for -- have been inside the white supremacy movement and had mainstreamed itself into the Republican Party world. And by doing that, what they have done is that they have steeped Kyle Rittenhouse in the tea of white supremacy iconography, whether he wanted to be there or not.
But what he did, by his very action of going out, going to a protest across state lines, being within a group of armed men, performing what they call the Korean on the rooftop, right, defending a position, whether it`s a business or other, where they were not invited, and then getting into this fight where he killed two men and wounded a third, that is now the template on how to protest against Antifa or Black Lives Matter or any other person that they consider in the white supremacy world race traitors.
You have to understand that, for some time, these thoughts have been completely underground. They were not mainstreamed. But now they are. And, worse yet, at some point, someone is going to weaponize the self-defense. And when I say weaponize it, I mean they are going to have a designated Kyle Rittenhouse.
NANCE: And when you can anticipate or precipitate an attack, whether it`s bottles thrown at you, then not only can that person go back and defend himself, others can turn their weapons and carry out a massacre and say it was in defense of another person.
This is going to get out of control.
JOHNSON: Yes, this is all -- for those who remember, this is basically Bernie Goetz, right? You`re going looking for trouble, and then you`re going to try and claim self-defense.
Malcolm talks about this idea of this getting mainstreamed. Dean, the thing that concerns me is not just the violence, not just what this says about democracy. But now you have got members of Congress, Republican members of Congress, doing whole tweet threads offering this kid everything from internships to an opportunity to hang out with them at the House.
You literally have members of Congress who are now saying, forget an application. Forget being a candy striper. Who cares about your grades? Go out and kill people in the name of white supremacy, and you can get an internship in my office, unpaid, of course?
Dean, what the heck do we do about that?
DEAN OBEIDALLAH, MSNBC DAILY COLUMNIST: This is part of the culture we`re living in the GOP.
The GOP, this GOP, has mainstreamed white nationalism. Now they`re mainstreaming and celebrating political violence. Lookit, Jason, just days ago, those same members of Congress were defending Paul Gosar, who was one of the members of Congress you showed, who put out a video, his fantasy snuff video, where he is literally murdering AOC. And over 200 Republicans voted to defend Paul Gosar.
This is the party led by Donald Trump, a man who incited the January 6 terrorist attack, which a poll in July from CBS showed 55 percent of Trump supporters, they don`t view January 6 as an act of terrorism. They view it as an act defending freedom.
I would submit they probably view would call Rittenhouse did as an act defending freedom as well. And I will tell you, Jason, as a lawyer, our criminal justice is predicated on two things, punish and deter. You punish someone for wrongdoing to deter them and others. This is the opposite. This emboldens.
It tells people, hey, if there`s a Black Lives Matter movement protest in the next state, get your AR, drive over. If you fear anyone, kill them. Go on the stand. Repeat what Kyle did. Cry on cue. And you walk.
And everyone should be concerned there`s a gathering violent storm the GOP is seeding and nurturing. It`s right in front of us. Red flags are going along. This is a scary time.
JOHNSON: Malcolm, real quick. We only have a couple seconds left.
Reuters has just reported that the FBI is now saying that Islamic terror and white domestic terror are equal threats in the United States right now.
The president, everybody in Congress, whoever is watching right now, Malcolm, what do you think this country needs to do from a national security standpoint, in the face of this kind of ruling and against this rising white nationalist terror in general?
NANCE: Well, the FBI actually did a very good job back in the 1980s infiltrating and breaking down these groups.
But it`s -- even though we have this tendency to want to believe that this is law enforcement`s job, there are things that can be done within the community. The Ku Klux Klan was completely bankrupted by a little old black lady from North Carolina.
Lawsuits, bringing those people to court, taking away their resources, even though they`re handing out millions of dollars to people like Kyle Rittenhouse, civil suits are also another way of doing this.
But you know what? What you can`t do is cannot concede this ground to the people who are extremists.
JOHNSON: That will be the greatest danger that we face, if we do that.
Thank you so much, Malcolm Nance and Dean Obeidallah. Thank you so much for joining us this evening.
Democrats declare victory, as the House votes to approve Biden`s signature Build Back Better package.
Stay with us. We`re talking about that next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The Build Back Better bill is passed.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: After months of wrangling and negotiation, House Democrats this morning finally passed the landmark bill at the center of President Biden`s domestic agenda, the Build Back Better Act.
Named for the president`s famed campaign slogan, it`s the almost $2 trillion proposal to revamp this country`s social safety net and provide overdue relief to families in need.
And while it`s the inevitable process of compromise, it could be as consequential as the New Deal or the Great Society. Among other things, the Build Back Better Act provides universal pre-K for all children ages 3 and 4, paid family and medical leave and additional Medicare benefits.
It extends the child tax credits for one year, and it empowers the government to negotiate lower drug prescription prices, expands affordable housing and access to food, and raises the Trump era limits on state and local tax deductions, and it provides over half-a-trillion dollars to fight climate change.
In opposing the bill, however, Republicans refuse to see anything beyond the price tag. Yet the Build Back Better Act strengthens the tax code, generating new revenue in a responsible way. That means a 15 percent minimum tax rate on corporations, a surcharge on corporate stock buybacks, and an 8 percent surtax on incomes over $25 million.
As Vox reports, the measure`s revenue raisers would be enough to cover most, if not all, of the bill`s costs. Yet that still was apparently too much for Republicans to swallow. In fact, the vote that finally came this morning was delayed overnight by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
In a rather pointless stunt, which was clearly meant to endear himself to dear leader Donald Trump in Florida, McCarthy delivered a marathon speech against the bill, holding the floor for over eight hours. He droned on until just after 5:00 a.m. this morning.
But, of course, it had no impact on the eventual outcome. Now that the bill has cleared the House, it`s off to the Senate, where it faces additional hurdles, namely, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who could block its passage through reconciliation.
Joining me now is Congressman Mondaire Jones of New York. He`s the deputy whip for the House Progressive Caucus.
Thank you for joining us this evening.
REP. MONDAIRE JONES (D-NY): Thanks for having me.
JOHNSON: Congressman, I`m going to start with this.
You got to be happy, right? Like, just tell me you`re happy. What specifically is passing this bill right now, if this bill gets passed -- and we will get to that process later. But if this bill gets passed, what does it do for your constituents right here, right now if this bill becomes law?
JONES: Jason, it`s hard to describe how happy I am.
This is transformative, life-changing legislation. And we are creating millions of good-paying jobs every year for the next decade. We are saving the planet from climate catastrophe. We are making child care high-quality and affordable for literally every child in America.
You already talked about universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds, making health care affordable by, among other things, expanding Medicare to include hearing. This is beneficial to hundreds of thousands of my constituents, in fact, all of my constituents, when you think about climate change and how it impacts literally everybody on the planet.
And this is something that Democrats did by unifying. And, of course, I got to give House progressives credit. Through insisting that we pass both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the larger Build Back Better Act, we were able to get this done. And now it goes to the Senate, where Democrats in the Senate have got to do the right thing.
JOHNSON: So, Congressman Jones, this is where this is key, right?
This is where we got to go all "Schoolhouse Rock" for people, because a lot of folks are seeing this news right now. Yes, BBB, it passed. All right, it got through the House. Everyone`s dancing and singing. Now it`s at the Senate.
What has to happen? Break it down like we`re 6. What has to happen in the Senate for this bill to end up at the desk of President Joe Biden and signed?
So, one of two things can happen. The Senate can pass the House version of the Build Back Better Act, or it can make changes, which is its prerogative. That`s going to be through, hopefully, a conferencing process that results in a Senate version that is also acceptable to the House, and we will have to vote to pass it again.
And then it will go to the president`s desk for his signature. I am so confident that this will get done. I`m optimistic that we will do it this year. Obviously, we have got a bunch of other things to deal with, including the debt ceiling in a few weeks.
But, by all accounts, this is something that even Joe Manchin understands the importance of.
JOHNSON: So, one of the critiques that the Democratic Party faces, sometimes fairly, sometimes, I think, frankly, unfairly, is you all don`t always know how to sell good things that you do, right?
Like, we should -- you should still be getting credit for, like, the CARES Act and COVID relief and everything else like that. And the American public is like, oh, what have you done for me lately, other than put shots in arms?
What does the Democratic Party need to do right now to sell this to America? The midterms, quite frankly, from a political standpoint, start sometime in January. What`s the message that Democrats need to have everywhere across the country, from Arizona, to Montana, to Michigan, to New York, to say, hey, the Build Back Better plan makes a difference for you, and you need to keep us in our jobs?
What`s the message?
JONES: We have got to be talking about it nonstop, specifically how it`s going to cut costs for most Americans in this country.
I mean, this is a huge middle-class tax cut. And, of course, it does also make the wealthiest in our society pay their fair share, so that everyone can live in dignity. This is going to reduce the cost of health care, also the cost of child care. And, of course, it makes pre-K universal. It extends the child tax credit.
And this is something that creates millions of good-paying union jobs over the course of the next decade. We have got to be talking about this and so much more nonstop. And, of course, we cannot forget that we passed just two weeks ago the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which is also a significant achievement for this president and for this Democratic Congress.
Our roads, our bridges, and our highways have been in need of repair for more than a generation. And people are going to see the results of that once-in-a-lifetime investment in their local communities.
JOHNSON: Congressman Mondaire Jones, thank you so very much for your time.
I think this is a great bill. You need to get like Pharrell to come up with like a BBB song or something that you can sell. I think you guys can -- I think you guys can make this work. Thank you so much for joining us this evening.
Republicans ramp up their assault on America`s elections with a new push to get rid of a bipartisan elections agency and maybe even send its members to jail.
We will be right back after this break on THE REIDOUT.
JOHNSON: While Democrats are taking active steps to show voters how they are working to improve the lives of all Americans, Republicans have taken to a different strategy for future elections.
For them, it`s not just about winning more voters over. It`s about changing the rules of the game to make sure they win, including gerrymandering their way to increase more Republican seats in Congress.
In battleground Wisconsin, Republicans there are moving to seize control of elections from a bipartisan election commission. And Republicans across the country continue to pass laws making it harder to vote, especially for people of color and low-income voters.
All of this combined with the country`s changing demographics will inevitably lead to voter disenfranchisement and under-representation in public offices.
With me now is Nse Ufot, CEO of The New Georgia Project, and also, I think, a recent honoree of "Glamour," magazine, if memory serves me.
Ms. Ufot, thank you so much for joining us this evening.
NSE UFOT, CEO, NEW GEORGIA PROJECT: Thanks for having me.
JOHNSON: I want to start with this.
One of the real concerns that people have across this country is that it`s not just getting harder to vote, but that states are being cut up by Republican legislatures to literally legislate Democrats into oblivion. What are some of the concerns that you have in Georgia about how the Republican legislature may cut up the state to make it harder for Democrats to even get elected, let alone operating off of what may have been a fraudulent or problematic census conducted by Trump in 2020?
UFOT: I`m deeply concerned about the form, so how the bill was passed. It was rushed through. Folks had 24 hours to review it.
They`re -- but I`m also very concerned about the content. We`re talking about nearly 50 changes to Georgia`s election law. It added five new crimes, right, that criminalize voting behavior. Much -- there are echoes in the Wisconsin proposal to what has already passed via Senate Bill 202 in Georgia.
We`re talking about cutting the number of days of early voting. We`re talking about punishing county election officials and state election officials who send absentee ballot applications to voters unilaterally. A lot of the improvements that led to increase voter participation that we saw during the pandemic, there`s a whitelash against those now that we`re witnessing in Georgia, in addition to criminalizing voting and voting behavior.
And so I am deeply concerned, because 400 anti-voting bills have been introduced in, what, 48 out of these 50 United States, that this is a fundamental, like, grievous blow to our democracy, to our democratic process.
The Republicans are playing for keeps. And so all of this sort of horse race conversations, people trying to frame this as just your garden variety partisan bickering are all missing the point. Like, this is an attack from inside the house.
JOHNSON: So -- and I`m glad that you mentioned that, because this is what I -- people need to understand this.
In the past, redistricting was usually about protecting incumbents, right, regardless of the party, and then making the new guys fight it out, right? It`s like, OK, even if we`re a red state, if we have had this one Democratic seat for 15 years, we`re going to let her keep her spot. We`re going to let her -- the Republicans are now out to completely eliminate any sort of competition.
But I want also to highlight something here and your thoughts on this. In Virginia, where they make voting easier after 2020, Republicans won the governorship. So these anti-voting laws that are being passed right now, they`re not passing them because they`re concerned about their chances to win, because, when voting is easier, Republicans still win.
So their motivation is just to steal, right?
UFOT: One hundred percent.
Again, it has now become clear that, as fewer and fewer Americans are aligning with their platform, that the way for Republicans to hold onto power in this moment, this version of the Republican Party, is attacking elections as a way to hold onto power.
And as we can see, it is affecting so many other policy areas. Roe vs. Wade is on the chopping block and could be gone by the end of the year. The judge in the Rittenhouse case is an elected official, right? On and on and on.
So, yes, it worked in their favor in Virginia, but this is a larger, broader, well-funded national imperative on the part of the GOP. And I`ll also point out that, for those who are sort of marking and tracking X`s and O`s and figuring out where the parties are, that there`s the Trump 2024 wing of the GOP, and then there are the never-Trumpers.
And they don`t agree on much, except for making it more difficult for Americans to vote and saying no to everything that is contained within the Biden/Harris agenda. And so it`s a party of no, and it`s the party of let`s break the elections, let`s make it more difficult for people to vote, because we`re losing, because we have descended -- we have lost credibility as a party, and that we have basically descended into what I can only describe as the Republican crime family.
JOHNSON: I got to tell you, Nse, you`re absolutely correct.
And thank you for causing the alarm on a Friday night. Thank you so much for joining us on THE REIDOUT.
And don`t go anywhere. Joy returns in a moment with tonight`s "Absolute Worst," as the right-wing unleashes hate upon some cuddly Muppets.
We will be right back.
REID: Oh, hello, boys and girls. It`s me again.
And I have our brand-new letter of the day. It`s I for inclusivity. You see, "Sesame Street" is a wonderful place for so many reasons, but, most of all, it`s a shining example for all you kids at home to see that we can all live together in a world of different people, or, in this case, fairy monsters, who don`t necessarily look like you or me.
That`s why there are blue Muppets and purple Muppets and orange Muppets. Most importantly, we can learn that we can all be friends with a giant yellow bird and a stringy blue-armed monster that flies, and even a grouchy one that loves trash.
And over the years, we have seen new residents on "Sesame Street" who exemplify the diverse world we live in. Next week, we will welcome the first Asian American Muppet to the neighborhood. Her name is Ji-Young.
And it`s really important that she`s moving to "Sesame Street," with how mean so many people, including orange people, have been to our Asian American friends over the last year. But, unfortunately, that message of inclusivity has not been learned by everyone.
Conservative activist and president of the Conservative Political Action Conference, Matt Schlapp, is attacking "Sesame Street" for what he calls an insane move. He says PBS, which airs "Sesame Street," should be defunded and lose all of their money and have it taken away because they are adding Ji-Young to the Muppet family.
And if that wasn`t enough, his little group is now saying that our pals over at "Sesame Street" are not going to be invited to their conference next year.
I mean, I never heard any Muppet actually ask to be invited to CPAC, so, probably, they won`t mind.
And to think, just last year, the Muppets were being defended from that very stage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF DONALD TRUMP: They have banned the Muppets, right? I mean, if there`s things that you thought were sort of above cancellation, you would be wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: I wonder if Donnie Jr., who`s also kind of a Muppet, will defend "Sesame Street" this time.
I also wonder who Matt Schlapp might want to invite. The right does love old Pepe Le Pew. They defended him earlier this year when he was retired for being to "Access Hollywood"-y with the girl skunks, so maybe he could do the keynote. Or maybe the Grinch, considering they were so worried about Dr. Seuss getting canceled earlier this year, and he`d make a great Republican.
And considering the right keeps saying President Biden is going to steal Christmas this year, which he isn`t, the Grinch could get on stage and clear that up. Stealing Christmas is his thing.
But, to my friends on "Sesame Street," if you`re still looking for something to do during next year`s CPAC weekend, now that you have been told you`re not welcome in their neighborhood, you are all welcome to hang out with me on my street.
And we can teach Matt Schlapp, who`s tonight`s "Absolute Worst," about the letter I, for inclusivity. Bye-bye now.
And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT. I`ll be back on Monday.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.