Some of the most compelling people of 2021. New book reveals disturbing details about the final days of the Trump admin. Anita Hill on addressing gender violence. Huma Abedin on her relationship with Anthony Weiner. Comedian Jordan Klepper goes inside the MAGA movement. Abrams say we`re watching the erosion of our democracy.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. Welcome to a special edition of THE REIDOUT. In the hour ahead we`ll bring you interviews with some of the most compelling people of 2021. News maker, political activist, comedian and journalist. Among them veteran White House Reporter Jonathan Karl on the sick and twisted world of Donald Trump, which Karl writes about in his new book.
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JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Okay, so he`s talking about how awful all these Republicans were -- who betrayed him, that if Mike Pence have had more courage, if he done what he wanted to do he would still be a president still. The terrible things that Bill Barr done to him, that Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell had not fought for him and he was like, it got him excited.
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REID: You`ll also hear from Professor Anita Hill who started the national conversation about sexual harassment against women decades before the Me Too movement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANITA HILL, PROFESSOR: What we`re doing is accepting violence, were accepting the precursors to violence and we`re telling girls that they should accept it, too, and not complaining.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Also, Huma Abedin talks about her years at Hillary Clinton, and now Abedin`s life was shattered by the scandals of her husband former Congressman Anthony Weiner.
HUMA ABEDIN, POLITICAL STAFFER: In every one of those instances, Joy, I really tried to make the best decision for my son, for myself until I got to the point where I just couldn`t do it anymore.
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REID: And the one and only Jordan Klepper from The Daily Show talks about his adventures in MAGA land.
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JORDAN KLEPPER, THE DAILY SHOW CORRESPONDENT: The militants and the absurd QAnon folks and the people and the people who think this is just fun tailgate. They all get in the same big old group and when you get to the big old group, I think you see the IQ drop, the inner vision to drop and when you don`t have an adult in the room bad things happen.
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REID: But we begin tonight with Stacey Abrams, founder of Fair Fight Action, about The Serious Threat to our Democracy and the Critical Importance of Passing Voting Rights Legislation.
FMR. HOUSE REP. STACEY ABRAMS (D-GA): If we do not take action, if we do not have minimum standards passed across this country, we know that these 19 states are the tip of the spear. There are 48 states that have considered legislation and there are 400 bills floating out there.
We will watch the slow motion demise of our democracy accelerate dramatically starting as early as January as legislators come back into session and see how successful their colleagues have been at undermining our democracy, we will watch a complete collapse and here is why this isn`t a partisan issue.
If you look at the map, some of those places don`t have a large failing of voters of color or young voters but when you attack democracy, you hurt everyone and whether you`re the intended target or not, when you break democracy, you break it for all voters and that`s why the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act are so essential.
REID: And one of the things that Republicans are doing the aggressively is of course gerrymandering which seems to me that they doing it the sort of blatantly on the basis of race. I mean in Texas they literally said, you know if you`re Hispanic we`re just going to actually reduce your, you know, your representation directly.
If you are African American, we`re going to reduce the number of districts with the majority of your folks in it to zero. That`s about as blatant racial gerrymandering as I`ve seen. I wonder if Democrats are alarmed enough in Washington about all of these developments because what it`s sort of like election apartheid. They`re essentially saying we`re just going to make it so that white voters are so advantaged that we can`t lose.
ABRAMS: Well, we have seen happen is that all 50 senators are on board with moving the (INAUDIBLE). The freedom to vote act actually expands access to the right to vote, defends our democracy and indeed addresses these extreme gerrymandering that have been essentially green lighted by the Supreme Court first in the 2020 decision that permitted partisan gerrymandering and then blunt of its decision recently.
But what we know is that to push back against these, to unrig the maps, to guarantee access to the right to vote, we must have action. I appreciate and applaud the fact that Senator Manchin wanted to bring everyone together because this is not a partisan issue. This is a people issue. This is a patriotism issue.
But the fact that they have now said resoundingly they will not stand for Americans, means that we have to as Democrats speak up for everyone and we know that the freedom to vote act is overwhelmingly supported, that the provisions that expand access to democracy guarantee the freedom to vote, unrig the maps, all of those provisions are provisions that uniformly and resoundingly supported by Democrats, Republicans and Independents.
And so it is a good thing if Democrats have to go at it alone, do it alone because you`re doing it for America and that is the message were trying to push, that is the message we know we need to send.
REID: So doing it alone would involve getting all of the Democrats and some of the independents who have been pretty clear that they are willing to do anything to touch the filibuster. Angus King was just on Rachel Maddow show the other night, saying he is nervous about getting rid of filibuster, he`s reluctant to do it, obviously Manchin and Sinema basically they wrapped their arms around the filibuster, you know, as if it`s a Christmas present. They will never let it go. So, I`m wondering if Democrats are not willing to even change the filibuster. I feel like we`re at an impress. What do we do? They`re not willing to do anything?
ABRAMS: We have seen carve-outs of the filibuster before. And I argue then in op-ed a few months ago that a carve-out for democracy is one that should be tenable but acceptable and that carve-out can happen. We don`t have -- I agree actually that we need to get rid of the entire filibuster but I understand the protective nature saying it`s one of the few mechanisms we have because we have because we have such a narrow majorities of minorities when power switches in the Senate. But we need to restore the Senate and that means restoring it to a functioning body, not about this held hostage by minority of minority and that is what we have to work on.
When ten people can decide the future of our nation, we have to restore the functionality of the Senate and I do believe that the appetite is there among Democrats to have the conversation about how we restore the Senate. That doesn`t mean getting rid of the filibuster writ-large, it doesn`t mean we can solve every problem but if we do not protect the basis of our democracy which are under attack by -- not only attacking our voters but attacking our systems, we are watching the erosion of our democracy before our eyes and I do believe the Democrats are willing to fight to restore our democracy.
REID: Have you had conversations with Senator Chuck Schumer and with Manchin and Sinema themselves to that end and have they indicated a willingness to take action and do a carve-out in order to restore democracy, in order to allow people to have the right to vote?
ABRAMS: My work is to talk to every single power broker and policy maker in Washington to get good done and I`m going to continue to have conversations about what needs to be done. I`ll also have conversations with American people. We need to keep the pressure on. That`s why our freedom to vote fall is out there. We need folks to call 833-465-7142. 833-465-7142 and call your senators and tell them that you need us to restore the Senate and that we need to do a carve-out for the filibuster to protect the democracy. It`s not just about my voice but the voice of every Americans demanding our nation do its job and the leaders do their job.
REID: Thank you to the amazing Stacey Abrams.
And up next, my conversation with Jonathan Karl on the threat to democracy in the final days of the Trump administration. Stay with us.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I thought he was well-protected, and I had heard that he was in good shape. No. Because I had heard he was in very good shape. But, but, no, I think --
KARL: Because you heard those chants, that was terrible. I mean you know the --
TRUMP: He could have -- well, the people were very angry.
KARL: They were saying hand Mike Pence.
TRUMP: Because it`s common sense, Jon, it`s common sense.
REID: That was Donald Trump telling ABC`s Jonathan Karl that it was common sense for the angry MAGA mob on January 6th 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 pick 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 betrayal of Trump`s mission.
The book also covers the lunacy of Trump`s allies who pursuit basis election conspiracies including good in 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 disclose as 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 unflattering details about former financial journalist and media current Trump`s 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 is Jonathan Karl ABC New Chief Washington Correspondent, Author of Betrayal, The Final Act of the Trump Show.
Here is the book. I hope people will pick it up, because -- and you just when you think you cannot learn anything weirder about Donald Trump, it gets weirder but you opened the book talking about the scene and I`ve heard this before from other people a view of Trump, about the way he sort of puts himself on display at Mar-a-Lago. Not because he had to because he could have gone somewhere more private, to have a real interview but he wants you in public. Talk about that.
KARL: Yes. This was -- first of all, this is March. So this is just about two months after he`s left office barely two months after January 6th so 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, big towering ceilings, the all neat walls, and he hasn`t -- the interview happened before dinner time. So you actually hear on the tape people coming in for dinner for happy hour.
And I was looking for something, I mean, you know, book interview is different than a television interview. You can take a step back, there are no cameras, there is 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 6th and you hear it.
KARL: Absolutely none.
REID: You actually describe him in the opening of the book as being sort of gleeful vengeful, that the sense of vengeance is what made him happy. Is that --
KARL: He was in a good mood. Okay, so he`s talking about how awful all these Republicans were who betrayed him that if Mike Pence had have more courage, If he would done what he wanted to do he`d still be president. The terrible things that Bill Barr done to him. That Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell had not fought for him. And he was like, he 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 this is just an act because he doesn`t want to admit 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.
KARL: So if he loses, it`s done. 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 summers. 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. It`s telling me just like doesn`t make any sense. You won Texas. What are you talking about? And he just got so agitated with me that he ended up hanging up the phone. He is no longer in the interview.
REID: So you think he believes it.
KARL: I think he believes it.
You talk about Kevin McCarthy here.
REID: And you talk about Kevin McCarthy here. You write it`s not clear to you and I had the same theory that Kevin McCarthy would automatically become speaker if the house were to flip to the Republicans because despite the fact that the, you know, minority leader has done everything he can to kiss up to Trump and make up with him, he probably really would rather have like a Jim Jordan and it`s not clear the caucus would support Karl.
KARL: Right, to support McCarthy.
REID: I mean Karl to support McCarthy, sorry.
KARL: Yes. I mean look, Mark Meadows who is still very close to Trump and doing everything he can to help Trump out, Mark Meadows has told people that he wants to bring McCarthy down. I mean so that -- so we`ll see.
The thing is 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. You know, he been close, he`s even closer and so I don`t think Jim Jordan would challenge him.
REID: What about this idea? Because there is the assumption, you know, 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 about what this book is about, about everyone that betrayed him and didn`t keep him in office and he put in all the people and flunkies in place he will run again in 2024 and then be triumphant. You`re saying you don`t -- you`ve written 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 race, and certainly Donald Trump wants us to believe he`s running because that`s what makes him relevant. But I don`t think he`s going to run. I won`t be shocked if he does. But that said, he is putting in place them. I mean he`s going out methodically to defeat and to destroy anybody that was not with him in his crazy drive to overturn the election.
One of the moments I thought was very significant during the transition is when the Michigan Republican leaders, these were Trump people and constituents that were solidly Donald Trump and Trump summons them to the oval office in late November and says I need to reconvene the Michigan legislature and send, take back those Biden electoral votes and send Trump votes and they told him flatly no. He doesn`t want those kind of people around anymore.
REID: And he`s working to get rid of them.
KARL: And he`s working to get rid of them. Not with -- across the board success by the way, but he`s working to get rid of them.
REID: You write about some of the interesting characters, you know the Sydney Powel`s of the world. Did Donald Trump genuinely believe that they were capable, that this crew of people including the pillow guy and all those and Rudy Giuliani were actually capable of keeping him in office?
KARL: Well it`s interesting there is a dramatic scene when he`s confronting what 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 of the oval office and Barr says look, first of all your legal team is been a clown show and if you had any chance of challenging anything, you need the best people in there from the start and Trump actually says well on that part you might be right.
So I think he understood that particularly -- but you mentioned the conspiracy theories, the thermostats, the Chinese thermostats, the Italian military spy satellites that supposedly switched votes, the Gina Haspel got injured trying to secure a server in Germany that control all of this stuff.
I mean, that -- I mean I can`t say that, but crazy stuff, okay?
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.
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: Up next on THE REIDOUT: my conversation with author and legal scholar and Anita Hill on combating sexual harassment and assault and her place in history.
THE REIDOUT continues after this.
REID: Thirty years ago, the way we as a nation addressed sexual harassment started to change, as attorney Anita Hill delivered testimony before the then all-male, all-white Senate Judiciary Committee about allegations of sexual harassment from her former boss, then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.
The committee eventually advanced Thomas` nomination to become the second black man to sit on the high court, taking the seat previously held by the great civil rights icon Thurgood Marshall.
But the impact of Hill`s televised testimony opened the floodgates for more women to openly discuss gender-based violence that they`d endured, sexual harassment in workplaces and even sexual assault.
Thirty years later, Clarence Thomas still sits on the court. And he`s now joined by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who, during his confirmation hearing, was accused of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford. Kavanaugh, like Thomas before him, denied the accusations.
And then there`s our twice-impeached disgraced former president, who, even after the "Access Hollywood" tape surfaced, allowing voters to hear for themselves his boasting about grabbing women by their private parts, who faced numerous charges of sexual misconduct, claims of sexual harassment or assault from at least 20 women, charges he has denied, was elected president of the United States in 2016, despite all of that, with 74 million Americans backing him a second time in 2020.
So, how much has really changed?
I spoke to Anita Hill about her new book, "Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence," in which she takes on the slow pace of change and what needs to be done for real systemic change to address gender-based violence as a cultural and structural problem that hurts everyone.
REID: Professor Hill, it`s great to talk with you. Thank you so much for being here this evening.
ANITA HILL, BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY: Well, it`s wonderful to be on your show, Joy.
REID: Thank you.
So let`s just get right to the -- I guess the main question.
I think, for a lot of us who were young women at the time that we saw you go through what you did with now Justice Thomas, to see it happen all over again in -- with the Kavanaugh nomination, to see Christine Blasey Ford in your very position, also attacked by people who wanted Kavanaugh on the court, to see the way that she was treated, the death threats she got, et cetera, it feels like the only progress is that the Judiciary Committee was not all white and all male.
Like, very little else has changed. I mean, three people who were on the committee that approved Thomas also voted for Kavanaugh. What has actually changed, in your view?
HILL: Well, there has been greater awareness of the problem of sexual harassment and all forms of gender violence over the past 30 years. And that is tremendous. We shouldn`t overlook that.
However, when we witnessed the Kavanaugh hearings -- and you are correct -- it was just like nothing ever happened.
And I think what we can take away from that is that, in fact, when the processes that we go into as victims and as survivors of gender violence, when the processes don`t change, then the outcomes and the public reaction doesn`t change.
And so we have got to work on changing our processes. It`s as simple as that.
I mean, and if we put back up that list of people who were on the Judiciary Committee at the time that Clarence Thomas was approved, you can see right at the top of that list is a guy named Joe Biden, who then was a senator from Delaware. He was the chairman of the committee. He`s now president of the United States.
He, of course, wrote the Violence Against Women Act. He was responsible for that being passed, and has fought for that act.
Have you had and had the opportunity to have conversations with the president either before he was elected president or since about this very issue, about what can be done to make things actually begin to change?
And, if you have, can you tell us what he`s had to say?
HILL: Yes, well, I have had a brief conversation with him before he announced his presidency or run for the presidency. And he did apologize for the way he managed the hearing in 1991.
What I need to hear now, and I think what the American public needs to hear, given his role in `91, even given his role with the Violence Against Women Act and the efforts on college campuses to stop sexual assault, all of those put him in the position to be a leader for change, to be a leader that acknowledges the enormity of this problem.
And I map that out in "Believing," the enormity of it, and the pervasiveness of it throughout our institutions. Given the reality of today, it`s no longer acceptable just to apologize for the past.
What we need to be doing is looking to the future and acknowledging the problem and putting together an agenda to eliminate it.
REID: You know, what I think is distressing, I guess, particularly since we have had a MeToo movement that felt like it was going to add to the changes that came that really were launched in many ways by your testimony and your bravery at that time -- so, you have had MeToo.
But then you have also elected a president like Donald Trump, and somebody who on tape said that he had the right, because of his being a celebrity, to grab women by their genitals. And people said -- they look past that and said, you know what? He`s fine to be president.
We now have multiple candidates for governor, for senator. We had a candidate for governor in California. We have had all of these people who, you look at their history, and you would think that some of the things that they have done when it comes to women, or alleged to have done, would be prohibitive of them gaining power.
But it feels like men like that are getting more power. Does that concern you?
HILL: Well, what we do know is that -- and I -- again, I talk about this in my book -- that there is denial of the problem.
Even with -- after the 19 million tweets of the MeToo movement, there still remains a culture of denial and dismissiveness. And it begins when we tell children, girls, small little girls, that they the abuse that they are experiencing from a classmate or from somebody else, sometimes even an older child or an adult, when we tell them that it`s not so bad, or we explain to them, well, you know, that`s just boys being boys.
What we`re doing is accepting violence. We`re accepting the precursors to violence. And we`re telling girls that they should accept it too, and not complain. So, we have got a cultural denial and dismissiveness of the problem.
And it does even spread to adults, who will accept the explanation from someone like a Governor Cuomo, who says, well, that`s just what I do, instead of really understanding and acknowledging for what it is, behavior that`s unacceptable.
Or someone like Sage Steele, a fellow woman who was saying that to other women. It`s shocking to hear coming from a woman.
But I want to just thank you for being here. I hope that everyone will read your book. You are one of the voices who for me, as a young woman, was a voice of bravery and standing up for women`s rights to be able to work and have dignity in the workplace without being harassed.
So, I want to thank you for writing your book. And thank you for just all that you have done.
Professor Anita Hill, thank you so much. Really appreciate you.
HILL: Thank you for having me.
REID: Up next, my interview with Huma Abedin on working side by side with Hillary Clinton and the scandals involving her husband, Anthony Weiner.
Stay with us.
REID: Huma Abedin is one of Hillary Clinton`s most trusted advisers, by her side, from the Clinton administration to her presidential campaigns, to the secretary of state`s office, where she was one of the highest-profile Muslim Americans to serve in the executive branch.
You may also know her from her relationship with Anthony Weiner, but she has not told her full story publicly until now.
In her new book, "Both/And," Abedin shares her extraordinary personal journey from growing up in Saudi Arabia to being the right-hand person to one of the most important and powerful women in the world.
And Huma Abedin joins me now.
I was saying this to you off camera, so I`m just going to say to you on camera. It is sort of shocking to me to think about the fact that we have never really seen you do interviews or hear you, because you`re so familiar to those of us who`ve been following particularly Democratic politics for so long.
But you really were the person that was just off to the right. So how did it feel to move from just off to the right to center stage, telling your story?
HUMA ABEDIN, AUTHOR, "BOTH/AND: A LIFE IN MANY WORLDS": Well, to be -- first of all, I`m so excited to be on the show with you today.
But I have to say, I prefer the being behind the scenes.
ABEDIN: I prefer being invisible. Everything is new to me.
So, I`m emerging into this world where all the things I would say to somebody else -- we were talking about this earlier. Don`t forget to say this. Don`t forget to do this.
ABEDIN: I know all the mechanics.
ABEDIN: But being in the chair, it`s a whole different experience.
ABEDIN: And I`m just getting used to it.
REID: Getting used to it. And you`re doing a brilliant job of it.
ABEDIN: Thank you.
REID: So I want to talk about your family.
I am semi-obsessed with your upbringing, which was international. It was cross-cultural. It was fundamentally American and fundamentally immigrant, but also quite international. So you were around the world. You lived in Saudi Arabia.
You`re -- you come from -- I wrote this down. You come from free people, free women who were true to their faith, but within the constructs of that faith really insisted on education, insisted on being free.
ABEDIN: That`s right.
REID: Talk about what that did for you growing up, as a young girl, as a young Muslim girl.
ABEDIN: Well, Joy, it is one of the reasons I start the book saying that I grew up surrounded by stories.
I was raised to honor a legacy of my forefathers and my foremothers. And the arc of my book ends where I really do honor the matriarchs in my family, because I came from -- my father was Indian. My mother -- my mother was a refugee who had to leave India, and they migrated to Pakistan after the Partition.
And they -- for them, education was almost a religion. And I owe it -- I write the story of my grandmother 100 years ago demanding to be educated, which was not the norm for girls at her time. And she was able -- actually, my grandmother never went to a formal school.
ABEDIN: My mother was mostly homeschooled.
And then, at 21, to get a Fulbright -- or 23 to get a Fulbright, to come to the United States, she gave up everything, her family, her...
ABEDIN: People thought her parents were crazy. What are you doing sending your unmarried daughter, leaving Pakistan, getting on an airplane and going to Philadelphia?
ABEDIN: And she did. I mean, she followed her dreams.
And I am so conscious of the sacrifices that my parents made. My father struggled with terminal illness. He was ill most of my life. But they did this for their children. I mean, they pursued the American dream.
And, boy, did I get to live this extraordinarily privileged life because of them.
REID: I have to talk about your relationships, because you -- it feels natural one, having read about your upbringing and your background, that you gravitated toward these relationships with people who were so different from you.
Talk about Hillary Clinton, somebody so formidable in your life that she almost could have been in your family.
ABEDIN: That is an observation that nobody has made. But it is true for me that I left -- one of the reasons I liked growing up in the Middle East is having this really strong sense of community and support, and you`re kind of involved in each other`s lives.
If there`s a funeral, everyone shows up. If there`s a wedding, everyone shows up. But it`s kind of this culture. When my father had to go to the hospital for his kidney transplant, our friends took us in, moved our furniture over for us to be comfortable. And my parents really taught us -- I think one of the most important lessons my parents taught us was radical empathy.
Like, they were not parents who told us, so much as showed us by example. And then, in the end, it was our choice to do whatever it is. All they required is we be educated.
ABEDIN: To land in the White House and to have a boss like Hillary Clinton, I felt like that same kind of culture of community -- Hillaryland, there`s a whole chapter -- was very similar.
REID: Yes. Yes. Yes.
I`m going to find -- I`m trying to find this quote here about Hillary Clinton staying with Bill Clinton, because your family was so loyal to one another, that it had to be jarring to work for somebody who, in the end, her husband had some failings with loyalty.
And you write: "In all the frenzied speculation about why Hillary Clinton stayed in her marriage, that it was a political arrangement, that he did it -- that she did it so she could launch a political career of her own, skeptics tended to rush over the very obvious explanation. She did it because she believed it was the right thing to do for herself and her family."
And with that, I want to set up an issue that happened in your own relationship, because, obviously Anthony Weiner, who was somebody obviously so different from you, different in religion, different ethnically, in every way, you`re married.
What drew you to him, first of all, initially?
ABEDIN: I fell in love with his exuberant -- he was smart, and he was interesting, and he was in public service. And it felt like our values and principles are very much aligned.
And as I tell him the story, I mean, we met in 2001, kind of just went our separate ways, but he -- there was an attraction to him, and I really felt like he was my friend before he was anything else. And I -- we sort of fell in love by accident.
REID: With all the things that happen between 2011 and 20 -- I think you guys left -- separated in 2016. Why did you stay?
ABEDIN: Well, I think a lot of people look at our relationship now through a 2021 lens.
ABEDIN: And I think, in the moment, the first time that the story broke about Anthony`s scandal, I -- we were newlyweds. We were living this extraordinary life. I was at Buckingham Palace, deeply, madly in love with my husband. He was the first man I had ever been with.
And so I was in shock, but I was also carrying his child. I mean, I really -- I -- we just talked about my father. I did not have a choice when my father was taken for me.
ABEDIN: And knowing I was carrying his child, I knew that I wanted to give my son the opportunity to be raised in a household with two parents.
ABEDIN: Obviously, over the years, things escalated.
And in every one of those instances, Joy, I really tried to make the best decision for my son, for myself, until I got to the point where I just couldn`t do it anymore.
REID: Let`s talk about something that involves your husband, involves Anthony Weiner, but also involves the election.
The 2016 election was so traumatizing for so many people. I want to play for you -- this is three for my producers. And this is the moment James Comey made an announcement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESTER HOLT, NBC ANCHOR: Breaking news tonight, a bombshell from the FBI director 11 days to the election, the feds investigating newly discovered e-mails related to the Hillary Clinton private server case found during a separate probe into sexting allegations against her top aide`s husband Anthony Weiner.
New information still coming in. Donald Trump seizing on a stunning turn of events.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: You write about your feelings in that moment toward Anthony Weiner, but also toward Jim Comey. Talk about that.
ABEDIN: Well, in that moment, what I felt, and as I recount in the book, I walk into this restroom, and I -- it felt selfish to feel for myself.
It was -- I was so shocked. I had thought I had controlled the situation. I thought I had figured this out. I had tried to help Anthony in as best a way I possibly could, even though I really was not capable and was not successful doing that.
To me, I just didn`t understand why nobody had reached out, and to make this earth-shattering revelation 11 days before the election, an unprecedented move. It`s not something I`m saying. I mean, others have said, in the history, the past 70 years, no FBI director had done anything like this.
ABEDIN: And, for me, part of the shock, Joy, was the fact that I would have gladly cooperated, provided whatever information that I was asked.
And I write the story in the book right at the beginning of the campaign, when the FBI investigation started, and I`m sitting in a conference room with Hillary and I see some article saying that State Department aides were asked to provide information to the FBI, see my name, and no one had contacted me.
I go back to my office and contact a lawyer friend saying, OK, this is saying that I need to provide information. I would have been happy to provide that information. That is why the shock at that announcement, and then, obviously, two days before the election, the second bombshell, which I think helped her opponent even more.
This is a brilliant book.
ABEDIN: Thank you.
REID: It`s called "Both/And." I`m going to hold the copy of it.
You all should get a copy of this, both because it is -- it is a truly American story. It`s an international story. And it`s a well-told story.
ABEDIN: Thank you.
REID: Thank you so much, Huma Abedin. It`s such an honor.
ABEDIN: It`s an honor to be with you.
REID: Thank you very much.
ABEDIN: Appreciate it. Appreciate your time.
REID: Author of "Both/And." Get that book.
REID: Up next: my conversation with "The Daily Show"`s Jordan Klepper. Nobody exposes the MAGA crowd the way Jordan does.
Stay with us.
REID: It takes a certain kind of person to enter the MAGAverse, troll its citizens in their natural habitat, and live to tell the tale.
For comedian Jordan Klepper, who has covered the MAGA faithful, including during the Capitol insurrection, it`s a tale about cultish obsession, bonkers conspiracy theories, and -- you guessed it -- violence.
None of this has stopped Klepper from venturing out again to more recent rallies in Iowa, North Carolina, to get the inside scoop on the MAGA psyche.
Here`s a peek at what he found.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JORDAN KLEPPER, "THE DAILY SHOW": Who is running the government right now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump.
KLEPPER: He`s running the government?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the military.
KLEPPER: And he`s running the military?
So, we should blame him for what happened in Afghanistan?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t co-parent with the government.
KLEPPER: Well, you don`t want to co-parent with the government, don`t get pregnant in Texas.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There we go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re in public school.
KLEPPER: So, you do kind of co-parent with the government?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In that regard, I guess, yes, if you want to say my taxes pay for that, yes.
KLEPPER: But you`re giving back your child tax credit?
Did you vote for school board?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t even vote.
KLEPPER: You don`t even vote?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
KLEPPER: You could vote for somebody who reflects your values.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could vote. You`re right, yes.
KLEPPER: But that`s a hassle.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just don`t take the time to do it. I`m sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Joining me now is Jordan Klepper, comedian and contributor to "The Daily Show With Trevor Noah."
Thank you for being here.
I commend you for going out into that MAGAverse. I mean, I couldn`t obviously do it, because, as a black lady, they be -- they would -- I would stand out in a way that would make it uncomfortable for everyone.
But you use your ability to walk in there and get them to talk to you, I think for good. And stuff like them saying "I don`t co-parent with the government" in North Carolina, when, literally, they`re sending their kids to public schools, like, what -- in local -- it would be funny if Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Q. Greene and Madison Cawthorn didn`t exist, right?
I mean, when you look at those people and talk to them, do you see people who are not very informed, or do you see future members of Congress as Republicans?
KLEPPER: Well, I see people who are perhaps differently informed.
Everyone I talk to has their own set of sources that they get their information. And more often than not, the sources are not the sources that myself or our crew walk into the spaces to discuss these contents with them.
So, I don`t think, if you talk to anybody out there, they`re going to see themselves as misinformed. I think they just see themselves as coming from a different knowledge base. And then they meet you head on. And, yes, and maybe down the road, you see those folks in Congress.
REID: I mean, I think it`s likely.
I mean, I think about the Tea Party people who were thought of the same way, and everyone laughed at their signs of calling President Obama a lying African, instead of an African lion, and they came up with monkey dolls.
And that kind of person then became like a de rigueur regular Republican candidate. And I feel like the party is moving so far to the right. Do you get a sense that, whenever you`re going from state to state to state, that you are meeting sort of the rank-and-file Republican base?
KLEPPER: Well, it`s always hard to get context with this.
Am I just meeting the people who are fanatics for whoever the rally is for, predominantly Trump rallies, or am I meeting basic Republicans?
I will say this. The last rally I went to was in Iowa. Trump was at it. And, normally, when you go to these rallies, you get more traditional Republicans, who might roll their eyes at some of the QAnon theories, or get frustrated when you push them on the things that the people next to them are literally wearing on their shirts.
This last rally, everyone had something on their shirt that we had to blur.
KLEPPER: Our editor practically went blind with the amount of time he spent blurring swear words or derogatory comments towards Kamala Harris.
And so what I started to see was that the majority of these people here were buying into the fun of these rallies, but more so the conspiracy side of it all. I think, once you buy in to...
KLEPPER: ... the -- quote, unquote -- "big lie," and you don`t believe the results of the election, then you`re looking for what`s next.
And what I started to see was that January 6 didn`t happen, or it happened, but it was because of the CIA.
KLEPPER: Or it happened, and it was partially because of the FBI, or January 6 isn`t even a date on the calendar.
KLEPPER: Like, once you cross the threshold of reality, you`re just getting hungry for more thresholds to cross.
REID: No, 100 percent.
Look, I was in Cleveland at the Republican Convention and was shocked at seeing people who looked like Girl Scout leaders and somebody`s mom wearing "Trump Can Grab My" starts-with-a-P shirts and thought that was totally normal and buying them for their moms, their -- for the grandma.
But you talk about January 6. I want to play a little bit of a video, because this is not funny. This was what you dealt with on January 6 at the Capitol. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KLEPPER: The rioters brought real weapons and committed real atrocities.
They attacked our democracy, our police, and even our cameraman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, he assaulted me.
I was laying, and you assaulted me!
KLEPPER: Trump`s fake tough guy military are literally throwing themselves on the ground to perpetuate victimhood.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: You know, Jordan, when I think about the fact that that was a mix of hairdressers, business owners, members of Congress, cops, people with military backgrounds, all mixed in with QAnon people, conspiracy theorists, 3 Percenters, they were all there.
That says to me that we`re not just talking about a fringe that has attached itself to the Republican base, that that is the base, and that is an insurgency that`s inside of a political party. I don`t see -- I cannot get away from that, because I don`t see that those are just some fringe people. Those are regular rank-and-file Republicans who are there.
Does it concern you that what we`re sort of laughing at and giggling at it in your brilliant videos is a sign of something much darker to come in this country?
KLEPPER: Well, I think it`s both -- what I saw January 6, it`s both completely ludicrous and absurd and frightening and depressing at the same time.
I mean, what you saw was a man who was dressed in military fatigues -- I would guess this is not a military man, but somebody who wants to be a military man -- that tended to be the people that we ran into -- throwing themselves on the ground and playing victim.
I also interviewed a man on a Segway who must have been in his 60s or 70s attempting to drive up and overthrow the government. It was absurd.
And I think you have gotten to the point where the militants and the absurd QAnon folks and the people who think this is just a fun tailgate, they all get in the same big old group. And when you get in a big old group, I think you see the I.Q. drop, the inhibitions drop.
And when you don`t have an adult in the room, bad things happen. It gets scary.
KLEPPER: I do think -- I think, if something bad is to happen again, if America is on the threshold of anything dangerous, it`s not coming through well-plotted, thoughtful overthrows of a government that you would see in a fancy Hollywood movie. It`s coming from stupidity and dumb actions.
I`m not hearing people make coherent arguments. I`m hearing people getting together, and they`re making dumber arguments than they would alone.
REID: Well, that`s how lynch mobs happen, right?
What do you make of the fact that there are now people who oppose things like Toni Morrison books and biographies of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are now talking about actually burning books?
KLEPPER: Well, I will say, I don`t usually get into too many literary conversations with the folks at Trump rallies.
KLEPPER: It doesn`t appear as if those books are super important to these folks, not big book club crews.
KLEPPER: Most of them are holding Constitutions on their body.
A lot of them reference the Bible, although, if you push on some of the tenets of the Bible, you realize still probably not big book club folks.
KLEPPER: So, again, this just smacks of -- at its worst, it smacks of racism and trying to control the knowledge base of their -- of our students in America.
At its worst, it`s just -- and what it probably is and what it seems to me, it`s just the politics game over and over again.
KLEPPER: It feels like people are consistently engaged in trolling. And it just doesn`t stop.
REID: And where are you going next?
KLEPPER: Well, we have a little piece.
I can`t spoil it yet, but there`s some place in America where people are misinformed, and they`re gathering.
KLEPPER: And, boy, when that happens, I tend to find myself there.
REID: You just -- you`re like Batman. There may be like a Bat Signal goes up or that`s shaped like Trump`s hair or something, and then you just show up and do brilliant stuff.
REID: Jordan Klepper, thank you very much, my man. Thank you for all that you do.
REID: And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT.
Enjoy your holiday weekend, eat lots of turkey, and stay with MSNBC.