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Transcript: The ReidOut, 11/8/21

Guests: Stuart Stevens, Karine Jean-Pierre, Joyce Beatty, Paul Butler, Joe Madison

Summary

Flynn pushed drastic measures to redo election in 2020. January 6 committee has subpoenaed 24 witnesses. January 6 committee subpoenas six former Trump officials. Trump Campaign Assistant Angela McCallum asked Michigan lawmakers to overturn 2020 results. "New York Times" reports, Georgia officials move toward grand jury in Trump probe. Report says, Trump is at risk of state charges in Georgia. House passes bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Transcript

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: These are important cases and we will continue covering them for you.

Thanks for spending time with us here on THE BEAT. Our time is up. But you keep it locked right here. "THE REIDOUT" is next with Jonathan Capehart in for my colleague, Joy Reid. Hi, Jonathan.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC HOST: Hey, Ari. Thanks very much.

Good evening, everyone. I am Jonathan Capehart in tonight for Joy Reid, and we begin THE REIDOUT tonight with breaking news on the January 6th investigation. The select committee has dropped a new batch of six subpoenas that and the names read like a who is who of Trump`s closest aides and allies. They include Bill Stepien, Trump`s former 2020 campaign manager, John Eastman, notorious author of the blueprint to steal the election, Jason Miller, Trump Campaign Spokesperson, Michael Flynn, Trump`s disgraced former National Security Adviser and QAnon devotee, and most surprising, Bernard Kerik, the convicted felon and disgraced former New York City police commissioner and close ally to Rudy Giuliani.

At least three of them, Eastman, Miller and Kerik, participated in those war room meetings at the Willard Hotel ahead of the January 6 insurrection. The subpoena letters make clear why each of these individuals is of interest to the committee. Bill Stepien oversaw a campaign that reportedly urged state and party officials to affect the outcome of the election by asking states to delay or deny certification of electoral votes. Michael Flynn reportedly attended a December meeting in the Oval Office where participants discussed seizing voting machines, declaring a national emergency and invoking national security powers. It was a drastic course of action that Flynn also pushed publicly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The president has a -- and I just mentioned one of the options. He could immediately, on his order seize, every single one of these machines around the country on his order. He could also order -- he could order the -- within the swing states, if he wanted to, he could take military capabilities and he could place them in those states and basically rerun an election in each of those states. I mean, it`s not unprecedented.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAPEHART: But of all of them, Eastman`s subpoena contains the lengthiest rap sheet, covering his memo to overturn the election, his appeals to state legislators to reject the outcome in their specific states and his 11th hour emails to Mike Pence during and after the insurrection.

Today`s development brings the total number of witnesses under subpoena to 24. However, it`s unclear whether these latest targets will comply. NBC News has reached out for comment and is still awaiting word back.

You`ll recall last month, the House voted to hold former Trump advisor Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for defying the committee`s subpoena.

With me now, Maya Wiley, former Assistant U.S. Attorney and MSNBC Legal Analyst, Stuart Stevens, Senior Adviser for the Lincoln Project, and Glenn Kirschner, former Federal Prosecutor. Thank you all very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

All right, let`s talk about the subpoenas that and the significance of these subpoenas that. Maya, I will start with you. When you saw the list of names of these folks who were subpoenaed, what kind of signals or messages did you get from that list?

MAYA WILEY, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, thank you, Jonathan. I think the signals are very clear, which is to say there is a lot of activity that the committee knows of that involved these central advisers to Donald Trump who were very publicly arguing essentially that the president had power, the president (INAUDIBLE) at this point with Michael Flynn advocating, frankly, martial law and a military coup, as far as I could tell, and also, Eastman, Eastman who, on January 2nd, was on Steve Bannon`s show actually explaining how Mike Pence could steal the election for Trump having tremendous impact, frankly, on the QAnon, which that very active result of what they were all saying.

So what you`re seeing is the committee getting closer and closer and closer to what the president knew, who was talking to him, saying what he was saying. I think you are absolutely right, though, they`re going to have to fight for that testimony. I expect that we`re going to see a lot more votes and resolutions on contempt and a lot more requests with the U.S. attorney for this meeting (ph).

CAPEHART: And, you know, Glenn, on that point what I found interesting not only who was on that list but when they are expected to appear for depositions, and I wrote out on the counter, Angela McCallum is due on November 30th, Kerik, December 3rd, Flynn, December 6th, Eastman, December 8th, Miller, December 10th, Bill Stepien, December 13th.

[19:05:05]

And there is no indicator that they`re actually going to comply with these subpoenas. Are we looking at a situation where the committee, on a rolling basis, is going to be voting on and sending to the floor of the House contempt citations or resolutions against all of these people?

GLENN KIRSCHNER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Jonathan, at a minimum, if these men and women defy congressional subpoenas, let`s hope that Congress votes them in contempt and refers them for prosecution where the law says the appropriate U.S. attorney, that would be the D.C. U.S. attorney, shall present the matter to the grand jury for its action.

Here we are on day, I believe, 18 of the Bannon indictment watch. We`ve heard nothing. We don`t know if they have already presented the matter to the grand jury. They`re awaiting the grand jury`s decision. But I would urge even beyond referring these witnesses for criminal contempt in the event they defy subpoenas.

I hope Congress will also consider using its lawful tool of inherent contempt. Representative Gerry Connolly was on T.V. today earlier on MSNBC saying, it`s time. We`re a co-equal branch of government, and his words were, it is a torturously long process when we have to rely on other branches of government to enforce our subpoenas. That would be both the Department of Justice and the legislative branch of government -- excuse me, the judiciary.

And he said it`s time. We`re co-equal branch, we have the lawful power of contempt. We haven`t used it in 100 years. We have to dust it off a little bit. But I`m hoping that Congress will use all of the tools in its tool box, not just some of them.

CAPEHART: And to Glenn`s point, Stuart, I mean, Congress did hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress and to the point of what Glenn is talking about in terms of the congressmen. We`re now waiting for the Department of Justice to say what it`s going to do about that contempt citation from Congress. How important is it to your mind that the DOJ do something, activate that contempt charge, go after Steve Bannon?

STUART STEVENS, SENIOR ADVISER, THE LINCOLN PROJECT: Well, look, I think you could stay up really late at night trying to think of something more serious than overthrowing the United States government and stopping the peaceful transition of power. I mean, that`s the host sacred element of a democracy. Somebody has to be willing to lose in a democracy. And what Republicans have decided is they`re for democracy when they win and they`re not for democracy when they lose, which means they`re not for democracy.

This is an interesting group and, you know, you got a couple of former felons, pardoned felons, a dead beat dad in Jason Miller. The person, if I was in, that I would focus on who I think is the most normal would feel some genuine patriotic duty to do the right thing is Bill Stepien. And I worked with him in Chris Christie`s campaigns. If you read these books about the Trump campaign, he`s sort of an odd man out and that he`s sort of the most normal who is just trying to do a job instead of a Republican operative would do.

And, listen, I`m continually disappointed in Republicans, so this may be next on the list, but I would hope that Bill would go out there and tell what he knows and do the right thing and not be forced to be dragged kicking and screaming in front of his committee.

CAPEHART: Glenn, let me play for you Angela McCallum, had a very interesting phone call. This was a voice mail that she left for a Michigan state representative. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANGELA MCCAULLUM, FMR. TRUMP CAMPAIGN EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT: You do have the power to reclaim your authority and send a slate of electors that will support President Trump and Vice President Pence.

We want to know when there`s a resolution in the house to appoint electors for Trump if the president can count on you to join in support.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAPEHART: And so, Glenn, as a former prosecutor, having evidence like that is solid, isn`t it?

KIRSCHNER: You know, this has the feel of a criminal conspiracy. You know, all six of these witnesses who have been subpoenaed were sort of part and parcel of the big lie. They all seem to have their individual roles in the attempt to overthrow our democracy. And what I`m really interested to see is we may finally begin to see some witnesses invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Because, Jonathan, that phone call you just played, you know, I think any defense attorney worth their salt would recommend to that witness declining to testify by invoking your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

[19:10:00]

When you see the letters that Representative Thompson issued that accompanied these subpoenas, which prosecutors can`t do, even the fact of us delivering the subpoena to somebody enjoys grand jury secrecy protection but the Congress is not bound by those rules. So Representative Thompson was calling it like it is and laying out the dramatic and deeply damaging information that he expects to get out of these witnesses. I have a feeling you`re going to start to see some witnesses pleading the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

CAPEHART: Maya, what do you think of that? Do you agree with Glenn?

WILEY: You know, I don`t think we know what`s going to happen with any of these witnesses. I think we have to go back to whether or not (INAUDIBLE). So, I absolutely agree we need to see that. And if anything, we should see that soon.

But remember, there is also a Georgia grand jury that made these panels, and that`s really important because all of the facts that we`re hearing that we`re seeing from these potential witnesses have been subpoenaed also go to Georgia. And that is important to remember that there are other (INAUDIBLE) and mechanisms which will be very difficult for some of these witnesses to avoid with a grand jury (INAUDIBLE).

CAPEHART: And I`m glad you brought that up because I was going to ask you about the Georgia case and about the possibility of this grand jury that looms in the Trump inquiry, and you see it there. Atlanta district attorney is moving forward convening a special grand jury in her criminal investigation of election interference by the former president and his allies. And this one, note though, the grand jury can be used to subpoena evidence but not indict.

And I want to put up one other thing. This is from the Brookings Institute analysis of Trump`s conduct in Georgia. The Brookings Institute writes -- and this is 114-page analysis from the Brookings Institute. Trump`s post- election conduct in Georgia leaves him at substantial risk of possible state charges predicated on multiple crimes. Those crimes include solicitation to commit election fraud, conspiracy to commit election fraud, interference with election duties and, last but not least, racketeering.

And, you know, Stuart, you know, this sounds very bold and very damaging to the former president, but for some -- why do I feel like for some reason, because Donald Trump is the former president, that these sorts of charges will never really land at his feet?

STEVENS: Well, look, we`re in uncharted water. Very few presidents of the United States have attempted not to leave office after they were defeated. So we really don`t know what`s going to happen. But I think there`s an argument that will be made that Donald Trump is like a guy walking around with a paper bag full of water. He`s not going to leap. But when it goes, it`s going to go and it`s going to go fast.

All those things that you just put up there about interfering with election officials and fraud, this is all the stuff that -- working any kind of big time campaign, the first day some lawyer sits you down and says, don`t do this stuff, this is bad, you know, you can`t mess around with election officials. And the idea that they were just people all over the United States government and the Republican Party that were doing this is if there would be no penalty, which is why it`s important to hold these people accountable, otherwise this was just a practice.

CAPEHART: Right, right. And there is that saying that`s been said many times on air, what`s a failed coup? Practice. Stuart Stevens, Maya Wiley, Glenn Kirschner, thank you very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

Up next on THE REIDOUT, infrastructure week was a running joke in the previous administration, but under President Biden, it`s finally here. I`m joined next by White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary by Karine John- Pierre and the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty.

Also, gripping testimony in court today from the lone survivor of the Kyle Rittenhouse shootings in Kenosh, Wisconsin.

Plus, the fight to save democracy. Joining me, Radio Legend Joe Madison, who is on a hunger strike until Congress passes voting rights legislation.

And tonight`s absolute worst is brought to you by the letter M for misinformation.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:15:00]

CAPEHART: Infrastructure week is finally here. After months of wrangling, congressional Democrats handed President Biden and you, the American people, a big win and the blitz is on to promote the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, which is awaiting President Biden`s signature. Today, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said it couldn`t come at a more urgent time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETE BUTTIGIEG, SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: Infrastructure is so elemental to our society, that when it`s not there to serve us in the right way, all of us are impacted. But when it is, when it`s strong, every community, large and small, rural and urban, privileged and marginalized, every community feels the benefits.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAPEHART: Make no mistake, it`s a big deal. President Biden set out to combine an Eisenhower, LBJ, Obama investment in society. And this bill that passed the house Friday night, the bipartisan infrastructure deal, is the Eisenhower part. It includes $550 billion in new spending. It`s the most massive investment in roads and bridges since Ike.

It`s the largest investment in public transit in history. And the largest investment in passenger rail since Amtrak was created. It also expands clean energy and rebuilds our electric grid and puts billions toward rebuilding water systems in places like Jackson, Mississippi and eliminating lead pipes in places Flint, Michigan.

[19:20:07]

It does a lot, but not everything. There`s still the outstanding issue of the second big part of the infrastructure big deal, the Build Back Better plan. It was no easy feat getting the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed. It was only after the Congressional Black Caucus negotiated a crucial last-minute plan to pass this bill immediately and set up a later vote for the Build Back Better plan, which got all but six Democrats to vote for the bipartisan plan -- or the bipartisan bill, which will soon become law.

But that vote is expected the week of November 15. But the question remains, are there enough votes to pass it in the House and the Senate?

With me now is White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean- Pierre.

Karine, great to see you. Welcome back to THE REIDOUT.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRINCIPAL DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Thanks, Jonathan. Good to see you.

And you`re right. It`s finally infrastructure week. And we`re really excited about that here.

CAPEHART: And so it took a last-minute wrangling by the CBC, but the bipartisan infrastructure bill got over the finish line.

Let me give you a couple minutes to crow about it, just a couple before I give you the really hard questions.

(LAUGHTER)

JEAN-PIERRE: Crow. OK.

Well, like I said, it`s finally infrastructure week, and we couldn`t be more excited to deliver for the American people, as you can imagine.

But one thing that I do want to say is, for those at home who feel like they have been left behind or who feel like they have been forgotten because the economy is moving so rapidly, well, this bill is for you. This bill is for you.

It is going to create union jobs, good-paying jobs. And a lot of those jobs, you do not need a college degree to have those jobs. And another thing about this too, it`s -- we`re talking about red states, blue states, tribal communities.

This bill is for folks who have felt -- who -- again, who have felt forgotten, who have felt left behind. And this is what the president has been working towards. For over a year, he has talked about having an economy where no one is left behind. And there`s also equity at the center of all of these bills that we`re talking about, the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and also the Build Back Better Act.

And that is something that the president has been committed to from the beginning. So this is incredibly exciting. We`re going to deliver for the American -- for the American people, especially on this infrastructure, and also bipartisanship. Let`s not forget that word, something that the president was elected to do, reach out to the other side and bring people together.

CAPEHART:

JEAN-PIERRE: And two other things that I really want to lay out for folks, which is I think, for your viewers, which were really appreciate this and understand this, is that it`s going to take out lead out of the drinking water, so our kids can have clean drinking water.

That is so critical. And that`s across the country. And another thing too that`s so important is you -- we hear these stories of parents having to go to a fast-food restaurant, the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant to get Internet for their kids to do homework.

Now we`re going to have affordable Internet, so that, across the country, again, kids could be able to have Internet to do their homework in a way, so they don`t have to be sitting in their parents` car in order inaudible to have that access.

So these things are incredibly important, on top of modernizing our roads and bridges and that hard infrastructure that we were talk -- that we have been talking about.

CAPEHART: OK, and so that`s the bipartisan infrastructure plan.

Now comes the really hard part. And that is getting the Build Back Better Act negotiated between House and Senate Democrats, getting it over the line.

Let me read you a tweet today from Congresswoman Cori Bush of Missouri. And she tweeted: "The Build Back Better Act is a racial justice bill, community violence prevention, affordable housing expansion, supporting child care and eldercare workers, policies that are crafted to support black and brown folks. We need to get it across the finish line."

JEAN-PIERRE: Yes.

CAPEHART: And yet we have spent months talking about two particular senators, Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, who have spent a lot of time stripping out a lot of these provisions from the Build Back Better plan or shrinking the amount of money that they`re willing to spend, so that these that these -- those things, some of those things get squeezed out.

Is the president confident, is the administration confident that the Build Back Better Act will indeed have the human -- enough of the human infrastructure in that plan, in that bill that will make a difference in the lives, as pointed out by Congresswoman Bush?

JEAN-PIERRE: So, that Build Back Better Acts that you`re speaking of, to your point, this is pro-people. This is about humans, right? This is about pro-families, actually doing that once-in-generational investment that we haven`t done in a long time, that`s going to give people a little bit of that breathing room that the president talks about all the time, because he understands what that all means.

[19:25:19]

So I want to be very clear here. They said to us, oh, we`re not going to get the American Rescue Plan done. We got it done. They said we weren`t going to get the bipartisan infrastructure deal done. The president got that done.

So he is committed to making sure that this Build Back Better Act happens. Like, let`s remember, this is something that the president has been talking about for over a year. This is his plan. This is something that he understands, again, will give the American people a breathing room, give -- deal them back in, as he says many times, to make sure we don`t leave anybody behind, and truly, truly invest in the American public.

And so he`s going to dial those -- dial that phone, call up congressional members, like he did on Friday, like he`s been doing for the past couple of weeks, and make sure this gets done, working with members of the House, working with Leader Schumer and senators on that side of the chamber, and making sure that we deliver for the American people, because this is what is going to change -- transformational change that is so critical here.

And those two bills, as we have talked about, is also going to help us fight climate change in a way that has never been done before. When we talk about resilience, right, making sure that those hurricanes, those wildfires, all of those extreme temperatures that we see in different regions of this country, actually, that we build our resilience.

So, there are so many important things that we`re going to deal with, with these two pieces of legislation, that we`re going -- we got one done and we`re going to get the other one done as well.

CAPEHART: Karine, yes, you got one done, and it`s sitting on the president`s desk. Congress isn`t in session this week, so no bill signing.

The president`s going to go to Baltimore to promote the bipartisan infrastructure bill. My question, when will the bill signing be?

JEAN-PIERRE: So, the president spoke about this on Saturday, and he said that he wanted to make sure -- as you know, Congress`s out. I think you just said that.

He wanted to make sure everyone who worked so hard to make this happen are able to be at the bill signing. And once that happens, we will let folks know. And we will have an event here. And we will make sure that everyone is here who, like I said, worked day and night right to make sure that we delivered for the American public.

CAPEHART: Right.

All right, White House Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, thank you very much for coming back to THE REIDOUT.

JEAN-PIERRE: Thanks, Jonathan.

CAPEHART: Joining me now is Congresswoman Joyce Beatty of Ohio, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Chair Beatty, I feel like I just saw you. I saw you yesterday morning.

(LAUGHTER)

REP. JOYCE BEATTY (D-OH): I think I did just see you.

CAPEHART: Yes, yesterday morning on "THE SUNDAY SHOW."

So, the Congressional Black Caucus, the CBC, out of nowhere comes through with the breakthrough maneuver that got the bipartisan infrastructure bill to the floor for a full vote of the House of Representatives.

Are you going to do the same thing to get the Build Back Better Act across the finish line?

BEATTY: Well, we`re going to be a major player in doing that.

We crafted much of the legislation that`s in it. We`re really excited about it. Our entire caucus wants to make sure that we pass the Build Back Better. It is a human infrastructure bill. It`s a jobs bill. It`s a civil rights, it`s a justice bill.

And we`re all on the same page with that with the Congressional Black Caucus. So this should be very exciting. When you think of any one of these transformational pieces of legislation, if I told you that we were putting $400 billion into child care, you would be just excited, the child tax credit, when we think about 35 million families will be affected.

We`re experiencing so much with climate change, $555 billion for that, not to mention what we`re doing for taking the lead out of water. We know what we have experienced here in the Midwest with Flint, Michigan, and so many of our black Americans going to HBCU universities and Pell Grants.

So, there`s a lot in there that will make a difference. We know that we are still fighting this COVID-19, with so many people who have lost their jobs. This is also a jobs bill. It`s a justice bill. So we`re really excited about it. And we`re going to be on board.

We crafted much of the legislation. Housing, $150 billion dollars for housing. We have our chairwoman and my chair of the Financial Services committee, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, has been at the table. All six of our Congressional Black Caucus chair -- chairmen and chairwomen have been at the table, along with our leadership.

[19:30:18]

CAPEHART: And I`m thinking about the vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. There were six no-votes. Four of the six no votes are members of the congressional -- of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Do you think that -- is there -- rift is too strong a word, but do you think that those members, the CBC, can work with and talk to Senators Joe Manchin and Sinema and talk to them in ways that get them to support all of the things that are in the human infrastructure bill, in the Build Back Better Act?

BEATTY: Well, we`re working on that as a caucus and with our leadership.

And those four members who belong to the Congressional Black Caucus are strong members. We knew where they stood. We have a big tent. And that`s the good thing about the Congressional Black Caucus. I believe that also made us a force, because we are moderates, we are progressives, we are New Dems.

So we have everything wrapped up in our 58 members. And so we`re a family. And just like most families, you don`t always agree, but you don`t have to be disagreeable. Those are my colleagues and my friends. I spoke with all of them. They stood with us at our press conferences when we were talking about both bills.

So there is no divide there with those members who voted their principles, their districts, and what they wanted to do.

CAPEHART: Right. As you say, the CBC is moderates, progressives, but the deal that you came up with that got the bipartisan infrastructure bill over the line that demonstrates once again that the CBC is pragmatic and about getting stuff done.

BEATTY: Yes.

CAPEHART: Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, thank you very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

BEATTY: Thank you.

CAPEHART: Coming up: The lone survivor of Kyle Rittenhouse`s hail of bullets took the stand in Wisconsin today and recounted the harrowing moments when the wannabe militiaman turned the gun on him.

That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:36:48]

CAPEHART: Today is day six in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois teen who killed two people and wounded a third during protests after the death of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year.

Jurors heard from the lone survivor, Gaige Grosskreutz, who was training to become an EMT and was providing care to anyone who needed it. That deadly night in Kenosha, Grosskreutz came across Rittenhouse after he had shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum and was about to kill Anthony Huber.

Grosskreutz acknowledged that he was armed with a pistol, but says his hands were raised when he was shot by Rittenhouse.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GAIGE GROSSKREUTZ, KENOSHA SHOOTING SURVIVOR: I thought that the defendant was an active shooter.

And like I had mentioned earlier, any time you add a firearm to the equation, like I, the stakes are so much higher for somebody potentially being seriously injured or being -- being killed.

THOMAS BINGER, KENOSHA COUNTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: What was going through your mind at this particular moment?

GROSSKREUTZ: That I was going to die.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAPEHART: He then testified that after, Rittenhouse killed Huber, he trained his weapon the witness and reloaded, not accepting his gesture of surrender.

Grosskreutz then thought to disarm the shooter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GROSSKREUTZ: I was never trying to kill the defendant. That was never -- never something that I was trying to do.

In that moment, I was trying to preserve my own life, but, doing so while also taking the life of another is not something that I`m capable or comfortable in doing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAPEHART: Grosskreutz was ultimately shot, describing to the court that Rittenhouse vaporized his arm, his word, tearing away much of the bicep.

Jurors looked away as the state showed the moment Rittenhouse Shot Grosskreutz. At one point, according to pool notes, a jury nodded in agreement as the judge instructed the jury to disregard Grosskreutz`s description of the shooting of a protester as -- quote -- "murder."

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

Paul, great to see you.

Would love to get your reaction to Grosskreutz`s testimony, because I always thought that folks liked the good guy with a gun, but also this judge and his actions in this case.

PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Jonathan, the prosecution has a tough case proving attempted murder, because Mr. Grosskreutz himself was armed.

He testified that he was afraid that Mr. Rittenhouse was going to kill him. On cross-examination, the defense got this witness to admit that it wasn`t until he was pointing his gun at Rittenhouse that Rittenhouse fired. So that could bolster Rittenhouse claim that he shot in self-defense, because he believed that he faced a deadly threat.

CAPEHART: Wait, but, Paul, I mean, we just heard Grosskreutz`s testimony where he said he thought it was an active shooter.

[19:40:04]

So, does that not -- I mean, at a minimum, cancel out that little thing that the defense got him to say on the stand?

BUTLER: Well, in fact he was right. Kyle Rittenhouse was an active shooter, and he had already killed two people.

But what citizens are supposed to do in that situation is to call the police, to alert authorities. This witness testified he put his hands in the air. But when he saw Mr. Rittenhouse rerack his rifle, he was afraid for his life.

The videotape is the star witness in this case. So, the jurors will look at the videotape. They will hear this testimony and then they will decide whether they believe this witness or whether they believe Mr. Rittenhouse.

CAPEHART: Now, in the -- in my intro to you, I said that the judge instructed the jury to ignore, disregard Grosskreutz`s description of the shooting of a protester as -- quote -- "murder."

Is that because murder is actually a legal -- there`s a legal definition of murder?

BUTLER: That`s exactly right.

So it`s the jury who will decide whether Mr. Rittenhouse is a murderer, based on the fact that he killed the first two victims in this case. This judge likes the limelight, and he`s micromanaging this case.

This is the same judge who did not allow the victims in this case to be described as victims, even though Mr. Rittenhouse killed two of them. And the witness who testified today had graphic testimony about how he blew -- Mr. Rittenhouse blew the bicep off of this man`s arm when he shot him.

CAPEHART: Let`s talk more about this judge, because I have been -- I have been following loosely this trial.

But everything I hear about this judge does sort of has planted the seed in my head that this trial is, sorry to use the word, rigged, that the instructions of the judge is making it pretty much impossible for the jury to actually consider all the facts and come up with a verdict where justice will be served.

Or am I way out there in what I just said?

BUTLER: Not at all, Jonathan. I understand your concerns.

Remember, this judge also ruled that the victims that -- be referred to as looters, arsonists and rioters if there`s evidence that is presented that they did those things. So far, no evidence at all. Mr. Grosskreutz was a trained EMT office...

CAPEHART: Right.

BUTLER: ... there to offer medical aid.

Rittenhouse`s first victim wasn`t a protester. He was a man who had just been released from a psychiatric hospital who seemed to be having a mental health crisis. And so when the judge allows these victims to be described as criminals, that certainly falls into question his judgment, if not his bias.

CAPEHART: Paul Butler, thank you very much for coming back to THE REIDOUT.

Still ahead, tonight`s "Absolute Worst."

Now, up next: Voting rights is as good as dead in the U.S. Senate, but legendary activist and radio host Joe Madison isn`t giving up by embarking on a hunger strike to demand Congress take action.

And he joins me next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:47:41]

CAPEHART: Voting rights appears to be dead in the Senate, with Republicans filibustering both the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in the past few weeks.

But activists haven`t given up, marching to the White House last week to demand that the Biden administration take action. And, today, radio host and activist Joe Madison announced he`s going on a hunger strike until Congress passes and the president signs one of those voting rights bills.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

JOE MADISON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: As a political protest, I am beginning a hunger strike today.

Just as food is necessary to sustain life, the right to vote is necessary to sustain democracy.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

CAPEHART: Joining me now is Joe Madison, activist and host of "Joe Madison: The Black Eagle" on SiriusXM.

Joe, my friend, it is great to see you.

MADISON: Great to see you, Jonathan.

CAPEHART: Why -- I mean, going on a hunger strike is, I would say, an extreme end of protest.

Why is it so important to you to go on a hunger strike -- hunger strike on behalf of voting rights?

MADISON: Because what the Republicans are doing is extreme.

I mean, and I think about, for example, the end of the first Reconstruction, the compromise of, I believe, 1877, the Rutherford B. Hayes. What the first thing that they did to newly freed Africans who had spent about seven years with Reconstruction, elected many people to Congress from states like South Carolina and Mississippi, was, the first thing they did was they went after the vote.

And, to be quite candid, I thought about John Lewis. And one of the things that John Lewis said -- and it just struck with me -- he said: I urge you, I urge all of you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe.

[19:50:01]

Look, let`s just be quite candid. I think the Senate has three things it can do. And that is, one, they can kill the filibuster. Two, reconvene the Senate. The Congressional Black Caucus suggested and urged Senator Schumer to reconvene, take another vote, and then pass the Freedom Act.

I refuse to believe and I`m not going to accept the fact that, in the so- called second, Jonathan, reconstruction we`re going through, that they repeat what happened over 100 years ago.

People say, well, what about you? What about your health? What about all of that? It`s not about me. Look, I have got four children, five grandchildren, and a great-grandchild. I don`t want them to -- 50 years from now to have to go through what our forefathers went through 100 years ago, when they ended the first Reconstruction.

Look, this is serious. If you take -- if you don`t protect -- there`s nothing more important than protecting the right to vote. And it is very hard to believe that, out of 50 Republicans, that they can`t find 10 people to stand on moral principle and protect the right to vote.

So I`m going to continue this hunger strike. They have got three things they can do, kill the filibuster, shoot a hole in it. They did it for the Supreme Court justices and other...

CAPEHART: And, Joe...

MADISON: And the budget.

So that`s why.

CAPEHART: And, Joe, on that point of the filibuster, one of the reasons why it`s not going anywhere is because folks like Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema don`t want to reform or kill the filibuster to -- in order for it to pass.

If you have a chance to speak with Senators Manchin and/or Sinema or some of the other Democratic senators who are hiding behind them, what would you tell them about the importance of, at a minimum, reforming the filibuster to get the voting right -- either one of these voting rights bills passed?

MADISON: Jonathan, I would tell him straight to his face that he ought to decide what -- does he want to go down in history to be on the side of Dixiecrats, of these individuals who actually almost destroyed the political advancement of African-Americans and others in this country?

I mean, I am -- I have never seen so much fear in the hearts and minds of people who are so afraid that you have got, Jonathan, 400, 400 bills that have been introduced in 49 states to repress our right to vote.

CAPEHART: Right.

MADISON: My God, do you really want 50 years from now to be written down in history, that then be alongside the Southern Republicans -- I mean, Democrats at that time?

CAPEHART: The segregationists, yes.

MADISON: No.

CAPEHART: Joe...

MADISON: And so I`m -- I mean, we have to fight it. We just have to fight.

CAPEHART: Right.

And, Joe, we are going to -- we`re going to keep tabs on you. And we`re praying for you, because a hunger strike is serious business, just as voting rights are a serious business.

So, keep us posted.

MADISON: And, Jonathan, you know me. And you know me. I`m serious.

CAPEHART: Oh, no, I know you`re serious.

Joe Madison, we have got to go. Thank you very, very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

Good luck, Joe.

MADISON: Thank you.

CAPEHART: If you thought the right-wing culture -- cultural panic couldn`t go further than outrage over Teletubbies or Mr. Potato Head, you thought wrong.

Tonight`s "Absolute Worst" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:50]

CAPEHART: Hello, boys and girls.

Today`s letter of the day is F for freak-out. And it`s brought to you by all those out-of-breath right-wingers who`ve found the object of their latest temper tantrum, everyone`s favorite feathery resident of "Sesame Street," Big Bird.

You see, Big Bird sent out a tweet supporting the recent efforts to get 5- to-11-year-olds vaccinated. How dare Big Bird share such scientific truths about the shot in order to keep him and his friends healthy?

You have Ted "Cancun" Cruz calling it government propaganda for 5-year- olds, Newsmax host and former Trump flunky Steve Cortes calling it actual evil.

Come on, you all.

You have others saying it`s brainwashing our kids and even one joking that it`ll lead to the death of the beloved "Sesame Street" character.

But don`t you worry, kids. Big Bird and all his "Sesame Street" friends will be OK. They have long been targeted by the right, accused of indoctrinating all the boys and girls with such scary values as tolerance, kindness, inclusivity.

And, yes, staying healthy. Guess what? It`s not even the first time Big Bird has promoted the benefits of vaccinations. There he is back in 1972 getting in line for his measles vaccine.

And speaking of values, kids, good sportsmanship is also an important value, unlike what we saw with benched Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who lied to his teammates about being vaccinated.

Football Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw spelled it out for Rodgers over the weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERRY BRADSHAW, FOX SPORTS: It would have been nice if he would have just come to the Naval Academy and learned how to be honest.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

BRADSHAW: Learned not to lie, because that`s what you did, Aaron. You lied to everyone.

Unfortunately, we have got players that pretty much think only about themselves. And I`m extremely disappointed in the actions of Aaron Rodgers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAPEHART: Kids, that`s what we call a read.

And here are some facts that even Big Bird would understand. "The New York Times" is reporting that the gap in COVID deaths -- COVID`s death toll between red and blue America has grown faster over the past month than at any previous point. The big difference, of course, is vaccination.

So, the lesson of the day is, if you find yourself attacking Big Bird on getting vaccinated or really on any issue, you`re probably on the wrong side. And in the case of those on the right already doing that, you`re tonight`s "Absolute Worst."

And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.