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Transcript: The ReidOut, 12/17/21

Guests: Pete Dominick, Ruben Gallego, Don Calloway, David Jolly, Marilyn Agrelo, Sonia Manzano, Marq Claxton


Roger Stone pleads the Fifth before January 6 committee. McConnell says, January 6 committee is seeking to find out something the public needs to know. GOP Representative Jordan confirms his text messages were among those released by January 6 committee. Report shows January 6 committee believes aggressive strategy text came from Rick Perry.


PETE DOMINICK, COMEDIAN: And sometimes you`re like, wait, are you joking or did that really actually happen, did someone really say that? It`s a dangerous time, which is why we`ve got to stick together.

JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC HOST: Pete Dominick, congratulations on your 500th show. Thanks for joining us tonight. Thanks for coming on THE BEAT.

DOMINICK: Thank you for always joining me, professor.

JOHNSON: That does it for me. THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid is up next. Howdy, Joy.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: How are you doing? And I`m not calling you professor, sorry. I know you are one. But whatever. So, this is a very quick tease, so my who won the week, Jason, involves you because you and me, did we not kind of win a week? Think about it.

JOHNSON: My gosh, yes. If you tell that story -- okay, okay, okay. I`m so excited.

REID: Okay. Professor, I`m going to call you professor just because of that. We won the week and that`s a tease. Thank you. See you later. Thank you, Jason.

All right, cheers good evening. We do begin THE REIDOUT with the investigation on the ongoing threat of our democracy today. A member of the disgraced former president`s inner circle did what many have refused to do, show up before the house select committee on the January 6th insurrection but he refused to talk. Longtime Trump Adviser and Veteran Dirty Trickster Roger Stone invoked his Fifth right against self-incrimination.


ROGER STONE, LONGTIME TRUMP ADVISER: I did invoke my Fifth Amendment rights to every question not because I have done anything wrong but because I am fully aware of the House Democrats` long history of fabricating perjury charges on the basis of comments that are innocuous, immaterial or irrelevant.


REID: Now, for the record, Stone was previously convicted of lying to Congress and the only reason he`s a freeman today is because the Mango Mussolini commuted his prison sentence last year and later pardoned him. Congressional investigators are looking into Stone`s involvement in the planning of anti-democratic rallies on January 5th and 6th leading to the attack on the Capitol. The committee says, Stone both promoted his appearance at the rally at The Ellipse and solicited donations for security, noting that he has said that he was invited to lead a march to the Capitol but didn`t end up going.

Stone was subpoenaed two weeks ago along with right wing conspiracy theorists Alex Jones. NBC News has learned that a deposition for Jones scheduled for tomorrow has been postponed, as the committee continues its investigation following this week`s vote to hold former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in criminal contempt. Senate Minority Leader Addison Mitch McConnell now in the twilight of his career fresh from reelection with no elections to worry about for six years, if ever again and having successfully thieved, connived and bullied the 6-3 right wing Supreme Court he`s always wanted into existence has returned to stating the obvious.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I think fact-finding is interesting. We`re all going to be watching it. It was a horrendous event. And I think what they`re seeking to find out is something the public needs to know.


REID: Really, Addison? That`s the same Mitch McConnell who, in May, led Senate Republicans in blocking a bill to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the siege on the Capitol. Yes, you can always smell the brimstone. He`s now saying that he`s watching what`s unfolding on the House side and which participants are revealed. Because while the clown show of Roger Stone is a spectacle, and it is a spectacle, the real question is what were sitting members of Congress doing and who were they communicating with on January 6th, like election-denying Congressmen Jim Jordan whose office admitted that he was one of the lawmakers whose text to Mark Meadows was revealed this week. That`s something one of my next guests says is written confirmation Jordan is a traitor to the Constitution.

And joining me now is Congressman Ruben Gallego of Arizona, Don Callaway, Democratic Strategist and Founder of the National Voter Protection Action Fund, and Glenn Kirschner, former federal prosecutor and an MSNBC Columnist.

And I`m going to start with you Congressman Gallego. This is the text that was -- one of the text that was read during the proceedings to hold Mark Meadows in contempt. And this was the text, on January 6th, 2021 Vice President Mike Pence, as president of the Senate, should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all in accordance with guidance from founding father Alexander Hamilton and judicial precedence, he goes on and on and on, citing that precedence, basically saying that the vice president should throw out the result of the election.

Now, he forwarded that text. I`m not saying he wrote it but he forwarded it to Mark Meadows. You said that means he`s a traitor to the constitution. Please explain.

REP. RUBEN GALLEGO (D-AZ): Look, it was a very much fraud. What he is doing is interfering in the procession of Congress in terms of passing on in democracy and using, you know, very fluttery words of James Madison to absolutely have nothing to do with the powers of the vice president that day as an excuse to obstruct the power of Congress is still illegal, and, therefore, in my opinion, a traitorous act trying to stop the peaceful transfer of power.


He`s going to come up with excuses saying, well, this is my duty, I have a right to do it. But as I try to explain to some of the my friends, especially my Republican friends, that`s like a criminal being caught by a police officer in the middle of it just starting to scream Marbury versus Madison, like it makes no sense. You`re still a traitor. It doesn`t matter how you basically wrap up your reasoning for it.

REID: Let me broaden this out just a little bit, Congressman. Before the civil war, there were literal traitors in the United States House and Senate, people who were siding with what turned out to be an enemy faction trying to secede from the United States and then making war upon the United States. That same flag was flown by some of the insurrectionists as they entered our Capitol, defiled it, defecated inside of it, et cetera, and occupied offices. So there have been literal traitors in the United States Congress before. Do you believe that the insurrectionist-supporting members of the House of Representatives and the Senate are traitors?

GALLEGO: I certainly think the organizers of it, and I think Jim Jordan is one of those, are traitors. I do believe that they are just as bad as insurrectionists that were breaking through. Just because you wear a tie or -- well, actually, Jim Jordan doesn`t wear a tie. Just because he wants to wear his a sport coat, it does not mean that he`s not just as bad as the guy that was wearing the camouflage and carrying the confederate flag. As a matter of fact, he`s more dangerous than the yahoos because he actually has access to power, access to information and actually knows a process of how to actually stall democracy.

REID: And let me come to you on this, Glenn. Because the question then is did these people commit a crime? We`ve now seen that members of Congress were texting guidance to the chief of staff saying, hey, here are some ideas on how we might be able to undo the election. CNN is now reporting that one of the other people who was sending strategies to try to help is Rick Perry, who used to be the governor of Texas and then joined administration that he apparently, at least according to CNN, he denies, was pushing this aggressive strategy supposedly to try to also overturn the election and get Mike Pence to do it. Again, Perry denies it but CNN says he was one of the people doing it.

You had multiple House members saying here are some strategies, circulating this bananas PowerPoint that says that China and dead Hugo Chavez and lots of other people were stealing the election. These things are horrible. Are they crimes?

GLENN KIRSCHNER, MSNBC COLUMNIST: So, Joy, I agree with the Congressman that Jim Jordan is a traitor to the Constitution. I also believe there is probable cause that Jim Jordan committed a crime by forwarding that text to Mark Meadows, and here is why. Jim Jordan forwarded a text urging Meadows to tell Vice President Pence to throw out electoral votes, to basically undermine Joe Biden`s win, and he did it after Donald Trump`s own attorney general, Bill Barr, said there was no fraud undermining Joe Biden`s win. And he did it after Trump`s own officials, like Christopher Krebs, said this was the safest, most secure election in U.S. history, the same thing that Trump`s agencies, like the Department of Homeland Security said.

After all of that, as the congressman said, you can put any pretty words on it. You can scream Marbury versus Madison or any other Supreme Court precedent. What Jim Jordan did by forwarding that text was obstruct an official proceeding. And that statute, which is a 20-year felony, says if you actually obstruct or you attempt to obstruct or you endeavor to impede an official congressional proceeding, like the electoral vote count, you`ve committed the federal felony of obstructing an official proceeding, that is what Jim Jordan did.

REID: And, Don Calloway, I then go to you on sort of the kind of politics and the sort of aesthetics of the way this is playing out. I think that the proceeding against Mark Meadows, to me, was the most effective presentation we`ve seen so far because they were giving us data. They were saying, members of Congress did X. Members of Congress said Y. People were interacting with the chief of staff. So, we have got that. Do you think that it would be good -- sort of good for the country to see and to experience members of Congress being subpoenaed before this committee? They`re sitting in the body but they were also committing the alleged crimes. Should this committee, which does -- it`s bipartisan. They have two Republicans on it. Should they start subpoenaing people like Jim Jordan?


DON CALLOWAY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Absolutely they have to and here is why. We had this conversation, I know Glenn Kirschner and I have many times, about why the president needed to be impeached even when we knew that we didn`t have the votes to convict him on the Democratic side. It had to happen so you can make the case for the American people. And maybe that matters for 2022, `24 politically but it mostly matters for the archives of history, because we have to have a living, breathing record to show what these criminals did while in the White House and now in this instance while in the people`s House of Representatives.

This will be the guide for what not to do going forward, so you have you have to have those trials even when you know it`s not coming in the Senate, even when you know there will be no broad accountability in front of the Republican political, because we, as people of faith, and, frankly, the story of black folks in America is that you preserve the record so future generations can see what they did when they tried to tear apart the republic.

REID: Or, you preserve the record so that maybe Merrick Garland, the Department of Justice, might wake up as if from slumber and decide maybe they should prosecute some folks. Any day now, we`re waiting. Any second, you know. We believe in Christmas miracles.

CALLOWAY: I`ll be brief. The second reason you prosecute is because you have to make it clear that there`s no distinction between the insurrectionists and the members. Insurrectionists are inside the House and you treat them the same way you treat insurrectionists by charging them in federal courts.

REID: Very quickly, I`ve got to go to you, Glenn Kirschner, on this. What do you think is the significance? There has been a lawsuit, because using the courts does work sometimes. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund announced today that have been working a lawsuit from the NAACP against Louis DeJoy and the Post Office. It a big deal because Louis DeJoy seemed to be using the Post Office to interfere with the election in another way, slowing down ballots. Is this going to be what -- are we going to wind up doing civil cases because of the lackadaisical DOJ?

KIRSCHNER: Well, unless and until the Department of Justice steps up, picks up the pace and starts to indict people that we`ve seen commit crimes in the harsh light of day as a former career DOJ employee, I`m still scratching my head because we`ve seen no prosecutions of consequence. So, you know what? We have to fill the void with righteous lawsuits because Trump and company used the court`s system for their own nefarious purposes, delay, delay, delay, run out the clock. So, you know what? Righteous lawsuits should be brought and, hopefully, they will have some hope of dislodging the DeJoys of the world.

REID: Absolutely. And you`ve also got the RNC paying for Donald Trump`s legal bills for his tax crimes in New York, alleged tax crimes in New York.

Congressman Gallego, I would be remised if I didn`t have you here. This is a bizarre story. The Daily Beast is reporting that you`ve been threatened with kidnapping by a Russian politician because what have you said this is how we should be dealing with these -- no, he`s saying, this is how we should be dealing with these bastards, talking about you, because you said that Russian escalation toward Ukraine could lead to a harsh military response from towards the U.S. and that Ukraine should be provided with weapons by the United States, saying that that might mean warfare, that might mean some Russians might die. Their response to you has been that you should be kidnapped.

What are your thoughts and are you getting protection for yourself now that you`re getting threatened by the Russians? We know they`ve poisoned allegedly -- there have been alleged poisonings or things that have happened that have led people to believe that they are quite dangerous.

GALLEGO: They`re not going to do anything. I mean, attacking a member of Congress is akin to war except unless you`re an insurrectionists, but that`s a different story. Look, my statement is very clear and it`s because I support democracy. Ukraine is a democratic institution. It`s being basically hunted and targeted by an autocrat in Putin and the Russian bear (ph), in general. And I don`t want to send any troops into Ukraine. I absolutely have said that 100 percent. But I do want to give Ukraine the capability for it to defend itself and we have not given them that opportunity.

In the last four years under Trump, we basically withheld a lot of diplomatic support as well as actual material support. So, I`m trying to change that too. And I went to Ukraine with a bipartisan group of members there and we want to make sure democracy survives there as well as I wanted to make sure it survives here. And, by the way, they are both connected.

REID: Yes, you`re absolutely right. It would be nice if it could survive here. Wouldn`t that be great? Congressman Ruben Gallego, thank you very much. Glenn Kirschner, Don Calloway will be back later for who won the week.

Up next on THE REIDOUT, the damning new report on Trump`s outright malfeasance in his COVID response deliberately undermining efforts to address the crisis last year.

Plus, she claims that she mistook her gun for a taser when she shot and killed Daunte Wright during a traffic stop. Former Officer Kim Potter takes the stand in Minnesota.

And how cool is this? I got to speak to the real Maria from Sesame Street, Actress Sonia Manzano, about the new HBO documentary, Street Gang, How We Got to Sesame Street.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was raised in the Bronx watching hours of television, never seeing any Puerto Ricans on television or any Latin people on television and feeling invisible.


So, when they asked me to be on the show, I thought, oh my goodness, I could be for kids what I wished there was someone there for me when I was a kid.


REID: Oh my God, the real Maria. You do not want to miss that.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: A new report by the House Oversight Committee reveals damning new details about just how derelict and political Trump`s response to COVID really was, saying the Trump administration, quote, engaged in a staggering pattern of political interference in the pandemic response and failed to heed early warnings about the crisis. According to the report, Trump blocked CDC briefings and media appearances.

The committee also investigated how COVID hit meat-packing workers at the five largest conglomerates. The report says, infections and deaths among meat-packing workers for these companies were nearly three times higher than previously estimated.

Yet, Trump made a political decision not to issue regulations for these companies to protect their workers.


Trump`s chaos and lies have left an awful handprint on how the pandemic is experienced today. It`s so deeply partisan, it`s as if we live in two separate countries, one that cares about surviving COVID and one that is simply over it.

According to a new poll, 96 percent of Democrats have received the vaccine, compared to 54 percent of Republicans. Thirty percent of the Republicans say they will never get vaccinated, even as Omicron burns through America.

It`s that old familiar sinking feeling we first felt almost two years ago, a surge like wildfire. Average daily COVID hospitalizations are now up 19 percent in the last two weeks. And, today, New York state reported its highest number of daily COVID cases of the entire pandemic at more than 21,000.

Joining me now is critical care pulmonologist Dr. Vin Gupta, and David Jolly, national chair of the Serve America Movement and a former Republican congressman who`s no longer affiliated with the party.

And, Dr. Gupta, I feel like we have been having this conversation for almost two years now. And it does feel like there are kind of two kinds of people who are over COVID. In my experience, it`s the people in my life who have gotten vaccinated and gotten boosted and are like, if these red state people want to die of COVID, let them. I`m over it.

They have compassion fatigue. So they`re going on and living their lives, because they`re vaxxed and they`re wearing their masks when they need to. And then you have the people in the sort of red state world, who just say, I don`t care about COVID. I don`t care if 10 million people are dead from it. I don`t care. I`m not wearing a mask. I`m not getting vaxxed. I`m living my life.

With those two sets of people not -- just being over it, period, are we ever going to get over COVID? Is it ever going to go away?

DR. VIN GUPTA, NBC NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Will, Joy, good evening. Really nice to see you.

I will say that, psychologically, we have to move towards a new sense of normal here. And this is where I`m going to lean into my identity as a lung doc and say that, if we talk about the vaccine clearly about what it can and cannot do -- thinking about the flu vaccine, for example, I think, will -- the flu vaccine will keep you away from somebody like me. It will not prevent positive tests or even mild symptoms.

And I do think that clarity that in talking about the vaccine, in setting realistic expectations, it`s not going to reach 100 percent of Republicans, but it might help us reach that additional 16 percent that have yet to get vaccinated, which will help in hospital systems like McAllen, Texas, and other places that are going to experience surges.

So I do think clarity there is going to be important. And I think updating the definition of fully vaccinated is going to be really critical here. But then come March/April, we have to be clear to all of us, regardless of partisan stripe, that there`s a chance you might test positive, you might develop mild symptoms, hopefully, in the majority of cases, especially if you`re triple vaccinated, and then that`s OK.

That`s actually what real life is going to look like here moving forward. There`s no zero risk. There`s no eradication. That`s what the new normal is going to look like. And I think the more that -- Omicron has allowed us the opportunity to actually shift our frame and our thinking sooner than I think we otherwise would have.

REID: You know, and there are, David, the sort of the idiot crew, right, the Tucker Carlsons, Tuckums...


REID: ... who literally is like sort of preaching death at this point, because he`s vaccinated, I`m sure, and he doesn`t care. They are never going to get near him and cough on him.

But let me just play him. This is what he did the other day, sort of giving his unsolicited advice. Here he is.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: If you find yourself living in a place where people are still talking about COVID nonstop two years in, it is time to move, not just because your neighbors have been brainwashed, though, obviously, they have been, but because your neighbors are boring.

At this point, it is simply not an interesting topic for your private life. Yes, COVID has killed a lot of people. So has prostate cancer. Imagine telling people about your prostate every day for the next two years.


REID: Right. So people like him don`t care how many people die. Death means nothing to him. He`s like Donald Trump. It`s a sociopathic sort of sense of, so people are dying. Get over it. I don`t want to hear about dying. You know what I mean? Just leave me alone. I just want to go to the bar, right?

But then there are also people like -- there`s this "Atlantic" piece that is sort of rocketing all through the social medias by this Matthew Walther...

JOLLY: Sure.

REID: ... where he`s saying: "I don`t" -- and he`s saying kind of the same thing: "I don`t know how to put it -- this in a way that will not make me sound flippant. No one cares outside the world inhabited by the professional and managerial classes in a handful of major metropolitan areas. Many, if not most Americans, are leading their lives as if COVID is over. And they have been for a long while."

He`s an editor of a Catholic literary journal, where there`s also this sense of people just don`t care that a lot of people are dying. They just want to live their lives.

And I`m telling you, I am seeing that when I`m now traveling again. There - - you go to some of these cities, and that is true. People are done with COVID. And they either are vaccinated and are vaxxed relaxed, or they just are cold to the idea that a lot of people are dying, even if they`re in a high death city. So what do we do about that?


JOLLY: Yes, Joy, I think you`re right.

There`s a lot of people that are over it, perhaps prematurely, out of fatigue. But there are also those who are over it because they have been fed misinformation that they have accepted. My wife and I have a friend who passed away with COVID believing it was not a big deal, that, actually, even want to contracted it, he didn`t need to see physicians for it.

Well, ultimately, within about 10 days, he had passed away. And he did so because he was listening to voices of misinformation. And that is exactly what Tucker Carlson is projecting on the American public when he questions masks, when he questions vaccines, when he questions the public health guidance.

It is dangerous misinformation that jeopardizes the health of our communities and ultimately can lead to the deaths of fellow Americans. And I think that`s the critical thing here, right? You don`t go to a dentist to fix your car and you don`t go to an auto mechanic to work on your teeth.

You certainly don`t need to listen to untrained voices about what the public health science is around COVID. And, ultimately, then, that rests on our political leaders. And, as you said in the intro, we have divided our country along political lines on what is essentially a public health matter. And that is where the danger lies, because the thing about voices of leadership is, people follow them.

And so whether you`re in the media or in the public arena or you`re in the political arena, you have a greater responsibility to your fellow countrymen on issues of public health than you do to your ratings or to your income.

REID: Yes, I mean, it`s clear that Donald Trump bollixed the COVID. He messed it up. And now I think it`s so broken, he`s broken it so thoroughly, that it`s impossible to fix what was busted, right?

But, Dr. Gupta, what worries me is that it doesn`t matter if you don`t believe that COVID is real. COVID is here. And now we`re hearing that the Omicron variant is not responsive to monoclonal antibodies. So, when people like the attorney general in Florida say, go ahead, get COVID, don`t worry, we will treat you with something -- with monoclonal antibodies, they may not work at this point.

This thing is surging so fast that we may not be able to treat it with their magical cures. And so I guess the question for you, for those of us who actually do believe COVID is real and we do care if people die, and, actually, we -- we actually have a heart and actually don`t want people to die, and don`t want doctors to be overworked and overwhelmed, and nurses and docs to just be their lives destroyed by seeing people die, should we - - I don`t know.

Give us some advice. What do we do at this point? Are we all going to get COVID? Is this the reality? Are we eventually all going to get it because these anti-vaxxers are just going to make us get it?

GUPTA: Joy, let`s start there. And then I do want to get to the monoclonal piece, so I will try to be concise.

I think it is -- to this issue of hesitancy and, frankly, the fact that some people say they`re never going to get it, whether it`s political or not, this is where clarity and resetting expectations, I think, is vital.

I am hearing across the spectrum that the emergence of Omicron, saying we need a third shot, all these breakthroughs in the NFL and otherwise, are being used, are being co-opted as reality to say, well, the vaccines have failed.

And, in part, I do think we need to acknowledge and have the awareness to say we -- we in public health need to reset expectations more clearly. You talk to any pulmonologist here -- you have one right here -- they will they will tell you, a vaccine against a contagious constantly changing respiratory virus will never prevent a positive test from mild symptoms. Its best hope is to keep you away from folks like me and ICUs.

That needs to be the message moving forward. And we need to be really clear on that.

REID: Yes.

GUPTA: And I`m saying that from the highest levels.

REID: Yes.

GUPTA: That`s number one.

Now, monoclonals, to your point, I have fielded probably 10 calls from loved ones, from family members, from friends trying to get a monoclonal for somebody that`s 65 and older who had breakthrough illness.

REID: Yes.

GUPTA: And that`s where we`re worried about here.

Go to to learn more. They still work against Delta. We`re developing new ones for Omicron. But they still work against Delta.

REID: Yes.

Well, we need to listen to experts. And don`t listen to Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump. They don`t care if you die. I mean, let`s just be honest. They really don`t care. Tuckums thinks it`s boring, all of you all, if you die. It`s just boring to him. He doesn`t care. Don`t look to him for your health advice.

Dr. Vin Gupta, who you should listen to for your health advice, and David Jolly, my friend, thank you very much.

He will be back later for "Who Won the Week?"

JOLLY: Thank you.

REID: Still ahead: Former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter takes the stand, as she faces manslaughter charges in the deadly shooting of Daunte Wright during a traffic stop.

We will hear what she had to say and talk about which way the scales of justice might be leaning next.



REID: Today, former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter took to the standard her own defense.

Potter is charged with two counts of manslaughter after she shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright at a traffic stop last April, claiming she confused her gun for her Taser.


KIM POTTER, DEFENDANT: We were struggling -- we were trying to keep him from driving away. It`s just -- it just went chaotic.

I -- and then I remember yelling, "Taser, Taser, Taser," and nothing happened. And then he told me I shot him.


REID: Potter testified that she reached for her Taser because she feared for her fellow officer`s safety.

But, as the prosecution pointed out, that is not what she said in an earlier interview with a psychologist who was a defense witness.


ERIN ELDRIDGE, MINNESOTA ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Do you see the portion where it explains, when asked by this examiner why she decided to draw her Taser, Officer Potter states: "I don`t have an answer. My brain said grab the Taser"?


Do you recall that?

POTTER: I don`t recall it, but it`s in his paperwork.


REID: Closing arguments are scheduled to be on Monday.

With me now, Melissa Murray, law professor at NYU and an MSNBC legal analyst, and Marq Claxton, retired NYPD detective and director of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance.

Thank you both for being here.

I have to start with you, Marq, because the idea that a trained police officer with more than 20 years on the force could not tell a Taser from a Glock,to me, is so completely nonsensical that it makes no sense to me. These are the pictures of what the two fire -- the two firearms look like. They`re different weights. They`re different colors.

This is her testimony. So, let`s just go into the training first. Let me play this real quick. And then I have a question for you.

Here`s the prosecution, who you might recognize from the Chauvin trial, Derek Chauvin`s trial -- it`s the same set of prosecutors, some of them -- questioning Ms. Potter on her Taser training.

Here. Here is that.


ELDRIDGE: Part of the Taser policy includes that all training should include performing reaction hand draws or cross-draws to reduce the possibility of accidentally drawing and firing a firearm. That`s part of the policy, right?

POTTER: That`s what it says.

ELDRIDGE: And that`s part of what you`re trained to do, correct?

POTTER: We didn`t always draw from our -- we aren`t always drawing our Tasers from our holsters.

A lot of times, we were in plainclothes during training.


Well, your policy that you`re required to abide by that you signed off on requires that you perform reaction hand draws. True?

POTTER: During the training, yes.


REID: Marq Claxton, does any of this defense make sense to you?

MARQ CLAXTON, BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE: Not at all. And it`s no excuse for a professionally trained police officer and an experienced professionally trained police officer to confuse the Taser for the firearm.

That testimony and other testimony related to training that a professional police officer undergoes on a regular basis, she was very dismissive of a lot of the training, as a matter of fact, disdainful. She came across as really, like, offended to even answer a question about training and those types of standards.

And what`s really pointed -- what should be pointed out is, just as in the Chauvin case, she`s a field training officer. She`s the one who is training the next generation of police officers how to do things correctly and properly, supposedly. Just like Chauvin, she was a field training officer that had a trainee along with her.

A lot of her testimony, a lot of her positions, and just her demeanor clearly displays that there is a high level of culpability for criminal activity in regards to her.

REID: And yet, Melissa, it is, again, a real question as to whether what seems like an open-and-shut case to the layman will really work out that way.

I mean, she did the crying. Check. The jury is nearly all white. There`s only one person of color on the jury. Check. But that always -- doesn`t always work out, because, if you look at the Chauvin trial, or you look at the trial of the men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery, it didn`t work out for them quite that way to get that almost all-white jury.

But she gets up there and does sort of a sympathetic crying thing. And then you have got the burden of proof on the prosecutors to prove that she acted with some deliberation.

So, what do you make of where we stand in terms of this trial?

MELISSA MURRAY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, again, as you say, the burden is always on the state to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. And the two charges here are manslaughter in the first degree and manslaughter in the second degree.

And those are both homicide charges. Manslaughter in the first degree is essentially a killing, an intentional killing, but in the heat of passion. Manslaughter in the second degree is an unintentional, sort of negligent killing. And I think that goes to where the prosecutor was going today, like, you should have known better, and you didn`t do better. That`s negligence.

But it is really an uphill battle. And, as you say, the prosecutor has to convince this jury beyond a reasonable doubt. And here she is, in a cardigan, with a cross on a pendant, and looking like a grandmother and crying. And I think that may be very resonant with some of these jurors.

REID: Do you think, Melissa, that this case was overcharged? I mean, there was the pressure, because of the George Floyd situation and the charging.

Do you think they might have hit too high with a charge, that maybe they should have charged with something easier to prove?

MURRAY: Well, that`s always a question, I think, for the prosecution, it was especially so here.

As you know, the Chauvin trial was going on when this occurred. And so this was being charged against the backdrop of that trial. And there were people who were really calling for something to hold her accountable. There was all -- of course, the initial reluctance of the chief of police to denounce or condemn her. And that led to some public outcry.

So I think there really was a lot of public pressure...

REID: Yes.

MURRAY: ... to put a homicide charge on the table.

REID: And, Marq, what will be the message to other police if this -- if she does get off?


Because one of the things that she said is, well, if she hadn`t been training this other guy, she probably wouldn`t have even pulled the man over. And then she ends up shooting and killing him and saying, oops, not my Taser.

What message does that send to law enforcement if she walks away a free woman?

CLAXTON: It`ll just reinforce the same message that law enforcement normally receives during these type of proceedings, and the justification for this toxic police culture that too often leads to these fatal encounters involving black and brown people.

It`s a classic defense strategy. Ignore the pretextual stop. Ignore the deviation from perhaps department policy or department directives, saying, listen, in COVID, we don`t necessarily need to focus on these registration or air fresheners.

REID: Yes.

CLAXTON: Ignore that.

Ignore the training failures.

REID: Yes.

CLAXTON: Ignore whether or not there was even a justification for using any level of force in this particular case.

REID: Right.

CLAXTON: And, instead, focus on the two seconds, if you will, where they pull the trigger, where they discharge the firearm...

REID: Yes.

CLAXTON: ... and decide whether or not the police officer was -- quote, unquote -- "justified."

Never mind these negligent terms or reckless terms.

REID: Yes.

CLAXTON: We really want -- we want you to say, was she sufficiently scared or startled...

REID: Right.

CLAXTON: ... enough to be justified?

REID: Yes.

And then that comes down to, is she scared of this young black man?

CLAXTON: Exactly.

REID: And then it`s -- it never really, really goes in the way that we think it`s going to go.

Melissa Murray, Marq Claxton, thank you both very much. Happy holidays.

All right, "Who Won the Week?" is still ahead, but, first, my conversation with the director of a new documentary about a show we all know and adore, "Sesame Street," and one of its beloved stars, the actress who plays Maria.

We will talk about the show`s groundbreaking diversity then and now. Don`t miss it.




JIM HENSON, ACTOR (SINGING): And green can be big like an ocean, or important like a mountain, or tall like a tree.

SONIA MANZANO, ACTRESS: And I remember thinking, are they singing about what I think they`re singing about? Of course they were singing about race, but they were also singing about being down in the dumps because you`re a little green frog..

Some kids just thought it was about a little green puppet. And other kids thought maybe it was something else.


REID: For more than 50 years, the Muppets that live on one of America`s most famous streets have been entertaining and, more importantly, educating generations of children.

"Sesame Street" helped teach my kids important lessons and values that they still hold today, especially the idea that we can all live together, no matter what street we come from or what color our skin, fur or feathers are.

Of course, "Sesame Street" is not immune to today`s culture of hyperpartisan attacks, but, in truth, it has faced opposition since its inception in 1969. In fact, just months after its debut, the show was temporarily banned in Mississippi because of its diversity.

A new HBO documentary, "Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street," shares the origins of this American treasure and how such a talented ensemble came together to create a brand-new concept in learning that still holds true today.

Joining me now is the director of the documentary, Marilyn Agrelo, and Sonia Manzano, the actress who played Maria on "Sesame Street" more than -- for more than 40 years.

And I`m fangirling out because you`re one of my absolute heroes, Maria. Oh, my God. I can`t believe I`m talking to the real Maria. So I`m just going to say I`m just excited to talk to you. You helped raise me and I -- and my kids. And I feel like you`re everything.

So just talk a little bit about what you talked about in that clip a little bit, because, "It`s Not That Easy Being Green," my crew knows it`s one of my favorite songs. My E.P., Tina, sent it to me and I nearly sat here and cried listening to it, Ray Charles singing it with Kermie.

But you caught on to something that I think a lot of people miss, that that song meant something to a little brown kid and my little brown kids, because it was about being different.

Talk a little bit about what "Sesame Street" means.

MANZANO: I sure will, absolutely.

I will never forget that moment, because when I walked in on the song, Lena Horne was signing with Kermit the Frog.


MANZANO: So, and I had just -- I wasn`t a writer on the show. So I didn`t know the behind-the-scenes yibbedy (ph), yibbedy was going on.


MANZANO: But I certainly knew that, well, this was nuanced, and it was working on a lot of levels, and it was sophisticated, and I was thrilled to be a part of

REID: It was -- it`s incredible.

And, Marilyn, let`s talk about this movie, because I think a lot of people kind of missed that point. It was pretty revolutionary to create something like "Sesame Street" in the 1960s, in the late 1960s, when we still had an active fight over civil rights going on.

We had just lost Dr. King the year before. There was still a lot of volatility racially. How did this incredible thing get started?

MARILYN AGRELO, DIRECTOR, "STREET GANG: HOW WE GOT TO SESAME STREET": This is one of my favorite things about this story, the fact that, yes, it`s a movie about "Sesame Street," but it really is a story of this group of performers, writers, educators who came out of this tumultuous point in our country.

The protests against the Vietnam War were in full steam. The woman`s movement was just starting. The civil rights movement was burgeoning. And this group got together and said, we want to make a difference. We want to reach underserved children.

They wanted to reach all children, but they really wanted to reach children in the inner city, as it was known then, and give them a shot, and also reflect back to them people that look the way they looked.

This was the first mixed-race cast living in the same neighborhood that was ever shown on TV. And it was -- came to us through the lens of a show that was for 3- and 4-year-olds, which is quite something.


REID: And...

MANZANO: And I can speak...

REID: Go on, Sonia.

MANZANO: I just want to add that it was -- meant so much to me to get on the show because I was raised in the Bronx watching hours of television, never seeing any Puerto Ricans on television or any Latin people on television, and feeling invisible.

So when they asked me to be on this show, I thought, oh, my goodness, I could be for kids what I wished there was someone there for me when I was a kid.

REID: And I have to say to you -- and I keep on -- I keep on almost calling you Maria, but I`m not going to do that.

You literally were one -- honestly, I think you might have been the first Latina that I really saw on a regular basis on TV, and that, I think, for a lot of kids. And I grew up in a town that was majority black and brown.

And so for the Latina kids, for the black kids, like, we were not seeing a lot of people of color, but we saw you and you were our friend.

And can -- I want to get your take first just on the fight that we have seen. We just had an Asian American Muppet that was introduced to "Sesame Street," a little puppet who`s Asian American. We had Muppets who were black, Muppets who represented African-Americans. All of that has happened on "Sesame Street."

What do you make of this fight about this adorable new Asian American Muppet?

MANZANO: I just can`t understand it. I can`t fathom why it`s difficult.

I wish it had come on sooner. I think that when we had Roosevelt Franklin on the show...

REID: Yes.

MANZANO: ... I would refer to him as the Roosevelt Franklin syndrome.

It was difficult because he was the first black puppet and he didn`t fulfill everybody`s dreams of what a black puppet should be, too street, not street enough, too hip-hop, not hip-hop enough.

Sadly, what happened was, they cut the puppet because everybody couldn`t agree how a black puppet should be presented.

REID: Yes.

MANZANO: There wasn`t another black puppet on "Sesame Street" for 50 years. And that`s the problem when people can`t decide or they think -- they think a whole culture has to rest on the shoulders of one character.

REID: Yes. No, absolutely.

And, Marilyn, I think that`s the point too. There is no character who can make everyone happy. But "Sesame Street" probably has tried more than any other show in history to represent every child, even all the -- not even real children.

I mean, there are little red Muppets and purple Muppets, a Muppet who can fly. I`m a Grover girl. I love Grover, because he`s super, and he`s Grover.

But, I mean, it`s like there`s every fantasy kind of creature and fairy tale friend.

I just wonder, what will we learn about "Sesame Street"? Because that`s subversive to have done in the 1960s. What do you want people to take away from this documentary?

AGRELO: I want people to take away the fact that, first of all, "Sesame Street" did what they have done throughout their whole history, which is reflect the world back to children as the world should be, without even calling attention to it, without pointing a finger and saying, look, there`s a black puppet, look, there`s an Asian puppet.

It`s just what is.

REID: Yes.

AGRELO: And I want people to realize that creativity and art really can make a difference and change the world.

And when you present something this creative and this inspiring to children, you really can inspire them to think of the world in a way that is purer and loving.

REID: Yes.

I cannot wait to watch this documentary. I`m probably going to cry all the way from beginning until the very end, and I`m going to be so excited. My kids are going to be so jealous that I got to meet the real Maria. They`re going to be excited. They`re going to be like, what?

MANZANO: Thank you.

REID: But it happened.

Thank you. Happy holidays. Congratulations, Marilyn Agrelo, Sonia Manzano, thank you, sisters. Thank you so much for being here. Really appreciate you both. Happy holidays.

And we will be right back.

AGRELO: Thank you so much.

MANZANO: Thank you. Gracias.





REID: All right, we survived another week in Ragnarok, folks.

Oh, my God, I love my producers.

So, now it`s time to play, ah, yes, "Who Won the Week?"

Back with me, Don Calloway and David Jolly.

Ooh, where to go first? Where to go first? Hmm.

All right, in the spirit of ex-bipartisanship, since you were a former Republican who is not a Republican anymore, David Jolly, I`m going to let you go first.

Who won the week?

JOLLY: The January 6 Committee.

Republicans want to undermine them. Democrats are growing impatient. But, Joy, this week, they painted a picture of a conspiracy to commit an authoritarian toppling of our democracy, a conspiracy that included now members of the legislative branch, the inner circle of the president, from the White House chief of staff, to the former energy secretary, to the political apparatus of the president himself.

I think this is clearly going to a level in which you could indict. The Department of Justice could indict sitting members of Congress. The 1/6 Committee won the week.

REID: Oh, that is -- OK. All right. All right.

Don Calloway, tough act to follow.

Who won the week, Don Calloway?

CALLOWAY: Deion Sanders, won the week.

The legendary coach Prime won the SWAC Championship last week place.

REID: He did.

CALLOWAY: He plays for the Celebration Bowl Championship tomorrow.

REID: Yes.

CALLOWAY: Landed the number one recruit in the country to Jackson State University to play football.

REID: Come on.

CALLOWAY: Poached him from Florida State, fundamentally has the potential to shift the balance of power in favor of HBCU athletics. I`m here for it.

Go, Jackson State, tomorrow.

REID: Listen, I didn`t go to an HBCU. I did teach at one. I did teach at Howard.

But I am so here for Jackson State winning that battle. I`m so here for the Mississippi comeback. Come on, Mississippi, because I love Jackson, Mississippi. It`s a great city.

OK, but the real answer -- you guys had great answers. But my answer to who won the week? Me.

I won the week. And I will tell you why, because I`m here in California. So I go to meet with up with the blerds, OK. So, the blerds are like black nerds who are into like comics and stuff like that. And Jason Johnson was there, and Yvette Nicole Brown.

And guess who showed up? And Tiffany Cross. Look who we met. LeVar Burton and Billy Dee Williams. I hung out with them. "Star Trek" meet "Star Wars."

Yo, I won the week. This has been the most epic week in California.

Thank you all. Happy holidays. Thank you, David Jolly, Don Calloway.

That is tonight`s REIDOUT.