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Transcript: The ReidOut, 12/28/21

Guests: Don Calloway, Damario Solomon-Simmons, Bomani Jones

Summary

New Revelations about January 6th planning. January 6th committee planning public hearings this winter. Legal experts warn of corrosive effects of the big lie. GOP lawmakers downplay January 6th insurrection.

Transcript

[19:00:04]

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: And this works even if you`re away from the T.V. Go to tunein.com/msnbc2021. I`ll read that again, tunein.com/msnbc2021. This is an MSNBC-wide program that allows you to hear any of these shows anytime, anywhere on any device.

So, we wanted to tell you about that, THE REIDOUT is up next with Tiffany in for Joy. Hi, Tiffany.

TIFFANY CROSS, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Ari. I was sitting here thinking who is my classic artist and I think it might be the first album I ever got, which I`m sure you know, it`s Salt-N-Pepa, Hot, Cold, Vicious. That`s was when the original Spinderella was on the team. I don`t know if that fits your classic artists because I missed the video but that`s my artist, I`m sticking with it.

MELBER: All the good things and the bad things that may be.

CROSS: Thanks, Ari. Have a good evening.

MELBER: See you.

CROSS: All right. Good everybody, I`m Tiffany Cross in for Joy Reid this evening and we begin THE REIDOUT with new revelation lgs about January 6th. The Daily Beast is reporting on yet another flood by Trump`s allies to overturn Joe Biden`s victory. And I know there`s a lot so stick with me here.

This one is from Steve Bannon and Trump`s Trade Adviser Peter Navarro and this plot they dubbed the Green Bay Sweep.

Now get this, together they corralled Republican members of Congress to object the certifying Joe Biden`s electors in the joint session of January 6th. As Navarro told the Daily Beast, we spent a lot of time lining up over 100 congressmen, including some senators. It started out perfectly. At 1:00 P.M. Paul Gosar and Ted Cruz did exactly what was expected of them.

Now those are Peter Navarro`s word directly. Their goal obviously was to turn a routine proceeding into a forum for baseless claims and essentially over throwing the will of the people. It was design to get us 24 hours of televised hearings Navarro admitted.

Now by delaying the process for as long as possible, they intended to put the maximum pressure on Vice President Mike Pence hoping that he would eventually give into their demand to send the electoral votes back to six states. This is one of several plots implemented by Trump`s allies that have been uncovered in recent months and comes as we learn more about the next steps in the investigation of January 6th.

Now, The Washington Post is reporting that the select committee`s rough timeline includes public hearings starting this winter and stretching into the spring followed by an interim report this summer.

Now according to the committee, those hearings will be a dramatic presentation of the behind the scenes maneuvering by Trump, his allies and anyone involved in the attack or the attempt to overturn the election results.

The post also revealed that the committee has five investigative teams pursuing separate avenues of inquiry related to the January 6th investigation and they`ve only just begun to merge those findings. Now separately, the guardian reports that the committee intends to investigate a phone call that Trump made to his so-called war room of advisers at the Willard Hotel just hours before the insurrection.

That investigation is more urgent than ever given that Republicans would not hesitate to shut down if they could retake the majority during midterms and there hostility towards the select committee is another sign how toxic Congress has become since January 6th.

The Wall Street Journal reports that according to interviews with more than 4 dozen lawmakers and congressional aides, the house is become a deeply unpleasant place to work with simmering ill feelings and a series of ugly incidents fraying remaining bipartisan ties. Not to mention that the threats of violence have risen against members both parties in the House and Senate.

A lot to talk about. Joining me is Dean Obeidallah, he`s the Host of the Dean Obeidallah Show on SeriusXM and a Columnist for MSNBC Daily. Don Calloway HBCU Expert and Strategists and Founder of the National Voter Protection Action Fund and Cynthia Alksne, former Federal Prosecutor and MSNBC Legal Analyst and she`s going to take us off tonight.

Cynthia, these revelations are not surprising at all. I hate when I hear people say I`m shocked. We`re not shocked. These are things playing out long before Trump took office but this Green Bay Sweep as they call it, it does not sound like it was illegal, certainly unpatriotic but it doesn`t sound illegal and the eyes of the law, is it illegal and what is it about this plot that can be helpful to the committee to compel the DOJ to pursue charges against some of these high ranking folks?

CYNTHIA ALKSNE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, the committee -- it`s a pickle right now because I have to tell you I`m pretty worried. And the attorney general of the United States has decided to take a backseat and let the January 6th committee go forward first and then we have to hope that their reporting is comprehensive enough that they can do a criminal referral, which will spur him to action.

[19:05:01]

And he is a good, honest and descent man with a lot of very good instincts but at the same time, he`s a cautious person. He`s more of an appellate judge and I`m concerned that the political difficulty of this because everybody wants to kind of on some level move on and wish it wasn`t going to be as bad as it is and doesn`t want the political rat`s nest it is, that that`s affecting his decision making and we have to do this for our democracy. We have to look at this seriously.

It surprising to me that he would take such a backseat that he has. You know when I was a prosecutor, nobody would have been putting my witnesses in the grand jury except me, and I would have been flipping witnesses. I would have been sending out to some Congressman to figure out.

So I`m very concerned that our whole democracy is resting on the quality of investigating of January 6th. There doing a very good job. But it is the Department of Justice`s job and they`re not doing it.

CROSS: Yes, I mean I think your point. And, Dean, this drives me a little crazy because Cynthia made the point that Garland is cautious and I think about Bill Barr. He did not care how he came across. He made the attorney general position, essentially Donald Trump`s personal defender and personal attorney. So I kind of feel like do Democrats need to play the same dirty game that Republicans played so at least restore some sense of democracy and then everybody goes back to play by the clean rules. What is your take on that?

DEAN OBEIDALLAH, MSNBC COLUMNIST: We`re never going back to a clean rules, Tiffany, I just want to say that on the outset. But we don`t need Merrick Garland to be like Bill Barr, nor do any of us on the left want Merrick Garland to be like Bill Barr. All we want is Merrick Garland to do anything but the right thing here.

And I just -- even with Democratic leaders, they don`t want to call for the prosecution of Donald Trump for obvious crimes. It is not partisan to call for someone to be prosecuted for waging a coup and a terrorist attack, which was January 6th. It is patriotic, my fellow Democrats, it is time we call for it.

And I think, honestly, history is going to look back, Tiffany, and say Merrick Garland does not prosecute Donald Trump for obvious crimes, obvious crimes, that is what led to the downfall of our republic as we know it.

And, you know, it`s wrong what Bill Barr did. You should not politically prosecute someone, he shouldn`t prosecute for political nor should you defer prosecution for political reasons. That`s just as wrong. So, here we are. Cynthia said January 6th we`re doing a great job but the DOJ should be doing a lot of this. We need proof of life with Merrick Garland because he has got to step up. Our republic is on the line.

CROSS: Our republic is on the line. Democracy is on the line and it really damages America`s standing in the global community, as well when we see these kind fail, essentially. Don, listen, you worked a lot of campaigns. You and I had a lot of conversations over the years, when -- should the Republicans take back control of Congress? This whole committee will come to an end, I think that`s pretty obvious from anyone paying attention.

I just want to remind our viewers that this is what happened on that day. Take a look at some of the violence. You see these people fighting law enforcement shouting deplorable things, behaving deplorably and remind people five people actually died on this day. Understanding that, now I want you to take a look at the folks defending the actions that took place on that day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): I knew those are people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break a law.

REP. ANDREW CLYDE (R-GA): You didn`t know the T.V. footage was a video from January 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): The question of whether or not the FBI animated some of the criminal conduct is one that is far more grave.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): They`re going to dress up in red MAGA Trump paraphernalia took charge to blend in and create trouble.

REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): The DOJ is harassing peaceful patriots across the country.

REP. MADISON CAWTHORN (R-NC): The reason why they are taking these political prisoners is they`re trying to make an example.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): The people that breached the Capitol on January 6th are being abused.

GOHMERT: We have in this city political prisoners held hostage by their own government.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROSS: Don, this is very concerning because these folks want company. According to The Washington Post, they plan to expand ranks next year and they may not have a lot of resistance considering the crucial, excruciating voter suppression that`s taking place all across these country. The Proud Boys have a comprehensive plan to seek elected office from the local, state and federal levels. Is there a way this can be stopped and what role do you think the committee`s work will play during the midterms?

[19:10:00]

DON CALLOWAY, FOUNDER, VOTER PROTECTION ACTION FUND: Well, good grief, season`s greetings to you too, Tiffany. I would have never made you sit through a montage like that.

CROSS: I`m sorry, my friend. America had to sit through that in real-time. This is a disgusting to see, I know.

CALLOWAY: I think it`s important that we be exposed to the real truth. Listen, I disagree with my friends here and as much as -- I think there is a parallel track. Obviously, DOJ has to do its thing but Congress has to do this thing as well because part of Congress` thing is being public and bringing these things out into sunlight and having the proceedings in the day whereas DOJ conducts legal proceedings which are not always until you get to a certain level, a trial level which are not always certainly for the public to consume. Congress has to have a role in making the role and the evidence public in terms of what exactly happened.

When we talk about 1/6, I think we have to talk about it in the proper terms which is this is an authoritarian coup of government. It was a failed authoritarian coup but nonetheless it was an authoritarian coup with the objective and the goals of not only obstructing but taking over the proper elected capacity of government.

So when we look at that going forward electorally, I think that means very, very clearly the only reason that the coup did not succeed is because the tyrants didn`t control either chamber of the United States government. Except for the executive, of course, which was a lame duck at that point.

But let`s be clear about this, if Republicans win the House and or Senate in 2022 in the midterms, they will not certify a proper Democratic victory in 2024 and they don`t have to if in fact a Democratic department of justice does not hold accountable the insurrectionists some of whom are in Congress from January 6th.

So if they were not held accountable for an actual coup, what will stop them when they choose not to certify when they have the authoritarian imprimatur to absolutely not certify what happens after 2024?

So we`re in for a very, very bleak time. We have not passed the freedom to vote act, which has something to do with curtailing the massive amount of voter suppression activity we`ve seen and we`re in very, very serious trouble, as you point out, Tiffany.

CROSS: And listen, Don, I mean you`re saying they haven`t been held accountable. The low rank and file insurrectionists, there are some of them who have been held accountable but I think the American people want to see -- you know, will we ever see Donald Trump himself be accountable? Will we see ever his children, sitting members of Congress?

Dean, this brings me back to you, this interim report that they`re going to reveal this summer. Look, I get the point this has to happen before midterms. I think the committee wants to show and remind the American electorate whose attention span is not that always that long. I don`t mean you MSNBC viewers but the masses of people across the country may not always be paying attention to the minutia of what`s happening.

I have to save to be the resident Senate here after the Mueller report came out, it was so much fanfare, people were clutching their pearls and will produced quite a bit of damning evidence but nothing happened. And so I wonder if this report will have the same impact that people have just kind of lost faith in the system that any of these folks will truly be held accountable or that democracy will be set back on the right course.

OBEIDALLAH: Well, the one difference is now that DOJ is under Democratic- control, it`s under President Biden`s control, it shouldn`t considered partisan. And one quick thing, I agree with Don. There should be two tracks. There`s the January 6th congressional track, which looks at things like why there was a security failure, how we prevent this, then there`s the criminal prosecution track.

And you just showed those videos, Tiffany, of Republicans defending the January 6th terrorist attack. Donald Trump is going to have a press conference on January 6th in a week from now. That is literally like bin Laden one year after 9/11 having a press conference to defend 9/11. This is where we are.

And I have to say, as a Muslim-American watching the very people on the right who demonize my community for being soft on terrorism and knowing what the terrorists are, literally defending the terrorists who attacked our Capitol on January 6th makes my blood boil. And I have to fight screaming every time I think about this because of what they did to our community that led to hate crimes and attacks on our community.

So, look, these people are terrorists who attacked our Capitol. And I say this to Republicans, you`re either with us or with the terrorists. And right now, numerous GOP members of Congress have chosen the side with terrorist and they should be some kind of consequences for that.

CROSS: Most of the Republican members of Congress have chosen the sides of the terrorists. And we have to stop calling them conservatives. These are right wing extremist occupying Capitol Hill right now, holding American democracy hostage essentially.

Cynthia, take a listen to this voice mail that Congresswoman Debbie Dingell played for America this week. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You goddamn old senile (BLEEP). You`re as old and ugly as Biden. You ought to get the (BLEEP)off the planet. You (BLEEP) foul (BLEEP). They ought to (BLEEP) try you for treason, (BLEEP), you and every one of your scumbag (BLEEP) friends.

[19:15:05]

I hope your family dies in front of you. I pray to God if you`ve got any children, they die in your face.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROSS: My question, Cynthia, is this reminds me obviously of the voicemail that Congresswoman Ilhan Omar received, you know, this kind of vitriol is out there. But there is certainly a reasonable concern that this could lead to actual physical violence, the same way that we had the wide net to hold other people accountable, is there a way to hold Republican members of Congress accountable should something else violent happen to any of these members who had their lives threatened?

ALKSNE: Well, the first thing that has to happen is the person who made that call has to be prosecuted, right? That`s job one. And job two is to continue to bring forth the truth and let people understand what is really happening.

I mean, it`s hard to believe but a majority of people in the Republican Party think Obama was born in Kenya. I mean, a majority of people in the Republican Party think that the election was stolen. And all we can do is continue to tell the truth. And all we can do is to let the January 6th committee do their work and make sure the people understand about the conspiracy.

I mean, today, you started the show with Navarro. Navarro needs to be -- he needs a subpoena after what he said divulged today. They had a conspiracy to try and overturn this election. They had a little cute name for it. And they had Bannon who was going to effectuate it. And when the vice president didn`t go along, they just referred to him as Brutus, as if he`s the person who stabbed Caesar.

And so we have to go forward on that because the truth is the only solution to what we`re going through right now. We have to go through it as a country and begin to believe once again in the truth to support our democracy or it`s over. It`s not going to be a democracy anymore. But job one is to prosecute the people who are making these calls and these threats.

CROSS: Yes. Well, we`ll see if any of them are ever prosecuted. And I`m happy you made the point that the Republican Party believed that President Obama was born in Kenya because this did not begin with Trump. This is the only Republican Party I`ve known and this is certainly not the first time that right wing extremists have occupied Capitol Hill. But that`s a truthful conversation that many are not ready for yet but were having it nonetheless.

Thank you so much, Dean Obeidallah, Don Calloway and Cynthia Alksne.

Up next on THE REIDOUT the long lines for COVID testing, the backlash against the new CDC quarantine guidelines and this big surge in COVID cases among young children is devastating.

Plus, this is one of the ugliest chapters in race history, the Tulsa race massacres. This happened one century ago. And, amazingly, three survivors are still living and still they fight for justice. And now, there are new developments in that fight. You don`t want to miss that. That`s coming up next.

And the sports world is reeling as COVID forces the cancelation of bowl games and sends hundreds of players to the sidelines.

Meanwhile, some of the sports world`s biggest stars are under fire for what they`re saying about COVID.

THE REIDOUT continues right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:22:29]

CROSS: The long lines at testing sites, the mad scramble for masks, thousands of flight cancellations, as Omicron thins airline crews, and now dozens of cruise ships under active investigation because of outbreaks among crew and passengers, yes, many of us are vaccinated, but that terrible sinking feeling of those early days of the pandemic are back.

D.C. has seen nearly a 10-fold increase in cases, which have surged 987 percent the past two weeks. This is as hospitals across the nation grapple with how to rein in the spread of Omicron.

But remember how, early in the pandemic, it seemed as if kids weren`t as impacted by COVID as adults were? Well, that is not the case anymore. And we have the horrible numbers to prove it. Pediatric COVID hospitalizations are growing. New York state health officials revealed that the number of COVID hospitalizations among children has increased four-fold in New York City.

That`s approximately half of the admissions of these kids are under the age of 5. These are babies. As the nation wrestles with the new CDC guidelines that shorten isolation periods, and as the unvaccinated remain defiant, we must ask again, are we a country that truly cares about our children or, quite simply, are we not?

The folks who call themselves pro-life, the anti-choice folks, they would have us believe we are.

Joining me now is Dr. Uche Blackstock, MSNBC medical contributor and the founder and CEO of Advancing Health Equality.

Doctor, I`m so happy to have you with me today. I have so many questions for you.

And I first want to get your thoughts on the updated CDC guidance for quarantine. I know you tweeted about it, suggesting that you thought the guidance perhaps was premature, given that everybody doesn`t even have access to high-quality masks.

Say more about that.

DR. UCHE BLACKSTOCK, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Tiffany, thanks so much for having me.

I will say that, overall, I was shocked at the tightening of these updated guidelines. We had the Delta CEO make the request of the CDC last week and then, within a few days, they updated their guidelines. So just the optics of that, but essentially sending that message of profits over people, there`s still so much that we don`t know about Omicron.

We don`t know how long people stay contagious, meaning how long they have the ability to infect others. And so if we`re saying, you have five days if you`re infected and then just put on a mask, there`s a possibility that we could be sending people back to work still sick, still having the ability to infect other people.

[19:25:10]

And then this idea of telling people to wear a mask for five days, we still are not ensuring that every American has access to a high-quality mask. So that`s an N95 or a similar mask. And, also, we know that rapid testing is currently a debacle. So people don`t even have access to rapid testing.

And that wasn`t even included in the guidelines. So a rapid test would be important for someone to do to ensure that they are no longer contagious. So, essentially, sending people back out, they could still be contagious, they could infect their co-workers or the public.

So, I think we need to think about worker safety first. We need to make sure they have paid sick leave. We need to make sure that they have, like, financial and food support for isolation and quarantine, and have access to personal protective equipment first, before shortening their isolation period.

CROSS: Yes.

And I asked Dr. Fauci about this. And he assured our viewers that this was a decision the CDC made based on medicine. But I have to say, it sounds like economics certainly played a role here.

BLACKSTOCK: Absolutely.

CROSS: And just to make the point about face masks, I mean, you`re right. A lot of doctors are saying these cloth masks that so many people are wearing, that`s just face decoration. It`s not really preventing the virus from transmitting.

So I hope our viewers take note of that.

I want to talk about these babies, because this is really heartbreaking.

BLACKSTOCK: Yes.

CROSS: For all the people who are not vaccinated, who are indifferent to the health and well-being of their neighbors and the folks next to them, do you not care about the sweetest, innocent, most innocent of our society? And that`s children.

Rising numbers of pediatric cases, as we just said, are increasing. As a result, around 300 schools in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, as you know, and New Mexico will remain closed. How would a centralized mask mandate in schools impact these numbers?

BLACKSTOCK: So, yes, so I actually think that it`s not just an indoor mask mandate. We need a multilayered strategy. So, yes...

(CROSSTALK)

CROSS: I`m sorry, not mask mandate. My apologies, Doctor.

BLACKSTOCK: Oh, sure.

CROSS: Or a vaccine mandate. My apologies. Vaccine mandate.

BLACKSTOCK: Yes. OK. Yes. So, exactly.

And I think a vaccine mandate, it would be incredibly important, and not just one for staff, but for students as well. I think there`s this narrative that we have seen and heard at the beginning of the pandemic that children are not that affected by COVID-19.

But, as you mentioned, we`re seeing -- even in this surge, we`re seeing hospitalizations here in New York City increase up to four times. And then we`re in the holiday period. Children are going to be returning to school, right? And schools are not inherently safer. They`re safe if we have a multi layered strategy in schools.

And that includes masks, as you mentioned, but also getting everyone vaccinated, as many people as possible. And so we really need to really push out with that outreach and messaging around getting vaccinated is important, even for our smallest -- our youngest children, as long as they`re eligible, in order to create a safer environment.

But I also think that air filtration, ventilation, that`s another issue that schools need to work on and need support working on. They need air purifiers and other resources in order to make the air safer. So, if we use all of those strategies, we can make learning environments safer for children.

But, yes, as we have seen, Omicron is causing an increase in cases. And so we really need to be aware of how COVID can affect young children.

CROSS: Yes.

BLACKSTOCK: And, as we have seen during the pandemic, it`s actually affected mostly black and Hispanic children.

Those are -- we have had disproportionately higher hospitalizations and represented more of the COVID-19 deaths among children.

CROSS: That is devastating.

And a majority of the children who are hospitalized, according to the reporting, they are unvaccinated.

BLACKSTOCK: Right.

CROSS: I want to talk about the booster.

Oh, and then just one more thing on the schools. We have to consider education support professionals as well. There are folks who work in the cafeteria...

BLACKSTOCK: Absolutely.

CROSS: ... educators, school nurses, counselors, et cetera. All those people are impacted by this.

I want to get to the booster, though, really quickly, because there is some reporting that the booster`s efficacy tends to wane after around 10 weeks. I understand that you feel like a fourth booster could cause basically immune system fatigue.

I mean, I don`t know what to do about this, because, if we have to get boosted every 10 weeks, I mean, wouldn`t -- it feels like there is no exit out of making our bodies resistant to this virus.

BLACKSTOCK: I know.

I think that the challenge is that we`re seeing science evolve right in front of us. We`re learning something new every day. And so some of the data out of Israel is showing that there may be waning immunity against infection after about 10 weeks after the third dose, but still holding -- vaccines still holding up against the worst outcomes, so severe disease hospitalizations and death.

[19:30:03]

Israel has decided to give this fourth dose to health care workers, elderly people, as well as people who are immunocompromised, so high-risk people.

So, again, they`re still studying this effectiveness, right, of this fourth dose. And so we will have to see if that`s something that will be considered here in the U.S. I`m sure we will be closely watching that as well.

CROSS: All right. Well, Dr. Uche, there`s so many questions about this. You will have to come back.

Dr. Uche Blackstock, thank you so much.

BLACKSTOCK: Thank you.

CROSS: All right, still ahead: The Justice for Greenwood Foundation is asking the Department of Justice to conduct a long-overdue formal investigation into the 1921 Tulsa Massacre.

Now, this is a story I have been following closely.

And the foundation`s executive director, Damario Solomon-Simmons, joins me next.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:35:02]

CROSS: All right, many of you know this story by now.

One hundred years ago, a mob of white people bombed, burned and looted the Greenwood neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was known as Black Wall Street. Greenwood was burned to the ground with as many as 300 people slaughtered and another 800 wounded.

Survivors reported seeing bodies tossed into mass graves, into the Arkansas River, or loaded onto trucks or trains out of town, making a true tally of the death toll quite difficult. And it`s important to note that, at that time, Tulsa was the norm, not an anomaly. And yet the Tulsa Massacre and the dozens of others like it remained largely unknown to the majority of Americans because it was covered up and ignored in our history books.

Not a single person was held accountable. The quest for justice has been left to the three known survivors. That`s Hughes Van Ellis, known affectionately as Uncle Red. He`s 100 years old. Lessie Benningfield Randle, known as Mother Randle, she`s 107, and Viola Ford Fletcher, known as Mother Fletcher, who is also 107.

Those survivors are suing the city of Tulsa and six other entities, saying they must be compensated for the losses they endured. They accuse the city of Tulsa of enriching itself by appropriating the massacre.

Last month, Damario Solomon-Simmons, the lawyer for the three survivors, sent a letter to the Department of Justice requesting a federal investigation into this massacre.

In the letter, Simmons writes: "For the last three remaining survivors, their descendants and the countless descendants of the other victims, an investigation identifying the individuals and entities that engaged in the racially motivated murder, assault, battery, arson, and looting of their property, and finding all of the mass graves associated with the massacre, is a crucial component of justice."

Indeed, it is.

Damario Solomon-Simmons joins me now.

Damario, you know I have so much respect for you. And I`m so happy that you`re here with me this evening.

You and I have been having these conversations for quite a while. At this point, what does justice look like for the descendants and the survivors?

DAMARIO SOLOMON-SIMMONS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JUSTICE FOR GREENWOOD FOUNDATION: Well, good evening, Tiffany. It`s so good to see you. And thank you for having me on the show.

Justice looks like a lot of things, but, in particular, for this Department of Justice, justice looks like an investigation to come in and figure out, where are all the mass graves? As you stated, there were hundreds of people that we know were killed. There are thousands of people we never heard from again.

These were uncles and brothers and fathers and mothers of my clients and all the hundreds and hundreds of descendants that we represent and work with throughout the nation. And just as obviously would be reparations and compensation for what happened.

But as it relates to the Department of Justice, we`re asking for the Department of Justice to come in and investigate what was the largest crime scene in U.S. history. You`re talking about 40 square blocks.

This crime happened on federal land. This crime destroyed federal property. And we need the president and the vice president, who, as they met with my clients back in May and June, who said that the federal government would not forget Tulsa. We`re looking for the Department of Justice to remember those words and not forget Tulsa and to launch an investigation.

Under this issue, we must have closure. We must know where all these mass graves are. We must get this absolutely investigated and show those people who -- who perpetrated the massacre, let`s the name those individuals.

CROSS: Yes, I think that is important too. Let`s name those individuals, and let`s name the thing that allowed those individuals to be so violent.

You talk about reparations. I want you to take a listen to a conversation I had with the Tulsa mayor, Mayor G.T. Bynum, about his own family`s connection to what happened in Tulsa. Take a listen, and I will ask you a question on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CROSS: With you specifically, the Bynum family, as you -- I`m sure you know, enslaved nearly 1,000 people. And you inherited that wealth from the family, where the African-Americans here in the community had their wealth taken from them.

So, when you say no cash payouts, I think people look at it and say, well, wow, you inherited wealth, you inherited your position in life because of enslaving people who look like me.

How do you reconcile saying, yes, but that was then, and we don`t owe you anything for that now?

G.T. BYNUM (R), MAYOR OF TULSA, OKLAHOMA: Because you`re asking me about reparations for an event that was a criminal act 100 years ago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROSS: He never quite answered my question, Damario, the audacity, the temerity, the caucacity of it all.

Last we spoke, you were going before a judge, Judge Caroline Wall. She was going to decide if this case can move forward or dismiss it. Where does that stand?

SOLOMON-SIMMONS: Well, we had that on September 28. And we now are December 20, 90 days later, and we still do not have a decision.

[19:40:03]

And for our three living survivors, who you highlight this -- before we all started talking, they`re waiting each and every day trying to figure out if they`re going to have an opportunity to move forward and have an opportunity to prove that this case desires -- deserves justice in a Tulsa city, county district court.

And we have not had that opportunity yet. And we`re still waiting. It has been over 90 days. And how much longer do these people have to wait for justice? And it`s just sad when you hear Mayor Bynum, who has been on record many times saying he`s against reparations, he`s against compensation, he`s against justice for Greenwood.

Here`s an individual not only, according to your reporting, that his family own enslaved Africans, but his family has been in power in Tulsa for over 100 years. His great-grandfather was the mayor of Tulsa around the turn of the century. His grandfather was mayor of Tulsa in the `60s and `70s. His uncle was mayor of Tulsa in the 2000s. And now he`s mayor of Tulsa.

So not only did he inherit wealth from his alleged slaveholding relatives. He`s inherited wealth and power right here in Tulsa right on the backs of those who were destroyed during the massacre.

So, as you stated, it is without -- it`s the height of hypocrisy for a person in that position not to support reparations, restoration and repair for the people that suffered the massacre.

CROSS: Height of hypocrisy, but not surprising.

And I just want to shout out Nehemiah Frank, who`s the editor in chief of "The Black Wall Street Times," who uncovered the history about his family.

And I think it`s important that we recognize, it`s disappointing that this judge has not made a decision, but, again, the systemic oppression of black people. There is no current black federal judge in Tulsa. Judge Caroline Wall is a constitutional conservative, she calls herself, a Christian family lawyer.

And it`s just disappointing. I think, out of this, the most important thing that I care about is, how is Mother Fletcher, Mother Randle, and Uncle Red?

SOLOMON-SIMMONS: These people are amazing.

I mean, Mother Fletcher and Uncle Red just was recognized last week down at the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. the L.A. Lakers game. They sat courtside and stayed the entire game, met a lot of the players, and giving out interviews and autographs themselves.

And Mother Randle, she`s doing just fine. She doesn`t travel as much as those two, those -- the brother and sister, Ellis and Fletcher. But they`re doing fantastic.

But they`re really wanting justice. And they tell me and their family tell me, look, they`re over 100 years old. They want to see to justice for themselves, but it`s more important to them that justice happens for their families and the entire Greenwood community and the Greenwood diaspora.

As you stated, Joy (sic), Greenwood was the Black Wall Street of America. And when it was destroyed, it dispersed people throughout the nation. And our organization, Justice For Greenwood, we represent and work with these hundreds of families.

CROSS: Yes.

SOLOMON-SIMMONS: We have over 125 families in our network that we`re fighting for each and every day.

And we hope to get a decision soon from Judge Wall. And we hope to get a decision soon from the Department of Justice that they will move forward utilizing the Emmett Till Act, which gives them the authority to move forward an investigation...

CROSS: Yes.

SOLOMON-SIMMONS: ... that we have been waiting for, for 100 years.

CROSS: That`s right, yes.

I`m happy that they`re all doing well. They travel a lot. And I told you to give a message to them when they were going to Ghana to please be careful. And Mother Fletcher told you to tell me: Honey, I survived white supremacy. I can survive a trip to Africa.

(LAUGHTER)

CROSS: So, we will have to keep our eye on this story.

And thank you so much, Damario Solomon-Simmons, for giving us an update. We will definitely be in touch.

All right, up next: The sports world is not immune from the ravages of this pandemic. COVID is wreaking havoc, with a huge spike in players and coaches testing positive, canceled games, and health and safety guidelines in constant flux.

Bomani Jones, he will join me next to break down all this chaos.

Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:48:09]

CROSS: OK, for all your sports fans out there, the run-up to New Year`s Eve is also college football bowl season.

But with COVID and the Omicron variant tearing through the country, let me just tell you, it ain`t looking good. With just hours until kickoff, tonight`s Holiday Bowl was canceled because of UCLA`s COVID issues, making it five bowl games canceled because of COVID.

On Monday, Boise State backed out of Friday`s Arizona Bowl. And the team it was supposed to play, Central Michigan, jumped to a different one, replacing the University of Miami, which had to bow out of the Sun Bowl, again, all of this because of COVID.

A game scheduled for Christmas Eve was already scrapped, and two others were canceled after Boston College and University of Virginia pulled out because of their outbreaks on their rosters.

Now, despite all that, the upcoming college football playoff games are still on. They will not be rescheduled. And organizers rolled out a new policy for if one of the four teams has to forfeit due to COVID.

It`s just another sign of the pandemic upending the sports world, after a year of mixed success, especially now that the Omicron variant is surging. The NFL has been hit hard. More than 100 players are on COVID reserve lists after a record 106 players tested positive on Monday. More than 500 have been benched because of COVID this month alone.

The NBA also has a surge. More than 100 of their players are currently in COVID protocols. And although, on Monday, the league shorten the isolation period for those who test positive, the NBA has already postponed nine games because of COVID.College basketball, that has also taken a big hit this season, with hundreds of men`s and women`s games postponed or flat-out canceled.

The question now, will the Omicron surge send more of the sports world into tighter restrictions and affect major events in the new year, like Super Bowl and NBA All-Star?

[19:50:05]

That`s what we`re going to talk about right after the break. You don`t want to miss it. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROSS: All right, some sad news.

Tonight, the NFL announced the passing of a football legend on multiple fronts. John Madden, Hall of Fame coach and longtime broadcaster, passed away at the age of 85.

While he may be known to young fans for lending his name to the popular "Madden" video games, Madden coached the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl victory, before retiring, prematurely, some might argue, at the age of 42, to become a giant in sports broadcasting.

Joining me now is another giant in sports broadcasting, and that`s Bomani Jones, host of the podcast "The Right Time With Bomani Jones" and the upcoming HBO show "Game Theory," which I`m so excited about, "Game Theory With Bomani Jones."

Thanks, Bomani, for being here.

We have to start out with this Madden news. I`m just so curious your thoughts about him. I -- obviously, as you know, not the best sports enthusiast here, but I knew him for his comments like boom and doink.

[19:55:10]

(LAUGHTER)

CROSS: I hope I said that correctly.

What are your thoughts on losing such a legend?

BOMANI JONES, ESPN: Well, I think the running theme on the life of John Madden, at least as we have known him, is humanity, right?

Like, one thing that I think could be difficult for younger people is to realize that coaches didn`t always look like boring, slicked-back CEOs. And John Madden, if you go back and look at him coaching the Raiders in the `70s, like in those short-sleeved dress shirts, and looking kind of disheveled, but also being really, really good at his job, he seemed like a regular dude.

And then he moved into broadcasting, where he was such an excellent talker, and so good at, like, explaining football to people, but also, again, like a regular person. Like, that was the running theme with him, I think, is how touchable he seemed to be, how tangible that he had seemed to be.

And so you have really got three different generations of sports fans that look at him as a legend in three different ways.

CROSS: It`s quite the end of an era. I mean, his name was synonymous with one of the most popular sports -- or video games out there.

So, our thoughts and condolences to his family this evening, a life well- lived, indeed.

I want to chat about some of these games being canceled, Bomani, because I just went through a whole list about all the college games being canceled. And the Rose Bowl, though, is still happening. It`s just down the road from where the Super Bowl will be played.

What do you think the impacts will be? Because, in these stadiums, they`re packed. People are sitting close. I haven`t seen a lot of protocols for what it takes to get in there. Obviously, the Super Bowl is still going to happen. It`s an economic juggernaut.

But what are your thoughts on how it will be impacted?

JONES: Well, I don`t know.

The impact is a difficult thing to gauge, because, I mean, a lot of these games are going to be canceled, and there are going to be financial ramifications for a lot of people in the course of this.

But what I think we`re just going to see across the board everywhere is, they`re going to do whatever it takes to get these games played. Like, any game that you see that has been canceled, I can assure you they tried everything possible to find a way to get people out there to play that game.

The Sun Bowl, for example, when a team backed out, they just basically went looking around for people who were looking for a game, and then Central Michigan is going to take a trip to El Paso, because they`re going to put that game on television.

So I don`t know what`s going to be different in terms of fans and transmission. I have not looked closely enough at what the transmission numbers have been for people that have attended games up until this point. But what you`re seeing is sports, I think, is the same as you`re seeing everywhere else, which is the primary concern in the face of Omicron for people in charge seems to be staffing.

And they`re going to make the moves that are necessary to make sure that people can come to work.

CROSS: Well, let`s talk NBA, because, I think, for anyone who knows you, you take COVID very seriously. You follow protocols stringently.

So I`m really curious your thoughts on Kyrie Irving`s return to the NBA. New York has a vaccine mandate. New York`s your neck of the woods, and he`s going to be a part-time player, which I don`t quite understand. What`s your take on all that?

JONES: Well, I thought that, when they first made the decision that you could not be a part-time player, it was totally understandable, especially with the dynamics of team sports. Either you are on the squad or you`re not on the squad. That`s what it was going to be.

But they`re down bodies, and it reached a point where they were losing so many people to COVID, and just all the attrition that we`re seeing from the season, that the team basically made the decision that, if Kevin Durant was OK with him playing, and they could get him to play games on the road, then they almost didn`t have any other choice other than to do it.

So, like, this isn`t, to me, a change too much around the protocols that have existed, because New York hasn`t changed its laws. And he`s not going to be able to play in New York. But I can understand why the team would bend on the other thing, which is, you can`t be halfway on the team.

They will take halfway, quarter-way, whatever it takes to get these gangs play.

CROSS: What`s your take on this meme that LeBron James posted? Look, I think we put a lot of responsibility on athletes sometimes, perhaps warranted.

But he posted this meme that kind of mocks people and the vaccine. You see it there on the screen. Does he have a responsibility to encourage people to get the vaccine? And if he doesn`t, should he be flippant about it with a meme like this?

JONES: Well, he`s responsible to encourage people to get the vaccine if he thinks the vaccine is what`s best for people to do.

That`s what I would say his responsibility is. But I would say this about that meme. I don`t even really fully understand what it is that he`s trying to convey there. Like, that was unclear to me.

And a dude that`s worth that much money and so concerned with everything that he generally says, I wouldn`t think that this would be the time to be ambiguous about anything. He decided that was going to be what he did. He`s not in a place where I think that he is allowed to back up and just be like, hey, I was just messing around on Instagram.

You`re a little bit too big for that. Now, with the responsibility thing, I want to be clear, though. I do think that for, LeBron, as he has put so much of the emphasis on the idea that he himself is a leader, right, that he is a person that stands up in these times and speaks for other people, I can`t believe he`s handled this vaccine situation the way he has.

CROSS: Yes, it`s quite baffling to see.

Listen, Bomani, I want to tell you something I`m very excited about. And that is "Sports (sic) Theory With Bomani Jones" on HBO.

Please promise you will come back on my show and talk about it the week it premieres. You`re going to be so dope and amazing. And we`re all cheering you on.

JONES: I appreciate it.

CROSS: So, thank you so much for joining me this evening. Thank you.

JONES: "Game Theory," look out for it.

CROSS: That`s right.

Thank you so much, Bomani.

And that is tonight`s REIDOUT.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.