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Transcript: The ReidOut, 12/9/21

Guests: Errin Haines, Olivia Troye, Tim O`Brien, Tristan Snell, David Cay Johnston


Appeals court rules against Trump. New York attorney general wants to depose Trump. Democrats fight to save American democracy. Biden kicks off first summit for democracy.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Well, tonight, we salute him for his extraordinary contributions to NBC and MSNBC. So many of us have spent so many years getting the news from him. He`s paved the way in more avenues and aspects than I can certainly capture with words right now. So I will just say at the end of our broadcast, thank you, Brian, and we will be watching tonight.

That does it for THE BEAT. THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid starts right now. Hi, Joy.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: How are you doing, Ari?

I have to say really quickly, my favorite Brian Williams story is when I was working as a web news editor at WTVJ, I remember he came in. I`m like oh my God, that`s Brian Williams. And he set up shop like sitting next to us. And we were just the web news guys. Like people didn`t necessarily to talk to us. But he took the time to ask each of us our names, chatted. I was like, this is the nicest man I`ve ever met. He was so cool and so open and so personable. We love him. We love Brian Williams.

MELBER: Amen. And I`ll just add, you know, we sit here and try to figure out how to do the news and it`s kind of a tough job. Watching him from before I ever looked in this business, it was like, that looks like how to do it, if you can do 10 percent of it the way he does it.

REID: Amen. And he is funny. He is hilarious. And we love him. Anyway, thank you very much, I appreciate you. Have a wonderful evening.

Okay, good evening, everybody. We have a lot to get to in the next hour, including two legal setbacks for Donald Trump. Late today, a federal appeals court ruled against his effort to withhold documents from the January 6th committee. And the New York attorney general is seeking a deposition from Trump early next month as part of her investigation into the Trump Organization. And we`re going to get to both of those stories shortly.

But we begin THE REIDOUT tonight with something that`s become abundantly clear, and the battle to save this American experiment with multiracial democracy, there is one party that is standing up for small D democracy, the government of the people, by the people and for the people, and that is the Democratic Party.

And then there is the party of open hostility to democracy, and that`s the Republican Party. Just look at the past 24 hours. President Biden began a two-day global virtual summit this morning on renewing democracy here and abroad. And while he didn`t explicitly mention the attack on democracy on January 6th, he stressed that democracy worldwide is headed in the wrong direction.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: In the face of sustained and alarming challenges to democracy, universal human rights and all around the world, democracy needs champions. Here in the United States, we know as well as anyone that renewing our democracy and strengthening our democratic institution requires constant effort.

We need to enact what we call the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Right Advancement Act, and that`s going to remain a priority for my administration until we get it done. Inaction is not an option.


REID: Later at a ceremony honoring the late Senate majority leader, Bob Dole, at the Capitol, Biden called him a hero of democracy. And make no mistake, Dole wasn`t perfect. It wasn`t all great. He was die-hard partisan Republican who backed Donald Trump. But as a senator, he co-sponsored an extension of the Voting Rights Act in 1982 over the opposition of the Reagan administration.

That would be impossible in today`s GOP, which is now openly trying to nullify the votes of black and brown Americans while they`re fully embracing their inability to accept an election loss.

Mango Mussolini`s handpicked GOP candidate, Republican candidate for governor of Georgia, David Perdue, told Axios that if he had been the governor last year, he would not have certified Georgia`s election reports, meaning he would have supported the coup.

Now, never mind that was zero evidence in Georgia`s election. Multiple recounts confirmed the former president`s loss. And Georgia law does not allow the governor to reject the results. But Perdue`s pro-coup stance is just one sign of how deeply the former president`s anti-democratic big lie has become Republican dogma.

Georgia Republicans have also wasted no time taking advantage of a provision in their restrictive voting law passed this year allowing state election boards to take control of county election boards. Reuters reports that they`re now racing to purge black Democrats from those boards, reorganizing six county boards in recent months through county-specific legislation.

In one rural county, local judges appointed a white Republican to replace a black Democrat, giving Republicans a one-vote majority. In another, the Republican County Commission ousted two black Democrats from the board, boards in two of the six counties have already moved to restrict access to the ballot.

I`m joined now by Errin Haines, Editor-at-large of The 19th, and Olivia Troye, Director of the Republican Accountability Project and former adviser to Vice President Pence.

And, Errin, I`m going to start with you about Georgia. There is going to be a legal challenge. I will note that the Hill is reporting that judge has cleared the way. A federal judge did request, they rejected a request to dismiss a legal challenge to that restrictive law.


The lawsuit was filed this spring by the Georgia NAACP and other groups that argue the state`s new votes limits threaten to illegally suppress the vote. So, that is good news. The courts are at least acting. But when it comes to either redistricting or literally attempting to seize control of every place that black people vote in Georgia, Republicans are moving right along ahead, right ahead with destroying democracy. What is being done on the ground to turn that back?

ERRIN HAINES, THE 19TH EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes, well, you know, Joy, I want to first start by just noting that these are the kinds of moves that would have been subject to preclearance, right? Under the Voting Rights Act, pre- Shelby, but now legal challenges are really one of the main avenues of recourse that folks have who understand that this has the potential to be disenfranchising to voters.

And, you know, I understand that Republicans in Georgia continue to say that this is about election integrity, but it`s kind of hard to question that when you have the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger saying that these elections were deemed safe, secure and accurate, and they were run not once, not twice, but three times the results of those elections despite the former president looking for those 12,000 or so votes that would have declared him the victor in Georgia.

But that Reuters story, to your point, Joy, says six county boards have been taken over since the passage of S.B.-202 earlier this year. There are 159 counties in Georgia, so, you know, we have a long way to go here, but that this is a cause for alarm because you have a Republican-controlled state election board that`s assuming control of county boards that they deem underperforming, whatever they decide that that means. And they`re also looking, by the way, into Fulton County, which is the most Democratic, and in the south, that means also the blackest county in the state.

So, these are rural counties. Normally, this kind of thing would happen outside of the bright spotlight of Metro Atlanta if it wasn`t for voting rights and voter suppression being such an issue. You`ve got organizers on the ground that are obviously trying to once again make this a question of voter turnout versus voter suppression in Georgia as you`ve got a couple of really high profile races, the governor`s race and also Senate race coming up next year in Georgia.

So, the stakes could not be higher but the infrastructure is already on the ground, in place and in motion to potentially disenfranchise so many of the people that you saw standing in line in record numbers just this time last year and again in January to turn that state blue.

REID: And the thing is, you know, Olivia, you have on the one hand, part of this is GOTV. Because Republican voter -- the Republican voter base cannot stand to lose, they`re just like Donald Trump. They stomp their feet and get mad, and if they lose, they say, well, I`m not going to come out to vote if I don`t get to win. I want to guarantee I`m going to win. And Trump`s want to guarantee he`s going to win. And so people like David Perdue were saying, well, if I`ve been in there, I would have guarantee that you win. The people who refuse to guarantee that Donald Trump won got death threats, death threats all the way down to just people -- low paid people who were just counting the votes. And Republican are saying, we are willing to threaten your life, to issue death threat, storm the Capitol, commit violence, to do anything, but we must win when we vote. And so part of it is that GOTV saying, no, we`ll guarantee, don`t worry. We`ll make sure your vote.

There`s also this restrictive -- let`s put up this redistricting map that essentially just draws a little circle around everybody black and say we`re going to put those in a box and make sure every county is majority white. It is about GOTV, but it is also fundamentally, Olivia, about not believing that elections are legitimate, period, that they just want to seize power. I wonder if there is a way to organize against that.

OLIVIA TROYE, DIRECTOR, REPUBLICAN ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT: Well, it`s a frightening moment for our democracy, because it`s rigging the system before our very eyes right now. And it is happening at all levels. It`s happening -- we`re getting the disinformation, an ongoing disinformation campaign at the national level by elected Republican officials right now. They continue to push these lies and we`re getting to see at the local levels by the voting laws that are being passed by the states and the leaders that are empowering this to happen.

And, quite frankly, with Perdue`s statement about the 2020 election, I actually think that should be a disqualifier because you are blatantly lying as a person running for candidacy of governor in a state. And I think that should be disqualifying in the state because you`re lying to the American people.

But I think -- you know, I think this is going to be a very hard moment for our country. The more that these movements continue to enable this to happen, and I think it`s also a very dangerous moment for our country because all of these things actually undermine public confidence, not only in our electoral system but they`re undermining public confidence in our public institutions. And what these threats, these threats are ongoing, and I think that they`re going increase going forward. And I am very concerned about what`s going happen in the 2022 midterms.

We`re in the middle of democracy (INAUDIBLE) on a global summit, and I just keep thinking about the fact that what happened to the United States being the beacon of democracy and setting the example for the world.


Right now, we have foreign adversaries watching what is happening here, watching elected leaders consistently undermine our democratic system. And you`ve got to believe they`re pointing to that. They`re pointing to that example and they`re mocking us. They`re using this undermining us globally as well. I mean, there is multiple layers of implications of what is happening here.

REID: Well, I mean, you`ve got to -- at the local level, I mean, it`s thorough, right, Errin? I mean, you`ve got this conspiracy theorists served you everything, from QAnon, on running for all of these local and state official spots. So, they`re going to be in position from the school board all the way up, theoretically, to the governorship to all be in place to implement the big lie, and not just to believe it but to implement it. You have got Trump hunting his enemies list and take out any political leader, any Republican who refused to do it last time so that he can be guaranteed that they`ll do it this time.

And so I wonder how we even conduct elections in Georgia if, in fact, Republicans have put themselves in place to reverse the results? You know, this is sort of a Wilmington moment because if Democrats manage to put in place a Stacey Abrams as governor, then they will have done that on top what they just did with these two senators, God knows what`s going to happen, God knows what happens after that. Your thoughts.

HAINES: And this is why you have Democrats in places like Georgia, in places like Texas continuing to push for federal legislation around voting rights, right? Because while voting rights is stalling in Congress, voter suppression is absolutely on the march at the state level and is going to be when state legislators reconvene at the top of 2022.

So, what`s happening in between these presidential cycles at the local level absolutely sets the stage around ballot access in the upcoming election and beyond.

You know, Olivia mentioned the democracy summit that`s happening right now in Washington. The remarks that President Biden and Vice President Harris were giving were being made to other countries, but they just as easily could have been made to Congress, right? I mean, I was at President Biden`s major speech in Philadelphia when he talked about voting rights, and, really, so many of the organizers that helped to put this administration in office are really wanting him to continue to push for this.

He called the fight for democracy the defining challenge of our time. He brought up, quoted the late Congressman John Lewis, who we know was a civil rights icon who risked his life for voting right rights in Tulsa. He tasked Kamala Harris with voting rights as part of her portfolio. And she said today, you know, things like ensuring every eligible American can access to right to vote is an effort that she`s proud to lead and that executive action is not enough. She said the status of women is the status of democracy in this country.

And so saying those kinds of things on the world stage I think absolutely indicates that they are aware that the rest of the world is watching. President Biden said that the U.S. is going to lead by in -- I mean, lead by example, but right now that example very much looks like voter suppression as opposed to voting rights, right?

And So I think the world is wondering what that example is going to be going forward because we are losing our standing in terms of being kind of the leading democracy that the rest of the world looks to for guidance as to how to conduct, you know, a small D democratic government.

REID: And, you know, we`re going have to bring you guys back on, you ladies back on. Because I think one of the questions people always ask is, so what do we do about it? And I think that`s something we have to really think about it.

Okay, we know what they`re doing. The question is, you know, giving -- having a democracy summit is nice and giving speeches is great, but we need to figure out what we`re actually going do about this, because we have to fight back.

Errin Haines, Olivia Troye, thank you both very much.

Up next on THE REIDOUT, more witnesses come forward to meet with the January 6th select committee as Trump loses again in court over turning over documents.

Plus, two major announcements from New York Attorney General Letitia James, one involves Donald Trump`s -- the investigation of Donald Trump. The other regards her own political future.

Meanwhile, Republicans seem to be rooting for bad economic news but most signs show the Biden economy is booming.

And remember the T.V. show, 24? Tonight`s absolute worst is a real life 24 hours of dangerous misinformation. You`re not going to believe it.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: There is breaking news in the January 6th investigation. Late this afternoon, an appeals court rejected Donald Trump`s efforts to block turning over White House records to the January 6th committee. In a unanimous opinion from the three-judge panel, the court said Trump provided no basis to override President Biden`s decision not to invoke executive privilege over the documents. It`s expected that Trump`s lawyers will file an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the top Republican on the House select committee, Liz Cheney, tweeted today that the committee has already met with nearly 300 witnesses, including four more key figures today, Kash Patel, the former Chief of Staff to then-acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, Chris Krebs, former Director of the Department of Homeland Security`s Cyber Security Agency, who was fired by Trump after declaring the last election to be the most secure in America`s history, Attorney John Eastman, notorious author of The blueprint to steal the election, and Ali Alexander, the organizer of the Stop the Steal rally that drew Trump supporters to Washington on January 6th.

Now, as far as criminal charges go, the government has brought charges against more than 700 of the MAGA supporters who participated in the insurrection itself. And serious questions remain about how so many people from across the country were convinced to take such radical actions that day.

Joining me now is Ayman Mohyeldin, Host of MSNBC`s, AYMAN and the new MSNBC original podcast, AMERICAN RADICAL, that investigates the radicalization of one of the Capitol insurrectionists, and Glenn Kirschner, former Federal Prosecutor and an MSNBC Columnist.


Glenn, I am going to start with you on this appeals court decision.

I don`t have a lot of faith in the Supreme -- in the United States Supreme Court, quite bluntly. But what do you think the chances are that they will, number one, review this in expedited fashion, and, number two, that they will reverse -- in your view, reverse this decision to say, no, executive privilege really does mean the current president, not the last one?

GLENN KIRSCHNER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: You know, first of all, Joy, there`s no reason for the Supreme Court to exercise review of this case.

There`s no serious constitutional issue to be decided or resolved. This is almost a rare instance where you have two branches of government in agreement. The legislative branch wanted the information from the National Archives, and the executive branch, Joe Biden, said, we think these documents should be turned over because it`s in the national interest for the House select committee to get to the bottom of January 6.

There really is no reason for the Supreme Court to exercise its discretion and take review of the case. And I`m with you, Joy. I don`t have a ton of confidence in the Supreme Court as presently constituted.

But here`s what I will say. When they had the opportunity to review election challenges, they declined to do it. When they had an opportunity to decide whether Donald Trump is a king, because they had to decide whether he should be required to turn over tax returns and financial documents, they bluntly said: You`re not a king. You`re subject to the system, like any other human being.

And so I think, on the presidential power front, and on the integrity of our elections front, the Supreme Court`s track record has actually been pretty good, unlike its track record on other fronts.

REID: Yes.

I mean, and, Ayman, part of my lack of faith in the Supreme Court is that - - and you have a podcast that`s about the radicalization of one of the individuals that was at the Capitol, but I think the radicalization of the Republican Party, it`s on the rooter to the tooter. It`s from top to bottom.

It`s a Mark Meadows, who used to be a normcore Republican congressman, who now is facing potential contempt of Congress by his former colleagues because he`s decided that, no, I don`t believe subpoenas are real, I don`t have to follow them. The Steve Bannon model is now the model, right, where you can just say, I just ignore this subpoena.

And it goes all the way down to your average what used to be a regular Republican, who`s now a QAnon. And so I think that radicalization, to me, also includes the court, that -- where they`re like, we can throw out precedent. Stare decisis means literally nothing. We can just get rid of it, because our religious beliefs say we`re going to get rid of abortion.

It`s total. And so I wonder what you make of it, just as somebody who`s -- you have been able to cover international radicalization movements and the domestic one here. Where do you see this sort of through points?

AYMAN MOHYELDIN, MSNBC HOST: Well, listen, I mean, forget Mark Meadows for a second. Look at Marjorie Taylor Greene.

REID: Hello.

MOHYELDIN: She`s telling you that she is somebody who has espoused QAnon theories. She may have apologized for them. But, quite honestly, when she speaks in private, she still perpetuates that the election was stolen.

And so she is still out there in places like Northwest Georgia, where I spent the better part of the last year investigating this radicalization. And it`s people like her who are taking young women and men from the QAnon world and connecting them to the Trump world and the MAGA world and saying, hey, listen, if you partake and you become a foot soldier in our movement, you can go, indeed, try to overturn our democracy, overturn our election.

Put the Supreme Court on the side for a moment. When you`re looking at what is happening and playing out with the issue of radicalization, it`s young people. They may be destitute. They may certainly have some -- out on their luck, if you will, or down on their luck, bombarded with this disinformation of that the election was stolen.

And then they follow demagogues, whether it`s Marjorie Taylor Greene, or whether it`s Donald Trump, who says, I alone can fix it. Come -- if I shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue, they`re still going to support me.

And they believe that they are the foot soldiers in this movement. So when he says go up to the Capitol and stop the transfer of power, stop the certification of the election, they`re prepared to prepare to do it, and, in some cases, tragically, pay for it with their lives.

And that`s part of what we have been investigating over the last year. How did this young woman in our podcast, Rosanne, go from being someone who was apolitical, somebody whose family said she actually made fun of Donald Trump early on in his administration -- she didn`t take him seriously.

How does she go from that to suddenly voting for the first time in her life and becoming a foot soldier in this very dangerous ideology?

REID: Right.

And we`re going to play -- let`s play a quick clip from it. Let`s play a clip from this special that Ayman produced.


QUESTION: Let me ask you this, Justin.

You said, I don`t understand why this is being portrayed as a violent event. But, at the end of the day, you have four people who are dead.


QUESTION: Does the president, President Trump, have blood on his hands?

WINCHELL: Does he have blood on his hands? No.

QUESTION: You don`t think the president bears any responsibility as to whether...

WINCHELL: It was a peaceful event. Absolutely not.

QUESTION: But it turned violent.

WINCHELL: I know. And we weren`t the perpetuators of the violence. Do you understand?


It was peaceful, peaceful, peaceful, peaceful. It was peaceful.


REID: And, Ayman, just to stay with for just a moment.

It is a pod -- by special, I mean podcast.

It`s total, right? And it`s whether it`s this person or the woman from Publix, the Publix heiress, who`s sending $650,000 over to say let`s fund this Stop the Steal movement. It doesn`t feel like it`s in -- like, it can be separated, right?

It feels like it`s sort of permanent radicalization.


And I`m so glad you played that sound bite, because -- from the podcast, because, first of all, that was the guy who was with Rosanne in the final hours, final minutes of her life.

This interview that we tracked down happened the day after. So it gives you a sense that, even after the world had seen the insurrection, even though we had seen Trump supporters attack the police with flags, waving Trump flags, throwing projectiles, hurting the police, smashing through windows, they still believe that it was a peaceful protest.

They still believe that it was not them that were the violent ones and that they were being instigated and agitated by Antifa and BLM.

So it gives you a sense of the denial that they live in, the inability to see the reality for what it is, and they live in their own bubble. Whether they are somebody who`s living overseas funding money and funneling money to these groups and movements, or whether it is, as the president and his allies like Marjorie Taylor Greene continue to say behind closed doors that the election was stolen, it is ultimately fueling a very dangerous radicalization in this country.

Listen, really quickly, the number of people who have messaged me since this podcast have come out -- has come out, saying, I have a mother who`s a QAnon believer, I have a sister who has gone down this rabbit hole, they have severed their relationships with.

And it`s a serious problem that I think, if this was any other context in this country, if this was Muslim ideology or extremist ideology in the context of Islamic radicalism that we have spent 20 years fighting, if that would have happened, that jihadist ideology, this country would be up in arms, seeing the kind of radicalization that is taking place in various parts of this country.

REID: Yes.

Oh, I mean, to say nothing of if Muslims were like posting pictures of themselves with the whole family, including 5-year-olds, holding firearms and hold AR-15s.

Let me very quickly ask you, Glenn, is it -- does it become a defense? We - - going all the way up to this Publix heiress who`s throwing all this money at this insurrection activity, people like, what`s her name -- what`s her name -- Sidney Powell, who used to be a respected attorney, who has gone all the way down the rabbit hole and is being investigated for her activities.

Is radicalization at some point something that they can use in their own defense?

KIRSCHNER: It`s not a legal defense, but it`s a mitigator. In other words, it might reduce somebody`s punishment or the sentence they`re facing for the crimes they committed, but it will not get them out from under criminal responsibility for what they did.

But all of this, Joy, it highlights the fact that Donald Trump is the one who incited it. And his criminal associates are the one who stoked these flames with their lies about stolen votes and stolen elections. And Donald Trump on January 6, told people what to do. Go down there and stop the steal. That`s an action word.

And the fact that he used the word steal, we all know that`s a lie. So that provides the corrupt intent for Donald Trump`s inciting this insurrection. That`s where the responsibility needs to lie.

REID: Yes. And we`re using the right word for it. And that`s what we have to call it. It`s radicalization, no different than if this was in another country.

It`s still radicalization by an individual who has a self-interest. And he doesn`t do the violence himself because he doesn`t want to pay for the crimes. He lets other people do the crimes.

Ayman Mohyeldin, congratulations on the podcast. Glenn Kirschner, thank you very much. Appreciate you both.

Still ahead: New York state Attorney General Letitia James would like a word with the twice-impeached disgraced former president about his business practices. Does this mean that her investigation into the Trump Organization is nearing an end?

We will be right back.




MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY/FIXER FOR DONALD TRUMP: It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it`s served his purposes, such as trying to be listed amongst the wealthiest people in "Forbes," and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.


REID: Thanks to former Trump fixer Michael Cohen`s testimony in 2019, New York Attorney General Tish James started looking into Donald Trump`s finances.

And now she`s planning to depose Trump, calling him in to answer questions under oath on January 7. James is investigating whether Trump committed fraud by improperly inflating the value of his assets on annual -- on annual financial statements in order to secure loans and obtain economic and tax benefits.

They`re looking into several properties where Trump reported different valuations to banks and tax authorities. For example, the Trump Organization owns an office building at 40 Wall Street in Manhattan. In 2012, when the company was listing its assets for potential lenders, it said the building was worth $527 million, which would make it among the most valuable in New York.

But just a few months later, the Trump Organization told property tax officials that the entire 70-story building was worth less than a high-end Manhattan condo, just $16.7 million. According to newly released city records, that was less than 1/30th of the amount it had claimed the year before.

That property is now under scrutiny from the Manhattan district attorney and New York attorney general, along with several others like it for which the Trump Organization gave vastly different value estimates, according to public records and people familiar with the investigations who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing inquiries.

As "The Washington Post" notes, appraisers have said it is highly unusual for a company to provide such widely different valuations of the same properties at the same time.

Trump`s lawyer respond today, saying -- quote -- "Mr. Trump is right when he says this is a witch-hunt. We are not concerned about it because he has done nothing wrong."

I`m joined now by Tim O`Brien, senior columnist at Bloomberg Opinion, and Tristan Snell, former assistant attorney general of New York and managing partner of Main Street Law.

Mr. Snell, I`m going to point you to the tweet that you put up earlier today. You said: "If the New York A.G. Wants to depose Trump, it`s because they have already assembled their case. Trump`s testimony would just be the icing. You don`t go after the CEO until you have already gotten all the other evidence. This case is 90 percent built."

Does that mean you believe that Donald Trump will be indicted?


Oh, OK, we`re having -- we`re having some issues with Mr. Snell`s audio, so we`re going to come back to him.

I`m going to go to you, Tim O`Brien.

So, set aside whether or not we believe that there will actually be an indictment. A lot of people doubt Trump will ever face accountability. But if he shows up for this deposition, you have dealt with him in a deposition before. How do you expect him to behave?

TIM O`BRIEN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, BLOOMBERG OPINION: Well, Donald Trump`s biggest problem, Joy, is that he is a flagrant and unhinged liar.

And that is a lawyer`s worst-case scenario to put someone under oath who isn`t capable of actually telling the truth. This is a very targeted deposition. When we deposed Donald Trump, we had lots and lots of issues to discuss with him over lots and lots of years.

We looked at the valuation of all of his properties. We had his tax returns. We looked at his dealings with his insurers. We looked at what he got for speaking fees when he went out on the road.

Tish James`s office is focused, I think, primarily on three properties, Seven Springs in Westchester, 40 Wall Street and his hotel in Chicago, and on this issue of whether or not he inflated the values when he wanted a loan, and deflated the values when he wanted to lower his tax bill.

I do think this signals that she`s very near the end of her investigation, I do not think she`d seek to depose him unless they felt they were fully armored up with all of the evidence they needed to put on the table across from him.

It`s going to be interesting to see how he responds to documentary evidence that`s in -- contradicts what he or people in his organization have said in the past. That`s what my lawyers did when we deposed him when we strip the bark off of him like an old tree.

We caught him in, I think, more than 30 -- 30 different lies during two days of depositions in late 2007.

REID: Yes.

O`BRIEN: The other thing to remember is that her investigation is linked to save Cy Vance`s investigation. They have been collaborating throughout.

And Vance`s investigation, I think, is broader and has longer legs than Tish James`. So I think you can see these as part of the same effort.

REID: Yes.

And, Mr. Snell, we have got you back. So, if they are now trying to depose the CEO, depose Donald Trump, does that indicate to you that someone below him has talked, has given up and given up documents and information?

TRISTAN SNELL, FORMER NEW YORK ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think yes, but, really, the documents are really -- the documents are really the key thing for the civil case, because, at the end of the day, the civil case does not need to show intent.

So it`s less about testimony and more about the documents. And the documents are plain as day. The thing you showed earlier, Joy, really just puts the nail -- hits the nail right on the head. That is a 3300 percent disparity between what they reported to a lender and what they reported to the tax authorities.

These numbers really speak for themselves. Donald Trump didn`t need anybody -- he didn`t need anybody to snitch on him. He snitched on himself with how broad of a disparity that was.

REID: And can -- what -- please explain to us the difference in what would be -- if Donald Trump were to lose this civil case and Letitia James were to win it...


REID: ... what would be the penalties for that, vs. a criminal case?

SNELL: So the reason why everybody`s been sleeping on this case, and not really giving it that much attention, is because I -- people who want to see Donald Trump be brought to justice, they want to see him go to prison. This is a civil case. He`s not going to go to prison.

No one will for this matter. However, this could take an economic wrecking ball to the Trump Organization. This could mean hundreds of millions of dollars in back taxes, penalties, other fees that he could have to pay to the state, as well as to the lenders that he defrauded.

So this could be ruinous for him financially.

REID: And could he then face the criminal case if Cy Vance`s case is connected?

SNELL: Exactly.

He`s going to face it with a one-two punch. He`s going to have the civil case and the criminal case going. We didn`t realize until today how far along the civil case is. This is really far along.

We wouldn`t bring in somebody for this kind of testimony -- like we were just saying, 90 percent-plus that this case is already built. So, this is really far along.

REID: And, you know...

SNELL: He`s going to get in both -- Trump`s going to get it from both directions on this one.

REID: You know, and, Tim, I have always sort of somewhat suspected that, because of the sort of vagaries of the -- the sort of daintiness of the Department of Justice, and these OLC members that say, oh, don`t touch a former president, that Donald Trump is more likely to go down like Al Capone, on his taxes, on the money stuff, and that that`s the stuff he`s facing.

He`s facing a bunch of other civil lawsuits. He`s facing a bunch of other criminal inquiries. But, in the end, is it going to be his lies when it comes to his money that are going to be his biggest danger?

O`BRIEN: As long as they can tie him to those lies and tie him to what they are assessing are criminal acts.

That`s -- they are going to have to show intent in the criminal case. And Donald Trump is not a sophisticated man. He`s an ignoramus in many ways. But he is a survivor. And he has this reptilian ability to evade the law by surrounding himself with other people he throws under the bus when push comes to shove.


And, undoubtedly, he will blame this on accountants.

REID: Yes.

O`BRIEN: Undoubtedly, he will blame this on other people in his own organization.

REID: Yes.

O`BRIEN: So there`s going to be a really high bar, I think, for Cy Vance`s office to say that they know he did it and they knew -- and he knew he was doing something wrong.

REID: Yes, he will find a patsy. And he always seems to find some that are willing to do it. It`s really strange.

Tim O`Brien, thank you very much. Tristan Snell, thank you very much.

O`BRIEN: Thank you.

REID: Thank you.

SNELL: Thank you.

REID: And tonight`s "Absolute Worst" is still ahead.

But, first, you wouldn`t know it from watching the right-wing news channels, but the American economy is actually doing pretty darn well, despite the ongoing pandemic -- next on THE REIDOUT.


REID: OK, so, we got some really, really great news this morning.


The number of people filing for weekly unemployment claims dropped to a 52- year low, something we haven`t seen since 1969, the year Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, when the average newspaper cost 10 cents, when the president was Nixon and the top TV show was "Rowan & Martin`s Laugh-In." Look it up, kids.

And if you adjust today`s unemployment numbers for population increase, jobless claims have never been lower than they are today. In the first year of his administration, President Biden has overseen the addition of 5.8 million more jobs than Trump did during the same amount of time.

Now, by any normal metrics, it is a Biden boom. And yet the American people are still singing the blues. A new NPR/Marist poll finds that a majority of Americans say that they don`t feel the direct payments that came from the Biden policies or the expanded child tax credits that they have been receiving for months.

It also showed that the American public doesn`t understand how Build Back Better, with its three pre-K and paid family leave and lowering prescription drug costs, will help address their top concern, inflation.

And even when they do acknowledge that they have received direct cash payments, an equal share of those polled give the credit to both Joe Biden and Republicans, who literally opposed giving you their money and voted against it. It is a complete disconnect between reality and the feels, which the gal who -- the woman who directed the polling explained as the result of Democrats not having a unified message on what they`re doing.

Cue Joe Manchin.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): The unknown we`re facing today is much greater than the need that people believe in this aspirational bill that we`re looking at.

And we have got to make sure we get this right. We just can`t continue to flood the market, as we have done.


REID: OK, so, weirdly enough, yacht man Joe and his friends in the Republican sedition crew seem to lose all their inhibitions about costs and inflation when it comes to pumping your taxpayer dollars into the Pentagon.

The Senate is pushing to finalize a defense budget that`s going to cost nearly $8 trillion -- with a T -- dollars over 10 years. That is almost five times more money for guns and tanks than Manchin and company are willing to spend on you, your kids, your health care, your clean water, and your elderly parents.

Where`s Senator Manchin`s concerned about flooding the market when it comes to that money? The guy from West Virginia might want to listen to the former Senator from Delaware Joe Biden, who once said, don`t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I will tell you what you value.

I`m joined now by David Cay Johnston, tax expert, co-founder of, and author of "The Making of Donald Trump."

David, I feel like part of the challenge that Democrats have is that they do good economic policy, but not good political policy. Back when George W. Bush was president, he sent out what we used to call the Bush bucks, $300 and $600 checks. You would get this one big, boom, cash infusion.

Economically, it`s not as -- it`s not as good because you`re not, like, layering the money over time. You spend it one time and it`s gone. But it gives him a political boost. Joe Biden actually got that when they did that first check, that $1, 600, and they made up the rest of it. It was sort of like you got $2,000. His approval ratings were up.

But now that they have layered the money out, so that you`re getting it every month, people go, well, I don`t feel like I got any money. And now I`m mad.


REID: Is that the problem, that they`re doing good economic policy, but bad politics?

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, AUTHOR, "THE MAKING OF DONALD TRUMP": Oh, they`re doing very bad politics.

This White House communications office couldn`t sell ice cream to children in July.


JOHNSTON: I mean, this is one of the constant problems the Democrats have.

It`s, here`s this 14-point policy memo, and blah, blah, blah, and this person did that, instead of reaching right into the guts of people. So most people don`t pay close attention to the news. They don`t understand government spending policy or anything else.

They understand practical things. I`m surprised that the checks to parents haven`t had more of an effect...

REID: Yes.

JOHNSTON: ... beneficial for the White House.

But, right now, we have got a 4.6 percent jobless rate, very, very low by historical standards. The number of people who are unable to find full-time work, or they have given up, it`s called U-6, it`s the broadest measure of unemployment, it`s only 7.4 percent.

Now, I wish it was lower, but that`s a very low number. And the number of people who are long-term unemployed, they haven`t been able to find a job for six months or more, it fell last month by 136,000. Try and find that in news reports on the front page of the papers.

REID: Right.

JOHNSTON: Buried in the junk.

And if it weren`t for government jobs shrinking, largely schoolteachers -- older schoolteachers can`t risk getting COVID or they have a spouse or a compromised child or parent. They can`t risk getting infected.

If it weren`t for all the losses of those jobs, then we`d have even more job growth than we do.

REID: Yes.

JOHNSTON: And in October, "The New York Times", "The Wall Street Journal," "The Washington Post" and the networks all reported disappointing job growth of 210,000 jobs.


Donald Trump before the pandemic averaged 187,000 jobs. So that`s 12 percent more than...


REID: Right.

But when he did, the same media would be like, great jobs number. It`s partly a disconnect also because the media talks about Republicans and Democrats differently, right? There`s a much lower bar for Republicans.

But I also wonder, too, if it`s because there is sort of this worship of the corporate man. I mean, if you want to blame somebody for how things don`t feel well, think about companies like Kellogg`s that makes your cereal, where they`re about to lay off and permanently replace 1, 400 union members who dared to go on strike because they want decent wages.

There`s this photo that`s been circulating on Twitter that`s a Kellogg union worker saying: "I feed your families, but I can`t feed mine."

There are people like Elon Musk who`s like, nyah, don`t pass the bill that`s going to give people day care because I want my money.

Like, you have all -- they`re going to space, the billionaires, they have got so much extra cash. Yet the villain is the nice older guy in the White House who gave you like the $2,000, because oil prices didn`t go down enough? It`s...

JOHNSTON: People are terrified about this inflation.

I just jousted with somebody on the Internet, the highest inflation since World War II. No, 7 percent is not. We had 20 percent inflation just before I was born. We have had 15 percent inflation in the past.

REID: During Reagan.

JOHNSTON: There is no perspective.

And journalists bear a lot of the blame for this, for writing stories that read like damn memos on policy, instead of news stories that talk in plain English.

REID: Yes.

JOHNSTON: But the House and the Democrats have to learn marketing.

The Republicans are really good at marketing. I admire how good they are at marketing. And Democrats know this is a problem, but they never do anything about it. I hope we can get some Democrats on and say, what`s wrong with you people? Go hire some consultants to teach you the principles of marketing.

REID: Yes.

It`s weird, because Democrats have Hollywood, but they don`t seem to ask them, like, how do you do marketing?

I mean, the other thing is that Republicans, like, to your point, they have taken the word inflation and turned it into the boogeyman word. I guarantee you most of the Republican politicians couldn`t define inflation if you paid them to. They don`t even know what it means. They just say a word and they go, it`s Biden.

And so I wonder if it`s the simplicity and the simplistic nature of Republican communication that makes it so effective. We don`t have much time.

JOHNSTON: Oh, no, I think that`s exactly right.

You -- I was on Al Franken`s podcast the other day, and I brought this up. And he said, well, our bumper stickers all end with "Continued on Next Bumper Sticker."


REID: That`s exactly right. That`s exactly right.

David Cay Johnston, who speaks in normal, plain English, thank you very much.


REID: Cheers. Thank you.

Tonight`s "Absolute Worst" is next. You don`t want to miss it. Stay right there.




REID: All the Republicans want for Christmas is for you to get COVID, or so it seems.

What else would explain the snake oil mentality of the American right? One of those Republicans is touting a new fake cure. This time, it`s elected snake oil salesman Ron Johnson, who says gargling mouthwash kills COVID.

Now, let me be clear. Listerine is some pretty powerful stuff. But by powerful, we mean it can eradicate the scent of garlic bread from your tongue after a tasty lunch, not powerful as it can kill COVID. Otherwise, it`d be in the water.

But, more importantly, do not listen to this fool. Senator Johnson is not a doctor or a scientist. He`s not any of the Johnsons in Johnson & Johnson. He`s a public health minister and he`s spreading this information that can kill.

And then, of course, they`re super-spreader television host Tuckums Carlson, hardly an avatar for the manly man. He`s more of a Josh Hawley than a Method Man, which may explain why he created a fake log cabin set for his daytime show, so he could pollute real journalism even further while making you think he knows how to hunt his own dinner.

On Wednesday, casual Tuckums talked to far right racist Brexiteer Nigel Farage about British Prime Minister Boris Johnson`s bout with COVID.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: Getting COVID emasculated him. It changed him. It -- it feminized him. It weakened him as a man.

The virus itself -- this is true -- does tend to take away the life force in some people, I notice.


CARLSON: I mean, it does feminize people. I -- no one ever says that, but it`s true.


REID: OK, Tuckums-poo, let`s unpack your woman hating for just a bit.

It`s like textbook misogyny, this baseline retro-variation, where weak equates female, even though women, through a long painful and awe-inspiring process, are how lives are created, and the reason the human race forges on. It is women who are the life force, not weak-chinned blokes who ditch their bow ties for fake log cabins.

But this isn`t just about ridiculous people saying ridiculous things. People believe what these not so bright-wingers are saying, and not just in red states.

Here`s Jordan Klepper of "The Daily Show" talking to anti-vaxxers in, of all places, Los Angeles.


JORDAN KLEPPER, "THE DAILY SHOW": What do you think of the COVID vaccine?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think it`s vaccine. I think it`s snapping the DNA in half.

KLEPPER: Where did you hear this? A Siamese cat?

You would recommend for public health people meditating?


KLEPPER: People working out in groups?


KLEPPER: Eating healthy?





A coffee enema?




REID: Hey, sometimes, you need a sugar in your news about doomsday.

But this is happening in every state red, blue and purple. It is dangerous, lethal. And it comes as we face a possible winter surge from Omicron.

The Republicans and Tuckums want to see that surge burn brighter than a FOX News Christmas tree, which is why they are tonight`s "Absolute Worst."

And that is tonight`s REIDOUT.


And we love you, Brian.