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Transcript: The ReidOut, 2/12/2021

Guest: Elie Mystal, Neal Katyal, Midwin Charles, Charlie Sykes, Michael J. Moore


Trump defense attorneys present their case. Trump attorneys argue hatred for Trump drove impeachment. Trump defense packed with mistruths and misdirection. Senate wraps post-presentation QA&A session. Trial resumes tomorrow with closing arguments. Trump defense attorney misrepresents insurrection timeline. Trump attorneys unable to answer questions about Trump`s activities during insurrection. Trump attorneys claim without evidence managers` presentation video was doctored.


NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: I`m done hoping for Republicans to find their souls and conscience and act on them.

But what I was watching was the reaction in the echo chamber. So that`s why, as I said to Garrett Haake, I had an eye on Fox News and Chris Wallace, and Fox News and right-wing medias now under billions of dollars of legal threats because of disinformation. So, the threat that I pulled through the whole day were the questions from, frankly, Republicans and Democrats about the big lie.

And I think a moment that will haunt this presentation for a long time, Trump`s lawyers wouldn`t even say if Trump lost or won. Trump`s lawyer refused and try to attack -- wanted to find out who asked that question and attack them for it.

So, we are still very much a country under attack by disinformation that led to death and destruction on January 6th. That`s why we`re all here. My friend and colleague, Joy Reid, is going to pick this up. Joy, I know that`s something you`ve spent time talking a lot about as well.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: No, it is, and you`re exactly right, Nicolle. I mean, that was one of the things that struck me as well, is we still -- you know I wasn`t sure if they were afraid of Donald Trump hearing them say he lost, even though they`re calling him the former president, they keep saying his -- I think they go back and forth between 45th president and former president, but they can`t say it out loud. Republicans are still are afraid to say out loud that Donald Trump lost the election. That level of terrorism, I guess. I`ve never seen anything like it in politics, Brian, I don`t know if you have. Nicolle, I don`t know if you have. But I`m sure I haven`t. It`s weird.

WALLACE: Yes, it`s weird.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, CNN HOST: No, that`s why it`s all yours.

WALLACE: Over to you, my friend.

REID: My turn to deal with the weird now. OK, thank you very much guys, I appreciate all you so much. All right, my friends, and thank you all for being here. Good evening.

And yes indeed, we do begin THE REIDOUT tonight with Donald Trump`s impeachment defense, which, frankly, I mean, it wasn`t a defense, OK? I don`t know if you watched it, but in case you missed it, let me just sum it up for you. Just think Fox News primetime cold open, or OANN or Newsmax. It was literally a right-wing T.V. show and perhaps most importantly, the kind of right-wing T.V. show that the Republican senators probably have on in their offices right now and at home, and that Republican base voters` main line day and night. Trump`s lawyers didn`t even attempt to put up a defense for his incite in the January 6th insurrection. Just take in this little sample for just a second.


MICHAEL VAN DER VEEN, TRUMP DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The article of impeachment now before the Senate is an unjust and blatantly unconstitutional act of political vengeance.

DAVID SCHOEN, TRUMP DEFENSE ATTORNEY: We would like to discuss the hatred, the vitriol, the political opportunism that has brought us here today.

VAN DER VEEN: It has become very clear that the House Democrats hate Donald Trump.

BRUCE CASTOR, TRUMP DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Politics changes everything. It has interposed the element of hatred.


REID: So, the tactic of the Trump defense, which was supposed to be a defensive claim, was instead to try to claim that, really, there was no insurrection, that didn`t even happen. They accused the House managers of manipulating videos as evidence, manipulating the video that you saw them show in their presentation and tweets when they were making their case.

But they offered no evidence of that manipulation. And then they themselves used Trump`s tweets deceptively. They even -- OK, they even try to blame Antifa, really, for the January 6th insurrection, seriously? And they even re-litigated Trump saying the neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville included very fine people. They did that as well.

But the chest case (ph) of this bizarre defense was this video which they ran over and over and over with out of context clips of Democrat daring to use the word, fight, in very random context, as if that is the equivalent of Trump summoning a lynch mob to invade the Capitol to hang Mike Pence and knock down Speaker Pelosi. And, of course, they ran an extended right-wing media style attack video against Black Lives Matter, because, of course, you have to attack Black Lives Matter or it`s just not Republicanism.

And you will not be surprised that most of the villains that they chose for their little rants were black, brown, Jewish people and women.


VAN DER VEEN: It`s about Democrats trying to disqualify their political opposition. One of the first people arrested was a leader of Antifa. This is not whataboutism. It is constitutional cancel culture.

SCHOEN: You along with your allies and immediate attempt to cancel and censure members of this chamber.

CASTOR: Let us be clear, this trial is about far more than President Trump.

It is about canceling 75 million Trump voters and criminalizing political viewpoints.

It asks for constitutional cancel culture to take over in the United States Senate.


REID: OK, I will repeat, this was not a defense. It was basically a four- hour culture war rant against so called cancel culture. You even heard them coin the term constitutional cancel culture. It was literally a blizzard of lies, conspiracy theories, whataboutism and, frankly, the B.S. It was a stand in for like a Trump tweet storm, which, of course, he can no longer do, because Twitter banned him. In a word, wow.

I`m joined now by Elie Mystal, Justice Correspondent for The Nation. Neal Katyal, former Acting Solicitor General, Midwin Charles, Civil Trial and Criminal Defense Attorney, and Dean Obeidallah, Host of the Dean Obeidallah Show on SiriusXM, and a Columnist for MSNBC Daily. And you guys might not know this, not just funny, but he`s also a lawyer.

And so I`m just going to let all of this people go through one by one, I`ll start with you Elie, you`re a defense lawyer, do you hear a defense today?

ELIE MYSTAL, THE NATION JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I heard, I did, I heard, I`m just a caveman. I`m was unfrozen by your scientists. I think that`s made up full clothe (ph) and you`re trying to cancel the Republicans. It was one of the more pathetic things I`ve ever seen in my life. They actually admitted to the crime. I mean, they admitted -- his lawyers admitted that the violence was foreseeable, which is a key element in the crime that Trump stands accused of. They repeatedly suggested that Trump should just be indicted by the criminal justice system, which is not something you`ll often hear from a defense attorney.

And then at the key point when they were asked by Murkowski and Collins, two Republicans, what did the president know and when did the president know it, they acted like the mere question was an anathema, like they couldn`t just call -- like they never called up their client and asked him, when did you know that the riot was happening? They acted like that that was information that we do not have available, but, in fact, we don`t have available. And while I was on hold, Tommy Tuberville confirmed, confirmed that he told Trump directly that Pence was being secured before Trump sent the 2/24 tweet, again, attacking Mike Pence.

So that`s the whole case, and they didn`t do anything to defend from the actual charges.

REID: You know -- and, you know, Midwin, I thought Stacey Plaskett beautifully laid out the fact that -- I mean, I definitely felt like I was watching a cold open on like Hannity`s show or something or the other guy with the bow tie, who used to have a bow tie. Like that`s what I thought I was watching, because it just was a rant against black people, brown people, mouthy women, why these women, why are they so mean. Look at Elizabeth Warren, she said the word fight, like it was literally just a rant against all the out groups that Fox News spends all day going off on. That`s all I heard today.

MIDWIN CHARLES, CIVIL TRIAL AND CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, this is what we call when lawyers have a horrible case. They just throw everything against the wall and see what sticks, right? It was misleading, it was disorganized and it was not helpful to their client, for the exact same reasons that Elie laid out.

I was actually confused watching it. I couldn`t quite figure out if they were defending Trump or whether or not they were trying to help prosecute Trump. Because what they did is they played video that was actually hurtful to Trump. To play video and show text messages and show he knew that this was going to happen, and yet he did not temper his words. He did not try to secure the building. He did not bring in troops in advance, is damming in and of itself.

And the fact that his attorneys could not answer that penultimate question about what did he do once he found out that the Capitol was breach, I think, is just disqualifying. His attorneys should have, at that point, said, the defense rests, because it was over. It was particularly over at that point. Because all they needed to do was pick up the phone and they call their client and find out from their client, listen, when did you find out the capitol was breach, when did you send reinforcements, two very simple questions.

And the prosecutors, the House managers, are not required to set for that evidence, because this isn`t a case about whether or not he properly secured the building, this is a case about insurrection and whether or not his acts were an abuse of power and a violation of his oath. That`s what this is about. So this whole First Amendment thing, by the way, is a complete red herring.

REID: Yes, and it`s moot, it`s moot, because that was already voted on, that`s over.

Neal Katyal, I was struck by -- Bernie Sanders I thought asked a really smart question. First he asked the House managers, you know what did Donald Trump, as we were just discussing, when the insurrection broke out? And what did he do regarding, when he found out Mike Pence was in trouble? And then he asked the same question of Trump`s lawyers. I was struck by the fact that they didn`t seem to know what Trump was doing. They didn`t seem to have any information about what Trump was doing, and yet they actually contradicted Tommy Tuberville, who is already on the record, saying he called Trump, and said that they had to evacuate Pence.

I think this is that moment. This is another one. That was the Bernie Sander`s version. But here`s Mr. van der Veen, Michael van der Veen, this is cut two. This is the question -- this was Collins and Murkowski also tried to ask what did the president know, when did they know it, and here was the answer.


VAN DER VEEN: The House manager have given us absolute no evidence to answer to that question. We`re able to piece together a timeline, and it goes all the way back to December 31st, January 2nd, there is a lot of interaction between the authorities and getting folks to have security beforehand. On the day, we have a tweet at 2:38, so it was certainly sometime before then with the rush to bring this impeachment. There`s been absolutely no investigation into that.


REID: So here`s the thing, Neal. They`re saying that the House managers should have investigated where Trump was, but couldn`t they just ask Trump? He`s their client.

NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL: You`re 100 percent right, and you started by saying what we heard wasn`t a defense. It wasn`t. I would say it was just embarrassment. And, you know, I think your viewers don`t have the full context of what that in that long clip was, it was started with Senator Collins and Murkowski saying a very precise question. On January 6th, when did Trump learn about the breach on the Capitol, what did he do about it and when? And then you heard that rambling answer about December 29th and so on.

You know, I agree with what Elie and others have said. You know, if I`m Trump`s lawyer and I`m interviewing him like to be his lawyer, the first thing I`m going to ask him is those of Murkowski and Collins questions. The fact they couldn`t answer it was very striking.

And then, as you were saying, the stuff that the lawyer did answer was even worst. Because they ask -- you know, Mitt Romney asked, you know, when did Trump know that Vice President Pence was under attack? The lawyer said, Trump never knew. And as you were saying, that`s contradicted by Senator Tuberville and it just seems patently wrong. The idea that the Secret Service would not have told the president of the United States that the Vice President was under attack, that is preposterous.

And here`s the thing. I think Trump`s lawyer, it looks like he lied in this hearing, and we need to get to the bottom of it. I know folks want to vote tomorrow, but you cannot lie about something like Secret Service dropping their duties on the job. And Trump, this is his M.O.

REID: Yes,

KATYAL: He banks on the idea that Pence is not going to come forward or anyone against him is not going to come forward, they`re too scared. And the Secret Service couldn`t come forward for the last four years. But they darn well can tonight, they don`t work for Donald Trump. And he should not get away with it. He shouldn`t blame the Secret Service for what he did.

REID: Yes. Well, he`s just following his friend, Lindsey Graham, who blamed the cops.

You know, Dean, the other big lie that we heard tonight, which I don`t understand how that does not trigger some sort of ethics implications here. They claimed that the video that Democrats showed in their presentation was doctored. They offered no evidence and they just said it was doctored. I don`t -- that seems to me to be incredibly -- this was surveillance video that they got from the Capitol, presumably from the Capitol police.

DEAN OBEIDALLAH, MSNBC COLUMNIST: I would say that that was stunning. It also seemed like the Trump lawyers didn`t know there were going to be questions. It`s like we didn`t know there was question on this. This is ridiculous. It was like bad improve. It was like bad improve (INAUDIBLE) suggestion.

And then, the one attorney was angry to the House managers for not giving him answers. Like, look, I don`t know the answer because they didn`t tell me the answer. In their defense, they probably know that they`re not getting paid by Trump anyway. They`re like, look, were going to wing it, we`ll do the best we can. It was stunning. There was no defense.

Their only defense, I think, honestly, as a lawyer look at it, is the defense Trump against being convicted in front of a rigged jury. If I was trial lawyer, if I think the jury was rigged, I would have only spoken for three house out of the 16 hours allotted, and I would answer questions very succinctly.

I think they`re getting to paid by the word by Donald at this point. So that`s the way they did it. But they did not to try to rehabilitate Donald Trump`s reputation from what America has seen over the last three days. It was stunning.

And one last point, Joy, you mentioned the video showing a lot of black woman and brown people in the first day, they showed so many Muslims, they showed Ilhan Omar where she -- they showed Keith Ellison, who`s been out of Congress since 2018, but because he`s black, Muslim -- I`m not kidding, he`s been out of Congress since 2018. They have been in the montage because a black Muslim man is scaring a place great on Fox News later.

So this was an audition for Fox News or Newsmax, whatever it was. And what is so sad, the last point, the whataboutism. This was a terrorist attack. There was no two sides to 9/11, there were not two sides to Oklahoma City bombing, there were not two sides to this attack.

And over 200 people are arrested, but the mastermind of that attack is walking freely. That`s going to make people really question our criminal justice system going forward with the mastermind. It would be like Bin Laden walking free after the 9/11 terrorist attack and no one going after him and not condemning him. That`s stunning to me.

REID: Yes, it`s a reason that they call it the group of the Al Qaeda, because that is -- there is -- that`s the equivalency.

And, Elie, you wrote a piece of The Nation that I felt was spot on. The problem is that the jury is full of co-conspirators. They have to, as you said, convict themselves of this crime.

MYSTAL: People like Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz did everything that Trump did except for try to kill Mike Pence, like that was Graham`s life. But everything else, all of the other incitement, in the first day the house managers brought up the video of them trying to run the Biden/Harris bus off the road, and they talked about how Trump encouraged that as part of his general incitement.

You know, who else encouraged that, Marco Rubio, who gave a rally in Miami saying, did you see what they did in Texas? We love that, right? So how can Marco Rubio now turn it around and hold Trump accountable for the same actions Marco Rubio himself took? That`s actually the conundrum that Republicans are in to convict Trump for doing what he did. They have to be able to look inside themselves and admit their own errors and their own mistake and their own culpability in this tragedy. And Republicans react to self reflection, like my children react to Brussels sprouts, right? They just -- they just won`t do it.

REID: So, Neal, what is the outcome here? Because if Trump is acquitted, then what?

KATYAL: Well, there are two possibilities. The House and Senate could use the 14th Amendment to try and bar Trump from running again. That would require a majority votes in both and possibly a court proceeding. That`s the one option. The other is Trump is looking at a seriously at a number of different criminal investigations in Georgia, in New York and possibly a federal one.

And, indeed, as Elie was saying, Trump`s lawyers are begging for this. They are the one who are saying like, well, he hasn`t been indicted so, therefore, he can`t be impeached. All right, well, you know be careful what he wish for.

REID: Go ahead and indict him.

KATYAL: The other thing I would say is -- right. (INAUDIBLE) this is just, you know, what about the Republican Party? What is this going to stand for if they can`t look in the mirror and condemn this and this behavior? This is what they want to say is OK? I mean, that is the destruction of that party through and through.

REID: Yes, and we`re going to talk about that next. You actually teed this up perfectly for our next block. I`m sorry, Midwin, quickly?

CHARLES: Now, I`m going just going to say, they have condoned this all along. So, you know, Trump`s love language is violence and the Republican Party sat by for months, years and allowed it to happen. So --

REID: We are going to talk about that very thing next. Elie Mystal, Neal Katyal, Midwin Charles, Dean Obeidallah, you guys are all going to come back today because there are going to be a whole a lot of legal stuff we`re going to still be talking about.

Up next on THE REIDOUT, for the second time Republican have seen the dangers that Trump presents and they`re looking away. This is just who the Republicans are, the party of the MAGA mob, and the Oath Keepers, and the Proud Boys unwilling to hold their dear leader to account. That`s just reality.

Plus, the new criminal investigation, as we mentioned, into Trump`s efforts to steal Georgia`s electoral votes.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S PRESIDENT (voice over): So look, all I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes.


REID: Exactly one more vote than he needed. Along with a threat that if he didn`t get what he wanted, people might get prosecuted by the federal government.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: There is a reason that the one-term president`s defense sounded like a show on Rupert Murdoch`s FOX News or OANN.

The audience for that intellectually dishonest and repetitive presentation was Donald Trump himself, his supercharged fans among the Republican base, and the senators themselves, who covet those supporters and who are looking for a fig leaf, any fig leaf, to justify acquitting him, so the base doesn`t get mad at them.

And let`s not forget that the -- that eight of those senators who are supposed to be acting as impartial jurors aided and abetted the crime itself, voting to challenge the outcome of the election in Pennsylvania and Arizona, even after the Capitol siege, basically voting to give the insurrectionists what they were demanding.

Those senators are not interested in the facts or the evidence. They just need an off-ramp. Senators Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz, the most lickspittle protectors of Trump L`orange, were seen popping into the defense teams office during a break canoodling the defense.

The defense rested after a mere three hours, because, I mean, why work hard when the outcome is probably baked in anyway? And, as if on cue, Senate Republicans applauded the Bananarama defense.


SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): The defense is more on their game today than what I saw the other day.

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): The president`s lawyers blew the House manager case out of the water. They legally eviscerated them.



REID: Et tu, Lisa Murkowski?

And now here, here -- they just blew it out of the water. Yes, they didn`t make any sense, but who needs to make sense?

Here`s how the extreme right of the Republican Party, this is how they impose discipline, OK? Now, remember Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana? He angered his party by voting that the impeachment trial was in fact constitutional.

Well, it now seems like he`s in the bag for Trump after the GOP threatened to censure him. A stealthy "Washington Post" photojournalist snapped these pictures of his prepared remarks not yet delivered, because the trial is actually still ongoing, about why he will be voting to acquit.

His office later said he has a number of speeches prepared for different votes, depending on what happens.

See, this is what happens when nearly 40 percent of the modern Republican Party believe that, if elected leaders will not -- quote -- "protect America," the people must do it themselves, even if it requires violent actions.

For now, with more, I`m joined by Charlie Sykes, editor at large of The Bulwark, and Michelle Goldberg, columnist for "The New York Times."

And, Charlie, this is your team, buddy.


REID: It seems like the radicalization of the Republican Party...


REID: Not -- your ex-team.

SYKES: Not my team.

REID: I mean, it`s complete, right? I know. I wouldn`t claim them either, trust me.


REID: I mean, it`s complete now. They have morphed with far right-wing TV, far right-wing Breitbart media, the Murdoch empire, Parler, whatever.

It`s just all merged into one. And these senators can`t wriggle out of it. I cannot do a whip count that gives me more than maybe three or four that would have the courage and basically the bank account to resist it, or they`re retiring, right?

Like, no one -- they`re not able to resist it. They`re just going to do whatever Trump wants.


No, they have the muscle memory of acquiescence. So, they`re not going to go along with it. Look, there`s always a reason to not do the right thing, if you`re looking for it, as you point out. There`s always a reason to not look at the facts in front of you.

But I think -- I`m really glad you mentioned that poll, because this is what worries me the most. We have a problem, of course, with political leadership and the lack of courage, lack of principle, the cynicism of people like Cruz and Graham and Mike Lee.

But you also have a base problem. And when you see 39 percent of Republicans saying that they would support the use of violence, if politicians don`t act the way they want, you realize how dangerous this is, but also how important the point that the House managers made yesterday was, that, if there are no consequences for Donald Trump, this will happen again.

Either Donald Trump will try it again or the next authoritarian would-be fascist, anti-democratic figure will try it.

I heard Ari Melber actually quoting this. A failed coup, unless there are consequences, is just a rehearsal. And that`s very, very true. I mean, this is why this is a moment for Republicans to draw that bright line in the sand. Look, the guy`s gone. They don`t need him for tax cuts or regulation or any of these other things or judges.

But this is the moment they could draw a line and say, look, an attempted coup, an attempt to overturn an election, so many -- a mob to try to shut down Congress, this is un-American. It could have been this moment. And yet they`re not going to do that.

And there is that simmering base out there, that, in fact, is open to the idea of force, is open to the idea of violence. And that ought to worry us, because what precedent will be set by the Republicans going along with this and saying, yes, we don`t have an issue with what Donald Trump just did...

REID: Yes.

SYKES: ... in front of the whole country and in the eyes of the world?

REID: Yes, I mean, we have the Michigan Republican majority leader saying, A, he thinks that the whole thing was a fake, that there was no interaction, it didn`t happen, and that he wants to, like, have a punching match. He wants to go and challenge the Michigan governor to a fistfight, the woman who was a right-wing militia said they were going to kidnap and maybe execute.

So, anyway, I mean, Michelle, there`s this reporting now out of CNN that Kevin McCarthy sort of tried to put a spine inside and tried to ratchet himself up and had a call with the former president to try to say, turn this thing off, stop this insurrection, and that Trump`s response to him was to say, well, it looks like those people care more about my election than you do.

And so he backed down. And look at how far he has backed down.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, and I don`t even think that it is about Kevin McCarthy having a spine, as much as it is just about Republican members of Congress, like Democratic members of Congress, being under direct personal threat from the president`s mob.

And so that`s why it`s so striking that, even after that experience, even after that phone call, which the sourcing for that CNN story isn`t "sources say." It`s named Republican members of Congress who have gone on the record about that conversation, where the president was -- yes, as you said -- said, it looks like these people care about the election more than you do.

Kevin McCarthy still voted against impeaching the president of the United States. And the Republican Party -- I wrote this today in my column. This could be, if they wanted it, a moment of grace, because they had an opportunity to reap all the rewards of four years of complicity with Donald Trump, right?

Get the tax cuts, get the judges, get the right -- the kind of deregulation, get everything that they wanted, and then they could have washed their hands of him and kind of gotten on the right side of history for very little effort. And they`re not even going to do that.

There was something so heartbreaking today about seeing this incredibly earnest effort that the House managers made to defend the Constitution. You look at somebody like Jamie Raskin, who has just suffered this utterly gutting loss, and yet is going up there with total sincerity trying to speak to Republican members of Congress, trying to summon them to some sort of solidarity in defense of the republic.

And then you see just this contemptuous, trolling case put on by the president`s lawyer, this absurd montage of Elizabeth Warren saying fight over and over again, said, yes, checkmate libs, and to know that none of it in the end is going to matter for most of these members of Congress, right?

The deck is already stacked.

REID: Yes.

I mean, and, Charlie, we were talking about this today in our team meeting, that it`s easy to look at the national Republican Party and say they have lost it. But when you look at the state parties, I mean, I just mentioned the Michigan Senate majority leader saying, it`s not real. He says that it was a fake from day one. It has been a hoax.

He called it a hoax, right, and says he wants to have a fistfight with the governor of Michigan. If you look at the state parties -- you think the national party is cuckoo?

Go to the state parties, where you have people...


REID: ... who are calling it a false flag, who are on the side of the Oath Keepers.

And, I mean, the state party -- it`s not just Trump. And so I wonder if, at this point, the Republican Party is just not rescuable by anyone who wants to be a normal, sort of old-school-style tax cut conservative. They have lost control of this party, have they not?

SYKES: Yes, they have.

And we`re seeing this process again, where they thought they could grow this baby crocodile in the bathtub, and that it would never get out and eat them. Well, what`s happening right now?

Look, if there`s any bright spot here, it`s that there are two juries for the presentations we saw this week. You have the jury of the Senate, which is not going to do the right thing. But the American people are watching this as well. And this doesn`t have to be the end.

I cannot see how the Republican Party goes forward, embracing this kind of crazy, embracing this kind of violence, and it being successful. And your point about the state parties, I mean, it`s not just Michigan. It`s the -- it`s the party in Georgia. It`s the party in Hawaii. It`s the party in Arizona. It`s the party in Texas. It`s the party in Virginia.

In one state after another, they have been turning states that had been blue states, they have been turning them -- I always get this back and forth. I mean, states that had been red states, they`re turning them blue.

REID: Yes.

SYKES: They are losing these states.

You watch what`s happened, what happened in Georgia, what`s happened in Arizona, what`s happened in Virginia. As the Republican Party gets more crazed, as it becomes more unhinged, they lose more elections.

And I have to say that watching this week -- and Michelle`s point about the contrast between the presentations -- it could not have been more dramatic. The House managers made this coherent, eloquent case, detailed case. And what did the Trump lawyers do? They came up with this clown show. They didn`t even provide the Republican senators with a cover, so they won`t humiliate themselves.

Ron Johnson will humiliate himself.

REID: They`re going to humiliate...


SYKES: But rest, they know what happened here.

REID: Yes.

SYKES: And they did not get -- they didn`t get any cover from this defense.

REID: Yes.

They will use it, though.

And I will give you the last word on this, Michelle, because what happens when they just keep losing elections, but now they have the giant permission slip to say, it doesn`t matter if you lose elections; we can just get the mob in here and get them to start threatening to hang people, and then we will just win after we have lost?

GOLDBERG: I mean, I don`t even know that democracy gets that far, right?

I mean, I think that Charlie`s obviously right that the Republican Party is going to pay a price in kind of public esteem. But the structure of our government, the gerrymandering, all of the countermajoritarian things that allow Republicans to rule without winning the majority of the votes, those things are only going to get worse.

And so Joe Biden and the Democrats really have a choice to make about whether they`re willing to blow up the filibuster and enact some of the democratic reforms that are necessary for an anti-democratic Party to -- that are necessary to keep an anti-democratic Party from gaining more and more power with fewer and fewer votes.

REID: Yes. It is very -- yes, you`re absolutely right.

I mean, the Democrats have to really sober up and realize that this is not the Republican Party even of the `70s or the `60s. This is a whole different thing, and they have to just face it. The filibuster is -- I think it`s got to go. That`s my opinion.

Charlie Sykes, Michelle Goldberg, you guys are great. Thank you very much.

GOLDBERG: Thank you.

REID: And coming up: While the second impeachment trial of the -- thank you -- of the former president wraps up, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the violent extremists that he invited to the Capitol on January 6 are still out there.

And that is next. Stay with us.



PROTESTER: We were invited here!

PROTESTER: They swore an oath to the Constitution.

PROTESTER: They`re meeting so you can take that oath.

PROTESTER: We were invited by the president of the United States!

PROTESTER: And we`re listening to Trump, your boss.

JENNIFER RYAN, ARRESTED BY FBI: I thought I was following my president. I thought I was following what we were called to do.


REID: You just heard directly from the Capitol rioters themselves that the crimes they were committing were at the behest of Donald Trump.

But it wasn`t just your ordinary Trump supporters who were taking their cues from the president. Members of militia groups were also heeding the call to assemble.

In a Justice Department filing yesterday, a member of the Oath Keepers, a far right band of anti-government current and former military police and first responders who pledge to take up arms against anyone that they think has violated the Constitution, per their reading of it, a member of that pretty scary group who was arrested for participating in the insurrection indicated that she was -- quote -- "awaiting directions from Trump."

Jessica Watkins, a military veteran, sent a text shortly after the election -- quote -- "Unless the POTUS himself activates us, it`s not legit. The POTUS has the right to activate units too. If Trump asks me to come, I will."

And she wasn`t alone. Along with another -- along with other Oath Keepers, they discussed a brazen plan to ferry heavy weapons in a boat across the Potomac River into Washington, D.C., on January 6. And according to court papers, they conspired with other militia groups to join their plans, including the Proud Boys and the 3 Percenters.

And joining me now is MSNBC counterterrorism and intelligence analyst Malcolm Nance.

Malcolm, thank you so much for being here.

Give me the sense of the gravity of the threat here, because we have seen the radicalization of the Republican Party. Its politics are becoming more sort of end stage, where they`re saying, if we don`t win elections, we feel that we can do anything. We can disenfranchise voters, but we can also resort to violence, if that`s what it takes.

And now you have got these groups that are willing to be the shock troops. How much danger do you think our republic is in, given that?


And, you know, I can only warn you so much, Joy. I have been spouting off for the last three months that we are headed into a new phase of American domestic violent extremism. The insurrection was this flash in the pandemic which showed you the parameters of the organizations that were there.

I really feel strongly we are headed into insurgency. And when I say insurgency, that is a continuous, long-term political, terrorist and paramilitary effort to discredit the current government and to push forward an alternative government.

The only thing they`re really waiting for is to see what Donald Trump says here after he is acquitted and in the weeks that follow, whether he`s given a new platform. But this is dangerous now. Now we see the Oath Keepers, the 3 Percenters, the Proud Boys, the average bands of militiamen coming together through social media, self-radicalizing, just like ISIS, and then taking action.

REID: You know, the -- so, the Oath Keepers were formed during the 2016 election. So, they have existed -- they are a Trump era phenomenon.

But with the other groups, the 3 Percenters, these other groups, the -- I have heard of the Oath Keepers before. How much of their zealousness is about Trump himself needing to be in power, in their view, and that being the only constitutional outcome, and how much of it is just white power, to be blunt, that it could be anybody?


REID: It doesn`t have to be Trump?

NANCE: That`s -- that`s a really, really good question.

Let me tell you something. Remember the alt-right, all of the people who showed up at Charlottesville, the neo-Nazis, the neo-Confederates, the white supremacists? Well, that`s what you`re looking at again. Look back to the militias of the 1980s, the Timothy McVeighs, all underground. Move that forward to the Tea Party, where you see a widening of that into the mainstream.

Move that forward into not to where we are today, but, last year, when the Black Lives Matter protest happens, what you saw was the alt-right transform into the foot soldiers of the Trump campaign. They all have different names. They have different structures of their cells. They`re self-radicalizing, as I said.

But come towards November, they became the paramilitary of the Trump campaign. And then when Trump said that this thing was stolen, they, along with the Republican base, moved and took action to essentially destroy democracy.

REID: And so, as we get closer to that date, which I wrote in my first book that part of what radicalized a lot of white Americans who didn`t consider themselves some sort of paramilitaries was this notion that was announced first in 2008 that we`re going to be a majority nonwhite country in about - - it was then 2052.

NANCE: Right.

REID: Now it`s like 2042.

I feel like, as we get closer to that date, it`s going to get worse, because now this radicalism has been now baked into the Republican Party. What do we do about that? Because it`s now -- it`s now connected to a major political party.

NANCE: It is.

And forget about 2042. You need to look by the end of this year. Some major currents are going to occur amongst the Republican Party and these what used to be the fringe, what is now the mainstream of conservative thought big, small-C conservative thought.

They are now consumed with having Donald Trump as their tribal leader. And that`s what you`re looking at here. They want to dominate as the white tribe. I often joke that they no longer believe in e pluribus unum, from, many one, but unum tribus dominus, one tribe shall dominate all.

So, that`s where we`re going with this. By the end of the year, QAnon and Trumpism will completely consumed this party.

REID: Scary world, because there are only two major political parties. And if one of them is this, then we are in some trouble.

Malcolm Nance, I`m glad that you are here and a resource for us to talk to you. Thank you, my friend.

And up next: Even if he is acquitted in the Senate -- if and when, I should probably say -- Trump is facing real legal trouble on multiple fronts, including a criminal inquiry into his attempts to overturn election results in Georgia.

We have got that right after this quick break.


REID: So, now that he`s shed the so-called presidential immunity of his former office, Donald Trump is facing more legal liability than any ex- president in modern history, with his conduct under scrutiny in multiple jurisdictions.

These investigations could play out on national TV for months or even years to come, sort of like a post-presidential version of "Law & Order."

There`s the criminal investigation of the Trump Organization led by the Manhattan DA. There`s a civil probe under way by New York`s attorney general. There`s a defamation lawsuit from E. Jean Carroll, who accused Trump of rape. There`s the sexual assault suit brought by former "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos.

And now the president can -- and the president can add one more criminal probe to that growing list. NBC News confirmed this week that prosecutors in Georgia have opened a criminal investigation into Trump`s effort to overturn the election results in that state.

On Wednesday, state officials received letters requesting that they and their employees preserve any and all evidence. The Fulton County district attorney makes clear she`s investigating the solicitation of election fraud, among other possible criminal charges.

Now, we already know that Trump put extraordinary pressure on Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to -- quote -- "find enough votes" to reverse the results.

And we know -- and we know that because that`s on tape.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And there`s nothing wrong with saying that you`ve recalculated.

So, look, all I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.


REID: Now, just to be clear, there`s a reason that he was asking the secretary of state to magically deliver him a very specific number of votes long after the count had been certified.

Trump knew how many votes he would need to overtake Biden`s margin of victory in Georgia. And, unbelievably, that`s exactly how many votes he asked for, the precise number that he would need to win the state by a single vote.

In other words, this was about Trump`s baseless allegations of missing votes. It`s pretty clear he just wanted a state election official to manipulate the count in his favor.

But, wait, there`s more. That same Georgia district attorney is now speaking out about the scope of the investigation. And that is coming up next.



FANI WILLIS (D), FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: What I know about investigations is, they`re like peeling back an onion. And, as you go through each layer, you learn different things.

To be a responsible prosecutor, you must look at all of those things in an investigation to be fair to everyone involved. This is a very important matter, as you have already highlighted. And so, yes, the investigation seems that it will go past just this one phone call that we have discussed.


REID: That was Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis last night on "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW."

And joining me now is Michael J. Moore, former U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.

So, let`s get into this.

There is the phone call that we know where Donald Trump asked for a very creepily, weirdly specific number of votes, one more than he would need to flip the state.


REID: And then there was this other part. Let me play it for you real quick. This is Trump threatening Brad Raffensperger if he didn`t comply.

Take a listen.


TRUMP: You know what they did, and you`re not reporting it.

That`s a -- you know, that`s a criminal -- that`s a criminal offense, and you can`t let that happen. That`s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer. That`s a big risk.


REID: So, in your mind, what would be the crimes here? And what do you think could be proven by those tapes?

MOORE: That`s really about not a President Don. That`s more like a mafia don phone call.

It sounds clearly like an organized crime call, where you have somebody putting pressure and trying to simply threaten them with some criminal prosecution. So, I think probably the state statute which deals with trying to intimidate somebody in their performance of their official duties fits this to a tee.

And I think it`s also a criminal solicitation to commit election fraud. You can look at the intent of the president by looking at how he asked for the votes. He doesn`t ask about the election. He doesn`t care about anybody else`s election.

He doesn`t care if there`s people waiting in line eight hours, and there`s a problem with the voting day. He says, just give me enough to help me. And I think that gets somebody any intent question.

So, the prosecutor starts off -- district attorney Willis starts off in a great place with basically a confession for an hour long. And Trump is just like every other criminal defendant. What gets them in trouble most of the time is just the inability to keep their mouth shut. And she`s got it going into this investigation.

REID: Yes. Yes.

And then he, like, threatened, I`m going to put the tape out. Then the tape came out anyway.

MOORE: Right. Right.

REID: But, OK, so is this the kind of a crime a jailable crime, or is it more like a big fine kind of crime?

MOORE: Well, one part of it is a misdemeanor. And then there`s also a felony side to it. And if he`s soliciting the secretary of state to do a crime, that would be a felony as in regards to the election fraud. Then that would carry up to one three to years, and could be in prison.

I mean, in Georgia, we have -- obviously, it`s not a sentencing guidelines provision. It`s just some discretion to the judge. And the judge would look at things, like, is it a violent crime? Are there -- is there a record? Does the person have a history of doing this kind of thing? What are the needs of the community? Is there a rehabilitation angle?

Let me -- let`s just be clear, though. I mean, I think we probably ought to set expectations at a reasonable level, because just think about what would happen...

REID: Yes.

MOORE: ... if a judge put a former president in a state prison. I mean, you would basically then have to, I guess, get the cells around him to let the Secret Service stay in them to keep -- to protect him.


MOORE: I mean, there are all just kind of logistical things that have to be figured out.

And the likelihood, I think, would be that, while he may have a felony conviction on his record, I don`t know that he would go to jail. He could be put on a leg monitor. He could be given house arrest. He could be given probation.

REID: Wow.

MOORE: So, all those things are in play.

I will say, there`s one thing you mentioned about the recording. And he just made the bad call to call into a state that has one-party consent.


MOORE: I mean, not only does he talk for an hour.

REID: There you go.

MOORE: But he doesn`t have to even consent to be recorded.

And he made the bad decision to call into a state that has a Republican governor, but the governor doesn`t have the power to pardon. So, that`s up to a pardon and parole board, which is...

REID: Wow.

MOORE: So, he -- and there are all these things in play. And it clearly was a strong-arm tactic.

He probably stepped in it up to his ankles.


MOORE: And I hope that, as the district turning moves forward, that she doesn`t let the investigation turn into grabbing a tiger by the tail.

She just needs to be slow and methodical. Don`t feel rushed for political reasons. Don`t let -- just do her job. I mean, she`s elected to do the job.

REID: Yes.

MOORE: Just run an investigation like she would.

And I think, when she starts pulling the strings, that this thing will unravel.

REID: And from what we saw today, he`s probably going to need better lawyers, because he doesn`t really have the A-team at this moment.


REID: The last question, very quickly, could Lindsey Graham face the same problem? Because he was calling and trying to pressure the state government there to flip the election to Trump, very quickly.

MOORE: I asked the state election board actually to look into that, because I think his conduct is right in line with the president. And I would want to know, was it coordinated? Was their advice given? Who scheduled these calls? What is the e-mail traffic back and forth?

REID: Yes.

MOORE: So, I mean, so I certainly think he could look at the same type of thing, because it was a threatening and intimidating call...

REID: Yes.

MOORE: ... to have the chairman of Judiciary call in and make those kind of requests.

REID: Yes, indeed. It`s like a whole crime family.

Michael J. Moore, thank you very much. Really appreciate you being here.

That is -- that is tonight`s REIDOUT.