U.S. tops 500,000 COVID deaths. President Biden and Vice President
Harris mark grim COVID milestone. Fauci says, U.S. has done worse than
almost any other country. Biden says, COVID has cost too many lives
already. Biden says, the people we lost were extraordinary. Biden urges
families to heal by remembering lost loved ones. Report says, Florida
governor is under fire for giving extra vaccines to wealthy community that
includes a big GOP donor. Biden says, we must end the politics and
misinformation. Supreme Court rejects Trump`s bid to conceal taxes. Texas
is still reeling from a full-fledged catastrophe, a record-setting blast of
winter that bludgeoned the state`s power grid and robbed millions of Texans
of power, heat, and water.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Yes. DeRay McKesson and John Taylor, thanks to
both of you for joining us. There`s a lot going on, but this is a story
we`ve been reporting that will stay on.
I want to thank you for spending time with us here on THE BEAT with Ari
Melber. I`ll see you tomorrow at 6:00 P.M. Eastern.
THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid is up next.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight
with a devastating milestone. One of the toughest things to do in this job
every weeknight is to report, really to just say out loud the number of
Americans who have died from COVID. It`s just -- it`s just breathtaking and
Just moments ago, President Joe Biden marked the inconceivable,
unconscionable toll that the coronavirus pandemic has taken in the rich,
modern, supposedly sophisticated United States, more than half a million
lives just gone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Today, we mark a truly grim, heartbreaking
As we acknowledge the scale of this mass death in America, we remember each
person and the life they lived. They`re people we knew. They`re people we
feel like we knew.
We often hear people described as ordinary Americans. There`s no such
thing. There`s nothing ordinary about them. The people we lost were
As a nation, we can`t accept such a cruel fate. We`ve all been fighting
this pandemic for so long, we have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow.
We have to resist viewing each life as a statistic or a blur or on the
news. We must do so to honor the dead, but equally important, care for the
living, those left behind, for the loved ones left behind.
That`s what has been so cruel. So many of the rituals that help us cope,
that help us honor those we loved haven`t been available to us. The final
rites with family gathered around, the proper home going.
As a nation, we cannot and we must not let this go on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: After his remarks, President Biden and Vice President Harris, along
with their spouses, participated in a moment of silence at that candlelight
vigil to remember those lost. President Biden has ordered all flags over
federal buildings to fly at half-staff for five days, yet another departure
from what we saw over the previous year as the former occupant of the White
House and Republican governors tried to ignore all of that death. We`re now
belatedly experiencing this grief as a collective together with the
president of the United States actually acknowledging its devastation as a
central element of his presidency.
Biden`s first event in Washington with Vice President Harris last month,
the night before taking office, was a somber commemoration at the Lincoln
Memorial for the 400,000 who had perished at that time, those who died
almost without comment from the previous administration.
And to put this tragic new milestone, more than 500,000 deaths, in
perspective, take a look at the front page of Sunday`s New York Times. Each
of those small dots, a person, a loved one, a friend lost to COVID. The
depth of that loss has now surpassed even our foreign wars as more
Americans have lost their lives to the coronavirus than on the battlefields
of both World Wars and a the Vietnam War combined.
And The Washington Post notes that the staggering loss in a year would
instantly fill a new cemetery the size of Arlington National Cemetery.
Today, Dr. Anthony Fauci acknowledged it simply didn`t have to be this bad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS
DISEASES: I believe that if you look back historically, we have done worse
than most any other country, and we`re a highly developed, rich country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: But with this tragic milestone, there are signs of hope. New cases
have been steadily dropping to levels not seen since the fall.
I`m joined now by Dr. Chris Pernell, a Public Health Physician, and Kristin
Urquiza, co-founder of Marked by COVID, and both of my guests lost their
fathers to COVID-19.
I want to let each of you have an opportunity to just respond to it, and
I`ll start with you, Dr. Pernell. You know, over the last year, it really
has been shocking to watch those numbers tick up, then tick up into the six
figures, then pass 200,000 to 300,000 to 400,000. But each of those deaths
was an individual person like your dads.
So I want to give each of you an opportunity to respond to what it felt
like, what it feels like to have a president acknowledge that loss in very
personal terms. Dr. Pernell, you first.
DR. CHRIS PERNELL, PUBLIC HEALTH PHYSICIAN: Joy, I wept. I wept in my
living room as I watched the president of the United States display
empathy, display character, display integrity. I had a conversation with my
brother, and he said, one day, this nation is going to get it and the flags
will fly at half staff, and that happened today. And that landed on me
This grief process has been surreal, and it`s through moments like this I
re-experienced the loss of my father, but I have honor in his death, his
legacy is not being silenced. His legacy is being remembered and spoken, so
I truly, truly appreciate President Biden.
REID: for you, Kristin, you talked, you know, at the Democratic National
Convention just about the heartbreak of watching your father essentially
lied to death. You know, and we still do have a lot of that misinformation
that`s out there in the world. But in this moment, what did it mean for you
just to process a president, not lying about the pandemic, not dismissing
it, not ignoring it, but just actually acknowledging it and acknowledging
his own grief?
KRISTIN URQUIZA, LOST FATHER TO COVID-19: It`s monumental. And it`s also
an important first step. I appreciate everything that Joe Biden has done so
far, but I also have to say it`s still not enough. We have over half a
million people who have vanished in less than a year. I hear from people
marked by COVID every single day who are calling for more, not just in the
response but also making sure vaccinations are getting to Latino and black
communities who are still not vaccinated at the same amount, as well as
creating ongoing and permanent spaces for grief, healing and recognition.
And so we`re calling for a holiday for COVID memorial. We`re calling for a
memorial on the National Mall. We`re calling for funding for local, state,
and tribal nations to have permanent space because if we`re ever going to
really learn from this, and not make the same mistakes twice, we need the
unvarnished truth and we need that to be written in the history books.
REID: And that`s a really good point. I mean, and this is cut to -- I`m
sorry, I`m jumping around for my producers. Joe Biden has changed kind of
the idea of who should get it, right? Because there has been this really
kind of sickening thing that`s happening, Dr. Pernell, where I look at
Florida where you have the governor there going down to a small county and
literally giving out the vaccine to his friends, giving it out to his
donors, giving it out to people on his side, making sure that the rich,
that the privileged, that people that have a Publix in their neighborhoods,
meaning they`re probably white, meaning they`re probably affluent get it,
but not really seem to give a damn if anybody who`s poor, who`s a person of
color gets the vaccine, I mean. And that we`re seeing the vaccine play out
in this really sick kind of sadistic way.
What can President Biden, who has said he wants to see the equities put
forward and made front of mind, what can he do to change that?
PERNELL: That dialogue has to be followed by action. Look, you just
described white privilege, right? You described white privilege, which is
rooted in white supremacy, and what this pandemic has taught us is that
still, all lives don`t matter.
So, you know, I was comforted by the words of President Joe Biden today. I
have been comforted by some of the actions that he`s already taken in the
health equity task force, but I`m going to continue to speak truth to
power, as are others in public health and more broadly in black and brown
communities in the American public, because we`re not going to see those
lives truly matter until all of the tools, access, access is prioritized.
You know, we talk a lot about black people and brown people being hesitant,
being unwilling. I don`t think we talk far enough around the information
barriers, the language and literacy barriers, the social and cultural
barriers, the convenience barriers. We need to talk about how systemic
racism kills. So I want to see that this president is going to enact
policies that not only save black lives from the pandemic but save black
lives across all issues and across all sectors.
So, I`m going to continue to hold the administration`s feet to the fire,
but I am confident, and I am vigilant that we`re going to do the right
REID: You know, and you`re absolutely right, Kristin. You have -- there is
this sort of seesaw between, do people want to get it or are they willing?
I`m seeing more people in my circle, particularly black people who were
very hesitant in the beginning and saying, you know what, we want to get
it. We`re more afraid of the pandemic than we are of the vaccine. But then
there`s a question of, can you get it? Like can you get access to it if
you`re in a community that doesn`t have access?
But on the side of people who are still misinformed, I have to come back to
you on this, on the situation with your dad, because there are still people
who are calling themselves news that are still not telling the truth about
the pandemic, that are still using the Donald Trump playbook when it comes
to talking about it. What -- do you think that Biden, because he`s so
personally empathetic, because he`s had so much loss himself, is there --
do you have hope that he can convince people who are already deeply
misinformed about the virus and who still maybe don`t believe it, don`t
want to wear masks? The NIH director said this misinformation, basically,
has killed people.
URQUIZA: Misinformation is a huge problem, and I`m actually attending a
hearing on Wednesday to talk about my experience with misinformation. But
the thing that President Biden can do is really harness the full resources
of the federal government to get at the people who need to be vaccinated
first and know that everybody else will come.
We send a rover to Mars this week. We sent a person and multiple people to
the moon. We can get into the fields and into the grocery stores and into
the churches to ensure that people have the opportunity to learn about the
vaccine and get it in their arm. There is no excuse for 3.5 percent of
Latinos and 4.5 percent of black folks to be vaccinated in comparison to 9
percent of white people whenever we know that blacks and Latinos are on the
front lines. We can do this.
REID: Yes, absolutely. And not just to say nothing of the indigenous
communities and AAPI communities because, you know, don`t think that Asian-
Americans are out there with lots of money. That is just a stereotype that
isn`t true. There are lots of communities out there that need this vaccine.
Dr. Chris Pernell, Kristin Urquiza, again, we`re so sorry for your loss and
thank you very much for spending time with us on this important evening.
And up next on THE REIDOUT, he is a loser once again. The former
president`s fight to hide his tax records, that`s over. His former fixer,
Michael Cohen, joins me next.
Plus, Ted Cruz makes a pathetic, pathetic attempt at an image makeover,
tweeting out pictures of himself handing out water to the Texans he
abandoned. Hard to believe, but, once again, he`s not the absolute worst.
The big reveal is coming up.
And be sure to join us on Friday at 7:00 P.M. Eastern for a special edition
of THE REIDOUT. I`ll be joined by Dr. Anthony Fauci and members of the
Congressional Black Caucus to discuss racial disparities in the COVID
crisis. Go to msnbc.com/townhall to be a part of our virtual audience and
to submit your questions for our experts. Get on there and do that right
now during the break.
THE REIDOUT continues after this.
REID: A Supreme Court decision today shut down Donald Trump`s Hail Mary
bid to keep his tax returns out of the hands of New York prosecutors. It
marks a final defeat for the now ex-president who`s under investigation for
possible insurance, tax and banking fraud, along with other crimes.
The New York Times points out that this could lead to the extraordinary
possibility of a criminal trial for a former president. And as we already
know, prosecutors have said the tax returns and other financial records are
vital to their inquiry.
That probe was being led by District Attorney Cyrus Vance, whose reaction
to the news story today was short and sweet, saying only that the work
continues. This comes after Vance hired a veteran prosecutor who
specializes in white collar and organized crime cases.
Last week, he interviewed trump`s former fixer, Michael Cohen, which was
Cohen`s fifth interview with Vance`s office to date.
And I`m joined now by Trump`s former lawyer, Michael Cohen. He is the
author of the book, Disloyal, and the Host of the Mea Culpa podcast. And
thank you, Michael, always appreciate you being here.
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER PERSONAL ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: Thank you for
having me on.
REID: So you`re lawyer. You`re familiar with the -- of course. You`re
familiar with the way it works. I know I`ve been in a grand jury and I can
always tell when that prosecutor wanted -- you know, you could tell what
the prosecutor wants, right? You`ve seen in these cases where there`s been
a police officer that`s been accused of killing someone in Kentucky and
other places, it was pretty clear that the prosecutor didn`t really want to
prosecute and then that happened.
Could you tell in sitting with Cy Vance`s office, now that you`ve done it
five times, do you get the sense that they are ready to prosecute this man,
COHEN: Well, look, right now, they`re in the process of waiting for
Mazars, which is the accounting firm that`s been handling Trump`s taxes for
a long, long time. They`re waiting for that information. And, basically,
that information will just assist in the corroborating all the other
information that they have gathered over the course of the past three years
when they first started this investigation.
REID: Okay. But did you get a sense just in talking to them that -- could
you tell whether, in your mind, this is leading toward Al Capone, an Al
Capone sort of scenario or whether it`s just an inquiry that could leave
Donald Trump free and clear, just from your sense of talking with them?
COHEN: My sense is that Cy Vance, who`s politically astute, did not bring
in the likes of an individual like Mark Pomerantz, an incredibly well-known
and prolific attorney, when it comes to this area of significant financial
crimes as well as complex financial crimes. They didn`t bring him in not
for -- not to bring an indictment, and I suspect the indictment will
probably be sooner than later.
REID: We know that the case that you were involved in, the hush money
case, is pretty much dead, that the prosecutors in that case have kind of
let that go. So, now the focus really is on this potential that you talked
about and testified under oath about, about potential insurance fraud and
You testified that Donald Trump would lever the value of his properties up
and down, depending on whether it was for purposes of getting a loan or for
filing an insurance claim.
In your mind, did Donald Trump commit tax and insurance fraud?
COHEN: So, the answer is yes.
But, Joy, I think you`re conflating a couple of different things. It`s the
SDNY that dropped the issue with the hush money payment.
COHEN: Cy Vance and his team are not dropping it. And it`s actually a an
element of the more than dozen topics that they have grilled me on for
many, many hours.
So, that`s the SDNY. And I have called on other MSNBC shows. I believe it
was Alex Witt over the weekend, when I turned around and said, if, in fact,
the new A.G. is Merrick Garland, I would ask that an investigation be
opened as to why. Why is it that I should end up going to prison for
another man`s dirty deeds, meaning the hush money payment, which I have
been emphatic, and continuously stating the same, which is that I did it at
the direction of and for the benefit of Individual No. 1.
And we all know Individual No. 1 is Donald J. Trump.
So, this is the Southern District of New York, as you accurately said, has
dropped the case, at least for now, in terms of the hush money payment. So,
your view is that you believe that, if Merrick Garland is, in fact,
confirmed -- and he will likely be confirmed -- that the Justice Department
should look into the hush money case?
COHEN: I believe so. And I believe that there are other elements that they
should also look into.
REID: We have now known that Donald Trump`s banks have walked away from
him. most of them stopped doing business with him, Deutsche Bank and
He`s sort of been left out there hanging. He`s in a lot of legal trouble.
In your mind, does he have the kind of money, the kind of cash on hand to
be able to fight these legal cases? Or do you think that his debts will be
his next crisis?
COHEN: Yes, the debts are definitely going to be his next crisis.
And just to be a little bit more specific, it`s legitimately two banks. It
was Deutsche Bank and then Ladder Capital that provided him with the --
almost in the entirety of the loan that he is currently owed -- or that he
He does not have significant cash on hand, other than the money that he`s
managed to grift from unsuspecting Republicans into the 200-plus-million-
dollar range, which, to me, I don`t understand.
COHEN: And if any of them are watching your show, I would implore them to
stop, because the man is a grifter. And, basically, all he`s looking to do
is to take their money, right, and to put it towards his obligations.
But what`s really going to be his downfall is, once they start to go
through the tax returns, and they start to see all of the tax evasion and
other improper tax manipulation that was done, what will happen is, there`s
also a fraud -- a tax fraud penalty that will couple with the amount that
he basically owes the U.S. government, the state and the city -- the city
of New York.
It`s a very significant fine.
COHEN: He will have to start selling off assets.
And, remember, when you start selling off assets, you also have a taxable
consequence, because its basis is so low in so many of them.
COHEN: So, it`s going to be a real conundrum for him.
REID: Yes. And he doesn`t own most of the things that have the name Trump
on them. We should -- we should note that.
Do you believe that, in the end, Donald Trump, like Al Capone, will go to
COHEN: So, this is a little tough. This is a tough question, because do I
think he belongs in prison? The answer is yes.
But I think it`s very difficult to incarcerate a former president, simply
because he has information which could pose a serious national threat to
this country. And let me tell you emphatically that Donald Trump would sell
that information. I truly believe it. Or he will just start bragging to
another inmate, right, and then next thing you know you have a national
security problem, which is why I think Joe Biden, appropriately and
intelligently, went ahead and he cut Donald Trump off from briefings, that
-- that`s never been done before.
But I think President Biden was absolutely 100 percent on point, because he
cannot be trusted.
COHEN: So, how do you put somebody in prison unless you build them their
own cadre somewhere on the facility, or you basically remand him to a home
confinement, with very, very strict guidelines.
REID: Yes, that sounds like Jeffrey Epstein sentence, like when -- the
first time that he was convicted on sex crimes charges.
My last question to you. You did predict in your testimony and you have
said very openly that you did not believe that Donald Trump would accept a
peaceful transition of power. That is one of the things you did say on the
record. We now saw that was absolutely the case.
In your mind, does Donald Trump have any love for the United States or for
democracy? Do you think that he is a person who loves or respects the
United States and our democracy?
COHEN: I think Donald Trump loves only one thing, and that`s Donald Trump.
And I believe that Donald Trump, had he been successful in this reelection,
he would automatically be looking to figure out how to shred the
Constitution, so he can have a third, fourth, fifth term.
Ultimately, really, what he wants is to be a monarch. He wants to be an
autocrat in this country, to the same extent that Vladimir Putin controls
Russia. That`s what he`s really looking for.
REID: Well, you know him. And so take it from somebody who knows Donald
Michael Cohen, thank you very much. Really appreciate you always being on
and being so open about all of this.
And up next: Attorney general nominee Merrick Garland said that he intends
to make the investigation into the January 6 insurrection his top priority.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINEE: Heinous attack that sought
to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power
to a newly elected government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Plus: shocking new details from that investigation.
We will be right back.
REID: Most of you remember Judge Merrick Garland because of what Mitch
McConnell did to him.
Now, five years after Mitch and his Senate Republicans blocked his
nomination to the Supreme Court, for no other reason than that President
Barack Obama had nominated him, Garland is President Biden`s nominee for
And, today, he made his case for the job.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARLAND: When my grandparents fled anti-Semitism and persecution, the
country took us in and protected us.
And I feel an obligation to the country to pay back. And this is the
highest, best use of my own set of skills to pay back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Garland, who oversaw the Oklahoma City bombing case, the worst act
of homegrown terrorism in the nation`s history prior to the January 6
insurrection, warned that we are facing far more threatening times, and
promised to make fighting the threat of domestic terrorism his top
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D-IL): What`s going on in America? Was Oklahoma City
just a one-off unrelated to what happened here?
GARLAND: I don`t think that this is necessarily a one-off.
FBI Director Wray has indicated that the threat of domestic terrorism, and
particularly of white supremacist extremists, is his number one concern in
We are facing a more dangerous period than we faced in Oklahoma City.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: If confirmed to the office held by America`s single worst attorney
general, William Barr, Judge Garland will lead a battered Justice
Department, forced to confront this rapidly ballooning threat.
Last Friday, the DOJ indicted nine individuals associated with the
extremist group the Oath Keepers. The grand jury found that the Oath
Keepers arranged firearms and combat training and donned paramilitary gear
as they attacked the Capitol.
In a new court filing, one of the Oath Keepers members, Jessica Watkins,
claimed that she was not a participant in the insurrection, but was instead
working security at the rally. Her lawyer says that Watkins was there --
quote -- "to provide security to the speakers at the rally, to provide
escort for the legislators and others to march to the Capitol, as directed
by the then president, and to safely escort protesters away from the
Capitol to their vehicles and cars at the conclusion of the protest."
One of the officers defending the Capitol that day told ABC that those so-
called protesters were actually terrorists and racists whose goal was to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I called a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) a couple dozen times
today protecting this building.
Is this America? They beat police officers with Blue Lives Matter flags.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: For more, I`m joined by Malcolm Nance, MSNBC counterterrorism and
intelligence analyst, and Paul Butler, Georgetown law professor and former
Thank you both for being here.
And, Malcolm, I retweet you a lot, my friend. We have been doing this for,
what is this, like five years now.
You wrote in a 2020 book proposal that I liberally retweeted, you wrote
this: "I hate being right." October 2020 book proposal: "Win or lose, come
early 2021, the United States will find itself quite possibly facing an
underground of armed white militiamen who will start waging a clandestine
war against the Constitution itself in the defense of the cult of Donald
You likened this group to the Klan.
MALCOLM NANCE, NBC COUNTERTERRORISM AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Yes.
REID: In your mind, is that what you would consider -- everything from the
Oath Keepers, who now just claimed they`re just security, to the Proud
Boys, and on and on and on? In what way is this, in your view, similar or
sort of likening -- likened to the Klan?
NANCE: Well, at one point, the Klan was very popular. If you were
politically ambitious, you had to be a member of the Klan.
But when it started out early on, it was a clandestine organization. As you
know, they wore white hoods and rode around in order to terrorize black
population, so that they wouldn`t reap any of the benefits of the federal
government. They were also an anti-government organization.
So, now what we see is a transformation of the people who all attended the
August 2018 Charlottesville rally. And after that rally, when the national
opprobrium was too much for them, the shame was too much, apparently, they
went underground. They didn`t.
What they did was, they started coming back together and congealed together
as a sort of informal paramilitary of the Trump campaign. And last summer,
when the Black Lives Matter protests happened, they were there as an
extension of that.
And that`s why I said coming into the election it appeared that they were
going to be something, whether they were underground informal brownshirts,
or, as we saw them manifest on January 6, an actual insurrectionist
organization loyal to one man.
REID: Yes, indeed.
I`m going to need those future lottery numbers, since you seem to know
everything that`s going to happen in the future.
REID: Paul Butler, let`s talk a little bit about the sort of bigger
picture in terms of not just people who did it. But that required money. We
know that the Publix co-founder funded some of the actual -- the Ellipse
sort of events.
And so we know where some of that money came from. But here was Senator
Sheldon Whitehouse today questioning Merrick Garland about that issue of
who funded the overall attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RI): With respect to January 6, I`d like to
make sure that you are willing to look upstream from the actual occupants
who assaulted the building, that you will not rule out investigation of
funders, organizers, ringleaders, or aiders and abettors who were not
present in the Capitol on January 6.
GARLAND: We will pursue these leads wherever they take us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Paul Butler, I wondered if, at some point, Senator Whitehouse is
going to look to his left or his right, because some of this same funders,
aiders, abettors are members of Congress, maybe people who fund members of
This was an effort that was very much in the Republican sort of sphere. How
far do you anticipate the Justice Department being able to go, with some of
the aiders and abettors sitting in the United States Senate?
PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: So, Joy, right now, the FBI says
that it`s served 500 search warrants and opened 400 case files on the
Presumably, there`s got to be an investigation of the kingpins, not just
the 800 people who invaded and attacked the Capitol, but their leaders. And
so the FBI says that it`s looking at people who influenced the insurrection
with words, with networks, with deeds, and with money.
And so among those prime suspects isn`t the word that the FBI uses, but I
will use that word, thinking and looking at what people like Roger Stone
and Alex Jones have done. They promoted the hate groups like the Oath
Keepers and the Proud Boys.
They have personal and business relationships with them. In his own
prosecution, Roger Stone said that he trusted Enrique Tarrio, the leader of
the Proud Boys, so much that Roger Stone gave Tarrio his social media
accounts and his cell phone to use on his own.
And this is the same Tarrio who on January 3 posted: "What if we invaded?"
Joy, Malcolm`s right. The sad reality is that, right now, Donald Trump
controls, he commands an army of white supremacists and domestic
terrorists, who apparently will stop at nothing.
REID: Well, I mean, that`s why coined the term Y`All Qaeda, right?
I mean, Osama bin Laden didn`t do any of the things himself. He just simply
directed other people, and they did it. And that`s why that term sort of
works in this instance, Malcolm.
What do you make of this Oath Keepers woman who, the Oath Keepers, by
definition, are law enforcement, military -- these are people who know how
to use weapons, and a lot of times have weapons -- claiming that she was
just security, meaning -- implying she was security for members of Congress
and for others?
NANCE: Well, Jessica Watkins and the other co-conspirators in that group,
they all have rich fantasy lives. So, we shouldn`t take a lot out of that
statement. I mean, just because they come together with Roger Stone and
provided security for him -- that, we do know -- and they stand in a line
between -- behind the Secret Service or the Park Police doesn`t mean that
they have been organized as real security.
So, I will give her that point, because I really think these people do live
in a rich fantasy world.
Look, these people were also believing that they had heavy weapons stored
across from -- across the Potomac River, and that they were going to have
boats shuttle them over, and they could actually lay siege to the Capitol.
They came armed. They came prepared. They came wearing body armor and
But it was the mass of 40,000 protesters pushing that -- the extremist edge
up into the Capitol who did open battle, open battle for hours. And I know.
I watched their own -- their own livestreams gave it to us.
But you know, they have this bizarre victimization trick that they do,
somebody called it Mar-a-Lago syndrome where as soon as they`re caught,
they all switch and they claim they were never there, you know, it`s sort
of a reverse Stockholm syndrome. Now they`re claiming it was all Antifa
that was there and that, you know, the thousands of thousands of people
throwing Trump`s flags as spears were all part of some liberal imaginings.
REID: Yeah, people are going to -- kids are going to say Antifa is why
they didn`t clean their room and they messed it up.
Last question to you, Paul -- Paul Butler. You mentioned Enrique Tarrio,
the rather ironic leader of the Proud Boys who is a man of color. His own
lawyer said in the past, he`s snitched. He`s told. If you were a part of
this investigation, would he be the first stop in your -- on your list in
terms of somebody to talk to and maybe get intel from?
PAUL BUTLER, GEORGETOWN SCHOOL OF LAW PROFESSOR: Yeah, again, he`s a
proven snitch. Nobody should take his word further than they can see him,
so they`ll have to have receipts, the FBI and the justice department will,
to believe the things that he says. But yes, again, they`re looking
hopefully at the kingpins, the leaders of the investigation, Tarrio ran the
Proud Boys and he apparently knew a lot about what was going to go down on
So the chances are if he`s looking at crimes, possibly being charged for
incitement or conspiracy, he`s going to sing like a canary (ph).
REID: Yeah. He and the other man of color, Ali Alexander, about to find
out they are men of color in the criminal justice system. Good luck with
Malcolm Nance, Paul butler, thank you both very much.
Still ahead, as we continue to mark Black History Month, Erika Alexander
and Whitney Dow are here to talk about their new podcast exploring the
arguments for or against reparations. You don`t want to miss that.
But, first, tonight`s absolute worst is next.
REID: Texas is still reeling from a full-fledged catastrophe, a record-
setting blast of winter that bludgeoned the state`s power grid and robbed
millions of Texans of power, heat, and water.
In many ways, the crisis echoes what we have seen for a year in this
pandemic, the ways in which constituents are left to fend for themselves as
their elected leadership ghosts their responsibilities.
Ted Cruz, even on mop-up duty following his ill-timed jaunt to Cancun,
seems to make volunteer work about his political image. Creating a photo op
showing himself passing out water and then posting those photos on his own
We know that Cruz wasn`t the only Texas public official to abandon the
state in its time of need. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was in Utah
during the freeze for a, quote, previously planned meeting. While State
Representative Gary Gates traveled to Florida on a private jet.
Those who were actually in Texas included Beto O`Rourke who was organizing
relief efforts, while Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, not Texas,
volunteered at a food bank in Houston. The two also raised $5 million in
relief for Texans.
Meanwhile, Republicans are fund-raising to help themselves and their own
careers. Republican Utah Senator Mike Lee held a fund-raiser at Trump`s
Mar-a-Lago clubhouse on Saturday, charging $10,600 per couple. See the one-
six there. To commune with the Captain and Tennille of Republican trolls,
Matt "Gas Mask" Gaetz and Laurie pew-pew-pew Boebert.
Even when millions suffer and as dozens perished, the GOP`s focus on fund-
raising maintains a strict focus on themselves. But that isn`t the only
reason so many Texans are cold and in the dark, and believe it or not, it`s
not the absolute worst. This crisis is linked to the uniquely Republican
obsession with deregulation.
It`s the reason Texans are now on the hook for astronomical electric bills,
one as high as $17,000 just for keeping the lights on during the storm. The
recipient of that bill, an army veteran, has emptied his savings account to
pay the bill which was charged to his credit card, meaning Texans who were
just now recovering from the devastation of the storm will now face
mountains of debt.
As we`ve mentioned on this show, this is happening because Texas lawmakers
deregulated the state`s energy market back in 2002 under a previous
Republican governor, leaving customers vulnerable to massive price spikes.
In the deregulated market, Texans can opt to pay wholesale prices for
power, which is cheaper when the weather`s great, but those prices can
spike immediately when there`s high demand for electricity, like last week
during the storm.
And now, those bills are coming due, and those companies are going to want
their money. And make no mistake, the collections agencies will follow.
This is a GOP`s promised land, a hands off government that leaves the
burden on you to dig yourself out of a climate and natural disaster crisis
forcing millions to drown in bills ranging from medical bills to home
repair, forcing them to rely on charity or a GoFundMe campaign in place of
what the government was literally created to handle, which is why the whole
Republican philosophy of governing is the absolute worst.
More on the REIDOUT after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (R-TX): Hidden in the corners of this nation are
those of African-American heritage, the descendents of enslaved Africans,
who have felt the sting of the disparities. They continue to feel that
sting. Now more than ever, the facts and circumstances facing our nation
demonstrate the importance of H.R.40.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Every Congress has introduced a bill to study reparations for the
black descendents of enslaved people ever since the late Congressman John
Conyers first introduced it more than three decades ago. And every Congress
has failed to pass it.
Now we`re not talking about, you know, actual reparations, just a study.
But advocates for the bill are saying that this actually could be the year
that it gets passed. Following last summer`s nationwide protests over the
killing of George Floyd, which put the issue of racial injustice front and
center, it passed. It would mean we will be one step closer to addressing
the wrongs inflected on Black Americans for generations.
And joining me now are actress and co-founder of Color Farm Media, Erika
Alexander, and filmmaker Whitney Dow. They are the co-host of a new podcast
"Reparations: The Big Payback".
I love it and I love both of you guys. So, thank you so much for being
Erika, I`m going to start with you. The big payback.
ERIKA ALEXANDER, CO-HOST, "REPARATIONS: THE BIG PAYBACK" PODCAST: Thank
REID: Okay. Why are you doing this -- why are you doing this podcast and
what do you think that it will change?
ALEXANDER: Because of COVID-19, because of George Floyd, because of Ahmaud
Aubrey, because of the insurrection, because of poverty, because of the
fight for 15. You know, I can go on.
But I tell you, it`s a sign of the times now that we`re able to talk about
reparation and doesn`t sound like some sort of lunatic idea. Reparations is
a remedy for wrongs committed to African-Americans sent to slavery.
So, certainly, it will always be a very poor proxy for real justice for us,
but you can`t give that after 400 years of slavery. And I think right now,
people are seeing that this legislation that is real and unspoken that has
targeted black Americans for so long needs to be remedied. So, that`s why
now, and I say why now. Let`s make a real democracy and a more perfect
REID: Yeah. And you know, Whitney, I`ll ask you a question you get asked
all the time. Do you the Whiteness Project, which is brilliant. And
everybody should look it up.
Why are you doing this? Why are you involved in a project about
WHITNEY DOW, CO-HOST, "REPARATIONS: THE BIG PAYBACK" PODCAST: Well, look,
if you make a mess, you`ve got to clean it up your own mess, right? You
don`t want other people clean it up, and I really think it`s -- you know?
So, I actually think, you know, more seriously, I think a lot of the
divisions in this country stem from the fact that we never really addressed
the divisions that exist from slavery, the legacy of slavery. And so, I
think, you know, for us to move forward as a country, we really need to
figure out how do we heal that division? I think the first most important
step in that is to admit that we`re -- that, you know, admit the injury and
REID: Yeah. So, "The Independent" now, they have a piece. It says slavery
reparations could have reduced COVID-19 infections and death. There is a
Harvard study that showed that reparations payments could narrow the racial
wealth gap and narrow disparities in access to health care housing and
employment. This is a study if there was just financial reparations, what a
difference it could make in the country.
Now, let me let you guys listen to what White House -- the White House
Press Secretary Jen Psaki, this is the exchange when she was asked about
whether the president, President Biden supports the idea of reparations.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Would he support the bill? Because you`re talking about the
study, but if the bill came to his desk, would he sign it?
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, it`s working its way through
Congress. He`d certainly support a study. But we`ll see what happens
through the legislative process.
REPORTER: So he doesn`t support reparations executive order. He wouldn`t
PSAKI: Again, he -- well, it would be up to him. You know, he has
executive order authority. He would certainly support a study and we`ll see
where Congress moves on that issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Erika, that looked like a game of dodge ball to me. It doesn`t seem.
REID: Your thoughts?
ALEXANDER: You know what? I -- for a very long time, it`s been very
difficult for politicians to put themselves behind them in any real way. I
mean, right now, they`re talking about the bill H.R.40 which is just a
discussion of it.
So I think he can back that and feel like he has not backed reparations.
But it was literally something that could kill your campaign if people
sniffed you out and thought you were for it, you know, before.
So I can see why she`s doing that two-step dance and dodge balling and all
that. But, you know, it`s here. And it`s now. And they can`t side step
COVID. And what this plague brought up is the invisible caste system that
exists. And it ripped the bandage off and the wound is leaking all over the
place. It`s time to deal with it.
REID: You know, and Whitney, whenever you bring up the idea of
reparations, people who freak out about it generally and will say, you
know, my people came from Germany like Donald Trump in the 1870s, or they
came here in 1920 from Italy, and we didn`t do anything with slavery. Why
should with he have to do anything -- why should we have to participate in
Why should we have to -- why should may tax dollars have to go to people
enslaved? That is generally the question that comes up. What would be the
answer to that?
DOW: Well, I think that it is simple. I think that especially when you
talk about people that don`t have a lot of money or feel like, oh, I`m
struggling, working. But they don`t see what they were -- what -- it`s not
only what was taken from Black Americans, what was given to white Americans
and not given to Black Americans, and you really see the advantages around
you all the time.
I look at, you know, the numbers don`t lie, Joy. I mean, I know you`re a
big data person. I`m like, whether it is health care outcomes, whether it`s
homeownership, it`s education, it`s marriage. You look at the numbers, it`s
The effects of slavery are still, you know, are still with us. They`re
everywhere. If you look even not even closely, if you look just honestly,
you see them everywhere. And so, the idea that somehow that something in
the past doesn`t like manifest itself seems absurd to me.
REID: And, you know, Erika, there is a town called Evanston, Illinois,
that`s actually doing this. How did this go over --
REID: -- when a very small reparations plan was passed?
ALEXANDER: They are (INAUDIBLE), so we should give a shout-out to the
Alderwoman Robin Rue Simmons who passed the first reparations bill in
American history. She`s called the Rosa Parks reparations in Evanston,
Illinois, in 2019, and a very fortuitous way, the 400-year anniversary that
enslaved got here.
She`s working on it. They passed it and they`re figuring it out. They`re
asking these questions right now.
ALEXANDER: We need to tell you that we`re following her. We`ve been
documenting her in a documentary and she`s amazing. But it is a difficult
thing to put together.
REID: Absolutely. Well, you guys, you can all listen to Erika Alexander
and Whitney Dow`s podcast where you get podcast. It is called "The Big
Thank you, Erika and Whitney.
That is tonight`s REIDOUT.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.
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