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Transcript: The ReidOut, 2/22/2021

Guest: Chris Pernell, Kristin Urquiza, Michael Cohen, Paul Butler, Erika Alexander, Whitney Dow


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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 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.


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,

Donald Trump?

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

tax fraud.

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.

REID: Right.

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.

REID: Indeed.

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

currently owes.

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.

REID: Yes.

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.

REID: Yes.

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.

REID: Yes.

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.

REID: Yes.

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

Trump personally.

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.



to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power

to a newly elected government.


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

attorney general.

And, today, he made his case for the job.


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.


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



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

this area.

We are facing a more dangerous period than we faced in Oklahoma City.


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

overthrow democracy.


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.


REID: For more, I`m joined by Malcolm Nance, MSNBC counterterrorism and

intelligence analyst, and Paul Butler, Georgetown law professor and former

federal prosecutor.

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.


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.


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.


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?


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?


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

January 2nd.

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

Twitter account.

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.



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.


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.


you. Yes.

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



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

make reparations.

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.


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

sign it?

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.


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

like incontrovertible.

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 --

DOW: Yes.

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.

REID: Yeah.

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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