Boulder honors friends and neighbors killed in mass shooting. Families remember victims of Boulder mass shooting. Suspect bought assault weapon six days before shooting. Biden vows executive action on gun reform if Congress fails to act. GOP Representative Buck falsely claims violent crime rose despite 1994 assault weapons ban. Stats show violent crime fell under assault weapons ban. Poll shows GOP support for stricter gun laws has dropped significantly. Senate holds hearing on new voting rights legislation. Holder says, voters are facing unholy trinity of suppression, dark money and gerrymandering. After facing growing questions about transparency, the Biden administration led a tour with congressional members and an NBC News crew inside one of the migrant care facilities in Texas for unaccompanied children who crossed the border. Prosecutors are drawing together the threads connecting Trump`s most extreme supporters in the Capitol siege, and there`s video out today that sheds new light on the assault of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: The pay gap is actually even worst for Latina, Native American and black women. It`s an important issue and one the White House spotlighting today.
That`s our final thought tonight. I`ll see you tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. "THE REIDOUT" with Joy Reid starts now.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. Okay, we have a lot to get to tonight, including the first look inside an HHS facility housing unaccompanied children who`ve crossed the U.S./Mexico border. NBC`s Gabe Gutierrez was the only reporter allowed inside today and he will join me later.
Plus, I`ll talk to former Attorney General Eric Holder about voting rights and Mitch McConnell`s pants on fire claim that states are not engaging in voters suppression efforts, if you can believe that.
But we begin THE REIDOUT tonight with new developments on Monday`s mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado. Mourners continue to visit a makeshift memorial outside the supermarket where ten people were shot to death this week. We`re learning the victims of the senseless killing, more about them, including a first responder to the incident and the nine individuals killed as they were going about their daily lives. Here are some of their family members.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILIPPE BERNIER, LIFEMATE OF SUZANNE FOUNTAIN: If you ask anybody she has ever worked with, she would do anything to -- sorry -- she would do anything for them.
ROBERT OLDS, UNCLE OF RIKKI OLDS: She could light up and make me smile. I know you can`t see my smile underneath this mask but I`m smiling right now thinking about her.
ERIKA MAHONEY, DAUGHTER OF KEVIN MAHONEY (voice over): If I could give him an award, it would be the best dad award because he was like a dad to the entire neighborhood.
One death trickles to so many people, and to an entire community.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: We`re also learning more about the suspect facing ten counts of murder and the gun or guns used in Monday`s mass shooting. The alleged gunman is scheduled to make his first court appearance tomorrow. According to arrest filings, he bought of an assault weapon six days before the shooting on March 16th.
Police recovered an assault rifle and a handgun inside the supermarket. The Denver Post-notes that the gun purchased by the suspect would have been illegal under Boulder`s now voided assault weapons ban. A gun like the Ruger A.R.-556 pistol was banned until March 12th when a judge ruled the city`s ban on assault weapons and magazines with a capacity of more than ten rounds was illegal.
Colorado state law doesn`t define or ban assault weapons. But the state senator who represents Boulder is already drafting a bill onto restore Colorado City`s ability to enact restrictions above and beyond state laws.
The push for reform has also intensified in Washington after President Biden signaled he could take executive action, calling for federal assault weapons ban and strengthened background checks. Today, Vice President Kamala Harris reiterated the president`s demand for the Senate to act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: This is not about getting rid of the Second Amendment. It`s simply about saying we need reasonable gun safety laws. There is no reason why we have assault weapons on the streets of a civil society. They are weapons of war. They are designed to kill a lot of people quickly. Stop pushing the false choice that this means everybody is try to come after your guns. That is not what we`re talking about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Harris said President Biden is ready to sign the two gun measures that passed the house earlier this month. One puts in place new background check requirements for firearms transferred between individuals. The second increases the amount of time for an initial background check from three to ten days before a weapon can be transferred to a purchaser, closing the so- called Charleston loophole.
Those bills face an uncertain path forward in the evenly split Senate. And surprise, surprise, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin the conservative southern Democrat and self-styled Senate underboss who, at one point, championed a minor gun safety bill effort during the Obama Administration, that failed, by the way, as Rachel Maddow pointed out last night. Well, he says he opposes the House bills even in the wake of two mass shootings in less than a week because, of course, he does.
And there`s also the neverending intransigence of Republicans who took time out from the usual thoughts and prayers for more absurd, bad faith arguments during yesterday`s hearing on gun violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): Like many Americans, I cherish my right to bear arms.
In a time when law enforcement response might be uncertain, the need for vulnerable populations to feel safe and be able to protect themselves is more important than ever.
SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): Our friends on the left always want to go straight to gun control as the solution. Why don`t we look at why this violence has increased to begin with?
Notably, there has been extended, systematic attacks on our police and law enforcement professionals.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): There are steps we can take to stop these crimes. And you know what the steps aren`t? The steps aren`t disarming law-abiding citizens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Joining me now is Congressman Jason Crow of Colorado, Vice Chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. And thank you for being here.
Let`s start with you, Congresswoman for a couple of these things I would love to debunk. Let`s start with what Kamala Harris said. Vice President Harris talked about these weapons, the A.R.-15 which you just heard a senator claim that if these weapons are restricted, people wouldn`t be able to protect themselves. These are not the Armalite rifle. The AR-15 is not what you use in your house to protect your house. Let`s just be clear if anybody knows anything about guns that`s not what they`re really for. But you know Vice President Harris called them weapons of war. We understand they are not M-16s but what other purpose is there for an A.R.-15 other than killing people?
REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): Yes, there isn`t, Joy.
REID: You`re a military.
CROW: That`s the bottom line here, right? There just isn`t. You know, I come at this from a perspective of somebody that was raised a hunter. I started hunting when I was 12 and then I`ve been a gun owner most of my life. I became an Army Ranger. I went to a war three times for this country. I used deer hunting rifles, duck hunting rifles and I used military assault rifles at war and had them used against me.
There is a reason why I didn`t take my deer hunting rifle to Baghdad or Afghanistan and there`s a reason why I didn`t take my military assault rifle into the woods to deer hunt. They are vastly different weapons to do vastly different things.
These assault weapons were designed to do one thing, kill lots of people as quickly as possible. And they are horrifically efficient at doing that. They don`t belong in our streets, in our schools and our movie theaters, in our mosques, in our synagogues. I represent a community that has seen more than its share of these horrific mass shootings and it`s got to stop.
REID: Well, and thank you. And I`m glad that we have you in particular because you are a former Army Ranger, something that some have pretended to be but are not, and you`ve actually served. And so I think I think it`s important because no one is saying -- look, I grew up in Colorado where you serve. Lots of people had guns. Lots of people hunted. This was a common thing. No one ever felt they had to take an A.R.-15 and walk down the street with it or have it around them to just show of themselves off.
Here is somebody who thought that she needed to do that, Lauren Boebert, who served in the same state as you. She has now taking down her little zoom background, in which she just ostentatiously displayed. I would say, pornographically displayed these kinds of weapons behind her just for show. Let`s be clear. She displayed that just to make a point. She has now unmade that point by taking that background off.
That kind of performative, fake, pretending like they do what you did, Sir, you served your country and had to use a weapon to protect yourself and to protect other members of your company, she is somebody who is doing it pornographically. Do you think that, that -- I mean, that -- people saying defund the police ain`t was causing more violence. Don`t you think that that kind of sort of pornography around weapons increases violence more than people saying, defund the police?
CROW: Well, we know if there is any lesson over the last four years, it`s that the words and actions of leaders matter. You know, it`s not funny when people are now getting killed and hurt, and it hasn`t been for a very long time. It`s never been funny. And you know when you hold a position of influence and power when people listen to you, when you say things when you use guns for political stunts or political theater, it results in people getting hurt and killed. So that`s why it`s got to stop.
You know, my relationship with firearms is a very different one than some of my colleagues that use them for political stunts. You know, I have a very somber, very serious relationship with firearms. I used to carry them for work. When I did so I was serious. I was focused. I was disciplined. And it is very different from how it`s used by some of these folks.
So, you know, that`s the bottom line. But it really traces back to what it`s about. This is about raising money and making money for these folks, right? The gun lobby, gun manufacturers have decided to, you know, concoct this argument about personal freedom, about protecting your home and, you know, defending against tyranny, which it never was about, by the way. And this is a new thing, right?
So they have been concocted this -- some politicians have decided to try to raise money, to jump on the bandwagon. And here we are, we have a crisis and we can resolve it.
REID: Yes. I mean, when people like Ted Cruz who didn`t have the courage to stay in Texas when it was freezing are trying to stand up there like they`re some sort of, you know, national hero trying to protect people is just absurd.
Let me let you listen to Ken Buck. He`s also a Colorado Representative on the Republican side talking about gun control legislation. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are your thoughts on the president now pushing for gun control in the wake of these shootings?
REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO): Well, it`s a political stunt. When he was a senator and they had an assault weapons ban, the violent crime in the United States went up.
People who were unhinged are going to do things that are terrible. And it`s horrible and I feel terrible for the family of the police officers and the other families of the victims, but this gun control language is political.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: I mean, let`s just, first of all, fact-check this before I go back to you, Congressman. The Brennan Center put out information and here is the chart. The violent crime in the United States dropped during the time that the assault weapons ban was in place. You can just see it on the chart. Down, down, down it goes.
The United States has the highest death rate from guns in the entire -- the 32nd highest death rate from gun in the entire world. It is eight times the death rate to a very similar country, Canada. It is a hundred times the death rate in the United Kingdom.
The Washington Post reports that mass shooting deaths, the body of research now increasingly suggests the 1994 law was effective in reducing mass shootings deaths. And now let`s go to the polls very quickly. The majority of Americans want gun laws to be more strict, not less strict. Republicans think that less so but that always happens when there is a Democratic president.
At this point, since this is a popular idea to make sure that people who shouldn`t have these weapons, who aren`t stable enough and may plan a various things can`t get them, most people want them. In your view, should the filibuster be removed in order to make that happen?
CROW: Yes, it should. You know, the filibuster has outlived, long outlived any original purpose it might have. And we are obviously well aware of the terrible history of the filibuster and preventing civil rights and being used post-reconstruction in the Jim Crow era. And that has prevented progress in that regard. But it`s now preventing all progress, whether you`re talking about the climate crisis, campaign finance reform, democracy reform, protecting voting rights or addressing the gun crisis. It`s got to stop.
And, you know, here we are, we have a Democratic president in the White House, where we have Democratic control of the Senate and Democratic control of the House, if we can`t get these things done, then we have a big problem. The filibuster has got to go. It`s not being used for bipartisanship. It`s being used to undermine our democracy and prohibiting progress that would make our country more safe.
REID: Sir, I wish that you could just call Joe Manchin, please, and talk to him, because I think given your background and your service to this country, maybe he would listen to you because he sure ain`t listening to anybody else. Congressman Jason Crow, thank you so much. I really appreciate you`re being here. You were just the person we wanted to talk to tonight. Thank you.
And up next on THE REIDOUT, voting rights are under attack all across this country. Former Attorney General Eric Holder joins me following his testimony today on what needs to be done to protect and expand those rights.
And then there is Ted Cancun Cruz, he wants fewer people to vote, basically admitting today that if all eligible voters actually vote, Democrats will win elections for the next 100 years. Ted, you`re back on our radar and we have not forgotten how you fled your state while your constituents were freezing. And yet Rafael, you are not tonight`s absolute worst. The big reveal is coming up.
Plus, Vice President Kamala Harris has put in charge of addressing the migration issue at the southern border as we`ve got new pictures from inside a border influx care facility. NBC`s Gabe Gutierrez was inside that facility today. And he will be here to describe what he saw.
THE REIDOUT continues after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): States are not engaging in trying to suppress voters, whatsoever. This is clearly an effort by one party to rewrite the rules of our political system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Wow, that was Minority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissing Democratic legislation that would roll back draconian voter suppression legislation that is sweeping through Republican legislature across the country. Apparently, the Kentucky senator has spent so much time in his shell that he missed the roughly 253 bills in 43 states that are targeting black, brown, AAPI and young voters nearly everywhere that the GQP has legislative control.
Mitch`s willful ignorance of the fact of the recurring theme for him. Just yesterday, this native of Sheffield, Alabama, born in the 1940s deep south as Addison Mitchell McConnell Jr., claim that the filibuster, a Jim Crow relic, has no racial history. McConnell and his Republican cohorts are mounting a, frankly, hysterialized (ph) and basically fact-free campaign against a number of popular pieces of legislation, including the For the People Act, which would expand voting rights and roll back the repressive measures that Mitch and his fellow Republicans are passing in states.
Today, the Senate held its first hearing to assess the Democrats` preeminent piece of legislation. Former Attorney General Eric Holder who now leads the Democratic redirecting initiative appeared before the committee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: It seems to me that this is the right time, this is the right act, dealing as I said with that -- that unholy trinity of voter suppression, dark money and gerrymandering. These are all things handled by this act and will make our electoral system more fair, more responsive and more available to the American people. And that`s why I think this bill should be passed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Republicans who are better at cutting taxes for the rich than they are at passing meaningful legislation for the working class have called this bill a power grab. They`re getting backup from West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, who told reporters that he did not want to pass voting legislation solely along party lines.
Despite Manchin`s now commonplace obstinance, people close to President Biden are telling Axios that he`s feeling bullish on what he can accomplish, and that he`s fully prepared to support the dashing of the Senate`s filibuster rule to allow Democrats to pass voting rights and other trophy legislation for his party.
Senator Dick Durbin, the head vote-counter for the Democrats, had this warning to all the conservative Democrats like Manchin who are skeptical of undoing the old Jim Crow filibuster, which was most prominently used historically to try to stop voting rights for black Americans. And they`re trying to convince them to help pass this legislation.
Said Durbin: "Show me that the Senate can operate with the filibuster and still do things that make the U.S. a better nation."
Joining me now is Eric Holder, former U.S. attorney general and chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.
Great to see you, General Holder.
ERIC HOLDER, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Hey, Joy.
REID: And let`s just start with a few of these myths.
Great to see you.
Let`s start a few of these myths. Mitch McConnell claims that the filibuster has no racist history. Your thoughts?
HOLDER: Well, the filibuster was used throughout the 20th century to frustrate the passage of civil rights bills.
I mean, that -- first and foremost. You had to get past a just humongous filibuster in 1964 to get the 1964 civil rights bill in place. Same thing again with the Voting Rights Act in 1965. But you can go to earlier versions of civil rights bills, where Southern senators, Democrats, to be fair, were filibustering to try to make sure that civil rights bills did not become the law of the land.
REID: Yes, Dixiecrats, to be specific.
And it is interesting that that sort of faction has moved right on into the party of Lincoln. But what`s also interesting is that there are still Southern Democrats and conservative Democrats who are still clinging to the filibuster, a very bad old thing from the old Democratic Party, as you point out, people like Joe Manchin.
There was this quote that Joe Biden is feeling sort of the rush of history. He feels like he can pass a lot of really important legislation, including this bill, which is now S.R.1. It`s the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, et cetera.
In your view -- you know Joe Biden very well, worked with him -- how can he feel that optimistic, with people like Joe Manchin still clinging to the filibuster?
HOLDER: Well, I think it`s early in the game.
And at this point, we`re talking about the filibuster in some ways in a vacuum. I think, once some of this legislation is actually passed by the Senate, S.1, H.R.4., which is the John Lewis advancement, voting advancement bill, perhaps a minimum wage, when it becomes something that is concrete, something that is tangible, and then the question is, are you in favor of the filibuster or do you want to do that which is morally right and which is also politically popular?
That, I think is when we will find the true test. And it doesn`t mean that you have to do away with the filibuster. It may be that you carve out parts of the filibuster, so that this legislation can, in fact, be passed.
So, I think, as I said, pressure needs to be placed. But we`re not at the - - near the end of the game at this point.
REID: But we are at the point in the game when Joe Manchin is essentially saying he will not allow anything to pass unless Republicans are on the bill.
Do you believe, having dealt with these -- a lot of these same senators, that there are 10 Republicans who would vote for a bill that would make it easier to vote? Because, demographically, if more people can vote, more people of color are coming online as voters, and they don`t do so well with people of color.
There`s no political interest for them to let more people vote. Do you believe there are 10 Republicans who would in any universe that we live in vote for S.R.1?
And let me be clear, when I say pressure will be brought to bear, I mean on Democrats, not on Republicans. They have made up -- made the determination that they can`t win elections where more people vote. And so they have made a determination that what they`re going to do is to try to change the rules.
They are happy being a minority party that exercises majority power, and they are OK with that. And so, no, I don`t expect any pressure to be -- can be brought on Republicans sufficient to get 10 Republicans to vote for any of this -- this vote reform legislation.
REID: yes, let me listen to one of those Republicans. Here`s Ted Cruz making his argument against the law, against the For the People Act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): This bill is the single most dangerous bill this committee has ever considered. This bill is designed to corrupt the election process permanently.
And it is a brazen and shameless power grab by Democrats. They do this by instituting a bill that will promote widespread fraud and illegal voting. Apparently, the Democrats have determined that, if millions of illegal aliens get to vote, if millions of criminals get to vote, that that will benefit Democrats, because they understand that criminals and illegal aliens are much, much more likely to vote for Democrats.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Now, given the fact that Ted Cruz is a man of color, this is probably the most ironic pro-white supremacist argument I have ever heard about voting.
But what do you make of the fact that someone like Ted Cruz, whose own family includes people of color from a Latino country, would just boldly make the argument that the people of color who might be allowed to vote are basically just a bunch of criminals, and that the only reason Democrats want people to vote is that they think that they`re going to hand out voting cards to the undocumented, who, by the way, if they become citizens, they should be able to vote, if they`re citizens, right?
HOLDER: Joy, this is all about power.
It`s all about power, the maintenance, the retention of power. The Republicans understand the demographics are changing, that the ideology of the nation is changing, and it`s moving away from them. And they`re not going to change their programs. They`re not going to change their policy perspectives.
And so the only way in which they can stay competitive in the game is to somehow frustrate the desires of people to vote, people of color primarily. And so that`s what he is talking about.
They will try to say it`s all about voter fraud. They have been saying the stuff about voter fraud for decades now, without any proof that there is any widespread voter fraud. Study after study has shown that to be a false claim.
Nevertheless, it is the foundation for all that they try to do. They say that, but the reality is, they`re just going to try to maintain, hold onto power.
REID: Yes, I mean, I won`t even play it, but Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, who once said she`d be front row at a hanging, AKA, a lynching, she tried to argue that Sunday voting is wrong because Sunday is the Sabbath, forgetting Saturday is also the Sabbath for Jewish folks. She didn`t say that shouldn`t be -- the arguments are so absurd at this point.
Have you had a conversation, yourself, with Joe Manchin or with some of these other conservative Democrats who are literally clinging to the filibuster? Seemingly, they care more about the filibuster and maintaining it, this old Jim Crow thing, than they do about democracy or voting or anything else.
HOLDER: Well, see that`s exactly the question that will have to be posed, I think just at a later time, and not too far from now.
Do you care more about the filibuster or do you care more about democracy protection? That really is the question. And my hope will be -- and I think the pressure will be brought to bear on those who say that they don`t want to do something with the filibuster, that there will be both a price to pay. And that is just not something that I think Democratic senators ultimately, ultimately, will follow.
HOLDER: That`s at least my hope.
But, as I said, the pressure is intensifying. But the pressure will be at its maximum after the bill has passed.
REID: It is not lost on me that the bill in which John Roberts, the chief justice, cast the deciding vote to basically gut the Voting Rights Act, something Clarence Thomas and others want to actually delete -- he gutted it -- is the case called Shelby vs. Holder. You are the Holder in Shelby vs. Holder.
Can you talk about the aftermath of that? Because we still had our first black president in office. And the rush to start denying people the right to vote with, like, fast. These states jumped right out there, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina. It`s like they didn`t even wait a week.
Can you just -- just for scaring is caring purposes, talk about that period, and what was done to the right to vote?
HOLDER: Yes, within like a week, nine states put in place measures that would not have been allowed under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as it had been constituted.
They came up with new restrictions with regard to the necessity for voter I.D., for I.D. measures, all kinds of ways in which they closed polling places. I mean, since Shelby County, 1,700 polling places have been closed, not with any -- for any good reason.
And they disproportionately have been closed in places where you see people of color. We have seen voter purges, 40 percent of which happened in states that were previously covered by the Voting Rights Act. So, there`s been a whole range of things, from poll closures to discriminatory voter I.D. laws, a whole range of things that have been done, and were have done, as you said, immediately after the Shelby County case.
HOLDER: We don`t call it Shelby County vs. Holder in this house. We just call it the Shelby County case.
REID: Amen. I understand that.
Lastly, I would love you to give some advice to -- what would you like to see Merrick Garland do? Because you were a very active attorney general in terms of filing lawsuits against states that were trying to deny people the right to vote.
What would you like to see in terms of the current Justice Department under Mr. Garland do, short of this legislation passing? What could he do?
HOLDER: Well, the Justice Department`s got to use what`s left of the Voting Rights Act -- you still have Section 2 -- and be really aggressive in going after these discriminatory measures that these states are trying to put in place, to stand up and make a priority voter protection.
It`s one of the four priorities that I had as attorney general. My hope is that Merrick Garland, with Lisa Monaco, Vanita Gupta, Kristen Clarke at the Civil Rights Division, that they will all be warriors for our democracy, because that`s what is at risk here.
We can talk about the filibuster. We can talk about a range of other things. What is really at risk here is American democracy. And everybody`s got to stand up for that, especially people at the United States Department of Justice.
It feels like a fundamental thing that we should not be arguing about. But here we are in 2021 still having to have this debate.
Eric Holder, former attorney general of the United States, thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate the opportunity to talk to you. Thank you.
HOLDER: Thanks for having me.
REID: And -- cheers.
And still ahead, we are getting our first look inside one of the facilities being used to house undocumented immigrants at the border. We will get a live report from the NBC reporter who was inside that facility today.
But, first, you know what`s coming. It`s tonight`s absolute worst.
Stay right there.
REID: From the moment Joe Biden was declared the victor in last year`s election, the Trump administration did just about everything it could to try to kneecap Biden`s transition team as they prepared to deal with all the dumpster fires being left at their door.
Report after report highlighted how the Trump team was slow-rolling meetings with Biden transition officials. At the time, it was underscored how damaging this was to the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I think it is very concerning, because it`s critically important during periods of administration transitions that there be as much continuity as possible, from the standpoint of ensuring that our national security and our homeland security is going to be secured.
And the fact that the Trump administration continues to give the stiff-arm to the Biden team is, I think, indicative of their unwillingness to really take the interests of the American people first, as opposed to the interests and the pettiness of Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And that brings us to what we`re seeing play out at the border today.
While Republicans incorrectly and cynically call it a crisis created by Biden, it is, in fact, neither a crisis, nor did Biden create it. As we have told you on this show, while this is a challenge for the Biden administration, it`s one that fits a cyclical pattern for undocumented migration.
Of course, the newly unemployed Florida resident has emerged from his golf course to declare that everything would be fine on the border if only Biden listened to me and followed my lead.
Let`s not forget there is a reason 81 million Americans voted for Biden, and that hundreds of innocent children remain separated from their parents because of the prior administration trying to use inhuman cruelty as a deterrent.
And new reporting just out from my NBC News colleagues describes how, in early December, the Biden transition team sounded the alarm on the need for more shelter space for migrant children, only to have the Trump administration sit on their hands and do nothing, as one transition official put it.
Mind you, it wasn`t just the Biden transition team sounding the alarm at that time. Non-political staff also warned of the problem, according to U.S. government officials who served in both the Trump and Biden administration.
The official said that: "It was irresponsible of the Trump administration not to listen to us when we were throwing up red flags."
It wasn`t until just days before President Biden`s inauguration that his then HHS -- that then HHS Secretary Alex Azar finally acted on the request to start looking for more space.
So, while Biden has to clean up yet another mess left by the previous administration, one that could have been avoided, it makes it easy to declare the former president and his minions, from Alex Azar to Stephen Miller on down, as tonight`s absolute worst.
And when we come back, for the first time, we will show you what it looks like inside one of the facilities where migrant kids are being held.
We have those images and the NBC reporter who was there -- coming up next.
REID: Tonight, we`re getting the first look inside one of the migrant care facilities in Texas for unaccompanied children who crossed the border. After facing growing questions about transparency, the Biden administration led a tour with congressional members and an NBC News crew.
You can see a number of the children outside playing soccer. It`s only a small glimpse of the nearly 800 minors presently in the facility.
Meanwhile, earlier today, President Biden announced that Vice President Kamala Harris will lead the response to the border challenge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But I`ve asked her, the VP today because she is the most qualified person to do it, to lead our efforts with Mexico and the Northern Triangle. This new surge we are dealing with now started with the last administration but it`s our responsibility to deal with it humanely and to -- and to stop what`s happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Joining me now is NBC`s Gabe Gutierrez, who`s the only reporter allowed inside with the delegation.
And, Gabe, I want to get a sense what you saw. I can recall covering the Tornillo facilities when a few of us reporters were allowed to go and through, and you had the soccer pitch and you had, you know, sort of medical facilities, like in 2018.
Talk about how this facility looked, how the kids seemed, et cetera.
GABE GUTIERREZ, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Joy. Well, yes, the children we saw today, they were calmed. They seemed to be in good spirits, and, yes, as you mentioned there, more than 700 of them inside the facility.
Now, Joy, as you know, there are different kinds of facilities for migrant children. This was an HHS facility further down along the chain of when they are picked up at the border. They first go to the border patrol facilities. Those are some of the images that we`ve been seeing the last couple days of overcrowding hundreds of kids staying longer than ten days when the legal limit is 72 hours.
But then they came here. This HHS facility actually we went to for the first time in 2019 opened by the Trump administration it was shut down a couple weeks later though. It`s since reopened and reopened last month.
And it began taking children from those border patrol facilities on March 10th. So, let me tell you what we saw. We went in with White House officials, congressional delegation. We say saw an intake facility where the children go in.
They are then processed there. They`re given a medical screening. They are tested for COVID.
Now, Joy, I should point out more than 100 children inside this facility right now have tested positive for COVID-19. But the officials put them in a separate area in isolation in pressure controlled rooms, essentially, negative pressure to make sure they are isolated from the rest of the kids here. It`s not like the kids are giving COVID to each other.
But we were in this intake facility. They are given a duffel bag with clothes. And, you know, a hygiene kit. Then they go into dormitories. We were shown the dormitories, although the children were not there. We weren`t allowed to speak to the children throughout our whole visit.
But there is four children per room. And they also have kind of these modular trailers where they`re allowed to visit with legal representation virtually here. We saw the dining facility, as well, a typical day for them, Joy, is 7:00 a.m. to get up for breakfast, they then have six hours of education. We saw a classroom.
Now, it was very interesting just to walk by and while we weren`t allowed to speak with the children, Joy, you know we were able to say hello. They were many of them playing soccer. Many of them actually some of them had knit hats in the Texas heat. They are allowed to knit here. Surprised me these are teenage boys, 13 to 17 years old and some of them were actually knitting made their own hats and walking around with it.
So, yes, they seem in good spirits. But the question that the Biden administration has been facing is, you know, do they have enough bed space here? And what we spoke with an HHS official that says the reason it`s been tough to ramp up is that they had a 40 percent reduction in bed space due to COVID.
And also in terms of staffing, a hiring freeze at the tail end of the Trump administration. But over the next couple of months, Joy, yes, while we have seen other surges before, this is a particularly large one specifically for the unaccompanied minors. So, they`re going to have to find more bed space. And they are -- they are building or creating another facility in this area to hold hundreds of these unaccompanied minors here, Joy.
REID: And the other question I had when we were there before was what next, right? Because there didn`t at the time seem to be a plan for how you transition these kids out of this type of facility and to their families or loved ones in the United States. Did you get a sense just from talking with the White House officials that they have a plan for that?
GUTIERREZ: Well, and that is the challenge here, right. They kind of break the kids off into separate categories. The first category is the child that comes in and, you know old enough that has contacts, family members inside this country, whether either be a parent or a -- you know, extended family member. And they`re able to make contact, vet the family members and be able to get them into, you know, into the hands of a family member essentially.
And that may take several days for that category 1 child. But when you get into the category 2, category 3, they break this up. There is a category 4 where that child doesn`t know anyone in the country at all.
It is almost impossible to find them a suitable place to stay. Some of the children eventually end up going back to their home country because they are waiting because it`s a challenge here for the HHS officials to be able to vet and to be sure that the children are then placed in safe hands while they are in this country.
But it was incredible to see this firsthand, joy. And, you know, this is the first inside look we are seeing inside one of these HHS facilities at this point -- Joy.
REID: Gabe, Gutierrez, you`re great and thank you for making the point, because that`s the challenge, right? These are children you can`t send them off with anyone. You have to vet and understand where they`re going and where they`re going is going to be safe and they`re cared for. That is the key and having plan to do that very important.
Gabe Gutierrez, great reporting. Congrats on getting that scoop. Thank you very much. Really appreciate you being here tonight.
And still ahead, new video shows the insurrectionist attack that may have caused the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.
Plus, new details on the ongoing investigation points to high levels of coordination and preparation. What are the chances it was of an infamous Trump ally doing the coordinating? Hmm!
We`re back after this.
REID: Prosecutors are drawing together the threads connecting Trump`s most extreme supporters in the Capitol siege, and there`s video out today that sheds new light on the assault of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. "The New York Times" has exclusively obtained footage showing how one of the two men charged in his assault raised a spray can and discharged it in the direction of Officer Sicknick. Sicknick turns away after being hit.
If the chemical in the spray is linked to Sicknick`s death, those defendants could face murder charges. Meanwhile, prosecutors are untangling the web of connections between the extremists involved in the Capitol attack. A new court filing reveals for the first time that at least one of the ten members of the Oath Keepers who attacked the Capitol was coordinating with other extremist groups before January 6th. According to prosecutors, the suspect wrote in December that, quote, I organized an alliance between oath keepers, the Florida 3 Percenters and the Proud Boys. We`ve decided to work together and shut this expletive down.
In a separate message, he also said he was coming to D.C. at Trump`s invitation. Quote, he called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild.
As we learned this week, the Oath Keepers are prime candidates for sedition charges. According to "The New York Times," Justice Department officials have been weighing whether to file those charges for weeks.
I`m joined now by Joyce Vance, a former federal prosecutor.
Joyce, thanks for being here. Happy Equal Pay Day. I think you`re at $0.79 my sister. I think I`m at about $0.60. So, we`re going to note just for the record.
But you are a top prosecutor. You should be at 100 to 100.
Let`s talk about a few of these things. Is it as weird to you as it is to me that we still don`t have an official cause of death for Officer Sicknick, or is that sort of a prosecutorial strategy to withhold that?
JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: I think it`s less a strategy and more reflective of the fact that there`s a lot going on. This is a big complex case.
They`ll get the coroner`s report when they get the coroner`s report, but something that`s really important here is that that report not be prosecution-oriented, that the coroner just do her job or his job and weigh in on what the actual cause of death is here.
REID: Got you. All right, let`s talk about the sedition charges. Do you think they`re likely, and can you define what that means under law?
VANCE: Sure. So sedition is -- and this is seditious conspiracy, so it`s entering into an agreement to use force to disrupt a government operation, in this case to keep Congress from certifying the outcome of the 2020 election.
So you have to have all of those elements in combination. It`s a difficult charge to bring, Joy, but it`s not impossible. For instance, it was used back in 1995 against some al Qaeda cells, and then charges were brought in 2010 against a militia group in Michigan, and those charges failed because the judge said that there wasn`t a specific enough agreement, that it was more generalized sort of guffawing as opposed to an agreement to execute a plan using force to impede government operations.
REID: Got you. Well, that brings us to roger stone because Roger Stone is sort of not -- is sort of an outside character. This is somebody who`s been a top advisory to Donald Trump for a very long time, wanted him to be president, saw him as sort of a better Nixon. There`s documents that talk about that.
And, you know, 20 years ago he organized a sort of faux little mini riot in Miami-Dade County to try to impact that presidential election, so he has a history. He keeps showing up in a lot of these cases.
These filings, the defense filings for some of these defendants are mentioning Roger Stone, and showing that stone had previous interactions with some of these defendants who prosecutors have accused as part of what happened on January 6th and who may be charged, maybe with seditious conspiracy.
There are also videos showing that some of the Oath Keepers who have been arrested provided security for him. These are some of the same people that provided security for Stone.
How central do you think Stone is going to wind up being in this overall case?
VANCE: If I was a prosecutor in this case, I would want to know as much as possible as what he did. I will confess that those text messages that were released yesterday between militia leaders, I went and counted spaces where they had redacted the name of someone that the group said that they were protecting on January 6th, and Roger Stone`s name, and I`m sure many others would have fit into that redacted block.
So here`s what you want to do. You want to, as a prosecutor, have conversations, whether those are during a plea agreement deal or in some other way with people who are protecting Stone, who were around Stone. It`s really conspicuous that he accordingly -- that he, according to his recitations stayed in his hotel room that day and didn`t even show up at the rally on the ellipse. That sort of gets my interest. It`s odd to be there and not to show up.
So you want to know whether he was involved, what he was involved with. Was it just brokering a deal among these militia groups? Was there anyone in the White House involved? You want to get as close to Stone as possible. We know from Stone`s history that he does not want to spend time in prison, so if he becomes -- in this situation, and there`s a lot of speculation, then he might be willing to talk about whether he had any contacts in the White House or elsewhere.
REID: Yeah, he`s already gotten clear out of one case that Donald Trump gave him, but he can`t get another one because Trump is gone.
You know, what is striking about this January 6th conspiracy, it involved, you know, I was on with Alice Wagner earlier on "DEADLINE: WHITE HOUSE" on Nicolle`s show. The point I was trying to make, if you were going to put together a conspiracy to try to overturn an election, and you wanted to do it violently, who else would you go to but the 3 Percenters, the Oath Keepers, who are military police specifically, either active duty or former, and people like the Proud Boys who have a long, violent history and whose leader was the leader of Latinos for Trump. There`s all of this Florida connection.
It`s sort of like they`re this perfect storm of people who were surrounded by a bunch of people who were duped but Trump, thinking he lost the election illegally, sort of the perfect storm. Do you think that is the way that a conspiracy charge gets built?
VANCE: Well, I think there`s a lot of smoke here, and so as a prosecutor, as an investigator, you`ve got to look at that smoke and see what the hard evidence looks like, joy. One of the complexities here is that it`s possible there may be multiple conspiracies, not just one. So you`ve got to figure out who`s involved among all these different players, and you`ve got to identify what the object of these conspiracies was, was it to go out and fight against Antifa, which some of these folks have said was their goal, or was there an organized conspiracy to intervene and to keep Congress from certifying the election?
REID: Yeah, and very quickly, do you think that the Bennie Thompson and Eric Swalwell lawsuits will somehow end up playing a role, the discovery we get from those?
VANCE: So these are the cases the two congressmen have filed using the Ku Klux Klan Act. Discovery in those cases could be very, very interesting.
REID: Yeah, indeed it will. Joyce Vance, thank you so much for being here. Really appreciate you.
All right. And also, thank you very much.
That is tonight`s REIDOUT.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.