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Transcript: The ReidOut, 3/3/2021

Guest: Michelle Kim, Katie Porter, Adam Jentleson�


Capitol Police is on high alert after extremist threat. Security officials testify on Capitol insurrection. General Walker says, approval to deploy National Guard took three hours. Security officials testify on Capitol insurrection. Chief Pittman says, 93 percent increase in threats to members of Congress in last two months. D.C. Police is on high alert after extremist threat. DHS and FBI warn of potential second Capitol attack. U.S. confronts rising threat of domestic terrorism. House shifts vote schedule to extremist threat. GOP Senator McConnell dodges questions on Trump. Governors of Texas and Mississippi lift mask mandates. CDC says, it`s not the time to lift all restrictions. Democratic-controlled Senate is expected to take up debate on the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package tomorrow.



JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. We`ve got a big show tonight with a lot to get to, including a strong rebuke from President Biden to the unbelievable recklessness of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, ending all COVID restrictions in his state, just as the end is in sight with hopeful vaccine news.

And if you`ve been paying attention to right-wing media, you may have noticed that Republicans seem more interested, indeed more obsessed with defending Dr. Seuss than listening to Dr. Fauci. That`s all coming up later in the show.

But we begin THE REIDOUT with the latest very disturbing news out of Washington. The U.S. Capitol Police today announced they are on heightened alert after receiving intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the U.S. Capitol again, this time by an unidentified militia group tomorrow, March 4th. That`s date.

According to NBC News, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a joint intelligence bulletin to law enforcement late last night, warning that some domestic groups have discussed plans to take control of the U.S. Capitol and remove Democratic lawmakers. This news comes after adhering of the right-wing QAnon cult predicted that tomorrow will be the day that Donald Trump will be re-inaugurated as president, a conspiracy theory that could inspire extremists to act.

Meanwhile, national security officials testify today detailing explosive new revelations about the Capitol siege of January 6th. The commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, Major General William Walker, described how Pentagon leadership took more than three hours to authorize his troops to respond to that attack.


MAJOR GENERAL WILLIAM WALKER, D.C. NATIONAL GUARD COMMANDER: At 1:49 P.M. I received a frantic call from then Chief of United States Capitol Police Steven Sund, where he informed me that the security perimeter of the United States Capitol had been breached by hostile rioters.

Immediately after that 1:49 call, I alerted the U.S. army senior leadership of the request. The approval for Chief Sund`s request would eventually come from the acting secretary of defense and be relayed to me by army senior leaders at 5:08 P.M., about three hours and 19 minutes later.


REID: Well, during that delay, Walker said Pentagon leadership expressed concern about the optics of deploying uniformed guard troops to the Capitol. And, unbelievably, those defense officials said that they thought troops might inflame the situation even as violent insurrectionists breached the Capitol and threatened the counting of electoral votes.

It`s yet another reminder that we still haven`t really got into the bottom of what happened on January 6th, even as we face a new threat to the capitol. In fact, a separate hearing today in which the acting -- the acting chief, sorry, of the Capitol Police testified that threats to lawmakers have only increased substantially.


YOGANANDA PITTMAN, ACTING CHIEF OF CAPITOL POLICE: In the first two months of 2021, there has been over a 93 percent increase in the threats to members compared to the same period last year.


REID: NBC News is reporting that due to the security concerns, House votes previously scheduled for tomorrow will instead be held tonight.

And joining me now is NBC News Reporter Ben Collins, Malcolm Nance, MSNBC Counterterrorism and Intelligence Analyst, and David Jolly, former Republican Congressman from Florida, who is no longer affiliated with the party.

Ben, I have to go to you first. This QAnon conspiracy theory that supposedly the real inauguration will take place March 4th, is that still a thing? Because I have heard that the QAnon folks may be moving that date around. Should we be concerned that they really mean tomorrow, March 4th?

BEN COLLINS, NBC NEWS REPORTER: Well, you know, with QAnon, they live in this land of cognitive dissonance, where they keep saying that the whole end of QAnon is the roundup of Democrats, the execution of Democrats. But they also don`t want to admit that that day has a real date or that any violence committed in its name is, in fact, committed in its name.

So when threats become more severe, once it looks more and more like real things might happen in the real world, QAnon people back off, because as a lot of these people are, in fac,t just posting dumb stuff on the internet, right? They don`t want to be like -- they don`t want to be targeted by the feds if they`re not really part of this thing. So they -- a lot of these people are saying anything that happens tomorrow might be a false flag. This is all ginned up by the media. It`s actually on the 19th, or the 20th or some day in the future but they`re doing that largely to protect themselves from prosecution.

REID: And to stay with you with just one moment, Ben, do other groups use the QAnon calendar to plan their own events, meaning, they could always maybe say, well, QAnon is really out front, because they`re the one saying the kooky things but do other groups affiliate with them and sort of go with their calendar?

COLLINS: Yes. I mean, the Bugaloo movement specifically, they try to capitalize on protests that already exist and rile people up and then try to get -- they`re trying to start a civil war no matter what. They don`t really care what cause it`s under. And then they`re trying to take down the government and replace it with something else.

So the Bugaloo movement loves stuff like this. They love jumping into protests, whether that was the one over the summer or on the 6th. They want these sorts of occasions to occur so they can create more violence.

REID: Yes. And, Malcolm, let`s talk about the real threat, because you`ve got, you know, whatever happens tomorrow, and obviously we`re going to be watching. We`ve actually had the House representatives, the senators to move their schedule around because of the threats to try to get more done tonight.

But before we look at the forward-leading threats let`s talk just a little bit about the past, because there was a piece of reporting I think that was really important here. And that -- let me just play it for you. This is the National Guard commander, William Walker, and he is talking about who was on the call when he was getting these desperate calls from Capitol Police Chief Sund saying, I need help from the D.C. National Guard, he wasn`t getting it. And there`s a call in question. And here he is, describing it.


WALKER: The army senior leaders did not think that it looked good, it would be a good optic. They further stated that it could incite the crowd.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): And do you remember who was mostly talking about the optics, the questions that Senator Peters asked you and their concern about that?

WALKER: Who was talking about optics were General Flynn and General Pyatt. And they both said it wouldn`t be in our best military advice to advise the secretary of the army to have uniformed guard members at the Capitol during the election confirmation.


REID: And, Malcolm, when he says General Flynn, he doesn`t mean Michael Flynn, he means his brother, Charles Flynn, who initially the army denied that he was on that call. It turns out he was on that call. What do you make of that? Because his brother was one of the people encouraging Donald Trump to use martial law to retain power.

MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC COUNTERTERRORISM AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Right. And all throughout the month of December at a period that Mike Flynn, former General Mike Flynn, had been visiting the White House and explicitly calling for martial law, for the use of the armed forces.

Now, his brother is on a call. He knows that this is a high-profile protest, which is being carried out by President Trump`s most ardent supporters. And it is that very makeup, the demographic of that target audience that leads him to believe he doesn`t want to upset the apple cart for anyone in the national security apparatus. And also his brother is involved in this, in some way.

Let me tell you something, this is now an issue for general -- for, I`m sorry, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. These two commanding officers, one of whom General Flynn, I understand, has been moved to another command out west, need to be brought to the carpet, they need to be investigated and they need to find out whether they actually were principally responsible for the attack on the Capitol by disarming the United States Armed Forces and National Guard deliberately.

REID: That`s what scares me. Because right now -- so now we have this really sort of stepped-up security posture for tomorrow. You`re seeing the White House and Defense Department. All the department are acting the way they shouldn`t have acted ahead of the 6th. I mean, I know just knowing you and having Twitter that the 6th was going to be something. Trump was saying it was going to be something. So everyone knew.

Does it feel to you like we`re starting to get or put a picture together that there was a deliberate, as you just basically said, attempt to allow a siege at the Capitol because this is something that people understood the president wanted or maybe just the theatrics of what looked like a siege? Like how far might this go?

NANCE: You know, I don`t want to speculate to think that people actually sat and thought and planned for this to be a siege of the Capitol. I don`t think that that was the plan at all from the national security apparatus. I think it absolutely was the plan of the protesters. We have been watching for weeks where they were making up, storm the Capitol, storm the Hill T- shirts and selling them on Etsy, right? They have prepared for that. People have bought body armor, pepper spray, bear spray, objects which the park police would never have allowed at any other protest in Washington, D.C.

Again, it was the fact that they were white, Trump voters, vote -- you know, supporters of the president and the agenda that the apparatus of national security said, well, nothing is going to happen with these people. Let`s just step back and they`re just going to do a walk up there because the president talked about it. Every other person in the counterintelligence and the global extremist world were saying these people are going to attack the Capitol.

One last thing, Joy, there had already been a plan for this plotted, which was Michigan plan B against Governor Whitmer where they said in November they were going to take over the Capitol and execute all the Democrats in the building. Baseline, they should have been prepared for this.

REID: Yes, indeed. And let me go to you into this, David, because you now have a Republican Party that`s part of the investigative structure here to try to figure all of this out. But you know, as Michael Gerson wrote a column in The Washington Post this week saying, but they are now the party of these people. The people who stormed the Capitol basically now reflect the base of the Republican Party because they have no interest in investigating them.

Let me play the first news apparently in charge of the allegedly -- here is Mitch McConnell. He`s on Fox News and he`s asked about the former president, who is still out there potentially able to foment this kind of big lie, which could be dangerous, and here he is, being asked about him. He had rebuked him before. Here he is now.


REPORTER: At this point, do you have any regrets about the statement that you made on the floor? Would you take back any of that today?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Well, look, I think the actions of the new Democratic administration are unifying the Republican Party.

REPORTER: What did you think of that, when you heard her him at CPAC naming all of those who voted to impeach him, and saying basically we need to get rid of all these Republicans?

MCCONNELL: Well, I didn`t watch it. But I think the important thing now the American people expect from us is to stand up to this left-wing administration.

REPORTER: So you don`t want to comment on any of that? And I understand what you`re saying that you want to move forward. He also went after the Supreme Court.

MCCONNELL: It`s been my practice over the years over the year is not to attack the Supreme Court for decisions that I don`t like.

REPORTER: So do you think the president was wrong to say that?

MCCONNELL: It`s been my practice over the years not to attack the Supreme Court when they make a decision that I don`t like.


REID: David Jolly, if the Senate minority leader is too afraid to even comment on the former president, I don`t understand how any Republican can participate in protecting us from another attack on the Capitol.

DAVID JOLLY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, Joy, Mitch McConnell never misses the right moment to say the wrong thing, and that`s a perfect example of it. But I think it`s a reflection of something much more dangerous, much more serious within today`s Republican politics that we have watched now for a period of time.

If you take the events of January 6th, the threats of tomorrow, Republicans and Republican leaders see the perpetrators of the January 6th storming of the Capitol as merely part of a political coalition, not part of the flash mob, domestic terror cell by which they behaved on that day, when they tried to actually take down an election and they took down the Capitol.

Rather than approaching those perpetrators as actors -- criminal actors of a terror cell, they approach them as part of the Republican coalition. And that`s why they won`t ever address the threat caused by this loosely knit organization that is done so under the banner of Trumpism.

And that`s why you see the likes of Marsha Blackburn trying to turn this into a Black Lives Matter conversation and, ultimately, why, Joy, I believe any commission that includes Republicans is doomed for failure because they will turn it into a cancel culture, free speech, political affiliation debate, not one on the security threat that was caused on January 6th.

REID: Yes. They can`t even defend -- denounce QAnon because some of them are QAnon. Weird world.

Ben Collins, Malcolm Nance, David Jolly, thank you all very much. I appreciate you.

And up next, Texas waves the white flag on COVID, telling it`s 29 million men, women and children you`re on your own.

Also from Texas, remember Ronny Jackson, part of the GOP`s cult caucus in the house who voted to overturn the election? Well, a Pentagon inspector general`s report is accusing him of misconduct while he served as President Obama`s White House Physician, which in and of itself is about scary thought as there is, including allegations that he made sexual comments to insubordinations and drank on the job. Jackson denies the allegations.

But as bad as all that is, Ronny, you are not tonight absolute worst. The big reveals is coming up. THE REIDOUT continues after this.



REPORTER: Texas and Mississippi --

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I think it`s a big mistake.

The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that, in the meantime, everything is fine, take off your mask. Forget it. It still matters.


REID: Okay. President Biden did not hold back on the latest nonsensical and dangerous anti-scientific move by the Republican governors of Texas and Mississippi, who have decided to throw caution to the wind and scream, YOLO, lifting their state`s mask mandates and rolling back COVID restrictions against CDC warnings.

Today, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky reiterated that it is a very bad idea, especially as the administration works to ramp up vaccinations.


DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: Stamina has worn thin. Fatigue is winning and the exact measures we`ve taken to stop the pandemic are too often being flagrantly ignored.

I think we at the CDC have been very clear that now is not the time to release all restrictions. Every individual has -- is empowered to do the right thing here, regardless of what the states decide.


REID: Yesterday, President Biden vowed enough vaccine supply for every American adult by the end of May. But while the finish line is in sight, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, well, he just said, who cares, and making Texas the largest state to lift its mask mandate, he said it`s time to open up all everything, 100 percent, flouting health officials, because Texans don`t need the state telling them how to operate after he left millions of Texans literally in the cold with his derelict handling of Texas` power grid and infrastructure, because, apparently, Texans also don`t need light and heat during a record winter storm, Abbott`s latest gift to his constituents is, congratulations, go get COVID.

Health experts across Texas are blasting the move, saying they`re mortified and disgusted and warning the rollbacks are like PTSD for doctors.

But Republicans aren`t so much interested in listening to those doctors, the real ones. Their favorite news source spent all of yesterday having a full-blown meltdown over Dr. Seuss being -- quote -- "canceled" over old- timey racist cartoons.

And, today, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, you know, old Cancun Cruz, and Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, both of whom notably bailed on their state during last month`s devastating deep freeze, said millions of Texans can just avoid COVID without the government`s help.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): I think it`s great news. I think Texans are ready to get back to work. We can be smart, we can be safe, we can practice social distancing.

We have taken reasonable, commonsense steps to slow the spread of the virus. But the answer isn`t to destroy millions of jobs.

KEN PAXTON (R), TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: This is a pandemic that was going to spread one way or the other. And there`s certainly things we can do to protect ourselves. But we can`t protect everyone all the time.


REID: Wow. That`s a stand-down, if you ever heard one.

Joining me now is Dr. Kavita Patel, former Obama White House policy director and MSNBC medical contributor, and also Jason Johnson, professor of journalism and politics at Morgan State University

And, Dr. Patel, we just realized today you are a Texan. When you hear that, you can`t protect everybody all the time, we will be fine, the last time that Texas did this and played this game back last May, they reopened bars at 25 percent capacity, the curve went up. They then closed bars. The curve continued to go up for about a month. They reopened bars at 50 percent capacity.

It goes up, up, up, up, up, up every time they have done it. What do you make of it when you hear Ken Paxton say, you can`t protect everybody?


I mean, it just -- it just burns in my heart, because this is -- I mean, as you pointed out, this is a state that has gone not just through its ups and downs, but coming off of the humanitarian crisis of -- still unfolding, by the way. There are still family members I have who are boiling their water in parts of Houston.

So it`s not like it`s all hunky-dory now. But this is -- the mayor of San Antonio, where I grew up, said best. You don`t cut your parachute off just as you`re slowing on the descent. And that`s exactly what they`re trying to do.

The very things that are working, the reason cases are coming down, and just cutting that off is exactly the wrong thing to do. But, Joy, let`s be honest. It`s not like Abbott`s alone. He`s got about 12 other governors who have said, no mask mandate, what`s wrong with reopening, right when we`re going into spring break, right when we`re going into Easter break, right when we know Houston, Texas, the first United States city to have all five of the most concerning, more infectious, possibly more deadly variants.

Joy, why not? Why not open up the state and put -- by the way, not Governor Abbott, not Ken Paxton, not any of the people that are in the state legislature at risk. Who? The people who are cleaning up the table after Governor Abbott put his little faux press conference at a Mexican restaurant in Lubbock, Texas.

Those are the people he put at risk. And he doesn`t care.

REID: Yes, clearly not. And, yes, I`m glad you mentioned spring break. I mean, I teach a class at Howard, Jason. And their spring break starts this Friday. As of next week, they will be on spring break.

And you have kids that are in college and are going to be -- some of them are already at home, but some are going to be heading to different states or leaving Texas and going to other states.

And Dr. Patel did mention all these other states. Let`s put them up there. Mississippi and Texas go the furthest in terms of, on March 10, free-for- all, complete free-for-all. But you have also got other states, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, the notorious spring break and also gangster playground, Georgia, Iowa.

You have talked about it`s all open wide in Atlanta. Statewide orders have been dropped all over the country. Look at that map. We`re getting so close, Jason. What do you make of the politics of deciding to basically reintroduce COVID full steam in places like Texas and Mississippi?

JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Joy, let`s hope that neither your Howard students or any of my Morgan students are at, say, like a Bow Wow concert in Dallas, Texas.


REID: For real.

JOHNSON: I think most of my students are going to be really smart over spring break.

This is what makes this so obscenely irresponsible. You still have -- as Dr. Kavita Patel just said, you still have people in Texas seven days ago who were using melted snow to shower, to drink, to flush their own toilets. You still have people who were burning furniture to keep their houses warm at night.

This is a state that is still in a state of emergency, and you`re deciding you`re going to add to that emergency by saying, hey, come get some tattoos and go to the beach. The same thing is happening in Mississippi.

And if you look at a place like Georgia, Georgia has some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, next to Texas. It is absolutely insane and irresponsible. And I think, in many instances, what these politicians are doing is, they`re trying to distract from the issue: Hey, let`s open up the state, so you don`t look at my incompetence on the issues of handling the weather and the grid.

Hey, let`s talk about Dr. Seuss, so you don`t look at the fact that we`re trying to destroy COVID care bill. That is what these Republican politicians are doing. They don`t want you to see what`s in front of you, which is other people being sick. They want to distract you with baubles and going back into the movie theater.

REID: Yes.

It is. It`s completely performative. I`m so glad you said that. It is completely performative. This isn`t even politics.

But, Dr. Patel, for real people, as you said, I mean, Jackson, Mississippi is still suffering. All -- the black parts of Jackson don`t have any water, just like places in Texas. This is going to hit poor people, black people, brown people the hardest, right?

PATEL: Oh, no -- no question whatsoever.

We have already seen -- we have talked about the national disparity story. In parts of Mississippi, there is literally no place to go get a vaccine where you can`t drive -- you have to drive, basically, at least an hour- and-a-half one way. That`s unacceptable.

And that, by the way, is -- when people ask me about systemic racism -- and, look, Jason`s taught me, you have taught me -- this is what we`re living. This is day to day. This is 2021. And, unfortunately, I hate to say it this way. When you -- when these things unfold, Joy, it feels like nobody cares.

REID: Yes.

PATEL: That`s -- when you see all these health professionals just feeling slapped down, it feels like nobody cares. And that`s how many Texans, Mississippians, they`re all feeling that way tonight.

REID: Yes.


REID: No, absolutely. I`m sure. The doctors are exhausted.

And, Jason, there is a term called necropolitics, which is essentially the politics of who gets to live and who gets to die. And these states, what they have in common is that they have structures which say that black and brown lives matter less.


REID: And so all that matters is the black and brown people get their behinds into the factory and make me my steaks, make me my stuff, get there and do my nails, work, get back to work now, and do the things that I, the comfortable, affluent person, need.

Isn`t that what we`re seeing here? I mean, that`s what it feels like to me, necropolitics in states like Texas.

JOHNSON: Oh, yes, yes, yes.

The Hunger Games would be more humane, right? If they made people line up and fight for vaccines, at least then you have a fighting chance. No, they`re just going to starve people.

And it`s always seemed ironic to me that the party of supposedly family values is basically saying, you kids starve, auntie starves, uncle starves, and my wife and my smart son get to eat and get to live and get the vaccine. That is essentially what`s happening here.

And here`s the problem. It used to just be an issue of harming black and brown people. But this is harming what`s left of the Republican base, Mississippi is a red state. They`re killing a lot of their own supporters.

REID: Yes.

JOHNSON: Texas is a red state, even though it`s through suppression. They`re killing a lot of their own supporters. So it`s not even political. It`s just nihilism and an absolute lack of empathy for the human impact and the catastrophe that so many Americans are living through right now.

REID: Yes.

And let`s not forget that a lot of these states...


PATEL: By the way, Joy, Texas...

REID: Yes. Go on.

PATEL: ... they didn`t expand the Medicaid program on purpose.

They turned down money...

REID: Yes.


PATEL: ... to expand a program that could give people health care. That`s the state we`re talking about.

REID: Yes. Yes. No, absolutely.

You`re -- it`s -- there`s a reason they call it necropolitics. It`s vicious.

Kavita Patel, Jason Johnson, thank you both very much. Really appreciate you guys tonight.

Tonight`s absolute worst is still ahead, believe it or not. We haven`t gotten there yet.

But first: Why aren`t authorities doing more to address the recent spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans?

We will be right back.


REID: A wave of anti-Asian violence is surging across this country, from New York City, where a 61-year-old man was slashed across the face, to San Francisco, where an 84-year-old man died of injuries after getting slammed to the ground by a man who charged into him at full speed.

The incidents have reached a crisis point, with Asian Americans now saying they`re afraid to leave their homes or send their children back to school.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I called for help, but nobody came for help.

DENNY KIM, U.S. AIR FORCE VETERAN: And they started calling me (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Chinese virus, just all sort of -- all sorts of nasty stuff.

They eventually struck me on my face. I fell down to the ground.

JO-ANN YOO, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ASIAN AMERICAN FEDERATION: It`s really been terrifying for our community, because we are hit by the pandemic of -- this horrible pandemic, and also the racism that our community is encountering.

It`s been -- it`s been unbearable, and it`s been really tough.


REID: The national coalition Stop AAPI Hate has documented at least 2,800 incidents of anti-Asian racism and violence in the U.S. since the pandemic began, with the previous president repeatedly using Asian slurs to refer to COVID-19.

Joining me now is Michelle Kim, co-founder and CEO of Awaken.

Michelle, I`m so glad you`re here. Thank you for being here.

You wrote a piece on Medium that I think everyone should read. And I will tweet it out when the show is over.

But talk a little bit about this from a broader sense, because it feels like a lot of this is concentrated around the pandemic and the previous president`s characterization of it. To what extent is that it, is the fact that people are angry about COVID and just blaming any random Asian American person they see?

MICHELLE KIM, CO-FOUNDER & CEO, AWAKEN: Yes. Thank you so much for having me. This is an honor.

I think a lot of people are attributing the violence, the increase in violence to the rhetoric that President Trump, or ex-President Trump, spewed over and over, calling COVID-19 a China virus, kung-flu virus.

And while that rhetoric has definitely amplified and normalized anti-Asian violence, I think it`s really important for us to remember that this violence is not new. It has been in existence since the 1800s, right?

When we look at the history of this country and the ways in which that anti-Asian racism and xenophobia have manifested into policies, like the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, to Japanese incarceration camps of 1940s, we see that the rhetoric of yellow peril or seeing Asian people as diseased and taking away our jobs, that hateful rhetoric has been continuing.

And now we`re seeing increased violence because, in part, the normalization of the rhetoric by the previous government, but also because of the lack of a safety net that`s been created that`s creating so much scarcity in all communities right now.

REID: You know, it`s interesting, because the other -- the right is, like, freaking out about Dr. Seuss.

But, I mean, I was looking at some of the cartoons. I mean, I`m ignorant. I didn`t know about this history of his, but a lot of those cartoons were, like, deeply anti-Asian and gross and disgusting. And it was directed directly at Asian Americans.

Do you think of that, because, when we talk about racism in the country, we so focus on black/white, that we just don`t really talk about the sort of anti-Asian bigotry that`s in our society as well, because Asian Americans get put up as, well, that`s the model minority, Asian Americans don`t have problems?

KIM: Yes, absolutely.

I think that there`s a lot of education that still needs to happen in terms of, how do we talk about the Asian experience in America in a much more nuanced and complex way?

And I think, even in understanding the model minority myth, where the myth is really portraying Asians as a monolithic group of people who have worked hard, put their heads down, they`re apolitical, and they have achieved success by working hard and being silent when it comes to social justice issues.

And I think there`s a portrayal of Asians as being successful, they are financially well-off, and they have been able to pick themselves up by the bootstraps, without any support from the government.

So, I think, when we look at the model minority myth, it`s really important that we interrogate the history and the origin of that term, where, in the `60s, the model minority myth was born in indirect opposition to what was happening on the ground, where black Americans were fighting for justice in the civil rights era, and the model minority myth was born in order to juxtapose Asians from black folks, right...

REID: Yes. That`s right.

KIM: ... by saying, look, look at these good Asians, look at the good immigrants who are not causing trouble.

REID: Yes.

KIM: And look at the bad of minorities. They are out in the streets protesting. They`re not grateful what they -- for what they have been given.

REID: Let`s...

KIM: So, the notion of model minority is directly anti-black.

REID: Yes.

Let me ask you very quickly, before we go. We`re running out of time. But is more policing the answer? Because the downside to more policing means that police can then maybe target the same communities, because a lot Asian American communities are not -- are struggling communities, because more policing probably means more violence.

Is that the answer?

KIM: Absolutely.

And I think it`s important for us to acknowledge why folks are calling for more policing, right? It is coming from a deep-seated fear and trauma of not wanting to see more violence happen to our elders in our communities.

So, I think it`s important for us to acknowledge the source of that pain...

REID: Yes.

KIM: ... and be able to articulate and direct folks to seeing that more policing is not what`s going to keep us safe, right?

From what we have seen, we have had Christian Hall, who`s a 19-year-old teen in Pennsylvania, who was shot by police while having a mental health crisis.

REID: Yes.

KIM: And while having more police may seem like the right solution, because, right now, we`re all reacting to the violence that we don`t want to see happen to our elders and our community...

REID: Yes.

KIM: ... it is continuing to threaten our own people who are undocumented, who are LGBTQ, who are disabled, who are poor, who are continuing to face (AUDIO GAP)

REID: Yes. Yes.

KIM: So, I don`t think that policing is the answer.

And I know that so many folks are working in tandem with anti-policing activists and building coalition across communities to find more community- based interventions.

REID: Absolutely.

Michelle Kim, thank you so much for being here. I will tweet out your Medium piece.

Thank you so much. Really appreciate you coming in and having this conversation.

And up next: tonight`s absolute worst.


REID: OK, full disclosure. I know Neera Tanden. She`s a friend of mine. Here we are at one of her recent birthday parties, pre-COVID, with our pals Joan Walsh. But because I know her, I also know what she is not, and that is a bully or a Twitter troll.

Yeah, Neera when she was the head of the Center for American Progress did use her Twitter feed to critique people in politics.

Here is Senator Rob Portman of Ohio whining about that during her confirmation hearings.


SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH): You wrote that Susan Collins is, quote, the worst, that Tom Cotton is a fraud, that vampires have more heart that Ted Cruz. You called Leader McConnell Moscow Mitch and Voldemort.


REID: I mean, that stuff was kind of true, yeah.

So, here`s the thing, nothing that Neera ever said on Twitter comes close to the fat-shaming, abusive trolling and meme tweets of Donald Trump or his acting intelligence director Richard Grenell or the policy cruelty and degradation of the offices they were confirmed by any number of Trump`s cabinet members.

And let`s not even start on the Supreme Court justices whose hearings included crying about loving beer and defending accusations of sexual assault, all of which were just fine with Republicans apparently and not at all disqualifying.

During the Tanden hearing, Senator Bernie Sanders, who leads the budget commission was coy about how he would have voted on Neera`s nomination. His supporters, let`s remember, were rather famous for Twitter trolling and combat use of style of Twitter themselves were high-fiving her withdrawal last night. We never found out how Kyrsten Sinema planned to vote on the nomination. The conservative Arizona senator remained technically mum.

What we do know is that Neera Tanden, a woman of color, was made to apologize on television for tweets. The lead Democrat responsible for torching Neera Tanden`s nomination to become the first woman of color to lead the budget office, which would have been a huge feat for a child of immigrants who grew up on food stamps and lived in the projects for their single mom as the family clawed their way to the middle class.

The person most responsible for making the math responsible was Joseph Manchin III, considered the most conservative Democrat in the Senate and scion of an old-time West Virginia political family. Now, to be clear, West Virginia is a rather particular state. In many ways, it functions like a fossil fuel oligarchy. Its sole billionaire is also the current governor, coal baron Jim Justice.

And for a southern state, it`s very non-diverse. More than 93 percent of the population is white and the poverty rate is high at 16 percent. And Manchin is well-known to the nearly 1.8 million residents of his state.

He used to be the governor. The legend is that many of his constituents have his personal cell phone number. The personal clearly matters in West Virginia. So, when Joe Manchin puts his flag down on torpedoing Neera Tanden`s nomination because of bipartisanship, it`s not hard to imagine that that decision was at least partly personal, given that one of Neera`s apparently disqualifying tweet was aimed at jacking up EpiPen prices back in 2016 by a pharmaceutical company Mylan, whose CEO, Heather Bresch, just happens to be Joe Manchin`s daughter.

And Manchin has put his flag down on other policies, acting like a Senate underboss. Manchin is still saying hell no, never, to getting rid of the Senate filibuster, whose only purpose upon its creation was to prevent black Americans for getting civil and voting rights, by giving Dixiecrats southern senators a veto. He scoffs at policies like providing supplemental unemployment insurance during this pandemic and raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

And the fact that we still don`t know how much of those policies this one senator who, in theory, is on the side of 80 million Americans who voted for COVID relief and adult supervision in the White House will weaken or eliminate is a huge problem. Why does Joe Manchin get to decide who in America gets help and jobs in the administration?

And yes, West Virginia is a Trump state. It went for Trump by 42 points in 2016 and 39 points in 2020. If you think West Virginians who are among the poorest, largely white populations in America don`t want to earn a living wage, listen to what some of them have been tell telling the Poor People`s Campaign.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re essential workers, they call us, and put us in the most dangerous positions there is jobs nowadays in this public, but our work ain`t worth a fair wage, a day`s wage? Are you kidding me? We are tired of scraping, scrounging, being hungry. We are tired of being the last on the list.


REID: So today, Senator Manchin, not just what you did for Neera and what you seem to be threatening to do to weaken Joe Biden`s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, which to be clear means will help fewer people you, sir, for bossing around the Senate, which is not your job, you are the absolute worst.

And after the break, I`ll talk with someone who might be able to tell us how to get around the West Virginia underboss.


REID: A Democratic-controlled Senate is expected to take up debate on the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package tomorrow. After a brief delay, along with providing direct payments, insurance payments, money for schools and vaccines, it would also push to cut child poverty in half, the largest reduction in recent history. In a concession to moderate Democrats led by West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin the $1,400 checks will go to fewer people.

As veteran Capitol Hill Jake Sherman points out, control of the Senate is tight as a tick right now. And Manchin effectively runs the place. I guess he`s got Schumer`s gavel somewhere locked in a closet.

That said, the compromise allowed Democrats to sort one of the most problematic issues before the bill landed on the Senate floor, clearing the way for Democratic unity. And they`ll need it, considering Democrats face an obstinate Republican Party intent on drawing blood at the expense of the American people.

To that point, Republicans led by Senator Ron Johnson will use a number of procedural moves to delay the final passage by days or even weeks.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Katie Porter of California, member of the House Oversight Committee, and Adam Jentleson, former deputy chief of staff to Senator Harry Reid and author of "Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy," which is a must read.

Let me go to you, first, Congresswoman. This delay, Ron Johnson went on a right-wing radio show and said he`s going to make senators read the entire bill out, that that could delay the bill for 10 hours minimum, but it could be up to days. They`re going to try a lot of tricks.

You have constituents who I`m sure need this money, and need this relief. Can you just put -- put for us what does this mean for real people, the delay?

REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): Well, for real people, this is every minute, every hour. It means people are going hungry. It means they`re getting further behind on their rent. They`re worried about losing their car. This has already taken far, far too long.

And I think in addition to the very, very human consequences, including for seniors, for children, there`s also the fact that these kinds of procedural maneuvers really do shake the American people`s confidence in government, which has already been badly shaken by the fact that the Senate, from March until the end of December, really took no action at all to deliver help with this pandemic to the American people.

REID: You know, Adam, I think about the fact that if this House had rules like the Senate, we`d never have anything. There would be no bills at all. You would have never gotten the Affordable Care Act even as far, you know, as getting it to become law. There were 300 some odd bills that the House passed, which are really great bills, popular with the American people that Mitch McConnell sat on and refuse to take to the floor. The Senate is thoroughly broken.

What do you make of the early capitulation by the Democrats in the Senate, to Joe Manchin and those who decided we ain`t putting the $15 an hour in, we`re not even going to try to use our power to get the vice president to overrule the unelected parliamentarian?

ADAM JENTLESON, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TO SENATOR HARRY REID: Well, I think Democrats are facing a convergence of realities here that they`re going to have to face up to. The simple fact is, if they don`t take more aggressive stances on things like rules reform and on procedural tactics, like overruling the parliamentarian, they`re not going to get most of their agenda passed.

I think, right now, a lot of this is sort of shrouded in a debate over a large mega bill, and sort of these machinations are happening behind the scenes. But sooner or later, these are going to come out into the open and we`re going to have bills like a clean minimum wage on the floor being voted up or down. And that`s going to put a lot more pressure on someone like Joe Manchin, when he can`t hide behind the parliamentarian and simply cast a vote for or against something like a clean minimum wage.

And I think that`s going to force Democrats to take a more aggressive posture when it comes to issues like the Senate rules and procedural reforms if they want to get their agenda passed, because otherwise, it`s simply not going to pass.

REID: Let me stay with you for a second, Adam, because you work for Harry Reid, one of the greatest Senate majority leaders I think in modern history. Could Democrats change the rules now on the filibuster in a way that could help get not just something like this through, $15 an hour or something like the Voting Rights Acts through? Could they do something like drop the number of votes you need to break a filibuster to 55, instead of 60?

Things that could get around Joe Manchin`s obstinance and maybe change the filibuster, make people do a real filibuster and stand there and talk for 24 hours? Like -- would things like that help? That`s one question.

And the second question is, had the president actually just overruled the parliamentarian, wouldn`t it have taken 60 votes for Republicans to overrule her?

JENTLESON: The answer to both of your questions is yes. Democrats could change the filibuster rules tomorrow if they chose to. It only takes 50 votes plus the vice president to change Senate rules. That`s something my former boss Senator Reid did. It`s something that Mitch McConnell did himself on the Gorsuch vote to lower the threshold there. So, yes, absolutely, if Democrats decide they want to do it, they can do that.

The trick is, though, you have to get Joe Manchin on board with that change because they need all 50 senators on board, so that`s part of your challenge.

On the vice president overruling the parliamentarian --

REID: Yeah.

JENTLESON: -- that`s true.

If the vice president had chosen to ignore the parliamentarian`s advisory opinion, it would have taken 60 votes to reverse the vice president`s decision to ignore the parliamentarian.

REID: Congresswoman, how frustrating is it, you know, for you? You have something like the minimum wage that -- I`m looking here at the support -- the latest Monmouth poll -- the vast majority of people support it. Even Republicans support it.

The 62 percent support the bill, the $1.9 trillion bill, 53 percent support the minimum wage and the support is bipartisan. People in red states, blue states, they all support it.

How frustrating is it for you as a lawmaker to watch policy get made in the House that just dies in the Senate because one senator decides he`s the boss and he`s not even the actual majority leader?

PORTER: Well, I don`t think about how frustrating it is for me. I think about how frustrating it is for Americans, from all across this country, from both political parties, who are not getting help. This isn`t about one party`s agenda getting enacted or another party`s agenda getting enacted.

This is about Americans getting food on the table. This is about them being able to keep a roof over their head. It`s about being able to afford child care. It`s about being able to keep your family out of poverty with an increase in the minimum wage.

So, my frustration I think pales behind what is the frustration of the American people in seeing that they have a government in Washington that fundamentally, it`s just not working for one side. In the Senate, it`s simply not working at all.

REID: And, Adam, if the threat from the other side is you get rid of the filibuster, we`re just going to repeal Obamacare and we`re going to repeal all civil rights. That`s what we`ll do, if Republicans get control. Is that true?

JENTLESON: Yeah. That`s -- the risk, if you get rid of it is the other side would repeal things.

But I point to the Obamacare repeal example, which Republicans could have gotten rid of it on a majority vote because they used reconciliation Monday, they tried to do that. So the filibuster was no help to Democrats in preventing repeal. Republicans simply failed to get a majority to repeal Obamacare.

I think that goes to show that once progressive reforms are enacted, they`ve been historically very, very hard to undo.

REID: Yeah. And you have a bill, I know, that you -- Katie Porter, that you got up. Do you think it has a chance? This is the bill on mental health. Does it have a chance, do you think, to survive in the Senate?

PORTER: I certainly hope so. The reality is that as we`re talking about dealing with police violence, that one in four people who are fatally killed, fatally injured by police violence are those dealing with mental illness. We need to stop treating mental illness like a crime.

REID: Yeah.

PORTER: And instead -- instead of sending police in response to a 911 call for mental illness, we need to send trained mental health responders.

REID: Indeed.

PORTER: And that`s exactly what my bill would do.

REID: Yeah, hopefully, Joe Manchin doesn`t have a problem with it.

Congresswoman Katie Porter, Adam Jentleson, thank you guys very much.

That`s tonight`s REIDOUT.