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Transcript: The ReidOut, 3/30/31

Guests: Marq Claxton, Phil Murphy, Reginald Jackson, Kurt Bardella


Dramatic Testimony on day two of Chauvin murder trial; Witness Donald Williams listens to 911 call he made during George Floyd`s arrest. Prosecution video shows contentious exchange between police and bystanders. Chauvin defense attorney blames witnesses and victim. Witness says police never tried to provide medical aid to Floyd. Witnesses describe begging police to help Floyd. Witness says police training should have prevented them being distracted by crowd. New Jersey expands voting rights as Georgia restricts them. Officer who arrested Georgia representative says he was worried about another insurrection. President Biden announced new initiatives to counter the violence, including a task force to address coronavirus-fueled xenophobia against Asian-Americans.



JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with day two of the murder trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer, Derek Chauvin. Testimony wrapped a short time ago and it was incredibly emotional all day long. The jury heard hours of testimony from several eyewitnesses who watched George Floyd die under Chauvin`s knee. Four of the witnesses were minors at the time of the killing and two of them still are. So we only heard their voices. But they remained off camera. The youngest, just nine years old.

Another of the witnesses, Darnella Frazier, was 17 when she recorded the infamous video of Floyd`s death that went viral and set off the chain of events leading to this trial and yet another global outcry for racial justice. Here is part of her emotional testimony today.


DARNELLA FRAZIER, EYEWITNESS: I heard George Floyd saying, I can`t breathe, please, get off of me. I can`t breathe. He cried for his mom. He was in pain. It seemed like he knew it was over for him. He was terrified. This was a cry for help.

When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad. I look at my brothers. I look at my cousins, my uncles, because they are all black. I have a black father. I have a black brother. I have black friends. And I look at that and I look at how that could have been one of them.


REID: Well it didn`t appear that any of today`s testimony moved Chauvin, who was in the courtroom, but witness after witness broke down on the stand wishing they had been able to do more for George Floyd.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Alyssa, why is this difficult for you to talk about?

ALYSSA FUNARI, EYEWITNESS: It was difficult because I felt like there wasn`t really anything I could do as a bystander. The highest power was there. And I felt like I was feeling it.


REID: Genevieve Hansen, a Minneapolis firefighter, was also on the scene and testified that she pleaded to let her help Mr. Floyd but was pushed away by one of the police officers.


GENEVIEVE HANSEN, EYEWITNESS & FIREFIGHTER: He said something along the lines of if you really are a Minneapolis firefighter, you would know better than to get involved.

That`s not right. I mean, that`s exactly what I should have done. There was no medical assistance on scene when I got there. And I could have given medical assistance. That`s exactly what I should have done.


REID: The day began with Donald Williams, concluding his testimony that began yesterday. The mixed martial arts fighter fought back tears when the court played the 911 call he made. William`s described exactly why he felt the need to make that call even with police already present.


MATTHEW FRANK, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: At some point did you make a 911 call?

DONALD WILLIAMS, EYEWITNESS: That is correct. I did call the police on the police.

FRANK: Right. And why did you do that?

WILLIAMS: Because I believe I witnessed a murder.

FRANK: And there were police there, right?

WILLIAMS: There were police there.

FRANK: And why didn`t you just talk to them about it?

WILLIAMS: I believe that they`re -- I just -- we just didn`t have no connection. You know I spoke to them but not on a connection of a human being relationship.


REID: With me now is Katie Phang, MSNBC Legal Contributor, and Marq Claxton, retired NYPD Detective and Director of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance.

And, Marq, I want to go to you first. Let me play that 911 call that we we`re just talking about, and this is Donald Williams who, again, is a mixed martial arts fighter, he`s a wrestler, he`s got a lot of experience in sort of the physical handling, one person who are in sports. But here is his 911 call calling the police on the police.


WILLIAMS: He pretty much just killed this guy that wasn`t resisting arrest. He had his knee on the dude`s neck the whole time, Officer 987. The man went and stopped breathing. He wasn`t resisting arrest or nothing. He was already in handcuffs.

That was bogus (INAUDIBLE). He was unresponsive, he wasn`t resisting arrest or any of it.

I`m sitting here talking with another off-duty firefighter that keeps standing here watching in front of us, as well. She told them to check the man`s pulse, but they wouldn`t even check the pulse.


REID: And there was a lot of testimony to try to make Donald Williams, Marq, look like he was somehow threatening to the officers, that he was hostile. And he said, you`re not going to make me look angry. He was angry, as were everyone there, watching somebody die in front of them.

But the other thing that I want to play for you really quickly before I get your comment, Marq, is he also talked about having a conversation with Officer Thao, who is one of the other officers who was there and the hostile reaction that he got. Let`s play a little bit of the video that was shown in court today about the bystanders and how they were treated.


WILLIAMS: Bro, he was just moving when I walked up here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So we are going to wait for the ambulance?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have a pulse?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve been watching this whole time. I`m basically trying to tell you guys.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s three of you guys, you guys should (BLEEP) be able to multitask. That`s your job, right?


REID: As a former police officer, can you comment about this, Marq, because, you know, the other officers, including Officer Thao, seemed more hostile to the crowd who were outraged at what Derek Chauvin was doing than they seemed concerned about the man on the ground who they were claim was a threat.

MARQ CLAXTON, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE: There are two things over the past couple of days that really jump out at me, and that is a lot of the attributes that people or at least police worshippers, that I`ll call the police worshippers, will attribute to police officers such as courage, compassion, empathy, integrity and humanity were only displayed by the non- police civilians on the scene. The police officers showed none of those characteristic throughout the entire interaction and that led to the death of Mr. Floyd. And what that is is the manifestation of something we spoke about before that toxic police culture. It was only the civilians that were acting as if they were professional, trained police officers.

And point two is, we got an opportunity to see something that we took for granted or didn`t realize and that is there are other victims of this killing. Those individuals, those brave men and women who witnessed, who were demanded, who are begging and pleading, even feeling guilty about not taking the next step of physical interaction, intervening physically. Those brave men and women are victims and they will -- they don`t have the opportunity to receive justice, if you will, in this particular case, hopefully Mr. Floyd`s will and his family will.

REID: Yes, let`s play Darnella Frazier. Darnella Frazier, her testimony was one of the most moving testimony. The kids, the underage people who testified were really moving. Here is Darnella Frazier who actually shot that now in famous video that eight-minute and 46-second video, which we now know was like nine minutes and 29 seconds. Here she is taking questioning about whether or not George Floyd was offered care.


JERRY BLACKWELL, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: So as you were observing there Floyd under the knee of Mr. Chauvin, did you ever see Mr. Chauvin do anything to offer care to Mr. Floyd?


BLACKWELL: Did he ever either let up or get up so that he could breathe?


BLACKWELL: Did you ever see him try to administer CPR?


BLACKWELL: Did you see him call anyone else to administer aid to Mr. Floyd?



REID: Katie, we talked yesterday about the sort of most dangerous thing for the defense here is that after there was no pulse and after Chauvin was told there was no pulse he still stayed on top of George Floyd and continued to constrict his breathing. That testimony, what do you make of what you heard today?

KATIE PHANG, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it ties into what we heard in the opening statements for the prosecution, the idea that a police officer has a duty to protect but also to show compassion. As you recall during the opening statements, during the opening statement by prosecution, we heard the mission statement of the Minnesota Police Department that includes the idea of having this duty to care for the citizens.

But you know what`s important for a legal perspective, Joy, is that there`s a third-degree murder charge that got reinstated and that has a lower standard of proof that the second-degree unintentional murder and the second-degree manslaughter charges that Derek Chauvin is facing. To prove the third-degree murder, all the state has to prove is that Derek Chauvin caused the death of George Floyd through an act that is imminently dangerous to others.

So what did we hear today? We heard lay people, eyewitnesses saying it was dangerous, he couldn`t breathe, he didn`t get off of him, he didn`t give him help. And then we had firefighter, EMT Genevieve Hansen saying, in her professional opinion, it was dangerous. He didn`t get off of him.

We heard two different people today say that they called the cops on the cops. And George Floyd may not have been able to testify on his behalf that he is gone, but we heard his voice through the videos, which was imminently powerful, and we also heard through voices of those kids that testified and it was so compelling.

REID: Yes, absolutely. And let`s play Genevieve Hansen, because I thought her testimony was really good too. She got into a little mixed up with the judge at the end but she was quite good. And this is Genevieve Hanson testifying today.


NELSON: Do you think it would make your job fighting the fire harder if someone started yelling at you and telling you that you were doing it wrong?

HANSEN: I`m very confident in the training that I`ve been given so I would not be concerned about somebody that was not trained to the extent I have been.

NELSON: What if they started calling you names?

HANSEN: Like I said, I know my job and I would be confident in doing my job and there`s nothing anybody could say that would distract me.


REID: Marq, distract me is one of the weirdest events in here, That the people standing there were distracting the officers from providing care to Mr. Floyd. They didn`t show any -- there were three officers holding down George Floyd. There was only one officer trying to control the scene, Officer Thao. So if they were so concern about the crowd. Why was it three to one on Mr. Floyd and not three to one on the crowd? That to me didn`t make sense. Did it make sense to you?

CLAXTON: It didn`t make sense to me at all. But this is the defense just throwing everything up against the wall and seeing what sticks. What it did display was that, not only didn`t the police officers live up to their duty to care for Mr. Floyd, they rejected the offer of assistance by a person who claims to be a professional health care person.

So they are just tripling down on their negligence in this particular case and it will really come out later on about their liability in regards to the death of Mr. Floyd. It`s clear as both sides have said, primarily the prosecutors have said, the video speaks for itself.

REID: You know, and, Katie, it is very difficult -- I will say it`s really hard to convict police officers even when it seems like obvious that what they have done is wrong. We just had case just this week where officers were acquitted for beating up another officer who was under cover. He was covering and videotaping at a protest, at a Black Lives Matter protest. The other officers beat him to the point that where he needed surgery and they still didn`t get convicted. So it`s very hard.

But from what you saw today, I`ve never seen a case like this with this much compelling evidence from young people, from a firefighter, professional that was so damning, I`ve never seen anything like it. To you, does this seem like a sort of separate sui generis case against Mr. Chauvin?

PHANG: Well, listen, we have to strap in for a long ride. This is just day two. There`s going to be a lot more witnesses. And the reason why we heard the defense focus on the crowd is they collectively is because they could not go after the individual witnesses today. They were minors. They were women. They were breaking down. I mean, you couldn`t do that. So what you do is you go after the collective crowd.

But remember, in the opening statements for Chauvin`s defense, they said, let`s not make an emotional decision, right? Let`s not make an emotional decision. Let`s listen to the actual evidence. And what they`re going to say is they will going to wait for their day in the sun, which is going to be the medical testimony, the expert testimony from that and the no excessive use of force. They`re going to will try to tell the jury, which they have already done, we need you to make a decision based on common sense, logic and reason. That`s the only thing they can do because it is inescapable the emotional component today was harsh. It was really hard, it was brutal to have to sit through and here it and listen to it.

REID: Especially with all of replaying the video as people were narrating what they saw that day. It was something else. Katie Phang, Marq Claxton, thank you both very much for expertise.

And up next on THE REIDOUT, you will not believe the explanation from a Georgia state trooper for why he arrested a black lawmaker at the state capitol last week.

Meanwhile, Georgia is going all Jim Crow while another state is making it easier for people to vote. Imagine that.

Plus, The New York Time is reporting that one of Trump`s biggest allies in Congress, his law body, Matt Gates, is under investigation for possibly violating federal sex trafficking laws, stemming from an alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl. He denies it.

And here is a runner up for tonight`s absolute worse, but that wasn`t it, Baylor`s Women Basketball Coach Kim Mulkey, who says the NCAA needs to, quote, dump the COVID testing. Wouldn`t it be a shame she said if a player tests positive and don`t get to play in final four so they can make other people sick. Kim Mulkey, that`s a really bad idea, ma`am. But you are not tonight`s absolute worse. The big reveal is coming up.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: As states across the country race to enact laws to suppress voting, New Jersey did the opposite today. Governor Phil Murphy joined on video by Stacey Abrams signed into law a bill expanding early voting, allowing in- person voting up to ten days before an election. It stands in stark contrast to Georgia`s Jim Crow voter suppression law, which faces mounting legal challenges.

Today, a third lawsuit was filed by the ACLU on behalf of several groups representing black and brown voters, meanwhile calls for an economic boycott of major Georgia-based corporations, Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines, continue to grow.

Also today, we learned the most ludicrous explanation for the arrest of one protester of Georgia`s law, Georgia State Representative Park Cannon forcibly hauled out by state troopers after knocking on Governor Brian Kemp`s door while he signed the bill. Well, in an incident report, the officer who arrested Cannon said I felt that if I did not take action, the other protesters would have been emboldened to commit similar acts. The events of January 6th at the U.S. Capitol were in the back of my mind.

I can`t believe I have to say this, but a lone African-American state representative gently knocking on the governor`s door while he signed a law stripping the rights of the state`s black and brown citizens behind closed doors is in no way, shape or form comparable to violent insurrectionists laying siege to the United States Capitol to repudiate our democracy because black and brown voters chose their preferred candidate, and the insurrectionists didn`t like the outcome, full stop.

Today, Stacey Abrams applauded New Jersey`s new law, in contrast with her home state, as taking the country in the right direction toward democracy.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy joins me now.

Let`s talk about this new law. You know, it`s interesting that sort of New York and New Jersey were not, like, really at the front edge of really expansive voter access in terms of lots of early voting and things like that. This is a big change.

GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): Huge change, Joy. Great to be with you.

We have made a lot of changes since we got in office three years ago. This is a big one, in person early voting, by the way, no restriction if someone wants to hand you some water while you`re in line. That`s something also we`re proud of up here in New Jersey.

But it`s a big step forward. Stacey was with us. It was a really special -- viral, but really special moment.

REID: Did you have any pushback from Republicans? Because they seem to think that things like what you have done, making it easier to vote, is somehow magically going to produce up-to-now-nonexistent voter fraud. Have you gotten any pushback from Republicans?


Yes, to some extent. They`re cloaking their opposition largely in, you`re not giving us enough time or putting enough money in this. And it is a big step for our county clerks and local voting officials. But we will work with them. And we`re confident we have enough time and we have enough money of this.

You know this, Joy. The chances of getting hit by lightning -- I think this is literally the case -- are higher than uncovering voter fraud. So the entire thing is a myth, which makes the Georgia situation even more tragic.

REID: Would it help a state like New Jersey, which has done now expansion of the access to voting, to have a federal law like S.1, the For the People Act? Would it help your state?

MURPHY: Listen, I think something that is a consistent law across all of our states is something we would support.

Obviously, the devil is in the details in terms of what`s in that law. But we`re proud to have automatic voter registration. Folks on parole or probation now have the right to vote in New Jersey. Now we have got in person early voting. We want to take some more steps, as long as it didn`t undermine the steps that we have either taken or want to take, absolutely.

REID: Let me turn to another topic while I have you here.

New Jersey is having a challenge in terms of COVID, a very high per capita rate. The curve is going the wrong direction. What`s going on there?

MURPHY: Yes, it is going in the wrong direction.

Listen, we are the densest state in America, Joy. And we`re in the densest region in America. And we`re a Northern cold weather state. So, you combine doing a lot of our stuff indoors with density, which is usually our friend, but not in a pandemic, it`s a little similar to what we saw last spring.

The numbers are not nearly as bad as last spring. And our vaccination rollout is going quite well, relative to any expectation. But we`re up against it with these variants. We have got South African, U.K., Brazilian, New York City. And we`re challenging.

And we`re going to get through it. There`s no question about it. But our numbers have gone a little sideways.

REID: All right. Well, hopefully, things will get better.

Governor Phil Murphy, thank you for taking some time to be with us this evening. Really appreciate you.

MURPHY: Thanks. Thanks...


REID: And congrats on the voting bill.

All right, joining me now is Bishop Reginald Jackson, presiding prelate of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Georgia.

And let`s go right into this, Bishop Jackson.

There is now a third lawsuit against the law in your home state that`s been filed by the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund on behalf of the Sixth District AME Church, other plaintiffs, Delta Sigma Theta sorority, the Georgia Muslim Voter Project, Women Watch Afrika, and the Latino Community Fund Georgia.

How hopeful are you? The federal judge system is now sort of fraught with lots of Trumpism. Are you hopeful that this law will get overturned?

BISHOP REGINALD JACKSON, AME CHURCHES: I`m going to be -- remain hopeful.

And let me simply say I think this is going to end up going to the Supreme Court. And the nation is going to find out what kind of Supreme Court we have. This will give the Supreme Court a chance to clean up the mess that it created in Shelby vs. Holder.

And we`re going to see what kind of Supreme Court we have in this country.

REID: And one of the people voting on that will be Georgia native, Pin Point, Georgia, native Clarence Thomas, who I don`t think supports the Voting Rights Act, the last time I checked. But we will see what happens.

Tyler Perry...

JACKSON: Yes. Stay positive, Joy. Stay positive.

REID: We will try to stay positive.

Tyler Perry, who`s somebody who I have been wondering with -- whether he was going to say something, he`s got this 230-acre magnificent facility for making movies. And lots of people are making film and TV down there. He`s now spoken out against the law.

This is what he said. He said: "I`m resting my hope in the DOJ taking a hard look at this unconstitutional voter suppression law that hearkens to the Jim Crow era. As some consider boycotting, please remember that we did turn Georgia blue and there`s a gubernatorial race on the horizon. There`s beauty -- that`s the beauty of a democracy."

He noted he`s been down this road before with the previous LGBT -- anti- LGBT laws and anti-abortion bills.

A boycott, what do you make of that, as somebody who`s in a leadership position in Georgia? Do you think that either the state or these companies should be boycotted?

JACKSON: Well, Joy, in fact, on Thursday at 12:00, in front of Coca-Cola, we`re going to announce the beginning of a boycott on next Monday.

Let me say, I`m supportive of boycotting the corporations. I`m not advocating the movie theaters. I`m not advocating Major League Baseball. I think that will take care of itself. I think we need to concentrate on these corporations who blacks give their dollars to. When we give our dollars to them, we expect them to stand with us.

REID: And Coca-Cola put out a statement on Monday, saying: "We`re disappointed with the outcome." They sort of tried to revise their previous statement. "We don`t see this as a final chapter. We will also continue to press for improvements to Georgia`s election laws in feature sessions."

I`m not sure what they think is going to happen. This is a 98-page bill.

Delta, they stood by their statement in which they said the law was improved over time.

When it comes to boycotts, Andrew Young, the great Andrew Young has made a point where -- saying that -- he pointed out that the economy in Georgia is larger than the economy in South Africa, which, of course, was subject to pretty significant boycotts. We`re 44th economy in the world.

And he says: "You can quote me. I don`t know why anybody wants to F with that." He you put it that way, very colorfully.

But what impact do you think a boycott of Coca-Cola, Delta, UPS, Aflac, et cetera, would have?

JACKSON: Well, let me say this, first of all.

Let`s take Coca-Cola. In June of last year, James Quincey, the chairman And CEO of Coca-Cola, said: Our companies can do better. We must stand with Black Lives Matter movement as allies and support other justice -- social justice causes. Our companies can do better.

Well, here`s a chance for them to do better, and they flunked it.

Let`s take Delta Air Lines. Delta Air Lines sent out an in-house memo where they actually praise the passage of this bill. And these statements released today or yesterday, they only seek to give cover to the fact that they have failed the black and brown community by supporting our quest not to have our vote suppressed.

And I don`t think we can let that go unchallenged. We cannot act as if, that`s OK, we will do better next time.

REID: And are they the only companies that are going to face this? Because, as I mentioned, there are lots of companies. There`s UPS. There`s Aflac.

Can we expect these boycott calls to grow beyond Delta and Coca-Cola?

JACKSON: Yes, I think there are.

In fact, we`re trying to arrange a virtual meeting with corporate executives across the country, because, Joy, this is not just a Georgia problem. Including Iowa and Georgia, there are 41 other states which have bills similar to these on the books.

This is really a threat to our democracy, number one. And, number two, we need to call it what it is. It`s racist. If Republicans had won, these bills would not have been introduced. When these laws worked for them, which, in fact, they passed before, when they worked for them, they were fine. When they work for us, all of a sudden, there`s something wrong with them.

And the most ludicrous thing is, all this legislation is based on a lie told by the former liar in chief. And now, all of a sudden, we want to give credibility to a lie. I remind Georgia, 2018, the former secretary of state, now the governor, he took 500,000 names off the voter rolls, many of them voters of color.

There wasn`t no legislation. There was no concern about the outrage of blacks. Everything was fine. But now, when they lose, all of a sudden, there`s no integrity, and we have to do something about it. That is absolute foolishness.

REID: Very succinctly said.

Bishop Reginald Jackson, we will keep up with this. Thank you very much, sir. Really appreciate your time tonight.

And still ahead: President Biden announces his first judicial nominees, including one who could become the first woman of color on America`s highest court. It`s a diverse slate of nominees. And we will tell you all about them next.



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m looking forward to making sure there`s a black woman on the Supreme Court to make sure we, in fact, get every representation.


BIDEN: Not a joke.


REID: That was candidate Joe Biden promising to nominate an African- American woman to the highest court in the land.

This morning, he took a major step toward keeping that promise. He nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, a seat left vacant by Attorney General Merrick Garland.

The move cements Jackson`s front-runner status for the Supreme Court if a vacancy opens up. Judge Jackson was one of 11 nominations sent to the Senate this morning by President Biden.

The new judges, if confirmed, include three African-American women for appeals court vacancies, the first Muslim federal judge, and the first Asian American woman to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Biden`s picks stand in stark contrast to the slew of barely qualified white male ideologue judges that Donald Trump and his Senate henchman, Mitch McConnell, rammed through at an astonishing rate.

Administration officials told reporters to expect a steady drumbeat of nominations to fill roughly 70 vacancies.

Joining me now is Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general.

This is exciting, Neal, because one of the sort of signature things that Donald Trump did is, he was very proud. He got like more than 200 federal judges put in place and got three Supreme Court justices. And now it`s Biden`s turn.

What do you make of the fact that he`s being very deliberate about making sure that those nominations have this rich diversity?

NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Joy, it is a historic and awesome and very happy day for the federal judiciary.

It is no secret that I was pretty upset for the first 18 months of the Obama administration, because they didn`t focus on judges, and particularly didn`t focus on court of appeals judges. And Biden is, and in a huge way.

I mean, this is a brilliant, committed, diverse slate that we heard, that we -- was nominated today. And this list really just proves the conservative fantasy that diversity and inclusiveness come at the cost of competence.

Yes, these nominees are historically diverse -- historically diverse. They`re also some of the most qualified nominees we have seen in years. I mean, Trump didn`t nominate -- you just put a chart up. But one important statistic is not on that chart. Trump didn`t nominate a single black judge to the appeals court, not one.

REID: Yes.

KATYAL: You have to go back to Nixon to find a president who did that.

And Biden just nominated three, all of whom are women. And no president has confirmed more than three black women in four or even eight years. Biden did this in one day.

REID: Yes.

KATYAL: Some differences speak for themselves. It`s a big day.

REID: Well, and Donald Trump was very deliberate about making sure that plum positions went to white men. Like, he was making a statement, I think, more than anything else.

So, there`s two pieces to this. The one part is the Stephen Breyer part, which is a bit uncomfortable. This kind of happened with Ruth Bader Ginsburg as well, and the idea that you don`t want to chase somebody into retirement before they`re ready. It isn`t fair, right?

But there`s also sort of a gerontocracy kind of in our system that you think, well, he doesn`t want to wait until, let`s say, Democrats lose control of the Senate. They`re one Senate vacancy away from losing control of the Senate. So there`s that Ruth Bader Ginsburg issue.

What do you make of that debate regarding Mr. Breyer?

KATYAL: Well, first of all, I had the privilege of being Justice Breyer`s law clerk. And I do think he`s one of the greatest jurists to have served our country. He`s careful. He`s moderate. He`s about just trying to make the system work for all Americans.

And so I guess I find this conversation a little distasteful that`s playing out in the newspaper op-eds and the like. I mean, Justice Breyer is an incredibly public-minded person. I don`t think these articles are going to matter one bit. And he will decide when he wants to.

But I think, Joy, the important point is, actually, let`s not think about the Supreme Court right now. We will eventually get there. But let`s think about the circuit courts, because that`s where Trump did so much damage and where history has done damage, where we have never had a Native American nominee to the circuit courts ever in our history.

And there are fabulous ones. I worked with one, Hilary Tompkins. I worked with her when she was at the Interior Department. And there are others too. But I think the point is that Biden is doing exactly the right thing today, and he`s going to continue to do it, which is diversify the judiciary.

And, no, don`t just think about the Supreme Court.

REID: Yes. Well, let`s talk a little bit about some of these nominees.

I happen to know Ketanji Brown Jackson. I knew her as Ketanji Brown when we were in college, so I think she`s wonderful. And she actually made it to the top three. It was her, Merrick Garland and Sri Srinivasan. They were the, like, top three choices for the SCOTUS, and President Obama chose Garland.

So, there are a lot of people who were disappointed, I will say I was one of them. And then all of this drama played out with Merrick Garland being just completely sort of humiliated by Mitch McConnell, and just not even -- they wouldn`t even meet with him, wouldn`t talk with him.

Well, now look at karma. He is now attorney general, and that opens the door for Ketanji Brown Jackson. She is the person most thought of as being next up for a SCOTUS seat. Tell us about her.

KATYAL: Yes, so, I think, look, any of those three would have been a great jurists.

And Ketanji would be a great Supreme Court justice. She is brilliant. She`s got a deep soul. She`s a great writer. She`s collegial. She`s not a bomb thrower. She`s going to fit in incredibly well on this new court, the D.C. Circuit, our nation`s second highest court.

I also think there are other people, too, in that league. And so I don`t think we should write them off...

REID: Yes.

KATYAL: ... like Leondra Kruger, who`s a justice on the California Supreme Court, who`s about the best lawyer I have ever worked with. And so there`s other people too.

But I think what the president did here is say, here`s a great person for our nation`s second highest court. She should go up today. And then, along with this other just rich, diverse, competent slate of nominees, I mean, this is just a really incredible day.

REID: I`m just looking at some of these folks. And the idea of somebody like her, plus Sonia Sotomayor, that just instantly changes the way the court would look, right, two women of color on it.

There are a lot of other great people. There are people. There is, as you said, Tiffany Cunningham, who is a nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals. There`s Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Like, you could just go down. There are lots of these judges who are of different sort of backgrounds and religions.

In your view, what difference does that make to jurisprudence, if you have more diversity, in your view?

KATYAL: Well, I don`t know that the -- that just race alone does, but life experience does.

And, here, you have got, I think, people who`ve lived all different walks of life. A Muslim American, our very first Muslim American judge, should he be confirmed, is going to probably have a different set of experiences than a lot of the Trump nominees, to put it mildly. You`ve got incredible -- you know, the 7th Circuit judge, Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, is, you know, a federal public defender spent the last ten years doing that.

That`s rare voice. You know, I have the privilege of arguing on the circuit courts all the time. Very few judges have that kind of experience. And so, by doing that you really bolster the tapestry of what jurisprudence is all about.

REID: Yeah, absolutely.

And breaking from the sort of Heritage Foundation like every one is cut from that same cloth and you get them rolled out over and over. You get sort of one view on the court. It could be great thing happening Joe Biden`s doing.

Neal Katyal, always great talking with you. Thank you.

And still ahead, the White House announces new initiatives aimed at addressing the recent surge in anti-Asian violence. And what`s really behind the phony right wing freak out over Lil Nas X and transgender kids playing sports. The answer is tonight`s absolute worse.


REID: Who run the world? Well obviously Lil Nas X. Duh.

This week, he broke Twitter again, plus the Internet and right wing brains with hiis new video "Montero, Call Me By Your Name", in which he perfects certain pole dance moves, one of which like upside down, impressive. And also twerks on the devil before killing him.

The song is on obvious and artistic play on the conservative Christian idea that people who are gay will go to hell, which Nas does literally in the video. And he amplified the medium by releasing these Satan-themed custom sneakers, 666 of them which sold out in less than a minute.

The right wing outrage was entirely predictable and proves that Lil Nas X knows his enemies better than they know him, tweeting: Y`all love saying we going to hell but get upset when I go there.

It comes at the time when the right has lost the culture wars, decisively, like a generation ago, including among their own kids, fixating on a new boogie man -- well, a boogie kid, meaning trans youth.

Republican legislatures in more than two dozen states are pushing through bills that take the 2016 bathroom bill to a new level. The measures would prevent trans kids from playing K through 12 sports, deny gender affirming care for trans minors or create religious exemptions that could deny LGBT people medical treatment at all, if medical providers or pharmacists voice a religious objection.

Like the Republican freak out over wokenness or how they frame the Democrats` voter convenience bill as literally demonic, or like flip out over Lil Nas X or making these style of videos, which they`re watching repeatedly clearly, it`s all fake outrage. According to one recent Gallup poll, 0.6 percent of the American adult population is transgender.

But we don`t know the real number for a host of reasons. That`s a tiny community of fellow human beings. Certainly not enough for an alleged take over of girl sports by transyouth. If these right wingers cared so much about girls sports, then why aren`t they advocating for women athletes to get equal pay and decent gym facilities that match what the men have.

So, if the outrage isn`t real, which it isn`t, what is it really about? The usual, political power. It`s the same reason Crocodile Cruz and his jungle Safari friends are beclowning themselves at the border. It`s purely performative, an effort to inspire their dejected Trumpy voters to stick with the program by promising to hurt the people they fear, just the way Trump did.

Polling shows that in the wake of their golden calf defeat in November, and Democratic victories in Georgia, one in five Republicans report being less motivated to vote in future elections versus just 5 percent of Democrats, which explains why the Republicans are advancing draconian voter suppression laws designed to make it harder for their opposition to vote, because in order to keep their base engaged, they have to essentially promise conservative voters that they will win even if it means by cheating.

The same goes with anti-trans laws and the border freak out. The culture wars are now about culture. They`re about keeping right wing Christians engaged and voting Republican. And what better than a fake stolen election or racializing the coronavirus or losing your marbles over a handful of trans junior high school softball players to help you avoid revealing that your part actually has no ideas that people would want to vote for.

And if this was just like consequence free performative nonsense, it would -- it would just be damned. But it`s not consequence free. Demonizing China over COVID has produced violence against Asian people. Demonizing trans kids gets them bullied and harassed. Demonizing immigrants makes it politically impossible to pass common sense laws to solve a generations- long issue.

I could go but here is the bottom line -- useless drama, it does have consequences, sometimes violent consequences. It is the absolute worst.

And when we come back, we`re going to talk about those very real consequences for our fellow Americans.


REID: Attacks against Asian-Americans have reached a crisis point. The latest incident to go viral involving, once again, an elderly woman. A warning to our viewers, the video we`re about to show is very disturbing.

OK. This surveillance video released by the NYPD shows a man kicking a 65- year-old Asian woman to the ground in New York City, while hurling anti- Asian remarks. Police are calling it a targeted hate crime and are searching for the suspect.

Much of the public`s outrage is also directed at the building staff that you see here who stood by and did absolutely nothing. One person even closed the door on the victim.

Those staff members have been suspended.

This comes on a day when President Biden announced new initiatives to counter the violence, including a task force to address coronavirus-fueled xenophobia against Asian-Americans.

And joining me now is Kurt Bardella, former House Oversight Committee spokesman.

And, Kurt, you and I talked about this a lot. You talked a lot on MSNBC and you`ve written articles about it. It is impossible to ignore that we`ve had one whole year of the previous president naming the coronavirus "the China virus" and even worse terms than that.

Do you connect that to what we`re seeing in this upsurge in violence?

KURT BARDELLA, FORMER HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE SPOKESPERSON: Yeah, Joy, this is a situation where the numbers don`t lie.

Since March of 2020, there have been more than 3,700 hate crimes against Asian-Americans in this country. We have seen 150 percent increase in hate crimes against the AAPI community. We`re seeing violence and mayhem targeted in the most disgusting, unimaginable ways happening just in front of businesses, on public streets, riding public transit.

And it`s only escalating and getting worse. We saw just the other week in a congressional hearing about hate crimes against Asian-Americans, the Republican Party -- the very Republican Party responsible for almost giving permission and allowing people to perpetrate these types of crimes -- we saw them make light of it. We saw Congressman Chip Roy use a lynching reference at a hate crime hearing.

This is all cause and effect. And the data that keeps coming out keeps telling the same sorry. Republican rhetoric was out there putting targets on the backs of Asian-Americans, crimes and hate crimes and violence against Asian-Americans keeps going up.

REID: And we have data now. Richard Lui was on. He`s got a great book out.

And he was talking about data that`s going to come out about AAPI people and violence. And it`s now been released today. The question is, have you ever been a victim of a hate crime, verbal or physical abuse through property caused by hate, race or ethnicity, 27 percent of Asian-Americans report yes, 24 percent of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, 22 percent is the national average.

AAPI women report -- 55 percent of AAPI women have experienced specific incidences such as being called a racial slur.

So, we`re not seeing that this -- there`s quantifiable data. And some of these surveys, I should note, were conducted both in English and also in Korean and in Chinese, which is new for polling. So, thank God we`re getting updates.

But what do we do to turn this back?

BARDELLA: Well, I think we`re seeing some of these right steps happen now, like just the idea of being able to get the right data and being able to reach out to the AAPI community in the language that they speak. You know, we`re seeing with the initiative today that the president announced a real concerted effort to expand investment in data about hate crimes and violence, using more resources to help fund different initiatives that affect the AAPI community, $49.5 million in funding to help AAPI victims of domestic violence and assault.

The COVID equity task force being launched. More coordination between the entire federal government from HHS to DOJ, a real concerted effort to look at the role of law enforcement.

There`s a reason why so many hate crimes go unreported.

REID: Yeah, and I think there`s a connection here, an intersectional connection, because we`ve seen this happen to the LGBT community where you have hate crimes that are associated with the attitudes people have, you know, this whole thing about trans kids. It`s going to produce more bullying and more hate and more, you know, terror for young trans kids. It`s like people don`t understand there is a direct relationship which is why I love what Lil Nas X is doing.

Sorry, but he`s basically saying, we`re going to push back because we have cultural agency that we just don`t have to sit there and take it, even in hip hop, which is not an easy place to be LGBTQ.

Let`s talk a little bit about some of the breaking news while I have you for a moment. This is a hard turn. But there is this Matt Gaetz news tonight. I`ve got to ask you about it.

What are your thoughts? He`s denying it. He is saying this is a plot against him by a DOJ official. He`s been one of the people that`s been one of the culture warriors for Donald Trump. He`s out there very loud and proud doing that, and now he finds himself in this position, being investigated over an alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old.

Your thoughts?

BARDELLA: Well, how shocking is it that the party that funded and supported Roy Moore in Alabama is a party that produced a Matt Gaetz. You know, the idea that Matt Gaetz can be allowed to sit on the House Judiciary Committee which has oversight over the Justice Department as this investigation is being conducted is ridiculous. He needs to recuse himself, Republican leadership needs to remove him from the committee until this is resolved.

And I think it`s important to point out that this is an investigation that began under the previous occupant of the Justice Department, Attorney General Bill Barr. This isn`t partisan. This isn`t a Democrat versus Republican situation.

REID: Yeah.

BARDELLA: This is an investigation that began last year. It`s now become public and Matt Gaetz has a lot of explaining to do.

REID: Yeah, under William Barr.

Here`s Michael Schmidt, the reporter who broke the story from the "New York Times" earlier.


MICHAEL SCHIMDT, THE NEW YORK TIMES WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): They`re investigating whether he had a sexual relationship with her, whether he paid for her to travel, interstate travel. Now, being that the girl was under 18 and that Gaetz was -- you know, we`re investigating whether Gaetz was sleeping -- had a relationship with her -- that raises a host of legal questions about whether Gaetz broke the law.


REID: Just as a political matter, Kurt, he is claiming this is a plot by a former DOJ official to bribe him. That`s what he`s claiming in a Twitter storm. But as you said, this is an investigation that started under Bill Barr -- Bill Barr`s Justice Department. Could this be the breaking point between Gaetz`s world and Trump world? This is the Trump DOJ he`s talking about.

BARDELLA: Well, I`ll tell you the one thing we`ve seen when it comes to anything related to Donald Trump is there`s no low that`s too low for him to associate with you, particularly when it comes to issues of potential sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct. Donald Trump has himself a long history of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct.

So, it seems like in today`s Donald Trump`s Republican led world, things like this somehow get you promoted within the Republican Party. We`ll see what the ultimately facts are. But Matt Gaetz is already out there doing his best Trump impression, trying to make this something that it isn`t.

REID: Yeah.

BARDELLA: And we`ll see what ends up coming out about it in the long run.

REID: Matt Gaetz, still lout there making Florida proud.

Kurt Bardella, thank you very much. Appreciate you being here tonight.

That is tonight`s REIDOUT.