Day four of Chauvin trial focuses on George Floyd. George Floyd`s girlfriend describes becoming addicted to opioids. Paramedics say he assumed Floyd was still struggling with officers. GOP Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz is under investigation for sex crimes. Two police officers sue former President Donald Trump over the January 6th Capitol Hill insurrection.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. One week ago, this scene played out inside Georgia`s state capitol. That is state Representative Park Cannon knocking on the door of Governor Brian Kemp and then being handcuffed, arrested and dragged away.
Behind that door, Governor Kemp, seen here, surrounded by six white men and sitting beneath a painting of a slave plantation signed one of the most draconian voter suppression bills in the country.
State Representative Cannon was charged with two felonies for merely trying to witness that pernicious history.
In a few minutes she`ll join me live for her first interview to discuss that ordeal and the very real felony charges still hanging over her.
We begin THE REIOUT tonight with day four of the murder trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. After days of dramatic and emotional testimony about the events leading up to George Floyd`s death, today, we learned more about who George Floyd was, and not just the person millions of Americans have watched taking his last gasp of air under Chauvin`s knee.
From Courteney Ross, the woman Floyd had a years-long relationship with we learned about his life, his faith, the jobs he held and his love of being a father. And we also learned about a struggle that millions of Americans face, an addiction to opioids. Ross described how the two of them began abusing drugs together, calling it a classic story of addiction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COURTENEY ROSS, GEORGE FLOYD`S GIRLFRIEND: We both suffered from chronic pain. Mine was in my neck and his was in his back. We both had prescriptions, but after prescriptions that were filled, we got addicted and tried really hard to break that addiction many times.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Their long struggle included Floyd suffering an overdose a few months before his confrontation with police. Ross described his recovery and how he remained in good health, working out daily and playing sports with the neighborhood kids even as they both wrestled still with their addiction.
These revelations provided by the prosecution look like a very clear attempt to preempt what is likely going to be the defense`s strategy to lay the blame for Floyd`s death, not on Chauvin or the other police officers, but solely on a drug overdose.
In line with that apparent strategy from the prosecution, we also heard from the two paramedics who arrived that day describing their futile attempts at reviving Floyd. Here is how one of the paramedics described the scene when they first arrived.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SETH BRAVINDER, HENNEPIN COUNTY PARAMEDIC: There were multiple officers on top of the patient. We pulled up at that point.
I assumed that there was potentially some struggle still because they were still on top of him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: As we all know too well, there had not been a struggle for several minutes by that point as Floyd`s motionless body remained pinned underneath those officers. And sadly, it wasn`t until the paramedics got Floyd into their ambulance that any life-saving measures were taken. And as you might expect, it was not the Minneapolis Police Department`s policy to have such sustained restraint on a suspect, at least according to Chauvin`s former shift supervisor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID PLEOGER, FORMER MINNEAPOLIS POLICE SERGEANT: When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could have ended their restraint.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that was after he was handcuffed and, on the ground, and no longer resisting?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: With me now is Katie Phang, MSNBC Legal Contributor, and Brandt Williams, Reporter from Minnesota Public Radio.
And, Katie, I want to start with this, because there was a break in the case before the prosecutor was allowed to ask that question about the use of force and when use of force should have ended. The defense objected to that. Can you explain why the defense might object to something that seems like a pretty elemental question?
KATIE PHANG, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it`s kind of a two-fold answer for you. One, it was whether or not it was within the ability of this witness to be able to testify and whether or not it was something that this particular officer would be able to speak to, number one. And then number two, any chance the defense is going to get to be able to slow down this freight train of emotion coupled with the idea that there was a failure to adhere to policies and procedures, the defense is going to seize upon that.
And the ability for this particular witness to not be able to tell the jury, especially being his former shift supervisor, that it was unacceptable, it was incorrect for Chauvin to continue to restrain George Floyd when he had stopped, quote/unquote, resisting was powerful and that`s what the jury ended up hearing after the judge ruled that that question could be asked.
REID: Let me stay with you for just one moment, Katie, I want to play for you -- this is a little bit more of Derek Chauvin`s supervisor, who in this case is testifying on what the training is for police, and this is on the dangers of restraining someone in regard to whether that person can continue to breathe. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once hobble is used to restrain the hands and the feet and the subject is in the prone position, what does the policy require an officer to do?
PLEOGER: Put him in the side recovery position.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the side recovery position?
PLEOGER: Basically, roll them over on their side to ease their breathing rather than leave them laying on their stomach or chest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And do you know why that`s important?
PLEOGER: It`s -- well, it helps them breathe better. Rather than have all the weight on their chest, it gets them on their side so they can breathe easier.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Based on your experience as a Minneapolis Police officer, are the dangers of positional asphyxia generally known throughout the department?
PLEOGER: Yes, I believe so.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that something officers are trained on?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And when you talk about positional asphyxia just at a high level, could you explain what positional asphyxia is, as you`ve been trained?
PLEOGER: If you restrain somebody or leave them on their chest and stomach for too long, their breathing can become compromised.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Okay. So now we`ve heard that. Positional asphyxia was just explained. If you leave somebody prone on their stomach for too long and a hobble is basically sort of a hog tie, the position that essentially George Floyd was in, now let`s listen to the prosecution which played audio of Derek Chauvin being asked by one of the other officers, who`s also going to go on trial in this case, if he should roll him on his side. You just heard that that`s what the policy is. Here is the actual audio from that day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS LANE, FORMER MINNEAPOLIS POLICE OFFICER: Should we roll him on his side?
DEREK CHAUVIN, FORMER MINNEAPOLIS POLICE OFFICER: No, he`s staying put where we got him.
LANE: Okay. I just worry about the -- or whatever.
CHAUVIN: Well, that`s why we got the ambulance coming.
LANE: Okay, I suppose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Katie, you`re a good defense lawyer. I struggle to see how the defense gets out of that box.
PHANG: Well, it`s worse than that. We actually have seen body cam video yesterday, four different versions of body cam videos from the four officers that are subject to this particular prosecution, none of which depicted George Floyd on his side. So now we have visual and audio evidence of George Floyd having been a victim of improper police procedure.
And, you know, Joy, in addition to what some people may have thought was relatively dry testimony this afternoon from the paramedics on the scene, as well as these police officers, you know, up until now, George Floyd has been defined by his death. And today he was defined today by the humanity, which was George Floyd`s life. And so that body cam footage from yesterday did the defense in today. It really did. And the jury has now heard emotion upon emotion upon emotion today.
REID: Yes. And, Brandt Williams, to that very point, I mean, the testimony started off with George Floyd`s girlfriend of a few years weeping and talking about him and also sort of putting what the defense wants to use against George Floyd, the drug habit, putting it out there and saying here it is. They were both using drugs, but the drugs hadn`t killed them but also putting it in a very human context. It feels like that really undercut what the defense wants to do.
You`ve been following this on public radio out there. How are people responding to what they`re hearing so far as you`ve been able to determine?
BRANDT WILLIAMS, MINNESOTA PUBLIC RADIO REPORTER: Well, Joy, I`ve been tweeting a lot about this, the ongoing details of the trial, and there`s been a couple of moments where people have really responded very viscerally.
And call it the court of public opinion, particularly when it came to testimony earlier this week from Donald Williams, one of the witnesses there, a black man who was angry about what he saw and that exchange that he had with Defense Attorney Eric Nelson. There was a lot of emotion from folks who were saying, look, this just feels like that somebody trying to get a black man to fall into that trope of just being angry, and the testimony with Genevieve Hansen, the off-duty firefighter who was at the scene. There were people who felt like she was being badgered by the defense attorney.
So I`ve just been trying to keep tabs on since this trial is being out for everyone to see, which is not normally the case here in Minnesota, that we`re getting this other parallel court case going on and that`s in public -- in trial by public opinion.
REID: It feels in that sense sort of like the O.J. trial, Katie, right, where people can follow along as if were all on the jury. And so you`re right, we`re all subject to the emotion. I think it was Mr. McMillian, I`m not going to forget the old gentleman`s name who literally broke down weeping. Everyone sees that and obviously the jury sees it too.
Before I come back to you, Katie, Brandt, do you have any reporting from the pool reporters that are inside, how are the jurors responding to all of this? We know one juror had to take a break, but is there any reporting on how the jurors are responding to all this emotion?
WILLIAMS: Yes, we get updates from the pool reporters who are inside. As a matter of fact, I`m going to be in there tomorrow as well. But what we`re hearing is that, there are jurors in particular who seem to be paying more attention than others, although all seem to be relatively attentive. Nobody is nodding off or anything like that.
We -- a pool reporter from yesterday, George Floyd`s brother, Rodney, was in the courtroom while some of this dramatic body camera video was being played. And the pool reporter described Rodney as just basically shaking his head and kind of clutching his mid-section as he saw some of this.
WILLIAMS: So, I don`t know if the jurors were watching him react to it or focusing on the screens, but those are all things that play into how the jury will make their decision at the end of the trial.
REID: Yes, absolutely. Katie, let me play another bite here. This is one of the paramedics. And I think this seems very important, because it seems like the defense wants to sort of portray George Floyd as if at any moment he was going to jump off in a drug-induced frenzy and become a threat to the officers. They really feel like they -- it seems like they need -- the defense attorney needs to sort of portray him that way.
And they kept trying to say things about ketamine, which, of course, we remember it was used in the Colorado case of Elijah McClain to subdue him and it killed him. And they`re trying to sort of make people think well maybe he was still a threat somehow.
But here is the paramedic testifying he was not only not a threat. He was dead by the time they got there. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At any point in time during your treatment and care of Mr. Floyd, were you ever able to resuscitate him successfully.
DEREK SMITH, HENNEPIN COUNTY PARAMEDIC: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did he ever regain a pulse from the time that you arrived on scene to the time that you brought him to the hospital?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And did anything change in terms of your assessment of his condition and status?
SMITH: No. When I showed up, he was deceased, and I dropped him off at the hospital and he was still in cardiac arrest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: It feels to me, Katie, and I don`t know if you see it this way, that the two paramedics were actually damning witnesses. They weren`t doing what the defense wanted them to do. And the other paramedic actually testified that one of the police officers got into the ambulance and were trying to provide CPR, which says to me if the crowd was so threatening, how could you spare one of these officers to let them get in the ambulance, now you`re down to three officers on the scene and why didn`t you call backup, like they`re living a lot of holes. What did you make of the two paramedics` testimony combined?
PHANG: Well the clip you just played is Paramedic Derek Smith. And the other thing he said today in addition to what we heard was that he had to use his own handcuff key to un-handcuff or un-cuff George Floyd, and that he felt that he was being impeded from being able to do his job, which is to be able to give George Floyd a second chance at life.
These are yet other medical professionals. We heard firefighter/EMT Genevieve Hansen said, check for a pulse, let me help him, and she was shut down, right? And now we actually have the paramedics that were called by the officers on the scene arriving and they`re not able to do their job.
But more importantly, when they arrive, they all consistently testify today under oath that George Floyd was unresponsive and appeared dead, which defeats and undercuts the arguments from the defense that it was some crazed cardiac arrest drug-induced overdose kind of thing that was happening if he was already dead on the scene.
And, you know, we also heard yesterday as well through the body cam footage very quickly, Joy. We heard George Floyd saying I`m claustrophobic, man, please. And that type of emotion and fear and talking about his medical condition, you could not un-hear that. That bell was rung.
REID: Yes, absolutely. Katie Phang and Brandt Williams, thanks to both of you for being here this evening.
In her very first interview since her arrest last week for knocking on Governor Brian Kemp`s door as he signed the voter suppression bill into law. You do not want to miss it.
THE REIDOUT continues after this.
REID: As outrage continues to mount over Georgia`s Jim Crow voter suppression law, so does the pressure to undo it. Today, faith leaders in Georgia call for a boycott of major Georgia corporations, Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines and Home Depot starting next Wednesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BISHOP REGINALD JACKSON, PRESIDENG PRELATE, AME CHURCH-GEORGIA: We cannot support companies who support or remain silent about legislation that is based on a lie, that seeks to suppress our vote, is racist and seeks to turn back time to Jim Crow. There is no way that these companies did not know that this legislation was based on a lie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: It comes a day after Delta and Coke toughened up their response, both now call the restricted law unacceptable. But as Bishop Reginald Jackson noted that comes only after repeated calls for a boycott.
Republican lawmakers in Georgia, however, are standing by their new anti- democratic law and are resorting to straight up vindictiveness. The Republican-controlled Statehouse passed a bill stripping Delta Air Lines of a multimillion-dollar tax break on a party-line vote on Wednesday. George`s House speaker admitted it was nothing more than retribution.
He said: "You don`t bite -- you don`t feed a dog that bites your hand. You got to keep that in mind sometimes."
The Georgia Senate closed session without taking up the measure, so it remains just a threat for now.
Meanwhile, Georgia elections official Gabriel Sterling, who was prematurely hailed as a hero for standing up to the twice-impeached former president`s election lies, resorted once again to his true Republican form, claiming critics are intentionally misrepresenting the law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GABRIEL STERLING, GEORGIA VOTING SYSTEM IMPLEMENTATION MANAGER: Well, they have every interest in getting it wrong, because it does two great things for these political organizations like the NAACP. It lets them raise a lot of money, and it lets them really stir voters to turnout for elections.
It was a great turnout model in 2018 for Stacey Abrams. It was a great turnout model in 2020 for Joe Biden. And they have every interest in essentially -- and I can`t it anything else -- lying about the bill. That`s all they`re doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
We have mentioned -- as we have mentioned numerous times, Republicans in states across the country are going all in on writing the big lie into law, since they can`t win elections the old-fashioned way, based on their ideas.
According to new data from the Brennan Center for Justice, at least 361 -- 3-6-1 -- restrictive bills have been introduced in 47 state legislatures since March 24. Five have already been signed into law, including Georgia`s.
And, today in Georgia, state Representative Park Cannon, who was arrested a week ago for knocking on Governor Brian Kemp`s door to witness the bill signing, is speaking publicly for the first time since her arrest.
And joining me now is Georgia state Representative Park Cannon and her attorney, Gerald A. Griggs.
Thank you both for being here. Really appreciate your time tonight.
And I want to start by asking you, Representative Cannon, how you`re doing. I see your arm is in a sling. Is that related to your arrest?
STATE REP. PARK CANNON (D-GA): It is related to the arrest, but we do not have a proper diagnosis yet. And so I thank everyone for their outpouring of support and prayers in this time.
REID: Let`s go back to that day.
This was the day of the bill signing. You had Governor Kemp behind closed doors with six white men. We`re not sure who they were, but they were standing under this plantation sign as he`s signing the bill.
The door was locked, I presume. What were you thinking in terms of trying to enter the room? What was your goal?
CANNON: Well, I am 29 years old, and I happen to be elected to the district where Dr. King`s birth home is and the King Center, even the Carter Center, and the state Capitol Building.
I am very familiar with the Capitol because I am internally elected as the caucus secretary, just like Rosa Parks was with the NAACP. During that time, I wanted to get information out to the members about what was happening, because members were scattered all over the place, and the bill signing happened very irregularly.
REID: And irregularly how?
CANNON: Normally, as you can hear from other bills I have been present for -- I have got the pins to prove it -- there is information that is disseminated that shares which bills are being signed and which members are requested or how everyone can show up and attend.
But all of those protocols on this very nefarious bill that actually impacts every single Georgia voter was not followed. It was instead sidestepped.
REID: Let`s go to what happened when the officer approached you.
And it seems like a pretty ludicrous explanation, but the arresting officer has claimed that he was thinking about the January 6 insurrection and feared that the protesters outside of that door were going to try to gain entry into the Capitol, in the way that happened when insurrectionists did this in D.C.
We have spoken with at least one other state representative who was with you. And we could hear her yelling: "What are you doing? Leave her alone."
So, we know that person who was with you was a state representative. Who else was with you? Because this officer is making it sound like there was a sort of raucous crowd. But it seems like at least some of the people with you were also elected officials.
CANNON: It`s so important that we all remember the state Capitol is a public place. It is the people`s home.
And, during COVID-19, some protocols just continue to be sidestepped. We normally are able to have people in person when bills are being heard in committee. They can testify and share their stories about being voters.
But at every level of Senate Bill 202`s passage, people were cut out of the process. Even state legislators who were on the committee were unable to have their amendments read. They were not given fiscal notes. And measures are right now, from independent reports, saying that this bill will cost over $50 million to implement in the next few months.
We have municipal elections coming up very soon. So, it is urgent right now that people understand what`s going on at the state Capitol. And now we have adjourned for our legislative session. Yesterday was sine die. A lot of people say sine die, but it`s sine die.
And that means that we will not be back at the state Capitol until redistricting, which happens later this year, after we get our information from the census and the federal government. So, it`s going to be really easy for people to stay in touch with their lawmakers if they jump in right now.
REID: And just to be clear, the people who were with you, were they there with you specifically to protest the bill? Would you consider this to have been essentially a protest?
GERALD A. GRIGGS, ATTORNEY FOR REPRESENTATIVE PARK CANNON: Well, no, I think that they were there to witness the bill signing.
There were members of the House that were present. There were also voters that were present. They were simply there to witness the signing.
REID: And to stay with you for a moment, Mr. Griggs, go through these charges that the representative is facing, because these are apparently serious felonies.
GRIGGS: Yes, they`re very serious felonies. She`s charged with felony obstruction. She`s also charged with disrupting the General Assembly. One charge carries a one-to-five-year penalty, and the other is a one-to-three. So, she`s facing up to eight years in prison.
But it`s also important to know that she was merely wanting to be a witness to the signing of this bill for millions of Georgians. They were rolling back voting rights. And it`s important to be witness to this, so that we can go report out to the rest of the state what`s actually happening under the cover of night, under a picture of a plantation, and be able to be the representative she`s been for five years, the voice of her district, the voice of Georgia.
REID: And, Mr. Griggs, one more question.
Is there a law on the books preventing an elected official from entering the governor`s office?
GRIGGS: I`m not -- I don`t know of any law that prevents that.
I know there`s a law that protects an elected official through the constitution from being arrested while in session. And we believe that applies to my client. They can only be arrested for either a felony, treason or imminent breach of the peace.
We believe the facts are inconsistent with any legal theory that necessitates her arrest. And that`s why we`re going to continue to fight. She`s been a voice for the Georgians. She will continue to be a voice for Georgia. And she will be a voice for voting rights.
REID: You know, Representative Cannon, one of the ironies of what happened to you -- and we all watched it play out on video. And I think it was shocking for people to see, particularly the optics.
Gabriel Sterling, who is an election official there, he essentially called the bill, particularly the part about not being able to give water, just simply bad optics. Actually, let me play it for you.
Let me play Gabriel Sterling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STERLING: The reality is, in November and January, there are no lines to do that with. So, it was a really bad optic. It`s a good talking point for them. But how does that suppress anyone`s vote, especially in a racial way? It makes no sense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: So, he`s claiming that it`s just a bad optic, it doesn`t really restrict anyone`s vote.
But when you want to talk about optics, you are a black woman, obviously. Black women were decisive in turning Georgia blue, in turning out to vote in record numbers. And we can see it in the laws that are being passed all over the country which are trying to restrict black voters because of what black voters in places like Fulton County did.
Were -- are you surprised, I guess, is my question, that the state would pursue a prosecution of a black woman, that police would arrest and detain a black woman, given that that`s the optic now, that a black woman is being punished for trying to witness the signing of a law that restricts black voters?
CANNON: I am not at all surprised that this is what is happening in 2021 in America.
This is America. And we have to remain steadfast in protecting the right to vote. That`s why, when the late Congressman John Lewis took my hand, marched with me to the Fulton County Government Center, and voted with me in 2016, and helped me understand why that was so important, I will never forget it.
But, unfortunately, today, the only thing etched in my mind are two things: Why were they arresting me? Why were they doing that? And the photo of six all white men under a photo of a plantation taking away black and brown voters` rights, as well as all voters` rights.
This is America. And we have to keep on knocking.
REID: And, Mr. Griggs, I wonder if you had conversations with the prosecutor. We know the chief prosecutor in the state of Georgia is a black woman who`s also pursuing potentially charges against the former president for attempting to obstruct the election. So, she`s got a lot on her plate.
Has there been any -- any sort of conversation back and forward with the prosecutor`s office about what might happen here? Because it`s hard to imagine an elected official being really prosecuted for just attempting to witness the signing of a bill.
GRIGGS: Yes, there have been conversations with the DA`s office and directly with the district attorney.
And we`re hopeful, with the witnesses that we provided and the evidence that we have, that she will make the right decision and dismiss this case, so that Representative Cannon can get back to the work of the people of Georgia and the people of United States.
And that`s why it`s important that you keep on knocking, that you keep on getting in some good trouble, so we can make sure we protect our voting rights. We can make sure that H.R.1 and H.R.4 become the law of the land, so we won`t have any more of these types of prosecutions simply because an individual is trying to protect the rights of millions of voters.
REID: Representative Cannon, do you support the calls for a boycott?
We now have a date, as of next Wednesday. There have been now calls officially, including from clergy, for boycotts against Coca-Cola, against Home Depot, against Delta Air Lines. Do you support that?
CANNON: I support corporate accountability.
I really understand that Georgia is proud to say it`s the number one place to do business. Well, I ask, is it the number one place to access the right to vote? And we have to grapple with the reality that many of these Fortune 500 companies have needed to be at the table but were absent.
I was roaming the halls, checking my e-mails early in the morning, and making sure to reach out proactively to these organizations and companies to say, where are you?
And, just like that day, I keep wondering, why? Why?
REID: And I know that you are a member -- I believe you`re a member of Reverend Warnock`s church, or at least I know that he did come to check on you when you were originally detained.
If you wouldn`t mind sharing, what did he say to you? And what has -- what has his support looked like?
CANNON: Well, Pastor Warnock, as I call him, has always been a rock for me in the situations that relate to voting.
I have consulted with him over the years about this very deep and spiritual connection of the right to vote and black communities. So, we discussed very briefly the provisions of the legislation. We talked about the attack on Sunday voting, to which one of the top Republicans would say to us, actually, the numbers show that African Americans didn`t use Sunday voting, and then gave a raw number.
But when we pulled back that number into a percentage, it was clear 37 percent of African Americans in Georgia used Sunday voting. And Sunday voting is not just about voting on Sunday. It`s about voting in a place where you feel safe, where you know that you have access to accessibility ramps, where you can get some water. Maybe you can actually take a nice stop at a garden while you are protecting your community.
And, unfortunately, Senate Bill 202 takes away the rights of Georgia voters to vote on Sunday, because it limits it. It says counties must choose Saturday or Sunday. And we say, no, we`re not going back.
REID: Well, Representative Park Cannon, I really appreciate you being here this evening and Gerald Griggs, your attorney. Thank you both for being here.
I suspect there might be more people giving you a call, Mr. Griggs, because I think a lot of activists are planning to arrive in 2022 with water in hand for Georgia voters, because I don`t think there are very many people out there that don`t think that that is absolutely absurd.
So, thank you both for being here.
Best of luck to you, Representative. Please keep us updated on how things are going for you.
CANNON: Thank you so much for having us and for all that you do.
GRIGGS: Thank you.
REID: Thank you both. Thank you. All right.
Well, that was a very important story.
And now for quite a turn. And it is to the delicious irony of a politician who made a name for himself defending Trump`s misdeeds, but when he finds himself deep in it and needs a little help from his Republican friends, well...
REID: I don`t know if we`re getting the sound. It`s supposed to be the sound of crickets.
Up next: the latest on the increasingly lonesome -- the increasingly lonesome Congressman Matt Gaetz is straight ahead.
Don`t go anywhere.
REID: We continue to watch the fallout from the sex crimes investigation of Congressman Matt Gaetz.
It`s an ignominious development for the Florida lawmaker who rode the coattails of the MAGA movement to become a breakout star of the modern-day GQP.
Few of Gaetz`s fellow Republicans could match his worshipful adoration of the former president, whom he defended through the Russia probe, two impeachments, and an election loss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Let`s get it out before the people and show them how devious and how deep the plot was to go after our duly elected president.
Now we have the hunt for the red MAGA hat with the FBI using every opportunity to try to delegitimize a movement that really exposed them.
What we see in this impeachment is a kangaroo court.
This is not a crime by our president. It is a setup by the deep state.
Stream of consciousness, Trump is my favorite President Trump, because he is so clear and so visceral.
I am here to endorse the Trump 2024 movement whenever the president wants to ignite it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: But now that he`s the subject of a federal sex crimes investigation, it`s become abundantly clear Gaetz has few friends on Capitol Hill. As "The Daily Beast" points out, only two of his colleagues came to his defense yesterday, QAnon Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Jim Jordan, who happens to stand accused of turning a blind eye to sexual abuse of Ohio state wrestlers.
Then there`s Gaetz` association with Joel Greenberg, the former Florida tax collector who was slapped with another federal indictment yesterday. Greenberg`s case is a literal grab bag of criminal charges, ranging from wire fraud and money laundering to bribery and sex trafficking.
Among the allegations, prosecutors say Greenberg was engaged in sugar daddy relationships. Greenberg denies the allegations. We know that the Gaetz probe grew out of that case, but it`s unclear how they`re connected. And we`re learning more about the mysterious career change Gaetz was reportedly planning, and that`s next.
Stay with us.
REID: As Congressman Matt Gaetz is investigated for possible sex trafficking, one of the mysteries of the Gaetz story is why one of the most popular politicians in the MAGA crowd was apparently planning to make a sudden career change. Gaetz reportedly talked to Newsmax and Fox News about a TV gig, but Fox shot that down yesterday saying we have no interest in hiring him.
Joining me now is David Jolly, former Republican congressman from Florida who is no longer associated with the party. And Glenn Kirschner, former federal prosecutor.
David Jolly, I`ve got to go to you on this.
CNN is reporting that Tucker Carlson is all mad and all in his feelings that Gaetz tried to pull him in. So, he`s probably like, get away from me. Fox is like, get away from me. Newsmax is, like, we don`t know you.
What happened? I mean, this guy was like the wonder kid of the MAGA movement and now, everybody is like new phone, who dis?
DAVID JOLLY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Joy, first of all, on Tucker Carlson, the reason Tucker reacted like he did is because it probably wasn`t Tucker`s wife at that dinner and Matt Gaetz probably forgot about that.
But look, the only open question on Matt Gaetz at this point, particularly given this afternoon`s reporting about him showing nude photos of other women is whether Matt is just a dirt bag or whether he`s a criminal, because it`s one or the other. For those of us who watched his rise in Florida politics, you knew eventually either Matt was going to find scandal or scandal was going to find him.
The only concern in this moment is that the scandal actually involves a victim who if the story is true was a 17-year-old woman -- or young woman, I guess. And that`s a very real crime if that`s the case.
So, look, the courts will have its way. It is very telling, though, that Matt Gaetz is somebody with very few friends right now, even among the MAGA world, that he celebrated for four years. They`re not celebrating Matt Gaetz tonight.
REID: It`s very true. I mean, Kevin McCarthy sort of edging away from him saying, well, if it`s true, we`ll take him off his committees, which is a pretty big if.
But, you know, Glenn, you had the story that William Barr, who protected every friend of Trump, went along with this investigation. And not only that, went out of his way to make sure he was never in the same room so that he would never be pictured with Matt Gaetz.
That is not a good sign. Just as you`ve seen this very strange story with him and his friend who`s now got 33 indictments on him, how much trouble do you think Matt Gaetz is in?
GLENN KIRSCHNER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: So, first of all, what we know is that`s confirmed, because we`ve heard a lot about what sounds like the world`s worst PR campaign from Matt Gaetz. He`s throwing extortion plots and Iranian hostage rescue schemes and really, it`s like the PR campaign from hell, none of which sounds like extortion, by the way.
But here`s the thing. What we know is confirmed is that he is the subject of a DOJ criminal investigation into child sex trafficking. The reason we know that`s confirmed is because Matt Gaetz himself told "The New York Times" that prosecutors from the department of justice told my lawyers I am a subject of that investigation.
Now, being a subject of an investigation is only slightly better than being a target. Being a target means -- being a subject has a technical definition under the Department of Justice rules. It means your conduct. Your potentially criminal conduct is within the scope of the grand jury or the Department of Justice investigation and you could be indicted because you`re a subject.
So, the other thing I find interesting, Joy, is the Joel Greenberg piece because not only is his close political ally Joel Greenberg indicted now, he went to bed yesterday -- or he woke up yesterday with 12 felony counts against him. He went to bed with 33 felony counts against him. One of those counts is child sex trafficking.
And here`s the thing, joy, Joel Greenberg`s trial is just around the corner, June. Can I tell you that federal prosecutors don`t ordinarily triple the charges on somebody so close in time to their trial unless they`re trying to turn the screws, squeeze him, and perhaps he can flip on his friend, Matt Gaetz. That remains to be seen.
REID: Interesting. And this is the same Matt Gaetz who -- this is the first thing I remember hearing about him. They used to play a game, at least another Florida legislator claimed that he claimed he created a game in which young lawmakers scored points for sleeping with aides, interns, lobbyists, and other legislators, something he denied.
Very quickly, I want to get both of you to comment on this. Glenn first and then David.
There`s now a lawsuit against Matt Gaetz, the person Matt Gaetz worships in word and in deed, Donald Trump. Two Capitol police officers have sued Donald Trump for sparking the January 6th attack in which the Officer Blassingame says he was slammed into a stone column while rioters hurled the N-word at him. Officer Hemby says he suffered injuries that required continued medical care, both said they suffered from ongoing emotional trauma that has upended their lives. Officer Blassingame said he lost count of how many times he was called the N-word.
How much trouble might Donald Trump be in on that? Because this is now, he`s now the target directly of a lawsuit about that insurrection. Glenn, first.
KIRSCHNER: Yeah, and this reads like a straight-faced lawsuit. I found it very emotional, frankly, that the officers who are suing for both physical damage, injuries, and emotional damage, they said not only were they haunted because they were being physically attacked by the crowd, but they said they were haunted because they saw their fellow officers, literally arm`s reach away, being attacked by the crowd and there was nothing they could do to protect them.
So, when Donald Trump making public statements about, well, they were just hugging and kissing, when in fact they were hanging and killing, or at least aspiring to hanging and killing politicians, this is a very straight- faced lawsuit with real consequences for Donald Trump.
REID: And, David, last thing to you. You know, I read a piece in the economist today about evangelicals taking a real second thought, some who voted for Donald Trump twice, saying maybe we really shouldn`t get that involved in that kind of politics and feeling a little icky about it. You`ve got some of these insurrectionists trying to get sympathy, which they don`t deserve, but all saying, you know, we felt like we were duped by Donald Trump.
It feels like Trump is heading toward a similar kind of isolation in a way that Gaetz is. All of these guys have these icky, kind of weird, sexual things going on. Donald Trump has all these sexual accusations. That kind of politician has become popular in the Republican Party.
Do you see that kind of politician solidifying as what the party is or becoming more isolated? Including Trump?
JOLLY: Yeah, look, I believe in a God that offers redemption, for the evangelical movement, this should be a moment of redemption. In our national politics, Donald Trump is here to stay and likely running in 2024. And the evangelical movement and every other Republican will have to figure out how they offer support to him, considering as Glenn just mentioned that Donald Trump as a man, not as president, as a man, is responsible for the events of January 6th.
He laid the predicate with the big lie. He issued the invitation to come to Washington. He gave the charge to storm the Capitol, and it resulted in the death, the murder of individuals.
Donald Trump is responsible for that. It is because of him.
JOLLY: And so, whether the evangelical movement or the Republican Party embraces him, again, there will be political judgment, but in my faith, there will also be judgment from God.
REID: Yeah, well, hard to argue with that right before Easter. David Jolly, Glenn Kirschner, thank you all for being here.
Still ahead, imagine a world where you could be elected governor of an entire state without having a firm grasp of the meaning of the word infrastructure. Well, you can stop imagining. Tonight`s absolute worst is next.
Don`t roam too far. You don`t want to miss it.
REID: President Biden held his first cabinet meeting, pointing out that the leaders in the room look like America. It`s a very different picture from what Trump`s first cabinet looked like. While Biden`s cabinet is 55 percent nonwhite and 45 percent women, Trump`s was only 18 percent nonwhite and 18 percent women.
At the cabinet meeting, Biden announced that he`s delegating five cabinet secretaries to help him sell his new infrastructure plan to Congress.
Mitch McConnell said today he would fight the plan every step of the way. But that`s not the worst thing that we have heard about the bill. That award goes to South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, who is actually done a lot over the past few days to make her an absolute worst candidate, like beclowning herself fighting with rapper Lil Nas X over a music video, his cheeky Satan shoes, and signing mean for no good reason executive orders banning transgender girls from sports.
But this comment on Biden`s plan is what actually makes her tonight`s absolute worst.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. KRISTIE NOEM (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: And I was shocked by how much doesn`t go into infrastructure. It goes into research and development, it goes into housing and pipes and different initiatives, green energy. And it really is not an honest conversation we`re having.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Okay, I`m sorry, what? Okay, now, it is worth noting that Ms. Noem was our very first absolute worst, earning the moniker the roaming gnome for using a state airplane for tens of thousands of it dollars worth of travel to right-wing political events, so it`s probably no surprise she doesn`t understand some of the more on the ground infrastructure needs.
So, Governor, here`s a vocabulary lesson for you. According to the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, infrastructure is defined as the basic systems and services that are necessary for a country or an organization to run smoothly, for example, buildings, transport, and water and power supplies.
Sounds like housing and pipes and water to me, Governor. But while it`s easy to mock poor Governor Noem, this isn`t just about her. It`s about what she`s doing to her own state residents, by dismissing the importance of an infrastructure revitalization and what it could do to help them.
The American Society of Civil Engineers describes South Dakota as having deteriorating infrastructure. It estimates that the state will need to spend $730 million over 20 years on drinking water needs, and another $166 million on wastewater, and concludes that delaying these investments only escalates the cost and risks of aging infrastructure systems.
So, Governor Kristi Noem, you are the absolute worst, for being a whole governor who doesn`t understand what infrastructure is and for going on TV to criticize Biden`s plan instead of doing your job, working to insure the needs of South Dakotans are met, and that is tonight`s all -- tonight`s REIDOUT.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.