Officer who shot Wright has been charged with manslaughter. Protesters clash with police in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Protesters gather for fourth night in Minnesota. Officer Potter will get all accrued benefits. Former Maryland chief medical examiner testifies for defense. Prosecution rebuts testimony car exhaust may have contributed to Floyd`s death. Prosecution dismantles defense witness theories about cause of Floyd`s death. Forensic expert testifies for the defense. Speaking from the same spot where President Bush informed the country that military strikes had begun, President Biden announced today that the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan is ending.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: You can always find me there @arimelber on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. If you have further candy thoughts, we`re reading them and so apparently with a lot of people online.
"THE REIDOUT" with Joy Reid starts now.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. All eyes are on the Minneapolis area again tonight where Derek Chauvin`s defense lawyers continue their attempt to put everyone and anyone except Derek Chauvin on trial. The defense during the course of their case this week have blamed everything, from the gathering crowd, to drugs, to George Floyd himself for Floyd`s death, anyone, it seems, except the former police officer who put his knee on Floyd`s neck and kept it there for more than nine minutes, including nearly three minutes after George Floyd had no pulse. In a bit, I`ll tell you who or rather what their latest scapegoat was today.
But we begin THE REIDOUT tonight with a big development in the investigation into Daunte Wright`s death at the hands of a different Minnesota Police officer. Kim Potter, the Brooklyn Center officer who shot and killed Wright, has been charged with second degree manslaughter. The criminal complaint knows that Kimberly Ann Potter caused the death of Daunte Demetrius Wright by her culpable negligence, whereby Potter created an unreasonable risk and consciously took a chance of causing death or great bodily harm to Daunte Demetrius Wright. She faces up to ten years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine.
The former Brooklyn Center police chief, who has since resigned, said earlier this week that he believed that Potter meant to grab her taser but drew her hand gun instead, characterizing the tragic event with the claim that it was an accident.
In a press release, Washington County Prosecutor Imran Ali said that certain occupations carry an immense responsibility and none more so than a sworn police officer. We will vigorously prosecute this case and intend to prove that Officer Potter abrogated her responsibility to protect the public when she used her firearm rather her taser. Reverend Al Sharpton said today that second degree manslaughter was the least that Potter should have been charge with.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: This morning, it was announced they`re charging the policewoman that killed Mr. Wright with second degree manslaughter. Manslaughter two is the least she should get, the least, possibly more. When you look at the fact that you`re dealing with a 26-year veteran, if she didn`t know in 26 years the difference in size and weight of a gun as opposed to a taser, then how was she a veteran in policing?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Wright`s Brother, Dallas Bryant, told NBC, I`m not too happy about it, but I`ll take every win I can get at the moment. He said he expects the charges will fuel protests to demonstrate for the fourth -- protesters should demonstrate for the fourth night in a row. Last night, 79 people were arrested in Brooklyn Center for charges including inciting a riot and unlawful assembly. Some protesters threw bottles and bricks at officers. Officers, in turn, used so-called less lethal weapons including tear gas.
In addition to police forces, 3,000 members of the Minnesota National Guard are deployed. Brooklyn Center extended its curfew through tonight. And a few minutes ago, Brooklyn Center`s mayor, Mike Elliot, attended a vigil with Daunte Wright`s family at the site where he was shot.
With me now is Jelani Cobb, Staff Writer at The New Yorker, and Paul Butler, former Federal Prosecutor.
And I want to start with you Jelani, because you`ve been there on the ground. I want you to give a sense of, you know, what the folks you`re talking to, what they`re saying and what you`re seeing. And I know we have some photos that you took while you were on the ground.
JELANI COBB, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: Yes. So, as you would imagine, it`s a tense situation. And so that photo you`re looking at right there is the first night. One of the reasons why I think that it`s important to look at the first night is that, you know -- you know this as well as I do, with these events, there tends to be an arc or a curve where they start out with a certain degree, kind of small cluster of people who are outraged, they come out to protest, maybe two or three days later, it grows and sometimes it takes a week for people to get fully cognizant of what`s going on. That is a few hours after Daunte Wright was killed. And by my estimation there were 400 people out there that night.
Those demonstrations have only grown and the news that this was allegedly a mistake only inflamed -- I don`t even think that they should have released that statement because the idea that she have made a mistake and shot him really inflamed the tensions ten times worse than they had been prior to that.
And so, what you`re seeing is in defiance of the curfew, people go out every night, there are two sets of demonstrations, one that happens at the site where he was killed, and that tends to be more stayed and somber, and then another set of demonstrations that happened across town at the police station which are antagonistic, intense and everything that you`ve seen in the terms of the bottles and bricks being thrown, the tear gas and all that, that all happens at the precinct house across town.
REID: Yes. And I think people do things intentionally, right? People -- the police officer aren`t dumb. People who get to police chief, they don`t get there because they`re stupid. This ex-police chief, he characterized this is an accident preemptively, which is, to me, seems highly prejudicial of any future outcome. He`s already tried to sort of write it down to almost she had a bad day, knowing that there`s a possibility that she could be charged with a crime.
And it seems really prejudicial when what she`s charged with -- let me just read this, a person who causes a second degree manslaughter, a person who causes a death of another by the person`s culpable negligence, whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk and consciously takes chances, consciously takes chances, of causing death or great bodily harm to another may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than ten years or payment of a fine.
That is not an accident, right? And so what do you make of the fact that the police chief rushed out and made a claim to characterize this officer`s actions before prosecutors had a chance to weigh in?
PAUL BUTLER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Thank goodness that that man is no longer the police chief. He was not the model of transparency and accountability that policing in Minnesota desperately needs. It`s an important question whether it`s true that this officer confused her firearm for a taser.
In the Bay Area, a black man named Oscar Grant was shot by an officer who claimed that he made that he mistake, he mistook his gun for a taser. Prosecutors did not believe that cop and they charged him with murder. So just because an officer says it was an accident, doesn`t mean it`s true. There needs to be a complete investigation, including looking at this officer`s training record, her disciplinary record and her record on use of force.
REID: Yes. I will never stop talking about the Walter Scott case, in which that officer claimed that Walter Scott fought him for his taser. And, in fact, he just executed Walter Scott. And that was the actual truth. Thank God somebody videotaped it.
Let me play for you all. This is the acting city manager, his name is Reggie Edwards. He answered the question that I had yesterday, I think a lot of people had, people who were in that press conference, Jelani, asked the question of whether or not the officer resigning was a sort of clever way to hold on to her pension. Here is the city manager`s answer?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Will the former officer get her pension and any retirement benefits that she accrued over the 26 years?
REGGIE EDWARDS, ACTING CITY MANAGER: The officer has did resign, and with that comes the obligation of -- for it to be entitled to all accrued and all benefits that is due.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: I want to stay with you for a second, Paul Butler. This is why people want these police officer bill of rights and these police unions to be looked at, right? Because these officers, they know that, she`s the union president. She knew how she could hold on to her money.
BUTLER: Yes. And, again, police unions are agents that stand in the way of change. And the fact that this officer was the president of the police union, she is now reaping those benefits. She has lots of compensations and due process, that when other people are charged with crimes, especially homicide, they don`t get it.
REID: Yes, absolutely. I mean 26 years. That`s a lot of pension money that she`s built up.
You know, Jelani, we go through these killings by police of black folks, Michael Brown, the officer was acquitted. Eric Garner, officer was acquitted, Tamir Rice, no charges. Walter Scott, the officer was ultimately convicted but only because the feds came for him. There was a hung jury in the local case. Freddie Gray, there were charges, but the prosecution was unsuccessful, that was Marilyn Mosby, who tried to do something about that. Philando Castile, the officer was acquitted. Stephon Clark, Bothom Jean, officer was convicted, no charges in the case of Elijah McClain. We could go on and on, Breonna Taylor, remember that infamous no charge, by that African-American attorney general. Daunte Wright, officer charged.
The track record is so bad that I wonder how much cynicism we can even bring to the fact that there were charges. That doesn`t seem like it`s comforting at least to me. When you talk to people on the ground there, are the charges themselves, in any way, comforting?
COBB: Well, do you know what case people are talking about here, they`re talking about Mohammed Noor, that is the police officer, the African- American police officer, a person of color who shot fatally Justine Diamond, who is a blond white woman in Minneapolis. He was charged with third-degree homicide and he was convicted. And so there was the anticipation that if you`re making a parallel, that there might be a third degree homicide charge here. So when that charge came down, I was raised an eyebrow.
And so, quite frankly, I think that this is not going to do much to take the edge off of -- where people are. They have been talking about the only instance of this state -- if she exists in the state, or she`s been in the state of Minnesota, the only person who was convicted was the black cop.
COBB: And so I don`t think that this does much to diminish the tensions that are already building there.
REID: And just to get to that very point, Paul, contrast the case of Mohammed Noor, who was indeed convicted of one of the same minor crimes -- the lower charges that Chauvin is charged for. And he was convicted of second-degree manslaughter, got 12 years in prison. He was convicted of third-degree murder and second degree manslaughter, which got him 12 years. The woman he killed, shot and killed was an Australian tourist. He became a big cost celeb in Australia. And then it contrast that with Jeronimo Yanez who shot and killed Philando Castile, walked away from it, acquitted of all charges. You`re thoughts.
BUTLER: So, no police officer in Minnesota has ever been convicted of murder for killing an African-American person.
BUTLER: The only murder conviction is Officer Noor for killing of white woman. This is how the idea that Black Lives Matter is not embedded in the law in the way that it should be. Officer Noor had the same defense as this officer. He said it was a mistake. The prosecutor didn`t buy it in that case. For some reason, they`re buying it in the case of this officer. It`s just not acceptable.
REID: And, by the way, Officer Noor also expressed remorse. He also expressed remorse, something we`ve never seen on the blank face of Derek Chauvin or this officer in her resignation letter talk about how she enjoyed being a cop. Jelani Cobb, thank you so much for you on the ground reporting. Paul Butler, thank you very much.
Up next on THE REIDOUT, apparently, everything except Derek Chauvin`s knee caused George Floyd`s death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Is carbon monoxide toxic?
DR. DAVID FOWLER, FORMER CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER: It is an extremely toxic gas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: No joke. Chauvin`s lawyer suggests that exhaust from the tail pipe of the police cruiser contributed to his death.
Plus, what Matt Gaetz`s former wing man is reportedly telling federal investigators about the congressman`s questionable conduct.
Also, major news from the White House, as President Biden commits to ending America`s longest war this year, and shocking new information about the advanced warnings leading up to the Capitol insurrection.
THE REIDOUT continues after this.
REID: The defense team for former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin continued presenting its case today, putting on the stand Dr. David Fowler, a former chief medical examiner for the state of Maryland. In stark contrast from the medical witnesses we heard from the prosecution, Dr. Fowler testified that the cause of George Floyd`s death was pretty much everything except Derek Chauvin, from Floyd`s heart condition, to drugs, to even carbon monoxide poisoning, because Floyd`s head was close to the exhaust pipe of the responding squad car. Yes, you heard that correctly, and exhaust pipe is now on trial.
So it shouldn`t surprise you that Fowler`s entire testimony frankly imploded once Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell picked it apart his finding during cross-examination, starting with debunking the theory that Floyd died in part due to vehicle fumes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ATTY. JERRY BLACKWELL, PROSECUTOR: Do you know if in fact the car was on or not? You didn`t see any information or data from anybody who says, I either turned the car on or I`m the one who turned it off. You didn`t see either one, did you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Was the car even on? Fowler, who had ruled out asphyxia in Floyd`s death because of a lack of bruising on his neck, then admitted to Blackwell that bruises are rarely even a thing with this type of death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Do you agree, Dr. Fowler, that the majority of cases where somebody dies of asphyxia are very subtle and, in fact, no traumatic manifestations are visible at all?
FOWLER: That is correct, depending on the circumstances.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Prosecutor Blackwell then nullified the studies Fowler had cited showing that restraint in a prone position with or without body weight does not cause difficulty breathing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Is it true, Dr. Fowler, that none of the prone restraint studies that you referred to actually studied subjects who had someone`s knee on their neck in the prone position? Is that true?
FOWLER: That is true.
BLACKWELL: None of the studies went for as long as nine minutes and 29 seconds, is that true?
FOWLER: That is true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: That, my friends, that is how you tear down a defense witness, by getting him to remarkably agree with the prosecution.
Joining me now is Phillip Atiba Goff, Co-founder and CEO of the Center for Policing Equity, and Mary Moriarty, former Chief Public Defender of Hennepin County, Minnesota.
And Ms. Moriarty, I have to start with you first. That was pretty much a clinic of the prosecutor put on in dismantling this witness. What did you make of that exchange today?
MARY MORIARTY, FORMER HENNEPIN COUNTY CHIEF PUBLIC DEFENDER: It was a really effective cross-examination. When he started talking about that exhaust fumes, I almost thought at the beginning, okay, well that seems so impossible I`m almost glad that he`s taking that position. He was rendering opinions, giving opinions on cardiology, pulmonology, toxicology, and Mr. Blackwell got him to admit he doesn`t have expertise in any of those areas.
And if you recall, the state has called a cardiologist, a pulmonologist, and a toxicologist. And Mr. Blackwell got Fowler to admit he would defer to the opinions of the pulmonologist a number of times.
So, it was a really effective cross-examination.
REID: It was amazing.
And I had my Howard class today. And I said to them one of the things that you want to really do is always know who you`re talking about, right? And so this gentleman, who he embarrassed himself a bit today -- he got a little bit embarrassed today -- he`s a former Maryland official.
He was here in Maryland. He cleared -- he was somebody who had cleared police in a previous police killing. He cleared police in the death of a man called Anton Black. In 2018, Anton Black died after three Maryland police officers were on top of his body for nearly six minutes.
They continued pressing down on him for many minutes after he was handcuffed. Fowler`s autopsy, because he was the guy in charge of that -- the autopsy report ruled the death an accident and said there were no signs that police did anything wrong.
So, he`s basically mostly an expert in saying police did nothing wrong. Your thoughts on that choice of somebody to testify for the defense, Phillip?
PHILLIP ATIBA GOFF, CEO, CENTER FOR POLICING EQUITY: Well, what we saw all of last week was everybody and anybody who could line up and get a spot from the Minneapolis Police Department saying, yes, that was wrong. It`s out of policy. There`s no best practice that says it`s OK. Absolutely, kneeling on somebody`s trachea until they die is something we don`t like to do.
So, I`m, frankly, impressed the defense was able to get anybody with any kind of degree to come forward and say, maybe there was something else.
And I want to be clear that, if they left them up on the stand, he might well have said, you know, there`s no evidence that aliens didn`t kill him.
REID: Right. But you...
GOFF: So, like, yes, absolutely, this is a person who no longer has that position, no longer (AUDIO GAP) and that`s what you`re going to need to controvert everything that we all saw.
We saw a public lynching this summer. Everyone saw it. A random MMA fighter came by, called the cops on the cops. That`s what we heard from last week. So, you`re going to need a fabulist to come in and provide anything like a shred of a credible story in the other direction.
And if you`re even remotely prepared, as the prosecution was in this case, that`s going to fall apart almost instantly. You got to be glad about that.
GOFF: And, also, this case, on one trial, right -- on one officer, it`s so far short of what we`re seeing protesters talk about in the streets of Minneapolis today.
REID: That is a very good point. It`s true.
And I think that people are thinking about -- they`re trying to process all of these cases at once, Phillip. They`re trying to process the fact that this other officer is now being charged.
But you are seeing -- listen, in Minnesota, at least, now we have had three officers charged in deaths of civilians. The only one convicted, as was noted in the last block by Jelani Cobb, is the black guy who killed the white lady.
But it does feel like there is more momentum for -- toward prosecutors at least trying, right, Phillip? And is that what it`s going to take? We have seen Marilyn Mosby try. We have seen other prosecutors at least say, you know what, we need to at least attempt a prosecution.
Is that, in your view, progress?
GOFF: I mean, I don`t -- I`m less embarrassed by the prosecution in this case. It`s been incredibly thorough. That`s great.
But it`s not just the prosecution coming forward and doing their job effectively and professionally. It`s always -- it`s also the profession saying, please don`t pin this on us, right?
GOFF: Part of what`s happening is, if there is a not guilty, God help us all.
GOFF: And I think everybody in law enforcement understands, there`s no way to do the job if this is somehow part of what`s legal.
So, everybody`s coming together, saying, let`s accept this. Let`s make this the one random error that doesn`t indict the entire profession.
GOFF: And so, yes, you`re seeing -- you`re seeing some momentum in that way. But I don`t think that that generalizes. I don`t think that`s going to happen in the Daunte Wright case. And I don`t think that makes us all safer or makes black people feel like, oh, now it`s good with us and the cops.
REID: Well, and right.
And, Mary Moriarty, the other group of people that have had a credibility issue are prosecutors, because we have seen even Democratic prosecutors who get votes from black people refuse to prosecute in cases like the Mike Brown case, in cases like Breonna Taylor.
And so prosecutors are sort of under the spotlight too, because we do have this sense that white citizens are treated as citizens and black citizens are treated as subjects, and they`re simply the people who police, police on, but not the people that police protect.
In your view, as a prosecutor, coming from the point of view of the partners of the police, what do we need to do to get off of this dime, because this is not a place that`s sustainable?
MORIARTY: Well, remember that this case was taken away by the county prosecutor and given to the attorney general, partly because of that very issue.
I see a potential for tremendous change here. Our community -- this didn`t start with George Floyd, obviously. There`s a history with the Minneapolis Police Department that people in our community, particularly in our black community, have been trying to bring to the attention of police, of policy officials.
And it`s been ignored for years and years and years. George Floyd was like our Ferguson moment. That was just kind of the eruption of all of this trauma, this tension, this anguish over what had been happening to people in our black community for many, many years.
And I don`t think any of us want it to go -- well, we`re not going to let it go back to the way it was. It`s not going to go back to normal. There`s tremendous pressure and actually willingness on a lot of our policy-makers` part to make changes...
MORIARTY: ... to see that this -- I mean, it obviously did happen again right in the middle of this trial. But there`s tremendous momentum here to try to change this.
I will also say, to Phillip`s point about the MPD getting on the stand and saying, this isn`t who we are and what we do...
MORIARTY: ... they`re -- people in the community have noticed that and, of course, people in the black community know.
And, as a former public -- or a public defender, I know I see body cam...
MORIARTY: ... where police treat people like this all the time.
REID: Where it is what they do.
MORIARTY: It just doesn`t result always in death.
MORIARTY: Yes, it is what they do.
REID: And that`s the problem. It is what they do. That`s the problem.
MORIARTY: Yes. Yes.
REID: They`re treating black people as subjects, and not as citizens.
REID: And that is the problem.
Phillip Atiba Goff, Mary Moriarty, thank you both very much. Appreciate you both.
And still ahead: We are learning more about the sex crimes investigation involving Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, including how federal agents reportedly seized his phone this winter as part of that investigation.
We will bring you the latest next. Stay with us.
REID: The bad news is mounting for Matt Gaetz, the embattled GOP congressman who is the subject of a federal sex crimes investigation.
And much of it centers on the person Gaetz reportedly called his wing man, Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector who was indicted last summer for child sex trafficking that took place in 2017.
Two people briefed on the matter tell "The New York Times" that Greenberg has been providing investigators with information since last year about an array of topics, including Mr. Gaetz`s activities. Specifically, he`s disclosed that he and Mr. Gaetz had encounters with women who were given cash or gifts in exchange for sex.
We already know that those kinds of payments are a focal point for investigators who are scrutinizing Gaetz for alleged sex trafficking, which possibly includes the same underage girl at the center of the Greenberg indictment.
And, as CBS first reported, Gaetz`s 2018 trip to the Bahamas with two GOP allies and several female escorts is a part of that probe, even though Greenberg did not join them.
But now Politico is reporting that, according to three sources, the former minor was also among those on that trip to the Bahamas, although, to be clear, one of the women from the group tells Politico that everyone on the trip was over the age of 18 by that time.
More importantly, Politico has revealed the explosive news that federal agents executed a search warrant and seized Gaetz`s phone this past winter. That`s according to three people who were told of the matter by Gaetz, who changed his phone number in late December.
It suggests that Gaetz was likely aware that he was under scrutiny when he reportedly sought a pardon from the Trump White House in the closing weeks of the last administration.
Gaetz denies any wrongdoing and says he`s never paid for sex.
With me now, Glenn Kirschner, former federal prosecutor.
Glenn, let`s go right to this phone situation. Why would prosecutors steal someone`s phone? And once they have it, are you required to unlock it? Like, what might they be able to get out of this phone, in your view?
GLENN KIRSCHNER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Oh, pretty much everything, Joy.
And let me just explain how dramatic it is that we have now learned that a sitting member of Congress had his phone seized and searched by the FBI. People may not know, but when the FBI wants a search warrant, what they have to do is sit down, put all of the evidence of the investigation into a sworn affidavit, bring that affidavit to a federal prosecutor.
And I have done this hundreds of times. I have to review it. And I have to reach the conclusion that there is probable cause that there`s crime in that phone, evidence of crime. Then I have to sign my name to it certifying that I agree with the investigator. That FBI agent then walks into a federal judge`s chambers with an application for a search warrant for a sitting member of Congress`s cell phone.
Now, probable cause is probable cause. It really -- it`s not supposed to matter who you are investigating. But can I tell you, the reality inside the Department of Justice is, an application for a search warrant for a sitting congressman`s cell phone will have been vetted up and down the chain over and over again.
And even though the law regarding probable cause doesn`t change, I would bet you they had probable cause, plus, plus, plus, plus...
KIRSCHNER: ... if they were walking into a federal judge`s chambers seeking to seize and search the cell phone of a sitting member of Congress.
REID: And, I mean, particularly, we`re talking about this thing last year, when it was Bill Barr at the charge of the Justice Department, where he was in the business of protecting Trump`s friends and allies.
Gaetz was like the Gilligan to Trump`s Skipper. And so the fact that they got that warrant, to your point, what does it tell you, A, about what Gaetz may have known about his criminal exposure when he allegedly asked for that pardon? Trump has said he never asked him personally. That, at least -- that all he`s said is that. He`s never defended him.
What does that say to you?
KIRSCHNER: Oh, look, he knew he was in all kinds of trouble when he reached out to the White House seeking a pardon.
You don`t ask for a pardon unless you know you have done wrong. And if Bill Barr isn`t on your side, the man who was virtually Donald Trump`s criminal defense attorney and helped Donald Trump and his allies stay out of all kinds of trouble, I mean, if Bill Barr said, we got to investigate this Gaetz, because that`s a bridge too far...
KIRSCHNER: ... you know there must be some real fire where there`s that smoke.
REID: So, the question for Gaetz, because, obviously, Greenberg has to give somebody bigger than him. That would be Gaetz.
Here is, at least per the reporting, the people who were on that Bahamas trip. Notice if you see somebody`s name that rings a couple of times. You had at least five women, per Politico. You had Gaetz. You had a guy named Jason Pirozzolo, the hand surgeon and GOP fund-raiser to Ron DeSantis, who, apparently, Gaetz wanted to turn into the attorney general Florida.
There`s Halsey Beshears, a former state legislator and former appointed official in the DeSantis administration.
If you`re Ron DeSantis, does this feel like it`s creeping closer to you? Because these are your friends. These are your allies.
KIRSCHNER: Yes, just as Greenberg`s lawyer said about Matt Gaetz when he left the courthouse the other day, he said, you know what, if I were Matt Gaetz, I don`t think I`d be all that comfortable right about now, you have to believe that DeSantis -- I mean, these are his boys. These are his guys, right?
KIRSCHNER: We have seen the pictures. We have heard the stories.
You have to believe that Ron DeSantis, if he has done anything wrong, feels like things are creeping closer and closer to him.
REID: Let`s talk about this just for a moment.
The Halsey Beshears guy, we should note that, as the investigation intensified, this witness Beshears abruptly resigned as the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation secretary, noting that he had contracted COVID. But he confided to two friends recently that he believes he is the subject of the investigation.
It seems to me that they -- he doesn`t seem big enough, for me, to Gaetz to be able to help himself out by giving him up.
But one more sort of nugget of this for you, Glenn. According to the CNN reporting here, the women who were at -- they talked to some of the women who are at these parties, this one apparently in Orlando.
And it says here, the first thing that some of the women were asked to do when they got to the house parties was to put away their cell phones, according to two women who were in attendance at the parties. The men inside a who`s-who have local Republican officials that often included Gaetz did not want the night`s activities documented. The partygoers, according to these women, shared drugs like cocaine and Ecstasy. Some had sex, apparently, at these parties.
One of the women said she received money from Greenberg after some of the parties and that some of the payments were for providing sex, but she would not say who she slept with.
This sounds to me like other we don`t know who political figures. Do you think they`re getting calls from the FBI at this point?
KIRSCHNER: Yes, I think -- and what we have to keep in mind, Joy, is, when we have sex trafficking investigations, whether it involves underage girls, right, under 18, or young women 18 and older, so often, these women or these young girls are both victims, and, in a sense, are perpetrators because they are violating any number of federal laws with respect to the conduct that they`re engaging in, drug use among it, prostitution among the potential crimes.
But, at their core, they are victims. They`re being victimized by these men, even if they happen to be violating some federal statutes in the process.
So, as prosecutors, we approach these young ladies as victims, recognizing we may often have -- we also have to deal with their criminal exposure by granting them immunity for any laws that they may have violated, because we need to make sure we get the bigger fish, the more egregious perpetrators. And those are the men who are trafficking and using these girls.
REID: Drip, drip, drip. It`s just -- it just gets weirder and weirder every day.
Glenn Kirschner, thank you for helping us understand it. Really appreciate you.
And up next: President Biden is bringing America`s longest war to a somber close. What does this mean for our national security?
Former CIA Director John Brennan and former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson will be here to tell us what they think.
Stay with us.
REID: On October 7, 2001, a little less than a month after the most devastating terrorist attack on American soil, President George W. Bush announced that U.S. and British forces have launched air strikes on the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
Nearly 20 years later, we have an entire generation of young adults for whose -- basically their entire lives, or nearly all of them, my kids included, we have always been in at war in Afghanistan. Just think about that for a moment, because the question we`re compelled to ask is, at what cost, for how long, and for what benefit that justifies continuing to make our troops keep paying that cost a generation later?
Well, now the end of America`s endless war is finally in sight. Speaking from the same spot where President Bush informed the country that military strikes had begun, President Biden announced today that the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan is ending.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH R. BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States will begin our final withdrawal -- begin it on May 1 of this year. We`ll not conduct a hasty rush to the exit. We`ll do it -- we`ll do it responsibly, deliberately and safely. I know there are many who will insist that diplomacy cannot exist without a robust U.S. military presence to stand as leverage.
We gave that argument a decade. It`s never proved effective, not when we had 98,000 troops in Afghanistan and not when we were down to a few thousand. Our diplomacy does not hinge on having boots in harm`s way, U.S. boots on the ground. We have to change that thinking.
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REID: At the time the war began, 88 percent of Americans supported the mission which makes sense due to the emotional shock of 9/11. But by 2019, more than four in 10 Americans thought it was a mistake.
Shortly after his announcement, President Biden made an emotional trip to Arlington National Cemetery, visiting the section where many of the U.S. troops who died in Afghanistan and Iraq were buried.
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BIDEN: Look at them.
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REID: Nearly 2,400 Americans have died in Afghanistan and more than 20,000 have been wounded in action. NATO allies in coordination with the White House announced their own eminent withdrawals from Afghanistan.
President Biden called former Presidents Bush and Obama to inform them of his decision. President Obama issued a statement commending the decision, saying it was time to turn the page. Republican voters under Trump jettisoned their once dogmatic belief in foreign intervention for an American First doctrine.
But that didn`t stop some Washington Republicans from slamming Biden`s announcement.
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SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: Unfortunately, this mistake in Afghanistan is one of several instances of this new administration`s surrendering leverage without making America, our allies or our interests more secure.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): We know that this kind of a pull back is reckless, it`s dangerous, it puts American security at risk. It will provide an opportunity for terrorists to be able to establish safe havens again.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): There are no great outcomes, but this is the worst possible outcome is to pull up and leave in hope that things will turn out well.
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REID: The end of one of America`s longest foreign interventions would allow the president to shift his focus to emerging threats from countries like China, Russia, North Korea and we`ll get to that and more with former CIA Director John Brennan and former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, right after the break.
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BIDEN: I`m now the fourth United States president to preside over American troop presence in Afghanistan, two Republicans, two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth.
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REID: As he noted, President Biden is indeed the fourth commander in chief to preside over the war in Afghanistan and third to commit to its end.
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BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: To the American people, I know many of you have grown weary of this conflict. As you`re well aware, I do not support idea of endless war.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We`ve had tremendous success in Afghanistan in killing of terrorists, but it`s time after all these years to go and to bring our people back home. We want to bring our people back home. And again, it`s been -- it`s been a long journey in Afghanistan in particular.
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REID: Joining me now, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.
And, you know, Mr. Brennan, it strikes that one of the few non-terrible positions that Donald Trump had, that he shared with a lot of us in the country was that endless wars have to end, we can`t just leave troops overseas pretending their going to rebuild them into a mini America. We don`t even have a fully functioning democracy, you know? So, for us to be like, we`re going to be make you into us, you know? It just -- it makes no sense after 20 years.
I just would love to get your sort of baseline reaction to the fact that this 20-year war is going to come to an end.
JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Well, Joy, Joe Biden has made no secret over the last dozen years that he believes that it`s time to bring our troops home. He was an advocate of that during the Obama administration as well. And now as president, with wide array of threats and challenges on his plate, he wants to do that.
And so, he made the decision after, as I understand it, a long and lengthy debate among the national security agencies to make the decision to bring them home.
Now, also, Joe Biden understands that there are no attractive options when it comes to Afghanistan, and that there are risks involved in terms of full withdrawal of U.S. forces. And, hopefully, we`re going to be able to offset some of the diminishment of our intelligence and counterterrorism capabilities inside of Afghanistan with regional resources.
BRENNAN: But at the same time, I fear that some of Joe Biden`s toughest decisions on Afghanistan are yet to come. What happens when the Taliban advances its military momentum toward capital Kabul? What happens, you know, in terms of psychological impact on the security and military forces of the Afghan government? Might the Afghan government collapse as a result of this?
So, I`m sure they`ve thought through this and have contingency plans for it. But we cannot just ignore what`s going to happen in Afghanistan. We`re going to main embassy with personnel, diplomats and others.
And so, I think this is something that Joe Biden and his national security team are going to keep a very close focus on, despite the fact that they`ve made the decision to remove those troops.
REID: Yeah. You know, Jeh Johnson, you would know better than I, because you know President Obama better than I do -- far better. You know, he did run on the idea of opposition to Iraq war made him rise in politics, and idea that Afghanistan could go on forever. We can`t stay anywhere forever especially with home security threats in terms of violent white nationalism that`s threatening our Capitol, when we`ve gout our own former president inciting people into violence and pushing them into this violent white extremism, much the way bin Laden, you know, did, sort of inspiring people to be this way.
Do you feel as somebody who ran DHS that we`ve got to turn our focus here because we`ve got our own internal terroristic threats to deal with?
JEH JOHNSON, FORMER SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECRETARY: My short answer is yes. I was very pleased to see in the intelligence assessment released by intelligence community that we are focused on non nontraditional, unconventional threats as well as traditional threats from Russia, and China, North Korea and Iran.
In my judgment, long-term principal threat to national security is climate change. In short-term, of course, it`s COVID-19. In midterm, it is what we saw vividly on January 6th.
There`s a study out from University of Chicago by Professor Robert Peyton (ph) does a study of the demographics of those who launched the attack on January 6th, and it`s frightening. They tend to be college educated. They came from blue states as well as red. They`re all afraid displacement, this baseless fear over increasing diversity of our nation.
And what the study points out that was the tip of the iceberg. And that iceberg did not evaporate on January 20th. In my judgment, that is a principle threat to our very democracy and it represents a national security threat.
On Afghanistan, I agree with John, there were no good options after 20 years. In perfect world, we would have structured a deal to include the Afghan government but it was clear a decade ago, which John knows, that the Taliban attitude was you Americans may have the watches but we have the time, and we`re going to wait you out.
REID: Yeah. They did it with the Soviet Union. They just -- a dozen years gone, you know? And it`s -- it`s an intractable issue.
Let me let you all listen to Avril Haines. She`s a director of national intelligence. And this is on the domestic threat that we`re facing. Take a listen.
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AVRIL HAINES, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Domestically, lone actors and small cells with a broad range of the ideological motivation pose a greater immediate threat. We see this threat manifest itself in individuals who were inspired by al Qaeda and ISIS, often called homegrown violent extremism, and those who commit terrorist acts for ideological goals stemming from other influences, such as racial bias and anti-governmental sentiment.
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REID: To add to that, John, Brennan, since 2015 for "The Washington Post", right-wing extremists have been involved in 267 plots and attacks, 91 fatalities. At the same time, attacks plots described to far left incidents accounted for 66 incidents and 19 deaths. It`s far right extremism menace.
It feels to me like of a piece what we used to think of terrorism that was most fearful for us, this just feels far more -- so prescient to me or far more sort of urgent to me. Does it to you?
BRENNAN: Yes. Well, first of all, it`s very insidious because it is within our midst already. Whether you`re talking about white supremacist groups, neo-Nazis, militia groups and others, I think this growth of domestic violent extremist is something that is very worrisome.
And that`s what the challenge is for our law enforcement, our intelligence and our homeland security professionals. They have to deal with domestic terrorists and those who are prone to conducting acts of violence but they also should be concerned about the types of terrorist threats that emanate from abroad, including from that area of South Asia.
So, I don`t disagree with anything that you said or Jeh said, but United States has these responsibilities both at home and abroad, that they need to ensure that we take -- it takes appropriate steps to protect citizenry from wherever those threats might come from, domestically or abroad.
REID: And very quickly, and I ask you both of this, I`ll first you Mr. Brennan and Jeh Johnson, how long do we have to say overseas policing the world? I think a lot of people have that sort of gut question. The United States cannot police the world. We cannot make every country perfect.
How long are we expected -- supposed to be expected to stay overseas attempting to police other societies?
BRENNAN: Well, I wouldn`t say we should be policing any societies but, you know, we have 100,000 troops still in South Korea, Japan and Germany for many, many years. And as President Biden said many times it`s power of our example that we really have influence on the global stage.
So, I do think the United States has unique responsibilities as global leader of the free and western world and shouldn`t abandon those responsibilities on the global stage. We need to do it smartly, judiciously, as well appropriately and not try to do a lot of, you know, regime change or regime build overseas.
REID: Yeah, absolutely. Amen to that.
And, you know, Jeh Johnson, when you look at these -- all of these reports about the 1/6 attack, they`re more and more troubling. And if feel like we`re not in moral standing we used to be in terms of telling the world that we care about democracy and can protect democracy abroad, when we`ve got people, you know, Capitol police ignoring intelligence and, you know, just the deficiencies on January 6.
How much of a hole are we in? How much of a hole does Biden have to dig us out of at this point, morally, around the world?
JOHNSON: A famous American said, Joy, once, God did not appoint you to be policeman of the whole world. That was Martin Luther King in 1957.
There`s a larger point that I want to make and I know John is going to agree with. For four years, the leaders of the intelligence community had to look over their shoulder because they were afraid that their boss was going to say something -- that they were going to say something their boss wouldn`t like. It was, frankly, refreshing to see our leaders today of the intelligence community, there with Avril Haines there leading the leaders, and John and I both know her well, telling the truth about the threats our nation faces.
And we know full well that they did that and they were shooting straight without any notion of any repercussion from the White House. That`s a big picture that should not be lost today.
REID: It`s a big picture and they mentioned China and North Korea, and Iran and Russia. And we need to get back to thinking about what the real threats are. And in my opinion, I think it`s good they`re ending war there but everyone can make their judgment.
John Brennan and Jeh Johnson, thank you guys both very much.
Before we go tonight, a big step forward for D.C. statehood. House Oversight Committee approved legislation to make D.C. the 51st state, sending the bill to the full House, which is expected to approve it as early as next week.
The House previously passed the statehood bill last year but Senate majority leader at the time, Mitch McConnell, is now a minority leader, refused to take it up in the Senate. We will continue to follow that story.
And that is tonight`s REIDOUT.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.