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Transcript: The ReidOut, 4/2/21

Guests: Bennie Thompson, Anna Eskamani, Paul Butler, Cynthia Alksne, Marq Claxton


One officer killed, on injured in Capitol attack; Suspect rammed his car into officers at a barricade; USCP says, motive for attack unknown, not believed to be terror-related; McConnell calls security measures an overreaction; GOP Respresentative Greene dubs Capitol Fort Pelosi; GOP Rep. Boebert political ad ends with gunshots; New details on Matt Gaetz sex crimes investigation; New York Times reports, women were procured for sex by Gaetz`s associate.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: If you care to join, if you want to keep in touch, you can always find me online @arimelber on social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We have more on that MLK special if you visit me at any of those pages. And keep it locked right here. THE REIOUT starts now.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with another frightening day at the U.S. Capitol. Flags are at half-staff for the second time this year. And one Capitol Police officer is dead, and another is injured after they were struck by a car at a security barrier on the Capitol`s north side.

After ramming into that barrier, the driver and suspect 25-year-old, Noah Green, got out of the car with a knife in his hand. Police say Green, who is from Indiana, but most recently lived in Virginia, was shot after failing to respond to verbal commands. The suspect was then taken to the hospital where he died.

And we still don`t know the motive. But the Metropolitan Police said the incident does not appear to be terrorism related. Congress was not in session at the time and very few people were around. Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman released a statement on the slain officer, William Billy Evans, noting with profound sadness that Officer Evans had been a member of the United States Capitol Police for 18 years and was a member of the Capitol division`s first responders union.

A police precession took Officer Evans past the Capitol on its way to the medical examiner`s office late this afternoon. According to the Capitol Police, the injured officer is in a stable, nonlife-life threatening condition.

In a statement, President Biden said, Jill and I were heartbroken to learn of the violent attack at a security checkpoint on the U.S. Capitol grounds, which killed Officer William Evans of the U.S. Capitol Police, and left a fellow officer fighting for his life. We send out heartfelt condolences to Officer Evan`s family and to everyone grieving his loss. We know what a difficult time this has been for the Capitol, everyone who works there and those who protect it.

Today`s incident prompted a huge security response with a helicopter landing on the east front of the Capitol and National Guard troops descending on the scene. The troops have been part of an increased security presence at the Capitol since the insurrection on January 6th where 140 officers were injured, and one officer died.

Before this year, only two other Capitol police officers have ever been attacked and killed in the line of duty. Both were killed by a mentally ill gunman at the Capitol back in 1998. In a press conference, shortly after today`s incident, the acting Capitol Police chief stressed, what a hard year it has been for the Capitol Police.


YOGANANDA PITTMAN, ACTING CHIEF, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: Please keep the United States Capitol Police family in your thoughts and prayers at this time. It has been an extremely difficult and challenging year for us, but we will get through this and we appreciate the community`s support.


REID: Let`s go first to NBC News Reporter Vaughn Hillyard at the Capitol. Vaughn, what can you tell us, what`s the latest?

VAUGHN HILLYARD, MSNBC POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, good evening, Joy. This is the scene here right behind us. The car has since been towed here from just outside of the Capitol. But there is now a perimeter around this greater Capitol complex here.

And I got to tell you, when we`re talking about law enforcement, you just said how tough of a year, tough of the 2021 this has been for Capitol police, not only that of Officer Brian Sicknick but as well as Officer Jeffrey Smith, who committed suicide in a day after the January 6th attack, and Metropolitan Capitol Officer Howard Liebengood, also committed suicide after January 6th.

When you`re talking about a community now losing Officer Billy Evans here this afternoon, you know, every police oversees a community, for the Capitol Police this is their community. This is the people they come to see every single day. This is the Capitol grounds, the staff, the members of Congress that they come here to protect every day.

Billy Evans lost his life at the hands of this individual who originally, to our understanding, is from Indiana, most recently lived in Virginia. Our own Ben Collins is reported base off of his Facebook page that he has had recent post touting his connection to the nation of Islam.

Of course, the Southern Poverty Law Center has said that they are a hate organization and Muslims have vehemently rejected the nation of Islam. A black superiority organization here led by Louis Farrakhan.

Of course, we`re going to get to continue to learn more here in the coming days, what lead this individual to go through this barrier here two weeks after Constitution Avenue opened backed up.

I talked to this evening, Joy, Lieutenant General Russel Honore, who was tapped by Speaker Pelosi to make an assessment after January 6th, about what sort of security measures should be built up around here, after that insurrection. And I talked to him on the phone tonight, and he said that all of the assessments that he made in a recommendation he should made should be put into practice based off, again, these events here today. That calls namely for the hiring of more than 850 Capitol Police personnel, saying that they are understaffed, inadequately trained, they don`t have the proper equipment.

He said that this man here, Billy Evans, did his job today, to protect the Capitol and he lost his life, as a result of it. But I just passed by dozens of them here this evening, they`re still at work tonight, protecting this Capitol ground and they will be overnight and into the days ahead. And he said that they need the backup and the funding resources, Joy.

REID: Vaughn Hillyard, thank you so much for your reporting. And, yes, I`m sure the Capitol Police are having the trauma. I can only imagine. It`s been quite a year. Thank you so much.

Joining me now is Congressman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, Chair of the Homeland Security Committee, and Malcolm Nance, MSNBC Counterterrorism and Intelligence Analyst.

And, Congressman, I want to go to you first. Based quickly on your perch as Homeland Security chair, what do you make of that? Because you know, the Capitol Police are very well funded organization at $430 million, there are about 23,000 sworn officers. Is the issue here the need for more personnel or is the issue the need, in your view, for more permanent infrastructure to physically protect the Capitol? Because now, we`ve seen it breached during an insurrection by a mob, a lynch mob, and now we`ve also seen there`s vulnerability to an attack by a vehicle.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): Well, it`s a combination, both things, you`ve identified. But there is also a need to get the line of authority between the D.C. government and the Department of Defense. So, we have to coordinate that. And it is difficult when you don`t have a plan to spell it out.

I think the actions of January 6th and what was unfortunate today, we have to put that together. We have General Honore`s report, it spells it out. We have a commitment from Congress to fund it, and supplemental. We just have to do it. There cannot be any movement back from it. We have to secure the Capitol.

REID: And, Malcolm, just from a security point of view, I mean, obviously it is a public space. Ostensibly, it is meant to be accessed by the public. But at the same time we know now that there are a great number of vulnerabilities. Do you think it is, in a sense, almost too complicated? Because it is not a state, there are limits to what the D.C. leadership can do and there has to be so much coordination for any kind of a security response when something goes wrong?

MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC COUNTERTERRORISM AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, there certainly are limits for D.C. But the real issue is in the hands of the Capitol Hill Police and the Sergeant at Arms of the Capitol. That site where the incident occurred today, on the north side of the Capitol, just a few weeks ago, that entry-controlled point was not accessible. It was pushed all of the way down to the intersection of Louisiana Avenue and New Jersey Avenue and there were concrete Jersey barrier run-ins that a speeding car could not get through.

So by raising that profile this week and allowing access up through their - - that part of Constitution-Delaware Avenue, it just gave whoever decided that he was going to carry out an incident a slightly easier path way.

But, you know, we don`t know what the intent of this driver was today. We know he obviously had some motivation to have himself killed, suicide by cop, and he did want to injure people in a place that was very high profile. So, this is going to give us another reevaluation as to how we allow pedestrians and vehicles to come around this entry control points. There will have to be a commission on this eventually to determine the entire parameter of how we`re going to defend this facility.

REID: And I`m glad you brought that up, Malcolm, because, you know, there has been a lot of pressure coming particularly from Republicans, but some Democrats have voiced some concern about it too, to sort of reopen the Capitol and make it more of a welcoming public space. Let me play it for you Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): There had been no serious threats against the Capitol. I think we`re way overreacting to the current need.

I`m extremely uncomfortable with the fact that my constituents can`t come to the Capitol with all of this razor wire around the complex. It reminds me of my last visit to Kabul.


REID: To add to that, Marjorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon Congresswoman, tweeted welcome to Fort Pelosi, sort of mocking the idea of all of the Capitol security. And one more, just to go from the not so sublime to the absurd, here is a piece of the ad run by Colorado Congresswoman and guy enthusiast Lauren Boebert.


REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): It`s time to cut the crap and remember this is the people`s House. Madam Speaker, tear down this wall.


REID: And then with that flourish of a gun sound at the end. Congressman, that feels entirely premature because, obviously, as Malcolm just explained, there are still a lot of security issues.

THOMPSON: There is no question about it, and what you see there is a classic political response to a minority party. We have to secure the Capitol. The Capitol at this point is not secure. We can`t guarantee that visitors who come or members of Congress, to that point, cannot be adequately protected so we have to do what we have to do.

It`s unfortunate that the Republican -- my Republican colleagues and others are choosing to politicize security in our nation`s Capitol. Sure, everyone would want visitors to visit the Capitol, but if we can`t guarantee their safety then we should not allow that to occur.

REID: And Malcolm, would you recommend to reestablishing some of the, really, sort of overwhelming security force that we saw after the insurrection? Do you think that needs to go back up, at least in part?

NANCE: You know, I have done security assessments all around the world, including some big Arab capitals, and in Kabul, and in Baghdad. It`s going to have to look like Kabul for a little while, because the insurrection and the attack on the Capitol gave our nation`s enemies, including some of those who are overseas, like ISIS, a baseline on how to attack the Capitol.

And we have to create a system of entry control points that allow visitors to come in there, not only to feel safe but to be safe. Because what you don`t want to do is just have the gates all come down and then have someone carry out, let`s say, a vehicle driving attack where you know you just drive through the parking lot and go through injured people who might be there from an Iowa high school. We need to make the entire campus secure.

REID: Yes, I think it would seem so obvious, but, unfortunately, it`s political. And we`ll have you back on, Representative, to talk more about your lawsuit, which is dealing with one aspect of what happened on January 6th, obviously, the instigation of it. But, yes, obviously, there some security, sort of lapses there that still need to be dealt with at the Capitol.

Congressman Bennie Thompson, Malcolm Nance, thank you both, be well.

And up next on THE REIOUT, the Matt Gaetz scandal gets even more sorted, if that`s even possible, allegations of paid for sex, booze, drugs and child trafficking is all there.

And a Florida lawmaker joins me on the very strange phone message that she received from Gaetz and his indicted pal.

Plus, a dramatic week of testimony comes to an end as George Floyd`s family seeks justice for his death. Just how bad was this week for Derek Chauvin? Let`s put it this way, some of the most damming testimony came from came from fellow police.

And Georgia Republicans quickly learn that there are serious consequences to their voter suppression law, as Major League Baseball pulls this year all-star game out of the state.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: New reporting on the investigation of Congressman Matt Gaetz is so lurid. It`s hard to believe he still holds a position of public trust, in fact, his communications director today in the wake of the latest revelations. People close to the federal probe tell The New York Times that investigators are scrutinizing Gaetz`s involvement with multiple women who are recruited online for sex and received cash payments. Those women were reportedly procured by Gaetz`s associate, Joel Greenberg, the former Florida tax collector who is now facing almost three dozen criminal charges, ranging from the production of fake I.D.`s and identity thief to sex trafficking a child.

The Times reports that Greenberg recruited the women through websites that connect people who go on dates in exchange for gifts, fine dining, travel and allowances. People acknowledge of the encounter say Greenberg then introduced the women to Mr. Gaetz, who also had sex with them.

The story also details how Gaetz and Greenberg would pay the women, noting that the women themselves even told friends the payments were indeed for sex. However, Gaetz has once again denied the conduct under investigation. In a statement to NBC News, his lawyer says, Matt Gaetz has never paid for sex and refutes all the disgusting allegations completely, unquote.

This comes on top of the news this week that investigators are probing whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl. He denies.

Now, two people with the investigation have told The Times that the sex trafficking count against Mr. Greenberg involve the same girl.

The revelations are not only damning on their face but they link Gaetz even closer to Greenberg, who denies the charges against him and is currently in jail pending trial. According The Daily Beast, text messages from former employees that Greenberg tax office help lead investigators to Gaetz.

Additionally, The Daily Beast acquired a strange voice mail that portrays their apparent chummy relationship, it`s a message they left for Florida State Representative Anna Eskamani in 2019, one of many contacts, which she described as weird.


JOEL GREENBERG, FORMER GOP OFFICIAL: My dear Anna, this is your favorite tax collector.

I`m up in the Panhandle with your favorite U.S. congressman, Mr. Gaetz.


GREENBERG: And we were just chatting about you and talking about your lovely qualities, and your...

GAETZ: We think you`re the future of the Democratic Party in Florida.

GREENBERG: Well, see, I know you`re the future of it, so there`s no thinking involved.

Anyway, if you get this and you feel like chatting, give me a shout back.


REID: Representative Eskamani is now calling on Congressman Gaetz to resign in the wake of "The Times"` reporting.

And I`m joined now by Florida state Representative Anna Eskamani and Cynthia Alksne, former federal prosecutor.

Representative Eskamani, I must start with you on this on this weird, rather creepy voice-mail. What did you take the purpose of that voice-mail to be?

STATE. REP. ANNA ESKAMANI (D-FL): Well, thank you so much, Joy, for having me.

Honestly, when I saw my phone ringing and he was calling, I didn`t pick up, because we didn`t have that type of relationship to expect a phone call. And I was even more surprised to listen to the voice-mail and hear not only his voice, but Congressman Matt Gaetz`s voice as well.

So, for me, it seemed like they wanted to try to get closer to me, try to have some sort of chummy conversation with me, which, again, I really do draw the line between personal and professional, especially when it comes to other elected officials.

REID: I hate to be -- I feel like, this whole thing, I need a shower just having read the intro to this.

But I`m sorry to have to ask you this on national television, but did you get the sense -- you`re a Democrat, right? You`re not a member of...

ESKAMANI: Correct.


Did you get the sense that Mr. Greenberg wanted to date you? Did this seem like a sort of romantic outreach in sort of the college sophomore level? Did it seem like they wanted to go out with -- what did you think they wanted from you?

ESKAMANI: Yes, I mean, it`s a -- it`s an uncomfortable question, but I think it`s an important one when it comes to the experiences of many women in politics, is that we`re constantly objectified.

We`re constantly not seen as valid contributors to policy, but instead as objects of pleasure and as something to look at, vs. to respect. And so, yes, I absolutely got the feeling that it was very much an attempt at an intimate conversation. Even the notion of "your lovely qualities," that alone was very cringe-worthy for me.

REID: Last question on this line, and then I will move on, I promise.

Do you worry, in light of what we have now learned about Matt Gaetz and Mr. Greenberg and what they were up to, and things like allegations from CNN that Gaetz would show off pictures to fellow lawmakers of women he -- of nude women that he claims that he had slept with -- quote -- "It was a point of pride," one of the sources said of Gaetz -- and also that Mr. Greenberg was trafficking women and attempting to get them to have sex with him and maybe the congressman for money.

Did you worry -- do you -- when you look back on it, do you worry that they were trying to lure you into something that would have been along those lines, the trafficking world lines?

ESKAMANI: I think it`s a very valid question and a very valid concern.

I mean, these are the signs of trying to groom people to do what you want them to do. And when I look back at my entire engagement with Mr. Greenberg over the past, I would say, maybe three, four years, I always tried to keep a distance between us. But there was a lot of just pushy behavior, corrosive behavior, attempting to make a conversation go into a more intimate direction than I would want it to go.

And so there definitely were signs of that. And, again, I think it`s so important that women, especially women in politics, share their stories, because, unfortunately, for me, it`s just another day of being a woman in politics.

REID: Yes.

And I just want to let our audience know, Cynthia, we`re having a little bit of trouble with her shot right now. We`re going to try to get her back.

But I guess, can I -- may I ask -- and I normally would never ask this question. It`s a question I just generally don`t ask. But how old are you, if you don`t mind my asking?


ESKAMANI: I am a young, but feeling very old 30-year-old.


REID: OK. But you`re -- so you`re not in age -- right, OK. So I just wanted -- I don`t -- I`m just checking that because of the sort of line of sort of reasoning around what they were doing.

Did you at any point suspect that Mr. Greenberg was engaged in any kind of illegal activity? Did he strike you as somebody, just to -- just I will just leave it there. Did you ever suspect that he was engaged in any kind of illegal activity? He`s accused of a lot of different varieties of illegal activity. Did you ever suspect that?

ESKAMANI: It`s a great question.

I first interacted with him because he had posted comments on his Facebook page that were Islamophobic in nature. So, many members of the Central Florida community, the Muslim-led community called him out for it. They invited me to join the space, and I also called him out for it.

And then he attacked me on Twitter, threatening me politically, and then turned around and apologized, and was seeking some sort of support from me. So, it was -- it was a very just really difficult dynamic in trying to maintain some sense of professionalism and kindness, while also realizing that this person is just kind of all over the place.

REID: Yes.

ESKAMANI: He doesn`t really have a lot of stability.

And I think the rest of it speaks to the fact that he was engaged in some pretty ridiculous and inappropriate behavior. But I don`t think any of us could have expected it to be this bad.

REID: Yes.

No, I was saddened when I read the line in The Daily Beast piece that you were quoted saying that you sort of tried to deal with it so that you`re not like thrown in as the B-word, which is a thing I think a lot of women in public life recognize.

OK, Cynthia, we have got you back.

Walk us through, because this is a really gross story. But I know that you are a very experienced sex crimes prosecutor. If you were looking at this case, just looking at it from your prosecutorial eye, does it appear to you that Mr. Gaetz might have been a customer of whatever it is Mr. Greenberg was doing? Or where would you start to -- if you were investigating this case?

CYNTHIA ALKSNE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, I think where -- where it`s going is that -- my guess would be is that Greenberg, they`re trying to get him to flip against Gaetz. I mean, that`s -- he has 33 or something charges against him. He`s in big trouble. And he obviously knows a lot about Gaetz.

And there`s a temptation in the press for us to kind of almost enjoy the demise of Gaetz, because he`s such a creepy, miserable, insufferable human being. But recognize we`re talking about girls here.

REID: Yes.

ALKSNE: We`re talking about -- this is a criminal investigation. This is not a -- this is not a sex scandal in the classic D.C. way.

I think he`s looking at sex trafficking. He may be looking at pornography charges. He may be looking -- it`s not going to surprise me if there aren`t campaign finance charges, drug charges.

So, he has a very serious problem. My guess is that we begin with a roll by his friend Greenberg.

REID: Let me read a little bit from "The New York Times"` piece.

"In some cases, Mr. Gaetz asked women to help find others who might be interested in having sex with him and his friends, according to two people familiar with those conversations. Some of the men and women took Ecstasy, an illegal mood-altering drug before having sex, including Mr. Gaetz, two people familiar with the encounters said."

Is that what you mean, that -- because that is gross, but that -- is that also trafficking?

ALKSNE: Well, yes -- well, it may or may not -- it certainly is a drug crime, right?

REID: Yes.

ALKSNE: It`s a Schedule 1 drug.

If they`re going across state lines, and they`re under 18, and they`re getting something of value, it`s a trafficking crime.

REID: Yes.

ALKSNE: If they`re going across state lines for the purposes of prostitution, it`s a different crime.

If he`s using campaign money to pay for it, it`s a different crime. So, there`s a whole host of crimes. But I guess it doesn`t really surprise anyone that you would have to really take drugs to have sex with Matt Gaetz.


REID: I mean...

ALKSNE: Come on. It`s gross. That`s gross.

REID: Yes. Yes, that`s not going to shock anyone.

The Daily Beast notes that text messages may have led the feds to Gaetz. In January of 2020, per The Daily Beast: "U.S. Secret Service agents received information in the form of text messages that purportedly showed that Matt Gaetz had accompanied Joel Greenberg to an unusual nighttime visit to a government office."

The Daily Beast also obtained images of text messages that purport to Greenberg helped Gaetz duplicate I.D.s. That`s one of the things he`s charged with, is making fake I.D.s.

And I guess I`ll have to ask you this again, back to another uncomfortable question, Representative Eskamani. Have you ever gotten a text message, an odd text message from either Mr. Gaetz or Mr. Greenberg? And have you been contacted by any of these federal authorities to perhaps offer what to investigators?

ESKAMANI: Well, I have spoken to many of my colleagues, and trying to get more people to share their stories about Congressman Matt Gaetz when he was a state House representative.

We did not serve together, but I did meet him on the House floor once, where he told me that: "My friend Joel Greenberg talks about you all the time," so, again, just further demonstrating the relationship they both had, and also this obsession with talking about women.

And so I`m happy to talk to any authority. At this point, it seems like the investigators are doing an excellent job in collecting evidence. And I have told everyone that, if you have been engaged in this, you need to speak out and you need to let us know, because we will find you anyways.

REID: Yes.

And I think that is such an important note to end on. And I`m sure that you would echo that as well, Cynthia, that particularly girls, underage, if you have any information, right?

ALKSNE: Right.

REID: I mean, people should -- don`t be afraid.

ALKSNE: Right.

REID: Come forward, yes?

ALKSNE: Right, that.

But there`s -- also, the question is, if he`s showing naked pictures of women and girls on the House floor, what is he doing on these important committees in Congress? And why aren`t other Republican family values party members doing something, so that he`s not in charge of anything?

REID: Absolutely.

Florida Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and the other QAnon congressmen, supposedly, you guys care about child sex trafficking. That`s like your whole religion. Where are all the Q people? And you`re right. Where`s Kevin McCarthy? Does Kevin McCarthy have any plans to maybe take him off some of these committees?

We wait to find out.

Florida state Representative Anna Eskamani, thank you so much for enduring my very uncomfortable questions.

And, Cynthia Alksne, my friend, thank you very much. Appreciate you both. Have a great weekend.

Still ahead -- whew. Need a shower. I think everybody needs a shower now.

The latest from Minneapolis Derek -- Minneapolis former police officer Derek Chauvin`s trial. The defense attorney vowed to show that Chauvin did as he was trained to do in his encounter with George Floyd. Well, what did his superiors have to say about that?

Stay with us.


REID: The first week of the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is now over. It began with some very dramatic and tearful testimony from eyewitnesses to George Floyd`s senseless death.

And then it turned to the more technical elements of the case, hearing from first responders and police officers, honing in on Chauvin`s culpability, after the defense made this declaration at the start of the trial:


ERIC NELSON, ATTORNEY FOR DEREK CHAUVIN: You will learn that Derek Chauvin did exactly what he had been trained to do over the course of his 19-year career.


REID: But as we began to hear yesterday from Chauvin`s former shift supervisor, that was not the case.

And that continued today, with the head of the Minneapolis Police Department`s homicide unit, the most experienced police officer in the department, who called Chauvin`s use of force totally unnecessary and uncalled for.


MATTHEW FRANK, MINNESOTA PROSECUTOR: Have you ever in all the years you have been working for the Minneapolis Police Department been trained to kneel on the neck of someone who is handcuffed behind their back in a prone position?


FRANK: If you as an officer, according to the training, you handcuff somebody behind the back, what`s your responsibility with regard to that person from that moment on?

ZIMMERMAN: That person is yours. He is your responsibility. His safety is your responsibility.

FRANK: As part of your training within the Minneapolis Police Department policies, is there an obligation to provide medical intervention when necessary?

ZIMMERMAN: Absolutely.


REID: Joining me now, Paul Butler, former federal prosecutor, and Marq Claxton, retired NYPD detective and director of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance.

And, Marq, I`m coming straight to you with this.

I thought today`s testimony was devastating. Officer Zimmerman, with that - - with all of his experience got up there, and he said a lot of things about the use of force that he said was totally unnecessary.

Let me play one more piece that I thought was sort of the line of the day. This is Lieutenant Richard Zimmerman describing the level of force that would be associated with placing your knee on someone`s neck.


FRANK: What level of force might that be?

ZIMMERMAN: That would be the top tier, the deadly force.


ZIMMERMAN: Because of the fact that, if your knee is on a person`s neck, that can kill him.


REID: Marq, the defense attempted to in the very start of the trial portray what Derek Chauvin did as per his training.

But that`s not what Lieutenant Zimmerman said. What say you? Is there anything in police training that says that you ought to ram your knee and rest it on the back of someone`s neck while they are prone for nine minutes-plus?

MARQ CLAXTON, BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE: Absolutely not, not in training and not in common sense.

As a matter of fact, I think what`s occurred during the course of the trial is that the supervisors, those people who supervise the police officers -- in a lot of ways, they set policy -- are clearly trying to disassociate themselves completely from the conduct of Derek Chauvin and reject his actions, as an attempt to ensure that there is no even conversation moving forward when Derek Chauvin is in jail and in prison and off the record about reforming police in a particular way or reimagining police.

Their priority right now is defending the integrity of their department and the profession. And they are more than willing to be honest about just how unlawful Derek Chauvin`s actions are.

REID: And I just want to note that Mr. Zimmerman, Lieutenant Zimmerman, had actually written a letter. He was one of 14 Minneapolis police officers, who wrote a letter condemning Chauvin`s actions.

It was posted two weeks after George Floyd`s death. And it said in part: "Derek Chauvin took an oath to hold the sanctity of life most precious. Derek Chauvin failed as a human and stripped George Floyd of his dignity in life. That is not who we are."

And the defense may have tried to make hay of that.

But, Paul, this case, to me, seems to be rolling the wrong way for Derek Chauvin. I have never seen a case that seemed stronger for the prosecution of a police officer, because you have got other officers damning what he did. You have got no support.

Even when the defense tries to come back and get them to go along, they`re not playing ball.

Let me show you a piece here where they tried to use something that we`re all used to, the sort of "We have to be able to fight for our lives" defense. And here is -- this is cut two for my producers -- here is the defense attorney trying that.


NELSON: You would agree, however, that in a fight for your life, generally speaking, in a fight for your life, you as an officer are allowed to use whatever force is reasonable and necessary, correct?


NELSON: And that can even involve improvisation. Agreed?


FRANK: Based on your review of the body cams, did you see any need for Officer Chauvin to improvise by putting his knee on Mr. Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds?

ZIMMERMAN: No, I did not.


REID: I mean, it does -- it hurts a little bit that, yesterday, we heard testimony that the man was dead. I don`t know if you`re fighting for your life against a dead man.

But anyway, Paul Butler, what do you make of the way things went today and in the trial so far?

PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Today`s cross-examine by Chauvin`s defense attorney tried to make the point that Mr. Floyd was still a threat, even though Mr. Floyd was in handcuffs on his stomach and even though he had no pulse. He still might wake up and attack Chauvin.

I think that argument is not going to be persuasive to the jury. I think that, in a way, it insults the intelligence of the jury.

So, these police officer witnesses, Joy, have two purposes. First, the jury is hearing from police professionals that Derek Chauvin is a bad cop who used excessive force. And the second is that prosecutors are sending the message to jurors who might generally support police officers: We`re not trying to say that all cops are bad. We just need you to send this one rotten officer to jail.

REID: Last -- do you think, very quickly, Paul, with the fact that Chauvin was fired, do you think that ends up coming in? I haven`t heard it yet. But do you think that will come in?

BUTLER: No, the judge has already ordered that the jury can know that Chauvin is not a member of the police department anymore, but they cannot be told that he was fired.


Well, we will keep on watching. It`s quite a trial.

Paul Butler, Marq Claxton, thank you both. Have a wonderful weekend.

And still ahead on THE REIDOUT: major voter suppression fallout in Georgia. Major League Baseball knocks one out of the park with a huge announcement about the Atlanta All-Star Game.

Stay with us.


REID: Major League Baseball announced today that they will no longer hold this year`s All-Star Game and baseball draft in Atlanta, Georgia.

In a brief statement, the commissioner of baseball explained that Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, a guy yearning for Trump`s warm embrace, called the move a knee-jerk decision in response to woke cancel culture.

Oh, Brian, Brian, Brian, that`s a real cute catchphrase. But I`m pretty sure you just did the exact same thing with the legislation that you just signed, which, let`s be honest, is a knee-jerk reaction to your party losing.

And now, instead of re evaluating your message, you`re just canceling out thousands of voters. Stay classy, Brian.

Kemp`s likely 2022 challenger, Stacey Abrams, issued her own statement, writing: "Like many Georgians, I`m disappointed that the MLB is relocating the All-Star Game. However, I commend the players, owners and league commissioner for speaking out. I urge others in positions of leadership to do so as well."

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms reprimanded Republicans for causing the backlash, tweeting: "Just as elections have consequences, so do the actions of those who are elected."

Unfortunately, restricting voting access is a trend that is being repeated in legislatures across the country. Overnight, Republicans in the Texas state Senate passed legislation that would impose additional restrictions on voting, including reducing early voting hours, prohibiting drive-through voting, and allowing activist poll watchers to film voters getting assistance, which sounds a lot like voter intimidation."

Just as in Georgia, the Texas restrictions just happen to target predominantly diverse and largely Democratic counties. Quite the coincidence.

Texas-based corporations like American Airlines, Dell Technologies and Microsoft aren`t making the same mistake that Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines did by being slow on the uptake. They were out quickly with statements publicly opposing the bill.

Joining me now is Tiffany Cross, host of "THE CROSS CONNECTION" on MSNBC, and Jason Johnson, professor of journalism and politics at Morgan State University, one of our favorite duos on the television.

Tiffany, I got to start with you.

I am struck not only by Major League Baseball`s pretty strong statement here, being like, we`re yanking the game, but also the corporate reaction that was so quick in Texas. You didn`t have American Airlines waiting around for people to talk boycott. They were like, we oppose the bill in advance.


But that didn`t happen on its own. Like, I refuse to think that corporate America just has this heavy heart and is so concerned about voter suppression. That is the work of activists. That`s the work of folks like LaTosha Brown and Black Voters Matter. That is the influence of activists in Georgia that cast a wide net of influence from Georgia to Texas and all across the Bible Belt and all through the Midwest, because this type of voter suppression is not just limited to the Southern states.

It`s happening everywhere since they struck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. So, I applaud the people out there who are taking it to the streets. But the bottom line is here, Joy, you just laid out very well in your open the massive voter suppression efforts happening.

The federal elections at this point or the election process needs to be federally regulated. That`s why it`s so important for us to focus on H.R.1, which would federalize and regulate the election process all across the country.

As long as we have people who are laser-focused on attacking black voters, who saved this democracy, quite frankly, we need to be focused on saving black voters. And I think, as long as we leave that up to Republican- controlled state legislators, we will continue to see this type of draconian and egregious action taken against us.

REID: Yes.

And, Jason, the Republicans are really in sort of self-preservation mode, right, trying to use this as a moment to yell against sort of woke culture. But you had Greg Bluestein from "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution" reporting that he`s getting texts from Democrats and Republicans, are full of sentiments like: "This MLB decision just helped Governor Kemp rally the base in a -- potential primary challenges here," meaning against a further right-wing Republican.

You have got a lot of Republicans sort of on the national level who, let`s just be honest, have no real platform, Lindsey Graham, and people like Ted Cruz yelling, and Kelly Loeffler, who got booted from her WNBA, yelling.

What do you think the political fallout of this will be in Georgia and elsewhere?

JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: So, Joy, it depends on the place, right?

Brian Kemp is desperately, desperately, desperately trying to make sure that he`s the one that loses to Stacey Abrams next year. That`s why he`s doing it.


JOHNSON: He thinks somehow, if he plays these games, that the Republicans will forget the fact that he sold out the state to the Democrats and Joe Biden and everything else like that.

And it`s not going to help. I still think Brian Kemp is still going to get primaried. I still think Brian Kemp is going to lose his job. But, hey, he`s going to keep doing this sort of Don Quixote-esque chasing after windmills and think it`s going to help him.

I think the national implications, though, it`s going to trickle down depending on the state. Georgia is a state that has a growing population, international businesses and the eyes of the entire world on them. So, Delta and Coca-Cola and Bank of -- they don`t want this smoke. They don`t need this hassle.

So they`re going to pay attention. But that`s not Texas, and that`s not Louisiana, and that`s not Michigan, states that may not have international businesses located there and, quite frankly, states where the Republicans are like, we don`t care. We`d rather starve than allow black and brown people to vote. That`s the issue that we`re facing.

So, I think that you`re going to see some changes in Georgia. At some point, they`re going to pull back some part of this. They`re going to maybe expand some semblance of voting rights one way or another.

But the real issue, as Tiffany mentioned -- see, giving Tif credit -- the real issue is going to be, there`s going to have to be a federal floor set for voting, because the issue, unfortunately, is that state legislatures can move a lot faster than the courts can.

And even if this were to be overturned, and even if a court were to get rid of it, they would try something else next August, right before the midterm elections, to put themselves back in a position of being able to suppress the votes of anybody else who might vote them out of office.

REID: Yes, absolutely.

But the lesson here, Tiffany, I feel like, Dr. King, toward the end was saying, we may want to boycott Coca-Cola. And he named Coca-Cola specifically and said that the black dollar should not go where our votes are not welcome and where we`re not able to be employed.

It does seem like activists, as you have said, have taken a really strong step here toward issuing some correction and making businesses pay for it, because there`s no boycott of Georgia. This is telling these corporate big companies, you better use your influence with these politicians.

And they give money to people in Texas too. They give money to people in Michigan too. Republicans get money all over the country from these big corporations.

CROSS: They fund a lot of these GOP efforts and a lot of these GOP candidates.

And so we know power concedes nothing without demand. And so, as long as we are waiting around for people to just find their conscience, we have seen that`s not going to happen. So, that`s precisely the type of work that it takes, Joy. You have to find that pressure point and push and keep pushing.

And I know there are a lot of people at home wondering, well, what can I do? I keep seeing these things happen. I mean, look, there are people who live in Republican-led districts that were only elected because of voter suppression. It is a lie.

Here`s another part of the big lie, that half the country is aligned politically, morally or ethically with the Republican Party. The devil is a lie. That`s not true. It just looks that way because they have employed these types of draconian tactics since the beginning of time, since we have always had voting to begin with.

And it`s just amazing, Joy, that we are still here fighting this exact same thing. This weekend is the anniversary of when we lost Dr. Martin Luther King. And the things that he fought for, and his children and children`s children are still here fighting for these same rights.

It`s exhausting as we go through this, as we watch yet another trial of a black man gunned down, and still fighting voting rights. It feels like time is a flat circle, and it`s enraging. As James Baldwin said, to have any level of consciousness is to be enraged this week.

REID: Yes, indeed.

CROSS: So, I won`t give Dr. Jason Johnson credit, but he did kind of make a good point.


REID: Well, your Twitter -- we`re going to wait for your all Twitter fight later.

JOHNSON: Wow. Wow.

REID: Jason Johnson, the thing that does seem to me to be obvious is just that these corporations are going to have to take action, because they do fear the boycott, right?


REID: And so you`re seeing them have to get on the right side of history.

But I don`t see where Brian Kemp comes out of this on top, nor the Republicans in the state legislature. This is just going to make the Stacey Abrams and the LaTosha Browns work harder to get rid of all of them. And then they will be like Kelly Loeffler, former elected officials.


And that`s the thing, Joy, that what is always so critical, and I just -- I talked -- I interviewed LaTosha for this for my podcast on Slate this week.

You have to understand also that Atlanta is growing by about 1,000 people in the metro area every week. And new people coming into the state are like, what the heck? We don`t -- we`re not interested in this. We`re not trying to fight over trans issues and voting rights and everything else like that.

The Republicans are fighting a losing demographic battle in this state when they try to keep people from voting. It`s not going to help Brian Kemp. It`s not going to help the secretary of state. It`s not going to help the party as a whole, because, at the end of the day, what does anybody know?

The vendors and the fans and everybody else right now in the city of Atlanta is like, we just lost a baseball game because you guys were trying to make us stay in line. That doesn`t end up helping anyone.

And I want to mention this also about not helping. The Atlanta Braves, OK, the white flight Braves that are hiding out in Cobb County right now, they didn`t help themselves either.

A little advice: Shutting up is free.


JOHNSON: And when the All-Star Game decided, when MLB said, we`re not going to come to the state, the Braves should have just been quiet about it.

There was no value for them to come out and criticize this decision, because now they appear to be on the wrong side of history, just like Brian Kemp.

REID: Yes, absolutely.

I have a very quick turn. I`m going to give this final one to Tiffany Cross. You win this round, because we`re going to go ladies get to close it out.

Just as -- on a different turn, John Boehner is talking. I don`t know if you`re going to talk about this, this weekend on "THE CROSS CONNECTION," but here`s a quote.

In his new book, he describes Ted Cruz this way: "There is nothing more dangerous than a reckless `expletive` -- you guys can guess what it is -- "who thinks that he`s smarter than everyone else. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Senator Ted Cruz."

Does anybody like Ted Cruz that you have been able to discern, as you have been covering his political career? Is there anyone? And I do include his daughters in that. Does anyone at this point like this guy?


CROSS: Joy, I -- please allow me to confirm these vicious rumors.

Ted Cruz has yet to identify a friend, an ally, an associate...


CROSS: ... anybody who has anything remotely polite to say about him.

He is the boil on the -- on democracy. He is the thorn in everybody`s side.


CROSS: He`s the embarrassment to the state of Texas.

And, like you said, even his own family doesn`t like him...


CROSS: ... which we can tell him because he threw them under the bus when he went down to Mexico.

REID: He blamed the daughters.

CROSS: Yes, he blamed his kids.

He`s terrible. But the big question is, Texas, what are you all going to do about it?

REID: Yes.

CROSS: We don`t want to deal with your problem.

REID: Come on, Texas. Come on, Texas.

CROSS: Discard...


CROSS: Come through and give us somebody else.

I think the Castro brothers might be free for something.


REID: Tiffany Cross, Jason Johnson, if there`s ever a scandal about people paying for people to be their friend, we know that that`s not going to be Matt Gaetz. Well, it might be him too, but it`s going to be Ted Cruz.

You can watch Tiffany`s show, "THE CROSS CONNECTION," tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC. Jason Johnson might be on, and then they can continue their banter on their show, on Tiffany`s show, which would be great.

We will be right back.



REID: That`s tonight`s REIDOUT.

Happy Eastern in advance to everyone.

Stay tuned to MSNBC all night for the latest on the attack on Capitol Hill that killed a Capitol Police officer.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.