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Transcript: The ReidOut, 4/30/21

Guests: Chuck Rosenberg, Hillary Clinton, Cheri Beasley, Don Calloway


FBI reportedly warned Giuliani he was target of Russian disinformation campaign; Feds raid Giuliani home and office; Giuliani denies representing foreign clients in dealings with U.S. government; Firing of U.S. ambassador at center of Giuliani investigation; Giuliani`s son denies his father did anything illegal; Giuliani denies being warned about Russian disinformation campaign; FBI warned GOP Senator Johnson about Russian disinformation campaign.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: I love it. And it`s been a great thing. I know it`s brought a lot of joy and a lot of cultural conversation during this era. So, we did want to shout that out, a busy day with all these news, so we are out of time.

I thank Michael Beschloss. Everyone can catch out -- I should say check out D.J. Cassidy`s Pass the Mic. In fact, there`s a Mother`s Day edition on BET Sunday, May 9th at 9:00 P.M. Eastern. Shout out to both of you.

Thanks for watching THE BEAT. THE REIDOUT starts now.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the ongoing trouble brewing for members of Donald Trump`s inner circle. There are explosive new details in the federal probe of Trump`s buddy, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, and we`ll get to that flaming dumpster fire in just a minute.

But, first, there is new reporting out today that Trump`s former T.V. and real-life lawyer Rudy Giuliani was warned by the FBI in 2019 that he was the target of Russian spies. Yes, that`s the same Rudy Giuliani who spent years digging up dirt in Ukraine to smear Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, with dubious claims of impropriety.

The story first broke in The Washington Post, which reports that the FBI told Giuliani that he was the target of a Russian influence operation aimed at circulating falsehoods intended to damage President Biden politically, ahead of last year`s election. The concern among U.S. intelligence was that Giuliani was being manipulated by the Russian government.

However, The Post notes that Giuliani appears to have brazenly disregarded such fears. Even after he knew he was the target of Russian spies, he still traveled abroad to meet with a KGB-trained Ukrainian lawmaker, an individual named Andriy Derkach. And guess what, lo and behold, it later turned out that Derkach actually was, quote, an active Russian agent. That`s according to the Treasury Department, which sanctioned Derkach of September 2020 for foreign interference to undermine the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

In other words, we now know that the FBI clearly had good reason to warn Giuliani, but rather than heed their advice at the time, he cozied up even more with the Russian agent, even inviting him on his podcast to make additional allegations against Joe Biden. Giuliani, who, let`s remind you, is a former federal prosecutor, was carrying on, playing footsie with a Russian spy, despite being warned by the FBI.

The news comes after federal agents on Wednesday raided Giuliani`s home and office, seizing his electronic devices, as part of a long-running criminal investigation into whether he acted as an unregistered foreign agent. And while Giuliani has known that he`s been under federal investigation since 2019, he still managed to sound astonished.


RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP PERSONAL LAWYER: There was a big bang, bang, bang on the door. And outside were seven FBI agents with a warrant for electronics. That warrant is completely illegal. The only way you can get a search warrant is if you can show that there`s some evidence that the person is going to destroy the evidence or is going to run away with the evidence. Well, I`ve had it for two years and I haven`t destroyed it. And they also got it from the iCloud.


REID: Now, of course, as a former federal prosecutor, Rudy Giuliani knows that this is how it goes. A judge signed off on that warrant, meaning that there`s probable cause that a crime has been committed.

Then, Giuliani went on with Little Tucker to make this very broad denial.


GIULIANI: I can tell you. I never, ever represented a foreign national. In fact, I have in my contracts a refusal to do it.

I have never represented a Ukrainian national or official before the United States government. I`ve declined it several times. I`ve had contracts countries like Ukraine. In the contract, there`s a clause that says, I will not engage in lobbying or foreign representation.


REID: Giuliani says he`s never represented a foreign national, but the public record shows he had plenty of unscrupulous foreign clients. According to NBC News, his international dealings appear to blur the line between consulting and lobbying. And according to The Washington Post, he had foreign clients while he was also representing Donald Trump, while Trump was president.

Not only that, but in February of 2019, Giuliani almost struck a deal to represent the very same Ukrainian former prosecutor who was feeding him disinformation on Joe Biden. That`s the same former prosecutor in Ukraine who wanted Trump to fire U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. And guess what, Trump did just that at Giuliani`s urging.

Yovanovitch`s ouster is now a focus for federal prosecutors who are trying to determine whether Giuliani acted as an unregistered foreign agent.

And joining me now is Chuck Rosenberg, former U.S. attorney and senior FBI official, and Michael Steele, former RNC chairman.

And, Chuck, I want to go on this first because, look, it`s not as if Rudy Giuliani is completely, you know, untutored in these things. He used to be a federal prosecutor himself. So, he knows good and well how you get a warrant to do a search -- you know, how you get a search warrant. What do you make of his pretense that what the FBI should have done was allow him to tell them what they could take, leave his iCloud alone, and he would say, well, this is the stuff you need to take, here, take these laptops that are Hunter Biden`s or whatever?

CHUCK ROSENBERG, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Yes, complete nonsense, Joy. So let me tell your viewers how it actually works, in case they want to credit anything Mr. Giuliani says. By the way, they should not.

You noted that a federal judge determines whether there`s probable cause that a crime has been committed and whether you`re going to find the stuff that you`re looking for in the place that you`re going to search. That`s it. When Mr. Giuliani said, well, they need to be able to demonstrate that I would have destroyed evidence or altered it in some way, absolutely, completely false, not part of the inquiry that the judge conducts.

Moreover, the FBI would never rely on a target or a subject of an investigation to give them the stuff that that target thinks that they need to conduct the investigation. That`s crazy, right? It`s sort of what Ronald Reagan once said, trust, but verify. You go out, get the stuff you need, you do it by executing lawful search warrants authorized by a federal judge. Then, if they have questions for Mr. Giuliani, and if he wants to speak with them, they can do it on the FBI`s terms when they`ve reviewed all of his stuff.

He is a former federal prosecutor. He has no idea what he`s talking about or he knows well enough, but he`s just making it up.

REID: Right. I mean, presumably he used to go and attempt to get these same exact same kinds of warrants. He knows exactly -- or he should, at least, unless he`s having memory lapse.

Here`s his son, Michael, Andrew Giuliani, being put in quite a little bit of a pickle politically, being asked to choose between dear old dad and the Republican Party`s daddy.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would your father turn on Trump to protect himself if that`s what it takes?

ANDREW GIULIANI, SON OF RUDY GIULIANI: No. He has -- there is -- I don`t really know how to respond to this, because it`s theoretical. You know, my father represented the president in good faith. And I don`t -- this is all theoretical. If there was something illegal that happened, there was nothing illegal that happened.


REID: Can you make any sense of what kid who got job he didn`t deserve in Trump administration has to say?

MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it`s very clear. He realized that he was between his daddy and Donald Trump and it was just not a good place to be at that moment. This isn`t theoretical, it`s legal. And as Chuck just expertly laid out, the basis for that judge`s, you know, decision to let this go forward through a warrant, there must be something there.

So the question then does fall back on Mr. Giuliani, at what point does this become serious enough that he decides that, well, maybe I should protect myself a little bit more, because you can be damn skimpy, Donald Trump is not about to protect him. That`s just not in the cards.

So there does become a calculation point where the feds come to him and go, okay, this is what we have and we`re getting more. What do you want to do? How do you want to play this? And I think that`s -- that`s that moment for his son, when he realizes, okay, I`m just going to step off of this ledge and try to find some solid ground to stand on here, because he knows it`s not good. This does not proceed, as Chuck knows, and as Rudy very well knows, without substance to it.

And what you heard on Fox was just the Trumpian clarion call of disinformation around legalities and facts and information and warrants that we`ve seen in the past. Unfortunately, you don`t have the presidency to protect you here.

REID: Yes, absolutely. Let`s talk about someone else, because there were a lot of people who were posting and reminding folks and journalists were posting about some previous stories that seemed to tie into this, as well. Let`s talk about Ron Johnson, Chuck.

This is in The Washington Post. Apparently, the FBI also warned him. The FBI last summer also gave what is known as a defensive briefing to Senator Ron Johnson, who used his purchased chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to investigate Biden`s dealings with Ukraine. Ron Johnson said -- he says there was no substance on that cautionary message.

Should Ron Johnson be concerned? Because it seems like he was also in the know from the FBI and he, like Rudy, dismissed these national security concerns.

ROSENBERG: Yes, it`s a great question, Joy. So let me just give your viewers a little bit of context. Defensive briefings are not that uncommon. Let`s say a businesswoman is traveling to a part of the world where our adversaries would like to know what she knows or might approach her, and the FBI learns of that. They would give her a defensive briefing. So that happens fairly routinely.

The really interesting thing is, what do the folks who get these defensive briefings do with that information? Overwhelmingly, what they do is they say to the FBI, thank you, understood, got it. I`ll be careful. And then when they come back, they might debrief with the FBI to see whether or not they were approached. Overwhelmingly, people want to help and do the right thing.

So the interesting question to me, Joy, is not whether or not they received defensive briefings, again, that happens fairly routinely, it`s what do they do afterwards, how do they treat that information? Do they take it to heart or are they cavalier? And as you pointed out in your lead-in, Giuliani continued to meet with Russian officials and Ukrainian officials after he got the defensive briefing.

REID: Yes. And Ron Johnson continued to pedal what turns out to be precisely along the lines of Russian disinformation afterwards, as well.

Let`s go to the Gilligan, to Donald Trump`s skipper, Matt Gaetz. Daily Beast reports that Joel Greenberg, who`s his supposed former besty, wrote what is the strangest thing I`ve ever heard of in my entire life, a confessional letter in which he was trying to obtain a pardon. A confessional letter written by Joel Greenberg, according to The Daily Beast, in the final months of the Trump presidency, claims that he and close associate Matt Gaetz paid for sex with multiple women as well as with a girl who was 17 years old at the time.

The letter which The Daily Beast recently obtained was written after Greenberg, who was under federal indictment, asked Roger Stone to help him secure a pardon from Donald Trump. Greenberg said that they believed that the girl was 19 at the time, but then warned Gaetz, so he says, that she was actually underage. Gaetz has issued his same story in a sort of a similar statement. While "The Daily Beast" story contains a lot of confessions from Mr. Greenberg, it does not add anything of substance, no evidence, blah, blah, blah.

Chuck Rosenberg first and then Michael Steele. But, Chuck, very quickly, have you ever heard of somebody saying, here are all my crimes, I wrote them down, can I have a pardon? Is that the way it works?

ROSENBERG: This is absolutely nuts. If Greenberg were to go to trial, you would mark this letter as Exhibit 1. In fact, it makes it almost impossible for him to go to trial, because he`s confessed to at least this type of crime. It`s just crazy, Joy.

REID: If you would have done something like that, Michael Steele, having worked in the Republican world, would you ever give something like that to Roger Stone?

STEELE: No. First, you don`t do stuff like that. But look, this Gaetz stuff is messy. And a lot of Republicans -- there`s a lot of splatter that`s going to come up on this thing, because, you know, as this storyline unfolds and these confessions start coming out, where do you go as a Republican?

And this guy is supposed to go on a road show with Marjorie Taylor Greene to go after RINOs. Well, you all better sit your behinds back at home and figure out how you`re going to pay your legal bills, because you`re going to have a lot of them coming. Oh, that`s why they`re going on the road show.

REID: Yes, it`s like their version of -- it`s like Ren and Stimpy but on the road. It should be interesting.

STEELE: Yes, it all makes sense now.

REID: Yes, interesting. Chuck Rosenberg and Michael Steele, thank you both very much.

Up next on THE REIDOUT, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joins me to talk about President Biden`s first 100 days, his warning about the threat of autocracy around the word and the legal jeopardy facing her former political rival, one Rudy Giuliani.

Plus, the travesty of democracy taking place in Arizona. More than five months since the election and after two independent reviews confirmed the results, Republican state senators forced a new bizarre fake audit of millions of ballots in Maricopa County. Now, we`re learning more about the company put in charge of the process, including its CEO who reportedly pushed conspiracy theories about the election.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democrats and Republicans for generations have been, shall we say, skeptical, about the ability of big government to do big things. What makes you so confident that skepticism has changed?

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, the facts don`t reflect that. I don`t have any inordinate faith in government. But there are certain things that only government can do. We rank number eight in the world in terms of infrastructure, for God`s sakes. Is the private sector going to go out and build billions of dollars worth of highways, ports, airports, bridges? Are they going to do that? And so these are things that only government can really do.


REID: President Biden was in Philadelphia today, taking it on the road after his big speech to Congress this week, as he continues to sell his agenda. And integral to this agenda are two economic packages that would invest roughly $4 trillion into roads, schools, green jobs, universal pre-K and affordable childcare.

And to discuss that and more, I`m joined by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Thank you so much for being here, Secretary Clinton, it`s always great to talk to you.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: It`s always great to talk with you too, Joy.

REID: So, I definitely am going to ask you, because I know that children`s defense fund and issues regarding children are very important to you, so I`m going to come back to that in a moment. But I`ve got to get you, as somebody who`s been a glass ceiling breaker, to comment on an image, hopefully we could put that up where you can see it of the two women, the vice president and the United States and the speaker of the House standing President Joe Biden. Your reaction to seeing that happen?

CLINTON: I was so happy, Joy. I saw that when I was watching the speech, of course, and I loved the way the president turned around, applauded them, said that it was about time. It really was a watershed moment.

I think it`s still not sinking in on people that the, you know, combination of the speaker of the House and our vice president has shattered so many barriers and, as you say, the glass ceiling. And it`s just thrilling to see.

REID: And so back to the big, very big plans that President Biden has put forward.

You have lived through a few administrations, having served in them and been in the White House for your husband`s administration.

What do you make of the scale of what President Biden is trying to do, the scale of what he`s had to deal with COVID, and what he`s trying to do on getting beyond just the COVID relief bill and these pretty huge plans, and of where we have come from the Reagan era where he could even propose such a thing?

CLINTON: Well, look, you have to govern in the time in which you find yourself.

And I think that what President Biden fully understands is that the American people, having gone through COVID, having seen not only the ravages that this has left with so many families and so many dead, but also the economic consequences, that, all of a sudden, the American people -- and the polls seem to reflect this, Joy -- not just Democrats, but independents and Republicans alike, are saying, you know what, you`re right.

We do need more from our government. We do need a bigger investment in our families, our communities, our economy, our country, in terms of jobs, and help for families, and particularly, children.

So, I think that President Biden`s been around a long time. And one of the advantages of having seen the ups and downs is that he has a pretty good understanding of what the political ecosystem will bear.

And I think he`s made a good bet that the people are ready for some big, bold moves, and he`s trying to put that forward.

REID: Yes, you have served in the United States Senate. You also were there when President Obama tried to do some big, bold things, and got shut down, first black president, was treated quite disrespectfully in a lot of ways.

Do you think that the filibuster, which has been a Jim Crow artifact, and it`s now standing in the way of Joe Biden doing big things on criminal justice reform, on voting, do you think the filibuster should go? And do you think that he -- that Joe Manchin and others who still cling to it can be overcome?

CLINTON: Well, I think it should go, because I think its usefulness has passed us by.

If there is not the votes to get rid of it completely, I would like to see it lifted for constitutional matters, in particular the right to vote, how we set up and run our elections, which is really at the core of everything else.

So, although I`m in the camp now which says, look, we have so many problems showing that we can govern ourselves, the president is absolutely right to say that this truly is a contest between democracy and autocracy, that we need to show, not just ourselves, but the world, that we can get things done.

I would like to see it eliminated. If we don`t have the votes for that, I would like to see us lift it for constitutional matters, at least.

REID: Yes.

Let`s talk about January 6. It was such a jarring moment in American history. You have been the subject of conspiracy theories probably your whole career, maybe even since you were at Wellesley.

And so can you just tell us -- let me actually just play you a piece of sound and then get response to it.

This is Officer Michael Fanone, who was one of the Capitol Police -- one of the, actually, Metro Police officers who responded to help Capitol Police. And here`s what he said to Don Lemon.


MICHAEL FANONE, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: It`s been very difficult seeing elected officials and other individuals kind of whitewash the events of that day or downplay what happened.

I experienced a group of individuals that were trying to kill me to accomplish their goal.

How we managed to make it out of that day without more significant loss of life is a miracle.


REID: When you hear people like Senator Ron Johnson downplay what happened on January 6 and the savagery that you just heard Officer Fanone describe, do you see in the Republican Party a party that believes enough in democracy to be negotiated with on big things that affect the American people?

CLINTON: Well, I think they have proven that they are not open to negotiation because they`re not open to reality in too many cases.

You just mentioned one. Trying to deny and actually substitute a totally false scenario for what we all saw with our own eyes on January 6 is indicative of how far gone they are. I mean, they have really -- they`re operating in an alternative reality.

However, they have votes. And so I think what the Biden/Harris administration understands is, you have to at least try to see whether there is a way to get the sensible members of the Republican Party that are left in the Senate to agree and, if they can, then move forward, trying to figure out how much can be agreed upon, and then add whatever else you think is needed.

But if that`s not going to happen, if we`re going to see this kind of charade played out, then I think that President Biden knows he has to move forward without them...

REID: Speaking of Republicans...

CLINTON: ... as he did with the American Rescue Plan, right?

REID: Indeed.

Speaking of Republicans, if I can get you a little bit on some news of the day, you ran for Senate, before he dropped out, against Rudy Giuliani, the then mayor of New York. What do you make of his current travails?

CLINTON: I don`t know, Joy.

I mean, he`s been behaving so erratically and seemingly illegally for so long now. I don`t have any inside information. I will let the justice system work. I don`t feel like I should be commenting and trying to judge what is going on.

But, clearly, there`s a serious investigation under way. I don`t know what happened to him. I don`t -- I had my political disagreements with him, certainly, when he was mayor of New York and when I began running against him for the Senate.

I don`t recognize him now. I don`t know what`s gotten into him. And we will see what the investigation concludes.

REID: Well, you -- I have to say, some of us who have noticed the way he ran against David Dinkins and the things he did at the time. We recognize him quite well.

Let me go to a couple foreign policy questions.

The Navalny situation. The only real opponent of Vladimir Putin has been jailed. He was on a hunger strike. His party, they`re attempting to turn it into -- label it as a terrorist organization.

How -- what do you make of the way that the current president is dealing with Russia? Do you think that we need to come down harder on that country, given that they interfered in our election, the one that you were in, potentially helped cost you the election, and continued to interfere in 2020, and what they`re doing to Mr. Navalny?

CLINTON: Well, the administration has imposed sanctions, which I absolutely approve of.

And they have also made some very tough comments about what Putin is doing on the border with Ukraine, his continuing interference in other democracies. Obviously, there`s a lot to worry about because of his behavior.

The issue concerning Mr. Navalny, though, is particularly troubling, because, as you rightly point out, he is the face of the opposition. He represents millions of Russians, who deserve to have a better government, that is actually working to move Russia forward, which Putin is not.

And so I would hope that, not only our leadership, and not only the White House, but also the Congress, and in many other settings, would be speaking out very forcefully about the need to protect the life and give an opportunity to Mr. Navalny to get out of jail, where he`s been put on phony charges, try to support his organization and his colleagues, even his lawyers, who are now under tremendous pressure by Putin.

REID: Yes.

CLINTON: And I hope that that`s a general plea across the world, because what`s happening is just outrageous.

REID: My final question. We have -- we`re almost out of time.

But are you comfortable with the timetable for the U.S. to get out of Afghanistan, where we have been for 20 years?

CLINTON: Look, it`s a wicked problem.

I think you could argue whatever point you want to make about what`s happened. But the president made the decision that he thought was the right decision.

I`m just going to be very focused on what happens to the people, particularly the women in Afghanistan, if the Taliban come back into power, if the government collapses. And I hope that our government, along with NATO allies and others, will be doing everything we can to help get those people most at risk out of harm`s way, get them out of Afghanistan, deal with what I expect to be a very large refugee flow.

And then protect ourselves from the return of al Qaeda, the Islamic State, because the Taliban has never rejected al Qaeda. And so the possibility that they could once again plot against us from safety in Afghanistan is a big concern.

And I know that the president and his advisers are focused on that as well.

REID: Secretary, former Secretary Hillary Clinton, such a broad amount of knowledge. I could do this for another hour, but we are out of time.

Thank you very much, Madam Secretary. Really appreciate you being here.

CLINTON: Always glad to talk to you, Joy. Thanks.

REID: Thank you very much.

And still ahead, all right, how do we go about fixing America`s broken policing system? Well, our next guest has some ideas on that. And she`s hoping to bring those ideas with her to the United States Senate.

Former North Carolina Chief Justice and Senate candidate Cheri Beasley joins me next.


REID: The family of Ma`Khia Bryant gathered for a celebration of her life today.

A cousin remembered the 16-year-old whose future was cut short when she was shot and killed by Columbus police last week.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say her name as a reminder of the loving, kind person she was. Ask yourselves, what are you doing to make sure no more Ma`Khias are taken from us?


REID: Underscoring the tragic reality of too many black lives lost at the hands of police, the mother of Breonna Taylor was in attendance for the service.

And, on Monday, yet another black family will celebrate the life of a loved one taken too soon. Andrew Brown Jr. will be remembered in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The Reverend Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy. Relatives of George Floyd and Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, will also attend.

More than a week since Brown was shot and killed by Pasquotank County sheriff`s deputies, there is still a lack of transparency around his death. On Thursday, the sheriff identified the deputies involved in the shooting. The four he said didn`t fire their weapons have been reinstated to active duty.

The three deputies who the sheriff said opened fire are still on administrative leave. The district attorney claimed in court earlier this week that the bodycam showed Brown`s car hit deputies, prompting them to open fire. But since a judge denied a request to release the footage earlier this week, we can`t actually verify that claim.

And I`m joined now by Cheri Beasley, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in North Carolina and former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, the first black woman to lead that state`s highest court.

Judge Beasley, thank you so much for being here.

And I want to start on that -- on that topic of the law in North Carolina. The police are now making claims about what happened and what Andrew Brown might have done. But their claims stand without evidence to back them up, because they can hide behind this law that says we don`t get to see the bodycam footage.

Do you believe that the law in North Carolina that is very protective of police is unfair to victims?

CHERI BEASLEY (D), NORTH CAROLINA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: You know, Joy, thank you so much for having me this evening. And I`m really honored to be on your show and to be running for the United States Senate.

If I could just tell you just a little bit about why I`m running first, and then I will answer your question.

REID: Sure.

BEASLEY: I was raised by a mom who taught me to stand for what`s right and that no door of opportunity would ever be closed to me.

Through hard work and faith, I served as a judge in North Carolina for 22 years. And I knew it was important that every person who came before my courtroom be treated fairly. There are so many challenges around what`s happening in North Carolina. So many folks are left behind by Washington.

I really want to fight for the people of North Carolina to make sure that they have access to good health care and education. And people want to be able to take care of their families. And so I certainly want to make sure that there are good jobs coming to North Carolina.

We have been in a pandemic, but we were challenged in North Carolina before that time. I want to make sure that no door of opportunity is closed to anyone.

But I also understand the very challenge that you raise this evening. And that`s why I`m running for the United States Senate.

The reality is, transparency is so important. And I offer my deepest sympathies to the family of Andrew Brown Jr. and to the family and communities in Elizabeth City. There has been a grave injustice that the full camera video footage has not been released to this family and to the community.

And the reality is, the standard has to be transparency. The standard has to be accountability. And the standard has to be trust. I mean, it`s important for there to be trust around instances where there has been law enforcement misconduct and accountability and a process around that that people can trust and believe in.

And in this instance, the fact that the community and this family have not seen the full video is a real travesty.

REID: And if you were to be elected to United States Senate, you would then be in a position to vote on things like the George Floyd Act.

Just, as you look at the way that criminal justice reform is proceeding in the United States Senate right now, do you think it`s enough? As a former judge, when you look at these potential changes to the law on a federal level, do you think that they go far enough?

BEASLEY: I certainly believe that there must be federal criminal justice reform and federal standards around what`s right.

It makes so much sense that choke holds must be banned and other procedures that we see happening in communities across the state -- across the nation.

And the reality is, lives are valuable. And we have got to figure out some kind of standard and procedures that offer transparency for communities to have trust, for there to be reasonable relations between law enforcement and communities. And there has to be a way in order to proceed to make sure that lives are saved.

REID: Yes.

Very quickly, you -- I`m going to put up the margin by which you were not reelected as chief justice. It was very small. We`re talking like 400- something votes. So, you have proven that you can run statewide and you can win statewide.

How do you do it?

We`re going to play a little bit of your video that -- your launch video, as you answer for us, how are you going to win in a state like North Carolina for the United States Senate? What`s your strategy?

BEASLEY: You know, I`m thankful that -- this was my third election statewide and my fifth election totally.

And I`m thankful that I have been able to run some successful statewide elections. And I`m thankful that we will be building on those relationships, that meeting people and building our relationships across the state that have already formed will be so important. Outreach will be critical.

And we`re really excited about the interest in my very few days since I have launched this campaign that we have received from the people of North Carolina.

REID: Yes, well, good luck.

There are currently no black women in the United States Senate, so I know there`s a lot of interest in your campaign. Please keep us posted. You`re welcome back any time.

BEASLEY: I appreciate it, Joy. Thank you so much.

REID: Thank you very much.

All right, Judge Cheri Beasley, keep an eye on her.

Before we go, an update on a story that we have been following here on THE REIDOUT.

Chicago`s police oversight agency said today that it found significant deficiencies in the wrongful police raid on social worker Anjanette Young in February of 2019. Police broke into her apartment and forced her to stand naked and handcuffed, as she insisted, accurately, that they had the wrong house.

She spoke emotionally about the ordeal on THE REIDOUT last December.


ANJANETTE YOUNG, SOCIAL WORKER: In that very moment, I was terrified.

I tell people that I was scared into compliance. I was afraid to move, because, in that moment, I thought, if I did anything out of the ordinary, that they would shoot me.

I mean, the guns were pointed and drawn, and I was fearful for my life.


REID: Whew. We will continue to follow this story.

And up next: Trump`s big lie was a terrible thing, but even worse is how Republican politicians are using the big lie to push new voting restrictions. But that, believe it or not, is not the absolute worst, which, tonight, involves something truly bizarre that`s going down in Arizona as we speak.

Stay with us.


REID: Nearly six months after losing the election, Donald Trump has struck again.

His supporters have orchestrated the latest charade aimed at dismantling the single most important feature of our democracy, the right of voters to choose our leaders.

That charade is now on display in Phoenix, Arizona, where, as you can see from these live camera feeds, a fake so-called audit is under way to recount the 2.1 million ballots cast in Arizona`s largest county. And keep in mind that Arizona already had two full-on actual recounts after the November election.

Well, this fakey version is costing taxpayers $150,000, with access seemingly only granted to the Trump-fawning news channel One American News Network, unless reporters agreed to participate in the make-believe audit as observers.

This is what happened when one of our reporters tried to gain access.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not authorized to speak to the press.

HILLYARD: We`re with NBC. We`re hoping to cover, as journalists, what`s happening here inside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not authorized to speak the press or...

HILLYARD: Are you with the audit, though?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not authorized to speak to the press.


HILLYARD: These guys said that we would be able to talk to you about getting in as journalists.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s a media for media. Allowed to be in that area, and that area alone, not the building.


REID: Trump lost to President Biden in Maricopa County. Yet none of that matters to those committed to Trump`s big lie.

And that includes the very person hired to supposedly audit the ballots. Doug Logan, CEO of the Cyber Ninjas, who has reportedly advanced election fraud theories online. And, yes, you heard that right.

A far-past-the-sell-by date review of our presidential election is currently being led by a group called the Cyber Ninjas. You really can`t make it up.

And those Cyber Ninjas, well, they have tools in their Cyber Ninja kits, like ultraviolet lights, a feature Trump is particularly interested in, which should also come as no surprise, as his COVID quackery once included blasting the body with ultraviolet light from the inside, as a way to eradicate the coronavirus.

According to internal documents, these lights are being used to hunt for so-called -- quote -- "fraud."

The firm is also so concerned about Antifa attacks that they requested National Guard protection, which the Republican governor of Arizona of course declined.

Now, this may appear as the last dying gasp of an election lie, but the consequences are actually very quite real and dire, cementing a path that allows Republicans to baselessly contest any outcome that they don`t happen to like. It`s costing you money, while chipping away at press freedoms.

And that is why Trump and his cult members` ongoing effort to defile American democracy is the absolute worst.

And up next: how the big lie is energizing a spree of voter suppression laws, the latest one advancing in Florida, thanks to the wannabe little Trump of Tallahassee.

Stay with us.


REID: Back in February, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whose battleground state cast its 29 votes for Donald Trump, had this to say about the election:


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Florida had the most transparent and efficient election anywhere in the country.



REID: Now, you heard that, right?

Well, moments later, at that exact same press conference, DeSantis would go on to announce his plans to make it harder for Floridians to vote, plans that have almost finalized, with Florida advancing a new Georgia-lite restrictive voting bill that DeSantis is expected to sign.

The bill includes restrictions on drop boxes and who can collect and drop off ballots. It will also require voters to request absentee ballots for each election.

And joining me now is Don Calloway, founder of the National Voter Protection Action Fund, and somebody whose presence I have been coveting.

I want you on "AL," with Alex Witt with frequently. So, I have been covering you from afar.


REID: So, thank you for being here with me.

Let`s talk about Florida.


REID: Thank you very much.

I worked on a couple elections in Florida. And the thing that I learned from those elections is that Republicans, they just kill it in absentee. They beat us in 2004 invisibly because they got all the absentee.

Does it make any sense to you, in a state with the most seniors, a state where people really use absentee, where Republicans win on it, for them to get the absentee ballot process?

CALLOWAY: No, it doesn`t.

But it does make sense if you consider it in the larger context of these massive nationwide suppression initiatives that Republicans nationwide are embarked upon. If you can cut down on absentee ballots as a tool for Democratic organizing, then you`re willing to sacrifice the Republican absentees, because it wipes out the Democratic absentees as well.

You combine that with voter I.D. You combine that with the terrible line warming stuff, in which you take out all of the ability to give people food and water for waiting in line. You combine that with taking away so many of the expanded ballot box protections that were given because of COVID, right? You take -- you combine it together.

And then you eliminate enough Democratic votes. You restrict voting access and ease of access to white, suburban, upper-middle-class and middle-class voters.

REID: Yes.

CALLOWAY: And then you`re left with a subset of people who are more likely to vote Republican.

So they`re willing to sacrifice some of their absentees in favor of getting the larger number altogether in their column.

REID: You know, and it`s so important that you say that, right, because they loved absentees, until they found black people could use them too. They are like, oh, we got to get rid of that.

CALLOWAY: Absolutely.

REID: But -- and the thing...

CALLOWAY: Absolutely.

And that`s the thing. Like, I run campaigns. So, a big part of any aggressive, progressive strategy has got to be an absentee campaign. And Democrats have found that out over the last 15 years.

REID: Yes, absolutely.

The thing about Florida that is interesting is that it`s seen as -- to me, I see it as just basically kind of Alabama 2.0. It`s very Republican.


REID: But it`s barely -- it`s a state that`s still very close. President Obama did win it twice. Clinton won it once.

Ron DeSantis only barely won it. He won by 0.4. So it`s a state that, even though Republicans sort of dominate it right now politically -- not even sort of -- it is still close.

I want to play you -- this is cut one for my producers.

I feel like this is one of the motivations for what they`re doing right now. Take a look at this.


JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC HOST: You could be running for governor of Florida or for the U.S. Senate from Florida.

True? Are you thinking about it?

REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): I am seriously considering running, Jonathan.

I have received calls and texts and messages from people all over the state asking me to run, because they feel that they are not represented.

CAPEHART: I noticed that you didn`t specify which office.

You`re thinking of either one?

DEMINGS: That`s absolutely correct.


REID: Rick Scott won by 0.2. Ron DeSantis won by 0.4.

Which is the bigger nightmare for Republicans, if that lady runs for governor or Senate?

CALLOWAY: I think both are especially nightmarish for Republicans, because she`s a legitimate threat to win both.

Remember, Andrew Gillum barely lost, and there was some voter fraud, substantially, there. Barack Obama won the state. You could even argue that, going back in 2000, Democrats won the state, although it was given to them by the secretary of state then.

If Florida were not eminently competitive for Democrats, you would not see Republicans doing this stuff. Yes, they`re doing it nationwide, but it`s particularly important in Florida because it is extraordinarily competitive for Democrats, particularly if you have a dynamic and qualified candidate of color, like former police chief, current Congressman Val Demings -- Congresswoman -- excuse me -- Val Demings.

So, they`re doing this because -- as an immediate response to the idea that Florida is competitive. Seniors are moving there from up North from New York who are more likely to vote Democratic. And this is an immediate response to that.

It is voter suppression in its most blatant and pernicious form.

REID: What do you make of the way that the Florida Republicans are acting?

I mean, they`re doing anti-trans kids bills.


REID: They`re doing -- they have gone all the way hard right.

Is that a winning strategy? Is that because the people who are moving to Florida tend to be like Donald Trump and people like him? Is that what they`re playing to?

CALLOWAY: I`m not exactly sure.

And if you Google the term "Florida man," I think that we would all agree that you find it wise not to try to put too much time and stock into thinking about what folks in Florida are down there thinking about, right?


CALLOWAY: So, it`s not really clear.

But I will say that this is part of a larger national Republican strategy. It`s funded and controlled by ALEC. It is not unique to Florida. We thought it was unique to Georgia.

REID: Yes.

CALLOWAY: And I think we need to highlight the idea that this is nationwide.

Republican strategy across the country is racism and voter suppression. Therefore, they don`t have to compete based upon the merits of their ideas, which don`t win. People don`t want trans kids and gay kids and LGBTIQA+ community to be oppressed.

People want to fund Medicare and Medicaid programs. So, rather than have to compete on the merits of those ideas, which is not where the American public is, let`s just keep substantial portions of the Floridian and American public, particularly black and brown and poor folks, from voting.

That is the national Republican electoral strategy. And I`m so glad that we have platforms like yours to call attention to it.

REID: Thank you very much.

And you know what? They`re going to find out that there`s such a thing as a backlash the other way...

CALLOWAY: Absolutely.

REID: ... because young folks and people of color in Florida, it`s not like they`re just going to sit down and take it.

You are trying to make these hoops bigger and higher. People are going to not only jump through them. They`re going to -- they`re going to succeed sometimes.

So, Don Calloway, thanks for finally being on the show.


REID: Welcome to THE REIDOUT family. Really appreciate you, and thank you.


CALLOWAY: Thank you for having me.

REID: Cheers.

And before we go, a quick programming note. NBC is launching a new series, "INSPIRING AMERICA," highlighting extraordinary people making a positive impact in their communities. The 2021 Inspiration List features Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bubba Wallace, Jose Andres, and more.

"INSPIRING AMERICA" will air tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on NBC and on Sunday, May 2, right here on MSNBC at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

And that is THE REIDOUT tonight.