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Transcript: The ReidOut, 4/7/21

Guests: Kirk Burkhalter, Michael Schmidt, Glenn Kirschner, Elie Mystal, Tishaura Jones


Chauvin defense tries to put George Floyd on trial. Stiger says, Floyd was not attempting to resist. Defense claims bystanders were a threat to officers. LAPD use-of-force expert testifies. LAPD expert says, force used by Chauvin was excessive. Floyd`s brother slams defense tactics aimed at discrediting expert witnesses. Chauvin defense claims police actions. GOP insists new voting restrictions are not racist. St. Louis Mayor-elect Tishaura Jones is interviewed.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: And that`s our show for tonight. Thanks for staying with us. We have packed a lot in. We`ll be back here tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. And a final word, you can always find me online @arimelber on social media. THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid is up next.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the latest on the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. And let me repeat, this is the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin and no one else.

The crowd of the people who witnessed the police killed George Floyd are not on trial. And neither is George Floyd himself, as the defense seems to be trying to suggest. Let`s be clear. Derek Chauvin is the man who, as we`ve learned from his former colleagues, was not following police department procedures and policies when he held his knee on George Floyd`s neck for more than nine minutes.

Use-of-Force Expect Jody Stiger, a sergeant with the LAPD, returned to the stand today and made it clear that force should not have been used once George Floyd was handcuffed and on the ground and that the risks were very well known.


SGT. JODY STIGER, LAPD: Because at the time of the restraint period, Mr. Floyd was not resisting. He was in the prone position. He was handcuffed. He was not attempting to evade. He was not attempting to resist. And the pressure that was he was -- that was being caused by the body weight could cause positional asphyxia which could cause death.


REID: Two days ago, the emergency room doctor who received Floyd at the hospital said it was his belief that the cause of Floyd`s death was, in fact, a lack of oxygen. The defense is trying its best to dispute that. During a longer than usual cross-examination, Attorney Eric Nelson put the spotlight on George Floyd. Nelson played part of a police body cam video and claimed that Floyd can be heard saying something that I frankly can`t imagine anyone has ever hear anyone say, quote, I ate too many drugs.

And after getting the next witness, James Reyerson, the Minnesota Law Enforcement Agent in charge of investigating Mr. Floyd`s death to initially agree with him, Reyerson then undercut the defense in his re-cross by the prosecution.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you hear that?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The - to Mr. Floyd said, I ate too many drugs.

REYERSON: Yes, I did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Having heard it in context that you`re able to tell what Mr. Floyd is saying there?

REYERSON: Yes, I believe Mr. Floyd was saying, I ate too many drugs.


REID: Now, according to the defense, George Floyd history of drug use should be fair game, but Derek Chauvin`s past history of multiple complaints against him as a law enforcement officer should be off limits.

The defense also wants to focus on the menacing crowd that must have had the police officers scared for their lives, the terrifying mob that included smart phone wielding teenagers and a nine year old girl. That`s worth asking whether anyone could be reasonably consider that`s small but, yes, increasingly agitated crowd, which was crying out for mercy for George Floyd and getting no response from Chauvin and the other officers. Could anyone really consider them to be a threat?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you reviewed the body-worn cameras, did you see anybody throw any rocks or bottles?

STIGER: No, I did not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see anyone attack, physically attack the officers?

STIGER: No, I did not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you hear foul language or name calling?

STIGER: There was some name calling, yes, but that some foul language, but that was about the most of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did that factor in to your analysis?



STIGER: Because I did not perceive them as being a threat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And why is that?

STIGER: Because they were merely filming and they were -- most of it was their concern for Mr. Floyd.


REID: Stiger also added that given Chauvin completed more than 800 hours of training over his nearly two decades on the force, he should have been well prepared to handle such a threatening hoard of bystander and rap scallions.

And joining me now is Paul Butler, Professor at Georgetown University Law Center and a former federal prosecutor, And Kirk Burkhalter, Professor at New York Law School and a former NYPD Detective.

And I want to go to you first Mr. Burkhalter, because you were a police officer. Mr. Stiger, who was a defense expert, who they brought in from the LAPD, he testified that he himself as a police officer have faced real hostile crowd, not like a nine year old girl and some teenagers who are filming and yelling, but people throwing rocks and bottles. Can you sort of delineate for us, just as a law enforcement officer, you faced crowds, right? And can a crowd impact whether or not you`re allowed to use deadly force on somebody that you`re holding?

KIRK BURKHALTER, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE: Well, it`s a good question, Joy. Thank you for having me. So a crowd could only impact that use of deadly force if, for some reason, that crowd is perceived to be a threat.

Now, I will say that, you know, if you have an issue with people cursing at you and yelling at you, then the police department is no place for you to be employed, because this is something that people do. And we have something called the First Amendment in this country. And this is a country where folks can express themselves and express their thoughts and so forth with government. That`s a big difference between perceiving a crowd as a threat, a group of people as a threat.

And I`ll just go a step further, that if that crowd -- that was not a crowd of predominantly African-American people. This argument would not pass the lab (ph) test, right? So we see crowds of people all the time, engaged in all types of activities. But it`s a narrative here that, for some reason, this crowd was a threat.

And let`s go a step further, if you perceive them a threat, well, perhaps it`s because you were engaged in the act of snuffing the life out of someone in front of them. So there`s so much irony here with regards to the defense`s approach to this crowd.

REID: Absolutely. And I apologize, I mispronounced your last name. Mr. Burkhalter. So, thank you very much. I appreciate those points that you`re making.

BURKHALTER: That`s fine.

REID: And you know, Paul, we have seen crowds of white armed citizens, you know, barraging into statehouses wielding A.R.-15s and because they`re mad about having to wear a mask. We`ve seen people who are pro-open carry wielding A.R.-15s walking down the street yelling at police telling them, you don`t have the right to disarm me, like we`ve seen people get into the face of the police. Those people don`t get shot. Those people don`t get held to the ground and choked out. So that argument seems to me to be pretty ludicrous.

But I want to put you toward -- you can comment on that, but there was, I thought, an even more absurd argument made by Mr. Nelson today, and that is that he`s trying to claim that George Floyd, while being held down in the car, said I ate too many drugs, which strikes me as something that no one has ever said ever in life, rather than, I ain`t done no drugs, which is what you can hear him say. Your thoughts on that?

PAUL BUTLER, MSNBC LEGALANALYST: So, first, the problem with the defense argument about the crowd is that, last week, the jury met the people in the crowd, the brave teenage girl who made the video, the EMT first responder who begged Chauvin to let her take Mr. Floyd`s pulse, Charles McMillian, the older gentleman who broke down and sobbed because he couldn`t save Mr. Floyd`s life. The crowd doesn`t look like a vicious angry mob. The jury might think the people in the crowd dealt with Mr. Floyd more responsibly than Chauvin did.

And, unfortunately, the prosecutor has to respond to the argument that Mr. Floyd died of a drug overdose, and this is just the beginning of a long, dirty pathway. So, next week, the defense has its own videotape from an arrest of Mr. Floyd in 2019. It starts out like his encounter with Chauvin. Cops approach the car, they take out their gun. And Mr. Floyd then appears to swallow some pills. And that time, the cops took him to the hospital. So the defense wants the jury to think that Mr. Floyd did the same thing when Chauvin arrested him, but this time when he swallowed the pills, they killed him.

REID: Here is the problem with that, in my mind, and you are the expert, sir, and so I`m going to ask you, Mr. Burkhalter. If, in fact, George Floyd swallowed some pills in the back of a squad car and was in the process of having a drug overdose that the officers deemed could be fatal, would the appropriate law enforcement response be to sit on him for nine minutes while he died rather than use the Narcan that we keep hearing about and trying to stop the drug overdose or otherwise trying to save his life? Because staying on top of him and putting three people`s full body weight on him does not seem like the appropriate law enforcement response to a drug overdose, even if you think that`s what`s happening.

BURKHALTER: That is absolutely correct. So, the police have a duty to not only care for the lives and the welfare of victims, but the lives and welfare of those who may arrest. There`s no sliding scale with the United States Constitution. So if the police believe that he was in some type of medical distress, they had a duty to take some form of action, Narcan, call EMS immediately, certainly not just keep your foot or knee rather on his neck for 9 1/2 minutes. And that`s very important. 9 1/2 minutes.

So if one did believe that he was engaged in some sort form of medical emergency overdose and so forth. That`s ten minutes. I mean we haven`t even been talking for 9 1/2 minutes. You`re show haven`t been on for 9 A1/2 minutes yet. This is how long the police witnessed this man in medical distress and did not take action. So, once again, that argument really shouldn`t fly.

REID: Yes, absolutely. I want to really quickly play George Floyd`s brother. This is Rodney Floyd who had some comments about the treatment of the experts, by the way, many of whom are themselves law enforcement. Here is what George Floyd`s brother had to say.


RODNEY FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD BROTHER: These are expert witnesses, they`re well qualified in their field, they did what the strategy to use, try to just find a crack in these men and women that`s testifying about their expertise, all the training they had. And that just blows my mind, just the tactics they use to try to bring down their credible witness.


REID: What do you make of that Paul? Because it does seems like once the - - as you said about the witnesses, the jury has now met these witnesses, and they`re quite esteemed. And the prosecution has gone a long way to say tell me about your background, tell me about how you got into law enforcement. Is it a good tactic to try to undercut their credibility?

BUTLER: So, Joy, the defense cross-examination has a bunch of jabs, which is typical. It`s hard to score a knockout punch against experienced witnesses like expert witnesses. So they`re trying to say that Chauvin still needed to pin Floyd down because, at some point, Floyd could have suddenly started fighting. But the experts said that police don`t make life-or-death decisions about the use of force based on what somebody possibly might do. They`re supposed to assess what`s actually happening.

REID: Right. And, you know, Mr. Burkhalter, the other sort of argument is the sort of awful but lawful argument that we heard it may today, that it may look bad on camera, but it`s legal and, therefore, one should exonerate Mr. Chauvin. But it feels a lot like kind of the Rodney King argument, what you just heard Paul Butler say, that essentially you know, once you, a black man has any drug in his system, he`s sort of like Superman, he`s going to rise from the dead even though he is in complete arrhythmia, has no pulse, and is, therefore, essentially death, that he`s going to somehow rise from the dead and become a threat to four officers. That feels very Rodney King. Do you think that that argument still works, you know, what, 30 years later, to however many years, decades later?

BURKHALTER: No. I don`t believe it works. And one primary reason is police officers make arrests with regards to people who resist every single day. If this was standard operating procedure, someone would die in police custody once every five minutes. And it simply doesn`t happen, and it doesn`t happen because, as you saw the litany of law enforcement officials testify that there are standards. When someone ignores those standards, crosses over the line, this is what happens. So that doesn`t occur.

And then this drug Superman, you know, this plays into another wildly unfortunate narrative in this country, and let`s just face the facts, that George Floyd is a very tall, large black man. And in some ways, the argument that`s being promulgated here is that he was to be feared based on who he was before you even had a chance to speak to him or know him, right? Just based on his appearance, he`s someone to be feared. So these arguments are somewhat disturbing, yes.

REID: Somewhat, yes. No, they`re quite disturbing, that like he`s the literal boogeyman, that even after he is dead, he still poses a threat to officers, as you said, because it is this myth about black men that are literally the boogeyman. It is absolutely shocking to see that done in the 21st century. But I appreciate both of you, Paul Butler, Kirk Burkhalter, thank you both for being here this evening.

Still ahead on THE REIDOUT, new reporting suggests that, thank you, that Matt Gaetz sought a preemptive pardon from Trump while in office, which raises new questions about when Gaetz knew he was under investigation for alleged sex crimes.

Plus, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says corporations should stay the heck out of politics but keep the money coming to the GOP.

And later, we`ll talk to St. Louis Mayor-elect Tishaura Jones about her historic victory last night.

And you won`t want to miss tonight`s absolute worst, as a Republican attempts to spread this information about new voting restrictions falls flat on his face.

THE REIDOUT continues after this



REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): President Trump should pardon Michael Flynn, he should pardon the Thanksgiving turkey, he should pardon everyone from himself to his administration officials to Joe exotic if he has to, because you see from the radical left a blood lust that will only be quenched if they come after the people who worked so hard to animate the Trump administration.

So I think that the president ought to wield that pardon power effectively and robustly.

The President should pardon himself, his family, his administration officials and any of his supporters who have been targeted.


REID: Any of his supporters who have been targeted. As those clips would suggest, Congressman Matt Gaetz had presidential pardons on his mind in the weeks after Donald Trump lost re-election. Now, The New York Times has revealed that in the final weeks of Trump`s term, Gaetz privately asked the White House for blanket preemptive pardons for himself and unidentified congressional allies for any crimes they may have committed. That`s according to two people told of the discussions.

Now, they note that the White House viewed the request as a non-starter. Now that we know that Gaetz is the subject of a federal sex crimes investigation, he would have had ample reason to want a pardon from the president he defended so vigorously. The Times notes that it is still unclear whether Congressman Gaetz or the White House knew at the time about the inquiry.

However, some Trump associates have speculated that Gaetz`s request for a group of pardon was an attempt to camouflage his own potential criminal exposure.

And there were other hints that Gaetz may have known that he was under investigation, including his tweet naming any potential scandal Gaetzgate just five days before the news of the probe first broke.

But even if Gaetz wasn`t specifically aware that he was under investigation when, according to "The Times," he asked for a pardon, he had known since August that his friend Joel Greenberg was under indictment for child sex trafficking.

It`s not every day that your buddy is accused of engaging in sugar daddy relationships. So, it might have been at least -- at least crossed his mind that he too could be under scrutiny. After all, Gaetz was close enough with Greenberg to describe him as his wing man, according to Politico, which reports that they had shared more than one girlfriend.

Greenberg has denied the charges against him. And, likewise, Gaetz knives engaging in the conduct under investigation. But he won`t say when he first learned that he was under investigation, even when asked point blank by his favorite news network last week.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: How long has this investigation been going on? Do you know?

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): I don`t know.

CARLSON: When were you first informed of it?

GAETZ: Again, I -- I really saw this as a deeply troubling challenge for my family on March 16.

Really, on March 16 was when this got going from the extortion standpoint.


REID: With me now is "New York Times" Washington correspondent Michael Schmidt, who broke this story, and Glenn Kirschner, former federal prosecutor.

And, Michael, I want to start with you.

I should note that Trump today denied that Gaetz ever asked him for a pardon. Here was the quote: "Congressman Matt Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon. It must also be remembered that he totally denied the accusations against him." That`s Donald Trump talking.

But your reporting leaves a lot of questions open for me. So, Gaetz allegedly, per your reporting, asked for blanket pardons and unidentified congressional allies. Do you have any idea or any reporting on who those allies might be and whether allies means members of Congress or congressional staff?

MICHAEL SCHMIDT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": We wrote as much as we knew about this -- this request that was made.

And it`s sort of interesting if you look at Trump`s response. Trump says that the debt Gaetz never asked him himself.

REID: Yes.

SCHMIDT: Our story specifically says that the request went to White House officials. And it was unclear whether he had engaged with the president himself.

Now, Trump has been very quiet on the Gaetz issue since this came out a little bit over a week ago. He has said very little about it, basically just that one statement. And there -- it looks like there is a sort of concerted effort to put some distance between the president and Gaetz.

It`s important to understand what Gaetz was looking for. Gaetz was looking for sort of like the ultimate pardon on steroids. Donald Trump really pushed the limits of pardons in ways. And he did them -- he wielded his pardon power in ways that legal experts and lawyers were very surprised by, whether it was giving pardons to people that had not cooperated in investigations into him or donors or allies and such.

What Gaetz wanted was basically a get-out-of-jail-free card for everything he had done in his life. And no matter what Trump did, there was nothing that rose to that level in the pardons and commutations Trump gave.

REID: And let me ask you this follow-up, because the other sort of character in this is William Barr, who was very eager to protect Trump`s friends whenever he got the opportunity.

We know this investigation began under William Barr. Is there any reporting that William Barr might have communicated to the White House, to the president, the then-president, Donald Trump, about the investigation of this ally of his in Congress?

SCHMIDT: No, I have no evidence of that.

And in regards to Barr, the investigation was opened under Barr, and Barr allowed it to move forward and gave essentially the approval for it to move forward.

REID: Yes.

SCHMIDT: And, in most Justice Departments, that would not be a significant thing, but in the way that Donald Trump politicized investigations, it does sort of make it notable in this case.

But there`s no evidence that -- there is evidence that Barr allowed this investigation to move forward and would essentially have had to sign off on it...

REID: Yes.

SCHMIDT: ... because it was a special sort of person, a designee, being a national politician in the Justice Department`s eyes.

REID: Yes. And we do also have reporting, and I believe it was -- it might have been from you -- it might have been in Politico -- that Barr took steps to make sure he was physically distanced from Gaetz, and not appearing with him publicly.

We have got Glenn. We have got your shot back, Glenn.

So I want to ask you about this other breaking story tonight. This just came out. This was "CBS Evening News," so it broke literally within the last hour or so. CBS News reporting that Gaetz`s trip to the Bahamas is part of a federal probe into this sex trafficking allegation.

Here`s a little bit of it: "Federal investigators are looking into a Bahamas trip Matt Gaetz allegedly took in late 2018 or early 2019 as part of an inquiry into whether the Florida representative violated sex trafficking laws. Gaetz was on that trip with a marijuana entrepreneur and hand surgeon, who allegedly paid for the travel expenses, accommodations and female escorts," the sources said.

"Investigators are trying to determine if the escorts were illegally trafficked across state or international lines for the purpose of sex with the congressman."

"A spokesman for Gaetz`s office said: `What began with blaming (sic) headlines about sex trafficking has now turned into a general fishing exercise about vacations and consensual relationships with adults.`"

Can you sort of lay out for us the significance of that aspect of it? Because this is now allegedly travel outside of the United States?


And Matt Gaetz can protest all he wants. He can use his old boss` line of, this is a witch-hunt and they`re going after him because he`s an outspoken conservative, which I don`t quite understand.

But what is most telling, Joy, is that we can speculate whether he knew he was under investigation when he asked for a pardon. But that`s almost beside the point, because he clearly knew he had committed crimes, which is what prompts one to ask for a pardon.

And the Supreme Court has actually given us some guidance that I think helps put what it means to ask for a pardon in context. In 1950 -- 1915, the Supreme Court said that a pardon carries with it an imputation of guilt, and accepting a pardon carries with it a confession of guilt.

That`s why a person cannot be forced to accept a pardon against his will. And asking for a pardon -- there are a couple of related concepts in the criminal law. There`s consciousness of guilt and there`s an admission of guilt.

Consciousness of guilt is like when you hide incriminating evidence. That`s not you admitting to the crime, but it does show your consciousness of guilt. An admission of guilt is just that, either when you come right out and say, I committed the crime, or you ask the president for a prospective pardon to wipe your entire life clean of all criminal activity.

If I were ever prosecuting Matt Gaetz, Joy, you can bet I would seek to introduce the fact that he asked Donald Trump for a pardon into evidence as a direct admission of guilt. And then we would have some robust litigation.

But I will bet a judge would say, you know what, there`s Supreme Court precedent that supports this argument, so I`m going to admit it into evidence.

REID: Let me ask both of you this question.

I will ask you first, Glenn, and then Michael.

Would the on air, on FOX -- because people did communicate with Donald Trump through the TV. Does that count, if you were prosecuting this case, that he was on television asking for blanket pardons, which you could impute to me for himself as well?

KIRSCHNER: Everything you say, whether in writing, whether orally, whether broadcast, whether in a tweet, is a potential admission.

Any statement by a party opponent, any statement by a defendant that is relevant to the crime being tried is admissible as evidence.

And, listen, nobody was falling for him trying to masquerade the fact that he wanted a pardon by throwing into the mix the Thanksgiving turkey and Joe Exotic. I don`t think Gaetz cared about those two particular animals or people.

I think he wanted a pardon and he was trying to put a little bit of window dressing on it, saying, let`s give it to some other folks too, and maybe I will get lost in the mix.

REID: And, Michael, now that we do have this new information that there`s now sort of added potential criminality -- and we should say again he`s denying it, but there is this new story out there.

Can you just give us a specific on whether or not this request for a pardon, was it formal or was it informal? Was it a formal request to White House officials, or was it an informal, this is something that I need?

SCHMIDT: So, there is a formal pardons process, where you go through the Justice Department and you have paperwork that is filled out, and that application goes in and it`s examined by the pardons attorney.

It`s important to know that the Trump administration basically ignored that process throughout the administration, sort of relied on their own way of doing it. So, I don`t -- so, there`s no evidence that he went through the formal process, but, in a sense, that doesn`t mean anything in this case, because there was no formal process that was relied on.

The only thing I would say just in terms of Gaetz is, look, he has not been charged yet.

REID: Right.

SCHMIDT: It`s a federal investigation. We only know so much. We`re trying to peel back the facts as much as we can.

But it could be early in this investigation. His associate Joe Greenberg has been indicted on a range of charges. He faces a mandatory minimum of 12 years in prison. And federal authorities have a significant amount of leverage on him.

Greenberg has hired a prominent Florida lawyer, Fritz Scheller, to represented in this case.

REID: Yes.

SCHMIDT: And he has a status hearing tomorrow. So, it`s -- there`s still a lot more investigation to go.

REID: A hundred percent, and a lot more reporting.

Really appreciate you, Michael Schmidt. I`m sure we`re going to continue to learn more about this.

Michael Schmidt, Glenn Kirschner, thank you both very much.

And up next: Wow, these Republicans think that they`re so sneaky, trying to pass laws that seriously restrict voting rights, while claiming the Democratic voting rights bill is a threat to constitutional sovereignty.

Nope. We see you guys. You`re not slick.

Tonight`s absolute worst is straight ahead.


REID: While Republicans whine about Dr. Seuss, baseball, Mr. Potato Head and Coca-Cola, they`re ignoring the existential threat the party is facing in the near future.

Now, for years, they have relied on an American political system that reliably seesawed power back to their party during off-year midterm elections, which were characterized by a particular thing, low turnout.

Specifically, Democrats and voters of color have tended to turn out in lower numbers during non-presidential elections. Then, Donald Trump broke the GOP`s Obama era presidential losing streak, and his gross mismanagement, negligence and racism just turbocharged an electorate that powered a Democratic whooping in the 2018 midterms and in 2020.

Now, in the wake of this seismic shift, you would think that Republicans would have a come-to-Jesus moment. They would maybe think twice about following a guy who lost them the House and the Senate and the presidency.

But, no, that would make too much sense. Instead, they went for option B, trying to make voting harder, and they used Trump`s delusional election lie as cover.

Now, take a look at the conservative "National Review." It recently argued the republic would be better served by having fewer, but better voters.

We`re seeing this play out across the country. Georgia`s new law allows unlimited challenges to a voter`s registration, requires I.D. for an absentee ballot, and expands the legislature`s power over elections. Texas is considering a law that would, among other things, reduce early voting and prohibit drive-through voting.

Unsurprisingly, the bills and laws target predominantly diverse communities. Now, Democrats in Washington are looking to put a stop to that with the For the People Act, which would expand voting rights, reduce the influence of money in politics, and limit partisan gerrymandering.

Now, Republicans know that this bill makes sense. In fact, "The New Yorker" obtained a private phone call between policy advisers to Mitch McConnell and several conservative groups in which they conceded that the bill was so popular that it wasn`t worth trying to mount a public advocacy campaign to shift opinion.

Instead, opponents will be better off ignoring the will of the American voters and just trying to kill the bill in Congress, which explains the intellectually dishonest attacks that we have seen from Republican politicians against the bill.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): This is the biggest power grab since I have been in Congress. It will take away every state`s ability to run free and fair elections.

QUESTION: It sounds to me like the little red states like Mississippi are -- if this thing goes through, are going to be powerless.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know that a Republican could ever win another national election.

GOV. HENRY MCMASTER (R-SC): As long as I`m serving as governor, I will stand up against those who seek to infringe or deny South Carolina -- South Carolinians their constitutionally protected freedoms and liberty.


REID: Governor McMaster, here`s a good piece of advice from a Princeton historian, Kevin Kruse -- quote -- "Maybe you shouldn`t use the state sovereignty argument as the Southern manifesto, a manifesto that attacked the Supreme Court`s 1954 Brown vs. the Board of Education decision outlawing school segregation. Southern politicians saw it as an abuse of judicial power that trespassed on states` rights."

And here is another good piece of advice. This one is from our friend Ari Berman, a reporter with "Mother Jones." "Maybe "The National Review" shouldn`t be parroting arguments that echo James Kilpatrick, another conservative and fervent defender of segregation, who wrote in the very pages of "The National Review" in 1965 that -- quote -- "Over most of this century, the great bulk of Southern Negroes have been genuinely unqualified for the franchise."

For all those reasons, anti-democracy, anti-voting, and, yes, Jim Crow, Republicans are the absolute worst.

And when we come back: the shockingly honest reason why the former president and current Florida retiree says that he takes issue with the new Georgia law.


REID: Now, it should come as no surprise that most of the brilliant Republican strategery behind voter suppression comes straight from a guy who allegedly cheated on his SATs. Lately, the orange-tinted retiree is spending most of his time firing off incoherent hits and misses from the arts and crafts room of his retirement home in Palm Beach, Florida.

Yesterday`s dispatch: Election day is supposed to be election day, not election week or election month. Far too many days are given to vote.

Do you hear that, America? The leader of the Republican Party from whom old Abraham Lincoln is surely spinning in this grave doesn`t seem to want you to vote. Perfect.

Joining me now, Elie Mystal, Justice Department correspondent for "The Nation", and Michelle Goldberg, columnist for "The New York Times."

My favorite argument, first of all, you know, forgetting Donald Trump, my favorite argument about the Georgia law is the whining by all these Southern Republican governors and also senators that it`s not racist. Here it is. Queue the tape.


GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R), GEORGIA: How is the bill even racist? If you look at it with any form of neutrality, you can`t spin that at the White House or the courthouse or anywhere else around this country. I mean, it just does not add up.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): The president has made a very serious accusation. He has said everybody who believes in having an ID, showing an ID before you vote, is a racist.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): They played the race card morning, noon and night. I am tired of it. I think it`s cheap. I think it`s sick for the president of the United States, Joe Biden, who has been a friend for years, to say that what they`re doing in Georgia is Jim Crow 2.0.


REID: He`s been a friend for years except for when you were attacking his son, dude.

You know, Elie, you know, let`s take them seriously for just one moment. I mean, we`re just asking how many bubbles are in a bar of soap, what does that have to do with race? Explain for the folks, please for us, what`s so racist about the Georgia law.

ELIE MYSTAL, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: Yeah, I mean, there`s math on this, right? I know Lindsey Graham, that sick man, doesn`t believe in math. There`s math on this.

We know that when we do things like voter IDs, when we close down early voting, when we stop mail-in voting, we know that it disproportionately affects black and brown people. That`s just science, Lindsey.

Look, all this is the -- you know, when you look at something like "The National Review" article today from Kevin Williamson, last seen to be advocating for women to be hanged if they seek an abortion, they didn`t do anything new. The Republicans are not doing anything new. They`re Columbusing the idea that any white man with two dockets to scratch together has had since the founding of this country, and that is a hemisphere of their own.

All they want is a hemisphere where white people are the only ones that matter. We have tried in the Constitution four times to stop them, the 15th Amendment, which gave the vote -- right to vote to black people; the 19th Amendment, which gave the right to vote to women; the 24th Amendment and the 26th Amendment which dropped the voting age to 18.

Four times in the Constitution, we have tried to expand the franchise, and conservatives, where they call themselves Democrats in 1865 or MAGA in 2021, have tried to stop us. They`ve always failed and they`re going to fail this time, too.

REID: And, you know, the thing about it is, you know, Michelle Goldberg, I`m old enough to remember when, you know, Ann Coulter used, I don`t know if she was joking or not, said women should lose the franchise because they vote too liberal, they just want all liberal stuff, you know? But there is demographic reality that Republicans are facing, that is demographic reality, right?

They tended to do better in midterms because you had fewer people voting overall and you definitely have fewer people of color. And then, also, 2018 happened, and they`re like, oh, we`ve got to change all this because these people are voting in midterms. Then you have a special election, and all of these black people, and, you know, you get two Democratic congresspeople, senators in Georgia.

And so, they keep reshuffling the deck because Democrats figure out their system. I wonder if there`s any further -- I mean, it seems like there`s no further they can shuffle the deck.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I think they can always find ways to go further. We`re about to see what they`re going to do in terms of this next round of redistricting. I`m sure this Georgia law is not going to be the last.

And, obviously, it`s no coincidence that they suddenly felt the need for this law after an election in which a representation that they seem to view as their divine right --

REID: Right.


REID: Uh-oh.

I think we`re losing Michelle.

Let`s try to get Michelle`s sound back. You just froze for a second.

Let me play for, really quickly, Mitch McConnell. This was him yesterday on whether corporations should get involved in politics. This is rich.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): My warning, if you will, to corporate America is to stay out of politics. It`s not what you`re designed for. You know, Republicans drink Coca-Cola, too, and we fly and we like baseball. If I were running a major corporation, I`d stay out of politics.

I`m not talking about political contributions.

I didn`t say that very artfully yesterday. They`re certainly entitled to be involved in politics, they are. My principle complaint is they didn`t read the darn bill.


REID: Yeah. Okay, Michelle, I`m giving this to you since we lost your shot earlier. Oh, my God, it`s like, well, you know, I didn`t really mean that when it came to giving money to me. I mean, your thoughts?


GOLDBERG: Okay, so hopefully this works. But, you know, what`s so amazing is that you were talking earlier about the For the People Act. One of the things that the For the People Act wants to do is curtail the influence of corporate money in politics. And the reason that Republicans have been so consistently against this is because they insist that corporations are people with First Amendment rights. This has just been absolutely foundational --


REID: Absolutely.

GOLDBERG: -- to conservatism until corporations started speaking out against their effort to restrict voting.

REID: And, also, when they decided, you know, we may not want sick people on our cruise ships. And all of a sudden, you`re not a person. You don`t have a right to stop people from coming on and infecting you with COVID, are you crazy? Corporations aren`t people. Huh. It`s like they change their mind every time everything changes.

OK. Very quickly before we go, Elie, I know that you and I have both been, we`ve been talking off-line about this. Midwin Charles, we lost her shockingly. I think everyone is pretty shocked out there about her very untimely death. This was a young, vibrant, gorgeous, brilliant woman.

But I wanted to give you an opportunity to talk about her as well, because I know she meant a lot to you as a fellow lawyer, as a fellow TV lawyer and somebody who advocates for all the good things, all the justice. I want to let you have an opportunity to talk a bit about her as well.

MYSTAL: I just wanted to say really quickly how much of a warrior that we lost this week. Midwin, many people know her from her transient analysis on TV. I think the first time I met her on her show, like the three, only three people who knew that Bill Barr was as bad seemed to be. But she was that person because she came from such an in the trenches kind of legal background.

This was an amazingly credentialed woman. She`s a clerk for the 6th Circuit. She worked for (INAUDIBLE), one of the top 50 law firms in the country.

And stopped that work and left a lot of money on the table to go and help people. So, it`s such -- it`s such a hard thing to lose. Midwin was one of those people that, you know, she`s one of those lawyers you call when you only have one phone call, right?

REID: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And the Haitian American community and Haitian Law Association I know is also really grieving right now. All my Haitian-American friends have been calling and texting and it`s really tragic.

So, we love you. She is now our ancestor and we love her and we will -- hopefully, her spirit will continue to stay with us.

Thank you so much. Elie Mystal, Michelle Goldberg, thank you, both.

Okay. Up next, we will turn this now to a positive. St. Louis Mayor-elect Tishaura Jones will be here. This is exciting to talk about her history- making victory last night and her plans for addressing racial and associate injustice.

Don`t go anywhere. She`s coming up next.



TISHAURA JONES, ST. LOUIS CITY MAYOR-ELECT: We`ve been surviving. We`ve suffered disinvestment, decades of violence, broken promises from our city`s leaders. It`s time for St. Louis to thrive.


It`s time for St. Louis to thrive.


It`s time to ring a breath of fresh air to our neighborhoods.


REID: Last night, the city of St. Louis elected its first black woman mayor, City Treasurer Tishaura Jones.

Jones ran a progressive platform promising to direct the city`s coronavirus aid towards rental and mortgage assistance, as well as resources for those who are homeless. She also pledged to restructure the police department, reallocating its budget towards investment in substance abuse and mental health services.

St. Louis leads the entire country in police killings per capita, and the city had its highest homicide rate in 50 years in 2020.

So, it`s quite a big job that she has ahead of her, but I am very excited to be joined now by St. Louis Mayor-elect Tishaura Jones.

Lots of people want to talk to you tonight. So, I`m really grateful that you are going to spend sometime with us, for a few minutes with us tonight.

So let`s just get started. Congratulations, first of all, on your victory and let`s dig into what you have ahead of you.

Coronavirus cases in St. Louis, more than 22,000, nearly 23,000, 458 deaths. Very high poverty rate, 21.8 percent.

How do you even begin to dig into all of that?

JONES: Well, Joy, thank you for having me. I`m honored to be here this evening.

You know, we have to tackle our problems one by one. I think the other thing that we have to -- that`s within these numbers is St. Louis is one of the most hyper-segregated cities in the country. We are known for the Delmar divide and people that live north of Delmar, 90 percent of the people that live north of Delmar are African-American, and the first 12 coronavirus deaths were all black people.

So, you know, we have totally neglected over half of our city and we cannot expect it to thrive if half of it is left to fend for itself.

REID: And you, we have now passed at least the big stimulus bill and now there is talk of a big transportation bill. What could an infusion of federal money that could end up in your city, what can it do? What can you do with that?

JONES: That can totally turn St. Louis around. We have been saving money from a local tax that we passed to expand our metro link and this infrastructure bill could be huge for us to make sure that we can finally finish this project. We`ve updated the study to make sure that we are ready to be back in the pipeline for federal funding.

And also, like I said, our city has a lot of poverty. And that`s why we got so much money.

REID: Yeah.

JONES: And so this is going to be a huge shot in the arm to make sure that our people cannot only survive but thrive.

REID: Yeah. And, you know, we have been reporting a lot obviously on the Derek Chauvin case, but also on other police brutality cases. There was an infamous one in the city of St. Louis where some white officers beat a black undercover officer, thinking he was a Black Lives Matter protestor. Obviously, St. Louis is not far from Ferguson.

Getting your arms around criminal justice, what kinds of reforms can you do as mayor?

JONES: Well, I think we have to address the elephant in the room, Joy. And we still have two separate police unions in St. Louis -- one for black officers and one for white officers. And so, if they can`t trust each other, then how can they expect the public to trust the police?

So we have to have these hard, uncomfortable conversations. I think we`re overdue for truth and reconciliation commission in St. Louis, because we see and know the policies that have kept our region back and we have to embrace that uncomfortable past and uncomfortable truth and also embrace it so we can move forward.

REID: Yeah. And I -- you know, I can`t get away from the other elephant in the room. You as a black woman are a rarity in terms of being a mayor in a major city like the one you`re in.

Talk about what that representation means. I know what it means to me to see you. But what does that representation mean in your view?

JONES: I think it also means a huge representation for single moms. I am a single mother, with the most adorable 13-year-old son. And he is the reason for a lot of the things that I do in politics. I want to build a St. Louis where he is able to walk across the street to my father`s house without fear of being shot at or pulled a gun on, which has happened to him.

REID: Yeah.

JONES: I want a St. Louis where he is not afraid of police officers, because once he found out, you know, what the mayor does and that, you know, the mayor is over the police, he immediately said to me, well, that means I`ll be safe.

His mother doesn`t have to become mayor for him to feel safe around police officers or neither should any child.

REID: Yeah, absolutely. Those are inspiring words. I am inspired by you.

St. Louis Mayor-elect Tishaura Jones, congratulations. I know that you`re going to do great things. Very, very lucky, the city of St. Louis. I think they`re very happy -- they would be very happy to have you. So congratulations. Be well.

JONES: Thank you, Joy. Thank you.

REID: Thank you so much.

Well, that ended on an inspirational note.

That is THE REIDOUT tonight.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.