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Transcript: The ReidOut, 5/10/21

Guests: Olivia Troye, Grant Woods, Theresa Payton


GOP is expected to remove Representative Cheney from leadership. Support for Trump`s big lie becomes GOP litmus test. Representative Gaetz, to Representative Taylor Greene, says `maybe we`re the leaders of the GOP.` Troye says, lying to voters is un-American but effective. Trump says there`s a really good chance of taking back the House. Arizona vote audit raises election concerns. FDA has just authorized the Pfizer vaccine for children, age 12-15. Tensions and violence continue to mount in Jerusalem after weeks of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces.



ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: On a somewhat sort of related note, President Biden sits down with our own colleague, Lawrence O`Donnell, with a Special Town Hall, Vaccinating American, Wednesday 10:00 P.M. Eastern. We encourage you to check it out right here on MSNBC.

That does it for me. THE REIDOUT is up next.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the anti-democratic soul of the Republican Party. This week will tell us a lot about the future of that party and, frankly, the future of our democracy itself. On Wednesday, it`s expected that House Republicans will vote to remove Wyoming Congressman Liz Cheney from party leadership for telling the truth in the face of a disgraced former president`s big lie.

Now, of course, what is left to the formerly grand old party has made it clear that the big lie is its only degree organizing principal. A day after endorsing New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik as Cheney`s replacement, the Republican leader in the House, Kevin McCarthy, sent a letter to colleague with an ostensibly straight face, unfortunately, each day, spent re-litigating the past, is one day less we have to seize the future. This is as his party is currently re-litigating the 2020 election in Arizona for the umpteenth time.

Meanwhile, as Kevin looks to oust Liz Cheney for saying exactly what he said after the insurrection, that the former president was responsible for the mayhem at the Capitol, McCarthy has completely turned tail to follow his party off the cliff in to the MAGA abyss, even as the few rational Republicans left are comparing they`re party to the Titanic.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): We are like, you know, in the middle of this slow sink, we have a band playing on the deck telling everybody it`s fine, and meanwhile, who, as I have said, Donald Trump is running around trying to find women`s cloth and get on the first life boat.

GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): It just bothers me that you have to swear fealty to the dear leader or you got kick out of party. Well, it`s sort of a circular firing squad where we`re just attacking members of our own party instead of focusing on solving problems.

DAVID BROOKS, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, it`s still Donald Trump`s party, it shows that you have to more or less, as everyone is pointing out, you sort of have to be a lie to qualify -- you have to lie to qualify to be a Republican.


REID: Unlike the supposed House leader that does need to be in scare quotes right now, Liz Cheney has been consistent about two things. The first, being a die to the wheel right-winger, a war hacking tax cuts for the rich supporting black lives matter opposing Republican, and the second, actually thinking we should have a democracy, while the rest of the GOP continues its decent to the point of even misleading their own members.

The Washington Post reports that at a retreat in April, when staff from the National Republican Congressional Committee rose to explain the party`s latest polling in core battleground districts, they left out a key finding about Trump`s weakness. Trump`s unfavorable ratings were 15 points higher than his favorable ones in the core districts.

The report adds that Cheney was alarmed since Republican campaign officials had similarly left out bad Trump polling news at a retreat in March, demonstrating the party`s willingness to hide the truth about the former president even at the peril of its own members who have to face re-election based on that data.

But the fact is Liz Cheney has already lost the war to a party that does doesn`t believe in democracy, but rather only in bending the knee to a failed president. And it`s clear that Kevin McCarthy is not leading his party. Okay, so who is?


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): That person should not be the spokesperson of the Republican Party. We knew that then. I`m glad our colleagues have caught up. Maybe we are the leaders, Marjorie. They follow us.


REID: Yes. There you go. Matt Gaetz the alleged teenie dater currently facing an ongoing investigation in to whether he sex-trafficked a 17-year- old kid. And Margie Q Greene, you know the QAnon curious weirdo, who believes Jewish space lasers caused California wildfires. Welcome to your new freak fest of a Republican Party.

And let`s just be very clear. The freaks are who would hold power if they ever get control of the Senate, the House or the White House again anytime soon. Kevin McCarthy, Kevin McCarthy is not a leader. He served Trump and he serves them.

Joining me now are Olivia Troye, Director of the Republican Accountability Project and former Senior Aide on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and Jason Johnson, Professor of Politics and Journalism at Morgan State University.

And, Olivia, you wrote a piece, and USA Today, an op-ed, in which you say Republicans are counting on lies and brute force to win elections just like they did in 2020. The strategy wrote is simple, obfuscate, lie, change the subject and hope voters hold the other party to a higher standard. It`s cynical, un-American and as exasperating as it may be, effective.

The fact that you think that this is actually a potential path back to power, as frightening for a lot of reasons in other, you know not at least of which is that that means Donald Trump would basically be running the House of Representatives if Kevin McCarthy gets back in. He`s just the puppet. But what does it say about Republican voters if that`s effective?

OLIVIA TROYE, DIRECTOR, REPUBLICAN ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT: Well, it`s certainly concerning. I think it says that Trumpism has a hold of the country right now, and I think it`s fundamentally what is a horrifying and scary prospect. And we`ve see what Trumpism does. It creates divisiveness, it creates hatred. We`ve seen a rise in domestic terrorism under this era. And so, fundamentally, it`s dangerous.

And it`s also, as you`ve eloquently said, it is fully undermining of our democracy. And that is why this is so upsetting with (INAUDIBLE) with Liz Cheney and all of these bad actors that are claiming to be leaders in the Republican Party. Because they are doing is they`re not just infighting within the Republican Party, they`re actively destroying the fundamentals of our democracy. And that is why it matters. It matters to all of us that we take a stand against this and we don`t stand by while they continue to do this (INAUDIBLE).

REID: You know Jason, it is, it is, you know, odd that neo-conservatives used to concerned themselves with spreading democracy in the Middle East, now have to be like, do we need to spread democracy at home, because our party does not believe in it. And it`s beyond of what Olivia said about it being dangerous, it`s also a freak show. It`s not a serious thing. It is a freak show.

Let me just play, this is cut one, this is just a sampling of what the Republican Party fundamentally looks like right now. Take a listen.


REP. MADISON CAWTHORN (R-NC): I feel that too many on the left are comfortable with you lies and half truths. Let me tell you one thing, I am sick of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is he a legitimate president as our held, or do you disagree with that?

PARIS DENNARD, RNC SPOKEPERSON: I believe Joe Biden is our president. And I think --

REPORTER: Legitimately? Use the word, legitimately.

DENNARD: Terry. Joe Biden is the president of the United States.



HARDAWAY: Because when I look up there on that White House (INAUDIBLE), I don`t see no snipers on the White House.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): Did anybody in here vote for Joe Biden. Do you guys really think he won?


REID: Jason Johnson, the prospect of the freak show being in charge of, you know, baby-sitting my cat, let alone being in charge of the House of Representatives is terrifying to me. Your thoughts.

JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC HOST: Yes. But here`s the thing, Joy, like this is where your conspiracy nonsense gets you. This is where everything that Liz Cheney and all these other people talked about in support with birtherism, this is where it gets you. It`s essentially a crowd of people who said, I`ve never been to the moon so how do I know it`s not made of green cheese, right?

But this is the thing that I think that the Democrat needs to understand. It`s both a good thing and a bad thing heading into next year. Everyone who is out there now, whether it`s McCarthy or whether it`s this crazy carnival with Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene, Joy, they`re all cover bands. They`re cover bands. That ain`t the real show, it`s A-Marie, it`s not Beyonce. But Beyonce is Trump.

And if Trump is not on the ballot, as much as they want to talk about him - - look, I love Yacht Rock, as much as the next person, but, eventually, I want to see Journey, right? Like you can`t keep putting out all the fake Trumpers and think that it`s going to work. And the reason we know it doesn`t is what we saw in Georgia when Donald Trump is not on the ballot. A red state gives you two Democratic votes.

So the thing beneath all of these, Joy, that I find most dangerous is not just the crazies going forward, but it`s the legislation to suppress the vote because they know none of this crazy gets voters. So it`s they`re voter suppression is really what they`re pushing.

REID: Can I just -- this is cut four from my producers. Let`s listen to Trump. I think that`s a very good point. And, first of all, all the A-Marie fans, I know she`s the -- don`t listen to Jason Johnson, please don`t @ me, @jasonjohnson, Dr. Jason Johnson, A-Marie fans. I like her music. Here is Donald Trump and he talks about who, who he says, is taking back the House of Representatives. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I think we have a really good chance of working with everybody, including Kevin McCarthy, on taking back the House.


REID: So, the implication there, Olivia, is just as Jason said. They understand Republicans. They have no sway over this electorate. Only the Jim Jones of the party does. Only Jim Jones can hand you the can Kool-Aid. So what they`re all saying is don`t worry he will be in charge of the House. He is not an elected official.

But isn`t it true that if Kevin McCarthy were to ever become speaker, he would not be Nancy Pelosi who is a boss. He would be the servant of the guy we just saw there, the retiree pretend like he ain`t drink a Diet Coke and cheeseburgers in Florida. He would be his servant, right?

TROYE: 100 percent. You`re seeing that time and time again. He start right after January 6th. You saw him come out after and condemn what happened. And then right -- literally, right after it, he whitewashes it and goes back to falling in line. And that`s what you will get. And that is why McCarthy should not be speaker ever again. I mean, he should not be running anything. He should be out of office.

All of these people are unfit to be in office. They have no integrity. They are not trying to govern in a country. They`re not pushing policy, right? It`s just grievances and now it`s lies. That is the Republican Party`s platform right now. When you`re pushing someone out, like Liz Cheney, a true conservative by any definition of the word, right, that is who she is, and you are replacing her in a matter where people who are liars that are rising within the party, I think that says where the platform or the party is.

But I`m holding on to hope, Joy, that the voters are going to come through. They see this for what it is. And there`s a whole group of former Republicans and moderate Republicans who are not okay with this, who will walk away. And like, if it leads to a blue wave across the country, then rightly so, the GOP deserves it because they have destroyed themselves.

REID: You know, Jason, I am in the small, small camp of people who are not as bearish on Democrats` chances in 2022, as a lot of our friends are, who just assume that because history says, Republican will take over the house and the Senate. I am not as bearish on it. Because I know some regular order Republicans that are of the other type that just care about tax cuts. And the freak show that I showed you earlier, they are embarrassed by. They find Paris Dennard diamond and silk embarrassing. And the idea that -- they`re not even getting Trump now. They`re saying, you`re just going to get that.

Mitt Romney today, he said expelling Liz will Cheney from leadership won`t gain the GOP won additional vote bit it will cause us quite a few. We got a list here of the people who have been censure and thrown out, you know, from Liz Cheney on down. And I wonder if those people may not have a big constituency but they might have a little one. They might have a little one who will say, you know, I like Larry Hogan, I don`t like Trump. And I don`t want Trumpy Republican to be in my district. What do you make of it?

JOHNSON: Joy, I completely agree with you. Now, look, you know, 2022 is way off. We`ve got a lot of elections between now and then, special elections. But the fact of the matter is, the Republican Party, their only chance of winning next year is through voter suppression. Because at the end of the day, they don`t have a leader and they don`t have a message.

And unless Joe Biden manages to ruin the country in the next 18 months and I find that highly unlikely, you know, Vice President Harris is there helping as well, unless he ruins the country, they don`t have anything to create backlash. There is no affordable care act to get mad at. There is no website that people can get mad at. So all they have got is this crazy cavalcade. I don`t think their chances are good in 2022, not if the economy keeps picking up.

REID: And, you know, I mean, if Republicans were confident, then Ron DeSantis would go ahead and hold that special election and let it fly for Alcee Hastings. They know they`ve got to keep -- the man has passed away. They`ve going to keep that seat open in order to get back, right? It`s only attrition, attrition of voters, take voters off the table. They can only win by subtraction, Olivia. And this also scares me because that means there`s nothing they wouldn`t do to suppress the vote.

How much should we be worried about how far they`re willing to go to steal elections, because they know that they cannot win them straight up?

TROYE: Well, fundamentally, that is what you are seeing right now, like they are not living in the past. They still don`t acknowledge that Biden is president. We have a lot of Republican voters out there who, you know, have registered Republican who are saying they don`t see Biden as a legitimate president. That is scary when you see the polling on that because that makes us look like a banana republic at this point.

And so I think that is something that is going to be worrisome going into the midterm election and how we organized. And, honestly, I think it`s going to take all of us, we are going to have to unite and really stand against MAGA together. And whether it`s smart Republicans probably take the right (ph), we`re going to have to come together and counter this.

REID: It`s almost like there are two parties, Jason, the shots and checks party, and there`s the freaks. That seems like a pretty simple message for me for Democrats, it`s shots and checks, freaks. Your thoughts?

JOHNSON: Well, yes, I mean, it`s beyond freaks. Look, I mean, all I have to say is Cyber Ninja. Like Republicans in Arizona have put a recount in the name of something that should be like my 14-year-old nephews name when he`s playing games online. They take something like Cyber Ninja seriously.

The Democratic Party, this is theirs to lose. You are running against a party of insurrectionists, violent maniacs and non-policy. That is it. If you can`t sell it under those circumstances, then you don`t deserve to stay in power.

Like I don`t see how the Republican Party turns it around any time soon. They tried, you know, they tried with Tim Scott, they`re going to to try with DeSantis, neither those guy has as much charisma as your average insurance salesmen. So they have to do a freak show, because otherwise there will be no reason to pay attention to any of them. And until Tucker decides he wants to run for president, they don`t have anybody to bring in to the T.V.

REID: I am saying, Jason, I`m glad I`m not alone in this, and, Olivia, I`m glad I`m not alone in thinking like this. Because if they thought they were in a good position, they would not lie to their own members about the polling data. If they thought they were in good spot, they would tell the truth about the polling numbers. Okay.

TROYE: Yes, exactly.

REID: Olivia Troye, Jason Johnson, thank you both very much.

Up next on THE REIDOUT, the madness, the madness of Arizona`s never ending election audit. What happens? This is serious, what happens if the Republican Party simply decides that it just won`t accept the results of any elections that they lose?

Plus, the terrifying prospect of American oil pipelines or even the power grid being held for ransom. A Russian criminal group exposes America`s aging and vulnerable infrastructure.

And tonight`s absolute worst, the dangerous dishonesty from the right, brainwashing their followers in to fearing the COVID vaccine.

THE REIDOUT, continues after this.


REID: Democracy is a fragile thing protected by the will of the people and who we the people elect. And let`s be frank, democracy has always been fragile, cobbled together by rich European men who talked a good game about liberty, but, in real life, were hell-bent on denying women and people of color and poor people and immigrants access to the ballot box.

Many of these attacks on our democracy, from voter suppression, to Jim Crow laws, and gerrymandering, were always a mix of the blatant and the subtle. But these days, it`s all out in the open, and I mean wide open.

With cameras rolling on the Arizona GOP is bogus audit of the 2020 election, run by a firm whose CEO has promoted the big lie, every day that this goes on is another day a blatantly anti-democratic partisan exercise is normalized, setting a dangerous precedent for future elections, forcing this question posed by David Atkins in the "Washington Monthly." What happens when Republicans simply refuse to certify Democratic wins?

It`s an uncomfortable question, downright scary, if you think about it. I mean, what happens? Let`s say if next year, say, a Republican candidate for Florida governor loses, but simply decides, you know what, no, no, I`m not going to leave. We`re just going to keep counting again and again until I win, or I`m just going to say I won and stay.

Or what happens in 2024 if President Biden is reelected, only for a state legislature in a Republican-led state like, say, Georgia or Arizona to say, no, no, I don`t think so, and just throw out the votes and send Trump`s or whichever of his freaks or minions is the Republican candidate`s electors, send that to the Electoral College instead of Biden`s?

What would we do? At that point, is America even a democracy anymore?

Joining me now is Grant Woods, a former Republican attorney general of Arizona, who became a Democrat during Trump`s presidency.

And, Mr. Woods, this is what keeps people like me up at night, the idea that we`re getting closer and closer to the point where Republicans are saying, you know what, we`re not doing a good job winning elections, so you know what? We don`t win -- we don`t lose. We just won`t lose anymore.

We will just say, we`re not going to count the votes, or we`re going to prevent people from voting at all. And if they manage to somehow jump through all of those, we`re just going to throw their votes out or recount until we win.

That is not democracy. Are you worried that that`s where your former party is headed?


I think this is all part of a big -- a big picture here. Politicians think almost exclusively in the short term, meaning the next election. And I think, when they looked to 2022, they saw that they don`t have enough time, really, to change the direction of where things are going in this country, which is them losing in popular races across the country.

And so it was -- they came up with this effort to suppress the vote, to go to the legislatures in state after state after state, and let`s just stop these people from voting who are now voting in numbers like we haven`t seen before, which is primarily people of color. It`s urban areas, places where they couldn`t make those gains.

Some -- I just thought of something, Joy, when you were talking there. Back when I was attorney general, we -- Justice Breyer had been in office one year. And we -- a couple of us got to talk with him. And we said, hey, what -- anything surprise you in this last year?

And he had an interesting answer. He said: "You know, what kind of surprises me is that we come out with an opinion, and everybody follows it. That`s just the way it is," because -- for now -- because they don`t have to -- it doesn`t have to be that way.

In other places, in other countries who have some of the shenanigans going on in their countries historically that we have today, they don`t follow the decisions of the court. They just ignore them, or the same thing, as you said, with elections.

So it is fragile. That`s why, as ridiculous as this Arizona situation is, with Cyber Ninjas, and they`re worried -- they`re checking -- they literally were last week checking the ballots to see if there was bamboo in them, because they had some rumor that Chinese people had dropped a ballot -- a bunch of Biden ballots.

I mean, as ridiculous as that is, it is serious, because...

REID: It is.


WOODS: ... while you`re suppressing the vote or trying to oppress the country, you`re also instilling in people across the country a distrust of the whole electoral process.

REID: Well, you know, David...

WOODS: And you`re right. Every day that goes on, the worse it is.

REID: The worse it is.

David Frum had a saying that I will paraphrase, that, if Republicans can`t win by a democracy, they won`t lose faith in their own belief system. They will just lose faith in democracy.

And you`re seeing a reduced belief in democracy itself and saying, unless we always win, then we don`t even want voting. We just want to be installed in office.

There`s a piece of this audit that is -- a lot of it is scary. But the state Senate now is now demanding certain routers or copies of the routers. The Senate is also demanding that fit certain administrative passwords to voting machines that county officials claim they don`t even have be turned over to this private company.

As a former attorney general, what do you make of the idea that the state legislature has turned over private data, and maybe now even passwords, and administrative passwords, to a private company run by a conspiracy theorist?

WOODS: Yes, it`s outrageous.

And, again, like so many instances we saw with issues that conservatives supposedly believed over the last four years that they`re willing just to throw away, in the hopes of staying in power, we see here -- we think they would not want government giving away their private information, allowing people to do with it what they want.

Fortunately, we do have a sheriff in Maricopa County. We got rid of the racist sheriff, Arpaio. We have Sheriff Penzone now, who was just reelected. And he`s sounding the alarm bell, saying, hey, this is terrible. There`s so much information there about the criminal justice system, about people in it, about average individual voters.

Hey, I`m from Maricopa County. All my information is in there, my Social Security number, all of that sort of stuff.

REID: Yes.

WOODS: It`s not right.

And if these people were serious about it, they would and this is what I kind of hope -- it probably won`t happen -- but the Republican senators, I hope they will kind of say, this has gotten out of control. And let`s -- let`s just stop it. Let`s pull it back.

But if they won`t do it, which is likely, then the Justice Department needs to step in. And I do call for the -- this Justice Department, which is -- we have great people at the top now, from Merrick Garland down.

REID: Yes.

WOODS: And they understand civil rights. It`s time to step in. This is a serious thing. And this is no joke, what`s going on in Arizona.

REID: You`re absolutely right.

And you I would say, well, maybe the voters of Arizona should just vote out the people doing this. But there`s no -- there`s nothing that I have seen that would make me believe that they would leave if they were voted out.

Will they just say, well, now I don`t believe that I lost and, therefore, I won, and, therefore, no, I`m not leaving?

It`s a very scary path.

Grant Woods, thank you so much.

WOODS: I wish I was...


WOODS: If I was still in charge, we would haul them out, OK? So...

REID: There you go.


WOODS: ... someone who as the next A.G. who would walk in there and haul them out. If they won`t leave, we will get them out.

REID: I appreciate you saying that.

Thank you very much. Arizona -- former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods. Thank you very much, sir. Really appreciate you being here.

Meanwhile: A massive cyberattack on an American oil pipeline exposes vulnerabilities in our outdated infrastructure. And now we`re learning more about the group that launched the attack.

Don`t go anywhere.


REID: A major fuel artery in this country remains shut down following one of the worst cyberattacks on our critical infrastructure on Friday.

The FBI has confirmed that the perpetrator of that attack is a Russian criminal organization known as DarkSide, which used ransomware in an attempt to extort the Georgia-based company Colonial Pipeline. That pipeline runs over 5,000 miles from Texas to New Jersey, transporting a whopping 100 million gallons of fuel a day. That`s roughly 45 percent of the East Coast`s total fuel supply.

Colonial Pipeline is working to substantially restore service by Friday, but it remains shut -- if it remains shut down longer, the disruption could be more significant.

Now, there`s no evidence that the Russian cyber-criminals are connected to the Russian government itself, President Biden today said that Vladimir Putin still has a responsibility to respond to the threat coming from within his country.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m going to be meeting with President Putin.

And, so far, there is no evidence based on -- from our intelligence people that Russia is involved, although there is evidence that the actor`s ransomware is in Russia. They have some responsibility to deal with this.

Thank you.


REID: We also know that us energy facilities have been hacked by the Kremlin itself. In fact, after a breach in 2017, Russia could have sabotaged or shut power plants off at will.

It`s a frightening reminder of how easily our adversaries can exploit the lingering vulnerabilities in our aging critical infrastructure to wreak havoc on this country. In other words, investing in our infrastructure is not just good policy. It`s a matter of national security.

Joining me now is Theresa Payton, former White House chief information officer and current CEO of Fortalice Solutions, and Malcolm Nance, MSNBC counterterrorism and intelligence analyst.

And, Ms. Payton, you described, when you spoke with my producers earlier today, this attack as one of your worst nightmares come to life. We know that NBC has reported that this particular type of ransomware, it`s coded to not work against computers where the Russian language or other Eastern European languages are set as a default, so meaning it couldn`t attack Russian cybersecurity, but it really is good at attacking ours.

Describe why this is your worst nightmare. And what is the risk to us if -- what is the sort of biggest, darkest, dark sort of worst-case scenario?


So, what`s interesting about this is, many of my security colleagues and I for years have talked about our worst nightmare would be nation state operatives taking over some of our critical infrastructure.

And what`s happened here is, this group ostensibly says they are not nation state, that they are a for-profit enterprise, as a cyber-criminal syndicate doing ransomware. And so here we have a professional operation taking over a piece of our infrastructure.

This is the worst-case scenario that I can imagine happening. What`s interesting to me, because I saw those reports, and in looking at the Dark Web and the open Web on kind of how they promoted themselves, that has been reported.

And what I find interesting about that is, there`s a couple plausible reasons. Perhaps it`s because they are patriotic, and they don`t want to attack their own country in which they`re doing business from. Perhaps they`re several degrees of separation away from -- their day job is nation state training and their side gig, side hustle might be this.

And then the other is, they could be afraid that, if they did attack Russian organizations, that the power of the Russian government would come after them.

REID: On the patriotic front, Malcolm, we know that something like 33 Russians were indicted. The Mueller -- the Mueller report talked about the dozens of people who were involved in hacking our election and going after our election in 2016.

There were indictments that came from that. Vladimir Putin called them patriots and said that was patriotic.

What do you make of this? And what are the degrees of separation between sort of cyber-criminals who are at work trying to basically extort whole regions and say, if you don`t give me the money, we`re going to turn off your lights, and the Russian sort of nefarious operations that are official?

MALCOLM NANCE, NBC COUNTERTERRORISM AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, to Vladimir Putin, anything that harms the United States is patriotic to him.

You have to remember that this has happened before, I mean, in what we call Web War I, where Russia went to war against Estonia back in the early 2000s. And it was launched by cyber-vigilantes, who did a denial of service attack and shut down the entire country`s Internet.

But they believe also that the Russian military intelligence service followed that up, pretending to be cyber-criminals and vigilantes.

Look, in Vladimir Putin`s Russia, anything that is done in cyber, anything that`s done with criminals -- I mean, this is the man who bought the mafia under control -- has a link to the Kremlin itself. He`s not going to allow this to happen where people are raking in hundreds of millions of dollars by turning computers in hospitals into bricks, and not know what`s going on or making sure that it does not affect them.

One other thing that`s -- that I would like to point out, this could have been worse. It could still -- excuse me -- become worse. The Iranians did this to Saudi Arabia in 2017 and 2018. They attacked Aramco, their oil company, with a virus called Shamoon. That virus took down 30,000 computers.

But it was intended to actually cause sabotage and explosions throughout the chain of their pipeline system. So, for now, I think that it`s a ransomware attack. These people have exposed themselves to the entire might of the United States and the world. We will have to see how it plays out.

REID: You know, this all scares the heck out of me, Ms. Payton.

The Biden administration has proposed this $2 trillion...


REID: Hopefully -- Malcolm, please get some water, because we need you.

NANCE: I will.

REID: So, get some water.

They have proposed this, like, $2 trillion infrastructure bill. They haven`t currently included cybersecurity as part of the menu that they have put together there. Number one, it sounds like they should. What do we do to secure our infrastructure, given how old and aged so much of it is?

PAYTON: You`re right about that, Joy.

And what`s interesting is, is, when we talk to businesses or organizations and critical infrastructure, and we talk to them about proactive measures, it does require writing a check. When they go through an incident like this, and they`re trying to recover, it requires writing a check.

This is one of the areas where we have to have a team sport approach to this. And so I would love to see as part of infrastructure some type of an opportunity where law enforcement, Department of Homeland Security CISA division and others can come together to provide more proactive services, as well as a rapid response team.

So, for example, with ransomware, what if we had the best and brightest in the country working on decryption keys? So, as we fight the battle to stop the ransomware syndicates from attacking, if they do get through, what if there was a rapid response team that could provide decryption keys?

So, there`s a lot of things that we can explore. And I have faith and confidence in sort of the ingenuity of Americans and sort of the innovation that we can do. And I give the Biden administration high marks for their response so far.

REID: I don`t have faith, Malcolm, though, in the fact that we can have a bipartisan will to stand up against Russia.

I mean, we have seen one of our two Republican Party become sort of enthralled with Vladimir Putin in Russia. Our former president was absolutely enamored with Vladimir Putin`s Russia. They`re trying to recreate Vladimir Putin`s Russia, in terms of the way that he says, you had an election happen, that`s cute, but I don`t have to listen to it, nor can -- no one can vote me out.

So, I worry that we won`t have the will on the other side of the aisle there to stand up to this. Do you worry about that?

NANCE: Well, that`s a possibility.

But now we`re talking something that Republicans really understand. We`re talking money. And we are talking money in an enormous industry sector which affects each and every aspect of their lives.

So, if they intend to keep driving around in their monster trucks all over South Carolina and all over Alabama or wherever you call it, and still have gas down there at $2.75 as opposed to $3.90 a gallon up in the Northeast. They`re going to have to understand that cybersecurity is infrastructure security, and that entire process of bringing an oil company or other companies that extend to them, including oil fields and other support services that are carried out in their part of the world, by the way, especially on the Gulf Coast, they are vulnerable.

And if that means that the United States development can help them upgrade all of their computers, upgrade their cybersecurity, work in a public/private partnership with the United States government to head these things off and one other thing really quick, we don`t educate the American public to any of us. A PSA describing what ransomware is so hospital administrators can recognize they should not click on a link is the single simplest thing we can do. We did it for communism and let`s do it for cyber warfare.

REID: It is true. I feel like Americans also don`t know, Theresa, just how old our infrastructure is. I don`t think there`s been a full -- I don`t think Americans fully appreciate it unless you travel and see that other countries have super trains, and we have rickety old systems and, you know, Texas is on its own bloody grid that can just be, an ice storm can take it out.

If you could spend, any way money you wanted, what would be the one thing you would want to see in place, Theresa, to upgrade us?

THERESA PAYTON, CEO, PORTALICE CYBERSECURITY: Well, I would love to see us do sort of a proactive way of actually putting a technology container around this aging infrastructure so that when it does talk to things on the Internet, it`s containerized, so that way, that is not the weakest link in the ecosystem that allows these types of cyber attacks to happen, because they are being connected to the Internet and they were not built to be connected to the Internet.

REID: And they are probably being connected to the Internet through an old Windows browser, it`s really scary.

Theresa Payton, Malcolm Nance, thank you both very much.

And up next, scary, right? But scaring is caring, OK? Scaring is caring.

Up next, sketchy claims from Fox News hosts. Well, that`s nothing new. But when a U.S. senator who`s supposed to be looking at for his constituents doubles down on disinformation about vaccine safety, that puts him in the running for tonight`s absolute worst.

We`ll be right back.


REID: There`s breaking news on the coronavirus front today. FDA has just authorized the Pfizer vaccine for children, age 12-15, which could have a dramatic positive effect of the start of school this fall. But even as the number of fully vaccinated Americans grows, the country is facing a vaccine disinformation crisis, some on the right have turned to a new conspiracy theory claiming that an alarming number of people are dying from the vaccine.


SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): You take this with a grain of salt, but according to the VAERS system, we are over 3,000 deaths after 30 days of taking the vaccine. About 40 percent of these occur day zero, one or two.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: It`s clear though. What is happening now for whatever reason is not even on close to normal, it`s not even close to what we see in previous years with previous vaccines. Most vaccines are not accused of killing large numbers of people.


REID: Okay, so let`s back up a second, okay? Both Tuckems and Johnson, first of all, they never said anything about death. So, they seem to suddenly care about death, they never care about deaths before, okay? Now, suddenly, they care.

They`re also citing data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, VAERS, where anyone -- literally anyone can submit claims that someone died after receiving their vaccine. So it`s not the most accurate system as both pointed out.

Let`s entertain for a second the possibility that the numbers are true. As Aaron Blake points out in "The Washington Post", just because someone died after getting the vaccine doesn`t mean they died because of the vaccine.

There`s one piece of information that is clear, which neither man mentioned. According to the CDC, a review of available clinical information including death certificates, autopsy and medical records has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines.

A Ron Johnson staffer told CNN that, well, he`s not suggesting that the deaths wee directly caused by the COVID-19 vaccine. Of course not. They say he just wants the numbers to be taken seriously, suddenly.

It`s a similar vibe to what both Carlson and Johnson said as they spread that disinformation. We`re just asking questions.


CARLSON: If American citizens are going to be forced to take this vaccine or any other medicine, they have a absolute right to know what it is and what its effects might be, and they have an absolute right to ask that question.

JOHNSON: I`m not sure it makes sense for everyone to get vaccinated. I`m just asking the questions.


REID: Nope, nope, nope. Just asking questions for when you want to know if you get fries with your burger, not when you are discouraging people from getting a life saving vaccine. It`s especially disingenuous coming from Tucker Carlson who not only could just book some doctors who can answer his just questions but also won`t tell anyone whether or not he has gotten the vaccine himself. Even his colleagues on the comfy couch, though, "Fox & Friends", showed off their vaccination cards.

So, come on, Tuckems, it`s a simple question. Did you or did you not get your vaccine?

Here`s the thing we know -- there`s problem with people believing vaccine misinformation and disinformation. There`s a reason that Republicans are the least willing to receive a vaccine. Even though there`s been a steady drop in deaths as the country gets vaccinated.

So, for spreading the lie that thousands of people have died from the vaccine after they didn`t give a damn of 560,000 people dying, and even promoting that people getting vaccinated to protect themselves from the virus, that thing is a bad thing, both Tuckems and Senator Ron Johnson for being dangerous disinformation peddlers are tonight`s absolute worst.


REID: Tensions and violence continue to mount in Jerusalem after weeks of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces. Israel today launched retaliatory strikes in Gaza after Hamas sent dozens of rockets into Israel. Palestinian health officials say at least 20 people, including nine children, were killed in the fighting.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hamas of crossing a, quote, red line and warned that the fighting could happen for a while. The Hamas rocket attacks were a response to an early morning confrontation between Israeli police and Palestinians who gathered near an Al-Aqsa compound, more than 300 Palestinians were wounded in those clashes.

Muslins around the world are celebrating the holy month of Ramadan. The Al- Aqsa Mosque is a sacred and contested holy site. Tensions have been fueled by the planned evection of dozens of Palestinians from their homes in a neighborhood in east Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim is the capital of a possible future Palestinian state.

And for the latest, I`m joined by Ayman Mohyeldin, NBC foreign correspondent, host of "AYMAN MOHYELDIN REPORTS" and my friend.

I`m so glad you were available to stay a little bit later today. I know you do your show earlier. So, thank you so much for staying.

Let`s talk about this.

You were posting about it. So I have been following it through your reports on your show and on your social media. Why are people being evicted? Because that is how this started, correct?

AYMAN MOHYELDIN, MSNBC HOST, "AYMAN MOHYELDIN REPORTS": Yeah, it`s always important to have the pretext and the context of what is happening on the ground to understand how we get to this point, this inflection point that everyone now is suddenly concerned with in terms of what we`re seeing play out. Weeks ago, you started to see the Israeli government restrict access to the old city, and as you mentioned, it is happening at a time of significance for Muslims and Palestinians because it is Ramadan.

But against that backdrop, as people have been seeing over the past several years, Israel, and according to Israeli officials, have been trying to change the demographic nature of the eastern part of Jerusalem that Palestinians and the international community consider to be occupied. They have been doing that through a whole host of restrictions, home demolitions, land confiscation, and as we have seen in this recent case, in Sheikh Jarrah, the forced expulsion of Palestinians from their homes.

And it`s based on the fact that Israel has tried to change the demographics of Jerusalem to maintain a certain balance between the Jewish population and the Arab population. That is what the pretext has been for the rising tensions that we`ve seen. Palestinians have been protesting that. They have been coming in direct confrontation with the Israeli police and security forces that have been protecting the settlers in Sheikh Jarrah and elsewhere.

And as we saw overnight, ahead of what we were expecting today, this Jewish nationalist march that was going to take place through Palestinian quarters of the occupied old city, Palestinians had barricaded themselves into the Al-Aqsa mosque under the pretext they wanted to defend this Islamic holy site from what they thought was a threat that was going to play out today.

And so, earlier this morning, Israeli security forces raided the Al-Aqsa compound and as you saw and as we see those images on your screen, hundreds of Palestinians were injured in those violent exchanges where Palestinians were throwing stones and lobbing projectiles at the Israeli soldiers, who are lobbing tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets, according to eyewitnesses into this holy site. Against that backdrop, what we saw play out was Palestinian militant groups firing rockets into Israel, and Israel responding by attacking the Gaza Strip, Joy.

REID: Let`s talk about some of the other context. There`s also political context here. You have Benjamin Netanyahu who vases a lot of corruption charges, legal charges. He`s sort of barely hanging on, because the last election didn`t seem to have a clear result.

He talked a little bit about the political context, because he has had a history of siding with the far right settlers groups and siding with the far right in terms of settlers versus the rights of Palestinians as part of -- that`s his politics, no?

MOHYELDIN: There`s no doubt about it. I mean, the prime minister himself is on the record making quite incendiary comments about the Arab population of both Israel and Palestinians voters in Israel that goes back for years. There`s no doubt about that. But members of his coalition and members who serve in various positions within the Israeli government, even the deputy mayor of Jerusalem, they have been making all kinds of comments about what they see as the demographic threat that Palestinians pose to Israel being a Jewish state.

And so, under that context, it is what many people are describing, including Israeli and international human rights organization, has led to this apartheid system that has now been created in which Palestinians are subjected to military occupation in the West Bank, second class citizenry inside Israel and a brutal occupation in all parts of either the West Bank and the East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

And so, for them, they`re seeing this both as an existential threat that has forced Palestinians to protest the forced expulsion of their homes in places like Sheikh Jarrah, but at the same time, the Israeli government is shifting more and more to the right. And tonight`s developments are important to keep in mind against the backdrop that Israel has just gone through its fourth election in recent years. They have been unable under this current prime minister to form a new government.

REID: Right.

MOHYELDIN: So there`s a bit of a transitional phase as to whether or not the current person who has been invited to form a Israeli government will be able to do so. So, there are -- you know, there`s just a lot of moving pieces to this right now, Joy.

REID: Absolutely. Well, thank you for keeping up with it. We`ll have you back on to sort of -- as I`m sure this is going to keep going on. I want to know what the Biden administration is doing about it as well. So please come back, Ayman. Thank you very much.

Before we go, a quick programming note. On Wednesday, my colleague, Lawrence O`Donnell, go Lawrence, is sitting down with President Joe Biden for an MSNBC town hall to discuss how to get every American vaccinated. Lawrence will also be joined by Dr. Anthony Fauci, Surgeon General Vivek Murtha, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, and a Moderna vaccine developer, Kizzmekia Corbett. Oh, I`m so jealous. They will answer questions from the audience.

Watch "Vaccinating America", an MSNBC town hall with my pal Lawrence, Wednesday night, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on MSNBC.

That`s all for us tonight.