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Transcript: The ReidOut, 5/13/21

Guests: Miles Taylor, David Plouffe, Marc Caputo, Cynthia Alksne, Ben Rhodes, Keisha Lance Bottoms


GOP Representative Cheney speaks out on leadership ouster. GOP Representative Cheney supports creation of 1/6 commission. Trump loyalists defend insurrectionists. GOP Representative Clyde ducks question on remark about insurrection looking like a tour. The 45 percent of adults in America who are fully vaccinated can take a major step in their return to life as we knew it before the pandemic.



JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. We`re following major developments on multiple fronts, tonight, including a big announcement from the CDC that vaccinated Americans can now go mask-less, in most places.

And breaking news on the potential legal peril for Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz now that his wing man is expected to plead guilty on multiple charges.

But we begin THE REIDOUT tonight with a Republican Party enthralled by lies. A day after her ouster, the newly excommunicated congresswoman, Liz Cheney, is not backing down in her fight against the two articles of fate in the current-Republican Party. The first being the disgraced, twice- impeached, former president`s big lie, and the second, that the violent insurrection, that the big lie wrought, the MAGA mob`s deadly siege on the Capitol on January 6th did not happen, as we all saw it happen with our very own eyes on live T.V.

Well, turns out, Liz Cheney wants to find out what actually happened unlike the clowns in her party. She told the Today Show, her demand for a commission looking into the insurrection was the last straw against her for the rest of the GOP.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I have been very public that that commission needs to be bipartisan. It needs to look only at January 6th and the events leading up to it, not at the BLM and Antifa riots last summer. And I think that that kind of intense, narrow focus threatens people in my party who may have been playing a role they should not have been playing.


REID: Playing a role they shouldn`t have been playing. But perhaps the trio who Ali Alexander, the organizer of the rally preceding the insurrection, says helped him plan it. Alabama`s Mo Brooks, who spoke of the rally that day, Arizona`s Andy Biggs, Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, and Paul Gosar, who thinks the insurrectionists were the real victims. Gosar had the temerity to make that claim at a hearing yesterday with the rest of the Republican clown car trying to whitewash the insurrection.


REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): The truth is being censored and covered up as a result. The DOJ is harassing -- harassing peaceful patriots across the country.

REP. JODY HICE (R-GA): It was Trump supporters who lost their lives that day, not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others.

REP. PAT FALLOW (R-TX): So, was January 6th insurrection could be more accurately described as a mob of misfits.

REP. ANDREW CLYDE (R-GA): There was no insurrection and to call it an insurrection, in my opinion, is a boldfaced lie.

If you didn`t know the T.V. footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.


REID: Yes, and you heard that correctly. Republican Congressman Andrew Clyde. Mr. Normal-Tourist Visit, well, he actually stood by those bizarre comments today.



REPORTER: Do you regret saying that? Five people died, including police officers, and you`re here today honoring police officers.

CLYDE: If you are honest in your statement --

REPORTER: What`s wrong about it when that`s what you said?

CLYDE: Well, think about what you just said. You didn`t take what I said in context at all.

CALDWELL: So can you explain it? Explain, to us. Explain to us.

CLYDE: You go listen to what I said, okay?


CALDWELL: Do you believe that January 6th was -- was an insurrection?


REID: We did listen to what you said. You know, and he did that, until, of course, he ran away, got into his car and fled. Because these Republicans are too scared to even face the simple question and so inured to this big lie, which shouldn`t be surprising given the fecklessness of their so- called party`s leader, Puppet Kevin, who had a conversation on the day of the insurrection with the guy who pulls his strings, the disgraced, twice- impeached former president.

And according to one of McCarthy`s Republican colleagues, Orange Julius Caesar told him, well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are. Oh, no, no, no, no. Puppet Kevin doesn`t want to talk about that.

And according to CNN, Puppet Kevin reportedly doesn`t want to testify either under oath about his conversation with the former guy concerning the Capitol insurrection. McCarthy, apparently, also didn`t want to talk to Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone. Since, as Congressman Eric Swalwell told us on this program last night, Kevin`s staff hung up on Officer Fanone when he called to try to arrange a meeting about what he witnessed, what he went through, to get Puppet Kevin to take him seriously.

If puppet Kevin has any ambiguity about the horrors Officer Fanone faced that day and why he, like Liz Cheney, refuses to be silent, new video has emerged showing exactly what Officer Fanone experienced. And we should warn you, it`s disturbing.

REID: Joining me now is David Plouffe, former Obama Campaign Manager, and Miles Taylor, former Chief of Staff of the Department of Homeland Security and co-Founder of the -- and Adviser to the Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform.

And, Miles Taylor, I want to start with you. You worked in the Department of Homeland Security. You know some of these Republicans, I`m sure, personally, having dealt with them on the Hill. How in the hell can Republicans, knowing they`re being -- they`re on camera -- stood -- have stood there and said that the insurrection didn`t happen, that it was a tour, that it was just patriots on tour, when police officers died as a result of it? Can you explain these people to us?

MILES TAYLOR, FORMER DHS CHIEF OF STAFF: I mean, Joy, this is absolutely breathtaking. I mean, David and I have both been on vacations. I have travelled all over this great country. I have traveled the world. I have never gone to a foreign Capitol or any Capitol, for that matter, and stormed a national assembly while I was on vacation.

Let`s be clear. These guys were not baking cookies in the U.S. Capitol. And they weren`t playing tidily winks. Some of them had designs to go identify, apprehend, and potentially execute dually elected representatives of the United States federal government. If that`s not an insurrection, I don`t know what is. And you can see why when Republicans make statements like this, more young people would rather go join the Nickelback fan club than join the GOP because they can`t believe this hypocrisy.

Look, Liz Cheney said it right. When she said that the lies and misinformation being spewed out of the GOP right now are a threat to the country, she is right. I have spent my career in national security. I have worked in those classified briefing rooms looking over the most dangerous threats to this country. What we are seeing, in terms of that misinformation is a clear and present danger to the United States of America and something that needs to be addressed, decisively. It is a national-security threat.

REID: And, you know, David Plouffe and first of all, nobody likes Nickelback. That`s actually, probably, quite true. But, you know, I don`t agree with Liz Cheney on anything but she is correct in diagnosing the problem. This isn`t a political question. This is a national security question. That`s why we have that guy next to you. That`s why Miles Taylor is on. This is a national-security question.

I want to play a little bit more of her interview with Savannah Guthrie. And she is talking about Kevin McCarthy. And what Kevin McCarthy did subsequent to, for a moment, telling the truth about the insurrection, the next thing he did was to fly to Palm Beach. Take a listen.


CHENEY: Leader McCarthy`s visit to the former president in Mar-A-Lago was really stunning. You know, given what the former president did, he is not just former president. You know, he provoked an attack on the Capitol, an attack on our democracy. And so, I can`t understand why -- why you would want to go rehabilitate him.


REID: Can you understand why McCarthy, Kevin, would want to rehabilitate him, David?

DAVID PLOUFFE, FORMER OBAMA CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Weakness, Joy. So, listen, the only thing worse than a liar is a cowardly liar and that`s what we are seeing across the board. You see many Republican members of Congress who are more fearful of losing their own primary than this country losing our democracy. And I agree with Miles. This is a grave national security threat in capitols all over the world today. They can`t believe that we have members of Congress talking when there is video right next to them.

And that`s one of our problem Joy is Fox and Saint Clair, are these Facebook feeds are not showing this new video. A lot of people saw the original moment on January 6th. But folks now want to whitewash it. And this is a great threat for democracy. If you cannot say, you know, what happened is an insurrection, if you cannot say an election that was held free and fairly, was done so free and fairly and honor the results, this democracy is hanging by a thread.

And, listen, Kevin McCarthy and all these people enabling him, if they win back the House and they are in power in 2024 and the presidential election is close, do you think there`s a chance they`re going to allow the winner of that election, if it`s a Democrat, to move forward?

REID: Yes.

PLOUFFE: So, you know, we thought that we escaped with Trump losing this existential threat to democracy. And, sadly, we are seeing it just beginning. And this is a dark day for America.

REID: I agree with that, Miles Taylor. That is actually my darkest fear, is that people like Chris Wray, who are in the Trump administration, told the truth about the election. People in Georgia, including the secretary of state there, told the truth about the election. He was immediately punished. People have been banished. They have been exiled for telling the truth. And, you know, as David said, a lot of people who just watch Fox news or News Max T.V, they don`t see these images. They don`t believe it.

You had a spying campaign, inside of the White House. The New York Times is reporting that activists and a former spy were said to have plotted to discredit Trump enemies in government. A network of conservative activists aided by British former spy, mounted a campaign during the Trump administration to discredit perceived enemies of Trump inside the government. You had the National Guard issuing a memo telling, you know, by Christopher Miller, who was Secretary of Defense, saying don`t touch those insurrectionists. They are the patriots. Be on their side.

Talk about this, from having been inside that administration. Was that the atmosphere? I mean, when you spoke out, you did it anonymously. Is that why? Was there -- that sounds to me like fascism.

TAYLOR: Well, I mean, look, the reason I spoke out anonymously, originally, against Trump is because I know this man is obsessed with the politics of personal destruction. If he is got a person to destroy, he will ignore the idea. So, by depriving him of my identity, I drove him indiscriminately crazy because he had to confront the ideas themselves.

Now, look, Joy, I always was going to come out under my own name and that`s why I did come out under my own name. It was of no convenience to my life. Of course, it blew up my entire life. I am fine with that. I would do it again. Because the point was, at the endgame, close to the election, people needed to unmask themselves, come forward and talk about who this man really is.

But, look, what`s really telling about this new story is Donald Trump spent his presidency talking about a nefarious deep state trying to undermine him when it appears that he, himself, was fomenting his own deep state meant on subverting democracy. I mean, this is absolutely breathtaking in its absurdity. And, frankly, it`s something that should be further investigated.

But, yes, look. Donald Trump, this is not beneath him to engage in tactics like that.

REID: But just to stay with you for a moment. You`re now forming another party. And I am curious to this. You talked about there were about a hundred people who have gotten together. There was a New York Times piece about the effort you are involved in. Are you talking to Liz Cheney about that? Because it would seem she is on the breaks with whatever the Republican Party is now. Do you had conversation with her about joining your effort?

TAYLOR: Well, I won`t specifically say but we have talked to people that you would expect, Joy, that are currently in the Republican Party that are in Congress right now. But, look, there is a demand signal for this. The American people want a, we-are-not-crazy coalition, inside the Republican Party to try to bring it back to sanity. And what we announced today is a big leap towards that. But you are going to see more from us in the coming weeks.

We are not going to play on the sidelines. This is just -- this is not just hot air we are blowing. This is a tornado that we are going to send into the Republican Party to shake things up, to go support the good guys, go against the bad guys and really recruit, accelerate, and incubate new, pragmatic candidates to form a new commonsense coalition in our politic. And look, if we can`t do that inside the GOP, we are going to go outside the GOP.

REID: And then now, this is one of the main reasons I am so glad to have David Plouffe here, the boss back when -- you know, the guy who`s probably the smartest in terms of political strategy that I have ever dealt with. David, then what is the strategy? Because if you have got people like Miles Taylor, who is saying okay, we`ll either form a third party or we`ll try to siphon off if it`s 5 percent or 6 percent or whatever, even if it`s a tiny percent of people or just regular, old Republicans, and want to be in the same party, then you have got that. Then what should Democrats be doing? Because I don`t know if they understand that this is an existential crisis for democracy but that`s how I feel it, that it is.

PLOUFFE: It is, Joy. You know, as important as `20 was, `22 and `24 are more important. Because if the Republicans -- if this strain of the Republican Party gains power, turn the lights off our democracy, might.

So, first of all, sadly, I think, next year, in congressional and Senate primaries in `22, the Republican candidate who says January 6th was just some nice, casual tourists. It wasn`t an insurrection. Donald Trump won. COVID was created in a lab by Tony Fauci. Those people are probably going to win. Then you have to make sure that you build a broad enough coalition in the general election of both `22 and `24.

We can disagree about tax code. We can disagree about some national security issues. We can disagree about health care. But it`s, you got to pick a side. You`re on the pro-democracy side or the pro-autocracy side. And the Democratic Party has to make way for everybody who wants to be on the pro-democracies. And the healthiest thing would be when we won that debate, we can go back to fighting on health care and tax cuts.

REID: Yes.

PLOUFFE: And the most important thing for a country, and you might even argue the world, quite frankly, is to get a healthy, sane, Republican Party back in power. That`s based on principles, from the health (ph) principles and truth. But we have to take advantage politically, even if it`s 5 to 10 percent, people who are just (INAUDIBLE) or not (INAUDIBLE) to say, at least for this moment, this is the only way we can keep them at bay and build that coalition. I don`t think it`s a permanent coalition but that`s okay because this is an existential threat. And everybody (INAUDIBLE).

REID: Yes.

TAYLOR: And, Joy, if I can add to what David said, he is being a gentleman because David could easily say there is a zillion things, he disagrees with me on. But I`ve got the deepest respect and reverence for him because we need to be able to do that on opposite sides of the political aisle. And as David just said, we need a majority-making coalition that is pro-democracy. That means let`s put some of the other stuff aside, come together and do what he said exactly, which is be that firebreak, that firewall to defend our democratic institution.

REID: Absolutely. And every single person that said that there were -- that was not an insurrection, that should be in an ad with footage of the insurrection so that people who are missing it because they are watching Fox, will see it on their traffic-weather-together news. They need to see that on local news. It`s the only way that you are going ever bypass what is being fed to them on the propaganda network.

Miles Taylor, thank you very much, all Nickelback fans tweeted him, not @ me. And David Plouffe, thank you very much sir, really appreciate it.

And up next on THE REIDOUT, brand new reporting on the investigation into Matt Gaetz, about to go through some things, just out tonight. And it looks like Gaetz`s wing man, Joel Greenberg, is about to cooperate with the feds. Does this mean that the walls are closing in on the MAGA-loving Florida congressman, who lives fast and dates young?

Plus, the cruelty is the point. Republican governors snatch away $300 a week from their most vulnerable constituents, those still struggling to find decent-paying jobs. Kemp, Kristi, The Roaming, Noem, and all the rest. They are the absolute worst.

Plus, major, new COVID guidance today from the CDC as restrictions begin to ease all across the country. THE REIDOUT continues, after this.


REID: We have seen a lot of bravado lately from Congressman Matt Gaetz, as he runs around the country on a MAGA revival tour with QAnon Congressman Margie Q. Greene.

But he might want to spend some of that time at home on the phone with his lawyers, because, according to a court filing today, his indicted former wingman, Joel Greenberg, is set to change his plea to guilty in a hearing on Monday.

Given all we know, it`s now a virtual certainty that Greenberg has reached an agreement to cooperate with prosecutors. And that could spell trouble for Gaetz, as he`s investigated for possible sex crimes of his own.

Though it`s unknown exactly which charges Greenberg will plead guilty to, he`s facing a whopping 33 criminal counts, including sex trafficking of a minor, as well as identity theft, money laundering, wire fraud, bribery, theft, and stalking, just to name a few.

Reporting over the past two months has detailed how Greenberg procured women to Gaetz for sex, possibly including an underaged minor, and money changed hands after some of those encounters.

Of course, Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing and says he`s never paid for sex.

But now, in a breaking story just minutes ago, Politico reports that, according to multiple people familiar with the situation, prosecutors are discussing a potential immunity arrangement with Gaetz`s former girlfriend, so she can also cooperate against him.

Not only that, but federal investigators have interviewed more than a dozen people in the case, according to four sources familiar with the inquiry.

One witness told Politico that prosecutors spent two hours asking questions about whether Gaetz or others in his circle had sex with a 17-year-old girl in 2017. And that interview took place in just last week.

With me now, Cynthia Alksne, former federal prosecutor, and the reporter behind that breaking story, Marc Caputo, senior writer for Politico.

Marc, I`m going to go to you first.

Your story was fascinating. One element that I found interesting in it was this news about Gaetz`s ex-girlfriend and her fears that she would either cooperate or get charged herself. Can you describe her situation?

MARC CAPUTO, POLITICO: So, from what we understand is, as the heat started to come down, she had her phone taken by federal agents as she went into work in Tallahassee, where she lives.

And they apparently told her -- and this is according to friends of hers, who she told, and they told us -- that the agents said, look, you can either do the right thing or be on the right side of this or be on the wrong side of this. And they put quite a bit of pressure on her.

Now, apparently, around that time, she was on the phone. She called the alleged victim -- and I`m just saying the alleged victim because no one`s been convicted yet -- of the sex trafficking of a minor, and that person`s roommate and, while on the phone with them, apparently expressed her lack of desire to cooperate. We don`t know exactly what was said.

But, nevertheless, according to her friends and the people she`s told, Gaetz`s ex-girlfriend is saying she`s worried about being hit with an obstruction of justice charge. Now, I doubt she just made that up. She might have been threatened with that.

So, there`s a discussion that`s been going on for some time between her or her lawyers and the federal prosecutors in this case. Understand, these aren`t local federal prosecutors.

REID: Yes.

CAPUTO: These are out of the Public Integrity (AUDIO GAP) Washington.

And so that deal, if she provides testimony, could be very crucial. Greenberg`s got some problems. He`s got some credibility problems. The congressman`s ex-girlfriend, I don`t think she does as much.

Now, that having been said, we have no idea what she knows. We don`t know if she makes this deal, if the information she gives is really going to be that valuable. We`re not sure. But the reality is, is that it looks like, as our headline says, the feds are tightening their grip in this probe.

REID: And let -- describe for us, Cynthia, how this normally works.

I mean, Greenberg is a local yokel sort of figure. Most people have never heard of him. He`s a Florida figure, Florida tax collector.

Is it possible that he could make a deal and somehow reduce his sentence without implicating somebody who is a more federal figure, like a United States congressman, like Mr. Gaetz?


I mean, let`s just remember there are 33 charges against this guy. And what -- the way deals work is, you not only get a bigger fish, if you want to make a deal, but you get somebody who`s done something more than you have done.

And we have 33 charges against Greenberg.


ALKSNE: So, my assumption would be that the Public Integrity Unit, a red flag that there`s a big problem down the pike for somebody, the Public Integrity Unit has come in, and they believe that whoever they`re going to use Greenberg to help them with is more culpable than Greenberg.

That`s a big red flag for Matt Gaetz, because we know that Greenberg`s lawyer specifically said the person who should be afraid is Matt Gaetz. We have that. We have these new conversations with witnesses as late as May 3.

There was talk that there was a two-hour interview. I want to tell you, a two-hour interview isn`t a very long interview for a federal prosecutor. But the fact that interviews were happening last week is a big deal. And the fact that the girlfriend is afraid and thinks she needs immunity because of obstruction, the sex trafficking statute has its own obstruction option right inside it.

And it`s very serious. It`s a -- when they`re throwing around obstruction with her, that means they want her to come clean. And my guess is, she will. She`s got a lawyer. She has every reason to do so. And that will just be one more thing.

And it`s very important to have somebody else, because Marc is generous when he says that Greenberg has credibility problems. Greenberg is a sleazebag who`s being convicted of a bunch of credibility crimes, right?

REID: Right.

ALKSNE: He`s being convicted of identity theft. He`s being convicted of all kinds of fraud.

So, you can`t have a worse witness for credibility than this guy Greenberg. I mean, he`s an awful human being. So, you have to have corroboration of people with credibility. And if that`s what they`re building, and it`s coming -- and it looks like it is building and coming to a head -- then that`s trouble for Matt Gaetz, according to Greenberg`s lawyer.

REID: And, Marc, I mean, there are birds and feathers issues here as well, right?


REID: I mean, Greenberg did this like weird sort of letter diary thing, where he -- sort of confessional, where he said one of the girls who had represented herself to be 19 was, in fact, 17, roughly six months shy of her 18th birthday. She had a fake I.D., which, reportedly, he was also creating on the side.

"Her best friends were all in college. There was absolutely no way reasonable person could know this individual was not yet 18. On more than one occasion, the individual was involved in sexual activities with several other girls, the congressman from Florida, for him," Matt Gaetz.

And he says: "I did see the acts occur firsthand," which is gross, "and Venmo transactions, cash app or other payments were made to these girls on behalf of the congressman."

So, first Marc and then Cynthia.

I mean, the defense, I suppose, for Gaetz would be, yes, I like girls who basically look like teenagers, but I didn`t know this one was 17. Is that sort of where this is going?

CAPUTO: Well, I don`t want to hazard making arguments on the Congress` behalf.

And I`m going to go a little out of my skis and tell you what I have read and what lawyers who have practiced in this area of the law have told me, that, if you have a reasonable opportunity to observe the victim of a sex trafficking of a minor charge, you are guilty, even if you thought she was 18.

REID: Yes.

CAPUTO: Basically, the law says, look, if you don`t know, you should have found out.

REID: Should have found out.

CAPUTO: And if you wind up having sex with her, and if they could show that she was 17 or younger, you`re going to get charged. And there`s a mandatory minimum of 10 years if that victim is between the ages of 14 and 17.

REID: And we just so happen to have Cynthia Alksne, who prosecuted sex crimes.

And so can you confirm that that is the case? I mean, I know I reported on cases when I was in Florida of high school students who were 18 who got in trouble for having sexual relations with a fellow high school student who was under 18.

ALKSNE: It`s fair to say, if you`re having sex with somebody, you have a reasonable opportunity to view them.

So, yes, if she is under 18, that is game, set, match.

REID: Yes.

We won`t even go into the fact that a 30-something-year-old man apparently has to Venmo people in order to get them to engage, allegedly, in sex with him, which is its own story.

Cynthia Alksne, Marc Caputo.


Still ahead...


REID: Thank you very much.


Meanwhile, families are being forced from their homes amid escalating violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip. Here in the U.S., political leaders on both sides of the aisle are condemning the violence and urging an immediate cease-fire.

We will bring you the latest next. Stay with us.


REID: Violence is spiraling out of control in Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Less than an hour ago, Israeli Defense Forces announced that it had begun shelling Gaza, with ground forces. We`re now well into our fourth night of escalating attacks, with Hamas continuing to launch rockets deeper into Israel. Up until tonight, Israeli Defense Forces had launched airstrikes that demolished high-rise buildings they claimed were Hamas facilities.

Now, for context, nearly two million Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip, which is roughly the same size as Detroit. Gaza ranks as the third most densely populated territory in the world. More than 100 Palestinians and seven people in Israel have been killed in the fighting, including children, which has led to mob violence in the streets between Jews and Israeli Arabs.

Israel is now moving troops toward the Gaza border to prepare for -- quote -- "all eventualities and an escalation." The worst tensions since the 2014 war have been triggered by a number of events, including the looming ruling by an Israeli court that could evict six Palestinian families from their homes. The case was brought by Israeli settlers.

Israeli police wounding more than 500 people outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan.

And Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is struggling to hang onto his job after failing to win a majority in the last election, his rivals are trying to form a new government. Earlier today, he vowed to restore order - - quote -- "with an iron fist, if necessary."

Joining me now is Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security adviser to President Obama.

And thank you for making the time tonight, Ben.

This issue has always bothered me for a lot of reasons, one of which is that the U.S. role in it has generally been said to be a mediator, but, whether it`s the way the media talks about Palestinians, or the way our government generally treats Palestinians vs. Israelis, it is definitely not in the middle.

It is definitely -- you tweeted earlier today that the "U.S. government language is always directive toward Palestinians, even though most Palestinians have no agency over what Hamas does, and passive about Palestinians living with freedom and dignity, as if Israel has no agency over that."

Why do you suppose it`s like that?

BEN RHODES, FORMER U.S. DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, Joy, to some extent, it`s always been like that.

I mean, I think I worked for a president, President Obama, who sincerely wanted to solve this problem. But the reality is, when you talk about the U.S. trying to be an honest broker, we give over $3 billion a year in military and other assistance and financing to Israel.

Clearly, we are much closer to Israel than the Palestinians. And then, if you look at President Trump, he basically acted as if the Palestinians weren`t there. So, he cut off relations with the Palestinians. He cut off any assistance to the Palestinians. He supported Israel in its annexation of the Golan Heights.

Then he moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, and essentially tried to dictate the terms of surrender to the Palestinians, at the same time that Israeli settlements were moving further into the West Bank, and nearly making a Palestinian state impossible.

So, we have to confront the reality here that there are millions of Palestinians who either live as second-class citizens or live in an occupied territory under Israel. The United States at least tacitly supports that, of course, with our assistance.

And these periodic wars that we see do not do anything to solve the problem of Hamas being entrenched in Gaza. And the situation just seems to get worse in terms of the experience for the people living there, including Israelis, who are threatened by this rocket fire periodically, that, of course, your indiscriminate rocket fire is not something you would want to see on any country here.

So the situation just continues to deteriorate.

REID: Well, I mean, and Gaza -- and you`re absolutely right that you -- and you have said it.

You have two groups of people who are both laying claim to the same piece of land. I mean, Resolution 242 in the United Nations that says there are supposed to be two distinct states, each with dignity and integrity in terms of their territory, that happened in 1967, before I was even born.

It`s gone nowhere. There have been a few presidents who`ve tried, but it`s gone nowhere, because, essentially, you do have an occupying power with all the military might. And you have a people who are basically encased in Gaza and in the West Bank, which are discontiguous.

I don`t -- anyway, well, the other issue, I think we never really hear Palestinians talk.

I want to give Ayman Mohyeldin huge credit here. He interviewed a guy named Mohammed El-Kurd -- I mean, a resident of Mohammed El-Kurd, whose name is - - in Sheikh Jarrah. And he -- Mohammed El-Kurd is his name. And he lives in Sheikh Jarrah.

He was interviewed by Ayman recently. Take a listen to what he had to say.


MOHAMMED EL-KURD, SHEIKH JARRAH RESIDENT: We have been dealing with a wave of state-sanctioned violence.

Sheikh Jarrah in the past few weeks has been a scene of terror. Every single night, we are met with tear gas, military horses, stun grenades, rubber-coated bullets. The Israeli occupation forces are not stingy in the level of force they use against unarmed civilians.

What`s happening to us in Sheikh Jarrah is ethnic cleansing.


REID: Ben Rhodes, that young man, who also did an interview on CNN, who basically accused Israel of ethnic cleansing, trying to clear Arabs out of the -- East Jerusalem, which is -- I have always known as Arab East Jerusalem, by evicting them and giving their land to settlers, a day after he did interviews, he was forcefully evicted from Sheikh Jarrah, from his neighborhood.

He was escorted through the streets as soldiers aggressively shoved him outside the steel barricade marking the boundaries. So, he was essentially punished and evicted from his neighborhood right after talking to the public, to the media.

What is the U.S. going to do about that? The U.S. apparently has blocked a request for an urgent meeting of the U.N. Security Council. We keep stepping in and not intervening.

Are -- is -- should the Biden administration do something about this?

RHODES: Yes, well, I mean, first of all, Joy, people hear about settlements, and some settlements are built in land in the West Bank.

But, increasingly, we see instances where Palestinians are evicted from their homes that they have lived in for years. And you have this combination in places like Sheikh Jarrah of kind of almost vigilante groups of Israelis, combined with the power of the state, police who come in when there are disputes, usually on the side against the Palestinians.

And I think when you -- what I was referring to in that tweet that you showed from me before is that you hear a lot of demands on the Palestinians, including on the Palestinian Authority who doesn`t control Gaza, which is not firing rockets, to deescalate. And those are very directive statements and, you know.

And these Palestinians. They will tell you. I interviewed a Palestinian recently, myself, they don`t support Hamas. The last thing they want is for Hamas to fire rockets if it precipitates this kind of conflict.

But we are directive to them. And then, we talk about how we would like to see peace and see Palestinians live with dignity in a very passive way, without essentially calling on Israel to do anything.

And look, I was a part of an administration that did that. I am familiar with this language. The talking points do not ring true, anymore. For the 10 or 20 years, Americans have been talking about support for a two-state solution is slipping away because of the actions of the -- the -- the moving of Israeli politics to the right, because of the expansion of settlements.

And so, ultimately, the United States is going to have to say to Israel, first of all, I think in this case, to try to get in there and mediate and bring an end to a conflict that is going to take more and more innocent life in Gaza. But more generally, if we support a two-state solution, what are the steps we would like to see Israel take as well as the Palestinians to get there?

REID: Yeah.

RHODES: And if we are giving far more military assistance to Israel than any other country, at what point do we look at which of our assistance do we not want to see going to things like the expansion of settlements? When do we look at essentially how are we going to help these parties actually pursue a two-state solution instead of just talking about it. While the situation on the ground, year after year after year, it moves in the opposite direction.

REID: It starts with recognizing the disproportionate power. It`s not two states. You have one very powerful state, and one group of stateless people, who have no power. And we need to start thinking about it that way. You are absolutely right.

And I am going to give George Herbert Walker Bush, the dad, credit for it. He was the one president who actually did try that approach. We`ll see if the Biden administration follows suit.

Ben Rhodes, thank you for your time. Really appreciate you.

Meanwhile, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms will be joining me in a few minutes.

But, first, a million residents of Republican-led states are about to have their unemployment checks slashed. Their governors say this is necessary, because some Americans are just too damn lazy to get back on the wheel and work.

Tonight`s absolute worst is next. Don`t go anywhere.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many governors have decided to pull back on the enhanced-federal contribution for unemployment because they say that is hurting people`s ability to get workers back to work. Have you considered doing the same?

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R), GEORGIA: Yeah, no question about it. That`s exactly what`s happening in the real world. I don`t know if the Biden administration understands that. But later today, we`ll be putting out announcement that we`re not going to be participating in the federal subsidy, any longer.


REID: Seven states run by Republican governors have decided to put an early end to the federal unemployment benefits, an extra $300 per week provided by Congress as part of the COVID-stimulus plan. The cuts will impact more than 1 million Americans.

The governors are using April`s sluggish-jobs report to argue that people don`t want to go back to work because they are getting that extra money. That`s Republican code for poor people are lazy. And they have no proof to back that up.

In fact, a study showed that, when unemployed Americans were getting double that amount, early in the pandemic, the benefits did not discourage people from returning to work. The situation is way more complex than Republicans are making it out to be.

Not everyone is currently in a position to be able to work. Women and men, both, left the workforce, equally, when the pandemic began. But while nearly-all fathers returned to work by November, mothers saw almost-no improvement, almost certainly, due to school closures and a shortage in childcare.

One-year later, 2 million women are still out of the workforce, entirely. And "Reuters" reports that 22 percent of parents said they were either not working or working less because of disruptions to childcare and in-person schooling.

Childcare was already expensive, before the pandemic. And for many, it just might not be worth it to work for a minimum-wage job, and then use that meager paycheck to hand it over to childcare.

Take New Hampshire, for example. Whose Republican governor announced today that the federal-unemployment benefits will end early. New Hampshire`s minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, a pittance. And the average cost of childcare for an infant there is more than $1,000 a month. A whopping 92 percent of what a minimum wage worker would make, in a month, New Hampshire`s costs are far -- by far, the worst of the states getting those benefits.

But even in states like Arkansas, with an $11 minimum wage, child care for an instant costs one-third of a monthly salary. That`s still a lot, when people also have to pay for food and rent and mortgages. And that`s just for one kid.

President Biden is trying to solve this problem. His American families plan, part of his larger infrastructure bill, would cap childcare costs at 7 percent for medium-and-low-income families. For Republicans are objecting to that plan, saying, no, no, no it does not fit into their limited definition of infrastructure.

Republicans are supposed to be the pro-life party but they consistently balk at policies that would improve people`s lives, even when they are paid for by the federal government. Like, this unemployment benefit is.

So, Republican governors, like Brian Kemp and Kristi Noem turning I turning away money that would provide much-needed support for your own constituents -- you are tonight`s absolute worst.



DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing. If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment, when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.


REID: Big news out of the Biden administration today. The 45 percent of adults in America who are fully vaccinated can take a major step in their return to life as we knew it before the pandemic. While the news today means millions of Americans can shed their masks in most places, the CDC is still requiring travelers, including the fully vaccinated, to wear masks on planes and public transportation. Also those in health care settings like hospitals, doctor`s offices, and long term care centers will still be required to wear masks.

President Biden thanked the American people for their role in bringing us one step closer to normalcy.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When your country asks you to get vaccinated, you did. The American people stepped up. You did what I consider to be your patriotic duty. That`s how we have gotten to this day.


REID: Joining me now is Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

And, Mayor Bottoms, you have had clashes, let`s just say, with your governor over COVID protections in the city of Atlanta. How does this announcement impact Atlantans and does it make it easier or harder for businesses?

MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), ATLANTA, GA: Well, first of all, thank you, Joy, for having me. This is a discussion that I had with my senior team this evening on how does this impact the city of Atlanta?

My concern as best as we`re able to track, even our employee base for city government, is that still the vast majority of our employees have not been vaccinated.

So I am glad that we`re turning the corner on this pandemic. But as we contemplate the reopening date for our city hall, we have got to make decisions on what if any requirements we can still have in place for masks, because as you know, many in the minority communities are still hesitant to receive the vaccine. We want to make sure that our employees are safe and that our customers are safe.

But as you know, the governor lifted the mask mandate in the state some time ago, but we`re still requiring it in the city of Atlanta.

REID: Yeah, and you, I know, dealt, you and your husband, with COVID yourselves. You exactly, you know exactly what this threat looks like. I want to ask you about this sort of big news that is affecting Atlanta and really the whole sort of Southeast. This cyberattack that`s causing outages, you talked about in your announcement, which I am going to ask you about shortly, about not running for re-election, about having faced a ransomware attack before in the city of Atlanta.

Talk about what that -- you know, what do you do in a situation like that in terms of being in the position that you`re in? And what`s going on in Atlanta right now regarding gas shortages?

BOTTOMS: Well, it was really tough for us when we experienced the largest ransom attack in this whole government history three months into the beginning of my term. We chose not to pay the ransom. Our systems were not up to par, and there was no guarantee that we could withstand another attack. So, we just really had to tough it out.

The city of Atlanta, it`s hard to get gas right now throughout the metropolitan area. So it is, you know, encouraging people.

I had this conversation with my 19-year-old last night, that he needed to stay at home so he wouldn`t go out and run out of gas.

So people are experiencing very long lines at gas stations. But hopefully we will begin to see some relief over the next few days.

REID: And you did talk about that ransomware attack in the announcement that everybody is talking ability. I think everybody`s threads, at least mine are, wanting to know what your next steps are.

Do you have any further comments about why you`re not running for re- election? And, you know, are you up for a job in the Biden administration? Is that something that we should be looking for as your next step?

BOTTOMS: You know, Joy, I don`t know what the next steps are. I`ll be having conversations over the next several months, and as you know, I have a very good relationship with President Biden and the Biden administration. So I will explore all options.

But I have learned over the past few days, despite everything that I have said, people are concerned that I`m sick. As far as I know, I`m not sick. All is well with me and my family.

And this is just a personal decision and the hardest part was really sharing with the public what was in my heart. And that I knew it was time to pass the baton on to someone else.

REID: Yeah.

BOTTOMS: Leaders across this country, we have had a very tough few years under our past president. Things are significantly better. But you have to know when it`s time to pass the baton, and that time is now for me.

REID: Yeah. And, you know, it has been tough. I mean, the Rayshard Brooks case, the other cases of, you know, the Black -- well, that have been tagged under Black Lives Matter.

I do have to ask you, you know, what went through your head when you heard the officer who shot Rayshard Brooks was getting his job back?

BOTTOMS: Well, I knew that what had happened with the other officers that I had fired, I still believe it was the absolute right decision. There are circumstances, emergency circumstances under which you can do exactly what we did. Unfortunately, the review board did not agree with us.

But this officer is not back on the force, but I was even more disheartened to learn yesterday that just a few weeks before the shooting, this officer broke a man`s collarbone while he arrested him for a DUI.

So I still believe that had we not made the decision to relieve him of his duties at that time, that what we were experiencing on our streets at that time would have been significantly worse. I stand by that decision. And we will let the process play out.

REID: Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, it`s always been a pleasure. You have been so generous with your time on this show. I think I speak for all of our audience in wishing you the best in whatever you decide to do. Please feel free to come back at any time if you want to announce your next steps.

So, thank you, ma`am. Really appreciate your time.

BOTTOMS: Joy, thank you.

REID: Thank you.

OK. Before we go, I want you to be sure to tune in tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. Craig Melvin will be joined by a team of doctors ready to answer your questions about the new CDC guidance. Tweet your questions with #MSNBCanswers to email them -- or email them at

That`s tonight`s REIDOUT.