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Transcript: The ReidOut, 5/17/21

Guests: Glenn Kirschner, Roger Sollenberger, Rashida Tlaib, Dana Milbank, Mazie Hirono


Greenberg agrees to cooperate with feds. Greenberg lawyer hints that he may have information that could hurt an elected official. Reporter says, federal investigators have questioned other witnesses in Gaetz investigation. Gaetz deflects sex trafficking probe at GOP rally. "Daily Beast" reports, Gaetz took paid escort to 2019 GOP fundraiser in Orlando. Former associate of Representative Gaetz, Joel Greenberg, will cooperate with federal investigation, pleading guilty to six felonies. Former Greenberg political opponent raises new concerns about tax collector`s office. U.S. blocks U.N. Security Council from officially calling for ceasefire in Middle East. Biden expresses support for ceasefire as violence continues in the Middle East.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: And don`t go anywhere. "THE REIDOUT" with Joy Reid is up next.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. We have a lot to get to in the next hour, including the intensifying violence in the Middle East, new calls for a ceasefire from the White House and the showdown over Roe v. Wade that the Supreme Court just agreed to take up with your rights hanging in the balance.

But we begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the walls closing in on Donald`s little buddy, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, the travelling Trump troll who`s the subject of an ongoing sex crimes investigation. And that`s because his former friend and so-called wingman, Joel Greenberg, has now formalized his cooperation deal with prosecutors, pleaded guilty to six of the original 33 charges initially filed against him, including sex trafficking of a minor.

The onetime Florida tax collector was clad in a dark jumpsuit as he admitted to those felonies in a federal courthouse today before being remanded into custody pending sentencing. In a lengthy plea agreement, Greenberg specifically affirmed that he and the minor engaged in commercial sex acts at least seven times when she was a minor. But when it comes to his cooperation, the most critical details and Greenberg affirmed that other men who he introduced the minor too also engaged in commercial sex acts with the minor in his presence.

That`s consistent with some of the details Greenberg outlined in a confessional letter he reportedly wrote in an attempt to obtain a pardon from the former guy, as reported by The Daily Beast. The main difference with that confessional letter is that the plea documents don`t mention Gaetz specifically, but Greenberg`s earlier confession reportedly does. While NBC news has not seen or verified the contents of Greenberg`s letter, it could be a good indication of where this investigation is heading.

In another possibly ominous sign for Gaetz, Greenberg`s lawyer hinted that there`s more to come now that his client is officially cooperating.


FRITZ SCHELLER, LAWYER FOR JOEL GREENBERG: Does my client have information that could hurt an elected official? I guess this is just, you know, must- see-television. You`ll just have to wait and see.


REID: Well, if the potential implications for Gaetz weren`t clear enough, we also saw a plane flying a banner over the courthouse in Florida today. It read, Tick Tock, Matt Gaetz. Meanwhile, the feds have questioned other witnesses in addition to Greenberg who could help build a case against the congressman. And that`s according to four people familiar with the enquiry, who told Politico that the investigators have interviewed more than a dozen people as part of the broader investigation.

Gaetz has not been charged and denied any wrongdoing and claims that he`s never paid for sex. But as the probe intensifies, he`s also joking about his potential criminal exposure in a sickness-inducing speech this weekend. He portrayed the alleged serious criminal conduct as nothing more than exchanging money for naughty favors. And he even compared paying money for sex to lawmakers who get money for their districts through legislation in Congress.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): I am being falsely accused of exchanging money for naughty favors, yet Congress has reinstituted a process that legalizes the corrupt act of exchanging money for favors through earmarks.


REID: Joining me now is MSNBC Legal Contributor and Columnist Katie Phang, Glenn Kirschner, former Federal Prosecutor and Roger Sollenberger, a Political Reporter for The Daily Beast.

That`s a lot of guffawing and confidence, Katie, for somebody who, in addition to potentially facing allegations of having sex with a child, The Daily Beast on Friday also reported that he snorted cocaine with an escort who had a no-show government job. Gaetz attended a 2019 GOP fund-raiser in Orlando. His date that night was someone he knew well, a paid escort, an amateur Instagram model who led a cocaine-fueled party after the event, according to two witnesses.

Additionally two sources said the pair had an ongoing financial relationship in exchange for sex. Gaetz`s P.R. firm issued an statement, Gaetz saying, Gaetz won`t be commenting on whether he dated or didn`t date specific women. The privacy of women living private lives should be protected, whatever. What do you make of his seeming overconfidence, Katie?

KATIE PHANG, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR AND COLUMNIST: Welcome to Florida politics at its worst. So this is how things happen down here in the not so sunny state, but because sunshine is the ultimate disinfectant, when you have somebody like Joel Greenberg, who clearly is incentivized by a substantial assistance provision in his plea agreement to be able to cooperate with the federal authorities, Joel Greenberg will be providing, if not, already have provided information that will inure to his benefit ultimately at his sentencing, which is scheduled in 75 days.

Now, it doesn`t mean that he has to give everything before the 75 days. He can do it thereafter. But the reality is Gaetz can put on a poker face, but we`ve now gone beyond just putting bait on to fish for bigger fish, Joy. I think we`ve now gotten to full chum in the water, and let`s see what sharks we can pick up.

Now, I want to caution everyone though, it may not be Matt Gaetz. There are other Florida politician who`s have been implicated by the Joel Greenberg case, and they may also be some other people that have exposure. But right now, Matt Gaetz has been directly implicated by Joel Greenberg, and the feds would never have offered him the sweetheart deal he got if they had not already vetted and corroborated the information he had provided to them.

REID: And, Glenn, that was my question too because, you know, maybe math was not my specialty in school, but 6 and 33 are two very different numbers. If you start off with 33 counts and you end up with 6, doesn`t that mean you have to give something pretty good?

GLENN KIRSCHNER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes. We know -- and let me use the more acceptable legal phrase. We can reasonably infer that Joel Greenberg gave up blockbuster evidence against bigger fish. I`ve negotiated a lot of cooperation agreements in my 30 years as a prosecutor, Joy. I never dealt away, you know, 27 of 33 charges. That is a sure sign that whatever Joel Greenberg has delivered to the prosecutors is huge.

And here`s the thing people might not understand. As of yesterday, all of the information Joel Greenberg provided to prosecutors was hearsay. Why? Because they couldn`t call Joel Greenberg as a witness to testify about any of it because he had a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, by walking into court today, pleading guilty, and agreeing to cooperate, he has extinguished his own Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

So today is an important day because today all of this incriminating information that Joel Greenberg has provided to the prosecutors now becomes admissible in a court of law because they can call Joel Greenberg to testify about it. So the dominoes are going to begin to fall.

REID: You know, and, Roger Sollenberger, thank you for being here. I just read earlier from your reporting that you worked on for The Daily Beast, because this is -- Joel Greenberg -- no one knows who Joel Greenberg is. He`s a Florida tax collector. Nobody cares. And I would presume based on what your fellow panelists have said that the prosecutors probably carry a lot more about a bigger fish than he would about him, presumably. So let`s talk about him, let`s talk about Matt Gaetz. He seems to be living a very wildlife. I`ll put it that way.

ROGER SOLLENBERGER, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes. The takeaway that I have from this plea agreement is actually pretty bad news for Matt Gaetz. And one of the things that I was sort of happy to see is how much this corroborated our reporting, like lots of instances in this plea agreement, specifically one payment in particular to this 17-year-old girl we reported earlier too. And they actually identified the same date, the same payment, the same memo item that we had for food, and, yes.

So Gaetz has been hanging out with a guy who has been doing some pretty shady stuff. He`s got, I think, $70,000 that he`s spent on women for sex, and this is the plea agreement, he`s admitted to spending in over 150 transactions. And, again, this is one of Gaetz`s very closest friends. He called him his wingman. That`s why we used that word. I know it`s pretty sort of flip word and it`s not joking. It`s the joke there is on Gaetz. But, yes, this does spell pretty bad news for him up and down. And we just put out an article that breaks this down for you.

REID: And just him to say, you know, bad is for him, but Katie has opened up the possibility. I mean, listen, there is a group of Florida bros that all are sort in the same camp. And so I wonder if it goes further than that. This is a guy named Brian, I think it`s Beute or Boyt (ph). He`s the guy who was a stalking victim, allegedly was stalked by Greenberg at some point. He was a former opponent for tax collector. Then here`s what he said about who was watching the store in Florida.


BRIAN BEUTE, FORMER GREENBERG POLITICAL OPPONENT: The state of Florida`s oversight system was either complicit with or failed to monitor the Seminole County Tax Collector Office. Why? Who is responsible for this failure?

I ask our governor to initiate a thorough and exhaustive investigation into the actions of all state agencies assigned with oversight responsibilities of the Seminole County Tax Collector Office from 2016 to 2019.


REID: Roger Sollenberger, is there anyone else in elected office in Florida who should be worried about this plea agreement besides Matt Gaetz?

SOLLENBERGER: Yes. From our research, it seems that there are actually quite a few people. And he used the word, cartel. There is a medical marijuana influence campaign, allegedly. It has, you know, trying to secure political favors from Matt Gaetz in exchange for gifts of escorts and specifically a trip to the Bahamas.

This has been a focal point of investigators for some time. We`ve done some reporting around that. And that involves Florida state elected officials, a couple of, I think, representatives, state senators actually wrapped up in a ghost candidate scheme that`s also tied to Greenberg.

There are a bunch of nexuses to this guy over the last four years, and the original indictment, as you mentioned is like 33 counts, right? It is a sprawling indictment. This guy has tried to consolidate power in this local little ring of, you know, a cartel of his friends.

And I think it`s going to sweep up a number of people. And Gaetz is one of them, but, you know, we have some information that there are a number of other Florida elected officials that are also in the crosshairs here.

REID: Glenn, for you first, what would you do with information like this if you were prosecuting this case?

KIRSCHNER: I would begin to ask the grand jury to vote out indictments. You know, one of the lesser discussed charges that Joel Greenberg pleaded guilty to today was a conspiracy to commit crimes against the United States.

Now, you can`t plead guilty to a conspiracy unless you have co- conspirators. So we don`t know who they are, and we don`t know precisely what laws of the United States he and his co-conspirators were seeking to violate, but stay tuned because I have a feeling we`re going to know very soon.

REID: Very scary and gross. Katie Phang, this sounds to me like there`s going to be a lot of discomfort in Florida politics coming up.

PHANG: Yes. And, remember, it`s not just Greenberg having talked to the federal authorities since November of last year, there`s also some media reports that the 17 -- or the then 17-year-old girl who was the minor as referenced in the indictment and the plea agreement, that she`s been talking to the authorities and having been interviewed, and that there`s also media reports that Matt Gaetz`s girlfriend has been discussing an immunity agreement as well with authorities.

There`s a lot going on behind the scenes. We have excellent reporting from people like Roger. And, you know, ultimately, like Glenn said, you have grand juries for a reason. They meet in secrecy. There`s a reason why you don`t know what they`re presented and what they talk about, and you only know what happens when people get indicted.

And so Matt Gaetz may look like he`s nonplussed, but if I were him, I would be very nervous today, especially because Joel actually went through his guilty plea.

REID: Yes. Indeed. He might want to spend a little more time also learning how to date the normal way rather than the way he apparently was doing. Katie Phang, thank you very much. Glenn Kirschner, thank you very much. Roger Sollenberger, welcome to the show.

And up next on THE REIDOUT, the White House claims to be engaging in quiet intensive diplomacy with Israel but so far, there appears to be no effect as violence intensifies. The only Palestinian-American member of Congress, Rashida Tlaib, joins me next.

Plus a direct challenge to Row vs. Wade will be argued before the 6-3 right-leaning Supreme Court. But are conservatives really prepared for what would follow the overturning of Abortion Rights?

And tonight`s absolute worst, Margie Q Greene is the new queen of the Republican Party. Puppet Kevin can`t stop her or nor doesn`t seem to want to. Since she represents every Trumpy thing the GQP stands for these days, which is mostly vulgar trolling and lies.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: More than one week into the crisis in the Middle East, the violence between Israel and Palestinians shows no signs of slowing down. Sunday was the deadliest day so far with 42 Palestinians killed, a total of more than 200 Palestinians, including 59 children have been killed since the start of the crisis. Ten Israelis have also died.

The U.N. Security Council met yesterday with the secretary general and members of the Security Council calling for an end to the violence. But so far the U.S. has blocked the Security Council from making an official statement calling for a ceasefire. However, President Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today for the second time in the last couple of weeks and expressed his support for a ceasefire in the region, according to the White House.

I`m joined now by NBC Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel.

RICHARD ENGEL, MSNBC CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Joy, there is now talk about a ceasefire, but here we`re not seeing any evidence of it. In fact, the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, just issued a statement tonight saying that after conferring with his security cabinet and the heads of the different intelligence agencies here, he gave the order for the operation to continue, that it was going well from Israel`s perspective and that it would go on until Israel decided it would not go on any further. Hamas also is not showing any signs of backing down.

And then when you talk about a ceasefire, the two sides think about it very, very differently. What kind of cease fire? What are they looking for the next day? From Israel`s point of view, and this is according to Israeli officials that I`ve been speaking to, Israel wants peace for peace, calm for calm. They will stop bombing the Gaza Strip if Hamas stops firing rockets at Israel and stops firing rockets at Israel for a long time.

They want to bomb Gaza to a point in which it is no longer capable of launching rockets at Israel for a long time. That`s what Israel wants. It wants to stop bombing in exchange for peace and quiet, and that is what Israel believes it got last time after it invaded the Gaza Strip in 2014, was there for seven weeks. 2,000 Palestinians were killed, and there`s been a period from Israel`s point of view of relative calm since then.

In Gaza, it is a totally different world. They have not been living in a situation of relative calm for the last seven years. They have been living in a relative prison, where people cannot come and go. There are no job opportunities. The world, especially under President Trump, forgot about the Palestinians.

And what Hamas is hoping for, and many Palestinians are hoping for is that this will reignite the Palestinian cause, put it back on the international agenda, get people talking about this, and come up with some sort of broader solution for the Palestinian crisis that addresses the issues of refugees and Jerusalem and the status of Gaza, the giant open air prison.

But then, finally, there is this issue of Hamas itself. Hamas is trying to present itself as the spokesman for the Palestinian people. But it is not the only spokesman. It is a group that does fire rockets indiscriminately.

It is a group that does not tolerate dissent within Gaza. It is not universally popular. So, there are many different factors here. And when you talk about a cease-fire, though, the Israelis and the Palestinians and Netanyahu and Hamas are talking about two very different things.

REID: Richard Engel, thank you very much.

I`m joined now by Michigan Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. And she`s the only Palestinian American member of Congress.

And we have been very eager to speak with you, Congresswoman.

I want to play for you -- this is a little girl. She`s 10 years old. Her name is Nadine Abdel-Taif. And she talked about the violence that you just heard Richard Engel describing as well. Take a listen.


NADINE ABDEL-TAIF, 10 YEARS OLD: I want to cry. I want to let out my anger out of my body, because they`re killing people that they don`t deserve to die. They`re just living their own selves.

They come and killed them. We don`t deserve this.


REID: And as somebody who has family there in the -- in the Israeli- Palestinian territories, I am just curious to get your perspective on all that`s going on.

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): Yes, the human toll on so many of the children and families that live there, in the midst of all of the continued back- and-forth, and the rhetoric that continues to deny them their humanity.

I wish that people would listen to the Palestinian voices on the ground, to talk to the mothers who try to put their children next to them, because, if they die, they want to die together, to talk about a son who was buried with his mother, and he watched his mother die because they -- as they were buried under the rubble, she was taking her last breaths. And he said, "Please don`t leave me."

Those are the kinds of stories that need to be told behind the bombing, that under the rubble are family members. I mean, I`m watching over and over again images of people, citizenry in Gaza pulling huge concrete for eight hours to pull a 6-year-old girl out of the rubble, or to watch a hospital continue to watch their doctors and others targeted.

Just today, Joy, the Israeli government targeted two schools. I don`t even know -- the United Nations schools. These are where many of the people that were bombed out of their homes were taking refuge.

The continuation and targeting of so many families and children is not going to give anybody a sense of security. But it`s also really important, Joy, to know that Israel`s own human rights organization has said that Israel is an apartheid state, that Human Rights Watch just came out with the report saying that this form of oppression, the chronic poverty that comes with it, the discrimination and racism that comes with it, this is what leads to a lawless, not-held accountable country of Israel, which continues to be like the fourth largest military superpower in the region.

And they seem to be dead on set to deny Palestinians their humanity.

REID: You know, and when you talk about apartheid, I can remember John Kerry making -- talking about the risk that Israel would fall into apartheid if things didn`t change. I covered this in 2014 just anchoring the coverage, when, as Richard Engel just said, 2,000 people died.

I have to say, Congresswoman, I have been following this from a distance for a really long time. And I have never felt like Americans really care that much about Palestinians. As you said, they don`t hear Palestinian voices. And there seems to be no empathy. I mean, Gaza is a prison.

So, I wonder, when you see 28 Senate Democrats sign a statement saying that there should be a cease-fire, which seems like a step forward, but then when you see the White House put out two statements so far, the second of which reads much like the first -- "The president reiterated his firm support for Israel`s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks. He encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians. The two leaders discussed progress in Israel`s military operations against Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza."

This is a member of your party.

TLAIB: Yes, and it`s...

REID: Do you feel any empathy coming from the White House? Have they called you to talk to you?

You have family, that you could give a perspective. Do you feel like they care?

TLAIB: They are engaging me now, finally, after four months of me sending letters, with colleagues, talking about home demolitions, talking about the attack on Palestinians living in Israel.

I mean, their January 6 is happening right now daily in their lives, in their own neighborhoods, being attacked by mobs, solely because they`re Palestinian, their ethnicity. They`re targeted because of their ethnicity.

And, Joy, it is really hard to, because any of my colleagues that even have some sort of empathy towards Palestinians, they do it quietly with whispering, because they continue to be intimidated and bullied by those that want to continue the status quo apartheid in Israel. They want to continue to have that power and hold.

And they literally brush over Palestinians as somehow inherently violent, that they don`t deserve human rights. And that`s what`s missing in the statements coming from President Biden. You don`t hear the words, Palestinians deserve human rights, that Palestinians deserve to exist, that Palestinians deserve to live freely, that children need to be safe and secure.

You only hear it when they talk about Israeli citizens that have a certain faith. And that is what`s telling about what`s happening.

And, Joy, you saw. In the month of Ramadan, the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims, worshipers kneeling to pray to God are being attacked by Israeli government, prior to all the other attacks that happened.

A lot of that has stemmed in the continuation of racism and policies within Israel being led by the right-wing party of Netanyahu.

REID: And he has some political considerations too.

Do -- are you surprised that his -- the corruption investigations and the fact that he has aligned himself with a really far right party that even people who are very friendly to Israel have called openly racist, that that doesn`t change the way that Democrats in general -- and other than your girls of the Squad have been standing by you and very vocal and some Democratic senators, but are you surprised that Netanyahu`s own politics don`t change the equation in the way the United States deals with that country?

TLAIB: Absolutely. It`s shocking, the hypocrisy of us saying that we need to be stewards of human rights, except for Palestinians.

And they`re taking orders. That`s exactly what`s happening. They`re taking orders from Netanyahu, who is on corruption charges from stealing from his own people, the people he`s supposed to be representing.

And, currently, many of the Israeli media, folks in Israel, have been more critical of Netanyahu`s right-wing policies, his corruption, more than here at home in the United States.

So, I hope that my president, our president, speaks up and speaks truth about what exactly is happening, because I know they know. And I know they`re enabling it by sitting there and saying these kinds of passive language that is not going to hold a lawless, very much a corrupted country right now that has set an apartheid state.

It is very clear to many of the people that live there, including some of the Israeli citizens have, what, came out and opposed Netanyahu very forcefully, that enough, enough with this kind of discrimination and racism. These are our neighbors. These are children that we`re raising our children with. Enough.

And, Joy, it`s hard, because, as I talk to my Palestinian family at home, they tell me, please don`t cry for us. And I was like, of course I`m going to cry for you. This is -- this is -- I want you to know that there are Americans here that care about you, that there are millions of Americans that believe in me and what I`m saying, that we have got to stop investing in an apartheid state of Israel, that we need to condition that money, that we continue to send weaponry and the assault weapons to Israel that continues to target innocent lives.

And so, Joy, it is so incredibly hard, because, when I got elected, it was my cousin Sharina (ph) said: "You know, Rashida, we actually thought Americans turned their backs on Palestinian until you got elected. And now we know that it isn`t everybody here in the United States."

And I want to make it clear to all the Palestinians. I know it`s hard to hear now under attack, but Americans are standing strong. And they`re standing and saying, enough, President Biden. You will not do this on our watch. You have to speak out against this violence in a very aggressive way that holds Netanyahu and his leadership accountable.

REID: Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, I can tell you, a lot of people care. And so you can tell your family members folks do care.

Thank you very much for spending some time with us this evening. I really appreciate it.

TLAIB: Thank you.

REID: And up -- thank you.

And up next: The conservative-led Supreme Court has agreed to take up Mississippi`s restrictive abortion law, and women`s reproductive rights appear to be in serious, serious danger.

It`s straight out of "The Handmaid`s Tale," with a Gilead-style government right here in America.

Stay with us.


REID: Spring of 2022 will be a seminal moment in America for women`s reproductive rights, because it looks like the Supreme Court is primed to diminish the protections afforded under Roe v. Wade.

Today, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Mississippi`s appeal of a lower court ruling that struck down a ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. It`s a terrifying prospect, eerily reminiscent of "The Handmaid`s Tale," where far right-wing religious extremists took up arms against America to carve out their own country out of ours, one where women and their bodies were under the complete control of almost extravagantly corrupt and hypocritical "men of God" -- quote, unquote.

Now, what`s so scary and, frankly, traumatizing about that show and the book that inspired it is that it starts off in the very place that we live in right now, where women have the right to choose what they do with their bodies, until they don`t. And then, in what seemed like a blink of an eye, those rights were just gone.

Naturally, abortion opponents are thrilled, given the new conservative makeup of the court, especially after the arrival of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, under his eye. Barrett could join Chief Justice Roberts, Justices Alito, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, and Thomas, who`ve all expressed an interest in rolling back reproductive rights.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, there are 21 states that have passed aggressively restrictive laws that could be used to restrict the legal status of abortion. Mississippi is one of 10 states with trigger bans that would automatically prohibit abortion if Roe v. Wade falls.

Without strong protections, women, including many victims of rape or incest, would have to hopscotch across the country at whatever expense, maybe too much expense for women who aren`t rich, to seek safe harbor in one of the 14 states and Washington, D.C., that do respect a woman`s right to choose.

According to Pew Research, nearly 60 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

And joining me now is Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

And, Senator, earlier today, your former colleague our friend Claire McCaskill said -- she called this potential ruling, which I think we have to assume will go in the direction that the far right, sort of religious right wants it to go, that it would be like the dog catching the car.

So, I guess my question to you, I think -- I hope we`re not losing your shot.

OK, we`re going to make sure that we do have the senator`s shot.

Do we have it?

We don`t have it. OK, we`re going to -- we`re going to hold on for just one second. We`re going to give it one more second. If not, we may have to take a break and come back.

How we looking? Live TV. Live -- OK, let`s take a break.

We will come right back.


REID: Joining me now is Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

I`m glad that we got you back, Senator. Thank you for your patience.

And what I was saying to you before the break before we lost your shot was that, you know, your former colleague, Claire McCaskill, our friend, she said that overturning Roe, which this ruling could at least cripple roe in a lot of ways, would be like, you know, the dog catching the car because I wonder what then? If the right gets what they want and Roe is crippled, then what happens?


REID: Uh-oh. No.

Do you have -- are you -- okay. So, unfortunately, I am so sorry, guys. We really want to do this segment, but it is just not working out for us with this shot. So, we`re going to take another break. We`re going to try to fix the tech.

Listen, this is the world of Skype. This is the world that it is.

We`ll be right back.


REID: Since Donald Trump has been crowned king of the Republican Party, then who`s the queen? I mean, it`s not Melania. She doesn`t even seem to like him.

So, I guess it must be this jaunty little stalker. I mean, isn`t it clear that it`s their party, Donald Trump and Marjorie Q. Greene`s? They rule it. They own it.

Of course, Queen Marjorie Q. makes perfect sense. She ran as the Trumpy QAnon candidate in a ruby red district in Georgia where she didn`t even live, brandishing assault weapons in her ads, vowing to save America from itself, but apparently not to use her QAnon powers to save teenage girls from her pal Matt Gaetz allegedly.

The other place now Marjorie Q. Greene is the person -- you should absolutely not listened to like ever. She has said Democratic officials should be executed, that Muslims don`t belong in government, and school shootings were staged. She also blamed a California wildfire on a Jewish controlled laser beam from outer space. A laser beam from space, this is real life.

What Marjorie Q is perhaps best known for her is terrorizing her colleagues, especially Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Marge even harassed AOC when she was still a private citizen back in 2019, back in the day when her jam was following teenagers down the street yelling at them about guns.

Here she is at AOC`s door.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, I`m an American citizen. I pay your salary through the taxes that you collect from me through the IRS. You need to get rid of your diaper and come out and be able to talk to the American citizens instead of us having to use a flap.


REID: It`s Ocasio, weirdo.

Now, harassing someone, anyone, through their mail slot is never okay. But her tomfoolery is now happening as a member of Congress. Her relentless obsession with AOC is a security threat.

In a separate incident, one of her aides pulled a Tucker and told a grown member of Congress to take up his mask. Meanwhile, Margie Q. is benefiting off of all this behavior, fund-raising off of these antics. But the fact that puppet Kevin and his new sidekick, finger puppet Elise Stefanik, will never do anything this bully wreaking havoc on the Hill tells you everything you need to know about these -- I mean, these once sacred halls of Congress.

Republicans refuse to do a single thing about their colleague, who now serves as an actual threat to members of Congress because they too benefit from Trump grievance politics where talent and skill and character are flaws and where toxic dumpster fire entertainment means more than representing the people. And that is why the Republican Party bowing down to its wretched king and queen is indeed the absolute worst.

Now, I`m joined now by Republican strategist Susan del Percio and Dana Milbank, political columnist for "The Washington Post".

Thank you both for being here.

Dana, you wrote columns recently about Margie Q. Greene. The political calculation seems to be they`d rather have the wretched people because at least they can raise money off of them and Trump. I wonder what that means, is that -- is that the politics that makes sense in your view?

DANA MILBANK, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yeah. I was talking with Adam Kinzinger about her recently, and he described her as a grifter.

I think that`s what it is. She just sees what the opportunity is in Republican politics, and the opportunity right now is in making a scene, saying the most extreme things, and wrapping yourself all the way to the extent possible around Donald Trump.

Now, she has done this perhaps better than anybody with the exception of Matt Gaetz, and we see that`s where it`s getting them. But she has become something of the de facto leader of the caucus. We`re all, you know, focusing on, you know, Elise Stefanik, but really, you know, the minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, is scared to death to cross her. That`s why he doesn`t do anything when she accosts AOC and chases her down a hallway.

So it`s really an extraordinary thing where they`re being led by this -- this first-term QAnon.

REID: You know, and I wonder, you know, and we unfortunately lost the shot in our last block. We had a little bit of trouble with Skype. But, you know, we had Senator Mazie Hirono on to talk about the abortion rights issue.

And when you combine, Susan, a party where the leaders of the party, the teeny dater but apparently who doesn`t bother QAnon, Margie Q. Greene who is QAnon. Lauren Boebert, who is like the guns in her background check, you know, it`s a whole -- Madison Cawthorn, whose dream vacay was Hitler`s bungalow. You go on and on and on, this sort of freak show that the Republican Party is.

You add that to the Arizona bananas recount, which even a Republican local official said, this is insane. Donald Trump saying that it`s -- it`s unhinged because they said, well, they dumped all the ballots. You combine that with now the far right is on the brink of taking away women`s right to choose, I wonder how you run any campaigns in the suburbs after that.

SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It will be difficult, and we have to look at the Republican Party now, that it is a campaign -- rather, it`s a party of personalities, not policies. They have nothing. When you see Marjorie Taylor Greene as a leading voice in the party, you know you`ve hit -- you`ve almost rock bottom. Unfortunately, I think we can go lower, the Republican Party can go lower.

But they -- she doesn`t even have a committee and she was a top fundraiser in Congress. She is bananas crazy and believes in Jewish lasers and all this other nonsense and yet no one who -- it really angers me, sorry, Joy. Her colleagues down there know better. There are serious members of Congress there who know better and who should be speaking out. I do not know why this falls on Liz Cheney to say, don`t believe the big lie and why other members of Congress, even under, you know, with the protection of her skirt, if you will, come out and say something.

It`s not that hard to speak the truth and take down some of this nonsense. If you don`t -- if they don`t, they will be deemed not serious, and I`ve been saying this for a while, Joy, I truly believe the state parties will elect more crazy wackadoo candidates and that the Republicans are in danger of not taking back the House because they`re going to lose a ton of seats that they won in 2020.

REID: And I wonder about that, too. Just as political sort of management of your politics, essentially you`re saying that to be in our party, you need to think that -- what do they call themselves, the Cyber Ninjas, a serious organization that should be doing recounts. Sixty-seven percent of Republicans, people who call themselves Republicans still, do not believe that the president of the United States is a legitimate president of the United States, so there goes another way to get in.

And there`s Liz Cheney talking about the impeachment vote and maybe one of the incentives for the people who know better play along. Listen to Liz Cheney.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): If you look at the vote to impeach, for example, you know, there were members who told me that they were afraid for their own security, afraid in some instances for their lives. And that tells you something about where we are as a country.


REID: Dana Milbank feared for their lives. Meaning that even fellow Republicans believe their own base are dangerous people.

MILBANK: Uh-huh. You know, it would be funny if the consequences weren`t so dire. You can probably count -- I`ve heard this from many members -- on the fingers of both hands how many Republicans in Congress actually believe that there was some skullduggery in the election, that it wasn`t legitimately won by Joe Biden. And yet there is this collective action problem where they`re all frightened.

I think that poll is very interesting. The fact that it`s 67 percent, I`m surprised it`s not higher, because 99 percent of Republicans in Washington are saying the election was stolen or the election wasn`t legitimate. So I think in a way, the elected Republicans are outdoing the base in terms of crazy. They think they`re crazier than they actually are. A third of Republicans are saying no matter what they`re hearing from elected Republicans in Washington, no, we actually understand this was a legitimate election.

There is a bigger market for the truth even by Republicans than these cowards in Washington think there is right now.

REID: Or, Susan, you`re seeing fewer and fewer people identify as Republicans, because, you know, I`ve always had this sort of theory that most independents are basically people who are too embarrassed to call themselves Republicans. Isn`t that the growing party right now, people that are so embarrassed by these shenanigans that they`re becoming independents?

DEL PERCIO: That`s right, and in 2004, we saw a lot of Republicans change to being independent because they didn`t want to be associated with the war and George W. Bush. Now we are seeing not only are they changing their registration, people aren`t registering. Why would you join the party?

I mean, I ask myself every day why I`m still in it. I can`t imagine actually signing up for it right now.

But the party doesn`t care. I think Dana made a great, great point that people in Washington have no idea how their constituents feel. A lot of them want to move on and believe that the president was legit -- you know, legitimately elected, because he was. So I think that they`re misplaying their hand.

REID: Well, I can tell you one of the reasons when you hear interviews and you talk with Republicans ask people who stay in it, abortion. Abortion is why they stay in it.

So, I want you to -- Susan and Dana, please stay with me because I want to have you here in case this doesn`t work. We`re going to try one more time to bring in Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii.

Senator, hopefully, you are still there. But, you know --

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI) (via telephone): I am here, Joy.

REID: Excellent, wonderful, wonderful, the power of the telephone.

I have heard interviews with Republicans who know all of the weirdness that`s going on. The fact that Marjorie Q. Greene who is not a serious person basically as the leader of the party, alongside Donald Trump -- they`re horrified by all that, the children in cages. And you show them all that and they say, abortion, abortion, abortion.

So, this is a key issue to a lot of Americans. But also, there`s a lot of fear, I think. A lot of young women are waking up to find that you may lose your right to abortion, to have even get access to the pill.

So, I will ask again, what happens if Roe goes down? Then what?

HIRONO: Then there`s no longer a constitutionally protected right for a woman to have control over her own body. What`s going to happen is all these states are going to continue to pass these kinds of limiting laws, that`s what`s going to happen. And that is right.

You`re right, Joy, one morning young women in our country are going to wake up and they no longer control their own bodies. This has been going on for years, this assault, the women`s right to choose.

REID: Well, it feels like it`s been going on for years, but it always sort of seem that Republicans want the issue more than they want the win, because if they get the win, they have to deal with the consequences of implementing this sort of handmaid`s tale future. Women aren`t going to just sit down quietly and just take it.

So, I wonder if you think that the politics might shift if, in fact, they get what they say they want.

HIRONO: Well, right now, they think they`re at the brink of getting what they want because the Supreme Court is taking up the Mississippi case. And why would this court take up this case only to reaffirm Roe v. Wade?

So, you have Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and now Barrett and who knows, they may be joined by the chief justice to undo Roe v. Wade.

This is what`s being set up by state legislatures all across the country. Hundreds and hundreds of these kinds of restrictive laws being contemplated and some passed.

REID: You know, I reference the handmaid`s tale a lot because one of the things that happen is this group violently takes over and secedes essentially from the United States and forms their own government. That they are -- the hard right desire to control women, because I`m sorry -- I don`t think this is about children because these same people are not in favor of universal preschool or health care for kids, they don`t care if kids are locked in cages.

It`s about women, it`s about controlling women.

HIRONO: Yes, exactly.

REID: Well, I wonder if Democratic women have not been focused enough on the fact that these people are serious about controlling women`s lives and bodies, and whether people like Susan Collins just got duped by people like Brett Kavanaugh or whether no one is taking it seriously enough.

HIRONO: There are a lot of people taking it seriously, and especially the right wing. They have been setting this up with dark money to get Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett on the Supreme Court to the tune of millions.

Somebody said when climate change comes up, Republicans say I`m not a scientist, but when a woman`s health issue is being discussed, they`re all gynecologists. They truly don`t want to have us control our own bodies. I - - you know, there`s no other explanation, because hypocrisy doesn`t even factor into what they`re doing.

REID: You have the same sets of people who also say that my body, my choice when it comes to masks because they essentially say I have the right to spread a deadly disease.

HIRONO: That`s what I mean.

REID: Right?


REID: But women don`t have a right to decide about childbirth.


REID: In the -- among -- go ahead. Your comment.

HIRONO: Well, how fundamental could it be that one should be able to decide -- a woman should be able to control her own body? How fundamental is that?

And we don`t have anything that does impose anything like that on a man, you know?

REID: Yeah.

HIRONO: There is nothing comparable telling a man, you have to do what some -- whatever it is, you -- anyway, there is nothing comparable, but this has been ongoing. The anti-abortion, anti-choice crowd --

REID: Could --

HIRONO: -- finally think they got a Supreme Court that`s going to go their way.

REID: And they probably do.

And so, is this changing the conversation in the Democratic Caucus about expanding the Supreme Court or legislating to protect a woman`s right to choose?

HIRONO: There are already bills to do that, as you probably know. And this is why, when the court is so far to the right, and it`s no longer, in my view, an objective court on so many of these issues, then we talk about expanding the court.

There`s nothing written in the Constitution about the size of the court. You can cycle circuit court judges through the courts. You can have term limits, though that`s not going to impact certain members of the Supreme Court.

So, there are a number of things that need to happen because we now have hundreds of these kinds of totally conservative right wing, it`s not just on the issue of abortion, but on climate change, on voting rights, on LGBTQ rights, they`re all making their way to this very, very conservative, ideologically-driven Supreme Court.

REID: Yeah, it is -- it is a scary world. And, you know, just when you think you`re sort of out of the woods, the extremism rears its head again. We`re all be holding our breath awaiting for this decision.

Senator Mazie Hirono, thank you for your patients and getting back on with us.

And thank you to Susan del Percio and Dana Milbank for sticking with us as our back up in case that call went down.

That is THE REIDOUT for tonight. Thank you, all.