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Transcript: The ReidOut, 5/19/21

Guests: Eric Swalwell, Kurt Bardella, Paul Butler, Michael Cohen, Rashid Khalidi, Jeremy Ben-Ami


House approves January 6th Commission 252-175. Thirty-five Republicans join Democrats in voting for 1/6 Commission. Senate GOP leader says he opposes 1/6 Commission. Family of deceased Capitol police officer calls for 1/6 Commission. Trump Organization probe goes criminal. Tulsa Race Massacre survivors testify. President Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today for the fourth time since the crisis between Israel and the Palestinian people began 10 days ago.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: "THE REIDOUT" with Joy Reid, picks up our breaking coverage at a busy day in Washington, next.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, every one. We`re following a number of major stories tonight, including that stunning announcement out of the New York Attorney General`s Office that they are now pursuing a criminal investigation of the Trump organization. I`ll talk to former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen a bit later.

But we begin THE REIDOUT tonight with breaking news. The House just moments ago voted to authorize a bipartisan plan to create a 9/11-style commission, investigating the January 6th insurrection. Here is the vote, where, as you can see, 35 Republicans had the courage to break away from party leadership to vote for the commission. 175 voted against it.

In the days leading up to this moment, Kevin McCarthy and many of his Republican colleagues have signaled their firm objection to more transparency. It`s the latest example of the majority of Republicans goose stepping to the dear leader`s tune of erasing a crucial day in our nation`s history, the day a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, looking to harm, capture and assassinate lawmakers, including the sitting vice president in a rare and deadly assault by American citizen to disrupt one of the core tenets of our democracy.

This vote occurred the same day the FBI released new video of the insurrection. And just take a look at this footage. This is what a Republican just last week said looked more like a, quote, normal tourist visit. Does this look normal to you? It doesn`t look normal to me. And I imagine it doesn`t look normal to anyone with eyeballs or a pulse.

But that`s what the Republicans led by Kevin McCarthy want the country to believe. It`s why so Republicans testified last week that the violence was no big deal, the same day the party purged a member from its leadership for refusing to go full animal farm. And now, today, some voted to block an effort to get to the truth about January 6th.

Kevin McCarthy opposed the legislation because this commission would not study other unrelated political violence associated with the left, an argument devoid a logic given that the so-called left wing violence has nothing to do with the insurrection. As we said last night, that would be like the 9/11 commission investigating the Rodney King beating and protest, while the truth and reconciliation commission in South Africa, investigating Abu Gray. There`s no correlation between the two.

But, of course, the Republican leadership stopped making sense a long time ago. I mean, look who is running it? Puppet Kevin and shell of a copilot Mitch McConnell who today emerged from the Senate swamp to say he, too, is opposed to legislation to probe the Capitol attack.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): After careful consideration, I`ve made the decision to oppose the House Democrats` slanted an unbalanced proposal for another commission to study the events of January the 6th.

What is clear is that House Democrats have handled this proposal in partisan bad faith going right back to the beginning.


REID: But, Mitch, what was that part again that you said before about Trump being practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day? Yes. According to CNN, there are many reasons why Republicans, mainly Puppet Kevin, want this probe to disappear. It comes with bad exposure and possibly a subpoena for Kevin. It could also prevent him from becoming House speaker, which ain`t going to happen, Kev. In the end, it`s about power, isn`t it? Even if it means rewriting against falsifying history, a tactic, mind you, that is popular among tyrants.

Joining me is Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, who was an impeachment manager in the second Trump impeachment. And, Congressman, the family of one of the late Capitol Police officers, one who actually committed suicide after the Capitol attack, his name is Howie Liebengood. They actually released a statement on Wednesday supporting a January 6th commission. And this was the quote. Uncovering the facts will help our nation and may lessen the lingering emotional bitterness that is dividing our country. We implore Congress to work as one to establish the proposed commission.

Behind closed doors, have you talked to any Republicans to explain why they wouldn`t go along with it?

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): A Republican told me last week at the House gym, he said, when did you guys become the party that stands up for cops, Joy. And I think you are seeing that this is a choice between our constitution and chaos, and Republicans are standing with chaos. They`re the chaos party. And we are the ones who are backing the officers, who put their lives on the line for us, who were in hand-to-hand combat for hours that day, who don`t give a rip about politics, but want to make sure that their sacrifices mattered.

Three officers died, including the officer you just reference. One lost an eye and another lost multiple fingers. They deserve to have a commission that looks at what happened that day and to ensure no officer and no democracy ever weathers something like that again.

REID: And you spoke earlier about having spoken with Officer Fanone who was trying to get in touch with McCarthy. Do you know whether or not he was ever able to get McCarthy`s office to call him back before this vote?

SWALWELL: I just talked to him before I came on. I talk to him often. And, Joy, a lot of times, he`s telling me what Democrats need to be doing on, whatever issue. This guy is not a partisan at all. He has not yet heard from the McCarthy team.

And it really hurts officers like Officer Mike Fanone that they have not yet heard from Kevin McCarthy because they feel like their sacrifices are being denied and erased. And, you know, while three officers died, many die, you know, a little bit each day that those seek to try and erase what they did. So this is really just about the ground truth and making sure that those officers and their service is remembered.

REID: And I wonder if you`ve talked behind the scenes. I mean, John Katko in the debate tonight -- let me just play him real quick. This is him supporting the idea of having a commission. Take a listen.


REP. JOHN KATKO (D-NY): What information was known leading up to January 6th? Why was that information not shared with the proper entities? Why were Capitol Police officers left so unprepared? Who failed to provide them with support? Why did it take so long for re-enforcements to come to their aid? How can we approve the decision-making and bureaucracy that is clearly hampering the Capitol Police and security of the Capitol complex?

The American people and the Capitol Police deserve those answers.


REID: I mean, those seem like pretty simple questions. You`re looking to get some of that information as well in the lawsuits that you filed, which could have discovery and get some of those answers as well. I wonder if you`ve talked to any members among the 35 who did vote for truth and transparency. It feels like Kevin McCarthy is doing this because he thinks if he can bury the truth of January 6th, he could become speaker. Could that process now this what he`s done going against this commission actually imperil his path toward trying to be speaker?

SWALWELL: I believe so, yes. I also believe the sentiment I hear from my Republican colleagues is that we can weather one of these attacks. We can`t weather another one, especially a consecutive Electoral College count four years later, where something like this could happen again. So this is to make sure that it does not happen again.

I won`t try and speculate as to Kevin McCarthy`s motives. But I will tell you, the consequences we`re seeing front and center today when Capitol Hill Police officers released a letter through Congressman Jamie Raskin saying how disappointing it is that Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy won`t recognize what happened to them.

And also, Joy, this is about having a commission that gives us and levels with the American people. You know, we can`t agree on much today. We can`t agree on the news. We choose the news that agrees with us. This commission will have testimony from those on the ground. This commission will provide testimony that`s unimpeachable. It will be the final say as to what happens in a very, very divided country.

REID: Yes. Well, he still have Speaker Pelosi. I mean, she`s got guts. He doesn`t seem to be much of a leader.

SWALWELL: She met with Mike Fanone and he won`t.

REID: There you go. Very last question, if the senate can`t clear this and get it through, are committees prepared to go forward or we going to have to basically depend on lawsuits like yours to get the truth of January 6th?

SWALWELL: We hope our lawsuit provides accountability and information. But the speaker has said that she will find out what happened in any way, we have to. But, Joy, the Senate has been so anti-Democratic in the way they use the filibuster, to block voting rights, to block what we can do to protect the Electoral College count. If that`s not a reason to break the filibuster, I don`t know what is.

REID: Yes, hard to argue with that. Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you very much. I really appreciate your time this evening.

SWALWELL: My pleasure.

REID: All right, cheers. And with me now is Kurt Bardella, adviser to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and former Oversight Committee Spokesman.

And so you know this process very well, Kurt. Now that this is passed in the House, it does go over to the Senate. I wonder if you had thoughts on that. I mean, if, in fact, Mitch McConnell is able to block the truth about January 6th and having a commission like this, could a committee process, in your view, accomplish some of the same goals?

KURT BARDELLA, FORMER HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE SPOKESPERSON: Absolutely, it can, Joy. This is why I just wrote a piece that just went up minutes ago at USA Today talking about if Republicans successfully block the formation of this committee, what Democrats should do is use the tools of their majority and have a select committee.

I mean, I remember that the Republicans using the select committee on Benghazi to, quote/unquote, investigate for five years having Hillary Clinton testify for 11 hours in front of their committee. There is nothing stopping Democrats. If Republicans want to obstruct the 9/11 commission that would have been bipartisan, that would have given Republican a say in the subpoena process and the deposition and the evidence gathering process, if they walk away from that, so be it. We can have our own hearings. We can have our own committee. We can get the facts.

This is very clear that there`s only one political party in America that actually cares about getting to the truth, and that`s the Democratic Party. I mean, on some level, Joy, asking Republicans to participate in this investigation would be like asking members of Al Qaeda to be on the 9/11 Commission. These people were part of the problem. They are part of the reason the January 6th happened. And through their conduct, through their rhetoric, through their actions at that Oversight Committee hearing last week, it`s very clear that their intent on being the getaway driver to these Democratic arsonists.

REID: Yes. It`s hard to make that, it`s hard to argue with that. Here`s Tim Ryan, making some of those same point earlier today.


REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): Incoherent, no idea what you`re talking about. Benghazi, you guys chased the former secretary of state all over the country, spent millions of dollars. We have people scaling the Capitol, hitting the Capitol Police with lead pipes across the head and we can`t get bipartisanship. What else has to happen in this country? Cops, this is a slap in the face to every rank and file cop in the United States. If we`re going to take on China, if we`re going to rebuild the country, if we`re going to reverse climate change, we need two political parties in this country that are both living in reality and you ain`t one of them.


REID: Might the Republicans have played a poor hand here? Because I remember those Benghazi committee hearings, when they`re held in sort of a partisan sort of circumstance as opposed to what would have been a bipartisan, non-political commission, well, you can sort of produce lots and lots and lots and lots of sound bites and lots of questions for some current members about who was giving Capitol tours, stuff they might not want to answer.

BARDELLA: Yes. I mean, I don`t know about you, but I`m pretty sure that Donald Trump could not withstand 11 hours of testimony, to what Hillary Clinton conducted basically a master class, and taken down people mansplaining to her up there. But, I mean, at the end of the day this is about getting to the truth. And it just seems very clear there`s only one party interested in doing that.

And really that begs the question why. If you don`t want a bipartisan 9/11- type commission to look at January 6th, well, why is that? What are you afraid of? What do you afraid they`re going to find? I mean, I remember when Republicans used to be the party that talked constantly ability oversight, about congressional transparency, about the only path of truth being through the House of Representatives, as Jim Jordan once said, to justify the investigations that they conducted relentlessly on the Barack Obama administration. I mean, it`s something that Congressman Swalwell just said.

It`s really amazing that the law and order party here is the Democratic Party, the party that`s interested in getting justice and truth and using the tools of the people`s house to get those answers is the Democratic Party now. And that`s how far away the Republican Party has wandered away from what they used to talk about constantly.

REID: If you were involved in putting together hearings, if this ends up just being in the committee process, you now have the attorney for one of the insurrectionists, the QAnon shaman, can`t I believe I have to say that on television, literally really called them a very offensive term -- you can read it on air. Short-bus people, saying they were given to propaganda, they were easily duped, they were stupid. It sounds to me like maybe he or his client might be people who might want to be called in front of a committee. Would you recommend that to the Democrats if they have to proceed that way?

BARDELLA: Yes. And that`s why the very first witness that they should hear from is the officer that Congressman Swalwell has become friends with. If Republicans don`t want to talk with him and take his called and meet with him privately, well, they should have to sit there and listen to him tell his story directly to their faces.

I mean, there are so many people who have been touched and hurt and impacted by what happened on January 6th and we should put a human face with that. I think one of the things that we learned during the impeachment proceedings of Donald J. Trump, both of them was, when you don`t have those witnesses, you don`t have those firsthand accounts, it kind of diminishes the process and the proceeding.

But we have an opportunity to here, if Republicans stop the Senate from passing the January 6th Commission, well, Democrats have an opportunity to take matters into their own hands and put forward those type of witnesses and let Republicans sit there and tell them it was just another day in the tourist world as a Capitol Police officer tells a very different story.

REID: Yes. And good luck to Republicans if they think they`ll bury what happened on January 6th. It`s not going to happen. It is not going away Kurt Bardella, thank you very much. I really appreciate you`re being here this evening.

And up next on THE REIDOUT, it`s getting serious. The U.S. attorney general is now calling the probe into the Trump organization a criminal investigation, criminal as in potential jail time. And Trump is lashing out in every direction, including calling his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, a, quote, low life, among other things. Cohen will be here to respond.

Plus, seeking justice 100 years after the Tulsa Race Massacre.


VIOLA FLETCHER, SURVIVOR, TULSA RACE MASSACRE: I`m a survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre. Two weeks ago I celebrated my 107th birthday.


REID: She was there a century ago when hundreds of black people were massacred in Tulsa`s Greenwood District. Today she and other survivors share their harrowing stories on Capitol Hill.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: For more than year now, there have been two parallel investigations of the Trump organization in New York. One is a criminal probe led by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. And the other led by State Attorney General Letitia James as a civil probe, meaning it could result in civil penalties like fines.

But we`re now learning that the attorney general`s office is also pursuing a criminal investigation. That`s according to the office itself, which released a statement last night. Quote, we have informed the Trump organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature. We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA."

In other words, members of the A.G.`s office are joining forces with Cyrus Vance`s team to pursue that criminal inquiry. And that should come as ominous news to the former president, who faces a growing list of legal liabilities.

In addition to those inquiries, he`s under criminal investigation for his election meddling in Georgia. He faces two defamation suits over alleged sexual assault and a financial fraud suit filed by his own niece.

Then there`s the federal investigation into the January 6 insurrection, along with three civil suits filed separately by Congressmen Bennie Thompson and Eric Swalwell, as well as two Capitol Police officers.

Then there`s the possible exposure Trump still faces on obstruction from the Mueller probe, as well as his possible exposure in the investigation of Rudy Giuliani over Ukraine.

Joining me now is Joyce Vance, former U.S. attorney, and Paul Butler, Georgetown law professor and former federal prosecutor.

Joyce, I will start with you on this.

It is a cornucopia of potential legal trouble for Donald Trump. But let`s start with this current one.

What does it normally take for a probe to go from being a civil case in the A.G.`s office to being criminal? Like, what -- why would that change?

JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: So, it`s a simple matter of the evidence.

The New York attorney general has broad jurisdiction to investigate civil matters, but she`s very limited when it comes to criminal cases. We don`t know exactly what the mechanism was that she used here to transform this into a criminal case.

But, Joy, to answer your question, it means that, in the course of looking at civil claims, she developed evidence that criminal conduct had occurred, and so her case was converted over.

REID: And, Paul, so if the Trump Organization is then notified of this, is that sort of a notice that you`re going to be prosecuted? Like, how terrifying would that be to get a letter like that or to be notified in that way?


This sounds almost like a target letter that prosecutors send to inform the person being investigated that the government intends to press charges. So, a question is, what changed to make this civil investigation go criminal?

We know that the New York attorney general interviewed Allen Weisselberg, Eric Trump, and Trump`s tax attorney, who reportedly declined to answer some questions.

There had been parallel investigations. But it makes sense for the Manhattan DA and the New York attorney general to work together on issues like sharing intelligence, securing witness cooperation, and dividing up the work.

There are literally millions and millions of pages of documents. So, Joy, this is kind of like two members of the Justice League coming together to combine their superpowers to catch a bad guy or a bad organization.

REID: Well, and, then, in that case, Joyce, then who`s -- what takes precedence here? Because if you have got these multiple investigations now going on in these two separate offices, and they`re combining like the Justice League, what`s the order of operations in how these things get prosecuted, if the -- if it goes forward?

VANCE: That`s an important point about this merger of the two offices` investigations.

Paul and I have both had this experience of working as prosecutors in cases where more than one jurisdiction had evidence. And prosecutors can be a little bit territorial about their cases. So, by coming together, this allows the two offices to streamline what they`re working on, to go after the most important charges, whatever those might prove to be, first.

And I think, most importantly, here, often, when two different groups are working on similar or related allegations, they develop different evidence streams. And when you put them together, it can add up to more than the sum of their parts. That synergy can really create a powerful case.

I have seen that happen repeatedly in investigations. There`s something going on here. We don`t know how close they are or if they actually will indict either the Trump Organization or individuals. But, as Paul says, no one who`s involved in this situation should be sleeping easy at night.

REID: And should -- and the other question -- I saw this -- folks were talking about this earlier on Nicolle`s show.

I`m wondering if they all -- if all of the Trump family needs to maybe get different lawyers. I mean, Trump put out a sort of silly statement on his blog, saying it`s all political. He can throw that out. But he is going up against Tish James, who does have a track record. I mean, she has gone after the NRA. She`s gone after -- she`s practically shut the NRA down, ran them out of New York. This is a pretty serious prosecutor.

There is the possibility of dealing with Weisselberg, Mr. Weisselberg, who is the COO, who knows all the books.

If you were Ivanka and Junior and all of the Trump kids and, et cetera, should they all be getting different lawyers, because they should -- they might have different interests, Paul, right? Do they all have the same interests at this point?

BUTLER: No, they absolutely need their own criminal defense lawyer.

They have to be scared of Letitia James. She`s kicked Donald Trump`s butt in court already. She forced Trump to pay $2 million for using charitable funds for his own political purposes. As part of that settlement, Trump had to make 19 admissions that he personally misused funds.

Don Jr., Eric and Ivanka had to go -- undergo mandatory training. And the Trump charity had to shut down. So, this prosecutor has a proven record.

And, Joy, I don`t think she would let this be publicly known unless she was fixing to do something at some point that is going to cause severe consequences for either the Trump Organization or Donald Trump or members of his family.

REID: And let`s talk about Mr. Weisselberg, Allen Weisselberg, who is the CFO.

So, this is a piece in "The Wall Street Journal" that said the New York prosecutors have subpoenaed a Manhattan private school, as they seek the cooperation of the CFO Allen Weisselberg. More than $500,000 of the Weisselberg children`s tuition was paid for with checks signed by either Mr. Weisselberg or Trump, according to the children`s mother, which suggests that they could be examining whether the Weisselbergs evaded taxes with a tuition payment agreement.

We have been talking a lot on the show, when we`re talking like Matt Gaetz and other cases, about flipping someone else to try to get the information that you want. The -- Mr. Weisselberg feels like -- I`m not a lawyer, but somebody who might be very valuable if he decided to cooperate.

Is that where you would be going, Joyce, if you were these prosecutors?

VANCE: Weisselberg has to be the cooperating witness that you really want, if you`re looking at the financial prosecution here.

By all accounts, he`s the one who knows where all of the financial secrets are buried. And he would be the key person to have.

There`s two ways of reading this Joyce -- Joy. Either they`re continuing to look at some of these allegations about Weisselberg because he`s involved as a co-conspirator with someone else and they want to prove those cases, but, more likely, Weisselberg has not yet agreed to cooperate. And so they`re trying to put pressure on him with these investigations.

And it`s interesting to note that Tish James actually got in a deposition of Weisselberg last year. So she can also bring that to the table, and they could examine his answers in that deposition, in light of the evidence that they have developed in this ongoing investigation.

REID: Drip, drip, drip. It`s fascinating.

Joyce Vance, Paul Butler, thank you both very much.

And still ahead, more on the announcement by New York`s top prosecutor that her office is now pursuing criminal charges in the ongoing investigations into Trump business dealings. What does this mean for the unemployed Florida blogger?

His former personal lawyer Michael Cohen joins me next.



REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): To your knowledge, did the president ever provide inflated assets to an insurance company?


OCASIO-CORTEZ: Do you think we need to review his financial statements and his tax returns in order to compare them?

COHEN: Yes. And you would find it at the Trump Org.


REID: If anyone knows where the bodies are buried in the Trump Organization, it`s Michael Cohen.

The now two criminal investigations in the -- into the Trump Organization in New York both stem from information from the ex-president`s former lawyer. The just-announced criminal investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James started as a civil investigation into whether Trump deliberately manipulated the value of assets for tax and insurance purposes.

That probe was launched after Michael Cohen told Congress, as you just heard, that Trump had lied about his assets in 2019. The parallel investigation by Manhattan district Cy Vance was launched after Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to campaign finance violations involving hush money payments to women on the former president`s behalf.

"The Washington Post" notes the parallel investigations run by James and Vance had already delved more deeply into Trump`s Byzantine finances than any law enforcement authorities ever had.

And since Michael Cohen has spoken to the district attorney`s office multiple times, naturally, the disgraced, twice-impeached Florida retiree with nothing to do and nothing but time on his hands is also attacking Cohen. He called him a -- quote -- "lying, discredited lowlife" in a rambling and incoherent blog post today.

That was in between whining rants about how the whole thing is so unfair to him and the Trump Organization, blah, blah, blah.

Joining me now is Michael Cohen, former personal attorney to Donald Trump, host of the "Mea Culpa" podcast, and author of "The New York Times" best seller "Disloyal," and also a very expert user of Twitter.

Thanks for all the great promotion for this interview tonight.

I want to let you have an opportunity to respond to Donald Trump`s disparagement of you, if you care to.

COHEN: Well, I really don`t care to, simply because it`s just typical. It`s typical Donald.

But I like his allegations against me, and considering -- just look at who the guy is, right? This is a guy who has an affair, actually multiple affairs, while his wife had just had a child, right, the child separation act, which was just a disgrace and just denigrated America`s standing in the world, his attacking on President Obama`s Affordable Care Act, leaving millions of Americans without health coverage, his racist rants, which we know are just every day, including the fact that he couldn`t even mention George Floyd`s name at any point in time.

And, finally, January 6, the big lie, and his continuous promotion of the big lie. So, I wear it as a badge of honor.

So, thank you for that, Donald. I appreciate it.


REID: You -- I mean, clearly, you did care to. You did.

Let`s talk about the Trump Organization, because you know that organization well, I mean, because I think, when people think of a company, like a corporation, you think of a big corporation, like Enron or one of these companies that gets in trouble.

But this is like a mom-and-pop organization, right? It`s basically Trump, the kids ,and Allen Weisselberg. Do I have that wrong?

COHEN: Well, yes, it`s bigger than that. But you`re right. It`s a glorified mom-and-pop company.

There`s probably 14 -- when I was there, there were 14 executive vice presidents, myself being included. Other than that, you had a lot of support staff, a lot of secretarial staff, and so on.

Now, at one point in time, Trump, which is again, part of his ongoing continuous lies, made allegations that he employed 10,000 people. Well, that`s not true, because, again, he doesn`t own the buildings that he had employees in, right? It`s either owned by homeowners associations, or it`s licensing deals.

But he included them into it. So, he included everybody. But you`re right, Joy. It is a mom-and-pop organization.

But for a quick second, I just want to go back, because I think it`s worth me saying, when he`s talking about my credibility. I personally think -- and I will ask you your opinion it -- that my credibility is a lot more in demand than Trump`s petty, pathetic temper tantrums, right, masquerading as strength, because that`s what he does, right?

He goes ahead and he puts out these statements. And the great thing is that he`s no longer on Twitter. So, I didn`t even know about this denigration of me until your producers called to tell me about it.

REID: Yes. Yes.

COHEN: So, he`s really -- he`s mic`ed out right now.

REID: You don`t read blogs?

Let`s let`s talk about the hiding of assets, because the reason I asked you about the size of the organization is that that would mean, presumably, that someone like Allen Weisselberg, and maybe even the Trump children, would they be in the know about the valuation of these assets?

Because you`re talking about assets that Ivanka and Jared and the Trump sons are out there pitching and selling these licensing agreements for. Would they potentially have exposure here? Because I was asking previous -- in the previous segment, should they be getting their own lawyers?

COHEN: Well, they have to get their own lawyer.

And one of the things -- I have a very different opinion. I`m going to answer your question, but I have a little bit of a different opinion on this than most people.

The answer is, yes, they would know what the valuations are, specifically on a project that they were designated to. Each of the children were designated to different properties.

But Allen Weisselberg knew every single dollar and every single dollar -- not even dollar. To the penny, every single penny in and every penny out went through Allen Weisselberg`s desk, and then reported before and after to Donald J. Trump.

So, there was a very -- as I have stated, there was a very small core group of executives, a larger subset, but a very small core group.

Now, it`s interesting, because I also watched the segment before this, where you were talking about Trump and whether or not that the kids need to.

I believe that they do need it. And I`m going to tell you why. Everyone keeps talking about, oh, Rudy, Rudy, Rudy.

REID: Yes.

COHEN: What did we get off of his electronics? What are they going to get now from the Trump Organization? How are they going to get Weisselberg to flip? Are they going to go away after -- it`s not just Barry, but it`s also his other son, Jack, who is part of Ladder Capital.

REID: Yes.

COHEN: I don`t -- I think they already know this.

I think Donald Trump is going to flip on all of them -- what do you think about that? -- including his children?

REID: Huh.


COHEN: I think -- I really believe that Donald Trump is going to turn around.

You always get shocked when I say things, Joy.


COHEN: I really believe that Donald Trump cares for only himself.

And he realizes that his goose is cooked. So, when he turns around and he gets questioned about what you`re just asking about, inflation...

REID: Yes.

COHEN: ... it wasn`t me. It was Allen.

REID: Wow.

COHEN: It was my accountant. It was -- it was the appraiser.

It`s never Donald.

REID: Wow.

COHEN: See, this is the problem. It`s never ,ever Donald Trump. It`s always somebody else.

It wasn`t Donald Trump who had the affair. It wasn`t Donald Trump who directed me to make the payments to Stormy Daniels. It wasn`t Donald Trump who got the benefit of the relationship and the actions, right? It was Michael Cohen. And, right, I`m the bad guy into it. Why? Because I didn`t take the fall.

REID: Yes.

COHEN: Well, what`s going to happen when the DA or the attorney general -- and, listen, I give her a lot of credit, just as your previous guests did, a lot of credit, because she didn`t start this as criminal.

REID: Yes.

COHEN: She started it as civil. But what`s going to happen when, all of a sudden, they turn around and they start asking him about his tax returns, or about the devaluation of the assets, or the way that he took deductions?

I don`t do my taxes. It`s my accountant.

REID: Yes.

COHEN: So, he`s going to turn on his accountant and point the finger.

He`s going to say, Don Jr. handled that. Ivanka handled that. Melania. Don`t take me. Take Melania.


COHEN: He`s going to tell them to take everyone, except for himself.

REID: Even Ivanka?


COHEN: That`s just the kind of guy he is.

It`s on tape of my discussion. Everything was done at the direction of and for the benefit of Donald J. Trump.

And I do have to say that my credibility, I believe, is going to end up getting Donald -- Don Jr., Ivanka, Jared, Allen Weisselberg, his kids --

REID: Yeah.

COHEN: -- some orange jumpsuits, yeah.

REID: Your -- well, what you said has tended to check out. Michael Cohen, you never disappoint, sir. Thank you very much for being here. Really appreciate you. Thanks.

COHEN: Good to see you, Joy.

REID: All right. Thank you very much. Wow. He never disappoints.

OK. Well, up next, a century later, survivors of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre deliver emotional testimony before Congress. We will hear them share their horrific memories of those events and their calls for justice, next on THE REIDOUT.


REID: In the early morning hours of June 1st, 1921, a hostile white mob unleashed a terrifying wave of violence on the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, a prosperous African-American enclave also known as Black Wall Street.

The massacre that ensued ranks among the worst in U.S. history, with white mobs looting and burning the black neighborhood to the ground. Families were chased from their homes which were pillaged. Businesses were destroyed and hundreds of black people were murdered.

The governor declared martial law. When it was over, nearly 35 city blocks laid in charred ruins. Initially 36 deaths were reported. It took years to uncover the truth that as many as 300 people were slaughtered, another 800 were wounded.

Viola Fletcher was just 7 years old on that day. Today on Capitol Hill, the oldest living survivor of the Tulsa race massacre shared what it was like to witness that atrocity.


VIOLA FLETCHER, 1921 TULSA RACE MASSACRE SURVIVOR: We lost everything that day, our homes, our churches, our newspapers, our theaters, our lives. Greenwood represented all the best of what was possible for black people in America. No one cared about us for almost a hundred years. We and our history have been forgotten, washed away. This Congress must recognize us.


REID: Lessie Benningfield Randle was just 6. One hundred years later, the memory of that day is still seared into her brain.


LESSIE BENNINGFIELD RANDLE, 1921 TULSA RACE MASSACRE SURVIVOR: I remember running outside of our house. I just passed dead bodies. It wasn`t a pretty sight. I was so scared, I didn`t think we could make it out alive. I remember people were running everywhere.


REID: Survivors of the Tulsa massacre are plaintiffs in a reparations lawsuit which argues that the state of Oklahoma and the city of Tulsa are responsible for what happened during the massacre. Today`s hearing is meant to explore ways to compensate the survivors and their descendants.

Hughes Van Ellis, Viola Fletcher`s younger brother, the youngest of the three at 100 years old, told members of the committee that the victims of the greenwood massacre have been ignored by the courts for far too long.


HUGHES VAN ELLIS, 1921 TULSA RACE MASSACRE SURVIVOR: The courts in Oklahoma wouldn`t hear us. The federal courts said we were too late. We were made to feel that our struggle was unworthy against -- that we were less valued than whites, that we weren`t fully Americans.

We were shown that in the United States, not all men were equal under the law. We were shown that when black voices called out for justice, no one cared.


REID: A search for victims continues to this day. In October, excavations began in two parts of a cemetery in the Greenwood area. A large event is scheduled for May 31st to commemorate the centennial anniversary of one of the ugliest and until recently least known, even in Oklahoma, moments of American history.

We`ll be right back.


REID: President Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today for the fourth time since the crisis between Israel and the Palestinian people began ten days ago. According to the official readout, he conveyed to the prime minister that he expected a significant de- escalation today on the path to a ceasefire between Israel and the militant organization Hamas. It is by far his strongest statement yet and the only one in which he didn`t use the usual language that Israel had the right to defend itself.

However, after the call, Netanyahu doubled down saying in a statement that, I am determined on continue this operation until the objective is achieved to restore the calm and security to you, citizens of Israel, unquote.

Violence hasn`t shown any signs of stopping. Israel continued to target Gaza City where Hamas is based, as Hamas continued to fire rockets toward neighborhoods in Israel. So far, 227 Palestinians have died in Gaza, including 64 children, and 12 Israelis have died as a result of rocket fire.

The violence isn`t limited to Gaza. Clashes broke out yesterday between Palestinians and Israelis in both Jerusalem and the West Bank as Palestinians launched a general strike to protest Israeli actions.

And joining me now, Rashid Khalidi, professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University, and Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street.

I was very much looking forward to talk to you both. Thanks for being here.

Rashid Khalid, I want to start with the situation on the ground is really dire. Some 52,000 of the 2 million people in Gaza have been displaced according to the information in front of me here, including 400 buildings, homes, hospitals and schools.

You`ve got Gaza which is already poor, you know, struggling to cope with COVID, has had its two primary health care centers annihilated. Its only COVID center is destroyed. It`s a complete disaster.

To what do you owe the fact that it is still not stopping, that despite all of that horror and the world looking in horror, Israel has that, we ain`t stopping and Hamas has said, we ain`t stopping?

RASHID KHALID, PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Well, I think the Israelis not stopping is a direct result of the United States not doing anything to stop it. Whatever we were told the president may have said to Netanyahu in those short conversations, he clearly hasn`t said harsh enough words.

Israel has used American weapons to do this, in violation of American law. The president could say, we`ll look into that, for example. He could say things publicly. He could allow the Security Council to issue a resolution. None of those things have apparently been done.

So I would put a lot of this down to the willingness of this administration to grant impunity to Israel, no matter how egregious its violations and how many people died -- 227 is a lot of people, most of them innocent civilians.

REID: Yeah. And I mean, to that point, it`s not even just this administration, Jeremy Ben-Ami. That is the politics in the United States. The United States is not neutral. It has never been neutral. Every administration says the same words, sends the same money.

There have been, though, some slight changes, sort of more toward the J Street sounding position by some in the Democratic Party. Even Bob Menendez who`s pretty hawkish coming out and saying he`s deeply troubled by the reports of American military actions. You`ve had younger members of Congress. The Cori Bushes of the world, the AOCs, and we do have a Palestinian member now, Rashida Tlaib.

Representative Ocasio-Cortez, Mark Pocan and Rashida Tlaib, they are lead sponsors of a bill to actually get at that money to say they want to block this $735 million in military aid going to Israel. That feels like real change, or is it -- or is it?

JEREMY BEN-AMI, J STREET PRESIDENT: It`s a seed change. It`s an absolute change. It is not just members at one end of the caucus. Today, you have nearly 140 members of the Democratic Caucus. That`s nearly two-thirds of the members, called for an immediate cease-fire, making it very clear to president Biden that what Professor Khalidi is being said is true, which is the United States is not doing everything it possibly can to stop this, two-thirds of the Democrats in Congress.

And you have 29 senators on Sunday, led by the newest senator, Jon Ossoff, from Georgia, a young Jewish member standing up and saying this has to end.

So I don`t think it`s just a minor group at one end of the spectrum. I think this is a sea change, and where the center of the Democratic Party is, the center of public opinion is at.

REID: And if that feels -- I think that feels right to me as well, Rashid Khalidi, that -- you know, all my life since I was a kid watching this on "Nightline" and seeing Benjamin Netanyahu when he was more of a commentator, being very, very hawkish. It never felt like a critical mass of movement in Democratic politics in this direction. It does feel real.

Is that the reason that you`re seeing the president have to change slightly his rhetoric? He can`t escape this. He was in Michigan. Rashida Tlaib is the congresswoman there. He wants to talk about other stuff he can.

KHALIDI: No, she and Debbie Dingell obviously met him on the tarmac and said a few choice words to him on behalf of their constituents in Dearborn and Detroit. And I think it is not just a very large number of men and women in Congress. I think it`s -- the media itself is finally beginning to air both sides of the dispute. Social media is doing things you all are not able or willing to do.

The images people are seeing on social media, they cannot unsee. I think that you have changes going on, things like the Tulsa riots, things like Black Lives Matter, are seen as connected by a very large number of people. Not just in the Democratic Party but particularly young people on campuses, young people all over the country.

And I think this is something that is actually happening not just in the United States. There is a lot of pushback. There will be even more pushback. I think people are moving in the direction of understanding that much -- many of these bromides, Israel has a right to defend itself. Do Palestinians have the right to defend themselves?

Israel`s security, the most insecure people in Palestine in Israel are Palestinians. And we talk about Israel`s security.

If people are people and we believe in human rights, which the United States supposedly stands for, then the kinds of things we expect for ourselves, we should expect for people, not just in Israel but also in Palestine.

And that`s coming through.

REID: Yeah.

And, Jeremy Ben-Ami, you were even seeing Jewish organizations characterizing what we`re seeing in Israel as apartheid which is something that used to only a small number of people would be willing to say publicly.

So I wonder, does that end up moving? It feels like Benjamin Netanyahu has a political interest in keeping this going, because this might get him past his corruption issues and keeping prime minister.

So I wonder if -- does this end up changing anything on the ground?

BEN-AMI: Well, I do think that there is a real point to what Professor Khalidi is saying. When the United States leans in and says this has to stop, the state of Israel will have no choice but to stop it. So this will have an impact, this sea change that`s happening here.

It`s worth mentioning on the right as well, that the alignment of Donald Trump and the Republican Party, with Benjamin Netanyahu and the right wing in Israel, is also part of this political sea change that`s happening here and it`s a huge strategic mistake for those of us who care about the future of Israel. It`s a huge mistake for Israel to align itself with the Trump movement when you got all these incredible movements happening that the majority of American Jews align with that are all about justice and all (AUDIO GAP) freedom in this country.

REID: Yeah, absolutely. It`s inextricable from U.S. politics, what`s happening there.

Thank you very much, Rashid Khalidi, Jeremy Ben-Ami. Really appreciated both of you coming on tonight.

And that is tonight`s REIDOUT. Thank you all for watching.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.