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Transcript: The ReidOut, 5/26/21

Guests: Tony Schwartz, Susanne Craig, Karine Jean-Pierre, Mona Hardin, S. Lee Merritt


Judge dismisses indictment against Steve Bannon. Manhattan D.A. reportedly convenes Trump grand jury. Trump Organization CFO is being pressured to flip on Trump. Prosecutors reportedly told witness to prepare to testify before Trump grand jury. "New York Times" reports, tax returns expected to show that Trump racks up chronic losses. Trump slams reported grand jury as purely political. Potential Trump grand jury witness says she`s concerned for her safety. FBI and DOJ are investigating the 2019 death of Ronald Greene.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Facebook, or Twitter, or whatever social media you might use. I`ll be back at 6:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow. And "THE REIDOUT" with Joy Reid is up next. Joy?

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Thank you very much, Ari, I really appreciate you. Have a great evening.

All right, good evening, everyone. We do, begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the reckoning that`s looming for Donald Trump now that a grand jury has been impaneled in New York.

But, first, let`s re-visit the curious case of Steve Bannon, Trump`s former Campaign Strategist. Remember him, scraggly hair, blotchy (ph) face, bragged about making Breitbart the home of the white nationalist outright? In many ways, Bannon, was the architect of the Trump iteration of the America First brand, the so-called economic nationalism grounded in anti- immigrant, back to the early 20th century working class culture war politics that put Trump in office back in 2016. And he`s capitalized on that accomplishment to become a leading voice of the extreme right.

Last August, Bannon was arrested aboard a not so working class 150-foot yacht off the coast of Connecticut and charged with conspiracy counts of fraud and money laundering. That`s because he and some friends had allegedly schemed to defraud hundreds of thousands of donors, claiming 100 percent of their money would be used to build Trump promised boarder wall that Trump had promise Mexico would pay for it. Instead, the indictment says that Bannon and friends siphoned the money off for their own personal use, scamming Trump supporters to enrich himself. In other words, Bannon preyed on the same disaffected working class voters that he and Trump claimed to represent.

Of course, Trump doesn`t care about those people any more than Bannon does. He pardoned Bannon in the final hour of his presidency, not so much Bannon still a defendant who still face that old fraud charge or the 100 of Trump die-hard who stormed the Capitol and now face as with prison time.

Now, let`s fast forward to this week, when the judge in Bannon`s case reluctantly dismissed the indictment against him. Notably, she cited the precedent that a pardon implies guilt. Because if there be no guilt, there is no ground for forgiveness, in other words, acceptance of a pardon may imply a confession of guilt. So yes, Bannon scammed those Trumpers.

Now, let`s take a moment to remember that a presidential pardon only covers federal crimes. It cannot protect a would-be defendant from state charges. And it just so happens that a state probe of Bannon alleged fraud still looms. The Manhattan D.A., Cyrus Vance, reportedly picked up where federal prosecutors left off along with the New York Attorney General Letitia James, who teamed up on the case.

Now, that sounds familiar, that because they`ve also been investigating Donald Trump and his company for criminal fraud. And as we reported last night, Vance has now assembled a grand jury to weigh potential charges. In other words, it`s falling on New York to not only clean up the mess that Trump`s business left in his wake but that of his associates too.

Now, we have known that Trump has long been a professional scam artist, even before he entered politics. The irony here is that, had Bannon not been so successful running his 2016 campaign, Trump might never been president and might not have attracted the kind of scrutiny that he is now under. By winning the presidency, which since Nixon has come with a tradition of showing your taxes, you might say he drew the eye of Sauron on himself.

At the same time, also thanks in part to Bannon`s help, Trump has millions fanatical cult followers who are willing to believe anything he says. Just consider that a majority of Republicans, 53 percent of them, believe that the big -- believe the big lie that Trump actually won the election and that he and not Joe Biden is the true president of the United States. They have gulped down the Kool-Aid to become willing participants in Trump`s grift.

Their gullibility is now part of Trump`s defense. He`s using his voters as cover in a vain attempt to escape accountability. Reacting to the news of the grand jury last night, Trump said, quote, this is an affront to the almost 75 million voters who supported me in the presidential election. Really, Donald? Because the potential crimes under scrutiny have nothing to do with the presidency. They arise from Donald Trump`s private business dealings before he was even president.

But that`s the latest extension of the big lie that prosecutors and now the country must grapple with in order to see that justice is done.

And joining me now is Susanne Craig, Investigative Reporter for The New York Times, Glenn Kirschner, former Federal Prosecutor, and Tony Schwartz CEO of the Energy Project and Co-author of Trump, The Art of The Deal.

And, Tony, I`m going to start with you, because Donald Trump is trying to hide behind his cult. To say, no, they are coming after you. But no, no, no, they are coming after you, Donald, not your voters. There is some reporting from Politico that there`s now an air of nerves in the air in Trump world. Because this is a little bit different, a little bit of this. It feels different because then the type barrage of legal issues surrounding Trump because there`s a pressure on Trump Org CFO Allen Weisselberg to flip, and that informal interviews are expected to move on and begin soon. How do you think Trump is reacting to that?

TONY SCHWARTZ, CO-AUTHOR THE ART OF THE DEAL: Well, let`s be clear. First of all, thank you. I haven`t seen you since Trump lost the election to Biden. I have been happily in retirement. I got on the call today and I`m slightly depressed because I didn`t want to talk about Donald Trump anymore, but I couldn`t turn you down.

So, what I -- got it. What I think is that Trump has been under this kind of pressure for so long, it`s just taking this particular form now, potentially a criminal form. But I underline the word potentially. There`s no guarantee that this grand jury will indict him. This is a man who has never been criminally indicted even though he has been committing crimes since he was -- at least since he was a teenager.

So the idea that they were suddenly going to get him or that he is in some sort of terror because the feds are coming after him, I`m not sure I really buy that, Joy. I think, yes, he is concerned but this is par for the course for him. Ad he sure loves the fact that we`re on here talking about him.

REID: Yes. And he has gotten away with a lot, Glenn, and that is I think a very important point. And probably would have continued getting away with it. Look, Cy Vance wasn`t looking to come get him before he was president. He sort of raised himself and made himself more vulnerable because he was president.

But that said, if he is thinking he is going to get away with it, like he always does, people around him might not be that confident. Prosecutors, according to CNN have told at least one witness begin preparing for grand jury testimony. So we can start seeing that testimony beginning.

I will note that Michael Cohen wouldn`t comment on whether he is the witness in question. He also said he couldn`t make comments when he spoke with my colleague, Ari Melber, earlier. But do you think that the squeeze on someone like a Weisselberg might change the trajectory of what normally is Trump getting away with everything?

GLENN KIRSCHNER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: You know, Joy, first of all, I agree with Tony that D.A. in Manhattan impaneling this special, pretty extraordinary grand jury, which is going to sit for six months as opposed to the normal four weeks that the New York grand jury would sit, doesn`t guarantee that Trump will be indicted but it is clearly the last stop on the road to an indictment.

And every data point we have seen from the Manhattan District Attorney`s Office trends toward indictment, whether it was the two-year battle to get his tax returns and his financials, two trips to the Supreme Court, they finally got a hold of it. They went out and spent considerable New York taxpayer dollars hiring an expensive forensic accounting firm to help them unravel those documents. They then brought on board an expert mob former prosecutor in Mark Pomerantz as part of the team.

And now they have impaneled a special grand jury to hear all the testimony of the witnesses and lock them in. That`s what`s most important, when you are putting witnesses in front of a grand jury, what you are doing is creating the blueprint for your criminal trial. Because once that testimony is under oath in an official proceeding, it can then be used as substantive evidence at trial. So if those witnesses get scared or they conveniently forget stuff that otherwise would have incriminated Donald Trump, guess what, their grand jury testimony can be used to convict Donald Trump.

So every single data point is trending toward indictment and this grand jury being impaneled is the last stop.

REID: Yes. You know, we started with Steve Bannon, Susanne Craig, and thank you, welcome to the show, because there is a sort of similarity to the way that the grift is begun to work on the right. That they get these working class -- mainly white working class voters all hopped up on things like fear of immigration, fear of cultural change, culture wars, everything, trans kids playing sports, whatever it is. And then the next thing that happens is, there`s a grift, there`s an ask for money.

If you look at the daily ask for money, it`s all about finding ways to enrich themselves. They don`t care about these people, they care about getting rich. And people are getting real rich off of these grifts. You write, and let me read it to you for just a moment. You wrote this last September about Trump`s taxes in his personal grift.

The tax returns that Mr. Trump has long fought to keep private tell a story different from the one he has sold to the American public. His report to the IRS portray a businessman who takes in hundreds of millions of dollars a year yet racks up chronic losses that he aggressively employs to avoid paying taxes. Ultimately, Trump has been more successful playing a business mogul than being one in real life. The Apprentice was in grift, it was a lie, it made it look like he was super rich and successful, which he just not. Tony Schwartz can testify to that.

I wonder if we now are at the point where the grift, which was Trump pretending to be rich but really saying to the tax man, I am really broke, has that run out of steam? Or in your reporting, is he somebody who just this actually kind of broke and that maybe prosecutors are trying to take down a billionaire who doesn`t exist?

SUSANNE CRAIG, THE NEW YORK TIMES INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: He made it -- it`s a great point. He`s got a lot of pressure on him. He`s businesses that we`ve seen, because we have had his taxes for a number of years up to 2018, aren`t doing well. Then COVID happened. And a lot of people have forgotten in this.

He is facing an audit with the IRS that if it goes against him could cost him more than $100 million. And that`s on top of everything going down with Cy Vance and the Manhattan D.A. and what`s going on with the New York Attorney General. That could be huge. So he`s got a lot of things he`s balancing.

And one of the things I don`t hear him talking a lot about day to day is his businesses. He seems to be doing a lot of things and those aren`t as present when you are hearing him talking about what he is up to.

REID: Right. And I think that`s because his businesses, as you said, don`t typically do well. I mean, Tony, everyone`s luck runs out. And this guy has been lucky in that he`s been able to pretend to be successful for a long time. It got him into the White House. I mean, I don`t think anybody`s luck stays -- runs forever. Does his?

SCHWARTZ: Again, I`m not sure. Will karma catch up with Donald Trump? I don`t know. I do believe that he is now translated and made contagious his way of looking at the world. And so we are seeing it across the far right Republicans, the Josh Hawleys and the Ted Cruzs, Ron DeSantises. I think they picked up that -- picked that banner up.

And I think that those 75 million people who voted for him or whatever percentage are his diehards, are still, if Donald Trump tells them he is rich, and he is actually in a homeless shelter, they will believe that he is rich and he has chosen to be in a homeless shelter.

So I think the whole issue of truth, Trump has now made it official, the truth for Donald Trump and for anybody who wants to support him is absolutely irrelevant. So it`s all about what he can make people believe.

REID: But that`s not the way it works in court, Glenn. And you know what, I want to -- to that very point, just to pick up on Tony`s point, there -- on Ari Melber`s show, Ms. Jennifer Weisselberg, Mr. Weisselberg daughter- in-law, she wouldn`t say whether she`s expected to testify. I want you to listen, let you listen really quickly to what she did say.


MELBER: Do you have any expectation that you would provide testimony to this grand jury?

JENNIFER WEISSELBERG, ALLEN WEISSELBERG DAUGHTER-IN-LAW: You know, yesterday I was rocked by the news. It took my breath away. I didn`t know, I mean they don`t tell us what was going on inside the investigation. It`s a very -- it`s a good look at how the judicial process actually works when it`s not influenced. You know, it`s out of respect for side investigation and also for my own safety, I think it`s best that I don`t discuss that at this time.


REID: Glenn, I was struck by, and also for my own safety, because Donald Trump`s supporters have proved that they`re willing to commit extreme violence against our democracy and against other people to get Donald Trump to win. If you are a prosecutor in this case, would that worry you?

KIRSCHNER: Yes. I mean, I think there is the threat of imminent violence, frankly, in the statement that Donald Trump made, because we have seen this movie before. What did he put out a statement yesterday in response to Cy Vance`s announcement that there is a special grand jury being impaneled? He said, this is an affront not to me, to my 75 million followers, supporters, voters. What is he doing? He is trying to pull them in his criminal orbit and he is sending a signal, if I get indicted, you all are figuratively getting indicted. What are you going to do about that?

Joy, we have seen this movie before. He did it on January 6th when he lost the election. He riled up, he incited his supporters and he pointed them in the direction of the Capitol and he told them, expressly, now go stop what`s going on in that building. I mean, this is him doing the same thing all over again. And it`s dangerous, frankly, his rhetoric is obscene. And we should stop the momentum of the big lie by charging the big liar with the crimes he has committed.

REID: Yes. And final question to you, Susanne, you have done so much reporting on Donald Trump taxes. You know it seems that these financial crimes and the tax avoidance is his Achilles heel at this point. And I wonder if you think that, an investigation like that doesn`t seem like one that will just go away because of politics or threats. Your thoughts?

CRAIG: No. I mean, I think there`s going to be some formula where they -- they`re not unaware of it. They are moving towards it looks like some sort of indictment. We know, we could see some of them coming sooner rather than later. I don`t think they`re going to come all at once. But they have got six months. Cy Vance is not running for re-election. He`s going to be out of office this year. And I think that that`s sort of the timetable everybody is now thinking about.

REID: Yes. Absolutely. Yes, he is a lame duck. But that does not mean he is not dangerous to Donald Trump`s future. Susanne Craig, Glenn Kirschner and Tony Schwartz, good to see you, even under these circumstances, my friend.

And coming up, next on THE REIDOUT, Karine Jean-Pierre joins me after making history today, becoming the first black woman to lead a White House press briefing in 30 years.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOSUE PRINCIPAL DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: I appreciate the historic nature. I really do. But I believe that being behind this podium, being in this room, being in this building is not about one person. It`s about, you know, what we do on behalf of the American people.


REID: We`ll talk about her historic day, the Biden agenda, the president`s meeting with the Floyd family and much more.

Plus, proponents of the big lie have a new tactic, strip away the power of politicians with any integrity so that Republicans can simply decide who wins and who loses elections.

Plus, tonight`s absolute worst. It`s a matter of life and death but these guys are more concerned about owning the libs.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: As Republicans across the country continue their steady and strategic assault on our democracy, Republicans on Capitol Hill are working diligently, as Minority Leader Mitch McConnell put it, on stopping this new administration.

Infrastructure talks between the White House and a group of Senate Republicans are sputtering. Meanwhile, South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott told the "PBS NewsHour" that congressional negotiators have just three weeks to deliver a deal on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. What he left unsaid is whether he can deliver 10 Republican senators to vote for the bill.

Earlier today, Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made history when she took to the Briefing Room lectern to take reporters` questions about many of those very issues. She`s the first openly gay White House spokeswoman and the first black woman to hold the podium since Judy Smith, deputy press secretary to George Herbert Walker Bush, and the inspiration for the Olivia Pope character on "Scandal."

And guess who showed up at the White House today to give her congrats in person? Judy Smith herself. That is pretty cool.

And joining me now is White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

OK, Ms. Karine Jean-Pierre...


REID: ... my friend. Hey.

JEAN-PIERRE: Hey, friend.

REID: So, I am -- I`m going to lose objectivity for just one minute and say I am so proud of you.

JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, thank you.

REID: I have known you for so many years. You were always one of our favorite guests on "A.M. Joy" and became a friend.

And I just was elated watching you today, the yellow dress popping.



REID: You did a great job. Fabulous. I know your mom is super excited.

JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you, yes. And you have met my mom, so you know how she is.

REID: Yes, I have.


REID: She`s adorable.

Well, between you and Kristen Clarke, who today was finally...


REID: She`s in there as the first black woman to head the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, history made all around.

I just want to give you one second to say, how do you take that in, making that history?

JEAN-PIERRE: You know, Joy, I stand on so many shoulders.

It`s not just me. It`s so many people that has come before me. You mentioned Judy Smith, who surprised me today and showed up at the White House. It was super kind of her. And I have to say we showed some bipartisanship, right?

REID: Yes.

JEAN-PIERRE: She worked for Republicans. So, I think that it was just amazing to meet her for the first time and for her to support.

But I also want to say -- you mentioned Kristen Clarke. And there`s something about this moment that we`re in, the diversity, the movement of black women and where we are in different positions, and this is an administration that is the most diverse administration ever.

And that is because this is a promise that the president made on the campaign, a promise that the president kept clearly now in the administration. And so it was -- it was an honor to even talk about Kristen Clarke and the history that she made by being sworn in and clearly the bipartisanship that she got coming out of committee in this position that she`s stepping into.

REID: Yes.

JEAN-PIERRE: And so there`s just so much here to point to.

We have, clearly, the vice president, Kamala Harris. I mean, this is -- this is a really -- a moment to be proud of in this country.

REID: Yes.

JEAN-PIERRE: And this is -- and this is a place, a White House, this Biden/Harris administration, that I couldn`t be prouder to be part of.

REID: Well, it is wonderful.

And then, on the other hand -- that`s the good side. On the other hand, you guys are facing a pretty uphill climb on a lot of stuff. I`m going to go through a couple of them.

Yesterday was, of course, the anniversary of George Floyd`s murder. There was a deadline that the president put in place. He wanted to have that George Floyd Policing Act done by yesterday. It didn`t happen.

You had Tim Scott say, we have got a couple of weeks left before it`s done. Not clear whether he`s going to be able to deliver on those 10 votes.

There`s some great pictures from yesterday, when Gianna Floyd was there, with the Marine walking in with the family in the Oval Office. And we`re going to show some of those pictures.

Is this thing going to be able to become law, though? Is it going to wind up on President Biden`s desk?

JEAN-PIERRE: Well, let me first say the reason why the president gave that deadline is because he wanted to show how important the George Floyd Act was and how much he was putting that on the front burner.

I mean, he used one of the biggest moments in the first 100 days of a presidency, the joint address in front of Congress, to lift that up and to use his platform to say, now is the time. We`re losing too many lives. We need to have police reform.

And so that -- so, I just want to make really clear, like, he -- this is -- this was -- he saw this as a moment to lift that up, to lift that up. And he did that.

And yesterday was a tragic day. It was not a celebration. It was a tragic day. We lost a life a year ago to something that was devastating for millions and millions of people. But, also, for the black community, we know what this means. We have seen this before.

And so it really moved the president when he met the George Floyd family back in last year on June 8, right before the funeral. And he had really connected with them, including Gianna, that you just showed that amazing picture of, who was walking into the White House.

And so he wanted to make sure he connected with them. It was a private meeting. He wanted to continue to show and tell them that he is 100 percent behind getting this done.

And so, to your question, Joy, he`s pleased to see there`s a bipartisan effort. You have Senator Tim Scott, who`s a Republican, you have Senator Cory Booker, a Democrat, you have Congresswoman Karen Bass, who are the champions of this, who are working together.

And he wants to give it the space that it needs, so that this can move forward. We have to be hopeful. And he`s going to continue to work with them as much as he can, but also give them the space to come up with a bill that could be -- that could be passed and that he can sign into law.

So we`re going to continue to work that.

REID: Well, you used the B-word, bipartisanship.

And here`s the challenge, I think, Karine, that a lot of those of us who are observing what`s happening in Washington have. Whether it is S.1, trying to secure voting rights, against a Republican Party that`s really anti-democracy at this point, that`s pro-sedition, that is -- that is backing up what happened on January 6, and then on the -- or whether it`s infrastructure, which you think everyone could agree on infrastructure and wanting to rebuild our country.

You go on and on down the list. Republicans are not coming to the table. They`re not. They don`t want to do anything that would enhance or help President Biden move forward.

So, you have Joe Manchin on the other side saying: I can`t get rid of the filibuster.

He`s going to stand up for the filibuster more than he is for voting rights, more than he is for really anything.

JEAN-PIERRE: Yes, so a couple of things.

REID: Is the White House realistic about whether or not your agenda can get done, when you have an anti-democracy party and you have Democrats who are more concerned about the filibuster than about progress?

JEAN-PIERRE: So, a couple of things there, Joy.

As we know, this last election was about saving our democracy, right? That was a big part of electing Joe Biden. And one of the things that he understands is, it`s going to take time to bring everyone together.

But we have to make the effort. When it comes to infrastructure, when it comes to the plans that he`s put forward, I mean, the American people want to see some bipartisanship. And so this is what we`re trying to do.

Look, infrastructure is incredibly popular, right? This is something that Democrats want, independents want, and Republicans want, at least voters. They want to see that.

And what the president is proposing are really bold, historic -- historic ideas, historic plans to really invest in this country, invest in people and create jobs, good-paying jobs. So, this is what is at the top of mind for the president of the United States, President Biden, right?

He wants to make sure that we`re moving forward and not leaving anybody behind. This is why we put equity in the middle and at the heart, I should say, of every plan that we put forth.

So we have seen some bipartisanship. There has been some good effort, right, that has been brought from both sides, from Republican senators, with Senator Capito, and the members that she brought in last week. We`re waiting to see what their counterproposal is going to be tomorrow.

And so we -- there`s still room here to see if we can get to bipartisanship. And so we`re going to continue to work that, and because this is too, too important. The president says this all the time. The only thing -- his red line is inaction. We cannot have inaction, because, after what we have seen this past year with this pandemic, with this economic downturn, we have to build back better than we were even a year-and-a-half ago.

We have to invest in our communities that have been left behind. So, that`s what`s at play here. It`s the American people that he`s working for, and that`s -- and the American people that he will deliver for.

REID: Well, you remain hopeful. And that is a good thing. Somebody`s got to be hopeful.

JEAN-PIERRE: We have to. We have to.


JEAN-PIERRE: But we got to keep working, Joy.

REID: We will go with hope.

JEAN-PIERRE: We got to keep working. We got to keep working, Joy.

REID: Well, we will keep watching.

Karine Jean-Pierre, very proud of you. Thank you very much. Congratulations on today.

JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you. Thank you, my friend.

Appreciate it.

REID: Cheers. All righty. All righty. Thank you, ma`am.

All right, she`s great.

Coming up: Arizona Republicans have opened a new front in their war on democracy. Now they`re targeting the Democratic secretary of state, trying to limit her involvement in future elections.

Plus: the latest on the walking catastrophe known as Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Stay with us.


REID: We`re not exactly sure what is happening over in Maricopa County, Arizona, other than a partisan political obsession to prove that the 2020 election results were fraudulent, a comedy of errors led by the Cyber Ninjas, an actual thing that exists, who are now tampering with ballots, hunting for bamboo fibers and cheese dust. Oh, yes, cheese dust.

If it weren`t so dangerously anti-democratic, I might actually cackle.

Arizona Republicans aren`t laughing either. For them, this is deadly serious business, with Arizona Senate President Karen Fann telling CNN her charade is about integrity.


STATE SEN. KAREN FANN (R-AZ): I don`t know what`s legit, what isn`t legit. But why wouldn`t we want to answer those questions?

QUESTION: Because you`re questioning democracy.

FANN: No, I`m questioning the integrity of the election system.

QUESTION: Which is the backbone of democracy.

FANN: That`s right, which means we should have full, 100 percent confidence in our democracy and in our election system.

QUESTION: You`re talking about trying to disprove conspiracies.

FANN: If I have to, yes. Why wouldn`t we?


REID: I mean, what if Bigfoot did take them ballots? I mean, maybe Bigfoot has them in the woods out somewhere. We got to prove that it`s not happening.

Meanwhile, Democrat Katie Hobbs, the current secretary of state, has slammed the Republican grift. And so Arizona Republicans are doing what Republicans do, passing a measure to strip her of her ability to defend election lawsuits.

Joining me now is Claire McCaskill, former senator from Missouri, and Charlie Sykes, editor at large at The Bulwark and MSNBC columnist.

And, Claire, I got to go to you on this first, because not only do you have this madness that`s taking place in Arizona. Over in Washington, you have got Republicans just waiting for those kinds of Arizona shenanigans to kick in, so that they can remain in power.

But not only that. Brian Sicknick`s mom is saying, hey, can you just talk to me? Can you talk to me about what happened on January 6? They`re brushing off people who were injured and killed and their family members.

What is going on? You used to serve in the United States. What`s going on with your former colleagues?

CLAIRE MCCASKILL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first, let me just mention, what they`re doing in Arizona is -- thank you for not saying the A-U-D-I-T word, because it isn`t one. It isn`t an audit.

It is a brazen political exercise being done in the most partisan way possible. And I have to believe the voters of Arizona are paying attention. And this latest move they`re doing, Joy, this is what`s called special legislation.

And what that means is, they are passing legislative language that only applies to one person. It takes away her powers as secretary of state. And then they magically reappear with the next secretary of state. That is, on its face, outrageous.

She was elected by the people of Arizona to do that job. And it is up to the people of Arizona to decide whether or not she has that power, not a bunch of Trump crazies that are populating the Arizona Senate.

And I don`t know what`s going to happen on this commission in Washington, but I do know this. For every police officer that wants to sit down and talk to a Republican -- and there are active police officers that are asking Republicans for a few minutes -- and then the family of a police officer who lost his life, every time they are denied the opportunity to talk to a Republican, more and more Republican voters are turned off by that.

It may only be 25 or 35 percent of the Republicans, but, trust me, that`s enough to win national elections and elections in states like Arizona that could go either way.

REID: Well, and that`s an important point, Charlie.


REID: And the reason I connected directly to go right from Maricopa County to D.C. is that it feels like the big lie is a state-federal partnership, right?


REID: The idea that if you can just make it so only Republicans get to count the votes, we just siphon off anyone with any integrity, Republicans with integrity or any Democrats, so they can`t even touch it.

We`re just going to make sure we win. Then we`re going to put our hands down and say, OK, now democracy is fine. We`re staying in power.

And there are people at the federal level who are waiting to take advantage of that. And they don`t care if they look anti-cop. Brian Sicknick`s mom, why won`t they talk to her? Why won`t they talk to Officer Fanone? They are doing everything opposite of their brand, because this is all about grabbing power by any means necessary.

Does this turn off base Republicans? Or do they say, this is the way we get to guarantee that we have power?

SYKES: I don`t know. The base Republicans might be OK with it.

But Claire`s absolutely right, though. There`s a large number of swing voters who have to be looking at this and say, what are we now learning about Republicans` claim that they back the blue, when they won`t even meet with the mom of the officer who died after the insurrection?

Look, the reason why this is so alarming and people should be alarmed is, I just know, more and more, begin to think that what happened on January 6 and the big lie about the election are rehearsals for the next time, that these are not one-offs. This is continuing.

What you`re seeing in Arizona is something that`s happening all over the country. It`s not -- it`s not just in Arizona. And I`m glad you`re focusing on it. It is singling out election officials who behaved with integrity and purging them, canceling them.

It`s happening in Georgia. It happened in Michigan. It`s happening in Arizona. So, what happens if we have a rerun in 2024, and you have a Republican Congress that doesn`t want to certify the electoral vote, or that you have election officials who will not stand up for the integrity of the actual election?

Because what`s happening now -- and you saw that in that interview with the Republican senator from Arizona -- they may talk about election integrity, but that`s become a euphemism, because the only litmus test now is believing these increasingly bizarre conspiracy theories and lies about the election. And that has infected the base.

This is what is motivating the base. They care about this issue more than anything else. They can raise more money off this issue than anything else. And I do wonder what the environment is going to be like at the state and the national level when we have a rerun of this presidential election.

So, I think people ought to be extremely alarmed about this.

REID: I am, definitely.

And, Claire, you know, talking about in states, your state, in the state of Missouri, the two candidates, potentially that are going to be running for statewide office are a guy who was accused of, you know, basically sort of sexual crimes or locking women in his basement, and the guy who held a gun on Black Lives Matter protesters.

You know, it`s Marjorie Taylor Greene who has got power in the party. It`s Mike Lindell, the My Pillow guy. Missouri could fall to that governance. What can be done about it?

CLAIRE MCCASKILL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I don`t know what happens to the Republican Party long term if this is just about playing to a primary election ballot. That`s what`s going on here.

That`s what`s going on in Washington. That`s what Kevin McCarthy is doing. He wants to be speaker of the House. This is all about clinging to Donald Trump, because Donald Trump remains popular with enough voters in the Republican Party that you can win primaries.

REID: Right.

MCCASKILL: But that doesn`t help you if you alienate all the independent voters and a chunk of Republican voters. That`s what`s going on here. If they nominate one of these two guys -- I mean, Greitens. I mean, let`s put it out there.

What Governor Greitens did, he taped a woman to his gym equipment, his mistress, to his gym equipment in his basement, ripped her clothes, spit water in her mouth. The people who found this witness credible were Republicans in Jefferson City that ran him out of town.

And now, he is the guy that`s getting the most votes in the Republican primary in Missouri. What can I say?

REID: Yeah, the second place guy is the guy who was in flip-flops holding an AR-15 against Black Lives Matter marchers. I mean, that`s the Republican primary right now. It`s bananas.

Hopefully enough voters will say no it that we won`t end up with those people in power.

Claire McCaskill, thank you very much. Charlie Sykes, thank you very much.

Up next, what is it with the conservative infatuation with guns? Eight people killed in the latest mass shooting, this time in California. And yet, there`s an unwillingness on the right to actually do anything about it. Yeah, the absolute worst is next.


REID: Today, another American city and more families and loved ones were confronted with the epidemic of gun violence in this country. In San Jose, California, a gunman opened fire at a light rail yard killing eight people. Police said the suspect who worked for the transportation authority is also dead.

It`s become all too common and California Governor Gavin Newsom pretty preached his response today.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA: It begs the question, what the hell is wrong with us? It`s time to deal with the endemic before this pandemic of gun violence, the preexisting condition. It`s somehow sort of pushed aside last year. But now, it`s raised its ugly head again this year.

And wake up to this reality, and take a little damn responsibility, all of us to do a little bit more and a little bit better this time, and move beyond the platitudes and the usual rhetoric.


REID: It`s a gruesome epidemic that continues with no signs of stopping or even slowing down. According to the gun violence archive, there have been 232 mass shootings so far this year, including today`s incident, which was the 62nd in May alone.

Today`s shooting leaves another community asking again, as we do every time, when will this insanity stop? Unfortunately, because the gun- fetishizing Republicans running so many statehouses, clearly not any time soon.

Just look at Texas. On Monday, lawmakers there approved a bill allowing anyone 21 and older to carry a handgun without a license or training or a state background check. The Governor Greg Abbott says he will sign it. Texas will join 20 other states with so-called permitless carry laws and would be the largest guns everywhere state by far.

Texas already has some of the least restrictive gun laws in the country. You can already open carry a rifle, which an AR-15 happens to be. Abbott also bragged that he has signed a resolution naming an official state handgun. He would sign more gun laws real soon.

Because that`s the priority for the Republican governor and legislators who made it harder for adults in Texas to cast a ballot than to carry a handgun. Of course, the anti-democracy second amendment fetishists in Congress are all for it. Pretend tough guy Ted Cruz whose beard might be the only one in Christendom to make a man seemed less macho applauded Texas legislators for passing it.

While noted gun fanatic and QAnon Barbie, Marjorie Greene, gushed she loves to see a similar law back home in already guns everywhere Georgia.

Of course, those two are far from the only Republicans pushing their obsession with pushing more guns into more American hands, including the hands of mass shooters by the way.

But the most bizarre and disturbing example of a willingness to shield for the now Texas-based and financially and morally bankrupt National Rifle Association`s agenda, come from Louisiana Republican Senator John Kennedy, whose new video the NRA said would, quote, trigger the libs.


SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): I believe that love is the answer. But you ought to own a handgun just in case.


REID: Well, Senator Kennedy, yeah, we are triggered. And not by your stupid video, which basically promotes guns as a stand-in for having a love interest and poor spelling.

We`re triggered by the continually death that we know is coming because of people like you and your friends who are pushing laws that let any untrained idiot off the street walk around with an unlicensed handgun that they might not even know how to properly use. And let`s just hope and pray not kill a bunch of people with it.

And for that, the Republicans` obsession with fetishizing firearms are the absolute worst.


REID: Two years ago, Ronald Greene`s family was told by Louisiana state police that Greene died when his car crashed into a tree after he failed to pull over for an unspecified traffic violation. His autopsy said the death was caused by cocaine induced agitated delirium complicated by a motor vehicle collision.

But that crash never happened. In a medical report obtained by "The Associated Press", the emergency room doctor wrote, quote, the evidence does not add up. Officers eventually told the emergency room doctor that actually said that Greene had been involved in a fight and struggled with them where he was tased three times.

It took more than a year for Greene`s family to be allowed to view the body cam videos which the Louisiana state police only made available to the public last week after "The A.P." obtained some of them. The videos depict police stunning, punching and choking Greene.

Louisiana Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards had viewed the videos with the Greene last year but had refused to release the footage saying it would be detrimental to the ongoing civil rights investigation. But in what the "A.P." described as an about-face under mounting public pressure, he said last week that he strongly reported the police`s decision to release that footage.

At a press conference yesterday, he called the videos and perhaps the understatement of the year, quote, regrettable.

I am joined now by Mona Hardin, the mother of Ronald Greene, and S. Lee Merritt, attorney for Greene`s family.

Thank you both for being here.

My deepest condolences, Ms. Hardin.

It took more than 474 days after your son`s murder, him being killed for an investigation to even begin. I want to give you an opportunity to respond to that, the fact that it took so long for you to get information.

MONA HARDIN, MOTHER OF RONALD GREENE: I think it`s pretty obvious. It was at beginning, and it`s the corruption. It was a cover-up.

REID: Yeah.

HARDIN: And what did they have to do to an extent to validate what they did or what were they going to say, the narrative of that. And just lies on top of lies. They said so many that they forgot what they said. So, they stumbled over their own feet. It was just so obvious the cover-up they did.

REID: And you`re going to be holding -- the family is going to be demanding justice for Ronald. You`re meeting with the NAACP tomorrow for that rally. Who -- do you know who else you will be there with, and are you planning on meeting with any city or state officials?

HARDIN: Oh, yes. We are going to be there with the ACLU, the New Orleans ACLU. We`re going to have the NAACP, Baton Rouge branch, and several celebrities. Right now, my mind is going.

REID: Yeah.

HARDIN: But it`s so exciting. I`m just so elated just to have this opportunity, the fact that we`re here at this platform to speak loud on the murder, the horrific murder of my son.

REID: Yeah, and what do you make --


REID: Yeah. And what do you -- I mean, I don`t even know how I would respond as a mom to the idea that these people could beat, tase and essentially torture your son and nothing has happened to any of them. I`m going through the list of what happened.

The officer, John Cleary, who denied that he had a body -- there was a body cam video when there was lied about it claiming your son was a threat to flee. No discipline.

The Officer Hollingsworth who struck and stunned your son was recorded talking, bragging basically about beating him. They intended to fire him but he died in a car crash.

You had the Officer Dakota DeMoss who jolted your son with the stun gun faced termination but in a separate incident. Not even this one.

Trooper Kory York seen on the video dragging your son by his ankle shackles, 50 hour suspension.

Your thoughts on the fact that they just got away with it.

HARDIN: And this is -- this is -- and the fact that this is what they do. And they are so good at what they do, they have gotten away with it, for hundreds of years. And it`s how do you justify -- for me, it`s like why are we still talking about murder. This is clearly seen on TV. How do you keep rumbling through how are we going to get these guys off the hook?

You know, I don`t even understand that language no more. It`s like when I`ve been speaking, it`s like no one is hearing it. We see it`s clearly murder.

What do you need to do? I mean, what is -- how do you justify murder? What is 50 hours, you know, of administrative leave? What the heck is that?


HARDIN: Reeves (ph) could allow -- we met with him, and all the time he was planning to retire.

REID: Yeah.

HARDIN: You know? It`s like it`s a big old game, and they don`t give a damn about what the hell they`re doing to us, to people like us, to families like us, you know? And the fact that we`re not talking about little people. We`re talking about some big folks here. And it goes up and up and up.

REID: Yeah. And, Mr. Merritt, you know, there is a lawsuit that the family has filed, a wrongful death lawsuit. Do you have hope just looking at this as a counsel in a federal investigation, giving more justice to this family?

S. LEE MERRITT, GREENE FAMILY ATTORNEY: Well, the federal investigation has been ongoing since -- according to the local prosecutor of Union Parish since he first received the facts. So, the federal investigation has been going for two years now through two administrations. I have a little more confidence in the Biden administration to aggressively prosecute these matters. We have seen them starting to do that in other cases, like in the case of Ahmaud Arbery.

It is important to note, Joy, I want you to know when we go out tomorrow -- in addition of rallying with the ACLU and NAACP, we`ll be meeting with the prosecutors both at the state and the federal level. And we asked for an audience with the governor as well to discuss the new evidence as we know it now. Of course, he met with us back in September but it was -- we were in the dark in that meeting. We would like to have in the light conversation with him.

REID: Yeah.

Lastly, very quickly, Ms. Hardin, does the George Floyd conviction of that lead officer in the case give you any hope?

HARDIN: I always have hope. I always have hope. Even at my worst times, my kids are like, (INAUDIBLE) would always say --

REID: Yeah.

HARDIN: -- I have to hang on to that. I have to hang on to that.

REID: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Well, we wish you deepest condolences, ma`am. Thank you for your time.

Mona Hardin, S. Lee Merritt, thank you both.

That`s tonight`s REIDOUT.