Biden repairs America`s battered image abroad. FBI Director Wray testifies on 1/6 insurrection. GOP Representative Gohmert tries to rewrite history of 1/6 riot. Waging a war against education has become the cause celebre for conservatives who are using critical race theory as a catch-all phrase for any critical analysis of America`s past.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: People saying it reminded them of another First Lady`s jacket, Melania Trump, had the, I don`t really care message. You can say a lot with fashion and culture. That`s for sure.
And that`s our final thought tonight. Thanks for watching THE BEAT. THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid is up next. Hi, Joy.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Hey Ari. And I was just telling my producers that I am now kicking myself because I have one of these jackets that says, I really do care, don`t you, it`s that green jacket. I literally have one. I`m going to post it on my Instagram. You better like that picture. I`m about post it on my Gram.
MELBER: I need to see it Joy. I need to see it.
REID: You`re going to see it. OK, I`m expecting a like, I`m expecting a like. Thank you very much, Ari, I appreciate it.
OK, good evening, everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with America`s fragile democracy and tattered reputation around the world. Today, President Biden continued his first trip abroad, holding a face-to-meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as the two leaders unveiled the renewed Atlantic Charter, a joint statement of cooperation first signed following World War II.
But even a President Biden works to restore America`s image after four years of the disgraced, twice-impeached former president, he does so in the face of a world that has frankly lost faith in our democracy here at home. A new Pew Research Center report on global attitude shows that only 17 percent of respondents from 16 nations said democracy in the United States is a good example for other countries to follow and 57 percent said it used to be a good example but has not been in recent years. Another 23 percent said it never was a good example at all.
And that`s not exactly surprising given that one of our two major parties in the United States, the Republicans, have become a leading force against democracy, with MAGA cheerleaders even taking turns questioning FBI Director Chris Wray today in a House Judiciary Committee hearing.
And while Democrats pressed Wray on the January 6th insurrection, a blatant attempt at destroying our democracy, the top Republican on the committee, Jim Jordan, used his time to whine about cancel culture and to defend the disgrace ex-president`s disgraced T.V. lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, while Matt Gaetz, who remains on the Judiciary Committee despite being investigated for alleged sex trafficking of a teenager by the FBI and who should probably be answering questions about what role he played in whipping up the insurrection instead got to question the FBI director too.
Of course, it`s hardly surprising that the Republicans on the committee would avoid questions about the insurrection, given that another member, Arizona Republican Andy Biggs, was named by the organizer of the rally that preceded the siege, Ali Alexander, who remains on the run, as one of the people who helped plan it.
And then, there`s Louie Gohmert of Texas becoming the latest Republican to try and rewrite the history of the deadly siege.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): The night before January 6th, January 5th, that evening, I was talking to Capitol Police officers and I said, you know, let`s face it, most of the conservatives that come, they don`t have any intention of being violent. And they said, well, we`ve been briefed today that there`s a good bit of, as I understood, online activity that there are people that are going to be coming that hate Trump but they`re going to dress up in red, MAGA Trump paraphernalia to try to blend in and create trouble.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: OK. Now, remarkably, Louie Gohmert was a judge in Texas in his former life. But if that scenario that he claims, if it`s true, perhaps he should be called as the witness, if there ever has a House select committee investigation of the insurrection.
And let`s not forget that a joint report by two Senate committees made clear that Capitol Police leadership knew that Trump supporters were planning to breach the Capitol. And in an interview with PBS, Capitol Police Officer James Blassingame, who is suing the former president for inciting the mob, gave a firsthand account of what he endures that day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES BLASSINGAME, CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: It looked like a sort of a hoard of zombies, you know, just people as far as you can see just salivating and I was called (bleep), I was called a traitor. I was called, you know, various epithets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: In fact, if what Louie Gohmert claims is true that it was Antifa or zombies or poltergeist or aliens from the Planet Koozebane, who were the real culprits on January 6th, a bipartisan commission could have gotten to bottom of that. But Gohmert, like most of the Republicans, voted against it. Instead, he got to grill Director Wray on how he has characterized the attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOHMET: You were careful to note that most of the protesters who were leftist last summer were basically peaceful, but you haven`t said that about the 100,000, 200,000 people that showed up on January 6th. Do you know how many people actually came into the Capitol on January 6th that were unauthorized?
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: I don`t have an exact number. I do know we now are approaching around 500 arrests.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Joining me now, former Senator Doug Jones of Alabama, Angela Rye, Principal and CEO of Impact Strategies and former Executive Director of Congressional Black Caucus, and Clint Watts, former FBI Special Agent and Distinguished Research Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.
And, Clint, I want to start with you. I can`t believe that we have to still do these months after the insurrection, but we have seen multiple prosecutions begin in these cases.
Here is just a few headlines from those prosecutions, what they`re saying, what they`re lawyers are saying, Proud Boys members says, Trump is to blame for inciting the riot, the Capitol riot, not even -- QAnon shaman disowns - - that he disowns Trump, claiming he was duped by the former president. Proud Boys leader says, you left up, slamming Trump in expletive laden message. Three Percenters, federal prosecutors have charge six members of the Three Percenters right-wing militia group with conspiracy to attack the Capitol. About 30 people including members of two other right-wing groups, the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, have been accused of conspiracy most serious charges related to the insurrection.
Clint, once and for all, who was responsible so that if Louie Gohmert, who doesn`t seem to be the brightest tool in the shed but apparently wants to make this counter case, who was responsible for the January 6th insurrection?
CLINT WATTS, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: That would be President Trump supporters, several different militias, the QAnon fantasy, it all showed up there that day and it was convergence of President Trump supporters, and they were there because he was there, Joy. He was out in the yard. He was delivering speeches. He was saying he was going to walk to the Capitol. And that`s why they were there.
And what I find interesting about these defenses, they`re going in a couple ways. One, you see a group sticking together and saying no, no, no, the election was still stolen. You know, we`re going to go with the big lie and we`re going to try to perpetuate it. But now, you`re seeing those exactly - - those quotes that you`re put up there just a minute ago, they were saying President Trump betrayed us. He sent us up there. We are falling because of him.
And I tell you, Joy, that charge of conspiracy that was insulated via the Capitol, they just came out with the 3 Percenters is going to be major groundbreaking. And I would love to have that charge come out before that hearing today because that could be something where Director Wray could say, hey, look, we just advanced a conspiracy charge, it is a group called the 3 Percenters, they were there for President Trump. Don`t give us any of this false flag nonsense anymore.
REID: Just to be very clear, 3 Percenters, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, are they left-wing group or are they right-wing groups? I`m sorry this is so elementary. But I just have to (inaudible) what`s on the table.
WATTS: Yes, good point, Joy. All of those are hard right-wing militia groups.
REID: OK. Thank you. Doug Jones, former senator, you prosecuted the Klan. You have done these kinds of cases before. Have you seen these kinds of instances with far-right racist right-wing groups to try to portray it that, well, actually it was liberal groups who did it, it wasn`t us. This is something that you`re familiar with as a way that these kinds of groups do business.
FORMER SEN. DOUG JONES (D-AL): You know, it`s not just these groups, Joy. This is anybody that`s charged with a crime that`s going to try to point the finger at somebody else. Somebody is going to try to deflect. That`s like, you know don`t look at the man behind the curtain from the Wizard of Oz. They`re going to continue to try do that.
But, you know, you said something really important at the top of this show, and that is if Representative Gohmert really had that conversation, then, a bipartisan commission, a bipartisan commission can get to the bottom of that. They would now who went in there. Not -- you know, look, you can look at the conspiracy now. I agree, damning information that`s coming out whether it`s a conspiracy, but criminal cases will never tell the entire story.
And that`s why you need this bipartisan commission, were both sides can look at facts, facts that can be agreed on by both sides of that commission. And that`s what`s so stunning about this, is that people will make these allegations but then essentially say we really don`t want you to look at these allegations. We want to just say it.
REID: It seems to me, Angela Rye, that you have Bennie Thompson with this lawsuit that he has filed regarding the violence that we`ve seen. You have the potential for there to be a select committee that Speaker Pelosi could theoretically put together. If you were still working on staff on the Hill, would you recommend that Louie Gohmert be called as a witness and subpoena and made to tell under oath who it is that he says told him that it was going to be, quote/unquote, Antifa, people dressed up at Trump supporters? Would you call him as a witness?
ANGELA RYE, PRINCIPAL AND CEO, IMPACT STRATEGIES: Absolutely. And before Louie Gohmert, I would call Kevin McCarthy, or suggest Kevin McCarthy be called. And before Kevin McCarthy, I would suggest the three GOP lawmakers who were responsible for coordinating with these groups to be called. All of these folks need to come to the table.
This shouldn`t be a partisan issue to the point, Joy, that Mitt Romney was running down the hall with Capitol police escorting him, just like Lisa Blunt Rochester was on her hands and knees praying with Democratic and GOP colleagues. Their memories have failed them. There was a noose with Mike Pence`s name on it, right? This isn`t about partisanship. This is about what just -- what happened. How can we prevent what happened?
And I think it`s great, that, yes, FBI Director Wray needs to talk about what happened, what the failures of the FBI were, why weren`t people believed. Certainly, Congressman Thompson had this intelligence, certainly Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who chairs financial services that called this, because it`s melted in the air, right, and said, you know, this is something we need to be mindful of as we get closer to the inauguration.
There were a lot of people who have access to intelligence but also have access to just plain, old common sense and they should have been listening to the members who are receiving death threats for months, for years, under Donald Trump. Why would they all of a sudden act peacefully? Tell me why?
And that is, I think, the thing that we really have to begin to answer. There are a number of people who have to be called that if they`re subpoenaed, they have to be willing to tell the truth.
REID: Yes, absolutely. And, Doug Jones, if you were prosecuting this case, if you were looking at it, I knew something bad was going to happen January 6th. All you had to do is you get on twitter, or if you could read, if you were looking at social media, every who knew, every law enforcement person that I know was saying be careful on the 6th, something bad is going down. Because Donald Trump said, join us in Washington, D.C. on the 6th. It`s going to be wild. Would you call Donald Trump as a witness if you were prosecuting a case of this nature, Doug Jones?
JONES: I`d certain try to interview the president. I`d try to interview all the speakers that were there, and we would see what happen. Whether or not they would consent to an interview, consent to a grand jury subpoena, I don`t know the answer to that. My guess is that they would not.
But I think -- I`ve said this so many times. I think anyone that was at the mall, speaking, anyone that was at the Capitol, trying to break the doors, everyone should be investigated and looked at and at least try to interview.
And, quite frankly, Joy, I think the FBI and the Department of Justice are doing a remarkable job of doing just that. Their first order of business is to prosecute and identify and prosecute as many people as they can, and they are making incredible progress in the four, five months that we`ve seen past here. So I think they`re making good progress. And we`ve got to give them a lot of credit for the work that they`re doing and there`s a lot of information coming out of this.
REID: Do you agree with that, Clint? Go on. Yes, please? Well, go ahead, Angie.
RYE: Really quick, I just going to say I disagree a little bit, because I think that if we`re honest, the U.S. Capitol attack wasn`t an isolated incident. There was the issue with the Michigan governor. There were a number of attacks on state capitols and just even following that would have helped. Again, the FBI is supposed to be a non-partisan agency that should have been happening -- these investigations should have been happening under Donald Trump`s administration. They were not.
So perhaps they`re doing a good job now. But I could have lost colleagues and friends and so could you have, Senator Jones. We have to be honest with that. So, they got to catch up as well.
REID: Yes. And you know -- actually -- go on.
JONES: Joy, there have been people indicted involving the Michigan issue. I think they have done some, but let me quickly add, I do not believe that the FBI early on, before this insurrection, was doing all they could. I completely agree with that. I think they could have done more, should have done more and should have been looking at the entire white supremacy landscape, which they were not doing until after the Biden administration took office.
REID: Yes. And, Angela, completely anticipated, my question that I was going to ask you, Clint Watts, and I think we`ve set this up perfectly, because that`s the question that I have as well. Because before any of this took place, if and let`s just listen to Louie Gohmert, and if he`s claiming that he was being told by Capitol Police officers that there was going to be an influx of Antifa who they have claimed were basically the devil, there just anti-fascist, they don`t really show up anywhere, if we`re seeing in some of these cases where is Proud Boys and et cetera are saying that they anticipated that Antifa would come fight them, that Black Lives Matter supporters would come fight them so that Donald Trump could them impose the insurrection and act and they could act as a militia. We`re seeing that in so cases. Did the FBI do enough?
They didn`t seem prepared. They didn`t seem to prepare the Capitol Police. The Capitol Police were completely flat-footed at the senior level and left the actual Capitol Police officers completely, you know, unprepared. So, do you think that this was intelligence failure on the part of the FBI?
WATTS: I do not, Joy, for a couple different reasons. One, I testified to the Senate in 2019 on this exact issue, domestic terrorism. There is no domestic terrorism statute by which there`s a designation process allowing the FBI or any investigators for that matter in the domestic space to develop intelligence. Even anticipating that a group might mobilize to something, you have to have a probable cause to start investigations on each individual case.
And that`s very difficult to do, particularly when it`s just social media posts. If the FBI went around to everybody that threatened everybody on social media every day, we would need about 100,000 more FBI agents in the country.
The other part is they can do a lot of preempted arrests around the country. I`m glad you brought up the Michigan militia. That was a major case. They did pretty well in the online space with accelerationists, I call them, these are the angry white supremacists online. They were not there really on January 6th.
The militias have always been problematic because they usually toe right up to the line of what is legally permissible. They kind of know what that is. And unless you have some way to actually police what is politically free speech, that`s protected, versus what is violent threats, it`s very difficult to open that.
So, I would offer imagine an intelligence bulletin issued by the FBI two days before January 6th that said, we watched all of these Trump supporters` social media accounts and they`re talking about going to the Capitol being disseminated throughout the federal government. You have a major problem with civil libertarians saying that political free speech was policed.
And you hear that actually in the Senate hearings, they`re a little better. And that`s why I feel the Senate report failed because they did not clear that up. If we want DHS and FBI to protect against domestic extremism, they either need to pass a law for terrorist designation or we need to define at what point and what threat (inaudible) let them watch social media.
REID: Or they need to behave in advance the way they freak out and deployed the national guard and all the police they can find when somebody simply tweets Black Lives Matter, because they sure do figure out how to show up when that`s going to happen, and they arrest a 1,000 people at a time. That`s my problem with what we`re seeing here. I`m going to leave it there because we`re out of time. I`ve gone over.
Former Senator Doug Jones, Angela Rye, Clint Watts, thank you all very much.
Up next on THE REIDOUT, the previous president broke the Justice Department, his Attorney General Merrick Garland serious about fixing it, and why is he defending Trump.
Plus, tonight`s absolute worst. A few years ago, he declared himself a new man, apologizing for his dishonest and divisive rhetoric. But now he`s had a new revelation, that the gutter of dishonest divisive rhetoric is exactly where he belongs.
But first, we have REIDOUT follow up. Remember the coo coo bananas Dr. Lady? Who said that COVID vaccines make you magnetic? Well, she`s not alone. Another woman came forward, holding a metal key, and said, I can prove that I am now a magnet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It sticks to my neck too. Yes, so if somebody can explain this, it would be great. Any questions?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: I have so, so many questions.
THE REIDOUT continues after this.
REID: We now bring you a tale of two Justice Departments, one under Donald Trump, who, with his hand of the king, William Barr, executed a complete and total takeover of the agency, using it as a personal law firm that got him and his friends out of trouble, while misleading the public about the contents of the Mueller report.
And then there`s the DOJ that we have now under a new president, whose attorney general, Merrick Garland, has the daunting task of transforming the -- transforming Trump Barr, LLC, back into the original DOJ.
But some decisions under this new DOJ haven`t gone over so well. One of them involves E. Jean Carroll, a woman who accused Trump of raping her in a department store in the 1990s. Trump publicly told the press that it never happened, even saying about his accuser -- quote -- "She`s not my type."
Carroll sued Trump for defamation, but now Biden`s DOJ is defending the former president and failed blogger, arguing that Trump is protected because he made those statements as part of his official role as president.
A.G. Garland defended his department`s decision on Wednesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Our job is to represent the American people. And our job, in doing so, is to ensure adherence to the rule of law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Joining me now is Elie Mystal, justice correspondent for "The Nation," and Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general and a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center.
Thank you both for being here.
And, Elie, you inspired this segment with the things that you have been tweeting about what Merrick Garland has been deciding lately. And you have a new piece out in "The Nation." And it is titled: "Why Is Garland`s DOJ Taking Trump`s Side Against E. Jean Carroll?"
One quote from it: "There`s no good reason for the Department of Justice to defend a former president against charges he defamed a woman he allegedly raped."
Make your case, sir.
ELIE MYSTAL, "THE NATION": Yes.
So, I know the law can sometimes be confusing and lots of like big words. But, like, let`s be really clear. There is nothing in the Constitution nor any U.S. statute that says defaming women who accuse you of rape is part of the presidential office and responsibilities. There`s nothing there. That`s not a thing, right?
So, Garland is choosing, he is choosing to defend Trump here. He is choosing to say that actually defaming alleged rape victims is part and parcel of being the president. And we are, therefore, allowed to ask him why he`s making that choice.
Garland is trying to gaslight the nation into saying like, oh, my hands are tied, I had no choice.
No, no, no, he had a choice. He`s choosing poorly. And this is the problem, right? So, like, yes, there are some arguments on both sides. But Garland is choosing to make the Bill Barr argument.
If I may quote very briefly Al Pacino from "Devil`s Advocate," guilt is like a bag of bricks. All you got to do is lay it down. And if Merrick Garland does not think that U.S. policy should be that the president of the United States can defame women who accuse him of rape, then all he`s got to do is take that horrible argument that was left to him from Bill Barr and drop it down.
The fact that he`s not is a problem with him, not the law.
REID: Well, let me give you one piece of counterpoint.
This is a guy named Randall Eliason. He writes in "The Washington Post" the following. And he`s saying that people are angry, but he thinks that people, who -- like yourself, who are angry at Garland are wrong.
He says: "The issue is whether a president`s duties include answering questions during an interview given him in his official capacity, including questions about his earlier private life that may reflect on his fitness for office. The alternative rule would mean that any federal employee speaking in the course of his or her duties would have to fear being sued for damages if a creative lawyer can later allege a particular comment somehow strayed from the official -- strayed from the official into the personal."
What do you make of that?
MYSTAL: Nope. Nope.
The alternate rule is that any person, as part of their official duties, if they defame somebody, has to hire their own lawyer. Again, nobody`s saying that Trump isn`t allowed to defend himself. He can go, look on the subway, and call up a lawyer, just like anybody else in this country.
The question is whether or not he is absolutely immune from the charge of defamation, and whether or not the Justice Department, yours and mine and Neal`s tax dollars have to feed into making that defense for him. That`s the question. Nobody`s saying that Trump isn`t allowed to defend himself from this -- from these charges, but he can sure -- sure enough hire his own lawyer to do it.
REID: Yes, Neal, let me bring you in here, because one of the things that really bothered me about what Merrick Garland said in the defense of the decision is that they are defending the American people.
There`s no American people involved in Donald Trump raping this lady, allegedly, and her saying that he raped her. There`s -- the American people ain`t involved in that. So, can you make sense of what he`s trying to argue here?
NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: I 100 percent agree with you, Joy.
And look, I lack Elie`s powers of understatement here, but no matter how refreshing it is to have an independent DOJ, it turns out that justice also demands having a DOJ make the right decisions. And a lot of times, I think Garland has made the right decisions, because, when you walk into the Justice Department as an employee, as I have twice, you walk into an institution, an institution with its credibility built over time.
And you need that credibility. This is the department that after all, like, fought for desegregation in the South. This is a department that one day may have to indict a president or vice president. And you need that credibility in court, which means you don`t flip positions from one administration to the next normally, because the Justice Department is not an ordinary litigant. That`s how it gets its credibility in court.
But the problem is, this isn`t some ordinary shift in administrations. This isn`t like Bush to Obama or Clinton to Bush or something like that. Trump and Sessions and Barr -- and you said it in the segment before -- you said they crushed the department. They spit on the department.
And it -- excuse me -- leaves the Justice Department in a quandary, which is, do you now have to flip just to get back to the normal position? And I think Elie is absolutely right in saying one piece here is, the department shouldn`t be -- we shouldn`t -- our tax dollars shouldn`t be going to fund Trump`s defense.
Look, we know he stiffs his lawyers. But that`s not our problem. That`s his problem.
KATYAL: But I`d say one other thing in favor of Elie`s point, which is, this isn`t just about who pays.
When the Justice Department comes in and says, this is an official act, that dismisses the suit. It means E. Jean Carroll loses. She doesn`t even get a day in court. So, this isn`t about the dollars and cents. This is about who wins and loses.
And I do think that the attorney general is wrong here to defend this. And I think Elie Mystal is right.
REID: Well, and this -- but -- and let me to turn to another case, where -- that I don`t know that you will -- because I saw you earlier the other day on with Nicolle.
There`s this other case here. It`s about LGBTQ religious discrimination, in which Biden`s DOJ is upholding a court filing after a -- in this religious discrimination lawsuit. It revised language that says that the same objective as religious universities accused of discriminating against LGBTQ students.
You know, slavery was an institution, right. Lots of things are institutions. Are you concerned that Garland is such an institutionalist that he`s even willing to uphold bad institutions, just to be an institutionalist?
KATYAL: Well, I think this is more than upholding institutions.
This is about upholding a federal law, Section 1681-A-3. And the Justice Department does have, as maybe its most solemn obligation, to defend federal laws. And so, this case is about that federal law. So, it`s not surprising that the department defended it.
It`s -- we had to defend in Obama all sorts of odious legislation. President Bush, who hated McCain-Feingold, defend that as well.
KATYAL: So that`s not unusual.
What I am disappointed about, about the Garland decision here is not the defense, but that they didn`t couple it with the statement that said, look, we`re going to go to Congress and try and get this law repealed.
REID: Yes. Yes.
KATYAL: This is an odious, as you said, discriminatory law, and should go.
But don`t have the lawyers do it. That`s something that should be done through the political process.
Very quick. We`re so out of time, Elie, but do -- you and I were not friends, usually, of Merrick Garland when he was nominated for the Supreme Court. Has he -- do you find, in general, that you`re disappointed with him in his position, very quickly?
MYSTAL: Bill Barr ran a car into a tree. Merrick Garland is trying to rebuild the car, as opposed to going and getting the person who ran the car into the tree.
And that`s my problem. When a drunk driver wrecks your car, you don`t go to the Mavis. You go arrest the drunk driver.
MYSTAL: And, if you can, you arrest the bartender who served him the drinks.
That`s what I need Garland to do. And that`s what he`s not doing.
REID: We will see what happens going from here, Elie Mystal, Neal Katyal.
And still ahead -- thank you. Thank you, guys, very much.
The right-wing`s fact-free freak-out over critical race theory is pretty bad, but it`s not tonight`s absolute worst. The big reveal is next.
Stay with us.
REID: I, like most Americans, had forgotten about Glenn Beck. That`s normal. He`s easily forgettable.
Fortunately, like most of the garbage spit out from that network, Beck was tossed into the great dust heap called history.
But, alas, Tuckums, a totally plausible understudy for Ricky Schroder in "Silver Spoons," decided to reach into that heap and drag Glenn Beck back into our lives.
Last night, Tuckums, who summers in Maine and probably wears two popped collars when he`s out on the town, attacked former President Barack Obama. First, he shaded him for having a home in Martha`s Vineyard or Hawaii.
Then, Tuckster, donning his faux furrowed brow meant to signal gravitas, went on to say that the first black president thinks that people who complain about critical race theory are bigots. That`s coming from the guy who has pushed white replacement theory. He added that Obama is obviously hostile.
But here`s what the former president actually said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You would think, with all the public policy debates that are taking place right now, that the Republican Party would be engaged in a significant debate about, how are we going to deal with the economy, and what are we going to do about climate change, and what are we going to do about -- lo and behold, the single most important issue to them currently right now is critical race theory.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Obama, so hostile.
President Obama rightfully noted that the Republican Party is focused on the wrong issues. Where is the lie?
Here`s the point in the show where you think, you think that I`m going to say that tug of war is the absolute worst, but, no, not today, because his guest, the aforementioned garbage pail kid, Glenn Beck, went even further.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I take my apology back. I was exactly right. And I even stated it right.
You are a racist if you believe in critical race theory. If you think that what Dr. Martin Luther King said that he envisions a country that is seen - - seeing people for the content of their character, not their color, if you think that`s wrong, then, yes, you are a racist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Some context.
Back in 2009, Beck called Obama a racist because, in Beck`s twisted mind, the first black president hates white people and -- quote -- the white culture."
Beck eventually apologized for that utterly stupid comment, telling "The New Yorker" that: Obama made me a better man.
Speaking to the content of his criticism, I would like to point to Bernice King, the youngest daughter of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who tweeted this message: "Please stop using out-of-context quotes from my father to excuse not working to eradicate racism. His content of their character quote lies within a full speech, "I Have a Dream," in which he talks about ending racist police brutality and economic injustice."
So, today`s absolute worst is conservative flip-flopper and opportunist Glenn Beck.
But sadly, the stupidity doesn`t stop there. And after the break, you will hear what some of Beck`s former colleagues are squawking about today. It will sound very familiar.
We will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS HOST: They`re not only trying to raise up minorities and make sure the playing field is even, they`re trying to take down the white culture and wondering why -- and this generation of Americans wonders, why aren`t we all Americans? Why are we being marginalized in a daily basis on our gender, our sexuality and the color of our skin?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: What is the white color? I don`t understand it.
Anyway, that was "Fox & Friends" host Brian Kilmeade claiming that white people are being marginalized as schools take steps to address racism in this country.
Waging a war against education has become the cause celebre for conservatives who are using critical race theory as a catch-all phrase for any critical analysis of America`s past.
Florida`s board of education became the latest state to pass rule banning the teaching of ideas related to critical race theory in classrooms.
And for more, I`m joined by Jelani Cobb, staff writer at "The New Yorker."
And, you know, I hate to have to reiterate this every time we talk about this, Jelani, but can you make out why something that is taught literally in law school only is suddenly the cause of the right? There`s no teaching of it in elementary school. It`s in law school, but can you explain it?
JELANI COBB, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It`s really clearly this legislation is aimed at protecting your fifth grader, and the classes they`ll choose between torts and contract law, and, you know, whatever they decided they`ll take that semester, maybe advanced legal theory in there as well.
But, you know, honestly, I think that this is all a canard, you know, because one, critical race theory is being taken out context and true enough, critical race theory which began in legal academia has impacted, you know, other fields. You know, sociology, history and so on.
But it`s not like fifth graders or eighth graders or seniors in high school who are going to be signing up for these courses. It`s a theoretical approach to questions of litigation relating to race and civil rights in the United States and how inequality has persisted.
Now, the most ironic part of this is that everything they`re saying is an object lesson in exactly what critical race theory holds, which is that people have used the language of civil rights in order to undermine the idea of civil rights. And so they are simply switching out of the aggrieved party to say that white people are now under the thumb of black people, and that they need some sort of legal protection, or mechanism to ensure that white people are not further marginalized.
And if you`re looking at the critical race theory, you -- the only acceptable comment is, si.
REID: Yeah. Well, you know what? And I`m glad that you said that because I see a trend here that is in the end about the law. It is in the end about, you know, about minority rule and about sort of trying to carve out a protected class for not just any white people but specifically white conservative Christians.
I just want to go to a couple things. Christopher Rufo was from the Manhattan Institute, which is one of these right-wing think-tanks, and he`s one of these big megaphones of it, who by the way, probably also couldn`t define critical race theory, if he didn`t have -- if he couldn`t look it up.
And he said -- there`s a couple of his comments and he tweeted: We have successfully frozen their brand critical race theory into the public conversation and are steadily driving up negative perceptions. We will eventually turn it toxic.
The goal is to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think critical race theory.
Which tells you that this is deliberate. This is a campaign.
One more thing: Conservative think tank, another of these think-tanks, the Center for Renewing America led by Dr. Russ Vought, who`s the former director of Office of Management and Budget under Trump created A to Z guide for parents trying to hold their school board members accountable. One section is entitled winning back your school board and it reads: identify potential candidate or candidates to run for school board seats currently used to perpetuate the school sanctioned racism of CRT.
So this is a campaign. It`s a campaign for 2022, but do you believe it`s a campaign for more than just trying to help Republicans win elections?
COBB: Oh, certainly. It absolutely is, and I mean, it harkens back. I mean, this is not new. You know, first, the arguments deployed here, if you go back to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the arguments that you were hearing from southern senators and congressional reps, was that they did not believe in discrimination, and their argument against the Civil Rights Act of `64, was that they didn`t believe in discrimination.
Obviously, this is inverting the entire purpose of that legislation, which had been precisely to protect black people from discrimination. They`re saying that white people were being discriminated against. And so, they`re playing on the same sorts of anxieties and hoping that this will be really tailor-made for the kind of paranoia that Trumpism induced and has used to such great political profit.
And so, they`re trying to cement that. This is a kind of further attempt as a means of also looking at what people that come out and vote for in 2022.
REID: It sort of reminds me, they`ve used gay marriage, they`ve used trans kids, going to take over all of girls` sports. Like they`re all of these canards that just go to the amygdala of, you know, white. They`re trying to go to the amygdala of white working-class people, in a sense, it is a pretty ---
COBB: The great caravan.
REID: Correct. The caravans. I feel it`s actually offensive because they`re like they`re presuming, these people have racist undertones, let`s just prick them and get them to be freaked out by brown and black people or anything about people of color or immigrants.
It is sort of a pretty horrible statement about what they think about their own base, no?
COBB: Well, the first rule of public speaking is know your audience. They`re making comments in public. And so, you know, it`s a cynical ploy but the problem is not the cynicism. The problem is the effectiveness of it.
And so, you know, they have shown time and time again that they know exactly how to get under the skin, to get that kind of neural panic reaction stoked.
COBB: -- in the minds of their electorate and do it, done it one presidential election on the basis of it.
REID: Yeah. You`re absolutely -- it`s demographic panic. You can use it for anything. What they mainly use it for, to get folks to lay down for policies that only help super rich people and hurt the very people who vote for it.
They trick people with it every time. It`s the easiest trick in the book.
Jelani Cobb, thank you very much for helping us understand it more.
And up next, evictions allowing Israeli settlers to take over Palestinian homes was a leading cause of the recent violence in Gaza. A Palestinian facing eviction under this disturbing policy joins us, next.
Don`t go anywhere.
REID: The conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people is far from over despite a cease fire between Israel and Hamas. "The Washington Post" reports Israeli police have arrested more than 2,100 people over the past few weeks. More than 91 percent of those arrested have been Arab, per the "Haaretz" newspaper.
Arrests continue today with several people detained at the Damascus gate in East Jerusalem while protesting the visit of a far right Israeli politician. In videos taken by an activist, police appeared to be detaining young adults. NBC News does not know what transpired directly before or after the incident.
Palestinians have continued to protest Israeli settlers` attempt to evict Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood in predominantly Arab East Jerusalem, an outcome that`s even more likely now that the Israeli attorney general said that he will not intervene in the case.
On Sunday, 23-year-old activist Muna El-Kurd, who`s family faces eviction was handcuffed and taken from her home by Israeli officers. "Reuters" reports that without explicitly naming Muna, an Israeli police spokesman said police had arrested the 23-year-old resident of East Jerusalem under court order, on suspicion of participating in riots.
Muna`s twin brother Mohammed later turned himself in at a police station after receiving a summons and both were released hours later.
I`m joined now by Mohammed El-Kurd, who faces eviction and was recently arrested by Israeli police.
Thank you for coming back on, Muhammad. We wanted to follow up with you. We know that you and your sister were arrested. What have you been charged with?
MOHAMMED EL-KURD, FACING EVICTION FROM HOME IN EAST JERUSALEM: Thank you, Joy, for having me again.
My sister and I were charged with inciting violence against police, which is a baseless charge. I want to take a second to correct a little bit of information. The boy that was arrested in the video earlier is indeed a child. He`s 16 years old. In fact, many of the 14 people that were arrested today at Damascus by Israeli occupation forces were children.
And according to Grassroots Al Quds, about 25 percent of the 2,000-plus Palestinians that were arrested were minors.
REID: And what are they -- what are they accusing them of? I mean, these are people who are marching in their own neighborhood I`m assuming, right? What are they accusing them of?
EL-KURD: Everybody is getting accused of the same thing, inciting violence against police. And of course, you know, Israeli police has enough integrity for us to believe what it says about these people are doing.
But I want to -- I want to let people know that the Damascus Gate where people are getting arrested today and people are getting brutalized and sprayed with skunk water and tear gas is one of the last remaining public spaces in which Palestinians can hang out. And as you see, it`s becoming heavily militarized and we are facing a steady wave of police brutality for merely standing in there.
Today, there were many far right Israelis in the Damascus Gate and none of them were arrested. In fact, they could gesture at Palestinians and Palestinians could get picked up and thrown into a police car and taken into custody.
I also want to point out many arrested have been reported being tortured inside these Israeli occupation detention facilities.
REID: Well, I know a lot of what is captured for a lot of younger Americans is this image that resonates with -- because we have Black Lives Matter as an issue here in terms of the way police behave. So, I think a lot of people are increasingly sensitive to the police behavior and other countries as well.
Just some background for our audience who may not know about Sheikh Jarrah. In 1876, this is interesting history that producers pulled forward, Palestinian landowners sold a plot of land to Jewish trusts. That is in 1876. In 1948, Jordan captured the plot in the Arab Israeli War and built homes for Palestinian refugees who had fled Israel. In 1967, Israel captured East Jerusalem and returned land to the Jewish trust who later sold it to right wing settlers.
But there is this issue that Jewish people are allowed to try to reclaim property under -- that they may have owned before 1948, between 1876 and 1948. The Palestinian families don`t have the same right.
Is that part of the issue here? The Palestinian families essentially have lived with very different rights in terms of being able to reclaim property.
EL-KURD: Well, two things, yes, indeed, the Israel judicial system is one that is asymmetrical and racist to Palestinians. If Palestinians were allowed to reclaim their lands, there would not be many Israelis in this country. As my grandmother was allowed to go back to her home (inaudible) 1948, every Palestinian was allowed back their land.
But the other issue is that these claims, the idea that these lands were bought by Jewish people in the 1800s are also baseless. The difference is that we are not allowed to present our own ownership documents within Israeli occupation ports, right? So, settlers can just bring in their documents and the judges will take them at face value.
Yet we have been asking for decades and decades and decades, asking the judge to open the file of the land ownership and look in to who owns the land, and the judges have refused repeatedly. This is not a flaw in the system. This is the default. This is a system that was established by settlers to help settlers. This is something that has favored settlements and colonialism.
Ninety-four percent of building permit applications submitted by Palestinians get rejected. The same person that works in the Jerusalem city council that rejects these building permits is the same person that comes to my neighborhood and vandalizes the murals that say welcome to Sheikh Jarrah with spray paint and Facebook lives it to his followers.
So, the system is complicit in this. It`s not just about who owned lands. It`s about who gets to claim lands and it`s about who gets to prove their ownership of land. It`s about who gets to have a fair trial.
And Palestinians will never receive justice from Israeli courts because they`re inherently colonial. They`re inherently anti-Palestinian.
REID: Let me play for you, I don`t know if we have time. Let`s very quickly play a video. This is from pay of a young woman and a man who are discussing this very thing. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are stealing my house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I don`t steal it, someone else is going to steal it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No! No one is allowed to steal it.
Yakub, you know this is not your house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, but if I go, you don`t go back. So, what`s the problem? Why are yelling at me? I didn`t do this. I didn`t do this. It`s easy to yell at me, but I didn`t do this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are stealing my house.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Do you expect things to change with the new administration if it turns over?
EL-KURD: Absolutely not. I think there is an abundance of evidence against Israel`s abuses, Israel`s apartheid regimes, (INAUDILE) regime. I think it`s time for the world to stop giving Israel immunity and hold it responsible for its crimes against Palestinians.
EL-KURD: And for its thief of land and massacres.
REID: I am out of time. Mohammed El-Kurd, thank you very much for your time tonight. We will stay with your story.
That is tonight`s REIDOUT.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.