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Transcript: The ReidOut, 6/14/21

Guests: Ben Rhodes, Julia Ioffe, Nikole Hannah-Jones, William Barber, Adam Jentleson, Stacey Abrams


Biden attends NATO summit, preps for Putin meeting. Putin defends Capitol insurrectionists. GOP Sen. Johnson says insurrectionists were staying within the rope lines. Putin refuses to guarantee that Navalny will leave prison alive. Biden will meet with Putin Wednesday. Biden reaffirms NATO ties. Biden slams Trump`s phony populism. New coalition government takes over from Netanyahu. Fair Fight Action is urging supporters to phone their senators to press for voting rights.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Appreciate it. I`ll say hello to everybody. The That`s Martin Sheen, hello to Nicolle, hello to Joy, good-bye to me. "THE REIDOUT" with Joy Reid is up next. I owe you 45 seconds, Joy. Thank you.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Well, if you say hi to Martin Sheen for me and tell him I`m a fan of him, then we`ll call it even.

MELBER: You got it.

REID: Thank you very much, cheers.

All right good evening everyone, we begin THE REIDOUT tonight with something we haven`t had in four long years, a president who actually talked tough to Russia. President Biden continued his clean-up diplomacy today, bringing America back into the international fold at today`s NATO summit in Brussels. And in a news conference following a very busy day he previewed what is undoubtedly today`s event, his meeting on Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I`m going to make clear to President Putin that there are areas where we can cooperate if he chooses. And if he chooses not to cooperate and acts in a way that he has in the past relative to cybersecurity and some other activities, then we will respond.

We should decide where -- it`s in our mutual interest, and interest of the world to cooperate and see if we can do that. And areas where we don`t agree, make it clear what the red lines are.


REID: That`s a stark departure from his predecessor, who you may remember humiliated himself and us, by backing Putin over American intelligence at they`re infamous meeting in Helsinki and repeatedly threatened to end America`s involvement with NATO alliance and has defined the world order after World War II.

President Biden on the other hand held meetings with Americas key partners, reaffirming U.S. commitment to the alliance, and to its collective defense pack known as Article V, which states an attack on one is an attack on all, which our European allies lived up to after 9/11 in Afghanistan.

Biden also held smaller meetings on the sidelines, including one with Turkish President Erdogan, a potential warm up for his meeting with Putin. Biden refused to discuss in detail what he intended to bring up with Putin but said he wasn`t looking for conflict.

Meanwhile, Putin himself has already spoken out in an exclusive interview with NBC`s Keir Simmons. The Russian autocrat weighed in on American politics and the January 6th insurrection in particular. Putin defended Ashli Babbitt, the woman shot and killed by Capitol Police while attempting to breach the speaker`s lobby, and he argued with literally no sense of irony that the roughly 500 accused insurrectionists who are facing charges are being persecuted for their political beliefs.

And if it sounds like Putin is now a full-fledged member of the Republican effort to whitewash the events of that day, look no further than the leader of the crusade to rewrite history, Moscow`s little helper, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson.


SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): We`ve seen plenty of video of people in the Capitol. And they weren`t rioting. They don`t -- it doesn`t look like an armed insurrection when you have people that breached the Capitol, and I don`t condone it, but they`re staying within the rope lines in the rotunda. That`s not what an armed insurrection would look like.


REID: Wow. For his part, in his NBC News conference today, President Biden renewed a call for allies to defend democracy against autocracies. And with respect to the MAGA insurrection, he said our allies know the character of our nation.


BIDEN: I think that they have seen things happen, as we have, that shocked them and surprised them that could have happened but I think they, like I do, believe the American people are not going to sustain that kind of behavior.


REID: Joining me now is Ben Rhodes, former Deputy National Security Adviser to President Obama. Julia Ioffe, Founding Partner and Washington Correspondent for the New Media Company Puck, and Michael Steele, former Chairman of the RNC and MSNBC Columnist.

And, Ben, I want to start with you, President Biden, he said that every leader who spoke today, 10 to 12 of them thanked him for meeting with Putin right now. He called Putin a worthy adversary. What do you make of Putin weighing in on the MAGA insurrection on the side of the insurrectionists? It doesn`t seem surprising, but what do you make of him going out of his way to do that?

BEN RHODES, FORMER DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Well, I don`t think there`s anything surprising in that at all. I mean, there`s now Putin that has always been something of a troll who likes insert himself in American politics. But let`s not forget that if you look at the Russian disinformation campaigns and interventions in our politics, it`s often to fuel the kind of conspiracy theories that led to that insurrection. They`ve been a party to this kind of information ecosystem that has propagated conspiracy theory.

I think on the other hand of the equation, you have Joe Biden someone who sees connection between all these things he`s doing and very deliberately wanting to meet with our allies before he sits down with Vladimir Putin, wanting to kind of just as he`s working to try fortify American democracy at home where there`s a lot more work to do, there`s work to be done to try to unify our G7 partners and our NATO allies were kind of the core of that democratic world that has been the subject of Vladimir Putin`s efforts to sow division within our democracies and between us.

And so I think his hope and objective here is let`s try to get unity within our alliances as best we can, let me hear from these other leaders before I sit down with Putin and then this whole trip will culminate with probably a series of tough messages while exploring if there some areas where they can find some way to, if not, cooperate, at least coexist.

REID: Yes, certainly. And, Julia, this is your area of expertise. Let me let you listen for a little bit to Vladimir Putin in this interview with Kier Simmons. He wouldn`t even say Alexei Navalny`s name. Take a listen.


KIER SIMMONS, MSNBC HOST: Will you commit that you will personally insure that Alexei Navalny will leave prison alive?

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: I perceive from the premise the person you mentioned the same measures will apply, not any worse to anyone else who happens to be in prison.

SIMMONS: His name is Alexei Navalny. People will know that you --

PUTIN: I don`t care. I don`t care.

SIMMONS: He will leave prison alive?


REID: I don`t care. I mean, obviously, this is somebody who has made his chief rival basically illegal. He has made his organization -- he has outlawed it and is starving and persecuting this man. How ironic for someone like that to talk about persecution.

At this point, do you perceive Putin as fearing that the alliance -- you know, the band is back together and he`s on the other side?

JULIA IOFFE, PUCK FOUNDING PARTNER AND WASHIGTON CORRESPONDENT: I think that`s an excellent point about Putin talking about persecution. It`s quite rich. You know, the protesters -- sorry, rioter who broke into Nancy Pelosi`s office and put her feet on her desk in that infamous photograph was on Russian state T.V. over the weekend. And as some people have pointed out, if somebody had done that to Putin`s office, he wouldn`t be alive to tell the tale on American T.V., to put it mildly.

As for the alliance, I think, yes, I think Putin is probably a little worried but clearly doesn`t seem too worried. His trying to project an aura of calm that he`s the one adult in the room kind of watching with amusement at the American circus. I do think the Republican Party is certainly providing a lot of ammunition for the Russian side when they talk, you know, about -- and engage in whataboutism and say, who are you to lecture us about democracy and human rights.

I also think that he -- if I were Vladimir Putin I would be looking at those and thinking how long is Biden going to be around and who is he going to be replaced by him in 2024? Is he going to be replaced by somebody who is much friendlier toward Russia, somebody from the Trumpist camp? So I wonder if he`s waiting this out and saying right, okay, I just have to get through the next four years and then I`ll be fine.

REID: Yes, and, I mean, to that point, Michael, I mean the sort of Putinization of the Republican Party really precedes Trump. And I can remember during the President Obama era, people like Rudy Giuliani praising Putin as the real great leader and liking his autocratic style even before Donald Trump started supplicating himself to him.

Let me let you hear President Biden, and this is him talking about why Republican don`t want to investigate the MAGA insurrection.


BIDEN: It is a shock and surprise that what`s happened in terms of the consequence of President Trump`s phony populism has happened. And it is disappointing that so many of my Republican colleagues in the Senate, who I know know better, have been reluctant to take on, for example, an investigation because they`re worried about being primaried.


REID: And he does talk about the fact that Republicans are diminished in numbers of leadership fracture. I mean, it is an interesting thing, Michael, for the Republican Party, the party of Ronald Reagan, in a very real way, have become the party of Vladimir Putin.

MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC COLUMNIST: Oh, yes. We are a hell of a long way from Reagan`s declaration of the evil empire formerly known as the USSR, Soviet Union, Russia, and just calling out, you know, the balls and strikes in the relationship between the United States and Russia. To the point that you made about, you know, this going back before Trump, a lot of the Rudy Giuliani`s and the others. A lot of the -- we`re starting to find out, and I think we will find out more, with business relationships and ties that created this opportunity, this entry point for Putin and his allies in Russia to get a hold of, you know, to look at both parties and see, where can we land?

And you know, when I went to one of the inaugural parties in 2016, `17, it was amazing to me, Joy. There were more Russians in the room than there were Americans. And it was hosted, you know, by political interests that had financial ties. So you begin to see how all this works.

And I think, you know, both Ben and Julia have made the salient point when it comes to Putin. He`s playing a longer game than most Americans can even imagine. He`s thinking, okay, I can hold out until 2024. My bet is that if not Trump, a Trump-like, someone a little more charismatic and a little more sophisticated will rise to the top, and I`m good.

And so, what you`re going to see and what Biden`s doing is so important. Is he`s trying to lay down some cobblestones to sort of guy the next version of this relationship, to try to push it. You know, Navalny and other -- I don`t know who this man is, well, I don`t know who the dissident is and who`s you know. He`s claim is kind of like, I`m above of all but he`s strategically trying to position himself to be in a stronger point when we get into the next presidential election and all hell breaks loose with what they`re going to do in that election. So the long game for Russia is the bigger play here.

REID: Yes. And, Julia, you were giving an, amen there. I mean you`ve got a guy who is nicknamed Moscow Mitch as the leader of the Republican Party. You`ve got, you know, people have called Leningrad Lindsey, you`ve got obviously Ron Johnson, who is admirer (ph) of the Russian point of view. Is that the issue here that he knows that he`s got more than one ally here not just Trump?

IOFFE: No, absolutely. And to Michael`s point, you know, the Republican Party has pivoted from spreading democracy in part because of the disaster that was the Iraq war and has turned into embracing this role of defending minority rule and saying, we`re not actually democracy, we`re a representative republic. And the more they try to hold on to power by undemocratic means, like packing the courts and gerrymandering and passing voter restriction laws, the more they are in kind of natural alignment with Moscow.

I do have to say my last trip to Moscow right before the pandemic, I went to this trendy food hall and I sat down in this area restaurant, ordered something, ordered a glass of beer, and they brought me a Giuliani and Associate`s glass.

REID: Yes, makes sense.

IOFFE: So, it`s like, you know, how did that glass get there?

REID: Yes, makes sense. I have to ask you before we go, Ben, about the end of the Bibi Netanyahu era, at least for now. We don`t know if it`s permanent. This guy has been around. I mean, I was telling my team, I`ve been watching him since he used to be on nightline back in the late `80s. I mean, he`s been around for a really long time. What is the end of the era mean, if anything at all? He went out Trumpy too. He went out angry and screaming and the whole thing.

RHODES: Yes. I mean, I guess two things I would say, first of all, for Israel itself, clearly, it means an opportunity to move beyond the real stalemate of politics that Bibi Netanyahu represented, so polarizing, increasingly corrupt, increasingly showing autocratic tendencies. And that`s why you had this kind of a big ten opposition come together, from the left, to the right, Islamist parties, Jewish Nationalist parties.

I think with Netanyahu himself, look, this is who he is. And it`s kind of like saying we`re shocked that the Republican Party is what it is in 2021, that we`re embracing the big lie. The idea that Netanyahu would go out in a torn of conspiracy theories and allegations and attacks, this is who he has been his whole 12-year tenure. And I think it shows the danger of this particular strain of politics where you blend together populism and nationalism together with some authoritarian tendencies and it ends up leaving societies deeply divided.

So my hope for Israel is that they can move into a new era, healthier debate, intense differences, a lot of huge issues to deal with. But I think they can deal with it in a better way, include what they`ve decided collectively as an opposition if they can just get beyond the psycho drama that has gripped them in four elections in less than two year.

REID: Yes, maybe just not having somebody under indictment might be nicer. That would be helpful. Ben, I got to have you come back on to talk about your book. Thank you for being here, Ben Rhodes, Julia Ioffe, Michael Steele, thank you all very much.

Up next on THE REIDOUT, Nicole Hannah Jones joins me next on the Republican freak-out of her 1619 Project.

Plus we`ll head to Charleston, West Virginia, where Bishop William Barber leading a moral Monday march to demand that Senator Joe Manchin do the right thing, and protect democracy in America. Bishop Barber joins me live.

And Stacey Abrams is also fighting to protect voting rights. She`s launching a major new effort and is here tonight to sign you up to help.

And what`s the most consequential thing you`ve ever done in your life? Maybe raising a family, giving back to your community, something great like that? Well, tonight`s absolute worst reveals his most consequential thing and it`s just sad and evil.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: America`s refusal to reckon with its racist and violent past is often illuminated in textbooks, where, for decades, through omissions, twisted logic and downright lies, aspects of our history, from slavery, to genocide, to forced internment, and land seizures, have been so sanitized, you would be hard-pressed to associate it with history at all.

Take, for example, how this textbook describes slavery, shown in a video by Vox.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "The master often had a barbecue or a picnic for his slaves. Then they had a great frolic. Even while working in the cotton fields, they sang songs. The beat of the music and the richness of their voices made work seem light."

Yikes. That`s from "History of Georgia," a textbook published in 1954 that was taught across junior high schools in Georgia for decades.


REID: The danger of teaching whitewashed history isn`t just tucked away in some dusty old textbook from the Jim Crow era.

No, that danger is the latest conservative obsession, with more than 20 states taking steps to ban the teaching of critical race theory, including Idaho, where a task force is looking into claims of indoctrination in schools. They have now submitted a public records request to the Boise School District that could cost tens of thousands of dollars, because, remember, racism can be expensive, asking for all materials, curriculum and assignments used in classrooms and teacher trainings, as well as any materials using Nikole Hannah-Jones`s 1619 Project.

And joining now is Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the creator of The 1619 Project.

And, at first, it seemed like it was a fringe sort of attack on your project, on this project. It has now become a cause.

Just a sampling. In Nevada, a Nevada group, they want them -- they want teachers there to wear body cameras, so they can monitor what they`re teaching to make sure that they`re not teaching things like The 1619 Project.

Ron DeSantis in Florida has accused -- has sort of -- he`s making hay at this for himself, said he wants to make sure that we`re not teaching kids to hate their country. In Arizona, they`re talking about fining teachers $5,000 if they discuss hot button topics, such as racial equity.

This is -- this seems like madness, Nikole. Some of them are calling it -- they want patriotic education instead. In your view, what is this about?

NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES, CREATOR, THE 1619 PROJECT: Thank you for taking time to discuss this, Joy, because I think we`re in actually a very dangerous period right now.

When we look at what these laws are doing, a lot of people kind of scoffed at them. When you read the language of them, they appear very silly. But when you think about what this is actually trying to do, we know that it is narrative that allows us to enact really dangerous policies. It is narrative that allows citizens to kind of accept these erosions of civil rights.

So it`s not incidental that the same states that are introducing these anti-critical race theory, anti-1619 Project laws are also introducing voter suppression laws. These things are going hand in hand.

So the textbook that you just were reading from, right, this is part of the lost cause narrative. The lost cause narrative is what justifies Jim Crow. It is a narrative that really erases the cause of the Civil War, and it really tries to valorize the South and to say that black people were not ready for self-rule, that black people could not self-govern.

And so that then justifies the enactment of laws that deprived black people of the right to vote, that deprived black people of their citizenship right.

So I`m actually really concerned about what these laws mean, outside of the fact that I think they are antithetical to the First Amendment. I think they are clearly designed to stoke white resentment, to really feed into this narrative that white Americans are under attack, that they are the primary victims of racism.

And that is going to lead to some very, very troublesome policies. So we really should be concerned. Even though the law seems silly, I don`t think the emotions and the kind of really hysteria that they`re intended to evoke is silly at all.

REID: No, I agree with you, because, right, you`re -- you`re seeing these things enacted at the same time that some of the same voices are attacking Black Lives Matter, which a lot of young white people have joined, a movement a lot of young white people have joined, which maybe their parents and grandparents don`t like.

And when you`re also seeing this national security threat of white nationalism that is actually threatening the lives of people in state capitols, what do you make of the fact that they have now merged and fused this idea of critical race theory, which has nothing to do with K-12 education, with The 1619 Project?

They have basically turned the two things into the same thing. It is a way of vilifying your work and dragging your work into this dangerous narrative.

HANNAH-JONES: Absolutely.

I mean, this is -- this is the new birtherism, right? So this is really trying to take a turn. No, most teachers have not heard nor study critical race theory. And to strategically use that to stoke resentment and to also really center it and hook it to the narrative of The 1619 Project.

Well, why is that? When we looked last year, right, these were the largest civil rights protests in the history of this country. Vidor, Texas, which is 99, 98 percent white town that had fought the federal government as late as the 1980s over housing segregation, was holding Black Lives Matter marches.

And we saw in the polling the highest support for Black Lives Matter in the history of that movement. This is a reaction to that. So it`s not just young liberals. They were really speaking to all of the moderates, all of the conservative white Americans who also were looking at this and saying, oh, my God, I -- my country isn`t what I thought it was.

So, 1619 unsettles that narrative. And, in unsettling that narrative, people are afraid that it unsettles power. And that is what we`re seeing, is really a need to hold on to and maintain that power and divide that social movement towards justice by making white Americans, at least a segment of them who will kind of be susceptible to this message, believe that, actually, no, you`re under attack.

REID: Yes.

HANNAH-JONES: They`re trying to take your history. They have gone too far.

And that`s what -- why wedding these together is working so successfully. And, frankly, the media has played a big role in that, right, because they were allowing Republicans to really lead with this idea that, oh, look at this bad diversity training. That`s critical race theory gone amok.

Those two things are not related whatsoever.

REID: That`s right.

HANNAH-JONES: But by telling the stories in that way, we have really fallen victim to this propaganda campaign.

REID: Well, and I have to tell you that, first of all, one thing the right is very good at his branding.

And they -- because the critical race theory has the word race in it, it`s a lot easier to -- right, then to go and talk about the complex narratives in The 1619 Project. They decided the easier brand name was critical race theory. They have now dragged a totally separate body of work into your work.

I can tell you that we`re trying to get Kimberle Crenshaw on. She created critical race theory. We`re going to make sure people understand the difference.

But you`re right. It`s dangerous. I`m waiting for Scopes trials. I`m serious. I mean, when the first First Amendment case goes through. We`re back in the Scopes trials world here. It`s pretty scary.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, keep doing your work. Thank you very much for being here. Really appreciate your time.

And, still ahead, Stacey Abrams will be joining me to talk about her new effort, because it`s all one fight, guys. She`s going to be talking about her effort to protect voting rights. It`s all connected.

But, first, the twisted logic and wacky rationalizations of a certain high- profile Republican lawmaker would be hilarious, also, if they weren`t so dangerous.

Tonight`s absolute worst is next. Stay with us.


REID: Today, Mitch McConnell made something explicitly clear.

A GOP-controlled Senate would never again confirm a Democratic Supreme Court nominee. In other words, if they regain the majority, they plan to pack the court with conservative justices in perpetuity.

The minority leader told radio host Hugh Hewitt that it was highly unlikely, if the next presidential campaign is under way, that he would bring a Biden nominee to the floor for a vote.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I think, in the middle of a presidential election, if you have a Senate of the opposite party of the president, you have to go back to the 1880s to find the last time a vacancy was filled.

So, I think it`s highly unlikely. In fact, no, I don`t think either party, if it controlled -- if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election.

What was different in 2020 was, we were of the same party as the president.


REID: What McConnell is doing is undemocratic. The Bible might even call it wickedness in high places, AKA, evil.

But what he`s also doing is glibly taunting Democrats, daring them to do something, anything, because, let`s be honest. So far, Democrats have not done a thing to punish his rotten behavior. Let`s not forget what happened in 2016, when McConnell refused to even schedule a hearing for Merrick Garland.

Once Trump was elected, McConnell blew up the filibuster rule to confirm federalist Judge Neil Gorsuch. McConnell called that move the crowning jewel of his time as majority leader.


MCCONNELL: I do think the issue that you raise is the single most consequential thing I have done in my time as majority leader of the Senate.

I preserved the Scalia vacancy for the Gorsuch appointment.


REID: Wickedness in high places.

If McConnell were to have his way, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who has been mentioned as a potential Biden Supreme Court pick, would suffer the same fate as Merrick Garland. She was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals just moments ago.

And despite this outright taunting, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin insists on having a little bit of faith in Senate Republicans. Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema believes that the way to fix the Senate broken by Republican intransigence is not to eliminate the rules or change the rule, but to change the behavior.

Good luck with that, Kyrsten.

And then there`s California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who doesn`t even see a problem. She told "Forbes" -- quote -- "If democracy were in jeopardy, I would want to protect it. I don`t see it being in jeopardy right now."

That said, it`s not Democrats who are gleefully blocking the will of the American people. It`s the Republican Party led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

And for that reason, he -- despite everything else, he is the absolute worst.

And after the break, Bishop William Barber, who`s doing more for democracy than the senators tasked with defending it, joins me from Joe Manchin`s home state. You`re not going to want to miss it.

Stay with us.


REID: The West Virginia Poor People`s Campaign is wrapping up one of their Moral Monday marches.

Their focus today? Senator Joe Manchin. Their goal? To get him to back off his unwavering commitment to the filibuster. They were joined by roughly 150 West Virginians.


CATHY, WEST VIRGINIA RESIDENT: All the roads are falling apart here. And we need to get some things done. We need people to see that the Democrats are the ones that help them. And we need to make sure that our votes can`t get stolen.

QUESTION: Do you think that Joe Manchin and the positions that he`s taking right now are representative of all West Virginia?

CATHY: I think they`re representative of almost no West Virginians.


REID: Joining me now from Charleston, West Virginia, is Bishop William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People`s Campaign and National Call for Moral Revival.

I don`t know if you were able to hear the young lady who our great reporter was talking with, but are you hear -- what are you hearing from West Virginia as you`re going around and talking to folks, Bishop?

REV. DR. WILLIAM BARBER, CO-CHAIR, POOR PEOPLE`S CAMPAIGN: Well, people angry here in West Virginia.

They`re nonviolent but they`re angry. And it was over 300 people from West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky. They said this man, Joe Manchin, is lying on them.

Seventy-nine percent of people in this state want to see the For the People Act, and they want to see the Voting Rights Act restored. But in addition to that, we had coal miners here today. We had poor from the highland (ph), black folk from the hood, we had veterans here today, we had ministers.

And they say not only about voting right, they understand the connection between voting rights and living wages. They say Manchin is wrong on living wages. That`s 350,000 people who make less than $15 an hour. He`s wrong when it comes to poor people.

They say he`s wrong when it comes to infrastructure, because 46.7 percent of West Virginians stay in tracks where they can`t even afford water.

Today one of them said he was riding around in a Porsche rather than doing right by poor people and low wealth people. And another brother said he wanted me tell you, Joy, in this country, we are the rulers, the people. He`s acting like the people are the hired help. He can sell out to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Koch Brothers, and they have to do what he says and they have to do what he says.

These are mountaineers and mountaineers say we are always free. So, they`re not just stopping today. They`re coming to D.C. on the 23rd. They are angry. They are bothered, and they are saying this is not what their senator should be doing and he says stop lying on them and saying he`s doing it for West Virginians.

REID: You know, West Virginia is -- it is a very poor state overall. But it`s also not a very black state. I mean, I see behind you, you have a very multiracial coalition. So, we`re talking about mine -- people who work in the mining industry, people who are working low-wage jobs, who are white.

So, you know, the perception has been --

BARBER: Yeah, right.

REID: -- that this people are right-wing, that they`re conservative, that Joe Manchin is doing what he`s doing because they are conservative, these voters. You`re saying that`s not what you`re finding?

BARBER: That`s a bunch of foolishness. And the fact of the matter, we make a mistake when we make voting rights and restoring the Voting Rights Act, and the People`s Act, and the filibuster all about race. It is about race but it`s also about class.

Dr. King said, you have to understand aristocracy in this country, they fear low -- poor and low-income, black people and white people forming a fusion coalition to change a nation. That`s how it always happens.

And so, what in a sense, when him -- by him doing what he`s doing, he`s forcing us to show that this is about a battle for democracy. It`s racist, but it`s also class based. We`ve got to challenge it.

And I`m telling you, the people here in this state, the coal miners are just as hot as the people in the hood. The nurses are just as hot as the teachers. And what they`re saying is, look, he`s serving the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and not the U.S. constitution.

And by filibustering, he`s blocking -- he`s blocking the things that this state needs. He`s standing against his own state. They didn`t send him here -- send him there for that, send him to the Senate for that. And they are coming to D.C., Joy.

Let me tell you, when you look at this state, you`re right. It`s one of the poorest states in the nation. But it also, West Virginia has a history -- they split from Virginia because they didn`t want to be like the rest of the South. And what they are saying is do right by us in this state.

Why would a senator from West Virginia have his office in the lotto building? Maybe because he`s gambling with people`s health care, he`s gambling with people`s living wages, he`s gambling with people`s voting rights.

Why would a senator from West Virginia stand against $15 and a union? Why would he stand against universal health care? Why would he join and encourage the West Virginia legislature in their passing of restrictive voting laws?

Because when you suppress the vote, guess what, you hurt poor folk in the mountains. You hurt black folk in the city. You hurt everybody.

This is not about Democrat verse Republican and left versus right and conservative versus liberal. This is about right versus wrong.

REID: Yeah.

BARBER: This is a moral issue, a constitutional issue and we`re going to stand and fight against it.

REID: Bishop William Barber in West Virginia --


BARBER: We might do nonviolent sit-ins in his office. The people here are ready to go. They say, you do not mess with mountaineers. That`s the last thing you do is mess with Mountaineers. And they are -- am I right, Mountaineers?


REID: We can hear y`all, we hear y`all. Thank you very much.

Bishop William Barber and all of the Mountaineers that he`s got behind him.

All right. Let me bring Adam Jentleson, former deputy chief of staff to Senator Harry Reid. I hope you were able to hear that, Senator Reid, because there is a meme, right Joe Manchin has to do what he`s doing because he`s from a state that overwhelmingly like Donald Trump. They did vote overwhelmingly. It`s a low turnout state.

But that`s not what I just heard. What do you make of what you heard from those Mountaineers and Bishop Barber?

ADAM JENTLESON, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TO SEN. HARRY REID: Yeah. I mean, I thought that was an incredibly powerful message. The work that Bishop Barber is doing is so critical and so important. I`m glad to hear that those folks are coming to D.C. I think that`s such a critical need right now.

But in terms of the overall question of whether Senator Manchin is representing west Virginians or not, one other piece of evidence that would suggest that his opposition to the filibuster and his opposition to the For the People Act are not being done on behalf of West Virginians is the simple fact as recently as six months ago, Senator Manchin was a co-sponsor of the For the People Act.

REID: Yeah.

JENTLESON: So, if it`s so toxic to West Virginia or if it`s so dramatically opposed by people from West Virginia, that questions why he himself was a co-sponsor of it in the last conference. I don`t think that`s going on here. I think something else is going on.

REID: Well, then let`s talk about what`s going on because I have been -- this has been puzzling me, too, Adam. You have him being a co-sponsor, as you said, of the For the People Act. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Koch Brothers organization, Americans for prosperity, put out a list of things they would like Mr. Manchin to be against. He`s now against all of them. He also is stalling on an infrastructure bill that a state as poor as West Virginia could very much need.

Is that how it works, that organizations like the U.S. chamber, like Americans for prosperity simply dictate to senators and then those senators do what they`re told? Is that how it works?

JENTLESON: Well, you know, it`s complicated. Money plays a big role in politics. It certainly has played an even big bigger role since the 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United.

Now we have not just campaign contributions to think about, but the way these groups are able to fund outside organizations, super PACs, C4s, those kinds of things. I think something else is going on here, which is I think Senator Manchin is very caught up in something that senators get very wrapped up in, which is sort of this inside the Beltway ethos, an obsession with bipartisanship.

I think, you know, they often fool themselves into thinking they`re living in the "West Wing" episode. And so I think it`s a combination of factors here. And, you know, a big one is this idea that he`s going to save the country by demonstrating bipartisanship. He said this in a number of interviews. And I think that`s just rather silly.

Him and Susan Collins coming together on a bill is not going to change the historic forces that are working on this population and driving us into a polarized state that we`re in right now. I think that what he is able to do something more achievable, which is to either deliver results for the people he represents or not.

REID: Yeah.

JENTLESON: It really comes down to that choice. So far he`s choosing not to deliver those things and I think that`s a poor choice.

REID: And he`s up for re-election in 2024. It isn`t about whether they vote for the record Donald Trump. That was a presidential vote. The question for you, Joe Manchin, is what did you do? What did you deliver for those people? Because that state is awfully poor for having a senator who seems so powerful. Think about that, sir.

Adam Jentleson, thank you very much. Always great to have you here.

And up next, the aftermath of Trump`s big lie is still playing out in statehouses across the country. Thankfully, Stacey Abrams is here to tell us about a big push this summer for action on the federal level protecting voting rights.

And that`s after this quick break.


REID: The big lie that the election was stolen pushed a -- pushed by a wannabe autocrat and his feckless followers is starting to have real consequences for the future of our democracy. "The Associated Press" reports that county officials who run elections are quitting or retiring early, after facing threats and intimidation, during the 2020 presidential election and its aftermath, and the possibility of punishment, in some states.

That potentially opens up those jobs to various kooks and conspiracy theorists. And in Arizona, we have seen what those conspiracies lead to, with the state`s ongoing election fraudit.

But, because, you know, Cyber Ninjas searching for bamboo and ballots in the chicken poop wasn`t bonkers enough, Republicans are now pushing to outsource that tomfoolery to other states. As HuffPost points out, there`s no chance that audits would reverse the outcome anywhere, but they are clearly meant to undermine faith in American democracy.

And according to the Brennan Center, there are currently 389 suppression bills in 48 states. And at least 14 states have enacted 22 new laws, restricting the vote this year.

The Senate could counter those efforts by passing the For the People Act, which would expand voting rights. But with Joe Manchin in opposition, its chances of passing aren`t looking so great.

That`s why, as we enter this hot-vax summer, Stacey Abrams is launching her hot call summer campaign, asking their supporters to call their senators every day until the For the People Act passes.

And I am joined now by Stacey Abrams, founder of Fair Fight Action and author of "Our Time is Now", available in paperback now, which is a great book.

And, Stacy, part of what we are seeing with these fake audits which are, also, now, apparently, Georgia -- apparently Georgia Republicans are interested in bringing it to your state. Part of it seems, to me, that it`s GOTV. It`s way to excite their base by saying don`t worry, we won`t let the black people vote.

But what`s scary is it actually could stop a lot of people of color and young people from voting.

How worried are you that these efforts, as ludicrous as some of them are, will actually impede people`s ability to vote?

STACEY ABRAMS, FOUNDER, FAIR FIGHT ACTION: Well, I`m -- I`m deeply concerned because it`s worked before. We keep forgetting that voter suppression isn`t new. And these are variations on the theme.

I -- I talk about it in "Our Time is Now" that voter suppression began with the inception of this nation. But what has happened, in the 21st century, is that it`s been digitized. It`s been commoditized and it`s been franchised out of the South and across the country.

And what we are seeing with these fake audits, with the intimidation of election workers, with the criminalization of simply doing the job of managing democracy. We are seeing attacks, on all levels of our democracy. And we should be deeply concerned about it.

But we should, also, remember that it`s our democracy and we have the right a reassert ourselves and to push back. And that`s why we are doing hot call summer and why we are reaching out to every-single senator, calling on each of them, to do their job and to pass the For the People Act.

REID: I want you to explain about hot call summer and how people can get involved in it because you`re right, it`s not just Joe Manchin. There -- there are 50 of them and it`s not clear that there are not, you know, even ten of `em, who are on the same side as him.

With 389 bills in 48 states, every state, except Delaware and Vermont, is now pushing to make it harder to vote. And again, I think it`s partly GOTV, but we`re talking about -- you are also seeing limiting the power of secretaries of state, or taking away their power, if they don`t do as they`re told.

It`s bad enough to have a secretary of state in your state that said, I`m going to make this electorate perfect for myself, and then I`m going to run for governor. What will it mean if some of these really out there people get the job of secretary of state?

ABRAMS: So, we`ve got to pay attention to the fact these laws do things. One, they`re anti-voter. They are designed to stop voters that the Republicans found inconvenient in this last election. Namely, young people, people of color, the disabled.

Number two, these are anti-election worker bills. They`re designed to get good people to abandon their post, to criminalize those who still want to do their job, and to replace them with those who will undermine the administration of elections.

And, three, they`re designed to subvert democracy.

And the challenge is, to the extent we have secretaries of state, who support and suborn this behavior, they are hastening the demise of our democracy. And this is not hyperbole. This is exactly what happens across the world when, you know, past, long-standing democracies start to erode. It begins by undermining how people feel not about the democracy that they have but about the administration of that democracy.

And what this is intended to do is to convince voters that it is not worth the effort. To your point about being GOTV, it`s to convince those, who decided to show up for the first time, who, you know, decided they were going to push through those barriers, once more, that it`s not worth it and it`s trying to convince those who want to believe the big lie that there is something in it for them, on the other side. That, if they break done democracy, they get something better on the other side.

And unfortunately, we know that is autocracy. We know that it is not designed for their benefit and it`s not designed for America`s benefit.

REID: Yeah. So what do we do? Because I think with a lot -- I mean, we talk on our calls when we do our calls like, what is the plan? What is the pushback? What do we do?

ABRAMS: So, number one, go to and you can get all this information. But for hot call summer, we`re asking everywhere to call their U.S. senators, both of them. Call them every day. The number is 888-453- 3211, 888-453-3211.

When you call that number, it`s -- it`s painless. We will connect you to your U.S. senator. Both, the first one. Then, you talk to that person. Then, you call back and do the second one.

And yes, there are going to be some U.S. senators who won`t answer the phone, who won`t return your call, who will argue with you. But this is not about them. This is about them knowing that you know who they are, you know what you deserve, and that we are putting citizenship above -- above partisanship.

We need a hot call summer because they need to know that they cannot withstand the force of the American people when we decide to protect our democracy.

REID: And you have been an elected official, Stacey. You know the power of big money and you know win of the reasons big money, people like the U.S. chamber and Americans for Prosperity oppose S-1 is because it would go at the big money.

A lot of people feel powerless against that kind of big, dark money. How do we defeat it?

ABRAMS: We have to remember that politicians are often motivated by money, peer pressure, or attention. And if we don`t have the money to sway them, we can get to them with attention by calling out those who are doing right, and calling out those who are not doing their jobs.

And then, it`s peer pressure. It`s getting those who are standing on the side of right. Giving them all of the attention and support we can, and forcing the other side to recognize that if they want to keep their jobs, they have to do their jobs and protect our democracy.

Money is the easiest way to do it but we`ve got the power of the people, behind us. And if people stand up, especially those who showed up and changed the future of the world in 2020 and in January, 2021, here in Georgia. If we can do that, we can do this. And hot call summer is how we are going to get this done.

REID: Have you talk today people, like Warnock, Senator Warnock, about whether or not they believe that this kind of a strategy can work? Because he`s got a run. He`s in this -- he`s in this `22 -- he is on that ballot.

ABRAMS: Absolutely. We know there are a number of U.S. senators who stand to lose their elections in 2022 if we do not protect our democracy. But we also have to remember that beyond each individual candidate, it`s about who we are as a people, as a nation. Are we willing to lose our nation to those who had the failed insurrection in January, and decided to franchise it to every single state?

So, insurrection is continuing and we`ve got to stop it in its tracks with the For the People Act through hot call summer.

REID: Stacey Abrams, if you will tweet all of that information out, put it in a tweet, I will retweet it and our show will retweet as well, hot call summer.

Thank you very much, Stacey Abrams.

That is tonight`s REIDOUT.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.