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Transcript: The ReidOut, 6/25/21

Guests: Philonise Floyd, Ben Crump, Frederick Lawrence, Cynthia Alksne, Nikema Williams, LaTosha Brown, George Takei


Derek Chauvin sentenced to 22.5 years; Biden says, Chauvin sentence seems to be appropriate; Father of Jacob Blake reacts to Chauvin sentence; Sharpton to Congress; don`t put George Floyd`s name on a weak bill; Three other officers still awaiting trial; Trump Organization expected to face criminal charges.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: I will say and rounding it out and we went long and sort of our full coverage at the top. So I appreciate you guys being concise that Michael make such great points here, the living history and what we still need to learn from. And then have got on a lighter note, we can all see why Michael is a historian because he`s got every little details when it comes into any segment. Just don`t tell him and Queens and Havoc spends too much time in Brooklyn because that`s a different energy.

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, HISTORIAN: Just a little bit of fun checking Ari, I`m doing my best.

MELBER: Now I get to hand it to Joy. Thank you to Havoc and Michael. That is THE BEAT. THE REIDOUT is right now. Hi, Joy.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: How are you doing? Don`t mess with Brooklyn. Don`t even -- don`t start with me. Don`t make me full out his east flash list card. Don`t even try it, Ari. Have a great weekend. Thank you. Cheers.

MELBER: Thank you.

REID: All right. Cheers everyone. Good evening and TGIF to all of you.

Okay. Buckle up because we have got a lot to get to with breaking news on multiple fronts, NBC News is reporting tonight that Donald Trump`s business, the Trump organization is expected to face criminal charges as soon as next week. What will it mean for the disgraced former president and his family? Well, we`ll have the latest from New York, coming up.

Meanwhile the Department of Justice announced it is suing the state of Georgia over its recently passed anti-voter law. The DOJ says that the bill which you might remember was signed into law under the painting of a slave plantation discriminates against non-white voters.

But we begin THE REIDOUT tonight with a conclusion, for now at least, of a case that transfixed the nation and reignited the movement for racial justice. Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd, a sentence seven and a half years shy of what prosecutors had asked for but far more significant than what the defense requested, namely probation.

His sentencing followed a day of powerful victim impact statements by the Floyd family. Here are two of George Floyd`s brothers along with his seven- year-old daughter Gianna, in a video played by prosecutors.


TERRENCE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD`S BROTHER: And for me and my family, we seek the maximum penalty. We don`t want to see no more slaps on the wrist. We have been through that already.

PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD`S BROTHER: My family and I, most of all, my niece my niece, Gianna, she needs closure. I am asking that you please find it suitable to give Officer Chauvin the maximum sentence possible. Charge him. He has been found guilty for.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you could say anything to your daddy would it be?

GIANNA FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD`S DAUGHTER: It will be I miss him and I love him.


REID: We also heard from Chauvin himself in a brief and cryptic statement suggesting more is to come.


DEREK CHAUVIN, FORMER MINNEAPOLIS POLICE OFFICER: I give my condolences to the Floyd family. There is going to be some other information in the future that would be of interest. And I hope things will give you some peace of mind.


REID: The saga is also far from over for the three other officers on the scene with Chauvin who are charged with aiding and abetting second degree murder and manslaughter. They will face trial next month.

And joining me now is Ben Crump, attorney for the Floyd Family, and Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd. Thank you both for being here. And, Philonise, I have to start with you, I heard your victim impact statement as well as your other family members, your brother. But I want to give you an opportunity to both react to the verdict and also to the statement that Derek Chauvin made, that really sort of brief cryptic statement.

P. FLOYD: The verdict, basically I wanted the maximum sentence. But I am grateful for what we received. We usually don`t even get that kind of accountability at all, as African-Americans, we don`t get that. But opportunity for us to have this is great. So many different people around the world are grateful for this and the world feels like they can breathe now. And Gianna, that`s all I`m happy for. She will have that closure and understand that her daddy did change the world.

REID: Yes.

P. FLOYD: He changed people think about African-American people and George`s life mattered and all lives matter.

REID: You know, the president of the United States reacted to this and said he does not know the circumstances, but he said under the guidelines, it seems to be inappropriate sentence.

Let me play actually play Jacob Blake. Let me play Jacob Blake Sr. because he had one of the most powerful reactions to the verdict. Let`s take a listen.


JACOB BLAKE, SR. JACOB BLAKE`S FATHER: I don`t think that people understand the pain of the families that they go through. We never get justice, man. We never get justice, man. We do everything we are supposed to do, man. And we can`t find justice, man. Why does it elude us? Why does it elude us, man?


REID: You know and Philonise that kind of reflects what your brother, Rodney, said, where he really seemed disappointed that Derek Chauvin did not get the maximum, the maximum, 30 years. You were the most optimistic person. I have to say that the whole -- every time I spoken with you that you have been on here with my good brother, Benjamin Crump, you always saying no, we`re going to win this, we are going to get a conviction. You always said that, I really doubted it but you never did.

In the end do you feel more like Mr. Blake Sr. and your brother, Rodney, or do you feel victorious in having-- it`s very rare for a police officer to be convicted and get this kind of sentence. Do you feel more victorious or more like Mr. Blake and Rodney?

PHILONISE FLOYD: Probably like Mr. Blake and Mr. Rodney.

REID: Yes.

PHILONISE FLOYD: I just think that he should have gotten the maximum. Yet to understand that, my brother, he is dead. I will never get to see him again. We will always have empty seats at the house that he should be sitting there. That was our love and we be cherished him. No matter how anybody else talk about him, we loved him, just like when Mrs. Chauvin`s mom stood up and she`s spoke up for him, you know, she loves him. So she`s going to speak out for her son. But the facts still there, the video clean that shows the knee on my brother`s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. Consequences, they vary.

But for us just to get some time, even though it was a slap on the wrist, we have still have to appreciate it because we didn`t have to get anything.

REID: Yes. Let me go to you, my friend, Ben. We have been a long ways coming. And you win and you lose some. You won some really important cases for families who have been brutalized by police and lost loved ones. But this is a big deal for this conviction to happen just given what you and I know about how hard it is to convict a police officer. What do you think it means in the bigger picture for at least in this case for this officer to have spend at least 15 years and up to 22 years in prison?

BEN CRUMP, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well a couple of things, Joy. And it`s so good to be with you and Philonise always makes all of us feel more optimistic about life. And so I make him feel a little more optimistic.

Today represents an opportunity for America to have a turning point. You know, this is the longest conviction of a police officer in the history of the state of Minnesota, the first time a white police officer has been sentenced to prison for killing a black person in the state of Minnesota.

And we`re following that, Joy, we know the federal charges are still pending. So, he may very well get the maximum accountability that he spoke up because justice would be him having his brother. And our journey to justice will end, Joy Reid, when black men and black women and people of color do not have to fear being killed by the police because of the color of their skin.

REID: Yes. Well let me play our mutual brother, Reverend Al Sharpton, because he made a point about the law that is named for, Philonise, for your brother and where it goes from here. Here is Rev.


REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: When we talk about the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act, we know the difference between two slices of bread and a sandwich. A sandwich has meat between the two slices of bread. Don`t come down with a compromise that is two slices of bread with no meat in the middle. Don`t put George Floyd`s name, a strong man, on a weak bill.


REID: You know, Rev knows how to put it. But, Philonise, I have to ask you. What has to be in the bill for the family to feel that it`s worthy of George Floyd`s name and legacy?

P. FLOYD: Everything. Not just George Floyd legacy. There are so many different people who have their blood on that bill. You have Breonna Taylor, you have Pamela Turner, you have Garner. And I was speaking to Mrs. Carr today and it is really a horrific time in this world now for the things that we see that are going on.

Every time I look at this bill, I don`t want to see a watered down bill. I want to make sure that people feel comfortable going outside. We don`t have to worry about these no-knock warrants anymore. We don`t have to worry about chokeholds anymore. We don`t have to worry about police officers not having their body cams on. They need to have it all the time. They need to have a dash cam and on all the time. That qualified immunity is the thing that I`ve know that`s pushing this bill right now. We need to get (INAUDIBLE) straight.

REID: Absolutely. I`m out -- lastly very quickly to you Ben, because you are sitting next to the right man. I`m going to tell you, Philonise, because that man right there is a warrior, the attorney general of black America. Last word to you. How confident are you that the George Floyd bill will pass intact?

CRUMP: You know, I spoke with Senator Scott and Senator Booker and Congresswoman Bass, the California congresswoman. And they all say that the framework is there, we just have to deal with the details. The devil is in the detail. We don`t have the time, Joy, but they really educated me on how we are going to make the bill passed.

REID: Okay, well I appreciate both of you. Philonise, thank you so much for making the time and being here. It means a lot to me that you were here tonight, and my brother, Ben Crump.

CRUMP: We love you.

REID: Appreciate you, man. Always appreciate it. And I feel like I know you no,w Philonise. Thank you very much. Okay, thank you brothers.

All right, let me bring in another friend, Paul Butler, Professor at Georgetown University Law Center, and a former Federal Prosecutor. I rarely get to talk to you in a case where there is actually something like justice in the case of a black man or woman killed by police. This is a rare moment. I just want to get how surprise for you. I saw your piece. In which you almost predicted what the sentence was going to be. And it was actually more than what you thought it`s going to be. You thought 18 years. How surprised were you?

PAUL BUTLER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: The judge did not throw the book at Derek Chauvin, but, Joy, he came close. He couldn`t go over 30 years without getting reversed on appeal. This is one of the toughest sentences any police officers receive for killing a black person. The judge said he wasn`t trying to send a message but this verdict and sentence will certainly impact police officers. It tells them that if they abuse their badge, like Derek Chauvin, they could face extremely serious consequences.

REID: What do you think that it means for the other three officers who have to go to trial?

BUTLER: I think it means that they should be thinking about making a deal so that they do not get the kind of time that Derek Chauvin got. They are eligible for that time as well. And in some ways, Joy, their conviction, if it happens, could be even more important. Because what these officers should have done was to enforce the law against their colleague when he was committing murder but instead they just stood and watched. That is often what police officers do. That is that blue wall of silence, the thin blue line. And that has to be dealt with in order for police officers to be held accountable.

REID: And what do you think the short, cryptic, weird comment that Derek Chauvin made at the end? Was that about the federal trial? Because it seems to me it would be better for him to at least seem human, but he decided not to. Was that about the federal charges do you think?

BUTLER: It is very hard to know and I would not mind if we never hear another word from Derek Chauvin. Who knows. You know, the reality is thought that, Joy, this is one case where one police officer is prosecuted and when Chauvin completes his incarceration and parole in 2043, this country will be a different place. People of color will be the majority of the population.

Let`s hope that U.S. cops are not still killing 1,000 people every year, as they have every year since that we have reliable statistics. Whether Chauvin gets 22 years or 42 years will not change that. The focus, as Crump said, has to be on systemic change like the George Floyd act. If we do not see this kind of transformation in policing, the George Floyd`s death would have been in vain.

REID: And not just George Floyd. I am thinking a lot of Glenn Carr today, as she was mention by Philonise Floyd. She lost her son saying the same last work. So she had to feel a lot in her heart today. So really, I`m thinking about her as well as the Floyd family. Thank you very much Paul Butler, my friend. I appreciate you. Have a great weekend.

All right, up next on THE REIDOUT. More breaking news tonight, Donald Trump`s business empire is on the verge of being declared a criminal enterprise. NBC News has learned that the Manhattan D.A. could announce criminal charges in days.

Plus, the DOJ drops the hammer on Georgia`s voter suppression law.


MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Our complaint alleges that recent Georgia`s election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of black Georgians to vote on the count of race or color.

REID: DOJ. And, of course, the great George Takei joins me on pride month in today`s ceremony to designate the Pulse nightclub a national memorial.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: As if there wasn`t enough news this Friday night, we are bracing for more to come, and that is because the Trump Organization is expected to face criminal charges from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance as early as next week. That`s according to multiple people familiar with the matter, including the company`s lawyer, who says it looks like they are going to come down with charges against the company and that, he says, is completely outrageous.

He says, company lawyers met with Vance`s office on Thursday and try to persuade them not to go forward. But I guess that did not work out too well for them. This follows the news from "The New York Times" that Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg could be charged individually as well. Prosecutors have long been investigating Weisselberg, with an eye toward flipping him against his boss.

They`re scrutinizing the tax implications of the perks he and his family reportedly received from the company, like free tuition and free rent.

However, there could be more. We know that prosecutors are also investigating whether Trump`s company inflated or deflated the value of assets to get favorable loans or to avoid taxes, which would be fraud.

Joining me now is Cynthia Alksne, former federal prosecutor, and Frederick Lawrence, former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Thank you both for being here.

Ladies first. I`m going to go to you first, Cynthia.

The part about the company getting prosecuted and maybe Weisselberg being prosecuted separately, does that feel to you like they`re having trouble flipping him?

CYNTHIA ALKSNE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: They`re definitely having trouble flipping him.

I think this is -- when I was in the Brooklyn DA`s office, at some point, we used to have a term for it, which isn`t very attractive, but it`s a blank on the bar contest. I mean, here it is. They have been telling him for a long time, you have to flip. And he`s been telling them, I`m not going to.

And now the deal is, show us what you got. And so they`re going to indict him. And this is a real pressure to get him to flip. And it`s interesting, because it does require, once you -- if these indictments really happen, the Trump Organization is going to have to make a decision.

And he`s going to find out whether or not they`re going to support him or not, or whether they`re going to say, well, we didn`t do that. Weisselberg did all that. But that`s what`s coming down the pike.

Now, if they give him up, that will help get -- inspire him to flip. So we will see. There`s a lot of a dance going on right now about the way -- a way that any indictments, if they really come, how all the different parties react to them.

REID: That`s a very interesting point, very good points.

Frederick Lawrence, can you explain, what does it mean for a company to get indicted vs. an individual person?

FREDERICK LAWRENCE, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Company`s indicted, the company is not going to go to jail, obviously, but it is subject to criminal penalties and fines.

At the same time, the individuals involved in the company still have liability for their individual responsibility. So I think what`s going on - - I think Cynthia`s got it just right. They have been squeezing and squeezing. And now we`re seeing the endgame of squeezing.

This is letting Weisselberg and other Weisselbergs, right -- I mean, the other people in the organization -- we don`t know who else they`re talking to -- letting them know the boat is about to leave the port. So if you want to be on the boat, this would be the time to do it.

REID: Yes.

LAWRENCE: My guess is that there are a lot of final discussions between those folks and their lawyers. And their lawyers who are saying, here`s your risk. Here`s your exposure. Do you want to hang tight and be loyal? Or is this the time to cooperate?

Because their leverage is about to drop decidedly next week, once these indictments come.

REID: Yes.

So -- and to your point, Cynthia, the Trump lawyer Ron Fischetti said: "They could not get on Weisselberg to cooperate and tell them what they wanted to hear. And that`s why they`re going forward with these charges."

ABC News reported earlier this month that the -- that Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan district attorney, brought the Trump Organizations controller in to testify before his -- the special grand jury, which is deemed, at least by ABC, as a sign that prosecutors have burrowed deep into the company`s finances.

If, in fact, it`s a company getting indicted, and not an individual, can you spell that out a little bit more, Cynthia? Does that mean that -- let`s say they find the company did something wrong. Are they just going to find it out of existence? Or if, it`s like an LLC -- because LLCs are actually on your personal taxes, right?

ALKSNE: Well...

REID: Wouldn`t it mean that some human being at some point has to also be indicted, besides Weisselberg?

ALKSNE: Well, here is the important thing to know.

Indictments can come next week, and then 10 more indictments can come the week after and can supersede. The fact that they do this indictment doesn`t mean that is completely over. So, my guess would be, this is a starting point, and it has a specific goal. And that is to get everybody`s attention and to flip Weisselberg. And then there will be more that`s coming down the road.

It`s important what you say about the controller being -- testifying, because, unlike federal court, where we`re used to people being forced to testify in the grand jury and having it just be kind of a way to get information, in state court in New York, if you testified in front of the grand jury, you get immunity.

So, the Connelly (sic) guy, who was the controller, who testified, now has immunity, whether he likes it or not. And that really creates another interesting situation. There`s -- this creates so many complexities. For example, who testifies? Who takes the Fifth? Who asks for a deal? Who finds out that Trump is not loyal to them and who finds out Trump is?

So you can`t even begin to draw out all the complexities of this right now. This is going to take a while to shake out.

REID: And I have a question about that, about -- because the fact is, this is the end of Cy Vance`s term. I mean, this is -- this could wind up bleeding into next prosecutor`s term. I`m curious to see how that plays out.

But I do want to point out a couple other things. So, Donald Trump`s former bodyguard and the current COO of his company -- it`s weird that he moves people to weird jobs that don`t seem to match -- his name is Matthew Calamari. He`s also being scrutinized in this same probe.

Here`s what Michael Cohen, Donald Trump`s former personal attorney, said to Jimmy Kimmel last night about him and about Weisselberg.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY/FIXER FOR DONALD TRUMP: They don`t really need Weisselberg or Calamari. One of them will flip to save themselves.

And once you get Calamari, you don`t need Weisselberg. When you get Weisselberg, you don`t need Calamari. But the truth is, they don`t need either of them because they have the documents to prove exactly the illegalities done by Trump.


REID: Frederick Lawrence, is that accurate?

LAWRENCE: Yes, I don`t think so. They have got the documents to prove certain things.

But the documents are unlikely to trace it all the way to Trump. That`s why they need either Weisselberg or Calamari. That`s why they have been squeezing these guys so hard. Trump is famous for this for years. There`s this Byzantine structure in his organization, so that nothing seems to lead to his desk.

Now, obviously, if he`s the boss, he was involved. I can say obviously, but I can`t prove it. They need testimony. And that`s why they`re leaning on these guys hard.

REID: And, Cynthia, can you speak to this -- the part about Cy Vance being -- he`s leaving. There`s a whole primary that just happened, in part to replace him.

What happens as the administration of that office turns over? Is it seamless that it just goes on it? Does it -- does that maybe speed up the process of getting this done, because Cy Vance is on his way out?

ALKSNE: Well, lots of people speculate that it speeds up the process of decision-making, because he`s been trying to get this done for so long.

But it`s basically pretty seamless. These are professional people. This is a very professional office. And let me just say, I also agree you can`t do this case probably without Weisselberg.

For those people who have nothing else to do at night, if they watch an old "Apprentice" show with Calamari, you will see that Calamari is not the brains of the organization.


ALKSNE: He`s not the answer to this prosecution.


ALKSNE: The answer to this prosecution...

REID: Is anyone the brains, though? I mean...


LAWRENCE: Oh, somebody was the brains.

REID: Yes.

ALKSNE: Somebody is the brains. I agree.

LAWRENCE: I think that is right.

ALKSNE: And you have to have more than documents to show intent on this.

And so, on this one occasion, I will disagree with Michael Cohen`s legal strategy.


Well, I will say that, as somebody who never watched "The Apprentice," I didn`t -- wasn`t a fan of it. Maybe I will go back and try to find something on YouTube, so we can sort of...

ALKSNE: Just this once. Just this once.

REID: Just this one time, one time. All right. It won`t kill me, one time.

LAWRENCE: For research.


REID: Cynthia Alksne, Frederick Lawrence, have a happy weekend. Thank you both very much.

Still ahead: The Justice Department is suing Georgia over its -- over new voting law that it says unfairly discriminate against black voters.

Well, welcome to the party, Mr. Attorney General. Glad you could make it.

We will be right back.



MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We believe the civil rights of Americans have been violated. We will not hesitate to act.


REID: Days after Senate Republicans blocked even debating federal voting rights legislation, the For the People Act, the Biden Justice Department took its first action on voting rights, suing Georgia over its voter suppression law, which Attorney General Merrick Garland says violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

The head of the DOJ`s Civil Rights Division, Kristen Clarke, who will oversee the lawsuit, spelled out how Georgia`s law was explicitly enacted to target black voters.


KRISTEN CLARKE, ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: After a historic election that saw record voter turnout across the state, particularly for absentee voting, which black voters are now more likely to use than white voters, our complaint challenges several provisions of SB-202, on the grounds that they were adopted with the intent to deny or abridge black citizens equal access to the political process.


REID: It`s now one of eight lawsuits challenging various parts of the Georgia law.

It comes on the eighth anniversary of the Supreme Court`s Shelby vs. Holder decision, gutting core provisions of the Voting Rights Act, specifically sections requiring states with a history of discriminatory voting laws like Georgia to receive federal preclearance on changes to their procedures.

Today, Clarke highlighted the most egregious provisions in that law and that -- including giving out food and water to people who are standing in line to vote.


CLARKE: Historically, minority voters in Georgia have been disproportionately more likely to wait in long lines to vote in person on Election Day.

As we allege in our complaint, this needless ban was passed with unlawful discriminatory intent.


REID: I`m joined now by Congresswoman Nikema Williams of Georgia, and LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter, whose Freedom Ride for Voting Rights bus tour concludes tomorrow with a major rally in Washington, D.C., coinciding with the 60-year anniversary of the original Freedom Rides.

Thank you both for being here.

And, Representative Williams, I want to first get your reaction to this lawsuit.

REP. NIKEMA WILLIAMS (D-GA): I mean, I was kind of like you, Joy. Welcome to the party.

But we all have our role to play. I`m going to continue my fight here in Congress to make sure that we get the best bill possible past in the For the People Act. And I`m supporting my sisters on the ground in the movement like LaTosha, because we got to have that outside presence. We have to have the grassroots going.

And I have always said, we will see you in Congress or the courts. And, in the South, that`s the way we know we have to defeat Jim Crow. And that`s exactly what this is. So the Department of Justice, it is their job to represent the American people and to make sure that our civil rights are protected.

REID: Are you concerned that if, let`s say that this lawsuit happens, that there won`t be a stay of a law in effect before the elections?

Because it does feel like Republicans in Georgia from Brian Kemp on down are trying to ensure themselves reelection and to ensure that they can, for instance, get hold of Raphael Warnock`s Senate seat. Are you worried that this law will still be in court and not stayed and can still be used to stop people from voting in Georgia ahead of 2022?

WILLIAMS: Well, I think that`s exactly why we are not giving up on passing the For the People Act and getting legislation passed, so that we can get a bill to President Biden`s desk and signed into law in advance of the elections.

REID: Yes.

And, LaTosha, I know that you are on the road with some Freedom Riders, some original Freedom Riders with you. I want to get your reaction to the fact that the courts are now engaged, particularly having Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke on the job in terms of the court cases.

And also, in addition, the Justice Department is going to investigate, prosecute and -- prosecute threats against election workers. And the two of them will be leading that effort, Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke.

Your reaction to that?

LATOSHA BROWN, CO-FOUNDER, BLACK VOTERS MATTER: You know, I am extremely hopeful. I am really glad that this is happening.

I needed that this week. Matter of fact, I am sitting out in front of the Supreme Court. Right now, as we speak, I`m steps away from the Supreme Court, because we have an action at the Supreme Court this evening. We have a press conference, and, literally, around to mark the eighth anniversary of the Shelby vs. Holder decision, which essentially opened up the floodgates of what we`re experiencing right now.

REID: Yes.

BROWN: Those of us -- there were many of us that actually sat -- we drove to D.C. We sat in the Supreme Court during the arguments. And we kept saying that this would happen, that we would start seeing an attack on black voters, that, if you broke -- if you pulled out the preclearance clause, we would see what is actually essentially happening.

And what`s ironic is, on Friday, when we left, at Georgia, the secretary of state, Republican secretary of state, announced that he`s purging 100,000 voters from the voting rolls. We know who that`s targeted at.

So I think this is a very strong positive step forward from the DOJ. It`s no longer the personal law office of the president. It seems like it`s now in a position that is going to seek for having electoral justice for the people.

So, I`m -- and to have two women of color, who are also experienced veteran civil rights attorneys, I feel very, very -- I`m very confident that the state will bring us resources.

When it happened, I -- we filed a lawsuit within minutes of the bill being signed. But now to have the full weight of the federal government with the resources to bring to bear, I`m extremely hopeful and excited about this opportunity.

REID: Let me show some photos, just for those who are not aware of the -- or not following you on social media, which they should be.

Our friend Mark Thompson, Reverend Mark Thompson, tweeted a photo of yourself, LaTosha, along with Cliff Albright, who`s the co-founder of Black Voters Matter. There you all are. And there`s also an event in Richmond, Virginia, on the Freedom Ride for Voting, in that tour in Charleston, West, Virginia. So, I just want people to see what you`re doing out there.

But I do want to ask Representative Williams.

The other piece of this is the removal of black and Democratic members of elections commissions, which seems really concerning. Is there some hope that those positions will be restored, because this law isn`t specifically about -- I mean, this lawsuit isn`t specifically about that?

WILLIAMS: So, Joy, that is one of the things that the original version of H.R.1 did not address. But we`re working on that as well.

I just introduced a bill this week that would prevent that from happening in any state in this country. And you can only remove election officials for cause.

So, we are working on that. As the Republicans get creative and finding more and more ways to prevent us from voting, we have to get creative and well and make -- as well and make sure that we are doing things to protect the vote.

So it`s up to us to do our work. This is our civil rights movement.

REID: Yes.

WILLIAMS: So, what are we going to do with it?

REID: And, LaTosha, I`m going to give you the last word on this.

Can you just spell out for anyone who doubts that we need comprehensive federal legislation? You`re on the ground mobilizing black voters registering, black voters. What does it mean, in practice, to have these kinds of laws in place when you`re trying to allow people to exercise their right to vote?

BROWN: You know, 60 years ago, the Freedom Riders actually were black and white folks who will come together, and they were testing the case around segregation. And, because they worked together, they won.

As we have been traveling, we have been traveling going on nine days, eight days, to not only urban areas, but rural areas, and we`re hearing story after story of people saying it`s becoming more difficult.

They`re actually talking about how this affects them, how what happened in Georgia actually impacts them in Alabama, a state -- one of the states that doesn`t even have no-excuse absentee ballot voting, that there is a need for us to pass For the People Act as it`s written, and the John Lewis Voter Advancement Act, so that we set a national federal standard, so that people have equal and access -- fair access to the ballot, whether they`re in Idaho or Alabama or Mississippi.

And we need the voter -- the John Lewis Voter Advancement Act because we need the teeth back into the voter -- of the voter -- of Voting Rights Act as well. And so we need both. We need the court system. This is an issue about democracy, not partisanship.

And so that`s why we`re doing the work that we`re doing on the Freedom Ride. And we hope people come and join us on the Mall tomorrow between 12:00 and 4.00. So, come out and ride out with us.

REID: Well, I`m heading -- I`m heading back to the D.C. area, so I`m going to try to catch you all before you guys leave. Hopefully, I can make it in time.

Thank you very much for being here, both Congresswoman Nikema Williams and LaTosha Brown. Hope to see you tomorrow.

All right, still ahead, a live report from that collapsed condominium in Florida, where more than 100 people are still unaccounted for.

That`s next. Stay with us.


REID: Firefighters continue to work through harrowing conditions to try to find survivors in the rubble of the partially collapsed condo in Surfside, Florida. Four people are confirmed dead. Roughly 160 are unaccounted for.

President Biden has signed an emergency declaration authorizing DHS and FEMA to coordinate the disaster relief efforts.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have spoken to Governor DeSantis.

And we have provided all the help that they have, they need. We sent the best people from FEMA down there. I promise you the administration and the Congress is doing everything possible to be of assistance now and after this occurs.


REID: Joining me now outside the Champlain Towers in Surfside, Florida, is my colleague and friend Ali Velshi, host of "VELSHI" on MSNBC.

Give us the latest, Ali, please.

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Well, it`s a half-an-hour from sunset right now.

You can see on the left of your screen, there are a group of police being briefed right now on what they`re about to do. We`re seeing rescue workers coming back and forth.

But the numbers haven`t changed. We have four people confirmed dead, one whose identity we know. And we have 159 people on the not-accounted-for less. Now, that doesn`t mean they`re 159 people who were to be rescued in that rubble, but it`s 159 people who they think might be there. Might have been residents. Might have been tenants.

There are family and friends of these people gathered nearby about eight blocks north of here waiting for news. They`re being briefed every three to four hours. But the bottom line is, there has not been a great deal of progress in bringing those numbers down.

Now, they have been working all day. They`re sorting through that rubble. We have got helicopters up there. We have got heavy machinery. They`re using sonar to listen for things. They have got dogs. They`re using cameras. They`re gridding out the search.

But they don`t know what happened, Joy. So they have got to be very careful about how they approach the search so as not to collapse anything more or jeopardize the idea that there might be people who are caught in an area that they can`t get out from, but that there`s still enough oxygen for them to survive in.

So that`s the state of things. As the sun gets ready to set here, it is still a grim, grim situation, with up to 159 people thought missing and maybe in that rubble, Joy.

REID: Yes.

And let me ask you this, because, having lived in Florida, I know that there is aggressive sort of real estate development there.


REID: And I`m trying to just sort of get to what happened here.

Is -- do we know anything about the idea of this being built on reclaimed wetlands, thus it`s sinking because it`s basically on wetlands?


REID: Can you tell us a little bit about that?

VELSHI: So, we`re on a barrier island, right? This is Miami Beach.

And you see all these buildings. They are sort of -- they`re all about 40 years old in this particular stretch, which is not particularly old. Buildings shouldn`t be coming down without any extraneous cause. There`s a lot of speculation about what`s going on.

There`s been one lawsuit filed. Some people say that they have got cracks that have been showing up in the building that the management company didn`t take care of. There`s a professor from Florida International University who has said that this -- these places here are sinking at the rate of about two millimeters a year because it`s on this reclaimed wetland.

However, he`s not drawing the conclusion that that would have caused what happened here. This was so extreme, this implosion. Typically, something like that happens because of an earthquake or some extraneous event, like a bomb or like 9/11, a fire that causes it to go down.

So, we`re not sure. Ron DeSantis did say today that`s going to be a big focus of their work, figuring out what happened. And while that doesn`t -- is not the priority, while they`re trying to rescue people...

REID: Sure.

VELSHI: ... they do need to understand this, because there are whole lot of people along this stretch and everywhere else in America in apartment buildings wondering why this thing just came down.

REID: Absolutely, and having to live on the same reclaimed wetlands and having to worry.


REID: Ali Velshi, you`re the best. Thank you very much, my friend. Have a great weekend.

VELSHI: Thanks, Joy.

REID: All right, coming up: Pride Month was celebrated at the White House today.


BIDEN: Pride Month stands for love, being able to love yourself, love whomever you love, and love this country enough to make it more fair and more free and more just.


REID: Actor and activist George Takei -- there he is -- joins me to discuss a year of exciting advances and some disheartening setbacks for our LGBTQ communities and friends.

We will be right back.


REID: We are nearing the end of June, which means the end of Pride Month.

Pride is an opportunity for our LGBTQ+ friends to come together and celebrate those who fought and continue to fight for equality and acceptance.

Today, the president and first lady welcomed advocates, faith leaders and politicians to the East Room. Who better to kick off the shindig than Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg?


PETE BUTTIGIEG, U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: To those youth who wonder whether they belong and especially to those for whom doubt or fear or danger mean you still can`t live fully as your true self, know that a whole lot of us have your back, starting at the top.

And, yes, happy Pride.


BIDEN: Pride Month represents so much. It stands for courage, the courage of all those in previous generations and today who proudly live their truth. It stands for justice, both the steps we have taken and the steps we need to take.

And, above all, Pride Month stands for love.


REID: Earlier, President Biden designated the site of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida as a national memorial.

And joining me now is George Takei, actor, author and activist.

And it`s always great to talk to you, George. Thank you for being here.

I`m going to give you my live long and prosper, because you did it. You gave me one earlier.

Let`s talk about this.

So, Brandon Wolf, my good friend Brandon Wolf, who survived the Pulse shooting, was there. He tweeted about the -- being in the East Room for this Pulse nightclub designation. He`s talking about the 49 of his friends who will never be forgotten.

What does that mean? What do you think that the significance of creating that memorial will be?

GEORGE TAKEI, ACTOR AND ACTIVIST: It is profound, because it capsulizes all of the struggle and the fight against homophobia and all that we have had to go through to get to the point where we are now.

And to memorialize those places is an important -- to make it a landmark is an important act.

And another important landmark event was what the show -- the clip that you showed in the White House, I mean, Pete Buttigieg, the first eminently credible candidate for the presidency of the United States, and now on the president`s Cabinet as the secretary of transportation.

And to have Joe Biden himself there in the White House, we are making great progress. And it is certainly a month of pride and celebration.

REID: So, we were like furiously writing. They were like, let`s think of all the -- like, the good things that have happened that we can celebrate that went well.

You mentioned Pete Buttigieg, who made history, also my girl Karine Jean- Pierre, who was the first LGBTQ person to take the podium and do -- as a White House press secretary. She`s the deputy press secretary. You have had an executive order in January signed by the president banning discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

A record number of LGBTQ people in the administration. And, of course, NFL player Carl Nassib, for football fans, who plays for the Raiders, who, they should be in Oakland, but whatever. They in Vegas now.


REID: There is a lot that is good, but there are still challenges, George.

I mean, we are seeing trans kids just beaten about, right?

TAKEI: Well, but, still, there are other positives...

REID: Yes.

TAKEI: ... that we mustn`t forget.

I mean, the mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot.

REID: Yes.

TAKEI: And she`s got a tough job.

REID: Yes.

TAKEI: And she`s a strong woman who can handle it.

REID: Yes.

But the things that sort of still we have to worry about, I mean, trans children are really being placed in a horrible position. Black trans women have been killed at record numbers. We`re seeing the trans community really zeroed in on in a way that -- politically, to make them sort of an independent villain.

What can we do to be supportive, do you think, as we`re so celebratory of what`s happening for the LGB part, and for the T?


TAKEI: It`s part of the whole struggle. And the struggle is particularly in the South now against the transgender community.

In Florida, just this month, they banned participation in girls athletics by transgender women.

REID: Yes.

TAKEI: Same thing happened last month in -- or a few months ago in Arkansas, where our family was imprisoned during the Second World War.

And I have many friends in Arkansas, and I love Arkansas, and Little Rock. But it`s still one of those areas where we have our battles to fight.

REID: Yes. Yes.

And intersectionality is so important. Since we`re all getting to know who Kimberle Crenshaw, at least some folks are, she coined that term.

And for you, who`s a person of color who`s also a gay man, can you talk a little bit about how the challenges remain, if they remain, in your view, in communities of color for young people who are coming out in cultures where it might be more difficult than it is here, just -- or in families that are more conservative?

Like, what is that sort of differentiation, do you think?

TAKEI: Exactly.

I mean, families of color are no different than the larger communities, families. We have retrogressive or conservative families. And it`s still a long -- a serious problem, and especially for me as an actor.

Most of my adult life was spent in the closet. I was 68 when I came out, because of -- I was tired of gritting my teeth and swallowing the ugly taste. In California, back in 2005, when I first came out, a landmark event happened. The legislature of California, both houses, Senate and the Assembly, passed the marriage equality bill.

Only one state at that time had marriage equality. That was Massachusetts. And they got it through the state Supreme Court. We did it with the legislature, the people`s representative.

But that bill needed one more signature, that of the governor. And the governor at that time happened to be Arnold Schwarzenegger, who campaigned for the governor`s office by touting the fact that he`s from Hollywood, he`s worked with gays and lesbians.

REID: Yes.

TAKEI: And yet, despite that campaign, when the bill landed on his desk, he vetoed it.

REID: Yes. He vetoed it.

TAKEI: And that got me so angry that I came out.

REID: Yes.

Well, we are glad that you did. And we`re glad that you`re our friend.

George Takei, live long and prosper. You are great. Happy Pride to you, sir. Thank you so much. OK.

TAKEI: Happy Pride to you.

REID: Thank you.

And before we go, in honor of Pride Month, tonight`s "Moment of Joy" is brought to you by the letter S for "Sesame Street." For nearly half-a- century, "Sesame Street" has been a pioneering program when it comes to diversity and inclusion.

This week, they made history yet again. On Thursday, Granny Bird, Elmo and the rest of the gang welcomed Frank, Dave and their daughter Mia, the first married same-sex couple and family to be recurring characters.

Cheers to "Sesame Street" for doing more to recognize diversity in this country than most of the Republican Party and more than lots of other people.

That is tonight`s REIDOUT.