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Transcript: The ReidOut, 6/28/21

Guests: Tim O`Brien, Adam Schiff, Ibram X. Kendi, Rick De La Guardia


Trump Organization is facing legal action deadline. NY D.A. and A.G. are expected to charge Trump Organization next week. Trump`s attorney throws out red herring. Bloomberg reports any indictment against Trump Organization could be the company`s death knell. Trump Organization probe involves employee perks and benefits. Former A.G. Barr, on Trump`s election fraud allegations, says it was all B.S. Claims of reverse racism have been the bread and butter of the modern Republican Party for decades, and now, they have a new boogieman to latch onto, critical race theory.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Well, just meet me again sometime at 6:00 P.M. Eastern at THE BEAT.

That does it for us. "THE REIDOUT" with Joy Reid is up next. Hi, Joy.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: How are you doing? Happy Monday, Ari. Okay, I wrote all of that down, so I`m going to make sure. I think I`m following you everything. I think I got it all but I got you.

MELBER: I`m following you guys. So we`re good.

REID: All right, I got you, all right. Have a great evening. Thank you so much.

And good evening, everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the hammer that`s poised to drop on the Trump Organization. Today marked a crucial deadline for Donald Trump and top executives at his company to avert the long anticipated reckoning that`s coming their way.

As The Washington Post reported late last night, prosecutors in New York gave the former guy`s attorneys a deadline of Monday afternoon to make any final arguments as to why the Trump Organization should not face criminal charges over its financial dealings. That deadline has now come and gone and it could be the final step before criminal charges are filed.

As The Post points out, that deadline is a strong signal that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance and New York Attorney General Letitia James now working together after each has spent more than two years investigating Trump`s businesses are considering criminal charges against the company as an entity. In fact, this comes after NBC News reported on Friday that charges are not only likely, they`re expected as early as this week.

At issue are the so-called fringe benefits at the Trump organization doled out to its executives, including CFO Allen Weisselberg and his family. That includes free rent worth hundreds of thousands of dollars at a luxury apartment on Central Park as well as free tuition, all of which could carry serious tax implications.

Now, while that might be the tip of the iceberg given how wide-ranging the investigation has been, Trump`s attorney says otherwise. Ronald Fischetti told politico that prosecutors in fact don`t have anything else and that Trump himself won`t be charged, at least for now. So take that with a grain of salt.

In their attempts to forestall an indictment, it also appears they`re trying to use their employees as a shield. According to Bloomberg, Trump`s lawyers are arguing that the people who will suffer the most are not Trump or his family members but the company`s 3,500 employees, like the dishwashers and maids at Trump`s Hotels and golf courses. Well, that logic, the largest corporations would never be held accountable for breaking the law.

All of this comes after the D.A.`s office convened a special grand jury in May, which will sit for six months. In other words, that grand jury is on hand for another five months, so any indictment that comes down could just be an opening salvo.

Joining me now, Tim O`Brien, Senior Columnist at Bloomberg Opinion, and Glenn Kirschner, former Federal Prosecutor.

Glenn, I want to start with you. Because it is unusual, I think, for most people to see a company indicted, potentially, instead of an individual. What would be the implications? And I know we talked about this last week. Let`s say that Trump Organization is indicted. Is that about putting pressure on the individuals involved in the company or could the company itself face separate financial implications just from being potentially indicted?

GLENN KIRSCHNER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: You know, it`s actually about both of those things, Joy. Because once a company is indicted, the last high- profile case that we saw was back during the Enron scandal when the Arthur Andersen Accounting Firm was indicted for obstruction of justice. And what ended up happening? They folded. They went out of business.

So part of it is because the authorities want to get at a corrupt enterprise, a corrupt business so it can stop committing the crimes that it is committing as an organization, but it also is very useful in pressuring and in leveraging employees in the company who may be criminally responsible themselves. So I actually think it`s serving two purposes.

And you know what, Donald Trump`s lawyers can run around beating their chest all they want about how these are small potatoes charges, the fact is when we investigate, indict and try RICO cases, conspiracy cases and gang cases, we start with a relatively small modest indictment, sometimes it has a conspiracy charge, sometimes not, and then we build. We use it as leverage to flip people. The big fish doesn`t have to worry about the first indictment handed down by a grand jury, the big fish has to worry about the last or the final indictment handed down by the grand jury.

So this is really just the starter pistol going off and it is still a long marathon to justice here.

REID: Yes. That`s a really good point. Let me read you what Politico is reporting about Trump`s attorney, Donald`s -- more of what Ronald Fischetti has said. And this is what he said to the point we were just discussing. Fischetti says, we asked is there anything else? He said no. Fischetti also said Vance`s team told him they will not bring charges against Trump himself when the first indictment comes down, as we just heard Glenn explain how this works. They just said, when this indictment comes down, he won`t be charged, our investigation is ongoing.

Tim, I guess the question would be let`s say that the implication here is that they`re not getting the cooperation they expected from Allen Weisselberg, despite the fact that he and his family are on the hook for a lot of this, and Trump could just easily just point at him and say, well, he did all of that, I had nothing to do with it. My question to you is having covered this operation for a really long time, how long, in your view, would Weisselberg hold out if he gets indicted? How long would any of these other executives hold out and not drag Trump into it with them?

TIM O`BRIEN, BLOOMBERG OPINION SENIOR COLUMNIST: Well, there`s still so much we don`t know, Joy. And it`s really going to come down to the gravity of the charges. You know, Fischetti is pounding his chest. He`s directly saying that right now the stakes in this case are very small and he can`t believe the D.A.`s office is wasting its time prosecuting it this way.

I would find it very hard to believe that the kind of firepower Cy Vance has assembled and the targets he has in mind, which we know include falsification of business records, a number of tax frauds and bank fraud possibilities, there`s even I think the possibility of money laundering here. But we just don`t know until we see what`s on the paper itself when an indictment is formally filed. And that`s going to trigger decisions among everyone in Trump`s orbit.

If Allen Weisselberg is gambling that all he`s going to be charged with are tax problems or tax frauds related to unrecognized compensation from the Trump Organization, he may believe he can beat that in court and that he doesn`t have to flip on Trump for that. If Allen Weisselberg is facing more serious charges, they`re going to wind up with him in an orange jumpsuit, I think he won`t hesitate to flip on Donald Trump. It will be nanoseconds. But we don`t really know until we the charges.

REID: Yes, and his orange will be cute like this orange that I`m wearing here. It will be like a whole different to you.

Let`s talk about the way that -- you talked a little bit, Glenn, about kind of the way it works when a company is indicted. This is what a former federal prosecutor said to Bloomberg on Friday said that any kind of indictment against corporations, could be the death knell. As you mentioned, if charged it means customers and vendors are going to stay away, contracts are going to be canceled.

Donald Trump tried to throw his employees, which according to some great reporting in The New York Times, sometimes includes undocumented folks at his resorts, which he says he doesn`t like undocumented immigration but then it turns around and hires folks or low paid people at places like Mar- a-Lago.

What would happen in theory to a company that -- let`s say that the banks call in a loans and he say if this company is in this much legal trouble, we want you to pay us now. You can`t pay us now and they start to go under, and then what happens to these entities, these little 501-3Cs -- oh, I`m sorry, these LLCs that Donald Trump has everywhere?

KIRSCHNER: Yes, I think it`s all going to crumble like a house of cards. And Tim certainly knows better than I how highly leveraged the Trump Organization is reputed to be. But it`s impossible to conceive of how the Trump Organization can survive a criminal indictment against Trump Org. Because, as you say, clients will flee, contracts will be canceled.

Banks and financial institutions will have nothing to do with loaning them money and, as you mentioned, they may call in loans. So, you know, if I were a betting man, a buck is my limit. I would bet a buck that the Trump Organization cannot survive a criminal indictment but that really is just for openers because the Manhattan District Attorney`s Office will be working his way up the criminal chain and he will go as high as he can go, as high as the evidence will take him. And two years of tax returns and financial documents that they now have in hand, I have to believe there`s a lot of potential financial fraud in there.

REID: And, Glenn, can Donald Trump use the excuse of saying Allen did the books and this had nothing to do with me?

KIRSCHNER: Oh, he almost certainly will. But, you know, isn`t Donald Trump a sort of infamous micromanager? The Trump Organization is Donald Trump. So I think he is going to be hard pressed to point the finger at Weisselberg or to point the finger at his children and say, listen, those are the bad actors here. I had no idea what was going on under my nose in an organization that I ran day in and day out.

He can try that. But you know what, that makes it all the more likely that an Allen Weisselberg will flip on him. Worst case scenario, put them both at defense counsel table shoulder to shoulder and let them start offering defenses where they`re pointing the finger at one another. I have had mid- trial guilty pleas when that started because somebody wanted out and somebody now wanted a benefit from the prosecutors.

REID: Yes, that`s what Michael Cohen predicted, they`re just all going to start accusing each other.

Tim, speaking of the children, Mother Jones has recovered documents, David Corn over at Mother Jones has a piece up, which says that it shows that Ivanka Trump did not testify accurately in the inauguration scandal case, I read a little bit of it. During a December 1st deposition, Ivanka Trump was asked if she had any involvement in the process of planning the inauguration. She replied, I really didn`t have any involvement.

Now, this wasn`t accurate, according to documents, which indicated she was part of the decision-making for various aspects of the inauguration, including even the menus for events, according to the report. She was involved in reviewing the overall plans, recruiting the talent for events and pushing a women`s entrepreneur reception, which wound up being scuttled.

How much loyalty actually exists in this family? Because it doesn`t seem that Donald Trump is loyal to anyone, except maybe Ivanka. Are they loyal in reverse? If people start getting in trouble for stuff like the inaugural, how many of them stick together, in your view, just having covered them for so long?

O`BRIEN: Oh, I don`t think any of them stick together. I think everyone understands that in Donald Trump`s world, loyalty is a one-way street. He will throw anybody under the bus he needs to to save his own hide, I think including ultimately his children, if it comes down to it. I don`t think Donald Trump will go out of his way to keep anyone else from serving prison time if it means protecting himself from winding up there.

And I think that`s why the evidence that Vance and all the other investigators are assembling, you know, criminal cases are built on intent. They`re going to have to show Trump himself knew things at crucial points in time. And I think one of the significant things about the documents Vance got is it`s not just tax returns, it`s also accountant`s work product. And they can dig in there. For as much as Trump himself doesn`t use email, other people in that organization sent emails on his behalf. There are phone records. I would assume they`re going to go through all of this so they don`t only have to rely on the testimony of employees, although that will also be important. But I don`t think there`s going to be any -- loyalty will not be the first hallmark of this event.

REID: Yes, it`s going to be interesting to see who cracks first, Trump or his children, or Allen Weisselberg. Tim O`Brien, Glenn Kirschner, thank you both very much.

And up next on THE REIDOUT, William Barr`s many alternate realities. Remember how he insisted on giving his own dishonest misinterpretation of the Mueller report before it was released to the public? Well, now, he`s trying to rewrite his role in the big lie, even though he enabled some of Trump`s worst impulses.

and Ibram Kendi joins me on Republicans stoking fear among white people about anything and everything that`s anti-racist. Oh, God.

Plus tonight`s absolute worst. They`re taking a big right turn off democracy avenue onto insurrection street.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: Former Attorney General William Barr spent most of his tenure in fealty, absolute fealty to the twice impeached, disgraced former president`s worst anti-democratic impulses. But in some revisionist reputation laundering, he wants you to believe that he was on the right side of disputing the big lie, even as it became Republican dogma.

Barr told ABC`s Jonathan Karl in excerpts of an upcoming book published in The Atlantic, that he knew, orange Julius Caesar`s claims of fraud were garbage, my suspicion all along, he said, was that there was nothing there, it was all B.S. Barr wants to look like he stood up to the big lie, but he also elaborated on demanding his already sycophantic DOJ a piece the former president by allowing Justice Department prosecutors to investigate voting irregularities before results were certified. And that is contrary to Justice Department`s policy.

Barr also spelled out that then-Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, get this, attempted to get him, the sitting attorney general, to help Republicans win an election in Georgia by placating a madman. Look, we need the president in Georgia, McConnell told Barr, and so we cannot be frontally attacking him right now. But you`re in a better position to inject some reality into this situation. You`re really the only one who can do it. I understand that, Barr said, and I`m going to do it at the appropriate time.

Barr did eventually say something, nearly a month after the election on December 1st when he told the A.P. that the Justice Department hadn`t seen fraud on a scale that could affect the outcome in the election, underscoring how deranged America`s mango Mussolini truly is.

Following that admission, he confronted Barr and asked, how the F could you do this to me? Why did you say it? Because it`s true, Barr replied. The president, livid, responded by referring to himself in the third person, you must hate Trump. Unsurprisingly, the poor loser from Mar-a-Lago wasn`t pleased with Barr`s attempt at cleanup.

Joining me now, Congressman Adam Schiff of California, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and impeachment manager in the first impeachment of the former president.

And, you know, I don`t know if you found the most disturbing aspect of this interview with Barr. The fact that he appears to have collaborated with the then Senate majority leader to try to use a DOJ investigation that went against policy to try to help Mitch McConnell hold on to the Senate by winning those two elections, that is how I read it. Is that how you read it?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, that is how I read it and it is astonishing that you have the attorney general of the United States essentially conferring with a partisan legislative leader to try to direct the Justice Department in a way that will help either the GOP or the president. And you`re absolutely right, he violated Department of justice Policy and he did it repeatedly. He was even willing to let Durham announce his investigation results in the weeks leading up to the election in violation of another DOJ policy.

And for him now to try to rehabilitate himself, there is no rehabilitation for Bill Barr, not after what he did to the Justice Department, not after misleading the country for weeks and weeks with false claims of potential fraud in the election, fraud with absentee ballots. He was singing the president`s song for a very long time. And the fact that he stopped singing it because he thought it would be more helpful to the party if he stopped, when Mitch McConnell asked him, he gets no credit for that.

REID: Well, and I think -- and that is such an important point.

It`s not that he turned against the big lie because he knew it was wrong, and that it was wrong for the president to approach him. I -- can you imagine a world in which Eric Holder had known that there was it highly unlikely that any evidence existed that the scales could be tipped in the election in 2012, and then conferred with Harry Reid, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and said, but I`m still going to do the investigations anyway?

And in Barr`s case, he said he did it just because he knew that Trump would ask him, and he wanted to be able to say, we`re working on it.

I can`t imagine how apoplectic Republicans and, frankly, the media would be if that had been Holder and Reid, as opposed to Barr and McConnell. Can you?

SCHIFF: No, I can`t.

And there`s a whole long line of actions and misconduct by Bill Barr along those same lines. If -- you can imagine if Barack Obama had intervened in a sentencing of someone who had lied to Congress to cover up for the former president what the outcry would be, but that`s what Bill Barr did for Donald Trump when he intervened in the Roger Stone case.

He made the case against Michael Flynn go away. These are astonishing actions by an attorney general, purely political acts, to placate, please the president of the United States. If any Democratic president did anything like that, there would be such a hue and cry about it.

And so I don`t think there`s anyone in the modern history of the Justice Department who has done more damage to that institution than Bill Barr. And for him to now give these self-serving accounts, it`s too late, Bill Barr, for you to think about your place in history. It is irrevocably tarnished.

REID: Yes. The cover-up general was his nickname that William Safire gave him back in the `90s. I think it still applies.

I want to let you listen to Senator Mitt Romney, because there`s a thing that`s happening among at least some Senate Republicans, I wonder if it`s happening in -- among House Republicans as well, where they too are doing some laundry, some reputation laundry.

Here`s Mitt Romney on CNN about the big lie, talking about the big lie.


SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): Well, I do think it`s important for each person to speak the truth and to make clear that the big lie is exactly that.

This is a bit like WWF, that it`s entertaining, but it`s not real.

I think people recognize that it`s a lot of show and bombast, but it`s going nowhere.


REID: And, you know, Congressman, that would sound good had he voted to even discuss the For the People Act, but he voted with all of the Republicans to bar even bringing discussion to the Senate floor to talk about protecting the American people from the big lie, which is being enacted, basically, every day in the states.

Right now, we have 14 states that have enacted 22 laws that restrict the right to vote based on the big lie.

Are you concerned that this big lie, no matter what Mitt Romney tries to say in his own defense, is now going to be the prevailing factor in the 2022 elections and beyond?

SCHIFF: Well, I am certainly concerned with the use of the big lie to propel these state laws to disenfranchise people, and particularly people of color, as well to push these laws that would strip independent secretaries of state of their powers and give them over to someone appointed by partisan legislatures.

What the Republicans seem to be doing around the country is, number one, trying to decide the election by making it hard for people of color to vote, and, number two, if the election still goes against them, to position themselves to overturn it, to be successful in overturning it in a way that they were not successful in the last election.

These laws are just all daggers pointed at the heart of the democracy. And anyone peddling the big lie is doing so at great risk to our whole system of checks and balances.

REID: Yes, indeed.

One last thing I would be remiss if I didn`t ask you, since I do have you here. We now have Speaker Pelosi having introduced a bill to establish this January 6 commission, I think very important for the country. There will be 13 members. Speaker Pelosi can choose eight. She`s seriously considering a Republican. The remaining five would be selected -- and here`s the hitch -- after consultation with Kevin McCarthy.

Are you concerned that Kevin McCarthy will attempt to stack the commission and his five picks with people who were part of the big lie, people who supported the insurrection, maybe even some absolute Looney Tunes like Marjorie Taylor Greene, in order to -- just to disrupt it?

SCHIFF: You know, Kevin McCarthy is capable of anything. He is purely a political animal. There`s no ideology there, except ambition, self- advancement. And so he`s capable of anything.

But, at the end of the day, the investigation will go forward, no matter who he might choose to put on that commission, because we are determined to get to the truth and to protect the country going forward.

So, you`re absolutely right. He may try to make a circus out of it. They certainly have done that kind of thing in the past. But I think, under the speaker`s leadership, the House will make sure to do its duty and that we get all the facts before the American people.

REID: Do you think he should be subpoenaed, Kevin McCarthy, since he spoke with Donald Trump on the day of the insurrection?

SCHIFF: I will leave that decision to the commission, once it has a chance to evaluate all the evidence.

But I do think the commission will need to follow the facts wherever they lead, and make sure we do a diligent job. This was an attack on the citadel of our democracy. And we need to make sure that all those responsible are held to account and the public is protected going forward.

REID: Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you so much for making some time, Chairman, to be with us this evening. Thank you very much.

SCHIFF: Thank you.

REID: Cheers.

All right, and still ahead: As the search for survivors continues in Florida, so does the search for the cause of that deadly building collapse.

We will get a live update from Surfside and talk to an engineer specializing in building failures.

That`s next. Stay with us.



RACHEL SPIEGEL, DAUGHTER OF MISSING WOMAN: I think that my family`s just really scared, because, like, obviously, it`s day five. There`s been no -- no one that`s rescued that`s alive at this point.

I mean, we`re hoping and praying for a miracle. And we are holding on to hope because we really want to be reunited with my mom.


REID: We`re now in day five of the search for survivors at the condo collapse in Surfside, Florida. Officially, 11 people have died in this tragic incident, with 150 still unaccounted for.

I`m joined now by MSNBC`s correspondent Ellison Barber in Surfside, Florida.

Ellison, what is the latest that we know?


Yes, this was the second press conference today that started with news no one wanted to hear, that they had found another body in the rubble. As you said, the death toll here is now 11. We do not know the names of all of the victims, but we know the names of some of them.

I want to read those for you. We know the names of eight people who lost their lives when this condo collapsed early Thursday morning. They are Stacie Fang, Antonio and Gladys Lozano, Manuel LaFont, Anna Ortiz and her son Luis Bermudez, Christina Elvira, and Leon Oliwkowicz.

They are parents, grandparents, precious lives that were stolen in the middle of the night. And 150 people are still unaccounted for. Officials, rescuers, they say they have not given up hope that they can find some survivor. They say that there are crevices where potentially someone could still be alive.

But it is day five now. Family members were able to visit the rubble yesterday and then again today. Some of them still have hope that their loved ones may be found. Others, friends, community members we have spoken to today, say they`re not so sure. As the minutes pass, as the days move by, they feel like the chances of people coming out of this alive are just shrinking by the minute.

And some have started to lose hope. But, again, officials are adamant that this is still a search-and-rescue mission. They say that they are not giving up hope. They have help from across the state, as well as abroad. Rescue teams have come from Mexico, as well as Israel, to assist on the ground here.

A shift change happened not long ago. There are about 80 people, 80 rescuers working in 12-hour shifts. When they walk away, you can see it on their faces how tired they are, how hard they are working. That is what the mayor of Miami-Dade said that she thought a lot of families recognized when they were able to visit the site of rubble. Not only were they able to feel close, she said, to their loved ones, but they were also able to see how rescuers hadn`t given up hope yet either.

And she hoped that maybe that gave them hope as well. What the mayor told us is that she still has hopes because the rescuers still have hope. And they have been to horrific scenes before. They were at the earthquake in Haiti. And if they still have hope, she says she will hold on to hope as well.

There`s a makeshift memorial not far from here with photos of the missing, again, 150 people unaccounted for. And now there are also stuffed animals scattered about on that fence, teddy bears that rescuers found in the rubble and carried to that site earlier today -- Joy.

REID: Thank you so much, Ellison Barber. Appreciate that report.

OK, over the weekend, we learned that, in 2018, an engineer warned of failed waterproofing causing major structural damage to the concrete structural slab. But, despite these warnings, residents were told that the condo was -- quote -- "in good shape."

Officials don`t know exactly what caused the building to collapse. According to "The New York Times," some experts are focusing on a spot in the lowest part of the condominium complex, possibly in or below underground parking, an underground parking garage, where an initial failure could have set off a structural avalanche.

"the Times" reports that, immediately before the collapse, one of the residents saw a hole of sorts opening near the pool.

Engineer Rick De La Guardia said that the collapse could have also started higher than the foundation, possibly on the second floor.

De La Guardia, a Miami-based engineer with experience in forensic investigations of building component failure, as well as the president and founder of DLG Engineering, joins me now.

And Mr. De La Guardia, thank you so much for being here.

I have a lot of questions.


REID: Of course.

I have a lot of questions. Question number one, if there were structural issues with this building, there`s another building. Should the people who live in the other tower of this complex be evacuating?

DE LA GUARDIA: First of all, let me offer my condolences to those who lost their lives and the family members and also my appreciation to the first responders.

To answer your question, I read that 2018 report. And, in my personal opinion, that report did a very good job in stressing immediate action for the structural integrity of the building.

But I have seen conditions personally very similar to that on a lot of buildings that are 40-year unmaintained. So, I don`t see that report as a red flag for imminent failure. I saw and read that report as a standard report of the condition of a building that`s 40 years old that has not been maintained properly throughout the years.

So, I wouldn`t worry so much. My opinion is that the failure was caused by a litany of issues compounded on its -- on themselves. So I wouldn`t be so concerned. Certainly, I have my thoughts on the process, how to prevent this going forward.

And I do believe the process is flawed.

REID: Well, let me go into this for a second.

I lived in Florida for 14 years. And one thing that I definitely learned is that developers have a lot of power in Florida. They can build where they want. There have been issues of building on brownfields and then having -- there was a huge expose called "Sickness in the Soil" that "The Miami Herald" did that -- of just building on places you shouldn`t build.

This is a barrier island where these condos are located. Is it wise to be building on barrier islands? As you know, they slowly shift. They sort of migrate. They move. Building so close on sandy ground doesn`t seem wise to me.

Is this a case of building where probably building should not have happened?

DE LA GUARDIA: I don`t -- I don`t agree with that. I think we have the technology, we have the knowledge, the design capacity to build in areas such as that.

I believe this building was built with piles that went deep into the soil. So, I don`t think the location itself is an issue. I believe the issue is maintenance, regular maintenance.

And, unfortunately, this building was not properly maintained, as evidenced by the 2008 report. And I have seen evidence of this. But you mentioned the developers having too much power, but, in my opinion, the homeowners associations have too much power.

They are basically making decisions in the life safety of their residents, some, not all, that are based on budgetary constraints, instead of the proper repairs needed.

And, unfortunately, there are some engineers out there that will tailor their proposals for 40-year repairs to the budgetary constraints. And the homeowners associations, if they don`t like the fees of one engineer, can simply select another one, so -- and until they find somebody that meets that within their budget.

So I don`t think the location is an issue. I think we have good design standards for that. I think the issue is with maintenance and with the process of certification and who has the power. That`s where I believe the issues lie.

REID: Well, that is very interesting information and very good to know.

Rick De La Guardia, thank you so much for being here.

And, again, I will share your condolences. And we hope that there are still survivors there.

OK, well, still ahead: Marjorie Taylor Greene, oh, she`s trying so, so hard, so hard to be our absolute worst. Her creepy, weird obsession with Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez reached strikingly racist heights this weekend. She said AOC was not an American and called her -- quote -- "the little communist from New York," which is in America.

AOC responded to that embarrassing spectacle by tweeting: "First of all, I`m taller than her." Tip your waiters. Good line.

And yet Marjorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon lady, is not tonight`s absolute worst, believe it or not. The winner -- or, more accurately, the loser -- is enabling an even greater risk to democracy. The big reveal is coming up.

But up next: The conservative freak-out over race and racial studies reaches a ridiculous new low, and new reporting on how Trump wanted to deal with Black Lives Matter protesters last summer.

We will be right back.


REID: Claims of reverse racism have been the bread and butter of the modern Republican Party for decades. Now they have a new boogieman to latch onto, critical race theory. The term has become the cause celebre for Republicans across the land.


REP. DAN CRENSHAW (R-TX): What this is, it`s a CRT theory but it manifests in this anti-racism training. All of this stuff is connected. The primary thread that links them altogether is this. America, institutions are inherently racist.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Suddenly they`re finding out that their local school is teaching them that America is fundamental racists. That`s all a lie. It`s all poison and is being poured into the minds of our kids.

SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): Critical theory is an ideology that says that the United States is rotten to its core. The leaders of this movement think our society is defined by white supremacy. Critical theory in all of its guises distorts our history, it destroys our common loves and it would leave us hopelessly divided.


REID: Critical theory is a whole other thing.

Anyway, this weekend, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson told a crowd of Republican supporters that he`s more panicked than ever about the state of the country and the Republicans should, quote, take back our school boards, our county boards, our city councils. We will take back our culture.

What exactly is our culture, Senator? And who is the "our" in that sentence? And who decides? You see what these politicians are objecting to is the factual analysis to our history, warts and all. But what they`re doing is far more pernicious. They have taken legitimate calls for critical self-reflection and demonized it into a catch-all phrase that they wield as a political cudgel.

They`re so obsessed with owning the libs that they make bizarre statements like this one.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought General Milley totally missed the point last week. He says I read now. That has nothing to do with it. We read -- we read "Mein Kampf" in school. No one thought we were Nazis.


REID: People didn`t read "Mein Kampf" in school, no.

Another common feature of the freak-out is to name and blame black public intellectuals who are not involved in critical race theory. One of those black public intellectuals is Ibram X. Kendi, author of the bestselling book, "How to be an Antiracist" and the founder and director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. He joins me now.

Professor Kendi, thank you so much for being here. I have been -- the whole sort of co-opting of the term critical race theory and then planting it onto really antiracism has been an astonishing thing to watch. One of the astonishing features of it is that they have decided that you are the main person responsible for doing that. I just want to very quickly get this off the table.

Are you a critical race theorist?

IBRAM X. KENDI, DIRECTOR, BOSTON UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR ANTIRACIST RESEARCH: So I`ve certainly been inspired by critical race theory. I certainly admire critical race theory. But at the same time I wasn`t trained on critical race theory. I didn`t go to law school. And so I don`t necessarily identify as a critical race theorist.

REID: Yeah, and right. You have to go to law school to be one, right? And you just made that point very well. But they don`t either -- they don`t know really what it is either.

But here it is Senator Josh Hawley, sort of one of the worst sort of offenders here, slamming you by name.


HAWLEY: Dr. Ibram Kendi wrote this: The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination. That`s right, that`s what he said. Think about that for a moment. He`s saying that he`s opposed to equality under the law.

Dr. Kendi and his followers are in no uncertain terms advocating for state sanctioned racism.


REID: Okay, now given the fact that they can`t seem to quote Dr. King accurately, I`m going to assume that they`re misquoting you or giving the wrong context.

Can you explain, please what that quote, even if it`s accurate, what it means?

KENDI: Sure. So, joy, we recognized as a nation that elderly people were dying at the highest rates, were the most vulnerable to COVID-19. So we decided that it was best to provide vaccine to those people first.

No one described that as a bad policy. But young people could have said, hey, you`re discriminating against us. And we would have responded, well, older people are dying at the highest rates. Should they not receive vaccine first?

But if we would have then started thinking about, oh, black people are also dying at the highest rates from COVID-19. You know, maybe they should also receive -- maybe they should also receive vaccine first. Maybe we should have a system in which those who have the -- those who have the greatest needs are provided with what they need, but they call that reverse discrimination. They call that discrimination. They`re against that.

How are we going to create equity and justice for all if we`re providing the same resources to middle income people as we`re providing to billionaires?

REID: Yeah, this is the same theory under which they have gone after black farmers receiving benefits when they have only 14 percent of the land at this point. They have been stripped of their land. But then they are saying that white farmers need to get all the rest, say all the benefits need to go to white farmers. Stephen Miller is part of that.

I just want to ask a couple of other questions to make sure we`re getting everything clear. Do you believe that white Americans are inherently racist?

KENDI: Oh, I do not. And indeed in "How to be an Antiracist", I make the case that we shouldn`t believe that anyone is inherently racist or that we should identify anyone as a racist. I make the case that racist isn`t a fixed category. It`s a descriptive term that describes what a person is being at any given moment based on what they`re doing or saying.

So if a person is saying black people are lazy, they`re being racist. But then the very next moment, they`re advocating a policy that creates justice and equity for all, they`re being anti-racist.

REID: Okay. And do you know of any schools that are teaching that white Americans are inherently racist? Have you heard of any schools that`s teaching that anywhere?

KENDI: I haven`t. Indeed, I would speak out against that school if it was doing it.

REID: And we now know that one of the groups that is under attack from the same people who are attacking you are military, the military, particularly military generals, including the secretary of defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff chair, General Milley.

He`s now been attacked by Donald Trump, Matt Gaetz, who never said in public, wouldn`t have the guts to serve for 10 seconds, nor would Tucker Carlson, nor would Laura Ingraham, they`ve all gone after him. Bill Kristol has called that out as sort of proto -- sort of ground-level fascism. He said Trump voters are pro-military. Why are Trump and Carlson attacking the military?

But the attack is on woke generals, the brass, and disloyal citizens in charge. It`s an attempt to appeal to aggrieved troops and vets, and to divide the military and subvert civilian control. It`s a classic move from the authoritarian playbook and also from the fascist playbook.

What do you make of the book that people like Trump wanted to use the military to attack Black Lives Matter protesters specifically, he wanted them -- and Milley refused. They got in a cussing match. He said, I`m not doing.

But they don`t believe the military should study whether there are racist and white nationalists in the military because some of those folks attacked the Capitol. What do you make of that dichotomy?

KENDI: I mean, I think it`s pure sort of insanity that`s presented as logic. The fact of the matter is, is American Armed Forces have a white supremacist problem and the leaders have recognized that. and those leaders have decided the which you address that issue is by teaching people to be antiracist --

REID: Right.

KENDI: -- by teaching people to recognize the racial groups as equals. And it`s fascinating, and we learned this year that the Republican Party isn`t pro-cop because if they were pro-cop, they would have responded differently to the Capitol insurrection and certainly they are not even pro-military. These are -- these are wedges and terms and constructs they use just -- and they lie about them just as they lie about anti-racism and critical race theory and the 1619 Project.

REID: And your book took really off after the George Floyd murder and so did Robin DiAngelo`s book "White Rage." I think that`s the name of the book.

Do you think that this -- that the right is using the George Floyd movement and the fact that white Americans saw what happened to George Floyd and said, my god, we need to question whether or not there is structural racism in our society, that that`s what this is about? This is white Americans having woken up to what happened to George Floyd and now the right wants to stop that?

KENDI: I mean, if you`re an elected official, if you`re a white elected official who has been instituting policies that have harmed the majority of white Americans and all the while you have been convincing those very white Americans that you`re fighting for them, that you`re instituting policies that help them, that you are teaching them that the cause of their pain or people of color, you are not going to want them to wake up, to understand racism because they`re going to see you as a problem and vote you out.

REID: There you go. There you go. And if you are anti-antiracist, think about what that says that you are.

Ibram X. Kendi, I`m so glad you could be here, author of "How to be Antiracist". Thank you.

And still ahead, this automaker going places but make not in the right direction, making them tonight`s absolute worst.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: Remember when all those companies said they were going to stop donating to the Republicans who questioned the election results even after the Capitol was attacked? Well, turns out that some of those companies went back on their word, hoping that enough time had passed for them to continue to curry favor with as many politicians as possible. That`s just how the Washington swamp works.

Now, of course, some companies barely tried to have principles in the first place. After the insurrection, Toyota played it coy. They told an industry publication, quote, given the recent event and horrific attack on the U.S. Capitol, we are assessing our future PAC criteria.

And now, an investigation by the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, shows that Toyota gave $55,000 to 37 Republicans who objected to certifying the election, aka, the "sedition caucus".

As "Axios" pointed out, Toyota gave more than twice as much as nearly five times as many members of Congress as the number two company on the list. In a statement, Toyota told "Axios": We do not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification, unquote.

Now, hold on a second. If it`s not appropriate to judge politicians based on them not accepting the basic tenets of American democracy, then what would appropriate?

Toyota attempted to draw a line between those 37 Republicans and others. They say, they`re not donating to because they, quote, undermine the legitimacy of the election.

While they may have donated to Marjorie Taylor QAnon lady Greene, for example, the 37 Republicans they did donate to are not so innocent. A majority of the Republican politicians Toyota donated to joined the absurd Texas lawsuit directly challenging the election results. And after the sedition caucus voted against certifying the election, Republicans did their best to obfuscate any investigation into the insurrection.

That attitude led to Liz Cheney`s ouster, which is officially introduced by Republican Virginia Foxx who, yep, got money from Toyota.

And if, as Toyota says, not everyone deserved to be judge, what about Andy Biggs, who`s been accused of organizing the Stop the Steal rally? While he denies doing so, he has been raising the specter of election fraud from the very beginning. To the extent his own family called him out for it. But according to Toyota, he should not be judged for that.

So for officially caring more about cozying up to power no matter how seditious, than about America continuing to be a democracy, Toyota, you are tonight`s absolute worse.

And that is tonight`s REIDOUT.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES", starting a little bit early tonight, starts right now.



AL ROKER, NBC NEWS WEATHER ANCHOR: We are looking today at temperatures that are going to be 110 in Seattle. That`s 37 degrees above average.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A hundred and seven at Portland International right now. That equals Portland`s all-time record high ever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is just unprecedented heat wave.