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Transcript: The ReidOut, 6/29/21

Guests: Raja Krishnamoorthi, Elie Mystal, Dave Gosar, Adam Serwer, Charles Burkett

Summary

Cheney says, Kevin McCarthy should testify to select committee. Far- right Republican is angling for spot on select committee. House GOP leadership is urging members to vote against January select committee. Speaker Pelosi introduces bill to form January select committee. Speaker Pelosi could reject Representative McCarthy picks. GOP Representatives form task force are said ot back Trump`s big lie. Metro P.D. officer urged McCarthy not to put the wrong people on select committee. Mayor Charles Burkett is interviewed about the latest on the search for clues into the cause of that deadly building collapse in Florida ahead of President Biden`s visit on Thursday.

Transcript

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: We will continue to update on what we`ll learn about what happened there.

That does it for this episode of THE BEAT. Thank you as always for watching. "THE REIDOUT" with Joy Reid starts right now. Hi, Joy.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: How are you doing, Ari? Thank you very much. Have a great evening.

All right, everyone. Good evening. We are off to a very big start tonight, including we`ve got Republican Congressman Paul Gosar, who`s apparently hosting a fundraiser with a white nationalist. And while Republican leaders remain silent, Gosar`s own siblings have condemned him. And I`ll talk to one of them coming up.

But we begin THE REIDOUT with the Republicans` commitment to covering up January 6th after Senate Republicans thwarted an effort to for a transparent bipartisan investigation into the insurrection, House Republicans are already signaling their opposition on mass to House Democrats` effort for transparency about the deadly siege, even ones who voted to impeach the former president for his role inciting the mob that day.

Tomorrow, the House will vote on a bill establishing a select committee to investigate the siege introduced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Under the proposal the committee will have 13 members, eight appointed by Pelosi herself and five appointed after consultation with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Pelosi will select the committee chair who will have subpoena power.

The speaker has also said to be seriously considering using one of her eight unilateral choices to pick a Republican, although she hasn`t given any indication who that might be.

Two Republicans who`ve spoken out vociferously against the big lie and called for investigations, Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney, have not said that they wouldn`t serve if asked, but it is up to the speaker, they say.

Cheney, who was infamously booted from her Republican leadership position for speaking truth to the big lie, has already made it clear who she thinks has to answer for the events of that day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should Kevin McCarthy be willing to speak, testify before that commission? After all, he is one of the few people that we know of that was actually talking to Donald Trump while the attack was taking place.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): He absolutely should. And I wouldn`t be surprised if he were subpoenaed. I think he very clearly and said publicly that he`s got information about the president`s state of mind that day.

I would hope he doesn`t require a subpoena, but I wouldn`t be surprised if he were subpoenaed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Which goes a long way towards explaining why Republicans have no appetite for an accounting of the horrors of January 6th. Politico reports that, privately, lawmakers predict that Kevin McCarthy will gravitate toward controllable Trump acolytes who can work to snarl the select committee`s progress.

Not surprisingly, a rogue`s gallery of our absolute worst alumni are already raising their hands to try to derail the committee by joining it, likely by trying to overwhelm it with QAnon argle-bargle. Lauren Boebert is reportedly gunning for a spot and accused teen trafficker Matt Gaetz who, of course, denies that he had sex with a child and trafficked her and QAnon queen Margie Greene of flat out said they want to serve on the committee.

Arizona Republican Andy Biggs told Politico I can`t think of anybody better than somebody like a Marjorie Taylor Greene. She doesn`t have a committee. She could put a lot of time and effort into it. Interesting take on idleness as a qualification, especially since Biggs opposes the committee and says that he plans to vote against it.

He also happens to be one of the three House Republicans name-checked by Ali Alexander, the organizer of the rally preceding the siege, as helping to plan it.

For his part Kevin hasn`t even indicated if he will opt to select any Republicans to serve on the select committee. And his number two, Steve Scalise, is actively encouraging Republicans to vote no on the committee legislation.

And joining me now, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, Elie Mystal, Justice Department Correspondent for The Nation, and Susan Del Percio, Republican Strategist and MSNBC Political Analyst.

And, Congressman Krishnamoorthi, I want to start with you. Speaker Pelosi has made it clear that she would reject McCarthy`s picks to serve on the January 6th committee that she could reject them. And this is how she answered when asked if she would vote no on some of Kevin McCarthy`s picks. She said, yes, she would not say if she would allow Republicans who voted to overturn Biden`s win to serve. She says, we`ll see who they would nominate.

Is it your expectation that Kevin McCarthy try to nominate somebody like a Marjorie Taylor Greene or a Matt Gaetz to try to undercut the committee? Is that your expectation?

REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL): Anything is possible, and I wouldn`t put it past him to do that. And if he does that, obviously, those folks would basically take their cue from Donald Trump and Donald Trump`s voice would then get channeled into this committee and that would be deeply disturbing.

I think we need people who want to know the truth. They want to know exactly why what happened on January 6th happened, what was the lead up to it, and then of course why so few people have actually been brought to justice following January 6th. Those are the types of people we need.

REID: And you have to vote, so I want to ask you a couple more questions before I bring in our other panelists. Do you think, as do a lot of folks, a lot of the Twitter world and a lot of folks, and I agree with them, say that Liz Cheney should be on this committee? She`s somebody who you can`t imagine Kevin McCarthy nominating and adding to the committee but she`s obviously got strong feelings about the big lie. She wants there to be transparency. Would you like to see someone like her or Adam Kinzinger nominated by Speaker Pelosi, maybe even both of them?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: I`d like to see people like that on the committee. I don`t know who Speaker Pelosi will choose. I think she`s going to choose very wisely, as she always does. But the main point of having someone like an Adam Kinzinger or Liz Cheney is that they want to know the truth.

One very interesting statistic is that 60 to 70 percent of Republicans believe that the election was stolen, that Antifa was behind January 6th and Donald Trump had nothing to do with it. Of course, 60 to 70 percent of Americans as a whole believe just the opposite. And so we need people who can kind of start with these foundational facts and then build from there and try to work to preventing a January 6th from happening again.

REID: And is that something you`d be interested in doing, is being on this committee yourself?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: I don`t know, Joy. I think that Speaker Pelosi is going to make some excellent picks, and she always does.

REID: And if you were on the committee, let`s just project forward, let`s just say we magically put you on the committee, do you believe that this committee should be prepared to subpoena Kevin McCarthy and ask him what he knows about what Donald Trump was thinking and doing on January 6th?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Oh, absolutely. You know, Kevin McCarthy made it very clear to his colleagues and he has not denied that when he spoke to Donald Trump, you know, Donald Trump basically questioned Kevin McCarthy`s loyalty in terms of why he didn`t believe as strongly as the rioters and the insurrectionists in the big lie.

And so that tells you his mindset and perhaps helps to explain why the D.C. National Guard did not arrive on the scene for five hours after the urgent pleas had originally been made by the Capitol Police as well as the D.C. Police for assistance. So this is absolutely crucial Kevin McCarthy testifying.

REID: Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, thank you for being here. I know you have to vote, so I`m going to let you go. Thank you very much.

And, Elie, let me turn to you. Because I think that is a key question, whether or not we`re going to wind up in a series of court cases regarding Kevin McCarthy fighting a subpoena. This is why it`s good to have a lawyer friend. Walk us through how that might look.

ELIE MYSTAL, THE NATION JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It`s going to look just like it looked with Don McGahn where McCarthy is going to say no. Nobody is going to arrest him, nobody is going to hold him in contempt, nobody is going to do anything, and then two years later maybe the Supreme Court will rule oh, you know what, this is actually moot, it doesn`t matter if you want to testify or not, like nothing is going to happen.

And, Joy, just to be fully clear, I want to set the edge here. I do not think any Republicans should be allowed on this committee. They did not vote for this committee. They are not -- they -- some of them are co- conspirators. Why should a co-conspirator like Kevin McCarthy get to choose which of his boys get to be on the committee? If they want on the committee, they can give something up, votes. They can -- I don`t know if they can do something to help justice go forward. If they`re not willing to go forward, they get nothing. That should be the starting line. They get nothing unless they do something to help.

REID: Does that include Liz Cheney? Because Liz Cheney is definitely not on the same page, Adam Kinzinger, would that include them?

MYSTAL: I don`t necessarily see the need to have people -- Republicans who spent four years kind of helping Trump lie to the country and who at the very last minute were like, oh, you know what, all this lying kind of led to insurrection, that was that, I don`t necessarily think that they have a right to be on the committee. I`d be willing to, if you want to throw Liz Cheney on as a way to be nice, then she`s willing to actually go on T.V. and say -- and tell the truth, I`d be willing to entertain that.

But, again, the starting position should be nothing and then Republicans have to earn their way on through good deeds, which perhaps we can agree Liz Cheney has earned.

REID: Let`s go to you, Susan, I`ll bring you in on that. I want to get your comments on that and your response to it, because it is a fair point to say that Liz Cheney voted with Donald Trump like 90 percent of the time. I mean, she broke with him on this one thing. But do you think that it would help to, I don`t know, make the committee appear to be more legitimate? Do you think there`s a reason to put somebody like a Liz Cheney or an Adam Kinzinger on the commission? Would you recommend that Speaker Pelosi do that?

SUSAN DEL PERCIO, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think that the speaker would have to only for P.R. purposes. I mean, I don`t disagree with Elie`s thinking on this but to have a committee with no Republicans is just like they might as well just do it, you know, while they`re having lunch. It doesn`t make sense to have that kind of hearing.

There are 35 people who voted to have a bipartisan commission. They should all be on the table. I know we like to turn to Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, and they offer something up. But even people who McCarthy could put up, he should put up some of those 35 that believe in the process.

But that being said, Joy, I was for bipartisan commission. I believe in investigating fully. I believe wrong was done and we should find out what it is. That being said, let`s not forget this is going to be ended up -- the Republicans are going to use this as a tool. Let`s face it. They know this ends badly, any investigation.

So they have a choice. They could say, we could participate and then they`re part of the findings, which isn`t good for them either, or they could say it`s all political. And that`s what they chose to do because they know the findings are going to be bad and they`re already tainting it from the beginning. This is political hardball.

And the Democrats are on the right side on this, but as they say in politics, once you`re explaining, you`re losing. So this is going to be an argument that, look, for the Republicans to really galvanize on, because it will be effective not just within their base but within some moderates. And that`s the political side, not necessarily the right side.

REID: And we`re already seeing the Republicans try to play out what you`re saying, Susan. First of all, let`s start with the fact that Kevin McCarthy just a week ago, just last week, Friday, promised Officer Fanone that he would take the commission seriously, which he`s obviously not doing.

The next thing he did on his agenda was to create seven different Republican policy task forces, one on American security that includes Andrew Clyde, who said that January 6th was a normal tourist visit, and Ralph Norman, who said the attack wasn`t committed by Trump supporters. He`s got another committee called the future of American freedom to be led by Jim Jordan and Marjorie Greene and Lauren Boebert are on it.

This is -- I don`t understand, Susan, how Republicans can be this unserious and think they`re going to be taken seriously by anybody but the hardcore Republican base.

DEL PERCIO: That`s who they care about, the hardcore Republican base right now. And this will be deemed no matter what happens as a political exercise.

Again, I believe that the Democrats are acting in good faith. I believe there were 35 Republicans that wanted to act in good faith, but this is nothing more than a political show.

And I`ve got to tell you something, what concerns me about this, Joy, is that while I believe Pelosi and the people she appoints to that committee will be determined to get to the bottom of things and present the facts, it is just going to be a political show by the Republicans. They`re really, really good at it. You know that. They`re good at doing this. And taking away what matters and belittling it. And I do fear for what the outcome will represent to the American public.

REID: Yes. Well, they`re going to be fighting Michael Fanone and other police officers and members of the military in doing it.

To you, Elie, this is the other thing, and I think Greg Sargent got this. Let me very quickly read this. Because he makes the point that there`s no way this committee can avoid tackling this issue of white rage, just as General Milley said.

And he (INAUDIBLE) after defining January 6th as domestic terrorism and domestic violent extremism, the bill to create this commission quotes the FBI director testifying that the biggest driver of such extremism is racially-motivated with white supremacist ideology representing a subset of that. In other words, the commission is charged with treating the insurrection as an outgrowth of longer running series of threats to democracy posed by various movements and ideology and that defines racially-motivated and white supremacist violence as a key component of that threat. That should open the door for a robust debate. I would hope it`s just going to be probably more like a fight on white rage and democracy. Your thoughts, Elie.

MYSTAL: Which is why you don`t have co-conspirators and you don`t have people who supported the white supremacist base of this party for decades on this commission investigating the consequence of that white domestic terrorism. It just doesn`t make sense.

Susan makes a good point. The Republicans are good at putting on show. But part of the reason is because Democrats never try, right? I saw -- I remember, I saw them have 47 Benghazi hearings, including bringing a potential presidential candidate into their hearing room for 11 hours and watching her drink water on T.V. I remember that happen. Where`s the Democratic response to that? You don`t bring the fox into the henhouse when you`re discussing how the chicks got eaten, like you just don`t do that.

So, again, there was -- Republicans had an opportunity to disavow this white domestic terrorism. They could have said no, no, no, that`s not us, we`re not like those people. Instead they embraced those people, they`re hugging those people tight, they`re calling those people tourists, they`re in league with those people. Since they have decided to do that, the rational response is to exclude them from the investigation into the consequence of their actions.

REID: And very quickly before I let you go, I mean, that`s part of their base. Very quick, before I let you go, Elie, is Section 2 dead on Thursday? Do we anticipate Alito is going to write the end of Section 2, the Voting Rights Act?

MYSTAL: The fact that it`s not here yet means that there`s still a chance the Section 2 could survive. But it`s very dangerous and there`s a very good chance that on Thursday, they will eviscerate Section 2 in such a way as to make the DOJ`s current late-breaking decision to join some of these lawsuits against the state of Georgia, for instance, that could make that decision moot on -- depending on what the court does on Thursday.

REID: Yes. Because that`s where we`re going, is getting rid of things like the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act, all of that gone. It`s a whole new and scary new world. Elie Mystal, Susan Del Percio, thank you both very much.

Up next on THE REIDOUT, he`s an open unapologetic ally of white nationalists. So why are so few Republicans or, fankly, Democrats calling out Congressman Paul Gosar? Members of his own family know the truth. His brother, Dave, joins me next.

Plus the former president may be gone but the cruelty he unleashed is now a permanent part of the Republican ideology. The cruelty is the point, argues Adam Serwer in his new book, and he joins me tonight.

And the delusion of the big lie is a powerful drug and an expensive one. It`s tonight`s absolute worst.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID: One of the open questions for the select committee to answer is whether any lawmakers at the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on January 6.

And that prospect might not be very comforting to Republican Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona, an outspoken defender of the Trump big lie who voted to decertify the election.

Weeks before January 6, Ali Alexander, one of the organizers of Stop the Steal, said clearly that Congressman Gosar and other lawmakers helped him plan the events that would turn into a full-on insurrection.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALI ALEXANDER, STOP THE STEAL ORGANIZER: I was the person who came up with the January 6 idea with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Mo Brooks, and then Congressman Andy Biggs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: But the most revealing thing about Gosar`s character is that he willingly embraces a white nationalist organization.

In February, he was the keynote speaker at the America First Political Action Conference, alongside its extremist founder, Nick Fuentes.

And if there`s any doubt that Fuentes is a white nationalist, just listen to what he said just minutes after Gosar left the podium.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICK FUENTES, FOUNDER, AMERICA FIRST POLITICAL ACTION CONFERENCE: If America ceases to retain that English cultural framework and the influence of European civilization, if it loses its white demographic core, and if it loses its faith in Jesus Christ, then this is not America anymore.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

FUENTES: This country wouldn`t exist without white people.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

FUENTES: And white people are done being bullied.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: I think moustache is probably a little wide.

That`s kind of -- that`s the kind of company Congressman Gosar keeps. And if he wanted to hide his affinity for white nationalists, that would have been the end of the story. Instead, Gosar now appears to be planning a fund-raiser with Fuentes.

That`s according to advertisements that have turned up on the right-wing social media site Telegram, which have been reported on by multiple outlets today.

And Gosar himself appear to indirectly confirm that news on Twitter overnight. In an apparent effort to defend his association with Fuentes, he wrote: "We will not let the left dictate our strategy, alliances or efforts."

Now, just to be crystal clear about Fuentes, he`s a guy who has defended segregation. He described the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol as awesome. And he has cast doubt on the millions and millions of deaths in the Holocaust, engaging in a lengthy metaphor, likening the deaths to cookies baking in an oven.

With friends like that, it`s no surprise Gosar was among the Republicans who tried to start what is described as a white supremacist caucus in the House, intended to represent -- quote -- "Anglo-Saxon political traditions."

Gosar has revealed himself to be such an extremist, he`s become estranged members of his own family, six of whom have spoken out against him and want him kicked out of Congress. That includes his brother, Dave Gosar, who recently said: "I consider him a traitor to this country. I consider him a traitor to his family."

Dave Gosar joins me now.

And, Mr. Gosar, thank you so much for being here.

I want to play a little bit of a campaign ad that starred you and some other members of your family back in 2018.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIM GOSAR, BROTHER OF CONGRESSMAN PAUL GOSAR: My name is Tim Gosar.

JENNIFER GOSAR, SISTER OF CONGRESSMAN PAUL GOSAR: My name is Jennifer Gosar.

GASTON GOSAR, BROTHER OF CONGRESSMAN PAUL GOSAR: Gaston Gosar.

JOAN GOSAR, SISTER OF CONGRESSMAN PAUL GOSAR: Joan Gosar.

GRACE GOSAR, SISTER OF CONGRESSMAN PAUL GOSAR: Grace Gosar.

DAVE GOSAR, BROTHER OF CONGRESSMAN PAUL GOSAR: David Gosar.

JENNIFER GOSAR: Paul Gosar is my brother.

T. GOSAR: My brother.

GRACE GOSAR: My brother.

JOAN GOSAR: And I endorse Dr. Brill.

GASTON GOSAR: Dr. Brill.

D. GOSAR: Dr. Brill.

T. GOSAR: And I wholeheartedly endorse Dr. David Brill for Congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: OK, we have a bit of a problem with the connection with Dave Gosar. So we`re going to try to get him reconnected and take a quick break.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID: OK.

We`re back. And Dave Gosar joins me now.

Mr. Gosar, thank you for working with us on -- I know we had some technical issues.

But let`s talk about your brother. I played a little bit of the ad that several of your siblings participated in, endorsing his opponent for Congress.

Your brother, in your view, is he a racist?

D. GOSAR: Well, Joy, let me answer it this way.

And, first off, let me say I wish the media would start -- stop using the words white nationalist, because white nationalists suggest is just sort of a softer way of saying white supremacists. These people are white supremacists.

OK, you don`t get to say you`re not a racist when you`re cavorting with racists, when you`re giving -- amplifying their message, when you`re encouraging them, when you`re refusing to denounce them.

You don`t get to say, I`m not a racist. You don`t get to say I`m not a racist when you`re an outright birther, and you have engaged in activities and statements throughout your -- your tenure in Congress that are clearly associating yourself with racists.

So, you know...

REID: And did he display these kinds of white supremacist ideas just at home growing up?

Is this something that you were -- that you sort of came to know as he was growing up?

D. GOSAR: No, no, Joy, because we were definitely not raised with that, in fact, definitely raised with the idea that that was reprehensible.

And none of the rest of us have any toleration for it.

REID: And why do you think that he is doing this? You`re saying that you believe that he is associated with and that he is a white supremacist. What do you think his goal is? Do you think that his -- what do you think his overall goal is as a congressman? Why is he in Congress?

D. GOSAR: You know, the most despicable thing, most despicable motive of all, Joy, to advance himself, to further his own interests, to further his own stature, or perceived stature to him, of himself. That`s all this is about.

And he will do -- he can rationalize anything to himself, Joy, anything.

REID: Do you suspect that, as Ali Alexander has claimed, your brother Paul Gosar participated in sort of creating the pre-event, the preview event for the insurrection?

Do you think he participated himself in the insurrection?

D. GOSAR: I think he absolutely incited that riot up there or was a big part to play. Trump, Giuliani, Don Jr., all these other guys, Biggs, Brooks, they all had a part to play in it, but absolutely yes.

I mean, there`s a video of him with Fuentes prior to the insurrection, where he`s telling the crowd, you got to go back home -- or no -- we have got to take the Hill. You get to go back home once we conquer the Hill and Donald Trump is returned to being president.

During or just prior to this attack on the Capitol, he`s tweeting out, I want Biden`s resignation my desk. Don`t make me come over there and getting it -- get it. And he shows a whole mob there.

I mean, that congresswoman that details the tweets ahead of this, he`s got 70 pages of her 200-page document there, just him alone, by far and away the most tweets connected to this whole event.

REID: And what would you like to see done? Do you think he should be subpoenaed by the January 6 commission once it`s formed?

D. GOSAR: Oh, I absolutely do. And I think, ahead of that time, we can take a lot more concrete steps.

And I call on Merrick Garland to then ask him, what the heck is taking so long? I mean, how has Ali Alexander dropped out of sight all this time? Why hasn`t anybody tracked him down and asked him questions? Isn`t that curious? I mean, even the media, why have the media left Ali Alexander alone?

He can`t be that hard to find.

REID: I`m definitely curious. I`m with you on that one.

D. GOSAR: Yes. He...

REID: I`m definitely with you on that.

And...

D. GOSAR: Yes, and -- go ahead.

REID: And what do you think should happen overall?

Do you think your brother should remain a congressman?

D. GOSAR: Oh, absolutely not. He`s disgraced and dishonored himself.

He has done so many things to hurt people just to further his own interests. He`s just absolutely despicable. He -- he has no place in Congress. He really had no place in Congress ahead of time, Joy. He doesn`t have the attributes it takes to be a good congressperson.

He should be subpoenaed. He should be investigated. I think, in my mind -- and I`m a practicing attorney -- I think they got plenty already to go on to charge him with inciting a riot, along with the rest of them, in a conspiracy to do that.

And I have worked in criminal law as both civil -- criminal defense at the state and federal level.

REID: Yes.

D. GOSAR: And I want to ask this while I have got this platform.

Merrick Garland, you have got two softball pitches out of the park right now with Trump and campaign finance violations with Michael Cohen and obstruction of justice. What`s going on?

REID: And my last question before I let you go.

Inside of your own family, is this the majority view, of your parents? I know six of your siblings came out against him. Is this the view of most of your family?

D. GOSAR: It is.

Not my parents, Joy, but I would say I have -- there`s 10 kids in the family as a whole. And, for certain, this is the view of nine of us, as -- there`s one I don`t know for sure, but I would suspect, at this point, yes, it would be his view too. So...

REID: Yes.

Dave Gosar, thank you so much for spending some time with us this evening. Really appreciate you.

Wow, he made it plain.

OK, well, while Florida man may no longer be in office, Republicans haven`t shied away from his brand of cruelty, attacking everything from voting rights, to trans rights, to openly mocking any honest discussion of race in America.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: The Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World.

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): Every cop in America should be terrified that the Department of Justice is going to jump to a conclusion when they have to make a split-second decision to defend themselves or defend innocent, law- abiding citizens.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We believe, in the state of Florida, of protecting the fairness and the integrity of women`s athletics.

In Florida, girls are going to play girls sports and boys are going to play boys sports.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Critical race theory is bigoted, it is a lie, and it is every bit as racist as the Klansmen in white sheets.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: It`s a phenomenon that Adam Serwer explores in his new book, "The Cruelty is the Point."

He writes: "The legacy of the Trump era then may linger with us for some time, even if the man himself does not. As much as he may have appeared to be the driver of the forces tearing the country apart, he was more a consequence of them, of our failure as a nation to live up to our founding promises. The cruelty was the point, but it was also a part -- always a part of us."

And I am joined now by Adam Serwer, staff writer at "The Atlantic" and author of "The Cruelty Is the Point: The Past, Present, and Future of Trump`s America."

I got my copy today. I was very excited. I didn`t get a chance to post my Instagram with it, Instagram picture with it. But congratulations. Very proud of you.

ADAM SERWER, AUTHOR, "THE CRUELTY IS THE POINT": Thank you so much.

REID: I felt -- and I said this -- cheers.

And not just because I like you, Adam, I said at the time that I thought your essay, the cruelty was the point, was the definitive take on Trumpism in America. I really do believe that.

Lay out for us the case that you`re making here, because we are preparing to have a commission on the insurrection, which, fundamentally, according to General Milley and according to the people who put this law together to have this commission, is in large part about white nationalism and white rage.

How did we get here?

SERWER: So, part of what the book is about is people -- most people think of cruelty as an individual problem. And, obviously, it is that. Donald Trump was very cruel as an individual human being.

But it`s also a part of human nature. All people are capable of being cruel. What I`m focused on in the book, because of Trump, is cruelty as a part of politics, specifically the way that it`s used to demonize certain groups, so you can justify denying people their basic rights under the Constitution or excluding them from the political process.

And you can hear that in those clips that you were talking about, Tucker Carlson saying he wanted -- the Democrats want to replace you, the American voter, by which he means white voters, with -- quote -- "more obedient voters from the Third World."

I mean, that is racist nonsense. You think about how much better Trump did in Florida and along the Rio Grande in the last election, there are plenty of immigrants who are not white who come from countries that have oppressive regimes that are run by leftists, and they certainly do not -- they`re certainly not super sympathetic to the Democratic Party from jump. It`s just a nonsense argument.

REID: Yes.

SERWER: But the reason why they`re making that argument is because it then justifies excluding certain people from the polity or delegitimizing their political victories.

And that is -- that is the kind of quality that I`m talking about, the kind of cruelty that fuels that exclusion and disenfranchisement.

REID: I feel like you have perfectly set up -- I have a clip here that I want to play. This is CNN. They sent a reporter out to talk to Trump voters.

And I think, to your very point, here`s how one of them responded to the question of whether Trump should be just magically reinstalled as president. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Do you think the election is going to be overturned at some point?

RON, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Oh, absolutely.

QUESTION: There`s no constitutional...

RON: The military already knows it was a fraud. He won by over 80 percent.

QUESTION: Ron, you genuinely believe that he`s going to...

RON: He`s coming back.

QUESTION: That he could come back as soon as?

RON: Before -- before the middle of August.

QUESTION: And what if that doesn`t happen?

RON: Huh?

QUESTION: What if that doesn`t happen?

RON: We`re going to be in a civil war, because the militia will be taking over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: And "The Washington Post" has reported about the sort of toxic mix of the pandemic fallout from that and just sort of this kind of rage and angst in the public has created these misinformation sort of boomlets all across the country, armed groups, Trump supporters, anti-vaccine moms, government skeptics, conspiracy theorists.

They`re suddenly all protesting the same things on the same side. Trumpism seems to pull all that together.

Is there something about our culture, American culture, that makes us more prone to this particular kind of conspiracy-laden cruelty?

SERWER: I don`t know if there`s a thing about our culture in particular.

I mean, you think back to, like, I think maybe, arguably the first fake news scare in the United States was after -- during Reconstruction, there were newspapers, Democratic-aligned newspapers who said the Ku Klux Klan didn`t exist, even as Union soldiers and their victims were testifying in Congress.

But I think what happens is, when one party becomes -- the parties become racial polarized, the party that is largely the white party embraces this ideology of, well, the other party and their constituencies are not merely our political rivals but actually, they`re illegitimate and they should not be allowed to hold power.

And if they do hold power, it`s going to be the end of America as we know it and so we have to prevent them from fully participating in the political process. And that`s what you`re seeing with these voting laws all over the country. And it is a long-standing aspect of America as a country that is rooted in our founding contradictions.

And unfortunately, I don`t ever know that we`re going to not be dealing with it. But I don`t think, you know, I don`t think that it has to be like this.

REID: Well, it doesn`t have to be like this, but what worries me is that it gets worse as we get closer to that magical date. We don`t know when it is. When we become a country that does not have a distinct racial majority, right?

And that it does feel like we`re in sort of a south Africa moment where you`ve got a part of white America, not all, but who are really fighting with everything they`ve got against this coming future which is a more cultural America.

What the hell do we do about that? If it`s that bad now, what if we`re at 2040? Is it going to be pure -- are we in deep civil war at that point?

SERWER: Well, I don`t -- I actually don`t believe that that is going to happen. I mean, look, the idea that we`re going to reach a sort of demographic majority that is non-white, I actually don`t think that`s really true. I mean, the history of the United States is that people who are sort of excluded from whiteness are eventually absorbed into it. I mean, that is the case with Italians and Jews who were not considered white the way that the architects of America`s immigration laws in the 1920s that were designed to exclude Africans, Asians and Jews and Italians and Greeks, people of Mediterranean descent, they did not consider them white in the same way that most Americans were white.

But then something happened during World War II. There was this great melding and all of a sudden the idea of whiteness expanded and that expansion also helped support the New Deal coalition and created the interracial alliance that helped lead, you know, to the complete overhaul of the Democratic Party.

REID: Yeah.

SERWER: So I don`t think necessarily that -- I`m not even sure that we are going to reach a point where whites are not the majority in the United States. And even if we did we might redefine what we think of as white. But I just don`t think that it necessarily has to be -- whatever happens, I don`t think that it necessarily has to be this knock-down-drag-out fight between, you know, a multiracial coalition and a non-multiracial coalition.

REID: Yeah. I will say that creating a truly multiracial country is really hard. Very few countries have managed to do it. You can`t even imagine having a Barack Obama become prime minister in England. It`s really, really hard.

So, we`re in the struggle, and you`re one of the smartest people writing about it. Everyone should be reading Adam Serwer. You should be reading his columns in "The Atlantic." you should be reading this book. It`s called "The Cruelty is the Point."

Congratulations, Adam. Thank you so much for being here.

And coming up, tonight`s absolute worst. Conspiracy theorist ninja starting in a movie. And it gets more bizarre from there.

But first, the latest on the search for clues into the cause of that deadly building collapse in Florida ahead of President Biden`s visit on Thursday. The mayor of Surfside joins us next.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTIN LANGESFELD, SISTER MISSING IN BUILDING COLLAPSE: I do believe miracles do happen, and I know those people and they`re fighting. And I pray that my sister and my brother-in-law are one of those fighting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: It`s day of the search for missing residents of the collapsed condominium in Surfside, Florida. Twelve people are confirmed dead and 149 are still unaccounted for.

We`re learning new details about the collapse as authorities try to figure out what happened. Only two months ago, residents of the building were told that they`d need to contribute to $15 million of repairs. And that concrete deterioration was accelerating.

We`ve also learned a resident in 2019 e-mailed a building official hoping to raise a red flag that construction of a high-rise next door might be destabilizing their building.

We have concerned regarding the structure of our building, she wrote.

That official, Rosendo Prieto, is the same person who told residents in to 18 the building was quote in very good shape despite warnings from an engineer that it wasn`t. We learned late this afternoon that Prieto has taken a leave of absence.

And joining me now is the mayor of Surfside, Florida, Charles Burkett.

Mr. Burkett, you know, deepest condolences to the families that are experiencing this loss in very slow motion. But I want to ask about residents of the other tower. This building consisted of another tower.

If you were living in that tower right now, would you leave? Would you advise them to get out?

MAYOR CHARLES BURKETT, SURFSIDE, FLORIDA: Well, listen, I think you`re talking about a separate building, and it`s a block away. But it`s essentially the same building built by the same developer, presumably the same plans, presumably the same materials.

So we had some pretty serious concerns given that this building just fell down for no apparent reason. And we sent our building officials in there, both -- we hired an expert structural inspector and our building official went in there as a cursory walk-through just to give us a heads-up on what we were looking at. And they came out and basically told me in so many words that there wasn`t anything in that particular building that jumped out at them as super dangerous.

However, having said that, today I believe the federal government`s structure agency, NAIST (ph) or -- NAIST (ph), I think it`s called, was supposed to be in there doing a walk through and the condominium association itself is hiring a structural engineer to do a top to bottom forensic sort of audit on what the structural system looked like that.

(CROSSTALK)

REID: Yeah, go on.

BURKETT: Senator Scott and Mayor Cava, Dade County Mayor Cava, with my concerns about giving those tenants options to get out of that building, at least temporarily until the structural infections are done, because several had called me and express a concern asking me if I thought the building was safe and I just couldn`t tell them it was.

REID: Yeah, exactly. I mean, your quote the other -- a couple of days ago, was if I live in that building, I`d be gone. That was your -- that was your quote. So, I think that`s making a lot of people nervous. It`s not just about --

BURKETT: Essentially --

REID: Yeah, it`s not just that building.

First of all, let`s just start with that building for just one moment. "The Miami Herald", two days before the collapse, a pool contractor photographed this damage. Let`s show that damage if we can. That was the damage in the garage

What are the regulations that determined what grade of concrete needs to be used in buildings that are built, particularly on that barrier island, where, of course, a sort of, you know, it`s on a shifting sort of soil? How strong are the regulations in your view about how can build and where they build and are they strong enough?

BURKETT: Well, you know, we`ve got a lot of issues associated with that building. That building should have never fallen down. You know, there was obviously something very, very wrong with that building. You know, in America, buildings don`t just fall down, that`s a third world phenomenon, and not one that we see here and it`s quite unacceptable that this building has gone down to say the least.

You know, there are all kinds of theories about what happened there. You know, I mean, they used to beach sand, which has a salt content and it would rust the steel over the years. I mean, there are many things that could have gone wrong, but I would tell you this, that`s a discussion as far as I`m concerned for another day, because it`s not today or tomorrow.

I mean, our primary objective today and tomorrow and the next day and into the definite future is to pull all of the people out of that rubble and reunite them with their families.

My second objective is to make sure that those families are supported in every single way. We`re about to get a pretty serious lightning storm, I`m seeing lightning starting to sort of generate around us. And that`s --

REID: It`s Florida.

BURKETT: That`s heartbreaking too because that means that the operation is probably going to have to be suspended for a while.

REID: And are you confident? And I live in Florida for quite a long time, so I`m familiar with the southern rains. A hundred and forty-nine people unaccounted for, are you absolutely confident that none of those people were simply not there? Because I know Florida is a place where a lot of people who don`t live there year-round coming in and out of Florida and may own properties there and maybe out of the country. Are you confident that all 149 unaccounted for people would have been in that building?

BURKETT: That`s a great point, I`m not. As a matter of fact, the building, the sister building is very lightly occupied at this time because many of the residents are out of town. So, you know, I had concerns about the numbers they were tossing around from the very beginning cause there was no inventory of owners who are coming in and out, only visitors and I think that the only reliable way for us to determine who`s in there by a system they put together whereby the residents or the relatives call and ask, you know, what the status is on their loved ones, and a list is being compiled, which will allow to sort of put together a number that is probably a lot more sort of realistic that the estimates that have been put forward thus far.

REID: Yeah. It`s such a heartbreaking story. We are just hoping and praying that a lot of these folks were snowbirds who are not there or who are out of the country and who are just seasonal. That is the best case scenario. But we definitely wish condolences to your community.

Mayor Charles Burkett, thank you so much for being here this evening.

And up next, tonight`s absolute worse, the very steep price America is paying for the Republicans` never-ending election lies.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID: Arizona`s fraudit is inching closer to its much-needed end and not soon enough.

Last Friday, the charlatans in charge of this farce, of an un-democratic experiment announced that they`d finished counting and documenting the roughly 2 million ballots from Maricopa County. What comes next is unclear.

While the hunt for bamboo fibers from China has come to an end, the alleged findings of their publicly -- or their purely partisan investigation could be weeks or even months away. We should all be a little worried because the man entrusted by Arizona Senate Republicans to conduct this review is Doug Logan, the CEO of the Florida-based company called Cyber Ninjas.

This joker is currently starring in a movie called the "Deep Rig", which is all about how the election was supposedly stolen from the orange retiree.

Yep, that`s the guy we`re supposed to trust with totally impartial results. That guy who`s indulging in a vanity project meant to further his career and his company are costing Arizona taxpayers serious money.

Today, Arizona`s most populous county announced they will have to fork over millions of dollars to replace the voting machines tainted by Doug Logan and his Cyber Ninjas. Last month, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs told the county board of supervisor that she believed the security of the county`s election machines had been compromised.

Today, the county`s lawyer agreed, the last time they bought machines it cost them $6.1 million. Understandably, Arizonans are frankly sick of this stuff. The new poll showed that 49 percent oppose the audit. More importantly, independent voters upon who the state pivots in close elections opposed the audit by 18 percentage points. The poll also showed that voters are turned off by candidates who support the audit.

Which gets to us tonight`s "Absolute Worst". I`m looking at you Arizona Republican senators, for foisting Trump`s fever dream on the citizens of your state and basically 6 million bucks for no good reasons, bang-up job, ladies and gents, you`re the "Absolutely Worst".

That`s tonight`s REIDOUT.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.