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Transcript: The ReidOut, 7/12/21

Guests: Julian Castro, Andre Segura, Pete Aguilar, John Bucy III, Sherrilyn Ifill, Nora Gamez Torres, Garry Pierre-Pierre


Texas Democrats stage walkout to block voting restrictions. Texas voters testify against new voting restrictions. Texas voting rights are under assault. Texas Democrats visit D.C. to push for voting rights. Texas governor claims drive-thru voting could have coercive effect on ballot. GOP Governor Abbott says new voting restrictions will help Texas. Over the weekend in Cuba, thousands of people took to the streets in Havana and other cities demanding food, medicine and COVID vaccines. Haiti faces a government crisis of its own in the wake of the assassination of its president.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: They shouldn`t get the shot.


JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC HOST: Guess they were for, before they`re against it, a confusing message at a time when health experts are urging Americans to get vaccinated and save lives.

That does it for me. "THE REIDOUT" with Joy Reid is up next. Joy --

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: It is very strange.

JOHNSON: No rappers today, it`s just me.

REID: No rappers today, it`s just you. But, yes, what you were just saying was giving me Jonestown vibes. It`s very strange how they seem to be courting and inviting death among their own followers. Very odd stuff but, thank you for covering it and have a great evening.

JOHNSON: Thanks, Joy.

REID: Thank you very much, cheers.

All right, good evening, everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with Texas Democrats taking a major stand for voting rights. For the second time this year, the Democratic House members walked out of the Capitol and left the state in protest over Republicans` draconian efforts to pass voter suppression laws during their legislative suppression session.

The Texas Democrats` plan to spend their time here in the Capitol, nation`s Capitol instead pushing for federal voting legislation to protect voters. It is a dramatic yet effective move that the National Democratic Party would do well to try and pay attention to, seeing as they only have a few more weeks until the Senate goes on a month-long recession, taking what could be America`s last chance to salvage free and fair elections with them.

In a statement, the Texas House Democrats said, quote, we are living on borrowed time in Texas. We need Congress to act now to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to protect Texans and all Americans from the Trump Republicans` nationwide war on democracy. The lawmakers risk being arrested. Absent lawmakers can be legally compelled to return to the state Capitol.

To that end, the Texas Republican speaker said, quote, the Texas House will use every available resource under the Texas Constitution to secure a quorum.

Democrats are protesting two bills, one in the House and one in the Senate. They include a ban on drive-through voting and 24-hour voting, new I.D. requirements for mail-in ballots, a ban on distributing unsolicited mail-in ballot applications and a limit on voter assistance that could make it harder for voters with disabilities to vote.

The Democrats` walkout in May was successful in killing a provision that would limit Sunday voting, a day when many black congregations encourage members to take their Souls to the Polls after church. Both bills advance through committee on Sunday after 24 hours of testimony and debate with many Texans waiting hours, hours to testify.


VINCENT SANDERS, TEXAS RESIDENT: Texas has a long and ugly and racist history of voter suppression that continues to silence the many votes and voices of everyday Texans.

ANA GONZALES, TEXAS RESIDENT: SB-1 continues to be nothing but an attack on Texans voting rights under the guise of preserving election integrity, nothing but a way to silence the black, brown and young voices that showed up to vote in record numbers last fall.

AMY LITZINGER, TEXAS RESIDENT: The way this reads is voter suppression because it does not accommodate for my disability.

REID: As Texas House Democratic Chair Chris Turner aptly said, you just can`t make this up. Republicans are passing anti-voter legislation overnight to prohibit Texans from casting a ballot overnight.

And while Republicans claim they`re fighting for so-called election integrity, the author of the bill admitted during his this weekend`s hearing that he didn`t know of any voter fraud that happened in 2020.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know that we heard testimony that there was difficulty getting election workers and poll watchers, but I don`t know about evidence of fraud at this pretty recent election.


REID: Joining me now is former HUD Secretary Julian Castro who is now an MSNBC Political Analyst and Texas Democratic State Representative John Bucy III who joins me by phone. And I first want to welcome you to the MSNBC family. I still want to call you Secretary Castro.

JULIAN CASTRO, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It`s great to be with you Joy.

REID: Thank you for being here. Let`s talk about this. I mean, in 2020 you saw the highest voter turnout I think in nearly 30 years in Texas.

CASTRO: Yes. It was amazing.

REID: It was a successful election.

CASTRO: Absolutely.

REID: So what do you ascribe this zeal on the part of Republicans to make it harder to vote to?

CASTRO: Well they see that Texas is changing. It`s the fear of the future. The demographic change and all of us have heard about over the years. The fact in 2018 they lost 12 state house seats, two state senate seats, two congressional seats. They see what`s happening in big counties like Harris County. They`re afraid especially of black and brown communities voting at record levels. and they want to engage in this voter suppression point- shaving system, whether it`s banning drive-through voting or 24-hour voting or other ways to expand the franchise. And they`re carrying out the big lie of Donald Trump.

REID: Yes. And, Representative Bucy, you would all have to stay out, there`s more than 50 of you. I think 51 of you got on planes and headed out another seven or left another ways. I know that you are driving out of Texas.


You all would have to stay out for about 30 days throughout the whole special session in order to deny a quorum. Is that the plan? Is the plan to stay out of the state for 30 days?

STATE REP. JOHN BUCY III (D-TX): It absolutely is. We`re committed to being gone as long as it takes. That`s, in fact, why I drove, one of my family to come with me, which I think shows the commitment that we`re making. We`re going to be in D.C. and we`re going to putting pressure on Congress to act and we need them to act. It`s not just Texas. It`s happening all over the south. And it`s time for Congress to pass the For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

REID: And can you confirm that one of the reasons that you all are not going to, for instance, West Virginia or Arizona, where you could, in theory, put a lot of pressure in person on the senators, even though they`re in Washington right now, concerns about the governors there, Republican governors forcing you all back to Texas?

BUCY: That`s been a part of our conversations. We are concerned of that would happen. You know, there`s a concerted effort to promote Donald Trump`s big lie and pass legislation and these states -- we`re seeing it happen all over here. So you never know what they`ll do next when it comes to any means necessary to bring us back to pass these bills that will hurt access to the ballot box.

REID: And let me play Texas Governor Abbott. This is him explaining why he would like to see drive-through voting banned.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): With regard to the drive-through voting, listen, this violates the fundamentals of the way that voting integrity has always been achieved and that is the sanctity of the ballot box. If you do drive- through voting, you`re going to have people in the car with you and it could be somebody from your employer or somebody else who may have some coercive effect on the way that you would cast your ballot.


REID: Have you ever heard of anything like that, somebody being in the car to do what? I mean, actually let me ask Representative Bucy and then Julian Castro.

BUCY: No, of course not. They`re making up excuses. We saw in testimony over the weekend that Harris County, more women chose to use drive-through voting. This is an attack on women, it`s an attack on black and brown communities and they`re trying to make access to the ballot box harder so they can hold on to the power that they have, and that`s exactly what Secretary Castro was talking about.

REID: You worked as HUD Secretary, so you dealt with a lot of urban communities, you know, places like Harris County that is huge, has Houston in it. They`re talking about putting one ballot drop box there.

CASTRO: Oh, yes, absolutely ridiculous. One drop box for a county that has, what, 4 or 5 million people and you might have a county that has 10,000. And you know one drop box each. What they`re trying to do is to make it as hard as possible for especially black and brown communities and also people with disabilities, for instance, many senior citizens as well to vote.

And I think that Governor Abbott also is worried about his potential primary challenge.

REID: Sure.

CASTRO: He has two challengers, all of a sudden he has Donald Trump incarnate and is carrying out this big lie. Unfortunately, we have legislators -- fortunately, I should say, we have legislator who are willing to use every tool in the toolbox and I hope that that`s going to inspire some of the folks here in D.C.

REID: Yes. It would be helpful. Because, you know, Representative Bucy, the thing that`s being impressive about what you all are doing is that it`s showing some guts and it`s actually showing some strategery, right, some strategic thinking. Are you concerned that the level of urgency that you have, literally leaving your state and risking arrest or being dragged back in state is not reflected at this moment among Democrats in Washington?

BUCY: (INAUDIBLE) the time is running out and it needs to happen quickly. We`ve been encouraged by some things we`ve heard from Congress, but, you know, we haven`t seen the action and that`s why we`re coming back. We`ve had a delegation up here, we`re coming back and we`re going to keep that pressure on. We need everyone, whether it`s in the press or constituents all across this country that believe in this country and believe in our democracy to keep that pressure on as well.

REID: And what would you say if you could get Manchin and Sinema on the phone, if you can get a meeting with them? What would you say to them?

BUSY: You know, I think first we would just explain the stories we are hear in 24-hour testimony from constituents who are on this bill will have a harder time casting their ballot. And so we want to share those stories with them, we want to press upon them that in Texas and certain states, Texas being the hardest state to vote, this is a dire need. There is no more time to wait and we just want to help share that story with them and I believe that they`re going to come around and we`ll get this done.

REID: Well, the democracy matters. Julian Castro, Texas State Representative John Bucy, stay safe, thank you very much. Thank you very much, and again welcome to the family.

CASTRO: Great to be with you.

REID: I really appreciate.

All right, I`m joined now Sherrilyn Ifill NAACP Legal Defense Fund President. Can you just lay out the stake for us, Sherrilyn. If Democrats fail to pass federal voting legislation to protect the rights of people in this state, you heard what they`re doing in Texas, to vote, what happens?

SHERRILYN IFILL, NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE FUND PRESIDENT & DIRECTOR COUNSEL: Democracy is very much in peril, Joy. And I`m not exaggerating. So we have lost key tools that we had under the voting rights act, first Section 5 in 2013. Last week, the Supreme Court weakened the litigation tool we have, Section 2. And that means that we have less ability to challenge the discriminatory voter suppression laws passing at the state level.

We, of course, are suing Georgia, we are suing Florida, we`ll see what happens in Texas. These laws are popping up all over the country, so we are playing whack-a-mole with litigation. And it`s not going to be possible. Litigation, as we know, is slow and expensive. And, frankly, it`s not going to be concluded, certainly not in time for the 2022 primary elections.

But more importantly, it`s really about democracy. We essentially have a coterie of elected officials around the country who are engaged in a concerted effort to try to keep members of the population, citizens, from voting and particularly black and brown citizens.

I know we all talk about this as partisan, I know we talk about Democrats and Republicans. But who are the voters being targeted? The voters being targeted are black voters, brown voters, elderly voters, disabled voters. That`s what we see happening.

And that conduct is illegal. It violates federal law. But it`s happening at such a quick pace and it`s happening in so many states that it will be very difficult to stop it unless we get federal legislation and Congress steps up and plays the role that the framers of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution thought Congress should hold. They thought they should have the power to enforce the provisions of the 14th and 15th Amendment, equal protection of laws and to be free to vote without discrimination based on race or color. It`s Congress` job to protect that right.

REID: Are you concerned, as I am, and not being obviously a lawyer or legal scholar at all, but I just, I read through just as a layperson the Kavanaugh decision, the most recent decision, which leads me to believe that they are going to an almost sort of Plessy versus Ferguson model that if it`s just inconvenient to a voter, it`s not discrimination. If it`s just based on partisanship and trying to prevent the people from the other party from voting, it`s not discrimination. The mere inconvenience of it means that there`s nothing wrong with it. They can do it as long as there`s some other way you can vote.

This worries me because I almost feel like some of these states could do bubbles on a bar of soap. We know, as long as there`s some other way to vote besides getting the bubbles, you can do it. I worry that the courts won`t be a readout for you all even if you get through the courts.

IFILL: Well, it`s a pretty -- (INAUDIBLE) decision is a pretty astonishing one and, you know, the idea of the Supreme Court essentially countermanding Congress and almost kind of writing their own statute, there`s nothing about the Brnovich decision that is grounded in the text of the Voting Rights Act, of Section 2, as it was amended in 1982.

The Senate report factors that are have been the way of litigating these cases since then kind of essentially been brushed aside, at least to no denial cases, according to Justice Alito, who suggested these are just suggestions but no doubt suggestions that he knows district courts will take quite seriously. And he creates his own factors, just made up out of whole cloth.

What really is disturbing, Joy, is that Congress anticipated this when they amended the Voting Rights Act. They understood the need to try to get at future discrimination that they hadn`t even anticipated yet. And they tried to compel those who are challenging discriminatory laws to engage in what they call a searching practical evaluation of the local political, social and economic reality. That`s what you`re supposed to do in this litigation.

You`re not supposed to have Justice Alito simply say, well, if there are perhaps economic differences that may account for why different people have different access to the ballot, but what can we do about that? Congress was very clear.

So this is a usurpation of Congress` authority under -- to write the words of the voting rights act and have those words mean what they say, which some members of this court claim is what they live by, the text. This is not a textual decision. And, moreover, it`s a usurpation of Congress` authority under the 13th and 14th Amendment to enforce those critical constitutional provisions.

We are in a battle. We are in a democratic battle. This is not the first time, though. The Supreme Court overstepped in 1980 in Mobile versus Bolden and that`s why Congress had to amend Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act in 1982.


So they let it sit after Shelby County versus Holder but now it`s time to move. And Congress has to move forward, they have to move quickly and they have to move comprehensively to ensure that we protect American democracy.

REID: Yes. Thank you very much for that great correction too. I meant Alito, not Kavanaugh. I mean, they`re both so equally bad. It`s sort of hard to remember which is bad an which is worse. It`s pretty horrifying. Sherrilyn Ifill, thank you for fighting the good fight. I really appreciate of you being here tonight.

Up next on THE REIDOUT as the suppression session continues in Texas, the state`s Republican attorney general is trying to instill fear into black voters, setting high bail and the potential of 40 years in prison, 40 years, for 62-year-old Hervis Rogers who waited more than six hours to vote and said he had no idea he wasn`t allowed to under the state`s Jim Crow era rules. Is it incredible, alarming story. Hervis Rogers` attorney joins me next.

Plus, lying about the big lie. Trump`s lawyers are hauled into court and pretend they have no role in spreading misinformation about Trump`s defeat.

Plus tonight`s absolute worst, cheering on sickness and death.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: A Houston voter has become the face of Texas voter suppression tactics.

As communities across the state endured ridiculously long voter lines last year on primary day, Super Tuesday, especially in diverse Harris County, home to Houston, Hervis Rogers went viral for waiting more than six hours to vote at an historically black college in the city. He spoke to reporters on his way out.


HERVIS ROGERS, CHARGED WITH ILLEGAL VOTING: I want to get my vote in divorce my opinion. And I wasn`t going to let nothing stop me.

So I waited it out. It`s like it`s -- the way it was going, like it was set up for me to walk away.


REID: He`s a great example of a person exercising his civic duty by any means necessary.

Well, now Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, who himself is being investigated by the state bar for his role in pushing the big lie with his lawsuit against four battleground states to try and overturn the election, that Ken Paxton, had Hervis Rogers arrested and is prosecuting him for casting his ballot.

Rogers is charged with two counts of knowingly voting illegally, second- degree felonies with a possible sentence of 20 years in prison each count. His bail was set at a staggering $100,000. When he voted, Rogers was a few months shy of the end of his parole for a burglary conviction in the 1990s.

Under Texas law, the formerly incarcerated are prohibited from voting until their parole ends. But Rogers` attorney from the ACLU of Texas says he didn`t know that he was ineligible to vote. The nonprofit Bail Project put up to $100,000 to bail him out.

But he now faces the possibility of decades in prison for voting, as opposed to the, say, five years probation that a Pennsylvania man received for admittedly voting for the disgraced former president using his dead mother`s name.

Ken Paxton defended Rogers` arrest in a tweet, claiming: "I prosecute voter fraud everywhere we find it."

But Paxton seems to only find it in certain communities. A recent study found that nearly three-quarters of Paxton`s voter fraud prosecutions have been brought against black and Latino defendants, because of course.

Joining me now is Andre Segura, legal director for the Texas ACLU.

This case is shocking and horrifying. But let`s just clarify a couple of things. Hervis Rogers, to me, it seems like, if he was admittedly and knowingly breaking the law and voting illegally, wouldn`t have given a TV interview.

So, your thoughts?


And certainly wouldn`t have waited over six hours to vote. He was the last one in line. He might have been the last one in the entire state of Texas to vote. And just stepping back, we often talk about suppression of voting rights in hypotheticals.

But what`s happening to Mr. Rogers is real. And it should cause alarm to all of us. He really thought he was doing the right thing, trying to get out there and fulfill his civic duty, as you heard -- as you saw in that wonderful video of him. And now, instead, almost a year-and-a-half later, he`s arrested by undercover officers outside of his home in Houston, taken to a jail an hour north from his house, put a bail amount of $100,000, an amount that most people, certainly Mr. Rogers, couldn`t afford, and was held there for four days, not knowing what was going to happen to him.

And for what? At worst, an innocent mistake. And what we know is that he truly believed that he was doing the right thing. So this should really cause concern to all of us.

REID: All of this feels very Jim Crow, to be honest with you, persecuting this man and threatening him with 40 years in prison, picking this black man who made a high-profile case for himself on television for why it`s so important to vote and having put his life back together, even the fact that he`s being prosecuted in Montgomery County, which is not the county where he actually lives.

Explain how it is legal to move him to a different county, which presumably is a more red, conservative, white county.

SEGURA: Right.

Well, the legality of that is something that we will be reviewing closely. Current state law allows the attorney general to bring a prosecution in a neighboring county or in the Austin area.

But, of course, it`s odd that he`s not being prosecuted in the county in which he voted or in the county in which he lives. And just to make this real, he has to now go up frequently an hour north, when he has no car, no way of getting up. This is hard for anyone. It`s an inconvenience.

And it certainly raises speculation as to why this is happening there.

REID: This case reminds me very much of the Crystal Mason case, in which the book was also thrown at this young this young woman who voted.

She cast a provisional ballot. She got five years in prison. This feels like black Texans and brown Texans are having the book thrown at them by prosecutors like Mr. Paxton to send a message. Would I be wrong in viewing it that way, to send a message to other black voters?

SEGURA: You have seen a pattern by Attorney General Paxton and his office of trying to make a case for widespread voting -- voter fraud, when we know that that`s not -- that`s not real.

And so this is part and parcel of that. He`s focusing his resources, which we think is a complete waste of resources. We represent Ms. Mason as well. And the same issue there is the issue here. It`s two people who believed that they were honestly doing the right thing. No one would risk their livelihood, that of their families to go vote, and no one should have to.

We should make voting safe and easy. And right now, we have Texas legislators trying to make voting scarier and riskier for Texans, and really trying to intimidate people from going to the polls and expressing their voice.

REID: And for Ken Paxton to be the person doing this, I mean, he himself is under investigation by the FBI on allegations of bribery and abuse of his office.

So stated press reports that the FBI is investigating him for apparently using his office to benefit a big donor. He was seeking a pardon from Donald Trump for that.

Do you believe that what Ken Paxton is doing is about politics? Or is it simply straight up about just intimidating black and brown voters, Jim Crow-style, or is it a combination?

SEGURA: Yes, I mean, what I can say is, we have a long history of pushing back on Paxton`s efforts to politicize events, from trying to overturn the 2020 election in six states other than Texas, whether it`s attacking Biden`s -- President Biden`s attempt to rollback some of Trump`s anti- immigrant policies, attacking voting rights.

Every step, he has used his office for his political motivations. And that`s something that we have fought back against. Now, in this case, we think that this is a complete injustice. Anyone who hears about this case is sympathetic to it. And if you have -- whoever needs Mr. Rogers -- he`s a wonderful man -- as well as Ms. Mason, will realize that this is just -- this is just wrong.

And Mr. Rogers and Ms. Mason are not the poster child that Ken Paxton is looking forward. We really hope that justice will prevail here and cooler heads, because we have a man`s liberty on the line here.

REID: Crystal Mason, Hervis Rogers, please remember their names, America, because these two people are trying to do their civic duty, which is what we want Americans to do.

We want people to be able to vote. And, by the way, these laws against being able to vote because you have a felony are Jim Crow era relics that should go.

Andre Segura, we wish you the best of luck. And please pass that along to Mr. Rogers as well. Thank you very much.

Meanwhile, still ahead: The twice-impeached Florida retiree continues to spew nonsense about the election and the insurrection, as his post-election legal team faces their own legal comeuppance.

We will be right back.


REID: After their failed effort to cancel the results of the 2020 election, Trump`s legal team is now facing legal jeopardy of their own.

A federal judge in Michigan is currently weighing sanctions for several Trump lawyers, including Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, who contested the vote there in what can only be described as a highly frivolous legal challenge.

In fact, their suit was so laughable, it was dismissed in December as nothing but speculation and conjecture. Now, in a hearing just today, the judge says the court is concerned that affidavits included in the lawsuit were submitted in bad faith, suggesting she`s likely to sanction them for their role in propagating the big lie.

And yet the lunacy continues. The disgraced ex-president is now openly endorsing the horrors that transpired on January 6. In a FOX News interview, Trump described the mob who attended his fateful rally that morning as great people, saying there was love in the air.

Of course, this was the same mob who stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overthrow the legitimate winner of the 2020 election and to hang Mike Pence. It`s the same mob that attacked police in violent scenes like this one in which an insurrectionist can be seen using a flagpole as a weapon.

It`s among the new videos released by a judge today in the case of defendant Michael Perkins. And here`s a bit more.




REID: Look at all that love in the air.

By praising many of those same extremists so overtly, Trump is sending a dangerous message, condoning and even promoting political violence as a means of putting himself back in power.

And conservative media is still amplifying that message, a message that`s such a threat to our national security, the major social media firms consider it too dangerous to allow Trump back onto their platforms, leaving Twitter and Facebook and YouTube to provide the only constraints on Trump, while he`s free to keep radicalizing his followers on FOX News and its sister platforms and his dangerous, absurd rallies.

Joining me now is Congressman Pete Aguilar of California. He`s a member of the select committee to investigate January 6.

And, presumably, Congressman, this is the stuff that needs to be gotten to the bottom of in this case. We have seen 6,000 grand jury subpoenas in this January 6 investigation. And yet you still have Trump out there inciting more violence.

Are you concerned that, even as the investigation is going on, he`s inciting round two?

REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): Absolutely. And the rhetoric that he is spewing absolutely concerns me.

But it won`t deter us from our focus. And our focus is to get to the truth of what happened on January 6, irrespective of what the twice-impeached president wants. That`s our charge. That`s our mission. That`s what the House resolution that we adopted says we should do.

So we`re going to do that. We`re going to carry on. We`re going to get in as much information as we possibly can to tell about the events of the 6th, what led up to it, and how we prevent these types of things from happening ever again.

REID: I mean, it`s an extraordinary list of people who`ve been charged.

I mean, Brent Bozell`s son was charged in it. It`s wild. This is the right- wing firebrand, for those who don`t know who that is. But let`s talk about some of these conspiracy theories that are still going on out there.

At CPAC this week, there was this card that was distributed called a seven point plan to reinstate Donald Trump as president. And I won`t go through every line of it. But the basic bottom line is to try to get him installed as speaker of the House, and then use that to try to then impeach the president and the vice president, and move him back into the White House.

I don`t even know if that`s something that can be investigated, because it`s not directly related to the sedition attempt on January 6, but it is what motivated them. That`s what they wanted to do.

Do you think that he and Donald Trump and anyone around him should be part of the subpoena list to talk to them about whether or not that was his idea to try to be pushed in by any means necessary?

AGUILAR: Well, we`re going to follow every available lead.

And so that means we`re going to seek all of the available information, and, like you mentioned, the charging documents, the indictments, all of the material that the Department of Justice has already.

So that`s where we can start, because a lot of that information, the indictments are public -- in the public domain. So we will start there .We will chase every available lead, and we`re not going to be deterred from executing our goal, which is to find out what happened on the 6th.

So we`re not going to be sidetracked by political fantasyland of whatever the former president says. We`re going to be focused on the goal. We`re going to start next week, as the chair, as Chairman Thompson, mentioned. And we`re going to start in earnest.

REID: The other thing that happened -- one of the other things that happened at the CPAC little conference there is that the Oath Keepers` leader was there, credentialed and walking around, schmoozing with Republican politicians.

Are you concerned that some of your fellow members of Congress on the Republican side are in league with some of the very people who might wind up being called before this committee, and that maybe some of these Republican members who have relationships with people like the Oath Keepers and with the Proud Boys and others themselves are going to need to be subpoenaed?

And are -- do you think that the committee will be willing to do that, to subpoena members?

AGUILAR: I`m concerned about the misinformation and the lies.

And to the extent that some of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have continued to fan those flames from after the election, just like the former president, where they had a systemic plan to continue to fan those flames of disinformation, that concerns me and that troubles me. And if any of them had a hand in some of those external groups and organizations, we`re going to want to know about it.

And we`re going to look for every available piece of information that we can in order to help tell the story of what happened on January 6, and to make sure an assault on democracy, which is exactly what this insurrection was, that it never happens again.

REID: Donald Trump said in a speech that he -- or an interview that he gave on FOX News with Maria Bartiromo that impeaching him didn`t -- they thought it would rein him in. It just made him worse.

Do you believe that he is dangerous? Do you believe that he is inciting domestic terrorism just daily in his public appearances and speeches?

AGUILAR: Absolutely.

He proved that he was dangerous when he was in office. Now, without some of those constraints, I think it`s even more so. Like you mentioned before, some of the social media companies even feel he is so dangerous that they have deplatformed him.

So the fact that he`s going to continue to try through every available tool, whether it`s speaking at political conventions or giving interviews, that he`s going to continue to fan these flames and to continue to perpetuate the big lie, it absolutely concerns us, because the hallmark of democracy is a peaceful transfer of power.

And the former president was very clear that he did not believe in that. And he ginned up his folks. He asked them to come to D.C. And people were injured. Capitol Police officers, 140 of them were injured. And five people lost their lives as a result of the events that happened on January 6.


REID: A very quick hard turn here. The wildfire situation in your home state is pretty really bad. Has -- House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, is there any conversations with other California and Western lawmakers, does he show any concern for trying to do something and have Congress act on climate change? Because it is affecting the state you two both represent.

AGUILAR: Well, like you said, many of our -- many of our colleagues, you know, don`t believe in climate change, but many of them have and continue to advocate for the U.S. forest service to help play a role in responding to these, you know, federal disasters and these wildfires. So we`re going to continue to do that and we`re going to continue to respond hopefully in a bipartisan way.

But let`s be very clear that climate change is real. Climate change is happening. It`s leading to a longer fire season, which is exactly what we`re seeing.

We`re seeing those effects. It`s costing taxpayers` money. And we need to address it.

And there are concrete steps in order to address it. Many of us on our side of the aisle have offered those steps, and we hope that the minority leader and others across the aisle will help work with us to address those steps.

REID: We are definitely thinking of your state and of the West. I know it`s getting rough out there. Yes, climate change is definitely real.

Congressman Pete Aguilar, thank you very much. Really appreciate your time tonight.

Still ahead this weekend, CPAC delivered an embarrassment of riches or maybe just an embarrassment when it came to choosing the absolute worst. But tonight`s pick is almost unimaginably horrifying.

But, first, unprecedented anti-government protests in Cuba as Haiti faces a government crisis of its own in the wake of the assassination of its president.

A lot coming up. Stay with us.



REID: Two nations not far from the U.S. are in crisis tonight. Over the weekend in Cuba, thousands of people took to the streets in Havana and other cities demanding food, medicine and COVID vaccines. It was an unprecedented and extraordinary scene with people demanding freedom and shouting "down with communism." The loudest cries were for the end of the dictatorship currently run by the president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, the hand- picked successor of Raul Castro.

The protesters were met with violence at the hands of Cuba`s Special Forces. Today, Diaz-Canel claimed that the massive uprisings will be, quote, cumulative result of U.S. policies.

Roughly 700 miles away in Port-au-Prince, Haitian officials announced that a Florida-based doctor of Haitian descent has been arrested under suspicion that he was one of the plotters behind the assassination of the President Jovenel Moise. The arrest of Christian Emmanuel Sanon makes him the third Haitian American to be arrested in the killing. "The Miami Herald" first broke the story. Roughly two dozen have been arrested, including 18 Colombian mercenaries.

Over the weekend, the interim Haitian government called on the U.S. for military assistance. A senior Biden administration official told "The Washington Post" that the U.S. has no plans to do so at this time.

Earlier today, a delegation of U.S. officials who traveled to Haiti briefed President Biden about the situation on the ground.

And for the latest on both situations, I`m joined by Nora Gamez Torres. She covers Cuban and U.S. Latin American policy for "The Miami Herald" and in "El Nuevo Herald", and Garry Pierre-Pierre, founder of "The Haitian Times".

So, we got a lot to get to.

So, I want to start with you, Nora. Break down for me, because having been to Cuba, I can tell you that it`s surprising to see people so openly protesting. It is -- there is no doubt when you are in Cuba that it is a very strictly enforced authoritarian state with lots and lots of men with big, big guns watching folks all the time. Talk about how this came about.

NORA GAMEZ TORRES, MIAMI HERALD/EL NUEVO HEARLD CUBA POLICY REPORTER: Yeah. This was really, you know, unprecedented but really not entirely surprising because the economic situation in the country has been deteriorating, you know, over three years and more dramatically in recent months. It`s a combination of things including the dwindling economic aid coming from Venezuela Nicolas Maduro`s regime, the pandemic, and stronger U.S. sanctions.

And, of course, the economy is very inefficient and the government is in debt and has no money, so the population has been enduring severe scarcities of food and medicine. And also, recently, the government decided to sell food in dollars, and the population does not (INAUDIBLE) and that`s a lot of the anger and frustration that you see in these protests.

REID: You know, I`ve heard somebody else say that COVID has sort of done what sanctions have not been able to do in, you know, 60-something years. The thing that Cuba tends to pride itself on is its highly trained medical personnel. They`re not paid a lot of money, like $40 a month to be a doctor. And, you know, they`re very highly trained and get a free education.

Is it surprising that COVID and the inability to respond to the pandemic has been such a big part of moving people into the streets?

TORRES: Well, you know, of course the pandemic came, you know, atop this situation I just described. But it was really, you know, I have to make sure that people understand that it was not only about COVID and the pandemic. You know, you`ve seen the video circulating on social media, people asking for food, for medicine, for vaccines, but their loudest cries were really, you know, calls about the dictatorship, shouts of down with Miguel Diaz-Canel, he`s country`s president, and really calls for freedom, you know?


REID: Yeah.

TORRES: You could hear also many shouting "Patria y vida" which is the chorus of a song by several black artists that has become kind of a slogan against the government. And so, really, yes, I think, you know, COVID was the nail in the coffin, but it was a combination of things. And it was mounting -- this has been mounting for months.

REID: Yeah, and now, it has an anthem.

Garry Pierre-Pierre, let`s talk about Haiti for a moment because this is a bizarre story. We have this assassination of President Moise, and then you have these Colombian mercenaries arrested and then there are these statements that, you know, sort of it seems like they were trying to blame the DEA. It`s been really messy. Now, there`s this word that Haitian American has been arrested.

What on earth is going on in Haiti?

GARRY PIERRE-PIERRE, THE HAITIAN TIMES FOUNDER AND PUBLISHER: Well, Joy, first of all, thanks for having me. I think what we have watched, what we`re seeing now is what America saw under the last guy who was president. It`s complete -- I doubt every word coming out of the Haitian government`s mouths. There`s no cooperation for anything they`re releasing. They`re just saying things just out of thin air.

And I think we ought to be careful when reporting these as if they are facts. They`re not. We have to be very skeptical. Allegedly, supposedly, they claim. That`s it, because it doesn`t add up.

You know, we had a story today in, where we went and sort of debunk most of these theories one by one where they don`t make sense since the beginning, since Wednesday night when I got awoken at 4:00 in the morning to let me know that this had happened. It`s been crazy.

We have seen, you know, you mentioned this whole thing. DEA, and then it got more bizarre after that. And essentially, what`s going on, someone backed this assassination. It was botched badly. I don`t think -- I don`t know if that`s what they wanted, that`s how they wanted it to go down, but now they`re trying to cover up their tracks. But, you know, the old saying, the cover-up is worse than the crime.

This crime is very heinous. The man who was tortured before he was riddled with bullets, and now they`re coming up with incredulous stories one after another. It`s really kind of frustrating watching it because we have a hard time covering the story because we know this to be false. And so we are trying to be very careful.

But listen, like I said, this is no different than what we went through in this country the last four and a half years or five years where you have an administration or a government bent on lying to the people. Now, they try to spin it to the international community. And it`s not going to work.

REID: It is -- it is a lot going on in the Caribbean right now, in the region, in our hemisphere, and it`s a lot that the Biden administration is going to have to start paying attention to in both of these countries, two very, very important countries in our region.

Thank you both, Nora Gamez Torres and Garry Pierre-Pierre, thank you both for helping us understand what`s going on.

All right. Coming up, tonight`s absolute worst would be hilarious if it weren`t so horrifying. Imagine, imagine cheering for something that puts your life and the lives of your loved ones at risk of dying. Tonight`s absolute worst is next.



REID: This year, the conservatives got to visit their happiest place on earth twice. Over the weekend, CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, held a sequel in Dallas, doubling down on their rah-rah messages ahead of the midterm elections. One those rallying cry is that life-saving -- life-saving vaccines are bad.


ALEX BERENSON: Clearly, they were hoping, the government was hoping that they could sort of sucker 90 percent of the population into getting vaccinated, and it isn`t happening, right? There`s -- younger people are well aware of what the risks really are.


REID: That, by the way, was anti-vaccination advocate Alex Berenson, who "The Atlantic" has dubbed the pandemic`s wrongest man.

And those cheers you heard, Dr. Anthony Fauci called them horrifying and almost frightening. That`s because they are.

Dr. Fauci was also targeted by Congresswoman Lauren pew-pew-pew Boebert.


REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): Don`t come knocking on my door with your Fauci ouchy. You leave us the hell alone.


REID: Yes, yes, guns and the zoom background lady. Now do measles vaccines. No? You don`t want to do that?

Now, this war against the COVID vaccine isn`t just a war against science. It`s a war against public health. That thing that insures safety across populations, things like food hygiene and clean water and seat belts and vaccines.

When the polio vaccine became available in 1955, Americans literally celebrated in the streets. There was, of course, no Fox News back then. No Tuckers and Lauras smearing the idea of getting vaccinated even after their boss, Rupert Murdoch, got the shot before most people could.

There was also no CPAC fueling a staggering political divide on who is vaccinated and who is not. Even as the delta variant and other mutations fuel outbreaks in red states and among the young. The word dystopia doesn`t even cut it because at least in that context, people are trying to survive. This feels like conservatives are willing to die to own the libs for their political Jim Jones Donald Trump.

What`s a deadly airborne virus when you have power to seize for politicians who won`t even send you a relief check or get you a bridge or Wi-Fi or fund your local police department, because they couldn`t give a damn about you. Go team.

Which is why the nihilistic death cult conservative war on public health is tonight`s absolute worst, and maybe this whole era`s absolute worst.

And that is tonight`s REIDOUT.