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Transcript: The ReidOut, 7/16/21

Guests: Melanie Campbell, Angela Rye, Lorenzo Sierra, Michael Bender, Anthony Fauci, Versha Sharma

Summary

Vice President Harris meets with voting rights activists. Texas Democrats leave state to block new voting restrictions. Arizona`s partisan vote audit drags on. Democratic Representative Beatty arrested at voting rights protest. Democrats and activists fight to protect voting rights. Arizona investigators find few cases of alleged voter fraud.

Transcript

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Well, and here we are John Flannery and I started out at the bottom in law school and here we are with D.J. Rosenberg and what a fitting note to end the week on. Thank you, Peter. Thank you, John. That`s THE BEAT.

Dr. Fauci is up next on THE REIDOUT. And Tiffany Cross is in for Joy Reid. Hi, Tiffany.

TIFFANY CROSS, MSNBC HOST: Hi Ari. I want to say I too started from the bottom and now I`m here. And I`ll take it from here, Ari. Have great weekend. We`ll see you on Monday.

And good evening, everybody. I`m Tiffany Cross, in for Joy Reid. And we begin THE REIDOUT tonight with a snapshot of America starting with Washington, D.C. where Vice President Kamala Harris met with black women voting rights activists at the White House just hours ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I look at the leaders that are at this table who are also women and also black women and I see - truth. When I look at the women at this table, I see I do be well. Amelia Boynton. I see Fannie Lou Hamer. I see Constance Baker Motley. And these are the modern versions of those great women.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROSS: Meanwhile in Texas, a voting bill is now at the forefront of national attention, a bill so restrictive, it could essentially strip voting rights from millions of Texans, namely Latino and black voters. That`s what this is all about people, with Texas Democrats fleeing their home state four days ago to deny Republicans the quorum needed to pass those restrictions.

Now, let`s not forget about Arizona, because there, the denial of democracy forges on, where conspiracy theorists -- you heard that right -- conspiracy theories continue to paw through ballots with no ending fight, setting president for Republican control state to essentially question any election that doesnƒ_Tt go their way.

Now, the one crucial thing missing from this snapshot tonight, a solution, there isn`t even a path to a solution. President Biden said it himself. This 21st century Jim Crow assault is real. Yet, the world filibuster never came up.

Now, I have to tell you, it is hard to imagine a time when black people were not fighting for voting rights in this country. Yesterday was no different. That struggle continues, as we saw Congresswoman Joyce Beatty and eight other activists get arrested while peacefully call for Senate action. We`ve seen that good trouble in our nation`s history time and again.

And there is indeed a loud and growing grassroots movement to save American democracy being led yet again by black women. And that very movement found its way into the west wing today. But the question on every one`s mind, when will federal legislation finally catch up?

Joining me now, Melanie Campbell, the President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, she was one of the nine protesters arrested yesterday, alongside Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and also joining us, my pal, Angela Rye, Political Strategist and Host of the amazing podcast, you guys should check out, On One with Angela Rye. Great to see you both.

Look, I think we`re all very frustrated. Melanie I`m going to start with you. The question I what to know and anxious you is what exactly the Vice President Kamala Harris say. What`s the plan here?

MELANIE CAMPBELL, PRESIDENT AND CEO, NATIONAL COALITION ON BLACK CIVIC PARTICIPATION: First of all, I`m just tickled pink (ph) to be on with both of you all. And love both of you all so much. And thank you for your leadership and speaking truth to power, so I`ll start there.

Well, the meeting really was like a combination of the week that we had with this whole call to action, a week of action (ph). And with Vice President Harris, part of it was listening and really hearing what we had to say and the recommendations really challenging them to really look creatively. You have people like Minyon Moore and Leah Daughtry who have worked at the White House, talk about how you can utilize, which we call whole of government approach, if you will, like you`ve done doing with COVID or even ACA and other kinds of things. Use all of your tools in the tool box, both that you can use, the administration, whatever that is feasible to do. And also continue to treat this as the state of emergency that it is. And that means you have to put it all out, utilize all various levels of the administration.

CROSS: Can I ask you, Melanie, because I think the one thing people want to know is did the word filibuster come up? Did you talk about Manchin? Did you talk about Krysten Sinema?

CAMPBELL: Well, I would say this, because we had 21 sisters as well as Georgia, we covered a lot of ground. We didn`t spend a lot of time on filibuster.

[19:05:00]

But we did bring it up. We didn`t solve the problem, obviously, but definitely understand that we have to -- that it doesn`t require a little lesser because we`ve got arrested yesterday, so we`ll live on, but it was about looking --

CROSS: All right. I think we`re having some challenges with Melanie`s feed. So, Angela, I want to turn to you here. Look, 90 percent of black women voted President Joe Biden. We are the Democrats most loyal voting bloc. There`s a long ongoing battle of voter suppression. Nothing is new. One thing that annoys me, I`m sure you all agree, is when they say this is all based on the big lie.

That`s the big lie. Voter suppression has been an issue in our community since forever. We can`t organization ourselves out of this. We have to legislate ourselves out of this. We can`t wait for the courts to save us. What, as a political strategist, somebody who used to be the chair, or used to be the executive director of Congressional Black Caucus, what`s the solution? What`s the path forward?

ANGELA RYE, PRINCIPAL & CEO, IMPACT STRATEGIES: You know, is keep I wish it was that easy to say here is the solution but we have two major problems in front of us. One is the Shelby versus Holder decision in 2013, which, of course, gutted Section 5 to have voting rights act, the one that John Lewis fought, protested for and got beat as we crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge for, right?

The next decision that hit us really hard just last month was Brnovich versus DNC, which essentially guts Section 2. Justice Alito in that decision says that as long as there`s equal openness to the polls, then we don`t have to worry as much about disparate impact. That essentially puts voting rights advocates and civil rights advocates everywhere in the position to have to demonstrate intent which is an impossible standard.

So not only now are we working to picks what the Supreme Court gutted in Shelby versus Holder, now some reparative were ask to be done to also ensure that there is Section 2 protections now.

So, yes, protest are important. But let me tell you the most important thing for Joe Manchin to understand is he can name a compromise that John Lewis Voting Right Advancement Act if he wants to. But if that thing does not look like with John Lewis with stand for. I tell him he should put some respect on his name and ensure he does not do that. It has to be in word and deed. It has to ensure that the intentions and impact are protected.

And so the protests are the beginning but it`s time for the house to step up and say look we passed this bill now twice. It`s time for you all to meet us in middle. And if it requires an exception via filibuster, so be it. But we do not need to go backwards and that`s what it looks like we are. Even the fact that Kamala would have to call out Fanny Lou Hamer and Ida B. Wells on her birthday and tell these women, I love you. I love the fact that you are all willing to risk your lives and your health and opportunity to stand in the Senate and protest, but the fact that you have to do in 2021 is a huge problem, and that`s where we need to start.

CROSS: I echo that. Melanie, please go ahead.

CAMPBELL: I agree. We we`re talking about -- you have people like Coy Barry (ph), who stepped up to -- Barbara Stair (ph), some of our seasoned sisters, the seasoned sisters, saying I can`t believe we here but we are. So we`ve said we have to step up, cannot believe we`re dog gone here.

And so I had put up my organize and protests, when I`ve been in protest, but I said hey, this one I have to step up and do what I need to do with my sisters that were also a part of what we`re doing this week. And so, we`re going to keep pushing. We will have no choice.

And when you know the situation is as bad as it is because when you can think that it is okay to say you go to shelve the voting rights because you don`t have the votes, and that`s how we`re going to just say that`s not on our watch, Susan Taylor always says, not on our watch. We have to all step up and challenge and echo the reality is we don`t have a choice but to fight.

CROSS: Yes.

CAMPBELL: We have to witness that. And I`m not going say we`re going to win it tomorrow but it`d better be the day after tomorrow, or we`re going to look at a country, and I heard both of you all (INAUDIBLE) that is not going to be -- it will be one party rule. And for us and because it`s not even also we share, it`s not just our black women. Of course, it`s about black folks. But the reality is it`s about all Americans at the end of the day. And when they come for us, they will come for you. That`s a fact.

And so for us, you know history is a great teacher. So we`re going to do what we continue to do. We`re going to push. And I do believe that -- I have hope that folks will do the right thing and when we have to push them and make them. And we have got a long way to go and we don`t have a lot of time to do it.

CROSS: Yes, all right. We don`t --

RYE: You know, Tiffany --

CROSS: Go ahead. We`re out of time Angela but really quick ten seconds. Go ahead.

RYE: Okay, I`m say it quick. This isn`t just a problem at the United States Capitol, it`s a problem in at least 48 throughout this country.

[19:10:01]

Almost 400 bills have been introduced by Republicans. And, again, I would say to the Democrats, it`s not just incumbent upon the Republicans to push, it`s incumbent upon the Democrats to push on every level at the municipal, state and federal level. So it`s time to fight.

CROSS: Yes. And this should not really fall on black women`s shoulders yet again to save this country from itself. Melanie Campbell and Angela Rye, thank you so much for that point of conversation.

As I mentioned earlier, a key hot spot in voting rights -- in the voting rights fight is Arizona, and a closely divided state where a partisan sham audit is threatening democracy by the day.

Joining me now, Democratic Arizona State Representative Lorenzo Sierra. Thank you so much for being here.

Look, there`s news coming out of Arizona, that they -- surprise, surprise, there`s not a large level of voter fraud happening in Arizona. I`m curious, give us the latest and what the plan is there to stay on the frontlines of combating this kind of voter suppression.

STATE REP. LORENZO SIERRA (D-AZ): Well, thank you Tiffany for having me here tonight. And you are correct and I`m glad that you brought up this A.P. story that`s showing that there really isn`t fraud going on. And there really hasn`t been on any previous election. Either this has been a made up story of people just trying to appease Donald Trump, trying to back in to the results that he want it didn`t get.

Arizonians came out in record numbers. I`ll tell you. During last pandemic -- this pandemic, people work their tails off. Even though we couldn`t knock doors, they were dropping late on doors. They were making phone calls. And folks that had never involved in this process before got involved. If those Republicans really want to audit something, they should audit why Donald Trump led so many people to get active in ways they never have.

CROSS: Yes. And I just want to put some meat on that bone. The Arizona County election officials have identified fewer than 200 cases of potential voter fraud. So this isn`t exactly voter fraud. This is out of more than three million ballots. And some of these were Republican cast votes. So this is, you know, just another challenge in the state that you guys will have to combat.

Now, the House Oversight Committee is launching an investigation into the ballot review being run by your Republican-controlled Senate there. Is this helpful? I mean, what can the federal government do at this point?

SIERRA: Just like you`re previous guest said, Ms. Campbell, we have nothing left to do but fight. And that`s all we have left, because every avenue that we have within the court system is being systemically taken away from us. Everything that we could have done legislatively is being taken away from us.

Now, we`re having to depend on the federal government at this point in time for states like Arizona, Texas, Wisconsin, Georgia, all of these places where these Republican legislatures are passing some draconian election laws. We`re having to depend on Congress to come by and say, let`s take a look at what`s really going on here.

And when they pull the rock under this audit that`s happening over here in Arizona, they`re going to find that is being done by partisans. It`s being done -- and I sure hope that our attorney general investigates because Donald Trump was calling our Senate leaders just before this thing happened. And sure enough it`s going on, it`s continue to go on, they`re raising money off of it, they are destroying democracy off of it. This thing has to end. And we`re hoping Congress in any way shaped our reform can help us get closer to end of this so that we can get back to being adults, and we can get back to run into the state of Arizona.

CROSS: Yes. And I think you made a good point. This is not just about voting rights. In Texas, for example, Republican Governor Greg Abbott is trying to usher through a slate of conservative pipe dream essentially with not only banning 24-hour voting but this is also trying to expand or limit abortion rights and anti-trans laws. So it`s really scary here.

Are there other things on the ballots happening in Arizona that the federal government should intervene here to point out that this casts a wide, dark shadow over all of policy really?

SIERRA: Well, I`m hoping that they can do. And I think you said the magic word that`s happening in the Senate. That word is filibuster. And in normal time, I would say that`s probably not the thing that we need to be focusing on.

But, Tiffany, we are looking at an existential crisis here. Our very democracy is being put to the test in ways that we couldn`t have imagined. And when President Biden said this is the worse since the civil war, he is absolutely correct.

[19:15:00]

And like I said, I wouldn`t normally be for ending that filibuster but this is existential. That is the single most powerful thing that can happen right now. Let`s get S-1 passed. HR-1 is already there. Let`s make sure that people who, in good faith, want to cast their vote as their civic duty, as their responsibility as Americans are able to do so conveniently, easily, safely. And that`s what we should be focused on.

CROSS: Yes, voting, I mean, it`s the corner stone of our democracy and it`s being eroded before our eyes. Pay attention people. Arizona State Representative, Lorenzo Sierra, thank you so much.

And don`t go anywhere at home, because up next on THE REIDOUT, anarchy in the White House in the final days of the Trump administration. I know you aren`t surprised by that. The real danger that the country faced when an unhinged president focused only on the big lie.

Plus, Dr. Anthony Fauci joins us on the disturbing increase of COVID cases with almost all the death coming from people who did not get vaccinated.

And Matt Gaetz is paying big money to Trump`s closest advisers hoping to wipe off the stench of scandal and salvage his political fortunes.

THE REIDOUT continues right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:20:23]

CROSS: We have seen a flood of damning revelations emerge in recent days from three new books all about the final year of the Trump administration.

Among other things, we`re learning how many people close to Trump genuinely believed he was dangerous, especially in the weeks approaching January 6.

Now, those books could potentially serve as something of a road map for the House select committee, providing investigators with new lines of inquiry as they probe the causes of the January 6 insurrection.

For instance, they may want to speak to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley. According to "Washington Post" reporters Carol Leonnig and Phil Rucker, Milley took steps to prevent a potential coup and even linked Trump`s big lie to Hitler`s rise to power.

That theme also came up in the book "Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost" by Michael Bender of "The Wall Street Journal."

Now, Bender reports that, as Trump purged the ranks of the Pentagon to install his handpicked loyalist, secretary of State Pompeo and General Milley believed some of Trump`s new hires were conspiracy theorists and discuss whether others might have links to neo-Nazi groups.

Now, that`s not to mention the astonishing fact that, according to Bender`s sources, Trump himself once told his chief of staff that Hitler did a lot of good things.

None of that has seemed to bother Republicans, absolutely nothing. They all still worship at the altar of Trump. That includes House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, or, should we say, House minority follower, who made a pilgrimage to Trump`s club in New Jersey just yesterday.

Joining me now to discuss this and more. Michael Bender, senior White House reporter for "The Wall Street Journal" and author of "Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost," and my friend former RNC chairman Michael Steele.

Gentlemen, thank you so much for being here.

Michael, I want to start with you.

Your book was obviously full of revelations. But I have to say this stuff was not necessarily surprising. We saw crazy play out in real time every day in this administration. It was interesting seeing it all play out here.

I`m curious, as the author, through your reporting, what surprised you most?

MICHAEL BENDER, AUTHOR,"FRANKLY, WE DID WIN THIS ELECTION: THE INSIDE STORY OF HOW TRUMP LOST": Yes.

CROSS: Given all the crazy that we saw, what surprised you most when you were covering the end of his administration?

BENDER: No, it`s a really good question.

And you`re right. The story of kind of crazy and chaos of the Trump administration and the Trump White House is one that`s well-known. You don`t have to be a White House reporter for "The Wall Street Journal" to know that. I knew it all too well.

I wrote 1,000 stories, literally 1,000 stories for "The Wall Street Journal" over the four years of this Trump administration. And -- but what struck me a lot when I was reporting this book was not the chaos. It was that the senior people around Trump thought he was dangerous for the country, that he`d become violent and unhinged in his desperation to hold onto office.

He wanted to shoot Americans. He told them to shoot Americans who were protesting peacefully civil rights abuses, civil justice abuses. He -- you mentioned Pompeo. Pompeo left others with the impression that he thought Trump might want to lean into an international conflict to strengthen his argument for remaining in office.

These were pretty shocking revelations, and I thought well beyond the sort of day-to-day chaos that we were used to on the outside.

CROSS: Well, I want to stick with you here for a minute, because you talk about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. And I remember, after the election was called and people were still wondering what was going to happen because Trump had not conceded, Mike Pompeo stood on the world stage and said: We are prepared to continue the next four years.

What did you uncover about his unwillingness -- even though he allegedly thought Trump was crazy, he on the stage was not saying that. What did you uncover about their willingness to align themselves with this MAGA madman?

BENDER: Yes, I mean, not only -- Pompeo organized a daily call with General Milley, who you mentioned, also the chief of staff, Mark Meadows, in order to keep a check on temperatures and try to make sure that the international situations were -- that tensions were low.

I mean, I think what happened here is that -- I talked to a lot of people around Trump who viewed themselves as truth-tellers to the president. I mean, they thought they were the guardrails around him.

But then, when you actually do the reporting and talk to the people in the room, and who heard these conversations, everyone kind of had their own way to hedge.

I`m thinking about your Mike Pence in the run-up to January 6, where Trump was pushing him -- this is detailed -- a scene detailed in the book -- pushing him to overturn the election results, and Pence and his team thought that they had been very clear with the president.

[19:25:03]

And -- but what Pence had told him was: "We -- I don`t think there`s any authority here for me to do what you`re asking. But if your legal team has come up with a different analysis, we will take a look at anything."

Mike -- Mike Pence is a polite and -- man. He thought he was being respectful. But Trump hears that second part, right?

And when I interviewed him, the president, down at -- President Trump down at Mar-a-Lago and asked him if Pence had ever told him he wasn`t going to overturn the election, Trump told me, no, he hadn`t.

CROSS: Wow.

Well, Mike Pence may be polite. It doesn`t make him any less culpable in all this that happened.

Michael, I have to ask you, the other Michael, Michael Steele.

Make this make sense. I mean, I`m petty enough to say 8,000 more times we tried to tell you. But now that other people seem to have caught on, why are Republicans still beholden to this crazy person? He`s mental.

MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, but they picked up 11, 12 House seats, and they drew the Senate to a draw, and they`re positioned to take the House and the Senate next year.

There -- where`s the downside? Michael, in his great reporting and incredible book, has laid out the narrative. As you opened up the conversation, we saw it real time. And now we can connect a lot of dots that were behind the scene.

And there was no accountability. Who was accountable for the last four years, five years? Who`s been accountable for that? There was no penalty paid by Republicans. And until there is, there will be no accountability, there will be no change in behavior.

It`s like -- it`s like raising a bad child, that you refuse to do the very thing you need to do to get them on the straight and narrow, and sit there and wonder, well, why hasn`t their behavior changed? Well, because you haven`t disciplined them. You have not made them pay a consequence or a price for their bad behavior.

And until the voters do that, voters need to stop complaining and wondering why Republicans are behaving and acting the way they are, because you`re giving them the license, whether it`s -- doesn`t matter what state it is. There is no national outcry against what Republicans have wrought over the last four years, culminating on January 6, to the point, to the point that they have just brazenly said, we don`t even want to do an investigation, and they`re ain`t a damn thing you can do about it.

That`s where we are. So, I mean, I don`t know what else to say at this point, except we got to change that. And the way you change it, hold them accountable.

CROSS: Yes, it`s just kind of crazy to me that, after all this country has done to people who look like you and me...

STEELE: Yes.

CROSS: ... that we can stand here and be the bigger patriots, because people prioritize power over patriotism.

But we have to leave it right there.

STEELE: Oh, they hold us accountable in a heartbeat.

CROSS: They hold us accountable. And we disproportionately suffer at the hands of this kind of craziness and policy.

So, we have to leave it right there. But thank you so much, Michael Bender. Your book is great. I encourage people to get it.

And, Michael Steele, thank you for joining.

And still ahead: COVID cases are on the rise again, with just four states accounting for 40 percent of the new cases. The CDC director says this is now becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, America`s favorite doctor, one of my favorites, he joins us next.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:32:57]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: We are at this critical moment in the pandemic.

There is a clear message that is coming through. This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk.

The good news is that, if you`re fully vaccinated, you are protected against severe COVID, hospitalization and death and are even protected against the known variants, including the Delta variant, circulating in this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROSS: All right, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky with a dire warning today for Americans who remain unvaccinated.

She also warned that the seven-day average of new cases increased by 70 percent from the previous week. The number of hospitalizations has increased by nearly 40 percent in the same period of time, with daily deaths up 26 percent.

Nearly all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are people who were not vaccinated. The uptick comes as the Delta variant -- this is a highly contagious and easily transmissible mutation -- it continues to spread.

White House COVID adviser Jeff Zients told reporters that just four states accounted for 40 percent of all cases in the last week, and one in five new cases have originated in Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis has proudly staked his political ambitions on dismissing the pandemic.

Thanks a lot, Florida man.

Unfortunately, many individuals have been receiving false and misleading information from social media or right-leaning news outlets and commentators. Last week, 11 out of the top 15-performing vaccine-related posts on Facebook were negative or anti-vaccine.

President Biden was actually asked about this today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: On COVID misinformation, on COVID misinformation, what`s your message to platforms like Facebook?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They`re killing people.

I mean, it really -- look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And that`s -- and they`re killing people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROSS: "They`re killing people."

With me now is Dr. Anthony Fauci, America`s favorite doctor, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden.

[19:35:05]

Dr. Fauci, I`m honored to have you here with me on the program tonight.

And I want to get right into it, because a lot of people have a lot of questions.

And I will tell you, when I come across people who haven`t been vaccinated, they say: Well, I have been OK so far. I haven`t caught COVID. And, right now, I`m more anxious about the vaccine than I am catching COVID.

What is your advice to those folks tonight?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: I think they just need to look at the numbers that you just mentioned.

You know, 99.5 percent of the people who`ve been hospitalized and died -- and/or died from COVID-19 are unvaccinated, and about 0.5 percent are among the vaccinated individuals.

If you look at the numbers again that you just mentioned, we have a large, large percentage of the new infections that we`re reporting every day are in those regions of the country where the vaccination rate is very, very low.

It is really very unfortunate. For someone to say that I have not gotten infected yet, that means I`m OK, is just not facing the reality of the high degree of effectiveness of the vaccine, the threat of the virus, and the fact that, you know, you look at the risk/benefit ratio of the vaccine vs. adverse effects of the vaccine, it just overwhelmingly falls in favor of vaccination.

So, we really need to reach out to people. And that`s probably done best by trusted messengers who they might trust to try and convince them that the folly of thinking that everything is going to be OK if people don`t get vaccinated, it`s going to be really a real problem.

As you said, we likely will have two types of America, those who are vaccinated and those who are not. And the risk for those who are not vaccinated is substantial.

CROSS: Yes.

And it`s so scary, because, with this Delta variant, as we talked about, it`s highly transmissible, highly contagious. I know people who are vaccinated, including myself, who are fearful.

Is there any chance the Delta variant can penetrate the existing vaccines that many of us have already?

FAUCI: Well, only if you have more mutations, and you have a modification of the variant.

The Delta variant, as we know now, is very, very transmissible, in the sense of its efficiency in being able to go from one person to another. There`s no doubt about that. It`s much more than the prior viruses that we had to deal with. That`s for sure.

If you allow the virus to continue to circulate, namely, replicate in the community, going from person to person, you give it ample opportunity to mutate more. And the more it mutates, the greater likelihood is that it will change enough to actually evade the vaccine.

Right now, fortunately for us, the vaccines work very well against the Delta variant, particularly in preventing you from getting serious disease that might lead to hospitalization.

So, we are fortunate that we have vaccines that work even against this very troublesome variant, which all the more reason why it`s stunning why people do not want to get vaccinated, when you have a very effective tool that can be lifesaving.

CROSS: Yes.

And, look, I think you make a good point. The virus is getting smarter. The virus is also something that`s trying to live. And it`s getting smarter.

So, as the virus -- I think we will keep seeing these new variants. When it comes to boosters, a lot of people -- there was some confusion before about Pfizer saying you need a booster. The White House came out and said not so fast.

When will it be time for people -- vaccinated people to get boosters?

FAUCI: Well, what you do is, you just follow the people who`ve been vaccinated. And we have a number of cohorts that are being followed by the CDC, some that we`re doing right now tests to determine what the proper approach would be to doing boosters.

But, right now, we don`t see the need to boost people. What will likely happen is that sometime, over a period of time, the durability of protection might diminish, to the point that it gets below that critical baseline where there would be an increased risk of the vaccine not being as effective as it originally was.

Then there`s also the situation of those people who are immune-compromised, people who might be on medications that suppress their immunity, also maybe some elderly people. They may need a boost sooner, rather than the general population.

But we`re not there yet. We`re following it very carefully. And if and when and to whom we need to give boosters to, we will determine that. And when we do, then you will hear about the recommendations. But we`re not there yet.

[19:40:03]

Right now, the message is, the vaccines are very effective in preventing serious disease. And, therefore, if you get vaccinated, you can feel reasonably competent -- confident that, if you get infected, which you likely won`t, but if you do, that you`re not going to wind up getting a severe outcome.

CROSS: I`m curious, because there`s a state of emergency in Japan right now, where the Olympics are taking place.

In your expert medical opinion, should the Olympics have been canceled?

FAUCI: I don`t really -- Tiffany, I don`t want to really make that determination.

That really has to be done at the level of the local health authorities. The Japanese are very competent. They have very good public health people, very good physicians. We need to let them decide that.

I don`t think it would be appropriate for me, on the other side of the ocean, the other side of the world, telling them what they should be doing with the Olympics.

CROSS: All right, well, let`s talk about masks. We were all locked up for a year.

I know I see a lot of people out. Everyone`s ready to turn up this summer. Concerts are happening. And people are social.

Should we wear masks indoors, outdoors, in Ubers, in cars with people? What`s the guidance there for you?

FAUCI: Well, the guidance is the guidance from the CDC, Tiffany. And that is, if you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to wear a mask either indoors or outdoors.

But what we are seeing in the real world is that, in those areas where you have a lot of dynamics of transmission, and you have a situation where a proportion of the population in a particular given geographic area might be very low with regard to the percentage of people who are vaccinated, under those circumstances, local authorities, like in certain states or certain cities, are saying, even though you are vaccinated, just to be doubly sure, when you`re indoors, you should be wearing a mask.

But the broader countrywide recommendation is that, if you`re vaccinated, you`re protected, and you don`t need to wear a mask indoor or outdoor.

But you`re going to be hearing about situations where people will say, hey, if you`re in an area with a high density of infection, and a low level of the community vaccine, you might want to consider wearing a mask even if you are vaccinated.

CROSS: Yes.

Well, thank you so much, Dr. Fauci, for providing clarity there and for everything you have done for America during the pandemic. I know you have gone through a lot. So, thanks for being here.

And I just want to say quickly to the folks at home, if you are questioning the vaccine, just note the only people who are aligning with you questioning the vaccine come from the MAGA crowd. You don`t want to be on the wrong side of your health or history.

Still ahead: Matt Gaetz bankrolls Roger Stone, Donald Trump plans a tour with Bill O`Reilly, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle add their political power to the push to free Britney Spears.

We will talk about all that and more on a tasty grab bag of political news.

That`s next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:47:15]

CROSS: With the Republican Party continuing its dangerous complicity with the twice-impeached Florida retiree, Matt Gaetz is spending big money on the MAGA idol`s former sycophants as he faces an ongoing sex trafficking investigation.

Now, according to new Federal Election Commission filings, Gaetz`s campaign has paid $20,000 a year to a Florida consulting firm run by Florida man himself, Roger Stone, a firm the Justice Department alleges was used by Stone and his wife to evade taxes.

Now, The Daily Beast noted that, a few days before "The New York Times" broke news of the Gaetz investigation, he paid Stone $5,000 for -- quote -- "strategic consulting."

What is that exactly?

And he paid him another $5,000 three days after that news broke. And Gaetz`s campaign has also reportedly paid $25,000 to a law firm that represented convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and Mexican drug lord El Chapo.

I`m joined now by Dean Obeidallah, host of "The Dean Obeidallah Show" on SiriusXM and an MSNBC columnist, and Versha Sharma, editor in chief of "Teen Vogue."

Dean, I mean, this crazy Florida man in bed and in cahoots with other crazy Florida men. Is Florida going to do the right thing and keep this guy out of the halls of Congress, or will he be reelected?

DEAN OBEIDALLAH, MSNBC DAILY COLUMNIST: I hope so.

But I think the GOP love him. I mean, a sex scandal makes you more popular apparently in the GOP. Look who he`s got. Roger Stone? Why not get Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Steve Bannon?

(LAUGHTER)

OBEIDALLAH: Get the whole band back together.

CROSS: Right.

OBEIDALLAH: It`s a crime family. They all -- do they not know anyone else besides these people in this crime family, this crime world?

It`s remark -- and they`re not even that good. It`s not like Trump won. He lost the popular vote twice. Hey, Matt Gaetz, there`s no Electoral College to save you in Florida. You actually got to win the most votes. These people can`t do that.

So it`s sad, pathetic, but not expected.

CROSS: Yes, not unexpected.

Versha, I mean, what do you make of this? The scary thing about all this that I really don`t want to make light of is, he is under investigation of sex trafficking. And some of these accusations are with underaged girls.

So, while he`s out here making it rain on his fellow Florida men, you have to wonder, how can the GOP kind of align themselves with him?

VERSHA SHARMA, EDITOR IN CHIEF,"TEEN VOGUE": Yes, I`m not surprised at all that he`s doing this. He`s been one of the most vocal defenders, I think, of Trump and Trump world allies throughout the entire administration and his post-presidency.

But I`m afraid that there are some hard numbers to back up exactly what Dean is saying. In addition to these FEC filings, they also posted their fund-raising numbers. And Gaetz is one of the top three Republicans in the House who raised I think over a million dollars, almost $2 million, a lot of it largely from small donors.

[19:50:08]

And so, unfortunately, something that we`re seeing with the House GOP is, the more extreme, outlandish that you are, a lot of these small donors in the Republican Party are rewarding that behavior.

CROSS: Yes.

All right, I want to switch gears here a little bit and talk about Justice Breyer, who came out this week and said that he doesn`t know if he`s going to retire. And he said the first consideration is his health. The second is the court.

I`m a little nervous. We just got this news that came down today that a judge has ruled against DACA. This could eventually bubble up to the Supreme Court, along with a number of other cases.

Dean, how do you send Breyer packing? I`m very concerned about this.

OBEIDALLAH: Justice Breyer, if you`re watching, be my co-host on my radio show. I will let you. We can work together.

(LAUGHTER)

OBEIDALLAH: It could be "Breyer and Obeidallah." Your name can go first. I have got no problem with that.

But, look, he`s 82. He will be 83 next month. There are concerns, because Mitch McConnell`s made it very clear, GOP gets control of the Senate again, they`re never going to let President Biden confirm a Supreme Court justice.

But the bigger issue, Tiffany, is that five of the nines before justice have been appointed by Republicans who didn`t win the popular vote. So you have got tyranny of the minority. We have got to expand the Supreme Court. That`s the real decision we have to have.

I know we have got to do voting rights first. But expand the Supreme Court, because it`s 6-3 right now. We`re generations away from taking control, I mean, literally decades from taking control, unless we expand the Supreme Court. So I wish we could do that.

Then maybe Breyer could stay a little longer if he wanted to.

CROSS: Yes.

I mean, Versha, this is a part of the problem, because, given the voter suppression laws, you can easily see Republicans taking back the House, taking back the Senate, killing the filibuster on day one. And then good luck getting any of your justices confirmed.

And, look, Joe Biden ran on, I will appoint a black woman to the Supreme Court. So you have got Ketanji Jackson on the sidelines here, who was just confirmed by the Senate for a lower court.

What`s the solution here, with Justice Breyer clinging to dear life for that Supreme Court seat?

SHARMA: I think, unfortunately, we are in a tough situation here, where there is a lot of question about whether or not public pressure campaigns will work on forcing him or encouraging him to retire.

I do think people should continue to be outspoken about the issue and really illustrate what`s at stake, because it`s no less than what we have been talking about here, voting rights, our actual democracy. I think these are issues that are hugely important.

And I hope that, in time, Justice Breyer comes to see that and makes that perhaps his number one issue. But I think there`s going to be a lot of continued public advocacy in this regard. And it`s only going to continue to get more important.

Now, you mentioned Biden and voting rights as well. I think he gave this fantastic speech this week calling attention to the battle for voting rights that we`re seeing state by state. But he`s still kind of hedging his bets on killing the filibuster, which you also mentioned.

So that`s another area where I think the public pressure is going to ramp up. And if Biden really believes that we are in this existential threat to democracy, then he needs to get behind actions like killing the filibuster.

CROSS: Yes, that whole speech, not a mention of the filibuster, not a mention of Manchin, not a mention of Sinema.

How badly do you want it?

All right, Dean and Versha, don`t go anywhere. You`re sticking around to tell us who won the week. That`s next. You don`t want to miss it.

I got a good choice, so stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:45]

CROSS: All right, so we finally made it to Friday, which means it`s time to play our favorite game,"Who Won the Week?" That`s right.

Back with me are Dean Obeidallah and Versha Sharma.

Versha, tell me, who won the week?

SHARMA: Look, editor in chief of "Teen Vogue," I have got to give it to the most popular 18-year-old in the nation.

It`s Ms. Olivia Rodrigo, who showed up at the White House this week to meet with Dr. Fauci, as well as President Biden, and encourage young people to get vaccinated. I think this is such an important campaign. And, actually,"Teen Vogue" will have more exclusive footage of Olivia speaking to Dr. Fauci that we will be releasing on our channels Monday.

So stay tuned for that.

CROSS: I love that. I love that pick.

I don`t know why young people aren`t getting vaccinated. You guys, your life is valuable. Get vaccinated.

All right, Dean, tell me, who won the week?

OBEIDALLAH: I got two people.

First, my mom. She turned 92 today, Camille (ph) Obeidallah, 100 percent Sicilian, tough woman. Don`t tell anybody I mentioned she`s 92. She tells people she`s 72. So, if you see her, don`t mention it.

(LAUGHTER)

OBEIDALLAH: I got my fighting spirit from her and my work ethic from my Palestinian immigrant dad.

But the other winner and someone that my mom would like very much, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, who got arrested this week, yesterday, showing us the fierce urgency of now, as Martin Luther King put it, finally. This is so important. You can be too late, as Martin Luther King said, and she`s showing it very clearly. This is the issue. It must be. Voting is our lifeblood.

She wants to make people aware, fundamentally important, vitally important, the number one issue, more than infrastructure, voting.

CROSS: Yes.

Well, first of all, a very happy birthday to your mother. She looks lovely, not a day over 72. And I saw your Instagram post about her, so I knew not to say how old this woman was. So, a very happy birthday to her.

And, yes, absolutely, for Joyce Beatty. She`s chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and has been through a lot personally. Her husband passed away a few weeks ago, and she still showed up to get here.

But I got to say my pick, my who won the week,"Lovecraft Country." You guys, this show, it was nominated for so many Emmys this week. It came out last summer on HBO. And I have to tell you, it fed my spirit, it fed my soul. It was such a beautiful take. And each episode, what I love, they had a real live African-American historian`s read over the episodes.

[20:00:04]

It was amazing. So, check it out.

Thank you so much, Dean Obeidallah and Versha Sharma.

And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT. Don`t you worry, because Joy will be back on Monday.

So, be sure to tune in to me tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern for "THE CROSS CONNECTION." My guests include 1968 Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith. I`m so excited. And one of my favorite actors, John Leguizamo, will also join me to talk about the new Smithsonian Latino Museum.

And don`t go anywhere, because "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.