Trump ally has bene charged with illegal dealing with UAE. 2016. Trump promises to work with Gulf allies. Trump ally, Tom Barrack denies illegal activities. Republicans are trying to slow-walk infrastructure bill. Democrat Senator Klobuchar pitches election infrastructure funding. GOP obstruction raises concerns about key bills. Warren says, end goal is protecting democracy. Warren says money slithers through D.C. like a snake. House GOP leader names January 6 Select Committee members. Trump loyalist Representative Jordan tapped for January 6 Select Committee. The White House announced some new moves in response to unprecedented anti-government protests in Cuba.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Yes.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Congratulations, Joy.
REID: Thank you very much, we`re officially a toddler were a year old, we`re bouncing and misbehaving like every toddler everywhere, we`re constantly hungry and thirsty and bored.
MELBER: I tell my one thought on that, which I`m thankful for and I happen to know a lot of viewers are, which is we`re thankful that through that analogy you are a toddler that could talk from day one, Joy.
REID: We are a genius toddler, Ari Melber. Thank you very much, my friend. I appreciate. You said fashion, and so I`m fascinated by whatever that is about. Thank you all very much for being here this evening. And yes good evening.
We do begin THE REIDOUT tonight on our one-year anniversary no less, with another day, another member of the disgraced, twice-impeached former president`s inner circle in trouble with the law. Tom Barrack, remember him, the former chair of the former president 2017 Inaugural Committee, was arrested today on charges of illegally lobbying the campaign and the Trump administration on behalf of the United Arab Emirates and for failing to register as a foreign lobbyist.
A seven-count indictment unsealed in a New York federal court today accuses Barrack and two other individuals as acting and conspiring as agents of the UAE between 2016 and 2018. The indictment alleges that Barrack provided UAE officials with sensitive, nonpublic information about developments within the administration. Barrack is also charged with counts of obstruction of justice and for lying to the FBI about his dealings with the Emirates.
Barrack is a long-time friend to the former president and is alleged to have used that relationship to get language inserted into one of then- candidate Trump`s speeches at the behest of Emirati officials. While Trump didn`t windup directly praising one of the Emirati officials as had been originally proposed, he did windup promising to work with gulf allies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We`ll work with our gulf allies to develop a positive energy relationship as part of our anti-terrorism strategy. We`ll work with them because we have to knock out terrorism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: According to the indictment, after the speech, an Emirati official emailed Barrack stating, quote, congrats on the great job today. Everybody here are happy with the results.
Barrack is also alleged to have arranged a phone call between Trump and a top UAE official in 2017. In a statement, a spokesperson said Mr. Barrack has made himself voluntarily available to investigators from the outset. He is not guilty and will be pleading not guilty.
Barrack is also one of seven former Trump campaign associates to be indicted. And if the charge of failing to register as a foreign agent sounds familiar, Paul Manafort, the former Trump Campaign chairman, was convicted on that very charge before Trump pardoned him and his deputy, Rick Gates.
Prosecutors have asked that Barrack be detained until a bail hearing can be set. Given his wealth of access to a private jet, he fact that Barrack is a citizen of Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with the United States and because of his ties to the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Joining me now is Chuck Rosenberg, former U.S. Attorney and Senior FBI Official. And I guess the obvious question here for Tom Barrack, who seems like a smart guy, pretty well read individual, is -- and it kind of goes for Paul Manafort too, wouldn`t it be easier to just register as a foreign agent?
CHUCK ROSENBERG, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Oh, absolutely, Joy. Look, this is not that complicated. Everything they did, they likely could have done if they had just followed the rules. The rules say, Joy, if you want to represent the foreign government, if you want to represent Canada, tell the attorney general. Put it on record. File periodic reports. Tell us what you`re doing. And if you do that, Joy, have at it, represent Canada. There`s no issue there. The issue is when you fail to register. Because, really what the law is getting at is transparency. We want to know who`s representing whom and what the hidden interests are. So if you`re transparent, you`re not in trouble.
REID: And if somebody takes a huge risk -- I mean, this is something you can get five years in prison for this, right? And I assume that somebody like Paul Manafort, who was wearing crocodile jeans and stuff, they don`t want to be in prison. So, as a prosecutor, what tends to be the motivation for people who fail to register and still try to represent foreign governments?
ROSENBERG: Yes, another good question. So it`s a little bit of a mystery to me because registering is not that hard and it`s not that complicated. Unless they are doing something really underhanded, or unless there`s some subterfuge, go ahead and register.
And then you notice when he was questioned about it by the FBI, according to the indictment, he allegedly lied. So you`re taking a problem that`s not that significant, one that you could easily avoid by being transparent, and you`re compounding it and making it much, much worse by lying to the FBI, which is, by the way, Joy, a separate felony.
REID: It`s a separate -- right. We remember Michael Flynn, General Michael Flynn, who was a general and was a defense intelligence agency.
You think he`d know not to lie to the FBI.
I guess my last question here is what we`re looking at here. Because we know we talked a lot about Russia and their attempts to gain influence over the Trump campaign and potentially over the administration and attempts to do that by talking with various officials, are we talking about here that foreign governments are trying to buy influence? Is that really what this boils down to?
ROSENBERG: I think that`s exactly right, Joy. Foreign governments want influence with the president, with the new administration, with the new senior officials. And again, if you disclose it, it`s okay. If you don`t disclose it, it`s a violation of federal law.
You know, every time The Washington Post writes a story about Amazon, they note in the newspaper that Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, owns The Washington Post. You know, that`s good for the newspaper it`s good for the reporter --
REID: That`s right.
ROSENBERG: -- and it`s good for the reader. Everybody knows what the relationships are. And so that`s all we`re asking with this law.
Does the UAE want influence? Of course they do. Is that okay? Sure it is. We have a State Department that is particularly and purposefully set up for that reason, to have relationships and conversations with governments around the world. If you`re going to do it though as a private citizen, disclose it.
REID: It seems so elementary, my dear Watson, in this case, my dear Chuck Rosenberg. Thank you very much, really appreciate you being here to enlighten us this evening.
All right, joining me now, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. And, you know, I guess the reason I ask the question in that way, Senator, and thank you for being here, is that it does seem like a certain class of the rich simply want to do their business their own way and not follow the really simple basic rules. Is that really what we`re looking at here?
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): Oh, I think that`s exactly right. You know, this is a man who just thought he was bulletproof in every meaning of that word. The rules just don`t apply to him. They only apply to the little people. He had Donald Trump`s ear and he was willing to use it no matter what, whether it involved conflicts of interest, whether it involved a violation of the law.
But, you know, there`s another piece to this one, it seems to me, and that`s the question about whether or not, not just what he has done, and it looks like a clear violation law, failed to register, but is registration really enough?
One of the things that I think is a real problem is if foreign governments want to try to influence the United States, let them send over their delegations. They don`t have to hire people here in the United States to lobby our government. I don`t think that Americans ought to be lobbying the government on behalf of foreign officials.
And, by the way, that is one more reason that we should be pushing forward on the For the People Act. It has great provisions to protect voting, great provisions to get rid of gerrymandering, great provisions, though, to beat back the influence of dark money. And part of it is starting to put more restrictions on lobbying. If foreign governments want to talk to our government, then let them send their own foreign delegation. They`ll be clearly identified and we`ll know who they were.
REID: And I`m so glad that you put it that way because I think that is the concern, is that you have the wealthy coming at our government at all times from every angle. You`ve got domestic businesses, businesses with foreign headquarters, you`ve got the Amazons of the world. They all want to pay almost no taxes, they all want tremendous influence over whether they`re regulated or if they`re regulated at all and people don`t seem to want to be open about that. But I feel like that`s the core problem.
And so, Senator, I guess I know this is something that you care a lot about. Are you concerned just being in the middle of that Senate maelstrom that the For the People Act is kind of getting back-benched and sort of traded away as Democrats are so excited they`re going to get this big infrastructure bill that`s got all this good stuff that Democrats and particularly liberal Democrats have wanted for a long time?
WARREN: You know, I never like to tell tales out, tales of school, but today at the lunch for the Democrats, we were talking about that infrastructure bill. But there were also hands up in the room to say, we have got to go forward on For the People as well, that we cannot let it fall behind. That For the People is about protecting the vote, about getting rid of gerrymandering, about beating back the influence of big money. And that`s where it all happens. This is about our investment in democracy. It is about our investment in the future.
So, yes, right now, the headlines are all about that infrastructure bill. And, look, I`m in there fighting for the parts I care about too. But what we have to remember is that what we must get done as a Democratic Senate is we must pass for the people. Our democracy depends on it.
REID: You know, and I`m glad that you`re putting it that way because I`m starting to wonder if maybe -- well, maybe I`ll just ask you, what kind of creative thinking are we seeing in terms of how to do the vote hand (ph) here?
Because we didn`t see Amy Klobuchar say something that I thought was pretty brilliant, which is to say that maybe if we`re expanding our definition of infrastructure, election infrastructure then comes in. Maybe we find ways to like push things into the infrastructure bill or are there punitive things.
I remember when I was growing up, you know the state of Colorado didn`t want to lower their speed limit to 55 and the federal government said fine, you don`t get any federal highway money, right? There`s money coming to states that are hurting voters. Are there ways to be creative about using the infrastructure package to get some of the reforms on voting through?
WARREN: Potentially there are, and we`re certainly looking into all of them. I just had a conversation about that early this morning. But understand, For The People has provisions in it that I don`t think we can get in through reconciliation because, remember, we have the parliamentarian who`s going to be sitting there saying, wait a minute, is that a money provision or are you trying to create new law.
So I don`t want to have to rely on that. I want to keep saying, I`m glad to talk about infrastructure. I`m glad for us to move infrastructure forward. But we have to remember the end goal. The end goal is that we have got to protect our democracy, protect our vote, protect the meaning of that vote on the gerrymandering rules and beat back the influence of dark money. That has to be a first priority for us. Get them both done, I`m all in. But we`ve got to make sure that we protect our vote for the people.
REID: And the thing is that the dark money that the For the People Act would protect against is also fighting the For the People Act. It`s coming at For the People Act. Their ads are even running, I see them on MSNBC everywhere and they`re coming at individual senators. I mean, does it concern you that senators like Joe Manchin are down meeting with big oil companies that, by the way, are like let`s not have these reforms because we want to put our money on the table and we want to influence policy?
WARREN: I am always worried about the influence of money on Washington. Money flows through this place like a snake slithering around. It affects all of the conversations that happen in Washington. And that`s why we need to start taking steps to beat that back.
You know, part of what For The People is about is about lobbying. Part of it is about raising money. Part of it is about disclosing where dark money comes from. These are the things we need to put forward to protect our democracy.
I think about John Lewis. He used to talk about we need two things. We need to protect the right of our citizens to go to the polls and vote but we also need to make sure that when they get there, they have candidates who will work for them. And the way we do that is we beat back the influence of dark money, beat back the influence of big donors.
We -- as a democratic institution, we need to make that a first priority. We want people to believe in government again. Let`s start by giving them something to believe in. Protect the vote and beat back the influence of money.
REID: Well, it is not Sunday, but you can get an amen --
WARREN: All right.
REID: -- at this pulpit. Thank you very much, Senator Elizabeth Warren. Thank you, as always, I really appreciate you for being here.
All right, up next on THE REIDOUT, the sedition caucus infiltrates the January 6 select committee. Their goal, create chaos and defend Trump at all cost. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Joy Reid, one year. Wow. That flew by. It is so great to have you in this primetime lineup. Who I - we really look forward to 7:00 P.M. every night.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: So we got you like the worst birthday present ever, Joy. For your first on the air, we got you one of the weirdest, most challenging, most bizarre, most whiplash years that`s ever existed in news on America. Congratulations.
But the one most excellent thing about this past year has been getting you on the T.V. machine every night in primetime. It is an honor to serve alongside you, my beloved Joy. Happy birthday to THE REIDOUT. We are better with you on air every night by a mile. I love being in cahoots with you. Congratulations, cheers, cheers to many, many years ahead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: On every issue, from public health to the 2020 election, to the fake outcry over critical race theory, the GQP has weaponized disinformation when the facts aren`t on their side. And in doing so, they`re putting our democracy and our very lives at risk.
Yesterday House Minority Leader and Trump steward, Kevin McCarthy, proposed five Republicans to serve on the select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection, a majority of whom sided with the insurrectionists on January 6th by voting to overturn the election results, just as the mob demanded.
That includes Congressman Jim Jordan, the screamy Trump advocate and defender of the big lie. While it`s unclear whether Nancy Pelosi will veto any of McCarthy`s choices, Jordan`s history of grandstanding certainly makes him a good candidate for rejection. But the bigger problem is that Jordan helped inspire the very attack he`s now supposed to investigate.
A new book by Carol Leonnig and Phil Rucker reports that when Jordan offered help to Congresswoman Liz Cheney, during the attack on January 6th, Cheney smacked his hand away and told him, get away from me. You blanking did this.
To that point McCarthy`s selections make clear that Republican will attempt to obscure their own culpability in the insurrection as well as Trump`s. In fact their proposed ranking member, Congressman Jim Banks of Indiana, is already undermining the committee`s work.
He would rather forget who unleashed the mob against the Capitol because, according to Banks, Nancy Pelosi is really the one to blame.
Today, he suggested that she left the Capitol unprepared and vulnerable to attack. And he added that Pelosi -- quote -- "created this committee solely to malign conservatives."
The Republicans are also selling a bill of goods when it comes to COVID, fueling baseless conspiracy theories and vaccine skepticism. So, it`s no surprise that we`re seeing more COVID cases among FOX News viewers who`ve watched their hosts downplay the pandemic day after day.
In fact, according to CNN, the White House has reportedly been in private talks with FOX executives about their coverage. That might help explain why several hosts on that network are turning tail. They`re suddenly urging their viewers to take COVID seriously.
But while Sean Hannity and Steve Doocy have changed their tune, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham continue to sow doubts. The problem is, there are real-life consequences for those who might heed the GQP message.
There`s the unfortunate example of unvaccinated Trump supporter and QAnon believer Linda Zuern, who was protesting her state`s vaccination program just a week ago, according to "The Cape Cod Times." Well, she died from COVID complications on Friday.
Joining me now is former Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Charlie Sykes, editor at large for The Bulwark and an MSNBC columnist.
Thank you both for being here.
Claire, I`m going to start with you.
So, Speaker Pelosi has a choice now here of accepting Jim Jordan and Congressman Banks and all of these other insurrectionists on the commission, or saying absolutely no. What do you think she ought to do?
CLAIRE MCCASKILL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, before I tell you what she ought to do, I have to say...
(singing): Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you.
MCCASKILL: You have done an amazing job, my friend. We are all lucky to be able to work alongside you, myself time to time, not as often as I would like, but certainly very proud of you and what you have done over the last year.
REID: Thank you.
MCCASKILL: And, like Rachel said, looking forward to many more years.
REID: You know, I`m going to now push for a cake, since I hear you`re just an amazing baker.
MCCASKILL: I know. I feel so badly.
MCCASKILL: I was traveling today. Of all days not to have a cake for you. I will make it up to you.
REID: When we get together, when we`re together in person, we`re going to have a...
MCCASKILL: Yes. Yes.
REID: We will bake. We will do like a bake-off. It`ll be fun.
MCCASKILL: Cake and wine, always a deadly combination.
REID: Yes. Yes.
CHARLIE SYKES, MSNBC COLUMNIST: I`m in favor of cake.
MCCASKILL: So, I got to tell you, I think Nancy Pelosi has a tough decision.
MCCASKILL: She has six Republicans. Three of them did not vote to overturn the people`s will, and three of them did.
The ones -- other than Jim Jordan, nobody in America knows who these people are, other than Liz Cheney and Jim Jordan. So does she want to set up a Liz Cheney vs. Jim Jordan? I like Liz Cheney in that fight.
I think most independent voters, most voters that decide swing districts and swing states are going to come down on Liz Cheney`s side, not on Jim Jordan`s side.
So -- and, always, if she turns him down, who knows? She could get three Looney Tunes next that everybody has heard of that are really incentivized to be crazy, because that`s the only way they make money in their campaigns, the QAnon lady and crazy Boebert, or Babert, or whatever her name is.
So I think in some ways they can work with these people, especially considering we have got three to three in terms of Republicans who bought the big lie and protected the big lie and those who rejected the big lie.
REID: That is a really good point.
That is -- that`s what why love you, Claire. That is a great point.
Let me play -- for those of you who forget who Jim Jordan is, you might want to turn the volume down just a skosh on your TVs before I play this. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): And I want to know why you won`t give us what we have asked for.
ROD ROSENSTEIN, FORMER U.S. DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Sir, I certainly hope that your colleagues are not under that impression. That is not accurate, sir. And...
JORDAN: It is accurate. We have caught you hiding information, Mr. Rosenstein.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, can we allow the witness to answer?
JORDAN: So, the protests don`t increase the spread of the virus?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: I didn`t say that. You are putting words in my mouth.
JORDAN: No, I would want -- I would -- I just want an answer to the question.
DAVID HOLMES, FORMER COUNSELOR FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS, U.S. EMBASSY IN UKRAINE: May I answer that question?
JORDAN: Thirteen conversations. Yes, I will get you. I will give you a chance here in a second.
Who told Papadopoulos? How`d he find out?
ROBERT MUELLER, RUSSIA PROBE SPECIAL COUNSEL: I can`t get into the evidentiary...
JORDAN: Yes, you can, because you wrote about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: In a way, has Kevin played himself, Charlie, by picking the Screaming Mimi here, and having him seated against Liz Cheney?
This is the guy that John Boehner has called a political terrorist. Is this a pretty good fight that Nancy Pelosi might be like, OK, good, I will take it?
And, by the way, happy anniversary. If you count it in Trump years, it`s sort of like seven-year anniversary.
SYKES: I think...
REID: He was president for 430 years, Charlie; 430 years, he was there, yes.
SYKES: It feels like that.
SYKES: Look, I get the -- I get the political optics of having Liz Cheney vs. Jim Jordan. I mean, it is -- that`s not -- that is not a fair fight.
On the other hand, I do think that voting to overturn the election should be disqualifying.
SYKES: That Nancy Pelosi would be completely justified in playing hardball and saying, this is not a joke, this is not a farce, this is not going to be a circus sideshow that Kevin McCarthy wants it to be.
This is going to be a serious investigation. And that means that if you supported the big lie, you cannot serve on this committee. I mean, I think that would be a principled position. I don`t expect that`s what`s going to happen.
But Jim Jordan -- Jim Jordan serves no positive role in all this, except to feed red meat to the base. And, by the way, we get a new CBS poll out today showing that 55 percent of Trump voters believe the January 6 insurrection was really about -- quote, unquote -- "defending freedom."
So, if we`re going to counter this, I think that the tactics have to be aggressive, as opposed to this assumption that, well, people will see what crazy talk there is and they will recognize that these people are nuts and seditious, and they don`t want to vote for them.
Well, we have tried that in the past, and look where it`s gotten us. So I do think that those members that voted to overturn the election, without any evidence whatsoever, should be disqualified from being on this committee.
REID: You know, and, Claire, here`s my challenge.
I mean, this is -- we knew this was going to happen when we didn`t get the bipartisan commission, right? Because what we wanted was sort of a 9/11- style, very serious and sober examination of this horror that happened to all of our country at the -- on January 6.
Instead, are we at risk of just having a shouting match, in which they`re able to both-sides, the Republicans are able to essentially both-sides the insurrection?
MCCASKILL: I think that would be a bigger danger if we didn`t have all the video.
I don`t need to tell you that visual matters. It matters a lot in communication, the pictures. And I think the American people, maybe not the Trump voters, but keep in mind that is a -- not a huge percentage of America at this point.
I mean, we`re talking somewhere between 20, 25, 30 percent of the voters, and even smaller in terms of Americans. I think most Americans have that visual, those people beating police officers with flagpoles, dragging police officers down the stairs, breaking windows in our nation`s Capitol, swinging from the balcony in the Senate chamber.
Those images are permanent in people`s minds. So I thinks it makes it very difficult to both-sides this, no matter how many Jim Jordans without a jacket they have on the committee.
And, I mean, Charlie, even FOX News is going to have to play some of this.
REID: And let`s play some of the new video.
This is new video that has been coming out from -- I believe this is FBI, at the request of NBC and other news organizations. This is going to be playing day and night during these hearings. And I think about the optics of Jim Jordan yelling and screaming at Capitol Police officers like Officer Fanone and interrogating them.
I don`t see how that`s helpful to them. But do you think that -- well, let me ask you about this switch a little bit at FOX News, where you have Sean Hannity and Steve Doocy kind of changing their tune.
REID: Do you detect just a slight -- that they might be back on their heels a little bit?
Because you can`t keep lying about everything.
SYKES: Yes, that`s right.
REID: You might be able to get away with just lying about the insurrection, but also lying about something that`s killing your own viewers? And they know their viewers are dying.
I mean, these elderly, basically, viewers are passing away. Have they reached maybe a tipping point, where they have lied about maybe one too many things?
SYKES: Well, the -- what links these two stories together is they`re running up against reality, right?
And I can`t agree more with Claire`s point about how powerful those videos are. Those videos ought to be played over and over and over again, because they make it very, very clear what happened, what the threat was.
And if Republicans want to defend that, if they want to associate themselves with that, I think that is politically going to be very, very toxic.
The other reality check is that the -- this vaccine denialism has a real human cost. People are getting sick, they`re being hospitalized, they are dying. And I think there`s a recognition at some level of FOX -- and who knows how high up it goes -- that this is not a good place for them to be, to be giving information that is killing their own constituency.
So I do get this sort of sense, like, whoa, we thought we were just playing with matches.
SYKES: And, suddenly, we are surrounded by this conflagration.
We saw what happened on January 6. The images are indelible. We are seeing what we are happening -- what`s happening with the Delta variant with the coronavirus. The stock market is reacting. The world economy is looking nervously.
And you almost got a sense today that the Bat Signal went out among conservative politicians and media figures, maybe don`t screw around with this. Maybe the game is over. Maybe it`s not a game.
SYKES: And maybe we do have to begin modifying our position.
I hope that`s the case. It`s too little, it`s too late, but it would be a good thing if it`s happening.
REID: Yes, somebody blinked over there.
I mean, they`re killing their own people.
REID: And that`s just -- I mean, you kill your own audience, I`m really not sure what the benefit of that is.
SYKES: Bad business model.
REID: Bad business model.
Claire McCaskill, Charlie Sykes, two of our absolute favorites, thank you both very much for being here on our birthday.
We appreciate you both.
All right, still ahead: Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor -- oh, you`re going to want to say for this -- Mandela Barnes is throwing his hat into the ring for Ron Johnson`s seat in the United States Senate.
And he will be here right after this break.
REID: If Senate Democrats hope to accomplish anything of significance, they will have to make Republicans and obstinate Democrats irrelevant in the midterms.
And they could do that by winning a handful of competitive Senate seats. Today, Wisconsin`s Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes raised his hand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. GOV. MANDELA BARNES (D-WI), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: My mom taught school for 30 years. My dad worked third shift at the factory.
When I think about their hard work, about everything that Wisconsin families have on the line, there`s no option to tap out, no towel to throw in. Instead of changing our dreams, we have got to change the game.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Back in 2018, Barnes made history when, at just 31 years old, he was elected Wisconsin`s first black lieutenant governor.
He joins a crowded field of Democrats who are all itching to take on chief Trump sycophant and bona fide conspiracy theorist Ron Johnson, who has not only declared his intention -- who was not yet declared his intention to run, but has signaled a willingness to go back on a promise that he made to not seek a third term.
Johnson, a millionaire who voted against the American relief package, was elected in 2010 as a fiscal conservative. Now, back then, you could say he was Dr. Jekyll. Today, he`s ditched that and has embraced his Mr. Hyde.
He defended the January insurrection by implying that the assault on our democracy was incited by a -- quote -- "small group of agitators and police firing tear gas."
And he claimed that he wasn`t worried about the insurrectionists because they weren`t Black Lives Matter protesters. He promoted false fraud claims about the 2020 election and he called the climate crisis, which is currently ravaging Wisconsin crops, B.S.
Finally, but probably most egregiously, he continues to sow doubt in COVID vaccines by cuddling up to conspiracy theories.
And joining me now is Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor and U.S. Senate candidate Mandela Barnes, AKA, the other Mandela.
REID: I guess, when you were a kid on Mandela Day, did your -- did you think that was all about you, as a kid? It`s a great name.
BARNES: The funny part about, too, I`m an only child, so it had to be all about me, right?
REID: Oh, I mean, hello? Everything is, right?
REID: So, let`s talk about your candidacy.
I want to put up the numbers here on Wisconsin, because I think Trump threw people`s sort of brains off about what Wisconsin is. It`s been a pretty reliably -- statewide, Democrats have been able to do pretty well, other than losing some governor`s races.
Biden beat Trump by 20,000 votes, very narrow. Trump beat Clinton very narrowly as well, by 22,000 votes. It was really only President Obama who notched six-figure wins, both -- in both of his, his election and his reelection.
What`s the formula for you, in your mind, to be able to pull this off?
BARNES: Well, I`m glad you brought that up, because Barack Obama was our high watermark.
We have to show up everywhere. We can`t take any vote for granted. And that means we can`t take urban areas and just assume that people are going to show up to vote for us. And we can disregard rural communities and assume that they`re not going to vote for us.
The more conversations we have with people all across the state, the better we will fare in these -- what are now close elections. They don`t have to be this close. If we show up, we can win.
And this campaign is about uniting people from Milwaukee all the way to Bayfield, from Beloit to Superior, right? We`re going to touch as many places as possible. And that`s the work that I have been able to do as lieutenant governor, have been able to show up to all 72 counties and talk about a path forward, to talk about opportunity.
And that`s exactly what the campaign is about. People are struggling. yes.
Well, I have noticed this sort of trend that the sort of winning formula for Democrats to win these statewide races are to have a combination of an African-American governor L.G. and a white Democrat at the top of the ticket. That`s happened in multiple states, Virginia and New Jersey. It happened in Wisconsin.
And so it`s clear that there is the possibility for African-Americans to win statewide, obviously. You did.
Wisconsin is also a state that`s had a lot of issues with voter suppression. How do you deal with that? I know that there are still attempts to try to do that. I know Governor Evers is vetoing it, but are you concerned that there will be suppressive sort of efforts that might make it harder for a lot of your base to vote?
BARNES: Well, they`re definitely going to try.
We saw this across the country after the election of Barack Obama. And you mentioned the fact about mixing the ticket, so to say, with running makes for governor and lieutenant governor. And we can amplify that right now, as a candidate for U.S. Senate, and Tony Evers, the governor, going for reelection, I think we can do so much more in terms of organizing and so much more in terms of reaching voters exactly where they are.
And while voter suppression is always a threat -- we see these repeated attempts state after state after state -- the fact is, with Governor Evers, we do have the veto pen. And we have to protect that.
But we shouldn`t -- we shouldn`t just get comfortable. We shouldn`t think that these things are just going to go away. The more elections we win, the more they will try to steal.
REID: Let`s talk about COVID.
Ron Johnson had COVID. He refuses to get vaccinated. He said he doesn`t -- he`s not in favor of any mask mandates. He wears masks, he says, when it`s appropriate. But he`s been really weird about things like vaccines.
How concerned are voters that you`re talking to about COVID? I know it`s ravaged Wisconsin at moments.
BARNES: Well, people like Ron Johnson have totally hampered our -- hampered our efforts to get people vaccinated.
We were number one in the nation for quite some time and then we saw the senator go on this reckless conspiracy theory tour. I mean he`s done nothing but have these conspiracy theories and sympathize with insurrectionists. That has been par for the course in his time in office, especially in recent days.
But we`re going to continue to work with our public health departments. We`re going to continue to reach out directly with -- in communities with trusted messengers, whether it`s churches or community organizations, whatever it takes because COVID is not going away.
We spent a very long year fighting this pandemic. It`s a fight that we`re not going to give up because it`s getting tougher for people. We saw all the devastation, the death, the financial impacts, especially with our small businesses and even more so with smaller minority-owned businesses.
REID: Yeah, let`s talk about the insurrection real quick because this is, you know, we`re going to start having hearings coming up soon. When you talk to voters out there, are the lies that people like Ron Johnson are putting out there about the insurrection, is that seeping in to voters, or is that -- are people more guided by what they have actually seen with their own eyes, the video that they have seen?
BARNES: Of course people are concerned about it. People are concerned about their own safety. If this is a person who`s going to deny the reality that so many of us saw on TV live as it happened and now we`re seeing even more gruesome details day by day and the fact that people have to wrest with the fact that their senator is continuing to protect people who want to tear down our democracy, it`s not sitting well with folks and that`s something that is the case no matter where you go, western Wisconsin, northeastern Wisconsin, southern Wisconsin or central Wisconsin.
REID: I`ve got to ask you a question here and I`ll preface it by saying I am a long suffering Knicks fan, don`t judge me. I stuck through them through better and worse, mostly worse. But your team, the Bucks, Milwaukee Bucks look like they`re in poised -- they could win this thing, right?
Are they going to beat Phoenix? Are they going to be the NBA champs? Is that going to happen? Are you going to predict it?
BARNES: Yeah, it`s been 50 years, so this is a first for me as well. I think the Bucks are definitely going to do this. Bucks in six.
We are going to take this thing away. I`m happy to talk about the Bucks all day. Also happy to direct people to the website, mandelabarnes.com. You can do both.
REID: Let me let folks know if you`re out there in Milwaukee and you`re a fan of the Milwaukee Bucks, the Deer District. If you`re attending for the Deer District, you can win two free tickets to tonight`s bucks game by getting your COVID shot.
So get your shots. Get vaxxed. And you might win some tickets and watch your Bucks win, yeah.
One day, the Knicks will be in that position too, I really believe that.
But, Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, good luck in your campaign. Come back on the show and you`re welcome any time.
BARNES: Thanks so much. Happy to join you.
REID: Thank you very much.
OK. Up next, the White House announces some new moves in response to unprecedented anti-government protests in Cuba.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STACEY ABRAMS, FOUNDER, FAIR FIGHT ACTION: Congratulations, Joy Reid and THE REIDOUT. It`s been a year since you came onboard and we`ve been so excited to see all that you`ve been able to do, to tell us about the way the world is and how the world can be.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You bring me joy.
Joy, congratulations on your first anniversary of THE REIDOUT. You and your team have created a platform so you can bring truth and speak truth to power. Thank you for your brilliance. Thank you for your beauty and thank you for that smile of yours and the knack and way that you have of bringing and talking about really, really difficult issues with a smile on your face.
Keep generating that, Joy. We love you. Remember, can`t stop, won`t stop.
REID: Can`t stop, won`t stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: The Biden administration is reviewing steps that it can take to help the Cuban people who have been holding just unprecedented protests against the government for more than a week now. Measures under consideration by the Biden team include figuring out how to help protesters access the Internet as well as increasing humanitarian assistance. The White House also said today that the Treasury Department is looking at Cuban officials responsible for violence against the protesters, which could mean increased sanctions.
At a House hearing today, activist Rosa Maria Paya called for those sanctions and asked the United States to stand with the Cuban people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSA MARIA PAYA, FOUNDER, CUBA DECIDE INITIATIVE: If I make a call or request for all of you, it`s to please, to listen to what the Cuban is demanding in the street. At the highest possible risk, which is life, they are demanding freedom. They are demanding the end of the dictatorship.
Please, do not politicize that. It`s not about politics. It`s not about right and left.
Now, the United States and the rest of the world have the opportunity and the challenge to take sides with the Cuban people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And I am joined now by Rosa Maria Paya and she is the founder of the Cuba Decide Initiative.
Rosa Maria, thank you so much for being here.
So, I have to tell you had I not been to Cuba, I went in 2017 because I wanted to see for myself and seen the scary men on the streets with the Kalashnikov rifles watching the police, that the police were scared of those guys, I would not be able to put my head around how dangerous it is for people to march and for people to protest and put out protest music.
But the Cuban people are doing that. It is unprecedented. Where did this come from? Is it the little openings and being able to get on the Internet? What sparked this?
PAYA: Thank you. Thank you so much for this time.
And, yes, it`s the highest possible risk. The Cuban military have been actually cracking down on protesters with brutal repression. But the people understand. We as a nation, we understand that to get out of the deep crisis that we are facing, we need to get out of the dictator.
We need to end the dictatorship. And in the middle of the sanitary crisis, in the middle of the public crisis, in the middle of the health crisis, that people are just fed up and went to the streets, demanding what is the root of all the crises, which is the Castro`s dictatorship.
So the call to the international community is still the same -- please listen to the people that is asking for freedom and support that demand.
REID: It seems like an open opportunity, particularly since we had a previous president who sort of made our democracy feel like it`s teetering and Biden wants to re-establish that we are a core democracy. What can and do you think the Biden administration can do to support the Cuban people?
PAYA: Well, the Biden administration has today the big opportunity of accompanying the Cuban people in their quest from freedom and achieving together with the Cuban people the freedom after 62 years of dictatorship. For instance, the U.S. should apply individual targeted sanctions the repressors, against the ones that are ordering the military to shut down young people in the streets.
There are many companies, many enterprises still doing business with that criminal regime. The Biden administration should take a similar approach to the approach taken towards South Africa, to end with apartheid and put consequence on that companies and apply (INAUDIBLE) principles. The U.S. has the capacity to provide Cubans with Internet access, satellite, Internet access, which means it`s going to bypass the interference and the censorship of the dictatorship that by the way cut the Internet success when the protests start.
PAYA: So, we are asking that capacity to be enabled for the Cuban people but also this administration has the ability to be also leaders in that regard, world leaders in the defense of democracy and the defense of human right.
So, we have that the Biden administration invite the European Union to take similar steps, invite the member states of the OAS to take similar steps. This is a big challenge to all the democracies of the world, but it`s also a big opportunity here to finally see a free Cuba. I mean, a free Cuba, also more stability and peace in our hemisphere.
REID: It is remarkable to see it happening. I`m glad that you mentioned South Africa. Joe Biden was one of the most vocal, you know, senators at that time against the South African apartheid regime and also has been pushing on this for freedom in Russia as well. Very good point.
Rosa Maria Paya, thank you very much. Really appreciate you being here this evening.
OK. And up next, we are officially marking one year since we berthed a new live TV show from home, in the midst of a global pandemic. What an incredible team. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRY REID, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: From one Reid to another -- Joy, congratulations. You are truly a journalist. I admire the work you do.
ERIC HOLDER, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Congratulations on one year of THE REIDOUT. You have informed America, you have strengthened the nation and you have galvanized people around the country to make sure we do all we can to make America live up to its promise. You`re the best.
AL FRANKEN, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Congratulations, Joy, on your one-year anniversary. It`s too bad that not much happened this year so you couldn`t show your chops.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations on the one year anniversary of THE REIDOUT. And thank you for your fierce voice of truth, decency and justice. Keep punching, my friend, and we will be here punching right along with you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happy anniversary. Happy anniversary. Happy anniversary happy anniversary to Joy Ann Reid and THE REIDOUT.
I had an amazing ride this past year with you, guys. I`m looking forward to many more years of some incredible memories.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Love it.
Well, one year ago tonight, a ragtag team of producers, senior producers, booking producers, tech and crew members, interns and assistants came together to produce a thing completely remotely and broadcasting from my basement with my husband and daughter pitching in.
And while we were in 14 different cities making TV from our computers we managed to produce something that I think is pretty great. I mean, we opened with Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, come on!
Over the course of this year one of THE REIDOUT, we have welcomed new bosses, including the first black MSNBC president, Rashida Jones, and the first Latino boss at NBCUniversal, Cesar Conde, and we`ve interviewed amazing guests, including a certain senator who would go on to become the first woman and first person of color who`s vice president of the United States.
We`ve covered tough stories of violent policing and violent citizens attacking the police and our Capitol.
And some heartwarming stories, too. Yes, we have a "Moment of Joy" every now and again. We`ve told you who won the week and pointed out those who are the absolute worst and what makes it all work is that even while we have never actually worked in the same physical space, we`re a team and a family and that family includes all of our regulars, our wonderful guests, old friends and new, so you`ve seen those little clips.
And our fabulous, gorgeous viewers who have showed up here night after night to hear the work of our lives, to inform and occasionally enlighten and when we can eke it out to make you smile or laugh. Because what`s a little democracy Armageddon without a laugh or two.
So, thank you for rolling with us, REIDers. And we love you, guys.
And here`s to year two and beyond. We are officially toddlers.
And that is tonight`s REIDOUT.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.