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Transcript: The ReidOut, 7/22/21

Guests: Madeleine Dean, Juanita Tolliver, Bernard Ashby, Melanie Campbell, Ari Berman, Marq Claxton, Abby Finkenauer


Withdrawal from Jan 6 committee backfires on GOP. Pelosi says, investigating Jan 6 is deadly serious. Following a series of deadly incidents across the country, including multiple shootings last night in Chicago, Attorney General Merrick Garland today launched a new effort to ramp up prosecutions of gun trafficking in five cities, Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: That does it for us. As always thanks for watching THE BEAT. THE REIDOUT is up next and filling in for Joy is Guest Host Jonathan Capehart. Hi, Jonathan.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC HOST: Hey, Ari, and thank you very much. We're going to be talking about COVID in our show as well.

As Ari said, I am Jonathan Capehart in for Joy Reid. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with Kevin McCarthy's Republican boycott of the select committee investigating January 6th. It's clear his decision is already backfiring on his Party. But no amount of bluster can cover up McCarthy's ineptitude nor his guilty conscience. As Trump's most obedient servant, he's trying to whitewash January 6th and cover up Trump's role in the violence because, according to Trump, the crowd he summoned to Washington that day was, quote, loving. And, yes, he really said that, loving. Not only that, Trump actually blamed the Capitol Police for, quote, letting them in.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was a loving crowd too, by the way. There was a lot of love. I've heard that from everybody. Many, many people have told me that was a loving crowd.

In all fairness, the Capitol Police were ushering people in. The Capitol Police were very friendly. You know they were hugging and kissing. You don't see that.


CAPEHART: But disturbing video evidence released by the government at the request of news outlets clearly shows otherwise. Capitol Police engaged in literal hand-to-hand combat with the insurrectionists who showed no regard for the, quote, blue lives they claim to support.

This was not the loving crowd that Trump describes. Rather, it was a literal MAGA army, and it was Trump who gave them their marching orders. All of them were duped by the mass delusion that is the big lie.

By boycotting the investigation, McCarthy and his cohorts are now turning their backs on the very police who bravely defended their lives and they're snubbing the four officers who will be delivering testimony at the committee's first hearing next week. And in doing so, the GOP remains complicit in Trump's lies. An alternate universe where, quote, hate is love, violence is peace, and the pro Trump attackers are patriots, as the Associated Press put it.

In fact, a majority of Trump voters say that January 6th was, quote, patriotic. And House Republicans have no intention of disabusing them of that notion, even when our democracy hangs in the balance.

Listen to Speaker Pelosi on that point.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Some of you were here that day as well, so you can attest to the fact that it was not all love, hugs and kisses. This is deadly serious. This is about our Constitution. It's about our country. It's about an assault on the Capitol that is being mischaracterized for some reason at the expense, at the expense of finding the truth for the American people.


CAPEHART: This committee represents the last best chance to get to the bottom of what happened on January 6th. And when it comes to the makeup of that committee, Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi has actually been a better advocate for Republicans than their own leader. She's already appointed Congresswoman Liz Cheney and is now weighing additional Republicans, like Adam Kinzinger, among others. In other words, it's going to be a bipartisan committee, whether Kevin McCarthy likes it or not.

Joining me now are Congresswoman Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania, she was an impeachment manager earlier this year and serves on the Judiciary Committee, and David Jolly, former Republican Congressman from Florida, who is no longer affiliated with the party. Thank you both very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

Congresswoman Dean, let me play for you what Jim Jordan had to say, who he blames for the insurrection. I'll talk to you on the other side.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): I don't think they're going to address the fundamental question, the fundamental question of why wasn't there a proper security presence at the Capitol that day. They're not going to address that. And only one person can answer that question, only one, speaker of the United States House of Representatives.


CAPEHART: Congresswoman Dean, I'm not going to have you address Congressman Jordan unless you want to, but you were there that day. One of the many iconic pictures to come out of January 6 was a photo of you in a gas mask in the House gallery being evacuated. I would just love your reaction to what House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is saying about that day and his -- what he's doing or not doing about that day.

REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): Well, Jonathan, it's a pleasure to be with you and also, of course, to be with David Jolly. Jonathan, I don't know if you remember, but the first time I met you was in Selma with John Lewis --


CAPEHART: Yes, that's right.

DEAN: -- as we crossed the Pettus Bridge. I think about him and that moment a lot.

But what are we to make of the lunacy of Donald Trump, who thought it was love and hugs and kisses? We should call it delusional, as you just did. But what are we to make of elected leaders like Jim Jordan and Mr. McCarthy who have tethered themselves so desperately to this lunatic, delusional set of lies that is extraordinarily dangerous for the country?

I'm extremely proud of the speaker as she made a difficult, thoughtful decision in disqualifying Mr. Jordan, Mr. Banks, from the committee, but, really, in effect, they had completely disqualified themselves in their thoughts and in their actions. Imagine the deflection that Mr. Jordan attempts there. It's torturous. It's not going to convince anybody that somehow this is an investigation of Speaker Pelosi.

What happened on January the 6th -- and thank you for recognizing I was there. It's still -- it's still incomprehensible to me that, that happened. That Americans incited by an American president attacked Americans, using our flag, using a Trump flag, beating other members -- they would have beaten any one of us, they would have killed any one of us. They would not have distinguished if I was a Republican or Democrat. They came to hang, to assassinate, to kill, to do violence.

So, the speaker has done the right thing. What we must get at, now six months after this insurrection, are the facts and the truth. Let them take us where they may. It may tell us that some people were involved. It may tell us that some people were not involved at all. But we need to know what did people know in advance, what did the president, for example, know in advance, what did he know on the day, and importantly what was he doing thereafter? Why did he not send help? It's complicity in that inaction.

CAPEHART: And, you know, David Jolly, I would latch onto a word that Congresswoman Dean just said, tethered. The fact that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is tethered to Donald Trump, Jim Jordan is tethered to Donald Trump, and both of them are tethered to the big lie that led to folks coming to Washington, can you please explain, because you served with those folks when you were in Congress. Why are they tethered to someone who has no reverence, whatsoever, for the Constitution of the United States?

DAVID JOLLY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, Jonathan, I've come a long ways from providing deference to my former colleagues. What I would say is this. Donald Trump himself is delusional, he's dishonest and he's a fraud. Kevin McCarthy, Jim Jordan, they're just political scoundrels. They actually do. They know the truth. They're engaging in the lie for their own political viability, for their own political interests. And they're also doing it in a very manipulative way.

Look, what you heard from Jim Jordan in that clip is a classic debate technique. We want to know why the Capitol security wasn't on a stronger footing. That's a legitimate question and actually this committee, as the facts go where they may, they should get an answer to that, but that is a deflection from what actually caused the insurrection, what actually caused the near violent overthrow of the peaceful transition of power here on U.S. soil. And so Jim Jordan and Kevin McCarthy, they're engaging in the big lie because they have to protect themselves politically from it.

At the end of the day what you are seeing by McCarthy, Jordan and others is an effort to get past the events of January 6th, right? These were Republicans that stormed the Capitol. They were not Democrats. There is no value for Republicans politically in discussing the events of January 6th. And where both parties and all politicians should be asking the same exact questions to get to the same exact facts, that's not the agenda of Republicans.

Republicans want to now paint this as a partisan exercise by Speaker Pelosi, and they're going to run against Nancy Pelosi's continued leadership of the House after the midterms and they're going to run against themes of socialism. They're not going to talk about the events of January 6th.

CAPEHART: And so then, David, to that point then, do you think -- will a committee that includes or only has Liz Cheney, maybe they do get Adam Kinzinger, maybe they do get maybe another Republican, do you think that that type of bipartisan committee would hold -- whatever they find, would those findings hold muster at all with the Republican base or should that committee just start their hearings on Tuesday, knowing that no matter what they do, no matter what they find, half the country is not going to believe them?

JOLLY: Yes. We often engage in the political analysis, right, the last 24 hours.


Was it good for McCarthy, good for Pelosi? I think they both got out of it the political narrative that is important for them. Nancy Pelosi gets to say, look, we're trying to get the truth. Kevin McCarthy gets to say this is a Pelosi exercise.

At the end of the day, Jonathan, though, the question of the political impact is not the important one. The question is the truth telling impact. And I think what this committee will do, Democrats have shown they want to do the right thing just for the sake of doing the right thing, get as much information out into the sunlight as possible so the American people understand what led to the events of January 6th, the actors behind it and allow the American people to make political judgment in the next election who they trust to lead the nation.

Because at the end of the day, what the nation will learn, what they will be affirmed of is these were Republicans that attacked the Capitol on January 6th. They were not Democrats. And they are being protected by Republican leadership in the United States today.

CAPEHART: Well, let me ask a Democrat but who's not a member of Congress, let me bring in Democratic Strategist Juanita Tolliver. Juanita, welcome to THE REIDOUT.

I would love to get your assessment of where things are. Do you think Speaker Pelosi played this right by calling Kevin McCarthy's bluff and saying hell to the no to Jim Jordan and Jim Banks?

JUANITA TOLLIVER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Essentially, right, Jonathan, she is doing what needs to do done, by taking and holding her veto power to make sure that two people who not only furthered Trump's lies but also helped to spread lies and information and incited the attacks on January 6th, to keep them off of the select committee and from making that select committee a circus.

As David said earlier, Jim Jordan is already deploying deflection and distraction tactics. That's all that he would have done on the select committee. But he would have gone even further. As we know he would have brought in his obsession with groups like Black Lives Matter or with groups like Antifa into the fold as well. And so what Pelosi is saying is no, none of that here, not on my watch.

And what I think is also critical here is that while we know McCarthy has made every effort to obstruct this, right, he kept his caucus from supporting that independent bipartisan committee where they would have had veto power over subpoenas, he's threatened any Republican who would work on the select committee and now he's fundraising off of the January 6 select committee.

So it's very clear that his job and his intention this entire time was obstruct any truth-finding process. And he has not been successful here. And I think what he's failing to realize is that Speaker Pelosi meant what she said when she said this is going to run for as long as it takes to get to the truth. And that includes September, October, November, 2022 --


TOLLIVER: -- where this will absolutely be front and center on voters' minds as more information comes out.

I think David has a great point about it depends on what information comes out to make it noteworthy for voters, but absolutely getting to the truth, making sure this doesn't happen again, so folks like Representative Dean does not find herself in a life-threatening situation, is critical here. And Speaker Pelosi said this is serious deadly business and she's going to run this committee accordingly.

CAPEHART: And, you know, in to that point, people need to understand that for Speaker Pelosi, her reverence of the Constitution is second. Her faith in the Constitution is second only to her catholic faith. She takes her role as a constitutional officer of the United States government very, very seriously.

Congresswoman Dean, I'll give you the last question and that is this. How concerned are you about political blowback from the GOP, from Republicans, from conservatives over the speaker forging ahead with the committee and its investigations with only one Republican?

DEAN: I'm not worried at all. Speaker Pelosi said today that her responsibility was to get at the truth. And Mr. McCarthy actually obviously overplayed his hand. She is not going to allow a clown car on a matter as serious as an insurrection that threatened the lives of every member of Congress, including the vice president of the United States. This is a serious matter for serious people. Mrs. Pelosi did the exact right thing today and Mr. McCarthy, I'm sure, tonight is wondering why did he overplay his hand.

The American people will watch these hearings. They will care what happened. We have now a bipartisan quorum with Liz Cheney. And if we get other Republican members, like Adam Kinzinger, good. But we have a quorum. The American people will watch intently for the truth and the facts, less for the politics. They want to know what happened. Why was their Capitol attacked by Americans, incited by the president? Why did that happen? And most importantly, Jonathan, and I know you know this, how do we make sure it never happens again?


CAPEHART: And with that we are going to leave it there. Congresswoman Madeleine Dean, Juanita Tolliver, David Jolly, thank you all very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

Up next on THE REIDOUT, the politics behind the sudden push by Republicans to get people vaccinated. But what consequences should there be for the people who continue to spread vaccine fear and misinformation?

Also, new research on the voter suppression crisis shows that an already bad situation is getting much worse.

Plus, the Biden administration's new crackdown on gun violence, all that when THE REIDOUT continues after this.


CAPEHART: The delta variant of the COVID-19 virus has led to a massive surge in cases, ripping through communities with low rates of vaccination. This week just three states, Florida, Texas and Missouri, accounted for 40 percent of all cases nationwide. Here's what the governor of one of those states had to say about the vaccine.



GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): If you are vaccinated, fully vaccinated, the chance of you getting seriously ill or dying from COVID is effectively zero.

If you look at the people that are being admitted to hospitals, over 95 percent of them are either not fully vaccinated or not vaccinated at all. And so these vaccines are saving lives. They are reducing mortality.


CAPEHART: I'm suffering from rhetorical whiplash.

That was indeed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the same Ron DeSantis who sells merchandise mocking the pandemic and Dr. Fauci on his Web site, and who said today he will fight mask mandates in schools.

Mixed messages about the vaccine are also coming from FOX News, the cable news epicenter for anti-vax hysteria, which may explain or -- yes, it will explain why The Lincoln Project went after them in its latest ad.


NARRATOR: The Americans who were dying from COVID are almost not vaccinated.

Rupert Murdoch was vaccinated. Does anyone really think Tucker Carlson isn't vaccinated?

But Murdoch's FOX News continues to put Americans at risk by pushing anti- vax hysteria. It's dangerous, immoral.

FOX News is helping kill Americans.


CAPEHART: Joining me now is Dean Obeidallah, columnist for MSNBC and The Daily Beast and host of "The Dean Obeidallah Show" on SiriusXM, and Dr. Bernard Ashby, a Miami cardiologist.

Thank you both very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

Dr. Ashby, I want to start with you, because, on the one hand, we have got the -- we have got the disinformation and misinformation. NBC is reporting that Facebook -- there are Facebook dance parties, the anti-vaccine groups changing into dance parties on Facebook to avoid detection.

And the ban evasion efforts on Facebook and Instagram are ratcheting up, as the White House has increased pressure on social media platforms to do more to contain misinformation.

And then, on top of that, the White House is debating whether to reinstate a mask mandate. This is from yesterday: "White House officials debate masking push. As COVID infections spike, top White House aides and Biden administration officials are debating whether they should urge vaccinated Americans to wear masks in more settings as the Delta variant causes spikes, according to six people familiar with the discussions."

Dr. Ashby, as a doctor, please, how is the disinformation playing where you are and among your patients?

DR. BERNARD ASHBY, COMMITTEE TO PROTECT MEDICARE: Well, good evening. Pleasure to be here.

And I don't even know where to get started. I mean, as we all know, vaccine hesitancy is a real issue. And, as you can see, our politicians are doing what they do. They're playing politics, while we physicians are literally on the front lines doing what we have been doing for the past year-and-a- half-plus, trying to save our patients' lives.

And, at this point, a lot of doctors, a lot of nurses, and a lot of respiratory therapists, et cetera, they're suffering from burnout. This feels like PTSD, because you saw DeSantis there. I mean, his strategy for dealing with the virus and getting vaccinated, of course, we understand that.

I wish he would have talked about vaccinations back when they first came out, because...

CAPEHART: Months ago, yes.

ASHBY: Months ago, yes, because he got his vaccination and didn't tell anybody, OK, didn't advertise it at all, when it was politically expedient to him.

Now, when it's politically expedient to him, he's advertising it. Stop sending the mixed messages, because, if you're talking about Fauci and fascism and all this crap, that's only feeding into the misinformation and disinformation and the miscommunication that people are receiving.

And we have to speak as one. And so, at this point, all I care about is less people dying. And what we're seeing in Florida at this point in the pandemic is just unacceptable.

CAPEHART: And, Dean, one of the purveyors of misinformation and disinformation is FOX News.

That Lincoln Project ad is pretty devastating in sort of calling out the hypocrisy. But you're doing more than that, Dean. You wrote for MSNBC yesterday: "FOX News' COVID vaccine denials can't go unpunished. I filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday. Here's hoping it moves forward."

Talk about, why are you filing -- why did you file that complaint with the FTC? What's your goal?

DEAN OBEIDALLAH, MSNBC DAILY COLUMNIST: Because I'm tired of screaming at my television set, Jonathan, or screaming on my radio show about something needs to be done.

So, I'm a lawyer. I did research over the weekend. I saw the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act, which was passed in December, under the auspices of the FTC. It seemed like perfect fit.


This new law is to protect people, the public, consumers from people peddling misinformation for profit about COVID, about the cures, about mitigation practices. And that's what FOX News has been doing.

Media Matters did a great job of quantifying it. In about the last two weeks, nearly 57 percent of the segments FOX News did on COVID, which is over 120-plus, nearly 57 percent were to convince you not to get the vaccine through telling you they're coming to take your freedoms, to actually lying about the vaccine and being dangerous.

And we can debate all day why FOX News does it. Is it to hurt Joe Biden? Is it somehow for -- to make their base who watches the shows angry?

But we can all agree on this, Jonathan. This is a big company, made $1.5 billion last year in revenue. This is a business decision by the network.

So, I filed a complaint. And I hope others do. It will take you two to three minutes on the FTC Web site to open an investigation by the FTC to see if they are deceptive practices, should there be an injunction, and should there be damages?

CAPEHART: And I was about to ask you, what would the punishment be? Let's say you're successful.

Do you have any idea how FOX could be punished?

OBEIDALLAH: I would get Tucker Carlson's show. I'd be the new host on 8:00 on FOX News.


OBEIDALLAH: No, the reality is that they could get an injunction against him. There could be damages.

I just hope the FTC chair, Lina Khan, announces an investigation. I know countless people are filing complaints as well. Maybe that will cause some responsibility at that network.

CAPEHART: Dean Obeidallah, Dr. Bernard Ashby, thank you very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

Up next: Voter suppression efforts across the country are not only real; they're getting worse, and this despite not a single state being able to provide even a shred of evidence showing widespread voter fraud.

Stay with us.



CAPEHART: As Congress continues to fight over the filibuster and delay passing a voting rights bill, state Republicans continue to do everything, everything they can to suppress the vote before next year's midterms.

A new report by the Brennan Center for Justice found that, since the beginning of the year, 18 states have enacted 30 laws restricting voting access. That's despite zero states producing zero evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Without intervention from Congress, the voter suppression efforts won't stop. The Brennan Center reports that more than 400 voter suppression bills have been introduced in 49 states this year.

With me now, Melanie Campbell president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, and Ari Berman, senior reporter for "Mother Jones" and author of "Give Us the Ballot."

Thank you both very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

Ari, let me start with you.

You're not surprised by this Brennan Center report at all, are you?

ARI BERMAN, AUTHOR,"GIVE US THE BALLOT: THE MODERN STRUGGLE FOR VOTING RIGHTS IN AMERICA": I'm not surprised by it, Jonathan, because I have been tracking these numbers all year.

And, in fact, I have been tracking these numbers for a decade, and it just keeps getting worse and worse. Every month, it seems like another state or another batch of states have passed new voter suppression laws. This is now the greatest rollback of voting rights since the end of Reconstruction.

And we are seeing all across the country Republicans weaponize Trump's big lie to make it harder to vote. They haven't actually produced any evidence of voter fraud. But there's been a whole lot of evidence of voter suppression that has taken place since the last election.

And what we really see here is that Republicans are using every avenue of power they have to make it harder to vote. And the asymmetric warfare here is that Democrats are not using all the levers of power they have to make it easier to vote.

So one party is doing everything they can to rig the process in their favor, and the other party really isn't pushing back to counteract it.

CAPEHART: Well, Melanie Campbell, you're not one of those people who's not sitting back and not doing something.

Last week, you got arrested at a voting -- at a voting rights rally. I'm assuming you're going to get out there and do it again.

Today, Congressman Hank Johnson of Georgia and other black men from Black Voters Matter were arrested on the House side.

What more do you need from -- either from Congress? We know what you need from Congress. Is there anything more that the president can do to move things along?

MELANIE CAMPBELL, PRESIDENT AND CEO, NATIONAL COALITION ON BLACK CIVIC PARTICIPATION: I think just continue to elevate and escalate from that bully pulpit.

Last night, he mentioned filibuster, right? We are going to keep pushing him to say, either end it or amend it, do whichever, and don't let voting rights be hemmed up based on a process. So, I think that's really important.

The last couple of meetings I have been in at the White House with our civil rights colleagues two weeks ago and with black women leaders and strategists last week with the vice president was really just continuing to say to them and encourage him and challenge them to just do -- just continue to do more, because it's that kind of a threat to our democracy, and as well, of course, as Congress.


CAPEHART: OK, so there are two voting rights bills that we're talking about.

There's the For the People Act, which was passed by the House in March. It's been sitting in the Senate ever since and going nowhere. The other piece of legislation everyone talks about is the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. It was introduced in the last Congress and went nowhere. It has yet to be introduced in this current Congress.


And so, Ari, I will start with you with this question.

To my mind, I think it's super important to get the For the People Act passed, get it passed, in order to blunt the impact of what's happening in Georgia and Texas and Florida and other places. What do you say? Go for For the People Act, or should you try to mush the two together?

BERMAN: Well, in reality, we need both, in a perfect world, Jonathan, because what the For the People Act does is, it puts in place federal standards for elections in all 50 states, so they have policies like automatic registration, and a ban on partisan gerrymandering, and two weeks of early voting that apply equally to all 50 states.

Then the John Lewis Voting Rights Act were to require those states with the worst histories of discrimination to approve their voting changes with the federal government. So, the For the People Act is like the carrot. It puts in place all of those good policies. And the John Lewis Voting Rights Act is like the stick that stops voter suppression efforts that have not yet occurred.

The problem is that Republicans are not going to support either of these bills. So, last night, Joe Biden said, I want Republicans to get on board with these things.

Well, no Republican voted to start debate on the For the People Act, and only one Republican, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, has sponsored the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. So the question is, if Republicans don't support these things -- and they're not going to -- are Democrats prepared to use the power they have to protect voting rights, understanding that, if Republicans are suppressing the right to vote, Democrats have to be willing to protect the right to vote, even if it means doing it unilaterally?

CAPEHART: And, Melanie, I know you think, like Ari, that both -- you need both of these bills.

Give me your perspective.

CAMPBELL: Oh, good to see Ari, too, by the way. Thank you.

Really, both of those bills, because, at the end of the day, we have elections coming up, and the clock is ticking. So, we have to get some -- get voting rights federal legislation passed this year, or, next year, not just the congressional races that are at stake, but those state races, those local elections.

And when we talk about this, we know we tend to talk about it on a federal level. When it's down-ballot, if you will, when you're talking about those elected officials who impact your lives down to the school board, the school -- city council, all that is used. And so the whole political process is -- will crumble, because, right now, we have a top here with the Voting Rights Act that has no teeth.

We have these -- all these voter suppression laws, and the American people have to speak up.

And so I thank you for continuing to push this conversation, so people know just how bad it really is. And it's not just about what's going to happen to black people. It's going to -- it's about what's going to happen to this democracy.

We won't have one. And it won't take long.

CAPEHART: You know what, Melanie Campbell? I'm going to leave it right there on that very excellent note.

Melanie Campbell, Ari Berman, thank you both very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

Up next: The Justice Department is launching a new initiative targeting gun traffickers, in response to the recent spike in violence. Will these new efforts make a difference, though?

We will be right back.



CAPEHART: The tragic epidemic of gun violence in America continues unabated. Following a series of deadly incidents across the country, including multiple shootings last night in Chicago, Attorney General Merrick Garland today launched a new effort to ramp up prosecutions of gun trafficking in five cities, Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Attorney General Garland will meet with police and federal prosecutors in Chicago in the coming days and noted that the new plan comes in the midst of what he called a particularly difficult summer.

A "Washington Post" analysis shows after an increase in gun violence last year, this year is on pace to be worse. "The Post" analysis found an increase in shootings during summers, a trend noted by law enforcement and gun violence researchers. The new government effort does not involve sending additional law enforcement agents to those cities.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco made that clear as she laid out the plan's goal.


LISA MONACO, DEPUTY U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We all know that our job is to go after those who pull the trigger and end up critically injuring and in some cases murdering innocent people. But our job is also, of course, to go after the sources of those guns, the corridors that they travel in and the networks that feed those guns to the places where they are doing the most violent crime.


CAPEHART: And tonight, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot praised the new federal plan's focus on targeting out of state gun purchases.


MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT (D-IL), CHICAGO: Intelligence sharing, that's going to be a game-changer for us. Being able to be aggressive, looking at those sales, following up to make sure that those guns are still in the hands of the person that bought them, that's going to be key.

So I welcome those. And again, to me that's low-hanging fruit that should have been happening all along. But it didn't happen in the previous administration. It's going to happen now.


CAPEHART: Joining me now is Marq Claxton, retired NYPD detective and director of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance.

Mr. Claxton, thank you very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

I have to ask you because I see this plan. I heard what Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco had to say about what they're trying to do. But am I wrong in thinking that this has been done before or tried before?

MARQ CLAXTON, DIRECTOR, BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE: It absolutely has been done before. Task forces are nothing new, especially in New York. You have a Joint Terrorism Task Force, you have DEA, Drug Enforcement Task Forces.


You've even had ATF gun task forces before.

I think what's different about this operation is that they are really specifically targeting federal firearm licensees. They're dealing and addressing the straw buys, straw purchases of firearms, et cetera.

So I think it's a more targeted enforcement strategy. It's not about placing bodies on the street, necessarily, but targeting those corridors and those areas and developing investigations within those areas, hoping to disrupt the flow of firearms from state to state. The challenge is and will continue to be the lack of a substantive firearms legislation makes it almost impossible to really maximize your effectiveness as a task force. That's why they'll be relying on local city and state offices and investigative sources as well.

CAPEHART: So you put your finger on what was going to be my follow-up question, and that was -- so why aren't they being successful? Appear an it all comes back to good ole Washington and the dysfunction here in terms of getting something on a federal level that makes it possible for police officers at the local level to actually disrupt the -- I think we called it in New York the iron corridor from Virginia to New York, the flow of guns, right?

CLAXTON: Yeah, that's absolutely correct. That challenge exists and it's not accidental or incidental. It's a purposeful strategy.

You know, there's always challenges when you're trying to deal with or address guns in this country, unfortunately, regardless of how tragic the circumstances turn out to be. So that's what they're facing. Quite honestly, you'll never been able to solely legislate this problem away. You have to really combine resources. That's what I'm hoping that this strike force, this in essence task force will be doing going forward.

CAPEHART: Mr. Claxton, last year, actually a year ago, July of 2020, here is an NBC headline. It said Trump says he is sending hundreds of federal law enforcement officers to Chicago. This was -- that was going to be Donald Trump's response to the gun violence in Chicago.

Can you explain why that kind of move of sending agents from the FBI, DEA and ATF isn't the proper way to go about stemming gun violence in the long term?

CLAXTON: Well, first off, part of the Trump plan back then was to send any federal officer. So you had the Border Patrol officers that were also being sent to these areas. That's outside of their jurisdiction and understanding and comprehension. Really it's a specialty. So, ATF investigates these firearm offenses and they should be the key resource there.

But once again, if you don't have the legislation in place to prosecute these violations of law, you'll find yourself spinning your wheels and running around and constantly arresting and re-arresting and prosecuting these individuals, or even simply charging local and state charges for these firearms violations.

It really needs a kind of a multi-dimensional approach, a comprehensive approach to dealing with the issues of violence and gun violence in particular. Legislating it alone or operationally improving along federal lines is not going to be enough to stem the tide, unfortunately.

CAPEHART: Mr. Claxton, I was going to ask you, is this enough of a start. And you've said repeatedly now that really what's needed is federal action, federal legislation to do something about this. But I'm also wondering is there anything that localities can do along with what the attorney general is proposing now to really get at it?

I think we spend too much time -- not too much time. We spend a lot of time focused on the gun violence, but I don't think we spend enough time focused on -- well, what are the circumstances that are leading people into things that get them involved in violence?

CLAXTON: Yeah, and you really hit on the key point and what should be a key strategy across the nation, and that is recognizing and realizing that you can't solely police away violent crime. You have to look at the factors that contribute to the existence of violent crime. You have to really examine a lot of sociopolitical issues, and be prepared to address them.

And then you have to think outside the box. You have to think innovatively about how to deal with violence in communities and that involves incorporating some nontraditional resources.


You're talking about violence interrupter, et cetera. But it's important that we think outside the box to stem the tide of violence in our cities.

CAPEHART: Marq Claxton, thank you. We'll have you come back and talk about this more.

Up next, a new high-profile Democratic contender from Iowa just announced she's making a bid for Republican Chuck Grassley's Senate seat. Former Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer joins me next.

Stay with us.



ABBY FINKENAUER (D), IOWA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: It's politicians like Senator Grassley and Mitch McConnell who should know better but are so obsessed with power that they oppose anything that moves us forward. Since the Capitol was attacked, they've turned their backs on democracy and on us. They made their choice.

And I'm making mine. I'm running for the United States Senate because this democracy is ours, and truth matters.



CAPEHART: Former Iowa Democratic Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer is officially running for Republican Chuck Grassley's Senate seat. Grassley, who's 87 years old, and has been in the Senate since 1980, hasn't announced yet if he's going to seek another term. It's a tough race for a Democrat to win, though. Iowa, which used to be a purple state, has moved further to the right in recent years.

Former Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer joins me now.

Congresswoman, welcome to THE REIDOUT.

So, I just have to ask you, why are you running?

FINKENAUER: Because Iowa is my home and this is our country, and both are worth fighting for. There's so much work to do both for Iowa and our democracy. When 1/6 happened, it changed America and it changed me.

And I know folks that we send to the United States Senate have to know the difference between being public servants and being politicians. And I think it's time we actually had people that believe in the truth and aren't afraid to stand up for it and fight for it.

CAPEHART: Now, you were first elected in Congress in 2018 during the Democratic wave. You lost -- barely lost re-election in 2020. So you weren't in the Capitol on January 6th when that happened.

Did that indeed play -- one, actually -- after losing your election, have you even given any thought about running for re-election two years later? Or was January 6th the thing that just pushed you over the edge to run for office again to take on Grassley in particular?

FINKENAUER: Yeah. You know, that day I'll never forget it. I was sitting with my husband on our couch in Cedar Rapids as watching a violent mob that by misinformation and lies stormed the Capitol and attacked my friends and my former colleagues.

And as I'm watching this, I'm looking at my husband and we had wondered after 2020 I couldn't understand it we got beat by misinformation and lies. We looked at that and we thought, okay, we don't -- they don't get to keep lying, they don't get to keep pushing misinformation in our state and our country and not have us push back. We realized it was time to speak the truth and speak it louder.

So I know what we're up against. I know what campaigns are. I know they're still going to say what they want to say, lie about records, push misinformation. But we're going to be louder, and we need you with us. Go to and join us because we need all hands-on deck as we do this.

CAPEHART: I mean, what you're saying -- I mean, you're not -- you're not lying about how tough this is going to be. Chuck Grassley won re-election in 2016 by 24 votes. Donald Trump won Iowa by eight votes in 2020, by nine votes in 2016 -- 20 points, sorry.

Where we sit right now, how confident are you that you can make a dent -- make a dent there in Iowa?

FINKENAUER: You know, when I ran for Congress in 2018, I was 28 years old. I came from a working-class family. I had no money of my own to put into a campaign, and I was told, you know, what are you doing? How are you going to beat a millionaire in Congress?

And folks didn't think Iowa was worth fighting for, but I did. I proved them wrong and I'm going to do it again because my home is worth it. The working families in our country and in my state are worth it.

I'm tired of having politicians in D.C. who just read about working families, study them, but haven't actually listed it. And so that's why we're going to win this. In 2018, I overperformed the top of ticket. I did the same in 2020 and we're going to take our message across this state to make sure Iowans know they have a champion who believes in them, who understands them and isn't going to back down when it comes to the policies that actually move their families forward and actually make a difference around the kitchen tables in Iowa and, again, across the country.

CAPEHART: As I mentioned in the intro, Senator Grassley hasn't announced, who's 87, hasn't announced whether he's going to run for re-election. You're sitting in Iowa. Take off your candidate hat.

Do you think he'll actually run for re-election?

FINKENAUER: You know, I'm not sure. At the end of the day, this election is so much bigger than Senator Grassley. Again, it's about our democracy. It's about making sure that we have folks who believe in the truth and are going to stand up and defend it.

It doesn't matter and it shouldn't whether you're a Democrat or Republican. We saw Senator Mitt Romney stand up when there was misinformation. We saw Liz Cheney do the same. Honestly ten years ago I thought that would have been Senator Grassley, unfortunately, it's not anymore.

CAPEHART: And with that, we're going to leave it there. Former Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer, thank you very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

That's it for us tonight.

"ALL IN FOR CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.