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Transcript: The ReidOut, 7/8/21

Guests: Melanie Campbell, Kurt Bardella, Senfronia Thompson, LaTosha Brown, Bennie Thompson, Charlie Pierce, Ro Khanna


DNC to spend $25 million to protect voting rights. Arizona secretary of state requests criminal probe. Pennsylvania state senator demands ballot investigation. Earth is facing server climate crisis.


JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC HOST: Thank you very much. That does it for me. THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid is up next. Joy?

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: How are you doing? Okay, I just want to have to say to Juvenile and vax that thing up. Come on. Yes, yes, sir, sir, sir.

JOHNSON: He get it from his mama.

REID: Vax that thing up. Yes, sir.

JOHNSON: I love you, Joy.

REID: Bye.

JOHNSON: I`m looking forward to it. I cannot wait.

REID: I can`t either, clearly. Bye.


REID: Hey, good evening. We actually have a serious show tonight. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the Democrats turning their focus on protecting your right to vote and to have that vote actually count. With Vice President Kamala Harris at her alma mater, Howard University, announcing a $25 million investment by the Democratic National Committee to support and protect voting access ahead of the midterm elections.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These laws create obstacle upon obstacle. These laws make it harder for you to vote because they don`t want you to vote.

We will not let anyone take away our power and that`s why we are all here together today.


REID: Meanwhile, in Arizona, another Democrat fighting to protect voters, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who has asked her state`s Republican vaccine-averse attorney general to open up a criminal investigation into whether Trump and his allies broke the law in their efforts to pressure Maricopa County officials after the election.

Hobbs has made it clear that fighting her state`s sham fraudit isn`t just about affirming the last election but preventing Republicans from stealing the next one, which is exactly what they`re now openly trying to do, while exporting more partisan sham reviews to other states, like Pennsylvania, where a state senator who participated in the pro-Trump events in D.C. before the insurrection is now demanding, get this, that binders full of ballots be delivered to him.

It shouldn`t surprise you that Pennsylvania fraudit guy is considering running for governor. We see you, Republicans, rolling out the full insurrection tool kit to any state where you have legislative control in order to instill social chaos and crush our democracy using, quote, election integrity as a shield to try to suppress the vote while sucking up to Trump.

And because claiming widespread fraud in last fall`s election isn`t bearing any proof because it didn`t happen, you`re scrambling to implement plan B, which is pushing through voter restriction laws with a vengeance, which we saw last night in Texas again when Republicans proposed to ban drive- through and early voting in their latest draft of election legislation.

With their signature voting bill blocked, Democrats are clamoring to get the Biden White House to do more, and to say more about passing voting legislation on the Hill. President Biden, Vice President Harris met with civil rights leaders and a private session to discuss just that. And some of those leaders have this to say about their summer of activism.


MARC MORIAL, NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE: We see an effort to impose a system of American apartheid.

MELANIE CAMPBELL, NATIONAL COALITION FOR BLACK CIVIC PARTICIPATION: We say enough is enough. We talk about what`s going to happen with the black vote. We know when we talk about the black vote, we`re talking about black women.


REID: Joining me now is the Reverend Al Sharpton, President of the National Action Network and Host of POLITICSNATION right here on MSNBC, Melanie Campbell, President of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, and Kurt Bardella, Adviser to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Thank you all for being here.

Reverend, I`m going to start with you. I saw a little bit of the press conference that you guys did after you met with the president, but give us a review for those who didn`t see it. What came out of that meeting, what were the demands and was the action plan that came out?

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Well, the president met with eight of us of the national civil rights organizations, and it was scheduled for an hour. We met an hour and 40 minutes basically to tell him that after the Supreme Court decision of last week that we are returning back to a states` rights kind of election system, where, in effect, it would be Arizona`s decision in Supreme Court gate, they`re saying that states have the right to decide on what election process they were going to use as long as people could vote even if it caused people a little inconvenience, they could vote anyhow.

And that we intended to fight to make sure that Senate Bill-1 and the John Lewis Bill passed and we`re going to do it by building a movement from the ground. We wanted him to inform him (ph) of that, we wanted him to use his bully pulpit in the White House to really deal with the gravity of the hour.


And he and the vice president listened intently. He said I`m going to do all I can from the White House. He did not say he that could deliver legislation because he clearly is having problems getting over 50 votes, but he was very intense in his listening. The vice president said she is willing to go on the road and campaign for this.

I told them that in 1964, after the Civil Rights Act, Martin Luther King said they needed a Voting Rights Act. Lyndon Johnson said we can`t do it, and then Dr. King left this very White House and went south and built that movement and we were leaving there today to build that movement around this country. We`re going to have a big march August 28th, Martin Luther King III and I, the King and I have called along with the march on, and Melanie Campbell was on, she`s going to talk about building it up starting this week. We are not going to let them take the right to vote from us, not in our time, not in this generation.

REID: Yes, and, you know, Melanie, as Rev talks about the August 28th, you know, this anniversary march, we`ll recall that the march on Washington was not a march with Kennedy, it was a march on Kennedy, to push him to say that you`re going to pass this bill. It wasn`t like a friendly march. You know, the Kennedy administration didn`t even want it.

What do you take as the White House attitude toward the activism that`s now taking place? I`m talking to a lot of activists who are frustrated, frankly, with the White House, that they`re talking a good game, but they aren`t doing anything, and that they aren`t using the power that they have. Not just the White House, but Democrats in the United States Senate are simply refusing to use the power they have to defend their core voters, meaning black voters.

CAMPBELL: Thank you, Joy, and good to be here with Reverend Sharpton. One of the things that was really clear for us, we share what we know we`re hearing on the ground all across this country and that folks are frustrated and they want to see a good fight. And I think they heard us on that, and whatever way they can fight from the White House, they need to do that.

And it didn`t just start activism. We have been pushing this. But now, what Reverend has talked about, what happened last week, it just took it to a whole other level. So for black women who are the secret sauce to Democrats winning anything in this country, we`re coming together. With all of our civil rights colleagues and allies and others for a whole week of action, Joy, next week. We`re going on Capitol Hill next week.

When they come back, those ten Republicans who voted to not even allow for there to be even a discussion sent us a message, and it was really clear. What are you going to do about it? And so what we`re going to do about it is do what our ancestors have taught us and what we do, all of us, every day, not just us, but many, many others.

We`re going to take it to the streets and we`re going to keep pushing in Congress and make sure that we get the voting rights because we won`t get anything else, Joy. We could pass things now. And if we lose the ability to not just vote but to make sure that that vote gets counted, one of the things that happened in Georgia, our Local Affiliate is Helen Butler, who - - state affiliate with the Georgia Coalition for the People`s Agenda, who also -- sort of the local board of elections, who was taken off of that local board of election so that some folks can just take and choose who they want to be able to decide how votes get counted.

So we can organize all day long the way we always have, but then if the rules change about who gets to decide if that vote gets counted, we`ll never be able to have the ability to have one man, one woman, one vote, and vote for the candidates of our choice.

REID: Yes. And you know, Kurt, the history rhymes. I mean, when the 1960s movement was taking place, Democrats also controlled the House, the Senate and the White House, right? It was full Democratic control. The difference was what you have now are Republicans who are essentially being very open in telegraphing the fact that they are attempting to seize power by stealing outright elections.

They`re not hiding that, they`re not like hiding the ball. They`re being very open. They`re like, no, we`re going to steal these elections. We`re going to make sure black and brown and young people basically can`t vote. We`re going to make it so hard and play keep away, that they can vote and only our people can vote. And if, in fact, somehow a Democrat wins, we`ll just change the results and make our person win.

This is outright -- it is apartheid. And so I wonder if you fell like the activists that you`re on with today that I`m talking to and I`m sure you`re talking to, the energy is all there. Do you think Democrats in Capitol Hill understand what they`re dealing with? Do you think they understand that that`s what Republicans are trying to do?

KURT BARDELLA, DCCC ADVISER: I think that they understand that, but I just don`t know that the urgency matches that understanding. And I think one of the most important things to remember here, and Jason just played this clip about ten minutes ago leading up to your show, we have on tape recorded messages from the former president and his lawyer and his team trying to convince people actively in real-time to not certify results, to find new votes to offset the election, to get the outcome that they want, as Rudy Giuliani was recorded saying.


This isn`t being done in a secret room somewhere. This isn`t in a clandestine operation. This is very public. There was an attempted coup in America on election night perpetrated by the person in the most highest power position in the world. And ever since then, it`s hard to believe, even though Joe Biden won, even though Democrats control the House and Senate, voting in America has gotten harder since that night.

And if Democrats need to understand that the way Republicans are going, if they have their way, if they`re allowed to do this unchecked, we will never have a fair election in this country ever again. And Republicans will make it, so that the outcome will always be that they win. They are trying to impose a minority radical extreme view on the majority of this country.

And of all the priorities that we have, and they`re all important, climate change, gun reform, dealing with COVID, getting the economy back together, nothing supersedes our democratic rights. Nothing will matter if you don`t win this fight.

REID: Yes. Nothing will matter. Once they get control, and Rev, you and I were in South Africa before. This stuff feels very familiar. It does feel like they`re trying to sort of create sort of a South African-style system where only they are allowed to vote. Everyone else is so restricted that they can`t.

Just a couple of headlines. In Pennsylvania, this guy, Doug Mastriano, a Republican who`s running for Governor, the state -- WHYY reported that Mastriano has spent more than $3,300 in campaign money to charter buses from Pennsylvania to D.C. on the day of the insurrection. This is a guy who has left the Capitol -- says he left the Capitol for the riot, but videos show that he was actually there, physically there.

He now wants something like 900,000 ballots delivered to his person, to him, so he can conduct his own audit because the real official audits weren`t enough, to keep going. Arizona, the Arizona republic revealed that Kelli Ward, the Republican Party chairwoman, attempted to pressure supervisors to stop counting votes. Stop counting votes.

Rev, we`re in a situation where Republicans are that open, where they`re saying we`re going to recount until we win. I wonder if -- who are we going to march on right now? Because at the state level, everybody gets it, it seems to be Washington that doesn`t get it.

SHARPTON: And that is why you need to march on Washington, the action on Washington. What they have been able to do, and I said this to the president and vice president in the meeting, is the right has built a movement. It started as the tea party. It went into the birtherism movement. Now, it`s Trump. We have to put that kind of movement under Democrats so that they understand that their very political lives depend on them sustaining and protecting our right to vote. All of them, we put people there that will do that.

This is not about them. This is about us. And that`s why I said it must be intergenerational, even as the vice president called for young activists, old. The war is not in the movement. The war must be the movement must say to those that on the frontline, either you protect us or we put other people in the front lines. But this is nonnegotiable. We are not giving up our right to vote.

REID: They`re going to find out. They`re going to mess around and find out that if they won`t fight for their base, they base will replace them with people who will fight. The only difference between now and the 1960s is everybody in Congress were old white guys who even if they were far-right or far-left or in the middle, could all sit down and have a beer together because they were socially on the same side and could all live with whatever the result were.

This is now a fight to the finish. It`s democracy or autocracy. It`s America or 1980s South Africa. That`s how serious it is, Democrats. Wake up. Do the clapping. Wake up. Okay, well these activists here are fighting for it. Kurt Bardella, thank you very much. The Rev, Reverend Al Sharpton, Melanie Campbell, thank you all very much.

Up next on THE REIDOUT, the circus arrives in Austin, Texas, as Greg Abbott begins his special session of wedge issues, white grievance and black voter suppression in what we`re calling #thesuppressionsession.

Plus, Puppet Kevin gets ready to make his choices known for the January 6th select committee. Will he take this seriously or just use it as another opportunity to troll America and suck up to Trump?

And a little light reading from the absolute worst book club, tonight`s selection. MAGA cult egg elegy, a memoir of a man who surrendered his soul at the altar of Trump.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: The Texas legislature began its special legislative session, or more accurately, its suppression session today, with an agenda almost exclusively devoted to restricting the rights of Texans` voting rights in particular.

Republican Governor Greg Abbott laid out 11 issues that he wants to prioritize. Among them, so-called election integrity, AKA, voter suppression, border security, addressing alleged social media censorship, and you guessed it, critical race theory, also, bail reform, restrictions on abortion drugs and banning transgender athletes from competing in high school sports, because that is a top, top priority for Texas.

Notably not included in that right-wing red meat dinner plate, doing anything whatsoever about the power grid, the one that failed millions of Texans during a freak winter storm, and then Texans were asked to conserve electricity during a heat wave last month, but nothing about that.

At a news conference with activists from Black Voters Matter, the chair of the Texas Democratic Caucus spelled out what`s really on Greg Abbott`s agenda.


STATE REP. CHRIS TURNER (D-TX): We have a problem keeping the lights on in the state, we learned this year.

That`s what Greg Abbott ought to be focused on, not on his next primary election, not on pandering to Donald Trump and his extremist base.



REID: Ah, yes, the primary.

That said, Texas Republicans wasted zero time rolling out a pair of revamped voter suppression bills in both houses of the legislature. Both would add new voter requirements for mail-in voting and ban drive through voting and overnight early voting.

They`d also criminalize, criminalize election officials sending unsolicited mail-in ballot applications and empower partisan poll watchers to intimidate voters.

The bills are similar to the one Republicans tried to pass during the regular legislative session in May, which was killed by Texas Democratic lawmakers with a late-night walkout.

Joining me now, Texas State Representative Senfronia Thompson, dean of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, and LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter.

And, Dean, the dean, Democratic Caucus Dean Thomas (sic), I want to talk first, the Occam`s razor answer to why this is happening is a guy named Allen West, who I know well. I covered him in Florida. He is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs-ish, the guy who wanted to March on Washington with bayonets because -- because Barack Obama was elected president, that guy.

He is now potentially running for governor against your current governor. Is that why this is happening? Is this why they`re rolling out this full blue plate special of insane bills?

STATE REP. SENFRONIA THOMPSON (D-TX): I`m wondering why they are really rolling this out at all, because the bill failed last month.

And, usually, when we have a bill that fails, we move forward to the next session of the legislature. So, we don`t know why we`re really here, other than the fact that the governor is running for reelection, and he`s trying to reach the White House by way of becoming a president.

REID: Yes, well, he`s trying to roll out all, LaTosha, of the issues, the red meat issues that get FOX News conservatives excited, critical race theory, the blacks are coming to get you, the browns are coming to get you at the border.

But what they`re doing functionally is essentially trying to zero out all the ways that black people vote. You tweeted something earlier today that I feel like people need to read, if they didn`t see it on Twitter.

You wrote this. Let me get this right: "Y`all want us to do more work, register more people and turn out more voters? The last time we did that, we got attacked, and now have fewer voting rights. Please explain the logic of, why do we have to bear the burden to do more, only to get less?"

I know you have to be exhausted running around trying to fight these voter suppression laws. You seem to be expressing some frustration that activists are having to do it all, when the party that supposedly cares the most about black people is in power in Washington.


There`s a paradox of being black in America, that it seems that all of the political systems, even the political parties that we support, are always leaning towards white comfort.

At the end of the day, black folks came out in record, historic numbers. Black and brown folks in Texas now make the majority -- could possibly make the majority of the electorate. And they`re being attacked.

What we`re seeing is we`re seeing that it`s not just limited to Texas or even to Georgia. We`re seeing that all around this nation. So, here it is, that voters came out, did what they were supposed to do. They voted, and, in fact, they`re being attacked.

And then the question is, who is going to protect the voter? Who is going to make sure that they put everything on the field just as we did? Why are the Democrats continuing and President Biden continuing to support the filibuster? It is clear that the Republicans have no intention of literally being able to come up to any agreement that will support voting rights, but, in fact, do the opposite.

And so there is a frustration. There`s a growing frustration in our community. There should be a growing frustration in America. This is really about democracy. This isn`t a partisan issue. But what we do expect is, we do expect the party to put everything on the field, just as we did in the election.

REID: It shouldn`t be a partisan issue.

But, as the Republican Party has become a white interest party, they`re being very open about that now. They`re saying, no, we only want to make sure that white, rural and our voters, people who vote for us, can vote. And everybody else, you just -- you`re not going to be able to. We`re just going to make it so hard, you can`t do it.

Dean, I`d love to call you Dean Thompson. I`m going to keep calling you Dean Thompson.

Representative Thompson, let me just read through what`s in this bill that they want to put through, a new voter I.D. requirement for vote by mail, banning drive-through voting, banning overnight early voting, criminalizing sending unsolicited applications, and this poll watchers thing.

I want to focus on that last thing. What is it that they think that these poll watchers should be allowed to do?

S. THOMPSON: Well, the thing that they want to do is, they normally put -- I have had experience in this area.

They normally put poll watchers in minority areas, and they are normally people of different nationalities than the areas that they are placed in. And they are there to intimidate the workers -- not the workers, but they intimidate the voters.

And when persons -- people walk into a poll, and they see these strange persons in their polling place looking at them mean-spirited, it`s frightening. And, sometimes, they may just get up and walk out because of the intimidation.

REID: Are they allowed to be armed? Can they -- can those poll watchers be armed?


S. THOMPSON: Well, that`s a good question, particularly since we have just passed the permitless gun bill.

We know that the person themselves who presides over the poll can, in fact, have a gun.

REID: Yes.

S. THOMPSON: But whether the poll watchers would be permitted to have one is another question.

I would predict that they probably -- they properly could be.

REID: Yes.

S. THOMPSON: And then the most difficult thing is that they`re going to be difficult to supervise if they step out of line.

You have to find them acting up maybe two or three times before you can ask them to leave or ask the police to come and ask them to be escorted out.

REID: Yes.

S. THOMPSON: And a lot of harm could be done within that period of time.

REID: Indeed.

LaTosha, what do you want to see done differently? We had -- civil rights activist met -- I don`t know if you were able to hear Rev. Sharpton and Melanie Campbell talking about the demands they took in.

And they told the White House that folks are frustrated. The White House knows folks are frustrated. Do you understand why they seem to be so calmly walking into this? They too will not be able -- I don`t know if they get that they cannot win reelection if they are banned from winning reelection, that, even if they get the numbers, they will just say, no, we erase this off the books.

Do you think they get it? What do you want to see them do differently?

BROWN: You know, not only do I think it`s just about getting around black voters and whether they win -- or loss.

I think there`s a larger question here. Will we have a real democracy? Will democracy be real in this nation, when we were talking about voting rights? Are we going to protect the rights of citizens to vote for whomever they please?

What I`d like to see is, one, I would like to see an immediate end to the filibuster. We know what is holding up legislation. We know that that has been a tool that has been used traditionally to stop civil rights legislation.

Two, I would like to see the administration do everything in its power to pass For the People Act. We need federal legislation that is going to create a baseline, so whether you live in Alabama or Iowa or Texas, you will have equal access to the ballot vote. And we want to see the John Lewis Voter Advancement Act.

And even that, in itself, is not enough. I think that`s a great start. But what is not negotiable is our voting rights. We will be relentless and we are resilient, and we are going to keep our foot on the pedal. It is important for us to have voting rights in this country.

We showed up. And we should not be punished because we participated in voting...

REID: Yes.

BROWN: ... and using our civil rights.

REID: And you cannot buy people off with infrastructure and a bridge if they can`t vote and they have no rights.

I -- my -- anyway, my head`s going to explode.

Texas Representative Senfronia Thompson and LaTosha Brown, thank you both for being here.

Still ahead: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is expected to announce his picks for the January 6 select committee soon. I`m sure his picks will be serious, sober-minded lawmakers, intent on getting all the facts.


REID: Right? Right? Come on. No.

Plus, there`s new reporting on what Donald Trump said about his supporters the night before the insurrection. It won`t surprise you. I will talk about all of that when the chair of the January 6 select committee is on next.



REID: It`s been more than six months since the insurrection at the Capitol, and the select committee to investigate that attack is still taking shape.

With eight of the 13 slots on that committee now filled by Speaker Pelosi, we`re still awaiting the announcement from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is expected to propose five Republicans for the remaining positions.

NBC News reports that Kevin has spoken to multiple colleagues about possibly serving. However, the question is whether he will try to sabotage the investigation by picking Republicans who are more loyal to Trump`s big lie than to American democracy.

Some members of the Republican Conference, like extremists Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar, could be witnesses, if not suspects, in the investigation. That said, Pelosi will have final say over Kevin`s appointees, but has declined to say whether there will be any selections that would be rejected outright.

We already know that the investigation will focus on the role Donald Trump played in encouraging the insurrection, as it should. And Chairman Bennie Thompson has not ruled out a subpoena for the ex-president.

Last month, ProPublica reported that the White House knew what kind of extremists would be descending on the Capitol that day. And according to excerpt from the new book by Michael Bender of "The Wall Street Journal, " Trump himself raised questions about what his supporters might do.

On the day before the insurrection, Trump asked his team if the following day would be peaceful. "Don`t forget, " Trump told them, "these people are fired up."

I`m joined now by the chairman of the select committee on January 6, Congressman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi.

And, Chairman Thompson, I want to start with that question about what, in your view, would be unacceptable in terms of people that Kevin McCarthy might pick. Is it just extremists, like the Lauren Boeberts and Marjorie Q. Greenes, or is there somebody -- is there some criteria in your own mind about what would be unacceptable?

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): Well, thank you very much, Joy, for having me.

It`s clear that this committee has to work. We`re not interested in people who are distracters in doing the work. We can differ, but there`s a process. Committees operate by rules and regulations. As chair, I will make sure that we do that.

I would hope that Leader McCarthy give members on this committee the respect they are due by putting people on there who want to find out what really happened on January 6, rather than put people who are denying that anything occurred. All of the information you can see in the public sector, it was quite a show. And it almost cost the life of a lot more people, members of Congress, staff who work in the building.


And so we have to do is take the charge that this committee has been tasked to do, is look at the facts and circumstances on January 6, and call it like we see it. We will go where the facts lead us. Nothing is sacred. The committee at this point has no shrinking violets on it. We want to get it done.

We will hire the best investigators. And we will do whatever we need to do to get to the facts.

REID: Are you concerned that -- I can see somebody like a Jim Jordan getting picked, because he`s already a committee chair, and then him leading his side of this committee to try to raise things like Black Lives Matter or to use distractions by trying to say Antifa did it or trying to raise some of the Donald Trump conspiracy theories on the committee.

Are you worried about that happening?

B. THOMPSON: Well, I`m not worried about it happening.

If those individuals raise the issues, we have a process by which we go through. None of the information that we have gleaned thus far indicate that Black Lives Matter or Antifa was involved in the activities of January 6. If those individuals have the information, they need to present it.

But, otherwise, we will proceed where the investigative -- investigation leads.

REID: But let me ask you this question, too, because Byron York of "The Washington Examiner, " of the conservative "Washington Examiner, " has sort of played out what I think is going to be the Republican argument against this commission.

And he says: "Priorities. In order, the House select committee will be about, one, getting Trump, two, getting McCarthy, and, three, getting any other Republican who might be gettable."

How do you respond to people like Byron York?

B. THOMPSON: Well, I would suggest he read the resolution establishing the select committee.

The scope of the committee is quite clear as to what our responsibilities are. We will have a budget. We will be able to hire a staff. And we will follow the information.

As you know, significant resources have already been expended by committees of jurisdiction in trying to get us to where we are today. What we want to do now is take that information that Judiciary, Government Reform and Oversight, House Administration, and put it in the venue of this select committee, coupled with the investigation that we will do.

And we will draft the product.

REID: Do...

B. THOMPSON: So, people would get out and say those things, but that`s not the charge of this committee.

The charge is the scope and circumstances of January 6.

REID: Yes.

We have already seen the ex-president attempting to make a martyr of Ashli Babbitt, the woman who was an Air Force veteran who tried to climb through the speaker`s lobby door through the window, and was shot by a Capitol Police officer.

Are you concerned that members of the Republican side of this commission will try to make public the identity of the officer who protected a lot of people`s lives by having to take that shot that I`m sure he didn`t want to take? But, in this case, he protected people`s lives.

Are you worried that Republicans, who are now out to out this person`s identity, will use this commission to divulge their identity and put this gentleman in danger?

B. THOMPSON: Well, I will not, as chair, allow this commission -- committee to be used as a political pawn.

We will do what`s in the best interests of this country. If I have to, as chair, protect any and all individuals, we will do that. There are some people who have already expressed concern about their own safety if they come and testify before this committee.

REID: Sure.

B. THOMPSON: If we have to set up a process by which they testify behind a shield, we will do that.

REID: Yes.

B. THOMPSON: I hope the integrity of this commission will be above reproach.

REID: Yes.

B. THOMPSON: As chair, I will make sure that those individuals who want to try to do otherwise, as chairman, I will make sure that they don`t succeed.

REID: Congressman Bennie Thompson, who`s chairing this January 6 commission, thank you very much, sir. Really appreciate your time.

And still ahead: our climate in crisis. rampant wildfires, rapidly rising sea levels, severe droughts, scientists say it`s all because of the climate crisis, commonly known as climate change.

Yet, somehow, conservatives have managed to convince themselves and many others that it`s really not a big deal. How did they pull that off?

That`s next. Stay with us.



REID: It has never been more clear that we are in a severe climate crisis. California which had a record-breaking wildfire season last year is already on pace to surpass that. Ninety-three percent of the American west is currently experiencing drought conditions. Last week, a town in Canada set the country`s record, 121 degrees. And then was promptly engulfed by a wildfire that destroyed 90 percent of their village, 90 percent.

Portland, Oregon, hit three consecutive records at the end of June which killed 116 people. A new study concludes this extreme heat will be virtually impossible without, quote, human caused climate change. The study is not yet peer-reviewed, but the AP calls their methods credible. If none of this screams apocalypse to you, sea creatures are cooking in their own shells, but much of the world goes on as if everything is fine. Fossil fuels making oil spills like this one last week in the gulf of Mexico more likely.

But there`s a good reason people haven`t been focused on this enough, and it has everything to do with politics and big money. And there are very, very rich, very self-interested people in industries paying big money to make sure that you don`t pay attention.

In a memo for Republicans in 2001, consultant Frank Luntz instructed them to scrub their vocabulary of "global warning" because it had catastrophic connotations and rely on climate change, which suggested a more controllable and less emotional challenge.


And it clearly worked. And oil companies like ExxonMobil have been lobbying against climate action from the very beginning and it`s still happening today.

A senior lobbyist for Exxon told an undercover reporter that the company had been working to weaken key aspects of President Biden`s flagship initiative, the climate crisis, and that he`s speaking to Senator Joe Manchin`s office every week. Manchin`s spokesperson claimed the lobbyist exaggerated their relationship.

Okay. I`m joined by Congressman Ro Khanna of California, chair of the House Oversight Environment Subcommittee, and Charlie Pierce, writer at large for "Esquire".

Congressman Ro Khanna, I want to start with you first. Let me play the Greenpeace -- a piece of Greenpeace undercover video. Take a listen.


KEITH MCCOY, EXXON LOBBYIST: Did we aggressively fight against some of the science? Yes. Did we hide our science? Absolutely not. Did we -- did we join some of these shadow groups to work against some of the early efforts? Yes. That`s true. But there`s nothing illegal about that.


REID: I`m required to read their statement. Exxon lobbyist Keith McCoy said: I`m deeply embarrassed by my comments and I allowed myself to fall for Greenpeace`s deception. My statements clearly do not represent ExxonMobil`s position on important policy issues. Exxon CEO Darren Wood said, we condemn the statements and are deeply apologetic for them , including comments regarding interactions with elected officials.

Okay. Should these men be called to testify in Congress about these statements, Congressman?

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Joy, they should be called. They will be called. They`re going to show up to our committee in September. It is appalling that every other industry has shown up to congress, tech CEOs, defense contractors, the pharmaceutical industry, the Wall Street industry.

Who do these fossil fuel executives think they are that they don`t have to show up in Congress? That`s going to change. We are prepare today use whatever tool is necessary. They will be showing up and answers the questions of members of Congress.

REID: You know, Charlie, isn`t the fact that who they think they are are the people who own the United States and own the government and they feel like they`re in complete ownership of not just Republicans but some Democrats in oily states, no?

CHARLIE PIERCE, ESQUIRE MAGAZINE WRITER AT LARGE: Oily states. Coalish, I guess would be the word, states. Any state dependent on the extraction industry.

But this is again ,this is a playbook we have seen before, Joy. This is exactly what the tobacco companies did.

REID: Correct.

PIERCE: They knew all along nicotine was addictive. They just wouldn`t tell anybody.

Exxon, their document, there`s documented everyday they knew exactly what carbon was doing to the atmosphere long before everybody except I guess Jim Hansen (ph) did, and you know, they kept it to themselves. So this is -- this is why Americans -- this is the way American corporations, which by and large lost, you know, in a pretense of a social conscious around the 1980s, it`s the way they operate.

REID: Yeah, because they want money, money, money.

You wrote this, Charlie, in "Esquire": The vaccinations are quick, easy, and free, yet there`s a movement to resist the idea. If we can`t convince them to do this, how are we going to convince them to make the sacrifices the climate crisis inevitably will force upon us?

While I`m reading, Charlie, I`m going to ask you a question, Congressman. We talk about this a lot in our team when we talk about doing these stories on climate, that whenever you do climate or COVID, it reads to a lot of the public as you`re telling me what to do. You tell me how to wear mask, you tell me how to get a vaccination, you tel me I can`t drive my SUV.

So anything that reads as you`re telling me what to do, people rejected, and don`t want to hear it.

So, my question is how do we take action in a governmental sense when Americans won`t even save their own lives by taking a free vaccine?

KHANNA: Joy, I think most Americans want to take action on the climate. Many want to be stewards of the land. They don`t want to live next to pollution.

The problem has been that big fossil fuel industries have spent millions of dollars spreading climate disinformation, saying that we don`t have a climate crisis. It`s just climate change. That it`s not human caused, saying that we can just tweak things and everything will be fine.

So the American people are up against millions of dollars of self- interested advertising that`s not disclosed. And I think a congressional hearing will change the game, just like when big tobacco came before Congress and had to explain what they`re doing, big fossil fuel industry executives will have to explain what they`re doing to the American public, and the American public will not put up with it.

REID: Yeah, Charlie, you`re a word guy. I mean, the reality is Democrats have to stop playing on Republicans` turf. Stop saying climate change. That`s Frank Luntz`s words. That`s he`s professionally created to create disinformation. He`s good at it.


But why are we saying climate change? It`s a climate crisis. It`s a crisis. Stop talking like that.

PIERCE: I deliberately stopped using climate change on the blog that I write when I heard about the Frank Luntz connection. I have been calling it a climate crisis.

In a while back, the last book I wrote, I went to a place called Shishmaref in Alaska which is a barrier island above the Arctic Circle and it`s going away. I mean, because the sea ice doesn`t form anymore and because this basically what that place is is a place where typhoons go to die. They go up the east coast of Asia and what they used to is they used to beat themselves to death on the sea ice, and there`s no sea ice anymore, so you`re getting typhoons in the Arctic and it`s eating away the permafrost and this place is gradually despairing. But people there to know.

REID: Yeah. No, absolutely. Last question to you very quick, I`m sorry, we`re running out of time, but I got to get you to comment on Fox News getting into the weather business, because to me, that`s just another opportunity for them to lie and create disinformation that gets people killed and kills the planet. Your thoughts?

KHANNA: Is that for me?

REID: That`s for you, Charlie.

PIERCE: Oh, I`m sorry. Yeah. I think this is just what we need right now is they`re going to find some Tucker Carlson meteorology telling us everything`s okay. Meanwhile, meanwhile, you know, Chicago is having problems with Lake Michigan now.

REID: And, Congressman, the last then to you, then. If you`re up against a wall of disinformation that includes Rupert Murdock putting his, you know, gnarly fingers in the game to add to his already monstrosity of disinformation, I wonder just as a legislator, what do you do? You`re up against all this money and power.

KHANNA: You are and you ask for disclosure. Here`s the hypocrisy. No one is questioning the rights. If the Exxon executive CEO wants to stand up there and say, we are for pollution, we are for disinformation and we are lying to the American public, he has a right to do that. The problem is they`re acting as if they`re for green energy.

REID: Right.

KHANNA: They`re acting as if they`re responsible stewards. And they have had an election where they`re sustainable, people who believe in sustainability on their board of directors. I think change is coming. This is a home we`re going to hold them accountable.

REID: And they`re hoping Republicans take over the entire government so that there would never be anything done about climate and even if they killed the planet, they just want their cash. I`d sad and it`s wicked.

Congressman Ro Khanna and Charlie Pierce, thank you very much/

Before we go to break, we have an update on the crisis in Haiti. Six people were arrested in connection with the assassination of President Jovenel Moise. Several media outfits citing Haiti`s minister of elections reported that at least one of them was an American citizen. The State Department said it couldn`t confirm that yet. Seven other suspected individuals were killed in a gun fight with police.

The assassination has generated confusion about who`s the legitimate leader in charge of the country right now. Prime Minister Claude Joseph who was the acting prime minister before the as nation has assumed leadership with the backing of the police and the military. Yesterday, Joseph declared a two-week siege.

Tonight`s absolute worst is next. So, don`t go anywhere.



REID: The modern day Republican Party is the living embodiment of the race to the bottom. There`s the embrace of insurrection over the peaceful transfer of power, Republican members of Congress disrespecting and defunding the police, and, of course, white nationalism. But the party`s not complete until you add a heaping hunk of spinelessness.

Take for example Republican New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik or was principled until it wasn`t politically expedient. Or what about Texas Senator Rafael "Cancun" Cruz? The Florida man basically called his wife ugly and Cruz wasn`t even Texan much to make him apologize before taking the knee.

Normally, you can`t stoop any lower than Cruz but alas, there`s one guy who found a way to stoop down lower to the ground. His name is James David Vance. You probably know him as J.D. Vance. Or you probably heard of his book, which was made into an equally crappy punch the poor`s movie, "Hillbilly Elegy". Come on, Ron Howard, you`re better than that.

Last week, he joined six other Ohioans kissing the ring of the serial sexual harasser with the hope of winning the millionaire nomination for the United States Senate. The millionaire venture capitalist and Yale graduate who`s being funded by a tech billionaire Peter Thiel has crisscrossed the country, selling his brand of supposedly principled conservatism during the 2016 election, when he was building up his name ID. Vance literally told anyone at that time who would listen how bad Trump was.

In February of 2016, he wrote, Trump`s actual policy proposals range from immoral to absurd. In April of that year, he wrote, Mr. Trump is unfit for our nation`s highest office. Three months later, he wrote Trump is cultural heroin. He makes some people feel better for a bit but he cannot fix what ails them and one day, they`ll realize it. Basically called him crack.

But wait, there`s more, and this one is -- this is pretty good. He wrote that Trump offers a slogan about greatness with little substance to support it.

Flash forward to this weekend, candidate J.D. Vance is spending a majority of his time apologizing for his negative comments and literally deleting traces of them from Twitter.

He lined up a bunch of interviews outside the Fox echo chamber to rationalize his reversal. He told "Time Magazine" that he`s the leader of the movement and if he actually cares about these people and the things I say I care about, I just need to suck it up and support it.

This level of subservience is epically gross but that doesn`t seem to bother Vance at all. He told NBC News that when it comes to suck-ups, Trump gets a certain kick out of people kissing butt. And also, he thinks that people who kisses butt all the time are pretty weak.

JD, you`re talking about you. You. As the kids would say, you played yourself.

And for shameful, no self-respect to grabbling (ph), mollycoddling and flip-flopper, you are tonight`s absolute worst, and a suck-up.

And that is tonight`s REIDOUT.