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Transcript: The ReidOut, 8/11/21

Guests: Eric Swalwell, Malcolm Nance, Miguel Cardona, Sherrod Brown, Gina Hinojosa


Trump supporters shout, hail Trump and give Nazi salute. Polls show 45 percent of Trump voters have not been vaccinated. Fox News Host spouts white replacement theory. Former U.S. attorney says he resigned after refusing to support the big lie in Georgia. Debate over masks and vaccines heats up as school reopen. Senate Democrats begin work on infrastructure reconciliation. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is interviewed. New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul didn`t mince words in her first press conference since Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he would be resigning in the next two weeks. Texas is in a full-blown coronavirus crisis, but Republicans are fixated on suppressing Democratic votes so they can hang on to minority rule apartheid style, and not on saving the lives of their constituents.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: It`s not a final but that`s my contender. Have a great --

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: A very good one, Joy. You too, have a good one too.

REID: Thank you very much. Have a good night.

All right, good evening everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the five-alarm warning this country somehow missed. Four years ago tonight, we got our first on-camera glimpse of the fascism right in front of us. On the evening of August 11th, 2017, a horde of young white supremacists, including neo-Nazis, right wing militias and members of the Ku Klux Klan descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, for an event they called Unite the Right. They marched with torches like old time Klansmen, chanting Jews will not replace us, as they paraded through the campus of the University of Virginia.

It was eerily reminiscent of the torch light rallies held at Nuremberg during the third Reich, and intentionally so. The following day, they brazenly carried confederate flags and symbols of Nazi genocide as they vowed to protect the statue of a treasonous confederate general and they openly embraced Donald Trump as one of their own. In fact just months earlier, an organizer of the Unite the Right shouted, hail Trump, hail our people, and was greeted with Nazi salute and applause at a pro-Trump campaign rally.

Another organizer was a member of the violent far-right Proud Boys, which would later lead the siege of the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. In other words, Charlottesville, four years ago tonight, was a tinder box just waiting to ignite, and inevitably, it did. In fact, we witnessed some of the violence live on this very network when one of our guests, Reverend Traci Blackmon, was whisked away for her own safety.


REVEREND TRACI BLACKMON, MINISTER, ASSOCIATE GENERAL MINISTER OF JUSTICE: I was invited in to give a speech to that regard. And as we were closing down -- I`ve got to go, I`ve got to go, I`ve got to go.

REID: Oh, my goodness, I don`t know what is happening here. I don`t know what just happened with our guest. But we`re going to try to find out what happened. And she was standing at the location where it looks like now violence has broken out among the crowd.


REID: While the footage is disturbing, we saw extremists violently clash with those opposing them and, ultimately, a young woman, Heather Heyer, was murdered when a neo-Nazi thug plowed his car into a crowd of those counter- protesters.

But at the moment this country most needed some moral clarity from its leaders. Donald Trump made it clear that he had no intention and would not take sides against the fascists.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: You also had people that were very fine people on both sides.


REID: Fine people, he said. It`s the exact same way that Trump later described the January 6th insurrectionists who attempted to reinstall him as president by force.


TRUMP (voice over): They were peaceful people. These were great people. The crowd was unbelievable, and I mentioned the word, love, the love in the air, I`ve never seen anything like it.


REID: The love in the air. Thanks to Trump and his big lie, the brand of extremism that we first saw in Charlottesville and then later at the Capitol has only gained support. Just today, Trump attacked the police officer who shot insurrectionist Ashli Babbitt to defend the lives of the lawmakers that he`s sworn to protect. Unbelievably, the former president is now putting that officer`s life in danger, claiming, quote, we know who he is.

This comes as the Department of Homeland Security is sounding the alarm issuing a rare bulletin to local law enforcement to warn about the potential for more political violence. As a department spokesperson told NBC News, we are currently in a heightened terrorism-related threat environment that`s due to unsubstantiated claims of fraud related to the 2020 election and the alleged, quote, reinstatement of former President Donald Trump, a theory made popular by QAnon believers.

Joining me now is Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, a Trump impeachment manager earlier this year, and Malcolm Nance, MSNBC Counterterrorism and Intelligence Analyst.

Congressman, I`m going to go to you first because you`re in a lawsuit over what happened on January 6th. I don`t know if we have footage the team has just to remind people of how similar that looked to the mayhem we saw in Charlottesville. But talk a little bit about as an elected official who was protected by those Capitol Police officers, how you respond to the president of the United States who defended the Charlottesville neo-Nazis now saying, we know who the officer is who shot Ashli Babbitt and essentially teeing that officer up to be threatened by his supporters?


REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): That officer`s life, sadly, is in danger. He is a hero, Joy. I am alive today and my colleagues are alive because he had to make that fateful decision, one that no officer wants to make but a mob was crashing through the doors into the speaker`s lobby. I saw them. I heard the smashing, the pounding, the breaking of glass, the chanting. And had they gotten through, it was many of our more vulnerable members who were the last to leave that would have been overrun had that officer not acted so bravely.

The officer has been cleared by the Department of Justice. And, of course, any time an officer uses their firearm, they should be investigated, and he was cleared, most importantly. And so to want to out this person after being cleared is only intended to put that person`s life in danger.

And this is just crushing these officers. We`ve had five deaths by suicide of officers who were at the Capitol on January 6th. And to see two versions of the same event being told to really re-describe and re-imagine what happened that day, it`s such an insult to the brave men and women who defended the Capitol.

REID: Yes, indeed. You know, and, Malcolm, you seem to be in the business of prognosticating bad things that then later happened and you saw the Trump movement as a violent movement. You and I have talked about it, the sort of open, now open, pretty open fascism of it.

A couple of pieces of data for you, Malcolm, Morning Consul did a poll in June where 29 percent of Republicans say that they believe that Trump will be reinstated as president, a ludicrous assertion for anyone who had seventh grade civics. A Monmouth poll in June showed 63 percent of Republicans believe that Joe Biden only won during voter fraud. They believed a lot the same about Barack Obama. An American Enterprise Institute poll in January showed 39 percent of Republicans say that they believe, that they support violence, they support violence if political leaders fail to act, meaning they don`t do what they want. And one more 45 percent of Trump voters are unvaccinated and so are holding the rest of us hostage to the pandemic. Your thoughts.

MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC COUNTERTERRORISM AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: You know, four years ago when Charlottesville happened, I recall saying on air that what we were looking at is the cotillion, the coming out party of all the disparate various factions of the conservative right and the youth movement that Steve Bannon created through the gamer community, all coming together and forming their own wing of what would be arguably a paramilitary support organization for the Trump team.

That was the neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, the Boogaloo Boys, the Proud Boys, the militias, all of them at that time, came together at Charlottesville and marched like the Nazis at Nuremberg and that was purposeful, including their chant of Jews will not replace us, with the crazy replacement theory that they live for.

We thought that that broke up after Charlottesville. We thought the proprium for the nation had put them down. And as I monitored them for those years, you could see that they had gone underground. But what was happening was they were congealing. And by the summer of 2020 with the George Floyd protest, they had come back together as a paramilitary of the Trump campaign unofficially.

And in 2020 -- after the 2020 election, they have appointed themselves an insurgency. And they carried out exactly what I predicted last November. The first insurrection of what I suspect will be many insurrections. We are dealing with an insurgency in the United States, and they are now organized under the banner of Trump.

REID: My pin tweet on Twitter says exactly that, that the Republican Party, Representative Swalwell, is harboring that insurgency and it is a white nationalist insurgency. Let`s just be blunt. It breaks down along the lines of this idea of replacement theory, which Malcolm just mentioned, some replacement theory, Malcolm just mentioned.

Representative Swalwell, here`s Tucker Carlson promoting replacement theory, which is a core white nationalist belief system, on his very popular Fox News show. Take a listen.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: What`s happening at the border is not a crisis. This is an intentional act. This is the administration bringing felons, violent criminals into our country on purpose. Why would you do something like that only to destroy it? It`s an act of hostility against the United States in order to change it forever.

The only beneficiaries to the people who run the Democratic Party and this is an effort to change the country, and we should be honest about it.


REID: So that not on his show, that was on the comfy couch show, on the Fox & Friends morning show, but still on that network. Do you -- you have to work with people who pretty much have that on in their offices all day and think that is mainstream beliefs.


You work with these people, Congressman. Do you feel comfortable and safe working with people who at minimum are willing to live with that kind of fascism and white nationalism in their party?

SWALWELL: No, Joy, I don`t. And we look at many of our colleagues and believe that had they not been in Congress on January 6, they would have been on the other side of the door right next to Ashli Babbitt. And so I`m not working with them. I`m working to replace them from Congress. That`s the replacement theory that I`m all in for, is to make sure they don`t come back in 2023.

But it`s really, Joy, these twin lies that are killing us, literally killing us. The lie that the election was stolen has taken the lives of many police officers and the lie that vaccines do not work also propagated by Tucker Carlson, Kevin McCarthy and, you know, those guys in the Republican Party, it`s killing Americans and it`s starting to kill our kids. And so the two twin lies, to make sure that they are held accountable for that, I think that`s the pathway to making sure that we keep the majorities in both the House and the Senate.

REID: I mean, it`s critical because we only have -- the Democratic Party has a lot of issues. Okay, I get annoyed with you all a lot, but at least the Democratic Party is a normal political party, right? The Republican Party, as Malcolm has said, is an insurgency and is housing an insurgency. So give me another prognostication. I`m going to take the risk of scaring is caring, Malcolm, so I`m going to allow you to do this.

On August 13 or 14, just a few days from now, the QAnon believers, which is now a substantial portion of the Republican base, believe that Donald Trump will be reinstated as president through some magic that they only understand. When that doesn`t happen, then what?

NANCE: Well, nothing is going to happen here in August. You know, there`s a substantial portion of the gun slinging conservatives base that really doesn`t support QAnon. Even though, and I said this a year ago on this program, QAnon would take over the Republican ideology, and it has, even though they don`t allow Q shirts at Trump rallies and things like that, the belief in the inherent evilness of all Democrats and that that there`s a global cabal that must be destroyed by force of arms, that is now standard throughout the conservative base.

So let me prognosticate a little bit more. The Republican Party -- you know, I used to joke that they were Vanilla Ices, right, all of these militia men and everything out there. They were like ISIS. They were like Al Qaeda in the sense that they radicalized online, they would meet together in secret and they did all of these activities, which were very much like a terrorist insurgency.

Now, I think they have shifted. The Republican Party is more like Sinn Fein and the relationship between Sinn Fein, the Irish Nationalist Party, and the Irish Republican army, provisional Irish Republican army terrorist group, who called themselves freedom fighters and insurgents and had Americans, American Congressman sending them money to buy, you know, heavy machine guns.

These guys view themselves as this fanciful group of patriotic freedom fighters, the second coming of the sons of liberty. And there are many of them who are preparing for civil war right now. All these shame that we tried to give them after January 6, that`s gone. There are many of them right now that are ready to fight and we`re seeing politicians in the statehouses and the Capitol who are actually, you know, pushing them subliminally to fight.

REID: Yes.

SWALWELL: And, by the way, Joy, who would want to come to Washington in August? I mean, that tells you everything you need to know about their judgment.

REID: Well, there you go, there you go. Very quickly, a little news for our audience here. We did have some testimony today by a guy named B.J. Pak, a former U.S. Attorney in Atlanta, who told congressional investigators on Wednesday that his abrupt resignation in January had been prompted by Justice Department officials warning that Trump intended to fire him. Why? For refusing to say that the election was fraudulent. So Donald Trump was actively attempting to overthrow the incoming government. So, you know, keep that in mind as you think about what we`re dealing with on the other side of the aisle from Representative Eric Swalwell.

Representative Swalwell, thank you very much. Malcolm Nance, thank you very much. Thank you.

And on this four-year anniversary of Charlottesville, an event Joe Biden said inspired him to run for president, it`s also a reminder that Biden chose the third anniversary of that racist outrage, one year ago today, to make history by announcing a black and Asian-American woman, Senator Kamala Harris, would be his running mate. In a tweet today Biden called it one of the most important decisions I have ever made. I couldn`t ask for a better friend on this journey.

And up next on THE REIDOUT, the anti-massacre is getting outright hostile and threatening violence as schools reopen.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will find you. We know who you are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will not be allowed in public again.


REID: That mob going after medical professionals after a school board meeting in Tennessee. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona joins me.

Plus, Senator Sherrod Brown is here on the looming battles in Congress over the Democrats` biggest priorities.

And tonight absolute worse, the Republican fetish for locking up their political rivals. THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: Nearly a year-and-a-half into the pandemic, parts of America are essentially back to square one with vaccine rejectors holding Americans who did the right thing hostage with their intransigents and with Republican politicians in some states denying protection for the newest vulnerable population, our nation`s children.


Across the country, and principally in the south, the delta variant that`s ravaging communities has hospitals stripped to their limits, in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Arkansas. And Texas now has its fewest available ICU beds since the pandemic began.

The surge coincides with the start of the school year in parts of this country, and while California today became the first state to require vaccination or weekly testing for teachers, Republican Governors Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott of Texas have doubled down on their ludicrous and dangerous math mandate bans.

But even in states where school boards are empowered to put in place masking requirements, things are going south, so to speak. In Tennessee Health officials are warning that the current surge is on track to surpass last year`s.

And a terrifying scene unfolded last night after the school board in Williamson County, an affluent suburb of Nashville voted to require masks in elementary schools.


REID: Joining me now, U.S. Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, and Secretary Cardona, thank you so much for being here. I`ve got to start by asking, we are at the point now where we have to ask, how do we keep health professionals and teachers safe if you`ve got people who are willing to get violent over mask mandates?

MIGUEL CARDONA, U.S. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: You know, it`s hard enough to reopen schools in the middle of a pandemic, you know, and I applaud the educators for the last year and a half who have done everything in their power to safely reopen schools and get kids back into the classroom where they learn best, now to have to worry about poor policy or people that are frustrated and threatening educators and health professionals. It`s unbelievable. It`s truly unbelievable.

REID: I mean, is there -- and I don`t know if there even is, this is a genuine question? I just don`t know. Is there anything that the Federal government, that the Secretary of the Department of Education can do to provide for the fact that we now have to potentially have security for teachers who want to have their students masked, for school administrators, and also financial security, because in the State of Florida, the Governor is threatening to take -- dock the pay of people who don`t make a lot of money -- teachers and administrators, simply because they want to keep kids alive? Can the Federal government do anything?

CARDONA: That`s literally adding insult to injury. We have policies that are being implemented now that are not safe for students. So yes, we are working closely with all states, but in particular, with Florida. We`re having conversations about what we can do to make sure that, number one, our students have access to safe learning environments, that educators are given the opportunity to do what they do best.

Let`s our superintendents do their jobs. They know what to do. It is tough enough reopening schools during a pandemic, and they shouldn`t have to have their salaries threatened or deal with repercussions of making the right decisions.

Unfortunately, look at the data. Look at the data, I mean, we`re talking about the rates in Florida going up. It is dangerous and we want to make sure that our schools are reopened for our students and that parents feel confident sending their children to school. They`ve been through enough already.

REID: We had the chairwoman of the Broward County School District on the show yesterday. She said she doesn`t care if she does receive her salary. She is going to protect students.

Broward County is going to require masking. Miami-Dade has said, we will not switch -- the three districts Broward, Alachua, and Leon County, they have put mask mandates in place despite the Governor saying that they cannot do it.

There`s been a lawsuit by parents of kids with disabilities. They are suing Ron DeSantis saying that his ban on mask mandates violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. I mean, there are kids, first of all too young to get vaccinated. And then there are also kids who have preexisting conditions who could die from COVID. And they are screaming sometimes, violent parents, saying they want no mask mandates, and they want to be able to send unmasked potentially contagious kids to school.

To me, I have to ask you, do you feel that American public schools at this point are safe with those people out there?

CARDONA: You know, I have mask fatigue as well, right? But there`s no way I would feel comfortable sending my children to school in a place where the rates are higher, where they are growing. We know what`s right. And while we`re all kind of tired of wearing the mask, we want to make sure that our children are safe and we want to make sure that they have a chance to learn in the classroom.

To the Governor there and to the folks that are making these decisions, don`t be the reason why school is interrupted again, I talked to seniors this week who said, I just want to have another season. So to them, I say, don`t be the reason why we can`t have games, extracurricular activities, and our students can engage in those experiences because of your poor policies.


CARDONA: Yes, we can reopen schools safely. We have to keep an eye on the delta variant because if it accelerates due to the community spread, because we know how to keep children safe in our schools. But if it accelerates due to the community spread, I would hate to think that we have to disrupt learning again for these students. They`ve been through enough. Get out of the way.

REID: Yes, we know that there have been millions of parents who have dis- enrolled their children or failed to enroll their kids because of fear of COVID or because of the practical implications there. And a lot of those have been students of color.

I also want to ask you about what can be done with the already past COVID relief funds. We know that the administration is considering helping to pay some teachers who are getting docked in places like Florida. We know that may have to happen in other states, because Texas seems to follow them.

But what about other things like schools that are actually not physically ready to bring kids back safely, because they don`t have adequate, you know, heating or cooling; places that are too hot, buildings that don`t have enough green space to allow children to play outside? How is the administration handling making sure that schools particularly in low income and minority communities are actually physically ready to bring kids back safely?

CARDONA: We know the pandemic affected everyone, but it affected some more than others. And as you mentioned, in the black and brown communities, or the very densely populated communities, it really affected those communities.

But the American Rescue Plan, $130 billion, intended to safely reopen schools. I visited a school recently in DeKalb County in Georgia that fixed their ventilation system to have better airflow. So, the funding is there, the urgency is there, and to those places that are struggling to do that, we want to work with you. If your intent is to get children safely back into school, we want to work with you. But if your intent is to create obstacles, we`re going to have the backs of our educators, of our superintendents, we`re having conversations about how we can support our educators in those places.

At the end of the day, educators know what to do. Lean on the health experts. You know, I don`t have a degree in epidemiology, and I would argue that the Governor doesn`t either. So, let`s let the health experts who know what they`re doing, make decisions and let our educators educate, let our leaders lead.

We`ve got your back, educators. We`re going to be discussing what ways we can support you better. But at the end of the day, as you mentioned, gaps were made worse during the pandemic, and I`m wondering how the rights of these students are being violated with some of these actions. We`re looking into this.

REID: Yes, absolutely. You`re absolutely right. And these kids have rights, too, or at least they should. It would be nice if both parties cared about them equally. Secretary Miguel Cardona, thank you very much. Really appreciate being here this evening.

All right, still ahead, Senator Joe Manchin pulled the Manchin, and says he won`t support Democrats proposed $3.5 trillion spending package. Does this mean that investments in human infrastructure are off the table? Senator Sherrod Brown joins me next. Don`t go anywhere.



REID: On the heels of a massive infrastructure victory, Senate Democrats have begun work on reconciliation for their human infrastructure package. The chairs of the committees tasked with crafting the reconciliation bill have until September to figure out how to allocate $3.5 trillion for things like climate change, universal pre-K, and affordable housing.

But don`t bust out the champagne just yet. Today, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin expressed his serious concerns about the grave consequences facing West Virginians and every American family if Congress decides to spend another $3.5 trillion.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signaled she is not interested in his theatrics. On a call today, she once again assured her entire caucus that there will be no infrastructure bill without a reconciliation package. Period. With her teeth in it.

And her Senate counterpart, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he is optimistic.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Look, there are some in my caucus who might believe it`s too much. There are some in my caucus who believe it`s too little. I can tell you this, in reconciliation; one, we are going to all come together to get something done. And two, it will have every part of the Biden plan in a big, bold, robust way.


REID: I`m now joined by someone who will be playing a key role in that reconciliation package. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, Chairman of the Banking Committee. And Senator, thank you so much for being here.

I`ve got to tell you, I`m a little tired of talking about Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. I`m just being honest with you.

When they wanted something, they got together with 20 people, all white, nobody of color, and there are a couple folks of color they could have pulled in, but they were like, we don`t want to talk to you all. We are just going to have our friends and make a bill, and then everyone is expected to support that.

But they don`t seem committed to supporting the bigger bill, which is the thing that Democrats like yourself are fighting for. Are they in any way on the Biden team at this point?

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): Well, they voted for the right answers. I mean, ask them but the answer is yes. I mean, last night, in a party line vote, Republicans have decided to oppose everything. We know that Mitch McConnell has said he wants Joe Biden to fail the way he said eight -- many years ago, 12 years ago that he wanted Barack Obama to fail.

But we moved forward last night. Every Democrat stayed with us, not just on infrastructure, what you talked about, Joy, but also on the budget bill. We will be doing as you call it, human infrastructure, call it whatever you want, we`ll be doing major investments in housing. We will lengthen the life -- we will extend the child tax credits. It is most important thing I think Congress has done in a quarter century with possible exception of the Affordable Care Act.

We will move forward on all kinds of children`s issues and healthcare and family issues. So, we`re going to move forward on these, and broadband and other things. I expect we get the 50 Democrats on board as we did last night.

When they see what we write in the weeks ahead in the next four weeks, on all of these, I think there`s going to be great enthusiasm from not just Democrats here in the Senate, but from the country.


REID: Well, I mean, the thing is, I think, you know, first of all, with the human infrastructure bill, because that`s what Democrats are calling it, I genuinely don`t understand how Democrats name things. I don`t know why all they`re not calling it the housing, childcare, and climate change bill, make it real simple. Democrats come up with like really flowery names for things that regular people don`t know what it is, and say I don`t like it because they don`t know what it is.

So, I will just throw that out there, as my little critique of the way the party operates.

BROWN: Fair enough.

REID: But make it so, you know, call the other bill shots and checks that would have been easier to pass. That`s just my opinion. But I guess what a lot of people that I talk with worry about, and what I worry about for you guys, in terms of your future in the majority is that a lot of regular folks just feel like the fix is already in, that people like Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin got the thing they wanted and that they are in politics for to do just bridges and roads and things.

But that the things that the base really cares about voting rights, being able to vote, just access to the vote, things like the police reform bill, which seems to be on its deathbed, that the bigger picture things like extending the child tax credit and making it permanent and not temporary, that all of that is being thrown under the bus. Are people wrong to feel that?

BROWN: Well, I understand people`s concerns when you hear a statement, like the statement that you started at the top of the show or just half of the segment of the show. I have that frustration, of course, too.

But watch what we do, and we are beginning this Friday. I`m assembling the other 11 Democrats on the Banking and Housing Committee and talking about the $300 billion commitment and investment we are going to do for first time homebuyers to really answer what`s happened with Jim Crow and redlining and neighborhoods around this country to deal with lead-based paint and lead in pipes in the water going into people`s homes.

What we do to reach broadband, not just Appalachia, rural Ohio, but also inner city Ohio, and the pandemic was the great revealer showing how so many people don`t have access to the internet for medical -- healthcare, for education, for jobs, and for all that.

So, watch what we do in the next four weeks. I`m committed through the month of August to these discussions, to writing this bill. And I am thrilled with what we`re going to be able to do and we`re going to get all 50 Democrats to hang together, some of them are going to say things, people are always saying things and getting attention and doing my head is down. We`re going to deliver and that`s what you hold us to, and that`s what this show wants us do. So, thank you for that.

REID: I appreciate that. And I just want to note for the audience that Senator Schumer, the Majority Leader has talked about the Reconciliation Committee, which looks a lot more like America. I shall say. It does have Senator Warnock on it, Senator Merkley, Senator Klobuchar, Senator Padilla, and then the moderates are Manchin, Kaine, Tester, and King. So that`s the group that he`s got pulling together reconciliation.

Take us behind the scenes just a little bit on the conversations that you guys are having behind the scenes. Do the progressive members like yourself who are -- is able to win in a red state? So it`s not as if your politics are out of line with your constituents. What kind of conversations do you need to be having? Or are you having with some of the moderate members who are worried about the cost, the price, the $3.5 trillion, is that going to end up getting shrunk?

BROWN: Well, I think -- no, it`s not. We`re going to deliver on what we said we`re going to deliver on that budget bill last night, the $3 trillion. I come down to the question, I want voters in Macon, Georgia in July of 2022, and to say, you know, I voted for Biden and Harris. I voted for Warnock and Ossoff and my life got better.

We know it`s going to get better because they`re going to keep getting that monthly child tax credit that lifts 40 percent of our people out of poverty, and helps to answer the anxiety that families feel at the end of the month trying to cobble together their dollars to pay their rent, so they`re not evicted.

They`re going to see -- they`re going to see their lives better because of this infrastructure. They`re going to see their lives better because they`re going to have access to broadband. They`re going to see their lives better, because they`re going to have options on childcare.

They`re going to see their lives better because their wages are going up now, because of the way that we -- because elections have consequences and elections mattered last year. And I`m not saying people shouldn`t be a bit skeptical, that`s fine with that and you express that well in an idealistic sort of way, Joy.

But we`re going to deliver on this. That`s why I ran. This is the best -- by far the best year of my career. The child tax credit, the pensions we got people, what we`re going to do on housing, what we`ve already done on transit. We`ve invested more already in transit, the biggest increase in American history, 20 percent of highway dollars are now going to transit the way it should be, and that`s not just big city transit in Cleveland where I live, where I am right now in Columbus.


It`s also rural areas where people need a transit bus to pick them up at home and take them to their dialysis treatment three times a week.

REID: Yeah.

BROWN: I mean, all of these things matter in people`s lives. It`s up to us to deliver. It`s up to you and all of us to show people who delivered and that every Republican voted against the child tax credit, for instance, and every Democrat voted for it. Hold us to that.

REID: Yes. Well, that is why Democrats vote for Democrats because Democrats do stuff that actually helps you. But my advice to y`all, make sure your voters can re-elect you. Make sure that your voters are able to access the polls. Because if they are being blocked out of the polls by the other party and the other party is willing to steal elections, it won`t matter because they`ll just reverse it. That`s just what I have to say.

Senator Sherrod Brown --

BROWN: And they are. And that`s exactly right. Thanks, Joy.

REID: Indeed. Thank you very much. Senator Sherrod Brown, really appreciate you.

And still ahead, we heard for the first time from the soon-to-be governor of New York, Kathy Hochul.

Plus, the latest on the COVID scandal next on THE REIDOUT.

We`ll be right back.




LT. GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY), INCOMING GOVERNOR: I think it`s very clear that the governor and I have not been close, physically or otherwise. I want to stand right here. At the end of my term, whenever it ends, no one will ever describe my administration as a toxic work environment.


REID: New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul didn`t mince words in her first press conference since Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he would be resigning in the next two weeks. She made it clear that no one who did anything unethical in the state attorney general`s report would keep their jobs.

But when asked if she`d pardon Cuomo, she said it`s, quote, premature for her to discuss.

I`m joined now by Cornell Belcher, Democratic pollster and president of Brilliant Corners Research.

All right, my pollster friend, give me your skinny on the politics here. Kathy Hochul is sort of a moderate, conservative, pro-NRA-ish kind of Democrat. She was like on the Republican side of the Fast and Furious thing. She`s sort of a Republican-y kind of figure.

For her politics going forward, do you think a pardon of the governor is something you could see happening?

CORNELL BELCHER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALSYT: Well, for her politics going forward, I think a pardon of the governor doesn`t help her politics going forward nor does it help the broader politics of Democrats in the state. I mean, look, when you look at the polling around this, Marist did a snap poll right after the allegations -- right after the AG came out and it showed a majority -- a strong majority of New Yorkers thinking that the governor should resign and if not resign, they should impeach him, which is a different question.

We usually see the numbers behind impeachment not quite -- you know, further behind than the numbers on resign but this wasn`t the case. Even among Democrats, you had a majority of them who think the governor should resign.

I think -- Joy, the culture around this is changing, particularly with women voters. There`s no more important cohort in the electorate, especially for Democrats, than women voters. If you look at where women voters are on this, it would be political suicide I think to pardon the governor.

REID: And again because she is sort of a right of center-ish Democrat, I can`t see her doing it either. There is also sort of all the talk, which it`s unavoidable, about the future governorship, right? The future of the governorship. I believe it ends at the end of this year.

She is likely potentially to run, but Letitia James` name is out there as well and Letitia James, unlike Kathy Hochul, is not an NRA-ish I was with the Republicans on Fast and Furious Democrat. She`s somebody who`s gone after Fox News, the Trump organization, the NRA, Purdue Pharma. She has gone after some of the biggest boogiemen on the right and been successful.

What would that look like a Hochul versus Letitia James race in your view?

BELCHER: I think it would be an interesting primary. And for our viewers, I always wanting to sort of -- people to understanding that primaries are different from general elections and we shouldn`t compare them.

REID: Yes.

BELCHER: They`re apples, they`re oranges comparison. What`s happening in primaries is fundamentally different. When you look at how progressive James has been, I think -- and when you look at the makeup of a Democratic primary there in New York, very diverse state. It`s going to be like primaries we`re seeing across the country.

And I said this, Joy, I think I said this to you, you know, going into 2008, whoever wins South Carolina is going to be the nominee because African-Americans are increasingly flexing their power in the Democratic primary. And if you look at both African-American and particularly women of color and look at sort of the large swath of that primary that`s coming out of New York City, I think she`s going to be hard to beat in a primary.

Although, again, incumbency has its power. You know as well as I do, Joy --

REID: Yes.

BELCHER: -- it`s hard to take out an incumbent. So it is hard to beat an incumbent in a primary unless you`re AOC. It`s really hard to beat an incumbent in a primary.

REID: No, you`re absolutely right. It`s going to be a race to watch, because this is also a Democrat-leaning state where Republicans have known to win a governorship or two. So, the governorship of New York is going to be a hot race coming up.

Glad to have you in the fam to talk about it. Cornell Belcher, my friend, thank you very much.

All right. Up next, Texas Republicans` efforts to impose new voting restrictions is bad. But the lengths they`re willing to go to make that happen is the absolute worst. And that`s after the break.



REID: Texas is in a full-blown coronavirus crisis. Cases are surging, hospitals are overflowing, and Republicans are -- oh, they`re fixated on suppressing Democratic votes so they can hang on to minority rule apartheid style, and not on saving the lives of their constituents. Perfect.

Yesterday, the Texas House speaker signed warrants to arrest the 52 Democrats who fled the state to stop Texas from passing voter suppression bills. Here`s the House sergeant at arms delivering a warrant to the Office of Representative Senfronia Thompson who obviously wasn`t there.

While many Democrats plan to stay in D.C., at least four have returned to Texas, meaning the house is just a few votes short of a quorum. The Republicans are so focused on reaching a quorum they need to pass those bills, and one of the representatives, Travis Clardy, infected with coronavirus, has been voting from a quarantine room, just off the House floor.


So if you`re doing everything that you can to stop Texans from voting and seeking to arrest your political opponents like this is Putin`s Russia or Mobutu`s Congo, Texas Republicans, y`all are the absolute worst.

Joining me now is one of those Texan fugitives from the long arm of the law, Texas Democratic State Representative, Gina Hinojosa.

So, Representative Hinojosa, I have to start by asking you, do you fear arrest?

STATE REP. GINA HINOJOSA (D), TEXAS: Well, I`m not in Texas right now, so I don`t currently have that fear. But definitely it is one of the reasons why I`m not in Texas. So absolutely the threat of arrest is why in part we are in Washington, D.C.

REID: Can you explain to the rest of the country who thinks it`s bizarre that a state has a law that says that if you don`t show up for votes, you can be arrested, how is that legal?

HINOJOSA: Well, we don`t think it is legal. And in fact, we are utilizing the courts currently to try to block the speaker of the House from exercising these warrants. So we filed a case a few days ago. We got an order that would prohibit -- a temporary restraining order that would prohibit our arrest that was stayed by the Republican -- our Republican Texas Supreme Court so there will be a hearing on that.

Meanwhile, we are talking to our lawyers and looking at all legal avenues to protect our freedom.

REID: You have a COVID crisis in your state. Your governor is preventing mask mandates. Dallas and some other counties are defying it. That seems to be what the Republicans should be concerned about. And yet what they`re really fixated on is this bill.

They want to ban drive-through voting and 24-hour voting. They want to shrink voting hours. They want to ban distributing mail and ballot applications. They want new voter ID.

They want monthly citizenship checks, which I don`t even know what that means, whether your citizens changed. Enhanced poll watching restrictions.

They want to basically make it uncomfortable and very difficult to vote. Can you -- is there a way to explain that obsession as anything more than an attempt to hang on to minority rule? I mean, Texas is a majority/minority state.

HINOJOSA: There is no other way, you are exactly right. In fact our unguided attorney general, Ken Paxton, explained on public radio that but for his successful attempt to block Harris County from sending applications to vote by mail to all eligible voters in the county, that`s where Houston is located, but for his successful effort there, Trump would have lost Texas.

Now we see, you just went through the provisions of the bill that we killed in our last session. Now we see that that is in the bill and it would have made it a felony for our county to do that. We know their motives. They say them out loud. They`re not even ashamed anymore by their effort to suppress the voice of the people.

REID: Let me play this for you. This is Lauren Windsor, who`s done a lot of these videos where she catches them telling the truth. Here she is talking about what you just said. Here`s Lauren Windsor`s video.


STATE REP. MATT KRAUSE (R-TX93): It has to deal with Harris County, our largest county around Houston. They made all these changes to the election code during COVID, which is just invites fraud, invites cheating and so that`s what we`ve to focus on.

STATE REP. JUSTIN HOLLAND (R-TX33): They`re going to lose seats. They`re not going to gain seats next time. They`re not going to take over. They`re going to erode. So, we`re going to make sure we come back with more Republicans.

STATE REP. COLE HEFNER (R-TX5): I`m in a real red district. But I try not to get primaried so that I can help people that are in these close districts to try to keep this redder and redder.


REID: Do you think that average Texan voters know this and understand what Republicans are up to?

HINOJOSA: I think they do now. That`s why we broke quorum and left the state. It made our constituents, it made Americans stop and pay attention and ask why are these Texas lawmakers leaving the state? Why do they have to leave the state? What`s going on?

And we`re all awake now to how fragile this democracy is. After January 6th when they could not take control of our government by brute physical force, they are now going state by state to accomplish what they did not there. They are trying to hold on to power at all costs. They are trying to silence the will of the majority of voters.

And that`s what we stood up, walked out to stop. We stood up, walked out to protect the freedom to vote. And now for a month, we`ve been in D.C. urging congress, urging the president to prioritize this issue and to pass federal voting rights legislation before it`s too late. We can only hold the line so long in Texas. We`re the minority party. And we need Congress to act now.

REID: Well, thank you for all that you`ve done, Texas State Democrats are showing us how it`s done.

Thank you, Texas State Representative Gina Hinojosa. Thank you.

That`s tonight`s REIDOUT.