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Transcript: The ReidOut, 8/6/21

Guests: Sandra Lindsay, Alexander Vindman, Tricia Rojo Bushnell, James Talarico, LaTosha Brown


Millions of Americas still refusing to be vaccinated. GOP Representative Greene threatens to shoot any vaccine advocates who knock on her door. Anti-vaxxers confront Governor Hutchinson at Town Hall. Anti- vaxxers push horse paste and sheep drench.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Yes, straightforward. Well, Vicky and Chazz will have you back to debate on all of this. We ended up doing a lot of transportation tonight. I don`t know why, that`s how it happened. But I appreciate both of you having fun with us on a Friday. Chazz Palminteri, the new season again, God Father of Harlem premiers on Sunday.


MELBER: You know you like him so check that out. And Vicky Ward, always great to have you. That does it for us.

One more programming note, I will be in for Rachel Maddow tonight at 9:00 P.M. Eastern. So, if you want to find me. I`ll be there, otherwise, have a great weekend. But keep it locked right now, THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid starts now. Hi Joy.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: How are you doing, Ari? You know why you`re talking transportation so much because it`s infrastructure week. It`s always infrastructure week, it has always been infrastructure week forever and ever. All right, have fun and get ready for the 9:00. You know, that`s a lot of research. So, all right.

MELBER: Thank you, Joy.

REID: See you later. Bye. All right everyone. Good evening everybody. TGIF to all of us. And we begin THE REIDOUT tonight with a first lady, namely the late greatly Eleanor Roosevelt, whose husband, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, contracted a paralyzing disease, polio, for which there was no vaccine. And once said, with freedom comes responsibility.

Today in the face of a very different outbreak, for which there is a free and readily available vaccine, too many American certainly want their freedom, just not the responsibility and it turns out the primary freedom they want is the freedom to be stupid.

Take a look at this map. This devastating map blood red with COVID, or take a look at the child, just nine years old and hospitalized with COVID fighting for her life. These images literally do not matter to the millions Americans who are refusing the medical breakthrough miracle known as the COVID vaccine. They are turning up their noses at it. Claiming, they are doing their own research mostly on Facebook and TikTok. So, they know better than the scientists and the doctors. I mean, it`s plainly stupid.

But then, again, look at who their leaders are, starting, of course, with the mad queen of the GQP, Margie Greene.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I hear Alabama might be one of the most unvaccinated states in the nation. Well, Joe Biden wants to come talk to you guys. He is going to be sending one of his police state friends to your front door to knock on the door.

Yes, and what they don`t know is that in the south, we all love our Second Amendment rights. And we are not really begging on strangers showing up on our front door, are we?


REID: This is an event, apparently a stupid and guns event in Alabama, media were not allowed in. Could it be because she just literally threatened to shoot government public health workers? You know just a thought.

Meanwhile over at North Carolina, we have Republican Congressman and Hitler tourist Madison Cawthorn, equating masks to child abuse during a school board meeting.


REP. MADISON CAWTHORN (R-NC): You have muzzled their voices like you have muzzled our children. You passed this mask mandate without input from those who hold you accountable because you knew it was wrong. You knew it would never withstand the scrutiny of the public. I have witnessed swampy back to a tactic (ph) from corrupt bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., but what you have done here today, puts that all to shame.


REID: Do muzzle your voice, Madison, because your voice is stupid right now. These so-called leaders are retooling there party in scorch earth fashion around vaccine refusal. The alleged right to life party that loves telling other people how to live is now championing the right to die, and along with it, the right to take innocent people with them by spreading the virus to their parents, their neighbors and to babies and strangers in Walmart. This party has blood all over its hands. It`s positively homicidal. And their constituents, they`re just sipping on the Jonestown Kool-Aid.


GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): We are going to be living with people dying if we do not increase the n vaccination rates so I still need to get that message out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s in the vaccine? Give me the answer.

HUTCHINSON: Do you believe COVID is real?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe there`s people dying of illnesses. I`m not quite sure what COVID is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is an experimental vaccine. It has not been tested long enough. I`m a nurse. I`m very concerned about the long-term side effects.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What will save lives, Governor? And it`s not the vaccine?


REID: What`s in the vaccine? What is in Frootie Loops? What makes them blue? You eat that, you put that in your body. Anyway, that is right, they won`t even listen to their Republican governors, or the public health officials with public health degrees. No, no, no, they listen only to Tucker Carlson and the self-appointed experts in their Facebook conspiracy groups.

And their latest trick is championing a new bogus cure for COVID-19 as an alternative to just getting the vaccine, namely an anti-parasitic drug, use to threat scabies in people and prevent heartworm disease and other infestations in animals, seriously.


But because human doses of the drugs are hard to come by, people are now raiding supplies use for horses and consuming it as wait for it, just wait, horse paste. Ah, yes, horse paste, packed with apple flavor along with sleep drench and swine injections, anything, anything but the logical simple step of just taking the free shot because we are the stupid country.

Joining me now is Dr. Lipi Roy COVID Medical Director for Housing Works in New York City, and David Jolly, Political Analyst and a former Republican congressman who is no longer affiliated with the Party and thank God for it.

Dr. Roy, I guess my opening tonight is just a signifier of where I am emotionally with this virus. I am -- you know, we started with compassion for those who, you know, who were afraid of the vaccine. I was nervous about the vaccine back when Trump was president, because he is a psychopath. And I don`t want a psychopath rushing a vaccine out before the election just to get himself re-elected. I`m worried about that. And I had friends that were all nervous about it, my godmother was nervous about it.

But once it was explained to me, including on this show by people like you, and once it was explained to me by Dr. Vin Gupta how this vaccine came about, where Pfizer and Moderna came from, once I understood who developed the Moderna vaccine, that it`s Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, once I got actual information from experts, I was convinced and convinced other people.

But there`s a whole group of people who don`t want to be convinced, Dr. Roy, and I wonder how frustrating it is for you, as somebody who has got family in a country as I do, where COVID is running rampant outside of the United States where they can`t get the damn vaccine to say people go, you know, I don`t want it, I did my research own research on TikTok. How frustrating is that for you?

DR. LIPI ROY, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: So, first of all, great to see you, Joy. You look great, Joy after vacation.

REID: Thank you.

ROY: It`s -- they`re not -- there are in no words to really, really accurately describe the frustration, the anger that many of my fellow front line health care colleagues feel right now. You know, if Yogi Bear knew that the COVID cases, daily cases are at a 100,000 per day today, which is the first time in six months, he would just say again, this is deja vu all will over again.

And it`s pathetic, Joy, because we know it`s completely preventable. We are in a different, much better place technologically and medically and scientifically today August 2021 than we were in August, March of 2020. We have the number one key as of multiple vaccine candidates, vaccines that are highly effective at reducing the transmission of this virus that we know is deadly. We are still learning about it every day. We know that the vaccines are effective.

And a common pushback that I am sure you heard, Joy, God knows I`ve heard it, is that people say -- and my own patient will say, oh, Doc, I heard the vaccines don`t work because I know people who are vaccinated, and they still got the disease. And they`re right. So this goes back to communication, acknowledging, hearing people out and acknowledging what is true but then explaining it, going a step further.

And the reality is that no preventive measure is 100 percent effective. It`s like saying, oh, well, people who wear seat belts still get the car accidents. People wearing sunscreen, still get skin cancer. So do we stop wearing seat belts and wear sunscreen? No.

The point is, that these vaccines, and this is a key point for your viewers to remember, these vaccines are extremely effective at reduces severe disease, hospitalization and death. We have to battle misinformation and flat out lies, Joy, with truth and facts.

REID: Absolutely. I mean, the reasons that people know people who have been vaccinated and still got COVID, is because those people are still alive. And they could tell you they had COVID because they are not dead. That`s the point. Do you want to live or die? Like this is not complicated. Do you want to be alive? Get the dang on vaccine.

This is not complicated. You all don`t know what half the crap is that you put in your body. You go -- you take medicines that your doctor prescribes to you and go, well, what is in this? I don`t know. Do I want to take it? What is in it? You don`t ask. You just take it.

Anyway, let`s go over to you David. I`m sorry, I`m frustrated.

DAVID JOLLY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No. Keep going, Joy, keep going.

REID: This is. I`m just ranting. It`s Friday. You wrote the following, our failure, in terms of the vaccine and getting people to take it is rooted deeply in American culture, you wrote. We`re a free people. We make free choices. In the case of COVID-19 and the available vaccines are choices either framed as a matter of the sacrosanct freedom or ultimately framed as a gesture that promotes the public welfare.

And I get that the Republicans hate the idea of public welfare, but does that mean you Jonestown yourself? Does that mean you want to die to own the libs? Is that what we are doing here?

JOLLY: Yes. And I think what I was trying to articulate is that is the difference of this moment, of this generation and generations past, right?


In generations past, we could accept personal freedom as well as sacrifice for the greater public good, actually out of narratives of patriotism that we would exercise our freedom with responsibility. But what we have done in this pandemic is a result to political leadership is Republicans had framed this as a matter of personal freedom in contest with the patriotic duty. And they don`t see the two ever working together.

And, unfortunately, the conclusion of what I write is actually that there are no more persuadable in this campaign to get people vaccinated. As the Biden administration announces, as we have passed 50 percent, I think we are quickly hitting the ceiling.

And all of the sounds you showed, all the video you showed, Joy, I say this not with hyperbole but with lament. I think we do have to begin the focus on what is the public health of the nation where only half gets vaccinated, and half does not. What does that mean for our families and our personal health? Because I don`t think there`s any more persuadable out there. I think our position have become hardened. They have become dogmatic in this red state. If you take off in the car and you listen to a drive time radio, these are not persuadable citizens. These are people who are resolute. They will not get the vaccine. So, what does that mean for those of us who have it?

REID: You are absolutely right and at this point, my only -- my compassion is more directed toward those who are afraid of the vaccine for whatever reason. And just need information. People I have known -- I`ve known people like this, who are nervous and just need a doctor to tell them, it`s okay. But the people who are just like, this is my politics, good, good luck to you.

Biden is trying something new, Dr. Roy, which I think is late, honestly. They`re talking about trying to make it required, requiring people in the Pentagon to get it, using federal regulatory power and a threat of withholding federal funds from institutions to get people vaccinated. This has been done with highway funds being withheld from states that wouldn`t lower their seat -- lower their speed limits to 55. This has been done before.

Do you do think we need to stop bribing Americans with million-dollar lotteries and just start saying, if you don`t get the vaccine, you can`t come to the party, can`t go to the gym, can`t go to the restaurant, good luck to you, stay your ass home?

ROY: You know, Joy, back when the vaccines first came out like, December, January, early on, where there`s a lot of focus on making sure we address vaccine hesitancy, we addressed to try to be very mindful of certain vulnerable groups historically who were mistreated, all of that is completely legitimate. And so, I believe it was the right thing to wait several months to do aggressive education and targeted education and not (INAUDIBLE) but just listening out to these vulnerable communities, racially mistreated for decades. That was the right thing to do.

REID: Yes.

ROY: And many of those communities have actually come around and are vaccinated once you gave them the opportunity to share their concerns, their worries. I do this every day. As you know, Joy, once a week, I work at the heart (INAUDIBLE) Clinic in the Bronx, which has one of the most vulnerable communities in the country. Black and brown patients, I`m treating them for opioid addiction, but I`m also asking, every single one of them, he by the way did you get your COVID vaccine?

And maybe a third of them got the vaccine, but the vast majority, Joy, they will say things like, no, Doc, I heard that it`s not safe, it`s dangerous, it`s a plethora of things and I sit down and I explain point by point, every concern they have and why they should get it, why I got it, what my experience was getting it, why I made sure my mom and dad were in the 70 and 80s got it. Why would I encourage something that I am not even doing myself? I practicing what I`m preaching. And that`s going to matter, Joy.

REID: And ask them what is in Coca-Cola. You know, you can clean your engine with it, right? You put that in your body, you don`t say, what is in this? Am I going to -- what`s in this, you don`t ask?

Let me bring you in, as the world is struggling to get vaccinated. Some Americans have to be swayed by a wad of cash, prizes, burgers, hotel stays while summer turning up their noses at vaccines all together. Meanwhile, less than 2 percent of those living in the developing world have been vaccinated and not by choice.

Joining me now on phone is Sandra Lindsay, a Registered Nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, and among the first in the United States, there she is, to receive the coronavirus vaccine back in December. She`s joining us from Jamaica, where roughly 4 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

Thank you so much for being in here Ms. Lindsay. I just came from Jamaica, and what I noticed there, is that people were very vigilant about COVID. You could not walk into an indoor venue without putting out your hands and getting a squirt of hand sanitizer in one and the temperature check in the other because they don`t have a margin for error.

I want to put up a map, I don`t know if you can see this where you are. I know you are in the phone because we have some issues with your feed. The percentage of people in the -- the Caribbean is not represented here but it`s very small that have actually been able to get.


Only 4.1 percent of Jamaicans have gotten the vaccine. In Europe it`s 89 percent, North America, 86 percent, in Africa, it`s 5.5 percent. People around the world desperately want this vaccine and they can`t get it. Talk to us a little bit about what is happening in Jamaica?

SANDRA LINDSAY, REGISTERED NURSE, LONG ISLAND JEWISH VEDICAL CENTER (voice over): Hello, Joy. Thanks for having me on. It`s great to be home. So, what is happen in Jamaica? First of all, I just want to say that the government has been doing quite well in managing the pandemic given the circumstances.

As you have put up on the screen, we have about 4.1 percent of our population vaccinated. And that has been related to the competition around the world at getting vaccines and supplies here. But I`m happy to say that we now have vaccines on the island and so, the government is working feverishly to get the vaccines in arms, doing all different strategies, mobile units, et cetera. But my experience has (INAUDIBLE). Like yours, I could not enter any business place no matter where without putting my arms out to get temperature checked and also to get a dab of hand sanitizer.

REID: That`s right.

LINDSAY: And that has been consistent across the island.

REID: And can I ask you before I have to let will you go, Ms. Lindsay? Do you have people in Jamaica saying no thank you, I don`t want the vaccine? Or are people saying let get it -- I spoke with a family member in South Africa who all came down with COVID, and they all said to me, they want the vaccine, and would have gotten if they could have gotten it, but they`re government -- the government they did not have enough to distribute. Are people in Jamaica, do they want to be vaccinated?

LINDSAY: So, we have a large of people who want to take it. As you know, there`s hesitancy, like around the world, there`s hesitancy here, but we are employing different strategies to get people comfortable with trusting that the vaccines are safe.

I am on vacation, but I am also lending my voice to help my country to get the word out that the vaccines are safe and effective. We`ve done quite well in listening to the evidence, and managing, balancing lives and livelihoods that government has done a phenomenal job with that. So, I couldn`t come here without mending my voice to let people know about the vaccines are safe and effective.

I must say that we are waiting for more vaccines. We`ve been promise some from the United States and so we are waiting on President Biden to fulfill his promise and to also donate some vaccines.

REID: Yes. Well, I hope that they send -- I hope they all the vaccines from all of these states who are saying, no, thank you, send them to Jamaica, because they actually want them, and they`ll actually not have to be bribed to take them.

And I will remind you, Ms. Sandra, that you work in the -- the hospital your working is the same one that my husband grandmother retired from working from. So, you`re close to my heart. So, I want to thank you very much. She`s also from Jamaica, from St. Catherine. So, thank you very much. I appreciate you.

All right everyone. Thank you also to my friends David Jolly and Dr. Lipi Roy, thank you all very much.

Okay, up next on THE REIDOUT, Trump`s pattern of abuse from Ukraine to the big lie. Lieutenant Cornel Alexander Vindman saw that abuse up close, and he joins me next.

Plus, the Missouri governor finds it`s in his heart to pardon the McCluskys who admitted guilt but no pardon for a black man who served decade behind bars is almost certainly innocent.

And major new developments in the fight for voting rights, including the start of a voting purge in Georgia.

But, first, a breaking scandal in Washington, the liberals have brought back the tan suit. President Biden was rocking it today, just like President Obama did seven years ago, when the right lost their natural minds. That is literally what passed for a scandal before the twice- impeached Florida man arrived in town.

THE REIDOUT continues -- look at that tan suit, that`s a Sunday go to meeting suit -- after this.



REID: Well, we all witnessed how the former president incited his base to insurrection. It was in plain sight.

We have also learned a whole lot about his parallel effort behind the scenes to overturn the election from inside the government. First, we learned about how Trump pressured state officials directly, including his demand that Georgia`s secretary of state magically find or fabricate more than 11,000 votes.

Then, just last week, we learned that Trump tried to coerce his acting attorney general to just declare that the 2020 election was corrupt. And, most recently, we have learned that a Trump-backed loyalist in the Justice Department was intent on asking six states to take steps to nullify Joe Biden`s victory.

Those abuses are among the reasons that former U.S. attorney Barbara McQuade and other legal scholars are calling on the Justice Department to begin a criminal investigation of Trump`s dangerous course of conduct.

But the truth is that Trump`s effort to overturn the election fits a long and well-documented pattern of abuse. In fact, he pursued the same goal, using the very same tactics, when he leveraged Ukraine to smear his political opponent in 2019.

In both cases, there was zero evidence to support his false claims of corruption. In both cases, he was calling for a sham investigation to try and help themselves stay in power by destroying the opposition. And, in both cases, he sought a public announcement to legitimize his false claims, a declaration of corrupt election from the DOJ, and an announcement of an investigation of Joe Biden from Ukraine.

I`m joined now by a key witness from the Ukraine impeachment investigation, retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a former director for European affairs at the NSC and the author of "Here, Right Matters: An American Story." Also with me is Barbara McQuade, former U.S. attorney and a University of Michigan law professor.


Thank you for being here.

And, Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, it`s great to talk with you. Thank you for being here.

I hope -- I hope you can hear me. I hear a little bit of feedback in my audio. So, hopefully, you can hear me.

You talk about the fact that, when you heard this call with the Ukrainian president, you immediately knew it was an impeachable offense. Talk a little bit about that.


Thanks for having me on, first of all.

It`s interesting that, from the very beginning, although it seems to me like -- that President Trump was surprised that he was president and he was unready to govern, he was always looking forward for the next opportunity to continue his enterprise and continue to profit off his office.

And I witnessed that firsthand in my tenure at the White House on the National Security Council, when he attempted to steal the election very early on. And what we`re witnessing now is a continuing enterprise.

In my case, I heard the phone call. To me, it was readily apparent that he was looking to find dirt on Joe Biden, so that he can, first of all, undermine his candidacy into the primaries, so that he never made the cut in order to run against him, and ultimately to tarnish him before he was a candidate, he was a opponent in the primary elections.

REID: And as somebody who`s obviously in the United States military and somebody who sat on the National Security Council, we`re now seeing this sort of love affair on the right with people like Viktor Orban of Hungary.

We already saw Donald Trump being so enamored with Vladimir Putin and autocrats in general, even the North Korean dictator.

Did you spy from the beginning, in working and being on the National Security Council, that Trump was more like those kinds of far-right authoritarian leaders, or did it take a while for it to -- for that to sink in.

VINDMAN: It took a little while.

Frankly, I knew that he had some strongman tendencies, but, in my view, I was actually joining an administration that was going to fulfill policy that advanced U.S. national security interests. We actually did some pretty good work. We drafted a document, a national security strategy, with a Russia component to it.

And we implemented large parts -- portions of it. The problem is that the president`s direct involvement too often derailed the strategy that we had in place to advance U.S. national security interests. It was the president, it was the president`s proxies that were actually un-American, that were undermining national security directly.

And that`s something we had to deal with on a regular basis.

REID: And, Barbara, let me go to you on this, because the thing that Donald Trump -- the things he did throughout his administration, I objected to pretty much every single one of them.

But the thing he did at the end, in trying to keep himself in power by perverting the systems of government over which he had charge, in terms of perverting the Justice Department, attempting to use every lever of government, not just at the federal level, but to pervert state governments as well, that is the thing that, to me, is the most Putin-esque or the most like sort of an Orban-esque move.

If there are no legal consequences for him for having tried to do that, in your view, what happens?


I think that there needs to be legal consequences. And that`s about the piece that I wrote that you referenced earlier. I think that there could be a reluctance on the part of the Justice Department to go after their political predecessors, lest it appear that they`re simply motivated by politics.

But the conduct here is so incredibly egregious. First, of course, they would have to amass the evidence, but to begin an investigation, because of the severe nature of the alleged crime here of trying to subvert the outcome of a fair and free election, our democracy is all about power to the people, self-governance.

And if that election of the people can be subverted, then we have destroyed our democracy.

REID: And the risk that you took -- I want to go back to you, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman.

You write about the fact that your father -- and you are -- like myself, you`re the son of immigrants, you`re the child of immigrants. And your father, who emigrated from that part of the world, he was reluctant for you to come forward because he feared retribution against you and the consequences.

And talk a little bit about trying to convince him that this is a different kind of country, because I think that`s the question we`re having now. Are we a different kind of country than a Hungary or a Russia, if we don`t do any -- if we don`t stop ourselves from sliding?

VINDMAN: We are if we want it to be a different kind of country. We are a country where right matters, but only if we make it matter.

I think, for my dad, he was just responding viscerally to his 47 years in the Soviet Union and assessing the keen risk to me, especially in that he actually correctly judged that I would lose my military career.


But, in another regard, he was not accurate. It`s the fact that we have amazing civil servants in government that were a check against presidential overreach.

And that`s, frankly -- in my book, the president is a bit of a foil. He`s a way to overcome challenges, in that he`s corrupt, and there are plenty of people that are not corrupt that are trying to do the right thing, that are trying to advance U.S. national security interests.

It is not a deep state looking to undermine a president that governs properly. This is a person that is very erratic, does not actually provide guidance. And, when he does, it`s by tweet. And, therefore, most oftentimes, it`s damage control.

And that`s what the government under the last four years, under the previous administration, was like.

REID: And, Barbara, it occurs to me that I think we just have this inherent belief that America has a permanent democracy.

But no country has a permanent democracy, right? I mean, you think about -- I go back to Viktor Orban, only because he`s become sort of the new plaything and tchotchke of people like Tucker Carlson, who did this fawning interview with him, in which he sort of bigged him up.

And Greg Sargent writes that it provided a deeply unsettling glimpse into the true nature of the authoritarian nationalist future that Carlson and his fellow travelers envision for us, for our country.

Let me play a little bit of that interview.


VIKTOR ORBAN, HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER: We had an example that somebody, a country, which is based on traditional values, on national identity, based on traditional Christianity, could be successful or sometimes even more successful than a leftist liberal government.


REID: Orban has announced that he`s going to be president basically for life, for the next 20 years.

And, Barbara, I wonder, if you could have a conversation with our current attorney general, who, to your point, really seems reluctant to use the power that he has to hold the former president to account -- what I fear is that Trump becomes the next Orban, that he finds a way to manipulate the Republicans who are now in power and doing his bidding, so that, the next time he tries this coup, it works.

And then he`s in there, and we can`t get rid of him. What would you say to the current leader of the Justice Department about this stance of saying, I don`t know, he wants to be too careful and not touch the former president, for whatever reason?

MCQUADE: Well, first, I guess I would say we don`t know what`s going on internally at the Justice Department.

It may very well be that they are investigating, but they`re doing it under the normal procedures, where you would keep those pending investigations quiet. So maybe it`s possible.

But if not, and if he`s still deciding whether it`s necessary to bring charges, I think we have to think about the very significant harm the President Trump came very, very close to committing and could commit again.

REID: Yes.

MCQUADE: One of the purposes of criminal prosecution is not only punishment and public safety, but also deterrence.

And if President Trump feels like he got away with this, then who`s to say he won`t try it again, or others won`t try to get away with it again?

I`m so grateful for people like Colonel Vindman, who showed such courage and integrity? And we saw at the Justice Department that there were others who, perhaps following Colonel Vindman`s lead, also had some courage and integrity, in acting Attorney General Rosen and his deputy, Richard Donoghue.

But how about Jeffrey Clark, who was ready to be the henchman for Donald Trump? Next time, it may be that we have more Clarks than we have Rosens or Vindmans.

And so I think we do need to take a strong stand that this is a really egregious crime against the United States. And, certainly, we need to make sure the evidence is there, but prosecutors always deal with, number one, can we charge, based on the evidence, but, number two, should we charge? Is there a substantial federal interest here that needs to be vindicated?

REID: Yes.

MCQUADE: And I can think of no substantial federal interest that`s more important than our democracy.

REID: Indeed.

And there are more Clarks already, because the Vindmans have been purged, including yourself, sir.

Good luck with the book, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman. You`re a hero for what you did for your country. So, thank you very much. Really appreciate you. Barbara McQuade. Always appreciate you both.

All right, and the book, again, is "Here, Right Matters."

Still ahead: Missouri governor -- the Missouri governor displays some interesting priorities by pardoning the gun-toting McCloskeys, while two black men languish in prison for crimes that the prosecutors say that they didn`t commit.

We will be right back.



REID: Family, I want to introduce you to Missouri Governor Mike Parson.

He`s a mostly forgettable and mediocre Republican governor who originally lucked into his job after the former guy quit amid sexual misconduct allegations. Parson, a Trump lackey and COVID enabler, currently has tremendous power to pardon whoever he wants.

According to "The Kansas City Star," he`s been issuing pardons that are roughly monthly basis since December to clear a backlog of about 3,000 cases that had accumulated from previous administrations.

Now, let me introduce you to Kevin Strickland, a 62-year-old man who has spent the majority of his life, 40 years, behind bars for a crime he did not commit. His conviction was built on the testimony of the one witness who later recanted. The two other men who pleaded guilty in the murders have said Strickland was not involved. They even named an alternative suspect.

After reviewing the case, the Jackson County prosecutor publicly declared that Strickland was factually innocent and added -- quote -- "Kevin Strickland deserves to be exonerated."

Now, most of you at home think that I`m about to tell you that Governor Parson pardon Kevin Strickland. Nope. Why? Parson told reporters that Strickland`s circumstances didn`t necessarily make it a priority to jump in front of the line.

You know who jump in front of the line? These two numbnuts, Mark and Patricia McCloskey. They got a VIP pardon from Parson earlier this week. These barefoot fragile snowflakes pleaded guilty for waving weapons at peaceful protesters who dared walk past their ugly-ass house on their way to demonstrate after George Floyd`s murder.

I guess that was too much of an injustice for Governor Parson to stomach. The travesty. Meanwhile, an innocent black man remains locked up.

I`m joined now by Tricia Rojo Bushnell, executive director of the Midwest Innocence Project, which is handling Mr. Strickland`s case with international law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner.


Thank you so much for being here.

And let me just go through the facts of the case, if you could. Just walk us through why Mr. Strickland is in prison.


This is a really horrific, gruesome crime. Four individuals go into a home, where there are four people. They shoot them all. Three of them die and one of them survives.

That woman, the victim, Cynthia Douglas, flees, leaves, and tells -- calls police and tells police immediately the names of two of the individuals that she knew and had known from before, and describes the other people and says she doesn`t know who they are.

A few days later, some time passes, and she hears from her sister`s boyfriend that maybe Kevin Strickland could match one of the descriptions that she had given. She knew Kevin Strickland and didn`t name him immediately after that crime. But sort of, the way -- what we know how memory works, at that point, it was contaminated, and it just sort of was off to the races from there.

REID: Yes.

BUSHNELL: So, she later identifies him.

But that`s really the evidence that they have and that they use against him.

Fast-forward. Just four months after Kevin`s convicted at a trial, his co- defendant, Vincent Bell, who is one of the people the victim names as being one of the true perpetrators, has his plea hearing. And at his plea hearing, he is required to give in detail what happened at the crime.

And he does. He says exactly what happens and names all four individuals who came in and committed the crime with him, including two people who had been previously unknown, and says Kevin Strickland is innocent.

And so that`s all the way back in 1979. It`s been solved since 1979, and no one has done anything.

In 2009, the victim was trying to reach out to recant her identification. She even reached out to our office, which we only had one person in the office at the time.

REID: Yes.

BUSHNELL: And, unfortunately, she`s since passed away.

But, as you have seen, the prosecutor has looked at it. Everyone has looked at it as a solved crime. We know who committed this crime and that Kevin Strickland is innocent.

REID: And the governor claims that he doesn`t believe he`s innocent, says he doesn`t know if he`s innocent. And he says he doesn`t know.

But the prosecutor -- to be clear, the prosecutor says he`s innocent, right?

BUSHNELL: That`s right.

So, not only did the prosecutor`s office do a review. The prosecutor also asked for an independent review from the U.S. attorney`s office in the Western District, also took the case to the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners, who said that they wouldn`t interfere with anything with his release.

So, I mean, a number of different agencies have looked at this, and all of them agree that Kevin Strickland is innocent.

REID: What happens now? Is there a chance? Now that he`s been denied a pardon, is there any chance that he can still be released?

BUSHNELL: Well, at any time, the governor could still pardon him, and we hope that he will. That is surely the fastest way. And then he wouldn`t have to spend another day in prison.

But, currently, we have also filed what`s called a petition for habeas corpus, which is saying he`s being held unconstitutionally, and will you please release him? We have a hearing scheduled on that in November. It`s complicated, because also, in Missouri, we don`t know if innocence is a claim to get out of prison in Missouri, unless you were sentenced to death.

And Mr. Strickland wasn`t sentenced to death. It`s a crazy thing to say out loud, but that is our current state of the law in Missouri.

But, in this interim time, because another person in Missouri is also wrongfully convicted, and the prosecutor also agrees that he`s wrongfully convicted.

REID: Yes.

BUSHNELL: When that case with Lamar Johnson went all the way up and came back down after the Supreme Court at that time said prosecutors didn`t have an ability to correct an injustice, the legislature passed a new law.

And that law goes into effect at the end of this month on August 28. And once it goes into effect, a prosecutor will have the ability to file a motion to vacate the judgment and overturn the conviction.

And so there is that possibility for Mr. Strickland here, which we hope and anticipate the prosecutor would do, knowing that Mr. Strickland is innocent.

REID: We will keep an eye on this case.

But we are out of time. But can you just tell us how he is doing? How is he holding up under this, very quickly?

BUSHNELL: He is doing remarkably well.

And I think it actually means so much to him that the world has seen and known and acknowledged that he`s innocent. He`s been saying this for 43 years, and no one believed him until now.

REID: Yes. We believe him.

BUSHNELL: And so it`s a really powerful moment.

REID: Absolutely.

Well, this audience believes him and are going to want to know how he fares. So, we will keep up with you.

Thank you so much for spending some time with us this evening. And please give him our regards. And we are praying for him.

All right, Tricia Rojo, thank you. Tricia Rojo Bushnell.

Still ahead: Texas Governor Greg Abbott announces another special suppression session, as election officials in Georgia try to purge 185,000 people, most of them voters of color, from the rolls. Of course.

Stay with us.



REID: Fifty-six years ago today, a Texas Democrat enacted the most significant protection for voting rights in American history, as President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law, striking a fatal blow to Jim Crow voting restrictions across the South.

A generation later, the Voting Rights Act is effectively dead. And the Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, is going all in, putting Texas on an express train to Jim Crow 2.0, calling for a second special House session to push new voter suppression laws, after Democratic Governor -- Democratic lawmakers left the state to block legislation.

Those Texas Democrats have been camped out in Washington for more than three weeks now, running out the clock and lobbying Congress for a new federal voting rights protect -- for new federal voting rights protections.

Today, Texas Democratic Caucus Chair Chris Turner said they`re plotting their next move, but are committed to defeating the legislation.

I`m joined now by Texas state Representative James Talarico and LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter.

Thank you both for being here.

Welcome back, State Rep. Talarico.

I have to ask you how it feels for you to be camped out in Washington, D.C., with your family, trying to stop voter suppression in your state, while some Democratic lawmakers are partying on Joe Manchin`s boat with Republicans and acting as if everything is all one big party.

How do you feel about that?


STATE REP. JAMES TALARICO (D-TX): This past month has not been easy. We have been away from our families, away from our livelihoods, away from our colleagues.

But we did this because this fight is a generational fight to save democracy. As you mentioned, 56 years ago today, a Texas Democrat, Lyndon Johnson, signed the Voting Rights Act into law. And President Johnson signed that historic legislation because he believed all of us should have access to our American democracy, not just folks who look like me.

We have achieved an enormous victory today. This is the last day of the special session in Texas. And we have killed the voter suppression bill. We did that by staying united, by staying focused, and committing ourself to the cause of democracy.

I couldn`t be prouder of my 56 colleagues and what we have achieved together.

REID: Have any of those Texas Democrats -- Texas -- those D.C. Democrats who have been on that boat, have they come to talk to you all?


REID: Are they spending time -- as much time with you as they`re spending on the boat?

TALARICO: We`re here on a work trip. And so we are focused on pushing federal voting rights legislation to ensure that our constituents back in Texas have their God-given rights at the ballot box protected.

I mentioned to you, Joy, at the beginning of this quorum break that I`m doing my job. I swore a sacred oath in front of God, in front of my constituents to uphold the Constitution and not to uphold Greg Abbott`s extreme political agenda.

And that`s what I`m doing here in Washington, D.C. I may not be at my desk at the Texas Capitol, but I`m doing the job I swore an oath to do.

REID: I like that you`re focused, and you would not take my opportunity to insult those who are on the boat.

LaTosha, I pulled you. You were not intended to be on tonight. You were doing your own thing. And I -- we were texting earlier. And I was like, can you come on tonight?

Because, while Texas is -- the bad news is coming, in Georgia, it`s already here. And the suppression is already ongoing. And it is on 1,000 today, 185,000 people about to be purged, mostly people of color, 45 percent non- white people.

The dear and wonderful Myrlie Evers, along with Scott Wallace, wrote an op- ed today, having to still write an op-ed crying out for voting rights in 2021. That`s obscene that she had to do that. But she had to do that.

Talk to us a little bit about what`s happening in Georgia.

LATOSHA BROWN, CO-FOUNDER, BLACK VOTERS MATTER: There`s a couple of things I just want to raise, because today is the 56th anniversary.

And the truth of the matter is, when you look at black voters, we have actually less voting rights protection now in 2021 than we had on the signage of the Voting Rights Act. That, in itself, should be grappling of people.

What is happening right now in Georgia and what we`re seeing in Texas and 20 other bills that have been passed is, we`re not talking about the damage that is going to happen in the future. It`s happening right now.

REID: That`s right.

BROWN: A hundred and eighty-five thousand people are being purged from the voters list from the secretary of state.

In addition to that, what we also are seeing is, we`re seeing the Republicans literally utilize this SB-202, where they can actually weaponize the administrative process to remove people from the voting rolls -- from the election boards that they don`t like, so that, in case that there`s an election result that they don`t like, they can do exactly, precisely what Trump asked them to do, which is to overturn that election.

And so what we`re saying is, we`re seeing this happen in Georgia on a level. We`re seeing this happen in Texas, where a special session is being called. We`re seeing this happen all over the country. There is no way around this without really dealing with voting rights.

And we`re going to have to have the kind of bold leadership. I was just reading -- reading about how Johnson did it, that, at the end of the day, what he had to do was, he actually pulled in -- there`s a statement where, with the civil rights bill, he pulled in -- or a senator from Georgia, and said, over my -- you`re going to pass this, we`re going to pass this bill.

He did the same thing with calling George -- Governor George Wallace from Alabama in. The bottom line is, we need stronger leadership around, particularly from the White House, saying, I need to -- for Biden a couple of things, three things.

One, we need the recess to not end, just as they have -- they found time to be on this boat, we need them to find time to make sure that they do not leave D.C. without passing comprehensive voting rights legislation that will protect the voters in this country.

The second thing is, we need the full weight of President Biden`s office. Just as Johnson used not only the bully pulpit, but he was very adamant about, this is going to get passed, and he used the full weight of his office to get that to happen, we need Biden to do that.

And the third thing too is that it`s really important for us to recognize we need both. We need the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voter Advancement Act, so that we`re literally not in a place about just restoring the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but that we`re literally restoring it and creating a stronger way for people of color to have access to the ballot.

REID: Very quickly.

You were on "The View" this evening. And it was the last day of Meghan McCain`s tenure. Kyrsten Sinema was on defending the filibuster. Your thoughts on her defense of the filibuster just as a thing?

BROWN: You know, at the end of the day, that filibuster has always been used as a vehicle to stop and be a barrier for civil rights legislation. She knows that the history of that.


But, aside from that, even if there was some attachment to the filibuster, are you saying, in fact, that the filibuster is a key -- is a tool that is more important than voting rights in this country, that that should be -- are you, in fact, saying what she was saying, alluding to, is that there`s more of a sense of loyalty to a tool that has been used to disenfranchise black voters than actually literally supporting what you have made an oath to do?

And that is to protect democracy in this nation.

REID: And, hopefully, the TVs are still on in the Capitol, and they can hear what both of you are saying.

It`s an -- it`s the fight. It is the most important fight. This and COVID are the two things we got to deal with.

Texas State Representative James Talarico, thank you for all that you`re doing. LaTosha Brown, thank you for all that you do.

And your "Moment of Joy." Believe it or not, we`re going to find one today. It`s still ahead, an incredible homecoming today. Don`t miss it.


REID: We close out the week with our "Moment of Joy."

Gymnast Simone Biles and her teammate and bestie, Jordan Chiles, got a hero`s welcome at the airport in Houston after coming back from Tokyo. The pair were treated to a parade in their hometown of Spring, Texas, days after Biles shut down the haters, claiming a bronze medal in the balance beam, after withdrawing from her other events to focus on her mental health.

Biles is tied for the most Olympic medals by an American woman gymnast ever, with seven of them.

Today, sprinter Allyson Felix made her -- made history of her own, winning her 10th medal, the most for any woman in track and field history ever, taking bronze in the 400-meter. It`s her fifth Olympics, the first since she became a mother.

Felix could join another tomorrow -- could win another one tomorrow in the 400-meter relay. So, tune in for that.

That is tonight`s REIDOUT.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.