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Transcript: The ReidOut, 8/9/21

Guests: Matthew Dowd, Christina Greer, Peter Hotez, Sheldon Whitehouse, Glenn Kirschner, Mustafa Santiago Ali


Sturgis holds another super-spreader motorcycle rally. GOP Senator Paul says, it`s time to resist common-sense health precautions. GOP Senator Scott says, let people make their own choices. GOP Representative Grothman says getting vaccine involves taking sides. GOIP continues to spread vaccine misinformation. Unvaccinated account for 97 percent of new COVID cases. More kids are getting sick as schools debate mask mandates. According to a stunning new report from the U.N., it`s unequivocal that human influence has warmed the climate, and some changes in climate are irreversible for centuries to millenia.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Is there another Ari Melber that has an Ari Melber show on MSNBC or any other network? No, there is not. Let them have Ari Melber. There`s nothing wrong with that. Thank you very much, Ari. Have a good evening. Give it to them.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Thank you. You tell them.

REID: Thank you very much. All right, good evening, everyone. We welcome you tonight.

We begin THE REIDOUT with the question of what are the biggest threats to mankind. Now, if your answer is our own ignorance and arrogance, ding, ding, ding, ding, you are probably right. As we sit here tonight, humanity is facing not one but two code red crises. There`s the climate crisis that`s literally burning parts of the world to the ground and there`s the COVID-19 virus pandemic, which, at this point, has mutated into a super contagious delta variant that is officially out of control. And both are being allowed to spread by the sheer arrogance and willful ignorance of some of us.

So, I`ve been bugging my team with this analogy for months now, so I will now share it with you. What we`re seeing happen in the world today is so reminiscent of what was portrayed in the Aliens series of great movies, in which arrogant, ignorant humans decide that they can outwit and make use of a deadly alien species that has the ability to learn from its human hosts, mutate and become increasingly deadly to mankind. Here`s a clip.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What if that ship didn`t even exist? Do you ever think about that? I didn`t know. So if I made a major security situation out of it, everybody steps in, the administration steps in and there`s no exclusive rights for anybody, nobody wins. So I made a decision and it was wrong. It was a bad call, Ripley. It was a bad call.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bad call? These people are dead, Burke. Do you have any idea what you`ve done here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, God, it`s inside me.


REID: See, Burke f`ed around and found out. But that is the kind of ignorance and arrogance displayed by Republican politicians who, in effect, are unleashing the alien on the rest of us. The silver lining, of course, is that there are things we can do to mitigate these crises with smart policies, like, for instance, the Pentagon today announcing that it would require more than 1 million service members to be vaccinated by mid-September.

The problem that we currently face is that the obstinate stupidity, quite frankly, of the Republican politicians, who even as COVID is ravaging their own people. Folks like a former NewsMax host who opposed the COVID vaccine and later died of complications, it`s not shaking the faith of the MAGA faithful who continue to favor the virus over vaccination.

Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott of Texas seem to want COVID to win, making it harder to protect their own citizens as it spirals out of control in their states. Abbott even tweeted over the weekend about fiddling to keep Texas red while COVID rages in his state. Because what`s more ignorant than offering up your own Nero reference. But anyhow, that`s where we`re at.

As events like the Sturgis motorcycle rally become a super-spreader in the making with its 700,000 attendees, certain to spread COVID all across the country, Republicans are still screaming, freedom. Here`s human COVID misinformation engine Rand Paul.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): It`s time for us to resist. They can`t arrest all of us. We don`t have to accept the mandates, lockdowns and harmful policies of the petty tyrants and bureaucrats. We can simply say no.


REID: That`s his re-election campaign.

Then Florida Senator and former Governor Rick Scott backing up his successor, Ron DeathSantis, as he`s called by some of the state, because YOLO.


SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): People make their choices. This is not a country where we need people telling us what to do. I love my mom. I hate her telling me what to do.


REID: Yes. And last but not least, Wisconsin Republican Congressman Glenn Grothman, who shut down an interview when he was asked a very simple question.


REPORTER: Are you vaccinated, Congressman?

REP. GLENN GROTHMAN (R-WI): I don`t like to get into taking sides on it, okay? So that`s --


REID: Except here`s the thing, that`s not a hard question. There are no sides. There are no political sides. It`s about life and death. Republicans know what side to be on and it seems that they have chosen to be on the side of death.

Joining me now is Christina Greer, Associate Professor of Political Science Fordham University, and Matthew Dowd, Founder of Country Over Party.

And, Matthew, I`m going to go to you on this first, because I`m watching this situation where Republicans have decided that where they`re going to draw the line and the hill they`re going to die on is that those of us who have gotten vaccinated, who are afraid of COVID, who are masking, will not be allowed to create COVID-free spaces for ourselves, that we must allow COVID into our space, that we cannot prevent it, that we will not be allowed to keep COVID out of our schools, our businesses, a cruise ship.


That`s where -- that`s the hill they`re dying on. Does that make any sense to you as a political matter? Why do they think that`s the smart political case to make?

MATTHEW DOWD, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Well, it makes sense only from the regards of appealing to a very tiny select base, which is now occupying the Republican Party. I mean, to me, this is a broader thing which affects all issues but this one especially and climate change, as you mentioned. The Republican Party has become the party of me, of me. No matter how ignorant or unscientific or unknowledgeable it is, it`s about me. And they don`t care anything about the we. There`s no more idea that making policy should be fundamentally about the we and the common good.

And I would ask all of them to read the first paragraph of the U.S. Constitution, which starts out with, we the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union and ensure domestic tranquility and provide for the general welfare comes long before liberty, comes long before liberty. And we`ve had a tension in our country between individualism and the common good. And our founders tried to write a document that ensured we would make sure the common good was taken care of. The Republican Party only cares about me.

REID: Yes. And not even me and my kid. They don`t even care about children at this point. Christina, we`re going to talk in the next block but I`ve got to talk a little bit about DeSantis. DeSantis is being opposed now by school districts who say, no, we want to protect our kids. I used to live in Broward County, Florida. Broward would like to protect students, children from COVID. They want to have a mask mandate because children can`t get vaccinated. Elementary school kids can`t even be vaccinated, teachers are worried.

He`s like not only can you not protect kids, but he pointed out, oh, by the way, we can cut the pay of any school board members who try to defy him. So what he`s saying is, you will let COVID into your schools, you will open in person, you will send your kids in person and you will let COVID in the door with them. This, to me, sounds like -- it`s homicidal. Does it make any sense to you?

CHRISTINA GREER, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: No, Joy, and you know both of us have deep Florida roots. But I think that this is part of the larger, longstanding, insidious sort of hold that Donald Trump has on the party and Ron DeSantis in particular. You know, when Donald Trump sort of took over the Republican Party, I always said that the most dangerous thing that he did, not just for the party but for American democracy, was to call truths and facts into question.

And so, as Matt has said, the fact that the Republicans are doubling down on this lie and saying that COVID really isn`t that real, Democrats are making a tempest in a tea pot, you know, we`re just basically trying to politicize this virus that has clearly killed millions of people across the globe and hundreds of thousands of Americans right here.

So when Ron DeSantis threatens school board members, superintendents, teachers, he`s really saying, Donald Trump, look at me, I am so committed to your messaging, I`m so committed to really walking our entire party off this cliff, because they`re thinking about 2022. They`re thinking about 2024. And so many people in the Republican Party believe that if they follow this rhetoric of Donald Trump and his sycophants that they`ll be rewarded.

And, sadly, you have people who aren`t looking at facts, aren`t believing the truth because Donald Trump has called that into question. They have so many governors and senators and members of statehouses all across the country who are doubling down on this lie.

And, lastly, what Matt said is really key, this idea that we`ve lost this idea of collective action. I talk about this the first few weeks of intro to politics every single semester, Joy. We have to think about free writers, we have to think about tragedy of the commons. And when we don`t think about our greater good collectively, then our society does crumble and we`re seeing it not only fraying at the edges but really being eroded by people like DeSantis and this mythology of Donald Trump and what he`s led so many millions of Americans to believe.

REID: No, absolutely. Matt, it feels like on the democracy front and the COVID front and the climate front, it`s just chaos. And there`s an anarchy to what Republicans are doing. Some of it feels perfectly, you know, political and crass and horrible, you know, like what`s his name in Kentucky, Rand Paul. But some of it is also religious.

So there were all of these stories that were popping up all over social media this weekend. This woman in Utah who prayed over on the idea of whether or not they should be vaccinated, decided that whatever she was looking up on Facebook plus her prayers said they should not be. Now her husband is dying. You know, they have got the case of the Florida radio host who mocked the idea of COVID and then died.


But some of it is religious too.

Is there a nexus here, is there a Venn diagram we should be thinking about, about this sort of religious cultification of Trumpism and politics, Matthew?

DOWD: Well, I don`t even think it`s a Venn diagram. It`s an overlapping circle. It`s a complete overlapping circle among white evangelical Christians. And you look at the data among white evangelical Christians who support Donald Trump, more than half say they`re not going to get a shot. More than half say they will not vaccinated of white evangelical Christians who support Donald Trump.

I mentioned the Constitution. I`m a Christian. And part of the basis of Christianity is helping one another and being compassionate to each other and lifting ourselves up. That`s supposed to be the basis of Christianity in the gospels. They have thrown that out. And, again, they have now decided to -- you used the right word, anarchy is the right word. As Christina was talking, I was thinking the exact same word, which is where they are right now. It`s an utter selfishness. It`s an utter selfishness that Donald Trump completely, personally represents is utter selfishness. He practiced it in his life before he became president. He practiced as president and now he`s practicing it as an ex-president.

And I would just ask people if they`re so concerned about the me, I guess they don`t support seat belt laws, I guess they don`t support speed limits, I guess they don`t support or our justice system. Our justice system in the United States is based on the common good. It means you can`t do whatever you want to do. We`re going to have laws that keep people from doing bad and stupid things that endanger others, just like COVID. And that`s what I don`t understand. They use Christianity when Christianity speaks to the opposite of what they do, and our Constitution does.

REID: Yes. I mean, in their version of it, Jesus should have said to the people who were hungry, you are not getting no bread and no fishes, you didn`t earn that. You`re not getting anything. Let me make some bread and fish just for me. The rest of you all, you`re good, you`re on your own, figure it out.

Christina, the thing that scares me though is that I definitely see a white evangelical line that it`s going down. It`s wild that they have chosen Donald Trump as their god. He`s sort of their golden calf, if we want to stick with the biblical analogy. But I know a lot of black folks who are also refusing to be vaccinated and they too are citing their Christian beliefs. This has bled over. And these are people who would never believe MAGA people on anything else but are believing the garbage that these people are spewing onto Facebook. Is there any way you can explain that?

GREER: Well, I mean, I would say, Dr. Anthea Butler is the expert on sort of the nexus between religiosity and what we`re seeing right now. But I would say this. Joy, as I talk to other African-Americans, some of whom refuse to get vaccinated, it comes from this long history of distrust in the government, medical system.

Obviously, there are a lot of African-Americans who are prone to conspiracy theories because of what has been done in the past. You know, it`s not crazy to think that the government is sinister and working against particular communities. We have to sort of, I think, meet people and really walk them through their internet research versus what is proven and what is fact.

And I think this is also part of the insidiousness of Donald Trump and that time period that we survived, I would say, because he has called all facts into question. And so he has thrown out miscellaneous musings and sort of made it okay for people to believe, you know, if some person says it, then I think that that should be okay as opposed to doing due diligence.

And what we really need to do is pressure African-American thought leaders and religious leaders, specifically, to help their congregations really understand how COVID affects us more specifically in the black community and why it is that we do have this distrust, but we can also trust the COVID vaccine because we have so many black doctors, because it was invented by a black woman, because, you know, there`s so many people who have died in our communities and we`ve seen it and we know that it`s not a figment of our imaginations. So I know some of that heavy lifting needs to be done by black clergy as well.

REID: Absolutely. And, by the way, the Tuskegee experiment was people being -- getting no medicine, having no medicine withheld. It wasn`t giving someone medicine that would kill, it was withholding it. People need to remember that.

And also, if you`re worried about what you`re putting in your body, ask yourself what`s in Coca-Cola and McDonald`s. I`ve eaten that stuff. You`re willing to do that, right? You don`t have a problem with putting that in your body.

Christina Greer, Matthew Dowd, thank you both very much.

And up next, the spike in COVID among children, how do you keep your kids safe, especially in states where Republican governors refuse to protect them?

Also, new information on the former president`s plot to subvert the election and the help that he was getting from inside the Justice Department.

Plus, code red for humanity. The bombshell new report on the climate crisis. Is it already too late?

And tonight`s absolute worst is preaching bipartisanship, which apparently includes overlooking Republican efforts to strip black people of their voting rights.

THE REIDOUT continues right after this.



REID: I don`t know if it`s just me, but it feels like these days, we`re seeing a lot of discussion around what rabid COVID deniers are thinking and feeling. But what about the people who have no choice and no voice in the matter, namely kids? When did we stop caring whether or not kids get sick? And why are their needs secondary to the needs of anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers?

Thousands of kids under age 12 are heading back to school unvaccinated because the Food and Drug Administration has not approved emergency use authorization for their age group. And, sadly, we`re now seeing an uptick in pediatric COVID cases as the more virulent, super contagious delta variant continues to spread. According to the CDC, at least 81 children died of COVID in the U.S. between March and July of this year. And, normally, kids dying would be a five-alarm fire in America or anywhere around the world.


Several doctors at children`s hospitals tell NBC News that the increase in cases can be attributed to members of their household, often a parent bringing the virus home. Oftentimes that adult is unvaccinated.

Just last week, the Tennessee Health Commissioner warned that all of the children`s hospitals across the state would reach maximum capacity by the end of this week. In Texas, all five Houston pediatric wards are full.

In Louisiana, which is being devoured by the virus, one in four children checked for COVID have tested positive. In fact, the American Association of Pediatrics reports that Louisiana has the fastest growing rate of new COVID cases among children in the nation.

Now, in a normal world, all of this would be deeply disturbing, and motivation enough for those who are still holding out to go ahead and get the vaccine. But we`re not in a normal world anymore.

With me now, Dr. Peter Hotez, co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children`s Hospital. And Dr. Hotez, thank you for being here.

I just -- my producers just told me as you`re going into this segment, during the break, that now in the State of Texas, the Governor there is asking for out of state health care professionals to come to the state to help with the COVID crisis, and is asking hospitals to voluntarily postpone elective surgeries.

So, he won`t do anything to stop the vaccine. He literally is fiddling while Texas burns with COVID. But now he wants outside help and people to postpone their elective surgeries. Your thoughts?

DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN OF THE SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Well, you know, I think to the first part of what you were talking about, Joy, you were spot on. I mean, who`s looking out for the children in the south? I mean, we are having this massive surge of COVID-19 across the south. It`s like nothing we`ve ever seen, and we`ve never seen children`s hospital wards fill up with COVID before. We`ve never seen pediatric intensive care units get overwhelmed with COVID cases.

We`ve seen ICUs, of course, and that`s been the great tragedy in this country on COVID-19, but not pediatric ICUs, and that`s where somebody at some point has to draw the line and say, no, we are not going to let our kids get sick and go into pediatric ICUs when we don`t have to, right?

We can do things. We can mandate masks in the schools. We can mandate that all of the eligible adolescents over the age of 12 get vaccinated if they want to go to school, by the way, and we can work with the F.D.A. to see if we can get that that approval and release to the school aged kids between five to 11, but in the meantime, we`ve got tools right now to prevent kids from going into the hospital in the ICUs.

And I`m baffled why this is not our number one national priority, when if ever, we`ve not -- in the past have not prioritized our kids in modern times? This is like something before the Industrial Revolution when we had child labor. We`ve got to figure this out, and I think part of the problem, Joy is, I think a lot of the governors down here in the south, and a lot of the elected officials are working off old information.

They seem to not quite get that delta is different from previous lineages, where the schools did really well.

Here`s what`s going to happen. Schools are opening up in the south now. We start earlier usually than in the northeast. Next week, schools are starting across Louisiana. In some cases they have already started. In two weeks here in Houston, Houston school districts are going to open. Here`s what`s going to happen.

Right now, about 20 to 25 percent of the adolescents in the south are vaccinated, three times lower than many states in the northeast. They`re going to get sick and the little kids are going to get sick and teachers are going to get sick, and what`s going to happen? They`re going to shut it down. They`re going to go back to virtual learning.

So all of the stamping in feet and protests that we have to do in person learning, in person learning. We get it, I get it. I`m the parent of four adult kids and when my kids were little, I got it better than anyone, my wife, too, about the importance of in person classes, we get that. So, let us do it. Let us get the kids vaccinated en masse so we can give them a fighting chance for a successful school year.

REID: Let me ask you what would you would do? I mean, if my kid -- I thank God every day that I was able to get my kids to New York. You know, they grew up in Florida. If we were still there, I would be terrified to send my three kids who are now grown, too, back to school in a state where Ron DeSantis is saying he will fine teachers and school board members for defying his ban on mask mandates.

So, what he is saying is, the school will not be allowed to be a COVID free space. There will be no COVID free spaces for children in Florida. Period.


REID: They have to be allowed to be exposed to it. If you have a child in a State like Florida or Texas or Louisiana, what should you do? Do you think parents should preemptively pull their kids, dis-enroll them and start homeschooling from now? Just start planning to homeschool from now? Or what should they do?

HOTEZ: Well, you know, first of all, let`s take a better case scenario. So right now, up in the northeast, where just about all of the adults and adolescents are vaccinated, that also as the collateral benefit of slowing transmission overall in the community, so the little kids who are not yet vaccinated can feel more protected.

But you know, in the south where vaccination rates are so low and the level of transmission is now at a screaming level, you have to give some thought to that. So, if you have an adolescent child over the age of 12, and you`ve gotten your child fully vaccinated and masked, I think you can take some comfort.

But, you know, if you go -- if you walk into that classroom with a little kid who is not old enough yet to be vaccinated, and you see that none of the other kids are masked, you know, that has to give you pause for concern.

And by the way, what will happen is, if that situation is happening, there`s going to be so much COVID it`s going to shut the whole thing down anyway.

REID: And by the way, the people are also not talking about the psychological damage to a kid who accidentally brings COVID home to Grandma or to a family member. There`s so much here and these people just don`t care about that.

HOTEZ: And Joy, we`re not even talking about the long COVID.

REID: That`s exactly right.

HOTEZ: Which we know, about 26 percent of young adults are getting long COVID going on for months, with cognitive impairments. We have no idea yet what the rate is going to be for adolescents, little kids is going to be the same or worse.

REID: It`s frightening. We wish -- I wish both sides of this debate cared equally about kids. But that is unfortunately not the case.

Dr. Peter Hotez, thank you very much. Stay safe.

Still ahead, former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen testified for seven hours on the disgraced ex-President`s hands-on attempts to overturn an American election.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse who heard that testimony joins us next. Stay with us.



REID: The former top law enforcement official in the country has confirmed to investigators that the disgraced impeached former President enlisted the Justice Department in his scheme to steal the election and that he was plotting with a mole inside the department itself to do it.

Those revelations came from Jeffrey Rosen, Trump`s former acting Attorney General, who delivered closed door testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Saturday and spoke to the D.O.J.`s Office of the Inspector General on Friday.

In doing so, Rosen pointed the finger at this guy, Jeffrey Clark, a Trump loyalist and member of the Conservative Federalist Society, who was then serving as the acting head of the D.O.J. Civil Division.

"The New York Times" report that Rosen told investigators that Clark admitted to meeting with Trump and pledged that he would not do so again. And yet Clark still continued to press colleagues to make statements about the election that they found to be untrue.

Additionally, Rosen discovered that Clark had been engaging in unauthorized conversations with Trump about ways to have the Justice Department publicly cast doubt on President Biden`s victory. This comes after we learned that Clark had tried to send a letter to officials in Georgia, pressing them to nullify the will of the voters.

Separately, we`ve learned from Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi that Clarke drafted a version of that letter for not just Georgia, but for six states in total, more than enough to overturn the election results.

Given how close Trump came to usurping power and what amounts to an actual coup, the question now is whether he and his enablers like Clark will be held accountable.

Joining me now is Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. And Senator Whitehouse, thank you for being here. You were in that entire hearing? What did you learn that you think the public needs to know?

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RIPLEY:): Well, the committee rules unfortunately, keep me from describing anything I learned in that room, but clearly, we have public reporting that`s already out shows something that ought to be of really grave concern, and that is a scheme involving a junior subordinate within the Department of Justice to basically try to roll the senior members of the department into taking action to provoke election returns to be reversed in a whole variety of swing states.

And I think that`s pretty clear from the proposed letter that the subordinate drafted. It`s a matter of public record that that letter is out there and it is also a matter of public record, but this guy was the confirmed head of the Environment and Natural Resources Division, which doesn`t have a whole lot of say over elections, and he was just acting as the Civil Chief. But again, no role in elections.

So peculiar for a subordinate Senate-confirmed to the ENR position to be messing around proposing ideas to the acting Attorney General, and particularly proposing really pretty preposterous ideas like this one.

REID: Did you, in sitting through that, even if you can`t give us the specifics of what you heard, in your view, how close did we come to what amounts to a coup d`etat? Because if you have the President of the United States attempting or through a subordinate or through an ally in the Justice Department, looking to overturn as many as six states elections, and then that is followed by a violent insurrection that has the same purpose. How close in your view did we come to seeing our -- essentially our democracy thrown out the window this year?


WHITEHOUSE: I think, pretty damn close. I think we`ve got a lot of work to do to figure this out. So far, we know from January 6th, a lot of what happened in the building as the assaulters attacked the Capitol to disrupt the election, and we know a lot here of what happened in the building as a subordinate tried to cook up a plan with the White House to trigger states to overturn the election.

What we don`t know is who was behind those things, and were there connectivities between who was asking or telling the subordinate Jeffrey Clark what to do, and who was organizing, supporting, and orchestrating the assault on the Capitol? There`s a lot that we need to know. We`re only looking at the surface right now in the Capitol, of who went into the building, who the trespassers were. Nobody has been charged to any kind of a role, who was not in the building, who might have been an organizer or a conspirator.

And same here, we`re going to have to look behind the protagonists or I should say behind the bit players to see who the architects of the scheme were.

REID: But let me play one of your colleagues on the other side of the aisle. This is Chuck Grassley defending Donald Trump meeting with Jeffrey Clark. Take a listen.


SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): The President has every right to discuss ideas and strategies with his closest advisors. The President -- whether that President is Democrat or Republican should feel unrestrained to bring ideas to his closest staff for robust discussion.


REID: To be clear, as a matter of Civics, I love talking with you about Civics stuff. The Attorney General of the United States is not a political adviser to the President of the United States. Right?

WHITEHOUSE: And to be even more clear, the subordinate down in the Department of Justice who is Senate confirmed to ENR is certainly not one of the President`s closest advisers. I don`t know if he`d ever been to meet with the President until this episode.

REID: And also planning an insurrection and overthrow of our democracy is actually not advice. Its insurrection, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, that is amazing.

WHITEHOUSE: And it is a bit telling when the people in the chain of command get left out along the way. That`s quite weird.

REID: Indeed, indeed. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse Thank you, sir, very much. Really appreciate it.

WHITEHOUSE: Thank you.

REID: With me now -- cheers -- with me now is Glenn Kirschner, former Federal prosecutor and MSNBC columnist. And so Glenn, your take on this? Because I`ll ask you kind of a version of the same question, if you have Mr. Clark inside of the D.O.J. drafting letters for as many as six states to try to get them to overturn their election, and then shortly thereafter, you have an attempt to violently overturn the election. That feels like more than just two separate coincidental things happening, should we start to start thinking about those things as connected?

GLENN KIRSCHNER, MSNBC COLUMNIST: Yes, Joy, you know, let`s just talk about the law of conspiracy and then look at what Donald Trump did and what Jeffrey Clark did to see if their conduct satisfies the two elements of the crime of conspiracy.

A conspiracy is nothing more than two or more people agreeing to commit crime, and then one of the conspirators must do one thing toward the commission of the crime. We call that an overt act. And I`ll tell you what I saw -- I think was Katie Benner`s reporting about what Jeffrey Clark did. The first thing that leapt to mind is we`ve got an overt act.

Why? Because Donald Trump told his D.O.J. officials go out and tell everybody the election was corrupt, even though there was no evidence that the election was corrupt. Of course, Donald Trump helpfully added, and I`ll take care of the rest together with my Republican allies in Congress.

What did Jeffrey Clark do? He took that nefarious suggestion and he ran with it. He then drafted a letter to state officials in Georgia and five other states saying in essence, we think the election might be corrupt. Here`s how you can get rid of the slate of electors for Joe Biden, and pick selectors for Donald Trump and basically corruptly throw him the election.

That act by Jeffrey Clark, drafting the letter circulating it to other D.O.J. officials, he didn`t have to send it. That`s an overt act that proves the crime of conspiracy. And once a conspiracy is committed, because you have the agreement and one overt act, you can`t un-commit it.

You don`t have to go on to actually commit the object of the conspiracy, the crime of conspiracy is complete. That`s what we see in the reporting of what Donald Trump and Jeffrey Clark did.

REID: Well, even though now we have the Justice Department in the hands of sane people and people who are not overtly corrupt, right? But at the state level, what Republicans have done is to remove all of the people who stood in the way the first time and replaced them with flunkies


Or they`re in the process of doing so, and even people who were being praised like Brad Raffensperger in Georgia are now playing ball.

If we now have a situation where in the states, people are willing to overturn elections, even if the Justice Department is not willing to go along, if no one is prosecuted for trying it before, do you worry as much as I do that they`re just going to do it again but now will have done a dry run and know how to do it successfully?

GLENN KIRSCHNER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: If nobody is prosecuted for this criminal, this corrupt attempt to overthrow our government, because let`s be clear. We think of a governmental overthrow as ousting the sitting president. But the sitting president not permitting the lawfully elected president from assuming power is a governmental overthrow. And if we don`t address it now with aggressive investigations and criminal prosecutions, we can expect more of the same in the future.

And I think the one failsafe we still have is the courts have shown an inclination to hold. So even if this letter from Jeffrey Clark had the desired result and the Georgia state legislature started playing with the electors, that still would have been challenged in court. And what we know is that in all 65 instances when Donald Trump`s second rate team of lawyers tried to attack the election results in the court, they were figuratively laughed out of court. Some had their license suspended. So the courts, I think, have held. They have remained strong. But those responsible for this attempted overthrow of the government, this coup d`etat need to be held accountable criminally.

REID: Yeah, absolutely. Google the beer market push. When you`re trying to overthrow a government, you keep trying until you get it right.

Glenn Kirschner, thank you as always. Really appreciate you.

OK. Tonight`s absolute worst is still ahead. But, first, as the evidence piles up all around us in the form of extreme flooding, droughts and wildfires, the U.N. delivers a blistering report packed with evidence with the true severity of the climate crisis. Some key takeaways, next. Don`t go anywhere.



REID: The climate crisis is here and it`s impossible to ignore any longer. No matter how much some people would like to pretend that everything is fine, nothing to see here. According to a stunning new report from the U.N., it`s unequivocal that human influence has warmed the climate. And some changes in climate are irreversible for centuries to millenia.

And the evidence is right in front of our eyes. The report directly ties the climate crisis to extreme weather events including heat waves, heavy precipitation, droughts and tropical cyclones.

These events are deadly, with hundreds of people dying earlier this summer from the heat wave in the Pacific Northwest. The report states that once in 50-year heat waves are now happening every decade, and devastating wildfires like the ones we`re seeing right now in California and Greece will only increase in frequency.

The Dixie Fire in California, which has been active for 26 days and is only 21 percent contained is the biggest single fire in California history. More than twice the size of New York City.

It affects more than just the west coast. Over the weekend, Denver was the most polluted city in the world because of smoke from California.

The report is very clear that it`s now too late to stop the crisis from escalating. It emphasizes that there are still actions we can take to make its effects less severe, calling for deep reductions in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions.

I`m joined by Mustafa Santiago Ali, former senior EPA official who resigned in 2017 after the Trump administration released a budget dismantling the EPA`s Office of Environmental Justice.

And, Mustafa, my friend, thank you for being here. You know, the Denver piece really struck me, because I grew up in Denver, Colorado. When I was growing up there in the 1980s, we had the brown cloud, which was basically pollution that was so bad that it would drift over Denver, mile high Denver, and older people would have to stay inside.

So we`ve been here before in places like Denver. Talk about the real world impacts of the climate crisis and why people should be paying attention to it now, not as a future thing.

MUSTAFA SANTIAGO ALI, FORMER SENIOR EPA OFFICIAL: Well, we know that pollution, fossil fuel pollution, is playing a significant role in shortening people`s lives in our country. We know that the climate crisis exacerbates that. We have over 100,000 people who die prematurely from air pollution every year in our country.

When we have these devastating wildfires that are going on, it adds to the pollution that is impacting all people, but definitely those who are often hit first and worst. Communities of color, lower wealth white communities and indigenous populations. We know if we are not willing to break that addiction that is also driving what`s happening with the climate crisis, then we are going to continue to see both people`s lives being impacted and their wealth being impacted as well.

REID: Well, you know, Al Gore tweeted one of the most important lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic is that when scientists are warning about a looming threat, we all ought to listen. Today, the IPCC, that means U.N., is again sounding the alarm and the warning is clearer than ever.

I feel like if cities are catching on fire, if fire on the water, if Greece on fire, and California on fire, if fire doesn`t get your attention, I don`t know what else to say to people to have folks focus on it, because I feel like whenever we talk climate crisis, all people hear is I can`t drive my SUV. I can`t do what I want. And this is a me, me culture, especially on the right.

What do we do about that?

ALI: Well, we do a number of things. One, we`ve got to continue to work with folks to educate them on both the impacts and the sets of opportunities that are going on.


One of the things I appreciate about the Biden administration is they`re really putting out a broad set of actions that can actually help us to mitigate many of the impacts that are going on. In the IPCC report, they actually give us five different scenarios. And, you know, we can do things to stop things at 1.5 degrees Celsius and if we do, we can mitigate many of the things. If we then just drop just a little bit to 2 degree Celsius, then we start to see these reoccurring climate emergencies happening every other year.

So we`ve got opportunities. We literally have power in this situation, Joy, to actually make change happen and we know that everybody is not going to get on board, but we do know that our elected officials who often are talking about, you know, the economic cost of things. We spent $1.9 trillion over the last three decades on the climate crisis before it began to accelerate like the IPCC report has shared with us today.

REID: And you know, then what do you make of, you know, this bipartisan bill that is so important to some of these moderate Democrats. The bipartisan bill left climate out. They didn`t put it in. The only way we`re going to get any sort of climate, you know, response in legislation is going to be if they pass a reconciliation bill, which does have some things in it to try to address the climate. How do we deal with the fact that this is now, also, the earth and the air and fire is now a partisan issue, too.

ALI: Right. Well, you know, it`s almost like science. Science should never be partisan. Climate should never be partisan. Environmental justice should never be partisan.

We know that all of them add value to people`s lives. Add value to our country and add value to our planet.

So in relationship to the bill, it left out many aspects that environmental justice leaders and other front line leaders are looking for. It did have some positive things around getting lead out of water, but that doesn`t address the climate issue that we have here in front of us and it had some other positives. But when you leave that out, then you leave to that reconciliation bill and we know that we have some members in the Senate who have not been in alignment with actually protecting people`s lives.

REID: Really?


ALI: Well, you know me, Joy, I come from Appalachia, so I don`t need to say the individual.

REID: I know exactly what you mean, my friend, my brother. Appreciate you, Mustafa Ali. Thank you very much.

We heard you loud and clear and you have set up our next segment perfectly. Thank you very much.

Because up next, as was just addressed, some supposedly Democratic senators going all in on infrastructure while ignoring issues that are literally a matter of democracy and disenfranchisement and potentially life or death to the people who elected them. They put themselves in the running for tonight`s absolute worst and that`s next.



REID: The United States Senate is on track to pass the roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal as soon as tomorrow. The Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema has been one of the lead negotiators of said deal for the Democrats.

Until recently, Sinema has scrupulously avoided the press, but lately, in the wake of the bipartisan deal, she`s found her voice, suddenly, telling everyone why bipartisanship matters. Now, for the record, we invited her to appear on the show, but she has declined.

Oddly, in her interview, she doesn`t address some glaring issues. Let`s start with the fact that not one of the 20 bipartisan senators negotiating the infrastructure was a person of color. Not even one.

You`d think maybe, just maybe, they would have noticed a thing like that.

She was asked about that omission and here is what she said or rather didn`t say to NPR.


NPR: New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a tweet account you of tanking your party`s investment on childcare, climate change, and infrastructure. She accused you of members of color from negotiations.

May I ask you to respond to that?

SEN. KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-AZ): Well, I`m not going to because I am laser focused on advancing our legislation.


REID: Do you catch that? The senator, the senior senator from Arizona would not address legitimate criticism that not one of the people negotiating on her little infrastructure was a person of color. I guess that also helps explain why she`s been paling around why Republican senators. And that probably explains why she`s refused to endorse a filibuster exemption, you know, doesn`t want to ruffle any Republican leaders, you know, to her friends.

The newly verbose senator was asked why she didn`t think the right to vote was urgent enough to nuke the filibuster, especially when it targets black, brown, indigenous, and Asian Americans.


JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, THE VIEW: It seems like it`s an emergency right now that we get rid of the filibuster even though we might pay down the road, but if we don`t have voting rights, what do we got? Nothing.

SINEMA: If we were to eliminate the filibuster or create a so-called exception, which actually doesn`t exist, you`d have to eliminate the filibuster in order to pass voting rights legislation, which as a quick reminder, I`m an original co-sponsor of that legislation and have voted to support it and advance it, continue to do so.

But if you eliminate the filibuster to pass that piece of legislation, then in four years or anytime when the other party gains control, without the filibuster in place, all of those voting rights protections could be easily wiped out with a simple majority vote.


REID: You know what, Senator, telling us you co-sponsored the bill while also telling us you`ll defend the Jim Crow filibuster is frankly insulting. It`s like saying I have a black friend, or John Lewis is my hero while you`re stabbing in the back.

It`s also galling to hear the lack of urgency in her voice when it comes to disenfranchising thousands of black and brown Americans. During the same interview, she said her constituents would reward her hard work by re-electing her. How does that work when your state is already purging voters? Some of your voters too.

I guess sacrificing democracy is worth it as long as Tempe and Tucson get new roads. Yeah?

And so, for al that, Senator Sinema, you my dear are the absolutely worst.

And that is tonight`s REIDOUT.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.