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Transcript: The ReidOut, August 18, 2020

Guests: Barbara Boxer, Julian Castro, Gwen Moore, Kristin Urquiza


Michelle Obama delivers stirring address at DNC. DeJoy backpedals on USPS changes. Day two of Democratic Convention is said to focus on leadership. Senator Warren says, suspending USPS changes a good start. USPS chief backpedals on controversial changes. USPS chief suspends changes until after election. States sue Trump administration over Postal Service changes. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell will speak tonight. There is a damning affirmation by the Republican-controlled Senate that Russia helped get Trump elected.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: It's day two of the Democratic National Convention. Last night set the tone for the week with the biggest star of the Democratic Party dropping the hammer on Donald Trump. If Michelle Obama had addressed a packed arena, she would have brought the house down. Her simple alarming message, Donald Trump is not up for the job of being president.

As Democrats head into the second night, there are more major developments on two stories from Trump world. In a damning report on Russian election interference, the Senate Intelligence Committee described a grave counterintelligence threat inside the 2016 Trump campaign. In other words, there is now even more evidence tying the Trump campaign to Russian intelligence. Much more on this is coming up.

But, first, after weeks of protesting efforts to dismantle the Postal Service, Democrats can claim a cautious victory. Trump's postmaster general is backing down, saying that he will suspend all changes being made to the agency for now. Louis DeJoy said, to avoid even the appearance of an impact on the election, I, on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded. He added, the Postal Service is ready today to handle whatever volume of election mail it receives this fall.

This reversal comes just days before he is set to face House and Senate committees. DeJoy will still face a grilling from Congressional Democrats on the actions it has already caused major delays in mail delivery across the country. Take a look at this photo provided to NBC News by a postal employee at a distribution center in New York. It shows bins full of undelivered mail. One bin is dated August 7th. The photo was taken on August 16th. The employee attributes the delays to DeJoy's new policies. And there are at least 20 states that are planning to file lawsuits against him.

But even as DeJoy appears to be backing off, Trump today issued one of his most absurd claims yet on the election, saying mail-in voting might, fore say, redo of the election, something that is not even possible or legal.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Absentee is great. But universal is going to be a disaster the likes of which our country has never seen. It will end up being a rigged election or they will never come out with an outcome. They'll have to do it again. And nobody wants that. And I don't want that.


REID: Joining me now is former Senator Barbara Boxer of California, Jonathan Lemire, White House Reporter for the Associated Press, and Jason Johnson, Professor of Journalism in Politics at Morgan State University. Thank you all for being here.

I want to go right in the center, in the little montage I just showed up all my guests here. Jonathan, Elizabeth Warren has expressed the doubts that I'm hearing from a lot of other people. She tweeted, this is a start but we still need to reverse all the damage, fully fund USPS, investigate DeJoy's conflicts and we need to keep our eyes on DeJoy so he keeps his promise and doesn't find new ways to dismantle the USPS. And she said, I'll be watching his actions, not his words.

The American Postal Workers Union also put out a statement saying, we must ensure that these rollbacks announced today are made permanent and that the people's post office remains a public service. This is the United States Postal Service, not postal business. It was overwhelmingly supported by the people and belongs to the people. They have made it clear that they intend to keep it.

A lot of doubts that DeJoy is going to back off. I don't know how much credence even the White House puts in it because it could be that he's just saying that for the politics. What's your reporting?

JONATHAN LEMIRE, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, ASSOCIATED PRESS: So, first of all, Senator Warren speaks for a lot of her Democratic colleagues there where they feel like this is a first step, that the fact that DeJoy has said that he will pause these reforms, he will pause these changes. And let's be honest, these cutbacks in service, that's good, that's encouraging. But, first, they're also demanding that he revert to where service was a few weeks ago before these changes put into place.

And let's remember, Joy, it's not just about the crush of mail-in voting that we're, of course, expecting in the weeks ahead, it's also Americans in their day-to-day lives, being unable to receive perhaps necessary medication, that something that seniors and veterans alike are really struggling with right now. And there's been cascading delays across the country with the Postal Service, as you said, service, not business.

The president's rhetoric on this has shifted slightly in the last few days. I think they were caught off guard a little bit by the fierce blowback they were getting. This became the story in the country.

REID: Really? Wait, they're surprised that there was pushback on people not being able to get their packages, their mail and their social security cards? Who's working in the White House? Is anybody there actually meet any human beings outside of that building? I mean, are you kidding? They were surprised that people were upset they weren't getting their mail?

LEMIRE: They take their cues from the president, Joy. And the president himself, of course, has been on this for a long time. These sort of unfounded assertions, these unfounded conspiracy theories that mail-in voting would lead to widespread voter fraud. Of course, there's no evidence of that. He keeps returning that time and again. And that was fueling a lot of these cutbacks, and, of course, which would allow him to sow seeds of chaos, question, perhaps, the election results this November. You heard him do it again today.

There can't be an election do-over. There might be delays, that's true. I think we all should adjust our thinking. It's not going to be election night. It could be election week. It could be several days before we have an answer. And he is trying to suggest that because that's different than what's happened before, therefore, it invalidates the whole process, which, of course, is not the case.

But this is something where that he has stepped back a little bit on this, that they recognize this is a political loser, especially in recent days when members of his own party, when fellow Republicans were finally speaking out against these changes.

REID: Jason Johnson, I feel like maybe I should maybe become a White House consultant because I could have told them for probably, you know, a fifth of what he's paying those people that are working in the White House that if you don't -- can we put the picture back up of the mail sorting? Those aren't ballots. Do they think that only ballots go through the mail? I'm starting to think that Donald Trump thinks the only thing that the Postal Service does is deliver ballots. They're not delivering packages and birthday presents and social security checks and people's checks. Like those are packages.

Anyway, Jason, you wrote an interesting piece that talked about the long term. This goes to the thing that I thought a lot about because this isn't the first time that Republicans have tried to break the Postal Service. They want to privatize it. A lot of them want to. Walk us through a little bit of how we wound up with six white guys on the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors, none of whom were firing the guy who was break the Postal Service.

JASON JOHNSON, PROFESSOR OF POLITICS AND JOURNALISM, MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY: So, Joy, thank you so much. I wrote this piece for the grill (ph), because I, like most Americans, was concerned how the heck did we get here and how can we fix it. You can go back to around 2015, 2016. The law requires that the Board of Governors that runs the post office is supposed to have nine members.

But for years, you had about five representatives that Barack Obama kept appointing, three Democrats, two Republicans, because he's required to put both on this committee. They kept getting blocked. They kept getting block by Senator Bernie Sanders because Sanders was concerned that the Republicans that Obama nominated were going to privatize the post office.

Now, that was a good idea at the time. The problem is if you block anybody who was on this sort of slate, then basically you get rid of the entire group. So by the end of 2016, there was only one member of the Board of Governors and pretty much our post office was being run by an emergency committee for years. That has allowed Trump to put on nothing but his cronies to run it now, which is why no one has stood up to DeJoy. He may be backing off because he's getting in trouble.

But trust me, if the Board of Governors was filled with men and women, because right now, there's no women on the committee, who actually cared about the post office and cared about public service, they would have gotten rid of DeJoy last summer.

REID: Yes. And, Senator Boxer, I want to let you sort of preview what would you want to ask if you were still in the Senate and were on one of these committees. Because my first question would be, are you going to put the boxes back? Because you took boxes and are you going to put the sorting machines back and are you going to let people have overtime because that's the only reason that they can't sort the mail. But what would you want to ask DeJoy if you got him front of you?

FMR. SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D-CA): Well, that was good. But instead of asking him, I would say, as a United States senator, you are going to put the mailboxes back. You are going to get those sorting machines and put them back. Because if you don't do this, and you are going to pay overtime if necessary, and you are going to support $25 billion, which the House is going to vote to do, because this is election time, it is also COVID time.

People need their meds, people need their ballots, people need their paychecks, people need their social security checks. And this is the time that the Postal Service is keeping us all together when we're so anxious and apart from our families. So, I don't even think it's a matter of questions. He has to run the post office and he has to restore all the bad things that he did.

And one last point I would make. You know Trump has gone too far. I mean, I have a list of things that we all said, this is a bridge too far. But now he's attacking this iconic institution that has 91 percent support. And even the Republicans in the Senate have decided they're going to have a hearing.

Now, you know they don't do anything, so they're scared.

REID: But you know Mitch McConnell. He's already said that even if -- and the House is going to come in this weekend and pass a bill to restore funding to the Postal Service and he said he won't even look at it. So, Mitch McConnell -- I mean, he gets mail. Does he not have family members? Does he not have senior citizens in his life? It's almost as if he's like, well, I don't care if no one gets the mail, just like he did with Russian collusion, he's going to look the other way because he thinks it keeps Trump in power and that means he keeps him in power.

BOXER: Well, guess what, he's running for election and the race is very tight. And If he wants to give his opponent an issue, he couldn't give her a better issue, Amy McGrath, to just say, I will promise you I will make sure that we save the post office, that we save social security, that we save Medicare. And I won't cower in the corner from this president.

So I think he's in some kind of trouble. And I would bet you'll see some money going to the post office. And that's a bold prediction.

REID: Well, I mean, she's also a military veteran, so she could -- 15 percent of the staff of the post office are military.

Jonathan, there are already signs that Trump is already pre-throwing DeJoy under the bus. He said, I don't know what he's doing. He's already kind of set the table that he's just going to throw him under the bus. Is DeJoy about to find out what happens when you get limelight in a way that Donald Trump doesn't think is helpful to him?

LEMIRE: Well, that is his standard play, right? When there's someone in Trump's orbit even tangentially or sometimes in the inner circle that runs afoul of the media coverage, let's say, and runs into some trouble, the president is quick to distance himself from that person. We certainly are starting to see some signs of that now. It's not clear exactly how that plays out in the days and weeks ahead. Let's remember, of course, there is an election looming, there is some reluctance in the White House to make this any more of a thing than it already is.

But if we take just a half step back, this is -- it's a reflection also about the president and where he and his campaign's mindset is. He knows he's losing. That's what a lot of Republicans are worried right now, is that the president is fixated on the election being rigged. Yesterday, he had events in Wisconsin and Minnesota. And both places said, well, the only way we could lose this is if it's rigged. He keeps returning to that theme. And if you're crying foul here, if you're alleging voter fraud, that means you're not very confident you're going to have the most votes.

And certainly he did win last time without popular vote. He could again. But there's real concern here this is betraying a lack of confidence in his election chances. And Republicans fear he could take the Senate now with him.

REID: Yes. Well, you know what, they could take the Senate down with him, because if you're letting the post office die, no one is going to re-elect you. That's free campaign advice on cable news T.V.

Thank you former Senator Barbara Boxer, Jonathan Lemire, Jason Johnson. Thank you guys very much.

And up next on THE REIDOUT, Michelle Obama sets the tone for the Democrats with her searing indictment of Donald Trump.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY: Whenever we look to this White House for some leadership or consolation or any semblance of steadiness, what we get instead is chaos, division and a total and utter lack of empathy.


REID: Plus, the eye-opening new Senate intel report on Russian election interference. Last time, Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was in far deeper than we knew.

Plus, Kristin Urquiza joins me after her powerful convention speech last night.


KRISTIN URQUIZA, : My dad was a healthy 65-year-old. His only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump, and for that, he paid with his life.


REID: THE REIDOUT continues after this.



OBAMA: So, let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can. Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is.


REID: That was Michelle Obama delivering one of the most effective political attacks on the current president. The former first lady, the most admired woman in America, delivered a deeply personal speech that brushed aside the unconventional aspect of the convention and spoke directly to the voters. It was the modern-day fireside chat.


OBAMA: Right now, kids in this country are seeing what happens when we stop requiring empathy of one another.

They see an entitlement that says only certain people belong here, that greed is good and winning is everything, because as long as you come out on top, it doesn't matter what happens to everyone else. So if you take one thing from my words tonight, it is this. If you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can and they will if we don't make a change in this election.

If we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.


REID: Her address was the high watermark of a convention so far.

And just a short time from now, night two of the convention will kick off with several up and coming Democrats, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Also speaking, former President Bill Clinton and Dr. Jill Biden.

And just moments ago, it was announced that former secretary of state under George W. Bush, Colin Powell, will be a featured speaker tonight.

For more, I'm joined by Congresswoman Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, you saw her at the convention last night, and former Presidential Candidate and HUD Secretary Julian Castro. Thank you both for being here.

Congresswoman Moore, I want to first get your response to Colin Powell being a featured speaker tonight.

And, by the way, your presentation last night was great. You were so hyped. We were -- you got -- you -- everyone who was watching could not help but feel your enthusiasm for your city hosting.

But go on. What is your response to Colin Powell?

REP. GWEN MOORE (D-WI): Oh, well, look, this -- just let me say, we have long known that Colin Powell wasn't going to stand for any foolishness.

And so I am looking forward to seeing him, because we do need to speak to those voters. We don't need to shame people who voted for Trump last time. We need to let them know that we're standing by to give them a better prospect for a better America.

REID: And, you know, last night -- Secretary Castro, I want to go to you and bring you in here, because one of the issues that was sort of swirling around the way that things would go in this convention was whether or not there was going to be a significant presence of the Latinx community.

I want to play just a little bit of what Joe Biden has said about the importance of Latinx voters.


JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The future success of our country depends on Latinos having the opportunities and the tools they need.

Look, Latinos are among the fastest growing population in the United States. Already, one-quarter of our schoolchildren, one-quarter, are Latinos, speak Spanish, one-quarter. How in God's name can we have a strong, thriving republic if we don't fully deal in Latinos in every aspect of American life?


REID: And, by the way, that was a conversation between himself and Lin-Manuel Miranda for the Latino Victory Project, just so that everybody knows what that is. That was a Facebook conversation.

Here's what the polling looks like. Biden is at 57 to Trump's 31. I think a lot of people are surprised 31 percent of the Latinx community would be with Trump. But it's different. It's down from what Clinton had. She was 66-28. And that's also down from what President Obama had.

And I think, for a lot of people, having people like you, for instance, at the convention would help. And so I wonder what you think about that, about this deficit. It's a slight deficit, but what do you think of it?

JULIAN CASTRO, FORMER U.S. HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT SECRETARY: Well, I mean, number one, both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have strong track records with the Latino community, starting with the fact that the Obama/Biden administration passed the Affordable Care Act.

And the biggest beneficiary in terms of the community was the Latino community. More than four million Latinos were finally able to get affordable health care because of it, educational opportunity, housing opportunity.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in California have a strong record of delivering on that for the Latino community. We know that one of our strengths as Democrats is that we have assembled this beautiful, diverse coalition of people that has helped power us to victory, most recently in 2018, when we had a historic win in Congress.

And we absolutely need all of that coalition for 2020.

Last week, somebody pointed out to me, I think on Friday, that out of the 35 prime-time speakers, that only three of them were Latina or Latino, and that there were no Native Americans, no Muslim Americans. And I said that I didn't that that reflected this diverse coalition that we have.

Fortunately, over the weekend, the DNC did add participants. And you saw that, I think, on display last night. I think it's a work in progress, that we need to...

REID: Yes.

CASTRO: ... that representation does matter, and we're going to need to send those signals to the Latino community, so that we have a good turnout in November.

REID: And I will go back to the congresswoman, because you have a president who said, let Democratic cities die, which I will also ask Secretary Castro, because he was a big city mayor, that there's a disdain for people of color that's being just openly displayed by the president, who retweeted somebody who tweeted, "White power."

I wonder if you think that part of -- as Secretary Castro said, part of what's happening this week is that the diversity of the Democratic coalition is the sale, right? It is what the Democratic Party is saying, this is what we offer, a future America.

Do we -- ooh, I don't think we have you. OK, I don't think we have the -- oh. Oh. Do we have you, Congresswoman?

MOORE: You do have me.

REID: OK. I think -- oh, we have got you back.

MOORE: I thought you were talking to Secretary Castro.

Oh, absolutely. And one of the reasons that I think that Kamala Harris is such a brilliant pick is, can you imagine a little Latina child who's terrified that her parents are going to be scooped up and sent off, to see the child of an immigrant at the helm standing by Joe Biden's side?

Can you imagine? I mean, Kamala Harris checks so many boxes for inspiring people that I think that her nomination is very intimidating to the Trump campaign.

And so their rallying around racism is really going to fall on empty seats, as we think about the numbers of people in our coalition that are going to be stimulated by her presence on the ticket.

REID: Yes.

MOORE: I mean, not just women, not just women of color, but people who have been immigrants in this country, have been left out.

REID: Yes.

MOORE: The president already starting his campaign against her bringing up birtherism.

So I think that his raw racism right out in public is really going to be the thing to galvanize our entire coalition.

REID: And same to you, Secretary Castro.

CASTRO: Yes, I completely agree with the congresswoman.

Already, Senator Harris has added a whole new dimension and exciting a lot of people across the spectrum. Her story is this immigrant's American dream story that people of all different backgrounds can relate to, are enthusiastic about, represents the best ideals of this country.

To think that her parents, one from India and one from Jamaica, are able to watch. They -- their daughter now is going to be nominated as vice president and I believe elected as vice president in November. It speaks to what's possible in this great country of ours.

REID: Yes.

CASTRO: And I think that Senator Harris herself, as well, during the next few months is going to be a great asset to the ticket, because she campaigned in the most diverse state in all of our union, in California.

So, she knows how to reach out to any number of different communities.

REID: Yes.

And, by the way, I want to thank both of you guys.

But, before we let you both go, we do have an exclusive look at a portion of Secretary Powell's speech.

Let's take a quick look.


COLIN POWELL, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: ... learned growing up in the South Bronx and serving in uniform were the same values that Joe Biden's parents instilled in him in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

I support Joe Biden for the presidency of the United States because those values still define him. And we need to restore those values to the White House.

Our country needs a commander in chief who takes care of our troops in the same way he would his own family. For Joe Biden, that doesn't need teaching. It comes from the experience he shares with millions of military families, sending his beloved son off to war, and praying to God he would come home safe.


REID: Congressman -- I mean -- I'm sorry -- Secretary Castro, I just want to ask you really quickly, because I know Texas has a very big military and veteran community.

You had Trump admit that he was punishing states by withholding COVID aid from them to punish them for not behaving in the way he wanted.

What will it mean to have Colin Powell stand up there, a -- somebody who was appointed by a Republican president, speaking up for Joe Biden?

CASTRO: Well, it's a very powerful example that people from across the political spectrum are supporting Joe Biden, because he's the person that can bring our country together at a time when this president has been the most divisive and has polarized our country even further.

He's also an effective leader. In the military, and especially folks like General Powell, what they care about are results and good governance. And that's what Joe Biden represents.

So, this is going to help Joe Biden. And I think, including in states like Texas, where the polls show consistently that Biden is either tied or one or two points ahead of Donald Trump, a lot of military families here, they see how Donald Trump has failed them.

And I think that you're going to get a good number of them that are going to flip over to Joe Biden.

REID: All right.

Well, I -- you may not remember this, but when I ran into you at the 2012 Democratic Convention, you did predict that, within 10 years, Texas was going to be a purple state. You -- I will never forget you saying that. You and your twin brother both agreed.

CASTRO: We will keep working to make it possible this year.

REID: All right. We will see. We shall see.

Congresswoman Gwen Moore, thank you so much, and, Julian Castro, former HUD secretary. Really appreciate both of you.

And now, this year, how you vote is just as important as who you vote for. NBC's interactive Plan Your Vote guide has everything you need to know about casting a ballot, voting rules and deadlines in your particular state.

And up next: The Senate Intelligence Committee has released its final report on Russia's 2016 election interference and the role it played in getting Trump elected. And, yes, it's worse than you thought.

Stay with us.


REID: The Republican-led suspect Intelligence Committee has released the final volume of their Russia report.

And the findings are explosive. They strongly suggest Donald Trump lied in his sworn testimony when he denied recalling any discussions with Roger Stone about WikiLeaks. Despite Trump's recollection, the committee assesses that Trump did in fact speak with Stone on multiple occasions.

The report said that Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort represented a grave counterintelligence threat. That's because they confirmed that Manafort was indeed exchanging information with a Russian intelligence officer, in other words, a spy.

Not only that, but two pieces of information which are redacted from the report raise the possibility of Manafort's potential connection to the Kremlin's hack-and-leak operations.

The committee found that Russia tried to cover their tracks by accusing Ukraine of election interference. And Trump later seized upon that false narrative, which led to his impeachment.

Oh, and two of the Russians at that infamous Trump Tower meeting with Don Jr., they had significant connections to Russian intelligence as well. The report even delves into the salacious, revealing unconfirmed allegations about Trump's relationships with women in Moscow, which were overheard from three different sources, two of whom also described a tape.

While the report included some criticism of the FBI, it cannot be emphasized enough that committee Republicans signed off on all of this. If anything, it goes further than the Mueller report.

Far from no collusion, these findings appear to fit the very definition of that term.

And joining me now is Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security adviser under President Obama.

A surprising set of findings, signed off on by Republicans. And yet Republicans come out with a statement in their appendix saying, well, "We can now say with no doubt there was no collusion."

I mean, Democrats, I think, had it more accurate: "This is what collusion looks like."

Any surprises for you in what you heard about this report today?


I think you're right that this goes beyond what we learned from the Mueller investigation. You know, I was there at the end of 2016, when we had information that Russia had intervened in the election to help Trump.

And there were these open questions about whether there was coordination and at what level. Well, this report is the worst-case scenario, Joy. The president's campaign manager was sharing information and colluding with a Russian spy.

There are all kinds of other links to WikiLeaks. And the report gets into detail and said, those connections to WikiLeaks might even have determined things like the timing of the WikiLeaks releases on the same day as the "Access Hollywood" tape to create a diversion.

It doesn't get more blinking red light that this is coordination, this is collusion, whatever word you want to use, in terms of the Trump campaign working with Russia to facilitate a Russian intelligence operation to elect Donald Trump president.

It's all laid out there in black and white, signed off by the same Republican senators who are claiming that it doesn't say what we can all read that it says for ourselves.

REID: Yes.

And Marco Rubio today was busy tweeting today about celebrities, instead of about this. And this is the committee that he's on.

Do you get the sense that now, looking back on it, the pardon of Roger Stone looks a lot more nefarious? It looked bad before -- or at least the commutation for him -- because it looks like Donald Trump knew a lot more than he admitted to and may have lied about what he knew about the operation to spread this disinformation about Hillary Clinton. RHODES: No, it absolutely is the case that Roger Stone clearly was at the nexus of this relationship between the Trump campaign and their associates and WikiLeaks.

And, coincidentally or not coincidentally, I would say, Roger Stone is the guy who gets a pardon from Donald Trump. And Donald Trump has gone out of his way to say that he admired Roger Stone because he didn't flip, speaking in kind of mob parlance here, Joy.

So, I think this raises all manner of questions about whether Donald Trump lied in his answers to the Mueller investigation, what we don't know about Donald Trump's own personal role in this collusion with Russia.

And, again, I think what should be on all our minds right now is that we're just over two months away from an election where Russia's very likely to do the same thing over again.

REID: Yes.

RHODES: And we have very little confidence that we can be secure against Russian interference, with a president who has welcomed it in the past.

REID: It strikes me, in just reading through this, that Paul Manafort did to the United States what he had previously done to Ukraine, right?

He had messed with their elections in the past in order to put a Putin puppet in charge. And now you have a president who's ruminating, apparently, on meeting with Vladimir Putin in New York, has talked about putting him back in the G7, and seems to be doing everything that -- you know, if there was a Christmas list that Vladimir Putin would have put together, it couldn't have gotten any better than what Donald Trump is doing, other than just getting rid of all the Magnitsky sanctions.

So, I wonder if you're of the mind that, if Biden wins, if Joe Biden becomes president, that there should be something like a Trump crimes commission? Should he -- should he impanel such a commission? And do you think that members of the Trump campaign, including up to the president, should be at least looked at for prosecution?

RHODES: There is no question in my mind, Joy, that there has to be an accountability process if Joe Biden wins to protect the integrity of our democracy.

It's not about getting revenge. It's not about going after political opponents. That's what Donald Trump does. It's about sending a message that, if you collude with, facilitate, coordinate with a foreign adversary in interfering in our election, and hacking private materials and releasing them, that there are going to be consequences, because think of the message it would send if you essentially had this type of criminal enterprise behavior, and then this kind of multiyear obstruction of justice, and attempt to construct conspiracy theories.

To this day, Joy, there are Republicans in the Senate, Ron Johnson, a senator, Republican senator, is still laundering this Russian-created conspiracy theory that we learned that Ukraine was somehow behind the interference in the election.

We deserve the truth about what happened. And there needs to be accountability for the people responsible. And we cannot just say we're going to turn the page. We have to deal with this as a country.

And so I really think it's essential that we have some accountability process if Joe Biden wins the election.

REID: If the Senate does not go to the Democrats, do you -- would you trust Mitch McConnell to be in charge of such a process?

Because he knew about what you all knew going into the last election. And he made an affirmative decision to let Russia do it. He's doing that again. He's making affirmative decisions to back off on sanctions.

This is why he gets called Moscow Mitch, because he's helping -- he's being more helpful to Russia than he is adversarial toward them.

Do you think that Mitch McConnell is trustworthy when it comes to Russia?

BEN RHODES, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No, 100 percent not. He refused to sign a bipartisan statement in 2016 just acknowledging the election interference. He's held up, blocked election security bills that have passed the House, kept them from passing the Senate because he'd rather leave our elections unprotected than acknowledge the reality of what Russia did because it was on behalf of Donald Trump.

We need some kind of independent process here, Joy. Part of what's happened here is this is a fairly obvious story. It's hiding in plain sight. Russia helped Trump and Trump has obstructed justice for almost four years to prevent the truth from getting out.

Now we have the clearest account of the truth and it is the worst-case scenario. Mitch McConnell has no interest in getting to the bottom of that. So I think it needs to be an independent process.

REID: Yeah. I don't think anybody had the Senate Intelligence Committee under a Republican Senate having a report that in many ways is more explosive than the Mueller report. I don't anybody had that on their bingo cards. But there it is.

Ben Rhodes, thank you so much, really appreciate you being here.

And still ahead, today is the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women, at least white women, the right to vote. We'll give Donald Trump a little history lesson on the woman whose ghost he hooked up today, next on THE REIDOUT.


REID: Susan B. Anthony, abolitionist, teacher, temperance advocate, author, suffragette, and as of today, Trump's latest distraction from the damning affirmation by the Republican-controlled Senate that Russia helped get him elected.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Later today, I will be signing a full and complete pardon for Susan B. Anthony. She was never pardoned.


REID: People laughed. Oh, oh, and also not a suburban housewife. She never married.


TRUMP: Women and men living in the suburbs, they want security and they want safety. Men, women, husbands, housewives, whatever you want to say.


REID: OK, OK. Anthony was born February 15th, 1820 to a Quaker family in Massachusetts that owned a cotton mill. The family moved a couple of times winding up on a farm in Rochester, New York. Her father's business failed in the 1830s, and Susan returned home to help the family make ends meet, teaching at a Quaker school.

She got involved in the anti-slavery movement and the family home became a meeting place for abolitionists like Frederick Douglass, who, just for anyone listening at 1600 Black Lives Matter Plaza who might be confused, is no longer alive. She met Elizabeth Cady Stanton at an 1851 anti-slavery conference. And together they basically became the Thelma and Louise of abolition, women suffrage and temperance.

The idea that no one was going to listen to women on banning booze unless the ladies had a right to vote. Now, keep in mind that in 19th century America, white women were entirely the subjects of their fathers and husbands with no right to own property or to enter into legal agreements with marriage and children being viewed as their only purpose for being alive.

Now, it's quite (ph) -- Phyllis Schlafly. And black women and other nonwhite women had zero rights of any kind. Susan Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton supported the North and the Civil War. Sorry, Donald Trump.

But after the war, they broke with Frederick Douglass and other old allies over the 14th Amendment opposing it because it placed the word "man" into the Constitution for the first time and gave formerly enslaved black men the right to vote but not the white male congressman and senators' own wives, mother, and daughters. Stanton eventually got tired of waiting. In 1872 she committed the crime for which her ghost was pardoned today, voting illegally in the presidential election. She was arrested, convicted, and fined $100, about $2,600 in today's money, which she refused to pay.

And Susan B. Anthony never gave up. Meeting with President Theodore Roosevelt to lobby for an amendment in 1905, writing books and giving speeches. But the 19th Amendment wouldn't pass until 14 years after she died, this time leaving black women behind.

We'll be right back.



KRISTIN URQUIZA, DNC SPEAKER, LOST FATHER TO COVID-19: My dad, Mark Anthony Urquiza, should be here today. But he isn't. My dad was a healthy 65-year-old. His only preexisting condition was trusting Donald Trump, and for that, he paid with his life. One of the last things that my father said to me was that he felt betrayed by the likes of Donald Trump. And so when I cast my vote for Joe Biden, I will do it for my dad.


REID: I'm joined now by the speaker who lost her father to COVID-19.

And, Kristin, I just want to say there were a couple of moments last night that I think everybody sat up and paid attention to, and the two that I heard the most about were Michelle Obama and you. That when you told your story, it was so poignant and it was so, you know, devastating to hear you talk about your dad and the fact that he died from believing the lies about COVID, it was a lot.

How did you feel doing it? I know you've also written out his obituary and put it out there. How did you feel about do it and why did you do it?

URQUIZA: Thanks for having me to share more about my dad's story.

When my dad came down with coronavirus and subsequently died, I didn't only feel grief, I felt intense anger -- anger that my father was not given a chance to be able to make sound decisions about how to mitigate risks because the airwaves had been littered with either downplaying of the virus or misinformation, such as the governor of Arizona saying that we were on the other side of the pandemic. And that it was safe to go out and go shopping and meet up with friends. And so, that's why I knew I needed to speak up.

REID: Where did your dad get his information, just from these public officials, or was it online?

URQUIZA: My dad was mostly a cable news type of guy who read the newspaper, but then also was a big social media guy, as well. So I think that this sort of vacuum that was around him was really reinforcing these messages that we were on the other side of the pandemic. And then being a supporter of President Trump, we're supposed to listen to our leaders in times of criseses. And that's what he did.

REID: You talked about -- you just said again it filled you with anger because your dad didn't have any preexisting conditions, he should still be with you. You talked about him going to a bar with friends. I don't know if your family is still in contact with those friends. Has your father's passing changed their mind?

URQUIZA: You know, I know that folks in Arizona have, by my father's untimely passing, have started to change their behavior. But I think the issue here is that individual behavior is not going to get us to the other side of the pandemic. It's a coordinated data driven national response from the highest levels that we need to have in order to be able to make the right decisions to keep ourselves safe.

REID: Yeah, let me play a little bit -- there's a new ad from a PAC which you are a part of. I want to play a little bit of.


URQUIZA: My father, like so many others, should not have died from COVID-19. His death is due to the carelessness of President Trump and the politicians who continue to jeopardize our health through a clear lack of leadership. President Trump is unfit for the presidency.

That's why I'm voting for Joe Biden, a real leader, who will fight for the Mark Urquizas and all of us.


REID: You know, Donald Trump's response to the first night of the convention was to criticize Michelle Obama for undercounting the number of dead on his watch.

What would you say to him if you would have a conversation with the current president?

URQUIZA: I don't think President Trump cares about what any of us individually have to say. But if I could have a conversation with him, I would say you are responsible for the death of not only my father, but tens of thousands of Americans underneath your watch, and you are unfit to be our leader. And you just need to go back to Mar-a-Lago.

REID: Yeah. And do you believe that what's happening in Arizona -- we know the cases in Arizona, 4,500 dead, including your dad, 194,000 cases. We've reached 5.4 million cases nationwide.

Do you think that winds up handing Arizona to Biden?

URQUIZA: I wish I could tell the future, but what I'm seeing right now in Arizona is that people are increasingly becoming upset with the lack of leadership from Doug Ducey. He's still not mandated masks. Today, he had a rally with President Trump in Yuma, which is disproportionately seeing the impacts of this pandemic. And it seems like they care a little bit more about their political image than actually protecting people.

REID: Yeah.

Kristin Urquiza, a very eloquent spokesperson for the people who are being victimized by COVID. Thank you so much. And for Joe Biden, thank you so much.

I really appreciate you being here.

That is THE REIDOUT tonight.

But stay here. After the break, I'll be back with Rachel Maddow and Nicolle Wallace for full coverage of the second night of the Democratic National Convention.


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