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Transcript: The ReidOut, August 24, 2020

Guests: Steve Schmidt, Charlie Sykes, Bernard Ashby, Carolyn Maloney


Republican National Convention kicks off in North Carolina. Trump sows doubts about election integrity. GOP recycles existing platform, adds oath of fealty to Donald Trump. Trump family member will speak on each night of RNC. RNC features St. Louis couple who waved guns at Black Lives Matter protesters. GOP launches four-day convention in Charlotte. President Trump officially accepts party's nomination. Pence says, four more years means more judges. Maryanne Trump says Donald has no principles. Trump says pandemic response has been incredible. Officials in Kenosha, Wisconsin, are bracing for another night of protests following the police shooting of a black man over the weekend.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: The Republican Party kicked off of their national convention today in North Carolina. And on day one, they made it clear that their platform consists of just two things, grievance and Donald Trump.

Trump was officially re-nominated right off the top of the convention with delegate after delegate praising him lavishly. And Trump couldn't stay away to let the Republicans even have their day, oh, no, even a day about how obedient they are to him.

He took over the stage addressing the delegates in person, pandemic be damned, rambling for nearly an hour in a dark rant full of lies about mail-in voting, complaints about the media and his usual false claims about Democrats, but only after first basking in the genuflection of his supporters.


CROWD: Four more years. Four more years.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And if you want to really drive him crazy, you say 12 more years.

CROWD: 12 more years. 12 more years.

TRUMP: This is the greatest scam in the history of politics.

The only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election.

This is the most important election in the history of our country. Don't let them take it away from you.


REID: That old 12 more years thing, isn't that what Putin just gave himself in Russia?

The Republican capitulation to Trump was also on full display in the party's platform, or lack thereof. It's not an outline of ideas or principles, it's a pledge of allegiance to Trump himself, enthusiastically supporting Donald Trump and his agenda, whatever it may be. And then Republicans adjourned without adopting a single policy platform plank.

Politico summed up the Republican Party's grand old meltdown, writing, it can now safely be said as his first term in the White House draws toward closure, that Donald Trump's party is in the very definition of a cult of personality.

It's a stark departure from the message from Democrats last week, as will be evident from a list of speakers at this week's convention. Instead of leading Republicans, it will feature essentially everyone named Trump with at least one member of the president's family speaking each night, including his son, Eric, tomorrow night.

Which is interesting after New York Attorney General Letitia James today made public through court filings that Eric Trump has refused to comply with a subpoena in a New York State prosecutor civil investigation of the Trump organization, an investigation based, in part, on Michael Cohen's testimony to Congress.

Meanwhile, a host of fringe figures will also be given primetime real estate to address what's left of the grand old party. Tonight, we'll hear from the gun-slinging millionaires of St. Louis, made famous in a viral video for threatening Black Lives Matter protesters from their front yard.

I am joined now by former Republican Strategist and co-Founder the Lincoln Project, Steve Schmidt, and Charlie Sykes, Editor-at-Large at the Bulwark.

And, Steve, you and I didn't know each other in 2004, but we were on opposite sides of a campaign. And so I'm not saying I'm an expert like you are in running a campaign, but I can a tell a campaign that's speaking from a point of view of knowing they are losing.

And I don't know what you saw today, but what I saw was a president making a pre-excuse for losing an election. What did you see? Am I wrong on that?

STEVE SCHMIDT, FORMER REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, no, of course not, Joy. Good evening.

This is a profoundly absurd moment. The Republican Party is gathered for its quadrennial nominating convention to re-nominate Donald Trump for the president of the United States. The American people have seen this administration in four short years literally wreck the country. We have 170,000 dead Americans, a wrecked economy.

We're on the front edge of a foreclosure crisis that will dwarf everything that happened in 2009, and eviction prices, we have growing food lines, small businesses failing all over the country, the school openings in most places are chaos, and in most places, the school will soon be shut. We can't travel outside of our country. We really can't travel anywhere inside the country. And Donald Trump has made this country the epicenter of coronavirus death and suffering.

So what's the argument for four more years? There's literally no one in the country with the possible exception of the Trump family that's better off than they were four years ago. So what we're going to see tonight is the gaslighting of the country. We're going to see a theater of absurdity. We're going to hear claims that are utterly fantastical. And we'll see the ugly grievance politics and the racial animus unleashed with no boundaries, no restraint as we watch this play out over these next couple of days.

We have his family members, we see the staggering hypocrisy of Jerry Falwell Jr., one of his leading evangelical proponents going down today. The son is taking a Firth Amendment. The chief strategist from the last election is involved in a scheme arrested by postal agents, that the son and the girlfriend are involved in. I mean, it's just an unbelievable spectacle we're going to get ready to watch this week.

We see the disintegration of one of the country's two great parties into a cult of personality is exactly right. And we see that cult of personality pushing forward the worst president in the history country celebrating the greatest failure of leadership in the history of the country and the greatest ineptitude in the history of the country when it comes to facing a crisis as big as the one we're in.

REID: And, Charlie, I want to play two sound bites for you that I think kind of sum up what Steve just said, right? So, first, I want to play you Mike Pence, Vice President Mike Pence, answering Steve's question, what's the reason to re-elect Donald Trump, in his view. Here is Mike Pence.


MIKE PENCE, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: When we re-elect President Donald Trump, remember it's going to be four more years. That means more jobs. Four more years means more judges.


REID: So, more jobs meaning they need to get back up to the 30 million that they lost? I guess maybe they're going to backfill some of that 30, but it's judges, judges, judges, judges, right? So that's what the real point is, and that's why they like him.

But here is a second one, because the Republicans around Donald Trump who have given into this cult of personality are also trying to make a case for themselves that they should also stay in power.

Here is Martha McSally urging her supporters to donate to her in a very unique way.


SEN. MARTHA MCSALLY (R-AZ): We're doing our part to catch up, you know, to get our message out. But it takes resources. So, if anybody can give, I'm not ashamed to ask, to invest, if you can give $1, $5, if you can fast a meal and give what that would be.


REID: I mean, when you talk about a cult of personality, Charlie, it is the -- I mean, a religion is where your savior dies for you, right? This is how it's been explained to me. A cult of personality is when you're asked to maybe die for your savior, so starve and give me money. Come and get coronavirus and stand with me without masks. It is a strange thing they're asking of their supporters. And these are the people they supposedly like.

CHARLIE SYKES, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, THE BULWARK: Yes. It certainly is not the kind of message you would expect from a winning party. Look, I think it was striking that they begin this convention by basically admitting that they had become a brain-dead party, that they were not going to have a platform, that there were no issues, that it was all Trump all the time, that there was officially a cult of personality. And they gave up almost any pretense that there's a Republican Party that's Independent of Trump.

You would think that at this point that you would have Republicans around the country who would see what's happening and would distance themselves and say, okay, we may support some things but we're certainly not going to become part of, you know, this particular train wreck. And yet they are all in. And I think you're going to see that over the next couple of days.

And I think you saw what the Trump show looked like today of the president rambling his grievances, the same old stories. So any spin that this was going to be uplifting and optimistic, forget it, we're going to get the fear, we're going to get the grievance, we're going to get the chaos, we're going to get the lazy dumb-bound demagoguery that it's become so much a part of the Trump era.

And, again, it's extraordinary to me to the extent to which the Republican Party, which once claimed was the party of ideas, has really now completely become the party of no idea. And the fact that they would put it in writing is -- well, it's something for historians to note.

REID: Yes. I mean, and it used to be that the Republican Party used to be the party of family values. You mentioned obviously the Jerry Falwell Jr. situation with the pool boy saying that he had a relationship with the wife and also with Jerry Falwell (INAUDIBLE). But you also just have the president's family, right?

So last week, we saw this patina of all of these people who love Joe Biden and have personal relationships with Joe Biden, his siblings, his kids, his grandkids. Let me just play you a montage just to compare just how the sisters of these men talk about them. Take a look.


VALERIE BIDEN OWENS, JOE BIDEN'S SISTER: I watched my brother with such awe.

He's a regular guy. He's a decent man, and he built a backbone of steel.

MAYA HARRIS, KAMALA HARRIS' SISTER: Growing up, heaven help the poor kid who picked on me because my big sister would be there in a flash ready to have my back. Well, now we've got your back, as you and Joe fight to protect our democracy.

MARYANNE TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S SISTER: Oh, my god, I'm talking too freely, but you know. The change of stories, the lack of preparation, the lying, the holy (BLEEP).

But that's all about his base. All he wants to do is appeal to his base. He has no principles. None. None.


REID: Steve, that is Donald Trump's sister. I mean, if you put yourself in the place of the people who were organizing this convention, his kids are going to speak, they're going to speak. His wife is going to speak. But how would you organize a convention where no one can say that he's just a really good man?

SCHMIDT: Well, I think that we talked about it earlier, Joy. We're going to see an appeal to the base's worst instincts, the worst pathologies in the country that he's let loose. The encouragement of the overt racism and the unleashing of such racial animus, the moral succor he's given to neo-Nazis and white nationalists who feel emboldened and mainstreamed is part of America's political process.

But, look, this is a very simple election to understand. And this is at the heart of this convention. What we saw last week was a story about a good man. And that's what this election is about. It's between a good man and a bad man. Trump is a bad man. The people that are speaking this week are there to speak in support of a bad man. He is an immoral man. He lacks the intellectual, the mental and the moral qualities to be able to do his job, to be the head of state of the American nation. He's running against a good person.

And so everyone who gets up there is complicit in actions that have done profound damage to this country, profound damage. There will be at least 250,000 of us dead by the New Year. We have a million dreams that are broken of people who spent their lives building businesses that have been snuffed out and crushed in this economy. We see the assaults on our institutions on the rule of law.

We see him trying to drag this country back from the tremendous gains we've made from the 1960s forward in establishing a more just society. We see someone who is tearing the country apart, pitting Americans against each other, stoking a cold civil war and he lies constantly, non-stop lying and gaslighting 24/7. He is a leader who has failed spectacularly. He is a leader who has hurt the country that he swore an oath to protect. And there's no getting around that.

So what we will see is the great fog and smoke machine of the Trumpist media empire in its full glory gaslighting, lying and advocating for someone who's done such great harm to America.

REID: You know, and, Charlie, normally, you know, a part of the big sale that Republicans make of these conventions is on the religious right, is to religious conservatives, and particularly white religious conservatives. What does it mean that Jerry Falwell is off the table now as somebody who can re-endorse Donald Trump and that he himself has been shown to have some issues morally?

We know this pool boy story, it's pretty lurid. But the claim is that there was a years-long sexual relationship with him and his wife. He's now resigned from Liberty University. What does it mean that he is no longer able to be a force for Trump?

SYKES: Well, first of all, the screenwriters of 2020 are really upping their game, aren't they, with the whole pool boy story. But, look, we've seen an almost infinite capacity, people in the Christian evangelical right to tolerate Donald Trump's behavior, to tolerate all this as long as their values are upheld.

So, look, I mean, going back to your original question about how you sell Donald Trump, I don't think they're going to sell him as he's also a good guy. I think what you're going to see is, yes, he's an SOB, but he's your SOB and he's going to fight for you.

And the whole theme will be, and this will be aimed at the Christian evangelicals, is not that Donald Trump is a good man or a decent man or a man of good character, but that the Democrats hate God, they hate America, they hate the bible, they want to destroy all that is good and beautiful. And that's I think going to be the theme of this convention over and over and over again.

So expect that very, very dark alternative vision. If he can get Americans afraid of one another, if he can get Americans bitterly divided and think that somehow what's happening now with the burning cities would happen under the Democrats, then he will score some points. But it's an extraordinary moment where a man presiding over this disaster is basically saying, look how bad it is, look how bad it is but don't blame me for it.

REID: Yes. Well, I think going forward when the evangelical right makes any claims of moral superiority, I think the three-word answer that a lot of people there are going to give them is Jerry Falwell Jr., well, five-word answer, Donald Trump.

Steve Schmidt, Charlie Sykes, thank you both very much.

And up next on THE REIDOUT, the Trump administration's war on truth and science.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I get the feeling sometimes that some of the medical folks would rather have 100,000 people die from the virus than have one person die from some of the therapeutics.


REID: And how are they getting away with it? It helps that more than half of Republicans, more than half, think that almost 180,000 dead Americans is not all that bad.

Meanwhile, Trump tries to scare you into not voting, suggesting that ballot drop boxes could somehow give you the coronavirus.

And happening right now in Kenosha, Wisconsin, there are protests after a black man was shot in the back multiple times by a white police officer.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: As the Republican Party begins its weeklong pep rally for their dark brand of Trumpism, it should be noted that nearly 180,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 since March, more than 800 this past weekend alone.

COVID-19 is now the third leading cause of death in America, behind only cancer and heart disease. A new CBS/YouGov poll asked voters if they find this death toll acceptable. And while the vast majority of independents and Democrats do not, 57 percent of Republicans, nearly six in 10, believe that the staggering number of deaths of their fellow Americans is acceptable.

That same poll asked voters to rate the job that Trump is doing handling the coronavirus outbreak. And 58 percent said that he's doing a somewhat bad to very bad job.

With these troubling numbers weighing in on his reelect, Trump seems to be grasping for a miracle cure. "The Financial Times" is reporting that the Trump administration is considering bypassing normal U.S. regulatory standards to fast-track an experimental coronavirus vaccine from the U.K. for use in America ahead of the presidential election.

And, yesterday, the FDA issued an emergency authorization for blood plasma as a coronavirus treatment, despite concerns from government scientists that there was scant evidence supporting the move.

For more, I'm joined by Dr. Kavita Patel, former Obama White House health policy director, and Dr. Bernard Ashby, cardiologist and Florida state lead for the Committee to Protect Medicare.

Thank you all for being here.

I want to go to -- and this is cut two, for my producers -- sorry, I'm jumping around -- Peter Marks, who is the director of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

He has vowed to resign if the Trump administration approves a vaccine before it's shown to be safe and effective. He made this statement in response to concerns raised on a conference call late last week of government officials, pharmaceutical executives and academics who serve on a vaccine working group organized by the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Patel, would you ever advise people take a vaccine that had not gone through a full and normal, rigorous clinical trial?


And I think, Joy, that's key. I think, in order -- we want Americans to have access to a safe and effective vaccine. And those are careful words that I'm using, because that means a lot to scientists and regulators.

And Dr. Marks has the utmost integrity. He represents what I think are legions of career scientists at the NIH and the FDA and also places like the Mayo Clinic, where they conducted this research. And I think it's critical to remember that we do need to see that data, number one.

Two, we actually have external advisory committees that are in place to provide this outside perspective. We need them to review this. And then, third, we need every American to understand that there are benefits to this and there are also risks.

But I think that this politicization that we have seen, not just with this convalescent plasma approval, but started, Joy, with hydroxychloroquine, and it's continued on through. It's very troubling.

REID: Yes.

And, Dr. Ashby, to age myself, but, I mean, I remember getting swine flu as a kid in the 1970s. And it was pretty horrific. And this strain of flu was discovered in the United States in 1976 during an election.

And Gerald Ford -- this is a famous story -- Gerald Ford announced the administration plan to vaccinate the country against the swine flu. The vaccine was rapidly developed and delivered within just six months. Ford himself received the vaccine. The vaccine program was eventually suspended by the CDC after just 10 weeks, when it was linked to a rare neurological disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Waiting in long lines at schools and clinics, more than 40 million Americans, almost a quarter of the population, received the swine flu vaccine.

Would you give a vaccine that had not gone through a clinical -- full clinical trial, knowing the history of this, that there has been a vaccine in the past that actually hurt people because it didn't have enough time?

Would you give a vaccine to your patients that hadn't gone through a full clinical trial?

DR. BERNARD ASHBY, COMMITTEE TO PROTECT MEDICARE: So, the answer is -- well, thanks for having me, first of all.

REID: Sure.

ASHBY: But the answer is no. I mean, that is an easy no.

Science still is important. Science still matters. And, therefore, we need to have appropriate clinical trials, using all of the appropriate data, and looking at these patients in detail, before we distribute this virus -- this vaccine to the entire population.

And just point out a few things. If the vaccine rates are any predictor, the population will not participate in getting this virus because they're concerned about -- I'm sorry -- getting this vaccine, because they're concerned about how much study is going into the vaccine.

You have to get the trust of the public. And the previous polls indicate that a third of the population have indicated that they're not part -- they're not taking any part in the vaccine.

And, as a physician, credibility is very important. And, therefore, the science matters. And we need to do the appropriate research and do our due diligence before we offer this up to the public.

REID: Yes.

Let's just play Gerald Ford. This was in March of 1976. Here is Ford announcing it. And let's just remember that 1976 was an election year. Let's -- here he is.


GERALD FORD, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Inoculations are to be available at schools, hospitals, physician's offices, and public health facilities.

The reaction to the shot, I am told, may mean a few sore arms for a day or two, a very small price to pay for this vital protection.


REID: So, this was the president acting obviously -- at least in part in his own interest to try to get a vaccine out.

Here's Donald Trump. And -- of course, and, today, it would be a tweet. There he is complaining that the FDA was standing in the way of drug companies to test vaccines and therapeutics. "Obviously, they're hoping to delay the answer until after November 3," yadda, yadda, yadda.

What is the danger, Dr. Patel, for the public when presidential politics and a reelect becomes of interest to a president, rather than just the safety of the population?

PATEL: It's incredibly dangerous.

Joy, you have -- unfortunately, we have undermined kind of the voice of science in public health. And with something as critical as a pandemic, with all these deaths, all these hospitalizations, and yet we do have progress on vaccines.

So, despite all this political rhetoric, there is valuable work being done. And the danger, as you stated, is really when this president and his administration kind of exhibit, I would just say blatantly, moral decay, and it puts it -- it puts doctors and patients and other health professionals in a very awkward position, because already, Joy, we're skeptical.

REID: Yes.

PATEL: And it doesn't have to be that way. We're already skeptical, even at the start of the -- even at hello, we're already skeptical.

REID: Yes.

I mean, people who are not anti-vaxxers at all are very nervous about anything that Donald Trump is rushing out before the election. I'd be very reluctant to take it.

Very quickly, before we go, Dr. Ashby, I'm sure your patients are asking you when there might be a vaccine. What would you realistically tell your patients who are saying, when do you think there will be a vaccine I can give my kids?

ASHBY: So, the -- a couple of these studies are in phase three right now. So, we have to get those time to run their course.

The answer is, I don't know, but it looks like sometime in January. However, I'm not rushing to give my patients vaccines. We need to focus on things that are high-yield that can decrease transmission rates and death rates right now.

REID: Yes.

ASHBY: So, the fact that mask use was an actual debate is ridiculous.

And the fact that testing takes so long is ridiculous. So, we need rapid turnaround time, because that will have more of an impact right now than discussing vaccines right at this current juncture.

REID: That's, I think, what infuriates people.

A mask order and testing, like, that's the simple -- that's Occam's razor answer.

ASHBY: Basic things.

REID: Just do that, right? That -- it's so simple, Doctor.

And I'm not even a doctor. This is so simple.

Dr. Kavita Patel, Dr. Bernard Ashby, thank you all. We always appreciate you guys being on.

OK, and a quick note on a totally different subject. My book "The Man Who Sold America," which is, of course, about Donald Trump, is out now in paperback with new chapters on impeachment and also the pandemic. Pick it up wherever you buy your books, please.

And still ahead: the postmaster general faces tough questions from Congress about the mail and the election, as Twitter flags another one of Trump's tweets for spreading misinformation about voting and the pandemic, of course.

We will be right back.


REID: This Monday started out with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's testimony in front of the House Oversight Committee, promising to deliver all election mail, while taking zero responsibility for the measures implemented on his watch that have slowed down the mail.


LOUIS DEJOY, U.S. POSTMASTER GENERAL: We will do everything we can to handle and deliver election mail in a manner consistent with the proven processes and procedures that we have relied upon for years.

I did not direct the removal of blue collection boxes or the removal of mail processing equipment. I did not direct the cutback on hours. And, finally, I did not direct the elimination or any cutback in overtime.


REID: It was a typical Trump administration performance.

And then the day got weird.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We caught them doing some really bad things. We have to be very careful, because they're trying it again with this whole 80 million mail-in ballots that they're working on, stealing millions of votes.

The only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election.


REID: Everything you just heard, of course, is a complete, flat-out lie, to be clear.

There is zero evidence that there will be any voter fraud because of mail-in ballots.

I'm joined now by New York Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

Congresswoman, did you feel that Louis DeJoy answered any of the questions that the Democrats put to him?

REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D-NY): I think he did.

And one strong takeaway is that he admitted that these delays are massive, they're nationwide, and they're real. And this was different from the Senate hearings, where he called it a little dip, a little dip in time.

And -- but one of the big differences was this document that was given to us from professionals in the post office on the service performance measurement, clear data that showed, under his tenure, under his 70 days, that it has dropped dramatically, the performance, the delivery of mail, and it's hurting Americans.

REID: Let me play for you Representative Katie Porter, who -- and her questioning, a little bit of it, of DeJoy.


REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): What is the cost of a first-class postage stamp?

DEJOY: Fifty-five cents.

PORTER: Just wanted to check.

What about to mail a postcard?

DEJOY: I don't -- I don't know, ma'am.

PORTER: What if it's like one of those greeting cards, it's a square envelope? Then what is the postage?

DEJOY: I will submit that I know very little about postage stamps.


REID: I mean, he didn't seem very knowledgeable.

But he also claimed that he knew nothing about and had nothing to do with the changes that were made. And Republicans on the other side of the aisle attempted to say that there are no delays.

So, were you satisfied with what you heard out of DeJoy, since he said he's not responsible for anything that's gone wrong?

MALONEY: Well, he clearly did not take responsibility for anything. But the facts speak for themselves.

We know that these delays are real and that they are hurting people, our seniors, our veterans. And they did -- he did stop the actions, which is, in effect, an admission of the harm that they are -- that they are causing.

But now we need to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. And he's claiming he's not going to do that.

REID: Right.

MALONEY: So, we need a -- do we have to come back in and pass another bill to say that you have to turn on the processing equipment that he turned off, 670 of them across the country, that helps move the mail?

It's outrageous. The Republicans say that it's been politicized. But what we learned in this hearing is how the Republicans have politicized the post office.

Mr. Delay holds huge positions in the Republican Party's. He's a huge mega-donor to President Trump and to the Republican Party. I'm working on legislation to take politics out of the post office. It shouldn't be a political appointment or reward for political operatives, like Mr. Duncan and Mr. DeJoy.

REID: Well, let me play you, because you speak of Republicans. And the Senate also has to have a word here on the bill that was passed in the House.

And it doesn't seem that they're interested in even coming back to work, let alone passing it. And some of the senators don't seem to be that interested in the mail getting to all of even their own constituents.

I want you to listen to Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky suggesting that maybe -- maybe the Postal Service should deliver less mail. Take a listen.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): Instead of assessing people with more of a postal charge if they live 20 miles down a dirt road, simply just have less frequent delivery, and I think that alone would be tolerable.

It's still a personal service, but it would be less frequent. And I think you could make up for a large amount of your shortfall if you went actually below five days for some very rural areas.


REID: Saying there -- it was a little bit difficult to hear, but he was basically saying that maybe rural mail delivery should actually be less frequent. Maybe people who are rural, even in his own state, I presume, should not get mail five days a week.

You have also got The Washington Post reporting that more than half-a-million mail-in ballots were rejected in the primary, which could make the difference in battleground states this fall.

This, and you add that to Donald Trump getting flagged by Twitter for putting up a false statement on Twitter claiming that people can get coronavirus by dropping off their mail in drop boxes.


REID: Shouldn't the public be concerned -- but shouldn't the public be concerned that the Republican Party wants the United Postal Service to die, wants it to be privatized, so that people like Mr. DeJoy can pick up the pieces and have a new -- shiny new business for themselves?

MALONEY: Well, that's a major point.

And it -- he has -- Mr. DeJoy has invested in competitors for the post office. The postmaster general should be believing in the post office.

To say that rural Americans don't need their mail, tell that to someone who needs their insulin. Tell that to a veteran who needs their medicines. Tell that to a businessman who's running a business from his home.

Tell that to anyone. We need our mail, And one of the things that have tied this country together as an American purpose -- it's in our Constitution -- the mail was there before the Constitution -- it's a pillar of our democracy -- is the United States post office.

And it should not be political. It should be there to serve the American people and deliver the mail that they deserve, particularly during a pandemic and shortly before a very important election.

REID: Well, we will be watching to see if the Senate comes back to work and decides to do anything about it.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who is the chairman of the committee that met today with Mr. DeJoy, thank you very much. Really appreciate your time.

And up next: a black man shot multiple times in the back by a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Officials there have deployed the National Guard ahead of what's expected to be another night of protests.

We're going to bring you the latest up next on THE REIDOUT.


REID: Officials in Kenosha, Wisconsin, are bracing for another night of protests following the police shooting of a black man over the weekend. Twenty-nine-year-old Jacob Blake was shot in the back several times at close range by a white police officer. Kenosha police have released few details. But according to Blake's family, he was helping to de-escalate a domestic incident when police arrived. Seven shots could be heard along with his children's screams as Blake was shot entering his car.

A bystander captured part of the scene on camera that appeared to show Blake unarmed. It's not clear what happened before or after the video was taken. I do want to warn you this video may be really hard to watch.


REID: According to Blake's family, he is out of surgery and in stable condition. Joining me now is Maya Wiley, professor at the New School.

And, Maya, here we go again. In this case, the police officers at this point know that they're being taped. They know that people are watching. In this case at least according to interviews I've seen, you know, his family talking, they knew that according to his fiance that his children, her children and their children were in the car. If they won't not shoot someone seven times in the back on camera with all these witnesses, do we -- I mean, I give up. I don't know what the answer is to police reform at this point.

MAYA WILEY, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: This is a shocking video. And we should all be appalled by it, because, remember, in addition to what you're saying, Joy, about the fact that there were witnesses, the fact that people were videotaping, the police officer had his gun already drawn and pointing at the back of Jacob Blake as he walked to his car with no visible weapon in his hands.

That in and of itself was a big red flag, because when police officers have the right to use force, it still can't be excessive. As we heard from witnesses, witnesses are saying that actually what Mr. Blake was doing was helping to de-escalate a bad situation. And so the fact that he was just walking away just reminds us of Walter Scott, it reminds us of other people who we have seen too many videos of being shot.

REID: Walter Scott, down to the fact that he's on tape, and in the case of Walter Scott, the officer didn't even know he was being taped. We know there have been protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. There's an 8:00 p.m. curfew. I just want to let the viewers know that.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice said that we'll investigate the shooting of Jacob Blake. Joe Biden, we're going to put this tweet up, he has called for a full and transparent investigation.

This is what he tweeted yesterday, Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by police. His kids watched from the car. Today, we woke up to grieve yet again. We need a full and transparent investigation.

I think a lot of activists are waiting to see if he'll add to that, some ideas on criminal justice reform that are specific and that his campaign will offer.

But I want to show you what Donald Trump Jr., he decided that he needed to weigh in, that we need to hear from him. And he shared unconnected or a completely unconnected arrest history of an unarmed man, of Jacob Blake hours -- just hours after this man had been shot by police, didn't even wait to see the outcome of whether this man was going to live or die.

What do we do about the fact that we have the president's son, who allegedly has some political aspirations of his own, whose brother is being investigated and his family business is being investigated for potential criminal activity in terms of their taxes in New York, decides he needs to be heard, he needs to be heard essentially trying to, I guess, justify the shooting of this man?

WILEY: The idea that he would suggest in that video that there's any justification is in and of itself shocking. But let's just make one thing clear. This is a family that, in addition to being apparently quite corrupt and certainly hiding their finances, not being transparent, and whose entire campaign management team has been going down for fraud for stealing from the American public, maybe should think twice before they decide the strategy to win office is to tell all of the rest of us to engage essentially in the politics of racial division.

This is one country. We need to be one people. And all of us should be devastated by any kind of violence that takes an unarmed person and for someone to get shot in the back by a blue uniform. It doesn't matter what color of your skin. And I think we've seen the --


REID: We're having a little bit of trouble with your mike. Hopefully, we'll be able to hear, for you to answer this question. I want to show you the audience the "Vanity Fair" cover. And it's painted by Amy Sherald, it's beautiful, it's depicting Breonna Taylor. This is the same artist who did the painting of Michelle Obama, that's in the National Portrait Museum.

Just looking at this as an attorney, is there any chance that the officers who shot Breonna Taylor and killed her who busted into her apartment after midnight and shot this woman are ever going to be arrested, in your view?

WILEY: You know, I can't answer that, joy, but I'll tell you the one thing that we desperately need. No more no-knock warrants. And certainly no more of this unqualified/qualified immunity, meaning police officers can get away with murder if it just fits what qualified immunity allows, which is far too much. Those are things we can change right now.

REID: Thank you so much, Maya Wiley. We really always appreciate your wisdom. Thank you.

And up next, is Joe Biden's lead safe?

Steve Kornacki is at the big board to run us through some of the latest polling.

Stay right there.


REID: The Republican National Convention is about to kick off in just over an hour. Let's bring in the guy with his finger on the pulse, MSNBC national political correspondent Steve Kornacki.

Give us a look at these latest polls. Go, go, go.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Joy, well thought we would take a look here at first of all, the question asked going into the Democratic convention last week, it's now being asked going into this Republicans convention, there will be a polling bounce like we have seen with some conventions in the past.

The evidence we're getting early on here for this Democratic convention is not much of a bounce, probably not any bounce for Joe Biden. He did go into it, though, with a fairly significant lead and he comes out of it, therefore, with a fairly significant lead. The lead that Joe biden has over Donald Trump right now in the polling, we want to compare that to the lead that Hillary Clinton had in 2016 throughout the campaign. Does this race look like it's setting up to be 2016 all over again or does it look different? That's the question we want to ask here and take you through with some of the numbers.

We're going to show you here the average of all of the polls at various points here. This is for the summer of 2016. Basically June 1st of 2016 until this point and for 2020. From June 1st of this year to right now.

Let's compare the polls here. The poll averages here. So in 2016, the average lead basically in the summer, basically in this time, the average lead there was Hillary Clinton by 4.3 points. So, now, four years later, what has the average lead been for Joe Biden in the summer of 2020? It's bigger. It is almost double.

Clinton led on average by just over four. Biden this summer led the polls by just over eight points. And, in fact, if you look at it right now, if you took the post convention number, it is 7.6 for Joe Biden. His average lead has been 8.3, he is up 7.6 coming out of this convention.

Now let's take a look here at the largest lead that Hillary Clinton got. Her best day in the summer of 2016, what did that look like? It was a 7.9, basically an 8-point lead for Hillary Clinton in the average of the polls. That was her high watermark in the summer of 2016.

Summer of 2020, what has been Joe Biden's high watermark in the polling compared to that number you saw for Clinton? Higher. Biden got it up to 10.2, over ten points at one point. Significantly bigger average lead here for Joe Biden. He's also gotten higher just in terms of the high watermark.

Let's take a look. That's the best Biden did in the summer of 2020. That's the best Clinton did in the summer of 2016. What is the best Trump did?

Here's another difference. In the summer of 2016 there were a couple days when Donald Trump got the lead in the polling, 1.1 points on average. He was capable of getting that.

What about the summer of 2020? What is the best Trump has done in the polling average? Not even close to the close, 6.4 points behind. So he got ahead in the summer of 2016. So far he's not gotten within six points of Biden in the polling average.

So some significant differences there, Joy. Going into this final week here of August, Republican convention, that's the question for Trump. Biden didn't get a bounce. Can Trump get some kind of a bounce that shows he can get close to the lead in this race, that he can get this down to two or three points? Can he get some kind of a bounce? Can he bring that average down?

Because, yes, Clinton led throughout 2016 most of the race. Biden has been leading all the way in this thing. Biden's lead has been bigger, it's gotten larger at its peak, and it's been more steady. Big difference there.

REID: Yeah. One quick question I have for you, Steve, because this is the question people ask me. What kind of a lead would Biden need in order to sustain a victory despite the Electoral College? Because I have heard anything from five to ten million votes.

KORNACKI: Yeah, that's the question right now. You are looking at about 2.8 million votes. That was Hillary Clinton's popular vote margin in 2016. Still lost the Electoral College.

Look, it could get bigger. There's not much agreement here exactly, I think. But the way I look at this, is always look at the average of polls, what Biden's lead is. If that gets to five points or under five points, let's start talking about the possibility for a really extreme scenario there.

If it gets under five, if it's over five, I think Biden from an Electoral College standpoint, it is a lot more likely he can put those together.

REID: This is that you call, we're going to call that Kaopectate scale, like how much -- how much antacid are people going to need to buy? That's what we're going to be looking at.

Steve Kornacki, thank you very much. Always appreciate you.

That is THE REIDOUT for tonight. But please stay right here. After the break, I'll be back with Rachel Maddow and Nicolle Wallace for full coverage and a fact check of the first night of the Republican National Convention. Go and get yourself a beverage. But don't go anywhere else.

Stay right here.


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