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Transcript: The ReidOut, December 21, 2020

Guests: Kamala Harris, Jennifer Palmieri


Vice President-elect Kamala Harris urges Americans to get vaccinated. As President Trump and his political allies radicalize their supporters, the appalling silence from Republican lawmakers need to end, calling out their complicity on Trumps anti-Democratic endeavors.


AYMAN MOHYELDIN, MSNBC HOST: I'll be back here on THE BEAT tomorrow.

Up next, Joy Reid, with a very special interview, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, don't go anywhere.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Indeed, we've got a big show for you tonight in a moment. We'll get to my conversation with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. It comes on a very busy news day, underscoring what the Biden-Harris administration will inherit in just 30 days when Senator Harris will be sworn in as first woman, the first African-American, the first Asian-American vice president of the United States.

Meanwhile, the pandemic continues to rage across the country, surpassing 18 million cases and 319,000 deaths in the United States. But there's another sign of hope on the horizon with a second tool in the fight against COVID as doses from the first shipment of Moderna vaccine went out to hospitals across the country. Moderna says about 20 million doses will be delivered by end of the year.

The second vaccine makes its debut at a critical moment, as dozens of countries begin cutting off travel from the United Kingdom after scientists discovered a new mutation of the virus there. Today in Delaware, President-elect Joe Biden received his first dose of Pfizer's vaccine on camera. Dr. Jill Biden also received her first dose. And Vice President-elect Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, will get theirs next week.

This morning, the vice president-elect was in all important in Georgia, campaigning for the two Democrats, Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, in the critical January 5th runoff election there for the two seats that will determine control of the United States Senate.


KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: As far as I' m concerned, Georgia, Columbus, 2020 ain't over until January 5th. That's when we'll get this done because as you know everything is at stake.


REID: Should Democrats take those two seats, that would make Vice President Harris the tie breaking vote returning to her other duty as California Senator. The vice president-elect is back in Washington for a vote on the day's other big development. After months of Senate Republicans dragging their feet, Congress is voting tonight on a desperately needed COVID economic relief package after Congressional leaders reached a deal on a $900 billion package yesterday. It includes direct payment of $600 to Americans making less than 75,000 a year and $300 a week in enhance unemployment insurance. It also include rental assistance, billions of dollar for small business, colleges and schools and an extension of the federal eviction moratorium until the end of January.

President-elect Biden has called the relief fund an important down payment. Within the past hour, I had a chance to speak with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and I asked her about all of that and about making history.


REID: Vice President-elect Harris, it is so great to talk with you. Thank you so much for being here.

HARRIS: Oh, Joy, it's so wonderful to be with you and be back with you having a conversation.

REID: Absolutely. Well, I have to ask you to start off. Have you had the opportunity to even take it in the history that you have now made, that you will be making as the first woman, first black woman, first woman of color, first Asian-American woman to be Vice President of the United States? Have you taken it in?

HARRIS: You know, I have, to some extent but I think probably the day that we get sworn in will be -- it will really hit me. Because, honestly, since the day we found out we've been just moving, you know, trying to pull together a cabinet and get the transition going as smoothly as possible.

REID: Yes.

HARRIS: But I'll keep you posted, yes.

REID: Keep me posted. Well, I mean you have been moving. You guys have been busy including you just came back from Georgia, from my good friends City of Columbus, Georgia, the beautiful City of Columbus, campaigning for the Jon Ossoff.


REID: As well as Reverend Warnock. Talk to me about the stakes of that election, right? You have served obviously in the United States Senate in a Mitch McConnell universe. You know what that's about.


REID: President-elect Biden knows what it's like to be vice president in a Mitch McConnell universe as well.

HARRIS: Yes, that's right.

REID: What difference will it make pragmatically? We just -- you know you're going to vote tonight on a bill that a lot of people feel is not enough, $600. Even Jon Ossoff has said, $600, not enough. What practical difference will it make if Democrats control the United States Senate come January?

HARRIS: So, I was in Columbus, Georgia, today campaigning for Mr. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. And one of the things I said, to your point, is that, in my time in the Senate, the four years I have been here, I've seen the power of an individual senator and highlighted probably most for me by that evening into the early morning hours on the Senate well when there was a battle over whether or not we would retain or get rid of the Affordable Care Act, and the late great John McCain said, no.

And I talked about that when I was in Georgia today. They have the opportunity to elect not one but two senators who could change the ballot and in send terms of the outcome on issues that are about the Affordable Care Act, that are about working families, that are about the variety of issues that are presented today in the United States Senate.

And that's why I was there, President-elect Biden was there last week, because we know that we absolutely intend to work closely with all people in the United States Congress, regardless of party affiliation, but on some issues we just know and have to believe that if we have the majority in the Senate, it may be easier to do things like get the John Lewis voting rights act passed.

And that's just the reality of it, in Georgia, and it is within the power of the people of Georgia to determine how their voice will be reflected in the United States Senate. I was urging everybody to go, and let's make sure that they did what they did in November, which is to speak loudly in spite of those who have been trying to suppress and intimidate and confuse people about their vote, that the people must speak and their voices must be heard.

REID: You know, and I think for a lot of Democrats, Democrats have a lot of PTSD about the eight years in which Barack Obama was President of the United States and during the parts of that administration where Mitch McConnell was majority leader. He was essentially bound and determined to destroy the Obama Presidency. And he did do even when he was a minority leader, the amount of filibusters that almost felt like the 1950s was happening again, the amount of filibusters that were waged.

Are you going in to this administration preparing basically to be in a fight, to be in a constant war with Mitch McConnell and the Republicans whether they are the majority or the minority?

HARRIS: It is my hope and prayer, and Joe Biden has said it unambiguously, that we intend to work across party lines. The biggest challenges, the crisis that are front and center in our nation don't see party lines.

And if we are truly leaders, each of us in these positions, we've got to find a way to work together when it comes to the impact of this virus and the public health impact, the need for the federal government to take responsibility for distribution of the vaccine, so all people get it as quickly as possible.

When it comes to building back up the economy, reopening, you know, those businesses could care less how folks are registered to vote. But they're suffering and they need their leaders to see them. All of the children and their parents and their teachers, who need to go back to school in a safe environment, those children could care less who their parents voted for in that last election.

So that is our intention, to work as much as possible to get things done. We were elected to do a job and we intend to do that job and we hope we can do it with as many people as possible participating.

REID: I feel like if those two senators, Senate candidates, win in Georgia, you're going to be breaking a lot of ties. You're going to be president of the Senate full-time maybe. We'll see what happens.

Let's talk about the virus. You brought it up. It is catastrophic for me to talk about it every night, frankly. I mean, we have reached 18 million cases in the United States, 319,000-plus Americans have died. That is hard to fathom and sort of wrap your head around. So I want to talk to you about that in sort of three buckets.


REID: There has been a lot of talk today. We watched President-elect Biden get the virus -- get that shot in the arm, which is important as a public health matter.

HARRIS: Vaccine, the vaccination?

REID: Yes, the vaccination, sorry, get the vaccination today in his arm. That was important. Just as a message to the country, and he talked about the importance of it getting it, and people want you to get the vaccine, they want to see the incoming administration get it Because you're going to be moving into what is essentially a sick building, a White House that is a hot spot.

But there's a lot of question, a lot of anxiety out there, that people who stood with Donald Trump when he messaged against taking precautions, when he modeled bad behavior and they followed him right down that rabbit hole, pushing to the front of the line and getting the vaccine, you know, the Marco Rubios of the world, the people who've enabled the bad behavior, how do you feel about some of these Republican politicians being at the front of the line for the vaccine?

HARRIS: Honestly, Joy, I want that everyone gets it, and we can talk about where they've been on the issue. But I hope and I believe that anybody who is in a position of leadership should be urging all Americans, again, regardless of party affiliation, should be encouraging them that when it's they're time that they get this vaccine and that they get vaccinated. And the reality is that it is literally about saving lives. It is literally about saving life.

And Joe and I, the president-elect, we will be focused as our highest priority when we -- after we take the oath to come into office and put resources into vaccine distribution and to equitable distribution. You know, there's -- I' m back in D.C. to vote on the omnibus and the COVID relief bill. There's some money in there for vaccine distribution. There needs to be more.

But I hope that all of those people who you are speaking of understand it is their responsibility, I dare say their moral responsibility, to understand that the American people deserve just what they got, which is to have that vaccine and have it distributed in a way that everyone regardless of where they live can get it.

REID: And I know that yourself and your husband, Doug, are going to be getting the vaccine very soon. But, you know, I don't know if you got a chance to see, because you've been very busy traveling, but the great Dionne Warwick, who right now we are declaring the Queen of Twitter, but she was on with my friend Jonathan Capehart, and she expressed some reticence about getting the vaccine.

And there a lot of people of color, black people, brown folks, people who have really suffered under this pandemic who are nervous about the vaccine. What would you say to folks who are reticent about getting the vaccine?

HARRIS: Well, let me first say, I love Dionne Warwick. And, listen, we have to always speak truth. As -- and the fact is that America has a history on this issue. That is a history that includes black people being treated very badly. And we have to remember that history. We have to listen to people when they remember that history. And we have to address it and do it in an honest way.

This vaccine -- these vaccines, the Pfizer and Moderna, the two that are out right now will save lives. They will save lives. And I urge everybody, you know, when we look at particular -- when we're talking about the racial demographic in terms of the impact, black folks, Latinos, our indigenous brothers and sisters are so many more times likely to contract COVID and die from it. And this vaccine, again, it will save their lives.

And so I' m going to put as much as I can into helping people trust what the public health experts are telling us. That's why I' m taking it. I' m going to be taking it next week. My husband is going to take it because I trust the public health experts on this and I urge everybody to do the same.

REID: Do you know which of the two vaccines you're going to be taking?

HARRIS: Which vaccine -- I' m not sure yet. I think is all coming together. But I will be taking the vaccine.

REID: Yes, let's talk about the other bucket of resistance.


REID: Because, you know, President-elect Biden has talked about doing this 100 day push, this war against the vaccine. You both talk about how important that is, but you have a block of Americans who again following the current president have, even in some cases, violently resisted any measures to stop the spread. The basics, wearing a mask, distancing, they're just absolute refusing on it. How do you fight that kind of propaganda, that kind of -- it's hard to imagine people would make a vaccine into a political issue, but people have. How do you fight that?

HARRIS: Well we have to model better behavior, frankly, right? And so that's about everything that we have been doing. You've seen that President-elect Biden has been modeling the behavior that he is asking of the American people, that he's pleading with the American people.

You know, in previous times in our country, be it, you know, World War II, the great depression, real leaders said to the people let's join together. We're going to have to sacrifice but let's do it in the sake of the strength of the country and each other, and so modeling good behavior -- a real leader models good behavior by asking the American people to take those steps that are necessary, to strengthen our country and to save lives.

And so that's why Joe Biden is saying, first 100 days just, please, everybody just wear a mask. There's not going to be any punishment. It's not about penalty. It's about saying, if we value the essence of love thy neighbor. That is just the right thing to do.

And, Joy, let me just tell you something, no but, look, I got my mask here. I got my other my mask. I got so many masks. Nobody likes wearing masks but it's what we need to do. It's what we have to do right now when millions and millions of people are contracting this. People are dying. We're coming onto the holiday season. How many families are not going to have their -- you know, that as Joe talks about, there's going to be that empty chair at the table. We can get through this. We really can get through this, but everyone has got to be a part of it.

And, you know, this disease, again, it doesn't know the difference between who we are in terms of our ideological perspective or our party affiliation. And we each of us have some power, we each have some power.

REID: Well, you know, given the stakes on the virus, et cetera, it's been a strange post-election period, I have to tell you, and I' m sure I don't really have to tell you how strange it's been. You have a president of the United States currently who does not accept the results of the election. He just met for the third time in four days with Sidney Powell, a conspiracy theorist of QAnon variety, a former lieutenant general, retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who was pardoned for lying to the FBI about his meeting with the Russians, have been encouraging Donald Trump to declare martial law and rerun election in the places that he lost. This is what's happening right now in the White House while this pandemic is going on. What do you make of all of this?

HARRIS: I mean, look, we are -- what I make of it is more of the same. It is sadly not surprising. But we are doing what we need to do, which is to work every day around the clock, I mean, literally, around the clock, putting together a team, finalizing our plans for implementation on January 20th. That's going to be about giving relief to folks in terms of both the vaccination, it's going to be about helping small businesses, it's going to be about helping to put in place a process where we can reopen schools. We're going to focus on that.

And, you know, the American people have spoken. This election is over. We won. And so we are going to do what is necessary given that the American people said you are going to be the next ones to take the helm and address these issues. And that's where our focus is going to be, and not on what that stuff he's doing in the White House right now.

REID: But, you know, if he was doing it on his own, it would be bizarre. But what you've also got are Republicans -- I believe only seven Republican senators referred to Joe Biden as president-elect, and that's before December 14. I don't know how many have approached you and been willing to openly call you vice president-elect.

The Republican Party is in enthralled to this wing, this extreme wing. And I wonder if you feel you're going to have any partners in party that can't even call you and Joe Biden the president and vice president-elect.

HARRIS: I have to believe that, at some point, reality will set in and that everyone will understand that we need to govern, that the people of the country rely on our government to work and function in a way that Congress works with the executive branch and the White House to solve their problems. And that's how we're going to be focused, that's where we're going to focused.

And, you know, there have been many of the Republicans colleagues who have congratulated us, to me personally, even when I've been on the Senate floor. And so I think there maybe some posturing that's taking place in public. But in private, I think that there are far more who understand that it is important we have a peaceful transfer of power and that we get on with the business of running this country.


REID: Coming up, much more of my exclusive interview with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, including how Donald Trump is working to sabotage the incoming administration.


HARRIS: You are right, Joy. There has been, I think, a conscious and a purposeful effort by the current administration to undo government.


REID: Back with more of THE REIDOUT after this.


REID: Welcome back.

More now of my exclusive interview with vice president-elect Kamala Harris.


REID: Let me get to a couple of quick issues that I know are important to the people who voted for you and for -- and for Joe Biden.


REID: Criminal justice reform and electoral reform.

HARRIS: Yes. Yes.

REID: You have got the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which you mentioned earlier.


REID: Is that going to be able to pass? And will meaningful criminal justice reform be able to pass?

We just recently interviewed a woman named Anjanette Young, who was mistreated by Chicago police, left nude and humiliated by police. For a lot of black folks, like, that is the way that almost -- you almost expect that is the way you're going to be treated.

Can you see those two things happening, criminal justice reform and voting reform?

HARRIS: I can see it happening. I can see a day where it is possible. We're going to have to -- we're going to have to fight for it.

And in terms of criminal justice reform, there is the work that we need to do that is by way of legislation. And that gets me back to the reason that I was in Georgia today and Joe Biden was there last week, and that we're urging everybody in Georgia to vote, because if Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are elected, I do believe there is going to be a more sympathetic -- a larger group of people who are sympathetic to exactly the kind of cases you describe, Joy.

And in terms of the Voting Rights Act, they have failed -- they have not -- they have refused to put it on the floor thus far for a vote. And, again, it gets back to perhaps having a president in place who is going to say, as Joe Biden has said, that he would sign it, and green-lighting it in that way, which is contrary to what we have seen with so many good pieces of legislation, which is that Donald Trump has said he would not sign it, and so it did not go forward.

So, we will see. But we're not -- it's not going to happen easily. None of these reforms in the history of our country ever have. We have been fighting and marching and shouting for criminal justice reform, for renewal of the strength of the Voting Rights Act for quite some time. And it has not happened yet.

So, that tells me that it will not be easy, but we are focused on getting it done.

REID: And really quickly, while we have you -- I'm trying to get as much in as possible -- we know that there has been this huge cyberattack against the United States by Russia.


REID: And we have a president who doesn't seem willing to admit to that, and who not only that, but has burrowed into the federal government a lot of people throughout his -- the outgoing administration who you all are going to be stuck with, whether it's at the State Department, whether it's in the Department of Justice, and throughout the government.

How do you start to undo that and make us safe as a country and make people feel that the government is actually working for them?

HARRIS: Well, we start by putting in place professionals who know the job, know the business, are respected by their peers, have the experience that gives them the qualifications to exercise good judgment.

And so that starts with putting in place leadership at the top of those agencies which will attract folks who may have left, who were the professionals who left, because of the politics to come back. And it's about setting a standard and a way of doing business that rewards professionalism and good work. And that's how we will do it.

But you are right, Joy. There has been, I think, a conscious and a purposeful effort by the current administration to undo government in every of its forms. And we're going to have to -- there's a -- we have a whole lot of work ahead of us, because it is not only about progress, like you mentioned, if you think about criminal justice reform, you think about Voting Rights Act, you think about restoration or just advancing our democracy.

There's been -- there's been a lot of destruction that has happened in four years, which is going to require a lot of work for repair, much less leapfrogging over that to get to where we could have been, even if we had moved incrementally. So, we have a big task in front of us.

And I will tell you that Joe Biden and I and the team we're putting together, they're -- we're fully aware of this. It's -- there's a lot to get done.

And, again, to your point, a lot of it is going to be about repair of what was broken. But we're up for it. We're up for it.

REID: It's going to be a lot of work.


REID: Before I let you go I can't let the holiday week go by without asking you a final question. And I'm not going to presume who's doing it.


REID: I don't know if Doug is cooking or if you are cooking.



REID: But I got to find out, are we doing Indian food? Are we doing Jamaican food? Are we doing oxtails? What are we doing? Are we doing Jewish traditional Hanukkah food?

What is being served at your household?

HARRIS: Yes, right, right, right. OK.

So, latkes came and went.


HARRIS: Now it is...


HARRIS: I -- on Christmas morning for a decade now, I -- every Christmas morning, I make my mother's -- she had this incredible recipe for chili relleno.

And so I do chili relleno. And then we have bagels and latkes. Like, this is our modern family, right? And everyone comes over for breakfast/brunch. And then they go back and take a nap or whatever and then come back for dinner. And then we do a big dinner.

So, that's our tradition.

But, sadly, like so many families, we're not -- we're not doing it at that scale this year. We -- it's going to be -- I'm trying to learn how to cook smaller portions for the holidays.

REID: Right.



HARRIS: And it's really difficult.

My poor husband is going to gain like 10, 20 pounds, because...


HARRIS: But that's what we're doing.

REID: Doug is going to need -- he's going to need to fill out the pants a little bit to go in.

Well, I will tell you, we're doing curry -- we always do curry and roti. We're scaling it down too, because we're not gathering, but, just for us, we're doing curry and roti.

HARRIS: You're doing roti?

REID: Yes, ma'am. We -- every...


REID: Since I was a kid, my mom was Ghanese, so we always do curry and roti. We do turkey just to fit in.

HARRIS: Oh, right. Of course.

REID: But we're not even doing that this year.

But, yes, we do a very Ghanese...

HARRIS: Oh, my God. I love roti.

REID: Yes. Yes.

HARRIS: Yes. Yes.

REID: You're invited any time.

HARRIS: Oh, my goodness.

OK, one day, we will share recipes. We will share recipes.

REID: Absolutely. That sounds like a plan.



REID: Vice president-elect Kamala Harris, you take the good wishes -- good wishes of Americans from all walks of life, all cultures all over the country with you...

HARRIS: Thank you.

REID: ... into the -- into your new role, your historic new role.

Thank you so much for spending some time with us. Really appreciate it.

HARRIS: Thank you. Thank you, Joy. It's great to be with you. Thank you so much. Thank you.

REID: Thanks. Cheers.


REID: And still ahead: the deafening silence from spineless Republicans, as Donald Trump encourages anti-American insurrection.

We will be right back.



REID: Have you had the opportunity to even take it in, the history that you have now made, that you will be making, as the first woman, first black woman, first woman of color, first Asian-American woman to be vice president of the United States?

Have you taken it in?

HARRIS: I have to some extent, but I think, probably, the day that we get sworn in will be -- it'll really hit me, because, honestly, since the day we found out, we have been just moving, trying to pull together a Cabinet and get the transition going as smoothly as possible.


REID: Here with reaction to my exclusive interview with vice president-elect Kamala Harris are Jelani Cobb, staff writer for "The New Yorker," and Jennifer Palmieri, contributor to Showtime's "The Circus" and former White House communications director for President Obama.

Thank you both for being here.

I got to go to you first, Jelani, because I actually still have not gotten my head around what it means in the big picture to have this woman now occupying the seat of vice president of the United States. And I wonder, as a historian, have -- and just as a black person, have you? Have you taken it in?

JELANI COBB, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I mean, I don't think I have.

And when we have the inauguration -- and, moreover, I think what my experience with Obama was, was the kind of grand ceremony didn't really bring it home.

It was when I saw him doing the most mundane daily, quotidian aspects of the presidency that it really occurred to me that this person was the president, when he's kind of out touring a factory and looking at the robotics and wearing a hardhat, and things that the president, no president probably gets excited about doing, but walking around and embodying, by necessity, by just virtue of who he is, embodying this centuries-long struggle for recognition of our equal humanity.

And I think it's probably going to have the same effect for me and other people when we see Kamala Harris, like, executing the most basic, almost easily overlooked aspects of the vice presidency.

REID: Yes.

And one of the things that she's going to have to do -- I mean, president of the Senate is the other sort of official title of vice president of the United States, right?

COBB: Right.

REID: It's their actual job.

And she's probably -- if Georgia goes the way that she and Joe Biden want it to go, she's going to spend a lot of time presiding over the Senate. She will still be the only black woman in the room, which she is right now as a United States senator.

Let me play a little bit of what she said about what that's going to be like dealing with Mitch McConnell. Take a listen.

This is cut two, for my producers.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): This bill cannot and will not be the final word on congressional relief from the corona pandemic. This is an emergency survival package.

And when we come back in January, our number one job will be to fill in the gaps left by the bill.


REID: Well, that was Chuck Schumer, but we're...


REID: That was Chuck Schumer.

But let's try again. This is Kamala Harris talking about dealing with McConnell.

OK. That's OK. All right. No worries. No worries.

We will just go to you, Jennifer, I mean, because one of the things that happened after the 2016 election is that I think, for a lot of women, they sort of looked back and sat back and said, wow, America really hates women.


REID: Like, really? The fight that was against Hillary Clinton felt like a fight that was against women wanting too much, wanting power, right, and that that seemed to be kind of a big part of the issue that Hillary Clinton faced.

So, for you, as not just a woman, but as a woman who's worked in the White House, has it really hit you that we're getting the first woman and we're getting her with all of the rest of this history, right? She's the first woman, first woman of color, first Asian-American, first African-American.

It's all, like, thrown on to one woman.


It's a lot -- I mean, it's a lot of pressure on her. It's a lot to put on her. But she carries it with a lot of joy.

I -- after '16, I think a lot of women thought, wow, if we can have this -- if we can have this outcome, if Donald Trump can win, if he can beat Hillary Clinton, the most qualified -- one of the most qualified people to ever run for president, we are playing by the wrong set of rules, and we're throwing out the old rules and we're going to make our own path, right?

That, I think, was the takeaway for millions of millions of women. And, certainly, Kamala Harris is one of those women.

And there were two times, one, when she was named. When she was named as a running mate -- and I admired her as a senator and a presidential candidate, but when she walked out on the stage as the running mate, you realized, wow, all -- you know, centuries of history giving way to this woman. This woman is going to be the one.

And then I was in Wilmington, Delaware, the night the two of them that Saturday night, where they were declared the winner and watching her walk out as the first woman, black woman, the first black person to be vice president of the United States.

And the power of example really matters. We have watched her with you tonight, first of all, there's what a joy, what a joy, Joy, from the two of you. Really great to see. But also talking about the vaccine, and understanding when she gets the vaccine and other black people who have concerns. They see her getting the vaccine it will have a big impact.

When you see her presiding over the Senate, that's going to have a big impact.

REID: Yeah.

PALMIERI: And, you know, seeing what it means, and you have the bad leadership on the country and mow hope is on the way.

REID: Yeah, the thing is, I call the Mandela temptation when Barack Obama won, Jelani, where, you know, there was so much expectation to change everything. That he was like super-man. He inherited superpowers, you know, when he became president. I wonder about that pressure to deliver on criminal justice reform, to deliver the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. I mean, these are the Senate's job, but a lot of that focus, a lot of people are going to be watching Kamala Harris.

JELANI COBB, COLUMBIA UINIVERSITY JOURNALISM PROFESSOR: Sure. They will. And if I could just further, you know, Jennifer's point really quickly, you know, if you think back to how Geraldine Ferraro was received, and certainly, empathically the way Sarah Palin was received, they were both seen as really pandering. People thought this was -- you know, even irrespective of any question about their abilities of the qualification, I don't think people really got passed any of the aspects to ask the questions, but it was just this is a ploy to get female voters.

One measure of the position that Senator Harris finds herself in, Vice President-elect Harris finds herself in, I don't think that's been the dominant narrative about her, especially the surge of donations and excitement when she was named running mate. This was a person who they were thinking about the base the Democratic voters had been thinking about and really wanting to see in the position for a long time.

As it pertains to the functioning of the Senate, you know, Georgia is so crucial because what we're looking at is the potential of 2008, with Barack Obama, or 2010 with Barack Obama.

REID: Yeah, that's right. That's right. We shall see and Georgia is everything.

Jelani Cobb, Jennifer Palmieri, thank you both. Really appreciate you both.

And coming up, as Trump and his political allies radicalize their supporters, the appalling silence from Republican lawmakers needs to end, calling out their complicity on Trumps anti-democratic endeavors. That's next on THE REIDOUT.

Stay with us.


REID: There is perhaps no other individual who has helped Donald Trump advance his political agenda more than out going hand of the king William Barr. But even Trump's transactional relationships come to an end. Barr has resigned after falling out of favor with the mad king for failing to advance his election fraud sham. And today, he refuted on the illegitimacy of voting machines.


WILLIAMS BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I see no basis now for seizing machines by the federal government, you know, wholesale seizure of machines by the federal government. If I thought a special counsel at this stage was the right tool and appropriate, I would do -- I would name one, but I haven't, and I'm not going to.


REID: So the last part about a special council. That was in reference to one Sidney Powell.

Per "The New York Times", Trump discussed naming her as a special counsel to oversee an investigation of the voter fraud, the same Sidney Powell whose fight to preserve Trump's reign includes a conspiracy theory about a scheme to rig voting machines in the U.S. what involves Hugo Chavez, who unfortunately cannot comment as the former Venezuelan president died seven years ago.

But perhaps all you need to know about Ms. Powell is that one of her clients is former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Who Trump recently pardoned. According to "New York Times" Flynn and Powell were present at a raucous White House meeting Friday where Trump sullied the Oval Office by inquiring about martial law as a tactic for rerunning the election. Yeah, you heard that right, martial law, the temporary substitution of military authority for civilian rule, last declared within hours of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

And that's just another tactic that's up for discussion in Trump's America.

And still, that Grand Old Party remains silent. Why silence is complicity and that is next.


REID: Trump's coup attempt, which first failed in the courts, then evolved into floating martial law as a method for him to say in power is now a normalized event in American politics, and you now have the Republican Party's silence to thank for that.

At which point one has to ask, is this just Trump's little old coup or an attempted coup that's really been done by the entire GOP?

Joining me now is Charlie of Sykes of "The Bulwark", and former U.S. attorney, Joyce Vance.

Let's just go back for a second, we're going to dig deeper into the coup thing.

Joyce, the idea that Donald Trump, one of his last-ditch ploys to try to stay in power, naming Sidney Powell, the QAnon conspiracy theorist, as some sort of special counsel, that cannot happen, right? Can you just explain how special counsels work? That doesn't sound like that's something he has the authority to do.

JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALSYT: Well, sure. Special counsels are actually governed by regulations that specify that when there's an investigation being conducted by the Justice Department, and there's a conflict of interest, the attorney general might know someone who is involved or we could have the situation that we had with Bob Mueller, where the president has just fired an FBI director, so you bring someone in to avoid the conflict of interest.

That's the first big hurdle to appointing a special counsel in this -- any of these situations, really, that the president is talking about. Any investigations that are being conducted right now are being conducted presumably by Trump's political appointees. So, there really is no problem, nothing that he could raise where he could say that the Justice Department wouldn't be fully investigating the cases in a way that would warrant a special counsel.

REID: Yeah. It almost feels, Charlie, like he's making up rules in his own head that he thinks should govern the presidency. The problem is that people are feeding him additional ideas. Michael Flynn -- I don't know what happened to this guy. He was head of the defense intelligence agency at one point. He was the star of fast-rising member of the United States army.

Now you had to have a joint statement by the Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and General James McConville had to put out a joint statement on Friday saying that, you know, there is no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of an American election. That should go without saying. The fact that they had to say that, because Michael Flynn is saying give us martial law and you've got a guy named Clay Higgins, who's a representative to Congress, a Republican, saying if Biden is inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States on January 20th, it will mark the final hour of conspiracy to dismantle the American election process, and the first hour of conspiracy to dismantle America.

That is how Americans are talking. I don't understand how you govern a country with them still in any power at all.

CHARLIE SYKES, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah. It's a weird stew of insanity and sedition, isn't it? I mean, the crazy here -- look, I have to say, though, reading an account of this raucous moment in the oval office, the president talking about naming somebody as crazy and incompetent as Sidney Powell as special counsel, and all of the other aides are going, I mean, the president of the United States is talking to this crazy person.

And these are -- keep in mind, this is hard core. These are the dead-enders who are still there. And it's just now occurring to them who Donald Trump is, that Donald Trump surrounds himself with the craziest of the crazy? They just now realize that the president of the United States is so arrogant, so desperate, so autocratic that he's actually talking about bringing in the military to rerun the election?

I mean, if only they had been warned. I have a limited amount of sympathy for them as for the Republicans who are silent about this, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, gave a speech about a month ago where he went through in great detail and said look, we in the military are unlike any other military. We don't swear an oath of allegiance to a dictator, or a tyrant or a king. You know, we swear allegiance to the Constitution.

If the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff at the leaders of the uniformed military services who can be fired by the president, if they're willing to say this, if they're willing to remind us what kind of a country are, why can't members of Congress do this, especially knowing that Donald Trump is out? My only guess is they're just waiting it out, figuring, okay, we've gone this far. The guy is crazy. The guy is dangerous. But you know what? Only 30 days to go.

But this is a disgraceful moment in American history. And I'm afraid on January 6th the Republican Party is going to disgrace itself even further by further indulging the mad king's delusions in his desire to overturn our constitutional democracy.

REID: They take an oath, too, right?

SYKES: They do.

REID: Just as members of the military do, to uphold the constitution.

I asked Vice President-elect Harris about this rock that's now deep in a lot of these agencies that the Biden/Harris administration is going to take over. Trump is leaving leads behind all over the place, people they're going to have to root out.

There's an op-ed in "The New York Times" by somebody they left in the Justice Department, an attorney there, saying: I am haunted by what I did as a lawyer in the Trump Justice Department. No matter what our intentions, lawyers like me were complicit. We owe the country our honesty about what we saw and should do in the future.

Do you -- in your opinion, should the incoming administration purge out the people who -- not only the active bad guys but the people who were complicit and start over, including at justice?

VANCE: Yeah. I think it's important, and I'll talk in the context of justice, that we make a distinction between political appointees and career folks who are part of the civil service. Obviously, political appointees leave with the change in administration. So we're not talking about that. We're talking more about career civil servants.

And I think this op-ed is interesting. You know, most civil servants don't actually play any role in propping up an administration, and at DOJ career folks across the country went about their business, protected the American people, made communities safer without ever having any impact or any exchanges that involved this president's unconstitutional leanings.

The person who wrote this op-ed was in the office of legal counsel where a lot of work was done that propped up this presidency.

REID: Yeah, yeah.

VANCE: And I think people who made those sorts of decisions need to engage in some serious soul searching.

Look, this president didn't make any secret of who he was during the campaign.

REID: Yeah.

VANCE: I'm proud that I resigned the night before the inauguration. I think anyone who pretends they didn't see it coming is just fooling themselves. So there has to be some sort of accountability. I don't think we need to purge people in government. That, I think, is dangerous territory. I think we assign people to positions that are appropriate with their judgment.

REID: I think that is -- those are wise words. Charlie Sykes, Joyce Vance, thank you both for being here.

And one thing before we go, mark your calendars. You are not going to want to miss Wednesday's show. We've got something very special for you. We're just going to call it an early Christmas present.

I can't give too much away but it involves the amazing Leslie Jones, Twitter and a certain Christmas classic, updated by yours truly. Just tune in this Wednesday.

And that is tonight's REIDOUT.



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