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Transcript: The ReidOut, January 4, 2021

Guests: Brian Schatz, Mara Gay, Kurt Bardella, Raphael Warnock


In an hour-long phone call, President Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to recalculate the votes, offering what sure looks like clear proof of criminal intent to steal an election. Democratic Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii is interviewed. Reverend Raphael Warnock of Georgia, Democratic candidate for the United State Senate, is interviewed.


ARI MEMBER, MSNBC HOST: That does it for me. Keep it right here, because up next, Joy Reid has an interview with Georgia Senate candidate Raphael Warnock.

That's next.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Just as the Nixon tapes expose the political crime of the 20th century, leading to the humiliating resignation of Republican President Richard Nixon, Trump, too, has been plagued by messy audio. Through the "Access Hollywood" tape where Trump bragged about routinely groping and sexually assaulting women, after which he got elected anyway. There was a phone call that got him impeached, when Trump pressured Ukraine's president to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.

And now, another leaked tape, peppered with lies, fits of delusion, mafioso-style bullying and QAnon-aided conspiracy theories revealing Trump harassing Georgia officials to deliver him the exact number of votes he needs to win the state 16 electoral votes.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So look, all I want to do is this. I want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.


REID: Now, to be perfectly crystal clear, Trump did not win Georgia. He lost the election there by about 12,000 votes. And when the state counted the legally cast ballots a second time and a third time, guess what? He was still the loser.

In this hour-long call, however, Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to recalculate the votes, offering what sure looks like clear proof of criminal intent to steal an election.


TRUMP: The people of Georgia are angry, the people of the country are angry. And there's nothing wrong with saying that, you know, that you've recalculated. Because the 2,236 in absentee ballots. I mean, they're all exact numbers that were done by accounting firms, law firms, et cetera. And even if you cut 'em, cut 'em in half and cut 'em half again, it's more votes than we need.

BRAD RAFFENSPERGER (R), GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, Mr. President, the challenge you have is the data you have is wrong.


REID: It's wrong. This tape which blows Watergate out of the water exposes the president of the United States to possibly committing a crime. It is proof that the Ukraine call wasn't some isolated blip.

But part of a pattern by a man who in order to steal an election plain sight put a guy in to break the post office, tried to delegitimize mail in voting and when that didn't work, went to court five dozen times, including to what he thought was a Supreme Court he stacked for that purpose, mainstreamed fake voter fraud crimes, delayed state certifications, tried to delegitimized black voters, entertained fringe theories like imposing martial law. And it's now courting violent protests and making threats to state officials if they don't do his bidding.

But what the tape also exposes is a -- frankly, a dime store dictator who's obsessed with power, who called the Georgia secretary of state 18 times, until he picked up whose energy is so fixated on remaining president then he returned from Florida early because he wasn't in the mood to celebrate New Year's Eve around people who might see him as a loser. And yet, we see no such energy applied to fighting a pandemic that has now killed 350,000 people in America, on his watch.

Joining me now is Democratic Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii.

And, Senator, you know, it is remarkable to watch the pre -- to listen to the president for an hour attempt to bully the secretary of state of Georgia, the Republican secretary of state to say, I just need these votes. I just need 11,780 votes, that specific number.

What did you make of the call?

SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ (D-HI): Well, it's cheating. And I know senators and lawyers and pundits have a tendency to want to dress up what's happening in sort of legalistic terms. But I think we need to be as clear as possible that this is an attempt to subvert the election itself.

This isn't just cajoling or jawboning or an improper or alarming or blockbuster phone call. This is a guy saying, cough up 11,000 votes because that's the number that would cause Georgia to flip.

So, it's cheating, and it's consistent with what has happened to at least some significant portion of the Republican Party because on Wednesday, they're also going to try to cheat and subvert the election by throwing the whole presidential election to the national legislature and just deciding because they don't like the results to throw it to Donald Trump.

So, he has set the example for cheating, and at least 140 Republicans on the House side are following his example.

REID: Well, and right. And so, you have about a dozen senators that are -- that are going along with this, as you said.

But even before that, you know, Senator Lindsey Graham who has actually not joined in this sort of Jim Crow-esque effort to negate the votes of African-American voters in cities where they don't like the outcome, before this call even happened. We know that Lindsey Graham of South Carolina had himself been trying to pressure Georgia officials to change the results of the election.

This is from "Politico". Raffensperger had been here before. This is "Politico" reporting. In November, he accused Trump ally, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, of improperly exhorting him to meddle in the election to help Trump win Georgia. Graham later denied it. Lindsey Graham asked us to throw out legally cast ballots. So, yeah, after that call, we decided maybe we should do this, meaning if -- you know, on the 19th or 18th attempt that the president made to get in touch with them, they're like, we're going to have to tape this to protect ourselves.

What do you make of the efforts of people like Lindsey Graham and like others, whether they are part of the dozen or not, to essentially wipe out the votes? Particular people of color?

SCHATZ: Well, and this is -- I think this is the point that Stacey Abrams made when she first lost the governor's race in Georgia. And the thing that she's been trying to remedy since that loss which is to say that, you know, Donald Trump is the tip of the spear and he's the most gross about it and he's the most careless about it, and he's most explicit about it.

But it is the expressed policy of the Republican Party to limit the vote, to manipulate the vote and where possible, to overturn the popular vote. And this is different because this is an explicit request for 12,000 votes, which is different than all kinds of objectionable voter suppression. But it is a part of a spectrum that is happening in a political party that does not think they can compete on the merits.

They know that in a free and fair election where all the votes are counted and all the voters have equal access to the franchise, they're not going to be in power anymore. And so, they are trying to manipulate the system in whatever ways they can. Sometimes they are legal. Sometimes they are through enacting statutes and rules, and sometimes they're just blatantly, as you said, tin pot -- tin pot dictator-style, like we -- like we heard on the tape.

REID: Yeah, or Jim Crow style, if you think about what they're trying to do.

My last question to you, you know, you serve with these people. You know, Jelani Cobb tweeted out sort of imagine if, right, anybody can play this game of, what would these same senators be doing and saying if Hillary Clinton had made this kind of ask after losing reelection had she been president.

What do you think that they'd be saying and doing? How fast would they be impeaching her?

SCHATZ: Heads would explode, and rightly so. And I think what of the differences between our political parties, and, you know, there are some people on the left who disagree with the way we approach this, but if Hillary Clinton did this or if Joe Biden did this, Democrats would be freaking out too. You'd have a bipartisan repudiation of that behavior. And that is one of the differences between the two political parties.

You now have political parties that are not just divided in terms of left right ideology, their view about the size and scope of government or climate, or social issues, or whatever it may be. But you now have one party that is committed to the rule of law, and the democratic principles that underlie our republic, and another party that is rapidly moving towards authoritarianism. And that is an unfortunate circumstance and it is possible we will come through this period during the Biden presidency and we will look at this in the rearview mirror.

But we have to look carefully at the possibility that this is just part of a long term project to disenfranchise the American people from their government.

REID: Yeah, I think that's excellent point.

Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, thank you for spending some time with us this evening. We really appreciate you.

And joining us now are Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general, and Michael Steele, former chairman of the RNC.

And to the point that the senator just made, you know, and I guess I'll start with you on this, Michael. Even the people that are opposing doing this, Republicans, are sort of admitting in a sense that, you know, we can't really win the popular vote. We don't often win the popular vote. And so, their objection, the Tom Cottons of the world, to what their Jim Crow caucus friends are doing in what they're planning to do to try to over turn the election is not the outcome that they would get, but that it would destroy the Electoral College and ruin their only way of winning the White House.

There doesn't seem to be a very great love of democracy at all on the Republican side. Even those who oppose what their colleagues are doing on Wednesday.

What do you think?

MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it kind of remind me of the situation when something is so blatant you have to say something. And so, you try to find, OK, I know I got to say something, so what can I say? Because the behavior has its own pattern. It's not like this is the first time that these senators and congressmen and women are confronting this type of behavior from this president.

We had it spelled out during the impeachment hearing. We had spelled during the Mueller investigation. We have had it spelled out in every day settings.

So, you know, here they are now having to confront the penultimate affront to our constitutional norms and certainly the rule of law, which everyone seems to espouse, Joy. And they have to say something.

So, maybe this is the bridge too far. Maybe it's something that just leaves a little bit queasy in the stomach. I don't think it really boils down to the question of whether or not, you know, we'll win this or that vote again. It's just how do I -- how do I stay slightly ahead of the curve that's going in the wrong direction to try to fall off the cliff sooner rather than later.

And that's for me -- there are other times they could have said something is my point.

REID: Of course.

STEELE: When they could have done something.

So, I appreciate the outrage, but it's a little bit a little late, a little late.

REID: Yeah, I 100 percent agree. You brought up impeachment. Let's listen to Adam Schiff warning us about this as Republicans were letting Trump off the hook. Take a listen.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): He has not changed. He will not change. He has made that clear himself without self-awareness or hesitation. A man without character or ethical compass will never find his way. He has done it before. He will do it again.

What are the odds if left in office he will continue trying to cheat? I will tell you -- 100 percent. He will continue trying to cheat in the election until he succeeds. Then what shall you say?


REID: Chances he will continue to try to cheat, 100 percent, said Adam Schiff. And now we see that not only Neal Katyal did he -- we get caught on tape trying to do it in Georgia. Before that, Donald Trump summoned Michigan Republican leader to an extraordinary meeting, we don't know if the same things were said in that meeting, trying to get them to flip elections. He called the Georgia governor to try to pressure him to say over turn the win. We talked about Lindsey Graham jumping in and saying, flip the vote for Donald Trump, just take votes off the table and make Trump win.

You got Pennsylvania House speaker that was asked by Trump to over turn the loss in Pennsylvania, in Arizona. Governor Doug Ducey confirmed Trump was on the line when he ignored a phone call from him, which he presumably was trying to do the same thing. Over and over again, Neal, this man has attempted to steal this election that he lost.

You've said he should be impeached again. Is that practical? Is that the only thing that can be done? Because, obviously, he can't be stopped.

NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC FORMER ACTING SOLITICOR GENERAL: It's a beautiful summary of the issue. I mean, with Ukraine, Donald Trump tried to cheat with a foreign power to try and win his reelection, trying to get dirt on Joe Biden. Now he's trying to do the same thing domestically. And the Georgia audio tape is the most startling evidence of it.

But as you say, there's evidence of it over and over again. And, yeah, today in the "New York Times" I wrote a piece that said I thought Trump should be impeached. I still think that. And he should be everyone if you can't get it done in the next two weeks, you can disqualify him from future office holding.

Now, you know, I know the last thing on people is think about Donald Trump after 16 days from now. So, I can see the arguments on the other side. But here's one thing, one realistic thing which is regardless of impeachment, criminal investigation has to be on the table, both at the federal and the state level, because federal and state laws prohibit election interference and they prohibit the solicitation of it, asking someone to commit a crime.

And with respect to the federal investigation, something very interesting just happened today. The top federal prosecutor in Atlanta just resigned suddenly, the Justice Department lawyer not expected to resign. Nobody knows exactly what's going on.

I can tell you that an ordinary normal Justice Department would have opened an investigation today into the audio tape and Donald Trump's potential solicitation of crime. And that's on the federal side. And then, there have been calls from Georgia officials to open both the state investigation as well as an investigation in Fulton County.

And, Joy, I just want to point, one thing you said very suddenly that your listeners might not have picked up on, what Trump is doing, it's about race. It always is African-Americans were disenfranchised. And so, it's I think important very Fulton County specifically which houses a large number of African-Americans does investigate this, because there's a racial component to this, as well as just a pure anti-democratic --

REID: Yeah.

He's specifically targeting black voters, that's why those who are going along with him. That's why we call it the Jim Crow caucus, and that's Stuart Stevens who voiced that first, not me.

This is Donald Trump, one of the specific things he asked for and one of the things he seemed to be threatening was criminal -- go after the Georgia officials criminally. Let's listen real quick.


TRUMP: The ballots are corrupt. And you're going to find that they are -- which is totally illegal. It's more illegal for you than it is for them because you know what they did and you're not reporting it. That's -- you know, that's a criminal -- that's a criminal offense.


REID: Very quickly, we're out of time. But, Neal Katyal, is that -- is that extortion?

KATYAL: It sure sounds like it, and an abuse of power. It sounds like the president saying, I -- you better do this. Otherwise, I'm going to investigate you criminally. That's quintessentially what Adam Schiff was warning about in the impeachment proceedings.

REID: Yeah.

And very quickly, Michael Steele, do you think that the Biden Justice Department should pursue this? Should pursue him?

STEELE: I -- look, I think something like this, because we have such glaring evidence -- should definitely come under consideration. I don't think the White House needs to put their fingerprints all over it. But I think the Justice Department should as one of the open matters before it, take a look at exactly what happened in the last six weeks of this -- of this effort.

REID: I think -- I think we are agreed.

Neal Katyal, Michael Steele, you guys are great. Thank you very much. Appreciate you.

And we will talk more about Trump's desperate and potentially illegal phone call to Georgia, with Senate candidate Raphael Warnock when he joins me a little bit later.

And up next on THE REIDOUT, Trump's coconspirators, the Jim Crow caucus, the 13 Senate Republicans trying to nullify Joe Biden's decisive victory while claiming that Republican victories on the exact same ballots -- oh, those -- those are perfectly legit.

Plus, the debasement of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, once awarded to giants like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Marianne Anderson. Now, it's just another shabby Trump trinket given to the likes of Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: Even though Donald Trump was caught on tape, trying to subvert the free and fair results of an election, he already had a dozen co-conspirators from the United States Senate joining in his crimes against democracy, planning to dispute an election in which many of their own names were on the ballot.

So, naturally, tonight, the unelected senator from the state he tried to shake down decided to become lucky number 13. Tonight, right on brand, Kelly Loeffler joined the Jim Crow caucus led by Missouri's Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz of Texas, the Republican senators who've made it crystal clear they don't believe that votes cast by black voters should count or should be allowed to determine the outcome of a presidential election.

So, on Wednesday, they will try to overturn Joe Biden's decisive win in the Electoral College and object to the certification of Trump's loss, essentially trying to get the election decided by a few dozen senators and congressmen, and not the American people. Some kind of federalism, that is.

A handful of Republicans have come out against the dirty dozen's plan, after four years of fealty to Trump on just about everything, including Mitt Romney, notably the only Republican to vote for one article of impeachment, and his 2012 running mate, former House Speaker Paul "Slash the taxes of the rich" Ryan.

Meanwhile, the 10 living former defense -- meanwhile, 10 -- the 10 living former defense secretaries from both parties, including two of Donald Trump's, and even, of all people, former Vice President Dick Cheney, warned against using the military to indulge Trump's coup fever dreams, writing in "The Washington Post" op-ed: "Efforts to involve the U.S. armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory."

For more. I'm joined by Mara Gay, "New York Times" editorial board member, and Kurt Bardella, senior adviser to The Lincoln Project.

And, Mara, I will go to you first.

Stuart Stevens coined the term the Jim Crow caucus this weekend. I think it's really accurate, because, fundamentally, what these 13 senators seem to be saying and what Donald Trump, with his Fulton County, Fulton County stuff is saying, they're saying that anywhere that black voters were the deciding factor or that non-white voters were the deciding factor, that's invalid. When we get elected, it's valid, but it's invalid when black voters have sway over who the president is.

Am I getting that wrong in some way?

MARA GAY, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": No. Unfortunately, that's spot on.

I think the history is important here as well. So, it's important not just for black Americans, who, by the way, are Americans, and we deserve the same and equal rights as any other Americans, but this is important, because, in this country, in the United States, you can tell a lot about the state of our democracy based upon the citizenship, or lack thereof, of black Americans.

So, that is to say that the state of what happens to black Americans will later happen to other Americans. So, you're kidding yourself if you think that, because you're not black, that this is an attack just on some other people.

This is an attack on everyone's citizenship. An attack on the citizenship of any American is an attack on the citizenship of every American. And I think that is really important here.

And so, when you really pull back and you think about the civil rights movement, we call it the civil rights movement. That's the way we're taught to discuss it in school. But, really, it's a movement for democratization. It's a movement to become a fuller American project in a country that is more fully democratic.

And so what we see is that, when we have movements for civil rights for black Americans and for other Americans, for women, for Native Americans, that that actually expands the rights and the freedoms for every single person in this country.

And so this is really an attack on all of us. And I think we shouldn't lose sight of that.

REID: Oh, 100 percent. If you're the one of the 40 percent of white Americans who voted for Joe Biden, they're also saying your votes don't count. You're absolutely right.

And when you saw, Kurt, this election official in Georgia just really fulminating, and then saying, don't disenfranchise yourselves, the panic over losing the right to vote is spreading beyond Democrats. They're now realizing, oh, crap, they're going to -- all of us are getting disenfranchised.

It's fascinating to watch.

But I am also -- and I want to ask you specifically, Kurt, about the extent to which the -- these Jim Crow caucus members played themselves. They jumped way out up front, before Donald Trump then openly commits the potential felony, and now they're stuck. They're grafted onto him.

I want you to listen to Ted Cruz, one of them who now is pushing to the front, in front of Josh Hawley, shoving Josh Hawley aside, saying, no, I led this. Here's Ted Cruz. This was a Ted Cruz back in 2016, after he won Iowa and Trump didn't.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Donald Trump guaranteed a victory in Iowa, and then he lost. And he doesn't like that. And his reaction is that he breaks down.

When he loses is, he blames everybody else. It's never Donald's fault. It's always somebody else's fault, and it's always an insult.

I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father. And that pledge was not a blanket commitment that, if you go and slander and attack Heidi, that I'm going to nonetheless come, like a servile puppy dog, and say, thank you very much.



REID: Heidi should feed him his dinner on the floor in a bowl, because he is a servile puppy. He should -- Heidi should feed it on the floor in a bowl, because this dude -- they played themselves.

Ted Cruz, look at him. He looks like a (INAUDIBLE). He's not Donald Trump.

Do these people genuinely think that they can reproduce the act that made Donald Trump, who had 40 years of fame or however many years being famous, and is seen as this sort of macho figure? That ain't Donald Trump. I am shocked that they think they can become the next Donald Trump on this act, Kurt.

KURT BARDELLA, SENIOR ADVISER, THE LINCOLN PROJECT: I'm shocked that they would want to be the next Donald Trump in any way or capacity, honestly.

I mean, when you look at that clip, it just tells you...

REID: Well, no, but they see him -- but they see him exercising power. I'm not -- I'm not shocked they want to. They want the power.

But is that guy -- does that guy genuinely think he can replicate Trump's act and be Trump?

BARDELLA: I think that they -- I don't know if they believe that. I think that they don't know what else to do with themselves after four years of fealty to Trump.

I mean, when you go that far away from who you claimed to be in 2016 to where you are now, you are Trump's lapdog. Any time that he says, jump, you yell how high. What we're seeing with people like Cruz and Hawley, it's a race to the bottom at this point.

And the whole funny thing to me, Joy, is, when you look at every relationship Donald Trump has ever had, whether it's Jeff Sessions, who embarrassed himself, whether it was Bill Barr, who has embarrassed himself, whether it's Mitch McConnell, who has embarrassed himself, it's always -- the story ends the same way.

It ends with Donald Trump attacking them, Donald Trump embarrassing them, Donald Trump trying to humiliate them. And then these people are left with the tatters of what used to be their reputation.

And I just don't understand why all of these people -- Ted Cruz went to frigging Harvard, for crying out loud. He should be smart enough to know this story ends with Trump turning on Cruz.

When you go after a man's wife and father during a campaign, you already have demonstrated there's no low that you aren't willing to sink to here. Cruz knows this better than almost anybody, having experienced the attacks with his wife.

And yet here he is rolling over to -- roll over to Donald Trump, trying to claim the mantle of Trumpism. And let's be clear. Donald Trump only cares about himself. And the only people that he would ever consider supporting outside of himself are his namesake, his children, anybody like Jared, Ivanka, or Trump Jr.

So, these people are all going to be left holding the bag, not getting what they think that they're going to want from Trump anyway, and they're going to look like fools, just as Ted Cruz does right now.

REID: Well, and, by the way, if they honestly think the Trump base is going to look at somebody like Ted Cruz, and see the big dog like Donald Trump, and not the guy in the arms of the angels commercial, because they're there that kind of dog, an abused dog that's been mistreated.

I want to sing the arms of the angel when I see them, rather than "Hail to the Chief." I don't think they understand that they're never going to be Donald Trump, never.

Anyway, we will let them try.

Mara Gay -- bless their hearts -- Kurt Bardella, thank you both very much.


REID: Still ahead...

(singing): In the arms of the angels.

That's what they're singing to you, man.

Trump's decision to award two of his most lickspittle congressional allies with the nation's highest civilian honor on his way out the office -- way out of office, has us asking, "What the Duck?"


REID: The Presidential Medal of Freedom is widely considered this country's highest civilian honor.

That's why it's typically reserved for the most esteemed luminaries in their respective fields. Specifically, it honors individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

Among its first recipients was Marian Anderson, the African-American vocalist who took a stand against racial segregation with her 1939 concert at the Lincoln Memorial. The medal was awarded to the crew of the Apollo 11 mission, astronauts who risked their lives to walk on the moon.

Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel received the honor for defending human rights around the world. And President Clinton awarded it to Rosa Parks for her crucial contribution in the fight for civil rights.

Among others, George W. Bush honored Fred Rogers, the beloved host of the children's television show. And President Obama awarded it to Congressman John Lewis for his relentless pursuit of racial justice.

Needless to say, those recipients all represent the very best of humanity.

But Trump, well, Trump broke that tradition last year, when he gave the battle to right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh, literally one of the most divisive figures in the history of American political media.

And now, in the closing weeks of his lame-duck presidency, he's again made a mockery of this esteemed distinction. So, when we heard who Trump has decided to honor, we had to ask, "What the Duck?"

Trump is now giving the presidential Medal of Freedom to two of his chief defenders in Congress, Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan. But he's clearly not awarding them for their contributions to the country or to humanity. He is rewarding them to their -- for their loyalty to him, especially during the Russia probe and the impeachment inquiry.

This is the same Devin Nunes who effectively tried to launder intelligence for Trump in his famous midnight ride to the White House in 2017. And it's the same Devin Nunes who sued Twitter over being mocked by a fake cow. Remember that? The cow won.

Then there's Jim Jordan, who's carried Trump's water more vocally and more loudly than anyone in Congress. And while he's best known for his role in the impeachment hearings, his reputation for badgering witnesses makes Joseph McCarthy look like Mr. Magoo.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): And I want to know why you won't give us what we have asked for.

ROD ROSENSTEIN, FORMER U.S. DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Sir, I certainly hope that your colleagues are not under that impression. That is not accurate, sir. And you...

JORDAN: It is accurate. We have caught you hiding information, Mr. Rosenstein.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, can we allow the witness to answer?

JORDAN: So, the protests don't increase the spread of the virus?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIAID DIRECTOR: I didn't say that. You are putting words in my mouth.

JORDAN: No, I want -- I would -- I just want an answer to the question.


JORDAN: Thirteen conversations. Yes, I will get to you. I will give you a chance here in a second.

Who told Papadopoulos? How'd he find out?

ROBERT MUELLER, RUSSIA PROBE SPECIAL COUNSEL: I can't get into the evidentiary findings.

JORDAN: Yes, you can because you wrote about it.


REID: Worse yet, Jordan stands accused of turning a blind eye to the sexual abuse of Ohio State wrestlers when he was the assistant coach in the 1990s.

But what do you expect from Trump, who had no problem partying with the late Jeffrey Epstein? This once noble medal is just another thing Trump is devaluing on his way out the door. Quack, quack.

Stay with us.

Reverend Raphael Warnock joins me next.


REID: Trump is taking his unhinged election rant to northwest Georgia tonight where he'll be joined by Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler, who is in the midst of a repugnant campaign against her Democratic opponent, Reverend Raphael Warnock. Republicans are hoping that Trump will urge supporters to get out and vote in tomorrow's runoff election. But since it's Trump and he's got the attention span of a squirrel. He is already indicated that he will spend much of the time airing personal grievances about the election he lost, just like he did on the phone with Georgia secretary of state.

More than 3 million Georgians have already voted in the runoff already. And in Cobb County, Newt Gingrich's old district, hundreds of people lined up on New Year's Eve, the last day of early voting. According to Target Smart voting data, which is independently analyzed by NBC News, roughly 115,000 new voters have voted early or absentee in the runoff. More than 40 percent of those surge voters are black.

President-elect Joe Biden joined Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock earlier today. And Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was in Savannah, Georgia, yesterday, looking to boost turn out in the reverend's hometown.

And Reverend Raphael Warnock, Democratic candidate for the United State Senate, joins me now.

Reverend Warnock, thank you so much for being here.

I want to start by getting your reaction to Kelly Loeffler. She tweeted out her statement not long ago saying that she too would essentially vote to invalidate the election results in multiple states, presumably your state and her state of Georgia.

Your thoughts?

REV. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-GA), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: Thanks so much, Joy. Good to be here with you.

Listen, this is very disappointing, but it's not at all surprising.

The one good thing I can say about my opponent is she is consistent. She's consistently putting her own interest above the people she's supposed to be representing. And so, you know, it's quite a development to be sure. But, for weeks we have been calling on Kelly Loeffler to stand up for the people of Georgia, to honor the voices of the people she wants to represent by honoring their votes. And she's consistently refused to do that.

And so, while this is disappointing, it's surprising, Georgians need a senator not a sycophant. They need someone who understands that their job is to represent the people. Kelly Loeffler is the unelected senator of Georgia.

And in just a few hours, the people of Georgia are going to stand up and correct that. She was appointed. But they have been deeply disappointed.

And I'm just inspired by the movement that we're feeling on the ground like here in Georgia.

REID: And I will note that in an interview the other day, Kelly Loeffler did refuse to even address the call -- the potentially criminal call that the president made to the secretary of state in Georgia, in which he demanded that he find him 11,780 votes.

But I want to ask you about that call. I'm going to play a little bit of it. And this is Donald Trump saying that if the secretary of state wouldn't find him those votes, it will depress voter turnout. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, the people of Georgia know that this was a scam -- and because of what you have done to the president, a lot of people aren't going out to vote. And a lot of Republicans are going to vote negative because they hate what you did to the president. Okay? They hate it.


REID: You know, one of the things you've seen is that in some counties, including the county where Donald Trump is going to have his rally tonight, that actually was the lowest turnout county in the state in November, at 29.8 percent.

Do you -- what do you think all of this news about, you know, Kelly Loeffler saying she'll vote to disenfranchise voters and, you know, the president now trying to muscle the secretary of state, in your mind, has that impacted turnout, one way or the other?

WARNOCK: Well, we're seeing record voter turnout in Georgia. Over 3 million have voted. And I think we're going to see a strong turnout tomorrow. I have been moving across the state. I was in Valdosta, was in Albany. Folks are standing out in the rain, at the rallies that we've been having. And I think these politicians are unfortunately focused on themselves.

We saw or heard the phone call from Donald Trump and what I'm saying to the people of Georgia is pay no attention to him. He's on his way out the door whether he recognizes it or not. We saw the senator from South Carolina call over here if a few weeks ago.

All of these folks meddling in Georgia elections, the state of Texas, and we've got an unelected senator --

REID: Yeah.

WARNOCK: -- who obviously doesn't believe in the voices of the people she's supposed to be representing. And so, the people of Georgia have an opportunity to fix that tomorrow. And they're going to do it.

So, I'm telling everybody who's watching, if you've already voted, thank you so much for exercising your civic duty and your right as a citizen. But you've got to get on the phone. Call everybody you know. Text everybody you know.

And the way to fix this is to send -- to give Loeffler the same fate. Send her home. We need a senator. Fire her, and hire something who will be thinking about the people of Georgia.

REID: I did see that you tweeted Tyler Perry, that he was looking for some -- some info to make sure that he can get out to vote. So, I see that you are talking with constituents one on one.

Last question to you, I was on a call with black church PAC this weekend. They were expressing a lot of concern about the attacks on you and on the black church more broadly.

Is that getting more African-Americans interested in voting? Just being attacked? I mean, Trump attack Fulton County, meaning black voters there as well?

WARNOCK: No, I don't think it bodes well at all. I think people take function to this.

But, listen, Kelly Loeffler has been running the most negative campaign in the history of Georgia. She's desperate, because she doesn't have a case to make for why he should remain in the office. She's been trying to misrepresent me and misrepresent my record.

She came to my church. She sat there in the pulpit, and talked about how honored she was to be there. And now she's in this race against me, apparently she's forgotten about all that.

But it doesn't matter. I'm focused on the folks in Georgia. They are wondering when they're going to get some COVID relief.

She could have stood up for them this week and given them -- stood up for the $2,000 stimulus check. She could have been pushing McConnell to put it up for a vote. She missed a vote Friday, which would have given aid to military families.

We need a senator. And so, I'm deeply honored to be running at this time. And I think we're going to correct all of this tomorrow.

REID: Reverend Raphael Warnock, good luck to you, sir. Thank you very much for spending some time with us on election eve. Really appreciate it.

And up next, Georgia's --

WARNOCK: Thanks, Joy.

REID: -- Republican -- cheers.

Georgia's Republican Senator Perdue says this whole episode is disgusting and he's not talking about Trump's attempts to over turn the election. No, no, no, mind you. He's upset that we can actually hear Trump making those outrageous requests for ourselves.

More of that, straight ahead. Stay with us.


REID: So much is on the line in tomorrow's runoff election in Georgia and Trump's rantings are not helping. Senator David Perdue has endorsed Trump's coup attempt and refused to criticize his desperate phone call to Georgia secretary of state. In fact, he attacked Secretary of State Raffensperger for recording the conversation.


SEN. DAVID PERDUE (R-GA): To have a statewide elected official, regardless of party, tape without disclosing a conversation -- private conversation with the president of the United States and then leaking it to the press is disgusting, you know? But I didn't hear anything in that tape the president hasn't already said for weeks now since the November election.


REID: How dare you catch Donald Trump cheating.

Joining me now, Errin Haines, editor at large of "The 19th", and Jason Johnson, professor of journalism and politics at Morgan State University.

First of all, I want to go to you, Jason. I'm surprised you're not fully in your PPE because I know you are in Georgia. How is all this playing down there? I mean, the phone call, Perdue saying how dare you, you know, release the phone call. Kelly Loeffler saying -- you know, all of it. How's it playing?

JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It's on every radio station. It's on the looks of every person I've spoken to, every -- every restaurant, everything. It's actually something that people are consistently talking about. The problem is, Joy, I don't know if it's changing anyone's mind but it is what everybody down here is talking about.

I think the one impact that I'm hearing is that you have that small sliver, and this is going to be a really, really close election. We probably won't necessarily who's won by tomorrow night.

But you have (AUDIO GAP) Republicans who aren't MAGA in Georgia, in suburban Georgia, in suburban Columbus, in suburban Savannah, and they're sick of it. And I hear local conservative radio shows that are like, a pox on both sides, all these sides are terrible, Donald Trump's behavior and Perdue's defense on it has offended a small sliver of Republicans and they may decide that they don't care about voting tomorrow (AUDIO GAP) find themselves supporting people who are in favor of treason either.

REID: And, you know, Errin, I also do wonder about -- so, Kelly, Loeffler, you know, she did what she had to do. She's going to support Donald Trump no matter what he says. She's now come out and said, yes, I'm going to vote to, you know, basically disenfranchise my own state.

And I wonder if just in your reporting, how is that playing? Perdue is saying he would support it, too, but he can't vote since he's technically out of office at the moment.

ERRIN HAINES, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Right. But, look, Joy, for both David Perdue who, you know, is focusing more on the fact that President Trump was recorded than the actual contents of that recording and Kelly Loeffler coming out just hours before, you know, President Trump was going to touch down and give that rally in Dalton, you know, Kelly Loeffler is somebody who was appointed by Governor Brian Kemp when he was a Trump ally. Now, of course, the governor is a Trump target.

And so, she can't side with Governor Kemp. She has to side with President Trump because both of them know they don't just need Georgia Republicans to come out and vote for them tomorrow. They need Trump Republicans to come out and vote for them tomorrow.

And those are not necessarily the same basket of voters, and that's I think also what you saw when you saw Gabriel Sterling get up and give the press conference today in Georgia, really making a full-throated endorsement of voter participation, something you don't hear as someone who's covered Georgia Republicans, you know, for a long time when I covered the legislature.

That was not a message that I heard coming from Georgia Republicans, but really saying that everybody's vote should count, don't let anybody steal your vote, you know, and if you believe the election was stolen, that you should come out tomorrow as a way to push back against that, you know, show just how concerned Republicans are that the president's messages of disinformation about a rigged election that he lost could be having an impact on the Republican voters that are largely going to be casting their ballots on election day tomorrow.

REID: Yeah, they're like, don't disenfranchise ourselves. Disenfranchise other people, not us. Yeah, it's very interesting to watch it turn around.

You know, Jason, I wonder, too, whether or not Donald Trump sort of counter messaging against his own party and the fact Kelly Loeffler is a Brian Kemp appointee. Could it be that what Trump is doing winds up costing those two Republicans their seats?

JOHNSON: Joy, I think it will. I mean, here's the thing, I don't think people realize like how much this is the primary focus of Republicans down here. And there are no heroes. There's no good guy and bad -- like there's no good cop. They're all bad cops, OK? Everybody here is terrible.

Kelly Loeffler is supporting Donald Trump in his coup attempt. Perdue is supporting Donald Trump in his coup attempt. The secretary of state has been a terrible vote suppresser. So he and Sterling don't necessarily come off as particularly credible advocates when it comes to turning out the vote. So, it's really -- it has frustrated a lot of the Republicans down here.

Now, the Democrats and the organizers are like (AUDIO GAP) y'all keep going on and having that inside family fight, we're going to try to get people out to vote. But I think (AUDIO GAP) because they can't find anyone they want to side with.

Who wants to side with Brian Kemp who doesn't support Trump? Who wants to support Trump who wants to disenfranchise your state? Who wants to support Kelly Loeffler who's own team doesn't like her? Who wants to support Perdue who can't -- you know, who made money during the pandemic?

None of these people are enthusiastically being supported and that's what we're seeing right now.

REID: Yeah, and it is -- the whole thing seems to be the one group of people that are staying motivated are black voters, who are being motivated every day.

Errin Haines, Jason Johnson --


REID: -- wish we had more time.

That is tonight's REIDOUT.

Thank you all for joining us.



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