IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Transcript: The ReidOut, November 11, 2020

Guests: Tony Schwartz, Neera Tanden, Chris Lu, Chrissy Houlahan, Amy Klobuchar, Melanie Campbell, Susan Del Percio


Trump is refusing to accept the will of the people. Trump, Biden mark Veterans Day at wreath-laying ceremonies. Boris Johnson calls Trump the previous president. Trump and allies called Clinton a sore loser for requesting recount in 2016. New poll shows three percent believe Trump won the election. Latino media figure floats Georgia conspiracy theory. GOP state lawmakers will investigate election in Wisconsin. Biden transition is moving forward despite Trump's refusal to concede election. Biden makes COVID response top transition priority. Biden now has five-million-plus more votes than Trump.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: As always, thanks for watching THE BEAT with Ari Melber. I could tell you, tonight is a little different. We end exactly as we begin -- exactly as we begin with a toss to my friend, Joy Reid.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: It's like we're in Inception. It's you and then it's me with the (INAUDIBLE), then it's you and that it's me, Inception, baby, we did it.

MELBER: We did it. And I promise in case anybody's worried, you're done with me. I will not come back after the next hour.

REID: Yes, sure, Ari, we'll see you right after this show.

MELBER: Have a good one.

REID: Thank you very much, Ari. See you.

All right, everyone. Good evening, everyone. Well, at noon on January 20th, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. will become the 46th president of the United States, full stop. That ain't changing. But between now and that Wednesday in January, ten weeks from tonight, Donald Trump and his Republican babysitters are doing their best to terrorize the American people by fueling false fears about the validity of the election. They are indulging in coddling a man who, for whatever reason, refuses to accept the will of the people.

Joe Biden leads Trump by more than 5 million in the popular vote. And that number only continues to grow as states like California continue to count. Biden holds the largest vote share for a challenger since Franklin Delano Roosevelt beat Herbert Hoover in a 1932 landslide, making Hoover, like Trump, a really bad one-term president.

Biden leads Trump in five pivotal states by a total margin of roughly 260,000 votes. The race is not, let me repeat, not close. Nothing will change that fact, not even these bogus and farcical claims of voter fraud that Republicans are slinging around.

Here are the facts, and I know Trump doesn't like the facts, that there are no credible claims that voter fraud was committed, period. Trump's own lawyers have acknowledged that point in court where they continue to lose.

In Michigan, where the Trump campaign is contesting the results, there is zero proof, no proof of widespread fraud or egregious misconduct.

In Pennsylvania, officials say a poll watcher has recanted claims of voter fraud but not before his claims were recycled by Senator Lindsey Graham.

And in Georgia, at the behest of the Trump administration, the state has embarked on a manual recount of last week's election, paid for not by the Trump campaign but by, rather, the taxpayers of Georgia.

The decision came after an aggressive effort by Donald Trump and his supporters to cast doubt on Georgia's election results, despite no evidence of any wrongdoing or irregularities whatsoever and a five-figure margin. I guess they want to see their candidate lose twice.

Trump and Biden both marked Veterans Day today by paying tribute to the nation's fallen military heroes at somber wreath-laying ceremonies. Trump, who hasn't held a public event since he lost, said no words.

One senior White House official tells NBC that Trump's refusal to concede defeat is, quote, an embarrassment that is unsustainable. Another aide warned that Trump will likely never concede.

However, while Trump and Republicans have not accepted reality, you know who has? Our allies.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I had and have a good relationship with the previous president and I do not resolve (ph) from that it's the duty of all British prime ministers to have a good relationship with the White House. But I am delighted to find the many areas in which the Biden -- the incoming Biden/Harris administration is able to make common cause with us.


REID: Brexit Boris. And if Republicans still have any doubts and need any more convincing, perhaps they should listen to these folks from 2016.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Sore loser Hillary Clinton joins the recount effort to undermine the election.

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I won it and then we had this scam operation. Let's ask for a recount. We won it again.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO TRUMP: And they have to decide whether they're going to interfere with him finishing his business, interfere with a peaceful transition, transfer of power to President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Pence or if they're going to be a bunch of cry babies and sore losers about an election that they can't turn around.


REID: And while Trump is acting like a crybaby and a sore loser about an election he can't turn around, President-elect Biden is expected to announce his first major staff decision. Biden is expected to name his chief of staff as early as tomorrow.

And for more, I'm joined by Chris Lu, Executive Director of the 2008 Obama Presidential Transition, Neera Tanden, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress, and Tony Schwartz, Founder and CEO of the Energy Project. He's also the author of the audible audio book, Dealing with the Devil, My Mother, Trump, and Me. Thank you all for being here.

I am actually to go to you first Tony. Before we get into the rudiments of the transition and what Donald Trump is leaving in his wake, just knowing him for so long and being a biographer of his, what do you think is going on in his refusal to accept defeat and in the people around him coddling that refusal?

TONY SCHWARTZ, AUTHOR, DEALING WITH THE DEVIL: Well, those are two different questions. So the first, Donald Trump lives in a world in which you either are a winner or a loser. If you're a loser, you're a nobody, you're destroyed. And so it's literally impossible for him to accept losing. It's hard -- we will never see him concede. And I certainly doubt very highly they don't show up at the inauguration.

In terms of the coddling of the Donald Trump, I mean, I think that has multiple reasons, but the emotional -- so I think it may be to try to pump up the Republican Senate races in Georgia, maybe that he -- that they just think that he will come down off of this slowly. But I think, emotionally, what goes on is that Trump is so relentless and so intimidating and so dismissive that he overwhelms the people around him and they simply go along. And they know that if they don't go along, they're out.

REID: And it is bizarre to see it, Neera, happen, with people some of more experienced in government and some of whom are not. Reuters has a poll out showing only 3 percent of Americans believe that Trump actually won the election. So he's got a small cadre of diehards, and yet they're alleging voter fraud in Nevada and calling military ballots fraudulent. It's Veterans Day. They're trying to say, oh, these frauds -- no, these are frauds, the military ballots.

You've got people who are tweeting. There is a blue checked a guy named -- I don't know who he is, but Robby Starbuck, who tweeted, but got a lot of likes in responses to this. In Georgia, 95,000, here in one ballots who voted for Biden and no other race, In Georgia 818 people only voted for Trump and no other race. Forgive me if I find that very bizarre and suspicious.

That's called an undervote, baby. That's an undervote, that happens in every election. People vote in the top list, we saw it in Obama. People are coming out of things there was like a five-page ballot in Florida in 2008 and people were walking out in, and like, four minutes going Obama. And we were like, did they vote the rest of this ballot? No, they just voted for Obama. Like, it happens all the time.

Neera, when you see it in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin Republicans are issuing subpoenas to try to investigate the -- this is absurd. They're just going to keep losing. I'm sorry. Your thoughts.

NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Yes, it is absolutely absurd, and they will continue to lose. They have completely frivolous lawsuits that are just getting chucked out minute by minute, hour by hour because they are really laughable. They really have no evidence of voter fraud.

Many Republicans have said, demonstrate your evidence of voter fraud and there is no evidence. In fact, what we found out yesterday is that, you know, their sort of go-to case was actually a case that was actually completely manufactured, the fraud was actually by Republicans, it seems, who were trying to promote this story of voter fraud. So it's laughably absurd.

But let me say what's dangerous about this, which is, right now, we have a COVID explosion around the country. We are likely to face 2,000 deaths a day in the next three weeks. We have a president who is at best -- we have a president of the United States who is still president obsessed by just focusing on this storyline, which we know the end of, which is he will lose. He has conducted no meetings. There is nothing happening around the virus. And he's stopping or trying to obstruct a transition which would actually focus on the virus.

REID: Yes.

TANDEN: And so, you know, we are -- it's not -- it's not just fun and games. People's lives are at stake with this virus. And to have an obstruction of the peaceful transition of power in this moment when the virus is raging out of control is really not just a game, it's a very dangerous to the American people's lives.

REID: Indeed. And on that very point, Chris Lu, thank you so much for being here, can you just walk us through in a normal election transition? You ran the transition for President Obama. What would actually be happening right now?

CHRIS LU, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, 2008 OBAMA TRANSITION: Well, let's just look at this historically. We have had transitions in this country for 200 years. We've done it during war, during depression, we've done it when there have been bitter adversaries like Herbert Hoover and FDR.

In 2008, when I ran Obama's transition, the networks called the election at 11:00 P.M. Within two hours, I received this letter from the General Services Administration ascertaining that Senator Obama was the president-elect, and that as the president-elect, he was entitled to federal support, including money and access to a building.

In 2016 on our way out of the Obama administration, we promptly agreed to meet with the incoming Trump people within days of the election. That's the way it's always been done. No one typically knows who the GSA administrators. This is not something that is ever in question.

And Neera is a 100 percent right. You want to have this seamless cooperation in the middle of the pandemic, but you also want to generally because we know that transitions are vulnerable times from a national security/homeland security perspective.

And this importantly was identified by the 9/11 commission after the 9/11 attacks. The delay in the Bush team getting onboarded into the national security agencies created a vulnerability before 9/11. So this is not a theoretical risk, this is a real risk that our country is facing right now.

REID: Yes. And, you know, Neera, to that point, I mean, I'm quite sure that George Herbert Walker Bush felt bitterly down after being made a one-term president by, you know, Bill Clinton. But they still do it. And, you know, Herbert Hoover, again, the great example that Chris Lu just gave, even when you lose, you still have a responsibility to the country.

He -- forget Trump. We know what he is like. I have to say that the Republicans who are -- who are helping him do this are, in a sense, worse.

TANDEN: Well, I think they are obviously intimidated. Maybe intimidated is an underestimation, but, at the very least, intimidated by the president and his antics. And I think it really is a responsibility for people to move on, to essentially -- I mean, the reality of this election was, as you said, it wasn't actually close in the end, there will be 5 million more people who voted for Joe Biden, maybe 6 million more people, when all is said and done. Joe Biden will be the first president to break 50 percent since FDR against an incumbent, against to basically, you know, defeat an incumbent. And so that is a significant victory.

And I know that it's hard for Donald Trump to assess his loss, but this -- at this point, it's really not about his feelings. It is actually about the health and well-being of the American people in the middle of a pandemic, you know, one that he has never seemed to want to lead on, but at the very least he could stop obstructing and a transition that is laser-focused.

Joe Biden is laser-focused on dealing with coronavirus, on protecting Americans, is right out of the gate, he had a new task force on coronavirus. And the next weeks will be harder. This virus is getting -- is growing, some places exponentially. So, really, the clock is ticking right now.

REID: Yes. And, Tony, what is your biggest fear of what Donald Trump might do in the next 70 days?

SCHWARTZ: Well, Donald Trump is capable of doing anything. You know, he is -- as Neera just said, he is effectively sacrificing, you know, tens of thousands of Americans right now in real-time. So there's no limit to what he could do. I've always been worried that he would do something to bring everybody else down with him when he goes down.

Having said that, I don't believe that that's going to happen. I believe what's going to happen is that Trump will walk out of the White House voluntarily. You know, bullies fold when they're up against strength, and either the Secret Service or the military will be there to make sure that Donald Trump leaves the office.

I think what he's doing now emotionally is he's moving in and out of delusion, literally. And there are points where he thinks, no, I won this race, I won this race, and then there are other times where he -- in order to avoid the feelings of grief and depression, which are to be expected under these circumstances, but for Trump makes him feel too week, he's feeling rage and blame. So he is in rage and blame and delusion. This is not a good time for Donald Trump.

REID: Absolutely. And the last question to you, Chris Lu. Let's talk about Joe Biden for a minute. We're hearing that he is already putting together his staff, that he's soon to name a Chief of Staff. We've heard Ron Klain's name thrown around and others. What can Joe Biden accomplish in terms of putting his government together without having the resources of the GSA in place?

LU: Well, look, let's stipulate that these obstacles that the Trump administration are putting up are not ideal and hopefully cooler heads prevail in a couple of days and the GSA administrator makes the determination so we can continue with the work.

That being said, if there's one person who can overcome these obstacles, it's Joe Biden. He has sent to the White House with more government experience probably than anyone who has ever to become president. He has an experienced group of staffers who know these federal agencies who have served there. There are plenty of publicly available sources of information, outside experts that can be consulted with.

But I come back to this again and again. In this tenuous period of time, it's not just understanding what's happening in the government but it's coordinating around potential risks that could arise now or on January 20th, when this handover of power takes place.

REID: Yes, indeed, wise words. Chris Lu, Neera Tanden, Tony Schwartz, thank you all very much.

And up next on THE REIDOUT, Trump's Pentagon purge, installing discredited MAGA lackeys in sensitive national security positions. What dangerously horrible things can we expect from them in Trump's final days?

Plus, it's official now. Georgia voters will decide which party controls the United States Senate. The runoffs are the Democrats' big chance to prevent Mitch McConnell from blocking everything President Biden tries to do, just like he did to President Obama.

And more states tighten COVID restrictions as infections skyrocket. The surge is taking a major toll on our frontline health care workers.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've talked to families through iPads and let them say their last goodbyes over the -- over an iPad. And that's very hard on them, on us, and we take those home with us.

And there's -- there's very few -- you never imagine this. Never in my nursing career did I imagine that I'd be going through this.



REID: A purge that began with the firing of the Defense Secretary Mark Esper continues to wreak havoc at the Pentagon, sounding alarms that the gutting of top defense leadership could weaken our national security during an already tense transition period.

The fired officials have been replaced by staunch Trump loyalists. One is an ally of Michael Flynn. Another is a former Devin Nunes staffer who worked to discredit the Russia probe.

And there's Anthony Tata, a retired Army brigadier general who once called former President Barack Obama a terrorist leader and referred to Islam as "the most oppressive, violent religion I know of."

Tata isn't the only Islamophobe to join the ranks. Today, Trump's newly installed acting Pentagon chief brought in a new adviser, retired Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor, a frequent FOX contributor who has referred to immigrants -- immigrants to Europe as Muslim invaders.

Retired General Barry McCaffrey had this to say about the -- about the shakeup:



This acting secretary, Chris Miller, is a perfectly good, experienced combat soldier. He is unqualified for this office. The other three, one of them, a retired one-star, Tata, is a dangerous man.

So, that team moving in, no one in his right mind would have accepted an appointment for 90 days. These people are in there to control a coercive institution of U.S. democracy. Watch out.


REID: Joining me now is Democratic Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a third-generation veteran, and John Brennan, former CIA director and author of "Undaunted: My Fight Against America's Enemies, At Home and Abroad."

Thank you both for being here. Happy Veterans Day to both of you.

And, Representative Houlahan, thank you for your service.

Let's talk about these people that are coming in. I want to speak first about this in General Anthony Tata. He's the new acting policy chief. Here are a few points about him, former FOX News commentator, failed to get through a Senate confirmation because of his past rhetoric. Extreme rhetoric includes anti-Muslim bigotry. As superintendent before that of the Wake County, North Carolina, School District, he spearheaded an effort to resegregate Wake County public schools.

And that's according to a Daily Beast article and the NAACP. His new post is -- he's been denounced by the Anti-Defamation League.

What does it do to the Pentagon to add people of this caliber to its leadership?

REP. CHRISSY HOULAHAN (D-PA): I'm happy to go first there.

Mark me down as alarmed as well, would be my response. The general, I think, summed it up pretty well. We are particularly vulnerable at transitional points, as we are in right now, where we're moving from one administration to another.

And to make these moves, even if they are not malicious, would be considered to be hazardous or ill-advised. But it's evident from the people who he has selected that there is some concern that there is a malicious incentive here.

And so I'm alarmed as well.

REID: And, John Brennan, thank you so much for being here. I'm really glad to get the chance to talk with you.

I want to play one more little sound bite from Barry McCaffrey, from retired General Barry McCaffrey, earlier today.


MCCAFFREY: If I was a CIA officer trying to understand what was going on in a Third World country, and I saw this pattern of behavior, I would say, the strongman is trying to take over the government and defy an election.

And I think they're playing with that idea inside the White House.


REID: Well, you are a former director of the CIA, Mr. Brennan. What do you think? What do you see?

JOHN BRENNAN, MSNBC SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, I fully agree with the congresswoman and General McCaffrey. This is a very, very worrisome development.

These are the most important civilian positions at the Pentagon. And individuals that Donald Trump has selected to go there are unqualified, inexperienced, and, most of them, as you pointed out, are really political hacks.

And so, therefore, I think it sends a very disturbing signal to the women and men in uniform, to our allies and partners overseas, as well as to our adversaries that we have a very lame and very bitter duck president right now, who is taking actions that's disrupting the chain of command within the Department of Defense.

And so what might our adversaries do to try to take advantage of this lapse in leadership? That is really Donald Trump's responsibility, in terms of what he has done to basically decapitate the Pentagon.

REID: And to stay with you for just a moment, sir, one of the things that the team and I, we have talked about a lot, when we started to watch Donald Trump sort of unravel at the end, is the question of what bad things he might do just, so we could prepare ourselves mentally for it.

And one of the things we thought about was the idea that he knows a lot of secrets, that he's done strange meetings with Russia's top intel guys and chief spies before in the White House without any supervision, taking all these phone calls with Putin.

He's gone after people like yourself, security clearance. The question is whether or not he should lose his and people like his son (sic) Jared Kushner should lose theirs. '

Do you worry about this? This is a "Washington Post" piece saying that: "Anyone who is disgruntled, dissatisfied, or aggrieved is a risk of disclosing classified information, whether it's a current or former officeholder. Trump certainly fits that profile."

That's a former CIA officer named David Priess.

Are you worried that Donald Trump or maybe his son-in-law might peddle, give away, sell secrets?

BRENNAN: Well, first of all, I'm most concerned about what he can do over the next 70 days, as he continues to have the powers of the presidency.

Is he planning to do something in terms of politicizing the military domestically? Is he planning some type of military adventure abroad, anything that could, in fact, disrupt a Biden administration?

But you're right. After he leaves the office of the president, he is going to become a private citizen. And if he does anything to threaten the national security interests of the United States, I think it is incumbent on the next administration to take appropriate action against him or others.

And who knows what he is potentially to do, because he doesn't do what is right for the country or for the American people. He does what is politically expedient for Donald Trump. That is his North Star and guiding interest throughout the course of his life.

REID: And, Congresswoman, you do have some digging around into what it is that Donald Trump might do, and some of the things that are on that list, as Mr. Brennan discussed.

One of them, Axios is saying that the hiring of retired Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor is a sign the administration wants to accelerate the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Middle East before the end of his presidency in January, three people familiar with the move told Axios.

And Macgregor has announced today as a new -- he's the new senior adviser to acting secretary of defense.

You had John Bolton say, time is running out for Republicans. We know he's a big-time war hawk. So, the fact that he's not very helpful in terms of, during impeachment, didn't want to testify. But, that aside -- he would rather write a book.

But people are raising alarms that we might do a massive withdrawal. Are you concerned that we might do that? And if -- a sort of quick withdrawal, not well-planned, what would the consequences of that be?

HOULAHAN: The same that they would be in any other circumstance, which would be very worrisome. It would put our troops at risk. They would be vulnerable if we were to not have a very strategic and thoughtful way of pulling them out.

But I'm also as concerned about some of the other things I have been hearing, which are the possibilities that some of the classified material that is already in the sphere of conversations about interference, Russian interference, would be declassified in some way with these people who have been placed into the Defense Department in important positions.

And that would create real vulnerabilities as well, because it would expose our methods. It would expose our sources, which would also endanger lives. And this is really relevant on this day, this day that we observe and respect those who have served, who have worn uniforms, and those who haven't, in some cases.

That we're having this conversation is very alarming about a person who's clearly putting self above country. And that's one of the things that our veterans and those who currently serve have done. And it's really just devastating to me, personally, that we're having this conversation.

And I didn't want to be here. But I would have to say that this is fairly predictable, given the behavior of this president over the last four years.

REID: No, indeed.

And, Mr. Brennan, you have had -- all the way from the time Michael Flynn served 20-something days as national security adviser, when -- ran right to the Russians to say, don't do sanctions, through the impeachment, where he's bullying foreign countries to try to dig up dirt on Joe -- you just go through everything that Donald Trump has done.

At this point, is our best defense against him that he didn't listen to his briefings, that he probably didn't pay much attention when he did bother to take a briefing, and that maybe national security officials didn't tell him everything because maybe they feared that he was a threat to disclose our secrets to the Russians, to the Saudis, or to whoever?

BRENNAN: Well, that's probably a good thing.

However, he still has a lot of time in office. And after a president leaves office, they take their presidential records with them. So I share the concerns of the congresswoman that could there be a wholesale release of classified information and compromising sources and methods?

And we know about Donald Trump's very strange and obsequious relationship with Vladimir Putin. Might he do something that is going to try to benefit him after he leaves the office of the presidency because of what his interests might be later on?

It is a very, very concerning and worrisome development. And I know that people in the intelligence community right now are very concerned about it.

REID: Yes.

And it really highlights the fact that Putin is one of those who's been quite slow to congratulate the winner of the election, Joe Biden. And that just raises the alarms, I think, of everyone who is paying attention.

Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan and former CIA Director John Brennan, thank you both so much for being here tonight.

And up next...

HOULAHAN: Pleasure.

BRENNAN: Thank you.

REID: Cheers.

COVID health in the -- COVID hell in the Midwest. Minnesota reports another record high in COVID cases and deaths, as hospitals and health care professionals struggle to keep up.

A Minneapolis ICU manager says this is the hardest part of her job right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Making sure we have the beds, the staff, the resources to provide.

We can't just make more machines to help these patients. So, you start looking into running out of ventilators and having to make those decisions of who is going to survive, who needs this vent, or people who have no chance.



REID: While Donald Trump continues to focus his energy on attacking the results of last week's election, he is still ignoring one of the greatest crises this country has ever faced.

The pandemic continues to rage, not at all rounding the corner, as Trump likes to claim. Hospitalizations have hit an all-time high as we head into the winter months.

As NBC's "First Read" points out, since Election Day alone, the United States has seen more than 878,000 new coronavirus cases, 20,000 hospitalizations, and nearly 8,000 deaths.

Speaking of Election Day, two more people who attended Trump's election night party at the White House have tested positive for the coronavirus, the White House political director and a former Trump campaign aide. They join a list that also includes the White House chief of staff and the secretary of HUD.

And yet, throughout all of this, we have not heard one word from this lame-duck president.

And joining me now is Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

And, Senator, thank you so much for being here today.



REID: Of course.

And your state has seen a record number of cases as well. And hospitalizations and positivity rate, they're both rising in your state.

So, as somebody from a state that is seeing a surge, what do you make of the fact that Trump still won't act on the coronavirus?

KLOBUCHAR: It's just unbelievable to me, Joy, because we have learned so much.

My husband got this early on.

REID: Yes.

KLOBUCHAR: My dad got it at age 92.

We have learned so much since that time, and that, if everyone would wear a mask in public spaces, we could literally save 100,000 lives in 100 days. And he still is defiant about this, including on election night.

It is like no lessons are learned. And, for me, being in a state like ours, which has kind of been in the middle of the pack for the coronavirus cases, but what we're seeing in the Midwest now is because of the cold weather coming in, because of the fact that our neighboring states, a number of them did not have any rules in place.

REID: Yes.

KLOBUCHAR: And the Sturgis rally on to -- since the summer have been seeing increased numbers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa. At some point, it caught up for us.

And so the governor just put in new rules, similar to what Governor Cuomo just did, with bar closings and the like in New York. And we're hoping that everyone pays attention, including with Thanksgiving coming up, limiting the number of people that can be at Thanksgiving.

No one wants their holidays to be a super-spreader event.

REID: Well, and you talked about the closings, which is the fatigue about the closing of businesses and the stress that it's causing small businesses.

I know -- I know restaurant owners that are really just dejected by the fact that they can't open. And when it gets cold, you can't have people eat outside. It gets really difficult. And they have staffs they care about, and they want to be open.


REID: But the problem is, this thing, it ain't slowing down.

And the economic pain is real for people.


REID: But I want to let you listen to what the Senate majority -- I'm sorry. I didn't mean to cut you -- but I want to let the Senate majority leader, let him -- let's listen to what he had to say.

And then I want to hear what you have to say.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): It seems to me that snag that hung us up for months is still there. I don't think the current situation demands a multitrillion-dollar package.

So, I think it should be highly targeted, very similar to what I put on the floor both in October and September.


REID: I'm sorry, Senator, this is wickedness at a certain point. I'm sorry, that people are starving and hurting.


KLOBUCHAR: Joy, the House under Speaker Pelosi's leadership passed back in May the HEROES Act, and then another version of it to try to reach a compromise with the administration.

Both have been flatly rejected by Mitch McConnell. And this is increased money for testing while we wait the vaccine, and we know it's going to take time to get it distributed, much less through the trials. We have got to get rapid testing out there, not just to NFL football players.

The second piece of this is help for state and local government. And the third is what you have mentioned, restaurants, music venues, stages, doing something to help those small businesses. Yelp has estimated that 800 a day are closing.

And yet Mitch McConnell still has the same message, no matter the fact that over 40 states are seeing coronavirus spikes right now.

REID: Yes.

KLOBUCHAR: There cannot be a difference bigger and more stark than the leadership of Joe Biden right now and Kamala Harris, who are literally appointing a panel of 13 expert renowned across the country to put in place a plan and Donald Trump who is firing his defense secretary by twee. That is the world we live in

REID: And, you know, control of the Senate is everything at this point because if you call and the Democrats are in charge, you all can just pass the Heroes Act. Right. It already passed the House. Like I think people need to understand that that's what Senate control means. But it also means whether or not President Elect Biden can get his cabinet.

I know lots of groups, progressive groups are putting out their wish lists of people they would like to see get cabinet positions. I'm sure that there are, you know, other folks that have ideas of what they want. But can you just explain, you know, in your mind what a senate majority for democrats would actually look like and mean and what would be the difference if it's a Republican or a democratic majority?

KLOBUCHAR: It would be so much better. And I have lived under this for years now. And I'm someone, as you know, who works across the aisle and passes bills, but at some point you cannot get major legislation through.

They have stopped the legislation on minimum wage, on economic reform, on doing something with this pandemic; which I just pointed out, this crisis, the nation is climate change. You name it and they just keep stopping it. They do nothing but put judges up. And we cannot afford more of that. And that's why these Georgia races are so incredibly important. A state that Joe Biden has won now.

And I am -- I know they're doing that recount. Frustrating, yes, but he clearly has won this. and so that is the -- that is the race that we're going into, the senate races in the beginning of January, and they are incredibly important for the future of this country and to Joe Biden's ability to be able to get his agenda through and help America.

REID: Thank you for clarifying that. And I think it's so important that people think about it that way. These are not just senate races for Mr. Ossoff and Mr. Warnock, this is whether Joe Biden can have any agenda at all or whether Mitch McConnell is going to bludgeon him the way he tried to do with president Obama for eight years. People need to focus on that so thank you so much for clarifying that.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, thank you so much for being here tonight.

KLOBUCHAR: Thanks, joy.

REID: And I'm glad your family members recovered. Thank you. OK. And meanwhile, Trump's refusal to accept the results of this election, it's leading to some brutal infighting among Republicans and some Republicans actually saying the quiet part out loud. More on that straight ahead.


REID: Republicans catering to Donald Trump's fragile little ego by parroting his refusal to accept losing the election is mostly performance art, but it's also creating a cold war in Georgia.

Secretary of state George Raffensperger announced a hand recount of presidential election ballots, at taxpayer expense no less, even though president-elect Joe Biden's leadContinues to grow there.

And only after being attacked by the states two Republican U.S. senators, David Purdue and the unelected Kelly Loffler, both of them now headed to January senate election run-offs.

Both demanded Raffensperger's -- demand his resignation, reportedly because Trump Pressured them into doing it.

Oh, and also after the losing candidate in one of those Senate races, Doug Collins, who is now leading the Trump team effort in Georgia, said they'd go to court. adding to the nonsense, the Trump campaign has also hired the election lawyers who were supposed to be defending the integrity of the state's voting system.

and the circus just keeps on rolling. One of the many Renfields to Trump's Count Dracula, Florida congressman Matt Gaetz went on TV and blamed Florida senator brain Kemp for not helping Republicans win.


MATT GAETZ, FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: I think that for Brian Kemp it was more important that Kelly Loffler beat Doug Collins than Donald Trump beat Joe Biden. He could have said Collins/Loffler primary earlier. We would have had a more united Republican party if that were the case.

HANNITY: let me ask you this.

GAETZ: but in a close election, that stuff really matters, it really matters Sean, and he did not put us in the best position to win.


REID: with the yelling. Now, while in public Republicans go along with Trump's mad dog and "my little pony" show. Some are saying the quiet part out loud. And it's not about you, Donald. It's about those two Georgia senate elections.

John Thune, the senate's number two Republican told politico, quote, we need his voters and he has a tremendous amount of followers. He's trying to get through the final stage of his election and determine the outcome there. When that's all said and done, however it comes out; we want him helping in Georgia.

With Georgia now poised to become center of the political universe ahead of January's run-off elections, we'll take a look at how those two run-offs are shaping up and that is Coming up next.


REID: Georgia is about to be on everybody's mind with control of the United States senate at stake in Georgia's two senate runoff elections on January 5th. Unelected senator Kelly Loffler will face the reverend Raphael Warnock of Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, one time home of dr. king; after no one cleared a 50% majority in the special election.

And Democrat Jon Ossoff faces a rematch against Senator David Perdue. but those races are also poised to become a battle of another kind, with republicans urging Donald Trump to go all in in the Peach state and democrats calling on their all star MVP, former president Barack Obama, to return to GA to help turn out their base.

I'm joined now by Melanie Campbell, president of the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation and Susan Del Percio, Republican strategist and senior adviser for the Lincoln Project. Thank you both for being here.

Melanie, I'll start with you. I know you're going to be -- your organization will be on the ground in Georgia. What's the strategy to reproduce the results that Biden got -- that Joe Biden got for these two senators?

MELANIE CAMPBELL, PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL COALITION OF BLACK CIVIC PARTICIPATION: Black women, black women, black women, joy.Black women not only turned out, but we have that secret sauce. So we're all talking about the leadership of black women. There are so many black women who are leading on the ground, names you know like Stacey Abrams and Latosha Brown and some names you might not know, Deborah Scott and Helen Butler and folks like that, and young people.

Black women and young people. Young people turned out in Georgia, and why? Because the candidate spoke to their issues. The candidate, president and vice president-elect Biden and Harris spoke to the issues. What are those issues? To deal with the issues of racial injustice in this country, to deal with covid-19, right?

To do something about police reform and criminal justice reform. Justice was on the ballot, and so the candidates and the parties that speak to that, those folks will turn out again.

REID: and, Susan, on the republican side, apparently the strategy is for republicans to fight each other in a death match and to pack a bunch of them into events. Here is an event Kelly Loffler -- let's throw that up

On the screen with good old Marco Rubio, savior of democracy not, and packing them all in there. And this while Georgia is back in the red zone for covid-19. Is this -- I don't know that this seems like a sound strategy. That's my thought.What is your thought?

SUSAN DEL PERICO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST AND SENIOR ADVISER FOR THE LINCOLN PROJECT: You're correct. It's not a sound strategy. There's only one person who can actually increase turnout substantially in Georgia, and that is, in fact, Donald Trump -- among republicans, of course.

Now, what Melanie was saying is absolutely true. It's black women, and especially let's not forget young people. They really turned out in bigger numbers than anticipated, and I think if you can harness that, i think the democrats are poised to have a much more motivated base because they can go out and get this.

You know, it kind of reminds me of Doug Jones a little bit, like let's go get this one. and republicans are a little defeated, and without trump at the top of the ticket, I don't think a lot of those onetime voters, you know, who just showed up for Donald Trump will come and do a senate race. But the thing is I also think it's too -- it's 2-0. They're not going to probably split.

This will be a turnout. It will be based on "R," "D," and the names on the top of the matter almost don't matter.

REID: To say with you just for a moment though Susan, there's two ways this could go. One of them is that there wasn't enough excitement about these two senate candidates to get them to 50% the first time, and that there was enough antipathy to Donald Trump to make him lose. And so if he were to come back to the state, it would remind people of the things they hate, the rallies, the COVID spreading. So him coming in feels like a double-edged sword to me.

PERICO: It is.

REID: And then clinging to him feels like a double-edged sword.

PERICO: It is, but it's the only sword they have. They don't have anything else because if you just have -- if you don't have Donald Trump picking up every single vote, then there's no chance that the turnout will be there for republicans because he will turn them out more so than certainly Marco Rubio. I mean that's not going to help anything.

And these candidates -- and these candidates, the republican candidates, Perdue and Loffler, they're not exciting their base. Who's exciting their base? It's the democrats who are exciting their base. They're getting them there for a fight, and I'd much rather be on the fighting side than the, oh, OK, we're republicans.

Like let's just go out and get them done. I think that the democrats have a real shot at this.It won't be easy.

REID: Yes. You know, to talk about this, Melanie, in terms of the Obama Of it all, right? Particularly black folks remember not very fondly the way that Mitch McConnell treated president Obama over the course of eight years and the way republicans treated him.

And it feels like bringing president Obama there is a good reminder that you want to defeat Mitch McConnell that you want to stop that guy, right? That feels like a strong argument. But is it enough to turn around democrats' typical poor performance in special elections in Georgia?

CAMPBELL: I can remember very vividly how difficult it was for the whole eight years, you know, to get things done because folks were looking to the next election. Mitch McConnell constantly looking to the next election to maintain power, right? But I think what's also important is that folks have been awakened in a whole different way.

the way this election has played out, with folks in Atlanta and across the state of Georgia knowing they have the power. And I think that folks understanding that they have the power to bring balance to Washington, D.C. so those same issues that they're concerned about are addressed.

and so that's part of what I think has happened in this civics lesson that we've all been going through, that has been very much horrific in a lot of ways because our democracy is at stake. And I think that that power, owning that power -- black women have -- we stepped up to that.

We stepped all the way into that. So president Obama now having a black woman -- a black woman vice president-elect in Harris, all those things will make a difference in bringing out the base for the democrats, I believe.

REID: And very quickly, Susan, I wonder if the infighting hurts too because it looks like They're making each other the enemy. You know, the governor's not that popular, but, yes. Your thoughts quickly.

PERICO: No. Like you said, the other thing is there is an epidemic going on or pandemic, I should say, and that the people are sick, and they're not getting the care that they need.

REID: yes, absolutely.

PERCIO: and they put that on the Republicans.

REID: Thank you. Appreciate you both. And before we go this quick note to our friends in Georgia. You can get your mail-in ballot. Request your mail-in ballot right now for the two runoff elections at the web address on your screen. If you still need to register, the deadline is December 7th.early voting starts December 14th. Georgia, it's up to you. Don't wait. Vote early.

That's tonight's REIDOUT.



Content and programming copyright 2020 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2020 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.