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Transcript: The ReidOut, November 30, 2020

Guests: Mazie Hirono, Stuart Stevens, Chris Pernell, Letitia James


Biden assembles administration as Arizona and Wisconsin certifies results. Trump is still pushing voter fraud claims despite lack of evidence. Trump accuses DOJ and FBI of ignoring voter fraud. Former DHS Election cyber security chief insists election was fair. Krebs says, this was a secure election. White House begins briefing Biden as COVID cases surge. GOP senator calls Tanden nomination problematic. Biden announces White House economic and communications teams. Trump and allies continue to falsely claim widespread voter fraud. Jared Kushner is conducting Mid-East negotiations. Donald Trump is so unable to process the fact that he lost the election, that he's jeopardizing the Georgia runoffs and the Republican Party's chance do to hold the majority in the United States Senate.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Welcome back. Today, the Justice Department released this copy of convicted former Trump aide Michael Flynn's pardon. We'll show it to you. They ask a federal court to dismissed the case against him as moot and they gave him this full and unconditional pardon. That is, of course, for making false statements to the federal government. All of this signed, as you see, by Donald Trump. That is an update to that news and we wanted to show it to you. As you know pardons are for criminals.

That does it for me. "THE REIDOUT" starts now.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. Well, in just 51 days, Joe Biden will be sworn in as 46th president of the United States. And he is taking action to hit the ground running.

Meanwhile, the current presidency has descended into almost Shakespearean tragedy, if not, comedy. Donald Trump's desperate in futile attempts to overturn the election have veered from the theater of the absurd to just flat out absurd. He remains hold up in the White House fuming about the election and refusing to admit that it's over. The fact remains that Joe Biden victory was clear and decisive with a 6 million-plus vote margin.

And today, Arizona certified it's results showing that, once again, Biden won in a state Trump has contested. And Wisconsin signed the determination of its result confirming that Biden won there too. That followed a $3 million Wisconsin recount that Trump bamboozled his supporters into paying for, which resulted in Biden gaining 87 votes.

And in Pennsylvania, a federal appeals court on Friday rejected an effort to revive a Trump challenge. The judge writing, calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.

Despite all that, Trump continued his assault on our democracy on Twitter. And in a tinfoil hat interview yesterday on Fox, where he floated the claim that the FBI and the Justice Department -- yes, yes, that's Justice Department, the one led by his chief henchman, William Barr, might have helped rig the election against him.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT (voice over): This is total fraud. And how the FBI and Department of Justice, I don't know, maybe they are involved. But how people are allowed to get away with this stuff is unbelievable.


REID: No. I don't think that. Chris Krebs, who was in charge of election security, before Trump fired him for telling the truth about the election being safe and secure, reiterated on 60 Minutes that Trump's bogus claims are dead wrong.


CHRIS KREBS, FORMER DHS DIRECTOR: There's no foreign power that is flipping votes. There's no domestic actor flipping votes. I did it right. We did it right. This was a secure election.


REID: Not surprisingly, Trump did not agree with that assessment and raged about it on Twitter.

But behind the scenes Trump's transformation into kinglier is as strange, if not, stranger than the bard (ph) himself could have imagined. A Washington Post report on the 20 days post-election reveals quote, sequestered in the White House and brooding our of public view after his election defeat, rageful and at times delirious in a torrent of private conversations, Trump was in the telling of one close adviser, like Mad King George, muttering, I won, I won. I won.

Adding the 20 days between the election on November 3rd and the green lighting of Biden's transition exemplified some of the hallmarks of life in Trump's White House, a government paralyzed by the president's fragile emotional state, advisers nourishing his fables, expletive-laden feuds between factions of aides and advisers and a pernicious blurring of truth and fantasy.

And while Trump's sulks, President-elect Joe Biden is actually working despite a fractured foot. Today, Biden was expected to receive his first presidential daily briefing on intelligence. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was briefed this afternoon. Biden also continues to fill out top roles in his administration over the weekend, announcing his communication team led by entirely by women. Former Obama Administration Communication Jen Psaki will serve as White House Press Secretary.

Now on his Economics team he nominated Neera Tanden, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress to lead his Office of Management and Budget. Today, Biden confirmed his intent to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as the first woman to serve as Treasury Secretary. Biden will formally introduce his economic team tomorrow in Wilmington, Delaware.

And joining me now is Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. And, Senator, you know, you look at this contrast between a president-elect who is setting up his government, who is trying to balance the needs of diversity and make sure that constituencies are well represented in the way that his cabinet is populated, and then you just have this sort of madness in the White House. That Washington Post story was stunning.

As a United States Senator, what do you make of this -- the end -- the sort of end stage of Trumpism?

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): Oh, I only hope that it's the end stage. And as he continues to flail around and file more lawsuits, every single one of which except for one minor, he calls it a victory. He's going to keep ongoing, but 51 days, Joy. And I can smile now because maybe some level of sanity can be expected. But it's going to be a hit the ground running for the Biden-Harris team.

And I'm so glad that he is appointing people who come do their job and understanding of what they're supposed to be doing, with his competence and life experiences and diversity that makes me smile. And there's hope for the future.

REID: Well, and, you know, let's talk about that, because you've already got people carping about Neera Tanden. There have, up-to-date, not been any Asian American, AAPI nominees. Of course Neera's background is Indian-American.

She's already getting beaten up by people like Cornyn, Senator Cornyn of Texas, going after her for combative and insulting comments about many members of the Senate, mainly on our side of the aisle of the blah, blah, blah, as if John Cornyn, you know, at one point, I think he called Trump a toddler, that he needed to, you know -- it's not as if these people on the right have not said a lot of untoward things about Democrats, about members of the House Representatives, including AOC, and they feel free to do that and say whatever they want and they think they should get what they want.

What do you make of them trying to use, you know, Neera Tanden's tweets as a reason not to give her -- stand in the way of her getting the job?

HIRONO: Well, the label hypocrisy doesn't apply to the Republicans, in their view. And so rampant hypocrisy is what they exhibit all the time. They're going to have a chance to question Neera regarding all of the issues that they're concerned about. And she comes to that job as OMB with the life experiences of being on food stamps, being on Section 8 housing. She understands the role of government to actually help people and help families as supposed to one of her predecessors, Mulvaney, whose goal in life was cut back on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, who thought that government wasn't there to help people. And his job was to constrict government as much as possible.

So you have a Neera Tanden, somebody who has lived the experience of -- experiencing of the social safety net that the government provides and people are needing a helping hand. And she is going to be reflective of the values that the poor people, the poor families, which is really quite a relief for those of us who look on government as not the total solution but as part of enabling people to thrive in our country.

REID: Well, you know, and you talk about the diversity. You know, you've got, you have a lot of conservative constituent back and forth. You have the CBC saying they would like to see an African-American in defense. You know, you've had some disappointment, I think, that the communication team will not be led at least in the White House side by a black woman. You've got -- but you've also got like a lot of (INAUDIBLE) hypocrisy. There are already sort of rumblings if Sally Yates gets nominated a justice. The Republicans will fight it.

Do you think that Joe Biden, the incoming president, Joe Biden, should simply make some of these people acting the way that Donald Trump felt free to? I mean, at one point, Mick Mulvaney held multiple jobs, including heading the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which he tried to destroy from within? Why does -- why not -- why couldn't Biden just make people acting if the Senate doesn't like it?

HIRONO: Because he actually has people who bring a lot of competence and experience about how government should run to help people. And so he doesn't want to put them in a position where they're acting just to get around the Republican concerns. The Republicans are going to have all kinds of time to ask the appropriate questions of all the Biden's nominees, and that's what they ought to be doing.

But I hope they're not going to just start off by being obstructionists and being really, in my view, sour grapes. You know, what's good for the goose is good for the gander or something like that. And they shouldn't be applying standards to the Biden nominees that they had no problems not applying to all the Trump nominees who were just totally conflicts of interest and not understanding the missions of the departments that they headed.

REID: Yes, no kidding. That is a well said. Senator Mazie Hirono, thank you so much for being here this evening.

HIRONO: Thank you.

REID: I always appreciate you.

Joining me now is Ben Rhodes, former Deputy National Security Adviser under President Obama, and Stuart Stevens, Chief Strategist for Mitt Romney's 2012 Campaign.

And, you know, Ben, I'll start with you on this. I mean, same question, there's really -- I mean what Donald Trump has shown over the last four years is that, as president, you pretty much do what the hell you want. The Republicans laid down while he handed Russia its dream foreign policy. He put people in place that were seemed to be there to loot their own divisions of the departments and/or destroy them and pick them apart inside. You put Mick Mulvaney in like two jobs at once. I don't know -- I don't see why Joe Biden should even ask. Shouldn't he just put whoever he wants and whatever position he wants and say they're acting if you don't like it?

BEN RHODES, MSNBC POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, yes. First of all, Joy, the Republican Party and the Senate seems to be acting as if we all are going to have collective amnesia about the last four years. They confirmed some people for positions, important positions who were outright Twitter trolls. Rick Grenell comes to mind. They jammed in acting people all across the government to try to take apart these agencies.

Now, Joe Biden has nominated, by all accounts, even if you disagree with this people, these are qualified, experienced professionals. And we can have confirmation process to debate issues. But if we're going to be talking about tweets from a political party that has just enabled somebody who, on a daily basis, calls people all manner names on Twitter, if they want to set a precedent, then anybody who says something that senators don't like in the public square is somehow disqualified from future employment, that's not how government should runs.

So I think Joe Biden should take a run at doing this above board by the process. It has been laid out. But if the Republican Party demonstrates and it's going to carry forward this norm-busting Trumpism into yet another Democratic presidency, yes, by all means Joe Biden should make sure he has the people in place that he needs to run the government. He will have been left a catastrophe with COVID-19 with an economic crisis, with a collapse of American standing. We, Americans, need competent people in these jobs one way or another.

REID: Well, and, Stuart, you know, the optics, what I'm seeing so far, this is what we're hearing, is that they're prepared to fight two women. Sally Yates, for having the cheek to discover that Donald Trump might be corrupt in doing her job, so she can't come in because that will remind people that Trump love Russia, and, you know, Neera Tanden who was a woman of color. That doesn't like a good look to me to fight those two women. What do you think?

STUART STEVENS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, look, this whole thing is ridiculous. You can't find anybody who said nastier things about Donald Trump than Republicans in 2016. Look at what --

REID: Lindsey Graham, jinx.

STEVENS: (INAUDIBLE) off going to the U.N. She said that he was the end of the Republican Party. He's up (INAUDIBLE) Marco Rubio. And look at Lindsey Graham. You know, he turns as his major foreign policy go-to guy in the Senate, Lindsey Graham called him a lunatic. This is completely transparent. And it's just sort of the silliness that Republicans have fallen into. You wouldn't do this in a student body election in high school.

I think that the Biden administration, and they were no better, but I think that there's a great longing for return in normalcy. I think they would rather go through this processes. They think the processes have merits. So I think they're going to try to get what they want through the normal channels. I think they may have more success than you might have imagine, because I think some Republicans are going to go along with the idea that a new president can pick their own cabinet.

REID: Yes, one would hope so. You know, there's also a theory that a president should pick their own foreign policy. You now have this assassination of this nuclear scientist in Iran, which it's not clear who was behind it. It's not been openly stated that it was Israel or the United States, wink, wink, signed off on it. But the idea at least among foreign policy experts is that it will make it more difficult for the Biden administration to reenter the JCPOA, the nuclear arms deal with Iran, to try to keep them from developing nuclear weapons. What do you make of that?

I mean, if his foreign policy it's been constricted before he even gets there, I don't know if Republicans understand that Democrats have a right to actually be president.

RHODES: Yes. I mean, Joy, the timing of this just cries out. This is a man who has been well known to Israel and United States for a couple decades. He's an Iranian scientist involved in the nuclear program. And yet we're just having this really irresponsible, illegal assassination of a scientist in a foreign country take place during a transition.

And, by the way, it's not going to succeed in solving the problem of Iran's nuclear program. That program have been rolled back under the JCPOA, the Iran nuclear deal. Iran has significantly advanced the nuclear capability since Donald Trump pulled out of that agreement. And they have been using this time and the weeks leading up to the Biden inauguration to stack more sanctions on Iran. Now we see this assassination.

By the way, even if this was a critical scientist in Iran, he's not the only one who has the knowledge on how to conduct a nuclear program. You cannot eliminate that with a single assignation. You can't put the genie back in the bottle when it comes to other country knowing how to produce a nuclear fuel cycle.

So this seems very much like an effort to sabotage an incoming Biden administration from doing what they said they would like to do, which is return to a nuclear agreement if Iran does so as well.

REID: And last one to you, Stuart, because you also have Jared Kushner fleeting off to go and meet with the Saudis and with Qatar. That never sound like a good idea because nothing he does ever succeeds. But also, what is he doing is trying to engage in, what, foreign policy at the last minute? It just doesn't smell right.

STEVENS: Look, he's one of the more ridiculous figures in public American history. The idea that you would have someone involved in foreign policy based on who the president's daughter sleeping with is the most absurd notion, a guy who said that he understood the Middle East because he read 26 books. I mean, there's college seniors that have read a lot more books than this and just don't (INAUDIBLE) themselves experts. It's just a degrading of the process, which makes America look weak. If the problem can be solved by Jared Kushner, it's not taking seriously as a problem.

And I think that we have to go back to some sort of American leadership here. You don't need a world with ridiculous figures like Jared Kushner. And hopefully those days are over.

REID: Well, I will say that the people that we've seen put forward by the Biden team so far are serious people. And as I've been said that you can disagree or agree with them, these are serious, competent, intelligent people. I think the world will breathe a great bit of fresh air and they would be very, very happy to see sort of normal government in America again.

Ben Rhodes, Stuart Stevens, thank you both very much.

And up next on THE REIDOUT, Dr. Anthony Fauci's warning to America.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: What we expect, unfortunately, as we go for the next couple of weeks into December that we might see a surge superposed upon that surge that we're already in.


REID (voice over): Plus, the Supreme Court hears arguments in Trump's plot to rig the census and congressional reapportionment. New York Attorney General Leticia James joins me on that and the very serious legal challenges Trump might face when he leaves office.

And Joe Scarborough joins me on Trump's tiny table tantrum, tiny table tantrum, and how he might kill any chance Republicans have of winning the Georgia runoffs.

Back with more on THE REIDOUT after this.


REID: Despite warnings from the CDC to stay home for the holidays, Americans traveled by the millions for the long Thanksgiving weekend.

Consequences could not be more dire. More than 600,000 Americans contracted the coronavirus over the holiday weekend alone. Nearly 5,000 died. And now experts are warning of a new winter surge.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIAID DIRECTOR: We expect, unfortunately, as we go for the next couple of weeks into December, that we might see a surge superimposed upon that surge that we're already in.

THOMAS BIVENS, CORONAVIRUS PATIENT: COVID is not nice. It doesn't have any friends, I can tell you that. And I'm back in the hospital now with some related extended side effects, a blood clot in my leg and a piece of a blood clot in my lung.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: If your family traveled, you have to assume that you are exposed and you became infected. And you really need to get tested in the next week.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're exhausting all efforts, doing everything we can, and just still cannot save everyone.

DR. JEROME ADAMS, SURGEON GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to be straight with the American people. It's going to get worse over the next several weeks.


REID: Joining me now is Dr. Chris Pernell, a preventative medicine physician who participated in the Moderna vaccine trials and also lost her father to COVID-19.

And thank you so much for being here, Dr. Pernell. It's always great to talk with you.

You know, it is frustrating to me. I have to be honest with you. We spent the first Thanksgiving I have ever spent in my daughter's entire life without her, because she had traveled, and we did not let her come home, because we are trying to follow the advice we're giving, right?

And when I see that people are just -- I mean, let me show you this, 400 people. A party with 400 people is shut down in Manhattan. The sheriff's office has responded to similar events this weekend and for the past several months.

TSA screened more than a million people, 1.1 million people at checkpoints on Sunday, highest number since mid-March. Just 2.88 million people -- million people were screened the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

It just -- it just keeps going and going and going. How frustrating is it to you, as somebody who lost your dad to this, and as somebody who is out there trying to work in the public health for people just not to listen?

DR. CHRIS PERNELL, PUBLIC HEALTH PHYSICIAN: It's actually heartbreaking, Joy.

Over the weekend. Unfortunately, another one of my loved ones succumbed to coronavirus. I had a cousin in the hospital with a catastrophic stroke most likely due to his coronavirus infection.

And I spent my pre-Thanksgiving on the telephone making phone calls to friends. I even gave counsel to members of my church, Bet HaSHEM YHWH, by Zoom.

So it is difficult to see that people are just too fatigued. I think that's the best way to say it. But we can't let up. We must keep saying the same message over and over. My family, we would have loved to have been together, but we had to do it via Zoom.

And that's just what the safe thing is to do. That's just what the public health recommendation is right now. And we're going to have to hold the line, so that we can enjoy better days ahead.

REID: Yes, I mean, we did a Zoom. It was seven -- Zoom with people with seven -- in seven different states.

You can actually make it hot. Like, Zoom can be -- it was fun. We really, actually, enjoyed it. It's like we -- I don't know. We have to change something in the -- in our culture as Americans. We are the I can do whatever I want, nobody tells me what to do culture.

And so we -- I feel like we're never going to get out of this -- out of this. I don't mean to just complain to you, but you're the expert here. And it's like -- I mean, I'm going through Denver, where I used to live, my former hometown, Denver.

Colorado Senate Republicans, they did a special session on COVID without masks on. The mayor -- and that's on the Republican side.

On the Democratic side, the mayor, Michael Hancock, said, don't travel, don't travel, don't travel, and then he traveled.

So, I feel like we're -- we have a messaging problem. But we also have a problem that people even don't believe they have COVID when they go to the hospital with COVID.

Do you have any advice for how we can maybe communicate differently? How can we speak to people differently in a way they might actually hear it?

PERNELL: Storytelling, narrative, keep elevating and amplifying the stories of those who have experienced coronavirus firsthand.

Look, I was just telling people the other day, we have to put a face to the science. We have to put a face to this pandemic. I think that's only what will register with people, because we're really fatigued, we're stunned.

This has been an unprecedented public health crisis. And we in public health, our message can't change and our message can't be diluted. And we especially need people in leadership to walk the walk and talk the talk.

Like, me, myself, I tell people, look, I am not going out for Thanksgiving. And I didn't do it. It was difficult.

REID: Yes.

PERNELL: But I knew that I had people looking to me. And we have to be able to demonstrate accountability. That's what this nation needs more than anything. We need accountability.

REID: I also worry about the virus. I'm going to be honest with you -- I mean, not the virus -- about the -- the vaccine.

You were part of the Moderna trial. And it looks like Moderna might be the one that has the highest success rate so far. But, number one, I worry that it will -- that just hearing that a vaccine is coming will make people even more lax. They will say, you know what, I'm going to do what I want because a vaccine is coming. That's one piece.

And then the other piece is, when it comes, particularly in our community, black people, they might be like, I don't trust science, the science. We -- Tuskegee experiments, et cetera. There's just not a lot of trust. And it was developed during the Trump era.

I'm worried about both. Are you worried about those two things?

PERNELL: Yes, I am very concerned about that.

I have been talking about this in community. And I have been very clear to say, too often, science has been a tool of white supremacy. And what do I mean by that? Too often, we can look at a sordid historical legacy of medical experimentation, medical exploitation that blacks and browns has suffered, whether it's Tuskegee, whether it's Henrietta Lacks, whether it's Mississippi appendectomies or enslaved black women being forced to undergo gynecological surgeries as a part of an experiment by Dr. Sims.

We can't lose sight of that, while not losing sight of the ongoing disparities that we face in health care. So, I usually start my conversation there, especially in communities where there's broken trust. And it's not the responsibility of the community to just suddenly have trust, but it's the responsibility of the academic medical complex, health care more broadly, to demonstrate trustworthiness.

So, we're going to have to be seen and visible, having these difficult conversations. We need to share the science and what's known about the science. We need to remove the cloak from the process, right, so that people can say, I understand that better.

There's been way too much misinformation and even disinformation. And I can tell you, Joy, that misinformation and disinformation has cost lives. And we're going to have to have all hands on deck, all minds on deck, all hearts on deck to restore our public health infrastructure and to rescue public trust in our governmental institutions.

REID: It is not Sunday, but you can get an amen. I'm going to ask our wonderful guy Geet, who does our social media, please clip that.

What this sister just said, what Dr. Pernell just said, please clip that, because I want to make sure that I share that with everyone. Everyone I know is going to get that sent out through my social media.

Thank you so much, Dr. Chris Pernell. You're wonderful. Thank you.

PERNELL: Thank you.

REID: Cheers.

And up next: Trump's attempt to subvert the U.S. census is now before the Supreme Court.

And what about the legal challenges Trump himself will face when he's a private citizen again?

We will be right back with that.


REID: With fewer than two months left in this administration, Trump and Republicans continue to push forward with their radical agenda.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court, anchored by six conservative judges, heard arguments in a case about an executive order Trump issued trying to exclude undocumented immigrants from the decennial census.

The ACLU and 22 states led by New York challenged the president's order in court. If Trump is successful, certain Democratic states like California would lose representation, which is exactly the point. Trump's stated aim in the executive order was to not reward states where large numbers of undocumented immigrants live.

However, according to the Constitution, he doesn't have the power to decide that. It's unclear how the courts' conservatives, now emboldened by a 6-3 majority, will rule. I should note that three lower courts have ruled against Trump.

The legal tactics on display in front of the Supreme Court are yet another example of a larger Republican strategy to stifle the democratic process.

With the 2020 census completed, Republicans across the country are set to draw new legislative and congressional districts that cement their unrepresentative minority rule for yet another decade.

Joining me now, Letitia James, attorney general for the state of New York.

And thank you so much, Attorney James. Thank you for being here.

Let's talk first about the census case. What would be the impact on the state of New York if Donald Trump's case is successful?

LETITIA JAMES, NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL: Before I begin my argument, first, let me congratulate Karine Jean-Pierre.

REID: Yes.

JAMES: She's a friend. She's someone who worked on both of my campaigns, and I am just so incredibly proud of her.

So, congratulations, my sister.

REID: Hear, hear.

JAMES: So, today, we argued before the United States Supreme Court, because, regardless of your immigration status, that doesn't -- you don't cease to be a whole person, which is required under the Constitution.

And the Constitution and the Census Act make it clear that all individuals matter and, therefore, everyone should be counted. And this is nothing more than an attempt by a president who has exhibited anti-immigrant sentiment that he, unfortunately, will disregard the humanity of individuals who reside in our country.

And the result will be, the consequence of it will be that we will lose representation in Congress. Our -- one of our forms of government is that we have a representational democracy. And so New York and other rich immigrant states will lose representation in Congress.

In addition to that, we will lose resources. So, states like New York and California and Florida and Texas will lose representation. So, this is just more, again, anti-immigrant rhetoric by a president who seeks to devalue, diminish and obstruct the rule of law.

But the Constitution and the census are clear that individuals should be counted. And so, today, the arguments were both on the merits and also procedural.

I want to focus again on the merits. I want to focus on the Constitution, the rule of law, and the four corners of the statue, as well as our Constitution, that make it plain and clear to this president that you can't continue to degrade and dehumanize immigrants that you -- and you have done that from day one, from, unfortunately, comments, disparaging comments against immigrants, to the Muslim ban, to the citizenship question, and again tonight at the border, thousands of children who have been removed, taken out of the arms of their loving parents.

We have got to do all that we can do under the next administration to reunite those children with their parents, because we, as a country are better than that.

REID: Well, and just for our audiences who don't sort of -- it can seem fairly amorphous. But there are predictions showing that Arizona could lose a seat. It's a state with a lot -- a large Latino population.

Montana, which is a very small non-white population, would gain a seat, theoretically. You could see California, Florida and Texas each losing a seat in the House. You're talking about actual minority rule being implemented, making the Congress whiter and less representative. So that's why that matters.

But for this particular president to be doing it, Attorney James, I think that is one of the most galling things. As you said, you listed a large bill of particulars. But, on the other hand, he's also somebody who himself might want to be thinking more about his own future in terms of the law and what he might be facing, including in the state of New York.

I mean, this is somebody who your office has investigated the Trump Organization lying about the value of their assets to get loans and tax benefits, looking at the Trump Organization undervaluing their properties in order to basically bilk New York state out of taxes.

You have deposed his son Eric Trump after he resisted it. You can go on and on. Michael Cohen stated that Trump had inflated the value of his assets to get favorable loans and to basically bilk insurance companies. That's insurance fraud.

Should Donald Trump be spending more time thinking about maybe getting better lawyers than he had for his recount hoax, because might you be investigating him come January 21?

JAMES: Our investigation was based on the testimony of Michael Cohen. There are those in this administration, including the president, who would like to argue that I'm playing politics.

We follow the law in my office, and the politics stops at the door, following the law and the facts and the evidence, and we will make a determination. But this civil investigation will continue whether or not he's the president or not, because, based on alleged financial improprieties by his organization and by members of his family, our investigation will continue.

REID: Letitia James, attorney general of the state of New York, it's always good to talk with you. Thank you very much.

And I second your kudos to Karine Jean-Pierre. She is one of our faves. Thank you very much.

And, meanwhile, vicious infighting and Trump's baseless voter fraud allegations, well, that's not really helping Republicans ahead of the critical Senate run-offs in Georgia.

Joe Scarborough himself joins me next.


REID: Donald Trump is so unable to process the fact that he lost the election, that he's jeopardizing the Georgia runoffs and the Republican Party's chance do to hold the majority in the United States Senate. He's attacking Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp for not doing more to overturn the election, saying that he's ashamed to support him in 2018.

Now, predictably, as "The Daily Beast" points out, Trump and his supporters' steady of rhetoric has corroded trust in Georgia's voting system, among members of the party base.

That was clear this weekend at a Georgia campaign stop with RNC chair Ronna Romney McDaniel.


CROWD QUESTION: How are we going to use the money and work when it's already decided?

RONNA MCDANIEL, RNC CHAIR: It's not decided. This is the key.

CROWD QUESTION: How do you know?

MCDANEIL: It's not decided. If you lose your faith and you don't vote, people walk away. That will decide it.


REID: I'm joined now by Joe Scarborough, host of "MORNING JOE", and author of "Saving Freedom: Truman, The Cold War and the Fight for Western Civilization."

I love turning the tables. Thank you for being here. Already shaking your head.


REID: Thank you so much.

Joe, I don't understand the strategy here of saying this is all rigged. Georgia was run poorly. Being so cruel to the Republicans who run Georgia, that Raffensperger, the secretary of state, is getting death threats and saying, by the way, please vote for our guys in January.

Can you make sense of this?

SCARBOROUGH: Nobody can make sense of it. And, of course, Donald Trump can't make sense of it. Republicans have a reason to be concerned.

You have you heard in the clip, somebody asking the question, well, why should we give money? Why should we work for an election that's rigged? Because you have been telling us that all of the elections have been rigged.

And the inconsistency is catching up with them. The fact you got Governor Kemp who was a loyal lap dog for Donald Trump for years now being accused of rigging -- rigging this election. Same thing with the secretary of state.

And now, they're so stupid, they even pulled in Kelly Loeffler to this, saying that somehow Brian Kemp got together with her to keep Doug Collins off the ballot. This is -- this is again another great example of how Trump is not playing four dimensional chess. Donald Trump is eating the chess pieces.

REID: I worked on a couple elections down south. It's a different world. Those who read your book I'm enjoying it. Know you have family roots in Georgia. And you talk about the elections down South.

There is a lot to it that you are authentic, right? Particularly talking about a lot of rural voters, they want that biography to be real. You have Loeffler who came from Illinois, nothing wrong with that. But her biography there's a long piece talking about how much she was imported into Georgia and basically buy a Senate seat. And then she turns around and makes money, it looks like, off her inside knowledge of the pandemic, as did Perdue.

And you have the two guys super-flawed. They've got a lot of issues. And the way they're fighting to keep a seat is down the Republican establishment in their state. And go after the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church and saying his ideology comes from the pit of hell. I don't get it. I don't get it.

SACRABOROUGH: I don't get it either. You are right. I told people about campaigning at least in my neck of the woods in northwest Florida. When you walk into a room, people judged you like that. They knew whether you were real or not.

I don't know. Maybe it will work in this campaign for Republicans. But where I come from, you don't denigrate somebody's faith in Jesus Christ, and just because they don't believe in the same things that you believe in politically.

And I had to say, Doug Collins, he had -- I say this as somebody that I'm sure you know, when I was in Congress, I voted consistent pro-life line. I can also tell you, I have been a Southern Baptist my entire life. And I read enough of the bible to know this grotesque reduction of Jesus' ministry to retching one verse out of the Old Testament and claiming that somehow that Trump is everything and the gospel. Trump everything in Jesus's ministry.

That suddenly, oh, okay, if you're a pro-life, you call yourself pro-life but support caging children? That somehow there's a consistency there? You know, obviously, I personally think Doug Collins and Republicans would have done better to actually read the red letters in the New Testament, to read Jesus's words and talks about it's better than a mill stone be hung around a person's neck and thrown to the bottom of the sea before they mistreat a child, before they cast a child away.

But obviously, it seems that they are pro-life from conception until the moment the child is born. It's the same thing with again -- you look at what the Republican Party is focused on. You look at what Doug Collins is focusing on.

I have a hard time looking at Matthew 25, where Jesus says what you have done for the least among these, you've done to me. I can't square their political philosophy under Trump, with what Jesus says about separating the sheep and goat. So, I mean, if he really wants to have a theological debate with the reverend?

That's a theological debate that he's going lose, not just in Georgia but I would guess in most churches where actually the gospel still means something to people who go there. At least means more than the latest political factions and what they believe in the Republican Party.

REID: Yeah, indeed. For those who missed it, let me just play real quickly. This is Doug Collins questioning Raphael Warnock, Reverend Raphael Warnock's faith. Take a listen.


REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): There is no such thing as a pro-choice pastor. What you have is a lie from the pit of hell. It is time to send it back to Ebenezer Baptist Church.


REID: Just throw that out there, and again, this is the pastor of King's historic church, throwing that out there.

SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, it's unbelievable. A lie from the pit of hell would be for somebody like Doug Collins to put his faith and say you have to believe just like I believe on every political issue or you can't be a Christian or you can't be a follower of Jesus Christ.

I tell you what, he has -- I -- my family's from north Georgia just like him. He's reading a different bible than we've been reading in north Georgia for the past 300 years.

REID: I'm a church girl, too. And I don't recognize that at all.

Speaking, you mentioned children. Can I just show this desk -- I have to -- I could not resist. Here's the tiny desk.

You were a member of Congress. How long would your chief of staff have lasted in his job for putting you at a desk that small? I mean, he looks like a third grader.

SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, I don't -- I don't understand it. But my chief of staff would have walked out on me a long time before I sit at that desk. I mean, it has been four years of embarrassment.

And, now, you know, I've got to say, Joy, I have been wondering. I've been -- I've been waiting for Republicans, for conservatives, so-called conservatives, to start speaking out. I actually saw the "National Review" editorial attacking Donald Trump for what he's doing and saying it's time to move on. "The Wall Street Journal" editorial page, after running cover for this guy for four years, most of the time, is now telling him the gig's up.

REID: Yeah.

SCARBOROUGH: Most Republicans are saying that now privately. But how sad that Republican senators still don't have the courage, that Mitch McConnell still doesn't have the courage to say publicly what we all know is the truth.

REID: Yeah. Spines are needed but Joe is not going anywhere. You're going to stick around. So, we're going to talk about your book on the other side of the break.

We'll be right back.


REID: In his new book "Saving Freedom: Truman, the Cold War and the Fight for Western Civilization", Joe Scarborough details the way that the Truman doctrine has shaped the foreign policy and America's role in the world for the last seven decades.

He notes that in contrast, while Trump's America first theme initially struck a nerve with voters, his ignorance of history and lack of diplomatic skill prevented his administration from making any significant foreign policy issue over four years.

Back with me is Joe Scarborough, host of "MORNING JOE" and author of "Saving Freedom: Truman, the Cold War and the Fight for Western Civilization," which I am in the midst of reading, Joe, and I'm enjoying it a lot.


REID: You know I actually am really intrigued by Harry Truman. I'm a history buff, anyway. But he's an interesting figure to me because he's this guy -- he's this, you know, sort of racist senator from Missouri who writes his wife, you know, little notes about N words and China men, and then comes in and does more to actually advance the cause of racial equality for black Americans than FDR did, you know, de -- allowing black people to actually get into the military and the federal work force. Actually does a lot and ended up changing.

How do you -- how do you think he also changed our foreign policy?

SCARBOROUGH: I want to talk about that first, because it's fascinating to see how much he grew. He came from Missouri. His parents were both pro-Confederate. He had a racist background.

And yet here's a guy who in 1948, election year, when he knows it's going to hurt him politically, he moves to integrate the armed services, and sure enough, Strom Thurmond breaks out.

REID: Yes.

SCARBOROUGH: They walked out of the convention in '48. And so, he's getting attacked by Wallace on the left, Henry Wallace on the left and Strom Thurman on the right and Dewey, the Republican. And he just -- frankly he didn't give a damn, as Clark Gable might say.

He thought it was a right thing to do given the service that black Americans gave during World War II and he thought it had to be done. And it's another example of how Harry Truman grew in his life. This was a guy that was mocked and ridiculed when he came to Washington, D.C. He was called a rube by "The New York Times." "Time Magazine" called him a mousey little man from Missouri.

And yet after he got elected president of the United -- or after he became president of the United States after FDR's sudden death, he had to guide this country not only through the end of World War II, but also into a very turbulent peace time when Americans and especially Republicans were isolationists. They didn't want to be bothered by Europe. They didn't want to be bothered by the rest of the world. They'd just gotten past defeating Hitler.

And yet Joe Stalin, Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union actually posed a great risk to freedom not only in Central Europe but Western Europe and across the world. And Truman marshaled the resources and the support from Republicans and Democrats alike to actually stand up and contain the Soviet Union spread and to ensure freedom in Europe and created really more than any other president over the past 75 years, created the world that we live in today.

REID: You know, and it's interesting because there's some ambivalence about him, too, right? There's the Hiroshima and Nagasaki which, you know, one might argue, you know, was incredibly cruel to have done and we've the only country that's used nuclear weapons. But he also is somebody who did grow as president.

Contrast that with the current guy, because he's not growing.

SCARBOROUGH: Well, I mean, it's hard to contrast it with the current guy because Truman believed in plain speaking. He said the buck stopped here. He actually liked making difficult decisions and slept better at night after he did what he thought was the right thing to do.

REID: Yeah.

SCARBOROUGH: He didn't blame other people for his mistakes. He took responsibility and I believe at the end, he changed the world for the better.

REID: He was an adult. Joe Scarborough --

SCARBOROUGH: He was an adult, yes.

REID: It helps. Author of "Saving Freedom: Truman, the Cold War and the Fight for Western Civilization", y'all pick up his book.

That is tonight's REIDOUT.



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