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Transcript: The ReidOut, September 14, 2020

Guests: Craig Spencer, Ron Klain, London Breed, Eric Garcetti, Andrew Weissmann


U.S. death toll from COVID-19 is at 195,614. McDaniel defends Trump misleading America about the pandemic. Trump holds indoor super-spreader rally in Nevada. Trump supporters are putting lives at risk by ignoring precautions. Trump says he's not worried about COVID at rallies because he's very far away. Nevada Governor Sisolak slams Trump for selfish, irresponsible rally. City fines business $3,000 for COVID violations at Trump event. Woodward says, Trump's mendacity took his breath away. Federal judge rules Pennsylvania COVID restrictions unconstitutional. Western wildfires are blamed for at least 35 deaths. Biden says, Trump's climate denial is threatening U.S. suburbs. There are 50 days until the presidential election, and whatever Trump is doing, it's not working. Biden is more than seven points ahead of Trump nationally, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: So, I hope you join us tomorrow night at 6:00 P.M. Eastern, the one and only Judd Apatow making his BEAT debut.

As always thanks for watching. THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid starts now.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: In a matter of days, the United States will reach the brutal pandemic milestone of 200,000 coronavirus deaths, the most deaths of any country in the world. And as we've said so often on this show, it didn't have to be this way. We know the countless lives could have been saved if Donald Trump had simply admitted to America what he was willing to admit to Bob Woodward back in February, namely, that the coronavirus was deadly and airborne.

And when he was caught, Trump didn't express regret or even admit to it, and, of course, he didn't. Instead he dispatched the usual suspects to awkwardly defend the indefensible on television, including the Republican National Committee Chair, Ronna Romney McDaniel.


RONNA MCDANIEL, RNC CHAIR: Think of what would have happened if he had gone out and said, this is awful, we should all be afraid, we don't have a plan, it would have been a run on the banks, it would have been a run on the hospitals, it would have been a run on the grocery stores.


REID: Yes, yes, yes, Ronna. Imagine what would have happened if the American people knew that Team Trump had no plan?

And then on the same day, the NFL's opening Sunday kicked off with empty stadiums, well, except Jackson field because, of course, Florida has got Florida.

Trump hosted an indoor rally in Nevada that ostentatiously violated the state's mandate, limiting gathering to 50 people. This was not one of those half inside, half outside airport hangar rallies, no, no, no. This turnout was completely indoors, where, as you can see, a mask-less crowd was packed in like sardines listening as Trump down play the coronavirus once again.

Time and time again that we've witnessed Trump's corruption, his incompetence and his lies, but Trump isn't endangering Americans by himself. His supporters are eagerly joining right in. People who attended Trump's latest super spreader event who flew in from different cities and states, who refused to wear masks, to socially distance, who jeer at those who do want to wear masks, they're going to drive back to their homes, or even worst fly, possibly sneeze or cough in the cabin, they'll be back at the wawa strolling by your grandma. They risk infecting their own elderly parents or their own children, who, by the way, are not immune from COVID, and are very much back in school maybe with your kids. Many more children can get infected, as well as their teachers, some of whom may be at risk of severe COVID illness or even death

Just like this Sturgis yesterdays motorcycle rally or like Trump's last indoor rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which caused a spike of positive cases in that state. These rallies are super-spreader events.

And instead of protecting their own lives and the lives of their family or friends or your lives, Trump supporters, as seen in this video, tweeted by a Fox News correspondent, are literally running to these events, like some anti-woke version of K-pop fans rushing to a live concert.

And here is the irony, Trump super spreader, super fans, Trump doesn't care if you get COVID. He only cares if he does.


REPORTER: Aren't you concerned about getting COVID though in an enclosed room?

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: No, I'm not concerned.

REPORTER: What about people here?

TRUMP: I'm more concerned about how close you are.

REPORTER: Sorry about that.

TRUMP: Because you know why, I'm on a stage, it's very far away. And so I'm not at all concerned.


REID: Wow. Joining me now is Ron Klain, former Chief of Staff to Al Gore and Joe Biden and former White House Ebola Respond Coordinator, and Dr. Craig Spencer who's an Emergency Room Physician.

This was -- that was pretty stunning. I want to play for you, Ron, what Governor Steve Sisolak had to say. He was plenty mad about this event that Donald Trump held in his state, where he said, they're not close to me, I'm not going to get COVID. I mean, I don't know about them, but I'm okay. I mean, that's a pretty stunning statement for the president of the United States to say about his own fans. This is what Governor Sisolak had to say, governor of Nevada, earlier today on MSNBC.


GOV. STEVE SISOLAK (D-NV): He's only concerned about his own health not the health of anybody else in the state of Nevada.

And all the work, all the sacrifices that have been made by residents, by people in the state of Nevada, countless things that they've gone out, where they've gone without having to go being able to go to church, without being able to visit their family in a hospital, without their kids being able to have in-person education, are all going to be impacted because of a selfish, irresponsible, reckless decision by Donald Trump.


REID: I mean, and we did lose Ron's shot, so we're going to try to get it back. But, Dr. Spencer, I'm going to go to you on this. I mean, a lot of people have been giving up stuff, giving up parties with their families, birthday parties with their grandparents and for their kids, funerals, people who have been skipping funerals, people have been making tremendous sacrifices to try to end this nightmare.

And Trump fans are taking the opportunity to fly to other states, drive to other states, go attend a mask-free rally, we're looking here at the crowds were not wearing mask in front of Trump, they festooned some behind him so that they'd be on camera looking like they were doing the right thing, but the ones in the crown weren't, those people are going to be in the Walmart with people who didn't choose to be completely irresponsible.

This strikes me as the reason we can't get past this, because there are some people -- it's not just Trump, it's other people who are deciding to take risks with the rest of our lives. Your thoughts.

DR. CRAIG SPENCER, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: I think that's completely right. Look, we're in this as a nation together. We have almost 200,000 deaths, as you've already pointed out. This is something that we're collectively experiencing as a trauma. And it's not just the person next to you in Walmart, it's not just someone else that you run into.

Remember, we've lost over 1,000 providers, including my friends and colleagues, to this virus. We're not at the end of this in many respect. We're still at the beginning of this. We don't have a vaccine (INAUDIBLE) great therapeutics. We don't have this virus under control other than taking them seriously and really respecting in relying on the science.

And as we've already pointed out many, many times, Trump is clearly concerned about himself, he doesn't want to get sick but the other thousands of people that were in that space without masks on, in an indoor rally, where we know the risk is higher, undoubtedly, there will likely be people there that are positive, that will spread this virus and bring it back to their own communities.

This is just another example of this administration continuing to downplay the importance and really the public health messaging that we've been trying to relay since day one that his administration and him, most importantly, has really been denigrating the (INAUDIBLE) he can.

REID: You know, and I think we have Ron back. I mean, the venue that allowed him to do that, he made also some excuses, well, you know, the governor wouldn't let me have my rally in a stadium, so my friend let me borrow this. Really? Okay. Donald Trump obviously doesn't care about his own fans. They love him. They practically worship him. It's a cult to personality. It's a one way cult. He doesn't care if they get sick. He didn't care. It's just like if they get sick, they signed a waiver.

The venue, his friend who let him borrow it, they're getting fined as well they should. But even putting in a fine doesn't change it for the rest of us, the rest of the people if they go back. If the super spreader crowd, then fans out into the country, if this happened during Ebola, can you imagine a situation where a venue would say, we're going to have a few people here who may have Ebola, maybe they're not showing symptoms now, they may have Ebola. Then they're going to come to you city, Seattle, Houston, they're coming to your city and, you know, they have freedom. Can you imagine that happening during the Obama era?

RON KLAIN, FMR. WHITE HOUSE EBOLA RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Well, no, Joy. First of all, it's a complicated comparison because Ebola spreads in a different way and there are different ways to contain it, so it's not only apple to apples comparison. But what I will say is, here, as you noted, what's really interesting is, President Trump takes great efforts to keep himself safe. This isn't just a happenstance event. There are pictures out today of lines that were painted on the floor, they made sure that Donald Trump didn't get too close to those crowds. He didn't go and immerse himself in those crowds. He kept himself more than socially distant from those unmasked people.

So he understands how dangerous this is. He understands what the risks are. He is looking out for Donald Trump, just as on every other issue, whether it's the economy or anything else, he is looking out for himself, he doesn't care about the rest of us, he doesn't care about the people who were in that hall, he doesn't care about what happened to them. And as you said, He doesn't care about who they then transmit the disease to.

Look, obviously, everyone bears responsibility for this. But I do put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the president. He is the one with the information, the intelligence reports, the experts. He is supposed to lead and he's not led in any step of fight in this disease.

REID: Except for the -- everyone has the information now. I mean, first of all, A, the rest of us have now understood, who don't listen to Donald Trump have understand how deadly this disease is. We've seen to almost 200,000 people are dead, and people -- I mean, I think, what, more than one in three people know somebody now who at least had it. I mean, this is serious, we know.

And also now he said it, right? So they know too. Like they can hear the tapes just like we can hear the tapes. They know. They don't care. I don't know if we can show the video of them running again. These people literally ran like they were running to a concert to be first, to be closest. And as you just said, they can't get anywhere near Donald Trump because he won't let them because he doesn't want them near him, because they might have COVID.

Dr. Spencer, this is what Donald Trump said to Bob Woodward. This is a little piece of the Bob Woodward 60 Minutes piece, where he talk about what he discussed -- there it is, look at these people, they don't have masks on, and they're running. They can't wait to get to the super-spreader. And then they're going to go to the supermarket and to the schools and everywhere else, feeling absolutely no compunction about maybe spreading this incredibly dangerous, potentially deadly disease. They don't care.

Let's let you guys listen to another piece of this Woodward interview, where he talks about what Donald Trump said what could have been done.


TRUMP: Nothing more could have been done. Nothing more could have been done.

ROBERT WOODWARD, AUTHOR, RAGE: Nothing more could have been done, does he remember what he told me back in February, about it's more deadly than the flu? I mean, it almost took my breath away.


REID: Dr. Spencer, you have a federal judge hearing a case in Pennsylvania, in which he overturned the mask mandate by the governor, because people like those people who are running and who want the freedom to not have masks on sued because they don't want to be told that they can't go into the Walmart or into the safe way without a mask. They won, because there's a Trumpy judge on the bench.

We're at a point now where it will be almost impossible. Is it -- can we stop this spread if things like that are happening, and if the president of the United States keeps acting as if this thing isn't deadly, even though he said it was deadly?

SPENCER: It's going to be really difficult (INAUDIBLE) together. And we need a president to set a good (INAUDIBLE) and that hasn't happened. He downplayed the severity of this virus despite knowing how severe it actually is.

Imagine if you came into my emergency room and I denied you the testing you needed, I didn't tell you what treatment I was giving and before doing any of that, without your knowledge, and eventually you got sick and you died. Not only would I be morally responsible, I would (INAUDIBLE).

Why isn't the president being held to the exact same standard as health care providers all over the country that are having to do extra work because we didn't take this seriously from day one?

REID: Well said. And we apologize for the glitchiness of the connections here, but I think everyone heard you guys loud and clear. Ron Klain and Dr. Craig Spencer, thank you both very much.

And up next on THE REIDOUT, Trump has ignored science when it comes to dealing with the pandemic. It has killed nearly 200,000 Americans. And he also ignores the signs of climate change, repeating his weird mantra that the deadly wildfires ravaging the west coast are due to poor forest management.

Plus, Trump's dictatorial impulses are on full display.


TRUMP: 52 days from now, we're going to win Nevada and we're going to win four more years in the White House. And then after that, we'll negotiate.


REID: You think he's kidding? Wait until you hear him back the extra judicial killings of American citizens.

Back with much more of THE REIDOUT after this.


REID: Historic fires in California, Oregon and Washington continue to ravage the Pacific Coast. The wildfires have 35 people dead and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes with flames ripping through nearly 5 million acres of the west coast.

What's left resembles haunting imagines of a post-apocalyptic landscape. The impact of the fires are so great that Portland, Oregon currently ranks as first in the world as the city with the worst air quality on earth. And three other American cities, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, are now also among the ten cities that are the worst for air quality.

Over the past few years, forest fires have been burning faster and spreading further than ever fueled by climate change. The 2018 camp fire was California's most destructive fire in the state's history until this year.


STEVE PETERSON, CAMP FIRE VICTIM: Five blocks from here, there's hundreds of people that are still in a FEMA camp, temporary housing, trying to find housing from the camp fire two years ago.

LESLIEPORTTEUS, CAMP FIRE VICTIM: It just comes back to the PTSD, and you're reliving everything all over again.


REID: But just like with the coronavirus, Donald Trump has been missing in action, offering no real solutions and denying the scientific facts. Today, Joe Biden blasted Trump's environmental record.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Donald Trump warned that immigration is threatening our suburbs. That's ridiculous. But you know what's threatening our suburbs? Wildfires are burning the suburbs in the west. Floods are wiping out suburban neighborhoods in the Midwest. Hurricanes are imperiling suburban life along our coast.

We have four more years of Trump's climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned and wildfires? How many suburban neighborhoods will have been flooded out? How many suburbs will have been blown away in super storms?

If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if we have more America blade (ph)?


REID: Trump, who was in Sacramento today, before briefing with state officials, refused to acknowledge the reality right in front of him.


WADE CROWFOOT, CALIFORNIA SECRETARY OF NATURAL RESOURCES: We've had temperatures explode this summer. You may have learned that we broke a world record in Death Valley, 130 degrees. But even in greater L.A., 120 degrees. And we're seeing this warming trend make our summers but also our winters warmer as well.

But I think one area of mutual agreement and priority is vegetation management. But I think we want to work with you to really recognize our changing climate and what it means to our forests and actually work together with that science. That science is going to be key. If we ignore that science and sort of put our head in the sand and think it's all about vegetation management, we're not going to succeed together protecting Californians.

TRUMP: Okay. It will start getting cooler. You just watch.

CROWFOOT: I wish science agreed with you.

TRUMP: I don't think science knows actually.


REID: Joining me now, San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti. Wow.

I'm going to start with you, Mayor Breed. First of all, the smirk when Donald Trump is being told about the heat that is ravaging these communities, the changing climate, and then he says, oh, it will get cooler. As somebody who's community is being ravaged by these wildfires right now, what is your response to that?

MAYOR LONDON BREED (D-SAN FRANCISCO, CA): Well, it's very harmful that he's so dismissive of science.

He was dismissive of science with regards to COVID. Over 200,000 Americans have lost their lives due to this virus, and he's still denying the science of what it means to be in the middle of a world pandemic, and now with climate change at our heels.

In San Francisco -- I was born and raised in this city. I have never seen anything like what I saw this past Wednesday, when I woke up to an orange/red sky that looked like it was the end of the world. We know that these wildfires have had a tremendous impact on this state in particular.

Six of the deadliest fires that have happened in the history of California have happened just this year, but over three million acres burning. And so the fact that he's so dismissive is so hard to take, especially when people's lives are on the line, and the problems with climate change are right in our face as we speak.

REID: Yes, we're looking at the flames now, and it's unbelievable.

It does -- you're right. It looks like the apocalypse.

There's a story -- it's not even a story. Miles Taylor, who used to work for the Department of Homeland Security, has been very up front about the horrors that he saw when he was working there.

And he says that Donald Trump wanted to withhold money from California for wildfires. And he has a video where he says that Trump told us: Stop giving money to people whose houses had burned down because he was so rageful that people in the state of California didn't support him, that he only wants to give money to people who supported him. He doesn't feel he's the president, I guess, of those who didn't.

I want you to listen to Governor Gavin Newsom today in that same roundtable with the president. Here he is.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): One thing is fundamental; 57 percent of the land in this state is federal forest land; 3 percent is California. So, we really do need that support. We need that emphasis of engagement. And we're fully committed to working with you to advance that cause.


REID: There's a certain level of friendly genuflection that's required for Donald Trump to even think about giving money.

We're at the point now where we're sort of being treated like Ukraine. Right? The various states, he's going to need from you first before he going to give any aid. He's going to need genuflection.

I don't even understand what public officials like you feel that you're going to get from this governor -- from this president. And if you don't get help, then what?

BREED: Well, I think that we have accepted a long time ago, sadly, that, here in California. It's almost like we're on our own.

Mayor Garcetti and I, we work very closely together. It's been really the mayors leading the response around what's been happening with COVID.

But now we're talking about a whole 'nother level, a whole 'nother responsibility and a lot of neglect.

And, this November, we have an opportunity to change that. We can't make Donald Trump be the president or even the person that we truly need to lead this country right now.

And so, as hard as this is to take, as frustrating as what we have been experiencing is, we need new leadership in the White House, period. And the fact that we continue to talk about the crazy things he continues to say around discounting science, around disrespecting communities and people that don't support him or agree with him, it gets us nowhere.

We still are facing these disasters. We still need a better president to help us through this process. And we are really at our wit's end, but it doesn't mean that we're going to -- not going to keep rolling up our sleeves, fighting these battles, sending mutual aid to other counties, and doing our part as mayors, as best we can, to help address it.

It is, though, very tiring and frustrating.

REID: Yes, I'm quite sure it is.

Mayor London Breed of San Francisco, we're wishing you guys all the best out there. Thank you so much for being here today.

I want to now bring in Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Same question, I guess. I mean, California, obviously, it used to be a Republican state, but it sure isn't anymore. It has a state -- it's a state with a very diverse population. It's got all the things that Donald Trump doesn't like, right, a sane immigration stance, on and on and on.

And so now you're facing a president who doesn't want to help any state that isn't red. What do you do?

ERIC GARCETTI (D), MAYOR OF LOS ANGELES: Well, Joy, great to be with you. And always great to be with my sister Mayor London Breed.

It's astounding. I mean, today, he said, what was it, I don't think science knows, actually.

REID: Yes.

GARCETTI: I don't think Donald Trump knows, actually.

And call me crazy, but when it comes to coronavirus, I listen to doctors. When it to climate change, I listen to scientists. And when it comes to Donald Trump, I just don't listen to him much at all anymore. But, unfortunately, he still is the leader of our country.

When London and I get a call from a constituent, we don't ask their party affiliation before we pave their street, fix the park, go and give them the basic services their taxpayer money is deserving of.

And it's amazing to me, because you're right. You can paint the state blue. Democrats are in power here. But even in my city, where 25 percent of people in a four-million-person city are Republican, he's abandoning one million people who probably voted for him.

I mean, it's vindictive, it's petty, and it's not the sign of a leader. And, to me, it's not just what he doesn't know. It's what he did know and does know that is even more worrying. As we saw with coronavirus, as we know with these fires -- and he came by and made a quick stop on the way to campaigning, let's be clear.

But when a fire is coming to your house, every second counts. When a deadly virus is on its way, every day counts. And he has failed to warn us. He's failed to lead. And thank God the federal government is more than one man, because we have had great cooperation with many of the agencies that look at Americans as Americans first, not as folks who didn't vote for you.

REID: Yes.

And, I mean, and Governor Newsom made a very good point, which is that almost 60 percent of the land in California is managed by the federal government, not by the state of California. This is Donald Trump's responsibility.


REID: I wonder if you can sort of talk -- right -- sort of talk about the sort of broader factors here regarding climate change, because we know it all kind of works together like a puzzle.

And immigration is related. It's all kind of related. Is there something that you can advise Joe Biden to do going forward? Let's say he becomes president.

GARCETTI: Absolutely.

REID: How do you unwind this broken clock? How would -- what would you advise him, as mayor of such a large city, to do?

GARCETTI: Well, I have been advising him, as national co-chair of his campaign, and somebody who's helped with a lot of his climate platform, which is the most progressive platform we have ever seen in the history of a presidential campaign.

Just rewinding the clock two seconds, though, I wanted to say, Donald Trump really is responsible for more of our land here than we are, with a huge chunk of it being federal land. So it doesn't surprise me that he's been a bad landlord to California, just as he's been a bad landlord to so many before in the private sector.

That aside, there are amazing things that a new president and a new administration not only can do, but will do.

I lead Climate Mayors, which is the group of local governments across the country that, when Donald Trump said he was going to get out of the Paris accords, we said, if he's out, we're in.

Over 500 cities in 48 states, Republican, Democratic and independent mayors, who know this is real -- because, whether it's Mayor Suarez in Miami, who's a Republican and knows what rising tides will do to his city, whether it's the mayor of Carmel, Indiana, who's looking at reducing the emissions in his city, or whether it's Democratic mayors that see on the front lines what these record hot days and fires do, or what it's like to face a hurricane down, we need to immediately continue to push forward with a clean energy future by 2035, as we have said in the campaign we will do, big, bold, greenest agenda, I think, almost of any country in the world.

Second, look at investments with jobs. We have to give people careers in these green sectors. In L.A., we have a Green New Deal we have been implementing. And about 40 percent of our new job growth has been in the green energy transportation sectors. And we have projects lined up for the next 40 years.

So, somebody whose grandparent might have put together a bomber on the assembly line in South L.A. without a college education that helped win World War II can now put together a rapid transit line or (AUDIO GAP) bus doing the same thing.

REID: Yes.

GARCETTI: So, it's really about jobs and the future, while making sure these extreme weather events become a thing of the past sometime in our lifetime.

REID: Yes, and they don't just happen on the continent. I mean, I was making the point that immigration -- I mean immigration is also driving people to move, because these climate events are happening all over the continent.

And it's moving people around. And it's causing a lot of disruption. And it's just -- it's all such -- it goes together. Hopefully, we will have a -- I don't know. Maybe we will have some forward looking coming up soon.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, thank you very much. Really appreciate you being here.

GARCETTI: My pleasure.

REID: And up next: Trump's authoritarian impulses -- cheers -- were on full display this weekend. His idea of law and order apparently leaves room for extrajudicial -- quote -- "retribution."

More on that straight ahead on THE REIDOUT.


REID: Donald Trump regularly reminds Americans how much he loves dictators, autocrats and despots.

If you don't believe me, just listen to what Trump told Bob Woodward about Turkey's oppressive leader back in January.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I get along very well with Erdogan, even though you're not supposed to, because everyone says, what a horrible guy.

But, for me, it works out good. It's funny. The relationships I have, the tougher and meaner they are, the better I get along with them. You will explain that to me some day, OK? But maybe it's not a bad thing.

The easy ones are the ones I maybe don't like as much or don't get along with as much.


REID: Trump has made a habit of making excuses for leaders who have abysmal human rights records, sometimes even mimicking their language.

This weekend, Trump told FOX News host Jeanine Pirro that the killing of 48-year-old Michael Reinoehl, a self-described anti-fascist suspected of fatally shooting a member of a far right group in Portland, Oregon, last month was retribution.


TRUMP: We sent in the U.S. Marshals for the killer, the man that killed a young man of the street, just shot him.

JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS: Right. Cold blood.


TRUMP: Just cold-blooded killed him.

The U.S. Marshals went in to get him. And in a short period of time, they ended in a gunfight. This guy was a violent criminal. And the U.S. Marshals killed him.

And I will tell you something. That's the way it has to be. There has to be retribution when you have crime like this.


REID: Alexander Vindman, the decorated military veteran who blew the whistle on Trump's unconstitutional behavior, basically confirmed Trump's loathing for democratic norms, telling "The Atlantic" that "Trump should be considered to be a useful idiot and a fellow traveler, which makes him an unwitting agent of Putin."

For more, I'm joined by Malcolm Nance, MSNBC counterterrorism and intelligence analyst, and Andrew Weissmann, former senior member of the Mueller probe and former FBI general counsel.

And, Malcolm, it's not the usual thing for an American president to sound basically like Rodrigo Duterte or Vladimir Putin. But here we are.

MALCOLM NANCE, NBC COUNTERTERRORISM AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, in this circumstance, you have a president of the United States who thinks of himself on a global scale, speaking geopolitically, as more of a co-equal mob boss in this global community of dictators.

And if you see the way that he uses his terminology, he thinks that he's a capo. He thinks that he's a lieutenant for Vladimir Putin, and that the only way that he can discuss things in the world with tough, mean guys is to be speaking in a language that they understand.

I mean, Michael Cohen said this very thing, is that Trump speaks mafia-speak. But this is an unmade man. This is a guy who has literally done nothing in his life. He's more Fredo than Michael.

And he thinks that, by rolling over and being the beta dog to an alpha dog like Vladimir Putin, or Duterte or Erdogan, that he's going to get into the dictators mafia club. He's not.

He is being used and manipulated on a strategic scale. And we all can see it with our own eyes.

REID: Yes, I mean, our Mohammed bin Salman, who he also bragged that, hey, I got him out of trouble, when he killed an American -- had an American killed, who was an American resident killed, American resident journalist.

The idea of him being the beta dog to the alpha dog who is Vladimir Putin, Andrew Weissmann, that goes along with what the FBI agent who actually helped launch the Russia investigation said.

And this is Mr. Strzok, who Donald Trump is obsessed with, one of the people he's obsessed with. And he said that Donald Trump lied about his Russian business dealings and that Putin knew he had lied, and that Trump knew that Putin knew, a shared understanding that provided the framework for a potentially coercive relationship.

Looking back over the investigation that the Mueller probe, that you all did, do you think it -- looking back on it, do you think that it should have also included Donald Trump's potentially compromised positions when it comes to Russia, his business dealings in Russia? Do you think that that should have been included, looking back?

ANDREW WEISSMANN, FORMER DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE PROSECUTOR: So, that was a decision that was made by the acting attorney general, Rod Rosenstein.

He gave us an explicit authorization that gave us authority to do certain things and not authority to do others. So, we were only allowed to look at three specific types of things that did not include sort of a wide-ranging vetting of all finances of the president and his companies.

I suspect, from what we have heard, that that may be going on in the New York state investigations by the attorney general and the Manhattan DA's is office.

But just to comment, Joy, on something that you addressed earlier, which is, I think that it's really important here for us to keep our eye on the ball because the president's really good at sort of playing out the next shiny object when there's a really bad news story for him, which is, he lied and COVID exploded on his watch.

And so you see this sort of very authoritarian language that is sort of trying to get a rise out of everybody. And, of course, it should, because it's really outrageous to have a president who says that he's a law and order president, when he, in fact, is on TV saying, I agree in, essentially, extrajudicial killings.

That's the antithesis of a law and order precedent. And I think what Pete was getting at on various shows is ways in which there's a counterintelligence concern about the president because he has left himself exposed.

And I think he's really trying to -- the president's trying to really change the narrative, so that we don't talk about that.

REID: Well, I mean, it's a good question, Malcolm.

How much of it do we take seriously, Donald Trump saying, yes, I'm going to negotiate my way to a third term? Extrajudicial killings sound fine to me. He goes on and on and on about things that sounds like he's baby Putin, and, as you said, beta Putin.

How much of it do you think we should take seriously? And how much should we plan to try to oppose?

NANCE: Well, in fact, I think we have learned that you can take all of it seriously.

Trump, I believe it was Ari Melber, who said is the most transparent person in American history, the most transparent president. He tells you what he's thinking, and his actions follow up on that. They may not be in synchronization at all times.

But I think, in his mind, he really does believe he deserves a third term. And I know he has a whole cast of enablers, right, who sit around and do nothing but tell him all day, every day, he's right, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt did it, and you control the United States, and you have so many people that love you. It'll be easy to pass a constitutional amendment making Donald Trump dictator for life.

I think he really has that in his head.

One thing I would like to touch on what Mr. Weissmann said who I defer to in all matters and judgments related to counterintelligence, Donald Trump needed to be looked at as an unwitting asset of a foreign intelligence agency.

REID: Yeah. I think a lot of us wish he had, but it's too late to do that now. Maybe -- I don't know, we'll see.

Malcolm Nance, Andrew Weissmann, thank you guys very much.

Still ahead -- appreciate you guys.

Still ahead, 50 days until Election Day, and the Trump campaign is still struggling to land a blow on Joe Biden.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: There are 50 days until the presidential election, and whatever Trump is doing, it's not working. Biden is more than 7 points ahead of Trump nationally, according to the Real Clear Politics polling average.

Now, Trump likes to say that polls are -- they're just wrong.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think we're leading all over the place, frankly. But, you know, the fake news doesn't like to say that.

Sixty-two percent of the people that are polled are lying. If that's the case, we have a virtual landslide.

The fake polls, the fake everything. The fake -- you know, they're called suppression polls. They're meant to make you depressed, are you depressed? You don't look depressed. We're leading everywhere.


REID: Everywhere. Just everywhere, it's all fake. Fake news, fake calls, I'm winning, just ask Sean Hannity.

Look, here's the thing, Trump likes to point to 2016 to say the polls were wrong. But that's actually not really true. Hillary Clinton did win the national popular vote, just not the presidency thanks to entirely undemocratic Electoral College. And with 50 days to the election, Trump seems to be stuck in a 2016 mindset.

He even tweeted this photo -- look at this photo -- of rows of Trump signs this weekend. Well, it turns out that photo was actually from, you guessed it, 2016.

The battle for the White House really comes down to a handful of states. And in the past few days, we've gotten a major snapshot of some of them.

Recent polls show Trump stuck in the low 40s in battleground states, including in Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire and Wisconsin, though he's within Biden's margin of error in Arizona, Nevada and New Hampshire.

As NBC's "First Read" points out, what would you say with any other incumbent with those types of numbers? Now, polls might not mean everything, but Trump and his campaign seem to be aware that there is a problem, and they're taking some very desperate measures. And that's next.


REID: A Trump campaign is so desperate, they're throwing out the dog whistle and just blowing the racism bull horn. Last week they used footage of Joe Biden kneeling at a black church, alongside fiery scenes from nighttime clashes following Black Lives Matter protests in Donald Trump's America, to make their argument that voters won't be safe in -- Joe Biden's America.

Here's a small part of that ad which we're not going to show you in its entirety.



MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You won't be safe in Joe Biden's America.


REID: Leaders of the African Methodist Episcopal Church are condemning the ad as overtly racist and offensive on numerous levels and they're warning that it could stoke violence against black churches.

I'm joined now by Jason Johnson, professor of journalism and politics at Morgan State University, and Susan Del Percio, Republican strategist and senior adviser to the Lincoln Project.

And, Jason, it feels like the dumbest political move on earth to come for the black church, but they did it. I don't know where to begin, so I'll just let you --

JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah. On the scale of black people you don't mess with, there is black women, specifically aunties, and then the black church. They're all kind of in a constellation of things that you probably shouldn't attack if you're a Republican trying to effective.

REID: Correct.

JOHNSON: Look, and Trump has been trying for weeks now to say that if Joe Biden is elected president, that America will turn into some combination between like the no church and the wild video and "Saw." And it's not working, right?

Like he's losing ground in Wisconsin. It hasn't changed things in Oregon.

So, I think the Trump campaign, as I said all along, they're not interested in running a campaign. They're just hoping they are turn out their base and suppress everybody else because the messaging that they're throwing against Biden, against Harris, about the state of the country, it is not resonating with people's daily lives who are more concerned about COVID, loss of jobs, and the fact that their kids can't go to school.

REID: Exactly. Let me play a little bit of -- this is a new ad exclusive to the show tonight. This is a new Biden ad that's out. Let's take a look.


AD ANNOUNCER: The president caught red handed lying about coronavirus, publicly saying --

TRUMP: Children are almost immune.

AD ANNOUNCER: Secretly saying the truth.

TRUMP: This is deadly stuff. This is not just old, plenty of young people.

AD ANNOUNCER: Millions of jobs lost and 190,000 Americans dead.

You took an oath to protect our citizens. Mr. President, these deaths are on your hands. It's time to put America back in the hands of a president who will protect the country and tell us the truth.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I'm Joe Biden, and I approve this message.


REID: You know, Susan, I'm no Republican strategist. But I can tell you my guess is that what's concerning white women in the suburbs is COVID, not Black Lives Matter, except to the extent their kids are marching in black lives matter rallies. But white suburban women, there's -- it's an anecdotal piece. I'm not sure how much I believe that in the end, these folks are going to vote what they're saying, but there are white women who are now coming forward and say, I voted for Trump in 2016. I'm not going to vote for him in 2020. And what they're citing, coronavirus.

Your thoughts?

SUSAN DEL PERCIO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, they are. And there is women in 2016 they didn't like Hillary Clinton. They -- Trump didn't have a record and they said, I'll give it a shot.

But now, they're looking at his record, and we have to look at 2018 where we saw women come at him in record numbers. What for? Health care.

So, yes, of course, the coronavirus is also a big deal. What's also a big deal in the suburbs? Education. And meanwhile, parents are worrying about how to teach kids remote learning maybe two or three days a week.

So that's another big issue. And then when it comes to those horrible Trump ads, the biggest mistake they're making when talking to suburban women in those ads or what they're trying to do is conflating chaos and law and order with public safety. You don't see public safety on those ads.

You don't see someone tampering down the flames. You see someone ratcheting it up. And that is exactly what is turning off the suburban women.

REID: Yeah. And using an AME church to try to make that point is about -- I mean, listen, if somebody was watching Patty and Gladys last night, that's the person you don't want to upset, because not only will they vote, they would bring like 80 people from their community to vote them.

Let's talk about some of the other things on the table right here, money. Joe Biden is actually beating Donald Trump in terms of fund-raising straight out, Jason. But now it looks like he has an extra hundred million dollars in Florida. It looks like Bloomberg is actually coming through. How much does that make a difference do you think?

JOHNSON: You know, you know me, Joy. We have had this conversation. I think Florida is kind of red between both the changing politics and the fact that Republicans have consistently refused to invest money in proper polling and all sorts of shenanigans down there. But at the end of the day, that's more than found money in the couch.

So, if Bloomberg is willing to put that money down there, and organization and vote counting, and lawyers, please put the money in lawyers because that's what's going to be necessary, and election monitors.

REID: That's right.

JOHNSON: That could end up making a difference in a state that Trump has to have.

REID: Well, especially, you know, Susan, since what you now have, you know, the RNC had a practice in the past of sending, you know, off duty cops to black polling places to intimidate people. There was a moratorium on it. A judge has now lifted the restriction. Now they can do it again.

We're looking at and I wonder from your point of view as a Republican strategist, former, when people see that that's what their party is doing, is there a sense of I don't want to be a part of that, I don't want to be a part of straight up voter intimidation or do people say this is the price of people who look like me staying in power?

DEL PERCIO: Well, first, I should clarify I'm still a Republican. I just have nothing to do with the current Republican Party led by Donald Trump.

I think the thing that kills me every single time when I hear about voter suppression is if our ideas on the Republican side aren't good enough to win the election, we don't belong in office. We need to represent the people. These tactics -- and I'm really happy we're talking about it now and we will be for the next 40, 50 days, is that that resonates again with voters. They say that is not what I am about.

And they don't want to see it. They don't want to hear it. It may be a campaign tactic, but I agree with Jason, get these people to the polls.

And just one thing on the Bloomberg money, he knows how to micro target like nobody's business. So, that's just not, you know, $100 million being thrown in there. That is a very strategic amount of money that is going to go throughout the state, but, yes, I agree that they really need to do something to protect voter sites and the process because who is to say that an off duty cop isn't going to go into a local board of elections and say, I'm here to collect the ballots? They could.

REID: Yeah. Yeah. Well, we shall see.

Jason Johnson, Susan Del Percio, thank you guys very much.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: All right. Let me say it again. We are 50 days away from the most consequential election in our lifetimes. And early voting is already underway in Alabama.

If you live in Minnesota, South Dakota or Virginia, voting starts this Friday with polls opening in Vermont on Saturday. Check out plan your vote for more information on registering, voting by mail or in person and more. Most importantly, please check your registration and vote.

That is tonight's REIDOUT.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


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