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Transcript: The ReidOut, September 16, 2020

Guests: Lipi Roy, Jelani Cobb, Ellesia Blaque, Michael Cohen


Trump struggles to defend pandemic response at town hall. Trump says, waiters don't want to wear masks. CDC director says masks can be more effective than vaccine. Biden says, Trump's pandemic failures are utterly disqualifying. President Trump downplays effectiveness of mask use. CDC director says, vaccine not expected to be widely available until 2021. Trump contradicts CDC director on vaccine. Trump says, some police will choke and make mistakes. Town hall participant grills Trump on pre-existing conditions. Last week, fake news distracted from the wildfire evacuations in Oregon with people spreading false conspiracy theories that members of Antifa were the ones setting the fires. Hurricane Sally made landfall early this morning, grinding its way through Alabama and parts of the Florida Panhandle, potentially impacting nearly one million people. There are shocking allegations about doctors performing unnecessary surgeries at ICE detention facilities.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're just excited to just continue this new chapter of life together.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Amazing set of developments, and they say they'll continue their advocacy efforts with a win Justice Campaign (ph). We want to give you that uplift at the end of the hour.

"THE REIDOUT" with Joy Reid starts now.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: I can't hear anything.

Do you believe in magic? Do you believe in magic? Well, President Trump apparently does, and he tried once again to advance his magical thinking about the coronavirus and to defend his own derelict response during a town hall anchored by ABC's you have George Stephanopoulos.

Facing questions from undecided voters, President Trump struggled to defend his response to the virus, denied the allegations laid out in Bob Woodward's book that he lied about it, captured in his own recorded words and even advanced a dangerous theory about how to address the pandemic.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why would you downplay a pandemic that is known to disproportionately harm low-income families and minority communities?

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Yes. Well, I didn't down play it. I -- actually, in many ways, I up-played it in terms of action. My action was very strong.

I wanted to -- I wanted to always play it down.

It's going to disappear.

And, Bob, it's so easily transmissible. You wouldn't even believe it.

It would go away without the vaccine, George. But it's going to go away a lot faster --

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS HOST: It would go away without the vaccine?

TRUMP: Sure, over a period of time. Sure, with time.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And many deaths?

TRUMP: And you'll develop like a herd mentality. It's going to be herd-developed, And that's going to happen. That will all happen.

This thing is a killer if it gets you. If you are the wrong person, you don't have a chance.


REID: Herd mentality. He also gave a nod to the astoundingly dangerous anti-mask movement.


TRUMP: A lot of people don't want to wear masks. There are a lot of people think masks are not good. And there are a lot of people that, as an example --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Who are those people?

TRUMP: I'll tell you who those people are, waiters.


REID: Why blame the waiters?

Well, today, the rebukes were coming from inside his own government, specifically the head of the Centers for Disease Control.


DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: This mask, these face masks, are the most important, powerful public health tool we have. And I will continue to appeal for all Americans, all individuals in our country, to embrace these face coverings.

We have clear scientific evidence they work and they are our best defense. I might even go so far as to say this facemask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.


REID: At the White House last hour, though, Donald Trump disputed what Dr. Redfield said.


TRUMP: Number one, it's not more effective, by any means, than a vaccine, and I called him about that. Those were the two things I discussed with him. And I believe that if you ask him, he would probably say that he didn't understand the question.


REID: Well, since Donald Trump is such an expert, more so than the head of the nation's premiere public health agency, he disputed Dr. Redfield's assertion that a vaccine would not be ready until 2021.

Of course, all of this follows Trump last night blaming presumptive Democratic nominee and complete civilian, Joe Biden, for the lack of a nationwide mask mandate, as ludicrous as that is. And Biden responded by slamming Trump's incoherence.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: All the president had to offer last night, President Trump, was the same weak and feckless inaction, the same lies and empty promises that we have seen from the very beginning. He still won't accept any responsibility.

Folks, the president's first responsibility is to protect the American people, and he won't. That's utterly disqualifying.


REID: Joining me now is Dr. Lipi Roy, Internal Medicine Physician, and Jelani Cobb, Producer and Correspondent for Frontline's new documentary, Policing the Police 2020, and Staff Writer at The New Yorker.

Dr. Roy, this isn't even a dispute because there's only one side that's right here, masks, helpful, beneficial. Vaccine, possible by the end of the year or not.

DR. LIPI ROY, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: So let's be really clear here, Joy. The Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is absolutely right. Dr. Redfield, like myself and every other person that I know, wears a mask because we have plenty of data to show that this covering your face and your nose -- your mouth and your nose decreases the transmission of this virus.

And he's absolutely right in saying that masks and physical distancing are the only two measures we have that work and very successfully reduce the transmission of the virus. We have no vaccine. It's like comparing apples to no apples. We don't have a vaccine, so we can't compare it to that, right?

And earlier to your point of magical thinking, delusional thinking, it's this type of messaging, Joy, that is just confusing the public unnecessarily. We know what works. It's really simple. Just tell the public to wear a mask. and please, by all means, wear a mask yourself in public.

And, by the way, I'm referring to the president, not you.

REID: Well, I do, exactly. And I think most people are thinking of other people who were like invading Targets and running around without them, most people do it.

So this is President Trump again saying something that also -- let's actually forget him. Let's play Dr. Redfield today. This is about whether or not there will be a vaccine that is ready and available, let's say, by Election Day. Take a listen.


REDFIELD: I think there will be a vaccine that initially will be available sometime between November and December, but very limited supply and will have to be prioritized. If you're asking me when is it going to be generally available to the American public so we can begin to take advantage of a vaccine to get back to our regular life, I think we're probably looking at third -- late second quarter, third quarter, 2021.


REID: Second or third quarter of 2021. Okay, that should be the end of it, but it's not. Here is President Trump refuting that.


TRUMP: I think he made a mistake when he said that. It's just incorrect information. And I called him and he didn't tell me that, and I think he got the message maybe confused. Maybe it was stated incorrectly. No, we're ready to go immediately as the vaccine is announced and it could be announced in October. It could be announced a little bit after October.


REID: Jelani, that is actually just not true, but it doesn't have to be true for it to work for him politically. It just isn't true. Do you worry, as I do, that the next step, part three of this nightmare, is that he goes back and bullies Dr. Redfield and makes him change the truth to a lie?

JELANI COBB, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: So, we've seen this pattern before. I think it's most egregious and most noticeable when it happens to people in science because science is rooted in cold, rigid imperialism. They are not -- when you're famously not much for kind of gray areas. And people really see it.

And we've seen this with the inspectors general. We've seen this with the various investigations that have taken place since he's been in office. There's always a shading of truth to fit his purposes. So it becomes much more distinct, however, when we're talking about scientific fact.

So if you can call him and then he changes his mind and we get a different kind of report, well, we've just kind of stepped into what the Soviet Union was doing with its scientists where, if you had findings that didn't jibe with Comrade Stalin's understanding of the world, you were sent out to revise those findings until you had something that he could agree with.

REID: Yes. There is that sort of Soviet quality to it, Dr. Roy, because, I mean, last night, President Trump literally tried to blame Joe Biden for there not being a national mask mandate when he opposed the mask mandate, and Joe Biden is just a regular guy. He's just a civilian. He has no power. To the point where Joe Biden had to actually tweet, to be clear, I'm not currently president, because I'm not sure that Donald Trump knows that.

Do you worry that even if one of these drug companies comes out with a vaccine, that they're confident in, that Donald Trump has so muddied the waters and so made people distrust science and but also distrust whether science can be bullied, that they won't want it and that people will refuse to take it and that no vaccine will be able to be administered because of Trump?

ROY: You know, this is not the first time the scientific and certainly the medical community has questioned the mental state of the president. I mean, he is seeing things that just make no sense, they're nonsensical, they're delusional, not only are they just blatantly incorrect. But Mr. Jelani Cobb's point about his reference to the scientific community, there's a phrase that we use often, which is the beauty of science is that it's true, whether you believe in it or not.

And we, in the medical public health scientific community, have to stand strong and united, because -- and the reason why, Joy, you've been speaking to so many people like me on your show, because is it's quite literally life and death here, right? And we know that people of color are vulnerable, are elderly. My own father, who is over 80, who is a survivor of a quintuple bypass, I mean, we all, on this panel, know people both directly and indirectly who are affected by this disease. And it's quite literally life and death.

But we already have so much data to show what can protect people. And the fact that this president has known what he has known back in February, that this is a virus that's a killer, he compared it to the plague, and it's airborne, and to then not only not mandate masks and physical distancing, but instead hold large indoor gatherings is just nothing short of criminal, Joy.

We in the scientific community and in the media have to work together to educate the public and protect them, Joy.

REID: Yes, that's why Scientific American endorsed Biden.

One more thing that he lied about last night or just was incoherent about was policing and police reform. Here is a little clip of that.


TRUMP: If you look at our police, they do a phenomenal job. You'll have people choke, make mistakes, and they happen. It happens when they have to make a fast decision and some bad things happen. And you also have bad apples. But you have 99 percent great people. I know the police forces very well.


REID: I don't even know what to do with that, Jelani, but I know you have a special coming up that's airing I think now on PBS about policing. So I'll just let you respond.

COBB: Yes. Choke is the wrong word to use. We all saw what happened in Minneapolis. That wasn't a split-second decision. That was a decision that played out over the course of almost nine minutes. And there are lots of systemic factors that you can point to that just simply does not have any more basis, in fact, and the ideas about the masks do.

REID: Indeed. Dr. Lipi Roy, Jelani Cobb, congratulations on the special. We will be tuning in, Jelani. I really appreciate you.

Let me now turn to somebody who was actually there last night. My next guest stood up to President Trump as she tried to ask a question about health care and whether people with pre-existing conditions, like the one she was born with, should remain insured as they are under the Affordable Care Act.


ELLESIA BLAQUE, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, KUTZTOWN UNIVERSITY: Should pre-existing conditions, which Obamacare brought into -- brought to fruition be removed --


BLAQUE: -- without -- please stop and let me finish my question, sir. Should that be removed within a 36 to 72-hour period without my medication, I will be dead.

It's not my fault that I was born with this disease.


REID: I'm joined now by Ellesia Blaque, an Assistant Professor of English at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania.

And, first of all, I have to say that, Ellesia, when you said, stop and let me finish my question, every black woman in America knew you, we all know you now, hey, cousin.

So, first of all, when that moment happened, what was going through your mind as you tried to get your question out and Donald Trump jumped in?

BLAQUE: One of my students cutting me off in the middle of a lecture. What I did was not anything -- like my friends have been calling me all night, I haven't even been asleep yet. And they've been calling me and we've been talking about it and they're like, that's exactly what you would do. I did not expect you to do anything except that because respect is reciprocal.

And if you're hitting me midstream and you're coming back at me with a single word, no, you have to wait until I articulate the question in its completion before you determine what the answer is.

REID: Did you -- do you feel that you got a full answer on what it is he wants to -- yes. Did you feel like you got an answer as to what he would do on health care, because that seems unclear to a lot of us? Did you walk away feeling clear about what he wants to do on health care?

BLAQUE: Actually, I walked away. And when I got outside of Constitution Hall, I found the first wall to sit on and I broke down and cried in frustration and anger, because he didn't answer anyone's question, let alone mine.

And he ignored us like we had no value, that -- like he was just using us as a catalyst to say exactly what he wanted to say about himself as normal, as usual and to push his own agenda, which is misinformation, disinformation manipulation of language.

And it was tragic for him to do that, because I really did go there with the -- with an open mind. My problem was, I didn't know if I was going to vote or not. It was never a question of will I vote for Trump or Biden. It was a question of, will I vote or not. And he made up my mind.

REID: Why is that? Why is that?

BLAQUE: I'm a historian. I teach literature and history, my specialty is slavery. And so I have read about our struggles over the last several hundred years. That's what is behind me. Look at what is on my wall. This is my life. And so I know the struggles that we have been through.

And we've already fought and won this war multiple times. To have to fight it and win it again in the 21st century is horrific. And I'm getting old, my disease is wearing me down and I'm just tired. But once the driver and I were back in the car and he was taking me home, he was explaining to me how he is a fresh citizen from Istanbul, how proud he was to be an American, and how excited he was to vote.

And once he said that to me when I got out of the car and I went in the house, a little bit more frustrated, crying I said how dare I disrespect my ancestors. If he's excited to vote, I have to be excited to vote too. And I have to take the risk and believe in that Constitution I just taught my students. I'm still teaching my students right now.

And so I decided, I'm just going to bite the bullet and vote for Biden and pray that for once in the lifetime of black Americans that things will change as they did under the chief warrant (ph) court of the Supreme court in the '60s and LBJ, because we need drastic, drastic change.

You know, we can't continue to be abused by people in the street simply because of the color of our skin, where we live, where we're from, how we speak. All of this is inappropriate because we never did anything to deserve what it is that we get. And yet another century has come and we suck it up and we're gracious about it. I don't want to be gracious any more. I want change and I want it now.

REID: Professor Ellessia Blaque, you have taught us a class tonight. And for those who are not colloquialisms, we are not actually cousins. That is just the saying that we say in the community. You are dynamic, sister. Thank you very much. I --

BLAQUE: I watch you every night and I'm so happy for you.

REID: Thank you, thank you.

BLAQUE: You're welcome.

REID: Thank you, I appreciate that. Thank you. Okay. We're back to being cousins again. Thank you, sister. I appreciate you very much and be well. And I'm glad you're going to vote this fall. Thank you.

And up next on THE REIDOUT, Donald Trump's former personal lawyer is calling out his old boss, and warning the rest of us not to underestimate Trump's desperation as Election Day approaches. Michael Cohen joins me next.

Plus, misinformation is running rampant these days and our tweeter in chief is not just adding fuel to the fire, he's leading the charge.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: In an ABC News town hall, President Trump must have been advised to show compassion for coronavirus victims, including, apparently, those who have never been infected with coronavirus


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She have breast cancer, but it metastasized on her brain, bone, and lungs. And she passed on the 19th.

What will you do for our immigration system?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, we are doing something with immigration that I think is going to be very strong, because we want people to come into our country, people like you and like your mother.

And that just shows how vicious the COVID is, especially when you have another problem, you have a heart problem or another type of problem. Did you have COVID? You didn't have it, right?


TRUMP: You didn't have it. Your mother. We will have it taken care of. It's going to get taken care of.


REID: Joining me now is Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's one-time personal attorney, who's the host of "The Mea Culpa With Michael Cohen" podcast and author of the new tell-all memoir "Disloyal," which I understand is going to have a proud place on "The New York Times" bestseller list.

Michael, thank you so much for being here.


Yes. Yes, it just hit number one. I'm very, very, very excited about it. So, thank you.

REID: Congratulations. That has to be a really good feeling, especially after what you went through just to be able to write this book.

But I want to get to that in a second.

COHEN: Especially -- especially after what I have gone through, yes

REID: Absolutely. Absolutely.

So, let's -- let me start with just what we played. Tell me about how President Trump's mind works, as you have known him. How long have you known him? How long did you know him?

COHEN: Well more than a decade. I worked for him and then several years prior to that, and then, of course, when he became president.

REID: OK. Absolutely.

He went from answering a question, a very heartfelt question that this woman asked, about her mom dying of cancer, of breast cancer, of metastatic breast cancer, and what would he do about immigration, he spent like two seconds on immigration, and went right to COVID, which she had not asked about.

What did you take from that? I mean, he literally couldn't even stay on message about immigration. He went right to COVID, as if COVID was on his mind.

COHEN: Right, because COVID is on his mind.

It's the one thing that's probably going to do him in as far as the election is concerned. I mean, it is the one thing that he has blundered worse than anybody else possibly could have.

I mean, you could have actually done absolutely nothing and accomplished the same thing that the president has accomplished here.

REID: Yes.

There's also the issue of immigration, which is what he ran on, vilifying people from Mexico and saying they're killers and rapists, et cetera. And we know now that he also was employing undocumented immigrants, both Polish undocumented immigrants to build Trump Tower, to Latinx undocumented immigrants and Haitian-American undocumented -- all over the place, in his places of business, in his golf clubs.

Did Donald Trump, when you knew him, exhibit hatred toward immigrants?

COHEN: It's -- I wouldn't call it a hatred towards immigrants. It's just a lack -- it's a lack of concern. It's a lack of empathy.

They were a means to an end for him. And whether or not they were documented or not made no difference to him at all. It wasn't -- you have to have empathy, you have to have compassion, and you have to care about something other than yourself to think about somebody else.

He lacks those capabilities.

REID: Yes.


COHEN: And just look at what he did last night to Professor Blaque.

REID: Yes.

COHEN: I mean, if that just isn't a demonstration of his lack of empathy -- and there are really three aspects to understanding Donald Trump's mentality and his mind-set, when you're talking about empathy, which they have desperately told him he has to start showing, because it's really making his numbers in the polls go down a lot.

REID: Yes.

COHEN: First of all, it's not news that Donald Trump lacks empathy in general. And that's for anyone, myself included, right?

And the second, it's also not news that Trump demeans people of color on a routine basis, right?

REID: Yes.

COHEN: However, the third part -- and this is the most interesting -- is, last night, what Trump exhibited with Professor Blaque is more than just the lack of empathy.

He exhibited contempt for her because she's a woman of color. And he does this often as well. So, if you look at his body language, he appeared annoyed that here there is this black woman who's complaining about all sorts of preexisting medical conditions, asking him about health care.

And in the back of his mind, he knows that there is a zero chance that she's a supporter and that she's going to be voting for him. And so this is the response that you got.

Exactly the way that it looked on television is -- this is exactly what's going on in his mind. Sad.

REID: Yes.

You also write -- you write in your book -- and this is about specifically his attitudes on race. You write -- and you have said this before, when you testified before Congress -- that he said, "Tell me one country run by a black person that isn't an S-hole" that you quote him as saying.

You also write that Trump had a deep disgust with black leaders, in addition to celebrities and sports figures.

So, it seems like this is just a consistent thing. Is it specifically black people, or is it just people of color in general?

COHEN: Well, I think it's people in general, but it's definitely apparent as it relates to people of color, to black people.

I mean -- and what really brought the black issue to prominence, of course, is the fact that you have Barack Obama, right, who became president of the United States, is clearly much more intelligent than he is. He's certainly a much better orator. And he's actually universally liked around the world, right?

I mean, one of the things that drove Trump absolutely crazy was when Obama was in Germany, and then when he received the Nobel Peace Prize. I mean, you would think that somebody stole -- stole something from him.

But, no, it's the fact that Obama is black and that he's smarter than him, and he's a better speaker, and he's more revered.

REID: Is it envy? Does he envy Barack Obama, in your view?

COHEN: I think so.

I mean, it certainly appears so. If you envy something and you can't admit to the fact that you envy them, what do you do? You hate him, right?

REID: Yes. Yes.

All right, Michael Cohen, please stick around with us. We're going to take a quick break.

But one of the big questions on everybody's mind is, will Trump face prison if he leaves office? We should say when he leaves office.

Michael Cohen wrote about that in his new book. And that's next.

Stay with us.


REID: In newly released audiotapes by Bob Woodward, Donald Trump shares once again his rosy view on autocrats, this time, North Korea's Kim Jong-un.


TRUMP: Look at that picture. He's having a good time. You know? Nobody has ever seen him smile.

Look at him smiling. He's happy. He feels happy.

But he's very smart. Remember this. When you take over -- and I really mean this, too. You take over a country, and you're 25 years old, and you survive? You've got millions of people that are all smart as hell and energetic. You know, the energy is incredible.


REID: Huh.

It's easy to believe that Trump's thirst for reelection is about the pursuit for type of power that his comrade Kim enjoys. But maybe it's about something much more immediate, four more years of dodging prosecution and staying out of prison for his crimes.

Michael Cohen is back with me.

And, first off, before I get to the idea of Donald Trump and crime, what is behind, in your view, Donald Trump's adoration for people like Kim Jong-un, and Mohammed bin Salman and Vladimir Putin?

COHEN: Right, and all of the others.

It's all about power for him.

REID: Yes.

COHEN: It's autocratic power. It's being a dictator, being a king. That's what he -- that's what he wants.

He doesn't see being president of the United States as being a president for all people, and that he's working for the people. He sees it the other way around, that he's doing a favor to all Americans, and that Americans should be working for him.

I mean, he really believes that he can create the United States into a monarchy, and that he would be its ruler, because on several occasions, he used to talk about Putin's insane wealth, that Vladimir Putin is the single richest man in the world by a multiple, because he owns 25 percent of all of Russia, and that look at the power that Putin yields. He doesn't have to run for election.

And when he did, right, he was -- it wasn't even a landslide. I mean, I don't think anybody voted against him. And he always used to say that there's an old saying, that it doesn't matter who you vote for. All that matters is who's counting the vote.

And these are all the things that create an autocrat. It creates a dictator, that first you suppress people's First Amendment rights, like he and Attorney General Bill Barr did to me when they remanded me back to prison, but not wanting to sign over my constitutional rights, and then just bringing in the military, which he's wanted to do in New York and Chicago and so many other states.

And now, all of a sudden, you're playing -- like, for example, you have Lou DeJoy playing with the Postal Service, so that those people who vote for Biden/Harris, those ballots will end up disappearing. I mean, he is legitimately setting himself up to be an autocrat.

Now, Joy, that goes to your next question: Why? And, yes, he's petrified. He is 100 percent petrified that there is going to be a slew of litigation against him brought on by multiple state attorney generals, including New York, as well as the Cy Vance case, as well as other states right now that are interested in looking at the various different actions that the president has taken pre-presidency and as president.

So, I do think -- I think he is -- I think he's scared.


REID: Yes.

You write: "I'm certain" -- in your book, you write that: "I'm certain that Trump knows he will face prison time if he leaves office, the inevitable cold karma to the notorious chants of 'Lock her up.' He projects his own sins and crimes onto others, because he thinks everyone is as corrupt and shameless and ruthless as he is," which, of course, leads to the question, Michael, of what would he do to stay in power and out of prison?

Give us the worst-case scenario of what you think he would do.

COHEN: So, Donald Trump is all about winning.

And he has no intention of giving up power, which is why I said before the House Oversight Committee -- I mean, let's remember, we're talking 18-plus months ago. And what I gave to the American people -- and it was an enormous number of people that were watching -- what I gave to the American people was a preview of this horror movie entitled Donald Trump presidency.

And in order to avoid, right, a sequel, right, which would be the horror film of 2020, people really do have to vote him out. But that's not going to be easy, because the first thing he's going to claim is that the election was rigged.

And he's going to -- the day of the election, he's going to declare that he's the winner, and that even when, for the next couple of weeks, as the ballots are all being counted, he's going to claim that they're fake. And he's going to use Attorney General Bill Barr within which to bring an action in order to invalidate all of those.

And he's going to do everything possible in order to ensure that he remains president for another four years. But then it's not just four more years. The second that that happens, he's already joking -- and I tell this many times -- Donald Trump doesn't know what it is to tell a joke. And he doesn't understand what a joke is.

When he says, how about Trump 12 more years, I mean, he's looking to set himself up as an autocrat in this country. He has no care and he has no -- he has -- legitimately, he doesn't care about the Constitution of the United States. He believes that he's above everything.

REID: He -- but he can't do that alone.

You went along with him for a long time. Why do people do it? Why do people like Bill Barr, why do these Republicans go along with him, do you think?

COHEN: Because we're stupid. We're a bunch of sycophants.

He's very much like a cult leader. And when he -- when you're in his good grace, you believe that you have this enormous amount of power, which you do. And he somehow manages to convince you to use that power for bad, right?

I mean, look at some of the things I talk about in the book in terms of feeding his ego and fixing polls, or creating NDAs in order to silence women with whom he has an affair. I mean, the man doesn't know what it is to take responsibility for his own dirty deeds.

Everybody else, like myself, are required to do that. And then you take people with illustrious careers, like a Bill Barr, and others who have worked in Congress and worked for the people of this country in a legitimate fashion, whether you agree with their politics or not, and now they're just throwing their careers away, right, for what?

For Donald Trump's warmth of his light as a cult leader?

I tried to tell everybody in the end of the book is, now you have all the information that you need in order to understand who Donald Trump is, and whether or not that you want him as your president for the next four years.

My hope is that the book gets people to open up their eyes and to see him for who he is. He's a con man. He's a racist.

REID: Yes.

COHEN: He's a -- he's a fraud.

REID: Yes.

Well, Michael Cohen, you certainly woke up. We really appreciate you coming forward.

And the book is "Disloyal." It is available now. It is going to debut as -- at number one on the "New York Times" bestseller list.

Congratulations on that. Michael, thank you so much. Really appreciate your time.

And, meanwhile, coming up: Donald Trump is dialing up his disinformation campaign against Joe Biden, retweeting a vile accusation against the former vice president.

We will be right back. Don't go anywhere.


REID: Misinformation is plaguing the country.

Last week, fake news distracted from the wildfire evacuations in Oregon with people spreading false conspiracy theories that members of Antifa were the ones setting the fires. That led to armed citizens setting up illegal checkpoints near evacuation zones.

Then there's the pro-Trump group employing teenagers as part of a troll farm where they post false information about the coronavirus and the election. And if that isn't bad enough, the QAnon conspiracy theory, you know, the one about Donald Trump supposedly saving the word from Satanic pedophiles, well, now it's spreading around the world.

It's been egged on by the pandemic, with people spending more time at home, dooms scrolling than in the before times. You know, when you look up from your phone and you realize you spent the past few hours in the black hole of depressing news, doom scrolling.

QAnon has been linked to several violent crimes and was last year labeled a potential domestic terror threat by the FBI. And, look, there have been bizarre conspiracy theories, OK? Even really bizarre ones forever.

But what's new is there's never been a president of the United States involved in publicly promoting one. And Donald Trump is doing more than just winking and nodding at QAnon. He's called QAnon followers people that love our country and he directly played into their hands yesterday, retweeting a follower who referred to Biden as #PedoBiden.

I can't believe I have to say this, but there is zero reason to say that about Joe Biden. And last night, Trump added this to his weird repertoire, tweeting not once but twice a doctored video, one that Twitter marked as manipulated media showing Biden playing the WNA anthem, "F the Police" at a campaign event.

First of all, that song is a classic, more than 30 years old, and yes, I feel old saying that. And even if Biden had played it, it's a song with an important message on police brutality. More importantly, that's not what he was playing. It was actually the reggaeton hit "Despacito".

And before you get on me about that being some terrible pandering, Biden played it because he was being introduced by "Despacito" artist, Luis Fonsi. It's a campaign, people. I can't believe I have to say this, but tweeting conspiracy theories, watching TV all day and golfing 400 times a year is what your cranky Uncle Ruckus does, not the president.

And this is just a fraction of Trump's antics that we have shown you because we only have an hour. And unlike your embarrassing uncle, Trump's behavior comes with an imprimatur of the presidency. So it's not just bizarre, it's dangerous.

We'll be right back.


REID: Hurricane Sally made landfall early this morning, grinding its way through Alabama and parts of the Florida Panhandle, potentially impacting nearly 1 million people. Sally, the season's 20th storm, is now moving very slowly with torrential rainfall pounding the region.

And for the very latest, I'm joined by friend Ali Velshi in Orange Beach, Alabama.

Ali, you stay out there doing this stuff and telling us what's going on. Give us the latest on what's happening there.

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're -- it's finally calmed down to a beautiful summer breeze, and there have been dozens of people walking along the beach here at Orange Beach in Alabama we're very close to the Florida line, by the way. Pensacola is just east of here.

You still see cloud, but they're not past moving, there's no rain, there's no major wind. This -- the rain started yesterday afternoon, and it was just pounding the storm was moving very slowly. Last night, close to midnight, I was standing right here doing a report for Brian Williams on this deck. This deck extended right to where you see it over there.

And this whole thing ripped out. This was supposed to land as a category 1 it landed just a couple miles over this direction, and it came in as a category 2 with winds up to 105 miles an hour, pounding us, pounding us all night. We thought it would be early night. It ended up being this morning about 6:00 a.m., and it just crept its way north from here, and northeast, dumping tons of rain.

So you said more than a million people affected, I think it might be more than that because half a million people are without power, and until late this afternoon, they couldn't even get the power trucks out there to start fixing things up.

So, now, we have seen police, we're going to see the power trucks coming out here lots of people without power, because that rain came down for so long, it loosened the soil, allowed more trees to be toppled. It was not the big wind event that some storms are, but it was slow storms are, but it was slow and rainy and big wind in the end.

Finally, tonight, people along the southern coast here of Alabama, western Florida, the panhandle, and parts of Mississippi are starting to rest and recollect and find out what's been damaged -- Joy.

REID: Yeah, absolutely. Having lived in Florida for 14 years, I can tell you that calm doesn't tell you anything about what happened before those slow moving ones are just absolutely devastating.

Ali Velshi, thank you so much. Keep up the good work, my friend be safe out there.

All right. Up next, shocking allegations about doctors performing unnecessary surgeries at ICE detention facilities.

We'll be right back.



DAWN WOOTEN, LICENSED PRACTICAL NURSE: All I'm aware of is working there the ladies would put in to see the gynecologist for whatever reason that they were wanting to be seen for and they were having hysterectomies they would come back and question why did I have to have a hysterectomy. I didn't have an answer.


REID: That was Dawn Wooten. She worked as a nurse in Immigrations and Customs Enforcement detention center in Irwin County, Georgia.

Dawn and four lawyers representing clients from the Irwin facility are saying that immigrant women have told them they're being sent to a gynecologist who performed unnecessary procedures, including hysterectomies on them.

A lawyer for the doctor in question vehemently denies the claims.

In response, an ICE official said the accusations will be, quote, fully investigated, but that they vehemently dispute the allegation that detainees are used for experimental medical procedures. They claim that there have only been two hysterectomies performed at the facility since 2018.

LaSalle Corrections, which runs the Irwin facility, refuted the allegations as well, writing in a statement to NBC, quote, LaSalle Corrections have a strict zero tolerance policy for any kind of inappropriate behavior in our facilities, and takes all allegations of such mistreatment seriously.

And 200 legislators called on the inspector general for the health -- Department of Health and Human Security to investigate the claims.

And for more, I'm joined by MSNBC's Jacob Soboroff who spoke with Dawn Wooten about her claims. He is the author of "Separated: Inside an American Tragedy."

And this is beyond American tragedy. It's shocking the allegations when those of us who are reading them, Jacob, it is interesting to me that the statement refuting this went right to, there is no experimentation going on, because that's not what was being alleged. Or is it?

JACOB SOBOROFF, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: No. It was not what was being alleged, Joy. And I think -- I mean, obviously, the first thing we have to say is these are horrific allegations if they are proven to be true. I think it's important here to go step by step to talk about what we know and what we don't know is as important at this point.

We have the whistleblower complaint from Dawn Wooten. She was specific insofar as she said women were coming to her. But it was unspecific with regard to naming names, and while there are other women in the complaint who had come forward, they were also unnamed. So, yesterday, Joy, Ainsley and I want to corroborate this.

And we did speak with four different lawyers who had represented either current or former clients within Irwin, two of them had said their clients had had hysterectomies, two clients specifically had had hysterectomies, and others had either undergone invasive procedures without allegedly their consent or one had been asked to have it and did not ultimately end up having it.

There is a way to get to the bottom of this. Number one, obviously, is here from detainees inside this facility. Number two is for ICE to have a full accounting. And essentially, ICE would have -- and we have asked for receipts, what are essentially receipts for these types of procedures that this doctor would have -- would have gone through with. And so far, ICE has not provided those to us, Joy, and we continue to ask for them.

REID: Just to be clear, you've tried to speak with the doctor as well and look for a statement. Has he responded?

SOBOROFF: No. In fact, I called today again. Julia called yesterday and was hung up on three times in a row within a course of two or three minutes. And, you know, obviously, the lawyer has spoken about. But the doctor has not been willing to go on the record.

The doctor could easily obviously refute any of these allegations, but he hasn't himself available to do so at this point.

REID: And some of these allegations include the nurse who was very brave to come forward. Let's just be clear: she came clear face, name, voice, everything. She didn't do it secretly. She came forward and made these allegations that includes she heard people call the doctor a, quote, uterus collector, that she says she was demoted to -- from a 40-hour workweek after insisting she wear a mask in the facility because she has a preexisting condition, that women signed consent forms but that they didn't know what they were consenting to and that she says a number of detainees made these allegations.

She also claimed that one detainee had the wrong ovary removed and that while she was still sedated, she could hear the doctor acknowledge the mistake was made.

These are horrific things that are happening. I mean, who are the women -- where are the women coming from in this facility? Do you have a sense of who these women are?

SOBOROFF: From all over the world. They're English speakers, they're Spanish speakers. I mean, I think what the nurse Wooten's complaint really gets at is obviously these allegations, if proven true, are uniquely heinous. But she also made a detailed and extensive complaint about medical conditions generally inside this facility and access to medical care specifically with coronavirus.

And I mean I think this gets to a larger issue, which is, this will be adjudicated by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General. You hear people from Congress now calling for an investigation as well. DHS says they're going to do their own independent investigation of this.

What is happening with the oversight in ICE facilities when you have COVID running rampant throughout these facilities, including this one, where nurse Wooten is alleging lack of PPE, intermingling of detainees who have coronavirus with people who do not. And we're seeing this in other facilities, Joy, all across the country. And that is the bottom line. This is a systemic failure of medical care.

REID: Absolutely.

Jacob Soboroff, thanks for staying on top of it. Really appreciate it your work.

And that is tonight's REIDOUT.

Tomorrow night actress and activist Jane Fonda will be here. You do not want to miss that.

And "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


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