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Transcript: The ReidOut, September 25, 2020

Guests: Michael Steele, Bernard Ashby, Andrew Cuomo, Raphael Warnock


Trump sows fear and chaos ahead of election. White House chief of staff undermines FBI director on voter fraud. New York Times reports, Pentagon wary of being pulled into post-election unrest. Biden on transfer of powers, it will be clear from the beginning who has won. Trump refuses to commit to peaceful transfer of power. Op-ed says, Trump's decisions based on what's in it for me.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: I will be hosting some of the late-night coverage after the first Trump-Biden debate. So, you can watch the debate right here on MSNBC Tuesday night. And we will be joining you at 12:30 A.M. Eastern with extended live reaction coverage.

THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid is up next.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Well, if there's one thing we've learned over the last four years is that Donald Trump loves chaos. He benefits from chaos. It creates a breeding ground for conspiracy theories that serve his desperate need for adulation and excuses to cover up his failures. And he clearly believes chaos is what will get him re-elected keep in power and out of the reach of real law and order, which is why he's doing everything in his power to escalate a months' long campaign to undermine the election results should he lose.

Today, Trump continued that campaign tweeting, quote, there is fraud being found all over the place with mail-in ballots, something his own FBI director directly contradicted yesterday under oath.

Of course, the tweet wasn't enough. Out comes Trump's chief of staff to try and undermine the director's credibility.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your own FBI director says he has seen no evidence of widespread voter fraud by mail or otherwise.

MARK MEADOWS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, with all due respect to Director Wray, he has a hard time finding emails in his own FBI, let alone figuring out whether there is any kind of voter fraud.


REID: A reminder that Director Wray, who headed the FBI's criminal division under President George W. Bush, was confirmed by the Senate as FBI director 92-5.

Meadows, meanwhile, is most famous for displaying a black woman as a prop to try to prove Donald Trump isn't racist and for lying in his house bio about having a college bachelor's degree.

Trump's ongoing refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power has reached a point where senior military and defense department leaders are reportedly feeling deep anxiety about Trump potentially ordering American troops to quell any chaos following the election.

According to The New York Times, Defense Department officials have privately discussed the possibility of Mr. Trump trying to use any civil unrest around the elections to put his thumb on the scales.

Several Pentagon officials said that such a move could prompt resignations among many of Mr. Trump's senior generals starting at the top with General Milley.

This afternoon in an interview with my colleague, Stephanie Ruhle, Democratic Nominee Joe Biden offered a note of confidence saying the American people's voices will be heard on Election Day.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I just think the people in this country are going to be heard November 3rd. Every vote in this country is going to be heard and they'll not be stopped. I am confident all the irresponsible attacks on voting, we'll have an election in this country we always jave had, and he'll leave.


REID: Joining me now is Ben Rhodes, former Deputy National Security Adviser to President Obama, Michael Steele, former RNC Chairman and Senior Adviser for the Lincoln Project, Jonathan Lemire, White House Reporter for the Associated Press. Thank you all for being here.

So we have former deputy director of the Intelligence Agency and former director of National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, Robert Cardillo, putting out an exceedingly rare public statement, speaking out about the dangers that Donald Trump has posed to national security. I'm going to read a bit of this.

While it is natural for there to be tension between the intelligence community and senior policymakers, Donald Trump's decision to rely upon the word of dictators, like Vladimir Putin, is an unprecedented betrayal of his oath to the Constitution. our current president bases his decisions on his instincts and his instincts are based on a personal value proposition, what's in it for me. And Cardillo personally briefed both President Obama and Donald Trump.

Ben Rhodes, these senior military officials who spoke to The New York Times and who were expressing all of this anxiety and people like Mr. Cardillo who are expressing anxiety, do you get a sense from reading any of these reports that any of them are prepared to actually do anything about it? Because there's a lot of hand wringing but not a lot of planning to stop him if he tried what would amount to a coup.

BEN RHODES, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first of all, I spent hundreds of hours probably meeting with Robert Cardillo and he used to give the presidential daily briefing. I had no idea what the man's politics were.

I think the fact he is speaking out now -- frankly, he just gives (INAUDIBLE) foreign countries that resembled what we're seeing in the United States today. I've had briefings when I was in a national security position, where presidents were trying to crack down on the right of peaceful protests or trying to prevent people from voting or contemplating staying in office after an election. That is happening here right now. And I think that's very apparent to our senior military national security officials, current and former.

Now, in terms of what they can do, there's not much they can do. I think the military is jarred by frankly what happened earlier this year in Lafayette Square where, essentially, peaceful protesters were cleared with pepper spray and the military was used as a prop in a photo-op for the president, and there was talk of deploying them in the streets.

The reality though is the norm of president (INAUDIBLE) it's just not (INAUDIBLE), not so much. So what I'll tell you, sure, we will break into gap (ph), but it's going to take political leaders in both parties to lay down a marker that that's just not going to fly in our system if that's the case. If Senate Republicans stood up to that norm, we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

REID: You know, Michael Steele, that's a big if. You know, you have a New York Times article I actually just read before coming on. Much of the world is watching the United States with a mix of shocked, chagrin and most of all bafflement in how it's handling both the virus and Trump's behaviors. One person is saying, I felt sorry of America. Personally, it's like watching the decline of the Roman Empire, as another. The USA is a first world country but is acting like a third world country. I mean, we're not looking too much like the leaders of the free world right now.

But Republicans have been watching all of this happen. You were head of the party, Michael. I haven't seen a single Republican speak out and stand up for democracy the way you'd expect them to if this was a foreign country where this was happening. It's happening here. And I get the sense that every single one of them, and I do include Mitt Romney, all of them would just sit there and look around like, if Donald Trump just said I ain't leaving, I don't care about the election.

Can you give me one name of one who would stand up to him?

MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER CHAIRMAN, RNC: I can't from a public record standpoint. I can give you countless things of people privately saying, this is untenable and we just can't allow this to happen. Of course, my response is, okay, there is the mic, there are the cameras, say that. It's a two-step process, mic, cameras, you know, then talk.

But, no. I mean, the notion that the rest of the world is looking at us and saying, you know, that they think this is third world, you know, operation going on, well, this is what -- when you're a puppet of Putin, this is what it looks like. I mean, because you can't show me any distinction between the way those countries that are in that orbit behave and the way we behave are behaving under Donald Trump. So, I mean, that's the reality.

So, you know, the expectation, I gave up on it a long time ago. And I understand you're asking the question, Joy, but I've given up on the expectation that this Republican leadership at this time in this moment will stand for anything other than Donald Trump. And they do that, you know, at their peril.

And I think we're beginning to see it now play out across the country in battleground states. The fact that the president is talking about, oh, let's just drop all those ballots, those absentee ballots. Well, guess who's on those ballots? A lot of those Republicans who are going to need those votes. So here we are.

REID: Yes. You know, Jonathan, you've got Donald Trump floating a conspiracy theory claiming that delaying the coronavirus, which is a matter of science, you know, that people have just some sort of coup against him, and it's just a political hit job not to put a virus out because, of course, it's all about him, also nothing being said as he does things like that. And he's doing it mostly to Republicans because these super-spreader rallies are full of Republicans.

I know a lot of folks prefer to speak off-the-record and I'm sure you're one of the people who they like to speak to. Do you get a sense that Republicans have actually internalized how serious Donald Trump is about not leaving office, how serious he is about breaking our democracy in order to stay in power? Or are they just going -- are they pretending it isn't happening?

JONATHAN LEMIRE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it's a mixed bag, Joy. I think there are some republicans who are privately concerned, those that Michael alluded to as well, those who have for years now in the halls of the Capitol have whispered their worries about this president and the norms he is shattering. And they don't deserve any credit for only whispering, for not going to that microphone.

Indeed, we have had a few Republicans. Senator Romney is one who has rebuked the president publicly from time to time but not consistently. And, certainly, I think there are others who do still convince themselves that the president, were he to lose, maybe would be quietly or quickly but eventually would go, would go by January 20th.

And we heard a number of them put out statements like that in the last 24, 48 hours including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. But this is part of a larger picture, as you are well aware, is that the talk about perhaps not having a peaceful transition, the talk about the erroneous talk and unproven and unfounded talk about the dangers of voter fraud with mail-in balloting, suggesting that an election, if it can't be called election night, that, therefore, it would somehow be improper and irregular, which, of course, this is the president, again, demeaning the validity of mail-in ballots, which certainly Republicans will use,

But it seems Democrats are using more, at least this time around because of Trump's urging for his supporters to actually go to the ballot box November 3rd and to have their votes cast that way. This is him and the DOJ playing up these nine ballots in Pennsylvania, some which were cast for the president, and how irregular it is that it was Attorney General Barr himself, according to our reporting, that briefed the president about this matter yesterday. The president made it public.

And let's remember, it was just four short years ago when this attorney general at the time, Loretta Lynch, crossed an airport tarmac and spoke to Bill Clinton and the howls that were raised then about how that was improper and how that may be affecting a campaign. But here, when this happened, silence from Republicans.

REID: Yes, it's not going to help Cory Gardner, this little gambit, because it's all mail-in in Colorado. Good luck, Cory Gardner, staying in your job.

Ben, let's go over to the Democrats for just a second. So Donald Trump is doing this stuff that's even alarming senior military leaders. There is talk that maybe people would have to resign. There is question about whether they would have to go in and march him out of the White House, to essentially frog march him out of the White House if the military would get involved in that. That's the ranker (ph) that's happening, the conversation that's happening.

On the Democratic side though, you have Joe Biden expressing complete confidence. He did an interview with my friend and colleague, Stephanie Ruhle, today and said, no, he's confident. But at the same, there's a question of whether he is confident and prepared. Donald Trump has so far spent over $6.6 million, and that's the Trump campaign have spent on this crime and policing like nightmare scenario stuff on Facebook. There's Biden spending so far, at least according to The Marshall Project, like $8,000.

Are Democrats preparing across the board for these eventualities or are they just trusting that Republicans will be statesmen in the end and not preparing sufficiently?

RHODES: Well, look, the first thing the Democrats have to do is everything possible to get people to vote and turn out in sufficient numbers, that there's just not much left to question, right? And I think Joe Biden is expressing confidence that would bring the (INAUDIBLE).

I think what Democrats have to prepare more for, have to be concerned about, look, if Joe Biden does win the election, I think that the chances of Donald Trump get to (INAUDIBLE) some coup are quite slim, that the law will effectuate his removal on January 24th or another (ph).

However, that's not the end of the story. Because if Donald Trump is saying that the election result is illegitimate, if Donald Trump is saying that he won the election on Election Day, and this mass voter fraud is what caused him to have to leave office, there are a lot of people in this country who will believe him. And that Facebook spending speaks to how they directly reach their voters, through Facebook, through Fox, through a vast enterprise from the media.

And what will those people think? How will that shape a potential Biden presidency? The (INAUDIBLE) opposition on Barack Obama, it was nothing like what we see today where you have essentially militias in the streets and armed supporters of Donald Trump. What are those people going to think if they believe and are told by Donald Trump that the election is stolen?

So it's both the question of the election result itself and the question of what kind of disorder do we have in this country around the election, if Trump is sending a message to his supporters, some of whom have already been quite radicalized by what they're consuming, that this was stolen from him. (INAUDIBLE) for a very messy transition, just to say the least and --

REID: Yes, radicalized by what they're consuming and radicalized by him. I mean, he is directly radicalizing them.

Michael Steele, we have now NBC News confirming it is Amy Coney Barrett that Donald Trump is choosing. It strikes me as very shortsighted politically. They did not pick the Latina woman from Florida, the judge there who had her own issues, but at least that would have seemed like a political play to try to look at Florida, try to get a different -- a second look from Latino voters.

In this case, this feels like a move that will energize white suburban women the other way toward Joe Biden, because there's going to be a fighting mood out there as it becomes clear Ms. Barrett means the end of Roe v. Wade as well as the end of the Affordable Care Act.

STEELE: Well, I think there's validity to the point you just made, but I also think you have to look at it from the calculation of the Trump campaign and the RNC, and they see Judge Barrett as someone who will also galvanize the right for them.

The pro-life community has waited for this moment, and I can attest to this with a lot of truth for 30 plus years. And so they're not, you know, preparing to let this moment slip by and so they're going to be watching and listening very carefully how she's treated. They saw her first appearance before the Senate went and some of the accusations that were leveled at her particularly with respect to her religion.

So you can see this battleground being established at the grassroots level on both sides of the issue of abortion. But even beyond that, speaking politically and strategically, I think that the Trump campaign is calculating that at the end of the day, even if we don't get a greater number, we'll get enough to sustain what we need elsewhere around the country to cobble together the 270 electoral votes that we need. And a lot of that is going to come from the suburbs of Pennsylvania, places like Iowa, where the president is now tied, and even in places like Florida.

REID: Before we let you go, Michael, if he's at 45 and Biden is at 50, and he keeps his same people by putting this woman on, but he gets people who might not have voted at all and might have been lackluster about Joe Biden to say, hell, yes, I'm going to vote, he's at 45. You can't win by keeping your same people. You've got to add some folks, like it's math.

STEELE: Well, they do math very well, and they did it well enough in 2016 to find voters that weren't engaged, and they came out. And as I've said to you both privately and publicly, I don't trust where people think this vote is right now or where it will be on Election Day. I'm tuned in enough to understand the numbers and the areas that they're looking at to know that there is votes out there, this pick helps.

So I think the Biden campaign and the Democrats need to be smart about how they approach this nominee and how they narrate around it. Because I'm telling you, Joy, America emphasis not the America of 2009 and 2012, it is the America of Trump and 2016, and there's a lot more votes there for picking for Trump than you believe or may want to believe.

REID: We know some of America is the handmaid's tale but not most of it is. We'll see. Ben Rhodes, Michael Steel, Jonathan Lemire, I mean, that's what they're going for. Up next on THE REIDOUT -- thank you guys. Have a great weekend.

Up next, the madness of Ron DeSantis, with about 100 COVID deaths in Florida every single day, he is choosing now to remove restrictions on indoor dining at restaurants and bars. What could go wrong?

His hero, Donald Trump, knows how deadly the virus is but is potentially exposing thousands of his supporters to it every day.

Also, the family of Breonna Taylor seeing justice denied demands the release of the grand jury transcripts.

Plus, the battle for Georgia and the reverend who just might turn that state blue.

In this programming note, you can see more of Stephanie Ruhle's interview with Joe Biden as part of the Latitude National Business Conference. MSNBC will have full coverage tomorrow on weekends with Alex Witt beginning at noon Eastern.

Back with more of The REIDOUT after this.


REID: There's a plain-as-day disconnect between what Trump says and what he does.

Trump says he's going to win this election, but then he stumps in the historically ruby-red Third District of Florida near Jacksonville, which the congressional candidate there should already have locked down, showing he's not confident at all.

Trump trashes mail-in ballots as hopelessly corrupt and a scam, but his party in Florida is practically begging registered Republicans to request mail-in ballots there.

But the biggest disconnect of all is the one that could cost you your life. At his super-spreader rallies, Trump continues to downplay the virus, saying, in effect, virtually nobody. He says this, but remains elevated, protected from the crowds, whom he's reportedly referred to as "these disgusting people," because even Trump, the self-described germaphobe, knows this virus is deadly.

We even heard him admit it on tape. There are now seven million cases of coronavirus in the United States; 204,000 people have died. And Trump's party is still acting like your life is expendable.

Today, as Florida will soon surpass 14,000 coronavirus-related deaths, Governor Ron DeSantis, the Trumpiest foot soldier of them all, lifted state restrictions on restaurants and bars, so that Floridians can finally have those fish and chips with a side of COVID.

Joining me now is Dr. Bernard Ashby, cardiologist in Florida, state lead of the Committee to Protect Medicare.

What will the implications be, Dr. Ashby, of reopening bars and restaurants for indoor dining?


And I promise you guys that I'm not an angry black man, but it's hard to not get pissed off when we see things like this happening.

So, just to give you guys context, right...

REID: Yes.

ASHBY: ... Florida is reaching 14,000, if not passing 14,000. That's more deaths than in Canada, Germany, and most European countries.

We have about 21 million. Germany has about 84 million people. The death rate in Florida has been the highest in the nation over the past week. Our testing capacity is trash, meaning that over 95 percent of folks that get a test, it takes longer than a week -- sorry -- longer than 24 hours for the test results to return.

This is in the face of the fact that we have the technology to get test results within 15 minutes. We have seen this movie before. It's like Groundhog Day all over again. In June, DeSantis did the same thing. But the infection rate was not as high as it is now.

And we know what's going to happen. And Floridians will pay the price for these bad decisions. And I'm tired of saying this, but I'm pissed off. I'm tired of it.

REID: Yes.

Well, I mean, there's a reason to be. I mean, we know that schools, colleges, bars and restaurants are the three of the biggest risk factors for spreading COVID.

Does that then mean that also schools will be impacted? Because, if people are going into restaurants and eating, or going into restaurants and drinking, doesn't that also mean that Florida schools and that kids in Florida are actually at greater risk?

ASHBY: Joy, I mean, how can -- yes. Yes, the answer is yes.

I mean, we know what's going to happen. In June, when DeSantis was doing the same thing, we said it was going to happen. In July, we spiked; 14,000 deaths later, he's doing the same thing.

I mean, I don't know what else to say, I don't know what else to do, except to say listen, man, like, just do your job, and take the appropriate mitigation steps, so our economy can reopen.

This could have been prevented. Like, the two are not mutually exclusive. Like, this is a false dichotomy, meaning that, if the governor and the leadership did what they were supposed to do, meaning improve our testing capacity, improve our contact tracing, improve our mitigation measures, rather than simply reopening the economy, reopening schools without any plans in place to decrease the infection spread, I would be OK with it.

But they have been -- they have done none of that. And you know who's going to pay, are Floridians...

REID: Yes.

ASHBY: ... our most vulnerable populations.

And, as a physician representing other physicians, I don't know what to say. I'm pissed. I mean, I don't know what else to say.

REID: Yes.

ASHBY: I'm trying to get through to him...

REID: You have every reason to be.

ASHBY: ... or people will pay the price for this.

REID: Yes.

ASHBY: People will die. And, as a physician and a person who cares about my state, cares about my patients, do -- just do your job, man.

REID: Yes. It would be nice.

Dr. Bernard Ashby, it's always nice to have you on. You have a right to be angry. It is a mess. Thank you so much. Have a great weekend, or try to, please.


REID: And last hour, Dr. -- Donald -- thank you.

Donald Trump tweeted: "Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York wants to put New York at the end of the vaccine list, in that he doesn't trust the FDA or federal government, even though the vaccines are being developed by the finest labs in the world. Wish he trusted us on nursing homes."

I'm joined now by New Hampshire Governor Andrew Cuomo, a surprise call-in this evening.

Governor Cuomo, is that a -- do you take that as a threat? Is Donald Trump saying that somehow he could withhold a vaccine from the state of New York?

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Good evening, Joy.

Yes, that's called a threat. That's called: I will put New York at the end of the list.

That's what he's trying to say. But, look, I don't trust the president. And I don't trust the FDA. And the doctor who you just had an your show was exactly right. They have lied about COVID from day one. They lied in January, when Peter Navarro had the memo saying two to three million people would get infected, and they denied it.

They denied COVID was here. They're denying it now. The doctor is exactly right, Joy. They're actually doing fewer tests. Florida now does fewer tests than they did two months ago.

This is the Trump doctrine. Do fewer tests, so you will show fewer cases. Remember, he said, if you test less, we will have fewer cases. That's what he's doing.

The vaccine. He said yesterday that the FDA was being political in saying they actually wanted to review the vaccine.

So, yes, the American people don't trust the FDA. They shouldn't. Trump has politicized this entire situation. He's overridden health and science with politics.

REID: And we're looking right now at one of these super-spreader rallies, and he's doing them all over the state. He's sort of like typhoid Trumpy, going from state to state with these super-spreaders.

Florida has a larger population and an older population than New York. In New York, you were out sounding the alarm on TV every day, saying, this is what we're doing, this is the risk, this is what we need.

What do you make of another governor, a fellow governor, who was behind New York on the calendar in terms of COVID blasting that state, and who knew the risks because you were on TV saying them, make -- taking -- making the choice to reopen Disney World, to reopen bars, to reopen restaurants, and just without thinking?

What do you make of a governor who would do that to his own people?

CUOMO: Joy, when we look back at this, it is reprehensible.

You are so right. We went through this in New York back in March. Well, remember what happened in New York. That's where COVID ambushed us, because it came from Europe, while everybody was still -- the president was still talking about China.

And we had two weeks to get ready. We had to scramble. We did reopen the economy, but we did it with testing. And our economy -- our economy has been open. But we have an infection rate that's one of the lowest in the nation.

It was never a choice of either/or. And these other states had months to get ready. And they listened -- some of them listened to President Trump. They are lying about it. It's an ugly word, but it's ugly action that they're taking. They're denying it, testing less to cover it up, and people are dying.

I mean, we lose more people than France, Spain, U.K., Italy combined every day. I mean, it's disgusting.

REID: Yes.

And I can tell you, I have been in New York recently. We go back and forth between here and there. And New York actually feels like it's getting back to normal. You can go sit outside at a great restaurant and try to sort of live. New York is actually getting back to normal. And these other states are falling into just the pit of COVID.

And I don't understand it.

Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, thank you very much for calling in. I really appreciate you taking the time.

CUOMO: My pleasure. Good to be with you, Joy. Thank you.

REID: Thank you so much.

And still ahead: More protests are expected tonight, as Breonna Taylor's family calls for the release of key evidence presented to the grand jury.

And that is next on THE REIDOUT. Stay with us.


REID: The Democrats' road to flipping the Senate runs straight through the South.

And, today, the leading Democrat in one of the most consequential races in the country in Georgia got a major boost. Former President Barack Obama endorsed the Reverend Raphael Warnock in Atlanta -- of Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, historically, Dr. King's church, in his bid to take down Senator Kelly Loeffler.

A "New York Times" poll out yesterday showed Reverend Warnock running a close second to Loeffler in an open race. Another Democrat, Matt Lieberman, son of former Senator Joe Lieberman, got just 7 percent and is under intense pressure to get out of the race.

Stacey Abrams told "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution": "We need Matt Lieberman to understand he's not called for this moment. We are asking for people to consolidate their support around Raphael Warnock."

That's for two reasons. Loeffler is an unelected senator appointed to her seat Last December. So, it's a special election. A candidate who receives more than 50 percent of the vote could be seated in November, giving Democrats and additional vote against the nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, if that vote drags into the Senate's lame-duck session.

The other reason, if no single candidate receives more than 50 percent, the race would move to a run-off between the top two vote-getters on January 5.

And Democrats want to make sure that one of their candidates makes it into that run-off.

And joining me now is the Reverend Raphael Warnock, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from Georgia.

And I presume, Reverend Warnock, that there's no sign that Mr. Lieberman is going to drop out, right? Have you heard any indications from his campaign that he's willing to endorse you, rather than running?

REV. DR. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D), GEORGIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Well, Joy, it is great to be here with you again.

I can't speak for him or anybody else in this race.

I can tell you that I'm in Augusta, Georgia, right now. I have been moving all across this state. I was in Savannah and Dublin the other day, in Brunswick. And there's a lot of momentum behind my race.

I'm grateful for the endorsement of President Obama and others. But I think they're responding to the momentum that we see on the ground. And I'm feeling good, working hard. And I intend to deliver this seat for the people of Georgia to win the future of all our children.

REID: Now, there is a factor in this race.

His name is Brian Kemp, the governor of Georgia, who I don't think anybody who watched the 2018 election trusts. And he's got a Mini-Me sitting in the secretary of state's office.

This is what Stacey Abrams tweeted yesterday: "337,652 Georgians who did not vote at all in 2016 have already requested ballots. This includes 20 percent of black voters requesting, 49 percent of Hispanic voters, 52 percent of AAPI voters, 67 percent of voters under 30. Change has come to Georgia."

Are you confident that those people will be able to vote, given the leadership of your state?

WARNOCK: Well, there's no question that my good friend Stacey Abrams is right that change has come to Georgia.

This is not a battleground state. Georgia is the battleground state, the tip of the spear in a South that is quickly changing. And the other side knows that. That's why they're engaged in voter suppression.

Look, they tried this on June 9. And we take it seriously. We're pushing back hard. They're being sued in the courts. There will be lawyers on the ground to push back hard against voter suppression.

But here's the good news. Georgia voters showed up, in spite of the trick that they played in the June 9 primary. We had record voter turnout; 1.3 billion Democrats showed up. They had less than a million on the other side. That's why they're engaged in voter suppression.

People who are confident in their message don't engage in voter suppression. They trust the electorate. And so I'm going to put my trust in the electorate.

REID: Yes.

WARNOCK: They know I'm fighting for health care. And I think we will -- look, the answer to voter suppression is massive voter turnout. That's what we intend to deliver.

REID: Indeed.

Your opponent, one of them, Kelly Loeffler, she sort of styled herself as Attila the Hun, that that's how right-wing she is. She's campaigned with a QAnon candidate named Marjorie Taylor Greene, so she's pretty far out there.

Not sure that she's further out there than the president of the United States, however. This was him. He was in Atlanta today. And let me play a little bit of what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Biden believes that all black Americans have to think the same way. That's what it was all about.

Today's Democrat Party is run -- but he doesn't know black Americans like I do.


REID: That, "He doesn't know black Americans like I do," it strikes me as an offensive, sort of paternalistic thing to say. I don't know what you think he meant by that.

He's also pretending that he can make Juneteenth the holiday, which he can't, because that's Congress.

What do you make of Donald Trump's pitch to black voters, which is specifically directed at black men?

WARNOCK: Listen, by now, we know who Donald Trump is. And he didn't waste any time.

Look, he came into politics riding on the idea that somehow the first black president was illegitimate. And we know the game that he was playing. He came down that escalator attacking other people of color.

So we know who Donald Trump is.

I think it's important for us to line up, to stay focused on the goal of delivering health care for all in this state. We have got over 500,000 people in the Medicaid gap in Georgia. They're the ones I'm focused on. And if they succeed in getting rid of the Affordable Care Act in this new hearing that's coming up in the Supreme Court, that would mean 1.8 million Georgians in the Medicaid gap.

And so when I think that people think about their health here, and a living wage, that those are issues that transcend race, and speak to the heart of ordinary people, kitchen table issues. And that's what I intend to lift up in this campaign.

REID: President Obama endorsed you. Are you expecting him to come in and campaign for you?

WARNOCK: I would certainly be honored if he did come.

I have known the president for several years now. And we have been together. I have been at the White House, preached the closing Prayer Breakfast during his administration. And so I'd be deeply honored.

And, look, the Affordable Care Act is imperiled in this moment. That's a big part of the work he's done. I think we need to strengthen it. And so what I look forward to doing is being a partner in that work.

REID: Reverend Raphael Warnock, best of luck to you, sir. Really appreciate you taking some time tonight. Thank you.

WARNOCK: Thank you very much.

REID: And thank you so much.

And still ahead: Breonna Taylor's family -- oh, wait.

At the U.S. -- Taylor -- at the U.S. Capitol today, there was a moving tribute and final goodbye to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

I think that's what we're doing now.

Her former trainer gave a very heartfelt goodbye. We will show you that later in the show.

But, right now, I think we're going to take a quick break.



BIANCA AUSTIN, AUNT OF BREONNA TAYLOR: I never had faith in Daniel Cameron to begin with.


AUSTIN: I knew he was too inexperienced to deal with a job of this caliber.

What he helped me realize is that it will always be us against them.

You didn't just rob me of -- and my family. You robbed the world of a queen, a queen willing to do a job that most of us could never stomach to do, a queen willing to build up anyone around her, a queen who was starting to pave her path.


REID: That was Bianca Austin delivering a message on behalf of Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor's mom.

Members of Taylor's family gathered this morning for their first news conference since a grand jury decided not to indict any Louisville police officers in her killing.

Lawyers for the family called on state Attorney General Daniel Cameron to release transcripts that would show the evidence -- what evidence he actually presented to the grand jury.


LONITA BAKER, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF BREONNA TAYLOR: But not only do we want the recordings and the transcript. What we also want is for you to quit dodging the questions, Daniel Cameron.

You can't pawn this off the grand -- on the grand jury, if your office made that decision.


REID: This came a night after police arrested at least two dozen protesters in Louisville. That's 11 more than the number of arrests in the killing of Breonna Taylor.

Among those arrested, two of Louisville's most prominent black leaders, state Representative . Attica Scott, sponsor Breonna's Law, and Shameka Parrish-Wright, an activist who runs Louisville's chapter of The Bail Project.

And with me now is Rukmini Callimachi, who's covering Breonna Taylor's case for "The New York Times."

I will note that we were planning to have on Representative Scott, but, for her own safety, she was outside during the protest, and so she is going to just make sure that she is safe and in a safe place. So we do not have her at the moment.

But I'm really glad to get to talk to you, Rukmini.

Let's go through some of this stuff that's happening. First of all, let's talk about the protests, the status of the protests today, and the demands from the family.

But, before we get to that, let's talk about these arrests. Why were two -- why was a state official who's the author of Breonna's Law, which makes it so that you can't do -- so that police can't do no-knock warrants, why would she be arrested, along with an activist?

RUKMINI CALLIMACHI, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: You know, I don't have much clarity on her arrest.

There have been dozens of people arrested in the last couple of days, including a couple of journalists who got caught up in the scrum. And, of course, there has been criticism of the Louisville Metro Police Department for acting aggressively towards these protesters.

REID: And is there any sense or any talk or any worry that retaliation is happening, that that's behind the arrests?

CALLIMACHI: I would not -- well, that -- that -- again, I don't know.

What I can say about the protests, having been out there for the last several days, is that the protests tend to be peaceful, for the most part, until they're not.

And, unfortunately, right around curfew time, which is 9:00 p.m. here in Louisville, there tends to be a moment when things degenerate. Last night, I was in front of a group of people that tried to smash the windows of a really elegant library, so a public building that is really there for the good of others.

Somebody was able to throw in some sort of incendiary device inside the library. And the intent seemed to be to try to burn down that building.

I guess, to me, a library is a very different type of building than, say, a police station, that is clearly something that is there for the community.

REID: Yes.

CALLIMACHI: So, the protests have been peaceful, until they're not.

REID: Yes.

I mean, that -- the same thing happened in Baltimore during the Freddie Gray uprisings. Like, at curfew, it's a different group of people.


REID: It's not the protesters.


REID: Let's talk a bit about this case itself.

There was some video that came out that was played earlier today on MSNBC, I believe on Ayman Mohyeldin's show. And it actually shows the police officer who was shot in the leg, who took a round in the leg, one of the officers who was not charged.


REID: And there's the video here, which was released apparently by the officer, if I'm correct, which raises the question to me.


REID: I thought they didn't have cameras on.

So, if they didn't have cameras on, and body camera footage -- cameras on inside of where they shot Breonna Taylor, how do they have this?

CALLIMACHI: That's a very good question, Joy.

What we know is that the cops who actually beat down Breonna Taylor's door were undercover narcotics -- narcotics cops. And what they told us, the LMPD and other entities in the city, is that they don't have body cameras because their work is undercover, and having it up here would obviously give you away.

What we also know is that, immediately after an officer was shot, they put out a call on the radio for what's called a 1030, which is an officer down and a request for anyone in the area to respond.

And we know that SWAT and several other police entities responded, and that they did have body cam. "The New York Times" has actually used the local open records law to try to FOIA for that body camera footage. And, so far, we have been told that we can't have it because it's part of this pending investigation.

I suspect that what you are seeing there is the camera of one of the SWAT officers who came in response. It would be very bad for this police department if that was actually one of the narcotics officers, where we have been told in written letters to not just "New York Times," but "The Courier-Journal" and others, that those body cam videos don't exist.

REID: Well, if they're claiming that the shooting was completely righteous, what are they investigating, is one question.

Another thing is that the initial police reports don't seem to have reflected anything that was accurate.


REID: It was not in the police reports that no aid was rendered.


REID: It seemed that police were not honest about what they put in their reports.

And VICE has a piece out talking about how the initial police report actually did not conclude that Breonna Taylor's boyfriend is the one who shot a police officer in the leg, leaving open the possibility it was friendly fire.

What about that?

CALLIMACHI: There was -- there was -- what I think you're referring to is something called the incident report, which is a one-page report that is put out after a fatality of this kind or an incident of this kind.

And that incident report was just a catastrophic failure. It said that she had not been shot. It said that the door to her apartment had not been bust in.

I have tried to get answers about how that mistake happened. One official tried to help me and was providing some sort of answer. I could not even understand -- there was some rationale for it, but I could not even understand what exactly that rationale was.

So that was a major failure by both the city and the police department to put that out.

Now, regarding friendly fire, that has been a theory that was floated by Breonna Taylor's lawyer and by the lawyer for her family and by the lawyer for Kenny Walker, her boyfriend.

REID: Yes.

CALLIMACHI: It was a theory that was set to rest a couple of days ago by the attorney general, based on the ballistics that the FBI lab in Quantico looked at.

And, according to them, Kenny Walker's bullet is the one that shot Officer Mattingly.

REID: Very quickly -- we're running out of time -- but is there...


REID: What are the chances of getting that transcript of the grand jury released, because the family clearly does not trust this attorney general to have put forward a strong case or even to have mentioned Breonna?

Very quickly.

CALLIMACHI: I think that there's going to be a bulk of documents that may be released next week by the city, which is their own investigation by the internal police investigative body.

And that's actually quite helpful. That's statements from all of the officers who were there, from the SWAT team commander's body cam footage, things of that nature.

About the attorney general, I don't know that -- if that's ever going to come out.

REID: Yes.

CALLIMACHI: Thank you, Joy.

REID: Well, hopefully, we can get you back as you learn more.

Rukmini Callimachi, thank you. You have been doing the greatest reporting on this. So, thank you so much.

CALLIMACHI: Thank you.

REID: Coming up, the amazing scene at the Capitol today -- cheers -- where Ruth Bader Ginsburg again made history.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: We close tonight with a farewell.

Today, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the first woman and the first Jewish American to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol.

Lawmakers gathered to pay their respects to the legal giant, including Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris.

Notably absent from today's ceremony, Mitch McConnell, who chose to skip it, as he focuses on dishonoring Ginsburg's dying wish by trying to jam in a replacement, playing the hare in this case, rather than the turtle.

Meanwhile, a poignant personal moment today came from Justice Ginsburg's longtime personal trainer, Bryant Johnson.

That's tonight's REIDOUT.



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