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2022-05-14 20:22:25 By : Mr. Sancho Wang

The second phase of Vladimir Putin`s invasion of Ukraine is under way. A Trump-appointed judge strikes down the transit mask mandate. More January 6 puzzle pieces fall into place. What toxic social media account is fueling the fake Republican outrage machine? In a brand-new interview, Prince Harry speaks out on his recent visit with his grandmother, the ailing Queen Elizabeth.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: And another source says Biden thinks he`s the only Democrat who can beat Trump. Now, the White House didn`t comment on "The Hill"`s story, but they have previously suggested that Biden would run for reelection.

All of this is a dance, because no one likes to volunteer that they`re a one-term lame-duck president for any reason, but it`s interesting the way this is being leaked out right now.

And that`s our update for the end of the hour.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone.

We have a lot to get to tonight, including the recent intern-turned-Trump- appointed judge who struck down the transit mask mandate. Her decision ignores or distorts the opinion of most medical experts and raises the danger of a surge in cases, all thanks to a single judge who was appointed after practicing law for a total of eight years and was rated not qualified by the American Bar Association.

We will have much more on that coming up.

But we begin tonight with the second phase of Vladimir Putin`s invasion of Ukraine now fully under way. The devastation is already evident across Eastern Ukraine in what a senior U.S. official called a prelude to a larger offensive operation in Russia`s so-called battle of the Donbass.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed that the goal of the offensive is to complete -- is the complete liberation of the Donbass. Well, here is what Russia`s version of liberation looks like, fresh attacks today near Kharkiv, where Russian missiles struck a residential area, killing at least four people.

Mark Stone of Sky News reporting from the region.

MARK STONE, SKY NEWS REPORTER: The breadth of the Monday Russian barrage has been remarkable. This is Kharkiv, 250 miles north of Mariupol, 700 miles east of the attacks in Lviv, Ukraine`s second city, still being bombarded, still resisting occupation.

But here`s the cost. The victim is her father.

REID: The front-line city Kramatorsk also came under attack today. That is the same city or Russia attacked a train station earlier this month, killing dozens of people.

Russian troops were able to seize control of one city, Kreminna, according to the regional governor. Ukrainian troops withdrew and attacks -- amid attacks from all sides.

After the failure of Putin`s plan A, the Pentagon says Russia has added two additional combat units, adding tens of thousands of troops in the new phase of Russian aggression. Today, President Biden held a call with allies to discuss support for Ukraine and ways to hold Russia accountable. Biden plans to send another round of artillery to Ukraine. And the White House is preparing to announce another substantial military aid package later this week.

Meanwhile, in a meeting with the heads of the IMF and the World Bank, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen blamed Putin`s war on worsening -- blame Putin`s war for worsening international food insecurity, exacerbating an already dire situation, a situation that`s already critically felt in the besieged port city of Mariupol, cut off from food and water for weeks now.

As Russia continues its campaign to take what remains of the city, the last Ukrainian forces are barricaded in a steel plant, defying Russian calls to surrender. One Ukrainian commander said hundreds of civilians are also sheltering in the plant, which Ukrainian officials say is the target of anti-bunker bombs. Russia`s Defense Ministry claims that there will be a cease-fire in the area of the plant tomorrow.

But, as the Russian army, which Ukrainian President Zelenskyy called tonight the most barbaric and inhuman in the world, continues its campaign to wipe entire cities like Mariupol off the planet, Kamil Galeev, a fellow at the nonpartisan Woodrow Wilson Center, noted in a must read Twitter thread that the ongoing, incomprehensible Russian brutality toward Ukraine is explained by the Russian abhorrence for Ukrainians and their culture.

He writes: "The assault now symbolized with a Z isn`t motivated in the name of security, alliances, or even political affiliation. It`s the need to extinguish wrong cultural memes and impose correct ones." He added that the invasion "happened because Russia never accepted the existence of Ukraine in the first place. And, by Russia, I mean, not only the state, but also the people, especially the cultural elites."

Joining me now is former NATO Supreme Allied Commander retired Four-Star Navy Admiral James Stavridis. He is MSNBC chief international security and diplomacy analyst. And Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon, historian and Ph.D. Student at the University of Pennsylvania Department of History.

And, Professor St. Julian-Varnon, I want to start with you on that last point, because I think that what this thread was sort of laying out is that the West is trying to look at this as some sort of conventional armed conflict that has to do with Russia`s sort of fear for its own security or their fear of NATO or their paranoia.

But what he says, it`s about something worse. It`s about Russia`s attitude that, essentially, Ukrainians are just inferior Russians who have been brainwashed by Nazis to not believe they`re Russian. If they would just accept becoming Russian again, then they would deserve to live. But if they don`t, they deserve to die.


And I think we can take this from Putin`s own talking points before the war and up to seven years before the wars, as he wrote a 7,000-word essay about his conception of Russian history. And in that conception, he denies the sovereignty and the existence of Ukraine as a separate entity.

And even up to this week and this weekend, we have seen really horrifying discussions on Perviy Kanal, Russian Channel 1, part of the state media, where they`re talking about using Ukrainian POWs as -- for labor, to reeducate them.

So I think this is very much an issue of trying to erase the cultural legacies of Ukraine. And this is very much kind of part of the Russian part and parcel of why we`re seeing this barbarity against Ukraine. So, to kind of approach this from a convention of stand of war to misunderstand the point of this.

REID: And to stay with you for just a moment, Professor, I mean, "The New York Times" talks about the Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church`s involvement and their complicity in it. The Ukraine war has pitted combatants under the Moscow Patriarch Kirill against each other, and has placed Ukrainian worshipers in an especially untenable position.

The patriarch has blessed the war, calling it a struggle of metaphysical significance and touted Russian soldiers for defending the fatherland. So, when you throw in that religious cant, it almost sounds like ISIS more than it does like a conventional state.

ST. JULIAN-VARNON: It definitely is a marriage of church and state.

And if you think about it in an American, Western way, you won`t see this marriage of church and state. But, for a long time, Patriarchy Kirill has been the rubber stamp for Putin`s behavior. We can see this in 2014, with the forced annexation of Crimea. He has been an active fan of the war in Ukraine.

And so I think it does alienate the thousands of people who are in Ukraine who practice Russian Orthodoxy. But it also further alienates people who are part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which just recently became autocephalous a couple of years ago.

So I think we can also understand this not only as a political problem. This is also a ravaging and destruction of cultural religious ties between Russia and Ukraine that were forged over centuries.

REID: And so, Admiral Stavridis, how does one fight a war that is not about anything conventional? It is almost a religious fanaticism and a belief that the people you`re fighting are -- don`t exist.

And that -- another part of this thread said, at first, Russians thought of Ukrainians as redeemable, but the fact that they`re resisting being re- conscripted into Russia means they`re not redeemable. They mean -- they deserve to die.

That is almost ISIS-like thinking. How does one fight an army that is thinking like that?


And this is reminiscent of many struggles we have seen. This is a genocide. These are people of Ukrainian origin who are being destroyed because of their nature, because of their ethnicity, because of their position in history.

We have seen it in the way Armenians, we have seen it in the way Jews, we have seen it or the way many races have been attacked in genocidal ways. So you start from a position of telling the truth.

Number two, tactically -- I`m picking up my cell phone here -- you very consciously think of this as a weapon in this war. You tell the truth. You videotape. You show the atrocities of Bucha. You call them out. You give voice to the victims.

By doing that, you rally the world, ultimately, against this kind of behavior. It`s a long, hard struggle, but it is the most important one of our times.

REID: And I`m going to show you, Admiral, this map that we have that shows that -- what Russia controls right now, the physical territory that they control.

You can see that they`re trying to squeeze in from the east and squeeze in from the north. They sort of -- they have already lost at the idea of going right for Kyiv.

But can the weapons that you know of Ukraine have right now and that we are sending them, is that enough to repel Russia and stop them from essentially annexing the entire eastern part and southern part of Ukraine? What -- with what they have now, can they repel this?

STAVRIDIS: I think they can.

And, at the end of the day, in the conversation you and I and Kimberly are having, it`s all about will. It`s about the power to resist what is wrong. And that is the center of gravity in this fight. It is what the Ukrainians have. And it is what their President Zelenskyy personifies. We are giving them the tools, but they bring to the table that will to resist.

I think they have everything they are going to need in terms of will and spirit. Our job is to win the logistic footrace, get them the weapons, get them the tools. They will do the job.

REID: Let me play for both of you President Biden. And he was asked again about whether or not he planned to visit Kyiv.

QUESTION: Will you visit Kyiv, Mr. President?


QUESTION: Do you want to visit Ukraine?

BIDEN: Been to Ukraine many times. Just haven`t been there recently.

REID: I will start with you, Admiral, is that would it matter if the president were to visit Ukraine himself at this time?

STAVRIDIS: Well, it would be enormous and symbolic.

For my money, the person we ought to send to Ukraine is named Lloyd Austin. He`s our secretary of defense. He`s a former general. He`s a big, imposing figure. He`s well-known. He`s the right symbol of the United States of America, in my view.

Let`s hold our president back for the moment. I think Joe Biden, in his heart, he wants to go. He wants to be there in the fight. Our job is to put the right president there at the right time. But, for the moment, my vote is for Lloyd Austin, secretary of defense.

REID: I would not be against that at all. He is -- he`s a badass, if I can use a bit of a little cussing on the show tonight.

REID: Last question to you, Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon.

What the president of Ukraine, President Zelenskyy, who is just an incredible figure, who has become a hero, I think, to the whole world, he has said, we are already in World War III. Do you believe that?

ST. JULIAN-VARNON: I think, for Ukraine, this definitely is World War III. This is yet again them being brutally attacked and invaded and genocidally brutalized by an invader.

But, this time, for their war, the invader was the country they fought along in World War II when they were defeating the Nazis together. And now that brutal -- that brutal genocidal country is Russia, who`s calling them Nazis, when they used to fight Nazis together.

So I think, for President Zelenskyy, he very much is fighting World War III.

ST. JULIAN-VARNON: For Ukrainians, this is World War III.

REID: Indeed. People are calling it World War Z, is the other term that people are using for it. It is horrific. It`s horrific, in any event.

What a great duo to start with tonight.

REID: Admiral James Stavridis, Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon, you two are wonderful. Thank you both.

And up next on THE REIDOUT: A MAGA judge with a resume as thin as the paper it was written on uses a lot of junk science to strike down the mask mandate on public transportation.

Also, the January 6 puzzle pieces are all falling into place. Now we`re learning even more about which Trump officials and members of Congress were coordinating with groups like the Oath Keepers.

Plus, my political panel joins me on the toxic social media account that is fueling the fake Republican outrage machine.

And, in a brand-new interview, Prince Harry talks to NBC`s Hoda Kotb about his recent visit with his grandmother, the ailing Queen Elizabeth.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.

UNIDENTIFIED PILOT: The Transportation Security Administration will no longer enforce the federal mandate requiring masks in all U.S. airports and on board aircraft.

REID: Well, that was the reaction by some passengers when learning that the TSA will not enforce a mask mandate on planes and public transit.

This comes after a Trump-appointed federal judge in Florida single-handedly struck down the CDC`s requirement, ruling that the federal agency had overstepped its authority.

In the last hour, we got some breaking news on the mask. Biden administration officials say the Justice Department will appeal the Florida judge`s ruling if the CDC says masks are necessary. The DOJ, however, will not seek an emergency stay of the judge`s order.

Earlier today, President Biden briefly weighed in.

QUESTION: Mr. President, should people continue to wear masks on planes?

BIDEN: That`s up to them. I haven`t spoken to the CDC yet.

REID: Many U.S. airlines were quick to drop the mask mandate after the ruling, along with Uber, Amtrak and public transportation systems in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New Jersey.

For those who are not cheering on those planes, questions and fears remain, as coronavirus cases are rising again in major cities. Questions remain too over why the Biden administration isn`t jumping to file an appeal.

Joining me now, Andy Slavitt, former White House senior adviser on the nation`s COVID response and the host of "In the Bubble," the podcast, and Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants, the nation`s largest flight attendants union.

I`m going to come to the judge in a second, but I do want to start with the reaction that we saw on that flight, Sara. Let me just play -- I want to play for you -- this is cut four for my producers. I`m skipping around a little bit, because I understand what people on planes have been dealing with, because I have flown a lot in the last several months, a lot more than I thought I would.

And people`s attitudes are, for me, a lot. And I don`t have to work with them and fly with -- I don`t have to do it every day. Let me just show people a little taste of what flight attendants have been dealing with.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As soon as we get in Atlanta, you`re going to jail. (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

Karens. They spit on me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, back away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get him off! Get him off!

REID: I mean, that said, did announcing the end of the mask mandate literally in the middle of the flight kind of let those A-holes win?


It`s that, in the middle of the flight -- people took off with one set of rules and landed with another. And the crews once again on the front lines are left holding the bag to deal with this. So you had people on the plane who were immunocompromised. You had people on planes with little kids below the age of 5 who decided to fly only because the mask mandate was in place and they couldn`t get their kids vaccinated.

This is really not fair to put the flight crews in the middle of managing this on our planes, when people are expecting one thing and getting something else. And that has been the problem through this whole pandemic, is that this has been about saying that the mask mandate or anything to do with this pandemic is political, rather than a public health issue.

And we did not take a position whether or not to extend this mask mandate. Remember, it`s only supposed to be in place until May 3. We did not take a position because we have flight attendants who have been very tired of dealing with that every single day, dealing with people who check a box that say that they agree to wear a mask when they buy their ticket, when they check in for their flight. These are grown adults who are saying that they will follow the rules, and they`re not doing it.

And they were tired of dealing with that. They`re also tired of wearing that mask for 14, 15, 16 hours a day themselves. We have been saying we can`t wait for this to go away. But we also recognize that air travel is only possible if we do this with the spirit that we`re all in this together.

And we had other people who were expressing serious concerns about going to work in a space where we have no idea whether or not people are vaccinated, whether or not they`re sick. They`re bringing that into our space. And it`s a confined -- a confined space, where you cannot walk away if you think that there`s trouble.

REID: And here`s the thing, Andy.

Thank you for being here.

You`re in a tube, where I feel like people cough more when they get on there. They get on the flight and everybody`s hacking up a lung. And now people are like, yay, whipping off the masks. And to the point that Sara made, I think, is absolutely correct, if I got on that flight, and all of a sudden there was announcement mid-flight, I can`t get off the plane.

And now, because this judge, who was rated unqualified -- like, she was an intern like six years ago. Now she`s a federal judge. She got on at 33 years of age, Trump`s youngest and probably worst appointment. She basically is one of those people who`s tired of wearing a mask and ruled as such.

I don`t see anything in just of the reading through what she says. This is part of her ruling. This is her genius ruling: "Wearing a mask cleans nothing," that masks are only about cleaning. "At most, it traps virus droplets. But neither -- it neither sanitizes the person wearing the mask, nor sanitizes the conveyance."

This is a lady who`s never tried a case in court. Her only trial experience was as an intern when she was in college. ABA says she`s not qualified. For her to buy herself be able to say no mask mandate, to me, is outrageous. Your thoughts?

ANDY SLAVITT, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE ADVISER FOR COVID RESPONSE: Well, Donald Trump appointed 234 judges. This is a judge he appointed after he lost the election. She was a Clarence Thomas clerk.

And she`s going far beyond what you`re supposed to be doing as a judge. She`s going far beyond what the law allows her to do. And she`s actually crossing the lines of public health.

And I think the public, whether you`re a flight attendant working on the front line or you`re a passenger on a plane, you deserve to have the decision made, for all their faults, by the people who are public health experts, not mob rule, not CEOs of airlines, not a judge in a district court.

But you want someone who will look at the data and say, hey, we will do this thoughtfully and carefully. And, indeed, it may have been about to come down. But we certainly don`t want it to happen this way, because this is not how the public`s going to have their best interests looked out for.

REID: And, Andy, do you think the CDC is like -- I mean, if it`s up to them, they have shown themselves to be occasionally seemingly influenceable by political sort of needs and corporate needs.

You got a lot of corporations that are sick of having to be the front lines of enforcing these mandates. You got a lot of businesses that want the mandates off. What do you make of the fact that the CDC, number one, is the one that`s going to get to decide whether the Justice Department appeals and what feels like a reluctance to appeal, which I actually understand?

I don`t think I would want to appeal anything with those six judges on the court, because at least five of them are -- they are absolutists. They are -- they have a certain ideology. I think I know how they would rule.

SLAVITT: Well, look, people don`t fully appreciate how difficult the job of the CDC is. They have got to make decisions that are going to be unpopular with about half the public. And people always think they`re a little too slow or a little too fast.

So they have got to make tough decisions with imperfect information. In this particular case, I think the thing that the Biden administration has to be careful of is, right now, they have a ruling that is not precedential. It`s made in a district court. There are a number of technicalities in it that means that it`s not precedential.

The most important thing for the CDC and for all of us in this country is to preserve the ability of the CDC, if we should have a worse emergency, if we should have a big breakout of cases in the fall or winter, to be able to use basic public health measures.

And the worry if they appeal it is that they find a judge, like one of the other 233 judges that Trump appointed or the Supreme Court, which rules against them. That will be worse for the country, because that will mean we won`t have the ability to take care of this country when we need to.

REID: And, Sara, that is my absolute nightmare, because people like DeSantis, people like this judge, they are extremists.

REID: And I worry that the next thing is measles or Ebola or some other godforsaken, some other virus breaks out. And they say, absolutism, we don`t want any protection, the government can`t do anything to protect anyone from anything.

REID: And then they`re on a plane with us.

Joy, you`re absolutely right. And Andy knows from being in the Obama administration during the Ebola crisis, and I was a new president of my union at the time. And we -- our union has worked on stopping the spread of communicable disease at its source for decades.

We have a checklist that we put in place. We put it in place in January of 2020 and started with that with our airlines. We went back to what we would normally do. This is normally coordinated between private business and government, and government is leading the way on that, bringing all the stakeholders together, bringing the different departments together.

I have been trained as a flight attendant, 25-year flight attendant, but, oftentimes, we have to stop the spread of communicate of communicable disease at transportation`s door. So we have to have the ability to have that coordinated rollout to all of the parties, communicate it in an orderly fashion, so that everyone understands what they need to do in order to stop that spread.

And you`re exactly right. The only reason we didn`t have an outbreak of Ebola in this country is because we took those exact steps and stopped it. And we used the role of the government and the role of private industry working together and working as a team, with public health officials giving us good information to be able to take the steps to stop that, coordinated with TSA and CBP and everyone else.

And we stopped that and made sure that that did not become an epidemic in the United States. That`s the kind of thing that we have to be able to do in the future. And I`m really concerned, with what we have gone through, through this whole process...

NELSON: ... rather than about having a government in place where we can actually express our freedoms because we keep the safety in check.

And the confusion is the worst part of it. And, by the way, you all are still having to strip and throw out your drinks.

REID: And so you`re acting like the airport is a free-for-all. No, it`s not. You still got to take off your clothes and your shoes and all that other stuff too.

NELSON: Thanks. Thank you, Joy. Thank you.

REID: So, anyway, you still have to follow rules.

Behave like a human being on a plane, you all, please.

Up next: new revelations about the cozy relationship between Trump allies and the right-wing militia group the Oath Keepers in the days leading up to the January 6 insurrection.

We will be right back.

REID: If you listen to the Republican Party, January 6 was a peaceful gathering of tourists expressing their First Amendment rights.

To them, the investigation into what led up to that day of political terrorism and violence is a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse. Of course, the facts just don`t support that.

Since the insurrection ,we have seen a deluge of evidence that strings together a concerted effort from individuals in the Trump White House, supporters of the former president and two right-wing extremist groups working to undermine the fair election of President Biden.

According to federal prosecutors, days after Biden was declared the winner, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers discussed ways to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power, including preparations for the use of force, and urged those listening to participate.

Eleven people affiliated with the Oath Keepers militia, including founder Stewart Rhodes, were charged in January with seditious conspiracy for their alleged roles in planning the attack. Six members of the Proud Boys, including their leader, Enrique Tarrio, have been charged with conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding.

Today, we learned how deeply entrenched the Oath Keepers were with the twice-impeached president`s allies. According to newly filed documents, the Oath Keepers discussed providing private security for Michael Flynn, Alex Jones, and Roger Stone on the day of the insurrection. They also discussed at length the types of weapons they could bring with them to the Capitol.

Joining me now is Joyce Vance, former U.S. attorney and law professor at the University of Alabama School of Law.

And, Joyce, give us sort of -- help us to explain or understand the significance of what does seem to be just increasing evidence of this sort of massive conspiracy of violent groups.


So, obviously, this creates a new web of co-conspirators working together, at least potentially, that investigators for both the January 6 Committee and the Justice Department will want to talk to you.

But on a more specific level, Joy, because there`s already the seditious conspiracy indictment and place for the Oath Keepers, this web of communications between the two opens up the possibility that now members of the Proud Boys will also be indicted for seditious conspiracy.

The important element that DOJ has to prove there is the desire to use force to bring about their aims. And because they`re talking about protecting people and bringing weapons in, it seems likely that this is one of the missing pieces of evidence that DOJ needed that kept it from indicting the Proud Boys for seditious conspiracy at the same time it did the Oath Keepers.

REID: Now, I`m very predictable at this point, Joyce. You probably know what`s coming, because I always -- I always say this every time I`m lucky enough to have you on, is that -- and here`s where the web happens.

They all had the same idea, whether it`s Eastman in his memo, we have got to -- we have got to find a way to sort of pressure Congress to not certify the election. We have got to put these other electors in instead. You had members of Congress that had the same idea. You had Donald Trump Jr. had the same idea. You had these people saying, well, this is one way to pressure Congress to do what we say. We will use violence.

They all have the same idea. How do you knit it together?

So, very quickly, this is the Oath Keepers during January 6. One of the people they discussed helping was a congressman, Ronny Jackson. And that was sent on one -- on January 6: "Dr. Ronny Jackson on the move. Needs protection. If anyone inside, cover him. He has critical data to protect."

If there were members of Congress, members of the administration and members of the Trump family, including Donald Trump, who knew that that was the plan, shouldn`t they also face indictment?

VANCE: They should be, but DOJ will have to get that evidence.

For instance, Jackson has already denied that he was involved with these folks. It`s not enough just to have these texts. Prosecutors will actually have to be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jackson reached out and was in communication with them.

That might seem obvious, but it`s not obvious in a criminal trial, where you have to prove at each level, with competent evidence that`s admissible in court -- you know that we have had this conversation before, this burden that prosecutors face.

VANCE: So, this is why they climb up the food chain to go to the higher levels of culpability.

REID: This is why you`re like a cup of coffee to my bender, because whenever I`m trying to go all the way there, you`re like, hold on there, lady. We got to have proof. OK, I love you for that.

Let`s talk about Marjorie Taylor Greene really quick. So, there is now this legal effort to prevent her from being able to run. She -- so, this case can proceed. Can you explain this? Because this has to do with the Civil War, the 14th Amendment, the idea that a seditionist shouldn`t be able to run for reelection.

Why did her case seem to get through, when some of the other attempts to do this did not?

VANCE: So, we`re going to do constitutional law in 30 seconds here, Joy.

VANCE: Section 3 of the 14th Amendment says that, if you participate in an insurrection, you can`t serve in Congress.

Voters in Georgia have challenged Marjorie Greene`s ability to be on the ballot. And so what they`re doing is, now she has gone into federal court to try to say that those voters don`t have the ability to challenge her candidacy. That`s what`s coming up in the air. The federal court has said the state can go ahead.

There will be a hearing on Friday. Interestingly, in North Carolina, where the courts had originally said that voters couldn`t challenge Representative Madison Cawthorn`s presence on the ballot, the Fourth Circuit has now reopened that matter, and they too will have a hearing.

So, we will see some progress, with no guarantee that the outcome will be removal of these candidates from the ballot. Best case, it would be something like the votes for them wouldn`t be counted, and there would be signage prominently displayed in polling places, saying, if you vote for one of these candidates, your ballot won`t count.

We`re going to have to bring you back to talk about this one, because, yes, this is Constitution 101. I love this kind of stuff. And it`s interesting, right? It gives you -- this is why we have to understand the Civil War because the outcomes of it have to do with this case.

Joyce Vance, always wonderful talking with you. Thank you very much, my friend.

And still ahead: a preview of NBC`s exclusive interview with Prince Harry, which reveals new details about his recent surprise visit with Queen Elizabeth and life with Meghan Markle.

Plus -- but, first, please exit through the gift -- wait. Hold it. Let me say that again.

Please exit through the grift shop. Aha! How fueling the conservative outrage machine is generating big, big bucks for right-wing pundits.

REID: If the Republican Party stands for anything these days, it`s their fake outrage machine.

Your kids are being indoctrinated by Critical Race Theory. Teachers are grooming them to be don`t say gay and all the other nonsense.

Well, "The Washington Post" has new reporting on what`s been fueling that machine, the Twitter account Libs of TikTok, which reposts content primarily from LGBTQ people, including incendiary framing designed to generate outrage. The account has shaped right-wing media and directly impacted anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.

FOX hosts create news packages around its tweets. And Ron DeSantis` press secretary has credited the account with opening her eyes when it comes to discussion of sexuality in schools, leading to the don`t say gay bill.

This account is just the latest example of how this content quite literally sells, with the woman behind the account turning it into a full-time job by soliciting donations from our supporters.

It`s really all one big political and financial grift. It`s why Alex Jones is able to fund-raise through his bankruptcy, 1980s televangelist-style, and why Senator Tim Scott is using a big speech tonight to reassure his supporters that he is anti-Critical Race Theory by warning against teaching kids that they are oppressors, kid oppressors.

And it`s why "Hillbilly Elegy" hedge-funder J.D. Vance has gone from calling Trump maybe Hitler to becoming his loyal court jester and feeding non-college white voters the same demagoguery that he accused Trump of doing just a few short years ago.

I`m joined now by Kurt Bardella, DCCC and DNC adviser and contributor to "The L.A. Times" and "USA Today," and Democratic strategist Aisha Mills.

Thank you both for being here.

Let`s talk about this Libs of TikTok account. I want to read a couple examples of what`s on the Libs of TikTok. I mean, it sounds like it would be super incendiary. But this is the stuff they`re highlighting and claiming that it`s a scandal.

"Any teacher" -- is one post -- "who utters the words `I came out` to my students should be fired on the spot. Watch. At a recent school board meeting, it was revealed that a Michigan school placed a litter box -- place litter boxes in the bathroom for students who identify as cats. Unbelievable."

"The Washington Post" calls this claim for parroting a false conspiracy theory.

"Stop sending your kids to government-run indoctrination camps," with a video of a preschool pride parade.

Aisha, we kind of assumed that the Republicans, because this is their strategy to try to be Glenn Youngkin, just sort of naturally just grifted on over to anti-LGBTQ after doing the anti-black, because this is what they do. But it turns out they have been getting grist from TikTok and using just regular stuff and making it incendiary.


So, I want to back up for a second, Joy. This is not new, right? We need to be reminded that we have been fighting against this type of crazy just kind of lies, deceit, misinformation, disinformation, turning nothing into something for decades.

The difference now is that they have a new medium, right? So, TikTok can give you 30 seconds in installations and it`s quick that you can turn into something else and it can go viral. So what is crazy about all of this is that the tactics to attack black people, queer people are the same.

They are literally trying to hypersexualize and to make a community seem like they are degenerates, when, in fact, they`re just healthy humans. And now they just have the new medium to do it in. And it is absolutely lucrative, which is so much of the problem, is that this craziness actually sells.

Let me play -- I don`t usually want to do it, but I`m going to go ahead and play Ted Cruz. I want you to listen to him, because this is so bananas, it`s so dumb, that you actually -- if I read it to you, you would just think that I was embellishing.

Here`s Ted Cruz about Disney.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): There are people who are misguided trying to drive - - Disney stepping in saying, in every episode now, they`re going to have Mickey and Pluto going at it. Like, really?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for that image, Senator.

CRUZ: But it`s just like, come on, guys. Like, these are kids.

And you can always shift to Cinemax if you want that.

A mouse is like this big, and a dog -- OK, first of all, Kurt, that is so dark and bananas, that it makes me worry that maybe Josh Hawley should be investigating Ted Cruz, because where his mind goes is deeply, deeply creepy stuff, if he`s imagining a mouse and a dog.

OK, I`m just going to go ahead and let you comment, because that -- in his mind, that works. Politically, they have decided they`re at war against Disney. They`re fighting cartoons. Your thoughts?

KURT BARDELLA, DNC AND DCCC ADVISER: Well, number one, Joy, I think we just got a really disturbing look at what Ted Cruz fantasizes about. And I don`t even want to go beyond that, because it`s just outright disturbing.

Number two, it really speaks volumes that, as the rest of us are engaged right now in a conversation about fighting for democracy and Democratic values, the Republican Party would rather fight Mickey and Minnie Mouse. This is just an ongoing -- and Aisha was right about this.

This isn`t new, folks. This is something that`s been going on for so long. It just so happens there are new mediums and platforms now, like TikTok, for Republicans to draw upon and use their propaganda machine to gin up white outrage. That`s what this is all about. this is what this has always been about, scaring the crap out of white people and moving that target from -- sometimes, it`s people of color.

Now it`s LGBTQ. And all the while, they`re hoping that those very white people don`t notice that it`s their tax bill that goes up when their Republican policies get enacted, that it`s their lives that get harder when Republicans hold power.

They`re hoping that all of the smoke-and-mirror culture wars keeps the people in the dark that they`re targeting, that they`re messaging to, because God forbid any of these people wake up and see that it`s actually against their own self-interest to support this party, that they`re not part of the millionaires and billionaires the Republican Party cares about.

If that were to ever happen, their party would fall like a deck of cards.

REID: And, Aisha, then there`s just the straight-up grift.

You have Ron DeSantis and company rejecting 41 percent of math textbooks in Florida, claiming they have Critical Race Theory. Hmm. I wonder what the state is going to buy and which of his allies are donors are going to create the new right-wing approved textbooks that are good, right?

It`s going to be from their people. He used COVID to enrich one of his donors. Buy this miracle cure from my donor. It`s a grift also.

I mean, look, we laughed a lot about Tucker Carlson`s testicle tanning thing. They`re going to sell a lot of testicle tanners to a bunch of middle-aged white guys who buy that out on FOX News, and then worry that their -- sperm count too low, and they`re going to sell them.

They`re going to get them to buy supplements and testicle tanners, and they`re going to be roasting their bits and their money`s going to be lighter. Your thoughts?

MILLS: I really appreciate that, Joy, because it really is about following the money, at the end of the day, right?

MILLS: So, the resting of who is getting rich on our backs, literally, black and brown people and queer people, on our backs, by defiling entire communities, people are becoming billionaires in terms of goods and services and products that they get to sell.

The part that is most nefarious that I never want us to look away from is, who is actually putting these people in power and to drive what policies?

Now, the social issues -- certainly, the don`t say gay bills become the thing that make the headlines that we all talk about. But what`s also happening in the underbelly of this is that you have a lobbyist groups that are going around and driving some of the most anti-environment, anti-people and pro-the wealthy policies that you can imagine that they`re trying to push through the Senate and otherwise.

MILLS: And so this becomes a grift.

And it also becomes a lookie loo. Look, let`s, like, make fun of people over here and get everybody clamoring about the trans kids, while we`re actually enriching billionaires over on the side and padding our pockets.

And that`s where the politics gets so murky when it comes to money. And we need to be monitoring the campaign finance aspect of all of this as well.

I mean, people should never forget, Ron DeSantis was a Tea Partier. That -- a lot of this emerged out of there. Who funds the Tea Party? It`s that whole Koch network. They use the marks, these angry middle-aged men who are terrified that they`re losing their steam and they need a child wife from Tennessee, and they get them all hopped up and angry at black people, at queer people, at everyone else.

But, in the meantime, they`re the marks, because what they really want, Kurt, is to put in place policies that will enrich the super rich, and they use them and their anxieties and their feint to racism to explain why they don`t have the bigger house that they want and the better cars that they want.

It`s just they`re using their anxiety, but it`s the same old rich people that are going to get richer.

BARDELLA: That`s right, Joy.

And that`s why I think that for Democrats, we spend a lot of time talking about, what do Democrats need to do messaging-wise? How do they need to communicate to American people? Well, this is how you do it right here.

Number one, it`s big government Republicans who are in the pockets of big banks and big business. It`s the reason why you don`t have a working wage in this country. It`s reason why you don`t have paid family leave. It`s the reason why you don`t have affordable prescription drugs. It`s the reason why you don`t have expanded health care access that other countries that aren`t the United States of America seem to have.

We need to start painting the Republican Party for what they are.

BARDELLA: They are bought and paid for by special interest influence.

They are not in -- they are in the back pockets of big businesses.

BARDELLA: And they will always sell out the rest of us, the working class, the middle class...

BARDELLA: ... in exchange for their wealthy billionaire interests.

REID: And let`s just put up -- this is our last thing I`m going to put up before we got to go. We got to go.

And they always get people of color who will play ball. Here`s Tim Scott. This is what they got him to do. They ended up taking it down because it was so embarrassing: "#KeepYoMoney."

They`re willing to humiliate themselves in order to further this cause. You have a few people, even people of color, that are willing to do that. It`s a sad, sad, sorry state of affairs.

Kurt Bardella, Aisha Mills, thank you both.

Up next: Prince Harry, the duke of Sussex, sits down with NBC`s Hoda Kotb me for an exclusive wide-ranging interview.

We will be right back.

REID: Just over a year since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle`s bombshell interview with Oprah, the couple is back in the public eye.

The duke of Sussex is currently hosting the Invictus Games in the Netherlands, an international sporting event he created for injured veterans.

"THE TODAY SHOW"`s Hoda Kotb down with Prince Harry to discuss the games, Harry`s family, and his surprise visit with the queen, who has taken ill in recent months.

HODA KOTB, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: How did it feel being back, being with her?

PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: Being with her, it was great.

It was -- it was just so nice to see her. She was on great form. And we always -- she has always got a great sense of humor with me. And I`m just making sure that she`s protected and got the right people around her.

KOTB: Well, you make her laugh. That`s what she always says.

Did you do it again?

PRINCE HARRY: Yes. Yes, I did.

PRINCE HARRY: Both Meghan and I had tea with her. So, it was really nice to catch up with her.

And home -- home for me now is -- for the time being, it`s in the States.

KOTB: It`s in the States?

PRINCE HARRY: And it really -- and it feels that way as well.

It`s -- we have been welcomed with open arms.

PRINCE HARRY: And it`s got such a great community up in Santa Barbara, so...

REID: Well, you can catch more of that interview with Prince Harry tomorrow morning on "THE TODAY SHOW."

That is tonight`s REIDOUT.