Bolton TRANSCRIPT: 6/17/20, The Rachel Maddow Show

Guests:
L. Chris Stewart, Karen Bass, Adam Schiff, Akhter
Transcript:

 

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): There are good people on both sides of the aisle

in America, we demonize each other way too much, but this is a man that is

now changing the Republican Party forever, putting a stain upon it, that

this party is allowing itself to be dragged down because it`s refusing to -

- in fact, the quotes of some of these folks, before Donald Trump was

elected are powerful.

 

In fact, I heard Lindsey Graham`s words being used in a Republicans against

Trump ad, because they`re so damning. And so now this is the –

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Yes, they were right before they had to be wrong.

 

Senator Cory Booker, thank you as always for making time, Senator.

 

That is ALL IN for this evening.

 

“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now with Ali Velshi, in for Rachel.

 

Good evening, Ali.

 

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Good to see you again. We`ll

see you tomorrow.

 

Thanks to you at home, by the way, for joining us at this hour, Rachel has

the night off. But she`s going to be back tomorrow.

 

And there is a lot going on tonight.

 

John Bolton`s new tell-all book from his days as Donald Trump`s national

security adviser has leaked, and it is a doozy. Bolton describes the Trump

administration is following a pattern of, quote, obstruction of justice as

a way of life. He says there`s a ton of stuff that the impeachment inquiry

missed, and that Trump tried to get China to help him get reelected this

fall.

 

We know this all, and more, because a handful of reporters have managed to

get hold of a copy of Bolton`s book ahead of its publication and amid a

desperate attempt by President Trump to stop the publication that have

book, including a brand-new effort tonight, just within the last hour. The

Justice Department filed an emergency application for a restraining order

against Bolton and is asking the judge to block him from publishing his

book next week. They`re asking for a hearing on Friday.

 

Now, we`re going to talk to one of the first reporters who got a look at

the book, as well as the house intelligence chair and impeachment manager,

Congressman Adam Schiff, a little later in the show.

 

Meanwhile, as the country continues to open back up, coronavirus cases

continue to rise in the Western and Southern United States. With nine

states hitting record high numbers of new cases this week, including the

state of Oklahoma, where the president is still set to hold a massive

indoor campaign rally this weekend. We`re going to talk to an emergency

room doctor from one of the hardest-hit areas of the country about what`s

happening on the ground and what needs to be done to stop the spread of

coronavirus.

 

That and more as well ahead.

 

But first, we begin with the charges handed down today in the death of

Rayshard Brooks, the 27-year-old black man who shot in the back by an

Atlanta police officer five days ago. This afternoon the district

attorney`s office in Atlanta announced 11 charges against former Officer

Garrett Rolfe including felony murder and aggravated assault.

 

If convicted, Rolfe could face life in prison or the death penalty. Three

charges were also announced against Devin Brosnan, the second officer at

the scene.

 

During today`s remarkable press conference, Fulton County District Attorney

Paul Howard called Brooks` killing unjustified, saying he posed no threat

to the officers. The D.A. repeatedly noted that Brooks was cordial and

cooperative for more than 40 minutes before the incident became violent.

Video of that final deadly altercation shows Mr. Brooks scuffling with

police before grabbing one of the officers` Tasers and running away. He`s

seen firing the stun gun in the direction of the officers. And moments

later, Officer Rolfe shoots him twice in the back.

 

Today, the D.A. noted that officers were aware that the Taser brooks was

holding had already been discharged twice, meaning that it no longer posed

a threat, it could not be discharged a third time. He also revealed that

after firing those deadly shots, the first words out of Officer Rolfe`s

mouth were “I got him.”

 

But one of the most striking moments in today`s news conference came when

the district attorney explained what happened in the moments after the

shooting as Rayshard Brooks lay dying on the ground.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

PAUL HOWARD JR., FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Now, this is

another important consideration that we discovered as we evaluated this

case. Once Mr. Brooks was shot, there is an Atlanta policy that requires

that the officers have to provide timely medical attention to Mr. Brooks or

to anyone who is injured. But after Mr. Brooks was shot, for some period of

two minutes and 12 seconds, there was no medical attention applied to Mr.

Brooks.

 

But when we examined the videotape, and in our discussions with witnesses,

what we discovered is, during the two minutes and 12 seconds that Officer

Rolfe actually kicked Mr. Brooks while he laid on the ground, while he was

there fighting for his life. Secondly, from the videotape, we were able to

see that the other officer, Officer Brosnan, actually stood on Mr. Brooks`

shoulders while he was there struggling for his life.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

VELSHI: Today, the district attorney announced that the second officer,

Devin Brosnan, is now cooperating with prosecutors. The district attorney

says he will testify on behalf of the state, making him one of the first

Atlanta police officers to do so in a case like this. Mr. Brosnan`s

attorney, however, late this evening disputed that claim, saying his client

has not agreed to testify or to serve as a witness. Both officers are

expected to turn themselves in to authorities by 6:00 p.m. tomorrow

evening.

 

Despite the swift action by the prosecutors, by the district attorney, in

bringing the charges, it could actually be some time before an actual

indictment is handed down. According to Georgia`s state law, a grand jury

must now convene to determine whether or not the two officers should be

indicted. But because of the pandemic, no grand juries will meet until at

least October.

 

The district attorney has said he would sign an indictment today if he were

legally able to do so. But despite the delay, it is worth taking note of

the unbelievable amount of change that this tragedy has brought about,

especially in Atlanta itself. Less than 24 hours after the shooting of

Rayshard Brooks, the Atlanta police chief, Erika Shields, resigned.

 

Days later, the mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, issued a series of

executive orders aimed at dramatically overhauling her city`s police

department. Now, those orders require that officers now employ de-

escalation techniques before using deadly force. In addition, they demand

that officers intercede when they witness another officer using

unreasonable force.

 

This follows similar reforms that are being enacted all across the country

right now as local leaders react to the wave of protests sparked by the

death of George Floyd just last month. In Minneapolis, the city where

employed was killed, the city council has already voted to disband its

police department completely, rethinking the way they go about law

enforcement in their community.

 

In New York, lawmakers took the hugely consequential step of repealing a

decades-old law that has been used to shield police officers` disciplinary

records from the public. In city after city after city, departments have

banned the use of chokeholds, reconsidering the way they approach the use

of force. And now national police reform, something that would have been

unthinkable one month ago, is being considered and debated by lawmakers in

Washington.

 

Today, Republicans, led by Senator Tim Scott, unveiled their proposal for

police reform.

 

Now, it is significantly narrower than what Democrats are proposing, but it

would incentivize police departments to use body cameras and ban chokeholds

by withholding federal grant money from them. Senator Mitch McConnell said

today the bill would be taken up for a vote as early as next week, and that

sets up a clash with Democrats both in the House and the Senate who claim

that now is the time to go big and pass far-reaching legislation that would

place strict limits on excessive force and make it easier to hold officers

legally accountable for misconduct.

 

Now, at this moment, members of the House Judiciary Committee are debating

police reform legislation, they`ve been doing so all day. We`re expecting a

committee vote on that bill later this hour. And so maybe, maybe this time

real change will come. As the attorney for the family of Rayshard Brooks

said earlier today, now is not the time for politics. It`s time to fix the

policing situation so that the same thing doesn`t keep happening again and

again and again.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

L. CHRIS STEWART, BROOKS FAMILY ATTORNEY: So, we`re watching all these

policies that directly affect families like this, all these arguments,

Democrats versus Republicans, all of this ridiculousness, and they`re not

starting from step one. How do we actually fix this and not what`s best for

your political party? Because the things I saw today, we`re going to be

back here next year.

 

Was this justice today? Not yet. We still don`t have a definition for it.

With more heartache that families have to go through this and fight the

public to try and get justice for a man that was shot in the back twice.

 

But we do thank everybody in this country for the outpouring of support,

the people that are marching for change peacefully, keeping his name alive

positively. And maybe one day, this country will get it right with

policing. And we`ll all come together.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

VELSHI: And maybe one day this country will get it right with policing.

 

Joining us now, Chris Stewart, attorney for the Brooks family.

 

Chris, I`m sad that you and I are on a first name basis now because we talk

every couple of days. I want to start by asking you what you and the family

make today of the charges brought against the two police officers and

whether the family feels those charges are appropriate and sufficient.

 

STEWART: Yeah, we`re just going with the investigation done by the district

attorney, the evidence you showed today we weren`t even aware of. We

weren`t aware that Mr. Brooks was kicked after he was shot, laying on the

ground. We weren`t aware that he was shot from it was 18 feet away, running

away after attempting to use the Taser.

 

We weren`t aware of a lot of things. But they`re trying to hold strong. But

it`s not a day of celebration. This is a day of disappointment that we`re

here.

 

VELSHI: Chris, we`re – the country has become familiar with eight minutes

and 46 seconds, the length of time a police officer knelt on the neck of

George Floyd. You`re representing George Floyd`s family as well. And now,

we got two minutes and 12 seconds to think about.

 

It shouldn`t have to be police policy that someone has aid rendered to them

after they are shot and pose no threat to anybody. In fact, the district

attorney said Mr. Floyd didn`t pose a threat to them, the police officers,

in any case. But regardless, for two minutes and 12 seconds they did not

render aid and it appears, according to the evidence or at least what the

statement of the district attorney put forward, that one of the officers

kicked him, the other one stood on his shoulder or stepped on his shoulder.

 

Again, you and I have talked about this. There are policies that can be

brought to bear, but that kind of stuff is not policy stuff. That`s

behavior. That`s cultural. That is a way you look at a victim that

dehumanizes them.

 

STEWART: Yeah, like I said, you know, I`m watching all these policies and

listening to these different things, and having actually been in the

trenches involved in a lot of these cases and reading the records and

seeing the loopholes, it`s not going to fix it because it`s a mentality

thing. You know, it just came out today that Officer Rolfe was involved in

that 2015 shooting of another African-American where they didn`t even

report that they shot him, and he wasn`t disciplined at all.

 

That`s what we`re trying to face, that type of behavior leads someone until

we`re here. But not every officer does that. But when it occurs, it has to

be nipped in the bud right then.

 

So I`m just heartbroken from everything that my clients have to go through

and then hearing the news tonight that officers are walking away from

protecting the community here in Atlanta today.

 

VELSHI: Tell me what you make of that, because you and the other lawyers in

this case have gone out of your way to point out that there are a lot of

good cops out there, there are a lot of police who leave their homes every

day and put their lives at risk for the safety of the communities they

serve, and now we have reports, we haven`t confirmed that here at NBC, but

reports that there were sick-outs today, there were call-outs by police in

support of the officers who have been charged.

 

STEWART: I don`t – I mean, I don`t understand it, because if you love your

job and protecting the community, yes, there`s going to be hard times,

there`s going to be people that disagree. You may see a situation where

maybe you don`t think that officers should have been charged.

 

But look at the situation that African-Americans have been put in where we

didn`t think that young man should have been shot, we didn`t think that

individual should have been arrested or harassed or me stopped and searched

for no reason and I didn`t pull a lawyer card. Look at both sides of the

situation. Just because fairness is coming around, that doesn`t mean that

you are part of the problem. But if you are part of the problem –

 

VELSHI: Right.

 

STEWART: – then maybe you truly don`t get it. But, you know, like I said,

I talk to my friends who are police officers today, and they`re still out

there doing their job.

 

VELSHI: Yeah, Atlanta police is confirming they`ve got a higher than usual

number of sick-outs on the new shift coming in. They do say they have

enough police to maintain necessary response in Atlanta.

 

And, Chris, I guess while this is going on, and your efforts are

concentrated on this particular case, and the Brooks family, there is this

parallel thing that`s going on, and police forces around the country,

including in Atlanta, in Congress, there are moves for change. This took

five days for these charges to come out. In the case of George Floyd`s

killers, it took three days.

 

Do you think these protests are having an impact? Do you think they are

making authorities look at these things seriously and say, we have got to

take action for change now, not later?

 

STEWART: Of course it is, because that`s what this country is, is the voice

of the people – white, black, whatever you may be. The people, not

politicians, control what happens. It`s just when we demand change.

 

And so people are waking up. People are not worried about their lives or

careers. They want change on this issue. Crowds that go to protests are

every diverse.

 

People want change. Why is it so hard to listen to people that actually put

you in office that want real change not (INAUDIBLE)? But they`ll listen,

because the people have to vote at the end of the day.

 

VELSHI: Chris Stewart, thank you for joining me again. Chris Stewart is the

attorney for the family of Rayshard Brooks. We`ll speak again soon, Chris.

Thank you.

 

Congressional Black Caucus chair, Congresswoman Karen Bass, is working late

on Capitol Hill where tonight the judiciary committee is getting ready to

vote on the House Democrats` police reform bill. She joins us from there

now.

 

Congresswoman, good to see you again. Thank you for being with me.

 

I wanted to get your reaction to the charges brought today in Atlanta

against the officers responsible for Rayshard Brooks` death. Do you think

this charging decision represents a hopeful sign in this moment to get

justice for victims of police violence?

 

REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA), CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS CHAIR: Well, I do think

it represents a hopeful sign. But, you know, as I sat here and watched Mr.

Stewart, and I`ve seen him several times before, I feel a tremendous

responsibility to deliver. We have to deliver for all of the tens of

thousands of people that are on the street demanding change. And I just

hope they keep it up.

 

But I also have to deliver for those families. And the thing about Mr.

Stewart, you could see the pain on his face –

 

VELSHI: Yes.

 

BASS: – representing those families after this time and time again. I

think we`re going to be able to make a difference this time. We have to.

 

VELSHI: So, let`s talk about what that difference looks like, because you

are leading a charge to pass a slate of police reforms through Congress.

The last time we spoke, you felt very good about it. Now we`ve got a

different effort led by Senator Tim Scott in the Senate that a lot of

Democrats don`t feel is as thorough as the one that you`re working on.

 

So, tell me how you see this coming together, if at all?

 

BASS: Sure. I`ll tell what you I feel good about, is that in the past, when

we`ve had legislation like this – and I don`t mean about policing, it

could have been about health care, there`s been a wholesale rejection from

the Republicans. What the Republicans are doing this time is they`re

mimicking our legislation, almost every category that we have, we are

suggesting policy changes, they copy it, but they take the teeth out. And

so, we obviously have to put the teeth back in.

 

And let me give you a couple of examples – saying that we`re going to

study chokeholds, saying that we`re going to collect data on no-knock

warrants that killed Breonna Taylor. We don`t need data for that. We don`t

need to study chokeholds. We need to ban those.

 

And so, the fact that they are mimicking our language tells me that there`s

a place that we could land. And what I`m seeing now, you know, it`s

partisan right now, but you know that`s part of the process. We will pass

it out of committee. We have more than enough votes to pass it off the

floor. The same thing will happen in the Senate. And then we`ll go to

conference.

 

I will tell you, in the Senate, there is also the Booker/Harris bill, and

hopefully, they`ll be able to have a hearing –

 

VELSHI: Yes.

 

BASS: – and pass that as well. But I am hopeful that we`re going to get a

bill on the president`s desk. And it absolutely has to be substantive. It

cannot be smoke and mirrors.

 

VELSHI: And Senator Booker was just on with Chris Hayes, and one of the

conversations they were having is that whatever you come to, even the bill

you`re working on, there are some people out there who are calling for some

version of abolish the police or defund the police, redirect funds that are

going to police to things that communities need like mental health care and

better health care and better homeless care.

 

What do you – how do you feel this, what you are proposing or what you

might get, lines up with a broader call that seems to want responses that

are even more far-reaching than what you`re suggesting?

 

BASS: Well, let me just tell you, make no mistake, there is much, much more

for us to do. This bill is narrowly tailored to police. But the

Congressional Black Caucus, in just a couple of weeks, as soon as we get

past this hurdle, is going to introduce a massive bill called Jobs and

Justice, because we have to get at some of the problems in the community,

some of the root causes.

 

But you know what has happened over time is that we have divested from

cities. We`ve divested from communities. In Los Angeles, we have a jail

called the Twin Towers, and it`s filled with hundreds of mentally ill

patients.

 

And you hear police all the time saying, I didn`t come here to be a police

officer – to be a social worker, I`m a police officer.

 

We need (AUDIO GAP). We need to address community issues. We need to

address social, health, and economic issues, and stop leaving it to the

police to pick up the pieces when we refuse to fund the type of community

services and supports that people need.

 

So, in the bill, there is funding for communities to apply, to create

projects, pilot projects, et cetera, to re-envision what public safety

looks like in a particular community.

 

VELSHI: Re-envisioning what public safety look like is where we have to go.

We`ve got to re-imagine it. We`ve got to look at it.

 

And we thank you for the work that you`re doing. Congresswoman Karen Bass -

-

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

BASS: We have to put the resources in the right place.

 

VELSHI: That`s right. Thank you for joining me, again. We`ll talk again in

the next few days. I appreciate it, as always, when you take time for our

conversations.

 

BASS: Thank you.

 

VELSHI: Well, it`s been a weird time in the news for a while now. But this

is the first time I`ve seen the Elton John discography collide with the

national security news. Just what he has to do with John Bolton and Donald

Trump, coming up next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

VELSHI: OK, I`m not making the claim that this is the most important

revelation in former Trump national security adviser John Bolton`s new

book. There are a lot of head-spinning anecdotes to choose from, now that

reporters have gotten their hands on copies of Bolton`s tell-all ahead of

its release and they`ve been chronicling its revelations all day.

 

But for whatever reason, this is the story from the book that I cannot get

out of my head. Do you remember how Donald Trump liked to call North Korean

dictator Kim Jong-un “rocket man”, sometimes “little rocket man” for good

measure? He even called him that in his first presidential speech to the

United Nations.

 

But then he did a sudden U-turn. He held this big fawning photo-op summit

with the dictator and started lavishing him with praise, talking about the

two of them falling in love. And apparently, according to John Bolton`s new

book, Trump at this point became concerned that maybe Kim Jong-un might

hold a grudge because of all that rocket man stuff.

 

As “The Washington Post” reported today, quote: In the months following the

summit, Bolton described Trump`s inordinate interest in Secretary of State

Mike Pompeo delivering a Trump-autographed copy of Elton John`s “Rocket

Man” on CD to Kim during Pompeo`s follow-on visit to North Korea. Trump had

used the term “little rocket man” to criticize the North Korean leader but

subsequently tried to convince Kim that it was a term of affection.

 

Trump didn`t seem to realize Pompeo hadn`t actually seen Kim Jong-un during

the trip, asking if Pompeo had handed over the CD, wrote Bolton. Quote,

Pompeo had not. Getting the CD to Kim remained a high priority for several

months.

 

Now, if you had get an autographed Elton John CD to North Korean dictator

on your bingo card of Donald Trump`s priorities, you`re in luck. Like I

said, maybe not the most important thing today, but when it comes to

foreign autocrats, and Donald Trump, John Bolton has a lot of frightening

stories to tell you, like the time last summer, when Bolton says Trump

directly asked China`s president to help him win the 2020 election. Bolton

writes that Trump, quote, stunningly turned the conversation with Chinese

President Xi to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China`s

economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to

ensure that he`d win.

 

He stressed the importance of farmers and increased Chinese purchases of

soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome. I would print Trump`s exact

words but the government`s prepublication review process has decided

otherwise, end quote.

 

That means the White House removed Trump`s exact words from the book

because it claims those words are classified.

 

The White House just tonight has filed an emergency motion with a judge

trying to block the publication of the book next week. And the Justice

Department is reportedly considering criminal charges against Bolton.

 

Bolton also argues in his book that the House impeachment inquiry should

have investigated President Trump for many more offences than it did even

though John Bolton refused to testify and tell impeachment investigators

about those things.

 

We`re going to talk with lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff, chair of the

House Intel Committee, about that in just a moment.

 

But first, joining us now, Peter Baker, “New York Times” chief White House

correspondent and one of the first people to get a peek at this book.

 

Peter, thank you for your time. I know you`re still going through it.

 

Here is my question for you. Bolton has so much to say about what Trump did

wrong, what Trump did that could have been impeachable or maybe illegal.

Why didn`t he testify? Does he write about that?

 

PETER BAKER, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, he

does write about that, and his explanation is kind of complicated and

probably not satisfying to a lot of people. But what he says is that during

the House process, he wanted to wait and see whether a judge would

determine whether aides like him should testify over the objections of the

White House.

 

The White House did not want John Bolton to testify. His aide Charles

Kupperman had gone to court, asking the court to decide, do I listen to the

House, do I listen to the White House? Who do I listen to?

 

John Bolton said, I`ll follow basically the results of this legal action,

so the judge can decide whether I should testify or not. Once it got to the

Senate, once the House voted for impeachment, Bolton shifted gears a little

bit and said, OK, this is now on trial, I will testify if subpoenaed.

 

But, of course, if you remember, the Senate Republicans voted against

calling him or anyone else to testify during the trial, even after our

paper reported some of the details from this book including that he

confirmed a direct linkage by the president between the security aid he was

suspending from Ukraine and his assistance that Ukraine help him against

his political rivals.

 

The Senate Republicans said, no, we don`t want to hear from John Bolton,

even if he said what apparently he says in this book, it doesn`t make any

difference to us.

 

So, it`s a complicated story here. But you`re right, why didn`t he come up

and volunteer all this sooner.

 

VELSHI: In your piece today, you say that Bolton describes President Trump

expressing willingness to halt criminal investigations, quote, to in effect

give personal favors to dictators he liked. Walk me through that and why

Bolton thought that that should have been part of the impeachment inquiry.

 

BAKER: Right, exactly. He describes conversations with – between the

president and strongmen like President Erdogan in Turkey and President Xi

of China, in which issues like the Justice Department investigations of

companies like Halkbank, which a Turkish institution, and ZTE, which is a

Chinese firm, were basically on the table. He saw them as basically

bargaining chips, maybe he would call a halt to the investigations in order

to curry favor with Erdogan or with Xi Jinping.

 

What Bolton is arguing here is he was effectively putting his personal

politics, his own desire to curry favor with these dictators above the

national interest in terms of interfering with these law enforcement

investigations.

 

He says that`s something the House should have looked at. They didn`t. He`s

not saying it was impeachable but he`s saying they should have investigated

to learn more about it to decide whether or not it was impeachable.

 

VELSHI: We were talking about China. There`s a lengthy excerpt from the

book in which he talks about the deal that President Trump was trying to

make. I don`t know what it was, he was going to get Xi to help him in some

way. This of course was a trade war that was started by President Trump.

 

Do we have some sense of what he was trying to achieve with Xi Jinping?

 

BAKER: Sure. What he was talking about was getting Xi Jinping to commit to

buying more American agricultural products, specifically to help President

Trump win favor in farm states and therefore to actually win the election

this year in 2020. He was very blunt and open, according to Mr. Bolton, and

saying help me win the election, if you buy these agricultural products,

that will help me in these farm states.

 

Now, we should note that Robert Lighthizer, who is U.S. trade

representative, testified on the hill today. He was asked about this, he

said I was at that meeting and it didn`t happen. But it`s a pretty stark

picture that Mr. Bolton is painting here where the president of the United

States is asking China for help to win an election. It parallels, in

effect, what the Ukraine case was all about, the idea of bringing in a

foreign power, in that case Ukraine, to interfere in domestic politics, in

that case to investigate Democrats.

 

What it shows, according to Mr. Bolton, is a desire by the president or

sort of a predilection by the president to mix his interests with those of

the nation, basically to sort of see the government as a tool to advance

his own personal political interests rather than, you know, a larger duty

to the country that a president is traditionally expected to maintain.

 

VELSHI: Peter, good to see you as always. Thank you for joining us tonight

with your reporting. Peter Baker is “The New York Times” chief White House

correspondent.

 

All right. We`ve got much more to unpack on this topic tonight. We`re going

to be speaking with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff who

led the impeachment of Donald Trump. That`s coming up. Stay with us.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

VELSHI: John Bolton, of course, refused to testify as part of the House

impeachment`s investigation. It was left to other witnesses, including some

who worked directly for him, to describe what they said he knew.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

FIONA HILL, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR ON RUSSIA: You tell Eisenberg,

Ambassador Bolton told me, that I am not part of the – this, whatever drug

deal that Mulvaney and Sondland are cooking up.

 

WILLIAM TAYLOR, ACTING U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: Ambassador Bolton ceased

the meeting, closed the meeting, finished the meeting, and told his staff

to report this meeting to the lawyers.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you tell Ambassador Bolton about this conversation

as well.

 

TIM MORRISON, FORMER NSC OFFICIAL: I did. I did, yes.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what did he say to you?

 

MORRISON: He said to tell the lawyers.

 

HILL: He then in the course of that discussion said that Rudy Giuliani was

a hand grenade that was going to blow everyone up.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

VELSHI: John Bolton clearly knew some things. But just how much he knew

would not be revealed until the middle of President Trump`s impeachment

trial in the Senate, when we got a smoking gun, as Peter Baker just talked

about, courtesy of “The New York Times.” The paper reported that in new

draft manuscript, John Bolton confirmed that President Trump had told him

directly that he would continue to withhold military aid from Ukraine until

that country announced investigations into Joe Biden.

 

Each day, the lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff continued to make the

case for why Bolton`s testimony was so crucial. And yet despite those daily

entreaties and that explosive new allegation, the report from “The New York

Times,” Senate Republicans refused to call John Bolton as a witness.

 

Today, we learned that Bolton`s book does in fact resolve the key question

behind the whole impeachment saga, confirming that Trump explicitly linked

the security aid to Ukraine to investigations involving Joe Biden. In his

book, Bolton writes, quote, the next morning, August 20th, I took Trump`s

temperature on the Ukraine security assistance and he said he wasn`t in

favor of sending Ukraine anything until all the Russia investigation

materials related to Clinton and Biden had been turned over. Until they had

been turned over.

 

Of course, this belated admission is just one of many new revelations in

Bolton`s new book that we`re learning now, four months after the Senate

voted to acquit the president.

 

Adam Schiff reacted today, tweeting, quote: Bolton may be an author, but

he`s no patriot.

 

Joining us now, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, California

Congressman Adam Schiff.

 

Congressman Schiff, thank you for joining us this evening.

 

I want to just start off with some reporting from “The New York Times” that

federal prosecutors are weighing whether to criminally charge John Bolton

with disclosing classified information in his upcoming White House memoir.

The internal discussions about whether to charge Bolton are occurring at

the highest levels of the Justice Department and involve Attorney General

William Barr.

 

I know you`re no fan of John Bolton`s. I know you believe that if John

Bolton had testified, there may have been a different outcome to the Senate

impeachment trial.

 

But what do you make of this reporting that Bill Barr, who we know very

effectively carries Donald Trump`s water, is looking at whether or not to

charge John Bolton?

 

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIR: Well, the reporting

doesn`t surprise me. But it`s enormously distressing that Bill Barr would

once again at Trump`s insistence contemplate using the Justice Department

as a political tool to punish the president`s enemies.

 

I have no doubt that Bolton, much as I have a low regard for him and what

he did, sought to get clearance from the review process, and that review

process was politicized. The president insisting that he was not going to

allow anything to be included in this book.

 

That`s not how that process is supposed to work. It`s supposed to be

apolitical, based on just what`s classified or not classified.

 

So I think this investigation is, you know, likely to be completely bogus.

But it`s a way of trying to chill people from speaking out about what

they`ve seen. And it`s a way for Bill Barr to do more dirty work for the

president by threatening to prosecute the president`s political enemies.

 

VELSHI: So John Bolton implies in the book that there is something that he

wants to write about or wanted to write about regarding the conversation

between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping in which he implies that he asked Xi

Jinping for assistance in buying agricultural stuff from America, to help

him in the election.

 

Classified means classified. It means there`s a danger to people having

that information. Not unseemly or not something that the White House wants

to be put out there. But it does seem that once again the White House might

be confusing those two issues.

 

SCHIFF: Without a doubt. And we`ve seen this before. I think the White

House views the classification process as a means of censoring information

that is not classified, but would be highly embarrassing to the president.

 

And the president`s own words, what he told Xi in terms of trying to

solicit foreign intervention to help his reelection campaign, it`s such a

profound similarity to his attempt to get Ukraine to help, his plea to

Russia to hack Hillary`s emails, that I`m sure he doesn`t want his own

words used not because there`s any classification risk, we already know the

fact of what he communicated, but rather to avoid the embarrassment and the

further incriminating nature of his specific comments.

 

VELSHI: Whether or not one likes John Bolton, he spent a lot of years

dealing with American policy and foreign policy. And he told Martha Raddatz

of ABC that when you`re dealing with somebody like Putin who has made his

life understanding Russia`s strategic position in the world against Donald

Trump who doesn`t enjoy reading about these issues or learning about them,

it`s a very difficult position for America to be in.

 

John Bolton suggesting that President Trump`s ignorance is a security

danger to America.

 

SCHIFF: There`s no question that that`s true. His ignorance – but also

just the self-serving quality of this president.

 

Really I think the harshest indictment that I`ve seen reported about

Bolton`s book, and it was very consistent with what we presented during the

impeachment trial, is that the president consistently puts his own personal

interests, his political interests, above that of the interests of the

nation.

 

We said he would do it again. Clearly, he did do it again repeatedly, as

part of a pattern. And that`s the most serious indictment, and that`s what

really jeopardizes our country, when you have a president who has so little

regard for the best interests of the country, and who constantly puts

himself first.

 

VELSHI: Congressman, good to see you again. Thank you for joining me.

 

Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff, thanks for your

time tonight, sir.

 

Ahead tonight, an alarm bell from a doctor on the front lines of the

coronavirus pandemic, that`s next. Stay with us.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

VELSHI: I`m going to show you a map. These ten states set new coronavirus

records. The contours of the crisis are a little bit different in each of

the states. Some set new case records for a single day. Some are

overtopping their seven-day averages.

 

But the end result is the same. When the number of sick people goes up, so

does the number of people in the hospital, which means eventually the

hospitals struggle just to keep up.

 

This is the headline out of North Carolina today. Reported coronavirus

hospitalizations soar to another new high.

 

Same thing in Texas. This headline today is a particular gut is a

particular gut punch. Officials say many more people will get sick and die

if increases in hospitalizations continue.

 

The situation in Arizona, that one is particularly dire right now. At the

start of this week, E.R. visits, ICU bed usage, ventilators in use, all of

those measures hit a record high.

 

The governor of Arizona has said not to worry, that hospitals are plenty

equip to handle the coronavirus epidemic that is spreading unimpeded in his

state. And so, the doctors in Arizona are sounding the alarm for him

instead.

 

One E.R. doctor alarmed by the surge of sick patients in his hospital

telling “The Arizona Republic”, quote, I`m taken aback. I walked into the

hospital and I was like, oh, my God. He says what he was seeing in his E.R.

tells him the situation in Arizona is not as bad as the numbers are

showing. He says he thinks it could actually be worse.

 

Joining us now is that Arizona E.R. doctor, Dr. Murtaza Akhter. He`s a

clinical assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of

Medicine in Phoenix. He works in two different Arizona hospitals.

 

Doctor Akhter, thank you for joining us.

 

Please tell us what you have been seeing in the E.R.s in Arizona and what

has you so concerned about the course of the outbreak in that state right

now.

 

DR. MURTAZA AKHTER, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PROFESSOR AT UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, PHOENIX: Ali, thank you so much for having me.

 

Basically, what I have been seeing in the E.R. is sort of like you would

have expected based on the data, except to me it looked even worse. I knew

going into my shift just a couple days ago that the numbers in Arizona were

surging. We were making national headlines, which is never a good thing to

make national headlines for.

 

And yet, as you quoted, I was taken aback by both the patient volume we had

in the emergency department as well as how sick they were. A lot of them

had significant respiratory complaints, what we call influenza-like

illness. And as you can guess, almost all of them that we tested and have

results for tested positive for COVID. It was crazy to see how many of them

were sick and how many of them were COVID positive.

 

VELSHI: And in our world today, in 2020, we`re used to real-time data. But

one of the things we struggled with since the beginning of the outbreak is

the delay. You told “The Arizona Republic” that what you`re seeing makes

you think that the data hasn`t caught up with the reality. What do you mean

by that?

 

AKHTER: Yeah. When I was a researcher, I always liked to focus on the data

rather than anecdotal experience. But that being said, to have that many

people in the hospital come back positive told me something was off. I have

been working in the emergency department years, right, and we have been

doing COVID testing for many months. And so, we have noticed that before at

the early onset stages, only some people were COVID positive and then more

and more.

 

I literally asked my colleague on shift who was the other attending

physician, hey, have you had any negative tests, and he told me we have

one.

 

VELSHI: Wow.

 

AKHTER: So, that gives you an idea of how bad it is if we`re talking about

one case that is negative out of all the ones we tested.

 

VELSHI: A couple of days ago, the president said if we just stop testing,

we`d see a drop in the number of cases. And I suppose we`d see a drop in

the number of reported cases, but in fact that wouldn`t result in a drop of

the number of people that are actually getting the infection.

 

AKHTER: That`s exactly right. I mean, I guess I can`t disagree with the

statement. If you don`t test anybody, I suppose nobody will be positive. So

that`s a sort of topological (ph) arguments.

 

But our job as physicians is to find the disease. And in the case of

coronavirus, we do it not just by how they look clinically but how they

test for COVID. And the number of cases is skyrocketing.

 

There are some people making this (INAUDIBLE) we`re testing more, of

course, there will be more positive. That`s fine. You are going to get more

cases if we have more tests, but the positivity rate is also increasing.

So, not only are we testing more, which in theory should drop the

positivity rate as you are doing more widespread testing, including

asymptomatic people.

 

VELSHI: Right.

 

AKHTER: Quite the opposite. Our positivity rate is going up and by a lot.

It`s honestly, it`s almost shocking. Maybe I shouldn`t be surprised, but

I`m kind of shocked.

 

VELSHI: Dr. Akhter, thank you for joining us. Dr. Murtaza Akhter is a

clinical assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of

Medicine in Phoenix. We appreciate not just your time but the work you are

doing to get us through this crisis. Thank you, sir.

 

Still ahead, a chain reaction of sorts put into motion five years ago to

the day. That`s next. Stay with us.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: There were laws banning all black church

gatherings. Services happened here anyway, in defiance of unjust laws. When

there was a righteous movement to dismantle Jim Crow, Dr. Martin Luther

King Jr. preached from his pulpit and marches began from its steps.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

VELSHI: It has been five years since the event President Barack Obama was

eulogizing there, the racially motivated massacre at the Emanuel AME

Church, Mother Emanuel in Charleston, South Carolina. The hope for the

Emanuel Nine as they are known in Charleston now, and they are remember

there tonight is that their lives would not be lost in vain.

 

Momentum for change started building almost immediately after the massacre

when South Carolina decided that after 54 years, the Confederate battle

flag would finally be removed from the statehouse grounds.

 

But that work continues to this day throughout the country. We`re seeing

cities like Virginia Beach, Virginia, working to get Confederate statues

off of government property. The work continued this afternoon in Charleston

with the mayor announcing a plan to remove a monument to the city to John

Calhoun, a staunch defender of slavery.

 

So, as people in Charleston are marking the night five years ago when nine

people were lost inside a local church, they are also marking the start of

a national movement that remains with us today.

 

That does it for us tonight. Rachel will be back tomorrow. Now, it`s time

for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.

 

Good evening, Lawrence.

 

                                                                                               

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