BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again. Day 1238 now of the Trump administration, 146 days until our next Presidential Election.
Protests continue unabated as George Floyd`s brother calls on Congress to enact change and the President tries to decide where he will land as our nation faces a reckoning on policing and justice and inequality.
Philonise Floyd came to Lafayette Square this evening marching with lawmakers in the area near the White House where federal officers last week used chemicals and clubs and horses to clear demonstrators peacefully protesting his brother`s death. This was a day after a day on Capitol Hill where lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee heard his plea to change policing across our country.
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WHITE HOUSE, GEORGE FLOYD`S BROTHER: I can`t tell you the kind of pain you feel when you watch something like that. When you watch your big brother who you looked up to your whole entire life die, die begging for his mom, I`m tired. I`m tired of pain. Pain you feel when you watch something like that. He didn`t deserve to die over $20. I am asking you if that is what a black man is worth, $20? I`m here to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain. Stop us from being tired. It is on you to make sure his death is not in vain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: By the way news out of the twin cities where we`ve learned that Thomas Lane one of the officers charged in connection with the death of George Floyd has been released on 3/4 of a million dollars bail.
The President has yet to come out with any definitive proposal to address police reforms even though House Democrats, Senate Republicans are working on their own pieces of legislation. White House aides are said to be working on the issue but this afternoon during a meeting with African- American supporters Trump avoided specifics instead focused on what he says has already been achieved.
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DONALD TRUMP, (R) UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: You go down the list of criminal justice reform and all of the things we`ve done, opportunity zones, the best unemployment rate in the history, just before the plane came in. When you look at the economics, when you look at how well the black community has been doing under this administration nobody has done anything like we`ve done. And the big thing is criminal justice reform. I keep hearing about oh, criminal justice reform. And everyone is trying to take the credit. And that one I will say we will take the full credit because they couldn`t have done it without us.
So you don`t need closed police departments?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no we need the police.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Tomorrow Trump travels to Dallas where he is expected to talk about race and policing with law enforcement officials. And faith leaders, we`re told.
Politico reporting there appears to be a new effort within Trump`s base to promote defend the police as opposed to the recent calls to defund the police.
The White House is now defending Trump posting a false conspiracy theory about the video that shows the 75-year-old man in Buffalo, the protester knocked down by police officers. The false tweet calls it a, "set up."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does the President regret tweeting out a baseless conspiracy theory about a 75-year-old protester on the morning of George Floyd`s funeral?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President was asking questions about an interaction in a video clip he saw and the President has the right to ask those questions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But does he regret tweeting out this protester was assaulted?
MCENANY: The President does not regret standing up for law enforcement.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should the President have facts before he tweets anything out? He is the President of the United States.
MCENANY: The President did have facts before he tweeted it out that undergirded his question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Meanwhile Trump has come out firmly in opposition to another movement that`s been gaining support as the nation grapples with these issues. He says he is now firmly against renaming the various U.S. military bases named after con federal commanders. Writing, "These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom. Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations."
Late this afternoon NASCAR which has hosted Trump as grand marshal at the Daytona International Speedway announced, "The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited at all NASCAR events and properties." The ban was requested by Bubba Wallace the only black driver currently in NASCAR`s upper echelon.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now calling for the removal of statues of confederate soldiers and officials from the U.S. capitol. There are 11 of them.
In Portsmouth, Virginia tonight demonstrators took the heads off four confederate statues and pulled one down using a rope as police stood by. Amid all of that Trump is now getting ready to get back on the campaign trail with his first rally in nearly three months taking place next Friday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We`ll be starting our rallies the first one we believe probably we`re just starting to call up will be in Oklahoma. In Tulsa, Oklahoma. Beautiful, new venue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Meanwhile, more bad polling for the President. New Gallup survey shows his approval rating has dropped ten points to 39% as Trump resumes campaigning. The Federal Reserve is predicting long term high unemployment and a tough road out of our recession. That comes amid reports of major retail chains restructuring, getting out of the business, and some of their stores. Still Trump says he sees an economy on its way back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are doing well in so many ways. We`re really doing a financial comeback. The jobs numbers were fantastic. I think the economy will be next year will be maybe the best it`s ever been.
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WILLIAMS: On that note for our lead-off discussion on a Wednesday night, Shannon Pettypiece, Veteran Journalist, Senior White House Reporter for us at NBC News Digital. Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent for the New York Times, and Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize Winning Columnist for the Washington Post.
Good evening and welcome to you all. Shannon, I`d like to begin with you with a preview of tomorrow. Something less than a national address on race and policing which some folks around the President told us all to expect but a teleprompter remarks tomorrow, what are we expecting tomorrow in Texas?
SHANNON PETTYPIECE, NBC NEWS.COM SENIOR WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, what is on the President`s official schedule now is a round table event in Dallas on transitioning the economy after the coronavirus. So not necessarily a round table discussion on race or policing issues. It appears to be on the economy. But NBC News was told earlier today to expect the President on the trip to Dallas to address issues of race and police reform. And if certainly police reform and that while they wanted to have the President talk about some tangible policy recommendations he could make around policing. They certainly don`t expect that tomorrow but were hopeful he could at least outline some of his thinking, some things that are on the table, possibly some executive orders he could take. But throughout the course of the week the administration officials have been sort of downplaying expectations on what we should expect to hear from the President when it comes to addressing underlying issues of race and policing that really drove the protests.
At the end of last week they were telling me the President was going to spend the weekend in a listening session putting together policies. And we`re still hearing from people that there may be a policy package coming from the White House but not until Friday, maybe sometime next week. So this keeps slipping while as you noted the President is weighing into more divisive issues on race like the renaming of the bases after confederate and military leaders or the conspiracy theory about the protester who was shoved by the police. Those things he is talking about but we still aren`t hearing tangible solutions from him dealing with policing.
WILLIAMS: And indeed, Peter Baker in the meantime, does the White House seem at all aware of the gravity of the testimony on the Hill? Do they seem aware of what has been taken and asked of this one American family? The print edition of your paper, the headline reads, "GOP Blindsided by Public`s Rage at Floyd Killing." The Washington Post puts it that his party is now politically isolated. Is this as we discussed last night another way of saying, you go to war with the demographic you have?
PETER BAKER, THE NEW YORK TIMES CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Brian, sorry. Bad connection here. I think that the White House is perfectly aware of just how powerful that testimony was today, just how powerful this whole movement has become. But I think they have a President whose instinct is to defy the conventional wisdom that he needs to reach out to them. He has shown every day where his real instincts are and the instincts are if somebody says we should rename the confederate named army bases he is going to say no. He got angry when he saw reports the military was thinking about doing this. Secretary Mark Esper, General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were talking about that as part of a more comprehensive plan to address issues of race within the military.
Remember the uniform ranks are 43% of people of color so a lot of strong feelings within the military as well particularly as we`re talking about the last few days whether or not the military should be sent to the streets to confront protesters. And so the Pentagon officials were very angry today when the President upended them with those tweets but he understood that was something that would appeal to his base, appeal to the people he thinks are turned off by the street protests and appeal to those who find the idea of law and order the message of the day.
Now most polls show more Americans including a lot of Republicans are sympathetic to the protests but the President is putting himself against the popular tide here. As you point out even NASCAR, an institution that is very favorable to President Trump, a lot of the fans are favorable to President Trump, said no more confederate flags today. The President is tacking against that movement we`re seeing in American society right now.
WILLIAMS: Eugene, because words matter, you and I are old enough to remember the effort by Trump and Republicans to get Hillary Clinton to use the phrase, radical Islamic terrorism. Well, there is a new conversation afoot about the phrase systemic racism. I`ll offer you this. We`ll talk about it on the other side.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does the President feel that there is systemic racism in law enforcement?
MCENANY: He believes that most of our police officers are good, hard- working people. And there is a lot of evidence of that and he has great faith in our police department.
BILL BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think there is racism in the United States still but I don`t think that the law enforcement system is systemically racist.
LARRY KUDLOW: I don`t believe there`s systemic racism in the U.S.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don`t think there`s any systemic racism against African Americans in United States?
KUDLOW: I will say it again, I do not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: So, Eugene, three people saying everything is fine.
EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: Yeah. No systemic racism. I mean, I don`t understand why the administration is trying to plant a flag there because the enemy has already advanced far beyond that point. I mean, this is a moment where many Americans who may previously sort of have been close to the idea sort of get the concept of systemic racism. White Americans who might in the past have seen it as the phrase as some sort of threat to them or accusation directed at them rather than actually a neutral description of the reality of the American life.
People are more open to that now. And I think you saw a hint of that in NASCAR`s stunning decision to ban the confederate flag at all NASCAR events, which, you know, so the President is trying to cater to the NASCAR crowd but NASCAR is, has already moved on. I mean, I just think they`re way, way behind on what`s happening and they just don`t seem to have a clue as to where the country is. And that is a bad place for a President to be.
WILLIAMS: So, Shannon, tell me how the Trump campaign pulls off this bank shot of campaigning and having rallies during a pandemic and a time of civil unrest. Or is this so all about the base that the people they would attract in the crowd, it`s not like they are going to be encumbered over a fear of a pandemic. It`s not like it is going to take time away from their civil disobedience in the streets.
SHANNON: Well, you raise that connection between civil -- you know, the protests that were seen in the Trump rallies because one thing that we have been hearing is that the campaign felt that the images of tens if not hundreds of thousands of people in the street not social distancing or wearing masks sort of gave them coverage to say, well, if there can be a giant mass protest gathering of all these people then we can certainly have a rally.
We don`t know if the rallies will necessarily look like a stadium packed full of people shoulder to shoulder. They could be an outdoor event possibly where people are spread out a little bit more. But that, those images of the protest were a catalyst to get that going.
And I`ll say something about the value of the rallies too. It is certainly important for the President emotionally to get out there, it is important for his base to charge them up, but the rallies are very important to the campaign structurally because they provide an enormous amount of data. They are really data collection and mining operations. Everyone who signs up for a ticket gives their e-mail to the Trump campaign which can then cross check it with the voter file, their consumer history and find out what type of people are showing up to enthusiastically support the President.
And for the past few months the campaign sort has been flying blind in that regard and having to depend on polling mostly public polling. So once they begin these rallies again that`s going to give them a better window into where the President`s supporters lie and what the demographics of those people look like and how it`s changed over the past few months. So that is also a key thing to keep in mind with these rallies.
WILLIAMS: Peter Baker, you`ve writ then week about this law and order presidency. Steve Schmidt added this to the conversation earlier.
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STEVE SCHMIDT, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: This isn`t a conversation about law and order it`s a conversation about justice. And when Trump talks about law and order it is the law and order of Bull Connor, it`s the law and order of police dogs and vicious dogs and domination of the streets. That is not law and order. The people who crave law and order are the people on the streets protesting for justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: And indeed, Peter, while Trump has invoked Richard Nixon a time or two, you cite perhaps a more accurate example.
BAKER: Well, I think people talk about the 1968 campaign and, remember, Nixon`s appeal to law and order and of course he did. He ran against the sort of counterculture against the student protesters and anti-war protesters and to some extent obviously the riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King.
But what people forget is he ran in the middle in a way between Hubert Humphrey on the left, the democratic nominee and George Wallace on the right. George Wallace with the segregationist former Governor of Alabama running on a third party. And it was Wallace who was the more combative, more incendiary candidate that year.
Nixon actually had a theme of bring us together. He actually talked to suburban audiences about their obligations to the underprivileged. He marched in Martin Luther King`s funeral procession that year. And so while he obviously did play to the concerns and fears of a lot of, particularly white middle class Americans that, you know, upheaval they were seeing in the street was disturbing he was careful to try to balance that in a way that we don`t see right now out of this President.
And so in fact if anybody right now the President is sort of occupying in the Wallace name, you know, going the hard right, law and order without really making much of a nod of the concern of the people who are in the streets they have legitimate concerns to be addressed.
WILLIAMS: Eugene, the President has announced this rally. Tulsa, Oklahoma next Friday for the good people watching who may not know tell folks the meaning of the calendar date next Friday and especially the meaning locally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
ROBINSON: OK. The meaning of the calendar date June 19th. So the emancipation proclamation was issued the beginning of 1863 during the civil war. However, for obvious reasons it was not announced to the enslaved people who were freed by the emancipation proclamation during the war. And so that didn`t happen until the war was over. And the last state in which and enslaved African-Americans were told that they had been emancipated that they had been freed was Texas. And that happened on June 19th, 1865. June 19th, June 10th. And so that date is celebrated by many African- Americans. And that`s the significance of the date.
The significance of the place, Tulsa, 99 years ago, the perhaps most horrific race riot in our nation`s history, certainly one of them took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This is a race riot according to what was a definition of a race riot up until the 60s which was a riot by people white against black people. And this centered on part of Tulsa, African-American business district that had been known as the Black Wall Street. And it was a horrific, horrific mob attack on innocent African-Americans that killed perhaps hundreds of people. It is unclear exactly how many. There are some efforts under way now in Tulsa to unearth what might be mass graves. It was a horrific thing and that was 99 years ago. So that is the significance. He knows how to pick them, this President.
WILLIAMS: Yeah. I just want to let people know it is not just a Friday in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Thank you for that. Our thanks to Shannon Pettypiece, to Peter Baker, and Eugene Robinson, three good friends of the broadcast.
Coming up after our first break, we have hit a major milestone in coronavirus cases. This is not a good one. One of our country`s leading experts is with us tonight to tell us what could happen next. As more of our country reopens.
And later, being against racism is one thing but are you antiracist, specifically? We`ll talk to the author of the bestselling book on this topic who says, that may be the true test. THE 11TH HOUR is just getting under way on this Wednesday night.
WILLIAMS: The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S., testing dependent, has now surpassed 2 million. Many states that were first to reopen, east restrictions are already seeing something of a second spike. Cases are now rising in at least 21 states. Experts say the spike is tied to the reopening. In just the state of Arizona think about this. Hospital patients have doubled in the last ten days.
We welcome back to our broadcast Dr. Michael Osterholm. He is a Professor and Director at the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy University of Minnesota. Also happens to be coauthor of the recent book, Deadliest Enemy Our War against Killer Germs.
Doc, here we are. There is only talk about reopening in the media say for some talk about the spikes in cases in a number of states you and I can rattle off. And kind of slowly people still at home lightly branded as scolds or worry warts for not wanting to get out and comingle. As I`ve asked so many times where are we in this virus?
DR. MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH AND POLICY, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA: Well, first of all we have to understand we`re not over coronavirus at all. We are at the beginning. We`re at 5% of our population has been infected to date with all the pain, suffering, death, and economic disruption. Know that we`re going to 60% or 70% of the population infected one way or another either through the virus or will develop immunity through a vaccine which isn`t going to come any time soon. So this constant talk about being over with is ridiculous and it`s dangerous.
In terms of where we`re at in this country right now if you really - we have to have a sense of humility and say we don`t know. You correctly pointed out that 21 states are seeing cases increase. That is compared to 17, 10 days ago. But if you look at the number of states seeing decreases right now that is 25 compared to 16, 10 days ago. So we are seeing almost the tale of two countries. One where cases are increasing, one where they are actually dropping where they are reopening. So I think it is unclear where we`re at right now.
WILLIAMS: I`ve been struck by the silence from the CDC. I`ve been struck by the silence from the coronavirus task force. I don`t know that it is still a working unit. They have abrogated their responsibility in public health by not updating people on this. And I hope everyone involved is cool with that being part of their obituary.
The Vice President tweeted out this photo tonight, since taken down, he went over to Trump/Pence campaign headquarters and of course a lot of folks in social media noticed one thing about the photo. Find a mask anywhere on any person in the photo. Perhaps for that reason and realizing that it violated restrictions in Virginia right now where it was taken, this photo was taken down tonight. So where are we, Doctor, in the traditional federal government role of public health updates and education?
OSTERHOLM: The fact that I can`t answer that tells you something. I don`t know. And that is really unfortunate. The CDC, you`re right, doesn`t say much. They are doing good work in the states, a number of CDC out helping state health departments and doing great work. But that kind of messaging, that public health leadership we need is really absent.
I think the administration has just decided the virus is done and over with. The problem is they don`t get to decide. The virus will decide. And as I`ve said before, we`re not driving this tiger, we`re riding it. We are going to see a lot of coronavirus infection in the months ahead and no amount of willing it away is going to make any difference.
WILLIAMS: You and I have talked about the social justice during a time of social distancing. Is it safer to protest outdoors or attend a political rally indoors?
OSTERHOLM: Right now anything you can do outdoors is better even if you are around other people. We`d like to have you stay apart. Distancing is by far the most important thing you can do. There is no other public health intervention of any kind that is more important than distancing.
Outdoor is the virus dissipates very quickly. Particularly in a more windy location. Ironically beaches happen to be some of the best places in the world to blow the virus away. So I think it`s a great idea to be able to go out. If you in fact are in close contact outdoors, however, you`re coughing because you`ve encountered tear gas or smoke, or you`re yelling and screaming then, yeah, you may be able to transmit more.
Clearly indoors is the big challenge. We`ve known for decades that if you want to transmit these human viruses from people breathing and sharing air the place to do it is indoors. So that would be the area that I don`t care what you are doing, whether a rally, whether it`s a meeting, any of those activities, indoors is clearly a much higher risk.
WILLIAMS: Doctor, we so look forward to your visits. Michael Osterholm with us from Minneapolis tonight, our thanks as always.
OSTERHOLM: Thank you.
WILLIAMS: And coming up, our next guest writes eloquently about the struggle of a lot of Americans to be antiracist. The questions he says we need to be asking. We`ll talk to him when we come back.
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PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD BROTHER: He pleaded for his life. He said he couldn`t breathe. Nobody cared. Nobody. Anybody with a heart, they know that`s wrong. You don`t do that to a human being. You don`t even do that to an animal. His life mattered. All our lives matter. Black lives matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Again, all we ask is that people consider what`s been taken from and then asked of this American family in the space of 16 days. Calls for change permeate beyond injustices of police brutality in our country.
As our next guest writes in the Atlantic, quote, black Americans are constantly stepping into the souls of the dead because they know they could have been them. They are them. Because they know it is dangerous to be black in America, because racist Americans see blacks as dangerous.
For more we are happy to welcome to or broadcast to Ibram X. Kendi, he has joined Boston University to launch the school`s BU Center for Antiracist Research. He is also a contributing writer for the Atlantic. As an author, he is already a recipient of the National Book Award and his latest work, "How To Be An Antiracist" is currently on the "New York Times" best seller list.
Professor, we are so happy to have you on and this is where I`d like to begin. Let`s talk about the white folks who are self-identified as enlightened. Maybe even woke who are proud to proclaim they are not racist. How long a walk is it from where they are to what you see as antiracism per se?
IBRAM X. KENDI, BOSTON UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR ANTIRACIST RESEARCH: Well, I think that in their minds they are already antiracist but what`s actually the case is by self-identifying as not racist. They`re self-identifying in the way slave holders self-identified themselves as nonracist, segregationists argued that they were not racist. Even Donald Trump says he is the least racist person anywhere in the world.
And so the construct of not racist has historically been people when they`re challenged with being racist they respond, I`m not racist. That`s all it`s really ever meant. That`s all - it`s utility has ever been. But there is a very clear sense of what it means to be antiracist. People who are antiracist believe the racial groups are equals, poepl e who antiracist are striving for policy that leads to equity and justice.
WILLIAMS: What are the questions people, good hearted people everywhere, should be asking right now?
KENDI: Well, I think good hearted people should be asking questions as to why in Minneapolis are black people only about 20 percent of the population but more than 60 percent of the people who are subjected to police shootings. Why is it that black and brown people are disproportionately infected and disproportionately even killed from COVID-19? These are racial disparities.
And there are only two answers to the two questions. Either it is because there is something wrong with black people, there`s something wrong with brown people, or it is the result of racist policies. I think Americans need to ask these questions so they can understand where they stand on the racist or antiracist side.
WILLIAMS: Starting on the policing side of the equation are you optimistic? Has your opinion changed over the past 16 days that police departments -- this entire defund conversation that`s going on -- police departments can be rebuilt to better serve knowing that when we all dial 911 we need to know there is somebody coming?
KENDI: I don`t know whether I am optimistic or pessimistic but I think looking at the reality of so many Americans from small towns to big cities who recognize that police violence is a serious, widespread problem, that there is a culture of violent policing and, indeed, when people decided or are now deciding to demonstrate against police violence we`ve seen police violence at the demonstrations against police violence. And so I think Americans are seeing this is a problem and this is a problem that needs to be changed and there is really no tinkering around that really we need to reimagine American policing, we need to really reimagine public safety.
WILLIAMS: I want to play something from Professor Eddie Glaude over at Princeton and get your reaction because I heard a through line between his words and your writing. We`ll talk about it on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PROF. EDDIE GLAUDE, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: I was also thinking about the nature of black public grief and suffering and trauma. That it has to be in public in this way. I was thinking about going back to 1871 and congressional hearings around the KKK and we had to testify to the torture, the maiming, the loss of loved ones. Thinking about all the moments where we have to in some ways make explicit our loss, our trauma, in order to move the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Professor, your reaction?
KENDI: I think that is one of the things that really I guess to understate it bothers black Americans that it takes something so egregious that in terms of George Floyd`s murder, in terms of Breonna Taylor`s murder and then the simultaneous outcry of public suffering for then certain Americans to realize that black people feel pain, too. That black people are human, too. That their lives matter, too. Why does it have to be something so egregious? Why can`t we see the every day problem of racial profiling as something that needs to be transformed? Why does it have to be as serious as the death of someone like George Floyd?
WILLIAMS: Again the book, "How To Be Antiracist." Professor Ibram Kendi who as an author is already a winner of the National Book Award. A great pleasure having you on the broadcast tonight. Thank you for joining us.
KENDI: Thank you for having me on.
WILLIAMS: Coming up for us, why so many veterans of the justice department would like to see its current boss investigated. We`ll talk to one of the people who signed on to a letter saying just that. Right after this.
WILLIAMS: Over 1,200 former department of justice employees are urging the agency`s watchdog to investigate Attorney General Bill Barr`s role in clearing protesters from Lafayette Park last week. Horses, clubs, weapons firing chemical dispersants were all used on peaceful citizens. A short time later the president appeared for his widely condemned photo op holding up a bible in front of St. John`s church.
The DOJ alumni letter to the inspector general reads, quote, we are disturbed by Attorney General Barr`s possible role in ordering law enforcement personnel to suppress a peaceful domestic protest in Lafayette Square.
On Friday the A.G. denied giving the order to clear the protesters but earlier in the week the White House press secretary told reporters it was Barr in fact who made the decision and this reminder. Barr himself made a very public visit to the park knowing it would be spotted by the cameras that day as he conducted his personal survey of the crowd.
Back with us tonight is Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI assistant director for Counterintelligence. He is among our national security analysts for good reason.
So, Frank, people are exhausted. People have watched accountability wash away. These days when you have a problem in this government you fire the inspector general. People have seen other, the letters with mass signage get ignored. As a signee of this letter why is this important?
FRANK FIGLIUZZI, FMR. FBI ASST. DIRECTOR FOR COUNTERINTELLIGENCE: First because we should refuse to allow what I call outrage fatigue to become numb to us. We can become numb to this. We can become use to it. But the alumni of the Department of Justice that signed this letter are saying we can`t get use to this is. This is not normal and we need answers about the role of this attorney general and the use of excessive force against peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square that day.
We need to know who gave the order, who planned to execute this use of force including a pepper spray gas and rubber bullets and injuring peaceful protesters and journalists and even greater than that, Brian, we are asking for a larger inquiry into the attorney general`s role writ large involving the protests. Why is it that he seems to think he is in charge of non-DOJ law enforcement? There were Secret Service, military, park police in Lafayette Park. Does he think he is in charge of those agencies as well? Let`s get this worked out. If he has a case to make let`s hear it.
But right now we demand answers and the inspector general specifically that is what we are asking for is inspector general inquiry, his job? Ferret out waste, fraud, and abuse and I think all three elements are there. We also need answers on how this attorney general could have declared the Drug Enforcement Administration, the DEA., some kind of secret agency to monitor and survail protesters throughout the country and gave them broad federal authority to do so. Let`s get some answers on that. We`re going to set a precedent moving forward for the future and before we do that let`s call time-out.
WILLIAMS: If reasonable people agree this A.G.`s greatest act of supplication thus far was to act as human kevlar and shield the blast of the Mueller report, from his boss, as A.G. Barr is remembered years after he serves, where will this act in Lafayette Park rank do you think?
FIGLIUZZI: I think this is going to form a legacy of attorney general who`s going to be viewed through the lens of history extremely harshly. He is going to be viewed as someone who did not stand for law and order but rather abused his authority. He is going to stand for someone lying to the court.
If you look at -- this was a bad day for Attorney General Barr. If you look at what`s happened in the district courts in Columbia we have a judge who is appointed by the judge sitting in the Flynn case who has come out and said in over 70 pages laid out the evidence that Barr is not being truthful when he asked to dismiss the charges against former national security adviser Flynn.
The language in there is extremely harsh saying the briefing that was filed was filled with inexplicable errors of fact and law. Says it looks like the only reason this dismissal motion was made was because Flynn is a friend of the president. This is something that can`t go on and we need answers from this attorney general if he is going to continue in that role.
WILLIAMS: And that ladies and gentlemen was why we felt the need to hear from Frank Figliuzzi tonight on our broadcast. And Frank our thanks as always.
Coming up for us, we get a report from overseas tonight about the impact of George Floyd`s death thousands of miles away from home.
WILLIAMS: When we say that George Floyd`s death has already changed the world, that is not an empty phrase. Protests now indeed stretch around our world. And in the United Kingdom, demonstrators are confronting longstanding images of that country`s own history with slavery. NBC`s Helena Humphrey has our report tonight from London.
HELENA HUMPHREY, NBC NEWS CORRESPNDENT (voice-over): Anger at injustices of today exacted upon the symbolism of the past. Edward Colston`s statue in Bristol, England rolls and (INAUDIBLE) to a philanthropist and fell inferior his profiteering as a slave trader. Cast into the harbor where slave ships once docked. Across the Untied Kingdom, Black Lives Matter protests are forcing a brutal reckoning with the country`s colonial history. Thousands demanded the removal of this monument to slave trader at Cecil Rhodes at Oxford, University.
And this statue of Robert Milligan, another slave trader was lifted from plinth in central London in front of cheering crowds.
DAVID OLUSOGA, HISTORIAN: The problem is statue is a symbol. Statue say this man is hero, and that`s the end of it. They can`t debate. There`s no nuance. There`s flexibility, that`s what statues are not an effective mechanism for telling us a history.
HUMPHREY: London`s Mayor Sadiq Khan has ordered a Commission to review the city`s landmarks, murals, street names and statues. He wants to erase tributes to those with links to the slave trade.
(on camera): Feelings are running so high here now that even the record of one of the country`s most famous sons is now in question. Graffiti sprayed on the statue of Winston Churchill, and now largely removed, calling out his record of racist remarks. A demonstration too far for one of his biggest admirers.
BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER OF UNITED KINGDOM: I will not support those who break the law. If you want to change the urban landscape you can stand for election or vote for someone who will.
HUMPHREY: Signs that the movement is spreading. 150-year-old statue of King Leopold who ruled cause the death of millions in Africa was removed from a public square in the Belgian City of Antwerp yesterday. George Floyd`s death shined a light on racism and inequality in the world today. His legacy may impart change history too. Helena Humphrey, NBC News, London.
WILLIAMS: An example of what we`re talking about. Coming up, some of the other news. An important story particularly that got by as our attention was focused elsewhere past few days. We`ll have it for you after this.
WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, full disclosure, this is not happy news, and it`s not for the faint of heart either, but it is a reminder, that while we cover a pandemic and social unrest, governing goes on. The rules get changed almost as if no one is looking. This happens to be about hunting in Alaska. Here is the headline, and here is the photo, and here is the reporting from Lisa Friedman of the "New York Times." And we quote, Baiting grizzly bears with donuts soaked in bacon grease, using spotlights to blind and shoot hibernating black bear mothers and their cubs in their dens. Gunning down swimming caribou from motorboats. Hunting methods that for years were decried by wildlife protectors and finally banned as barbaric by the Obama administration will be legal again on millions of acres of Alaskan wilderness in time for the warm July weather.
The National Park Service policy published the new rules in the Federal Register on Tuesday, reversing Obama administration rules and giving trophy hunters, outfitters and Alaskans 30 days to prepare to return to national preserves in Alaska with the revived practices. Among the reinstated tactics, killing wolves and coyotes, including pups, during the season when mothers wean their young and using dogs to hunt bear.
The article goes on to point out this is a issue championed by president`s son Don Junior, it says the group Safari Club International recently auctioned off what they call a week-long dream hunt with D.J. T.J through the wilds of Alaska.
That`s tonight`s reminder that elections have consequences. That`s also our broadcast for this Wednesday evening. Thanks for being here with us. On behalf of all of our colleagues at networks of NBC News, good night from our temporary field headquarters.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END