BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: And good evening once again. Day 1,239 of the Trump administration. Now 145 days remaining until the Presidential Election.
There are now loud calls for police reform across our country, and today the President doubled down on law and order and what he calls dominating the streets and today offered something of a plan for police reform.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, they went to get rid of the police forces. They actually want to get rid of it. Instead we have to go the opposite way. We have to invest more energy and resources in police training and recruiting and community engagement. We have to respect our police. We have to take care of our police. They`re resecting us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Trump made those comments at a roundtable discussion with law enforcement, faith leaders, small business owners and a mega church in Dallas. It was billed as an opportunity for him to announce the administration`s plan for holistic revitalization and recovery after George Floyd`s death.
During the conversation, the President avoiding any mention of George Floyd by name, also focused on what many say is systemic bias within police forces.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have to work together to confront bigotry and prejudice wherever they appear. But we`ll make no progress and heal no wounds by falsely labeling tens of millions of decent Americans as racists or bigots. We have to get everybody together. We have to be in the same, same path. I think, Pastor if we don`t do that, we have problems and we`ll do that, we`ll do it. I think we`re going to do it very easily. It`ll go quickly and it`ll go very easily.
We want compassion. We want everything. What happened two weeks ago was a disgrace when you say that, with dominating the street with compassion because we`re saving lives, and we`re saving businesses, we`re saving families from being wiped out after working hard for 20 and 30 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Dallas Morning News notes that today`s event, "excluded the top three law enforcement officials in the county." Police chief sheriff district attorney who all happened to be black. In terms of actual policy Trump says he`ll issue an executive order to encourage departments to follow the most current professional standards on use of force.
Meanwhile, the decision to use force to clear protesters from Lafayette Square last week continues to royal the Pentagon and strained relations with the White House. In fact, our network is reporting Army General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff famously seen walking into Lafayette Park wearing camo battle fatigues. Weighed the idea of resigning over the criticism of his role in the operation, which of course concluded with that awkward photo op with a Bible at St. John`s Church.
Afterward, General Milley reportedly spent hours looking at social media reading news articles, he saw dozens of people calling him out for showing up in combat fatigues at a peaceful civilian protest.
Today, he apologized for his participation. It was in the form of a video he made for graduates of the National Defense University.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: As many of you saw the result of the photograph of me at Lafayette Square last week that sparked a national debate about the role of the military in civil society. I should not have been there. My presence in that moment, and in that environment, created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics. As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I`ve learned from.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: The Pentagon has now ordered an after-action investigation into the National Guard participation in that operation on Monday last week.
Meanwhile, the public health crisis that has engulfed our country since February now raising new alarm for good reason, as Coronavirus cases that we know of move north of 2 million and deaths are now over 114,000.
The COVID Tracking Project finds, "The pandemic is splitting in two. As COVID-19 recedes from the initial US epicenters in New York and New Jersey, cases continue to grow in the southern and western United States. For the first time since April 1, there are now more cases of COVID-19 in both the south and west than there are in the northeast." 21 of our US states are seeing a rise in new cases. Tennessee among them, the mayor of Nashville now taking precautions to laying what`s called phase three of their reopening plan.
Hospital admissions for COVID-19 also rising in about a dozen of our states right now. Arizona, very hard hit. Now experiencing a second week of sharp increases, that state`s Department of Health says ICU hospital bed usage approaching 80 percent. And this all comes as one health expert is issuing an alarming prediction about fatalities because of the virus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: Over the next three months, we will cross the 200,000 mark right about 113,000 now. So sometime in September, we`re going across 200,000. And we still won`t be done, right, this pandemic is going to be with us until next spring or summer when we have a vaccine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: New fears about a resurgence of the virus coupled with a grim prediction on economic recovery by the chairman of the Fed that received very little notice yesterday when he said it. Push stocks down today. The Dow dropped 1800, 61 points nearly 7 percent of its total volume worst session in three months` time. The economy still losing jobs although at a slower rate.
One and a half million people filed unemployment claims just last week, over 44 million of our fellow citizens were put out of work over just the past 12 weeks. The White House has taken note of concerns about a new wave of coronavirus cases, possibly triggering another lockdown. Well, today the treasury secretary said that`s not happening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: We can`t shut down the economy again. I think we`ve learned that if you shut down the economy, you`re going to create more damage. We have Main Street which is going to be now up and running. And we`re prepared to go back to Congress for more money to support the American workers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: On that note, here with us for our leadoff discussion on a Thursday night Jonathan Lemire, White House Reporter for Associated Press. Kimberly ATKINS, Senior Washington Correspondent for WBUR Boston`s NPR News Station. And Dr. Vin Gupta, he`s an E.R. doc specializing in these kinds of illnesses, also an affiliate Assistant Professor with the University of Washington, Department of Health Metrics Sciences.
Good evening, and welcome to you all. Kimberly, I`d like to start with you. The initial billing was that we should expect perhaps a national address on race by this President this week. This week is about out. Today, we didn`t get much. We did hear a doubling down on law and order and supporting the police. Is that it until I guess we read the wording on an executive order?
KIMBERLY ATKINS, WBUR SENIOR NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I would suspect so. I think the people who we have seen and heard from protesting out of concern about criminal justice reform out of concerned about seeing black people killed by police in various videos, more videos seem to be coming out every day. When you talk to them, they don`t say they would really like to hear the President address a nation. I think three and a half years in when there have been multiple tragedies or crises facing the nation, the President has shown that he is not the consoler in chief. He is not the unifier. He thinks in political terms. And those political terms tend to be divisive. He, as an enemy, and it`s his side against the other side. And this is proving to be no different.
So it seems that the talk, all of the talk of trying to have this broad conversation on race, win the biggest race message he`s done so far on races, what the hell do you have to lose? Didn`t seem like a good approach. What he wants to do is move beyond this. He doesn`t want to lose the support that he sees from police. But the problem is when he ran on the law and order platform in 2016, and had people chanting blue lives matter at the Republican National Convention, that was a very different time, things have shifted since then. Back then Black Lives Matter was being widely panned and condemned by a broader number of people. Some folks were calling it a terrorist organization.
Now you see suburbanites, you see soccer moms protesting in suburbs, saying Black Lives Matter. So the calculation may not be politically sound at this point, but the President is sticking with it. He sees that as a winning political message and that`s what he`s forging forward with.
Jonathan Lemire, let`s talk about the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is a generally taciturn, press shy, New Englander, he`s from Massachusetts. He likes all the same sports teams you do and likes to talk about them and little else, highly unusual to hear the chairman of the JCS apologize for anything even more unusual when you add in our NBC News reporting from Courtney Colby about this crisis he had personally reading the criticism, reading the coverage, wondering what to do and wondering about his legacy. A little bit surprising silence from the President thus far. Is it the same in the rest of the West Wing?
JONATHAN LEMIRE, ASSOCIATED PRESS WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Brian, if you`d prefer we could just talk about the dwindling sports teams tonight. And Kimberly, I should mention --
WILLIAMS: No, thanks I`m good.
LEMIRE: -- as well. Fair enough. Where we are Brian is this was an extraordinary moment. And the quotes came over first written form and then we saw the video of General Milley, it was even more powerful. We had reporting at my college, the Associated Press had some terrific reporting earlier in the week. He was privately telling people that he had regrets about how this played out particularly that he was there in his battle fatigue because he had gone home and changed the world back to the White House.
He was summoned back. He didn`t like the look, you know. And he -- This was his effort today to express regret but to also try to reestablish that separation between the politics of the White House and the business of the Pentagon.
And I think that`s coming on the heels of a number of other national security officials, both current and retired, including, of course, the former Secretary Defense, James Mattis, speaking out against the President. We are seeing a real hard line drawn here that the President should not have used the military as a prop, if you will, or as part of his photo op. A week or so ago, when they cleared Lafayette Parks, we could stand in front of St. John`s holding -- awkwardly holding a Bible.
And it also goes to show the President connecting to what Kimberly was saying the sort of out of step he is right now with this moment, it seems we`re all these institutions, the military, yes, but also sports figures, pop culture figures, soccer moms, all seem to be really the Black Lives Matter moment and movement really resonating with them while the President is doubling down like today, again, saying that he would not have the names of confederate generals stripped from American military institutions. But he doesn`t want that. But again, he focused only on the law and order aspect of this roundtable he held in Dallas with not even really a nod towards the concerns of those who have filled the American streets largely peacefully over the last few weeks. He`s doubling down on a case here many believe is racist, and he`s showing no signs of budging whatsoever, even though simply forget morally, even politically, it appears to be damaging.
WILLIAMS: And indeed, Dr. Gupta, we`re having this conversation in the midst of a pandemic something because of what we`ve been covering. These past 16, 17 days we`ve had to remind ourselves and our audience another reminder we got today is they are always watching. And I point to this graphic that shows us using ourselves phones and what this graphic shows to the folks who analyze them for a living is a lot of us are back to pre- pandemic levels of going out, gathering with others. What`s the risk out there right about now, Dr. Gupta?
DR. VIN GUPTA, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Brian. You know, here`s the problem, whereas previously, in March, when the first -- when we thought the first wave began, and we had a fighting chance, we had a President that was compelled to potentially cooperate. We had a public that was willing to tolerate big intrusions into their personal life, social distancing, masking, now we`re seeing weakening across the board. We`re seeing the Georgia governor for example, say if you`re a waiter or waitress in a restaurant, you can scrap the mask. Makes no sense. But he said that you can scrap the mask. No masking now in Georgia is OK, in public places like restaurants.
Arizona ICU bed capacity. They have no surge capacity. There`s no crash beds. And that`s a problem. That`s a huge -- and that`s a problem nationwide. We haven`t magically come across more ICU beds. In the last three months, we didn`t learn the lesson to create permanent bed capacity. And now, by the way, warm temperatures didn`t bring the reprieve. We thought it would.
Rio, it`s 85 and sunny. In Texas, it`s 90 and sunny. And by the way, Texas has one of our worst outbreaks now, resurgence in cases. So those three in and of itself are concerning. But then you see the graphic there people are gathering. But the most disturbing thing is that the President is seeking informed consent. For supporters of his we`re going to attend his rally in Oklahoma, a place that`s also seeing a resurgence in cases. The only time you seek informed consent is when you think there`s a potential for harm when you`re trying to do something good for an individual. That`s the only time.
What`s the benefit? Why is he seeking informed consent from people? They`re worried. They`re worried they`re going to get sued because this is going to be a breeding ground for coronavirus. And yet, they`re going ahead with it because they`re political motives were not the interests of his supporters at that rally. So this is deeply concerning. We have a President, a Vice President yesterday, you saw the pictures cheering on crew of his campaign members without masks, this is just -- This is -- we`re in trouble. And we`re in trouble because the leadership at the top is grossly negligent and seems like they`re intentionally trying to be the adversary of those of us in public health.
WILLIAMS: Yeah indeed, back to the man at the top today at this roundtable. He talked about, well, not quite community policing, but policing by National Guard. He talked about the night after the paroxysms of violence in Minneapolis, where admittedly, governor, mayor lost control of that city. They had to let the protesters have a police precinct. Here`s the President talking about viewing the scene when the guard was in place the next night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It was like knife cutting butter right through long. I`ll never forget you saw the same on that road wherever it may be in the city, Minneapolis, they were lined up, boom, they just walk straight. And yes, there was some tear gas and probably some other things in the crowd dispersed and they went through by the end of that evening and it was a short evening. Everything was fine and you didn`t hear too much about that location having problems anymore. They went to other locations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: So, Kim, of course that reflects one side of what`s been going on the streets, but that is the side he has chosen to walk forward for the next 145 days.
ATKINS: Yes, he is going to walk that side from this point forward. He`s been walking that side for four or five years now. He sees strength in force. He talked about domination. He -- remember before the Lafayette Square was cleared out. He excoriated governors for not looking strong for looking weak for failing to have that strong presence.
And, you know, if we go back to Ferguson, if you recall, one of the lessons in Ferguson in response to protests is that the militarization of the response led to an even greater problem than even existed before and there was an effort across the country at police stations to deescalate, to not have a militarized response to protests.
And even in the last few weeks, what you saw is first curfews were imposed, and you had that very strong police response, which just encouraged more interactions. Once the curfews were lengthened or dropped. You saw the protests get much more peaceful. The protest, the curfews just set up a law for the protesters to break which encouraged a police interaction and mayors and police chiefs were learning in real time, that de-escalation, dropping that was the best way to go. You see the President still wants to see troops in the streets. He still wants to see a federalized force just like during his campaign.
I keep going back to this, but he threatened to send federal police to cities like Chicago, which was both this law and order approach and it was also a bit of a dog whistle because he was threatening to send these kinds of forces into predominantly black places. So he is doubling down. He is not going to back off. He is not seeing the change in the moment in so many people. He wants to have the support of police officers. And I wouldn`t be surprised if we once again here shouts it of blue lives matter at the rally he`s going to hold in in Tulsa.
WILLIAMS: And Jonathan Lemire, speaking of that, Tulsa rally, I know you guys at the AP have some reporting on that. There`s also this, the President has decided to accept the nomination in Jacksonville, Florida, not Charlotte, North Carolina as planned. It coincides with one of the darkest days in the city`s history. The President will address his supporters on the 60th anniversary of Ax Handle Saturday when a white mob organized by the KKK attack mostly black civil rights protesters sitting at the city`s whites only lunch counters. So you combine that with Tulsa and the dripping significance of Tulsa, a friend of mine asked me straight up tonight is someone that dastardly and the President circle or can we chalk any of this up to mistake sloppiness coincidence?
LEMIRE: Brian, we have the answer for that. First on Jacksonville, you`re right a lot of the sort of business-oriented parts the conventional remain in Charlotte but the forward facing aspect, the President`s speech will be in Jacksonville. He wants a big crowd. No masks. I might note it`s the end of August. Not only will it be brutally hot and humid in Jacksonville, that`s also the peak of hurricane season. So somebody be watching in terms of the Tulsa rally, has returned to rallies, his first one since the pandemic began.
Next Friday, it is June 10. And yes, my colleague and I report tonight for the Associated Press, members of the Trump campaign staff, they very much were aware of that anniversary. They knew that June 19 what it meant, they knew the location and Tulsa, the site of that race riot in the 1920s. Might be inflammatory. They expected some blowback. We report tonight they were caught off guard by just how intense it was. But there`s no discussion of changing the date. The President mentioned the rally yesterday. The campaign that we had 24 hours of controversy. The campaign went ahead and officially announced it today, including putting out that invite for tickets that says you can`t sue the campaign. You can`t hold them liable if you get coronavirus.
Certainly, they wanted a big crowd. Oklahoma did not have quite not yet. The surging COVID-19 infections in other states. It`s a deep red state. It`s certainly not a swing state. But there is a congressional district nearby. They hope to flip from the Democrats. The Republicans more than anything. They just want to do it fast. The governor there said he`s cooperated. Here you go. The rain is ready to go. You can put this together -- put this rally on in a couple weeks. That`s why they`re forging forward with no second thoughts over a date. That means a lot of other people upset a lot of people yesterday.
WILLIAMS: Dr. Gupta, a quick one for you to round us out. Where`s the CDC? Where`s the Coronavirus Task Force? Nothing but silence. We heard from Dr. Birx giving advice to the governors but only because the audio was leaked. I invoked your name earlier this afternoon. You are now what passes for our public health experts that we pass along to the public. We can only we`re only left to theorize that it`s fear of the President. That those two entities have gone silent during a pandemic.
GUPTA: Brian, thank you for giving myself and my colleagues a platform here for platforming truth. You`re right. Well, who do I look to for truth when we see the WHO, for example, walk back as a grievous mistake in saying asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 isn`t a real thing. I looked at Dr. Fauci, where`s Dr. Fauci is nowhere to be found. But we have this Tulsa rally to look forward to which is going to be, as Jonathan said, a breeding ground for coronavirus, because, by the way, people`s civil liberties are being taken away. They can sue if they get sick. And so this is a big problem. Brian, you mentioned it time and again. We`re leaderless when it comes to public health because we don`t have the right people at the platform making the case for what is right and what`s wrong.
WILLIAMS: On that note, Jonathan Lemire, Kimberly Atkins, Dr. Vin Gupta, our thanks for starting us off on this Thursday night. We greatly appreciate having the three of you.
Coming up for us, the President says they`re part of our great American heritage. There`s the H word, but those are actually confederate names on some of our best-known military bases that folks now want to change. We`ll talk to a retired Army Lieutenant General who served at one of the bases in question.
And later we`re having a presidential election. Let`s not forget in 145 days during a pandemic. Seems like a good time to get a prediction out of James Carville, who`s standing by to join us live tonight as The 11th Hour is just getting underway on this Thursday evening.
WILLIAMS: The President could be headed for a fight with of all people his own Republican senators who have shown him supreme loyalty at every turn. This is about renaming the U.S. military bases that were named after confederate military commanders, including some big ones well-known names like Fort Bragg, Benning, Hood, Hulk (ph).
Today, just as the President was saying Republican senators would hopefully never go for it. The Republican led Senate Armed Services Committee approved a proposal to strip confederate names from military bases within the next three years. The amendment was added to the Defense Authorization Act by Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Just yesterday, Trump said he would not consider renaming these bases adding today, "Those that deny their history are doomed to repeat it."
Well, back with us tonight, Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Russel Honore, who led the relief effort, of course, on the ground in New Orleans in the days following Katrina. He happens to be a 37-year veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. And I am told, after all that build up we have lost the general because these days, we are at the whim of a Wi-Fi provider. All right, we`re going to try again. We`ll take a break, hopefully we`ll have the General with us on the other side.
WILLIAMS: So General Russel Honore is with us tonight. And, general, if our hookup works here, I can say that your internet service provider has done what no foreign enemy was able to do, and that is silence Russel Honore. It`s great to see you back again. The connection appears to be holding. I know you spent some time at Fort Benning. How would you feel if we renamed that one for somebody like Omar Bradley?
LT. GEN. RUSSEL HONORE, JOINT TASK FORCE KATRINA COMMANDER: That would be a good idea. I mean when I was a deputy commander there and I also spent some time at Fort Hood. I`ve been three tours at Fort Benning.
The unusual thing about this, while it`s time for them to be reconsidered and be renamed, the people that have served there, Fort Benning, Fort Bragg, and Fort Lee were named in the first world war. So think about how we`re building an army. You got to go in and take up a lot of farmland, local politicians. They had to vote, and they named them after confederate generals.
And there are a lot of people -- that`s just 50 years after the civil war. It`s no wonder they ended up with those names. But they have become a brand now more than anything else. Should they be renamed? Yes. But it`s not a war stop. It`s not readiness forces today. But it`s time that they get renamed.
WILLIAMS: Let me also ask you about statues. We see a lot of them coming down. We see a lot of them in the south, and we happen to know a lot of them honoring confederate generals in the civil war, confederate heroes in the civil war, were erected during the 1940s and `50s. This is not ancient history. It`s hurtful history. They were on the losing side ideology and militarily, so what do you make of that?
HONORE: Well, there is a movement right here in Louisiana. There was a proposal by our lieutenant governor because there are relatives of people who fought in the confederacy. I mean we`re one nation. I think we`ve gotten past that point. That think those monuments maybe should be put in a special park someplace. That`s an option.
But to have them as the centerpiece right outside the courthouse and right outside the state capitols, I think the time is past because they remind us of a hateful past. And those who want to cling to that and keep that confederate flag alive, it just adds fuel to the fire. It`s very hateful as a person of color to have to deal with that.
WILLIAMS: General, I`ve got less than a minute. I know this is a potentially big question, but what did you make of the chairman of the joint chiefs, General Milley, apologizing for how that looked in Lafayette Square?
HONORE: I thought last week the chairman had done a good job in sorting out the constitutional use of the Insurrection Act. I think he came back today and made a transition in speaking to the forces, speaking to the public that was clear. And it`s not a function that he`s not loyal to the president. He is loyal to the president. He`s loyal to the constitution. But he`s not -- the military is not a political system. It is a national security system, and it should not be used for political purposes.
WILLIAMS: General Russel Honore, of all the homes we are lucky enough to visit in the course of this broadcast, you have a den that I would like to spend some time in and see everything on the walls behind you. Always a pleasure to have a conversation with you, sir. Thank you for staying up late with us tonight.
Coming up for us, what Joe Biden calls his single greatest concern about the November election. Our other Louisianan, James Carville with us to talk all things 2020 when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: This president`s going to try to steal this election. This is a guy who said that all mail-in ballots are fraudulent.
TREVOR NOAH, THE DAILY SHOW: Have you ever considered what would happen if the election result came up as you being the winner and Trump refused to leave?
BIDEN: Yes, I have. I was so damn proud. Here you have four chiefs of staff coming out and ripping the skin off of Trump. And you have so many rank and file military personnel saying, whoa, we`re not a military state. This is not who we are. I promise you I`m absolutely convinced they will escort him from the White House with great dispatch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: President Trump getting back out on the campaign trail next week despite the still spreading pandemic. As Dr. Gupta talked about earlier in our broadcast tonight, tickets to the event are available. These are a little different. They come with a waiver that you have to sign. It says it won`t sue Trump if you get the coronavirus by dint of having attended the rally.
Polls showing Trump trailing Biden nationally. Perhaps part of the decision to get back on the road during a pandemic. With us tonight to talk about all of it, James Carville, veteran Democratic strategist who rose to national fame with the Clinton presidential effort. Co-host of the 2020 Politics War Room podcast. Pride of Louisiana. Pride of LSU. Pride of the USMC.
James, it`s great to have you. Great to see you again. I am guessing you believe this president is on the wrong side of history, especially right now this week. I am also guessing you believe he`s on the wrong side of a changing demographic in our country.
JAMES CARVILLE, VETERAN DEMOCRATRIC STRATEGIST: Right. Brian, give me about 30 seconds, a point of personal privilege. My dear friend in Plaquemines Parish, Brother General Honore, was discussing Fort Benning. I happened to be born at Fort Benning. But my point is there`s a post in Louisiana called Fort Polk who`s named after a particularly incompetent confederate. I think they ought to change it to Fort Honore. I really do. I think it would honor a really great soldier, a really great Louisiana a man who has distinguished himself and as opposed to having incompetent confederate, why don`t we name it after a competent army general? That`s my proposal. I hope it goes somewhere.
WILLIAMS: I love that.
CAVILLE: Of course, Trump is going to do everything that he possibly can to hold on to power. And the only possible way -- and I mean -- I think they would have to cheat so enormously to win this election, I don`t think even they could pull it off. The result of this is our friend Eugene Robinson wrote, get over it, Democrats. You`re going to win. It`s not 2016. Quit being traumatized.
Let`s win by a lot. Let`s crush this thing. There`s a real opportunity to really defeat Trumpism and to make the Republican Party not a safe space for Tom Cotton and Mike Pompeo in 2024. A big think could do that. I think we`re on the verge of -- we`re living in a really compressed version of history right now. Things are happening here just in the month of June that I would have never imagined would happen at this speed. And I think there`s some chance this is going to continue to happen. I really do.
WILLIAMS: Well, let me ask you about 2016 because obviously the polls were screwy. Obviously other things were going on. But it was said that Donald Trump under polled. It is said that Donald Trump, in talking about a silent majority, is looking for people who may not advertise that they`re for him, but if he talks about their hopes and deepest dreams enough, they`ll vote for him. Do you think there`s a percentage of the population over and above his base that could make any appreciable difference?
CARVILLE: Well, first of all, if you look at the polling averages back in 2016, I think they had Mrs. Clinton up like three points. She won the popular vote by 2.1. He obviously had some late 1 percent, 1.5 percent surge in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Nate Silver had like a 70/30 chance. All kinds of things happen when there`s a 30 percent chance something is going to happen, it happens.
But this is not even close. And just every day it`s moving against him. And the Republican Party is shrinking, but many consider it to be the best public poll, the NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll, people are identified in this country as Democrats are 45 percent and Republicans are 33 percent. They`re shrinking right before your eyes. They`re going to lose. In all likelihood, they`re going to lose bad.
And 2016 had its set of dynamics. Just nothing was crawly (ph) off. He probably had a little late bump at the end of the election. Concede that. I thought that Mrs. Clinton was going to win, but I didn`t think she was going to win by that much. Sometimes you`ll (INAUDIBLE). This is -- you see these polling averages, eight, nine points, and he`s incumbent. I used to think he was stuck at 43. It looks like he`s getting stuck at 41. It`s going the wrong way for him. I mean just because --
WILLIAMS: What did you make of.
CARVILLE: -- you have project 3.4 and you have 1 or 2.1, that`s not utterly shocking. And if you look underneath that poll, it`s a lot worse for Trump. He`s at 42, and he`s incumbent. I don`t know if he gets any more in that, and his position has deteriorated even since that poll was taken.
WILLIAMS: What did you make of Biden saying his worst fear was that Trump wouldn`t leave? You know, Bill Maher has been saying this, looking into the camera and saying this for months. One of his frequent guests, Michael Moore, agrees with him straight up. They think there`s going to be some monkey business with the result. What do you make of that?
CARVILLE: Look, if the result is close enough, they`ll monkey with anything. The result is not going to be that close, and he is going to leave. And if he does not, his own secretary -- he is so weak, so inept, his own secretary of defense, his own chief -- military chief of staff that flat out say they did the wrong thing. There would be so many soldiers and airmen and marines and sailors and coast guard that escort him out, you wouldn`t believe it. They`d have a military parade drumming him out of that place.
I mean you can`t imagine what`s going on in the flag office called the United States Military. This has traditionally been, I don`t know, 85 percent Republican demographic. I was talking to a friend of mine who`s a retired general who said, I don`t think Trump would get 30. He said he`s not going to get 30.
I mean, this is something I never thought I would see in my life, that you would have the number of people coming forward, and I`m talking about very senior people in the United States Military. Look at come down in Marine Corps (INAUDIBLE), congratulations, great guy.
Ban all confederate flags. Now the navy has done the same thing. I mean these people are not in the mood to put up with this guy one day longer than they legally have to. And I really believe that. This is a changed world.
WILLIAMS: James Carville has agreed not to move during this commercial break. We`ll just pick up our conversation on the other side.
WILLIAMS: Increasing concerns over what`s to come on election day after Georgia`s debacle of a primary election, which everyone predicted by the way. And with the president saying voting by mail is illegitimate, corrupt, it does appear we are going to have a presidential election during an active pandemic on top of all the usual impediments in all the usual areas.
Luckily with us to talk about it is James Carville. James, let`s talk about election security. Here`s the math. 50 states have exactly 145 days to get it right. Georgia threatened to be a dumpster fire election, and they did not disappoint. It was a mess. What about Georgia? What about Florida? What about Iowa? What about Louisiana? Are you -- this is all up to the secretaries of state.
CARVILLE: Let`s talk about Georgia. I was born in Georgia. I worked for Zel Miller when he ran for governor in 1990. They better get their act together. There`s a lot of talented people in Georgia, and that secretary of state better reach out to these talented people. You have the call center that knows how to run elections all over the world. You got Delta Airlines. You got Coco Cola. You got god knows what not.
And these business people and civic leaders in Georgia have to come in and say we`re not going to have this because people are going to get mad at the whole state. The idea that this brilliant, important American state that given anything remotely like a fair election, the Republicans are going to lose.
But the powers that be in Georgia need to go to the secretary of state and say, you know, you need technical assistance. We`ll give you technical assistance. You need this. Georgia does not need to blemish its image with a repeat of the 2018 election, which many people believe and I`m one of them that Stacey Abrams was denied the governorship from mucking around with the registration list and precincts, the way they put the voting machines and god knows whatnot. And then you had this utter fiasco. I got a lot of friends in Georgia. Come on, people, let`s get on the stick here and have a fair election. It`s a great state. It deserves better than it`s getting.
WILLIAMS: Are you confident -- you mentioned this. They dropped 500,000 people from the voting rolls. Are you confident that 50 states with 145 days to get the job done can maintain the intent of this election?
CARVILLE: I mean some are going to be better than others, and they`re going to do everything they can to hurt Biden`s chances, but it`s not going to be enough. He`s going to win -- in my opinion, he`s going to win by so much. And people -- you know, what we`re seeing now is an intense sense of fairness in this country. And we`ve seen it across the board.
And I think there`s a lot of independents and even many Republicans who say, let people vote. What are we doing? Let my people vote. That`s a simple a message as you can have. And you`re just seeing the country in a very refreshing way move toward -- we don`t have to have this kind of injustice in the country. And the basic measurement of justice is allowing people to vote. And Georgia`s got to get this thing right. You know, I hope they do because it`s not going to be a good. I said I got a lot of friends. It`s a great state. A lot of history in that state. And they`ve got to get their act together big-time. And the democrats -- we`re on guard everywhere that you look around. We`re looking for voter purges. We`re looking for allocation of voting machines. There`s so many Democratic lawyer that`s scurrying around this country looking for this. It`s going to be an effort like you won`t believe.
WILLIAMS: Our thanks to James Carville for having us in and spending part of his evening with us. All I ask, can I be your guest at the Fort Honore renaming ceremony. We`ll make a date.
CARVILLE: Yes, sir. We will be there. Thank you, sir.
WILLIAMS: Coming up, tonight`s installment of "elections have consequences" when we come back.
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SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): This committee is advancing a judicial nominee with an anti-civil rights record. His record, in fact, is an antithesis to what the American people are marching for and demanding right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, another of our regular reminders that elections have consequences. Senator Harris there talking about Cory Wilson of Mississippi, who passed the judiciary committee today, meaning Mitch McConnell will now make sure he will be approved and sworn in for life as a federal circuit court judge. This means Trump will have appointed just under 200 federal judges.
Short of sending troops into battle, the most awesome power of the presidency is often referred to as the appointment of federal judges, who can then affect American law and life for 50 years or more after that president has left office. So many trump supporters who find Donald Trump personally and culturally and morally abhorrent find a way to support him because of his appointments to the federal bench.
That includes some candidates deemed unfit by the American Bar Association. That used to be a straight-up disqualification. These days it`s laughed at. Trump`s partner in this is Lindsey Graham, who because elections have consequences is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and they gavel through Trump`s choices.
On the radio a few weeks back with the talk show host Hugh Hewitt, Graham said something that used to be whispered about in Washington. It`s about old judges stepping aside for young judges, and as you`ll hear, he now just says the quiet part out loud.
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HUGH HEWITT, THE HUGH HEWITT SHOW: There have been 51 federal circuit judges confirmed. There are two awaiting votes that have, I think have had hearings. You`ll get those done.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Yes.
HEWITT: Do you know if there are any more judges out there eligible for senior status who will take so?
GRAHAM: If you are, take it.
HEWITT: Would you expand on that?
GRAHAM: Well, so the point is, and this is an historic opportunity. We`ve put over 200 federal judges on the bench. I think one in five federal judges are Trump appointees. If you can get four more years, I mean it would change the judiciary for several generations. So if you`re a circuit judge in your mid-60s, late 60s, you can take senior status, now would be a good time to do that if you want to make sure the judiciary is right of center. This is a good time to do it.
HEWITT: If they are an originalist eligible right now and they`re listening to Lindsey Graham, chairman, can you assure them that their successor will indeed be confirmed before the election?
GRAHAM: Well, if you wait, you know, November the 1st, no. So do it now.
HEWITT: Do it now. Loud and clear.
GRAHAM: I need some time.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Senator Lindsey Graham with tonight`s installment of "elections have consequences." That`s our broadcast for this Thursday night. Thank you ever so much for being here with us. On behalf of all my colleagues at the 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