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Juneteenth TRANSCRIPT: 6/19/20, The 11th Hour w/ Brian Williams

Guests: Maya Wiley, Jeremy Bash, Jabraan Pasha, Bill Kristol, Alvin Tillery

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Good evening once again. We suddenly have a busy night before us. Not just on a Friday night but possibly because it`s a Friday night. We`ll explain. This was day 1,247 of the Trump administration, leaving 137 days to go until our Presidential Election. And on that front, we have major news out of the Justice Department tonight, what appears to be a Friday night firing in an important post. We`ll have more on that in a moment.

Less than 24 hours from now, less than 24 hours from now, some 20,000 people will be indoors and in close quarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma, inside the Bank of Oklahoma sports arena for the President`s first campaign rally. It will also make for the nation`s largest single indoor event since the start of the pandemic, which again will be presided over by the President of the United States.

Health experts fear that what Trump wants and seems to need, an exuberant packed crowd, could lead to an explosion in new coronavirus infections.

All week the President`s been defending his decision to go ahead with this rally, praising Oklahoma for reopening, claiming the virus is, "Dying out or fading away" even as cases and hospital admissions are still surging. He insisted this week, all evidence to the contrary, that the numbers were minuscule.

This afternoon the Oklahoma Supreme Court denied a request to delay the rally or to even require the Tulsa arena hosting it to enforce social distancing and make face masks mandatory. The campaign says they will be handing out masks, but no one will be forced to wear them. Today the White House Press Secretary was asked what she intends to do.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you and other White House officials be wearing masks at the rally?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It`s a personal choice. I won`t be wearing a mask. I can`t speak for my colleagues. I`m tested regularly. I feel that it`s safe for me not to be wearing a mask, and I`m in compliance with CDC guidelines which are recommended but not required. We should be guided by science, not cherry-picking science.


WILLIAMS: NBC News reports leading experts on the coronavirus task force advised against holding the rally. Stands to reason. "Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation`s top infectious disease expert and task force response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx both vocalized concerns internally in the last week. That means they said something. Fauci repeated his warnings about these types of events again today.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The best way to protect yourself and to prevent acquisition of and spread of infection is to avoid crowds, to avoid crowds. If in fact for one reason or other you feel compelled to do that, which we don`t recommend, then wear a mask at all times.


WILLIAMS: Late this afternoon, Trump announced his plan to host another event likely to draw a crowd. A huge gathering on July 4th on the south lawn of the White House.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization warns the virus nowhere near finished with us.


TEDROS GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: The pandemic is accelerating. The world is in a new and dangerous phase. The virus is still spreading fast.


WILLIAMS: The man just said the pandemic is accelerating. The WHO says more than 150,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported yesterday, the most in a single day thus far in the pandemic. Almost half of them in north and South America, which would be our part of the world.

America`s seven-day moving average of new cases is on the rise. That`s the E.U. there in gold. As you see, after crashing, they have flattened their curve. Infections are on the rise in some 20 U.S. States, most of them in the Sunbelt. Over 2.2 million Americans have been infected. Nearly 120,000 have lost their lives.

And now some major companies are taking notice and adjusting their reopening policies. In some cases they`ve been forced to reclose. Apple today announced it indeed closing 11 stores across four of the hard-hit states -- Florida, Arizona, North and South Carolina. What does that tell you? The AMC Movie Theater chain today reversed course and announced everybody will have to wear masks inside their theaters after all Regal cinemas also now requiring face coverings.

And then there`s the President`s rally taking place on a weekend when millions will be out in the streets, outdoors, protesting against racial inequality while celebrating Juneteenth, a day dedicated to marking the end of slavery. A curfew that was scheduled to go into effect a few minutes ago in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was lifted at the President`s urging.

And this morning Trump posted this not so veiled threat. "Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters, or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma, please understand you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis. It will be a much different scene."

This afternoon reporters wanted to know precisely what that meant.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That does mean all protesters?

MCENANY: No, what he was mean are violent protesters, anarchists, looters, the kind of lawlessness that we saw play out before President Trump came in with the national guard and calmed our streets with law and order.


WILLIAMS: Tonight in an interview with AXIOS, Trump said he expects a wild evening tomorrow. He doubled down on his threat to protesters saying, "That`s got to be the least controversial of my tweets."

To begin our coverage tonight, we thought we would start by checking in with NBC News Correspondent Cal Perry. He is in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Cal, this compares to nothing else we`ve ever covered. A pandemic is a first time around for most of us. What does it feel like out there, and who is talking so loudly?

CAL PERRY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It`s the band. They`re wrapping up thankfully. I think they waited for us to get going here. It`s completely surreal, the convergence of these stories where you have the black lives matter movement. You have an entire country fighting for equality and fighting for police brutality to end. You have the anniversary here of a massacre, a race massacre carried out by jealous white community on a thriving black economic community here in 1921. That changed the face of this city forever. And then what followed was 100 years of institutional racism.

You have the story here of the President across town throwing this rally. And people here are upset. This was not supposed to take place tonight, this Juneteenth rally. People were going to stay inside. The cases are on the rise. But local leaders here thought they had to reclaim the narrative. They thought they needed to come out here and reinforce what we`re seeing across the country in spite of a U.S. who is tweeting threats at the people of Tulsa but people who are on the street.

It is a completely surreal event. And what you have tomorrow is shaping up to be quite dangerous. You`re going to have folks in the northern part of Tulsa who are going to want to have their voices heard, who are going to feel like they`re being drowned out by the President whom they view and many people on this country view as a racist. And you have his supporters, who have basically been able to figure out how to get rid of that curfew, camping overnight less than a mile from where I`m standing. You have the National Guard, that`s going to reassert itself on the street, some 250 members of the National Guard.

And there`s no really good plan about the rally tomorrow. We don`t know what time the gates are going to open on that indoor arena. We don`t know how you socially distance 19,000 people in an arena that seats 19,000 people. We don`t know where the outdoor overflow area is going to be. We don`t know how many people are going to be there, we don`t know how security is going to be run. All those details are missing including how the community is going to react.

So on a day in which you have all of these things coming together, all of these stories converging, you have the U.S. President coming to town at what people here believe is an intentional act of trying to inflame an already very difficult racial situation in the country, Brian.

WILLIAMS: We have seen our share of surreal lately. Tomorrow will be another dose. Cal Perry in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to start us off. Cal, thanks.

Let`s bring in our leadoff discussion on a Friday night. All three friends of this broadcast, starting with Annie Karni, White House Reporter for The New York Times, Jeremy Bash, Former Chief of Staff at the CIA and Pentagon, Former Chief Council to the House Intel Committee. And Maya Wiley, Former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, a veteran of the New York City Mayor`s Office, now with the new school in New York.

Maya, we`re going to begin with you because the news tonight has to deal with your old shop. The southern district of New York. For people who missed the explanation what it is during impeachment, it is basically the Department of Judgment, New York City Office. Here`s the headline in The New York Times. It`s about that man, Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney, who investigated Trump associates, including but not limited to Mr. Giuliani, is abruptly replaced.

Maya, he`s out on a Friday night. The former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara making it clear on Twitter he does not think this was a resignation. We know Berman was offered other jobs at DOJ and declined them. What do you make of it?

MAYA WILEY, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: You know, we used to call it the department of justice, not the department of just Trump. Unfortunately all too often it seems, as certainly the optics are, that this is a department that William Barr is running as a way of running interference for Donald Trump. I mean remember that we`re talking about the southern district of New York, which is often called the sovereign district of New York because of its independence.

All U.S. Attorneys` offices have some, the southern district frankly has more. And Mr. Berman remembers not just the Michael Cohen case, Donald Trump`s attorney that the office prosecuted. He had recused himself. But there`s also Chris Collins, who was, you know, suspected of insider training, who was a close Trump ally. We know that they had subpoenaed documents for Trump`s inaugural committee. There was just one investigation after another, and of course one of the big ones is also whether Rudy Giuliani, another defense attorney for Donald Trump and former U.S. Attorney for the southern district, was being investigated as well, it appeared, possibly including failing to register as an agent for foreign governments. This is a very long list of Trump allies that the southern district pursued or was pursuing. And as we know from this President, loyalty is what he demands, and the justice that he seeks is just for himself. And it ain`t justice.

WILLIAMS: OK, Jeremy Bash, so we have a pandemic. We have Tulsa, we have the southern district of New York and to prove that we`ve got to be able to walk and chew gum, I got one for you too. The folks at BuzzFeed filed a Freedom of Information Act request for some of the redacted material in the Mueller report that we didn`t all get to read. The tranche they`ve seen shows, in addition to other things, testimony that indicates the President knew in advance of the WikiLeaks documents that we`re going to hurt the democrats and Hillary Clinton.

JEREMY BASH, FORMER, CIA CHIEF OF STAFF: Yeah, Brian. I think we saw some of this during Michael Cohen`s testimony before Congress, and of course in the context of the prosecution of Roger Stone, that Donald Trump had clear foreknowledge that WikiLeaks, which was an agent of the Russian federation -- that`s the assessment of the U.S. intelligent community. There`s no dispute about that. That an agent of the Russian federation`s release of its hacked information from the Democrats was known to the President, at that time the candidate.

And so it really calls into question all the denials that he wasn`t aware of Russian interference. In fact, I think it`s clear he knew about it. Of course he welcomed it and subsequently he has rewarded it.

WILLIAMS: Annie Karni, I got something for you. This is from our friends at AXIOS just so every news organization is represented over the course of this hour. It`s about Donald Trump and Tulsa tomorrow night. The President has no intention of wearing a mask at the rally and says people should do what they want. I don`t feel that I`m in danger, he said. I`ve met a lot, a lot of people. So far here I sit. We have to get back to business. We have to get back to living our lives. Can`t do this any longer.

Annie, Cal Perry described the scene correctly in Tulsa has surreal. We have never had this clearly identifiable a mass gathering indoors of people from disparate places in the middle of a pandemic. On top of that, we`ve never had a President presiding.

ANNIE KARNI, THE NEW YORK TIMES WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That`s right. This is -- the mixed messages on social distancing and masking that the Trump campaign has put out here shows their conflicting ambitions. On the one hand, they want to demonstrate that Trump can take the rally stage in front of a packed arena just like in the old days and that America is reopen again, and that`s the message he wants to send, that we`re back to business.

On the other hand, he doesn`t actually want that, you know, his most die- hard fans are willing to go and sit in a 19,000-person indoor arena, to all get sick, to have hosted a super-spreader event. Hence you see the campaign making people sign waivers saying they won`t sue the campaign if they get sick of coronavirus at this event.

Brad Parscale is giving out masks and saying he will wear one. Kayleigh McEnany in the clip said, say she won`t. They`re giving conflicting messages because of these ambitions that are kind of at odds with each other, and the big question of tomorrow night -- one of the big questions is will people, you know, social distance themselves? Will people wear masks? In a Wall Street Journal interview yesterday, Trump said that he thinks people wear masks not to protect themselves but as a political statement to show they don`t support him. Another question is will people in that arena think to put their health to the side to show their loyalty to Trump? This is all stuff we`re going to be looking at in the arena tomorrow night.

WILLIAMS: Hey, Maya Wiley, I hope your dining room chairs comes with a seat belt because the Geoffrey Berman U.S. Southern District New York story just got stranger. It was the Department of Justice that put out a press release tonight thanking him for his service, announcing the man they plan to put up for Senate confirmation. Berman is out with a statement. "I learned in a press release from the attorney general tonight that I was stepping down as United States attorney. I have not resigned and have no intention of resigning. My position, to which I was appointed by the judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the senate. Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption. I cherish every day that I work with the men and women of this office to pursue justice without fear or favor and intend to ensure that this office`s important cases continue unimpeded."

Maya, in baseball I believe they call that a brush-back pitch.

WILEY: Whoa, OK. I am sitting down and that`s a good thing because that`s essentially as public a statement as you will ever hear that suggests that a sitting U.S. Attorney -- by the way, a sitting U.S. Attorney who had contributed financially to Donald Trump`s campaign and whom Rudy Giuliani recommended for a slot as a united states attorney. This was a Trump insider, has just publicly said, I am being removed, and I`m staying until I`m told I have to get out in order to protect ongoing investigations. That is the way I read that. I don`t see another way to read it.

Certainly the fact that he has been terminated without a conversation, that he had learned about it in a way that he suggests, means, you know, there are a couple of different scenarios, and I don`t know what`s true. But if I had to speculate, I`d say either they asked him to do something and he said no, or he just wasn`t getting subtle messages to back down, and they decided to take control. But that is an astounding public statement from anyone who serves in any role in government, let alone an attorney serving for the Department of Justice.

WILLIAMS: Jeremy Bash, same question.

BASH: Yeah, I think it`s clear he was fired because Trump is under investigation. We don`t know which aspect of the Trump organization or the Trump family or the Trump charities or the Trump business empire is under investigation, but I think it`s pretty clear that when you fire the U.S. Attorney conducting investigations on a Friday night and the U.S. Attorney has to go out and say, number one, I was fired. I`m not stepping down voluntarily.

And, number two, I`m going to stay right in my job until a successor is confirmed by the Senate, which by the way I`m not really sure how he`s going to pull it off because of course they could put in an acting U.S. Attorney in his place. That would ordinarily be the course of events. But he is saying, I`m not going anywhere because I`ve got to protect these investigations. I think it`s clear there`s a lot cooking at the SDNY, at the Southern District of New York that we don`t know about. And this U.S. Attorney is standing firm. And shame on the Justice Department for trying to remove him and undermine justice itself.

WILLIAMS: Jeremy, just because it`s a Friday night, a question I`ve asked you during happier times. What must the Russians think? I mean think of it. They spent, what, $7 to corrupt our election in 2016. A great return on investment. Hell, they probably have the Bolton book. They know about Tulsa. We have 4% of the world`s population, but USA is number one in the globe. We lead the world with 25% of the coronavirus deaths. What must they be thinking right about now?

BASH: Well, I think first of all, they`re gratified that the person they wanted to be in office in 2016 is in office. As I noted, he has rewarded them for their support. He has undermined NATO and given Russia all kind of benefits on the world stage. And second as I think they prepare for 2020, they see the President has been willing not only to go to them in 2016 -- excuse me, not only to go to Ukraine after the 2016 election but also now we learn from the Bolton book to go to China as well and ask for their interference in the American elections.

I think the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin understand that they can do the same thing in 2020, and they will. They enjoy the chaos. It redounds to their benefit, and everything that the President has done to go to other dictators and other leaders around the world and ask for involvement in U.S. elections is actually right out of Vladimir Putin`s playbook.

WILLIAMS: Annie Karni, otherwise it was a bad week for Donald Trump when you look you look at the incoming polling, two cases at the Supreme Court went the other way despite two appointees. The aforementioned Bolton book. I guess tonight`s DOJ score goes on their side of the board, though that`s getting a little fuzzy as we continue to talk.

KARNI: Yeah. I was going to say that the one thing about the late-night Friday night firing was it feels like pre-pandemic times. That almost had become kind of a normal of the Trump administration. This is a terrible moment for the President politically. That`s why this rally is happening. Every health official in Oklahoma, on the task force has recommended delaying until it`s safer to have it, and the original plans the campaign had were to restart rallies a little later in the summer.

The reason this is happening now. The reason tomorrow night is going to be this confluence of tensions about race, about health is because he is trailing in national polls and in battleground state polls to Joe Biden right now. And the thinking is that the rallies will resuscitate him. Another big question is they have failed to shock and awe for years now the way they did when he became a political star at rallies. Can the rallies really save him and pull him back up? That`s another big question. We`ll see if they still have that power.

WILLIAMS: To the members of our audience, these were the three friends we planned to have talking to us tonight on a Friday night, never dreaming they would be forced to react to so much breaking news as they did superbly. Our thanks to Annie Karni, to Jeremy Bash, and to Maya Wiley.

Coming up, just what the doctor didn`t order. We`ll talk to one Oklahoma medical expert who has sounded the alarm publicly on the President`s masks not necessary rally tomorrow, about the danger all those folks are going to receive under one roof and potentially take home with them.

And later, the President calls his former national security adviser a liar and a wacko for starters. But a prominent conservative is with us tonight, says John Bolton may be the most believable former Trump insider yet. It`s a big night on The 11th Hour just getting under way on a Friday.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to ask real quickly, when you go inside, are you going to be wearing a mask tomorrow?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I`m forced to wear a mask --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which you`re not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it`s a rule to wear a mask, I will wear a mask guaranteed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anywhere I go, I will wear a mask. However, if it`s an option, I will definitely not wear a mask.


WILLIAMS: Today the White House said it`s a personal decision for Trump rally-goers in Tulsa whether to wear a mask or not at the event. A lot of doctors would beg to differ and call it a public health decision. Oklahoma has seen this steady surge now in coronavirus cases aiming straight up since early June with a record high. Over 400 infections reported just yesterday.

Look at that line on the far right. Tulsa County also set a record yesterday. 125 new cases. So far Oklahoma has over 9,000 confirmed cases. Over 350 souls have died. Health care professionals there, including our next guest, have been pleading with the mayor of Tulsa to cancel tomorrow`s event. They call it, quote, unthinkable, warning it will undoubtedly cost lives.

With us tonight, Dr. Jabraan Pasha, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine. Doctor, you were kind enough to join me at 3:00 Eastern time this afternoon, and I won`t keep you that much longer. But we have to ask, how and when will you know if tomorrow night results in a spike considering that part of what you`re worried about tomorrow night is folks driving back out to rural parts of your state to their lives and communities and loved ones?

JABRAAN PASHA, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA: Well, thanks for having me again, Brian. You know, we would expect that over the course of the next several days, into the next week or so, we will start to see an increase in some positive cases. You typically expect an event like this to take about a couple of weeks before you really get a good sense of what the impact may be.

WILLIAMS: I`m looking at NBC News reporting on the folks we have talked to the line, as you know, started last weekend for this event. I`ll read this quote. "In conversations with dozens of Trump supporters lined up to attend the President`s campaign rally on Saturday, many said they were not worried about contracting the illness and did not plan to follow strict precautions during the event. Many Trump supporters also cast doubt on the severity of the outbreak."

Doctor, it was Dr. Fauci who was wondering aloud, whatever happened to science? How do you think this happened? Here you are a professional watching your life`s work and watching this anti-science movement happen in real time.

PASHA: You know, I think it`s just simply something that should not at all be political has been heavily politicized. You know, our concern, the concern of the individuals who kind of got behind this letter that I wrote, is that it`s a public health concern. And when you try to blur the lines and make something like coronavirus and the lives that it`s affecting a political discussion is really when we`ve gotten into trouble. It really shouldn`t be that.

Our biggest concern is trying to keep our community safe. And that`s why I felt like I had to do something. It looks like it wasn`t enough to get the rally moved outside as we would hope. But hopefully it`s enough to keep some people who were maybe on the fence at home and a little bit more safe.

WILLIAMS: How are you guys doing on available ICU beds, and how available is testing in Oklahoma? If somebody drives home to Grand Lake of the Cherokees after the rally in a rural community, can they get a test at will?

PASHA: Yes, so in regards to our capacity, our capacities right now are doing OK. But like most institutions, there aren`t a lot of ICU beds. That`s just not how hospitals are set up. And so it can only really -- it only takes a couple of days of an influx of critical patients to really use up that capacity.

In terms of the testing, our state, I think, has done a good job of getting the testing that we needed. Our testing peaked at the end of the May and was about 37,000 tests per week. Our positive iterate at that time was about 1.5 percent.

Fast forward to now we`re doing about 30,000 a week and our positivity rate is at 8 percent. And that`s --most of that testing is done in the urban setting. It is significantly more difficult for individuals in the rural setting to find testing. So that could be a problem.

WILLIAMS: I know you`ve got a long weekend of worrying ahead of you. We want to let you get to it while thanking you for being so generous with your time, doctor. Doctor Jabraan Pasha, thank you very much.

Coming up for us, our next guest insists conservatives don`t like John Bolton, but they tend to believe him. Why Bill Kristol is eagerly waiting for more, more people as he puts it to disturb the sound of license.


WILLIAMS: Earlier today a federal judge signaled he is likely to grant the justice department`s request to stop the publication of John Bolton`s book -- unlikely, forgive me. I just misspoke. The judge is unlikely to do that saying, it seems the horse is out of the barn.

Let`s explain that phrase. Over 200,000 copies of the book have already been printed, bound, and distributed. Bill Kristol makes this note about Trump`s former national security adviser. Quote, John Bolton may not be the epitome of warmth, humor, or even kindness, but he is honest. When we read Bolton`s book, we will almost certainly be reading the nearest thing to the truth about the Trump administration that we`re likely to get before historians have a chance to get inside the administration`s archives.

With us tonight, the aforementioned Bill Kristol, a veteran of the Reagan and Bush administrations, the editor-at-large over at The Bulwark. And we`re fortunate to have him frequently as a guest of ours.

So, Bill, Republicans who know him as well as you do -- and you contend to know him. You might not have to like him, but you probably are going to believe him. How do the Mitch McConnells look away now when they read in front of them that the president tried to get China to intervene in his re- election?

BILL KRISTOL, THE BULWARK EDITOR-AT-LARGE: They look away. I notice them really challenging the truth of who Bolton said. It`s inconceivable to me that John Bolton simply made this up. You know, this is not some person who drifted into government for a few weeks, sees his chance for fame and, you know, writes a memoir with made-up quotations. It`s not a reporter even who has to depend on his sources.

Bolton was there, and Bolton`s been there in other administrations, and Bolton`s an honest person. So this book, I take it he is telling the truth about the encounters that he witnessed, most all of them firsthand. A couple he`s depending on people telling him things that people are very, very close to the events telling him things.

So this is the truth. And Republicans on the Hill and elsewhere, conservatives who have known Bolton for decades, have to decide are they going to challenge Bolton? Did he suddenly become a fantasist, a fabulist, a liar, or are they going to ignore this? And I guess they`re going to ignore this so far from what I can tell?

WILLIAMS: Bill, where was he this whole time? This is, if nothing else, what we`ve learned during the hearings, this is more or less the era of the whistle-blower. Did Simon & Schuster buy his courage and patriotism or just the rights to his book?

KRISTOL: I mean I don`t know. I was very disappointed and step forward. It`s really bad. I mean it`s not that he could have stepped forward. His own deputies, Fiona Hill, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, testified. They mentioned what Bolton said. It was Fiona Hill who I believe said Bolton called this a drug deal, which is very revealing after all about the president was involved in. Bolton want to stay from it. He tells Fiona Hill to go the White House Counsel`s Office.

Bolton could have and certainly should have in my opinion stepped forward and said, I can testify to this too, and I can confirm that Fiona Hill is telling the truth. Incidentally here is what the president said in my presence because people like Fiona Hill and Lieutenant Colonel Vindman were almost always depending on secondhand accounts of what the president said personally.

If you haven`t been in the White House, it`s a little hard to appreciate, you too Brian, obviously, how close the national security adviser to the president. The White House is such a pyramid type structure. Most people even if they`re pretty important and very important in the eyes of the world, senior jobs, don`t get to see the president much.

It`s really the top tier who spend the time with the president every day. And Trump may not have loved John Bolton and may not have sat around yukking it up with him late at night, but John Bolton was with Donald Trump every day in multiple meetings for 17 months. And he`s given us a real view of what Donald Trump was like, is like as president of the United States.

WILLIAMS: Bill, what do you make of tonight`s news? Southern District of New York, Mr. Berman. Never quite seen -- I mean we`ve seen Friday night massacres before. This is kind of like a mob hit where he pulls the bullet out of his own head and says, yes, there`s internal bleeding, but not so fast.

KRISTOL: It`s kind of a -- I`m old enough trying to remember what can sometimes take a Friday off during the summer, you know, and not anymore. That`s for sure if you`re in the news business. Apparently not if you`re in the cover-up business or whatever Trump`s in. I mean it`s pretty astonishing. Berman`s been a major figure obviously. A lot of investigations run out of there. He wants to fire Berman and not let this deputy simply come in and be the interim person until Clayton from the SEC comes in, if he ever does, if he ever gets confirmed. He moved over the political appointee, the attorney for New Jersey who had been a lawyer for Chris Christie. He wants to move him over to replace Berman.

Berman is now saying he can`t just be fired this way. I`m not enough of a lawyer. You`ve got plenty of access to good lawyers about how exactly that would work. But this is a genuine crisis, and it makes you wonder what were they so scared of? What was Berman investigating? What was he close doing or refusing to do? Was he going to indict Giuliani? Was it something about Trump`s tax returns? Was it something about the Turkish bank? I mean who knows?

But this doesn`t happen just because, you know, Trump decides, oh, I`m kind of sick of the guy or it would be nice to have a change. This is a pretty major crisis, I think.

WILLIAMS: A man who has indeed read every damn book on the shelves behind him. Bill Kristol, frequent guest of ours and good friend. Bill, thank you very much for having us in and sparing part of your Friday night.

Coming up for us, as the year`s Juneteenth celebrations come to a close, a look at where we go as a nation from here



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s such an interesting time to be black in America, you know. When your president can choose such a sensitive time not just for black people but for Tulsans alike to be selfish, it really just shows the true character of Trump and his administration. It`s like trying to have your birthday party at a funeral. This is an important day to us. It`s our independence day. We were not free on July 4th.


WILLIAMS: Juneteenth celebrations around the country continue tonight including there in Tulsa. That`s where the president was supposed to be having that rally tonight until public pressure prompted him to postpone it by a day. The president insists he helped make Juneteenth a thing. Barack Obama defined the day this way. Quote, Juneteenth has never been a celebration of victory or an acceptance of the way things are. It`s a celebration of progress. It`s an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible and there is still so much work to do.

We`re happy to have with us tonight Alvin Tillery, professor of political science at Northwestern University. He focuses his studies on the intersection of American politics and race and ethnicity. He is the author of "Between Homeland and Motherland: Africa, U.S. Foreign Policy and Black Leadership in America."

Professor, talk about how Juneteenth feels different coming as it does on the 25th night we`ve got people in the streets of our cities and towns, all kinds of people in the streets.

ALVIN TILLERY, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR: Brian, it feels very different. I mean to be frank with you, Juneteenth for most of my lifetime was very much a regional holiday celebrated in Texas, in the gulf states by African-Americans and their allies there. And to see the whole nation embrace it, you know, in the wake of the George Floyd uprisings, the Breonna Taylor uprisings, it`s really amazing that we`re talking about another national holiday to mark the end of slavery.

WILLIAMS: Do you think you and I will live to see it as a national holiday truly, or will it perhaps be in the next year or two, faster than we think?

TILLERY: I think I`m going out of the predictions business. I think things are moving at such a rapid pace, it`s incredibly exciting, and it`s possible, particularly in the Democrats win full control of the Congress and the presidency. I mean to think the fight to get Martin Luther King Jr.`s birthday recognized took 20 years, and, you know, I do a fair bit of consulting with corporations to help them with their diversity, equity, and inclusion work.

And I got to tell you the excitement that I`m hearing from, you know, corporations, from African-american professional groups around this issue, I think that this could become a holiday very quickly if this kind of, you know, reckoning with our racial past continues.

WILLIAMS: The Tulsa massacre is taught in the public schools in Tulsa, and I guess starting years ago, that was something of a victory. That it is not taught in public schools around the country is our loss. How do you change something like that?

TILLERY: Well, I mean frankly, Brian, you know, Tulsa was extraordinary because of the wealth of the African-Americans there, the incredible savagery of the attack, using private aircraft to fire bomb 35 blocks of African-Americans, 10,000 people homeless.

But Tulsa was not so atypical of what the American riot looked like. I mean there were over 130 race riots launched by white Americans against black Americans between the end of reconstruction and 1940. Think of East St. Louis. Think of, you know, the 1919 to 1921 period. There were tons of race riots that looked similar to Tulsa. We need to teach not only about Tulsa but about all of those riots to get a full accounting of our racial history.

WILLAIMS: I went to Tulsa knowing the story, found what I guess are the only two remaining headstones, and the sadness of that is most of the victims were in mass graves. There`s been talk for years about a recovery and identification effort. There`s only one building that you can go to. It`s a church that was left just partially destroyed of the entire strip of buildings that was leveled. We`re a nation that after a fair number of years loves to build our memorials and monuments. Tulsa sorely lacking considering what happened there.

TILLERY: I mean I agree with that completely. We frankly don`t know how many people died in the Tulsa riots. The official reports from the time said 36, 26 blacks and 10 whites. But the Greenwood Commission from 1996 said that, you know, anywhere from 75 to 300 people died. But we know that 10,000 African-Americans were dislocated and lost their homes as a result of this riot.

The legendary historian John Hope Franklin lived in Tulsa. His father had to go thousands of miles away searching for work, and he had dislocations there. So the ripple effects of this riot were momentous for the African- American community.

WILLIAMS: And of course as no one need remind a man like you, part of the perversion, the national shame of the basis of Juneteenth, freed slaves post-2 1/2 years in part fled to Oklahoma, fled to Tulsa to build a life, a community, and a local economy, which they did.

TILLERY: Absolutely. And, you know, I want to be careful about our rush to make Juneteenth a holiday. I support it. The excitement behind it is incredible. But the notion that African-Americans were waiting for general granger to get to them to free them is a bit of a misnomer. Let`s be real. The reason that Lincoln writes the Emancipation Proclamation is because black men and women were running to union encampments as soon as the shooting started. They were building the forts. Black men were itching to get into the fight. It`s only because of the 250,000 African-American troops that join at the end of the war effort that the union wins.

And so, yes, while, you know, slaves in Texas get the word late because Texas isn`t a major theater, the entire episode is about black freedom. The entire episode of the war is about blacks taking their lives into their own hands and joining the fight for their freedom. So I don`t want to give up on the fourth of July just because we also make Juneteenth a holiday. We can`t forget that the first person to fall in the revolutionary cause was a black man.

WILLIAMS: Thank you for pointing that out. A pleasure to talk to you always, especially on this day. Professor Alvin Tillery, our thanks for coming on.

TILLERY: Thanks Brian.

WILLIAMS: More of "The 11th Hour" right after this.


WILLIAMS: I wanted to show you a bit of Al Sharpton`s speech tonight in Tulsa, Oklahoma.


REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: When was America great for everybody? We are the ones, you that are marching in Selma, you that are marching all over America- -- we`re the ones that will make America great for everybody for the first time.


WILLIAMS: As part of that same gathering in the Greenwood section of Tulsa that had the concert that had just concluded when we started this broadcast. Reverend Al Sharpton. Consider that a kind of preview response to tomorrow.

Coming up for us, you may not believe what the pandemic is being blamed for now.


WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, when was the last time you paid for something in coins? Remember coins, metallic, round, they used to jingle in both pocket and purse? You get them in change after paying for something with paper money during a transaction. Remember transactions? But I digress.

On top of everything else this pandemic has done and all the other changes it has forced upon us, we now have a coin shortage. Chairman of the Federal Reserve talked about it this week. No fooling. While they expect it to rectify itself, there are several reasons for it starting with the fact that the U.S. mint has been affected by the coronavirus.

They haven`t been making many new coins these days. But if you take the example of stores, they hand out way more coins every day than they take in, and they need new coins every day for that cash register, especially as folks start to get out and businesses start to reopen and sell stuff.

And because people haven`t been circulating, coins haven`t been circulating. So the Fed has started a kind of rationing and rerouting system to make sure everybody has enough for now. And once again there is music to guide us as Roy Orbison and late Linda Ronstadt tried to warn us in the lyrics of "Blue Bayou." Saving nickels, saving dimes. Work until the sun don`t shine. Looking forward to happier times. Well, aren`t we all?

Let`s let the weekend there with thanks for joining us all week. On behalf of all my colleagues at the network of NBC News, have a good and safe weekend.

  THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.                                                                                                     END