ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Tomorrow and every weekend morning starting at 8 a.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC. And of course, we`ll be covering the tough questions around reopening schools in the next month.
In order to provide you with the best information possible, I`d like to know how you`re preparing for your kids returned to school. Send me your stories, your photos, your videos to my e-mail at MyStory@Velshi.com. I hope you`ll join us.
The 11th hour with Brian Williams begins right now.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again as we bring another week to a close. Day 1,296 of the Trump administration, 88 days until the presidential election.
Tonight Donald Trump is at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. We know that because the press was summoned for a press conference that turned out to be a campaign rally of sorts in front of a crowd of assembled members of his golf club. Some of them just off the golf course, many of them had a wineglass on hand. Some of them brought their kids. Many were not wearing masks.
The President was played into the room to a recording of Hail to the Chief. Again, it was less a news conference than it was a list of grievances, a dizzying slew of demonstrably false claims, including his latest version of how well he says the nation is doing while in the grip of a pandemic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s going to disappear.
In the United States, more than 80 percent of jurisdictions report declining cases. We`re doing very well. You don`t hear that too often from the media, but we`re doing very well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: The reality is we are very close to 5 million coronavirus cases. That`s about the populations of the cities of Houston and Chicago combined. Over 161,000 people have died as of this Friday night.
Trump then rather stunningly said this about health insurance and preexisting conditions already part of Obamacare, which of course the President`s trying to end.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Over the next two weeks I`ll be pursuing a major executive order requiring health insurance companies to cover all preexisting conditions for all customers.
This has never been done before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Today the Labor Department reported the economy recovered nearly 2 million loss jobs unemployment now just over 10 percent. We`re still in the grips of a cataclysmic downturn, the worst of the modern era. Many economists say the nation has a long way to go before it`s anywhere close to recovered.
From the shock of the pandemic and related lockdowns, congressional Democrats on the White House are at a stalemate over another round of coronavirus relief. Tonight, Trump blamed Democrats for the talks collapsing while signaling he`s ready to move ahead with the executive orders which he`s promised before using powers, no one is sure he has.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If democrats continue to hold this critical relief hostage, I will act under my authority as president to get Americans the relief they need. And what we`re talking about is deferring the payroll tax for a period of months till the end of the year and I can extend it at a certain period. Hopefully, I will be here to do the job.
We`re going to enhance unemployment benefits through the end of the year. So, unemployment benefits will be -- that`s a big one, will be brought out to the end of the year and defer student loan payments and forgive interest until further notice. So, students who are paying student loans and in many cases that not even allowed to go back into their colleges.
Extend the eviction moratorium, we will be extended that. So people aren`t evicted, not their fault.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you concerned about the legality of the deductible?
TRUMP: No, not at all. No, somebody, but you always get sued. I mean, everything you do you get sued.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: All of that what you just heard is TBA. Let`s fast forward, however, here is how the event ended.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President, you said that the pandemic is disappearing, but we lost 6,000 Americans this week. And just in this room, you have dozens of people are not following the guidelines in New Jersey which say you should not have --
TRUMP: You`re wrong at that because it`s a political activity. They have exceptions, political activity, and it`s also a peaceful protest.
So what you, and as you know -- they ask if they could be here. You know, the number of -- and to me they look like they all have pretty much all have masks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: So that`s about how that went. Earlier today we learned the U.S. Intelligence Community believes Russia is trying to help Trump`s campaign. They in turn are trying to warn the public.
A top Intelligence official has released publicly what he`s told lawmakers behind closed doors about other countries efforts to influence our 2020 election. The statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence says Russia is, "using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden. Some Kremlin linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump`s candidacy on social media and Russian television."
It says China, "prefers that President Trump, whom Beijing does sees as unpredictable, does not win reelection."
And about Iran, they "seek to undermine U.S. democratic institutions, President Trump and to avoid to divide the country in advance of our 2020 elections."
Here is how the President reacted to this report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The last person Russia wants to see in office is Donald Trump because nobody`s been tougher on Russia than I have ever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s not what your intelligence --
TRUMP: Well, I don`t care what anybody says.
China would love us to have an election with Donald Trump lost to sleepy Joe Biden. They would dream. They would own our country.
If Joe Biden was president China would own our country.
Iran would love to see me -- Iran would love to see me not to be president. If I didn`t win the election in 2016, our country would now be, maybe it would be over by now, but in war with North Korea --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Again, that`s along the lines of how that went.
Here for our lead off discussion on a busy Friday night Susan Page, "USA Today" Washington Bureau Chief. Jeremy Bash, former Chief of Staff at CIA and Pentagon, former Chief Counsel to House Intel. And Dr. Anne Rimoin, Professor of epidemiology at UCLA, where she runs the University`s Center for Global and Immigrant Health Specializing in Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Susan Paige, I need your overall reaction to this event tonight with Country Club guests making up the cheering section in the back. Again, you could hear people coughing occasionally, you could hear the occasional child in the background, President portrayed himself to be the first president to protect preexisting conditions.
And here`s the New York Times take from the duo of Karni and Haberman, away from gridlock in Washington, Trump puts on a show for his club. "The President held what was billed as a news conference, but there was almost no news, he again said the virus would disappear. And his audience seemed at times less the nation than his golf club members."
Susan over to you.
SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: So I think it`s distressing. I think the attitude toward a reporter asking a legitimate question was distressing.
But I guess I think the bigger question is, does this serve the President`s purpose, which is to get reelected in November. And I would say this is not serve has not serve his purposes, his reelection purposes because it does not portray him as focused on the issue that Americans care about, which is this pandemic and its cost and its repercussions. And not identifying himself with what most millions of Americans are feeling which is under stress, under fire, under sage looking for leadership to help them get to the next place, a better place.
So, I think this may -- this is a kind of event that we think President Trump makes likes, makes him gets him energized. I`m not sure it`s one that is actually in his self-interest.
WILLIAMS: Meantime, Jeremy Bash, the House, we are told is on fire. Absent a president in the fight, it`s a uniquely helpless feeling, isn`t it, for the remaining few of us troubled by the idea that Russia is actively engaged in a presidential election less than 90 days away? Who do we -- is there someone in customer service that, again, the small subset of us who still care about such things? Who do we see about this?
JEREMY BASH, FMR. CIA CHIEF OF STAFF: Yes, where do we go to get our apology or our outrage or our determination to protect America`s national security? Because Brian, Russia got a fantastic return on their investment in 2016.
Just think, I mean, the President Trump nearly pulled America out of NATO, which would have certainly unraveled the transatlantic alliance that has kept Europe and the United States free and kept Russian aggression in check.
Russian officials in the intelligence services paid bounties to the Taliban to attack American forces and of course, the U.S. didn`t do anything about it. Trump didn`t do anything about it and Russia has paid no price.
And so, Russia has gotten a phenomenal return on their investment. And so it does not surprise me at all, that they are engaged once again to denigrate President Trump`s opponent election, Joe Biden, who of course is leading President Trump in the polls.
And Trump`s responses, this is all a hoax. There`s nothing to see here. And in fact, I would argue he`s tacitly welcoming it because he`s been on the phone with Putin several times over the last several months and not once has he confronted him over these intelligence reports, which were no doubt briefed him before they were made public today, Brian.
WILLIAMS: Dr. Anne Rimoin, the President said again today out loud and on camera, it`s disappearing. It`s going to disappear. What does a public health official like yourself, how do you process that? How do you continue to process that? And how should we treat such things spoken out loud by the President?
ANNE RIMOIN, UCLA SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH EPIDEMIOLOGY PROFESSOR: Brian, you know, we`re coming again to this issue of disinformation, wishful thinking, and a lot of, of just rhetoric that`s getting in the way of real science and public health.
How does a public health person deal with this kind of information? You handle it by looking straight ahead at the facts, and remembering the only way through this pandemic is exactly that, through it.
And so what that means is that we all have to double down now. We have to do all the things that we`ve been talking about. And we have to remember with all of these events ongoing, you have Sturgis, we have schools opening we have so many things to think about. We have to be able to forego present pleasure for future greater gain.
That is going to be the theme of everything I say today. We all want to get back to life. We can`t until we get the amount of virus that we have circulating right now down.
WILLIAMS: Jeremy Bash, Dr. Rimoin does remind us that the backdrop for this and all discussions is an ongoing pandemic. Our friend Clint Watts, formerly of the FBI, has said for years on the subject of anti-vaccine and the social media you see on that subject, it`s a very cheap and easy investment for Russia. It`s based on an old theory that a sick enemy is easier to fight.
Well, here we are, and I know neither you nor I is a pandemic specialist, but doctors who are argue that we`re in for a hell of a fight when there is a vaccine, getting to that threshold, that percentage of Americans willing to take it and the Russians will be in that fight stride for stride.
BASH: No question. And intelligence has shown according to reports that the Russians are trying to actually steal our vaccination research.
I think at a broader level, Brian, I mean, look at what`s going on. We`ve got foreign interference clearly outlined by the statement from the Director of National Intelligence today, and you`ve got the President trying to discount the lawfully cast ballots of Americans who are voting by mail.
And he even says he wants to postpone Election Day. And we may not know the outcome of the election, he says for days, weeks or years, if that`s not an echo of fascism, you know, no need for an election here because we`re in a crisis. I don`t know what it is.
So I think these two things foreign interference, and the President`s frankly fascist instincts to discount Americans ability to vote, and to discount the -- or to undermine the ability of our democracy to operate, these are very dangerous times. And I think we`re going to have to see a major turnout on Election Day in order to dispel any sense that the election is in doubt.
WILLIAMS: So Susan Page, you are a thoughtful person for a living, give us the through line between election security, the Russians attacking election security in our own country. We hear it from the President. And the treatment of this virus thus far.
PAGE: So it`s all disruption. You know, and President Trump as a candidate in 2016, promised disruption that was part of his appeal. And that`s what we have, we have this most disruptive timing.
But we had an election during the Civil War. None of us were around for that. I think that was a probably a pretty disruptive time. But I agree that I think this feels like a very, very perilous time, where America 88 days to the election. That is both not very much time and an extraordinary amount of time for things to happen, to go wrong, to go right, for people to get engaged.
The electorate seems extremely interested in a selection. It looks like we might have what we would always like to have which is heavy turnout.
But imagine if we had an election like we did in 2000 where it`s really close. It turned to the Supreme Court, a divided Supreme Court decides it.
The reaction of America today would not be the reaction of American 2000, which was to accept the results. We would have a different situation if we had something like that happen in 88 days.
WILLIAMS: Terrific point. Scary point, but absolutely spot on.
Anne Rimoin, here in the New York metropolitan area, we had Governor Cuomo of New York today as say he will allow schools to open in the fall. And we`re going to talk more about this later in the hour.
But to be fair, that`s the minimum. He is the governor of the state. He is letting it happened, but he knows these, in some cases, life or death decisions have to happen at the local level.
RIMOIN: Brian, you`re absolutely right.
You know, here`s the thing. There`s no zero-risk situation here. But what New York is able to do is to consider opening schools, because they have reached such a low threshold of disease, they`re able to really bring this to the table and bring this to communities to decide what to do.
You know, most schools in the United States would not reach that benchmark of less than 5 percent community transmission. So we`re really not here. But it is a very complicated decision for everyone because it isn`t just about the kids which are really suffering right now from not being in school
But we also have to have the -- everything in place for the teachers, the bus drivers, the people in the cafeteria, the custodial staff, the people that the children come home to, you know, nobody lives in a vacuum. And so this is a very big decision, and that communities are really going to have to weigh the risk benefit and what matters and what they can do and what they can put into place to protect everybody as best they can.
WILLIAMS: We are much obliged to our big three after the week we`ve had to stick around with us late on a Friday night, Susan Page, Jeremy Bash, Dr. Anne Rimoin, our thanks for helping us along the way.
And coming up, what does Dr. Birx tell community leaders in COVID hotspots.
Up next, we`ll talk to a Georgia Mayor who`s actually on one of those calls.
And later, the strange and bizarre and ultimately sad story of Kanye West. His candidacy for President seems more serious only when you consider a lawyer for Trump is also trying to get Kanye on a ballot to siphon votes away from Joe Biden. We`ll talk about it with our guests tonight. The 11th Hour just getting underway on a Friday evening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): And look, let me say it this way, you look at our infection rate, we are probably in the best situation in the country right now. As incredible as that is. So if anybody can open schools, we can open schools.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: So, that much is true. The New York a former epicenter continues to have one of the lowest infection rates in the country. Though, as we said at the top of the broadcast, let`s say it again and plainly, it`s one thing for the governor to say he will allow schools to open, its quite another for all the local districts who now have a huge call to make.
This gets very complicated in current hotspots states like Georgia, which, reported its "largest single-day increase in confirmed COVID-19 deaths" since the start of the pandemic just today. Some school districts in Georgia have delayed their reopening due to the spike in cases.
We are happy to have with us tonight, Lynn Deutsch, Mayor of Dunwoody Georgia just outside Atlanta.
Madam Mayor, thank you very much for being with us. What`s it like to be on one of these calls with Dr. Birx, for starters? We don`t get to hear them. Wish we could. It is a matter of public health. Is she candid with you guys?
MAYOR LYNN DEUTSCH (I-GA), DUNWOODY: She`s been very candid. And what I`ve noticed in the most recent calls is that she`s been much more firm about what she would like to see local and state governments do if their cases are continuing to grow. And so closed the bars.
WILLIAMS: So, we`ve seen some of the -- OK, go ahead.
DEUTSCH: Closing bars is just an example of something she said on this past week`s calls.
WILLIAMS: On schools, which is again, a huge responsibility, huge for public officials, intensely personal for parents and teachers and all their families. We`ve seen some of the Georgia schools open. Kids slammed back into quarantine after positive cases. Are you ready to reopen?
DEUTSCH: Well, my city doesn`t control the school system, and our school system has delayed in-person learning. It`s virtual only to the middle of September.
But I think these are really good questions. Dr. Birx on our call this week mentioned that my county, DeKalb County may have plateaued and is actually stabilizing. And I think that`s a good sign.
But there`s a lot to consider. And I expect that we`ll hear more from the Metro Atlanta systems in the next few weeks about how and if they plan to open face to face.
We have a lot of work to do here in Metro Atlanta, particularly, and in some of the rural counties in Georgia, where our cases have been going the wrong way and our infection rate is continuing to grow. And so, to get schools open safely, we need the goal of buckling back up a little bit as a community and as a state so that we can reopen schools and keep them open.
WILLIAMS: Tell us about testing if I needed or wanted a test tonight in Dunwoody, Georgia, could I find one and what`s the average wait time for the results the these days?
DEUTSCH: So it`s -- it is very difficult to get a reservation for a test. And up until a couple of weeks ago our local our local health department was openly permitting people to arrive at a test site without an appointment. They began discouraging that.
My daughter was tested last week and her test results took four days. But I have still after a while of having better results across the metro area I`m hearing more and more from my constituents that they are waiting weeks for their results, which doesn`t do anybody any good --
WILLIAMS: Which of course renders -- Yes, I was just going to say renders all the results moot, anyway, and reverses the purpose of testing. Well, we`re thinking of you. Best of luck to you. We realize these have to be baby steps because you`re in the thick of the fight there.
Mayor Lynn Deutsch of Dunwoody, Georgia, thank you very much. Enjoy your weekend if possible.
Coming up for us here, Kanye West reveals the motive behind his reportedly Republican Party backed run for the White House. The Forbes reporter who spoke to Kanye along with Jason Johnson both join us when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I like Kanye very much. No, I have nothing to do with him getting on the -- We`ll have to see what happens. We`ll see if we get something out. But, I`m not involved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Kanye West is apparently getting help from the Trump campaign in his presidential bid. NBC News has learned quote, Republicans in at least four states are helping him gain ballot access. And in an interview with Forbes reporter, Randall Lane, who joins us in just a moment, quote, the billionaire rap superstar indicated that he was in fact running to siphon votes from the presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
With us tonight to talk about all of it and it`s troubling, detailed Jason Johnson, veteran journalist and contributor over at The Grill and a professor at Morgan State University. Also Randall Lane, Chief Content Officer of Forbes Media happens to be editor of Forbes Magazine who interviewed Kanye West again this week.
Randall, I`d like to begin with you. What did he say to you about this race for president?
RANDALL LANE, EDITOR, FORBES MAGAZINE: Well, you know, obviously it`s become a bigger deal. I think what happened once, you know, when he was eligible for the ballot in Wisconsin all of a sudden this went from kind of a side show to potential to be the Jill Stein of 2020. And what he said I, you know, I was this was a text interview, I talked to him on the phone for about four hours last month. I followed him but by text to ask him about these reports, including the one you just mentioned. And I pointed out to him that he can`t win. He said, you know, he said he`s running to win. And I said, you know, you can`t win. He said, he`s walking, he`s walking to win.
And again, I point out, he couldn`t win. He`s not going to be on the ballot to get 270 votes, there`s no chance for him to win. And he`s got -- he`s going to be a spoiler and siphon votes from Joe Biden and his text was I can`t argue with that, I won`t argue with it. Which I took as, you know, as a sign he could have denied it. But, you know, he keeps on talking about running to win even texted last night. I`m running to win. He can`t win and acknowledges that he`s going to hurt Biden more than Trump.
WILLIAMS: Well, Jason, my friend, this is where we come to you. I`m going to play for you a bit of Congressman Clyburn as personally responsible as any other individual not named Joe Biden, for the fact that Joe Biden is about to take the nomination of his party. We`ll listen to the congressman. We`ll talk to you on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): African Americans, most especially know what this campaign is all about. They`ve seen this kind of tactics before. We fell victim to it when we didn`t know where it was coming from and what was going on. We now know and we`re not going to make that mistake again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Jason, here`s a fact, Kanye West is battling and managing and living with mental illness. Full stop. So what`s this all about?
JASON JOHNSON, PROFESSOR, MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY: Oh, Brian, you look I`m like a lot of people I vacillate between rage at Kanye`s foolishness and an immense amount of sympathy because I like his wife and several other people. You know, it doesn`t take a psychologist to say, look, this guy looks like he`s hurting. But if you step back for a second, this is an old school trick Clyburn knows about this in particular. You go back about 10 years in South Carolina. You remember Alvin Greene, the random unemployed candidate who Republicans back in order to knock out a Democratic challenger to Jim DeMint. This is an old trick of the Republican Party, you find sort of no name, non-politically affiliated black people throw a lot of money behind them in order to weaken the Democratic candidate.
Now, I think the difference is and Alvin Greene, you know, he ended up winning and Jim DeMint took over, because Jim DeMint was a powerful guy anyway, I don`t see Kanye West is being that much of a threat. I don`t know who is going to brave COVID and voter suppression from the Republican Party to vote for the late registration guy, but the Republicans seem to think that at least paying attention to this will somehow distract away from people realizing that Joe Biden might be a better candidate than Donald Trump.
WILLIAMS: Well, Jason, what does this mean for Kanye West, he is had as no one needs to remind any of us in this conversation of something of an empire that includes but is not limited to music and clothing. He is attached to an empire even larger than that. What does this do to him and his name?
JOHNSON: You know, I think his brand has been damaged probably since his last two albums ago Life of Pablo. I mean, like, if you want to see someone who`s gone from a great height to like, little or no respect, it`s like Kanye, Michael Jackson, years before he you know, finally passed away. There`s not a lot of people who think Kanye West is a serious candidate. A lot of people don`t even necessarily think he`s a serious musician anymore, even as he goes around and has these sorts of religious festivals. But I think is dangerous and the one legitimate danger is this. If he starts to spend money or Republican start to spend money on his behalf. If Kanye West starts doing commercials in Michigan, in Wisconsin and talking about, you know, criminal justice issues.
If Kanye West starts running around and saying, you know what, there`s really no difference between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. What have you got to lose if he becomes a voice for disenchanted disenfranchised black voters? Again, as a political scientist, I can tell you, for most black people in America, it`s not a choice between Trump and Biden. It`s a choice between Biden staying home and if Kanye can convince people to stay home, because it`s all a joke on a carnival, then Donald Trump is one and he`s been an effective surrogate.
WILLIAMS: Again, Randall bears repeating Kanye West is living with and battling and managing mental illness as we said, full stop. What has he talked to you? What is he said to you about the subject of mental illness?
LANE: Listen, Kanye. Kanye West is somebody who is very -- he, you know, I we`ve talked about it in detail he considers it a gift. And while he considers his pipe bipolar disorder gift, he does not consider himself somebody who`s handy. This is somebody who you can talk about whether or not he`s as high as he wasn`t music, but he has the second bestselling sneaker in America, the Easy Sneakers that made him a billionaire. So here`s somebody who`s accustomed to going into new areas and being successful. So and he attributes a lot of that there`s creativity, which he attributes to his pipe bipolar disorder. This -- so this is somebody who acknowledges that but doesn`t actually see it as a weakness and isn`t willing to let that, you know, let other people tell him he can`t do that. And so, that`s what I think some of the people around him are having to deal with, that somebody who`s not used to having anybody tell them what to do.
WILLIAMS: Well stay on it. We`re grateful for having both of you, gentlemen to talk about it with here tonight. Jason Johnson, Randall Lane, great pleasure having you. Thank you.
Coming up for us tonight, Donald Trump said he`s been doing the job like nobody could like nobody would. So we had to hear from Steve Schmidt and we will after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We`ve done a good job. I think we`re actually -- we are going to be in two, three, four weeks by the time we -- next week. I think we`re going to be in very good shape.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Trump fact checker Daniel Dale pointed out today that interview was one month ago on July 7th. Today a frequent guest of ours Dr. Michael Osterholm and Neel Kashkari, who serves as president of the Federal Reserve Bank up in the Twin Cities wrote an op-ed in the New York Times, calling for state by state lockdowns to save lives and fix our economy. They write, quote, if we are willing to take this action, millions more cases with many more deaths are likely before a vaccine might be available. In addition, the economic recovery will be much slower with far more business failures and high unemployment for the next year or two. There won`t be a robust economic recovery until we get control of the virus.
Back with us tonight, Steve Schmidt veteran political strategist who led the McCain `08 campaign has since left the Republican Party and was among the founders of the Lincoln Project dedicated to the defeat of Trump and Trump-ism.
Steve, before we begin our discussion, I want to play for you some of what CNN`s hot mic overheard the President saying he comes into the ballroom addresses the folks their guests at his country club. Then after we hear this, they waited for the playing of Hail to the Chief and he stepped to the microphone. So here is the hot mic.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRUMP: Hello, everybody. Hello, everybody. Thank you. So we`re going to do a press conference, and I thought you were here. You might as well come in and see you`ll get to meet the fake news tonight. You get to see what I have to go through.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: So Steve, we`re at a country club in New Jersey. People just in off the golf course, some folks brought a glass of wine. Some folks brought their kids, some folks brought both. The last bit of that quote from the President is you`ll get to see what I have to go through. Let`s contrast that against the fact that we have over 160,000 souls gone from our population and our lives, and we`re losing roughly 1,000 people a day.
STEVE SCHMIDT, FORMER REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It`s a typically despicable statement from Donald Trump, Brian, one that -- once again demonstrates his complete on fitness for the Office of President of the United States. We have, as you mentioned, 160,000 dead Americans in a shattered economy. There are more Americans unemployed on this date, on this August 7th than there has ever been on any other August 7th in the history of the United States. And Donald Trump is out there bragging about how great the economy it is. Is standing in front of a room of people who paid $350,000 for membership in the golf club? It does outrageously out of touch. But it points out to this larger dynamic of what`s happening politically.
The walls are closing in on Donald Trump. The number of people in the country that identify as Republicans is collapsing. And at the same time, the intensity of what remains is going up. But his world is shrinking. And across the country, what you`re saying, in states like Georgia and Texas that have voted Republican for a generation, you`re seeing very, very close races as Joe Biden is assembling one of the broadest electoral coalition`s in American history. It includes Americans of all races and creeds and religions and ideologies. From Bernie Sanders to disaffected suburban Republicans, who look at this travesty, who look at the most incompetent and inept president, who has found this country at a historic level, there has never been an American moment where somebody was tasked with responsibilities, to protect the country that has failed as badly as Donald Trump has.
And so as we get into September, we`re going to see the next stage of this began to unravel. And the tragedies just beginning. We`re going to see hundreds of thousands of dead Americans by the time this is over. Anybody with kids who are supposed to be in school, understands if they`re going back, it`ll be for a week or two before the schools are shut down. We know that the mortgage and the eviction rates the mortgage crisis that`s coming is going to dwarf anything that happened in the Great Recession. So we`re at the precipice of great economic tragedy and more death and more tragedy, from the wreckage that the most incompetent person ever sit behind the resolute desk has ever been.
And once again, we saw tonight also, Brian, you know that Trump just conceived him himself as the biggest victim in America. That grievance and victimhood is the high-octane fuel of Trumpism. And you see that dimension of his character play out once again, just an aggrieved riddle, man.
WILLIAMS: Steve, let me fit a break. And when we come back, I want to talk to you about what I said that Jeremy Bash this uniquely hopeless feeling of knowing the role. Russia is playing in our election process. And the question who do we see about that? We`ll do that when we come back.
WILLIAMS: Still with us for our conversation is Steve Schmidt. And without delay, we`ll get right into the topic of Russia. Steve, what do we do about this, as I`ve called it uniquely helpless feeling we know that we have almost an invisible candidate and invisible force in an election, less than 90 days from now. The boss we would usually look to defend all of us from it is the recipient of it. And we`ve never had anything like it in our history say nothing of the fact that Russia can`t believe we`re saying this has friends in the U.S. Senate, who are helping Russia disseminate their talking points here.
SCHMIDT: There are three issues, Brian that are an emergency for this country to deal with and the only people left to deal with it or the voters or the American people, American citizens who have to rise up and repudiate this. And there are three specific aspects. Number one, this is the first president in the history of the country who has left the United States on defending against undefended against a hostile foreign powers attack. And it is an attack and attack on American sovereignty on our elections process, the peaceful transition of power that has gone on in this country since 1797. That`s what our inheritance is as Americans. And we`re here for a short time to be stewards of it, to make the union stronger and to hand it off to our kids and our grandkids and that any president would have bet a hostile foreign power doing that is horrendous.
Secondly, the Russians have found bounties on the heads of American soldiers in Afghanistan. Some have been killed. Bounties have been paid. The President of the United States has refused to confront the Russians about it.
Lastly, we literally have the term would have been useful idiots in the Cold War. Those were naive people either by sins of commission or omission who would do the work of the Soviet Union. So we see now useful idiots in the United States Senate that are passing off to the American people information that`s incepted by the Russian intelligence services, intended to undermine faith in the American system, and democracy in the elections process. We`ve never seen anything like it in the entire history of the country. So Lindsey Graham, who`s involved in it, Ron Johnson, who`s involved in it, these men are unfit to serve in the United States Senate, they have utterly violated their constitutional oath and it`s particularly egregious for Lindsey Graham, who serves as a colonel in the Air Force Reserve.
We`ve never seen such faithlessness the ideas and ideals of the country into the solemn oath that the country`s most senior elected officials take for the honor of being able to preserve and protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. They have failed when it was their moment to be friends of liberty.
WILLIAMS: I asked a partner of yours at the Lincoln Project, Stuart Spencer last night on this broadcast, in plain English, why your ads are better than the Democrats own ads against Trump. His answer surprised me was very quick, but it makes a lot of sense. You have no client, you have no one to run it past. You guys seem fueled on just the passion and anger of what`s become of what was your party.
SCHMIDT: We all share a belief that the country faces a real threat from Donald Trump and we all believe this is the most important election the country`s face since 1864. When we see what Trump is doing, he`s acting from a position of weakness, the deployment of militarized federal agents without badges, IDs, stuffing people into white vans, the assault on the election process, the shenanigans that are going on at the post office. Its constant questioning the legitimacy of the election, should he not when his threats that he won`t leave office. We`ve never seen conduct like this from an American president. It`s fundamentally illiberal. He has an autocratic fetish. We`ve seen this administration assault, the rule of law, we`ve seen these pardons in corruption, that beggar the imagination, so much is at stake in this next election.
What we should all understand in this country, is that our freedoms, our democracy, it was all so much more fragile than we ever could have imagined. And that these institutions were not designed to be frontally assaulted by the President of the United States, the highest executive officer in the land, who`s charged with fulfilling the founders mandate to faithfully execute the laws of the land. And we just see a president who is checked out completely at every level, who is mentally, morally and intellectually unfit for the job and is a real threat to the future of this country. And he`s put this country into a tailspin of decline and weakness, the likes of which we`ve not seen ever in American history.
WILLIAMS: Reminder to our viewers, the new book by Stuart Stevens, Steve`s partner is just out and available for sale. I happen to know Mr. Schmidt consumed it in a matter of hours. Our thanks to Steve Schmidt on a Friday night for spending some time with us. Thank you, Steve.
SCHMIDT: Thank you Brian.
WILLIAMS: Coming up the effort to protect a genuine American institution that is in genuine danger.
WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go here tonight, is the clear and present danger to the U.S. Postal Service. For all of our lives in this country mail delivery has been something of a sacred trust. Ask any service member getting or receiving or sending rather mail from deployment overseas. The U.S. Postal Service employs 633,000 Americans of that number 97,000 are veterans. They once wore the uniform of this country and now wear the uniform of the Postal Service.
Just today, about the boss while he`s being looked into by congressional Democrats. The Trump appointed postmaster general who has presided over delivery delays due to cost cutting, blew up his whole management team and a reorganization that Virginia Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly, who was on with us here this week called a deliberate sabotage of the Postal Service. Of course, just in time for mail-in balloting that the President undermines every day. Well, against that backdrop, we offer you this new effort to rally support for our mail carriers and their employer.
How about that along with that fantastic 1959 recording of the Alabama Sacred Harp Singers. That was from People for the American Way, founded in 1981 by Norman Lear, who just happened to have celebrated his 98th birthday.
And that indeed, will take us off the air tonight. And for this week with our thanks for watching. On behalf of all of my colleagues at the networks of NBC News, have a good weekend. Good night.
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