STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: --1 the song they play at Yankees Stadium at the conclusion of every Yankees` game. So we will see if they`re also playing that in New York at a baseball game this summer. We`ll find out. Thanks for being with us. Don`t go anywhere. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes is up next.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN. This is America 2020. Video conference hearings in the United States Senate, teleconference hearing in the Supreme Court, Trump`s taxes, his job performance the subjects at hand. Senator Kamala Harris is here.
Plus, former Attorney General Eric Holder will join me as Bill Barr and Donald Trump work to corrupt the Department of Justice. And the new Biden ad that hits Trump with his own words, a new polling that says Trump is on the wrong side of most Americans, when ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Even as Donald Trump in the White House continue to try to essentially consign the coronavirus at the past, we`re over that. We`re on other things. As they push states to open up and as they tell people to go out, get back to work, and throw their bodies on live grenade that is the coronavirus, Donald Trump`s own government knows that`s not the case. The virus is very much not over.
A buried report obtained exclusively by NBC News and compiled by the White House`s pandemic Task Force shows this. Coronavirus rates are spiking in heartland communities. The report details how 10 top areas recorded surges of 72.4 percent or greater. Those surges include places like Nashville, Tennessee, Des Moines, Iowa, Amarillo, Texas, and on top of the list, Central City, Kentucky.
This unreleased report is of course at odds to the president and what he is telling Americans. Just yesterday, he said that all throughout the country, the numbers are coming down rapidly. The data, this data shows it`s not the case. Well, it`s true, in the aggregate, the national numbers are trending down. There are places throughout the country that are likely about to see a huge spike.
And that`s the thing with the virus we keep coming back to. It is intensely local. Right now, there are huge regional variations throughout the country. Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control released a report finding the death toll in New York which is trending down now, thankfully, maybe much worse than the official count, more than 5,000 deaths that may have been caused by the coronavirus. These are not accounted for as of now in the official death toll.
The Associated Press released data showing that the 15 U.S. counties with the highest per capita infection rates are all homes to meatpacking and poultry processing plants or state prisons. Not to mention within the close quarters of the White House itself or at least two White House staffers that we know of have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Keep in mind, that is a place that is testing more than anywhere else in the country. And yet here we are, with the White House still fighting the huge outbreak. Different places are going have different trajectories for this pandemic. And we`ll have to make different local policy decisions about what to do. And if only there were some guidelines to help out with that complicated decision. Well, there are.
You might remember just about a month ago, on April 16, the President himself held a press conference where he rolled out his guidelines for opening up America again. They published a guideline from the White House website in conjunction with the CDC. It`s not some huge booklet, it`s 18 pages. You can read it. It`s -- they`re good. It`s specific recommendations. It outlines three phases of reopening, guidelines states should meet before proceeding to the next phase, right. You walk through the phases.
For example, before proceeding with the first phase, it calls for a 14-day downward trajectory of reported symptoms in cases and a "robust testing program in place for at-risk health workers." Also, that different places at different points in the trajectory can make decisions that make sense for where they are.
The President put out these detailed guidelines in mid-April, and then basically got impatient almost immediately and just started pushing everyone to just reopen quickly. The Trump administration then went on to bury additional CDC guidance about reopening, a step by step advice to local authorities on how and when to reopen restaurants and other public places.
They were supposed to put that 17-page report out last week, but agency scientists were told the guidance would never see the light of day according to a CDC official. The Trump administration right now is producing guidelines and documents to reopen the country, written by experts by scientists and public health officials. And they are then essentially asking people to totally disregard them, or they`re burying them so you can never read them. Instead, the President is out telling everyone -- telling to ignore what his own experts are saying.
And all of that set the scene for today`s remarkable Senate hearing which took place under some very strange conditions. Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, a Republican of Tennessee led the hearing remotely from his home. He`s got a nice camera there. That`s a good camera. He is self- isolating after one of his staffers tested positive for the coronavirus. Several other senators including Patty Murray and Mitt Romney also participated from home, while the few attending in person maintained significant physical distance.
Tim Kaine was there in the hearing room. He appeared with the bold handkerchief covering his nose and mouth. Rand Paul appeared to not wear a mask, although he`s the only member of the Senate as far as we know, to have had the virus and gotten over it. All four top health officials, the witnesses in this testimony, they did -- they testified remotely. Three of them are currently in some form of quarantine after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.
And while the president often uses the podium to tell people to ignore his experts, today, Dr. Anthony Fauci was able to clearly talk about the virus, and in many instances contradict the President`s favorite talking points.
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ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The idea of having treatments available or a vaccine to facilitate the reentry of students into the fall term would be something that would be a bit of a bridge too far. When you talk about will this virus just disappear, and as I`ve said publicly many times, that is just not going to happen because it`s such a highly transmissible virus.
What we have worked out is a guideline framework of how to safely open America again. And there are several checkpoints in that with a gateway first of showing depending on the dynamics of an outbreak in a particular region, state, city, or area that would really determine the speed and the pace with which one does reenter or reopen.
I have been being very clear in my message to try to the best extent possible to go by the guidelines which had been very well thought out and very well delineated.
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HAYES: The guidelines have been very well thought out. He`s right. They have. The experts like Dr. Fauci and others have done the work. And they`ve put it in writing in these guidelines that have been publicized to everyone.
But the president, the person who runs the administration that`s issuing these guidelines, the president who sits and watches Trump T.V. all day and just raised tweets about the most insanely baroque issues. He`s decided to just run right over his own experts to steamroll his own government so he could listen to some tiny little very loud vanguard of activists and people wearing long guns in the Michigan Capitol and members of the donor class who want to get their factories humming again to open up the country. And it`s going to end poorly, most likely, because the virus just doesn`t care.
Joining me now for more on what Congress is doing to help America get through the pandemic, Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat of California. Senator, you come from a state that has managed its outbreak fairly well. There was an announcement today That L.A. County is going to keep its Shelter in Place Order for the duration of the summer. It looks like three months. How do you think the CDC guidelines and the President`s messaging are interacting in terms of what message is getting sent out to the country about how we go forward?
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): Well, Chris, frankly, nothing has really changed about the President`s disposition and failure to embrace truth and speak truth to the American people. The CDC, obviously, did the work they had at the -- it`s about at least a dozen pages, this document, of recommendations that they`ve made, and yet again, Donald Trump is attempting to suppress the work and the word of public health professionals.
And this is after a long line of activities by him that have been about a failure of leadership, from rejecting the seriousness of it, calling it a hoax, to train the muscle the voices of public health professionals. So this is just more of the same. Thank god For Dr. Fauci. Thank God for him to having the courage to speak truth. God only knows what kind of repercussion he`s going to face for speaking the truth. But obviously he has the well-being of the American people as his priority as opposed to the political patronage that this President thinks he`s doing.
HAYES: There was a really interesting tweet thread today from a staff member of one of your colleagues who was a Democratic staffer talking about where we are in terms of the economic consequences, and worrying that the scale of the bills and the legislation is not equal to the depth and breadth of the pain. Are you -- are you worried about that mismatch? Do you -- do you think there`s more to be done?
HARRIS: Absolutely, very much. In fact, look, we have 33.5 million people who lost their jobs in just the last seven weeks. One in five working adults in America is now unemployed, not to mention the fact that one in five mothers has described her children as being hungry in America today.
So our country has been devastated. Working families are suffering. We have a hunger crisis in America. And this is why among the number of initiatives that I`m leading are part of, one of them along with Bernie Sanders and in Senator Markey is that we`re saying that instead of a one-time payment of $1,200 that was in one of the previous bills, American families are making less than $100,000 a year or those who are unemployed should be able to receive $2,000 a month through the course of this pandemic and for three months after that. Because families are suffering. They`re not able to buy food, they`re not able to pay rent, much less other bills, and we have to lift them up and not let people drop through the cracks. Until we can get through this process, we need to give them assistance.
And what we`ve done has been inadequate. We have failed to require paid sick leave. We have failed to provide family leave. We have failed to provide affordable childcare and free childcare, especially for those first responders and frontline workers who sadly we keep referring to them, of course, as essential workers, and yes, they are. But let`s not allow them to be sacrificial workers.
So there`s a lot of work yet to be done and mostly to focus on working people and poor people in America and make sure that they`re not going hungry, and make sure that we lift everyone up through this crisis so that we can survive, and then ultimately recover.
HAYES: I want to ask you a question about the Attorney General, because I`m going to be speaking to the former Attorney General Eric Holder a little later. So, William Barr has made a lot of news. I want to play -- it was a remarkable moment in a hearing back in May of 2019, where you asked him a question that he could not seem to answer that has haunted me ever since. And it looks like we may have our answer now. So I want to play that clip to you and ask you a question. Take a listen.
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HARRIS: Has the President or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone? Yes or no, please, sir.
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL, UNITED STATES: The president or anybody else.
HARRIS: It seems you to remember something like that and be able to tell us.
BARR: Yes. But I`m trying to grapple with the word suggest. I mean, there have been discussions of matters out there that they have not asked me to open investigation, but --
HARRIS: Perhaps they`ve suggested.
BARR: I don`t know. I wouldn`t say suggest.
BARR: I don`t know.
HARRIS: Inferred. You don`t know.
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HAYES: There are now -- the president and some people in his circle are making noises about essentially the Department of Justice going after Obama administration officials. Where do you think we are right now in terms of this attorney general and the rule of law?
HARRIS: This attorney general should resign. He has not been an attorney general representing the people of America. He has not been the people`s attorney. He has been the hand of Donald Trump. And let`s look at it. When we talk about the work of the United States Department of Justice, it is supposed to do justice.
Well, when you have an attorney general in Barr, who allows Michael Flynn to withdraw his plea when he pled guilty to two counts that were violations of federal law, that`s not justice. When you look at Bill Barr allowing Roger Stone and reducing the recommended sentence from I believe it was seven to nine years to something like three years, that`s not justice.
When you look then at Ahmaud Arbery, and the fact that he was a young man, 25 years old taking a jog, and was cut down in life. And I`ve asked the Department of Justice and Bill Barr to investigate that and open an investigation into the police department there, the DA`s office there, and the civil rights violation and investigate whether there was one.
When you look at Brianna Taylor, a woman who`s 26 years old Chris, an EMT. Today is International Nurse`s Day. This young woman had a dream of becoming a nurse. And she`s sitting in her apartment when she is killed by the police who were at the wrong place trying to serve a warrant. There should be an investigation. That`s not justice what has happened for those two young people.
There is not justice coming out of Bill Barr`s Department of Justice. He should resign. He should let the career people who are there who thankfully are still sticking in with it. Let them do the work of justice. This man doesn`t understand what it means to do justice. He does whatever it is at the pleasure of Donald Trump and he should resign.
HAYES: Senator Kamala Harris of California there in Washington while the Senate is in session, thank you so much for making some time tonight, Senator. I really appreciate it.
HARRIS: You`re welcome. You`re welcome.
HAYES: Still ahead, the fight for the President`s taxes went before the Supreme Court today. How the massively consequential, historic cases played out? Right after this.
HAYES: Today, the Supreme Court heard probably the most consequential set of cases on checking presidential authority and executive transparency since the infamous Richard Nixon tapes case back in 1974, one Supreme Court unanimously decided against Nixon. And because this is happening in the middle of the pandemic, they`re not having arguments in the actual physical Supreme Court. The cases are being argued by conference call and the public can listen in real-time.
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ELENA KAGAN, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: What it seems to me you`re asking us to do is to put the kind of 10-ton weight on the scales between the President and Congress, and essentially to make it impossible for Congress to perform oversight and to carry out its functions where the President is concerned.
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HAYES: That was Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan on conference call, arguing the Congress needs the ability to perform oversight of the President. Here`s the thing about this case though. The actual substance the documents being sought, Donald Trump`s financial records, his tax returns, I think they`re probably not that big of a mystery in the grand scheme of things.
I mean, remember, in 2018, the New York Times published a Pulitzer Prize- winning article exposing the fact that in their words, President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes including instances of outright fraud. And every bit of reporting throughout the decades, has showed that Trump is extremely dodgy about his finances.
There is, of course, a lot more that will be useful to know about the finances of the man who serves as our president in terms of who he owes money to and for what. The stakes today were crucially about, basically, the President and his relationship to Congress and to the law. Is he above it? Can the president tell Congress to basically take a long walk off a short pier when they request documents and subpoena them from third parties? Can you basically keep everything hidden from any outside legal authority?
Joining me now to break down what happened today, Melissa Murray, she`s professor of constitutional law at NYU, and co-host of the podcast Strict Scrutiny. So, Melissa, there`s two cases here. One of them are congressional subpoenas against to financial firms Mazars and Deutsche Bank requesting it. And so that was the first case that was heard.
And I want to just play a little bit of Justice Kagan on that question, right? Can Congress compel third party entities that have the President`s financial records to turn them over? This was a point that Justice Kagan made. Take a listen.
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KAGAN: This isn`t the first conflict between Congress and the President, as many of my colleagues have pointed out. We`ve never had to address this issue. And the reason is because Congress and the President have reached accommodations with each other. And sometimes one has gotten more and sometimes the other has gotten more. But there`s always been this accommodation seeking.
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HAYES: The Justice there is putting the context that is weird that this has gotten to the court, right? That`s sort of the fundamental question before the court is, it hasn`t gotten this far before because usually it gets worked out.
MELISSA MURRAY, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSOR, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: Usually it does get worked out. Typically, this is subject to your kind of interbranch negotiation where Congress asks for something, and the President says no, they go back and forth, and eventually they come out with some mutually amenable result.
But here, that kind of negotiation process has really been stymied, because the President has essentially stonewalled and refused to give anything to Congress really preventing it from doing any kind of oversight and requiring the courts intervention.
HAYES: So what were the arguments being made by the council for the House today about why they should be able to get these documents on the council for the President and Department of Justice saying why they shouldn`t?
MURRAY: Well, the President has basically argued that congressional oversight essentially amounts to harassment of this particular president. And the House, of course, is simply saying that this is part of our constitutional duties to conduct oversight, and we need to be able to exercise these powers.
And the court is sort of caught in the middle trying to balance these two interests, responsible oversight on the one hand and this fear that the President, and not just this president, but any occupant of this office might be in a position in the future to be harassed or harangue by Congress by these ongoing floods of requests for different documents.
HAYES: Yes. There was a sort of this question of -- that came up was like, what is the limiting condition here? Like, could Congress ask for anything? And I wonder if that -- was that resolved in the arguments as far as you could tell?
MURRAY: Well, this is a place where the House General Counsel Doug Letter had a little bit of a difficulty getting to a clear answer. He got there eventually, but the question was like, what is that limiting principle and he had a hard time articulating that. And they went back and forth. Could it be medical records? Could it be personal records of that nature?
And it seemed like Justice Sotomayor and some of the other justices were a little bit skeptical that it could go so far to include personal records about the President`s health, but they were interested in finding someplace where they could balance a legitimate need for oversight with the President`s need to withhold certain things.
HAYES: So it seemed to me that the justices were a little were more skeptical of the House`s case and perhaps a little less skeptical of Cy Vance`s case. Cy Vance is the District Attorney in Manhattan. He has issued subpoenas again to third party entities basically in pursuit of possible criminal investigation following on Michael -- the things were revealed in the federal case against Michael Cohen.
What was the argument there? How different was the argument about Congress about power to do this versus a local district attorney who says, look, I`m following the facts where they go. We`re trying to do a criminal investigation. We`ll see what happens.
MURRAY: So the New York District Attorney`s Office seem to have an easier time of it with the court today. And again, as you say, they are very different cases. In the congressional case, the question is really, how far can Congress go and what is the scope of legitimate legislative authority.
For the New York district attorney`s office, the real question is, we have this ongoing criminal investigation for which we need documents to inform that investigation. Can the president really be immune from participation in what is essentially a part of the criminal justice system.
And it would seem that the court was more skeptical today that the President could basically take himself out of the possibility of participating or aiding in a criminal investigation or even being subject to a criminal investigation.
HAYES: Quickly, final question. The last two cases are sort of along this line, right, which is there`s not a whole ton of them, but there`s -- the Nixon tapes case unanimously found that Nixon had to turn the tapes over. Clinton v. Jones unanimously found the President had to sit for that deposition for Paula Jones. Is there any chance of unanimity here in the same kind of way from this court do you think?
MURRAY: I don`t think we saw a chance for unanimity today. I mean, it did seem that the court was sort of fractured. We had the conservative wing of the court, including Justice Thomas and Alito, and Kavanaugh seeming to be very skeptical of the idea of Congressional oversight here.
We had the liberal wing of the court, Justice Ginsburg, Justice Sotomayor, Justice Kagan, really believing that -- or at least seeming to believe that congressional oversight was important. And so again, I think we have this really odd situation where Chief Justice John Roberts, who is the most stalwart observer of the court`s legitimacy and institutional legacies really going to be in the hot seat here trying to find a third way, carving out here some kind of balance between the two.
HAYES: Melissa Murray, it`s great to hear from you. Thank you so much for making time tonight.
MURRAY: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Next, my exclusive interview with former United States Attorney General Eric Holder about the crisis of leadership in the White House and the DOJ. He joins me next.
HAYES: We`ve been following the national capital conversation. There has been a lot of debate and questions about who is responsible for the scenes of destruction. Based on everything we`ve seen, and in my own experience over a number of years covering protests that have ended in these sort of activities. I`m positive there`s not some simple answer, like those people over there.
What we do know, and what has been borne out in places after place is it`s a numerically small percentage of people participating in street action who engage in destruction. There are some who clearly are pursuing it as an explicit political tactic, right. Their plan it and then they execute it for their intended purpose.
And that also does not always go over well with the thousands of other protesters. There`s been lots of arguments and fights about this sort of thing.
We saw in this video from Washington, D.C., one person using a hammer to break up the sidewalk apparently to make throw-able chunks of cement to use against the police and then you see all these other protesters just swarm him aggressively. They restrain him. They even drag him over to the police, you know, at an anti-police brutality protest, right. The crowd applauding as they drag him out. This is the end result of that melee there.
Amidst the unrest, we`ve also seen some really, really disturbing images of police violence and some pretty striking examples of leadership. One of those police leaders joins me next.
HAYES: My experience covering protests, there is always this particular attention and anger and resentment in the air when protesters are specifically targeting police brutality and misconduct. People are mad at the police, and the police are right there, and that can lead to some extremely ugly behavior by police officers who lose their cool.
And there are some moments I`ve also seen police officers react in ways you wouldn`t necessarily expect or see coming. There`s been a lot of examples of that recently. One that caught a lot of people`s attention, comes from someone who has made a name for himself as a fascinating figure: Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo. This is part of what he said to a group of protesters in his city over the weekend.
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ART ACEVEDO, HOUSTON POLICE CHIEF: They want people of color to be talked about as being thugs and we`re bums; and my people, as an immigrant, we are rapists. But you know what, we built this country.
I will not allow anyone to tear down, because this city this is our city.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don`t have to do that.
ACEVEDO: Pay close attention, because these little white guys with the skateboards are the ones who are starting all this (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
ACEVEDO: ...people are angry and knowing that they will start. If they start it, we won`t follow. Don`t follow that (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
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HAYES: I have never quite seen an address quite like that from a police chief. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo joins me now. Let me start with this chief, how do you understand what is happening right now in this country, and in your city?
ACEVEDO: Well, there is a lot of anger in our country. And there is a lot of indignation in our country because of a lot of reasons, not just the death of George Floyd, but obviously a lot of those social inequalities in our country.
And I think what I want to make clear is that everybody is pointing out, and pointing out only the bad protesters and the looters, and making it all about people of color. We need to be honest. There are anarchists out there, and there are people out there that are not people of color that are trying to start things by harnessing the anger, and starting that match, lighting it, knowing that with the emotions the way they are, that we will see rioting.
And it is important for us to speak the truth. As an immigrant, I just spoke with my heart. And what I love about this city is we are lead by a mayor, Sylvester Turner, who is man of faith, homegrown, and we serve a city, and a city served by a department that is minority majority, and just like our city is we are homegrown and we are reflective of this community, so we are just standing up for the rights of our citizens.
HAYES: You know, I remember someone talking to a young man in Baltimore, edges the protests over Freddie Gray, who said that, look, if things weren`t burning you wouldn`t be here right now, no one would care. And I wonder what you say to people who say, look, yeah, there is destruction, there`s broken windows and there`s things being lit on fire, but no one seems to care otherwise. Thousands of people walk peacefully, and it gets covered maybe for a day. This is the only thing that wakes people up.
ACEVEDO: You know, let me tell you what I say to that. I was in L.A. as a California air patrolman and acting sergeant when the Rodney King riots occurred. And things changed. But let me tell you why we haven`t affected the change that we need in this country, and that is because a lot of the same people we are seeing throwing bricks and bottles and angry, they are not exercising their rights to vote.
We all need to vote. And quite frankly, until we all do that, we are not going to see the change that we really need in terms of accountability. And we need to hold each other accountable and we need to hold public officials accountable, and we need to stop letting the extremes of the political spectrum carry the day with all these safe congressional districts in this country and safe political districts that makes both extremes, that have one thing in common, they`re are extreme, and they don`t focus on good policy, they focus on good politics. And until we have no safe districts at any level of government, we`re really not going to see the change.
And so I hope this is a wake-up call. And we will see some meaningful change coming ahead. And I really believe it is coming.
HAYES: On the question of accountability, the Houston Chronicle, of course your hometown paper, with an op-ed about people that have died at the hands of the Houston police, six of them, and calling for further investigation and the release of videos -- this is the editorial board of your hometown people, the Houston Chronicle. What is your response to that?
ACEVEDO: You know, first, the most important thing is the people need to remember we have a balance here. I believe in transparency. I believe that everything should be released at the appropriate time, but I also believe our number one responsibility is to the family of the deceased individual that was killed in the officer involved shooting.
We have a lot of competing interests. And just in our city, one of the shootings involved a Mr. Adrian Madearis, who was an African-American gospel leader. His brother called for the release of the video.
Well, we spent three hours, with Adrian. And whose -- we`ve actually kind of connected. And after he saw everything, he`s asked us not to release it.
The most important thing is that I worry as a police chief that in a case where an officer does get indicted, if we create too much publicity prior to it -- this is a melting pot. I know you have been to Houston. Look at the city. We`re minority-majority city. We`re the most diversity in the country. An officer gets indicted and the unintentional consequence if we are not careful is there a change of venue to a community that is not reflective of this big melting pot progressive place, then we have an acquittal and now we have a separate set of problems.
But I think the most important thing is have transparency at the appropriate time. But we also have to have the conversation and the dialog with our activists and with the community so they understand the unintended consequences and we can be thoughtful. I`m waiting for Mr. Madearis who has asked me not to release that one. Tomorrow, we have another family coming in at 9:00 a.m., because under Texas law, and we support this in law enforcement, we can share the video with the family so that -- without them having to go sue -- and we still maintain the ability to not release it if that`s the family`s wishes.
But ultimately, once the grand jury process is done, I believe that we should release everything to the community.
HAYES: Speaking of videos, just as a police officer, as someone who is clearly a thoughtful individual, thought about all of this, talked about all this, your reaction when you saw the video of George Floyd, and Officer Chauvin, with his knee on his neck?
ACEVEDO: It was -- I was sickened by it. And I have yet to find a police officer that was not sickened by it.
When you have a man that`s handcuffed with four police officers, it was just inhumane. It was criminal. And my heart goes out to the Floyd family. My heart goes out to everyone who sees in what happened to him, sees their own family member.
We had an 80-year-old woman here murdered, little old lady, two or three weeks ago, exiting a Walgreens. And I saw my mother`s face. People don`t understand the anger for the black community when they see George Floyd`s face, they see their brother, their sister, their son, their uncle, their cousin. And so we all need to take a step back, breathe, and remember our humanity.
And we are supposed to be a Judeo-Christian society. And we to start lifting up each other in prayer if we`re really going to move this country where it needs to be.
HAYES: All right, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, thank you so much for taking some time tonight on what I am sure is a busy night. I appreciate it.
ACEVEDO: Thank you, be safe.
HAYES: Ahead, the unsettling and violent scenes that play out this weekend had some police out-fitted for war confronted protesters. The militarization of the police in equipment and mentality after this.
HAYES: Over the last several days there have been these really gruesome and striking images of police essentially treating people like they are battling an insurgency.
And this posture of occupation and military mindset. It`s not new, in fact it`s become central, unfortunately, to modern-day policing. Here is an example, back in 2012, the Minnesota State Patrol, that`s the state patrol, they told the Pentagon its SWAT team could use a mine-resistant vehicle, quote, "the team does not have a vehicle capable of providing any level of ballistic protection, which greatly increases the risks during deployments." Not for police work, but for deployments.
Just today, during the president`s call with governors about what is going on around the country. Listen to this, this is the Secretary of Defense, head of the Pentagon, Mark Esper, he says, "I think the sooner that you mass and dominate the battlespace, the quicker this dissipates and we can get back to the right normal." That battlespace he`s talking about is comprised of Americans all across the country.
To help understand what effect this kind of policing can have on our society, our democracy and on demonstration and peaceful protests, I`m joined by Brittany Packnett Cunningham, who is the leader in the Ferguson protest movement where we saw all sorts of military gear on the streets; and Radley Balko, opinion writer for The Washington Post and author of "The Rise in Warrior Cop."
Brittany, let me start with you and just that quote by Esper about dominating the battlespace and getting back to the right kind of normal. What do you hear when you hear that?
BRITTANY PACKNETT CUNNINGHAM, CO-HOST, POD SAVE THE PEOPLE: America is once again waging war on its citizens. That is a war that I have been unfortunately was subject to when I was stood peacefully on the streets in Ferguson in 2014, and again in Baltimore that next year, and again in Baton Rouge the next year, and again in St. Louis City the next year. It is exactly what we are seeing happening across the country right now.
And the idea that this president and not just this president, and not just this president, but their governors, and mayors, and police chiefs, are fundamentally not just OK, but are proud of the idea that they should be at war against the constituents who pay them and give them legitimacy, is precisely the problem that brought us to this point.
Look, David McAtee died at the hands of police last night in Louisville. He was one of people`s favorite chefs and the barbecue man in town.
Philly protesters were tracked yards away from the police while the police projectile shot tear gas at them.
Chicago protesters were trapped by police last night when they pulled up the draw bridges over the Chicago River so that they were actually unable to even abide by the curfew that was set.
And just a few minutes ago, a few hours ago, miles from my home, White House protesters were gassed 25 minutes before the curfew was even going to take effect. Also a president, who told black people, we didn`t have anything to lose with him, could invoke fascist iconography with a bible in front of a church across the street from where he lived.
If people don`t believe us now, when we have been saying for years that the police have been waging war on us and not the other way around, I don`t know what else is it is going to take.
HAYES: Radley, your book, which is incredible, and I would recommend to anyone, whether interested in the topic or not, it`s just a fascinating and incredibly reported piece of work, is about the fact that this mentality has really suffused modern policing both in training, in mentality and in equipment, that -- to think of what you`re doing as some version of warfare.
Now this caught my eye, this was the Minnesota Department of Public Safety on Saturday saying the coordinated Minnesota National Guard, and law enforcement presence, will triple in size to address a sophisticated network of urban warfare.
Now say what you will about what was happening in Minnesota, and it was unruly and disordered and in some cases quite dangerous in terms fires, urban warfare is a specific thing, just like domestic terrorism is a specific thing. And it seems dangerous to throw that around.
RADLEY BALKO, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yeah, I mean I think we tend to focus a lot on the gear, the equipment, the guns, the armored vehicles, but I really think it`s the mentality and the mindset that`s scarier than any of that.
You know, if you take a police officer, and you dress him like a soldier, and you arm him like a soldier, and you train him like a soldier, and you tell him that he`s fighting a war, whether it is on drugs, or crime, or terrorism, or ANTIFA, or whoever the enemy is -- the latest enemy is -- we shouldn`t be surprised that they start to treat people, you know, the people that they`re supposed to be serving not as citizens with rights, but as potential enemy combatants, and I think that`s what we`ve been seeing over the last few days.
HAYES: Brittany, I want you to respond to something that I heard from certain quarters and you`re hearing from some mayors and police chiefs and governors, which is basically the following, look, we know that there is a small group of people that are inciting, looting, or breaking windows, or lighting things on fire, but we can`t just like, you know, retreat and allow them to have the street, we need order, we need to bring order, whatever that takes, and that`s the first priority, that`s what we`re elected to do. What do you say to them?
CUNNINGHAM: Chris, I`m going to have to be all the way honest with you. All the black women in me are tired. We are tired of repeating ourselves and reminding people that you wouldn`t have to worry about anything being out of order if you actually created justice in the first place. And we are reminded by the civil rights heroes of our time, and others, that justice requires more than order, it actually requires people experiencing lives that are equitable and that are fair. If you want true peace, you have to invoke justice, and not just wish for order.
We are tired of folks telling us that this is the first time they have ever known that this is what black people were suffering. It`s not the first time black people have been photographed or filmed when we`ve been killed. This is not the first time black people have endured multiple crises at one time. This is not the first time that we`ve been enduring this kind of racial terror in this country.
The police are killing more people, not less, than they were in 2014. And they`re killing just as many people as they were before Coronavirus as they are right now. So I don`t need people to tell me that they`re more concerned about property than they are about people.
I keep saying this, fix the conditions that get people this angry in the first place and you won`t have to worry about your precious land.
HAYES: Radley, there has been a lot of reporting on targeting of journalists. This is something that I witnessed firsthand. I`ve been threatened by police in the middle of a protests numerous times, it happens a fair amount, but it does seem to have tangibly escalated.
"Police target journalist" is a headline in The New York Times as Trump blames lamestream media for protests. We have a local reporter in Louisville who was hit by a pepper ball by an officer. We have seen rubber bullets, we`ve seen tear gas, we`ve seen batons.
Do you think there is an escalation against journalists as far as you can tell here?
BALKO: I mean I think we`ve seen more of that in the last few days than I can recall seeing in any protests since I have been covering this issue. I think somebody -- I saw some statistics somebody tweeted that 100 journalists or so have been attacked in the last three days in some by police, which is more than the last several years combined.
You know, I think it is important, not because journalists have special rights or that we have more rights than anyone else, but I do think there is something particularly horrifying about it, because journalists are the ones who are supposed to be there to tell the story. And when you are deliberately targeting the people who are supposed to bring transparency to what`s going on, I think it shows that you have something to hide when you`re trying to intimidate those people. And I think that`s what`s really kind of frightening about this.
It is not that we have special rights, it is that we are the people who are supposed to be telling the story.
HAYES: Brittany, finally, for you, and quickly, I`ve talked to a bunch of people who felt very hopeful over the last few days, that they see people in the streets in response to injustice, and it makes them feel hopeful, and large multiracial crowds, people of different ages, are you finding hope in this moment?
CUNNINGHAM: You know, I am the daughter of a Baptist minister and the descendant of a whole lot of black people in America, so I know how to find hope in desperate times, and I certainly find it now.
I`m hopeful that you and other folks are having conversations that are correctly placing responsibility on those who swear to serve and protect the citizens. And I`m hopeful, because unlike six years ago, we have got so much more clarity on the pathway forward. We know the data. We know the research. We can win. And we can get this done.
Brittany Packnett Cunningham and Radley Balko, thank you both so much for making time tonight.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END