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shooting of Georgia man TRANSCRIPT: 5/8/20, The Beat w/ Ari Melber

Guests: Hakeem Jeffries, Joseph Cartagena, Adam Schiff, Bill Kristol, Jon Meacham

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to THE BEAT. I`m Ari Melber.

And we have a lot in tonight`s show. Later, an update on a story we have been covering all week, an unarmed black jogger gunned down in broad daylight. This was back in February. Now developing news on the story, two men arrested for murder in Georgia, many say that action long overdue -- that story later tonight.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Barr under fire for alleged political meddling. Congressman Schiff joins me live.

And by the end of the hour, we turn to hope and art, Fat Joe back on THE BEAT.

But we begin right now with coronavirus inside the West Wing: a top aide to Vice President Pence testing positive.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She is a wonderful young woman, Katie. She tested very good for a long period of time, and then all of the sudden today she tested positive.

She hasn`t come into contact with me. She spent some time with the vice president. It`s, I believe, the press person, right? It`s a press person. So, she tested positive out of the blue.


MELBER: That Katie is Katie Miller. She is Vice President Pence`s press secretary. She is married to Trump aid Stephen Miller, as you may recall.

He`s actually one of Donald Trump`s longest-serving and closest aides. In an administration with all kinds of turnover, Miller has been there the whole time. He has a personal and longstanding relationship with the president. He writes speeches for him. They spend time together, which is concerning.

The White House staff will now be tested every day for coronavirus in this climate. And that is what`s happening there in Washington as they grapple with the problems that everyone is grappling with. But they don`t have all of the same problems, because, beyond the public health crisis, we`re living through an economic one.

I`m sure you know about that. And I want to give you some update on this ongoing humanitarian toll.

The U.S. work force facing basically devastation. More than 20 million jobs lost in this month of April that we just completed. One in five people in the labor force are now unemployed, basically, people who had jobs and are seeking work.

If you translate that out, you have this staggering unemployment rate of 14.7 percent. If that looks high to you, you`re right. It is. It is the highest since the Great Depression.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m on week seven of not receiving any unemployment benefits. Just like when you would call a radio station to try to win concert tickets, that`s how you have to call unemployment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The possibility, you know, of losing our house, losing our truck, and it`s -- as a granddaughter, knowing that that could happen, it terrifies me.


MELBER: A few voices among the millions for what we are all going through as a nation. And it is going to be, obviously, a long road.

We`re joined now by Dr. Natalie Azar, rheumatologist at NYU Langone Medical Center, Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historian, and Bill Kristol, director of the group Defending Democracies Together.

I want to begin with you, Jon, because we draw on history here, obviously, to try to get our heads around the scale of what people are living through. There is the public health crisis, and then there is what we continue to see, a growing economic one.

What do you see here in the parallels in history to the rare times when it`s been this bad in the work force?

JON MEACHAM, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, in the winter of 1933, -- there was one out of every four American men, we think, were out of work. Statistics are hard to come by there.

But John Maynard Keynes, the great economist, was asked, has there ever been anything like the Depression before. And he said, yes, it was called the Dark Ages and it lasted 400 years. And so we are in a deep crisis.

The question for us now is, what do we do with it? Crises can pass, but they have to be addressed. And simply wishing it away is not going to work. The good news is, FDR got some things right, some things wrong. He set up a political dynamic that, for the next 80 years, the tension between where Ronald Reagan stood and where FDR stood really governed American politics.

And Bill knows this incredibly well. He was part of it. You governed and you fought, but you did so on a coherent field. And it was a field really built by FDR, Reagan, Lyndon Johnson. In many ways, the Reagan Revolution was a response not to the New Deal as much as it was to the Great Society.

So it`s a moment of enormous political import. The decision we`re going make in November is extraordinary. Also, for Democrats, who are very worried at this point, I would remind people that I can`t think of an era of crisis, except for 1864, where the incumbent governing party, in this case, the Republicans, because they hold the White House, actually won.

And so this is a moment, it seems to me, to make a coherent case that there are answers here and that it`s time to change the channel.

MELBER: And on that point, to Bill Kristol, who you mentioned, Joe Biden is sharpening a message about what he calls a corrupt and failed Trump recovery process. Take a look.


JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`re already seeing telltale hallmarks of Trumponomics, in the way he`s going about implementing the crisis response efforts, no strings, no oversight, no accountability.

I started to think of this as the corrupt recovery.



BILL KRISTOL, FORMER EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Yes, you know, it`s also, jumping into 1933, it`s the 75th anniversary of V.E. Day, 1945.

I actually listened to Churchill and Truman`s addresses to their respective nation last night. You can do that easily on YouTube, obviously. And it is a reminder that we have been through awfully tough times economically, but also a world war and all the horrors of that, and came through.

But we came through with real leadership. And I would just would make Jon`s point, the wishful thinking is what really, I think, is so damaging in a way. The lying and the stupidity and the ridiculous things Trump does is one thing.

But the degree to which he is not leading a federal government that is seriously addressing this crisis and making mistakes, as, of course, you would, especially early on, but then correcting those mistakes, as FDR did and as we did in World War II, and being serious about what we`re learning, especially this wishfulness that we can somehow wish the economy back without dealing seriously with the public health problem.

The masks thing is so tiny and silly in a way, but it`s very revealing. People aren`t going to go out to restaurants and to all the -- on airplanes and so forth unless they feel safe, and one way they can feel safe is by widespread use of masks.

And this kind of silly, childish, pseudo-macho protest that I`m not wearing a mask, I`m too tough, do people not understand that -- they`re in favor of opening up. This delays the possibility of opening up.


KRISTOL: I`m not going to a restaurant if some jerk five feet from me has decided he is not going to wear a mask.

A friend of mine was telling a story. I won`t say where exactly, but he went to a hospital for a routine procedure. They asked him to put on a mask. Of course he did. As soon as he came in, they gave him one. He didn`t have it with him, but he was happy to do it, of course.

A guy behind him, middle-aged, businessman, not a kind of riffraff type, shows us. They said, sir -- he is next in line. He`s checking in. Sir, you will have to wear a mask. I don`t want to wear a mask. Well, sir, it`s a procedure, a hospital requirement.

I don`t -- the Democrats doing this, we don`t need masks, this is all ridiculous and un-American.

Finally, they had an argument and a argument with a very nice receptionist, and the security guard had to escort this guy out.

What is going on that people are being so childish and irresponsible?

MELBER: Yes. And, as you say, it goes to leadership. It goes to our understandings.

There is nothing -- quote, unquote -- "tough" about possibly infecting other people because you`re asymptomatic. It`s irresponsible. It`s stupid if you have been informed of the warning now, as we have all learned as we go. It`s certainly not tough.

Before I bring in the doctor, I want to play one other thing for Bill Kristol that merges these.

Also, Bill, you know I`m a -- I try to listen closely to you. In addition to all the deep insights you shared, I believe you revealed that late at night you`re home watching Winston Churchill speeches on YouTube, which is...


KRISTOL: You think that`s a little -- I also watch mysteries on TV. I`m a normal -- just for a few minutes.


KRISTOL: You`re listening to hip-hop and God knows what. And I`m watching Winston Churchill on YouTube.


MEACHAM: Ari -- Ari...

MELBER: I think Jon -- Jon has a response.

MEACHAM: Ari, I think what is important here, I think we need to do a dork intervention.


MEACHAM: So, if you have some masks, we will do it. We will do it with some gloves and we will get into the Kristol household.

KRISTOL: It`s good that I`m here to amuse all of you.


MELBER: All I`m saying is, I think Meacham and I are both somewhat historical nerds as well. I know he has a J.D. We read the founding fathers.

But I don`t know that Meacham is at 11:00 at night just hitting that YouTube Churchill button.

Having dispensed with that business, again, before I bring in the doctor, here was Larry Kudlow on the economic-health intersection.

Bill, take a look.


QUESTION: Larry, dreadful numbers this morning, no sugarcoating it. Is this as bad as it gets?

LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Well, I don`t know if it`s as bad as it gets. I don`t think this pandemic contraction has yet fully run its course.

Regarding the next month or two, which you`re really going to transition into a reopening of the economy, who is to say the numbers will not get worse?


MELBER: To bill and then Dr. Azar, what is the responsible policy approach if you should be respecting the medical situation?

KRISTOL: I would say -- first to say this is going to be more than a month or two of dealing with it.

And, again, if we don`t get serious about the public health side of it, the distancing, but also, of course, the testing, the PPE, for lots of people, not just health care workers -- and they come first, obviously -- but others who are dealing with people, with customers and so forth, if you don`t have a serious federal government response that adjusts to reality, that does take account of differences around the country, but that really does take account of them, and doesn`t just wish that one part of the country isn`t going to be susceptible to a virus or something, I`m very worried actually that the economic downturn could be very long-lasting.

I think people are underestimating how much -- how difficult it`s going to be to get out of this. And we can get out of it, but it`s going to take serious leadership across the board.

MELBER: Doctor?

DR. NATALIE AZAR, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Do you want me to respond, Ari?

MELBER: On any, all of the above.


MELBER: Let me say, Doctor, I will just frame it as any of that.

I`m curious your views, particularly how should policy-makers should look at those projections. And then, in addition, we`d love your views on what the risk rate is with Pence`s aide.

AZAR: Yes. So, yes -- so, the Pence`s aide thing first.

In a world that wasn`t the White House, you know, she would -- all her contacts would be traced and they would go into self-quarantine for 14 days. You know, I think it is a little bit of a different world that they are living in, and they are going to be testing everybody daily.

Now, we already know that folks who she came into contact with over the next couple of days could be tested, and they might be testing negative, but their tests may turn positive after a couple of days. It takes a few days for that molecular test to become positive.

So, again, it`s not -- their world isn`t the real world that we`re living in. They`re not going to be quarantining for 14 days. They will be testing everybody. So that will be OK.

I think the issue or the question is was, were these cases all linked? Are they all a cluster, from the president`s valet to Katie, or are they separate? And if they are separate, then should it be no surprise to anybody, given what we know about the easy transmissibility of this virus, that it`s probably more widespread perhaps within the White House than we currently know, and more folks may end up turning positive in the next couple of days.

And, obviously, I wish both of those individuals well. We don`t want to take for granted that they have tested positive for the virus.


AZAR: To the other point about the tension between the economic health and the public health of this country, I make a few points.

There was another projection from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation from the University of Washington that now projects about 134,000 cases or deaths by August 1. And they do include some mitigation in that number.

And Dr. Murray, who leads that group, says very basically, is there anything that we can do to mitigate that, to offset that? And he says yes, of course, with testing and contact tracing and cautious behavior.

To Bill`s point, that means when you`re out in public you do wear a mask to protect other folks. You do stay six feet apart from people. And that is -- that`s the only way that we can combat the mobility, because we do need to mobilize, right? We can`t realistically stay in our homes forever.


MELBER: Let me read to you, Doctor, on that point, Politico with this headline, wearing a mask is for -- quote -- "smug liberals."

Bill was referring to this idea earlier. "Refusing to is for reckless Republicans," and noting, inside the White House, the building is -- quote -- "a relatively mask-free zone. At a meeting that included Mark Meadows and 20 other White House officials and Secret Service agents, nobody from the White House was wearing a mask or other face covering."

Is that a bad idea, Doctor?

AZAR: Yes.

That just -- that -- I mean, look, it sounds completely reckless, when you`re testing once a week and all the people who are working in the White House are going home to their families. They are potentially taking public transportation. They`re also going to the grocery store and the pharmacies and things like that.

And as we have said from the beginning of this, that during the pandemic, how important it is that the messaging from the top is consistent, is clear, is science-based.

So, it`s just -- it`s such a small sacrifice, isn`t it, really, to put a piece of cloth over your face. I don`t get it. I don`t.


And I appreciate your clarity on it.

We have a lot in the show. So I`m going to fit in a break. I want to thank Dr. Azar and Jon Meacham, including for the impromptu dork intervention. We can all use that from time to time.


MELBER: And, Bill -- we`re not done with Bill Kristol. That`s all I will say about that. I`m going to see him later this hour.

Coming up, we do have some policy-makers, including Chairman Adam Schiff. I`m very excited to hear his views on this outgrowth of the Mueller Russia probe and the intervening in Michael Flynn`s case. I will ask him about that directly after this break.

Also, the story we have been covering, arrests in that Georgia shooting case, an investigation of a third person now under way.

Also, we have a special report tonight that I want to share with you about what we can do and learn about which states are getting it right and also some problems in New York that may have helped spread this virus further around the nation.

And then, later, by the end of the hour, a very special Friday night segment with Fat Joe and, yes, Bill Kristol, reunited, and it feels so good.

I`m Ari Melber. You`re watching a special edition of THE BEAT on MSNBC.



QUESTION: When history looks back on this decision, how do you think it will be written?

WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINEE: Well, history is written by the winners. So, it largely depends on who`s writing the history.


MELBER: Does it?

That is the fairly brash out-in-the-open answer or defense, if you want to call it that, from Attorney General Barr about this unusual push to have charges dropped against Trump adviser Michael Flynn, who literally pled guilty, before getting this brand-new, very controversial sweetheart deal from the administration that he once served.

Now, on the heels of this move, Donald Trump called into FOX News and issued a new threat.


TRUMP: These are dirty politicians and dirty cops and some horrible people. And, hopefully, they`re going to pay a big price someday in the not-too- distant future.


MELBER: It is a big story, and we have a big guest who has been in the center of all of it, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Chairman Adam Schiff.

He led the prosecution, of course, at the impeachment trial, and is the -- potentially one of the people in the crosshairs of this whole revenge effort.

First of all, thanks for joining me, Chairman Adam Schiff.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Thank you. It`s great to be with you.

MELBER: What is your response first to the legal development of the Justice Department taking this unusual step, trying to cancel a guilty plea that already existed?

SCHIFF: Well, the usual response to so many events within the Trump administration, shock, being aghast, and yet not at all surprised, because this is the history of this president and this attorney general, who views his job as essentially carrying out the dirty work for the president.

Let`s remember what was at stake here. The president of the United States, then Barack Obama, imposes sanctions on Russia for interfering in the U.S. election. One of the chief surrogates of Donald Trump, who the Russians have just helped get elected, has secret conversations with the Russians designed to undermine those sanctions.

And then he lies about it, lies about it to the vice president. The vice president goes out and misleads the country about it, and the FBI becomes concerned that Flynn is compromised, because, of course, the Russians know that he`s lied.

And those lies have now been amplified by the vice president`s statements. That is a prime counterterrorism risk and the subject of a more-than-valid counterintelligence investigation.

What Bill Barr has just said in dismissing this case is, no, we shouldn`t look into those things. And what`s more, if you lie to the FBI about those things, it`s perfectly fine.

But what he`s really saying is, if you are a friend of the president, then justice doesn`t matter anymore in this country.

And, in that respect, I think we have rolled the clock back half-a-century to the days of Watergate, and we have really invalidated so many of the reforms we have put in place to protect the independence of the Justice Department.

MELBER: If this rolls back one of the convictions, one of the legal victories of the Mueller probe, and the president gets away with this and continues, and Bill Barr says out in the open, well, might makes right, the victors writes history, not something we are supposed to hear from a nonpartisan Justice Department, what do you say to people who are concerned that the president is basically getting away with it all?

SCHIFF: Well, first of all, I would say to Bill Barr, you can`t gaslight history.

I don`t think the fact that you tried to create this false narrative is ultimately going to succeed. Over much of the obstruction of the administration, we have uncovered a great deal of the president`s misconduct vis-a-vis Russia and Ukraine, and we will uncover the misconduct going forward.

So, I don`t think he is right about that, as brash as it is and ugly to hear from an attorney general.

In terms of the president and his threats of vengeance and whatnot, none of that, Ari, as you know, is new. And we`re going to have to defend the institutions of this democracy until this threat no longer persists.

There is reason why this case is being dismissed under the cloak of a pandemic, under the cloak of night. And it`s because they don`t want these things to really see the light of day. So, I think it`s important that, even during a pandemic, you`re pointing these things out.


MELBER: Let me get you on that.

You think this was deliberately done by Bill Barr`s Justice Department to take advantage of the pandemic and sneak it in?

SCHIFF: Oh, I don`t think there is any question that so much of what they`re doing right now is being done because they know the country, of necessity, is focusing on life or death.

You know, the decision to fire Michael Atkinson, that`s something the president wanted to do months ago, but he waited until now because we`re contending with thousands of deaths every day.

Similarly, he could have had Barr dismiss the Flynn case at any time. So, yes, I think that this is an effort to both distract the public attention. I think it`s part of the broader effort that you were talking about last night, I believe, Ari, to rewrite history, that is, make the whole Russia investigation go away, create some alternate narrative that, through sheer repetition, they can try to get people to believe.

But I have more confidence in history and the American people to see through these deceptions.

MELBER: Well, I think it`s very important, what you say there.

And that brings us to something else I want to ask you about. We were covering this last night, as you mentioned.

I have always pointed out in legal reporting that Bob Mueller was very careful. He didn`t find or indict on a criminal conspiracy in the election. He didn`t. He really followed every case as it went by the facts.

But this isn`t about redoing what he found lawfully. It is about taking convictions that were already won and trying to reverse them. And I think that distinction is very important.

The president made an admission that I want to play for you that is really quite stunning.

And I want to warn viewers, what you`re about to hear is a sitting president of the United States basically say that he views the Justice Department the same way Nixon did in the manner that got him forced out of office. It`s really something.

Again, the pandemic, you may be focused on other things, understandably. But I want to play this for the congressman`s response, the president here on FOX.


QUESTION: If Bill Barr was your first attorney general, would there have been a Mueller probe and a Russia hoax? .

TRUMP: No, there wouldn`t be. He would have stopped it immediately.


MELBER: Chairman Schiff, is that an incriminating admission? And what, if anything, does Congress do about it?

SCHIFF: Oh, absolutely.

What he is basically saying is, Bill Barr is doing all the dirty work that the president could want. Any investigation would never go forward of President Trump under Bill Barr.

There is all too much truth of that. Indeed, as you know, the plea deal that Michael Flynn was offered was a very favorable plea deal.


SCHIFF: He was accused of other very serious conduct, doing illicit work for the Turkish government, not registering as an agent of a foreign power and other potential crimes.

So, many thought he got off very slightly, pleading to this one charge of lying to the FBI.

Well, there is little or no chance that Bill Barr will allow the investigation of those other serious crimes to go forward or really probably anyone else who is a friend or lackey of the president`s.

Look at Bill Barr`s already interference on behalf of Roger Stone to try to get him a lighter sentence. So, yes, the president installed Bill Barr for a reason. The president was dissatisfied with Jeff Sessions for a reason. He felt that Jeff Sessions should have been his Roy Cohn, and he wasn`t. But he did get his Roy Cohn in Bill Barr.

And what that means is, when you have an unscrupulous president like this one, an attorney general who is essentially acting as his defense lawyer, as is Rudy Giuliani, it means the prospect for further corruption, malfeasance is that much greater.

I do think that Bob Mueller, as you say, was very careful, and properly so, but I would think, in some respects, too careful. I think that the policy that he adhered to that you can`t indict a sitting president was a mistake, and one that I hope, in retrospect, we come to recognize as a mistake, and we change that policy, so that no one is above the law, not even a sitting president.

MELBER: All very interesting and important reaction here to something that we`re going to stay on, because people need to know about it.

Chairman Schiff, thank you for your time tonight.

SCHIFF: Thanks, Ari.

MELBER: When we`re back in just 30 seconds, I`m going to dig into a policy mystery about why some states have combated coronavirus better than others.

We`re back in 30.


MELBER: This week, most states in America are partially reopen in some manner.

So the debate is continuing over how to manage this pandemic, and what are the right trade-offs to make. Now, remember, under our Constitution, these are mostly calls for governors to make. The president is a bystander, whether he likes it or not.

And several governors took early actions to tackle the virus, some with more medical and policy progress than others. So, let`s get into it right now.

Consider this fact. Two large states hit with the virus issued orders keeping people at home around roughly the same time. California and New York acted statewide a day apart. But, remember, there were huge parts of California with a lot of people living in them that took local action earlier.

Six counties in Bay Area announcing stay-at-home orders all the way back on March 16.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The shelter at home orders in effect for the counties of Santa Clara, San Mateo, S.F., Marin, Contra Costa, Alameda, along with the cities of Berkeley and Oakland, which means you`re supposed to stay at home unless you work in an essential business.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Many are calling this a new normal. Well, it`s the new normal temporarily in an effort to protect public health.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Alameda County joined the health officials of five other Bay Area counties in issuing this unprecedented order today.


MELBER: Unprecedented, and it was a very good thing.

In fact, by the time that the California governor, Newsom, announced a statewide shutdown, over 21 million people -- that`s, of course, larger populations than many entire states -- and it`s half of California`s population -- were in those stay-at-home orders.

And while New York Governor Cuomo has made plenty of headlines with his leadership in New York and his press conferences, the mounting data shows that California`s action achieved better, swifter progress in combating the spread of this virus.

You can see it right here, and it is chilling. Look at how the spread and impact of this disease stayed so flat over time in California, in contrast to surging in New York, which, among other things, acted later.

And it`s not just one state vs. another. We can see this contrast up in Washington state. You may recall it`s one of the first places to get hit. It was before New York, but facing less devastation right now, partly because of early action by Governor Jay Inslee, putting science first.


GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA): We can succeed in this if we make our decisions based on calm confidence that is based on science and rational thought and the sense and understanding that we are all in this together.


MELBER: We`re in this together, and we can keep learning about this together right now.

The first days of the infectious part of a pandemic are what matter most. Washington state and Seattle leaders knew that. They moved fast to persuade people to stay home, while New York moved more slowly and let politicians` voices dominate, according to this "New Yorker" investigation.

And it faults Democrats de Blasio and Cuomo in New York. Now, this matters for helping people, for learning in real time in order to save lives moving forward. And we`re now seeing new specific evidence of how some areas were able to control the spread better than others.

Now, how can you be sure? Well, technology can actually help. That same report I mentioned cites cell phone data showing nearly a quarter of Seattleites actually were avoiding their workplaces as early as March 6. In New York City, it was another week that passed until an equivalent percentage were doing sheltering in place.

Now, you might say, OK, Ari, what`s one week? We have all been surprised at some point or another early on about this. We have all been adjusting.

But medical experts say that was crucial time loss, because this was back in March. And as the West Coast basically swiftly closed up, Governor Cuomo, remember, was still publicly saying something that did turn out to be incorrect.

He was saying that -- quote -- "There`s not going to be any rules keeping people in their houses."


BILL DE BLASIO (D), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: I think New Yorkers should be prepared right now for the possibility of a shelter-in-place order.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): There is not going to be any you-must-stay-in- your-house rule.


MELBER: March 17, time lost. And there was, of course, such a rule.

Now, when dealing with a pandemic, you have to have -- and public health experts emphasize this over and over -- you have to have clarity about what you`re doing, even if things are changing fast, and you have to act as soon as possible.

The former CDC director says that, if New York had implemented those stay- at-home orders just 10 days earlier, it might have reduce these COVID deaths by 50 to 80 percent.

Then there is brand-new reporting from "The New York Times" that shows the majority of the spread inside the United States can be traced back to New York -- quote -- "The central role of New York`s outbreak shows decisions made by state and federal officials helped shape the trajectory of the outbreak and allowed it to grow in the rest of the country."

This is very important. And, sometimes, there is a lot of attention paid to things for reasons that aren`t rooted in science, what the president does, or major media being located in New York, or someone giving a good press conference, or at least good compared to what we were seeing out of the White House.

The point here is not blame. The point is for learning as we go. And there are many factors at play. Experts say that other factors, apart from what I just showed you, like New York`s density and use of public transportation, also play a role.

But we are learning, from the data I showed you, from who acted first, from where people stayed home first, that early action is important and that some of New York`s delays cost lives and had a national effect.

So, we need to keep that in mind. It has nothing to do with whether you like this or that politician. It has everything to do with what we need to do right now, which is speak openly, honestly and bluntly about what we`re learning to act quickly and decisively, particularly as nobody knows whether we might face a recurrence, a second wave of all of we wanted to show you those facts. And coming up after a quick break, I will be joined by Congress nobody knows whether we might face a recurrence, a second wave of all of this.

So, we wanted to show you those facts.

And coming up after a quick break, I will be joined by Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, a member of Democratic leadership. We have a lot to get to.



MARCUS ARBERY, FATHER OF AHMAUD ARBERY: His heart was just bigger than life.

Let me tell you, he just loved people. He just was a good young man. And he just was outgoing with everybody. So, he just loved the people. He just -- he just didn`t deserve to go out like that.


MELBER: The father of Ahmaud Arbery speaking out, the young man who was killed, shot to death while jogging, unarmed, broad daylight, a story we have been covering. Two arrests in that case now.

And I want to bring in Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, who knows these issues well, as he serves on the House Judiciary Committee and is a member of Democratic membership.

Good evening, sir.

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Good evening, Ari. Good to be with you.

MELBER: We cover the pandemic a lot. And I have some questions I want to get to with you on that.

But this is a topic you and I have discussed before. You have worked in your career on it. Yet again, we`re faced with this situation, and not only the shooting of this young unarmed black man, but that it occurred in February. This arrest broke late in the day yesterday.

Your response to all of it for viewers, and what do you think can be done to prevent a next one?

JEFFRIES: Well, we are dealing with a troubling pandemic related to a public health crisis and an economic crisis. There is a lot of pain. There is a lot of death. There is a lot of suffering.

We know that the African-American community has been disproportionately and adversely impacted by this pandemic. And even in the midst of all of this, we`re still dealing with underlying issues of racial and social injustice.

And so it`s a tragedy. And it highlights that, though we have come a long way in America, we still have a long way to go to get to a place where equal protection under the law truly means equal protection under the law.

MELBER: Would these men, in your view, have been arrested if not for the public outcry?

Because, as I mentioned, this case has been kicking around for a long time. And in our reporting earlier this week, we were hearing things from the DA that I reported, and then I explained to viewers why they weren`t on the level, saying, for example, oh, we would have to wait for a grand jury to charge, and the grand juries are out because of COVID.

And I explained, you don`t need legally the grand jury to indict. And, sure enough, during COVID, they did, under pressure, go ahead and indict without the grand jury.

JEFFRIES: Absent public pressure, it`s clear to me that it`s very unlikely that these two individuals would have been arrested.

There appears to be a close relationship between the local law enforcement operator, whether that`s the district attorneys or the investigators, based on the history of at least a father having spent his career in law enforcement.


JEFFRIES: And we have seen this throughout the country when this intimate relationship often leads to the absence of an investigation or the absence of accountability.

This is one of the reasons why, in Washington, we have been fighting for independent investigators, independent prosecutors in order to address the situations where clearly at the local level you`re not going get blind justice.

MELBER: Right.

And that`s something we have covered a lot. As you mentioned, it`s a real problem when either there is too much of a conflict of interest between active police and DAs, when there may be a crime that could, a potential crime that could involve police, or in this case ex-police, but, as you say -- and other experts have told us that this week -- that was a concern.

We were just looking at some of the footage for viewers of those arrestees.

Congressman Jeffries, this was an important story I wanted to return to.

I thank you for joining us tonight.

JEFFRIES: Thank you, Ari.

MELBER: Appreciate it.

Coming up after the break, we take a turn. It`s been a long week, for sure, and we have some very special guests on some of the biggest challenges of the coronavirus era.

We`re also going to get into pressure on Trump Attorney General Bill Barr for a story we won`t let go, the question whether they`re rewriting the history of the Mueller probe, and maybe some other fun stuff before we finish the hour.

Stay with us.


MELBER: When times get this tough, do we need more culture, more fun, more breaks, or less?

We do the news here, so we do a lot of serious stuff. But on THE BEAT, we happen to believe that more culture and looking at the wider culture and music and art and how it brings us all together is worthwhile.

One of our favorite examples is the conversations that basically came about organically and flowed between Grammy-nominated artist Fat Joe and longtime conservative Bill Kristol, who has worked in the Reagan and Bush administrations.

They debuted with us on the year we debuted, in 2017. And for whatever reason, we got a lot of feedback about it and some buzzing about it. We reconnected in 2018.

In fact, they even drove around Manhattan together, taking the city by storm. You can see the happier days there, no social distancing, just a couple of people riding around in an SUV.

We know that those of you who happen to watch THE BEAT have told us you love them, which is why we want to say we love them too.

And, right now, we get into a very special "Fallback Friday."

Guess who is bz-ack? Fat Joe and Bill Kristol reunited.

How you guys doing?

JOSEPH CARTAGENA, FAT JOE: What`s up, Bill? What`s up, Ari?

MELBER: What`s up, Bill?

KRISTOL: How are you doing, Fat Joe?

CARTAGENA: Bill, what is up, man?

MELBER: How are you doing, Fat Joe?


KRISTOL: I`m doing fine. I was asking how you were doing. We`re -- you hanging in there?

CARTAGENA: I`m all right. I`m hanging in there. I`m hanging in there, man.

A lot of times, I have been working since for 25 years straight without taking a break enough. And so I have been able to connect with the family and spend time with the family and bond with my daughter and my wife and everybody.

So, it`s actually been a pleasant experience for me as far as quarantining in the house.

MELBER: I love that.

Let me say, number one, I feel like this is the Zoom call America needs, right down to the one- or two-second delay.

But, two, I`m curious, for both of you, what personally or publicly do you think has positively come out of this tough time, first Bill and then Fat Joe?

KRISTOL: Well, I have also enjoyed spending more time at home with my wife. I`m not sure she is enjoying it quite as much as I am.

But I`m sure Fat Joe`s family is loving having him there, and that`s a good thing.

I think what`s come out of it, on the good side, more broadly, we -- earlier in the show, Ari, we were talking about how childish some people are being, including the president of the United States.

A lot of Americans are behaving awfully well, awfully responsibly. A lot of real heroism from health care workers, but from a lot of other people, people who are working, helping bring food and everything.

I mean, look, we`re having this terrible crisis, health crisis and economic crisis, but an awful lot of people are making things work, and it could be a lot worse.

So, I have been impressed by the resilience and courage, really, in a good sense, of a heck of a lot of Americans.


CARTAGENA: Me, I just feel like this is a time -- I feel like this is a test or a lesson in time from God.

And I think maybe we have been getting carried away. And he said, pump your brakes, stay home, I`m in charge.

And you learn that we got caught with a lot of different things, material things, or luxuries, different things. And you realize that -- you realize who is really important to you, and what`s really important in your life. And you realize how vulnerable we really are as human beings.

MELBER: Truth. That`s for sure.

You know, I love you two together. And now I`m hearing there`s one more person who wants to join.

So, we`re actually going to crash this "Fallback" with a surprise addition.

Are you ready?

CARTAGENA: I`m ready.

MELBER: Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, what`s up?

You wanted to get in here?


JEFFRIES: Well, you know, Fat Joe and Bill Kristol together, now you know you in trouble. So, I wanted to get a part of the action.



MELBER: Now, what about the Brooklyn-Bronx -- is there a Brooklyn-Bronx rivalry here?

Or are you guys all good, Congressman?

JEFFRIES: No, we`re certainly all good.

We appreciate what Fat Joe and the Boogie Down Bronx, of course, have meant to the culture and what Joe has meant to hip-hop music, both in New York, but across the country and throughout the globe.

And, of course, Bill Kristol has done a great job speaking truth to power over these last few years, while our democracy`s been under a tremendous threat.

So, we appreciate this combination, and, of course, appreciate you, Ari.

MELBER: That`s nice of you to say.

Fat Joe, the congressman`s right that -- not to put Bill Kristol on the spot, but he is -- you know, when they talk about Trump resistance, he is that rare thing. He is a resistance Republican in 2020, or ex-Republican, whatever you want to call it.

CARTAGENA: A few years back, he made the curb. He hit the curb, and he came back to realization.


CARTAGENA: And we`re happy for that.

And, you know, the man`s been around politics all his life, Bill Kristol. And he know what he seen this -- the way this was going. And I believe, in 20 years from now, 30 years from now, the president will go down as the president who`s crashed the greatest economy and overseen 150 to, God forbid, 200,000 American lives lost.

That`s just how they going to view it when it`s said and done 20, 30 years from now.

I guess Bill Kristol knew this guy wasn`t ready for this.


KRISTOL: Yes, I think I was right that he shouldn`t have been -- become the Republican nominee and shouldn`t have become president.

And a lot of other people were right about that, too. And he won one election.

I do think now it`s a serious thing. Congressman Jeffries is doing a great job. I think the Congress really needs to do its best to make things less bad than they would otherwise be. You can`t -- you know, there is only one president, so there are limits to what Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Jeffries and others can do, but making sure the election comes off in November, in a safe and secure way, that there is money for that, making sure that the economy, we keep it going as well as possible.

Getting out the public health message, I think that`s something that Congress can do more a little more, maybe the Biden campaign, even, because, right now, we`re getting so little healthy guidance from where we are used to getting it, which is the White House.

MELBER: Congressman?

JEFFRIES: Yes, this is an extraordinary moment.

And it requires an extraordinary intervention at the congressional level. We`re going to continue to do what`s necessary to put everyday Americans first, to put essential workers and displaced workers, and low-wage workers, and the poor, the sick, the afflicted, the least, the lost, and the left behind first.

We would appreciate a different level of presidential leadership, but we`re left with what we`re left with. And so we`re going to try to continue to work in a bipartisan way with our colleagues in the Senate, arrive at common ground, do the right thing for the American people, and then, in November, make sure we can have a safe and secure election, so we can get past this long national nightmare.

MELBER: Now, I appreciate all that, the seriousness of that.

And yet, because this is "Fallback Friday," Fat Joe, you heard him. He said do the right thing. That`s a Brooklyn reference. He`s going back to Spike Lee in Brooklyn. He`s doing that to you while you`re here.

I`m just trying to say, is he pushing back on the Bronx here?

CARTAGENA: If it wasn`t for the Bronx, this rap thing never would be going on.

So, tell me where you from. Uptown, baby. Uptown, baby.


MELBER: We gets down, baby.

I love it. I love you guys coming together.



MELBER: We gets down, baby.

I love it. And all of you are a good sport, each and every one of you, to doing what we trying to do here, which is collaborate, come together, learn, learn from each other.

So, in that spirit, I love seeing you to end the week.

Fat Joe, Bill Kristol, Congressman Jeffries, thank you.

JEFFRIES: Thank you, Ari.


We will be right back with one more thing.


MELBER: New data tonight about racial disparities that are continuing when it comes to enforcing social distancing.

Look at this New York City data. Of course, that`s an epicenter. And it shows that people of color are being disproportionately impacted. In fact, over 51 percent of summons about this were to African-Americans for allegations of violating social distancing rules -- that`s from March to the past week -- 30 percent issued to Hispanic New Yorkers.

We wanted to show you that because it`s a reminder about some of the issues we have been covering and how it affects different people, whether we have fair enforcement. That`s a final thought from us.

Thank you, as always, for watching THE BEAT. I hope you enjoyed everything tonight, including our great time with Congressman Jeffries, Fat Joe, and, of course, Bill Kristol.

I`m Ari Melber. I will see you back here Monday at 6:00 p.m. Eastern.

Keep it right here on MSNBC.