KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: That is all for tonight. Chuck is back tomorrow with more MEET THE PRESS DAILY.
And we will both be back tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow afternoon.
THE BEAT starts right now with Stephanie Ruhle, in for Ari.
Good evening, Stephanie. I just read a news alert that NASCAR has now banned Confederate Flags at its races. This conversation and this reform, this movement, things are moving fast.
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC HOST: Tremendous.
I mean, think about the France family, who founded this organization. What a development. When you put a woman in charge, Lesa France, really good things happen.
RUHLE: Katy, thank you so much.
Welcome to THE BEAT. I`m Stephanie -- you knew I was going to say that. I am Stephanie Ruhle, in for our friend Ari Melber.
And we have a very big show tonight, as the brother of George Floyd testifies. And fears are growing within the GOP that President Trump`s response to the national unrest is tarnishing the entire party. Well, what are they going to do about it?
We start this evening with the words of George Perry Floyd`s BROTHER Philonise, testifying today before the Judiciary Committee after burying his brother just yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILONISE FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: George wasn`t hurting anyone that day. He didn`t deserve to die over $20.
I am asking you, is that what a black man is worth? Twenty dollars? This is 2020. Enough is enough.
I didn`t get the chance to say goodbye to Perry while he was here. I was robbed of that. But I know he`s looking down at us now.
Perry, look up at what you did, big brother. You changed the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Buried his brother yesterday, and testified before Congress this morning.
That very emotional testimony part of the broader national conversation on police brutality. Today, the Minneapolis police chief announced he is taking on the city`s police union, demanding the union reexamining its stance on force, transparency and some other key items.
Also today, "The New York Times" reporting on a groundswell of ground support of the Black Lives Matter movement -- quote -- "In the last two weeks, voter support increased almost as much as it had in the preceding two years."
Meanwhile, in the last month, Donald Trump`s approval rating has dropped 10 points, his biggest single month drop ever. And "The Washington Post" reporting the GOP now fearing Trump`s weakened standing will hurt the entire party in November and that there is now -- quote -- "deep distress within the GOP about the incumbent`s judgment and instincts."
I want to bring in my very special guests this evening.
Paul Butler, he`s a former federal prosecutor and Georgetown University law professor. Also with us, Eddie Glaude, chair and professor of Princeton University`s Department of African-American Studies, and Christina Greer, an associate professor of political science at Fordham University.
Paul, you were there today. Does this seem more like a listening tour for Congress? Or do you think they`re about to take some real action?
PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I think they`re about to take real action.
So, the last time a lot of us were focused on the House Judiciary Committee was during the impeachment debate, and, there, we saw a very partisan food fight. That was ugly.
Today, there was a bipartisan sense of wanting to get something done. Republicans supported some of the proposed acts, like a ban on choke holds. I think what made the difference is the presence of Mr. Floyd`s brother, as you said, the day after he buried his brother. His grief was raw. It was powerful.
He said he wants his brother`s life and death to make a difference in this country. And if there was progress made today, Stephanie, we have to lament that often racial progress in this country is accomplished by the blood and body of slain African-Americans.
RUHLE: Christina, your thoughts?
CHRISTINA GREER, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: Well, I just want to thank Paul for being there today and putting some really important context in front of Congress.
I think what needs to happen is that we`re slowly, but surely seeing white Americans understand, very slowly -- it`s 2020 -- but understand the racial inequity and the racial injustice that black Americans have to suffer on a daily basis, regardless of class and regardless of geographic locale.
And George Floyd`s death has really sparked a movement. And I have never been more honored to be a professor at this moment, to work with young people who are really leading the charge to recognize that the institutions of America that are built on white supremacy and anti-black racism, it`s not enough anymore just to sort of try and trim the hedges of this rotten tree.
They`re really willing to rip the tree up from the roots and plant something new and plant something together. And I think that`s what we`re seeing. This is why the protests across all 50 states feel very different this time than, say, they did in 2014, when we saw protests in sort of specific areas across the United States.
RUHLE: Eddie, the cynic in me rolls her eyes when I see every possible consumer brand with a seemingly sincere Black Lives Matter-supported tweet or Instagram post.
But when you actually look at polling, I mentioned it before, there seems to be a groundswell for the Black Lives movement more than we have seen in years. Do you think it`s permanent?
EDDIE GLAUDE JR., CHAIR, AFRICAN-AMERICAN STUDIES DEPARTMENT, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: I hope so. I pray so.
But if you read Tom Edsall`s piece in "The New York Times" today, he actually delves in -- or delves into the numbers around white Republicans, and we don`t see much of a shift.
In other words, the partisan divide, the polarity of the polar divisions of the country are still in existence, even as we see, among a certain segment of the country, a kind of growing acceptance of Black Lives Matter as a movement.
I want to say that I saw something today when I watched George Floyd`s brother testify. It was powerful. As Paul said, it was raw. As Christina said, this is the result of young people in the streets who are willing to pull up the roots. But I was also thinking about the nature of black public grief and suffering and trauma, that it has to be in public in this way.
I was thinking about going all the way back to 1871 and congressional hearings around the KKK, and we had to testify to the torture, the maiming, the loss of loved ones, thinking about Dr. King eulogizing those four little girls in Birmingham in 16th Street Baptist Church, thinking about all the moments where we have to, in some ways, make explicit our loss, our trauma in order to move the country.
So I`m thinking historically, as I`m also thinking about the possibility that we`re on the cusp of fundamental -- on the brink of fundamental change in the country.
RUHLE: Christina, we have seen a shift. Reverend Al Sharpton talked about it quite a bit, at least in the protests.
Traditionally, you see, the people who are protesting, they`re standing up for themselves, whether it`s women in a women`s march, scientists in a science march , African-Americans in a Black Lives Matter march.
This time, it has been different. We have seen so many different demographics showing up and saying, this time needs to be different. How much weight does that carry for you?
GREER: I think that that`s very key.
I mean, keep in mind, we have had three-and-a-half years of a white nationalist in the highest office in the United States. We have the COVID crisis that has killed over 110,000 Americans and counting. We have over 40 million Americans who have filed for unemployment and so many more who aren`t even eligible, many of them black and Latinx.
And this is part of the undercurrent, where people are just exhausted by the failure of the government, the failure for equality, the failure for true leadership. And we have this rhetoric from the president and his party that is just dividing the nation in ways that I think white Americans are starting to realize that our democracy is on the cusp of failure.
And so my hope is that everyone who has taken to the streets, we know that protest politics and electoral politics have to go hand in hand. And conversations about policing, conversations, basic conversations about black dig and whether or not black lives actually matter in this nation have to be translated into a policy space.
And that has to happen, not just in primaries, where we see Republicans making sure that black voters can`t have a full franchise of the law, but we have to make sure that November 3 is the eye on the prize, and that even if Joe Biden is not someone`s ideal candidate, I think a lot of Republicans -- and we`re seeing military officials as well -- recognizing that the division that the current president is sowing and the abdication of the Republican Party on the congressional level, and even in the Supreme Court, is such that it makes our democracy so much weaker.
Internationally, we have already seen them move on without us. But, domestically, we cannot continue on the road that we have been on.
RUHLE: Paul, Eddie said just a moment ago, when you look at the polling, white Republicans don`t seem moved.
But I want to share a bit of what one of the Republican witnesses said today when he testified.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN BONGINO, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: If we`re going to ignore the societal problems and broken families and all of the degradation of the culture, and all of that, and just scapegoat the police, you will get nothing out of this hearing.
You won`t see one act of real change. You may get some sound bites, you may get some votes, but you`re not going to see a darn thing change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Now, I know that this man, there`s a clip of him on television last week where he said, right now, his whole life revolves around owning the libs.
So, let`s just put that into context.
But the Republicans on the committee talked a lot about the sanctity of life. And if you look at what`s proposed, one of the measures establishes national standards for when the police can legally kill people.
And what it says is, the police can only use deadly force as a last resort. And if there`s something they can do to de-escalate, then that`s what they have to do. It`s common sense, but it`s not the law right now.
And so, again, if these Republicans are true about their convictions for life and the dignity of every human being, they should be all in on some of these measures.
And the other thing, it`s also about their constituents. The whole world saw that tragic video of Mr. Floyd`s suffering and death. The whole world also saw a 75-year-old white man get knocked to the ground by cops. And, as I said in my testimony this morning, what was even worse was, after, 57 other officers resigned from that squad in support of this criminal conduct.
So, I think what a lot of white folks, including hopefully some of the Republicans on the committee, are starting to appreciate is, this is about our democracy, and you can`t contain this kind of power and authority and abuse by cops.
They may come for African-Americans and Latinx people first, but, as we saw on -- last week, they will also come for a 75-year-old white man.
RUHLE: I want to share a bit of what the Minneapolis police chief said earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEDARIA ARRADONDO, MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, POLICE CHIEF: Until there is a robust plan that reassures the safety of our residents, I will not leave them. I will not leave them behind.
We have to address the race issue head on. We are the visible, most first face of government in our communities, and our communities are crying out. And they have been doing it certainly with Mr. Floyd`s death, but decades before that. We must do better. We have to do better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Police reform should be there to help all members of the community, including the police.
Eddie, can you explain, how important is it that we have got that police chief taking on the union?
GLAUDE: I think it`s absolutely essential.
We have an ecosystem of policing that has to be addressed. It`s sick at its core.
And if we pan out for a quick second, Stephanie, we know that, for the last 40 years, we have -- the framing of policing in this country has been defined by law and order, getting tough on crime, and the war on drugs, all of which had underneath it a deep and intense racial undertone, right, that involved a certain kind of understanding of black communities, a certain understanding of black people as inherently criminal, right, which led to kind of aggressive policing, which led to the militarization of the police, which led to the expansion of the criminal code, right, which led to this extraordinary expansion and aggression around policing.
So, what we`re seeing is the attempt to break the frame. We`re trying to break the frame of policing. When you hear the police chief of Minneapolis talking in that way, he`s trying to step outside of a frame of law and order and getting tough on crime and think about, more broadly, the issue of public safety.
And that`s a conversation that we need to be having, because I want to suggest to you that the last 40 years, that political ideology, the political economy, the economic philosophy, that is being seen as bankrupt, and folks are reaching, grab -- groping for something different, something new.
RUHLE: Mm-hmm. It is so -- this is so much more than just about policing. It`s inequality across the board.
Christina, before we move on, you had mentioned it before, sort of the president`s approach to race. Now there`s news out that many members of the GOP are disturbed. They`re uncomfortable. They`re worried that how the president has responded to this is going to hurt their party.
Was anyone actually surprised by how President Trump responded? This is exactly who he is.
GREER: It`s not only who he is. It`s who he always has been, I mean, ever since he came down that gold escalator and said that Mexicans were rapists, and then had an entire campaign season denigrating blacks, Latinx folks, immigrants writ large.
And we have seen it for the past three-and-a-half years. now the hand- wringing from Republicans has nothing to do with the president and his inappropriate, egregious and racist language. It has to do with down-ballot races. They are getting nervous in South Carolina.
They are getting nervous in places where their rampant voter suppression may not work the way they thought it would be. Even with the backdrop of COVID, even with certain people wanting to possibly abstain from voting in person and vote by mail, they`re recognizing that there are races across this country that are about to get a little tight, and they weren`t supposed to be tight.
Kentucky is looking interesting, but especially in these Senate races that have been strongholds. This is now where Republicans may say, we may have taken this bridge too far. We have Mitt Romney coming out and saying that this is not the way the party should be. We have got high-ranking Republican officials of other administrations say that they can`t bring themselves to vote for another Donald Trump.
And, quite honestly, it`s not just about the president. It`s about the future of American democracy. We have 320 million-plus Americans that rely on the leadership in Washington, D.C., to make sure that we move forward in some sort of conversation about equity.
And we recognize that four more years of this president, considering the international community has left us, they are now forming coalitions without us, our democracy may not survive with this president.
And I think Republicans who actually care about this nation are starting to see many cracks in this foundation, and they need to move on.
RUHLE: Races and racism, it kind of seems like common sense.
Paul, Eddie, Christina, thank you so much.
I need to turn out to my colleague Ellison Barber. She is live on the steps of New York Public Library in Midtown Manhattan, where protesters have literally taken over Fifth Avenue.
Ellison, what`s it like where you are?
ELLISON BARBER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Stephanie.
Yes, just look around me, behind me, and you can see the scale of this crowd that is here. This group started in Washington Square Park. They marched down Fifth Avenue. They have now stopped here in front of the New York Public Library.
People are speaking. They`re sitting here quietly listening. The person speaking right now has told the crowd, everyone here, to just look around and to see how many people there are.
She said that law enforcement, whether you like it, how it is now or not, it was formed by a community. She says, a community like this is what is needed to actually make change.
A lot of people here that we have spoken to, they want to see the NYPD defunded. They want their $6 billion budget to go down by at least a billion dollars. They also want the law that`s known as Section 50-a repealed.
The New York state legislature voted to repeal that. Governor Cuomo has said he will sign that repeal into law by the end of the week. Some of the people we have spoken here to here, though, they say that it`s not enough. They want to see more change happen. They think they can be part of that change, moving things forward.
In their view, making change is not only the NYPD, but also just to the state of equity, racial equity across the country -- Stephanie.
RUHLE: Ellison, thank you. We`re going to leave it there.
Still ahead: disturbing new videos of more alleged police brutality and the big question about all the cases that are not caught on tape.
Plus: A retired judge rips Trump`s Justice Department -- talking about you, Bill Barr -- for the distorting of facts, distorting of the judicial process to protect Michael Flynn.
And COVID cases in the United States hit two million, with cases rising in over 20 states. We`re going to get some practical advice from a medical expert on how to live with this outbreak.
I`m Stephanie Ruhle, in for Ari Melber, you are watching THE BEAT.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FLOYD: George wasn`t hurting anyone that day. He didn`t deserve to die over $20.
I am asking you, is that what a black man is worth? Twenty dollars? This is 2020. Enough is enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: That`s George Floyd`s brother telling Congress, enough is enough, getting emotional, and asking if a black man`s life is worth $20, after his brother`s killing was caught on video.
There`s new pressure. And it is forcing more taped incidents into the public, two more unarmed black men dying in police custody.
And we warn you, the videos we`re about to show you are disturbing.
Twenty-eight-year-old chemistry student Maurice Gordon was fatally shot after an incident in New Jersey on May 23, two days before the death of George Floyd. Here he is. He`s being pulled over by a New Jersey state trooper. This footage has been released by the New Jersey attorney general`s office, and we do not know what happened before this footage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: License and registration here.
You went by me at 110 miles an hour. That`s why you`re being stopped.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) northbound.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay in your car! (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is that? You want to stay in my car?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. With the bugs and all that, come my way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your seat belt. Keep your seat belt on.
You can`t leave. You`re on the side of the highway.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Then, as you see here, Gordon got out of the car, and, according to the attorney general`s office, he tried to enter the driver`s seat of the trooper`s car twice.
And I want to warn you again, these next images are disturbing. The sergeant fired his gun six times, ultimately killing Gordon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out! Get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out! Get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Gordon died.
The officer currently on paid leave while the incident is being investigated.
And down in Texas, this man, 40-year-old Javier Ambler, father of two boys, he was pulled over in March of 2019 after failing to dim his headlights for oncoming traffic.
He was pulled over after a 22-minute police chase, a traffic stop that ended with his with his death. He`s also heard on camera telling officers - - quote -- "I can`t breathe."
And I want to warn you, these are disturbing images.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Both hands behind your back! Give me your hands, or I`m going to Tase you again.
JAVIER AMBLER, DIED IN POLICE CUSTODY: I have congestive heart failure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Other hand now. Other hand. Other hand. Give me your hand!
Flat on your stomach. Flat on your stomach. Flat on your stomach.
J. AMBLER: I can`t breathe. I can`t breathe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Flat on your stomach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: That case remains under investigation a year later.
Details and videos in those incidents are only being released now, in large part because of ongoing media pressure, which brings us back to the protests, the movement, fighting for a change of the system, because how many of these incidents are not filmed?
And, remember, they`re filled by civilians oftentimes. How many of them are still hidden?
I`m going to talk about all of this with Jelani Cobb and former Officer Ron Davis, when we`re back in just 30 seconds. Don`t go anywhere.
We have got to get into this.
RUHLE: Joining us now, "The New Yorker"`s Jelani Cobb and Ron Davis, a police officer for 30 years who worked on President Obama`s policing reform efforts. He testified remotely at today`s judiciary hearing.
Ron, your takeaway from the last two weeks, from today`s hearing? Is change coming?
RON DAVIS, FORMER POLICE CHIEF: I think it is.
I think why I think change is coming, the main reason, as you identified it, Stephanie, is that people are starting to realize this is not about a few bad apples. This is not about a lot of bad apples. This is about systemic change.
We have operational systems of policing that are extremely dysfunctional and still being highly affected by structural racism. And until we address those, we can`t -- we`re going to keep having these incidents. And we just can`t keep playing Whac-A-Mole with individual bad cops.
We have all been accountable, but I think people are now recognizing we need systemic police reform. We need to change the system as we know it, because the system is flawed, in that it is something that`s been designed 50, 60 years ago for the purpose of enforcing discriminatory laws.
RUHLE: I want to point out, right now, on your screen, George Floyd`s brother, who also testified today, is now in Lafayette Park, basically standing just a few feet from where President Trump was speaking a week ago on the same day rubber bullets and tear gas were used to clear peaceful protesters, just like George Floyd`s brother right now.
Jelani, you saw those new videos that emerged that we showed just a moment ago. How many incidents are out there that we have never seen? How worried should we be?
JELANI COBB, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think we should be very worried.
There are lots of incidents that we have never seen. And the other part of this is, there are lots of incidents that are on video that we may never see.
And what I mean by that is that there has been a push for police body cameras for the last five years or so. But many legislatures have responded with laws that make it all but impossible for the public to actually see what is on those videos.
So, the problem is twofold. There is a kind of unnumbered unknown series of incidents like this where there is no video, and then the possibility there are incidents that are captured on video, and it`s difficult for the public to find out what`s there anyway.
RUHLE: Ron, what is the rationale, the rationale against wearing body cams and sharing that video? Transparency, shouldn`t that be everyone`s idea?
DAVIS: Yes, Stephanie, it should be. It should be the core principle of a policing department.
And part of it is that some of this stuff was negotiated as part of union contracts. Some of it has now been embedded, as Jelani mentioned, into state law.
And I think the only caution that should -- could come into play with releasing a video, it would be criminal prosecutions where the early release may compromise a case.
But as soon as possible, all the videos should be released. It shows what it shows. If it`s good news, it shows that. If there`s bad news, it shows that. If there`s a mistakes being made, the public has a right to know. So we should always err on the side of transparency.
But we also don`t want to compromise cases. So, there are some times in which some of it should be redacted. Some of it may not be released. But I think Jelani`s right that you`re starting to see more and more legislative action being taken to actually prohibit the release, and actually order it not to be released or require court orders to get released.
And that defeats the whole purpose of the body camera to begin with.
RUHLE: We reported just a moment ago on that latest "I can`t breathe" incident in Texas.
And I want to share -- the parents of that man spoke earlier today. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARITZA AMBLER, MOTHER: I just want some justice. I want these people to suffer, exactly -- go to jail, be responsible for what you -- your actions.
They use their badge, they use their gun, they use their position to try to overcome people. And it`s not right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Jelani, your reaction?
COBB: I mean, it is true. I mean, I don`t think there`s anything else that you have to add to that, I think.
So, one of the things that happens here is that African-Americans are disproportionately likely to have contact with the legal system on multiple fronts. And the greater amount of contact lends itself to greater possibilities of incidents like this happening.
And so what we see here is disproportionate. And -- but there`s -- one other point that I have been making a lot, I have been making all the time, is that one of the reasons that this problem has been allowed to persist is that people have the perception that this is a black and brown problem.
But if you were to discard all of the incidents involving black and brown people, what you would find is, is, there are a heck of a lot of white people, unarmed white people, who are killed by police each year.
We have a fundamental problem with policing in this country, whose most extreme violent forms are witnessed in how we see black and brown people treated by law enforcement.
RUHLE: Ron, the president is going to be giving a speech on policing tomorrow. You know he calls himself the law and order president, though he didn`t even mention George Floyd yesterday.
And, obviously, his response to the protests is under fire from even people within his own party. What do you think we`re in for?
DAVIS: Unfortunately, probably some of the same old stuff, rhetoric that is dangerous.
When we say law and order, I think everyone knows, especially communities of color, that law and order does not mean what it`s supposed to mean, which is peace and justice. It means the targeting of minority communities. It means the mass arrests of men of color as a national strategy to fight crime.
It means he`s going to play to the divisions of this country and focus on things that are completely irrelevant to the moment. He`s going to try to turn this into a we vs. them or us against the police.
And I`m here to tell you, this is -- to your earlier question of why it`s going to be different, because, as police, as myself, as a 30 year-law enforcement officer, in talking to all my friends, all of us know that it has to change.
And what the president should do is acknowledge that there are systemic issues and go against what A.G., Attorney General Barr, has said, to acknowledge that race is still a major issue in this country, to acknowledge that we need to reform the system, and that he should take the lead, as the commander in chief, in that.
But I just -- I just -- I`m not a betting man, but I wouldn`t put a penny on that he would do that, to be candid.
RUHLE: All right.
Well, Jelani, I`m a mere civilian, so I want you to help me understand this.
Louisville Police Department just released Breonna Taylor`s incident report, and it was basically blank. We have to remember, this woman was fatally shot eight times in her own apartment, and it list her injuries as none.
How could that be?
COBB: I mean, listen, what did the police say happened to Mr. Floyd before the video came out? What did the police say happened in Buffalo before the video came out?
There are kind of institutional cultures here in which people protect each other. The horrendous miscarriage of justice that resulted in Ms. Taylor losing her life should have been assiduously detailed. There should have been every pertinent, relevant fact there.
But that`s an outright lie. A person doesn`t get shot eight times and have no injuries.
And so this is just fundamental, simple accountability that -- and I will add that, were this any other institution, it would be a just non-question. If we were talking about government spending, and we were talking about any mundane function of the federal and municipal governments, people would say, there`s no way under the sun that you should be able to get away with this kind of lack of accountability and lack of transparency.
RUHLE: Well, we`re calling for more transparency now.
Gentlemen, thank you both so much, Jelani Cobb, Ronnie -- Ron Davis.
You made us smarter tonight. I appreciate you joining us.
Ahead, we`re talking coronavirus, new spikes in cases, as Dr. Fauci comes out with a new warning. But here`s what we need to get: practical. We need practical advice. And why is there so much confusion about all the rules?
Also, outrage over widespread voting problems in Georgia sparking an investigation. And we need one. Don`t forget, the presidential election five months from now.
But, first, we have got breaking news on the Michael Flynn case, the new lawyer unloading on Barr`s meddling, and more possible -- and more on possible sentencing next.
RUHLE: Let`s dig into the law.
Today in the Michael Flynn case, an absolutely blistering rebuke of Attorney General Bill Barr. It comes from retired Judge John Gleeson. He was appointed by the court to examine Barr`s push to dismiss criminal charges against Trump`s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
In a 73-page brief, the former judge calling Barr`s move preposterous. Flynn is trying to withdraw from his 2017 guilty plea in which he admitted to lying to the FBI about conversations he had with a Russian ambassador about sanctions.
Today`s brief accuses the Department of Justice of highly irregular conduct to benefit a political ally of President Trump.
Quote: "No federal prosecutor worth her salt would defend the legally unsound conclusion that Barr reached."
That`s a mic drop.
With me now, former federal prosecutor and MSNBC contributor Joyce Vance.
Joyce, what do you make of this?
JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: You know, I think you`re right, Steph. This is a mic drop.
It`s incredibly unusual to have a court with the need to give serious scrutiny to a request by prosecutors to dismiss the case. It almost always comes with a good reason.
And, beyond that, prosecutors have a duty of candor to the court. They have to be truthful.
What this brief says is that Bill Barr hasn`t been truthful with the court.
RUHLE: It says more than that.
The brief claims the argument from Barr`s Department of Justice is riddled with inexplicable and elementary errors of law and fact, and says it is simply not credible.
How will this brief -- I mean, it`s stunning to us, but how will this brief -- will it impact the outcome of this case in any way?
VANCE: It`s an important question, because, as I said, routinely, these motions are granted.
But, here, the brief makes a compelling case that the judge should think very carefully and likely not grant the motion to dismiss the Flynn prosecution. And there are two reasons.
The first is that the reasons that by Barr`s DOJ offers are pretextual, that they`re not true. And Barr says, well, we don`t think we can muster sufficient evidence to convict the defendant, Mike Flynn, in this case.
We have all seen the record. We know that there`s significant evidence, and the brief characterizes this as taxing the credulity of the credulous. It`s simply not believable.
And then, secondly, this brief is saying that the judge should refuse to dismiss the prosecution of Mike Flynn because of the abuse of prosecutorial discretion. It details the 100 tweets that Donald Trump has put on the Twitter platform where he says that Flynn shouldn`t be prosecuted and should be given favorable treatment, and talks about this grotesque violation of the independence of DOJ, and suggests that cases shouldn`t be dismissed to benefit the president`s friends.
RUHLE: OK, but here`s what I don`t get. The brief also mentions that President Trump does have the power to pardon Michael Flynn.
That being the case, why wouldn`t you just go that route? This is humiliating for Bill Barr and a huge knock to his credibility.
VANCE: It`s a really awkward position for the attorney general to be in. And that`s maybe understating the position that he`s in, because it`s just a despicable place for an attorney general to be.
RUHLE: But he -- so, hold on, Joyce. He chose -- but, Joyce, it wasn`t an accident.
He chose this. He wasn`t backed into a corner.
VANCE: I think that that`s right. It looks deliberate. And it looks like a decision was made to go this route, rather than to take the potential political hit that the president would have taken for an outright pardon of Flynn.
Someone made a decision that this was the more favorable of the two routes. But here`s the reality. Mike Flynn is guilty as charged. He`s pleaded guilty in court, not once, but twice. This case needs to proceed to sentencing. And the president and Bill Barr`s efforts to intervene do more damage to the rule of law.
They`re unworthy of the offices that they both hold.
RUHLE: Well, we will see what happens.
Joyce Vance, always good to see you. I haven`t seen you in quite some time.
VANCE: Good to see you.
RUHLE: Moving on ahead: a new coronavirus warning from Dr. Anthony Fauci.
We`re going to break down exactly what it means for you.
But, first, a voting meltdown in Georgia sparking outrage, an investigation and serious fears about November -- the latest tonight.
RUHLE: Let`s go down South, where Georgia officials are still counting votes today after a primary election that just about everybody agrees was an absolute disaster.
People reporting that they waited in line three, four, even five hours just to cast their ballots, many of them in the rain, after problems with new voting machines and absentee ballots.
The Georgia secretary of state now investigating these delays, which are concentrated, oddly enough, in heavily minority counties.
Back in 2018, state Republicans purged voters from the roles and closed polling places in minority communities. But since those midterms, over 700,000 people have registered to vote there, and the turnout for the general election naturally will be a whole lot higher than we saw yesterday.
One election expert telling NBC News -- quote -- "If we view this primary election as a dry run for November, then Georgia gets an F."
There`s going to be a lot of work to do between now and November,
We`re going to take a quick break.
Ahead, coronavirus cases on the rise in 20 states, but we need to know what we need to do now. We are living with corona. How do we move forward practically?
RUHLE: There are now more than two million coronavirus cases in the United States and cases are rising in at least 20 states.
Dr. Anthony Fauci is back on the air this morning with a new warning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIAID DIRECTOR: When you open, that doesn`t mean that everything is OK, and you just can just do whatever you want.
You still have to practice a degree of caution and carefully go through the process of trying to normalize.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: OK, but here`s my problem. What is a degree of caution? What does normalizing look like?
I want to show on your screen right now, these are the states that have seen increases in the last two weeks. Nine of them have seen record hospitalizations in the last week.
And the protests across the country, of course, have Dr. Fauci and many other health experts very concerned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAUCI: When you get congregations like we saw with the demonstrations, as we have said, myself and other health officials, that`s taking a risk.
And, unfortunately, what we`re seeing now is just an example of the kinds of things we were concerned about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Risk management matters.
So, what is practical? We see cases rising in some places and going down in others. There were weeks of warnings about large crowds, followed by, as you just saw on the screen, days of mass protests and changing guidance from week to week, and very little from the White House, as the goalposts seem to keep moving.
So, how are people supposed to make decisions?
Dr. Kavita Patel is a former Obama health policy adviser, an MSNBC medical contributor, and fellow at the Brookings Institute.
Dr. Patel, help me. There is so much confusion. How are people supposed to make decisions for themselves and their families?
DR. KAVITA PATEL, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: You`re absolutely right, Stephanie. It`s confusing. And, as you mentioned, we don`t really have any kind of clear voices. It`s actually been a while since we heard from Dr. Fauci.
First thing to remember is, this is incredibly local. So you do have to kind of think about what you need to do for your children, for your family, for yourself, for your business, in the context of your community.
If you`re in one of those hot spots, where cases are doubling pretty quickly, like you pointed out on the map, then I would actually use that as a word of caution that you can still try to enjoy some of the reopening activities.
But, again, be as mindful that you might need to stay at home if those cases really do accelerate. And I think, for a lot of us who are parents, we`re wondering about summers and camps. And I think the key here, again, is looking at your community, the data, and also being pretty critical of what the camps are doing to make sure that children are safe.
It`s important to be socially active. It`s healthy for brain development. But we should make sure that they have a really solid system to acknowledge and identify people with symptoms, and have a way to get to work with their local health authorities to develop a plan for testing, tracing and recommendations for isolation.
If you don`t hear that from your camp, or even from your schools as they`re planning for the fall, I would actually bring -- raise that as a concern and try to get some answers.
RUHLE: Without mass testing, and certainly without a vaccine, trust and communication are hugely important.
Does the United States government risk losing the trust of the American people at this point? There is corona confusion. There`s quarantine fatigue.
One thing in particular is just trust in the data and understanding what the numbers -- we have already now heard about underreporting or the CDC combining certain types of tests, and all of that, combined with what we heard from the World Health Organization over the last couple of days, which was supposed to be a misunderstanding. But the messages are not clear.
And I think you`re asking the right questions. How can we emerge safely and resume this new normal, if we don`t have that guidance? I do have hope, though, Stephanie, if I can make...
PATEL: Yes, go ahead.
No, sorry. You, please continue
PATEL: Just one plea.
Local health -- we had the front-line workers who were heroic in hospitals and ICUs and emergency rooms. Primary care doctors, like myself, are now kind of reactivating. We`re reopening doors. We want people to call us and come in if they need to.
And we can be a place. We can use kind of local community health clinics and doctors to be at least a sounding board. And the American Academy Of pediatrics, a lot of medical organizations do have that clear advice.
And I would definitely expect Americans to listen.
RUHLE: We`re asking Americans to listen and be their best, but how is it acceptable -- you mentioned it a moment ago, the World Health Organization, confusing messaging, now walking back their comments from a couple of days ago about asymptomatic transmissions.
How is it acceptable that the World Health Organization is fumbling the communication this badly, especially when they are on the line with President Trump?
PATEL: It`s not acceptable, Stephanie.
And, look, I have been one of the people in the past who has defended the World Health Organization. They have a place in the world to help promote concepts around public health.
But this is disappointing. I still -- I still think, however, though, Stephanie, we do not have a CDC or a White House task force or anybody giving us kind of clear guidance every day. So, we need some voice in that absence.
And I do think -- I hope that the World Health Organization pays attention. They have undermined their own credibility. And we haven`t seen the data that they`re seeing. There`s been some transparency issues, quite frankly.
But they still -- in the absence of our own federal government being front and center, they are at least one voice that the world can turn to, even though this has been unfortunate and botched in the last 48 hours.
RUHLE: Well, whether it`s one voice or seven voices, we need a clear message.
Dr. Patel, thank you for helping us understand this tonight, Dr. Kavita Patel. Thanks.
That does it for me. I`m Stephanie Ruhle. I will see you again right here at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.
And don`t go away. We have got a lot to cover tonight here on MSNBC.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END