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Lebron James TRANSCRIPT: 6/12/20, The Beat w/ Ari Melber

Guests: Paul Rieckhoff, Alex Vitale, John Burris, Rebekah Jones, Chiney Ogwumike, Michelle Goldberg, Brittney Cooper

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: THE BEAT starts right now, though.

It`s Ayman Mohyeldin, who is in for Ari.

Hello, Ayman.

AYMAN MOHYELDIN, MSNBC HOST: Hey, Chuck. Yes, two big interviews this Sunday. We will definitely be tuning into that. Appreciate it, my friend.

Welcome to THE BEAT everyone. I`m Ayman Mohyeldin, in for Ari Melber.

Big show ahead, with Donald Trump increasingly isolated tonight, rage- tweeting and stoking new racial controversies, with his own advisers reportedly mystified about his response in all of this.

Today, Trump going on FOX News for an interview about police brutality and the protest movement, and immediately sparking brand-new outrage in this country, calling Abraham Lincoln`s legacy questionable.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let`s take a pass on Abraham Lincoln, because he did good, although it`s always questionable, you know, in other words, the end result.

HARRIS FAULKNER, FOX NEWS: Well, we are free, Mr. President. He did pretty well.

TRUMP: Well, we are free. You understand what I mean.

FAULKNER: Yes. No, I get it.

TRUMP: So, I`m going to take a pass on Abe -- Abe, Honest Abe, as we call him.


MOHYELDIN: Take pass on Honest Abe, as we call him.

Trump also defending his decision to hold a rally next week on Juneteenth, the date commemorating the end of slavery in this country in Tulsa, out of all places, the site of a massacre of black residents 99 years ago.


FAULKNER: Your rally in Oklahoma is set for June 19. Was that on purpose?

TRUMP: No, but I know exactly what you`re going to say. Think about it...

FAULKNER: Well, I`m just asking. I don`t have anything to say.


TRUMP: Think about it as a celebration. My rally is a celebration.


MOHYELDIN: OK, so today the Associated Press is reporting this.

The Trump campaign actually discussed in advance the potential reaction to the Juneteenth date, but they decided to do it anyway. In fact, Trump started the day with a slew of angry tweets about protesters and, of course, the mayor of Seattle.

Now, as the rest of the country reckons with this moment, from improving police practices for the future to tearing down Confederate monuments of the past, it is a conversation that is raging on in this country.

Politico reporting people of color on Trump`s team are despairing and mystified that Trump can`t speak with conviction about racism in America.

"The New York Times" reporting today on the country shifting away from Donald Trump -- quote -- "Whether it`s shooting protesters or defending the Confederate names of military installations, Mr. Trump increasingly sounds like a cultural relic."

Joining me now is Rutgers University Professor Britney Cooper. Her book "Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower" is on "The New York Times" bestseller list this week. "New York Times" columnist Michelle Goldberg, and, of course, Zerlina Maxwell, senior director of progressive programming at SiriusXM and author of the upcoming book "The End of White Politics: How to Heal Our Liberal Divide."

Great to have all three of you with us -- with us -- excuse me.

Brittney, let me begin with you, if I may.

Your response to Trump`s comments there that we played at the top of the hour about Honest Abe, as he likes to call him?

BRITTNEY COOPER, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY: Well, look, Trump is really in the tradition of somebody like Andrew Johnson, right, who really sought to roll back the gains that Abraham Lincoln achieved.

So, Trump is in the tradition of the worst white supremacist presidents and leaders in this country. He is the worst president that we have seen in my lifetime, but he`s certainly not the worst that America has ever had.

And, look, I think that part of the reason that we see Trump doubling down is because that campaign strategy worked for him in 2016. He said the most incendiary, racist kinds of things towards African Americans, towards Mexican folk, right, towards people of color in general, and he has governed in a way that is deeply antagonistic.

It`s the playbook that he knows. It has given him success in the past, and so he likes it. He likes -- he wants to be a contrarian. He wants to provoke these protesters into the streets. Ultimately, he thinks that this is a game that he can win, because, frankly, the playbook has worked for him before.

And so I think that we shouldn`t be too quick to think about whether the country is moving away from Trump, because I don`t think we as a country have reckoned with how we got Trump in the first place. We said that we had moved away from Trump, like thinking when we elected President Obama in 2008. And here we are.

So I think Trump is banking on the fact that there`s still a significant and virulent strain of white supremacists in this country who are more comfortable with him being in office. And I think that he`s hoping that he will be able to win the day. He`s also assuming that there`s a long way between June and November.

MOHYELDIN: Brittney, let me ask you about that really quickly, just to follow up.

Is it about him knowing that this is a playbook that he can win, or is it about him and this is who he is, that these are the views that he holds, whether they are racist views? But is it something core to who he is about what he does and how he speaks, and not just about him trying to win politics?

COOPER: Absolutely.

I think people -- I`m amazed at the folks who are mystified at -- the reporting that people are mystified. This is Trump, who he is. Remember that Trump was sued in the 1970s for discriminating against African Americans. Remember in the 1980s he took out ads against the exonerated five, the young men who were accused of the rape in Central Park.

And those men were all exonerated, but not before many years of their lives were stolen. Trump has deep enmity towards African American people. One could argue -- I mean, remember that he really comes to prominence in the Obama administration by promoting this birther conspiracy and being deeply antagonistic to a black man being in the White House.

I think that part of the reason that we got Trump is because we weren`t willing to say that so much of what drives his politics is the idea that he, as the worst white man, is better than the best black man, right, the most excellent, most accomplished kinds of black folks.

So, we need to be very clear about who he is. But we also can`t march away as a country from the idea that, given who he was, and that he really didn`t hide those things, he still managed to make it to the presidency in the 21st century.


Let me ask you, Michelle, about that, because that`s a good starting off point for us. You write that Trump is trolling people with his Juneteenth rally. There`s obviously all kinds of reporting as to whether or not he knew about it. And he, as you saw in that sound bite there with FOX News, trying to say that it`s going to be a celebration, his rally is.

But how should opponents and how should we as a national media discuss this, when he does hold a rally on Juneteenth? Is that him trying to distract from the legitimate problems this country has that we need to talk about and address? Or is it something important that also should be addressed?

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, I think that he has -- what I know is that he has a history of scheduling and planning his rallies in places designed to provoke and inflame tensions, right?

So often, when he feels cornered, when he feels like he`s losing support, "The Washington Post" reported that he will hold a rally in a place like Phoenix, a blue city where he`s destined to get a lot of pushback or he`s going to invite a lot of protests, right?

So at kind of various junctures in his presidency, when he has felt himself embattled, either right after Charlottesville, when he went to Phoenix and provoked protests that then were set upon by riot police in a kind of small microcosm of the kind of protests that we`re seeing today -- when the impeachment inquiry started, he went and had a rally in Ilhan Omar`s district in Minneapolis.

And the point of these protests is -- I mean, the point of these rallies is to invite protest and to intensify the polarization between his supporters and his opponents and to kind of bind them to him even more tightly.

And so, look, I don`t think that Donald Trump knew anything about, say, the Tulsa massacre of 99 years ago, but I think people who are around him probably did. And clearly his campaign knew beforehand that they had scheduled this rally on Juneteenth.

And I think that the poke in the eye to his opponents, the insult, is part of the point.

MOHYELDIN: Zerlina, there is new reporting that shows President Trump`s own advisers believing he needs a course correction before November, if he has a chance at winning. Internal polling shows that he is down in swing states with women, with independents, pretty much any group you can pick at this point.

What is your take on that? How much of a course correction, even if the president wants to try to win his base back that he has lost a little bit of?

ZERLINA MAXWELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I don`t think that he`s lost his base. I think he lost the portion of the folks that voted for him in 2016 who just didn`t like Hillary Clinton, and they were willing to take a shot on Donald Trump, and, to Brittney`s point, did feel white racial resentment towards a black president.

That is something that I think we all just need to sit with and be clear on that point. We got to this place because we were not in a post-racial anything in the Obama administration. We never faced the reckoning that we`re going through in this particular moment.

And I think that when you`re looking at Donald Trump`s -- quote, unquote -- "strategy," I don`t think there`s a lot of thought behind the strategy. That`s why you see folks in his inner circle concerned about the leadership of his campaign and whether or not they have a message.

I think the message is clear. This is who Donald Trump is. It`s who he`s always been. He`s always played into a white identity politics, where he`s tapping into the anxiety that people are feeling and the resentment they feel towards black people of all types of success levels.

And in an economy that puts everybody in a position where they are feeling strain, they are feeling stress, the economy through the Obama administration and early Trump was on the uptick. Now we`re in the pandemic.

And so I think that there are a lot of different factors at play. But it was the perfect storm for all these things to come to the surface. And he`s clearly ill-equipped to deal with it. So I think that`s his main problem. It`s not about not having a message or not having a strategy, or whether he`s trying to troll anybody.

In my view, going back to the Tulsa point, I think that`s a threat. That`s not a message to his white supporters. They don`t know what Tulsa is. They don`t know what Juneteenth is.

Stephen Miller might, but every black person knows exactly what that is, and exactly what that means. And so I think it`s a message to us not, so much to his supporters.

MOHYELDIN: That`s an interesting point there.

Let me throw this poll into the mix, Zerlina, since you brought up the issue of white identity politics. In a new poll, 67 percent of Americans say that Trump has mostly increased racial tensions; 18 percent say that he`s actually decreased them. I don`t know who those 18 percent are, but there are 18 percent out there that say he has decreased racial tensions.

Is Trump intentionally stoking anger to play to his base in this country?

MAXWELL: Yes. He`s always done that.

I think that is part of his calculation. He played into this ultra-tough and toxic type of masculinity. That`s why he`s always talking about not being too nice to black people in terms of policing. He talks about throwing people out of rallies. He`s always played into this aspect of really what I think is the most toxic form of masculinity.

But it`s also mixed in with this racial resentment, like I said. And so the anger that he`s trying to stoke is targeted at certain groups of people. Now, ironically, those are the people that are now all in a coalition called the Democratic Party right now. And so you have young people, you have women, you have people of color, black people, brown people, LGBTQ people.

The administration is continuing to go after trans people. And so I think that the coalition on the other side that we have to build, it really has to just be in a resistance mind-set to what he is playing and focused on, which is the interest and anything he can do to benefit only white people.

I mean, he`s sending a clear signal. It could not be more clear.

MOHYELDIN: Yes, I was going to say some argue that he relishes this cultural war that he is finding America in every day.

Michelle, he was asked about police choke holds, which has now become the center of reforms in this country, among other issues, but certainly an important part of police reforming. Here`s what Trump said about it today. Watch.


TRUMP: I think the concept of choke holds sounds so innocent, so perfect, and then you realize, if it`s one-on-one -- now, if it`s two-on-one, that`s a little bit of a different story, depending, depending on the toughness and strength.


TRUMP: So you have to be careful.

With that being said, it would be, I think, a very good thing that, generally speaking, it should be ended.


MOHYELDIN: What do you make of that, Michelle?

GOLDBERG: Well, first, I mean, just pause on what a bizarre person this is: The concept of choke hold sounds very perfect and innocent.

But, beyond that, I think that the fact that he says it should be ended does show that he`s a little bit cross-pressured, right? He obviously needs to cater to his base, a base that elected him in part because he avidly encouraged police brutality.

At the same time, he sees the polls, he sees the people in the streets. There`s obviously fear around him about what this moment means for his presidency. And I would say that the fact that even Donald Trump feels like he needs to make some concessions to that, needs to say that this practice should be ended is testament to the victory of these protests, right, that they have moved the center of political discourse so far that even Donald Trump has to make some rhetorical concession.

MOHYELDIN: All right, Michelle Goldberg, Brittney Cooper, Zerlina Maxwell, thank you to all three of you for starting us off this evening. I appreciate your time.

And coming up: Trump`s new tensions with the military ahead of a controversial speech to cadets at West Point.

Also, a disturbing new video of police standing by and watching as a suspect literally drowned in a lake. We`re going to talk about how to fix policing in this country.

Plus, Dr. Anthony Fauci warns that people who want to attend the next Trump rally really, really should wear a mask before they do -- before they do so.

And we`re going to talk to a star pro athlete who`s part of LeBron James` new group to protect voting rights in this country.

I`m Ayman Mohyeldin. You`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.


MOHYELDIN: Tomorrow, Donald Trump is heading to West Point to address graduating cadets amid escalating tensions between Trump and top military figures in this country.

This morning, a bracing message from West Point alumni to those cadets, writing in an open letter -- quote -- "The government has threatened to use the Army in which you serve as a weapon against fellow Americans. The principle of civilian control is central to the military profession, but that principle does not imply blind obedience."

Also today, Trump responding to top military official Mark Milley, who expressed his regret for participating in last week`s church photo-op.

Here`s Milley, followed by Trump. Watch.


GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: I should not have been there.

My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics. As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake.

FAULKNER: But why do you think you`re hearing from General Milley, from Secretary of Defense Esper, and not why you think you are, but do you think it`s significant?

TRUMP: No, I don`t think so, no. I mean, if that`s the way they feel, I think that`s fine.

I have good relationships with the military.


MOHYELDIN: In fact, NBC News is reporting that General Milley even considered resigning over his role in that infamous photo-op.

Joining me now is Paul Rieckhoff. He served in the Iraq War. He also founded the organization Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. He now hosts the very popular "Angry Americans" podcast.

Paul, it`s good to have you on the program.

We`re going to get to your backdrop in just a minute, because I got to find out a little bit about that. But let me, first of all, get your thoughts on that scathing letter from West Point alumni to those cadets that are going to be hearing from the president tomorrow.

PAUL RIECKHOFF, FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN VETERANS OF AMERICA: I think it`s part of a very important, unprecedented wave that is hitting Trump right now very hard.

He`s been disrespecting and damaging the military for really over three years now. And it`s finally come to a point where voices within the military, like the chairman of Joint Chiefs, Milley, voices that have been on the sidelines, like General Mattis, and voices that America trusts, like General Powell and General Petraeus, are hitting him from all sides.

He is really crossing lines that we have never seen crossed before. And the military is serving is kind of a backstop for our democracy. That`s how it`s supposed to work in America. They`re supposed to be the guardians of our values. They`re supposed to be the ones that hold the line.

And right now Trump`s gotten to the point where the active-duty military and the veterans community are punching back against him like he`s a virus infecting our republic. So, it`s a very important time, and I think it`s very damaging for him as well. It hits with independents. It hits red states. It hits on the active-duty military. It hits him politically in ways he can`t be hit by any other group.

MOHYELDIN: Those are pretty strong words there. I want you to expand a little bit for our viewers.

When you say he is attacking and disrespecting the military, he`s crossing a line, expand on that for our viewers what you mean by that. You have, obviously, the perspective of having served in the military. You certainly know better than anyone sometimes the thinking inside of that institution.

But what do you mean by that he is attacking and disrespecting the military over the past three years?

RIECKHOFF: I think, most importantly, he`s politicized us.

I mean, he`s made it look like we`re the ground force in his political agenda. Some people feel -- fear that we`re the ground force in his race war. I mean, he stands up in front of the military like they`re props. He takes money away from the Pentagon and sends it down to the wall.

He betrays our allies in the Kurdish region. He`s now pulling troops, threatening to pull troops out of Germany, which would only benefit Russia. So, consistently, it comes from every side, and it`s coming to the heart of the values that we hold dear.

And this is a group that cares about honor integrity, but most of all can about patriotism. And he threatened to put us in the most dangerous military position possible, to put active-duty troops across from American protesters, escalating a situation in the nation`s capital.

He deployed the 82nd Airborne, OK, elements of the 82nd Airborne to the nation`s capital right around D-Day. I mean, it was the ultimate insult. And to put those young men and women or threaten to put those young men and women in that kind of a position is unprecedented. It`s dangerous to our democracy.

And that`s why you`re finally -- it`s long overdue, Ayman, but you`re finally seeing the voices within the military and the voices that are close to it speaking out very forcefully and very impactfully.

MOHYELDIN: You brought up the point about the protesters coming face to face with members of the National Guard. That`s not lost on a lot of people and certainly not lost on "The Washington Post," which said that: "The perception that Pentagon leaders went along with Trump`s desire to use military force against domestic protesters has caused the biggest civil- military crisis in more than a decade."

Are military leaders, from what you`re hearing from your friends and people you served with, maybe some people currently in the military, are military leaders now reevaluating how they deal with this president?

RIECKHOFF: Yes. I think they`re constantly reevaluating, but they see him constantly crossing lines.

I mean, to have General Milley either volunteer or be dragged into a photo- op where he`s wearing a battle dress uniform to march down to the church, so Trump can wave around a Bible and threaten to deploy our military, we have never seen anything like that in modern history, maybe in American history.

So to have General Milley, while he`s still serving as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, say that he made a mistake and he was politicized, the only thing he didn`t say was that the president did it to me. And that`s the real important point here. The president dragged him along with him.

Tomorrow, the president`s going to try to do some kind of victory lap on the coronavirus and create the ultimate spiking of the football, creating the ultimate photo-op with the graduating class of West Point.

It`s not in their best interests to have 1,100 cadets go back to New York in the middle of a pandemic. It`s not in the interest of our military to have to handle all the logistical and security threats that come with that. It`s about him, and it`s about his political agenda. And that`s why the military is pushing back.

We`re not supposed to be a prop or some kind of political chew toy for him and his bizarre agenda.

MOHYELDIN: Listen, let me -- before I let you go, if Rate My Skype Room is watching this right now and they see your backdrop, if there was an all- America team for Rate My Skype Room, yours may be on that.

Really quickly, that`s not a Zoom backdrop, is it?

RIECKHOFF: No. And Room Rater only gave me a seven out of 10, Ayman. So, maybe your folks can talk to Room Rater.

But, look, I think people are sick of potted plants and bookcases. So let`s mix it up a little bit with a `69 Camaro and some whiskey and the American flag. And we`re New York tough. I`m in New York, and I`m proud of New York, and I think New York can be an inspiration for the rest of the country.

So, especially on a Friday, let`s try to bring some positivity and mix it up a little bit.

MOHYELDIN: Absolutely. You have done well, my friend. If it was up to me, I`d give you a 10 out of 10.


MOHYELDIN: Paul Rieckhoff, thank you very much, my friend. Good to talk to you, as always.

RIECKHOFF: Thank you.

MOHYELDIN: Turning next to a leading architect of police reform in this country, plus the former lawyer for Rodney King.

They`re both with me when we`re back in 30 seconds. Don`t go anywhere.


MOHYELDIN: There are more videos surfacing, as police in Tennessee today face questions over the drowning death of 24-year-old Johnny Baldwin last week.

Officers pursuing him reportedly stood by while he drowned. Reports say that officers found him after he was driving erratically. The police incident report says that its officers tried to stop Baldwin on the road before he fled on foot and wound up in a lake.

NBC News obtained one officer`s body cam video from the Baldwin family, attorneys showing what happened next. And I do want to warn you, though, this video that we`re about to show you is very disturbing. We do not know what happens before the video begins showing the officers realizing that Baldwin was in fact in the water.

It does go on to show Baldwin struggling in the lake and actually yelling for help. Then one officer appears to offer to enter the water, but backs down as his partner warns him not to do so.

Here`s a portion of that seven-minute-and-30-second body cam video.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, then swim.

Your dumb ass jumped in the river. Don`t let him (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Help me, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, keep swimming. Come on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the hell he`s doing?


Don`t let him fool you. (INAUDIBLE)

Get out the water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s going underwater.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going under, acting like he`s drowning or something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s under, Cody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) Subject in the water, having difficulty.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s doing it on purpose.


MOHYELDIN: The police report also says the rescue squad and dive team were on the way before Baldwin went underwater, and an autopsy has been ordered.

And in a separate statement, the police department explained that actions of its officers by saying, the officers are not trained in water rescue. Officers do not possess water rescue gear or equipment. And it also points out the lack of visibility challenges this setting posed to the officers` own safety.

And more shocking images we`re seeing for the first time this week. These images show up to 13 Chicago police officers lounging around in Congressman Rush`s campaign offices, drinking coffee, eating popcorn, while looters vandalized nearby businesses.

The congressman saying today that the officers deserted their responsibility.

And new polling reveals that a majority of Americans, including Republicans, want some sort of police reform in this country.

Joining me now is Brooklyn College Professor Alex Vitale, author of "The End of Policing," which argues for an ideological reframing of policing in this country, and John Burris, an attorney for Rodney King and the author of "Blue vs. Black: Let`s End the Conflict Between Cops and Minorities."

Alex, you wrote the book "The End of Policing" a few years ago. Give us your assessment about how policing should be reformed.

ALEX VITALE, BROOKLYN COLLEGE: Well, I think we have tried a lot of reforms. And we need to rethink instead the mission that we have given policing.

That horrible video of the drowning we just watched was the result of a traffic stop. And we know, for instance, that a huge number of these traffic stops are fishing expeditions that are about searching for drugs, rather than clearly producing safety.

And we need a complete rethink of using police in that way. In Minneapolis, they want to get police out of that kind of routine traffic enforcement, because it leads to collisions and deaths that could otherwise be avoided.

And this is true for a lot of things that we have asked police to do, to be in charge of mental health services, to be in charge of disciplining our kids in schools. So we need to rethink the mission of policing, not just tinker with the training.

MOHYELDIN: John, with the legal perspective that you have and the legal history that about this particular issue, how should police reforming in this country be dealt with?

JOHN BURRIS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, there`s several ways to look at it.

But there`s a national look at it, which, I think, Congress is trying to deal with. And then you have the local areas.

But I think that there are systemic problems that exists when you start looking at racial profiling that exists, the use of deadly force, how do you deal with the mentally impaired. These are matters -- and even policing themselves, because you have to deal with the culture of the department itself.

And if the culture department is one that allows for the use of excessive force, allows for the mistreatment of people, it doesn`t matter what the training is. It doesn`t matter how to look at it.

So you have to deal with the culture of the department. That`s not easy. I think there`s new discussions that we`re having now about the possibility of reform. A lot of those can be very good, but they are tinkering around the edges, because, at the end of the day, you really have to deal with that department itself.

I think a lot of areas that we deal with policing should not be there. You should not have areas where people are carrying guns and dealing with people who are mentally impaired. I have had a lot of cases along that area. Traffic -- routine traffic stops. How do you deal with the mentally impaired?

But, likewise, protesters and homeless people. So I think we`re misplaced in sending people with guns who do -- who are trained to do felony work into areas where social justice and social activity needs to be.

So, I`m not a person who says we should not look at what the department does. I think we should think about whether or not some of this activity should be done elsewhere. This is a time for that to occur, I believe.


BURRIS: Having done Rodney King and done other cases nationally, I know that, if you don`t do it now, if we don`t seriously input -- there`s a momentum that`s here. The opportunity is now. I think we should follow the lead of some of the Congress people.

But, at the same time, policing is also local. So, local leaders have to be involved in this. The police chief has to be accountable to the mayor and the city managers. They all must then say to the police department, we`re not going to do it this way anyway. You`re going to be held accountable.

There has to be internal affairs issues that actually hold officers accountable. If you don`t deal with that, you will not change, because George Floyd is one event. But there are events all over this country.

I have been involved in two shooting cases since his case.


BURRIS: And the officers who were involved in that, they never made any discussion about George Floyd. They did what they could do. Some of them have not been held accountable. They may never be held accountable.

All we can do is keep focusing on it.

MOHYELDIN: You brought up the issue of police chiefs. And I want to play for you -- and, obviously, data is very important in this, Alex.

I want to play for you what the top Tulsa officer had to say this week about data. Watch.


MAJ. TRAVIS YATES, TULSA POLICE DEPARTMENT: All the research said -- including Roland Fryer, an African American Harvard professor, Heather Mac Donald and the National Academy of Sciences -- all of their research says, we`re shooting African Americans about 24 percent less than we probably ought to be based on the crimes being committed.


MOHYELDIN: Alex, what is your reaction to that? I just want to make sure that everyone heard that.

He said specifically that, according to the National Academy of Sciences, all of their research says that we are shooting African Americans about 24 percent less than we probably ought to be based on the crimes being committed.

VITALE: Well, I`m very comforted to know that Heather Mac Donald thinks there`s no racism in America or in American policing, because that is just ridiculous.

We have a problem of racism in American policing. But, more importantly, the problem is not just about the shootings. It`s about 10 million low- level arrests every year, most of which serve very minimal public safety purposes.

We have criminalized an ever-growing number of behaviors and communities, rather than addressing the real problems underneath them. We have got a problem of mass homelessness, and we`re using police to manage that by breaking up their encampments in the middle of the night, dragging them out for public transit.

And that doesn`t mean that anyone gets killed. And it doesn`t show up in those statistics that Heather Mac Donald is manipulating. That`s about a constant, ongoing low-level brutalization of these communities, instead of providing them with the most basic kinds of services, like health care and housing and decent schools.

And so until we turn those things around and quit turning them over to the police to manage, we`re going to continue to have a reproduction of racial inequality and racial tension in this country.

MOHYELDIN: And I just want to cite something else for our viewers there about that study in 2016.

It was later fact-checked by a 2019 study from Princeton University. And that study points out that that report, the Harvard report, "drastically underestimated the level of racial bias in police-civilian interactions, because if a civilian`s race effects whether officers choose to stop that civilian, then the actual records being analyzed in this study amount to a variable effect by race."

John, I know that -- I`m just curious to get your thoughts. Has policing changed in this country since the era of Rodney King?

BURRIS: Well, the issues, there`s more attention played to it, of course.

We are looking much closer at issues of racial profiling in certain areas. I agree that this is a fundamentally important area, because, look, the majority of policing are not shooting cases. The majority of policing is everyday work that people have to deal with the police.

And many of those are race-based. So, a lot of activity has to be made in terms of that subjectivity that officers have and using race as a basis to do -- to stop people, when they ought not stop them.

So, from my point of view, there`s more conscious efforts made, more notice about these issues. It`s going to take a lot more work. And I think that this is a time to really carefully look at this question. It is not the same as it was with Rodney King, I can tell you that.

We don`t have the same level of brutality that we had there. We still have the number of shootings. We still have the number of people being stopped wrongfully, I believe, racial profiling activity. We still have the number people being mistreated in areas of mental health or the homeless, et cetera.

So it`s different by degrees. But I do think the opportunity is now. I don`t -- I do think that we can make some real adjustments to the type of work that`s being done in police departments. We don`t need guns all the time.

There are a lot of people who have been killed who should not be killed because of police inability to handle that conduct and in terms of mentally impaired. A minor traffic event that can turn into a person being arrested, going to jail, losing their job, having an impact on their families, there`s a lot of collateral damage.

I believe some of that is systematic, and it`s structural, and it impacts the African American community to the very core, because it affects everything about their life when they get -- have a negative encounter with the police.

MOHYELDIN: All right, John Burris, Alex Vitale, thank you very much, both, for joining us this hour.

I appreciate your insights.

Ahead: Dave Chappelle drops a new special and speaks out on George Floyd.

Also, NBA superstar LeBron James taking action on voting rights with a new group. One of the group`s stars is here live.

But, first, the CDC out with a huge new warning, as team Trump downplays coronavirus spikes. A special guest from Florida, the state that the convention is going to be held in, is here next.


MOHYELDIN: The CDC issuing new coronavirus warnings today, stating that the U.S. may re implement strict coronavirus measures if cases go up dramatically.

The CDC also warning against large gatherings. But Trump is pressing along with a new rally and a convention in Florida.

Dr. Fauci breaking with Trump moments ago, saying this about large gatherings like protests.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: You shouldn`t be congregating in that close quarters that you see in demonstrations.

I have to, as a public health official, say that is risky, when you do that.


MOHYELDIN: He is also urging anyone go to a Trump rally to wear a mask. But Trump`s team is downplaying the stakes.


LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: I spoke to our health experts at some length last evening. They`re saying there is no second spike. Let me repeat that. There is no second spike.


MOHYELDIN: But I want everyone to consider the source of that sound bite.

Here`s Larry Kudlow back in February:


KUDLOW: We have contained this. We have contained this, I won`t say airtight, but pretty close to airtight.


MOHYELDIN: Airtight.

We`re now over two million cases in the United States alone, more than 110 (sic) deaths so far.

Almost half of the country is seeing increases in cases. A Texas official warning of being on the precipice of a disaster, with three straight days of hospitalization records this week alone. Florida also setting records, adding another 1,900 cases just today, after three days of record highs in that state.

Joining me now from Florida is Rebekah Jones, who was recently fired from her position as Florida`s chief data scientist over what she says was her refusal to manipulate data. She is now building her own Web site, which shows more cases than the official state tally.

It`s great to have you with us.

Let me get your reaction to that CDC warning. What do you make of it?

REBEKAH JONES, FORMER FLORIDA HEALTH DEPARTMENT SCIENTIST: I think it`s a legitimate caution, as we hear in Florida continue to see cases increase at a quite alarming rate.

And I`m not going to disagree, especially with the CDC experts, about what the proper advisements should be, for sure.

MOHYELDIN: We showed Dr. Fauci saying that it is risky to go to any rally, even those demonstrations that we have seen over the past couple of weeks.

Obviously, President Trump is coming to Jacksonville for the convention, the CDC warning about large persons -- large in-person gatherings, rather.

What is your reaction to that? Do you think folks should stay at home, that we`re not anywhere in the clear?

JONES: I`m not an epidemiologist. I study numbers. I do research. And the numbers are not favorable.

And the state is not prepared to reopen, at least not according to its own criteria for reopening. And that`s concerning that we`re continuing to push people into these things and these situations that could potentially cost more lives.

MOHYELDIN: Well, since you do look at the data, and you have seen the data, and now you are building your own Web site, how would you rate the transparency of the governor of Florida, Governor DeSantis?

Is he being transparent about what the data shows?

JONES: Absolutely not.

MOHYELDIN: Yes, how so?

JONES: That is, after all, how...


JONES: ... the state.

Well, they`re deflating their number of tests that they use to determine their percent positivity. So, instead of using total people divided by the total number of people tested, they`re using total positive cases over the total number of tests, which are duplicates, retests.

Let`s say you work at a health care facility, you get tested, two samples once a week. You count every single time towards the negative. But if I tested positive tomorrow, I`d count once forever.

And that makes everything look a lot better. And it`s the thing that I said I wouldn`t do. And it`s part of the reason I was asked to leave.

MOHYELDIN: Yes, interesting.

Thank you very much, Rebekah Jones, for breaking down that data for us. I really appreciate it.

JONES: No problem.

MOHYELDIN: Still ahead: a special guest who is teaming up with LeBron James on voting rights in this country.

And, later, you may have seen it by now, Dave Chappelle speaking out about the death of George Floyd in a surprise release.

Stay with us.


MOHYELDIN: In the wake of George Floyd`s killing, NBA superstar LeBron James is taking action.

He realized it was time to get out and do a little bit more. So he formed a new voting rights group called More Than a Vote to help get African Americans to the polls, alongside a group of celebrity athletes and entertainers.

Joining me now is a member of that group, WNBA star Chiney Ogwumike, a two- time NBA -- WNBA All-Star, ESPN analyst, and vice president of the WNBA Players Association.

Chiney, it`s great to have you with us. Thank you so much for joining us.

First of all, tell us a bit about your involvement and how you got involved in this.

CHINEY OGWUMIKE, WNBA PLAYER: Well, what I have learned, especially LeBron James, by leading this coalition, but what I have learned as an athlete of this rising generation is that we`re no longer comfortable simply staying on the sidelines.

LeBron James created the blueprint for this, showing us how using a platform can really effect positive change in society. So that`s why I`m really glad to team up with him on this initiative, because it`s bigger than sports.

And we all recognize that. We recognize that there is a real shift happening. This new generation, my generation, has an awesome opportunity to just really lean into our collective voice, our collective power. That is the essence of this coalition.

We`re no longer stopping at activism. We`re now putting activism into action. And what I have most recently learned through sports is that we`re in the age of analytics. And it`s clear that the best information can really be a great advantage.

So I think, as athletes, we`re trying to provide information, which really surrounds voting, because that`s how we sort of create the meaningful change that we all want to see. That`s what we want to be a part of, and that`s why we are coming together.

MOHYELDIN: Can you spell out for us a little bit about your own role? And how will the group take action to use some of the things that you have identified, the analytics, and getting people the information they need to be more informed?

OGWUMIKE: I`m proud to be a woman in this coalition.

As a Nigerian-American, black woman who plays in the league, the WNBA, a league that is constantly fighting for respect. As a female broadcaster, I speak on the NBA. That`s my primary responsibility at ESPN.

And in all those experiences, one thing that I have learned personally is that we oftentimes live in a society where women are overlooked, especially black women, and we can get lost in the narrative. Sadly, we`re learning this with Breonna Taylor, right?


OGWUMIKE: That was -- that is one thing that I`m extremely passionate about, making sure that she does not go forgotten, just because I`m a black woman, and I have to share the mic with her.

She was an EMT, and committed herself to saving lives, right? That was her strength. My strength on the court, but I have a platform to really share and amplify her story. We should all care about her story, which is why I`m even glad to see Breonna`s Law go into effect, because it shows putting activity into action, showing the world that black women are important, black women should be valued.

They should never be neglected and deserve to be recognized. So, as a woman on this coalition, that is my mission, to amplify such stories and make sure everyone`s voice is heard.

MOHYELDIN: Yes. And, certainly, there`s no doubt that Breonna`s Law was a result of direct action by the protesters.

Let me get your thoughts on something that LeBron James wrote in all of this. And he writes: "Because of everything that`s going on, people are finally starting to listen to us. We feel like we`re finally getting a foot in the door."

Have you had a chance to talk to LeBron? Do you feel that people are in fact beginning to listen?

OGWUMIKE: Yes, I think everyone has really -- we`re at a pivotal point in society where you can see athletes no longer staying on the sidelines.

I always tell people, it`s in our DNA to care. You think about, as athletes, we care about the last player on the bench as much as we care about ourselves. So, yes, LeBron James created this blueprint, and now we`re taking all of our collective voices.

And I think right now, we have realized it`s not just posting on social media. It`s not just using your power to push out a message. It`s more so seeing how we can turn this into actionable items for change.

And that`s why Breonna`s Law is so important. And we`re going to keep pushing the message out, especially when it comes to voting as well.

MOHYELDIN: As you probably know, there`s always this debate in this country about how much athletes and celebrities have a role to play in the national discussion in this country.

Let me play for you something that a FOX News anchor said a while ago about LeBron James speaking out. Take a listen to this.


LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS: LeBron and Kevin, you are great players, but no one voted for you. Keep the political commentary to yourself, or, as someone once said, shut up and dribble.


MOHYELDIN: What is your reaction to when you hear somebody like that say those words?

OGWUMIKE: I think it`s disappointing and disheartening, especially considering I know she`s a woman with a huge platform, and I understand how hard it is as women to just gain what you are able to gain and earn what you`re able to earn.

But what I will say is, my existence is the resistance, meaning I`m raised by a beautiful, amazing couple, a strong girl dad and an awesome mom that just recently earned her Ph.D. in education. We celebrated that.

I have three sisters. My oldest sister is way cooler than me, WNBA champion, WNBA MVP. She`s the president of our union. As women, I think we have a tremendous opportunity. If you look at the demographics of the last election, we have an amazing opportunity to unite.

And I would just hope that everyone moving forward uses that plat -- uses their collective platforms to show that unity is the way forward, there`s a way to bridge, and be in the middle.

I know there`s so many difficult conversations being had right now. And I know everyone has, I guess, the opportunity to sort of exclude themselves from the discussion.


OGWUMIKE: We are all (AUDIO GAP) and we should all take responsibility for the world we want to create.

And I hope we use our platforms to share that message instead.

MOHYELDIN: Chiney, let just say we`re very grateful to have your voice and that of your sister and everyone else. Your parents must be extremely proud. Thank you so much for joining us with your perspective.

Chiney Ogwumike, thank you so much.

And coming up: Dave Chappelle just dropped a surprise special. It is on George Floyd. We`re going to have that next for you.

Stay right here.


MOHYELDIN: Tonight, the last word goes to comedian Dave Chappelle, speaking out on police brutality in this country.

Chappelle just released a Netflix special called "8:46," how long the officer kept his knee on George Floyd`s neck.


DAVE CHAPPELLE, COMEDIAN: This man kneeled on a man`s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Can you imagine that?

What are you signifying that you can kneel on a man`s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, and feel like you wouldn`t get the wrath of God?

He told the police he couldn`t breathe, one of the hardest parts of the tape to listen to. He said, "Please."


MOHYELDIN: Dave Chappelle on the death of George Floyd. I encourage everyone there to watch it.

That does it for me. Ari is back in this seat on Monday.

Keep it right here on MSNBC.