Trump admin limits chokeholds TRANSCRIPT: 6/16/20, The Beat w/ Ari Melber

Guests: Megan Ranney, Jenifer Lewis, Marq Claxton

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST:  THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER starts right now.

Good evening, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Chuck. Thank you very much.

Welcome to THE BEAT. I am Ari Melber.

And, tonight, we actually begin with a question at the heart of these national protests and how politics works. Here it is:  What does winning look like?

America has been living through these marches for weeks now. Activist leaders say some things are already changing, rare charges of officers, some cities passing these big reforms we have been covering. And they say other things are stubbornly the same, Atlanta still roiling over this weekend`s shooting of a black man who was found asleep in his car, large protests there.

He posed no immediate threat to anyone when he was found. And as these protests continue, there are questions about, who are all these different protests moving?

Which goes to the question tonight that I begin with, what does winning look like? Do these protests have the most impact on Democratic leaders, who historically rely more on the votes of minority communities and younger people? Do they have an impact on a wider group of more moderate Americans and white Americans who we have seen very visibly joining protests around the country more often than has been documented in recent history?

Well, one sign on that is yes. "The New York Times" finds that American views are significantly shifting in support of Black Lives Matter.

Now, do these protests have any impact on conservatives and Donald Trump, who, of course, is running the federal government? Any impact there? Many, many different pundits have suggested no. And they have argued Black Lives Matter just doesn`t have any political leverage over Trump.

But, like so many things pundits say about politics and about these complex issues, that is wrong. Let me tell you why tonight. You can see the evidence in the Rose Garden today, where Donald Trump something that he would not have done, but for these protests. He took some government action against police brutality.

Donald Trump bent partly to the protesters` view, which has been grounded in evidence and these disturbing cell phone videos, to formerly state on behalf the United States government and the Trump administration -- this is new -- let me read it to you -- that police "officers have misused their authority, challenging the trust of the American people, with tragic consequences for individual victims and their communities and our nation" - - end quote.

Let`s take that in. There is much that this new order fails to do. Now, as a journalist and a legal reporter, I can walk you through that tonight. And we have expert guests to guide us through that.

But it would be a very narrow and really a potentially partisan mistake to just say that, simply because of the president`s faults, or simply to avoid ever grading him on a curve, that people tonight would ignore this new victory for these protesters, even if, yes, also -- and this is so often the case in the American civil rights movement -- it`s what you study in law school -- this is, of course, only a small partial victory that arrives so late and arrives only under the most pressure and arrives only amidst this tragic backdrop that so many are living through and some, of course, are dying through.

So let`s state all of that for the record. But the victory here is these protesters that you have seen compelling a president on the opposite political turf to go out there today, and have Donald Trump concede those problems, to do so with law enforcement present, and to add policies that these protesters have been pushing and that Donald Trump has long opposed.

As we have covered on this program, this is a president who openly and unlawfully encouraged and joked about roughing up suspects.

But now he`s using the force of law under this pressure to make law enforcement cut down on choke holds, the controversial tactic that has, of course, slowly executed people in custody, to deploy more mental health experts for de-escalation, to revise use of force policies, and tackling a void that we have covered many times on this very show and we have discussed with policy-makers in both parties.

This new order will finally begin fixing the gaping hole in federal tracking of police misconduct. So there is, starting now in 2020, one national accountable database for police misconduct, if it is executed effectively.

Each of those things I just mentioned lean towards what protesters have been demanding. They also fall short in many ways. I can give you both of those facts tonight. As a reporter, I can tell you, this is both a step, whether or not it`s popular to note that it`s a step, and it also, of course, involves things that many of the same experts have said falls short.

But regardless of whether you think the president was dragged here by his own self-interest, under pressure, or if you think he deserves no credit, fine. Others can decide whether and how to dole out credit.

But there`s been so much going on, and then there`s such a partisan, polarized reaction to what`s going on, I want to make sure to stress this to you tonight. I am reporting to you that the Donald Trump White House was pushed towards backing police accountability measures. That`s news.

Now, protesters and many legal experts are still pushing for far more. That`s not the end of the news. They want to curb the immunity that protects police in court. They want to mandate independent investigations of police shootings to end conflicts of interest for DAs.

They want to curb or defund police departments to force more accountability on police union contracts. They want to reform no-knock warrants. The order that I just read from that the president holding up there does not do those things.

And there are new federal bills in Congress that would go farther than the president`s executive actions today. But let me tell you, when you have protests in the street for this many weeks, and you see the reaction, not only from potential allies, not only from concerned Americans, not only from local mayors, not only from the press, which has a role, of course, in trying to be fair and accurate, and tell people what`s going on, but when you see it across the line from this president, you would have to stand up and say, wow, these protesters are getting something done.

Joining us now, the experts I mentioned, Michael Steele, who served as lieutenant governor of Maryland and chaired the Republican National Committee, Shawna Thomas, former D.C. bureau chief at VICE News, now with the NBC family, and Marq Claxton, a retired NYPD detective and director of political affairs for the Black Law Enforcement Alliance.

Having laid out some of what we saw today, your views, Michael?

MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, I think you put your finger on something important in terms of where Trump has moved to.

I think a lot of substance is left to be covered. But, as a political matter, he had to get in front of this. The hemorrhaging in his polling number, the hemorrhaging within his own base was beginning to take its toll.

So, this is sort of a stopgap. And you made a point that I don`t think is so much about Trump trying to get out in front and sort of all of a sudden become a champion in this, as it is avoiding more conflict, lessening the noise, taking the pressure off himself.

And I think we need to be very cognizant not to read too much into this, because, when you read that order, with respect to choke holds, it`s not a ban on choke holds. It`s not an outright ban. It`s still in the arsenal for police if they feel they`re under some type of threat.

So I think we need to be a little bit more cautious. Credit where credit is due, but we`re just taking one step in this journey by this administration.

MELBER:  Important points.

And Marq will speak to us with his knowledge of those tactics, as well as this movement.

Staying a little bit in that space between reform and politics, Shawna, as a D.C. observer, I`m curious of what you think, because this is not what Donald Trump ran on. If someone says, it`s only 2 percent of what they`d hoped for, it`s 2 percent more than what he ran on and what he was saying just weeks ago.

SHAWNA THOMAS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Yes.

I mean, I think, later in that speech, he does go into the rhetoric of law and order that we have heard from him before and gives us shades of the 1960s. But I think, in some ways, politically, what it did is, it kind of kicked it to the Senate and his Senate Republicans.

He gave them, by signing this executive order, as much as I think a lot of the people who are protesting in the streets won`t think it is nearly far enough, but he basically signaled to the Senate, hey, guys, I`m open to this conversation, in a way that I think a lot of Republican senators weren`t quite sure he was open to this conversation, based on what he`s said before.

So, in that respect, I can say that I think he has opened the door to something maybe a little bit bigger. I don`t know how far the Republican senators are going to walk through that. I don`t know if the Democrats are going to want to work with them.

But it was, in some ways, I think, a punting. But I also do want to reiterate that -- Michael Steele mentioned choke holds. Also, the database, which includes terminations -- and I`m looking off my notes now, so I don`t get this wrong -- terminations, decertifications, convictions and civil judgments.

What stood out to me about that is, yes, we want that stuff reported on the federal level. Yes, I think people want to know what police departments are doing. But all of those things kind of hinge on qualified immunity to really have the reporting about a lot of that stuff, especially if it deals in actual civil judgments or criminal convictions.

So, I think all of these things are intertwined, and we can`t forget that.

MELBER:  Well, Shawna, you have got your notes. You know we got our notes, too.

THOMAS:  Of course.

MELBER:  You`re talking about Section 3-B, and adding this tracking.

And Marq and I have discussed this on air many times, the hole in any federal tracking, which is why it`s piecemeal. And Professor Stinson and others that we have also had on as expert guests basically pick up where the federal government and many states fall down, because there hasn`t been any interest in getting to the bottom of police misconduct.

So, the fact that there`s now a rubric for that is a step. Then you have to improve it and fortify it. And immunity, as you mentioned, is a huge deal.

I feel like I keep delaying Marq.

But, because Shawna does more of our politics, Marq, I`m also going to play one more piece from the press conference first for Shawna, and then Marq is going to really get into the order with us.

Shawn, take a listen to what the president felt he either had to do, needed to do, or whatever, but he hasn`t done much previously, which was reference the fact that he did meet with victims and then speak to them today on this issue. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I can never imagine your pain or the depth of your anguish, but I can promise to fight for justice for all of our people. And I gave a commitment to all of those families today with Senator Tim Scott and Attorney General Bill Barr. We are going to pursue what we said. We will be pursuing it, and we will be pursuing it strongly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  Shawna, in politics, many would argue that condolences under sustained political pressure are pretty worthless.

But the political step there seems to be, oh, he felt again that he for some reason had to say something today.

THOMAS:  Yes, I -- and I said this before, I don`t pretend to see into the president`s mind or heart, but I do agree that he met with some of those families, and, hopefully, he listened to them.

That is part of this conversation is, to be honest, white people listening to black people about their experiences, and specifically these families, the painful experiences they went with -- they went through with their family members, so, once again, a step.

I am curious to see what his speech on Saturday in Oklahoma looks like. I am curious to see how this goes, if this goes further, or if it is just one of those things that, we did this, we can move on to the next thing, as the White House goes or his campaign goes.

But I did a quick control-F of his speech, right, before we came to air, control-find, to look for the words racism, systemic or systemic racism, and I didn`t see them in the speech.

And if we`re not at the point where also the president is starting to have that part of the conversation, beyond what he feels for families who have lost someone -- and we know he has some of those feelings when he`s talked about children in other countries being killed by bombs and things like that -- fine, maybe he can get that.

But if we`re not also looking at the larger picture, I don`t know how we solve the conflict that people are actually rallying against.

MELBER:  All very important points.

Marq, what do you view as additive or real in this order? And what else should be done? And take your time.

(LAUGHTER)

MARQ CLAXTON, BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE:  Very little is substantive in this order, very little substantive in anything that the president did today, be it the executive orders, his commentary, et cetera.

I think it`s important for us to keep in mind that, in all that the president asserted, perhaps, or is willing to put down into the executive order, none of it, nothing deals directly with the institutional racism and bias, systemic racism and bias in the police culture itself.

So is it helpful? Some might think it`s helpful to study, examine, debate and discuss, get some additional data, for example, but none of it has a significant, substantive impact.

And I think the energy on the ground and those individuals who for years have been demanding reform would -- are not satisfied in any way. This is not -- this should not be an exercise in gradualism. The energy and the effort on the ground is demanding immediate, revolutionary reform, to the point where some are even suggesting disbanding police departments.

And revolutionary reformists are having a discussion about defunding police departments, not about examining and trying to collect and recover more data, so we can get back to the point where we`re already at, where, yes, in law enforcement, policing specifically, there exists racism, bias.

And those things place black and brown lies at risk on a daily basis. Gradualism will not suffice.

MELBER:  I`m a little surprised, though, to see you be relatively dismissive of some of the concrete steps, because, if there is federal guidelines that raise the threshold for the use of choke holds, for example, treating them only as a potentially use of deadly force, that, as a legal matter, that, if enforced, will reduce the deployment of choke holds.

And you and I have discussed -- we covered the Garner case -- the overreliance on those, particularly because they were done in racialized policing and more against black men than others, is a huge problem.

So, again, I`m not asking you to come on here and bake a cake for the president. And my other two guests handled more of the politics. But do you think that is a step? Or to you, because of where we`re at, that doesn`t even mean anything right now?

CLAXTON:  It doesn`t mean anything.

And the reason it doesn`t mean anything, Ari, is because it`s not an issue about tactics or training. It`s not an issue about choke holds and making choke holds more difficult to legitimately apply.

There are no problems with tactics and training and choke holds as it pertains to the white community. So, if the choke hold issue, if the choke hold problem is a problem in black and brown communities exclusively, it`s not about the choke hold. It`s about the institutional racism, the institutional bias, the systemic issues, other issues.

And I think what happens sometimes is, we tend to get kind of distracted by what seems like sound tactical policy, which I can`t -- I can`t disagree with that. But that doesn`t deal with the core issues. That doesn`t save a black and brown life.

The rules, the regulations, the tactics are clear. And if they`re applied in black and brown communities the same they are applied in white communities, we wouldn`t have a problem.

MELBER:  Hmm. Yes. And this is obviously an important and nuanced conversation.

And, Michael, I`m curious what you think of Marq`s point -- and you, as a lieutenant governor, of course, have overseen law enforcement yourself -- because a lot of this also goes back to evidence. On the one hand, it is true and wrong that it takes currently in the system more evidence to hold the police accountable or to prove a misconduct allegation that was taken out against a minority than others. We have documented that.

So, on the one hand, boom, problem. On the other hand, if the system can add evidence along the way, we have seen cases where it helps, whether that is cell phone video evidence, or the body cameras, or, in this case, the tracking I mentioned earlier, which, fairness to Marq, because I don`t want to -- I don`t want to lose his perspective, Marq`s perspective -- we welcome many perspectives on the show -- Marq`s perspective is, late, not enough, get it up by the root.

But I`m curious, as a policy-maker with the experience you have, where you come down on that, Michael.

STEELE:  I think Marq is exactly right.

I mean, I like -- yes, you want to see the root of this. You want to pull it out by the root. Everything else, look, we have too many examples in the last 50, 60 years, not to mention the last 10 years, where we have watched, from Trayvon Martin to two weeks ago, this system denigrate, strip apart, and break down the black male in such a way that that officer felt that he could kneel on this man`s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, and no one would give a damn enough to make him stop, I mean, physically go and push him off of him.

Because that kind of authority has been built up inside the system. The fact that you -- it takes the level of work to get the evidence, when you have the video, the video evidence, and other evidence, corroborating evidence...

MELBER:  Yes.

STEELE:  ... to say what happened, you still have to prove it when it comes to what police men and women do. They`re no different than anyone else.

We talk about the president being above the law. Police men and women are not above the law either. And so the standard has to be the same for them as it is for -- if it were one of us with our knee on George Floyd`s neck.

We know exactly how this system would play itself out. We know exactly how long it would have taken for us to have been arrested. In fact, at this point, the trial may have been over. So, this is -- this is our truth.

And so what Marq is saying is exactly the core thing that has to happen. The federal government, state governments, local governments, all of this government stuff will take what it does and do what it does best, slow the roll, right?

We`re getting a lot of flurry right now. People think, oh, stuff is changing. No, it ain`t. No, it ain`t. What gun laws have changed since we watched 26 little babies get killed up in New England? What laws have changed since the mass shootings that we have seen around the country?

Only one instance, and that was by action by young people in Florida, right, got the laws, the gun laws changed in Florida. And what -- how did they do it? What we see happening right now, protest, digging to the root and pulling it out.

MELBER:  Yes.

I think each of you makes such great points. We have, I think, really learned a lot. We`re 20 minutes into the hour, which means I`m over time for the first break, but learned a lot from each of you.

And I think there`s a really important point here about, we were hearing as recently as last week, oh, well maybe it`s time to wind down the protests, move on to the next thing.

I think some of the commonality between part of what I was reporting in the pressure and what each of you have talked about in more pressure is, a protest, if you want action, shouldn`t go anywhere. This is the question now of whether it`s going to be -- what does winning look like? Is it going to be a long-term movement?

And we`re going to keep reporting on that, obviously.

I want to say a special thanks to Shawna Thomas and Marq Claxton.

Michael comes back a little later in the hour.

Fitting in a break, but when we come back, a whole different story. Federal prosecutors will testify about Bill Barr`s meddling in the Roger Stone case.

Guess who`s here? Steve Schmidt.

Also, Donald Trump and Mike Pence making new statements about why they think COVID is rising in 20 states. Obviously, we have a lot going on with the coronavirus as well. And we will stay on that story for you later tonight.

And before we end the hour, we do like to go to something different, a little bit of uplift. I will be joined by the artist, actress and activist Jenifer Lewis from "Black-ish," a show that has actually been ahead of many of these issues we`re discussing.

I`m Ari Melber. You`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER:  Turning to a whole `nother big story, Trump Attorney General Bill Barr might be soon facing a kind of whistle-blower of his own, because the news today is a top Mueller prosecutor testifying before a House panel next week.

This is all coming at us fast. Aaron Zelinsky, you may recall the name, one of four prosecutors who basically won the Roger Stone conviction, but then resigned in protest, all because Bill Barr`s DOJ was intervening in the case and making unusual moves to get a lighter sentence for the president`s former adviser.

Stone scheduled the report to prison at the end of this month, unless something intervenes.

The news breaks just days after a former federal judge also weighed in, blasting Bill Barr for a very similar problem, his -- quote -- "preposterous move" to give lighter treatment, this time outright dismissal of criminal charges against Trump`s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who had initially pled guilty.

House Judiciary Chair Nadler dubbing Zelinsky a whistle-blower now, also calling a DOJ antitrust prosecutor to testify. This is interesting. He was involved in the Trump administration`s attempt to challenge a merger between AT&T and Time Warner. OK, big companies.

What`s that about? Well, many experts had said this was all about Donald Trump trying to abuse power to punish CNN, which was within that family of companies owned by Time Warner. The merger did go through.

Now, what is the common thread right here? Well, the question is one of both ethics and law. Is Bill Barr trying to abuse his power to protect Donald Trump to serve his interests above the country?

In his Senate confirmation hearing to get this job, Barr said Trump had asked him at one point to be his personal attorney, but the relationship evolved since then.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINEE:  He said something to the effect, like, so, are you envisioning some role here? And I said, actually, Mr. President, right now is -- I couldn`t do it.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST:  Barr interprets the special counsel`s report to the advantage of Trump.

BARR:  Not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offense.

TRUMP:  The attorney general was really, really solid and did a great job today.

DAVID MUIR, ABC NEWS:  Why did the Justice Department publicly change Stone`s sentencing recommendation after the president`s very public criticism?

TRUMP:  I want to thank the Justice Department for seeing this -- this horrible thing.

PIERRE THOMAS, ABC NEWS:  So, you`re saying you have a problem with the tweets?

BARR:  Yes. Well, I have a problem with some of the some of the tweets.

TRUMP:  He`s been a fantastic attorney general. He`s grabbed it by the horn.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  There is a lot going on. But this is an important story. We are keeping our eye on it.

And Steve Schmidt breaks it down when we`re back in just 30 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER:  We`re back.

Attorney General Bill Barr will face this testimony by a former Mueller prosecutor.

MSNBC contributor and longtime strategist Steve Schmidt is here.

Steve, does Bill Barr have something to worry about with this testimony? And is what he has done in the public record, is it OK?

STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, we have seen this lawless attorney general operate for enough time to know now that, no matter what we learn at the hearings, it`s likely to validate what we already know, right, which is that he`s interfered politically time and time again in the Justice Department.

And that`s dangerous, because, in a democracy, the rule of law must be supreme. No citizen can be above it. No citizen should be below it. No citizen should have someone kneeling on their neck. No privileged friend of a president should be immune for their crimes.

And so we have seen this attorney general act like Donald Trump`s Roy Cohn, which is what he said he always wanted. The attorney general is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, not the president`s personal attorney.

And time and time again. Attorney General Barr has acted in a way that`s contrary to every other attorney general`s understanding of their duties in that office, including Barr when he previously served. His conduct has been appalling.

And I think most importantly today is Senator Harris insisting that she will not let go of the investigation into whether it is the case that the attack on peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square was ordered directly by the attorney general. Did he order the gassing, the beating, the trampling of peacefully assembled American citizens asserting their First Amendment speech rights?

And I think that`s a very important issue, because he`s attorney general, not interior minister of some thugocracy.

MELBER:  We were joined by Chairman Nadler, who has been pressing the attorney general to testify under subpoena over a range of matters, including this, and who is now seeking to actually -- talk about defund the police.

And you mentioned Mr. Barr`s use, alleged use of law enforcement. Chairman Nadler told us last night he may defund by $50 million Mr. Barr`s personal office, to go beyond even the subpoena threat.

Take a look at some of what else he said last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY):  We have to get serious about Mr. Barr, who is totally lawless, who has turned the attorney general`s office into a -- not just a legal office for the president, but a legal office for the president`s crimes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  It sounds like you and the chairman are in agreement.

And many news viewers are familiar with some of what Mr. Barr has done. We documented, of course, how misleading he was on the Mueller report. And we did that from day one.

When you look at the actual communications challenge, which is something you know about, what Chairman Nadler and others are going to try to do when they gather evidence that should be factual and under oath and all that, but putting on your strategist hat, Steve, what do they need to do, particularly given that there`s a lot of other important stuff going on?

Because, if the attorney general and others can delay, duck, avoid hearings, and basically push all this down the road, in a way, they escape, potentially, accountability.

What do you think Nadler and others need to do to make this hearing matter next week?

SCHMIDT:  Well, the chairman needs to execute his oversight duties, as the chairman of the committee of jurisdiction from a co-equal branch of government.

And it`s entirely appropriate for the chairman to threaten the attorney general`s personal office with a reduction in spending because of the lawlessness of the attorney general. It`s a proper use of congressional power.

Look, when we look at the totality of everything, the focus shouldn`t be getting attention the hearings and on Barr. It should be making part of a composite case against the lawlessness of the president.

And Donald Trump didn`t do this without abetters and collaborators and accomplices. And Attorney General Barr is one of the chief accomplices in implementing Donald Trump`s lawlessness.

So, he should be held into account and it should be put into the public record. But what matters most, with under 150 days to go, is the election that`s coming up. And we see now the wide frame of the choice coming into play.

It`s between law and order with Joe Biden and lawlessness with Donald Trump, between decency with Joe Biden and indecency with Donald Trump, between somebody who divides, Donald Trump, and somebody who unites.

And so that framework for this election, as our economy is shattered, with 40 million people out of work, coronavirus cases out of control in 14 states, with over 100,000 dead, the bill is coming due for the reality show presidency. We see the tragic consequences.

There are a lot of people over the years who have done a business deal with Donald Trump once. There are very, very few who did that business deal with Trump a second time. And that`s what voters...

MELBER:  Yes.

SCHMIDT:  ... some of whom voted for Trump, some of whom voted for President Obama and then Trump, I think, are looking, saying, there`s literally no one in the country, except the Trump kids, who seems to be better off than they were four years ago, the kind of...

MELBER:  Well, Steve...

(CROSSTALK)

SCHMIDT:  ... at a moment of unprecedented weakness, domestically and globally.

And that`s what this election is about.

MELBER:  I knew you knew how to communicate, Steve. You always nail it home.

And I think that`s an interesting line about not wanting to do the deal twice. Indeed, with some places, like Trump university, you could attend, but it was very unlikely you could get your little brother or sister to go, because by the time you -- quote, unquote -- "graduated," they were out of business.

I do have some quick lighter business with you. These are serious times. But I`d be remiss if I didn`t notice we were in another room in the Schmidt residence. I think it`s what looks like a beautiful totem pole behind you.

What is it?

SCHMIDT:  That is a totem pole from the Haida Nation. They`re a First Nations tribe in British Columbia on the island of Haida Gwaii. It`s a beautiful, beautiful part in the world -- part of the world.

And I just -- I love that type of art.

MELBER:  I love it. And one of my producers in my ear is saying, we`re going to go back out and look at the wide shot of you, because we`re also wondering, will the pineapple be used for fruit salad or for a drink by the end of your day?

SCHMIDT:  That`s headed into a drink, Ari, for sure.

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER:  All right, totem poles and pina coladas and thoughts on the state of American democracy with Steve Schmidt.

We love seeing you. We will have you back.

I am going to fit in a break.

But, when we come back, we got a lot more. Donald Trump and Mike Pence both under fire for misleading claims about the coronavirus, a story we`re staying on.

But, before we get to that, of course, the Floyd case continues. There`s new evidence that I want you to hear. We haven`t played this yet tonight, a 911 dispatcher who was seeing in real time the video of those officers kneeling on and killing George Floyd, the new sound, the new evidence and what she did -- when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER:  Now to some new evidence.

Take a listen to an excerpt from brand newly released audio. This is from a 911 dispatcher in Minneapolis. And the situation is pretty stark.

She was watching George Floyd`s arrest, which we know was ultimately a killing, in real time over the surveillance cameras. She appeared alarmed.

Take a listen to how she alerted a supervisor.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

911 OPERATOR:  Hey, this is (INAUDIBLE) with Channel 1.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hey, what`s up?

911 OPERATOR:  You can call me a snitch if you want to, but we have the cameras up for 320`s call.

I don`t know if they had to use force or not. They got something out of the back of the squad, and all of them sat on this man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, they haven`t said anything yet, so just a takedown, which doesn`t count. But I will find out.

911 OPERATOR:  OK. No problem. I -- we don`t get to ever see it, so when we see it, we`re just like, well, that looks a little different.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  OK.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MELBER:  This is new evidence. And it gives you a sense of what was happening in real time.

The dispatcher was, however casually she sounded, concerned that just discussing what she saw, the facts, might make her a -- quote -- "snitch" in the eyes of other individuals involved in the policing.

This also will raise some broader questions about how others in the department initially handled what was this killing, now a charged murdered, as they learned about it.

That`s new evidence. We wanted to share it with you.

We`re going to a fit in a break, but up ahead tonight, we have actress and activist Jenifer Lewis from the hit show "Black-ish" here live talking race, justice, and more.

But, first, we also have an update I have been telling you about. After this break, we`re going to show you how Donald Trump and Mike Pence have been caught pushing false claims about the coronavirus and what you need to know to continue to keep your family safe.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER:  Mike Pence still leaves the Coronavirus Task Force, but that doesn`t mean he always follows its guidelines.

Take a look at this, brand-new today, dinner in Iowa, no mask, no real social distancing, as he`s there with other people, and then he will go back to the White House, where he could take back whatever he picks up.

Pence also told governors the rise in infections is due to basically testing, saying: "In many of these cases, we`re seeing some marginal rise. That`s more of a result of the extraordinary work you`re doing," a claim that echoes his boss.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  If you don`t test, you don`t have any cases. If we stopped testing right now, we would have very few cases, if any.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  Fact check, false. And we have to keep the facts in mind.

"The Washington Post" reports, in six states, the weekly average of new cases increasing. The average number of daily tests, though, being conducted has declined, I repeat declined; 20 states are seeing spikes in cases. That includes Oklahoma, where Trump is still planning to hold an indoor rally this Saturday.

Let`s get right to it with Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency room physician, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Brown University.

Good to see you again.

What does it mean for people in parts of the country that are potentially seeing a rise that is because the virus has moved towards them? It`s not necessarily technically a second wave. And what should people there do, even as they hear that other places are into a phase two reopening?

DR. MEGAN RANNEY, RHODE ISLAND HOSPITAL:  Yes. Ari, it`s good to be back.

Let`s be clear, this virus is still very much amongst us. And Trump`s and Pence`s statement remind me of little kids putting their fingers in their ears and saying, I can`t hear you, and pretending that no one`s speaking.

Whether or not we want to test and acknowledge that the virus is here, it is still getting people sick. It is still filling up hospital beds and it is still filling up intensive care unit beds, to the point that my colleagues in Houston are reporting that they are starting to run out of beds and go over capacity in their hospitals.

So, for folks in states where numbers are going up, it is the same recommendations, unfortunately. It is wearing masks. It is maintaining physical distancing whenever possible, and it is washing your hands religiously, because, until we have a vaccine, that is the best that we can do to reduce transmission of this virus.

MELBER:  Take a look at a response from one person who had been quarantining, went out and found that a lot of the people that she went out with all contracted the virus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  They have been stuck indoors for months, being careful, social distancing, doing everything the right way. And then the first night we go out, Murphy`s Law, I guess.

The only thing we have in common is that night at that one bar.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  Our reporting shows she had 14 other people at that bar contracted the virus.

What do you say practically, if someone doesn`t want to continue to do the zero approach, complete quarantine? What can they do if they want to go out a little?

RANNEY:  So, if you want to go out a little, be smart about where you`re going out and who you`re going out with. Going outdoors is always safer than being indoors.

The analogy I use is, imagine that someone smoking a cigarette around you. If you could smell it strongly, you`re probably too close. And, obviously, if you`re indoors, you`re going to smell that cigarette far longer than if you`re outdoors.

So, go outside, wear a mask, try to limit the number of people that you`re exposed to, and, again, wash your hands and maintain a distance, if you can.

Listen, none of us want to be hermits. I have got kids. We all want to be outdoors.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER:  To be clear, you`re -- yes, but you`re saying -- sometimes, people hear from doctors -- I know we`re on a little bit of delay.

They say, oh, wash your hands, do this, do that. But if somebody wants to go out, you`re saying they`re better off going to even an outdoor bar and keeping their distance than going to an indoor bar?

RANNEY:  Very much so. Go to an outdoor bar. Go to a pool and sit at a distance from each other.

Go to a park or go for a hike and maintain some distance between each other. You don`t have to be a total hermit, unless you`re someone with multiple chronic diseases or you`re elderly. Just be smart about it.

And particularly in the states with rising numbers, be very careful.

MELBER:  Dr. Ranney, thank you for your advice and your nuance. We always appreciate it. We will see you again.

Up ahead, we`re doing something a little different, the star of "Black-ish" speaking on many of these issues that are now back in the news.

Jenifer Lewis live on THE BEAT straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MELBER:  As we wrap up our edition of THE BEAT tonight, we often like to get into some uplift and some culture. And we have such a special guest for that right now, "Black-ish" actress and activist Jenifer Lewis.

JENIFER LEWIS, ACTRESS/ACTIVIST:  Hello.

MELBER:  You may, obviously, recognize her.

How you doing?

LEWIS:  I`m doing very good.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER:  Good.

I`m going to show one thing for all the people, reminding everyone how vocal you have been about so many of these issues, obviously this Floyd case.

And we want to show a performance you recently gave on Instagram.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEWIS:  Take your knee and privilege off my neck. All hands on deck. Take your knee off my neck.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  Art and culture are often ahead of other parts of our society.

"Black-ish" has repeatedly confronted the very issues that everyone seems to be discussing now. Take one quick look at an episode from four years ago digging into a case of police brutality.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "BLACK-ISH")

LEWIS:  You can try and mask the problems of this world in savory barbacoa meat and flowery tortillas, if you choose, Rainbow. But it doesn`t change the fact that police in this country have a problem with black folks.

ANTHONY ANDERSON, ACTOR:  Thank you, momma.

LAURENCE FISHBURNE, ACTOR:  I`m old enough to know when I`m hearing this same story told a different way. Police beating up on an unarmed black man, that`s a story I have been hearing all my life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  Jenifer Lewis is here.

And I think that`s a fitting opening question for you. If people are just catching up, if people are joining in, if people are saying to you, whoa, it`s worse than they realized, or you were right, what do you say to them tonight?

LEWIS:  You know what? I say -- I speak to the millennials, Ari.

Those kids grew up with me as the aunt on "Fresh Prince."

MELBER:  Shout out "Fresh Prince."

LEWIS:  The mother in all of the African-American movies -- well, a lot of them -- and now I`m the grandmother on "Black-ish," and I have a special relationship with them.

And I`m here to say to the protesters, continue peacefully protesting. Get what you need in this great challenge before us. Don`t stop, all the diversity, the millions upon millions -- it`s a sea of humanity that is out in the streets right now, saying, that`s enough of the oppression, killing our children in the streets.

They know it`s wrong. There has to be reform. And it can`t be a modest bill, Mr. Trump. We have to get to the root of the racism, the deep hate. I have never seen so much hate. It`s so disturbing. We have to come together.

We cannot be divided.

MELBER:  Yes. You bring up "Fresh Prince." You know I grew up on "Fresh Prince," right, I mean, as just classic.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER:  We could -- we could talk about some of the...

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER:  Some of our favorite episodes when we have more time.

On these issues, though, I did want to play one more thing from "Black-ish" where you were explaining in something that -- you mentioned the president, and it`s come up in politics -- it`s come up in the Biden campaign, which is, where does the African-American community fit in to the partisan politics?

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "BLACK-ISH")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS:  Slavery isn`t easy to talk about. I mean, it makes people uncomfortable.

LEWIS:  White people hate being uncomfortable.

People are never going to celebrate something they barely even want to admit happened.

ANDERSON:  Look, mom, Junior is a Republican.

LEWIS:  Well, that`s fine.

ANDERSON:  What?

LEWIS:  He wants to be a publican, a British tavern owner, noble profession.

ANDERSON:  No, momma, a Republican.

LEWIS:  What is that you say? You say re, as in Republican?

ANDERSON:  Uh-huh.

LEWIS:  No, it can`t be a Republican.

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS:  Not a Republican. Oh, Jesus. Black Jesus!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  That brings on the tears in the art.

I have about 40 seconds left. That`s the art.

What about the reality when you look at the choice in November?

LEWIS:  Well, that choice should be Mr. Biden.

We have had enough of this madness, the blatant cruelty, the lies upon lies. We could have been warned back in January. Look how many people have died. This is wrong. We need leadership.

My friend, today, do you wear a mask? You don`t wear a mask? Well, he doesn`t wear a mask. Pence didn`t wear a mask. Then you see him in a mask.

Leadership. This is the greatest country in the world. Well, you know what? No. The world is great. And that`s what has to be new.

MELBER:  Jenifer, you have the energy. There`s no doubt about that. I appreciate you. It`s the first time...

LEWIS:  No. And, you know, I`m behind -- I`m behind the peaceful protesting, Ari.

MELBER:  Yes. Yes, ma`am.

LEWIS:  I`m behind these young people fighting their revolution.

MELBER:  Amen.

And I`m going to be behind my bosses if I don`t end on time. I hope you will come back on THE BEAT, Jenifer Lewis.

This is THE BEAT. That does it for us. Keep it right here on MSNBC.

And a programming note:  Tomorrow, we will be joined by the one and only LL Cool J. So, I will see you again tomorrow night 6:00 p.m. Eastern.

But, right now, keep it right here on MSNBC.

  THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END