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MAGA rally TRANSCRIPT: 6/18/20, The Beat w/ Ari Melber

Guests: William Barber, Clark Brewster, Samantha Whiteside, Howell Raines, Erika Andiola, Karen Bass, Melissa Murray


Good evening, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chuck.

Quick question. You had a big and newsworthy interview today. We are going to be covering it in our hour.

I`m curious, as a journalist, just what you took from it, because it was fascinating to get that perspective of the officer and his lawyer.

TODD: I was surprised how much time they spent with us, to be frank, Ari. I`m sure that`s -- I`m sure, as a lawyer, you`re probably thinking the same thing.

The only thing I took away is, this lawyer must really be confident that he has a solid case to get his client off. And that looked like a young officer that, you know, really believes that he didn`t do any -- he didn`t knowingly do anything wrong.

It was -- it`s certainly a -- it certainly is a public show of, hey -- we talk about this all the time. When you`re accused of something, if you don`t believe you did it, you go out there and you shout it from the rooftops. That`s sort of the impression I took away. What about you?

MELBER: Yes, I thought it was fascinating, as you say.

And I think our viewers know following many of these cases, many of them tragic, it is not a playbook to come out immediately and have an individual who`s a defendant say much in public at all, let alone in that lengthy exchange. Go ahead.

TODD: I have one quick curiosity for you.

I wonder if we would have seen the attorney and the officer had there not been this -- had they not wanted to push back so hard on this idea that they were a state witness. That -- I assume that really was and that that is something -- we can -- there`s a lot of ways to speculate as to why maybe they didn`t want that, but we know how rare it is for police officers to testify against other police officers.

And that seemed to be something they were very concerned about having out there.

MELBER: I think that`s a great point and speaks to the nuance that they wanted to say, well, if the DA is going to say it that forcefully, they`re saying it different, and, as you have done today, and we have more reporting on that as well.

TODD: Right.

MELBER: So, just obviously a fascinating, newsworthy interview, Chuck, and good to see you, sir.

TODD: It was.

Nice to see you, my friend.

MELBER: Thank you, Chuck.

TODD: Have a good hour.

MELBER: Thank you very much.

I want to welcome everyone to THE BEAT. I am Ari Melber.

And we do have a big show tonight, including what I was just discussing with Chuck Todd.

Before we get to that story, though, we also have Donald Trump facing his second major Supreme Court loss in a week, former Trump aide John Bolton blasting the president, meanwhile, as -- quote -- "unfit for office."

As Chuck and I were discussing, there are a lot of developments, some of them really quite confusing at times for us to try and unpack and understand, in this Rayshard Brooks case. Both officers, though, clearly making news, turning themselves in. As you know, as we have covered, that is not often the way cases go.

From Friday, the shooting, to these charges, to tonight officers turning themselves in. A lot more ahead on that case.

Later, I want you to know, Bishop William Barber joins us to discuss a different kind of March on Washington.

And later tonight, we will also be joined by a lawyer who is suing regarding Donald Trump`s Tulsa rally. We will explain why he went to court to literally call it a -- quote -- "biological bomb" that could actually further spread the coronavirus, a very real controversy with obviously real consequences.

But let me begin with you on the Supreme Court today blocking the Trump administration from an attempted ongoing immigration crackdown. This is a big loss on a big issue for Donald Trump.

The case is about the Obama era program that protects hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who came here as children. It`s a policy you may recall. It is formally referred to as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, shortened to DACA.

Now, this is the Trump administration`s second major loss this week, coming just days after the court ruled that federal law does in fact protect LGBQT workers from discrimination.

And these legal defeats are hitting the White House hard, and they`re adding to these headaches over the damning account from a former top Trump official, Donald Trump`s former NSA Adviser John Bolton.

Now, everybody remembers Bolton. He was, of course, quiet during the high- stakes impeachment trial, now speaking out in public.


JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I don`t think he`s fit for office. I don`t think he has the competence to carry out the job.

There really isn`t any guiding principle that I was able to discern, other than what`s good for Donald Trump`s reelection.


MELBER: That is quite scathing from someone who served at the highest levels, who was in the room, as they say.

Trump basically lashing back out. What`s his side of the story? Well, for one thing, he says Bolton is a liar. And there is a formal process initiated by the White House to try to stop the release of the book at all, meaning people wouldn`t get to read it if the White House won.

But I can tell you tonight -- and you may have see this online -- people are already getting to read part of it, excerpts already emerging. Bolton claiming Trump sought election help from China and pressed the country to explore camps for its own Muslim minority population.

Bolton writing that Trump said President Xi "should go ahead with building those camps, which Trump thought was the right thing to do" -- end quote.

Another revelation, Bolton says, Americans need to know that Donald Trump didn`t know the U.K. is a nuclear power. That`s a chilling thought if there are big decisions on that front to make in the future.

Bolton also hitting Trump for not understanding that Finland is a country and not a territory in Russia.

These revelations are disconcerting. They come from the highest ranking Trump adviser to ever write one of these tell-all books, and it comes as Donald Trump is cratering in polls and trying to make a reelection case. We are now four months out from November.

And many people, many experts have stressed that, even if Bolton`s account is true and devastating, there is a context here. And as we report the stories, we try to keep an eye on that.

They stress that Mr. Bolton timed this not for when accountability was possible in that Senate trial of his old boss Mr. Trump, but rather now for the promotion of his forthcoming book.

Now, these are the White House`s latest problems. If you widen out, they come on the heels of the larger things that we have been sort of keeping an eye on. You have the rejections by the Supreme Court in more than one arena. Then you have the flagging economy, the ongoing unrest and systemic racism in policing in this country and debates over how to fix it, with many key civil rights leaders condemning the president`s executive order, telling us on this program and speaking out publicly that they view it as insufficient window dressing that came late and only under pressure.

You have all that, and then, of course, when we talk about context and where the White House is at tonight, you have the coronavirus death toll climbing now towards projections of 200,000 American lives lost by the fall, as the administration presses for full reopening, when cases are documented as rising in over 20 states.

We want to begin on all of this with Howell Raines, former executive editor of "The New York Times," and Melissa Murray, a law professor at NYU.

I want to turn to the big immigration decision in a few moments, but starting with that parade of what many would call horribles, I`m curious, Howell, what you see tonight.

HOWELL RAINES, FORMER EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Ari, I see tonight a country that`s swept up in major crises and having to do so being led by a president who, to use Michelle Goldberg`s resonant term, is in a state of decomposition.

And the racial news, I think, is foremost in my mind tonight because, in 1954, when the Warren court handed down its school desegregation ruling, I was an elementary schoolteacher -- pupil -- excuse me -- in an all-white school in Birmingham.

Only 10 years later, the 1964 Civil Rights Act effectively ended public segregation in all facilities across the South. And that shows you how quickly a racial transformation might move in the right leadership condition.

But it`s taken us over 50 years to get back to what I see as another transformative moment. For the first time in my memory, we have polls showing that a majority of white Americans are ready to take on the issue of systemic racism in our legal system.

And it`s almost heartbreaking to me to see the response of Donald Trump, who turns on Justice Roberts viciously, when all Justice Roberts has done is tell us that at least one of our three branches of government is properly functioning.

We know the White House is in decline. We know that Congress is paralyzed by Mitch McConnell. But the Supreme Court this week showed that history still sits on the shoulders of chief justices and people like Justice Gorsuch.

So, I think, as I say, this transformational moment is full of hope, but I tremble by the fact that President Trump`s response is to go to Tulsa and try to play the George Wallace card, and whip white rage up to a point that violence will become inevitable.

MELBER: Professor?

MELISSA MURRAY, NYU SCHOOL OF LAW: Well, I will just push back a little bit.

This has been an enormous week, with some really important wins for progressives and some losses for the Trump administration, but it`s certainly not the end of the Supreme Court`s term. And in both of those decisions, they were pretty narrow wins when you think about it.

Now, the Title VII case is truly enormous in terms of providing employment protection for LGBTQ persons throughout the country, and that`s enormous. But, again, it was a very conservative logic to that decision. It`s a textualist decision straight down the middle.

And that kind of textualism can be used for less progressive ends in other statutory contexts.

Today`s decision the DACA case, again, never said that DACA was good, never talked about the individuals who actually receive this relief from the federal government, but instead said that the Trump administration had not followed the appropriate procedures in dismantling the program, and, again, sends it back to a lower court with the admonition to the Trump administration to simply provide better justifications in the future for dismantling such programs.

MELBER: Professor, this is why I like to learn the law from you. Very important nuance.

Given that we`re digging into that, I want to go ahead and bring in -- both of you, stay, but bring in Erika Andiola, an expert, an advocate on many of these issues, who has been closely monitoring the DACA program and the Trump administration immigration policy.

So, Professor has teed us up well, Professor Murray has.

I`m curious. I`m going to walk through a little bit of it Erika. We mentioned at the top you have blocking this attempt to completely wipe out the program, the Obama era program that did protect undocumented children who came to the U.S. that way.

When you look at all of this, I`m curious, A, your reaction to the ruling and, B, Erika, your thoughts on the points the professor raises.


Well, first of all, I want to start by saying that even though people like myself who would qualify for this program are -- we gained a partial victory today, but we also stand in solidarity with a lot of our community members who are being killed by the police, our black community members, and also making sure that we`re standing in solidarity with many other immigrant communities who are being targeted by ICE every single day, deported and incarcerated.

And with that said, I think right now what is important to note is that the ball is now back at Trump`s court. And even though it is important for us to celebrate today, that the Supreme Court could have done something even worse, you know, it could have been a worse situation for us, but what we can celebrate that we have a partial victory.

And now it is all up to Trump. He has said that he has a lot of heart. He used this word in 2017: I have a lot of heart for the dreamers. If he really had the heart for the dreamers, he would have not ended the program in the first place, and he would have already passed the DREAM Act and the Promise Act, which already passed the House last year in Congress.

And so we don`t buy it, and we`re not going to fall for his tricks and his lies.

MELBER: Professor?

MURRAY: Well, I think that`s exactly right.

Again, this is an important victory. It obviously provides important relief for a number of dreamers throughout the country. And, again, this is incredibly important during the pandemic. There was a brief filed in this case, a supplemental brief, that noted that 20,000 front-line workers are actually dreamers.

So this is important relief. But, again, it`s a temporary victory. The administration could go forward and again take steps to dismantle this program. And as one of the justices, Brett Kavanaugh, noted in his dissent, the ball really is in Congress` court to provide lasting immigration relief.

And given the divisions in Congress, that doesn`t look promising.

MELBER: Well, and that`s such an important point, because the Supreme Court at times, both in the -- what you mentioned, Professor, but also in other rulings, has said the fundamentals of the immigration challenge in the United States are obviously still about the law.

And there has been such a -- just a failure of the Congress, and Senator McConnell has made it clear he doesn`t want to do anything. But those are things that, as we know, the court has said up to a certain point they need to be done through that process. So you`re in this standoff.

The other backdrop for all of this that I want to get your views on for the whole panel is, we`re talking about, in this very touch time that we have been just discussing, what the center holds and how much the Constitution and law holds.

And many of Trump`s critics, whether we`re talking about systemic racism or the approach to the undocumented or other issues, the foreign collusion that basically John Bolton is putting back on blast, is a question of, what does the system do under this pressure?

I`m mentioned -- and I`m curious what Professor and Howell, both who were part of our impeachment team coverage, what do you think of Bolton deciding that what he couldn`t share when it mattered, he can share now that it`s too late.

I want your view on that. I also want your view on the merits of it.

Take a brief listen to Congressman Adam Schiff, of course, an impeachment manager, on all of this.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): The portrait it paints of the president is one that we know to be all too true, somebody who puts his own personal interests above the national interests. That will be a continuing danger to the country over the next several months until the election.


MELBER: Howell and then Professor on that.

RAINES: I think Congressman Schiff`s use of the language continuing danger gets us right to where we need to be in terms of this decomposing president that I was speaking of.

And, you know, I recognize that -- my lack of legal expertise, but I was struck by the -- Justice Roberts` use of the language arbitrary and capricious in regards to the DACA ruling, or the president`s action on that.

And I think what we`re seeing now is some pushback, at long last, with some senior figures beginning to stand up.

I`m less grateful to John Bolton, although I agree that -- with his analysis, but where was he when we needed him? Where has the Republican Congress been when we needed them?

And I was impressed in that regard with General Milley, General Kelly and General Mattis, because what they did a few days ago was of tremendous importance. It was a brushback, I think, not unlike that, that I`m imagining maybe the chief justice intended.

This was the officer corps of the United States military services saying to President Trump, we will not be used by you to disrupt the American government, to take -- use us as a tool to get toward a military dictatorship.

And Trump is even more tone-deaf than I think he is if he didn`t hear what the generals were saying. They are going to stay in the barracks.

MURRAY: I think there`s probably -- well, I think there`s probably some linkages between the court`s decision today and what Ambassador Bolton has revealed in his book.

Today, in the decision, Chief Justice Roberts essentially said that this is an administration that does not follow the suggested procedures for dismantling federal programs. They don`t follow the rules, they don`t cross their T`s, they don`t dot their I`s.

And you saw the same portrait emerging in a more granular way in Bolton`s book. This is a president who plays fast and loose, he doesn`t observe norms, he doesn`t observe the rules, he doesn`t know how to govern.

And , at bottom, these are shared features of both of these accounts, an administration that really is unorthodox in every way, but most fundamentally in its complete disregard of how a functioning government operates.

MELBER: Really interesting, you drawing those together.

I am over on time, but, Erika, I did want to give you a last word on any of the above.


No, I agree. We have to be looking out for what Trump is going to do. He`s going to try to perhaps undo the program again, and we have to make sure that he knows that most Americans support this program. We can`t be in the same spot that we were in 2017.

In those three years that were in limbo, we were basically just waiting to see what was going to happen, were really painful to a lot of us. It was just waiting to see what was going to happen. So, we hope that, as we are nearing an election, that he understands that most Americans support this program, and we cannot end it again.

And, also, this is Congress, too. Not only can they pass the DREAM Act tomorrow, if they wanted to. They also have the ability to defund ICE and to start taking the steps so that there`s less deportations, less raids and that, you know, we stop targeting the immigrant community, as we have been doing for so many years now in America.

MELBER: Erika Andiola, Melissa Murray, and Howell Raines on a whole potpourri of things going on, all of them, I think, important to keep our eye on.

I thank each of you.

This is THE BEAT. We`re about 18-and-a-half minutes into our hour, and we have more for you after the break.

Coming up, those officers charged in the Brooks killing surrendering to police. We will talk about the next steps with the head of the CBC, Karen Bass.

And, later, an exclusive interview with a lawyer who`s trying to force Trump`s Tulsa rally to just follow the Trump administration`s own CDC guidelines. There was a big hearing on this before the state Supreme Court. We are going to get into all of that.

And a very special guest returning to THE BEAT tonight, Bishop Barber here on his March on Washington and why it`s different.

I`m Ari Melber, and you`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.


MELBER: Breaking news tonight.

Both Atlanta police officers charged for the Rayshard Brooks killing have now turned themselves in. In fact, this was just moments ago. Former Officer Garrett Rolfe, who IS charged with murder, went to the Fulton County Jail. He is in custody on those 11 charges. He was not granted bond. His former partner, Devin Brosnan, is now out on bond.

Now, let`s be clear, there has been conflicting statements and outright confusion in the past 24 hours about Officer Brosnan level of participation in the state`s case against Rolfe.

In fact, if you saw our opening, I was discussing this briefly with Chuck Todd, who had a big interview about it today.

Now, we`re going to show you everything, so you can make up your own mind.

First, what you need to know is the DA, who made waves yesterday by describing him as a state`s witness, standing by that, basically doubling down today and asserting that, yes, Brosnan is basically a state`s witness.


PAUL HOWARD, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: That whole discussion is subterfuge away from the real important issues in this case. I will just say that we stick by our comments made on yesterday, but I`m hoping people will turn back to the crux of this issue.

And the crux of this issue is that Mr. Brooks is dead for really no valid reason at all.


MELBER: The comments yesterday, of course, did identify Officer Brosnan as completely being a state`s witness.

If we all remember, in the Mueller case, when we talked -- the Mueller probe, we talked about who flips and who makes agreements. That`s how it was presented. And here`s the other side of the case. You can hear everything.

Officer Brosnan and his lawyer speaking out in that newsworthy MSNBC interview with Chuck Todd and Katy Tur. This was after his release. And the message was, very clearly, they are saying he is not a state`s witness and not flipping against his former partner.


KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: Officer, are you going to cooperate with the DA?

DEVIN BROSNAN, ATLANTA POLICE OFFICER: I am looking forward to cooperating with any investigators who are interested in having a conversation about what happened that night.

TODD: There seemed to be an implication, Officer Brosnan, that you would testify against Garrett Rolfe.

Is that something you have ruled out?

DON SAMUEL, ATTORNEY FOR DEVIN BROSNAN: Officer Brosnan is not going to be a -- quote -- "state`s witness," which is kind of TV talk. He`s either going to be a witness and describe the facts or he`s going to be sitting next to me at counsel table.


MELBER: We are fortunate to have a guest now who has worked and led on these issues for a very long time.

Congresswoman Karen Bass chairs the Congressional Black Caucus and is a key sponsor of the House Democrats` police reform bill.

First of all, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I know you are busy.


REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA): Yes. Thanks for having me on.

MELBER: I understand the DA`s point, and I think we can get to that, which is the bigger headline, the substantive development is that there is a murder case going forward.

Having said that, as you know, because you have worked these issues, whether there are witnesses, particularly officers who witnessed what happened, cooperating and the level of their cooperation makes a big difference over whether you get a conviction or not.

I think that`s why so many activists care about this. So I`m curious, just big picture, having laid out for our viewers the conflicting accounts, your take.

BASS: Well, first of all, I certainly hope that the officer is willing to testify.

But, you know, it gets at one of the issues that we try to address in the George Floyd Justice for Policing Act, and that is the duty to intervene. And so if he is going to turn state witness against the other one, then, you know, why didn`t he intervene? What did he do? What was his responsibility?

We want to make it so that police officers, when they see something going wrong, that they stop it. But you and I know that if you try to do that today, then you will be completely ostracized by your colleagues.

I don`t know if you`re familiar with the case of the African-American woman in New York who did intervene when she saw her white colleague doing a choke hold, and she was afraid that he was going to kill someone. And so she stopped the choke hold. What happened to her? She got fired.

And so it`s that culture that we`re trying to intervene on with the legislation.

MELBER: Understood.

And I think what`s helpful for us in tracking this is you`re explaining that there is what individual officers did and what they cooperate with and then there`s the actual, as everyone has said, the system and the rules, so that you can get ahead of this and try to prevent these tragic and avoidable incidents.

BASS: Right.

MELBER: Getting into the case, which, again, the DA, I will say, fact check true when he said there`s more to this -- they do have other witnesses as well.

I want to play again -- this is also new. Michael Perkins was another witness to this shooting. Take a look.


MICHAEL PERKINS, WITNESS: I mean, I don`t know where to start. Like, I witnessed the murder. I almost was killed myself.

I feel troubled about it. I mean, it`s so normal today. It just happens in different cities. I mean, I`m -- it`s kind of -- I don`t know if they`re trying to make us get used to it or what, but it`s kind of like it`s something normal now.


MELBER: Congresswoman?

BASS: Wow. Wow.

I mean, his statement, am I supposed to accept this as being the norm? No, he`s not. And that`s why we have to pass this transformative legislation, seriously. We worked on it until late last night.

And I`m just very concerned because of the tens of thousands of people who are out there protesting. They`re not protesting for smoke and mirrors. They`re protesting for substantive change.

And so now you know the challenge is going to be on the Senate. What are they going to do? I am opening that they pass a version of a bill that then we can go to conference on. But the current bill that is there right now really has taken all of the teeth out of our bill.

A lot of the subjects are the same, but if we were to pass today and to have signed what is in the Senate right now, then that young man and what he said could be the case, in the sense that nothing significant has changed. And that`s why we cannot accept that right now. Transformative change is the name of the day.

MELBER: Congresswoman Karen Bass, who, as I mentioned, has been a leader and on the foundation of this for so long, I appreciate your views, both on the case and the bill.

And since we`re going to be tracking that action in Congress, I hope you will come back on THE BEAT.

BASS: Absolutely. Thank you.

MELBER: Thank you, Congresswoman.

We now have a 30-second break.

When we come back, Bishop Barber here on the surging unemployment, the record lines for food.

We`re back in 30.


MELBER: News we haven`t gotten to in our hour, 1.2 million more people jobless, officially filing for unemployment today.

Those are new numbers. The scenes that we`re seeing around the country are, for many, becoming a new normal, people waiting up to eight hours in Kentucky trying to file for their unemployment insurance benefits in person.

The images are one of the backdrops, one of the pieces of context for an upcoming March on Washington this Saturday. It is led by Bishop William Barber, calling attention not only to the many racial injustices that have dominated the national conversation recently, but the economic component as well.

It comes on the same day that Donald Trump is holding a MAGA rally in Tulsa. We have more on that later this hour.

But now we turn to Bishop Barber, president of the Repairers of the Breach, co-chair of the Poor People`s Campaign. We should mention his new book, "We Are Called to Be a Movement," comes out next week.

Thank you, sir.

Tell us what you`re doing, what it stands for and why this march is different.

REV. DR. WILLIAM BARBER, PRESIDENT, REPAIRERS OF THE BREACH: Well, along with Reverend Dr. Liz Theoharis, the co-chair, and now 45 coordinating committees in 45 different states and 150 partners and religious bodies and actors and activists and many people coming together, you know, this is on Saturday the Poor People`s Assembly, a Mass Poor People`s Assembly Moral March on Washington.

We have been organizing for more than three years. And we have been bringing people together across all racial lines, every race, creed and color, to deal with systemic racism, systemic poverty, 150 million, 140 million people living in poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy, and the false moral narrative of religious nationalism.

And what you will see Saturday is a cementing of that. We had to go digital. It`s digital. But it`s -- people will be able to join from every place. And it is a counterintuitive movement, Ari. It`s about white coal miners in Kentucky deciding to work with black folk from the Delta.

It`s about people from California working with people in the Carolinas. It`s about the Apache Nation joining in with people from Maine, who are saying, look, all five of these issues are killing us.

And so while Trump will be trafficking in death in Oklahoma, we will be trafficking -- we will be talking about life. He`s going out to disturb the vision. We are organizing the 1.4 million poor people in Oklahoma. We`re concerned about the 500,000 people in Oklahoma in the midst of a pandemic that aren`t insured.

And we`re saying that people have to come together in counterintuitive ways, because what we really need, Ari, in this moment is a third reconstruction of our society.

MELBER: Bishop, it`s interesting hearing you draw that direct contrast to the trade-offs in the other rally.

We`re looking at the coronavirus death toll and the risk that faces poor and minorities. And we will put this back up. You see black and Hispanic, Latino Americans, coronavirus mortality rates are now found to be as much as 10 times higher than white Americans.

That is -- and this is, of course, getting the information, the science as we go -- it`s pretty new. That is even worse than what scientists were releasing just a month or two ago.

Where does that fit into the contrast you draw that, while there are people who say protesting in the streets, which is something you supported, of course, and led, is necessary right now?

You contrast this weekend, yours being virtual, the Donald Trump gathering people together.


Well, first of all, we`re using all these tools, but one of the things you`re looking at, let`s also add the First Nation indigenous people, because the second highest rate per capita is the Navajo people. All of those things you just saw are choices.

Those are not happening because people are black or because they`re brown or because they`re First Indigenous. It`s happening because of historic denial of health care. It`s happening because the people that are dying the most are the ones that are having to go to work, because they don`t have sufficient unemployment and the sick leave or the living wages.

They don`t have the forgiveness of their rent. They don`t have the moratoriums against cutting off their water. So, they are being forced into lethal situations. And one of the things, Ari, we`re saying is, in this moment, while we focus on the death of George Floyd, part of what we have to also do in this moment and others who have died is, that`s just one piece of violence that is caused by racism.

We need to look at all the people who aren`t caught on camera, all the people that die because of poverty, all the people that die because of health care -- lack of health care.

And this pandemic is exposing the wounds of our society that come from the breakages and the wounds that come from racism, systemic racism, and poverty.

But we also must connect it, because cause, while black people and brown people may be dying disproportionate, let my white brothers and sisters who are poor and otherwise understand, that doesn`t mean it`s only black and white people dying.

The fact of the matter is, this coronavirus is killing. But it`s killing not because the virus is so powerful. The virus is made more powerful by negligence, the negligence of the Trump administration, and the negligence of our Congress that passed three bills, three. And 84 percent of that money went to corporations.

Three bills, and we did not guarantee people health care and guarantee sick leave and guarantee unemployment, in the midst of a pandemic. And that is why our movement, the Mass Poor People`s Assembly Moral March on Washington, is bringing people together to say, we have got to have what I call a decision, Ari.

Are we going to continue to allow policies that create death to live, or are we going to create policies that bring life?

For instance, if we just raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour, 49 million people would move up out of poverty and low wealth, and it would pump $320 billion into the economy to cause it to live.

If we took one military contract, just one, from Boeing or somebody, $25 billion, we could pay for every state that denied Medicaid expansion, every state. We have got to decide.

I think we`re in a day, lastly, that the issue is not left or right. The issue is not conservative vs. liberal. We have to look at the D.M. of every piece of policy, what is the death measure, because the state is not supposed to kill.

Life, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So, if a health care policy or a denial of health care produces death, it has no place in our society. If blocking living wages produces death, because people die from poverty -- and these things can be measured -- then it has no place.

It`s time that we look at what is causing death and what is causing life, and choose life. That`s what this campaign is about. And it`s about all of us deciding we`re not going to just die and go away.

You know 700 people die every day from poverty, a quarter-million people a year? But they`re saying, we`re not doing that anymore. We`re not being quiet anymore. It`s gone on too long.

And, lastly, the Declaration of Independence says this. After a long train of abuses, it is the responsibility, the obligation of the people to alter the government. Well, there`s been a long train of abuses when it comes to racism and a long train of abuses when it comes to poverty.

And black and white and red and yellow and gay and straight and trans and people who are Jewish, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, people of faith, people not of faith, have decided, we`re going to build this Mass Poor People`s Assembly, and we`re going to shift the narrative, and we`re going to build voting power, voting power, because the number of poor and low-wealth people who did not vote and do not vote far outweigh any margin of victory.

And I say to the Democrats and to the Republicans, however, we have got to stop these kind of political debates that never talk about the poor. They talk about the middle class and the wealthy. We need to talk to the millions, the 140 million people in this country who are in low wealth. What are you going to do for them?

MELBER: Bishop Barber, we have had you on before. You always go deep, but connecting all these dots and really pushing us to think about the moral center of this.

I appreciate it. Appreciate you, sir.

And I will mention again, for those interested in hearing more, a lot of work going on. You can see it here,, Saturday`s Moral March on Washington, a virtual event.

We have got to fit in a break.

When we come back, the lawyer suing over that very Trump Tulsa rally we just discussed and why they`re going to court, calling it a -- quote -- "biological bomb" -- when we come back.


MELBER: An Oklahoma lawyer is now suing to try to force CDC safety guidelines to apply to Donald Trump`s indoor rally planned for this Saturday.

And this is a real controversy. It`s gone all the way to the state`s Supreme Court today. They argue it`s now the only institution that can stand between Tulsa and a -- quote -- "biological bomb."

The court held a telephone conference with these lawyers today. The decision could come as soon as tomorrow.

Now, the arena is now asking -- this is interesting -- the Trump campaign for written health and safety procedures. Trump, meanwhile, downplaying the virus.

Take a look.


QUESTION: Coronavirus cases are rising in 22 states, including Oklahoma, where you plan to hold a big rally this week. Aren`t you worried about people getting sick?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, because, if you look, the numbers are very minuscule compared to what it was. It`s dying out.


MELBER: It`s not dying out.

And, as for the specific thing the president is doing, going to Oklahoma, let`s take a look at the new reported cases by day there, considered a public service for people planning their decisions in Oklahoma.

You see on the right the new cases. Meanwhile, if you go broaden out to other places that Trump may not be visiting, and, as mentioned, 20 states are seeing a spike, some hitting records.

A model that has previously been cited by the White House as an authority is now projecting 200,000 American lives lost to the virus by the fall.

One task force member, Dr. Fauci, discussing this and how Trump and Pence have been downplaying and misleading what`s actually happening. That`s the context for him saying, of course Fauci would not attend an indoor packed rally. Consider a discussion on whether you want to follow doctor`s orders.

Joining us now, one of the lawyers actually suing in this case, attorney Clark Brewster, and Dr. Samantha Whiteside, an emergency physician who recently wrote about how this is an issue -- quote -- "I`m a Tulsa emergency physician and a conservative, and the Trump rally is a terrible idea."

Both of you newsworthy guests, but, given the health issues, I start with you, Doctor.

Explain why you wrote that.

DR. SAMANTHA WHITESIDE, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN: No, I think we`re in a small Midwest city. Any time the sitting president wants to visit is an honor, but this is just not the right time.

Our cases are up more than 100 percent over the past week. New cases are about quadruple today what they were during the height of social distancing. While we all have quarantine fatigue, unfortunately, the virus does not discriminate. And I think it`s a real risk to our community. And people who come from other communities and then travel back to their areas, where maybe it`s under better control right now.


And you`re giving us a medical view, but you did self-identify as a conservative. I think we all know that aspects of this have taken on a political tint, whether that`s good or not.

So, with whatever respect to however much you want to share about your own views in politics, it sounds like you are sympathetic or in agreement to many conservative beliefs and, thus, people who follow the president.

So, given that, I want to give you the chance here to use this platform to speak on that. Here`s a little bit of our reporting from basically rally- goers in Tulsa today, MAGA supporters talking about all of this.

Take a look.


QUESTION: What about the coronavirus? We`re at an all-time high for cases here in Oklahoma. Are you worried about it at all?

TAMMY WILLARD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I`m not worried about the coronavirus any more I am a regular flu. I could catch the regular flu any year. I could catch this as well. So, I don`t think it`s any worse.


MELBER: Doctor, what would you say to her?

WHITESIDE: So, you know, I wish that that were true and that it were similar to the flu.

But what we know about this virus is that there`s very little immunity for anyone currently for this novel coronavirus. There`s no effective treatment. There is no vaccine. There`s nothing that we know that works. It is more contagious and more deadly than the flu by an exponential factor.

And the best treatment that we have right now is to prevent it to begin with.

MELBER: Clearly put.

Clark, are you OK with me opening with a lawyer joke with you, sir?

CLARK BREWSTER, ATTORNEY: I guess so. Go ahead.

MELBER: I would just say, we usually need doctors more than lawyers right now, speaking as a lawyer myself. But...

BREWSTER: Well, I would disagree. I would disagree on this issue. I think we need lawyers right now to stand up to get an injunction.


MELBER: There you go. That`s where I was going, from a lawyer joke to a compliment.

You are using your role and trying to go to court, because, basically, what you`re doing is using litigation to back what the doctors are saying. So, we may actually need a lawyer, call a lawyer and a doctor here.

So, walk us through why this is important, in your view, why you think, as I understand it, you`re arguing that this court has an obligation to help protect people.


Certainly, the first effort was to reason with the management to delay this rally. It`s great that the president is coming to Oklahoma and his supporters can get behind him and show their love for him. And we`d be happy to have them here in Oklahoma. It`s not a political issue.

But, at this time, as Dr. Whiteside so carefully put in today`s article in "The Tulsa World," and just as she spoke, it`s going to be a powder keg of super-spreading this virus throughout our community and in other areas in Arkansas and Texas as these people gather.

And there`s no way to comply with the CDC guidelines. They don`t -- they can`t even begin to try to comply with that. As a matter of fact, what`s really fascinating that came out today in meetings prior to the argument before the Supreme Court -- or the Oklahoma Supreme Court today, is that most of the workers that work at the BOK Center have now said they don`t want to be at the event and are opting out of service.

And so the workers are going to be 300 Trump campaign volunteers that aren`t familiar with the venue, wouldn`t know a disaster plan, exits. I mean, it really is a colossal nightmare.


BREWSTER: So, we`re very pleased. We filed this action asking the...


MELBER: Let me ask you.

BREWSTER: Go ahead.

MELBER: Well, let me ask you whether the president hurt himself, in your view.

I did want to get this news in here for folks, because he`s responding, but he might be giving you evidence. He says to "The Wall Street Journal" -- quote -- "Some attendees might catch the virus, but it`s a very small percentage."


BREWSTER: Well, I don`t know what he means by a very small percentage.

If you get the virus by virtue of the spread from attending this event, it`s 100 percent, OK? If you die, it`s 100 percent rate of death.

We have a situation here where they are so concerned about spreading it, that they`re asking the attendees to sign releases. And his fervent supporters may do so, and that may be an accountability issue for them. But when they leave that venue and go back to work at the nursing home or at a day care center or in our community, as Dr. Whiteside points out, they are at great risk to spread this.

What is a certainty is the medical consensus is, this is going to spread the virus, and this is going to cause death. And our position is, it`s either delay the event or cause the illnesses and death, and I think delaying is much better than causing death and illness.

MELBER: Really striking. You`re both directly involved and sharing your expertise. And we appreciate it.

Clark Brewster, Dr. Whiteside, thank you both.

And we will be right back.


MELBER: Turning to an update on another case we`re following.

Kentucky`s attorney general speaking out on the Breonna Taylor investigation. Now, he`s not sharing many details, but he says that he does understand the urgency out there and asking for patience.

The story, which we have brought you before, Taylor was shot eight times in her own apartment by three Louisville police officers. This occurred 97 days ago. None have been reprimanded. And, as mentioned, there`s no public developments in the case.

We have seen charges come in days, though, in those other cases in Minneapolis and Atlanta.

So, 97 days in counting, there hasn`t been an announcement of whether there will or won`t be charges, the two options on the table. Right now, it`s just delay. We are keeping an eye on the story.

When we come back, one more thing about Juneteenth.


MELBER: One more programming note.

I want you try to tune in tomorrow, if you`re free. We`re going to have some special coverage on the observance of Juneteenth. That is in Tulsa and around the country, with the nation`s renewed focus on addressing racism in America. We will have special coverage on THE BEAT at 6:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow.

That does it for me now.

Keep it right here on MSNBC.