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President Trump TRANSCRIPT: 8/3/20, The Beat w/ Ari Melber

Guests: Marq Claxton, Neal Katyal, Steve Cortes, Margaret Carlson

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  No, it`s terrible. And we`ll be in contact with the families. A thing like that is terrible.

QUESTION:  Secondly, in New York today, there`s a city prosecutor that confirmed a criminal investigation into the Trump Organization.

Do you have any reaction to that?

TRUMP:  Well, I just heard about it.

This is just a continuation of the witch-hunt. It`s Democrat stuff. They failed with Mueller. They failed with everything. They failed with Congress. They failed at every stage of the game.

This has been going on for three-and-a-half, four years. Even before I got in, this was starting with the Mueller deal. Mueller started a little bit after. But it started with some of the people that you know very well the names, Strzok and Page and all of the different people, Comey.

This has been going on. This is a continuation of the worst witch-hunt in American history, and there`s nothing that I know even about it.

I had seen that today just a little while ago. And I said, what`s this all about? I know nothing about it. But it`s just a continuation of the witch- hunt. Didn`t work out for Congress, didn`t work out for Mueller, didn`t work out for anybody.

So what they`re doing is, they send them around to all over the country, I guess maybe. But it`s a terrible thing that they do. It`s really a terrible thing. The witch-hunt has gone on long enough. What else?

QUESTION:  Just one on COVID.

You mentioned the vaccine development program. Could you assure the American people that politics and considerations around the election will not interfere with the science?

TRUMP:  Oh, absolutely not. Absolutely...


QUESTION:  Do you plan on playing a role in determining how the vaccine, if there is one, will be distributed across the country?

Is that something that you will be...


TRUMP:  It`s possible that I get involved.

But, no, it won`t have anything to do with -- we want to make people better. We want to send them to the areas that most need it, and I think we`re going to have something very soon.

It`s going good.

Jeff (ph)?

QUESTION:  Mr. President, you said today in a tweet that Dr. Birx was taking bait from Speaker Pelosi.

What did you mean by that, considering that she was just describing the facts about the case of the pandemic right now across the country?

TRUMP:  Well, I think we`re doing very well.

And I think that we have done as well as any nation, if you really look, if you take a look at what`s going on, especially now with all these flare-ups in nations that they were talking about. And don`t forget, we`re much bigger, other than India and China.

China`s having a massive flare-up right down. India has a tremendous problem. Other countries have problems. And I noticed that, in the news, in the evening news, I never read about that. In any of the news, I don`t read about the other countries.

You`re starting to see that other countries are having very big flare-ups, countries that thought they were over it, like we thought we might be over it in Florida, and then, all of a sudden, it comes back. They do come back. But I think we`re doing very well.

I told Dr. Birx, I think we`re doing very well. She was in my office a little while ago. She`s a person I have a lot of respect for. I think Nancy Pelosi`s treated her very badly, very, very badly, very nasty.

And I`m just referring to the fact that I thought that really they should say the job we`ve done, whether it`s on ventilators or testing -- we`ve tested now over 60 million people. No other country is even close to that. We`ve tested 60 million people with great -- in many cases, about 50 percent now rapid fire, meaning 5- to 15- to 20-minute tests, where you get the result almost immediately.

Nobody has anything like that, nobody. And I think we`re just doing very well.


TRUMP:  Yes, go ahead.

QUESTION:  Just to follow up just quickly.

TRUMP:  Go ahead, please.

QUESTION:  Does that mean you disagree with her characterization, Mr. President?

TRUMP:  Go ahead, please.

QUESTION:  Thanks, Mr. President.

I wanted to follow up on two things that you had said earlier in the Cabinet Room. The first was on TikTok, and the second was on coronavirus.

On TikTok, you said that you wanted money for the U.S. Treasury from the sale.

TRUMP:  Yes.

QUESTION:  Does that mean you expect the Chinese company to pay the U.S. Treasury directly? Or are you talking about...


TRUMP:  Either way, whether it`s Microsoft or somebody else, or it was the Chinese. What the price is, the United States should get a very large percentage of that price, because we`re making it possible.

Without us -- I use the expression, it`s like the landlord and the tenant. And without the lease, the tenant doesn`t have the value.

Well, we`re, in a certain way, the lease. We make it possible to have this great success. TikTok`s a tremendous success, but a big portion of it`s in this country.

QUESTION:  From the sale directly...


TRUMP:  It would come from the sale, yes, whatever the number is. It would come from the sale.


TRUMP:  Which nobody else would be thinking about but me. But that`s the way I think. And I think it`s a -- I think it`s very fair.

QUESTION:  And you mentioned...


TRUMP:  But we want no security problems with China. It`s got to be an American company. It`s got to be American security. It`s got to be owned here. We don`t want to have any problems with security, et cetera.

And something could come out. I will tell you, there`s a lot of excitement, not only by Microsoft, but by other companies, in terms of buying it. So, we`ll see what happens.

But we want and we think we deserve to have a big percentage of that price coming to America, coming to the Treasury.

QUESTION:  Then, on the negotiation on Capitol Hill, you have expressed some frustration and said you might take executive action to address...


TRUMP:  I might do that, yes.

QUESTION:  So I was wondering if you could talk about both how you might prevent evictions through executive action, and then also...


TRUMP:  Yes, I could do that if I wanted. And I want to do that. I don`t want people to be evicted.

And when they`re evicted, when they`re thrown out of their -- whatever the place may be, in many cases, they go to big shelters.

And if you talk about pandemic, this is a pandemic, and they go to shelters. Number one, they`re thrown out viciously. It`s not their fault. It`s China`s fault. It`s not anybody`s fault. It`s China`s fault.

But, number two, and if they are thrown out, they oftentimes will go to a shelter with tremendous numbers of other people, and the virus will spread. And we don`t want that.

QUESTION:  Are you considering suspending payroll -- the collection of payroll taxes?

TRUMP:  Well, I can do that also through an executive order. So, we`ll be talking about that.

But we`re having a very good discussion with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. The problem is, they want to do bailouts of their various Democrat-run states and cities. And they want a lot of money. They want a trillion dollars for that. And so they want to do much more than COVID- related.

They want to do -- they want to bail out cities and states that have been in trouble for years of bad management, in all cases, Democrat-run cities, and we don`t think that`s fair. You understand that. You`ve heard it before.

Yes, please. Go ahead.

QUESTION:  Thanks, Mr. President.

I wanted to ask you about the Justice Department sending federal agents into cities like Chicago as part of Operation LeGend.

How exactly do you envision these federal forces working alongside local police departments to help stop violent crime?


TRUMP:  It`s not a mass send, but it`s sending very talented people to help them with the drugs and the shootings and the guns and the things that are happening.

It`s not like sending in the National Guard and stopping it cold, which, as an example, a lot of progress has been made in Portland. But frankly, sending in the National Guard like we did in Minneapolis, it stopped it cold.

From the time we sent that National Guard, they walked down the street, it was over in Minneapolis. And now it may be starting up again. This is -- these are Democrat-run cities and states. And it hasn`t been a pretty picture to watch.

We will help Chicago. We`ll help New York, if they request. They have to request the help. But we want to stop the drugs. We want to stop the guns. A lot of Chicago is guns. And -- but what it is, is drug-related, gang- related, largely gang-related.

With ICE, we send out thousands of MS-13. Thousands and thousands of MS-13, we send them back or in some cases have to put them in prison. They`re too violent. They`re truly violent. So, we`re helping out.

When you look at what`s happening in Chicago and some other cities, with the shootings and the killings, they need help. And we haven`t met with resistance, I have to be honest with you. I think it`s good that we haven`t. We`re only looking to help them. We`re only looking to help.


QUESTION:  Thank you, Mr. President.

In our nation`s 243-year history, there has never been a stronger push for mail-in ballots to determine a national election.

TRUMP:  Yes.

QUESTION:  Are you considering at any point issuing an executive order addressing mail-in ballots? And why do you think some people are pushing it so hard?

TRUMP:  Well, there`s never been a push like this for mail-in ballots.

And if you look at the New York congressional race, which is a disaster -- Carolyn -- it`s been a total disaster. They have -- they`re six weeks into it now. They have no clue what`s going on.

And, I mean, I think I can say right here and now I think you have to rerun that race, because it`s a mess. Nobody knows what`s happening with the ballots and the lost ballots and the fraudulent ballots, I guess.

I think you`ve probably have to take the Carolyn Maloney race and run it over again. How can you do this? This is a small race with literally thousands of people, small thousands, and it`s all messed up. You look at Paterson, New Jersey, it`s all messed up.

Almost every one of these -- and these are small, easy to control. They should be able to do this easy.

Now you`re talking about like Nevada, where last -- two nights ago, they went out, and in the darkness of night, without people, without having any meetings of the public, without having anything, they approved a ridiculous -- you don`t have to look at signatures. You don`t have to approve anything. You can have double mailings.

You can have all sorts of things. Nobody`s ever seen anything like it. It`s a disgrace. I mean, honestly, it`s a disgrace.

So, it`s a very good question. I mean, the mail-in ballots, if you look at just some of the small -- the small places the small races, congressional race in New York, should be very easy. Normally, that would have been announced at 7:00, and it would have been down to the wire, and everybody would have loved it.

If it was at all complex, it would have taken an extra 45 minutes or an hour. They would have announced it a little bit later.

They have no clue. This was about six weeks ago, and they have no clue what`s going on. They`ve lost ballots. There`s fraudulent ballots. It`s -- how are you going to do you do that for an entire nation? They`re using COVID to try and get the mail-in ballots.

Now, absentee ballots are great. Absentee ballots, they have to request them. They go through a process. They get them. But the universal mail-in ballots have turned out to be a disaster.

And what Nevada has been doing, if you look over the last few days, you have to look at what they`ve done. You can have two ballots. You can harvest. It`s harvesting. So you can take thousands of ballots, put them together, and just dump them down on somebody`s desk after a certain period of time.

They have something where if you vote, the vote can count up to seven days later. Well, if the vote is going to count seven days later, that means you -- if it depends on the one state, like Nevada, that would mean simply that you can`t have -- supposing it`s down to that one state. It could be. It`s a great state.

But supposing it`s down to that one state. That means you have to wait seven days. But they won`t have it there. This is something that`s so messed up.

And, by the way, I have to say, the post office for many, many years, has been run in a fashion that hasn`t been great. Great workers and everything, but they have old equipment, very old equipment. And I don`t think the post office is prepared for a thing like this.

You will have to ask the people at the post office, but how can the post office be expected to handle -- they have regular mailing, and then now, on top of that, they have the Internet, where you have Amazon and these companies doing all the buying. Instead of going to a department store, they go buy through mail.

So, you have massive numbers of purchases now going through the post office, purchases of items and gifts. And that`s a tremendous strain on the post office. The post office loses a fortune. And it has been for many, many years, for decades.

So now, on top of it, it has this. And the Amazons of the world and the others they pay very, very little money. They lose money on every -- the post office loses money, which is ridiculous, on every package it delivers.

But now, on top of that -- and I`m not just referring to Amazon. I`m talking about all of the competitors, if there is such a thing, to Amazon. There will be, but if there is such a thing.

But now, on top of that, you`ll have somebody like the governor of Nevada come out with this massive plan out of nowhere to take millions of ballots and send them all over the place. You`ll never know who won that state. It`ll get messed up, just like New York and just like Paterson, New Jersey, and just like many other places.

In West Virginia, they indicted a postman for doing something very bad. You know that. And -- but there are many cases all over the country. If you look, you`ll be able to find -- there`s a list of them all over the country. And that has to do with universal mail-in.

Again, absentee is great. It works. Like, in Florida, they`ll do absentee. It really works. But universal mail-in ballots is going to be a great embarrassment to our country.


TRUMP:  Well, I have the right to do it. We haven`t gotten there yet, but we`ll see what happens. We will be suing in Nevada. And that`s already been taken care of. We`ll probably file something tomorrow.

I do want to say that we`re going to be introducing a tremendous health care plan sometime prior, hopefully prior to the end of the month. It`s just about completed now.

In addition, next month we`ll be doing the immigration plan. So, we`ll be doing that in September. We`ll be doing, sometime during this month, the health care plan. And I think that`ll be before the end of the month. And I think it will be very impressive to a lot of people.

Thank you very much. Thank you.


QUESTION:  Mr. President, the Postal Service released a statement saying it has ample capacity for the election.

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

And, as you see there, the president leaving the Briefing Room, President Trump wrapping up another press conference about this virus, taking a few questions on other matters.

As you saw, there were no medical experts as a part of this briefing.

Now, as we come on the air. You should know the Coronavirus Task Force has been in substantive ways openly clashing with the president, 52 million Americans also waiting on basically the Republican Senate to continue negotiations to try to re-up this relief bill, benefits having expired.

Now, the president also made news on the virus here by clashing with a top adviser you may recognize from back when they did include doctors in these briefings, Dr. Birx. He called his own employee here -- quote -- "pathetic" because of some of what she said about admitting the fact that this virus outbreak, as you may know, is very widespread in the United States and is entering a new phase.


DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR:  We are in a new phase. What we`re seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread.

It`s into the rural as equal urban areas. And that is why we keep saying, no matter where you live in America, you need to wear a mask and socially distance, do the personal hygiene pieces.


MELBER:  Nothing particularly notable about that quote. As you heard, it`s a doctor referring to these millions of cases topping four million and saying, this is extraordinarily widespread, whether you are in urban or rural America, suburb or exurb.

The president, though, didn`t like this. And he alleges that Dr. Birx was caving to some sort of pressure from Democrats, Speaker Pelosi.

And all of this comes as Republican strategists are out there warning that time may be politically running out for Donald Trump in this election. Ballots, of course, go out soon. We just heard moments ago the president sharing his concern about early and mail-in voting.

One strategist saying all of this is -- quote -- "bad news" for Donald Trump.

The facts here, as we bring them to you every night, 4.7 million U.S. virus cases. The CDC says that`s a floor, many other millions of cases unconfirmed. Donald Trump and Republicans, meanwhile, have not been able to get a breakthrough on this relief bill that so many Americans are waiting on.

Thirty million people have now seen those unemployed -- unemployment benefits from the federal support expire. And all this comes amidst a time when, yes, everyone`s keeping track. We are now 92 days out from the election.

I`m joined now by Dr. Kavita Patel, a former Obama health policy adviser and medical contributor for us, Jason Johnson, a professor from Morgan State University, and Margaret Carlson, columnist for The Daily Beast and a longtime chronicler of Washington.

Doctor, I`m curious what you think about the clash that, frankly, did not get a ton of time in this briefing. The president, to be clear, did speak about the virus and other issues in his presentation, but many of the questions went in a different direction.

I would forgive viewers for thinking that what Dr. Birx said sounded relatively standard.

DR. KAVITA PATEL, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR:  Yes, that`s absolutely right, Ari.

She was really just honestly stating the facts. This is an extraordinarily widespread virus, over 65,000 new cases a day, toppling millions, as you cited. And I think she`s in her own way trying to kind of navigate that political thread of trying not to displease the president, but also trying to be one of the few people that`s actually still allowed from the task force to be prominently displayed on weekend television and news shows.

So I don`t see anything wrong with what she`s saying. But, unfortunately, the reaction has been yet again another kind of dismantling of, I think, the credibility of health and science. And it just speaks to, again, a president who has refused to acknowledge the country aflame around him.

And yet we`re still looking for that national leadership, desperately so, more than ever.

MELBER:  And, Jason, Speaker Pelosi has been out addressing this.

I want to play for you a little bit from the speaker.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA):  I don`t have confidence of anyone who stands there while the president says, swallow Lysol is going to cure your virus.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN:  So, you`re saying she hasn`t challenged his disinformation enough. You`re saying that`s the issue.

PELOSI:  Well, she stood there and -- I think that she has enabled.


MELBER:  Jason?

JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR:  Yes, that`s part of the problem.

Even as the president tries to brag or claim that there will be some sort of vaccine by the fall, he`s talked about hydroxychloroquine. He`s talked about disinfectant, purple drain -- blueberry Faygo, whatever.

Whatever it is, he comes up with every single week, he seems to have a new excuse or a new way that we can supposedly solve this disease. And he`s got too many people who are basically enabling this kind of bad behavior.

And Nancy Pelosi is correct. Dr. Birx has not called him out for this. And the individuals who do, either directly or indirectly, like Dr. Fauci, they get sidelined.


And, Margaret, I want to get your views on the breakdown in negotiations in Washington. There are many ways to measure this COVID recession, and viewers and people around the country are living it.

So you don`t need me to give you 10 different versions of it. People know it. but when you look at the total number of people in the age work force who are underemployed or unemployed, it`s 47 percent.

It`s just a huge body blow to our entire society. And yet they can`t get their act together, Margaret, even to get some of this basic relief temporarily extended.

MARGARET CARLSON, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST:  So, Ari, I`m happy to see Jason again, after a while, even if it`s in a box.

On what Republicans are doing, it`s not even in their self-interest not to help out these people who are suffering. They`re going to be homeless soon. They`re unemployed now.

It`s going to be -- I mean, the economy is cratering. But Trump has it backwards. He still thinks you can save the economy and not fix the coronavirus.

And the order of battle is completely wrong. And anyone, even one of these poor children he`s going to send back to school without it being safe, could tell him, you have to make the public health work first.

And all during this press briefing, it`s amazing to me that he keeps saying, oh, it`s still going to go away. Oh, we had this problem, and we have this problem here, but it`s going to go away without ever doing the next sentence, which is what he`s doing to make it go away.

There`s still no plan. And I imagine we`re going to be seeing less of Dr. Birx that we have before, because she stopped playing the game. And he said she was pathetic and sad. And I think that`s truly what he thinks of her.

Even though he said, she was just in my office, I think she was just in his woodshed.

MELBER:  Doctor?

PATEL:  No, that`s absolutely right.

And I think what`s really sad is that she was one of the last people that had the medical training, the professional kind of health background, decades of service, and from the beginning has been someone who has both enabled, but had been one of the few people that was remaining -- and I agree that she is probably going to be sidelined.

And, unfortunately, by doing so, America is sidelined. And this connection between the economy, health, reopening schools, it`s all, as we have mentioned, intrinsically connected. And somehow we`re still sitting here, Ari, August, and people are not -- for whatever reason, it`s not penetrating through the Oval Office.

So we have to find a way forward without this leadership.

MELBER:  Jason, I`m curious what you...


MELBER:  Oh, go ahead, Margaret, and then I will ask Jason.

Go ahead.

CARLSON:  Birx is a thunderclap that should be heard, because she has played along, not just enabled, but, at times, she`s lavished Trump with praise about his attention to detail and scientific journals.

I mean, really, that is laying it on pretty thick. So, that should jolt him, because there`s no one left. Even Admiral Giroir is dumping on hydroxychloroquine and said, masks are absolutely necessary. He couldn`t go the last mile and say they should be mandated when he was asked, but maybe he will get there.

MELBER:  Jason, what I did want to ask you is, it is true that the resumption of these briefings gives the White House press corps a chance to push the president.

And now we`re seeing people in that room, including some of our own colleagues at NBC and people at other outlets, going to other topics. I`m curious what you think, because, on the one hand, pre-COVID, there was plenty of free press criticism of the president and the White House press secretary for dispensing largely with any press access.

On the flip side, we`re all familiar with the criticism of, how much time should the president get? What do you think it tells us here, as we go into the general election campaign, that those reporters, including our colleagues, are going in there and saying, hey, all right, we heard your point on the virus, we`re hitting you with questions about all these other topics?

JOHNSON:  I don`t think the president`s going to continue these press conferences for long, or he will continue to ask sort of right-wing plants that are in the audience that are going to toss him softball questions about the dangers of mail-in voting.

Look, this is not a president who can easily answer questions, and not a president who really deals with much criticism one way or another.

And I do want to say this, because it`s not just from the president`s tweets. We`re going to see him get increasingly aggressive about anybody who stands against him, whether it`s a general, Dr. Birx.

If we remember back to impeachment hearings, they`re probably talking right now, she`s going to go through some things, as they said for our Ukrainian ambassador. I expect that the president is going to use these press conferences to attack his enemies, not deal with the questions he`s being asked, and eventually they`re going to shut them, because, the more he talks, the worse he does in the polls.

And that`s really the lesson that they probably should have figured out from earlier this spring.

MELBER:  And there have been a lot of jitters over those polls. It is very early, and polls can change.

But there`s certainly a perception there that they need to do something about what is trailing in Biden in many key states.

Dr. Patel, Jason Johnson, Margaret Carlson, thanks to each of you for kicking off our special coverage coming out of the briefing.

We have a lot more planned in tonight`s show, including on other topics. New York prosecutors reveal they are investigating Trump for fraud. There was a question about at the briefing.

But, more importantly, we have experts to really get into what it means and why it`s growing out of that Supreme Court loss on the tax case for Donald Trump.

Also tonight, there is heartbreaking new video of George Floyd. This is coming into the newsroom for the first time tonight. It`s the most we have ever actually seen him speak. And he`s pleading with officers before that deadly encounter. We will show you that.

We also have a special guest on a lot of what`s happening in 2020 and all of this buzz about Joe Biden thinking about who`s going to be on his ticket.

All that ahead on this edition of THE BEAT.



PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CHIEF CORRESPONDENT:  By a 7-2 vote, the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the district attorney, Cyrus Vance.

NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL:  I expect Cy Vance to move incredibly fast. I think it`s totally possible for all of this to come out before the 2020 election in terms of New York`s prosecutors getting this information and acting on it.


MELBER:  New York`s DA won that blockbuster case against Trump.

And tonight`s news is showing he is moving quickly, taking that victory to demand Trump`s records, and shedding light on how the case could involve these allegations of fraud against Trump.

The very lawyer who called much of this joins us to break it down right now. The prosecutors in this case are citing other public evidence of Trump`s alleged fraud, including Michael Cohen`s congressional testimony. They want to use this evidence to demand eight years of Trump`s personal corporate tax returns that may establish if Trump or his company committed bank or insurance fraud.


REP. WILLIAM LACY CLAY (D-MO):  Did the president or his company ever inflate assets or revenues?


CLAY;  And was that done with the president`s knowledge or direction?

COHEN:  Everything was done with the knowledge and at the direction of Mr. Trump.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY):  Did the president ever provide inflated assets to an insurance company?

COHEN:  Yes.

OCASIO-CORTEZ:  Do you think we need to review his financial statements and his tax returns in order to compare them?

COHEN:  Yes.


MELBER:  joining us now is the lawyer we saw right there on that breaking news day, former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal.

Good to see you, sir.

KATYAL:  Good to see you.

MELBER:  You called it. You spoke at the time about the implications and the speed. Walk us through this development.

KATYAL:  Yes, so I have always felt like this could go very fast. And I think that`s what we`re really seeing play out, Ari, now in these court maneuvers over the last week.

The last time around, Judge Marrero, the judge presiding over this case, ruled in a matter of three weeks. This time, it`s even easier. And I think it`s -- it can go very fast for that reason.

The Supreme Court said in that landmark hearing last month that Trump doesn`t have any extra protections because he`s the president. He has the same protections that you and I have. And so he`s now coming into court and said, well, this subpoena is too broad from the Manhattan prosecutor, and it`s made in bad faith.

And these are the last-ditch arguments of losers. These aren`t good arguments. Even if there is something that`s too broad in the subpoena, there`s a core here that isn`t.

And I`m so glad that you played stuff that a lot of us forget about, because there have been so many different Trump scandals, but the stuff about Michael Cohen and the insurance fraud and the hush money payments and all that, that`s front and center in what this is investigation is about.

And the judge, I think, doesn`t need to have oral argument in the case. I think he can look at these papers and decide this very fast.

MELBER:  Well, it`s a huge deal, for folks who are keeping track of more than one thing in their lives and in America right now, that the Manhattan DA scored this Supreme Court victory, and now is back in court, getting these materials, as you say, with very little legal foundation for the pushback, to decipher, to investigate whether there was fraud by Donald Trump or his company.

And I will say this as a legal reporter, and I`m sure you would agree with me, as an attorney and member of the bar. If the evidence doesn`t support it, if there`s a finding after they look over things, there`s no fraud, fine, great. You move on. That does happen.

But if there is a fraud, if there is this kind of activity going on, there`s a nexus for criminal prosecutors in New York to get into it.

I want to read briefly just from some of the reporting in "The New York Times" for you to walk us through what it means when they say, well, attorneys for the New York DA say Trump`s arguments here, which you just referred to, that the subpoena was too broad actually stemmed from a false premise, that the probe was limited to those so-called -- quote -- "hush money payments."

What is the point of this idea that it may be a wider inquiry in terms of potential illegal conduct under review?

KATYAL:  Right.

So, what Trump`s lawyers said was, this is too broad a subpoena. You`re asking for too much stuff.

And the New York prosecutor`s response, Ari, is to say, we`re asking for too much stuff because we have evidence that you have committed too many crimes and that the public record says that.

And, indeed, here, one of the most interesting nuggets here is that the Trump Organization`s own CFO, Allen Weisselberg, testified two years ago before a grand jury under a grant of immunity, which suggests that he thought there was possible criminal wrongdoing for himself or the Trump Organization.

And he`s testified. And what these prosecutors are simply trying to do is just, like if this was a case against you or me, they just want to know what the financial records was. And if this were anyone else, these records would have been given to the prosecutors years ago. There`s a reason why Trump is pushing back on it so much.

And I don`t think it`s because the documents show he`s innocent.

MELBER:  Right. You make a great point there, which is, while candidates and politicians have reasons they don`t want stuff to go public, if you think you can resolve or end an inquiry by privately saying, no, look, this -- here`s my book of good health, you`re good, it`ll go away, we`re not seeing that reaction here.

I can`t confirm on air everything that that means, but I think you make an important inference.

I want to get you on one other topic while we have here tonight. James Clyburn is a famously careful and thoughtful member of Congress. He is not someone, in my experience in covering him, who`s out saying a million things, feeding the fire.

He was a real voice of reason during the Obama-Clinton primary in trying to say, hey, let`s not get out over our skis. So when he says something like this, it`s noticeable. Take a look.


REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC):  I feel very strongly that he is Mussolini, Putin, is Hitler.

I don`t think he plans to leave the White House. He doesn`t plan to have fair and unfettered elections.

I believe that he plans to install himself in some kind of emergency way to continue hold onto office.


MELBER:  Neal?

KATYAL:  Well, I mean, I think Representative Clyburn -- I didn`t seen all those remarks -- but I think he`s reacting to the fact that last week Donald Trump tried to say the election should be delayed, in contravention of our Constitution and federal laws.

And, today, he`s announced that his Justice Department or his campaign or someone is going to go and try and stop mail-in voting in Nevada, which is just absurd. I mean, the U.S. government, the president are supposed to be the folks to go into court to protect our right to vote.

And I can`t think of anything more un-American than a president who`s afraid of democracy, who`s afraid to let people vote.

And Nevada, just a few months ago, in June, had polling lines of eight hours in Las Vegas and in Reno just to vote. I mean, so I guess it`s like, what happens in Vegas takes eight hours in Vegas or something like that.


KATYAL:  And what Nevada tried to do is to pass a law that says, hey, let`s have mail-in voting, which is what the president uses, what the attorney general himself uses when he votes.

And now they`re saying, oh, it`s fraud. And it`s a really reprehensible and dangerous move.

And so I don`t endorse everything that I think the representative said there, but this worry about an anti-democratic president who`s so afraid of the right people to vote is something, I think, that should trouble all Americans, regardless of party.

MELBER:  Yes. Well, we were very curious your views on that. I think we will be coming back to you on a lot of these legal sides of the election.

But, again, for folks watching all this, Neal Katyal, having broken down and predicted it, we have an eye on this New York DA investigation. It will be interesting to watch that as well.

But we remind everyone, Neal, they can find this and our other breakdowns with you on our "Opening Arguments` series,

Coming up, we go inside the 2020 fight with all of these scuffles, a very special guest, and a lot to get to when we come back.


MELBER:  We are 92 days out from this election.

Donald Trump has been complaining about election rules, as he lags in these polls, Joe Biden edging towards naming a running mate.

We just caught up with his top adviser, Symone Sanders.

And on THE BEAT, we want you to hear from everyone in order to make up your own mind.

So, now we turn to a top Trump campaign adviser, Steve Cortes.

Thanks for joining us.

STEVE CORTES, TRUMP 2020 CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER:  Ari, thanks for having me.

MELBER:  Absolutely.

You look at any incumbent running for reelection, and a big issue is the pledges they made.

Let`s take a look at one of the pledges by Donald Trump as a candidate in 2016.


TRUMP:  We`re going to put the miners back to work. We`re going to put the miners back to work.

A Trump administration will end this war on the American worker and unleash an energy revolution that will bring vast new wealth to our country.


MELBER:  New wealth, new jobs.

Let`s start with the facts, as we do around here. Do you know whether Donald Trump`s administration has overseen any -- any new net coal jobs?

CORTES:  I don`t know coal specifically, but I can speak to energy broadly. And the United States has become...

MELBER:  Well, let`s start with coal. And then, as always, I will give you time.

But, since I asked, I will show you.


MELBER:  This is the results on coal, even before you hit into the COVID recession. They haven`t added any new coal jobs. They`re down about 900.

What do you say, as a representative of the campaign, to these coal workers who are looking at this broken pledge?

CORTES:  Well, look, when it comes to jobs, this president has not broken any pledges.

As a matter of fact, I would argue that, before the COVID virus hit us, before we were hit with this economic meteor from China, Donald Trump had built the greatest economy in American history, particularly for wage earners, particularly for laborers, for blue-collar Americans.

They saw their wages, for example...

MELBER:  Let`s get into that.

And I thought, Steve, I thought you might go there, and let`s get into it, because you`re making a claim. Your claims are not, you like Donald Trump better, which is fine. This is America. You`re free to have that view.

But you`re making an empirical claim that this was the greatest jobs program ever, you said ever in history.

We will just look at the previous administration.

CORTES:  Particularly for blue-collar workers, yes, correct, because blue- collar wages...


MELBER:  And let me be as precise as possible, because COVID recession obviously does change things. So we will look even pre-recession.

Do you know how many -- roughly, how many new jobs the Obama administration added?

CORTES:  Ari, I`m not going to play quiz show. What I will tell you is this.

Blue-collar wages...


MELBER:  It`s not a quiz show, sir, but it is a news show. We are going to play news show. That`s where there are facts.

CORTES:  OK. Let`s play news show, then.


MELBER:  Steve, I`m going to give you the ball back, but, first, whether you can answer it or not, I will just tell you, because it sounds news show, it was about 11 million jobs created.

CORTES:  I`m fine with news show.

MELBER:  And Let`s compare. Pre-COVID, to be as fair as possible, it was about 6.7 million jobs created under the Trump administration.

So, by that standard, I wouldn`t say greatest in history. I would say less than the prior administration. Your response?

CORTES:  Well, my response, Ari, is that it`s not just the number of jobs. That`s obviously critically important. We do want to add a lot of jobs.

But it`s also the quality of those jobs. And it is also particularly to deliver to the groups who previously lagged. And what I mean by that is, during the slow growth Obama era, it was a slog for working-class Americans. They saw their wages, unfortunately, languish through that entire slow growth era.

It was it was an economy that rewarded the owners of assets. They did incredibly well, if you owned a lot of stocks and real estate before Donald Trump. These are the forces, by the way, that -- which largely led to the populist nationalist surge that elected Donald Trump.

He promised to return prosperity to blue-collar workers. And he did exactly that, because, for the first three years of his administration, into this year, I mean, we were enjoying the fruits of the Trump boom as recently as January of this year, before the Chinese Communist Party, unfortunately, unleashed this virus on the world and knowingly deceived the world about the infection potential.

MELBER:  What do you mean when you say the Communist Party released the virus?

Are you -- are you putting forth the conspiracy theory that a government made the virus?


MELBER:  Or what are you trying to say?

CORTES:  No, I am not. I am not.

I`m saying -- and we know this now. We have Secretary Pompeo. Many people in the U.S. government in intelligence have told us this.

We know that the Chinese knew, affirmatively, as far back as last year that there was human-to-human transmission. They lied to the world and said there wasn`t. They use the W. Health Organization, unfortunately, as their toady medical imprimatur to give them...


MELBER:  But you`re not saying it`s a government-made virus?

CORTES:  Well, no. No, I`m not saying that.


CORTES:  But what I`m saying is, what the Chinese Communist Party did do is lie to the world about the transmission. They also protected the country of China domestically.

They sealed off Wuhan, so that they could -- Chinese citizens from Wuhan could not travel to Shanghai and Beijing, but they could travel to San Francisco and New York and Italy.


And let me get you on -- the other big story out of Washington, as you know, is, the Republican Senate did not move on these jobs -- these jobs or COVID relief benefits.

So you have got people now who lost jobs, for no fault of their own. That`s one thing that Trump and Biden at least have agreed on, right? COVID recession.

CORTES:  Right.

MELBER:  What do you say to those people that this president and this party, Republican Party, controls the White House, controls the Senate, and, right now, they don`t get any extension of these relief -- this relief money?

Is that -- with you and the Trump campaign, is that OK?

CORTES:  No, it`s not OK with the president. It`s certainly not OK with me, and it`s not OK, most importantly, with a lot of Americans out there who are understandably worried.

The president`s been very forceful and clear on this. He wants a package. Now, there`s negotiations ongoing, as you well know. Steve Mnuchin, as far as the administration`s side of the equation, is leading those negotiations.

But we are confident that something reasonable will come out of the Congress. If it does not, because of the intransigence of a lot of folks on Capitol Hill, then the president has said he will look at what he can do unilaterally through executive order, things like -- and he mentioned it today in his press conference, like perhaps suspending the payroll tax on his own.


MELBER:  Before we run out of time, Steve -- and, as you know, I appreciate everyone. I appreciate you coming in and taking the questions. People can make up their own mind about the answers.

We did want to raise something you said that got some notice within the context of Donald Trump and the Justice Department deploying some of these agents around the country, as you know, a lot of debates over use of force.

Let`s play, in your own words, what you said.


CORTES:  If Trump were the fascist that they pretend that he is, we would need to crack down much, much harder on the unrest on American streets.

To be quite honest, when there were people being bloodied, cops being attacked, businesses being smashed, I could have used a tad bit more of a fascist Trump, to be honest.


MELBER:  As a representative of the campaign during these very serious times, what do you mean that you would like a -- quote -- "bit more of a fascist Trump" -- end quote?

CORTES:  Ari, I think it`s very clear you could hear me laughing there. I`m making a joke. I`m exaggerating for a point of emphasis.

And my point there was that critics of Donald Trump always claim that he is a fascist. Of course he`s not. And he`s not even close. But I was making the point that we actually, in my view -- and, by the way, I was not working for the campaign at that time. This was my radio show a few months ago.

But I was making the point that, if anything, I think I think we could have used a more forceful response against violent protesters across -- well, not protesters -- violent rioters across the country who were harming cops, attacking innocent people, and destroying businesses around this country.

MELBER:  You`re making -- you`re making a bit of a joke defense, and people can take that at face value or not.

Fascism, though, does refer, though, to the government`s use of force and power. And you have, of course, protests about government at the federal and local level. The Trump administration is not in charge of Minnesota.

CORTES:  Correct.

MELBER:  But government use of force. And some of it will be litigated in the courts...

CORTES:  And that point I was making is...


MELBER:  ... as potentially murder.

So you can understand, Steve, somebody hears that and says, what do you mean more fascist?

CORTES:  No. No, no.

Look, again, clearly, I was kidding. I was with a caller on talk radio. And you can hear me laughing.

Look, and The Daily Beast, which I give absolutely zero credence to, it`s a -- it`s a fake publication full of a bunch of activists masquerading as journalists -- tried to make a story about this.

I am not the story. What I -- the point I was making there on my radio show, though, was that the critics of President Trump love to lob these ridiculous accusations at him, for example, he`s a fascist.

And here`s my point. Here`s what I would tell you conclusively from today, Ari. They`re going to call us racists no matter what we do. They`re going to call us fascists no matter what we do. So, my answer is, let`s just do the right thing. Let`s pursue the right policies from here.

And let`s ignore these kind of nattering nabobs of negativism, if I can channel a phrase from way back in the 1970s, from people like The Daily Beast.

MELBER:  Well, look, no one in this interview brought up racism or The Daily Beast, but you`re free to use your time how you see fit.

And, again, I appreciate you taking the questions, Steve Cortes, from the Trump campaign. I hope you will come back.

CORTES:  Thank you.

MELBER:  Thank you, sir.

Up ahead, we fit in a break, and then we have some news on this George Floyd body cam video. This is becoming public for the first time.

And we have an important expert on what these tapes could mean for those open cases against the officers.


GEORGE FLOYD, DIED IN POLICE CUSTODY:  OK, Mr. Officer. Please don`t shoot me. Please, man.    THOMAS LANE, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT:  I`m not going to shoot you. Step out and face away.

FLOYD:  I will look at you eye to eye man. Please don`t shoot me, man.

LANE:  I`m not shooting you, man.

FLOYD:  I just lost my mom, man.



MELBER:  We turn now to something important, but we warn you, it is difficult.

These are some heartbreaking new pieces of video relating to the arrest and killing of George Floyd, police body cam videos that have not, unlike other videos you may have seen, been released to the public before.

They show a total of 28 minutes surrounding Floyd`s interaction and arrest here. Now, we have looked at the transcripts. A judge ultimately blocked the videos from this section of the arrest from being released.

Now, as mentioned, this is disturbing stuff. The videos begin with one officer knocking on Floyd`s car window, and then this escalates as the officer actually, you will see at this early stage, pulls out a gun, and we hear Floyd begging the officer not to shoot him.


FLOYD:  Hey, man. I`m sorry.

LANE:  Stay in the car. Let me see your other hand.

FLOYD:  I`m sorry. I`m sorry.

LANE:  Let me see your other hand!

FLOYD:  Please, Mr. Officer.

LANE:  Both hands.

FLOYD:  I didn`t do nothing.

LANE:  Put your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) hands up right now! Let me see your other hand.

FLOYD:  I got shot the same way Mr. Officer, before.

LANE:  OK. Well when say, let me see your hands, you put your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) hands up.

Step out and face away.

FLOYD:  OK, Mr. Officer. Please don`t shoot me. Please, man.

LANE:  I`m not going to shoot you. Step out and face away.

FLOYD:  I will look at you eye-to-eye man. Please don`t shoot me, man.

LANE:  I`m not shooting you, man.

FLOYD:  I just lost my mom, man.


MELBER:  These new videos provide new evidence about how quickly police were escalating the interaction. You see the gun drawn there, despite the individual, the suspect here, being clearly unarmed.

Another part of these newly released videos show the officers trying to move Floyd initially into a police car.


J. ALEXANDER KUENG, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT:  Stay on your feet and face the car door!

FLOYD:  Please, man. Please, man.

Don`t leave me by myself man, please, I`m just claustrophobic. That`s it.

LANE:  Well, you`re still going in the car.

FLOYD:  You all, I`m going to die in here! I`m going to die, man!


MELBER:  One of the arresting officers, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with murder. Other officers face the charges of aiding and abetting murder.

We should know we do not know who leaked this particular video. It was first posted by The Daily Mail.

It does overlap with and thus appears verified by the body cam video that was seen by NBC News and is part of the video from Officer Thomas Lane`s camera.

We turn now to Marq Claxton. He`s a retired police detective and director of political affairs for the Black Law Enforcement Alliance, with expertise both on policing and civil rights issues.

Like so much of this, it`s tough to watch. What do you see as important here in this as new evidence?

MARQ CLAXTON, BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE:  I think it`s important that Mr. Floyd was obviously (AUDIO GAP) tremendous degree of stress and discomfort.

And that could be for various reasons, but I think it has to be incumbent upon the professional police officer, and their response has to be based on the actions of the other individual.

But I think police officers have to respond with a knowledge and understanding that there are times when you may have a person who is suffering from some psychological discomfort. There may be a language barrier. There may be some physical impairment.

They may be deaf or mute sometimes. And you have to adjust your approach accordingly. What you cannot do is to exacerbate situations. You should de- escalate at all costs, and be very mindful of some extenuating circumstances.

Mr. Floyd indicated at some point several times during the course of the exchange that he was claustrophobic. I know from personal experience -- I have had a similar situation with apprehending or arresting a person who was severely claustrophobic.

So, that has to be a matter that a police officer has to take into account and understand and decide how you`re going to handle that situation.

MELBER:  Let`s take a look at one other short expert -- excerpt from this new leak.

Take a look.


rMD-UL_FLOYD:  I can`t breathe. I can`t breathe. I can`t breathe. I can`t breathe, man.

Mama, I love you. Reese, I love you. Tell my kids I love them. I`m dead.


MELBER:  Given that, in contrast to many cases, this is now open, moving towards prosecution of the officers, with about a minute I have left in our broadcast, your view of whether this adds to prosecutors` evidence.

CLAXTON:  Yes. I think there`s tremendous probative value in the video itself, and I think it`s important. It will be important moving forward.

And I think it`s also important for us to understand that even -- of all the videos that we have seen, we have seen very little as far as a police officer`s justifiable use of that level of force, if you could ever justify using eight or nine minutes of compression against a person, and disabling their breathing.

If you could ever justify that, nothing we have seen thus far would even offer any justification for it. And this is -- there`s nothing (AUDIO GAP) 21st century or even 20th century professional police training.

It`s all disturbing. It`s all painful. It`s all (AUDIO GAP) but it`s (AUDIO GAP) dark realities of policing at this time and how it pertains to black and brown communities especially.

This death was unavoidable (sic). And the video that`s come out thus far has only validated that position. This was all avoidable. And we have to keep that in mind as we move forward.

MELBER:  Understood.

And, Marq Claxton, we often rely on you on these stories. We have for years. I thank you for joining us on what, again, I told viewers, is a tough one.

Our thanks to Marq Claxton and everyone who joined us.

That`s THE BEAT.

Don`t go anywhere, because "THE REIDOUT WITH JOY REID" starts now.