IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

AG Barr TRANSCRIPT: 8/5/20, The Beat w/ Ari Melber

Guests: Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Jeffrey Toobin, Daniella Gibbs Leger

KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: "THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER" starts right now, as we  wait for the president to take questions. 

Hi there, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Katy. Thank you so much. 

Welcome to THE BEAT. I am Ari Melber. 

Let me tell you what we have in tonight`s show. Number one, we are  monitoring the briefing from the president. He`s currently giving updates  on the federal coronavirus response. There`s no medical experts there.

And based on what we have heard thus far, we do not yet hear any new or  newsworthy information. So we are not carrying on this part of the  presentation.

However, if news breaks, we will bring it to you. And if there is a  question-and-answer period, where the journalists in the room are able to  question the president, which we have seen in other briefings, we will  bring you that as well. 

Let me begin with the facts. 

The United States is now approaching five million COVID cases, over 159,000  Americans dead in this pandemic, another day passing in Washington without  any deal to provide extension for the relief that Congress had said was  necessary for these millions of Americans who are jobless or facing  evictions or, in some cases, both. 

There are negotiations ongoing. There is discussion that there could be a  deal as soon as Friday. The president has been talking about the idea that  the virus would -- quote -- "go away." That is not happening. 

There are over 54,000 new cases reported in just the last 24-hour period in  the United States. That`s a floor, not a ceiling. The president openly at  odds with his own task force.

Dr. Fauci saying today, there`s many different reasons to be concerned. 


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIAID DIRECTOR:  Obviously, when you have 50,000 cases,  as a public health official, if you look at it in the big picture of  things, even though there are some sections of the country that have done  well, come down, and are at a good baseline and are staying there, you  could pick some parts of the country that are on fire, in a sense. 

I mean, you`re having outbreaks that -- you don`t get 70,000 cases a day  when nothing`s going on. 


MELBER:  We are joined by Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, NBC News medical contributor  and infectious disease physician, Daniella Gibbs Leger, a former Obama  administration official at the Center for American progress, and the  editorial director and publisher of "The "Nation," my former boss, Katrina  Vanden Heuvel.

Good to see each of you.

Daniella, we are coming on the air at a time of real contrast between the  way the president is dealing with this, what Joe Biden is telegraphing, the  talk of these virtual conventions. What do you see as important tonight  with those virus facts that we laid out? 

DANIELLA GIBBS LEGER, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS:  Well, I think facts is  the most important word that you just said.

A lot of what we hear coming from the president is just outright lies. He`s  talking about how the virus will just go away, how kids are virtually  immune. And he`s telling information that is potentially deadly to the  people in this country. 

So, for people who are looking for leadership, unfortunately, they can`t  find it in the White House. And I`m relieved to hear Dr. Fauci speaking  truth to power and talking about what`s really happening on the ground. 

And then you have Vice President Biden obviously talking about what he  would do if he were president and bring some stability and some leadership,  the national leadership, which is what`s needed, because the virus doesn`t  know borders. 

So this hodgepodge of things that have been happening in this space is why  we`re in this terrible situation that we`re in right now. 

MELBER:  Yes, you mentioned the facts and Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx.

You can see, viewers can see we have a great panel here. 

As mentioned, we`re going to go to the journalistic questioning part of  this, listen in, and come back to our experts in a whole big episode of THE  BEAT. 

Let`s listen in.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  ... machinery, which is old,  doesn`t allow them to. So, they`re going to -- it`s going to be physically  impossible for them to do that, especially in a short period of time. 

In addition, you have the November 3 election, and they`re allowed to count  votes until seven days after the election. 

So, what does that mean? If Nevada, which is a big state and a great state,  a state I like very much, and I think we`re going to do very well there.  Are we going to wait a week after November 3, if it comes down to Nevada,  which it could very well? 

I don`t think so. I don`t think it`s appropriate. 

So, with all of the bundling that you`re going to have, with the harvesting  you`re going to have, with people being sent ballots all over that have  maybe nothing to do with the state anymore, it`s a terrible thing. 

In New York, they had the Carolyn Maloney situation. And I criticized it  badly over the last two years and -- two days. I mean, I gave it some very,  very strong criticism. 

And, all of a sudden, like a miracle, they just approved the winner. Well,  what happened? Did the person that was second concede the race, even though  it was very close and all mixed up? 

They have a terrible situation in New York with the ballots. You know that.  And as soon as I said, well, I think you should have a new election,  because the election, obviously, they`re not going to know what to do. I  think you should have a new election. 

They, all of a sudden announced a winner. I assume it was her, but they  announced a winner. 

Well, I don`t agree with it. Did somebody speak to the person on the other  side, the opponent? Did they do something for the opponent on the other  side? 

Take a look at Paterson, New Jersey. Take a look at many things. It`s all  over newspapers, what`s going on with the mail-in ballots. 

They -- they send out millions of ballots, millions of ballots. They`re  totally unprepared to do it, and then they come back in the millions. It`s  going to be a disaster. 

I`m doing our country a big favor by bringing it up. And, you know, from a  common stance point, even -- commonsense standpoint, if you look at it,  just out of common sense and pure, basic, beautiful intelligence, you know  it can`t work. 

Now, Florida has worked very hard for years and years in developing a  system, and I`m sure they probably have problems also. 

But absentee ballots are different than mail-in ballots, what you call  universal mail-in ballots, much different. You have to apply for it. You  have to do different things, and it`s a much better system, and it`s a  system that can be reasonably accurate. 

But there`s no system like going to the poll and voting. So, I would like  to find out why, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, in the midst of all of  this grief, why is it that they approve the New York race, why you asked  that question? 

QUESTION:  In the Maloney race, sir, there`s no evidence of widespread  voter fraud... 


TRUMP:  Which one? Oh, really? Well, then you`re reading a different  newspaper than me. 

Go ahead, please. 


QUESTION:... delivery and the postmark...


TRUMP:  Go ahead, please. Go. 

QUESTION:  Sir, you said in an interview this morning on the coronavirus:  "This thing`s going away. It will go away, like things go away," despite  ongoing cases and death. 

Isn`t that...

TRUMP:  It`s going away. 

QUESTION:  Isn`t that...


TRUMP:  It`s going away.


QUESTION:... reality? 

TRUMP:  It`s going away. No, it`ll go away. Things go away, absolutely.  It`s no question in my mind. It will go away. 

Please. Go ahead. 

Hopefully, sooner rather than later. 


QUESTION:  Mr. President, you have praised Governor`s Ducey`s handling of  the epidemic in his state.

One of the things that he did was delay the start of public schools  opening. Is that a model that governors and states experiencing hot spots  should do, as the beginning of school does approach?

TRUMP:  Well, I would like to see the schools open. 

I think many of the schools, most of the schools will be open. I can say  that Republican areas want to see them open, and the Democrats probably  want to keep them closed until after November 3, because they think it`s  good for them politically. 

I actually don`t think it`s good for them politically. Parents want the  schools open. We want them open. We want them open safely. We`re going to  practice very strong hygiene, and all of the other things that I have  enumerated many times. 

But we want to see the schools open. 


QUESTION:... states to follow Governor`s Ducey`s model here.

And what part of that model was...


TRUMP:... his model. I just think he`s done a very good job. I mean, he`s  really done a great job. You look at the numbers, you look at how it`s  dropped, and very rapidly, he`s done a great job. He`s a great governor. 


QUESTION:  In an interview this morning, Mr. President, you were talking  about opening the schools, and you said children are virtually immune from  COVID-19. 

But children have contracted this virus, and some have died from it. 

TRUMP:  Well, when I say that, I`m talking about from getting very sick. 

If you look at children, I mean, they`re able to throw it off very easily.  And it`s an amazing thing, because some flus, they don`t. They get very  sick, and they have problems with flus, and they have problems with other  things. 

But, for whatever reason, the China virus, children handle it very well. 


TRUMP:  And they may -- they may get it, but they get it, and it doesn`t  have much of an impact on them. 

And if you look at the numbers, the numbers of -- in terms of mortality,  fatality, the numbers for children under a certain age, meaning young,  their immune systems are very, very strong. They`re very powerful. 

And they -- they seem to be able to handle it very well. And that`s  according to every statistic. 


QUESTION:  Mr. President, at least two people connected to Kanye West`s  effort to get on the ballot have been connected to the Republican party. Is  this...

TRUMP:  Whose ballot? 

QUESTION:  Kanye West.

TRUMP:  With Kanye West. Oh.

QUESTION:  He`s getting on the ballot, including in swing states. 

And, as you know, his wife has raised issues about whether he`s having  mental issues right now. So, my question to you is...

TRUMP:  That Kanye West does? I don`t know that. 

Who said that? 

QUESTION:  His wife said that his wife might be going through an episode. 

TRUMP:  I don`t know.


TRUMP:  I like him. 

QUESTION:  But, in any event, my question to you is...

TRUMP:  I mean, I like him. He`s always been very nice to me. 

QUESTION:  Are you aware of...

TRUMP:  He`s talking about Kanye West. 

QUESTION:  Are you aware of or have you encouraged anyone in the party to  help him get on the ballot, including the swing states? 

TRUMP:  No, not at all. No, not at all, other than I get along with him  very well. I like him. I like his wife. 

His wife recommended certain people, as you know, for -- including Alice  Johnson, who is a fantastic woman. But his wife recommended certain people  to get out of prison. They were in prison for a long time, a long, long  time. It should have never happened. 

And I took what she said very strong, Kim, Kim Kardashian, and got a good  heart, very good heart. And I like Kanye very much. No, I have nothing to  do with him getting on the ballot. 

We`ll have to see what happens. We`ll see if he gets on the ballot, but I`m  not involved. 


QUESTION:  Mr. President, I wanted to ask you.

The group of Republican senators are backing $25 billion in payroll  assistance to keep the airlines being able to pay their payrolls. Do you  endorse that plan? 

TRUMP:  What Republican senators are doing...

QUESTION:  Republican senators want to go ahead with another $25 billion  for air -- airlines to keep their payrolls going. 

TRUMP:  Well, if they need it, certainly, that`s a business Some businesses  are doing better than they would normally. Obviously, we know what those  businesses are. 

And, obviously, the airline business is not doing very well. You have  shutdowns all over the world, and you have airlines that are essentially  shut down. Some airlines are doing modest -- the best they`re doing is  modest. 

I think it`s very important that we keep the airlines going. They`ll be  very good times very soon, I hope. And we don`t want to lose our airlines.  So, if they`re looking at that, whether they`re Republican or Democrat, I  would be certainly in favor. We can`t lose our transportation system. 

Yes, go ahead. 

QUESTION:  I wanted to ask you two On Beirut. 

So, there`s been some question about your comments yesterday saying that it  was an attack, and that you`d heard from military officials that there was  an explosion that looked like some sort of a bomb.

TRUMP:  Well, they don`t really know what it was. 

I can tell you, whatever happened, it`s terrible, but they don`t really  know what it is. Nobody knows yet. At this moment, they`re looking. It  could have -- I mean, how can you say accident? Somebody was -- left some  terrible explosive-type devices and things around perhaps. Perhaps it was  that. Perhaps it was an attack. 

I don`t think anybody can say right now. We`re looking into it very  strongly. Right now, it`s -- you have some people think it was an attack,  and you have some people that think it wasn`t. 

In any event, it was a terrible event. And a lot of people were killed, and  a tremendous number of people were badly wounded, injured. 

And we`re standing with that country. You know, we have a very good  relationship with that country, but it`s a country under a lot of turmoil,  a lot of problems. But we stand with them. 


QUESTION:  Thank you. 

You said earlier today that you are considering using the White House as  the venue for your nomination speech. 

TRUMP:  Right. 

QUESTION:  Senator John Thune questioned whether or not that`s actually  legal, given the Hatch Act. Is this something that you would get clearance  for before proceeding? 

TRUMP:  John Thune did, right, the Republican John Thune? Oh. OK. 

Well, it is legal. There is no Hatch Act, because it doesn`t pertain to the  president. But if I use the White House, we save tremendous amounts of  money for the government, in terms of security, traveling. 

If we go to another state or some other location, the amount of money is  very enormous. So, that`s something to consider also. 

I think it would be a very convenient location. And it would be by far the  least expensive location. There would be very little in terms of that  tremendous traveling security, with airplanes and everybody flying all over  the place. So, I think it would be a very convenient idea. It`s something  that we threw out. It would be very cost-conscious by comparison to any  other location. 

Yes, please. 


Your son Don Jr. tweeted yesterday asking you to direct the EPA to reject  the Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska. It`s a giant copper and gold mine.  And the thinking is that...

TRUMP:  Reject it in what way? 

QUESTION:  Just reject its construction. 

The Army Corps of Engineers two weeks ago suggested it would be OK to  proceed with the project, but sportsmen like your son are saying that it  would be harmful for fisheries. 

TRUMP:  Well, I would listen to both sides. I don`t know of the argument  yet, but I would certainly listen to both sides. 

My son has some very strong opinions. And he is very much of an  environmentalist. And he was very impressed with what we did yesterday,  because that`s one of the great environmental bills, and beyond that, ever  signed, since -- since, well, I guess over 100 years, if you think about  it. It`s been a long time. 

But I will look at both sides of it. I had heard about it. I will be -- I  understand they`re going to be doing a briefing sometime over the next 48  hours. It`s going to go very quickly. I have done a lot for Alaska. 

I love Alaska. It`s a special place. ANWR was one thing, the highway, Cove  highway, or whatever the new name is, whatever the old name is. We -- we`re  getting approvals for a tremendous highway that`s been sought. For 40  years, they`ve been trying to get it approved, and I`m getting it approved. 

We`ve done a lot for Alaska. It`s a special place. And I will take a look  at that. It`s interesting. 

Yes, please. Go ahead. 

QUESTION:  Thank you, Mr. President. Two brief questions. 

First, your administration has praised ambulance drivers and the ambulance  service for their role in dealing with the coronavirus. 

TRUMP:  Sure.

QUESTION:  And, recently, there has been scuttlebutt that the ambulance  association`s drivers and all have not been fully reimbursed for the work  they`re doing. 

They said they are owed $2.89 billion, and they`ve only received $300  million from the Provider Relief Fund. 

TRUMP:  Not $300 billion, no. Not 300...


QUESTION:  Million. 

TRUMP:  You mean $300 million? 

QUESTION:  At the Provider Relief Fund at HHS.

Are you going to look into this or...

TRUMP:  I will. I just heard of it for the first time. 

The ambulance people have done an incredible job, as have the doctors, the  nurses, the front-line workers. Law enforcement has been incredible, the  military, FEMA. I could name almost every group. 

I can`t tell you of a group that`s done poorly, but the ambulance people  have done a very -- it`s a tough job too, very dangerous job, very tough  job. 

I will certainly look in -- I mean, you`re telling me something, that for  the first time. Nobody is complaining about not getting paid too much, but  we`ll take a look at the ambulance drivers. 

QUESTION:  The other thing, Secretary Esper said today that, based on what  he had heard, the incident in Beirut, he felt, was an accident. 

Now, he`s disagreed with you on other things before. Do you have any  comment about his remark? 

TRUMP:  Yes, you know, whatever he -- if he -- if that`s what he heard, I  think that -- I have heard it both ways too. 

I have heard accident. I have heard explosives. And, obviously, it must  have been some form of explosives. But whether it was a bomb intentionally  set off -- it ended up being a bomb. 

But, no, I have heard it both ways. It could have been an accident, and it  could have also been something that was very offensive. And I wouldn`t be  very happy with that. 

QUESTION:  And you have no problem with him... 

QUESTION:  Just a follow-up on that, Mr. President. 

Even if you just have suspicion that the Beirut explosion is a bomb, do you  have any plans pertaining to U.S. assets in the region, for example? I  mean, how are you looking into this? 

TRUMP:  We`re working very closely with the government, and we`re working  very closely with many different agencies, including the military, and  we`ll be able to figure it out. 

We already probably have figured it out. 

Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. 


QUESTION:  What did you mean when you said, "It is what it is" about 1,000  Americans dying a day? 

MELBER:  We have been listening to part of the president`s press conference  today. 

If you have been watching MSNBC, we took a little bit of his opening, cut  away when there was not much news, and cut back to see the discussions  there. 

There were discussions of COVID, foreign policy, as well as the election. 

I want to bring back in are experts who have been standing by, and go right  to our doctor on a substantive matter that did come up, which was this  issue of reopening schools and the level of threat or danger posed to  children by this virus. 


DR. NAHID BHADELIA, NBC NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR:  Ari, I mean, just as  fact-checked as the conference is going on, the studies have now shown that  children can carry this virus.

We know that they can transmit it, because we have seen multiple case  studies now, even from last week from a camp in Georgia that showed  transmission among children and adults, both staff members, as well as  others who were at a camp. So they can transmit it.

And the biggest part of this is, when you say the children are not that  sick, yes, the majority of the children do not get very sick, but there are  those who get hospitalized. And we don`t know what the long-term effects of  this disease is.

However, children do not live alone by themselves in homes. They do not  teach themselves in schools. They do not ride buses by themselves. And all  of those -- all of the places, where they touch adults in their lives, they  are potentially carrying that risk back and forth.

And to talk about that in that vacuum, I think, is basically giving us not  the right path forward to prepare to keep all of this population safe.

MELBER:  Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, I want to thank you for being part of our  informational medical sandwich, if you will, both before and after the  briefing. And we will be coming back to you in the days ahead. Thank you so  much. 

Our panel stays.

And I want to give a little bit of a setup to something else that`s  important tonight.

We`re 90 days out from this election. The president has been leaning  towards something that was just discussed in that briefing and that many  critics say is completely unacceptable, trying to break historical  precedent by having an acceptance speech, a political speech, at the White  House itself.

Using the White House as a backdrop in the reelection campaign is something  that comes right up against traditional ethical rules binding government  activity, because you have, of course, the Hatch Act that bars most  government employees, but not the president, from using this kind of  property for anything political.

Over on the Democratic side, the DNC announcing Joe Biden will accept his  nomination from the home state of Delaware. He`s not going to go to the  virtual convention site in Milwaukee. 

His campaign, though, is on offense, with the largest ad buy this cycle,  $280 million, starting next month. And that`s not all. We look at  everything, including the presidential race, but there`s something else  happening across America. 

Take a look, for example, at a primary yesterday where you had the  progressive wing of the Democratic Party clearly gaining seen with AOC- style challengers like Cori Bush in Missouri, defeating a longtime  incumbent.

"The New York Times" reporting today Bush`s victory, which came on the same  night that Missouri voters decided to expand Medicaid eligibility, was a  significant milestone for insurgent progressive candidates. 

With that, we bring back our panel.

And I want to go right to you, Katrina. This is something that you have  written about and worked on for some time. 

What does it mean to you to see Missouri voters, thought of as a more  conservative place, both embrace this candidate and a more progressive  approach to health care?


And it`s not out of nowhere. There is an insurgency in (AUDIO GAP)  progressive (AUDIO GAP) Rashida Tlaib, who won last night in the primary,  Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, the Squad.

But it`s a group of organizations, Justice Democrats, Working Families  Party, Real Justice, groups on the ground in Missouri that fought to expand  Medicare for 230,000 citizens.

And Cori Bush, I mean, she -- we have been writing about her, Ari, for more  than 10 years, and she`s someone who comes from the streets. So, you`re  seeing the street heat meet electoral heat, and I find that very exciting.

And it`s not just Cori Bush in Missouri. You had a circuit judge, Kim  Gardner. You`re seeing progressive DAs across the country. 

So, I think Biden is having to wrestle with this. And I think there`s a  progressive realism that is part of this moment, Ari. I mean, when this  country faces these triple crises, pandemic, economic injustice inequality,  and racial justice, you get moved. 

I mean, in a sense, the FDR-Roosevelt analogies are too often cited, but  Roosevelt was a budget-balancing deficit governor who was moved by the  times and move by those around them. 

So I will end by simply saying, I wrote a column for "The Washington Post"  a few days ago. The vice presidential pick is going to be important, but so  is his Cabinet, Biden`s Cabinet, if he wins.

One last thing. I mean, if Donald Trump continues to discredit the vote,  this is un-American, and I think -- think that about the fact that this  bill that`s going to pass has no funding for vote-by-mail security or the  post office, one of the great institutions of our country. 

So I will say, Ari, when you talk about how they`re not cutting a deal,  it`s the Republicans who are abetting Donald Trump, as they have for so  long. 

MELBER:  All really important points. 

And, Daniella, I`m curious if you would weigh in on it. Katrina`s talking  about what led up to someone like this winning. People now, most people  involved in politics, left or right, have heard of AOC. But she didn`t  start out as AOC, a famous person. She started out, as she says herself --  I`m not saying she hasn`t said -- as an organizer and a waitress and a  person running against a very powerful incumbent, and nobody thought she  could win. 

And so my question to you, Daniella, as Joe Biden is weighing whether to go  into more of an establishment centrist running mate or something else, is  what you think about what we hear from so many people, to choose Katrina`s  formulation, in the streets or on the ground, which is, the problem with  the Democratic Party`s conventional wisdom is not that it`s conventional.  It`s that it`s so often wrong, and that people like this can win in  Missouri. 


I mean, I think what you saw last night also is that no one is guaranteed a  congressional seat, regardless of your last name, how long you have been  there. You have to work every two years.

And Cori Bush put in the work. She almost won last time. And she was  victorious last night. 

I mean, look, I think whoever the vice president picks as his vice  president, she is going to be great. But the proof is going to be in the  pudding. And to agree with Katrina, it`s, who`s going to be in the Cabinet?  What policies are they pushing? 

I`m more concerned about what policies, what progressive policies these  folks are going to be pushing once they`re in the White House once they win  less than I am about which one of the great women he`s going to choose us  as his vice president. 

And I think that he and President Obama would be the first to acknowledge  that vice president`s platform is the most progressive platform we have  ever seen. Like, we are -- we continuously....

MELBER:  Well, can I press you a little bit on that...


MELBER:  ... and then get you and Katrina to respond?

Because I`m sure viewers listening would say, OK, sounds good. And you`re  being optimistic. Nothing wrong with that. 


MELBER:  But, at this moment, with what Trumpism has wrought, and this  national reckoning across the country, there is certainly a policy  difference. I`m not saying who`s better or worse, but there is a measurable  policy difference between someone like Karen Bass, who comes out of a  progressive tradition and was picked by people like John Lewis to run the  Congressional Black Caucus, of course, and, say, a Susan Rice, who is, as  far as we know at this point, much more of a Washington foreign policy  establishment wonk.

Great for her. She`s good at those things, but there`s certainly a  difference. 


GIBBS LEGER:  I think there is a difference. 


MELBER:  Well, I will go Daniella, then Katrina. I`m sorry. I will go  Daniella, then Katrina. That was my bad.



Yes, there is a difference. But, like I said, I think the most important  thing is what his platform is and what policies he`s going to champion as  president. 

And he will -- of course, the vice president will be an important ear, an  important adviser to a hopeful President Biden. But I don`t think that the  differences between those two particular people or any particular vice  presidential candidate is what`s most important. 

It really is what`s most important is what comes out of Vice President,  hopefully, president-elect, Joe Biden`s mouth saying, these are going to be  my priorities as soon as I get in the White House, and then the rest of us  holding their feet to the fire. 

VANDEN HEUVEL:  I think that`s right. 

I also think, though, that you want a vice presidential candidate -- though  Trump is your best get-out-the-vote card, you want someone who may bring  out younger people. 

I didn`t talk before about Cori Bush`s background. I mean, she comes out of  Ferguson. She came into politics after Michael Brown was killed by police.  She`s been evicted. She has been in the street protesting.

These groups I mentioned are multiracial, Color of Change, others on the  ground, and populist, economically progressive. So I do think you want a  candidate who can rouse that base, which I wouldn`t take for granted,  though Trump again is the biggest card. 

I do think, on Susan Rice, I have to say we don`t talk about it enough, but  Joe Biden`s foreign policy. This is a time, if there ever was a time, Ari,  to reimagine what security means. And the militarized security, the Cold  War policies, the hawkish liberal elements of the Democratic Party should  really think hard. 

And I worry Susan Rice is part of that wing. And I think we can do much  stronger rethinking, again, a policy of realism, restraint and  prioritizing, giving priority to non-military solutions, peace. 

MELBER:  I mean, Daniella, you can`t argue with peace. We...

GIBBS LEGER:  Can`t argue with peace.



MELBER:  Give it a chance, as they say.

Let me get you on more big thing...


MELBER:  ... which is we have a rule on THE BEAT where we do not cover non- news events that just emit from the president`s Twitter feed. 

But when things become actual things in the world, because they have  action, they impact people`s lives, we cover it. So we haven`t covered a  lot of the threats. But the president and his campaign are now actually  going to court trying to restrict voting access. 

I will read you the headline Daniella, Trump campaign suing to stop  Nevadans from voting by mail. But that`s what you have. You have a sitting  president before the election has started literally going to court to try  to stop voting. Your response?

GIBBS LEGER:  My response is probably something that I can`t say on air  right now. 

It makes me very angry that the president of the United States and the  Republican Party are focused on restricting the number of people who can  vote, period. That`s that endgame. And we`re in the middle of a pandemic,  which makes it even worse. 

The lies that he spews about fraud happening by vote by mail, all of that,  it is not true. And it has been proven not to be true over and over again.  And it`s because he is afraid of the maximum amount of people in this  country casting their ballots.

And I don`t know why that is, but it`s disgusting and despicable.

And I just want to say, happy birthday, mom. 

MELBER:  Happy birthday.


GIBBS LEGER:  But I wanted to get it in. 


MELBER:  Hey, we can get it in. You`re a long time Beatnik. 

Can you tell us something? What can I say to your -- what can I say to your  mom, since you brought it up? 

GIBBS LEGER:  You can say to my mom that her grandson misses her very much  and that, as soon as our country can get our COVID stuff together, I`m on  the first plane to go see her, as soon as (INAUDIBLE) lets us in.

MELBER:  Amen.

You heard it here first. This is what we call primary source reporting. 


MELBER:  And happy birthday. Give peace a chance.

A great panel around. Daniella and Katrina, thanks to both of you. 

Let me tell everyone what we have to come, because, in this show, we have  something we have been working on, a policing fact-check, so you understand  the facts and some of the misleading claims coming from Attorney General  Barr, new incidents caught on tape. 

But coming up, we have a very special guest on Donald Trump, the rule of  law, and the criminal probe against him, Jeffrey Toobin, yes, that Jeffrey  Toobin, on THE BEAT next. 


MELBER:  Now we turn to one of the most prominent legal voices in America,  Jeffrey Toobin, who served as a federal prosecutor, a lawyer for the Iran- Contra independent counsel. He`s a "New Yorker" writer, CNN`s chief legal  analyst, the author of several bestselling legal books, including a new one  on the Mueller probe, "True Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Investigation of  Donald Trump."

Jeffrey Toobin, as an admirer of your work and a colleague, thanks for  making your debut on THE BEAT, sir. 


MELBER:  I`m thrilled that we have got you over here, instead of the usual  place you are.

And we`re going to get to this book. 

TOOBIN:  I`m going to break out in hives. It`s all good. 


MELBER:  We will get to your book.

But I want to start with some of the news. Attorney General Barr finally  faced Congress, continues to be out on a warpath, told the members of  Congress, hey, are you surprised I`m a Republican, minimized the documented  police killings of black Americans, and continues to do favors for Donald  Trump. 

What do you think of Bill Barr`s role right now heading into this pivotal  election? 

TOOBIN:  Well, we have had politically motivated attorneys general  throughout our history, but I don`t think we have seen anything like this  in -- certainly in the modern era. 

And I think it`s important for people to realize that there is a  fundamental disbelief on the part of Barr and many people around him that  there is any problem with policing in this country. They don`t believe that  there is systemic racism, and they don`t believe that there`s racism. 

I mean, it is really a -- it`s not like he`s positioning himself. It`s  true. That`s what he really believes. And when you look at what he`s done  in the Flynn case, what he`s done in the Roger Stone case, and this fishing  expedition to trash the old guard at the FBI in the Connecticut U.S.  attorney`s investigation, I mean, it`s just -- it hasn`t happened before. 

We haven`t had an attorney general who is this transparent in doing the  president`s bidding. 

MELBER:  And as we look towards this election night, do you expect that it  could be a long one, an election week or more, like 2000, which you  covered? And what do Americans take from it if there are legal battles? 

TOOBIN:  Well, I think, just as a practical matter, the counting of votes  cannot possibly all be done on election night, as it has customarily been  done, because of all the mail-in voting. I mean, you just can`t count all  those votes on election night in the way that you can count the machines. 

So that`s certainly going to be longer, even if there are no legal battles,  and I expect there will be some. So, I mean, I think this is a very  chilling and sober thing to consider, is that how difficult this election  is going to be, both as a practical matter to get done, and to get accepted  by the American people. 

MELBER:  Very interesting. And you have been there, and you will be busy if  it turns that way. 

I want to now look at the book. We have put together just very brief  highlights of your grades of the Mueller probe. So, we will put these up  now, drawn from your book. 

You say, basically, he ran a fair investigation, but he avoided Trump`s  finances. He didn`t demand Trump sit for an interview, and he found major  evidence of criminal obstruction, but then didn`t issue a clear conclusion. 

What is important about what you found in your reporting here about a probe  that we all lived through? 

TOOBIN:  Well, I think points one, three and four are really the most  important there. 

I give Mueller and his team tremendous credit for their thoroughness, for  their ethics, for their integrity. 

But I think Mueller really failed when he did not seek a real interview  with the president. And in my book, it`s a long saga. I mean, one of the  great pleasures, as you covered this story, I covered this story, we had no  inside access to the workings of the office as it was happening. 

MELBER:  Right. 

TOOBIN:  But, in my book, looking back, I really did -- I was able to talk  to the Mueller people, as well as the Trump people. 

And I think that what we have to acknowledge is that the Trump lawyers  really outmaneuver the Mueller lawyers by extending the debate over the  subpoena so long that Mueller felt a legal fight would have just dragged  this thing on too long. 

And that was a conscious strategy. And Rudy Giuliani, for all his nuttiness  on television, recognized that and did an effective job, both politicizing  Mueller as an enemy of the president and by dragging out the subpoena  fight, to the point where Mueller had to settle for these really ridiculous  written questions and answers that were of virtually no value. 

MELBER:  Yes, and you lay that out, which is super interesting, even for  people who, understandably, give Mueller a lot of respect or benefit of the  doubt.

But you also look at this strange cast of characters of witnesses. I`m  reading here from your discussion of Jerome Corsi, who is the only person  that was actually threatened with a written draft indictment and wasn`t  indicted.

You write: "Corsi stared them down. They filed no charges against him. The  surrender on Corsi made Mueller`s plans clearer than any announcement:  He  was finished."

And unlike some other probes, and I mentioned for viewers, way back in the  day, you were a part of an independent counsel probe, we were hearing from  some of these witnesses in real time. 

I want to play a little bit of our interviews with several of them for your  analysis, now that we have your book and your 2020 hindsight. Take a look. 


MELBER:  Did you speak to the FBI or Mueller`s prosecutors? 





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reason us three are essentially in there is because  of Stone. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he goes around and lies and says that he was -- I  was the only person he told as a joke that he met with Julian Assange, give  me a break. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I think you`re putting your old friend in danger. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, he put us all in danger, by the way, Mike. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I don`t believe that, at the time, they believed that  Donald Trump was involved. I believe right now they still think there was  some kind of coordination.


MELBER:  There were multiple witnesses...

TOOBIN:  Can we just stop and say...

MELBER:  Go ahead.

TOOBIN:  ... how great it was to have the four of them together?

It was, as far as I`m concerned, the bar scene in "Star Wars," the four of  them all together, Corsi and company.

Corsi, he stared them down. I mean, I was a federal prosecutor. When you  send someone a draft indictment or a draft...


MELBER:  Yes. 

TOOBIN:  ... that means you`re getting indicted. And they sent Corsi one.

And Corsi not only didn`t sign it, but he just distributed it publicly. And  he said, I`m not signing. I`m not doing it. 

And you know what? I mean, look, he was a fringe figure in all of this, but  I think it was indicative of the fact that Mueller did not push every  button he could have. 

And the irony is that Trump and his supporters have said, oh, they were so  aggressive, they were so outrageous. The things that Mueller didn`t do were  from the absence of zeal, not an excess of zeal.

MELBER:  Absence of zeal. And you take a look at those witnesses. 

I heard from one person who was in those rooms. They said, look, you knew  the investigation wasn`t going to the top when it ends with Corsi and Stone  and these sort of, as you put it, fringe figures.

Did you find that, or do you think, at the end of the day, although it may  not be provable, there was more of a there, there potentially when it came  to outreach to a foreign power? 

TOOBIN:  You know, that is the great unanswered question, and I wish I  could give you a solid answer. 

Mueller did not go beyond 2015. He did not look at Trump`s tax returns. He  did not look at Trump`s Deutsche Bank records. He did not try to unravel  the question that so many of us have struggled with is, what is it about  Vladimir Putin and Russia that Trump continues to defer to?

Why does he never criticize Putin? And that question remains unanswered.  And Mueller didn`t seek it out. 

I`m a little more sympathetic to him in that area, because it was outside  his original jurisdiction. It`s not like his failure on the subpoena. It`s  not like his failure to spell out in plain English that Trump obstructed  justice in a way that was far worse than either Bill Clinton or Richard  Nixon, as far as I`m concerned. 

MELBER:  Right. 

And you make -- Jeffrey, you make a crucial distinction there between the  jurisdiction, which is the rules, and then the actual attitude, which was,  yes, Mueller was no star when it came to pushing the boundaries. 

I`m running out of time. My last question for you is just a trick question.  As your readers and fans will debate, do you think this book is better than  your classic O.J. book, "The Run of His Life"?

TOOBIN:  You know, it was harder to write, I will tell you that, because it  was a moving target throughout, and to say nothing of finishing it during  COVID. 

MELBER:  Yes. 

TOOBIN:  This story -- what I loved about this story was that so much of it  had not been told before, is that -- the O.J. case unfolded. It was pretty  much what you see is what you get. 

But all of us suffered in ignorance during the Mueller investigation.

MELBER:  Right. 

TOOBIN:  And I like to think that I`m telling people a lot of stuff they  didn`t know. 

MELBER:  Well, it`s fascinating, which is why I wanted to have you on. It`s  a good one.

I will say, as a reader, "The Run of His Life" is one of the best books  about a court case ever. So, you have a high bar to meet when you`re  writing your own books. 

TOOBIN:  Well, you`re the man. You`re the man. 



MELBER:  Jeffrey Toobin, counselor. 

The book, again, is "True Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Investigation of  Donald Trump." We recommend it. 

Thank you, Jeffrey.

Coming up, we turn to the outrage, as Colorado police were cuffing kids at  gunpoint, and then not arresting them because they didn`t do anything  wrong. Attorney General Barr, also, fact-check, our breakdown -- coming up. 


MELBER:  This ongoing reckoning of policing continues across the country,  with new reports of alleged racial profiling incidents drawing important  scrutiny, stories that offer a factual contrast to an emerging defense by  Trump officials like Bill Barr, who denies systemic racism, as evidence  points to certain data.

And he has been pointing to some data on a subset of police killings. 


WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL:  And I don`t agree that there`s  systemic racism in police departments.

The fact is that these events are, fortunately, quite rare. According to  statistics compiled by "The Washington Post," the number of unarmed black  men killed by police so far this year is eight. 


MELBER:  Barr may be arguing that he thinks eight is not a large number. 

But that same "Washington Post" source actually found 976 total people shot  and killed by police in the past year, with black Americans killed at more  than twice the rate of white Americans. 

So, the disparities in killings are documented. 

But this also goes beyond horrific killings. The scrutiny on systemic  racism does go, of course, beyond the most extreme thing an officer could  possibly do, kill someone, to also probe how racial profiling and racism  can infect many parts of policing, from when police choose to de-escalate  or escalate, to when they give people a break on a technicality, instead of  throwing the book at them, to who the police stop in the first place, like  this new video of Colorado police pulling over a black woman and taking  some escalating measures, like ordering four children, at gunpoint, to lie  face-down in the parking lot, leading to this scene. 



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want my mother.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I have my sister next to me?


MELBER:  Those are children. You can hear and see yourself what happened, a  witness describing the moments leading up to that stop. 


JENNIFER WURTZ, WITNESS: I saw a car next to me with four girls in it.  Feet were up on the dash. It was real cute. 

And next thing I know, the police pull up silently behind them and had guns  drawn on the children. 


MELBER:  The officers say they were investigating a stolen vehicle. 

The department, though, has already apologized. They say this was mistaken  identity. 

Here`s reaction from two of the women in the car who were pulled over and  handcuffed.


BRITTANY GILLIAM, HANDCUFFED BY POLICE:  That`s police brutality. I don`t  give a damn what nobody say. That`s police brutality.

TERIANA THOMAS, HANDCUFFED BY POLICE:  It`s like they don`t care. Who am I  going to call when my life is in danger? 


MELBER:  A life in danger. 

Now, we have been hearing these types of stories for decades in America,  the documented concern that, for many communities of color, it is the  police who pose the danger. 

Now, that`s an incident there regarding local police. 

There`s also scrutiny on Trump administration officials in the Secret  Service who detained these two mothers who were then surrounded at  gunpoint. They were handcuffed. They were detained without the legally  required Miranda rights warning, according to "The Washington Post."

And adding to the cruelty, they were then stuck like that for 45 minutes.  "The Post" reporting babies wailing in the backseat of the car. 

One of the women pulled over says she could have been another Breonna  Taylor, another innocent woman shot. She went on to say she thought the  police are here to protect and serve, and now it`s really uncomfortable  having lived through that. 

The federal officers in that totally separate case, guess what, they  offered the same defense we heard from Colorado police, mistaken identity.  They were pursuing a stolen car. 

The data shows these are not just incidents. This happens all the time in  pockets of America large and small and, yes, places run by both political  parties. 

Consider the largest police force in the nation, the NYPD, which stopped  hundreds of thousands of black people annually. The vast majority were not  accused of anything, never even arrested, let alone convicted. 

These numbers add up. They are the documented widespread American reality.  And it is far different from these attempts you may hear to cherry-pick a  small subset from the most extreme tragedies of killings to assure  Americans, as Bill Barr did under oath, that what you keep seeing, what you  keep hearing about is some sort of -- quote -- "rarity" that barely occurs. 


BARR:  The fact is that these events are, fortunately, quite rare.


MELBER:  There is nothing rare about this wider documented reports of  profiling, of police stopping and detaining people without charges, or  systemic bias. 

The only question, as we continue to live through this year of national  reckoning, is whether people listen more to what`s already being reported,  and whether Americans decide to do something about it. 

We wanted to bring you that important breakdown. 

When we come back, there is a late piece of breaking news about New York  prosecutors and how they`re going after Trump`s taxes. I have the update  next. 


MELBER:  Breaking news late today on the criminal probe into Donald Trump  out of the Manhattan DA`s office. 

And the context here is key, because there have been two major legal  questions swirling around Donald Trump`s first term. One, how would he get  through the Mueller probe? We actually covered that tonight. And, two,  would his long secret taxes ever be used legally or become public?

Well, now you have "The New York Times" tonight reporting the prosecutors  in New York in that case, which has proceeded because of the Supreme Court  victory on the tax matter, now has DA Cy Vance subpoenaing Trump`s longtime  lender Deutsche Bank as part of this criminal investigation into Trump`s  financial dealings. 

The suggestion, according to this reporting, that the investigation could  even extend well beyond the 2016 hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and  another woman. 

The report also confirms that Deutsche Bank is, yes, complying with the  subpoena, meaning these debates about whether the law matters or whether  Donald Trump can get around everything, well, it`s a lot harder once the  Supreme Court says, A, your taxes are not off the table, and, B, third  parties, in this case, the bank that did so much lending, well, they have  to comply. 

Donald Trump and his company, we should note, have previously denied any  wrongdoing here. 

But the big headline is, that DA investigation, which was even paused at  one point, in deference to the feds, well, it`s not only alive and well.  It`s been turbocharged by Donald Trump`s major loss at the Supreme Court  over his secret taxes. 

It`s a big update. We will have more on this story as it develops. 

That does it for THE BEAT tonight, though. We will see you back here,  hopefully, if you join us, tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. 

Don`t go anywhere, though, because "THE REIDOUT WITH JOY REID" is up next.