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Dr. Bright TRANSCRIPT: 5/14/20, MSNBC Live

Guests: Nancy Pelosi, Robin Kelly, Charlie Sykes, Errin Haines, Benjamin Crump


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: And a programming note, tonight at 10:00 P.M. Eastern, there is a LAST WORD Town Hall Special, Lawrence O`Donnell interviewing, Joe Biden and Stacy Abrams, that is Must-See T.V. So keep it right here now and throughout this evening on MSNBC.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. I am Joy Reid. We`ve got a lot of news to get to tonight. And in just a moment, I`ll be joined by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Donald Trump continued today pushing for a quick reopening of the country, come what may. Even as top scientists continue to warn that moving too fast could worsen the pandemic and endanger public health.

Today, Dr. Rick Bright testified before a House panel that he was forced out of his position at the Department of Health and Human Services where he was charged with leading the pandemic response for pushing back on Trump`s desire to fast track the drug, hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment. Dr. Bright warned lawmakers that the worst of the pandemic is yet to come and cast doubt on the prospects for a speedy development of a vaccine.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Capitol, North Carolina Senator Richard Burr said he is stepping down as the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee pending an investigation into potential insider trading, and we`ll have more on that later in the hour.

But we start with the pandemic. Right now, the U.S. is approaching 1.5 million cases of the coronavirus and more than 86,000 Americans have died. The CDC released its guidance for states about how and when to re-open public places. And part of that plan were shelved by the White House over concerns it was too restrictive. Among the recommendations, wearing a face covering.

Today, Donald Trump without, by the way, wearing a mask, toured a health supply distribution center in Allentown, Pennsylvania before delivering what was essentially a campaign rally speech.

Meanwhile, the catastrophic economic toll of the pandemic continues to get worse. On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell gave a dire warning that the U.S. could be facing a sustained recession if Congress and the White House don`t propose more stimulus, saying, the fiscal support, though costly, would be, quote, worth it if it helps avoid long-term economic damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery.

The Labor Department reported today another 2.9 million Americans filed first-time unemployment claims last week bringing the number of people newly unemployed during the crisis to 36.5 million.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote tomorrow on the $3 trillion Heroes Act., rescue package that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled on Tuesday. The bill provides nearly $1 trillion in aid directly to states and $200 billion in hazard pay for frontline workers, as well as assistance to renters and homeowners. It also includes additional funding for the postal service and a second round of direct payments to Americans similar to the previous CARES Act that was passed back in March.

And Speaker Pelosi, joins me now. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, thank you so much for being here this evening. And I want to start by just sort of going through a few of the things that are in the bill and run through them. Nearly a trillion dollars that go to state and local governments, $200 billion, as we said, for hazard pay for essential workers, $75 billion for coronavirus testing and contact tracing, $175 billion in rent, mortgage, and utility assistance, $25 billion in relief for the U.S. Postal Service, as I mentioned, and a second round of $1,200 per person, up to $600 payments to households.

I think a lot of people are really excited about that, happy about that. But there are still some concerns that people have expressed, that some progressives have progress concerns. I`ll read you some of them from Congresswoman Jayapal, who said the following, it tweeted this. The legislation doesn`t end mass employment and it doesn`t get paychecks back into people`s pockets. The bill does not ensure affordable health care for everyone. Business owners are looking for certainty about how they`ll avoid closing permanently without jeopardizing the wellbeing of workers. The bill doesn`t tie funding of the basic public health guidelines required to do just that. The historic crisis Americans are facing will not end on its own. To end it, these three things, getting people paychecks, ensuring access to health care, supporting businesses and their workers are critical, but this legislation does not yet to address them on the scale necessary.

Can you talk about the scale and the scope, and do you think that it`s broad enough?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): This is one of the broadest bills that we`ve ever seen come before to Congress, and let me say what is in it, as you say, what might not be in it. You very clearly pointed out some of what is there.

Let me put it in this perspective. It is a bill that is our marker that we are putting down for the American people. We have passed four bills for the coronavirus, virus challenge. And in those bills are the makings of what we have in this bill. Whether we`re talking about aid to the -- assistance to states and local as we honor our heroes, whether we`re talking about opening up our economy by testing, testing, testing, whether we`re talking about putting money into the pockets of the American people. All of those have proven on as they have sprung from the four bipartisan bills that we have passed.

So, again, in those -- the two of the bills, the CARES Act and the recent PPP Additional Interim Act, those bills were started by a -- written by the leader of the Senate, the Republican leader of the Senate. So, now, I on the House side are making our recommendation on all of this to begin the negotiation and has much bipartisanship in it already.

It does have some momentous proposals. Put it -- think of it this way. When we do our aid to the states, and it`s billions of dollars to the states and hundreds of millions and tens of millions of dollars depending on size of cities and townships and counties and the rest, this will make a remarkable difference for them to defray the cost of the coronavirus but also to offset the revenue loss they have from the coronavirus.

This amount of money is not as much as Republicans put forth for their tax scam bill, keeping 83 percent of the benefits to the top 1 percent. So when you think of it as being so big, it`s not as big as their tax scam. And then in addition to that, the money to open the economy for testing as I mentioned and the money in the pocket, and the money in the pockets includes keeping people in their jobs with the employment retention tax credit. It doesn`t go as far as Congresswoman Jayapal`s bill, but it is a path to it. And I would anticipate that soon we will be going that far. But it is -- it does keep millions of people in their jobs should the employers take advantage of it. So we`re very excited.

REID: Absolutely.

PELOSI: It`s momentous.

REID: Yes. And, I mean -- and I think --

PELOSI: And that, we always judge bills for what are in it while we can all criticize bills for what is not.

REID: Certainly. Certainly. And I think it`s important to make a note of the difference between that and the huge tax bill that went to very, very, very big corporations and rich people. I think it`s important to point that out.

Just on the point of Republicans, because as you mentioned, at some point this has to be a negotiation with them. We know that as of now, 26.8 million Americans have lost their employer-based health insurance. That`s for the Kaiser Family Foundation. I want to play you what, Senator John Cornyn, had to say which was a bit ironic in response to that kind of huge loss of insurance. Take a listen.


SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): The good news is that if you lose your employer- provided coverage, which covers about 180 million Americans, then you -- that is a significant life event which makes it -- makes you eligible to sign up for the Affordable Care Act. And as you know, it has a sliding scale of subsidies up to 400 percent of poverty. So that`s an option for people.

The good news is people can find -- get coverage under the Affordable Care Act or be it Medicaid-based on their income.


REID: I think it`s fun that he`s saying that, his guy voted to repeal the affordable Care Act 20 times. He`s one of the most ardent opponents of the Affordable Care Act. He`s just like in it for that. You know, I wonder if this opportunity to fix some of the broken systems that went into this, that sort of led into us being in this position, one of the most broken is this connection between your job and your health are, that if you don`t have your job, you don`t have your healthcare. Might it be possible in this moment to say, let`s just break that connection and do something more like what Congresswoman Jayapal or what Senator Sanders wanted to do, which is to say, let`s just break that connection all together and make Medicare available for everyone?

PELOSI: So you`re suggesting at this time of the coronavirus that we do away with the healthcare system that we have? I`m curious about what Senator Cornyn and had to say. I hope that means that he would be supportive of what we have in the bill, which is our special enrollment period for people who are not already signed up for the Affordable Care Act but to do so.

And maybe since he mentions Medicaid, he would persuade the governor of his state to the expansion of Medicaid. It`s one of the most phenomenal comments that I`ve heard from someone who has been opposed to all of this all along.

Again, we want health care for all Americans. Everything is on the table to consider how we go forward with that. And that is many people, 150 million families, get their healthcare from their employment in terms of their insurance coverage.

So, again, right now I don`t think is a good time to say why don`t we just rip that out and try something new. We all want the same goal, and - but right now, right now, we`re -- a lot of people are losing their lives. Hearts are being broken. Dreams are being shattered because of not only the personal loss of a friend but also the personal loss of your health.

So we`re here to protect the lives, the livelihood, and the life -- actually the life of our democracy in this legislation. And, again, we have to go forward in a way that addresses the immediate concerns that we have, and the most important part of it all, testing, tracing, treatment, and we have to do it in a way that addresses the disparities in our system so that we have a clear picture of the size and the diversity of the assault that this virus has made on us, and that`s what we do.

And we have a plan, we have a plan for testing, a strategy, a plan, with a goal, with a timetable, with milestones, with benchmarks to get the job done. So when this president says whatever he said, I don`t know what it was, but something about stalling or something, no, people are dying. People are getting infected. More jobs are being lost. Let`s open our economy by testing, as the scientists say, and the health experts say.

So, yes, let`s have that discussion when we`re not in the heat of battle, but I don`t think it is an argument against the Affordable Care Act. I take great pride in that. I always wanted a public option. Hopefully, we can get one soon.

And then every other option is on the table. We`ve had hearings over and over again on Medicare for all. Nothing is excluded, but the fact is we`ve never been in a situation like this, not even the great depression. It was a horrible economic disaster, but it was not complicated by people losing their lives to a pandemic. They lost their lives for other reasons, but not to a pandemic and at this rate.

But I love the enthusiasm of all the entrepreneurship. Let`s think in new and fresh different ways. That is the tradition of our party, bold, persistent experimentation. So let us not walk away from that enthusiasm and dynamism of our party.

But right now, we have important decisions to make. And let us respect legislation that goes forth as strictly for the people, for working families, no business thing or any of that, not -- for the people, and let us respect it for all that it does to the tune of trillions of dollars rather than judge it for some things that it does not.

REID: And, you know, I think we are actually out of time, but very quickly, what has been the pushback from the White House? We do know that -- or if any, you know, are you getting signals that this is something that the White House will go for, that the bill as put forward by the House?

PELOSI: Well, maybe -- as I said, well over 80 percent of what is in the bill is something that Republicans and Democrats have voted for and that the president has signed. So this is nothing foreign to them. We`ll have a fight over the postal service and some other --

REID: Sure.

PELOSI: -- strong OSHA standard which they have rejected before, but that - - we will persist in that fight.

But I do think that the American people, we are getting flooded with response to this. The Association of County Executives, league of cities, U.S. conference of mayors, some governors, bipartisan, Democrats and Republicans, because people are desperate and they need help. And this is a way to do it. And at the same time protect our heroes, those who work so hard, risk their lives to save other people`s lives. And now they may lose their jobs.

So we feel very excited about the choices that we had to make and the enthusiasm that we`re receiving from the American people. I don`t want to sound too enthusiastic because I`m very, very sad about how we`re in this situation.

REID: Absolutely.

PELOSI: And, again, always our prayers and thoughts to those who have lost their loved ones.

REID: I think there are who people very much appreciate that, hearing that from public officials. They don`t always hear it from the White House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, thank you so much. I really appreciate your time. Stay safe.

PELOSI: Thank you.

REID: Thank you.

And coming up, the whistleblower speaks. Ousted vaccine expert Dr. Rick Bright testifies that months into this pandemic, the administration is still dropping the ball.


RICK BRIGHT, FMR. DIRECTOR, BIOMEDICAL ADVANCE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY: Initially, our nation was not as prepared as we should have been.

We still do not have a standard, centralized coordinated plan.


REID: We`ve got much more to get to. Stay with us.


REID: Welcome back.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill today heard damning testimony from whistleblower who once led the federal agency overseeing vaccine development. Dr. Richard Bright, who filed a formal complaint last week, alleges that he was ousted from that job in retaliation for opposing the use of hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment.

Now, he`s shedding new light on the administration`s slow response to the global pandemic and he`s warning if the federal government does not do more, this country will face a dark winter.


BRIGHT: If we fail to improve our response now based on science, I fear the pandemic will get worse and be prolonged. There will be likely a resurgence of COVID-19 this fall and it will be greatly compounded by the challenges of seasonal influenza. Without better planning, 2020 could be the darkest winter in modern history.


REID: Wow. Among other things, Dr. Bright said that the administration`s 18-month timeline for a coronavirus vaccine is likely too optimistic. And he warned that even if a vaccine is developed earlier, the U.S. is not prepared to distribute it widely.


BRIGHT: If you can imagine this scenario this fall or winter, maybe even early next spring when vaccine becomes available, there`s no one company that can produce enough for our country or for the world. It`s going to mean limited supplies.

We need to have a strategy and plan in place now to make sure that we cannot only fill that vaccine, make it, distribute it, but administer it in a fair and equitable plan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that`s not the case at this point?

BRIGHT: We don`t have that yet, and it is a significant concern.


REID: Wow.

And here is how Bright described the moment in January when he realized that the supply of masks and other protective equipment would be insufficient to handle the looming crisis.


BRIGHT: I will never forget the e-mails I received from Mike Bowen indicating that our mask supply, our N95 respirator supply was -- was completely decimated.

And he said: We`re in deep (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

And I pushed that forward to the highest levels I could in HHS, and got no response. From that moment, I knew that we were going to have a crisis for our health care workers, because we were not taking action.


REID: Well, this comes after the president attacked Dr. Bright this morning, saying: "To me, he`s a disgruntled employee, not liked or respected by people I spoke to, who, with his attitude, should no longer be working for our government!"

It`s part of a long pattern that we have seen from this president, who flaunts his disregard for experts, even in the face of a crisis like this.

That is coming up next.


REID: Welcome back.

Today`s attack on Dr. Richard Bright is the latest of the president`s -- latest example of the president`s willingness to dismiss the expertise of public health officials.

It comes after Donald Trump yesterday criticized Dr. Anthony Fauci`s testimony to Congress, saying Fauci`s warning about reopening too quickly was -- quote -- "not acceptable."

That came on the same day that radio entertainer Rush Limbaugh publicly advised Trump to effectively humor Fauci, while dismissing his scientific advice.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Let me tell you how you deal with Fauci. You praise him to the hilt, exactly like Trump is doing. You praise him to the hilt. You talk about how brilliant he is, and you say that we`re so lucky to have Fauci.

Oh, my God, Tony, you should run for office. And then, privately, you ignore every damn thing he says and implement your own policy.


REID: Hmm.

Well, now Trump appears to be following Limbaugh`s advice. Surprise, surprise.

Here he is in a FOX Business interview this morning.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Anthony is a good person. Very good person. I disagreed with him.

I think that we have to open our schools. Young people are very little affected by this. I totally disagree with him on schools. And we will have members -- I call them embers. I call them spikes.

And he called -- I notice he used the word spike. Well, you might have that, and we will put it out.


REID: And joining me now -- I`m joined now, Democratic Congresswoman Robin Kelly of Illinois, who was in today`s hearing with Dr. Bright, and Dr. Lipi Roy, who is an internal medicine physician and MSNBC medical contributor, as well as Charlie Sykes, who is editor at large of The Bulwark.

Thank you all for being here.

And, Congresswoman -- excuse me -- you were in that hearing. And I want to get your take on what you heard.

But I first want to read you something that was in "The Financial Times." And it talks about the sort of meltdown in the way that the Trump administration has dealt with this pandemic.

And it says here: "`Any signal that the U.S. was bracing for a pandemic, including taking actual steps to prepare for it, was discouraged. Jared Kushner had been arguing that testing too many people or ordering too many ventilators would spook the markets, and so we just shouldn`t do it,`" says a Trump confidant who spoke to the president frequently.`"

"The advice worked far more powerfully on him than what the scientists were saying. He thinks they always exaggerate."

Donald Trump does not trust what scientists say, any more than he trusts his intelligence community what they say about Russia. He clearly didn`t trust the scientists in this case. He clearly didn`t trust the scientist who you heard -- who you heard testify today, Dr. Bright.

What you heard today, did it convince you that the lack of preparation was deliberate, that it was because Trump didn`t want it to look bad to Wall Street? Or was it just incompetence?

REP. ROBIN KELLY (D-IL): Well, I think it was incompetence, definitely.

I don`t think the president wanted people to die, but that is the consequence, so many people getting ill, so many people dying, because of their inaction, because of their incompetence.

And I found Dr. Bright to be very convincing. He seemed very -- actually, he seemed sad to me because he had to report this to us and very frustrated by what happened.

REID: And we know that he was, at least according to his whistle-blower complaint, Congresswoman, that he feels he was punished for trying to be honest and say that this pet treatment that Laura Ingraham and other people on his -- on Donald Trump`s favorite news channel were saying, this is a great idea, who aren`t scientists were saying, that he trusts like entertainers who say, take this drug, when Dr. Bright said, don`t, this is not the answer.

He says he was punished, right?

KELLY: He definitely was punished, without a doubt, I mean, because he spoke truth to power and he complained.

And this administration, as we all know, they do not care for that. And, you know, where a lot of us are expecting, you know, something to happen to Dr. Fauci, we hope that the president is smart enough that he won`t do anything.

But we think about it, definitely, because anyone that speaks up to him or speaks -- you know, says something different to the public than he once said, he has a problem with that, and he usually does something about it.

REID: Yes.

Let`s broaden this out and bring the rest of the panel in.

The other thing that Donald Trump does not seem to want is -- are truths that negate his happy talk, right? So he has happy talk about how great everything is going. And then there is the truth. And one of the truths are the number of people who have died.

The Daily Beast reports that the Trump team is now pushing the Centers for Disease Control to revise down its death counts. Trump and members of his Coronavirus Task Force are pushing officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to change how the agency works with states to count coronavirus deaths. And they`re pushing for revisions that could lead to far fewer deaths being counted than originally reported.

I want to start with Dr. Lipi Roy, because that -- well, I will ask the congresswoman if that is even legal.

But that is what The Daily Beast is reporting. What are your thoughts?

DR. LIPI ROY, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Good evening, Joy. It`s really good to be with you under really troubling circumstances.

You know, this death count, and projecting it down, it really highlights back to some of the things that Dr. Bright was saying.

Here`s a man who was really putting science and data at the top. And if we`re not even going to do that with data such as death counts, which is, you know, frankly, most doctors and public health professionals have been saying that the current counts are actually an underestimate, because there`s probably so many other cases that weren`t counted because they simply were not tested -- we`re only now doing maybe autopsy results and other -- other samples, frozen samples, to assess for the real causes of death.

It`s false, it`s disturbing and dangerous, this idea of manipulating the public with what`s real accurate information.

REID: Is it even legal, Congresswoman, for the CDC -- to try to push the CDC to just lie to us about the death counts?

KELLY: I know you`re asking me that question, and I have a chuckle because he doesn`t care what`s legal and what`s not legal.

He just wants his way. I wouldn`t think that it is legal. And, actually, we have strengthened what the CDC should be able to do with their counts as far as demographics and things like that. We want more information. And that was passed in the last bill. REID: Yes.

Let me play a little bit more of the testimony from Dr. Bright this morning. And this is in -- he`s talking about the fact that there was no sense of urgency in terms of securing masks and what that has cost us. Take a listen.


BRIGHT: They informed me they didn`t think -- believe there was a critical urgency to procure masks. They indicated, if we notice there is a shortage, that we will simply change the CDC guidelines to better inform people who should not be wearing those masks, so that would save those masks for our health care workers.

My response was, I cannot believe you can sit and say that with a straight face. That was absurd.

REP. KATHY CASTOR (D-FL): What was the consequence of this three-month delay and inadequate response? Were lives endangered?

BRIGHT: Lives were endangered, and I believe lives were lost.


REID: Charlie, the Occam`s razor answer, if you`re a president who doesn`t want the markets to be spooked by lots of people passing away and lots of health care workers getting sick and also potentially passing away, is that you would do everything in your power to make sure that people are safe.

This president hasn`t done that. He hasn`t done the logical thing one would do if you wanted to spin a political success out of a crisis.

Can you explain and understand that?

CHARLIE SYKES, EDITOR AT LARGE, THE BULWARK: Well, I can maybe explain it. But getting your head around it is difficult.

And I hate to disagree with the congresswoman, but this is not a matter of incompetence. This is choice.

What you are seeing is calculated recklessness on the part of the president of the United States, who has rejected the signs, who has made one choice after another that has put human lives at risk.

And now what you`re seeing is a president who has not only cast aside people like Anthony Fauci, but is actively tribalizing and politicizing this. And you`re seeing this here in my home state of Wisconsin.

So, this moment, I hope that people understand, because when we have had these moments before when we have said, well, this is stunning and this is remarkable, but the reality is that this whistle-blower testimony today would bring down almost any other president, because we`re not talking about a political appointee.

We`re talking about the key government official in charge of this sort of thing. And what he says is absolutely chilling. And I`m really glad that you talked about that -- the article by Edward Luce about the way that Jared Kushner talked Donald Trump out of paying attention to the experts, talked him out of emphasizing the tests, because this is not just incompetence.

We`re in a totally different world now.

REID: Yes, absolutely.

And to stay with you just for a moment -- I know we`re running short on time -- but the Wisconsin Supreme Court seems to be acting like a few little mini-Trumps. The idea that they would overturn a stay-at-home order that`s designed to save lives, these actions that seem to jeopardize life seem illogical to me for anyone who is then an elected official, who would then seek reelection.

And we know some of these courts are elected. So, what is this about?


Well, the legal issues are very technical, whether it was a rule or an order. But I think the most disturbing thing out of Wisconsin is watching the reaction, watching the videos of people who are crowding into the bars, not engaging in social distancing, not wearing the masks.

And what you`re seeing there is the breakdown of the social consensus that we`re all in this together and that we need to behave in a rational, reasonable, and responsible manner.

And I think what`s scary about it. And the governor said that we`re now the Wild West. What we have here in Wisconsin is now chaos. And that`s really unfortunate, but, again, that`s part of the tribalization and the politicization of this crisis.

REID: Yes, unfortunately. Shocking to watch.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Dr. Lipi Roy, Charlie Sykes, thank you all very much. Please stay safe out there.

KELLY: Thank you.

REID: And up next: Senator Richard Burr is step -- thank you -- is stepping down today as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, as his pre- pandemic stock transactions get more scrutiny.

We will bring you the latest on that next.



QUESTION: Are you going to participate and cooperate with investigators?

SEN. RICHARD BURR (R-NC): I have been since the beginning.

QUESTION: So, you resigned your chairmanship. Why did you choose to make that decision?

BURR: This is a distraction to the hard work of the committee and the members. And I think the security of the country is too important to have a distraction.


REID: Welcome back.

That was Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, chairman of the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee, earlier today.

While the senator did not actually resign his chairmanship, he has temporarily stepped down. And it comes after the FBI seized the senator`s cell phone.

A senior law enforcement official tells NBC News it`s part of a federal investigation into possible insider trading.

It was reported back in March that Burr and three other senators sold stocks following a January briefing on the coronavirus outbreak.

The sale comes just days before the bottom fell out of the market, which dropped more than 30 percent over the next month.

As chairman, Burr was also receiving regular coronavirus briefings. At the time, Burr released a statement saying that he relied solely on public news reports to guide his investment decisions and called for the Senate Ethics Committee to open a review.

And for more I`m joined by former U.S. attorney Joyce Vance.

Joyce, thank you so much for being here.

We will note Burr sold, so did his brother-in-law, Gerald Fauth. And he did have those briefings.

How much trouble do you think he might be in?

JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: It`s hard to know without looking at the actual evidence, Joy, but I think the signal this search warrant was executed for this cell phone is a pretty good indication that the investigation has reached some serious pay dirt and prosecutors are seriously looking at charges here.

REID: Yes. And, you know, there`s a lot about this that is odd. So you had Matt Gaetz who was one of Donald Trump`s sort of henchmen in the House tweeting out a guy named Mike Cernovich, who`s a right wing provocateurs, saying that Burr tormented prominent Trump supporters including Donald Trump Jr. and sort of like, ha, ha, you know, he`s getting caught I guess is the sort of implication of it because he did agree, the Senate intelligence chair, that Russia attacked the election to help Trump.

It feels weird when that happened and Kelly Loeffler who also traded stock who is an ally of Donald Trump does not seem to be under the same scrutiny. Is that too much to think it feels as if friends of the regime, yes, others, no?

VANCE: So I`d say two things. First, I wouldn`t assume Senator Loeffler is out of the woods. Prosecutors like to run silent and deep for as long as they can with an investigation only bringing it public very late, very close to indictment, for instance, searching a search warrant. I would assume that prosecutors and investigators are looking at everyone for whom concerns were raised by stock reporting requirements.

The point you start out by making, Joy, I think is a really important one and this is why it`s so important that the Justice Department maintain independence from the White House in terms of its conduct of individual criminal prosecution prosecutions. So that there`s never any possibility of people asking the question that you and I are being forced to look at tonight, is there a prosecution that`s happening here for a political reason? Is the president subverting the criminal justice process?

The fact that we even have to ask that question, I think, speaks to how far this president and this attorney general have damaged the credibility of the Justice Department in the eyes of the public.

REID: Yes, and I think it feels that way that you can`t trust what`s coming out of the Justice Department whether it`s Michael Flynn suddenly after pleading guilty saying, oh, you`re OK, we don`t want to prosecute Michael Flynn anymore and he`s loyal to Trump. Paul Manafort who remained loyal to Trump through and through thick and thin now gets this early release, that I saw your tweet saying it`s questionable whether he was qualified for it. Somebody like Michael Cohen, I don`t know if he`s even qualified for it, isn`t.

It feels like there`s a theme, Joyce. I think that`s the challenge, right?

VANCE: It is the challenge and has been ever since Jim Comey was fired. The question has been, is the president trying to exert undo influence over the criminal justice system? That`s one of the crown gems of our democracy.

This notion we don`t prosecute people based on who`s in power, who they`ve made angry in the White House. That that function is independent. Now, we all have to worry. Is the president still above the law? Do his friends get special treatment? Are his enemies targets? That`s really I think a sad place, an unfortunate place, for us to be but it is nonetheless where we are.

REID: Indeed. A frightening place to be, indeed, for a democracy. Joyce Vance, stay safe and thank you so much for your time tonight.

And still ahead, new developments in a case of a Kentucky first responder shot eight times and killed by police inside her own home. The family`s lawyer who also represents the family of the late Ahmaud Arbery joins us, next.


REID: Welcome back.

Breonna Taylor was a 26-year-old essential worker fighting the coronavirus pandemic on the front lines as a Kentucky EMT. On the night of March 13th, her life was cut short not because of the virus but because she was shot eight times and killed by Louisville police officers who were investigating individuals suspected of selling drugs. None of whom was Breonna Taylor.

Taylor`s family has filed a lawsuit against the police department for excessive force and gross negligence. According to the suit, police arrived unannounced to Taylor`s home after midnight. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who was with her at the time, says he thought someone was breaking into the apartment and fired a weapon he was licensed to own in self-defense hitting an officer in the leg.

The lawsuit accuses the police of blindly returning fire, unloading 20 rounds into the apartment and killing Taylor. This week, the Louisville Police Department citing the ongoing investigation declined to comment on the case, but at a news conference in March, they claimed that police had announced their presence and were immediately met by gunfire.

Today, the mayor of Louisville announced a public integrity investigation would begin into the shooting and that it will be sent to federal officials for review. Kentucky`s attorney general will examine the evidence and announce a course of action. This investigation into Taylor`s killing comes just weeks after a new prosecutor was selected to investigate the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man killed while jogging in Georgia.

For more, I`m joined by Errin Haines, editor at large for "The 19" and Benjamin Crump, the attorney representing Taylor`s family. And he also represents the family of Ahmaud Arbery.

And thank you, all, for being here.

Ben, I want to start with you on just the specifics on this case. Police are claiming that they announced their presence when they entered this apartment, which I understand to have been the wrong apartment, where this -- and say they announced their presence. That is a bone of contention, whether they announced their presence.

And was this also not the apartment and was the person they were looking for not in custody?

BENJAMIN CRUMP, TAYLOR FAMILY`S ATTORNEY: Joy, when you think about the changing stories of the Louisville Police Department, you really have to scratch your head. They kept saying they announced themselves. They identified themselves.

However, just two days ago, they announced it was a no knock warrant and they did not have to identify themselves or announce themselves. But just imagine, Joy, if you`re home sleeping in your bed, it`s 1:00 in the morning and suddenly you hear something rumbling at the door. They called 911 and then all of a sudden, battle ram bust open the door and Kenny tries to protect home and wife and the police unleash a barrage of bullets, far more than 20 when you look at the number of holes in the apartment billing.

It`s reckless that a young girl 5 years old sleeping at her bedroom in the next apartment has bullets in her room and they come from the back window. They come from the patio door and Breonna who is there in her underwear body is riddled and eight gunshots and she is an innocent young lady with no criminal history whatsoever.

The person they were searching for in the search warrant was already in custody of Louisville`s police department, and then they arrest Kenny Walker, her boyfriend and charge him with second-degree murder and it is as if African-Americans don`t have a right to the Second Amendment. We don`t have a right to protect our castle or claim self-defense.

REID: The whole story is so shocking and, Errin, your story in "The Washington Post" I think moved a lot of this. The interview with her mom in which she talks about fearing that her daughter would be -- would have her life put in jeopardy by COVID-19 because she`s working as an EMT. She`s working with the pandemic, working in the midst of the pandemic and that`s what the mom feared. For her to lose her daughter to this is shocking.

How is the family even coping?

ERRIN HAINES, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, THE 19TH: Well, yes, I did talk to Breonna`s mother, Tomeka Palmer (ph), and she is looking for answers. You know, she said she had not heard from city officials in the two months since her daughter had been killed, and, you know, she said that she basically had to figure out on her own that that was what had happened to her daughter the night she had been killed after going to her apartment complex, going to the hospital, trying to figure out what happened with her daughter.

And so, yes, during this pandemic, she had been talking to Breonna, telling her stay safe. Wash your hands. Never really imagining that it would not be the pandemic that took her life but being killed by police officers in, unfortunately, a story that`s made headlines all too often in recent years as we know.

REID: And, you know, very quickly, Errin, is it the case that the mom was on the phone at one point with the boyfriend while this was going on?

HAINES: That`s my understanding. When I spoke to Ms. Palmer, she said Mr. Walker had called her because he thought that there was an intruder in the house and he wasn`t sure what was going on and the next thing she knew after being stirred awake after midnight was hearing the voice of her boyfriend saying I think Breonna has been shot.

At that point, you know, she jumps out of the bed and tries to figure out what is going on with her daughter and, you know, this was a story I frankly had not been aware of, a lot of national media was not aware of because the pandemic was really dominating the headlines and you didn`t see kind of the kind of national outrage and protest that we`ve seen in some previous matters because people can`t travel. People can`t fly to be only the ground and protest. Now that this case is getting attention and virtually so, as so much that is happening in our country in this moment.

REID: And, you know, I think that`s an important point. Ben, because what you had was this case came sort of in the wake of the case you`re also representing the family of, which is the Ahmaud Arbery case in Georgia, in which a convoy of armed men, you know, boxed in a young man and killed him. That case took off. And this case was sort of subsumed by just by the COVID-19 pandemic issue but that case, as well.

It feels like, you know, black lives matter and the pandemic has sort of merged as a story now in a really terrifying way in a sense of not feeling safe because of disproportionate getting the COVID-19 virus in the black community disproportionately but also this.

CRUMP: Absolutely. I think the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to find different ways to be able to give voice to disenfranchised marginalized citizens. It is so ironic that we have to say, if you ran with Ahmaud, you need to stand with Bre because black women lives matter too.

And the other thing I would say, Joy, that is so ironic, you get to see self-defense in black and white in these cases between Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. The killers of Ahmaud Arbery killed him in broad daylight, and we saw on video, they executed him and yet when the police showed up, they said self-defense and they were not arrested and they were allowed to go home and sleep in their beds in peace for over ten weeks.

But then when Kenny Walker, Breonna Taylor`s boyfriend defends his castle and defends his woman and he says self-defense, the police arrest him immediately that night and charge him with attempted murder and he is facing 25 years in prison even though he didn`t kill anybody.

REID: Yes. It`s pretty -- it`s pretty sharp dichotomy. I don`t get any starker than that.

Errin Haines, Ben Crump, thank you both very much. Please be safe.

And we`ll be right back.


REID: Tonight, tune into a special "THE LAST WORD" with Lawrence O`Donnell and Joe Biden. They`re going to be joined by Stacey Abrams tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, on MSNBC.

Thanks so much for being with us. I`ll be right here tomorrow night at 7:00.

Don`t go anywhere. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" is up next.