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Floyd's death TRANSCRIPT: 5/28/20, MSNBC Live

Guests: Christina Greer, Benjamin Crump, Karen Bass, Glenn Kirschner, Tony Schwartz, Laurence Tribe, Valerie Jarrett

CHRISTINA GREER, ASSOCIATED PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: And they`re really seeing the explicit nature that the police just -- many police officers, not all but many police officers see black and brown skin and immediately think of criminality.

AYMAN MOHYELDIN, MSNBC HOST: Yes. I think a lot of people are wondering just how much more grief this country can take seeing these videos every day, it seems like. Christina Greer, Mark Claxton, and all my guest this hour thanks you very much for joining us.

That does it for on the THE BEAT tonight. I`ll be back here starting at 10:00 A.M. tomorrow morning, keep it right here, on MSNBC.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. I`m Joy Reid and this is America tonight. Across the country, protests continue amid of growing national outcry over the death of George Floyd from New York, to Chicago, to Minneapolis, which remains on edge for a third day, and is bracing for another night of demonstration.

Floyd, an unarmed man died Friday in police custody after being pinned to the ground by the neck by a Minneapolis police officer, whose knee remained pressed into Floyd`s neck for more than eight minutes. Horrified bystanders, including a 17-year-old girl who filmed the incident watched.

Police say that they were responding to a report of a forgery and that Floyd resisted officers. All four in the incident have been fired, but not charged. And that decision not to charge the officers stands as of tonight, based on a press conference by state officials that concluded less than half an hour ago.

Earlier today, Minneapolis park police released new body cam footage with video and audio heavily redacted. But it does not show the period leading up to George Floyd`s death. His death is being investigated by the State of Minnesota. And today, the FBI pledge a robust criminal investigation into Floyd`s killing and the officers involved in the arrests.


ERICA MACDONALD, U.S. ATTORNEY: I can tell you, I can tell the community, I can tell everybody interested that it is critical, it is essential, it is imperative that the investigation is done right and done right the first time, and that is what we are going to do.

MIKE FREEMAN, HENNEPIN COUNTY ATTORNEY: I will say this, that that video is graphic and horrific and terrible and no person should do that. But my job in the end is to prove that he violated a criminal statute and there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge. We need to wade through all of that evidence and to come through to a meaningful determination.


REID: Last night, peaceful protests in Minneapolis escalated as demonstrators clashed with police who fired tear gas and rubber bullets. Quite a contrast from the armed protests we`ve seen all most -- that we`ve seen against COVID-19 restrictions.

Today, Governor Tim Walls activated the Minnesota National Guard to respond to the protests. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who has called for the arrest of the four officers involved said hard work will be required to restore peace in the city.


MAYOR JACOB FREY (D-MN), MINNEAPOLIS: What we`ve seen over the last two days and the emotion-ridden conflict over last night is the result of so much built-up anger and sadness, anger and sadness that has been engrained in our black community, not just because of five minutes of horror, but 400 years.


REID: Floyd is the third black American killed in less than a month under circumstances that have provoked national outrage, which explains why his killing has caused tensions to explode and to even overtake our coverage of the pandemic.

And for more I`m joined by California Congresswoman Karen Bass, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the Floyd family and NBC News Correspondent Gabe Gutierrez in Minneapolis. Thank you all for being here.

I am going to go to you first, Ben, because you are representing the family and I just want to ask you, what did you make of the press conference today at which the decision, at least for now, was made that there will not be prosecutions? And what does the family think of that?

BENJAMIN CRUMP, FLOYD FAMILY ATTORNEY: It was very sad, Joy. George Floyd`s family who watched the press conference along with me was disgusted. They continue to say, all the evidence you need, all the probable cause you need is on the video. People in our community are arrested every day for far less probable cause than a video showing a man being killed by another man putting his knee on his neck for eight minutes.

And you can just imagine, Joy, how this must make this family feel every time they wake up another day and the murders of their (INAUDIBLE) is not arrested. It is an insult to justice every day they`re not arrested. And I know the district attorney and the federal department of justice had been reaching out to the family and say, please have patience with us, we`re working as hard as we can.

But that follows on you know just deaf ears when you think about the lessons from Eric Garner. How can we trust them? You had video in that case, he said I can`t breathe, many times. And yet nobody was arrested and charged and held accountable for the death of that unarmed black man who was alleged to have committed a non-violent criminal charge, just like George Floyd.

And the last thing I will say because I told them I will say this, any witnesses that were there who witnessed George Floyd being killed at the hands of the Minneapolis police department, we implore you to contact the district attorney`s office so they won`t have that excuse anymore.

REID: Yes. And, you know, I will note that, The Washington Post reports and even police chiefs who normally would say, you know, wait and stay for calm. Not this time. In years past, police officers probably would have called for full-time consuming investigation and patience from angry citizens until all the facts are in. Not this time. There is disgust across the country at what we are seeing.

And we also see that, Gabe Gutierrez, out there in the streets of Minneapolis. We see lot and lots of people out there at a time of COVID, when staying home is what people have been faithfully doing. Not today. Give us a sense of what`s happening out there?

GABE GUTIERREZ, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Joy. We just heard Mr. Crump talk about how the family was disgusted. And that`s really the sense you get from some of the protesters here. First, I want to give you an idea for where I am. You can see behind me, this is the damage from that AutoZone fire, the auto parts store that went up in flames last night. Authorities spent most of the day assessing the damage in this part of South Minneapolis.

But if we spin the camera around, you can see that hundreds of protesters have gathered here following that news conference that you just discussed, that wrapped up a short time ago, again, authorities promising a speedy investigation. However, no charges and any of these protesters are frustrated.

Now, we should point out, Joy, these protesters right here have been peaceful. The last several minutes, you know, they have been gathered here. And there really hasn`t been too many problems on this side. But I can`t tell you, just a few minutes ago, just down the block, there were reports of a possible stabbing. Another group of protesters went down that way.

And there was already a clash with police tonight. There were police lobbed some smoke bombs trying to disperse the crowd, yet again. And this afternoon in St. Paul, which is nearby, I saw rampant looting, and many businesses, protesters are -- you know, looters were going business to business and ransacking the place, taking whatever they can find. And when police would show up, dispersed the crowd they`d move to another business.

So authorities are pleading for calm right now. Many of these protesters are demanding answers. They are demanding charges against the officers. But that hasn`t come today. There`s no timetable on when that might happen. But there is concern that this could descend into another night of violence, a third night of protest here. Again, this area right here, and we should point out, the vast majority of the people here are protesting peacefully. There is no violence in what you`re seeing right now.

But there is a very fine line sometimes. And this could escalate very quickly and, again, it`s a situation where the police -- you know, they do have a difficult timeline to walk. And they do not want this to escalate like it did last night, Joy.

REID: Thank you very much, Gabe. But I think we should note also for viewers that it is the law enforcement`s job to maintain the peace. It is law enforcement`s job. Those protesters are obviously angry. And they`re not angry over nothing. They`re angry for a reason. Let`s -- is Shaquille Brewster available? Shaq Brewster, let`s get you involved here. Tell us what`s going on where you are.

SHAQUILLE BREWSTER, NBC NEWS POLITICAL REPORTER: Joy, I tell you, we are down the street from where Gabe is right now. And he mentioned how things escalate very quickly. And that`s exactly what we saw. Because it was in this block right down there -- you see the crowds behind me, Gabe is back there.

And it was in, if you split the difference between the two, right there where that Wendy`s sign is, there was someone who is apparently stabbed and then there was someone who stabbed the person who`s under a citizen`s arrest. So weapons was drawn and sitting on the ground.

And police were called in, and they had to go right in the middle of the crowd, the hostile nature of the crowd rocks thrown, and they had a police caravan go straight into the middle of the crowd. Rocks are being thrown they set up a perimeter, that`s when you saw flash bangs, that`s when you saw some use of tear gas. And they had to do that to distract the person.

As the person was leaving, they had more rocks pelted at them, more water bottles pelted at them. That was an escalation that happened extremely quickly, because just about a half hour before that, it was a very calm scene. There were people with speakers playing music. People are saying that they wanted to make sure that tonight was a peaceful night. They wanted to take control of the narrative again. And that`s what you are hearing -- and that`s what you see, I should say, when you have been here. It escalates very quickly.

I tell you, it was 24 hours now where the situation down there was much different than what you are seeing. It was flash bangs every ten minutes going off, or every few seconds. You saw a lost tear gas, people are rushing. That when the looting started. And then the buildings that you see actually to my right, that`s when the burning of the buildings happened.

You`re not seeing that scene right now. There are flare-ups here and there. But right now, a much calmer scene. What the main message from protesters have been, and people have been coming down all day, people who are spectating and looking at what was going on, and people who also are here for what they say justice. They want justice for George Floyd. The main message that they have is that they want to see the officers involved. They want to see those officers arrested.

And we heard the announcement from the FBI and the state investigators today. Again, they`re running those two-separate investigation. They both said they promised people justice. They said, they`ll move as quickly as possible. But they did not make the decision to charge. Many people I talked to, the point that they make continuously is that if you look at that ten-minute video, the video that started the outrage, that has spread throughout that we saw on Monday or, excuse me, Tuesday morning, it`s that video that should be enough. If it was any other person, they`d say, they would be arrested right now.

And that`s the frustration that you hear from person after person in this community. They believe all the evidence is there to arrest, and that you can still have an investigation. But you can`t take the person who killed George Floyd off the street. That`s the message you hear tonight. Joy?

REID: Thanks. I just want to clarify one thing. There is no reporting that this alleged stabbing is directly related to the protests, right? Do we? Is that a connection that`s already been made by the police?

BREWSTER: No, no. It`s too early to say. It was in the same area. It was in the same direction of the area. Police had to go straight into the heart of the protest to do it. But, no, the individual, we don`t know, that reporting has not been done.

And I spoke to someone who said they were trying to protect one of the victims, someone who had something -- some sort of injury. That wasn`t exactly clear. They were trying to protect this woman and there was a crowd of protesters that have circled her to help the police go and just check her out.

REID: Thank you very much, Shaquille Brewster.

Please, everybody, stay where you are. I want to go to Congresswoman Kkaren Bass. You know, Ben Crump, mentioned Eric Garner and the, I can`t breathe. You know, both of those two men saying that it is searing how much, how similar that is.

But I also think about the Rodney King situation that took place in your state in California. That was another incidence in which just the people`s raw anger and frustration boiled over and not from nowhere, from seeing a man die, a man deeply injured. Your thoughts, Congresswoman.

REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA): Well, first of all, absolutely, I certainly thought about and remembered Rodney King in 1992. I was right in the center of that. And you know when the Rodney King beating happened, that was really the first time we actually saw something on video.

And I know this sounds terrible to say, but many of us who have worked so many years to address police abuse said finally, they have to admit what happened. Because for so many years, when the police would attack you, what would happen is that then you would get arrested for assault of a police officer. But we were certain that because there was a video that everything would turn out right, and when it didn`t, then Los Angeles blew up right on the corner of Florence and Normandy. It was just awful. Many people died. It went on for three days. It was the largest civil arrests in U.S. history.

And so when I watched what is happening today, it is just so painful. It almost feels like open seas on black folks, because you saw what happened in Central Park. And you know, I just think about it for a minute. If you could imagine, if that police officer had been there and he had had his knee on the neck of an animal, on a dog, for eight minutes and killed that dog, there would have been massive outrage, massive outrage.

The woman who called the police in Central Park, she had her dog, she lifted him up by the collar. He was a rescue dog. Do you know they took that dog back because they didn`t like the way she treated the dog? She put that black man at risk. He could have lost his life.

You have that. You have the citations that have happened in New York with African Americans and Latinos, not necessarily wearing the protective gear or doing social distancing. And you counter-pose that to hundreds of white folks at a swimming party or what you mentioned the people that went to the state house in Michigan fully armed, no protection, screaming in the faces of the police. The comparison is just a little bit too much that`s why it feels like open season.

And I know the police have a tough job, they do. And I like the fact that a number of police departments were outraged by what they saw. I think the mayor has handled it beautifully. I`m concerned that the governor is calling out the National Guard. What they need to do is arrest these individuals immediately. If they do an investigation and for some reason decide they`re not guilty, then fine. But how is it that you can murder someone in cold blood, you lose your job, I`m glad the police department did that, and you don`t get arrested? Where is the justice?

REID: Yes. It is confounding. Everybody please stay where you are. We want to keep these great guests around as long as we can, but I want to bring in Glen Kirschner, who is a former Federal Prosecutor, well knows to all of those who watch MSNBC.

And, Glen, I have a few questions, I have several questions for you as a prosecutor. I think one of the challenges that people have with the idea that justice will prevail in a case like this is that prosecutors, your former job, and police are partners. So they work together to get convictions. So there is already an amenability between the two of them. And it`s not clear that there is a habit of holding police officers to account.

Let me just give two examples. Two of the officers who were involved in Mr. Floyd`s death had previous incidents. NBC News reports the Minneapolis police officer seen kneeling on the neck of George Floyd was a 19-year department veteran who was the subject of at least a dozen police conduct complaints that resulted in no disciplinary action and one that led to a letter of reprimand. The officer, Derek Chauvin, had a career that included use of force incidents on at least one -- and at least one lawsuit related to an allegation of violations of a prisoner`s federal constitutional rights, yet was still a practicing officer.

The second officer who you see standing there facing the young people who were videotaping this horror and yelling, please, stop, this second officer whose name is Tou Thao. In 2017 Lamar Ferguson sued this officer, Mr. Thao, and another officer for excessive use of force. According to the lawsuit, Ferguson and a woman who was eight months pregnant were walking home when Thao, stopped them and searched them without cause. The officers handcuffed Ferguson and Thao threw them on the ground and began punching him.

How is it that prosecutors don`t look at officers like that and say they`re detrimental to the practice of justice and get them off the force? They stay and they get to keep being police?

GLENN KIRSCHNER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: You know, Joy, there are abuses and it`s natural when prosecutors work with police officer day in and day out for years. They do develop relationships, professional relationships and sometimes personal relationships.

But the thing is I always made it a point to convey to the prosecutors that I was supervising in the homicide section, you hold officers to a higher standard, not a lower standard. And you never let your personal feelings or your personal relationships cloud your judgment when it comes to the evidence in a case.

That goes for when you`re working with victims, when you are working with cooperating witnesses and especially when you`re working with police officers, because we give police officers enormous powers over the citizenry, powers to arrest, powers to use all necessary force to arrest.

And we as prosecutor have to guard against letting our professional relationships interfere with our ability to see the evidence clearly. And, Joy, when I see that tape, I see evidence clearly. Part of my responsibility as chief of homicide at the DC U.S. Attorney`s Office was to review arrest warrants in murder cases, to see whether there was adequate evidence to make out probable cause to approve that arrest warrant. And if there was, it was my responsibility to sign that arrest warrant.

I also worked excessive use of force cases that involve death, because I was sort of the homicide expert. So, when I saw police officers engaged in excessive force, you know, that was not something that we got to put on the backburner and wait for the evidence to come through perfectly because we could make a decision.

Let`s think about this. These officers were immediately fired. So, we know the police department made an instant calculation, how could they not, that what they did to George Floyd was dead wrong and they needed to be immediately terminated.

But you know what? You can get fired for showing up late to work a handful of times. What I saw on that tape was criminal homicide.

And here`s the other thing. You can charge someone right now with a lower level of homicide, if you`re not entirely sure you have all the relevant evidence.

You can issue an arrest warrant for manslaughter, arrest these officers, and then work the case in the grand jury to see whether that original manslaughter charge should be bumped up to second-degree murder or bumped up to first-degree murder, because, when you kneel on a man`s neck for nine minutes until he`s dead, and he doesn`t appear to be struggling -- and they`re almost mocking him by saying, get up and get in the car.

And he`s saying, sir, I can`t. And we can all see he couldn`t get up and get in the car.

The police have a responsibility, not only to the citizens, but, Joy, as you said a few minutes ago, with the protests that have erupted. And how could they not? They have the responsibility to keep the peace. The way you keep the peace is not just going after the protesters. The way you keep the peace is by arresting these criminal officers now.

REID: And, really quickly, to stay with you just for a moment, because you mentioned the grand jury process.

Here`s the challenge, Glenn. I sat on a grand jury once. The -- there`s a lot of influence that a prosecutor has with the grand jury. They`re leading the grand jury, right? They`re leading the grand jury where they want them to go.

We saw, in the case of Michael Brown, it was clear that the prosecutor really had no motivation to see the officer prosecuted. You can -- you see where they want it to go, and it goes where they want it to go.

So, if a grand jury -- if it`s left to a grand jury, isn`t that just punting the ball? Can`t the prosecutor charge these officers themselves?

KIRSCHNER: Yes, you can. You can, in the first instance, charge somebody by complaint. You can sign a complaint, but then you have to president it to a grand jury in most jurisdictions in order to obtain a felony indictment, an indictment on any felony charge.

And here`s the thing. Yes, Joy, we all have heard that a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich. Prosecutors can lead juries -- can lead grand juries toward an indictment, and they can lead grand juries away from an indictment.

But if they`re doing their job honestly and ethically, then they actually let the evidence take the lead in the grand jury, because you don`t want to use the grand jury as cover for a bad decision or a bad outcome that you are seeking, whether it`s to protect an officer, or go after an officer sort of more vigorously than the evidence would support.

So, we have to hope the prosecutors will do a straight-up honest job -- the vast majority of them, of us, do -- and let the evidence take the lead. But that doesn`t mean you have to spend weeks and weeks in the grand jury, because you can charge these men.

I have signed arrest warrants on much less than what I have seen on that videotape.

REID: And I`m going to get the congresswoman back in.

But I want to go back to Benjamin Crump for just a moment.

You -- just based on what you have just heard, you know that two of these officers have previous incidents on their records. What do you -- what do the family, what do you make of that? Because I know you have another case. You have three cases right now, one of which involves former police officers who prosecutors initially said, no, we don`t want to bring any charges against them, in the Ahmaud Arbery case.

You -- it`s not clear -- the original charge against the boyfriend of Breonna Taylor, to say that he`s the person who should be charged, because he tried to defend his castle, tried to defend his girlfriend, when strangers burst in.

So, this doesn`t seem to work for black victims.

CRUMP: Well, certainly, the grand jury process has never been a friend to unarmed people of color who have killed by police.

It seems that they change the rules, Joy. When the prosecutors are prosecuting young black people, it seems like they can always get a prosecution from -- indictment from a grand jury.

But when we`re the victims, whether it`s Eric Garner, whether it`s Tamir Rice, whether it`s Michael Brown, it`s like they can never get an indictment. And that is the problem. That`s why you sense the frustration of the citizens and the protesters there in Minneapolis, because we don`t want you to continue to do this again.

Philonise Floyd, his brother, said, we`re tired of black people being killed and nothing happening.

I was listening to the congresswoman. And I guess I want to thank her in some ways for plugging my book, "The Open Season: The Legalized Genocide of Colored People," because it`s the whole criminal justice system that continues to intellectually justify the discrimination when it comes to equal justice for black people in America.

And that`s exactly what`s happening, Joy, regardless of the coronavirus pandemic, we`re dealing with the pandemic we know far too much as black Americans, and that is the pandemic of racism and discrimination.

REID: And, Congresswoman, I cut you off, and I apologize.

But I would like you to speak to this both as a member of Congress, but also as a former state legislator who was quite high up. You were quite high up in the state legislature in California.

Why is it that the law doesn`t prevent officers who have serial incidents on their records about -- of abuse of force from no longer being able to be police? Even these fired officers presumably could just go to the next town over and still be police officers.

And I`m not sure the public would even have a right to know what their records are. So, why is it that the laws -- and I know you can only speak to one state, but why do the laws allow police so much latitude and offer so many restrictions?

BASS: Well, I appreciate you asking.

I think that the police officers unions over the years have been very, very powerful. Let me add an additional one, the fact that many officers -- and you hear it all the time. After there`s an incident like this, what they say is, is that they were in fear of their life.

And so the standard that is used to determine whether or not a police officer has used force appropriately is so low. I mean, how can you debate an officer saying, well, I was in fear of my life?

I mean, the idea of police profiling, that has been a big issue. California is a very liberal state, Democratic legislature. They have passed legislation around profiling, but it is very, very difficult to pass legislation. It`s done on a state level. We certainly are looking at a lot of different legislative ideas.

And you know, of course, members of the Congressional Black Caucus have been introducing legislation around police accountability for many years.

And so we will continue. But the major reason is because police unions in every state and organizations that push the agenda of police unions have made sure that it is very difficult to pass any type of legislation at all.

You`re called soft on crime. You don`t care about the victims. And so that is the situation that we`re in. But we absolutely have to keep pressing. This has to end at some point in time.

REID: Yes, indeed.

And, Glenn, I will throw that question to you as well, because it doesn`t seem that there is any -- there isn`t any penalty, right? If an officer has abuse of force issues, that is shielded from the public. They`re allowed to still be police officers.

It feels like there just is an absolute lack of accountability.

KIRSCHNER: You know, daylight is the best disinfectant.

And if we haven`t learned from the mistakes and the abuses that we see time and time again that we need to have information about how police officers are conducting themselves, how police departments are conducting themselves, so we can make informed decisions about who we want to entrust these broad police powers to, I think better vetting up front of people who want to take on the awesome responsibility of being a law enforcement officer, carrying a gun, carrying a badge, being able to order citizens to do this or don`t do that.

You know what? If you seek out that awesome power and responsibility, then you should expect your life will be an open book with respect to anything that might disqualify you from serving honorably and protecting the American public, rather than doing damage to the people.


REID: And do you expect -- and, Karen Bass, from having gone through this, might we expect some of those protesters to be more likely to be arrested in the near future than the officers?

BASS: Oh, absolutely.

But one thing that is encouraging, though, from looking at the protesters, is, is that that`s a very multiracial crowd. And so people understand...

REID: Yes.

BASS: ... that this might be an attack on the black community today, but they also understand their vulnerability as well. And they understand their privilege, the fact that they have a completely different relationship with police than black people do.

And so I`m encouraged by it. And I do hope, though, that they are peaceful, because the idea of them being violent and the idea of burning and looting and all of that, unfortunately, the area that they`re doing that in, it only hurts the community.

It is not the way to find a solution here at all.

REID: Congresswoman Karen Bass, Benjamin Crump, Glenn Kirschner, thank you very much, and our great reporters Shaquille Brewster and Gabe Gutierrez.

We are going to continue following this breaking news from Minneapolis and to bring you the latest throughout the hour.

And coming up: Donald Trump continues his trumped-up fight against social media companies.

I will talk with constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe, and Tony Schwartz, the man who wrote the book that made Trump, his bestseller "The Art of the Deal."

We have got so much more to get to, lots and lots more breaking news.

Stay with us.


REID: Welcome back.

As the country yesterday collectively absorbed the fact that 100,000 fellow Americans have died from the coronavirus, and the president`s attention was clearly elsewhere. He was busy threatening to shut down social media companies because Twitter took steps to refute just a few of his false claims.

Now Trump is retaliating with a new executive order intended to challenge the legal protections social media companies receive under the law.

Here`s Trump late today:


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The choices that Twitter makes when it chooses to suppress, edit, blacklist, shadow ban are editorial decisions, pure and simple. They`re editorial decisions.

What they`re doing is tantamount to monopoly, you can say. It`s tantamount to taking over the airwaves. Can`t let it happen. Otherwise, we`re not going to have a democracy. We`re not going to have anything to do with a republic.


REID: But Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe says that Twitter has every right to regulate user content.

And Professor Tribe joins me now. I`m also joined by Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter of "The Art of the Deal," who`s become a vocal critic of the president.

Professor Tribe, this is strange. Donald Trump was built by Twitter, in many ways, but now he thinks he can regulate it. Does he have any power to control Twitter?


The First Amendment protects private platforms like Twitter. Whether you regard them as having editorial power or not is beside the point. They are private speakers. And they are private platforms.

The only constitutional violation on Twitter so far, as far as I can tell, has been that of Donald Trump himself, not only when he threatens to shut it down and to take all kinds of vindictive steps against it and other social media, but, last year, the United States Court of Appeals in New York held that Trump violated the First Amendment rights of his critics when he used Twitter as a public forum, and then selectively blocked those people whose views he didn`t like.

So what he`s doing in the middle of really two pandemics, the pandemic of racism and the COVID-19 pandemic, is engaging in distraction and dissembling. He is creating a problem where there really was none.

When Twitter said that there are some serious factual problems with some of what he was saying about a possible stealing of the next election, which is a problem in itself, Twitter was simply informing the people that there was no basis that it was aware of for Trump`s claim that voting by mail is particularly vulnerable to fraud.

So, now he creates this huge hubbub. He`s got the attorney general standing next to him. But when you read the text of the executive order -- and I have done that -- it`s basically just a speech. It`s a pretty good speech, but filled with misstatements.

It suggests that the social media are all biased, not in his favor, but in favor of some liberal cabal, and he`s distracting. It`s nonsense. And yet it`s scary, because he`s threatening to do unspecified things that he doesn`t have power to do.

But he`s chilling free speech.

REID: Well, and I guess the thing that scares a lot of people, Tony, is that he also is able to convince people like William Barr to take him up on things that are clearly not in his power.

But you suspect that maybe he could get Barr to do some things. You just don`t know because of the people he`s able to influence.

Let me read -- let you hear what he said. He was asked a question about the threat to shut down Twitter, which is the thing he used to get into office. So he needs it. So, I don`t know why he would shut it down.

But he is responding to his threat to shut it down.


TRUMP: I think this. If Twitter were not honorable, if you`re going to have a guy like this be your judge and jury, I think you shut it down, as far as I`m concerned. But I`d have to go through a legal process to do that.

QUESTION: How would you shut down an American company?

TRUMP: I don`t know. I`d have to ask the lawyers. I`d have to go through a legal process.

If it were legal, if it were able to be legally shut down, I would do it.


REID: OK, and then what would he do?

And, Tony Schwartz, you have a piece out today called "The Psychopath in Chief."

We will put it up so everyone can see it. I recommend everybody read it. It sort of delves into what you know about Trump`s behavior.

Does it make sense to you, based on what you believe about his psychology, that he would want to try to shut down his absolute favorite medium, where he communicates to his faithful followers every 10 seconds?

TONY SCHWARTZ, CO-AUTHOR, "TRUMP: THE ART OF THE DEAL": What makes sense to me, Joy -- I did this piece on Medium. And if people want to see it, it`s - - you just go on, and it`s right there on the home page.

But what makes sense to me is that what Trump wants to do always, above all else, is to dominate. He wants to be in control.

What dawned on me over the past several months, after years of thinking about what Trump`s core motivation was, is that it`s not actually to be loved and admired and praised, even though those are prima facie true.

What really is critical to him is to dominate, and his primary advantage is absence of conscience. He has no conscience. So, he doesn`t care if people are hurt, or if people -- even in the case of the COVID cases -- and I`m going to say this very directly -- he couldn`t care less than hundreds of thousands of people are dying, I mean, that tens of thousands of people are dying.

He couldn`t care less that an African American man has a cop put his foot on -- Trump`s -- on that young black man`s shoulder and killed -- neck -- and killed him.

This isn`t important to him. And that is an extraordinary advantage. And it`s terrifying. It`s terrifying to imagine, because if Trump believes he can get away with something, he will do it. So when we come to this election, should he be reelected, it now is clear to me that all bets are off. That we are in a situation in which this man will do anything that he believes he can get away with.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Well, in that, the thing is that the influence he has over other people is what I think scares a lot of people. He in and of himself is just a troll. But let me let you listen for a second, Professor Tribe. This is the head of something called Cowboys for Trump. His name is Toy Griffin.

It goes back on May 17th. I want to ask you something about the law regarding outbursts and statements like this. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve come to a place where I`ve come to the conclusion that the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.


You don`t say it in the physical sense. I have already seen the videos being edited where it`s going to say I`m going to murder Democrats. No, I say that in the political sense, because the Democrat agenda and policy is anti-American right now.


REID: But you know, Professor Tribe, you had Donald Trump say police officers should not be so gentle with suspects, and people in his crowds responding by saying about protesters, next time we might have to kill them and threatening people and brutalizing people. You had him encouraging these sort of quasi-violent sort of movements.

You`ve had him accuse my colleague Joe Scarborough of murder. That none of -- where is the law on whether or not these sort of outbursts and pronouncements, where do they cross the line?

LAURENCE TRIBE, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL PROFESSOR: All of them cross the moral line. All of them cross the ethical line. We do have a dominator in chief who doesn`t care who dies as a result of his outbursts. He`s quite happy to see people suffer. He`s vindictive.

But under the existing rules, he can`t be prosecuted as long as he`s president. That`s one of the things that gives him an incentive to cheat and to do anything he can to remain president. I think where all of this Twitter stuff began, and this is important to remember, was his statement that he`s basically not going to accept the results of the election unless he wins. He`s been talking that way all the way back from 2016.

Now, he says the election is going to be rigged against him. He says that it`s going to be stolen because voting by mail is inherently fraudulent. There is no basis for that.

But what that means is he`s going to claim even if he loses the Electoral College, that he`s entitled to stay in office. I have very much agree with Tony Schwartz. We got to be ready and I`m working on various legal strategies to get him out of there when he does lose, if he does, because he will stop at nothing to retain power especially he`s afraid of being prosecuted for some of his many crimes after he leaves office.

So, we`re confronting a rolling ongoing crisis with a president who pretends to care about constitutional rights. There is a lot of colorful rhetoric about the great First Amendment in this speech. I`m surprised he didn`t throw in the Second Amendment as well, because he`s encouraging the use of gun violence. I`m surprised he didn`t throw that in.

REID: Yes.

TRIBE: We`ve got a president who`s basically the enemy of the people instead of the other way around.

REID: I wish we had more time. Professor Laurence Tribe, Tony Schwartz, thank you very much. Really appreciate it. You both be safe out there.

And Valerie Jarrett joins me next. Stay with us.


REID: Welcome back.

We are continuing to follow breaking news from Minneapolis. Major protests for the third night in a row following the death of George Floyd, who was killed in police custody on Monday.

And joining me now is Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser to President Barack Obama and author of "Finding My Voice."

Thank you so much for being here, Valerie. I want to get your comment. We know that during President Obama`s term, there were uprisings in Baltimore, in Ferguson, Missouri. So this is something that President Obama dealt with. How do you respond to the way the current president is handling this? And just to what is going on in general?

VALERIE JARRETT, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISOR: Well, first of all, tone starts at the top. And if we have a president who says in the context of white supremacists and lawful demonstrators they`re good people on both sides, I don`t think we should be surprised it`s fueling anger out there.

But I do want to begin, by, of course, the family of George Floyd who is suffering, your pain is our pain. To the families around our country today, that have black boys and men, black girls and women who have to sit down and talk to them, the talk as we all know what it means. It`s just heart breaking.

And people are scared and this is a time when you really expect your government to wise up and the leaders in it to respond with core decency. When we had demonstration, whether they were Ferguson or Baltimore, our Justice Department was right on the spot. In fact, Eric Holder went to Ferguson and met with many folks who are demonstrating. He had teams on the ground immediately trying to ensure the demonstrations were peaceful and did an investigation.

Is this a hate crime? Are there investigations there that violate federal law in addition to the local state laws and are there patterns of practice that the police department is adopting that lead to this kind of outrageous situation? This is not a police protocol. This is a homicide protocol, as "The Washington Post" said yesterday.

And so it`s an all hands approach. And it is profoundly disappointing that this administration is focusing on Twitter as opposed to the over 100,000 people who have died from COVID-19 and folks all around our country who are watching what`s on your screen right now wondering how this continuing to happen in America?

And we know, Joy, this has been happening all along. The difference is now, we have cell phones capturing these horrific acts.

REID: And what do you -- do you have expectations that William Barr, the current attorney general attempting to investigate the Obama administration and investigation of Russia`s interference in our election to help Donald Trump, he`s expending energy doing that -- do you have any faith he`s going to do anything, anything close to what you saw the attorney general, both attorney generals do during the Obama administration as you mentioned?

JARRETT: Well, I don`t have any expectation, but that`s why it`s up to us, the American people to call on him to do so. Where are the Justice Department folks? Are they on the ground in Minneapolis? What are they doing to make sure the demonstrations are peaceful and people are talking to one another and working through this horrendous grief?

I don`t have any confidence of that. In fact, they basically decimated the civil rights division of the Justice Department and so why would we expect they would be geared up and prepared to handle this.

When President Obama was in office, he commissioned a panel that did a whole report on 21st century policing to come up with evidence based strategies, joy, to close that gap between communities of color and the police department to ensure the best practices were put in place. You know what happened to that plan, that plan when the Trump administration came in? It was dumped in the trash can, along with the plan how to handle pandemics.

And so, no, I don`t have any expectation. But what we need to call and tell them we expect action, we expect justice, a pillar of our democracy is knowing that we can count on justice to occur. Right now, this is a travesty.

REID: Yeah, perhaps William Barr should give Eric Holder a call and ask for him for advice. You, I know, also, Valerie, that you are also the --

JARRETT: He should.

REID: But he won`t.

Valerie, you`re also the board chair on When We All Vote. It`s a group that works with states across the country to work with voter participation. I want to let you talk about that because the other avocation that Donald Trump is taking up is railing against too much access to the vote.

What is your administration planning to do about said access?

JARRETT: Yeah, so a couple of years ago, a former First Lady Michelle Obama launched When We All Vote. It is non-partisan, Joy. It`s a 501c3 organization designed to help change the culture in our country around voting. Nearly 100 million people didn`t vote in the last presidential election. Our democracy relies on engagement.

And so, over the last few years, we are working to educate people about the importance of voting and not just who is running for president but who is in your local offices, who are prosecutors making important decisions? Who is on the local school board? Who is on the city counsel? The mayor, the state legislature, Congress providing an important check and balance.

And so, this week, we launched civic cities working with mayors across the country and I started in local government. And so, I appreciate how mayors really do have a touch of what`s happening in the communities. They are extremely influential and asked them to help us engage with the constituents they have, all across the country.

We have 31 mayors off the bat. Many more joined on since then. We`re working in high schools. People who are first time voters tend to be lifelong voters, colleges and universities. We have the business community engaged.

And to your point about voter fraud, we know there is de minimis vote fraud in our country. Every study has shown that vote by mail has not been in any way an indicator of vote fraud. We should have -- we should have vote by mail in every state. We should have early vote in every state. Everyone should be able to go online to register to vote.

Why is it that our leaders are not making it as easy as possible for us to vote as opposed to trying to suppress the vote? So, we`re trying to close the age and the race gap and we`re confident this is a long term plan and we have got to get people to appreciate in a sense, Joy, this COVID 19 pandemic has laid bare the weaknesses in government and leadership, and we know now the federal, state and local have to be cooperating to manage a challenge like this.

And so it should be a real wakeup call to the importance of making sure the people in office are actually going to be the ones looking out for your health and your livelihood.

REID: Speaking of states, what do you make of the state of Texas where the state Supreme Court has ruled that fear of COVID-19 infection and the risk of infection is not a good enough reason to obtain an absentee ballot, a decision they made remotely because of concerns they might contract COVID- 19.

JARRETT: Well, you know, it`s interesting. I just did an event today for a terrific group of women in Texas trying to get more women on the ballot.

And just to point out, Texas is a state where you cannot use your student ID as proof of citizenship, but you can use your license to carry firearms. So it has a long history of really trying to repress certain votes and ensure other people do.

And to take advantage of this moment in time and try to push forward laws that we know are currently unconstitutional is outrageous and I will tell you from that phone call today, it was clear that the women in Texas are good and mad and I`m confident they will certainly turn out on election day.

REID: All right. Well, we shall see.

Valerie Garrett, good luck. When We All Vote, that is an important. So, best of luck with that. Thank you very much and be safe.

We`ll be right back.


REID: And that is our show tonight.

Later on, stay there, Rachel Maddow will be joined by the mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey. That`s tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. You do not want to miss it.

And this Sunday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Bishop William Barber and I will host a special called "American Crisis: Poverty and the Pandemic", where you`ll meet working class Americans just trying to survive one of the biggest challenges that this country has faced in nearly a century. The combination of poverty and COVID-19 that`s hitting communities of color and poor folks of all races hitting them hard. So please tune in for that.

Thanks for being with us. I will be back here tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.