ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: We`re listening to some of the applause in Minneapolis.
There is much more work to do. We are in all this together. That does it for our hour here on THE BEAT, keep it right here on MSNBC.
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. I`m Steve Kornacki in New York.
And tonight, America remains a nation in crisis. This is the scene right now as cities across the country prepare for another night of protests for the possibility of violence. In many cities, there are curfews in effects tonight, including one in the nation`s capital. That is going into effect as we speak.
All of this follows a remarkable a split screen a short time ago, that`s with crowds of protesters facing off against armed law enforcement officers just across the street from the White House as the president addressed the country from the rose garden. The president said that he had invoked the Insurrection Act. This would allow him to deploy active duty U.S. troops to respond to protests in cities across the country.
And shortly, before the president spoke, the attorney general, William Barr, took a walk through the protesters in Lafayette Park. That`s right across the street from the White House. He was booed by those protesters as he walked through that area.
This, of course, coming on the heels of a weekend of intense protests over the death of George Floyd. Most of those protests were peaceful. But others did give way to violence, including last night in Washington, D.C., where fires were lit and police clashed with protesters despite a curfew.
And it has been exactly one week now since George Floyd was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis, had a vigil today at the site where he died after being pinned by the neck for more than eight minutes. His brother issued an emotional plea for peace, saying that violent protests would not bring his brother back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILONISE FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: I understand you are upset. Like it was already said, I doubt you are half as upset as I am. So if I`m not over here blowing up stuff, if I`m not over here messing up my community, then what are you all doing?
Let`s switch it up, y`all. Let`s switch it up. Do it as peacefully, please.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KORNACKI: And tonight, as we mention, tens of millions of Americans in cities across the country will be under a curfew. That includes Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and as we just mentioned, the nation`s capital, Washington, D.C. where that 7:00 P.M. Eastern curfew is now in effect.
And we begin tonight with NBC`s Craig Melvin in Washington. Craig, a ton has happened in the city where you are right now. What can you tell us?
CRAIG MELVIN, MSNBC ANCHOR: I can tell you that within the last ten minutes, we got word that the reason you saw that chaos in the last 20 minutes is because they were forcing all of those protesters out of Lafayette Square, just across the street from the White House. They did it fairly quickly. We were standing there as those flash bangs went off. Some smoke bombs were used as well. The tear gas was used.
We have just heard that the reason they were doing that -- and you heard the president alluded to that in a speech. The president said he was going to pay his respects to some place very special. The president is going across the street to St. John`s Church.
For those who don`t know, this is known as the church of the presidents. It`s very historic here in Washington D.C. It was built in 1816. Since that time, all but one president has worshipped there. President Trump has worshipped that church as well.
The church was vandalized last night. Its basement was set ablaze. The nursery was destroyed. The sanctuary was spared. I spent time actually talking to the director of the church earlier today. The president going across the street reportedly to pay his respects. So we`re keep an eye on that. That`s where he was reportedly headed that after that rose garden speech.
Behind me, you can see the line of military police here in Washington, D.C. They are in place right now because six minutes ago, that curfew went into effect here in the nation`s capital, Steve, as you just alluded to.
One thing that we`re seeing tonight that we did not see last night, law enforcement moving quickly to force protesters and demonstrators away from Lafayette Park and the White House. But long before that curfew was set to go into effect about 45 minutes ago, those flash bangs, the tear gas started to be used.
I talked to the D.C. police chief maybe an hour-and-a-half ago, and Commissioner Newsham telling me that they were going to be moving more aggressively tonight to prevent what we saw here in D.C. from happening again last night, of course. As we saw in previous nights, we saw looting, we saw a vandalism. But that was after we saw hours upon hours of peaceful protesting.
The number of the folks who we`ve talk to here in the past 20 or 30 minutes or so had been taken aback by the tactics that have been deployed in just the last hour. So the protesters who are kneeling across the street from the White House in Lafayette Square, all of a sudden, it would seem as if, from my vantage point, it would seem as if without much provocation, law enforcement began to advance quickly. And right now, we are surmising that. Perhaps one of the reasons they were doing that was to make way for the president to get across the street to St. John`s.
I`m going to move over here. I`m going to show you what popped up here. Right now, on I Street. This is I Street in Connecticut. Another one of this pop-up marches, if you will. Again, at this point, as you can see here, largely peaceful people are making their way through the streets of Washington, D.C. chanting, as well as park police helicopters continues to oversee all of it. There, of course, has been a steady helicopter presence here in Washington, D.C. for the better part of the last four or five days.
The question now though, Steve Kornacki, what people here are waiting and watching for us, how far law enforcement is going to go to enforce that curfew, at what point are they going to enforce that curfew. We should point out, journalists are exempt from the curfew as our essential medical personnel as well. So that`s the very latest from here in Washington, Steve.
KORNACKI: Right, yes. The president`s words there in that statement he just gave to the country. He said that 7:00 P.M. curfew, in his word, would be strictly enforced. So, a very good question there, Craig. Thank you for that report. I`m sure we`ll be checking back with you tonight. Please stay safe there as well.
And Craig mentioned this a minute ago, the crowd cleared out there just across the street from the White House, the possibility the president might be walking through there on his way to St. John`s Church.
Joining us now, NBC News Digital Senior White House Correspondent, Shannon Pettypiece. Shannon, can you add anything to what Craig has just told us?
SHANNON PETTYPIECE, MSNBC DIGITAL SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Steve, really remarkable hour so of events here at the White House. Just a few movements ago, the president walked right behind me, down this drive way flanked by several dozen aides and Secret Service agents, walked out the front gate to that park, the site of all of these protests that we have seen over the past several nights.
Right moments before that, he was in the rose garden giving a speech. And at that the same time, you could hear the loud bangs going off as police, right where Craig is, were trying to clear this park.
Now, we suspect because the president was heading over there, so the sound of explosion just really rattling people on the White House grounds as the president was speaking and then, of course, there`s this constant drama of police helicopters and sirens going on in the background for all this.
But underlying this is the president`s message from the rose garden, which was an increase in military force. This was not an address calling for calm. This is was not an address talking about the underlying issues or racial tension and police brutality that have driven so many protesters out here. This was a call from the president for added force, where he said that if cities and states do not increase the military presence, he will be sending in the military himself. That`s something quite remarkable to hear a president say, that he would send in the U.S. military to do domestic policing inside the United States on top of the National Guard that he`s been calling for.
So our reporting indicates, we know there has been a lot of back and forth in the White House about the president`s tone in his message. That has clearly come down on the side of a law and order president and this decision that the only solution in his mind to this, this unrest, is going to be increased tactics by police and now the military. Steve?
KORNACKI: And, Shannon, let me make sure I`m clear on this, because the president there was talking about potentially sending troops to states where in his view, he says, the governor working on -- and, by the way we`re just seeing now, these are live images of the president in front of St. John`s Church. Is he speaking there? Can we -- are we going to listen to this? It looks like he is just -- that is a photo opportunity, it appears. If he does start to speak, we will keep you posted on that. But that is the president right now in front of St. John`s Church.
Shannon was just telling us he left the White House a few minutes ago after making those remarks. The protesters had been cleared across the street to make way for him, apparently. But there is the president in front of St. John`s Church, the historic church there in Washington D.C. that, of course, was the victim of some vandalism last night.
Shannon, I just to be clear, the question I started to pose you a minute ago, the president talking about sending troops to states where he deems the governors are not acting adequately in the interest of public safely. We are already seeing troops in Washington, D.C. There`s federal jurisdiction, federal oversight in Washington D.C. What can you tell us about the scale of the deployment in Washington, D.C.?
PETTYPIECE: Well, actually, right on the White House grounds, right up West Executive Drive, there was a big truckload of National Guard troops that rolled right into the White House and then they are moved over into the park there lined up behind the park police and the U.S. Secret Service. So, you know, seeing troops in full combat gear in their camo uniforms, lining there in the park.
And what the president, his exact quote he said is that if states refuse to take action, he said, then I will deploy the U.S. military and quickly solve the problem for them. So in a lot of instances -- well, not in lot of instances, but in the past, if a governor requests help from the federal government, the federal government has sent in the National Guard.
But now the president is saying he will do that even if cities and states are not requesting that on their own. So the president sending the U.S. military into state without the governors having request, so it raises questions about state rights and really where those lines are going to fall.
KORNACKI: All right. We continue to look at those images there. You see the attorney general has joined the president there, several member of the administration in front of St. John`s Church.
Shannon Pettypiece there at the White House, thank you.
I want to bring in Garrett Haake now, who has also been following these protesters in Washington D.C. Garrett, you were right there a couple minutes ago when that order apparently was given to clear out those protesters. Take us through again what happened in those moments. And there`s this question, you`re past that 7:00 P.M. curfew now in Washington D.C. Has that made a difference to these protesters? Are the streets quieter now because of this?
GARRETT HAAKE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, Steve, I think the streets are quieter now because of the mounted police and the tear gas.
I want to be super clear about what did and didn`t happen right there. Nothing happened on the side that the protesters were in. I was standing with those protesters. I`ve been with them by 2:00 this afternoon. It was by far the most peaceful day of protests that we`ve had in D.C. since this started on Friday night. Then at probably 6:45, I neglected to look at my watch at the moment, but before the curfew was into effect. We had mounted federal police coming down H Street from east to west clearing people out of the street.
In front of them, they were using flash bangs, tear gas. I lost my regular mask and had to replace it with my gas mask so that we could continue to report as we were pushed down H Street down 17th Street behind me and off on the Pennsylvania Avenue.
Although I was listening to the president of the United States speak in my ear about law and order, I was watching people fall down as they ran. I was watching people get pushed aside by police forces and by National Guardsmen carrying military police shields.
I was about 150 to 200 yards from the front gate of the White House when that was happening. That`s what I experienced. That`s what the tape shows. That`s what`s history is going to show for tonight. And I`m a little shook by the whole thing, to be completely honest with you. It was absolutely extraordinary thing to see and experience with the White House in my peripheral vision.
KORNACKI: Just for the sake of understanding at their home though. What I`m curious about, we saw from Craig a minute ago, protesters were continuing to march through the streets where he is. It`s empty where you are. Did you get a sense, do you have a sense with all the protesters who were with you? Did they continue to demonstrate elsewhere? Did you get a sense they were dispersing and going home? What was to become of that group?
HAAKE: As best I can tell, it was completely scattered. We, as part of our kind of protocol, the way we keep safe, when police are coming towards us and protesters are on the other side of us, we try to take the side street. We do not want to be in between them. So we turned off on a side street. I`m looking my past, my photographer down the next couple of blocks on Pennsylvania Avenue, all I see are police lights, not protesters.
Some of the protesters who use the same hurry the manner of exit that I did, came down 17th Street here, and were pursued even further by a federal police officers in that direction. I`m not sure what became of them. I`m west of the White House. I was in -- I didn`t have eyes on Craig while this was happening over. He was on the air. I think he`s to the east, basically knowing the direction that he had been coming from.
So it`s possible that when the mounted police came west to east, anybody who was behind where they started, or could easily go north and east, kind of way out that way and might have continued. But the entire apparatus was aimed at clearing people west to east, or assuming east to west out this direction. And I can confirm where I`m standing right now, we are very much cleared.
KORNACKI: And just one final question, Garrett, we mentioned the attorney general, William Barr, was where you were, right in front of those protesters, right before all that you`re describing happened. Did you get any sense -- did he say anything? did he have any interaction to anybody there? Did you get any sense what his role was there on the scene?
HAAKE: It looked like a military parade review from where I was. You know, over the course of the last hour, we saw the normal park police and Secret Service who had patrol out that park, supplemented by National Guard and then by I believe active duty United States military, just based on the uniforms and guidance from Courtney Kube and some of our other folks who understand the finer distinctions of uniforms and so much better than I do.
As they were e deploying and forming up in lines, the attorney general came out with Marc Short, if I believe is now the vice president`s chief of staff. He`s had a number of roles in this administration. And they went up and down the lines.
So as best as I could see from where I was, they were perhaps talking to some of the National Guardsmen, talking to some commanders. They made no effort to engage with the protesters who made a very colorful effort to engage with him and express their disapproval for how he`s been handling the present crisis but from a distance. I don`t think he came within 50 or 60 yards of the protest line.
KORNACKI: All right. Garrett Haake, not too far from the White House there in Washington D.C. Garrett, thank you for that. I really appreciate you joining us and providing your -- an update there. I really appreciate that.
Let`s go north now from Washington, D.C., to New York City. MSNBC Senior National Correspondent, Chris Jansing, joined us now. You can see she is there with a group of protesters. There`s a curfew, Chris, going on effect in New York City, but not till much later tonight, I believe 11:00 P.M. What can you tell us?
CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I can tell you that this crowd is enormous. They have been together and marching at least as long as I have seen them, at least 2.5 2 hours, but certainly far before that. Take a look, we`re going to turn around, I stood on a street corner at one point, Steve, for a good 40 minutes and people just kept coming by.
And then when they got down into lower Manhattan or more around Greenwich Village, there was actual event, where there were speakers and then people decided to march north again. They had marched south first all the way down, now they`re marching north again.
But there is a moment, as they are leaving Washington Square Park, where we thought something might happen, very intense, a lot of chanting about police. I think you might have some video of this. And the chanting was, take a knee, take to knee to large numbers of police who were out there, Steve.
And one of the leaders of the police, one of the police officials, came over, shook hands with one of the black lives matters folks. And as the chanting continued, take a knee, take a knee, they took a knee.
Most of the people who are in the crowd I was around, Steve, either shook their head, applauded or said, yes. There were also others who said that they don`t buy it. There`s a lot of concerning people I`ve talk to about the decision later tonight, obviously, the 11:00 curfew, but the announcement that they are doubling the number of police officers on the street tonight to 8,000, Steve.
Last night, there were some clashes we saw. Police were the targets of a number of people throwing things, including garbage and bottles, but there are also some tactics for a lot of people in this crowd thought were overly aggressive, using batons to push people. So you have a very diverse crowd, both in terms of their age, their race, and their opinions about exactly what they think about what should be done here.
I asked a few people about what was said by some officials today about keeping the peace. One of the things the police official said was, this is your town. What happened is not right. But these are your streets. Don`t let looters, don`t let vandals come in and take the streets and that`s one thing that most everyone I talked to agreed on.
And I will say, Steve, that in many of the areas where there was vandalism last night, there were local people who came in who helped to clean up and who said this is not what we`re with about. We`re about action, we`re about changing things.
But we are continuing here in New York City and it is an enormous crowd, Steve.
KORNACKI: All right Chris Jansing there in New York City. Chris, I appreciate that.
And we`ll go now from east coast to the west coast, Los Angeles. NBC News Digital Senior White House, excuse me, Gad Schwartz, excuse me I`m reading the script here. Gad in Los Angeles, thank you for joining us. What can you tell us about what`s going on there right now?
GAD SCHWARTZ, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
So, Steve, we just saw something develop that is extremely tricky for everybody involved, for the protesters, for the police.
We saw the protesters that you`re seeing right here, they actually came up. And this right there, that is the 405 over here by Westwood. They made their way on this on-ramp. They got onto the freeway. They blocked traffic for quite some time.
Then we saw LAPD and the Highway Patrol kind of sneak up behind them. And then they told them, ordered them down on the ground. Some of them complied. Others started throwing what looks like bottles. They responded with what looked like less-than-lethal munitions.
They made some arrests over there. Now this area is being swarmed. So, we saw the protesters that were able to make it out of there, about 100 or so make their way down here. And they`re kind of caught up in this standoff.
You have got officers on this side of this standoff. You have got officers that are starting to come in over here. I`m just going to walk you down here. We`re going to be careful. We`re not going to make any sudden movements here.
But you have got some emergency responders, some firefighters and some ambulances coming down this way. And then, way down there over by the 405, you have got a lot of officers that are now protecting the freeway.
And then you have got protesters that have made their way down that way. We counted about 200 to 300 making their way south. And then these are the ones that are stuck here right now in this standoff, really between one line of police and the other line of police.
And, as you can see some of those green shotguns and those tear gas canister dispersers -- they`re starting to take some sort of defensive position. We have got some other officers that are coming up behind us.
Carlos, watch out. We`re just going to chill right here. This is what we`re seeing right behind us.
They`re going to start pushing us this way. We`re just going to make sure. We have already identified ourselves as press. They know that we`re with NBC.
So, now they`re saying that they need to head toward southbound Sepulveda. And they`re saying they have five minutes. So, now you`re starting to see this crowd moving.
So, we`re going to kind of hug this area on the sidewalk. And, at this point, you have got probably about 100 officers on this side. You have got about 50 officers on this side. And they now have this entire area surrounded.
Take a look. We`re just going to walk this way. We have got a line of officers. There`s that line all the way down protecting the 405. And then these are the protesters that are working their way that way.
So, what we`re going to do is, we`re going to cross the street here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait. Wait. Wait.
SCHWARTZ: We`re going to cross the street, and we`re going to follow the directions of the officers, the same directions that they gave to the protesters.
We have got sirens coming in from down here. Again, this whole entire area was quickly, in a matter of about four or five minutes, swarmed by police officers.
So, they`re coming in from all directions. And now the protesters really have no other choice. They can either engage the officers, or they could head this way. So, we`re going to continue to walk with them here.
I think I lost you. So, we`re -- we`re trying to reestablish a connection.
But -- Steve, can you still hear me OK?
KORNACKI: We got you, Gadi. Yes, go ahead.
So, we have got helicopters all around. And you can see this large contingent. It`s unclear where the 200 or 300 that were ahead of these protesters went. It`s unclear if this is going to be a mass arrest, or if this possibly is going to be the ability or they`re giving them an out to disperse.
But they`re getting closer and closer to these officers. Again, this is the direction that they were told to head. And they`re stopping there. They`re not going by those protesters. So, we`re just going to come over here.
And, again, this was a -- this was a situation where it was a very peaceful protest. They protested for about two hours, very respectful, peaceful, in front of the federal building. We saw the National Guard come by. We saw police come by. There wasn`t any friction.
But now, obviously, they took the 405 Freeway. And this is the situation we find ourselves in. we will update you as soon as it changes -- Steve.
KORNACKI: OK, Gadi Schwartz out there in Los Angeles, appreciate that, Gadi. Thank you very much.
Now let`s go back to the White House, where, really, an extraordinary sequence of events has played out here in the last half-an-hour or so.
And Shannon Pettypiece joins us again.
Shannon, when last we were speaking with you, the president had left the White House, a gathering of protesters that was across the street, that had been across the street from the White House, had been cleared out. The president then left the White House, went to St. John`s Church nearby, which had been vandalized last night.
Now, I understand he`s returned to the White House. Is that correct?
PETTYPIECE: Yes, maybe in the past five or 10 minutes or so, he walked again down the driveway right behind me, a group of reporters following him, several dozen of his top aides with him returning from the church.
And I will say, Steve, essentially, this was a photo-op. He did not take any questions from reporters. He only made very brief remarks. He said, this is a great country -- greatest country in the world, and we`re going to keep it safe.
But, basically, there at this church that the basement caught fire yesterday from these protesters, maybe doing it as some sort of sign of strength, but essentially nothing more than a photo-op.
Reporters who were there said that the smell of gas, tear gas, that was set off about less than half-an-hour before the president headed there was still in the air. They could -- it was still making them cough. And you could still smell those irritants. I can still smell them now.
And there continues to be just this constant roar of sirens and helicopters that you can hear on the White House grounds, that the president was obviously able to hear as he headed over to that park.
But, of course, one thing the president wasn`t able to hear were any of those protesters, because the police and the National Guard had aggressively pushed them out of that park just moments before the president made his walk over there.
KORNACKI: And, Shannon, just quickly, I`m wondering, have you been told anything by the White House? Have you heard anything from the administration about what the president -- his vow there, when he made this announcement, just around 7:00, was that this curfew, this 7:00 p.m. D.C. curfew, would be strictly enforced.
He said there would be stiff penalties for anybody. Has the White House told you any specific plans for what he`s referring to there?
PETTYPIECE: Well, no.
And, really, that`s going to be up to the D.C. police and the National Guard, who are now here in Washington. And, of course, the D.C. police don`t take orders from the president. The National Guard does, but they also take orders from the governor.
So, again, it`s not something that really has any sort of tangible, real world implications behind when he says that curfew will be strictly enforced.
But, of course, we know the mayor said earlier in the day she will. I mean, I will note that it is after 7:00. It has been after 7:00 p.m. for about 26 minutes here at the White House. Many senior staffers are still here.
A lot of them did go home earlier in the day, in anticipation of this curfew. But, I mean, I just saw maybe about 10 or 12 top aides. Ivanka Trump is here, the attorney general, Mark Meadows, Kayleigh McEnany, the spokesperson, all at the White House, so I`m not sure if this curfew necessarily applies to them.
And then, of course, all of us reporters are still here. So, that`s all I can tell you right now about the curfew.
KORNACKI: OK, Shannon Pettypiece there at the White House, thank you for keeping us up to date on what is going on there. Appreciate it.
Let`s turn now to Jon Meacham, historian, MSNBC contributor, bring him in.
Jon, I`m just curious to get your thoughts on what we all watched play out in the last 30 or 45 minutes or so, that sequence of events, where you had protesters who were gathered across the street from the White House.
You had the president wanting to make an address. You had the protesters cleared out, the president speaking, declaring himself a law and order president -- his words there -- he repeated it several times, then walking to that church for the photo opportunity, walking back to the White House.
What was your reaction to that?
JON MEACHAM, NBC NEWS HISTORIAN: He`s drawing on a vernacular of base management and partisanship, as opposed to the tools of presidential unity.
He has clearly made a decision that his chief obligation is to the people who are already inclined to support him strongly. There was no outreach in what he said about -- to those who might disagree with him. There was no sense that he was the president of an entire country. He`s the president of his voters, of his passionate voters in this.
And for people who may think that this is somehow reflexive criticism of the president, this is data-driven, right? The president of the United States came out, in the midst of a -- is in the midst of a national crisis. He made the statement he made.
He signaled only in the most pro forma of ways how he understood -- he didn`t even say that -- understanding the rage that`s unfolding in the country.
And none of that is to excuse the violence and the lawlessness, right, but it does help explain it. It`s not as though everybody woke up this week and said, you know what, we`re going to go loot and riot because we haven`t got anything else to do.
It`s in reaction to events that are tied to the most fundamental question that has always confronted, shaped, contorted American life, which is the question of race.
I don`t have a simple answer. No one has a simple answer to this. We have been trying to work this out. People have been asked to be patient, when they shouldn`t be patient. People have asked to compromise. People have been asked to live in fear, when other folks have said, people who look like me, or -- and particularly from my native region, the South, have said, be patient, wait.
That`s not sufficient. It wasn`t sufficient 50 years ago, 51 years ago, when the country was in flames after the assassination of Dr. King, who was killed after delivering his -- delivering his last Sunday sermon, not at St. John`s Church, but not far away, at the National Cathedral.
It wasn`t sufficient in 1965 or `64 or `67. Wasn`t sufficient in 1619, when the first slaves were brought here.
So, this is an immensely -- at one -- on one level, it`s an immensely complicated question. On another level, it`s not. And that was Dr. King`s great brilliance. That was John Lewis` great brilliance. It was the -- Rosa Parks` great brilliance, which was to say, simply, did American mean what it said when we said that we were founded on the idea that all men were created equal?
And if we didn`t mean it, then we should stop pretending. We should acknowledge our hypocrisy.
These are enormously important questions. And they recur again and again and again in the American experience.
We need a president, we need a citizenry that is interested in exploring complexity, not a president and a citizenry that`s interested in brute shows of force in this -- and I will use the word -- the president is drawing on a vernacular -- a dictatorial vernacular.
That`s where we are. And I think that it`s an enormously -- it`s an enormously tense moment, not only in the obvious ways, but for the basic rule of law, the basic separation of powers, and the basic sovereignty of the people and not of the president.
KORNACKI: All right.
Jon Meacham, thank you for taking a few minutes. Appreciate that.
We`re going to take a quick break here, but coming up next, a look at the White House response to this crisis.
You heard the president speak there a few minutes ago. The president also held a call with state governors earlier today, and it got heated. One of the governors who was on that call is going to join us next.
Stay with us.
KORNACKI: Welcome back.
As multiple cities across the country face historic unrest, President Trump is threatening to send the military into American cities.
And Governor J.B. Pritzker of Illinois joins me now.
Governor, thank you for taking a few minutes. Appreciate it.
I assume you saw that press conference from the president there a short while ago and what he said. I will just read it to you here.
He said that he would deploy the military to U.S. states, to various states in the country, if they do not dominate the streets. If they don`t provide enough force to -- quote -- "dominate the streets," he says, "Then I will deploy the U.S. military and quickly solve the problem for them."
You`re a governor. What`s your reaction to that?
GOV. J.B. PRITZKER (D-IL): Well, we reject that, and it`s illegal.
So, the fact is that President Trump is trying to change the subject. He is trying inflame passions on the street in order to veer away from his failures on coronavirus.
And what he ought to be doing, of course, is acting like a statesman. He ought to be standing up and talking about the rights of people to peacefully protest and being supportive.
Think about what Barack Obama said when the protests were around Ferguson. Think about what Robert F. Kennedy said when Martin Luther King was killed. It`s a time to bring down passions, and also talk about justice and then pursue it.
KORNACKI: You`re saying the president couldn`t do that, if he wanted to, couldn`t deploy the military to cities, to states around the country.
He`s saying he could do that by invoking the Insurrection Act. Do you think that gives him any latitude?
PRITZKER: The Insurrection Act requires that a governor ask the federal government to have federal forces brought in. We will not be doing that. And I can`t imagine any state will do that.
KORNACKI: You were on that phone call with the president today, the president and a number of your fellow governors around the country.
Did that subject come up on it, the Insurrection Act, sending military around the country?
PRITZKER: No. But the president spent 20 or 30 minutes on a crazy rant, frankly, talking about us needing to dominate the streets.
The fact is that many of us feel that the peaceful protesters have a real point to make and something that needs to be heard, that black Americans shouldn`t be sentenced to death for being American.
We have people that are dying, like George Floyd, like so many others, that we all talk about on a regular basis, people who -- unfortunately, because there hasn`t been police accountability in many places, people are dying. And think about what that means to a black family, teenagers and young people, who see what their future would look like, and they know that they`re not safe.
So, we have a lot of work to do. But, right now, we have to bring down tensions across America. And that`s not what this president is doing.
KORNACKI: Talk, if you would, about what`s happening in your state, particularly the city of Chicago, one of the nation`s largest cities.
There is a curfew that`s in place in Chicago. There have been a number of arrests there over the last several days. I understand you increased the call-up of the National Guard today.
What -- what is your hope there with that extra call-up?
PRITZKER: Well, let me start with the fact that the vast majority of people who are protesting are protesting peacefully. They`re trying to make a point. And that point needs to be heard by elected officials. There`s no doubt about it.
But there are people who are causing mayhem. And so we have got to separate those people out. We have got to make sure that they`re held accountable, violent behavior unacceptable, trashing, damaging private and public property unacceptable.
And so we`re working to make sure that we take care of those elements, while also allowing people to, again, peacefully protest for their rights.
KORNACKI: Logistically, though, when you see the National Guard being called up for something like this, logistically, what does that do for you?
Because you will certainly hear from some folks who say that that statement, bringing the National Guard out there, that perhaps that ratchets up tensions a little bit.
So, logistically, what does it accomplish for you, in your view, to have the National Guard available in use for this?
PRITZKER: Well, it was requested of us from the mayor of Chicago and a few other places around the state. They provide a support function. They are not on the front lines.
I agree with the notion that they shouldn`t be on the front lines, but that support function is very important. It allows the manpower of the local police department to do their job on the front lines. We also have 300 of our state police out there helping, assisting where they are needed across the state.
So, we`ve brought a reasonable, large force. But again, it`s all for support of local law enforcement and again to protect our peaceful protestors.
KORNACKI: And, Governor, just quickly, again, I see 7:40 on the East Coast. And 6:40 in Illinois right now.
What do you expect tonight in Chicago?
PRITZKER: Well, we -- there is a curfew that the -- that the mayor of Chicago has called at 9:00. And she has it each night along the way here. We are hoping that tensions can be brought down. We`re hoping that clergy will step up and continue a call for calm in our city and across our state.
But, you know, look, we`re bracing to make sure that we can deal with elements that are trying to thwart the goals of the peaceful protestors.
KORNACKI: All right. Governor J.B. Pritzker from Illinois, thank you for taking a few minutes. Appreciate that.
PRITZKER: Thank you, Steve.
KORNACKI: And up next, we are going to go out to the West Coast to a major city, that unlike many others, unlike many of the areas around it, in fact, is opting not to the have a curfew. We`re going to talk to that city`s mayor, the mayor of Oakland, California, when we return.
KORNACKI: Welcome back.
We saw a moment of solidarity yesterday between protestors and police in Oakland, California, where officers knelt with demonstrators. Despite that show of unity, though, 60 people were arrested in that city last night, including three who are allegedly involved in a shooting at police headquarters. This according to "The San Francisco Chronicle".
Now, for the first time since the protestors began, the mayor of Oakland, Libby Schaaf, has issued a citywide curfew for 8:00 p.m. local time tonight.
And the mayor of Oakland, Libby Schaaf, joins me now.
Mayor, thank you for joining us. I literally just a few minutes ago said you were one of the few cities that wasn`t doing this. You have changed your mind and decided to implement one tonight.
Can you tell us about your thinking there?
MAYOR LIBBY SCHAAF (D), OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA: Yeah, no, we did not make this decision lightly. We recognize the historical context and the moment that we`re in right now where people are enraged about racism and the misuse of governmental authority.
But we have to keep our community safe. And I, as a mayor of Oakland, I`m in tremendous pain right now -- pain over the death of George Floyd, pain over the vandalism and looting of my beloved city and as we look at what the appropriate thing to do in this moment is, as I work with my chief of police to assess the conditions and the intelligence that we have, you know, the conditions have changed dramatically.
Friday night, we saw a huge protest, 8,000 people in our downtown. That was used as really a foil by people that were intent of doing damage and violence. But then last night was extremely different. We had groups all over the city, vandalism, looting and in particularly neighborhoods that are the most impacted by the coronavirus.
Our neighborhoods in East Oakland and the Fruitvale where the African- American and the Latino communities live and depend on these businesses, they were hit last night.
And so, it was with very careful consideration that we are imposing a curfew in Oakland. It is pretty unprecedented for us.
KORNACKI: So, you`re talking about being disturbed by what you saw last night in particular. And you`re describing that little bit for us. I wonder, what is your sense of what it is that causes that, to go from what you`re describing, being peaceful to then having a more violent element spill into it, what -- do you have a sense what is happening that causes that? What accounts for it?
SCHAAF: Listen, I think it should be said that there are two different things going on and let us not conflate them. There is legitimate protests and anger and grief over yet another killing of a black man at the hands of police, and this is within the context of the larger travesty of racism in America. And there is a group that is taking advantage of this moment, to commit illegal acts, to do damage, to steal, to cause chaos. And we believe that those are two very different groups of people.
KORNACKI: And I believe, Mayor, I`m just going to tell our viewers what they are seeing on their screens right now. I don`t know if you can see this. This, I believe, this is live footage right now outside of the building that I`m in right now.
This is Midtown Manhattan. That is NBC right there, 30 Rock, you know, the iconic address, and this is right outside, I believe, that is 50th or 49th Street here. I think 49th Street here, East 49th Street, between 6th and 5th Avenues, Midtown Manhattan.
That is the footage you`re seeing right there and we are broadcasting, I am broadcasting right now from inside the building you are seeing on the right hand side of your screen.
Mayor, if you`re still with us, I just want to ask, what you expect tonight. What will enforcement look like and what do you expect the scene to look like in Oakland tonight?
SCHAAF: Let me just be clear, this is pretty unprecedented for Oakland. I am born and raised in my town, and I do not have any memory of ever having a curfew in place.
And right now, we`re having a beautiful, peaceful, family demonstration in solidarity with George Floyd and the quest for justice in our country. It`s going along beautifully. We are facilitating that peaceful demonstration.
But when 8:00 comes tonight, we will be very clear that people must disperse. We will warn them. We will give them a safe way to exit an area. But if they do not, we will arrest them, and that is what we believe is necessary under these unprecedented conditions.
And, remember, you know, we were the very first region in the country to shut down our economy, to impose shelter-in-place because of the coronavirus. So, our core small businesses are already suffering. We also believe that these types of demonstrations are really endangering public health.
KORNACKI: All right. The mayor of Oakland, California, Libby Schaaf, thank you for taking a few minutes there. Appreciate that.
And, again, you continue to see on your screen there, scenes from around the country. Right now, this is Los Angeles, California. It is just before 5:00 out there. Continue to show some of those scenes. That`s Denver you`re seeing on your screen right now.
And ware going to bring in the police chief of St. Paul, Minnesota, right now, Todd Axtell.
And he issued a strong message to his officers, who may, he said, who may agree with the tactics by George Floyd, his message to them on Facebook. He said, I challenged our officers to ask themselves if they would have done anything differently from what the officers did in that video. If the answer is no, I told them to reconsider their career choice.
And I am joined now by Chief Axtell of the St. Paul Police.
Chief, thank you for joining us. Appreciate it. What was the response you got to that message from your officers?
CHIEF TODD AXTELL, ST. PAUL POLICE DEPARTMENT: You know, this is a historic moment in policing in America. I am so heartened to know that the St. Paul police officers under my command overwhelming came out to support our community. They have made it perfectly clear that what occurred in Minneapolis, at the hands of the officers, that resulted in the death of Mr. Floyd is unacceptable, should not be tolerated, and it has no place in policing in America today. And it would have no place ever in the history of policing in America.
So, I`m absolutely disgusted by what happened. I can -- I can understand that the anger throughout the country as a result of what has happened. But I am heartened to know that our officers are actually joining our protesters. They are bonding with our protesters, the good ones, today just in St. Paul, at the governor`s mansion on Summit Avenue, we had officers who are taking a knee in respect, taking a moment to reflect on what happened with the protesters as a show of respect.
KORNACKI: We are, Chief, seeing scenes from across the country right now, Los Angeles, Denver, on the screen right now. We just talked to the mayor of Oakland, California, who has decided tonight to implement a curfew. She had been resisting that but said she decided to reluctantly tonight.
The situation in the Twin Cities where you are, in Minneapolis and St. Paul, I noticed today the governor of Minnesota is keeping the curfew in place, but he`s reducing its length, feeling that there has been success last night in Minneapolis and in St. Paul. Is that your sense of the situation there? If things calming down last night?
AXTELL: Yes, it really has. You know, last night, we had 63 businesses looted in the city of St. Paul, 17 businesses that were set on fire. We had a lot of people inserting themselves into good protest groups, creating havoc throughout our city. And that`s really an important distinction to understand, that there are people -- agitators out here who are coming in and really causing a lot of danger in our community, which is making it very challenges -- challenging for our officers, in St. Paul and throughout the country to differentiate the good versus the ones who want to come in and really express their anger and their frustrations.
KORNACKI: Yes, we`ve heard about this, as you mentioned, from you and folks in local areas across the country, the idea of outside agitators come in. Is there -- who are they in your case?
AXTELL: Well, when I say outside agitators, there have been a few from outside the state that we have arrested. But there are people from within our communities as well who come in and insert themselves under the cloak of a peaceful protest. And that`s really what`s happening. They insert themselves into the dangerous situations, they retreat back into good groups of people, which makes it challenging for our officers.
And I got to say, our officers in St. Paul have done a great job, under very difficult circumstances, bringing order to a chaotic situation.
KORNACKI: All right. Chief Axtell from the St. Paul Police Department, thank you for joining us and we appreciate that and good luck to you and your city.
AXTELL: Thank you.
KORNACKI: Now, let`s go back from St. Paul, let`s go to New York City.
Chris Jansing, we checked in with her earlier, in front of 30 Rock.
Chris, we were just showing scenes of protesters right near where you are, right now, right on the street where you are right now. That is the building that I`m in right now. What can you tell us?
CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: So, the peaceful protectors have been walking now for at least three or four hours. There was a group of young men who came in. They were running through the crowds, they were shouting things, they were trying to get people riled.
And when we came around this corner that you know so well, Steve, that comes and brings you to the "Today Show" and the building where we are, the window of the Nintendo store was shattered. Police were standing there. The group of young men came running around, they were pushing people aside. I got pushed aside.
And then when they saw that there was a group of police officers lined up along this side of -- across the street from what many who have ever been to New York know is the skating rink, just outside the "Today Show", they saw all of these barricades there and they started throwing them down, trying to block things, trying to block people, yelling at the police.
And then there were a few people who came in, and we saw this earlier, once something was done like that people came in behind them. Peaceful protesters, and tried to lift it up. They were told just to go, let it be. You can see, there are people who work for Rockefeller Center, who are moving that out so that traffic can come by.
But what we`ve seen is a heavy police presence, and whenever we see police, you get some of these few people, within the crowd, who start yelling things, who try to insight them. Clearly, they were trying to insight them there. The police, by the Nintendo Store simply blocked it, and stood their quietly. No arrests were made. Here, the same thing.
Then, the huge group of police officers, standing here by 30 Rockefeller Center, we thought, where we have the "Today" concerts, Steve, and you get those huge crowds, all of that is blocked off. So, they continued down now and we`re going to continue to find the protesters -- we haven`t seen people breaking off, that`s one of the remarkable things, although, you know, I`m only one part of the crowd, but these thousands and thousands of people, many of them have been marching, virtually, in large circles around Manhattan, Fifth Avenue, Sixth Avenue, through Greenwich Village, now, at least since 4:00, 5:00 this afternoon, Steve.
KORNACKI: Just quickly, how did the police respond to everything you`re just describing, you just witnessed? How did the police respond?
JANSING: So, they have been very cool. It was the same situation I saw last night. There were isolated incidents last night. They`ve been widely reported, where police have to use batons, push people back.
I notice that police n this particular case, when they were throwing things, when they were running through the crowd, were looking very carefully, it seemed to me, to see, was there a situation that was dangerous? Did they need to intervene? They just stood there.
I have to also say that there have been a few people who have gone up to police officer, and engaged them in not -- how are you doing? We also get a lot of people, by the way, when the crowds are walking, who start shouting, cheering, honking their horns, don`t seem to mind if they`re blocked. And that really gets the crowd sort of energized again.
But anyway, Steve, the police encounters that we have seen have been completely peaceful. The police have just stood their ground, stood their ground and made sure that nothing dangerous is happening. Here comes a group of these men, again, who seem to be following where the crowds are going.
Steve, back to you.
KORNACKI: All right. Chris Jansing there in New York City.
Chris, thank you for that.
And I want to go now from New York City to Minneapolis. NBC`s Morgan Chesky is on the ground there.
Morgan, I`m sorry we`re a little bit short on time here, but please tell us what the scene is there where you are.
MORGAN CHESKY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Steve, three hours until this new curfew goes into effect. And this is really what authorities have been hoping for. We know that several big groups had a chance to peacefully protest both here in Minneapolis and also in neighboring St. Paul, where officials said a group of 2,000 people were able to go out and peacefully march through that area.
We do have some new numbers just in, Steve, and that is between yesterday and early this afternoon, 276 people were arrested for either violating laws in place or for breaking that curfew. We also know that that curfew will remain in effect for the next several days, and as you can see behind, that large presence of National Guard, combined with state police, that`s the big game changer here Steve on how they`ve been able to enforce this curfew over the past several days because the first night it was issued, we continued to see rampant vandalism and looting. That however has changed in a big way and a lot of people are hoping that tonight mirrors last night, which was the first quiet one in some time here in Minneapolis -- Steve.
KORNACKI: OK. Some encouraging signs there in the Twin Cities. Morgan Chesky, stay for that. Appreciate it.
And stay with MSNBC tonight, of course, for all of the latest developments on these protests across the country. Thank you for being with us for this past hour.
And "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" is up next.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END