ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: I will be talking to Bun B, who has been working directly with other artist and the Floyd family on all the activism and memorials.
We`ll also be back here tonight on MSNBC Television for coverage of tonight`s news that MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. I`ll be in the anchor here live. Congresswoman Maxine Waters will be one of our special guest tonight.
Keep it here right now on MSNBC.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. I`m Joy Reid.
Well, those demanding justice for George Floyd received the long awaited news today that more charges have been filed in the case. Minnesota`s attorney general, Keith Ellison, today upgraded the charges against former office Derek Chauvin to second degree murder.
Moreover, the other three officers who stood by and watched while Chauvin pinned Gorge Floyd to the pavement with his knee or held George Floyd on the ground were charged with aiding and abetting in the crime. Here`s Ellison this afternoon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEITH ELLISON, MINNESOTA ATTORNEY GENERAL: To the Floyd family, to our beloved community and to everyone that is watching, I say, George Floyd mattered. He was loved. His family was important. His life had value. And we will seek justice for him and for you and we will find it. But what I do not believe is that one successful prosecution can rectify the hurt and loss that so many people feel. The solution to that pain will be slow and difficult work of constructing justice in fairness in our society.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: That announcement came shortly after members of Floyd`s family paid an emotional visit to the site of his death, which has become a community gathering place for mourners. Reacting to the charges today, the Floyd family called it a bittersweet moment, saying, we are deeply gratified that Attorney General Ellison took decisive action.
Amid all of this, former President Obama weighed in on the protests today, offering an optimistic message in a virtual town hall for his My Brother`s Keeper Alliance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: In some ways, as tragic as these past few weeks have been, as difficult and scary and uncertain as they have been, they`ve also been an incredible opportunity for people to be awakened to some of these underlying trends. And they offer an opportunity for us to all work together to tackle them, to take them on, to change America and make it live up to its highest ideals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Meanwhile, we continue to monitor the many demonstrations that continue around the country tonight, the ninth straight day of international protests since Floyd`s killing. As we saw yesterday, those protests remain both large, perhaps getting even larger and largely peaceful.
As The Associated Press reported, the nation`s streets were calmer than they have been in days. So far, that appears to be the case this evening as well. Those protests have also been stoked in part by the current president`s threat to use overwhelming military force against American protesters.
Trump`s behavior earned him unprecedented rebuke from his former secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, who now say his former boss is a threat the constitution itself. Wow, more on that later.
Today, Trump also address reports that the Secret Service rushed him to an underground bunker at the White House, previously used to protect the vice president on 9/11 during the protests last Friday. He claimed today that, no, no, no, he was merely inspecting the bunker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: A lot of it was a false report. I wasn`t down. I went down during the day and I was there for a tiny, little short period of time and it was much more for an inspection.
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS HOST: So you`re telling me, Mr. President, they didnŸ_(tm)t say to you, you have to go downstairs, my responsibility is your welfare? They didn`t limit you at all in the house?
TRUMP: Nope, they didn`t tell me that at all, but they said it would be a good time to go down, take a look, because maybe some time, you`re going to need it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Come on. That reporting contradicts -- that revision -- the new reporting contradicts that revisionist is claim. Officials tell The Washington Post that Trump was rushed to the bunker, because protesters had breached the temporary fences outside the White House.
And after being strongly rebuked by the leadership of the Episcopal Church for his photo-op at St. John`s, in which he brandished on open upside down bible, after his attorney general had peaceful protesters cleared with tear gas, Trump repeatedly claimed today that, no, no, religious leaders loved it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I did hold up a bible. I think that`s a good thing, not a bad thing. And many religious leaders loved it. Most religious leaders loved it. Why wouldn`t they love it? But Brian, the church leaders loved that I went there with a bible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: In an attempted redo of the thing they supposedly loved so much yesterday, Trump and his wife grabbed a photo-op inside a shrine for Pope John Paul II, but that move was also condemned by the Catholic archbishop of Washington, and subjected to ridicule on social media, where it was would like into the film scene from The Omen.
I`m joined now by NBC Shaquille Brewster in Minneapolis and Glenn Kirschner, who`s a former federal prosecutor.
Shaq, I`m going to you first. What`s been the reaction of protesters to be charges that have now been filed against the other three officers and the upping of charges against Officer Chauvin, former Officer Chauvin?
SHAQUILLE BREWSTER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Joy, the reaction was quick. I was there the moment those charges were initially file then when that announcement came. And, actually, you just see what`s going on. Everyone is getting on one knee right now in honor of George Floyd. There`s still this scene.
You`ve been seeing this scene all day. But at that moment, when folks started looking at their phones and seeing that breaking news alert that the officers involved in the killing of George Floyd were going to be charged, there was a cheer that came about. And they all got together. There was applause, there were some chanting going on. At one point, everyone is saying, we shall overcome. And they were teaching it to people who were unfamiliar with that song.
And this is a sense of community that you`ve been seeing all day long, all day long and all week long. If you look to the right, for example, you`ll see the vigil and you see the flowers that are there, hundreds and hundreds of flowers. This is just one of the memorials, one of the three memorials in this intersection and people still continue to come with flowers. Some people haven`t been here before. Some people are making a return and coming back again.
And I`m going to swing us over to the other side and you can just see there`s another parking lot. And in that parking lot, you see people have food. People are grilling. People have smoothies. There`s a voter registration sign, for example.
Look at the diversity of this crowd. That`s something that you continue to see at this site. Because, again, what people have been calling for and what people have continued to say is that they wanted those officers charged. And today, they finally got that.
Officer Chauvin, that charge was upped from third degree murder to second degree murder. That`s what people are calling for, from the families to the mayor, to the governor. They got that. And they say that a lot of it had to do with what you`re seeing here, that their advocacy, that their protesting led to that movement and let the wheels of justice start to turn.
In addition to that, you`re hearing people say they don`t just want the conviction of the officer. Yes, they do want that. But they want to go beyond that. They want to address systemic issues, systemic racism, institutional racism. And that`s what people are talking about. They`re saying that they need one another to do that.
And that`s why you see when you walk around here, you continue to overhear conversations, or people try to engage and have a conversation with you about what can they do to be better, how can they solve the problem that we`re seeing and the problems that led to the death of George Floyd over a week ago?
So that`s the scene here. You continue to see these demonstrations go overnight. There is a curfew still in effect here in Minneapolis. But this is one site, I`ll tell you, Joy, that police officers have not come into. We haven`t seen any clashes at this site. Many people have described it to me as sacred ground. You can see everyone is now getting up from off their knees. You can see why.
REID: Wow. Shaq Brewster, thank you very much. I really appreciate it. And it is incredible to see the -- you know, people don`t understand the power of symbolism. But, Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reed have made such a huge difference in protests. You still see people taking one knee as well John Carlos and Tommy Smith who that power symbol that they do, the Olympics, as well as black life matters, very powerful.
Glenn, let me ask you this question, because I know we have -- we`re showing scenes from all over the country. You see there in Denver. that looks like a die-in. People are lying down, that symbolizing the killing of George Floyd. You`re seeing that all over the country. We can just keep on scrolling, we`ll see them all over the world, really.
I think we`re still with you, Shaq. Does it make a difference, do you think, that this was announced that it would not be the local prosecutor that would be handling this prosecution? Are you hearing back from anyone that they think it matters that it matters it`s going to be a statewide prosecution, the first black attorney general of the State of Minnesota is going to be doing it, not the local prosecutor? Did that matter to anyone that you`ve talked to?
BREWSTER: If there is, some people did say they have more faith than Keith Ellison. Some people said that there was symbolism and power in the fact that Keith Ellison, the new attorney general in this state, a black man, that he was the one to bring these charges against the officers, and then the fact that those officers came once he took control of the prosecution.
And just to explain it briefly to our viewers, normally this charging decision comes from the county attorney, Mike Freeman. He is now working in conjunction with the state attorney general. So they said they collaborated and they brought these charges together in coordination with one another at that state level. So yes, you hear people mention that.
But I`ll say one other thing that people continue to remind me, is that, they believe these charges should have come a week ago. It was on Memorial Day when that video came out that night when the video with the knee on George Floyd`s neck until he was unresponsive impulsive. They wanted that, those charges to come immediately. And now they`re finally getting that.
REID: Thank you, Shaquille Brewster, thank you very much. Really appreciate your reporting with some chilling images from Washington, D.C. Those officers all stand they`re facing all those protesters.
Let`s go to Glenn Kirschner on this. Prosecuted police officer is not easy. It`s very difficult to get them prosecuted at all. So that`s one thing that is different here. But let me let you listen to Attorney General Ellison on the reason they went to second degree unintentional murder as the charge, take a listen, against Chauvin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Can you explain what that charge means, unintentional murder, versus second degree intentional murder, please?
ELLISON: Well, according to Minnesota law, you have to have premeditation and deliberation to charge first degree murder. Second degree murder, you have to intend for death to be the result. For second degree felony murder, you have to intend the felony, and then death be the result without necessarily having it be the intent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Glenn, it`s hard to convict police officers when they kill someone. How hard is this prosecution going to be, in your view?
GLENN KIRSCHNER, FMR. FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, you know, Joy, a couple of things. First of all, I see nine minutes of intent to kill George Floyd on that videotape. But setting that aside, Attorney General Ellison decided to go with felony murder, which is much easier to prove.
Let me break down felony murder in layman`s terms. It means that, for example, if I go into house -- somebody`s house intending to commit a burglary, not intending to kill the homeowner, but the homeowner surprises me, I run out, I knock the homeowner down, he hits his head and dies. I didn`t intend to kill the homeowner. However, because I did cause the death of the homeowner while I was committing a felony, a burglary, I`m guilty of murder.
The same principle, Joy, holds true here. Derek Chauvin and the other officers didn`t have to intend to kill George Floyd. However, they were assaulting him. And during that assault, he died. Therefore, they`re on the hook for felony murder.
REID: And we`re out of time. And so they won`t be able to use the usual police defense, which they feared for his life. Obviously he`s prone, he`s unconscious. They won`t have access to those kinds of defenses. Is that one reason why to be somewhat easier?
KIRSCHNER: That`s one reason. But who are you going to believe the officers in that ridiculous defense or your own eyes when you watch the videotape?
REID: There you go. Glenn Kirschner, thank you very much, always great talking to you, man. Thank you.
Let`s turn to Atlanta, Georgia where a large protest continue. Just yesterday criminal charges were quickly announced against six Atlanta police officers after body cam video showed them tasing two black college students on Saturday night. Video of the violent arrest went viral and added to the national outrage over George Floyd`s murder and other killings of black Americans by police.
The swift action taken against these officers comes as protesters throughout the country call for not just an end to police killings but also for a swifter dispersal of justice or, in many cases, any dispersal of justice at all.
Atlanta`s curfew, which has been in place in Saturday night, has been extended for the next five days. And joining me now is Atlanta Mayor of Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Madam Mayor, thank you so much for being here. You wrote a very moving opinion piece on being a black mother in America. I`m going to read a little bit of it. You wrote, I cannot guarantee that I will pass freedom down to my children, but I can and will continue to fight for it and teach them how to fight for it every day. One of the best ways that we can fight for it is fighting to ensure that our governing bodies are led by people who value the freedom, equality and humanity of all of mankind. Now, more than ever, election matter, leadership matters. That`s why November 2020 matters. It also matters who people elect as the D.A.
How do you explain how swiftly these charges were brought in the city of Atlanta, where it took so long in Minneapolis?
MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D, ATLANTA, GA): Well, what I can say, Joy, you know, we have an independently elected district attorney. And so the decision that I made on Sunday was to fire two of the officers. It was very clear the one who had tased the young lady and the one who had tased the young man.
We needed a little more time to really sort through more the body cam video on the other officers. And then the D.A. announced, said, he was going forward with criminal charges, which I think really what it represents is that things have changed across America. But there`re still so many cases of police brutality that are sitting on our district attorney`s desk that haven`t gone forward yet. And I think that`s it`s going to be incumbent upon not just our district attorney but all district attorneys to make sure that these investigations go smoothly because there is a new expectation in America as to how we deal with police misconduct.
REID: You think that it needs to be -- you know, does the Keith Ellison, attorney general, handling this case, is that a way forward, that the decisions need to be made by a statewide official who is not working directly with officers on a day-to-day basis?
BOTTOMS: I think in whatever way that we can deal with them most efficiently. And, you know, again, we have to be very thoughtful about how we deal with this case. Because, by and large, there are (INAUDIBLE) who truly seek to protect and serve our communities.
But I think that it`s very obvious to us, that the challenge (INAUDIBLE) President Obama today that we all need to look at our policies in our various cities and make determinations and recommendations on how we can do things better.
REID: Can I ask you about the concern that a lot of people have expressed that there are a lot of these protesters who are in places that were already hotspots for COVID-19. You have police spraying incendiaries at them, which hurts your lung system. Are you concerned that there will be outbreaks of COVID because of these protests and because of the way they`re being treated by police?
BOTTOMS: You know, for the past few months, Joy, we`ve been urging people to avoid mass gatherings. So, certainly, we are concerned about the spread of COVID. It`s the reason we are directing people who have participated in these mass gatherings to testing sites in our city. But this is, I think, I share with so many in this country and shared our concern about being able to protect our communities and our streets and being able to make a difference between the people protesters and those who are wreaking havoc.
In Atlanta, our policies are not to arrest protesters. But that`s not the policy of any of the other state agencies that are on the ground in our city. So there are a lot of dynamics that we are balancing here. And one very important one is how we deal with the other side of COVID-19 on these protests.
REID: Yes, a lot of people (INAUDIBLE). Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta, thank you very much. I really appreciate you being here tonight.
And coming up, a moment of reckoning for America`s police departments. What needs to be done right now to stop the brutality against black men and women, and, yes, children?
Plus, former President Barack Obama`s first public comments on the current protests and on racial injustice in America.
And breaking within the last hour, Donald Trump`s former secretary of defense, General James Mattis, unloads on his former boss. Mattis says he`s angry and appalled and he had a lot more on his mind too.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me begin by acknowledging that, although all of us have been feeling pain, uncertainty, disruption, some folks have been feeling it more than others.
Most of all, the pain that`s been experienced by the families of George and Breonna and Ahmaud and Tony and Sean and too many others to mention.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Welcome back.
That was former President Barack Obama, in his first on-camera comment on the killing of George Floyd in police custody.
There`s also breaking news tonight. The mug shots of the three officers indicted today have just been released. Here they are. They have been charged with aiding and abetting the murder of George Floyd. Wanted to get that in.
But back to President Obama, who stressed the need to turn the current protests into policy in a virtual town hall hosted by the Obama Foundation`s My Brother`s Keeper Alliance.
President Obama launched the program as a task force to address opportunity gaps for boys and young men of color in America after the killing of Trayvon Martin. The former president highlighted recommendations for police reform that his administration made under the program and called on every mayor in the country to review use of force policies and to commit to police reform.
And he thanked those who have taken to the streets in the past week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I want to speak directly to the young men and women of color in this country, who as, Playon just so eloquently described, have witnessed too much violence and too much death.
And, too often, some of that violence has come from folks who were supposed to be serving and protecting you.
I hope that you also feel hopeful, even as you may feel angry, because you have the power to make things better, and you have helped to make the entire country feel as if this is something that has got to change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: For more, I`m joined by Brittany Packnett Cunningham, co-host of "Pod Save the People." She moderated tonight`s town hall. And Jelani Cobb, staff writer at "The New Yorker>"
Brittany, I`m going to go to you first.
Tell us, sort of what was the substance of the town hall? What came out of it?
BRITTANY PACKNETT CUNNINGHAM, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the substance of the town hall was, I think -- and I`m speaking of my own volition here -- was to make sure that we`re really hearing from someone with authority on this conversation, someone who has sat down, listened to communities, who has made sure to ensure that not only are our voices heard, but policies are written and pursued at the federal level.
And so we needed a voice like that to come back, to pull us back into this moment of getting clear-eyed about the road ahead.
I also think that there was a really important covering of a broad spectrum of solutions. And I think so many people get caught up in an either/or. They say, stop protesting, go vote. Go vote. Stop -- don`t worry about voting, go fix the policy.
They say, abolishing police is too far, do the policy work. The policy work is not enough, do the abolishing of the police.
We have to recognize that, actually, all of this makes us better, not just because all of that conversation pushes our plans, but also because they work in conjunction with one another.
So, we need folks who are solving immediate issues, like issues of use of force, which we heard President Obama call on mayors to look at closely. My organization, Campaign Zero, has been working closely on that.
And we also need people to have the long-term vision for what safety and community looks like, beyond having a traditional police department. I`m really glad that a lot of people who tuned in got to hear from voices on the ground, like Phillipe Cunningham, council person from Minneapolis, and national voices like Rashad Robinson from Color of Change, so that people can figure out exactly where they fit in to the -- and the role that they need to play in order to do this work.
REID: And, to that point, Jelani, representation matters is something that is said a lot, but, if you think about it, you have Keith Ellison, the first black attorney general of Minnesota, who is the person who changes the sort of game here, and he indicts these officers, even though the announcement was sort of usurped by the other senator, the senior senator from Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar.
But this was his thing that he did it. You had Keisha Lance Bottoms, who ensured that there was swift action in Atlanta in terms of firing officers who were involved in tasing these young men. You have Marilyn Mosby, I go back to, in Baltimore in the Freddie Gray situation. Although a judge decided not to indict -- not to convict, she is the one who made that move.
How important is that, when you look at the vote side of what President Obama said, the piece that has to be done, whereas, as Brittany made the very important point, there has to be activist side as well?
JELANI COBB, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure.
So, I mean, I think it`s a little bit complicated. And the reason I say that is that Barack Obama, one of the things he excelled at was the politics of representation, that, no matter what, no matter how complicated or difficult things got -- and I know Brittany can speak to this, too -- but you knew, especially in instances like this, that you were dealing with a person who understood, who got it, who understood what the fundamental politics of the relationship between communities and law enforcement were.
And the same thing you would say in all those cases, and Baltimore with Marilyn Mosby, even though that did not culminate in convictions. And then the kind of obvious opposite of that was the state of affairs in Ferguson prior to the death of Michael Brown, but you had entirely white political structure that was deaf to the concerns of the black community there.
But the reason I`m going to say it`s a little bit more complicated is this. We have seen -- if you go back and look, there were all these kind of demands in the 1960s for people to diversify police departments.
And we have seen, in -- depending on what city you`re talking about, significant change, significant diversification of police departments. But still, very often, these same sorts of problems persist.
And you can look at a number of high-profile shootings and high-profile cases of wrongful deaths where there were, in fact, officers of color or African-American officers who were present. One of the other obvious examples is just right nearby is that Philando Castile was killed by an officer of Hispanic origin.
And so -- and that`s not to pit anybody against anybody, but it`s to say that it gets you something, but it doesn`t get you everything. And there`s a much more broad and complicated set of policies and reforms and practices that have to be in place if you`re going to get more distance than that.
REID: Yes, indeed.
I mean, according to "The New York Times," Brittany, about 20 percent of Minneapolis` population is 430,000 black -- is black. Since 2015, the Minneapolis police have documented using force 11,500 times. For at least 66 -- 6,650 acts of force, the subject of that force was black. By comparison, the force was used for 2,750 times against white people, who make up 60 percent of the population, so, basically, seven times the number of uses of force against black people than white.
You also had the situation of David McAtee, which is another situation where the police burst in and killed this very popular young cook.
I mean, it just keeps happening and happening, as Jelani said, no matter sort of what the sort of representation seems to be. So, what is the answer? Do you have an answer?
PACKNETT CUNNINGHAM: Well, Giuliani`s point is so important.
There isn`t an answer, right? There are many answers. And those answers have an order of operations, that there are some things we need to do immediately that are broad and sweeping that can keep people safe now, and then we need to get about the business of reimagining what public safety looks like altogether.
Listen, I think what President Obama, said both in his article he wrote a few days ago and in his statements tonight, were really important. A lot of people have a lot of nostalgia right now. And he wouldn`t say the person`s name, of course, but we will, because a lot of people have a lot of nostalgia right now because Donald Trump is so bad, he is so horrid, he is so dangerous, right?
But I think we have to make sure that we don`t become so seduced by nostalgia that we don`t remember that we deserve to thrive and not just survive. We deserve to live in a world where the police don`t kill people. We deserve to live in communities that maybe don`t even have traditional policing, because we are trusting one another enough to keep ourselves safe.
So, those are the kinds of things that we can actually go after in the short term and the long term. And we have to make sure that, whomever we`re electing, we are holding them accountable, not to taking us back to an old normal, but who are taking us forward to a new normal together.
COBB: Joy, can I add one thing?
REID: Yes, Brittany, very, very well said.
We`re out of time, but you have to make it real quick. You have to say it in like 10 seconds.
COBB: Real quick, I just want to say to Brittany`s -- add to Brittany`s point, also, President Obama was clearly showing off by using those wonderful complete sentences.
REID: Full sentences, don`t you miss them?
REID: Brittany Packnett -- you just had to get that shade in.
Shady Jelani Cobb, king of shade, thank you both, MSNBC contributors. But he is right, though.
Still ahead: Trump has wanted a military parade since the day that he was inaugurated. Does this count?
More on his strongman use of the United States military next.
REID: Welcome back.
Donald Trump is facing criticism tonight from both his current and his former secretaries of defense.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, who has been denounced for taking part in Trump`s staged photo-op at St. John`s Church on Monday, has forcefully come out this morning against invoking the Insurrection Act, giving Trump the authority to send U.S. military forces to counterprotests around the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK ESPER, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: The option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations.
We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And now breaking, from "The Atlantic," the former secretary of Defense James Mattis, General James Mattis, who has barely spoken out -- or rarely spoken out, I should say, has come out with this blistering condemnation of Trump.
Quote: "Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people, does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strength inherent in our civil society."
For more, I`m joined by Democratic Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, a member of the Armed Services Committee. She`s also an Air Force veteran.
Congresswoman, thank you so much for being here.
I want to let you listen to a fellow elected official, member of Congress, member of the United States Senate, Tammy Duckworth, speaking about Mark Esper. Take a listen, the current secretary of defense.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-IL): Just minutes before he followed behind the president, along with General Milley, like two lapdogs, carrying out this president`s really twisted idea of what the military is supposed to do, Secretary Esper was on the phone to our governors, to our nation`s governors, calling the space around the U.S. Capitol the battle space.
He was talking about the need to dominate the battle space, and he was talking about American soil. So he knew exactly what he was doing when he decided to support Donald Trump in this.
Instead of standing up to this president and saying, sir, no, you are politicizing the military, this is not the appropriate use of our military, instead, he went right along with it. And that is very scary to me, Andrea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Those are Senator Duckworth`s thoughts.
And General Milley that she was referring to, of course, is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Your thoughts on the use of the military by this president?
REP. CHRISSY HOULAHAN (D-PA): Well, thank you for having me.
And I have to agree with Senator Duckworth and the sentiment, which is, I`m enormously disappointed. And we should all understand that the power of imagery is really important. If there`s one thing we have learned about this president, he`s taught us how important images are.
And that procession from the White House over to the center of the church, I believe that everybody should have known what has happened. And it`s one thing to do. It`s another to apologize. I`m grateful that Secretary Esper has apologized in some way, shape or form.
But you can`t unsee what just happened. I am also incredibly grateful that General Mattis has stepped in an unprecedented way to talk about this situation. He, I think, had really words of inspiration, calling protesters wholesome. It really genuinely is our constitutional right to be able to protest in this way.
And it is not an appropriate use of our military to be backdrop for our president. I served in the military, as did my dad and my grandfather. I have four active-duty members of my family right now. And we didn`t take the oath of office to be a backdrop for a president of the United States.
REID: You know, and, as a veteran, as you said, and as a family who comes from a family with a military tradition, just want to show you these pictures. Hopefully, you can see them.
These are military vehicles driving up the streets of Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. And so there was there was that image that the American public -- there it is. You see these big Hummers driving down the street.
There was also this very jarring image that a lot of people commented on. I commented on, lots of people did, troops lined up in front of the Lincoln Memorial, a very strange image on American soil, these troops just festooned on the Lincoln Memorial.
And this -- a third one, a military helicopter flying low over protesters in D.C. on Monday, sort of buzzing, almost, the protesters.
What -- have you ever seen anything like that? Or, inside of the military tradition, is that something that`s meant to be done to your own country, to your own countrymen?
HOULAHAN: Well, this is certainly an improper use of military equipment under any circumstance, and very dangerous for the folks who are piloting it, as well as, of course, the people on the ground.
It`s an incredibly worrisome image that we see on our own -- on our own land and on our own soil. It is incredibly alarming to see, as you demonstrated, the folks standing on the steps of the memorial, with no apparent rank or insignia.
I would like as well for not just an apology from Secretary Esper about the impropriety of what he did, but also an explanation in terms of how he`s going to withdraw the troops who he has activated.
I`d like to know how many of them have been activated, what kind they are, and that they`re going -- going to be withdrawn as a result of his statements.
REID: I want to play you Donald Trump still threatening to use the military against the American people. Take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The National Guard, we could solve that problem in New York.
And in fact, if they don`t get their act straight, I`ll solve it. I`ll solve it fast.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
REID: General Mattis has referred to Donald Trump as a threat to democracy at this point to the republic. Your thoughts? Do you agree with him?
REP. CHRISSY HOULAHAN (D), PENNSYLVANIA: I believe that the president`s statement that he would somehow be able to send in active duty military into a place like New York without the governor`s request is simply unconstitutional. It`s simply un-American. And for those of us who know this nation to be a republic, it`s un-Republican, it is not Republican.
It is incredibly worrisome that we are allowing this narrative to be something that we are accepting into the national ethos, because this is exactly what the Constitution was designed and our Founding Fathers did to make sure that we didn`t end up in this position where our king was dictating where our nation`s resources, our military was going.
REID: We`re out of time. But the people that you served with, would they use -- the people that you served with, do you believe they would use force against fellow Americans?
HOULAHAN: So, all of us who took that oath of office, and we take it every single time we`re promoted, none of us, I believe, ever would have imagined that we would have taken that oath to shoot rubber bullets or tear gas our own citizenry, full stop.
REID: OK. Well, we certainly hope that you are correct. Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan, thank you so much. Really appreciate your time tonight.
Still ahead, one of the nation`s most prominent conservative columnists makes the case for getting rid of Donald Trump and his enablers in Congress.
George F. Will joins us next.
Stay with us.
REID: Welcome back (ph).
After police used tear gas to clear the way for Donald Trump to visit St. John`s Church in Washington Monday night, some Republican senators, including Tim Scott and Lisa Murkowski spoke out against it. But many Republican senators avoided the topic or claimed they didn`t know what happened, when NBC`s Kasie Hunt asked them about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KASIE HUNT, NBC NEWS CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Senator McConnell, what the president did last night the right thing to do?
What the president did to peaceful protesters that was dispersed with tear gas, he then walked across the street to the church, was that the right to do?
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): I didn`t see it.
HUNT: Was clearing the protesters an abuse of power?
SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R-KS): I don`t have any comment. Thank you.
REPORTER: The gassing of White House protesters, do they have a right?
SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I didn`t watch that closely enough to know what happened there.
HUNT: Senator Enzi, are you concerned at all about what happened at the White House last night?
SEN. MIKE ENZI (R-WY): I`m late for lunch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Wow, in a recent column, George F. Will writes that Trump must be removed and so must his congressional enablers. He notes: In life`s unforgiving arithmetic, we are the sum of our choices. Congressional Republicans have made theirs for more than 1,200 days. We cannot know all the measures necessary to restore the nation`s domestic health and international standing. But we know the first state. Senate Republicans must be routed.
I`m joined now by George F. Will, syndicated columnist.
Mr. Will, thank you so much for being here. What is that? What is that that happens to an adult man who has power of his own, but who cannot even bring himself to simply speak out against, you know, tear gassing fellow Americans? What is -- what do you think that is?
GEORGE F. WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Oh, it`s very simple, it`s fear. They`re terrified of their own voters and the Republican base, because they know from the lesson of Senator Corker of Tennessee, former senator, and former Senator Flake of Arizona, and former Congressman Mark Sanders, all three of whom got crosswise with the president, they know that one tweet from the president can inflame their bases, which is to say they`re terrified.
So, for that reason, they`ve outsourced their consciences and decided to show no loyalty to the independent, co-equal branch of government which they serve, which means our constitutional equilibrium is destroyed. You have Senator Duckworth and Congresswoman (INAUDIBLE), but what we really saying we need congressional oversight. We`ve seen from this president they can send all the subpoenas they want, they simply will not be answered because the president feels no obligation to cooperate with that investigative and oversight function of Congress.
So it`s an old saying. When failure proliferates unpunished, you get a proliferation of failure. And the same is true with this kind of behavior. If Republicans --
REID: Yeah, but at the same time, you have Steve King, who has been as loyal to Donald Trump as he can be. He`s been denounced even to the right of Donald Trump on things like immigration, accused of white supremacy, all sorts of things, and it really didn`t help him out.
I mean, he lost his -- he lost his attempt to be retain his seat to somebody who is even more Trumpy. He was accused of not being Trumpy enough. It doesn`t always work out that way.
Does that arithmetic not work on them?
WILL: Remember, he`s been at these lurid, over the top statements for more than a decade. And more than a decade of that will get you in trouble. But that doesn`t change the fact that the fundamental dynamic is that the Republican Party today is more united under Donald Trump, more thoroughly his party than it ever was under Teddy Roosevelt, under Dwight Eisenhower or under Ronald Reagan.
So if you believe that Donald Trump is a menace, a threat to the civic norms of this country, then you have to say that the party that is so homogenized behind him is also that. And can only learn a lesson by a severe purging.
REID: What do you make of General Mattis, who has been very tight lipped about Donald Trump? He has not criticized barely at all, even in his book, now coming out and calling Donald Trump nothing less than a threat to the Constitution. Is it just distance? Is it time? Or is it, you know, sort of a reflex to defend the military?
What do you think that is?
WILL: I think we have to understand that a marine general, steeped in the code of civilian control, steeped in control of keeping the military, even the ex-military out of politics, had to be provoked long and hard to go against all the instincts learned under a 50-year military career, to intervene in politics. I salute him for doing so, and I honor him for his reluctance to do so. That makes his timely intervention now all the more forceful.
REID: And do you think? What will be the consequences? If Republican voters listen to you and say it`s time to say no let`s get rid of every single Republican in the Senate that they are capable of voting out? What will happen to the Republican Party? Do you foresee a time when Republicans develop amnesia about having been so solicitous of Donald Trump? Or what happens to that party long-term?
WILL: I`m fairly confident that he will be defeated, Mr. Trump will be defeated, in the election. And the next morning, a lot of Republicans will say, Trump? I don`t recognize the name. They`ll get over this fairly fast.
Our parties are very durable. Our two parties have formulated the political competition in this country since the Republicans first ran a presidential ticket in 1856. The Republican Party will survive. What the Republican Party needs like we parents say when dealing with an intractable child, it needs a time-out, and I think they`re going to get one.
REID: George F. Will predicting #Trumpwho will trend if and when Donald Trump is defeated in November. Thank you very much. I really appreciate you being here.
WILL: Thank you.
REID: Up next, some new -- thank you very much -- some new numbers that are not looking so good, speaking of that, for Donald Trump.
Back after this.
REID: Welcome back.
Donald Trump said that he will not be coronated by the Republican Party in Charlotte, North Carolina, after all. He tweeted he is moving the national convention somewhere else, because Democratic Governor Roy Cooper can`t guarantee that a capacity crowd would be allowed at the arena. Because of a little thing called the coronavirus.
Governor Cooper says he`s been trying to work with Trump`s campaign to address the public health concerns. The RNC might still hold their meetings in Charlotte but the actual nomination would take place elsewhere.
This comes as a new Monmouth University poll shows Trump falling further and further behind his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden. Biden is now leading nationally by 11 points.
And as tensions escalate across the country over racial justice, more voters say they trust Biden to handle race relations more than Trump by about a 12-point margin.
We`ll be right back.
REID: All right. You are looking at live pictures of San Francisco and Los Angeles where massive protests are still under way over the George Floyd case and police brutality around the country. Wow, these are massive, massive. Please be sure to stay tuned to MSNBC all night as we continue to follow these protests that look like they are not getting any smaller around the country.
And please don`t miss Rachel Maddow`s interview tonight with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. That`s tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, as you know.
Thanks so much for being with us.
"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