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Floyd Family TRANSCRIPT: 6/4/20, MSNBC Live

Guests: Marilyn Mosby, Joyce Vance, Jeh Johnson, Charles Booker

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: That was 25 years ago. America faces a larger reckoning now. We fail to listen, and act at our peril.

That`s our broadcast tonight. Keep it right here on MSNBC.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. I`m Joy Reid.

Well, as we begin this hour, massive protest continue across the country, in New York, in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and elsewhere.

It was an emotional day in Minneapolis, meanwhile, as the family of George Floyd remembered his life ten days after his death in police custody set off what has become a tipping point on race and justice in America.


PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD`S BROTHER: Everywhere you go and see people, how they cling to him, they wanted to be around him. You know, George, he was like a general. Every day he walks outside, there would be a line of people, just like when we came in, wanted to greet him and wanted to have fun with him.


REID: Reverend Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy and pointed out what killed George Floyd and many more like him.


REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: He died of a common American criminal justice malfunction. He died because of there has not been the corrective behavior that has taught this country that if you commit a crime, it does not matter whether you wear blue jeans or a blue uniform, you must pay for the crime you commit.


REID: During today`s service, a moment of silence was held for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the same amount of time that Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on George Floyd`s neck as he pleaded for his life. Chauvin now faces charges of second-degree murder.

At the same time George Floyd was being remembered, the three other police officers involved in his death appeared in court. Tou Thao, Alexander King and Thomas Lane who all stood by and watched were arraigned on charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second- degree manslaughter. The judge set bail at $750,000 apiece. A court date for Chauvin has not been set.

We`re also learning more details about the night George Floyd died. A friend who was with him in the car at the time that he was stopped told The New York Times, Floyd did not resist arrest. The friend, Lester Halt, told The Times, quote, I can hear him pleading, please, officer, what`s all this for. He went on to say he was, from the beginning, trying in his humblest form to show he was not resisting, in no form or way. Today`s service in Minneapolis was just one of many remembrances of Floyd.

In New York, thousands gathered for a prayer service and march across the Brooklyn Bridge led by Floyd`s brother, Terrance. And in Washington, Senate Democrats gathered for a moment of silence lasting eight minutes and 46 seconds, several of them kneeling on the marble floor on the Emancipation Hall.

In Minneapolis, Reverend Sharpton said, the protests across the country and around the world reflected the struggle that black Americans have faced for centuries.


SHARPTON: The reason why we are marching all over the world is we were like George. We couldn`t breathe. Not because there was something wrong with our lungs but that you wouldn`t take your knee off our neck. We don`t want no favors. Just get up off of us and we can be and do whatever we can be.


REID: I`m joined now by the Reverend Al Sharpton, Host of POLITICSNATION on MSNBC, and the President of the National Action Network, Marilyn Mosby, State Attorney for Baltimore City, and Joyce Vans, Former U.S. Attorney. Thank you all for being here.

And, Rev, I want to start with you. First of all, it was a beautiful service. It really was moving just to see his family and to hear from them. You`ve done so many of these, unfortunately. This is a thing that you`ve been called upon to do a lot. What do you think is different about George Floyd`s murder that has created this global activism?

SHARPTON: I think there are two or three things. One, I think, Joy, that we`ve seen in the last 30 days the killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, then we saw the killing of Breonna Taylor by police in Louisville, Kentucky, and then this killing right here in Minneapolis. And people watching three within 30 days while they`re home, sheltered down and no distractions, no sports team, they focus in and said this is too much. And then when you look at that tape, eight minutes and 46 second, what could make someone just hold their knee down on an unarmed man who was not resisting? People said, no, time has come, we must do something about criminal justice and police reform.

REID: You know, and, Marilyn Mosby, I remember being at Penn and North when the announcement came through of the indictments in the Freddie Gray case. And people started cheering, you know. There was a lot of reporting from our reporters that there was a lot of the same kind of happiness, that, thank God, that there`s going to be charges in the George Floyd case as well.

But, of course, we know how that turned out, a judge made the decision not to convict those officers. I want to let you hear what the Hennepin County attorney, Attorney Freeman, and he compared the Freddie Gray case to the George Floyd case. This is when he still had control of it. Take a listen.


MIKE FREEMAN, HENNEPIN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We have to do this right. We have to prove it in a court of law. And I will just point to you the comparison to what happened in Billy in Baltimore and the Gray case. It was a rush to charge, it was a rush to justice, and all of those people were found not guilty. I will not rush to justice. I`m going to do this right.


REID: Of course, that was three days after the murder and now the case is out of his hands. It`s in the hands of the attorney general. Can you comment on that? Because -- was the issue in prosecuting those police officers -- because there was also video of at least part of what happened to Freddie Gray. Is it the difficulty of getting police officers convicted, period, or was it the speed of the decision that you made?

MARILYN MOSBY, STATES ATTORNEY FOR BALTIMORE CITY: So, first and foremost, I think that my colleague was just out of line and even interjecting me and deflecting from his lack of courage and his lack of -- his inaction, quite candidly.

And what I can tell you is that five years ago when a black man by the name of Freddy Carlos Gray Jr. made eye contact with police, who was unconstitutionally arrested, placed into a metal wagon head first, feet shackled, handcuffed, whose spine was severed in the back of that wagon, I followed the facts with the law and I wouldn`t do anything differently. I charged those officers that were responsible. And I had more than probable cause to do at that moment. It took us 18 days from the time of the incident until we actually came out with the charges.

But in this moment, I think you all touched on a really important sort of issue, and some of the issues that have presented itself is that we can`t underestimate the power of a prosecutor. This prosecutor, I believe, has set off these protests. Because when we look at the criminal justice system, as Reverend Al Sharpton has already eloquently said at the eulogy today, when you look at a criminal justice system that has disproportionately impacted black people since the time that we were brought here as slaves, from the enforcement of slaves codes to the 13th Amendment with the exception of the abolishment of slavery, to Jim Crow, to the civil rights, to the war on drugs.

When you look at all of these issues, historically, the criminal justice system has desperately impacted black people. And what people were crying out for, what we are currently crying out for is a just, equal system that is going to apply one standard of justice to all and in that case and prior to Attorney General Ellison getting the case, that prosecutor gave everybody some sense of lack of trust within this system.

REID: ad, you know, Joyce, to that very point, there has to be a political willingness to do what will be unpopular with the police unions, which where, I can remember very angry at Marilyn Mosby for doing that prosecution. You had Keith Ellison, who was able to take the case away from the Hennepin County prosecutor, who, by the way, the previous Hennepin County prosecutor also never prosecuted a police officer. So can you just talk about that, the challenge of getting prosecutors to take this quite brave political step, but what the victims demand?

JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: You know, on the one hand, I guess you could characterize it as brave, Joy. But on the other hand as a former U.S. attorney, I`ll just tell you, it`s your job to do things that are unpopular. You have to follow the law and the facts. And twice in my eight years as U.S. attorney, I authorize on excessive force, police excessive force cases, neither resulting in death, but both resulting in grievous bodily injury where we did not convict in front of a jury.

In one case, we got an acquittal, in the other case, the jury hung and couldn`t reach a unanimous verdict. And so something that I don`t hear people talking about here as much as I think we should be is the need to change the laws, because the standard is often very high for proving both in federal and state court, these cases. And there should be a standard that permits us to charge police officers who were involved as clearly happened here in a reckless disregard for human life that the standard that`s commonly used for second degree murder across the country ,and we need that sort of a charge here, because we have to hold police accountable.

As everyone is said, without that sort of fair dealing and honest treatment, then no one can have confidence in the integrity of the criminal justice system. We`ve got a lot of work cut out ahead to restore that.

REID: Yes. And it seems, Rev, that the step one would be to look at some of the attitudinal kind of issues with police. Let`s just show you a couple of headlines just -- and this is at the protest, this is in even previously, police brutality continues today. This is BuzzFeed. A college student`s family says that he has brain damage after police shot him with a beanbag round. NBC News, police in Vallejo, California fatally shoot a man with a hammer, who was kneeling outside of a Walgreens.

Another set of headlines. New York Times had a headline about Tacoma, Washington, the case in which a person died as a result of how he was also restrained restrained, restrained similarly to the way that George Floyd was before all the protest started, and a Florida officer on leave after pressing his knee into a man`s neck.

So there`s a sense in which the police unions know that, you know, Donald Trump is 100 percent behind them. It kind it feels the way it did when Rudy Giuliani was running New York City. Police knew that whatever they did, he was on their side, the Amadou Diallo case, whatever, he`s always going to be on their side. Is there -- how do you get at that, the attitudinal issues with the police?

SHARPTON: I think the way we get at that is that we must begin to tell police they cannot operate in an abusive way, no matter what their attitude or their feelings. People say police are human, and they are. But they get the power of the state behind them that ordinary humans don`t have in this country.

Once you put on that badge and gun and represent the state, we have the right to expect that you are going to enforce the law and that you not going to behave like ordinary people and they`re ordinary emotions. And I think if the laws don`t protect us, if the laws do not make it possible for prosecutors to protect us, then I think that we, on a downward spiral, in terms of how this society will function.

And that`s being express by ten of thousand or hundreds of thousands of white, black, Asian, American-Indian, as well as Latinos all over the world and particularly in the United States with these demonstrations.

REID: And to that very point, I want to play - this is Senator Lindsey Graham, and I want to play this for my two prosecutors. Let`s listen to him. And this is him opining about the way that, in his view, young black men view police.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): If you go and talk to your African American friends. They will tell you that they tell young African American men, teenagers and young adults, if the cops stop you, keep your hands on the wheel, don`t reach for the glove compartment say, yes, sir, no, sir.

So I`ve come to believe that young black men, rightly or wrongly, perceive the police to be a threat when many times there are not, but we got to deal with that problem. And if we don`t be honest with the problem, then we`re never going to make progress.


REID: Yes, I don`t know what expertise he is speaking from but, I`ll let you handle that one. Marilyn Mosby, your thoughts on Graham`s thoughts?

MOSBY: And I think it`s probably disconcerting whether a senator to even think that way. When you look at Eric Garner, he was killed because he was allegedly selling a loose cigarette. When you look at Sandra Bland, she was ultimately killed because she didn`t signal her traffic, a traffic signal. When you look at Freddie Gray, he merely made eye contact with the police officer. When we look at George Floyd, this is an allegation that he tried to pass counterfeit $20 bill during a global pandemic for groceries. Like it is absurd for black people in America not to feel threatened when it comes to their engagement with police.

And so I think that it goes beyond political will and political courage of the prosecutor to actually have one standard of justice. There are systems in place that protect police officers from being accountable, not only in the courtrooms but outside of the courtrooms. When we look at inside of the courtrooms, we have to work with the police department. We need independent investigations. No profession should be investigating their own.

In Freddie Gray, I can tell you, search warrants weren`t executed. We have witnesses to the actual incident that were assigned to investigate to case. You had the most pertinent questions that weren`t being asked. No profession should be able to investigate their own. So that`s one systemic sort of reform that needs to take place.

When we talk about the law enforcement bill of rights all across this country, police departments` hands are tied with problematic officers. This particular officer that has been charged with second degree murder had 18 I.A. (ph) complaints, which is foreseeable as an issue. The blue wall of silence that officers are going to get in there and testify against their colleagues, I can tell you from personal experience that is not going to happen, the fact that you have police that circumvent the juries and then go and choose bench trials. These are all systematic reforms that need to take place.

REID: Yes. I wish we had more time. I believe we are unfortunately out of time. But then, Reverend Al Sharpton, thank you so much. Marilyn Mosby thank you much. Joyce Vance, thank you, thank you, thank you.

And coming up, the generals lining up against Donald Trump, some of them are former members of his own administration. Is this the part of the story where prominent citizens come forward to proclaim that the emperor has no clothes? Secretary Jeh Johnson, joins me next.

Plus, growing concern within the Republican Party that Trump is losing and that he might take them down with him.

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


REID: Welcome back.

A growing number of former military leaders are pushing back against Donald Trump`s threat to use the military to crack down on protesters in American streets.

Trump today responded to the latest criticism from his former Defense Secretary General Jim Mattis, who called the sitting president a threat to the Constitution.

Trump tweeted that he had the honor of firing Mattis, whom he referred to as the world`s most overrated general, adding, "I asked for his letter of resignation and felt great about it."

You will not be surprised to learn that that`s not true. Trump`s recollection of events is being challenged by none other than his own former Chief of Staff General John Kelly.

Kelly told "The Washington Post" today regarding Mattis -- quote -- "The president did not fire him. He did not ask for his resignation. The president has clearly forgotten how it actually happened or is confused."

Mattis is the latest of several military leaders who are speaking out against Trump over his recent actions.

And for more, I`m joined by Jeh Johnson, former secretary of homeland security in the Obama administration.

And, Secretary Johnson, thank you so much for being here.

I want to play you yet another person who has spoken out...


REID: Hello -- who`s spoken out against Donald Trump and his interesting use of the military.

Here is General John Allen, a four-star general, and talking about the threats to use military against protesters, which he says could be the beginning of the end of American democracy. Take a listen.


LT. GEN. JOHN ALLEN (RET.), FORMER U.S. FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN COMMANDER: When the president tells them that, if they don`t rise to his standard of how they`re going to control and, as we say, dominate the streets, consider the cities to be battle spaces, imposing federal forces on a governor that`s not asked for it, it`s completely out of whack with respect to how we operate within this country and the way we would employ the Constitution.

I fought in overseas wars, and I never believed that the Constitution was under threat until recently. And I have concerns about that. We should all be attentive right now to how the rule of law is being administered in this country.


REID: Secretary Johnson, if another country was doing these kinds of things, festooning the military down the street, clearing the streets of protesters with tear gas, just so that the leader could take a photo-op, what would we consider that to be, and using the military against their own citizens?

JOHNSON: Un-American, not free society.

Joy, it`s interesting to me that I -- I have worked with all these generals, when I was general counsel of the Department of Defense, before I was secretary of homeland security. Allen, Mattis, Mullen, Dempsey, I worked with all of them. And I gave the legal sign-off for their military operations. I know them well. I know them character -- I know their character.

It`s interesting to me. I -- for the last three days, I have been explaining to the public that we have laws against what we refer to as a Posse Comitatus, deploying the active-duty military on the streets of the United States for law enforcement purposes. We don`t do that in this country.

And the Insurrection Act of 1807, which the White House pulled out of the closet two or three days ago, is only a measure of last resort, when state governments can no longer function.

And those are legal concepts. But, to the generals, to career military officers, it`s ingrained in their culture, it`s ingrained in their -- in their values that the military, the active-duty military, is for overseas conflicts, and we do not deploy in this country the active-duty military to apply force to our own citizens.

And that`s why you see so many retired military four-stars who were all their adult life apolitical coming out and speaking out against this, because it so offends everything they know about the military and their culture.

REID: You know, they`re speaking out, but not everyone is as comfortable doing so.

Let me play you some members of the United States Senate and how they reacted to being asked about these very same comments.


QUESTION: Can I ask you about General Mattis?

SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R-KS): General Mattis. General Mattis.

QUESTION: So, what do you say? He called the president a threat to the Constitution?

He called the president a threat to the Constitution. Do you agree? Senator?

SEN. TODD YOUNG (R-IN): I`m not going to get in between -- a dispute between the former secretary of defense and the president of the United States.

SEN. MIKE ROUNDS (R-SD): I had not heard that remark. I`d have to take a look at it and see what the context is.

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): I respect General Mattis. He has every right to express his opinion. That`s his opinion.


REID: Just to be -- in fairness, there is one person who did say something here, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.



SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): I thought General Mattis` words are true and honest and necessary and overdue.

And I have been struggling for the right words. When I saw General Mattis` comments yesterday, I -- I felt like perhaps we`re getting to the point where we can be more honest.


REID: You know, Secretary Johnson, Anne Applebaum wrote in "The Atlantic," trying to explain sort of why these Republican leaders are so afraid to say anything about this, what seems to be a quite obvious issue.

She wrote: "Fear, of course, is the most important reason any inhabitant of an authoritarian or totalitarian society does not protest or resign, even when the leader commits crimes, violates his official ideology, or forces people to do things they know to be wrong. Each violation of our Constitution, our civic peace gets absorbed, rationalized and accepted by people who once upon a time knew better.

"If, following what was almost certain to be one of the ugliest elections in American history, Trump wins a second term, these people may well accept even worse, unless, of course, they decide not to."

Are you concerned that, if Donald Trump wins reelection, that he will go full authoritarian, and that we will no longer be functionally a democratic society?

JOHNSON: Well, I am concerned about that.

But the question you asked a moment ago, why, it`s not hard. It`s politics. And images speak 1,000 words. All those senators marching by the microphones with the mask on and not saying anything speaks volumes.

But I -- when I watched that image, the one thing I thought of was, if John McCain were still alive today in the United States Senate, John McCain would be livid about the prospect of sending active-duty military to Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C.

Lindsey Graham, who you showed a moment ago, in addition to being a United States senator, he is a Reservist in the United States Air Force as a JAG, a military lawyer. He is, in his Reservist capacity, a colonel-level lawyer in the military. Lindsey Graham knows better.

And so, if Donald Trump gets a second term, you know, he will be unleashed from having to think about getting reelected again, and will continue to act on a lot of the same impulses we`re seeing now.

A lot of his language, frankly, sounds like a sheriff from the Southeast in the early 1960s, or an authoritarian leader from overseas. It`s foreign to how you and I grew up listening to presidents, Republican and Democrat.

REID: Yes.

And I have a compound question for you. First, I want to show you some images that were disturbing to a lot of people of troops throughout D.C. hiding their names, not identifying what agency they were from. It`s not clear what they are from Federal Bureau of Prisons, who they were.

First of all, is that normal, number one?

Well, first of all, just let me -- let you -- ask you that. Is that normal?

JOHNSON: The only other time I have ever seen military officers remove their name badges from their uniforms is in a detention facility, where you don`t want the detainee to see the name.

I have never seen that -- well, first of all, you don`t see active-duty military on the streets in Washington, D.C., that often. It`s hard to know whether they were Guard or active-duty military.

REID: Yes.

JOHNSON: But, no, I have not seen that before.

REID: Yes.

And very quickly, can you ever imagine President Obama under any circumstances, because there were protests outside, going into the bunker that was used for 9/11 to secure the vice president?

JOHNSON: Joy, the Department of Homeland Security includes the Secret Service, and I led the Department of Homeland Security.

So, I guess my answer to that has to be, that`s between the president and the Secret Service.

REID: All right, fair enough.

Jeh Johnson, thank you very much.



REID: Really appreciate you being here.

That`s OK.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

REID: Thank you very much.

And up next -- up next: Louisville, Kentucky, is another protest flash point following the deaths of a young first responder and a beloved restaurant owner.

We will talk with a state representative from Louisville who is challenging Mitch McConnell for his Senate seat in the upcoming election.

Stay with us. We`re back after this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it`s absolutely abhorrent that, at this day and time, we`re still having to go through this.

I have just been here through a lot of things of people getting killed unnecessarily, the wrong identity, the wrong person killed, and the police sweeping it under the rug.

Black people have been fighting this fight for years, hundreds of years. And it`s a shame that, in 1962 to 2020, I`m still seeing the same thing.



REID: Welcome back.

In Louisville, Kentucky, today, the mayor announced that he was ending the city`s dusk-to-dawn curfew, after seven days of demonstrations.

Last night, protesters marched to express anger over the death of Breonna Taylor and David McAtee. Both were killed by police.

Taylor, an EMT who would have turned 27 years old tomorrow, was shot at least eight times by Louisville police officers in her own home. McAtee, owner of YaYa`s Barbecue, was a beloved pillar in his community. He was killed after Louisville police and National Guardsmen fired live ammunition into a crowd that had gathered early Monday morning near his restaurant during protests.

Officials claim that McAtee fired first. The chief of police was fired after it emerged that officers on the scene failed to activate their body cameras.

On Monday, Kentucky`s senior senator and the Republican Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, said that national protests have been -- quote -- "hijacked by rioters" committing unjust violence.

By the way, he`s up for reelection in November. Last week, the Lincoln Project, which is a group of prominent Republicans working to defeat Donald Trump and those who support him, released this ad targeting McConnell.


NARRATOR: Rich Mitch. Has a nice ring to it.

So, what did Kentucky get in the bargain? Well, we`re 40th in job opportunity, 45th in education, 43rd in health care. Getting the picture?

After 35 years, Kentuckians are still waiting for the kinds of opportunities Mitch worked so hard to give himself. With another six years of Mitch McConnell, from the hollow to the horse farm, we will still be waiting. And Mitch, he will just be richer.

So, what will history say about Mitch McConnell? The same thing many Kentuckians now. Not a damn thing.


REID: I am joined now by Kentucky state Representative Charles Booker. He is one of the Democrats was vying to take on Senator McConnell in the fall.

And, Representative Booker, you have been out at these protests. When you`re out there, is the anger highly specific to the Breonna Taylor case, which is horrific, to the McAtee case? Or is it, like some of these other protests, the broader question of police brutality?

CHARLES BOOKER (D), KENTUCKY STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Well, first of all, it`s good to be with you. I`m very honored.

And, yes, it`s a bit of both. There`s a lot of anger, frustration, rightfully so, at the tragic loss of Breonna Taylor, who was close to my family. But there`s also a lot of pain from generations of injustice that has plagued our community, Louisville being one of the most segregated cities in the country.

And we`re crying out in both ends, because we know things really do need to change.

REID: You know, when people think about this upcoming United States Senate race, the assumption has been that, in order to remove Mitch McConnell, it needs to be somebody who`s sort of similar to him, somebody who`s ideologically more to the right, somebody -- that there`s a presumption that a black candidate can`t win.

With the passion that you`re seeing out there in Louisville now because of these two killings, do you think that that calculus has changed about who can win in the state statewide?

CHARLES BOOKER: Well, that calculus was always wrong.

It was based on not listening to Kentuckians, who`ve been demanding change for a long time. I come from the poorest zip code in the state, and I have worked all across Kentucky. We`re dealing with generational poverty. Folks are rationing insulin, like I have had to do, nearly dying from it multiple times.

We`re dealing with real issues that will not go away by just saying that you`re going to be a pro-Trump Democrat. So, if you listen to the people of the commonwealth, you know we want Mitch gone yesterday, so that we can transform our future.

REID: I got to let you play -- I got to let you listen to Senator Rand Paul, who had some things to say today, talking with fellow Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, who are trying to pass anti-lynching legislation in the United -- through the United States Senate.

Take a listen.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): I seek to amend this legislation, not because I take it or I take lynching lightly, but because I take it seriously.

And this legislation does not. This bill would cheapen the meaning of lynching by defining it so broadly as to include a minor bruise or abrasion.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): There is no reason for this. There is no reason, other than cruel and deliberate obstruction on a day of mourning.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): If we passed this, it would not only do something substantive to make a difference on the books of the American federal system, but, God, it would speak volumes to the racial pain and the hurt of generations.

I do not need my colleague, the senator from Kentucky, to tell me about one lynching in this country.


REID: What do you make of Senator Rand Paul, the junior senator from Kentucky, holding up this bill, and also lec -- on the day of George Floyd`s memorial service, and lecturing the two black Democratic senators about what lynching means?

CHARLES BOOKER: It is grossly disrespectful. It`s ignorant of our history, the challenges we face with structural racism and inequity.

And I say that in a very personal sense, because I have had family lynched in Kentucky. I go back several generations here, and we have had family members enslaved right here in this commonwealth.

And to have one of our elected officials say that he could care less about that pain and that trauma is gross, and it serves to prove that he`s unfit.

REID: The primary is this month. We wish you the best of luck. I think it`s the 23rd -- 22nd or the 23rd of this month. Good luck to you, Kentucky state Representative Charles Booker.

The 23rd, the 23rd of the month.

Thank you very much. Really appreciate it. Best of luck.


REID: And up next: Election Day is less than five months away, and the -- thank you very much -- and the latest polls not looking good for Donald Trump. Nope.

Stay with us.


REID: Welcome back.

NBC News is reporting tonight that Donald Trump met with his top political aides and advisers in the Oval Office this afternoon with a group, discussed very concerning internal polling and reliably Republican states such as Texas. Additionally, according to "The New York Times," Trump is facing the bleakest outlook for his re-election bid so far with his polling numbers plunging in both public and private surveys.

His campaign beginning to worry about his standing in states like Ohio and Iowa that he carried by wide margins four years ago. A Monmouth University poll out yesterday shows Biden 11 points ahead of Trump and the situation isn`t so good for Trump in some key battleground states either, according to "New York Times" -- according to Fox News poll, Biden leads by 9 points in Wisconsin, which Trump won by less than one percentage point in 2016, and Biden is up by four in Arizona, which hasn`t voted for a drat since Bill Clinton`s re-election in 1996.

In Ohio, a state that Trump won easily in 2016, it`s tied. Biden`s two- point lead is within the margin of error. Trump`s problems may have been exacerbated by his recent actions. "The New York Times" reports Trump`s belligerent response to protests after the killing of George Floyd appears to have worsened his political position even further. That`s according to officials in both parties.

Trump appears to be doubling down on that belligerent attitude, and that is next.


REID: Welcome back.

"Politico" reports that Trump is defaulting to his most familiar strategy where his every move is intended to excite or rile the GOP base. The base only strategy is a gamble for Trump whose campaign has spent much of the past year trying to build up goodwill with suburban swing voters, knowing their disapproval alone could cost him re-election.

But the base is also his safe space. If all that matters to Trump is that his dedicated supporters turn out in November, he could replace rosy language about national unity with appeals to their worries.

I`m joined now by Cornell Belcher, Democratic pollster, and David Jolly, former Republican congressman.

OK. Let`s jump into this. So Donald Trump is mad at Lisa Murkowski. We`ll do that, we`ll start there. Here is Lisa Murkowski hedging, having already criticized him for wanting to sic the military on Americans. Here she is hedging on whether she`ll support him in 2020.


REPORTER: Can you still support President Trump then? Is that something you`re struggling with?

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): I`m struggling with it -- I have been struggling for a long time. I think you know that, I didn`t support the president in the initial election and I work hard to try to make sure that I`m able to represent my state well.

I think there are -- there are important conversations that we need to have as an American people amongst ourselves about where we are right now.


REID: She didn`t support impeachment.

But, David Jolly, here is Donald Trump pouting about that. Here he is, of course, he tweeted he`s not so mad at Jack that he won`t keep using Twitter. There it is. I`m going to campaign against her.

He`s not going to campaign against her, David Jolly. I don`t see him getting on one of the mini-planes and campaigning against her. Your thoughts on Donald Trump`s burn Lisa Murkowski strategy?

DAVID JOLLY, FORMER REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN: Well, look, he will -- he`ll go after Lisa Murkowski as he went after Tom Tillis to get to kind of changed his behavior after he went after Mark Sanford, he went after others.

But, look, for Lisa Murkowski, great. Thank you for making the statement. I think a lot of people are saying it may be a little -- a little late, a little too little and a little too late.

And the reason why is Lisa Murkowski knows what the rest of the nation knows, that in every moment of his presidency, Donald Trump will put his own interests ahead of the national interests, ahead of the country`s interests. And putting his own interests first makes him dangerous.

Lisa Murkowski knows that. Those are not my words. Those are the words of Adam Schiff in his closing argument in the impeachment trial when Lisa Murkowski decided that she would not vote to convict Donald Trump.

Lisa Murkowski has had an opportunity to prevent the behavior that we`re seeing now from Donald Trump. I give her credit for saying the right things now but I think a lot of people would say it`s lacking.

REID: Yeah. It seems a bit late.

But here is the other thing, so, Cornell, Donald Trump keeps using language like old `60s, like segregationist sheriffs and stuff. He seems to also be trying to run, you know, saying the silent majority, trying to sort of be Nixon from `68. But here`s the problem -- in this -- he`s Hubert Humphrey. He`s not Richard Nixon in this scenario, because he`s the incumbent.

I want to let you take a look at the ad that the Biden campaign is running and I have a question on the other side.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The country is crying out for leadership, leadership that can unite us, leadership that can bring us together. I look at the presidency as a very big job, and nobody will get it right every time. And I won`t either.

But I promise you this -- I won`t traffic in fear and division. I won`t fan the flames of hate. I`ll seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued our country, not use them as political gain. I`ll do my job and I will take responsibility. I won`t blame others.

I promise you, this job is not about me. It`s about you.


REID: I mean, Biden has to appear to be a adult, right? I mean, he`s -- how hard. Donald Trump is -- he`s making those ads for him.

CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER AND STRATEGIST: Well, I think it`s a little harder than that. By the way, joy, I`m glad to see a Democratic Party to where I told them they should be a couple of years ago on tackling the division and racism and how, frankly, the division in the country was just as big a issue with statements of the electorate, particularly women voters as health care or the minimum wage or college affordability.

And what you see now is the issue of racial division and this issue of racism becoming a front and center issue, I think, going into this next campaign. When you have 59 percent of college-educated white voters saying that race matters or race will factor in -- these racial issues will factor in their voting in 2020. You have 60 percent of young voters saying it will factor into their voting.

You can no longer say the division and racism is a -- is a side issue. It`s a front and center issue in American politics. It`s no longer, to a certain extent, other people`s issues. I think older white people understand now. I think that makes it different.

REID: You know, David, I think that is a good point, because it isn`t just black kids out there, young black people out there being brutalized by police in these having rubber bullets. It`s also white kids, lots and lots and lots of white kids. So, these issues are now --

JOLLY: Right.

REID: -- not as cut and dry for Donald Trump. Meanwhile his vice president is out there saying they`re looking for ways to sort of find opportunities with black voters. I don`t understand. It`s not even coherent.

Your thoughts?

JOLLY: Yeah, look, Donald Trump and Republicans at large cannot win on the political issue of civil rights and civil justice, and they know that, which is why you`re seeing Donald Trump pivot so strongly to law and order. If he can achieve framing the issue as law and order and going after the rioters and completely avoid George Floyd and avoid the anger and the pain of the protesters in the nation wanting justice, he`s on a safe ground with the MAGA base you were talking about.

But to Cornell`s point, in 2018, we saw a coalition of voters who weren`t just rejecting Republicans on immigration and health care and taxes. They were rejecting Donald Trump`s leadership, his behavior, his demeanor, the values he sought to instill.

And in this moment, right now, those same blue wave coalition voters in 2018 know that while much of the nation is fighting injustice, Donald Trump is fighting Twitter. And he`s fighting Joe Scarborough and he`s fighting the deep state and fake news and the governor of North Carolina. Those voters have not moved from that blue coalition and I think they`ll still be going in November based on Donald Trump`s behavior.

REID: We`re out of time. But, Cornell Belcher, yes or no, does Joe Biden improve on President Obama`s number with white voters -- white college- educated voters?

BELCHER: Just slightly. Donald Trump will still win a majority of white voters, as crazy as it may seem, Joy.

REID: He will. Oh, I know. Oh, I know.

Cornell Belcher, thank you very much. David Jolly, I appreciate it.

We`ll be right back.


REID: As protests continue across the U.S. and the world, Meghan Markle, duchess of Sussex, took a moment to weigh in during a commencement address to high school students.


MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: I realized the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing because George Floyd`s life mattered and Breonna Taylor`s life mattered and Philando Castile`s life mattered and Tamir Rice`s life mattered --


REID: Well said.

Thanks for being with us.