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police reforms TRANSCRIPT: 6/16/20, MSNBC Live

Guests: Jenifer Lewis, Jill Colvin, Charlie Crist

  ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: That does it for us. Keep it right here on MSNBC and the programming note, tomorrow we will be join by L.L. Cool J. So I`ll see you again tomorrow night, 6:00 P.M. Eastern.

But right now, keep it right here on MSNBC.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Good evening. I`m Steve Kornacki in New York.

With protests continuing for a 22nd day, the debate over police reform reached a new level today, with President Trump rolling out his own plan. In a rose garden ceremony, Trump signed an executive order that he says will encourage higher standards in policing. And among other things, the order will create a database to track instances of misconduct, it will promote the broader use of mental health resources among police forces and it will leverage grant money to incentivize higher standards when it comes to use of force. Trump said, those standards would include dropping the use of chokeholds, except when an officer`s life is in danger.

As he announced this order, the president also stuck to his message, stuck to his message of law and order.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Law and order must be further restored nationwide, and your federal government is ready, willing and able to help.

Americans want law and order. They demand law and order. They may not say it, they may not be talking about it but that`s what they want. Some of them don`t even know that`s what they want. But that`s what they want and they understand that when you remove the police you hurt those who have the least the most.


KORNACKI: Now, the president did not address the question of systemic racism today. Recent polling shows that 3/4 of Americans now believe that racial discrimination is a big problem in this country. Trump said that it`s only a tiny number of bad officers who are responsible for problems in policing.


TRUMP: Nobody needs a strong, trustworthy police force more than those who live in distressed areas. And nobody is more opposed to the small number of bad police officers, and you have them. There are very tiny. I use the word tiny. It`s a very small percentage.


KORNACKI: And Trump portrayed his executive order as a starting point, pending further action from Congress. But with competing bills in the House and the Senate, Republicans and Democrats may be on a collision course on Capitol Hill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said today that the Democratic bill in the House is, to him, a nonstarter.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): That`s a non-starter. The House version is going nowhere in the Senate. It`s, it`s basically typical Democratic overreach to try to control everything in Washington. That -- we have no interest in that.


KORNACKI: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to McConnell late this afternoon.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): He said it`s not going anywhere in the Senate, we won`t have any of that. We won`t have any of what? Ending racial profiling? We won`t have any of ending kill calls (ph), we won`t have any of no-knock warrants, the list goes on and on.

I feel very very disappointed by the dangerous statement made by the Republican leader of the Senate.


KORNACKI: And I`m join now by Bill Bratton, former NYPD Commissioner and Senior Law Enforcement Analyst for NBC News, Jill Colvin is a White House Reporter for the Associated Press ,and Maya Wiley, is a professor at the New School and an MSNBC Legal Analyst. Thank to all of you for joining us. I appreciate it very much.

Jill, let me start with you. We laid out some of the basics there in terms of what the president announced today. Take us through this. Because this is not legislation, this is not a law. This is an executive order. So in terms of enforcing this, in terms of trying implement this, what happens?

JILL COLVIN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, ASSOCIATED PRESS: I`m sorry, did you say Bill or Jill there? I will jump in there.


COLVIN: So, yes, the White House formulated this based on things that they thought that they could achieve from a federal perspective. They have been working pretty closely with Tim Scott on the Senate side trying to work together on the Republican bill that they`re starting to finalize now.

But most of what`s in the executive order is things like affecting grant money that the federal government provides to local and state police departments. They`re threatening here to withhold money and to only grant money if police departments abide by certain things, like a training regime that would advise against using chokeholds.

And so they are really taking a fairly limited approach here to what they believe is the most effective way to move forward.

KORNACKI: Well, Bill Bratton, let me bring you in on that, because you certainly have some experience running some big police departments. If you were in your old job, and an executive order from the president that we saw today, such as we saw today came out, how would that affect what your police force does? Would it affect what your police force does?

BILL BRATTON, MSNBC SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Not a great deal that the big problem in American policing is that there are 18,000 departments in 50 states, 50 governors, 50 state legislatures. We have the Congress. We have the president. There are a lot of cooks in the kitchen working on a stew that`s going to end up becoming a mess rather than what the country needs, which is, consistency. We have no consistency.

And so, what we`re seeing is it`s going to get worse. The president has his plan. Senate has their plan. Congress has its plan. The states and governors have their plans. It`s a mess, unfortunately. At a time when there`s so much energy and so much interest and reform, this is the time.

And I`m just worried that we are going to lose the opportunity the way the country has been going for so many years with the political infighting and grandstanding and ineffectual actions. So we`re not in a good place at this moment.

KORNACKI: When you say what is missing is consistency, and pointing out here, there are police forces in cities and towns all over the country. There are a lot of layers of government above that going from the local level all the way up to the top, the presidency. Where do you think the consistency needs to be? Where would you like to see it come from? Who should take the lead here?

BRATTON: I think it needs to be taken at national level at the very least on some of these policies, whether it`s chokehold training regimen, the laws that would impact in terms of funding, guidance. The problem in the United States is we have very few national standards. We have constitutional interpretations by the Supreme Court that dictate and guide policing. But other than that, national standards almost do not exist.

We have this hodge-podge of we have a national commission on accreditation, we have different legislates areas passing different actions. And one thing the public is so confused about is why can one chief in one city fire an officer immediately when they do something wrong, and in someplace else, takes years as the union arbitration issues, state laws. We are all over the place on this issue.

So maybe if we could get all the sides together to talk about this, we might come up with something that would actually work.

KORNACKI: So, on that front, Maya Wiley, let me turn to you, because there is that question now after this executive order of what if anything will emerge from Congress, Democrats in the House have their bill that they have put forward, Republicans who control the Senate, they`ve designated Tim Scott from South Carolina as their point man. They say they have a proposal that`s in the works here.

What do you see in terms of reforms that can get through Congress, that might get through Congress here, what do you see as the major, most important steps that Congress should be taking here?

MAYA WILEY, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think the House bill has laid out a number of very important reforms. And let`s just start with one of the major ones that Commissioner Bratton mentioned indirectly, which is the idea that a police officer can violate someone`s constitutional rights in the case that was just before the Supreme Court, an example being a man who was homeless, in handcuffs and the police allegedly sick (ph) the dog on him and bit him.

And the courts below said, well, you can`t sue for that because we only said in previous case law that if you were laying down and handcuffed, they could not sick a dog on you. This guy was sitting up. So, I don`t know, it wasn`t clear to the police officers whether they could sick a dog on the handcuffed man.

That is the kind of crazy making in terms of case precedent that has enabled the law enforcement framework, get tough on crime framework, to become lawless policing. And that has to shift and that`s the thing that Donald Trump, despite his victory lap on the coffins of black people, which was the only way that any of us could have read that press conference, was essentially saying, that`s a no-go. We are not even going to talk about the ability to hold police accountable after they have done something like violate your constitutional rights.

I think that what we are going to see is significantly more innovation at the local level where we will see mayors and city council members say, we need a new vision of policing and this one, I don`t think it`s going to come from national government right now.

KORNACKI: So that`s interesting what you`re saying, Maya. You are bringing up what appears to be one of the biggest stumbling blocks here between the two parties in Congress here. This issue of qualified immunity, the ability of Congress potentially passing a bill here that would allows individuals to sue police officers, to hold them liable in civil court for their actions. Currently, that`s something that`s not happening.

Bill Bratton, let`s bring you back in on that question, because the politics of this right now in Congress, as I understand it, that this is something that Democrats want, this is something that the White House has sent a signal is a poison pill to them. And Republican in Congress, I`ve heard some mixed messages. I`ve heard some openness from some Republican on this question of qualified immunity.

I`m curious what your perspective is from a law enforcement background. Would you be okay with changing the law here and allowing individuals to sue officers or is that something that you would have an objection to?

BRATTON: I would want to pursue and proceed very cautiously. There`s going to be enough disincentive already for anybody to join American policing after the events of the last several months, particularly, trying to recruit young man and woman from the minority community, that if you reduce some of the safeguards that exist for people who you expecting to go in to harm`s way with their lives and the lives of others at risk, you are going to further that disincentivize getting people to join policing in the first place.

So we need to tread very carefully here in the sense of the idea of doing away with it. That`s a non-starter for law enforcement life from the get- go.

Should it be subject to reform? Certainly, that some of the abuses that are so clear that in terms of the intent of the officer, that can be shown. But the idea of doing away with it, it`s very much likely the phrase, defund the police. That made for a nice phrase at the beginning, but people quickly backed away from it when they understand that defunding a police was sending difference messages to different people. Same for this issue, it`s sending different messages to different people.

KORNACKI: Jill, let me bring you back in on that too. Because this is -- we say one of the issues here the parties seem to be at an impasse on, in terms of major reforms that are on the agenda right here, what are the others right now?

COLVIN: I mean, there are some areas where Democrats and Republicans are agreeing, for instance, creating this national database of police officers, you have numerous complaints against them, and the way the system is set up right now, there`s not a lot of accountability. Oftentimes, these reports are not made public so somebody can move from police department to department without knowing the kinds of records that they have. You know, that`s an area of agreement.

And we`ve seen some movement on the chokehold discussion. That was originally something that we had not expected to be included in the White House executive order. It`s something that Republicans, you know, had some discussion about, but it looks like it`s going to be in their version of the legislation as well. So, there`re some areas of agreement.

And, you know, from people I have spoken to, especially activists who went through the discussions over the First Step Act, they`ve been pretty impressed at how much discussion there has been and how much momentum there does seem to be here. They`re really feel optimistic that something is going to get through. But we`ve just been on these moments so frequently, you know, to think the school shootings that happened so frequently in this country, where it feels like we`re on the precipice of some kind of agreement and some kind of movement, and then things wind up falling apart as the momentum slows.

KORNACKI: Maya, as I was asking that question to Jill, it looked to me through the screen that you wanted to respond to what Bill Bratton has said there on this issue of qualified immunity of allowing people to sue police. What was it you want to say there?

WILEY: Well, I want to be clear that the Democratic proposal doesn`t say there`s no immunity whatsoever anywhere any time. It is very much about making sure that what essentially is called qualified immunity now is absolute guarantee that you won`t be held accountable.

And the other thing that people should understand, and this is true in New York City is, you know, the city pays out in the likes of the last five fiscal years over a billion dollars in claims for excessive force, violation of constitutional rights, personal injury, property damage. Not one dime of that comes out of the police department budget. And what that means is, there`s not a lot of incentive or enough incentive to hold the department accountable.

So these kinds of questions about accountability, is not -- it is important, and I think there is agreement that there has to be more transparency on discipline. But there also has to need more incentive around police officers doing the right thing.

And I agree with Commissioner Bratton that we want to diversify the force. But another way to do that is not allow the unions to ensure that the pay at entry level is so low while we are paying out big benefits at the top level that remain predominantly white.

So there`re many reforms that we should be talking about. And a lot of them do have to do with moving resources of the police departments in to problem solving so that we have less need for the number of police we have.

KORNACKI: Okay, there is a lot to all of these issues here as the debate progresses. I look forward to talking about it more and more with you all. I appreciate you`re being with us tonight, though, we`re out of time for the segment unfortunately. But, Bill Bratton, Jill Colvin, Maya Wiley, I enjoy the discussion, thank you all for being part of it.

And coming up, coronavirus deaths, they could reach 200,000 in this country by the fall, this according to one widely cited COVID model. But you look at why increase testing is only one reason why we`re seeing a spike in cases right now.

Plus, the White House is considering a back to work cash bonus as Congress debates whether to provide more help to workers and businesses. Are the government assistance programs working right now? What should happen next?

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


KORNACKI: Welcome back.

As Americans venture out of their homes more and more, there are now upticks in coronavirus cases in some parts of the country. As of today, more than 2.1 million Americans have been infected in this country. That`s more than 117,000 of whom have died.

On Monday, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation revised its projected death toll from the virus to more than 200,000 by October 1st. Its previous estimate was 30,000 less than that.

According to data collected by "The New York Times," more than 20 states have seen growth in newly reported cases over the last 14 days. This comes with testing also increasing dramatically around the country, which explains some of these increases.

But "The Times"` data also shows that -- quote -- "In at least 14 states, the positive case rate is increasing faster than the increase in the average number of tests."

Nationally, the picture is complicated right now. The total number of new reported cases is basically flat in the last two weeks, not rising, not falling. At the same time, the number of new deaths has declined significantly by 25 percent.

Today, Vice President Mike Pence addressed fears of a second wave, writing in an op-ed in "The Wall Street Journal" that -- quote -- "Such panic is overblown." And he added that in the six states that have reached more than 1,000 new cases a day, increased testing has allowed public health officials to identify most of the outbreaks in particular settings, like prisons, nursing homes and meatpacking facilities.

And at the White House today, President Trump talked about the prospects of a vaccine in the near future.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Before the end of the year, I predict we will have a very successful vaccine, therapeutic, and cure.

We`re making tremendous progress. I always say, even without it, it goes away. But if we had the vaccine, and we will, if we had therapeutic or cure -- one thing sort of blends into the other -- it will be a fantastic day. And I think that`s going to happen, and it`s going to happen very soon.


KORNACKI: And for more, I`m joined by Dr. John Torres, MSNBC medical correspondent,

Doctor, thank you for joining us.

I was reading an article up on our Web site today that was saying, this is not a second wave that we`re seeing right now. This is still the first wave.

Can you explain what you think is going on?

DR. JOHN TORRES, NBC NEWS MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It comes down to semantics, essentially.

And what a lot of extra what you`re saying now is, we haven`t even cleared this first wave, so we can`t really call it a second wave at this point. We`re just calling it spikes at the end of the first wave, which could take us back to that pre-curve level, that downslope on the curve, where we could be back to where we were February or March.

And one thing we do know is that, once things start opening up, every expert -- I was even talking on your show and other shows that we`re going to see these cases increase.

I think what has surprised a lot of expert is just how much these cases are increased, because they`re more than I think most people thought. And that`s why you`re seeing these spikes. The problem is, that second wave is not far behind. And so, unless we get this under control now, that second wave hitting at the same time, that could cause a lot of issues, Steve.

KORNACKI: Have we learned some lessons from the last few months watching this play out, just in terms of -- there`s the question of, can you go back to a stay-at-home order? Would the public be willing to go back to a stay- at-home order in some of these places?

Put that aside and get to the question then of how to sort of balance of the imperatives here. Have we learned any lessons in the last few months about best practices when it comes to trying to go about some semblance of normal life?

TORRES: And, Steve, we definitely have. And you`re right, getting that genie back in the bottle is going to be very hard, if not impossible, because, once people start getting out there, they`re like -- they look back a couple months and saying, do we really need to repeat that?

Even a lot of experts are saying, there might be other ways to do it. I know, in Ireland, their chief medical officer has said, they are not going to close down here in a second wave. They are just going to target the problem areas and make sure that they get those under control.

But the things we have learned over the past few months are the big three things that we know work. Wearing masks definitely works, social distancing, that`s six feet, and not gathering in large groups. And so what I think you`re seeing, that map you showed earlier are some of the states - - definitely, the testing has gone up, so the numbers go up.

But, on top of that, cases have gone up as well, new cases. And what you`re seeing is, these states that went fast opened up greatly, and are having issues right now, vs. states that went slow, and opened up in an incremental fashion. And people are wearing the masks. People are social distancing.

The problem is, in some of these states, people are getting to that pre- pandemic behavior, where they don`t think they need masks, they don`t think they need social distancing. Hopefully, it doesn`t get us in a lot of trouble and we`re not back to where we were just a few months ago, Steve.

KORNACKI: OK, there was also some positive news today, this on the treatment front.

Researchers in the United Kingdom say they have found the first drug proven to reduce deaths in coronavirus patients. Scientists at Oxford found, in a trial of 6,000 patients, that among those who received the well-known steroid dexamethasone -- quote -- "Deaths were reduced by about a third in those patients who were sick enough to require mechanical ventilation and by about 20 percent among patients who had trouble breathing, but had not been put on a ventilator. Dexamethasone did not appear to help patients who did not require oxygen."

So, Doctor, I`m actually -- I remember this drug. I had a sinus infection once, and I used this drug. So, this seems like it`s a fairly common drug here.

Explain what is happening, what this research appears to be showing here, why this would be working.

TORRES: So, it`s a very common drug. It`s very inexpensive, widely available.

I have been using this since the day I stepped into medicine, and, like you said, for sinus infections, rheumatoid arthritis, allergic reactions, altitude sickness, a variety of things. It`s been around since the `60s.

And what this trial has shown is that people that are severely ill -- they`re on ventilators or heavy oxygen support -- ended up, more of them survived because they were placed on dexamethasone, which makes this the first treatment we have that can actually save lives.

Other treatments have shown to help a little bit. But this is the first one that saves lives. The issue is that we know it doesn`t work early on or it doesn`t seem to. And so the big warning for people is, don`t go out and try to get a prescription of this. Don`t repeat what we saw with hydroxychloroquine and try and get that prescription to help out, because it`s not going to help, and it could have side effects.

So, you need to be careful. But the good news is, again, we`re getting that tool in our toolbox. Hopefully, it`s just the first of many that can help us bridge that gap, until we get to that vaccine, and help people recover.

KORNACKI: Right. That was the other thing that I found interesting about this.

Apparently, this discovery came as part of a much broader trial. It`s taking drugs, taking medicine like this that`s commonly used for other purposes, and just seeing if it works, just seeing if it has an effect.

As I understand it, that trial is still going on now. I guess, is there a significance to this, in that it suggests the possibility there will be more discoveries like this?

TORRES: I think it does suggest the possibility we are going to see a lot more things, because they are looking at a lot of drugs.

This is out of Oxford in the U.K. And what they`re doing is essentially taking these drugs with very educated guesses. They`re saying, OK, this drug dexamethasone works to reduce inflammation. We know the cytokine storm, which is basically hyperinflammation in the body, causes organ failure, organ damage.

If we can get that under control, let`s see if this dexamethasone can do that. And, lo and behold, it worked in certain cases. They`re looking at other medicines as well. So, they`re not just throwing the kitchen sink out here. They`re actually looking at things that work for certain areas of the disease and the disease process and saying, let`s see if it works in this case.

One thing we know about dexamethasone, it did not work for SARS back in 2000, 2003. But here it seems to be working. Different viruses. And, as we said, this is a new virus. We`re learning more as we go every single day, Steve.

KORNACKI: All right. It cleared my sinus infection in about an hour, so it definitely has those -- anti-inflammatory. I can vouch for that.

Dr. John Torres, thank you for joining us. Appreciate it.

TORRES: You bet.

KORNACKI: All right.

And up next: Florida is seeing a spike in new cases after reopening, but the state`s nursing homes have largely been spared the level of deaths seen in many other states.

We`re going to ask Florida Congressman Charlie Crist how his state protected home residents, nursing home residents, right after this.

Stay with us.


KORNACKI: Welcome back.

While there have been some encouraging signs in the nation`s fight against the coronavirus, a number of states are facing an uptick in cases. Today, Florida reported a record single-day increase in coronavirus cases, with more than 2,700 new ones reported, this the fourth time in the past week that Florida has recorded a new high.

So, cases are up in Florida. And testing is up too, we should note. The positive test rate is up. It`s now 5 percent, which is more than 3 percent that it was two weeks ago, and all of this coming with Florida now in the second phase of its reopening.

For more, I`m joined by Democratic Congressman and former Governor of Florida Charlie Crist.

Congressman, thank you for joining us. Appreciate it.

REP. CHARLIE CRIST (D-FL): My pleasure.

KORNACKI: The question here is, what is happening in Florida?

The governor, Ron DeSantis, is saying that this rise in cases is mainly a function, he says, of testing. And also, he says, there are some outbreaks among agriculture workers, where it spreads easily and they work closely to -- closely -- in close proximity with each other.

What is your sense of what is happening in Florida as it relates to these numbers?

CRIST: Well, I think it`s pretty straightforward, Steve.

We started reopening several weeks ago on a phase-in-type basis, if you will, according to the governor, which I thought was a prudent way to approach it. You have to be smart about how you do this.

But the result that we have seen in recent days is that the number of cases per day have almost been doubling. It`s gone up to over 2,000 three of the last four days per day. And so that`s a disturbing figure.

And when you start to see that kind of an uptick, and most people don`t think we`re even close to phase two yet of the virus, that`s something we need to be very concerned about. And, obviously, more testing is only going to be more helpful, the more that we can get that done and accomplished here in Florida and throughout the country, for that matter.

KORNACKI: Well, so what would you like? Are there steps -- I should put it this way. Are there steps that you think the governor should be taking now? Should he be putting a pause on reopening? Should he be rolling it back?

Do you think there should be a policy response right now to this? Or do you think you want to wait and see a little bit?

CRIST: Well, no, that`s a very good question.

And I -- as a former governor, I hesitate to be a Monday morning quarterback on these kind of things. However, having said that, it seems fairly apparent to me that everybody wants to reopen the economy, because look at the loss of jobs throughout the country, over 45 million people out of work. That`s extraordinary. That`s depression-type numbers.

And so what you want to do, though, is have the opportunity to try to reopen the economy, but do it smart, do it effectively. I mean, by the grace of God, you need to message stronger and make sure that, when people are in groups, they`re out and they`re wearing their mask, or you`re obviously social distancing appropriately, not communicating in crowds, as the doctor just testified to.

Those are the kind of things that I think we need to do, and I think would be great for our administration, both at the state and federal level, is to tell people how important it is to use masks, make sure that you`re social distancing and just being smart, utilizing common sense, because this thing is far from over.

We`re going to be with it for a while. We have to be prudent and smart about how we handle it.

KORNACKI: So, those are the best practices that individuals can be taking, what you`re talking about, masks, social distancing.

But in terms of the policy here, this phased reopening that`s under way, do you think that should be revisited? Do you think there should be a pause on that? Do you think anything that`s happened so far in terms of reopening should be rolled back at all?

  CRIST: I do. I do think that is the case, Steve.

I think that taking a pause, pulling back a bit, learning from what we have already found -- I have heard people describe it as, you know, we`re trying to build the plane as we`re flying it. And there`s a lot of truth to that analogy.

And so each day gives you a little bit more wisdom, a little bit more knowledge, and a better opportunity to appropriately respond to what`s happening on the ground.

And what`s happening on the ground right now in Florida is, we`re getting more than 2,000 cases a day. We just had 1,700 in the past 24 hours. But the trend is in the wrong direction. It`s not what we want. It`s not good for the people. It`s time to sort of retrench, if you will, and be smarter and wiser about how we deal with this to protect the people, their health, safety and welfare.

KORNACKI: There`s also this question, nationally and in Florida, of nursing homes.

The death count in the U.S., we mentioned this, topping 117,000 now. A "Wall Street Journal" analysis finds that more than 50,000 of those deaths have come from nursing homes or other long-term care facilities.

And an investigation by ProPublica found that, in the early weeks of the outbreak, a number of states, like New York, New Jersey and Michigan, ordered nursing homes to accept residents back from the hospital even if they`d been treated for the virus and without any additional testing.

And in the weeks following those orders, about 6 percent of New York`s nursing home residents died from the virus, about 5 percent in Michigan, 12 percent in New Jersey. Florida did not have such an order, and it saw less than 2 percent of nursing home residents die from the virus.

That said, nearly half of the COVID-19 deaths in Florida are connected to long-term care or nursing home facilities.

I`m curious on this issue, because I know you wrote a letter to the governor there in Florida looking for more testing at nursing homes throughout the state. I was just seeing they did have a crash testing program that got through a lot of those nursing homes, reported it out in the last couple days.

What do you think of the protections that are in place and the procedures that are in place in Florida right now, specifically when it comes to nursing homes?

CRIST: I think we need to step it up, frankly.

In the letter that I wrote to the governor, I talked about the fact that we ought to be testing on a weekly basis, making sure that not only the individuals who are residents of the facility, but also the staff. I mean, it`s a broad spectrum that we`re dealing with here.

And the only way to get a handle on it is through testing. That way, we know exactly how many people are infected, how many are not, how many are potential carriers, and then you can address the situation.

I mean, again, as the doctor said just a few minutes ago on the show, there`s this new steroid that has great promise to it. And I know that the medical community out of Ireland and England have said the same thing.

We need to pay attention to that. Through testing, we can find out where that`s needed the most and where it`s needed the quickest. And if we have that knowledge and that opportunity, we can potentially stem the tide of these new cases coming about, which, sadly, lead to death.

KORNACKI: All right, Congressman Charlie Crist, the former governor of Florida, thank you for joining us. Appreciate it.

CRIST: My pleasure, Steve.

KORNACKI: All right.

And up next, we are 140 days and counting away from Election Day. We have got some new polling data out there. We`re going to show you how the president stands right now vs. Joe Biden. We`re also going to show you how that stacks up with all the other recent presidents who have run for reelection. Is Trump in better shape, worse shape, or the same shape?

Going to take you through that right after this.


KORNACKI: You know, we got an interesting streak going right now when it comes to presidents running for reelection. Three straight presidents now have all been elected, run for re-election and won. We have three straight two-term presidents, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama.

Is Donald Trump going to become the fourth? We`re always taking you through the data, we thought, why don`t we take a look at those past presidents and a few others, and all the recent presidents who ran for re-election. How did they stand in the polls at this exact same point?

We are 148 -- 140 days out from the election. How did they stand and where does Trump stand in comparisons?

So, let`s take a look here. First of all, here`s a couple of different categories here. So, we`re going to show these two.

This is Ronald Reagan running for reelection in `84. This is Bill Clinton in 1996. And you see here, and this is their approval ratings, Gallup approval rating at this same point, basically spring in their reelection here. You see Reagan and Clinton were well in the 50s. Reagan`s approval was on its way up, the economy was really starting to roll in 1983. His number was on its way up. Bill Clinton, you know, he a political near death experience with the `94 midterms, he was all the way up to near 60 percent.

What was it translating in to and what were they on course for?

Well, of course, you know, Reagan won that 49-state landslide. It was an 18-point margin in the popular vote. Bill Clinton beat Bob Dole, that was robust approval ratings and that translated to robust election margins in November for them. So, that`s one category there.

How about this? George W. Bush, Barack Obama, I just mentioned them, they were not in the 50s. They were in the high 40s. It was not awful, not great, it was, somewhere in between there, 47 for Bush and 48 for Obama. They both won, narrow, Bush came down to Ohio with John Kerry and Barack Obama beating Mitt Romney, those were battles they were in all year.

They both did win, they were in the high 40 how about this category. You know the stories here. Both of them were in deep, deep trouble. Under 40 percent, recession for bush, hostage crisis for Carter. All sorts of problems there in the late `70s into 1980.

Well, that`s translating to losses, big losses there by 6, by 10.

So where does Trump stand by comparison? You can probably see where I stands by comparison. I will show you, 43 percent. That is his average approval rating right now. 43, it`s not quite right now down there where Bush and Carter were, is it going to move down in that direction?

It`s also not quite up where Bush and Obama were. Is it going to move in that direction? If it moves in that direction, starts to have a chance. If it moves in that direction, big trouble. If it stays here, that`s probably trouble, too.

Keep an eye on the numbers.

Still ahead, the initial batch of economic relief about to run out. Is more coming, or is that it for the millions people still unemployed?

Stay with us.



LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: We are paying people not to work. It`s better than their salaries would get. And that might have worked for the first couple of months. It will end in late July. I think that returning to employment, we are, and the administration and the president is looking at a reform measure that will still provide some kind of bonus for returning to work. But, it will not be as large and it will create an incentive to work.


KORNACKI: Welcome back.

That was National Economic Council Chair Larry Kudlow calling the expanded unemployment benefits that are giving 30 million jobless Americans up to an additional $600 a week a disincentive to work. Those benefits are set to expire at the end of the July and as NBC News reports, regular unemployment programs often replace less than what half workers earn. Lawmakers settled on $600 because that amount came roughly closest to making salaries whole.

The Democratic proposal would extend the benefits through the end of the year. But the White House and some Republican lawmakers have proposed offering some form of back to work bonus instead.

As Glassdoor senior economist Daniel Zhao tells NBC, quote, while generous unemployment assistance can slow reentry in to the workforce, it`s much likelier that workers are drawing unemployment because they can`t find jobs. Job openings are down by about 30 percent from pre-crisis levels.

For more, I`m joined now by Stephanie Ruhle, senior business correspondent, and Sahil Kapur, MSNBC national political reporter.

Thanks to both of you for being with us.

Stephanie, let me -- let me start with you, on sort of the economics of this because this additional $600 that the federal government is kicking in. Just in terms of what normal unemployment benefits are, this is a big increase in terms of what the federal government is doing. The argument here is if you shift to reopening, you got folks that say, you are getting more unemployment than they would be at say, a waiter or waitress job. What`s your sense of that?

STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: OK, in some instances that is the case. It is an expanded unemployment benefit more generous than we have seen. When they first signed the CARES Act, I remember Chuck Schumer called it unemployment on steroids.

But it is an absolutely flawed and insincere argument to say, well, we`ve got to create another incentive because people don`t want to go back to work. Steve, they want to go back to work. Who is going to watch their children? We don`t have schools open. We don`t have child care. It`s just starting to reopen in this country.

Let`s say you`re a waiter, or waitress or bartender and your restaurant just reopened. Chances are they only have outside seating or they have to, of course, to adhere to social distancing. If you`re a bartender, there won`t be a packed bar in your near future.

So, it`s not that people are saying, ah, I don`t want to go back to work. The job opportunities out there are very thin and they`re unstable. So many people have said they have more security taking care of themselves and their family being on unemployment right now.

And while there are many Republicans saying, well, we`re going to let this go until July and then get back out there, you could see that shift, because you have already heard from Fed Chair Jay Powell, you have heard from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, well, we may need another stimulus check because they know there are not robust job opportunities out there.

One out of every five Americans that still have a job took a pay cut. So, Larry Kudlow is misrepresenting both the job market and the economy.

KORNACKI: Well, the NBC affiliate in Buffalo reports this. Quote, as more businesses continue to reopen, some industries are having issues in getting people back to work. Leaders from the beer brewing industry and manufacturing sector say workers would rather collect unemployment benefits. Laid off workers could be making more on unemployment than they would if they returned to work.

That`s the issue Stephanie was telling about there, Sahil. In terms of what`s going to happen or what is happening in Congress right now, Sahil, end of July, this $600 add-on is set to expire. Democrats say they want to extend that through the end of the year.

It sounds like the White House and Republicans perhaps want to restructure this, turn it into hey, if you get hired for a job, then you get some kind of a cash bonus.

Where are the lines drawn on this, and what`s likely to happen here?

SAHIL KAPUR, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Steve, I`ve spoken to a number of Republican sources in the Senate today, and what they are very clear on is this $600 a month unemployment benefit is not going to be extended as is. They do not say what they`re going to do instead. They are not sure what they are for, they know what they are against, and that`s the Democratic proposal.

Now, there is one idea that`s being floated that could potentially satisfy both sides, which is to create a trigger. In other words, unemployment falls in certain states, and that falling unemployment in certain states leads to a reduction in the benefits. So what Republicans are saying this creates incentive to go back to work. So, theoretically, if you reduce the benefit as unemployment rises, you eliminate that problem.

And it`s good for Republicans, because they don`t like the idea of emergency legislating with new spending, that`s tough for them to explain ideologically, and it`s good for Democrats because they worry about a scenario in which Joe Biden wins the election, Republicans lose their appetite for stimulus. And in the words of Ron Wyden, potentially, the side that sabotages the economy because in the stewardship of Democrats.

The last thing I`ll say about this, Steve, is that the action here --


KAPUR: -- is going to be after the Fourth of July recess. It`s going to be in the last three weeks of July, because right now, the conversation has been eclipsed by the George Floyd protests and Republicans want to do some sort of police reform bill before that. So it`s going to be a very short window and a very steep cliff at the end of July.

KORNACKI: Stephanie? I think I heard you want to say something?

RUHLE: Steve, the other point to make -- the other point to make is, liability and increased testing. Many people are still concerned, will they have health care? Who will take care of them if they get sick? We are not seeing broad based testing happening, certainly not in small or large businesses. So there`s also that health concern.

You got Larry Kudlow who says, I don`t think we`re going see a second spike in corona. Well, guess what, Larry? We`re still in the first one and it`s rising. So, again, we are forgetting a lot of people -- it`s not that they don`t feel like going back to work, we`re in the middle of a pandemic.

KORNACKI: All right. Stephanie Ruhle, Sahil Kapur, thanks both of you for being with us. I appreciate that.

And coming up, the Department of Justice sues trying to block the release of John Bolton`s memoir. More on that, next.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If he`s doing a book, I think it`s totally inappropriate that he does a book. I will consider every conversation with me as president highly classified. So that would mean that if he wrote a book, and if the book gets out, he`s broken the law. And maybe he`s not telling the truth. He`s been known not to tell the truth, a lot.


KORNACKI: Welcome back.

That was President Trump yesterday on his former national security adviser John Bolton in his upcoming tell-all book on the Trump administration. Trump making the argument that every conversation he had with Bolton was, quote, "highly classified."

Late today, though, the Justice Department filed a civil lawsuit to block the publication of the book. The lawsuit claims that Bolton, quote, "struck a bargain with the United States as a condition of his employment, and now wants to renege on that bargain." The book, which is titled "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir" was slated to come out next week. The publisher says the book is, quote, a precise rendering of his days in and around the Oval Office.

What Bolton saw astonished him. A president for whom getting re-elected was the only thing that mattered, even if it meant endangering or weakening the nation. That press release also says this, quote, Trump`s Ukraine-like transgressions existed across the full range of his foreign policy.

And just a few minutes ago, the publisher responded to the suit with this statement, quote, the lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice to block John Bolton from publishing his book is nothing more than the latest in a long running series of efforts by the administration to quash publication of a book it deems unflattering to the president.

Ambassador Bolton has worked in full cooperation with the NSC in its prepublication review to address its concerns and Simon and Schuster fully supports his First Amendment right to tell his story of his time in the White House to the American public.

That`s the end of that statement. We will see if that gets published. If it does, imagine it helps its sales.

Thanks for being with us.

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