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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 7/7/2016

Guests: Danny Givens, Cornell Brooks, Gerry Connolly

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: July 7, 2016 Guest: Danny Givens, Cornell Brooks, Gerry Connolly

CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: That is "ALL IN" for this evening.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now with Steve Kornacki, in for Rachel.

Good evening, Steve.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC GUEST HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks to you for that.

Thanks to you at home for staying with us. Rachel has the night off.

We have a very busy news night tonight.

Donald Trump was in the nation`s capitol, he was meeting with congressional Republicans. The presumptive Republican Party nominee was met with a lot of skepticism, a lot of cold shoulders, a very awkward encounter with some elected officials from his own party. We`ve got all sorts of detail on that and what it means. That is ahead.

We`re also going to talk to one of the members of Congress who was on Capitol Hill today for FBI Director James Comey`s unprecedented testimony.

But we begin our coverage tonight with the outrage over police shootings in this country. For the second time in less than 48 hours now, images now circulating on social media of a black man dying after being shot by a white police officer. First, it was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Now, the latest in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. The victim there shot during a traffic stop.

And tonight, protesters have gathered outside the governor`s residence in St. Paul, the second night in a row that crowds have gathered there by the hundreds to protest the shooting death of 32-year-old Philando Castile. Earlier in Baton Rouge, people in that city held a prayer service to honor the life of Alton Sterling. He was killed by police there early Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, excuse me, here in New York City, protesters have been marching through the city streets for hours now. They`re demanding action in the wake of both of these two fatal shootings.

These two incidents this week now become the latest entries in what is a grim timeline, if you start that time line two years ago, back in July of 2014. In fact, nearly two years to the day ago, it would begin with this video you`re seeing here of Eric Garner. You probably remember this, Eric Garner who died after being placed in a police chokehold. Police were attempting to arrest him for selling loose cigarettes on the sidewalk in Staten Island, New York. That was July 17th, 2014.

Then, there was Laquan McDonald killed in Chicago after being shot 16 times by police. Dashcam video shows that the officer continued to shoot the teen as he lay bleeding in the street. That was in October of 2014, although it took a while longer than that for the video to come out.

In November of 2014, police in Cleveland responded to a call in a local park, 12-year-old Tamir Rice had been playing with a real-looking pellet gun and within seconds of pulling up on him, one of the officers shot and killed him.

Following February, police in Pasco, Washington, shot a man who had been throwing rocks at them. Antonio Zambrano-Montes was shot 17 times as he ran away from officers, and then he died.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, a reserve deputy in the sheriff`s department there shot and killed a suspect in an undercover drug sting. That reserve deputy, a 73-year-old insurance executive, he said he meant to draw his taser, but instead he accidentally pulled his gun. As a result, he shot Eric Harris fatally. That was two days before the shooting death of unarmed Walter Scott.

That confrontation began with a traffic stop. It ended with the officer firing multiple times at Scott`s back as Scott fled across a vacant lot. Shortly after that incident, video emerged of Freddie Gray`s arrest by Baltimore police. He suffered a spinal injury while in police custody. He died a week later.

All these fatal encounters with police happening in less than a calendar year, a ten-month time period, to be exact. In some cases, the officers were charged after independent investigations, in others they were not. And that list is by no means complete. But the videos, you probably remember them, those videos seared into our public consciousness, and now the new images out of Baton Rouge and Falcon, Minnesota.

Less than 48 hours of Alton Sterling being shot and killed by police in Louisiana, another black man was fatally shot by an officer during a routine traffic stop. That latest shooting happening in a St. Paul, Minnesota, suburb yesterday evening.

We mentioned his name earlier, 32-year-old Philando Castile. He was traveling in a car with his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, along with her 4- year-old daughter who is seated in the back seat. Miss Reynolds said the couple was pulled over for a broken tail light.

Now, we don`t know what happened in the moments leading up to the shooting, but the immediate aftermath of that shooting was streamed live. It was streamed live on Facebook by the girlfriend of the dying victim. And as a warning, obviously, the video here, it is graphic and it is disturbing.


DIAMOND REYNOLDS, VICTIM`S FIANCEE: He`s killed my boyfriend. He`s licensed -- he`s carried -- he`s licensed to carry. He was trying to get out his ID and his wallet out his pocket and he let the officer know that he was -- he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his arm. We`re waiting for a backup.

OFFICER: Ma`am, keep your hands where they are.

REYNOLDS: I will, sir, no worries. I will.


REYNOLDS: He just shot his arm off. We got pulled over on Larpenteur.

OFFICER: I told him not to reach for it! I told him to get his head up!

REYNOLDS: He had, you told him to get his ID, sir, his driver`s license.

Oh my God. Please don`t tell me he`s dead. Please don`t tell me my boyfriend just went like that.


KORNACKI: Now, in both that video and in a statement today, Reynolds said the officer had asked for her boyfriend`s license and registration. She said that as Castile was reaching into his back pocket for his wallet, he told the officer that he had a firearm in his possession. Reynolds said he stressed that he was licensed to carry that weapon.

The police officer involved in the shooting is now on paid leave, pending the investigation into the matter. And that`s standard procedure in a case like this.

Minnesota`s Governor Mark Dayton today, he said he requested that the Justice Department to begin an investigation into this case. That`s also being done in Baton Rouge, the Justice Department involved there as well. But the department has said that for now, it will simply monitor the state of Minnesota`s investigation and offer assistance.

Dayton, the governor also offering up this very blunt assessment of the shooting.



GOV. MARK DAYTON (D), MINNESOTA: Would this have happened if those passengers, the driver and the passenger were white? I don`t think it would have. So I`m forced to confront -- I think all of us in Minnesota are forced to confront that this -- this kind of racism exists.


KORNACKI: That`s the assessment of the governor of Minnesota earlier today.

And just a short time ago, President Obama arrived in Warsaw, Poland. He`s there for the NATO Summit. But after landing, he addressed both the shootings in Baton Rouge and in Minnesota. He spoke for close to half an hour. He said that incidents like these are not isolated, but symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities. And he closed his statement with this.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would just ask those who question the sincerity or the legitimacy of protests and vigils and expressions of outrage, who somehow label those expressions of outrage as, quote/unquote, "political correctness", I just ask folks to step back and think, what if this happened to somebody in your family? How would you feel?

To be concerned about these issues is not political correctness. It`s just being American and wanting to live up to our best and highest ideals. And it`s to recognize the reality that we`ve got some tough history and we haven`t gotten through all of that history yet.

And we don`t expect that in my lifetime, maybe not in my children`s lifetime, that all the vestiges of that past will have been cured, will have been solved. But we can do better. People of good will can do better.

And doing better involves not just addressing potential bias in the criminal justice system, it`s recognizing that too often, we`re asking police to man the barricades in communities that have been forgotten by all of us for way too long, in terms of substandard schools and inadequate jobs and a lack of opportunity. We got to tackle those things. We can do better. And I believe we will do better.


KORNACKI: That was the president earlier tonight.

Joining us now from a site of a protest in front of the governor`s mansion in St. Paul, Minnesota, is Pastor Danny Givens. He`s the founder of the Above Every Name Ministries. He`s the clergy liaison for Black Lives Matter in Los Angeles. He was also a friend of Philando Castile. He spent time with the family today.

Pastor, thanks for joining us.

Well, first, just let us know, how is the family doing tonight?

PASTOR DANNY GIVENS, BLACK LIVES MATTER MINNEAPOLIS: I mean, the family is doing as expected. They lost their loved one, they just lost their son, their friend, brother, all of that. So -- but their spirits are strong in the face of -- there`s a strong spirit of resilience that rests upon the family and they`re ready to fight for justice.

KORNACKI: You knew Philando Castile. All the world knows of him right now, is what we saw in the Facebook video there. Tell us about the man you knew.

GIVENS: I just last week was with Philando and a friend of mine in a garage. We were all just hanging out, playing chess, he was just commending me on the work we`ve been doing in the community, with Black Lives Matter, saying that he supports us.

So, it`s now disheartening that it`s now somebody that I know, it`s that close to home and the community that I grew up in, and just a friend of the family, this is sad. This isn`t somebody that -- you know, this is somebody that I know who was very near and dear to me.

KORNACKI: Can you take us through -- what we`ve seen around the world is just that video, which is the video begins after the shooting. You know, we have his girlfriend saying he alerted the officer that he had a gun. The officer asked for his paperwork, he was going to get it and that`s when this happened.

Can you add anything else to understanding of what happened before that video picks up, what the sequence of events here was?

GIVENS: Well, I had a chance to speak with Ms. Diamond Reynolds, his girlfriend, who actually posted the video. What she was sharing, she didn`t want to record the actual shooting because she didn`t want that out there, it was too traumatic and she was in a state of shock.

And, basically, he came up to the car and asked for the driver`s license and registration, and we`ve all heard the story, the narrative, I should say. And the response of the officer, unfortunately, I`ve had a similar experience out in Falcon Heights myself during a traffic stop, an officer just pulled me over and have a firearm exposed for a normal traffic stop. So, it must be a normal practice out there.

KORNACKI: Yes, you`re saying "out there" again. Nationally, we don`t know necessarily the geography we`re talking about here. This is a suburb of St. Paul. Had there been -- historically, have there been issues with police in this area? Tell us a little about it.

GIVENS: There`s a history with police and their racist brutality and their militarized force and how they`ve been treating us in St. Paul and Minneapolis for years. And so, this is nothing new. Even in the suburbs, we`ve never been welcome out in the suburbs, we`ve always been profiled and pulled over, and all of those things that happened to us, but just driving, just being normal human beings, just citizens in the world.

We`re taxpayers. We work. We do the same things that every other normal American does, but yet we`re getting killed. We`re getting ostracized. We`re getting maimed.

KORNACKI: And we mentioned -- we can see the crowd behind you there. You`re outside the governor`s residence in St. Paul. You heard the governor`s press conference earlier today, some blunt statements from him. We played a little bit of hit.

What did you make of what the governor had to say today?

GIVENS: I don`t believe it. It is a bunch of foolishness. It`s a bunch of malarkey. It`s the same thing he told us when we were protesting for Jamal Clark. And I sat at this table with the rest of the BLM organizers and others and he called us terrorists for our work with peaceful, non- violent direct action.

So, I don`t believe it. I believe it when I see some action. That`s all lip service.

KORNACKI: You`re saying -- Governor Dayton you`re saying called you terrorists before?

GIVENS: Governor Dayton called us terrorists for stopping the airport during Black Christmas, our action that we did to raise awareness around Jamal Clark, to demand the tapes and demand justice. So, for that particular act which I participated in, I was one of the organizers, he called us all terrorists to our face.

KORNACKI: So when he said today, I will vow, paraphrasing here, he said, I will vow justice in this case -- you don`t necessarily believe that?

GIVENS: I don`t believe it. He has his political jargon on. Doing what he got to do, a song and dance, to keep this thing, because it`s in front of his house. He don`t want us out here. It`s a really nice area, a lot of, you know, multimillion dollar homes, ain`t no black people here.

I`ve lived here my entire life, almost 39 years, and I`ve never laid in the grass here, because we haven`t been welcome. So, he don`t want us here. He don`t want us standing and holding him accountable.

KORNACKI: All right. Pastor Danny Givens, clergy liaison for Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, a friend of Philando Castile -- thanks for the time tonight.

GIVENS: Thank you for having me.

KORNACKI: All right. And as if we needed reminding, the protesters in the streets in many cities across the country tonight, make it clear that the problem of police shootings is not just confined to Minnesota or Louisiana.

Joining us now is Cornell Brooks, president of the NAACP. Thanks for joining us tonight.

Let me just ask you, big picture about the responses we`ve seen here, the political response we`ve seen in Louisiana, the investigation already turned over to the Justice Department. Calls for that in Minnesota. That`s not necessarily the case, at least right now in Minnesota.

But what do you make of the response to both of these incidents?

CORNELL BROOKS, NAACP PRESIDENT & CEO: Well, the response largely has been one by the protesters of grief and determination. The response by those in authority is one of grim recognition of the problem, namely this. We have a form of policing all across the country that has resulted in a young black man being 21 more times likely to lose his life at the hands of police than his white counterparts. Those are the facts.

We understand that all across this country, there are police officers who see black skin as a robe of vulnerability and victimhood and see white skin as a kind of flak jacket of credibility and respectability. And over and over again after one horrible video after another, one hash tag after another, we see young African Americans profiled and victimized. And so, the recognition on the part of the authorities is often late and insufficient.

The fact that the Justice Department is involved and looking at these tragedies is good. It`s heartening. But the challenge is, what is being done in these state legislatures? What is being done in terms of passing racial profiling laws? What is being done in terms of establishing standards for excessive use of force?

What is being done with respect to training police officers to treat African Americans as not objects of predation, but rather, subjects of protection? Those are the kinds of questions that have to be answered in real time. That means people in communities all across the country, of every hue and every heritage, calling on their police departments to establish standards of accountability. And that means going to the polls in November and voting in a way to suggest that the way you protect us in the streets matters when we go to the polls.

We cannot simply watch these videos one after another, wringing our hands or scratching our heads in moral befuddlement. We have to take decisive action, and that means across the country.

This is a moment. We are in the middle of a post-millennium civil rights moment, where we see acts of civil disobedience in the Congress, we see a human cry from the public for reform. But reform means specific policy reforms, in legislatures, at the state level and certainly in Congress.

KORNACKI: What about in Minnesota? Take a look at what the governor had to say there today. He said he was offended this had happened in his state. He said he looks at it and asks himself if this motorist were white would this have happened, he said, he concludes, no, this wouldn`t have happened if the motorist were white.

He talked about problems of racial injustice at this press conference. You just -- we just heard from Danny Givens on the scene there in St. Paul, a friend of Philando Castile, and he said he listened to the governor today and he didn`t buy it. What did you think of what the governor had to say?

BROOKS: Well, I will simply say, the governor`s words are true to the extent that he recognized the grim reality that a white person, with a broken tail light, with a license to carry a firearm, would not likely be subject to having their life taken, beside their fiancee with a little girl in the back seat. That`s not highly likely. So, the governor acknowledged that.

I too have sat in a meeting with the governor. People measure governors, they measure mayors, they measure congressmen and women and senators by their legislative actions, by the policies and reforms they bring about. We`ve had enough talk. We`ve had enough sound bites on all sides.

What we have to move to is specific reform. Where we have seen in the last year, a thousand people die in police custody, this year, thus far, over 500. What did we do? Do we wait until the next tragedy, to the next hashtag, to the next video? Or do we move decisively? Note this, in the last century, the NAACP stood against a form of racialized violence called lynching. We brought that largely to an end.

In this century, we are dealing with a form of racial violence called misconduct, we can bring this to an end, but we`ve got to do so by using our political power, using our economic power, turning out at the polls and enacting legislative reform, policy reform, at the municipal level, the state level, and the federal level.

KORNACKI: All right. Cornell Brooks, president of the NAACP, thanks for the time tonight.

BROOKS: Thank you.

KORNACKI: All right. We`re going to keep an eye on the protests taking place across the country tonight at the end of what has been a very busy news day, also with many political developments as well. We`re going to get to that in just a moment.


KORNACKI: We have an update tonight on how Donald Trump`s Republican establishment outreach program is going, now just days ahead of the Republican convention. The early results not necessarily encouraging for the presumptive nominee. That story was some reporting from inside a big meeting Trump held with Republican members of Congress and senators today. That`s ahead.


KORNACKI: All right. Let`s go in the way, way, way back machine to November of 1979. Presidential race for 1980 is about to start. The sitting president is in grave danger of losing his own party`s nomination. Jimmy Carter is the president. His approval rating is rock bottom. It`s under 30 percent.

And Ted Kennedy is about to challenge Carter in the Democratic primaries. Polls put Kennedy ahead by 30 points. Think about that, the sitting president getting absolutely demolished in his own party`s primary. That`s how bad it was for Carter.

But then the embassy siege in Tehran, the American embassy, 52 Americans held hostage, an international crisis and all of a sudden, the entire country, Democrats, Republicans, independents, everyone, they rallied around their president and, Carter, he looked dead in the water politically before this, but the embassy siege changes everything. His approval rating rockets up, he erases all of that deficit against Kennedy in the polls and he zooms ahead of him.

And when the primaries begin in early 1980, Carter starts cruising. He wins New Hampshire. He wins Florida. He wins all the early states. He looks like he`s rolling.

But the rally around the flag effect, it starts to wear off. The hostage crisis lags on and on and on. There`s a botched rescue mission. And Carter`s numbers start to fall back to where they were.

Soon enough, it`s Kennedy who is on a tear. He starts winning primaries. He starts picking up momentum and he finishes with a kick. He takes five of the last eight contests, including the biggies, California and New Jersey.

But then, that`s it. Kennedy is out of states because the primary calendar is over. So, it`s a strange situation, because he started so strong, because of the embassy siege, Carter has more delegates, he has enough to win the nomination.

But now at the end of the primary season, Carter`s poll numbers are terrible again. And once again he looks like he`s a sure loser in the fall. So, Democrats are asking, why are we nominating this guy? How are we stuck with him?

So, the Kennedy forces came up with a plan. It was a chance to give Democrats a way to dump Carter, even though on paper, he has the delegates he needs, even though he is the presumptive nominee. Their plan was this.

Put a motion on the floor at the convention to unbind all of the delegates, to free them up from being forced to vote for Carter. Free the delegates. That was the plan. And it was promoted as a movement to free the delegates, and it was loud.


UNIDENTIIFED MALE: Ribicoff is a supporter of President Carter and he is speaking in favor of the rule binding the delegates. Let`s go down to a very noisy convention hall and see if Senator Ribicoff is getting through.


UNIDENTIIFED MALE: There`s Senator Ribicoff. There`s a Kennedy demonstration going on. Actually, everybody is waving his or her sign. There are Carter signs being waved, Kennedy signs being waved, everybody shouting and Senator Ribicoff hasn`t quite had a chance yet to start his address. A lot of people on their feet in the hall, however.

It is rare at conventions of either party to get this much emotion into the first evening session. But the Kennedy people realize that their candidate`s future is deeply tied into the outcome of the vote, which is coming later this evening and the Carter people realize they have got to hold the line. That`s why there`s a lot of emotion on the floor.


KORNACKI: So, there it was, Madison Square Garden 1980, a chance for Democrats to dump a presumptive nominee at their convention if they believe that nominating him would now be political suicide. If a majority of delegates on the floor at that convention voted for that plan, then that would mean all of the delegates would become free agents, then they`d be able to vote for Kennedy and the nomination would be taken from Carter. That was the plan.

But, of course, you probably know the history, it doesn`t work. Carter`s delegates resisted the pressure, they stuck with the president. He won the nomination, and then he lost big in November to Ronald Reagan. That was 1980.

Now, fast forward 36 years, switch parties. It`s deja vu all over again. Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee this time around. He has well over 1,500 delegates. Hundreds more than the magic number of 1,237.

But now, today, comes this report from "The Wall Street Journal." A last minute effort to derail Trump at the Republican convention is afoot, and it`s pretty much the same play we saw back in 1980, a push to free the delegates. And the argument is similar to 1980. They say Trump is doomed in November, that he could drag the whole party down.

This is a long shot, obviously, a very long shot, that this would work out any better than the stop Carter campaign that failed back in 1980. But if nothing else, the fact that this movement even exists is further evidence, it is further dramatic evidence of just how far from unity the Republican Party is with only days to go now until its national convention.

There are other developments too on this front. Trump said for a while that he was going to release today, a list of VIPs who will speak at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. He suggested the names of celebrities, of friends, of family members. We still don`t know who is on the list, but we have a pretty good idea of who`s going to be missing from it when it is finally release.

John Kasich, the governor of Ohio, the former Republican candidate, the state that`s hosting the Republican convention, that`s his state, but he will not be speaking. In fact, he hasn`t even endorsed Trump.

Senator Marco Rubio from Florida, once touted as a rising star in the party, he`s not going to be speaking at the convention. He actually reversed his position. Back in May, he said he would go to the convention. Now, he says he`s not going to.

How about both living former Republican Presidents George Bush 43 and George Bush 41? How about former Florida Governor Jeb Bush? How about any Bush family member for that matter? None of them speaking at the convention, none of them even attending the Republican convention.

One surprise today, though, it does look like Ted Cruz will be speaking at the convention. Trump said that he wouldn`t give Cruz a slot without an endorsement. And there still isn`t an endorsement, but now there is a deal.


REPORTER: Can you tell us about your meeting today?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Good afternoon. We had a positive and productive meeting this morning with Donald Trump. Donald asked me to speak at the Republican convention and I told him I`d be happy to do so.

REPORTER: What else was discussed during the meeting?

TEXAS: There was no discussion of any endorsement. He asked me if I`d speak at the convention and I said I`d be glad to do so.

I`m going to do my best to point to the policies and principles that we should be unifying behind and that give a better direction for this country going forward.

REPORTER: Was there any discussion about a vice presidential pick?

REPORTER: What`s (INAUDIBLE) endorsement?


KORNACKI: I would like to be a fly on the wall in that meeting today, Trump sitting down with Ted Cruz and apparently inviting him to speak at the convention. Now, that sit-down between those two former rivals was after two big meetings Trump held on Capitol Hill today, one with House Republicans, the other with Senate Republicans.

Apparently, it didn`t all go smoothly. Some complaining afterwards about Trump`s, quote, "uncomfortable language," criticizing his understanding of the Constitution. There was reportedly a particularly tense exchange between Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, he`s been an outspoken of Trump`s comments on Muslims and immigration, so far, he hasn`t endorsed Trump.

And in his close door meeting today, Flake took umbrage reportedly with Trump`s comments about John McCain not being a war hero because he was captured during the Vietnam War. A source telling NBC News that Flake introduced himself to Trump as the other senator from Arizona, the one who didn`t get captured. He reportedly told Trump, quote, "Listen, I`m not part of this never Trump movement, but I`m in a very uncomfortable position where I can`t support you yet."

According to the source, Trump responded by threatening to, quote, "hit hard" at Flake and told him he wouldn`t win re-election. Flake then reportedly reminded Trump that he`s not up for re-election this year. He`s not going to be up until 2018.


REPORTER: Tell me how you introduced yourself to him.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: I don`t want to comment on it.

REPORTER: It`s out there.

FLAKE: It was reported accurately and I`ll leave it at that.

REPORTER: Was it tense?

FLAKE: Yes, it was a bit tense.

REPORTER: Are you any closer to making up your mind about whether or not you can vote for him?

FLAKE: You know, I`d like to support our nominee. It`s not a comfortable position to be in, to not be supportive of the Republican nominee. But given some of the statements that have been made, particularly about the judge, the Muslim ban, calling those who cross the border murderers and rapists -- rapists, I guess he said, you know, we can do better than that, and we`ve got to do better than that if we want to win the White House.


KORNACKI: There were also some notable snubs today. Four Senate Republicans facing tough re-election races in swing states were all notably absent, McCain was one of them. Rubio from Florida another, Mark Kirk from Illinois, Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire, all AWOL at the meeting today.

Michigan Congressman Fred Upton told reporters he missed it because he had a long-standing appointment downtown. Another Republican congressman, he had to go to the doctor`s office at that time. Another said he had a breakfast meeting which he wrote into his calendar after a "Politico" reporter asked what he was doing instead of meeting with Trump.

It`s now 11 days until the Republican National Convention will be gaveled to order. It has been a long time since we`ve seen a party this far from unity this close to its convention.


KORNACKI: We are keeping an eye on protests around the country tonight, with demonstrators speaking out against the recent spate of police shootings. This is the scene right now live in New York City. These are protesters currently gathered out in Minnesota. They`ve set up there outside of Governor Mark Dayton`s residence.

Tonight is the first night we`ve seen this many demonstrations pop up across the country. But we expect to see more and more in the coming days and nights. We are keeping an eye on as many of these protests as we can.

We`ll be right back.


KORNACKI: Just one day after the Justice Department formally closed its investigation into Hillary Clinton, and just 48 hours after the head of the FBI James Comey announced that he would not be recommending any criminal charges be brought against Hillary Clinton. Forty-eight hours after that he was summoned to Capitol Hill by Republicans to testify today before the house oversight committee. Republicans pronouncing themselves baffled and outraged over the decision not to prosecute Clinton.

Now, it is rare to see this kind of testimony, to have the head of the FBI explaining in this kind of detail, this kind of decision. Comey defending repeatedly his decision not to recommend charges over Clinton`s use of a private e-mail server. It made for quite a drama, and for nearly five hours today, that drama played out live on Capitol Hill.


REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R-UT), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: I think there`s a legitimate concern that there`s a double standard.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD), RANKING MEMBER, HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Your recommendation conflicted with the predetermined outcome they wanted. In their eyes, you had one job, and one job only, to prosecute Hillary Clinton.

JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: My conclusion was and remains, no reasonable prosecutor would bring this case. You know what would be a double standard, if she were prosecuted for gross negligence.

REP. WILL HURD (R), TEXAS: So, the former secretary of state, one of the president`s most important advisers on foreign policy and national security had a server in her basement that had information that was collected from our most sensitive assets, and it was not protected by anyone, and that`s not a crime? That`s outrageous.

COMEY: The bureau investigating tens of thousands of cases. The director only gets involved in a very small number of them.

REP. BRENDA LAWRENCE (D), MICHIGAN: How about how many?

COMEY: I think I`ve been deeply involved in probably 10 to 20.

LAWRENCE: Have you ever been called before Congress on any of those other decisions?

COMEY: No, this is the first time.

REP. MARK MEADOWS (R), NORTH CAROLINA: So, you`re suggesting that a long length of time that she had no idea what a classified marking would be? That`s your sworn testimony today?

COMEY: What`s your question, Congressman?

REP. JOHN MICA (R), FLORIDA: Well, again, I want to know who counseled you --

COMEY: Look me in the eye and listen to what I`m about to say. I did not coordinate that with anyone -- the White House, the Department of Justice, nobody outside the FBI family had any idea what about I was about to say.

I say that under oath, I stand by that. There was no coordination. There was an insinuation in what you were saying that I don`t mean to get strong in responding, but I want to make sure I`m definitive about that.

CHAFFETZ: But there`s no consequence, Director. There was no consequence.

COMEY: I don`t know what consequence you have in mind.

CHAFFETZ: Prosecute them?

COMEY: We really did this the right way. You can disagree with us, but you cannot fairly say we did in any kind of political way. We don`t carry water for anybody.


KORNACKI: The FBI director there testifying for nearly five hours today. His answers apparently not satisfactory to the committee`s Republicans. The chairman who just saw there, Jason Chaffetz from Utah, upping the ante by asking if the FBI investigated whether Clinton lied under oath, not to the FBI, but when she testified before Congress.


CHAFFETZ: Did Hillary Clinton lie under oath?

COMEY: Not to the FBI, not in a case we were working.

CHAFFETZ: Did you review the documents where Congressman Jim Jordan asked her specifically, and she said, quote, "There was nothing marked classified on my e-mails, either sent or received," end quote.

COMEY: I don`t remember that reviewing that particular testimony, I`m aware of that being said, though.

CHAFFETZ: Did the FBI investigate her statements under oath on this topic?

COMEY: Not to my knowledge, I don`t think there`s been a referral from Congress.

CHAFFETZ: Do you need a referral from Congress to investigate her statements under oath?

COMEY: Sure do.

CHAFFETZ: You`ll have one. You`ll have one in the next few hours.


KORNACKI: And tonight, Chaffetz` spokesperson confirming he`s submitting that referral to the FBI, saying, quote, "We are working on it, it will hopefully go out today."

And we`re also learning tonight that the State Department is re-opening its internal investigation into possibly mishandling of classified information by Clinton.

And don`t forget, the House Judiciary Committee is set to question Attorney General Loretta Lynch on this matter next week.

So, this is, at least politically, far from over.



REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA), OVERSIGHT & GOVT. REFORM COMMITTEE: Today`s hearing is political theater. That`s not even the pretense of trying to get at the truth. This is a desperate attempt under an extraordinary set of circumstances, an emergency hearing.

I don`t know what the emergency is, other than one side is about to nominate somebody who is a pathological narcissist, who is talking about banning Muslims and Mexicans crossing the border who are all rapists, and women who are pigs, and terrified at the prospect of the consequences of that in the election.

So, let`s grab on to whatever we can to discredit or try to discredit the other nominee, punitive nominee. And you took away their only hope. And so the theater today is actual trying to discredit you.


KORNACKI: That was Virginia Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly today just over an hour into James Comey`s five-hour testimony, calling the whole spectacle political theater.

Joining us is Congressman Gerry Connolly of Virginia, obviously a member of the House Oversight Committee, one of the congressmen who question the FBI director today.

Congressman, thanks for joining us.

CONNOLLY: Great to be with you, Steve.

KORNACKI: You`re calling it political theater. So, let`s great the performances here. What did you think of the performance of James Comey today?

CONNOLLY: He gets an A. They didn`t lay a glove or a finger on James Comey. And he walked out of that room with his integrity and honor intact.

KORNACKI: So you have no problem with his credibility here. I guess the question is, if you don`t believe Hillary Clinton should have been prosecuted, do you believe that some of the things he said in terms of calling her reckless with her handling of this, do you have any concerns based on that testimony from him?

CONNOLLY: Well, that`s a matter of opinion. That`s verbiage. I don`t share that verbiage.

I believe -- in fact, the facts show we had a very active secretary of state who believe it or not was doing more than sitting in her bathrobe going through e-mails. She was in this time period, four years, reversing the foreign policy catastrophe of a previous Bush administration eight years. She visited over 100 countries. I think she traveled a million miles and she`s communicating while trying to do all of that and she might have been just a little bit preoccupied.

And did she pay as much attention to the process and the correct protocol in the use of e-mails, no. Neither did her predecessor Colin Powell or Condoleezza Rice.

KORNACKI: I take the point. Let me ask you, ask you this way, though. At one point today, one of the themes I think of the questioning from Republicans here of the FBI director was, if there`s a double standard. And at one point, Comey, the FBI director said, look, if one of my agents did what Hillary Clinton did, that agent would not be prosecuted.

But then he added that agent would face consequences. He suggested they could be termination, could be the loss of security clearance. Do you think short of prosecution, do you think there should be some consequence here for Hillary Clinton?

CONNOLLY: Steve, I`m not going to concede that, first of all, Hillary Clinton is not an FBI agent. Secondly, we`re talking about by his own testimony, tens of thousands of e-mails.

We`re talking about a handful in question that our dubious merit here and even he admitted under my questioning that the State Department has changed his mind on some of those so-called classifications, that which indicated as maybe confidential has been retrieved, it`s no longer confidential.

So, what was she suppose to do? There was no crime here. It`s not even a matter of crime. This -- the Republicans are holding on to this, as I said in my questioning, for dear life because that`s all they`ve got as they face Armageddon with Trump.

KORNACKI: Just in terms of this issue of trust with Hillary, and we`ve seen the poll numbers out there. It has been a story for a long time, concerns -- it`s been around for years, frankly, when it comes to Hillary Clinton and trust. And some would say, well, she`s still leading polls, so maybe voters are ultimately making some kind of judgment.

But she did say she didn`t receive or send any classified materials. You`re right out of tens of thousands of emails here, the numbers are relatively small. But still, the fact remains the FBI director says said 110 e-mails did have classified information in them.

Does that raise any concern about her trustworthiness?

CONNOLLY: Time out, Steve. Time out.

No, she said, to my knowledge, I did not send any classified e-mails. The head of the FBI, unusually want to talk about double standard, this isn`t double standard. How often does he get involved on a case, very rarely? He found no intentional or willful evasion of the law or violation of the law.


CONNOLLY: So maybe we can give her the benefit of the doubt. She`s a busy person who inadvertently processed some small handful of e-mails out of tens of thousands that might have had a status that otherwise would have been classified.

KORNACKI: Right. Again, it was just -- to be clear here. He said there were 110, 110 e-mails. I think it was 52 chains of e-mails. But again, she spent a year assuring the country -- I mean, the direct quote here from the most recent Democratic debate, she said, "I never sent or received any classified material."

That isn`t accurate. That is something we did learn from this investigation.

CONNOLLY: Well, after the fact we did. But here is the question, the inference to be drawn even from your question, Steve, that was deliberate. That`s not what the FBI found, because if they thought for a second that she had done that deliberately, they would have brought charges against her, that was quite clear. They weren`t going to give her the benefit of the doubt and they found no such deliberate evasion.

I think we have to take a deep breath here. We`re making a mountain out of a mole hill because it`s Hillary Clinton. There isn`t a double standard. And it`s one that works against her advantage, not for it.

KORNACKI: All right. Congressman Gerry Connolly, a member of that committee that questioned the FBI director today -- thanks for the time.

CONNOLLY: Thank you, Steve.

KORNACKI: All right. We`ll be right back.


KORNACKI: And you are looking right now at the protests happening in New York City tonight. This is demonstrators continue to rally against the resent police shootings, two this week.

We`ve seen rallies tonight in Atlanta, in Seattle, protesters also shutdown major streets in Philadelphia, and we`ve seen demonstrations in Dallas, and we`re expecting a large protest in Oakland, California, tonight. That`s supposed to begin any minute now.

And just ahead here on MSNBC, Lawrence O`Donnell is going to be interviewing a family member of Philando Castile. That`s the most recent shooting victim in Minnesota.


KORNACKI: And no matter what happens here in the U.S. come November, the world is going to have one new female head of state in 2016, that`s because today, Britain`s ruling conservative party held a vote to narrow a list of potential leaders down to the final two, and the final two are both women, either Home Secretary Theresa May, or Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom will replace outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron.

The only other woman to lead Britain was Margaret Thatcher. She served as prime minister for 11 years, from 1979 to 1990. The final results are going to be in a vote on September 9th.

That`s going to do it for us tonight. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".

Good evening, Lawrence.