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Biden tops President Trump TRANSCRIPT: 7/2/20, MTP Daily

Guests: Marc Boom, Jason Furman, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Uche Blackstock


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Covid-19 is probably here to stay for a long time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It does take an emotional tool on these nurses to be constantly fighting this uphill battle in terms of curative measures for these patients and knowing that whatever they do may not work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have some patients who have been with us more than 30 to 40 days. We have also seen lung injuries in these patients, heart attacks and strokes and that cause in other parts of your body, affecting other parts of the body. The body that is already exhausted and tired and sick fighting for such a long time to recover and then these complications hit. And it worse from there. Gets worse and worse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of people who are having their hearts destroyed from this virus. People think that it`s just like the flu, and they will get over it with no problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s definitely something different and I don`t think people understand how serious it can be.


KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: Once again we are beginning the show with voices from medical workers on the front line of this pandemic. Welcome to Thursday. It`s Meet the Press Daily, I`m Katy Tur in for Chuck Todd. And let`s dive right in. The virus is spreading in this country at a record pace. Public health officials continue to sound alarms but the millions of jobs regain last month seem to have harden President Trump`s resolved that the country must reopen and he may believe that his reelection depends on it after a streak of polls show him losing to Joe Biden.

More than 50,000 new coronavirus cases were confirmed yesterday. The case numbers in the last 30 days our sparking fears that this outbreak is spiraling out of control. Florida announced another record day of cases more than 10,000 in a single day. It is an astronomically high number. Here`s some perspective, 31 days ago the state reported 667 new cases in a single day. Today that number has grown above 10,000.

Vice President Pence met with Governor DeSantis this afternoon in Tampa where he seem confident that Florida can continue to reopen even as cases surge. In addition to the alarming surge in Florida, Texas has been reporting record numbers case numbers and record hospitalizations and moments ago, Governor Greg Abbott issue a statewide order, and order mandating that most Texans where facial coverings, a mask.

A significant development because Abbott has previously resisted such a move. The rise in cases across the South shows no signs of slowing down in a number of states. And governors in roughly half of the country have begun scaling back or reversing their reopening plan, but those moves have yet to blunt this surge. And as we head into the July 4th holiday weekend the public is getting totally contradictory messages from this administration about the severity of this crisis.

The nation`s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning that the country is reopening too quickly. He clearly wants to slam on the brakes, but the president clearly does not.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALERGY AND INFECTOUS DISEASES: The problem we`re facing now is that an intent to so cool we open or open the government and get it back to some form of normality, were seeing very disturbing spikes in different individual states in the United States. What we seen over the last several days is a spike in cases that are well beyond the worst spikes that we`ve seen. That is not good news. We got a get that under control or we risk an even greater outbreak in the United States.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now we are opening it up and it`s opening up far faster than anybody thought even possible and more successfully. And as I said, you`re going to have a fantastic third quarter. It will be a third quarter the likes of which nobody has ever seen before in my opinion.

And the good thing as the numbers will be coming out just prior to the election, so people will be able to see those numbers. And the crisis is being handled. We are likewise getting them under control, some areas were very hard-hit are now doing very well. Some were doing very well and we thought that maybe gone, and they flare up and were putting out the fires.


TUR: Let`s go to one of those hotspots now, Dasha Burns is in Jacksonville, Florida across the state from where Mike Pence and Governor Ron DeSantis met earlier today. So, Dasha, same situation as we saw yesterday. Pence went to Arizona yesterday, today he is in Florida. Tell me what he and Governor DeSantis said about the state.

DASHA BURNS, NBC NEWS REPORTER: Hi, Katy, that`s right and the Vice President`s visit today coinciding with that grim milestone for the state. You mentioned at the top of the show. Record daily case number here, more than 10,000 cases today. Despite that the Vice President struck a largely positive and supportive tone in their briefing today. He praised the leadership of Governor DeSantis. Of course, the governor has been a close ally of President Trump.

And essentially Pence said the White House has Florida`s back, they are considering sending additional medical personnel here which is a request that the governor had made. And both Pence and DeSantis made a pretty direct appeal to younger Americans, that demographic where we have seen some of the larger uptick in cases recently. They asked them to adhere to social distancing guidelines, avoid large gatherings especially ahead of this weekend and to wear masks. Now, one interesting visual note, both Mike Pence and Ron DeSantis were wearing masks today when they met. And Dr. Birx also spoke today and she also had a direct message for Floridians. Take a listen to what she had to say.


DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: To every Floridian, we know what works. In addition to the hand washing and the social distancing, wearing masks and not having large gatherings inside. Not having large gatherings outside. But if you participated in a large gathering in the last four weeks, we ask all of you to come forward and be tested. Because the level of asymptomatic spread. So, we are asking for everyone under 40 that if you were in a gathering, please go and get tested, please wear a mask, please do all of the hygiene issues and please stay away from those who have co-morbidities.


BURNS: And Katy, those large gatherings of course, a big concern for the July weekend. But it is worth noting the juxtaposition between this visits from Mike Pence to the state versus the last time the Vice President came here, when Governor Ron DeSantis essentially declared victory said, Florida had succeeded in combating the coronavirus. It just goes to show how quickly things can turn, Katy.

TUR: Dasha, but not just that. Governor DeSantis, a few weeks ago was saying that the threat of the virus in Florida was basically a media fantasy, saying that they were -- the media was warning Florida that it was going to get worse and going to get worse and they hadn`t seen anything bad.

Basically, blaming the media for inciting fear. What they are seeing now is they are edging upon a one-day record that we saw here in New York. It`s clearly getting a lot worse. So, I wonder when you talk to people in Florida, are you getting a sense that they understand how serious it is now that Governor DeSantis has taken a new and different tone on how severe this crisis is?

BURNS: Well, it depends on who you talk to, Katy. The folks in the younger demographic, I don`t know if the message has hit yet. And I think we will really see that this weekend which will be a big test for how willing people are to follow some of those guidelines. But the governor has still not put in a mandatory mask order across the state. We`ve seen some areas where I am right now in Jacksonville. Jacksonville just voted this week, as of Monday, masks are mandatory here. But we haven`t seen that move from the governor yet. I think if you took it that step further that might really send the message, but we will just have to see where things go, especially as cases continue to rise here, Katy. TUR: And we will see if he changes his tune after Governor Abbott has issued a statewide order wearing mask in Texas, the number or the caseload in Texas, 72 hour case, we had on the screen right now in Texas and Florida, just about a few hundred -- not even, I can`t do math on-the-fly but very close to the number they have in Texas down there in Florida. Dasha Burns, Dasha thank you very much.

And joining us now for some insight into the Trump administration is Ashley Parker, White House reporter for the Washington Post and an MSNBC contributor. And with us for a medical and public health perspective is Dr. Vin Gupta, pulmonologist, pandemics consultants and an MSNBC medical contributor.

So, Dr. Gupta, I do want to start with you. What we are seeing in Texas, we have Governor Abbott issue a mask mandate in order for all Texans, almost all Texans at least to wear masks, not seeing the same thing in Florida, what`s your opinion of how things are going? Your medical take I should say.

DR. VIN GUPTA, NBC NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR, PULMONOLOGIST AND A PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERT: Good afternoon, Katy. Unfortunately, I think it`s a little bit too late, both in Texas and in Florida. In Florida especially, from what is happening (inaudible).

If I was Governor DeSantis, or somebody who has here, you need to be thinking about how do you save lives at this point? And that`s bringing in portable ICUs, negative pressure rooms, making sure you have enough nurses, dialysis nurses, respiratory therapist. This is -- potentially even mobilizing National Guard. I know we`re not talking about mobilizing military forces, reservists, but there is that capability. That`s where this is at. We aren`t playing games anymore, this mask, no mask debate.

I mean, the cat is out of the bag there. So, while that would be helpful moving forward to mitigate continued spread, it`s not going to avert disaster. And I worry that Floridians are going to lose their lives on necessarily because of the Governor DeSantis` weak leadership.

TUR: Ashley, I want to talk to you about where the federal government stands and where the president stand, this week, two interesting things from the president. One, he sort of relented on masks saying that he would wear one. Let`s see if he actually does it. And two, today he came out right after the jobs number -- the monthly jobs number came out and he touted the number of jobs that were gained in this economy. I`m wondering how much of hi decision-making day-to-day is based on his re-election prospects?

ASHLEY PARKER, WASHINGTON POST WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: It`s a great question and the answer is a tremendous amount of his decision-making is driven by his re-election prospects. But there is an irony there. If you talk to public health experts, if you talk to some people you`ve been, experts in his own administration, people largely agree that the two things the president cares most about, which is getting the economy up and running and his re-election hopes in November, which are closely tied together, the best way to do that is actually to get the virus under control.

It is not to come up with savvy, brandy for the economy, it`s not to come up with a great new nickname for Joe Biden or a good slogan for the re- election campaign. It`s to meet people feel comfortable because the reality is that the virus is plateauing or it is decreasing. And that is the only way you can safely open the economy, so why he is very focused on his re- election and very focus on the economy.

Because they are so inextricably bound with his re-election, he is not necessarily taking the steps to try to combat the virus that you would expect someone to take if you believe that combatting the virus that leads to a better economy which leads to a higher re-election prospects.

TUR: Which is basically what most vast majority of economist will tell you. That`s what a lot of health officials will tell you as well. Ashley, is there anybody in his administration that`s advocating that, do you have any idea why the president is so hesitant to come out and speak as forcefully on the coronavirus and the public health mandates, like wearing a mask and social distancing. And say he speaks about protecting confederate monuments. He has been very forceful about that, but not so much on the virus.

PARKER: The public health officials and his administration are pressing this message. You saw someone like Dr. Fauci basically as you just played - - making that case publicly and I understand they make that case privately. But Katy, you (inaudible) this president, so have I, we know the president has a tendency or an ability to engage in some version of medical thinking that if he tweets something or he says it with enough confidence that he can make it real. And he can make it true.

And in some instances, he has been able to brand things. For instance in a very compelling way. But you cannot wish away a deadly pandemic. And so when the president says something, as he did yesterday, that he thinks the virus is just going to disappear, well, that`s not going to happen unless there is a coordinated effort by the federal government that involves contact tracing and increased testing and public awareness campaign to make it disappear. Only then will it go away.

TUR: Well, let`s talk about that public awareness campaign. Dr. Gupta, there are experts out there who can tell you how best to alert the public to a crisis. They are experts that addresses with natural disasters, when to alert somebody that if a tornado might be coming, to get the best response from somebody. To get them in the safest position they can. What time to do it? What language to use.

There is the same thing that can be deployed in a public health crisis. Why in the world has that not been deployed now and how much more effective would that be if there was a coordinated response on behalf of the federal government and all of the state governments, and here`s what you need to do, here`s the language we are using and the consistency that would flow therein.

GUPTA: That`s a load of question, Katy. What I would say to part one of that is, if I had the answer why the president chooses to model misbehavior, not wearing a mask when he should, weakening anything that Dr. Fauci says, well, then I would go get a lottery ticket.

What I would say here is, there is a -- he has a platform. Vice President Pence has a platform, Governor DeSantis has a platform. I wish they didn`t, because they are misusing it. They are the long leaders for the moment, but they could model best behavior and then they could speak to people, 60 percent of individuals for example in the mountain west weren`t wearing a mask, just as an example.

They could speak to those individuals and convince them why it`s important. Model that behavior, message on it. Well, what`s happening here is that there is an adversarial measure between scientists, physicians, public health experts and the president and that is not helping anybody? It is causing a lot of skepticism, it`s causing people to query whether or not I have the right motives in mind when I`m trying to diagnose or when I`m trying to advocate for a certain policy. There`s this cynicism that exist towards physicians, public health practitioners, that would otherwise exist if the president (inaudible) appropriately.

TUR: It`s not just the president that we are seeing at the state level as well. You have Governor Abbott saying to everybody wear a mask a day after his lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick was saying that he didn`t -- essentially he didn`t believe Dr. Fauci. Not only that, you have a number of public health officials across this country including one of the health commissioners in California getting death threats for giving their recommendation to the public on how best to keep the public safe. Dr. Gupta, thanks so much for being here. Ashley Parker, I haven`t seen you in a while. Always good to see you. Thanks for coming on with us today. We appreciate that.

And ahead as cases soar in Texas, hospitals in Houston are reaching their coronavirus breaking point. I`m going to talk to the head of a hospital network where staffers are worried about the crush of patients. Stay with us.


TUR: Welcome back, as we said at the top of the show, Texas Governor Abbott just issued a statewide mask mandate. Moments ago the state reported a new record number of hospitalizations which comes as the world`s largest medical center located in Houston is running out of ICU bed. They are now operating at more than 100 percent capacity. The state is regularly reporting record numbers of new cases with more than 8,000 new cases yesterday and nearly 8,000 today.

NBC news and ProPublica obtained internal messages from Houston area hospitals revealing the strain on the staff and the space, the same kind of strain we saw on hospitals in New York City at the height of the outbreak here. Dr. Marc Boom is the President and CEO of Houston Methodist, its flagship hospital in the Texas Medical Center. Dr. Boom thank you very much for joining us. First off I just want to get you to react to Governor Abbott issuing the mask order.

DR. MARC BOOM, THE PRESIDENT/CEO OF HOUSTON METHODIST: I feel much better this afternoon than a starting my day today. I`m delighted. I applaud him for making that decision. It is the right thing to do the other part of the other was actually limiting size of gatherings and people. And I think that`s critically important also we`ve been looking at this Fourth of July weekend with a lot of alarm as to whether that weekend might back very much like Memorial Day did, which is the -- essentially an accelerant that drive this virus further.

And the reality is if we take a pause here, we can actually take a free-day weekend where people aren`t working, where people don`t have to go out of their homes and actually have the best three days we`ve had in a while in terms of controlling this virus. So, our hospital system has billboards up all over town.

We wrapped the local paper all weekend long. We`ve been using social media, we send out 10s of thousands of warnings to our patient asking everybody to stay home, everybody to celebrate the Fourth of July with their immediate household units only. And this order just help us do that. And I`m thrilled that he has put this order out today.

TUR: What do you say to people who don`t see this as life or death, who only see it as a flu or something that might be bad that they might get over because they`re young and healthy or they don`t know anybody who`s been hurt by it?

BOOM: that`s just flat out wrong and you know one of the things that happen in the last couple of weeks is I would hear that story a lot from people. I would hear that, I have never met anybody who has this. It isn`t that bad. I don`t meet many people now who don`t know someone who has this, because the stories are running rampant throughout our community. And we`ve seen the virus start to rampant, it is accelerating and has been spreading very dramatically. The result on that right now is that we have a lot of patients in the hospital.

Now we have 2,100 bed across our hospital right now. We have slightly over 500 people with diagnosed covid, another hundred or so in (inaudible). So, that`s a lot, but we are managing that. It is a very sophisticated institutional and we have awesome employees in positions who are working very diligently to do that with surge plans in place. We are right at about 100 percent of our normal ICU capacity in our hospital system.

We recorded across all of the institution in Houston that are members of the medical center. We are at about 20 patient more than the normal capacity. So all of these have big surge plan in place. And we`ve been doing everything we can to handle that and honestly I think we are going to be OK handling that for a couple three weeks, if and that is a huge if everyone does what they need to do to get control of this virus and that`s to hopefully -- this is another element that start to add to that.

And again, we are just urging everybody in Houston, stay home, stay apart from each other, don`t celebrate outside of your family unit, wear a mask everywhere which is now -- which of course now is mandated and just looked at this virus back under control so it doesn`t take over our city.

TUR: Let`s underscore that. You are at more than 100 percent ICU capacity, that`s what I think I just heard you say. You think you`ll be able to handle it as long as it doesn`t get worse. Let`s go to the worst-case scenarios, so people know what they`re dealing with. If it does get much worse and you tell me where what that threshold is, what`s going to happen?

BOOM: So, you know, cross-used the method, let me give you an example. We have about 330 ICU beds in operation at a given time. Right now about 125 of those are being utilized by patients with covid. That`s been increasing but not as rapidly as the non ICU beds are. The rest are filled with patients with very serious issues. You know, heart attraction, strokes, and all the different things that usually require health and require care in the ICU.

So, we are working really hard to be sure where here for the citizens of Houston with every illness they have. The last time around, unfortunately everything that turn off and we saw a lot of harm because people where delaying (inaudible). So that in it of itself means the numbers end up being very tight. We can take those 330 in kind of a first phase of expansion up by another hundred plus beds, if not even more and we can actually in a couple of phases get up to 600 beds.

So all of the incremental growth we end up seeing will not be, you know, a regular patient outside of covid, it will be patient with covid, we have a lot of ability to serve but if we don`t get this in control now in about a three week period. That starts to be extraordinarily difficult (inaudible). Time is now, it can be done if everyone in the community locks on.

TUR: Let me give you an example of something that happened here at the height of the crisis when -- I live in Brooklyn, when we were just hearing the ambulance sirens, day in and day out. It was the only noise here. There was a point where EMS workers were told that if you have somebody going into cardiac arrest and they flat line, don`t -- you can`t them to a hospital to try to revive them. It`s over. We don`t have the space for them. That was a dire situation here in New York. Could that end up being the case of things get much worse in Texas?

BOOM: Well, that`s a horrible situation, exactly the kind of situations were trying to avoid. That can happen anywhere. Let me be clear. That can happen in any city, any community anywhere if let the virus get out of control. Right now the virus is out of control. It is not out of control yet to the point that we project that will be there as long as we can start defendant intended yesterday. So, that is the key message here. If the citizens of Houston work together to get this bent. We can avoid that. That is honestly my worst nightmare as a physician. It`s my worst nightmare as a hospital executive. We need to be there for the people we serve and that is a communal responsibility to make sure that we don`t get there.

TUR: And it was a terrible time here in New York when that was going on. Dr. Boom, doctor, thank you very much. Thank you very much for joining us today and for giving us a sense of the reality on the ground and for giving everybody a warning for the weeks to come. We appreciate your time, sir.

We also want to get a quick presidential campaign update for you here. June`s fundraising numbers are added for the second month in a row Joe Biden has raised more money than President Trump. Last month the Biden campaign and Democratic Party brought in $141 million while President Trump and the Republicans were just shy with 131 million. These fundraising halls were significant increases for both campaigns, jumping by more than $50 million from May`s reported numbers. It`s a big deal and the Trump campaign will talk to you about cash on hand and where they are, compared to the Biden campaign. But make no mistake, Biden outracing and an incumbent is also a very big deal.

Also, coming up, we are looking at a different kind of numbers, jobs numbers. Will today`s good economic news be sustainable in this pandemic?


TUR: Welcome back. Both President Trump and Joe Biden praised the June jobs report today, which found the economy added 4.8 million jobs last month, nearly two million jobs more than economists have predicted.

The unemployment rate dropped to 11.1 percent. That means more than seven million jobs have been created or at least brought back over the last two months. That is certainly good news. But there are still nearly 15 million fewer jobs now than there were in February before the pandemic began, a point which Biden made sure to make today, but President Trump did not.

And some economists warn that given the likelihood that states may have to re-shutter parts of their economies with the rise in cases, the job gains we saw last month may not last.

With me now are Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former chief economist on President George W. Bush`s White House Council of Economic Advisers, former CBO director, and president of the American Action Forum, and Jason Furman, former chair of President Obama`s White House Council of Economic Advisers and a professor at Harvard University.

Jason, I want to start with you. These numbers are better than were expected. The president is obviously touting them. Joe Biden admits they are not bad. What do you think of them?

JASON FURMAN, FORMER CHAIRMAN, OBAMA WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: Two things are true. We created a lot of jobs in May and June and we lost a lot of jobs since February. That second fact in some ways is the more important one. Somebody came down to earth today and they learned the unemployment rate was 11 percent, they would think this economy has a lot of problems, needs a lot, a lot more help going forward.

TUR: Do you think we are going to stay on this track? These numbers have a delay to them. They don`t include the re-shuttering, the surge in cases that we`re seeing across the south and southwest. Are you confident that this sort of upward trend is going to be sustainable as the months progress, Jason?

FURMAN: I think it`s very uncertain because still lots and lots of people are losing jobs and lots of people are gaining jobs. And what this report is the net jobs number. So you look last week, more than two million people applied for unemployment insurance. That`s now been months and months of more than two million people, twice what it was in the last recession.

So people losing jobs, people gaining jobs. Most of the daily indicators I have looked at indicate that progress has slowed but has not started to reverse. What happens over the next week or two though is just in increasingly uncertain for the economy.

TUR: Doug, you`ve said that part of the reason why this economy hasn`t gone into the abyss was because of the quick action from the federal government. Do this consecutive job -- monthly job numbers where we gained the number of jobs potentially lead to a sense of complacency as in there is not more urgent action that is needed to be taken?

DOUGLAS HOLTZ-EAKIN, PRESIDENT OF AMERICAN ACTION FORUM, FORMER CHIEF ECONOMIST ON BUSH WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS, FORMER CBO DIRECTOR: I hope not. I want to agree with Jason and emphasize that we are getting people back to work. The jobs in the past two months have tracked exactly the decline in people who were temporarily laid off. That`s the low-hanging fruit. Get them back to work. That`s fantastic.

This month, even with the great report, 600,000 people were permanently laid off. So there continues to be jobs lost out there in the economy. That is what policymakers have to keep their eye on. My concern is that in doing that, they sort of fall victim to too much magical thinking.

There isn`t a stimulus check or (INAUDIBLE) benefit or an infrastructure program that is going to create economic growth if people don`t feel safe to go to work and to conduct their economic affairs. All the focus should be on finding ways to operate the economy in the presence of the virus.

The other magical thinking is this is just going to go away, we are going to have a virus, and there are vaccines for the virus. Neither of those is true. So, we need to rethink our strategy, can`t just throw money at this problem.

TUR: The $600 unemployment insurance bonus that was extended for three months during the pandemic, I believe, is now expired. You say that it should not be extended any further. Why is that, Doug?

HOLTZ-EAKIN: It would expire at the end of July and it`s simply too big to be extended in its current form. At $600, there is -- 16 (ph) percent of the workforce makes more unemployment than they would going back to their old job. In many states, 70 percent of state workers would be that way.

So, you need something that is a little more friendly to the labor market. So, it needs to be smaller at a minimum and it would be better to have it be available even if you go back to work. What you really don`t want to have is a big impediment to getting people to go back to work.

So, having that re-structure (ph) some ways is an important part of what the Congress needs to do, but it`s only part. There are also sort of advances they need to make on making sure there is PPE for people, making sure that workplaces are configured to be safe and not like the meatpacking house were. All of that will take money.

These are all things that the Congress should think hard about. It should find ways to support the economy and getting people back to work and getting people into the stores.

The key fact about the downturn is that there wasn`t big income decline. People had an income. They stopped spending. And it was high income people --

TUR: Yeah.

HOLTZ-EAKIN: -- who stopped spending because they didn`t want to be near people. We have to fix that problem.

TUR: Jason, what about you? Do you agree with that?

FURMAN: I agree with a lot of what Doug said. I would emphasize that if unemployment insurance checks went away in August, then the point that Doug just made that we haven`t seen incomes decline would no longer be true. And so we have protected the economy to some degree from the demand shock. People have by and large had enough money to spend. They just haven`t had enough to spend it on.

But we will get a big demand shock. We will get in some sense a sort of ripple additional recession on top of the one we have if those checks ended entirely.

I was part of a bipartisan proposal that said why don`t you make those checks a function of the unemployment rate? In states with very high unemployment, you get a larger weekly check. In states with low unemployment rates like Nebraska, you would get a smaller check. I think that is the right way to do it going forward.

TUR: I would also add that in caution, there are a number of people who are facing eviction, a potential eviction either this month or in the coming months. That is the sort of money that is keeping them in their houses right now if they are not able to go back to work. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, thank you very much. Jason Furman, thank you, as well.

And ahead, the so-called Gang of Eight hear directly from the CIA chief about the alleged Russian bounties on U.S. troops. The latest from Capitol Hill next, plus the devastating impact coronavirus is having on communities of color. Why are they bearing the brunt of this pandemic and what can be done about it. Stay with us.


TUR: Welcome back. Congressional leaders have now been briefed on alleged Russian bounties on U.S. troops. The so-called Gang of Eight was briefed today on Capitol Hill. It is the fourth straight day lawmakers from both the House and the Senate have received briefings on the alleged bounties offered to the Taliban. And the overarching question Democrats are still asking is: When did President Trump receive the Intel?

MSNBC`s Garrett Haake joins me now from Capitol Hill. Garrett, I want to ask you what you gleaned from Nancy Pelosi today, because in the conversations I`ve been having with lawmakers, when I`ve asked them about the intelligence after the briefing, they`re obviously not going to tell me what was in it.

But they`re kind of dodging the question of whether they`re more concerned after hearing about the intelligence. They`re also dodging the question of what Congress should do to punish Russia. Should I read into that or -- you tell me what you`re hearing and what you can say.

GARRETT HAAKE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Pelosi shed a little bit of light on all of those topics. First, in her written statement and in her news conference, the regularly-scheduled weekly news conference that she held, after this briefing today, she made the point that she thinks the president should spend more time reading his PDB, the presidential daily brief, and less time tweeting about confederate monuments, seeming to suggest that this is the kind of information that would have been written down and available to him to read at a much earlier time had he chosen to read it.

On the significance of the of the actual intelligence, both she and other lawmakers I`ve talked to or tried to talk to about this briefing have been a little bit more mum. But Pelosi did chastise reporters for what she described as essentially falling for White House con, this idea that information is only presented to the president when it`s fully vetted and fully confirmed.

Remember, Pelosi spent most of her congressional career on the Intel Committee. This is something she understands pretty well. She makes the argument that lots of things that aren`t fully locked down, full vetted and fully confirmed can and do need to come to the president`s attention early on.

And finally on the question of what Congress might do about this, Pelosi talked about trying to reinstate an element of Russian sanctions that were already passed by this congress a couple of years ago but that the White House had asked them to strip out, focusing on intel defense industries in Russia. She said those needs to go back in as quickly as they can done.

TUR: Garrett Haake on Capitol Hill. Garrett, thank you very much. And there is one more piece of Russia-related news, Russian-related Capitol Hill news to be specific to report. The Supreme Court announced this morning that it will hear the case to decide whether lawmakers on Capitol Hill can get access to the grand jury materials from the Mueller investigation, some of the underlying evidence and materials.

House investigators have been trying to get an unredacted version of the Mueller report along with the relevant grand jury materials since last year. And now, it looks like they`re going to have to wait a little while longer. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case during its new term, which means that a decision will likely come after the November elections.

We will be right back.


TUR: Welcome back. As we continue to monitor the spikes in COVID cases around the country, we are also continuing to look at the disproportionate impact the virus is having on communities of color across the United States. NBC News` Ron Allen visited some of the New York City neighborhoods hit hardest by the virus.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Check the line outside.

RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Every day before noon, hundreds line up outside Catalina Cruz`s office in Corona. The Queens lawmaker has set up her own food pantry to help her neighbors.


ALLEN: The city is reopening, the country is reopening, but there is still this.

CRUZ: Yes, because what happens in our community is the majority of people didn`t qualify for any of the financial help that`s out there.

ALLEN (voice-over): Corona is a densely-packed community with (INAUDIBLE) working low-income jobs, mostly in transportation or health care, making them especially vulnerable to the virus and leading to one of the highest infection rates and number of COVID-related deaths per capita in the country. Many here used to work in a vibrant cash economy, off the books, like this woman who is undocumented and now ineligible for government help.

PATRICIA, MEXICAN IMMIGRANT: The restaurant where I used to work is permanently closed now.

ALLEN (voice-over): Cruz knows her plight very well.

CRUZ: My mom was a street vendor. My mom was a nanny. She cleaned people`s homes.

ALLEN (voice-over): Cruz was just nine when her mother brought her here from Colombia. She is now the first former dreamer ever elected to state office in New York.

CRUZ: Where is your husband and the baby?

ALLEN (voice-over): And now crying out for help for her community.

When you see this and what you`ve seen over the last few months, how does that make you feel?

CRUZ: It`s gut-wrenching because there`s only about so much I can do for folks.

ALLEN (voice-over): New York`s Department of Small Business Services tells NBC News, Cruz`s Burrow Queens (ph) got about 16 percent of the recovery loans issued by the city. Manhattan, the wealthiest area, got 57 percent. And the Bronx, the city`s poorest area, received just two percent.


TUR: We also have some breaking news. First, I`ll thank Ron Allen for that. We also have some breaking news. According to NBC`s count, we have once again broken the daily record for new cases already today and it is 5:45, more than that, so far reporting more than 53,000 cases.

Joining me now is Dr. Uche Blackstock. She is an emergency room physician and the founder and CEO of Advancing Health Equity, an organization whose goal is to get rid of race-based health care inequalities.

Uche, thank you very much for being here. We are hitting another daily record of 53,000 cases in the United States. And we also know that this virus is affecting communities of color much harder and in a much worse way than it is affecting white communities. What does that mean for the disparity, not only the economic inequality that we`re already seeing in this country but the health care disparity that we have? What can you tell us?

UCHE BLACKSTOCK, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN, FOUNDER AND CEO OF ADVANCING HEALTH EQUITY: So even before the pandemic, these communities, Black and Latino, indigenous communities, were already carrying the highest burden of chronic disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and asthma, which are underlying factors that make people do much worse when they`re infected with coronavirus.

And so what we`re seeing is really this devastation disproportionately of these communities. And my concern is that as this (INAUDIBLE) across the country continue, that these communities will be even further impacted.

TUR: Do you think that it has been easier for white communities, some, not everyone, but some, to not see this as big of a problem as it is, because it is not affecting white communities as badly as it is affecting communities of color?

BLACKSTOCK: Yeah. I mean, there was a survey last week in The Washington Post that showed one in three Black Americans knew someone who had died from coronavirus, and the number for White Americans was much significantly lower.

And so I think, you know, when you have someone close to you who died or you know someone who has been affected by this, you feel the devastation much more. And so my concern is that there are certain areas in the country that haven`t been impacted by this. Those are parts that really want to reopen. And we know what reopening is doing. It is really exposing people and really the most vulnerable communities to becoming re-infected again.

TUR: Because a lot of those communities, a lot of those re-openings are relying on jobs that are held by black and brown people. Essential workers --


TUR: A lot of grocery store workers, delivery workers, and a lot of the jobs are held by minority communities and not necessarily white communities.

BLACKSTOCK: Exactly, because of racism, because practices and policies have limited Black and Latino people to certain types of jobs, so service workers, front line workers. Many of my patients here in Brooklyn work for the subway, bus drivers. And so they didn`t have an opportunity to work from home. They were essentially exposed to the virus going to work on a daily basis.

TUR: I just want to underscore what you`re talking about a second ago in terms of who is being affected by this and the reaction to the severity of the virus. A Washington Post poll shows that 31 percent of Black respondents know someone who died from COVID-19. That is more than doubled the rate of Americans overall and triple White Americans. Those are pretty staggering numbers.

I also want to get you, doctor, on what this is doing not necessarily for black and brown people who are needing to be treated for COVID-19 but have other health issues and would otherwise need to be going to see a doctor or going to a hospital. How is this affecting overall health?

BLACKSTOCK: That is a double (INAUDIBLE). The double (INAUDIBLE) is that these communities are becoming infected with coronavirus but they also have underlying medical problems that are not being managed, right? So, it is making them even more at risk for being very, very sick.

And so that`s the balance that we have to see. We want to make sure that everyone is safe and that they`re not exposed to coronavirus. They actually have to be able to visit their doctors and be treated for these chronic medical conditions.

TUR: Dr. Uche Blackstorck, thank you so much for joining us today and helping us to understand the bigger picture of what is happening across this country. We appreciate all your time.

BLACKSTOCK: Thank you.

TUR: And we`ll be right back.


TUR: Before we go, we want to mark the passing of a television news icon. We`ve learned long-time journalist and anchor man Hugh Downs died yesterday. He was best known for hosting ABC`s "20/20" with Barbara Walters for two decades.

But Downs had a long and storied career including here at NBC. He hosted the "Today" show from 1962 to 1971, covering some of the most important stories of our time, including the MLK and JFK assassinations, along with the Vietnam War. Hugh Downs, a steady voice in turbulent times, was 99 years old. Don`t we all need a steady voice right now in these turbulent times?

That is all for "Meet the Press Daily" tonight. Thank you for joining us. I will see you back here on Monday. In the meantime, "The Beat with Ari Melber" starts right now. Hi, Ari.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Katy. Thank you so much. Welcome to "The Beat." I am Ari Melber. And tonight, we are reporting what experts are telling us, the COVID crisis breaking records and may be approaching a point of no return.