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Bolton TRANSCRIPT: 6/17/20, The Rachel Maddow Show

Guests: L. Chris Stewart, Karen Bass, Adam Schiff, Akhter

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): There are good people on both sides of the aisle in America, we demonize each other way too much, but this is a man that is now changing the Republican Party forever, putting a stain upon it, that this party is allowing itself to be dragged down because it`s refusing to - - in fact, the quotes of some of these folks, before Donald Trump was elected are powerful.

In fact, I heard Lindsey Graham`s words being used in a Republicans against Trump ad, because they`re so damning. And so now this is the --


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Yes, they were right before they had to be wrong.

Senator Cory Booker, thank you as always for making time, Senator.

That is ALL IN for this evening.

"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now with Ali Velshi, in for Rachel.

Good evening, Ali.

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Good to see you again. We`ll see you tomorrow.

Thanks to you at home, by the way, for joining us at this hour, Rachel has the night off. But she`s going to be back tomorrow.

And there is a lot going on tonight.

John Bolton`s new tell-all book from his days as Donald Trump`s national security adviser has leaked, and it is a doozy. Bolton describes the Trump administration is following a pattern of, quote, obstruction of justice as a way of life. He says there`s a ton of stuff that the impeachment inquiry missed, and that Trump tried to get China to help him get reelected this fall.

We know this all, and more, because a handful of reporters have managed to get hold of a copy of Bolton`s book ahead of its publication and amid a desperate attempt by President Trump to stop the publication that have book, including a brand-new effort tonight, just within the last hour. The Justice Department filed an emergency application for a restraining order against Bolton and is asking the judge to block him from publishing his book next week. They`re asking for a hearing on Friday.

Now, we`re going to talk to one of the first reporters who got a look at the book, as well as the house intelligence chair and impeachment manager, Congressman Adam Schiff, a little later in the show.

Meanwhile, as the country continues to open back up, coronavirus cases continue to rise in the Western and Southern United States. With nine states hitting record high numbers of new cases this week, including the state of Oklahoma, where the president is still set to hold a massive indoor campaign rally this weekend. We`re going to talk to an emergency room doctor from one of the hardest-hit areas of the country about what`s happening on the ground and what needs to be done to stop the spread of coronavirus.

That and more as well ahead.

But first, we begin with the charges handed down today in the death of Rayshard Brooks, the 27-year-old black man who shot in the back by an Atlanta police officer five days ago. This afternoon the district attorney`s office in Atlanta announced 11 charges against former Officer Garrett Rolfe including felony murder and aggravated assault.

If convicted, Rolfe could face life in prison or the death penalty. Three charges were also announced against Devin Brosnan, the second officer at the scene.

During today`s remarkable press conference, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard called Brooks` killing unjustified, saying he posed no threat to the officers. The D.A. repeatedly noted that Brooks was cordial and cooperative for more than 40 minutes before the incident became violent. Video of that final deadly altercation shows Mr. Brooks scuffling with police before grabbing one of the officers` Tasers and running away. He`s seen firing the stun gun in the direction of the officers. And moments later, Officer Rolfe shoots him twice in the back.

Today, the D.A. noted that officers were aware that the Taser brooks was holding had already been discharged twice, meaning that it no longer posed a threat, it could not be discharged a third time. He also revealed that after firing those deadly shots, the first words out of Officer Rolfe`s mouth were "I got him."

But one of the most striking moments in today`s news conference came when the district attorney explained what happened in the moments after the shooting as Rayshard Brooks lay dying on the ground.


PAUL HOWARD JR., FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Now, this is another important consideration that we discovered as we evaluated this case. Once Mr. Brooks was shot, there is an Atlanta policy that requires that the officers have to provide timely medical attention to Mr. Brooks or to anyone who is injured. But after Mr. Brooks was shot, for some period of two minutes and 12 seconds, there was no medical attention applied to Mr. Brooks.

But when we examined the videotape, and in our discussions with witnesses, what we discovered is, during the two minutes and 12 seconds that Officer Rolfe actually kicked Mr. Brooks while he laid on the ground, while he was there fighting for his life. Secondly, from the videotape, we were able to see that the other officer, Officer Brosnan, actually stood on Mr. Brooks` shoulders while he was there struggling for his life.


VELSHI: Today, the district attorney announced that the second officer, Devin Brosnan, is now cooperating with prosecutors. The district attorney says he will testify on behalf of the state, making him one of the first Atlanta police officers to do so in a case like this. Mr. Brosnan`s attorney, however, late this evening disputed that claim, saying his client has not agreed to testify or to serve as a witness. Both officers are expected to turn themselves in to authorities by 6:00 p.m. tomorrow evening.

Despite the swift action by the prosecutors, by the district attorney, in bringing the charges, it could actually be some time before an actual indictment is handed down. According to Georgia`s state law, a grand jury must now convene to determine whether or not the two officers should be indicted. But because of the pandemic, no grand juries will meet until at least October.

The district attorney has said he would sign an indictment today if he were legally able to do so. But despite the delay, it is worth taking note of the unbelievable amount of change that this tragedy has brought about, especially in Atlanta itself. Less than 24 hours after the shooting of Rayshard Brooks, the Atlanta police chief, Erika Shields, resigned.

Days later, the mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, issued a series of executive orders aimed at dramatically overhauling her city`s police department. Now, those orders require that officers now employ de- escalation techniques before using deadly force. In addition, they demand that officers intercede when they witness another officer using unreasonable force.

This follows similar reforms that are being enacted all across the country right now as local leaders react to the wave of protests sparked by the death of George Floyd just last month. In Minneapolis, the city where employed was killed, the city council has already voted to disband its police department completely, rethinking the way they go about law enforcement in their community.

In New York, lawmakers took the hugely consequential step of repealing a decades-old law that has been used to shield police officers` disciplinary records from the public. In city after city after city, departments have banned the use of chokeholds, reconsidering the way they approach the use of force. And now national police reform, something that would have been unthinkable one month ago, is being considered and debated by lawmakers in Washington.

Today, Republicans, led by Senator Tim Scott, unveiled their proposal for police reform.

Now, it is significantly narrower than what Democrats are proposing, but it would incentivize police departments to use body cameras and ban chokeholds by withholding federal grant money from them. Senator Mitch McConnell said today the bill would be taken up for a vote as early as next week, and that sets up a clash with Democrats both in the House and the Senate who claim that now is the time to go big and pass far-reaching legislation that would place strict limits on excessive force and make it easier to hold officers legally accountable for misconduct.

Now, at this moment, members of the House Judiciary Committee are debating police reform legislation, they`ve been doing so all day. We`re expecting a committee vote on that bill later this hour. And so maybe, maybe this time real change will come. As the attorney for the family of Rayshard Brooks said earlier today, now is not the time for politics. It`s time to fix the policing situation so that the same thing doesn`t keep happening again and again and again.


L. CHRIS STEWART, BROOKS FAMILY ATTORNEY: So, we`re watching all these policies that directly affect families like this, all these arguments, Democrats versus Republicans, all of this ridiculousness, and they`re not starting from step one. How do we actually fix this and not what`s best for your political party? Because the things I saw today, we`re going to be back here next year.

Was this justice today? Not yet. We still don`t have a definition for it. With more heartache that families have to go through this and fight the public to try and get justice for a man that was shot in the back twice.

But we do thank everybody in this country for the outpouring of support, the people that are marching for change peacefully, keeping his name alive positively. And maybe one day, this country will get it right with policing. And we`ll all come together.


VELSHI: And maybe one day this country will get it right with policing.

Joining us now, Chris Stewart, attorney for the Brooks family.

Chris, I`m sad that you and I are on a first name basis now because we talk every couple of days. I want to start by asking you what you and the family make today of the charges brought against the two police officers and whether the family feels those charges are appropriate and sufficient.

STEWART: Yeah, we`re just going with the investigation done by the district attorney, the evidence you showed today we weren`t even aware of. We weren`t aware that Mr. Brooks was kicked after he was shot, laying on the ground. We weren`t aware that he was shot from it was 18 feet away, running away after attempting to use the Taser.

We weren`t aware of a lot of things. But they`re trying to hold strong. But it`s not a day of celebration. This is a day of disappointment that we`re here.

VELSHI: Chris, we`re -- the country has become familiar with eight minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time a police officer knelt on the neck of George Floyd. You`re representing George Floyd`s family as well. And now, we got two minutes and 12 seconds to think about.

It shouldn`t have to be police policy that someone has aid rendered to them after they are shot and pose no threat to anybody. In fact, the district attorney said Mr. Floyd didn`t pose a threat to them, the police officers, in any case. But regardless, for two minutes and 12 seconds they did not render aid and it appears, according to the evidence or at least what the statement of the district attorney put forward, that one of the officers kicked him, the other one stood on his shoulder or stepped on his shoulder.

Again, you and I have talked about this. There are policies that can be brought to bear, but that kind of stuff is not policy stuff. That`s behavior. That`s cultural. That is a way you look at a victim that dehumanizes them.

STEWART: Yeah, like I said, you know, I`m watching all these policies and listening to these different things, and having actually been in the trenches involved in a lot of these cases and reading the records and seeing the loopholes, it`s not going to fix it because it`s a mentality thing. You know, it just came out today that Officer Rolfe was involved in that 2015 shooting of another African-American where they didn`t even report that they shot him, and he wasn`t disciplined at all.

That`s what we`re trying to face, that type of behavior leads someone until we`re here. But not every officer does that. But when it occurs, it has to be nipped in the bud right then.

So I`m just heartbroken from everything that my clients have to go through and then hearing the news tonight that officers are walking away from protecting the community here in Atlanta today.

VELSHI: Tell me what you make of that, because you and the other lawyers in this case have gone out of your way to point out that there are a lot of good cops out there, there are a lot of police who leave their homes every day and put their lives at risk for the safety of the communities they serve, and now we have reports, we haven`t confirmed that here at NBC, but reports that there were sick-outs today, there were call-outs by police in support of the officers who have been charged.

STEWART: I don`t -- I mean, I don`t understand it, because if you love your job and protecting the community, yes, there`s going to be hard times, there`s going to be people that disagree. You may see a situation where maybe you don`t think that officers should have been charged.

But look at the situation that African-Americans have been put in where we didn`t think that young man should have been shot, we didn`t think that individual should have been arrested or harassed or me stopped and searched for no reason and I didn`t pull a lawyer card. Look at both sides of the situation. Just because fairness is coming around, that doesn`t mean that you are part of the problem. But if you are part of the problem --

VELSHI: Right.

STEWART: -- then maybe you truly don`t get it. But, you know, like I said, I talk to my friends who are police officers today, and they`re still out there doing their job.

VELSHI: Yeah, Atlanta police is confirming they`ve got a higher than usual number of sick-outs on the new shift coming in. They do say they have enough police to maintain necessary response in Atlanta.

And, Chris, I guess while this is going on, and your efforts are concentrated on this particular case, and the Brooks family, there is this parallel thing that`s going on, and police forces around the country, including in Atlanta, in Congress, there are moves for change. This took five days for these charges to come out. In the case of George Floyd`s killers, it took three days.

Do you think these protests are having an impact? Do you think they are making authorities look at these things seriously and say, we have got to take action for change now, not later?

STEWART: Of course it is, because that`s what this country is, is the voice of the people -- white, black, whatever you may be. The people, not politicians, control what happens. It`s just when we demand change.

And so people are waking up. People are not worried about their lives or careers. They want change on this issue. Crowds that go to protests are every diverse.

People want change. Why is it so hard to listen to people that actually put you in office that want real change not (INAUDIBLE)? But they`ll listen, because the people have to vote at the end of the day.

VELSHI: Chris Stewart, thank you for joining me again. Chris Stewart is the attorney for the family of Rayshard Brooks. We`ll speak again soon, Chris. Thank you.

Congressional Black Caucus chair, Congresswoman Karen Bass, is working late on Capitol Hill where tonight the judiciary committee is getting ready to vote on the House Democrats` police reform bill. She joins us from there now.

Congresswoman, good to see you again. Thank you for being with me.

I wanted to get your reaction to the charges brought today in Atlanta against the officers responsible for Rayshard Brooks` death. Do you think this charging decision represents a hopeful sign in this moment to get justice for victims of police violence?

REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA), CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS CHAIR: Well, I do think it represents a hopeful sign. But, you know, as I sat here and watched Mr. Stewart, and I`ve seen him several times before, I feel a tremendous responsibility to deliver. We have to deliver for all of the tens of thousands of people that are on the street demanding change. And I just hope they keep it up.

But I also have to deliver for those families. And the thing about Mr. Stewart, you could see the pain on his face --


BASS: -- representing those families after this time and time again. I think we`re going to be able to make a difference this time. We have to.

VELSHI: So, let`s talk about what that difference looks like, because you are leading a charge to pass a slate of police reforms through Congress. The last time we spoke, you felt very good about it. Now we`ve got a different effort led by Senator Tim Scott in the Senate that a lot of Democrats don`t feel is as thorough as the one that you`re working on.

So, tell me how you see this coming together, if at all?

BASS: Sure. I`ll tell what you I feel good about, is that in the past, when we`ve had legislation like this -- and I don`t mean about policing, it could have been about health care, there`s been a wholesale rejection from the Republicans. What the Republicans are doing this time is they`re mimicking our legislation, almost every category that we have, we are suggesting policy changes, they copy it, but they take the teeth out. And so, we obviously have to put the teeth back in.

And let me give you a couple of examples -- saying that we`re going to study chokeholds, saying that we`re going to collect data on no-knock warrants that killed Breonna Taylor. We don`t need data for that. We don`t need to study chokeholds. We need to ban those.

And so, the fact that they are mimicking our language tells me that there`s a place that we could land. And what I`m seeing now, you know, it`s partisan right now, but you know that`s part of the process. We will pass it out of committee. We have more than enough votes to pass it off the floor. The same thing will happen in the Senate. And then we`ll go to conference.

I will tell you, in the Senate, there is also the Booker/Harris bill, and hopefully, they`ll be able to have a hearing --


BASS: -- and pass that as well. But I am hopeful that we`re going to get a bill on the president`s desk. And it absolutely has to be substantive. It cannot be smoke and mirrors.

VELSHI: And Senator Booker was just on with Chris Hayes, and one of the conversations they were having is that whatever you come to, even the bill you`re working on, there are some people out there who are calling for some version of abolish the police or defund the police, redirect funds that are going to police to things that communities need like mental health care and better health care and better homeless care.

What do you -- how do you feel this, what you are proposing or what you might get, lines up with a broader call that seems to want responses that are even more far-reaching than what you`re suggesting?

BASS: Well, let me just tell you, make no mistake, there is much, much more for us to do. This bill is narrowly tailored to police. But the Congressional Black Caucus, in just a couple of weeks, as soon as we get past this hurdle, is going to introduce a massive bill called Jobs and Justice, because we have to get at some of the problems in the community, some of the root causes.

But you know what has happened over time is that we have divested from cities. We`ve divested from communities. In Los Angeles, we have a jail called the Twin Towers, and it`s filled with hundreds of mentally ill patients.

And you hear police all the time saying, I didn`t come here to be a police officer -- to be a social worker, I`m a police officer.

We need (AUDIO GAP). We need to address community issues. We need to address social, health, and economic issues, and stop leaving it to the police to pick up the pieces when we refuse to fund the type of community services and supports that people need.

So, in the bill, there is funding for communities to apply, to create projects, pilot projects, et cetera, to re-envision what public safety looks like in a particular community.

VELSHI: Re-envisioning what public safety look like is where we have to go. We`ve got to re-imagine it. We`ve got to look at it.

And we thank you for the work that you`re doing. Congresswoman Karen Bass - -


BASS: We have to put the resources in the right place.

VELSHI: That`s right. Thank you for joining me, again. We`ll talk again in the next few days. I appreciate it, as always, when you take time for our conversations.

BASS: Thank you.

VELSHI: Well, it`s been a weird time in the news for a while now. But this is the first time I`ve seen the Elton John discography collide with the national security news. Just what he has to do with John Bolton and Donald Trump, coming up next.


VELSHI: OK, I`m not making the claim that this is the most important revelation in former Trump national security adviser John Bolton`s new book. There are a lot of head-spinning anecdotes to choose from, now that reporters have gotten their hands on copies of Bolton`s tell-all ahead of its release and they`ve been chronicling its revelations all day.

But for whatever reason, this is the story from the book that I cannot get out of my head. Do you remember how Donald Trump liked to call North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un "rocket man", sometimes "little rocket man" for good measure? He even called him that in his first presidential speech to the United Nations.

But then he did a sudden U-turn. He held this big fawning photo-op summit with the dictator and started lavishing him with praise, talking about the two of them falling in love. And apparently, according to John Bolton`s new book, Trump at this point became concerned that maybe Kim Jong-un might hold a grudge because of all that rocket man stuff.

As "The Washington Post" reported today, quote: In the months following the summit, Bolton described Trump`s inordinate interest in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivering a Trump-autographed copy of Elton John`s "Rocket Man" on CD to Kim during Pompeo`s follow-on visit to North Korea. Trump had used the term "little rocket man" to criticize the North Korean leader but subsequently tried to convince Kim that it was a term of affection.

Trump didn`t seem to realize Pompeo hadn`t actually seen Kim Jong-un during the trip, asking if Pompeo had handed over the CD, wrote Bolton. Quote, Pompeo had not. Getting the CD to Kim remained a high priority for several months.

Now, if you had get an autographed Elton John CD to North Korean dictator on your bingo card of Donald Trump`s priorities, you`re in luck. Like I said, maybe not the most important thing today, but when it comes to foreign autocrats, and Donald Trump, John Bolton has a lot of frightening stories to tell you, like the time last summer, when Bolton says Trump directly asked China`s president to help him win the 2020 election. Bolton writes that Trump, quote, stunningly turned the conversation with Chinese President Xi to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China`s economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure that he`d win.

He stressed the importance of farmers and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome. I would print Trump`s exact words but the government`s prepublication review process has decided otherwise, end quote.

That means the White House removed Trump`s exact words from the book because it claims those words are classified.

The White House just tonight has filed an emergency motion with a judge trying to block the publication of the book next week. And the Justice Department is reportedly considering criminal charges against Bolton.

Bolton also argues in his book that the House impeachment inquiry should have investigated President Trump for many more offences than it did even though John Bolton refused to testify and tell impeachment investigators about those things.

We`re going to talk with lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intel Committee, about that in just a moment.

But first, joining us now, Peter Baker, "New York Times" chief White House correspondent and one of the first people to get a peek at this book.

Peter, thank you for your time. I know you`re still going through it.

Here is my question for you. Bolton has so much to say about what Trump did wrong, what Trump did that could have been impeachable or maybe illegal. Why didn`t he testify? Does he write about that?

PETER BAKER, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, he does write about that, and his explanation is kind of complicated and probably not satisfying to a lot of people. But what he says is that during the House process, he wanted to wait and see whether a judge would determine whether aides like him should testify over the objections of the White House.

The White House did not want John Bolton to testify. His aide Charles Kupperman had gone to court, asking the court to decide, do I listen to the House, do I listen to the White House? Who do I listen to?

John Bolton said, I`ll follow basically the results of this legal action, so the judge can decide whether I should testify or not. Once it got to the Senate, once the House voted for impeachment, Bolton shifted gears a little bit and said, OK, this is now on trial, I will testify if subpoenaed.

But, of course, if you remember, the Senate Republicans voted against calling him or anyone else to testify during the trial, even after our paper reported some of the details from this book including that he confirmed a direct linkage by the president between the security aid he was suspending from Ukraine and his assistance that Ukraine help him against his political rivals.

The Senate Republicans said, no, we don`t want to hear from John Bolton, even if he said what apparently he says in this book, it doesn`t make any difference to us.

So, it`s a complicated story here. But you`re right, why didn`t he come up and volunteer all this sooner.

VELSHI: In your piece today, you say that Bolton describes President Trump expressing willingness to halt criminal investigations, quote, to in effect give personal favors to dictators he liked. Walk me through that and why Bolton thought that that should have been part of the impeachment inquiry.

BAKER: Right, exactly. He describes conversations with -- between the president and strongmen like President Erdogan in Turkey and President Xi of China, in which issues like the Justice Department investigations of companies like Halkbank, which a Turkish institution, and ZTE, which is a Chinese firm, were basically on the table. He saw them as basically bargaining chips, maybe he would call a halt to the investigations in order to curry favor with Erdogan or with Xi Jinping.

What Bolton is arguing here is he was effectively putting his personal politics, his own desire to curry favor with these dictators above the national interest in terms of interfering with these law enforcement investigations.

He says that`s something the House should have looked at. They didn`t. He`s not saying it was impeachable but he`s saying they should have investigated to learn more about it to decide whether or not it was impeachable.

VELSHI: We were talking about China. There`s a lengthy excerpt from the book in which he talks about the deal that President Trump was trying to make. I don`t know what it was, he was going to get Xi to help him in some way. This of course was a trade war that was started by President Trump.

Do we have some sense of what he was trying to achieve with Xi Jinping?

BAKER: Sure. What he was talking about was getting Xi Jinping to commit to buying more American agricultural products, specifically to help President Trump win favor in farm states and therefore to actually win the election this year in 2020. He was very blunt and open, according to Mr. Bolton, and saying help me win the election, if you buy these agricultural products, that will help me in these farm states.

Now, we should note that Robert Lighthizer, who is U.S. trade representative, testified on the hill today. He was asked about this, he said I was at that meeting and it didn`t happen. But it`s a pretty stark picture that Mr. Bolton is painting here where the president of the United States is asking China for help to win an election. It parallels, in effect, what the Ukraine case was all about, the idea of bringing in a foreign power, in that case Ukraine, to interfere in domestic politics, in that case to investigate Democrats.

What it shows, according to Mr. Bolton, is a desire by the president or sort of a predilection by the president to mix his interests with those of the nation, basically to sort of see the government as a tool to advance his own personal political interests rather than, you know, a larger duty to the country that a president is traditionally expected to maintain.

VELSHI: Peter, good to see you as always. Thank you for joining us tonight with your reporting. Peter Baker is "The New York Times" chief White House correspondent.

All right. We`ve got much more to unpack on this topic tonight. We`re going to be speaking with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff who led the impeachment of Donald Trump. That`s coming up. Stay with us.


VELSHI: John Bolton, of course, refused to testify as part of the House impeachment`s investigation. It was left to other witnesses, including some who worked directly for him, to describe what they said he knew.


FIONA HILL, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR ON RUSSIA: You tell Eisenberg, Ambassador Bolton told me, that I am not part of the -- this, whatever drug deal that Mulvaney and Sondland are cooking up.

WILLIAM TAYLOR, ACTING U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: Ambassador Bolton ceased the meeting, closed the meeting, finished the meeting, and told his staff to report this meeting to the lawyers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you tell Ambassador Bolton about this conversation as well.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what did he say to you?

MORRISON: He said to tell the lawyers.

HILL: He then in the course of that discussion said that Rudy Giuliani was a hand grenade that was going to blow everyone up.


VELSHI: John Bolton clearly knew some things. But just how much he knew would not be revealed until the middle of President Trump`s impeachment trial in the Senate, when we got a smoking gun, as Peter Baker just talked about, courtesy of "The New York Times." The paper reported that in new draft manuscript, John Bolton confirmed that President Trump had told him directly that he would continue to withhold military aid from Ukraine until that country announced investigations into Joe Biden.

Each day, the lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff continued to make the case for why Bolton`s testimony was so crucial. And yet despite those daily entreaties and that explosive new allegation, the report from "The New York Times," Senate Republicans refused to call John Bolton as a witness.

Today, we learned that Bolton`s book does in fact resolve the key question behind the whole impeachment saga, confirming that Trump explicitly linked the security aid to Ukraine to investigations involving Joe Biden. In his book, Bolton writes, quote, the next morning, August 20th, I took Trump`s temperature on the Ukraine security assistance and he said he wasn`t in favor of sending Ukraine anything until all the Russia investigation materials related to Clinton and Biden had been turned over. Until they had been turned over.

Of course, this belated admission is just one of many new revelations in Bolton`s new book that we`re learning now, four months after the Senate voted to acquit the president.

Adam Schiff reacted today, tweeting, quote: Bolton may be an author, but he`s no patriot.

Joining us now, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, California Congressman Adam Schiff.

Congressman Schiff, thank you for joining us this evening.

I want to just start off with some reporting from "The New York Times" that federal prosecutors are weighing whether to criminally charge John Bolton with disclosing classified information in his upcoming White House memoir. The internal discussions about whether to charge Bolton are occurring at the highest levels of the Justice Department and involve Attorney General William Barr.

I know you`re no fan of John Bolton`s. I know you believe that if John Bolton had testified, there may have been a different outcome to the Senate impeachment trial.

But what do you make of this reporting that Bill Barr, who we know very effectively carries Donald Trump`s water, is looking at whether or not to charge John Bolton?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIR: Well, the reporting doesn`t surprise me. But it`s enormously distressing that Bill Barr would once again at Trump`s insistence contemplate using the Justice Department as a political tool to punish the president`s enemies.

I have no doubt that Bolton, much as I have a low regard for him and what he did, sought to get clearance from the review process, and that review process was politicized. The president insisting that he was not going to allow anything to be included in this book.

That`s not how that process is supposed to work. It`s supposed to be apolitical, based on just what`s classified or not classified.

So I think this investigation is, you know, likely to be completely bogus. But it`s a way of trying to chill people from speaking out about what they`ve seen. And it`s a way for Bill Barr to do more dirty work for the president by threatening to prosecute the president`s political enemies.

VELSHI: So John Bolton implies in the book that there is something that he wants to write about or wanted to write about regarding the conversation between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping in which he implies that he asked Xi Jinping for assistance in buying agricultural stuff from America, to help him in the election.

Classified means classified. It means there`s a danger to people having that information. Not unseemly or not something that the White House wants to be put out there. But it does seem that once again the White House might be confusing those two issues.

SCHIFF: Without a doubt. And we`ve seen this before. I think the White House views the classification process as a means of censoring information that is not classified, but would be highly embarrassing to the president.

And the president`s own words, what he told Xi in terms of trying to solicit foreign intervention to help his reelection campaign, it`s such a profound similarity to his attempt to get Ukraine to help, his plea to Russia to hack Hillary`s emails, that I`m sure he doesn`t want his own words used not because there`s any classification risk, we already know the fact of what he communicated, but rather to avoid the embarrassment and the further incriminating nature of his specific comments.

VELSHI: Whether or not one likes John Bolton, he spent a lot of years dealing with American policy and foreign policy. And he told Martha Raddatz of ABC that when you`re dealing with somebody like Putin who has made his life understanding Russia`s strategic position in the world against Donald Trump who doesn`t enjoy reading about these issues or learning about them, it`s a very difficult position for America to be in.

John Bolton suggesting that President Trump`s ignorance is a security danger to America.

SCHIFF: There`s no question that that`s true. His ignorance -- but also just the self-serving quality of this president.

Really I think the harshest indictment that I`ve seen reported about Bolton`s book, and it was very consistent with what we presented during the impeachment trial, is that the president consistently puts his own personal interests, his political interests, above that of the interests of the nation.

We said he would do it again. Clearly, he did do it again repeatedly, as part of a pattern. And that`s the most serious indictment, and that`s what really jeopardizes our country, when you have a president who has so little regard for the best interests of the country, and who constantly puts himself first.

VELSHI: Congressman, good to see you again. Thank you for joining me.

Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff, thanks for your time tonight, sir.

Ahead tonight, an alarm bell from a doctor on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, that`s next. Stay with us.


VELSHI: I`m going to show you a map. These ten states set new coronavirus records. The contours of the crisis are a little bit different in each of the states. Some set new case records for a single day. Some are overtopping their seven-day averages.

But the end result is the same. When the number of sick people goes up, so does the number of people in the hospital, which means eventually the hospitals struggle just to keep up.

This is the headline out of North Carolina today. Reported coronavirus hospitalizations soar to another new high.

Same thing in Texas. This headline today is a particular gut is a particular gut punch. Officials say many more people will get sick and die if increases in hospitalizations continue.

The situation in Arizona, that one is particularly dire right now. At the start of this week, E.R. visits, ICU bed usage, ventilators in use, all of those measures hit a record high.

The governor of Arizona has said not to worry, that hospitals are plenty equip to handle the coronavirus epidemic that is spreading unimpeded in his state. And so, the doctors in Arizona are sounding the alarm for him instead.

One E.R. doctor alarmed by the surge of sick patients in his hospital telling "The Arizona Republic", quote, I`m taken aback. I walked into the hospital and I was like, oh, my God. He says what he was seeing in his E.R. tells him the situation in Arizona is not as bad as the numbers are showing. He says he thinks it could actually be worse.

Joining us now is that Arizona E.R. doctor, Dr. Murtaza Akhter. He`s a clinical assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix. He works in two different Arizona hospitals.

Doctor Akhter, thank you for joining us.

Please tell us what you have been seeing in the E.R.s in Arizona and what has you so concerned about the course of the outbreak in that state right now.


Basically, what I have been seeing in the E.R. is sort of like you would have expected based on the data, except to me it looked even worse. I knew going into my shift just a couple days ago that the numbers in Arizona were surging. We were making national headlines, which is never a good thing to make national headlines for.

And yet, as you quoted, I was taken aback by both the patient volume we had in the emergency department as well as how sick they were. A lot of them had significant respiratory complaints, what we call influenza-like illness. And as you can guess, almost all of them that we tested and have results for tested positive for COVID. It was crazy to see how many of them were sick and how many of them were COVID positive.

VELSHI: And in our world today, in 2020, we`re used to real-time data. But one of the things we struggled with since the beginning of the outbreak is the delay. You told "The Arizona Republic" that what you`re seeing makes you think that the data hasn`t caught up with the reality. What do you mean by that?

AKHTER: Yeah. When I was a researcher, I always liked to focus on the data rather than anecdotal experience. But that being said, to have that many people in the hospital come back positive told me something was off. I have been working in the emergency department years, right, and we have been doing COVID testing for many months. And so, we have noticed that before at the early onset stages, only some people were COVID positive and then more and more.

I literally asked my colleague on shift who was the other attending physician, hey, have you had any negative tests, and he told me we have one.


AKHTER: So, that gives you an idea of how bad it is if we`re talking about one case that is negative out of all the ones we tested.

VELSHI: A couple of days ago, the president said if we just stop testing, we`d see a drop in the number of cases. And I suppose we`d see a drop in the number of reported cases, but in fact that wouldn`t result in a drop of the number of people that are actually getting the infection.

AKHTER: That`s exactly right. I mean, I guess I can`t disagree with the statement. If you don`t test anybody, I suppose nobody will be positive. So that`s a sort of topological (ph) arguments.

But our job as physicians is to find the disease. And in the case of coronavirus, we do it not just by how they look clinically but how they test for COVID. And the number of cases is skyrocketing.

There are some people making this (INAUDIBLE) we`re testing more, of course, there will be more positive. That`s fine. You are going to get more cases if we have more tests, but the positivity rate is also increasing. So, not only are we testing more, which in theory should drop the positivity rate as you are doing more widespread testing, including asymptomatic people.

VELSHI: Right.

AKHTER: Quite the opposite. Our positivity rate is going up and by a lot. It`s honestly, it`s almost shocking. Maybe I shouldn`t be surprised, but I`m kind of shocked.

VELSHI: Dr. Akhter, thank you for joining us. Dr. Murtaza Akhter is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix. We appreciate not just your time but the work you are doing to get us through this crisis. Thank you, sir.

Still ahead, a chain reaction of sorts put into motion five years ago to the day. That`s next. Stay with us.



BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: There were laws banning all black church gatherings. Services happened here anyway, in defiance of unjust laws. When there was a righteous movement to dismantle Jim Crow, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached from his pulpit and marches began from its steps.


VELSHI: It has been five years since the event President Barack Obama was eulogizing there, the racially motivated massacre at the Emanuel AME Church, Mother Emanuel in Charleston, South Carolina. The hope for the Emanuel Nine as they are known in Charleston now, and they are remember there tonight is that their lives would not be lost in vain.

Momentum for change started building almost immediately after the massacre when South Carolina decided that after 54 years, the Confederate battle flag would finally be removed from the statehouse grounds.

But that work continues to this day throughout the country. We`re seeing cities like Virginia Beach, Virginia, working to get Confederate statues off of government property. The work continued this afternoon in Charleston with the mayor announcing a plan to remove a monument to the city to John Calhoun, a staunch defender of slavery.

So, as people in Charleston are marking the night five years ago when nine people were lost inside a local church, they are also marking the start of a national movement that remains with us today.

That does it for us tonight. Rachel will be back tomorrow. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".

Good evening, Lawrence.

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