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DACA TRANSCRIPT: 6/18/20, The Rachel Maddow Show

Guests: Paul Howard Jr., Steven Reed, Dahlia Lithwick

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

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend. Much appreciated.

And thank you at home for joining us this hour.

A principled resignation tonight in the upper echelons of the Trump administration. Her name is Mary Elizabeth Taylor, and she is one of the highest-ranking African Americans in the Trump administration. She may be the highest ranking African American woman in the administration altogether.

She`s assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs. Prior to that, she was a deputy director at the Trump White House with responsibility for nominations. In that role, it was her job to shepherd high-ranking, high- profile nominees through the Senate confirmation process, including Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Fed Chair Jerome Powell, CIA Director Gina Haspel and on and on.

Since moving from the Trump White House over to the State Department, Mary Elizabeth Taylor`s job has been pretty high profile as well. She`s basically the liaison from the State Department to Congress as the assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs. That`s a job for which she has a good background. She`s a former staffer to the Republican leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell. Always handy to have those kinds of personal connections.

Well, tonight, "The Washington Post" was first to report that Mary Elizabeth Taylor has resigned as assistant secretary of state for reasons that people who are still in the administration may find unnerving, particularly if they themselves have considered resigning and haven`t for some reason. Because unlike all of these other folks who have left the Trump administration without saying a word, or left without saying much of a word until they decided to put it in a book, unlike all these other resignations where we had to wonder if they were resignations in protest, honestly, if it`s not clear from the way you resign whether or not you`re resigning in protest, then you`re not really resigning in protest.

But unlike all of those scenarios which we have seen over and over and over again this high-turnover administration, Mary Elizabeth Taylor`s resignation letter tonight does not beat around any of those bushes.

According to "The Washington Post", she says this her resignation letter, quote: Moments of upheaval can change you, shift the trajectory of your life, and mold your character. The president`s comments and actions surrounding racial injustice and black Americans cut sharply against my core values and convictions. I must follow the dictates of my conscience and resign as assistant secretary of state.

Now, again, this is not a holdover official who also served in the Obama administration. This is not a career apolitical person who is so disgusted they can no longer stay. This is a lifelong Republican, former Mitch McConnell staffer, appointed to multiple Trump administration positions, including in the White House, and in this high-profile senior state department role, and she is making no bones about why she`s leaving.

"Why today is the day" is an interesting question. Today, you may have seen "The Wall Street Journal" published an interview in which the president made a number of jaw-dropping claims, and also just some absurdities.

The president was asked in this interview whether he knew what Juneteenth was when he scheduled his first reelection rally on the date Juneteenth in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This is how that went in the interview. Question, do you know what it was, meaning do you know what Juneteenth was?

President: quote, I did something good. I made it famous. I made Juneteenth very famous. It`s actually an important event. It`s an important time.

But nobody had heard of it. Very few people had heard of it. Actually, a young African American Secret Service agent knew what it was. I had political people who had no idea. Did you ever hear of Juneteenth before?

Again, today, a principled resignation from one of the highest-ranking African Americans in the Trump administration, Assistant Secretary of State Mary Elizabeth Taylor saying that the president`s comments and actions surrounding racial injustice and black Americans cut sharply against her core values and convictions, and, quote, I must follow the dictates of my conscience and resign.

The president has had a pretty terrible 24 hours. For the second straight time this week, a major U.S. Supreme Court decision has gone against him. The first one of course was earlier this week when the court sided with LGBT civil rights and against President Trump`s claims that employers across the country should be allowed to fire you simply because your boss thinks you`re gay or trans. The court disagreed. The president lost that case.

Today the court said, President Trump`s effort to kill the DACA program and deport hundreds of thousands of young people who have been here since they were kids, the court ruled 5-4 today that the Trump administration so bungled the effort to kill that program that it was an arbitrary and capricious action under the Constitution, which means they can`t block the DACA program and that program at least for now still stands. We`re going to have more on that coming up later tonight.

That Supreme Court ruling came today just hours after the first excerpt started to emerge from the new book by Trump national security advisor John Bolton. Bolton, of course, famously pulled the covers up over his head and pretended no one was home when he was called to give testimony during impeachment proceedings. But his new book, nevertheless, says basically, oh, yeah, Trump totally did the thing he was impeached for. In terms of making U.S. aid to Ukraine, contingent on Ukraine generating dirt that the president wanted to use against Joe Biden in this year`s campaign.

Bolton confirms in his book that the impeachment effort was basically correct. He provides a firsthand account of being in the room with the president and hearing the president articulate that contingency for the Ukraine aid. Would have been nice to have that under oath, Mr. Bolton, but you do you.

Bolton`s book also says that President Trump went to China for help with his reelection effort as well. And this bit actually from Bolton`s book has gotten considerably worse just in the past few hours. What it says in Bolton`s book is this. He`s talking about a meeting between President Trump and the Chinese leader last summer at the G20 in Osaka.

This conversation happened about five weeks before the call President Trump made to Ukraine, which got him impeached, that whole "do us a favor, though" call. But five weeks before that call for which he was impeached, this is what the book says Trump said to President Xi of China. Quote: Trump then stunningly turned to the conversation to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China`s economic capability and pleading with Xi to ensure he`d win.

Bolton says, quote: I would print Trump`s exact words, but the government`s prepublication review process has decided otherwise.

That was what we had as of last night in terms of available excerpts from Bolton`s book. But now, reporter Gabe Sherman at "Vanity Fair" says he has obtained an unredacted version of John Bolton`s manuscript, the one with all the bits in it that the White House made Bolton take out before the thing was actually published. And according to that reporting in "Vanity Fair", even though Bolton says in the book that the prepublication review process at the White House meant he couldn`t print Trump`s actual words, according to the unredacted manuscript from Bolton per "Vanity Fair", what President Trump actually said to the president of China in that conversation was, quote, make sure I win. President said to the leader of China, make sure I win.

So what are we supposed to do with that? The president`s national security advisor says he was in the room and he witnessed President Trump demanding Ukraine help him in his reelection effort, right? An act for which the president has already been impeached.

Now, the same security advisor says he was also in the room when President Trump when President Trump said to the president of China while discussing trade details, right, while discussing substantive policy that matters to the American people and the American economy, while discussing those things, the president brings up his reelection effort and says to the president of China, quote, make sure I win. What do we do with that?

I mean, separate and apart from the president also reportedly telling the Chinese president that he should go ahead with building his concentration camps because that`s the right thing to do. I mean, just asking for more foreign help, holding onto the presidency in this country. What do we do with that? To someone -- I mean, does the House impeach Trump again? Is there reason not to?

Tomorrow is Juneteenth, the commemoration of the Emancipation Proclamation, specifically the delivery of that news to people living as slaves in Texas, delivery of the news that slavery had come to a legal end in this country. In conjunction with that date, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today ordered the removal from the Capitol of the portraits of four previous speakers of the House who served in the Confederacy. Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell will not agree to Speaker Pelosi`s request to remove confederate statues from the capitol, including the big statue of Jefferson Davis, the former Confederate president. But she can order these portraits down of former speakers of the House who served the Confederacy. She can order these portraits down from the speaker`s lobby, and today she did.

I should mention, Jefferson Davis`s name is now going to be taken off a parkway, a road that runs past Xavier University in Louisiana which is the nation`s only Catholic historically black university. They just decided in Louisiana that while a statue of Jefferson Davis may still stand at the U.S. Capitol -- thanks to Mitch McConnell, they`re going to take Jefferson Davis` name off that parkway in Louisiana and they`re going to name that parkway instead for the long-time president of Xavier University, president Dr. Norman C. Francis. That`s in Louisiana.

In Mississippi, they decided today they would no longer fly the Mississippi state flag with its Confederate stars and bars in front of Bay St. Louis City Hall. We also have footage of them taking down that same flag, the stars and bars Confederate monument on the Mississippi state flag.

This is them taking it down in front of city hall in Gulfport, Mississippi, yesterday. City council in Gulfport voted this week unanimously to stop conducting city business under the Confederate flag. They took down the current Mississippi state flag that has the confederate emblem on it and instead raised up what`s called the Magnolia Flag, which was the first official state flag Mississippi which does not have the Confederate markings.

In this kind of a moment in American history, it seems both good, I guess, and also unbelievable that it was necessary to move the president`s rally in Tulsa from tomorrow, Juneteenth, to Saturday instead once some poor young African American Secret Service officer got the job of telling the president what Juneteenth was because he`d never heard of it before.

Tomorrow in Tulsa, there will be an all-day event in the historic Greenwood District in downtown Tulsa, the site of the Tulsa race massacre 99 years ago where white mobs burned down what was known as Black Wall Street, relatively affluent black business district in Tulsa, killing hundreds, displacing thousands of people. The president had apparently planned to tour the Greenwood District as part of his Tulsa trip.

Now, Oklahoma`s governor has said maybe that`s not such a good idea. There will also be Juneteenth demonstrations and events all over the country, including a lot of in Washington, D.C. tomorrow and major cities everywhere. A number of tomorrow`s events are going to dovetail recent protests against racially disparate policing and police violence against African Americans.

To that point, earlier today in Fulton County, Georgia, the two police officers who have now been charged in the shooting death of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks, those two police officers turned themselves in at police headquarters.

A former officer Garrett Rolfe who shot Rayshard Brooks twice in the back and was fired already in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, he now faces a total of 11 charges including felony murder and multiple counts of aggravated assault. If convicted, this former officer could face the death penalty or life in prison without possibility of parole. He`s currently being held without bond. He turned himself in today.

Second officer on the scene, Officer Devin Brosnan who was not fired but was reassigned to desk duty in the wake of the shooting, he`s also been booked after turning himself in today. He`s been booked on three charges including felony aggravated assault.

He surrendered late this morning. He was released an hour later after posting $30,000 bail.

Shortly after that, interestingly, he did an interview speaking publicly for the first time since the shooting. Here he is in that interview with our colleagues Katy Tur and Chuck Todd.


CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST, "MTP DAILY": Do you have any message to Mr. Brooks` family that you want to express?

DEVIN BROSNAN, ATLANTA POLICE OFFICER CHARGED IN BROOKS MURDER: I think it`s a tragic event, it`s totally -- a total tragedy the man had to lose his life that night.


MADDOW: It has been six days since Rayshard Brooks was shot twice in the back and killed. It took only five days for Fulton County`s district attorney Paul Howard to bring charges against the two officers involved.

Yesterday on what was just a remarkable press conference, he laid out the case against the charged officers in pretty stunning detail. He offered up publicly a wide array of evidence that has not been previously made public. He talked about the final deadly altercation in which Rayshard Brooks scuffled with police before grabbing one of their Tasers and running away.

In video taken at the scene, Brooks is seen pointing the stolen stun gun in the direction of Officer Rolfe. Rolfe then responds by shooting brooks twice in the back. One of the most striking parts of that news conference came when the district attorney, Mr. Howard, talked about what happened after Rayshard Brooks was shot as he lay dying on the ground.

The district attorney said that for two minutes and 12 seconds, neither of the officers gave any medical attention to Mr. Brooks. Instead, this is what he says played out.


PAUL HOWARD, JR., FULTON COUNTY, GA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: 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.


MADDOW: To support those shocking claims, the district attorney Mr. Howard laid out part of his case, showing a still photograph that indeed appears to show Officer Rolfe kicking Rayshard Brooks as he lays on the ground after having been shot twice. He also showed photos that he says showed that one of Officer Rolfe`s bullets hit a nearby vehicle that had three passengers inside at the time.

And another unexpected move, he announced that the second officer charged, the one charged with aggravated assault, had in the D.A.`s words, become a cooperating witness for the state, but the second officer would, in effect, be willing to testify against Officer Rolfe. Well, today that second officer, Mr. Brosnan, and his lawyer contested that assertion in that interview with MSNBC.

For all the extensive evidence there appears to be in this very upsetting case, there is still quite a bit that`s up in the air. And there`s one specific thing here procedurally that`s interesting and worth watching. Despite the large amount of evidence the Fulton County district attorney has gathered and made public, and despite the remarkable speed with which he has charged these two officers, the D.A. himself is not in a position to bring about an actual indictment.

According to Georgia state law, a grand jury now has to convene to determine whether or not the two officers should be indicted. But because of the pandemic, no grand juries are scheduled to meet until at least October. So, procedurally, how much of a challenge does that present?

I mean, here the district attorney has this hugely significant case, one that`s drawing the attention not just of Atlanta, but of the entire country. What should we expect to happen moving forward here? How is this going to resolve?

Joining us now is Paul Howard, Jr., who is the district attorney for Fulton County, Georgia.

Mr. District attorney, Mr. Howard, thank you so much for joining us tonight. I know this is an incredibly busy time. I appreciate you making time to be here.

HOWARD: Well, thank you for inviting me.

MADDOW: Can you talk to us first about the swiftness with which these charges were brought? It`s notable in terms of criminal charges broadly, specifically notable compared to other instances of police-involved shootings where, in many cases, people have called for officers to be held accountable for officers to face potential consequence, and these things have languished for so long.

You seem to have been able to act relatively quickly here.

HOWARD: We were, and we were able to do it because the evidence was available. We`ve had many other cases involving police conduct wherein we didn`t have videotapes. We didn`t have any eyewitnesses. And most of our witnesses were, in fact, police officers who would not give statements to the D.A.`s office.

But this case was different. We had three eyewitnesses, the witnesses whose car was damaged. We had seven other witnesses who saw what happened during the incident. But we also had eight videotapes of what had happened. So we had the evidence before us, and that allowed us to move rather swiftly.

MADDOW: What can you tell us about Officer Brosnan, the second officer charged here? You said at your press conference that he`s a cooperating witness for the state, that he`s cooperating with the county`s investigation.

Today, his lawyer in an interview on this network seemed to contest that. Can you -- can you shed any light on what`s going on there, what you meant specifically by describing his cooperation in that way?

HOWARD: Well, as I`ve said many times, we will stick to our statements at the press conference or the presentation. I spoke with the attorney for Mr. Brosnan shortly before the presentation, and I`m sure what he communicated to me at that time, but I do understand that this young officer is under a lot of pressure, pressure from his colleagues and quite possibly from the police union.

So I could understand why he`s making some of the statements that he`s made today, but we still stand by what we announced at the press conference.

MADDOW: Would your case hinge on his testimony concerning the behavior of the other officer?

HOWARD: No, it would not. It would certainly assist us and aid us, but it wouldn`t hinge on it. We`ve already gotten a statement from Officer Brosnan that we will use in some form or fashion. And as I indicated to his counsel, it would be great for the Brooks family, the wife, Mrs. Miller, if he decided to step forward, apologize, and to tell the world what he would know about this incident. I think it might help the case to be resolved a lot quicker if he did that.

MADDOW: You described this -- more than two-minute period, 2 minutes 12 seconds after Rayshard brooks is shot and he is on the ground. You said during that 2 minute 12-second period, these officers, Officer Brosnan and Rolfe, provided no medical assistance to Mr. Brooks as he lay dying.

What should they have done in that instance?

HOWARD: Well, according to the City of Atlanta Police Department, their own regulations, their SOPs as they are described, what they should have done is to provide immediate medical attention, but they did not do that. They stood around for a while. Officer Rolfe, as we said, kicked him.

On two occasions, Officer Brosnan stood on what I would describe as his chest, and then he moved around and he stood on his arm. It was only after that that you could see a -- what looks like another vehicle, a police vehicle show up. And as soon as that vehicle appeared, one of the officers then left to retrieve some kind of medical bag or apparatus to treat him.

But otherwise, they offered him no medical attention prior to the time that vehicle showing up at the scene.

MADDOW: Mr. District Attorney, I have one last question for you about this, which is about you. I would understand if you didn`t want to answer this question, but I feel like I have to ask. We`ve become aware that there have been a number of public threats made against you since you made this charging decision, including people using social media to post what they say is your home address -- threatening violence, threatening to attack you for what you`ve done here.

I just warranted to ask if you can confirm that you have received those sort of threats and what you make of that and what effect you expect that may have on maybe if not you, at least those in your office who are making these difficult decisions in working on this case?

HOWARD: Well, unfortunately, I have received some personal threats. I guess as long ago as probably two hours ago, someone has threatened to come and burn down my home. The threats are racist in nature.

It`s unfortunate that those things have happened, but I can tell the people who did it that it`s not going to change what I do. It`s not going to change the way we operate here at the Fulton County D.A.`s office.

When an officer is involved in some form or fashion of misconduct, we are going to prosecute that case and I`m sorry that it`s happened, but it`s just not going to change our conduct at this time.

MADDOW: Paul Howard, Jr., the district attorney for Fulton County, Georgia -- sir, thank you for making time for us tonight. I am sorry about those threats to you and your department. Keep us apprised in this case. The whole nation`s -- the nation`s eyes are upon you as I`m sure you know, sir. Thank you.

HOWARD: Thank you for having us here.

MADDOW: All right. Much more to come tonight. Stay with us.


MADDOW: The number of people required to wear masks in this country to prevent the spread of coronavirus, that number grew by millions and millions of Americans today.

The governor of California, Gavin Newsom, today announcing that all California residents must start wearing masks in almost all public settings. California is now the 11th state in the country to mandate masks for nonessential workers. It`s by far the largest state to do so and it`s the first one on the West Coast.

Last night, the governor of Oregon made a similar announcement, but hers only covers about half the state. That Oregon requirement will go into effect next week.

Still, though, most governors in the country aren`t enacting statewide mask requirements at all even as we get mounting evidence of masks` effectiveness. We are starting to see individual cities and counties go it alone, even when their states won`t do it. This, for example, is Orange County, Florida, there, the mayor there announcing today that he will require every person to wear a mask.

Same thing in Raleigh, North Carolina, today. Also Fayetteville, Arkansas, that ordinance passed the city council unanimously this week. Mask requirement is also now awaiting the signature of the mayor of Memphis, Tennessee, after 450 people were newly diagnosed in Memphis in 48 hours.

Honestly, there are so many of these local mask initiatives happening right now, it`s a little bit hard to round them all up.

In Arizona today, at least a dozen cities announced plans for mask requirements which is a whole lot at once, but that wasn`t a coincidence. It`s because of a change in Arizona. Before yesterday, the Arizona governor Republican Doug Ducey had blocked all local leaders in Arizona from enacting any local mask requirement.

As far as Governor Ducey was concerned, Arizona didn`t have a problem. The giant spike you see in their numbers, the records that Arizona has been setting this week, highest total cases, highest number of E.R. visits, highest number of ventilators in use, Governor Ducey has not been publicly moved by any of that. He`s kept trying to brag about Arizona`s great coronavirus success, even as the rest of the country has looked on horrified at their numbers.

Well, yesterday, Governor Ducey in Arizona apparently broke and changed his mind. He now says local leaders can ask residents to wear masks to stop the spread of coronavirus even if he still won`t do so statewide. Because he is at least admitting now that maybe Arizona does have a problem.

There was another stunning reversal on the same issue yesterday in the great city of Montgomery, Alabama. Montgomery has a terrible epidemic, and they`ve had this situation unfolding over the last few weeks that has been really bad, that hospitals have filled up. Hospitals have been filled up for several weeks as case numbers have continued to rise and stay very high.

The night before last, Tuesday night this week, doctors in Montgomery went to city hall and begged for some help, begged for some relief. They told the council in Montgomery that hospitals were filling up, not just with people needing care, but with very, very sick people needing a lot of care, talked about having to carry out multiple dead patients per hour from the hospital.

They said requiring people to wear a simple cloth mask would do so much good in terms of slowing down the rise in new cases, but the Montgomery City Council told the doctors no. The council voted down that mask-wearing ordinance, at which point the Montgomery advertiser says doctors who had come to testify left in disgust.

Well, last night, the mayor of Montgomery, Alabama, Steven Reid, announced that he didn`t need the city council`s approval to take that lifesaving step. He announced at a surprise press that he would sign an executive order requiring everybody in Montgomery, Alabama, to wear masks in public starting tomorrow.

Something else really interesting happened at that press conference that you should see. When the mask requirement failed at the city council vote on Tuesday night this week, after the testimony from the doctors that 90 percent of their critically ill patients are black, when they testified that the situation in the hospitals was damning and unsustainable, that vote in the Montgomery City Council on Tuesday night failed as the local paper put it, mostly along racial lines, which means the black council members basically voted yes for masks and the white city council members voted mostly no.

Well, the following day yesterday, one of those no votes came back to city hall. He said that he had talked over his vote with his wife. The couple lost their teenage daughter to cancer last year. And after talking over his vote at home with his wife, he said he had a change of heart. He says he should have voted yes for the mask ordinance, and he apologized to those Montgomery doctors for having fallen short with his vote.

Watch this.


GLEN PRUITT, MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA CITY COUNCILMAN: I want to thank-all and want to apologize to y`all. Last night, we had a vote for an ordinance for mandatory mask in the city of Montgomery. My opinion was that I was very nearsighted last night. I didn`t see the big picture.

These doctors came to us last night and told us everything that we needed to hear. And if any one of us in this room went to them today with a condition, we would do exactly what they ask us to do.

We didn`t do that last night. This is not a black issue. This is not a white issue. This is not a Democratic issue. This is not a Republican issue.

This is a Montgomery issue, and we need to come all together to fix this.


MADDOW: We need to come all together to fix this. The city councilman rueing his vote, saying that he regrets and should have voted yes.

The mayor of Montgomery, Alabama, will try to do this now by executive order effective tomorrow in Montgomery He joins us next.

Stay with us.



MAYOR STEVEN REED (D), MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA: What we`ve seen postmortem day has been a surge unlike any other communities. Therefore today, I`m announcing that I will be signing an executive order implementing a facial covering requirement in Montgomery, Alabama. And I`m doing this for one simple reason. After listening to our health experts and warnings they continue to give us, we`re doing this today because it`s the right thing to do.


MADDOW: Steven Reed, the mayor of Montgomery, Alabama, bypassing his own city council to implement by executive order a city wide mask ordinance. Mayor Reed is one of a number of public officials across the country who`ve basically been left to try to deal with this growing pandemic alone as their states push forward with reopening plans despite rising cases. In the case of Montgomery, despite full hospitals, staffed with what are now exhausted doctors and nurses.

Joining us now is Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed. Mr. Mayor, I appreciate you making time to come back and keep us updated tonight. Thank you so much.

REED: Thank you for having me.

MADDOW: So, tell us about your decision to implement this mask requirement in Montgomery. The state obviously doesn`t have a mask requirement. Your city council in Montgomery wouldn`t vote for one earlier this week, although it sounds like if they took the vote again now, it might pass.

But you`ve made the decision now to do this by executive order. Tell us about that decision.

REED: Well, Rachel, the decision was one that I`ve gone back and forth with over the last couple of months, to be honest with you. I`ve really thought this was needed sometime ago, but I was trying to work with the city council and build a consensus among them to see what was needed. And we could not get that unfortunately, and a couple of weeks ago, I was going to bring it up on the agenda and I did not have the votes at that time.

And I told them if we didn`t see the numbers flattening, if we did not see a decline in hospitalization rates, I will be bringing it back again at the next meeting, and that meeting was on Tuesday night. And we had a city council man who wanted to introduce an ordinance himself and he brought that ordinance up and it was not able to pass.

But I think when I look back, it`s something that I wish I had done probably about a month ago, and I think that we should have pushed the issue more forcefully then because unfortunately, this has become a political football. I don`t know how a public health emergency can become that, but I think it has. And unfortunately, I think it`s cost us not only the health of many people in our community, but I think it`s also cost us some lives.

And that`s unfortunate, and so, I kind of wish I could have a do-over and that we approach this more some weeks ago.

MADDOW: You know, we`ve spoken a few times over these past few weeks since you first sort of sounded the alarm that Montgomery`s hospitals were being taxed, that Montgomery`s hospitals were at capacity in terms of what they could handle. And we`ve seen the hospitals flex and surge space, but are things getting any better in terms of the status of the epidemic in the state and in Montgomery specifically? How are your case numbers? Is that curve coming down at all?

Has the public alarm in Montgomery about how hard you`ve been hit caused any sort of changes in behavior that is moving this thing in the right direction yet?

REED: I think it has caused some people to change their behavior. I think it has certainly brought more awareness to the issue. Unfortunately, we haven`t seen that spread through this community enough.

Right now, 70 percent of new cases of COVID-19 are black. Ninety percent of those on ventilators are people that are black as well. And so, when we think about that, this is not one event here or there. This is an issue that is really impacting the black community disproportionately.

And I think in part that is because, nationally, one in six workers are on the front lines are black, and we see that a lot here as well. I would say even more than one in six.

Those are people who work in our grocery stores. They`re working in our pharmacies. They`re working in our retail shops. They`re working in public transit. They are having to publicly interface with people who are not wearing a mask who may be unknowingly spreading this virus, and that is unfortunate because whether or not someone has it or not, we know that they can spread it to someone who is susceptible to it, and I think that`s driving up the numbers.

And so, while there has been some movement on people staying at home and practicing social distancing, there has not been enough, and that`s why I thought that if the city council was not able to pass it, that I would do it by executive order. And that`s the first time that I`ve used an executive order to issue mandate such as this and I don`t like to do that, but I think when you`re in the position that we are as mayors, you have to make decisions in the best interest in your community even if your legislative body doesn`t agree and may not see it the way you do.

MADDOW: I`m struck tonight by you saying that as sort of radical a decision this is for you, you haven`t used executive orders before. You tried to avert it, you tried to do it some other way, but you still wish you had done it a month ago. You still wish you had done it before.

I have to tell you, we spoke with the infectious disease chief at UAB a few days ago, and she said that what happened in your city first in Alabama, in Montgomery first, is now happening all over Alabama, that they are seeing surges in all sorts of cities, including hospitals really being put through their paces. Just want to ask if you could give one piece of advice to your fellow municipal leaders who are about to start going through what you`ve been through in Montgomery over these past few weeks, people who are about to start to have it as tough as you`ve had it, what one piece of advice would you give them?

REED: I would tell them to trust their instincts. Look out for their community. Look out for the health of their residents and make sure that we allow consensus building to cloud the issue, to make sure that we don`t allow politics to cloud the issue of the health and wellness of the people that are counting on us to lead and to make decisions.

And I think sometimes when we try to do things by committee, like we often do at the local, state or federal level, it may work. But in this case I think it takes bold leadership, courageous leadership to really make these decisions on the front side, and to really guard against anything that may happen such as a surge or a spike in cases because we`re trying to bring people along who may never come along.

And I think what we have to realize is that people want to see us make these decisions and people want to see us look out for the health and wellness of them and their families. And they`ll understand in the long run even if things don`t surge or they don`t see a spike, that we were doing things in the best interest of the people and not for any other reason.

MADDOW: Wise words and well put.

Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed, thank you so much for joining us tonight, Mr. Mayor. As always, do -- please keep us apprised. We are very focused on what`s happening in your city and your state and we`re worried about the numbers in Alabama. We`re worried about your hospital capacity.

We`re happy to keep the national focus on this as best we can. Thank you, sir.

REED: Always a pleasure.

MADDOW: All right. Coming up next, the Supreme Court ruling on DACA today second high court ruling this week that has bummed out the president and surprised a lot of folks. More on that ahead.

Stay with us.



CROWD: Home is here! Home is here! Home is here! Home is here! Home is here!


MADDOW: On the steps of the Supreme Court, a few months ago mid-November, Dreamers and their supporters chanted, home is here, home is here. That was the day the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case about whether the Trump administration would be allowed to end DACA. DACA is the program that allows undocumented immigrants, people brought to the U.S. as children to remain in this country.

So the court was deciding whether the Trump administration would be able to start rounding up and deporting hundreds of thousands of young people, most of whom have never known any other home other than America. Now, that "home is here, home is here" chant of, well, defiance and solidarity was the sort of sign of strength in the face of -- well, a day that actually otherwise didn`t seem to go that well.

On the day of those arguments at the time, most court watchers thought the arguments had gone poorly for the Dreamers. These were the headlines that day.

Supreme Court appears ready to let Trump end DACA. Supreme Court may side with Trump on Dreamers. Supreme Court leans toward Trump.

That`s what people thought hearing the arguments back in November, which is why today it was a legit surprise when the Supreme Court handed down its opinion, handed down its ruling and they ruled against the Trump administration. DACA will remain intact. The Dreamers can stay, at least for now.

That said, and what has been a signature move of Chief Justice John Roberts, his majority opinion doesn`t firmly settle the issue. The opinion declines to take a position on the legality of DACA at all. Roberts opinion just says that the Trump administration did a bad job when they tried to repeal DACA and that`s why their actions were unconstitutional, because they were such a freaking legal mess.

Not the first time President Trump has lost a Supreme Court case. That`s why "Reuters" summed up the situation in this tidy headline today. Quote: Trump administration`s sloppy work has led to Supreme Court losses.

Joining us now is senior editor, Dahlia Lithwick, to help us make sense of this.

Dahlia, it is great to lay eyes on you. Thank you for making time for making time to be here tonight.


MADDOW: First, let me ask you what I screwed up in explaining that and if it was fair to describe today`s ruling as a surprise given what people thought of the arguments back in November.

LITHWICK: You didn`t screw up. I do think it`s important that the court didn`t get to the constitutional question. The court expressly set aside the equal protection question, whether there was racial animus. That was one of the things they could have decided. John Roberts said, we`re not even going to find that here. Moreover, there wasn`t even a plausible inference that this was done for racial reasons.

That hurts the Dreamers a little bit because it would have been a huge win to get a constitutional decision saying this was done for racial-biased reasons. That said, everything else he said was correct. And I think this looks a lot to me like last year`s census case where it was Trump`s the win, shoddy lawyering, bad failure to show your work and lots of fibbing seemed to have gotten under the chief justice`s skin, and you sort of come away saying this is the second time where the chief justice is saying, why can`t you just lie a little better?

MADDOW: Wow. In terms of that being the deficiency that the chief justice honed in on, as you say, avoiding the constitutional issues with DACA directly, does that mean that there is a fix that the administration could gin up relatively quickly to address Roberts` concerns and put the repeal of DACA back into effect? Would this be relatively easy for them to get right now given how they said they got it wrong?

LITHWICK: I think two answers, Rachel. I think the first is absolutely. In fact, John Roberts more or less gives a road map.

He says, if I were to spike this back to DHS and they were to do these things, I would have no problem under the Administrative Procedures Act. It`s just that these things weren`t done. And that is a huge worry for Dreamers because it`s a signal that do it correctly next time, he might be more receptive.

On the political question, do I think he`s really going to -- Donald Trump is going to say I`m going to prioritize doing this again in an election year when it is so unpopular? Part of the reason, Rachel, that the Trump administration got into trouble was no one wanted to own this. Congress didn`t want to own it. The White House didn`t want to own it.

I think they were hoping that the Supreme Court would do away with DACA. So asking Trump to own it when it`s wildly unpopular in an election year where he`s sinking fast, it is a political question. But I don`t think it`s smart.

MADDOW: Dahlia, is there something else that`s going to happen before the end of the turn that`s going to bring this week of relatively two progressive opinions crashing down on us like a reverse hangover? Is this - - in terms of what else we are going to hear from the court, are you expecting any doom-and-gloom between here and the end of the term?

LITHWICK: I mean, we have so many big cases. We have the faithless electors case, we have the Trump financial document case, whether or not there can be oversight, and, of course, medical, the huge abortion case. So there is so much to come.

And I think there was a little bit of a feeling after both Title 7 and DACA this week that like the shoe is going to drop and it is going to drop hard on our head.

But maybe we just have a new John Roberts who knows he`s going to be on the court for three more decades and doesn`t want to fiddle with Trumpism anymore. I don`t know. I wish I knew.

MADDOW: Well, you`ll be the first one who figures it out certainly before I do.

"Slate" senior editor, Dahlia Lithwick, it is great to see you. Thank you so much for being here today.

LITHWICK: Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.


MADDOW: I mentioned at the top of the show that President Trump has been having a bad week. Tonight, Fox News has just released its latest head to head again general election poll for the presidential election in November.

You might remember the last Fox general election poll made the president flip out in a most untoward manner. That last Fox poll that so upset the president, which was late last month had the president down 8 points versus Joe Biden nationally.

Well, cue the president`s rage again because Fox`s latest poll just out tonight shows the president losing to Joe Biden nationally, not by 8 points but by 12 points among voters nationwide.

Again, it`s a Fox poll, so here comes the very special breed of Trump versus Fox News meltdown. You can get your marshmallows and sticks at the door.

That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.


Good evening, Lawrence.

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