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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 9/2/22

Guests: Asha Rangappa, Christina Greer, Marq Claxton


FBI seized more than 10,000 government documents from Mar-a-Lago according to the inventory list, revealing Trump mixed top secret documents with clothes and also 48 empty folders that were marked classified. Trump blasting DOJ amid bombshell filing. The GOP calls President Biden divisive after his speech last night attacking MAGA divisiveness. Police in Los Angeles are under fire after newly released body cam footage shows police shooting an unarmed Black man even after an officer says the object he's carrying is "not a gun."


NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: Thank you so much for letting us into your homes for another week of shows during these truly extraordinary times. We are so grateful. THE BEAT with Katie Phang in for Ari Melber starts right now.

Hi, Katie. Happy Friday.

KATIE PHANG, MSNBC ANCHOR: Hi, Nicolle. Same to you, and enjoy the weekend. I appreciate it.

And welcome to THE BEAT. I'm Katie Phang in for Ari Melber.

Tonight unsealed and revealed. The new detailed inventory list of property the feds seized from Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort. I have it here. This is it. And tonight I can report what the feds took from Mar-a-Lago, from the 45 Office, all storage rooms, and all rooms or areas where documents could be stored. But the most alarming detail is what was not found.

The DOJ claiming 48 folders that were marked classified were empty raising the prospect that some of the United States government's most closely guarded secrets could remain unaccounted for. But other experts say it could simply be disorganization. And agents need to document every piece of physical evidence they come across. Whatever it is an investigation will uncover.

Also seized 42 empty folders labeled "return to staff secretary/military aide." So in total, the top line numbers. 48 empty folders with classified markings. 42 empty folders labeled return to staff secretary/military aide. And more than 10,000 non-classified government records. 10,000 government records.

And we're seeing how the classified documents taken were stored. Just tossed in with clothes and other personal items, mixed in with all of this classified material were just bundles of unclassified material like magazines, news clippings, clothing and gifts.

And today Trump's former attorney general Bill Barr who once asked like Trump's personal attorney getting blunt and going in on Trump on of all places, FOX News.


BILL BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: What people are missing is that all the other documents taken, even if they claim to be executive privilege, either belong to the government because they're government records. Any other documents that were seized like news clippings and other things that were in the boxes containing the classified information, those were seizeable under the warrant because they show the conditions under which the classified information was being held.

The facts are starting to show that they were being jerked around, and so how long, you know, how long do they wait?


PHANG: Joining me now on upside down day with Bill Barr actually saying something that I agree with is Joyce Vance, former United States attorney and MSNBC legal contributor, and Asha Rangappa, lawyer, former FBI special agent, Counterintelligence Division, and senior lecturer at Yale University.

Ladies, thank you so much for being here tonight. Big news day, Asha, I'd like to start with you. Now that we've had a look at the unsealed detailed inventory list, what's your key takeaway from the FBI's perspective?

ASHA RANGAPPA, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Oh, my god. That's my response. I mean, just the volume of documents that were just in the office alone, in so many different areas, and, you know, all comingled together. You know, we can talk about the empty folders, but also the classified documents that they found, and Katie, he had a safe in the office. PS. You know, it's not like they couldn't have been locked up, and we know from admissions that his lawyer has made that he would bring people through his office. And so, you know, these were apparently unsecure and available for people.

I also think, Katie, that we shouldn't discount the volume of even unclassified government documents and photographs and things like that. Having worked in counterintelligence, those things can still be valuable. They may not be secrets that can damage national security, but for a foreign intelligence service to be able to piece together, for example, personalities that were working in, you know, the Oval Office, the kinds of discussions they were having, what were their concerns, what were their priorities.

Those kinds of things actually can still help our adversaries and that is why they should be in the custody of the National Archives and not floating all over Mar-a-Lago.


PHANG: So, you know, Joyce, as soon as it was unsealed, I know you like me probably started scanning it, but doing it from a legal lens. So, Joyce, what was of the most significance to you as you were looking at this unsealed detailed inventory list.

JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: So, Katie, the framing for how I evaluated it was knowing that the Justice Department had made this offer in their response brief, telling the judge that they were willing to unseal this document. In other words, this isn't a fight that Trump won with the judge. This was DOJ saying if the Trump side would like it, your honor, we're happy to make this available.

And the reason that they did very likely was as much for the public as for Trump, people need to appreciate the gravity of all of these missing documents. We don't know. Did Trump do something with them? Are they some place else? Are they in the wrong hands or was this just sloppiness and incompetence? Perhaps these documents were returned to their proper places, but that level of uncertainty with these serious documents, top secret documents or documents that if exposed can do grave damage to our national security.

That level of uncertainty is perilous for the country. The judge needs to rule speedily, so that everything that the intelligence community needs to complete its risk assessment, its review of our situation can be done expeditiously.

PHANG: You know, Asha, we mentioned these empty folders. In your opinion, what are the best case and worst case scenarios regarding those empty folders? You know, Joyce talks about it could be incompetence, it could be maybe selling state secrets, who knows. What do you think are the best and worst case scenarios here?

RANGAPPA: Well, the best case scenario is that the folders have been separated from their contents and ideally, they are still -- the contents are still among the items recovered. And that perhaps Trump in going through this or when they were being packed, you know, they got separated. That's not ideal, but, you know, hopefully that means that they can be recovered.

The worst case scenario is that they're missing, that they're floating around in the world somewhere. You know, they're either at another residence of Trump's or someone else has gotten their hands on them. I mean, I -- you know, the worst case scenario is actually pretty bad, and I think that that is partly why I think this investigation is ongoing. Like, I think this is why it's not just, you know, a shut case at this point in terms of next steps.

I think they have to still -- I think they're still tracking down things and trying to figure out where many of these documents went.

PHANG: Asha, quickly, before I go back to Joyce, those empty folders that were labeled return to staff secretary/military aide, what kind of material would we expect to be located in that type of folder?

RANGAPPA: Well, I would expect that they would military related information, national defense information that they want to make sure is kept in a chain of custody and is accounted for at all times. Those were the folders that to me were the most alarming because they contain this instruction that they are to be viewed and returned to a specified person so that then presumably they can be locked up or taken back to wherever they're stored.

PHANG: Joyce, let's not conflate legal issues, right. Let's kind of break some things down right now because the classified material was tossed in with clothes and other personal effects. In my opinion, I think it makes it harder for Trump to argue he didn't know the materials were classified and that they were physically present at Mar-a-Lago.

But from a prosecutor's kind of viewpoint, the fact that they were there, the fact that they didn't belong to him, doesn't that in and of itself indicate some level of guilt on Donald Trump's part?

VANCE: There are a lot of indicators of potential criminal exposure in this situation. I think you make a smart point, Katie. The fact that he's got personal items mixed in with classified documents makes it very difficult for him to say that he didn't know that they were there. And there is no mistaking classified material. There's a cover sheet with big markings in a large font, in bright colors, telling you what the classification level is.

That warning is repeated on every page of the document that contains classified material. And so when we see the picture that DOJ submitted alongside its response brief, you know, we see the picture of these documents laid out with the covers clearly denoting that they're classified. If Trump is rummaging around for his passport or for any of these other items that are in there, he's going to see it. That's a factual matter.


But legally for the government, in proving that he had these items in his possession, the fact that they're interspersed with other items that can be tied back to him is an extremely helpful sort of circumstantial evidence to compile.

PHANG: So let's turn to Trump's response to the DOJ and what his legal team is dealing with. The bombshell today as we have been discussing is the 48 empty folders with classified markings on them. The DOJ revealing Trump had these documents tossed in with personal items. On this unsealed list, Trump's new lawyer Chris Kise trying to play it down, stating, quote, "What you would expect to see if you looked through a bunch of boxes that were moved in a hurry from a residence or an office. It contains all sorts of things."

It does contain all sorts of things, all sorts of classified things. The legal team has a tough job ahead, and their client, former President Trump is making it harder. In one of Trump's rambling posts on his social media platform, he wrote about the documents, saying, quote. "They took them out of cartons and spread them around on the carpet, making it looked like a big find for them. They dropped them, not me. Very deceiving. And remember, we could have no representative, including lawyers present during the raid. They were told to wait outside."

So what do we have here? We got Trump essentially admitting he knew he had classified documents in his possession, which contradicts his lawyer's sworn statement two months before the FBI's Mar-a-Lago search that all of the documents had been returned. Then he's going on some random right-wing media outlet and blaming the movers?


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: So what you do is you accumulate a lot of stuff over a term, and then all of a sudden you're leaving, and stuff gets packed up and sent. It's not like this was some sinister plot. They have pictures of guys standing outside, the boxes literally outside, the sun is pouring down, and they're waiting for a truck. And then they have pictures putting them on the truck. There was nothing secret about it. There didn't have to be anything secret, and all declassified.


PHANG: So what can Trump's legal team do for damage control? We'll get into all of it, plus why Trump's passports are a factor. We're back in just one minute.


PHANG: And back with me, and sticking with me has been Joyce Vance and Asha Rangappa. Joyce Vance, former U.S. attorney and Asha, former FBI special agent.

Joyce, I want to start with you. Listen, we've heard what Trump -- I called him chump, might have been a Freudian slip. Sorry about that. We've heard what Trump has been saying publicly, his legal team now going out making all of these comments. How hard is he making it for his legal team with these very public admissions of guilt and attacks on law enforcement?

VANCE: Well, Trump is a nightmare of a client. I don't think, you know, you have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out. When you have criminal exposure, the most intelligent thing that you can do is to remain silent while all of the facts sort out. But here Trump was out early and often, he had his surrogates on television. They went through this shifting array of defenses, which it turns out are contradictory.

First of all, it was that the FBI planted materials, then it was that he had declassified them with his magic wand. Anything that went over to the residence was somehow declassified. And at some point you have to believe that he's damaged his credibility so significantly that if this case does proceed to prosecution, he would be very difficult to manage as a client, and this shifting array of stories makes it more likely that DOJ will ultimately believe that it has sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that crimes were committed because of course when you have those sort of statements being made publicly, they become admissible in a trial down the road. And that's very damaging and very difficult for the legal team to manage.


PHANG: You know, Asha, Joyce mentions these declassification defense. I think it was Bill Barr who actually talked today about this idea that, you know, Trump saying that he could just wave his wand or just stand over a box of documents and declassify them as such.

Asha, explain to us why that's just not possible to be a legitimate defense for Donald Trump in this case.

RANGAPPA: Yes, Katie, I disassociated last week when I agreed with Karl Rove and I have to tell you today Bill Barr was exactly right. You know, one of the points that Barr made in that interview is that to do that, to stand over 50 boxes that contained documents, and you don't even know what's in there, and to wave the wand to declassify it, let's assume that you did it, and you have the legal authority to do it, why would you do it? That is so reckless.

Basically that means that you're releasing all of these secrets? You don't even know what they are, what the impact would be on our national security? You don't tell any agencies? I mean, that is in itself a very damming thing to suggest that you did. And, you know, I think that ultimately, anything that he did in that way is meaningless because it doesn't actually change the nature of the underlying information and the damage that it can do, which is what the classification labels actually reflect, and which, by the way, is how they are being treated by the current administration.

PHANG: You know, Joyce, I wanted get back to you for a second about this idea of what a nightmare Donald Trump is as a client. But my question for you is, you got these lawyers that are representing him like Alina Habba who claims she's not on Trump's legal team, vis-a-vis the Mar-a-Lago investigation, and she's making all of these statements on a media run on a lot of right-wing outlets.

Can what she say be imputed against Donald Trump in the event the DOJ ends up prosecuting him for mishandling of this classified information?

VANCE: Sure. Those are technical legal decisions that have to do with her level of authority, and whether or not the president holds her out and agrees that she's a representative, but whether she speaks officially for him or not, some of the comments that we've heard both from her and from others of Trump's lawyers are very damaging. For instance, they've mentioned the fact that they lacked the classification authority, that they lacked the clearance to review some of the documents that were at Mar-a- Lago.

So as with the former president himself, there seem to be a lot of people who are willing to acknowledge or at least inadvertently acknowledge that these classified materials were stored in various places in Mar-a-Lago throughout this entire period of time including after that early June point where Trump's lawyers certified to the Justice Department that they had turned back over all of the classified material.

PHANG: I think you're going to see a mad dash to the DOJ, some knocking on doors saying, hey, can we have a convo, wink, wink, because I want to have those points taken off by Federal Sentencing Guidelines?

Joyce Vance and Asha Rangappa, thank you both for being here on this very busy day. I appreciate you both.

RANGAPPA: Thank you.

PHANG: And coming up, the right-wing freakout over President Biden's attack on MAGA Republicans last night. Also, Trump's White House lawyer who warned of crimes goes under oath in the federal criminal January 6th probe. And a judge just denied Steve Bannon's request for a new trial after he was convicted on two counts of contempt of Congress. That's next.



PHANG: The criminal investigation into January 6th is escalating. Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his deputy Pat Philbin going under oath today before a federal grand jury, ignoring reporters' questions on their way in and out of court. Cipollone spending 2 1/2 hours behind closed doors with jurors and prosecutors.

As far as we know, they are the two most senior White House officials to testify in the DOJ investigation. Cipollone became a key witness during the congressional hearings. He was the top White House lawyer on January 6th, and in his testimony with the committee, he had an awkward moment when asked about who in the White House did not want people to leave the insurrection.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): What about the president?


PAT CIPOLLONE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: She said the staff. So I answered.

CHENEY: No, I said in the White House.

CIPOLLONE: Oh, I'm sorry. I apologize. I thought you said who else on the staff. I don't -- I can't reveal communications, but obviously I think, you know -- yes.


PHANG: You know, yes. And as the criminal probe heats up, the January 6th Committee in Congress is also gearing up again with new televised hearings expected this month.

And just in, a judge has denied Steve Bannon's request for a new trial following his July conviction on two counts of contempt of Congress.


Joining me now is NBC News justice reporter Ryan Reilly.

Ryan, my friend, hope you're doing well. Let's start briefly with that Steve Bannon news. What does this judge's ruling against him tell you?

RYAN REILLY, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: I think it means that it was a pretty simple and straightforward case that the jury deliberated on for only a few hours, and returned this verdict. You know, the facts were just so laid bare in that courtroom that there wasn't really a lot of wiggle room. It was a pretty straightforward case. The judge basically denied every motion that Steve Bannon went for. So I probably expect we're going to get an appeal out of this, but for now, you know, those convictions continue to stand, and you know, that could move the process forward. Eventually we're going to have to get to a sentencing here, Katie.

PHANG: So, Ryan, let's shift gears to that D.C. grand jury. As we heard, Cipollone, Philbin spent a decent amount of time with them today. We don't know specifically what went down, but the fact that the senior White House counsel are testifying in front of a federal grand jury in D.C., Ryan, what does that tell you about the status of the DOJ's probe?

REILLY: I mean, it's very significant. You know, we had those months and months where we had a lot of complaints about what Merrick Garland was doing. That was something we saw then turned around a very long time. And it's very clear that we've moved forward in a lot of these investigations. And, you know, DOJ investigations can often take a very long time but clearly the ball is rolling on a lot of these investigations.

We have these huge investigations at Mar-a-Lago. We have this ongoing criminal inquiry into January 6th, not only into Donald Trump's conduct but the largest investigation in FBI history in terms of number of defendants that is ongoing. There are a number of developments that have rolled through this week that have just happened. We had the Proud Boys individual be sentenced. We had the longest sentence in a January 6th case to date against a former New York City Police Department officer who attacked a D.C. cop on January 6th.

We had the head of the Oath Keepers, the temporary head of the Oath Keepers, Oath Keepers general counsel indicted and arrested out of Texas. So just an enormous amount of developments on the January 6th beat that have kept me pretty busy this week, Katie.

PHANG: Yes. I know you were just mentioning this. At a trial this week for three of the rioters from 1/6, new body cam footage was played. You are reporting on this, Ryan, but I do want our viewers to see it now.


PHANG: You know, Ryan, what's the significance of the sentencing that we're seeing and where is it heading?

REILLY: Yes, so in this case, it's three defendants, all who were in that tunnel on January 6th. One of the individuals is referred to by online as Tunnel Commander. He was sort of directing traffic in and out of that tunnel. So he wasn't actually someone who was as directly engaged in violence, but was saying, hey, you go there, this person come out.

But I just am really struck by that video and sitting in court, it really jumped out at me. We've seen this from different angles before but there's a moment where one of the commanders there says we are not losing the U.S. Capitol. We are not losing the U.S. Capitol. I mean, it's just it's really compelling. They were preparing for battle there and were ready for this surge of violent rioters that was going to come out and through that tunnel there. And it was just really remarkable and really compelling footage out of this trial.

We could probably expect a verdict that we expect in that trial sometime next week. But this is a bench trial so we're not having a jury here. This is being decided just by a judge on these facts alone, Katie.

PHANG: You know, Ryan, I want to thank you for your reporting because I think sadly we get a little bit numb sometimes because we're constantly being inundated with footage from 1/6. But when you just talked about what one of those officers said, that they were not going to lose the United States Capitol, I got chills.

Ryan Reilly, thank you so much for being here tonight. Appreciate you.

REILLY: Thank you so much.

PHANG: And ahead, new body cam video shows LAPD officers shooting a man after acknowledging he was unarmed. But first, MAGA Republicans are raging today after President Biden called them out in primetime. That's next.




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will not stand by and watch. I will not -- the will the American people be overturned by wild conspiracy theories and baseless evidence claims of fraud. I will not stand by and watch elections in this country stolen by people who simply refuse to accept that they lost.


PHANG: President Biden eviscerating MAGA Republicans in a primetime address accusing them of embracing anger and thriving on chaos as the Donald Trump wing engulfs the party. Biden repeatedly invoking Trump by name-calling him and his extremist followers a threat to democracy. The right-wing freakout now in full swing.


TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS: Joe Biden really has crossed over into a very dangerous, very dangerous place.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): President Biden has chosen to divide, demean, and disparage his fellow Americans.

RICK SANTORUM, FORMER REPUBLICAN SENATOR FROM PENNSYLVANIA: This is disgusting. This is disgraceful. He doesn't want to unify the country. It's obvious. He wants to divide the country.

NIKKI HALEY, FORMER GOVERNOR, SOUTH CAROLINA: He was talking about how half the country are basically domestic terrorist.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): His speech was a very cynical attempt to fill our heads was stupid.

CARLSON: Yes, there are threats, says the guy with the blood-red Nazi background and Marines standing behind him. It's totally immoral.



PHANG: Tucker Carlson and others actually proving Biden's point in real time, stoking anger and making extreme misleading comparisons. Keep in mind, Biden was talking about a former president who called Democrats, the enemy, tried to lock up his political opponents and who tried to involve the military in a coup. Biden today making it clear exactly who he was talking about.


BIDEN: I don't consider any Trump supporter a threat to the country. I do think anyone who calls for the use of violence, who fails to condemn violence when it's used, refuses to acknowledge when an election has been won, that is the threat to democracy.


PHANG: Joining me now is Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post Columnist Eugene Robinson, and Christina Greer, associate professor of political science at Fordham University. Both of you, thank you so much for being here tonight. Eugene, I'd like to start with you. I'd like to know your thoughts on Biden's messaging and tone last night.

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I thought he came up swinging. It was a very -- it was a striking speech. The stagecraft and the rhetoric were tough and, and designed to get your attention and to emphasize the seriousness of his message. I mean, he painted our choices here as a choice between democracy and autocracy of choice and a question of whether the American experiment can survive, can survive the MAGA Republicans, can survive Trumpism.

I think that's right. I think that's just an accurate description of where we are. And I think the thing to do was to come out swinging and to -- and to lay out the truth as he sees it, and that's what he did.

PHANG: You know, Christina, I'd like to get your thoughts on this, too. I mean, was it too much or was it not enough?

CHRISTINA GREER, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: No, I think was a great tone. I mean, Katie, keep in mind, Democrats have been -- many Democrats have been clamoring for Joe Biden's right come out in a forceful way to really lay out and articulate where we are as a nation. You know, our democracy is incredibly fragile. It's been fragile since the former President left it in shambles.

Don't forget, Katie, the former president didn't even attend Joe Biden's inauguration. That's something that in modern history we never saw before. You know, when I teach intro to politics, we always talk about, you know, the status quo, peaceful transference of power. We're not like other countries. We know that we have an election date. The election is certified, we move on, we've got Inauguration Day, you know, in January, and that's just what it is.

We're no longer in that moment. And so, I think Joe Biden went to the cradle of American civilization, if you will, in Philadelphia to really create a narrative to explain to those who are listening. Unfortunately, it wasn't broadcast as widely as I would have liked. But you know, for independents who have been on the fence, for Democrats who really needed and wanted him to lay this out plainly -- but you know, sadly, we keep saying back Republicans, I don't know the difference, Katie, honestly, between a Republican and a MAGA Republican.

Because if the last six years haven't been enough for you to walk away from that party, and many Republicans have said, I didn't leave the party, the party left me. But if you're still doubling down with a party after you saw what Donald Trump did to this nation, after you saw what he did to your party, then I've got to say if you're a Republican right now, I'm assuming that you're cosigning Charlottesville and January 6, and all the atrocities that were committed under Donald Trump, and the rhetoric that he still spells. Because there's not a lot of daylight between MAGA Republicans and Republicans right now. We saw on, you know, what you just showed, so many of the elected officials right now who are just Republicans are doubling down and supporting Trump.

PHANG: Eugene, go ahead.

ROBINSON: No, Christina, you're absolutely right. And in fact, President Biden did acknowledge that. I mean, while he drew this line, and it is hard to see the line between MAGA Republicans and Republicans, in fact, he went on to say, but the Republican Party is dominated and intimidated and directed by MAGA Republicans now. So, in effect, it is the Republican Party. Until people at a party prove otherwise, that is the problem.

PHANG: Yes, Eugene, you know, throughout the course of this very strident speech, though, towards the end, it looks like Biden was trying to maybe end his primetime address on an optimistic note. Let's take a quick listen.


BIDEN: MAGA Republicans, they made their choice. They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies. But together, together, we can choose a different path. I know this nation. I know you the American people. I know your courage. I know your hearts. And I know our history.



PHANG: Eugene, was that Joe Biden reverting back to the kinder, gentler Joe who was known for his attempts to unite?

ROBINSON: Well, I think that was Joe Biden. I mean, I think you -- he had to extend a hand to those sorts of right-leaning independents, and either moderate Republicans or former Republicans who might not like Democratic policies, might not be enthralled with what the administration is doing, but who don't accept Trumpism and don't accept where Trump would take the country if he -- and his ilk were allowed to have power. And so, he has to extend a hand to them.

If he can isolate that 30 to 35 percent of the country that's hardcore Trumpist at this point, then that gives a healthy potential majority for Democrats and small D Democrats, not just the Democratic Party, but people who believe in democracy. I mean, that's essentially the conflict. People who believe in democracy and people who don't.

PHANG: You know, Christina, there's so many Trump supporters. They're screaming about how Joe Biden now has promoted this divisiveness. But you know, the reality is, they're not looking in the mirrors, right? There's this hypocrisy that seems to be the currency that these Republicans are trading in.

GREER: Oh, absolutely, Katie. I mean, listen, you know, you and I have talked about some of the emails that we've received from these very excited Trump supporters, you know. And som they don't like to be called out. They don't like to be called out as divisive or having race-based policies and antics and intimidation tactics. But reality is reality.

And I think, you know, Joe Biden has had a fantastic month policy-wise. And I think now, as we get closer to November -- you know, Eugene is totally right. The demographics are on the big D Democratic Party side. However, we know that Republicans have gerrymandered so many districts across the country and taken away voting rights, and made it harder for people of color, poor people, you know, women, you name it, to vote. The Republicans in some way do have an advantage when we go to the polls because they've made it so difficult for people to vote.

And I think Joe Biden really understands -- you know, he loves this country. We know that. This is why he's the bridge president, sort of take us out of the Trump era. But you know, in November, we cannot have candidates who have lost their races who just refuse to concede, who refuse to accept the results that are clear as day. And so, I don't think that, you know, Joe Biden is trying to be divisive. Obviously, his detractors will say that. He's really trying to walk us through the real threat that we're in.

You know, every -- people from other nations can see it. And so, I think that it's time for a lot of Democrats, Independents, weak-leaning Republicans to sort of snap out of it and recognize that, you know, we are -- our democracy is incredibly fragile. We've been looking at it and patting ourselves on the back for a very long time about it. And now, we have to realize it's a series of day-to-day daily decisions that we have to make to fight for this country. And as Joe Biden says, the soul of this country, as flawed as it may be.

PHANG: Eugene, I got less than a minute, but I do want to ask you quickly, do you think that this kind of new -- because people are saying new -- that's the adjective they're using here, this new, like revived, strong message messaging from Joe Biden. Is that going to be enough? Do you think they'll still carry us into November for these midterms that are coming up?

ROBINSON: Well, you know, look, I think that it's part of a package, right, because, frankly, if Biden had had just wanted to give a purely political speech designed to maximize Democratic turnout, by the way, he probably will do that at some point, he would have just made the whole speech about the Dobbs decision, because women across this country are angry and mobilized and dismayed and ready to vote on Dobbs.

And we've seen that result in Kansas. We've seen it in special elections that Democrats have won where women have played a huge role on the Democratic side. So, people who say this was a purely political speech -- this speech really was about the soul of the nation. It's about the stark choice between democracy and autocracy. The purely political speech will come in and I think it'll be headlined with abortion rights and privacy, all of these privacy rights that are at risk.


PHANG: Well, you guys, Eugene Robinson, Christina Greer, I thank you both for being here on this Friday night. Thank you so much.

GREER: Thanks, Katie.

PHANG: And ahead, there's new body cam video showing LAPD officers shooting a man after acknowledging he was unarmed. That story is next.



PHANG: Police in Los Angeles are under fire after newly released body cam footage shows police shooting an unarmed Black man even after an officer says the object he's carrying is "not a gun." We must warn you that what we're about to show is disturbing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take your hands out of your pocket, bro. Take your hands out of your pocket.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay (BLEEP) away from me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not a gun, bro.



PHANG: The officers were responding to a 911 call reporting a Black man in the area who supposedly had a semi-automatic weapon.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's Black with dreadlocks. He looks like he's transient.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I told him to leave and he pulled out a gun.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he still there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It look like a black semi-automatic gun.


PHANG: That color was mistaken. The man who was shot has been identified as 39-year-old Jermaine Petit. He was not holding a weapon. He was holding a six-inch metallic car part seen here in images released by the police. So, these officers responding to the 911 call had incorrect information. But at least one officer on the scene could tell instantly that Petit was unarmed, telling the others "it's not a gun."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, come here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take your hands out of your pocket, bro. Take your hands out of your pocket.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay (BLEEP) away from me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not a gun, bro.



PHANG: Body cam footage from another officer clearly shows he heard the other officers say it was not a gun.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is -- you said that's not a gun? Hey, drop it.


PHANG: Petit remains hospitalized but is in stable condition. Police are seeking to press charges against him for "brandishing a replica firearm." That's what they're calling this car part. We should note, this image was not released until days after the police shooting. Before it's released, police insisted Petit was armed with a weapon. And even now, the police are still trying to continue that storyline. The new police footage zooms in on petite and circles what they describe as "what appears to be a gun," even though one of their own officers knew in real time that it was not.

Joining me now is retired NYPD detective Marq Claxton. Marq, it's always a pleasure to spend time with you. Thanks for being here. I got to ask, what's your response to this body cam footage that we've been shown to our viewers, and the fact that even after an officer said very loudly and clearly that he was not armed, they went ahead and they shot him anyway.

MARQ CLAXTON, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE: Well, I think the body cam footage shows -- it demonstrates just how complex a lot of these police-civilian interactions are, especially when you consider the fact the police are responding to a -- in essence, a call for assistance. An individual reported a man with a gun. And so, they have to make some assessments and judgments on the scene in response to that call.

And it's also a dynamic situation. You're moving. You have multiple police officers responding to a possible individual with a firearm. And I think it's important to point out accurately that each individual officer is responsible for making individual assessments and taking individual action. They're responsible individually for the actions that they take.

So, you may have a situation where police officer may have one perspective of the situation as it unfolds, another police officer may have a different viewpoint or perspective of it. And that's sometimes can happen when you have these dynamic situations unfolding rapidly, you know, which is an everyday occurrence for police officers.

This is a clear demonstration of why not everyone could do police work, and the complexities and dangers and difficulty of doing police work. You have to make a million different assessments in a relatively short period of time.

PHANG: Yes, but mark in this case, there was an assessment done by one of the officers on the scene and I respect the idea that each officer has to make their own independent assessment. But an officer on the scene said it's not a gun, bro. It wasn't I don't think it's a gun, it possibly isn't a good. He said declaratively it's not a gun, bro. So, is it unreasonable for fellow officers even a scenario like that Marq to not rely upon the information that's being conveyed by a fellow officer.


CLAXTON: Even though we make an individual assessments in that particular certain situation, of course, you're working as a collective and coordinating sharing information. But Katie, to be honest with you, there may be a perspective that one police officer has is vastly different from another police officer, which is why you may have a situation that appears much more dangerous to one police officer. They take the use of deadly -- they take the action of using deadly physical force where others may not because their perspective was different.

So, although you're working together as a collective in how to respond to the situation, the individual assessments are going to dictate and decide, you know, what -- whether you decide to use deadly physical force or not.

PHANG: Mark Claxton, thanks for your expertise always on these complex matters when it comes especially to police shootings. We'll be right back.


PHANG: That does it for me. You can also catch me tomorrow morning on "THE KATIE PHANG SHOW" 7:00 a.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC. And stream new original episodes of the show on the MSNBC hub on Peacock as well. "THE REIDOUT WITH JOY REID" is up next.