George Floyd TRANSCRIPT: 5/27/20, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell

Guests: Chuck Schumer, Bridgett Floyd, Benjamin Crump, Katie Porter, Ron Klain

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Rachel.

And, of course, Governor Cuomo wore a mask as he was entering the White House today. Something Donald Trump refuses to do.

And Senator Chuck Schumer, senior senator from New York, of course, and the Democratic leader in the Senate, is going to join us in this hour. He will no doubt echo --

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS":  Very nice.

O`DONNELL:  -- some of Andrew Cuomo`s public complaints about the federal government`s response to the coronavirus pandemic but also, he really wants to make the point, Rachel and I really want to give him the time to talk about exactly what Mitch McConnell was doing to the federal judiciary and what he has been able to do to the federal judiciary with President Trump.

It`s the only reason the Senate is in session now. It`s not to help anyone. It`s not to legislate anything. It`s just to confirm the judges who are really chosen by Mitch McConnell, not by Donald Trump, and that is -- it`s been an amazing group of judges that really test the lower end of the qualifications scale for Senate confirmation.

MADDOW:  It has become the entire purpose of the Republican Party in Washington to pretend -- or excuse me, to protect the president for any of his various scandals including impeachment and get those judges onto the court for life appointments come hell or high water. That`s it. That`s full stop of everything they`re doing.

O`DONNELL:  Yes, and I`m glad Chuck Schumer is here to bring our attention to that. I`m really glad about that.

Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW:  Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL:  We have arrived at a point that we saw coming weeks ago. We knew we would get here. In the last few days, we knew it could be any day now. But knowing that, knowing this day was coming doesn`t make this day any easier for this country.

And so we begin tonight with a moment of silence for the 100,000 confirmed deaths in this country from coronavirus.

At this hour, the United States has 1,705,714 confirmed cases of coronavirus and at this hour, this country has suffered at least 100,715 confirmed deaths from coronavirus. The president of the United States had nothing to say about this grim moment in our history, the 100,000 moment.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is five months away from possibly being elected the next president of the United States addressed the nation today in a way that a president should and spoke directly to the people who have lost a loved one to the pandemic.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  My fellow Americans, there are moments in our history so grim, so heart-rending, that they`re forever fixed in each of our hearts as shared grief. Today is one of those moments, 100,000 lives have now been lost to this virus here in the United States alone. Each one leaving behind a family that will never again be whole.

I think I know what you`re feeling. You feel like you`re being sucked into a black hole in the middle of your chest. It`s suffocating. Your heart is broken. There is nothing but a feeling of emptiness right now.

For most of you, you weren`t able to be there when you lost your beloved family member or best friend. For most of you, you weren`t able to be there when they died alone. With the pain, the anger, and the frustration, you will wonder whether or not you`ll ever be able to get anywhere from here. It`s made all the worse by knowing this is a fateful milestone we should have never reached.

It could have been avoided, according to a study done by Columbia University. If administration had acted just one week earlier to implement social distancing and do what it had to do, just one week sooner, as many as 36,000 of these deaths might have been averted.

To all of you who are hurting so badly, I`m so sorry for your loss. I know there`s nothing I or anyone else can say or do to dull the sharpness of the pain you feel right now. But I can promise you from experience, the day will come when the memory of your loved one will bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eyes.

My prayer for all of you is that they will come sooner rather than later, but I promise you it will come and when it does, you know you can make it. God bless each and every one of you and the blessed memory of the one you lost. This nation grieves with you. Take some solace from the fact we all grieve with you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  We all grieve with you, the words Donald Trump should have said today but of course, didn`t.

Donald Trump went to Florida today to watch a rocket launching that was cancelled due to weather. He, of course, did not wear a mask when he got off air force one though some officials on the ground in Florida were wearing masks when the president arrived.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, discussed the importance of wearing a mask today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES:  I wear it for the reason that I believe it is effective. It`s not 100 percent effective. I mean, it`s sort of respect for another person and have that other person respect you. You wear a mask, they wear a mask, you protect each other.

I mean, I do it when I`m in the public for the reasons that A, I want to protect myself and protect others, and also because I want to make it be a symbol for people to see that that`s the kind of thing you should be doing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  Leading off our discussion tonight, Ron Klain, a former senior former aide to President Obama and Vice President Biden, he served as the head of the Ebola task force during the Obama administration. John Heilemann is with us. He`s a national affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC and he`s editor-in-chief of "The Recount."

Ron Klain, I want your thoughts with your experience running that task force on Ebola and everything you`ve seen coming. We knew this day, this 100,000-death day was coming. There`s nothing really that prepares you for it, that knowledge that it`s coming doesn`t make it easier.

What are your thoughts as we reach this point in this pandemic in this country?

RON KLAIN, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION EBOLA CZAR:  Lawrence, as you said, it was coming. As Vice President Biden said, it was avoidable. The administration taken the steps it should have. The death toll would be lower like other countries.

This is a global pandemic but ours is the only country on earth that lost 100,000 lives, and that`s just a terrible, terrible fact that we have to live with. And, you know, I think it`s sometimes hard to imagine the scope of that loss, the size of that number. But as you`re scrolling that front page of the "New York Times", we saw those names go past, it`s worth remembering if we read -- if we spent three seconds rereading each name, it would take every one of your broadcast for the next four months, every hour of it to read all 100,000 names. That`s how many Americans have died as a result of this epidemic.

O`DONNELL:  John Heilemann, the difference between Donald Trump and Joe Biden could not have been more stark today. There`s Donald Trump getting off Air Force One, no mask on the same day Anthony Fauci is saying you must wear a mask and you should be wearing it as a role model, especially if you`re in a position like his.

We see Andrew Cuomo wearing a mask walking into the Trump White House and then there is Vice President Biden addressing the nation, saying that we all grieve, talking directly to the people who have lost loved ones, lost friends, lost co-workers to this pandemic. Speaking the way a president is supposed to speak on a day like today.

JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST:  Right. And, Lawrence, you know, obviously, it`s a terrible day that as you say we saw coming and also no less terrible for the fact that we saw it coming. I am reminded of the fact that back at the beginning of this, the public perception of this pandemic was upon us in the second week or so in March when Donald Trump did his Oval Office address talking about coronavirus, the same night that Tom Hanks announced that he had coronavirus, the same night that the NBA cancelled it season, the president did that Oval Office address, was roundly criticized for it, for his performance there, and then Joe Biden did an event in Delaware that I went to where he purposefully tried to model sort of what a president -- what he would look like if he were president under these circumstances.

And this is when the pandemic was upon us, but nothing like this death toll had unfolded and we had no idea how bad it would get. Now we`re here and it`s two plus months, three months later now and you see again the starkness of the contrast you`re talking about. To me, that is a large part of what the campaign is going to be politically speaking. It`s going to be the contrast between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Joe Biden having multiple opportunities to try to show the country what a presidency under Joe Biden would look like and how different it would be from the presidency that we`ve seen for nearly four years of Donald Trump.

And in particular, this thing that we see -- Biden is not a perfect candidate. Ron who worked for Joe Biden and still works for the campaign knows Joe Biden isn`t a perfect candidate. One thing that nobody can deny, Joe Biden has enormous empathy and that is a central part of his character is maybe the brightest, starkest contrast of Donald Trump who has no empathy whatsoever in this moment. It seems to me that`s an enormous political asset that Joe Biden has and we saw it very much on display today in how he performed versus how the president performed.

O`DONNELL:  Obviously, coronavirus is not going away. The latest projection is by the time we get to the beginning of August, we`ll be up to 132,000 deaths. We have a Fox poll saying more people trust Joe Biden to handle the coronavirus than Donald Trump, 46-37. Seventy-four percent in another poll, 74 percent find that they support the use of masks.

Ron Klain, pro-mask and anti-mask, the 74 percent position is the Anthony Fauci position and Donald Trump very much wants to be on the wrong side of that 74 percent, in the middle of a presidential campaign.

KLAIN:  Yes, it`s a vexing thing, Lawrence. It`s not only that the president doesn`t wear a mask, which is bad enough, models bad behavior. He attacks and belittles people who do the right thing. He did this with a reporter in the Rose Garden yesterday. His White House press secretary said she found it peculiar that Vice President Biden wore a mask to lay a wreath at the memorial -- for Memorial Day.

Well, it`s not peculiar that Vice President Biden did it. That`s Dr. Fauci`s recommendation. The White House`s own surgeon general, the U.S. surgeon general put out a video on Memorial Day weekend that said everyone that goes out in public should wear a mask.

If you want to know why we`re in the mess we`re in, it`s because the White House thinks it`s peculiar people are taking advice of its own health care experts. In addition to the decency gap that John mentioned between Trump and Biden, it`s a basic competency gap that`s shown along here.

And last thing I`ll say about this is Trump`s position on masks makes no sense because if he wants to reopen the economy, he should be doing things to encourage people to feel safer about going out and buying things, shopping, going to stores and encouraging people to wear masks to lower risks. It`s just common sense.

O`DONNELL:  Nancy Pelosi today spoke about the possibility of a Republican convention which Donald Trump is urging. He wants Charlotte, North Carolina, to host a standard convention with 20,000 people inside an arena, elbow to elbow.

Here is what Nancy Pelosi said about that possibility today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  We all want the country to open up, but science tells us that there is a path, a healthy path to open up in a healthy way. I don`t think there`s anyone who would say at this point that tens of thousands of people should come together for a political convention no matter how great an ego trip it is for somebody, it`s dangerous for so many.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  John Heilemann, we don`t know what`s going to happen but by the end of August, we are likely to be up around 140,000 dead around the time of the currently scheduled Republican Convention that Donald Trump really wants to have in Charlotte and maybe some other state, if he can move it.

What are the chances of us actually seeing a Republican convention this summer?

HEILEMANN:  I think the chance of us seeing a Republican Convention and Democratic convention, Lawrence, of some kind are very high. I think both parties now are trying to figure out how to do a convention that`s part virtual and part physical that`s part, you know, that has some aspects of in-person -- in-person element in some part that`s going to take place more electronically. I think the difference between the parties is on the Democratic side, you have much greater caution, you have convention-goers who are not interested in going into quite sanely interested, not interested in piling into arena in Milwaukee standing cheek by jaw in a sweaty, well -- not well-ventilated room.

Whereas I think -- apparently, given the way that this thing -- this pandemic has broken along cultural political lines, there are more Republicans interested in doing that and it`s definitely the case Donald Trump`s risk tolerance seems to be higher than any other, any sane persons, than Joe Biden`s.

So, I think he`s going to press it. Whether it happens in Charlotte or not with the Democratic governor in that state and very strong Democratic mayor in that city, I think that`s the real question. And I think Trump is going to force this issue more likely than not we`ll see maybe Republican convention of some kind not in North Carolina.

O`DONNELL:  John Heilemann and Ron Klain, thank you both for starting us off tonight. Really appreciate it.

HEILEMANN:  Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL:  Thank you.

We have much more coming up in this hour. As I told Rachel, the Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is going to join us. Also with us tonight, Congresswoman Katie Porter.

And we will be joined tonight by George Floyd`s sister Bridget Floyd as a second night of protest is underway in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. There are also protests in Los Angeles tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL:  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has had the Senate working not to legislate more economic relief for a country staggering under the burdens of the coronavirus pandemic, he`s not even trying to legislate anything right now for his home state of Kentucky.

And the Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo who was in Washington today is outraged by Mitch McConnell`s refusal to act.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK:  There is a financial equation that is the federal government and you want -- if you want to ask, what states give money to other states and what states take money from other states? That`s a question that Senator McConnell and Senator Scott and Mr. Laffer don`t want to ask because the truth is the totally opposite of what they`re saying.

You look at the states that give more money to the federal government than they get back. You know, the top what they call donor state, you know what one state pays in more to the pot than they take out of the federal pot than any other state in the United States? It`s the state of New York. New York pays more every year, $29 billion more than they take back.

You know the second state? New Jersey. Massachusetts. Connecticut. California. Every year, they contribute more to the federal pot.

You know who takes out more than they put in from that pot? You know whose hand goes in deeper and takes out more than they put in? Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Alabama, Florida. Those are the facts. Those are the numbers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  Kentucky`s Mitch McConnell has had the Senate working mostly just to confirm Republican federal judges. Those are all presidential appointments that must be confirmed by the Senate but Donald Trump made it clear during the presidential campaign he would let Mitch McConnell basically pick the judges and confirm them using a system that Republicans have been using for decades.

That system was exposed today by New York Senior Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader of the Senate. Senator Schumer, along with other Democratic senators, issued a report showing how a system funded by some anonymous Republican donors and some well-known Republican donors like the Koch brothers, has delivered, quote, 200 new life-tenured federal judges to aggressively remake the federal courts and rewrite the Constitution. Senator Schumer`s report points out, quote, under Chief Justice Roberts, the courts Republican appointed five justice majority handed down 80 partisan 5-4 decisions joined by no Democratic appointee.

Joining our discussion now is the Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

Senator Schumer, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

And I`m so glad you`re focusing on these judicial appointments because in the crash of everything else we`re covering, it`s very hard to get attention to something like this. But this is an unprecedented wave of judicial confirmations that Mitch McConnell is pushing through.

What have you found in your study of this and this process?

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER:  Well, we have found that a very small group of powerful, wealthy, hard right donors have sent millions and millions of dollars of dark money to influence the process and they had huge success.

The Federalist Society, which is one of the specific agencies that does this and benefits from so much of this money, chooses the judges -- and let me say, the judges are against the interest of the American people. These are not judges the American people would choose. They`re against the interest of working people. They want to repeal Roe v. Wade, which the vast majority of Americans do not.

They side with big money classes. They were the group that put in Citizens United, which allowed this dark money to cascade in to begin with. They`re trying to undo labor unions in this country.

It`s a huge, huge machine, and they start on the law school campuses. They set up think tanks which come up with these ridiculous theories that they then portray through the right wing media as real theories.

And as the report points out -- and I want to give huge credit to Sheldon Whitehouse who has done fabulous work, as well as Senator Stabenow -- what they show is that the idea that the courts are now down the middle is fading away. They have been politicized, influenced by this dark money, which chooses people of only a particular point of view. Not people who, quote, call balls and strikes anymore, but rather who seem to have set interests.

The judge that McConnell just pushed through to go to the Second Circuit Court of the D.C. Circuit, which is one of -- the second most powerful court in the land, had virtually no experience. And here`s what he said -- he criticized Chief Justice Roberts because he wanted to keep Obamacare.

This is somebody they`re putting on the bench because they can`t repeal Obamacare in the legislature, in the Congress.

This is -- this is the beginning of a bunch of reports that Senator Whitehouse, myself, and the Democratic Caucus are going to show how dark money, undisclosed money, sinister money is jaundicing the decision-making fairness of the courts.

O`DONNELL:  Senator, what I found so striking about the report is that some of us had just kind of an impressionistic notion of how this has been working and we know about the Federalist Society. But you`re tracking it starting in 1982 in this report when the Federalist Society is formed. And they -- they have delivered a kind of judge that we haven`t seen before and they`ve really tested, as you just mentioned, just how -- just what kind of a lack of qualifications are Republicans willing to accept in the Senate, and we have seen confirmations in this past year that never would have gotten through in, say, as recently as the 1990s or even earlier in the Bush administration.

SCHUMER:  So many of them, Lawrence, are young because they want them on the courts forever. There is a lifetime appointment.

So many of them have little experience. It was said about this new judge that McConnell -- McConnell`s protege, he knows him through Kentucky, that he had more experience as a television commentator than in the courtroom. And it`s had dramatically very bad effects on this country.

And so, we`re going to keep exposing this. It is reported that one person gave two contributions of $17.5 million each, in one case I believe it was, to make sure that McConnell was backed up when he wouldn`t let Merrick Garland get a hearing and second to bring these two new justices to the court.

And they do television. They do Twitter. They have these -- run these think tanks which come out with these outlandish legal theories.

I mean, to me at least, the idea that the First Amendment prohibits us from regulating how much money and dark money people can put into the judicial system is just an appalling way to read the law. We never had that before.

The First Amendment doesn`t -- every amendment is a balancing test, but when they want to do something, they say they don`t. And many people feel they want to make America right to our country and get rid of unions all together, as the Janus case may have been a preview (ph) for.

These are not down-the-middle decisions. These are not decisions that rely on a great deal of precedent. They rely on hard-right thinking and the Federalist -- by the way, President Trump said in his campaign he would only choose people who the Federalist Society, this hard right group that is so far away from the mainstream of America, approved. And they put together a list and he`s chosen judges from that list.

O`DONNELL:  Yes, Senator. That seemed to me to be a really important turning point in the Trump presidential campaign. That`s when the Republican Party really got comfortable with Donald Trump when he said, I will deliver the judges you want. And he has delivered.

Is it your sense that Republican politics is much more aware of the urgency of getting control of Supreme Court appointments and that the Democratic side of the politics pays much less attention to that and much more attention to other issues?

SCHUMER:  There`s been -- there`s been a belief among Democrats and among the general public and the press, oh, none of this is political. But it`s become highly political, and the people who are behind these groups are not judicial experts, but many of them who give the money are just hard, hard right ideologues whose views, they`re not even with the mainstream of the Republican Party. They are further over.

But they have a lot of money and a lot of weight and a lot of power. And we`ve seen the Koch brothers, how much power they have had over the Republican Party and influencing elections, that they get something done.

And I -- I think that Democrats are going to have to realize this and the best thing we can do is we don`t want to -- we don`t want to do the kinds of things they do. But we should be exposing this and showing the American people how they`re trying to throw the courts away from the notion of the Founding Fathers, somebody who enforces the law rather than imposes their view of the law.

And this report is the first attempt but it`s not going to be the last. We have a whole bunch of things to come out with, and I hope people will pay attention and try to rectify the situation.

O`DONNELL:  The senior senator from New York, the Democratic Leader of the Senate, Chuck Schumer -- thank you very, very much for joining us tonight on this important issue. Really appreciate it.

SCHUMER:  Thank you. Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL:  Thank you.

Thank you. Coming up, they murdered my brother, that is how George Floyd`s sister describes what happened to her brother after being detained by Minneapolis Police and after having police officer`s knee on his neck for seven minutes. Bridgett Floyd will be our next guest.

These are live shots of protestors gathering in Los Angeles tonight, protesting the death of George Floyd.

(VIDEO PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: George Floyd died on Monday night in Minneapolis, after being detained by police with a police knee on his neck for over seven minutes, while he repeatedly said I can`t breathe.

The four Minneapolis police officers involved in that incident were fired yesterday after video recorded by citizen bystanders at the scene showed George Floyd being held down and saying I can`t breathe.

Today, the Mayor of Minneapolis Jacob Frey said if he had treated George Floyd that way, he would be in jail tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACOB FREY, MINNEAPOLIS MAYOR: If you had done it, or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now. And I cannot come up with a good answer to that question, and so I`m calling on Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to act on the evidence before him, I`m calling on him to charge the arresting officer in this case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: We will now show you about ten seconds of video captured by one of the citizens who witnessed this event. There is something painfully familiar about this disturbing video, because George Floyd is saying exactly what Eric Garner said on Staten Island six years ago, when an NYPD officer held him in a chokehold, I can`t breathe.

A longer version of this video is available online, but again I caution you this video is very disturbing to watch, and here is about ten seconds of that video.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE FLOYD: I can`t breathe, please, the knee on my neck. I can`t breathe, sir.

POLICE OFFICER: Bro, get up and get in the car man.

G. FLOYD: I will.

POLICE OFFICER: Get up and get in the car.

G. FLOYD: I can`t move.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The first official statement issued by the Minneapolis Police Department was entitled, man dies after medical incident during police interaction. That statement said, "He physically resisted officers."

It`s very important that the official statement did not say that the officers involved say that he physically resisted them. The statement did not attribute it to the officers as a claim being made by the officers. The Minneapolis Police Department took it as an official fact, they made it an official fact of their own by saying, "He physically resisted officers."

New video has emerged. This video from a nearby surveillance camera that shows some of what happened before George Floyd was pinned to the ground under a police knew, and that video appears to show George Floyd complying with police after being handcuffed.

(VIDEO PLAYING)

Tonight, protesters in Minneapolis were confronted by police, who again used tear gas to control the protests, as they did last night. Protesters have also gathered in Los Angeles tonight. This is a live shot from Los Angeles.

George Floyd`s brother Rodney told NBC`s Craig Melvin earlier today that he is not surprised by the protests.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RODNEY FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD`S BROTHER: I mean that was - that he was murdered in the streets, and I mean you hear him crying, and I mean everyone heard that. I`m not surprised, because they - I grew up in a ghetto environment and the police do not - and I mean do not listen to the people. Someone is surprised the protesters heard his voice and heard his anger, they thought he`s faking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now is Bridgett Floyd, George Floyd`s sister. Also with her is Benjamin Crump who is an attorney for the Floyd family. Bridgett, first of all, I`m very, very sorry for your loss and I`m sorry we are meeting this way to discuss this.

What can you tell us about your brother and about what you know about him? And when you see this video of him apparently complying while handcuffed, and then you see - you`ve seen the other video, the painful video, with that knee on his neck, what can you tell us about your brother and what you would expect of him, if he was being detained or approached by the police?

What would you expect your brother`s conduct to be?

BRIDGETT FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD`S SISTER: My brother`s conduct would be the person that he is, which is very humble, which is very - he followed directions. He followed directions, he`s very good at that. I have not watched the video yet. I don`t know when I will be able to watch the video.

But now I know for a fact that I cannot take that. My brother was a very, very good guy. You could meet him and it`s like you knew him forever. He never met a stranger. When he walked in the room, he filled the room with just his presence.

Those guys had no kind of remorse in their heart, in their body, in their bones, whatsoever. I don`t know, because I was not there, but hearing the stories of what happened, he gave y`all no reason to do what y`all did to him. He gave y`all no reason.

He wouldn`t dare try to fight the police. He wouldn`t dare try to knuckle up with the police. He`s been down that road before. He learned from his mistakes. So that was just plain out bullying. They murdered my brother and they`re going to pay through the courts.

O`DONNELL: Bridget, you have four young sons of your own. What have you told them? What have your discussions with them been like about this?

B. FLOYD: Very limited. And I say limited because kids have feelings, too. I can`t just go to them and tell them, oh, your uncle got killed by the police and this and that. It`s a way that you approach situations. And I approached the situation the best way I knew how without scaring them.

I keep it real with them, but I also let them know that it`s okay to be afraid sometimes. But when it comes to defending yourself, you have all rights to step up to the plate regardless of the situation, especially when you`re not in the wrong.

O`DONNELL: Benjamin Crump, are you satisfied with the speed of the city`s reaction so far? Clearly, the Mayor agrees with Bridgett and the family that he believes that what he saw there was a crime and the officer with his knee on the neck really should be in jail right now.

They fired the next day, which is something that it took six years in New York City - for New York City to fire the officer who put the chokehold on Eric Garner, who was the first to be seen on video saying I can`t breathe, the echo of which we now have in this case. What is your sense of the legal progress here?

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY, GEORGE FLOYD`S FAMILY: Well, we are relieved that the Mayor did terminate officers, but we only felt any effective leader would have done that.

The legal process unfortunately is going slower than we would think it would be with such clear and convincing evidence of a crime. He was on the ground face down handcuffed and the police had his knee on his neck for between seven to nine minutes, while he pleaded for air. He pleaded with them that I can`t breathe.

Larry, to illustrate it properly, can you imagine if you took your cell phone and you literally hit the stopwatch for seven to nine minutes, and you just let the time pass and you imagine that somebody was on your neck with their knee and you couldn`t breathe, and you were begging them to take their knee off your neck so you can breathe, but they wouldn`t do it, they wouldn`t offer you any humanity, and so you end up suffocating to death. That is the tragic last minutes of George Floyd on this earth and it is murder.

O`DONNELL: Bridgett Floyd, we have seen so many of these cases. I wrote a book about police use of deadly force decades ago. You have lived this story. You`ve seen it when it happened to Eric Garner, you`ve seen it when it happened to other people around the country. What was it like for you when you got the phone call and you realized now it`s happening to you, it`s your brother, what was that moment like?

B. FLOYD: It`s like everything just stopped for a minute, everything stopped. I had to gather my thoughts, and I had to really listen to the other person on the other end of the line to make sure that they were saying what they were saying.

That is a phone call that I wouldn`t wish on nobody. I`ve always watched everybody else and their families go through this same type of situation, but I never, never, never thought that I would be the one to get a call just like those other ones did.

It`s a pain that is undescribable, especially when you know the type of person that he was. He wouldn`t hurt a fly. Not on purpose, not to just be starting things, not to be a bully. He didn`t tolerate things like that. He didn`t like things like that. He spoke out about negative things. They took something very special to me.

O`DONNELL: Bridgett Floyd, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I am very, very sorry for your loss. We really appreciate you letting us know what this is like and letting America know what this is like. We really appreciate you being here. Very, very sorry for your loss and for your family`s loss. And Benjamin Crump, thank you, thank you very much.

B. FLOYD: Thank you.

CRUMP: Thank you, Larry.

O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: It was an historic day in the House of Representatives today. The oldest committee in the Congress, the House Ways and Means Committee, which was created on July 24, 1789, held its first virtual hearing today, with members participating from home.

And even more important today, for the first time in its history, the House of Representatives allowed members to vote on the House floor without actually being present in the chamber. Congressman Katie Porter is one of the members of the House who voted from home today by giving her proxy to Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton, who then was allowed to cast Katie Porter`s vote for her on the House floor.

Joining us now, Congresswoman Katie Porter. She is a Democrat representing the 45th district of California and is a member of the Oversight and Financial Services Committees. Well, Congresswoman Porter, there are many ways to make history and today it was literally the method of voting.

Does this mean that we`re going to see more of this in the House of Representatives, and of course for reasons that I can`t quite comprehend Republicans opposed this safe voting process during this pandemic?

REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): Well, during this pandemic, we have asked so many different entities, schools, businesses, non-profits, retailers, we`ve asked them to change how they do business to keep the public safe, and that`s exactly what we did today in Congress.

Those of us who would have had to make long travels and have contact with hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands of people, multiple airplanes today, we adapted using technology so that we could keep essential workers in our communities safe.

O`DONNELL: And going forward, do you think the hearing process obviously will now be conducted mostly virtually?

PORTER: Nobody can say for certain how this pandemic will unfold, because we have to put the public health first and foremost. But I participated in a remote hearing yesterday and I was allowed to question the witness with my normal five minutes. I could use a prop, a whiteboard, just like I do in regular hearings.

And in fact, because we were in a remote setting, because there wasn`t all the usual bustle of Washington, I think I was able to even better listen to the witness, listen to my colleagues, and engage the witness than maybe I am even able to do sometimes in the craziness of Washington, D.C.

O`DONNELL: The Senate of course is literally doing nothing. Mitch McConnell has decided the Senate will do nothing to respond to any of the new developments that we`re discovering in the coronavirus pandemic, including some of the economic effects.

One of the economic effects that has not been specifically addressed is the life of the single mother in America and what has changed in terms of both employment and then the possibility of even working at home while trying to manage children at the same time.

PORTER: Well, this pandemic has definitely fallen harder on women workers. They`ve disproportionately lost their jobs, and that is even more sharp - it`s even sharper effect when you look at single mothers.

The number of single moms without jobs compared to a year ago today`s down 22%, and that`s compared to a change of 9% for other workers with young children. So single mothers are disproportionately losing jobs during this pandemic. And because they only have one income to meet their family`s needs, they don`t have much of a safety net to take care of their kids during this time.

O`DONNELL: What is on your agenda now going forward? What does your district need? What do you think the country needs?

PORTER: Well, I think the most important thing we can do is try to preserve jobs to keep people in their current jobs tethered to their benefits, connected to their insurance. We don`t want to have massive labor market disruption. We have people who are trained for these jobs, that live near these jobs, and we want to try to keep them in it, and that`s why I support the Paycheck Recovery Act, which is supported by my colleagues, Congresswoman Jayapal and Congressman Schiff. I think this is the best way to make sure that we don`t see even more unemployment than we already have.

O`DONNELL: You represent a formerly Republican district. You flipped it in the last election. What is the reaction in your district to California`s restrictions, and what do you see as the compliance level where you are? How many people do you sense are fighting against the guidance?

PORTER: Well, Irvine where I live is a very, very community and family- focused place. So I see everyone really trying to do their best. They are challenges to maintaining these guidelines. It`s gotten warmer outside. People are getting tired. I`m speaking personally here, but people are getting tired of being cooped up alone with their small children all day. So it is a challenge.

But I`m also seeing people try to support each other, and try to make this as easy as we can on each other, to be understanding, to reach out and help each other, and to put the public health first because that`s the best way we can ultimately protect lives and reopen our economy.

O`DONNELL: This is the day California went over 100,000 in total cases. It`s the day the country went over 100,000 in total deaths. What is your reaction to where we are now and the way these numbers have added up?

PORTER: Well, these lost lives are going to take a real toll on our mental health and our mental well-being. So one of the things that I did today, because I was not traveling to Washington, is I engaged in a round table with the mental health caucus with two of my colleagues, Representative Judy Chu and Representative Grace Napolitano, talking with California`s mental health czar about what are best practices that we can use to address what may be an upcoming pandemic in terms of mental health care, whether that`s brought about by grief or by isolation of this pandemic, by anxiety?

This is a real challenge for our community, and we should try to plan ahead to meet that public health crisis just like we`re trying to make sure we`re meeting the health crisis caused by the virus itself.

O`DONNELL: You`ve also been paying attention to what the health insurance companies are doing. What are the issues we should keep an eye on?

PORTER: Well, one of the things I`m really concerned about is reports that some of the nation`s largest insurers, specifically UnitedHealth, is asking our providers, our doctors and our other providers, to take reimbursement pay cuts or else UnitedHealth will yank them out of being a network - a covered network provider.

And this is terrible for these providers who are already facing a loss of revenue, but it`s really terrible for patients who may lose an in-network provider, who may be more likely to face a surprise bill during this time. So this is a time for UnitedHealthcare to put patients ahead of profits.

O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Katie Porter, thank for joining us tonight. That is the Last Word.

 

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