George Floyd's brother TRANSCRIPT: 6/10/20, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell

Guests: Sheila Jackson Lee, Judith Browne Dianis, Laurie Garrett, Matt Miller, Charlie Cook

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

History is happening and art is happening as we see.

ALI VELSHI, MNSBC HOST:  That`s right.

O`DONNELL:  And so much of the imagery that is out there, there has really been some extraordinarily, extraordinary works of art produced in the last two weeks.

VELSHI:  It has been terrific to watch because even in all of this turmoil there has been a lot of it. There`s been music. There`s been art. We`ll see what this looks like when we`re through it, but there is some creativity going on in all this mess.

O`DONNELL:  Thanks.

VELSHI:  All right, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL:  Thank you.

Well, George Floyd`s brother went to Washington today with a simple message: stop the pain.

He delivered that message in a historic hearing of the House Judiciary Committee which is now considering the most comprehensive police reform legislation ever introduced in Congress. Philonise Floyd described the pain that he is now trying to stop other families from feeling, but he knows the pain will be with him for the rest of his life.

Philonise Floyd described what it`s been like for him and what it`s been like for the rest of George Floyd`s family to watch his big brother murdered on video with a police knee on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PHILONISE FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD:  I just think about that video over and over again, it felt like eight hours and 46 minutes. Hurt seeing my brother plea for his life, watching that officer just put his knee on his neck. Just -- every day just looking at him, being like anywhere, that`s all people talk about.

The rest of my life that`s all I`ll ever see somebody. Just look at the video. Kids have to watch the video. His kids have to watch the video.

It just hurt. It`s a lot of people with a lot of pain. My family, they just cry and cry every day and just ask why. Why?

He pleaded for his life. He said he couldn`t breathe. Nobody cared. Nobody.

People pleaded for him. They still didn`t care. Justice has to be served.

Those officers, they have to be convicted. Anybody with a heart, they know that`s wrong. You don`t do that to a human being. You don`t even do that to an animal.

His life mattered. All our lives matter. Black lives matter. Just -- I just wish -- wish I could get him back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  Philonise Floyd described how his brother did everything, everything that black men are constantly reminded to do in order to stay alive in police custody.

But it didn`t matter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FLOYD:  He was mild-mannered. He didn`t fight back. He listened to all the officers. The man who took his life, who suffocated him for eight minutes and 46 seconds, he still called him "sir" as he begged for his life.

I can`t tell you the kind of pain you feel when you watch something like that. When you watch your big brother, who you looked up to your whole entire life, die, die begging for his mom, I`m tired. I`m tired of pain. Pain you feel when you watch something like that, when you watch your big brother, who you looked up to for your whole life, die, die begging for his mom, I`m here to ask you to make it stop.

Stop the pain. Stop us from being tired. George called for help, and he was ignored. Please listen to the call I`m making to you now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  Throughout his testimony, Philonise Floyd shifted easily between using his brother`s first name George to using his brother`s middle name Perry as the family did when they were kids. When he called his brother Perry, the testimony became even more intimate as when he said, I didn`t get the chance to say good-bye to Perry while he was here.

But Philonise Floyd knows that his brother will be remembered to the world as George Floyd, a name that has now taken its place in history and Philonise Floyd asked the Democrats and Republicans at today`s hearing to recognize their place in this history.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FLOYD:  George`s name means something. You have the opportunity here today to make your names mean something, too. If his death ends up changing the world for the better, and I think it will, then he died as he lived. It is on you to make sure his death is not in vain. I didn`t get the chance to say good-bye to Perry while he was here. I was robbed of that.

But I know he`s looking down at us now. Perry, look up at what you did, big brother. You changed the world. Thank you for everything, for taking care of us while on earth, but taking care of us now. I hope you find mama and you can rest in peace with power. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  Power. George Floyd`s power is already changing policing in America faster than anything ever has. Yesterday at his funeral, the mayor of Houston announced an executive order banning chokeholds, requiring police officers to intervene to stop police misconduct and tightening deadly force rules. This week, a New York state legislature repealed a state law used by police departments to hide the disciplinary records of police officers.

Now criminal justice advocates have been fighting for years to change that New York state law, years and years, and it was a hopeless crusade until this week. George Floyd`s power did that. And George Floyd`s power is now changing the police department that killed him, the Minneapolis City Council is considering disbanding the police department, which would in effect mean disbanding the police union that has been such a powerful negative force in policing that city as most police unions have been in most cities across this country.

That comes at a time when the police union was previously scheduled to be renegotiating their contract with the city of Minneapolis, which is always about three things for police unions: increasing pay, increasing benefits and making it even more impossible to fire police officers or discipline them in any significant way. That is a police union mission.

And that could be changing now in Minneapolis, thanks to George Floyd`s power. Today, the Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced that he is withdrawing from contract negotiations with the police union.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEDARIA ARRADONDO, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE CHIEF:  I am immediately withdrawing from the contract negotiations with the Minneapolis Police Federation. I plan to bring in subject matter experience and advisors to conduct a thorough review of how the contract can be restructured to provide greater community transparency and more flexibility for a true reform.

Now, this is not about employees` benefits or wages or salaries, but this is further examining those significant matters that touch on such things as critical incident protocol, our use of force, the significant role that supervisors play in this department and also the discipline process to include both grievances and arbitration.

Now, I believe I speak for my chief peers here in the state of Minnesota, as well as across our country, that there is nothing more debilitating to a chief from an employment matter perspective than when you have grounds to terminate an officer for misconduct and you`re dealing with a third party mechanism that allows for that employee to not only be back on your department but to be patrolling in your communities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  The third party mechanism of course being the police union.

Now, all of this is happening thanks to the power of George Floyd, and George Floyd has that power only because a 17-year-old girl, Darnella Frazier held her ground and videoed every minute of the murder of George Floyd. I have said repeatedly that none of this would be happening were it not for the bravely and determination of that 17-year-old girl who was threatened with mace by Officer Derek Chauvin while his knee was on George Floyd`s neck. And she held her ground and she held her camera and that video did not flicker for one second. That video captured the eight minutes and 46 seconds that shows George Floyd`s life slipping away as he says, "I can`t breathe".

That is the most important evidence in this murder case. Without the evidence that Darnella Frazier provided, those officers would not be charged with a crime today. They would not even be fired today.

Chief Arradondo was asked about that today, and he said he was thankful that that video was recorded, and he clearly implied that nothing would have happened in this case, the fake police story would have been accepted if that video was not recorded.

And then the chief offered this advice to everyone in Minneapolis and the rest of the country about what to do if you ever witness police misconduct.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARRADONDO:  Record it. Absolutely. Record. Call. Call a friend. Yell out, call 911. We need a supervisor to the scene, absolutely.

I need to know that. We need to know that. So the community plays a vital role and did two weeks ago, absolutely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  Leading off our discussion tonight is Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas. She`s a member of the House Judiciary Committee.

And I know you were present at that hearing today and at George Floyd`s funeral yesterday, which is in your congressional district of Houston.

Talk about what you have been through in the last 24 hours from the funeral to the hearing and how those two events are connected.

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX):  Well, the pain is deep. It is piercing, and it is continuous. Although, yesterday, Lawrence, it was a celebration, a celebration of the homegoing of Big Floyd, George Floyd -- Perry as it`s been now known to be his personal name to his family.

There was a lot of joy there yesterday, but there was also an expression of a loss that his brother expressed today. They will never forget this. They have been thrown into the national, international spotlight. All of them have said, we would rather have our brother. We heard the words he was a big umbrella on a rainy day.

Today I believe his brother came to say to the world and to the nation -- I`m doing this for George so that he is never forgotten, but I`m doing this for all of those who are out in the streets protesting, those who are black and brown and white and Asian, and he`s doing it to say, as he said over and over in the hearing, Black Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter.

And I think that`s what we have gathered in these two days, that more significantly than ever in the history of the United States, and, of course, this movement started with young people telling us and understanding the plight of African-American men at the hands of the police and law enforcement in this nation.

And, so, he came today to really try to put a halt to it, to recognize that there are good police, but also recognize that police must be held accountable. And we want to give them a road map to be held accountable. We want them to be guardians and not warriors.

And I think what we have put together, the Congressional Black Caucus, the House Judiciary Committee and the U.S. Senate with many members there, we have put together legislation that sets a new standard, accreditation standard, a standard of knowing about excessive force, blocking chokeholds, requiring police cameras.

I think what we`ve done, Lawrence, is begin to answer the cries of those who have been before voiceless.

O`DONNELL:  You marched with George Floyd`s brother today down to the location in Washington, D.C. where Black Lives Matter has been written on the street there. I think we have some video of you. You are in that shot close by with him there. What was that like for him to see those letters on that street all there because of what happened to his brother?

JACKSON LEE:  I think he got a new lease of life for that moment. He wanted to come. You know, the hearing was very late. He had never been a witness in a congressional hearing or any hearing. He did a stupendous job. It was an emotional time.

He went from high to low moments, of course, when he was talking about the pain he was experiencing. This is pain they experience every day because that video is in your head over and over again. If it is my head and it`s in many people`s heads, it certainly is in his.

I think to know that the Washington of D.C., Mayor Bowser, made this stupendous step, Black Lives Matter, probably in the spirit of George Floyd. He wanted to see it. He wanted to walk down that street and he wanted to do just as he was doing, call the name, George Floyd, call the name -- and to be able to really feel the exuberance of all the people who care and have shown the love, and they really did.

They surrounded us with love and a sense of unity. And you know what? That`s what healing is all about. It really is, to show your pain as they have and to have people surround you with a sense of unity and love. That`s what we felt. I believe that`s what he felt today.

And he spoke. And what he wanted to say, what he did say was that he was thanking all the people that surrounded the Floyd family with love, from his hometown, the big H, with all the love, Cuney Homes, Jack Yates High School where they grew up and then to come here to Washington, D.C., and see the same kind of love that he saw in Houston, in Minneapolis, in North Carolina, in (INAUDIBLE), so it is really symbolizing the nation`s love.

I think we have to get this bill passed. We have to put a stop sign on the kind of misconduct that causes a loss of life of a lot of people -- of so many, Lawrence, of so many African-American males, in fact, they carry the greatest burden.

O`DONNELL:  Policing as we know is a local function. And, so, the federal government and your legislation is trying to influence that as we know a couple of layers of government away from the street where it happens.

But the mayor of Houston yesterday at George Floyd`s funeral announced his executive order which the police chief says has been implemented today, banning chokeholds in your city, in Houston, tightening the deadly force rule in Houston.

And this is the fastest action I have ever seen any level of government take after an event like this.

Do you believe Houston now is headed in a better direction in this arena?

JACKSON LEE:  I`m very proud about our city government and our mayor. I think they were as much pained about their beloved son of Houston as the nation was and the world was about the murder of George Floyd on the streets of this nation.

And, yes, at the funeral, in fact, he announced a number of provisions which can be a role model. Of course, there is work to be done. I think our chief will acknowledge that there is work to be done on incidences that we`ve had, the communities in pain for so many incidences.

I believe that what is going to happen is this police department, along with the mayor, will open up on some of the incidences we have had. Transparency is extremely important.

But, Lawrence, I want to say something. When the national government speaks, I can assure you the nation listens.

And as Houston has already been on the forefront, there are other cities and states that haven`t made a move.

And so, by this legislation passing bipartisan, I hope, every Republicans in the committee really speaking to the pain that they felt over the murder of George Floyd, if it is bipartisan, one thing you will know, it`s against the law. Chokehold is no longer provided or allowed across the nation.

You better have your police body cams on. You have civil rights violations. You have to have an accreditation for the 18,000 police departments.

Most people don`t know they`re not accredited. They don`t even have to have a standard of what is excessive force to be able to run a police department. Or nobody has a registry that indicates what police departments have been involved in misconduct and misconduct. They go from one police department to the next.

So, I really think we`re getting at the very heart of accountability but also giving police a road map for being what we think and know they should be. Lawrence, they`ve got to be our friends, just as they are protectors, protect and serve, they need to be guardians. And to be guardians, they will go to home to their families, which we all want, and we will go home to our families.

I don`t know how many mothers, again, have to go through that the pain of a Trayvon Martin`s mother, that was under a color of law (ph), of an Eric Garner`s mother, of a Tamir Rice mother, Walter Scott mother -- so many mothers that have gone through this, and fathers, the Ahmaud Arbery, because he, in fact, were some folk that said they were former officers.

We can`t go through this anymore. The nation can`t go through this anymore. I think this legislation which we hope to name, by the way, he has one bill already named after him, we hope to name this next bill after George Floyd.

O`DONNELL:  Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

JACKSON LEE:  Thank you for having me.

O`DONNELL:  Thank you.

And after this break, Maya Wiley will join us, Judith Brown Dianis will joins us also with their analysis of the changes that are already happening in policing thanks to the power of George Floyd.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL:  Here is more from the police chief of Minneapolis today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARRADONDO:  Race is inextricably a part of the American policing system. We will never evolve in this profession if we do not address it head-on. Communities of color have paid the heaviest of cost, and that is with their lives. And our children must be safe guarded from ever having to contribute to the horrific and shameful chapter of this country`s history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  Joining our discussion now, Maya Wiley, former counsel to the New York City mayor`s office, and the former chairwoman of the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, and Judith Brown Dianis is a civil rights lawyer and executive director of the Advancement Project, a nonprofit civil rights organization.

And, Maya, I want to start with you. And I`m sure many in the audience are wondering how Minneapolis can have such a progressive police chief as Chief Arradondo who they just heard and yet have this horrible police work being done under his jurisdiction, and we have had progressive police chiefs in this country starting in the 1970s running many, many departments where some pretty horrible things have happened.

Your experience on the civilian complaint review board is really special and you peek to understanding where the gap is between these progressive police chiefs and the action that takes place on the street.

MAYA WILEY, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  That`s such an important question, Lawrence, and so complicated. But let`s distill it down.

It does matter that we have people heading police departments who are committed to a different version of policing, who are committed to making both reforms in the department but also thinking very differently about what happens, what the job of policing is fundamentally.

The problem that a lot of leaders have, even when they have a vision, is the police union. And, you know, we heard that come out of the police chief`s mouth. We heard the conversation about the collective bargaining agreement.

You know, traditionally police unions have been so powerful politically. And like New York City is a great example of this. Part of their power is when voters fear crime, even if there is no reason, in New York City and in cities across this country, we have seen three decades of vast drops in serious and violent crime, and only 5 percent, 5 percent of police arrests are serious crime, 5 percent.

And think about that when you think about Philonise Floyd talking about his brother`s -- the allegation that his brother was passing a $20 fraudulent bill. That is not a serious crime in this country. We don`t even know if he committed it.

But the point is, we don`t have a crime problem, a significant crime problem and, yet, we have watched police unions both threaten work stoppages like threaten not to do the job if they don`t like how they`re being treated which then terrifies the political class, you know, politicians who have to win re-election who get worried because if you even see a very small jump in crime, then suddenly there is this great talk about fear of crime and lawlessness and we`re hearing that from Republicans. We heard it from Republicans today in the House. None of the numbers actually bear out the fear.

And yet, and yet, that political power of fear and the political power of fear of black people in particular, and Latinos in particular have created a political condition that essentially blinds us to the extreme peace dividend that we have created in this country that we are not spending on our children and schools, that we are not spending on health care for our people, that we are not spending on addressing mental health issues or any of the other issues that are in that 95 percent where police are being called for things that call for a social worker, that call for a psychologist, that call for different forms of resources that make us all better.

And that`s the political problem that we`re trying to solve now, I think.

O`DONNELL:  Judith, as I was saying in the previous segment, policing is a local function, so the change has to happen at the local level.

That executive order by the mayor of Houston yesterday for me was extraordinary primarily in its and its thoroughness. It wasn`t just about one thing, chokeholds, deadly force rules and requiring, this might be the most important reform of all, requiring police officers to intervene when they see misconduct by other police officers.

If that ever actually became the rule in police work that would be possibly the single biggest revolution in what we`re seeing.

JUDITH BROWNE DIANIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: That`s accurate. Unfortunately, you can`t legislate or rule away some of the internal culture of police departments is to Maya`s point, the police unions have allowed this ability to build a blue wall of silence so that officers don`t feel like they should speak out against other officers.

In fact, when they do, what they get is retaliation by their fellow officers. So I think that that`s a good step in the right direction. But here`s the thing. At the end of the day, we can put in place all of these laws. We should change things around accountability to hold officers accountable because it is very difficult right now. In fact, even if we change that, the first thing that they have to say is I feared for my life and they get off.

But if I have a car that`s broken down and I know it`s on its last leg, I don`t continue to throw money at the car. I don`t continue to go to the mechanic. So instead of continuing to fund something that is broken, we need to start investing in our communities. You know, the day after Trump was over with his photo op with the Bible, Barr - William Barr, put $400 million more into policing. And so we do have a problem with the culture of policing, but we also have a problem where our country needs to step back, needs to listen to the people in the streets who are saying, we don`t trust the police.

Let`s start thinking about a different kind of safety in our communities like the folks in Minneapolis are getting ready to do because black people deserve more. If the pandemic has not shown us anything, it has shown us that structural racism has led to less hospital beds, has led to schools with no technology that we have all of these problems that need to be solved, and our local governments have to step up now to invest in our communities.

O`DONNELL: Maya Wiley and Judith Browne Dianis, thank you both for sharing your expertise with us tonight. We really appreciate it.

DIANIS: Thank you.

VALERIE: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. After this break, Donald Trump is going to have his first in person campaign fundraiser tomorrow. First one since the coronavirus shutdown began. And he plans to have his first post coronavirus rally next Friday because in Trump world the coronavirus is a thing of the past. Laurie Garrett will join us next with the reality that Donald Trump is ignoring.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: In Trump world, the coronavirus is a thing of the past. But of course in Trump world there are no nursing homes and all the meat packing plants are squeaky clean and Trump world exists only in Donald Trump`s imagination. Here in the United States we now have more than two million confirmed cases of coronavirus. As of tonight, there are 2,500,130 confirmed cases of coronavirus. And as of tonight this country has suffered 113,450 deaths from coronavirus.

In at least 9 states, coronavirus hospitalizations have been on the rise since Memorial Day. One of those states is Texas, which today reported a third consecutive day of its highest ever coronavirus hospitalizations. There are now 2,153 coronavirus hospitalizations in Texas, a 30% increase over the last two weeks, Texas ranks 38th now in the Nation for coronavirus cases per hundred thousand people. Tomorrow Donald Trump is scheduled to attend a fund raising dinner in Dallas.

Joining us now, Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter covering global pandemic. She is now on NBC news and MSNBC Science Contributor. Laurie, where are we tonight in the real world, not in Trump world, the real world in the United States in the coronavirus curve?

LAURIE GARRETT, MSNBC SCIENCE CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Lawrence. You know, before I answer your question, I want to praise you and so many of the team at MSNBC for your outstanding work covering the George Floyd murder and the subsequent outcomes there from that, the protests. Thank you for your work.

O`DONNELL: Laurie, let me just pause and let the audience know that 99% of that work is done by people on the other side of these cameras who no one ever sees. That`s who really delivered - has been delivering that story to you. But, please, Laurie, go ahead.

GARRETT: But to answer your question, yes, you`re right that most of America seems to have been lulled into kind of, a happy complacency. And of course nobody likes to be under lockdown. Nobody likes it. I`m sick and tired of it. Right? We all are. But to have a President just sort of shrug it off and move on to the next topic as if it was all over merely is encouraging millions and millions of Americans to believe, you know, you can go back outside. You don`t need the mask. You don`t need the gloves and so on and nothing could be further from the truth. If you look at the kinds of increases over the last two weeks starting with the Memorial Day surge and then the general opening and key states around the nation, including Texas, you see these enormous increases.

I mean, Arizona over that period of time has jumped nearly 200% in the number of reported COVID cases. Arkansas a more than 100%. And Texas is approaching a 70% increase in 14 days in the number of diagnosed COVID cases. Now, this is not a question of, are they testing more? This is diagnosed medical cases. Most of these people have symptoms severe enough that they needed hospitalization or medical attention. So we are far from being out of the woods on this. I was just looking at a Morgan Stanley survey, hardly a left-wing group, right?

And they are estimating that our "R naught", that crucial way of measures how likely it is that I will infect if I have COVID one person or two or three statistically speaking, that the "R naught" far from being one, which means that the epidemic just kind of is stuck, it continues to grow, but not at an increased rate, just everybody infects one other person, that the "R naught" it too means it is doubling, right? Morgan Stanley thinks we`re spreading an "R naught" of 1.1, so we`re not growing super fast, but we`re not shrinking at all.

And if you just assume that that`s right, and I actually think it`s higher than that but if you assume its right 1.1. Then you take the math and you go out to August and sometime in the middle of August we hit 200,000 dead Americans. And by September we`re looking at a quarter of a million.

O`DONNELL: So that`s 200,000 before Donald Trump`s hoped for republican convention at a location to be determined as soon as he can find what? I mean, I am not sure there is going to be any such location, but what does this tell us then if we`re going to be at 200,000 in August when Universities are starting to reopen their dormitories or they hope to reopen their dormitories, what is America? And what is American life look like in September or October?

GARRETT: You know, my real fear, Lawrence, is that as people start to realize, oops, there is a lot of COVID out there, maybe I should put the mask back on, maybe we should reconsider what we`re doing here, there is going to be a - it`s going to be really hard to put people back into lockdown anywhere. You know, the cat is out of the bag, and the cat doesn`t want to go back in the bag. And so our options are narrowing, and we won`t have a vaccine. We won`t have a miraculous cure. We won`t have some technological solution. So I am very concerned that as you get a realization that things are dire, it will be harder to get the public health measures encouraged and followed.

O`DONNELL: Laurie Garrett, thank you very much. Thank you for that dose of reality that we all have to accept. We really appreciate it. Thank you, Laurie.

GARRETT: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And when we come back, gross prosecutorial abuse. That is what a former federal judge has accused William Barr of and the Justice Department`s attempt to dismiss the case in which Michael Flynn has already pleaded guilty. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Preposterous, that is how a former federal judge described the Justice Department`s move last month to dismiss the charges against President Trump`s First National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

In an amicus brief filed today, retired Judge John Gleeson offered a scathing rebuke of the Justice Department`s contradictory and legally unsound arguments and recommended that the judge overseeing Michael Flynn`s case deny the government`s request and move to sentence Michael Flynn for twice pleading guilty to lying to the FBI.

John Gleeson said the Justice Department was engaging in what he called highly irregular conduct that was corrupt and politically motivated. He wrote the facts surrounding the filing of the government`s motion constitute clear evidence of gross prosecutorial abuse. They reveal an unconvincing effort to disguise as legitimate a decision to dismiss that is based solely on the fact that Flynn is a political ally of President Trump.

John Gleeson said that attorney general William Barr`s Justice Department has, "abdicated its responsibility to prosecute cases fairly. He wrote, it has treated the case like no other and in doing so has undermined the public`s confidence in the rule of law". Joining our discussion now is Matt Miller former spokesperson for the Attorney General Eric Holder and an MSNBC Contributor. Matt, your reaction to this extraordinary filing in this case.

MATT MILLER, FORMER SPOKESMAN FOR A.G. ERIC HOLDER: I think extraordinary is the right word. It really was a detailed and devastating rebuttal to the argument the Justice Department has been making. You know that Judge Gleeson was really trying to answer two questions one, does a judge in this case have the authority to reject the departments attempt to dismiss this case. And two, if he has the authority should he.

And the conclusion he came to is that usually judges should defer to Justice Department that the Justice Department gets to decide who to prosecute, who not to prosecute. But in a case where the Justice Department is acting so transparently corrupt and when they are actually - so they are obviously critically motivated, for the judge to just defer to them, it would implicate the judge himself in the Justice Department corruption. And so not only does he have the authority but he should exercise that authority and just move to sentence Michael Flynn.

O`DONNELL: As you read it, you can feel just how astounded Gleeson is at what he is even covering in this. And he says that Flynn committed perjury in his attempt to change course in this case. But the judge should just factor that in when he`s sentencing him. So could the scenario be that the judge goes forward, sentences Michael Flynn, and then Donald Trump pardons Michael Flynn or will Donald Trump intervene before the judge chooses to sentence Michael Flynn?

MILLER: You know the President could intervene at any point but there is one other possibility and that is the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals where Michael Flynn`s lawyer went to try to get them to sort of yank this out of Judge Sullivan`s hands and intervene the case. They may take it out of Judge Sullivan`s hands. Judge Sullivan drew an unfortunate panel, as if - two pretty good allies of the President on that panel. We don`t know what the full circuit would rule if it ever got to them but it is possible Judge Sullivan will never be allowed to rule on this case.

But if so look, I think ultimately we all know the President would pardon Mike Flynn but I think the point that Judge Gleeson was making in his argument today, the President can pardon him and suffer the political consequences but if he want to do that he needs to do it transparently, he needs to step forth and give him the pardon and pay the price for that not try to fly under the radar and in the name of justice make an transparently self serving and transparently political argument through the Justice Department as the Attorney General did in this case.

O`DONNELL: Well, the challenge for Flynn may be that Donald Trump might only have a few months left in his Presidency to issue this pardon. The morning of January 20th might be the last minute and the process that we are in now might not be completed by that time.

MILLER: It might not be completed by that time. And I suspect the same with roger stone, I suspect before Mike Flynn ever sees the inside of a jail cell whether it`s January 20th or whether sometime before that the president will intervene and pardon him. He sent all the signals in the world and that is what he intends to do. Bill Barr is trying to let him off the hook and do it for him but if he is unsuccessful I think you are right and the President will intervene at some point.

O`DONNELL: Matt Miller, thank you for joining our discussions. I really appreciate it.

MILLER: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. Up next, there is no better analyst of political polls than Charlie Cook. He is the best I know. But he`s never seen anything like Donald Trump`s drop in the last month in the Gallup poll. And Charlie certainly has never seen anything like a presidential campaign threatening to sue a news network for issuing a poll that shows their presidential candidate losing by 14 points. Guess which campaign did that. That`s next.

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O`DONNELL: As of tonight every poll tells us that 146 days from now American voters are going to get rid of Donald Trump. The latest Gallup poll released today shows Donald Trump`s approval rating at 39% and his disapproval at 57%, that is a ten point drop in his approval rating in that same Gallup poll in just one month in that poll. And today in the greatest sign of panic ever seen in presidential campaigning history Donald Trump`s campaign paid a lawyer, actually paid a lawyer to write a letter to CNN demanding that they retract a poll showing Joe Biden with a 14 point lead over Donald Trump.

Joining us now is Charlie Cook the Editor and Publisher of the Cook Political Report and Columnist for "National Journal" and NBC News Political Analyst. Charlie, thank you very much for joining us tonight. And warning, don`t mention the CNN poll where Donald Trump is losing by 14 points because you might get a lawyer`s letter if you make any reference to it at all. But Charlie, what do you see in all of the polling that we`re seeing what is it telling us about the presidential race as of tonight?

CHARLIE COOK, COLUMNIST NATIONAL JOURNAL: I`ve covered politics for 36 years and I have never seen this happen before but anyway, but it is, if you take the live interview, real people calling real people the average is about 10. NBC Wall Street Journal and ABC post at 7. CNN had a 14. Quinnipiac and Marist had it at 11. I mean, but basically 10 is the average of the reel polls.

And whenever it`s a 10, you`re going have three points one way or the other. So but he has clearly slipped several points, three or four points in the last few weeks and the thing is that CNN poll was actually taken after all the other polls were so it could be absolutely dead on. And you - but look at the state polling. Let`s look at the real clear politics averages. He is behind in five of the six key states. Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and tied North Carolina. Clearly there has been slippage. Now how much slippage you could argue about.

O`DONNELL: And Charlie what do you see between now and the next 140 days or so? What changes this?

COOK: The biggest, President Trump`s numbers are not very resilient. And I don`t think he is ever going to drop much below this. This is his space and it is bed rock. They`re not moving anywhere. But I think what has happened the last few weeks is his ability to go after the swing voters in the middle has been compromised by sort of erratic behavior.

The economy was balancing out doubts about him as a person and as a leader, but you take the strong economy out and suddenly then those character issues, leadership issues start going up and start becoming a real problem, and I think that is exactly what happened. But his numbers aren`t going to drop below where they are, but he can`t win at where they are right now either.

O`DONNELL: Charlie Cook, thank you very much for joining us. Charlie Cook gets the last word tonight. "The 11th Hour" with Brian Williams starts now.

 

 

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