Amy Klobuchar drops from VEEPstakes TRANSCRIPT: 6/18/20, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell

Guests: Amy Klobuchar, Neal Katyal, Regina Romero

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

And, of course, there`s a small matter of Donald Trump sending a lawyer`s letter to CNN for producing poll results that were similar to that. I think maybe even maybe two points more of a lead for Joe Biden. So, Rupert Murdoch I guess can await the lawyer`s letter from Donald Trump for this latest poll.

(LAUGHTER)

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Yes. I have to say, when they sent that letter to CNN and then CNN made public its lawyer`s response, I was like, I have never wanted to be a lawyer, certainly not a corporate lawyer, let alone one representing a media organization, but this day, I wish I was that CNN lawyer because that sounds like a fun day at work.

O`DONNELL: Rachel, I was fascinated by your interview with District Attorney Paul Howard who has brought these charges in Atlanta against the two police officers, and in this hour, we`re going to clear up this -- this semantic game actually that`s being played by one of the defense lawyers who is trying to suggest that his client is not a so-called state`s witness. I thought that this attorney explained it perfectly well in your hour and we`ll probably use some of what he said as we explain it here.

There`s -- there is really nothing here. This is really just a language that a lawyer is using to try to protect the image of his client at this point.

MADDOW: Fascinating. I look forward to seeing it, my friend. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel. Thank you.

Well, Neal Katyal will be joining us tonight with his reading of the hugely important reading by the United States Supreme Court today blocking Donald Trump`s attempt to end President Obama`s policy of allowing young, on documented immigrants to remain in this country and pursue their educations here and pursue their hopes and dreams here. Hundreds of thousands of young immigrants can sleep soundly tonight in this country. Thanks to that decision. But for how long? Neal Katyal will guide us through that Supreme Court decision later in this hour, a decision that has infuriated the president.

Donald Trump was so personally crushed by the decision that he tweeted, do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn`t like me?

And that wasn`t the craziest or least presidential thing Donald Trump said today as he continues to lash out at his former national security adviser John Bolton who has revealed new descriptions of criminal conduct and impeachable conduct by the president. An example of just how crazy Donald Trump can sound when he`s talking about John Bolton appears in a "Wall Street Journal" interview released today in which the president of the United States says, the only thing I liked about Bolton was that everybody thought he was crazy.

Now, there is the president of the United States in the middle of a re- election campaign telling American voters that he likes to hire people that everybody thinks is crazy.

That is one of the many reasons Donald Trump is trailing Joe Biden in every poll, including that important new Fox News poll released tonight that Rachel was just referring to showing Joe Biden with a 12 point lead over Donald Trump. We`ll take a closer look at that poll later in this hour with Zerlina Maxwell and Jonathan Capehart.

And we`ll take a look at some of the craziest things Donald Trump has said today that continue to drive his poll numbers down. We`ll do that later in the hour.

We are now just two months away from the scheduled Democratic National Convention. We don`t yet know what form that convention will take. But by the weekend before the convention, at the very latest, we will know who Joe Biden has chosen as his running mate for the office of vice president of the United States.

Our first guest tonight is one of the women senators possibly under consideration for the vice presidential slot on the Democratic ballot. But this week, Senator Amy Klobuchar is working on police reform legislation as a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee which has jurisdiction over that legislation.

Senator Klobuchar participated in Tuesday`s Senate committee hear hearing, the first committee in the history that was provoked by and concentrated on police use of deadly force. In that hearing, we heard Republican senators use condemning language about the conduct of the police officers in Minneapolis who are charged with the murder of George Floyd.

Republican senators in the hearing agreed with Democrats that they had to do something. But when the Republican senator bill was unveiled this week, the Republican position became, we have to recommend something. For example, the Republican bill does not ban chokeholds by police, but it encourages police departments to stop using chokeholds. What prosecutors are now calling the police murder of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta this weekend has only increased the pressure for congressional action.

The two officers accused in that case turned themselves in to authorities today. The now fired police officer Garrett Rolfe who shot Rayshard Brooks in the back twice will appear in court tomorrow at 12:00 noon.

Officer Devin Brosnan, who did not fire his weapon, was booked this morning and released on bond. Officer Brosnan appeared with his lawyer on MSNBC earlier today. But in the interview, Officer Brosnan refused to answer any questions about the incident.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Officer Brosnan and Mr. Samuel, I`m curious. And, Officer Brosnan, thinking back to that night, are there things you wish were done differently and were handled differently?

OFFICER DEVIN BROSNAN, CHARGED IN DEATH OF RAYSHARD BROOKS: At this point in time, until I speak with the GDI, that`s a conversation I want to have with them and any other parties that are investigating it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Officer Brosnan`s lawyer took issue with Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard saying that Officer Brosnan would be a witness for the state in the prosecution of Garrett Rolfe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DON SAMUEL, ATTORNEY FOR OFFICER BROSNAN: He`s not cooperating against anybody. He`s going to -- he`s going to provide accurate information about what happened. He`s going to describe what`s in these videos and in these body cams. He`s going to describe what he saw, what he heard during these events.

You know, witnesses are witnesses. They don`t belong to either party. They don`t belong to the prosecution. He doesn`t belong to the state, and he`s not going to testify against someone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: There is actually no legal disagreement between the district attorney and Officer Brosnan`s defense lawyer on this. Although, the defense lawyer is trying to pretend that there is a disagreement. What the district attorney said yesterday is that Officer Brosnan is fully cooperating with the district attorney. Officer Brosnan has already been interviewed more than once by the district attorney before he was even charged. They have recorded every word he has said to the district attorney.

And what the district attorney meant are referring to Officer Brosnan as a state`s witness is that the district attorney intends to call Devin Brosnan as a witness in the case, and the reason the district attorney is going to call him as a witness in the case is that the district attorney believes that what Officer Brosnan has already told the district attorney will help convict Garrett Rolfe in court. It is as simple as that.

But Devin Brosnan is still a police officer and presumably hopes to continue being a police officer if he can survive this case. And Devin Brosnan`s defense lawyer is just playing semantic games to try to obscure the fact that the district attorney believes that Devin Brosnan has already been and will continue to be a helpful witness for the prosecution in this case.

Joining our discussion now from Minneapolis is senior senator from Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar.

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

And can I borrow --

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Thank you. Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: -- can I borrow your expertise as a former district attorney yourself, to just referee this little distinction here, where a district attorney stands up and refers to a witness as being a state`s witness -- by which I think we know he means he intends to call the witness. And then the police officer`s lawyer says, well, he`s not going to be a witness for or against anyone, which is true of any witness. That`s the textbook definition of witness.

And it seems like he`s trying to get him out of the image of being basically turning against the other police officer.

Is that -- is that your sense of what we`re watching here?

KLOBUCHAR: It appears that that`s what happened. But I go back to the district attorney`s words and that is that a witness is a witness. They have to tell the truth. They are under oath. Whatever the testimony is, it is.

And clearly the district attorney believes that this system will be helpful and will get at the truth -- what we all saw on that video.

And I think one of the things I found interesting in listening to that discussion, Lawrence, is that one of the things we want to break down here is this culture. There are a lot of good cops out there. And I think we all know them.

And they are brought down by this kind of behavior where you have people like what happened in my state with the murder of George Floyd, when you have police officers that are basically on video committing murder.

And that is why we`re working so hard right now to get this bill passed that would basically put standards in place that good police officers will meet to ban chokeholds, to have accountability and transparency so we know what people`s records are, if there is misconduct, so they can`t go from one police department to another.

And I think you know people are crying out for this change right now, and this is our moment to make that change.

O`DONNELL: Senator, there is a big gap between the Republican legislation that was introduced in the Senate this week and the legislation that`s being moved by the Democrats in the House of Representatives, which would be close to what the Senate Democrats want. Is this one of those instances where you just -- in the end, you vote for the bill on the Senate floor to get into a conference with the House so that you then can try to work out a final bill in compromise with the House of Representatives?

KLOBUCHAR: You know, I think it is way too soon to talk about what procedure is being used, but we can`t just have a bill that does nothing. I think that has happened too many times where people are just voicing platitudes and saying, "Oh, we want to make this better," and they never really do. People are not going to tolerate that anymore --Democrats, Republicans.

And I just think Donald Trump is so out of touch as are some of our Republican colleagues on this if they don`t see that this is a moment to save lives, to build trust between the police and the community by making these sensible reforms.

And I just don`t think that we can sell out for nothing here. We`ve got to have substantial reform. And it can happen at the local and state level, but it can really happen at the federal level.

Anyone that watched that videotape and saw George Floyd`s life evaporate between our -- before our eyes really understands that if we answer this with silence, we are complicit. If we answer it with what the president`s call dominance as he waived the bible for a photo-op in front of that church, well, then we`re monsters.

But if we answer it with action, as I told my colleagues on the floor yesterday, if we answer it with action, then we`re lawmakers, and that`s what we were sent to Washington to do.

O`DONNELL: Senator Klobuchar, what is the future of this issue in the Democratic presidential campaign? Do you expect it to be a front and center issue in the presidential campaign?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, of course, it will be. But I think one of the things that you`ve seen is this is a part of a larger issue with this president. His reaction today on the historic ruling for Dreamers -- people aren`t against Dreamers. They`re just not against them but Donald Trump certainly is.

People who know no other country but America, people who have gone to school here, who work here, who have jobs here, and he spends his day tweeting out against personal grievances against the Supreme Court, a conservative Supreme Court where Justice Roberts has to step in and say what the president did was basically wrong and that we need to have -- we need to have a process that works for the Dreamers.

So I just think this is part of what you have seen over and over again where when you talk about the presidential campaign, you are going to have Joe Biden, who is someone who is competent, when you look at what`s happened with the pandemic and how the president failed to get ahead of it and now we`re seeing in this forthcoming book by Mr. Bolton that this was a president that actually reached out to the president of China to ask for help in his re-election campaigns when we`re dealing with the fact that he was not tough enough on China when this started, when we did -- he didn`t get ahead of this. He wasn`t able to get the vaccine going like we should have or the protective equipment out.

And then you have Joe Biden who helped and led the way to manage the Ebola pandemic, as someone who made sure that the money got out there in the right way when we had the last downturn. It`s going to be a complete contrast in this presidential campaign, including, of course, on the issue of race.

O`DONNELL: Senator, we`re probably seven or eight weeks away from Joe Biden making a choice for the vice presidential slot. Should Joe Biden return to Minnesota as Democrats have in the past, choosing Democratic Senator Humphrey from Minnesota for vice president, then choosing Walter Mondale for vice president?

Is there -- what case would you make at this point in the campaign for senior senator from Minnesota as the vice presidential candidate?

KLOBUCHAR: You know, Lawrence, I have never, as you probably know, in many, many shows, since I endorsed the vice president in that joyful night in Dallas, I never commented on this process at all.

But let me tell you this, after what I have seen in my state, what I have seen across the country -- this is a historic moment and America must seize on this moment. And I truly believe as I actually told the vice president last night when I called him that I think this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket, and there are so many incredibly qualified women.

But if you want to heal this nation right now, my party, yes, but our nation, this is sure a hell of a way to do it. And that`s just what I think after being through this in my state.

O`DONNELL: Senator Klobuchar, we`re now three weeks since the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in your state. Clearly, you`ve been going through a lot of thinking about what that means in terms of your responsibilities as a senator, what it means to your state.

How much has that influenced and how much of these last few weeks influenced what you have just told us that you want to withdraw? And apparently you`re saying you told Vice President Biden last night that you want to withdraw from consideration as a possible vice presidential candidate.

KLOBUCHAR: I did, and he was kind. And, by the way, I thought if I talk (ph) to him, it would really be nice to have a kind president in the White House. But for me, I have to, one, help my state to heal. This was a huge tragedy in my state, and I have a lot of work to do.

Tomorrow morning, I`m meeting with our African-American ministers about voting rights and the bill that I`m leading on that in the Senate. I`m in a unique position as a senior member, as you point out, of the Judiciary Committee to help usher this police reform through and work with my state.

And as I sat at George Floyd`s memorial, as I talked to people across this country, in the last few weeks, yes, I came to this conclusion. And I think it would be taking what has been a tragedy, but yet this moment of galvanizing force across this country and taking it and unifying our country, but also doing it in a joyful way, by putting someone of color on this ticket.

And you think about the past. You think about with Juneteenth coming up tomorrow. You think about the past with slavery. You think about the fact that in today`s world, African-American women can still go into a maternity ward in New Orleans and say, "our hands are swollen" and no one listens -- pregnant woman, and she loses her baby.

You think of the immigrant people that have been working on those front lines in the hospitals and at the grocery stores and driving those busses and how they have been overwhelmingly hit by the pandemic.

These are things that have been magnified that have always existed in such a big way. And I think one way you get at it and seize this historical moment and turn what has been probably the most difficult year in our country`s history since, I don`t know, World War II, if you take it and you put that into something that would be of such joy, with so many of my friends and colleagues that would be qualified for this job, I think you could make something like we have never seen and show the world what America is rally all about. That`s the conclusion I reached, Lawrence.

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: Senator Klobuchar, you are giving us the positive case for a woman of color on the ticket. But as you considered your own prospects in the last few weeks, did you have concerns about your own record as a prosecutor in Minneapolis and how that might be dragged into the campaign and into the possible -- what -- how you could function as a vice presidential candidate?

KLOBUCHAR: I think I could have functioned fine and there`s a lot of untruths out there about my record. And now is not the time to debate those. Some things that have been put out on there, on disreputable sites and passed through the Internet. And that`s just what life is in politics.

But I don`t think we should be taking this moment to have those kind of political fights. I think what this moment should be about is uniting our country and bringing us together. And I will do everything, and my resolve has not changed in any way to help Joe Biden get elected, because I just think the world will be a new one for our country when he is president.

And we have so much we need to do, including things that we`ve talked about, you and I, climate change, and finally doing something about the minimum wage and workers, and getting this from day one, having a president that`s going to take his first 100 days. And I have a bunch of ideas for him on that and what he can do in those first 100 days to get at this pandemic and to take it on in an honest and real way for the people of this country.

O`DONNELL: Senator Klobuchar, your campaign for the White House began in the snows of Minnesota, what seems like a very, very long time ago. We all watched on the night when you decided to drop out of the race for the presidency and endorsed Joe Biden, and you did it with that Humphrey-like happy warrior approach that you`re bringing to this.

Tonight, it`s been fascinating to watch as you leave this race that you find -- you are all -- you`re delivering this positive message about what can happen with you out of the race, and that seems to be similar to what we`re hearing tonight.

This is the end of the road tonight for you on this program for the Amy Klobuchar quest for the White House in terms of a vice presidential office there.

(CROSSTALK)

KLOBUCHAR: It`s not the end of the road for me, man. I`ve got a lot of things I want to do. But I --

O`DONNELL: No, no, I`m talking about -- I`m just talking about the White House. Go ahead. Sorry.

KLOBUCHAR: Yes, OK. So, you know, you make these decisions, and you`ve got to decide, as our friend, my friend, John McCain, always said -- there is nothing more liberating than a cause larger than yourself.

This cause of making sure we have a decent person in the White House in Joe Biden, that`s my cause. Making sure that we finally do something where we are on track to get the vaccines out, do everything in the right way for this country, that we have economic fairness in this country, that we get our economy moving again, all of that to me -- why am I smiling? That is exciting to get at that.

The fact that we have people supporting police reform, police chiefs across the country, line officers in my own state, people that were horrified when they watched that video and they`re translating that horror into action, into voting in November but also action right now.

To me, comes -- out of that tragedy, comes a moment, a historic moment for our country and out of that comes joy.

So if you are asking me why I`m the happy warrior here, Lawrence, is because I see this future that we can have of our country, and I see how we can get there.

O`DONNELL: Senator Amy Klobuchar, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Thank you for sharing that news with us. I`m sure it`s going to change the political dynamic for the next 24 hours, at least, talking about this subject. Really appreciate it. Thank you, Senator.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

We`re joined now to discuss what we just heard from Senator Klobuchar by Zerlina Maxwell. She`s a senior director of progressive programming at Sirius XM radio. She`s the author of the upcoming book, "The End of White Politics: How to Heal Our Liberal Divide".

Jonathan Capehart is also joining us. He`s opinion writer for "The Washington Post".

Both are MSNBC political analysts and both are rushing on to this program ahead of schedule because of the breaking news that we just heard from Senator Amy Klobuchar who just announced on this program that she called Joe Biden last night to withdraw from consideration as the possible vice presidential nominee on the Biden ticket.

Zerlina Maxwell, your reaction to Amy Klobuchar now saying the vice presidential nominee should be a woman of color?

ZERLINA MAXWELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I agree with Senator Amy Klobuchar, and I think that she, like so many of us on the left, are looking at the Democratic electorate of the future, and we`re looking at the where the energy is and where it was lacking in 2016, frankly. And when you are looking at the data, what you see is very, very clear. You need somebody on this ticket who can excite young people of color, particularly women of color.

And if you were able to do that, if you were able to message directly to those communities, and I think that a woman of color will be able to do that based not on diversity being a pretty picture because of her lived experience and perspective on policies. So, if you go after that one million black people that did not vote that voted for Obama and you go after the four million larger part of the electorate that stayed home, we focus on the voters that went from Obama to Donald Trump. But what we failed to think about and really think through how to reach those voters who flipped from Barack Obama to staying at home.

So I think Senator Klobuchar like so many of us has come to the conclusion that what Joe Biden needs is a woman of color who can speak to those issues. I specifically think it should be a black woman.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart, I wish I could read to you this passage in my book about the 1968 election, which had a very similar moment to this, a dramatic moment where LBJ was actually considering two senators, both of the senators from Minnesota as his possible vice president, Hubert Humphrey and Gene McCarthy.

And Gene McCarthy got kind of angry about the competition and just bit early, publicly dropped out of it in a way that shocked LBJ and ruined his relationship even before Gene McCarthy turned against the Vietnam War. But here is Amy Klobuchar basically going the Gene McCarthy move, which is withdrawing, but doing it with the Humphrey happy warrior approach to it and seeing apparently what Zerlina sees in this, and the potential excitement for the ticket to have a woman of color on the ticket.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. I think it`s important that she did that. I thought the words that she -- that she said, that she used were right and fitting and terrific, quite frankly. I don`t disagree with anything that Zerlina Maxwell said because she is 100 percent right.

What I think the reason why Senator Klobuchar had no choice but to do this was because of the headwinds that she was facing in terms of being considered to be Vice President Biden`s vice presidential running mate. Minneapolis has been -- has seen demonstrations since George Floyd was killed on Memorial Day. Minneapolis is in Hennepin County, she was the former Hennepin County prosecutor, attorney.

The cop who killed George Floyd was a cop when she was there, had complaints against him when she was there. She was already being hit with questions about her tenure.

And so, those were the sorts of headwinds that she was facing, just on the case of George Floyd. But then that got to the larger issue that she had, and that was her standing with African-American voters.

Now, I have always argued that no one in the Democratic race was going to have a chance with African-American voters as long as Joe Biden was in the race, but Amy Klobuchar, Senator Klobuchar had an especially hard time, particularly because she didn`t really make an overt effort to go after that vote.

And, so, you know, coming out of Super Tuesday where she barely had any standing in South Carolina and then in the Super Tuesday states where the vote was overwhelmingly African-American, she was going into the vice presidential sweepstakes with a big headwind against her. Then, George Floyd was killed, and it was virtually impossible, I think, for her to be considered to be Joe Biden`s running mate.

But the fact that a lot of people thought that she should be considered, that she was number one in a lot of people`s minds for a very long time, the fact that she has probably come out and said she doesn`t -- she`s not in it and she thinks a woman of color should be the one picked actually would carry a lot -- it should carry a lot of sway.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Joe Biden said to me back in March. This was the day before the Michigan primary. I interviewed him in Michigan about the vice presidential choice. Let`s listen to what he said about that then.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: In your experience, and I mean your lifetime of political experience and watching this choice made, a running mate, do you think that it`s important that it will someone who actually has been tested on that presidential debate stage the way I assume Barack Obama thought it was very important that his vice presidential candidate had already been tested at that level, as you were standing beside him on the debate stage.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that`s a very important factor.

O`DONNELL: Very important factor. And we`re going to leave at that today?

BIDEN: Yes.

O`DONNELL: OK.

(LAUGHTER)

BIDEN: By the way, there is a number of women as well tested in other ways, not on the debate stage but in their debates in their states and being national figures. So, you know, -- but, yes, I think that`s an important factor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Zerlina, there is Joe Biden saying it`s a very important factor that the vice presidential nominee has already been tested at the presidential debate stage level. That sure gives a big advantage to Senator Kamala Harris.

ZERLINA MAXWELL, CO-HOST, "SIGNAL BOOST": Yes. I do think that that particular bit there does give an advantage to Senator Kamala Harris. And I do think that one of the things that people look at differently now in the context of the race for vice president is their exchange in the first Democratic primary debate, where she stood up to him on the issue of bussing.

Now, the merits of the debate and sort of the context of what they were debating in that moment, people really don`t forget that. But what they remember is when she stood up to him and said that little girl was me, that was a moment that even though her campaign did not go the full distance, people respected the fact that she stood up to the front-runner. And he was the front-runner most of the primary until sort of the Bernie surge in the late stages there.

So, at that time, think about how much gut it took to really go to a debate and debate as if you wanted the top job as President and you were unafraid to stand up to a former vice president and the front-runner. So I think that puts her ahead.

But I also don`t want to dismiss folks who weren`t on that stage like Congresswoman Val Demings or Stacey Abrams from Georgia because a lot of folks jump forward and say, well, this person doesn`t have enough experience, that person has the more specific experience that we`re looking for in a vice president. But I just want to remind everybody that Donald Trump is the President. And so I don`t know why we do that when we are talking about image (ph) or black people being in positions of power when we haven`t done that on the other side.

Currently, Donald Trump is the President during a global pandemic, where he has previously told people to inject disinfectant. And so I`m certainly not going to do a serious game of analysis about whether or not Stacey Abrams is more competent than that person. And so I just want to say that all of the women that he has to choose from are equally valuable and equitable in terms of being able to be in that position.

O`DONNELL: Zerlina Maxwell, Jonathan Capehart, thank you for jumping in and covering this breaking news with us. We really appreciate it.

When we come back, Neal Katyal will join us on the Supreme Court`s decision on DACA today, and Donald Trump`s Trumpian reaction to that decision.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Donald Trump has already appointed two Supreme Court justices, but he wants to appoint more, especially after today`s ruling by the court written by Chief Justice Roberts striking down Donald Trump`s attempt to end President Obama`s policy, allowing young undocumented immigrants growing up in this country to remain in this country.

After the Supreme Court issued its decision, Donald Trump tweeted, "These horrible and politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or conservatives. We need more justices or we will lose our Second Amendment and everything else." None of which was involved in that Supreme Court decision today.

Joining us now is Neal Katyal, Former Acting U.S. Solicitor General, who has argued dozens of cases before the United States Supreme Court. He is an MSNBC legal contributor.

Neal, your reading of this decision today?

NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL & MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: So some Supreme Court decisions are abstract, Lawrence. This isn`t. This involves the lives of almost 800,000 people in America right now. And it is a major decision allowing them to stay in this country and stopped Donald Trump from doing what he wanted to do, which was try and remove them.

So, basically - presidents have always had discretion to enforce laws, criminal laws and immigration laws. And what President Obama did in 2012 was he said these so-called "Dreamers" should be able to stay, that he was going to exercise his discretion not to throw the book and enforce the immigration laws against these children who of course came here through no fault of their own.

And that`s where things stood until Donald Trump got elected. What he did was rescind that. He ordered them to basically end the DACA program. And then he sent his top lawyer in, the solicitor general, to defend that in the Supreme Court. And what happened today is that he lost and lost bigly.

That is, the Supreme Court, in an opinion by the Chief Justice, who is a President Bush appointee, so no liberal, said the President acted arbitrarily and capriciously. He just didn`t buy the reasons that Trump gave for it, which after all stunk to high heaven.

O`DONNELL: And does the opinion show the Trump administration how to do this a legal way that will survive at the Supreme Court?

KATYAL: No. I mean, I think what the challenge there is that (ph) Trump straight action did wisely is they just said narrowly, we`re bringing a limited challenge that basically is about this President doing it in this way. And they said, look, you don`t have to get into if there`s some other way to do it or something like that. And the court today basically didn`t get into that either.

And so, yes, Lawrence. I take your question to be, can President Trump or some future president figure out a way to end DACA? And I think the Supreme Court is saying, maybe it`s possible, we`re not answering that question right now, but here this President botched it so badly that they had to strike it down. And that`s a really remarkable thing.

I had the privilege of defending the federal government in the Supreme Court for a couple of years. You really got to try and lose your case if you`re defending the federal government. The President has so much deference in this space. But this President was so incompetent that the Supreme Court said you can`t do this.

O`DONNELL: Neal, please stay with us. We have to squeeze in a commercial break here. When we come back, I want to get your view of what Donald Trump`s attacks on the Supreme Court today mean in the Supreme Court, how the justices take comments like that from a president. Of course, no president other than Trump has ever issued comments like that. But we`ll do that when we come back after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Neal Katyal is back with us, discussing the Supreme Court`s DACA decision today.

And Neal, this decision comes out against the President`s position, although it may be politically favorable to the President in many ways. And the President tweets, "Do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn`t like me?" And then he also tweets, "These horrible and politically charged decisions" - so he`s accusing the court of being horrible and politically charged. He says they are "shotgun blasts" - these decisions - "into the face of people who are proud to call themselves Republicans." And then he says, "We need more justices or we`ll lose our Second Amendment and everything else" that Trump voters care about.

You worked in the Supreme Court. You were a Supreme Court clerk. You have some feeling for life there in those chambers and how calm it usually is and deliberative. You certainly never saw any communication from a president like that hit the Supreme Court when you were a clerk there.

KATYAL: Absolutely, I didn`t. And look, I`ve had the privilege of arguing 41 cases there, and I`ve represented everyone from presidents to Guantanamo detainees to corporations. And I think the truth is, every single time they`re trying to do the job based on the law, they certainly don`t do what Donald Trump is accusing them of doing, of ruling against someone because they don`t like them personally or something like that.

That is absurd. It`s preposterous. It`s an insult to our proud Supreme Court. When they put those black robes on, they act like justices. And sometimes I`ll lose cases and be very upset, as will my clients, but I`ve never heard any one of them say anything like this.

And I think all of your viewers should look at those tweets from the President and think about it, because on the one side of America, you`ve got one branch of government, the Supreme Court, has reasoned decisions like the one today, scholarly. And you can disagree with it or whatever, but it is on the up and up. On the other, you`ve got the President of the United States, who`s like a sniveling, complaining, whining, accusatory person who`s going and insinuating these things about our highest court. It is a sad, sad day.

I think we should celebrate what Madison and Hamilton left us in the form of the Supreme Court, and we should celebrate our justices for doing something like today or the ruling on Monday for LGBTQ equality, which by the way included one of Donald Trump`s own appointees to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, who wrote the opinion.

So I guess I disagree with you a little, Lawrence, when you said, oh, this politically can help the President. I don`t see how that is. I mean, the President has been incapable of implementing his agenda in every way, shape and form, and today`s decision is just another example of it.

O`DONNELL: Well, the politics of it, though, are that most Republicans actually favor allowing the "Dreamers" to stay and pursue their dreams. And so Donald Trump gets to play the tough guy in relation to them but, in fact, doesn`t have to actually be the tough guy because the Supreme Court has gotten that out of the way for him.

But do you think, Neal, that there are Republican-appointed justices in that court who, when they are considering joining the Democratic-appointed judges on the court in an opinion, worry about what the Trump tweet will say about them?

KATYAL: No, not at all. Zero. I mean, that`s the beauty of Article III (inaudible). I certainly see that in the Senate Republicans who seem afraid of even Donald Trump`s slightest accusatory statement or something like that. But the Supreme Court, no. I think these folks are doing their job and their duty. Sometimes they`re going to disagree with them very vehemently, but they are not thinking about it in political terms.

And I think that`s - the ultimate lesson of today`s decision and the decision from Monday is we are a country of laws. And what that means is that the President doesn`t get to do whatever he wants, which is the way he`s been acting for three years. And this really does vindicate America`s checks and balances system.

O`DONNELL: Neal Katyal, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.

KATYAL: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: After this break, coronavirus cases hit a record high today in some places, but the Republican Governor of Arizona is not requiring masks. Mayors in Arizona are taking safety into their own hands. One of those mayors, Tucson Mayor, Regina Romero, will join us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Oklahoma is one of 20 states where the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has increased over the past two weeks. Two days from now, Donald Trump will hold a campaign rally at an arena in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that seats 19,000 people.

Event organizers at the arena said that due to the recent spike in coronavirus cases, they have requested that the Trump campaign provide, quote, "a written plan detailing the steps the event will institute for health and safety, including those related to social distancing." The Tulsa arena says that the Trump campaign has yet to provide that plan.

Arizona, Florida and Texas have reported record-high single-day increases in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases. Those states have now set and broken their own single-day records of new coronavirus cases in the last 48 hours.

Today Arizona announced 2,519 new cases. That`s up from 2,392 cases on Tuesday. Florida set its single-day high today with 3,207 new cases. That`s up from 2,783 cases on Tuesday. And Texas reported 3,516 new cases. That`s up from 3,129 on Wednesday. Despite an increase in infections,

Arizona`s Republican Governor Doug Ducey has not issued a statewide mandate on masks. Instead, he`s leaving that decision up to local mayors.

In the United States, as of tonight, there are 2,198,360 confirmed cases of coronavirus. And as of tonight, this country has suffered 119,002 deaths from coronavirus.

Joining our discussion now is the Mayor of Tucson, Arizona, Regina Romero.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight. What is the situation on masks in your city? It`s up to you to make your own decision. What have you decided?

MAYOR REGINA ROMERO, (D) TUCSON: Well, good evening, Lawrence, and thank you for having me on your show. I am a big fan. I signed my emergency proclamation at 2 p.m. today. And the reason that I had not been able to sign to make masks mandatory in our city was because Governor Ducey, in his emergency and in his executive order, preempted cities, towns, and counties in Arizona from taking steps further than what his executive order directed us to do.

So it took some pressure from doctors. More than 1,000 doctors signed a letter asking the Governor to make masks mandatory. I`ve been working on meeting and calling the Governor for a couple of weeks now to ask him to untie our hands as mayors of the cities of Arizona. And just up until yesterday did we hear from the Governor that he would untie our hands and let cities, towns, and counties pass their own mandatory mask ordinances.

O`DONNELL: Your city is the second largest city in the state, over half a million people. Your metropolitan area, about a million people. What has the mask behavior been up to now in Tucson?

ROMERO: People are generally following wearing masks here in Tucson, Arizona. I think that our residents are very aware of the crisis and the emergency that`s happening in our state. The problem is that since Governor Ducey really let his executive order expire and opened up the economy and businesses here in Arizona, people started to lax and congregate.

And so that`s when public health experts have pretty much linked the opening of the state to what the surgence in cases that we see here in Arizona. It`s completely linked to the reopening of the state. And so we`re very concerned. It`s very alarming.

And what I had been asking the Governor was that he institute a mandatory face mask or untie the hands of mayors so that we could make our own decisions. The mayors, as you well know, are the frontline of government, and we know our communities. We know what the needs are and what`s happening here.

As you well said, there was 2,400 cases just on Tuesday. Today, we reported 2,500 cases throughout the state. Here in the City of Tucson, we had - before the Governor reopened the state, we were seeing 24 cases, 25 cases, sometimes in the teens as soon as he reopened the state.

Now, just yesterday, we had 325 new cases just in Pima County alone. And so it is very alarming, especially because our hospitals are beginning to get overwhelmed. And every day that we waited for the Governor to make a decision on this, we saw thousands of new cases in our state.

O`DONNELL: Mayor Romero, I want to get a quick last word from you about the Supreme Court`s DACA decision today and what effect that will have in your community.

ROMERO: We`re very happy here in Arizona for the result of what the Supreme Court, in this case, really handed to us. There are thousands and thousands of documented students in Arizona. We took to the streets when President Trump was trying to undo DACA.

And so here in Arizona, we have highly productive young people that contribute to our economy, love this country. This country is the only country they love and pledge to. And so we`re very, very happy. See a lots of - we see a lots of celebration here. So it`s a good thing. It`s good news here in Arizona.

O`DONNELL: Tucson Mayor Regina Romero gets tonight`s Last Word.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Mayor.

ROMERO: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: "The 11th Hour with Brian Williams" starts now.

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