LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And just when you think you can`t be shocked, the Friday night attempted firing of the attorney general of the district of New York was stunning and then Geoffrey Berman`s comeback, you can`t fire me was even more stunning and ultimately Geoffrey Berman`s win as I think you have clearly described in your hour is really -- it`s just kind of indescribably important. Who knows what Donald Trump and William Barr were really up to and really trying to accomplish by trying to install the prosecutor of their choice in Manhattan.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "TRMS": Exactly. What was that about? How do we get to the bottom of what that was about? Was the integrity of an individual investigation or multiple investigations at stake, and will they continue to be at stake? I think once they have -- I mean, they got away with doing this, with decapitating and taking control of the U.S. attorney`s office in D.C., removing the independence of that office entirely.
They are clearly making a go for it in New York. I don`t think this will be their one swipe at it. But, boy, did they botch their first shot at it.
O`DONNELL: And it was so desperate with just what might be just months left in this administration. The idea that you are going to put in a new U.S. attorney in that amount of time was ridiculous to begin with. But what were they trying to block? What were they trying to stop?
What was so urgent, so immediate? What was that office up to? We may find out soon. Who knows?
MADDOW: Nadler seemed confident that they have ways to figure this out, that this investigation is well structured and they can discern this stuff. I will say that Barr didn`t do himself any favors by trying to fire Berman in such a way where he supposedly offered him these other bigger jobs at the Justice Department. That completely takes away any argument that Barr and Trump might want to make that Geoffrey Berman is somehow incompetent and had to be taken out because something was wrong with him. He wouldn`t offer him a bigger job if there was something wrong with him.
So, why did they want to take him? It sort of has to be about some ongoing investigations. And until they can come up with any other explanation, that`s going to be the thing that investigators, congressional investigators, I think, are honed on in an almost irretrievable way.
O`DONNELL: Well, my first guest tonight is a former U.S. attorney who has investigated Donald Trump, Congressman Adam Schiff is going to start us off tonight and try to figure out what was going on in that firing.
MADDOW: Well done. Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
Slow the testing down, those unforgettable words will follow Donald Trump every day for the rest of his presidency, which because of those words, is on track to come to an end months from now according to every single presidential campaign poll, every one of them, which showed Donald Trump behind Joe Biden by double digits, some show Donald Trump as much as 14 points behind Joe Biden.
Joe Biden`s lead widened significantly in the last couple of months because of voter`s reactions to the way Donald Trump has failed to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and then on Saturday night, Donald Trump confessed. He turned himself in. He took full responsibility for this country`s failure to improve our testing capacity to meet the challenge of this pandemic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They called me. They said the job you`re doing, here`s the bad part, when you test -- when you do testing to that extent, you are going to find more people. You are going to find more cases. So I said to my people, slow the testing down, please.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Slow the testing down.
Tonight, we will get Congressman Adam Schiff`s reaction to Donald Trump deciding to slow the testing down. We will get Congressman Schiff`s response to John Bolton`s book revolutions about Donald Trump`s criminal conduct as president, including asking the government of China, as well as Ukraine to help with his re-election campaign. Steve Schmidt will join us with what the weak turn-out tells us about the Trump campaign`s prospects.
And you know that when Steve Schmidt speaks on TV, Donald Trump is listening. When Donald Trump tweet approval of Donald Trump`s condemnation of John Bolton, Steve Schmidt replied to the president of the United States, calling him the most failed president in American history. You are incompetent and inept. You are amoral and indecent. You are losing this election. You will be defeated and repudiated. Your legacy is death, weakness and economic collapse.
Donald Trump`s tweet did not mention that Steve Schmidt was condemning John Bolton for refusing to testify to the impeachment inquiry run by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff who will be our first guest tonight.
Last night on ABC, we heard some of what John Bolton`s testimony to the impeachment inquiry would have been if he had not defied the subpoena for his testimony. John Bolton provides an eye witness and ear witness account to exactly what the president of the United States was trying to get from the government of Ukraine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: He wanted a probe of Joe Biden in exchange for delivering the security assistance that was part of the congressional legislation that had been passed several years before, so that in his mind, he was bargaining to get the investigation using the resources of the federal government, which I found very disturbing. He said to me directly that that`s what he had in mind. I`ll say again I think it was widely understood at senior levels in the government that that`s exactly what his objective was.
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS HOST: What exactly did the president say to you?
BOLTON: Well, he directly linked the provision of that assistance with the investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Last night, John Bolton said that the president who he served is lying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: The president denied it, tweeting, I never told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. Is the president lying?
BOLTON: Yes, he is. And it`s not the first time either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That is the reason that Republican senators blocked the testimony of John Bolton when he finally declared his willingness to testify in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump after refusing to testify in the House investigation. Republican senators were afraid that John Bolton would say exactly those things. Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell was obviously afraid that John Bolton saying those things could lead to more Republican senators than just Mitt Romney voting guilty in the impeachment trial. Who knows how many more?
Republican senators did not cast an unprecedented vote against having any witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial because they were confident Donald Trump was not guilty of the House charges.
History will see the Republican Senate vote to black witnesses in the impeachment trial as an expression of Republican Senate confidence in just how guilty Donald Trump really was. In his masterful presentation during the Senate trial, Chairman Adam Schiff told the Senate that if Donald Trump remained in office, he would do it again. He would violate his oath of office over and over again. He would continue to traffic in corruption, and this weekend Donald Trump and his Attorney General William Barr teamed up for what might be their single most corrupt project since the impeachment trial, the firing of the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman.
The attorney general of the United States lied to the country on Friday night. That is how this story began, and it is a very important beginning. There is no other way to describe what the attorney general said. It was a lie.
The attorney general put out a press release saying that President Trump intended to nominate a new U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and the press release said, quote, I thank Geoffrey Berman, who is stepping down after two and a half years of service.
And then Geoffrey Berman put out a press release saying, quote, I learned in a press release from the attorney general tonight that I was stepping down as United States attorney. I have not resigned. I have no intention of resigning my position to which I was appointed by the judges of the United States district court for the Southern District of New York.
And with that press release, Geoffrey Berman blocked the Trump/Barr plan to install an acting U.S. attorney to replace Geoffrey Berman. Geoffrey Berman`s refusal to resign ruined the Trump/Barr plan to install an acting U.S. attorney who they would import from New Jersey, from the New Jersey U.S. attorney`s office, and that person would no doubt have blocked whatever investigation Donald Trump and William Barr are trying to block in the Manhattan U.S. attorney`s office because there is no other explanation for this move.
Attorney General Barr did not have the power to fire Geoffrey Berman because Geoffrey Berman was appointed by judges. But the president did have that power. And so, the next day, after Donald Trump initially told reporters that he had absolutely nothing to do with any of this, the president then fired Geoffrey Berman. But Geoffrey Berman won the stand-off in the end because Geoffrey Berman`s deputy U.S. attorney, according to standard procedure, is moving into the acting U.S. attorney position. That is what Geoffrey Berman won in this stand-off, and it is a hugely important win.
The Trump-Barr scheme to block the activities of the Manhattan U.S. attorney did not work because Geoffrey Berman stood up to the attorney general and the president and exposed what they were doing, and in the process, Geoffrey Berman managed to leave that important prosecutor`s office in the control of his widely respected deputy, Audry Strauss.
Fortunately for us, our first guest tonight is a former U.S. attorney who can help us untangle what William Barr might have been trying to do this weekend. In the last hour, House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler told Rachel he intends to subpoena Attorney General Barr to testify about the firing of Geoffrey Berman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): We have begun the process, it takes a process, we have begun the process to issue that subpoena. Yes, it is very much true. We are doing that.
MADDOW: Do you expect that Attorney General Barr will respect the subpoena or do you expect that he will defy it?
NADLER: Well, we don`t know that. Subpoenas are supposed to be respected, obviously, but the corruption of the attorney general, of Barr, may lead him to try to -- to defy it. We have other -- we have other remedies, too, to try to force the attorney general. We can eliminate his office budget. There are a number of things we can do, which we will do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And Chairman Nadler indicated that the committee does expect to obtain testimony from now former U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman.
Leading off our discussion tonight is Congressman Adam Schiff of California. He`s the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Chairman Schiff, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
I want to begin with this U.S. attorney situation in Manhattan and then switch over the Bolton revelations. But as a former U.S. attorney yourself, as you watch this unfold this weekend, and this is a presidency that might only have months left in it, it`s very strange to see any U.S. attorney replaced in this timing on the calendar.
What were you watching as this drama unfolded?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, first, Lawrence, in the interest of full disclosure, I was an assistant U.S. attorney. But I appreciate the promotion.
And, look, I think you`re absolutely right. This smells -- stinks to high heaven, this effort to push out this independent U.S. attorney from an office known for its independence and replace him in the last few months, the presidency, with some golfing buddy of the president`s who`s got no prosecutorial experience.
So, you know, I think what`s going on is quite clear, which is they`re afraid of what this office under Mr. Berman`s leadership might do in terms of their criminal investigations in the months ahead. And it`s part of a pattern and practice of protecting the president`s friends, using the Department of Justice to punish his enemies. It is a political strategy, an abuse of the Justice Department that Bill Barr is complete -- completely complicit in.
And the fact that Barr would lie about this is so true to form as well. And you now have the U.S. attorney from New Jersey apparently saying that Barr told him also that Berman had resigned when it wasn`t true and he was shocked to learn that, in fact, Barr had misled him.
O`DONNELL: Chairman Schiff, one thing I have been wondering about is that this is the -- this is the U.S. attorney`s office that has the Michael Cohen prosecution, has done the Michael Cohen prosecution in which Donald Trump is essentially an unindicted co-conspirator. He`s identified in all the charging documents and the guilty plea as the person who directed and participated in the crimes that Michael Cohen did as a conspiracy against the United States. Donald Trump is in that -- in that criminal case.
Presumably, Donald Trump could be charged as a criminal defendant in that case when he is no longer president.
Is there something, a new U.S. attorney could do in that office to somehow derail what might happen in January or next year if there is a new Biden appointed U.S. attorney in that office?
SCHIFF: Yes. I mean, there are ways that they could make it more difficult for a subsequent U.S. attorney to bring that case by grants of some form of immunity to cooperating witnesses or other actions that could be in a subsequent case, even some grant to the president.
But the reality is what they may have been more concerned about is if Berman stayed through the end of this term and the new president kept him in that position, they know the position of that office in terms of the president`s role in the conspiracy. They know the position of the career prosecutors in that office. And this may have been an effort to try to change that dynamic before there is a change in leadership.
But, frankly, I think probably the greater imperative was to make sure they protected the president`s people between now and the end of the year, and that may have a lot to do with Rudy Giuliani or it may just have to do with the fact that Berman was not a loyal Trump crony the way -- the way he wanted to replace him with, was -- apparently, he wasn`t out there playing golf and praising Donald Trump. And so, that may have been the more profound motive here.
O`DONNELL: Chairman Schiff, John Bolton has now, in effect, testified. He`s done it in television programs in promoting his book, and that`s what Steve Schmidt was condemning him for, not coming forward to your inquiry and doing his constitutional duty and telling the truth about what he knew.
And so, when we look at the Republicans in the Senate blocking John Bolton from testifying when he finally said he was willing to testify, and from those same Republicans who blocked that testimony, we`re not hearing a great deal of shock and surprise about what John Bolton has revealed. It does seem like the Republicans in the Senate believed that what John Bolton would say is what John Bolton is now publicly saying, and that`s the reason they blocked his testimony.
If John Bolton was allowed to testify in the Senate trial, do you believe it would have changed the course of history and changed the course of that Senate vote?
SCHIFF: Well, I think, first of all, you`re absolutely right. The senators who voted against hearing from John Bolton did so because they were afraid of what he would say. They knew they lacked the courage to vote to remove Donald Trump. Many of them had already found the evidence to be compelling, and it would be so much more difficult for them to justify, rationalize their vote to acquit Donald Trump if the country first heard from John Bolton.
Indeed, when you look at Lamar Alexander, who I think has been more straightforward than most, he basically said I didn`t need to hear from John Bolton because I already believed Trump guilty. He was already proved by the House guilty. Why did we need another witness to just add on to what had already been proven?
You know, even though people like Alexander should not have wanted to deprive the country of hearing about the president`s guilt and anything else that John Bolton might have had to evaluate his fitness for office.
How many other votes would have been affected, I don`t know. I think the bigger risk for the president was not John Bolton`s testimony alone but the fact that John Bolton`s testimony may have led to other witnesses and an unraveling of the Trump defense. That`s what Mitch McConnell was most concerned about.
But you`re absolutely right. These senators were not trying to shield the country of John Bolton because they thought he would exonerate the president -- exactly the opposite.
O`DONNELL: And, Chairman Schiff, I want to get your reaction to John Bolton basically criticizing you, criticizing Nancy Pelosi by saying that the impeachment inquiry in the House moved too fast and that you should have slowed down and worked through the court process to obtain his testimony.
SCHIFF: Well, I would say a couple of things. First of all, Mr. Bolton has had a very difficult time rationalizing why he had vital information to share during the course of our impeachment investigation and he refused, and he decided to save it for his book. That`s a very hard thing to explain, and what he is trying to do is trying to say now the House should have worked harder to find out that which John Bolton was keeping secret.
In other words, we should have found people who were more courageous than John Bolton who might have told us what John Bolton refused to. That`s a really pretty flimsy defense of his own failings. And in every way, I think John Bolton condemns and indicts Donald Trump for doing things that were in his best interest, but not the national interest. He himself showed his own guilt of doing the same thing.
But, look, notwithstanding John Bolton`s lack of patriotism and lack of courage, the allegations that he makes are very serious against the president. They are completely consistent with what we showed during the trial. And that is Donald Trump only makes decisions on the basis of what`s good for him, not for the country.
That`s how you can understand his comments about, I asked my people to slow down the testing -- obviously, deeply antagonistic to the health and interest of the American people. But he felt it was politically advantageous.
O`DONNELL: Chairman Adam Schiff, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.
SCHIFF: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, everything Donald Trump wants to be big just isn`t big enough. And that`s why Donald Trump looked defeated after performing to a shockingly small crowd for him in Oklahoma Saturday night. Steve Schmidt will join us next to reply to, among other things, what Donald Trump said about Steve Schmidt on Twitter this weekend. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: We have a live shot of Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C. this actually is taped from earlier. The situation is calm there now, but earlier protesters tried, apparently, to take down the statue of Andrew Jackson there.
Police have cleared the area. The statue is still standing. This was hours ago in Washington, D.C. at Lafayette Park where this statue of Andrew Jackson was the target protesters were going after tonight. The situation has since become calm there, but this is from earlier. There is some question as to whether tear gas was used with some of the protesters there. We will keep an eye on the situation if anything more develops there.
And last night, here is how undone Donald Trump was by his failed rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was Saturday night, Saturday night. And I, for one, have never seen Donald Trump with an undone necktie, but it was a night of surprises for the Trump campaign. It turns out there was plenty of room to social distance inside that arena in Tulsa on Saturday with a crowd that occupied less than one-third of the arena`s capacity.
The official estimate in Tulsa authorities is that 6,200 people showed up for a rally in a state that Donald Trump won by 36 points in 2016. Senator Kamala Harris`s presidential campaign announcement speech in Oakland, California, had four times more people than Donald Trump had on Saturday night. Bernie Sanders campaign routinely attracted crowd sizes triple the size of Donald Trump`s Saturday night crowd.
NBC News is reporting that Donald Trump was furious, furious about the small crowd at the rally. The NBC report says, quote, the president was fuming at his top political aides Saturday, even before the rally began after his campaign revealed that six members of the advanced team on the ground in Tulsa had tested positive for COVID-19, including Secret Service personnel.
A person familiar with the discussion said Trump asked those around him why the information was exposed and expressed annoyance at the coverage ahead of his mega rally was dominated by the revelation. The Trump campaign canceled the president`s scheduled appearance before an overflow crowd outside of the arena because there was no overflow crowd.
But the rally will be remembered for the extraordinarily effective and efficient way in which Donald Trump wrote Joe Biden`s next campaign commercial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They called me. They said, the job you`re doing, here`s the bad part. When you do testing to that extent, you are going to find more people. You are going to find more cases. So I said to my people, slow the testing down, please.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now is Steve Schmidt. He`s a former Republican strategist and an MSNBC political analyst.
Steve, look, 6,000 at a campaign rally is a big success for a lot of campaigns, but for the Trump campaign which suggested a million people wanted to attend this thing, 100,000 people might show up in and around the area, they needed a giant overflow crowd space, 6,000 was, according to everybody`s reports, horribly disappointing.
What does it mean to the energy, to the momentum of the Trump campaign? You have run presidential campaigns. You have come off an event like this, and what does it tell you?
STEVE SCHMIDT, FORMER REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It tells you that this is a campaign that has a 38 percent approval level and is going down, that`s failing, that`s losing, that`s decaying, that`s atrophying. We see it as the enfeeblement of Donald Trump from his slow shuffle down the West Point ramp to his 15-minute story at this rally about that, his story about sipping water, the disjointedness of the speech, it`s all collapsing.
So the country has been through a calamity over these last few months and there is many more months of disaster ahead. The 120,000 dead Americans, absolutely shattered American economy, with unemployment numbers approaching 40 million human souls in this country. We have suffering and death at an epic level.
We are the epicenter, the United States of America, the country that produced half the Nobel Prize winners in math and science since 1950, we are the epicenter of coronavirus death and suffering in this country and in the world. And it is a leadership failure of truly historic dimensions. So the president went to Tulsa. He provoked an incredibly toxic incendiary situation by scheduling it on the 99th year of the Tulsa race riots on the anniversary of Juneteenth and he went there and it just failed epically and returned to the south lawn of the White House as a profoundly defeated man. The American people are taking the measure of all this and they`re just saying we`ve had enough.
Four years of this chaos is enough. The country is in a terrible and weakened state and I think the American people are looking at Donald Trump and saying, wow, this Presidency is a disaster for our country, for our future, for our children, for our grandchildren, and that`s what you saw this weekend.
O`DONNELL: And Steve, the President is no doubt looking at you right now since he tweeted this weekend about something you said publicly. He was glad that you had negative things to say about John Bolton. He did not - he did not include that what you were saying about Bolton is that he should have testified to the impeachment inquiry against President Trump. But the president obviously is - follows what you say. What would you tell the President about John Bolton`s reaction - John Bolton`s revelations and what John Bolton`s revelations tell us about this President?
SCHMIDT: What they tell us about this President is he`s the most corrupt person who has ever held the office and that he is fundamentally betrayed his oath to be federalist to the American constitution. The President of the United States wears a 35 word oath from George Washington through Donald Trump to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States.
And we`ve had good Presidents and great Presidents. We`ve had mediocre Presidents, bad Presidents, awful Presidents, crooked Presidents. But we have never had a president who has so willfully failed in his oath of office to defend the country. And that is the calamity of the Trump Presidency.
O`DONNELL: Steve, the - also this weekend, Jeffrey Berman standing up to the Attorney General and the President in what they were attempting to do with the U.S. Attorney`s office in Manhattan, that truly is the biggest thing that happened this weekend and the strongest move against Trump corruption that we`ve seen in a while, Berman being able to get his own choice in effect to succeed him in that office.
SCHMIDT: Well, Lawrence, I think that there are two equally tied unbelievable events of the weekend. First the President admitting that he slowed down testing, then causing the deaths of tens and tens of thousands of Americans because it would be bad for him politically. And then you see the assault on the rule of law that was attempted by Bill Barr this weekend.
It is just completely out in the open. It`s overt. There is no brake. There is no restraint anymore in my view in their minds about the limits of what they will or won`t do. So what we`re going to see over these final months of the Trump Presidency is someone is - who is more cornered, he`s poll numbers continue to fail. He is going to become more desperate and thus more dangerous, so we are going to see this increase at an expedited tempo over this last couple of months of the Trumps Presidency before Joe Biden is the President Elect of the United States.
O`DONNELL: Steve Schmidt, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.
SCHMIDT: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, tomorrow democratic voters will decide who will face Mitch McConnell in Kentucky in the race for that senate seat. But tomorrow`s primary election in Kentucky could be another voting disaster, a deliberate disaster created by republicans. LaTosha Brown of Black Voters Matter will join us.
O`DONNELL: It`s an Election Day tomorrow in Kentucky. One of the important choices voters will make is the democratic nominee to challenge Mitch McConnell in the senate race in Kentucky this year. And for the first time in history, Kentucky is allowing absentee voting for anyone who wants an absentee ballot due to concerns over the coronavirus. You don`t have to have some excuse for the absentee ballot about being out of town. But Kentucky could be headed for an Election Day disaster because there will be fewer than 200 polling locations in the entire state of Kentucky.
Jefferson County, which includes the city of Louisville is home to half of Kentucky`s black voters during a normal election year, Jefferson County alone has 256 polling locations. Tomorrow the Louisville exhibition center with 350 voting booths will be the only polling location for Jefferson County`s more than 610,000 voters. Joining our discussion now is LaTosha Brown she`s the Co-Founder of Black Voters Matter. LaTosha, what are you expecting tomorrow in Kentucky?
LATOSHA BROWN, CO-FOUNDER, BLACK VOTERS MATTER FUND: You know, we don`t know what to expect. We have just been seeing this over and over again. Here is a County and people would know. There is 600,000 people. There is 600,000 voters. You have done from 3,700 polling sites down to 200 polling sites. We have half the population.
This is a robust election cycle because of the - how competitive the democratic race is and so we`re very, very concerned about what`s going to happen. Even when we`re talking about 350 booths or understanding is that there are going to be 18 lines and 25 people a line. You know, that sounds good on one hand. You know, everything goes well. But when you are talking about massive crowds coming, we experienced this just recently in Georgia.
It was a different system but we experienced that. And then 50% of the African-American population, this looks like and it feels like voter suppression that ultimately in a time that we`re talking about a pandemic in the middle of a crisis we want to have people spread out. We don`t want have to have one site, just the thinking around it. That`s why there was a bipartisan committee that actually took this to court to try to stop it, but the judge denied the motion. And so what we are looking at - we`re very, very concerned around what is going to happen tomorrow. And how about people who have to work who can`t stand in lines a long time and people`s expanded exposure to possibly to COVID-19.
O`DONNELL: Yes. I mean, 600,000 voters is an enormous number of voters to have with basically one polling place. That`s like the island of Manhattan having one polling place. The Governor - Democratic Governor of Kentucky is seems okay with this. Let`s listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDY BESHEAR, AMERICAN ATTORNEY AND POLITICIAN: There can be concerns about one polling location. No I don`t think it`s being done intentionally to suppress the vote. But at the end of the day I believe we`re going to have more people vote in this primary than I have ever seen. I think we`re going to have our largest turn out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: So he says he doesn`t think its being done to suppress the vote.
BROWN: So whether it`s intentional or unintentional, the real fundamental question is, do people have free and equal access to the ballot? The question is, will this election be efficient and effective there is no way that you have got a population of over 600,000 that you are going to have one polling site. We know that there are going to be problems tomorrow. We can anticipate that just on recognizing the numbers. And so whether there is an intentionality around it or not, there are many that believe that it is intentional, right?
But whether it is intentional or not or whether you prove that or not, is a secondary issue. The first issue is do we have an efficient and effective way to make sure that people are not standing in lines for extended period of time during the worst health pandemic that we have seen in this country in the last hundred years? It is unconscionable of what is happening right now. The fact of the matter is there is more than half a million people that literally have one polling site. That has not been done before and I don`t know what way that could be efficient, effective in any form or fashion.
O`DONNELL: LaTosha Brown, your work has never been more important. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.
BROWN: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. Coming up, as congress is in the middle of a debate about banning choke holds by police nationally, an NYPD officer gets caught on video using an illegal choke hold on an unarmed black man. That officer has already been suspended. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: A New York City police officer was suspended without pay within hours after a video came out apparently showing him using an illegal choke hold on an unarmed black man. The police commissioner called the video disturbing and said immediate action was necessary.
Well, the incident is being investigated the cell phone video shows several officers restraining 35 year old Ricky Bellevu with one officer`s arm appearing to wrap around his neck as bystanders yelled to let him go. We are going to show you some of that video, now this video is disturbing as so much of this kind of video of police activity is. This is the video that got that officer suspended.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN SPEAKER: Stop blocking the view.
UNKNOWN SPEAKER: Yo, stop choking him, bro! Stop choking him! No, he`s choking him! Let him go.
UNKNOWN SPEAKER: He`s out. He`s out. He`s out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Ricky Bellevue`s lawyer told "The New York Times" that he lost consciousness during the arrest and suffered injuries to his head and wrists. The suspended police officer, David Afanador was charged in 2014 with felony assault after attacking a 16 year old for possession of Marijuana. Officer Afanador can be seen in this surveillance video striking him tribal with his gun, breaking his teeth, prosecutors said.
The officer Afanador and his partner were acquitted by a judge in 2016. Joining our discussion now is Paul Butler Law Professor of Georgetown University, a Former Federal Prosecutor and an MSNBC Contributor. He is the Author of his 2017 book, choke hold, policing black men. Paul Butler, your reaction to the NYPD`S swift action here? This is faster than we have ever seen disciplining an officer in a situation like this.
PAUL BUTLER, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW PROFESSOR: It is much faster than the officer who killed Eric Garner by placing him in an illegal choke hold and continued to be paid $100,000 a year for the next five years. He was just suspended this past summer. So it`s hard to accept that this officer has some accountability. He`s suspended without pay. Now, what he did is now a crime in New York, the Eric Garner anti choke hold act of 2020 makes aggravated strangulation a crime.
That name is very descriptive because it describes the risk. When officers press down on your neck and bend on it and they prevent oxygen and blood from reaching your lung and brains, it`s very risky, which is why it`s been banned in New York since 1993. But, Lawrence, as we see, that hasn`t stopped cops from engaging in this outlaw procedure. Hundreds of complaints a year in the New York since it is been banned.
O`DONNELL: And it`s not easy to tell this in the video, but Mayor Bill De Blasio believes that one thing that he sees on the video, has seen on the video, is that one of the officers intervenes to try to stop this, and that is a hopeful sign in these situations.
BUTLER: So a duty to intervene is one of the big watch words now in policing reform. We`ve seen too many instances in which officers see their colleagues engage in excessive force, and they just sit and watch a crime being committed. So part of this is about police training. We also know that the victim here, Mr. Bellevue, had a history of mental illness according to his family. Now, the reality is cops have to deal with people who are you know mentally ill all of the time. That`s part of their training now. And so with some of these reforms that are being introduced including making officers more accountable in New York now - again, you can go to jail for what this officer did. Hopefully that will make the training (inaudible).
O`DONNELL: Law Professor Paul Butler, thank you very much for joining our discussion tonight.
BUTLER: Always a pleasure, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. And when we come back, Donald Trump`s going to do it again, after the failure in Oklahoma on Saturday night, he`s heading for Arizona, another state where coronavirus cases are on the rise, and he`s going to have another rally, and this one is indoors in a much smaller location. Maybe the Trump campaign now knows they need much smaller locations. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: Slow the testing down. Those fateful words that Donald Trump uttered on Saturday night will haunt him all the way to what polls currently indicate will be his election defeat four and a half months from now. On Saturday night, the President went to a city where coronavirus is on the rise and actually said this.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Testing is a double edged sword. We`ve tested now 25 million people. It`s probably 20 million people more than anybody else. Germany`s done a lot. South Korea`s done a lot. They call me, they said, the job you`re doing - here`s the bad part. When you test - when you do testing to that extent, you`re going to find more people. You`re going to find more cases. So I said to my people, slow the testing down, please.
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O`DONNELL: So if these 6,000 people who attended the Trump rally follow medical professionals` advice and try to get tested, many of them might not be able to get tested because Donald Trump said slow the testing down. Tomorrow Donald Trump is going to another place where the coronavirus is on the rise, Phoenix, Arizona. Arizona has set a new state record for coronavirus hospitalizations every day of the last seven days. Arizona now ranks 12th in the nation for cases per 100,000 people.
Donald Trump plans to deliver a campaign speech in Phoenix tomorrow in a venue with a seating capacity of 3,000 people. Joining us now, Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, and he`s the Co-Director of the Texas Children`s Hospital Center for Vaccine and Development. And Doctor, your reaction to what the President was saying about how much testing we have done and how we have done an extraordinary amount of testing while at the same time saying he`s trying to slow it down.
DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Yes. I mean the testing never really got fully up to speed in the United States at the level that we needed, especially in the workplace, and we never had the level of contact tracing. We never had the level of what we call Syndromic surveillance where you pick up cases of - clusters of fever cases. We never had metropolitan area maps, epidemiologic maps as guidelines. So our response overall nationally has been inadequate. I mean my big worry now is we`re starting to see this very steep rise in COVID-19 cases in Florida, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Texas.
So there`s this massive resurgence because we opened up these states prematurely. And here in Houston, the rise is especially worrisome, and it`s not just number of cases. It`s as you described in phoenix, big increases in hospitalizations and ICU admissions. And this is where it really gets to be worrisome because once there`s that surge on the ICU`s, that`s where the mortality rates go up. ICU staffs get overwhelmed, and then you could reproduce what we saw in New York City over the spring. And so I`m worried about phoenix. I`m worried about Houston, Dallas, Austin, and some of the Florida cities. And this is going - this potentially could be an initiative that`s as bad as anything we saw earlier this spring in New York.
O`DONNELL: Doctor, quickly before we go, are we going to be able to trace the effects of the Trump pandemic denial tour from Oklahoma to Arizona.
HOTEZ: I mean why pick these two cities? Why pick the two of the worst cities in terms of the rate of rise. I guess next he`ll come to Dallas and Houston. It just doesn`t make any sense. This is putting people in jeopardy.
O`DONNELL: Dr. Peter Hotez, thank you very much for joining us once again tonight. We always appreciate it.
HOTEZ: Dr. Hotez gets tonight`s last word. "The 11th Hour" with Brian Williams starts now.