Senator Duckworth TRANSCRIPT: 6/30/20, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell

Guests: Jason Crow, Tammy Duckworth, Ashish Jha, Laurie Garrett

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

And as we said last night, this story about the Russian bounty on American troops in Afghanistan was obviously only going to grow from where we were last night, and it seems like the sources on this story, the sources we`re speaking to "The New York Times," to NBC News and to others, are basically staying a step or two ahead of the White House. The White House comes up with a position or denial for the president, and then the sources come out with more information to show how absurd the White House position is as of that day. That`s what we`ve been living through, I guess, since Friday night.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: That`s right. That all of the denials and the stepping around it and the trying to down play it has successively been defeated by the next round of reporting. As all this comes out in terms of the specificity of it, in terms of whether or not it was put in a written briefing, in terms of when that might have happened. All of their denials have now been -- have now been beaten by the -- by the next round of facts.

I don`t know how long the president can keep avoiding talking about this, or assuming people are going to stop covering it, especially because the story keeps developing.

O`DONNELL: Yes, we`re going to be joined by Senator Tammy Duckworth later in the hour about this subject. You might have seen on Sunday Frank Bruni in his column took the brave stance that it is obvious who the vice presidential nominee should be, and his obvious choice is Senator Duckworth. I might ask her a question or two about that.

MADDOW: I`m looking forward to it, Lawrence. Well done.

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

Benjamin Hines was 31 years old when he was killed last year in Afghanistan. He was a marine sergeant from York, Pennsylvania. He was in a military vehicle with Marine Staff Sergeant Christopher Slutman from Newark, Delaware, who was 43 years old.

Robert Hendriks was in that vehicle with them. He was a Marine corporal from Locust Valley, New York, on Long Island, and Corporal Hendriks was only 25 years old.

Those three marines died trapped inside that burning vehicle after it was hit by a roadside explosive device. Corporal Hendriks` mother now wants to know what happened.

In an interview with CNBC today, she said, quote: The parties who are responsible should be held accountable, if that`s even possible.

If that`s even possible -- it might not be possible. We might never know the full circumstances of how Sergeant Hines and Sergeant Slutman and Corporal Hendriks were killed in action. Reporting by "The New York Times" says that government investigators are focusing on the possibility that the killing of those American Marines was paid for by the Russian government.

The president of the United States says that he knows nothing about it. And he says that government officials who are telling the "New York Times" and other news organizations that the Russian government could be paying for the killing of American soldiers in Afghanistan are perpetuating a hoax. That`s the word the president has used, his favorite word, hoax. It`s his favorite word in response to news stories that he thinks are harmful to his re-election campaign.

The three American officials who described and confirmed details about the basis for the intelligent assessment spoke on condition of anonymity amid swirling turmoil over the Trump administration`s failure to authorize any response to Russia`s suspected proxy targeting of American troops. That is one way that the latest "New York Times" report on this story describes some of their sources: three American officials. That means they are currently employed in the government.

So why are they telling us these things? Why are they speaking to "The New York Times" reporters and possibly other reporters to give us so much detail about this? Because they think they have no alternative? Is that why? Because they know that the president of the United States is doing nothing about this and the best way they can think of to protect the troops in Afghanistan is to make this information public? Is that why they`re talking?

What other choices do they have? They cannot become whistleblowers, official whistleblowers and use the protections of whistleblower status, because Donald Trump and Republicans in the House and the Senate have destroyed the whistleblower system. Destroyed it.

And these sources have been watching for over a year now as president Trump has done nothing about these reports of Russia offering bounties for the killing of American troops in Afghanistan. These reports have forced the president to choose which horrible defense he wants to use, because he has no good defense in this story. And the defense the president has chosen is no one ever told me about this.

After the president floated that defense publicly, the sources of this story then revealed yesterday that the reports of the Russian bounty system were, in fact, in the president`s written daily brief right there, in his written brief. And in response to that, the people who are paid to lie for Donald Trump on the government payroll in the White House retreated to, well, no one ever said those exact words to him out loud. Therefore, he didn`t know about it -- because the president doesn`t read.

The president`s defense here is laced with self-inflicted humiliation and confessions of his being unfit to be president because the president`s defense is, I don`t read. That is like an airline pilot saying I don`t look at the instruments.

"The Associated Press" punctured the "I don`t read defense" very badly last night with this record. Then national security adviser John Bolton also told colleagues he briefed Trump on the intelligence assessment in March 2019. The panicked Trump White House set up scheduled briefings for members of Congress about the situation, and they did it in a way that only the Trump White House would, on a purely partisan basis.

That`s not the way this has ever been done in the past. They always bring up members of both parties in the intelligence committees.

On Monday, the Trump White House invited a small group of Republicans to be briefed, and then today, they invited a small group of Democrats, mostly from the Intelligence Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House. They went to the Capitol where they were all dissatisfied by the briefing, because it was conducted by Trump political appointees instead of intelligence professionals.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): The right people to give the briefing really were not in the room. We need to hear from the heads of the intelligence agencies about how they assess the allegations that have been made publicly. What can they tell us about the truth or falsity of these allegations? What can they tell us about steps they have undertaken to vet any information that they may have?

So, in my view, the right people were not in the room to give us the briefing we needed to get.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The members of Congress in both parties who know the most about this are the ones who aren`t going anywhere. They`re just sitting there, reading the "New York Times" and other news sources because every day now, government officials are giving reporters more and more of this story. Hours after Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff left the briefing this morning, he was able to read, along with the rest of us, a "New York Times" report adding much more information to the story.

American officials intercepted electronic data showing large financial transfers from a bank account controlled by Russia`s military intelligence agency to a Taliban-linked account which was among the evidence that supported their conclusion that Russia covertly offered bounties for killing U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, according to three officials familiar with the intelligence. Analysts concluded from other intelligence that the transfers were most likely part of a bounty program that detainees described during interrogations.

Investigators also identified by name numerous Afghan in a network linked to the suspected Russian operation, the officials said. They said that several businessmen who transfer men through the informal "hawala" system were arrested in Afghanistan over the past six months and are suspected of being part of a ring of middlemen who operated between the Russian intelligence agency, known as the GRU, and Taliban-linked militants.

In trying to defend the president`s claim of total ignorance of this situation, total ignorance, the White House press secretary actually said these words today: I`ll tell you, this president is the most informed person on planet earth when it comes to the threats that we face.

She told that lie while claiming the president is ignorant, while claiming the president didn`t know that we faced the threat of Russia paying to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan. NBC News has confirmed, quote, "The White House and top National Security Council officials learned about intelligence indicating Russia was offering bounties on U.S. and coalition troops in early 2019.

Twenty Americans were killed in Afghanistan in 2019, the most since 2014.

Today, Joe Biden said what we have here is dereliction of duty.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The presidential daily brief is something I read every single day as vice president. The president read it every day. I was briefed every morning before I got to the White House and then again. So the idea that somehow he didn`t know or isn`t being briefed, it is a dereliction of duty if that`s the case. And if he was briefed, and nothing was done about this, that`s a dereliction of duty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight are Democratic Congressman Jason Crow of Colorado. He`s a member of the House Armed Services Committee and served as a U.S. Army Ranger, completed three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Also with us, Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia during the Obama administration. He`s an NBC News and MSNBC national security analyst.

Congressman Crow, you were one of the House impeachment managers who prosecuted the case against President Trump in the United States Senate, the impeachment case. If you had known this information to the extent that it has been developed tonight last year, might it have been included in an impeachment investigation of this president?

REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): Good evening, Lawrence.

It very well might have. You know, it`s hard to tell right now. But I can say that it fits the overall pattern and practice. This president`s pattern of neglecting his duties, of not relying on our intelligence agencies, even refusing to hear information that he doesn`t want to hear continues. It`s dangerous for the country, and that`s why we made the case so ardently earlier this year for his removal, because there are troops serving around the country and the world that rely on a president who`s engaged and willing to discharge his duty, and it`s very clear this president will not be that person.

O`DONNELL: John Bolton is refusing to publicly confirm that he told Donald Trump verbally all of this information because he says that is classified and it may very well have been part of his book that was removed for classification reasons.

But let`s listen to what John Bolton said today in a radio interview.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: The president has repeatedly not been able to see the importance in safeguarding America from another 9/11 or other terrorist attacks of making sure the Taliban doesn`t take over again. A lot of these things he just puts out of mind, and it`s unfortunately not unusual that when something comes up, whether it`s intelligence or publicly available information that isn`t what he wants to hear, he just turns a blind eye to it.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Michael McFaul, your reaction to the situation as it exists tonight after we just heard what John Bolton has said and with your experience dealing with Russia, where do you see this story as of tonight?

MICHAEL MCFAUL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: Well, Lawrence, it`s what you said at the outset. If he knew about it, if the president knew about this intelligence, then it`s just extraordinary and shocking that he`s still proceeded to do nothing about it.

But more than that, he made some policy decisions after that. He invited Putin to the G7. He was -- he made the decision to withdraw troops from Germany. But if he didn`t know about it, just to get to your other point, that`s equally damning.

You know, Before I went to Moscow, I served three years at the National Security Council for President Obama. It`s just extraordinary to me, shocking. It never would have happened, as Vice President Biden just said, that the president wouldn`t read his PDB.

But remember, the national security adviser, people like me, I read the PDB every single day. Those people that they didn`t bring this to his attention is also equally shocking. It just means that the interagency, the national security process for protecting America, and now we`re pro-talking about protecting American soldiers in harms way in Afghanistan, has been broken. It just doesn`t seem like it works anymore.

O`DONNELL: Well, Speaker Pelosi offered a theory for why they might not tell Donald Trump, and that`s the unfortunate part of this for the Trump White House is that if you want to accept the Trump defense that he didn`t know, it becomes fascinating to ponder why he didn`t know.

Let`s listen to Nancy Pelosi -- the theory that Nancy Pelosi offered as to why they just might not ever tell Donald Trump information like this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The question is whether the president was briefed, if he was not briefed, why would he not be briefed? Were they afraid to approach him on the subject of Russia, and were they concerned that if they did tell him that he would tell Putin?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Congressman Crow, a lot of people are saying they`re afraid to bring up anything negative about Russia with Donald Trump, and making it as if they`re just afraid of, you know, sparks of anger at the office or something like that. Nancy Pelosi raises this to a much more important level.

Are they afraid to tell him that, because he functions in effect as a Russian agent handing over to Vladimir Putin everything that would be of interest that the White House might know about Vladimir Putin?

CROW: I don`t think anyone has the information to say that. I don`t see any evidence that, you know, he`s an agent in any way.

But what I do know to be true, I do know to be true is there`s a lot that`s very difficult to explain, and I do know to be true that people don`t want to deliver bad news to this president if it involves Russia, because they have been fired before when they have. He doesn`t want to hear it.

And at the same time, there`s lots of negative intelligence, lots of actions coming out regarding Russia, this president is actively lobbying for the president to join the G7. He`s pushing back on bipartisan congressional sanctions imposed on Russia. The only reason he signed them is because we passed them in a veto proof majority. So there is an affinity for Russia that I just don`t know, I can`t explain.

So I try to stick with the facts of what I do know. But there`s also a lot we don`t know.

O`DONNELL: Michael McFaul, what is Russia`s incentive here if they are, in fact, paying for American soldiers to be killed in Afghanistan?

MCFAUL: Well, I`m just speculating, but I thought about these issues a lot and dealt with President Putin and Prime Minister Putin. Remember, he sees us as the enemy, the United States of America as the enemy. Not necessarily President Trump, but our country. He wants to weaken our country anywhere he can. And if he can get us bogged down in Afghanistan to end, you know, keep us there, that is in Russia`s national interest as defined by him.

Lawrence, I want to point out it wasn`t always that way. Just several years ago, Russia was cooperating with us when President Medvedev was in the Kremlin. But since Putin has come back, he`s constantly escalating, violating, by the way, rules of the game in the international system. He doesn`t care about international laws or norms. And this seems another escalation in that.

And it`s just shocking. I want to underscore how shocking and completely unprecedented it is that the president of the United States, despite all of that`s escalation, continues to have one consistent foreign policy. That is, he wants to be friends with Putin.

I don`t know a single person in the Trump administration or the former Trump administration who agrees with the president on that foreign policy principle. And now it means that American lives are at stake. Remember, he`s the commander in chief, as well. He`s not just the president. That demands a better explanation.

I hope we`ll get to hear more -- including from the congressman and the oversight to understand that paradox that now I think it`s just shocking. It`s been that way a long time, and it remains to be that way today.

O`DONNELL: Ambassador Michael McFaul and Congressman Jason Crow, thank you both for starting off our discussion tonight. Really appreciate it.

CROW: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And when we come back, Senator Tammy Duckworth will join us. She is a combat veteran. She has very strong feelings about Donald Trump ignoring or who knows what his relationship is to the possibility that Vladimir Putin was paying to have American soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Senator Duckworth joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Frank Bruni`s column in Sunday`s "New York Times" carried the audacious headline, Biden`s best Veep pick is obvious.

And Frank Bruni`s obvious choice, I`m glad it`s easy for him, and he thinks it`s obvious, his obvious choice for vice president is our next guest tonight, Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois.

Frank Bruni wrote: Duckworth, a former Army lieutenant colonel, who lost both of her legs during combat duty in Iraq, is a choice that makes exquisite emotional and moral sense.

Here is Senator Duckworth on the Senate floor yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D-IL): Donald Trump has never understood what words like sacrifice or courage mean. So how dare he let his own personal cowardice, his inability or even worse, his disinterest in standing up to Vladimir Putin lead to a reality where those Americans who are actually brave enough to put on a uniform and serve are put at greater risk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now is Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois. She`s a former Army lieutenant colonel and is now a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Senator Duckworth, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I just want to give you an opening for your reaction for this story as to where it stands tonight. "The New York Times" latest reporting saying they have -- they are tracking the money and they`ve found over half a million dollars - -it looks like Russian money going into Afghanistan for these bounties.

DUCKWORTH: It`s incredible that the president so far, his only response to all of this information is to say, I didn`t know, nobody told me.

In fact, he should be out in front of this saying, I`m going to get to the bottom of this.

What we know so far, Lawrence, is that there was intelligence products that said, hey, you know, something is going on. We think this is happening, but they couldn`t substantiate.

And then later on, we had some detainees we captured that said the Russians are going out to kill Americans. And then the intelligence community found these wires, these financial transactions from a Russian military intelligence, the GRU-controlled banks to known Taliban middlemen. And then U.S. forces and Afghan security forces went out and did a sweep, and in going after known Taliban agents and known criminals, they found a half million dollars.

All of this points to the fact that the Russians have been paying folks in Afghanistan, Taliban or other criminal organizations, to kill Americans. All our president can say is, nobody told me about it. It boggles the mind.

And I`m just -- I`m putting on my most polite language, as opposed to my Army language, which would be something a lot -- you couldn`t air -- put it on the air, I don`t think. But it`s -- the incompetence is incredible.

O`DONNELL: Senator, feel free to use army language here. We`ll do what we have to do with it.

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: But so what would you do? What should be done in this White House? I mean, just imagine a future in which is possible, in which Joe Biden is president and if you were there as vice president, what would you advise the president to do when this information was discovered and brought to the president?

DUCKWORTH: Well, the first thing -- I mean, I wouldn`t even have to advise Joe Biden. He would have done it on his own.

The minute that he read that report in the daily presidential brief, which by the way we now know that this report was in the daily presidential brief as early as February, at the end of February, and this president did not read it apparently. So, we know for sure that Joe Biden would actually read his daily briefs. He would have stepped out already and got in front of this and reached out to the Russians to say, you cannot do this. You will not do this. And to sanction the Russians and to show them the consequences of putting bounties on American heads.

What he would not have done would be to do what Donald Trump has done, which is to say, hey, you know what? The Russians aren`t so bad and, by the way, you know, we`re just going to go ahead and try to help them rejoin the G7, and do the G8.

You know, Trump has been in the Russian`s back pocket, and I don`t know why. But it is -- it is absolutely shameful and downright obscene that the commander-in-chief of the United States military would turn a blind eye to a foreign adversary, putting a bounty on the heads of men and women who put on the uniform of this great nation to defend and to protect us, and we`re in harm`s way right now while he`s out there on the golf course.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to more of what Joe Biden said about this today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: If these allegations are true, and he did nothing about any of this, then, in fact, I think the public should, unrelated to my running, conclude that this man isn`t fit to be president of the United States of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: He also -- Joe Biden also called this a dereliction of duty by Donald Trump. Is that the right way to look at this?

DUCKWORTH: It is very much a dereliction of duty by Donald Trump. And to think -- look, Lawrence, there`s several things that could have happened here. He was given the briefing and he didn`t read it, which is incompetence on his part, a dereliction of duty. You`re not doing your job, reading your daily briefing.

Number two, he was briefed and he forgot, or he chose not to do something and he chose to put Russia`s interest above the well-being of American troops in harm`s way.

Or three, his -- the people around him know that he`s so incompetent that they`re not going to brief him about it. At which point, you need to fire not just Donald Trump but the folks that should be bringing him these intelligence reports in the first place.

So, it`s incompetence all around. But you cannot delegate responsibility. It rests with Donald Trump. It rests with the president of the United States and Donald Trump has failed in his responsibility to the American people and especially to our military men and women. Those brave folks are willing to go out and defend us to their deaths, if they may.

And it turns out the president might be turning a blind eye to Russians, helping them get killed.

O`DONNELL: Senator, let me ask you about the possibility of serving as vice president. If Joe Biden asks you to do that, would you accept that?

DUCKWORTH: Well, I just want Joe Biden in office. If Joe Biden came to me and said, Tammy, the best thing you can do for this country is to go sweep floors in a V.A. hospital, I`d go sweep floors in a V.A. hospital.

Our nation right now has such deep wounds that we will have to come together to recover. And no one knows better about cooling our country together about recovering and fixing and binding the wounds of our nation than Joe Biden does. And so we have a lot of things we have to do. One, we have to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and get us out of the situation that we`re in now with not enough testing, not enough test kits, and an economy that is in a freefall.

We have to rescue the economy. We have to, as we are seeing now, go after our foreign adversaries who would go after American troops who are in harm`s way. There`s a lot to be done, and I`m on team Biden a 100%. Whatever it is he asks me to do to help our nation, keep America strong, to make sure that we move our country forward and pull our country back together again. I`m willing to do that.

O`DONNELL: Senator Tammy Duckworth, thank you for bringing both a Senate perspective and a combat veteran`s perspective to the discussion tonight. We really appreciate it.

DUCKWORTH: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. And when we come back, in Senate testimony today, Dr. Anthony Fauci said coronavirus could be - the coronavirus could be on its way to infecting 100,000 people a day. Yes, a day. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Today, Dr. Anthony Fauci rocked Washington and the Nation when he told a Senate hearing that the United States is going in the wrong direction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: I`m not satisfied with what`s going on, because we`re going in the wrong direction. If you look at the curves of the new cases, so we`ve really got to do something about that, and we need to do it quickly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Dr. Fauci said he cannot make a prediction about how many people are going to die.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D MA): Dr. Fauci, based on what you`re seeing now, how many COVID-19 deaths and infections should America expect before this is all over?

FAUCI: I can`t make an accurate prediction, but is it going to be very disturbing, I will guarantee you that. We can`t just focus on those areas that are having the surge. It puts the entire country at risk. We are now having 40,000 plus new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 day if this does not turn around. And so I am very concerned.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: As of tonight, the United States has suffered 128,209 deaths from coronavirus. And as of tonight, there have been 2,638,341 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States. The seven day average of new cases in this country has increased by 80% in the last two weeks. New coronavirus cases are rising in at least 35 states.

Today, the United States saw its biggest jump since April 21st in coronavirus hospitalizations with 1,632 new hospitalizations reported today. At least 15 states are pausing or rolling back reopening plans. A new national poll released today by Suffolk University and USA today found that 57% of registered voters say that Joe Biden would do a better job than Donald Trump in handling the coronavirus pandemic. Only 33% say that Donald Trump would do a better job. Today, Joe Biden said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, 47TH U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Donald Trump failed us. Month after month, and now Donald Trump is in retreat. He called himself a wartime President. Remember when he extorted - exhorted the nation to sacrifice together and "in the face of this inevitable and invisible enemy". What happened? Now it`s almost July, and it seems like our wartime President has surrendered, waved the White Flag and left the battlefield.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Donald Trump plans to continue his irresponsibility tour of the United State on Friday by traveling to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota for an early 4th of July rally where organizers are anticipating at least 7,500 people. Yesterday, the republican Governor of South Dakota said that social distancing will not be enforced at the rally, and that facemasks will be provided but will not be required. Today, even Donald Trump`s Secretary of Health and Human Services said that not wearing masks and not social distancing is leading to spikes in coronavirus cases.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEX AZAR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: There`s clearly a major element of that because we see other states and other counties that are engaged in exactly the same or even greater levels of reopening they are not seeing surges in cases. Some of the activities in bars and nightclubs and some outdoor activities that have people clustered together where they`re not social distancing and not wearing facial covering when they can`t social distance are leading to spikes in these cases.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: After this break, we will continue this conversation with two experts on coronavirus, Pulitzer Prize Winning Reporter Laurie Garrett and Harvard`s Dr. Ashish Jha.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: Surely we don`t need a cheerleader, Mr. President. We need a President, Mr. President. A President who will level with the American people, a President who will tell us the unvarnished truth, a President who will take responsibility instead of always blaming others, a President who will listen to the experts, follow the science, allow them to speak, a President who will lead and be an example for the nation. Wear a mask. Keep your distance. Limit the size of crowds. Mr. President, this is not about you. It`s about the health and well-being of the American public.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion of the surge in coronavirus cases are Dr. Ashish Jha, Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. Also with us, Laurie Garrett, she`s a Pulitzer Prize Winning Reporter Covering Global Pandemic. She`s a Former Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations. She is an MSNBC Science Contributor. Dr. Jha, you`re reading of Dr. Fauci`s testimony and the numbers where are so many states are now seeing rises in cases and some seeing real surges?

DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: Yes, Lawrence, thank you for having me on. You know Dr. Fauci, I think, was voicing clearly what many of us have been feeling, which is we have a problem in this country. We have a dozen or so state where is things are looking really bad. They`re starting to look pretty out of control. And we know what happens when you get into this kind of exponential growth.

The only thing that can ultimately stop it is a full lockdown, a shelter in place. And I think we want to avoid that. And so I think Dr. Fauci was saying we have to get much more serious. And beyond those dozen or so states, there are a lot of others where the number of cases is rising. And so the whole country is seeing a surge in cases, and I believe we just have to act much more aggressively than we are doing right now.

O`DONNELL: Laurie Garrett, where are we in the chart of this thing, in the chart of America`s experience with this coronavirus?

LAURIE GARRETT, REPORTS ON GLOBAL PANDEMIC: Well, we`re still very, very early in all of it. We`re still in the first wave, just another fluctuation in that first wave we still have a very long ways to go, and Dr. Fauci`s estimate of 100,000 new cases a day being a potential goes right along with reckonings that we could be at 200,000 deceased Americans, who will have succumbed to this disease by sometime in September. I`ve been saying Labor Day is a reasonable target for that horrible, horrible eventuality.

O`DONNELL: And Dr. Jha, what should state governments being doing now with the numbers that they are seeing?

JHA: Well, first and foremost we need very clear communication how serious this is. And part of the problem has been that we keep hearing things about how this virus doesn`t really matter for young people, that it`s going to go away in the summer, masks aren`t important, so just clear and consistent communication would be helpful. Second, we know what to do. People should be wearing masks. We should mandate wearing. We should get rid of the indoor large gatherings, including bars and probably restaurants at this point and any other indoor gatherings. And then we have to ramp up testing and tracing. That`s the entire formula tied with good, clear communication.

O`DONNELL: Doctor, let me just ask you, if you`re living - if people are living in a state or in a city where they allow indoor dining in restaurants, would you recommend to anyone anywhere in the country to not do that?

JHA: You know there may be a few places, Vermont, where the number of cases is so low across the state, that it might be safe. Would I do it in any of the hot spots? Absolutely not are there other mostly the answer is no, not right now, I don`t think it`s safe. But I think certainly in the hot places, the 12 states or so where things are really bad, I think there`s no way you can possibly justify that.

O`DONNELL: Laurie, Joe Biden said today that he will be a President who respects scientists, which is actually kind of a radical statement in this particular presidential campaign against his opponent. He also said he`ll immediately reach out to Dr. Anthony Fauci he will ask him to continue doing his work. So we know no matter what happens with Dr. Fauci, between now and January in the Trump administration, if there`s a Biden administration, he will be back on the job.

GARRETT: Well, I think that`s a given. He`s been on the job from Presidents Ronald Reagan all the way on. So I don`t think there will be any discontinuity there. I think the really important thing Lawrence right now for us to think about is American`s is not only our own protection and our own ability to go through life, earn a living, take care of our kids without being plagued by COVID personally.

But we also are setting a horrible example for the rest of the world, and we`re driving the entire global planetary pandemic. We are by far the majority of all the, you know, new cases now, and coming right at our heels, Russia, India, and Brazil. Between us, we represent half of the entire burden of COVID on the planet. If we can`t conquer it here in the United States, the entire world remains imperiled. And the longer it persists out of control in America, the harder it will be to maintain our trading partners, our economic relations with overseas.

And of course, as we see by this week`s decision by the European Union to cut off all travel from America to Europe, we will see more and more of the world saying, if you guys can`t get your act together over there in the United States of America, you are not welcome here. And this is going to happen huge, huge impacts for our economy for our political relations around the world, and ultimately for how the world views us as Americans, once the beacons, once the leaders of science, now being viewed as pitiful.

O`DONNELL: Dr. Jha, we`re at 40,000 cases a day now. Are we going to 100,000 cases a day?

JHA: Lawrence, it`s completely up to us, right? If states continue to, I think, dither and take small steps and then unfortunately that is where we`re heading. But I think if states use this as a wake-up call and get aggressive - and I keep saying states because I don`t expect much leadership from the Federal Government. And so it really is now up to states. But if states do it, yes, I think we can avoid that number.

O`DONNELL: Dr. Ashish Jha and Laurie Garrett, thank you both for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

GARRETT: Thank you, Lawrence.

JHA: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up in tonight`s last word, television, particularly news television, what you`re watching right now, is often the bearer of bad news and grim news. But some people have used television brilliantly to deliver nothing but joy. One of those people, the great Carl Reiner, will get tonight`s last word. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: During his winning Presidential campaign of 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt said it is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something. Carl Reiner was 10 years old when President Roosevelt delivered that memorable quote. And when he grew up, Carl Reiner just didn`t try something. He tried everything and succeeded at all of it - actor, writer, producer, director, author. And it all started thanks to a government program created by President Roosevelt, the works progress administration, which provided jobs and training for workers.

And one of the training programs included free acting classes. I first experienced the thrill of Carl Reiner`s genius when I was a little kid sitting on the living room floor with my family and millions of other American families watching "The Dick Van Dyke Show" which Carl Reiner created and wrote. The show won 15 Emmys in five seasons. Here`s Rob Reiner talking about being the luckiest little kid in America in those days, the little kid who like the rest of us watched the show on TV, but unlike the rest of us, got to visit the set.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT, AMERICAN COMEDIAN, TELEVISION HOST, WRITER: Your dad created "The Dick Van Dyke Show".

NORMAN REINER, AMERICAN ACTOR, COMEDIAN, FILMMAKER: He did?

COLBERT: Yes, and...

REINER: Yes.

COLBERT: Was any of that like your real home life?

REINER: My father, he wrote most of the episodes, and I always knew when he was stuck creatively. He would - he would come into the room - and my room in the house, and he would say, has anything interesting happened to you lately? So I knew he was stuck. He was looking for something. But I grew up as a kid, you know, I was a kid watching "The Van Dyke Show". On the summers, I would go down to see my dad work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: What a lucky kid. Carl Reiner wrote that show as a starring vehicle for himself, playing a fictional version of himself, a TV comedy writer. The network was willing to order the show into production as long as Carl Reiner was not in the starring role. Enter Dick Van Dyke, and the rest is television history. "The New York Times" calls the show the first great TV Sitcom about TV. Carl Reiner took a smaller role in the show playing every TV writer`s nightmare, the mercurial, ego maniacal star of the show within a show. Here he is with Mary Tyler Moore after Mary has just made the mistake of publicly revealing that he wears a wig.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARL REINER, AMERICAN COMEDIAN, ACTOR, DIRECTOR: This is a cute one. I had this one made so people will say, Alan is losing his hair. Would you like that one, or would you like a crew cut I had made for the summer. Or this one, my Alan, you need a haircut. Huh? Would you like these? What do you suggest I do with all of these now, huh?

MARY TYLER MOORE, AMERICAN STAGE, FILM, TELEVISION ACTRESS: Well, there must be some needy bald people.

REINER: Need bald people? Needy bald people? Laura, you`re a nut.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: As morning was breaking over Los Angeles this morning, Rob Reiner announced last night my dad passed away. As I write this, my heart is hurting. He was my guiding light. The tributes poured in for Carl Reiner. Today Steve Martin spoke for countless others when he said, good bye to my greatest mentor in movies and in life. Thank you, Dear Carl. Carl Reiner was there at the creation of television when no one was quite sure what television would become.

This box that you`re watching now started as a little black and white screen that has delivered us all countless indelible memories, many of the painful, many of them difficult to watch, from police brutality against civil rights protesters to the first televised war in Vietnam, the funerals of assassinated leaders. That is the jurisdiction of television news, and that is much of what we have delivered.

But we could not end this hour of television tonight without acknowledging on television Carl Reiner`s contribution to this screen you`re looking at now. Carl Reiner`s contribution was pure joy. Carl Reiner was 98 years old.

  THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END