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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, 7/7/21

Guests: Widlore Merancourt, William Barber


New details and video emerge from the January 6 insurrection. President Biden mocks Mitch McConnell for admitting he opposed help for his own constituents. Donald Trump sues Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Details emerge on the shocking assassination of Haiti`s president. The hero who filmed George Floyd`s murder loses her uncle to alleged police misconduct.


NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: "THE BEAT" with our good friend Jason Johnson, in for Ari, starts right now.

Hi, Jason.

JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC HOST: Thanks so much, Nicolle.

Welcome to THE BEAT. I`m Jason Johnson, in for Ari Melber.

There`s a big, big show for you tonight.

New details and video emerging from the January 6 insurrection. I will have the latest. And Joe Biden mocks Mitch McConnell for admitting he opposed help for his own constituents.

But, first, Donald Trump today hosting a showy press conference clearly meant to evoke the image of him as some sort of president in exile, announcing what he calls a class-action lawsuit against Facebook, Twitter, Google, the letter E, the color blue, I don`t know, alleging he has been -- quote -- "wrongfully censored."

But legal experts say his lawsuit won`t hold water. And Trump is already fund-raising off the lawsuit, another hint this may not be anything other than for show, because, if it`s meant to be more than just a show, there could be a discovery phase.

And does Trump really want discovery? It all tracks with the strange scene today, Trump speaking from a podium he created from Etsy to look uncannily similar to the presidential podium, and even answering questions as if he was still at the White House and not at a golf course in New Jersey.


QUESTION: What did you do to stop the insurrection, as some people call it? And why were you not able to stop it?

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, that whole event, unfortunate event, just went through Congress. And a report was issued. And my name wasn`t even mentioned.


JOHNSON: An unfortunate event.

Like, apparently, Trump thinks that like Lemony Snicket led the insurrection, when in fact it was it was him, and Congress impeached him a second time for encouraging it. And that report that he mentioned issued by the Senate last month actually does mention Trump`s name more than 40 times.

Not surprising, another lie from the former president. The truth is, the real legal action surrounding Donald Trump is taking place right now in prosecutors` offices in Lower Manhattan, with his company and CFO indicted on 15 counts.

Joining me now is NYU Law Professor Melissa Murray and national affairs correspondent for "The Nation" Joan Walsh.

Melissa, Professor Murray, I`m going to start with you. And I think this is important to sort of do this reset every single day. When I talk to people who don`t do this for a living, they`re like, how much trouble is Donald Trump in?

So, can you lay out to the audience again, with investigations into the CFO, with information about them keeping two sets of books, how much trouble would Donald Trump be in if he was anyone other than Donald Trump?

MELISSA MURRAY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: So, I mean, it`s a pretty damning picture.

But, again, this is a person who has managed to distance himself from all manner of criminal activity that is swirling around him. So, again, the Trump Organization has already been implicated in this. Allen Weisselberg has already been implicated in this. Will this go so far as to actually touch Donald Trump? That remains to be seen.

But, surely, he is involved in this. It`s whether or not there can actually be evidence that links into it in a conclusive way that prosecutors can then use to prove all of the elements of their case, but it`s not great. But this is a guy who`s always been very slippery.

JOHNSON: And I`m going to follow up on that.

So, when you say he`s been very slippery, is that -- look, in the past, he`s suggested that he`s paid people off, he`s brought people off, he`s basically bragged about all sorts of criminal activity. Donald Trump doesn`t have that much influence anymore.

So is this just a matter of when? Because it`s not like Rudy Giuliani can`t practice law, can`t protect him anymore. He doesn`t have the same kind of juice that he has to, so -- that he used to have. So is this an inevitability? Or are there still holes in these cases and investigations that can allow Trump or members of his family to get free?

MURRAY: I think it`s hard to say because we don`t know what all of the evidence is or what all of the charges will be.

Again, I think, if there`s something connecting him to this in a more explicit way, we`re going to learn about that the next couple of weeks, but without actually knowing what the case against him is, I think it`s going to be hard to say.

But as to him not having influence, I think that explains why we have this incredibly bizarre class-action lawsuit today, which is, it seems, is not only intended to get him back in front of the cameras and back into our radar screens, but also to drum up some funds for all of the different legal initiatives that he has going on at this point.

JOHNSON: So, Joan, I was unhappy with my eggs this morning, and I decided I was going to sue breakfast. And that is about as substantive a lawsuit as Donald Trump right now saying that he`s going to sue Facebook and Twitter and Google and Tumblr and probably Friendster.

Isn`t this really just about the fact that he`s starving for attention? Because I don`t see how -- you don`t have to be a lawyer or even play one on TV to think that he hates the fact that, every single day, he is not able to be on social media platforms, and that`s really what this suit is about.

JOAN WALSH, MSNBC ANALYST: It`s entirely what it`s about.

I mean, this lawsuit is as dead as the Trump Foundation and Trump University and Ivanka`s clothing line. I won`t milk this. I could go on and on and on. You know that.


WALSH: But it`s first and foremost an attempt to get back in front of the cameras, which succeeded, as well as a ginormous grift.

I mean, clearly, the fund-raising appeals went out from him and Don Jr. almost immediately. I hope they`re not doing what they did during the campaign, which was sign people up automatically for monthly repeat donations. These people are eternally ready to fall for him.

But that`s all it is about. And, right, we would love to see it go forward because we would really enjoy seeing him deposed and asked questions under oath about his involvement in January 6 and other things that led to his belatedly being kicked off these platforms.

So it would be a sight to behold, but we will never behold it.

JOHNSON: We know that Trump will have truly hit rock bottom when he`s doing OnlyFans and Cameo like Don Jr.

There`s audio now of sort of how small the Trump circle has become since the law is really going after them and they don`t have this kind of influence.

I want to play this audio, Joan, and get your thoughts on the other side.


QUESTION: If you happened to walk by Ivanka, what would you like to say to her?

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY/FIXER FOR DONALD TRUMP: Actually, we did see her. My wife and I were returning about a month or so ago, and she was leaving the building.

I know she saw us. But she went ahead, she put a newspaper in front of her face in order to make sure that we didn`t catch on. I know she did. But I don`t really care at this point. Right now, it`s only about the truth and getting the truth out.


JOHNSON: This new season of "Succession" is going to be great.

The fact that you have a situation where Ivanka Trump is now avoiding eye contact with Michael Cohen, this isn`t just sort of high school drama. It suggests to me -- and, Joan, I`m curious what your thoughts are. It suggests to me that the number of people who they think they can flex on an influence has shrink -- has diminished immensely since just a couple of months ago.

WALSH: Well, I think Michael Cohen has been outside of their circle for quite a while.

But there are also reports that she`s not especially close to her father lately, and that she`s using her helpers in the media to send forth this notion that she`s estranged, she`s embarrassed by so much of what he`s done. We have been through this before.

But we do know -- I mean, we literally don`t know what`s going on with these investigations. So I don`t want to overspeculate or promise anything. But she -- if her dad is in trouble, she`s in trouble, the boys are in trouble. It can`t be very comfortable.

Their family dynamics, it`s very "Succession"-like. I`m dying for that next season. This is going to have to do for a while.

JOHNSON: So, Melissa, I have I have a list right here of all the people who are authorized to sign checks in the Trump Organization. We got Don and Ivanka and Don Jr. and Eric Trump and Allen Weisselberg, all these people.

If you are in a position to sign checks in this organization, you are potentially in position to get investigated and possibly face consequences for the fact that the organization was holding two sets of books.

If you`re to look at this list right now, which of these people -- we already know about Weisselberg. Which of these people do you think might be the most concerned? Because I can imagine, look, maybe Ivanka, maybe Don Jr. is like, look, I only signed checks to charity, I wasn`t really paying that attention.

Are they -- do they have reason to be concerned if they did more than sign a couple of charity checks?

MURRAY: Again, all of this really depends on what comes out in this investigation.

It could be the case that the person who`s really handling most of this and going back and forth between the two different sets of books is Allen Weisselberg. It`s entirely possible that it`s set up that way, so that only one person is on the hook and that person isn`t related to Donald Trump in any way.

Picking between these three children, I mean, this is just sort of Whac-A- Mole at this point. This entire family is almost inextricably bound up in this cult of personality that is the Trump Organization and their father.

And so sort of extricating these leads is going to be incredibly difficult. But I think if the Trump Organization is in trouble, and Allen Weisselberg is in trouble, all of these individuals are also going to be worried.

JOHNSON: And going forward, I want to take us back also to Donald Trump`s lawsuit that he`s announcing today. He is like, I`m going to sue all these social media outlets.

The law isn`t always clear as to whether or not a president can block people or public officials can block people one way or another. But is there any case here? Because, quite frankly, Twitter, Facebook, a lot of social media platforms seem to be really inconsistent in who they ban and how and what they do and do not consider to be abuse.

So could Trump have a case here? Could he say, hey, look, I was in trouble? That was Donald Trump, the president. Now, as Donald Trump, the private citizen, I should be able to say what I want. Does he have any sort of case here? And would it matter if he`s going against Facebook or Google or Twitter in how strong his case is?

MURRAY: Well, let`s be clear, this particular lawsuit is filed and is based on his -- I guess the banning from Facebook on January 7 of 2021.

And he`s arguing that, in banning him, Facebook has violated the First Amendment. That`s the first problem, because only government actors are subject to the First Amendment. And Facebook, despite being a social platform that has incredible utility for most of the country, is not actually an arm of the government.

And collaboration between Facebook and the government does not suffice to make Facebook a public entity. So the First Amendment actually doesn`t apply.

The second claim here is that the Communications Decency Act, Section 230, which immunizes platforms from lawsuits over content moderation, should be struck down as unconstitutional. I think that`s also a hard issue to follow. I mean, there`s been a lot of criticism of Section 230.

But there`s also been a lot of praise for it for being the conduit for which the Internet has been allowed to flourish, because platforms have had this immunity from suit based on what is offered on those platforms ,with some important limitations, like you cannot advertise for crime, sex trafficking and things like that.

But there`s pretty much a free rein on the Internet. And that`s been part of what has made the Internet so successful. So, again, I don`t think there`s a lot here. This is, I think, as Joan says, an opportunity for former President Trump to fund-raise off of his own sense of being bereaved or beleaguered by the public.

JOHNSON: And I want to close with this.

Joan, when I think of how Trump dominated media by using Twitter for so long, it`s interesting to me that his grip has just disappeared without this platform. Do you think, if this continues, right -- Trump`s only been off Twitter for six months.

If he`s still off all social media platforms by this time next year, do you think Republicans will push some legislative way to force these organizations, to force these social media outlets to put him back on? Or do you think it`s a done deal because Mitch and the rest have already got what they wanted out of Trump when he was able to tweet?

WALSH: Well, they`re still standing up for him in many different and important ways. So, I wouldn`t put anything past Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell in terms of defending Trump.

I also want to say one last thing about this spectacle we saw today. He really did take a new step in terms of defending basically the January 6 lawlessness, insurrection, in terms of saying that the people who`ve been arrested should be released, in terms of calling Ashli Babbitt a martyr, and essentially are going to out the Capitol Police officer -- we believe it`s a Capitol Police officer -- who shot her after warnings.

And if she`s a victim of anyone, she`s a victim of Donald Trump and his lies, his repeated lies. But that`s dangerous. The lawsuit itself is a joke. But this new territory scares me a little, to be honest.

JOHNSON: The defense of terrorists from the former president of the United States.

Melissa Murray and Joan Walsh, thank you so much for starting off our show today.

Coming up: Joe Biden calls out Mitch McConnell for admitting he tried to block help for his own constituents. I`m going to talk to Bishop William Barber about that and the new push for voting rights.

Plus, how the FBI busted a rioters militia that tried to disguise itself as a Bible study group.

Stay with us. We`re on THE BEAT.


JOHNSON: Now to the tragedy in Surfside, Florida, where officials just announced the search-and-rescue phase, searching for survivors of the Champlain Tower collapse, is now over.

The number of confirmed dead is now 54; 86 are still unaccounted for, one official saying there is zero chance of survival at this point., two weeks after the building`s collapse. Search-and-rescue teams had to halt their efforts, as Tropical Storm Elsa hit Florida over the weekend. Workers now shifting to search and recovery.

Turning now to the most complex investigation in FBI history, six months after the MAGA insurrection, newly released evidence from inside the Capitol and a militia group busted months after it. The FBI releasing 11 new videos highlighting and freeze-framing for individual suspects, revealing unseen, harrowing footage of that tragic day, one officer being hit with a metal pole.

This video is in slow motion, but you can clearly see a man holding a metal pole jabbing it towards officers. The suspect is on the left. The FBI is trying to find the suspect.

And this video showing a Capitol Hill officer being stomped and beaten by the horde of Trump supporters, the officer having to be rescued and pulled away, and this showing two men lobbing a massive wooden pole at officers.

Today, the former president whose lies sparked the riot complained about how the terrorists were being treated.


TRUMP: People are being treated unbelievably unfairly, when you look at people in prison, and nothing happens to Antifa.

The person that shot Ashli Babbitt, boom, right through the head, just boom, there was no reason for that.


JOHNSON: Treated unfairly. I guess there were good people on both sides.

This is Trump`s position six months later. Today, we learned how the FBI infiltrated a militia group that called themselves a Bible study group. They discussed firearms training and a Virginia secession movement.

According to court documents, on February 13, on an encrypted messaging app, a member asked -- quote -- "How do we feel about an intel run around the Capitol tonight?" adding: "Fewer of them out. Posture may be lowered. Good opportunity to expose weaknesses."

The militia leader responding by telling the unnamed militia member to -- quote -- "poke and prod."

Yet Republicans in Congress are still shielding Trump. Minority Leader McCarthy doesn`t want a full investigation into the riot that threatened his own life. GOP Senate candidates are literally running on Trump`s big election lie, seeking to out-Trump won another to win the GOP base.

So where`s this party that`s embracing the big lie going and how can Democrats fight back with the facts?

We have the perfect guest, David Corn, after our shortest break, just 60 seconds.


JOHNSON: Joining me now is David Corn, Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones."

David, good to talk to you.

So I`m just going to start with this. We have news now that, with the select committee that`s going to be investigating January 6, that McCarthy is going to be appointing a couple of people there. He`s going to put on Jim Jordan, Elise Stefanik, Jim Banks of Indiana, Mike Johnson of Louisiana.

My first question for you, why the heck is Nancy Pelosi even allowing any Republicans on this committee, and certainly any Republicans on this committee who voted against putting the committee together? This makes absolutely no sense.

This is worse than allowing the fox to guard the henhouse, right? This is the opposing team, inviting them into your locker room to look at the playbook before the Super Bowl. Explain this to me.

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it`s even worse than that.

Look, go and look at the first impeachment hearing that Jim Jordan played a big role in. He and the others, Elise Stefanik too, all they did was to try to divert and deflect. It`s not about Ukraine. It`s about Adam Schiff. It`s not about Russia intervention. Actually, Ukraine intervened. It`s about the Steele dossier.

It was everything about -- the fact that Donald Trump tried to pressure the Ukrainian president to launch an investigation of Biden. They want to make it into a circus. They don`t want to get to the truth. And they know it doesn`t take two to turn something into a you know what type of show. It takes one to do that.

One group of people running around, lighting their hairs on fire, and dumping all over a serious proceeding, to the public at large, makes it look like a madhouse. And that`s all they need to do. They need to delegitimize and discredit the investigation.

They don`t have to prove that Donald Trump did the right thing. They just have to make it seem like this is partisan bickering. And you know how, unfortunately, some of our colleagues in the media cover these things.

They -- partisan fighting breaks out at committee hearing today is what will happen. And Jim Jordan is particularly good at that. Now, I don`t know what choice Speaker Pelosi has in terms of not letting Republicans on the committee at all.

But I do think there are going to be very tight rules. And they`re going to have to just have their, like, the Orwellian two minutes of hate, and just let them rant and rave for a couple minutes at every hearing, and then say, are you finished now? Can we get back to reality?

But it`s going to be very ugly.


And here`s the thing. Look, I have always found it amazing the number of conspiracies that Jim Jordan is always able to find in public, but couldn`t find when he was a coach back in his pre-politics career.

But here`s the other problem with this that I see. It is another sign of weakness on the part of Democratic Party leadership. Why can`t Pelosi simply say, look, we`re going to have this committee, we will allow Republicans on the committee, but voting against the committee to investigate the insurrection is an automatic disqualifier?

There were 40-something Republicans who voted in favor of this investigation. Why not say to McCarthy right now, that is the pool of people that you have to pick from? Because, David, you`re exactly right. All we`re going to hear about is Jim Jordan screaming. All we`re going to hear about is the one crazy thing, the one strange guest that -- the special guest star, the one person that the Republicans give the rose to, and it`s going to bring down the entire event.

Why do you think the Democrats are not flexing the power they actually have on a committee this important?

CORN: I think, to some degree, they still believe in fairness, I mean, for good or bad.

Yes, we -- you and I can grimace about this. But they know they may be in the minority in two years from now. And there are rules about establishing committees, and usually the leader of the party gets to pick, whether you`re the minority leader or the speaker of the House.

And I think they don`t want to totally blow that up. Now, your question, actually, I understand where it`s coming from. And it`s actually you get -- take it down at a level deeper. And the question becomes, how do you work with a party that wants to subvert democracy, that believes in creating authoritarianism, that wants to delegitimize elections?

We talk about bipartisan and unity, but how can you play nice with someone who wants to tear down your house? They`re in -- you can`t have a hearing on fire safety with an arsonist who`s running around with kerosene and a BIC lighter, right?

So how do you proceed? Now, I think, in some ways, the Democrats are going to have to get to a bigger narrative here. It may have to come from Joe Biden, that the Republicans -- because he talks about bringing the country together. He`s working together on infrastructure.

But if, indeed, there`s a party that`s committed to implementing authoritarianism, to undermining and subverting democracy, that story needs to be told. And it`s a hard story to tell. I understand that.

A lot of Americans don`t want to believe it or won`t believe it. Some believe that the people telling that story are actually the enemies and they want to destroy America. It`s a very hard thing to bring about, particularly when the media is often going to both-side it and say, well, Democrats say that Republicans want to do this and Republicans say Democrats want to do that.

So -- but I think, at some point, when Biden gets a few things done, this may have to be the story that`s told going into the next election and certainly 2024.

JOHNSON: I don`t see how -- and I love your metaphor. I don`t see how you can investigate a fire when half the other team is filled with Fire Marshal Bill. David Corn, thank you so very much for coming on and talking about this today.

Later on in the show, details on the shocking assassination of Haiti`s president rocking the nation.

But, first, Biden traveling to come Trump country today, where he touted jobs agenda and dished out a few choice words for Mitch McConnell, and then he gets to policy.

Bishop William Barber is here to discuss what his new plans are on how to help America.



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There`s a lot of work ahead of us to finish the job. But we`re going to get it done. We`re going to reimagine what our economy and our future could be and show the world, just as importantly, we will show ourselves, that democracy, democracy can deliver. The people of Illinois and the people of America and the world can lead again.


JOHNSON: President Biden going straight into Trump country today, pitching his spending plan for housing, education, families during a trip to McHenry County, Illinois, which Trump won in 2020.

Biden also riffing on Mitch McConnell`s recent admission that the COVID relief package is helping McConnell`s home state of Kentucky.


BIDEN: Mitch McConnell loves our programs. You see what Mitch McConnell said?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): You`re going to get a lot more money.

BIDEN: Look it up, man. He`s bragging about it in Kentucky.

MCCONNELL: Kentucky will get close to $700 million or $800 million.

BIDEN: It`s a great thing for Kentucky. It`s getting $4 billion to help poor -- it`s amazing.

MCCONNELL: The total amount that will come into our state, $4 billion.

BIDEN: Check out Mitch McConnell. You can even seen it on TV.

MCCONNELL: Not a single member of my party voted for it.


JOHNSON: McConnell admitting he tried to block money from his own people. It`s the kind of GOP obstruction Biden is facing on a range of issues.

Tomorrow, he will meet privately with civil rights groups on voting rights weeks after Republicans blocked an election reform bill. It comes as Republicans push new efforts to restrict voting.

Today, Texas Governor Greg Abbott told state Republicans to revisit a restrictive voting proposal in a special session, just weeks after Democrats staged a brave walkout at the state Capitol to stop its passage.

Joining me now is Bishop William Barber, president of Repairers of the Breach and co-chair of The Poor People`s Campaign. His organization is launching a new series of events. They`re calling them National Moral Mondays aimed at protecting voting rights.

Thank you so much, Bishop, for being on with us on THE BEAT today.

So I`m going to start with this, because I think Congresswoman Jayapal pretty much represents the energies that I have got when it comes to putting pressure on this administration about voting rights.

I want to play this clip and get your thoughts on the other side.


REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): This is urgent. And it`s why I think the president has to lean into it, not just privately behind the scenes, but in full view of the American people, who are watching their rights be stripped away.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: I take it you don`t think he`s done enough publicly?

JAYAPAL: He had a tremendous amount in front of him when he came in. But, yes, I think he needs to now do more on this issue.


JOHNSON: Bishop, I want to hear about voting rights every single day. I have suggested for a long time that, if I were in the administration, I would find some long municipal line for an election this fall and have Joe Biden stand there with people for six and seven hours just to demonstrate how serious this is.

What is your organization doing to push first the administration at a federal level and then at the state level to push back against some of these horrific voting restrictions that have been passed since the 2020 election?

REV. DR. WILLIAM BARBER, CO-CHAIR, POOR PEOPLE`S CAMPAIGN: Well, first of all, I think that the president was right today to go straight into so- called Trump country, because it`s not Trump country. It is our country.

And he needs to go there. And he needs to disaggregate how, if the things that he wants passed are passed, how it`s going to help everybody. That`s the thing too often Democrats have not done.

Secondly, we have to not limit it to voting rights. That`s why we talk about voting rights and living wages. And so what we`re saying is that the administration, the Senate, and at the state level, we cannot keep saying, Jason that democracy is in peril, and watch voting rights and living wages and infrastructure undermined, without responding with nonviolent direct moral action, even if it leads to civil disobedience.

But it must include all people. We can`t let them make this a binary argument, just black and white. We have got to show how what`s happening with voting rights negatively affects black people, white people, brown people, Asian people, because it undermines the policies that`s going to lift us all up.

And last thing, Jason, is, this is a moment. It`s not about just -- it`s about democracy vs. autocracy. Which side are you on? Is it going to be the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or the United States Constitution?

And so we are launching a series of events of season, a season of events with numerous organizations on this coming Monday that I can talk to you about.


JOHNSON: I want to add -- we`re going to play another clip here, because, when you talk about all the different people who are obviously going to be affected by these voting rights restrictions and everything else like that, I want to play a clip from amazing MacArthur genius and new Howard professor Nikole Hannah-Jones from Joy Reid`s show last night talking about sort of where and what the larger issue is behind these voting rights restrictions.

I want your thoughts on the other side.


NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES, CREATOR, THE 1619 PROJECT: The same places that are trying to ban the teaching of critical race theory, that are trying to ban The 1619 Project, which is actually they`re just trying to ban the teaching of the true racist history of this country, those are the same places that are introducing and passing laws to restrict the vote.

Ideas change action. None of this is incidental. And it is. It`s very dangerous. We have seen this before.



JOHNSON: Yes, the fear that I have is that not only that she`s exactly right, but that not enough people are going to listen.

Your thoughts?

BARBER: Well, she`s exactly right.

And the same places that are introducing it are the poorest states. They have the highest number of the 140 million poor and low-wealth people. They are the same state that are blocking living wages and blocking health care.

And that`s what we must connect.


BARBER: We must make folks understand, this is not just a Jim Crow attack on black folk. This is an attack on black folk and brown folk. But this is an attack on the democracy.

And we have got to -- we have to say to Biden and to Democrats and Schumer, look, if Mitch McConnell could take 51 votes and put Supreme Court justices on the bench for lifetime, then we ought to be able to say this democracy with 51.

And anybody, Manchin or Sinema, that doesn`t join that, then they are going to be to blame for where we fail. So, on this coming Monday, in D.C., we are launching on July 9 -- July -- what is this -- the 12th.

JOHNSON: Yes, the 12th.

BARBER: That we are having a series of National Moral Mondays. And we`re calling for four things by August the 6th.

Number one, stop the filibuster, so this democracy can work. Number two, pass the full For the People Act, not compromise, pass VRA, And pass living wages by August 6, which is the signing anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.

And we`re going to engage on next Monday a massive call-in.The next Monday, women are going to gather and engage in direct action, moral direct action, women of all different races, colors and creeds.

The next Monday, we`re going to be in states in every Senate office, Democrat and Republican. We`re going to encourage our allies and push our adversaries. And then, on August the 2nd, we`re going to have a mass gathering of clergy and low-wage workers coming together, willing in D.C. to engage in mass nonviolent direct moral action.

We must change this narrative. We must shift the discussion in this moment. We cannot do it merely with e-mails and texts. We can`t even do it just with one rally. This is a make -- this is a serious inflection point in this democracy.

And my dear sister Hannah, Nikole, said we have got to connect the dots. If the same people that are suppressing the vote are suppressing wages and suppressing health care and suppressing immigrant rights, if they are smart enough, if they are cynical enough to be together, we ought to be smart enough to come together and declare that this is a moral constitutional moment.

And the real question is, which side are you own? That`s the question. Which side are you own, McConnell? Which side are you on, Manchin? Which side are you on, Sinema? Which side are you on?

And don`t tell us anymore about compromise and moderation and waiting. We cannot wait on this, because the democracy is at stake in this moment.

JOHNSON: So, all too often, when it comes to the overt racism and bigotry that we have seen from the Republican Party for years, especially this year, coddling white nationalists, supporting an insurrection to overthrow the votes of mostly black and brown people earlier this year, they`re always saying, hey, you don`t know our heart, you don`t know our motivations.

You are clergy. You are a bishop. It is your job to know people`s hearts. What would it take? What kind of Scrooge moment, what kind of Grinch moment would it take for someone to reach Mitch McConnell and have him realize that blocking resources and money and infrastructure to his own people is not a good thing?

Because, clearly, this is someone who believes in. And all too many Republicans believe that having their own constituents suffer is fine, so long as other people they don`t like suffer as well.

BARBER: Well, let`s be real.

Long before Trump, the Republican Party, with the Southern Strategy, decided that they were going to make the GOP the party primarily of white people and the party of the aristocracy, the party of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That was decided a long time ago. It`s just coming to full fruition in this moment.

And it may not be that we have to touch McConnell. Maybe we need to touch those mountain people and those miners in Kentucky, and connect them with black folk in Louisville. That`s what we`re doing.

The things that we`re going to be doing all these next four Mondays, people are calling for it, J., not just leaders.


BARBER: But people, white and black and brown, are saying, we must come together.

And, right now, what we have got to do is push the Democrats to use the power they have.


BARBER: Now, I would love to convince Mitch McConnell, but there`s a scripture that says only God can change the leper`s spot.

But we got 51 votes. Manchin and Sinema, you need to get to decide, which side are you on? Because it`s time to use those 51 votes to do what`s right for this democracy.

And the way we push that to happen is, we have got to show even the Democrats the full array of America that is saying, this is wrong. Do you know, in West Virginia, 79 percent of West Virginians, Democrats and Republicans, want the For the People Act?


BARBER: They want living wages.


BARBER: That`s what we have got to put in the street.

If we let this just be a black vs. white issue, we lose on that. But if we make it a moral issue, a constitutional issue, as Dr. King called, a beloved community issue, and if we change the narrative by being willing to do civil disobedience, and put our bodies on the line, and do direct action in a nonviolent way, we don`t need an insurrection.

But we do need a resurrection of our deepest moral and constitutional values rooted in a movement of direct action. We`re going to try to push that and start that and ask other people to join. It`s time, J. It`s past time.

We should have done it. We should have done it when Manchin turned back the $15, because that -- when he blocked $15, he blocked 40 percent of black people coming up out of poverty.




JOHNSON: In addition to hundreds of thousands of people in his own state, which, again, we`re trying to get Manchin to understand.

Bishop William Barber, thank you so very much for taking me to church tonight. My parents would be very proud of me.

Ahead: Haiti`s president is unfortunately assassinated in his own home. The latest on the investigation.

And the hero who filmed George Floyd`s murder loses her uncle to alleged police misconduct. We will be discussing that next.


JOHNSON: Tragic story in Minneapolis.

Darnella Frazier, the teen who filmed George Floyd`s murder, just lost her uncle, killed an apparent accident colliding with a police car yesterday. Minneapolis police said in a statement that an officer was pursuing the driver of a carjacked vehicle involved in multiple robberies, when the officer`s car collided with another car.

Darnella says her uncle, Leneal Lamont Frazier, was in that other car and completely unrelated to the chase, and he was killed.

Darnella writing -- quote -- A"Minneapolis police killed my uncle. Another black man lost his life in the hands of the police."

An investigation was launched, but this is likely to be chalked up to gross negligence on the part of the police. Is that the same as the willful public execution of George Floyd committed by former Officer Derek Chauvin? No.

But is it another example of how American police often show wanton disregard for black lives and seldom face consequences? Yes.

On the one-year anniversary of Floyd`s killing, Darnella says she`s traumatized by seeing a black man murdered in front of her -- quote -- "I still hold the weight and trauma of what I witnessed a year ago. It`s a little easier now. But I`m not who I used to be. A part of my childhood was taken from me."

She said it made her realize how dangerous it is to be black in America.


DARNELLA FRAZIER, FILMED GEORGE FLOYD: When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad. I look at my brothers. I look at my cousins, my uncles, because they are all black. I look at that, and I look at how that could have been one of them.


JOHNSON: Joining me now is the perfect person to talk to you about this.

Joining me now is Brittany Packnett Cunningham, former member of President Obama`s Policing Task Force and an MSNBC contributor.

Brittany, I just want to start with this. In case people forgot how important Darnella Frazier is to where we are today in our public discourse on this, I want to play a little video of this sort of star-studded extravaganza that was dedicated to her and what she did bravely last year to make America aware of police violence.



MERYL STREEP, ACTRESS: Thank you, Darnella.


DERAY MCKESSON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Your bravery changed this country.

MOLLY CRABAPPLE, ARTIST: Thank you, Darnella.

RITA DOVE, POET: Thank you, Darnella.


SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): Thank you to Darnella Frazier.


JOHNSON: All those thank-yous won`t have her sleeping any better at night. All those thank-yous don`t make up for her uncle being killed.

I just want to start with this. What is the impact of this kind of internecine violence on black people? What is this going to do, first to this little girl and then to the community at large, after already going through what we went through with George Floyd?

BRITTANY PACKNETT CUNNINGHAM, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Jason, thank you, thank you, thank you for asking this question, the question that we far too often don`t actually hear asked, because the constant trauma, the repeated videos, the deaths, the violence, the enactment and reenactment over and over again on violence against black bodies does something to us.

It sits with us. It lays down next to us when we go to sleep at night and it wakes up with us in the morning. And when you think of, yes, the bravery that Darnella Frazier showed, but also when you think of what it cost her to be the person who stood there in that moment, and made sure that the Minneapolis police and that this entire country could no longer keep telling the same white supremacist lies, you have to recognize that there is a human being and a young woman who has paid for that dearly.

She already said that she paid for that with her childhood. She paid for that with her own sense of peace and safety. And black people across this country, across this world are paying that cost over and over again.

And so here`s Darnella, already bearing that weight, already paying that cost every single day. And now she once again has to make the ultimate sacrifice. Her family has now lost another loved one to this same system that has already placed Darnella, her family, our communities in grave danger in grave disrepair.

So, I thank you for asking that question, because we need to start the conversation right there.

JOHNSON: And centering, centering the people who are suffering.

Brittany, I want to bring up this in the background, because this is really key. I don`t think people understand how often this same kind of violence often visits the same families. We have a story that just came out talking about the fact that a young man who knew Eric Garner later on got pepper- sprayed by the cops, that George Floyd`s girlfriend used to teach Daunte Wright.

The police seem to prey on the same black people over and over and over again. I have always made it abundantly clear I believe in abolishing police, getting rid of it entirely, starting from the beginning. We have done that before. We have done it with the Department of War.

But in this moment -- that`s a conversation we can have tomorrow. In this moment, what should the country be learning from the fact that the young woman who already witnessed violence that she had no part of just lost her uncle to the wanton violence and irresponsibility of the police?

What`s the lesson that the nation needs to be learning right now?

PACKNETT CUNNINGHAM: The lesson the nation needs to learn in this moment is that the system is working precisely as it was designed, that to revisit the same black families, black people and black communities is not happenstance. It`s not an accident.


PACKNETT CUNNINGHAM: This is intentional. This is a choice.

There are multiple systems that continue to perpetuate inequities in our communities. We look at child and family services and people who are trying to do honest work, but often that work ends up disproportionately impacting black families.

We look at an equitable education and poor housing, poisonous water and air. We look at jobs that don`t pay living wages.


PACKNETT CUNNINGHAM: And it`s often our families who are going through the revolving doors of those systems.

This is not by accident. This is completely by intention. And whether it was going to be the Frazier family or someone else, what we need to understand is that this system, this system that continues to visit and revisit black people with intention is working precisely and exactly as it was designed.

JOHNSON: Exactly, as always planned.

Brittany Packnett Cunningham, thank you so much. Unfortunately, we will have this conversation again.

Ahead: the assassination of Haiti`s president and the hunt for answers.

We will be back with THE BEAT.


JOHNSON: Now to breaking news out of Haiti, where President Jovenel Moise was assassinated overnight.

The prime minister says a heavily armed group of unidentified assailants stormed the presidential palace. The president`s wife, Martine, was also shot during the attack, her condition at this time not publicly known.

Moise had been the target of protests in recent months. Now Haiti faces a political void, atop an economic crisis and surging gang violence.

Reporters asked President Biden about the assassination today.


QUESTION: What`s your reaction, Mr. President, to the Haitian president being assassinated?

BIDEN: We need a lot more information, but it`s just -- it`s very worrisome about the state of Haiti.


JOHNSON: I`m joined now by Haitian journalist Widlore Merancourt. He is in the capital of Haiti in port au prince.

I have to ask just from the beginning. First off, taking this -- thank you for taking this time.


JOHNSON: We`re getting reports that the people who attacked and assassinated the leader came in claiming that they were American DEA agents. The United States has denied this.


JOHNSON: But my first question is, where on earth is this coming from? And why would that cover even be used for an assassination?


One thing everybody will tell you here in Haiti is that the U.S. is very powerful, and U.S. institutions are very powerful in this country. And, actually, the DA used to conduct operations in Haiti.

For instance, the senator Guy Philippe was arrested in port with the help of DEA agents. So a lot of people respect the DEA. They respect U.S. institution. So I, think if a couple of people comes to you, and they appear, and they look like DEA agents, everybody in Haiti would listen to them.

JOHNSON: What was President Moise`s status in the country? I know that you have an election coming this fall. Obviously, there were protests against him. But was he vastly unpopular? Did he have sort of insurgent enemies in the country?

What do you think or what`s the initial thought about where an attack like this on a president -- and, again, to my knowledge, this is certainly the most -- we don`t have assassinations of world leaders very often. So what do you think might have been the indigenous cause of this right now? What`s the speculation the ground?

MERANCOURT: OK, so President Jovenel Moise is just the third Haitian president who was assassinated while in office. Three others were assassinated right after they left -- they leave office. So it`s not common practice in Haiti that we kill our presidents.


MERANCOURT: He was a very unpopular president, all the way to three years from now.

Large protests started. And his name and his companies were implicated -- were implicated, I`m sorry. I`m hearing a noise -- were implicated in corruption cases in the country. And his companies were named in civil reports, including from Senate reports and other institutions reporting about corruption.

So, he was criticized as well by the international community because he was trying to change the Constitution of the country via referendum, which is something that the 1987 Constitution forbids. It was an illegal...

JOHNSON: Action on his behalf.

MERANCOURT: ... endeavor.

And he tried to build a couple of institutions. For instance, he -- last year, he...


JOHNSON: Well, hold on. We`re running up on time. I will say this.

And thank you so much. We will definitely be coming back the story.

I have got to tell you, any attack on any president anywhere in this hemisphere is a concern for all of us. So, again, I express concern for your country. We`re definitely going to follow this story again.

Widlore Merancourt, thank you very much for your time.

That does it for me.