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Transcript: The Beat with Ari Melber, August 27, 2020

Guests: Nick Adams, Nancy Pelosi


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi discusses the Republican National Convention and the presidential race. President Trump prepares to accept the Republican presidential nomination amidst multiple crises gripping the country. The unequal treatment police afford white suspects vs. African-American suspects is examined.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to THE BEAT. I am Ari Melber.

Donald Trump facing twin attacks from Biden and Harris tonight. They are blasting him, scathing comments. This is on camera, a bit of a prebuttal to what's expected with Donald Trump's long and fierce speech, reports already about that, at the RNC tonight.

Trump will speak, of course, amidst this national and growing unrest in American cities, as well as reaching the highest levels of professional sporting, after that shooting in the back of Jacob Blake, the NBA postponing games again today.

Tonight, Trump invoking the backdrop of the White House, and early excerpts are already saying this is going to be about going after Joe Biden, calling him the most extreme set of proposals ever offered by a major-party nominee, Trump saying he will also find ways to address what's going on in Wisconsin.

New details are emerging about the suspect in Tuesday's shooting there. It left two people dead. The 17-year-old said he was promoting -- quote -- "blue lives matter." He posted photos of himself carrying a long gun online.

Today, Senator Harris offering a biting critique of Donald Trump.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Donald Trump has failed at the most basic and important job of a president of the United States. He failed to protect the American people, plain and simple.

Trump showed that we in the legal profession would call a reckless disregard for the well-being of the American people.


MELBER: Let's get right to it.

We are joined by our friend and former United States Senator Claire McCaskill, an MSNBC contributor.

Nice to see you, Claire.


MELBER: And another MSNBC contributor and colleague, Shawna Thomas, two people who understand exactly where we're headed tonight, big clash.

And, Senator McCaskill, it is very clear that the Trump folks are letting it be known in advance that this is going to be more about Biden than some of the speeches last week were even about Trump, while Harris already hitting the prebuttal.

What do you see as important here?

MCCASKILL: Well, I think he is going to try to continue with what they did last night, which is somehow try to convince everyone that the chaos that we're seeing in America right now, whether it's the pandemic or racial unrest, belongs to somebody besides him.

This is Trump's America. These are the seeds that he has planted. This is the president that has failed to unite this country in a clarion call against racism. This is a president who has thrived on division and chaos, instead of decency and competence and calm.

So, it is ironic to me that they are trying to say, this is Biden's America. No, this is Trump's America. And that's what they're going to do tonight. They're going to try to convince people that the problems that are out there somehow belong to Joe Biden, when the president has had really a grip on Washington since he took office.

MELBER: Well, you lay it out there. You make a great point.

And, Shawna, I'm curious if you speak to the senator's point, because every president likes to own the positive and walk away from everything else in the country. And the federal government does not literally control everything.

But I think Trump supporters and opponents would agree or be aware that Donald Trump has an approach to race and policing and civil rights in America. It's different than the Obama administration. I think everybody knows that.

And so there comes to this disturbing question of what leadership he's setting. And I say that to get your response to a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police chief making comments that are really extreme, if you think about the logic of them. I'm saying this so the viewers can think about this as we hear them.

Typically, law enforcement focus on getting criminals. And if somebody is arrested for killing people, they're the guilty party, in the views of law enforcement, and they get a trial.

Here, we heard something very different that seemed to, in a way, play it down. Take a listen.


DANIEL MISKINIS, KENOSHA, WISCONSIN, POLICE CHIEF: Everybody involved was out after the curfew. I'm not going to make a great deal of it.

But the point is, the curfew is in place to protect. Had persons not been involved in violation of that, perhaps the situation that unfolded would not have happened.


MELBER: Your reaction to that and putting that in the context of law enforcement comparing breaking a curfew to killing two people?

SHAWNA THOMAS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, it's almost it's almost hard to respond to that, because he could have framed it in such a way that -- and then I'm not saying this would have been the right framing -- but both people were out after curfew.

Maybe nobody should have been out after curfew, if that is what you believe.

But I think that does play into the lawn order message that we have seen most Republicans put forth in the last week that I also, much like Senator McCaskill, expect the president to also put forth.

But, also, which version of the president are we going to get tonight? And I think that will tell us a lot. I think we're going to get law and order president. But his counselor Kellyanne Conway spent a lot of time last night trying to convince people that, behind closed doors, he is a caring person, that he has seen -- that she has seen him comfort children.

His daughter, sort of actually -- Tiffany Trump -- actually sort of struck a different tone, where she had this whole thing about politics is about hiding behind masks of decency, and that's basically not my dad.

So, I think the question is, are we going to see President Trump backed up Kellyanne Conway, or are we going to see President Trump back up his daughter and sort of just say whatever he thinks? I think I kind of know what you probably believe. And I know it Senator McCaskill believes.

But the law and order part of this and how he responds to Wisconsin, I think is more about his base and getting people who might be on the fence about voting, not necessarily are they going to vote for him or vote for Biden. I actually am not totally sure that those -- that there are a lot of those people out there.

But if they voted for him before, they're not sure about voting now, can he scare them enough and also get them to believe he can bring the economy back and deal with COVID-19?

But fear is a powerful motivator. Can he scare them enough to get them to actually show up and vote? And I think one of the interesting things about this is that, as he speaks about Wisconsin tonight, as he speaks about Kenosha, as he speaks about what's going on, whatever he doesn't say, whatever he doesn't say about racial unrest and what people are feeling, and can he tap into some type of empathy for black people in fear, along with people who are scared of rioters, that also might encourage people who are on the fence about voting on the liberal side to show up and vote too.

This could work both ways.

MELBER: Yes, all fair points.

Now, Senator McCaskill, we may be sitting here wondering, well, what is the Trump campaign's view of all this? Well, I have news for everyone. We are going to keep the senator and Shawna here. We're going to hear directly from the Trump campaign on a big night and get your response, fact-check, or whatever you want to do afterward.

Joining us right now is Nick Adams, a Trump 2020 surrogate, founder of the Foundation for Liberty and American Greatness, on a big night, the president speaking at the RNC.

Thanks for coming on THE BEAT tonight, sir.


MELBER: In short form, what is, you think, the president's best argument for reelection tonight?

ADAMS: Well, I think, tonight, we're going to see a very impressive president, Ari.

I think these are the moments that the president really likes, and I think he's going to deliver a speech for the ages. It's going to draw on a little bit of everything. I think there's going to be some inspiration. I think there's going to be some patriotism.

I think there's going to be a very clear setting out of what the president believes are the differences between him and his opponent. I think that we're going to see elements from the Mount Rushmore speech. We're going to see elements from the speech in Poland a couple of years ago.

We're going to see that same kind of very clear setting out of what America is, what American values are, and what is at stake right now, not just in the United States of America, but the entire world.


Let me ask you. One of the issues that any incumbent has is their record. Donald Trump has broken some of his pledges, particularly on the economy. You may recall, in '16, he talked a lot about adding coal jobs.

Do if you know he's added any?

ADAMS: Well, I don't have any numbers in front of me right now.

But I can tell you that I think this president...

MELBER: Well, let me give you a number, for your benefit and the audience, and then I'll let you respond.

A lot of talk about the coal jobs. They're actually down 900 under the Trump administration. Even before COVID, the job growth rate trailed the Obama administration.

And so my question to you is, given those facts -- those are facts there on the screen, citizens know them -- do you think the president should acknowledge the broken economic promises tonight? Or is your political view, you just ignore that?

ADAMS: Ari, my view, as a proud American, is that the president should come out there tonight and say that he is the best thing that's happened to America in a very long time, that people have got more money.

The economy was absolutely booming before COVID-19 happened, something completely beyond his control. This is the jobs president. African American employment was...


MELBER: Should he blame COVID? Should he blame COVID, then, for the fact that he hasn't delivered on all the economic pledges?

ADAMS: Well, I think he has delivered enormously on the economic pledges, Ari.

I would dispute your assessment.

MELBER: But not on the ones I just mentioned.

I have limited time, so I won't repeat them. But everyone heard them. So now's your chance to show whether you can engage those facts or not.

ADAMS: Well, like I say, Ari, I don't have those numbers. I think that this president has done great things for jobs everywhere.

You have decided to cherry-pick a particular statistic. Whether or not that statistic is right or wrong. I can't confirm right now live on air.

But I can tell you that, overall...


MELBER: Well, you can worry about your job, and I'll worry about mine. There's nothing cherry-picked about the national coal job data.

And it is a pledge he made.

Let's move forward because we got your response on that.

I'm curious what you think about Steve Bannon, who, of course, ran what was the Electoral College success in 2016. You, I know, do conservative work.

I'm sure -- from the little I know about you, I'm sure you would not seek to defraud the people who donate or support your group.

Steve Bannon here going in this convention, as you know, indicted for orchestrating -- and I'm reading here -- -- quote -- "a scheme to defraud hundreds of thousands of donors in connection with this crowdfunding for We Build the Wall."

Do you think that that Donald Trump needs to unequivocally say it was wrong to defraud these apparently well-meaning MAGA supporters who thought they were funding the wall, not Steve Bannon's lifestyle?

ADAMS: Look, I think the president has been clear on Steve Bannon.

I think it's very clear what the president's thoughts on Steve Bannon have been in the recent past.

Look, what Steve Bannon did, allegedly, I don't have any proof. I don't know if you do. Perhaps you do your job better than I do. But I don't know what he's done or what he hasn't done, Ari.

But if what is alleged is true, then, obviously, it's a very bad thing that's occurred. And I think the president and any normal person would condemn that kind of fraudulent activity.

MELBER: Nick Adams from Trump 2020, as a surrogate, I like everyone to be able to hear everything, and I appreciate you coming on THE BEAT, sir.

ADAMS: Ari, always a pleasure.

MELBER: Thank you, sir.

As promised, we will bring back in our panel here for the top of the show, Senator McCaskill, Shawna Thomas.

Senator, your thoughts?

MCCASKILL: Well, he said, there's going to be a lot of every -- some of everything in the speech tonight. There's going to be some patriotism, there's going to be this and that.

The one thing he didn't mentioned was, there's going to be a lot of lying, because we know that Trump can't speak without lying. He will lie about what he's done. He will lie about promises that he claims he's kept, when he hasn't.

I mean, you were kind. I mean, the list of promises broken, I mean, good health care, building the wall, infrastructure, balancing the budget, repealing Obamacare, I mean, it is a very long list.

MELBER: But are we cherry-picking?

MCCASKILL: Mexico will pay for it. Yes, right.


MCCASKILL: It's a very long list of broken promises.

So they have tried to make a theme of this week, promises kept. No, no, no, that's a lie too. And I feel for that guy. And I think it's great that he came on your show. But we do know one thing for sure. There will be line tonight.

MELBER: Shawna?

THOMAS: I mean, I think one thing I'm interested in, in something Nick said is, he said that the president is going to talk about what America is or what his view of America is and what American values are.

And I'm really curious to know if -- his view of America, because a lot of what we have seen over the course of these last three days is probably not the same view of America that the people who are protesting in the streets in Kenosha, Wisconsin, have, if that lines up at all, with anybody who doesn't look like him, if it lines up at all with anybody who has a different point of view than him, because part of what America is, is being able to accept lots of different types of people, and that they actually build up to some something better.

And that includes conflict. And that includes divisiveness. But what I didn't hear in the last three days, and I don't necessarily expect to hear it today, is that there is room in America, even if you do not vote for this president, there is room in America to hear all of these different points of views.

So, I am curious, what does he think America is?

MELBER: Well, I think that's why conventions -- and this is, I guess, the optimist in me, but even if you strongly disagree with something, conventions are one of these times, two weeks out of this period, where a lot of people do hear directly unfiltered from both parties.

And if you hear something that you strongly disagree with, good. At least you heard it, processed it with your own free mind, that's democracy, and then you can decide whether to do something about it.

Now, to that end, Claire, I want to play just one more thing that we put together that is Donald Trump over this period of time, some of it crossing the line, incriminating. And the question of, as we just heard Senator Harris call him out, and we're in now this general election, how much do Democrats have to remind people about this stuff vs. hitting the jobs and the other issues that I know you have talked a lot about?

Take a listen.


JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: I think that the NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they're able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially.

So they have that luxury, which is great.


MELBER: That's obviously not it.

Ask my control room. Do we have it, or no? If we -- if we have it, we will play it.

Number four.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.

What I did is, I was going to fire Comey. This Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.

China should start an investigation into the Bidens.

If we don't make a deal, that means they don't get the money. That means they can't have universal mail-in voting. They just can't have it.


MELBER: Senator, how much do Democrats hit all of that, vs. the vision for rebounding the economy and saving American democracy, as some have put it?

MCCASKILL: Well, I think that the Democrats have to prosecute their case.

And Kamala started today on COVID, laying out calmly all of the things that Trump has mismanaged in this crisis, and the result is that tens upon thousands of Americans have died who didn't need to.

I will say this. The Russian hoax is really interesting, because, as you know, Ari, a Republican-led committee has now almost unanimously agreed that Russia did try to interfere in our elections to help Donald Trump, that there was a Russian agent working without Paul Manafort during the campaign, and that it was appropriate that these things were investigated, including Carter Page.

So the Democrats have to commit continue to remind America that this isn't the swamp getting Donald Trump. It is his behavior getting him.

And the last thing I want to add, which I think is very important, it will be very ironic to the president to talk about law and order tonight while he's violating the law, because he will be violating the law by doing a political event with the people's house, which is not allowed in our country, has never been done.

And it should really aggravate America that he is abusing the trust they have put it in him in this manner.

MELBER: Right.

I appreciate you raising that. It's part of why, when we had the Trump official on tonight, I raised the Bannon indictment and a number of felons, because law and order has to be defined.

Senator McCaskill, Shawna Thomas, thanks to both of you for kicking off our show.

I'm going to keep it moving, because Speaker Pelosi joins us when we're back in just 30 seconds.


MELBER: It's a big night in America. The president speaks at the convention.

And we are thrilled to have live right now the speaker of the House, of course, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat from California.

Speaker, good to see you.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): My pleasure.

MELBER: I want to begin with one of the most important substantive policy issues right now, the status of debates over COVID relief and what you and your colleagues are doing.

PELOSI: Well, let me just say, I said, my pleasure to be here.

Not quite pleasure, at a time when we're having wildfires in California, defined as -- described as Armageddon, of a hurricane -- hurricane in the coast for Texas and Louisiana described as unsurvivable, where we have a pandemic of biblical proportions in our country, three issues that can be addressed by attention to science, science and science, in terms of being -- not being in denial about climate, and not being -- ignoring the recommendations of scientists.

On top of that, we have Kenosha, which it breaks your heart to see. So, we obviously -- our prayers are with the family, the Blake family, but with the families of all who are affected throughout our country by the challenges that we face.

And this virus is one that is not only a health threat, but an economic threat, and now a threat to the well-being of children as they go back to school. So, in that context, again, let's all be prayerful about some solutions that we can have.

In the meantime, in terms of the so-called negotiations, we have, Mr. Schumer and I have said we would be willing to come down a trillion dollars in order to have a negotiation about how we go forward to again open up our economy by crushing, crushing this virus, how we honor our heroes, our health care workers, our sanitation, transportation, our teachers, our teachers, our teachers, our first responders, who are so important to us, and are paid by the state and local governments.

That's a big issue. We have major disagreement in the negotiations over recognizing the need to do that.

And then, of course, putting money in people's pockets, and that includes feeding the hungry, millions of food-insecure children in our country, millions of families in fear of losing their homes and being on the street.

So, again, we have a big chasm in terms of values. And so, this isn't just about dollars. It's about our responsibilities to the American people. But we all want to find an agreement.

MELBER: Right, an agreement, given how many people are struggling, as you say.

Sometimes here, we talk or question whether the Democrats are struggling with something.

Tonight, I want to ask you about a place where you and your strategy has been working. And we have been covering this a lot on this program. I know you're the speaker of the House. You may be too busy to watch it.

But you set out an emergency pressure effort to hold the Trump administration accountable for potentially messing with votes by mail. And it appears to be working. They say they're backing off.

Because we want to stay on the story, I'm curious, in your view, do you agree? Is this working? You called the emergency session. They relented to some degree. And what else do people need to know about this going into the election?

PELOSI: What people know -- need to know is not to pay attention to the president of the United States when he engages in his fear tactics.

He is still saying he doesn't trust how the votes will be counted. That's a way of saying to people, why bother to vote? Your vote may not even be counted.

So, ignore him, because he knows he can't win under normal circumstances. So, he has to engage in fear tactics and intimidation at the polls by saying he's going to have certain people there to watch people who show up.

What is that?

So, again, we don't agonize over him. We organize. And we are organizing to make sure that people vote, that they vote early, that they correctly fill out their forms, that, if they need to vote in person, that their authorities will enable them to have spatial -- the distancing.

And that means you have to have more precincts, you have to have polling places, you have to have more time, more days in order to enable people to vote. And that's what we have in the HEROES Act, the funds to enable just that to happen, so people don't have to choose between their health and their vote...

MELBER: You did...

PELOSI: ... because of the president's tactics.

MELBER: Yes. Understood.

And I think it's been striking to see how that works. We have been covering that.

You did make some waves talking about Joe Biden vs. Donald Trump, including the debates.

PELOSI: Mm-hmm.

MELBER: Could you expound on your thoughts for us? I think they interested people.

PELOSI: Well, I have every confidence in Joe Biden.

As I have said, he has -- he knows why. He knows his why he is running for president. He has a vision for America that is very inclusive. He knows the subjects. He has experience in governance, and, therefore, can think strategically about how to get things done by bringing people together.

And that is all up here.

But here in his heart, he connects with the American people in a very beautiful way. He is so authentic. He identifies with their kitchen table concerns. And they know that.

Why I said he shouldn't debate him has nothing to do with Joe Biden. Joe Biden will be great as a -- he is great as a debater.

What it is, is about how totally inappropriate, if that's the word -- that's the nicest way I can think of the president is.


PELOSI: I mean, he has no even slight flirtation with truth, fact, evidence, data, that they would have to have people there judging whether he's telling the truth on something.

Why even waste everybody's time listening to what he has to say? If they want to hear them, he should have his own forum, and Joe should have his own forum.

But it's no use discussing. Joe Biden wants -- he's ready to go and wants to get into that debate.

My concern was, the president has not shown any respect for the office that he holds. And I don't expect that he will have any respect for the debates, for that office, as he has not shown any respect for our -- giving people the right to vote without intimidation.

MELBER: Well, it's striking, Speaker, because you have clashed with certain presidents, but we have never heard you -- and you have a career and a record -- we have never heard you say that a president was this illegitimate and beneath debate.

I think a lot of viewers know why you take that position, notwithstanding the confidence for Joe Biden.

Big night tonight.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, I appreciate you joining us.

PELOSI: Well, but I have worked in a very positive way with Republican presidents.


PELOSI: This is quite different.

I ask the Republicans to take back their party. And they will see the difference tonight between light of last week and darkness of this week.

Thank you.

MELBER: Thank you, Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Appreciate it.

We fit in a break.

We have a lot more in the program, newly revealed video of Donald Trump during a controversial deposition.

But, up next, we do special reports around here. And, boy, do we have one after this break.

I want to walk through the double standard in policing, racism, police brutality, in the context of the Jacob Blake shooting, and a lot more. It's something we have been working on.

And it's right after this break.


MELBER: We are entering the fifth of protests over Wisconsin police shooting Jacob Blake in the back seven times at point-blank range.

Now, he was a 29-year-old present as police arrived on a scene of a reported domestic incident.

And right now, we turn to a special report on the context and law regarding this disturbing incident caught on video. Blake was walking away from police, going into a car that reportedly had his three children. You see him there.

And all of this went down within three minutes of police arriving at the scene. Our video there does not show Blake with a weapon or going towards police. There is a new report that states in the car there was a knife. The question, though, facing police is why they escalated force towards someone walking away from them.

And there are systemic reasons that many departments operate with near impunity. Rarely are officers investigated, let alone charged, for killing suspects. Wisconsin is one of 14 states that has special rules protecting officers from investigations into their conduct.

Unlike every other person, officers get advanced warning about the officer in charge of their case, the nature of the investigation, special time provided for any personal necessities.

They also, unlike other people, are protected from possible lie-detector tests, blood tests or Breathalyzer tests, all of which we know are useful in law enforcement because they're used against everyone else who's not a police officer.

Now, many see a double standard in law and inaction, like this new video going around that appears to show police thanking a young man now accused of murder, as well as other armed civilians there in Wisconsin. They were handing out water bottles.

The sheriff says that that interaction was OK because they give water to anyone.

But this is the exact double standard at play. Police are not treating people the same. I will say it again. Police are not treating people the same.

Now, Blake was shot repeatedly in the back. He was not accused of any crime, let alone accused of killing people. Then take Kyle Rittenhouse, who allegedly fatally shot two people during these protests. But police took him into custody, remember, an alleged killer, but they took him into custody without incident.

He's now charged with first-degree intentional homicide. He was taken the next morning. Video shows police letting him actually leave the scene the night of shootings, walking right past police as bypassers scream, "He just shot someone."

This is some of the video we have. The police allowed him, the shooter, to go.

Now, the larger context that I want to share with you tonight, other notorious murderers have been confronted by police and still taken in peacefully, not shot in the back.

Remember the infamous Charleston church killer, Dylann Roof, who terrorize people with mass murder?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are following a church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, right now. It happened around 9:00 p.m. this evening. The gunman is still at large.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know what's going on. I don't know if they got a shooter or not. They told us they did. Then, right after they told us they had a shooter, we got a bomb threat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police at this hour have now identified the gunman as 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof.


MELBER: You remember how harrowing that was. Police knew what was going on when they arrived at the scene. They knew they were facing a man armed with a rifle who killed, don't forget, these nine innocent churchgoing victims.

But police did not fire one shot at him. They managed to carefully methodically, apprehend Dylann Roof.

In fact, here, you can see officers basically handcuffing him calmly, leading him into the back to that car in the corner. Then the police took him out for Burger King, because he was allegedly hungry, after that calm arrest.

Or take the treatment of a known mass killer and how that contrasts to this altercation from within about a year of that same incident. This was in New York. A black man was, like Jacob Blake and like so many other incidents, not facing a criminal charge. He was not a suspect for violence, let alone a killing.

But, there, it was police who escalated that interaction you see on your screen into violence. Eric Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, was standing on the street selling contraband cigarettes. There are multiple officers on the scene. They surrounded him. They kept choking him. They choked him to death, as he gasped back then this phrase we keep hearing from people before they're killed.

He gasped, "I can't breathe."

Now, that treatment of what was on video documented a peaceful person. Contrast to another person suspected for killing three people this time, the wife, child and mother-in-law of Blake Bivens, a minor league baseball pitcher.

Now, these individual fled police and looked, as you can see here, apparently distraught and naked, a danger to others. He even on this video attaches a -- attacks a church groundskeeper. He was outnumbered, like those other arrests you saw.

But here, in this incident, like other police witnesses we have tracked, dozens of officers assembled to capture. There was noticeable restraint. They didn't go near deadly force. The officers used some pepper spray. One used a nightstick, no shots, not a single fire, not a single deadly choke hold.

Now, within one year of that dramatic encounter, Americans then learned about that excruciatingly slow killing of George Floyd. Here he was beforehand. He was being walked out. He was not armed. He was restrained, but he was then held in that choke hold, pleading the same words, "I can't breathe."

Now, Floyd told the police he was claustrophobic and was afraid to get in the car, according to the arrest affidavit. So we know that from police. We don't have more information from Floyd because they killed him.

It's an incident that, of course, has shocked many in America, not because it occurred -- police killings of civilians are frequent -- but shocking because, like the Blake interaction, was caught on tape.

Now, most Americans have seen the citizen-made video of Floyd's killing. That's a piece of it on the right-hand of your screen.

But it's worth seeing the context of these other arrests, like Dylann Roof, how police peacefully subdued a mass murderer and other killers who were white, while escalating interactions with a black man, up to the point where Minnesota authorities allege that would turn that into a crime scene, a murder scene, was what police did.

Now, let me warn you, that video is, of course, disturbing.


GEORGE FLOYD, DIED IN POLICE CUSTODY: I can't breathe. Please, a knee on my neck. I can't breathe, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bro, get up and get in the car, man.

FLOYD: I will.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get up and get in the car.

FLOYD: I can't move.


MELBER: "Get up and get in the car."

George Floyd literally could not move. He couldn't breathe. And then he was killed.

Now, this is the double standard. This is the inequity. This is what protesters are protesting, the racism.

But what about the law? Well, some people emphasize well, these people, some of them, apparently they were resisting arrest.

Republican Lindsey Graham stressing that in the new case with Blake, saying he didn't yield.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I don't know what happened there. Let's find out. But it's dangerous being a cop.

I don't know why the gentleman didn't yield when he was asked to yield. I don't know what the facts are.


MELBER: Now, people say fleeing the police is illegal. And it is.

It's also illegal to drive over the speed limit or be late on your taxes. The punishment for resisting arrest, like those infractions, is not the death penalty, not in court, not in a summary execution without trial on the street by self-appointed state executioners.

Now, this is important. It's illegal for police to use deadly force on someone fleeing. Under the law, they may only use such force if that person possesses the actual ability to kill or gravely injure people, the police or other people around. They have to have evidence of that.

And this is what they call fundamental law. Cops and lawyers know it because it was a major Supreme Court decision.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, in a decision written with great emotional intensity, the Supreme Court ruled that police may not shoot at a fleeing suspect, unless there's good reason to believe the suspect might kill or injure the police or others.


MELBER: And how did the Supreme Court come to even rule on that issue 35 years ago?

Now, remember, the court only rules on things that actually happen. It doesn't just issue a random opinion about an idea. Something has to actually happen that then is appealed through the system all the way to the highest court, in this instance, a police shooting so bad, even by the standards of the Reagan era crackdowns on what was a higher crime rate, so bad that the court drew a line.

Now, what kind of case would that be? Well, you're watching the news. You live in America. I bet you already have some idea, even if you don't remember the case.

Police killed a black child, unarmed. He weighed about 100 pounds and was 15 years old. He was running away, not a threat to anyone. But he had stolen, allegedly, $10.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of those killed was Edward Garner, a 100-pound unarmed 15-year-old, who died one night on this fence in Memphis after he failed to heed a police warning to stop as he fled with $10 and a purse from an empty house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't see no reason why they should have shot him, no reason whatsoever.


MELBER: No reason, $10, 15 years old.

That was too much even for a Reagan era Supreme Court all those decades ago.

Now, it's as illegal today as it was then, when the Supreme Court ruled it. That's the law.

But here we go. You say, all right, Ari, you're telling me all this stuff and all this law. What's the point?

The point is the system, which rarely investigates and punishes police when they break those laws, leaving so many black families objective afraid of literally any potential police interaction, because it clearly, methodically, objectively, historically, documented, has a real risk of turning deadly in minutes.

Now we're watching a Republican Convention this week that's pressing an argument that it's suburban America and white Americans who should be afraid.

All of this comes full circle, because that's what civil rights leaders were warning about long before even that Supreme Court decision. You can go all the way back to the 1960s, when Stokely Carmichael addressed how white fear can drive police brutality.


STOKELY CARMICHAEL, POLITICAL ACTIVIST: White people will have to admit that they are afraid to go into a black ghetto at night. They are afraid. That's a fact.

They're afraid because they Would be beat up, lynched, looted, cut up, et cetera, et cetera. That happens to black people inside the ghetto everyday, incidentally. And white people are afraid of that.

So you get a man to do it for you, a policeman. And now you figure his man mentality where he's afraid of black people. The first time a black man jobs, that white man is going to shoot him. He's going to shoot him.

So police brutality is going to exist on that level.


MELBER: He's going to shoot him, and police brutality will exist on that level.

But here we are. It's 55 years after that address, and the facts and the law can only take us so far when at the root of it is systemic racism thwarting even the laws that have been passed to address some of this.

Now, the killing of George Floyd is tragic, but must be viewed in the wider context. On the right, you have police, who made him a dead innocent man, while, on the left, you have police who carefully let convicted murderers live, with a lunch order, if they want it, which brings us up to Jacob Blake just this last weekend.

He was not a suspect, let alone a killer, at the time that he was shot in the back, now reportedly paralyzed, life forever altered, while, on the left another case of, yes, a white man who was actually charged with a triple homicide, on the run, clearly out of control, only pepper-sprayed, carefully avoiding any use of deadly force.

Just four years ago was when Colin Kaepernick took that knee during the national anthem. He was kneeling in protest of all of this. It was silent, it was peaceful, against systemic racism and violence that has been plaguing the nation.

And we all lived through the criticism that he faced for that peaceful protest and that retaliation. And now people protest in Wisconsin and again around the nation and inside the NBA, going back at the same thing.

It is tragic, it is wrong that Stokely Carmichael's wisdom applies so seamlessly to today's America. He also said -- quote -- "We're tired of trying to explain to white people that we're not going to hurt them, when the question is, will white people overcome their racism?" -- end quote.

We have been talking about race in this country since it was founded. And if you use race as a prism, we're a very young democracy, because, for so long, people were not allowed to participate in their own lives, in their own freedom, let alone in voting.

It's time to vote again this year. And we have more and more of the same evidence and the same arguments with the big question, what, if anything, does America want to do about it?


MELBER: Turning back to politics, Donald Trump's preparing, of course, to take the RNC stage.

And there are many legal issues dogging him, including the ongoing probe of his company. Tonight, there's also a new reminder about what Trump is face for years, new video surfacing -- this is about 4 years old -- when Trump was running for president and he faced a lawsuit not unlike what Steve Bannon is accused of, defrauding some of your most loyal supporters.

Now, for Trump, it was former students accusing him of fraud, "Mother Jones" publishing the video from a source who sued Trump.

Now, you can see Trump talked to his lawyer during a break in this deposition. And he talks openly, when he may not realize that he's on a hot mic, about the poor rating he got from the Better Business Bureau. Take a listen.


TRUMP: We had a D from the Better Business Bureau, a D.

You know what? That's a kill for you. You call someone up, we're going to sue you. An A. Got the D removed.

Did you know we were rated D?


MELBER: Did you we got a D?

A little window into Trump's thinking and how he operates. He saw the threat of a lawsuit to help himself, foreshadowing, of course, the way that he has bullied and approached critics as president.

He's threatened everyone from newspapers to political opponents to some of the richest people on Earth. Now, months later, Trump would then claim there was a more innocent reason that the same rating you just heard him admit to getting changed, what really happened. Take a look.


TRUMP: We have an A from the Better Business Bureau.

I don't settle cases. I don't do it, because that's why I don't get sued very often, because I don't settle, unlike a lot of other people. The only reason that it was a D was because we didn't care. We didn't give them the information.

When they got the information, it became an A.


MELBER: It may be a somewhat small point, although not to those who were defrauded.

But it definitely gives you a contrast between the real Trump behind the scenes and how he pitched it in politics.

Then there's footage of Trump questioning why he was sued personally, explaining his knowledge of the law and how he uses that to try to insulate himself.


TRUMP: Well, there's a reason for a corporation. Isn't there something you can do about it?

DANIEL PETROCELLI, ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: You're the only reason why this case is going on.

TRUMP: You know, I've got hundreds of cases, and I never get sued. I don't even get sued.

PETROCELLI: Because they are saying you are personally involved in making false -- in making false statements.


MELBER: You see the lawyer trying to explain to Donald Trump he's in there because he was -- quote -- "personally involved in making statements" -- end quote.

And, again, that's his lawyer.

Now, ultimately, Trump settled that case after claiming he never would, and not for nothing, but $25 million paid to Trump fans who then later said they were conned and defrauded. After the settlement, Trump would continue to claim that those people who sued him had previously praised him.

Well, that was the whole point. They liked him, but they felt conned.

Now, a judge who reviewed the case put it this way -- quote -- "Victims of con artists often sing the praises of their victimizers, until the moment they realize they have been fleeced."

Democrats say this Trump U case back in the news right now is a larger parable for how some Trump supporters may feel heading into November.

We will be right back with one more thing.


MELBER: Now to our one more thing, and it's an interesting one.

Brand-new, NBC's Craig Melvin just sat down with Senator Kamala Harris. We're airing this for the first time, as she addresses RNC week.


HARRIS: While we are in the midst of at least four crises, and the American people, regardless of race, or gender, or age or geographic location, have a right to believe that their leaders will speak truth, even when these are difficult truths to speak and to hear.

And we're not seeing that in the Republican National Convention.


MELBER: Senator Harris there addressing the Republican National Convention, speaking to our colleague NBC's Craig Melvin there on "The Today Show."

And it's a reminder of just how much this race is already changing. She joined the ticket recently, and she is quite the vocal advocate for her teammate, Joe Biden.

Now, all night, we will have full coverage here of what is the final night of this Republican Convention, with all your favorite anchors on MSNBC.

And if you happen to be up late, we will be back doing it again with me and some of our great colleagues and friends 1:00 a.m. Eastern/10:00 p.m. Pacific.

But don't go anywhere right now, because on this big night, with so much going on in America and so much going on in political news, "THE REIDOUT WITH JOY REID" is up next.


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