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Transcript: The ReidOut, August 26, 2020

Guests: Paul Butler, Brittany Packnett Cunningham, Symone Sanders, Carly Fiorina


NBA playoff games have been postponed due to player boycott. Two have been killed, one wounded during Kenosha protests. Wisconsin governor declares state of emergency amid protests. Wisconsin attorney general holds press conference. Wisconsin attorney general says, citizens have the right to protest peacefully. RNC speakers shared dark vision of America.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, the NBA is taking a stand. You can't have your entertainment if our players aren't safe driving home. You want your sport? Then peace and quiet and relief from protests? Change policing.

The Milwaukee Bucks became the first NBA team to boycott a playoff game, refusing to play tonight in protest after the shooting of Jacob Blake in their home state of Wisconsin. They were later joined by the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder, and finally the NBA Players Association announced that all of today's playoff games would be postponed.

Milwaukee's Major League Baseball team is following suit. They will not play tonight's game against the Cincinnati Reds.

Last night during protests in Kenosha, two people were killed. We have cell phone video of the attack. We want to warn you, it is disturbing.

The attack was carried out by a teenaged white vigilante, identified by police as 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse. The gunman is seen opening fire on protesters with a semi-automatic rifle. He was charged with murder.

Meanwhile at this hour, we are waiting the attorney general of Wisconsin, Josh Kaul, who will give an update on the investigation into the shooting of Jacob Blake. And we'll have that for your as soon as it starts.

But for more, I am joined now by Brittany Packnett Cunningham, a former member of President Obama's 21st Century Policing Task Force, and Paul Butler, former federal prosecutor and author of Chokehold, Policing Black Men.

And, Paul, I want to go to you first. And if we could just show the video, and, again, we note that it is a disturbing video, but of this gunman walking around after shooting two protesters, two Black Lives Matter protesters, and the scene setter is that Donald Trump is tweeting away about, well, we're not going to allow looting and violence. Well, that violence is allowed. Police are seen on the sides of this video, they do not stop this young man who has a weapon. They do not arrest him. He walks along, unmolested by police.

Paul Butler, I'm going to need somebody to explain how that is possible.

PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It's called white supremacy, Joy. So the idea that an African-American man can go to his car with his three kids in the back seat and get shot seven times in the back while apparently unarmed, where a young, white man can walk down the street fully loaded after having shot three people and be ignored by the police, there's no legal explanation for it.

There's a cultural and political one. Again, it's the white supremacy that the Trump administration has enabled and endorsed.

REID: And, Brittany, you've had Donald Trump attacking Black Lives Matter, calling Black Lives Matter activist terrorists, saying that they're going to be dogs sic'ed on them, vicious dogs sic'ed on them. You've had white protesters spilling paint to stop the words Black Lives Matter from being painted on the ground. I just saw it recently in front of Trump Tower.

What do you make of the fact that there isn't a lot of noise coming out of the White House or out of the Republicans who spoke at the convention last night about the fact that a vigilante showed up and shot two people who were simply protesting for police to, I don't know, maybe stop killing black people?

BRITTANY PACKNETT CUNNINGHAM, FORMER MEMBER, OBAMA 21ST CENTURY POLICING TASK FORCE: I mean, you're not going to have a lot to say to the people who are doing your dirty work for you. President Trump tweeted, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. That was a direct line to some of the most vicious policing that we've seen in this country in response to protesters, no matter how they showed up in the streets.

So, unfortunately, this is par for the course, and this is to be expected. And, frankly, Joy, I'm sitting in the gross irony of the fact that not a day before this happened in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Nikki Haley talked about Dylann Roof and the terror that he inflicted in that black church in South Carolina.

But what the difference is, in America, is that we're okay with black folks as long as we are in church and praying, but were not okay with us if we're standing up as patriots and making sure that world is clear our lives matter. It's disgusting and, unfortunately, it's to be expected.

REID: And, Paul, there is going to be a press conference by the attorney general of the state. We've seen another states attorneys general step in when local prosecutors refuse to prosecute police. It can happen. What do you expect to hear, what do you hope to hear from this press conference?

BUTLER: I hope more transparency and accountability. At this point, we don't even know the names of the officers who were implicated in the homicide of this man. We don't know the circumstances. Again, as a prosecutor, there's no justifiable explanation for shooting man seven times in the back.

So what I would hope to hear, what I would love to hear is that there's going to be an investigation of these officers, a homicide investigation. When I look at this as an experienced law enforcement professional, it looks like murder to me, Joy.

REID: Please stay with me, Paul, and please stay with me, Brittany, because -- just for one moment, because there's something really important that I feel like our viewers should see. The emotional weight of this moment was really brought home, really powerfully by Doc Rivers. He's the head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers. The Republicans have spent two days trying to scare the hell out of white America. Rivers points out, who is actually living in fear, however, in Trump's America.


DOC RIVERS, NBA COACH: What stands out to me is just watching the Republican Convention, and they're spewing this fear, like all you hear is Donald Trump and all of them talking about fear. We're the ones getting killed. We're the ones getting shot. We're the ones that were denied to live in certain communities. We've been hung. We've been shot. And all you do is keep hearing about fear. It's amazing to me why we keep loving this country, and this country is not loving back.

And it's just really so sad, like I should just be a coach. And it's so often reminded of my color, you know? It's just really sad. We've got to do better. But we've got to demand better. Like we've got -- you know, it's funny, we protest and they send riot guards, right? They send people in riot outfits. They go to Michigan with guns and they're spitting on cops, and nothing happens.

The training has to change in the police force. The unions have to be taken down in the police force. My dad was a cop. I believe in good cops. We're not trying to defund the police and take all their money away. We're trying to get them to protect us, just like they protect everybody else.

I didn't want to talk about it before the game, because it's so hard, like just keep watching it. That video, if you watched that video, you don't need to be black to be outraged. You need to be American and outraged. And how dare the Republicans talk about fear. We're the ones that need to be scared. We're the ones having to talk every -- to every black child. What white father has to give his son a talk about being careful if you get pulled over?


REID: And, Brittany, I want to also note that the WNBA has now also said, we ain't playing either, and I think we should note because they've been really forward activists. LeBron James, I think, had the most succinct reaction to Donald Trump's attitude toward Black Lives Matter.

We can put that up on the screen and then I'm going to ask you, Brittany, where should, in your view, Black Lives Matter go from here strategically? Because the message, I think, is very clear, and I don't care if people are getting tired of it, right? The message is clear. People understand what it is. Sorry if people are getting bored of it. But what can Black Lives Matter do strategically to actually get this to stop?

CUNNINGHAM: Well, the first thing we have to do is remember that it's not just up to Black Lives Matter to get this to stop. We can't continuously -- and I know you know this, Joy, we can't continuously put the onus on the most oppressed to end oppression.

Four years ago today, Colin Kaepernick took that knee, shout-out to Kap, we see more leagues, more teams following in those footsteps, extending that work, deciding fully to strike from the court in the NBA and from the WNBA. We have to keep the pressure on in every single industry, wherever any of us exert power and then we have to make sure that the power is mounting to actually pass the kind of policy changes at the local, state and federal level that will make a tremendous difference in this.

People are tired of the same -- the same few things happening every time this happens. And sometimes there's a video, sometimes there's not. But we go through a cycle of outrage. Some people feel that pain and that trauma very deeply because we live it every single day. Other people move back on to their privileged lives. We see another name that becomes hashtag, justice for becomes the new call. We try to get officers held accountable that will never be held accountable. And we repeat and rinse this until we do this again.

People are frankly sick of it. And what needs to happen is that, ultimately, we re-imagine public safety. That does not mean that when you call 911, nobody will be there to pick up the phone. What it does mean is that whoever answers the phone is actually equipped to make sure that they're supporting you and helping you and not just showing up with a gun.

REID: Indeed. Don't go anywhere, because, hopefully, we'll be able come back to you guys, but the press conference is now beginning. This is the attorney general of the state of Wisconsin. Let's take a listen to what he's saying.

JOSH KAUL (D), WISCONSIN ATTORNEY GENERAL: -- so far in the investigation, we are able to determine at this point, because this is an ongoing investigation. And some of the interviews of material witnesses have now been conducted. So we now feel comfortable, consistent with the investigation, to release this information.

We have sent out a press release that contains the details. But the basic facts that we can report at this time are these, that on the evening of Sunday, August 23rd, 2020, Kenosha Police Department officers were dispatched to a residence in the 2800 Block of 40th Street after a female caller reported that her boyfriend was present and was not supposed to be on the premises.

During the incident, officers attempted to arrest Jacob S. Blake, aged 29. A law enforcement deployed a taser to attempt to stop Mr. Blake, but the taser was not successful in stopping him. Mr. Blake walked around his vehicle, opened the driver's side door, and leaned forward.

While holding on to Mr. Blake's shirt, officer Rusten Sheskey fired his service weapon seven times. Officer Sheskey fired the weapon into Mr. Blake's back. No other officer fired their weapon.

The Kenosha Police Department does not have body cameras, and therefore the officers were not wearing body cameras. The shooting officer, Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey, has been a law enforcement officer with the Kenosha Police Department for seven years.

During the investigation following the initial incident, Mr. Blake admitted that he had a knife in his possession. And DCI agents, that's the division of criminal investigation, recovered a knife from the driver's side floor board of Mr. Blake's vehicle. A search of the vehicle located no additional weapons.

Law enforcement immediately provided medical aid to Mr. Blake. And Flight for Life transported him to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee. Mr. Blake remains at the hospital.

The Division of Criminal Investigation at the Wisconsin Department of Justice is leading this investigation, and it's being assisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Wisconsin State Patrol, and the Kenosha County Sheriff's Office. All involved law enforcement officers are fully cooperating with DCI during the investigation. And the involved officers have been placed on administrative leave.

As I said, this is an ongoing investigation. So that is the extent of the information regarding the facts of this case that we can share at this point. There have been interviews conducted of material witnesses. But the investigation remains ongoing.

Under Wisconsin law, in cases in which a person dies in which an officer fired their weapon, the law requires that an independent investigative agency be brought in to conduct the investigation. But in many other cases, the Wisconsin Department of Justice is to brought in to conduct an independent investigation, as well. And that is what is happening in this case.

Our agency is the independent investigating agency. Our job is to gather the evidence as completely and thoroughly as possible and provide that evidence to the district attorney's office. I'm joined today by, among others, D.A. Mike Graveley. Their office then makes the determination about whether charges are filed.

So that's the information I can provide right now about this case.

I also want to comment on the events yesterday evening in Kenosha. What happened yesterday night in Kenosha was despicable. Two people were shot and killed and a third person was shot and seriously injured.

One of the things that we have seen in the last few nights is that there are a number of people, certainly some and quite possibly many of the people who have been involved in destructive activity or violent activity who are not from the city of Kenosha, and in some cases, not from the state of Wisconsin.

This community has been through some extremely traumatic events in the last few days. The people of this community deserve to have the opportunity to grieve, they deserve to have the opportunity to come together, to protest peacefully, to call for the change that they would like to see and, ultimately, to work to heal this community.

People who are coming to the community to commit arson or violence, first of all, if they think they are serving some agenda, they are wrong. All they are doing is creating chaos. The people of -- who have been impacted, particularly the people of Kenosha, are the ones who should be leading the way as people protest peacefully.

It is vital that we work to unify people. There has been a lot of division recently. It's easy for politicians to stoke division. But what we need to do is to come together as we work to strengthen our criminal justice system, as we work to call for justice in the system and as we work to heal our communities.

So with that, I'm going to turn it over to District Attorney Graveley.

MIKE GRAVELEY, KENOSHA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Thank you, everybody. So these are as difficult as times as I've teen in Kenosha, in the more than 30 years I have resided in this community. And it is a moment certainly in our history that brings up some of the greatest issues of our time, of this moment of history.

I have been so proud, as so many have, of the moment of history we're in so many ways, that there's been voices that have not always been enfranchised who have had a chance to speak with new clarity and passion over the last several months, and that has been, I think, inspirational to many people, including those who are asking and demanding reform in the criminal justice system.

And it is a moment here in Kenosha today where all grieve for Jacob Blake and hope for his recovery. We grieve for his family. You didn't have to do more than see his mother and father express parent's rage and grief at the moment that they are in, an emotional movement, and thinking about the way that we think about our children and that we want them safe and we think all the best of them in terms of the kind of things that were said at the press conferences by the family.

We have a community today that is literally on fire, set on fire by the deep divisions that have been fueled by a number of forces that are brought to bear in this case, right? Systemic racism with its insidious history in Kenosha and throughout the country is certainly a part of all the big issues that are being considered.

Modern policing and the tremendous difficulties and challenges ahead to think about how to police in an ever-changing society and community with different expectations and concerns about how society's forces have affected our ability to police and our ability to police in a new and modern way.

And then a world of social media that is -- has clearly emphasized immediate action over any ability to be calm or deliberate when making the most important decisions in life and has emphasized quick decision-making, immediacy, an emotional impact instead of thinking about making accurate decisions and prioritizing that above all else.

And so those forces are at work. And anybody who doesn't agree that those forces are at work, of course, is not really seeing this moment as we are here today in front of all of you.

All of that said, I want to say that I endorse and applaud all of the methods of peaceful protests, both about this case and about those bigger issues that we have discussed. You know, I think it is gratifying to see folks like the Milwaukee Bucks, for instance, say that what they know about this case and the bigger issues it reflects are things that they felt so strongly about that they decided to make a dramatic statement in terms of boycotting play.

Those kind of things are important, and they add to the debate.

And the only thing I ask is that we understand that the destruction of property and that the violence that has too often occurred in this community over the last couple days does a disservice to this moment in history and does a dramatic disservice to an ability for there to be a profound and complicated and absolutely necessary conversation.

OK, now, I have said all that. And I have tried to talk in broad strokes, but I need to let you know specifically what the role of a prosecutor is in this particular moment in reviewing this case.

So, the statute in Wisconsin demands, quite appropriately, that an independent investigative agency do all of the investigative work in this case. And so the individuals who are involved directly, who fired the shot, the particular police officer is a Kenosha Police Department officer.

So, the department that is investigating, as you know, is through the Department of Justice here in Wisconsin. So, that is an agency that has no direct connection to the Kenosha Police Department, and they are conducting that investigation in full.

When they complete that investigation. It's turned over, again, by statute, by law, to the local district attorney's office, and that will be our office. And we have, by law, a very narrow task in the enormity of the big issues I talked about.

We are asked to review that independently garnered evidence, and we are asked, are there any crimes that a police officer has committed that can be proven to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt?

So I need to let now and the community know, that is the only question that the Kenosha district attorney's office will answer. All of the bigger issues that are so important will not be issues that will be absolute. They will not be definitively decided by Kenosha's district attorney's office.

We will only decide whether any Kenosha police officer is going to be charged with a crime. And that can only occur if we believe that that crime can be can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

So, I hope that the public and expect and want the public to get that -- the best possible decision in that regard. And I believe the public deserves a decision that is based on reason and that is based on the most full and most accurate information that can be obtained.

And so I hope all those who witnessed the events that we have seen on video, all those persons present and who have information, I hope they fully cooperate in this investigation, because that's the path to the truth. That's the path to real decision-making being able to occur in this case.

And I ask for as much patience as our times allow, because, again, if we value accuracy and we value real decision-making over a quick decision made in an emotion -- in the most emotional moment, then we have to facilitate a full and complete investigation.

And I know that the Department of Criminal Investigations, DCI, is doing all they can to accomplish that.

And I want to be sure that the public has the maximum ability to be confident to this decision. And I have called on the U.S. attorney's office to conduct a parallel investigation. I have asked them to do the civil rights investigation that, by law, they are allowed to do and can do. I'm hoping it will happen at the same time.

That gives the community a chance to heal quicker, because independent prosecuting agencies, the U.S. attorney's office and DA's office, can both make independent decisions about whether crimes can be charged, either in federal court or in state court.

That means we don't have multiple decision points, where there are new opportunities for people to be disappointed or enraged, or for there to be unrest that is about decisions that are being made.

So, I'm hoping our community can heal. And I'm calling on the U.S. attorney's office to do that.

I want to thank the U.S. attorney Matt Krueger and his office for being -- for being a partner in this case, in the sense of providing assistance at each time in terms of federal authorities being there for the Kenosha district attorney's office specifically.

And, certainly, Attorney General Josh Kaul and the DCI agency have been -- have been complete in their use of resources and their ability to assist our local community.

So, I thank you all for being here. This is a -- these are difficult times, and these are difficult and momentous decisions. We're going to do the best job we possibly can.

And we ask for your patience for the best investigation to also take place.

Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're joined today by some community leaders, and two of them are going to be speaking to you.

So, first, Anthony Davis.

ANTHONY DAVIS, PRESIDENT, KENOSHA NAACP: Good evening. My name is Anthony Davis, local president of the NAACP here in Kenosha, and also a member of the Wisconsin State Conference, where we're being led by Wendell J. Harris.

First of all, I like to give my thoughts and prayers to the family of Jacob Blake. They're going through a difficult time. And, as it is said, you have to give a family time to deal with these situations.

We know a lot of folks are trying to get to them each and every day. But, in these times, give them some time to heal.

We know that this incident came to Kenosha unexpectedly. And I just want to say Kenosha is not a place where we see things like this every day. We need to come together.

And I appreciate the state DA, Josh Kaul, and our local DA here in Kenosha coming to us and trying to share what they can at this time.

The process, we know, is not going to be one that's going to be quick. But we know that we are part of the process here. And we ask, number one, have some patience.

We also want everyone to understand, we have to find a way to de-escalate what has been happening around here in our city. As I said, we are in the process of trying to mourn through this. But the path that has been taken by some individuals has not been appreciated.

Let us have our say as a community. Let us be patient. And, above all, let us keep God in it process.

Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, next up, we have James Hall.

JAMES HALL, PRESIDENT AND CEO, URBAN LEAGUE OF RACINE AND KENOSHA: Good evening, everyone. I'm James Hall, the president CEO of the Urban League of Racine and Kenosha.

Taking it -- this is very difficult for this community. First of all, I would like to say, the Urban League of Racine and Kenosha sends out condolences to the two young men that lost their life last night, and our thoughts and prayers are with Jacob Blake.

We ask the protesters that are protesting, please respect and obey the curfew that's being enforced, so no one else gets hurt. Please respect the curfew that exists. Protest peacefully, but when it's time for the curfew to be in effect, please respect that curfew.

We can't lose this moment. Right now, Kenosha is emotional. Right now, the country is emotional. We cannot continue to meet force with force. Let the people be heard. Listen to the people. We don't need all this aggression from either side, period.

We must understand that black and brown folks are emotional people, always have been. That's why we respect sports that they play, because they get the job done with internal emotions.

But, at the same time, we must understand that this eruption in this -- in our city is based on years and years and years of oppression, years of oppression.

What you see is a lot of pain, a lot of fear, and a lot of trauma. Both sides are scared of both sides, because no one communicates to each other. We go to our subdivisions. We go to work, and we go to our subdivision, and we don't even engage anymore with each other. That has to change.

The time is now for change. We need to improve our systems and our environments across the board. Let me repeat that. We need to improve all our systems across the board, whether it's the school district, whether it's the police structure. Not going to even call it a system. We will call it a structure.

What is happening now, no one has an idea how to react, because there's fear on both sides. Haven't armed people in our city, that's all right. We understand that. But those people with guns that are militia that are engaging people are not looking at -- looking at them as people. They're looking at these individuals as, I need to protect my property.

Think about this. The property can be rebuilt. The lives cannot be rebuilt. Once a life is taken or destroyed, it cannot be given back.

There's a possibility that this young man will never walk again. Think about that. Imagine your son, your daughter, your relative experiencing trauma every day, pain every day, fear every single day.

In this skin that I wear, in this skin that I wear, and I carry myself well, I go through it every day, every single time, every single time a car pull up behind me that's a law enforcement agency.

So, I would like to bring this front and center. If you lived your life in trauma every day, how would you react? How would you feel? What would you do? The time is now for change. Let the community heal.

REID: Well, we are just listening to Mr. James Hall. He's the president of the Urban League of Racine, Wisconsin. Earlier, we heard from Anthony Davis, who is the president of the Kenosha NAACP.

We also heard from Michael Graveley, who is the district attorney of Kenosha, Wisconsin. And, of course, the press conference was started by Josh Kaul, who is the attorney general, the state attorney general.

I still have Brittany Packnett Cunningham and Paul Butler.

Paul, I want to go to you on this first.

What we heard from the district attorney was that the police officer said that Mr. Blake admitted he had a knife, but that the knife was in the driver's side floorboard of the car. So, this is something he admitted to police. It was in the driver's side floorboard of the car.

Can you please explain to me, from the point of view of police procedure, why it was that a police officer would consider him to be a threat when his back is to the officer, when he is not threatening the officer with a knife, he does not have a knife in his hand, and yet -- if we can put the video back up again -- this person who -- and, again, NBC News has not confirmed that this is the shooter, but this is somebody with a gun is walking down the street, firing at people.

And police watch them do it, but they don't consider this guy to be a threat. Can you please explain to me how Mr. Blake -- they're -- I love that they got in there, they said, well, he said he had a knife. It's in the floorboard of the car, according to the officers.

His back is to the officers. They -- seven bullets were emptied into him, per the attorney general.

This guy is walking up and down the street packing and shooting, and the police watch him.

Can you explain that?

BUTLER: No, Joy, I can't.

We heard the district attorney scold the protesters and say they need to be calm and deliberate about the most important decisions in life. Well, that's the opposite of how Officer Sheskey treated Mr. Blake.

We don't have any evidence that the officer knew about any alleged knife. I'd also be really interested in the circumstances of an interrogation of a person who's been shot seven times and been in surgery since that incident.

We didn't hear that there was a reasonable fear of officer safety or civilian safety, which is the standard for when the police are allowed to use deadly force. We did hear that no other officers at the scene fired a shot. That raises a red flag.

We heard a little bit about Mr. Blake's experience with law enforcement and an alleged stay-away order. What we didn't hear was whether officer Sheskey has a disciplinary record, whether there have been citizen complaints about him.

The good news is, there is an independent investigation. So, the prosecutor who works with these officers every day won't be the person who's investigating the crime.

And, Joy, finally, I always in these situations want people to remember a man named Robert (sic) Lewis Dear. He was the Planned Parenthood bomber. He killed three people. He wounded nine others, including several police officers. There was an hours-long stand-off with him where he was shooting.

The police took him alive. He was white. White people...

REID: Yes, they also took the Charlotte -- the person who killed the people inside of Mother Emanuel. They -- not only did they take him alive. They fed him Burger King, and made sure that he was -- that his tummy wasn't empty.

I want to go to you, Brittany.

The other thing that we heard in this press conference about the protesters -- and this is what Michael Graveley, who is the DA in Kenosha, said, is that many of the people who are coming in and protesting -- and I'm not sure if he meant the people who were perpetrating violence, such as this 17-year-old who has been arrested for shooting two people, or just the protests in general -- he said, are not from Kenosha, are not from Wisconsin.

Is it relevant where protesters come from? When a person is killed, there seems to be this sort of rote that, well, only the local people should be out here.

Is it relevant, and do you understand why we had to hear that protesters were not from Wisconsin? And do you find that relevant?

PACKNETT CUNNINGHAM: Well, this kind of narrative about outside agitators is not new to movements.

Dr. King was called an outside agitator. John Lewis was called an outside agitator. These were folks who recognized that a threat to justice anywhere -- I mean, injustice everywhere, rather, is a threat to justice everywhere.

So, outside agitators being the line, being the script is something that we are used to. But if people really want to see what we saw happen in Kenosha stop, it -- we have to actually make sure that people like Jacob Blake are not shot, after they are reportedly breaking up a fight, by police.

So, we actually have to make sure that we are dealing with the roots of the problem here. The way to end protests is not to demean protesters. The way to end protests is actually to deal with the roots of the injustice that protesters are out there protesting.

We're going to keep having the same conversation until we deal with the root issues. And I'm happy to remain a broken record about that, because, if you want the protests to end, then stop killing us.

REID: I will note that 656 people, per "The Washington Post," have been shot by police thus far this year, 123 of them black. I will note that that is a higher percentage of black people killed by police than are in the United States population.

We will just let you all marinate on that, while I thank Brittany Packnett Cunningham, my friend, Paul Butler, my friend. You all are great. Thank you all very much.

I want to also now introduce Symone Sanders and bring her into this conversation. She's a senior adviser to the Biden campaign.

Symone, good to see you, not under these circumstances. Sorry that this is the way that we have to be coming together to speak today.

But I want to talk about the response of the campaign to what we're seeing versus the response of the president. I want to play what former Vice President Biden and Senator Kamala Harris said I believe this was today.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: What I saw on this video makes me sick. Once again, a black man, Jacob Blake, has been shot by the police in broad daylight with a whole world watching. I spoke to Jacob's mom and dad, sister, and other members of the family just a little earlier, and I told them justice must and will be done.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: What happened there represents the two systems of justice in America. There are still two systems of justice in America, and we -- we need to fight, again, for that idea that says all people are supposed to be treated equally, which is still not happening.


REID: You know, it's difficult to sort of even game out what a campaign should do in these circumstances, because they are not currently, at least in power in the executive branch. Senator Kamala Harris is in the United States Senate, but for those saying we want to see the campaign do more, I know that there are limits.

But what is the plan for the campaign to respond to really what had been relentless mischaracterizations of black people, relentless characterizations of black people as only being about crime and being related to criminality, and the attacks on the Black Lives Matter movement? What is the campaign's plan to respond to all of that?

SYMONE SANDERS, BIDEN CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISOR: Well, look, Joy, I think first of all, our hearts are with the people in Kenosha, Wisconsin tonight. Our hearts and our prayers are with the Blake family, Jacob Blake's family. Vice President Biden and Senator Harris had an opportunity to speak with Jacob Blake's mother, his father, and his sister today.

And I think it was really important that that happened. And so, first and foremost, I wanted to make sure I said that.

So, look, we have to realize that this is not happening in a vacuum. Last week at the Democratic National Convention, in his speech Vice President Biden talked about the crises that are gripping America right now, the climate crisis, the public health crisis, an economic crisis, and also a crisis of racial justice and a reckoning on race in America.

And I think, first and foremost, it's important that we understand that that is, in fact, happening, and that is the context in which these scenes are unfolding across the country really. But secondly, in terms of what can the campaign do and what can Vice President Biden and Senator Harris do? First of all, they have a plan that they will absolutely get to work on if and when they are elected. And that is a plan that, one, ensures that the police officers are getting training across the country. That ensures that there's a national use of force standard.

So, excessive force doesn't mean one thing in Kenosha and another thing in Ferguson and another thing in Minneapolis and another thing in St. Paul. That also means giving the Department of Justice the resources it needs. Currently, the Department of Justice's civil rights division, the division which handles issues of police accountability, this is the division that goes in and investigates police departments, is woefully underfunded, Joy, woefully underfunded. And a Biden/Harris administration will ensure that that department is funded adequately, has the resources it needs. Has the lawyers it needs to go out and meet justice in communities in the country.

The last point I have on this, and we have an entire plan at, is, in fact, that the only mechanism we currently have in this country to hold rogue police department and rouge police officers accountable is a pattern and practice investigation.

Under the Trump administration in four years, I don't think one pattern and practice investigation has been entered into.

REID: Right.

SANDERS: And that means no consent decrees have happened.

In a Joe Biden and Kamala Harris administration, we would expand that to also include prosecutor officers. Prosecutors have a lot of power, as Senator Harris will tell you, and has spoken about.

REID: Right.

SANDERS: So those are just a couple things, Joy.

REID: Let me ask you this, because you mentioned that plan. Qualified immunity, does this plan include a plan that qualified immunity should end, and does -- would a Biden/Harris administration say to police departments you're going to lose federal funding if you don't comply with the sort of layout that you guys will have of the way that policing should function, particularly functioning for communities of color, do you think they should lose funding and should qualified immunity end?

SANDERS: As Vice President Biden, he's been asked about this a number of times, Joy, and I'll reiterate what he said here, is that police departments that do not make the changes and do not uphold the standard, they will not be prioritized for funding. No, absolutely not.

But we are going to give police departments the resources that they need to do their jobs.

REID: But --

SANDERS: I just -- I just want to know, Joy, I just watched the press conference, and the Kenosha -- pardon me, the attorney general in Wisconsin said that the officers were not wearing body cameras. Body cameras are not the answer to everyone's issues. But perhaps cameras in this case could make a difference.

So the reality is, we want to give resources to police departments they need, but we will hold police departments accountable. As it relates to qualified immunity --


REID: OK, good, I was going to walk you right onto it, but you came right to it, OK.

SANDERS: I wasn't going to skip that --


REID: OK, thank you, I appreciate that.

SANDERS: OK? I'm like, she wants the qualified immunity answer.

REID: I do.

SANDERS: There's been a lot of disinformation out there. Let me very clear. Vice President Biden believes that qualified immunity needs to be significantly reined in. He believes that abuses of power should not be covered by qualified immunity. And there are not -- and take chokeholds, for example, OK? That is an abuse of power and that is not something that should be covered.

Now, we know that there's currently a bill by Hakeem Jefferies in the United States Congress that would ban chokeholds. That is a bill that Vice President Biden supports. But, yes, we need to do something about qualified immunity as it currently stands, that is way too expansive (ph).

REID: OK. Symone Sanders, I appreciate you answering that question. Please go back and let your candidates know they are welcome on this show any time. They've both been on, we would love to have them both on.

So, I will just throw that right on out there. We would love to have VP Biden and Senator Harris on anytime.

SANDERS: Absolutely, Joy.

REID: Thank you. Really appreciate your time.

SANDERS: I will take this to booking. Thank you.


REID: Thank you, I appreciate that.

All right. We're going to take a really quick break, so please stay with us. We will be back in a minute.


REID: The police officer who fired seven shots at Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has been identified as a Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation is now investigating the incident. Meanwhile, night three of the Trump circus gets under way in a short time.

Over the past two nights, his court jesters have presented an alternate reality to the country.

And joining me now is Carly Fiorina, who ran against Trump for the Republican nomination in 2016 nomination and is now backing Joe Biden, and Michael Beschloss, NBC News presidential historian.

Let me just quickly play you a little montage of the flavor we've gotten over the last couple of nights.


MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Donald wants to keep your family safe.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Look at what's happening in American cities, crime, violence and mob rule.

ERIC TRUMP, BUSINESSMAN: They want to disrespect our national anthem by taking a knee while our armed forces lay down their lives every day to protect our freedom.

PATRICIA MCCLOSKEY, WAVED GUN AT BLM PROTESTERS: Your family will not be safe in the radical Democrats' America.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): We must fight to save America now or we may lose her forever.


REID: Carly Fiorina, thank you so much for being here.

What do you make of that when you put that in the context of the crime and violence we have seen has been at someone shooting at Black Lives Matter protesters, shooting two people and having a social media that's riddled with not Black Lives Matter, you know, stuff but things that are pro-police, pro-Trump. What do you make of it?

CARLY FIORINA (R), 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, this is exactly why I'm backing Joe Biden, because we must have a man, a leader of empathy, of humility, of compassion, of collaboration who is actually willing to tackle this problem of racial injustice and begin to solve it. I mean, when you juxtapose that montage that you just played against the videotape of what happened in Kenosha to Mr. Blake, yes, I understand and appreciate that due process is necessary for justice to be served.

But as an American, watching that videotape, all I can say is, as I hope all Americans can see with their own eyes, there is no justification for this, ever, just as there was no justification for George Floyd, just as there is no justification for so many other of these instances. We must grapple with this problem, and we must solve this problem.

So I have to say I applaud the NBA players tonight because I think it's one more way to send a message that this isn't going away. We have to grapple with it, and we must make progress.

REID: And, Michael, we have seen a couple of things here. We have seen this sort of wide-eyed worship of Trump from some people who both who didn't get canceled because there's sort of insane -- there was sort of off the key things that they believe in, but you've also seen this use of the White House in a way that I have to say really bothered me.

You know, last night, you had the surprise naturalization ceremony. Two of the people that were in it didn't even know. They weren't warned, at least the two who were able to respond to reporters were told they were not even told they were going to be filmed and that was going to be used and featured and that Trump was going to be there. And they said they didn't mine being featured, but they weren't told in advance.

It was literally staged for TV while tens of thousands of immigrants are not able to be naturalized because Trump won't let them.

And Melania Trump who has the lowest of bars particularly versus Michelle Obama because she said a couple of nice things, she said them from the Rose Garden that they use as their personal property. I don't know. I'm just going to let you talk.

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, NBC NEWS PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: No. I agree with you. I heard you last night, Joy. I thought you were absolutely right in saying this was an abuse of the White House.

Remember, it was just a week ago that President Obama said don't let them take away your democracy. I have been watching this convention for reassuring signs that that's not going to happen if Donald Trump was re-elected, and I have not seen them. I saw a secretary of state for the first time in at least 80 years appearing at a Republican convention talking about domestic politics. That's not supposed to happen.

REID: Yeah.

BESCHLOSS: Mrs. Trump turned the White House last night into a convention hotel with donors and audience and clapping. That's not supposed to happen. U.S. Marines were used as props in that ceremony you were talking about. That is not supposed to happen. The same thing with those new citizens.

What this tells me is these things remind me of what happens in an authoritarian country, not a democracy, in a place where the symbols of the state are mixed up with domestic politics. It should make all of us nervous. Democracy and liberty always requires eternal vigilance.

REID: You know, and, you know, Carly Fiorina, this is -- it were -- I mean, I turned on the TV. My husband and I went to Cuba a couple times. I turned on the TV to see what it looked like. It reminded me of that, right?

It felt a bit North Korean this night where the symbols of state are owned by the --

FIORINA: Dear leader.

REID: -- by the dear leader and therefore it's the dear leader's house, not your house. It's the dear leader, they seem -- and they laugh about it.

There is reporting today that the White House chief of staff and Mark Meadows and the others, they kind of laugh about it. They think it's -- they don't care that people know this is illegal. They laugh about it and they say they could do whatever it is they want because the Trump family is a royal family.

You've been on the receiving end of the way that Donald Trump speaks about women. But, you know, Melania Trump is used as an example of, see, she's an immigrant. She's a woman.

What do you make of just that aspect of it, the sort of pleading his case, the way his case was made for him last night?

FIORINA: Well, first, unfortunately, and I agree with everything Michael just said and agree with your points as well. First, none of us should be surprised that Donald Trump knows how to put on a TV show. That is who he is. He's not a leader. He's an entertainer. He always has been.

I said that way back in 2015. So none of us should be shocked or surprised that he puts on a great show with whatever setting and whoever the props happen to be. He puts on a great show.

And unfortunately while I share your outrage at the way the symbols of the state, the people's house has been used --

REID: Yeah.

FIORINA: I share your outrage over Mike Pompeo, I think many people are not paying attention to that. But what they are paying attention to is the problems that have festered, whether it's an economy that is structurally unequal or racial injustice or the pandemic, those problems aren't getting solved.

REID: Yeah.

FIORINA: So, now, we need someone who can solve them.

REID: We shall see what happens in this election. But I want to really thank you, Carly Fiorina, Michael Beschloss. Appreciate both of you.

That is THE REIDOUT for tonight.

I will be back with Rachel Maddow and Nicolle Wallace just after this break.


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