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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  July 9, 2020 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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good day, i'm andrea mitchell in washington. today's breaking news, the supreme court in two major 7-2 decisions rejecting the
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president's argument that he has absolutely immunity over his financial records, deciding the president is not above the law. in one case granting the new york prosecutor access to those records down the road but certainly not before the november election. in a separate 7-2 opinion, the court is asking the three house committees -- is ruling that the three house committees led by democrats should narrow their requests for the president's records in arguments before the lower court. but still upholding the principle that the president's records are not beyond congressional oversight. in a stinging rebuke to mr. trump, his two supreme court appointments, neil gorsuch and brett kavanaugh, joined the decisive 7-2 majorities in both cases. ordinarily a congressional request would have been compromised with the president's lawyers and never would have reached the high court for a decision. joining me, pete williams, peter alexander, former u.s. attorney
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joyce vance and former investigative reporter suzanne craig. pete, first to you, your experience with these cases and how the correlaurt ruled. >> andrea, who wins with congress subpoenas the president's records and it goes to court, it's never come before the supreme court before. secondly, what if a state prosecutor, state grand jury wants something from the president. so these are first time decisions. that's one of the reasons why they're so important. secondly, while the vance decision itself is 7-2, the court is actually unanimous on the president's -- voting against the president's claim that because the president can't be indicted, he's absolutely immune from any part of the criminal justice process including grand jury subpoenas. the court is unanimous on that. what the two dissenters in the vance case say is there should be a higher standard that grand juries meet when they want something from the president. the court disagrees. in both cases the supreme court
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sends these cases back to the lower courts to answer a couple of questions. in the vance case, they say the president can now do what anybody else, now that we've gone through this whole question about whether he's beyond the reach of the courts and we've answered that question, now the supreme court says it goes back to court for him to raise the same kind of objection that anybody else would raise when confronted with a subpoena. the subpoena is overbroad, it should be quashed, they don't need this, that kind of thing. and the president can also say that complying with it would be burdensome. but the supreme court says, you know, he's going to really have to really ring that bell if he wants to prevail on it. so it's largely a defeat for the president. on the congressional one, they say in essence, congress was sort of its own worst enemy here by such a broad request for years and years of documents from the president, his family members, other people in the business. so what they say is, presidents cannot completely stiff a congressional demand. but because these are separate
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branches of the government, there has to be a kind of balancing test here. and the courts have to be a little bit wary that congress isn't trying to use the subpoenas to basically abuse the president politically. so they say when this goes back to the lower courts, that the lower courts are going to have to be satisfied -- there are sort of four tests to apply. one is, are there other sources for this information. two, are these subpoenas too broad. three, is there a valid legislative purpose for these subpoenas or do they just want to gather a bunch of stuff and try to nail the president for something. and then, would it be overly burdensome for him to respond. one other point here, andrea. the parties in these cases were very clear to say we're not asking for anything from the president himself. the subpoenas were directed to the president's accountants and his bankers. what the supreme court said is, yeah, that may be true, they're just the custodians, these are
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really the president's records and they're really going after him. >> thank you so much, pete. peter alexander at the white house, the president was even tweeting about these rulings 20 minutes after they were released, he was also criticizing the court, tell me about the reaction there and the fact that he has once again asked for a delay in released g i -- releasing his own financial report which has always been released by presidents. >> the president raging on twitter today, andrea, even before the decisions came out, these bullet point talking points he posted in all caps, presidential harassment and prosecutorial misconduct. he attacked democrats, he attacked his predecessor former president barack obama, basically saying he's the one being targeted and the real investigations should be focused on them. he said among other things this is all a political prosecution.
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the biggest that akeaways, i th from the white house, and we'll see from the president at 3:00 today when he holds a public event totally unrelated to the court's decision, but the fact that his two appointees to the court, gorsuch and kavanaugh, both ruled with the majorities here. that will certainly frustrate a president who is focused heavily on the courts and has been eyeing the potential for an additional court seat before the election or certainly if he were to win another term. beyond that, the takeaway i think that will satisfy this white house is the increased likelihood that americans will not see his records before the election. and finally, the pushback about the financial disclosure report that is due, andrea, the white house says it's complicated and the president has been busy with other things like coronavirus. just yesterday, earlier this week, kayleigh mcenany said he could do two things at once. >> and also of course he has never released his tax returns, which other presidents have going back decades as well.
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thanks to you, peter. joyce vance, let's recap part of this very complicated decision but a real defeat for the president. here is what chief justice roberts had to say for the majority in writing about it. just as a properly managed civil suit is generally unlikely to occupy any substantial amount of a president's time or attention, two centuries of experience confirm that a properly tailored criminal subpoena will not normally hamper the performance of the president's constitutional duties. joyce? >> it's difficult to see how the president could prevail on remand. where the court gives him some ability to talk to the court to try to convince a court that these subpoenas will intrude upon his conduct as president. i think given his presence on twitter and the golf course, those are tough arguments for the president to prevail upon. but the point here is that the court has taken a very -- this is not a political opinion, andrea. this is a very legal opinion,
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grounded in the powers that the founders gave to the different branches of government and the constitution. and deeply concerned with keeping that balance of power on an even keel, not just for this presidency but going forward. i think people who were looking for a quick political fix may find these opinions to be unsatisfying. but as someone who believes in the rule of law, who is on record as believing that it's important on an ongoing basis, these opinions really reflect the fact that this court is making its decisions in the right realm, in the legal realm, not the political one. >> and suzanne craig from "the new york times," you won a pulitzer with your team for such detailed reporting on the president's finances, the connection to deutsche bank and the rest. how do you see this in the context of the credible evidence that you've assembled that he had undervalued assets and
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overvalued assets depending on how it would help him financially in the past? >> you may actually see some of that information. it's interesting, if cy vance does get his hands on the tax returns, what else that may open up the door too. but tax returns, i think he's going to get them. we learned from the investigation that we did that they're just sort of one piece of the puzzle, and you've got to have often tax returns, and we had also financial records, financial statements from companies. we pieced that together with public documents to find misrepresentation. and cy vance may find, as he gets it, that he's going to then have to subpoena more information to get him where he needs to go. this is going to be a very, very long, i think, process even once he gets them in terms of getting where he needs to be. it may be that the tax returns have the information right up front and it says here are the payments, he used them as a business deduction, and that would not be okay.
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or they may be buried somewhere where you can't see them, maybe he buried them with a law firm and you have to go to the law firm to get more information. there's a lot of places these things could potentially hide. it took us 18 months to put that story together, it was very difficult. >> i know, it was an extraordinary effort. but the vulnerabilities there are certainly, once he leaves office, whenever that is, the trump organization, the family, it's a family business, there are a lot of vulnerabilities there if any kind of financial fraud were found. >> i think it could continue for a very long time for them, the stakes are very high. i think he's got -- right now i think he's kicking it down the road as long as he can so it doesn't become an issue during the election. but this could be a continuing nightmare for the trump organization and the family for a long time. >> suzanne craig, part of a team that really plowed the groundbreaking work on all of this, thanks for taking the time to join us today as well. a busy news day, and a
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democratic congresswoman, a former senior counsel to james comey at the justice department, congresswoman, thank you very much for being with us. this is a big victory for those who want to get eventual access to the president's financial details and for congressional oversight. but there is one question, did congress overreach in so broadly asking for so much information that now it has to be remanded to the lower court, you have to go back at it, and this will take a lot of time. >> well, justice comes, but it didn't always come swiftly. and i believe we saw this in the court's ruling. i believe that the information that the three committees were requesting was the appropriate ones to request. and it will be under the guidelines, the four counselors that t corners that the supreme court has directed. i can't say and i don't believe that the lower court will find
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that none of that information was legitimate. but i believe that if congress had not cast a wide net, there might have been information that was left out that the lower court was not able to pull in once it reviewed those documents. if it was relevant, you know, if it was overly burdensome, if there was a legitimate legislative purpose. and i think they're going to find that a lot of the requests of congress are in that. >> and speaker pelosi did speak not too long ago, let me play a little bit that have and get your reaction on the other side. >> the supreme court, including the president's appointees, have declared that he is not above the law. and i don't know what they're even saying about it. i hear he's tweeting one thing and other people are saying another. but whatever it is, it's not good news for the president of the united states. >> and so clearly this is not going to be a dominating issue, perhaps, in this campaign.
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but it does uphold congressional oversight, something that would not have been an issue if they had been willing to negotiate with the committees. >> sure. and i think, you know, as a lawyer, and so when, you know, i can just imagine the discussions in law schools from years to come over these two cases, and the clear directive from the supreme court that the president has no absolute immunity. and the court was absolutely 100% in favor of that. there was -- all of the justices said that no jay sekulow, no trump lawyers, that is not correct, there is no absolute immunity for any president. i think that is an important ruling from this court and will go down in history. and it took both the manhattan district attorney and members of congress to stand up to this president to let him know that he is not above the law.
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>> congresswoman, thanks for joining us today. >> thank you so much. coming up, how some cities are standing up to their own governors to enforce their laws to protect people from covid-19. and atlanta mayor keisha lance bottom, who recently contracted coronavirus, will join me next, and general colin powell will talk about how president has drifted from the constitution. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. heading in a new direction. but when you're with fidelity, a partner who makes sure every step is clear, there's nothing to stop you from moving forward. a partner who makes sure every step is clear, but a resilient business you cacan be ready for a digital foundation from vmware helps you redefine what's possible... now.
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welcome back. the coronavirus pandemic continues to surge across the country, setting a new record for coronavirus cases yesterday. texas and california had their deadliest day of the pandemic on wednesday, more than 133,000 people have now died nationwide from the virus. and more than 3 million people have been infected. teachers and governors are pushing back against president trump after he threatened to cut school funding if they don't open by fall. the governors of new york and california say that the president has no authority to make that call, as states grapple with balancing safety and their economies. and amid a surge in cases in georgia, atlanta mayor keisha lance bottoms who tested positive for covid-19 herself issued an executive order
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overnight making mask-wearing mandatory in her city. joining me now is atlanta mayor keisha lance bottoms. mayor, first of all, we all of course want to know how you and your family are doing after contracting the virus. >> thank you for asking and thank you for having me. i'm having normal symptoms that go along with my seasonal allergies. my child is also asymptomatic. my husband, on the other hand, has lost 20 pounds in less than a week and he's still sleeping quite a bit. thankfully his oxygen levels are good and hopefully he's on the road to recovery. >> i know that you said it took eight days after your initial test results before you got them back. so you for eight days did not know what your test results were after your husband and that your child were going to test positive. how do you feel about those kind of delays? >> it's frustrating. the reality was that i got
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tested simply because i had had attended a funeral for rayshard brooks and just decided to get my family tested at the same time, simply because i could. i didn't get those results back until eight days later. by that time, my husband was not -- well, he was sleeping a lot, i can't even say it was so much he wasn't feeling well, he was just sleeping a lot. we got tested again, i got those results back the same day. the next day, i got the previous test results back, and saw that my child was asymptomatic. so we had an asymptomatic child in the house. my husband and i at that time were negative. this is the story we are hearing all across america. certainly had we gotten those results back sooner, we could have taken additional precautions, because my husband and i were both negative at that time. >> and you had subsequently been with your mother who is older,
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obviously. had you known whether your other children have any positive results? >> thankfully, we've all now been tested. my mother is negative. and three of my other children are negative as well. and this is the frustrating part about covid, it's really not a big mystery as to why we can't get to the other side of this as a country. we have to perfect this test. and donald trump has to take responsibility for us being able to get rapid testing in this country, because it's the only way that asymptomatic people like me will be able to quarantine and not inadvertently expose other people to this virus. >> you are now going up against brian kemp in that you are now requiring by executive order that people wear masks in atlanta, you're prohibiting nonessential gatherings of more
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than ten people, you're going well beyond what the governor is requiring for georgia. why are you doing that, and how can you maintain those mandates when the governor is not doing it for the rest of the state? >> the governor is not doing enough for our state. and his leadership has been irresponsible. we opened up very quickly. we are now seeing the results of that. our covid numbers are as high as they've ever been. i followed the lead of other mayors across our state, including van johnson in savannah who mandated that masks be worn in savannah. and so he did that a week prior. i wanted to wait and see what the governor's response would be to that. that mandate has not been challenged, and so atlanta has followed suit. and we have to continue to take responsibility for ourselves because there is a lack of leadership in our state and there is a lack of leadership
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from the white house. and unfortunately our governor and the president are on the same page. >> the president is again sort of in parallel to what he did on reopening the economy, that pressure, he's pressuring governors by threatening to withhold money from schools if they don't reopen by fall. what are your plans for the atlanta schools? >> i think that's absurd. and again, my family is a great example. we had a child in our house who is asymptomatic. and when our children are pressured to go back into the classroom, they are infecting the teachers, the cafeteria workers, the janitors inside the school. so i don't control the atlanta public schools, but i trust that they are going to be thoughtful about their reopening plan. and if anything, this president needs to focus on how do we get technology expanded into all of our school systems, how do we expand broadband so that if we
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are faced with children having to go through virtual learning again in the fall, that they all have access to technology and broadband. that's where he can better use his efforts and not the theatrics that he continues to spew from the white house. >> you've got a lot on your plate, not only of course the protests against the police but now this horrible case which has nothing to do with the police, which is the death of this 8-year-old little girl. you've been making appeals against violence to your people in atlanta. how are you handling all of that, and what can mayors too? do? >> there are a couple of things that we can do, andrea. one, we can address immediate challenges that are before us. and it's heartbreaking that this beautiful 8-year-old child was killed in violence. unfortunately we've seen that repeated throughout the country over the past few weeks. so we can continue to up or
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patrols our proeatrols in our neighborhoods. if things are feeling volatile and it seems like it's heading in the wrong direction, please remove yourself, because what we're seeing in atlanta, we are having these shootings with mass gatherings and multiple shooters. that is something that we've not experienced on this scale in our city. and i know, again, in talking with other mayors, it's being repeated across this country. the other part is this systemic issue that we face related to all of the issues of equity and people are out of work and people are dyeii dying of covid. systemic issues related to access to health care, jobs, et cetera, and even trauma care, because so many in our
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communities have post traumatic stress syndrome and don't know enough to call it that. but it's spilling out and unfortunately innocent children and lives are being lost. >> and amidst all this tragedy and crisis, does any that have give you pause about remaining in contention to be the running mate for joe biden? >> you know, i don't give a lot of thought to that, andrea, i don't have the luxury of giving thought to it. i have a very big job in front of me. to the extent my name is being discussed, that's a discussion for other people to have. but my focus remains on atlanta. but my focus also is making sure that people recognize how important leadership from the top is. and that is why it's so important that we have joe biden elected president. this president has failed us at every single turn. he's failed us with the economy. he's failed us with covid. he's failed us in even speaking
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hope and reason to the american people. joe biden has led us through recovery before. and i know that he will do it again when he is elected in november. >> we have to leave it there, thank you very much, madam mayor, and all our wishes for a speedy recovery for your whole family, especially your husband right now. thank you for being with us. >> thank you. right now in new york city, workers are painting a black lives matter mural on fifth avenue right in front of the trump tower. donald trump has called that a symbol of hate as thousands around the country call for criminal justice and police reform. next we'll speak to general colin powell about race in america and a lot more coming up on "andrea mitchell reports." try wayfair. you got this!
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won these bluetooth headphones for $20. i got these three suitcases for less than $40. and shipping is always free. go to right now and see how much you can save. the nation is at an inflection point, a reckoning over race. for generations, our country has seen that black men and have been targeted. but the flashpoint for change has been the death of george floyd. we've all seen the video but knew we know that floyd's words for the almost nine minutes that an officer was kneeling on his neck, according to a newly-released transcript from police body cameras overnight, that floyd pleaded almost 20 times that he could not breathe, telling the police, quote, i'll do anything, i'll do anything y'all tell me, man, i'm not resisting, man, i'm not, i'm not, mr. officer, mr. officer, i'm not that kind of guy.
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he did not resist arrest. he repeatedly called for his mama. and before his final breaths, floyd says, "they're going to kill me." his death galvanized the nation and has portrayed the president in stark contrast to the movement for change has he has become the divider in chief, stoking racial divides. joining me now is general colin powell, former secretary of state and former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. welcome very much, general powell, it's good to see you. i want to ask you about these transcripts because when you read these transcripts, this was a man who was polite throughout, calling the officers sir, he was apologizing. it's really to my reading and to all that we saw in the video, a horrifying example of what happens to black men in america. >> it is a horrifying example. and we see too much of it. but at the same time we have come a long way. when i entered the army 62 years ago, it was still a segregated country, although the army had been integrated. and we have come a long way.
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that allowed me to rise to the top of my profession. but it isn't over yet. racism still exists. we still have people who want to take it out on people who are people of color. and we have to make sure that our top leadership, especially the president of the united states, has to be an example to the rest of the country that we are one nation, one people, and make sure that we can make these systems go away, these systems of racism and the kind of intolerance that still exists in our country. it has to be fought, it has to be broken. and i think we can do it. but it also means that we have to, with our african-american and other minority communities, make sure that they have a chance to be successful in life in this great country of ours, by making sure they have jobs, that they have education, they have what is needed, which is what i got that allowed me to be successful in the united states army. so we've got a long way to go. we've come a long way. but it's not over. what we have to do is have all our political leaders speak out against this kind of treatment of our fellow citizens.
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they're our fellow citizens. i love them as much as i love anyone else but it isn't good to have this kind of racism exist. nor is it good to have the violence we have in our society, the gun violence in almost every major american city. we've got a lot of work to do. >> there's new information that nbc news has uncovered in the breonna taylor case, the chief investigator with those officers back in that case is heard saying that a battering ram was the most passive way they could enter her house, previously unheard audio from those interviews. this tells us it is really as systemic as many people had feared in terms of the way these cases are investigated by police departments. >> because it's tolerated. because there is no discipline within the system that says you cannot do that and you cannot be a police officer if you feel this is the way to handle your fellow citizens. and so we need that kind of
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political pressure and that kind of police force in every one of our cities that will go after this kind of behavior. it can be done. but we also have racism. we have people who tolerate this, people who encourage this. and that has to be wiped out and it has to start with the white house of the united states of america, when we start talking in a manner that makes it clear that this kind of behavior is unacceptable and can no longer be tolerated in this country of ours. >> the president has called black lives matter a symbol of hate. how do you see that messaging coming from the president? >> well, it's typical of him. but it is no such thing, it is not a matter of hate. black lives matter, it's a matter of fact, in but he doesn accept it. he always see it in other dimensions, and that's wrong. he should be reaching out to the african-american community, the latino community, and other communities that are falling behind or falling behind in the
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success that our country enjoys. and he should be leading this, not criticizing it. i see in the four years that has been president, he's always found an opportunity to criticize this kind of behavior, this kind of organization. we've seen it in almost every one of these terrible incidents where he sort of thinks they're both okay. no, they're not okay. the ones not okay were those responsible for the racism or the violence that took place against their fellow citizens. that's what we need. we're going to get that with joe biden. i've known him for many, many years. that's the kind of guy he is. we can be assured that when joe becomes the president of the united states of america, he will be in the lead in taking on this kind of crisis and bringing more sanity to our thinking here in our country. >> on july 4, in his speech, the president actually gave a shoutout to the confederacy and he compared the people who fought for the confederacy as fighting for freedom, comparing
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them to the marines at iwo jima. when he speaks so fondly of the confederacy and talks about not changing the names of confederate soldiers -- the bases named after confederate generals and all the rest, do you think that makes him a racist? >> i don't like to use that word. let me just say that he is intolerant. he doesn't understand our history. he doesn't understand our history at all. these folks that he's talking about, they're no longer in the american country. they are in the confederate states of america. robert e. lee was a great tactician but he was a leader of the confederate army which succeeded in starting a war that killed 600,000 americans. and so it is one thing to treat him as a tactical hero and put him off in the corner somewhere, but it's not the right place to give him the presence he has in
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our society through statues or other discussions. they were not great americans. they were great members, perhaps, tactically, of the confederate states of america, but they were no longer americans at that point. >> i want to ask you about your own personal experiences. you are the proud son of immigrants, raised in the bronx in new york city. then in 1957 and 1958, you drove to basic training at ft. benenig benning, georgia. tell me what you experienced in the jim crow south, this was before the civil rights act. >> in those days if you wanted to go from, say, new york city to columbus, georgia, there is only one motel that you could stop at along the way that would accept black people. and there was another one on the western approach to new york city from that part of the country. that's the way it was. it was segregation. you better have some folks you could stay with to keep you fed.
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but once you got to ft. benning, you were in an integrated society and all they cared about is, am i a good soldier, will i be a good soldier. i'll never forget coming home from my first tour in vietnam where i had been injured in a booby trap, i went to birmingham to pick up my wife and bring her to columbus, georgia, and birmingham in those days, 1963, my father-in-law was guarding my wife while i was in vietnam. i was going back to ft. benning from birmingham and i stopped at a hot dog place in columbus, georgia, on the way back to ft. benning and i asked, just give me a hot dog, i'm from new jersey, i don't understand this, but i can't serve you. do you want to go round the back and pick it up? no, i didn't want to go around
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the back to pick it up. on july 3, 1964, or 4th, i don't remember exact the date, but it was when the accommodations act was signed by the president, lyndon johnson, and then i went back to that place and ordered my meal and i got it, i was served. the reality here was that segregation and that kind of discrimination was as much a burden on white people as it was on black people. and that's why we have to keep fighting it, because for america to be america, the kind of america i love, the kind of america i have served for most of my adult life, we have to make sure that we're opening up that america and the opportunities that exist in america to every person who says they're an american or an immigrant, for that matter. i'm a son of immigrants. my parents came here in banana boats from jamaica and all they said to me was, do your very, very best and always make sure that you love this country of ours now that we are members of this country of ours. >> general powell, how do you
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feel about renaming the military bases? the president is opposed. the military has been reviewing it and apparently ft. benning, where you served, was one that they were preparing to rename. >> you know, it's interesting because in those early years when i spent a lot of time at benning, which we called benning school for boys in those days, it never occurred to me that this was such a problem. but it is a problem, it's been identified by the military, the leaders of the united states military want to look at those names, because they mean something now that they didn't mean all those years before. so i think it is quite appropriate that the ten bases, army bases, anyway, that we have in the southern part of the united states, should be looked at by the leadership of the military and the president should keep out of it and let the military figure out what the right thing is to do. but he won't. he says no, you can't do that. why can't they do it? i think they ought to be allowed to do it. i think it is their responsibility. and i hope they don't stop now. but you see, that's the problem
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we have. we have a president who goes out of his way to keep us from moving forward. but we're moving forward without his blessing. because the people of the united states of america know what is right and we're slowly getting to that point. and those who don't know, those who remain racist, those who keep fighting, those who will conduct violent acts on people of color and immigrants, they're the ones that we have to deal with, push them aside, let them know this is not america, this is not the america we love, and this is not the america that we're going to be in the future. so get your education, get a job, and start being a part of our society, just as everyone else is. we've got a lot of work to do. but it's work that can be done if we have leadership at every single level. and it's going to be joe biden that gives us that leadership. >> let me ask you about the confederate flag, because the president was defending the confederate flag and attacking bubba wallace on nascar.
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>> i know. i don't know why he doesn't this. doesn't he have more important things to do? why is he fooling around with nascar and a flag? and if mississippi wants to change its flag, it's no business of the president. it's called states' rights. it's their flag, not his flag. he should worry about the american flag and he should devote all his time to the american flag and stop sitting around tweeting people all the time. let's go, get going, come on, mr. president, you have a few more months to go. >> what do you think about the washington football team changing its name? >> that's a tricky one. i think the name should be changed, time for mr. snyder to realize that it is out of date and the citizens of washington and the citizens of the united states, for that team and other teams in america that have this kind of connotation, let's get a better name for them. people think, well, that's terrible.
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no, it's not terrible refuse it will happterrible, it will happ and a year from now no one will remember what the name was. let's face the reality of the future, not the troubles of the past. >> i want to ask you about the pandemic. the president, first of all, has been blaming china, but there was a lot of intelligence that he seemed to be following in january and february about the pandemic, and now he's ordering governors to reopen schools when a lot of parents, teachers, and other people who go -- would work in the schools are worried about their own safety. it's a tough issue. where do you stand on that? >> we have 13,000 different school districts in the united states. a few of them belong to the government, the military. but most of them are privately run. they belong to those communities. it's not his place to come along and say, you've got to do it my way. and then he confuses everything by saying that, well, i'm going to have the cdc change its
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rules. but the cdc did not change its guidelines or rules. and so there's confusion. it all happened without any real planning. and so i think what we're going to see is that individual communities that have their own school board will decide what they're going to do with that school system and that they're not waiting for instructions from the white house or from governors who have been ordered by the white house to do something different. the president doesn't have any authority over these various school districts. and he should stop pretending that he does. >> what about the president and the military? we saw what happened on june 1, when one of your successors as joint chiefs chairman walked through lafayette square. the military was invoked, at least the president said he was going to use the insurrection act. i know that general milley apologized for that later. would you have made that walk? >> no. you have to be very, very
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careful, as an active duty officer, to have a view on everything, but when it comes to public activity, make sure that you're not participating in what is considered a political issue. now, i've had political positions and i've also had military positions. but in my time as a soldier, the 35 1/2 years i was a soldier, i avoided politics like the plague. it was not my business. it was the business of the civilians i worked for. so in this case, general milley felt that he was being used, and he kind of was. he just kind of got sucked up in this group of people that were marching to the church. and he wrote a very moving, impressive letter explaining his situation and frankly asking for the apology of his fellow citizens. >> there was an analogous time back when george bush 41 was president and the rodney king riots were taking place and you advised the president of the
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united states, you were joint chiefs chairman, not to bring the military in, to try to use the national guard first. >> yes, that was pretty standard, straightforward stuff. it was up to the national guard to be the first force going in in addition to the police force. and president bush and i were discussing it. and then the whole thing got out of control. and whole streets were being burned. it was at that point that president bush consulted with the leadership in california and decided that it needed the federal forces to go in and that i was called by president bush that night and told to alert federal forces. and we did, both marines and army forces were alerted, and we went in and put that down, and then got out as fast as we could. sometimes it's necessary to use federal forces that go beyond, you know, police forces or national guard. it's not the first time it's happened. we had to use that to integrate our schools in the south, you may remember.
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and that was the 82nd airborne, 101st airborne, had to go in and do that, all legal, all constitutional. >> i want to ask you also about lieutenant colonel alexander vindman who decided to retire yesterday rather than face the controversi controversy affecting all of his fellow soldiers. it was clearly recommended by the defense secretary that he be put on the list, the president had to sign off on it, the signal was the president was not going to agree to that promotion in retaliation for his impeachment testimony. >> i don't know what the president was going to do. there were reports that the white house was trying to get the pentagon to find something wrong with the colonel so they could use that to keep him from being promoted. but i know for a fact that the secretary of defense had signed off on this last thursday night, i think it was, saying that he should be on that list, and he is deserving of promotion.
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a board of officers had looked at him, examined him carefully, and put him on that promotion list. he then decided that it isn't going to work out because he's just going to catch the devil from the white house or from others in government. and so it was his decision to leave the military. but he had been covered by the secretary of defense and the secretary of the army and others in the military that he should be promoted. he was selected for promotion. and he was in line for promotion until he decided that it wasn't going to work out, he felt, anyway, that he was going to get bullied by the president and others. whether that's true or not, i don't know. that's what he felt. and that was the report you saw in the papers. >> senator tammy duckworth has been vilified by the president, in retweeting attacks that have come from fox news, calling her a moron, saying she's not a
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patriot. this is a soldier who lost both legs fighting for our country in iraq. what message does that send to senators in both parties for going up against the president and for respect for the military? >> all of them should stand up and reject such a discussion. if i had one piece of advice for the president, which i would hope he would accept, but he wouldn't. stop tweeting because you're either blessing yourself and criticizing, cursing out someone else. let's get back on track. mr. president, please. you only have another few month to go, but let's keep him on track and not go out of our way to insult americans like he will insult me tomorrow morning with a tweet. >> let me ask you about the russia issue and vladimir putin also. you were a deputy national security adviser. you've been involved in the president's daily briefs. no matter what the intelligence was, threat of intelligence
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about russia's ongoing arming of the taliban, which has been going on for some time according to nbc's reporting now, citing three on the record military commanders from afghanistan, how do you justify the president embracing vladimir putin, inviting him back to the g7, not being briefed about some of this, verbally briefed about some of these russian activities? >> i don't know what he knew or didn't know. i don't have access to that kind of intelligence. what i know is that our military commanders on the ground did not think that it was as serious a problem as the newspapers were reporting and television was reporting. it got kind of out of control before we really had an understanding of what had happened. i'm not sure we fully understand now. but general mckenzie, who was commander in chief, he has indicated he did not think this
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was of that level of importance to us. remember, it's not the intelligence community that's going to go fight these guys. it's the guys on the ground. it's our troops. it's our commanders who are going to go deal with this kind of a threat, using intelligence given to them by the intelligence community. but that has to be analyzed. it has to be attested. and then go find out who the enemy is. and i think we're on top of that one, but it just got -- it got almost hysterical in the first few days. >> but what -- in any case, according to our reporting, general mckenzie and others have affirmed that the taliban have been armed for years now by russia. doesn't that require a tougher stance against vladimir putin from the president? >> i would think so, but the president has a unique relationship with vladimir putin. he even wanted him to go to the g7 meeting and make it the g8 meeting. that's the president's personal point of view with respect to mr. putin. but at the same time, i follow
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what's going on in my beloved army, and we're busy building up forces in europe as if we are going to get in a war with the russians. we're not going to get into war with the russians. we have 334 million americans. russians have 134 million russians. they're not competent, they're not qualified to attack us and trigger the nato response. and so i don't think we're in a position to go to war with the russians, and i know mr. putin rather well. he's just figuring out a way to stay in power until 2036. the last thing he's looking for is a war. and the last thing he's looking for is a war with the united states of america or war with nato. so i think there are ways to handle this. we seem to have lost the ability to do diplomatic work very successfully. and so here we have the president inviting him to come to the g7 and make it a g8. at the same time americans are building up forces in europe in
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case the russians do attack. we have lost a lot of our diplomatic effort. i see a lot of things that don't make sense to me. why are we doing some of the things we're doing? why did we pull out of the imf treaty? a treaty that i negotiated with secretary of state george schultz that reduced the number of nuclear weapons? and we pulled out of it because we said the russians were cheating. i said keep talking to the russians. figure out what we can do to get them out of this. no, we'll just pull them out of the treaty. we've got to be more careful. we have to look at things like the world health organization in the middle of a pandemic. we're quitting the world health organization because it's something that happened months ago? and it was not all that consequential compared to what we have done? it doesn't make sense. we're losing some of our tools. peace corps. radio-free europe, voice of
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america. a.i.d. all of these efforts that we had that made us one of the most beloved countries on earth because we reached out to others to help them. to help them with aid, to help them with communications. to give them assistance and to let them know america is the leading democracy in the world. we're here to keep peace. we're here to help build up other democracies. a democracy we built in germany, we built in japan after world war ii. we will -- we were the champions of the world. and we're losing that champion slot because of the things we've been doing diplomatically that are not successful and are giving the world a bad image of us. and you can see it everywhere you go in the world today. we are not the same beloved united states of america that we used to be. >> well, general colin powell, former secretary of staircte, former joint chiefs. it's been a great privilege
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today. thank you very much for joining us right now. right here on msnbc. >> thank you, andrea. and that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." chuck todd and katy tur pick up our coverage after a break. inflammation in your eye might be to blame. looks like a great day for achy, burning eyes! over-the-counter eye drops typically work by lubricating your eyes and may provide temporary relief. ha! these drops probably won't touch me. xiidra works differently, targeting inflammation that can cause dry eye disease. what is that? xiidra, noooo! it can provide lasting relief. xiidra is the only fda approved treatment specifically for the signs and symptoms of dry eye disease. one drop in each eye, twice a day. don't use if you're allergic to xiidra. common side effects include eye irritation, discomfort or blurred vision when applied to the eye, and unusual taste sensation. don't touch container tip to your eye or any surface.
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president trump does not have complete immunity from grand jury subpoena. but the court also gave the president a great deal of leeway with the congressional subpoena for his tax returns meaning voters will not see them before the election. speaker nancy pelosi reacted a short time ago. >> the supreme court, including prethe president's appointees have declared he is not above the law. whatever it is, it's not good news for the president of the united states. >> right now, ousted u.s. attorney geoffrey berman is testifying behind closed doors. berman was fired by president trump last month following a clash with attorney general barr over federal oversight. and in the state of florida, the new epicenter of the coronavirus crisis, officials reported nearly 9,000 additional new cases today. the positivity rates for tests