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tv   AM Joy  MSNBC  July 25, 2020 7:00am-9:00am PDT

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thank you very much and it's a great honor and privilege, because he's become a friend of mine to introduce president erdogan of turkey. >> he's the head of a country and he's the strong head. don't let anyone think anything different. he speaks and his people set up at attention, i want my people to do the same. >> president trump xi is sharp. president putin is sharp. erdogan is sharp. you don't have any nonsharp people that you're dealing with.
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>> good morning and welcome to a.m. joy. i'm tiffany cross. now we all know that donald trump has a thing for dictators and each time he praised these leaders, men who he has called good friends, trump exposed and apparent autocratic envy that foreshadowed what we are seeing right now in portland, oregon where on friday thousands of protesters including the wall of moms and a wall of veterans standing in solidarity for black lives matter were met with federal agents who deployed tear gas to disperse the crowds. federal officers wearing military style camouflage and helmets have been patrolling portland with batons and tear gas driving around an unmarked vehicles sweeping up and detaining protesters in a way that oregon's own attorney general says resembles abductions. this is trump's secret police. federal agents igniting chaos in
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a city led by a democratic mayor who was also tear gassed by u.s. agents this week. according to trump, he simply is trying to quell unrest. in other words, he is clinging to the image of the law & order president as his approval ratings continue to tank. borrowing from the play books of the dictators he so admires. >> we'll go into all of the cities. we'll put in 50,000, 60,000 people that really know what they're doing and they're strong, they're tough and we could solve these problems so fast. >> joining me now is ann applebom. author of "twilight of democracy" renee graham, thank you guys for joining me and i'm
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going to stard with you, ann. we are living in a world where secret police are detaining protesters without probable cause. so if you look out abomination you will note across the chasm a lot of us staring saying we tried to tell you. and you really touch on some interesting things in your peace in the atlantic and you say that donald trump's authoritarianism is a form of politics that reaches new heights and you compare what we're seeing in this landscape to russia. explain that to me. >> so thanks. i think the important thing to understand about what trump is doing is that these are not tactics designed to solve the problem. why is he sending customs and border patrol, coast guard, tsa officers into american cities? these are people who don't have training in riot control who aren't used to dealing with political protests, and whose
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main goal seems to be to create more chaos. you know, of course this isn't full on dictatorship. he isn't arresting the mayor or conducting mass arrests or putting thousands of people in jail. but what he is doing is creating pictures that are designed to show other americans how tough he is. so the fact that these men are wearing -- men and women maybe, are wearing camouflage, that they look heavily armed, they're wearing face masks, this is designed to show and kind of act out dominance. look, we're pushing back against the liberal america, the urban america, the chaotic america that you're all afraid of and this is how we're going to win the argument. this way of using troops and using photographs of violence is something that we have seen in other authoritarian states, particularly in russia where putin in 2014 used pictures of
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violence to imply that the democracy movement in ukraine was really some kind of nazi fascist uprising and he was putting it down. this is a tack take we've seen used in other parts of the world. >> and we've seen the photographs and footage of this be used in campaign ads so that really add to your article. phillip, one thing that concerns me about this is the experience that black and brown people have when we encounter police, so attorney general bill barr has said that in these new cities the police officers are going to be clearly side fiable, i don't know that that makes it better considering that when black better encounter police they're three times more likely to be killed. in chicago they're six times more likely to be killed. what do you make of this? >> yeah, i mean, ann put it exactly right. these are not here -- these troops are not here to make anything better. . they're set up in camouflage which by the way, they're not
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blending into any urban environment with those uniforms. to make the folks who had been protesting who had been entirely peaceful up until this point, make them fear that there is going to be some kind of forceful, physical violent reaction to their peaceful expression of their first amendment rights. and the thing i want folks to understand is this is over objections not only of the mayor, the u.s. attorney, the attorney general, the governor but of local law enforcement as well. local law enforce ht has been trying for the last seven, eight weeks to figure how they can gain the trust and this is not helping. i have to make it clear, in cities where you can't trust law enforcement but if there's something violent happening because you're worried about what's going to happen when they show up, that's a great place for people who want to engage in illegal behavior. now you've got the federal law enforcement there. who the heck is calling the cops
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in that situation and how does that make any city safer when nobody wants you there. you are there for a photo op you are not there for safety. >> you make a good point. even the mayor has said this has exacerbated the violence there. sarah, i have to tell you i honestly did think that this is something that president trump is doing to feed his base, to give fox news, you know, footage that they need. you say that it's not that simple, that this is not just about feeding red meat to his base. expand on that for me. >> yeah. i mean, that's obviously a perk. the element of this, but this is happening to real people in real time and the goal is simple. the goal taking away the right to protest. the goal is taking away free speech, freedom of assembly and broadly labeling anybody who critiques or proposes him as a terrorist. these protests are coming hand in hand with an executive order that has an extremely broad definition of terrorism in which
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they're designating groups that are rising up against trump like black lives matter or simply fighting for their civil rights as terrorists. it has a retroactive component as well meaning that people who participated in prior arrests could be considered as terrorists. this is a classic authoritarian move. russia and other, you know, authoritarian regimes have embraced these tactics all the time and they also have a history in the u.s. while i understand this view of authoritariani authoritarianism, the other thing to know is trump is not concerned with winning the election. he is trying to steal the election. they try to seem more engaged and more popular. they don't let their base die of coronavirus for example so those are all things to take into account as we move forward. >> something that i think is interesting. we've seen some uptick in violence. that can't be denied.
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i certainly understand people pointing that out, but some of this could be that the police are sitting on their hands, that they're mad about some of the anti police rhetoric as they see it and some -- there's been some reporting that police in chicago for example have traded text messages encouraging officers to call out and not make as many arrests. renee, i love what you wrote and you actually proposed the question, are they apolishing themselves? talk about that. is there an element that police are contributing to china to stoke violence, to kind of repair their image in the public eye? >> well, you know, we're watching these unidentified troops essentially invade american cities. where are the nation's police commissioners? where are the police chiefs? are they okay with federal law enforcement invading the streets and attacking the citizens that they themselves were sworn otoprotect and serve? their silence is telling.
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you would expect to see a line of police officer between these troops, you know of these federal agents and the people who are protesting. you're not seeing that at all. you get the sense that they are acting in concert. you know, this is exactly what they want. they want this scene of anarchy in the streets so they can say oh, yes, look at the movement, you need us there. you need us to be that line between chaos and order. i think that's really why they're doing nothing because i -- you know, if it's out there i haven't heard it but i have yet to hear a single police commissioner or chief say that they have a problem with what is going on in these cities or that they do not want these agents in their cities. >> something i find interesting about this is initially when this happened in portland, these were department of homeland security employees so these were people who were used to fisking passengers at the airport. they weren't necessarily crime fighters. now bill barr is saying no, this go round, these are crime
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fighters and they're going to be focused on solving crime. what does that even look like in this landscape phillip? >> yeah, so ice agents they have a very narrow set of crimes that they're trying to solve and it's really the crime of being here without appropriate documentation. that doesn't translate to people who have engaged in violence in terms of on the street and it doesn't translate to crowd control at all. but one of the things that's mes terrifying to me about this along with the announcement is that we've seen attempts to move in this direction previously. this president has come out and tried to support law enforcement in a very perverse way of supporting the worst efforts and impulses of law enforcement and it hasn't translatsed into law enforcement supporting this president in the way he had hoped. he tried to use the military to go take a photo op in washington, d.c. and though that worked out for the photo op and the upside down bible it didn't
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work out in terms of the military saying that's the thing we're going to continue to do. but dhs is different. it has a different chain of command. they have a different understanding of what their responsibility is. and though they swear an oath to the constitution, for most of them they feel as if they serve at the pleasure of the president. and so all of the things that we've been hearing in terms of this move toward authoritarianism, the silencing of protests, all of that is made doubly scary to me because under dhs that's the one place where this could happen and this isn't just the couple of folks with the tsa, this is 60,000 folks under chp -- or this is 14,000 folks under ice. there are a sizable number of folks in uniform who are used to doing vie lentd acts but not in ways that serve communities and they do believe for the most part they serve at the pleasure of the president.
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>> the thing that baffles me is this is the law & order president who has pardoned roger stone, who has released michael flynn, his former national security advisor from prison and somehow his base believes he's the law & order president. and you also touched on this in your earlier piece in the atlantic which again i encourage everybody to read. i found it very fascinating on these parallels. how worried should we be? my biggest concern is this is a huge story happening right now and i think this can cast a dark shadow over a lot of other cities. we'll have mayors coming up in the next segment but this could go to atlanta or cities in kentucky and there are people who are elected officials who are in a position to say yes, we invite this kind of federal oversight. so wagnnever mind the hypocrisya party that claims to support government. what does the future hold for this country, this young democracy that has never been tested like this.
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you draw on your points in your piece. how worried should we be. >> so we're not a young democracy. we have a lot of experience and we have had episeeds like this in our own history and it will be worth reflecting on how federal troops have been used in the past in order to draw some lessons from it. but i think main point is the one that you eluded to. everyone watching these scenes should remember that these forces, these troops who have been brought from the border, remember that's a very important point, they've been taught to fight foreigners, aliens. they've been brought from the border into the cities where they're also being told that the people there pushing back against are aliens. they are not there to create peace or to solve the problem or to negotiate an outcome or to find a solution. you know, or to bring people together inside the city, to
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bring together mayors and attorneys general and in order to solve the problems that the protesters are talking about. they're there in order to create more chaos. and i do hope that our cities find ways to respond legally, you know, morally and politically to this attempt to make the situation worse. >> relative to other countries we are absolutely a young democracy but thank you all for joining us. this conversation continues. we have a lot more to talk about. next up we'll talk with two mayors on the front lines of trump's law & order crusade. keep it right here. we'll be right back. crusade. keep it right here we'll be right back. reinventing. it's what small businesses do.
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>> time is now running out. industry leaders say expanding voting by mail for november could require making commitments in the next few weeks. congress must act now to fund the voting and states need to do whatever it takes to make it happen because people should not have to choose between their health and participating in democracy. >> this is a different kind of operation, obviously, than the tactical teams we use to defend against riots and mob violence. we're going to continue to
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confront mob violence. but the operations we're discussing today are very different. they are classic crime fighting and just to give you an idea of what's possible, the fbi went in very strong into kansas city and within two weeks we've had 200 arrests. >> okay. so attorney general bill barr insists the deployment of federal law enforcement to cities like chicago, kansas city, missouri and albuquerque, new mexico, is about fighting crime and not a repeat of what's happening in portland. but it doesn't help that he's already making false claims about this operation. barr said there were 200 arrests in kansas city within two weeks. but as the "washington post" points out, he was off by 199. that's right. there was only one arrest. the justice department had to clarify that barr was referring to arrests made since december and that his figures included federal and local arrests.
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joining me now are the mayors of two cities where federal agents have been sent. quin lucas, mayor of kansas city, missouri and tim keller, mayor of albuquerque, new mexico. thank you for joining us. this is insanity and i'm curious about your thoughts as this federal support is headed to your cities. i'm going to start with you, mayor lucas. do you understand what operation legend is and how your city will be impacted by these federal law enforcement officers showing up? i should note i saw a tweet from you earlier where you appeared to welcome the support, but cautioned that you're concerned about overreach. >> yeah, we work with the federal government regularly honor mall crime fighting activities. what we don't want and don't need is something that even if let's say general barr had been accurate we don't actually want
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200 arrests in two weeks for things that are wholly unrelated to the violent crime mission. this operation is being described as a way to solve murders in kansas city, to try to support victims' families and i do have a concern that it will expand beyond that core mission, particularly given the fact that this seems to be something the president has politicized in attacking cities. we look at portland and other places and so we do have concerns. yes, i think we walk a fine line, myself, mayor keller, and saying we want to solve violent crimes and homicides, but we don't just want a trojan horse for hundreds of troops on our streets attacking demonstrators, protests and any other type of mission crew. >> there actually has been violence in kansas city. you've had over 100 murders just this year. is there coalition or a connection to the fact that some of this violence is happening at
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a time where we have a global pandemic where, you know, people may be laid off and don't have money or income? is there is relation or has your city always been playing by this level of violence? >> we've been plagued by this level of violence for a while. i thought it was actually reckless that the president in his press conference on wednesday cited black lives matter movement protests, he cited an anti police sentiment for the increase in gun violence in our city. we've had year over year unfortunately an increase in gun violence. we've had an increase that's significant this year but i would argue it relates to any number of things including the illegal trafficking of fire arms into our city which we have con sis teptdly asked for support on. gun distribution. there's -- nobody's using your grandpa's berhegun in these off. we could use real help.
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not in breaking up protests or doing a city wide warrant check. >> mayor keller let me turn to you. the fact that both of you are democratic mayors, does this sometimes feel like an election ploy? jacksonville, florida has a lot of crime. i haven't heard the president sending troops there. the difference is that city is led by a republican mayor. what do you make of this? it looks like politics to me. am i off in that assessment? >> i this that's right on. the day before the announcement that you replayed from the attorney general, the president literally was telling folks that he was targeting progressive democrat cities for re-election purposes. when you combine that with i think unfortunately what seems to be this gaslighting strategy around people of color and immigrants where he's trying to make those cities sound bad on purpose, it's extremely concerning to us.
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>> some people say this is an effort to scare suburban moms into voting for him, a block that the republicans only lost slightly in the midterm elections. bill barr has said that the federal law enforcement officers will be focused on classic crime fighting. do either of you know what that means? >> you know, i don't and i think for a lot of folks that can mean either ineffective crime fighting or it can mean crime fighting that involves profiling for people of color. so you know, i don't know if it's a dog whistle word or what that's about but it speaks to a broader issue for us which i know mayor of kansas city mentioned to. we've received no written documentation about this program at all and that's extremely rare. they didn't even reach out to our police department which is the largest in the entire state and how they want to cast this as business as usual when it's obviously and literally not. >> mayor lucas, let me ask you, you said you found out that
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federal troops were coming to your city via twitter. is that right? >> so the u.s. attorney called my office the day before, and talked to one of my staffers and said, generally would you like federal support? only after a white house press conference did we learn the name of the operation, the details on the operation, the scope, and i think the core mission. i find that to have been concerning. i've talked to the u.s. attorney since that point, but i think that speaks to what this operation has been about which is it's kind of the slap dash effort. i think to politicize an operation and one where there has not been significant collaboration usually just for example i talk to my senators my congress people, the department of justice at length as we roll out a work on new crime fighting operations in our city. getting a text message to a staffer of mine the day before with the sparse details is not the type of collaboration that we're used to.
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>> all right. well, just as background on operation legend, it resembles very much policy that came out during george h.w. bush's tenure which needlessly ensnared people of color into an unforgiving criminal justice system. this is something we will be watching. i could spend a lot more time talking to you guys about this. thank you for joining us. we're going to go to a break right now. thank you both and we'll be right back. up next, donald trump phones a friend. you don't want to miss this. stay tuned. n't want to miss thi. stay tuned some companies still have hr stuck between employees and their data.
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the entire world has gotten infected and a lot of countries are going through a lot right now. this morning i spoke with president putin of russia and they're going through a very hard time with this in moscow in particular. >> what do you do when your poll numbers are slipping, you're in the thick of a global pandemic and you can't have your precious
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feel good campaign rallies anymore? you call your good buddy vladimir putin of course. donald trump had a call with putin thursday when they discussed the coronavirus response and arms control negotiations but trump apparently failed to mention the bomb shell reporting on the kremlin putting bounties on u.s. troops. it's also unclear in trump addressed recent reports on russian hackers targeting american, british and canadian organizations in an attempt to steal covid-19 vaccine data. joining me now is the only man that could unpack all of this and that's malcolm mannance. i'm so happy you're here. explain this to me because i am baffled. one, trump has already dismissed the story as a hoax. he claims that there was not enough intel to make it something that he could really investigate, but that's not even
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the thing that's most surprising. what baffles me is he has backing on this from republicans and congress. no republican lawmaker has yet to chin check him on this. they pretty much echo his same sentiments. how many people have to be in the know for this type of growth coverup of whatever could be happening in this situation where he is not asking a foreign adversary about putting bounties on u.s. troops? >> well, you have to understand something about the republican mind set toward donald trump and the republican base. years ago there was this cartoon called little abner and in their mythical kentucky village they had this animal called the shmoo. it looked like a bowling pin with whiskers but the magical propertier of it was when it stared at it it would magically become whatever you most desired like a ham steak or a bottle of
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milk. that is the republican party elected right now. whatever donald trump says they take one look at him and poof, they magically turn into whatever donald trump desires. they are so mortally terrified of their base, they are willing to use russian intelligence generated propaganda as official investigative processes in the united states and completely magically ignore u.s. intelligence on bounties against u.s. soldiers, which by the way, tiffany, was so accurate that sa seal team 6 was deployed to go it oand snatch the guy who is coordinating these bounties but as i understand it that guy defected to moscow. so the intelligence is out there. they just choose to ignore this and when donald trump makes his quarterly, you know, employee evaluations with donald trump -- with vladimir putin he just
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fails to mention it. >> there are multiple intelligence reports that are highlighting very concerning things. one thing for me just yesterday intelligence officials issued a public warning that russia was still trying to infiltrate our election process by sewing disinformation and stoking racial discord in this country just as they did in 2016. we had a similar warning in october of 2016 that nobody seemed to take seriously then. we're in the situation again. it feels like deja vu. what is the threat level of russia interfering with our elections systems and with the president who has yet to ever hold them accountable on anything? >> well, it is very high. the russian possibility of damaging and attacking our elections. we know that they are going around and have been probing, you know, the democratic party. you saw that memo that was sent out with the democratic party
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suspects they have been trying to hack into individual accounts in order to release e-mails in a flood before the election. that is going to happen. we already know that if russia doesn't do it, the trump campaign its vigilantes and data team will most likely do it. a lot of the activity we saw the russians carry out in 2016 have transitioned away from the internet research agency straight over to the trump data team. they are doing this themselves. so they don't need to actually have that nation do it, but they will. now, there are other players we need to be worried about. north korea would see any benefit -- many benefits for donald trump staying in power so north korea could be hacking the democratic party or their family and their friends in order to flood the zone. saudi arabia uses subcontractors
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from israel so all of these are a threat to american democracy and knowing them is really half the battle. >> yeah. also in that report they talked about iran interfering. i've gone to drinks and dinner with malcolm nance and it's a long conversation and we don't have time to do that today. so thank you for unpacking all of this forus and thank you for joining us. next up, the sisters-in-law check in. you don't want to miss it. stay tuned. k in you don't want to miss it. stay tuned and absorb wet messes, all in one disposable pad. just vacuum, spray mop, and toss. the shark vacmop, a complete clean all in one pad.
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i know what mr. trump is. he is a racist, he is a con man, and he is a cheat. the country has seen mr. trump court white supremists and by gots. in private he is even worse. he once asked me if i could name a country run by a black person that wasn't [ bleep ] at all. this was when barack obama was president of the united states. >> michael cohen was released from prison again on friday. he had been furloughed in may to serve the rest of his three-year sentence under house arrest but he was sent back to prison earlier this month after he refused to drop plans to publish a tell all book about trump. on thursday, a judge ruled that the decision to reincarcerate
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cohen was retaliation for criticizing the president and ordered him released. joining me now is former u.s. attorney barbara mcquaid, the professor at the new school and former u.s. attorney joyce vance. i'm so happy to have the sisters-in-law here. my all ladies panel. so let me first, i'm going to start with you barbara, but i do want to first read a statement from the bureau of prisons and they say, any assertion that the decision to remand michael cohen to prison was a retaliatory action is false. mr. cohen refused to acknowledge and sign the conditions of his transfer of home confinement and was remanded into custody. while it's not uncommon for bop to place certain restrictions on inmate, contact with the media, his refusal played no decision whatsoever in h decision to remand him to custody nor did his intent to publish a book.
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barbara, do you buy that? >> well, the judge didn't buy it and that's the opinion that matters here and i really don't only because the circumstances here are so different from what we would expect ordinarily. he came in to sign an agreement and found a paragraph there that said he couldn't erp write a book. i've never seen anything like it in my 20 years as a prosecutor and the judge said he'd never seen any condition like that in his 21 years oen the bench. certainly when an inmate is in prison, a prison may limit visits of camera crews and visits by reporters as a matter of administering the prison and for security purposes but it encourages people to write books. it's a productive way for inmates to spend their time and the idea that he couldn't write a book even when he's out is contrary to the way the bureau of prisons operate and that's why i think the judge was suspicious of this assertion. >> the tent tiative of this boos
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disloyal. now, in his book he says that he will show that donald trump issiis a racist and made all these anti-semitic remarks. do we need a book to tell us this because i could go to some actual video of him making racist remarks. that can't be the thing that president trump is afraid he will reveal. >> i think donald trump is a walki walking, talking constitutional crisis and his attacks on the first amendment are one of the examples. you've covered portland and how he's using law enforcement to abuse first amendment rights there. this is another example and michael cohen is in jail in part of the investigation around hush money payments to stormy daniels, to karen mcdue gal in which they eventually tried to
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hide the fact that they were paying this money to hide his affai affairs. now, what we know is donald trump lied about that and yes, we know much more of the story because michael cohen decided to tell it. we don't know what else michael cohen will say in the book. but one of the things we've seen from donald trump is, probably doesn't even matter. he's used nondisclosure agreements in the white house, he's used nondisclosure agreements throughout his entire career in the private sector and he just is willing to use the powers of his office to abuse the constitutional rights of others if for any reason he thinks it has any benefit to him personally, whatsoever. so donald trump is the constitutional problem here. >> i should just remind people that store mmy daniels is the at film actress who claims to have
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been in an affair with him. and the judge who denied this and freed michael cohen was a clinton appointee but something that concerns me as of this month donald trump has nominated 200 judges to the courts. this drastically changes our judiciary and so for all the people who think we'll get trump out of office and get back to normal, that's not necessarily the case because when you have a judiciary that's so nakedly political, what are the implications of this? we already saw a judge try to stop john bolbolton's book from publishing. how dark a shadow can this cast? >> it's an important question. i think it's one that republicans have done a better job of focusing on than democrats in the political cycle. what are the implication f of having presidents appoint federal judges. there's some good news here. most people who end up on the federal bench are good judges
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who take their obligations seriously who are going to go straight up the middle with the law and the facts. and we've seen that happening increasingly in this country with federal judges without regard to which party appointed them being willing to enforce the law including against this administration. the fear though is because mitch mcconnell and donald trump have had this laser beam focus on confirming federal judges, in many cases ones that can't receive a qualified rating from the aba, there will be those that will be outlyers. >> well, while we have time i want to ask you, ladies, because joyce, you make a good point about uploeholding the integritf
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the judiciary, but i think like a lot of people i'm nervous about the supreme court. should we tragically get a supreme court opening at this late stage in the election cycle, is there anything that can be done from stopping this president from appointing another justice to the supreme court? sorry. that's to barbara. sorry. >> well, it's really interesting, i think, you know, what we saw at the end of the obama administration was mitch mcconnell saying that a vacancy that occurred in february was too late for president obama to fill a seat and yet here we are already in july, if we should have a vacancy between now and the end of president trump's term in january, you can bet mitch mcconnell would work really hard to get that through. i think that the senate constituted as it is i think he's got a shot of getting that through. i think it would require very strong public outcry to change that. the most important thing that the public can do to make that
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stop is to vote in november and also to change the makeup of the senate. if that is changed in november you can make the argument that they lack the mandate to make any kind of action after that date. >> i want to close with you. so let's just say biden gets elected in november. he's committed to naming a black woman to the supreme court. i don't know if you'd be open but let's just say you're not. are there any people that stand out to you as somebody who would make a great nominee for biden to consider? >> you know, i think there's not going to be a shortage and i don't want to throw out a single name. let's just say that it's critically important that biden keeps the promise and any president should keep this promise of ensuring that the supreme court is made up of people who really represent what this country looks like and the experiences of real people in the country. this is what diversity is all about. now, justice said it so well,
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which was what we see and experience in our lives we do bring to positions of power and that means that we need people in positions of power who understand what those experiences are, because it makes because it makes them better at being neutral jurists. and so do we need a black woman on the supreme court? yes, we do. do we need someone who's asian on the supreme court? yes, we do. do we need people of different sexual orientations on the supreme court? yes, we do. >> what a day. if the courts would like america, if only? thank you to my sisters-in-law for joining me. this is an amazing panel. thank you, barbara mcquade and joyce vance and maya wilie wyl be back in our next hour so stay tuned. back in our next hour soy tuned. - i'm norm.
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- i'm szasz. [norm] and we live in columbia, missouri. we do consulting, but we also write. [szasz] we take care of ourselves constantly; it's important. we walk three to five times a week, a couple miles at a time. - we've both been taking prevagen for a little more than 11 years now. after about 30 days of taking it, we noticed clarity that we didn't notice before. - it's still helping me. i still notice a difference. prevagen. healthier brain. better life.
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the congressman and civil rights icon. it's the start of six days to honor the man dr. martin luther king famously called the boy from troy. stay tuned. more "a.m. joy" after the break. more "a.m. joy" after the break. i'm a performer. -always have been. -and always will be. never letting anything get in my way. not the doubts, distractions, or voice in my head. and certainly not arthritis. new voltaren provides powerful arthritis pain relief to help me keep moving. and it can help you too. feel the joy of movement with voltaren.
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people elected me to help and to protect. so i told my team, it's time to cancel the jacksonville, florida, component of the gop convention. >> were you simply not convinced that you could keep people safe at the convention? >> i just felt it was wrong, steve, to have people going to what turned out to be a hot spot. >> just felt it was wrong. welcome back to "a.m. joy." i'm tiffany cross. after months of outright denial, donald trump finally managed to feign concern for the covid-19 pandemic when he canceled in-person activities at the republican national convention in florida. the state has seen a surge in confirmed cases in recent weeks, and even threatens to overtake new york in total cases. and it's not just florida. in texas, available hospital beds are so sparse in one county, that local reports reveal some sick covid-19 patients are being, quote, sent
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home to die. but even as trump begins to recognize the health implicat n implications of in-person mask gatherings, he is still drast drastically minimizing the outbreaks as embers and flare-ups as opposed to a raging wildfire. with 4 million cases and almost 150,000 fatalities nationwide, i ask, does this map look like a flare-up to you? here's speaker of the house, nancy pelosi, describing the situation on thursday. >> that acceleration is a an assault on the lives and livelihood of the american peop people. the delay and denial has caused death. >> perhaps this is why 101 days out from the election, trump's poll numbers in pivotal swing states are in a free fall. in pennsylvania, where trump edged out a victory over hillary clinton by less than a point, joe biden is now leading by 11 points.
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and another state that surprise imply went to trump in 2016, michigan, biden is leading by 9 points. and in florida, the state where trump won in a big party for his convention, he is behind a staggering 13 points. joining me now is bruce lavelle, executive director for the national diversity coalition for trump. mr. lavelle, i'm so, so, so happy you joined me today. listen, since you lead the diversity coalition, i kind of want to start there. so as the leader of this diversity coalition, i have to ask as a member of the community and i'm sure on behalf of many other people of color, i could go through a list of trump's remarks and some of his greatest hits, but i'll just start with the most recent. he is insisting that people that are advocating for racial reckoning in this country, that's long overdue, that those people hate the country.
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he's threatening to send officers to cities. he wants undocumented immigrants to be excluded from census numbers, which of course decide how many seats they have in congress. on june 28th, the president actually re-tweeted a video of some of his supporters shouting "white power." i have to ask you, why would anybody in the community or people who don't support white supremacy, why would they listen to you carrying this president's water. you have the floor. explain it to us. >> good morning to you, tiffany. thanks for having me. >> good morning. >> listen, a lot of chatter on twitter, a lot of opinions floating around out there. to me, it's all noise. i look at numbers, where numbers -- the president, we came out of the lowest black unemployment in the history of the united states, ever, recorded in my lifetime in '72. the president has been key on funding hbcu colleges for up to ten years, which is going to help your beautiful college here at clark, where you attended and many of my other friends who
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went to morehouse and others, that's a great plus. and step one where he signed into law in this, in which biden put into effect, the author of the crime bill that clinton signed, that put total mass incarceration towards our black men. so he unraveled that. so i think, respectfully, there's so much noise out there, at the end of the day, the president's record speaks for itself. people are not going to have amnesia from a few months ago, where we were in the economy. the fastest uptick in small black business owners here that we've seen. i'm a black business owner for 28 years here in atlanta and a lot of my friends who have started their businesses in the trump administration have great access to capital, low interest rates. so, you know, i think, respectfully, tiffany, you know, noise, noise, noise, numbers don't go lie.
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>> noise, noise, noise. the president's record speaks for itself. let's start with unemployment. the african-american unemployment rate right now reached 16.8% in may this year. the highest since march 2010. now,ly acknowled li will acknow to the corona crisis, there had been a consistent downward trend which actually began under president obama, which i'm sure you know, and obama saw the rate decline from 7.6% to 7.5% during his terms in office in 2009 from 2017. so i want to be clear on the facts there. and you're saying noise and that people won't have amnesia, but a lot of this noise is coming directly from the president. i appreciate what you shared, but you departmeidn't really ad some of the things the president has done. a lot of people of color and a lot of american citizens are tuning into this program right now. this is your chance to make a sound argument on why they should listen to you and support a president who has failed on a lot of levels. i don't think that people will
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have a short-term memory. i know you credit him with the first stepback. that was actually introduced in congress by congressman hakim jeffreys and doug collins, one of the trump acolytes in congress. and it's called the first step act, because a second and third step needs to happen. we still have a very unforgiving criminal justice system, which this president seems to want to perpetuate by sending secret police snatching protesters off the street without probable cause. so, again, why should people look at somebody who looks like our skin folks, but is carrying the message from somebody who is perpetuating a system of white supremacy. i ask that with all sincerity. i'm curious about how that happens. >> and that with all sincerity say, that's a lie. >> how is that a lie? >> he doesn't condone that. >> he doesn't condone, what? sending secret police to cities? >> the list of items i've had to go over. listen, you can't -- barack obama is not the president. you know, when barack obama -- he had eight years with joe biden to do something about our mass incarceration.
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>> so let me just say -- let me just quickly answer and just say -- let me just say really quickly. when you do -- before you answer, i just want to say, when you deflect to joe biden and obama, it sounds like you don't want to address the record of the president, who's in house right now. >> you brought up barack obama. you brought him up, so -- >> just to fact check your unemployment numbers. and when you deflect to that, i think our viewers think you don't want to answer the question. if you could just answer the question about the president you're here to advocate for. >> as bad as it hurts the left that the president has great accomplishments, helping the black community, opportunity zones, i can count several black businesses that benefited on the opportunity zones that are doing partnerships, building restaurants, building retail sho shops here in the opportunity zone that the president signed into order that helps underserved communities of hundreds of billions of dollars come into these underserved communities, tiffany. >> i think a lot of these underserved communities are concerned, though, about children in cages and they're
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concerned about secret police snatching protesters. they're concerned about a president who re-tweets white power videos. so again, can you just address your president's record on racism, on the racist rhetoric and policies that he's instituted in this administration? people of color are watching right now. we're in a moment of racial reckoning. he says people who hate the country. you lead a diversity coalition, but you're here repeating gop talking points. talk to me, talk to the communities. >> they're not talking points, they're facts. >> they're facts? >> for the record, barack obama started -- >> we're back on obama and i really want you to talk about trump. if you can -- >> stop bringing up obama and we won't have to keep addressing it, tiffany. you want to talk about trump, lest talk about trump. you're not going to sit up here on national tv and go down the list and don't give me an opportunity to address these issue issues, tiff. >> by all means, let's keep it real.
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so if you could, let me ask you this, because you lead this diversity coalition and i've found in my career there are a lot of people who lead diversity initiatives, and some people find that role to be -- you know, you advocate for your candidate within these communities. i'm curious, do you ever advocate on behalf of black and brown communities with this president? and if so, what does that look like and what are you advocating for? >> let's put it this way, for many years, i'm a lifetime republican. i've lived in atlanta for over 35 years. we've picked the same old candidates as usual, the same old folks. we finally got a president that came in here that understands business that chalglenged the inner cities across the community, what do you have to lose? he put the money where the mouth was in terms of hundreds of billions of dollars. he went directly after the hbcus and funded them for ten years, went right after us being oil dependence, where we're the number one oil producers in the
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world, where a lot of our black engineers that come out of morehouse and our great hsbcus work in these oil companies that create even more jobs. the list goes on. the criminal justice, biden has yet to apologize -- >> we're not talking about. and trust me, i will ask a biden representative all of these questions about biden. again, trust me, when we have a biden representative on, i'd be happy to talk all about biden, but right here, you're here to represent trump. so let me ask you this. this is something that i think is really important. we had malcolm nance on earlier, and it's been confirmed that russia is definitely trying to impact our elections. >> here we go. >> in 2016 -- >> yeah, here we go, let's stick with some facts and keep it real, as you say. in 2016, trump's campaign tactics mirrored that of the russians and somebody from your own -- the trump campaign said, they told a bloomberg reporter in 2016 that they had three major voter suppression operations underway, including one aimed at depressing the
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black voter turnout. how concerned are you that trump might be using you to carry out this voter suppression by making this famed appeal to reach voters of color? and what exactly does that outreach look like? i'm in the community and i haven't really seen a lot of it. >> i happen to know a lot about voter suppression, tiffany. >> you're in georgia, where brian kemp is a very active proponent of it, so i image so. >> voter suppression is when people who look like me look at another side of the aisle and vote republican or something that has nothing to do with a democrat party -- >> bruce, come on. now you know -- you know what i'm talking about when i say voter suppression. >> that's voter suppression. >> you want to keep it real, my brother. let's talk about real voter suppression. let's not do that. i'm talking about gop-led voter suppression and i can give you numerous examples, if you like. but i'm giving you an opportunity to say how this president, who his own campaign officials have admitted that they have had a voter suppression operation to suppress black voters. u.s. intelligence agencies have
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confirmed that russia is trying to stoke disinformation campaigns right here in america. you are here advocating on behalf of this president. your response to voter suppression cannot truly be something that's partisan. certainly, you are an advocate and proponent of democracy. what do you have to say about this campaign potentially suppressing people who look like you in a state where i grew up and a state where you live now? >> suppressing? i just went down the list and proved. suppressing that we had the lowest black unemployment in my lifetime. >> what does that have to do with voter suppression? >> we funded our hsbcu -- i don't get where this is going, but in all seriousness, the russians have no business in the republican party, the democratic party -- any of our republic. the chinese, any of us, they have no business whatsoever. >> agreed! does your president feel the same way, do you think? >> the reason why president trump is going to win again is because of his record and where we are going in the future with this great nation. now, i know that everyone's
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nervous, because we're trending getting more black men vote onboard that are following this president's great initiatives that we're going into 2020 and we're getting it all out of sort with all of these conspiracy theories. we've thrown russian, we've thrown voter suppression, we've thrown everything at the wall to make it stick. but tiffany, it won't work. >> i think if you're fact and verse, you probably believe that. let me switch gears, something very serious. that's 146,000 dead americans. donald trump has said this virus just going to disappear in hot weather. he initially called it a hoax. his administration has gone out of their way to discredit dr. fauci. in fact, sinclair broadcast group, the very conservative group buying up a lot of local television stations are set to air a conspiracy theory over the weekend that suggests that dr. fauci invented the virus. given that this kind of rhetoric is coming from your side of the
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aisle and given that this virus disproportionately impacts people who look like you and me, what duo you think of the president's response and what can he do better keeping in mind that a lot of people impacted by this virus are watching right now, so i would remind you to be sensitive of people who have lost family, who are survivors of the 146,000 americans who have died. >> well, you know, i would be caution you to be sensitive on how you're delivering the message. let's be fair across the board. number one -- >> i'm just relaying facts, sir. >> well, i'm relaying facts, too. we've tested 51 million people. there's 328 million citizens in the united states. we're number one in the world in testing. we have a vaccine the corner that's probably due around december. and number one, thank god the president shut down the country and saved millions of lives on his leadership in january or we would have a catastrophe. so i think that runs flat. i think we've done a great job. and the fauci, the president, he
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just complimented him yesterday in the press conference. >> i know, we haven't heard from him, though, because he sidelined him. his administration has been doing oppo research on it. that's strange he's impleme complimenting him while peter navarro is writing op-eds -- >> you're not going to sit here and make like there's chaos going on between the president and dr. fauci. >> i'm here to report facts and get straight talk from you. you say we're number one in the world -- i hear you. let me just say that right now the u.s. has an uncontrolled outbreak. we're reporting more than 50,000 new cases a day. just give -- let me give you some context for comparison. smaller countries like germany and japan are reporting hundreds of us in case, we're reporting 50,000 new cases a days. you can't sit here and expect the american people to believe that you believe that this president has handled this virus well. is there anything that you think donald trump could have done differently? and if so, what is that?
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>> i think he did -- i think we all, we as a country, have done a tremendous job. >> you think 146,000 dead americans was an appropriate response from this? >> we as a country, we -- >> we as a country, yes, but i'm asking about donald trump. >> the president of the united states, donald j. trump, and we as the country, tiffany, have done a wonderful job combatting this china virus that's overtaking our country -- >> i want to correct you. you lead the diversity coalition and you're calling -- you're using these racist terms like the china virus -- >> it came from china. >> covid-19. >> it came from china. >> yes, yeah, but i would no sooner say that you had the maga virus than i would call this the china virus. that's ridiculous and you know that. and somebody leading the diversity coalition, that's clearly offensive to the asian american members of this community, it seems like an easy thing to not do that, as the head of the diversity coalition. an easy thing!
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>> where did the virus come from? i'm sorry? >> where did the virus come from? >> look, i think msnbc has a lot of people in rotation to host this show, when you get in rotation, you can ask the questions, but right now i'm asking them and i'm saying a lot of people in the asian american community and myself included call that term offensive. why not call it covid-19, what scientists call it? and that's beside ethe fact. i don't want to get sidetracked. there are 146,000 dead americans. we're seeing 50,000 new cases a day and you have gone on record by saying that you think the president has done a good job and you don't think there's anything different he can do. >> you think that's funny. >> to keep from crying, sir. i find it preposterous -- >> you think that's funny, tiffany! >> you can't sit there and laugh about -- >> i wonder -- let me ask you -- because i'm curious -- this is my last question, because we're running out of time, but i am curious, because when i see folks like you support this
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president, has donald trump ever promised you anything financially in exchange for your blind support of this administration or helping his campaign? on the record, can you tell us if he's ever promised you anything financially or otherwise? >> no. and i've known him since 2015. i know what he has promised. he promised that he wanted to get the black unemployment low, get it down. he wanted to create jobs. he wanted to bring back and resurrect generational wealth in black communities where people like me -- >> how's that going? the black unemployment rate, as i mentioned was 16.8%. so how's that going so far? >> i'm trying to answer the question. >> i'm sorry, please, go ahead. >> he wanted to resurrect black generational wealth, create more jobs, more business, business owners like me, 30.6 million small businesses in the country. we represent 42% of the gdp. i just said earlier in the segment, we have the fastest rate of minority-owned businesses growing in this administration in the history of
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the united states. we own the retail commodities, we build the retail commodities. that's what the opportunity zones are for. that's why the step one act to get our black -- >> i think you mean the first stepback. you know, interesting thing, black women are actually the number one business owners when it comes to communities of color. what is his outreach to black women look like or does that exist? or does the diversity coalition have any outreach plans for the black communities, as it relates to black women? >> i think the president needs to keep doing what they're doing and the records don't lie and the numbers don't lie. >> the numbers don't lie. 146,000 dead americans and 16.8% unemployment rate among black people. >> had we not been interrupted with the covid-19 china virus, we would probably be at a 1.5% unemployment -- low unemployment. >> all right. >> we would have even more growth of black business. so listen, watch the third quarter gdp. we'll get out of this, we're going to be stronger, we're
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going to be better, we're going to see more and more people like me who own and build businesses. and it's going to be under this trump administration. it won't be under no biden administration, that's for sure. >> all right. well, bruce, look, i'll say, i'm happy you came on. i think what you said has certainly been telling for the american people and certainly for the voters watching you right now, so i do appreciate your time, sir. thank you so much for joining me. unfortunately, we're out of time. more "a.m. joy" after the break. time more "a.m. joy" after the break.
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a public funeral service is currently underway in troy, alabama, the hometown of congressman and civil rights icon, john lewis. today's service marks the beginning of a six-day celebration of his extraordinary life and legacy. monday, congressman john lewis will lie in the state capitol at the u.s. capitol, but first, tomorrow morning, lewis will
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cross the edmund pettus bridge for the last time in a special procession. the same site where he and hundreds of other protesters were brutally beaten during a peaceful march from selma to montgomery over 50 years ago. joining me now is msnbc political analyst, jon meacham, and author of the upcoming book, "his truth is marching on: john lewis and the power of hope." msnbc legal analyst, maya wylie, social justice activist, mark thompson. erin haynes and somebodies political contributor, jason johnson. thank you, guys, for joining me for this very somber block. erin, i have to start with you. and i hope you don't mind me revealing some of our private conversations. but erin and i are both daughters of atlanta, and we've been watching this coverage and talking and tweeting. and one thing we always said is we want to hear from folks from atlanta, from alabama, from the black southern belt of this
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country to talk about john lewis, so i can't think of anyone better. i want to ask you as a daughter of atlanta, what john lewis's leadership meant for the city. not just the city, but really the state. atlanta specifically, because you and i have talked about how magical ma place is, being a black-run city at every level, at the state level, at the local level, the influence that black voters from atlanta have had on the politics there. what are you feeling as we lay this man to rest? >> it's good to be with you. and it is frankly very comforting to see that congressman lewis is getting the homegoing that he deserves and that we weren't sure that he was
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going to get, frankly, in the midst of a pandemic. but here you have him making multiple stops across the country, really, so that millions of americans can give him the process good-bye that he has certainly earned. the homegoing here today in troy, alabama, his hometown, we do try to take ownership of congressman lewis in atlanta, his constituents of the fifth district have certainly known no other representative since 1983. so we have like in a lot of ways that he's ours, and he was a big part of kind of what a lot of us talk about when we talk about the atlanta way -- >> erin, i'm sorry, i'm so sorry to interrupt you. i promise i'll come back to you, but i want to go to henry grant lewis, john lewis' brother is telling a story about him right now. let's listen in. >> after the event was over, we was together, and i asked him, i said, john, what were you thinking when you gave me the thumbs up?
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he said, i was thinking, this is a long way from the cotton fields of alabama. so those are the memories i have of my brother. we would have these late night and early morning conversations where he would call me at 11:00, twelve o'clock at night where he would call me and say, are you asleep and i would say, no, i'm not asleep, john. and he said, have you heard from freddy or bibby lately? and i said, i talked to them a few days ago. and he says, i think i'll call them, and i say, don't call them tonight, call them tomorrow. but that's the john lewis that we grew to love. and our family will naturally miss him. but he was at peace. he was at peace. and he was ready to meet the lord.
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thank you. >> okay, that was henry grant lewis, john lewis' brother. he had many surviving siblings. erin, i'm so sorry that i had to interrupt you, but i want to allow you to finish your thoughts as we lay him to rest. >> listen, certainly don't apologize for letting john lewis' brother speak there. i was saying that congressman lewis really was a part of the black political machine in atlanta that did ensure that the city has had an unbroken line of black mayors, six in a row since 1973. and so congressman lewis' passing, that generation passing, you know, obviously that means so much for the country, but also means a lot for the city of atlanta, as, you know, folks of his influence and stature are passing from the
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scene and really calling on those of us that are left behind to talk about how that legacy is going to be maintained in their absence. and i think that's already something that folks are seeing, but it's something that has taken on a new sense of urgency for the congressman's passing. >> i couldn't agree more. right now, that is rosa may tiner, the congressman's sister speaking. i want to listen in for a s.eeco see what she says. >> he reminded us that it was good trouble, necessary trouble. see something, say something, do something. thank you. [ applause ] >> i want to bring in my friend, dr. jason johnson in this conversation. jason yo jason, you and i have both lived in atlanta before. you're not quite a son of
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georgia, but you have spent significant time there. looking at this passing of the torch, i say that congressman john lewis was a torch bearer, and in this moment, it feels like he's passing the torch, what do you think his death will mean for the city of atlanta and really the country? >> tiffany, this is a really, really key question. i'm not a son of atlanta, more like a play cousin of atlanta, but even during the time that i lived there, what you recognized is that people really cared about having a living hero there. people really cared about having an individual who hadn't sold out, who hadn't lost his passion, who still remained committed. so many of that generation, not only have we lost them, which has been sad, whether it's julianne bond or ct vivian, not only have we lost them, but many of them sort of moved off into the sunset and they were distant from people. john lewis was everywhere. i don't know -- i mean, kim kardashian might be the only person who was in more instagram photos than john lewis after he passed. he meant so much to so many
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people in that city. and so his loss is going to be really hard for people to get over. and i think nakima williams is a fantastic replacement. she's a wonderful, meaningful politician and i think she will continue with john lewis' legacy, but those are huge shoes to fill and there's going to be an extended amount of mourning for this man both politically and policy wise. >> nakima williams is who democrats have selected to replace him during his remaining term and will be on the ballot in november and likely to fill his seat in the heavily democratic populated city of atlanta. and also a member of alpha kappa alpha sorority. i know that matters to a lot of people out there. jon meacham, you have a very well-timed book that's coming out next month. and for me, when i see the foot animal of congressman lewis on that bridge and look at him squaring off with law enforcement officers, suffering
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a skull fracture in the process, and i look at footage today of a president dropping smoke bombs to clear protesters in front of the white house, the parallels are striking. it creates for me what feels like a wrinkle in time. so as an historian who spent time with him and studied his life, what do you make of this moment in history that we're witnessing a baton torch, a torch pass, as we've called it? >> i wonder if it's so much a parallel, but tragically, i wonder if it's more of a continu continuum, that there are iterations of our worst selves that continue to be part of our national experience. and one of the reasons we are honored to honor congressman lewis today is because he was a leader of the forces of good, the forces of light and there's
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nothing sentimental about what i'm saying. it might be, if you were saying it about anywhere else but john robert lewis. but the man who's lying there in troy is the man who came out of troy with an intuitive sense of right and wrong. it was distinctive. he grew up in a part of pike county called carter's quarters named after his family, and his great grandfather, frank carter, was born in slavery. so this was the issue and mr. carter lived until john was 8 or 9. so slavery was not an abstraction to john lewis. he would go into town, into troy, and see the jim crow signs and he had an instinctive revulsion to it. when he was about 10, an uncle, cotist cart otis carter took him to buffalo to see some relative, and it was
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like walking into a movie, he said. because here were black people and white people in the same place. they lived next door to each other. they lived out their lives in the stores downtown and in the soda fountains together. and those were the experiences that he had that became informed by what no conversation about john lewis is complete without pointing out that he believed fundamentally in the gospel of jesus christ. he believed that the world could be brought closer into harmony with what the new testament called the kingdom of god, what martin luther king and he called the beloved community. and that if all of us could get our dispositions of heart and mind in the right place, justice could come down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream. and that may sound like a lying
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in state homoly or a sunday school lesson. it was an ambient, tangible, daily reality for john lewis. and it's what kept him going into those -- actually, to be clear, he didn't walk into the state troopers and the possemen at the pettus bridge. they came at him. let's remember that, right? and that is a -- that is a moment out of the bible. those are -- jose williams, john lewis, charles mullton and andy young was run things from back at brown chapel. these were martyrs and saints for the faith. and they walked and walk among us and they inspire and they illuminate, and what we're seeing to go back to your question, what we're seeing anew is that we are summoned once again to use those lessons, to try to keep pushing, as dr. king
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said, in the motto of the southern christian leadership conference. that's a plug for atlanta, since i know we all have to be pro-atlanta here. i'm from chattanooga, so i was just over the state line. >> you're right up the road. >> i hope you'll smuggle me through customs. the motto was, we're going to redeem the soul of america. >> that's right. >> and that's what john lewis lived and died to do. >> let me just let our audience know that's ethyl may tiner, john lewis' other sister who is speaking now. before we go to her, i want to say, i appreciate your point, jon meacham about the continuum of what we're seeing. actually, let's listen in to her for a second to see what she's saying. >> when the clouds would come over the sun, he would start singing and breapreaching.
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and there's a song he would always start with. ♪ there's a dark cloud arising, let's go home, let's go home ♪ and he was also afraid of thunder and lightning, but he stood by. he always was a fighter. and you know, now, when i look at all of the accolades and pictures that i see all the time and i think about where he came from humble, always. and i don't want to admit to all of his accolades, because you already know them. you know these. you already know them. but he came from a humble
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beginning. always humble and respectful to others. so to my brother, robert, this is not a good-bye, it's just a different kind of hello. and you know when we talk, he always said, how you doing? and he had this, i'm well. so rest well, robert, rest well. thank you. ♪ >> that was john lewis' sister speaking. mark thompson, i want to turn to you on this. i think what jon meacham talked about reflected on the role of the black church, really, that the role that they played in the civil rights era. what role do you see the church playing now? i think as we come into new
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activists, you were someone who said on stage with congressman lewis. you stood on stage with him as he commemorated bloody sunday. you knew him well. you're a son of the civil rights movement and so you know how steepd in the black church we are. what role do you see the church playing now and what does his death mean to you as we usher in this new era of activism? >> well, thank you, first of all, for having me, tiffany. it means a lot, and i think that the church, as i believe it is doing, must rise to the occas n occasion, as it dids during the civil rights movement itself, through the sclc, who john worked with closely. and it's really interesting that this would all be taking place today. john is an historian, but let me just share a couple of things.
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>> john lewis was a black lives matter activist before black lives matter was a hash toll. today is the 79th birthday of emmett till. and most of us believe that the modern civil rights movement kicked off after the death of emmett till. if emmett till had lived, he would be a year younger than john lewis who we are memorializing today. and when that movement kicked off, john stepped out there, he became a freedom rider. and then there was selma. and it's no longer metaphorical. history repeats itself, so we're really looking at parallels. so in this moment when the church and when the younger generation looks at what's going on and it seems so overwhelming, we went from ahmaud arbery to breonna taylor to george floyd, that's what was going on in 1965. february 4th, 1965.
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malcolm "x" stands with john lewis in selma and dies 15 later. 1965, c.t. vivian is beaten in that famous video by sheriff jim clark, black lives matter law enforcement. and in february 18th, 1965, jimmy lee jackson is killed as george wallace is enforce iing moratorium and prohibition of nighttime demonstrations. what's going on in portland right now by a president who is literally mimicking george wallace and fancying himself after george wallace? after that, this was the plan. and this was what will happen tomorrow with john's remains going over the bridge. the plan was to march jimmy lee jackson's casket from selma to montgomery. that was the original plan, and that plan gave way to what happened on march 7th, 1965, and
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john lewis and jose williams leading that march. so that was a black lives matter march in memory of jimmy lee jackson. jimmy lee jackson giving his life for voting rights in selma, alabama, and to stand up against a fascist governor in the person of george wallace. as we talk about this, the church has a duty and i think it's taking on that responsibility to draw those parallels, to see how history is repeating itself. we can never stop. and i think the generation that john lewis has bequeathed his legacy to is doing the same thing and will do the same thing. let me just say one other thing. we'll see all the wonderful ceremonies over the course of the week, but we'll also see people there who are to this day still enemies of john lewis. if you don't pass a new veeotin rights act, you're an enemy of john lewis. if you're not going to release
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the money for states to come up to speed to have proper mail-in balloting by november, you're an enemy of john lewis. and it's also very timely that we are literally, tomorrow, when he impogoes across that bridge, tomorrow will be a hundred days from the election. >> that's right. >> john is look, in our faith, we believe our ancestors walk with us and we believe john lewis is still with us. >> thank you for that, mark. thank you interesting that you bring up, though, i think is a good point. and i want to go to maya wiley on this. so jon meacham within our historian on the panel today talked about john lewis' lineage, but i want to remind folks also that john lewis' great, great grandfather, after reconstruction, at his first opportunity registered to vote. and this is something that the great historian henry lewis gaetz gates uncovered. no one in that lineage had
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voted. and henry lewis gates tells this great story about when he told him that, congressman lewis break down in tears. as we prepare to continue to fight this battle for voting rights, what does his death mean for you, maya, as someone who is also from a lineage of people who fought so hard to vote? but also, the hypocrisy that we've seen some people share their thoughts and tweet out these responses, even the republican governor of georgia, bruin kemp, tweeted out a response, you know, thanking john lewis for a life well lived in his service, as he actively suppresses votes. what do you make of this landscape, as we lay this man to rest, but continue to wage a battle in his name. >> you know, john lewis used to say, you have to make a way when there's no way.
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and he never stopped doing that in his life. whether starting in rock hill, south carolina, where he stepped into a beating by trying to get the enforcement of a supreme court decision that said, you can't segregate public transportation and accommodations. he did that as the youngest freedom rider in 1961. but he didn't stop trying to make a way on voting rights, as mark has said. it's a shame that in this country, and i mean a shame and a scandal, that john lewis, in his later years, was still fighting for basic voting rights for people who are black, people who are latino, people who are elderly, people who are students, because we've seen, as a result of the rapid expansion of black voting, particularly in 2008, particularly to vote for barack obama, that the response from the republican party was to
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organize voter suppression, and to do nit a way that was exactly the kind of thing that john lewis was fighting, which was to hide the fact that you're trying to prevent black people or latinos from voting by just making it really hard, knowing that it will make it harder for voters. so today we fast forward and he was trying, adds mas mark said,t legislation through to correct the tremendous injustice of a supreme court decision that decided to look past the growing voter suppression that we were even hearing republicans say out loud that were to keep black people from voting. and just recently, we had donald trump's own campaign operative say that republicans had been responsible for voter suppression, admit that. so we can have a public admission from republicans and yet they will still try to wrap themselves in the mantle of our
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constitutional rights to vote. and john lewis has told us, make a way when there's no way, because black votes matter too. >> i love that. i want to go back to jon meacham, our historian on the panel. it's very fitting that tomorrow, alabama state troopers will be carrying congressman lewis' body across the edmond pettus bridge, which shows in some ways how far we've come, but in many others, how far we still have to go. in your book, in the research for your book, we've always heard so much about that day, bloody sunday, as it's come to be known. in your research for your book, as you come to tell this story, is there anything you've discovered that would be surprising to those of us who have thought they might have known everything that happened on dhay. >> there were three things about bloody sunday. reverend thompson is exactly right, it was in the wake of the jimmy lee jackson murder that james bevel was a part of that,
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too, in order, focusing on how do we -- how do they press forward in this moment. selma had been ground zero for so much of this work. so three things about the march. one was, charles malden, a young man who was there, remembered the sound of the twhak when the trooper's billy club hit john on the skull. just remembered the sickening sound of that. and it wasn't as maya was saying, lord knows s s it wasn'e first time. benard lafayette, a wonderful friend of john's and fellow freedom rider said, i don't know what it was, but they always went for john's head. and both he and diane nash who were colleagues of john said they were amazed that he survived as long as he did, because he was always on the front line. so there was the sound of the
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twhak, that was one. the other was the full engagement and this is an important thing to bear in mind, particularly in this moment, the fbi. j. edgar hoover's fbi believed the civil rights movement was a communist front, essentially. and the number of agents who were there, the wiretapping, the surveillance state that unfolded, some of the best accounts, most interesting accounts we have of the march are from the fbi agents who were there. and in fact, they went and interviewed john at good samaritan hospital the next day, recorded his height down to 5'5 1/2", so this sort of precision, while never actually looking at what they were doing by monitoring the movement.
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the third is at brown chapel, john goes in, he says he doesn't remember how he got back. he has the fractured skull. he says, if lyndon johnson can send -- to a stokely carmichael described the after action meeting the brown chapel at like a wake and a m.a.s.h. unit. john says if lyndon johnson can send troops to vietnam, why can't he send troops to selma, alabama? and then he begins -- he's woozy. he's already thrown up on the bridge which may have been from the head injury, could have been from the tear gas. he's woozy. they take him to the parson's house, the parsonage next door and werth long, who had been an army veteran or a military veteran and medic got -- put -- sat him in a high-back chair in the parson's dining room and
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they took him out as if it were a stretcher and realized they had to keep his head elevated because of the injury, and the troopers, the posse men, there were many sort of deputized folks there under jim clark, the sheriff of dallas county, had ridden their horses up on the steps of the church and really surrounded brown chapel and that complex and it was werth long who came out and it is reported to have said using his military vernacular because he thought it might work with the troopers, we have a man down and i need to get him out. and that parted the way and that's -- and they ended up having him at good samaritan. small details but it was 55 years ago. >> right. >> in america. >> right. >> in a nation engaged in what john kennedy called the long
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twilight struggle against soviet communism. the nation that four years later would put a man on the moon. the nation that 20 years before had helped defeat the forces of tyranny in western europe and in asia and so if we don't tell the old story, we can't make our new story, because what is so amazing, john lewis is a saint, and people may begin to tune out and start to see stained glass and angels, but remember what a saint really is. a saint isn't superhuman. a saint is a human being who is just better than the rest of us. >> right. >> a sinner, not a savior. and i believe as firmly as i believe anything about american life and american history that john robert lewis is a saint in that tradition. >> and you know those small details help paint the picture so i'm very much looking forward
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to reading your book. you talk about the fbi effort to spy, i write about that a little bit in my book as well. so i appreciate you bringing that up and you also reference reverend bernard lafayette who will join me tomorrow as we commemorate the life of john lewis as well so i hope folks will tune in. i do want to bring in dr. bernard ashby, a cardiologist in miami, florida, who had the privilege to meet congressman john lewis. doctor, i'd love to hear this story. >> thank you, tiffany. and thank you for that interview with bruce lavelle. i mean, the contrast between him and congressman lewis couldn't be any more stark and i believe you calling out the bs, but congressman lewis, you know, he impacted me personally but impacted the world. my story begins when i was actually in congress at a -- i'm sorry, i was in the halls of
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congress and i just happened to bump into congressman lewis and myself and my friend, dr. allen started talking to him and during the course of the conversation he basically opened up to us and invited us to his office and it was during that time that he told us the stories about bloody sunday about the civil rights movement and just so happened to have some pictures from that day and heard you guys describe it but he described to us in vivid detail of his skull being fractured and after this conversation, he looked at us and told us that he was in awe of us for what we have done. to me, that -- you know, that was -- you know, i can't even talk. that's how taken aback i was because this is the gentleman that fought for my right to be a physician and he told me and told my colleague that he was in awe of us and this white coat
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that i have here is because of john lewis. i wouldn't be here if it was not for john lewis and these other freedom fighters who basically put their lives on the line, the fight and rebel for my freedom to be an american. so i will forever be in debt to the folks of the civil rights generation and everyone that has fought for us and i just want to make a special point to talk about what's going on in the health care system. you know, i feel like it's my mandate to address the health care disparities or the quote/unquote racism in the health care industry and, therefore, john lewis' memory is forever with me. thank you for giving me a chance to talk about that. >> thank you for talking about it with us. that was beautiful. we are out of time. so thank you, jon meacham, maya wiley, mark thompson, erin hayes, jason johnson and the amazing dr. bernard ashby. memorial services for congressman lewis continue
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tomorrow when his body will be carried across the edmund pettus bridge in selma one final time. be sure to tune in for our coverage with special guests, ambassador andrew young and someone that may look a bit familiar, my friend, my sister friend joy reid. we will begin our coverage at 10:00 a.m. eastern time tomorrow. that's "a.m. joy" for today and alex witt is up next. ♪ personal space. so sports clothes sit around doing a little growing of their own. ohhh. ahhgh. so imagine how we cheered when we found tide pods sport. finally something more powerful than the funk. bye. i love you too! he didn't say that. tide sport removes even week-old sweat odor. if it's got to be clean, it's got to be tide.
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good day, everyone. msnbc world headquarters in new york. high noon in the east. welcome, everyone, to "weekended with alex witt." a grim milestone in the southern surge of coronavirus. plus, what will happen to millions who are being left in financial limbo? hurricane hanna heading to texas. what lie as head for the state already struggling with the covid-19 pandemic. fresh outrage. insight from a portland protester. pivotal point. tomorrow marks 100 days from election day. it could shift the presidential race. we begin with the start of the six-day celebration of life for civil rights icon john lewis. right now the first of the many services honoring the late georgia congressman has just concluded. this one remembering the boy from troy in


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