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Trump Fires Top Federal Prosecutor In New York; Trump Says He Wants To "Slow The Testing Down" So There Are Fewer Reported Cases, White House Says He Was Joking; Trump Rally Returns For First Time Since March; America's Racial Reckoning; Interview With Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D); Tulsa's Weekend At The Center Of The 2020 Race. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired June 21, 2020 - 08:00   ET




JOHN KING, CNN HOST (voice-over): The Trump rally returns.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are the party of Abraham Lincoln and we are the party of law and order.

KING: High intensity, and high risk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As an American, that's my right, that's what I love about this country.

KING: Plus, Team Trump insists the coronavirus is fading. The case counts tell us it is not.

TRUMP: The numbers are very minuscule compared to what it was. It's dying out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The pandemic is not done with us. We've got to change course.

TRUMP: And add charges in the Rayshard Brooks shooting to the national debate over race and policing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are tired. And we are frustrated, most importantly, we're heart broken.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to hold them accountable and we can't stop fighting. We're hurt and broken, but we can't stop fighting.


KING: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. To our viewers in the United States and around the world, thank you. Thank you for sharing your Sunday.

The Trump rally is back, though it was not quite the crowd the president was expecting.


TRUMP: The unhinged left wing mob is trying to vandalize our history, desecrate our monuments, our beautiful monuments. They want to demolish our heritage so they can impose their new oppressive regime in its place, they want to defund and dissolve our police departments, think of that.


KING: More on the politics and the public health risk in Tulsa in a moment.

But we begin with a law and order question, because two crises are apparently not enough for this president. The president on Saturday fired a top federal prosecutor, a prosecutor known to be investigating people close to the president, perhaps even the president himself.


TRUMP: It's all up to the attorney general. Attorney General Barr is working on that. That's his department. Not my department.

But we have a very capable attorney general. So that's really up to him. I'm not involved.


KING: That from the president is simply not truthful. President's own aides tell us he signed off on the firing. It was Geoffrey Berman who put long time Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen behind bars and his Southern District of New York prosecutors are known to be pursuing questions about the Trump family business and about the dealings of Trump Attorney Rudy Giuliani and several Giuliani associates.

Democrats in Congress now promise immediate scrutiny. The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says this firing, quote, cannot be explained by cause and instead suggests base and improper motives. The president to fire Berman and for the attorney general to support such a move is beyond extraordinary.

And the timing makes it all the more remarkable and provocative. Nineteen weeks before the election, with president's poll numbers sagging and the country already under severe stress because of the stubborn coronavirus pandemic and the racial reckoning triggered by the death of George Floyd.

With us this Sunday to share their reporting their insights, Maggie Haberman of "The New York Times," CNN Legal Analyst, Jennifer Rodgers, a former Southern District of ne York prosecutor, and the presidential historian, Douglas Brinkley.

Maggie, we had this conversation many times. But this is the third rail and the president is not only touching it, grabbing it with two hands, firing a prosecutor, known to be looking at people close to the president. MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: John, you know this better

than anyone, the silence from Republicans in Congress right now says a lot about how grabbing that hurdle and just how dangerous it is. The president has been talking for a long time to a small group of advisers, not everybody who walks into the Oval Office, about his dissatisfaction with Geoffrey Berman.

Geoffrey Berman led the prosecution into Michael Cohen, his office was involved in the searches of Michael Cohen's apartment and hotel room and office back in April of 2018. And since then, the press has been frustrated with him. He wanted Berman to unrecuse in that case and be willing to take it back over. That didn't happen.

But the timing still remains something of a mystery. Also, why the president yesterday denied he had something to do with this when everybody knows he has something to do with this and has been candid with a lot of advisers about it.

Whether he faces political blowback or whether the country has become numb to him making these kinds of moves, we're going to find out. But again, the silence from Republicans is notable.

KING: And, Jennifer, you once worked in this office, your take is that number one it is extraordinary and it shouldn't happen, but number two, the way it played out, the attorney general essentially trying to fire Mr. Berman on Friday, asked him to resign. Mr. Berman said, no, I'm not going anywhere. So, then they had to go back to the president and get a letter to sign off an actual presidential firing to force him out. Instead of getting the person they wanted in charge, now they get Berman's deputy in charge.


Do you think they bungled this in a way that makes it more complicated?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I do, John. I think it was badly mishandled. I mean, all the back and forth, the dramatic Friday night statement from Geoff Berman indicating that Bill Barr lied to the American public about what had had happened.

You know, now not only do they end up with Audrey Strauss who's been supervising many of these cases anyway, but they caused a lot of us to think, hey, wait a minute, what are they so afraid of. You know, let's think about what's going on at Southern District and what might be happening in the next few months to cause everyone to be concerned about it at the White House.

And maybe more importantly, I think they energized the prosecutors of the southern district because if I was there right now, one of the things I'd be doing in the upcoming weeks is booking the grand jury, maybe thinking about unsealing some things, doing everything I could to ensure the security of the work that's going on there and make sure it's free from partisan influence.

So, I think that they have actually likely may happen exactly what they did not want to have happened, which is that we're likely to learn more this summer about what's been going on behind closed doors up until now at the Southern District.

KING: And I want to come back to some of the possible specifics in a moment, but, Doug Brinkley, help me with the moment. And we can show a headline to our viewers, it's "The New York Times," October 1973, this is not exactly Richard Nixon firing Archibald Cox. But it is a big deal, a president intervening with a prosecutor, using his powers, using presidential powers to intervene with a prosecutor that he simply does not like.

Put this in context for us.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, absolutely, rings the Richard Nixon bell of cover-up. Nixon had his famous Saturday night massacre, in October 1973, that was a term coined by Art Buchwald, the humorist, and David Broder made popular.

But it was just a string of events of Nixon and cover-up mode, he added Attorney General Elliott Richardson -- fire wanted him to have Richardson -- Nixon did fire Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor, Richardson said, no, he resigned. And then Nixon had the deputy attorney general, William Ruckelshaus fired Cox, Ruckelshaus refused, eventually Bork, Robert Bork got in the third person at justice and did fire Cox, but they had to put in Leon Jaworski as special prosecutor.

And in the last ten days after that Saturday night massacre, you started having the hearings on Watergate and that's when the famous Nixon tapes were revealed and it was the beginning of the end of Richard Nixon. A president would only do what Nixon did and what Donald Trump's doing now is if they were deeply fearful about what was going to come out of that New York district attorney -- what knowledge they had and he bungled it.

I think he was full of hubris over Tulsa. He really believed he was going to have these two giant rallies packed with people, was going to be a love fest, it was a tepid rally, didn't really accomplish very much for him, and now, he's stuck with this headline which is going to fester between now and November, and if he got re-elected, may lead to a second impeachment if the Democrats continue to hold Congress.

KING: And, Maggie, we need to be careful, because there's a lot we don't know. But we now do know, Mr. Berman, who's leaving office now, he's free to testify, if Democrats call him up on Capitol Hill. We know that his trusted deputy will be in charge because of the way Bill Barr tried to handle this over the weekend, not working out that way.

And we know a few things about it. This is the office that put Michael Cohen behind bars. This is the office that put former Congressman Chris Collins, a key Trump ally in jail. It is investigating right now Giuliani associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman have already charged.

And there's more investigations. The Trump inaugural committee, Jeffrey Epstein's associate, Deutsche Bank, which has a lot of dealings with the Trump family business -- there are a lot of land mines here, the question is, you know, what was it that provoked the president to decide I'm going to force this guy out?

HABERMAN: We don't know yet, John. And I really loathe to speculate as you know about things that are still evolving. This is a pretty small group of people who were involved in this decision in the first place.

To your point, the way this was done was so botched, Geoffrey Berman was able to say no, I'm not leaving and essentially make sure that the person he wanted to leave the office is still leading the office, which you saw Lindsey Graham sign off on last night after Lindsey Graham, head of the judiciary committee in the Senate was not happy with how things had gone the previous day.

I think we will learn a lot more in the coming days, if the level of alarm by the president and some of his advisers yesterday in how much blowback they were getting is shocking, considering how many times this president has walked up to a third rail. But there was an enormous amount of surprise how poorly this went.

I'll say one thing, John, this is a real reminder that whatever -- whatever skills that Bill Barr's defenders and admirers believe he has, he has (ph) just enormous blind spot when it comes to politics (AUDIO GAP) be seen that he did not try harder to say to the president, this is going to end poorly, that he did not say to the president, this is not a prosecutor who I can bargain with to get him to take a different job.


It's on him.

KING: It is on him. That's a great point to make.

And, Jennifer Rodgers, one of -- one of the things we do know here, we lost Jennifer Rodgers, I'm sorry, one of the things we do know here is that among the investigations under way in the Southern District of New York is this Turkish bank close to President Erdogan of Turkey, a key Trump ally, an authoritarian leader the president has repeatedly taken sides with.

Listen, this is John Bolton, the president's former national security adviser, this is one of the issues Bolton covers in his new book.


JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The president said to Erdogan at one point, look, those prosecutors in New York are Obama people. Wait until I get my people in and then we'll take care of this.

And I thought to myself, and I'm a Department of Justice alumnus myself, I've never heard any president say anything like that. Ever.

I'll tell you, it did feel like obstruction of justice to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: It is -- it is, Doug, to borrow a phrase, that's one of the president's men. I know they had a testy relationship in the beginning. But that's somebody who worked deep inside the White House saying he saw things from the president that were way beyond the line.

BRINKLEY: I think that revelation out of the Bolton book has legs. For the very reason you're suggesting. This whole idea on a Friday night before a big rally, firing of Geoffrey Berman, it just wreaks of trouble.

I mean, we all know that Donald Trump was -- ran a shady businesses in New York. And we all know that Rudy Giuliani was going around the world doing, you know, bag work basically for the president. And now the person that was looking into it is being booted aside.

And I do think you're going to have some Senate Republicans, maybe this is wishful thinking, that are really not going to tolerate this. We'll have to see how if Lindsey Graham can do anything, for example, and speak up, he was caught by surprise.

But I think the calculation of Donald Trump is, yes, it is an election year, and Republicans stood by me through my impeachment woes in the Senate, and they're not going to have time to beat up on me when all of these GOP candidates are trying to get elected, so maybe the Republicans will just stay firm with me, and the media will blow this story away, we'll denounce the Bolton book and talk about Berman was just not good in his job and they might try to roll around all of this. But it is going to be tough.

KING: This is another crisis of its own making, and we're in the early pages.


KING: Never mind early chapter. We'll continue to track.

Doug Brinkley, Jennifer Rodgers, thank you.

Maggie Haberman will be back with us a little bit later in the program.

As we move on, up next for us, dying and fading, word the president uses to describe the coronavirus. But four states posted record daily case counts just on Saturday, including giant Florida.



KING: The president's big rally last night sends the obvious signal he doesn't think the coronavirus is worth the worry anymore. But six Trump campaign staffers on hand there in Tulsa tested positive for coronavirus just before the rally. If that isn't enough to make you believe the virus is still very much a crisis, there is more, a lot more. Let's take a look at some of the numbers. Number one, just the trend

map, 23 states, orange and red, that means they're trending in the wrong direction. More cases reported this week than last week. Ten of those states, more than 50 percent more cases this week than last week. Not the only way to judge it, but orange and red is not a good thing. Eight states holding steady, 19 states heading down, that's the green on the map. Their case count going down.

Record highs in 14 states. Again, president says it is fading, the president says it is going away, 14 states reported record highs in their case count. If you look at it by looking at the seven-day moving average of the case counts, cases mostly across the south and out in the west.

Let's look at some of the Pacific states. Oklahoma, where the president's rally was last night -- you see the reopening, this is the key juncture in the reopening here. Restaurants, theaters, gyms can reopen. Oklahoma flat line but in recent days, you see the trend. That is not the right direction you want to be going, plain and simple. Going up right there.

The state of Florida even more, bigger state, and more populous state of, troubling numbers of late. Again, you can trace the various steps in the reopening process, including south Florida counties which went later, they had a bigger problem in recent days, Florida reporting day after day after day of daily case records of coronavirus as it heads up.

Look at it this way, we talked now for four months about flattening the curve, right? You see the big peak in the United States in March. And, yes, the curve has been flattened, even dropped somewhat, right? That was the goal, if your goal is just to flatten the curve, it's flattened. But we're still flattened between 20,000 and 25,000 new cases a day.

Look, in contrast to the European Union. European Union countries, peaked before the United States. Just a couple of weeks before the United States.

And then look what has happened. Not only did the European Union flatten the curve, they have shoved it down to a much lower number of cases. Now, the U.S. experience up here still, the president looks at this, the vice president looks at this and says all is fine.


TRUMP: If you look, the numbers are very minuscule compared to what it was. It's dying out. By the way, we're doing very well on vaccines and therapeutic therapeutics also.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm proud to report to you as head of the White House coronavirus task force, we slowed the spread. We flattened the curve. We cared for the most vulnerable and we saved lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: With us this Sunday to share their expertise: Dr. Ashish Jha. He's the director of Harvard's Global Health Institute.

Dr. Megan Ranney, emergency room physician and researcher at Brown University.

So, Dr. Jha, let me just start with you with a very simple question, is this fading? Is this dying as the president says?

DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: You know, John, we all wish it were the case. But unfortunately, what we are seeing is a resurgence in many parts of country. It is -- we have to remember, we are early days in this pandemic.


Not only is it not fading out, this is going to be with us for at least another 12 months and that's the most optimistic scenario for having a vaccine. So, unfortunately it is not fading away, and in many parts of the country, it's only getting worse.

KING: And, Dr. Ranney, one of the challenges, we all knew this was going to be a long slog, good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks, right decision and wrong decisions. Welcome to human beings making decisions in a tough time.

Part of it is the question of leadership. Dr. Jha says the president simply not telling the truth, those are my words, not his, when he says fading and dying.

You know, we can show you some scenes from the rally last night, the president deciding he was going to go forward with this, you don't see a lot of masks there, do you, people inches from each other, shoulder to shoulder, four, five, six, seven hours on end.

The president wanted to send the signal all -- is well, even though the Tulsa health director said, please don't do this to my city right now.

Dr. Ranney, can you hear me?

DR. MEGAN RANNEY, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, LIFESPAN/BROWN UNIVERSITY: Sorry. Yes. So as a public health -- sorry, John, I lost you for a second, as a public health professional, this is terrifying. To see the president bring together people in flagrant opposition to the recommendations of public health, directors and physicians across the country, we know that having people in close spaces for long periods of time is the worst thing you can do in terms of spread of this virus.

And as Dr. Jha mentioned, we're seeing spread of the virus across the country, rising case counts, rising hospitalizations, including in Oklahoma, we worry this will be a super spreader event. And I know that the arena was only about a third full last night, but unfortunately that did not seem to be because of social distancing. As you showed those folks were packed together, we know that six of

the Trump associates tested positive for COVID. If there were a couple of cases in the arena last night, we're going to most likely see a spread among folks that attended. And then they're going to go back to their states and it's going to spread further.

KING: The president didn't talk all that much about the virus or the pandemic last night. He said he saved lives, he acted early and decisively when he limited travel in from China, but one of the things he did say, Dr. Jha, the White House says this was a joke, but we know when we show those maps, show the rising case counts, the president gets annoyed.

Here was his take.


TRUMP: Here is the bad part. When you do testing to that extent, you're going to find more people. You're going to find more cases.

So, I said to my people, slow the testing down, please. They test and they test. We had tests -- people don't know what's going on. We got tests.

We got another one over here. The young man is 10 years old, he's got the sniffles. He'll recover in about 15 minutes. That's a case.


KING: Again, they say the president is joking, but is this a time for jokes?

JHA: Yes, John, so, I don't -- I don't think the president is joking. It is very consistent with the policy we have seen coming out of the White House, and an effort to not put too much effort and time into ramping up testing.

And this is incredibly frustrating for the millions of Americans who have gotten sick, and have not been able to get tests. Has got to be incredibly frustrating for people who lost family members in nursing homes because we haven't been able to test nursing home residents and workers, meatpacking plant workers.

This is unfortunately not a joke. It's led to more than 100,000 Americans having died, and largely because we have not built up the testing infrastructure that our country needs.

KING: And, Dr. Ranney, the question is the challenge before us now. I want to put a map up and show you some data from Cuebiq which tracks the data. If you look at this, mobility index, most states, look at the scale on the left of the screen there, most states are more mobile than they were a year ago and those states in lighter orange, 0 to 2 percent down, just down a little bit from a year ago.

So, people are -- as the reopening accelerates, people are getting out, being more active. The question is, how are they behaving when they do so? And we talked about the president, and the questions of whether he is setting the right tone, as a leader.

The governor of the state of Nebraska telling people -- telling local governments you won't get federal aid. You won't get federal aid that comes through the states if you require your residents to wear masks. What does that tell you?

RANNEY: Again, it sends such a wrong message. What we could be doing in our country at this point is what we have seen in other countries, in Europe, in South Korea and elsewhere, Japan, sending consistent public health messages about the importance of wearing a mask, maintaining physical distancing when possible and trying to stay outside, especially during these beautiful summer months that we're all having.

Instead, by telling people they don't have to wear a mask, we're basically facilitating the spread. We are promulgating an anti-science viewpoint.


And we are setting ourselves up for not just a bad summer, but in much worse fall, which is when many of us see the so-called second wave coming.

We have not made it through the first wave yet. Without good public health practices, we're going to see a worse second wave. I just wish people would follow the evidence and the science to help protect Americans.

KING: Dr. Ranney, Dr. Jha, grateful as always for you coming on this Sunday morning to help with facts and expertise. Thanks so much.

JHA: Thank you.

KING: Up next for us, the return of the valley including this blatant lie about why so many seats are empty.


TRUMP: We had some very bad people outside. We had some very bad people outside. They were doing bad things.



KING: President Trump was back on the rally stage for the first time in nearly four months last night. Tulsa, Oklahoma, the venue. Law and order was a frequent Trump theme. As the president suggested, the protests taking place across the country are a risk to your safety and your prosperity.



TRUMP: We are the party of law and order.

Americans have watched left-wing radicals burn down buildings, loot businesses, destroy private property, injure hundreds of dedicated police officers.

The chaos you're seeing in our Democratic-run cities -- these are all run by the Democrats -- is what will happen in every city and community in America and much, much worse if we don't keep them out. We have to do this.


KING: The President ignored public health experts in holding the rally. Most of his supporters inside were not wearing masks despite being shoulder to shoulder with others for hours.

The President was clearly energized and the crowd was enthusiastic. Still, the return was not everything the President had hoped for.

During the week, he said a million people wanted to come. But there was plenty of open space inside the arena and plans for the President to speak first at an outdoor overflow site were canceled because only a couple of dozen people were waiting out there.

With us this Sunday to share reporting and their insights: Errin Haines of 19th News, Maggie Haberman of "The New York Times" is back with us and CNN's Jeff Zeleny as well.

Errin -- what struck you most about the message? I was listening to it and it was dark. It was fear. It was Joe Biden is captive of these lunatics as the President says out in the street and only I can keep you safe.

ERRIN HAINES, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, THE 19TH: Well yes. John -- I agree with you. I think that a lot of what we heard last night shows, listen, President Trump is consistent. So much of what we heard last night was what we have been hearing since he first came down that escalator five years ago this month.

Messages of law and order, once again embracing law enforcement while condemning the protests as chaotic and calling his supporters warriors, boasting about the federal judges and Supreme Court justices he's been able to get, touting his record with African-Americans, touting that the progress he's made on trade and tax cuts and really warning of the specter of the return of American carnage that he talked about when he was, you know, giving his inauguration speech.

The question though, I think is going to be for November, how much has America changed since 2016? And how many voters are still on board with a lot of the things that he continues to embrace, you know?

I think that the real question Joe Biden certainly seems to suggest that this is a battle for the soul of America, saying that this is not who we are. But this definitely is who President Trump is if we don't know that by now. It is just a matter of how many voters are comfortable with supporting him. You know, he touted the return of recovering economy possibly. Is that going to be enough to overcome voters who may have been comfortable in 2016 with voting for the things that he was saying, tweeting and doing?

KING: And Maggie -- it was not a president speaking from a position of strength; he might dispute that. But if you go back and look at the polling, this is just from a Fox News poll this woke and the President says Fox News has wacky polls. But if you look at where the President is now leading among rural men now but nowhere near where he polled that constituency in 2016 in the exit polls.

Leading among white Evangelicals by a huge margin. But again, well below where he was in 2016. Or you can flip it over and look at it this way, Joe Biden now leading among constituencies -- men, white, college, suburban, over the age of 45 -- that Donald Trump carried in 2016.

And so the President, if you're -- if he seems to be -- he's always been all about the base, but now he has to be worried about his base.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": That's exactly right. He has been worried about his base for several weeks. We have seen his numbers with Evangelicals just softened. His numbers with senior citizens -- a group that he won by a lot in 2016, he's now losing to Joe Biden.

And that is making him dig-in to the tactics that he has been using since he began his campaign in 2015. He has shown an inability over time over and over to grow his support. That's still the case. And to your point he's seeing it erode among the people who have been with him last time.

He did not take that stage last night from a position of strength (ph). It was supposed to be something of a campaign reset.

A year ago in Orlando, the President had what was a kickoff rally. Within the White House and the campaign, they were describing this weekend as that instead.

And as you've said, there was a crowd. It was loud. It was not remotely close to the numbers that they were told they were going to have. And my understanding was the President was very, very upset when they had to cancel a planned outdoor event that was supposed to be because of overflow numbers and when he looked out at that arena last night.

KING: Right. And so we'll see. He's been silent so far on Twitter this morning. I just want to show some of the headlines: "Trump rallies in red-state America and faces a sea of empty blue seats"; "Trump's comeback rally features empty seats, staff infections"; "Trump Rally Fizzles as Attendance Falls Short of Campaign Expectations". Drudge -- even at Drudge, "MAGA less Mega".

And so the President won't like that. Jeff Zeleny -- what we do have -- what we do have, all elections are about choices and the contrast here is pretty striking.


KING: I want you to listen first to the President last night describing his view of Joe Biden.



TRUMP: Joe Biden has surrendered to his party and to the left-wing mob.

If the Democrats gain power, then the riders will be in charge and no one will be safe and no one will have control. Joe Biden is not the leader of his party. Joe Biden is a helpless puppet of the radical left.


KING: The first campaign ad from the Biden campaign came out this week and listen here, Jeff. It's a very different message.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The country is crying out for leadership. Leadership that can unite us. leadership that brings us together. That's what the presidency is. The duty to care.

I won't traffic in fear and division. I won't fan the flames of hate. I'll seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued our country. Not use them for political gain.


KING: The President almost -- I don't know if Biden can win on that message -- but the President played into it last night in the sense that he didn't even mention his own police reform proposals, his executive order. It was all -- it was all about fear, things you have to worry about, not more positive things that he's trying to do.

ZELENY: It was. And the rally last night certainly we are going to see recriminations in the days ahead, there's no question. As Maggie rightly indicated that the President is indeed not pleased by how it turned out.

It may have been a giant gift to the Biden campaign. Not just in the empty seats. That really doesn't matter. The reality is, of course, there are enough Trump supporters in Oklahoma to fill a giant rally and more than that. The question is they had judgment to not go to this during a pandemic.

But the bigger issue is the words that the President was speaking about, you know, too much testing slowing it down. That already is in an ad this morning by some Democratic super PAC groups. So the President is getting in his own way in many of these respects here. But I think the bigger picture here -- I spent some time in Wisconsin this week. The protests and the summer unrest and the unease has awakened something that was not there four years ago. And that is a significant worry for the Trump campaign. And it should be.

There were people, who did not vote for Hillary Clinton four years ago, who are motivated now to vote against President Trump. Not necessarily with excitement for Joe Biden, but that is just fine. They are motivated to vote against President Trump. So that is a challenge for the Trump campaign here going forward.

And it was a gift last night again for the Biden campaign. And we're going to hear a lot of the President's words over and over again in campaign ads and other things. And he's traveling this week as well. So it is hard to imagine him resetting the reset, I guess, if you will.

KING: And one thing I guess that should not be a surprise, but it does jump out. And Jeff -- you mentioned this question for the country especially with the social unrest, the George Floyd killing, Rayshard Brooks killing, people marching in the streets is the President playing old cards, if you will.

The President talking last night about Ilhan Omar. Yes, she's controversial. Yes, she has said some anti-Semitic things. She's a congresswoman from Minnesota. She has very limited input to the Joe Biden campaign. But if you listen to the President of the United States last night, she's everything and she's a threat.


TRUMP: Ilhan Omar is going to be very much involved in a Biden government. She would like to make the government of our country just like the country from where she came. Somalia -- no government, no safety, no police, no nothing -- just anarchy. And now she's telling us how to run our country. No thank you.


KING: Errin Haines -- that is not morning in America. That is not an incumbent giving an optimistic give me four more years.

HAINES: But again, using the key words that really animate his base, invoking the squad. He talks about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as well and her threat to the gains that he has made in terms of the environment, saying that she could be a threat to that. And then, yes, mentioning Ilhan Omar as you mentioned, who is marking the first Father's Day without her father, who died of coronavirus just recently.

And so, you know, these are the kind of signals that he has sent out as a sign to his base that he's the one that can protect their way of life, like our -- he mentions our heritage last night. And that is a contrast again to what you see the vice president Biden, the Democratic nominee, saying in his latest ad. I know a lot of the black voters that I talk to talk about their vote in November being a survival vote. It is going to be interesting to see how many Americans are casting a vote in November in rejection of this president and the divisive tone that he's setting and the racial playbook that he's invoking over the next few months.

KING: 19 weeks from Tuesday -- it will be here before you know it. 19 weeks from this coming Tuesday is that choice.

Errin Haines, Maggie Haberman, Jeff Zeleny -- appreciate your reporting and insights this Sunday morning.


KING: Up next for us, Aunt Jemima is retired, Juneteenth now a paid holiday for many. America's conversation on race and policing does include some progress, but bigger tests are ahead.


KING: There is change almost everywhere you look as America confronts a racial reckoning. Aunt Jemima is being retired, "Cops" cancel as companies rethink their brands and their tone, Juneteenth is now a paid holiday of companies ranging from Allstate to Nike to Twitter and more. Portraits and statues celebrating the confederacy and its leaders are coming down. And sports leagues are front and center in this conversation about race and about respect.

Just a few steps from the White House, the pavement sends the message of the moment. But the Vice President this past week repeatedly declined to say those words, "black lives matter", choosing instead to tell an interviewer all lives matter.

And in the push to remove statues and rename military bases that honor confederate leaders, the President sees a threat, not long overdue progress.


TRUMP: The unhinged left wing mob is trying to vandalize our history, desecrate our monuments -- our beautiful monuments. If you want to save your heritage -- if you want to save that beautiful heritage of ours, we have a great heritage, we're a great country. You are so lucky I'm president, that's all I can tell you.


KING: With us this Sunday, the lieutenant governor of Wisconsin, Mandela Barnes. Governor Barnes -- are we so lucky when you hear the President of the United States as a young black man, as an emerging black leader -- do we need to protect our heritage by re-electing President Trump?


LT. GOV. MANDELA BARNES (D), WISCONSIN: I've never felt more unlucky. And the heritage that he's talking about is the heritage of the confederacy which is very appropriate. He ran a campaign based on those same ideas of race and hatred and he's governed the same way and he plans to go on a re-election the same way.

And to see those monuments come down is sort of symbolism that he sees his own campaign and his own administration follow.

KING: So help me with context. I think it is really important that we listen. Especially white men like myself at this moment.

I assume it is a great thing from your perspective, when a company says, Quaker Oats says Aunt Jemima, no, racial stereotype gone. Companies say let's make Juneteenth a paid holiday and respect the emancipation proclamation, the end of slavery is better.

When you see these steps, they're progress, but how big of a deal? Help me with context.

BARNES: Well, that's the thing. There couldn't be a better time. Like you said, it's (INAUDIBLE). It couldn't be a better time for someone in your position to learn about what is going on, about history, about why we are where we are as a nation and why we're experiencing the reckoning that we're experiencing.

But on the other end, you mentioned how much progress. I think that door is wide open because people are awakened to the extreme injustices that have taken place over the last 400 year since the unwilling, unlawful arrival of enslaved Africans on the shores of Jamestown, Virginia 401 years ago.

And so when we say how big, I mean I think we got a whole lot to make up and it is going to take more than a year, it's going to take more than one presidential administration to make black people in America whole again.

But we know that as long as that doesn't happen, everybody is going to deal with it as a result. And I try to -- you know, Wisconsin is a predominantly white state. So every time I travel, I try to, you know, talk about these issues in the context of the impact of -- the impact of racial injustice on every community. Because it is a very real thing.

But people don't always understand when we have a criminal justice system that disproportionately impacts black and brown people in America, that's money that comes out of your school system that we're spending a billion and a half dollars on prisons. That's money that isn't going to go to fund neighborhood services. That's money that's not going to go to fund other vital programs that keep communities strong.

And so the door is wide open for progress. I think that we have to shoot for -- we have to shoot past the moon. We have to shoot past Mars. We have to shoot for another galaxy when it comes to what we should be looking for in terms of -- stabilization of this country because that's what it is all about. KING: One of the voices we heard as part of this debate this past week

was Rayshard Brooks who talked about the criminal justice system you just mentioned in an interview conducted just a couple of months before he was shot and killed. Listen.


RAYSHARD BROOKS, KILLED BY POLICE: I just feel like some of the system could, you know, look at us as individuals. We do have lives, you know, just a mistake we made, you know. And, you know, not just do us as if we are animals.


KING: Governor -- what goes through your mind when you hear that?

BARNES: It's so difficult to listen to that because it is a humanity question. We're talking about human rights right now. We can go back to even what Donald Trump said when he said our heritage, when he talked about his sadness to see these monuments and these structures toppled. I mean these are figures in American history that treated black people in America as animals.

We're talking about shadow slavery here. And to hear Rayshard's despair and you hear it in his voice, as a person who has made a -- who made a mistake, who wanted to do better with his life. Unfortunately too many people in our past prior to 1865 didn't get the chance to express their humanity.

But Donald Trump wants to take us back down that road. I mean this isn't even speculation, these are his words when he talks about our legacy. And I'm not willing to go back to that point and you see millions of Americans rising up. You see a diverse community. You see folks from all walks of life who are stepping up to demand justice because they don't want to see it either.

And I think that's the most optimistic -- or that brings me the most optimism in this whole movement is that everybody, it's clear as day what is going on or has gone on but it is also clear what we need to do to right these wrongs.

KING: Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin Mandela Barnes -- sir, we really appreciate your time this morning. We'll continue the conversation.

BARNES: It was a great time. Thank you.

KING: Thank you, sir.

Up next, Tulsa's big weekend. The Trump rally, Juneteenth in a city with deep racial scars and a spike in coronavirus cases.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Tulsa is in the middle of it all this weekend. A city with deep racial scars marking Juneteenth. A city setting daily records for new coronavirus cases, nonetheless seeing its streets and its big arena crowded with protesters and rallygoers. A city picked by President Trump to send a message it is safe to get back to normal even though the city health director says it is anything but.

CNN reporters right there in the thick of it.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Gary Tuchman, in the outside area where President Trump was expected to make a speech on that stage before the inside speech. But there weren't enough people here so that was canceled.

Among the people who went inside, very few people were wearing masks. When they entered, their temperatures were taken, they were offered masks but they didn't have to take them and very few ended up wearing them.

President Trump, of course, did not have a mask. But he also didn't have to stand for five or six hours in the arena with lots of other people before the event started.



ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Abby Phillip in Tulsa, Oklahoma standing outside of the BOK Center. This has been a tough week for Tulsa.

NICOLE OGUNDARE, TULSA RESIDENT: I'm just tense about everything. I'm tense about just where we are in the state of this world. I'm tense about how black people have been treated.

PHILLIP: A tense week for many of the residents here who have been bracing themselves for tens of thousands of people to converge on this city for President Trump's rally.

Now, those numbers were not exactly what people expected. But when you look at the message that President Trump delivered in that arena, he talked about what he has done for black Americans economically.

But he also called protesters "thugs". He talked about defending, quote, "our heritage" referring to those confederate symbols that are being taken down all across the country. And this seems to be exactly what many residents here told me they were dreading.

TRUMP: Trying to vandalize our history. Desecrate our monuments, our beautiful monuments.

Tear down our statues.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ryan Nobles, inside the BOL Center where the President just finished speaking his first campaign rally since early March.

STEPHEN NELSON, TRUMP SUPPORTER: And it's after the whole quarantine ordeal has, you know, basically been concluded. So, you know, I'm really looking forward to this. This is a celebration of basically his campaign. And I want to hear -- I want to be under the same building as our president.

NOBLES: The President hoping to pack this place, bring at least 20,000 people. They fell far short of that.

The President blaming that on a number of different things. He said there were protesters outside preventing people from coming in. There weren't too many reports of that; our reporters outside didn't see that as well.


NOBLES: Also seeing that the media had played a role in all of that because of our coverage of it leading up to the coronavirus.

Regardless, he got his message out there. Made a case for him to deserve four more years in office. We'll have to see if voters respond as his campaign kicks back off.


KING: That's it for us this Sunday.

Hope you can catch us weekdays as well. We're here at 11:00 and noon Eastern.

Up next, very busy "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER". Jake's guests include the White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, the Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, the House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler and former federal prosecutor Preet Bharara.

Thanks again for sharing your Sunday. Have a good day.