A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, June 21, 2020 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form, may be updated and may contain minor transcription errors. For previous show transcripts, visit the "This Week" transcript archive. ANNOUNCER: "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos starts right now.
JONATHAN KARL, ABC CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump returns to the trail.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Thank you, Oklahoma.
KARL: A huge fanfare and less than expected crowds. Down playing the coronavirus threat.
TRUMP: So I said to my people slow the testing down please.
KARL: Despite an alarming rise in new cases.
KAREN KEITH, TULSA COUNTY COMMISSIONER: Our numbers are spiking. This could be a super spreader.
KARL: Stoking divisions as the nation reckons with a legacy of racism.
UNKNOWN: We’re still not free in 2020. We're still crying for freedom.
KARL: And showdown.
GEOFFREY BERMAN, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: I'm just here to do my job.
KARL: The president fires the powerful U.S. attorney investigating his personal lawyer.
What John Bolton told our Martha Raddatz that Trump said about the Justice Department.
JOHN BOLTON, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: I've never heard any president say anything like that ever.
KARL: More of Martha’s exclusive interview this morning. Plus House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, Republican Senator Tim Scott, and analysis from our powerhouse round table.
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's "This Week." Here now Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl.
KARL: Good morning and welcome to "This Week." The campaign trail, coronavirus, and calls for racial equality all converged last night in Tulsa. The president was hoping to reboot his campaign, but while the hype was huge, he claimed a million people asked for tickets, the crowd was modest. Lots of empty seats, a rarity for a Trump rally. And while there were some tense moments in Tulsa, protests remained largely peaceful.
In a speech that lasted nearly two hours the president slammed Joe Biden, defended his handling of coronavirus saying he requested to slow down the testing to avoid finding more cases. He spoke at length about his slow walk down a ramp at West Point. What the president did not do is mention Juneteenth, the Tulsa race massacre of 1921 or George Floyd amid a national out cry for change.
We'll have more on the president's rally and the demands for racial justice, but first, the fall out from the president's firing of Federal Prosecutor Geoffrey Berman, the man, who until yesterday, was overseeing an investigation into the president's personal attorney.
It was an extraordinary move. And now the president is saying it was all the attorney general's idea.
REPORTER: Why did you fire Geoffrey Berman, Mr. President? Why did you fire --
TRUMP: It’s all up to the attorney general. Attorney General Barr is working on that. That's his department, not my department. That's really up to him. I'm not involved.
KARL: Let's take this all to our Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas and Chief Legal Analyst Dan Abrams. So Pierre, why is the attorney general doing this? And isn't he just doing the bidding of the president?
PIERRE THOMAS, ABC NEWS CHIEF JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Jon, it wasn't a state secret that the president wanted Berman out of that job. And Barr truly believes that it's the prerogative of the president to have in this position who he wants to have. But that said, this exploded and it became quite the Washington controversy.
KARL: And Dan, I mean, this, of course, is the prosecutor that was investigating the president's personal attorney, (inaudible) had sent his former personal attorney to jail. There are suggestions there may have been other investigations involving the Trump organization. What happens from here? What happens with those investigations?
DAN ABRAMS, ABC NEWS CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, that's the big question about those other investigations. And I think that is why it was so important that Attorney General Barr agreed to put in the existing deputy, Audrey Strauss, into the position for now.
It provided a level of assurance to the prosecutors who are working in that office that those investigations will continue. You talk to people who know her, they will tell you that they would expect that this office will now continue very similarly to the way it was working when Geoff Berman was in charge.
Of course, there does become a legal question which is what if Attorney General Barr becomes frustrated with Audrey Strauss before the permanent U.S. attorney, Jay Clayton, is ever in that position? Could she be gone at that point? That is a concern. We'll just have to see.
KARL: But it seems that Berman forced the appointment -- or the temporary appointment of Audrey Strauss by refusing at first to leave.
THOMAS: Well, Jon, let me tell you this, what Berman did yesterday was extraordinary. Basically what he said is that I don't trust you Mr. Attorney general. I don't trust you. And he said I’m not stepping down unless you make me go. And that's what ended up happening.
So what Barr was sensitive to, according to my sources, is this notion that it looked like he was meddling, so he wanted to blow that notion up, so that's why he made the deputy in that office, the person who would be the acting U.S. attorney to blow up that notion, and he put forth this notion that anybody in that office who feels pressure can and should report to the Justice Department inspector-general.
So make no mistake, he new he had to respond to this allegation that he was doing the president's bidding and trying to sabotage these investigations.
KARL: And what made this so extraordinary, especially extraordinary in terms of the timing, was it comes just as John Bolton is saying that the president promised the president of Turkey that he was going to make changes in this prosecutors office.
So, let's play a little bit of Martha Raddatz's interview with John Bolton on this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: 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 have never heard any president said anything like that ever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: I mean, Dan, that is especially brazen to have this move happen just after that allegation.
DAN ABRAMS, NBC NEWS CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Right, because that was a while ago that that happened. And that does make it even bolder that this happened now.
The question from a legal perspective is going to be what happens to Bolton now. He won round one in his fight in that the book is now going to be published, the administration is not going to be able to stop it. But there is a serious argument that he could face civil damages, meaning all the money that he's making from that book could end up going to the government, because he violated his nondisclosure, because he didn't finish the review process.
But on the question of any criminality with regard to John Bolton, remember it has to be classified information. And the president has alleged that much of the information in the Bolton book isn't even true, so you can't say that the information is not truthful and classified, they're going to have to pick between those arguments.
And we'll see. I don't expect criminal charges, though.
KARL: All right, Dan, well, if they get those earnings, the way that book is selling it may put a dent in the national debt. Thank you very much, Dan Abrams and Pierre Thomas.
And joining me now exclusively is Senator Tim Scott. He's leading the Senate Republican effort on police reform.
But I want to begin, Senator Scott, with the news over the weekend about the firing of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman. Do you have any concerns about at least the appearance here with the attorney general firing somebody who was overseeing an investigation into the president's personal lawyer?
SEN. TIM SCOTT, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: I don't honestly. I think President Trump actually hired Mr. Berman and he fired Mr. Berman. Everyone at the DOJ works at the pleasure of the president, number one. Number two, there's no indication whatever that whatever is being investigated will not continue to move on.
KARL: So, will you track and see? I mean, right now we know his deputy is taking over, Audrey Strauss, but there's no guarantee that she couldn't be replaced as well. How important is it to you that those investigations continue without any interference from Washington?
SCOTT: Well, a, I don't know that anyone has any evidence on what's in the investigation, so as far as I can tell there's no indication that those investigations will stop. Number two, I would say that Jay Clayton the person who has been confirmed by the senate as the SEC head is the person line to take over that position. He is a straight shooter. He is black and white. And it will be very hard for him not to move on any credible evidence in any situation and in any case.
KARL: Of course this comes as John Bolton has made some extraordinary allegations against the president. I know that you know John Bolton well. He is certainly not a member of the deep state. He is not a liberal Democrat. What do you make of his rather serious allegations against the president?
SCOTT: Well, I do wish that Mr. Bolton would have come into the House under oath and testified. One of the things about making allegations in a book for $29.95, certainly is going to be a best seller, I'm sure. The problem is that when you're not selling it in a book, you're not putting yourself in a position to be cross-examined. So, for $29.95, you can monetize his national security clearance, but under oath he would have had an opportunity to answer questions and not just make assertions.
It would have been good for him to come to the House, answer the questions under oath and be cross examined so that we would have more information about fact patterns that he suggests are true. So far it looks like he monetized it more than he has actually provided a fact pattern.
KARL: Well, on much of that, the Democrats would probably agree with you, although obviously the president didn't want him to testify in the House.
But let me ask you, the president in response to this has called Bolton a wacko and a sick puppy, disgruntled boring fool who only wants to go to war.
He also of his former chief of staff said John Kelly was way over his head. Called his former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, the world's most overrated general. His secretary of state, dumb as a rock. Jeff Sessions, who was his attorney general for two years, not mentally qualified.
These are some of the most important positions in government -- secretary of state, defense, national security adviser, chief of staff. What does it say about President Trump that he would appoint such people as that to those positions?
SCOTT: Well, it certainly says that the president's love language is not words of encouragement. That's what I get out of that sequence of events and comments.
KARL: Well, may be a slight understatement.
So, let's move on to your -- your bill, the Justice Act, which you unveiled this week. And I was struck when you unveiled it. You talked about your own personal experience.
We, of course, know that you had been stopped by a Capitol policeman coming into the capitol as a United States senator. You said you’d recently been -- been pulled over for what you described as driving while black.
What in your bill will address that type of action? What -- will anything address that?
SCOTT: Well, certainly, there's -- in our bill, there’s a lot of accountability, so that we -- not only do we provide resources for more training, but we also provide oversight and accountability, so that we can get to the root of the problem. The only way to get to that root of the problem is to have as much information collected by the FBI.
Today, only about 40 percent of offices actually report their information.
So, for us to see the patterns in law enforcement that may be problematic, we need all of the information. That's how we lead in the direction of how to target our grants to get the outcomes that we want.
KARL: I was --
SCOTT: It’s (ph) very important part of our legislation.
KARL: I was struck by one place that praised your bill, The Root”, which is an African-American-oriented liberal online magazine said that the GOP bill is likely -- is more likely to stop killing -- stop cops from killing black people. And they go on to say that the bill would enforce its provision by reducing federal grant money that’s already available to state and local law enforcement agencies. Scott wants to prevent departments who don't comply with the law from continuing to receive these funds.
And then the article goes on to say, that sounds a lot like defund police.
SCOTT: Yes, Jonathan, I guess that's a question?
SCOTT: God bless “The Root”. It's nice to have them on my side of a blue moon. I’m not sure I would go with their conclusions.
But yes, it is important for us to use the resources that we provide to law enforcement and a way to get them to compel them towards the direction that we think is in the best interest of the nation, of the communities that they serve, and, frankly, of the officers themselves.
And so, what we try to do is bridge that gap. One of the areas that he's probably referring to is the importance of body cameras. Five years ago, I started this journey after the Walter Scott shooting in North Charleston. A man was shot in the back five times and then there was a false police report that brought us to a conclusion that was inconsistent with reality, period.
Had we had the type of resources in place, I think we can prevent more of these deaths and certainly have enhanced penalties for falsified police reports. That's not in the House bill. It's only exclusively in our bill.
The false police report has an enhanced penalty on top of the SBI, serious bodily injury, or death that leads to prosecution. So, it's really important for us to bring more emphasis on character-driven law enforcement. If we miss that, we miss the entire boat.
KARL: And I guess their point is, if the -- if the police departments don't do what you are asking, they will lose access to federal funds. So -- so there would be an element of --
SCOTT: Yes --
KARL: -- of withholding funding here.
SCOTT: Well, very important aspect of our bill, as well as the House bill, this is where 70 percent of it overlaps.
The importance is that if the police -- as an example, we all want to ban chokeholds. We know the state that -- the House knows and the Senate knows that you can't ban local use of chokeholds or state use of chokeholds except for the compelled behavior by the federal grants that come into play. And by removing those federal grants, you actually position those departments to change their behavior, change their policy in the direction of satisfying what we all know and frankly in South Carolina, very few if any departments still have a chokehold because that we already know is an unnecessary tactic except for saving the life of the officer.
And so, we do use the resources in an effective way. But we believe that you actually need more resources, not less resources, if you want officers to be trained effectively, you have to give them the tools called training to get there. That requires more resources.
We know that if you want more information on the federal level, that requires more resources for record keeping and for data collection. The House bill says the exact same thing.
So we are in a position that says, in order to get the law enforcement agencies to improve their data collection, to improve their training, to improve the de-escalation of situations and the duty to intervene, we use resources from the federal level to compel or coerce local behavior. It's the exact same thing the House does because the U.S. Constitution doesn't allow the federal government to take over local police departments.
KARL: Right. Right. These are -- this is local police.
So let me ask you before you go about Mary Elizabeth Taylor --
SCOTT: Yes, sir.
KARL: Who was, of course, the former assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, somebody who you supported getting that position. She has resigned. And in her letter of resignation she writes, the president's comments and actions surrounding racial injustice in black Americans cut sharply against my core values and convictions. I must follow the dictates of my conscious and resign.
And I -- I want to ask you to comment on -- on her resignation, because I know she's somebody you supported, but also when you've heard some of what the president has done, just over the past couple of weeks, invoking the words of segregationists, saying that -- you know, taking credit for -- for making -- for Juneteenth becoming something that people know about. When you hear his words, you see what he has done, have you ever felt that way, that -- that his actions cut sharply against your core values and convictions?
SCOTT: Well, I certainly have spoken out about the Charlottesville situation. He and I sat down after that and that's how we got opportunity zones. I spoke out about the comments about the squad in Baltimore. So the president has said things that I have found offensive. I've spoken out against those things publicly. And I also called him and we had constructive conversations.
Here's what I say. I think Mary Elizabeth is a wonderful person, brilliant. She has an incredibly bright future. She's following her convictions. I believe that my convictions have allowed me to work on -- with the president on opportunities zones, on the highest funding for HBCU, Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the history of the country on permanent funding for those schools.
I've been able to work with the president on the executive order so that we could make sure that more folks who are suspects get to go home if they were not stopped under appropriate manners and go to jail if necessary. We were able to sit with the families of victims of police brutality and have a serious and civil conversation where the families left and they said themselves they were heard by this president. I'm not sure what their expectation was coming in.
I know what their expectations were going out. And, frankly, whether it's Dick Durbin, with his use of token versus other comments made by the president, there is plenty of blame of race on both sides that we need to be more sensitive on the issue of race in this nation. But in order for us to make progress, I think it's kind of insincere or at least not authentic to suggest that one side has a bigger problem than the other, especially if you look at the 1994 Crime Bill that Cory Booker himself said to Joe Biden, this thing locked up a disproportionate share of African-Americans and then he worked with the president, President Trump --
KARL: All right.
SCOTT: To get the First Act -- First Step taken care of. So we both are working -- both sides of the aisle should be working for a more harmonious union called the great United States of American.
KARL: All right, on that note, thank you, Senator Scott. Appreciate you joining us.
SCOTT: Yes, sir.
KARL: Thank you very much.
SCOTT: Thank you, Jon.
KARL: Coming up, an exclusive new excerpt from Martha Raddatz's blockbuster interview with President Trump's former National Security Advisor John Bolton. Martha joins us next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had a very good decision in the John Bolton book case. And the judge was very powerful in his statements on classified information, and very powerful also in the fact that the country will get the money, any money he makes. Obviously, the book was already out, it leaked and everything else. But he leaked classified information, so he got a big problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: President Trump yesterday celebrated a court ruling that denied his request to stop John Bolton's book from being published, but could open Bolton to legal troubles.
Let's bring in our chief global affairs correspondent and “This Week” co-anchor, Martha Raddatz. Her exclusive interview with John Bolton airs tonight on ABC.
So, Martha, that was a hell of an interview.
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Thank you.
KARL: Let me ask you. He's come under such fire, Bolton, for waiting so long to make these extraordinary allegations. But he tells you that he tried to raise the alarm repeatedly inside the Trump administration.
RADDATZ: Yeah. He says he raised the alarm inside the Trump administration, essentially felt he couldn't do anymore. But, of course, his critics say, why didn't he say all these things during the impeachment hearings, especially after what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
You also used the phrase in the book that Trump's pattern looked like obstruction of justice as a way of life, which we couldn't accept. Obstruction of justice is a way of life?
BOLTON: Look, these were things that I could see some evidence of, and they bothered me greatly. I talked to the attorney general about them. I talked to the counsel to the president about them. I've talked to other members of the cabinet about them and relayed my concerns, and they were very much on my mind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: Of course he says, Jon, that the reason he didn't want to be any part of the impeachment hearing is because he thought it was too politicized and he wouldn't make a difference, so he said -- I pushed back on him several times in the interview this evening about how he would know whether he made a difference or not.
KARL: All right, well, let's listen to another extraordinary clip from your interview where he basically sums up his feelings about President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: You describe the president as erratic, foolish, behaved irrationally, bizarrely, you can't leave him alone for a minute, he saw conspiracies behind rocks and was stunningly informed, he couldn't tell the difference between his personal interests and the country's interests.
BOLTON: I don't think he's fit for office. I don't think he has the competence to carry out the job. There really isn't any guiding principle that I was able to discern other than what's good for Donald Trump's re-election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: Martha, we just never have heard something like that from somebody in a president's inner circle while that president is still in office.
RADDATZ: And I think that's what you have to remember, this is an extraordinary interview, really a jaw dropping interview, because he is talking about a sitting president. And he was there, as you know well, Jon, for 17 months, it wasn't wasn't like he was there for just a couple months, left and wrote a tell all, 17 months. And as you know well, he takes a lot of notes. John Bolton is a copious note taker. He is considered a foreign policy heavy weight, whether you agree with his foreign policy or not. It's really an extraordinary look in the White House.
KARL: And in this White House 17 months is an eternity, the longest serving, so far, national security adviser for President Trump.
So, we've heard President Trump push back calling John Bolton a sick puppy, a wacko, saying his book is filled with lies. How is Bolton responding to all that?
RADDATZ: Well, Bolton says he will not respond to that. He said it's beneath him to talk -- it's beneath the president to talk that way. Of course, we just heard him say the president was erratic and bizarre, so it's like a little bit of a back and forth schoolyard fight.
KARL: All right, Martha, thank you very much for bringing us that.
The Room Where it Happened, an ABC News exclusive, airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern. Don't miss it.
And coming up, how will Democrats handle the latest allegations from John Bolton? I'll ask former House impeachment manager Hakeem Jeffries next.
KARL: Congressman Hakeem Jeffries is standing by. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC SWALWELL, (D) CALIFORNIA: Thank you, John Bolton, for being the firefighter that shows up to the building that's already burned with the fire hose and saying I'm here to help.
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES, (D) NEW YORK: It's curious to me that now he has something to say when he could have stepped forward as a patriot when the stakes were high.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA: As damning as the allegations against the president are in that book, they were equally damning of John Bolton for keeping it concealed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: House Democrats there blasting John Bolton for going public only after he had a book to sell. Bolton declined to cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry last fall. Let's talk to one of the leaders of the that effort, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, who served as an impeachment manager during President Trump's Senate impeachment trial.
Senator Jeffries [sic], let me start, though, with the breaking news over the weekend, the firing of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman. And we now have heard from the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, you are a member of the Judiciary Committee, saying that they will investigate, the committee will investigate, and has invited Geoffrey Berman to testify. Do you expect that he will actually testify?
JEFFRIES: Well, it’s my hope that at some point the Judiciary Committee will hear from the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Mr. Berman, because I think he has a lot to say about a continuing pattern of chaos, crisis and corruption that we have seen from the Trump administration from the very beginning until this very day.
KARL: But at the end of the day, the president gets to hire, gets to choose, nominate, appoint, in the case on enacting U.S. attorneys. He also, doesn't he, have the right to fire U.S. attorneys?
JEFFRIES: We have a long tradition in this country of there being no political interference between the White House and the Department of Justice, which is the primary vehicle at the federal level for ensuring that there's equal protection under the law, liberty and justice for all, anchored in the principle that we are a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, not a government of a dictator or a monarch or a king.
That's why Chairman Adler has indicated, with the full support of Speaker Pelosi, that we are going to have this hearing on political interference between the White House and the Department of Justice and present the facts to the American people and take it from there.
KARL: OK, let's turn to John Bolton. I mean, we know your criticism that he should have come out earlier. But let me ask you about his critique of the House Democrats. He said it was malpractice to focus the impeachment inquiry so narrowly to Ukraine given all the -- all else that was going on. Is he right about that? In hindsight should you have included more in your impeachment inquiry than simply Ukraine?
JEFFRIES: Not at all. John Bolton is a political opportunist and a profiteer. He had the opportunity to step forward and participate in the House impeachment inquiry and share any information he had about wrong doing by President Trump and other members of his administration and he declined.
He also could have stepped forward in the midst of the Senate impeachment trial, but he ran and hid. That's unfortunate.
At the end of the day however, House impeachment managers proved with clear and convincing evidence that Donald Trump corruptly abused his power by pressuring a foreign government, Ukraine, to target Joe Biden, an American citizen, solely for political gain as part of his corrupt scheme to interfere in the 2020 election. We established that. The Senate committed malpractice in terms of acquitting Donald Trump and now it's in the hands of the American people.
KARL: Well, when you hear the allegations that Bolton is now making though about what he said with President Xi regarding helping his election and also what he said to President Erdogan of Turkey, are those impeachable offenses in your view?
JEFFRIES: Well, we litigated the question of impeachment and Donald Trump is impeached and forever will be. We had a trial in the Senate that wasn't functionally a trial because like any other impeachment trial in the history of the republic, the senators declined to call a single witness. They declined to issue a single subpoena. They declined to review a single document and that was unfortunate.
But, again, as I’ve indicated, this is all now in the hands of the American people, who are going to have a whole host of things to decide as to whether this president deserves re-election, including his incompetent response to the COVID-19 pandemic, his failure to really deliver in a meaningful way economically on behalf of every day Americans and his inability to lead during a moment of confronting the long history of systemic racism in this country.
KARL: Congressman Jeffries, before you go I want to ask you a different question. If Democrats retain the House, do you think that Nancy Pelosi should step aside and we should have a black speaker of the house?
JEFFRIES: Not at all. Nancy Pelosi has done a phenomenal job as speaker leading our for the people agenda which has been focused on lowering health care cost, increasing pay for every day Americans, dealing with defending our democracy, our COVID-19 response has been tremendous and comprehensive. We will pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act this Thursday which will help strike a blow against police violence, police brutality and police abuse.
She has been a legendary speaker working with a historically diverse caucus leading us forward. And I look forward to her continuing to do so in the next Congress.
KARL: All right. Definitive answer to that question. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, thank you for joining us.
JEFFRIES: Thank you.
KARL: The round table is up next.
Plus, President Trump is back on the campaign trail last night. Where does the race stand? We’ve got a brand new “FiveThirtyEight” forecast.
We'll be back in just 60 seconds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I ran for politics once, just once in my life and I became president of the United States.
We'll do it one more time. We'll be two for two and our country will never, ever be stronger.
I think we're going to have a big victory in the state of Minnesota, because (ph) they've had it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: President Trump chose Oklahoma for his first rally in over three months and has plans to visit Arizona and Wisconsin next week.
We asked Nate Silver, can Trump ride a Midwest path to victory in 2020 as he did in 2016?
NATE SILVER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT.COM: Big news from us. “FiveThirtyEight” came out with our presidential averages this week. They’ll be updated every day from now through November. So, go check them out.
And it means we can finally get into all the fun about the electoral map.
Joe Biden leads by around 9 points in our national polling average, and that lead has been growing. Of course, national polls don't really matter. Otherwise, Hillary Clinton would have been president.
But it's worth noting that such a large lead is unusual in politics these days. Clinton never led by more than 7 points, for example, and at this point in the 2008 race, Barack Obama led John McCain by around 6 points.
So, Trump needs to make a comeback and there is plenty time for that, and maybe also get some help from the Electoral College.
The race is a bit tighter in the Midwest. We have Biden up by a more modest 6 points in Wisconsin and 5 points in Pennsylvania. Biden also can't necessarily take Minnesota for granted. Trump nearly won it in 2016, and there’s been no polling there since the protest began in the state.
But there are a lot of issues for Trump. He's behind by 10 in Michigan and Biden is doing surprisingly well in Florida ahead by 7 points. If Biden were to win Florida, and he only needs one state from that Michigan and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin group. Or Biden could lose all those Midwestern state but win Arizona where our average has him up by 4.
So, for the time being, no, I don't buy that we're going to have exactly the same map as in 2016. Instead, Trump is kind of fighting a two-front war with problems in the Midwest on one hand, and then Arizona and Florida on the other hand.
I want to be really clear -- Trump could absolutely win re-election, but he definitely has his work cut out for him.
KARL: OK, let’s bring in -- thank you to Nate.
Let's bring in our roundtable. Former Republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, also a former U.S. attorney, Rahm Emanuel, former Democratic mayor of Chicago, and also chief of staff to President Obama, our senior White House correspondent Cecilia Vega and Leah Wright Rigueur, professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School and author of “The Loneliness of the Black Republican”.
So, Cecilia, let me start with the rally last night. Rarely has there been so much hype before a political event. The campaign talked about a million people requesting tickets. And rarely have there been so many empty seats at a Trump rally.
How upset is the president?
CECILIA VEGA, ABC NEWS SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And, we know, Jon, from having covered him how much he loves to see a good crowd size. This is a big issue for him.
Look, we know that the president behind the scenes was livid, extremely irritated by the low turnout. I think there’s going to be some big questions for the campaign manager Brad Parscale going forward. They really needed this to be a big win given all the headlines going into this week, frankly over the last month.
And that's why they chose Oklahoma because this is a state where he won big, 36 percent back in 2016. So, they assumed that this was going to be a mega rally.
Here's my take, though. I think perhaps time will tell that this may be a reflection of an enthusiasm gap. I don't think that's the big headline out of what happened in Oklahoma overnight.
I think the big headline is some of the things that the president said, when he talked about testing being a double-edged sword on coronavirus, that he asked his team to scale back on the testing because of the high numbers that were coming in. We're already seeing the Biden camp go hard after that one.
The -- what he didn't say on Juneteenth, you mentioned that at the top of the show, given the climate that we're living in about race relations right now. I think, in the long term, it's going to be less about the number of people who showed up overnight, and really about some of the stuff he said and didn't say in that rally.
KARL: But, Governor Christie, there's -- it's not just crowd size here.
If you look at the way this race is trending, obviously, we are nearly five months out from Election Day. But let's look at the latest FOX News poll, the president down 12 points to Joe Biden.
And if you look at our latest poll, his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, only 41 percent approval, 58 percent disapproving. We have also seen in the polling the president is trailing among suburban voters, which he won decisively in 2016. He's barely winning among rural voters.
There are a lot of red warning signs out there, aren't there?
CHRIS CHRISTIE, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.
You know, Jon, President Dukakis was ahead by this much as well, and even more later in the campaign.
This political climate is so volatile and so different than any political climate we have had before, that everybody just needs to let this campaign play out.
No doubt the president's the underdog right now. He's dealing with three crises at one time, the coronavirus crisis, the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus crisis, and a real racial crisis in this country as well.
When you have those three things going on at the same time, that's never good for the incumbent to have that many things going on. Again, the key to this race is what the president started last night. He needs to engage in a campaign where he gets Joe Biden out of the basement in Wilmington, Delaware, and out on the campaign trail speaking.
When that happens, this race becomes a binary choice. And when that happens, I think you will see the race tighten up. This will be a close race. But there's no question, Jon, that, in the current circumstances, four-and-a-half months out, the president is the underdog.
KARL: Rahm, I assume you agree with that.
RAHM EMANUEL, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, what I think -- from a different perspective, Jon, what I think is, first of all, take a look at that speech. I believe, like Cecilia, that, in about a month from now, the president's going to shake up his campaign, given the trajectory it's on.
Number two, I think there's a telling sign if you take what Nate showed, that, of the upper states, Michigan, where he's invested a lot of time attacking the governor, he's down by 10, kind of out of a -- different than where he is in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and showing, the more involved he gets, the worse he's doing in every part of the race.
And, third, for the last year-and-a-half, I believed that Democrats were angry at Trump and swing voters were exhausted. And I actually think, since the crises from COVID, to what's happened in Minnesota and around the country in the economic, swing voters have gone from exhausted to also now being angry at Donald Trump.
In every one of those crises, he could have flipped his presidency and really done something with it, and if he had reacted appropriately. They have now seen the full part of the president. And the most important part of the voters, which are swing voters, have come to the same conclusion Democrats have had for the last three-and-a-half years.
The president is outclassed by this job, and he's not up to uniting the country to face any one of all three of these challenges in a united front with the country behind him. And that's why he has -- now has a judgment from the American people, at this point, he is not up to the job, and they're going to send him packing.
It's time for a change.
KARL: Well, it is going to be a choice, though. It's a choice between the president and Joe Biden.
Leah, let me ask you. The -- given that we have heard Senator Klobuchar come out, take herself out of the running for -- to be Biden's running mate, and said that Biden -- recommends seeing that Biden should choose an African-American woman as his running mate, does that pretty much lock that in?
Is that the direction he's going?
LEAH WRIGHT RIGUEUR, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: So, it's not necessarily a lock, although I think what we have to consider is that the base of the Democratic Party is black women.
And black women are really pushing for their agenda and for their issues and for their needs to be front and center on the ticket, but also have somebody in the White House, whether it be vice president, whether it be president, that is going to fight for these issues and make them tangible. And so what we are seeing is that a lot of black women and a lot of the broader party is actually saying, yes, this is a black woman's time.
But I think it's also important to actually listen to what these people are saying. And what they're saying is that it doesn't necessarily have to be a black woman. It has to be somebody who listens to black women's issues.
So, if there are candidates out there who happen to be black, who happen to be black women, but they're not -- they don't have our best interests in mind, then perhaps we should be looking in a different direction. And this is what the campaign is looking at right now, this is what voters are paying attention to, but most certainly this is what the base of the Democratic Party, black women, are really interested and committed to right now.
KARL: And Biden was very quick to come out with the protest movement and saying he does not support defunding the police. So, how do you -- how does this play out. Once this turns into a real campaign, you know exactly what Donald Trump is going to do here. Donald Trump is going to portray Joe Biden as somebody who wants to abolish police departments, somebody who favors what we've seen in Seattle with protesters taking over part of downtown Seattle. He's going to tie Biden to the most extreme elements of the protest movement. How is Biden going to deal with that?
RIGUEUR: So, he's certainly going to try to tie Joe Biden to the most extreme elements. But I think one of the things that we have to pay attention to is that there is a larger movement in this country that is actually in support of many of these things that Donald Trump is arguing are extreme and/or they're pointing out they're not extreme in the way that, say, Donald Trump is pointing them out.
Take defund the police, for example. When you actually break it down and look at the elements of re-appropriating this funding, rethinking the police department, re-imagining the police department, it turns out that there's a lot of strength and there's a lot of support for that.
You know, I also want to point out the other day the Reverend Barber held a rally, both a virtual rally and in person rally, for the Poor People's Movement, which addresses a lot of these issues, and over 1.5 million people attended. That's not insignificant, that's actually quite powerful, and that's the kind of thing Joe Biden is going to want to tap into, and is especially going to want to tap into as he's thinking about vice presidential nominees and somebody who can excite that base and bring them into the Democratic Party and bring them into the electoral process.
KARL: Rahm, one other thing we saw in the protest in San Francisco, we have seen a lot of Confederate statues going down obviously. I was surprised to see the statue of Ulysses S. Grant toppled in San Francisco.
EMANUEL: Well, you know, I found this a little strange on two fronts. One is Ulysses S. Grant directed, number one, he directed his attorney general to prosecute the KKK. And the KKK, if you know history, doesn't come back until 1920 because of what Ulysses S. Grant did.
Second, I would just say this as a Jewish-American, Ulysses S. Grant signed order 11 which was really quite anti-semitic in the Vicksburg Campaign, and realizes when he becomes president what he had done was wrong, appoints a number of Jews to his administration and the first president to visit a synagogue.
I actually think we should take a step back in all this process. You can't white wash history and you can't white it out. And Ulysses S. Grant is a president who has his faults. He is human. But he accomplished a great deal to get America right in the same way I happen to think Roosevelt is one of the greatest presidents, he interred the Japanese in this country, he didn't allow the St. Louis ship in 1938 to come to the shores of the United States, and given information never bombed Auschwitz.
On the other hand, he accomplished great things. They are flawed. And rather than reject our history, we should learn from our history. And toppling that statue, in my view, Ulysses S. Grant -- I understand the desire and I don't want to throw it it with -- on -- from the civil war honoring Confederate soldiers, that is a mistake and it's wrong.
KARL: So, Governor Christie.
EMANUEL: He made mistakes, but on the other hand you learn from that, and he learned from it, and became a better president what he did wrong.
KARL: Governor Christie, I want to turn to this president. The firing of Geoffrey Berman, I fully understand presidents have the power to nominate and appoint U.S. attorneys and the right to fire them, but I mean, isn't at least there a serious appearance of a conflict here?
CHRISTIE: No, there's not. The fact is that, you know, U.S. attorneys -- and I was one of them for seven years -- you serve at the pleasure of the president who appointed you. This is not a situation where the president did anything other than say he was no longer content with the service of the person that he appointed.
And the proof of the matter is that he appointed that person's first assistant to succeed him. So in the end the Southern District of New York, which those of us over in New Jersey and the other 93 districts call the so sovereign district of New York, because they don't really listen to anybody anyway usually.
They're going to continue to be independent, they're going to continue to do the investigations that need to be done, and everything that I've heard about Audrey Strauss, I don't know her personally, but I know a lot of very talented lawyers who know her, is that she will be an independent, smart, tough voice leading the office of the Southern District of New York, and that's what really matters. Today, they are lead at least as well, if not better, than they were led by Geoffrey Berman.
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: The president also had some defeats at the Supreme Court over the past week, of course on the -- on the gay rights decision and then on DACA.
Cecelia, how significant is that DACA decision?
CECILIA VEGA, ABC NEWS SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's -- it's huge, Jon. And, frankly, it was a real bombshell given the chief justice siding with the liberals on the bench.
The president is in a really tough spot on this one. He said overnight that that rally that he plans to refile the case. He says everything is going to work out for the young people, but then he kind of went on to insult them saying they're not so young anymore.
Here's the reality right now. Eighty-six percent of people in this country support giving these dreamers, DACA recipients, children -- people who were brought to this country as young children illegally by their parents who immigrated here without papers. So -- so with this overwhelming public support for this, the president now has to -- has to make this -- this judgment as to whether to go forward and refile and attempt to have some legislation, either in Congress. There is zero appetite for that right now.
Joe Biden has already said that he plans to enact some sort of protection for dreamers are day one if he is elected. You can just bet, Jon, that this is going to be a major campaign issue heading into 2020.
KARL: And -- and, Rahm, the -- the president's response was, do get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn't like me? Do you get that impression?
RAHM EMANUEL, FORMER CHICAGO MAYOR AND ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first, I wouldn't make that impression. I think that the fact is he's on the wrong side of the law is how I would see this. And I think he made a mistake here.
I do want to go back to one thing you asked, Jonathan, of Chris. There's an intersection between the Berman decision and what's in the Bolton book. And that --
EMANUEL: Attorney General Barr is finally -- Donald Trump has his Roy Cohen. And that's the conclusion here because the president in -- as Bolton's book is to be believed -- says on a number of cases, I will get -- has with confidence, I will interfere in that justice case whether it's with the Chinese or the Turkish government. And here you have another case where you have a -- a U.S. attorney's office investigating parts of the president's (INAUDIBLE) network and now that person is fired.
He may have the liberty to fire him, but you actually have a situation where Bill Barr is both John Mitchell and Roy Cohen all wrapped into one. I never thought I would ever say this, but actually we found -- actually, you know, Bill Barr is like the Dick Cheney of this administration without the sunny outlook. And I think there's a real pattern here and practice of corrupting the Justice Department.
CHRISTIE: Listen --
KARL: Governor Christie.
CHRISTIE: Hey, Jon, you can tell we're -- you're -- you can tell we're within four and a half months of the election because Rahm Emanuel is now becoming even more partisan than normal.
EMANUEL: I ate my Wheaties.
CHRISTIE: The fact of the matter is, there's no evidence that the president or anybody else interfered in that -- interfered with that Turkish case. In fact, that Turkish bank was indicted by the Southern District of New York. And that matter is pending. So if the president interfered, he was wholly ineffective in interfering. So Rahm should just, you know, ratchet down a little bit.
KARL: OK, Governor Christie, on that point, we -- we are -- we are out of time.
Cecelia, Leah, Chris, Rahm, thank you all for joining us.
That is all for us.
Before we go, remember, "The Room Where it Happened." Martha Raddatz's exclusive interview with John Bolton airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on ABC.
Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us and have a great Father's Day.