All in with Chris Hayes, Transcript 8/7/17 Trump TV

Christina Greer, Keith Ellison, Gabe Sherman

Date: August 7, 2017
Guest: Christina Greer, Keith Ellison, Gabe Sherman

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s going to be a lame duck Presidency already.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Caitlin very quick.

(INAUDIBLE) Keeping close eye on retirements that might come out from
members of Congress. We already saw a few that have announced for
governor. Keep an eye on that because it`s an indication of mood.

KORNACKI: All right, Caitlin, Evan Tara, thank you. “ALL IN” with Chris
Hayes starts right now.



be so proud of your President.

HAYES: 200 days in, a rage tweeting President tries to shore up his base.

Republicans and Conservative Trump voters is down slightly. It needs to go

HAYES: Tonight why President Trump is lashing out amid reports his Vice
President is already gunning for his job. And my interview with the
Senator targeted in Trump`s Twitter tirade. Then -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he finds evidence of a crime, can he look that?

HAYES: The Deputy Attorney General`s public defense of the Mueller
investigation. Plus, the FCC decision that could give the President access
to a vast television empire.

And that`s the bottom line.

HAYES: And about that working vacation.

TRUMP: Everyone having a good time?

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. On the 200th day of
his Presidency, on the collapse of his first major legislative effort, a
cascade of staff shake-ups and new Chief of Staff installed to discipline
the White House, the President of the United States kicked off the first
full day of summer vacation with a long string of rage tweets. His
approval rating now stands at 38 percent in Gallup`s Daily Tracking Poll,
33 percent in the latest Quinnipiac survey. So early this morning, the
President tweeted “the Trump base is far bigger and stronger than ever
before despite some phony fake news polling. Look at rallies in Penn,
Ohio, Iowa and West Virginia. The facts is the fake news Russian collusion
story, record stock market, border security, military strength, jobs,
Supreme Court pick, economic enthusiasm, deregulation and so much more have
driven the Trump base even closer together will never change.”

Coming from the chief executive of the country of almost 330 million
people, it`s a remarkable emission about who this President cares about,
who he considers his true constituents. Even among his core supporters,
however, there are real signs of erosion. In that Quinnipiac poll, for
example, Republican enthusiasm, the president has fallen sharply. From 67
percent who strongly approved of his job performance last month down to a
43 percent today, a 14-point drop. Even the White House Counselor
Kellyanne Conway who coined the term alternative facts acknowledged there`s
a problem.


CONWAY: His approval rating among Republicans and Conservative Trump
voters is down slightly. It needs to go up. They are telling him, just
enact your program. Don`t worry about Congress that isn`t supporting
legislation to get big ticket items done and don`t worry about the all the
distractions and diversions and discouragement that others who are still
trying to throw logs in your path are throwing your way.


HAYES: The President is concerned about shoring up his base comes just as
he seems to be losing his grip on the Republican Lawmakers who have been
increasingly willing to defy him in public. While the President has
demanded the Senate try again on ObamaCare repeal before moving on to other
business, Republican Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee
and a frequent defender of the administration responded we`re not going
back to health care, we`re in tax now. As far as I`m concerned, they shot
their wad on health care and that`s the way it is. Senators Office later
explained that was an old-fashioned military metaphor.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that a number of high profile
Republicans including notably the current Vice President of the United
States have already begun a shadow campaign of 2020 amid new doubts of the
President`s political future. The Vice President strenuously denied the
Time`s conclusions calling the article disgraceful and offensive but he did
not dispute any of its reporting on his recent political activity. It is
no coincidence that those early rumblings have begun just as the Russian
investigation seems to be accelerating. There are reports that Special
Counsel Robert Mueller is now making use of a Washington, D.C. based Grand
Jury. Democratic Senator Blumenthal responded to those reports in an
interview this morning.


SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: There is no minimizing or
underestimating that attack by Russia. It was purposeful and relentless
and it involved propaganda and hacking into our voting machines or at least
an attempt to do it and potential collusion by the Trump campaign and
obstruction of justice. That investigation must be pursued.


HAYES: Almost exactly ten minutes later the President tweeted interesting
to watch Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut talking about hoax
Russian collusion when he was a phony Vietnam con artist. Never in U.S.
history has anyone lied or defrauded voters like Senator Blumenthal. He
told stories about his Vietnam battles and conquests, how brave he was and
it was all a lie. He cried like a baby and begged for forgiveness like a
child and now he judges collusion? Now, much of that is untrue.
Blumenthal was called several years ago misrepresenting his military
service. He did serve in the Marine Reserves during the Vietnam Era after
taking several military deferments but never saw combat overseas.

We should note the also President received multiple deferments but did not
serve in the military despite coming of age during Vietnam years. Now,
this afternoon, the President took one more shot at Blumenthal.
(INAUDIBLE) “I think Senator Blumenthal should take a nice long vacation in
Vietnam where he lied about his service so he can at least say he was
there. And joining me now is Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat from
Connecticut, Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, your response to the

BLUMENTHAL: There is an ongoing Special Council investigation. It is
real. It is based on real facts. That`s the issue that really matters and
that`s where our focus. Should be national security and rule of law are at
risk and those challenges ought to be where our attention goes. It really
is not about me.

HAYES: I understand that and I understand why you`re saying that and it`s
a substantive matter that I understand why you would - you would hold to
that. As a human being, what is your reaction when the President of the
United States goes on a rant about you?

BLUMENTHAL: I won`t be distracted by these bullying tweets. If anything,
they strengthen my resolve and determination to work for protecting the
Special Counsel against exactly these tactics of bullying and intimidating
and that`s the reason that I have joined with two other Republicans and
four of us Democrats in sponsoring bills that would protect the Special
Counsel required judicial review. The three-judge panel who would have to
find good cause, which is defined in the statute, before Donald Trump could
fire Bob Mueller. And there are growing ominous threats, tweets and
warnings that we`ve seen, the world has seen that we`re heading toward a
collision between Bob Mueller and the President of the United States.

HAYES: Do tweets like today change your assessment of the President`s
fitness for office?

BLUMENTHAL: My determination is to make sure that Special Counsel
investigation which will uncover the truth about Russian meddling in our
election, about potential Trump campaign collusion with it and the later
allegations of obstruction of justice are fully uncovered. And the
criminal charges are sought where appropriate. My opinions don`t matter as
much as what facts are. There are real facts here and the Special Counsel
has to uncover them. And his credibility and capacity to do this
investigation are very much at stake. That`s one of the reasons why we
want to send a message to Republicans for Democrats that this kind of
constitutional crisis can be avoided and must be avoided and the
investigation will continue.

HAYES: What makes you say, you say there is a collision course here?
Obviously, there were signs the President was interested in getting rid of
Jeff Sessions and he launched a similar kind of barrage of tweets and Jeff
Sessions and kind of aggressively - passive aggressive fashion for about a
week. He seems to have laid off there. Do you think the coast is clear?

BLUMENTHAL: The coast is by no means clear. He has drawn red lines around
his financial dealings. He`s called the investigation a witch hunt and a
hoax and he has said or tried to urge that other areas be declared out of
bounds but the point is, nothing should be out of bounds for this Special
Prosecutor in pursuing and uncovering the facts. And obviously he may well
be reacting to what the Special Counsel is doing, assembling a team of
highly expert and seasoned prosecutors, battle tested as well as now using
a Grand Jury. And the Grand Jury affords some permanence and protection to
the Special Counsel because it is an arm of the court. The President can
take the extreme step and egregious step of trying to fire Bob Mueller but
he can`t fire the Grand Jury and he can`t fire the District Court.

HAYES: I admire your discipline here. And I`m going to try to ask this
one more way because I think a lot of people wake up to tweets like from
the President of the United States and (INAUDIBLE) they`ve been an
assessment of his character still find it shocking frankly. So I guess, do
you understand why people see something like that. This volley of
extremely mean-spirited aggressive and almost obsessive tweets, do you
understand why people ask the question, what is wrong with this individual
when they see tweets like that?

BLUMENTHAL: I understand a lot of the frustration and disappointment with
the administration when I view policies on immigration. The failed health
care proposal that was truly cruel and costly. The absence of an
infrastructure plan which is a tragedy if we fail to take advantage of this
opportunity as well as really important policies on tax reform and
improving our health care, those challenges are where our focus should be
along with the Special Counsel investigation. And I think that it is truly
not about me, but about challenges this nation faces and has to address

HAYES: All right, Senator Richard Blumenthal, I appreciate your time

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

HAYES: I`m joined now by Jennifer Rubin, Conservative Columnist from the
Washington Post and Lanhee Chen, a Research Fellow at Hoover Institution at
Stanford University and Adviser to Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio`s
Presidential Campaigns. Lanhee, let me start with you. The report in the
New York Times about the shadow 2020 campaign was very interesting. The
response from Mike Pence was of great umbrage and offense but the actual
reporting that he has this super PAC vehicle, that he`s been raising money,
that he goes to Iowa, all of that was not disputed. What do you make of
that report?

I think there are two sides to this, Chris. On the one hand, he`s got a
constituency of one that he`s looking at which is the President of the
United States. He`s got to be sure to make absolutely clear publicly what
his position is. On the other hand, he is no fool. He understands the
political circumstances that we`re in. He understands where we`re at in
terms of the Russia investigation and potential problems that President may
have going forward. So he is doing the prudent thing and that is investing
in politically what his future might be with or without Donald Trump. So,
I think we have to understand this through two different lenses and his
response as fervent as it was, was clearly aimed at the President.

HAYES: Right. That was clear to me. And Jennifer it seems there`s - you
know, there`s two kind of constituencies here the President has it keep his
eye on. One is the base and one is the sort of the institutional
Republican Party. So if Pence and others represent the institutional
Republican Party, I thought Kellyanne Conway`s admission on a TV show that
President`s approval rating among Trump voters was remarkable because she
is not inclined to ever give an inch on that. And that to me said that
they have a very keen eye on where that base is.

and they do have a problem. They have a problem not only in their overall
numbers going down, they have a problem that even with the - in their base,
they`re much less enthusiastic about the President. So I`m sure this is of
concern to them. You know, it`s very interesting how sensitive the
President is to anyone else who gets any amount of attention. Whether it
is Steve Bannon, whether it`s his new Chief of Staff, whether it`s his Vice
President, so it is a difficult task to assert oneself in this
administration without getting knocked down to size.

That said, I think actually the most important thing that Mike Pence could
do to prepare for 2020 would be to stay as far away from the independent -
with the Special Prosecutor as possible. He shouldn`t comment on it, he
shouldn`t attack, he may be President one day sooner than we think. And if
anything on his, I think, focus should be on steering clear of that, doing
his job, addressing policy issues, and yes he`s going to have to get out
and do some politicking. But really the real danger for him is he gets
immersed in this and then come, I don`t know, 2018, 2019, 2020, the two of
them are then implicated and that would be disastrous for the party and for
him personally.

HAYES: You know, the President Lanhee, was tweeting a lot about his record
and there is one part about that that I think is true, right, which is the
macroeconomic numbers are quite good. They`re - this is the first six
months of Trump job creation which are almost exactly the same as job
creation in the last six months of Obama but a million new jobs at it, the
Dow is very high. There are these sort of broad macroeconomic indicators
which the President is trumping and any President would because president`s
get blamed when the economy is bad but it also is a reminder that these
are his numbers when the economy is good and I wonder if you think that is
in the back of the mind of the White House?

CHEN: It`s a big challenge. I mean, going forward if the economy hits any
kind of difficulty and by the way, one measure that we haven`t seen much
progress on is wage growth. We`re still seeing a large scale of wage
stagnation particularly amongst middle-income people and working class
Americans, people that might be in the Trump base. And you`re absolutely
right, the concern that is, if the economy goes south, by the way, be the
stock market is historically fickle. I don`t think anybody really wants to
be claiming credit one way or the other for the stock market.

I get that it was irresistible for Presidents to do but at the end of the
day, the stock market is a very fickle measure but if you look at wages, if
you look at the growth of the economy, the growth our gross domestic
product, if you look at the jobs numbers, all of these look fine now. The
question is how are they going to look if they begin to turn south
particularly in the wage front that I said earlier. So, this is a very
difficult situation and all of these Trump voters, the people who supported
the President, their biggest issue is going to be the economy. The manager
of that economy is going to be critical.

HAYES: Well, that`s - that`s the question I think for you, Jennifer is
ultimately you know, this bedrock - the bedrock question of whether people
feel like they`re doing better or not is going to be about to some extent
the material conditions and in some sense, they`re sense of whether the
President is looking out for them. I wonder what you think ultimately wins
out in the end.

RUBIN: I think there is a reality that is beginning to set in that is, he
is not doing very much for them. The fact that stock market is going gang
busters is not really of much consequence to the guy in a rust belt town
who thought Donald Trump would was going to bring back the steel industry
or coal industry or whatever else he promised. So, this was a guy who
tried to take away their health care, this is a guy whose trade policies
are going to hurt rural America because agriculture exports are essential
for them. They haven`t seen an infrastructure bill. They haven`t seen
much at all. So at some point, these voters do say as voters are always
want to say, what about me? What have you done for me lately? And to the
extent he does not do that and does not deliver, there will be a
diminishment of enthusiasm for him.

HAYES: Lanhee, do you anticipate that Republicans in the sort of upper
echelon of the donor class will continue a kind of game of hedging behind
the scenes about what is going to happen should the President get into
serious trouble?

CHEN: I don`t see why they wouldn`t. I mean, donors are notorious for
hedging their bets in less volatile political situations than this one. So
it wouldn`t surprise me at all if they are trying to think at the back of
their minds, what are we doing as we go towards 2020? The big bell weather
is going to be what happens in 2018. If Republicans get pasted, if they
don`t do particularly well at the ballot box in November of 2018, that`s
going to send a lot of these donors s running and those that place their
bets earlier are going to be in a better position than those that placed
them later.

HAYES: All right, Jennifer Rubin and Lanhee Chen, thank you both.

Still ahead, why Trump TV is coming into your home, whether you like it or
not inside the FCC`s controversial decision on Sinclair Broadcasting coming
up. But first, one of the key figures in the Russia investigation breaks
his silence on the Special Prosecutor, next.


HAYES: Arguably the most crucial figure in the unfolding Russia
investigation isn`t Special Counsel Robert Mueller but the man who has the
power to fire him. That would be the Deputy Attorney General Rod
Rosenstein who also happens to be the man who hired him. And yesterday,
Rosenstein appeared on television and answered questions about whether he
agreed there were red lines that Mueller`s investigation should not cross.


ROD ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: The Special Counsel is subject to
the rules and regulations of the Department of Justice and we don`t engage
in fishing expeditions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the course of his investigation of the issues that
he is looking at if he finds evidence of a crime, can he look that?

ROSENSTEIN: If he finds evidence of a crime that`s within the scope of
what Director Mueller and I have agreed is the appropriate scope of the
investigation, then he can. If it`s something outside that scope, he needs
to come to the Acting Attorney General at this time, me, for permission to
expand his investigation.


HAYES: Joining me now, Nick Akerman, former Assistant Special Watergate
Prosecutor and former U.S. Attorney for Southern District of New York and
MSNBC Terrorism Analyst Malcolm Nance, Author of the Plot to Hack America.
What do you make of that response?

just shows how broad this investigation is. If you look at the Justice
Department guidelines that set up the Mueller Special Counsel, I mean, it
really gives him incredibly broad power. It talks about anybody who is
involved in the collusion with the Russians between Russians and Trump
campaign but then goes on to say anything arising out of that directly
arising out of that investigation. So, wherever this investigation takes
them, he`s pretty much going to be able to go there. I mean, you`re not
going to have a situation like he did with Ken Starr, where and all of a
sudden there`s a Monica Lewinski shows up, which has nothing to do with
what they were investigating in the first place. But if you just take
exactly what they have, there is a lot of ground to cover.

HAYES: The question I have for you Malcolm is about the time line here and
it`s something that you`ve spoken about before, about the way that the sort
of threshold, the evidentiary threshold in the intelligence versus the
evidentiary threshold in the U.S. Court, which is are quite different, and
the latter could take a lot more time in terms of working through something
that you could bring before court.

said this in testimony before Congress. He said, I`m not in the evidence
business, I`m in the intelligence business, which is absolutely correct.
You know, Trey Gowdy -

HAYES: You should read that in a lot of different ways, by the way.

NANCE: Well, it`s true. But you know, Trey Gowdy which tried to goad him
into saying, what is the evidence that you have? And people are actually
arguing today that well, there`s no evidence. Intelligence is data points
of information which may be come from a myriad of desparic points, that,
until they are in the hands of someone like my associate here, Nick, is not

HAYES: Right.

NANCE: It`s within the constellation of information and once it`s in
Justice Department`s hands and they work it up as part of a case, then it
becomes evidence.

HAYES: Well, but then there`s a - there`s a constitutional bar that you
have to cross here which we`ve seen at the beginning of that process of the
Grand Jury, right, because that`s part of the sort of procedure that you
meet these evidentiary thresholds. But here`s also this question of time.
I mean, I think that`s in the front line now for everyone is. Are we
looking at two months, 12months, 18 months, what - and to have this hanging
over everyone it`s almost intolerable to all different sides of the
political spectrum.

AKERMAN: It took two years from the appointment of Archibald Cox, who was
the Watergate Special Prosecutor until Nixon resigned. So, I mean, the
criminal system and criminal justice system and investigative process take
a lot of time. If I had to compare this entire investigation to anything
that I had done in the past, it really comes down to these Mafia
investigations where I would be investigating organized crime, bosses,
trying to figure out who the legitimate businessmen supposedly were that
were involved with them.

I mean, there you had very long investigations, you had individuals with
long relationships with the individuals that were being investigated. And
these are not one-shot crimes with people who just come in and out. I
mean, it`s very much like we have here. You got Donald Trump going back to
1980s with the Russians. The Russians are very much like the Mafia.
You`ve got people who`ve been in there for a long time. Look at Putin, I
mean, he is somebody who has risen up from the KBG, it`s kind of like the
capo di tutti capo.

HAYES: Right.

AKERMAN: And you`ve got all of these other people that are around him and
then you get to the G-9 meeting and who shows up but the people who brought
Trump in in the first place back with the Miss Universe Pageant.

HAYES: Not only - not only that that, you have and we saw this in that
meeting, right. You have ways if operating that have been developed for
the - explicitly for the purpose of plausible deniability for dual meanings
to every - I mean, when you talk about organized crime and in fact in
Russia there`s quite a connection between the state and organized crime are
in many nations. But that`s what the issue.

NANCE: Vladimir Putin made his bones using the ex-KGB to reign in the St.
Petersburg Mafia and then weaponize them as a component of the state up
until this day. He knows how to run an organized crime ring. But can I
just call attention to the fact that you know, Special Counsel Mueller has
brought in some of the top organized crime and criminal financial squad of
experts in the history of the United States? 16 of them and only one
specialist in counterintelligence, which means -

HAYES: That`s fascinating. Right, which means what?

NANCE: Which means that he is going to find out, just any of these links,
any of these relationships related to finance were they originated as part
of a Russian intelligence operation does, are they marionette puppets of
the Kremlin.

HAYES: But now to go back to your point is I remember growing up in New
York City in the 1980s where there were always these big high profile Mafia
trials, right?

AKERMAN: Absolutely.

HAYES: And a lot of them resulted in acquittals.

AKERMAN: Not all of them. No.

HAYES: No, but -

AKERMAN: There are few.

HAYES: But pointing they are hard cases to make.

AKERMAN: They are.

HAYES: A bunch of reasons precisely because the mechanisms by which these
operations are run are precisely run to avoid detection and to sort of

AKERMAN: You have to be very creative to convict these people. I mean,
using the racketeering statutes, being able to put a lot of cooperating
witnesses together. When I was an assistant, I was able to convict
Fonzitere who was the boss of the Genovese family in the capo di tutti
capo. I mean, you have to really go out and be very creative to do this
and you`ve got the same thing here. Look at Donald Trump, Felix Sater, he
was involved with the Russian mob and the Italian mob.

HAYES: Let me just say this. For the record, it`s the same thing here.
We are talking about people who have not been charged with any crime, they
have not been indicted. They are American citizens who are innocent until
proven guilty, thank God under the constitutional system.

AKERMAN: Exactly.

HAYES: Just to make that clear.


NANCE: Absolutely. You shift from intelligence, this counter intelligence
investigation, this spy hunt which is where this operation started. With
the FISA Warrant looking for somebody who`s in direct communication,
continuous communication with Russian intelligence. That can be worked out
for a very long time before you pass on and start doing the RICO Act type
operations against them in the Justice Department.?

HAYES: And you have now Michael Flynn information being sought about him
from the White House which is also I think an indicator of which where
things are going. Nick Akerman and Malcolm Nance, thank you, both

AKERMAN: Thank you.

HAYES: Still ahead, the controversial decision to allow a conservative
take over for a local television news. How the FCC got to the brink of
creating a pro-Trump monopoly, next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bottom line is this. General Kelly will bring more
organization and precision into the White House. Having said that, he is
not coming in to revamp the Trump Presidency but to unleash the full
potential of it.


HAYES: That was former Trump Campaign Senior Adviser Boris Epshteyn, who
now has a job as Chief Political Analyst at a powerful media entity that
has largely flown under the radar. Sinclair Broadcast Group is the
Nation`s largest TV broadcaster and owns more than 170 local TV stations
around the country. If you live in say, Scranton, Pennsylvania or
Syracuse, New York, three of your local stations are owned by Sinclair.
And they take a pretty hands-on approach. Boris Epshteyn`s segments with
their decidedly pro-Trump administration spin are designated as must-run
when they`re distributed to all of those 170 stations.

Meaning those stations must include them in their local news broadcast, and
they are. Sinclair also makes its stations run scare mongering terrorist
alert desk segments which often feature stories of questionable news value.
During the campaign, its station is a package that suggest in part that
voters should not support Hillary Clinton because the Democratic Party was
historically pro slavery. Sinclair also sends out packages on the news of
the day often with a pro Trump spin for local news anchor who read word for
word as noted on the recent addition of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did the FBI have a personal vendetta in pursuing the
Russia investigation of President Trump`s former National Security Adviser
Michael Flynn?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did the FBI have a personal vendetta in pursuing the
Russia investigation of President Trump`s former National Security Adviser
Michael Flynn?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the FBI have a personal vendetta -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: - in pursuing the Russia investigation of -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: - President Trump`s former National Security Adviser
Michael Flynn?


HAYES: Sinclair`s Vice President of News Scott Livingston cast its
coverage as a corrected to mainstream media bias.

sure you know about the troubling trend of irresponsible and one-side news
stories plaguing our country. The sharing of bias and false news has
become all too common on social media. More alarming, national media
outlets are publishing these fake news stories without fact checking.

Unfortunately, some members of the national media are using their platforms
to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people
think. This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.


HAYES: Now, it would be one thing if Sinclair was up front about its own
personal agenda and bias, but most viewers don`t know whether Sinclair owns
their local station or if their local anchors are being forced reading to
what amounts to pro-Trump propaganda between the sports and the weather.

Now, the Trump administration is poised to reward Sinclair by changing FCC
regulations to allow the company to own more stations. That is next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a message for certain students. Listen up
closely, snowflake. Yes, I`m talking to you, you, the social justice
warning who whines for trigger warnings and safe spaces, college isn`t baby
sitting service. It`s time to grow up, snowflake.


HAYES: OK. That`s a taste of what you might have seen on your local news,
at least if your local news station is owned by Sinclair Broadcasting, a
relatively obscure media behemoth that unbeknownst to most of its viewers
insists its stations run these right-leaning commentaries and news

Now, Sinclair already owns more than 170 stations in 81 markets, covering
an estimated 38 percent of U.S. households and it wants to get bigger.

A proposed $3.9 billion deal to buy Tribune Media would give Sinclair
another 42 stations and
ability to reach 72 percent of U.S. households. Now, that level of
dominance of the airwaves by a single company is supposed to be outside the
bounds of the law. But this spring, President Trump`s very pro-business
FCC chairman, Republican Ajit Pai invoked a controversial loophole in the
law that would allow the deal to go through. And now, despite heated
opposition, the deal is widely expected to
be improved.

Joining me now, MSNBC media analyst Gabe Sherman, social correspondent for
Vanity Fair.

So, I want to start with the – just how people know whether they are
watching a Sinclair station, which is that – I mean, how do they know?

GABE SHERMAN, VANITY FAIR: The truth is, they don`t. I mean, Sinclair
owns affiliates all over the country affiliated with the big networks. And
if you are watching your local ABC, NBC or Fox affiliate in a market you
may have no idea that the corporate owner of this network has a political
point of view. Sinclair does not brand its networks. We are – like Fox
News would say, we are a conservative network where Fox News, the viewers
would know that. Sinclair does not market itself as the owner of these

HAYES: Yeah, and there is a difference between local affiliates – I mean,
when I grew up in New York I would think of the network as the association,


HAYES: But outside of the major markets like you could watching ABC in one
market that is Sinclair owned and NBC in another, or CBS in another, and
they`re just owned by Sinclair, that those numbers – those letters don`t
really mean anything in terms of the news program.

SHERMAN: Of course. And that is really why this is such a sea change
possibly in the American media landscape where you have ideologically
predisposed company that could push its message behind the curtain of
objective news.

I mean, this also we should just put in the context of a generational quest
by Republicans to change the media landscape in their favor going back to
1987 when Ronald Reagan FCC – Ronald Reagan`s FCC repealed the fairness
doctrine, which allows one point of view, which gave raise to talk radio.
We are seeing the rise of potentially right wing broadcasting in

HAYES: Sort of a talk radioization of local news.

SHERMAN: Exactly.

HAYES: And how – I mean, controversial is the approval of the deal

SHERMAN: Well, you talk to people in the media industry whether or not
they are ideologically aligned with Sinclair and they say this is very
controversial. And in fact Rupert Murdoch has now made overtures for Fox
to acquire more local stations because they don`t want a corporate
competitor like Sinclair to be competing with them.

You know, there used to be laws in place that prevented the corporate
overlords to buy up all the local markets, because you did not want to have
a homogeneous point of view. And now that these regulations are being
repealed there is nothing to say that NBC or Comcast could go and buy up
local stations.

HAYES: Yeah, we should be clear that part of that deregulation was the
Telecommunications Act under President Bill Clinton, which allowed multiple
outlets in markets to be owned.

There is also – I mean, it seems like there is a little bit, at least, a
faint whiff of quid pro quo here.

SHERMAN: Well, this is – you know, I`ve been thinking about this a lot
today. You know, this is in a certain way the definition of the swamp that
Donald Trump wanted to change when he came to office. You know, Sinclair
is pushing pro-Trump segments. They hired one of his former campaign
staffers, Boris Epstein, and now the Trump White House is passing
regulation to favor their media ally.

I mean, this is, you know, a sort of symbiotic relationship that should be,
anyone who is on the position of being against crony capitalism, they
should not reward this behavior.

HAYES: Yeah. We should note that decision, the final decision has not
been made. There are still public comments that you can make on the FCC`s
website one way or another. And then there will be responses. So, the
decision is not yet made, although a lot of people placing their bets it
will be approved.

Gabe Sherman, thank you.

SHERMAN: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, good news and bad news for Democrats with eyes on taking
back the House in 2018. Congressman Keith Ellison on the state of play

But first, what a working vacation really looks like in tonight`s Thing 1
Thing 2 next.


HAYES: Thing 1 tonight, meetings and calls. The President is spending 17
days at the golf club he owns in Bedminster, New Jersey. The President had
to vacate the White House during these two weeks for preplanned

It is not at all abnormal for a President to vacation in August. President
Obama vacationed in
Martha`s vineyard every August, except during his 2012 re-election

Now, President Trump really does not want to admit this is a vacation.
Tweeting on Saturday, “This is not a vacation, meetings and calls.”

Dan Scavino,the President`s social media director and, fun fact, his former
golf caddy, is helping
reinforce the President`s hard work at the golf course.

“Rainy day at summer White House in Bedminster, New Jersey. #TeamTrump
keeping very busy working with @POTUS @realDonaldTrump to #MAGA”, along
with the photo of a rainy
golf course.

Just another day of meetings and calls on this non vacation, right?

There would be no way to know if it weren`t for the members and visitors of
Trump`s golf club and their copious social media accounts.

President Trump doing exactly what his golf club advertised he would do.
That`s thing 2 in 60 seconds.


HAYES: When the New York Times profiled President Trump`s golf course in
Bedminster, New Jersey for the style section in June, this nugget on
weddings held at the club stuck out.

“When I was there I was given a marketing brochure that made the following
pledge. If he is on site for your big day, he will likely stop in and
congratulate the happy couple. He may take some photos with you, but we ask
you and your guests to be respectful of his time and privacy”.

A spokeswoman for the club says the brochure has been discontinued.
Advertised or not, by now, everyone knows the President crashing your
wedding is a feature. He has done it before at Trump
properties, so naturally photos and videos popped up this weekend of
President Trump taking time away from meetings and calls to greet paying


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone`s been cleared.

for you all over here? Where is the bride and groom?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re off taking pictures, but maybe later.

TRUMP: Well I`ll be right over here. Everyone having a good time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Having a great time. Beautiful course.

HAYES: There`s good news and bad news for Democrats in the mid term

President Trump`s approval ratings are hovering around historic lows,
hitting 38% in the Gallup tracking poll, with 57% disapproval.

In this year`s special elections, Georgia, Kansas, South Carolina and
Montana, Democrats beat past performance and expectations, and in various
state races Democrats are winning seats previously
considered bright red.

Last month Democrats won two state legislative seats in Oklahoma, a state
where Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by more than 36 points.

In May a former Bernie Sanders delegate won a New York State Assembly seat
in pro
Trump district, and in traditionally Republican New Hampshire district
elected a Democrat for State House for the first time ever according to the
state Democratic party.

That`s all good news for Democrats. The bad news about next year`s
election? Well, to quote Dave Wasserman at FiveThirtyEight today, “even if
Democrats were to win every single 2018 House and Senate race for seats
representing places that Hillary Clinton won or that Trump won by less than
3 percentage points, they could still fall short of House majority and
lose five Senate seats.”

How on earth that math is possible, next.


HAYES: While Donald Trump`s low approval ratings could hurt Republicans in
2018, there are
more than a few factors working against Democrats in the 2018 midterm
elections. Chief among those is the simple reality of the election map. In
the Senate, 23 Democratic seats, as well as two belong to
Independents who caucus with Democrats will be up for grabs.

Ten of the seats come from states that voted for the President last year.
In contrast, only eight Republicans total will be on the ballot. And of
those, only Deen Heller in Nevada represents a state won by Hillary

The Senate favors sparsely populated rural states over densely populated
urban ones. Every state gets two Senators regardless of the population.

In the Senate, Wyoming`s not even 600, 000 people have the same weight as
California`s more than 39 million people.

So, if the Democrats cluster in those highly urban, densely populated
states, they wind up with less representation in the U.S. Senate.

All of that left led one political watcher to tell Business Insider, quote,
“If the Democrats avoid a net loss that would be a significant victory and
Republicans can make a small Senate gain even under poor conditions next

Joining me now, Congressman Keith Ellison from Minnesota, he`s the Deputy
Chair of the Democratic National Committee, and Christina Greer, Associate
Professor of Political Science at Fordham University who tweeted about
attending gerrymandering camp today, which I`m going to
ask you about in a moment.

I`m going to start with you, congressman. Before I get to the topic at
hand, I do want to ask about the bombing of a mosque in Bloomington,
Minnesota which is adjacent to your district.

The governor has called it an act of terrorism. The White House has said
the President is being briefed on it. I want to know if the President has
reached out to you or to your knowledge anyone
in Minnesota about that attack.

reached out at all. We`re looking forward to hearing from him.

The fact is that when leaders stand silent when people are targets of
terrorists attacks, that in the minds of some may be interpreted at
condoning that, and so we definitely am looking forward to the President
condemning this cowardly act of terrorism against religious institution of

I was there yesterday, Governor Dayton has responded with tremendous
leadership, along with representatives Omar and representative Carlson and
Mayor Gene Winston, who is a Republican by
the way has been on hand and has been wonderful.

There`s been a spike in anti-Muslim hate and hate crimes. It`s not just
this incident but for the whole rash of anti-Muslim hatred that`s been
happening under the Trump administration`s watch, it is
important for the President to make it clear that he does not approve of

HAYES: Let me segue off of that – I should note that as far as I know no
one was injured in that attack.

ELLISON: Nobody was physically injured but there`s a psychological and
emotional damage that`s been inflicted.

HAYES: I want to ask a related question which is about how the Democrats
work on this map.
In places where the various parts of the very diverse base that constitute
the Democratic party are not necessarily present.

So, Democrats won by 3 million votes in the popular election but if they
want to take back
the House and the Senate they`ve got to win in lots of places that are not
rich with the kind of voters that tend to vote heavy Democratic.

What is your read on how the party goes about doing that?

ELLISON: The Democratic party has to compete in every single precinct in
the United States by talking about the core issues that affect people and
going door to door and going directly to people and delivering that message
that we`re the party who believes you should be able to go to the doctor
when you`re sick. They don`t believe it.

We`re the party that believes we need to do something about climate.
They`re pulling out of the
Paris Climate Accord.

We`re the people who believe we need good jobs and increasing in the
minimum wage. They`re against that. They`re the ones who want to give tax
break to big corporations. We believe working people need a break.

So the bottom line is that what we`re talking about sells every single inch
of this country, but what we`ve got to do is what we`ve been doing this
summer. We have a program called Resistance Summer, which puts canvassing
all over the map in the United States and where the Democrats are telling
the story to Americans everywhere all of the time.

So we`ve been able to be active in New Hampshire recently. Oklahoma, we`ve
been active and
on the ground winning local and state seats which is where we`ve really got
to win.

So, I feel the real secret sauce of the Democratic party is got to be
activism, Grassroots engagement, up front relationship building.

HAYES: So, Christina, you`re at gerrymandering camp and one of the
obstacles despite however well you want to make campus and however
persuasive one might be, is the nature of House districts (inaudible), what
are you learning about how big a structural impediment the current
constitution of those districts is?

CHRISTINA GREER, FORHAM UNIVERSITY: This is – you know, this is the new
frontier and obviously something we need to be vigilant about. Local and
State House races, especially State Houses are incredibly important because
they`re the ones after the census, they`re the ones that get to decide how
we redraw the districts.

It`s not just about going door to door and making sure that we galvanize
everyone, it`s also making sure we have people in the pipeline so that
they`re ready to run for these offices in the State House.

It`s clear that black women, as Jason Johnson who`s a friend of the show
has said many times before, black women are the kryptonite to the
Republican Party, and so it would behoove the Democratic Party to cultivate
black women as not just voters but also as candidates so they can win some
of these seats because these are the elected officials who can decide how
the districts get redrawn.

HAYES: There`s a lot of districts Democrats are going to have to win that
are overwhelmingly

I mean there`s places where in order to flip the house, right, that you`re
talking about huge
swaths of districts that are 90% white, 92% white where obviously turn out
of people of color and
leadership and political engagement people of color is crucial.

But the way the map works and the way that sort of racial geographic
segregation of America
works, there`s these districts that the Democrats – a nut they have to
crack, right?

GREER: Right, and I think we have to look at partisan gerrymandering we`re
looking at racialized gerrymandering, but we also have to recognize that
yes, if this is a majority White country , then let`s actually cultivate
some talent. Either younger talent, female talent. Because right now the
Democrats are chasing this white working class male voter that in many ways
is like the Loch Ness monster.

You know, they have left in a lot of ways, so we need to figure out another
strategy to recapture some of these State Houses. If not, in 2020 when the
census is taken again and in 2021 and 2022
when the State Houses have the opportunity to redraw the districts, the
Democrats will be yet again be left out in the cold and even worse than it
was after the 2010 census.

HAYES: Alright, Congressmen Keith Ellison and –

ELLISON: You know, Chris, I would have to say that I agree with much of
what was said but I would disagree that the Democratic party is chasing
white male voters.

We`re chasing candidates who can speak to the economic realities of the
people who live near
them, their voters, and some of those people may not be the same race as
the people who are the majority who live there. And so we`ve got to get
people who can speak authentically about the fact that so many people are
just struggling to get food on the table in this economy. And of course we
need black women candidates. I`m all in favor of that and want to promote
that. But we`ve got to get candidates who can really address the serious
problems everywhere, all across this country, whether it`s in Detroit,
Minneapolis, or in Western Ohio and Appalachia.

HAYES: All right, Congressman Keith Ellison, Christina Greer, thank you
for joining me.

That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts now with
Joy Reid in for Rachel. Good evening, Joy.


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