Media coverage of Trump’s bad faith attacks. TRANSCRIPT: 5/28/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests:
David Cicilline, Linda Chavez, Melissa Murray, Richard Blumenthal, Coral Davenport, Dan Kanninen
Transcript:

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  We`ll tackle the issues in the minds of

primary voters in California, a state that will have a big influence in

2020.  And tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, tonight, Sen. Kamala Harris joins

Lawrence O`Donnell for a live town hall down in South Carolina.

 

And that`s HARDBALL for now.  “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts right now.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST:  Tonight on ALL IN.

 

REP. JUSTIN AMASH (R-MI):  I`m reading any interesting tweets lately.

 

HAYES:  The lone Republican in Congress calling for the impeachment of

Donald Trump takes his argument to the people.

 

AMASH:  It is a difficult process to remove someone from office.

 

HAYES:  Tonight, how Justin Amash made his argument for impeachment to

voters in Michigan.

 

AMASH:  I think it`s really important that we do our job as a Congress.

 

HAYES:  And why there aren`t more in Congress following it.

 

AMASH:  That we not allow misconduct to go undeterred, that we not just say

someone can violate the public trust and that there are no consequences to

it.

 

HAYES:  Then, as the President pretends to go at Joe Biden from the left,

Lawrence O`Donnell on how the media can avoid weaponizing Donald Trump`s

bad faith attacks.  Plus, as Missouri moves to eliminate its last abortion

clinic, how the Supreme Court set ominous warnings on abortion rights

today.  And meet the man the White House wants to lead their push to

undermine climate science.

 

WILLIAM HAPPER, AMERICAN PHYSICIST:  The demonization of carbon dioxide is

just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler.

 

HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes.  Something pretty

remarkable happened just a few hours ago.  One of the most compelling

arguments made for impeachment anywhere in the country right now happens to

be coming from a conservative Republican Tea Party Freedom Caucus member

named Justin Amash.  You`ve probably heard of him.

 

What Amash did was simply read the Mueller report, and then after reading

it with zero apparent political upside and some very obvious downside, has

been issuing extremely well-argued tweet threads and statements calling for

the impeachment of the President of the United States who happens – also

happens to be the leader of his party.

 

And just a little while ago, Amash also did something that no one else has

done which is that he went into lion`s den to defend his position before

his own constituents in a district that Trump carried in 2016.  Michigan is

a state that narrowly voted for Donald Trump in 2016, the 3rd District

where Amash represents went for Trump by about ten points.

 

But if you thought a Republican congressman who called for the Republican

president be impeached would be torn apart in his home district, you would

be wrong.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  First, I want to salute your courage.  And that`s –

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Despite facing a mostly friendly audience, Amash did take questions

from a few Trump supporters who were not at all happy with his call for

impeachment to say the least.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You talk about the Constitution and how important

that is, but yet noting that Mueller came out within his report, nothing

that has been said about him and President Trump in it – and – is

constitutional and it`s been a smear attack because that`s how the

Democrats work.  This is what Mueller and the Democrats have all tried to -

- and the deep state, the bureaucrats, I don`t know if you`ve ever dealt

with a bureaucrat but it`s just mind-boggling that we have to deal with

them.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You have spent the last two years failing to do your

job which is to directly represent the popular will of your constituents. 

That is your job.

 

AMASH:  That`s not my job.  No, sorry.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I actually – I double-checked online before I wrote

that in my notes so it is your job.  You further know that impeachment

would tear this country apart if it went through and he was removed from

office.  It would cause the political upheaval in this country, people in

this generation had never seen before, possible civil war.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Amash as he did on Twitter clearly lead out his case for why

President Trump should be impeached.  He also didn`t hold back from

criticizing Republican leadership who had tried to marginalize him over the

last week.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

AMASH:  I`m confident that if you read volume two, you will be appalled at

much of the conduct, and I was appalled.  To me, the conduct was obviously

impeachable.  So then the question is do you then move forward with

impeachment proceedings?

 

In the Mueller report, he asked the White House Counsel to create a false

record.  Things like that to basically mislead people about a statement he

had made.  Things like that to me reflect incredible dishonesty and really

harm the office of the presidency.

 

You see countries around the world where people do not respect the rule of

law and they don`t care about the character of their leaders.  They don`t

care about the ethics of their leaders.  And in these countries, all that

matters is that your person is in power and as long as your persons in

power, that person is allowed to do whatever they want.

 

You saw what happened to me from our so-called leader Kevin McCarthy.  I

read the Mueller report, I`m sure he did not read it.  I stated what it

actually says and he just resorted to ad hominem attacks and other various

attacks that have nothing to do with the Mueller report.  This is the kind

of leadership in quotes that we now have in Congress.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Amash started with a Twitter thread last week and hasn`t slowed

down.  He caught everyone off guard very clearly.  But while Amash is going

out on a limb calling for impeachment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch

McConnell is reportedly already scheming on how he will shortcut his own

congressional constitutional duties.

 

Several Senate Republicans told the Hill that McConnell will quash any

impeachment articles that make it out of the House.  Senate Judiciary

Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham says “I think it would be disposed of

very quickly.”

 

In other words, Mitch McConnell, not for the first time planning to take a

process that is clearly in the Constitution and he`s mandated to do and use

sheer shameless will to power to destroy it.  Joining me now is one of the

Democratic Congressmen who has said it is time to launch impeachment

inquiry Congressman David Cicilline of Rhode Island, a member of the House

Judiciary Committee and chair of the House Democratic Policy and

Communications committee.

 

I am curious what goes through your head watching your Republican colleague

in that Town Hall in a Republican district had this conversation.

 

REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI):  Well, I admire Justin Amash very much.  I

don`t agree with him on a lot of issues, obviously, but I really respect

his courage, and I respect the conclusion he`s come to.  And I think there

are a growing number of members of my caucus who also think the time has

come to open an impeachment inquiry to consider whether or not it is

appropriate to move forward with articles of impeachment.

 

I, like Justin, read the entire Mueller report and all of the appendices. 

I think it`s hard to read that report and not come to a conclusion that the

president has committed offenses that are impeachable.  We know obstruction

of justice is one of them but I think it`s important.

 

Look, in addition to the president`s behavior that`s detailed in the

Mueller report trying to convince witnesses to lie, trying to fire special

counsel and the list goes on and on, the president has also sensed the

release of that report engaged in an ongoing cover-up to try to prevent

Congress from getting all of the facts and getting to the truth and acting

as if he`s above the law.

 

And no one in this country including the President of the United States is

above the law.  And that`s why I think the opening of an inquiry by the

Judiciary Committee, the formal beginning of this process is important not

only because of what setting up the Mueller report but because of the

behavior of the President engaging in an ongoing cover-up to prevent

Congress from doing its work.

 

HAYES:  So there`s two tracks here that I`ve been trying to really think

hard about.  I was thinking about this a lot over the weekend which is the

sort of substantive principle question, right.  Like do you think the

president committed impeachable offenses?  Do you think you know, putting

all politics aside he should be impeached for that as a sort of matter of

duty in the Constitution?

 

And in the political ramifications which someone in your position or any

position has to take into account if it meant the Democratic Party who

wiped off the face of the map electorally for 20 years, you guys probably

wouldn`t do it and that would be defensible.  What do you think about the

relationship continue those two things?  How do you think about those two

tracks?

 

CICILLINE:  I think, Chris, that this is a moment, a very grave moment for

our country.  I think that we have to set aside political considerations

for this reason.  No one really knows how this will play out in the end. 

And I think people who pretend that they do with certainty are making a

mistake.

 

So I think when you don`t know how it`s going to work out and there are

risks on both sides, you ought to do the right thing.  And it`s not about

just this president, it`s about upholding the rule of law, honoring our

Constitution and understand that this is also about future presidents, for

people who are watching this, and people around the world who are thinking

is this OK in the United States.

 

This is a question of what right and wrong.  I have confidence that if we

begin an impeachment inquiry and begin to lay out the evidence in hearings,

gather all of the witnesses and the documents and let the American people

see what the Mueller report says, let that report come to life, then we`ll

make the right judgment at the end of those proceedings and so will the

American people.

 

But you know, it`s like watching somebody rob a bank and you know, saying

oh my God, he committed a crime but I don`t know the jury may acquit him. 

You shouldn`t – you know, someone did something wrong, they need to be

held accountable.  The President of the United States is not above the law.

 

We were elected to hold him accountable.  That is our constitutional duty

and it`s a very dangerous precedent in my view if we don`t fulfill that

responsibility and we allow this lawless president to continue to engage in

misconduct.

 

HAYES:  There`s – there two arguments I hear on the other side of this

question.  And again, I don`t think these are crazy arguments.  They`re

persuasive you know, on the merits.  One is that the people just aren`t

there and there`s no point in pursuing this kind of thing without popular

support.  What do you think of that?

 

CICILLINE:  Well, first of all, I think that`s right, which is why I think

the way you build public support for this action is you open an inquiry and

you tell the American people the story.  When the Nixon impeachment inquiry

was opened, 19 percent of the people thought he should be impeached. 

 

By the time those hearings concluded and articles of impeachment were filed

seven months later, the vast majority the American people supported his

removal.  Today double that number, 38 percent think the president should

be removed.

 

So there`s certainly enough basis to start an inquiry and begin to tell the

story to the American people so they can see what conduct is at stake here

and if we build public support for this then that will resuscitate moving

forward.  If we don`t they`ll have to re-examine it.

 

But you know, people have to know what happened.  We have a responsibility

to tell them the story, to bring witnesses before the committee to tell

them about the President`s misconduct.

 

HAYES:  The other objections about sort of walking and chewing gum, I think

you feel confident others do that you can both pass bills like the Equality

Legislation you just passed or HR-1 and continue on this so we`ll see.  I

think, look, you`ve got a lot of time on your hands right now.

 

CICILLINE:  No, but Chris, it`s really important to make this point.  Look,

we`ve passed 100 pieces of legislation.  Legislation to drive down the cost

of prescription drugs, to guarantee equal pay for equal work, passing the

Equality Act, universal background checks.  We`re getting the work done for

the American people.  We also have to hold this administration accountable,

and no one is above – about we have to do both things and we have to say

that –

 

HAYES:  No one says don`t pass stuff from the House because McConnell is

going to kill it in the Senate anyway, right?

 

CICILLINE:  That`s right.  That`s right.

 

HAYES:  Congressman, Cicilline, thank you very much.  Joining me now, Linda

Chavez former Reagan administration official, Kurt Bardella former Senior

Adviser and Spokesperson for the House Oversight Committee under GOP

Congressman Darrell Issa, now an NBC News Contributor.

 

I thought the Amash town hall was fascinating for a number of reasons.  A,

I love town halls.  I think you know, politicians go interact their

constituents.  But Linda, I have no idea what that was going to be.  Is it

going to – was there going to be a ton of huge Trump diehards who`d sort

of motivated to come out and scream at him, a-la 2010 tea party?  Was it

going to be lots of the Liberals in the district or people who favor

impeachment who wanted to give him love, and how he would dealt with it. 

It was a remarkable to just watch him actually have the exchange.

 

LINDA CHAVEZ, FORMER REAGAN ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yes, it really was. 

And I was pleasantly surprised by it.  Yes, there were a couple of Trump

supporters the first woman was terribly inarticulate, the second woman made

her points but she didn`t want to hear the answers and I think they were

actually irrelevant to the discussion.

 

But it was somewhat heartening to think that people came, they listened,

and they admire him for standing up and doing what`s right.  And you know,

I served on the House Judiciary Committee staff during the time of

Watergate and watched as Larry Hogan Sr., the father of the current

governor of the state of Maryland was the one Republican who voted for all

three articles of impeachment.

 

HAYES:  That`s right.

 

CHAVEZ:  It has to start somewhere.

 

HAYES:  You know, Kurt, it`s also interesting to me just to – just –

there`s an idea right, that if you impeach the president, it will – it

will electrify his base.  And I was anticipating more of a folks in MAGA

hats at this Town Hall today for precisely that reason, right.  I mean,

it`s the first kind of real-world test of the thesis.

 

KURT BARDELLA, NBC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  Right.  Right.  Well, and again, I

think part of the issue though is, Chris, this president for reasons I`ll

never be able to wrap my arms around has an alarmingly high approval rating

with his base.  There`s really nothing more to get from that.  And I think

it also speaks to the old adage that they would say people hate Congress

but like their Congressman.

 

How people might react in Washington or on the media versus how people feel

in their district in their constituency with someone that they see day in

and day out in their own shopping center, in their own neighborhood,

someone that they`ve been used to seeing in their local communities. 

That`s a very different type of feeling on the ground versus here in

Washington or in New York.

 

And so I think you`re seeing that play out in this town hall where again,

we didn`t know what to expect.  It could have been anything.  It could`ve

been a free-for-all like we`ve seen before, it could have been something

very different.  What we saw was a district that knows their congressman

and respects someone actually coming forward and taking a position, taking

a definitive stance even though it cost them politically.  What a

refreshing idea that someone would actually do the right thing and not

worry about the next election.

 

HAYES:  Plus, Linda, what it was, I mean, when you thought back going back

to Watergate, I mean to me there`s – you know, there`s big constitutional

issues at stake which are not obviously resolved.  I mean, I obviously

leaned certain ways in terms of how I view the president`s conduct in

office.  But some kind of democratic exchange about what the expectation is

of what someone with the full power of the American state can and can`t get

away with, a conversation that we haven`t had in a formalized way as I was

watching his play out in the Town Hall.

 

CHAVEZ:  Well, I think that`s absolutely right and I agree with what the

congressman said.  But running in the back of my mind are the wise words of

my favorite political philosopher Omar Little of the series The Wire, who

said you come at the King, you best not miss, and I do worry about that.

 

HAYES:  What – elaborate on that because I hear that argument a lot that

basically if he`s impeached and acquitted in the Senate, it strengthens or

embolden the president.

 

CHAVEZ:  Well, I`m afraid of that.  I am afraid that it will make Congress

look impotent.  I think it will further damage the institution.  So I`m not

opposed to impeachment.  I think we`ve got to move forward with

investigations and I think Nancy Pelosi is taking the right track.  Let`s

get all of the information out there.  Let`s do the investigations and then

we will see how to proceed.

 

HAYES:  You know, it`s funny you bring that up, Kurt.  There was a piece

about the Iran dealing with sanctions over the weekend.  And one of the

points that was made by an analyst there was the threat of re-imposition of

sanctions actually proved to be bigger and weigh more heavily than their

actuality.  And one wonders here whether the threat of impeachment that

sort of always off stage can function in a similar way with respect to the

President or whether he interprets the lack of forward motion is

essentially a blank cheque.

 

BARDELLA:  I think he – I think this is the president who more than

anybody responds to force and strength.  We see it in his own behavior and

his own rhetoric.  And so what he sees is a Democratic Congress that`s

reluctant to wield the power that they`ve just been given in the last

midterm election.

 

I think that he sees hesitancy.  I think he sees division.  I think he sees

that as license to do what he has been doing which is taking a wrench and

taking a sledgehammer to checks-and-balances.  There`s a reason why he`s

not showing up for subpoenas, not giving documents.

 

The Attorney General flagrantly didn`t show up to a Judiciary Committee

hearing, Chris, that he was subpoenaed, a lawful subpoena to show to.  What

more else could Congress do to look you know, impotent?  They already are

in his mind.

 

HAYES:  Let me follow up on that though.  You work for a guy Darrell Issa

who was – who was notorious right, in his role as House – as chair of

House Government Oversight who was a maximalist, right.  So he was not a

shrinking violet and he`s not – and there`s a case to be made that that

didn`t work out that well either, right.  Maybe there`s lessons from that

excess which I think is part of what people talk about when they talk about

Clinton impeachment.  What do you – what do you think about that?

 

BARDELLA:  Well, I would say this.  One, I actually issued more than 100

subpoenas to the Obama administration.  Two, when you look at where the

Republican Party was during this period of time, there were their own

internal divisions.  There is the conflict with the Tea Party.  The only

thing that united the establishment wing with the Tea Party wing were the

investigations.  Things like Fast and Furious, Benghazi.

 

HAYES:  Right.  That`s interesting.

 

BARDELLA:  And even furthermore, you look at the damage that those

investigations did, would Hillary Clinton be President today, Chris, if

Benghazi and Hillary`s emails had never existed?

 

HAYES:  Yes.  It`s a fair point.  Linda Chavez and Kurt Bardella, thank you

very – both very much.  Next, amidst a wave of extremely aggressive

abortion restrictions enacted in states across the country, what today`s

surprising Supreme Court ruling signals about the abortion and birth

control fights to come.  The future of Roe v Wade in two minutes.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  Just days after the governor of Missouri signed a draconian near-

total abortion ban, that state is now on the verge of becoming the first

state in the entire country without a single abortion clinic.  That`s

because according to Planned Parenthood, the state`s Health Department is

threatening not to renew that organization`s license to offer abortions in

St. Louis which is the only place in Missouri that provides the procedure.

 

Their license expires on a Friday.  We`ve seen a wave of states passing

incredibly restrictive abortion bans recently including Alabama, Georgia,

Mississippi, Kentucky, and others.  But in a sort of pincer move, states

are also and have been making it much harder year by year for the clinics

to operate.

 

For one example, in 2008, Missouri in five abortion clinics, now the state

is down to one, and soon that number might be zero.  On a national level,

the Supreme Court today upheld part of Indiana law regulating the disposal

of fetal remains.

 

And while the courts sidestepped the Indiana law strict abortion ban,

perhaps the most revelatory aspect of their decision was a 20-page

concurrence by Justice Clarence Thomas, a full-on polemic invoking eugenics

with regard not just to abortion but birth control as well.

 

Here with me now Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut who

once again today called for Congress to pass a woman`s health protection

act to protect abortion access, and Melissa Murray a professor in New York

University School of Law and the co-editor along with my wife Kate Shaw of

the new book Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories.

 

Let me start with you Melissa because this Clarence Thomas concurrence is a

strange document.  It has no legal force because it`s sort of about things

adjacent to what they ruled on today.  But what is he saying and what is it

signaling about where he wants the court to go?

 

MELISSA MURRAY, PROFESSOR, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY OF LAW:  So one, it`s an

invitation to the larger court to take up this question of what he calls

eugenics abortion.  So laws that would prohibit abortions and situations

where people want to terminate because of sex, race, or a fetal abnormality

or disability.

 

And to be clear, I don`t know that there are a lot of abortions that are

being done because someone doesn`t like the sex of their prospective child

or someone doesn`t like the – or doesn`t like the race of their child.  I

mean, it`s mostly fetal abnormalities in situations where the fetus will

not survive for very long after birth and that`s when it`s invoked.

 

But he`s laying out a trail of breadcrumbs for the court and for the larger

culture, again to sort of take this up as a eugenics claim and he`s really

pitching this as a racial justice wedge issue.  So he invokes the history

of eugenics and contraception and there`s a very lively history of eugenics

and contraception and he talks about Margaret Sanger who –

 

HAYES:  Super racist.

 

MURRAY:  Super racist.  But what he leaves out and it`s a really incomplete

history and I would love to get him in class to talk to him about this, but

he is leaving out the fact that abortion restrictions are themselves born

of this eugenics movement.  So in the 19th century, the interest in

criminalizing abortion was born of an interest and concern that native-born

white women were using abortion and contraception to curb their fertility

while immigrant women were having too many children.  So again –

 

HAYES:  Both sides – both sides of history are tainted by that. 

 

MURRAY:  So this is not a pro-life or a pro-choice argument everyone`s used

is.

 

HAYES:  All right, so we have the Supreme Court sort of it seems to me kind

of opening the door.  To Thomas, particularly, you know there`s a few votes

that want to I think just take the run at Roe, or if not that with these

sort of incremental questions which may be easier to decide for their side.

 

Then you have states passing these restrictions.  What do you view is the

federal government`s role in all this in terms of the legislating branches?

 

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT):  What the federal government must do is to

prevent all of these restrictions, not just the draconian and demagogy

laws, the fetal heartbeat laws of Alabama, and Georgia, and Kentucky, but

the restrictions in Missouri for example on licensing requirements with

hallways and clinics, admitting-privileges.

 

I introduced the Women`s Health Protection Act in 2013.  I reintroduced it

last week for the fourth time with strong support from NARAL, and the

Center for Reproductive Rights, and Planned Parenthood who are part of a

movement that is trying to stop these restrictions.

 

HAYES:  Well, here`s what`s interesting to me.  This is – Democrats have

generally not done this right?  So the way they viewed this is that you

have Roe and you have to preserve Roe, and as much of Roe sort of in its

full capacity as possible in the courts and in their state legislatures. 

What you`re saying is essentially – and Kamala Harris today came out with

a policy that would be kind of like a Voting Rights Act for choice and an

abortion rights.

 

You`re saying is the federal government actually should pass a law and

signed into law protections for people`s right to access abortions.

 

BLUMENTHAL:  These states, all of them are playing a very dangerous game of

legal chicken in effect during the United States Supreme Court to overrule

Roe v Wade which some of the justices clearly do not want to address.  But

what the federal government ought to be doing and Kamala Harris`s proposal

is very much the women`s health protection act which she has co-sponsored

with me and Tammy Baldwin and others is that there would be pre-clearance

process by the Department of Justice.

 

I`m fine with that concept but keep in mind, this Department of Justice is

likely to clear a lot of restrictions.

 

HAYES:  Here`s my restriction to you, right.  It`s like, is there a

universe in which you have a court that`s willing to throw up Roe which is

one of the most astonishing reversals in recent memory for the court,

right.  But then would like not throw out whatever Democrats came up with

in the federal legislative context.

 

MURRAY:  Yes, I mean, this is –

 

HAYES:  Right?  Wouldn`t they just scrap that too?

 

MURRAY:  But this goes – I mean, this goes back to the fetal remains law. 

Like what are they doing?  Like they`re upholding this fetal remains law

while sidestepping the question of the larger – the larger issue of Roe`s

viability.  The fetal remains law as it goes into effect has real concerns

for access for women.

 

This is a law that actually adds to the cost of abortion in Indiana.  And

clinics either have the option – the option of passing the cost on to

their patients or alternatively absorbing it themselves which may drive

many of them out of business.  And that`s the point.

 

HAYES:  OK, I was trying to get clarity on this law today.  So is fetal

means not just for abortions but also miscarriages?  Is that correct?

 

MURRAY:  I believe it`s also miscarriage but again, the language in Justice

Thomas talks about it too is again to elevate the idea of the fetus to that

of a human which takes the question of the undue burden off the table

because we`re not talking about women anymore, we`re talking about another

separate human.

 

HAYES:  Do you view these – I mean, it seems like we`re headed towards an

explosive conflict like it basically cannot hold.  The agenda for the court

is clear.  Mitch McConnell today is saying, oh yes, if we had an opening in

2020, screw whatever precedent I said about 2016, like we confirm it.  Like

is that where you see all this going?

 

BLUMENTHAL:  We`re heading toward a very explosive moment.  I think that`s

the right way to view it.  And right now the danger and the damage will be

enduring.  Because a lot of women feel that this right is criminalized.  A

lot of those women in those states where in fact criminal penalties have

been imposed on the providers, few may be wrongly that it`s also imposed on

them.  And that fear and that intimidation is part of the playbook.

 

HAYES:  It`s a great point that the publicity around the law has an effect

over and above what the actual law is or even if the court stays it.  Like

people have been watching news reports about you know, oh you can get 99

years or things like that.

 

BLUMENTHAL:  And one more point crack which is very, very important, the

providers, the nurses, the docs, the clinic escorts, also are subject to

this fear and intimidation.  And I have worked with them and they really

are profiles in courage.

 

HAYES:  Senator Richard Blumenthal I`m Melissa Murray, thank you both.

 

BLUMENTHAL:  Thank you.

 

HAYES:  Coming up, my colleague Lawrence O`Donnell in the critical test we

face going to 2020, Donald Trump`s weaponizing of the media next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  We here in the media have a very big test in front of us as we head

into 2020 and I`m worried that we are not passing it.  The central issue is

the depthless nihilism of the president, whose sheer shamelessness means he

will say anything at any time about any opponent no matter how cartoonishly

disingenuous it is.

 

The latest example is the guy who called for the Central Park Five to all

be executed, and who still refuses  to admit that they are innocent,

pretended to criticize Joe Biden`s past record of criminal  justice.  It`s

just like how Donald Trump attacked Hillary Clinton`s support of the Iraq

War, despite supporting it himself.

 

It is a genuine challenge for the news media how to cover criticisms that,

if offered by someone else, have merit and even legitimacy, but from the

troller-in-chief, are mere exercises in bad faith.

 

Joining me now to discuss how to approach this issue, my colleague,

Lawrence O`Donnell, who is in Spartanburg, South Carolina where in just

over an hour hosting a live town hall with presidential candidate, Kamala

Harris.

 

Lawrence, great to have you.  And I thought of you immediately as I was

ruminating on this weekend about what to do with these sorts of attacks

that the president is going to use as we go into 2020?

 

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC:  Well, it is complex, Chris.  And I`m glad you -

- we are acknowledging that this is a difficult question, because it`s the

president of the United States speaking and we are accustomed in this trade

to taking everything the president of the United States says seriously and

transmitting it to the American public, to the world.

 

But one place we can begin are the insult nicknames, the attack nicknames,

insulting names and labels he comes up with for people.  We don`t have to

deliver those.  I think if we deliver those, we are functioning as a pure

pipeline of the propaganda.

 

And so you can tell the story and you can say he attacked Joe Biden.  It`s

easy to report on the  elements of it without including his specific new

insult name for another person, another candidate, a senator. 

 

And I noticed that right away.  The first time, the first time he came up

with a name for Elizabeth Warren, the first time he did it, that`s when I

realized this couldn`t go on in my hour of cable news, and I did something

that night, specifically about the name he was using for Elizabeth Warren

and what it actually meant and what the history of it, which of course

Donald Trump doesn`t know. 

 

And I started to realize then that we have to do this with all of these

labels that he comes up  with.  He is counting on us to repeat those labels

and those insult names.

 

HAYES:  I couldn`t agree enough on the insults, the nicknames, which is the

lowest hanging fruit, the easiest thing to avoid regurgitating.  But

there`s also – and you are going to be having this town hall with Kamala

Harris tonight, who has got a fascinating background herself.  She was

obviously a prosecutor.  She was attorney general of the state of

California before she became a senator.  There is this thing that Trump

will do that other people wouldn`t, right, it`s manifestly preposterous for

Donald Trump to attack someone from the left on criminal justice. 

 

It`s ridiculous.  Everyone knows it`s ridiculous.  He knows it`s

ridiculous.  Most politicians wouldn`t do it because of the sheer

preposterousness of it.  But he will, and he will get some ink out of it.

 

O`DONNELL:  Well, and the other part of it is Donald Trump has now proved

to his own satisfaction that it actually works with his supporters.  They

get the trick of what he`s doing.  They know…

 

HAYES:   The cynicism, yeah.

 

O`DONNELL:  They know that Donald Trump is far to the right of Joe Biden on

everything, including every criminal justice issue.  And so Donald Trump

now knows that his supporters know that he actually would be far more harsh

on every criminal justice issue that you can think of except possibly bank

fraud or tax evasion.

 

HAYES:  Or obstruction for presidents.

 

O`DONNELL:  Yeah – and so his supporters are part of the support system of

yes, go ahead and mount the fake attack on Joe Biden and we will clap for

that.

 

HAYES:  You have got a live town hall tonight with Kamala Harris, which I`m

really looking forward to watching in Spartanburg, South Carolina.  What

are you looking for tonight?

 

O`DONNELL:  Well, look, one of the big breaking news issues of the day

obviously as you were covering is this new abortion decision by the Supreme

Court.  Kamala Harris is well positioned to discuss that, a lawyer herself,

former district attorney of San Francisco, former Attorney General of

California, United States senator.  She came out today with what she

believes is a possible solution way forward to dealing with these kinds of

cases at the Supreme Court.  We`re going to get into that in detail.

 

There are some challenges in how she would implement that.  I will ask her

about those challenges about how she would try to implement this new idea

that she`s offered just this afternoon.  And I don`t know if it`s a

coincidence that she offered it on the same day that the United States

Supreme Court, to put it mildly Chris, enlivened this issue.

 

HAYES:  She – Kamala Harris has sort of come out very strong in this race. 

She had a huge and amazingly impressive opening in Oakland.  She has

continued to raise money well.  But everything in this field has sort of

changed after Joe Biden`s entrance, just because of the kind of stature and

the fundraising connections and the name recognition he has.

 

Where do you see her right now?

 

O`DONNELL:  Well, some of the things have changed in ways that are

favorable to Senator Harris.  In recent polling in South Carolina, for

example, she is now polling third, and to Joe Biden in the lead, Bernie

Sanders in second place, and Kamala Harris is in solid third position.

 

The numbers that a candidate like Kamala Harris has right now are not that

shockingly different, or wildly different, from Barack Obama numbers versus

front-runner Hillary Clinton.

 

Barack Obama was way, way, way a distant second behind Hillary Clinton who

seemed to be the prohibitive lead at this point in 2007.  Joe Biden now

occupies that space.  And so what we are looking at is who, if anyone, can

close that space.  What might happen in the Biden campaign that sends it

sliding lower in those numbers anyway?  We don`t know.  It`s all so new,

it`s all so fresh.  The Biden campaign is new.  And so it`s an odd thing to

say about someone who has been around as long as he has. 

 

But it is new, and we haven`t seen exactly what the longer running dynamics

of the Biden campaign are now that it`s really under way.

 

HAYES:  Well, I`m really looking forward to this town hall tonight live in

Tempe (ph).  And Lawrence O`Donnell will be hosting that with Kamala Harris

right after Rachel.

 

Thanks for making time.  I really appreciate it.

 

O`DONNELL:  And, Chris, geographic point.  We are in Spartanburg. 

Spartanburg, Spartanburg County went 60 percent for Donald Trump in the

last election.  We are in the heart of Trump country in South Carolina

tonight.

 

HAYES:  Can`t wait to watch it.  Lawrence O`Donnell at 10:00 tonight be

there.

 

Coming up, the Trump administration is taking climate denialism to new and

potentially catastrophic levels in a move to undermine climate science

ahead.  And, it`s a major award.  That`s tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two

next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  Thing One tonight, the Japanese sport of sumo wrestling has been

around for 1,500 years.  It`s a world filled with longstanding customs and

rituals, a centuries` long purity protected by strict traditional rules

guiding nearly every aspect of the wrestlers` live.  They live and train

together, and everything from what they wear to when they eat and sleep is

minutely controlled.  Only the elite few will ever be Yokozuna: a grand

champion.

 

And now they get the Trump trophy.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP:  We brought that beautiful trophy, which they will have hopefully

for many hundreds of years, and that will be their trophy for the

championship – sumo championships.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Donald Trump ruined sumo is Thing Two in 60 seconds.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  Donald Trump has always been a fan of wrestling, of course it has

been American professional wrestling, which is more performance than

athletic context.  But over the weekend, Trump got to see some authentic

Japanese sumo wrestling while he was visiting Tokyo full of traditions and

rules which apply to everyone except Trump.

 

It is tradition, for example, that patrons sit on the floor, cross-legged

on a cushion.  Trump sat in a chair.  Also, it is tradition that excited

fans sometimes those those cushions, called zabuton.  But for security

reasons, that tradition was suspended, prompting this headline from a

Japanese newspaper, “Mr. Trump to watch the final day matches: fear of

zabuton.”

 

But the big moment came after the matches when the president presented the

winner with

a four foot tall, 60 pound, Eagle topped trophy that he brought from him

from home.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  A certificate of commemoration.  Asad no yama (ph).  In honor of

your outstanding achievement as sumo grand champion, I hereby reward you

the United States President`s Cup, May 26, Raywa (ph) one, Donald J. Trump,

President of the United States.  Thank you.”

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  I guess sumo wrestling now has its own Stanley Cup to be handed to

new grand champion, thanks to Trump.  Not sure how the Japanese people felt

about all of that, but he apparently enjoyed himself, quote, “that was an

incredible evening at sumo.  Sumo wrestling.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  We all know the president lies about a lot of stuff, big and small,

and the sheer quantity and scope of those can make it hard to keep track of

them.  But one of the most consistent and also to my mind pernicious lies

he likes to tell is about alleged voter fraud.

 

After the election, Trump lied again and again to try to obscure the fact

that he lost the popular

vote by millions of votes, claiming preposterously and without evidence

that somehow to 3 to 5 million

votes were fraudulent, a claim about as plausible as his golf handicap.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP:  In many places, like California, the same person votes many times. 

You probably heard about that.  They also like to say, oh, that`s a

conspiracy theory.  Not a conspiracy theory, folks.  Millions and millions

of people.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  No, absolutely, completely, a conspiracy theory that you would have

to be utterly insane and detached from reality to believe, or really, just

in this case, more likely a straight up lie.

 

Even more ominously, the president of the United States has tried to use

his official power to bolster that very lie.  Do you remember how he put

together an actual panel run by Chris Kobach and Mike Pence to look into

the supposed scourge of rampant voter fraud which came up with: nothing. 

And then it was unceremoniously disbanded.

 

Now, the Texas version of this was when that state`s acting Secretary of

State, Republican David Whitley, announced basically out of nowhere back in

January that nearly 100,000 non-citizens have

potentially registered to vote, and that 58,000 had voted in at least one

Texas election in the past 18 years, which of course the president seized

on, claiming the numbers were just, quote, the tip of the iceberg.

 

But Whitley`s claim was as preposterous as Trump`s had been.  Nearly a

quarter of those identified as possible non-citizens were actually

naturalized citizens who had received disturbing letters

threatening to cancel their registration unless they proved their

citizenship. 

 

And the ridiculous claim of 58,000 illegal votes fell apart almost

immediately after civil rights groups sued and congress opened an

investigation into all this, Texas ended the voter citizenship review in

April and rescinded its list of flagged voters and said it would pay

$450,000 in legal fees resulting from the entire sad dangerous debacle,

though, not before GOP officials likely succeeded in intimidating some

marginal set of new citizens from registering to vote, so mission

accomplished for them in that respect.

 

Now, however, some tiny measure of justice, the acting secretary of state

who engineered this entire abuse of power, David Whitley, resigned

yesterday after he could not get enough votes in the Texas State Senate to

become the confirmed secretary of state of that state, though one should

note he still got every single Republican vote, which tells you everything

you need know about what the  GOP`s voter fraud claims are really all

about.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  Amid a ceaseless barrage of disaster news from across the country,

particularly in the Midwest, and news that for the second day a Republican

member of congress single-handedly blocked $19 billion in disaster relief

comes this new report that the Trump administration is about to undertake a

new push to destroy the scientific underpinnings of climate policy within

the U.S. government itself.

 

Among the ideas convening a new climate review panel filled with hand-

picked cronies and cranks to issue denialist assessments with the full

authority of the government.  And if you think crank is too strong a word,

consider that one of those people is William Happer, currently serving on

the National Security Council as the president`s deputy assistant of

emerging technologies.

 

Happer once said this about carbon dioxide.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

WILLIAM HAPPER, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PROFEFSSOR:  The demonization of

carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler. 

Carbon dioxide is actually a benefit to the world and so were the Jews.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  OK.

 

Joining me now, Coral Davenport, who broke this story about the Trump

administration`s latest

assault on climate science in The New York Times, and Dan Kanninen, who

worked as the White House liaison to the EPA in the Obama administration

and has dealt with the government`s assessment of climate firsthand.

 

Coral, let me start with you, there was a bunch of sort of early

announcements in a sort of regulatory fashion in the Trump administration,

both on Paris and some of the stuff happening in the EPA.  The way your

write about this it seems like they`re setting up a kind of new front, like

a 2.0 run at this.  How should we understand it?

 

CORAL DAVENPORT, THE NEW YORK TIMES:  So since day one President Trump has

been very clear that he is interested in rolling back climate change

regulations.  That work has – that`s been happening at the EPA at least

for the last year-and-a-half, work to roll back regulations on planet

warming, greenhouse gas emissions from cars, from power plants.  The

president obviously said that he

was going to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord.  The

president himself also often mocks the science of climate change.  That`s

all been in place, you know, since the beginning of the administration.

 

What`s new is that in that time we`ve actually written a lot of stories

that even though they`re

rolling back regulations and making all these policy moves, they still

haven`t messed with the guts of climate science.  We`ve written stories

that despite all of this, sort of the federal agencies that have

always put out these standard reports on where climate science – have been

continuing to do that.  And so what is different now is that the

administration – the Trump appointees in the administration in some of

these science agencies are saying – have already started to change some of

the methodologies and say we`re going leave out key information about the

impacts of climate change, we`re going to

change the way these reports are presented so it doesn`t look like climate

change is such a bad thing.  That is what is significantly new here.

 

HAYES:  You know, Dan, to Coral`s point, I mean, the U.S. government

provides a huge amount of just the basic science underpinnings and sort of

agglomeration of data that underlie all of this, right?

 

I mean, a lot of it`s coming from the federal government.

 

DAN KANNINEN, WHITE HOUSE LIAISON TO EPA:  Yeah, it`s a clearinghouse.  And

there`s a public service here, Chris.  When I was working with the EPA

under Lisa Jackson the first

thing she did as the new incoming administrator was to issue a memo to the

entire staff saying the science and the law will govern everything.

 

And we understood that the career staff of the agency had a responsibility

to follow the science and the law.  And one of the first things Coral

mentioned some of the attacks of the agency from a regulatory or rhetorical

perspective, early on there were symbolic moves that they made.  They took

science out of the names of some of the boards at the agency, really more

of a poke I think at the agency than something really meaningful

substantively. 

 

But Coral is right, going after the endangerment finding which is the legal

underpinning of the clean air and climate program at the EPA is a big deal. 

But the thing I think viewers should know is it is not just an ability of

EPA and the agency to regulate and protect unclean air and climate and

regulate carbon, they actually are requires them to do this, because these

pollutants are found to be harmful to human health and the environment.

 

HAYES:  One of the sort of things I really took away that was shocking to

me, Coral, here is

changing the timeline, so projections out really matter how far you project

out into mid-Century and beyond.  Things get really hairy and they can go a

lot of different ways.  You say that the White House  appointed director of

the United States Geological Survey is now mandating that only projections

go through 2040.

 

DAVENPORT:  Right.  This seems like sort of a wonky distinction, but it`s

very important.  The United States, the U.S. Geological Survey, is a major

scientific agency.  It does a lot of important reports.  And it includes

under guidance given by the Obama administration, it`s required to include

the impact of climate change in all of the reporting it does, sort of

future impacts on public lands, on water use, on infrastructure.  It does

its own climate science reports. 

 

And now under orders from the new director of USGS, a Trump appointee,

these reports, which

have typically included climate science going out to the end of the

century, climate projections going out to the end of the century, will end. 

The impact of climate science – global warming will end after

2040 in these reports.

 

Why is that significant?  Because right now if you look at the impact of

the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the projected future

impacts, no matter how much greenhouse gases are emitted into the

atmosphere, sort of – the trajectory kind of stays the same up through

about 2050.  After 2050, that`s when you start to see these really

different impacts depending on what happens.

 

So, under business as usual, lots of greenhouse gases, you get very severe

impacts, lots of warming, severe drought, rising sea levels.  And that`s

what they`re proposing essentially to eliminate, to just not show.

 

HAYES:  Just make us blind out into the future past that when everything

really, really bad

may start happening.  Coral Davenport and Dan Kanninen, thank you both so

much.

 

That is ALL IN for this evening.  “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right

now. 

 

Good evening, Rachel.

 

 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY

BE UPDATED.

END   

 

Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC.  All materials herein are

protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,

distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the

prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter

or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the

content.>