Trump calls Iran sanctions “hard-hitting.” TRANSCRIPT: 6/24/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Again, keep it short and you make it clear who
you really are. That`s HARDBALL for now. “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: – you let the political debate hurt these
HAYES: The President defending government treatment of migrant children
that one doctor described as torture facilities.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re doing a fantastic job
under the circumstances.
HAYES: Tonight, why 300 children were just moved out of a Texas border
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Flu, lice, children looking after children.
HAYES: And why things are likely about to get worse. Then –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was just doing a limited strike.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, just a limited
strike. Well, I`m sorry.
HAYES: How the President keeps provoking the war he says he doesn`t want.
Plus, Bryan Stevenson on the fight for racial justice in the age of Trump
and why are so many media outlets shrugging their shoulders at the
President being accused of rape.
E. JEAN CARROLL, WRITER: It became a fight and it was – it hurt.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. A week after a big
political controversy about what precisely to call immigration detention
facilities, we are learning day by day even more horrifying details about
the conditions at those places. We now know of two Customs and Border
Protection facilities where hundreds of children were detained under
dangerous conditions, in some cases, for up to weeks at a time forced to
care for each other amidst outbreaks of lice and flu.
A doctor who visited one of the detention centers said the conditions
“could be compared to torture facilities.” One law professor who saw some
of those conditions firsthand will join me in just a moment. But already
today under pressure, the government has now moved more than 300 children
out of one station and Clint, Texas and nevertheless broader questions
Why do these conditions and situations keep happening over and over, who is
in charge, where is the accountability, are there other facilities we don`t
even know about with similar or worse conditions. But the President and
the Vice-President were forced to defend and address those conditions and
turn to blaming Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: While, we`re doing our fantastic job under the circumstances, the
Democrats aren`t even approving giving us money. Where is the money? You
know what, the Democrats are holding up the humanitarian aid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We`ll get a response from a Democratic member of Congress in just a
few minutes. We do know that since the president ramped up his rhetoric
about a border wall in January and had a big showdown fight about it, the
number of crossings has risen sharply as has the number of people in
detention and reports of conditions going from bad to even worse.
Here with me now, someone who saw the conditions at that facility in Clint,
Texas in person, Professor Warren Binford, a Professor of Law at
Willamette, University. Professor, first just tell me what you saw in that
WARREN BINFORD, PROFESSOR OF LAW, WILLAMETTE, UNIVERSITY: Well, we saw
children here are being forced to live in horrendous conditions that no
child should ever have to live in. You`ve mentioned the Influenza outbreak
where children were put into isolation, you`ve mentioned the lice
infestation in one of the rooms that resulted in the border patrol guards
removing all of bedding from the – from the cell that the children were
being kept in and forced to sleep on the cement ground.
Many children reported that they regularly were forced to sleep on the
cement including infants, and toddlers, and preschoolers. We heard about -
- we saw the children who were dirty and some of them smelled. We saw
their clothes were stained. There was no soap. They were infrequently
allowed to brush their teeth or take a shower and even then it was only for
a moment or two.
They were being fed frankenfood that isn`t suitable for – to give children
especially not on a daily basis and they were given the same breakfast,
same lunch, same dinner day after day. And we`re talking about instant
foods. We`re talking about kool-aid. We`re talking about frozen burritos.
It just is not a way to care for children who are our responsibility as a
HAYES: Let me ask you this. I mean, the conditions you described sound
HAYES: How many children are there, and how long were they there, and
where were the adults?
BINFORD: Yes. So this is one of the things that shocked us right away.
We did not even have this Border Patrol facility on our radar when we were
planning our trip, this inspection. But we had heard the week before we
left that there were children that were in recent weeks being moved to this
facility so we showed up there not sure how many children were going to be
in this facility with a maximum capacity of 104.
There were over 350 children Chris. And we scanned the list and
immediately we saw zero, zero, one, two, four, five. There were all ages.
They were infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and we couldn`t figure out where
they were keeping them. So we talked to the chief officer and he indicated
that they had recently expanded the facility but we couldn`t see an
So after we were done with interviewing on the first day we drove around
the facility and the only thing that we could see that appeared to be new
was a metal warehouse with no windows. And we couldn`t fathom that the
American government would truly be keeping hundreds of children in a metal
And yet in fact when we came back the next day and we asked the Border
Patrol and we asked the children, that was in fact where many of the
children were being kept.
HAYES: Why were these children – they shouldn`t be there.
HAYES: They should not be in this CBP facility. They shouldn`t be there
for longer than 72 hours max.
HAYES: What category are they in? Where – why were they there and where
were the adults that they should be attached to if there were any?
BINFORD: Basically what happened was all of the children that I
interviewed, they had come to the United States with adult relatives and
they were coming to family in the United States. So they all had – almost
all of them had telephone numbers, at least the ones who were verbal, and
basically what they were trying to do is bring their family together.
They were separated from their families at the border. Some of the family
members were parents. We have one family where the father, the mother, and
the sister were taken in one direction and this little girl who was
probably about second grade was taken in another direction.
She didn`t want to go with the Border Patrol and she was very upset and her
father came to her and said honey, it`s OK, they`re going to take you to a
place that`s better for children and they, in fact, took her to the Clint
Border Patrol facility.
So basically you`ve got children coming across the border with relatives
being taken away from the relatives. They`re supposed to go to Border
Patrol to be processed and then within a matter of hours because border
patrol stations are notoriously horrendous places, they`re supposed to be
transferred into our custody but the office of refugee resettlement wasn`t
assigning these children to a placement quickly enough so that they could
be reunited with their family.
So really that`s where the breakdown is that it`s not so much with the
Border Patrol, it`s really with ORR not coming and getting these kids and
giving them to their parents immediately.
HAYES: So this is key. You`re saying the Office of Refugee Resettlement
which is under the department of home – which is under HHS and notoriously
was part of the bureaucracy that oversaw child separation, that they are
essentially just allowing these children to languish in these facilities.
BINFORD: Right. And I don`t want to say that they`re allowing them to
languish because that`s not precisely I think the dynamic that we`re seeing
here. What we`re seeing is massive mismanagement of this department and a
tremendous waste of taxpayer money. So that for example right now, many of
these children are being put when they are in ORR custody in placements at
places like Homestead and the Walmart which I visited that the Tornillo
tent city when that was open which I also inspected.
And these facilities cost about $750 per day per child. That is what we
would pay to put a child in the Ritz-Carlton. These are not Ritz Carltons.
And to make it worse, these kids are being kept there not for the twenty
days that they`re allowed to be kept by law, but rather four five, six,
seven. We`ve interviewed children who have been in these facilities for
longer than nine months at this cost.
And if you do the analysis, Chris, you`ll find out that you can save the
taxpayers a billion dollars a year simply by taking the children who have
families here in the United States, who have parents the United States and
placing them with those parents.
HAYES: All right, Professor Warren Binford, thank you so much for sharing
BINFORD: You`re welcome. Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: I want to bring in Congressman Michael Burgess, a Republican of
Texas. Congressman, I guess the first question is, I would imagine you and
your colleagues agree that these kinds of conditions are appalling and
REP. MICHAEL BURGESS (R-TX): Well, certainly hasn`t been my experience.
I`ve visited ORR and CBP facilities on a lot of occasions as recently as
three weeks ago down in McAllen, I`m going again this Friday, so I`ve made
a lot of effort to spend time on the ground.
What I will tell you is the conditions I saw in McAllen at the Customs
Border Patrol facility three weeks ago right at the end of May, they`ve
always – it`s always been tough down there, it`s tougher than it`s ever
been because of the numbers of people that are coming across. And when
they are – when they are picked up, yes they do go to a Customs and Border
That is what we charge our men and women who work for Customs and Border
Patrol. That`s what we charge them with doing. And I will also say, I do
take a little bit of exception to people who denigrate the motives of
Customs and Border Patrol. I mean, these men and women are heroes.
There were four – people found the mother and three children found
deceased down in Mission, Texas according to the A.P. earlier today. I
don`t know what the cause of death was. They said it didn`t appear to be -
- it didn`t appear to be homicide or violence, presumably, they died
because of weather conditions. These are the people, the types of people
that customs Border Patrol picks up and rescues on a daily basis, hundreds
BURGESS: And those facilities, yes, they are restrained, you bet. Chief
Garza, when I was down there last time said you know, I`ve got – man I`ve
got to take off the line and send out Walmart to buy pampers. They are
doing is their level best.
HAYES: But Congressman, wait a second.
BURGESS: Wait, wait, wait, stop it. What Congress needs to do is
appropriate money to ORR sot that they can take those children –
HAYES: We`re going to talk about that, but I just want to return the
question and obviously this is something you have devoted time and
resources to and I know it`s something that is close to your heart and you
visit these facilities. But just to establish, like you and I agree that
the conditions described by that lawyer and others who have actually been
in the facility in Clint –
BURGESS: I don`t know. I have not been in that facility. I can`t speak
HAYES: But do you think she`s making it up?
BURGESS: Chris, I don`t know because I was at Tornillo three times, and
the stuff that I was hearing reported the news was not what I was seeing at
HAYES: So you think it`s –
BURGESS: The stuff that I saw at Homestead Air Force Base, not what I –
not what I was seeing on this video.
HAYES: So you think this is – you think this is fictional?
BURGESS: I don`t know. I don`t know if it`s hyperbole. I know the hatred
for this President is so intense that people are liable to say anything.
All I know is I got to go and look for myself and see for myself.
HAYES: Let me ask you this. One of the things – you say that Mr. Garza
says, you`re overwhelmed and the folks that work for CBP in McAllen are
overwhelmed. What about what professors just said there are thousands of
these children who do not need to be detained that we`re spending $750,
$800 a night. We are taxing the custom and Border Protection and there are
thousands who have family members who don`t need to be detained.
BURGESS: It`s not a question of they`re being detained. Are we under any
obligation after those children are taken into an HHS facility to an ORR
facility, are we under any obligation to make certain that where they go is
what is intended?
BURGESS: I will tell you when I first started going down there in 2014 at
ORR was sending kids off to who knows where. No one called to check on the
child after they got there. There was no follow up.
HAYES: Sure. But you agree on principle –
BURGESS: Look, I got through an adoption procedure myself years ago, it`s
very, very intrusive of all the social workers. Nobody was even asking
about a question.
HAYES: Sure. But I just want to ask you, do you agree on principle. I
mean, there`s a question, right, like what is the ideal situation. We`re
just talking about children, OK. The ideal situation for a policy
perspective you would agree is if they have a family member in the States
that they can go to, for the U.S. government not to stretch its resources
and have to look after them and put them with those folks.
BURGESS: Well, someone needs to check that things are as they said they
were going to be. Look I was in another hearing with the Helsinki
Commission like October of 2015 and we heard from a number of people who
were trafficked by family members. So just the fact that they`re going to
live with a family member is not home free, it can still be trouble.
And I`m grateful that the ORR does do some follow-up. They do provide the
child with a 1-800 number they can call if things are not going well. So
that`s I think all of those things are positive.
HAYES: But Congressman, we`ve got stories of family members not even being
contacted. Obviously, it should be the case that through this processing
system that family members are contracted, and they are contacted, and that
they are also tracked so that we could have children go to family members
and not be lying on the floor being cared for by an eight-year-old.
BURGESS: Well, look, in the or our facilities and your last guest wasn`t
just dismissive of the ORR facility, I`ve been to Casa Padre in
Brownsville, Texas. Yes, it`s a restored Walmart. You know what, there`s
not a lock on the door, any child is free to leave at any time but they
don`t. And you know why, they`re well taken care of.
And yes, at some point they`re going to live with family, generally not
mother or father but some family members, that`s a good thing.
HAYES: Let me ask you this. Let me ask you this. There`s a certain line
of thinking, it`s sometimes publicly said by the administration, sometimes
not, that harsh conditions, harsh conditions for a two-year-old say with
lice who`s being cared for or even unpleasant conditions or not ideal
conditions are part of the policy to act as a deterrent. You want to send
a message –
BURGESS: No, I absolutely disagree. I absolutely disagree. Look, here`s
the problem –
HAYES: No, no, I`m asking, you don`t think that`s a proper –
BURGESS: You have people –
HAYES: No, no, let me just ask –
BURGESS: You have people who advocate for open borders and then a vast
social safety net, what do you thinks going to happen, Chris.
HAYES: Wait, so you do think it`s a proper deterrence, to use that policy
as a deterrence?
BURGESS: No, I think – I think an open borders policy is not in the best
interest of the United States of America and I do think a secure border is
the best interest. But look, I travel down the Central America. I saw the
conditions on the ground there. I get that there are problems but there
are much better ways of dealing with this than what has grown up over the
past five years.
BURGESS: And that was prior to President Trump taking office. I also
understand the intense hatred for this administration but you know what,
he`s going to be your president for another four years after this.
HAYES: Whether that`s true or not, my focus is more on children with lice
crawling through their head in the U.S. facility that we are as citizens
BURGESS: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Those children arrive with lice
and they are properly cared for.
HAYES: You don`t know that. You do not know that.
BURGESS: I do.
HAYES: No, you don`t know that.
BURGESS: Wait a minute.
HAYES: They contracted – they contracted we carefully do not know the flu
in the facility is the reporting that we have.
BURGESS: No, that is not true. When I was down in McAllen, I went down
HAYES: You were not in the facility, sir. I just talked to the lawyer who
just was in Clint, Texas. You just told me you`re not in Clint, Texas.
You don`t know what they got their or not.
BURGESS: I don`t know about Clint, Texas. I do know about McAllen.
HAYES: That`s what – I`m talking about Clint, Texas.
BURGESS: McAllen was – they said was under quarantine because of flu. I
went down there to see for myself. In fact, they weren`t quarantined but
that`s what was reported in the news media. And Chief Garza down there
said yes, we did have a number of cases. People were arriving having –
HAYES: Yes, I`m sure that happens.
BURGESS: – contacted flue in stash houses in Mexico.
HAYES: I`m sure.
BURGESS: And that they were dropped on our side of the border. So what
does the Customs and Border Patrol people supposed to do –
HAYES: I guess here`s my fundamental question – here`s my fundamental
BURGESS: – to take care of the children with the flu that arrive at their
HAYES: I have fundamental to you. I hear you`re a doctor. You`re you
cared for patients throughout your life. You`re a member of Congress. You
clearly have invested in this issue. You have empathy for the members of
CBP who I would agree have a very difficult job to do.
I guess my question is, do you understand what people get upset and worked
up when they hear these stories about children and why they feel a pull to
care for these children in a way that you would want your own children
cared for if they were running from a desperate situation. Do you
understand that impulse?
BURGESS: And here`s the deal, Chris. I think the men and women of Customs
and Border Patrol, I think they do represent as well. They are dealing
with an impossible humanitarian crisis right now, an impossible load. So
yes, I`m up on the Rules Committee right now. We`re working on a bill to
try to work on some money for ORR.
The kids can`t leave Customs and Border Patrol until ORR has a bed open up,
so that money needs to be funded. And you know what, it`s been denied 17
times. The president first asked for it much earlier in the year. It
should have already been appropriated.
HAYES: Let me ask you this.
BURGESS: And here`s the bad news. We`re not even getting a vote on it
until after the fourth of July recess. That`s the travesty here.
HAYES: I should say the President just issued a veto notification on the
new legislation we talked about in a second. Well, final question here.
We`ve seen the president twice in the last month issue emergency
declarations to appropriate funds he thought were necessary. $15 billion
in tariff relief for the great patriotic farmers as he referred to them and
about $4 billion in emergency act for the wall.
He clearly when he`s worked up about something thinks as important has
found ways to unilaterally use the office executive to make that funding
happening. Shouldn`t he do that here? Why wouldn`t he do that here?
BURGESS: Well, in both of those instances, he used to tool that was
provided to previous presidents by a previous Congress. Look this one
would be – this one would be simple. The Senate passed a bill out of
their appropriation subcommittee 30-1. That obviously is a bipartisan
product that bill could be voted on in the House floor a minute tomorrow
and go down to our president for his signature and he would not veto that
HAYES: All right, Congressman Michael Burgess, thank you very much for
making time tonight, sir.
BURGESS: Thank you.
HAYES: Both the House and Senate are expected to vote this week on
spending packages of the border. On the House side, as the Congressman was
just referring to, lawmakers could vote as soon as tomorrow on a $4.5
billion emergency funding measure which would include some additional
oversight requirements as well as restrictions on how the funding can and
cannot be used.
Now, that`s different than the Senate legislation which has always been
passed. The House proposal also does not crucially include any funding
from the Department of Defense. The House package would also reinstate aid
to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, the`s so-called Northern Triangle
of Central America from which many migrants are now coming to seek asylum
only to be detained under sometimes horrifying conditions.
But even with safeguards and additions, the House measure some Democrats
can still balk at handing over any more money to an administration they
view as treating migrants under its care so appallingly.
Here with me now one of the Democratic members of Congress who will have to
decide on how to vote, Congressman Pramila Jayapal of Washington State.
Congresswoman, your colleague Michael Burgess there and many Republicans up
to and including the White House say they need more money, they need more
resources in the hands of our ORR, CBP, and ICE and Democrats are standing
in the way. What`s your response to that?
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): It is absurd. The way that these kids are
being treated is unconscionable. We are watching ongoing family separation
happening. If you listened to Professor Binford, you heard her say that
these kids are being held out of every standard that we have applied, and
this administration has continued to do things like metering policies that
drive up the numbers at the border. They are not releasing these kids.
Only 12 percent of these children according to the reports that I have
seen, Chris, are actually kids that don`t have parents. So they should be
immediately fast-tracking getting those kids out of there, not using for-
profit detention centers which let me just remind you Elizabeth Warren and
I wrote a letter to Homestead because John Kelly who oversaw family
separation went to join the board of Homestead that is now charging $700 a
night for – to hold a child in these conditions.
So the thing that really frustrates me is we have standards in place for
how people are supposed to be held in detention. We have the Flores
Settlement that is the law of the land that says that children cannot be
held for more than 20 days and that they need basic things like food, and
water, and medical care.
And this administration is lawless. It has taken the money that we have
given and it does not follow any of the conditions that we lay out and then
they say to us, you know what, give us more money. Well, let me tell you
something. How do we assure that they are going to actually follow the law
and not allow for families to be separated?
We have a court decision that said that thousands of families were
separated and now they`re doing it right in front of our eyes and they want
us to give them more money for that. This is – it is a crisis that has
been created by the administration.
They cut aid to Central American countries that would have helped address
the situation in those countries. They started the metering process which
basically has slowed to a trickle the processing of asylum seekers across
the border, which is why you saw those families, that those people who had
This hot Sun and they`re having to travel to try to find one open point of
entry to come in and wait outside, waiting to be able to demand the legal
right to asylum. They have continued family separation in spite of court
orders, and now they are trying to hold hostage these kids. They`ve said
they want to deport a million people across the country.
And I just – I don`t have words to describe how horrendous and lawless
this administration is and how they are inflicting long-term damage on
thousands of children and this is the United States of America.
HAYES: They`re saying to you basically you got a pass – you got to give
us more money that would – that there`s a capacity issue and I hear what
you`re saying which is that you just don`t trust them. You don`t trust the
money we spend, we don`t trust –
JAYAPAL: We just gave them an enormous amount of money through the regular
2019 DHS appropriations process. There is – and as you said, very
accurately they seem to be able to find money for things that they want
that they declare an emergency, but suddenly they are keeping kids without
toothbrushes and soap and mattresses because apparently we haven`t given
them enough money. That`s absurd.
HAYES: So are you and no on this vote? That`s what it sounds like.
JAYAPAL: I have been trying to figure that out, Chris, and I`ll tell you
what. I – we have asked for some things that would give us a stick that
say for example right now you know, Flores is the law of the land. I think
that they should be in compliance within three months. That is too long in
my book. That`s 90 days. And I don`t think we should give a year for
people to be in compliance with Flores.
I don`t think that we should allow for you know, $155 million to go to the
U.S. Marshalls basically to refer people for federal criminal prosecution.
So I am torn. Obviously, this is a tough decision. We`re trying to you
know, figure out if we can make the bill better so that we demand
That`s at the end of the day for me if I have an administration that was
actually doing and meeting the conditions that were already laid out and
the laws that are already in place, and I knew that I could trust them,
that would be a different question. But they have continued to break the
law and at the cost of these kids.
And what the professor said is right this is an incredible waste of
taxpayer dollars, incredible mismanagement of the agency and on-going every
step of the way.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Pramila Jayapal, thank you so much for
sharing your time.
JAYAPAL: Thank you.
HAYES: Next, how president Trump has brought us to the threshold of war,
even today taking another step first potential conflict. The latest
escalation in two minutes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: The idea that we`re looking at a president in the United States
who number one thinks that a war with Iran is something that might be good
for this country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was just doing a limited strike.
SANDERS: Well, just a limited strike. Oh, well, I`m sorry. I just didn`t
know that it`s OK to simply attack another country with bombs just a
limited – that`s an act of warfare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Senator Bernie Sanders responded on Sunday to President Trump
nearly taking the U.S. into a war with military strikes against Iran.
Today, the President unveiled his latest move announcing new sanctions that
will do little except inflame the situation.
The New York Times reports “the new sanctions are aimed at preventing some
top Iranian officials from using the international banking system or any
financial vehicles set up by European nations or other countries. The
Iranian officials likely do not keep substantial assets in international
banks if any at all and any additional pressure from new sanctions is
likely to be minimal.”
So the President almost went to war and now said he`s issued sanctions that
will do nothing but raise tensions and continue to humiliate and box in
Iran`s leadership. It is obvious rhetorical escalation. Much of the
reporting about the President is that he doesn`t want war and is mad at his
advisors who are beating the drums for it, but today he`s out there doing
exactly the kind of thing that folks like John Bolton have pushed for.
And a reminder here, Donald Trump is the one who pulled out of the Iran
deal. Donald Trump was the one who hired folks like Bolton and Mike
Pompeo. Donald Trump was the one who appeared in the White House today to
escalate the situation further with sanctions. No one else made him do
those things. Donald Trump is the President of the United States. He is
the person who`s brought us to the threshold of military conflict.
Joining me now the woman who led the U.S. negotiating team that established
the original Iran nuclear deal back in 2015, former Undersecretary of State
for Political Affairs Ambassador Wendy Sherman. She`s now an MSNBC Global
Affairs Analyst. I guess first on the announcement of the sanctions which
seems sort of like a disc track more than anything. I mean, it`s very
actual bite here.
WENDY SHERMAN, MSNBC GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Not much, Chris. I think
your summary was pretty good. Most of the folks that were targeted quite
frankly were targeted under the anti-terrorism executive order. The
supreme leader was under the new executive order and quite frankly none of
them have much to do with international financial institutions because
international financial institutions don`t want to have anything to do with
them. They have their own ways and manners to continue to make themselves
HAYES: As someone who worked in on the negotiations that led to the joint
agreement that has now been ripped up by Donald Trump, what do you think
that move has done to bring us here?
SHERMAN: Well, when Donald Trump withdrew from the joint comprehensive
plan of action known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, he isolated us more than the
isolated Iran because for over a year even with the U.S. withdrawal, Iran
has stayed in compliance with the deal working with our European allies of
United Kingdom, France, Germany, with the European Union, and with Russia,
And in fact, all of the parties not including Iran and not including us,
will be meeting at the end of this week to see if there`s any way they can
hold this deal together. In fact, I think the Russians are sort of licking
their chops that they get to try to lead a way forward on this deal and
everybody`s playing into Russian and Chinese hands in that regard.
The President is going to go to the G-20 at the end of the week to try to
get everybody on his side but they don`t want to be on his side. They want
to be on the side of the joint comprehensive plan of action.
And one last point, Chris, to your last story, when the United States where
houses children, we don`t exactly go to the G-20 with a kind of moral
authority we need to say that we don`t want nuclear weapons and we want
diplomacy perhaps backed up by the threat of force, but we want diplomacy
not just coercion.
HAYES: Is there any out for diplomacy for Iran? I mean it just seems to
me like there`s a series of escalatory actions taken by the White House and
yet it does seem that the President because he likes deals and we saw what
he did with North Korea, we saw you did with renegotiating NAFTA, like if
he could get a Donald Trump-branded deal he would probably take it. Is
there any opening that has been left for Iran to pursue that?
SHERMAN: Well, I think there`s an opening. We know that the President
likes photo opportunities. He likes those banner headlines that say we`re
bringing peace and democracy to Venezuela, we`re bringing peace and
democracy and condos to North Korea. We`re bringing the best condos, the
best economic plan to the Palestinians, to Gaza, and to the West Bank, and
we can make Iran great again as well. So, the president loves all those
headlines. There`s just no there there.
HAYES: Right, and the Iranians, I imagine, get that. Like, part of the
problem is he wants a deal that`s essentially the deal that he ripped up
and walked away from that is under his aegis, but the Iranians, it doesn`t
seem have an incentive to pursue that.
SHERMAN: The Iranians are certainly being hurt economically by these
sanctions, but they are generally a culture of resistance. They live
through an eight year Iran/Iraq war that was quite punishing, including
chemical weapons attacks on their people. And it took a UN Security
Council mandate to get the end of that war. So, they`re not going to
I think at the end of the day they`d get back to the negotiating table, but
not with Donald Trump in the way that he`s doing it. So I don`t say it
can`t happen, and Susan Rice, the former national security adviser, had a
good op-ed in The New York Times laying out some potential ways forward,
not because she wishes we were here – none of us wish we were here – but
here we are.
HAYES: Finally, John Bolton. You know, he is legendary as a bureaucratic
infighter in the
worlds that you have often occupied and the apparatus of American diplomacy
in the State Department and other places. How much of that is true, in
your experience, and how much do you think he is sort of the point of the
SHERMAN: I think you said it right, there is no question that John Bolton
has never seen a war he didn`t want to wage. And I must say, Secretary
Pompeo has become his best buddy in trying to put on maximum pressure,
which leads one to war.
They boxed the president into a corner that is creating an escalatory cycle
between our hard hardliners, Bolton and Pompeo, and their hard hardliners.,
the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Quds Force.
But you are right, at the end of the day, as the president has told us time
and time again, he is the decider, he is the one who decides. I`m glad two
minutes to midnight he decided not to take that strike, but he needs to
decide to get back to the table. But diplomacy is going to require him to
put something on the table to get the kind of dialog he wants.
HAYES: All right. Ambassador Wendy Sherman, great thanks.
SHERMAN: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Ahead, is the fight for racial justice going in the right direction
in the era of Donald Trump? I`ll talk to Brian Stephenson about that and
his new documentary next.
HAYES: The first Democratic debate`s coming up in just 48 hours from now.
It`s clear that one of the central axis of debate in the Democratic Party
in this collection is criminal justice, policy and reform.
Senator Kamala Harris` record as a prosecutor, Cory Booker`s call for
large-scale clemency for nonviolent drug related offenses, and most
recently, Mayor Pete Buttigieg facing heated criticism from black residents
of his own city of South Bend for the oversight of that city`s police
department whose officer shot and killed a black man in that city on June
The Democratic Party is right now very publicly wrestling with how to
advance racial justice
and fuse together a strong multiracial coalition in the era of Donald Trump
and into the teeth of acute white backlash.
Joining me now, Bryan Stephenson, executive director of the Equal Justice
Initiative, subject of the new HBO documentary “True Justice: Bryan
Stevenson`s Fight for Equality” which debuts on HBO on Wednesday. It`s
great to have you here.
BRYAN STEVENSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EQUAL JUSTICE INITIATIVE: Thank you.
Good to be with you.
HAYES: You know, I`ve been wanting to talk to you as I`ve watched the
Democratic primary unfold as someone who has worked in the criminal justice
system for decades now. Where you see us at this moment? Because it feels
like there has been in many ways a lot of progress, politically,
substantively, even if you look at the numbers of just incarceration.
But you`re someone who has just watched the trajectory of the system grind
on and unfold for
so many years. Where do you see us now?
STEVENSON: We have made progress. There are bans on mandatory life
without parole sentences for children that didn`t exist. We have seen some
leveling of the prison population. There is a movement. There is some
bipartisan support for bringing down the prison population, but we still
have so much work to do.
We are still the nation with the highest rate of incarceration in the
world. We still will have excessive punishment. We still treat drug
offenders and people drug dependent as criminals instead of seeing that as
a health problem.
And what we don`t reel is is criminal justice policy in this country is
driven by states. Congress can`t fix this problem, it has to be done state
by state by state. And there are a lot of states that have done nothing to
substantially reform their system. So we`re still spend $80 billion a year
on jails and prisons. We still put too many people in jails and prisons
who are not a threat to public safety. And we
still have this horrific problem of error, wrongful convictions. And I
continue to believe that our system still treats you better if you`re rich
and guilty than if you`re poor and innocent, and that`s a crisis that we
need to address.
HAYES: Yeah, there`s an incredible moment for the documentary that sort of
hits on this point in which someone is talking about his own conviction and
what the police officer said to him when faced with the possibility he
didn`t do the thing that he was accused of doing. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I asked him again for the first time, why am I being
arrested? He said, you want to know why we arresting you? He said you
robbed a restaurant manager and you killed him. I said you got the wrong
person. I ain`t done all of that. He said let me tell you something right
now, I don`t care whether you did it or didn`t do it, those five things
that are going to convict you. He number one, you black. Number two, a
white man is going to say you shot him. Number three, you`re going to have
a white prosecutor. Number four, you`re going to have a white judge.
Number five, you`re going to have an all-white jury.
And he said, do you know what that spells? Conviction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Is that still as true in the regions of the country that you work
in as it was when he was being told that?
STEVENSON: Oh, I think it absolutely is. And I don`t think it`s regional.
I think all over this country we tolerate errors. We accept these tragic
Anthony Ray Hinton was the 152nd person to be proved innocent after being
sentenced to death. We`re now at 160. That means for every 10 people
we`ve executed in this country, we`ve now identified one innocent person on
death row. It`s a shocking rate of error.
HAYES: That is a shocking rate of error.
STEVENSON: If you went to the store and somebody said 1 out of 10 apples
will kill you if you touch it, nobody would sell apples. We would not
HAYES: Or planes, could you imagine if airplanes did that?
STEVENSON: Oh, absolutely. And yet we still have these states that are
actively trying to execute people. And I don`t think it has registered
the way it needs to. And there`s not a region in this country that can
claim that they have no innocent people in jails and prisons. When you
have a system that immunizes police and prosecutors and judges so that they
aren`t motivated to be accountable, you don`t provide people the recourses
they need to defend themselves, you tolerate bias and discrimination, you
politicize these systems, you`re going to have the kinds of mistakes that
Mr. Hinton`s case reflects.
And it`s why I`ve argued that the death penalty isn`t about whether or not
people deserve to die for the crimes they`ve committed, it`s really about
do we deserve to kill when we tolerate this kind of
error and misconduct? And just still think we haven`t really turned around
on that kind of punishment preoccupation.
HAYES: You know, one of the main theories of a lot of your work, and
particular in Just Mercy, your book, is about the sort of continuity
between the system of slavery and then apartheid Jim Crow and the modern
criminal justice system and this sort of continuities there. And I guess I
wonder, you know, you have this incredible memorial to the victims of
lynching that has been widely celebrated that I`ve been wanting to go to
How much does the reckoning with history – how much is that a necessary
precondition to what we do now?
STEVENSON: I think it`s a critical precondition. The United States
Supreme Court legitimatated slavery by saying that black people are an
inferior race, they`re three-fifths human. After the Civil War, they then
struck down all the laws that congress passed that would have allowed black
people to vote, that would have protected them.
HAYES: And there were many, lest that be forgotten to history as well.
STEVENSON: Exactly, they struck down the Ku Klux Klan Act, which would
have allowed federal prosecutors to keep black people from being lynched by
the thousands, and yet the court never
felt any need to reckon with those legal rulings that created 100 years of
racial segregation. We celebrate Brown and we celebrate Loving, these
moments in the court`s history, when they did the right
thing, but then they retreat to this tolerance. And if that`s our history,
we`re not going to have a justice system going to have a justice system
that is accountability, that is fair, that is reliable.
So, yeah, I think the history part is critical. I don`t think we can get
to the kind of justice we want until we talk more honestly about the native
genocide, about slavery, about lynching, about segregation, about our
tolerance of racial bigotry.
HAYES: Bryan Stevenson, thank you so much for coming by. The film is on
Wednesday night on HBO. Thanks very much.
STEVENSON: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, surprising new numbers about just how closely Democratic
primary voters are following the 2020 election. What that means for this
week`s big debates ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
E. JEAN CARROLL, TRUMP ACCUSER: It became a fight. And it was – it hurt,
and it was against my will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: On a Friday, celebrated advice columnist E. Jean Carroll went
public with her accusation that Donald Trump sexually assaulted her in the
dressing room of Bergdorf Goodman 23 years ago. Carroll says she told two
people at the time it happened, both of whom then told New York Magazine
that was indeed true that she had told them of the assault.
Today, the president used one of his go-to denials when it comes to sexual
assault accusations telling The Hill of Carroll, quote, “she`s not my
You would think that prominent writer accuses president of rape is the very
definition of news, whether or not the allegation is provable. And yet it
was bizarrely missing from the front pages of most major newspapers,
garnering this single column placement in The Washington Post.
And while Carroll did appear on broadcast outlets like NBC Nightly News,
MSNBC and CNN, and has further interviews scheduled, the accusation was
weirdly absent from political discussion on the news, and it`s fairly
remarkable that it was.
I mean, I can understand newsrooms being wary of a first-person account
published in a memoir that they themselves didn`t report out, but it`s an
on the record accusation of violent sexual assault with two people
confirming that Carroll told them of the assault contemporaneously. That`s
a very serious allegation against the most powerful person in the country,
following, we should note, 15 other women who have made allegations of
sexual misconduct against Donald Trump.
The media`s treatment of the allegation has not gone unnoticed. Indeed,
today The New York
Times executive editor said, quote, “we were overly cautious in how they
handled the story.”
There is a kind of perverse dog bites man quality to this story. Almost no
one is surprised by
the accusation. But it seems to me important to resist the soft bigotry of
low expectations that produces a news environment in which everyone just
kind of shrugs their shoulders at the president being accused of rape.
HAYES: Because you, dear viewer, are watching my show right now, listening
to my voice, you are probably not the typical Democratic party primary
voter: you are by definition paying close attention. Many are not. A new
poll finds that just 35 percent of Democratic primary voters have been
paying close attention to the campaign, 65 percent have only been saying
some attention, not much attention or none at all, and just 22 percent of
Democratic primary voters say they know a lot about the
candidates` positions, the majority, the vast majority, 62 percent only
know a little bit about where the candidates stand, another 15 percent
don`t know a thing.
Now, that`s part of why the first debates, kicking off in just 48 hours,
are such a big deal. On Wednesday and Thursday, MSNBC, NBC News, and
Telemundo collectively host the first debates of the 2020 cycle with 10
candidates on massive Democratic field on stage each night in Miami.
For millions upon millions of potential voters who don`t know a ton about
who`s running and why and on what platform, the candidates will have a
chance to start with a nearly blank slate.
Joining me now for more on the debate and the field, MSNBC contributor and
New York Times
columnist Michelle Goldberg, whose new piece is headlined “Joe Biden
doesn`t look so electable in person.” Also with me, Tiffany Cross, co-
founder and managing editor of The Beat D.C., and columnist Michael
Tomasky, special correspondent of The Daily Beast whose new piece in The
New York Review of Books discusses what he casts as a divide between the
younger urban and more left-leaning people on Twitter and the older more
traditionally liberal to moderate people who make up the actual backbone of
the Democratic Party.
And on that note, Michael, lets me start with you, because I think – I
mean, it`s easy to sort of overgeneralize these categories, but there is a
big difference between like the super invested folks who are following this
and can tell you like what policy rollouts Beto O`Rourke has done versus
what Elizabeth Warren has done and the vast majority of voters who are just
beginning to tune in and will be tuning I think for the first kind of event
moment on Wednesday and Thursday night.
MICHAEL TOMASKY, THE DAILY BEAST: Exactly right, if, indeed, they even
tune in in big numbers on Wednesday and Thursday night…
HAYES: Well, let`s hope, Michael. Come on.
TOMASKY: Yeah, let`s hope.
But, yeah, there is a big divide, and that`s what my piece is about. And,
you know, the typical
Democratic voter, Chris, is not somebody who`s spending all day on Twitter
and obsessing over these details, typical Democratic voter is somebody
who`s poor, working class, fairly low education level, and, you know, just
not somebody who – somebody who probably works pretty hard for a living
and not somebody who probably has a ton of time to devote to doing this,
that`s your Democratic rank and file. It`s a very different constituency
than, you know, people like us or people who watch these shows
HAYES: And that`s part of – I mean, I think that`s been part of the point
of the, you know, when people talk about Biden, when they compare sort of,
like, online groups or activist groups and Biden who, you know, interviews
with folks in South Carolina are like Joe Biden, Joe Biden, I know Joe
Biden. Joe Biden was the vice president for Barack Obama. If Barack Obama
was running in
this field, I don`t think there`s a person alive who doesn`t think he would
win the field like extremely easily. And so that`s a big part of what`s
driving the basic dynamics of the field right now.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: This is not my observation,
someone pointed this out to me, but once they did, I realized I was seeing
it everywhere. You know, kind of the liberal intelligentsia, people are
deciding between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, with some exceptions,
maybe also Kamala Harris. On the ground, you talk to people all the time
who are deciding between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.
GOLDBERG: Right, because those are the ones that they`ve heard about,
other people sort
of blend together.
HAYES: Which also speaks to how early it is and how people don`t actually
know all the candidates. Like, if you ask people to list who`s running I
don`t think a lot of…
GOLDBERG: But also there are people in this – you know, I would say some
of these candidates are not really doing the country and the party a great
service by clogging up the Democratic debate stage. You know, and there
are other people who I think do bring a lot to the debate, but it`s
just, I mean, we do this for a living and I`m not sure that I could name
off the top of my head all the 23 candidate.
HAYES: There`s 25, by the way.
GOLDBERG: Oh, sorry, right.
And I was sitting next to somebody at the fish fry, you know, it`s this
famous event that Jame Clyburn holds in South Carolina.
HAYES: Over the weekend.
GOLDBERG: And she said to me – this is someone who is super smart,
engaged enough to be at a big political event. She said, you know, I keep
mixing up Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, right, which again I think to
people who maybe watch this show, these are very different candidates, but
just kind of aesthetically are kind of similar types.
HAYES: Yeah, totally. And I think that`s, you know – Tiffany, I also
think that that`s why I keep thinking about this, and this is why I think
the debate night will be really interesting, I think of it as really two
contests. To me, there`s a contest to pick the nominee, then there`s this
kind of ideas contest. And sometimes they can even move in parallel, like,
it may just be that the ideas – a bunch of
ideas get adopted as a consensus ideas of the party, like for instance, we
got to do something big on climate and then whoever the nominee is sort of
inherits that at the end of the long process.
TIFFANY CROSS, THE BEAT DC: Yeah, I think that`s a good point.
I just want to go back to something Michael said earlier about the
Democratic Party. Look, I think that – I take issue with that, I actually
think that the Democratic Party is more of a big tent party,
and that`s why you have so people running. You have a lot more diversity
on the Democratic Party, and not just ethic diversity, but diversity of
thought, diversity of ideas.
For the past year, we`ve all been just picking apart this whole socialist
debate and what lane
different Democrats fall in where on the Republican side, it does tend to
be a more myopic group
of people, a more, you know, white male party.
So, I think there are different people in the Democratic Party who are
looking for different things. And I know that we have cautioned like let`s
not get in the circling firing squad, but I think that, too, speaks of the
party and that, you know, people are a little more intellectually curious
And I`m sorry, go ahead, Chris.
HAYES: No, no, finish – finish your point.
CROSS: Well, I think people are a little more intellectual curious about
where people stand. And, you know, you can`t just get on a stage and say
we`re going to build a wall and Mexico`s going to pay for it and everybody
walks away and believes that. I think on the Democratic side, you will
have people pick apart that statement and find out what that means. And so
I th ink you`re seeing that with some of the plans Elizabeth Warren has put
out there and some of the Joe Biden dust-ups that we faced, and even with
Mayor Pete and what he`s dealing with back in Indiana.
HAYES: Yeah, let me ask you this, Michael, in response to that, I mean,
you know, you got a new – there`s a new student debt proposal out by
Bernie Sanders today that would essentially forgive $1.6 trillion or cancel
essentially, pay through some of it, in student debt. There is a new war
tax that Beto O`Rourke – there has been a real like heavy policy focus.
I guess do you think – like that is clearly part of the DNA of a certain
part of the Democratic Party, Democratic coalition, like really caring
about policy. Do you think that is going to ultimately matter a lot in how
voters decide their votes?
TOMASKY: Sure. Yeah, but is it going to matter more than, you know, who
can beat Donald Trump? Probably not.
TOMASKY: I mean, that`s – that`s the big question I think on everyone`s
mind. I mean, the Democratic Party spans from left to mainstream liberal
to centrist moderate, and all of those factions are represented. There are
even conservatives in the Democratic Party, 15 percent…
HAYES: South (ph).
TOMASKY: …of people who are Democrats self-identify as conservative.
So, it is very diverse ideologically. And they will disagree on whether we
need Medicare for all or an expansion of Obamacare or this or that, but
they all certainly agree we`ve got to beat Donald Trump, so that`s the
first thing that I think everybody is going to be looking for.
HAYES: Yes, I think the one point of complete unity is that.
GOLDBERG: Right. And actually I think that that`s why this debate is
going to be…
GOLDBERG: …potentially perilous for Joe Biden, right. And I wrote this
in my column – you know, I have a lot of affection for Joe Biden, but he
does not seem formidable when you see him up close, right. He`s kind of a
halting speaker. He`s all over the place. You don`t see him being able to
sort of vivisect Donald Trump if they were on the debate stage together.
And so I wonder if some of this confidence that he`s the most electable
candidate will evaporate if he doesn`t perform like that when he`s on the
CROSS: Well, can I respond to that? I think that this whole thing that
he`s the most electable candidate is not necessarily accurate. Because
when you look at polling, you have to consider who`s being polled. These
are people who are typically older answering a land line. And a lot of
that fed into the whole rise, and that Joe Biden is the most electable.
There are people all across the country who never felt like Joe Biden was
the most electable candidate which, again, I think this is why so many
people will tune in tomorrow night. There are a lot of people, a new
voting electorate who are just coming in. There are some voters who were 8
and 9 years old when Joe Biden was named vice president with Barack Obama.
And they`re just getting to know him and they`re looking at him in 2019
through that lens, comparing him to things that he did 10, 20, 30 years
HAYES: Yeah, the one thing I will say about electability in general,
proposition Joe Biden or anyone else, is that performance will matter for
exactly that reason, right?
TOMASKY: Oh, yes.
HAYES: Like people will cotton to folks, whether it`s Joe Biden or
Elizabeth Warren or people that people aren`t thinking about, if they`re
good in the debates, that will matter a huge amount in the argument about
how good they would be against Donald Trump.
Michelle Goldberg, Tiffany Cross, and Michael Tomasky, thank you all for
being with me tonight.
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
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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