Trump calls Iran sanctions “hard-hitting.” TRANSCRIPT: 6/24/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Warren Binford, Michael Burgess, Pramila Jayapal, Michelle Goldberg, Tiffany Cross, Michael Tomasky

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

right now.






CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST:  – you let the political debate hurt these

children –


HAYES:  The President defending government treatment of migrant children

that one doctor described as torture facilities.



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.



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.




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.




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.




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




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

just monstrous.




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

Patrol facility.


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

every day.


HAYES:  Sure.


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

to that.


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?


HAYES:  Yes.


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.


HAYES:  Sure.


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

responsible for.


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.




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

there –


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

question –


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

died today.


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.






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.




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.



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

quite well-off.


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 China.


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

spear here?


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.



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.




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.




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

very badly.


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.






E. JEAN CARROLL, TRUMP ACCUSER:  It became a fight.  And it was – it hurt,

and it was against my will.




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.



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.


HAYES:  Right.


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

about things.


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.


HAYES:  Right.


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…


HAYES:  Exactly.


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

debate stage.


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.







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