Breaking through the Democratic primary narratives TRANSCRIPT: 7/31/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: We`re going to have a better sense after
tonight of who could be the best contender to go head to head with the man
who has spent his presidency stoking racial division.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. “ALL IN” with Chris
Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t understand
why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United
States just to talk about what we really can`t do and shouldn`t fight for.
HAYES: What the main narratives coming out of the Democratic debates are
missing and why the 2020 forecast for Congressional Republicans is starting
to look ominous. Then –
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The intelligence agencies
have run amok. They`ve run amok.
HAYES: Ben Rhodes on Donald Trump`s brazen politicization of American
intelligence. Plus, shocking new reporting that the Trump administration
is still separating migrant families in spite of a court order to stop.
TRUMP: We`re going to keep the families together.
HAYES: And Trymaine Lee investigates one of the central lies of the Trump
TRUMP: If I win, we`re going to bring those miners back.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: When you hear politicians, President
Trump down talking about saving coal mining – coal miners, is it
patronizing them –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Baloney, it`s a baloney.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Even weeks, even
before this week`s debate happened, the narrative of the Democratic primary
fight had settled into these ruts. These ruts that are so deep that it is
hard to push the conversation out of them to explore any new terrain.
The narrative is about a single axis of ideological disagreement between
different candidates. The moderates versus the progresses as it is often
short-handed, and it goes something like this. On one side, our
candidates, and pundits, and reporters who are intently focused on an all-
important specific type of voter that must be won over mainly the white
working-class voter in the industrial Midwest, the voter who went for
Barack Obama and then turned around and went for Donald Trump.
And all kinds of candidates and pundits and observers have extremely strong
and develop views about what this kind of voter can and cannot tolerate for
what they will or will not go far. And if the party crosses a certain
line, the thinking goes that voter will not vote for the Democrat and Trump
It`s an argument about electability though often it reflects the observers`
actual politics just cloaked in the language of analysis. Now, let`s be
clear. Focusing on this particular type of voter is not completely
unjustifiable because that is one of the demographic groups that really did
help Trump become President Trump.
But for one thing, it`s not the only group out there. There are plenty of
past victory for a Democratic candidate that do not involve winning back
those voters, boosting turnout among voters of color or young voters or
those voters who voted for Obama and then didn`t vote in 2016 of whom there
are quite a few.
Plus, and this is crucial, nobody actually knows what that voter or for
that matter any voter will or won`t go for with certainty. No pundit
really knows 100 percent, what positions will they will win them over or
alienate those voters. Yet a lot of people talk as though they do.
OK. So that`s one side of this big argument. The flipside is the people
who are pushing a very ambitious progressive agenda and who effectively
argue that there really are no political or public opinion constraints
whatsoever to doing that.
By this logic you propose ideas simply because they`re merit, they`re
righteousness, and then you fight for them confident the public can be won
over. No matter the position, the thinking goes, you won`t alienate
voters, there won`t be blowback, or your motivate voters to make up for the
ones you alienate. You just want to go big.
Now, going big might well be a winning strategy and that ambitious
progressive agenda might be right on the merits. But the view that it`s
cowardly to consider what the public opinion constraints, not to mention
the institutional ones might be, strikes me as more than a little bit
The political gravity does still exist. Public opinion does still matter.
There are positions that really are genuinely unpopular that really can`t
hurt a candidate with the voters. That doesn`t mean a candidate shouldn`t
take them on but there are trade-offs.
Somewhere between these two extremes is the grounds for a bit more fruitful
discussion I think. And for that discussion let`s bring in three very
sharp minds Christina Greer Professor of Political Science at Fordham
University, Steve Kornacki National Political Correspondent of MSNBC and
Elie Mystal Executive Editor of Above the Law and Contributor at The
Is that how you – what do you think about the framing that we`ve had so
far and those basic ideas between sort of the polls in this debate?
ELIE MYSTAL, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, ABOVE THE LAW: Yes. I think the framing
that you described is correct. I think that framing is bollocks but I
think that you described it exactly right. I`m obviously in the go big
kind of category and so I have my own opinions here.
But I do think that the important thing to surface is that where I think
the framing that you described is particularly wrong is that everybody on
the Left wants to beat Donald Trump. We all know that. We all assume
that. We all understand.
That the difference in the party and you really saw this last night I think
in the debate between Bullock and Warren here. There is a group in the
party that Bullock was representing in this – in this analogy that thinks
that the way to beat Donald Trump is to say that America is basically fine,
everything is going fine, it`s just that we have an idiot in charge.
And so just remove the idiot and everything else should just go back to
normal and we`ll be OK, right. The Warren sand kind of more progressive
side is saying, no, things are not fine. The structures that allow Donald
Trump to exist still exist, and if you do not attack those lectures then
Donald Trump wins again.
HAYES: But the thing about that is that`s a – so that`s a substantive
argument. I completely agree, right. There`s an actual disagreement here
which is why I think the debate is illuminating to be honest, right. Like
there`s a disagreement between the theories of the case of what is a matter
with America to put – right? Like what are the problems the country
And there are different – for a political standpoint though, I think that
what you`re saying about the go back is essentially what Biden has going
for him politically, right? I mean, the idea that we`re in awful anomalous
times with an awful anomalous president as many Democrats find him to be,
and we should go back to something that is not that is I think, Steve, the
core of the Biden case and the Biden support, and the reason that he is
leading in the polls even after a bad debate showing the last time and even
after – even if he`s not sort of in line with where the kind of energy
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And I think
there`s a – there`s an unspoken message with the Biden campaign to
Democrats which is don`t overthink this, which is Donald Trump is president
but Donald Trump lost the popular vote by upward of three million votes.
Donald Trump got 46 percent of the popular vote in as president because he
stitched together a 77,000 vote plurality across three states about ten
days after James Comey came down and said, by the way.
So I think the Biden message is essentially we – he`s speaking to
Democrats here saying that we are really, really close and it took an
incredible combination of circumstances to put Donald Trump there and I`m
the guy you can nominate and not screw it up.
HAYES: Which by the way, I don`t think that idea which I think is actually
a pretty good read in some ways on the politics of what that race was,
right? Like there are a bunch of fluky confluent factors that produce the
result. That actually doesn`t – that to me has is interesting because it
doesn`t have a specific ideological valence.
If you take that analysis, right, then you can say if you`re Warren or
Sanders like right, that`s right. Like we`ve got a majority. The guy is
sort of weirdly back came off the Comey letter. Let`s do what we want to
CHRISTINA GREER, PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: But
the problem is it`s the structural distinction between the two factions
within the party. And we have multiple factions within the Democratic
Party but the two major factions. And so the Biden, Bullock, Delaney,
Ryan, they`re essentially saying – it`s like, we can go back to brunch
pretty soon once this man is removed, because our lives are discomforted
right now but they`re not fundamentally altered. The Bernie, Warren quasi
I would say Castro and this crew, I would say Kamala, Buttigieg –
HAYES: Buttigieg I think too in some ways, and Marianne Williamson.
GREER: Marianne Williamson –
HAYES: I`m serious, dark psychic force.
GREER: Yes, true, maybe not for the presidency but for some other things.
Maybe she`ll be the chaplain, I don`t know. But I think the difference
between the more progressive factions is saying something is fundamentally
broken and something always has been fundamentally broken which then gives
Donald Trump and his administration talking points to say you don`t love
MYSTAL: And I just – I just want to back up on that because it`s not an
accident that the centrist, moderate, whatever you want to call them wing
of this party is mainly white males, right?
MYSTAL: That`s not an accident and it`s exactly as Dr. Greer says. It`s
because they`re lies from their perspective have not been – have been
inconvenienced, have been disquieted by Donald Trump. But the kind of this
psychic threat to use the Marianne Williamson that Trump poses to black and
brown communities is a whole different kind of problem.
HAYES: OK. But to push back on that for a second, and I think that one of
the most interesting things about Biden`s announcement was how much he
focused on Charlottesville at that announcement and how much he does talk
about. I mean not, you know, not in the terms of a person who doesn`t have
the lived experience which he does not as a you know, 70 plus straight
white man who`s been in politics 40 years, but he is quite focused.
I mean, I made this point because I said, you know, people who were paying
attention to Marianne Williamson, that dark psychic force which I thought
was a pretty good phrase to describe the phenomenon. And Josh Barro made
this point. It was like he`s like Biden is the one who`s talking about
Trump in those – in sort of those terms.
MYSTAL: But he`s got no policy there, and that`s where the problem is.
Like it`s great to say like oh, this – again, psychic force is out there
and it`s bad, but Biden doesn`t have – again Biden and this part of the
party, their thought is that – is that this is all just words. Trump uses
a lot of bad words. And we stop using the backwards we can go back to the
way things were as opposed to like addressing the structural issues of
white supremacy that some of the other candidates are actually talking
GREER: And so – but this is also why it`s like Biden doesn`t get it
because your announcement is in coal country and in Pennsylvania, right.
And so this framing is still like the real America are these white working-
class people. It`s like that is not –
HAYES: But – OK, but doesn`t get if for who? I mean, that`s the thing.
Like he is still leading, right? And one of the things that I think is
interesting is that if you look at you know, black voters in South Carolina
for instance, like he`s leading hugely among black voters in South
GREER: Well, black voters are strategic voters, and so they`re –
HAYES: I`m not saying they aren`t, I`m just saying like –
GREER: They`re rewarding him for his eight years of loyalty to Barack
Obama. They`re rewarding him in many ways because they want him to beat
Donald Trump. And there are many people not just blacks, but many people
across this country who think that the strategy to beat Donald Trump is to
get a straight white man into the Oval Office.
HAYES: Well, this gets back to the sort of question, right, about how –
one of the things that happens here is voters modeling other voters, right?
And that`s – and that`s – well, that`s the sort of strangeness here,
right? There`s almost a meta debate laid at the debate of the Democratic
primary which is why – who are you choosing along which criteria, right?
The person that is going to be the person that beats Donald Trump and when
you think about who would beat Donald Trump you think about the 77,000
voters, right? You think about like who can get those people back. Or the
– or which the case I think Warren is making and Sanders is making
although they make both, they also make electable arguments. Just you
know, the person that you think has the best ideas, right? And I think
there`s some interesting polling data around how Democrats are thinking
KORNACKI: Well, I – but I think that`s where the – that`s where it gets
complicated I think for Democrats because if you`re voting on – if you`re
a Democrat and you`re voting on what you think the best ideas are, you can
look at polling and says – that says your version of the best ideas not
very popular with general election voters.
You can go issue after issue that came up last night replayed – having a
Medicare-for-all program that gets rid of a private insurance. That`s two
to one popular with Democrats. You`re going to win a Democratic primary if
it`s just on ideas and it`s just Democratic voters, flip it around and ask
about general election voters, 54-41 opposition.
You saw Warren in there with decriminalizing border crossings. That`s a
50-50 issue in the Democratic Party right now. Nationally that`s a 28-62
HAYES: Although flip it around, right, when you look at like abortion,
abortion being illegal in all cases in Roe v Wade overturned which was what
Donald Trump`s position was. He literally said, I will appoint – you
know, in that debate with Hillary Clinton, that`s like a – that`s a 60-40,
65-35 issue itself. He managed to rid a lot of that right?
KORNACKI: I`ll give – I`ll give you another one though. This – I think
again, when I say this is the unspoken message of the Biden campaign, I
think part of it is think of the success that Obama-Biden as a ticket had
in 2012. What was one of the best weapons they had to use against
Republicans? It was the Paul Ryan budget.
HAYES: Yes, right.
KORNACKI: It was the Paul Ryan budget, it was Medicare, it was the fact
that Romney put Ryan on the ticket. It was the fact that Romney then
reinforced the message by having the 47 percent tape come out. But that is
an example where you could take any poll in 2011 and you could say, this
KORNACKI: Nobody wants to go after Medicare and they gave him the issue.
HAYES: And the thing that – the thing – that is always my response
actually when people say, well, Republicans think big. You know, they`ve
been going big on Medicare privatization. And I always say, right, and
they haven`t been able to privatize Medicare literally because it`s so
impossible. Like the political constraints exist.
MYSTAL: But this is where we in the media also have to take some
responsibility because we are doing some of the framings for the Democrats
in an unfair way.
GREER: Sure, thank you.
MYSTAL: Like we talk about Warren`s – just like as you said, you talked
about it in the sense of Warren decriminalizing border crossings. And when
you talk about it like that, sure, you`ll get a lot of white Republicans
who don`t agree it. Let`s talk about it as freeing children who were in
cages because –
HAYES: But those are – those are different things though.
MYSTAL: No, it`s not. No, it`s not. She was trying – and she was trying
to say this during the debate. Dana Bash liked her answer. She was trying
to make that direct connection between decriminalizing border crossings as
allowing as decline Trump`s ability to cage children.
HAYES: OK, but I`m just saying as a matter of policy, decriminalizing
border crossing is a policy that`s independent of that insofar as single
adults who come over would no longer face the possibility of prosecution.
It would take away the weapon that was used yes to take children away which
is why she`s making that argument, but like that policy – again, I don`t
think that policies particularly popular although I do think there`s a
really good case for it on the merits and that`s one of the trade-offs that
this debate and you know, future debates are going to be about. Christina
Greer, Elie Mystal, Steve Kornacki, thank you all for being with me.
Ahead, the growing list of House Republicans who are just jumping ship,
running for the hills, choose your metaphor, ahead of the 2020 election,
what it signals about the state of Trump`s party in two minutes.
HAYES: There are all kinds of ways to take the temperature of the
political moment. You can look at the President`s approval rating, you
could look at national polling, you can look at head-to-head theoretical
But one of the most revealing things for me is to just go and look at the
people who are making the highest-stakes decisions on the available data
about what they think the future will be politically. And those people
tend to be Republican and Democratic incumbents in Congress.
Just in the past two weeks five Republican members of the House announced
that they are retiring, Paul Mitchell of Michigan who was a member of the
House leadership, Pete Olson of Texas, Martha Roby of Alabama, one of just
13 women in the House at the Republican side, Rob Bishop of Utah, and then
just yesterday we got Mike Conaway of Texas.
That does not include the others who announced their departures earlier
this year, Susan Brooks of Indiana, Rob Woodall of Georgia, and we`re still
ways away from the 2020 election. Last time around you might remember,
back in the lead-up to the midterms, 26 House Republicans called it quits.
And of course, many of the Republicans who stuck around got walloped in
that election when their party lost 40 seats making it their worst loss
Now, keep in mind because the Republicans lost so many seats in 2018, there
are only so many vulnerable Republican seats left. But I think the Pete
Olson retirement is particularly notable. He had a brutal election last
time around. He barely squeaked out a win against Sri Preston Kulkarni who
he called a “Liberal Indo-American carpetbagger.” His opponent it plans to
run against him again and is raising money to do so. The district is
located in the heart of Harris County which includes parts of the Houston
suburbs that are part of the blue affectation of Texas.
So that retirement feels like a real weathervane. As for the others maybe
they know something we don`t know or maybe it has something to do with the
man occupying the Oval Office. Joining me now former Congressman Leonard
Lance of New Jersey who was one of those 40 Republicans who lost their
seats in 2018. It`s great to have you here. Great to have you back.
LEONARD LANCE (R), FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Thank you for having me.
HAYES: What do you think as someone who has sat in a position you had –
you were representing a district that I think Hillary Clinton had won,
HAYES: So you knew that you were going to have an uphill battle. What do
you – what goes into the thinking you think of an incumbent member in a
district like yours was or maybe like Olson`s in thinking about retirement?
LANCE: There are several factors and of course one of the factors is
whether or not you think your party is going to continue to hold the House.
The last time the House changed in a presidential election year, Chris, was
HAYES: Right. So the idea – right, because we`ve seen these big swings
in `94 midterms, we saw one in 2006 in midterm, we, of course, saw them in
2010, and in 2018, all midterms. So you`re thinking part of it is it`s not
fun to be in the minority and it`s not going to flip.
LANCE: A couple of generations ago, Sophie Tucker has said, I`ve been rich
and I`ve been poor, and it`s better to be rich. I`ve been in the majority
and I`ve been in the minority, and of course, it`s better to be in the
HAYES: How much of a difference is it?
LANCE: When you`re in the majority, of course, it`s more likely that your
bills will come out of committee and will reach the floor. The House is a
majoritarian institution. In the Senate, it`s quite different and even
senators in the minority have a good deal of power and that`s really not as
effective a way in the House.
HAYES: So do you read these – what did you read on these? I mean,
someone like Martha Roby is not in what I think people think of as a
particularly contested seat. Well, Mike Conaway was in West Texas. Those
don`t seem like frontline districts.
LANCE: Midland Texas is an extremely Republican seat. Martha Roby, my
friend, has young children, and this is also true of a younger child with
Congressman Mitchell so I think there are personal reasons in some of the
cases, and then in other cases, it might be based upon the political
HAYES: How much – and I would love you to answer this as honestly as you
possibly can. How much is it – it`s the – being the minority but also
having to answer for the president all the time?
LANCE: That very well may be part of it and certainly some of the
moderates who may be retiring do not want to have to do that at least not
100 percent of the time.
HAYES: Did you have that thought? I mean, how was – what has it been
like to be on the outside looking into American politics and to the House
during this year? Do you think yourself like I wish I was there or do you
think you say to yourself I`m glad I`m not?
LANCE: I would had preferred to be there, obviously. But I thought there
was a good deal of courage by the close friends of mine who voted with the
Democrats recently. Susan Brooks who is retiring, for example, Fred Upton,
these are persons who I think that did the right thing.
HAYES: Voting on the Democrats – with the Democrats on what?
LANCE: I`m saying that the president was wrong on his tweet with the
HAYES: What was your read on that? Did you think that – I thought of you
because I`ve had you on the program before and you had to sort of walk a
very fine line. You`re Republican and the President is the head of the
Republican Party. You were representing a Hillary Clinton district. You
knew you were in a tough re-election battle. You don`t have to walk any
fine line anymore. Like what – did it strike you when you saw the
president say they should go back to their countries and the crowd chanted
“send her back.”
LANCE: I would have told the crowd please don`t do that, and the president
should not have engaged in that tweet to begin with.
HAYES: Do you think the president is racist?
LANCE: I think he has instances where he has engaged in that type of
behavior. Do I think personally that he is a racist? I do not but he
certainly should do a much better job regarding tweets and he should have
apologized for what he said because after all, these are representatives of
their districts. They are American citizens to the extending extent that
you or I are American citizens and that was completely inappropriate.
HAYES: How do you think these outbursts from the president attacking
Elijah Cummings, talking about Baltimore, this language of infestation,
saying that he hates white`s and cops, what do you think that does in the
district that you represented?
LANCE: It does not go over well and that is true across the board. I
think it`s true of Republicans, and Democrats, and Independents. And we
have to do a better job in inner cities and I would like to see more
entrepreneurship but certainly, we shouldn`t disparage a whole
HAYES: All right, Leonard Lance, former Congressman from the state of New
Jersey. Great to have you come back again. I appreciate it.
LANCE: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Next, President Trump`s war on the Intelligence Community continues
as he staffed two crucial positions with less than qualified loyalists.
Former Obama Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes on what the
president is up to next.
HAYES: The President has been at war with the Intelligence Committee
literate – Community literally from day one. Trump`s first speech after
his inaugural was at the CIA, you might remember. And they`re in front of
the agency`s memorial to fallen agents, he lied about how many magazine
covers he`d been on, he lied about the crowd size in his inauguration, and
he lied about the weather.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: So a reporter for Time Magazine and I have been on their cover like
14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of Time
Magazine. But we had a massive field of people. You saw that. I get up
this morning, and I turn on one of the networks and they show an empty
field. I said, wait a minute. I made a speech. I looked out. The field
was – it looked like a million, a million and a half people.
First line, I hit – got hit by a couple of drops, and I said oh, this is -
- this is too bad but we`ll go right through it. But the truth is that it
stopped immediately. It was amazing. And then it became really sunny.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It didn`t. It rained entirely throughout his speech. Of course,
ten days prior to that, Trump had compared America`s intelligence agencies
to Nazi Germany so maybe the performance at the CIA was an improvement.
Since then, the president has been doing everything in his power to kneecap
and subvert the Intelligence Community often with the aid of surrogates
like former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes.
And now the President has two new opportunities to have his people playing
crucial roles in America`s intelligence services. The first you probably
heard about that`s Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe who Trump announced as
his pick for Director of National Intelligence way back three days ago.
It hasn`t gotten great sense as the New York Times reports aides the
Congressmen were forced to clarify his claims that he had won terrorism
convictions as a federal prosecutor as his background came under new
scrutiny. It turns out Ratcliffe never actually prosecuted a terrorism
And then there`s the other Trump loyalists who was promoted this week. The
Daily Beast reports former Congressional Staffer Kash Patel who helped
write the Nunes memo attempting to undermine the FBI`s Russia investigation
has now been promoted to the role of Senior Director of Counterterrorism,
Directorate of the National Security Council.
That is right. The guy who tried to end the Russia investigation is now in
charge of counterterrorism at the NSC. Joining me now for more on Trump`s
war on the Intelligence Community Ben Rhodes, served as the Deputy National
Security Adviser under President Obama, now an NBC News and MSNBC Political
Ben, let`s start with Kash Patel at NSC. I don`t know that position that
well but it seems like a pretty big deal job for someone who has proven
himself liable to sort of bend over backwards to pursue the president`s
BEN RHODES, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, Chris, it`s an enormous job.
I was at the National Security Council for eight years. The Senior
Director for Counterterrorism is essentially the coordinating point for the
entire government`s counterterrorism policy, so how are you coordinating
the work of our diplomats with the work of the Intelligence Community, with
the work of the military in the counter-ISIS campaign, and the effort
This is a big, big job and Kash Patel has mainly distinguished himself as a
partisan and conspiracy theorist to undermine the Russia investigation over
the last several years. I actually got caught up in this myself when I was
brought in before the House Intelligence Committee where he was the counsel
at the time charged with unmasking Trump officials and intelligence
reports, revealing the identity of Trump officials and intelligence
The facts were that I had revealed absolutely zero Trump officials in
intelligence reports, but that did not stop Cash Patel and his boss Devin
Nunes from pursuing this.
HAYES: Ratcliff, to me, is an interesting case, because the nomination
hasn`t been sent over yet. Burr gave a real kind of shady statement about
the guy. And then the president said this about
Ratcliff the other day, which I don`t think necessarily helps the case.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think that John Ratcliffe is going to do an incredible job, if he
gets approved. He`s got to get approved. But I think he`ll do a great
job. I hope gets approved.
I think we need somebody like that, though, we need somebody strong that
can really rein it in. Because as I think as you have all learned, the
intelligence agencies have run amok. They have run amok.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Do you think Ratcliffe is going to get confirmed?
RHODES: I think there are real problems with this, Chris, and I think
there is a likelihood that he`ll get confirmed, but there is a possibility
Look, the reality is the Director of National Intelligence, there are two
things that are paramount here. One is does this person have the
qualification to run the sprawling nearly $100 billion enterprise of the
U.S. intelligence community? He has no qualifications to do that. He is
not familiar with the work of these agencies. The statute creating the
Director of National Intelligence says that the person must have experience
in intelligence. He does not.
HAYES: Shall have – let me just say, shall have extensive national
security experience, if I`m recalling this from memory, but I think that`s
RHODES: That`s exactly right.
And the other thing, Chris, is the politicization of intelligence. You
need that person to give you
the facts. We need that person to be dispassionate and not ideological.
That position, the DNI, was also created after the Iraq War intelligence
failures in part for that reason.
And in Ratcliffe you have someone who has distinguished himself mainly by,
again, trying to undermine the Mueller investigation. Do we really think
this person will give Trump and the nation
the facts if Russia, or when Russia, is intervening in our election in 2020
or on Trump`s policies on Iran and North Korea? I don`t think so. That
makes us less safe.
HAYES: A final question, a move announced by the administration today
about the foreign minister of Iran, Zarif, who folks probably know. We`ve
seen him. He`s given interviews. He speaks fluent English. He studied in
the U.S. They`re basically banning him from travel and sanctioning him
individually, I believe, is the steps they`re taking. What kind of message
does that send? What does that do to the current impasse with Iran?
RHODES: Well, it`s a total incoherent step. And there is no rationale for
sanctioning Zarif really other than the fact that he happens to be the
foreign minister from Iran.
The fact of the matter is the Trump administration has been engaged in a
policy that has made a military conflict much more likely. Trump blinked
when he had the opportunity to take a strike and
said he wanted to pursue diplomacy. How can you pursue diplomacy if you`re
sanctioning the foreign minister of the country you want to engage with?
The other thing is Zarif deals a lot with our allies in Europe and with
countries like Russia and
China. They`re important to addressing the Iran situation. Those
countries will not like this step. And they will see it as very aggressive
and frankly nearly unprecedented step in sanctioning the foreign minister
of another country like this. So it further isolates the United States
from our allies as well as other major world powers and makes it less
likely that Trump can get any diplomatic resolution to what`s going on with
HAYES: All right. Ben Rhodes, thank you very much.
RHODES: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Coming up, a special All In report on one of the central lies of
the Trump presidency.
Trymaine Lee has the story ahead.
Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight. If there is one thing we know about Donald T,
it`s that he
is a big liar. The Washington Post tally of his false and misleading
claims is approaching 11,000 since he became president, Hall of Fame
numbers, really. Not that Trump reads The Washington Post, because if
there is another thing we know, it`s that Donald Trump is not much of a
We know he prefers his briefings in bullets, or as little as possible. The
New York Times reported that national security council members had been
told to keep papers to a single page with lots of graphics and maps.
And so when the president gave this interview yesterday, we had to wonder,
is he a reader or a liar?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you approach this job in a day in the presidency
the White House, walk us through that day.
TRUMP: Well, I stay up late. I like to read a lot, which is people don`t
understand that, but I do read a lot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You can make the call on whether you believe that or not.
There is one thing we know he is not reading about, and that is American
history, and that`s
Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: As we`ve laid out here time and time again, Donald Trump is a very
specific strategy when he flubs a word in the teleprompter, something we
all do from time to time, he likes to pretend that he meant to do it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They sacrificed every day for the furniture and future of their
Authority and authoritarian powers.
Through their lives and though their lives were cut short.
Our hope is a word and world of proud independent nations.
What standard, and really, if you think of it, when you talk about the
great sailers (ph) and the
great sailors of the world, we have them. But what stranded sailor doesn`t
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That gets me ever time. But yesterday during a speech to mark the
400th anniversary of the first representative assembly in Jamestown,
Virginia, we witnessed an entirely new phenomenon. It came as Trump
clearly first learned about the Virginia lawmaker George Wythe. He was one
of the first Virginians to sign the Declaration of Independence. And
although his name is spelled W-Y-T-H-E, it is pronounced with.
In Trump`s teleprompter, his speech writers clearly had employed a tactic
that we use here all the time, they spelled the name phonetically so that
when the president started naming these legendary lawmakers and got to
George Wythe, he would pronounce it correctly. And on that point
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Right here in Virginia, your predecessors came to Williamsburg from
places you all
know very well. They were named such as George Washington from Fairfax
County, Thomas Jefferson from Albemarle County, James Madison from Orange
County, James Monroe from Spotsylvania County, Patrick Henry from Louisa
County, George Mason from Fairfax County, George Wythe – W-I-T-H. It`s a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We`re going to put the miners back to work. The miners go back to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Donald Trump has repeatedly promised he would bring back coal jobs
across the country, a promise that was obviously impossible from the start.
Instead, here`s what`s happened: the coal industry has seen a rash of mines
going out of business as coal use has declined nationally in favor of
cleaner, less carbon emitting and also cheaper forms of energy.
Mines are sold repeatedly from one company to another, passing off their
debts and obligations, running operations into the ground and then leaving
miners out of work. And right now, miners once against find themselves out
of a job, this time in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Wyoming. Ad
company called Blackjewel, the country`s sixth largest coal producer, filed
for bankruptcy earlier this month, leaving most of the company`s 1,700
people out of work, including 600 in the tiny coal dependent city of
Gillette (ph), Wyoming.
Trymaine Lee has their story.
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: There has been coal mining in the
Powder River basin of Northeast Wyoming for over 100 years, but in the
1970s, the industry suddenly boomed thanks to one of the most sweeping
environmental laws in the country.
RICHARD NIXON, 37TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A goal of clean air,
water, and open spaces for the future generations of America.
LEE: The passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970 was intended to stop acid
rain. It called for wider use of low sulfur coal, like the kind found in
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here in Wyoming`s Powder River Basin, this one seam
contains over 19 billion tons of coal.
LEE: The mines started generating billions of dollars in coal revenue per
year, and the population of the region`s largest city, Gillette, grew
tenfold. But for the last decade, coal mining in Wyoming and across the
country has been on the decline as natural gas and renewable energy sources
The coal industry was dying and then came Donald Trump.
TRUMP: The mines are a big deal. I`ve had support from some of you folks
right from the very beginning, and I won`t forget it.
LEE: He gutted environmental regulations and promised to save the mines
and save jobs.
But in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming, just days before the Fourth of
July, 600 miners in
Gillette suddenly found themselves out of works as two mines shuttered
their gate for the first time in their nearly 50-year history.
LYNNE HUSKINSON, COAL MINER: And they`ve never shut the mines down.
LEE: And this is the first time they actually just shut the mine down?
HUSKINSON: Yeah, it`s unprecedented. This has just never happened.
LEE: How long have you been in the coal business?
HUSKINSON: I started in December of 1979.
For me, this is the first time unemployment. So I`m in a better position
than some of these people that, you know, they need their paycheck. I`ve
talked to several people that need a paycheck yesterday.
LEE: What kind of chaos has this thrown into the lives of coal miners such
SAMANTHA WALDNER, COAL MINER: Not being able to pay bills, not knowing how
we`re going to pay bills, not knowing how we`re going get jobs, what to
LEE: There are only 30,000 people living in Gillette. The loss of 600
jobs is devastating.
WALDNER: It`s just a mess, a mess of people, families broken, house is not
going to be paid for. There is going to be foreclosures. It`s awful.
RORY WALLETT, COAL MINER: Corporate giants take advantage of their
workers. It happens all too often, and it`s horribly sad, it`s horribly
LEE: The company that owned the mine since 2017, Blackjewel, went
bankrupt, leaving miners jobless, a pattern that has been repeated again
Blackjewel and its CEO Jeff Hoops declined to comment for this report.
SHANNON ANDERSON, POWDER RIVER BASIN RESOURCE COUNCIL: There has been six
coal mine bankruptcies in Wyoming since 2015, so this is the sixth of those
bankruptcies. Unfortunately, it was also precipitated by severe financial
mismanagement by the owner, Jeff Hoops.
LEE: How did Jeff Hoops come to become this villain on the tip of
BOB LERESCHE, POWDER RIVER BASIN RESOURCE COUNCIL: Well, he didn`t cause
this, he took advantage of it. He came to a disabled industry, bought it
up cheap. But it`s basically the bankruptcy laws. And when markets
change, the bankruptcy laws wiping out all these debts make it possible for
these vulture capitalists to take control of huge assets, which otherwise
would have no chance of getting.
LEE: Then who is to blame? I mean, because there are folks losing their
job and they say it`s because there is a war on coal. But who the should
they blame or what should they blame?
LERESCHE: They should be blaming the market, and the evolution of things.
I mean, people used to make buggy whips and they don`t have a job anymore.
Things change. Gas is cheaper, solar energy is cheaper, wind mills are
cheaper. That`s what happened. It wasn`t anybody, it was the market.
LEE: For the hundreds of miners now left behind in Gillette, not the dying
goal industry nor the vulture capitalists circling the remains nor the
president using them as a campaign prop saved their jobs.
WALDNER: I think everybody knows that there is going to be a change and
that coal is never going to come back to where it was.
WALLETT: There is going to be some of us that hang around with coal
because it is in our blood. We see that it`s a viable product. We see
it`s been put there, not to get religious, but a lot of us feel it`s been
put there by god for us to use.
HUSKINSON: There will be some coal jobs, and maybe they can find a way to
use it. But as it is right now, it`s not helping the predicament we`re
already in as far as the climate.
LEE: When you here politicians from President Trump down, talking about
saving coal mining, coal miners, is it patronizing?
HUSKINSON: Baloney, it`s baloney.
LEE: Do you think that as Americans we need to shift to different forms of
energy and not rely on…
HUSKINSON: Let`s just say that I signed up for a wind technician job.
LEE: So, you`re already there?
HUSKINSON: Oh, yeah.
HAYES: That was yet another fantastic report from Trymaine Lee.
There is a potential buyer for the Wyoming mines, it`s a company that owned
them previously, but the fate of the miners still remains unsettled.
Coming up, shocking new court documents shows the Trump administration is
still separating families at the border defying a court order. ACLU`s Lee
Gelernt joins me next.
HAYES: For the past year we have been told by this administration and the
president himself that family separation is over, that he, in fact, ended
it. Well, we learned last night, thanks to the ACLU, that that is not at
all the case. Family separation is not only still happening, it is
widespread and systematic.
According to new court documents filed by the ACLU, from June 28 of 2018
through June 29 of 2019, the government separated more than 900 children
from their families, including numerous babies and toddlers.
The documents showed the government continued to take children from their
family members using criminal history, no matter how minor, or unilateral
judgments that a parent is unfit as their stated
The Trump administration continued to do this for over a year after the
president signed an executive order saying that he ended family
separations. From the filing, quote, “one parent was separated from their
child based on a 27-year-old drug possession conviction. Another father
was separated from his three young daughters because he has HIV. One mother
had her child effectively kidnapped while she was in the hospital” –
listen to this – “she broke her leg at the border and was briefly
hospitalized for emergency surgery. While she was in surgery, her 5-year-
old child was separated from her and taken to a facility in New York, which
then refused to release the child to her mother,” because she broke her
Another father was declared to be an unfit parent for allowing his sick
child to sleep in his arms
mother, quoting here again, “one day while the child was sleeping in her
father`s arms she wet her diaper. Because the child was still recovering
from illness, her father wanted to let her sleep instead of waking her to
change her diaper. A female guard criticized him for not changing the
diaper and called him a bad father. The guard then separated the father
and his infant.”
So how is the administration getting away with this over a year after she
said they stopped? Joining me now to answer that question, Lee Gelernt,
deputy director of the ACLU`s immigrant rights project. His latest filing
is the reason we know about what the government is doing.
900 children taken from their parents.
LEE GELERNT, ACLU: Right.
HAYES: How are they doing this? How can they get away with this?
GELERNT: Well, we hope that they will not get away with it now that we`re
gone to court. We have the evidence. We`ve put it before the court. And
we hope they won`t get away with it any more.
What they said was, well, we`re just separating when the parent is a danger
to the child and that`s what they were telling congress, that`s what they
were telling everyone. We then get the documents. We then go out in the
field to investigate and talk to NGOs, turns out that the narrow exception
the judge laid down when the parent is genuinely a danger to the child,
they`re driving a truck through that. – traffic violations, disorderly
conduct. One case it says theft for $5, and then they`re declaring the
parent too dangerous to be with the child.
They`re basically doing family separation under the pretext, oh, we`re
going to protect the kid from these dangerous parents.
HAYES: So my understanding is there are about 2,700 kids in that first
GELERNT: Right, right.
HAYES: And the number that had been separated for these sort of – the
stated reason of danger or criminality was like 29, is that right,
something like that?
HAYES: Originally, right?
HAYES: So it was – so at the time a fairly narrow group of people.
HAYES: My understanding from your filing is that because the court said,
OK, that`s a different group and they don`t apply, they then saw that as
license to use that as essentially a pretext to then start separating
GELERNT: That`s exactly right. They took advantage of the judge saying,
here`s a narrow exception. And we urged the judge to have that narrow
HAYES: Right, there are some cases…
GELERNT: Of course.
HAYES: …where they would be a danger to the child.
GELERNT: If you see the child being abused, we want the child – so, the
judge laid down
the narrow exception and said, OK, I`m glad that there are so few kids.
Then we turn our back and now there`s 900 kids, 185 of them are under 5-
years-0old, for the most minor – sometimes it`s just an allegation,
sometimes you have law enforcement, as you pointed out, saying you`re a bad
father because you should have woke the kid to change the diaper.
I mean, these are law enforcement agents acting as if they are experts on
parents, making unilateral decisions, ripping children away from their
HAYES: I mean, unreviewable for the parent that this happens to. For the
mother who wakes up from getting her broken leg fixed, like she can`t do
So one of the things we`re going to be saying to the court is you need to
reinforce the standard
you set forth and we need a process for pushing back.
We`ve said if there are going to be further disputes, we want a child
expert resolving those disputes or maybe a court monitor. Hopefully there
won`t be these…
HAYES: They – I mean, this is really – they lied about it when they were
doing it the first time around, right. They said they weren`t doing it.
Kirstjen Nielsen got up and she lied to the American public and she lied to
congress and the president lied. And then they got sued by you. And the
judge said, stop doing this.
HAYES: And then the president has turned around and lied, and said, no,
no, I stopped it. Obama started it, I stopped it, a complete utterly
Orwellian gaslighting lie.
HAYES: And what you`re telling me right now is after all this, after they
lied about doing it,
after they were ordered by a judge to stop doing it, and after they lied
about stopping it, they have started doing it again under these sort of
GELERNT: Yeah, this is as shocking a moment in this whole saga as we`ve
seen and we really need the public outcry that we saw last summer. We need
that public outcry. It can`t just be in the courts. The public needs to
say enough is enough. And it`s our job to make sure these facts keep
getting out there.
HAYES: Is it your understanding that this is – that, you know, we found
the memo, Jeff Merkley got that memo about child separation. Is it – you
can`t know this, I think, at this point in terms of where you are in the
litigation process. Do you think this is ad hoc kind of cruelty or ad hoc
decisions being made at a local level? Or do you think there is something
again systematic, something being pushed down as policy like there was with
GELERNT: I think it`s coming from the top, because what we`ve now
clarified with the government – because the judge said try and resolve
this without court papers, is the government`s view is they can separate
for any criminal violation no matter how minor. So obviously a directive
HAYES: Use this – use the loophole.
HAYES: Lee Gelernt, thank you for what you`re doing.
GELERNT: Thank you for having me.
HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening. MSNBC`s special coverage of
decision 2020 continues now with Ari Melber.
Good evening, Ari.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the