Sen. Klobuchar on her new gun safety proposals. TRANSCRIPT: 8/12/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Republicans want to expand the right of
Americans to own and carry guns anywhere. We await to hear what both
parties will do. The guns of August have already been heard from. And
that`s HARDBALL for now. “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALI VELSHI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Tonight on ALL IN.
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL, UNITED STATES: We are now learning of
serious irregularities at this facility.
VELSHI: As FBI agents swarmed Jeffrey Epstein`s private island.
BARR: We will get to the bottom of what happened.
VELSHI: Tonight, what we know about what happened this weekend and where
the investigations go from here. Then ===
KEN CUCCINELLI, ACTING DIRECTOR, CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES:
President Trump`s administration is reinforcing the ideals of self-
sufficiency and personal responsibility.
VELSHI: Democratic candidate Julian Castro on the new White House plan to
penalize legal immigrants for needing benefits. Plus –
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Can you add what Amy and
what Dianne have – can we have them in?
VELSHI: 2020 Democrat Amy Klobuchar on whether we should believe the
president on passing new gun safety laws. And what we`re learning about
what could be the worst Russian nuclear disaster since Chernobyl? ALL IN
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: Good evening from New York, I`m Ali Velshi in for Chris Hayes.
It`s been more than two days since Jeffrey Epstein the financier accused of
sex trafficking was found dead by a parent suicide in his Manhattan jail
Investigators are still trying to piece together how this could have
happened. Jeffrey Epstein was accused of trafficking girls as young as 14
for sex and faced 45 years in prison if convicted. Part of the reason why
the death of Jeffrey Epstein is so surprising is that it was just last
month when he was found injured in his cell, semi-conscious with marks on
his neck. He was on suicide watch at that time.
It was just three weeks ago, but despite that, sources tell NBC News that
Epstein was not on suicide watch at the time of his death. The guidelines
for Epstein`s jail unit called for corrections officers to check on inmates
every 30 minutes, but that did not happen. According to an administration
official, “a number of hours elapsed between checks on Epstein`s cell.”
The official also said that Epstein did not have a cellmate which violated
Bureau of Prisons protocols. Shortly after Epstein was pronounced dead,
the FBI launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding his
The other weird thing about all of this is the timing. The news of Jeffrey
Epstein – Jeffrey Epstein`s death early Saturday morning came on the heels
of a huge document dumped from just the day before filled with explosive
We got nearly 2,000 pages of court documents from a woman who said Jeffrey
Epstein kept her as a sex slave. In the unsealed documents that landed on
Friday, she alleges that Epstein also directed her to have sex with several
high-powered men including former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson,
Britain`s Prince Andrew, former Senator George Mitchell, and attorney Alan
I should tell you, all of the men have denied the allegations. Epstein was
also known to have relationships with other powerful people including
former President Bill Clinton, former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, and
President Donald Trump.
Video shot by NBC in 1992 shows Jeffrey Epstein attending a party thrown by
Trump at Mar-a-Lago. The two can be seen laughing and talking here.
Epstein`s death raises several pressing questions including how could this
happen, but also happens to the investigations into Epstein and his
Joining me Jonathan – now, Jonathan Dienst WNBC Chief Investigative
Reporter and NBC News Contributing Correspondent, also Harry Siegel Senior
Editor at The Daily Beast. Welcome to both of you. Thank you for being
here. Jonathan, what`s the latest that we have?
JONATHAN DIENST, NBC NEWS CONTRIBUTING CORRESPONDENT: The latest right now
is that the FBI was searching his Virgin Islands estate looking for any
additional evidence regarding the sex trafficking ring he was running and
whether any evidence is there that could link to any possible co-
conspirators who survived him.
And in the meantime, the Attorney General today expressing his anger, his
disgust at how this could happen. One of the most high-profile, important
inmates in current time found hanging dead in a jail cell in one of the
most secure facilities certainly here in the Northeast. And the question
is how could this have happened? How could they not been watching him more
Some correction officer union officials point out that the defense on
Epstein had been importing him to be taken off suicide watch. He was stuck
in a cell on his own being watched literally around the clock for a few
days after that first apparent suicide attempt. Some thought it was a ruse
but he wanted out of that.
There was – the bedding, there is no bedding. It was just a mattress. He
was in a smock. He was isolated. They wanted to even – were told to put
him in general population. So the defense was asking for it apparently
after some psychological evaluations they agreed to move him back into a
He was put in a Cell we`re told with a roommate for a time, but that
roommate was recently released. So Jeffrey Epstein was on his own for
about 24 hours plus or minus, and he apparently was not watched for several
hours. We`re trying to get a better answer on that time frame.
I`ve heard anywhere from three hours to six hours where he went unchecked
during that overnight until he was discovered at 6:30 in the morning
apparently hanging by a bedsheet trying to get clarity whether it was from
the bed or from a window, but that is –
VELSHI: Right. Do you have information about whether he met with his
attorneys on Friday after or at the same time as this big document dump
with all these revelations?
DIENST: I believe my colleague Tom Winter has confirmed that yes, there
was a meeting through about 6:30 p.m. on Friday, that he was having a
meeting with his attorney. There was no obvious or apparent sign of major
distress or difficulty. And you`ll remember Epstein hated being in that
prison. And he wanted, we`re told, to go down into the legal briefing room
where he could meet with his lawyers.
Every day he was paying his lawyers to come visit him every day for hours
and hours and hours at a time just so he didn`t have to be up there in his
cell in that common area, they had the right to go down and meet with his
lawyers and he was paying billable hours to meet with them day in and day
VELSHI: Harry, what – there`s just so many questions people who don`t
understand prisons have about this. How is it that a prisoner goes hours
without being seen? How is it if the policy is that he`s supposed to be
checked every 30 minutes that that`s not the case. How is it that he was
off of suicide watch after an apparent suicide attempt a few weeks ago?
And maybe some of that understanding comes from somebody who understands
what that person looks like, and that`s you.
HARRY SIEGEL, SENIOR EDITOR, THE DAILY BEAST: So the first thing I think
that`s important understand is that even in prison, money talks. It buys
you hours out of your cell. It helped abstain get off suicide watch. And
I know that he`d been asking a few other prisoners for their inmate
numbers. It would have been helpful in different ways presumably in order
to transfer money into their accounts.
The conditions at MCC are not good and frankly, they`re not good for the
officers who work there either. It`s a difficult place to work in part
because it`s in Manhattan. So you have – you have these overtime shifts.
The two officers who are there that night, one of them was on their fifth
consecutive night of overtime.
I would bet that that officer have been sleeping in his car outside the
facility because there`s just not time to get home and get back before your
next double shift.
SIEGEL: The other one had been ordered to come in and fill that shift.
This is a huge problem throughout the federal system where there`s this
thing augmentation where they`ll take you if you`re a janitor or a clerical
worker who works there. And if you`ve had a couple of weeks of training
right when you get hired and they say OK, you`re a corrections officer for
So in this very broad level, we are imprisoning four people than we are
paying – than we`re able to pay to have imprisoned. And the decline and
conditions as such that it`s much less stunning to me than it will
otherwise be, the policy would it be followed overnight.
The two officers might just – might just asleep and not make the rounds
and expect nothing to happen. And – that something like this could happen
just out of profound incompetence. And it`s offensive for Attorney General
William Barr to say we`re discovering the problems there.
VELSHI: Because people know this. You`ve written about this before.
Jonathan knows about this. People who cover prisons in this country
SIEGEL: It`s no secret with the system and it`s no secret with them so to
VELSHI: Jonathan, the investigation, they`ve been an autopsy of Jeffrey
Epstein. It`s said to be that they need more time to come to a conclusion,
but they`re not working with any theory other than they believe he took his
DIENST: Every agency and every official we`ve spoken to, it appears to be
a suicide. That is what they`re working off of. But the medical examiner
is not going to make that determination given the nature of this case till
the FBI and the internal investigators can complete their work to determine
no one-handed on something so that he could kill himself, know who`s paid
to go the other way so he could kill himself, to make sure there was
But as of now, there is absolutely nothing to suggest any sort of criminal
conspiracy or crime or assault. Suicide is the only thing on the table.
And the question is what else went on that was improper –
VELSHI: There may have been something that facilitated that or maybe not.
Maybe it`s just a badly staff prison but there may have been –
DIENST: They`re going to look into that whether there was any
facilitation, did someone get him something that he could have used, but as
of now we`ve heard of nothing that relates to that. And maybe in time,
it`s just to the internal investigation into mismanagement and just some
bad decisions that perhaps took place at the MCC because no one certainly
an inmate like this should not die this way in a federal facility.
VELSHI: Jonathan, Harry, thanks to both of you for your continued
reporting on this. And as we get new information, we will bring it to our
viewers. Joining me now for more on what happens to the Epstein
investigation following his death I`m joined by Nick Akerman, former
Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Nick, this – there are a whole lot of people who finally thought they were
going to get justice because they were going to be able to see Jeffrey
Epstein in court. Now, that`s not going to happen.
NICK AKERMAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think it is going to happen. I
think what we`re going to find is that the indictment against Epstein
actually charged him with conspiracy, which means there was more than one
people. We also know that when the deal was cut in Florida that he made
with the feds and the state that he got some agreement from the state to
basically not go after other co-conspirators who were listed by name.
VELSHI: Right. Which folks have never really understood what that`s
AKERMAN: Well, we`ve never seen that, but it`s Florida that was giving
that immunity. That doesn`t bind the federal government on this. The fact
of the matter is the victims here will receive justice. The people who
were named as co-conspirators, I am almost certain will ultimately be
There are a whole number of them. We don`t know exactly who. You know a
couple because their names have been mentioned in the press. But I would
think that the federal government now is under immense pressure to
determine whether or not those people can be indicted because the paramount
concern here is the victims.
VELSHI: Right. To bring justice to these victims who have suffered all
these years. Initially, when this matter came up, they were not consulted
when the deal was made in Florida, and now this, Jeffrey Epstein slips away
by killing himself.
So I think that the government feels that I`m sure, that they have got to
bring closure to this by making certain that everybody anybody who is
involved in this whole sordid you know the period is brought to justice.
VELSHI: So typically when you`re trying to get to the head of something,
you turn people who are lower and you maybe pay less attention to them or
they suffer lesser consequences because you`re trying to get to the person
at the top of this thing.
If Jeffrey Epstein is the person at the top of something that is a
conspiracy and he`s gone, does mean that the power of the law, the strength
of it now focuses on other people who are in there because there are a lot
of investigations into who facilitated this. Do those people get a
brighter light on them?
AKERMAN: Oh, I think so. I mean, I think they`re going to get extremely
bright light on them. I mean, now that we know that – I mean, there`s
probably a list in this Florida deal. I mean, I`m sure that the federal
government has that list. They know who was exempted out of that deal that
Jeffrey Epstein had back in Florida.
I mean that`s the road map. Those are the people that the federal
government is going to be looking at. And the fact that they got immunity
in Florida, does not bind the federal government. It`s two separate
governments. And even what the U.S. Attorney`s Office agreed to in
Florida, doesn`t necessarily bind other U.S. Attorney`s offices even though
it sounds as the Department of Justice.
I mean, I have not seen the papers and I don`t think anybody has seen the
papers that relate to this agreement. But I think if it`s like any other
standard agreement that I used as a prosecutor or as a defense lawyer, it`s
going to be binding only as to the Southern District of Florida in Miami.
It does not bind the Southern District of New York or other federal
VELSHI: Let me ask you about the civil side of things. There have been
some civil actions taken against Jeffrey Epstein and there are plans for
others. The bar is generally lower for civil actions and this is a guy who
had a lot of money. With him being dead, does that fundamentally make it
harder or easier to make a claim on his estate for civil thing – you know,
for these claims that these women have?
AKERMAN: I guess in some ways it might make it a little bit harder and a
little bit easier. I mean, there`s two sides to this. Because if you have
a civil case and you brought Jeffrey Epstein in and you started asking him
questions, just as he did in the other civil case, he would assert his
Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
Now, in the criminal context, you cannot count that against somebody. You
cannot take an adverse inference in a criminal case because someone refuses
to testify. In a civil case, the rules are different. So I guess, one
question is when Jeffrey Epstein took the Fifth Amendment in this other
civil case that was ultimately settled, will they be able to use that
Probably they can. They probably can. And so they`ve got the adverse
inference based on his Fifth Amendment. They`ve got all of this evidence
that I`m sure they`re going to – you know, they`ve got all of these women
that were at one point or another victims of this whole situation. There`s
lots of physical evidence.
There`s evidence that`s been uncovered in his safe here in Manhattan. And
I`m sure as we speak right now on this island in the Caribbean, they`re
uncovering more evidence. So I think at the end of the day, the victims
here are not only going to receive justice on the criminal side, but
they`re also going to receive justice on the civil side.
VELSHI: It`s a remarkable story. Nick, good to see you as always. Thank
you for joining me.
AKERMAN: Thank you.
VELSHI: Nick Akerman is a former Assistant Special Watergate prosecutor
and former Assistant U.S. Attorney and Criminal Defense Attorney in the
Southern District of New York. Coming up next, the Trump administration
announces a new policy targeting legal immigrants. Presidential Candidate
Julian Castro joins me calling the move immoral and in-constitutional.
He`s going to join me now to explain why he says that after this.
VELSHI: It`s been 154 days since the White House held a press briefing.
The last time former Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made an
appearance before reporters in the White House briefing room and actually
took questions was on March 11th just over five months ago.
But the White House does clean up the briefing room for special occasions
like the time White House senior adviser Stephen Miller seen here took to
the podium to defend Trump legislation aimed at slashing legal immigration
Well, today was one of those days. The White House – the White House
dusted off the briefing room to announce a new policy that would make it
harder for legal immigrants who rely on government benefit programs to
obtain permanent legal status. The new rule is set to take effect in two
Now today, reporters in the briefing room pushed back on the policy
pointing to this country`s long history of welcoming people of all
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that sentiment, “give us your tired, your poor,”
still operative in the United States or should those words come down?
CUCCINELLI: Well, I`m certainly not prepared to take anything down off the
Statue of Liberty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: Here with me now Democrat and Presidential Candidate Julian Castro
of Texas. Sir, good to see you, Secretary Castro. I guess maybe you`re
still allowed to come as a country if you`re tired, but the poor and the
huddled masses don`t seem to be as involved. Does this look like favoring
the wealthy over the poor in immigration policy?
JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, what it looks like is
that this administration is not just against undocumented immigrants, it`s
also against legal immigrants. And on top of that, it seems to only want
immigrants that look a certain way. I believe what they`re looking for are
– it seems like well-to-do immigrants from some European countries.
And you know, the reporters today that push back and you played a little
bit of that audio I think we`re very apt to do so given the history of this
country. Before 1924, people could come to this country. We didn`t have
the same system of immigration laws that we have now.
And a lot of those folks as people out there in the United States in our
country will tell you that their grandparents or great-grandparents came
here with nothing. And yet – and I think this is a very important point,
Ali, a lot of those folks helped build the great nation that we have today.
They started off with nothing but they were able to become successful small
business owners or good employees and pass on you know, wealth to their
children and their grandchildren. That`s how we built up this country.
So what this administration is doing without literally taking the words off
of that plaque as effectively that`s what they`re doing.
VELSHI: You know, when we think about these stories that you`re talking
about that go back from the 20s and the 30s, back into the 1800s, we talk
about grit, and ambition, and the journey that people took, and the
harrowing journey that could have killed them on the boat to America or
however they came here and we seem to value that.
We seem to value that as contributing to the fabric of America leading to
that American dream, to come here with ambition to prosper. What`s
changed? Why is it different if they`re walking across the desert or
coming in from South America for the same purposes. They have ambition and
they would like to make their fortune and prosper in America.
CASTRO: I don`t think anything is different. I think you know, when you
look at this generation of immigrants, they are every bit as
entrepreneurial, they`re every bit as hard-working, they believe in the
country every bit as much as anybody else. And so I think the point that
needs to be asked is why is Donald Trump so interested in cutting off this
generation of immigrants?
And it goes back to what he`s displayed from the beginning of his political
career from Birtherism, to the way he started his campaign, to those
comments about the Mexican-American judge, to his comments about Ilhan Omar
and her colleagues. He wants a whiter, wealthier nation. That`s what he`s
VELSHI: You were the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development so you
experienced – you dealt with some of the people who are recipients of the
thing, the very thing that this administration is now saying will prevent
you if you are – if you`re an immigrant from getting permanent residency,
getting a green card.
What`s the association – this is – this administration is making an
association that if you are in government benefits in any fashion, you`re
not going to be a contributing member of society?
CASTRO: I saw the exact opposite when I was Secretary of Housing. I saw a
lot of people who were in public housing or receiving Housing Choice
Voucher, they were on some sort of assistance, they were hard-working and
you know – or some of them were people who were down on their luck but
they had been hardworking and they wanted to be hard-working again. They
were trying to get on a productive path in life.
So this idea that just because you partake in some government benefits, the
idea that you`re somehow lazy or you have no value to the community or to
the country, I mean you know, that could be further from the truth. It
could be further from the truth.
And there`s an ulterior motive that this president has which is that he
wants to create a country in his own image. He wants to kill the ability
of both undocumented immigrants and in this case, legal immigrants to
actually participate in American life. And I think that he hopes that more
of them are never going to apply or be able to apply to become permanent
residents and therefore get on a pathway to citizenship.
You can connect the dots between this to that citizenship question on the
census that the administration so badly wants, to all of the actions that
he`s taking at the border that are cruel, separating families. It`s one
consistent show of a president who is a racist and basically wants a whiter
VELSHI: Secretary, let`s talk about section 1325 of the Immigration and
Nationality Act which you have called for repealing. This is the basis on
which when these deportations started under this administration. That was
the crime in many cases.
So the average American doesn`t really think – when they think about
immigrants committing crimes, they`re not entirely sure that it`s the first
crime, the one which is articulated in 1325, and that is crossing
unlawfully. You think that should be eliminated. You think it should not
be a crime to cross into this country unlawfully. I guess it wouldn`t be
(INAUDIBLE) if you reveal it.
CASTRO: Yes, so – that`s right. Before this law was passed in the 1920s,
but from the 1920s until about 2004, it was actually rarely enforced as a
crime. It was enforced, it was still illegal, there were still
consequences to crossing the border, but those consequences were civil
consequences, not a criminal misdemeanor which 1325 makes it a criminal
Most people you know, listening I think it`s news to them that for instance
the deportation process and the asylum process, all of that is civil. That
is not criminal, that`s civil. However, this administration, the Trump
administration began weaponizing the misdemeanor part of this 1325 to
incarcerate migrant parents and separate them from their little children.
So I have said look, we can address the consequences for crossing the
border and maintain border security without 1325 that has allowed this
administration to cruelly treat migrants. I want to make sure that no
future administration has that tool in the toolbox.
VELSHI: Secretary, good to talk to you. Thank you for joining us, 2020
Presidential Candidate Julian Castro. All right, coming up, new details
about how the Dayton shooter got his weapons. Presidential Candidate Amy
Klobuchar joins me to discuss whether the president is really going to take
action on gun safety. That`s next.
VELSHI: Eight days after the mass murder in Dayton, a friend of the
shooter has admitted to
authorities that he bought the armor and ammunition used in the mass
murder. 24-year-old Ethan Kollie told FBI agents that he bought the body
armor, equipment for the gun and 100-round double drum magazine the shooter
later used during the massacre.
Prosecutors have charged Kollie him with lying on federal firearms forms,
but they don`t consider him a conspirator. And while several 2020
Democratic candidates spent their weekend in Iowa at the Gun Sense forum,
the New York Post reports that the president told a room full of Republican
donors on Friday that, quote, we need meaningful background checks. It is
We`ve had heard this kind of rhetoric from the president before without a
whole lot of action to back it up. So is this time any different?
Joining me now to answer that question and more, 2020 candidate, Senator
Amy Klobuchar, Democrat from Minnesota, who just recently last week
released her own gun safety proposal. Senator, we talked about that a
little bit, and I want to talk a little bit more about it today. But do
you believe that there`s real movement coming from the president of the
United States on real, meaningful gun control?
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, (D-MN) 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, Ali, he
has said this before, seated directly across from me in the White House
where I wrote down that nine times he said that he wanted to see the
background checks done.
Also, my bill to close the boyfriend loophole, which more and more
information is coming out about this shooter, this killer, as well as
others, it turns out that about half of these mass shooters, according to a
New York Times report this week, have shot someone – a woman – who is
close to them in their immediate family or a girlfriend or someone like
that as part of the mass shooting.
And so this is part of the solution, too. And this president said, yeah,
put that in there, put Amy`s provision in there. And then what happens, he
meets with the NRA that opposing closing the boyfriend loophole as well as
the background checks, and then he folds. That is what happened then, and
my guess is instead of pushing Mitch McConnell, which he could have done
with one phone call to bring everyone back to vote on this, he decides to
wait until the fall, hoping that public opinion will somehow lessen.
VELSHI: So things like the boyfriend loophole, which fit into the larger
rubric of background checks, and even into the red flag laws, which many
states have taken up. I think almost 20 states have taken this up. This
is the low-hanging fruit of gun sense.
The slightly more complicated stuff is things like an assault weapons ban,
which you co-sponsored, the 2019 legislation to reinstate. There are a lot
of co-sponsors, none of whom were Republicans.
What kind of political support is there for these various stages of things
that a lot of American – Americans think are just sensible, particularly
in your state, where people have guns. There are a lot of guns, and people
believe that they should have them?
KLOBUCHAR: Yeah, we have a proud hunting tradition in Minnesota. And, by
the way, where I just was for a 20-county tour in Iowa. But the point is
majority of hunters, actually want to see safety rules in place. And
there`s a number of hunters that support the background checks. So I think
there is growing support.
And you`re right, the red flag law is simply a first step, but I think we
need to get that background check bill and closing the boyfriend loophole,
which by the way, means that right now if you commit a serious crime of
domestic abuse against your wife, you can`t get a gun, but if you do it
against your girlfriend, you can, which is outrageous. So, I think there
is growing support among hunters, and people in rural areas to get this
done. And hopefully that`s going to change the politics of this.
I would also note that the Republican congressman from Dayton, which I`m
sure he had to
do, but came out in favor of banning military-style weapons, as well as
magazine limits. And to me, the fact that in 30 seconds, one man was able
to gun down and kill nine people and injure many more, even though the
police couldn`t have gotten there faster within one minute – think of
that. And I think that tells it all to Americans and while you`re going to
see a shift.
And we already voted after Parkland to get background checks. I think
they`re going to vote for more if the Republicans won`t budge and keep
giving in to the NRA.
VELSHI: So, you are a United States Senator, and there are a lot of people
who think that even if Donald Trump decides that he does want to move on
this thing, you`ve got another impediment, and that`s Mitch McConnell who
he`s not budging much on this thing. Last week, for about 20 seconds,
everybody thought he was talking about being open to things, basically
background checks. And I think within an hour of him saying that, his
press people put out a statement saying, not really.
And all of these bills are at his doorstep – the waiting periods, the
background check and the entire Violence Against Women Act, which includes
my provision that I wrote that has now passed the House on closing this
boyfriend loophole. So, I think he`s really going to have to come for
this. There`s going – he`s running his own race, of course, against a
fighter pilot, our Democratic candidate, Amy McGrath. And then at the same
time you`re going to have people from all over the country wanting to see a
So, change doesn`t always happen in one moment, but I have never seen a
moment where it does not cry out for gun safety rules more than this one.
VELSHI: In the last election in the – in the 2018 election, there was
some real progress with gun safety candidates. The momentum off of
Parkland did actually seem to help. To what degree will that influence
some of your Republican colleagues more than the NRA influences them right
now? In fact, I think the gun sense candidates and their organizations
ended up spending more money on the elections than the NRA did.
KLOBUCHAR: Yeah, and I hope this does. And in the end, this wasn`t about
money, it was about lives, it was about the fact that those Parkland kids
stood up and were so brave, and then kids across the country saw it, and
they started talking to their dads and their grandpas, that they had
hunting in hair family, and they said wait a minute, this, as I always say,
this won`t hurt my Uncle Dick and his deer stand, we can still hunt and
have these rules in place.
And so I think you saw that sea change.
And then they marched. And then most importantly they voted in record
levels in that midterm election. And I think to me this looks a bit like
the gay marriage change where it started in a few states, and of course
some states have already voted for more gun safety rules, but we don`t have
any federal accountability when it comes to the gun show loophole so they
can buy a gun somewhere and then transport it across state lines.
And so I think that that is what it feels like to me. This was a true
grass-roots movement that, of course, has been going on forever, from when
I was in law enforcement to Sandy Hook, to what happened in Las Vegas on,
but those Parkland kids captivated our nation`s attention, and now these
two horrible mass shootings in El Paso and in Dayton have really to me been
the last straw. And that`s where they definitely saw this was an assault
weapon. Don`t tell me you can`t tell what this was. This was a military-
style assault weapon with this high-capacity magazine that shouldn`t be
sold out in our stores. And I think that`s the sea change you are going to
see and what`s going to be waiting for Mitch McConnell, that debate when he
HAYES: There`s 100 round drum on that thing. In this state, New York, you
can`t have more than 10 rounds in a gun.
Senator, good to see you. Thank you for joining me again. Senator Amy
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you so much, Ali. Thanks for covering this.
VELSHI: My pleasure.
KLOBUCHAR: It`s very important.
VELSHI: Still ahead, what we are learning tonight about the serious
nuclear explosion in
Russia and what it has to do with the weapons system that Vladimir Putin
once called invincible. That story is up next.
VELSHI: In the last week we`ve seen news of two major explosion incidents
in Russia, one of which have video of, and one of which we don`t. This
video was an arms depot on a Russian military base in Siberia. Look at
this thing, a series of huge explosions rock the base last week, sending
shrapnel flying for miles, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, a
fire set off the explosions at
the depot that held gun powder charges for artillery shells.
One person was killed, several others are wounded in those blasts,
thousands of people were evacuated from the area.
Now, some residents apparently managed to snap photos of the huge plumes of
black smoke before they left, but that wasn`t even the worst of it in
Russia last week. About 2,500 miles away, off the coast of the White Sea,
there was another mysterious explosion that occurred on Thursday. Now, we
don`t have visuals of that. But that explosion was even more dangerous,
because that blast reportedly released a bunch of radiation into the air.
While U.S. officials have been tight-lipped about the blast, the New York
Times says it may be,
quote, “one of the worst nuclear accidents in the region since Chernobyl.”
At least seven people were
killed, and Russian news media reported, quote, “radiation briefly rose to
200 times normal background
U.S. officials suspect the blast involved a prototype of a nuclear powered
cruise missile that Russia apparently tested last week. You can see it
here in this video which was played by Russian President Vladimir Putin at
his state of the union last year.
I`m joined now by an expert who has been following these developments
closely. Jeffrey Lewis is the director of the East Asia Nonproliferation
Project at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. He`s the
founder of armscontrolwonk.com. Jeffrey, good to see you.
What do you make of this – the second explosion and the idea that
radiation levels were elevated in Russia?
JEFFREY LEWIS, MIDDLEBURY INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Well, I
think the evidence right now is pretty overwhelming that this was something
nuclear in character, probably the nuclear-powered cruise missiles that
Vladimir Putin showed off, as you said, during his state of the union
It`s not clear how much radiation was released at this point, but this is a
very serious accident. And we have a large number of people dead,
including five nuclear scientists.
VELSHI: Let`s talk about how do people like me, who don`t really
understand that much about nuclear stuff, understand the difference between
a nuclear plant like Chernobyl and a nuclear-powered cruise missile?
LEWIS: Well, so a nuclear powered cruise missile actually has a little
nuclear reactor in it powering the jet engine. So, you know, you can think
of it as a tiny flying Chernobyl.
You know, the good news is the reactor is going to be very small. The bad
news is as we`ve seen it, it doesn`t look like the technology is all that
reliable. And it`s especially odd if you imagine if Russia goes ahead and
deploys one of these things, then, you know, are they going to have 100?
500? 1,000 of these things? I mean, it`s a strange technology to choose.
VELSHI: And until now, we probably had some way of limiting how many
Russia had or we had, but now it seems that everybody is departing from the
nuclear agreement that limited the number of arms that the United States
and Russia has.
LEWIS: You know, I think that`s the real story here. You know, the weapon
itself is a kind of crazy idea, but it`s really a number of crazy ideas
that the Russians really are investing heavily and largely to defeat U.S.
missile defenses. And we`re seeing a complete collapse of the arms control
framework, the 1987 intermediate range nuclear forces treaty is gone, and
it`s pretty clear now I think that the United States and Russia are not
going to extend the very last arms control treaty still standing, the new
So, we`re entering into this world where there are not going to be any
constraints on these kinds of systems. And, you know, it`s starting to
look a little like an arms race.
VELSHI: So, Russia, it`s widely acknowledged, was in breach of its deals
anyway, and China wasn`t subject to these restrictions and was moving
ahead. So what does success look like in terms of deals of this sort? If
Russia wasn`t abiding by it and there were countries not limited by it,
what should the U.S. be doing at this point?
LEWIS: Well, I mean, the first thing to do is recognize we can`t let the
perfect be the enemy of the good. Yes, the Russians were violating the INF
treaty, but they are not violating the new START treaty. So we do have a
treaty in place that governs what are called strategic arms, basically the
missiles and bombers that can go from one country the other, right, the
really long range stuff.
That treaty still exists, and the Russians are complying with it, but the
Trump administration has no interest in extending it.
So, you know, the first thing to do is stop damaging the system. You know,
we could go back to the negotiating table. We could extend that
agreement, and then we can start working on some of the other problems,
right. We can talk about Russian compliance with the INF. We can talk
to bring China in.
But I think what we`re seeing right now is that people like John Bolton are
basically using these
problems really to walk away from this entire approach and go back to an
VELSHI: Jeffrey, thank you for joining me tonight. I appreciate it.
LEWIS: My pleasure.
VELSHI: Jeffrey Lewis.
All right, coming up, fascinating new data untangling the president`s
12,000 lies since taking office. We`ll go through it after this.
VELSHI: It`s hard to keep up with the lies and exaggerations told by
President Donald Trump, it`s just difficult to keep track of something that
coming at you constantly, but The Washington Post is
keeping up with it, and they`ve got a number: 12,019. President Trump has
made 12,019 false or misleading claims over 928 days in office. Think
about that, 12,019.
The Washington Post fact check checker database has been meticulously
tracking the president`s public statements. You can see it charted here on
a day-to-day basis. It averages out to about 13 false or misleading
statements per day, according to The Washington Post.
There is a spike, as you can see, around the midterm elections last year.
And the president`s
average has recently climbed to about 20 false or misleading statements per
day, day after day, month after month. So by August 5, the most recent day
that the Post has analyzed, he had crossed the 12,000 threshold.
What does that do to this country, to society, and to truth itself? We`ll
discuss straight ahead.
HAYES: Out of the 12,000 false or misleading claims made by the president
of the United States, one of his favorites is that this is the greatest
economy in U.S. history. He began saying that about a year ago. He`s made
some version of that claim 186 times, according to The Washington Post.
But as The Post notes, by just about any important measure the economy
today is not doing as well as it did under presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower,
Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Ulysses S. Grant.
President Trump has also claimed he passed the biggest tax cut in U.S.
history. Also not true.
For more on the culture of lies and misstatements created by this
presidency I`m joined by
Danielle Moody-Mills, host of Sirius/XM`s Woke AF; and Rick Wilson, a
Republican strategist and a columnist at The Daily Beast. Welcome to both
of you. Thank you for being with us.
Danielle, what do you make of it? I mean, at some point whether it`s 9,000
or 12,000 or 20,000, which I`m sure it will get to, what do you make of it?
Because I feel like after the first 10 you put yourself into the bucket of
not being able to be trusted.
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS, HOST, WOKE AF: I mean, the reality is, is that
after the president was inaugurated Psychology Today put out an article
called “The 11 signs,” warning signs “of
gaslighting.” This president`s gaslighting is a strategy. He does it on
purpose. It`s to keep us off kilter. It`s to make us believe that there
is nothing truthful.
So he tells you one lie after the other and you start to become numb to it.
That`s what`s happening. And so we don`t question all of the things that
he says. He starts his political career with birtherism. It turns into an
entire movement. Now he retweets conspiracies about the Clintons and
Epstein, and it doesn`t even make front-page news.
The whole idea is that he builds this uneasiness so that we trust nothing
and no one. And then he projects, he projects lies onto other people. He
tells us that other people are crazy. Isn`t it crazy to tell 13 to 20 lies
a day? That should just make you automatically unfit to be president of
the United States, and yet here we are.
The fact that The Washington Post has this tracker is amazing, but we`re
numb to it. The public doesn`t even care. We have more stories about Joe
Biden`s gaffes that he`s having than we do about the fact that the
president of the United States lies to the American public every day
multiple times a day.
VELSHI: Rick, what Danielle`s talking about was Donald Trump sharing an
unfounded fringe theory about Jeffrey Epstein`s death in prison related to
the Clintons. A Trump official, Lynn Patton, regional administrator of
the Department of Housing and Urban Development, tweeted out, or posted on
Instagram, that Jeffrey Epstein was Hillaried.
What do you think of this theory, though, that it`s just meant to keep us
off balance? Because you don`t actually know what the truth is anymore,
and we certainly don`t report on all 12 to 20 lies per day.
RICK W ILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, Donald Trump relies on us to
talk about the spectacle and not about the substance. And the spectacle,
part of it is that he is a lying liar who lies at all times in every way,
you know, including the articles “a” and “the” in every sentence. They are
lies when he says them.
And so you end up with a division on the Republican side. Part of the
folks on that side sort of hold their breath and go uh. Part of them like
it. They think this is part of this new transgressive game that he`s
playing, and oh, we`re going to own the libs by Donald Trump producing a
river of BS every day.
You know, and this idea that you`re going to promote conspiracy theories,
as Trump has done over the weekend since Epstein, I mean, it feeds into
this desire by the right to redefine what the truth is, what the facts are.
I mean, obviously, the only logical explanation was Hillary doing a high-
altitude parachute jump onto the roof, rappelling down the elevator shaft
and killing Epstein herself, right?
I mean, by the end of this they will have these lurid crazy theories, and
they`ll believe them.
VELSHI: So, this is interesting, Danielle. On one hand the criticism is
that we don`t cover all of the lies. And I get that a lot on Twitter, by
the way. He lied about this, why didn`t you say that?
On the other hand, to Rick`s point, there are laws that are changing. The
CFPB is becoming dismantled. The Environmental Protection Agency is
becoming dismantled. The Endangered Species Act is under attack. At some
point what do we choose? Do we choose to talk about how he lied again
today about this being the greatest economy in the world or do we ignore
the lies? I don`t know what success looks like.
MOODIE-MILLS: I feel like we have to do both and. We have to be able to
call out the lies that he`s saying and also the destructive policies that
he`s putting out.
Today, he told 13 lies. He`s also – like you said, he`s dismantling the
protection for endangered species. He`s…
VELSHI: Which is not a partisan matter, by the way, it never has been a
partisan matter. Republicans and Democrats both agreed, and Republican –
and conservative and liberals the world over agree, protect endangered
MOODIE-MILLS: Right. But this administration doesn`t want to protect
anything or anyone other than white supremacy, so that`s just the fact.
But we have to do the work. And that`s the thing, is that all of this
gaslighting, all of the lies it keeps us spinning so that we can`t pay
attention to everything. But that`s the work that Donald Trump has put on
our plates. We have to tell the truth about who he is, what he`s doing,
how he`s manipulating the public and also tell the truth about the
policies and who he`s hurting and why he`s hurting them.
VELSHI: Rick Wilson, 15 seconds to you on are there enough Republicans to
WILSON: Absolutely not. There are no Republicans who will stand up and be
brave and tell the president he`s a lying liar. And the the problem is
you can`t attack the lies retail, you have to attack the liar himself, and
you have to go at him, and none of them are going to do that.
VELSHI: Danielle Moodie-Mills, Rick Wilson, thanks to both of you for
joining me tonight.
That is ALL IN for this evening. “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right
now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the