Trump says tariff delay is for the Christmas season. TRANSCRIPT: 8/13/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: A low-level staffer, totally incapable. Got
the point? A message to future Trump job applicants, don`t do the crime if
you can`t do the time. Well, this Friday we`re going to talk to some of
those former Trump White House staffers including Anthony Scaramucci,
Omarosa Manigault Newman. That`s all this Friday. What a night.
This is HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. “ALL IN” with Chris
Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALI VELSHI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re taking by the way
billions and billions of dollars in tariffs are coming in and China is
paying for it not our people.
VELSHI: Donald Trump gives up the game on a key issue.
TRUMP: We`re doing this for Christmas season just in case some of the
tariffs would have an impact on U.S. –
VELSHI: Tonight, new recession warnings and new concern about the Trump
economy. The White House defends its plan to curb legal immigration with a
suggested edit on the Statue of Liberty.
KEN CUCCINELLI, ACTING DIRECTOR, U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES:
Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and
who will not become a public charge.
VELSHI: Plus, new reporting on the mad scramble in the Department of
Homeland Security to combat white supremacy in the wake of El Paso. And
what we`re learning from new state-by-state polling that does not paint a
pretty picture for the president in 2020. ALL IN starts now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: Good evening from New York I`m Ali Velshi in for Chris Hayes. For
more than a year, President Trump has lied and claimed that his tariffs on
Chinese goods are paid for by China and not by Americans. He`s tweeted the
lie on several occasions. He`s repeated it numerous times at his rallies.
He said it at a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio not even two weeks ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Don`t let them tell you. The fact is China devalues their
currencies, they pour money into their system, they pour it in, and because
they do that you`re not paying for those tariffs, China is paying for those
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: Just an argument to be had here and we might have it, but today
the President blinked. His U.S. trade representatives released a statement
on Trump`s next round of planned tariffs on Chinese goods, saying, “It was
determined that the tariffs should be delayed to December 15th for certain
articles. Products in this group include for example cell phones, laptop
computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and
certain items of footwear and clothing.”
Now, why would Trump wait to level tariffs on goods like cell phones,
laptops, video game consoles, toys, computer monitors, and shoes until the
middle of December? I think we may have given it away in the graphic. But
let`s let the president explain himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We`re doing this for Christmas season just in case some of the
tariffs would have an impact on U.S. customs, but so far there`s none. The
only impact is that we collected almost $60 billion from China, complements
from China. But just in case there might have an impact on people, what
we`ve done is we delayed it so that they won`t be relevant on Christmas
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: The Christmas shopping season. The reason President Trump
wouldn`t put tariffs on those items right before Christmas is because
Americans are the ones paying a higher price and Trump knows it`s not good
politics to make Christmas more expensive when you`re running for re-
But this is just the latest in the president`s ongoing trade war with China
that has had a consistent and tangible effect on the U.S. economy and stock
market. In 2018, when Trump first announced his tariffs, stocks fell.
Earlier this month when Trump announced more tariffs, stocks fell.
When China responded by allowing its currency to weaken, U.S. stocks had
their worst day of the year. Today stocks rose following Trump`s
announcement that he`s delaying some tariffs but not enough to recover from
yesterday`s steep drop.
Trump`s trade war with China has been stoking uncertainty. Just last
month, the Fed was forced to cut rates in part because of the global drag
created by Trump`s trade war. And now Politico reports, economists at
Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America all warned the Trump`s
bitter trade war with China is taking a bigger bite out of economic growth
Here with me now, someone who understands economics and trade policy from
the inside out, Jared Bernstein, a former Chief Economist to then-Vice
President Joe Biden, a Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy
Priorities. Jared, good to see you.
JARED BERNSTEIN, FORMER CHIEF ECONOMIST TO THEN-VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN:
VELSHI: Donald Trump has been saying that China is paying those tariffs.
Mechanically speaking, that`s just not how it works. A tariff is paid for
by somebody who imports a good to sell it in a different country.
BERNSTEIN: No question. Those are the exact mechanics when an export
comes into our shores and there`s a tariffs imposed on it, that tariff is
imposed by the U.S. company importing that good to the U.S. Customs
What happens next is that those companies try to pass that tax increase,
that tariff, forward to consumers and that`s why we`ve seen if you actually
separate out the prices of goods that face tariffs than those that don`t,
we`ve actually seen prices increase more significantly on the goods facing
There`s no question that this has always been the case and in fact, you and
I have talked about it before. What`s new today is as you say Trump
finally blinked and admitted himself. There was a bunch of equivocating
language in there but it`s not worth listening to that at all because the
fact of the matter is U.S. companies pay tariffs, and they then try to pass
those towers forward to U.S. consumers.
VELSHI: If I try to say be really magnanimous and give me the argument for
Donald Trump continuing to say that the Chinese paid that $60 billion, what
would that argument be?
BERNSTEIN: Well, that`s actually an important piece of the puzzle because
it`s not like these tariffs are good for China or any other export who
faces them. Because they raise prices to U.S. consumers and because they
raise the costs of importing these goods from China to U.S. firms, those
firms are going to try to find other sources to import those goods, other
countries that don`t face the tariff.
And there`s no question that this has hurt the Chinese economy. In fact,
if you ask me and most other economists, they will tell you that thus far -
- and I think your earlier run through some of the numbers really got to
this, thus far this trade war has been all pain and no gain.
It`s been all pain for American companies whose imports are more expensive.
It`s been all pain for American consumers facing higher prices. It`s been
all paying for farmers and lots of other Trump constituencies that have
faced retaliatory tariffs from countries like China.
I just don`t find any upside to this at all. And in fact, I would argue
that maybe the Trump administration hard-headed as they are is finally
getting the message with what they did today.
VELSHI: We are hearing now from the major banks. We know that the global
economy slows. It does that on a cyclical basis. But they are saying that
the trade war itself is – could be a contributor to a recession or the
next recession we`ve got or at least the depth of that recession.
BERNSTEIN: Yes. Well, that`s because the trade war has a couple of basic
macroeconomic impacts. First of all, it raises prices and that means real
incomes will grow more slowly. But because it dampens both imports and
exports, it`s been lowering the extent of trade throughout the globe.
And we – I myself have had lots of criticisms, some of which are not that
different than some that you`ll hear from the administration in terms
people who – people in places who have been hurt by trade. But an overall
sense, these global supply chains are pro-growth throughout the globe. And
once you start hacking away at them in many cases, these supply chains took
many years, decades to develop, you`re going to hurt global growth.
Now, I don`t think that the trade war thus far has been recessionary to the
point that I can you know forecast any further than economists can see
around the next corner, but they certainly have raised prices and hurt
VELSHI: Jared Bernstein, good to talk to you as always. Thank you for
joining me, Jared Bernstein. Since this whole trade war with China is not
going exactly as the President planned and he is running for reelection
next year, his campaign is turning to – I`m not kidding – plastic straws
and other cultural flashpoints to shore up the base.
I didn`t actually realize plastic straws were a cultural flashpoint. To
talk about that, I want to bring in Michelle Goldberg an op-ed writer for
The New York Times and MSNBC Political Analyst and Ben Howe Co-Host of The
Fifth Estate podcast and the author of The Immoral Majority: Why
Evangelicals Chose Political Power Over Christian Values. Welcome to both
you. Thank you for being here.
Ben, a simple question, the President says things that are provably wrong.
This was just an example the conversation I had with Jared. But that`s
just – there are a lot of things like that. It doesn`t seem to matter to
some people. His base remains solid. Why? Why does endlessly lying about
things that actually matter to people like their income and like the
economy and like their 401ks not matter?
BEN HOWE, CO-HOST OF THE FIFTH ESTATE PODCAST: Because the team, the
Republican team, the GOP has trained them to believe and there are so many
people I know who will object to the fact that I don`t think this is true.
So there`s a culture war going on. Our very lives are at stake. The enemy
is within – it is the left and we`re at war.
So if we`re war, these kinds of things, they don`t matter nearly as much.
We`re in the battlefield. We have to meet the left on the battle or our
children are going to suffer you know, 1,000 years of darkness will ensue.
VELSHI: And somehow plastic straws made their way into this. I mean, this
is even hard for me to get my head around. Plastic straws have now been a
symbol, have become a symbol for Donald Trump to use as how the left is
imposing its will on everybody in 1,000 years of darkness –
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And it`s actually a
kind of a useful symbol I think of the you know, infantile petulance that
the culture war tends to reduce to. I mean, it reminds me of freedom
fries. It reminds me of rolling coal. Do you remember those cars that
were specially engineered to be extra polluting just to own the libs?
You know, and I understand that people find – people find paper straws
annoying. They don`t like making this very small sacrifice to help the
environment. But again, it`s just it`s so – for people who call their
enemies snowflakes, I mean imagine this degree of political umbrage because
you have to drink out of a cup like an adult.
I mean, it`s astonishing but I think in some ways it shows the – you know,
it shows how little they have left, right? Because on the one hand these
cultural war issues are going to be really effective and firing up their
base, but their base has never been a majority of the country. It`s not
even a majority of the states that have disproportionate impact and give us
the majority of Electoral College, right? They need something beyond their
VELSHI: So this is interesting to me because, Ben, at some point, and I
get the argument about how and I think we see it on lots of examples around
the world about people creating an enemy, concocting an enemy, building
that enemy up to rally the troops. But at some point, there`s going to be
an election in a year and a half.
And do the folks who are believing this rhetoric not reckoned with what`s
actually happening in their lives and say hey, this is a long culture war
we`ll keep on going with this?
HOWE: No, I don`t think so. And I think honestly with how divisive things
have been for the last few years and with how amped up the opposition even
to Donald Trump is, there`s more than enough evidence for anyone who wants
to believe there`s a cultural war to go around.
People are able to cast every situation as life and death when they know
someone who`s been the – you know, suffer the impact of a social justice
mob or somebody on the left you know, with Antifa and all these other
things that you watch the news, you see all of these acts of violence, and
I think it gets people scared. And that is what works in these elections
and I really think that`s why Donald Trump will probably win.
VELSHI: Do we – what does one do if one wants to have an election that`s
actually based on issues or outcomes or provable things and we`re in this
culture war? I mean, is there some way to get out of it politically and
get back to a sensible arrangement?
GOLDBERG: Well, I think that it has to be focused less on winning over
Donald Trump`s base. I think that they are –
VELSHI: Where they are.
GOLDBERG: – not gettable, right. But I think it has more to do with
escaping this prison of minority rule that we`re in, you know, because we
have both the counter-majoritarian system of the Electoral College, you
also have kind of widespread voter suppression.
But even with all of that, there are ways if people kind of work hard
enough, organized hard – organized enough to you know, restore majority
rule in this country, right. And to me, that`s the important thing is that
a majority of people voted against Trump, a majority of people have never
approved of his presidency and his approval rating while pretty stable is
ticking down a little bit. I can`t imagine that it`s going to grow up.
VELSHI: But it stayed in a range.
GOLDBERG: It stays in a range, but it goes down I think when people start
feeling the material effects of his incompetence, right. So it went down
pretty noticeably around the time of the government shutdown. I`m pretty
sure it would go down similarly in a recession, and perhaps as people start
Although Americans aren`t super attuned to foreign affairs particularly
given the kind of constant circus of this administration, but the you know,
the kind of hollowing out of America`s national security apparatus, of its
foreign policy apparatus, you`re starting to see all over the world what
that looks like.
I mean, there are flashpoints and chaos in every part of the globe and kind
of America has just completely receded from its traditional role. At a
certain point whether or not you know, the average American voter is
closely following the risk of nuclear war between India and Pakistan or is
closely following the state of Hong Kong, at a certain point, I think that
people will start to be aware of just the ambient chaos and unrest.
VELSHI: You don`t think so, Ben?
HOWE: No. I mean, I`m sorry, I don`t – what I think is there are a lot
of people who are really concerned on left Democrats and so on, very
concerned about Donald Trump, very concerned about the GOP. They`re
concerned about school shootings. All of these problems are real and it`s
And so there`s an urgency, and it`s a real urgency that they feel. And
that fuels a lot of what happens on the right. Because when people feel
urgent, there is a desperation to them and an anger that can come out and
that is often expressed in a way that feels like battle to people on the
GOLDBERG: Right. I understand. But the point is that those people in the
right are not a majority. I mean, even with their disproportionate power,
they are not a majority.
HOWE: They – in my experience, the base on the right animates so much of
what the rest of the Republican Party follows. You look back at the alt-
GOLDBERG: Right, but the Republican Party is not the majority.
HOWE: But when the – when the alt-right first came on the scene, you
know, they were following tactics that were not being used necessarily at
the time by conservatives. And a lot of conservatives were calling it out
and they were saying don`t do this and don`t do that. Two, three years
later, I`m seeing you know, the head of CPAC acting just like somebody who
would have trolled me in 2016. They adopt these behaviors across the
GOLDBERG: Right, but the majority of the country doesn`t like it. I mean,
that`s why you suddenly see all this reporting about Texas be of all places
being in play. I mean, I understand that the base is solid and the base is
committed, but the base is at most what 40 percent of the country.
HOWE: But when you – when you get down to that middle section who`s going
to be more concerned about you know, what`s happening right in front of
them, they don`t know all of these nitty-gritty things.
They know that there are no tariffs or – they don`t know there`s no
tariffs, but they know that the video games didn`t cost more, the
cellphones didn`t cost more on Christmas. That`s what they know. They
know that they got a tax decrease at some point. These are the things –
GOLDBERG: But no, the tax cuts are extremely unpopular.
HOWE: They`re extremely unpopular among people who know enough about them.
GOLDBERG: No, among the majority of Americans.
HOWE: Majority of Americans saw more of their paycheck. Most people are -
GOLDBERG: But they don`t think it. The majority of – I mean, look at all
HOWE: I think the rhetoric from a guy as loud as Donald Trump is easily
going to cut through that, easily going to cut through that.
GOLDBERG: All the polling is that the majority of Americans disprove that
HOWE: Yes, but–
VELSHI: To the polling, to that point, and we`re going to talk about
polling a little later in the show. If that base hasn`t moved, what`s the
solution? Because that base has not moved since 2016. Even in the 2018
elections which were a relative success for Democrats, that base was
GOLDBERG: Well, I don`t think there`s anything – so that base is
unmovable, but again I think the solution to that is to stop letting 40
percent of the country hold the majority of the country hostage. And the
only way you can do that is organize electorally to overcome them.
HOWE: My issue with that is with polling in specifically. You`ve got
Republicans now who will say, well, I`d be open to a primary of Donald
Trump, you know. So, therefore, Donald Trump is unpopular. And the same
kinds of polls happen in 2015.
But the truth is when you get closer and closer to election day, and the
fear is amped up so high, and for the people who are in the middle, ou
you`ve got Donald Trump who has a huge – biggest microphone in the world,
and apparatus at his disposal, it`s telling everyone that their paychecks
are bigger and that the mainstream media has been lying to them about the
tax cuts, I see –
GOLDBERG: Who is everyone? I mean, the media – the media is not popular
in this country but it`s actually never been held in higher regard because
of Trump`s opposition to it.
HOWE: But the point about the polling to me is that it is much easier to
say things – you`re saying that the polling is reflecting this and I`m
HOWE: – when you`re that far away from the election, it`s very easy to be
principled. As you get closer to Election Day, you start making decisions
on a more selfish basis or on a very short-term basis. And so far, fear
has been winning. It won last time.
GOLDBERG: It didn`t win. It didn`t win in – it didn`t win in 2018.
HOWE: It won in 2016.
GOLDBERG: Of course, it did.
HOWE: And in 2018, I would argue it did better than people thought it
would. I don`t think the fact that there were losses in the Republican
side is as reflective of the amount of anger that was being directed at
Trump. Given the amount of anger that was directed at Trump and the polls
that were negative for him, he should have done worse than he did. I think
fear does work and will continue to work.
VELSHI: I`m – the bartender says I can`t have another refill so otherwise
I would have enjoyed continuing this. I appreciate it. This is a good and
important conversation that we have to have. Thanks to both of you for
GOLDBERG: Thank you.
HOWE: Thank you.
VELSHI: Michelle Goldberg and Ben Howe. All right, still to come, as the
impeachment tally rises in the House, just how successful is the Democrats
unprecedented courtroom strategy? Congressman Ro Khanna and the Democratic
game plan in two minutes.
VELSHI: The number of House Democrats supporting an impeachment inquiry of
Donald Trump continues to tick off. The new total is an even 120. North
Carolina Congressman David Price today joined the majority of his party in
the House favoring an impeachment inquiry.
House Democrats came into power looking to hold the president accountable
but in almost every turn this administration has refused to cooperate. So
Democrats are increasingly using the courts in an unprecedented fashion to
try and carry out their oversight responsibilities.
As the New York Times reports today, eight months into their majority, the
House is going to court at a tempo never seen before. Fighting in
courtrooms as much as fighting in hearing rooms. The House has already
become a party to nine separate lawsuits this year while also filing briefs
for judges in four others. More lawsuits are being drafted according to a
senior aide to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The question is when are these courtroom battles going to start yielding
results for Democrats? Here to help me answer that question Congressman Ro
Khanna, Democrat of California, and a member of the House Oversight
Congressman, good to see you in person. That`s a privilege I haven`t had.
Let`s talk about this. What does success look like to your constituents,
to people who said go in there and hold this administration to account?
REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Well, it means getting the evidence of the
wrongdoing. And here`s the thing. Usually, these things are settled
through accommodation. You know, when people have a fight with neighbors,
you come to a compromise.
Here in the administration has refused to compromise, refused to have an
accommodation. It`s unprecedented, and that`s why we`re having to go to
court. And it`s unfortunate that we having to do so but we have no
VELSHI: So to the extent that there are 120 Democrats who are in favor of
an impeachment inquiry, that`s more than half of the caucus, you`re not
part of that. You don`t – you don`t come into that 120?
KHANNA: Well, I support Nadler. I support the impeachment inquiry. I
haven`t gone on television calling for it because Nadler has a process, and
he has a timeline, and I didn`t want to put pressure on him based on that
He wanted to make sure we filed the court hearing against McGahn. He did
that. Now we`re in an inquiry and I support him on that.
VELSHI: Does that mean you could be added to the 120?
KHANNA: Sure, if they want to. I mean, I don`t know how they`re counting
these things, but I absolutely support him in his – in the decision he`s
VELSHI: So do you have a binary view of going through court or an
impeachment inquiry or do you think they should both be happening?
KHANNA: I think they both are happening. And let`s look at the Don McGahn
case which the Republicans are criticizing us saying why are we putting it
in the same court. Here`s why we`re putting it in the same court.
The underlying evidence of the grand jury testimony, we need that so that
we can ask Don McGahn what he previously testified to. So that`s why we`re
getting the evidence and that`s why it`s in the same court that`s also
doing the impeachment inquiry that Nadler has conducted.
He`s been very systematic and methodical about this and I think people will
be very pleased with what his results are.
VELSHI: Now, there are some people who say this is not the job of
Congress. We need you to get on with it. There are some Democrats who are
concerned that if the Democrats look too eager on impeachment, something
could happen. It could be a response like there was to Bill Clinton`s
There are others who say that you should be single-minded of purpose here.
How do you thread that needle?
KHANNA: We can do both. We have a constitutional obligation to do both.
We can hold the president accountable. We can hold him accountable for his
misconduct, but we also have a major agenda. We`re talking about rural
broadband and getting that passed. We`re talking about an infrastructure
bill and getting that passed. We`re talking about bringing health care to
folks who don`t have that and getting that passed.
I think the Democrats are going to campaign ultimately in 2020 on improving
people`s lives. But we can`t just say for politics let`s ignore the
VELSHI: So for instance, gun safety, something that has an overwhelming
majority of support in this country in both parties. You guys in the House
passed a bill in February. Mitch McConnell is not doing anything about it.
This is emblematic. He`s referred to himself as the grim reaper to these
bills because things don`t happen.
VELSHI: So when it comes to election time, and you have those constituents
who say what did you do for me, how do you say – how do you make the
argument that you`ve been working for them despite the fact that some of
these lay-up bills aren`t getting done.
KHANNA: Well, we show them everything that the House has passed. We
passed the universal background checks a few months into Congress. And
Mitch McConnell, look, if you talk to anyone in the Senate, Republican or
Democrat, they will say Mitch McConnell is there to do one thing, appoint
conservative justices, appoint conservative justices – judges. That all
he cares about. And he will block everything else for that single pursuit.
And I think the American people will get that, that we are passing bills on
infrastructure, on jobs, on broadband, on gun safety, on getting back into
the Paris Accords. We have passed more bills in the last six months about
over 200 bills and the Senate is just not passing them.
VELSHI: What do you think about the presidential election? Where things
stand now and who do you think is going to be – we`re talking in six
months, who do you think we`re talking about?
KHANNA: Well, I`m biased. I am one of the cultures for Bernie Sanders and
I think he`s running a phenomenal campaign. He`s out in front in New
Hampshire, an apologist today. But I think this race comes down to three
people, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Vice President Biden.
They are consistently in the lead in the early states. They`ve got a
strong showing in South Carolina. And I think ultimately it`ll be one of
VELSHI: Ro Khanna, good to see you. Thank you for joining us.
KHANNA: Thank you for having me on.
VELSHI: Congressman Ro Khanna of California. Coming up next, the stakes
of the president weighing in on one of the most tense situations in the
world. His comments on the massive Hong Kong protests and what it does to
an already volatile environment after this.
VELSHI: For the second day in a row, anti-government protesters shut down
one of the world`s busiest airports in Hong Kong. The situation turned
violent late Tuesday night local time when riot police arrived on the
scene. At one point, a group of protesters surrounded a police officer,
beating him with his own baton until, watch this, he drew his pistol, and
Residents started protesting in Hong Kong back in June objecting to a
proposed bill to allow extraditions to mainland China. The demonstrations
have since evolved into a broader pro-democracy movement with thousands
taking to the streets to object to Chinese encroachment on the semi-
Now, for its part, China has been making increasingly threatening gestures
toward the protesters, today releasing this propaganda video purporting to
show armored troop carriers heading to an area that borders Hong Kong.
And into this extremely tense volatile situation, the president of the
United States just weighed in, tweeting out that U.S. intelligence says
China is moving troops, and that everyone should be calm and safe.
But of course this is far from the only international crisis he has butted
into recently. Joining me to talk about that is Nayyera Haq, former State
Department senior adviser, acting as spokesperson for secretaries Hillary
Clinton and John Kerry, and former White House senior director under
Nayyera, this is another installment of a world that is starting to become
a little unhinged because no one is actually all that worried about what
America is going to say or do or what the consequences of this kind of
NAYYERA HAQ, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: And that`s the
unfortunate part of all of this, right. Donald Trump doesn`t value words
other than just sounding like a
bully and sounding tough and strong. And this is where diplomacy and words
So when he says something, oh, calm and safe, it projects to the world the
U.S. doesn`t care. At this moment, Hong Kong protesters are waving the
American flag. They were singing the American national anthem because
according to Reagan, the United States used to be this shining beacon of
light, of freedom, and hope around the world, and that`s the symbolism of
America overseas. We know that`s not the symbolism here anymore.
VELSHI: I spoke to a protester today who said this is – we`re holding up
American values. And I think that`s a signal that we`re hoping America
will do something to help us out as China moves in on us.
HAQ: And it doesn`t have to be military, right, that`s the false promise
that Trump has made that everything has to be might is right. The power of
diplomacy and being that country that has espoused freedom of religion,
freedom of the press, to just be an observer, be a participant, be engaged.
Donald Trump has turned American engagement in the world, the idea of
America first, to really
be America alone. And it`s just this trend that we`re seeing around the
world that people no longer have the right to self-determination, right.
We see it in our culture wars that we talk about here, like who do you
think you are. The idea that you should just put up or shut up, that if
you live here, then you have to behave a certain way, that`s at the heart
of what`s going on with Hong Kong being integrated into China, and we know
also with Kashmir being integrated into India.
VELSHI: Right, this is a Muslim majority state in India, in which I think
for 10 days now the Indians have cracked down on. There is no Internet.
There is no communication with anybody there. And the president says he`d
happy to negotiate. He`d be happy to mediate.
HAQ: Now both of those countries are nuclear powers. And this has been a
territory under dispute with a line of control demarcation between the two
VELSHI: Across which Indian and Pakistani soldiers have stood for decades.
HAQ: Nearly 72 years that this has been unresolved space. There is about
35 million people there who have, according to the UN, which was invited in
to be a participant and to engage as an
observer at least, they were given the right to vote in self-determination.
In recent days, India, barely using any constitutional authority, decided
to essentially launch a full-scale occupation in Kashmir. And the ruling
party there, the BJP, has been playing on nationalist religious sentiments,
same thing in Pakistan, nationalist religious sentiments. And we`re seeing
echoes of that here in the United States.
The BJP has used the idea that these are people who don`t really want to be
part of India, yet they`re taking our resources from us. So they need to
behave a certain way. And that`s the tone of lack of diversity, lack of
inclusion that we`re seeing recede elsewhere in the world as well.
VELSHI: Part of the issue here is that there should be a role for America,
even if you`re a
non-interventionist, even if you`re one of the folks who doesn`t think
America needs to be the policeman to the world, there is a role for America
to play, moralsuasion (ph), influence, financial influence, and we`re
HAQ: Right, the idea that people want access to American markets, they
want access to American culture, that has always given us a seat at the
table. Donald Trump, though, has made it that
the United States is no longer an honest broker of values, you simply have
to pay enough money and stay at the Trump Hotel and he will take you
seriously. So it`s the autocrats, the dictators are doing that, the Saudi
– the regimes of the world know that they`re doing the pay to play, and
it`s no longer about helping people who are oppressed overseas find their
VELSHI: Nayyera, good to see you. Thank you for being here. Nayyera Haq.
All right, just ahead, in the wake of El Paso tonight, there`s no reporting
that the Department of Homeland Security is now in a, quote, mad scramble
to get a handle on domestic terrorism. That story is next.
VELSHI: It was almost two years ago to the day that Neo-Nazis, wielding
torches, marched through Charlottesville, Virginia chanting racist and
anti-semitic slogans like “blood and soil,” and “you will not replace us.”
The day after that march, a Neo-Nazi drove his car into a crowd of
counterprotesters killing a woman named Heather Heyer and injuring dozens
of other people. That happened two years ago.
And despite the sheer terror of that attack and how that killing grew to
symbolize what hate looks like in this country, Heather Heyer`s murder is
still not included in the FBI`s national hate crimes report. That omission
underscores just how far behind the U.S. government is in dealing with hate
crimes and domestic terrorism.
And now The Daily Beast is reporting the Department of Homeland Security,
after diverting resources away from domestic terrorism, to focus on things
like immigration enforcement, is now scrambling to refocus their efforts on
Here with me now, one of the reporters who broke that Daily Beast story,
Betsy Woodruff. Betsy, good to see you again. This has been something
that people have been warning the administration about, including the
Department of Homeland Security, for some years. Since the beginning of
the Trump administration, there was some sense they were deliberately
turning away from something that intelligence officials said was really a
threat in favor of something that they felt was more politically palatable,
and that was Islamic terrorism.
BETSY WOODRUFF, JOURNALIST: And in fact one of the most significant
warnings came a
decade ago in 2009 when an analyst at DHS wrote an analytic product warning
about what he believed to be the rise in right wing – far right white
Instead of being taken seriously, the analysis was leaked. Congressional
Republicans were outraged. Veterans groups said that this analytic
product was going after the troops, because it said that
these far right troops were trying to recruit soldiers coming back from
deployments overseas. And the then DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano actually
apologized for portions of that report.
And what I`m told by DHS sources, is that that moment was really
significant, because it sent a
message to people in the Department of Homeland Security that if you want
to do work combating far right and white supremacist terrorism, you`re
taking your career in your hands, and you might lose your job. That had a
years` long chilling effect. And then combining that with the fact that
this White House saw domestic terrorism as a very, very low priority, if a
priority at all, for quite some time.
We had DHS just not responding to domestic terrorism with a level of
seriousness that advocates were demanding.
VELSHI: And that`s not just sort of a political statement, right? One can
say look, Betsy, you got to take this seriously, this domestic terrorism
thing. This is an infrastructure, it`s the way things are funded, it`s the
departments that money goes to, it`s the number of people assigned to
investigate particular things; or when you hear of a new incident – in
fact, there is a Daily Beast report today about a man arrested for
threatening a massacre in Ohio, I believe. He had 10,000 rounds of ammo on
If you are not attuned to what you`re looking for, you don`t actually have
the staffing and the resources to go in a particular direction.
WOODRUFF: Under this administration, a group of analysts in DHS`s internal
intelligence office that focused on domestic terrorism were disbanded.
Many of them were sent out to the field. That`s something that DHS sources
told me was gravely concerning.
In addition, DHS has focused overwhelmingly at the very explicit, very
repeated direction of the White House on immigration and border security.
So any spare resource, any spare person, any spare money is getting shipped
to the border. In fact, officials from the agency in DHS that focus on
elections security and on protecting vital infrastructure, which by the way
includes places of worship and schools, officials from that agency were
among the officials who were uprooted and shipped to the border as part of
the immigration surge.
And when you move around resources like that, of course it`s going to have
an impact, of course it`s going to have an impact on the capability of the
VELSHI: Betsy, good see you. Thank you, my friend, for joining me. Betsy
Woodruff of The Daily Beast.
Coming up next, the Trump administration is now trying to sell its
restrictions on legal immigration with a suggestion that we need to re-
imagine what the Statue of Liberty symbolizes. We`ll explain after this.
VELSHI: Today was one of those days where you started to wonder how long
will it be before the official position of the Trump administration is that
we need to change the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty. Its the
poem that is engraved on a bronze plaque inside the pedestal of the Statue
of Liberty welcoming immigrants. It is arguably one of the most well-known
poems in American history. Part of it reads, quote, “give me your tired,
your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Those are words
that have been cited by Americans for a 100 years, from the time their
school children representing the American ideal. And yet that`s a poem
that has been a source of contention for the Trump administration as its
policies become more and more antithetical to that idea.
We first saw this in a bizarre press conference with Trump senior adviser
Stephen Miller two years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Statue of Liberty says give me your tired, your
poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, it doesn`t say anything
about speaking English or being able to be a computer programmer. Aren`t
you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this
STEPHEN MILLER, WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: I don`t want to get off into a whole
thing about history here, but the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of liberty
and light in the world, it`s a symbol of American liberty lighting the
world. The poem that you`re referring to was added later is not part of
the original Statue of Liberty.
In 1970, when we let in 300,000 a people was that violating or not
violating the Statue of Liberty law of the land? In the 1990s, when it was
half a million, was it violating or not violating the Statue of Liberty law
of the land.
Tell me what years meet Jim Acosta`s definition of the Statue of Liberty
poem law of the land?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: Two years later, the poem still seems to be a source of trouble
for the Trump administration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM ACOSTA, JOURNALIST: Is that sentiment, give us your tire, your poor
still operative in the United States, or should those words come down,
should the plaque come down on the Statue of Liberty?
KENNETH CUCCINELLI, U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SE RVICES ACTING
DIRECTOR: Well, I`m certainly not prepared to take anything down off the
Statue of Liberty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: So, that was the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and
Immigration Services, Ken
Cuccinelli, yesterday, not ready to answer for the policy that he was
announcing, which would turn the screws on legal immigrants being in direct
contradiction with the poem at the base of the Statue of
Well, today he went on National Public Radio and was clearly more prepared
not to defend the policy, but to change the poem.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
RACHEL MARTIN, NPR: Would you also agree that Emma Lazarus` words etched
Statue of Liberty, “give me your tired, your poor” are also part of the
CUCCINELLI: They certainly are. Give me your tired and your poor who can
stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge. That
plaque was put on the Statue of Liberty at almost the same time as the
first public charge law was passed, very interesting timing.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
VELSHI: Now, we`re not sure who wrote that version of the poem for Ken
Cuccinelli, but it sure seems Stephen Miller`s version of American history
is making its way around the White House. And the Stephen Miller vision
for America sure is making its way into U.S. policy.
VELSHI: If the presidential election were held today, according to brand
new state-by-state polling of Trump`s job approval, he could lose the
election by 300 electoral votes. That`s a calculation from New York
magazine extrapolating from the latest data of the online polling group
Civics. 419 electoral votes to the Democrats, still to be determined, 119
electoral votes to the Republican, Donald Trump.
For more on that and the 2020 race, I`m joined by Sean Trende, senior
elections analyst at RealClearPolitics; and Ariel Edwards-Levy, reporter
and polling editor at HuffPost. Welcome to both of you. Thank you for
being with us.
Sean, first of all, just interpret that for me. That is a poll about
Donald Trump`s approval rating extrapolated into if more people in the
state don`t like Donald Trump than do, he may not win that state`s
electoral college votes. They piled that altogether and came out with that
result. As a pollster, what do you think?
SEAN TRENDE, REALCLEARPOLITICS: You know, I think it`s a useful kind of
rule of thumb where things stand. I think we all know the president`s job
approval is not strong and that that`s going to translate to a difficult
election for him.
The problem is when we actually get to the election, it`s not going to be
just any Democrat who`s running against him, it`s going to be D democrat
with real policies, some of which will be popular, some of which will be
less so. That`s going to shape the direction of the 2020 election.
VELSHI: So that`s an important point, Ariel, that a president, or Donald
Trump, can be underwater in terms of popularity, or more people can think
he`s unpopular than popular, but it`s kind of relative to who he`s running
ARIEL EDWARDS-LEVY, POLLING EDITOR, HUFFPOST: Yeah. And I think we saw
clearly in 2016 when you saw two candidates who were unpopular and voters
who were having to make the choice sometimes for the lesser of two evils.
And, you know, I think there`s a constitutional requirement that somebody
points this out when we`re talking about 2020, but the polls just aren`t
predictive yet, because we don`t know who the candidate is and there is so
much that`s still left to happen in this campaign.
VELSHI: Sean, there is a poll from RealClearPolitics – a national poll –
that talks about Donald Trump`s approval ratings, and insofar as these
numbers indicate, they`re in line with the polling that New York magazine
used. 43 percent approve, 53 percent disapprove. There`s not a ton of
movement in these numbers.
TRENDE: No, the president`s job approval is remarkably consistent over the
last almost year at this point, somewhere between 42 percent, 41 percent on
the low end, sometimes it gets up to 45 percent.
Look, if it stays in that band, he`s going to have a very, very difficult
time winning re-election, there`s no doubt about that.
VELSHI: There are some places, though, Ariel, that you wouldn`t think a
would have a tough time winning re-election, but Texas continues to come up
as a topic, a state, that is in play. Politico writes – quoting from Will
Hurd – “if the Republican Party in Texas doesn`t start looking like Texas,
there won`t be a Republican Party in Texas, said retiring Congressman Will
Hurd. Last cycle was, quote, without a doubt a wakeup call to most elected
officials. Texas is indeed purple.”
Demographic change is leading a lot of that. That`s not just Donald
EDWARDS-LEVY: Yeah. And I mean I think Texas is one of those states
that`s so heavily symbolic that there`s always a lot of attention to
whether this is going to be the cycle that it finally flips.
But the fact that we`re talking about that does mean something. And, you
know, demographics always sort of tend to lag at the ballot box behind
what`s actually happening in the states, but we`ll see whether that can
actually catch up this time around.
VELSHI: Sean, there`s – the Democrats have put in polling and fund-
raising goals to ensure they don`t have 25 people on a stage at the next
debate. About nine people, I think, have qualified so far. In terms of
the fund-raising part of it, the number of individual donors, and that
means they can give any amount of money, Tom Steyer has qualified on that
front. He still needs one more poll in which he`s above 2 percent in
order to qualify. And that has led to a lot of criticism that these DNC
rules about the number of donors are out of step with polling and allow a
guy as rich as Tom Steyer to some extent to buy his way, Steve Bullock said
to buy his way onto the debate stage.
TRENDE: Well, I can understand how someone like Governor Bullock or
Senator Gillibrand or some of these candidates who have been in and are
struggling to make the stage could be frustrated.
But look, Steyer - the only way he is going to make that stage is if he
convinces 130,000 people to give him a dollar, and if he gets some level of
support in the polls. That`s what these cutoffs are meant to do, it`s
meant to assure that this late in the game there`s at least some level of
I think when we get to November, Steyer is going to have a much tougher
time making that cutoff.
VELSHI: And Ariel, I mean, the Democratic Party can fix it if the rules
look too lenient by increasing the polling requirement, but is there some
argument to be made for the unintended consequence of talking about the
number of donors resulting in candidates spending far more than a dollar to
get a dollar from a donor?
EDWARDS-LEVY: Yeah, you certainly have created a set of incentives where
that`s what candidates are going to focus on if those are the requirements.
And look, I don`t know that there`s any particular perfect way to make the
cutoff, but eventually
this field will have to start winnowing down and voters are going to have
to start focusing on, you know, a couple of realistic options.
VELSHI: Sean, let`s talk about white nationalism and the role that that is
going to play. I think people who worry that it`s a threat have thought
it`s a threat for a long time, but now it`s quite possible that this
becomes central to the election.
A recent HuffPost/YouGov poll asked is white nationalism a threat to the
United States? 56 said yes. Do you think President Trump supports white
nationalism, 44 percent said yes versus 24 percent who say he opposes it.
How does Donald Trump deal with this?
TRENDE: Well, I think Donald Trump is just Donald Trump and he does what
he thinks. I don`t know that there`s any way he particularly deals with
it. It`s a blemish on his administration, it`s a blemish on his record.
What his strategy probably is, is to try to scare people about the
Democrats and hope that the
economy doesn`t go into recession.
VELSHI: Guys, thanks both for joining us. Sean Trende and Ariel Edwards-
Levy, thank you both.
That`s ALL IN for this evening. I will be back here with you tomorrow
evening, and at 1:00 in
the afternoon with Stephanie Ruhle and then again at 3:00.
But right now, it is time for “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” and it starts right
Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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