Bernie Sanders unveils $16.3 trillion climate plan. TRANSCRIPT: 8/22/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Bernie Sanders, Moira Birrs, Paola Ramos, Jelani Cobb, Linda Chavez, Ben Howe, Devlin Barrett

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  And that`s why he`s so crotchety.  When you

can`t take it out on the world, just be miserable around the house, and

that`s what Trump has been doing.  And unfortunately for him, looking like

he`s doing it.


And that`s HARDBALL for now.  Thanks for being with us.  “ALL IN” with

Chris Hayes, live show right now.






UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I`m not going to be able to stay here longer.  This

fire is spreading.


HAYES:  As the catastrophic fires in the Amazon burn, the unmistakable

political routes of the world climate crisis.  And my interview with the

latest candidate to unveil a climate plan, Senator Bernie Sanders.  Then,

now the ragtag Republican plan to primary Trump is getting more serious.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is the time where somebody`s got to be brave.


HAYES:  Why the shrinking field for Democrats could be a good thing.



candidate the United States Senate.


HAYES:  And new scrutiny for Donald Trump`s attorney general as we learn

more from the Jeffrey Epstein investigation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That I think he made a rational calculated decision.


HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.




HAYES:  Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes.  This year has been the

year in which the climate crisis has made itself the most ferociously

known.  Of course, that was true last year and the year before that and

2020 will almost certainly be worse.  But this year we`ve already showed

you this footage of Greenland melting in front of our eyes.  We`ve shown

you the fires in Siberia in the Arctic where the underlying peat is

burning, and these are the images that are capturing people`s imagination

right now rightly.


Much of the Amazon is on fire.  Here is the smoke hovering over Brazil`s

largest city Sao Paulo which is 2,000 miles from any of the fires.  Your

satellite images of the fires themselves.  I have to say I almost didn`t

want to put this on television because I find it so paralyzingly terrible,

it gives me the same feeling in the pit of my gut when I`m watching the

Chernobyl miniseries.


The reason why this is so particularly horrifying these images you`re

seeing in the Amazon is that not only is the fires releasing carbon in the

atmosphere, they`re getting rid of what people have called the lungs of the

planet.  The single biggest repository of natural life that takes carbon

out of the air that does the thing we need more of is the Amazon.


It`s home to at least ten percent of the world`s entire biodiversity and we

need it.  We`ve always needed the Amazon but at no time did we need the

Amazon more than the period now where we need to be taking carbon out of

the air.  And instead what you`re watching on your screen is the machinery

for taking carbon out of the air being turned into carbon and put into the



It`s as bad as it gets.  The important thing to understand and the reason

that we`re showing you these images, the ones you`re seeing on your screen

is that this is not just some natural thing that just happens.  It is in

many ways the product of politics, of right-wing politics, of a right-wing

movement dedicated to climate denialism and climate destruction just like

the right-wing movement we have right here in the U.S.


In Brazil, this guy Donald Trump`s buddy Jair Bolsonaro is the president. 

He is a man who critics have called a fascist, a man has joked about he

would not deign to rape an opposition member of parliament because she is

“not worthy of it,” who`s thrown around all sorts of anti-gay slurs, who`s

praised Brazil`s history of military dictatorships, who`s threatened the

revocation of civil liberties and who ran explicitly on a platform of no

more of these namby-pamby environmental regulations.


Open up the Amazon, let the agro-industry of Brazil get into the Amazon and

start cutting.  This is what he had to say about Brazil`s part of the

Amazon.  “Brazil is a virgin that every pervert from the outside wants.” 

Implying Brazilians should cut it down before others have the chance.


He actually fired the head of the agency that tracks deforestation.  He

disputed the data from that agency that shows the rise in deforestation in

his own administration since coming to the office and he has delivered on

his promise.  He has opened up the Amazon.  The images you see in your

screen are partly a result of that.  Huge swathes of the Amazon are on



All of which is to say what is producing the fires is politics, what is

producing the climate crisis is politics, and what will produce the

solution to the climate crisis is also politics.  Which brings us to our

own country, we have our own right-wing movement of denialism that has done

everything in its power to make the climate crisis worse.


And unfortunately, only one of the two parties really in this country has

committed and now with increasing boldness and vision and urgency to

solutions on the scale necessary to reverse the crisis.  Yesterday, climate

focus candidate Jay Inslee dropped out of the presidential race although in

some ways he was I think the victim of his own success.


He put out a plan which Greenpeace is called the gold standard for dealing

with a crime and emergency but partly because I think of his presence many

of the other Democratic candidates for president have produced really quite

ambitious climate plans like Beto O`Rourke, and Senator Elizabeth Warren,

even the front-runner Joe Biden.


And today, Senator Bernie Sanders unveiled a plan of his own, a Green New

Deal, a $16 trillion plan on how to fight climate change.  Joining me now

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent from



Senator, it`s a long plan.  It`s like – you know, it`s pages and pages and

I read it today, and the biggest thing I was taken by is the sheer

ambition.  It is enormous in scope for what it imagines.



the way I look at it.  You can approach climate change the way Donald Trump

does, call it a hoax, deny the reality, and that is obviously an incredible

danger for the planet.  Or you could say well you know, climate change is

real but we can`t do all that much, we can`t really disrupt the economy, we

can`t do that, we can`t do that, we got to look at it from a political

point of view.


Or the third approach which I have tried to take you, is to say look, the

scientific community tells us we have a handful of years in which we must

act boldly and transformatively to move away from fossil fuel to energy

efficiency and sustainable energy or else the planet we will be leaving for

our children and future generations will be a planet that is increasingly

unhealthy and uninhabitable.


Man, I just came from Paradise, California, and you remember the tragedy

there, unbelievable, unbelievable.  It looked like a bomb we`ve dropped in

that community.  So if we believe, Chris, that climate change is real.  If

we believe what the scientists are telling us, we have got to be bold, we

have got to be comprehensive, we have got to be aggressive.  That is what

that plan is about.


HAYES:  There`s – I want to talk about one part of the plan that I find

fascinating which is about how power is generated and distributed.  You

talk about there`s public – there`s some federal public administration of

power in this country based on the Tennessee Valley Authority and others,

and basically, you propose essentially a federal takeover of the whole

thing that essentially a Tennessee Valley Authority extension for the whole

country, right?  Am I – am I understanding that correctly?


SANDERS:  Yes, that`s – you`re in the ball park.  That`s right.  Look. the

TVA has done a lot of good work.  It produces electricity from hydropower

and other sources.  What we need to do is have an aggressive federal

government saying that we are going to produce a massive amount of

electricity from solar and from wind and from other sustainable energies

and we will sell it out.  And by the way, we`re going to make money doing



But you can`t you nibble around the edges anymore.  We need to transform

our energy system.  That means a massive increase in sustainable energy.


HAYES:  So I think people that watch the program know that I am not exactly

a deficit hawk.  I`m not – you know, I think that America is a very

wealthy country.  It can afford a lot of big investments, but this is

really large.


I mean, the amount of money we`re talking about you`re talking about in the

plan replacing every old diesel school bus which is a really good idea from

a climate perspective replacing old mobile homes in the country, right. 

It`s big and comprehensive.  When people say to you how do you pay for it,

is this a thing that America can afford, you say what?


SANDERS:  Well, the first thing is we cannot not afford it.  I mean, we are

playing for the future of the planet so we have got to do it.  And second

of all, we pay for this in a number of ways.  And one of the ways we pay

for it is as you have just described, a massive federal project that

produces sustainable energy, it`s going to make money as well.


Furthermore, we do away with the tax breaks and the subsidies that the

fossil fuel industry now receives which in fact is massive.  Thirdly, we

create 20 million new jobs as we transform our energy system and improve

our infrastructure, and those are going to be good-paying union jobs, and

those folks are going to be paying taxes fourthly for a variety of reasons. 

We`ve got to cut military spending.


Fifthly, we do away with Trump`s huge tax breaks for the rich.  And six, we

have a progressive tax system which demands large corporations and the rich

start their fair share of taxes.


HAYES:  So on the on the job creation, that $20 million – the 20 million

job number jumped out at me and at first I thought, well this is

implausible just even within the plan.  But the plan, when you`re talking

about like replacing every diesel school bus in America which is what the

plan calls for, that`s a lot of jobs.  What is your – to me there`s a –

there`s a mismatch between the promises and the reality that makes these

things hard, right?


There are coal workers right now out of work in Wyoming.  There are co-

workers who are stationed I think in Harlan County, Kentucky not getting

their pensions, not letting those that coal move because they`ve been

screwed time and time again.  What do you say to them when they say, why

should I believe that the promise you`re making can be a reality?


SANDERS:  Well, one of the things that we do – and we put many, many tens

of billions of dollars into a just transition program which says to those

coal miners and the men and women to work on the oil rigs, you are not our

enemy.  You`re working to feed your family.  I am perhaps the strongest

pro-union, pro-work member of the Congress.  Those people are not my enemy. 

What is my enemy is climate change.


And we have a very, very strong approach to make sure that those workers

get trained for new jobs, they get the health care that they need, they get

the educational opportunities that they need.  But the bottom line of all

of this, Chris, is either we believe in what the scientists are telling us

or we do not.


And if we believe what they are telling us, is that we got fewer than 12

years in order to transform our energy system or else there will be

irreparable damage done to our country and the planet.  Well, if that is

the reality, I happen to believe the scientists, then we have to act



The last point that I want to make on this, Chris.  This is not just an

American issue.  And what is so very dangerous about Trump is that we need

a president who is leading the world.  That`s hard.  That is really hard. 

If you think what I`m talking about for our country is difficult, try

getting Russia, and China, and India, all these other countries about and

what I have been saying, and I know that this is not going to happen, some

are, but maybe just maybe in the midst of this crisis, maybe the countries

of the world wake up and understand that instead of spending $1.5 trillion

every year on weapons of destruction designed to kill each other, maybe we

pool our resource together and we combat our common enemy which is climate



HAYES:  You know, you raise the international stakes and, of course, the

U.S. is somewhere around 30 percent of world emissions.  Even if we do

everything right and China and India emits and as Africa develops, right,

and it begins emitting more, we`re all in a lot of trouble.


 I want to ask this question because you give a speech once about the rise

of the sort of the far populous right across the world.  And I think

Bolsonaro in Brazil is an example of that.  Do you see a connection

essentially between that movement and the climate battle like we are seeing

play out in Brazil?


SANDERS:  I do.  I mean, I think you have right-wing extremists like

Bolsonaro and like Trump who are appealing to working-class people and say

see all these wealthy environmentalists, they don`t care about you. 

They`re talking about some nonsense which isn`t applicable to your lives.


And that is why we need a kind of movement that brings working-class people

into it and says we are on your side.  And your kids and your grandchildren

are going to need a planet which is habitable and healthy but you are not

going to be punished for what the fossil fuel industry is doing.  We`re

going to protect your jobs.


HAYES:  All right, Senator Bernie Sanders, it`s a really interesting plan. 

It is really ambitious in scope.  And folks, definitely check it out.  It`s

on the Web site.  Thank you very much.


SANDERS:  Thank you, Chris.


HAYES:  For more on what is actually happening the Amazon, I`m joined by

Moira Birss.  She`s a Finance Campaign Director for Amazon Watch which is

an advocacy group trying to protect the rainforest.  Let me start with just

the sort of top-line as a group that works to protect the Amazon of why are

these fires happening?  Why is it so bad this year?



thanks so much for having me and for bringing this really important issue

to your audience`s attention.  These fires actually appear to have been

started by farmers who farm in areas of previously deforested Amazon.


They apparently started these fires both to clear more land for

agribusiness but also as a sort of omage or a signal to Bolsonaro that they

were hearing his calls to open the Amazon for business, that they were

hearing his calls that the Amazon should be raised for profit-making, and

so they were answering his call.


HAYES:  Wait, so this – I mean, the year over your data is crazy on this,

right?  This is a huge increase your year.  So what you`re saying is like

this is – this is the policy playing out.  These are people taking the

signal from Bolsonaro and setting the fires themselves to clear land.  That

is – is there – there`s evidence of that?


BIRSS:  Yes.  So several Brazilian news outlets have went to this region

and interviewed these farmers and they`re quoted as saying that they did

this to clear land for agribusiness and inspired by Bolsonaro and his



HAYES:  How – what are the stakes here?  For folks that are watching this,

I think everyone viscerally is horrified.  I think we all grew up hearing

about the Amazon and deforestation.  The first time I was in the Amazon and

I saw a part that had been deforested and chopped down, I was like sort of

blown away.  What is – what – how important is this from a climate



BIRSS:  This is extremely important from a climate perspective.  You

referenced in your opening remarks the ways that rainforests, really dense

tropical rainforest like the Amazon serve to climate protection purposes. 

They both absorb carbon when they are standing.


And so the destruction whether by logging or fires eliminates that

possibility of their carbon absorption.  But also when they`re cut down or

burned, they release more carbon dioxide, all that carbon dioxide that

they`ve been storing, they release that into the atmosphere so it`s a

double whammy for the climate.


HAYES:  There`s been a 77 percent increase from the same period in 2018,

almost 40,000 fires.  Two things from the president of Brazil.  Bolsonaro

has blamed the NGOs – and he hasn`t specified which but I imagine perhaps

Amazon Watch is one of them for what`s happening. Do you have a response to



BIRSS:  Well, as I said earlier, there`s a clear admission from Bolsonaro

supporters that they`re the ones that started this.  And I think it`s

really indicative of the kind of rhetoric that Bolsonaro uses.  He himself

has from the day one of his campaign made clear that he wants to see the

Amazon burned down or torn down and opened up for mining and agribusiness. 

And so it`s really just preposterous and as you mentioned earlier,

reminiscent of the kinds of flip-flopping that President Trump uses to hide

the ridiculous remarks that he makes.


HAYES:  Are there things – final question.  Are there things the

international community or people that are watching this right now and

feeling that feeling of sort of like impotent sorrow can do?


BIRSS:  Yes, definitely.  And I really recognize that feeling of impotence. 

I`m feeling it myself and our office has been flooded with phone calls and

emails of people wanting to help and wanting to jump in airplanes and help

put out the fires, and that`s a really admirable and understandable



Unfortunately those of us here in the States and around the world, regular

citizens or small NGOs like Amazon Watch, we can`t go hop in a plane and

put out fires both logistically but also because that`s the responsibility

of the Brazilian government.  But there is a lot that we can do.


The Bolsonaro administration right now has more or less carte blanche to

continue with these policies of rolling back protections on the rainforests

because agribusiness industry and its financiers are continuing to buy and

continue to invest in Amazon agribusiness and mining.


Amazon Watch did research just to the spring that traced those supply

chains and traced the financial flows into the agribusiness industry in the

Brazilian Amazon and we need to be holding those companies accountable.


HAYES:  Amazon Watch is the organization where you can find that

information.  Moira Birss, thank you very much.


BIRSS:  Thank you.


HAYES:  Next, is the Democratic field about to be cut in half?  What we

know about the candidate movement as the third debate approaches in two





HAYES:  You`re six days away from the qualifying deadline for the next

Democratic debate in September.  So far, only ten candidates have made the

cut, although there are a whole bunch approaching the threshold.  Probably

not coincidentally in just the last week, two candidates were probably not

going to make the debate stage have dropped out of the race entirely.


Last night, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, you might have seen, told my

colleague Rachel Maddow that he`s officially out of the race.  Today he

announced he would be seeking a third term as a Governor of Washington. 

Also today, former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper who dropped out of

the presidential race last week announced a Senate run.




HICKENLOOPER:  I`ve always said Washington was a lousy place for a guy like

me who wants to get things done, but this is no time to walk away from the

table.  I know changing Washington is hard but I want to give it a shot. 

I`m John Hickenlooper, candidate for the United States Senate.




HAYES:  That`s a very good shot although I wonder how many takes it took. 

Hickenlooper`s entrance is bad news for the incumbent Republican Cory

Gardner who is polling ten points behind a generic Democrat right now.  And

with Hickenlooper and Inslee gone from the Democratic presidential field,

it leaves just 22 candidates vying for the Democratic nomination.


The question though is how long is the field going to stay that big.  To

help me answer the question, I`m joined by Paola Ramos Host of Vice`s Latin

X Series, former staffer for Hillary Clinton`s 2016 Presidential Campaign,

and Jelani Cobb Staff Writer at the New Yorker, Professor of Journalism at

Columbia University.


I think the Hickenlooper news is significant because many people have been

jumping up and down and pointing at Senate races with – to some of the

candidates being like maybe you should do this and that`s what he did.



CAMPAIGN:  Yes, it is significant.  It is narrowing down.  But I also think

that there`s something else that is happening which is that people are

widening and redefining what electability means, right?


So it used to be the case that we thought that electability meant that it

was just about beating Donald Trump, but now it`s turning into something

else which is why the race will continue to be this massive fight because

it`s about who can win and who can beat Donald Trump the right way which is

what I think we`re going to see in the debate.  The right way meaning who

is centering marginalized communities at the center of the conversation.


HAYES:  Well, so what you`re saying is that you think – I mean, that to me

implies, right, that there`s a thinking among Democrats that like more than

one candidate can beat Donald Trump.  You think that`s the case?


RAMOS:  I do think.  And I think that`s –


HAYES:  You think that`s what Democrats think?


RAMOS:  I think that`s what people think which I think that`s the important

thing.  I don`t – I don`t know if Democrats are thinking about that.  I

know what people are thinking in the streets.  I know how young people are

thinking.  And the thinking is that we want someone that not only uses

Latinos and black people and women as pawns to beat Donald Trump, we want

someone that uses us and that inserts us in the future of this country and

that`s the difference.


And that`s why I think as you just talked to Senator Sanders, like she is

talking about people of color when he rolls out climate change.  There`s a



HAYES:  You know, it`s striking – it`s striking to me that in the number

of candidates, we still have 22, there`s going to be this sharp drop-off as

we go into this third debate.  And I think that like there`s a little bit

of this electability the proof is in the pudding, right, where it`s hard to

make the argument you could beat Donald Trump if you`ve gotten, gotten

traction in the race so far.


JELANI COBB, STAFF WRITER, NEW YORKER:  Right, and I mean think about this. 

We have this point of like replication point where people are like oh we

have – I`m the moderate.  I can beat Donald Trump because I`m a moderate. 

Well, I`m more moderate than that moderate.  And people are trying to out

moderate – it becomes like –


HAYES:  John Delaney, John Hickenlooper –


COBB:  It`s exactly the kind of nice Anglo-Saxon surname, I mean first name

insert last name here and it becomes almost like a kind of elevator music

version of American politics like – and none of that has caught on.  I

also think if we look back to 2016, there`s a reason why Bernie Sanders did

so much better than Martin O`Malley did.


You know, when there was a clear distinct difference in what Bernie Sanders

was saying versus what Hillary Clinton was saying and people understood

that there were these distinctions.  In a field of 24 people now 22 people,

you`re necessarily going to have some kinds of replication –


HAYES:  Yes, you have to distinguish.


COBB:  And that`s also why I think there are so many people who are in that

one percent, two percent kind of point which just spread out in that – in

that rank.


RAMOS:  Yes.  And we`re talking about 2016.  I`m talking and I think

immediately about the less than 50 percent of Latinos that did not vote,

right.  When they were given the option, when they were given two ideas and

we presented to them the image –


HAYES:  You`re saying the general election.


RAMOS:  In the general election, but still these are people that are in

Nevada, that are in Texas, they`re in California.  These are the real

voters.  When we gave them that option, 50 percent of them did not show up. 

So that`s why we need –


HAYES:  You`re thinking about passion and enthusiasm –


RAMOS:  Passion, but also – but a genuine vision of where they see

themselves not just as immigrants but as part of all of these candidates

plans, and that I think is very important that we`re underestimating.


HAYES:  You know, there`s – the Biden campaign put out there sort of a big

electability argument and it is striking.  When you look at – I mean,

really it is the case right now that there`s three people who are polling

at above say 15 percent which is Joe Biden in the lead and then usually

sometimes not always Sanders in second and Warren and close, right.  So –

and then there`s everyone else.


I mean, then there`s Harris and Buttigieg and they have respectable

numbers, and then you`re down to like the sort of two percent, right.  So

there`s a huge field of the bottom which I think is going to get sheared



But it is true that when you look at those three, it`s like Joe Biden`s

like I`m Joe Biden and I work with Barack Obama.  You know who I am.


COBB:  Right.


HAYES:  And then there`s Sanders and Warren who are also quite distinct in

their pitches and you – I don`t think they – the rest at the bottom are

going to last long.


COBB:  No, they won`t.


HAYES:  I mean, it`s going to winnow.


COBB:  I`ll tell you – I`ll tell you this, though.  Here`s the thing that

scares me.  We had this conversation four years ago and when we talked

about Hillary Clinton and she had a – she was a known quantity.  They

either loved her or hated her and as it turned out, there were people who -

- a lot more people who hated her than maybe we even thought.


And so when we look at Joe Biden, he has that long track record.  And when

you look at politicians who have that much time in Washington, it is easy

for them to get whipsawed by changing values.  We`re having a conversation

a few weeks ago about busing.


HAYES:  Right.


COBB:  Busing, and you`re having to explain that.  And so I worry that in a

general election, there can be that kind of whiplash where you always bring

up a kind of –


HAYES:  Although I will say this about Joe Biden.  I mean, it`s early but

like there`s been a lot of news cycles that maybe the Biden team isn`t

psyched about that have been critical and he – Joe Biden is still there at

the top of the field.  Like it is – it is – there is a constituency for

Joe Biden that is powerful and strong.


And I think what they see and what they have really leaned into and I think

in sort of fascinating way is like I`m the Obama Vice President and I have

a long record and like you know who I am and that`s – and I think that

when you talk about like a clarity of message, they now have a very clear

message I think.


COBB:  Sure.


HAYES:  Like it is a distinguished and clear message they have.


COBB:  And that smaller field that I think that becomes trickier though.


HAYES:  Well, that`s –


COBB:  In a kind of smaller field, it`s easy to distinguish yourself

against him.


HAYES:  That`s why to me the September debates where we`re sort of maybe

down to everyone on the same stage is like sort of the end of act one.  I`m

starting to get an act two where you can start to have these conversations

that are more than this weird sort of long-tail conversation.  We`ve had

Paola Ramos and Jelani Cobb.  Thank you both for joining us.


Next, the lingering questions in the death of Jeffrey Epstein.  The updated

will, the new subpoenas, and who knew what after this.




HAYES:  Convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his

federal jail cell nearly

two weeks ago, and we still do not have a good picture of what exactly

happened.  We do know that Epstein signed a new will two days before his

death, according to the New York Post, putting an estate worth more than

half a billion dollars into a trust, which almost certainly will make it

harder for his victims to sue for damages.


We also know the Department of Justice was in charge of keeping him alive. 

And the man in charge of that, Attorney General William Barr, said he`s

angry about Epstein`s death.  He just removed the acting director of the

Federal Bureau of Prisons.


Both the DOJ and the FBI are investigating Epstein`s death, but there are

jail workers who

are refusing to cooperate with those investigators.  The New York Times

reports that federal prosecutors have now subpoenaed roughly 15 employees

of the Metropolitan Correctional Center, and according to The Washington

Post there were eight jail officials who knew Epstein was not to be left

alone in his cell.


The reporter who landed that scoop, Devlin Barrett of The Washington Post

is here with me now.


What do we know about what directions were given and who knew what about

the protection

of Jeffrey Epstein inside that facility?


DEVLIN BARRETT, THE WASHINGTON POST:  Well what we`re told is, you know,

there`s a key moment in this process where Jeffrey Epstein is taken off

suicide watch.  This happens on July 29th.  And what we`re told about that

process is that it was very clear inside the MCC, not just among lower

level officials, but their supervisors as well, that there were two things

that were supposed to happen once he was taken off suicide watch.


One that he would be checked on every half hour.  That`s a standard in the

unit he was placed in, and two, that there was an understanding that he

would have a cell mate at all times.  And the reason for that is you want

another pair of eyes on him who could holler out if somethings going wrong.


HAYES:  Right.


BARRETT:  So, that`s what was supposed to happen.  And part of the concern

and frustration by the attorney general and others here is everyone seems

to have understood what was supposed to happen and then it just did not



HAYES:  Do we know why it didn`t happen?


BARRETT:  Well, that`s a great question.  So, you know, among the union

officials, the union officials have argued that, you know, they are so

short staffed and so overworked that something like this was bound to

happen, not necessarily with Jeffrey Epstein, in particular, but something

like this was always bound to happen in that place at this time with so few

people working.


Frankly, there are folks in the Justice Department who think that`s a poor

excuse for letting what`s arguably the most high profile defendant in your

entire system kill himself, but that is part of the conversation that`s

going on. 


And look, someone who talked to me for this story said you can`t

underestimate the degree of incompetence and far reaching incompetence that

may have been involved in this.


HAYES:  It`s interesting you say that, because I think there`s reasons when

this news turned up, right, and I`m sure you`ve seen people reacting in

this way, there`s a – obviously because of the man`s  connections, because

of some sense that perhaps he knew a lot of things about other famous

people that he had spent time with, right.


BARRETT:  Absolutely.


HAYES:  …that this – that there`s something fishy here.  I`m, that`s the





HAYES:  I guess, what is your reporting indicate about the level of just

basic competence

in that facility?  I`ve talked to lawyers who have clients there who have

emailed me who have basically said similar to what you said, don`t

overestimate how well run that facility was.


BARRETT:  So, for example, two years ago that jail just let a guy out who

had years left to serve.  And that inmate told them, no, no, I`m not

supposed to be let out yet.  And they said get out of here, you`ve got to



HAYES:  Wait, really?


BARRETT:  Oh, yeah, that was in 2017.  And so he ended up coming back

himself.  He gets out.  He walks around Manhattan basically for six hours. 

Calls his lawyer, and his lawyer says, look, you`ve got to go back.  This

is not going to work.  And so he returns himself to the jail.


So there are issues and problems at this jail no question.  I think the

secondary question, though, for the investigators and everyone else is,

look, this isn`t just some, you know, bank robber.  This is Jeffrey

Epstein.  Everyone knows the Justice Department has, you know, a troubled -

- lets say troubled

history with this particular defendant, of all the people to not keep an

eye on he`s the guy.


So I think there`s layers of going – of looking at this and understanding

what went wrong, but I do think people who know the system, people who know

that jail and people who know the Bureau of Prisons, frankly are not

surprised that there could be this degree of incompetence.


HAYES:  You know, the lawyers I`ve talked to, again, with clients there had

that reaction.  They were not as surprised as everyone else that this



Devlin Barrett, thanks so much for your great reporting.


BARRETT:  Thank you.


HAYES:  Coming up, is Donald Trump about to be the first sitting president

since George H.W. Bush to face a primary challenge from his own party?  The

forces lining up against the president ahead. 


Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.




HAYES:  Thing One tonight, trivia time, can you name the current White

House press secretary?  It`s hard because she`s never held a single press

briefing, despite being on the job for nearly two months, so we really

haven`t had the opportunity to get to know anything about Stephanie

Grisham, until The New York Times came out with this profile today,

detailing Grisham`s, quote, turbulent rise to a top White House gig. 


As the Times describes it, Grisham`s career history contains red flags that

most administrations might deem troubling.  She lost a public relations job

with AAA in Arizona after being accused of cheating on expense reports,

lost a subsequent job with an advertising agency following an accusation of

plagiarism, has been arrested twice for driving under the influence, the

second while working on the

Trump campaign in 2015.  So, you might understand why the press secretary

might be reticent to do too much press.


The question is is that better or worse than what we had before?





audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around

the globe.


He won overwhelmingly with 306 electoral votes, the most since any

Republican since Reagan.  You had a – you know, somebody as despicable as

Hitler who didn`t even sink to the – to using chemical weapons.



in no way, form, or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence.


President Trump in his first year-and-a-half has already tripled what

President Obama did in eight years.  Not only did he do that for African-

Americans, but for Hispanics, 1.7 million more Hispanics are working now.


The separation of illegal alien families is the product of the same legal

loopholes that Democrats refuse to close.  And these laws are the same that

have been on the books for over a decade.




HAYES:  We haven`t had a chance to see the new press secretary lie to us

like that.  But if you`re missing the previous two, well, good news.  They

both have new jobs.  And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.




HAYES:  OK, more trivia.  In all the world of media, can you name the place

that just decided to hire Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be a contributor

despite just the mountain of lies that is her resume?  Yes, OK, you know,

it`s Fox News.


Sanders has been hired to do political commentary.  Will make her debut in

a couple of weeks on Trump TV and Friends, basically doing exactly for

Trump TV what she did for Trump from the podium, only paychecks will come

from a different place, probably.


But wait, there`s more, Sarah Sanders` predecessor Sean Spicer also has an

exciting new gig.  He`s going on “Dancing with the Stars” where he`ll try

to fox trot his reputation out of the gutter.  Spicer is no stranger to

entertainment gigs.  You may recall him as the White House easter bunny. 

And while there is new the host of Dancing with the Stars and others

associated with the show were upset at the news Spicer would be joining the

reality show, the reality show guy who fired him from the White House

thinks Spicer will do a great job.




SPICER:  This is all I got right now, a good old box step.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  OK, what can you do?


SPICER:  Go back, over, back.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Is this the fox trot?


SPICER:  No, this is the box step.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The box step?  Isn`t it the same thing?


SPICER:  Huh?  Oh, no.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Like the sixth grade dance.




No, this is the sixth grade dance, remember.


SPICER:  OK, that just happened.  If that`s a dance, I`m going to win that



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  OK.  You want to do the prom picture?  Oh, OK.  So

what are we doing here?


OK, you are a good little spinner.  Yeah, there you go.  Yeah, OK, yeah,

this is like the – here we go, now do the…




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Now can you dip.  Can you dip me?  There you go.






HAYES:  I said before on the show the way that I think about the

president`s mind is that it`s

like a stream that little bit of refuse get thrown or dropped into.  And

most of the time when there`s some cockamamie idea, you can be sure it

didn`t original with the president.  When he tweets something nuts in the

morning, there`s a good chance he just saw it on Trump TV and Friends.  And

so my first thought about the president wanting to buy Greenland was who

threw that in there?  Where did that Greenland idea come from?


And now we have a solution to that mystery.  It turns out it was a little

candy wrapper Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton threw in Trump`s brain stream. 

Speaking at an event Wednesday Cotton said quote, “you`re joking but I can

reveal to you that several months ago I met with the Danish ambassador and

I proposed that they sell Greenland to us.” 


Cotton`s communication director told The Washington Post Cotton believes he

may have caught the ambassador a little off-guard by raising the idea.  I

think that`s probably true.


Now that Tom Cotton has taken this garbage idea and thrown it into the

president`s brain and

the president turned around and got mad and the whole thing is now an

international incident, someone has to get back to the work of repairing

the torn relationship between the U.S. and Denmark.


Hopefully there is someone in the  position of ambassador with the tenacity

and deft touch, someone with years of diplomatic experience.  Meet the U.S.

ambassador to Denmark.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Just who exactly are you anyway?


CARLA SANDS, ACTRESS:  That`s none of your business.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You`re right.  You`re absolutely right.


SANDS:  I am the princess, Ella Zaina (ph). 




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I`m on my way to marry a very important man.




HAYES:  The Princess Ella Zaina (ph) is played by Ambassador Carla Sands. 

She stars in the 1988 classic movie Deathstalker and the Warriors from

Hell.  Before she became an international diplomat, Carla Sands had what

could generously be called a movie career.


I should say, and be very clear here, that the under-qualified major party

donor ambassador is

a long-standing and embarrassing bipartisan tradition.  Today, The Daily

Beast did a profile of sorts of the ambassador, and thanks to their

reporting, we know that after a brief career as an actress she went on to

be a chiropractor. 


The report also reveals that she has combined an active social media

account with an active

imagination re-tweeting conspiracy theories and wild ideas, quote, “among

them are tweets sharing Prager University posts about humans are not

responsible for global warming because humanity lived through the Roman

warm period, the cooler Dark Ages, and then the Medieval warm period.”


In June, she tweeted former Hercules actor Kevin Sorbo calling for Prager

University to be  taught in all schools.


Prager University is not really a university, it`s not accredited, it`s

just the name for a bunch of far right videos.


While Carla Sands is our reputation to a country to which we just canceled

a state visit.  I will say, at least she is not our ambassador to the

United Nations.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Do you yourself believe in climate change?



sciences on both sides that are accurate.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You believe that there`s scientists – science that

proves that there is – man is not causing climate change?


CRAFT:  Well, I think that both sides have, you know, they have their own

results from their studies and I appreciate and I respect both sides of the







HAYES:  President Donald Trump`s approval rating among Republicans sits

between 80 percent or 90 percent, which is high, although that comes with a

bit of an asterisk which is that Trump has driven a lot of people away from

identifying as Republicans, people like Michigan Congressman Justin Amash

who has called for Trumps impeachment and who was a Republican in good

standing, but has now switched to being an independent.  He is the kind of

person who wouldn`t show up in one of those polls.


Here is the fundamental problem, there are a number of self-described

conservatives who do not like Donald Trump but most don`t really have any

political base or power.  And that`s the problem facing anyone who wants to

mount a primary challenge to the president in the GOP.


And yet, interestingly enough, there are people who want to give it a shot

anyway.  Former Massachusetts governor William Weld is in.  He has declared

he is running.  Now, former South Carolina Governor and Congressman Mark

Sanford, a former Illinois congressman and talk show radio host Joe Walsh

appear close to joining the race and challenging the president.  And

Anthony Scaramucci says he is going to rustle up a bunch of ex-Trumpers to

take the president on as well.


Ultimately, this stakes here may be mostly about Donald Trump`s own psyche. 

He is almost certainly going to trounce any Republican who challenges him. 

And yet there`s a lot of reporting that suggests his team is obsessed with

staving off primary challenges.


Here to discuss, former Reagan administration official and chair of the

Center for Equal Opportunity Linda Chavez, and former Tea Party activist

Ben Howe, who is an author of “The Immoral Majority,” a new book about

evangelicals and Trump and co-host of the Fifth Estate podcast.


Linda, I don`t know.  I guess I`m skeptical, but I`m seeing all this noise. 

It looks Sanford and Walsh will get in, Scaramucci is trying to rustle some

group of folks.  Is there anything here, do you think?



look back at what happened to President George Herbert Walker Bush in 1992,

he did get challenged by Pat Buchanan.  Obviously,  Buchanan`s challenge,

while I think stronger than any of the people we`ve been talking about are

going to be able to muster against Trump, did harm him.  And I think it set

him up for ultimate failure in the general election. 


And I think that`s what this is all about.  None of these guys that we`re

talking about likely to defeat Donald Trump, unless Trump goes even farther

off the rails than we`ve seen him so far.  But being able to damage him,

being able to come at him as Walsh might from the right could have some

impact and might dampen the support.  And after all, a lot of this is a

bout getting people to the polls in the general election.  And if you`ve

diminished support during the primaries, that`s going to make it harder for

Trump come the general election.


HAYES:  Ben, your new book is about a kind of devil`s bargain, I suppose it

is, between a lot of conservative evangelicals in this country and Donald

Trump and the kind of ways in which that has been locked in.


Is there any undoing of that?  Or is that the kind of background truth

against which any of these challenges would play out?


BEN HOWE, AUTHOR:  No.  I think that in the 2020 election, the thing we

have to remember, we look back at 2016 and it was – we look at it like it

was the big dumpster fire year.  It was insane.  And there was so much

unhinged rhetoric coming out of Trump and coming out of his supporters. 

Everybody was at each other`s throats.  But they also all thought he would

lose, even the people who supported him.


Now we`re going into 2020.  He has got two Supreme Court justices that he

has already been able to get on the court.  The promised land of more

conservative justices on the Supreme Court is around the corner if he can

win re-election.  And now they know he can win.  So, they`re going to come

out in my opinion, evangelicals will come out in record numbers.


HAYES:  That`s very interesting point.


Do you think, Linda, that the point about the president`s psyche in all

this – I mean, I think this is an interesting story if only because I

think it will obsess Donald Trump.  I mean, if you have, for instance,

three contenders who are primarying him, then someone might give them the

platform for debate.  And I can only imagine what it will do to the

president to watch a  primary debate for the

Republican Party.


CHAVEZ:  Well, I doubt that Donald Trump would participate in such a

debate.  You remember he didn`t participate in all of the debates last



So, I think Ben is right about the evangelical support, but he cannot win

the general election solely with his base.  And that`s the important point. 

And it is some of those people that you might peel off who voted last time

who thought, well, he sounds a little crazy but he is not going to govern

that crazy.  Well, with all that he has done, and particularly the effects

of the trade war and possibly coming up to a mild recession again,

something George Bush faced in `92, could harm him.


HAYES:  Well, and Ben, there is to me – it`s a question about making a

statement.  I mean, i think it`s very clear that Governor William Weld of

Massachusetts, who is a kind of throwback Republican to a kind of sort of

northeastern WASPy, almost – a lot of equanimity and sort of noblesse

oblige and almost liberal sensibility in certain ways he sort of thinks

about things, that he`s making a statement about what the Republican Party

is and what conservative values are, and that to me seems a losing cause

insofar as Trumpism is conservatism right now.


HOWE:  This is the thing, though, I don`t think that the statements that

they`re trying to make are necessarily about this coming election.  I mean,

perhaps they would like to prevent him from winning, perhaps they would

like to harm him, but I think ultimately there are a lot of people that

would like to start setting up life after Trump.  I mean, there were a lot

of big figures in the GOP that we don`t hear from much anymore that don`t

seem like they`re as insanely devoted to Trump, like Bobby Jindal and Scott

Walker, who I don`t see as much from them as I used to.


And so I feel  like if he wins re-election or if he doesn`t win re-

election, there`s going to be a move towards life after Trump, and this is

kind of the opening salvo, or freshman team.


HAYES:  That`s a really great point, I think.  What do you think, Linda?


CHAVEZ:  Yeah, I think that`s right.  But I do think that it is possible to

beat Trump.  I think there are people like me who – I have not voted for a

Democrat for president since Lyndon Johnson, if you can believe that.  And

so, you know, there are people like me who have been Republicans for a very

long time but who may pull the lever this time for a Democrat just in order

to keep this president,  who I believe is a real threat, an existential

threat to democracy, out of the White House.


HAYES:  All right, Linda Chavez and Ben Howe, thank you both for being with



Before we go, one final reminder, tomorrow night special edition of our

show in front of a live studio audience.  We have great show planned. 

We`ve got some great guests, including Barack Obama`s White House

photographer Pete Souza.  It`s going to be fun.  We hope you tune in. 


That is ALL IN for this evening.  “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right



Good evening, Rachel.







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