Bernie Sanders unveils $16.3 trillion climate plan. TRANSCRIPT: 8/22/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.
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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
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.
JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m John Hickenlooper
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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
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.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, Chris, this is
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
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?
MOIRA BIRSS, FINANCE CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR, AMAZON WATCH: Well, first of all,
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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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
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.
PAOLA RAMOS, FORMER STAFFER FOR HILLARY CLINTON`S 2016 PRESIDENTIAL
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This was the largest
audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around
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.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know, right?
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you yourself believe in climate change?
KELLY KNIGHT CRAFT, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UN: I believe there are
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
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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?
LINDA CHAVEZ, CHAIR, CENTER FOR EQUAL OPPORTUNITY: Well, I mean, if you
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
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.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the