America’s original terror resurgence. TRANSCRIPT: 8/23/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Michelle Goldberg, Mehdi Hasan, Sherrilyn Ifill, Chris Murphy, Peter Souza



ANNOUNCER:  Tonight on a special edition of ALL IN before a live studio



UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We have initiated our domestic terrorism, hate crimes,

fusion sale.


ANNOUNCER:  The resurgence of America`s original terror threat.  Once again

markets crater after a reckless Trump tweet.  And shade, Barack Obama`s

White House photographer Pete Souza is here.



Peter and I are like an old couple.


ANNOUNCER:  Now, live from Studio 6A in Rockefeller, Plaza here`s Chris





CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST:  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Thank you. 

Thank you.  Thank you.  That was impressive.  Thank you very much.   Thank

you.  We`ve got a full house here in Rockefeller Center tonight, all of

your lovely faces.  Thank you for being here.  Thank you for being with us

at home.  It`s Friday in the age of Trump which means it`s the end of

another deeply bizarre and confusing upsetting and unnerving week with lots

of weird pronouncements, lots of weird actions, and tweets, the president

wanted to buy Greenland.  I don`t know.


It looks so big on the map.  There`s been a lot going on this week but

there`s something else that`s been happening away from the spotlight, away

from the president that I`ve been thinking about a lot.  In the last three

weeks since the killings in El Paso, there have been at least six arrests

of white supremacist who have allegedly been plotting or threatening



One who was arrested said he was thankful that Donald Trump will “launch a

race war.”  Another was talking about a plot against a Jewish Community

Center.  And the guy that they found had an arsenal that included a 40

caliber anti-tank gun.


Of course, all this is like I said, it`s just in the period since a white

supremacist drove himself all the way down to El Paso for the explicit

purpose of committing mass murder against Hispanics in order to drive

Hispanics from the country and change the demographic composition of the

country.  All motivated by an obsession with a non-existent invasion that

the president and his allies are constantly demagoguing about.


And we`ve seen this in the wake of El Paso.  There`s been a kind of wake-up

call, right?  People are like what is going on here?  There`s increasingly

calls to take white supremacist, terrorism seriously in the United States. 

According the Anti-Defamation League, domestic extremists, right, folks

like this kill at least 50 people in just the last year.  And that does not

count what happened in El Paso.


And a lot of people are making the point.  You heard a lot, right.  If this

were ISIS, if this were ISIS, we would view as an existential threat,

right?  I mean, after al-Qaeda, terrorists killed 3,000 Americans.  We made

complete changes into the nature of the American state and how we live our



I mean, 18 years after I got tried to light a shoe on fire, right, we still

take our shoes off of the airport.  Unless you`re smart enough to get that

TSA.  But the comparison to Jihadi terrorism makes sense, right?  It also

is kind of weird when you think about it for this reason.  You don`t

actually have to look abroad to some foreign analogue, some terrorist

entity like ISIS for the threat of American white supremacist seeking to

use violence to impose a white ethno state in America, right?  That`s an

American tradition.


In fact, it`s not just an American tradition.  It`s really the sort of

inception of what terrorism in America is.  I mean, first there were white

settlers, and they often use terror and violence to take land from

indigenous peoples.


But then the very first real terrorist cell in America, first terrorist

organization America was made up of white supremacist forces of the

defeated Confederacy in the aftermath of the Civil War.  And they arose

because they didn`t like the demographic change that was happening, right? 

They want to preserve a white man`s Republic above all else.  And so they

used their weapons to terrorize free black people of the south.


They slaughtered and murder people in Memphis Tennessee in 1866.  They

slaughtered and they murdered people with the backing of a local militia

and sheriffs in 1866 in New Orleans.  They organized the Ku Klux Klan for

nitrate.  They shot people in the dead of night.  They ransacked people`s

homes.  They left nooses.


They roughed black people up on the way to the polls.  You know, there were

more than 2,000 murders in the state of Kansas in the election related to

election of 1868, 2,000 murders, mostly of black people and white

Republicans, the party that was at that point invested in their



And all of this was done, all of it with the explicit purpose of what that

individual went down to El Paso to do what he wanted, to stem the tide of

the erosion of the demographic power in American democracy for the white



We are not taught about this history.  I don`t know about all of you.  I

was not taught this history.  I went to like good public schools.  I didn`t

learn this history.  But at the time, at the time, it was the number one

issue in the country.


When Andrew Johnson was president at the time and sort of tacitly wink-

wink-nudge-nudge in all this violence, he would go around to speak, and the

crowds would heckle him.  They would say what about New Orleans?  What

about Memphis?  What about the white terrorism at South that you`re doing

nothing about?


And when Johnson was succeeded by Ulysses S. Grant, the Republicans had to

pass three separate pieces of legislation to enforce the law against white

terrorists themselves.  They actually called them the enforcement acts,

like no seriously we mean it.


And the third the third enforcement act was called the Ku Klux Klan act. 

It`s the first anti-terrorism legislation in the country.  It allows the

President to suspend habeas corpus throughout the south.  It was so

dramatic because they were at their wit`s end about what to do about white

supremacists terroristic violence.


And to the credit the Grant administration, the Grant administration under

the aegis of the newly created Department of Justice one year earlier, they

did something that hadn`t done before.  They start going in the south and

they start prosecuting federal crimes against the klan.


The white terrorists of the south who were killing and burning and

murdering and looting and intimidating, they start prosecuting them in

federal court and the reason they do that is because local courts won`t

arrest them, won`t prosecute them, and local white juries will not convict



And two things happened.  One is they won that battle.  They stamped out

the clamp for a few decades.  And the second is they lost the war because

the enforcement of anti-terrorism laws against white supremacists in the

south end when Federal troops were taking out.


And when they were removed the violence came back and this time the white

supremacist violence throughout the south that extends all the way into the

1920s and 30s and 40s and 50s and 60s and 70s, the lynching, the atrocities

we all know, it worked.  It was effective.


The white terrorist violence in the south, the white nationalist terrorism,

it accomplished the aim that the shooter in El Paso explicitly said that he

wanted.  It preserved the political power of white people for decades to



And that is why white terrorism and white supremacist terrorism in this

country is not some weird analogue to al Qaeda or ISIS.  It`s not some

foreign thing that looks like something that we`ve been fighting in the war

on terror.  It`s actually fundamentally as American as anything.  And it is

an existential threat to the multiracial and pluralistic equal and open

democracy that we`ve been fighting for in this country since people died on

the battlefield in a civil war.


And here`s the thing.  Right now these folks, it`s unnerving to think about

this but they are organized.  Organize coordinate attempts to use violence

and intimidation again.  The guy who was arrested in Ohio this week for

threatening to shoot up a Jewish Community Center, as best as we can

determine, here he is in Charlottesville.  And the guy next to him, that`s

the guy who drove his car into a crowd of people later that day murdering

Heather Heyer.


To me, the lesson of the KKK act is that white supremacy as a force can

never be eradicated permanently.  But with the will of the state, violent

terror can be vanquished.  And our government`s job, a president`s job, our

nation`s job is to vanquish.


I want to talk to someone who spent her adult life fighting against hatred,

renowned civil rights attorney Sherrilyn Ifill.  She`s a president of the

NAACP Legal Defense Fund.  Sherilyn, you and I have talked a lot about the

federal government`s role in all this and I think of you as a civil rights

attorney.  When you hear the discussion about white supremacist terrorism,

you see these arrests, what are you thinking about the kind of policy

regime that you want to see?



Chris.  And I`m so glad you`re having this conversation.  What I think is

very much connected to what you said that it was the marshaling of the

power of the federal government that played the most important role in

pushing back white supremacist violence and terror.


You described the enforcement acts and the Ku Klux Klan acts.  These were

all passed during Reconstruction.  The first civil rights statute that was

passed since reconstruction was the Civil Rights Act of 1957 which created

the Department of Justice.  And the Department of Justice played a vital

role in the late 1950s and in the early 1960s in addressing the role of

white supremacist violence.


If we think about the bombing of the Birmingham Church, if we think about

the killing of Goodman Chaney and Schwerner, all of these acts of white

supremacist violence were investigated by people like John Doar in the

Justice Department who by the way was a white Republican and Burke Marshall

who headed the Civil Rights Division.


It was the creation of the Civil Rights Division that really focused that

attention.  Remember, four decades before that, Congress refused to pass an

anti-lynching statute.  So we had no civil rights legislation.  Then we get

the Department of Justice in the Civil Rights Act of 1957 which is

empowered to protect African Americans and the right to vote to investigate

these kinds of racially motivated crimes, to coordinate with other

departments within the Department of Justice to try and address this issue.


It doesn`t mean that we haven`t had any white supremacist violence in the -

- in the last few decades but what it does mean is that the marshaling of

that apparatus towards this violence was important.  Then we had the

passage of the hate crimes legislation, the Matthew Shepard James Byrd Hate

Crimes Act once again showing a kind of targeted intention of the federal

government in the Justice Department.


And what we do not have at this moment despite everything you described at

the top of the hour, Chris, and the moment that we`re in is we have no

concerted plan, we have no concerted articulation, we have no sense of

urgency that has been communicated to the public about the Department of

Justice and the need to lean in to this white supremacist violence.


HAYES:  How much does it matter, the leadership at the top – I know it

matters a tremendous amount in civil rights enforcement areas you work in

what the Education Department is doing, what we`re doing about redlining,

the enforcement of laws already on the books.  How much does it matter to

have this president or to have a president who very clearly doesn`t care

about this?


IFILL:  Well, it`s interesting, Chris.  You know, your colleague Rachel

Maddow always says you know, don`t just listen to the words, listen to what

he does.  In this area, the words align very closely with the policy

actions.  The president making a false – sense of false equivalency in

Charlottesville, you know, very fine people on both sides, the deflection

always to talking about urban crime in places like Chicago, the denigration

of places like Baltimore.


All of this to turn attention away from on what ought to be the focus of

this president as the leader who has the bully pulpit who should be

bringing Americans together, who should be articulating the ways in which

this kind of violence is something that should be in our rearview mirror

and tears us apart.


This week when we were just a week or so, two weeks away from El Paso, when

we have seen as you point out these arrests of the six individuals since El

Paso, what did we hear Attorney General Barr talking about?  We heard him

attacking newly elected progressive prosecutors, state prosecutors in

places like Massachusetts.


So almost like the president, the Attorney General rather than

demonstrating his intention to marshal his resources to his areas of work

where his team ought to be leaning in is instead also deflecting and now

trying to talk about urban crime and talking about progressive prosecutors.


So you see alignment.  And this is what I think is most disturbing.  This

is our Department of Justice.  We have the right to expect the federal

government to use its power, to use its investigatory power through the

FBI.  We have asked over and over again.


Civil rights organizations sent a letter to Jeff Session in October 2018 as

we saw this rise asking him to articulate the plan to deal with hate

crimes.  And we`ve heard nothing from Jeff Sessions, and now we`ve heard

nothing from Attorney General Barr that demonstrates his understanding of

the urgency of this issue.


HAYES  Sherrilyn Ifill a the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, I always learn a ton

from you.  Thank you very much.


IFILL:  Thank you, Chris.


HAYES:  We`ll be right back.  Senator Chris Murphy is trying to work with

the White House on something.  He`s going to be here.  We`re going to talk

about it.  Don`t go away.




HAYES:  In a week where President Trump canceled the state dinner called

Jews disloyal, today the president called the Fed chair a man that he

appointed an enemy.  After that the President “hereby ordered – those were

his words – hereby order that U.S. companies should come home from China

sending the Dow to a spiral which he later made a inscrutable joke about.


All that makes you wonder about the capacity and the fitness of the man in

charge.  But while all that is happening, the fact the matter is there`s

business, the nation`s business to still do.  Senator Chris Murphy from

Connecticut was tweeting yesterday, he`s actively working with the White

House to try to get something done on background checks.  And Sen. Chris

Murphy of Connecticut is here right now.


SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT):  I am – I thought we – I thought we`d agreed

we`re not gonna wear ties.


HAYES:  You look very sharp, senator.  You had this tweet yesterday I

thought was really interesting.  You said, I spoke of the White House

today, they`ve not walked away from improving background checks.  That was

a reporting earlier in the week they had.  I am skeptical we can reach

consensus but I`m willing to stay at the table over the next few weeks. 

Maybe I`m a fool for trying but stakes are too high.


MURPHY:  Yes, I wear –I wear my fears on my sleeve in dealing with this

White House.


HAYES:  Yes, it`s a good hedge.


MURPHY:  I`ve been through this before.  I went over to the White House

after the Parklands shooting on that meeting that was televised.  The

President said that day that he was going to work towards strong background

checks.  He nearly sends Dianne Feinstein into a heart attack by telling

her that he might work with her on an assault weapons ban.  And then a day

later the NRA came into his office and everything changed.


And so I understand the rug may be pulled out from under us again but two

weeks later, despite some of this reporting, the White House is still

telling me that they want to sit down and try to talk about whether there

is some common ground to find on background checks.  Maybe it`s not as far

as I would like but you know, if we can at least get background checks

extended to these gun shows in to some of these online sales, we will

literally save lives.


This is a life-or-death debate that we`re having here and so I just – I

get it – I get it that the football may be pulled out again as I run up to

kick it this time, but I feel like I`ve got to at least give a shot.


HAYES:  Well, here`s what I find interesting watching this all to play out. 

You know, the president is a strange person but he has – he has some

political instincts that are quite good.  And you can watch him almost in

real-time be cross-pressured on this.  You can see that he understands that

background checks are popular.


You could just see it in the way he talks about it and then Wayne LaPierre

calls him up.  And you can watch him kind of wriggle around trying to get

out of this trap.  Do you think you can extract him from it?  Like the

problem is you can never be the last person that talks to.


MURPHY:  Right.


HAYES:  Right?  Like you could be very persuasive but then there`s someone

else is – Wayne LaPierre is going to come in the office

after you.


MURPHY:  Yes.  I`m not going to talk to him as often as Wayne is going to

talk to him.  No, listen, the politics have changed and they have changed

radically.  Even from 2016 to 2018, all of a sudden this is an issue that

swing voters vote on that turns out young people to the polls.  And yes, it

may be that Donald Trump gets it.  It maybe that the reason that Mitch

McConnell has interestingly opened the door to a possible debate in the

United States Senate is that he`s not really interested in sending out all

of these vulnerable 2020 Senate Republicans without taking a vote on

background checks, and that is proof of what we have been attempting to do

for the last seven years which is to build a political movement around

anti-gun violence that is as strong, if not stronger than the gun lobby.


HAYES:  So I saw this article in The Washington Post about the mental

health proposal being floated.  And I got to say the more I hear him talk

about – the President talking about mental health, the more freaked out I

get honestly.  It really seems like just to cite – like sci-fi dystopia. 

They want to do something like DARPA which is the notorious Pentagon like

research Association called HARPA, OK.


It`s going to develop breakthrough technologies with high specificity and

sensitivity for early diagnosis of neuropsychiatric violence.  The document

goes on to list a number of widely used technologies it suggests could be

employed to help collect data.  Apple watches, Fitbit, Amazon Echo, and

Google Home.


This – whatever they`re doing on guns, the mental health stuff they`re

talking about strikes me as genuinely scary stuff.


MURPHY:  Yes, and listen.  This is – this is a very difficult issue to

talk about because we absolutely do need more research into the

intersectionality of the brand and instincts to violence.  But Donald Trump

is probably not the guy to thread that needle.


I just think you know, every time we talk about this, we need to put the

facts on the table.  And the facts are that if you are living with mental

illness today you watch more likely to be the victim of violence than you

are to be the perpetrator of it.


Of all the people in this country who have ever committed a homicide, less

than five percent of them have a diagnosed mental illness.  And in fact,

less than half the people who have committed mass atrocities have been

diagnosed with mental illness.  You can still do really horrible things in

this country it doesn`t mean that you are mentally ill and we`ll just

shield people from ever receiving treatment if we try to equate the two.


HAYES:  Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, thank you so much for time.  I

really appreciate it.


MURPHY:  Thank you, Chris.  I appreciate it.


HAYES:  We`ll be right back here with obama white house photographer Pete

Souza.  Don`t go anywhere.




HAYES:  President Obama`s official White House photographer has had a

pretty fascinating post-Obama public life.  His photographs which he posts

on social media and Instagram, you probably have seen because they get

thousand likes, thousands and thousands of likes.  They become a kind of

visual reminder of the insanity that we live through because he`s

constantly posting in response to the news and he`s showing what it was

like when we had a president who was not this one.


It was a person who I think it`s fair to say it was in so many ways

personality-wise in every way the opposite right.  He was a – he was very

self-controlled, disciplined, and pathetic, and he turned some of those

photos into a book.  It`s called Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents.  It`s

coming out in paperback in October with new pictures.


And joining me now Pete Souza.  Hi, Pete.  Good to see you.  Have a seat. 

So you started photographing Barack Obama the first day that he sworn in as

a U.S. senator when you`re with the Chicago Tribune, right?


PETER SOUZA, PHOTOGRAPHER:  Yes.  I was based in D.C. working for the

Tribune when he was elected to the Senate in `o4 and then joined up with

him that first day that he was sworn in.


HAYES:  You know, you`re – you have these sort of images like this one

where he`s walking down the street and no one knows it`s Barack Obama.  You

know, it`s interesting, you know, he had this – he had this – obviously

had a national profile because that speech in the convention, but those

sort of early years of him as a Senator, he was not very far removed from

being a guy that like took the car to the car wash –


SOUZA:  Well, he still had school loans. You know, he still had school

loans.  This picture

on a trip to Russia.  So we`re like this is a sidewalk in Red Square.


HAYES:  Amazing.


SOUZA:  And he`s walking around Red Square and not a single person

recognized him and I was very conscious of that because I knew you know, if

he ever did become president that the scene would never be repeated.  I

don`t think he could go to Red Square now and –


HAYES:  No.  Did you – what was your impression of him – those early

years before he becomes President of the United States, his general sort of

personality and how he carried himself.


SOUZA:  Very laid back.  For a photojournalist, was an amazing subject in

that the presence of my camera, my presence, taking pictures, did not

bother him in the least.  I mean, I used what I call a

small footprint, meaning I`m not using a loud motor drive, and I`m trying

to be quiet about how I went about my business.  But he was very unusual

and just the presence of my camera not affecting him one way or the other.


HAYES:  Do you think that was something about the kind of person he was?


SOUZA:  Yeah.


HAYES:  That sort of composure?


SOUZA:  I think so.


HAYES:  How so?


SOUZA:  I think being brought up in Hawaii, you know?  People in Hawaii are

– you know, he was born in Hawaii.  I don`t know if you knew that.




HAYES:  I forgot where we ended up on that whole thing.


SOUZA:  He`s a laid back guy.  He still is.


HAYES:  You then started – you were photographing him for the trip, and

then you went to work at the White House.  Second White House you`ve worked

in, and you got to see – you know, he`s sworn in amidst just the world is

falling apart.  And you`re there through all these moments of unbelievable

high stakes and stress.


SOUZA:  Well, especially those first few years, you know, trying to get us

out of what was the greatest recession since the Great Depression, and he`s

working every weekend.  I mean, I was there every Saturday and Sunday.  He

had meetings with his economic team, trying to figure out what levers he

can push to try to right the economy.  So yeah, it was a very stressful



HAYES:  This is maybe one of the moments of maximum stress.  It`s also one

of the most famous photographs not just you`ve taken but I think in the

modern era, honestly.


This is the night that the bin Laden raid happens.  Tell us about what that

was like to be in that room.


SOUZA:  Well, we were in that room for 40 minutes.  They were monitoring

the raid as it happened in real-time.  People jammed into this little

conference room right across from the main Situation Room, because this is

where the communications link had been set up.


They did not know that the president wanted to be there while the raid was

taking place.  So it was sort of a little unexpected.  He walked into the

room.  Brigadier General Webb that you see seated at the head of the table,

saw the president of the United States walked in, stood up to give up his

chair.  President Obama said to him, you stay right where you are.  You`ve

got work to do.  I`ll just pull up a chair next to you, which is why he`s

seated where he is.


I`d also like to point out to people that you`ve got the most important

powerful people in the executive branch of our government all in this room

at the same time, and they`re essentially powerless.  There`s nothing they

can do to effect the outcome of what they`re monitoring.  It`s up to those

guys on the ground.  They made their decision in the days and weeks before,

and now it`s up to those guys on the ground, and all they can do is watch.


HAYES:  What is it like?  You had worked in the Reagan White House and

obviously you`re used to this.  You are a photojournalist, but you`re in

that room too.


SOUZA:  Yeah.


HAYES:  All those people are in that room, and they are some of the most

powerful people in the United States government.  What is it like for you

to be in that room?  Did you acclimation yourself so much to being in the

situations that the stress, didn`t penetrate you?


SOUZA:  Oh, no.  I was stressed.  I was stressed.  It was a stressful

situation.  And part of it was that room – there were so many people

jammed into that room that I picked a corner, and I couldn`t really move at



I can remember at one point my rear end hit a printer and the printer

started printing.  And Bob Gates looked at me and just kind of smiled.


HAYES:  You – these are sort of some images that are the kind of, like,

the most intense ones that you see the president there just the stress sort

of aware.  You can see it bearing down on him, but there`s a lot of images

you captured that show an extremely human side of the president and also I

think the historic nature, obviously, of the first black president.


There`s one photo that again I think has this kind of iconic view to it

now.  It`s…




HAYES:  What`s going on in that moment?


SOUZA:  So, this is a young Jacob Philadelphia.  His dad worked for the

foreign service, was leaving the White House.  President Obama invited the

family for a family snapshot.  And I think it was his mom, Jacob`s mom

said, Mr. President, Jacob has a question for you.


Now, imagine being 5-years-old in the Oval Office and your mom just said

you`re going to ask  the president of the United States a question, and it

was more like Mr. President, my friends say that my haircut is just like

yours.  And President Obama bent over and said go ahead and touch it.  And

I got one frame, and it was over.


HAYES:  That`s it.  That`s the one.


SOUZA:  One frame.


And, you know, I think the picture resonates for a couple reasons.  One,

you got a 5-year-old

African-American kid touching the head of the president of the United

States that looks like him.


But two, I think it tells you something about Barack Obama, that at the

behest of a young kid, you would go ahead and bend over and let that kid

touch your head.




SOUZA:  I`m quite certain that wouldn`t happen today.


HAYES:  No, no.


SOUZA:  Actually, I don`t think we would want that to happen.


HAYES:  Lord knows what would happen.




HAYES:  You know, part of your job is being very close to this individual

and this couple.  Michelle Obama has a great memoir that she wrote.  She

talks about how hard it is, how hard it was for her, how hard it was for

her family, to go from private citizens to having the entirety of your life

be public.  And you – you know, there`s some amazing photos you`ve taken

of the two of them, but these are very – you know, there are a lot of very

intimate moments that you are there to capture.


SOUZA:  Yeah, this one in particular, this was inauguration night going

from one inaugural ball to another.  They`re in a freight elevator.  And I

kind of kind of like this picture, because it shows what you`re talking

about.  They`re sharing this private moment, but then you have got the

staff and the Secret Service in the background trying not to like…


HAYES:  I like the side eye from the guy in the back.


SOUZA:  But that is the nature of being in that position.  And I think, you

know, I`m sure – I mean, Michelle talks about this, it`s not easy to get

used to always being in the public eye like that, but somehow they managed.


HAYES:  You clearly came to have a great, deep affection, friendship, with

President Obama.


What was that – the development of that relationship like?  You`re there

all the time playing this role, and then you become friends?


SOUZA:  I mean, I think part of it is – it`s like a professional

friendship mostly.  And I sort of like to say to people that I was there

for all the different compartments of his life – family pictures,

stressful moments in the Situation Room, economics meetings on the weekend

– And so I knew all these emotions, because I was in the room where it

happened all the time.  And I think that – because of that, we have a bond

that`s never going to go away, because I knew exactly what he was

experiencing from day today.


HAYES:  It`s so interesting, just as you say that, because it`s such a

strange job.  There are so much come compartmentalization.  And there`s one

person in his whole life who sees him in full at all moments, that`s Pete

Souza, right.  Like, the private person and the public person.  You also

did this, you were the deputy in Reagan`s White House.  And you got to see

him up close as well.  And from what I`ve heard of interviews of you, you

think highly of him – or thought highly of the president.


SOUZA:  I – policy-wise, I wasn`t necessarily aligned with him, but he was

a decent human being, and to me, that`s what mattered.  I don`t think –

like, I couldn`t work for Trump, because

I don`t respect him, and I just don`t think he`s a decent human being.




SOUZA:   But the Reagan that I saw respected the office of the presidency

and respected other  people.


HAYES:  I wanted to ask you about – and this clip that came out of Reagan

of calling these African diplomats in the UN monkeys.


SOUZA:   Very disturbing.


HAYES:  A lot of people around him expressed surprise and they were upset.


SOUZA:  I mean, it was during the Nixon administration, so it was many

years before I knew him.  I didn`t see that at all when I was there.  I did

not know Reagan nearly as well as I knew President Obama, but I was in lots

of private meetings, and I never saw that come out.  So that was – but it

was still disturbing to hear.


HAYES:  This is a picture, this final picture is a picture of our current

president, President

Donald Trump with President Barack Obama, 44 and 45 together.  And it`s I

think snapped – this is during their one meeting in the transition, is

that right?


SOUZA:  This is actually on inauguration day.


HAYES:  Oh, it`s on inauguration day.


SOUZA:  January 20th, 2017.  And they were just about to leave the White

House together to get in the limousine and drive up to the Capitol for the

inauguration, and President Obama pulled the incoming president aside to

brief him on a national security issue.  And, you know, there`s not much

confidence in the person on the left, I don`t think.


HAYES:  Well, let me ask you this as a sort of final question.  We watched

you sort of develop over the course of the Trump administration, the

beginning there`s very sort of subtle jabs.  You know, that posting photos

and something in the news.


SOUZA:  I have no idea what you`re talking about.




HAYES:  Well, I mean, it`s gotten less – I mean, it`s clear where you

stand on this president, and you seem like a fairly kind of retiring in the

background sort of person in your nature.  What is it that has sort of

pushed you, nudged you to be more open and public about that?


SOUZA:  It didn`t take much.  It didn`t take much.  To me, we have a

president that lies to us all the time and bullies other people I think

disrespects the office of the presidency, and that`s what bothers me the



I mean, I`ve said this before where if, you know, Jeb Bush or John McCain

or John Kasich or

another Republican had become president, I wouldn`t be doing this, because

even though I would vehemently disagree with some of their policies, I

think all of them would have respected the office  and would respect other



HAYES:  Yeah.




HAYES:  Pete Souza, everybody.  “The Paperback of Shade” is coming out

October 27th.  A whole bunch of new photos.  Thank you for being with me. 

Appreciate it.


Still ahead, Michelle Goldberg, Mehdi Hasan, Joy Reid, they`re all  coming

here, so join me.  Don`t go anywhere. 




HAYES:  There are a whole lot of things that happened this week that I want

to talk about, starting with this piece in The Atlantic.  James Fallows

argues, persuasively to my mine, that in literally

no other job but president of the United States, if supported by the

Republican Party, could you do any of the things the president has done

just in the last week and not be fired from your job and dragged out by

security – not a pilot, not a surgeon, not an accountant, not a teacher.


As Fallows writes, quote, if Donald Trump were in virtually any other

position of responsibility, action would already be underway to remove him

from that role.


Here to discuss that with me New York Times columnist, MSNBC political

analyst Michelle Goldberg; a columnist for The Intercept, a host of Up

Front on Al Jazeera, one of the best interviewers in the game these days,

Mehdi Hasan; and finally the author of “The Man Who Sold America: Trump and

the Unraveling of the American Story,” the host of AM Joy here on MSNBC, my

colleague Joy-Ann Reid.




HAYES:  The Fallows piece – I mean, I`ve heard this a million times, but

for some reason he just did a very good job of making the basic point. 

Like I remember talking to staff during the send her back, which is like if

someone on my staff said that, like you`re done.  You`re done.  Like, in

any environment.


MICHELLE GOLDBERG, NEW YORK TIMES:  You violated EOC guidelines, right.


HAYES:  Literally violated.


GOLDBERG:  …guidelines of what constitutes racism in the workplace has

those exact words.


HAYES:  Send her back.


JOY REID, MSNBC:  And just take the two examples that Fallows mentioned,

just imagine you`re on – anywhere, imagine you`re on an airline and the

last thing you hear before take off is I`m the king of Israel, the second

coming, right?  Sent by god.  The second coming of god.  I mean, seriously,

imagine you`re going to have surgery and the last thing you hear before the

ether takes over, right, is I`m the king of Israel.


MEHDI HASAN, THE INTERCEPT:  I`m a very stable genius.  I`m a very stable

genius.  I wouldn`t want to hear that as I`m going under the knife.  I`m a

very stable genius, I`m like a smart person.


REID:  Right, but chosen by god would be worse.  If you heard I`m chosen by



HAYES:  Again, you would say the person…


REID:  You`d want to get off.


HAYES:  There`s something wrong with them.


HASAN:  If you`re on a subway – no, seriously, you would move away from

that person.


HAYES:  No, you would.


HASAN:  Listen, I know, serious point, the media has tiptoed around this

subject for too long. There`s been far too much normalization.  He does a

crazy rant in the Rose Garden or a press conference and the next day too

many journalists still report the contents of it and don`t say, by the way,

this crazed guy gave this crazy rant.  We`ll tell you what he said later. 

That should be the top story.


HAYES:  That`s true, but part of dealing with it, the opposite thing I see

now, which is like you see stories about he`s increasingly X.  Like, we say

on the show that the increasingly adverb is banned.  Well, because it`s

like – yes, this week was bad, but we`ve had 20 of these weeks, you know

what I mean?


GOLDBERG:  I mean, I feel like it`s felt like something has to give…


HAYES:  Since day one.


GOLDBERG:  Right, since day one, and kind of the thing that`s given is us,

right.  I mean, it`s given, like our, our kind of sanity, our like capacity

to remember what a normal country and a normal

presidency was like.  But that – because we`re all so inured, and I myself

struggle with this, how do

you figure out what`s worse when the baseline is already total chaos, total



I do think – and I`ve gone back and forth on this even over the course of

the week, right, the Greenland thing, in part because it wasn`t even

ideological, it was just so out of left field, it was such a weird

fixation, right.  It was like the fixation that somebody would have when

they`re really losing touch with reality.


You know, then I talked to Tim O`Brien who is on this network who wrote a

book about Trump, and he says he`s always been like that.


HAYES:  Right.


REID:  But I mean, isn`t it the responsibility then – I think about those

walkthroughs that he  does, because he`s replaced his press secretary with

himself.  And isn`t there a responsibility for

the journalists who are talking to him, because he essentially overruns

them.  He says insane things.  They then ask him a normal question that

they would ask Jeb Bush, and they keep insisting on asking multiple part

questions that they would ask any president not matter what he says.


HAYES:  Although, he also – this is a savvy thing he does in replacing –

we call it talking to the shrubs, where he – no, because he – with the

chopper going in the background, it`s like you could barely hear and he

goes – and he points, and then if he doesn`t like the question, he just

goes to someone else.  So, it`s like he`s actually created a whole

situation in those press briefings he gives where he can control, right,

like follow-up questions or anything like that..


REID:  What if one of the people who was questioning him simply said, Mr.

President, where is Greenland?




HASAN:  Where is Kashmir?


REID:  Where is Kashmir?


HASAN:  You saw the Kashmir answer this week.  I mean, that`s – he says –

he`s asked about Kashmir, he says Hindus, Muslims, they don`t get along,

right.  My 6-year-old could do a better answer than that.  And we take –

we laugh about it, but on the other hand we are also taking him seriously,

if not literally, or literally if not seriously, I can`t keep it correct. 

But I just find – we have to call this stuff out.  We need to be talking

about the 25th Amendment every day of the week.




HAYES:  I mean, that`s the point.


HASAN:  We all know that.


HAYES:  The point is like calling out or whatever, it`s like there are two

constitutional remedies for removing a sitting president.  There`s the 25th

Amendment, which is actually a higher bar then impeachment, and then

there`s impeachment.  And like, we can all talk all we want about the fact

that we`re watching this person, who if he were the pilot of an airplane or

the CEO of a public company or anything, he would be removed.  But like the

constitutional remedies, Michelle, as we talked about on the show a million

time, like they`re there, it`s a question of whether the Democrats want to

pursue it.


GOLDBERG:  Right.  And the Democrats are pursuing it.


HAYES:  Yes, they are.   That`s a good point.


GOLDBERG:  So, right now, what Democrats – and them pursuing it sort of

has very little to do with actually removing him and putting the country in

stable hands, right.


HAYES:  That`s a great point.


GOLDBERG:  Democrats are pursuing it to hold him accountable and to at

least have some sort of public reckoning with his criminality and

obstruction of justice and emoluments violations et cetera, the only people

who can actually step in and say, this has gone too far, have shown no

inclination to do so.  And I guess that to me is the big political question

is like whether that starts to crack around the edges.


HAYES:  Which leads to today`s news perfectly, right, because I completely

– Republicans they sit there and they basically – well, Republicans and a

certain part of sort of the American plutocracy has decided they had can

tolerate all of this for a big tax cut, judges and a looser regulatory

environment, like that`s the trade.


Today, I mean, I`ve got to – like he comes out of nowhere.  He does this I

hereby order thing, which again is weird, creepy, totally bizarre.  I said

on Twitter that I hereby order the Cubs to win the next 20 games, which of

course they probably lost, because it doesn`t work that way.


But the markets are tanking.  He right now is locked in a weird zone where

he is doing active, tangible, material harm to the American economy day

after day after day.




REID:  And just last week, you had the man whose company runs companies

like Equinox, you have billionaires still raising money for him, despite

the fact that he is destroying the very market that was the trade.  The

trade was supposed to be their wealth, he`s now even jeopardizing that. 

There is silence among Republicans who only really exist to increase the

wealth of big corporations and rich  people.  And the rich people who are



HASAN:  I think they have morphed, now, it`s not just – I think Chris is

right, and you`re right, to highlight that as the tradeoff, whatever the

Faustian bargain,  but now it`s also a personality cult.  The Republican

Party is now a personality cult, so therefore, reasoned argument doesn`t

work.  If he says the Federal Reserve chair is the equivalent of a foreign

dictator who runs gulags, the Republicans just fall into lockstep.  If he

says Jews are disloyal, Republicans say not one word…


GOLDBERG:  And they`re saying we have always wanted to buy Greenland.


HASAN:  Tom Cotton, deficit hawk, said let`s buy Greenland.


HAYES:  This is where the fall is a test to me for this reason about – it

really will reveal the nature of the Republican Party, right.  So, we are

going to run an experiment.  Is it a cult of personality that revolves

around Donald Trump or is it fundamentally their just sort of vouchsafe the

interests of a certain strata of American society? 


Because those two are going to pitted against each other.  If he keeps

doing this on the trade stuff, they are going to come back to congress. 

And the fact of the matter is the constitution gives congress the power

over tariffs.  If there`s one thing that the founders were clear about,

it`s that tariffs belong to congress.  and they have allowed him to,

through executive  fiat, using this national security rationale, being I`m

raising them 10 percent.  I`m raising them 15 percent.  They can stop i if

they want to and that will be the test.  Are they a cult of personality or

do they actually…


REID:  Do they have the fear – I mean, think about what he is planning to

do.  This new round of tariffs would increase everything – something like

70 percent of what you buy in Walmart is sourced from China.  And so if you

raise the prices – that`s all tariffs are, raise…


HAYES:  It`s a consumption tax.


REID:  Raise it by 25 percent or 30 percent, you are essentially going to

tank the U.S. economy just before Christmas.  If the Republican Party is

that much of a cult – and I think to your point it is a religion at this

points – well, you know what kicking brown people out of the country is

real expensive if you are willing to go broke, you`re willing to lose your

farm, you`re willing to lose everything because you hate brown people so

much you are willing to literally kill yourself economically for it.  It`s



HASAN:  I mean, just on the cult point, Larry Kudlow is his national

economic adviser who is a mad free trader, but now defends tariffs on TV. 

Two years ago, or three years ago, Republicans in the country were hawks on

Russia and free traders, now they like tariffs and they are doves on

Russia.  This is the power of a leader – I mean, it`s amazing.


HAYES:  No, it`s amazing.  It`s amazing.


HASAN:  I mean, historians will look back and say what on earth happened

here?  How did this kind of guy from “Home  Alone 2” come along and

transform an entire political movement?  He did it, though.


HAYES:  But I do think – I mean, I am in – Michelle, I`m in the camp that

thinks that the economy is actually the big weakness, right.  So, there are

some people who think like his floor is

his floor, it doesn`t matter what happens to the economy, I think it`s the

Jenga piece.  I think an America that goes – there`s no way Donald Trump

can get to 20 percent approval absent a recession, but I do think a

recession would do that.


GOLDBERG:  No, I do think it`s right for two reasons.  First of all,

because it`s harder to lie about, right.  I mean, you can tell people the

wall is being built.  You can tell people that we are respected all over

the world.  You can`t tell people they have a job or that they got a raise

if they didn`t.


So people are kind of aware of it in a way that they maybe are not aware of

other ways that he is trashing American power.


And then also, it`s the central thing that he promised, right.  It`s they

kind of say, he might be crazy, he might say wild, intemperate things, but

he has his business genius, so that`s where you can show the emperor is



HAYES:  I think we may – I mean, we may find out – I hope we don`t,

because I hope we don`t have a recession, but we may find out nonetheless.


Joy Reid, Mehdi Hasan and Michelle Goldberg, thank you all.


Much more, much, much, much more of our special edition of All In coming up

next.  Don`t go anywhere.




HAYES:  I want to thank everyone here who joined us tonight for our first

ever All In live in front of a studio audience.  They were so kind.


To you – those of you here with me in historic Studio A and everyone at

home watching, we will do this again next Friday, August 30th, so please,

come be part of the audience for that.  These people had a great time.


Tickets are free and available right now.  You can find them at  I hope to see you right here live in New York next

Friday, August 30th.  And that is All In for this evening and the moment

you have been waiting for.  The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.  Good

evening, Rachel.






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