Trump claims others support his call. TRANSCRIPT: 8/26/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Franklin Foer, Lynn Sweet, Carlos Curbelo, Waleed Shahid, Karine Jean-Pierre

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  It`s clear that Trump`s agenda is.  It`s

getting his Doral resort packed by the next G7.  Again, one of the

differences between a public servant and a true business person, watch

Donald Trump in action.  And that`s HARDBALL for now.  “ALL IN” with Chris

Hayes starts right now.







not going to lose that wealth.


HAYES:  The President skips out on climate as the world`s most important

resource burns.


TRUMP:  I`m not going to lose it on dreams, on windmills.


HAYES:  Tonight, Trump`s head-spinning turn on the global stage as it

relates to China, Russia, and a planet in crisis.  Then, as the impeachment

count grows again, did the president just announced high crimes and

misdemeanors in France?


TRUMP:  Doral happens to be within Miami.  It`s a city.  It`s a wonderful



HAYES:  Plus, the latest of a long-shot effort to primary the president,

and the first signs of actual movement on the Democratic leader board when

ALL IN starts right now.




HAYES:  Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes.  If you were lucky

enough as frankly, I was to be enjoying a pre – final pre-Labor Day summer

weekend and were not paying attention to the minute-by-minute antics of our

commander-in-chief, here`s a quick noncomprehensive rundown of Donald

Trump`s G7 summit.


Like so much about this president, it was at one level amusing but also

horrifying because the stakes of all the things that he`s so glibly blowing

off are so high.  For instance, the Amazon which is still burning at an

alarming rate.


Over the weekend, the New York Times covered the fact that there are also

now devastating fires in Bolivia and experts say it could “take up to 200

years to the forests in Bolivia to heal.  The world leaders at the G7 had a

meeting about it.  And all the leaders were there except one.  Guess who?


The new White House Press Secretary said Trump skipped because he had

scheduled meetings and bilaterals with Germany and India.  One problem with

that account, the leaders of both those countries were at the climate

meetings, so who knows.  Well, for more on the Amazon fires and what the

world leaders did and didn`t do about them in just a few minutes.


Trump also continued his ongoing so-called negotiations with China at the

G7.  Earlier at the summit, Trump sort of said he had second thoughts about

his trade war before trying to take it all back.  But the bottom line about

the China situation right now is that financial markets, American domestic

audiences, global audiences, and the Chinese themselves all see that Trump

is flailing.


We all see the same thing.  And so as is often the case, the President

apparently invented a lie to try to extricate himself saying the vice-

chairman of China called and wants to make a deal but the phone call

appears not to have happened.  At least the Chinese government says it

didn`t happen.  And I leave it to you America, who do you believe, Donald

Trump on a whim or the Chinese Communist Party.


Meanwhile, Trump doubled down or tripled down or wherever the count is now

on inviting his old buddy Vladimir Putin back to the global party.  Trump

is advocating for Putin`s long-standing position, a position that is the

origin of this entire era of Russian aggression towards the U.S.


Putin`s main complaint is that we punished him for breaking international

law when he invaded Crimea.  And the origin of the sanctions that Putin has

been trying to get lifted, it all started with that.  Russia`s G8 expulsion

all started with that.


When Putin picked which horse to back in the 2016 presidential election,

when they had all those weird associates floating back-channel peace deals

to the White House that would allow Crimea to be forever recognized as part

of Russia, this is what it was all about.


And here is the President of the United States on the world stage in front

of all the world leaders again repeatedly spouting Russian talking points

and toeing the Russian line.  Joining me now for more on the President`s

whirring performance at the G7 summit former CIA Director John Brennan, now

an NBC News Senior National Security Intelligence Analyst.


What is the significance to you of the President insisting repeatedly that

Russia should be invited back to the G7 despite no progress made on Crimea

or the original infractions that led it to being booted out?



Well, Chris, it just shows that Donald Trump still does not grasp the

seriousness of what it is that Trump – what Putin has done not only to

Ukraine but also the fact that he interfered in our election, continues to

support the genocide of President Assad in Syria, all of these

transgressions that have come from the Russians.


And for him then to say blithely that he believes that they should come

back into the – what would be the G8 despite the unanimous view of those

countries previously, that because of the annexation of Crimea, because of

what they`ve been doing in Eastern Ukraine that Russia does not deserve a

seat on the table.


So it`s still rather puzzling as to why Donald Trump continues to give

Putin the benefit of the doubt when in fact he should be coming down pretty

hard on the Russian leader.


HAYES:  Do you think that over the course of this presidency so far that

both world leaders and global diplomatic corps and intelligence services

have changed the way they reacted to this President statements as they have

acclimated themselves to the degree of lack of preparation or tossed-

offedness of what he might say in these sort of events?


BRENNAN:  Oh, absolutely.  I think a lot of their leaders have written off

what he says certainly publicly.  But also I`m very concerned that given

his public dishonesty, what dishonesty is he engaged in in the private

meetings with these world leaders, with those allies with countries that we

have worked with so hard for so long?  What is he telling them?


But I think that they realized that he is way, way out of his depth, that

he is incompetent but also he is somewhat delusional as far as how he views

the world and his inability to grasp the reality of the geostrategic

situation around the globe today.


HAYES:  What are – what are the stakes?  Is that – I mean there`s some

universe like I suppose in which maybe everyone is better off if they just

don`t pay attention to the things the president says, this particular

president because he might contradict it.  So what are the stakes I guess

of sort of America`s geostrategic position when that is the case with this

particular president?


BRENNAN:  Well, I think they`re all just trying to handle Trump the best

they can.  They recognize that although they may not like and respect the

person, he still, unfortunately, represents America on the world stage and

they want to maintain and strengthen relations with the United States

because they know that one day Trump will no longer be in the Oval Office.


And so I think they`re trying to be as respectful as they can, but you

know, in some days I really miss being in the intelligence business because

I would love to find out what it is that these leaders are saying behind

the scenes to themselves about Mr. Trump.  I can just imagine.  And

unfortunately, I think it`s something that we as Americans should be very,

very concerned about.


HAYES:  There`s another example.  He has done this.  The president has

appeared to have fabricated interactions with foreign leaders on multiple

occasions.  He had – the head of Pakistan was there and he said that the

head of India Narendra Modi had called him and told him he wanted to take

care of Pakistan.


The Indian government then had to say that`s not the case and subsequently,

there was some intense repression that happened in Kashmir.  This is a call

that he said he got from the Chinese.  I guess – does it matter?  Like

what happens when the president makes up interactions with foreign leaders?


BRENNAN:  Well, it`s bad enough that Donald Trump is so incompetent in

terms of carrying out his responsibilities, but it`s the dishonesty that I

think really hurts this country most.  It`s when the American people listen

to him and they know that he is lying but also the foreign leaders who

again look to the United States as being the leader of the Western world,

of the free world, of the entire world.


If they cannot put any trust in confidence in what the president our state

says they are not going to be able to follow through on what it is that

needs to be done in order to strengthen bilateral relationships between

their country and ours, but also do what they can on behalf of global

stability and prosperity.


They recognize that Donald Trump is just fabricating one story after

another.  So how can they put any stock in what he says or what he says

he`s going to do?


HAYES:  Well, this – I mean, this gets to the dichotomy that you were

talking about before, right.  So they have a meeting about the Amazon

forest fires and the president doesn`t attend, and there`s obviously a full

plate of things on the G7 menu.


There`s a dichotomy between the United States as an institution and as a

country and then Donald Trump personally.  And what I`m hearing from you is

his inability to tell the truth actually affects the degree to which you

can have effective say diplomacy or peg commitments from the U.S. state as

an entity in these sorts of situations.


BRENNAN:  Well, there`s little logic or continuity to U.S. policies and a

lot of these matters.  I`m sure that there are a lot of professionals

whether it be diplomats or others who are very concerned and trying to do

everything they can about climate change, about all these international and

transnational issues that affect all of our countries.


But how can they work effectively with their foreign counterparts when the

President of the United States is not, in fact, able to articulate these

issues in any sensible way with his counterparts?  So it`s just very – it

undermines our ability as a country to be able to effect positive change. 

And I think these leaders are just waiting for the day that Donald Trump is

going to be part of history.


HAYES:  You know, the G7 obviously does not include China.  The President

is in the midst of this trade war with China which is more or less launched

unilaterally using authority – natural security authority to put tariffs

on the Chinese goods.  And I wanted to get your sense of how this playing



It seems to me there`s two sort of polls here.  One is that the previous

relationship with China along a bunch of different ways had some deep

dysfunctions in it.  I think there`s pretty good evidence that the nature

of the trade relationship has had some economic costs for Americans.


And then on the other poll, there`s a lot of people who kind of want a new

cold war with China.  They want a kind of aggressive posture of

confrontation.  And threading that needle strikes me as a difficult though

necessary role for the president.  And what do you think is happening now?


BRENNAN:  Well, you`re right.  It is an issue that needs to be addressed. 

Previous administrations have tried to address the imbalance in terms of

how both countries conduct a trade with one another and with the world. 

And so it`s proper and right for Donald Trump to be engaging with the

Chinese as well as with the North Koreans and with others.  It is how he is

going about doing it.


He doesn`t understand the implications of just imposing these large

tariffs.  And I don`t think he really has a strategy despite whether his

advisors say about how he`s going to come out of this trade war with China.


And so there`s a lot of things that are happening that he wants to have the

focus of the international media on him in terms of what he`s doing and

being a strong man, but trying to understand how what he is doing is going

to help the United States in the long run.  It`s beyond me.


HAYES:  So final question on this.  Is there any risk that the trade war –

you know, you`ve got a trade lane, right?  So we`re dealing with them on

this trade stuff.  And then there`s a lane of our two militaries and they

have a relationship that can be tense in adversarial but there`s also

cooperation on some things.  Is there risk, I guess, of one leaking over to

the other as the rhetoric gets heated up on both sides?


BRENNAN:  There is that risk.  And fortunately, so far it looks as though

this trade war has stayed within those trade channels.  And I`m hoping that

the Chinese as well as the United States – I`m not going to start to

affect other aspects of the relationship and other issues such as the one

China policy or on cyber or on the South China Sea.  And those tensions

could ratchet up very quickly.


And so we`re not just going to have a trade war then, we could have a real

bilateral crisis with China, and that`s not what we want nor need at this

point in time.  So Donald Trump has to be mindful that China is a major

world player.  It has a lot of levers that it can pull.  Hopefully, they`re

not going to pull them because they`re going to be hurt, we`re going to be



And so it`s best to get these tensions back down so that we come up with

some type of reasonable outcome of what really has been this trade problem.


HAYES:  All right, John Brennan, thank you very much for that.


BRENNAN:  Thanks, Chris.


HAYES:  Probably the most pressing front of mine issue the G7 was the fires

that are raging in the Amazon.  Most of the world leaders had a meeting

about it and decided to kick in a paltry $20 million which I mean a lot of

money for you know, people but not a lot for the scope of the problem.


Squarely in the middle of all of it is the problem that most of the fires

are mostly in the sovereign nation of Brazil and the country`s president

seems to be sort of essentially pro-fires.  We call it the world`s lungs

but the problem that affects the whole world is in Brazil and this is just

one of the ways in which sovereignty, the very notion of it will be

challenged in the climate crisis era.


Joining me now Franklin Foer, Staff Writer for the Atlantic Magazine.  His

latest piece is titled the Amazon fires are more dangerous than WMD.  And

Frank, I want to write this – read this quote which sort of makes the

comparison.  If a country obtains chemical or biological weapons, the rest

of the world tends to react with fury or at least it did in the not so

distant past.  So what is the analogy you`re making here about the Amazon



FRANKLIN FOER, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC:  So this is an urgent problem

that is not just a problem limited to Brazil.  That if we`re indeed

describing the Amazon as the world`s lungs, that implies that the

implications of the fires are global and therefore they demand a global



And I think something actually very important happened at the G7 which is

not the $20 million that the – that the nation`s volunteered to give for

the sake of fighting fires, but Emmanuel Macron, the President of France

threatened to cancel European trade deal with Brazil.


And that caused Jair Bolsonaro to change his tune almost instantly.  At the

beginning of the weekend, he was saying that the fires in Brazil are a

matter of Brazil`s sovereignty, that the rest of the world shouldn`t

interfere with their fighting of the fires.  He was still – he ran for

president on a platform of deforesting the Amazon.


But after Macron applied pressure, after the G7 decided that they were

going to make this a significant issue, Bolsonaro almost instantly changed

his message.  He sent the country`s military to fight the fires and he said

that the Amazon was a national treasure that deserved to be preserved.


And so what happened is actually important.  It`s a harbinger of what can

be accomplished when the nations of the world say that you know, what

happens in one country is a problem for the entire world.  And we`re going

to apply the same sort of diplomatic tools that we would use in the case of

dealing with WMD to solve a problem like the destruction of the Amazon.


HAYES:  You know, it`s interesting you say that because I`ve been following

some of the news from Western China where the Muslim Uighur population has

been put on these terrible internment camps, re-education camps.  And for a

long time, it wasn`t really covered.  There`s been a lot more attention to



And if that pressure does seem to be having some effects now on Chinese

policymaking, you`re saying there`s something similar with the climate. 

What does it mean when Donald Trump does the opposite?  When he doesn`t

show up to the meeting, and when he says it`s essentially a hoax, and he

says this sort of – this America first, we`re exporting a ton of fossil

fuel and I`m not going to give it up for your pipe dream of windmills.


FOER:  Right.  Well, let`s acknowledge at the start that a lot of the G7

nations are totally hypocritical on Climate, that Canada is building this

pipeline, at the same time that they`re chastising Brazil.  Macron is

guilty of his own hypocrisy.  I think Donald Trump`s absence in these

meetings is actually kind of useful for the rest of the world to get on

with its business that Trump is just going to be an obstruction – an

obstructionist presence in these meetings.


So the fact that he`s not there is tremendously sad for us as Americans but

maybe it`s smoothing the way for decent policies to be enacted by the rest

of the international community.


HAYES:  Do you think – I mean when you talk about this sort of idea of

sovereignty and pressure, right, what you`re seeing also is the contours of

the order now as the climate crisis intensifies are these questions are

going to be more and more front and center there`s going to be nationalist

backlash in all kinds of places, right?


I mean, it`s not just that America will have its version of you can`t tell

us what to do.  Lots of countries do it.  Those kind of politics are easy

to find all the way around the world.  And to me, I wonder if you think

this is the case, there going to be a major political challenge to the

kinds of coordinated efforts we need.


FOER:  We`ve already seen this.  If you think about the refugee crisis in

Europe as an extension of the climate crisis, that there`s certainly

climate refugees fleeing there.  And you see the way in which the European

countries are unable to coordinate across national boundaries in order to

deal with this issue and you see the way in which that issue has already

triggered the sort of nationalist backlash that you`re describing.


You`re – what you`re seeing are the contours of a global world order that

is incapable right now of dealing with this crisis which will surely get

worse with every year.  And so what it demands is new levels of cooperation

but also the use – the use of all these traditional tools in our

diplomatic toolkit to try to discipline nations that are acting in the

obstructionist sort of way.


HAYES:  All right, Franklin Foer, thank you so much.


FOER:  Thank you.


HAYES:  Next. the number of Democrats favoring impeachment keeps on ticking

up as the President gives them even more material to work with during the

visit to France.  That story in two minutes.




HAYES:  A head of a progressive group have taken to calling this month

Impeachment August as their members have been pressuring Congressional

Democrats who are home in their district for a recess to come out formally

in favor of impeachment.


And though it is not dominated headlines, it does appear to be working. 

Today, Illinois Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi came out in favor of an

impeachment inquiry.  That makes him the 133rd member of the House caucus

to do so.


Also today, the House Judiciary Committee issued subpoenas for former White

House aide Rob Porter to testify about the President`s efforts to obstruct

the Russia investigation.  Porter was forced to leave the White House last

year after it was revealed he had been accused of domestic violence by both

his former wives and various red flags have been waived.


As Democrats continued a somewhat strange and slow-motion internal debate

about what to do with the president`s flagrant abuse of power, the

President continues giving them ammunition like just today when he used the

opportunity of the G7 to shamelessly promote his money-losing a golf club

in Miami.




TRUMP:  We have a series of magnificent buildings, we call bungalows.  They

each hold from 50 to 70, very luxurious rooms with magnificent views.  We

have incredible conference rooms, incredible restaurants.  It`s like –

it`s like such a natural.  We wouldn`t even have to do the work that they

did here and they`ve done a beautiful job.  They`ve really done a beautiful

job.  And we have also in Miami.




HAYES:  To talk about the legal implications the president using the

international stage as an infomercial for his property, I`m joined by

Barbara McQuade, former U.S. Prosecutor for the Eastern District of

Michigan and an MSNBC Legal Analyst.


And Barbara, I want to start there – and there`s other stuff I want to get

to, but you know, we had cast (INAUDIBLE) on this program and he said this

thing that`s stuck with me about impeachment.  He said look, there are

things that wouldn`t – that aren`t crimes but be impeachable.  For

instance, going on vacation for eight months, not a crime but if the

president did it, you might have a case to impeach him.


Promoting your golf property, not anywhere in the federal criminal code,

perfectly legal thing to do, but using the G7 to do so, that may be a

different thing.


BARBARA MCQUADE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  Well, yes.  You know, we`ve heard

this before under the Emoluments Clause to the Constitution.  It says that

the is not supposed to take things of value from foreign governments.  And

the idea is it would be a conflict of interest.  His loyalty is supposed to

be to the United States.


We`ve seen some lawsuits on this theory relating to his hotel in Washington

D.C. there was a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion that dismissed

that lawsuit but only on the basis of standing.


HAYES:  Right.


MCQUADE:  It found that the attorneys general in Maryland and D.C. didn`t

have standing so it does not address the merits.  And I think if a court

were to address the merits by someone who has standing, we could see a

lawsuit there or as you say grounds for impeachment.


He is blatantly violating the Constitution.  You know, maybe you give him a

pass when he doesn`t understand what the rules are, but he`s already been

on notice that this is a violation of the law.  And to use the platform of

the G7 to tout his bungalows in the form as you say of an infomercial is

absolutely a blatant violation of the Constitution.


HAYES:  So there was a mention today about the subpoenas for Rob Porter

that were issued by the House Judiciary Committee.  And this gets at the

crux of one of the issues here and it`s a long-standing pattern and theme.


House Judiciary Committee is trying to do oversight.  We know what`s going

to happen.  The White House is going to intervene and say you can`t talk to

him and it`s going to play out in the courts.  Two questions, what are

their chances of success but more importantly what will that timeline look



MCQUADE:  Well, one of the things that`s really interesting is as you say,

we have seen again and again this invocation of not just executive

privilege but executive immunity saying not only might he declined to

answer some specific questions designed you know, to promote candor in

providing advice to the president, but he`s not even going to show up.  You

know, that alone is problematic.


And we saw in the Nixon administration that refusal to comply with

legitimate inquiries from the Congress isn`t impeachable offense.  And so

even if they don`t get relief in the courts, maybe at some point members of

Congress will say this refusal to comply is alone an impeachable offense.


HAYES:  That`s – and there are many members of Congress who have

articulated that as a possible standard although there`s this kind of dual-

track hope, right, to have the article three federal courts essentially

decide and adjudicate this battle between the two other branches of



And it made me think of this piece from the Washington Post is that it`s

unlikely the House Dems are going to get Trump`s tax returns before the

2020 elections, some frustration within the Democratic – I saw you just

shake your head and frown – but you know this – in some ways this is a

tried and true tactic by Trump to push things to litigation and run out the

clock as long as possible.  And it worked in avoiding a personal interview

with Robert Mueller, and now that looks like it may work on the tax



MCQUADE:  Yes.  And I think it`s frustrating on two fronts.  One is you`re

a little bit at the mercy of the courts.  We`ve seen in some instances some

judges put this on a fast track and make a decision very quickly only to

see it then stall in the Court of Appeals.


So on the one hand, we`re a little bit at the mercy of whether judges

decide to put this on a fast track.  One hopes that they would just to get

a resolution.  We`re also seeing – I`m a little frustrated with the pace

of Congress.  There are some members of Congress who want to push this and

see it go quickly, others who I think are dragging their feet on the theory

that it might be politically damaging to push for an impeachment.


You know, I think you have to look at the political consequences of

impeachment but also the duties of members of Congress to hold the

president accountable because if President Trump is successful in stalling

this and running out the clock, it sort of sets a precedent in the future

of how future presidents can engage in similar tactics.


And so to some extent, what is the duty of members of Congress to sacrifice

their own political self-interest to say presidents cannot do this and we

are putting a stop to this now and forever?


HAYES:  All right, Barbara McQuade, thank you so much for joining us.


MCQUADE:  Thanks, Chris.


HAYES:  Ahead, the field Republicans vying to deny Donald Trump his party`s

nomination keeps on growing.  Tonight, one of Trump`s potential primary

opponents is crashing a big Republican event down South Carolina.  That

story is next.




HAYES:  An interesting scene unfolding tonight in South Carolina where Vice

President Mike Pence just gave the keynote at Congressman Jeff Duncan`s

ninth annual faith and freedom barbecue.  It`s the sort of thing that a

Republican vice president does.  But also attending is the former governor

of that state South Carolina Mark Sanford, also former member of Congress

who is now openly mulling a primary challenge against Donald Trump.


I should tell you that Sanford was shouted down and heckled by some folks

at the barbecue, by sign waving supporters of Donald Trump as he talked to

a local reporter.  You see him there.


If and when Sanford were to announce, he would join William Weld, former

Republican governor of Massachusetts, and now former Illinois Congressman

Joe Walsh who launched his own campaign yesterday.


It is deeply unclear if any of these men have an actual constituency in the

modern Trumpist Republican Party, but I will say this, unlike Weld, Walsh

is sort of a Trumpian figure in his own right.  He had a reputation for

saying wildly offensive things while a member of congress along with

promoting birtherism and other stuff.


In a term that seems to signify something about the trajectory of

Republican politics over the  last few years, the man who was once the most

offensive member of the Republican Party is now

running as the conscience of the party.


To talk about what`s going on here, I`m joined by former Congressman Carlos

Curbelo, Republican from Florida now an MSNBC political analyst, and Lynn

Sweet, Washington bureau chief for The Chicago Sun-Times.


Lynn, you covered Joe Walsh a bit.  He was a radio host and then a kind of

Tea Party star and then he was booted out.  And I can`t tell what the angle

is here.  What do you think it is?


LYNN SWEET, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES:  Well, the think with Joe Walsh is sometimes

just a figure of the moment that we`re in.  And he is somebody who for all

his past – he`s a flawed messenger, he admits it, because he has in his

run for president apologized for all the terrible things he has said that

he says has contributed in a way to the Trump era that we`re in now.


But why is he in this?  I take him for the moment, I mean, he`s a big self-

promoter.  I know that.

He once told me in 2011 his thing is to, you know, shout from the mountain

tops.  That`s symbolically why he`s in congress.


But he just is – is one who knows about this kind of rhetoric and knows

where it leads.  He finally said enough.


HAYES:  Yeah.


SWEET:  And I don`t find that hard to believe in him.  Yes, does he get

enormous publicity out of this and a national platform?  But, remember,

he`s a conservative radio talk show host.  He may not keep his job.


HAYES:  Yeah, I mean, the point I would say about Walsh, congressman, is

that whatever you – whatever the substantive feelings one has about him or

his politics or the things he said in the past, many of which I found very

heinous, William Weld is not going anywhere in a GOP primary.  Like William

Weld does not represent any incarnation of a current or post-Trump

Republican Party.


Mark Sanford and Joe Walsh maybe do.  What do you think?




candidates and potential Republican primary challengers have their obvious

strengths and weaknesses; however, it`s also clear that none of them

represent a serious threat to the president, at least at this time.


But here`s the thing.  Let me take you back to 1992, Pat Buchanan ran

against President George Herbert Walker Bush that year.  He did not win a

single state, but he was not an irrelevant figure in those presidential

elections.  He divided the party.  President Bush was weakened going into

the general election.  And a lot of people think that that`s one of the

reasons why he lost.


So the president doesn`t have to worry about any of these candidates…


HEYAS:  Winning, right.


CURBELO:  …being a direct threat, but he does have to worry about them

weakening him and the perception that Republicans are divided going into

November of 2020.


HAYES:  Lynn?


SWEET:  Well, there is a difference.  Pat Buchanan was far more organized

in 1992 than Joe Walsh is today.  There is no campaign.  He had a great

slick video.  He`s booked on cable shows.  It will be interesting to see if

Fox covers him at all.


HAYES:  It will be.


SWEET:  It`s really, really hard to get on the ballot in many states,

besides the early states

it might be a little easier and to run delegate slates.  So, this might be

over sooner than later if Weld and Sanford, if he gets in, and Walsh can`t

figure out a way to get on the ballot.


HAYES:  I will say – I agree with that.  I do think that coming – going

on capable news is a good thing to do if you want to get in the president`s

head because as far as I can tell watches it all day.  But it is also

interesting to me – I agree with you, congressman, there is no threat here

as to who will get the nomination.  There is a possibility of some damage. 

But what notable is all the reporting I`ve seen and the actions taken, I

mean even having Pence down there in South Carolina, which is an early

primary state and not a swing state, right?  Let`s be clear, like South

Carolina is not going to the Democrat.  Why are you spending time in South

Carolina?  It`s an early primary state.  They seem to be kind of focused on



It does seem to playing a role in their heads whether or not out

objectively in the world it



CURBELO:  The president`s team understands that any sitting president

having a primary  challenge is a problem.  That doesn`t mean it`s a big



HAYES:  Right.


CURBELO:  Again, it doesn`t mean that he is in jeopardy of not winning the

nomination, especially now that the RNC has tightened its rules to protect



HAYES:  Explicitly, yes.


CURBELO:  But this is not 1992 in the sense that there is social media. 

There are many more TV outlets.  There is cable.  There is radio.  So these

candidates, they may not get on the ballot, but they can make a lot of

noise.  They – their criticisms can get amplified, and this is a president

that needs a strong, unified  base to win a November election.  And any

fissures in that base, any erosion, could be very problematic.


HAYES:  The one thing, Lynn, that I mean, as the president was talking

about China, right, there is piece in The New York Times about the sort of

the gyrating economy and Trump`s volatile approach to it raise alarms.


There`s a lot of genuine uneasiness behind closed doors among Republicans

on this more than anything, right?  If the economy tanks, if this trade war

gets out of control, then we`re in a different situation than the one we

are in now which the  president polls around 41 percent with an economy

with unemployment at 4 percent.


SWEET:  Well, I think that`s not where – I mean, I talked to Joe Walsh

yesterday and I said I know you`ve been talking to Bill Kristol and George

Conway, what advice did you get?  Walsh, because he`s of the three we`re

talking about, he`s the only conservative who wants to run to the right,

who does have credentials in that conservative wing of the party, he said

he`s not running on issues, he`s running on George – excuse me, he`s

running on that Donald Trump is unfit to be president.


HAYES:  Right.


SWEET:  So whether or not the economy goes up or down or if it`s wrecked,

that`s not where the assessment is that you can have people listen to you

about what the problem is with President Trump.  And that I think is what

Walsh – when he is totally capable of giving as good as Trump might

get – so far, by the way, Trump hasn`t taken his tweet bait.


HAYES:  That is interesting.  Although, congressman, I don`t think there is

any appetite really – I mean, what is your assessment of the appetite

within the Republican Party and Republican primary voters for the

determination the president is unfit for the office he holds?


CURBELO:  Look, Chris, we`ve seen the statistics.  About 90 percent of

Republicans support this president.  Our politics have become extremely

tribal.  And a lot of Republicans are willing to overlook some of the

president`s obvious flaws.


Now, that`s because things in the country are going relatively well,

especially when it comes to the economy.  If the economy starts collapsing,

if this trade war further disrupts markets and 401(k)s start dropping then

you can see that some of these candidates could get some tracks.


Are they going to win?  Probably not.  But could they cause problems for

the president?  Could they weaken him going into the fall?  Certainly.  And

that`s why the president`s team, I think, is taking this seriously.


Publicly they`re brushing this off, but when you see the moves they`re

making, they`re obviously taking steps to tamp down any traction that

either Walsh or Sanford could get.


HJAYES:  Well, to bring it back around to 1992, Lynn, to your point, I will

never forget being a kid and watching an SNL skit early – I think it was

in `91 and the conceit of it was the Democrats who was lining up to lose to

George H.W. Bush.  The whole conceit of the skit was, obviously the

Democrat is going to lose, because at that point he`s polling at 85

percent.  The Gulf War had just concluded.  And the whole idea was like

this guy was unbeatable.  And before you know it, like, the economy turned

and the political fortunes of that presidency turned very fast.


SWEET:  And that`s – and we know that Bill Clinton, then the governor of

Arkansas, was just  standing ready to take advantage of it, because

everyone else self-proclaimed themselves ineligible to win.


HAYES:  And that`s right.  And Buchanan was there as well.  And that`s

where that damage came from.  But it all happened – the first thing to

happen were the underlying economic realities in

that moment.  Former Congressman Carlos Curbelo and Lynn Sweet, thank you

both for joining us.


SWEET:  Thank you.


CURBELO:  Thank you, Chris.


HAYES:  Ahead, is there an actual shift in the Democratic leaderboard. 

Tonight, there are new signs the Democratic field could be narrowing down. 

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




HAYES:  Thing One tonight, the president has been known to come up with

some, to put it kindly, strange proposals that seem to just pop into his

brain out of nowhere, sending his staff scrambling to spin whatever the

heck it is he`s talking about.


The Space Force, for example, and going to Mars before he`s out of office

or the big, beautiful see through border wall.  See through because drug

dealers might throw big bags of drugs over the wall and then hit innocent

passersby, of course.


Then there was the suggestion we should rake our forest floors better to

prevent wildfires because that`s how they do it in Finland.  And of course

earlier this month we got wind of the scheme to buy Greenland despite the

fact that the sovereign territory is not up for sale.


Just yesterday we learned of a Trump idea that`s so wild even his staff was

floored.  Quote, “you could hear a gnat fart in that meeting.  People were

astonished.  After the meeting ended, we thought

what the “f?” What do we do with this?”


And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.




HAYES:  According to a new report from Axios, President Trump has been very

interested in a

brilliant plan to stop hurricanes: drop a nuclear bomb on them.  Trump has

reportedly made that suggestion multiple times to senior homeland and

national security officials, paraphrased by a source in the room for one

briefing as saying, quote, “I got it.  I got it.  Why don`t we nuke them? 

They start forming off the coast of Africa as they`re moving across the

Atlantic.  We drop a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane and it disrupts

it.  Why can`t we do that?”


The source added the person briefing the president on hurricanes was

knocked back on his heels.  People were astonished.  After the meeting

ended we thought, what the “F,” what do we do with



Of course, the idea went nowhere and never entered a formal policy process,

according to Axios` sources.  And this morning, the president tweeted from

the G7 summit in France calling the story ridiculous.


But Donald Trump would not be the first to toy with the idea.  One

government scientist purportedly floated it back in the `50s.  It was

considered a dumb idea back then, too.  But then again,  their hurricanes

weren`t as bad.




TRUMP:  This is a tough hurricane, one of the wettest we`ve ever seen from

the standpoint of  water.






HAYES:  All right, he`s the new poll that is turning everyone`s head today. 

It`s from Monmouth University showing something we have not seen before,

essentially a three-way tie among the top Democratic front-runners, Senator

Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President

Joe Biden.


Now, the caution about this poll is that the sample size is really quite

small, just under 300 Democratic voters, and that means the margin of error

is large, plus or minus 5.7 percentage points.  A lot.


It`s important to note the RealClearPolitics polling average, which is a

little less noisy, more reliable, still has Joe Biden with substantial lead

although even there, only Biden, Sanders and Warren

have double-digit support.  They pretty clearly seem to be at the top tier.


So, the average comport to the idea there are three at the top, but if the

Biden folks are taking comfort in the low sample size of today`s Monmouth

poll, there`s another poll out today, this one from the home state of

Monmouth University, which is New Jersey.  It shows something somewhat

similar, with the same three candidates, Biden, Sanders, and Warren

clustered today at the top.  This poll is a much larger sample size, 635

voters, a margin of error, plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.  And it`s

interesting, because New Jersey is not a first-round state, it`s not Iowa

or New Hampshire, no one is really doing many town-halls or state fairs in

New Jersey yet.  Those voters are basically just watching it on television

or reading about it on the Internet.


And right now with a third debate set for September, only ten candidates

have qualified for

that debate, which means it looks like, at least for now, we might have our

first ever one-night debate, everyone on stage, including those top three



So after Labor Day, act two of the Democratic primary begins.  We`ll talk

about that, next.




HAYES:  Right now, and this is just a snapshot of where things are, there

seem to be three

candidates in the top tier of the race of the Democratic presidential

nomination – Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  After them,

there are, perhaps, five or six candidates with some significant or more

than nominal support.  As the candidates narrow down, we`re now getting to

another phase in the race.


Here with me now, two people with plenty of insight into the current state

of the Democratic

race, how it appears to be breaking down, Waleed Shahid, spokesperson for

Justice Democrats, and Karine Jean-Pierre, spokesperson for and

an MSNBC political analyst.


Karine, let me start with you.  Before you sort of get into the horse race

numbers, do you see the sort of race – to me, we`ve sort of turned a kind

of corner where the field is narrowing.  People are announcing they`re

dropping out.  There`s going to probably be one debate as far as now and

the tiers seem more, less permeable than they might have four or five

months ago when who knows who would rise and who would fall.  What do you




right, Chris.  You laid it out pretty well.  Look, we have a debate coming

up right after Labor Day, which we know in past electoral cycle, that`s

when people start paying a little bit more attention.  They`re much more

focused.  And we have to understand, though, this race is still fluid. 

Things are still moving around and we have to see, right, you were talking

about the Monmouth poll and the margin of errors  and how we`ve never seen

anything like that.  We don`t know yet if that is the norm, or if that is

just an  outlier.  So we have to keep an eye on that.


But, yeah, this was pretty shocking, right, what we saw today with the

Monmouth poll is pretty shocking.  It`s a lot of what people have been

saying that Joe Biden is the front-runner but not the runaway front-runner,

right?  Or that we`ve been seeing with these crowds with Elizabeth Warren

that she`s been getting these crowds, but this poll tells you a little bit

more about why she`s getting this



And actually this poll,  I think, is the best for Bernie Sanders.  You get

a real.  This is really good poll for Bernie Sanders. You get a real sense

that he has a solid 15 percent to 20 percent support where in 2016, that

would not have worked with really a two-person race.  But right now with a

multi-candidate race, that`s really impressive for him.  And that is going

to be helpful, because as we are trying to figure out who`s going to stay

and who`s going to be out as you were just talking about, Chris.


HAYES:  Yeah, I mean, Elizabeth Warren – I mean, the one thing that seems

clear to me – like there`s literally one story that all of the data points

out.  Like if you`re going to tell a single story so far, which is that

there`s one candidate who has made the most gain, and that`s Elizabeth

Warren.  That just seems to me borne out by all of the polling, all of the

anecdotal data, the reporting, and then these crowds – you know, 15,000

people in Seattle.


You know, Joe Biden announced he has been at the top of the polls and sort

of been there.  Bernie Sanders has been around number two through most of

this.  The most movement it seems is

with this campaign.



poll, the Monmouth poll, is showing trends at their logical ends where

Elizabeth Warren has been slowly and steadily climbing in the polls and now

she`s, you know, she`s up there always number two or number three with

Bernie Sanders.  And I think she`s putting together this coalition of

Hillary Clinton voters in 2016 and Bernie Sanders voters in 2016, that

could be a pretty powerful coalition.


HAYES:  The question of that coalition, and this is where I think the

question about Biden, where does he go from here, right, is, Karine, is

where are the voters that he adds, right?  And also, this sort of

generational question.  A lot of us talked about in terms of race.  He`s

been pulling far ahead with African-American voters.  But there`s a big

generation gap.


I mean, white and black voters above a certain age favor Biden quite

heavily, under a certain age, that does not appear to be the case.  And if

you`re Biden, and you`re choosing between those two age demographics, the

older ones are the ones that come out in primaries, so that`s probably the

one you`d bank on.


JEAN-PIERRE:  Yeah, it`s incredibly problematic for Biden.  In that

Monmouth poll he was at 6 percent, I think with voters 50 and under.  That

is not where you want to be.


HAYES:  Just to caution, that`s a small – that`s a very small – a cross

sample size.  I`m not going to take this as gospel.


JEAN-PIERRE:  Margin of error, 5 percent to 7 percent, yes.  Absolutely, we

need to put that

out there.  But just using that because that`s what we have at the moment

with that snapshot, that`s pretty terrible.  And here`s the thing here, you

know, it`s like we`re going to need a movement to beat  Donald Trump, not

just a candidate who could beat Donald Trump.  You`re going to need a

movement  and that includes a coalition that we`ve seen a Barack Obama do

twice, and that includes young people.  And think that is the problem.


And, yes, older people are more likely to vote.  We see that.  They`re more

consistent voters.

 But you have to put together a coalition.  And I think that is the problem

that Biden could foresee.


HAYES:  That coalition – Barack Obama put together that coalition.  And

one of the things he did was, you know, highly educated liberals have

always sort of had their primary horse in races and had a hard time winning

the nomination largely because along race lines it`s been hard to put that

coalition together.  Barack Obama broke through that, right?


That, to me, strikes me as one of the big questions right now in the race

for essentially non-Biden candidates or particularly Warren and Sanders. 

Warren whose appeal right now from the best we can tell in the polls is

quite white.


SHAHID:  Yeah, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are going to figure –

have to figure

out how to earn the support of a lot of those black voters who are now with

Joe Biden.  I think Kamala Harris also has that same issue.


HAYES:  And Pete Buttigieg if he wants to stay in a tier that`s appreciable



SHAHID:  But overall, the point about voters under 50 is true that overall,

they are more progressive-minded.  They seem to be centering policy more

than older voters, and that makes sense

because of everything we knew about Millennials from the 2016 campaign.


HAYES:  It`s interesting to me, the Biden campaign really has – we show

the screenshot for one

second, which is the head-to-head polling he has in his first ad.  I mean,

they`re really leaning into this argument, like the Biden message right now

is it`s electability, it`s decency and it`s normalcy. And that`s it, that`s

the message.  It`s much more than it`s policy, like those are the three

things.  And look, I can beat Trump, and you know me, and I`m a decent guy,

and all this nightmare might end.  Short and sweet.


Waleed Shahid and Karine Jean-Pierre, thanks for sharing your time.  That

is ALL IN for this

evening.  “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now. 


Good evening, Rachel.







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