Storm surge warnings along parts of East Coast. TRANSCRIPT: 9/5/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: That`s HARDBALL for now. “ALL IN” with Chris
Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need help. We need help.
HAYES: The nightmare in the Bahamas continues to unfold as Dorian moves up
the East Coast and the President just won`t let go of Alabama.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In all cases, Alabama was
HAYES: Tonight, the latest on the devastation and what`s happening with
our unchecked and unbalanced Commander-in-Chief. Plus, the list of
republicans choosing retirement over reelection just keeps getting longer.
And about those buybacks.
BETO O`ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Americans will – who own AR-
15s, AK-47s will have to sell them to the government.
HAYES: The proposal to curb gun violence being met with predictions of
MEGHAN MCCAIN, CO-HOST, THE VIEW: You`re talking around going and taking
people`s guns away from them. There`s going to be a lot of violence.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. Where are hurricane
goes is a matter of life or death. For those in the path, those who are
just outside of it, almost nothing matters more than that. And it`s a core
function of government to figure out where disaster is likely to strike and
to let its citizens know to protect and take care of people in the path of
People`s lives depend on it. Billions of dollars rest on it. The stakes
here are as high as they can possibly be. And just ask the people in the
Bahamas right now how much it matters where the track of a storm goes.
While Dorian moves along the southeast coast and brings destruction and
danger, the most powerful person in the country whose job it is to protect
Americans is obsessively tweeting about, talking about in public and
apparently in private doctoring images of something that happened last week
to make himself look better, obsessively, convulsively.
I mean, if anyone did what the president is doing in your workplace, in
your classroom, in your friend`s circle, you would say what the heck is
wrong with you. What is wrong with you? It all started on Sunday when the
president tweeted that Alabama was one of the states that “will most likely
be hit much harder than anticipated.”
After that, the National Weather Service 20 minutes later corrected him
gently tweeting, “Alabama will not see any impacts from Dorian which is an
important fact for the people of Arizona – Alabama to know and for the
National Weather Service to tell them.
And since that moment, the president has seemingly spent most of his time
as the hurricane has moved through the Bahamas and up the coast and it`s
affecting Americans right now trying to prove he was right, to the utterly
ridiculous lengths of sitting in the Oval Office delivering what he called
an update on the hurricane not only showing a storm track from last week
but one that included a sharpie bubble falsely extending the hurricane
track into Alabama.
And the thing is he is still not leaving it alone, tweeting about it
repeatedly since then and again and again and again. None of which changes
the fact that his tweet on Sunday was simply wrong. And it`s not just that
he made a mistake, he now has to try to alter the reality of the world
around his mistake to save face.
He has to do something akin to suborning perjury from other people in the
federal government to lie to us all collectively. Look, Kevin McAleenan,
the one who fetched the day`s old chart for Trump yesterday, he`s the
acting head of Department of Homeland Security.
Acting, of course, because so many of the folks managing this disaster are
acting because the president apparently can`t be bothered to nominate
people for top government posts. NOAA which is the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration, they will not respond to correct Trump`s
Alabama nonsense either.
And then just hours ago, the President roped in his homeland security and
counterterrorism visor into the whole lie. Rear Admiral Peter Brown
released this statement saying that he briefed Trump on this “spaghetti
models which showed possible storm impacts outside the corner of the
projected tracks including Alabama yada, yada, yada, yada, yada.
My God, all for the President. This clearly deficient and unfit individual
who`s acting out of his unfitness constantly in matters of genuine serious
high-stakes with– and this is important – no one reigning him in.
You know, it was a year ago today that someone inside the administration
had the idea to write not bed anonymously in New York Times to tell us,
don`t worry folks, we`re saving you from this guy. I don`t know. Maybe
there is stuff we don`t know about that they have saved us from.
But from the outside, it really doesn`t look like anyone is saving us from
this person. It looks like he is acting in a way that is unhindered by any
restraint. So inside the White House, there`s a person claiming they`re
saving us while publicly there has been no Republican lawmaker other than
Congressman Justin Amash, now an Independent not coincidentally who has
stood up against the President.
But many of them are heading to the exits including four senators all who
currently chair committees and a dozen House members and that is not
including two who decided to leave office before their term had expired,
five of the House Republican retirements from Texas alone, three of those
five in highly competitive districts.
And just for good measure, one of those 14 retirements Congresswoman Susan
Brooks at Indiana is the Republican Party`s recruitment chief for House
candidates heading into 2020. Whatever the stated reason for all those
Republican retirements, it sure doesn`t look like they have much faith in
Republicans regaining power in the House the next election.
They`re making a calculation that they are staying in the minority. So
with useless anonymous promises about who is saving us from this president
and no Republican lawmakers to really slow him down, the question remains,
I guess, it falls to the Democrats. And what are the Democrats going to do
to stop this madness when they come back next week?
For more on that, I`m joined by Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon of
Pennsylvania. She`s the Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Committee. She
co-wrote a piece back in July explaining “why we`re moving forward with
I want to put that to the side for a second, the question of impeachment
which is constitutionally specified as requiring the presence of high
crimes and misdemeanors, and just ask you the question of what do you –
how do you assess the President`s fitness for his position, his fitness for
the position as this hurricane is here in the U.S. and he is acting in this
REP. MARY GAY SCANLON (D-PA): Well, I think it raises the question of his
duty to the country not to make up his own reality but to deal with the
reality we`re presented with. I mean, drawing a bone spur on a map of a
hurricane doesn`t make it any different than what the facts are.
HAYES: What is the plan when the House Democrats come back?
SCANLON: Well, you know, we have been moving along a path of trying to get
the underlying information from the Mueller report. Nobody other than the
Attorney General and Mr. Mueller and a couple of people in the White House
have seen the entire Mueller report yet.
We haven`t seen most of the statements and underlying evidence there, so we
have been pursuing you know, over the course of the recess enforcing
subpoenas to get that information and to get some of the witnesses in who
we`ve been denied access to by the White House. So that`s one prong of it.
And then the other prong is looking at the other allegations of what are
potentially high crimes and misdemeanors.
HAYES: What is the time frame here? I mean you know, we`re in a situation
right now where it`s very apparent there is no one in the White House
checking the President. I don`t think he`d be able to act like this if he
were. We know of all the departures, the place is hollowed out. They`re
scraping the bottom of the barrel for staff. Everyone is acting.
It does feel to a lot of people that we just keep rolling the dice and
getting lucky, that like there some urgency here of making some kind of
case about whether this is the person who should be constitutionally
entrusted with taking care the laws are faithfully executed.
SCANLON: Sure. And that`s you know, where the Judiciary Committee and
several of the other committees have been pressing forward. I mean, we are
dealing with a really unique situation here where we have an administration
that is decided to throw the balance of powers between the three branches
of government and all, you know, historic case law out the window.
We have an administration that has said we`re not going to cooperate with
Congress. And in the past, instead of having discussions about well, are
you entitled to this document or that document, or is there a rational
basis for this, we`re being told we`re not going to show you anything.
HAYES: Is that unprecedented?
SCANLON: Yes, absolutely.
HAYES: I guess my question is what powers do you have other than resorting
to the courts, right? I mean, you have the power of the purse but you
struck this deal to fund the government through the next election. You
have no leverage on that whatsoever.
He can tell you to go, you know, buzz off and redirect $3.6 billion into
building his wall which you explicitly did not fund. What is your leverage
to fulfill your constitutional role to stop him from doing these things?
SCANLON: Well, I mean, that`s where these investigations are proceeding.
We have gone to the courts. He doesn`t control everybody. I mean, he`s
got his enablers who are still you know, working with him. It really does
feel quite extraordinary that you know, we have so many people who are
willing to say or not willing to say that the emperor has no clothes.
I mean, you`ve talked about some of the conduct that is just completely
beyond the pale. And the fact that people in his administration and
outside his administration still keep trying to justify what is completely
unjustifiable is really quite extraordinary.
HAYES: But here`s my interpretation and what many people`s interpretation
of the actions of House Democrats since taking over the gavel, is that
House Democratic caucus doesn`t think the President is a good president.
They think he`s bad. They think he`s unfit.
They think he may be dangerous but they don`t see it essentially as a kind
of national emergency in which every day goes by there`s a sort of ticking
clock toward some kind of long-tail risk landing in all of our lives.
Like my sense from the House Democratic leadership is like yes he`s bad,
yes we`re going to be thorough, we`re going to go through the process, the
Constitution is the Constitution, the courts is the courts, but like we`re
not Jack Bauer racing against some clock. There are a lot of people think
that the situation is Jack Bauer racing against a clock. What do you say
SCANLON: I agree that it`s Jack Bauer racing against the clock. A lot of
us ran because we were so disturbed at what we were seeing coming out of
D.C. I think one of the issues here is OK, we are dealing with the
Constitution. It`s not supposed to be easy to impeach someone.
What we are engaging in right now – I mean, we have a lot of allegations
of conduct against the President which if proven would constitute high
crimes and misdemeanors. I mean, the Founders talked about things such as
being under the influence of another country. They talked about getting
elected through bribery or other false means.
They talked about using your office for personal profit. And they talked
about abuse of power, not a crime but abusing your constitutional powers,
and the example they used was offering pardons to people to your
subordinates to get them to do illegal acts or to obstruct investigations.
So basically this president is ticking all the boxes in terms of what the
framers of our Constitution thought were impeachable offenses, but the job
of Congress is we have to have the goods to move forward. I mean, God
bless us if we`re able to clear the president of some of this conduct, but
right now it`s kind of the situation where someone is arrested because
there`s information justifying an arrest. But we can`t bring this thing to
trial until we have the evidence.
And we`ve got a situation where we`ve gotten out of control administration
that is not obeying the rules. And so you know, we`ve got Congress and the
courts working together to say no you have to do this. Now, if he`s going
to defy two branches of government, we end up in a different place.
HAYES: All right, Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon, thank you so much. I
SCANLON: Thank you.
HAYES: Joining me now to discuss the exodus to so many Republicans the
House, former RNC Chairman Michael Steele and MSNBC Political Analyst, and
Norm Ornstein co-author of One Nation After Trump, resident scholar at the
American Enterprise Institute. Michael, what do you make of the
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there are there number of
things that are that are roiling and beneath the surface here starting with
the fact that it isn`t fun being in the minority. That is one of the key
elements here particularly if you were part of the big wave of 2010 and
you`ve enjoyed that majority status since that time.
To then lose it really puts a lot of pressure on you to sort of stay
committed to the game. And so folks particularly when you look at someone
like Congressman Sensenbrenner from Wisconsin that shocked everyone just
kind of stepping aside, that gets to point two, running the risk of not
only trying to get back the House with what you`ve got but then losing some
of that and putting a lot of pressure in seats like Wisconsin and in Utah
for example which are – which are on the bubble.
In a lot of these other states, Chris, you`re looking at Alabama and in
places like that. Republicans aren`t necessarily going to lose a
congressional seat in Alabama but it does put pressure on the system.
HAYES: Do you – Norm, you`ve been chronicling this era and age and the
kind of surreality of why everyone is sort of pretending things are just
going along. To me, the Sharpie moment is such a dumb, dumb, dumb moment,
but it just signals to me that like there is no one`s stopping him and
there`s no one minding the store.
And this is like the most serious thing that a government does is give its
citizens information about a storm and no one can stop them from doing
that. So like what does that mean for how bound we all are by the
NORM ORNSTEIN, CO-AUTHOR, THE NATION AFTER TRUMP: So I`ve never seen
anything quite like this before, Chris. There has been no pushback at all
on corruption, maladministration, lies, and everything else that we have
seen from any Republican in the House and Senate.
And what I believed at this point is this is not a traditional political
party that we`ve been used to in the past. It`s more like a cult. It`s
not a party of philosophy anymore, it`s a party of theology, it`s a cult of
personality. And if people stay, if they don`t speak up, then they`re
going to have to swallow hard day after day.
Look at all of these members from places like Tennessee which are having
money taken away from military bases to pay for the vanity project of a
Trump wall or the money taken away from disaster relief at this point.
Look at Lamar Alexander who`s leaving. You can`t say he fears a primary.
You can`t say that he needs the lobbying clients. He doesn`t want to be
shunned by all of the people around him, his friends, his colleagues, the
people on Fox News and elsewhere. And so they swallow hard until some of
them decide they just don`t want to take it anymore.
HAYES: There`s this quote, Michael, from a Justin Amash profile that was
very interesting. Now, obviously, Amash is sort of outside the tent now so
there`s some degree to which he hasn`t stand up to say this.
He says, there are a lot of Republicans out there who are saying these
things privately but they`re not saying publicly. I think it`s a problem
for our country, a problem for the Republican Party, a problem for the
Democratic Party when people aren`t allowed to speak out. Do you think
STEELE: Yes – no, it`s absolute true. And it`s a huge problem. And
Justin Amash is an example of what happens currently inside that cult of
personality if you buck the personality. If you go up against the man,
you`re going to have the system come down and condemn you because they
don`t want that raft to fall on them.
They don`t want their names to appear in a tweet. They don`t want to be
redlined in the sense that they`re going to be you know challenged in a
primary so they behave. And the country I think suffers from that. And
the leadership in the party is feckless in that regard.
And I think something to the point if I may real quick on the last point
about those bases and other locations that are being hit by Trump`s
decision to withdraw money. You`ll be surprised to find out how much
people don`t mind that. They support that yeah because the wall is the
bigger goal, the bigger cause.
And damn it, if that means that we shut down the base for three days out of
the week, then that`s what we`ll do.
HAYES: There`s – I mean, the best example this is Mitch McConnell`s own
Kentucky has got a military base that had a middle school construction
project. Now, presumably, they need the middle school which is why the
appropriate the money or maybe they don`t. Maybe it was a ridiculous
But presumably, they need a middle school there and there`s some parents on
a base who want to send their kids to a new middle school and that`s not
going to happen. And Norm, that – I mean, that normal sort of truck and
barter that happens between a white house and its congressional allies like
the fact that even that is gone, it just it does feel as we enter into this
session that there is – it`s all sort of stripped bare at this point.
ORNSTEIN: It absolutely has been. And I would take it even further
because there are some of these areas doing basic oversight in the Senate
about horrible things that have happened in government. I`ll go back to
Lamar Alexander who in the past we would have seen as a statesman chairing
the health education labor and pensions committee.
No hearings on the child separation and the Department of Health and Human
Services which has run some of these terrible places and of course private
entities including private prisons who are making money off of this.
Nothing on the outrageous and the Department of Education, on student loans
or private colleges or universities, voting for confirmation for people
who`ve lied to the Senate and are clearly corrupt.
This goes even beyond swallowing hard when a base gets closed for a few
days. It is a total abdication of moral authority and responsibility by an
entire political party.
HAYES: Michael Steele and Norm Ornstein, thank you very much. Up next –
ORNSTEIN: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: – the devastation in the Bahamas as Hurricane Dorian churns north
along the coast the U.S. The very latest next.
HAYES: Hurricane Dorian is grinding its way up the southeast coast
bringing heavy rain and strong winds. Right now the eye of the storm
hugging the coast of South Carolina. Earlier today, the storm weakened to
a category two. Still, the National Hurricane Center expects life-
threatening storm surges and dangerous winds around parts the coast of
North and South Carolina – that`s Charleston South Carolina you`re seeing
there – as well as potential flash flooding.
The Bahamas that took the full brunt of the Hurricanes force leaving behind
an unfolding humanitarian disaster. The death toll now 23, the Health
Minister says that they expect that number to rise. Joining me now from
the Bahamas NBC News Correspondent Morgan Chesky. Morgan, how are things
MORGAN CHESKY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, it`s tough to put into
words. We had a chance to witness some of that devastation firsthand
today. The airport at Marsh Harbor which is on Abaco Island which took the
brunt of Dorian when it made its way through the northern Bahamas finally
opened the airport today and we were able to land there.
And the first thing you see upon walking off are dozens and dozens of
people gathered outside with simply nowhere else to go, trying to find a
way off the island that they tell us no longer has anything left for them
because their homes were taken away as well as all of their possessions.
We made our way into the short drive into town. Part of the roads still
underwater and we encountered a clinic there which was a shelter when
Dorian hit saving the lives of countless people but it`s now become a
public gathering place of sorts where several hundred people were outside
like those at the airport with nowhere else to go.
And I had a chance to speak to one family. And when I asked them what they
could use the most, this is what one mother had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now there`s no more Marsh Harbour.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing. Our home is gone, everything going. No
clothes to wear, no food to eat, no water to bathe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHESKY: And we have just now confirmed that the death toll has been as it
increased to 30 people now. As you mentioned, that number could still be
going up. Everyone I spoke to there in Marsh Harbor says that a lot of the
relief that has been talked about has yet to make its way into a lot of the
remote areas there simply because of the extent of the devastation that
Dorian has brought to that portion of the island where those wind gusts
were more than 200 miles an hour.
Meanwhile, on neighboring Grand Bahama, the big issue there right now,
Chris, flooding with at least 50 percent of the homes damaged or destroyed
as a result of that storm surge combined with incredibly intense rains as
Dorian stalled over that part of the island. Chris?
HAYES: Morgan Chesky in the Bahamas, thank you for that reporting. I want
to turn out a former FEMA administrator Craig Fugate. Craig, the situation
in the Bahamas looks extremely dire, particularly in Abaco. What do you
see as the most important priorities right now and do you think the
government there has the capacity to make sure that real genuine
humanitarian disaster doesn`t set in now?
CRAIG FUGATE, FORMER ADMINISTRATOR, FEMA: Well, the Bahamian national
emergency management is coordinating a lot of things. First party is going
to be search and rescue recovery of the – of those that we lost and still
reaching those areas and then start getting supplies in there.
And I think this thing we got to remember. This is the Bahamian lead
response. The United States has already sent the U.S. Agency for
International Development Office of Foreign disaster assistance, our
disaster response team to work with the Bahamian government as resources,
teams are starting to flow in the area.
But as you just heard, until you can get into the islands, you really can`t
get much of this response going. So that`s going to be the first priority
to be able to get back onto the islands search and rescue recovery and the
immediate supplies that are going to be needed to start stabilizing those
HAYES: What`s the most important thing for folks to have? I imagine it`s
just – it`s clean water is the first thing and shelter and then getting
power back up.
FUGATE: Yes. But I think the other thing is – the most important thing
is neighbors helping neighbors all across these islands. Most of the
initial help and response it`s just Bahamians helping each other.
FUGATE: So you`re going to go from that to once you get everybody rescued
is the basic things of safe drinking water, shelter. Start looking at what
it`s going to take to get infrastructure back online. I won`t be surprised
that there may be decisions made for some people to relocate to family on
other islands just given to the devastation that`s there.
HAYES: You know, we`re in the living through the front edge of an era of
increasingly extreme weather and climate disaster and climate crisis. Are
we getting better as a – as a sort of civilization or at dealing with
disaster preparedness and rescue and rebuilding?
HAYES: We`re not?
FUGATE: No. We tend to build back the way it was. We tend to plan for
what we`re capable of and then we hope it`s not that bad. You know,
climate change, you can talk about all you want to. I think we need to be
talking about how we`re adapting our communities, our systems, and our
infrastructure for what has already happened and is happening now.
HAYES: And what would that adaptation look like? What do you mean by
FUGATE: Well, in the States, the big thing here is making sure our
building codes reflect the increasing impacts that we look at our flood
problem, not as something that`s defined by insurance rate maps but what
We`re seeing rainfall events in the U.S. post-tropical and non-tropical
that a lot of this flooding isn`t even in the areas that are designated as
high-risk flood zones by FEMA. So we need to get it out of our heads to
looking at the last 100 years in historical events is preparing us for
what`s happening because it seems like every couple of weeks, every couple
of months, every couple of years, we`re having record-setting events. That
means we have no recorded history of. Looking backwards is not preparing
HAYES: That`s a really, really, really important point. Craig Fugate,
thank you so much for being here.
FUGATE: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, a gun buyback proposal in the threat of violence in its
wake. That story next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you address the fears that the government is
going to take away those assault rifles, as you call them, if you`re
talking about buybacks and banning semi-automatic rifles?
O`ROURKE: Yeah. So, I want to be really clear that that`s exactly what
we`re going to do. Americans will, who own AR-15s, AK-47s, will have to
sell them to the government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In the wake of the latest mass shooting in his home state of Texas,
presidential candidate Beto O`Rourke has been out front very explicitly
making the case for a mandatory purchase by the government of every
military style weapon in the country, a position we should note that is
supported somewhat remarkably by 46 percent of the country, almost half the
In response, some conservatives have argued that you can`t do that because
if you try to implement that policy, law-abiding good guy with a gun gun
owners will resort to violence en masse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: So this is what you`re calling for is civil war.
What you`re calling for is an incitement to violence, it`s something that I
wouldn`t want to live here when that happened, would you?
MEGHAN MCCAIN, CO-HOST, THE VIEW: You`re talking about going and taking
people`s guns away from them. There is going to be a lot of violence.
JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, THE VIEW: But they lived without them for many years
during the ban.
MCCAIN: I`m not living without guns.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It gets to why this debate is so strange and so different from some
other policy areas. At some level, the threat of violence does loom over
all of it all the time.
Joining me now, UCLA`s school of law professor Adam Winkler, author of
“Gunfight: the Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America.”
Adam, I want to start with what the constitution does and doesn`t allow in
terms of policies floated. And I know some of this is yet to be determined
by the Supreme Court, but what is your understanding of what the law and
the constitution allows vis-a-vis something like what Beto O`Rourke is
ADAM WINKLER, LAW PROFESSOR, UCLA: Well, a mandatory gun buyback program
of military style rifles very well may be constitutional. It really
depends on whether a ban on those particular weapons would itself be
constitutionally permissible. We`ve seen those bans enacted in
a number of places, a number of states and cities, and courts to date have
generally upheld such laws. If those laws are constitutionally
permissible, it would likely be constitutionally permissible to
have a mandatory gun buyback program for at least those types of weapons.
I think something like a mandatory gun buyback of things like handguns,
which the Supreme
Court has said are weapons that are constitutionally protected would be
HAYES: So the constitution – the Supreme Court jurisprudence on this, and
Heller and Scalia`s controlling opinion in that that, which sort of
revolutionized the way the court deals with it, I mean, he explicitly does
say, right, like look there are bans on certain kinds of weapons that are
going to pass constitutional muster?
WINKLER: That`s right. I mean, the NRA has been selling us a story about
the unconstitutionality of virtually any form of gun control for a long
time. And the truth of the matter is we`ve always had gun control in
America, maybe not particularly good gun control, but it goes all the way
back to the founding fathers. And even Justice Scalia in the Heller
opinion said clearly that there is plenty of room for gun control under the
HAYES: There is another policy being floated, and then I want to talk
about this idea of violence. The idea of a license, that`s something that
Cory Booker has proposed, and others, that a license – and the polling on
this is somewhat remarkable to me, given the facts of how this works that a
license to purchase a gun, 82 percent yes, 16 percent no. That`s a very
What is your sense of the legality or constitutionality or feasibility of
WINKLER: I think there is no doubt that a licensing program would be
constitutionally permissible. The founders had their own kind of gun
registration back in the founding era. If you had a military-style rifle
or a weapon that you needed to have to serve in the militia, those weapons
would be registered and put on government roles.
And even most gun rights advocates who are attune to the law and the Second
jurisprudence admit that a licensing scheme is likely constitutional. And
indeed in New York today you have a licensing system. If you want to have
a gun in your home you have to get a permanent to do it.
We have a right to marry under the constitution, but you still have to get
a license to exercise that right.
HAYES: That`s a great point.
I guess finally on this, you know, there are different arguments people
make for what the Second Amendment is about. But one of them is that it`s
fundamentally about denying the state of monopoly on violence, it`s about
essentially having the ability to wage war, if possible, protect one`s
liberty against the violent incursions of the state if it comes to that,
and that`s what I think you see
expressed in people saying look, if you try to take guns and mandatory
buyback, people will use those guns violently to push-back against this
My question is, was that the idea behind the Second Amendment? I mean,
really, was that what was being conceived of when it`s put in the document?
WINKLER: Absolutely not.
Look, the founders were trying to create a government, not sow the seeds
for that government`s destruction. And in fact, when there were armed
rebellions, like the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania under the
administration of President George Washington, Washington himself went into
battle and fought to quell that rebellion.
The idea of the Second Amendment, as the Supreme Court said in the Heller
case, is about protecting your right of self-defense, your right of
personal protection, it is not a right to rise up and revolt against the
HAYES: All right, Adam Winkler, thank you for being with me tonight,
learned a lot.
WINKLER: Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, the trolling of Mike Pence on his whistle stop tour in
Europe. But first, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, one of the accomplishments President Trump is
most proud of is his appointment of federal judges. One nominee the
president might want back is Matthew Peterson, who Trump nominated to the
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia back in 2017.
Peterson made it as far as a hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary
Committee, but it only
took a few questions from Republican Senator John Kennedy for it to become
apparent that maybe Peterson wasn`t cut out to be a judge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY, (R) LOUISIANA: Have you ever tried a jury trial?
MATTHEW PETERSON, DISTRICT COURT NOMINEE: I have not.
KENNEDY: State or federal court?
PETERSON: I have not.
KENNEDY: Have you ever tried taking a deposition by yourself?
PETERSON: I believe no.
Have you ever argued a motion in state court?
PETERSON: I have not.
KENNEDY: Have you ever argued a motion in federal court?
KENNEDY: As a trial judge, you`re obviously going to have witnesses.
KENNEDY: Can you tell me what the Daubert standard is?
PETERSON: Senator Kennedy, I don`t have that readily at my disposal, but I
would be happy to take a closer look at that.
PETERSON: That is not something that I`ve had to contend with.
KENNEDY: Just for the record, do you know what a motion in limine is?
PETERSON: I would probably not be able to give you a good definition right
here at the table.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Peterson withdrew from consideration following that debacle and
returned to his day job on the Federal Election Commission.
And you might think that kind of public embarrassment would make it tough
to find a new job, but you would be wrong. And that`s Thing Two in 60
HAYES: Matthew Peterson failed as a Trump judicial nominee, but he still
had a very important job as a member of the Federal Election Commission
where he was tasked with helping to maintain fair, transparent elections.
Peterson was appointed to the commission in 2008, twice served as the
body`s chairman in 2010 and 2016. But after 11 years in the job, Peterson
announced last week he was resigning from the already shorthanded
commission, leaving the FEC unable to conduct the most fundamental aspects
of its mandate, including processing complaints of election malfeasance.
And what kind of opportunity would cause someone who spent the last decade
at the FEC to
cripple the agency with their exit? Politico reported Peterson will be a
partner of the law firm Holtzman, Vogel, Josefiak, Torchinsky, that doesn`t
mean much to most people, but a Washington Post report from 2016 described
the firm`s specialty as, quote, “helping wealthy donors, corporations, and
political action committees influence elections, often in secret.”
That`s right, Matthew Peterson, the failed judicial nominee essentially
shut down the FEC heading into the 2020 election to join a law firm that
specializes in helping rich people and corporations influence elections in
secret. Very cool.
Hopefully for Peterson`s sake, his new job does not require him to go
anywhere near a courtroom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KENNEDY: Have you ever tried taking a deposition by yourself?
PETERSON: I don`t believe no.
KENNEDY: OK. Have you ever argued a motion in state court?
PETERSON: I have not.
KENNEDY: Have you ever argued a motion in federal court?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Right now, Vice President Mike Pence is in the air on his way back
from what was a pretty rough week abroad. The vice president`s journey
began in Poland, where he was taking his boss` place at a World War II
commemoration. The president needed to stay home, you will recall, so he
could monitor Hurricane Dorian and squeeze in not one, but two rounds of
Pence went to Ireland on Monday where he had meetings in Dublin, but
decided to stay on the
opposite side of the island at Trump`s property in Doonbeg, reportedly at
the president`s behest, which made for some very awkward explaining.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democrats have criticized you today for staying at the
Trump property in Doonbeg. T hey say you`re enriching the president.
What`s your response to that criticism?
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s wonderful to be back
Ireland. It was important for me. Before our original trip plan to at
least spend one night in Doonbeg. And I understand political attacks by
Democrats, but if you have a chance to get to Doonbeg, you find it`s a
fairly small place, and the opportunity to stay at Trump National in
Doonbeg to accommodate the
unique footprint that comes with our security detail and other personnel
made it logical.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The vice president then found himself in hot water with the Irish
after he praised the UK`s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brexit, both
very unpopular on the Emerald Isle, prompting this headline from an op-ed
in The Irish Times – I`ll just let you read it. Ouch.
And the next stop was Iceland, where our notoriously anti-gay vice
president was greeted first by a row of not so subtle rainbow pride flag,
and then by the Icelandic president and first lady, both wearing pride
And just when it seemed like things could not get any worse for Mike Pence,
he arrived in London for a meeting with the new Prime Minister Boris
Johnson, who is also having a mind-bogglingly terrible week full of Brexit
chaos, and he managed to change the subject long enough to have a go at
Pence about meat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It`s still the case, you know, the
United States of America, the people of the United States of America, don`t
eat any British lamb or beef or haggis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Yeah, they don`t eat any haggis. So weird.
Good luck getting Americans interested in eating sheep intestines.
The vice president is now finally on his way back to the U.S., expected to
land in D.C. around midnight. But I don`t think his relief will last too
long. Just wait until he finds out what almost happened to Alabama while
he was gone.
HAYES: Last night we got seven hours of pretty detailed policy discussion
on the most pressing civilizational issue of our time, climate change, from
the Democratic Party candidates, once again highlighting that the most
important issue facing our planet is debated by one party and one party
alone, not the other.
And there is just a shocking gap between the level of policy command,
knowledge and details, all the things that used to be taken for granted,
frankly, in contenders, among all the Democratic
candidates versus the president of the United States who seems obsessed
with trying to prove that at some point in the past Hurricane Dorian was
headed for Alabama.
Now to bring in former Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat from Missouri,
and NBC News and MSNBC political analyst, along with Joshua Johsnon, host
of the show 1A on NPR member station WAMU.
Senator McCaskill, I`ll start with you, I mean, it is striking when you
enter the universe of the Democratic primary from the universe of American
politics at the moment, there`s like a warp thing that happens to you where
the just – and this isn`t a thing that just used to be part of Democrats.
I mean, I`ve watched Republicans have deep policy conversations, but
there`s only really one place in
America where this is happening right now.
CLAIRE MCCASKILL, (D) FORMER SENATOR, MISSOURI: Yeah. I mean, the bad
news is, it was seven hours. I don`t know how many people watched all
seven hours. The good news is, even if you watched part of it, you got a
sense that these were serious candidates, serious leaders who understood
this issue, that felt very strongly about having detailed plans to deal
with it. And frankly, that they are intellectually sound in terms of
respecting science and knowing public policy.
It is such a stark contrast to the Sharpie show in the Oval Office that it
is startling. And I wish more voters would tune in just long enough to get
a sense of the strength of the field of the Democratic candidates who we
have this year.
HAYES: You know, we`re going to do a climate forum ourselves in a few
weeks and a climate special as well. And Joshua, one thing also that comes
through is just the centrality and primacy of this issue in this primary in
the Democratic Party.
You know, issue primacy and prioritization is almost as important as what
gets filled in in the actual policy, particularly in primaries, and we saw
Trump raise the salience tremendously in immigration in his own primary.
We are watching I think climate really achieve a new level of salience
here. What do you think?
JOSHUA JOHNSON, HOST, 1A: I think it`s a win in part for Washington
Governor Jay Inslee. This was the top of his agenda. And, you know, there
are people who stole some of his lines – Senator Kamala Harris stole
openly a retort from Senator Inslee to one of President Trump`s lines that
wind turbines cause cancer. She said they cause cancer, they cause jobs.
So, yes, there has been a higher priority put on climate issues, and
necessarily, because climate change is real, we are actually affecting the
environment and the science is pretty much solid on this.
I think the challenge is that as we`re trying to have these policy
discussions which are necessary. We`re also trying to figure out who
voters like the most. And so watching this CNN forum – and, no, I did
watch all seven hours. I watched as much as I could, but, you know, I`ve
got a Playstation and I`ve got a life.
But even watching the forum, it was hard to make an apples to apples
comparison between the candidates. You know, one of the things we try to
do when we interview the Democratic candidates is ask them at least one of
the exact same question: why should the American people elect you
And what I needed was for the exact same question in the exact same words
to be asked to everybody. Because otherwise, you have candidates who are
going for sound bites and moments and quips and retorts, and, you know,
there were several. But as a voter, if I`m a Democrat and I`m trying to
figure out who has got the best ideas on climate change, I know who may
have moved me the most, I know who may have had the biggest gaffes, but I`m
not sure how to compare them one by one when it comes to not presence, not
politicking, but policy on how to save the world.
HAYES: Well, there`s a question there, right, senator, which is about how
much that itself matters, right. Like how much do the policy details
matter? And one thing I`ve struck by is Joe Biden has had a very stable
lead from basically when he announced to now. He is – there is tremendous
amounts of respect and affection for him among Democratic primary voters,
both for him personally and his long career, and for his adjacency to
Barack Obama whose vice president he was. But it does strike me that like
in these kinds of forums where you`re talking about just like political
communication, he is not the best, I think, of a lot of people, like that
does not seem to be his strength in this.
And as someone who knows him well and has worked with him, like what do you
think of his ability to communicate policy in this campaign thus far?
MCCASKILL: Well, I think he struggles when he gets on defense. And since
he is the frontrunner, and has been the stable frontrunner, as you said,
from day one, he is going to be on defense a lot. And I think he is going
to have to learn how to pivot and stay true to the message he wants to
Frankly, he made a really good point last night. Yes, the United States
has to lead on this issue. Yes, we have to be bold. But we have to re-
establish our leadership in the world on this issue, that`s what Trump has
done, in my opinion, in one of the most immoral acts that he did was
walking away from the Paris Accord.
And Joe Biden does have a good point, and people do understand that he is
going to have the kind of resume that gives him credibility on the world
stage instantaneously. He has that, and most of the rest of them don`t.
HAYES: But. There`s this thing that`s happening – and true I think in
terms of his resume, right, like he knows world leaders, but there`s this
thing that`s happening in the campaign where it`s like
there`s Joe Biden, and you know he is Joe Biden. And so Joe Biden projects
something, because he is a well-known figure and such a fixture.
But if you were to do like a blind taste test, which is not a thing that
can happen, but it`s get to your point, Joshua, right, about the message
versus the messenger and ask people like are they listening to what these
people are saying and what their plans are? Or is it just like, I know
that guy and I want that guy, which may be enough?
JOHNSON: Well, here is the think, Senator McCaskill is right that Joe
Biden made the point
about American leadership around the world. Other candidates made the same
point in the town halls, but at least that`s a consensus in the field.
Here is the way I`m looking at this, did you see The Avengers movies?
JOHNSON: OK, Joe Biden is Robert Downey Jr. They are all super heroes.
But he is Robert Downey Jr. He says things that may be a little off, he
does things that may be a little off, but he is bankable. And if there`s
one thing that the Democratic leadership is terrified of, it`s losing to
Donald Trump in 2020. And Democratic voters, too.
If they cannot pull this off in 2020, there will be heads rolling in the
Democratic leadership, because Democratic voters are saying, this is it a
layup. What do you mean we couldn`t win? So I think at this point, it`s a
little bit more about who can we – who is going to be best for top billing
HAYES: I think there`s a combination of it`s a layup and also we are
panicked we are going to screw it up, and those things end up in weird
conflicted ways about what that means in terms of who people feel safe with
or who they don`t feel safe with. And sometimes I think their intention
with each other internally.
Former Senator Claire McCaskill and Joshua Johnson, thanks for joining us.
Before we go, a reminder that tomorrow night, we are once a gain live in
front of a live studio
audience here in 6A – Studio 6A on 30 Rock. It`s our third and final, for
now, live show. We have a great hour planned. I have been loving this.
It`s been so much fun. It`s going to be a lot of fun. And we hope that
you tune in.
That is ALL IN for this evening. “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right
Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the