President Trump visited Baltimore. TRANSCRIPT: 9/13/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests:
Beto O`Rourke, Tiffany Cross, Shermichael Singleton, Zephyr Teachout, Courtney Kube, Natasha Bertrand, Chuck Rosenberg
Transcript:

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  So you figured me as a working class.  Thank

you.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MATTHEWS:  That`s HARDBALL for now.  “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts right

now.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST:  Tonight on ALL IN.

 

BETO O`ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Hell yes.  We`re going to take

your AR-15, your AK-47.  We`re not going to allow it to be used against

fellow Americans anymore.

 

REID:  Beto O`Rourke on his promise to take away assault weapons and the

death threat he got afterwards.  He joins us live tonight.  Then –

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I own a lot of different

places.  Soon you`ll find that out.

 

REID:  The court victory that could nail Trump on the emoluments clause as

new details emerge about just how often the Air Force stayed at Trump`s

Scottish resort.  And protest in the streets of Baltimore as the president

comes to town.

 

TRUMP:  The light is no good.  I always look orange.

 

REID:  ALL IN starts now.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

REID:  Good evening from Washington D.C. I`m joy Reed in for Chris Hayes. 

Tonight we are learning more about who won last night`s Democratic

presidential debate at least according to early polling.  538 is finding

that Elizabeth Warren was the clearest overall winner and the only

candidate among the top four who emerged with more Democrats considering

voting for her.

 

The polling also found mostly good news for Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker,

Andrew Yang, Amy Klobuchar, and Beto O`Rourke who in front of the eyes of

the nation and in the wake of a pair of deadly mass shootings in his home

state of Texas seemed to shift the terms of the gun safety to be in

America.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`ROURKE:  You know, in Odessa, I met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who

was shot by an AR-15.  And that mother watched her bleed to death over the

course of an hour because so many other people were shot by that AR-15 in

Odessa in Midland there weren`t enough ambulances to get to them in time.

 

Hell yes, we`re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.  We`re not going to

allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

REID:  O`Rourke`s call to ban assault weapons comes at the end of a week in

which Donald Trump once again promised to do something to address gun

violence in the epidemic of gun violence and once again did absolutely

nothing.  Trump is reportedly assured the NRA that he won`t even support

universal background checks despite overwhelming support for them among the

public.

 

In the wake of last night`s debate, many Republicans and even some

Democrats are casting O`Rourke`s call to ban assault weapons as a fringe

position.  But actually, in reality, it just isn`t.  A new poll found finds

that about half the nation wants Congress to create a mandatory assault

weapons buyback program.

 

In response to O`Rourke`s stands, an elected Texas state representative

named Briscoe Cain seen here trolling the Texas Democratic convention after

showing what appeared to be a gun tweeted, “My AR is ready for you Robert

Francis” using O`Rourke`s legal first and middle name.  Twitter removed the

post saying it violates its policy against public threats.

 

And O`Rourke responded “This is a death threat, representative.  Clearly,

you shouldn`t own in AR-15 and neither should anyone else.”  The O`Rourke

campaign said that it had referred the threat to the FBI.  And joining me

now is Beto O`Rourke, Democratic candidate for president.

 

And Congressman, thank you so much for being here.

 

O`ROURKE:  Thank you for having me, Joy.  Grateful.

 

REID:  Thank you.  Let`s start with that threat.  Can you give us an update

on what was the response from the FBI?  Has your campaign gotten a response

back to that threatening tweet that was directed at you?

 

O`ROURKE:  If we have, I haven`t heard of it yet.  I think this is a pretty

routine matter.  If we`re ever threatened by anyone we turn that over to

law enforcement as I think the campaign did yesterday evening.

 

But I think that Briscoe Cain makes our case for us that no one should have

a weapon designed for war that`s used to kill people as effectively as

efficiently and as great a number as possible because it can be used as he

tried to do last night as a tool of intimidation to try to change our

politics based on violence or threatened violence,.

 

So with more than ten million of these AR-15s and AK-47s out there, after

the shooting at Wal-Mart 22 dead, seven dead in Odessa, Midland, many, many

more killed in communities all across this country.  It`s time to not only

stop selling AR-15s and AK-47s, it`s to bring them back home out of our

streets, out of our communities, out of our lives.  That makes us safer.

 

REID:  I want to talk to you a little bit about mechanically how that will

be done.  Before that, you`re a Texan.  Can you explain to those who do not

understand this cultural phenomenon of essentially saying I`m going to

protect my Second Amendment rights and express that by threatening people

and saying come and get my guns making implied threats of using the guns to

hurt people or kill people as a tactic?

 

O`ROURKE:  Yes, I would not want to leave your viewers with the impression

that that is a sentiment widely shared in Texas.  In fact, I`ve spent a lot

of time in Representative Cain`s district, met his constituents.  And what

he said last night, the way that he`s acted his use of firearms to try to

intimidate people, that`s not reflective of this state gun owners, non-gun

owners alike, Republicans, and Democrats, no matter where you live and he`s

254 counties.

 

We are proud of gun ownership but responsible gun ownership that would

never entail threatening somebody with that firearm.  And so using guns to

hunt or for self-defense makes a lot of sense to us here in Texas.  But

having a weapon of war – and even from those Texans who own AR-15s they`ve

told me this themselves, I don`t need this.  I don`t need it to hunt.  I

don`t need it to protect myself.

 

It was fun to use.  I like taking it out to the range.  But if giving this

back or cutting it to pieces or selling it to the government helps to keep

us safer, then by all means let`s do it because, they`ll tell me, I have

kids in school as well, and they ask me whether it`s a matter of when or if

a killer is going to come into their school and take the lives of their

fellow students or take their kid`s life.

 

So look, we`re either going to let the NRA set the terms of this debate. 

We`re going to either allow Briscoe Cain to set the terms of this debate or

we will allow the American people including March for Our Lives which has

come out with an incredibly ambitious proposal to bring peace to this

country and do something about the 40,000 gun deaths that we see every

single year.

 

That`s who we should be listening to right now.  That`s who I`m listening

to as well as people all across this country who want to see us actually do

something about gun violence.

 

REID:  So I`ve been in a wormhole preparing to interview you today about

previous successful efforts in this country to ban firearms.  So you know

that you cannot have a Tommy gun anymore or a machine gun anymore because

that was successfully outlawed.

 

There`s something called the National Firearms Act that actually used the

tax on those weapons they didn`t even touch the Second Amendment issues. 

So the idea of taxing them, and then if you have one that you didn`t pay

the taxes for, that`s a way to do it.  What – how mechanically, how

actually would you implement the policy that you would want to see happen?

 

O`ROURKE:  I`m proposing a mandatory buyback so everyone who owns a weapon

of war would sell that back to the government.  And we would establish a

fair market price to compensate those gun owners for the guns that they

would be selling to the government that would no longer be in their homes,

would no longer end up in our streets.

 

So that is the preferred course but also fully intend upon listening to

everyone, gun owners and non-gun owners alike on this issue if there`s a

better way to get them off the streets or to ensure that they`re never used

against us, I`m all ears.  But after listening to people including owners

of AR-15s, this makes the most sense to me.

 

Now, it will obviously require us to work with Congress and the

constituencies of those members of Congress who I`ve been going out and

talking to, and listening to, and who are there – and you mentioned that

public polling is already beginning to reflect a seismic shift on this

issue in America.  It just needs to be reflected in our representation in

Congress.  It needs to be reflected in the person who`s in the White House.

 

So I know that we can lead that effort.  I know that America is ready.  And

I know that we have so much leadership out there with Moms Demand and March

for Our Lives and others who are making sure that this country is ready to

finally move on this issue after decades of inaction.

 

REID:  And you know, you made the point.  I`m glad you made it that you

know, the Briscoe Cains of the world are a minority in the world but they

are there.  There are people who will very openly say whether on social

media or not, come and get them, that attitude.

 

So if you had, for instance, a mandatory buyback policy, how would law

enforcement be protected from people who are essentially admitting that the

way that they would protect their ability to own these weapons is to use

them?

 

O`ROURKE:  You know, my faith, my confidence is in the people of this

country.  And going to a gun show in Conway, Arkansas and listening to the

owners of AR-15s and the vendors of AR-15s, many of whom is you can imagine

did not agree with my proposal, but each of whom was willing to at least

have the conversation.

 

Some of whom said look, you know what, I have an AR-15, I don`t need it. 

We`ll gladly sell it back or destroy it.  All of them seem like they would

follow the law.  We are a nation of laws.  It`s part of what defines us and

distinguishes us from the rest of the world.

 

So I believe that America will  comply with the law, and I believe that

there will be a due process in devising a law in a first-place where we

listen to stakeholders all concerned and affected, but do not allow the 

delays that we`ve seen that have lasted decades to stop us from finally

acting on this.

 

So I don`t want to give in to the hype or some of the scare tactics that

have been employed to stop us from even considering this in the first

place.  Much like we don`t go door to door to enforce almost any law in the

United States, in fact, I don`t think we do that for any law in the United

States.

 

This would not be something that we would do.  And I only raised that, Joy,

because others have said, you know, this is something that we would fear if

there were a mandatory buyback program.  No, we expect people to follow the

law and that`s certainly what I believe will happen.

 

REID:  And speaking of fear, I want to talk about some of the members of

your own party who are uncomfortable with the fact that you really have

changed the conversation on gun reform in a very blunt way.  I want to play

you Senator Chris Coons who was on earlier on CNN today talking about your

proposal.  Take a listen.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Are you supportive of a mandatory buyback program for

all of those weapons, all of those assault rifles on America`s streets

right now?

 

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE):  I am not.  And I frankly think that that clip

will be played for years at Second Amendment rallies with organizations

that try to scare people by saying Democrats are coming for your guns.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

REID:  Are you worried about that?

 

O`ROURKE:  No.  And Chris shouldn`t be worried about it either.  And look,

first of all, I wish him all the luck in the world in being able to pass

mandatory universal background checks in the United States Senate.  And I

know they`ve been working on it ever since at least 2013 after Sandy Hook

to no avail thus far.

 

But if he begins by allowing the NRA to set the terms of the debate, then

we may have lost this before we`ve even begun.  Let`s instead of being

worried about the NRA or the response to this very sound policy proposal,

let`s instead be worried about the fact that you have kids being shot by

AR-15s and AK-47s in this country, kids who are afraid of going to school

after this weekend on Monday not knowing if they themselves will face a

gunman.

 

People in my hometown of El Paso, Texas fearing going into a Wal-Mart

because they fear that they have a target on their back right now because

someone was able to legally purchase an AK-47 and drive that weapons 600

miles and open fire on people innocently shopping before the first day of

school in El Paso, Texas, before then one of these safest cities in the

United States of America.

 

That`s what we should be afraid of and responding to right now.  And those

people, the survivors, the

family members who`ve lost someone very dear to them, those are the ones

who compel me.  It is their judgment that I fear not the NRA, not the

polling, not the politics of this.

 

You know, Senator Coons job is to define the goals and then help to bring

this country around and that`s what I`m trying to do as a candidate and

that`s what I will do as president.

 

REID:  Beto O`Rourke, thank you very much.  I really appreciate you being

here tonight.

 

O`ROURKE:  Thank you, Joy.

 

REID:  Thank you very much.  All right, I`m joined now by Tiffany Cross,

the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the Beat DC, as well as Republican

Political Consultant Shermichael Singleton.  So friends, Beto O`Rourke is

doing something very interesting, is that he`s taken the fear off the table

for Democrats.

 

TIFFANY CROSS, CO-FOUNDER AND MANAGING EDITOR, THE BEAT DC:  Right.

 

REID:  And how does that change the way Democrats communicate on the gun

issue because it hasn`t changed much for some of these senators?

 

CROSS:  Right.  I think he`s pushing the lever.  It needed to be pushed. 

He`s not running scared.  And you just heard from Senator Chris Coons say

oh, that`s going to be played at you know, pro-gun rallies.  Well, who`s

running to get those people you know, those votes?  But they`re not going

to vote for Democrats anyway, so why are you shaping your legislation and

your political courage around what they might find offensive?

 

So I say bravo to Beto O`Rourke.  He says he`s going to make this his

issue.  He didn`t care if it was popular or not.  And when in fact he is

speaking to the majority of the country who`s saying this is what we want.

 

And when you play that clip next to Beto O`Rourke and you hear Chris Coons

say he is worried about what people are going to say at gun rallies, it

does not look good for the party.  Beto looks like he has courage, Chris

Coons doesn`t.

 

REID:  Cross over to the other party, one – you know, the question of fear

is relevant in politics because politicians do often respond to what it is

they`re afraid of.  The Republicans obviously are afraid of the NRA even

though they`ve got quite a losing record lately in terms of elections. 

However, they`re still afraid of them obviously.

 

What would it take for Republicans to be afraid – to be more afraid of the

Moms Demands Actions of the world or the Parkland kids of the world, and of

the public for them to change?  Is it that corporate America really does

seem to be moving against them?  Is it you know gutsy politicians like

Beto?  What would it take?

 

SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL CONSULTANT:  I mean, Joy, I

think you have to reach voters.  When you look at – when you look at the

Senate for example where there are over 20 Republicans up for reelection

next year.  I think it would only take five of those individuals for

Democrats to take back control of the Senate.

 

I think Mitch McConnell is a person who looks at advantage strategically

speaking as far as electoral politics is concerned.  And his number one

concern right now I would argue is trying to maintain that majority.  If

you look at what occurred in 2018 where you saw some of those white

suburban moms so you know, what we can`t stick what Republicans, we`re

going Democratic.

 

If that were to continue come next year, I do think then you could

potentially see some Republican senators who are in trouble saying look, we

have to do something on this otherwise I risk not winning my re-election.

 

REID:  Yes, and I definitely think that the security that what you could

call sort of safety moms like the moms we`re taking their kids to school

and they`re having to do the drills, they`re actually going to be a pretty

important constituency across racial groups in the sort of independent to

democratic side.

 

But I wonder, Democrats do have these weird false members of the 90s,

right?  They have this false memory that impeachment meant that you know,

Bill Clinton is reelected when he was already reelected by the time he was

impeached.  He did get more popular but that isn`t the way it would work

for Trump but in their mind, they`re stuck in that era.

 

With guns, there is this false memory that passing an assault weapons ban. 

Remember, there was an actual assault weapons ban.  It passed.  And their

false memory is that that doomed the party.  How do you – how can

Democrats do that sort of false past belief?

 

CROSS:  You know, I really wonder if it`s a false memory from Democrats or

if it is a new Republican Party as the party move even further right.  Have

they become more kind of sycophants in this MAGA post-Trump America we live

in now?  Are they too you know, echoing Chris Coons catering to these kinds

of fringe you know, gun freaks who like to talk about their guns like

they`re their children, you know.

 

And so I think some Democratic senators like we just saw are afraid of

ticking off those people even though those people are never going to vote

for you anyway.  And when you talk about the moms who you know, we hope are

going to come out in you know, big numbers.

 

But let`s not forget about the 53 percent of white women who still voted

for this president, the 49 percent who remained loyal during the midterms. 

That`s a huge voting bloc.  And there are some Democrats who are stuck on

getting that group to change their mind.  Newsflash, they`re not changing

their mind.

 

REID:  Right.

 

CROSS:  We saw that in 2016, we saw it in 2018.  So if you play spades, we

say play to win.  Democrats got to play to win.

 

REID:  Well, and the thing that – right.  And Republicans are going to

stick with obviously with the NRA come what may.  And I think those voters

 

SINGLETON:  Well, Trump doesn`t have a choice, Joy.  His ability to improve

or increase rather than a number of constituents he can actually target and

mobilize to vote for him is very, very slim.

 

REID:  Let me ask you this question.  Because the thing that seems

counterintuitive to me, the people who openly say come and take them who

make threatening tweets like this Briscoe character.  But that actually is

something that you and I have all heard before, right, this attitude of

saying I`m going to say – I`m going to protect my First Amendment – my

Second Amendment rights by threatening law enforcement, by threatening

anyone who comes near me, using the very threat.

 

That`s the reason people don`t think you should have an AR-15 or you know

whatever they want to have or an AK-47.  It`s an ironic thing but it`s part

of the Republican base.

 

SINGLETON:  It is but it`s a very fringe part of the base.  I mean, most –

I`m a gun owner.  I shoot pretty regularly.  This is something that`s a big

deal to me.  I lost my father to gun violence.  My father lost his middle

brother to gun violence.  The youngest brother murdered someone a day or

two after the second brother was killed from gun violence.  He was just in

the Lester Holt piece a couple of days ago.

 

So this is something that`s very personal.  I mean, this isn`t something I

read in a book.  And what concerns me about this guy is I wonder – let`s

say we removed the assault weapons, right.  I think this is really an issue

with white young men.  These things have been around since I want to say

1959, the AR-style platform.  And it`s only been the past 20 plus years

that we`ve seen the continuance of these types of mass massacres.

 

African American youth aren`t shooting up malls full of people.  Hispanic

youth are shooting up malls full of people.  So I`m concerned that if we do

this which I think a lot of people have every right to say we should, I

think that`s not going to stop some of these young white men, Joy, from

maybe grabbing their father`s pistol to continue this type of hate with

another weapon.

 

And so I really think whit Americans, this isn`t on our side I would argue

really need to do something and speak directly to the issues that are

impacting their youth as they would say if it was on our shoes, they say

those black people.  They need to do something about it.

 

REID:  Except that when the mob was using Tommy guns to mow people down and

there were public massacres on a regular basis, the response of the federal

government including FDR was to ban those Uzis and Tommy guns.  You cannot

have them.  They are illegal.  It`s been done before.  And you know what

the mob wasn`t able to do that.

 

SINGLETON:  And most Republicans, Joy, most Republican voters, not the

fringe, but most was saying like Beto just – he was right about that. 

There are a lot of Republican –

 

REID:  That are reasonable on it.

 

SINGLETON:  They`re saying hey, let`s figure this out, guys.

 

CROSS:  Well, we can`t discount the power of the NRA or the Republican

Party.

 

SINGLETON:  Well, I don`t disagree, Tiffany.

 

REID:  Absolutely.  Tiffany Cross, Shermichael Singleton, great discussion. 

Thank you both for being here tonight.  And up next, a big loss for Donald

Trump today.  An Appeals court reinstated an emoluments clause lawsuit

against him.  We`ll talk about what happens next with one of the original

lawyers involved in that suit right after this.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

REID:  The alarm bells were ringing literally from day one of Donald

Trump`s presidency.  As a president-elect, he announced that he would not

divest from his family businesses like his hotels which to many meant it

was obvious that leaders of foreign governments would, for example, stay at

the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. located in an old post

office property that the Trump Organization leases, get this, from the

federal government as a way of currying favor with the commander in chief.

 

He was a potential walking violation of the Emoluments Clause of the United

States Constitution which prohibits a foreign government from enriching the

President of the United States.  So on the first full week of his

presidency, the very first Emoluments lawsuit was filed against Donald

Trump.

 

A lawsuit that ultimately included plaintiffs such as a New York hotel

owner and an events booker in Washington who say their businesses have been

heard because clients will prefer Trump properties because they are owned

by the President of the United States.

 

In December of 2017, a federal court dismissed the suit saying the

plaintiffs were not legally entitled to sue.  But today, a federal appeals

court reversed the lower court and the case now can go forward.  And to

help explain the significance of what just happened, I`m joined by Zephyr

Teachout an associate law professor at Fordham University who was one of

the lawyers involved in this particular case when it was initially filed

against Trump.

 

Zephyr, great to see you.  The talk to us about what this reversal means. 

Does – did the original case mean that the litigants didn`t have standing

and did this court say yes you do?

 

ZEPHYR TEACHOUT, ASSOCIATE LAW PROFESSOR, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY:  Absolutely. 

This is a huge deal.  This is the first time a federal court of appeals has

recognized plaintiffs who can go forward with the emoluments lawsuit

against Donald Trump.

 

So it will go back to district court and there are two other similar

lawsuits in any time a federal court has looked at whether or not Donald

Trump is violating or looked at what the meaning of emoluments is.  They`ve

said it includes profits, benefits, gain, the kind of thing that Donald

Trump is getting from these foreign governments.

 

And the real issue, the most difficult hurdle in these lawsuits has been

the standing question, has been whether or not there are parties who are in

a position to bring a suit.  And the Second Circuit today in a really well

reasoned deep thoughtful opinion said no, the District Court got it wrong,

the hotel owner and people involved in the hospitality industry, people

working in the restaurant business who have to compete against Donald Trump

for the business of foreign governments and also state and federal

governments – there`s actually two emoluments lawsuit – two emoluments

clauses that I can talk about that, do have standing to bring the suit.

 

So the case will go forward.  This is a huge day for the rule of law in

America.  I mean, this has been an ongoing constitutional violation that

really goes to the heart of the anti-corruption clauses of the

Constitution.

 

REID:  Well, you know, and one thinks of the Scottish resorts where

essentially Donald Trump`s resort is competing with the Marriott`s and

Hilton`s that are actually closer to the airport but people are bypassing

them and going 40 miles away to stay at his resorts.  Is that the kind of

thing that you`re talking about?

 

Because original court was dismissed in 2017, when the regional – when the

district court dismissed the original case, the New York Times wrote that

that ruling was believed to be the first time in 230 years interpreting

exactly what the constitutional framers actually meant by the emoluments

clause.  It really hasn`t been tested.

 

But is that situation that I just described where people are literally –

you know, the airport they`re claiming is recommended, that you just bypass

these Hiltons and etcetera and go all the way 40 miles away and stay in a

Trump Hotel because somehow that seems to confer benefit.

 

TEACHOUT:  No, that`s exactly right.  So you have people working in the

hospitality industry who as experts brought testimony to the – to the

district court and we`ll see more of that as the case goes forward said

these are people who are directly competing with Donald Trump and yet you

have foreign governments who are looking to curry favor with the president.

 

I mean, Donald Trump has so much power over trade and military policy that

of course you will see foreign governments looking to this angle into

influence American policy, and they have to compete against Trump`s hotels

and restaurants.

 

And so what this Second Circuit held is that as alleged the plaintiffs can

– have alleged a real injury that is personal to them not general to the

public and that the relief of forcing the – basically forcing Donald Trump

to stop accepting foreign money would put those plaintiffs in a better

position.

 

So it`s a really exciting day for the Constitution.  What we have not yet

had a chance to see is all the details about all the foreign money, state

money, and federal government money that is flowing to the – to Donald

Trump but we finally will have a chance to move forward with this really

horrific constitutional violation that we`ve gotten far too used to.

 

REID:  Yes, it is it going to be an education on the Constitution which so

much of this era is.  But Zephyr Teachout, thank you very much.  I really

appreciate you being here.  Thank you for having me on.

 

REID:  Thank you.  And ahead, a president panicked, panicked about re-

election, swipes Pentagon money to build the wall that he promised Mexico

would pay for.  Tonight, the new reporting about the national security risk

that that move is causing.  That story is next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP:  You really have to elect me, whether you like me not it makes no

difference, because our country will go to hell if any of these people get

in.  It`ll go to hell.

 

You know, I was joking but I`m really not joking.  You have no choice,

because whoever they put in, the saner they are the worse they`re doing,

and whoever they put in it looks like it`s going to be a revolution to the

left.  They`re going to take your money.  They`re going to take and very

much hurt your families.  I just don`t think people can allow that to

happen.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

REID:  That was the president of the United States last night sounding like

a desperate man as the country slowly inches closer and closer toward the

2020 election.  Donald Trump appears to be

resorting in that instance to desperate measures to fulfill a campaign

promise that he made in 2016.

 

Now, we knew from earlier this month that Trump planned on diverting money

from the

Pentagon to pay for his beloved wall on the southern border.  We now know,

thanks to a blockbuster report from NBC News, that his plan was to pay for

the precious wall, by, quote, taking funds from more than four dozen air

force military construction projects posing various national security risks

for the U.S. armed forces, according to a report by the air force.

 

One of those cut backs include security improvements to a base in Turkey

that houses thousands

of American airmen.  Here`s how the report characterized that cut, quote,

“if not funded the main

gate remains vulnerable to hostile penetration in the midst of contingency

operations and an increased terrorist threat.

 

Joining me now is the reporter who broke this story, Courtney Kube, who

covers national security and the Pentagon for NBC News.  Courtney, thank

you for being here.

 

COURTNEY KUBE, NBC  NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Thanks for having me.

 

REID:  So, explain what was on the list of being cut and what were the

national security threats that created.

 

KUBE:  So, this list in particular is just the air force projects.  There`s

actually 127 total projects across the military, but the one that we`re

reporting on today is just the Air Force ones, 51 of them.

 

The ones that really stuck out to me, these are all funds that have been

unobligated, military construction projects that have been unobligated.  So

they were supposed to begin some time in the near future but had not yet

begun.  So, they were – candidly they were right picking, because legally

the Pentagon was able to re-obligate them and then of course President

Trump, under the national security – or the national emergency, is sending

the money down to the border.

 

So, the ones that really stuck out to me were the Incirlik Base main gate,

which you mentioned in the lead in.

 

Of course, this is Incirlik, which has had an increase in national security

concerns ever since the U.S. has been involved in the war in Syria and the

continuing involvement in Iraq.  But not just that, there are some here in

the United States.

 

One that I found particularly striking was a boiler that was – is –

according to the air force, it`s going to fail – it`s failure is imminent. 

Well, once this boiler goes, it`s negative 65 degrees in Alaska in the

winter, well within a matter of hours, the entire base will need to be

evacuated.  That`s a U.S. military base in Alaska that will need to be

evacuated.

 

Then there are a number of bases in Europe as part of this European defense

initiative.  This is something that the U.S. came – put together, it`s

supposed to deter Russian aggression throughout Europe with this forward

military presence there.  Well, without these military construction

projects, now the money is being sent to the wall, the U.S. military cannot

base at many of these locations.

 

REID:  And was there any consultation – I guess I probably think I know

the answer to this – between the White House and the Pentagon to talk

through the necessity of some of these projects and at least allow the

Pentagon to say wait a minute these are important to our national security,

don`t take the money away?

 

KUBE:  So the officials I spoke with both on the Hill, who has been

involved in this process, and people at the Pentagon, said that each of the

services was told give us a list of your unobligated projects, and then the

big Pentagon, big Pentagon, DOD, and the White House, took those lists and

selected the ones that they took the money away from.

 

REID:  And is there – what is going to be – have you gotten any reporting

on what the response is going to be?  Because a lot of these are in some

states where Republicans now have to go home and answer for them, including

some Republican senators up for re-election.

 

KUBE:  The way forward is really unclear still.  In fact, what`s still

unclear is what is going to happen, will these projects be funded in the

near future?  A big part of that is going to be the National Defense

Authorization Act, the NDAA, which is going into conference next week. 

There are some on the Hill who are in favor of back filling these projects,

so essentially immediately replacing this money

in a matter of about a year.  But then there are some who are saying, no,

we`re not going to back fill the money. 

 

So, at this point these projects theoretically right now they`re delayed,

it`s possible they can be

delayed for the foreseeable future because there`s no money that`s

automatically being reobligated to them.

 

REID:  And that is a national security concern just to build the precious.

 

Courtney Kube, thank you very much for joining us.

 

KUBE:  Thanks.

 

REID:  Appreciate your reporting.

 

And still to come, the old saying that goes any good prosecutor can get a

grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, well, that`s a saying.  So why is

Donald Trump`s Justice Department having such a hard  time indicting Andrew

McCabe?  The latest twist in that saga is next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

REID:  In what amounts to a stunning politicization of law enforcement the

Trump administration`s Department of Justice continues to investigate the

people who investigated Donald Trump`s ties to Russia.  But as of now, it

looks like they may be coming up empty.

 

Just two weeks ago, the DOJ declined to press charges against former FBI

director James Comey after an internal investigation found no evidence he

had leaked classified information to the press. 

 

Now we`re learning that the DOJ`s investigation into Comey`s deputy

director, Andrew McCabe, may be faltering, too.  Yesterday the DOJ

authorized prosecutors to seek an indictment against McCabe for allegedly

lying to internal investigators.  But as The Washington Post reported,

quote, “with the green light to proceed and a grand jury summoned back

after a months` long hiatus to consider the case, day came and went with no

public charges being filed.”

 

Grand jurors were sent home and McCabe remained in limbo.

 

Today, McCabe`s lawyer asked the DOJ in a letter they made public whether

the grand jury had rejected charges against McCabe.  They wrote, quote, “we

heard rumors from reporters starting this morning that the grand jury

considering charges against Mr. McCabe had declined to vote an indictment.”

 

We do not the know specific basis for the rumors, but they were credible

enough that both The New York Times and Washington Post published stories

suggesting that the grand jury may have declined to vote in favor of 

charges.

 

As of this moment, the status of the Justice Department`s investigation

into McCabe is unclear.  But if they have failed to get an indictment from

the grand jury, it would raise real questions about the validity of the

investigation to begin with.

 

Joining me now for more is Chuck Rosenberg, he was the chief of staff for

former FBI Director James Comey, and he`s also a former U.S. attorney, and

he`s also an MSNBC contributor and host of the great podcast The Oath with

Chuck Rosenberg.

 

Chuck, thanks for being here.

 

CHUCK ROSENBERG, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY:  Thank you, Joy.

 

REID:  So, let me start from disamuse (ph) me, if you will, of the notion

that the origin of this

permission to indict, did that come from William Barr?

 

ROSENBERG:  Well, it would have come at least from the deputy attorney

general who works directly for William Barr.  So I would imagine that the

leadership of the Department of Justice gave the U.S. attorney the green

light to proceed.

 

REID:  And what makes me nervous about that is this notion that William

Barr would be willing to carry out what Trump sees as the edict to go after

his enemies, meaning anyone who was investigating his connections to

Russia.

 

ROSENBERG:  So putting Mr. Barr aside for a moment, the problem with the

president weighing as vociferously as this one did suggests that no matter

what happens the process has been

tainted.  You don`t have presidents, any president other than this one,

opining about the Justice Department that he oversees.

 

And so even if they have a  valid case, even if prosecutors are acting in

good faith, if they bring charges there`s the danger that it will be

perceived as unfair.

 

REID:  Yeah.  And this grand jury, what do you make of this decision not to

bring charges?  Does that indicate that the grand jury was unable to agree

the charges should be filed?  What do you make of it?

 

ROSENBERG:  So, when a grand jury returns an indictment, they call it a

true bill.  Very creatively when they don`t return an indictment,

considered but rejected, we call it a no true bill.  Those are incredibly

rare. 

 

There are other possible explanations.  Maybe the grand jury showed up and

didn`t have a quorum to do business.

 

REID:  Maybe – you`re saying what`s rare is for a grand jury to not

indict.

 

ROSENBERG:  If a prosecutor asks a grand jury to indict and they do not, a

no true bill, that`s extraordinarily rare.  Are there other plausible

explanations for why charges weren`t filed publicly?  Maybe they didn`t

have a quorum, maybe they wanted to hear more information.  It`s a little

bit hard to know.

 

I do know this, when prosecutors present information to a grand jury and

seek an indictment they tend to get it.

 

REID:  Yeah, doesn`t Mr. McCabe have a right to know why there was no true

bill or why no charges were filed?

 

ROSENBERG:  Well, that`s a great question.  So grand jury matters, by law,

by rule, are kept secret.  If there is an investigation of me, but I did

nothing wrong, I wouldn`t want that made public, even if I was cleared.

 

And so there`s a bit of a dilemma here.  If prosecutors asked for an

indictment and the grand jury didn`t return one, they refused to, they

found no probable cause, you would still have a grand jury matter that is

by rule supposed to be kept secret.

 

REID:  And would Mr. McCabe have any recourse if in his mind, or in the

minds of his attorneys, even the attempt to indict him was purely political

and was retribution?

 

ROSENBERG:  Well, see, and that again, that`s what makes this whole thing

so dangerous, the president speaking the way he did of Mr. McCabe and his

family and his wife, I mean, really revolting behavior by the president.

 

Would he have recourse?  Probably not.  But, Joy, if there are not going to

be charges filed against him in the end, in the long run, then he goes on

and leads his own life and he doesn`t worry

about the president or what transpired before this, I hope that happens. 

I`m biased.  And he`s a friend of

mine.  He`s a wonderful man.  He was a good colleague.  And I hope in the

end no charges are brought.

 

REID:  We will keep an eye on it.  Chuck Rosenberg, thank you so much for

being here and explaining all this to me.

 

ROSENBERG:  My pleasure.

 

REID:  Thank you very much – and to all of us.

 

And coming up, new reporting that the Pentagon spent far more time and

money at Donald Trump`s Scottish resort than previously known.  Natasha

Bertrand has the new details and she joins me after this.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

REID:  Earlier today in Baltimore, Vice President Mike Pence seemed to

extend an olive branch to Congressman Elijah Cummings telling House

Republicans gathered there for their annual retreat that the president and

the party are ready to work across the aisle with Democrats including

Congressman Cummings to improve the the lives of Baltimore`s residents.

 

This comes on the heels of his boss`s visit to the Charm  City yesterday

where Trump was met  with protesters and a 14 foot tall inflatable rat.

 

Baltimore residents made clear their anger at Trump`s comments back in July

where he attacked Congressman Cummings and referred to their city as a,

quote, “disgusting rat and rodent infested mess.”

 

But while those protests continued outside, Donald Trump rambled inside for

68 minutes, at one point just listing off names of people that he had a

meeting with recently.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP:  Chuck Grassley was there and Joni Ernst and John Thune and Mike

Pounce and so many – just a whole group of great people.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

REID:  Mike Pounce.

 

I don`t think I`ve heard of him, Mike Pounce.

 

Trump went on to treat the gathered Republicans to some smoking hot beauty

tips.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP:  The light bulb.  People said, what`s with the light bulb.  I said,

here`s the story and I  looked at it.  The bulb that we`re being forced to

use, number one to me, most importantly, the light`s no  good.  I always

look orange, and so do you.  The light is the worst.

 

A great guy got out in Texas and he`s wearing this big cowboy hat, this

beautiful hat.  I wish we could wear them.  Nobody would ever look at my

hair and criticize me, I`d wear that hat.  But I`d never take it off.

 

You ever notice in Texas they sit down and have breakfast, they wear the

hat.  I like that.  I would do that.  I don`t have to worry about

hairspray.  I don`t have to worry about my hair blowing – beautifully

blowing in the wind.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

REID:  So he doesn`t want to worry about his hair blowing.

 

But maybe Trump should be worried about his latest scandal as the air 

force has launched an internal review about how often its crews stayed at

Trump`s Scotland resort.  New details on that right after this break.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

REID:  A week ago we learned that an Air National Guard crew stayed at

Donald Trump`s

Turnberry resort this spring when they were en route from the U.S. to

Kuwait.  Now that seemed odd.

 

And then we found out that air force crews have stayed at Donald Trump`s

resort in Scotland at least four times since September of last year.  That

sounds like a lot.  But it turns out that the real number might be much

higher.

 

Politico reports that, quote, “the air force says it sent crews to Trump`s

Scottish resort up to 40 times.” 

 

Here with me now one of the reporters who broke the story, Natasha Bertrand

of Politico.

 

All right, Natasha, how many times are we talking about?

 

NATASHA BERTRAND, POLITICO:  Well, we still don`t know exactly how many

times the Air Force had stayed and lodged crews at Trump`s Turnberry Resort

since he actually took office in 2017.  That is the  big question that we

all are hoping to answer here, but getting a readout from the Air Force has

turned out to be extremely difficult.

 

But one thing I do want to note is that the Air Force has been giving us

this talking point of since 2015 we`ve had crews lodging here.  And of 2015

was under the Obama administration, so in order to kind of take the heat

off I think they wanted to make it seem like it was more normal than has

been reported, but Turnberry was actually closed for about half of 2015 and

half of 2016.  And the amount of flights that were landing in Prestwick

Airport increased dramatically every year since 2015 where there were about

40 overnight stays in that year increasing to about 220 between 2018 and

2019.

 

Now of course with overnight stays you`re obviously going to be choosing

Turnberry a little

bit more often.  So, what we`re hoping to hear soon from the Air Force is

what their review has uncovered about the last two-and-a-half years

specifically of Trump`s presidency.

 

REID:  And has the military, has the air force, been able to cross tabulate

and match up this notion because the other hotels were full?  Because

obviously Turnberry is quite a bit farther than the

hotels that are close to the airport?

 

BERTRAND:  So, we don`t know that yet because the air force obviously is

still conducting this

internal review and they`ve been very tight-lipped about what they reveal. 

We got the statistic late yesterday about the 40 times, roughly 6 percent,

they said, of all lodgings that have taken place in the last four years. 

But what we`re hoping again to figure out here is, a, whether all of the

rooms that the Air Force would be booking are filled at the time when they

booked Trump Turnberry, and why it`s such a popular alternative for them,

and an alternative at all, given the potential ethical violations implicit

in that, let alone the potential domestic emoluments clause violations that

the House oversight committee is now investigating. 

 

And of course who`s doing the booking?  How high is this going?  Because

we`ve gotten mixed

reactions to that as well.  You know, some crew members are telling us that

they book it themselves, some tell us that it`s coming from higher up and

that they wouldn`t be able to do it without Air Mobility Command, and some

tell us that the airport, Prestwick Airport, is actually doing it for them. 

And in at least one instance as we reported, Turnberry was actually

catering food.  Even though the crew didn`t actually end up staying at

Turnberry, they still sent a van full of food to the aircraft.

 

So, we are still deep in the weeds in this story and hoping to learn more

as the review continues.

 

REID:  And I know me on the corporate side if we book a corporate travel

there is a prohibition on booking something that is extravagantly expensive

without permission.  Isn`t Turnberry significantly more expensive than

let`s say a Hilton or a Marriott hotel that`s closer to the airport?

 

BERTRAND:  Yeah.  So, a bout 90 percent of the time, about 90 percent of

the year the Trump organization, Trump Turnberry is prohibitively expensive

for the military to stay at.  About 10 percent the year, it`s just outside

of those per diem rates that they have for hotels.  But 10 percent of the

year, those rates fall within the per diem rate that the military can spend

at a hotel.

 

Now, if the Air Force is lodging at Trump Turnberry 6 percent of the time,

and Trump Turnberry is only available 10 percent of the time, then that

means that Trump Turnberry is basically getting the military`s

accommodations about 60 percent of the time when it is available.  And of

course when they need those stays the most, because that`s when rates are

lowest.

 

 So the figure that`s out there about the 6 percent is a little bit

misleading, because of course Trump Turnberry is not available 100 percent

of the time.

 

REID:  Right.  And lastly, have you found anything like a directive,

anything that says that somebody in the White House, somebody in Donald

Trump`s world or somebody in Donald Trump`s business, is encouraging

members of the military to stay at Turnberry?

 

BERTRAND:  No, we have not found that.  And that`s not something that we`ve

reported.  We`ve never reported that Trump himself directed this.  We just

wanted to note, you know, when we found out the story when air crews were

coming to us saying that this is unusual, that this was out of the norm and

that the Air Force, it had never been reported before, that the air force

was, in fact,

staying at this resort.

 

REID:  Stay on it.

 

Natasha Bertrand, you are a great  reporter, thank you so much for being on

tonight.  Appreciate it.

 

All right, that is it for All In this evening.  Be sure to catch me

tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern on my show, AM Joy, live from

Washington, D.C.  The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.  Good evening,

Rachel.

 

 

END

 

 

 

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