Dorian moving North along Eastern Seaboard. TRANSCRIPT: 9/5/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.

Guests:
Duane Sands, John Garamendi, Matt Segal
Transcript:

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST:  And we hope that you tune in. 

 

That is ALL IN for this evening. 

 

“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now.

 

Good evening, Rachel. 

 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Honestly, as you head into your third one, are

you thinking, whoo, it`s the last one, it`s been so much extra work, it`s

been hard, are you thinking, darn it, it`s the last one, can`t we plan more

of these? 

 

HAYES:  I have – yes.  More of that one honestly, and I have loved doing

it and it`s – you know, I have neither built an airplane nor flown one,

but it`s easy to fly one than build one, if that makes sense.

 

MADDOW:  Yes, right.

 

HAYES:  It was hard to get a new thing up on the air.  It was stressful. 

But once it`s up, it`s – the sort of ratio to stress enjoyment sort of

tips in the right direction.  It`s been tremendously rewarding. 

 

MADDOW:  Well, they have been – I mean, I like you on TV no matter what

you are doing.  But those live shows, to my mind as a viewer, have been

just the coolest thing you`ve ever done. 

 

HAYES:  Thanks.  Thank you. 

 

MADDOW:  So, I hope you keep doing it. 

 

HAYES:  I hope so, too.  All right.

 

MADDOW:  Thanks, my friend.  Much appreciated.

 

Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.  Happy to have you here. 

 

Big show for you tonight.  It`s been a busy news day, including a big

development we need to tell you about in a story that we have been covering

for pretty intensely on the show, which is that the Trump administration

targeting sick kids, targeting kids with life-threatening illnesses,

putting them on notice that they need to stop the life-saving medical care

that`s keeping them alive and get out of the country in a month, all of a

sudden. 

 

We have been covering that for more than a week now.  There was a very

interesting development on that story today.  We`re going to have that for

you a little later on in the show this hour. 

 

We`ve also got a key California congressman joining us live tonight to talk

about one of the big problems with the Trump administration`s plans to raid

funds for the U.S. military to take those funds away from the military and

instead use them to build the wall, the wall that the president said Mexico

would pay for. 

 

There`s an emerging serious problem with that plan by the Trump

administration.  We`re going to be talking about that tonight and more. 

Lots still to come. 

 

But, of course, the developing story that we have been watching very

closely all day and that we will be tracking all night tonight is Hurricane

Dorian.  Holding steady as a category 2 hurricane, hugging the coast of the

Carolinas, crawling north.  For most of the day, the eye of the storm was

just inching its way north off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina,

where they declared a state of emergency this afternoon.

 

But as we are heading into the overnight tonight, North Carolina is in the

crosshairs.  The hurricane`s eyewall is going to hit in just a few hours in

Wilmington, North Carolina, and then toward morning, Hurricane Dorian will

be out over the outer banks where there is an evacuation order in place

right now.  Storm surge, of course, is a big concern across the Carolinas

tonight.  They are looking at storm surges of up to six feet. 

 

Already, flash floods and high winds are snapping trees and downing power

lines.  Duke energy is predicting more than 700,000 homes without power

across North Carolina alone by tomorrow morning.  One of the other notable

things about Hurricane Dorian, thus far, is that it has been spawning

tornadoes.  As if a hurricane this size and this strength isn`t enough, it

spawned at least 23 tornadoes thus far just across the Carolinas, just in

the past 24, 48 hours. 

 

There are tornado watches in effect across North Carolina tonight and into

the early morning hours until sunrise.  So, this is going to be a long

night for that part of our country as this still very powerful storm grinds

its way up the map from the Carolinas and ultimately toward Virginia.  But

then there`s also what Dorian has left behind, most particularly in the

Bahamas. 

 

The stories coming out of the Bahamas right now are not just heart-

wrenching, in many cases, they are scary.  In some cases, they seem unreal. 

Not just because of what the residents there went through during the storm

as the storm hit, but what they have faced afterwards in the days since,

including into today as the death toll continues to rise. 

 

We don`t know how high the death toll is going to go in the Bahamas, but

the signs are not good.  Dorian made landfall on the Bahamian island of

Abaco four days ago as a category 5, strongest storm to have been ever

known to have hit the Bahamas.  But then the storm stayed there for a day

and a half. 

 

Now, the official death toll has risen over the last few days.  It started

at five this weekend.  It was seven as of Tuesday.  The death toll was 20

as of last night.  As of earlier this evening, the official death toll was

announced at 23. 

 

But the health minister for the Bahamas, who we`re going to talk to live in

just a moment, also had an ominous warning when the death toll was

announced to have risen to 23.  The health minister predicting earlier

today that the final death toll will be much higher, quote: the public

needs to prepare for unimaginable information about the death toll and

human suffering. 

 

Well, since then, since that statement from the health minister, that same

minister, Dr. Duane Sands, has said that the death toll has risen already

tonight.  Now, it is 30.  He is telling NBC News just this past hour,

quote, I certainly believe based on the findings in the field that even

that new number 30 as the death toll will rise dramatically. 

 

They are currently flying morticians to the Bahamas to help them process

the bodies that they have.  One thing we are starting to realize is that a

limiting factor already here may just be the numerical capacity of the

country`s morgues, how many bodies they are able to process at once. 

 

The United Nations is now estimating that there are more than 57,000 people

in the Bahamas tonight who are in need of immediate humanitarian relief. 

An international relief effort is gearing up and getting into action, but

you can see the scale of what they are up against.  And, honestly, it`s

clear that the efforts that are going to be – need to be international

efforts, and they`re going to need to be sustained national efforts. 

 

They can`t start soon enough.  I mean, all day long, we have been seeing

footage of heart-stopping rescues.  This family was trapped in their home

when the water started rising.  Rescuers plucked them one by one from the

attic. 

 

We`ve also been hearing toward and over the last 24 to 48 hours from the

survivors and the stories of what they had to go through already, what

they`ve had to see already as they have saved themselves from this fate. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We need help.  We need help.  That`s all I could say. 

That`s it. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Physically, there are a lot of people that lost

limbs.  There was a guy that tried to save his mom.  He lost his arm.  But

the current took another guy.  He lost his son. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We have a friend right now who lost to sea.  He was

trying to save a little boy`s life.  He ran back in to save the other child

and the tide took him out.  We haven`t heard from him since. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  As we were running, we were pushing bodies on the

side to get through. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Bodies – pushing people, deceased people? 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, that were floating in the water. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You are on the roof grabbing your brother.  And a

debris does this?

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Des this to me.  I didn`t let him go, because if I let

him go, he would have gone in the wind, with the surge – 

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Washed away.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Washed away.  I watched my friends die in front of me. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

MADDOW:  Joining us now live from Nassau in the Bahamas is Dr. Duane Sands,

the nation`s health minister. 

 

Dr. Sands, sir, thank you for taking time to join us during this difficult

time.  I appreciate it, sir. 

 

DR. DUANE SANDS, HEALTH MINISTER OF BAHAMAS (via telephone):  Good evening. 

 

MADDOW:  Good evening. 

 

I know that you have said within the past hour that the death toll in the

Bahamas has risen to 30.  You`ve also made some very sobering statements to

the effect that people should expect the numbers of dead and injured to

rise considerably.  What can you tell us about that tonight, sir? 

 

SANDS:  Well, you know, this has been an historic, devastating weather

event.  We have islands stretching in total about 200 miles, covering

almost 1,200 square miles.  This massive monster came through smashing many

settlements that are widely separated. 

 

So there have been a number of deaths.  We have been somewhat slow to

confirm or verify the deaths.  But to imagine the logistical challenge of

covering that great distance, that large square footage to retrieve bodies

and to confirm deaths, to bring them into the health system.  So, we expect

that the death toll will rise significantly. 

 

MADDOW:  We understand from the reporting that we`re able to piece together

often by just observing rescue efforts and observing the efforts of family

members and friends to find one another, it would appear that the number of

people still considered missing at this point may be in the thousands. 

 

What can you tell us about efforts to reunite people who maybe found

themselves stranded in desperate areas, communication on the various

Bahamian islands and also rescue efforts? 

 

SANDS:  This has been a big challenge.  It has only been 24 hours that

conditions were adequate to get into Grand Bahama and 48 hours to get into

Abaco.  And, yes, we have communication challenges, roads have been torn

up.  You have significant floodwaters. 

 

It has been virtually impossible to land any major aircraft on either

island.  Certainly, Grand Bahama, the airport is still underwater.  On

Abaco, the major airport is closed, although the runway is now passable. 

 

You put these things together and you have a serious logistic challenge. 

And to go from door to door, house to house, it`s going to take a very long

time. 

 

MADDOW:  Sir, what resources do you need now that you don`t have?  You

talked about the challenges of clearing the runways, making the runways

passable.  Getting the airports open, getting roads passable.  The

challenges – just the shoe leather challenges of getting door to door in

some of these most impacted areas.  What resources does your country need

now that you don`t have?  What are you looking for from the international

community and from individual donors who may just want to help? 

 

SANDS:  Well, expertise, equipment and the incredible outpouring of

support, most particularly from the United States of America, but from

Canada (INAUDIBLE) Great Britain.  It has been immeasurably helpful in

having the technical ability to evacuate injured patients from Abaco.  We

evacuated more than 90 injured patients.  In total, even today, almost 250

persons who have been rendered homeless, some of them with lesser injuries. 

 

But to have aircraft, land movers, heavy equipment, water makers, all of

these things are so necessary in the relief effort. 

 

MADDOW:  Dr. Duane Sands, Bahamas health minister, sir, thank you for

taking time to talk with us.  Please be back in touch with us and let you

know what you need our viewers to know. 

 

SANDS:  Thank you, Rachel.

 

MADDOW:  Thank you, sir.

 

SANDS:  All right.  Back here at home, the question now is what is ahead

for from this slow moving still very powerful storm.  Just over the next

few hours. 

 

Now, as I mentioned minutes ago, Dorian is still alive and kicking.  It is

currently moving northeast ward up the East Coast of the United States as a

category 2 hurricane.  So, overnight, for the first time since leaving the

Bahamas, the eye of the storm tonight will be back over land.  That will be

the first time since it was above land in the Bahamas. 

 

Eastern North Carolina may see winds up to 100 miles per hour tonight. 

Storm surges that could reach up to six feet, up to a foot of rain on top

of that.  The worst is expected in the early morning hours, between 2:00

a.m. and 4:00 a.m., and the worst of the worst is expected in Carteret

County, in North Carolina, that`s the area we`re told is most at risk over

the next few hours.  That`s coastal North Carolina, Emerald Isle, Morehead

City. 

 

Earlier today in Charleston, South Carolina, wind gusts topped 80 miles an

hour.  Major flooding smashed into the city.  Power lines are down and

trees.  Rescuers pushed cars down the road and through flooded streets. 

 

This is a live look, I believe we`ve got a live look, yes, right here at

Wilmington, North Carolina, where the storm right now, as you can see, is

bringing heavy rain that looks like bad special affects rain.  But that`s

heavy fire hose style rain tonight from Dorian. 

 

Again, officials warning, though, that Dorian could be making a direct hit

on the outer banks tomorrow.  So, MSNBC will have live coverage tonight as

Hurricane Dorian continues its way up the Eastern Seaboard.  We`ll also be

back with more news of the political sort in just a moment right after

this. 

 

Stay with us. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  Here`s an unexpected twist.  Last month, we reported several times

on that mysterious fatal explosion in the northwest corner of Russia. 

Despite early assurances to the country from the Russian government, that

explosion appears to have had a nuclear aspect to it and it appears to have

been a quite serious accident.  The Russian government ultimately had to

admit to seven people being killed in the accident, including five nuclear

scientists. 

 

Since then, there`s been this very ominous sort of gray area of

misinformation and implausible denials and contrary self-contradicting

statements from the Russian government about what exactly happened there. 

And importantly, how dangerous that situation might be in an ongoing way to

people who live near the site of that mysterious nuclear blast. 

 

Concerns have been heightened by the fact that a number of medical

personnel who treated people who were injured in that explosion themselves

were exposed to high levels of radiation.  The doctors themselves were

reportedly shipped off in pretty good numbers to Moscow to themselves be

treated for potentially dangerous exposure to radioactivity because they

had treated people injured in the explosion. 

 

Well, now, we`ve learned about a new source of worry, and honestly, a new

source of mystery for people who live nearby this still puzzling and

worrying Russian explosion.  Radio Free Europe now reporting that one day

after the blast, for some reason, this little barge, this floating

platform, was towed by Russian authorities out of the sea and up on a

nearby beach.  Then, five days later, a second similar floating barge was

dragged up next to the first one. 

 

What are those barges and where did they come from and what are they doing

there?  It led to this headline for Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty. 

Quote: Angry villagers, beached pontoons, irradiated flotsam, more clues to

mysterious Russian explosion.

 

Now, reporters with Radio Free Europe and multiple Russian news sources

have tried to figure out what they can about these barges, about these

floating platforms.  They have produced, for example, this helpful graphic

identifying individual pieces of equipment that seem to be on board this

barge, including stuff that appears to be blown up and busted.  In the

upper left-hand corner, it does say container for nuclear material, right

next to all the other smashed up stuff.

 

The Russian news service Meduza has also posted this video which appears to

show a Russian journalist approaching nearby to where the barges have

beached.  They are using handheld Geiger counters, effectively, to check

the radiation levels on nearby junk.  Here you can see Geiger counter going

slightly nuts what was reportedly a tow rope used to drag a barge up on the

beach.  You can see the counter going slightly nuts, as to the reading

that`s getting off that roof. 

 

Here is a second rope that I think the implication was used to tow up the

second barge.  You can hear it beeping.  You can see the numbers there. 

I`m not going to purport to read these radiation measurements on TV via

video in Russian through – two different Russian news agencies. 

 

But the basic idea of what these journalists in Russia are reporting is

that part of whatever went wrong with the nuclear blast in Russia a month

ago resulted in these random pontoon barges being dragged up onto a beach

nearby.  They do appear to be quite reactive themselves.  They are not

fenced off or sequestered at all.  Their flotsam and jetsam is sitting

there on the beach around them and itself appears to be radioactive.  It

doesn`t seem good. 

 

That`s how you get really dramatic headlines like this, right?  The

mysteries remain.  The villages are furious.  And stuff appears to be very

radioactive and nobody is owning up to it or telling anybody how to take

care of themselves. 

 

One of the other odd things, though, about the aftermath of this strange

Russian explosion is that, have you noticed there`s been no international

response to it whatsoever?  I mean, specifically, there`s been no NATO

response to it. 

 

I mean, what just happened in Russia a month ago was a big, terrible

accident involving some sort of novel experimental nuclear powered weapon

of some kind.  At least that`s everybody`s best guess. 

 

There was a very interesting CNBC report last week that cast it a little

differently but still it was bad.  According to CNBC sources, a U.S.

intelligence assessment found that that accident didn`t happen during the

launch of this new nuclear-powered Russian missile.  The explosion,

according to CNBC sources, happened instead when the Russians were trying

to find one of the nuclear powered missiles they lost from a previous

failed test. 

 

CNBC quoting a person with direct knowledge of a U.S. intelligence

assessment about that blast saying, quote, this was not a new launch of the

weapon.  Instead, it was a recovery mission to salvage a lost missile from

a previous test.  There was an explosion on one of the vessels involved in

the recovery.  And that caused a reaction in the missile`s nuclear core and

that`s what led to the radiation leak. 

 

OK, that`s worse, right?  I mean, that implies not only is Russia trying to

launch experimental new nuclear-powered weapons and they are failing in

those efforts, but once they fail in those efforts, one of the things that

can additional go wrong is that when you send out equipment out into the

sea to try to clean up the mess from their failed nuclear tests, there can

be another nuclear explosion in the salvage effort, too, with the missile

that already failed to launch. 

 

I mean, that`s bad, right?  Not only is the weapon experimental and super

dangerous but the failures of the weapon are super dangerous in their own

nuclear sense.  So, this kind of reckless nuclear experimentation and

testing and accidents is the sort of thing that would usually engender an

international response.  It would usually engender specifically a NATO

response, since this is a weapons accident. 

 

This was a catastrophic accident in Russia that caused multiple fatalities. 

Even the doctors treating the injured were themselves irradiated in an

uncertain and apparently ongoing way, right?  No response from NATO at all. 

It`s been a month. 

 

A reporter named Mitch Prothero at “Business Insider” had a report a few

days ago that shed some potential light on why there`s been no NATO

response to this botched nuclear experiment and testing by Russia. 

 

Quote: Since a radioactive explosion in Russia this month, NATO has been

watching closely.  And according to sources in the alliance, quickly

concluded it was part of a reckless test to development an experimental new

nuclear powered cruise missile.  However, NATO has felt incapable with

taking a hard line with President Vladimir Putin over his weapons program

in part because of U.S. President Donald Trump`s troublingly friendly

approach to Russia.  That`s according to three unnamed officials. 

 

One military intelligence official based at NATO headquarters in Brussels

saying, developing a nuclear powered cruise missile to carry and deliver

nuclear warheads is obviously something that concerns NATO.  Another NATO

official based in a western European capital says, quote, Putin wants back

in the G8, but he is testing wildly irresponsible weapons systems.  A NATO

official based in Brussels says, quote, the current leadership of the West

appears to be OK with ignoring this incident.  But shooting nuclear

reactors into the sky at Mach 8 poses a danger to everyone, not just to

Russian scientists.

 

Quote: to follow this disastrous aggression with Trump suggesting Russia`s

reinstatement in the G8 means Putin doesn`t need to fear new sanctions. 

And even with tests like this, he might get old sanctions lifted.

 

Well, now, we have the latest insult to add to the injury to pile on top of

the ongoing mystery here about this Russian disaster, because Vladimir

Putin today was at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok and he was

discussing this experimental nuclear-powered missile, specifically he was

saying he`s already discussed this experimental nuclear-powered missile

with U.S. President Donald Trump. 

 

He says he discussed it with Trump because he is planning on making the

United States buy it.  He says the United States is going to pay for these

missiles.  He said at the plenary session today alongside the leaders of

India and Japan, quote: I told Donald, that`s what he calls him in public,

Donald, I told Donald, if you want, we`ll sell them to you.  That`s how we

keep everything balanced. 

 

So, who`s going to pay for the wall?  Mexico.  Who is going to pay for

Vladimir Putin`s new disastrous nuclear powered experimental weapon that

blows up?  America, he says.  He says he has talked to Donald about it. 

 

The fate of the Russian villagers near the source of that blast, the

Russian government`s ongoing lies and information about that nuclear

accident, those are all still questions that remain to be answered.  But

for us in terms of our government, it is also now becoming clear that

there`s something else going on involving our own government here.  And

that`s brand-new in today`s news.  And that`s next. 

 

Stay with us. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  2014, five years ago, Russia is hosting the Winter Olympics in

Sochi, on the Black Sea.  The eyes of the world are upon Russia and

specifically upon Vladimir Putin.  Putin is in his glory. 

 

Before the games were over, though, Russia and Putin in particular got very

embarrassed, when a huge pro-democracy uprising took over the streets of

the capital city of Ukraine.  Russia had taken care in Ukraine to prop up a

pro-Putin strongman as the leader of that country.  He, by the way,

employed Paul Manafort, Donald Trump`s soon to be campaign chairman as his

top political adviser in Ukraine. 

 

But in 2014, in the face of mass protests by Ukrainians demanding their

country be a Western facing country, that it integrate with Europe, that it

no longer be controlled as a corrupt outpost of Russia and the Kremlin,

that pro-Putin Ukrainian leader initially responded by killing lots of

civilian protesters.  And, wow, that looked just terrible alongside all the

Olympic coverage, didn`t it? 

 

Ultimately, though, he ended up fleeing.  He fled first to Eastern Ukraine

and then he ultimately fled to Moscow.  The protesters had won.  Ukraine

would turn West and start to disentangle itself from the Kremlin.  But, of

course, Putin was not having it. 

 

And ultimately, in 2014, Putin would choose to address this problem,

embarrassing problem in Ukraine with military action, including just

invading and seizing a big portion of Ukraine, Crimea.  For Europe, it was

the first use of military force by one country to move borders and take a

piece of another country since World War II.  In addition to seizing Crimea

and making it part of Russia, Russian forces also dug in for a long war and

occupation in other parts of Ukraine. 

 

And while Russia plainly thought this was its right and Ukraine was it`s to

take if it wanted to, that`s not how the world is supposed to work anymore. 

This is a big deal.  It`s a big departure from the way countries are

supposed to interact, particularly countries that are in Europe or on

Europe`s borders.  And so, the international reaction was swift and

unsettle and very serious. 

 

And a whole bunch of things happened to Russia in response to that behavior

by them.  And because they are still keeping Crimea and because they are

still occupying and waging war inside other parts of Ukraine, these

repercussions for Russia haven`t ended.  It`s been a long five years.

 

But right now, we are starting to get a very clear picture in the U.S.

about our own government that you can see very clearly when you look at the

sort of menu of the main things that were done to Russia, the things that

were supposed to happen to Russia basically as punishment for that

behavior.  Russia, of course, was subject to very sanctions, not just U.S.

sanctions, but international, binding sanctions at the oligarchs, people

close to Putin, key Russian economic sectors, serious and damaging

sanctions.  That was one part here, one pillar.

 

Also, the G8 became the G7.  Russia and Putin were kicked out of that group

of the world`s most influential countries.  That was one part of it. 

 

Also, the United States started directly providing lots of aid, lots of

assistance to Ukraine, to allow Ukraine to stand up against Russia.  And in

addition to that, a fourth pillar of the response to what Russia did to

Ukraine, in lots of different countries in Europe, the U.S. set up

something called the European Deterrence Initiative.  When President Obama

announced it in 2014, it was called the European Reassurance Initiative,

then changed to the European Deterrence Initiative.  Ultimately, the basic

idea was the same. 

 

Quote: To reassure allies of our solemn commitment to their security and

territorial integrity as a, quote, necessary and appropriate show of

support to our allies who are now deeply concerned about Russia`s

occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea, and other provocative

actions in Ukraine.  The United States stands by its allies as they have

stood by us.  That`s how the Obama administration announced that new

European Reassurance or European Deterrence Initiative. 

 

So, those are four big things the U.S. did with the international community

to punish Russia for their bad behavior, to push back against Russia to

stop them from doing more, to pressure them to reverse their actions. 

Sanctions, kicking them out of the G8, aid to Ukraine and this European

initiative, right?

 

What happened to all four of those things? 

 

With sanctions, we know that that was the main point and the bottom line of

all the known myriad connections between the Trump campaign and various

people associated with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential

election.  At the time the Russian government was intervening in the U.S.

election to try to help Trump win, all these emissaries from the Russian

government were imploring various people associated with the Trump campaign

that the sanctions all needed to go.  It all sort of looks like when you

look back at the 2016 campaign that that might have just been a Russian

operation targeting the sanctions, because that was what they went to the

Trump campaign on over and over and over again in all of those myriad

connections.  Sanctions. 

 

We`ve also seen the Trump administration try to unilateral unilaterally

lift sanctions since they`ve been in power.  We have seen Trump slow-walk

other Russian sanctions whenever he can, even though Congress at times has

resisted him on that.  So, that`s the first pillar, sanctions, trouble,

right?

 

Well, then, there`s the second pillar, Russia kicked out of the G8.  Last

week at what is now the G7 summit, we saw President Trump repeatedly

arguing that Russia ought to be let back in.  It should go back to being

the G8.  He might invite Putin to do that himself. 

 

So, that`s the first two pillars, sanctions, hmm, G8 becoming the G7, hmm. 

Well, the third one, aid to Ukraine?  Last week, “Politico” had the scoop

on that third pillar of the response to what Russia did, which is America`s

aid to Ukraine. 

 

“Politico`s” scoop, quote: Trump holds up Ukraine military aid meant to

confront Russia.  Quote: U.S. military aid to Ukraine is seen as a litmus

test for how strongly the American government is pushing back against

Moscow.  Scaling back that existence could expose Trump to allegations that

his policies are favoring Moscow.  Oh, we could.

 

Trump asked his national security team to review the Ukraine Security

Assistance Initiative.  The funds for Ukraine can`t be spent while they are

under review.  The money will expire on September 30th if it is not spent

by then.  So, if that Ukraine assistance isn`t spent by the end of this

month, it goes away.  And as long as it`s under review, it can`t be spent. 

So, that means Ukraine is apparently no longer going to get aid from the

United States government. 

 

And that`s the third thing that happened, right?  Well, now, there`s this

fourth point.  The European Reassurance Initiative, the European Deterrence

Initiative.  It`s the last of those four pillars.  Trump is kicking that

out as well. 

 

There`s been controversy and criticism this week over the Trump

administration announcing that it turns out Mexico won`t pay for President

Trump`s wall.  Instead, they`re going to raid U.S. military funds to pay

for it.  That`s led to headlines like these all round the country, as

cities and states all over the U.S. learn about what`s being taken away

from U.S. military facilities and U.S. troops to instead build Trump`s

wall.  Hey, what about Mexico? 

 

But aside from what they are taking away in the United States, they are

also taking away money from a very specific list of overseas projects.  You

might have seen the tiny little print on the spreadsheet that they put out

listing the stuff they are cutting in order to fund Trump`s wall with that

money instead.  This is a White House decision about what money they`re

going to take from the military, what they are going to de-fund in the U.S.

military so Trump can have his wall. 

 

And it`s a whole bunch of different items and a whole bunch of different

countries, all with technical language and military acronyms and stuff. 

But if you look closely, if you get out your magnifying glass, there`s a

trend here.  You see this?  See that first initial ERI, ERI, EDI, EDI, EDI,

EDI?

 

A lot of the items on the spreadsheet about stuff they are cutting overseas

start with this acronym, either EDI or ERI.  Well, EDI, European Deterrence

Initiative.  ERI, what it used to be called, European Reassurance

Initiative.  At least 25 of the overseas military projects that Trump is

summarily defunding by executive action are specifically, these projects

that were designed by the Obama administration and have been implemented

since to form a bulwark against Russia, to specifically help our NATO

allies be reassured that we`ve got their back and that we will help them

develop their capacity to stand up against Russia, given what Russia has

been doing with its bad behavior in their neighborhood, including invading

other countries and taking parts of them for itself. 

 

And this stuff is not like, you know, building baseball fields or painting

scary faces on the front of fighter planes, however important those things

are.  I mean, this is the stuff that the military brags about as its

serious deterrent mission abroad.  I mean, here`s the “Air Force Times”

from earlier this year, airmen will continue stepping up to deter Russia in

Europe. 

 

This is “The Air Force Times” talking about what`s being funded by the

European Deterrence Initiative this year.  The funding will go to air base

improvements in Eastern Europe, including a munitions storage facility in

Malacky air base, from Malacky air base in Slovakia, and a taxiway at the

U.S. base in Norway.  Both of those items are on this list of things that

are now being cut by President Trump. 

 

I mean, here is the Air Force chief of staff bragging in light of the

European Deterrence Initiative funding.  Quote: Russia`s aggression is not

simply a matter for Ukraine.  It`s a threat to the region, to Europe, to

the United States and to the stability of the international order.  But

don`t worry with this European deterrence initiative, we`ve got your back,

NATO allies in Europe.  That was earlier this year, except now Trump

announced he is cutting all of those things. 

 

Here is the U.S. Naval Institute sort of aghast today at what exactly is

being defunded to fund Trump`s wall instead.  In Spain, for example, $21.6

million for port operations facilities as part of the Pentagon`s European

Deterrence Initiative, that is being deterred – excuse me, deferred.  That

base is home to four U.S. missile destroyers. 

 

Another $66 million in funds for P-8A Poseidon airfield upgrades at a U.S.

naval air station in Italy.  That`s being cut to pay for the wall, too. 

 

And, again, this is – I mean, this is serious stuff.  This is – you know,

Special Operations forces training facilities and operations facilities in

Estonia, ammunition storage in Poland, air field upgrades in Hungary,

Slovakia, Romania. 

 

So, it`s been interesting to watch this particularly in local newspapers

all around the country, right?  There`s lots of people all over the country

who are starting to get mad about what the president is taking money from

to pay for his wall. 

 

And, I mean, it does include some incredible stuff like day care centers

and elementary schools for the kids of U.S. service members.  They are

literally de-funding the day care center at Andrews Air Force Base, which

is the home of Air Force One.  Enjoy your flight, Mr. President.

 

But these overseas cuts, the overseas ones, they have a specific message,

to Russia, that everything, all four of these pillars that the United

States set up as its response to Russia for what Russia did over the last

five years, to respond to them invading and seizing another part of a

country, all of that – I mean, the sanctions, kicked out of the G8,

military aid to the country they invaded and now our assistance to our NATO

allies to help them build up their capacity to deter what Russia is doing,

all of that, one, two, three, four, all of it piece by piece dismantled by

the Trump administration. 

 

Yes, but don`t worry.  Russia is clearly back in the box, really cowed and

worried about further bad behavior and what might happen to them

internationally, just as soon as they get done with this new round of

exploding experimental nuclear weapons and shoving all the radioactive

flotsam up on nearby beaches since they`re pretty sure nobody will care

about it if they do it.

 

As soon as they`re done with that kind of thing, they`ll get back to being

the good, responsible international citizen that deserves everything they

are getting from President Trump and I`m sure more. 

 

I`m sure there`s lots more.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  President Trump is going to try to move ahead to raid billions of

dollars from the U.S. military in order to fund the section of border wall

instead.  But there will be a legal fight over that as sure as the sun

rises.  And Democrats in Congress have seen this coming.  And among other

things, they have explicitly blocked him from doing this in the language of

the bill that funds the military. 

 

Joining us now is Congressman John Garamendi, the chair of the House Armed

Services Subcommittee on Readiness. 

 

Sir, Congressman Garamendi, thank you so much for being here.  Really

appreciate your time. 

 

REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D-CA):  My pleasure, Rachel. 

 

MADDOW:  So, it`s been interesting to watch the country react to this on a

few different levels.  First of all, can the president – first of all,

isn`t Mexico paying?  Second of all, can he raid the Pentagon?  Can he raid

the U.S. military to do this? 

 

You are seeing local reaction to the kinds of projects that the president

is trying to de-fund. 

 

GARAMENDI:  Sure.

 

MADDOW:  The overseas projects he`s trying to defund have some pretty

serious foreign policy consequences. 

 

GARAMENDI:  Exactly. 

 

MADDOW:  Is it a done deal?  Or do you think this is something that still

might be blocked? 

 

GARAMENDI:  We have to stop it.  There`s absolutely no choice about having

to fight back on this.  And this is going to be one big, big battle. 

 

Not only because of the affect, as you so correctly pointed out on our

relationships trying to push back on Putin, making sure that he doesn`t

have the opportunity to overrun Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which he

could do in three short days if we were not there, if those countries were

not part of NATO. 

 

Beyond that, this is a fundamental issue of the Constitution, the very

democracy of America is at stake here.  If this man, this president is able

to literally appropriate his money for his own purposes, then the balance

of power, the power of the purse has been taken away from Congress.  And we

may not even exist in any meaningful way in the future. 

 

Keep in mind, the Vietnam war essentially ended when Congress said, no,

we`re not going to fund this anymore.  So, it goes. 

 

So, all of this is critical and important for the defense of Europe,

pushing back on Russia as well as our own system of government. 

 

MADDOW:  Do we know, sir, how decisions were made as to which projects

would lose funding and which ones wouldn`t?  I mean, obviously, there

appears to some rhyme and reason in terms of what they chose to de-fund

through this process.  But was the House Armed Services Committee, for

example, brought in on this decision making at all? 

 

GARAMENDI:  Absolutely not.  This is my responsibility.  Every one of those

programs are programs that the Readiness Subcommittee has analyzed over the

last half decade and said these are important for the reasons that you

stated and the other projects for many, many other reasons have to be built

if we`re going to have a military that is ready to do what must be done

whenever it must be done. 

 

So, this is a long process.  All of these projects have been thoroughly

reviewed.  They have been stacked as to their importance.  And these are

the ones that must be done now.  Unless, of course, you want to just shrug

your shoulders and let Russia and Putin do anything they want to do in

Eastern Europe. 

 

And I will tell you, the Congress of the United States, the Armed Services

Committee and my colleagues are saying, no way.  Trump, you cannot do this. 

You do not have the power of the purse.  And we`re not going to allow you

to de-fund these programs that are critical to our NATO allies, to the

countries on the eastern border up against Russia. 

 

MADDOW:  California Congressman John Garamendi, who is the chair of the

subcommittee on readiness in the House Armed Services Committee – sir, I

really appreciate your time tonight.  Keep us apprised.  I know this is

going to be a big fight.  I would love to say in touch with you on this as

it unfolds.

 

GARAMENDI:  It will be a monumental fight – 

 

MADDOW:  Thank you for coming.  Thank you, sir.

 

GARAMENDI:  – for both the constitutional reasons as well as the defense

of Europe. 

 

MADDOW:  All right.

 

We have news on another effort to try to block the administration, in this

case, on the Trump administration`s plan for targeting sick and dying

children.  The story that we`ve been covering over the past couple of weeks

took an interesting turn today. 

 

That`s next.  Stay with us. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  Update for you on a story we have been following extensively on

this show. 

 

Today, the ACLU of Massachusetts and other civil right groups filed suit to

try to block the Trump administration from abruptly deporting families who

are in this country while their kids and family members are here legally

receiving medical care for life-threatening illnesses.  Last month, with no

warning, the Trump administration sent families to these kids letters

telling them that they need to stop their lifesaving medical treatment and

get out of the country within 33 days. 

 

Well, now, after a national uproar, the administration seems to have backed

off that immediate threat to those families they have already targeted. 

But this new lawsuit will try to block the administration from making this

change to this policy at all. 

 

Joining us now is Matt Segal.  He`s legal director of ACLU of

Massachusetts, one of the organizations that filed today`s suit.

 

Mr. Segal, thanks for being here.  I appreciate your time. 

 

MATT SEGAL, ACLU OF MASSACHUSETTS LEGAL DIRECTOR:  Thank you, Rachel, for

what you`re doing to spotlight the incredible lifesaving work of my client

the Irish International Immigration Center – Immigrant Center.  And also

these families and individuals who desperately need America`s help. 

 

MADDOW:  The Irish International Immigrants Center, it`s interesting,

looking at your lawsuit today, I sort of – I don`t know if I expected but

I was interested to see that the named plaintiffs in your case are not the

individual kids and family members, people receiving medical treatment for

life-threatening illnesses but rather the Irish International Immigrant

Center that has been representing them in a number of these cases. 

 

Why did you file – why did you approach the case that way to have the

advocacy group be the plaintiff here? 

 

SEGAL:  Well, the law recognizes that organizations sometimes are

appropriate to sue against policies and government actions that affect both

individuals and organizations.  And this is a perfect example for why that

is.  The IIIC speaks for people who cannot speak for themselves – a 10-

year-old – a baby who had a stroke, a 10-year-old girl who has eye cancer,

an 18-year-old with burns over 70 percent of his body.  I mean, these are

people battling life and death situations and they cannot all be expected

to sue the federal government, particularly at a moment when they

desperately need that very same government`s grace. 

 

MADDOW:  In terms of the process and where we are in this process thus far,

there was initial reporting on the Trump administration taking these

actions from “Commonwealth Magazine”, from WBUR and from “The Boston

Globe”, “Miami Herald” picked it up, ultimately “The New York Times” did a

front page story on one of these cases that had a very big impact.  As

we`ve seen the coverage of this story spread out, including here on this

program and other TV shows, there`s been a real uproar, and the Trump

administration sort of pulled back.  They never announced the policy change

in the first place.  They then announced essentially they wouldn`t go

forward with the deportation threats they had issued in these letters. 

 

Do you have any understanding, though, of the status of this policy and

what is going to happen to the individual clients?  Is it clear to you? 

 

SEGAL:  Well, what is clear the administration has definitely terminated

this program, USCIS`s deferred action program going forward.  They say

there may be some opportunity for people who filed before August 7th to get

this deferred action, but that does – it`s not clear what that does for

the people who filed before August 7th and certainly does nothing at all

for the people who filed since then. 

 

The IIIC actually filed on August 16th an application for deferred action

on behalf of someone who is dying from breast cancer.  So, unless this

course of action is changed, unless it is stopped, this is going to hurt

people.  It`s going to amount to a death sentence for countless people

going forward. 

 

MADDOW:  Matt Segal, legal director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, today has

brought suit to try to block the Trump administration from rescinding this

policy – sir, I appreciate your time tonight.  Please – keep in touch

with us about this as this progresses.  I know that you`re trying to move

this as fast as possible.  I appreciate it. 

 

SEGAL:  Thank you. 

 

MADDOW:  All right.  We`ll be right back.  Stay with us. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MADDOW:  MSNBC will have live coverage overnight tonight as Hurricane

Dorian continues its slow march up the Eastern Seaboard.  The storm is

working its way towards coastal North Carolina, dangerous storm surge

expected there, winds that could reach 100 miles an hour.  Sometime after

midnight tonight, the eye of the storm is expected to hit land again if the

first time since it decimated the Bahamas. 

 

Again, we`ll be live overnight tonight.  Stay with MSNBC for the latest. 

 

That`s going to do it for me for now.  We`ll see you again tomorrow. 

 

Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.

 

Good evening, Lawrence. 

 

                                                                                                               

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