Trump denies assault allegation. TRANSCRIPT: 6/24/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.

Guests:
Adam Smith, Jim Himes, Elora Mukherjee, Elora Mukherjee; Jonathan Ryan
Transcript:

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Rachel.

 

And I first started reporting on her violation of the Hatch Act, as soon as

I saw her actually doing it, actually doing it on camera.  And so, it`s not

surprising that it`s come to this.  And the White House refusing to comply

with what is clearly an oversight issue on a law that Congress passed

called the Hatch Act.  It`s a pretty important thing they want to talk to

her about. 

 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  The principle of the Hatch Act is that you

shouldn`t use the powers of the government to get yourself elected, and

that`s a really important thing in America and in our constitutional

republic. 

 

And if that has been thinned out, if that`s something we`re going to scoff

at in terms of a law because people having gone to jail for it in the past,

that`s a really big change for us to go through as a country right when

we`re heading into an election with a president who`s happy to break lots

of norms. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And one thing that`s included in this area of the law is that

you cannot use government property, like, say, the White House driveway or

the White House premises in any way.  It`s one of the reasons, for example,

senators, members of the house have to get up and leave their offices and

go to a private building, which is not far from the capitol, to make phone

calls involving their campaign and especially involving campaign

fundraising.  They`re not allowed to use the phone right there on their

desk in their Senate office to make a call about fundraising.  But the

Trump White House doesn`t seem to know any of this. 

 

MADDOW:  Well, or they know it and they think it`s bureaucracy.  They don`t

think it`s important.  I just – this is one of those things that you have

all those details about it, which is the way it works in practice.  That`s

so engrained in federal officials because people have just assumed that the

basic principle was important, but I think the Trump White House would

contest both bureaucratic niceties of this, but also the principle. 

 

I think they`ve absolutely hold that the Hatch Act is trying to separate

government service from political advantage in a way that they don`t

respect. 

 

O`DONNELL:  As we`ve said several times, we`ve never seen anything like it. 

 

MADDOW:  Yes.  Thanks, Lawrence. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Yes, thank you, Rachel.

 

Well, Joy Reid is joining us tonight.  She has a new book coming out that

explains everything about the news of the day, and news of most days

because it is a very thorough consideration of the Trump presidency and how

it got to the Trump presidency.  Joy will join after we have from two

members of the House of Representatives who now support impeachment

proceedings against President Trump. 

 

Congressman Adam Smith is the chairman of the House Armed Services

Committee, very important committee.  And Congressman Jim Himes who is the

second highest ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee will

also join us.  Congressman Himes announced his support for impeachment on

the House floor today. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT):  Mr. Speaker, I know I will be asked if my motive

today is to pressure the speaker of the House whose service has been

superb.  It is not.  She leads us today in the epic mission of defending

our democracy.  That mission requires a vigorous debate and competing

ideas, but it also requires care, discipline and a measure of deference. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  We`ll discuss impeachment with Congressman Himes and Chairman

Smith, but that`s not all.  We will get their reactions to the Trump

administration`s treatment of children at the southern border.

 

And later in this hour, we will hear from a lawyer who has actually visited

those children and seen the conditions they are living in and the

conditions that some of them have died in.  That lawyer will tell you that

the conditions that she saw on her trip last week are the worst, the worst

conditions that she has ever seen children being held at the southern

border.  One of the children that her team met with is five months old. 

 

Republicans are not so much trying to defend the conditions that the

children are suffering in as much as they are trying to blame Democrats for

those conditions.  The president threatened to launch wide scale

deportation raids all over the country this week, and then this weekend

called off his own menacing threat.  It was the domestic equivalent of what

the president did with Iran last week, threatening Iran with retaliation

for Iran shooting down an American drone and then congratulating himself

for calling off the retaliatory strike against Iran that the president

himself had ordered.

 

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Adam Smith, was part of

the congressional leadership meeting at the White House with the president

when the president was considering how to retaliate against Iran.  So he

got as close an exposure to the president`s thinking on Iran as any

Democrat could get. 

 

And today, the president announced new sanctions on Iran.  “The New York

Times” reports that the new sanctions are aimed at preventing some top

Iranian officials from using the international banking system or any

financial vehicles set up by European nations or other countries.  But the

Iranian officials likely do not keep substantial assets in international

banks, if any at all, or use those institutions for transactions and any

additional pressure from the new sanctions is likely to be minimal. 

 

Joining our discussion now, Democratic chairman of the House Armed Services

Committee, Congressman Adam Smith of Washington. 

 

Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for joining us tonight.  I really

appreciate it. 

 

I`d like to start with Iran and the meeting you were in at the White House

before the president went through this series of decisions, and you tell

us, was it before he decided to order the strike and then stand down from

the strike?  Where was that meeting in the sequence of events? 

 

REP. ADAM SMITH (D-WA):  It was right before.  It was the day before all of

the events that we read so much about.  It was interesting, during the

discussion it was obvious the president was wrestling with what the right

thing to do was.  I think it was equally obvious that Vice President Pence,

national security adviser Bolton and Secretary of State Pompeo wanted the

strike. 

 

Now, the president, we had a very long discussion about what would the

right response be, and a number of us, mostly Democrats pointed out, you

don`t know where this is going to go.  If you bomb Iran, they`re going to

respond, and then you stumble into that open conflict that he`s claimed he

doesn`t want to stumble in.

 

And to the president`s credit on this point, he seemed responsive to that

message and genuinely worried about what would happen if they did launch a

military strike. 

 

O`DONNELL:  So in this discussion, was it obvious to you that he the

president had already been presented with all the possible collateral

damage from the options that had been presented to him? 

 

SMITH:  It`s hard to imagine that he wasn`t.  What was said to us by him

and a number of others is DOD has presented them with options for months. 

It wasn`t hard to participate given the sanctions placed on Iran, given the

maximum pressure campaign that Iran would do something like this. 

 

So, these options had been put in from of the president for quite sometime. 

Now, you know, did they give him a precise number on the strike, how many

people will be destroyed (ph), probably not, but there`s no way he didn`t

know from the get-go that we`re talking north of 100 people who would

likely be killed in this kind of a strike. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Now, the president, when he was explaining why he changed his

mind, claimed that he just discovered that it was not what we call a

proportional response.  It would involve killing 150 people and the Iranian

strike didn`t kill anyone.  And, of course, there was no one we`ve

encountered that doesn`t believe he wasn`t presented with that information

before that. 

 

But what he said to Chuck Todd since then, for example, is something that

suggests a possibly wildly disproportionate response.  He said to Chuck

Todd, I`m not looking for war, and if there is, it will be obliteration

like you`ve never seen before. 

 

And so, Mr. Chairman, it doesn`t seem that Donald Trump has the vaguest

idea of what proportional response means. 

 

SMITH:  No, and more concerning, and I`ve asked this many times of the

administration, what`s the plan?  OK, they`ve got a maximum pressure

campaign, and what the president led us to believe at this meeting was it`s

all about stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.  Now, if that was

the case, why did he pull out of the agreement that was stopping Iran from

getting a nuclear weapon? 

 

Well, part of it is when the president was speaking to us, he said some

things about the JCPOA, the agreement to stop Iran, that simply weren`t

accurate.  But if that`s the case, what do we expect Iran to do in answer

to this pressure campaign?  And what the administration expects is Iran

basically to say, OK, you got us, we`ll do what you want. 

 

But that`s not going to happen.  When that doesn`t happen, when they

respond the way anyone could have predicted, which is what they`re doing,

then what?  What`s the plan?  What are you trying to drive Iran to the

negotiating table to accomplish, and how do you think you get there? 

 

I think it`s kind of clear they don`t really have a plan for that, and what

I`m really worried about is there`s people around the president who really

want regime change.  That`s what they`re pushing for, so they`re willing to

take on a lot more pain and a lot more risk than the president is. 

 

And how does that play?  As we saw, within 10 to 15 minutes, if we take the

president at his word from stumbling into a rather nasty conflict. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Mr. Chairman, let me ask you about impeachment.  You are

chairman of the Armed Services Committee, you are an ally of Nancy

Pelosi`s.  When you came to the decision to support impeachment

proceedings, did you check with the speaker on that? 

 

SMITH:  I did not.  I think we, as all individual members of Congress, have

to make our decision.  There is a couple pieces. 

 

I mean, certainly there is a mountain of evidence at this point that the

president has done things that are deeply troubling.  Now, there is no

specific words on what an impeachable offense is.  You know, high crimes

and misdemeanors on open to interpretation, so I think it is up to Congress

and the American people to decide what constitutes grounds for removing a

president from office.  But the biggest thing for me at this point is I

think we need to focus our investigations. 

 

We`re investigating a lot of different things.  I think an impeachment

inquiry gives us the opportunity to say, we`re investigating to see if this

president should be removed from office.  Let`s focus on that, figure out

what the grounds of impeachment are, how many counts of impeachment we want

to put forward so we can begin to clarify it for the American people. 

 

I mean, part of the problem is there are so many scandals, so many things

going on on a daily basis, but when you`re talking about impeachment, we

need to be clear about what actions it is that we are pursuing.  So, I

think we need to narrow the focus and say, what are we looking at?  What

exactly do we think rises to the level of impeachment or not?  I think it`s

time to focus that investigation. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And, Mr. Chairman, I want to turn your attention to the

southern border and the children that are being held there.  We`re going to

be joined later in this hour by a lawyer who has been inside, seen them,

met with – including infants in her last visit, saying it`s the worst

conditions she has ever seen children held in custody. 

 

What`s your reaction to what the president has been saying about this, that

he could solve it but the Democrats don`t let him solve it? 

 

SMITH:  The president created this crisis to begin with.  And he created it

with a zero tolerance policy.  If he really cared about taking care of the

migrants on the border, many of them, as you`ve pointed out, children. 

Look, he declared an emergency and found $6 billion in the Pentagon to

start building his wall.  He could easily find the money to provide better

facilities and better care for these migrants and start working on a

strategy so that they don`t feel the need to come.  But he`s not doing

that. 

 

And just today, we have a bill coming up in the House that would fund more

care for the migrants coming in – facilities for them to live in, food,

clothing, shelter.  He issued a veto threat, because at the end of the day,

that`s not his objective.  His objective is not to take care of these

people.  His objective is a rabidly anti-immigrant policy. 

 

He wants, as he`s said on more than one occasion, a maximum pressure

campaign on the migrants just like he has in Iran, I guess, to deter them

from coming.  In more than one occasion, you know, you had the Attorney

General Sessions saying, we want them to suffer so they don`t want to come. 

 

There are the tools there for a bipartisan solution.  The suffering here is

unimaginable.  We ought to – whatever our feelings are about immigration,

that`s a separate debate.  The debate right now is how do we get the money

down there to properly care for these migrants who are in such horrific

conditions. 

 

We`re prepared to do it.  We`re going to pass a bill this week.  We support

it, but the president doesn`t want to take the money to do that.  He wants

to use the money for other purposes, and that`s the problem. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Congressman Adam Smith, thank you very much for joining us.  I

really appreciate it. 

 

SMITH:  Thanks.  Appreciate the chance. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And today, Congressman Jim Himes invoked his state`s history

when he announced his support for impeachment proceedings against the

president of the United States. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

HIMES:  I represent the people of southwestern Connecticut, the

Constitution State.  From my house, I can walk to the hill where General

Israel Putnam made a daring escape from British cavalry in 1779 Americans

would never have to answer to a tyrant for their opinions, politics or

religious beliefs.  Just up the road is the town of Ridgefield where

General Daniel Wooster and 21 young patriots died in April of 1777 so that

Americans would be spared ever living under a capricious and arbitrary

power. 

 

Mr. Speaker, there are moments for careful calculation, for weighing

political expediency and conflicting interests.  And there are moments for

clarity and conviction.  This is that moment. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  Continuing our discussion now is Democratic Congressman Jim

Himes of Connecticut.  He`s a member of the House Intelligence Committee

and the House Financial Services Committee. 

 

And, Congressman Himes, who did you alert that you were going to make this

announcement?  Did you talk to the speaker about it?  Did you talk to the

chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff? 

 

HIMES:  Well, you know, this was obviously a decision taken in my own head

in consultation with my constituents.  You know, I heard from constituent

after constituent who were enormously frustrated about what are very

legitimate questions, which is how does impeachment affect the politics? 

When will courts rule to enforce subpoenas of the Congress? 

 

And eventually I just developed the conviction that as you played in that

speech I made on the floor that one of the things that could most sort of

galvanize the American public, educate the public would be if we set aside

the calculation in favor of really clear statements of right and wrong,

and, of course, in favor of an impeachment inquiry, which would be a public

airing of the facts, a fair public airing of the facts so the American

people could learn about some of the things that most of them did not read

in the multi-hundred-page Mueller report, but this was really an issue of

sort of satisfying, I think, a call for clarity on the part of my

constituents. 

 

O`DONNELL:  What do you think the timetable for impeachment proceedings has

to be? 

 

HIMES:  Well, you know, fortunately, since I`m not the Democratic leader of

the speaker of the House, I don`t need to make that decision.  But it is

certainly true that there probably is a clock ticking right now because

there will come a moment in 2020, and I don`t know if that`s in the spring

or the summer, at which point people`s attention and much of what happens

in American politics will be given over to the November 2020 election. 

 

So I can`t tell you it is absolutely now.  I defer to the speaker of the

House.  She`s forgotten more about electoral politics and about, you know,

how you get out to the American people in order to shape sentiment than I

will probably ever know.  But you`re right in sort of implying that there

is almost certainly a clock ticking on this issue. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Is the speaker just letting members makes their own choices on

this?  Is she trying to persuade members to wait for more time in making

decisions about this? 

 

HIMES:  She is not.  I gave her the courtesy of telling her what I intended

to do.  I believe in sort of being a good team player, so I didn`t surprise

her with this.  And I know the story of others who have done the same.  At

no point has she discouraged anybody from doing this. 

 

Look, I think – sometimes the story is that, well, now we`re up to 70, or

whatever the number is, of a caucus of 225.  When that number hits 120 or

130, at that point, is she under tremendous pressure? 

 

Look, Nancy Pelosi is already a historic figure, the first female speaker

of the House.  She, I think, understands that this moment, the next two

years, is probably, along with the passage of the Affordable Care Act and

all the stuff that happened in the first term of the Obama administration,

her legacy.  So, this is not a question of numbers, this is a question of

Nancy Pelosi doing what she believes is right for the American people, and

in fidelity to the Constitution of the United States. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And, Congressman Himes, let me get you on your reaction to

what`s been happening to the children of the southern border.  We`ve had a

new string of reports last week in the same week when the administration

was in federal court arguing that it is perfectly humane and perfectly safe

and sanitary to not provide children with beds to sleep on, forcing them to

sleep on cement floors.  They don`t need soap, they don`t need

toothbrushes, they don`t need toothpaste in order to be sanitary according

to the Trump administration. 

 

HIMES:  Yes, Lawrence, I`m very much on the same page with Adam Smith who

you just interviewed.  We can have and should have a long and vigorous

debate on the nature of our immigration system.  But put that aside.  I was

in Texas probably nine months ago, and I saw some of those facilities, and

it was some of the toughest hours I`ve had in the United States Congress. 

 

And I`ll just say this, Lawrence – again, we should have a vibrant

discussion over how we best control our border.  But the treatment of

children, and these are largely children, the knowledge that as we go to

bed comfortable tonight there will be five-year-olds sleeping on concrete

floors under metal blankets, that will be a stain on the moral history of

this country. 

 

And, look, I understand that my Republican colleagues have other interests

with respect to this president, but you would think that that story and the

sight and the thought of children suffering in that way would set

everything else aside.  As Adam Smith said, we`ve got the money.  Let`s at

least make sure we are doing what we are doing today with some decency and

with some moral fiber.  But that, of course, is not what is happening right

now. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Congressman Jim Himes, thank you very much for joining us

tonight.  Appreciate it.

 

HIMES:  Thank you, Lawrence. 

 

O`DONNELL:  And when we come back, we`ll be joined by a lawyer who has seen

the deplorable conditions that the Trump administration is providing and

the things they are not providing, the basic human safety and sanitary

measures they are not taking for the children in their custody at the

southern border.  That`s next. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL:  Our next guest has been visiting children in custody at the

southern border for 12 years.  She says she has never seen conditions as

bad as what she saw last week.  That is when the Trump administration was

in federal court arguing that they can provide safe and sanitary conditions

for the children without providing the children with soap or toothbrushes

or toothpaste and that it is perfectly safe and sanitary to sleep on cement

floors where so many of the children are now forced to sleep. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It`s within everybody`s common understanding that, you

know, if you don`t have a toothbrush, if you don`t have soap, if you don`t

have a blanket, it`s not safe and sanitary.  Wouldn`t everybody agree to

that?  Do you agree to that? 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, I think it`s – I think those are – there`s

fair reason to find that those things may be part of safety and sanitary. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Not maybe – are a part.  Why do you say maybe?  You

mean there are circumstances when a person doesn`t need to have a

toothbrush, toothpaste and soap for days? 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, I think in CBP custody, it`s frequently

intended to be much shorter term, so it may be that for a shorter term stay

in CBP custody, some of those things may not be required. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  But they are not short-term stays.  Many of the children are

left in those conditions for weeks. 

 

Elora Mukherjee is one of the lawyers who got inside and saw the children. 

She told the “New York Times”: There is a stench.  The overwhelming

majority of children have not bathed since they crossed the border. 

 

Joining our discussion now is Elora Mukherjee.  She is the director of the

Immigrants Rights Clinic at the Columbia school of law.  Thank you very

much for joining us. 

 

ELORA MUKHERJEE, VISITED BORDER PATROL FACILITY IN CLINT, TEXAS:  Thank you

for having me. 

 

O`DONNELL:  You were there last week. 

 

MUKHERJEE:  I was. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Seeing exactly what was reported in all the recent reports. 

And tell us the ages of the children you met with and interviewed. 

 

MUKHERJEE:  I met with children ranging between the ages of five months to

17 years old.  On Monday morning when we arrived at the facility, there

were more than 350 children detained there in an adult holding facility

that were designed for just over 100. 

 

The children who we interviewed last week were dirty, hungry, sick, scared

and many of them had been detained for days on end, for weeks on end, some

nearly a month.  Many of the children had been held incommunicado without

the opportunity to call their loved ones and their loved ones have no idea

where they are and how to get their beloved children back.  Nearly every

child in that facility has family members in the United States who are

eager to get their children back and the children want to be with their

loved ones, too, but the length of detention has just been too long. 

 

There is a federal law that was passed unanimously by both houses and

signed by President George W. Bush which provides for detention in Customs

and Border Protection facilities for children for not longer than 72 hours. 

 

O`DONNELL:  Tell us about the infants.  You met one child who`s five-

months-old child.  What did you – how you interview a five-month-old

child?

 

MUKHERJEE:  The five-month-old was accompanied by her teenage mom.  The

child was extremely dirty, as was her mother.  The child and the mother

both had bodily fluids on their clothing, nasal mucus. 

 

The mother had breast milk stains all over her shirt.  They had crossed the

border a significant time beforehand and had not showered or bathed in

days.  There is also no place, no way for the children detained there to

wash their clothing and put on clean changes of clothes. 

 

When I interview children in detention facilities, I try to sit closer to

them so that I can help to build rapport while we`re talking about

extremely sensitive and traumatic information, and with some of the

children who I met last week, that was hard to do because of the stench

emanating from them. 

 

O`DONNELL:  There are other infants who are apparently not accompanied and

are being cared for by other children who get that assignment, they either

volunteered for it or sometimes the guards are suggesting, why don`t you

take care of that infant? 

 

MUKHERJEE:  That`s exactly right.  So we heard reports of children as young

as six months old, one year old, two years old, three years old, who are

being cared for by children unrelated to them in these holding cells and in

these pens. 

 

And when I say the children are older than them, we`re talking about

children who are seven years old, eight years old, nine years old.  They

are being ordered by the guards to care for the younger children.  And it

leads to all the problems you can imagine because these young children are

not equipped to take care of toddlers. 

 

One of my colleagues, Warren Binford, was interviewing an eight-year-old

child who was tasked with caring for a two-year-old.  And when Warren asked

whether the child, the two-year-old, needed diapers, the eight-year-old

said no, and the child, the two-year-old, promptly peed on the chair that

the child was sitting on. 

 

These are not safe and sanitary conditions.  There was an influenza

outbreak at the facility, flu and lice were spreading.  The children don`t

have access or the ability to wash their hands with soap.  Most of the

children who I had spoken with had not brushed their teeth once for weeks

on end. 

 

O`DONNELL: And the information that you and other lawyers are gathering is

what is being brought into those courtrooms where we`re seeing that kind of

argument, the Trump administration defending this and saying, to be

sanitary you don`t need soap.

 

And obviously those three Appeals court judges had never heard anyone say

anything like that before.

 

MUKHERJEE: That`s exactly right. I would invite those DOJ lawyers to go

into the facility at Clint and other CBP facilities where adults and

children are being held in dangerous, overcrowding conditions without

access to soap, toothbrushes, clean clothes, showers and invite them to

then consider whether these facilities -

 

O`DONNELL: They knew you were coming, they had three weeks warning that you

were coming, the people working on site had all of them, had a minimum of a

week`s knowledge that you were coming. So there`s reason to believe that

they dressed the place up as best they could, that three weeks ago, it

could have looked much worse even.

 

MUKHERJEE: That`s exactly right, some of the children told us that during

the days we were there last week, they were allowed to make their first

phone calls. During the days we were there last week, they got their first

shower, they got their first tooth brush. They got a chance to go outside

for the first time.

 

I spoke with many children who had not been outside once during their

detention at Clint and the three children who I spoke with who reported

outdoor opportunities told me that they couldn`t bear to bring themselves

to play because they were trying to conserve their energy to stay alive.

 

Nearly every child I spoke with reported that they were hungry because

children are given the same ration of food on the same size tray regardless

if they are one years old or 17 years old or a teenage mother whose breast

feeding and has higher caloric needs.

 

O`DONNELL: Laura, thank you very much for joining us. Really appreciate it.

 

MUKHERJEE: Thank you so much.

 

O`DONNELL: And please come back with more reporting on what you find there,

really appreciate it, thank you very much. When we come back Maria Teresa

Kumar will join us along with the Director of a Refugee and Immigrant

Center in Texas.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

Warren Binford is another one of the lawyers who toured the border patrol

facility holding immigrant children in Clint, Texas. She told The New

Yorker, “There were children at this facility who came across with parents

and were separated from parents. There were other children at the facility

you came across with other adult family members. We met almost no children

who came across unaccompanied.

 

The United States is taking children away from their family unit and

reclassifying them as unaccompanied children but they were not

unaccompanied children and some of them were separated from their parents.

Joining our discussion now is Johnathan Ryan. He`s Executive Director for

the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services in Texas.

 

Also joining us Maria Teresa Kumar, the President and CEO of Voto Latino

and an MSNBC contributor. And Maria Teresa, I just want to get your

reaction to what you just heard in the previous segment from a lawyer who`s

actually been there and visited with the children, last week.

 

MARIA TERESA KUMAR, PRESIDENT & CEO, VOTO LATINO & MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It`s

clear that cruelty is the point of this policy by the President and it is

clear that when he pledged to end family separation last year, almost to

the day Lawrence, he has done quite the opposite. He is basically done a

switcheroo with the American people. The American people came out in mass

if you recall.

 

Tens of thousands of people came out and marched against family separation.

The President claimed to have listened, he`s claimed to have stopped the

policy and instead what we`re finding is not just hundreds but possibly

thousands of kids that continue to be separated.

 

And the only reason is to ensure that they are treated as animals, they`re

treated in an undignified manner in a country that has set and created the

asylum laws for the rest of the world and this is beneath us and unless we

make sure that he is held accountable and the people that are carrying out

his orders are held accountable.

 

This will be the beginning and we have to make sure that we hold strong and

that we do not forget these children but more importantly, let these

children know that we are fighting for them.

 

O`DONNELL: And Johnathan, one of the challenges is getting information out

there. You do that on a regular basis through social media and other ways

and I`m grateful for what you`ve been delivering to us but getting that

first hand report from actually inside the facility from one of the lawyers

is I think the most important sourcing we have because we`re at the point

now where lawyers are just about the only people who get in there.

 

JONATHAN RYAN, ADVOCATE FOR REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: And they`re lucky when

they do actually Lawrence because you know, for example these lawyers were

allowed or able to get into this facility thanks to the Flores settlement,

this law that`s been discussed now that we know that the administration is

bent on getting rid of, it`s simply thanks to that law that they have the

ability to go in and to inspect these DHS facilities where children are

kept and it`s also only thanks to that law that organizations like mine,

like RAICES is able to go and provide legal services inside of the HHS

facilities where children go after they`re in these deplorable conditions.

 

And it just boils my blood to hear this reporting, knowing that this is how

our country is treating children. It gives me a little bit of hope because

it might make clear to us really just how simple this is. You cannot treat

children this way. No country in fact, any country can be judged by how it

treats children and if this is the litmus test for us, we are failing

miserably.

 

This should be a touch point moment for us when again we see the atrocities

occurring at our border in our name against children and vulnerable people

and we must take stock and realize it`s being done in our name and if we

don`t do something to stop it now, we don`t need to wait for an election,

we don`t need to wait for politicians to intervene.

 

We at RAICES have seen the power of the people when they decide to support

us or this or to come out against this treatment. We need to stand up right

now as a nation and say enough is enough, this has got to stop.

 

O`DONNELL: I want to read a quote from another lawyer one with either more

experience, 10 more years` experience at this. This is Holly Cooper, she

said, “In my 22 years of doing visits with children in detention, I have

never heard of this level of inhumanity.” And Maria Teresa so that is what

we`re hearing hear and during a commercial break earlier, I asked Laura

what does she do when she speaking to a child who`s too young to even

speak, how do you interview the child who is too young to speak, who is

unaccompanied who doesn`t have her mother there, his father there.

 

And she said all she can do is observe the child closely and make notes on

what she sees, how dirty the child is, what the child is wearing, the

conditions in which the child is being held, what kind of cage it is,

things like that. Since there`s no actual information that can be obtained

from an infant who can`t speak.

 

KUMAR: I mean, you said it right there, in a cage, we are caging children,

this is an eye witness report, credible individual, professional who

actually knows how to process these cages - these cases.

 

And the American people need to keep in mind many of these children, they

are not allowed to be held, they`re not allowed to be sued, neither by

individuals working at the facility, neither by the lawyers, neither by the

children themselves.

 

This deep psychological impact of what we are creating by a government

dollar, our tax dollars is inexplicable and think about it, these

individuals, these children, they walked and traverse Central America to

become to the beacon of hope of opportunity and love and prosper so that

they can actually have a shot at something.

 

And it`s largely directed because our government is cutting out their aid

to their government. They`re cutting out the opportunity for those

governments to actually be sustained and find the solutions. This is not

the first time that we`ve had a resurgence of influx of individuals at the

border.

 

Obama addressed it even though we had tens of thousands of people doing the

same thing but he mitigated. He actually provided resources in order to

stop the flow. He allowed so that minors can go into the U.S. embassies at

their location of origin so that they wouldn`t have to traverse these.

 

And what are the Trump administration do? It`s one of the first things he

zeroed out. What did he do on Friday? He got it aid to Honduras, to

Guatemala, to El Salvador because they weren`t taking care of the problem.

You can`t take care of a problem if you exasperated and unless we start

making sure that we are continuing shining a light, it demonstrates what

the priorities are in this country.

 

And let`s be clear Lawrence, the moment the AP came out with an article

talking about that the crass conditions of these borders, what does the

government do? They immediately shut it down and moved these kids to better

conditions. What that says is that this President only knows one thing and

that it means bad publicity.

 

So we need to make sure that we continue to shine a light on it like you

are tonight but we also need people and bodies, we need American people

coming out in droves. Last year, to this day, Veto Latino and half a dozen

organizations went and marched in Tornio, Texas and we helped shut that

facility down.

 

We can`t stop because the children are the ones that at the end of the day

are the ones that actually give us hope, they give us life and we`re not

doing justice by them.

 

O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa Kumar, Jonathan Ryan, thank you both for joining us

tonight, really appreciate it.

 

KUMAR: Thank you Lawrence.

 

RYAN: Thank you.

 

O`DONNELL: And when we come back, Joy Reid will join us on her show

Saturday morning, she interviewed journalist and author E. Jean Carroll

about her accusation of rape against Donald Trump after E. Jean Carol told

her story on this program, Friday night.

 

Tonight the President has offered a new defense to this new rape charge and

his defense has an element of confession in it which I`m sure, he didn`t

realize. Joy Reid will consider the President`s new defense and we`ll

discuss Joy`s new book, `The Man Who Sold America.`

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL: On Sunday, Axios released a trove of leaked vetting documents

from the Trump 2016 transition team identifying what they called `red

flags` for potential Trump nominees. Those red flags range from allegations

that people like former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Agriculture

Secretary Sonny Perdue had numerous conflicts of interest and were too

close to the industries they were regulating.

 

When assessing former Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach who was in the

running for Homeland Security Secretary vetters listed white supremacy as a

vulnerability and cited accusations that he had ties to white supremacist

groups.

 

Tonight the Hill has released an interview with President Trump in which he

denies the rape accusation against him that you heard on this program,

Friday night from the journalist and author E. Jean Carroll and on Sunday

morning, E. Jean Carroll also told her story to Joy Reid on Joy`s show here

on MSNBC.

 

In his interview with the Hill tonight the President said, it never

happened. The President actually began his response to the rape accusation,

his response to the Hill in that interview with a lie. The lie was his

first words, I`ll say it with great respect.

 

The President has never said anything with great respect. And what he said

about E. Jean Carroll`s accusation was not said with great respect. And so

after that first lie, here are the presence exact words. “I`ll say it with

great respect. Number one, she`s not my type. Number two, it never

happened, it never happened, OK?

 

So to say she`s not my type in a rape defense, to have that, that be the

very first thing you want to say in your rape defense is another way of

saying, I would rape someone who is my type. We`ll get you Reid`s reaction

after this break.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL: It says right here on the back of this book, Joy Reid

masterfully combines the immediacy of new reporting, the intimacy of a

memoir and the sweep of the history book from an anti-immigrant know-

nothing party of the 1850s to Nelson Mandela`s post-apartheid attempt at

reconciliation.

 

Because I wrote that on the back of her book. `The Man Who Sold America`

delivers a compelling account of how we got to Trumpism and what will

happen next and joining us now is Joy Reid, MSNBC National Correspondent

host of AM Joy on MSNBC and author of `The Man Who Sold America: Trump and

the Unraveling of the American story`

 

So the Trump story that is unraveling tonight because there`s always a

Trump story unraveling at all times. I mean, we have the you know, I just

discovered that some people might get injured if I - if I you know have a

missile strike at Iran, that unraveled, that lie.

 

He now says tonight about E. Jean Carroll who you met and interviewed this

weekend, who I interviewed on Friday night. He says that the rape

accusations he`s making cannot be true because and this is the first thing

he says, these are his words, she`s not my type.

 

JOY REID, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT & HOST OF AM JOY, MSNBC & AUTHOR OF `THE

MAN WHO SOLD AMERICA: TRUMP AND THE UNRAVELING OF THE AMERICAN STORY`: Yes,

it was shocking and I was sitting here listening to you read the story. I

hadn`t heard it before. It is shocking but it`s not shocking coming from

him. I mean the thing about Donald Trump that is consistent is that he`s in

politics because he`s just being who he is and who he is, is, it might

frighten people but appealing to a certain number of people, particularly

white American men who feel that society has stopped letting them be who

they are.

 

And stop letting them be men and stop letting them be macho, has stopped

letting them have it over women and minorities and you feel victimized and

Donald Trump agrees with them and he feels victimised and he feels like you

know, he should just say whatever he wants, but his attitude toward women

is particularly relevant, I think to who he is because part of what`s

changed in America is that women have rights and equality.

 

And it`s one of the things that bugs the people who like Donald Trump.

 

O`DONNELL: What is it that he gets to signal through these controversies

with women because I mean E. Jean made the point that the she thought the

way she was watching it happen in 2016 during the campaign and one reason

why she didn`t come out publicly then is she wasn`t ready to and we all

understand.

 

People are ready when they`re ready. But she said she thought it was

actually working in Trump`s favor. He was somehow turning it in his favor

with his supporters, how does that work?

 

REID: Absolutely, I mean there was a certain point in which I told my team,

this reporting we`re doing on the access Hollywood video is helping him.

This is not hurting him at all. This is actually making him more popular

because the reality is, is that what Donald Trump is a reset.

 

Donald Trump is a signaling to certain Americans who feel that the country

is slid in, there`s polling that shows that if you believe that America was

a better place in the in the 1950s than it is now, that it was a morally

better place when white Christian men had dominion over other people,

socially and culturally, there was - that question being asked

specifically, if you believe that, you`re a Trumpist.

 

You are for Donald Trump so what he`s signaling in the Access Hollywood

video, in the way he talks about E. Jean Carroll is that a man needs to be

able to be a man in the way that he used to be able to be in the forties,

and in the thirties, in the twenties and this new-fangled modernism is

hurting white Christian men.

 

And that he is the guy who`s going to let them be who they are, he`s an

avatar for putting things back the way they used to be.

 

O`DONNELL: Your sweep of history in this book is really impressive. What do

you think is the essential element in how we got to Trump?

 

REID: I think what happened is the Republican Party had a belief that the

elite end, that what Republicanism was about since Barry Goldwater was

small government deregulation and tax policy but in reality, what the

Republican Party was about was what Nixon said it was about.

 

It was about the so called silent majority and people who believe that the

United States had turned its attention away from poor Americans, white

Americans and started to turn its attention toward niche Americans, new

immigrants, brown immigrants, black immigrants, women, gay people, everyone

who wasn`t white Christian men and that the country is going to the dogs

because of it.

 

That the country`s going downhill so Donald Trump got that, he understood

it. He wasn`t always a Republican but he was always Donald Trump, he was

always bad guy and he signaled to people like him that he could set the

country back the way it was and if you look at the data on when white

nationalism and extremism peaked, the two data points are the first time

the United States Census announced that white Americans would become a

minority in the United States by 2052.

 

And the second time which is in about the late 1990s, like 1998 and the

second time which was in August of 2008, while Barack Obama was running for

President and the idea that he could become President because of a non-

white surge demographically and the acceleration of that date from 2052 to

2047, that actually was in the news that summer.

 

And you saw increases in anger, resentment and frankly, white nationalism

as a result and I`m not saying all of his supporters are white nationalists

but the resentment factor data wise is what elected him. The three things

that signal that you are going to vote for Donald Trump, you`re already

Republican, you`d vote for any Republican.

 

You want lower taxes because you`re affluent or you have demographic panic

and resentment, that is what elected, immigration.

 

O`DONNELL: It is all in Joy Reid`s book, `The Man Who Sold America.` I have

read this book.

 

REID: Thank you for the blur by the way, it was awesome.

 

O`DONNELL: I learned a lot. Joy, thank you very much.

 

REID: Thank you.

 

O`DONNELL: I really appreciate it. “THE 11TH HOUR” with Brian Williams

starts now.

 

 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY

BE UPDATED.

END   

 

Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC.  All materials herein are

protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,

distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the

prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter

or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the

content.>