Harris (D-CA) rise, Biden (D-DE) falls. TRANSCRIPT: 7/1/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And we have some polling coming up in this hour showing that Julian Castro
did win some hearts and minds during those debates. His image improved.
There is all sorts of internals saying who do you like better as a result
of the debate. He is one of the people who benefitted.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I saw the early fund-raising numbers that his
campaign put out saying that he got a big bump in fundraising right after
that first night of debates. So, I had a feeling we would see poll numbers
follow. But I`m looking forward to it.
O`DONNELL: Yes, that was my anecdotal experience. My – civilians out
there who let me know what they were thinking, we are kind of texting in,
hey, Julian Castro. I like that guy. People hadn`t paid attention to him
MADDOW: I think that, you know, the campaign matters, the way the
candidates talk and compete with one another matters. Everybody said that
the fundamentals will be true no matter what happens in the campaign.
Well, when these guys get it out there and mix it up, it makes a
difference. This is a super exciting part.
O`DONNELL: It will be fascinating to see what the candidates are like post
debate, especially the ones who did very well. So, we`ll be watching.
MADDOW: Thank you, my dear.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Drinking out of toilets, that`s what children are being told do
by our Border Patrol according to members of Congress who visited the
Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas, that has been condemned by the
inhumane conditions there.
That visit came on a day when a news group described a secret Facebook book
of over 9,000 current and former members of the border patrol who engage in
vicious comments and jokes about the adults and children in their custody
and attacks against the members of Congress who came to visit those
children today. The Facebook posts include graphic sexual jokes about
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She gave her reaction to that
after visiting the border patrol station today and we will bring you that
at the end of this hour.
But first, the photo-op presidency went to North Korea on Sunday. The
president of the United States who can never be believed is trying to
convince you that it was just a spur of the moment decision made by the
president on the road who was headed for South Korea and thought maybe I
should be the first person to set foot into North Korea. But that is not
how it happened.
“The Hill” is reporting that a week before the president stepped into North
Korea, he told them in an off-the-record portion of “The Hill`s” interview
that he might meet with the murderous dictator on his trip to South Korea.
“The Hill” now revealed that off the record portion of the interview in an
exclusive interview with “The Hill” last Monday. Trump said he would be
visiting the DMZ and he might meet with Kim. “The Hill” delayed publishing
news of the trip earlier in the week at the request of the White House
which cited security concerns about publicizing the president`s plans that
far in advance.
And “The Wall Street Journal” is reporting that on Wednesday, President
Moon of South Korea told foreign journalists who`s visiting Seoul that the
U.S. and North Korea had engaged in behind the scenes talks about a third
summit between the two countries` leaders and so, that third summit
happened right there, on Sunday. It was planned.
So there is no reason that anyone should believe that President Trump`s on
the fly tweet was written before all the details of the meeting were locked
down. If Chairman Kim sees this, I would meet him just to shake his hand
and say hello.
The president did a little more than shake his hand and say hello. He said
it was an honor to step across that line into North Korea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I said, hey, I`m over here.
I want to go to Chairman Kim. We got to meet and stepping across that line
was a great honor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: A great honor to actually be standing in the country where Kim
Jong-un has starved so many people and murdered so many people, and
tortured Otto Warmbier. A great honor, that`s what Donald Trump thinks is
a great honor, because it was all about the photo op that the press staff
for the first time in the history of the Trump presidency fought for the
American press to be allowed to get a good picture of the photo-op.
Some observers have mistaken the new White House Press Secretary Stephanie
Grisham pushing around North Korea security staff as fighting for the First
Amendment rights of the traveling White House press corps, but, of course,
she was fighting to keep her job because the only thing that matters in a
photo-op is the photo. She didn`t fight for the right of anyone to ask the
most murderous dictator in the world a question.
Previous presidents have refused to give North Korean dictators the
international legitimacy that a meeting with the president of the United
States used to confer. But by now, it is clear to the world that Donald
Trump doesn`t know what legitimacy is. So, he cannot confer legitimacy on
Of course, President Trump demanded nothing in exchange for granting Kim
Jong-un another meeting. Donald Trump has no idea what his words and
actions will mean to his place in history books, but he does understand the
Guinness Book of World Records. And in order to emphasize the degree of
difficulty of his photo-op achievement of stepping across the border into
North Korea this weekend, he had to lie about it.
Donald Trump decided the best way to make his photo-op look like something
difficult was to tell yet another lie in his stream of pathological lies
about President Barack Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: President Obama wanted to meet and Chairman Kim would not meet him.
The Obama administration was begging for a meeting. They were begging for
meetings constantly. And Chairman Kim would not meet with him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Former Obama deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes
tweeted, Trump is lying. I was there for all eight years. Obama never
sought a meeting with Kim Jong-un. Foreign policy isn`t reality
television, it`s reality.
Former national security adviser Susan Rice tweeted: At the risk of stating
the obvious, this is horse crap.
President Obama`s director of national intelligence, James Clapper, also
said President Obama never expressed around interest in meeting Kim Jong-
un. “The New York Times” is reporting that the Trump administration
officials are working on what would in effect be complete surrender to
North Korea`s dictator on nuclear weapons. Donald Trump has said that the
complete denuclearization of North Korea is the only thing that he would
call success, but now his administration is working on a possible proposal
that North Korea be allowed to keep its nuclear weapons program as it is
today and freeze the development of more nuclear weapons.
National security adviser John Bolton issued a panicked tweet about this,
saying I read this “New York Times” story with curiosity. Neither the NSC
staff nor I have discussed or heart any desire to settle for a nuclear
freeze. This was a reprehensible attempt by someone to box in the
president. There should be consequences.
That was John Bolton advocating that the president find and fire whoever
leaked the proposal that John Bolton seems to know nothing about. John
Bolton sent that tweet from Mongolia where the president sent him instead
of allowing John Bolton, the national security adviser, to accompany the
president to the meeting with Kim Jong-un.
But why would the president need his national security adviser when he had
the highest ranking Trump White House staff member with him? Ivanka Trump
who finally said something that we can all agree on was there. She told
reporters that her getting to shake the hand of the murderous dictator was,
Leading off our discussion now was David Rothkopf, a commentator on foreign
policy and national security issues. His next book is “Traitor: The Case
Against Donald J. Trump”. Also joining us, Tim O`Brien, the executive
editor of “Bloomberg Opinion” and MSNBC contributor.
And, David, am I wrong to believe that the world has been paying attention?
Has shifted a bunch of things that had in place for American presidents,
like the notion of the president conferring legitimacy? This is a big
thing I`m hearing about, oh, Donald Trump made the mistake of conferring
legitimacy. That`s only true if the world thinks Donald Trump can confer
legitimacy on anyone.
DAVID ROTHKOPF, FOREIGN POLICY EXPERT: Well, you can`t confer legitimacy
on people who value legitimacy, right? But Kim Jong-un does not value
legitimacy in a traditional sense. He`ll take any kind he can get.
So, for Kim Jong-un to have Donald Trump come to him, cross the border,
bring his two most trusted advisers, Ivanka and Jared, who he slipped into
the meeting unbeknownst to the White House, despite the fact, of course,
that they were not really eligible for security clearances and the
discussion would be about nukes, for Kim, that`s a big victory. And for
Trump then to leak – and I suspect the person Bolton is most angry at in
his tweet is Trump because Trump is the one who is boxing Bolton out,
boxing Pompeo out, because he wants a deal. That`s another big win for
And as you say, if what we do is end up with a freeze where North Korea
gets to keep 20 to 60 nuclear warheads and we lift sanctions, we kind of
reward them for keeping their nuclear warheads, what a catastrophe that
O`DONNELL: But a worse deal than the Obama-Iran deal.
ROTHKOPF: Dramatically worse. The Iranians would say we would like one of
those, too, please, sir. Of course, there is one problem. The North
Koreans have broken the last two deals they signed with us and we can`t
count on them to do anything.
And we broke the last deal that we had with the Iranians. So, nobody can
trust us to do anything. This is all about the transaction. Trump getting
a win, Kim getting a win, and their countries, not so much.
O`DONNELL: Tim, Donald Trump clearly wants to find a way to say, by the
Republican convention if not sooner, here`s my big win. Big win with North
Korea, whatever he will describe as a big win.
TIM O`BRIEN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, you know, the idea that Donald Trump
thinks strategically about things should be put to rest, hopefully finally
by the events of the last weekend. He thinks theatrically and
cinematically about everything. And for him, a big win is that he gets to
stand in the DMZ and he`s the first president to ever have done so.
O`DONNELL: It`s – the Guinness Book of Records thing is the big win for
him. He`s content with that, right?
O`BRIEN: Completely. That`s the problem here. He doesn`t really care
whether or not he gets us down the road to a sensible place on foreign
policy with Iran, with North Korea, with China.
What he really wants is to be able to say, he looks wonderful. He thinks
that about his family members and himself and he will ice out his White
House aides to get here and ice out ultimately the American public. And I
think that`s what`s dangerous here, is that his thinking isn`t goal-
oriented and is completely self-referential.
O`DONNELL: Tim, let`s stay with Ivanka Trump`s word for this – surreal.
And there she has my complete agreement. There is the president, there`s
his daughter in this situation. What did that conjure for you watching
O`BRIEN: It`s another episode of “The Apprentice”. Unfortunately, it`s
happening in North Korea. It wasn`t just surreal there, but the whole
weekend from the Ivanka perspective was surreal beginning with the G-20
She was popping in and out of meetings she was not qualified to attend.
She lacks the intellect, experience, and insight to be sitting with the
president in a number of these meetings, and the DMZ visit was sort of this
bizarre cherry on top of a very strange weekend in which the Trumps were
putting U.S. policy and the U.S. position in the world geopolitically to
their own self branding mission.
O`DONNELL: David, let`s go back to John Bolton`s situation. It`s the most
desperate public statement that I am aware of a national security adviser
ever making in the history of the job. Here he is. He is off literally in
Mongolia, which kind of sounds like the punch line of a joke between Russia
An important place in the world, but not visited very often by American
officials. And that`s where the president has sent him specifically so he
won`t be there.
And then the “New York Times” said the Trump administration is working on
basically a form of caving to North Korea, which North Korea it`s not clear
they accepted or if they did, they would cheat on it later. Bolton
desperately tries to tweet into this story and his tweet includes two
things. One, the story is not true. Two, a direct message to the
president, find and fire whoever leaked this idea to the “New York Times.”
What does this tell us about where John Bolton is in this administration
and how long he will be in this administration?
ROTHKOPF: Well, John Bolton is in Mongolia.
ROTHKOPF: That`s where he is. You know, they sent him there, but it`s the
kind of, you know, metaphorically the second time they sent him there in a
week. A week earlier on the Iran deal, he was pushing let`s go, let`s go
to war, let`s do this.
And Trump was like, oh, John, you are a warmonger, get out of the room,
we`re not going to do that. I`m not going to go to war and he sort of
patted him down, patted him away and jokes about him. Trump goes around
and says, you know, he`s a mad man, you know? I`m not like that. But it`s
good to have him around.
Then he gets – goes off and sends him to Mongolia. John Bolton is the
pretty face of American national security. That`s it. There is nothing
else going on there.
Trump likes to do it all one on one. Just like there is no need for a
press secretary and there is no real need for a national security adviser.
He meets with Putin alone. He meets with MBS alone. He meets with Xi
He does these things – I mean, he has people on either side with him
sometimes at the table, but he does it all one on one. And, you know, the
clock is tick. How many Scaramuccis does Bolton have left. I don`t know.
O`BRIEN: What`s strange is he can`t get it done alone. As much as he
thinks he wants to pull this off on his own, he lacks the firepower and the
ability to get anything done programmatically.
ROTHKOPF: You got it right. And, you know, with all respect, Ben Rhodes
got it wrong. This is a reality show. Donald Trump views it as a reality
O`DONNELL: Well, Ben Rhodes wasn`t saying this isn`t a reality show. He`s
saying foreign policy is not a reality show.
ROTHKOPF: It shouldn`t be, but I think Trump foreign policy is a reality
ROTHKOPF: It`s about the shot. It`s about the dramatic reveal. It`s
about the cliff hanger and what may happen next.
It`s not about national interest. It`s not about outcomes. It`s not about
anything national security has been about. But it is exactly what “The
Apprentice” used to be about.
O`DONNELL: David Rothkopf gets the LAST WORD in our opening round.
David Rothkopf and Tim O`Brien, thank you both for starting us off.
And when we come back, we have new polling, important new polling of the
Democratic presidential candidates after the debate. There are some very
big gainers, big winners in these post-debate polls, important developments
in those polls at this stage of the game.
And also later in this hour, you will hear from a 12-year-old girl who
lived in the horrific conditions inside the U.S. Border Patrol facility in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TWELVE-YEAR-OLD GIRL HELD IN DETENTION FOR 12 DAYS: Yes, some children,
like the age of my sister, they cry for their mother or their father. They
cried for their aunt, hey missed them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We now have our first set of post-debate polls from the
presidential field of the candidates and the new polls shows Senators
Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris moving up, moving up in a big way.
In a new Morning Consult poll, Kamala Harris doubled support moving up to a
tie for third place with Senator Elizabeth Warren at 12 percent. Bernie
Sanders unmoved at 19 percent. Joe Biden is down in that poll 5 points,
but remains a strong front-runner in the poll with 33 percent.
And then a new CNN poll out tonight shows Joe Biden dropping 10 points,
down to 22 percent, which still leaves him in first place while Kamala
Harris moved up nine points to second place with 17 percent in that poll.
Elizabeth Warren gained eight points in that poll and moved up to 15
percent. Bernie Sanders lost four points, and moved down to 14 percent.
But technically the margin of error leaves Senator Harris, Senator Warren,
Senator Sanders all in a statistically tie.
Joining our discussion now is Maria Urbina, national political director of
Indivisible. Also with us, Jennifer Palmieri, former White House
communications director for President Obama and a former communications
director for Hillary Clinton`s presidential campaign.
Jennifer, what happened? What do the polls tell us? Let`s just – let`s
put it out there. It`s a snapshot. It could change next week. It
apparently is a reaction to the debate.
Your reaction to that?
JENNIFER PALMIERI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR PRESIDENT
OBAMA: Yes, I did note that Biden`s pollster had tweeted that this was
over a weekend and we shouldn`t take them too seriously. She went for the
king and she got him and she went up nine points. You know, he went down,
Biden, in that CNN poll by 10 points and Kamala Harris went up nine.
O`DONNELL: Wait, wait, guidance for the audience. When you see polls that
have different movements in them.
O`DONNELL: Kamala Harris moved in both, but in one Joe Biden drops much
more in the other.
PALMIERI: Right. In the CNN, he drops down to 22.
O`DONNELL: How do the campaigns read that when they get two different –
PALMIERI: I think they are outliers, right? But it can make the staff
nervous, because you`re like, is that – which one of this is the outlier.
And yes, it`s hard to poll over a weekend in the summer. There is lots of
reasons to doubt exactly where Biden is, but certainly you have to
acknowledge that Kamala Harris had a strategy to go after Biden and he was
going to do that to her benefit and to hurt him and that seems to have
I think that it doesn`t mean that it`s going to stay in that order, you
know, of Biden, Harris, Warren, Sanders, but I do think that it means we
have entered the dynamic stage of the primary where the safety has been
taken off and Biden is not – you know, can`t be viewed as the ultimate
front runner and this thing can be dynamic and you will see a lot of lead
changes from now on.
O`DONNELL: Maria, what do polls mean for activists and volunteers and
energy in the different campaigns?
MARIA URBINA, NATIONAL POLITICAL DIRECTOR, INDIVISIBLE: This is great for
our community and our community of organizers. Our community has been
really excited and engaged from the beginning, all the way from the very
first Democratic forum here talking about Democratic reforms. We saw the
movement get really involve and we have started to see the early insights
around Castro, for example.
When our movement gets to know Castro, they get really excited about him
even though they don`t know a lot about him coming in. We saw that after
the first debate night when we released our first SMS flash poll of over
6,000 members. And what our 6,000 members said that first night that
Warren and Castro took it.
So, what`s exciting for us is activist who is continue to be engaged across
their communities, Indivisible leaders are engaged and they are sort of
calling this a little bit earlier than we are seeing in some of the public
opinion polling. That`s a good thing because it means it is not
inevitable. It means this is dynamic and we are happy to be engage and a
part of this race this early on.
O`DONNELL: Jennifer, I think to no one`s surprise, Donald Trump, Jr.
retweeted a racist tweet about Kamala Harris, that brought out Elizabeth
Warren and other Democrats immediately basically standing up for Kamala
Here`s the way Joe Biden responded to it. He said: The same forces of
hatred rooted in birtherism that questioned Barack Obama`s American
citizenship and even his racial identity are now being used against Kamala
Harris. It`s disgusting and we have to call it out. When we see it,
racism has no place in America.
PALMIERI: Yes, and I think everyone – as far as I could discern, each of
the presidential candidates had some sort of comment about that in response
to what Don, Jr. did. And that was a disturbing story behind the troll
farm that created that moment.
O`DONNELL: That strikes me as Donald Trump, Jr. manages to unite all of
the Democratic candidates after a debate. Who else could do that?
PALMIERI: It`s true. We will call on him often once we get to the general
election and we can count him to help –
O`DONNELL: All right. We`re going to squeeze in a break here, and when we
come back, we`re going to continue with more of the information in these
polls and some new and positive information for the Buttigieg campaign.
O`DONNELL: Today, Mayor Pete Buttigieg`s campaign announced that they
would bring in $24.8 million in the second quarter of 2019. That`s more
than three times the amount that campaign picked up during the first
And a new poll from “HuffPost” UGov found that the candidate who did the
most to improve the image among voters was Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Fifty-eight percent of voters in that poll said that their views of
Elizabeth Warren improved after the debate compared to just 4 percent who
said their views of Elizabeth Warren worsened. Fifty-eight percent also
said that their view of Kamala Harris improved after the debates with more,
9 percent, saying that their views of her worsened.
They were followed by former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian
Castro, 44 percent of voters said their opinions of Julian Castro improved
after the debates, with just 7 percent saying opinions of him worsened.
Maria Urbina and Jennifer Palmieri are back with us.
And, Jennifer, what do you make of that part of the polls, saying my view
of this person improved? That seems like a very important internal.
That`s a building block.
PALMIERI: Yes. Yes, there is two big - there`s two questions like for us,
like we have the - did your view of that person improve or do you want to
know more about them? Right? And I think the lesson to the candidates,
they`re looking for that number to go up. Like, Julian Castro, I think, saw
that. It`s like how I`m interested in him. I want to know more about that.
I think Amy Klobuchar saw that, too.
But for both Harris and Warren, in the beginning of this primary because
it`s already been going on for six months and where we still have, I think,
more than seven months to go before anyone votes, but the men were doing
well. Right? Early polls had Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg and O`Rourke leading
and the women were trailing.
And I think that having worked for a woman candidate myself that it
sometimes it takes voters longer to buy in to women candidates, and you see
that surge happening now with both Warren and Harris. I noted that in the
CNN poll, they went up - I think Kamala went up nine and Warren went up
eight, and the 17 points all came from white men. But that may be - I do -
I suspect that maybe that support for women might be more durable because
they`ve (ph) been tested a little more.
O`DONNELL: And Maria, there`s also this electability issue, which voters
have been talking about a lot. And the Huffington Post`s YouGov poll still
shows Joe Biden at the top in electability, 57%, but it`s a drop. In the
last month, it`s a drop for him on that electability score and then an
increase for Senator Warren, increase for Senator Harris, Bernie Sanders
staying right about the same, Pete Buttigieg staying right about the same,
and a drop for Beto O`Rourke. But now you have Senator Warren and Senator
Harris climbing up in a territory relatively close to where Joe Biden is
now on that electability issue.
URBINA: That`s right, Lawrence. And it`s a considerable drop for Vice
President Biden, and it has to be noted. I think the other piece that`s
true here is that for all of the historic candidates in the race, once
viewers and candidates - pardon me - once voters and activists get to see
them on stage, get to see them compete, get to see their visions put
forward in an exciting and clear and specific way, folks are reacting to
them. And so that`s part of what you`re seeing is they`re getting to know
them. They`re being excited by them.
And one of the things that we often hear from our movement is that it`s
early, that they want to get to know folks, and that - yes, sure, Vice
President Biden and Senator Sanders have early support because of their
name ID. They`ve run major national campaigns. So they come into this cycle
Now, as they took the stage for the first time with a slate of historic
candidates with big ideas, bold ideas, and immigration and democracy
reform, you are seeing folks get excited right alongside them. And that`s
what we are seeing over the weekend.
O`DONNELL: And Jennifer, as we`ve learned repeatedly now, you cannot win
the Democratic nomination without the black voters, you can`t win the
general election without black voters for the Democrat. And the CNN poll
shows a big shift in what`s happening with black support for Kamala Harris.
It was 6% after the debate. Now it has shot up to 24%. Joe Biden, very
strong at 49%, still very, very strong at 36% as the leader among black
voters. But that`s a pretty big movement for Senator Harris.
PALMIERI: And it`s sort of - I mean, it`s like a dam-breaking moment for
Senator Harris because if black voters had, say, consolidated behind Vice
President Biden, that was going to make it very hard for anyone to
ultimately move up in a sort of sustained way. And - this is just one -
these are polls - this is just the first set of polls and they were done
And I think what matters now is what does Senator Harris - what does she do
next? Does she continue to go after Biden? I`m not sure there`s a lot of
percentage in that. She`s probably going to go out and make her own case.
She knows that people are going to be watching her in the next few weeks.
We have the debate coming up in - at the end of July. That could be set up
for as a comeback moment for Joe Biden if he`s able to deliver a stronger
But the black voters consolidating behind Biden had been sort of a
(inaudible) for him. And I think that I`m not surprised to see the race
become more dynamic. It doesn`t mean that Joe Biden can`t become the
eventual nominee. I bet his staff is not surprised to see these numbers
move around like they are, but it does mean that we`re in a really
different part of the campaign than we were a couple of months ago.
O`DONNELL: Jennifer Palmieri and Maria Urbina, thank you both very much for
joining us. I really appreciate it.
URBINA: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. And when we come back, a 12-year-old girl who has
endured the horrific conditions inside that U.S. Border Patrol station at
Clint, Texas, you will hear her speak on video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translated): It was ugly in there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: It was ugly in there. That was how a 12-year-old girl described
the conditions inside the U.S. Customs and Border Protection station in
Clint, Texas. She and her six-year-old sister were held for about two weeks
there after being separated from their aunt.
She told a lawyer, who will join us in a moment - a partner of the lawyer
who will join us in a moment, that the children were not allowed to bathe
or play and somewhere locked away when they cried for their parents. Here
are portions of the video made by one of the girl`s lawyers and obtained
and released by the Associated Press.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translated): They gave us little food. Some children
did not bathe, they didn`t bathe them. They treated us badly where we were.
They were mean to us.
ALISON GRIFFITH, STAFF ATTORNEY, THE ADVOCATES FOR HUMAN RIGHTS` REFUGEE &
IMMIGRANT PROGRAM (translated): Were there many children there?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translated): Yes, there were many children and they
were treated badly. They didn`t bathe. They gave them little food, children
GRIFFITH (translated): And would they sometimes scream?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translated): Yes, some children, like the age of my
sister, they would cry for their mother or their father. They cried for
their aunt, they missed them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And she says the children were forced to sleep on the floor and
were not given the medical care that they needed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFITH (translated): And where did you sleep? Did you sleep on beds?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translated): They slept on just the floor.
GRIFFITH (translated): Did they give you blankets or not?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translated): They would only give us one blanket.
GRIFFITH (translated): And was it enough to withstand the cold?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translated): No, some children were sick. They said
that they`d take them to hospitals, but they wouldn`t take them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Attorney Taylor Levy of El Paso, Texas helped reunite the girl
and her sister with their mother in the United States.
Attorney Taylor Levy will join us after this break.
O`DONNELL: Here`s more of that video interview with the 12-year-old girl
who was held at the Border Patrol station in Clint, Texas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFITH (translated): Anything else you might remember from inside the
detention center that made you scared or feel uncomfortable?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (translated): The way they treated us, some children
did not sleep, almost. It was ugly in there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now is Taylor Levy, an immigration
attorney in El Paso, Texas, who helped reunite that 12-year-old girl and
her sister with their mother here in the United States.
Thank you very much for joining us and I appreciate you helping us. Tell us
about how you got into the legal position of representing this little girl
and how long it took for you to get her reunited with her mother.
TAYLOR LEVY, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: Thank you so much for having me here
tonight. I`m an attorney here in El Paso, Texas. I was contacted by the
girl`s other attorney, Alison, who works for the Advocates for Human Rights
up in the Twin Cities area in Minnesota. She contacted me because she knew
that I did work on the border.
She contacted me through some friends, and that was during the weekend. And
she said that Border Patrol had called the mother and told them that since
the girls kept getting hospitalized and they kept bouncing back to the
hospital, they would be willing to release the girls to the mother if she
flew down from Minnesota. So she kind of dropped everything, jumped on a
plane and arrived on Sunday, June 2nd. And then we worked a lot on June
2nd, on June 3rd to get her reunited.
O`DONNELL: And their mother has been in the United States for a few years.
At this point, they were living with their aunt. And is - are the - the
girls` mother, is she undocumented at this point?
LEVY: The girls` mother is an asylum-seeker. She had to flee their home
country, flee in extreme domestic violence about four years ago because the
abuser said he was going to kill her and beat her repeatedly. And at that
time, he was not hurting the girls. So she was able to flee successfully
seeking asylum in the United States. And the girls were then later
targeted, and that`s why the aunt had to make the decision to bring them to
the United States as well because they weren`t safe anywhere in their home
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Congressman Joaquin Castro said today after
visiting that facility.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX): When we went into the cell, it was clear that
the water was not running. There was a toilet, but there was no running
water for people to drink. In fact, one of the women said that she was told
by an agent to drink water out of the toilet.
These are the conditions - these are the conditions that have been created
by the Trump administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Were you surprised by any of those distributions inside?
LEVY: I was absolutely not ascribed (ph) by any of those conditions that
were explained either in that clip or in the rest of the clips that we`ve
heard today from the Congress people.
O`DONNELL: I want to show some video that Congressman Castro took while he
was inside the facility. They were not supposed to use their cameras in any
way and - but Congressman Castro managed to get his on. There`s a little
bit of background sound that you can hear from that video. This shows the
way some of the adults are being kept there. And we also have other members
of Congress who were in there today. And you met with some of them after
the fact and some of them had a very emotional reaction to what they saw.
Tell us about that.
LEVY: I did. After the tours, I was able to meet with Congresswoman
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and also Pressley. We were able to meet. They came
and toured one of the enunciation house sites of hospitality along with a
few other activist groups. We met and we spoke to them for a couple of
hours. They were clearly very emotional and affected by what they had seen.
I think one of the biggest things that we were trying to tell them about
what they had seen, it was so much better than it would have been had they
not known that there was a Congressional visit.
The aunt of these little girls, for example, we`ve been trying to get her
out of those conditions for over 35 days, and she was just surprise
transferred to an ICE facility in Arizona on Sunday. And we know that those
cells that are shown in that video that Joaquin Castro leaked, those are
much fewer people than are normally held in those cells. They normally
don`t have blankets like that. That was actually very surprising.
O`DONNELL: Attorney Taylor Levy, thank you very much for joining us and I
really appreciate it.
LEVY: Thank you very much.
O`DONNELL: When we come back, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went
to the border today, as ProPublica revealed a Customs and Border Patrol
Facebook page, not an official page, but one that involves current and
former workers on the Border Patrol that includes graphic sexual jokes as
well as other attacks about Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. That`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): Well, we saw today was
unconscionable. No child should ever be separated from their parents. No
child should ever be taken from their family. No woman should ever be
locked up in a pen when they have done no harm to another human being. They
should be given water. They should be given basic access to human rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in Clint, Texas
today outside the Border Patrol station there that has been holding
children in unsanitary and unhealthy conditions.
Before the Congresswoman got there today, A.C. Thompson reported in
ProPublica that a secret Border Patrol Facebook group with over 9,000
current and former members of the Border Patrol have been attacking the
Congresswoman on Facebook. A.C. Thompson told Chris Hayes what he found in
that Facebook group.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
A.C. THOMPSON, PROPUBLICA REPORTER: When I see members of federal law
enforcement agencies posting memes about essentially sexually assaulting a
sitting Congresswoman - I have never seen anything like that. It is so, so
upsetting and so vulgar.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The Facebook group includes graphic sexual jokes about
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In Texas, she tweeted this today.
Just left the first CBP facility. I see why CBP officers were being so
physically and sexually threatening towards me. Officers were keeping women
in cells with no water and had told them to drink out of the toilets. This
was them on their GOOD behavior in front of members of Congress.”
Joining us now is Maria Teresa Kumar, the President and CEO of Voto Latino
and an MSNBC contributor.
Maria Teresa, your reaction to that visit to the border today and what
we`ve discovered about ProPublica`s reporting about that secret Facebook
group of current and former Border Patrol agents?
MARIA TERESA KUMAR, VOTO LATINO PRESIDENT & MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first
of all, the fact that the Congressional members delegation actually had
access, I applaud them because they were forceful to make sure that we
could actually see what was happening, that despite the fact that the
Border Patrol confiscated their smartphones and they were still able to get
audio and video shows that, first of all, this should be completely
transparent to the rest of the country. What are they trying to hide? These
are asylum-seekers. These are individuals that are coming to the country
asking for asylum, and they`re being treated horribly.
Lawrence, the fact that close to 9,500 Border Patrol agents are on that
Facebook group, there are 20,000 Border Patrol agents in total. So we`re
talking about nearly half of individuals that are present and retired that
are participating in a toxic culture that is basically feeding this idea of
not only inhumanity but it allows it to translate into real life policy and
The fact that they`re going after a sitting Congresswoman and using it in a
misogynistic way just details the fact that they are doing that - if that
they`re doing that to her who actually has power and resources to draw
attention, imagine what they`re doing to the children and to the families
and to the women who don`t have that access.
The fact that we also know that the majority of the children that are in
these detentions, Lawrence, they have families living in this country.
Close to 70% of the children actually have a relative that they can pick up
the phone and be reunited tomorrow. But instead, this President decides
that cruelty is the policy, and they want to make sure that they`re
creating a caustic behavior that is going to be enduring and unfortunately
traumatizing these individuals is unacceptable.
And I do applaud the members of Congress that were finally able to break
through and have the rest of the country reveal what is happening inside.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Congressman Castro said about that Facebook
group of current and former Border Patrol agents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CASTRO: That was a vulgar, disgusting and vile page. That shows,
unfortunately, that there are many within CBP who have become desensitized
to the point of becoming dangerous to the migrants in their care and to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa, this Facebook group makes jokes about people dying
at the border. So the desensitized I think is not quite the word for what
we`re talking about.
KUMAR: No, it`s absolutely grotesque. And I have to - there are agents that
enlisted themselves to basically protect this country. And right now, the
resources that they are taking away from identifying individuals that can
actually cause us harm and that are perpetuating a culture that is caustic,
that is dehumanizing, that is the crassest of our possible behavior.
We have had six children die under this President. Before then, zero. So
there is a strong contrast. When the American people are hearing that there
is - that there are folks coming into the border and that we just don`t
have the resources, that is not true. We are spending as taxpayers $700 on
each individual that has been incarcerated. We can`t even get them
toothpaste. We can`t even get them the basic decency of being able to sleep
at night so that they can actually see the next day.
And unless there is really reckoning from the top of the administration all
the way on down, we are going to see more deaths and we are going to see a
stain on our history. And we have to make sure that we continue this
transparency, because the idea that, again, these children have relatives
in this country that they can be released tomorrow but instead this
administration is maximizing cruelty is not only inacceptable, but it`s all
on our watch. And we have to make sure that we continue this coverage.
Lawrence, I applaud you because this is not something that`s new to you.
You have been doing this from the very beginning and you have been sounding
O`DONNELL: I have to say it`s very moving when you go to the region. When I
was down there, I couldn`t get into any facilities, but just standing
outside of them and gazing at them and just realizing what you`ve heard
about what`s going on inside them is a very moving experience.
I want to listen to Congresswoman Nanette Barragan who told Chris Hayes
about her experience today. Let`s listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANETTE BARRAGAN (D-CA): When we got to Clint, Chris, they locked the
kids in these rooms so we wouldn`t talk to them. And there`s a Plexiglas.
You had a small child, maybe three, four years old running up to the
Plexiglas to try to touch us through the glass, to try to get our attention
and asking for his father. It`s pretty heartbreaking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa, your reaction to that?
KUMAR: It`s - everything is heartbreaking, and it`s under our control. I
was in Homestead, Florida, literally 40 minutes outside of Miami. I got
lost trying to get there with two other activists. And you know what they
told me, Lawrence? They said turn right on the Walmart. We turned right on
the Walmart. It was the end of the road.
We were able to get out of the car in the middle of suburbia, and we were
able to witness children walking around in dead heat in Homestead wearing
grey shirts and neon caps, making sure that they were identifiable, walking
around, knowing at the time that we had activists outside trying to make
them feel like they were welcomed but knowing that those young people
inside were two, three, five years old, 17 years old with family in this
region, and we couldn`t get them out because the government has decided
that it`s much more profitable to keeping them there than being just and
O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa Kumar gets tonight`s LAST WORD. Thank you very
much for joining us tonight.
KUMAR: Thank you Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: That is tonight`s LAST WORD. “THE 11TH HOUR” with Brian
Williams starts now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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.>
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