Trump: people chanting “send her back” TRANSCRIPT: 7/19/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: And case after case, the companies allowed the
drugs to reach the streets of communities large and small despite
persistent red flags that those pills were being sold in apparent violation
of federal law and diverted to the black market.”
“The Post” has been reporting out the details of what they are learning
from this database that they have pried loose from the government. They`ve
also to their credit, released it now for every body to see and to search
for your own community.
You just click on your state, click on your county and see the exact number
of pills per person that have been unleashed on your community during this
time period. It`s just a remarkable tool. We`ve got it for seven years.
Hopefully, we`ll get it for every year.
A lot of powerful companies wanted to keep this secret, but now we all have
access to it thanks to the work of these journalists who kept fighting and
didn`t take no for an answer. Thanks to “The Washington Post” and West
Virginia`s “Charleston Gazette Mail.”
I don`t know if you love your local paper or you hate your local paper. If
you haven`t read it in so long you don`t remember, but regardless, do it
anyway. Subscribe to your local paper. Your country needs you to. That does
it for us tonight. We will see you again on Monday. And now it`s time for
the “LAST WORD.” The great Joy Reid, sitting in for Lawrence tonight. Joy,
I took your first 58 seconds. I`m very sorry.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: No, it was very much worth it. An I have to tell
you, as I`m listening to you, Rachel, this is drug dealing, right? I mean,
if this was like the 80`s and you transport this back, these would be drug
dealers, you know.
And so we are treating it because it`s prescription drugs like it is
something other than drug dealing, but that is what it is, right. I mean
what you just described as massive national drug dealing rings essentially.
MADDOW: At a corporate scale and with corporate data management to match
it. I mean, for Wal-Mart to know – Wal-Mart to have the information that
in a town of 4,000 people in Virginia, they shipped 3.4 million opioid
pills into a town of 4,000 people over the course of one year.
MADDOW: They knew that. They had that information and they did it anyway
and it got worse year after year after year.
MADDOW: All these companies knew it and they kept doing it. And we never
had the data to prove it before and now we do.
REID: Yes. And now we do – and also you said Wal-Mart, I mean, they`re
preying on the poor. I mean, I lived in Florida for 14 years. Massive,
massive epidemics that they kind of – like they extrapolate, right? Like
once people are addicted to one kind of pain medication, sometimes and they
go and migrate to other kinds of narcotics. And so you`re creating this
whole addictive nation.
It`s like a combination of the drug dealing epidemic of the 1980s, right,
or just, you know, constant, constant drug dealing, along with the tobacco
industry where they knew what they were doing and they knew it was killing
people, but they kept doing it. It`s like those two scandals combined.
MADDOX: It is. It`s like, I mean – and actually the legal effort around
trying to hold the companies to account parallels the tobacco industry I
think more than it parallels anything else. The difference here is that the
pills that we`re talking about here as opposed to tobacco are all the more
deadly and (inaudible) at a shorter timeframe.
REID: Yes. It`s insane.
MADDOX: It`s stunning and it`s amazing work of public service journalism
for us to have this database now.
REID: Yes. Keep journalism going, it`s very important. Thank you very
MADDOX: Subscribe to your local paper. Thanks Joy.
REID: Absolutely. Absolutely. You are a godsend. Thank you so much,
Rachel. I appreciate you. All right, coming up – oh, no, not coming up,
right now. I`m Joy Reid in Lawrence O`Donnell. And tonight, here`s the
question. Is Hope Hicks in trouble?
The former White House communications director is being called back to the
White House Judiciary Committee to clarify “inconsistencies” in her
testimony about those illegal hush money payments made to silence women
during the 2016 campaign who claim to have had sexual affairs with Donald
Trump while he was married to his third and current wife. Now, we will
break down the legal troubles that Hicks might be facing.
And it was lock her up in a white hood. That`s how North Carolina`s largest
newspaper described the racist chants at the president`s rally this week.
We will speak to the editor who wrote those scathing words.
But first, that didn`t last long. Having read the talking points that was
scrambled into his hands by nervous Republicans for almost an entire day,
Donald Trump pulled a full Charlottesville today, praising his supporters
who chanted “send her back” to attack Congresswoman Ilhan Omar at his North
Carolina campaign rally as “incredible patriots.”
Yes, just 24 hours ago, Trump, per those nervous Republican talking points,
claimed that he disapproved of the racist chant about Congresswoman Omar
and he even tried to stop it, he says. He got some nice headlines that were
claiming that he was disavowing the chant from some of the news media who
indulged in the perennial false balance tick of pretending whatever the
president says is true and it`s a given fact. But not everybody fell for
the banana in the tailpipe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump, you said you were unhappy with the
chant. However the chant was just repeating what you said in your tweet. Do
you take that tweet back?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know what I`m unhappy
with? You know what I`m unhappy with? I`m unhappy with the fact that a
congresswoman can hate our country. Those people in North Carolina, that
stadium was packed, it was a record crowd and I could have filled it 10
times, as you know.
Those are incredible people. Those are incredible patriots. But I`m unhappy
when a congresswoman goes and said I`m going to be the president`s
nightmare. She`s going to be the president`s nightmare. She is lucky to be
where she is. Let me tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And Donald Trump didn`t even stop doing the underlying thing and
just kept on fanning the flame that to be clear, put her in danger by
continuing to attack Congresswoman Omar. Trump has provided zero evidence
that Congresswoman Omar ever said that she hates the United States.
And earlier this week, she in fact said “I probably love this country more
than anyone that is naturally born.” But for Trump supporters, who cares
what the actual facts are since whatever he says or tweets is the news.
Hours later, Trump broadened his attacks to include all four members of the
squad, Omar as well as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna
Pressley and Rashida Tlaib.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You can`t speak about our country the way those four congressmen.
They said garbage. They say things about Israel that is so bad I`m not even
going to repeat them right now. They can`t get away with that act. Not the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: They can`t get away with it. Trump`s statement as a “Washington
Post” points out, is at odds with the Constitution, which grants every
American the right of free speech – but details.
But continued attacks on the support for people who shouted a racist chant
is becoming standard Trump playbook where the Republican Party now faces
the daunting possibility of having to own as the theme of the 2020 campaign
that kind of rhetoric.
Meanwhile, real leaders are speaking up. And they are not offering the
mealy mouthed both sides rhetoric that avoids confronting Donald Trump like
we`ve heard from Mitch McConnell and other wobbly-kneed Republicans.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama issued a rare rebuke on twitter saying,
“What truly makes our country great is its diversity. I have seen that
beauty in so many ways over the years. Whether we are born here or seek
refuge here, there is a place for us all. We must remember it`s not my
America or your America, it`s our America.”
And the condemnation, the disgust aimed at the president of the United
States is not just global, I mean, isn`t just local. It`s global. Here`s
Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: I think the comments made were
hurtful, wrong and completely unacceptable. And I want everyone in Canada
to know that those comments are completely unacceptable and should not be
allowed or encouraged in Canada.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: German Chancellor Angela Merkel had a stronger criticism of the
president`s racist attacks on four American congress women.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): Do you personally feel solidarity
with the women who were attacked?
ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY: Yes. Yes. I distance myself firmly
from this and feel solidarity with the three women who were attacked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: The world is watching. And today, it is the United States of
America, the former beacon of the free world that is the subject of global
revulsion and disgust because of the raw ugly racism and ethno-nationalism
of our president.
As for the congresswomen at the center of Donald Trump`s racist attacks,
they are showing the strength and the resilience that actually is what this
country is supposed to be about and refusing to back down in the face of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): It`s taken us 240 years for us to
have this unique composite of a Congress in this moment, and we will not go
We will not go back.
We will not go back to the days of injustice. We will not roll back our
rights. We will not deny liberty to our trans brothers and sisters. We will
not deny our own humanity at the border. We will not go back. We will go
But we sure as hell will not stand still.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Leading off our discussion are Daniella Gibbs Leger, former special
assistant to President Obama and she`s the executive vice president of
communications and strategy for the Center for American Progress.
And Tara Dowdell, Democratic strategist and the president of the Tara
Dowdell Group, and she was a contestant on the third season of “The
Apprentice.” I`m going to start with you Tara her at the table. I mean, you
have been very open even during the campaign of saying Donald Trump is a
TARA DOWDELL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Right.
REID: OK, full stop. We know that from his history. But where he is going
now is separate from racism. It`s white nationalism, right. And that is
defined as wanting to have a country that is for white people, right. And
that kind of rhetoric, that`s not something I think even a Republican Party
was prepared for, but did it surprise you that he is now openly going in
DOWDELL: It doesn`t surprise me at all because he has been escalating,
he`s been testing the waters all along. He saw that he got away with saying
Mexicans are rapists. He saw that he got away with attacking Congresswoman
Maxine Waters saying she was low I.Q.
His consistent attacks against women of color, women generally, but in
particular, women of color. We saw that with April Ryan. Remember that
DOWDELL: We saw that with Abby Philipps. We saw that with a number of a
black female journalist. And so I think that he`s tested the waters. He`s
saying that his base has not only responded well, but responding extremely
well and are parroting back those things that he is saying.
So because he has escalated his behavior, it was no surprise to me that he
will continue to do it until he stopped.
DOWDELL: That`s what – to me that is what this is indicative of. Until
someone stops Donald Trump, until he is held accountable, he`s saying that
he`s not going to be held accountable by his own party.
DOWDELL: He`s saying that the base is going to reward it and he`s
rewarding it. And he`s saying that the Democratic Party hasn`t really done
much to hold him accountable. So why would he stop?
REID: Yes. And Danielle, you worked for one of Donald Trump`s chief
triggers, right, President Obama. And when Donald Trump led the birthierism
crusade, that crusade produced a lot of threats to President Obama, who
already had the most threats of any president before him because he was
black and a black man, you know, serving as the president of the United
Well now what we`ve seen is that Democrats, fellow Democrats are afraid –
they are actually afraid for the lives of these women particularly Ilhan
“Politico” is reporting that senior Democrats are now calling for
authorities to evaluate security for Ilhan Omar as well as the three others
lawmakers who Trump called out by name at his Wednesday night rally in
North Carolina, warning that Trump has escalated the risks of threats or
even acts of violence toward the four minority freshmen.
Let me quickly play Amy Klobuchar who is from – is Representative Omar`s
state. She is a senator from that state and here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): One, is what he is saying to the people of this
country about the nature of immigrants. Well, we all come from immigrants.
The second is that he is actually putting her in a threat situation. He`s
putting her at risk.
If I were her, I would, you know, immediately call the FBI and say, what do
I need for protection? Do you think I need more protection? Are there
threats? It`s hard to believe she is not going to get threats` coming out
of a rally like that that was on every T.V. station in our country this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: I mean, Danielle, have you ever thought that you would see the
president of the United States become a physical threat to a member of
Congress let alone any American citizen?
DANIELLA GIBBS LEGER, EXECUTIVE V.P. OF COMMUNICATIOSN, CENTER FOR AMERICAN
PROGRESS: You know, honestly, I never thought I would see the day. You
know, I have a podcast that I co-host for CAP and I was ranting this week
about how, you know, I used to hear the “go back to Africa” and things like
that when I was a kid growing up and I never thought that I would hear
those words from the president of the United States.
And it is clear that he does not care that his words are potentially
putting these women`s lives in danger. Congresswoman Omar was walking down
the street the other day and I was legitimately worried and concerned about
her safety because it didn`t appear that she had any security around her.
And you know, I just want to echo something that Tara said, like the reason
why Donald Trump is doing this is because he can, because he`s getting away
with it, because nobody is checking him, because his party, they have
decided that they are OK with white nationalism. They are OK with racism
because it will allow them to what, get their tax cuts passed. It will
allow them to stack the courts with right wing judges.
They don`t care about the safety of their fellow members of Congress. They
don`t care about the decorum of the president of the United States. They
just care about protecting the wealthy few. And I don`t know if you can
hear it in my voice, but it really is upsetting and irritating.
REID: Yes. I mean, I`ve read (ph) a little bit of St. Louis Post-Dispatch
(inaudible), two questions for you, Tara. So, the St. Louis Pos-Dispatch
editorial board called out Republicans who haven`t condemned Trump`s and
given the bright red line that Trump is so enthusiastically crossed.
This week, the question of whether to continue supporting him, either
assertively or through inappropriate silence, is no longer merely an
indicator of party loyalty or party priorities. It has become a test of
courage, character, and fundamental decency. All of these elected officials
have failed it.
Two questions on Republicans. They could have gotten tax cuts for the rich,
you know, walked (ph) up the rivers with pollution and let the polluters
pollute. All those policies that they want, the judges, same judges would
have been Jeb Bush`s judges, Marco Rubio`s judges. They could have gotten
the same policies.
So what does it say about the party that they would rather have this guy
who specifically using an ethno-nationalist a set of tropes in order to
remain in power?
DOWDELL: It says what – I said this yesterday. I was asked by one of your
colleagues on “Hardball.” I was asked if Donald Trump was going to stand
behind what he disavowed, right. And I said he was not going to stand
behind this disavow. I said he was going to back track.
And I was right. I said just like he did in Charlottesville like you said
at the top of the show. That`s what he was going to do. Donald Trump saw
and I will say this again and I`m going to keep saying it. He saw the
writing on the wall with the Republican Party. He saw that reaction that
the Republican Party had to President Obama`s presidency. People literally
lost their minds over this black man becoming president.
REID: So did he.
DOWDELL: And he did too, but I wanted to point something out. When
President Obama was first elected, Donald Trump praised him at the very
beginning. But when he saw how the party responded to President Obama,
people calling him all kinds of racist names who were party officials
across this country –
DOWDELL: – not just any old people. These were party officials who were
calling Michelle Obama a monkey, and ape in heels, all of that stuff. He
saw that and he knew the Republican Party, they wanted to do their racism
through dog whistles. They wanted to do it through a whisper where they
could have plausible deniability if someone called them out.
Trump saw that the base wanted it out front.
DOWDELL: He saw that and so he rode that wave through birtherism and has
continued to ride that wave, but he did not incite the party or bring the
party along. The party was already there.
REID: They were already in. Very quick before I go back to Danielle? Does
he care if one of these women gets hurt, do you think? You know him.
DOWDELL: I don`t think he cares because the only thing Donald Trump cares
about is himself.
REID: Is himself.
DOWDELL: He would talk about having people riot if he wasn`t – if he
didn`t win the election.
REID: Yes. I mean, this was a guy who also wanted to have a black versus
white apprentice to have literally a race fight on “The Apprentice.”
Daniella, before the Democrats then, you know, the response so far I think
has been smart. It`s been unity. It`s been sticking together saying it
doesn`t matter what your differences are, what these women`s policies.
The policies don`t matter. Trump did not attack the policy. He attacked
them and their bodies. He attacked them because they are brown and black,
period, that`s it. But is there some other action that Democrats in your
view should be taking that is stronger than condemnation?
LEGER: Yes. You know, I think that, you know – but first of all I just
want to say I am glad at least that they all stood together and they did
pass that resolution out of the House. But I think they need to keep
talking about this, but they also need to tie it to the fact that this
president is an ineffective, awful president.
That he made a bunch of promises to people that he has broken and they need
to tie it all together because I think the American people understand that
he`s a racist. They understand the words that they are saying.
But I think they also need to understand that they are tied to racism with
his policies and what he`s not doing for the American people. And they need
to also highlight the fact that while he`s doing all of this, he`s trying
to take away their health care.
While they`re doing all of this, they`re being inhumane treatment is
happening at the border. So they need to tie it all together and make
people understand that like Donald Trump is a vortex of awful and this is
why he needs to be voted out of office.
REID: Yes. It`s the shiny keys of racism while he is essentially picking
the American`s pocket and giving it all to the rich right in front of his
supporter`s faces in shiny keys of racism. It`s pretty incredible. Daniella
Gibbs Leger and Tara Dowdell, thank you both very much.
And coming up, the newspaper in the largest city of North Carolina has
issued a stinging rebuke of Donald Trump and his party after the
president`s racist rally in the state. The author of those editorials joins
And today was the last day on the job for Labor Secretary Alex Acosta. But
his departure doesn`t mean the Jeffrey Epstein story or any of the other
legal perils encircling this president will go away any time soon.
And later, fears that Donald Trump`s ugly attacks are inspiring people who
would like to see America become a white nation.
REID: Thirteen seconds, that`s the amount of time Donald Trump paused
during his speech at a rally in Greenville, North Carolina to take in and
to bask in his supporters` racist chant – “Send her back. Send her back.
Send her back.” Thirteen seconds.
While Trump tried temporarily to clean it up later by claiming that he
didn`t support the chant, he even tried to stop it by jumping in with more
of his speech. Some members of the media called BS and pointed to that 13
seconds of smug silence during the racist chant.
The day after that North Carolina rally that shocked so many people in this
country, including people who thought they could no longer be shocked by
Donald Trump and including people living in North Carolina, a state that
Trump won with 50 percent of the vote and it is represented by two
The editorial board of “The Charlotte Observer” in North Carolina published
an editorial entitled, “Send her back: A dark reminder of who we are.”
Here`s a piece of the editorial, “The chant rose quickly from a handful of
voices to a chorus of bigotry. It was a chilling moment. It was lock her up
in a white hood. It was despicable. It was both a reminder and a warning
that here in North Carolina, in America, going back is not that far of a
“The Charlotte Observer`s” editorial board also called on Republicans to
condemn Donald Trump`s racist comments in an editorial entitled, “Are you
OK with a racist president, Republicans?” The editorial says, “Our leaders
need to stand up and say something. The Republican Party is firmly Donald
Trump`s party now. It`s the party where insults and other ugliness are just
being rough around the edges instead of standing up for who we should be,
they`re bowing to the worst of who we are.”
And joining us now is Peter St. Onge, an associate editor on the “Charlotte
Observer`s” editorial board. And Peter, thank you so much for being here.
So, the pieces that were written in the paper today, very scathing. I
wonder, first of all, have you gotten a lot of response to them already?
PETER ST. ONGE, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: We have. You know,
the response probably mirrors what you are hearing and what people in
Washington are hearing. Democrats and moderates were outraged at the
president`s tweet and Republicans for the most part either jumped to his
defense or didn`t want to talk about it.
I think the Greenville thing was a little bit different. I think more
people were kind of troubled by it including Republicans, but I think that
they were able to point to the crowd and say that this doesn`t reflect our
values and ignore the fact that the president pretty much said the same
thing three days before.
REID: Yes. I mean, Tom Tillis was one of the defenders of Donald Trump who
went with him to see the men in the cages. He was sort of in the back where
he is walking along with Donald Trump and two others. There you can see
him. He is sort of in the back pack there, seeing these men who were in the
cages with the vice president. What do you make of his response because
what Republicans have been trying to do is say, well the crowd might have
been not great, but the president, wonderful.
ST. ONGE: Well, you know, with Republicans, I think that we know what
Donald Trump is and we know what he always has been, and it may ratchet up
a little bit as 2020 approaches. But the Donald Trump that we`ve seen is
the Donald Trump that we`re going to get and always have gotten.
The difference that we see – spoke about it in the editorial, is the shift
in Republicans and how they speak to that decency question, you know, that
back in 2016, they were willing to raise their hand and say this doesn`t
represent our party and doesn`t represent our country.
And this week, we have seen exactly how much of a shift we`ve had. You
know, Tom Tillis pretty much decided that he was going to pretend that he
hadn`t read twitter and didn`t even know that Donald Trump had a tweet. It
just shows that this party has fully become Donald Trump`s party now.
REID: Yes. And he was actually there at the rally. We should make that
point. Stewart Stevens wrote this for the “Washington Post.” “Southerners
like me know the game Trump is playing. We have seen it sadly time and
again. Trump is the rightful heir to Lester Maddox`s ax handles and George
Wallace standing in the school house door. This open racism will never be
forgotten. Trump long ago made his choices. The question for Republicans is
simple. What choice will you make?”
You know, I had a guy that I interviewed for my book say to me that if
Donald Trump had a southern accent, every thing that he`s doing will be
immediately have been (inaudible) as racism long ago. He wouldn`t have
gotten this far politically. What do you make of the fact that Donald Trump
is the person who now in 20 years, will be the Lester Maddox potentially of
ST. ONGE: You know, it`s interesting, when we were writing about the 2016
election and we said, and a lot of other people said too, that this is a
decision about where our country was going go and what we wanted our
country to be. And I don`t know that we knew exactly how true that was.
And we see that so often now, and in Greenville we saw so much and so
starkly that I think that as we head to 2020, you know, people are going to
have eyes wide open. They`re going to know what choice they are making even
more so than they did in 2016.
REID: Yes. No one`s going to be able to pretend it was economic anxiety.
If you vote for him again, you know exactly what you`re doing and we will
know what you are doing as well. Here`s Lindsey Graham, what he said. He
says in a tweet today and this was rich.
Lindsey Graham says, “Something I have learned, if you are a Republican
nominee for president or president, you will be accused of being a racist.
John Lewis compared John McCain`s campaign to being like that of George
Wallace. It comes with the territory unfortunately.” Well, here`s one
person who did what Lindsey Graham said in terms of calling a guy running
for president named Donald Trump a racist. Here he is right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): He`s a race baiting xenophobic, religious
bigot. He doesn`t represent my party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: What do you make of the fact that Republicans seem to know that
Donald Trump was racist three years ago, suddenly I don`t remember that and
now are accusing the people who are horrified by Donald Trump of being
unfair to him?
ST. ONGE: I think this is the shift that we`re seeing and not only with
Lindsey Graham but, you know, Mr. Tillis as well. Back a couple of years
ago, he was at least willing to waiver a bit on Donald Trump. He was
willing to stand up to him before backed down.
And now we see that he is not really even willing to engage on the
question. I think we are seeing that throughout the party, that the
Republicans are seeing that it`s just not worth it for them, in their
minds, to take the heat when it comes to even talking about the president
REID: Yes. I do have to say that Mayor P.J. Connelly, who is the mayor of
Greenville, North Carolina, did issue a pretty strong statement on the
racist chants so, kudos to him. Some people are trying to speak up. Peter
St. Onge, thank you very much for your time. Really appreciate it.
ST. ONGE: Thank you.
REID: Thank you. And coming up, if you think the president caused a lot of
political chaos this week, what do you think will happen on Wednesday when
Americans hear from Special Counsel Robert Mueller? That`s next.
REID: On Wednesday Americans will finally get to hear Former Special
Counsel, Robert Mueller. The Democrats are working to make sure that his
day of testimony leaves an impression on people who have not read his
A staffer on the Judiciary Committee told NBC News the Democrats are not
expecting dramatic new revelations from Mueller`s testimony. But what`s
important is there is truly shocking evidence of criminal misconduct by the
President - not once, but again and again and again that would result in
any other American being criminal charged in a multiple count indictment.
Mueller highly anticipated hearing comes as a former Trump aide could face
legal jeopardy. Yesterday that House Judiciary Committee demanded that Hope
Hicks return to clarify what it called inconsistencies in her June
testimony about her knowledge of illegal hush money payments to silence
women alleging affairs with Trump in the final weeks of the 2016 election.
Unsealed documents in the Michael Cohen case revealed repeated contact
between Hope Hicks, Michael Cohen, Donald Trump, and others during the time
these payments were being arranged. Joining us now is Joyce Vance Former
U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama and MSNBC Legal Analyst
and Matt Miller Former Spokesman for Attorney General Eric Holder and an
Joyce I have to come to you first, these are the five things that Democrats
want to focus on in their probe of Mr. Mueller. Donald Trump repeatedly
directing Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller him telling Don McGahn to deny
that he had been ordered to fire Mueller asking Corey Lewandowski to direct
Jeff Sessions to limit the investigation telling Lewandowski to let
sessions know that he is fired if he doesn`t meet with Lewandowski and
potential witness tampering with Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen. Is that
that the right place for them to go to focus on the obstruction?
JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA: It is
absolutely the right place. Mueller identified 10 potential incidents of
obstruction in Volume II over the report. These five pieces actually are
three of those issues that Mueller looked into and they are the strongest
arguments for obstruction. I think that they are all meritorious for
REID: You know it is interesting Matt, that you have a President here who
but for being President would probably have been prosecuted for obstruction
on these 10 different counts. And who now has his former lawyer sitting in
prison for committing a crime that we now know he actively participated in
Are we now at the point where the Justice Department - well, this Justice
Department won`t do it but maybe a future Congress should look at the memo
that says that a President essentially is above the law?
MATT MILLER, FORMER SPOKESMAN FOR A.G. ERIC HOLDER: I think the Congress
ought to look at it and I would hope it the future Justice Department ought
to look at it. You have seen some of the Democratic Presidential Candidates
say that they would expect their Attorney General to look at that OLC
opinion and potentially issue a new one.
I think it is one thing to have an OLC opinion like that that basically
puts the President above criminal law, but when you pair that with a
Justice Department that seems to be unwilling to tell Congress what it
finds at the end of investigations, then you have this system where the
President is ultimately above the law.
Where he cannot be investigated and charged by the Justice Department, but
where the Southern District of New York can end an investigation into his
conduct as they did earlier this week. And the Justice Department won`t say
how that ended they won`t say whether the Attorney General was involved in
the decision and it won`t answer questions to Congress.
So I think they`re going to have to look at the next Attorney General is
going to have to look at either one, withdrawing that memo putting
something stronger - putting something different in place. Or two, making
it very clear that if DOJ is going to have this no indictment policy, they
are going to cooperate 100 percent with Congress at the end of any criminal
investigations they conduct into a sitting President.
REID: And what about - I mean his staff. Hope Hicks may have lied to
Congress. What even might happen to her because William Barr is running the
Justice Department which is essentially Donald Trump`s defense agency?
VANCE: Right, that`s true and there is also the prospect that she could be
pardoned by the President if she were charged now. So I think
Representative Nadler is running very smart strategy here by re-subpoenaing
her or at least asking her to come back and testify. She will either have
to double down and repeat the lies in which case she could be prosecuted
she could be indicted as late as July of 2024 that`s how long -
REID: That`s long.
VANCE: –it would be before the statue run or maybe there is some chance
that looking at the many years of life she has ahead of her and this
President`s diminishing term in office, maybe she`ll decide it`s time to
tell the truth.
REID: What would you want to ask Mueller?
VANCE: I think the most important thing for the Democrats is to make sure
that they let Mueller tell the story of his conclusions. The information in
the report is so damaging, it got lost in the middle of Barr`s early
summaries. Now is the time for the American people to hear it fresh.
REID: What do you think of - for the Democrats to consider a successful
hearing with Mueller should they be trying to get out of him in your view
MILLER: So I think they ought to try to elicit an answer to the big
question everyone is have which is if Donald Trump were not the sitting
President of the United States, would he be under criminal indictment
today? He`s not going to directly answer that question, so you have to have
some very smart creating ways of doing that.
One way is to ask about certain conducts and whether that conduct merits
criminal behavior for example, is asking a witness to create a false
document contradicting his sworn testimony. Is that criminal behavior? The
answer is yes. And then asking if the President`s conduct fits that
pattern? Did the President asked a witness to create a false document? The
answer to that question is yes.
And then I think the second thing I would want to do is to ask him some
very specific questions about statements made by the Attorney General and
by the President. Did your report confirm that there was no collusion as
the Attorney General said? Did your report find no obstruction of justice
as the President has said?
Elicit yes and no answers I think they are going - the questions are going
to be crisp and ought to be not meandering. You`re going to ask yes no
questions that take him kind of on a walk to answer things to give clear
answers to questions that he answered very obliquely in the report.
REID: Yes, indeed all right. Stay with us because before Robert Mueller
testifies on Wednesday, tune in Sunday night as MSNBC looks at the Mueller
report`s biggest revolutions in the Mueller report. What you need to know
with Ari Melber Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. eastern. Up next how the Jeffrey
Epstein case could continue to haunt Donald Trump?
REID: Today was Alex Acosta`s last day as Donald Trump`s Labor Secretary.
He resigned last week amid controversy over the sweetheart deal that he
brokered for convicted sexual predator and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey
Epstein a decade ago.
It was a deal negotiated in secret without the victim`s knowledge and it
allowed Epstein to serve just 13 months in prison, a sentence during which
he was able to leave prison for hours nearly every day to be driven to an
office “To work”.
Well now the deal is under new scrutiny. Earlier this week we learned that
at least one woman has come forward to say that she was sexually abused by
Jeffrey Epstein, wait for it, while he was on his day out of prison work
release. So he literally left prison with government permission and used
his time outside to keep committing the crime he went to prison for.
Today the “Miami Herald” is reporting that the Palm Beach County Sheriff`s
Office has opened an internal affairs investigation into whether it
properly handled Epstein`s case. Joyce Vance and Matt Miller are back with
us. This deal that allowed a sexual predator to go to work every day and
still somehow get access to children, I assume that`s unusual.
VANCE: This is really a shocking deal that Epstein had. I mean this is just
unprecedented to be in prison on these kinds of changes to be in jail in
this case and to have this ability to go out and access more minors?
Someone who was asleep at the switch and I`m not particularly impressed at
least by these early reports that indicate that the Sheriff who is in place
during Epstein`s very generous conditions of release that he will be
conducting this investigation apparently into his own conduct.
REID: It`s strange. Matt Miller, let me read a little bit of the Epstein`s
accusers lawyers Brad Edwards on what Epstein had women - how he had women
over to the office during his work release. Remember he is in prison; he is
out on work release. According to Mr. Edwards, he was in the office most of
the day and what I can tell you is he had visitors, female visitors. I
don`t know that any of them were underage age and the female visitors were
there not for business. It was sexual in nature. Which is not just conduct
that I think should be described as that of a model citizen when you are in
I mean the idea that somebody could literally be on a work release from
prison presumably being guarded while he is in a public space at his office
working and still be able to have access to women or maybe girls your
MILLER: It`s absolutely appalling and the thing that appalls me the most in
the aftermath of all of these coming out is the way that everyone involved
in the deal that Jeffrey Epstein got his pointed the finger each other. And
no one is willing to take responsibility.
You`re seeing the state prosecutor or the local prosecutor point fingers at
the U.S. Attorney. The U.S. Attorney that point fingers back at the local
prosecutor and - then U.S. Attorney Acosta is also pointed fingers at the
local Sheriff for the conditions under which Epstein was held.
And I think the actual truth is every person responsible or every person
who should have been responsible for holding Jeffrey Epstein accountable
failed. They failed the victims in this case they failed the interest of
And there is not one of them that ought to be conditioning to hold their
positions of public trust, especially when they as the local Sheriff and
the local prosecutors still are - are still charged with policing and
investigating and prosecuting these kinds of cases going forward.
REID: Yes, I want to read a little piece from the Palm Beach post of you
Joyce. And this is what Palm Beach post wrote. The Palm Beach post revealed
that daily probation laws show Epstein was once accused of violating the
terms of his house arrest when police found him wandering along a boulevard
and sweating profusely one afternoon.
Epstein claimed he was taking a secured route to work. Another time when
probation officers knocked on the door of Epstein`s Palm Beach Mansion no
one answered and the officers are Epstein`s car drove off. When the officer
returned later Epstein appeared at the door since the officer said he
couldn`t confirm Epstein was driving the car. He concluded no violation
It is the reason - is it potentially true that the reason that this
investigation is in the Public Corruption Unit of SDNY because there may
have been corruption involved in the way Epstein was allowed to be
essentially free to continue to commit crimes while on probation or could
it be the deal itself?
VANCE: I think it`s difficult to know why it`s in the Public Corruption
Unit. For one thing the U.S. Attorney said not to read anything into it,
but being suspiciously minded I`m willing to read a lot into it. It`s more
likely that it involves people that were involved with Epstein and his
conduct as opposed to how these conditions of punishment played out.
But frankly, the more we learn, the more suspicious it looks and every
aspect of this needs to be reinvestigate and reassessed and as Matt says
the people who were involved need to be held accountable.
REID: Yes, indeed and should we trust William Barr to be in charge of this?
VANCE: I think it`s difficult to do that because we have seen him protect
this President over and over again. We have to be concerned if that
investigation were to come close to the President or to his interests that
Barr might intervene.
REID: Yes, and the fact that he has no shame doesn`t help. Joyce Vance and
Matt Miller thank you guys very much. Coming up, the fear that Donald
Trump`s racist rhetoric intended to insight white voters could excite white
nationalists. That`s next.
REID: Okay, what you saw there and didn`t necessarily hear was Illinois a
Democratic Congresswoman Robin Kelly talking about the fear that she has
for the safety of her house colleague Ilhan Omar in the wake of Donald
Trump`s racist attacks on Omar and three other freshman Congress women over
the past week.
Congresswoman Omar said this week that her concerns are for the safety for
everyday people around the country who look and pray like her. But
Congresswoman Kelly is not alone in her concerns for the safety of her
Yesterday, House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson sent a letter
to the Sergeant at Arms calling for an emergency meeting of the U.S.
Capitol Police Board to discuss potential threats to members of Congress.
Congressman Al Green who earlier this week led the effort to impeach Donald
Trump over his racist statements has introduced a measure to provide more
security for house members.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. AL GREEN (D-TX): These are dangerous times. Every member of this house
needs additional security. I`m going to file a bill asking for more
security for the members of this house. I want to thwart the efforts of
those who might want to harm members of this house.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: So what does it mean when members of one branch of government fear
for their safety and the safety of their colleagues because of the actions
taken by the head of another branch of government? I`ll ask Security Expert
Jim Cavanaugh about that next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): The President put millions of
Americans in danger last night. His rhetoric is endangering lots of people.
This is not just about threats to individual member of Congress but it is
about creating a volatile environment in this country through violent
rhetoric that puts anyone like Ilhan anyone who believes in the rights of
all people in danger. And I think that he has a responsibility for that
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Joining us now is Jim Cavanaugh, an MSNBC Law Enforcement Analyst and
Retired ATF Special Agent In Charge. Jim, a couple of things here a new
report from the Southern Poverty Law Center shows there has been a surge in
white nationalists were flocking to a messaging app called Telegram.
“Neo-Nazi`s, white nationalists and antigovernment extremists are
publishing volumes of propaganda advocating terrorism and mass shootings on
Telegram, a Hatewatch review of hundreds of channels in app shows”.
I want to let you listen to the Capitol Police Chief regarding the number
of threats that are happening to Congress. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About two years ago, we received a briefing that the
threats against the members of Congress were at a historic high. Where are
we today as far as the threats against members of Congress? Has it subsided
some or is it still growing?
STEVEN SUND, UNITED STATES CAPITOL POLICE CHIEF: We continue to see the
threat assessment cases that we are opening are continue to grow. We are on
par to probably break last year`s record.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: So those threats beginning about two years ago, increases in white
nationalist activity. Have you ever heard of these kinds of increases in
hate and potential hate crimes being tied to a President of the United
JIM CAVANAUGH, FORMER ATF SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE (RET.): That`s very, very
unusual, Joy, to have that happen. You know, when you get more power, your
words carry more weight. When you get into this undercurrent of the Nazis
and the white nationalists, and the clans I mean I this ill, they feed off
They feed off of public figures, on regular media in the government,
Congressman, Senators, the President saying the things that they always
say. It bolsters them. It gives them strength and power. And they`re always
talking as the Southern Poverty just they`re Hatewatch team just uncovered
recently about the messenger now.
They`re calling for a murder of lawmakers in the last 30 or 40 days. Now we
have on top of this, our four Congressmen who are under direct attack. So
the Capitol Police, I have worked with them. They`re great. The time for
talk is over. These four Congressmen have to get protection. They have to
get security briefings right now. Letters from the Congress to the Capitol
Police, that`s too slow. They need to take this on now, because the hate
groups are there. They`re active and they`re foaming at the mouth.
CAVANAUGH: It is very, very dangerous moment.
REID: And we know that Donald Trump`s rhetoric has been linked to these
hate groups, catching on to it, calling him the dear leader and glomming on
to him whether he wants to be or not, he is seen as sort of a leader and
they sort of catch on to him.
Are you concerned as a security expert that because we have already seen
people who spout Pro Trump identities then turn around to be charged with
threatening - people threatening to bomb people, threatening to kill people
that literally Donald Trump is himself a vehicle for igniting potential
CAVANAUGH: Sure. It gives them a license. It gives them fuel. It gives them
energy. It makes them feel they`re wanted. They have support. Even the
President when challenged by a reporter about saying this said I have many
people who agree with me, many people who agree with me. See that`s the
problem. That`s where they draw the strength.
The Republicans and Congress needs to stand up to the racial bigotry. The
country needs to stand up. People need to stand up. It`s a political rally.
It shouldn`t be akin to a clan rally where we`re yelling that people should
go back. That`s what you hear at clan march.
Joy, I was struck the other night by that I just I have associated to see
it`s like we`re back in `63. Is it Bull Connor again has he waited 15
minutes to let the Freedom Riders be beaten at the Birmingham Bus Station
until he sent the police.
He didn`t do anything he just waited, he just waited and the clans beat to
freedom riders. We don`t need Bull Connor we don`t need him leading
anybody, we don`t need that kind of talk. We don`t need anybody doing that.
This should be randomly condemned.
But the Capitol Police need to step up quickly on these four Congressmen.
And there are some Republican Congressmen there was four that voted against
racial hatred and there was Justin Amash who has stood up himself and been
ousted by his caucus. So they need to look at them too. That`s the first
thing. And as a broader feel they got to look at all of them.
REID: Yes, absolutely. Jim Cavanaugh, thank you very much. I really
appreciate you joining us. Please be sure to join me tomorrow and every
weekend morning from 10:00 a.m. to noon Eastern for my show.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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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