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Transcript: Alex Wagner Tonight, 9/15/22

Guests: John Fetterman


The Trump appointed judge has tonight denied the government`s request for a partial stay of her special master ruling. A judge denies Interview with Pennsylvania Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman. Fifty migrants would be arriving in Martha`s Vineyard yesterday on chartered planes funded by the state of Florida.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, "ALL IN": That is "ALL IN" on this Thursday night.

ALEX WAGNER TONIGHT starts right now.

Good evening, Alex.

ALEX WAGNER, MSBNC HOST: Good evening, Chris.

It`s funny what happens when Republicans actually have to articulate policy, isn`t it?

HAYES: Yes, particularly when you are asked, like, should the survivor of sexual assaults, a minor, have to carry a pregnancy to term? You know, it`s one thing to say abstract, as a hypothetical, and it`s another thing to say that that individual in Dearborn is going to have to do that. It is quite different.

WAGNER: Well, yes, it actually makes you see the humanity behind policymaking.

HAYES: Exactly.

WAGNER: And that`s problematic sometimes for the Republican Party.

Chris, great to see you, as always. Great show.

HAYES: You too. Thanks.

WAGNER: Thanks to at home for being here.

We have breaking news tonight in the investigation into Trump`s handling of top secret classified government records that wound up at his Florida beach club. The Trump appointed judge has tonight denied the government`s request for a partial stay of her special master ruling. Last week, Judge Aileen Cannon ruled that she will appoint a special master, an independent third party, to review the 11,000 seized records that the FBI retrieved from Trump`s home nearly 40 days ago.

And in response, the Justice Department begrudgingly said, okay, go ahead and appoint that special master, but please exclude those roughly 100 classified documents we seized from Mar-a-Lago, because we need to continue the criminal investigation into these classified documents due to potential national security concerns.

Also, a second intelligence assessment into the potential risks and harms that may have been caused by having those top secret classified documents hanging out at Trump`s club, the Justice Department argued that that assessment could not continue without the FBI`s assistance.

Now, tonight, Judge Cannon has denied that request. She said basically, tough luck.

Judge Cannon wrote in her order, quote, the court cannot abdicate its control over questions of privilege and does not find the government`s argument sufficiently convincing as presented. Not sufficiently convincing, Department of Justice. There has been no actual suggestion by the government of any identifiable emergency or imminent disclosure of classified information arising from plaintiffs allegedly unlawful retention of the seized property.

In other words, she did not agree with the government`s argument that her order not only delayed their criminal investigation, but by impeding the parallel intelligence assessment would harm our national security.

And Cannon clarified the FBI is free to participate in the intel assessment. Quote: The temporary restraint does not prevent the government from continuing to review and use the materials used for purposes of intelligence classification and national security assessments. So just go on keep doing what you were doing, even though you say it`s not possible. This is tough news for the Justice Department and potentially the intelligence community.

Judge Cannon did officially name the special master who will oversee the review of these government records tonight and she has appointed Raymond J. Dearie, a senior U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of New York. He`s a man who`s appointed by Ronald Reagan.

Dearie was first suggested by team Trump as one of their two picks for special master. The Justice Department later agreed that the senior judge would be a good pick but it is clear that the government would really like this special master if it`s Judge Dearie. They would really like him to work expeditiously.

The DOJ had asked that if a special master indeed was appointed, that he or she wrap it all up by mid-October. Well, tonight, Judge Cannon ruled that senior Judge Dearie should conclude his review by November 30th or thereabouts, because that date could potentially slide.

In addition to all of these apparent concessions to the former president, Judge Cannon also said that Trump`s team will get a chance to review everything with the appropriate security clearances, of course. But that is a big win for the former president, to potentially get to go over all of these classified material, might of which he no longer has the clearance to review.

It is worth noting here that Judge Cannon and does not accept the government`s assertion that they seized roughly 100 classified documents in the first place. She cast serious doubt on whether or not those documents are actually indeed classified. And you can almost hear the mistrust of the government in her ruling tonight.

Quote: In isolating the described documents from the larger set of seized materials is 100 classified documents, the government effectively asks the court to accept the following compound premises. Neither of which the court is prepared to adopt hastily without further review by a special master. The first premise underlying the motion is that all of the approximately 100 documents isolated by the government are classified government records, and that plaintiff therefore could not possibly have a possessory interest in any of them. The second is that plaintiff has no plausible claim of privilege as to any of these documents.


So basically the judge is saying, I am not ready to accept that those documents are classified. Who are you to say that, DOJ?

The Justice Department told the court last week that they will appeal this ruling to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. So keep an eye out for that. This ruling is a doozy and we have a lot to unpack here.

Joining us now is Barbara McQuade, former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Barb, thanks so much for being here to help decipher what`s going on.

Let me just first ask you, what is your reaction to this ruling that seems to be a gift to Donald Trump, at least from the initial assessment of what`s happening here?

BARBARA MCQUADE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, it`s really astonishing, Alex. You know the Justice Department threw her a lifeline and Judge Cannon threw it right back, really doubling down on this idea, and as you say, it just drips with distrust of the government, saying, just because they say they`re classified, how do we know they really are classified? And how can you say that Donald Trump has no possessory interest in them and how can you say there`s no privilege?

Classified documents must be stored in a SCIF. These are stored in a basement. The idea that he somehow has a right to these documents is really I think completely beyond the dispute.

But I will say, there are a couple things carved out here that are not bad. One is she met the DOJ`s deadline. They wanted a decision by today. She didn`t have to follow their deadline, but she did. So that was good, because the case is moving along and it`s not dragging any more than is necessary.

The other thing is she did clarify that that intelligence risk assessment that the Justice Department wants to do can include members of the FBI, to the extent it is inextricably intertwined with criminal aspects interviewing of witnesses or fingerprinting or other things, they can go ahead and do that and I think one worry was if they did that, then any of those witnesses who were involved later in a criminal case would be deemed tainted and an ultimate conviction could be thrown out.

And so, I think she`s include did some clarifying language there that could actually be helpful in conducting that assessment.

WAGNER: Do you -- so you think that`s a meaningful carve out, that that will assuage some of the FBI`s concerns here?

MCQUADE: Well, no. I don`t think -- I do think it`s a meaningful carve out. I don`t know that it will assuage all their concerns. It does allow them to conduct that risk assessment which was really the most urgent thing that can be done. I think these other things are wrong and I think the Justice Department will appeal on those bases to clarify the law as an institutional matter going forward, that someone who is the subject of a search cannot at this stage challenge the use of those things. That comes later after an indictment.

Here, I think, the judge is even saying explicitly, she is going out of her way here because she believes that Donald Trump`s reputation could suffer irreparable harm. That is really treating him differently than any other litigant gets treated. And so, I think for those institutional reasons, the Justice Department does have to appeal this order. But I think at least with regard to that risk assessment of the intelligence community, that can go forward now and she`s given them a little more leeway to include the FBI in it, which is essential because the CIA cannot conduct investigations on U.S. soil.

WAGNER: And an important distinction.

The other thing that stood out to me is the notion that Trump`s team can see everything that was seized, including classified material. For seized materials, make available for inspection by plaintiff`s counsel, with controlled access conditions, including necessary clearance requirements, and under the supervision of the special master, the documents marked as classified and the papers attached to such documents.

Is that problematic?

MCQUADE: It is, Alex. The idea of classified documents is that only those with a need to know within the intelligence community should even be looking at these things. Now, we don`t know who Donald Trump will use to be his lawyer in this instance. It may be Evan Corcoran or Christina Bobb, or could be Rudy Giuliani. These people are going to have access to the crown jewels of our classified intelligence information.

And as we`ve heard, there`s some pretty explosive stuff in here relating to the national defense. Having that information in the hands of people who are not reliable government actors is definitely a risk to national security.

WAGNER: I -- the other piece of this are is the timeline that the government has wanted to wrap this up pretty expeditiously. We are now given an extended deadline here from Judge Cannon to November 30th. But there`s kind of an appeals process for every batch of documents that either side takes issue with in terms of classification.

Could this slide into next year, Barb?

MCQUADE: I`m afraid it could. Now, one thing she did say is that she asked Judge Dearie to prioritize these 100 or so classified documents. So he will look at those, make a decision and turn them over. But, of course, that`s where all the action is.

I could imagine Donald Trump making an argument there, after Judge Dearie makes his ruling, Judge Cannon will be able to make her ruling and from there, there could be appeals.


So, you know, this has always been Donald Trump`s game. Run out the clock, delay, delay, delay, stall as long as possible. But I don`t know that he can stall long enough for this case to run aground in terms of the 2024 election. I think at some point, it may get delayed by a matter of months, but I think at some point, this case will come to fruition and I do think based on all that we know, it seems impossible for the Justice Department to decline pursuing criminal charges here, unless there`s some new fact of which we are currently unaware.

WAGNER: Well, we do know that they probably -- the next move is probably to appeal this to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, six of the seven judges on that are Trump appointees.

Barb McQuade, former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, thanks for your time and expertise tonight.

I want to bring into the conversation, Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security adviser for the Obama administration and an MSNBC analyst.

But, Ben, thank you for being here on such short notice in the middle of a breaking news hurricane here.

First, I want to get your thoughts the disdain with which this judge is treating the national security community, the Justice Department, questioning whether or not these records are even classified. Again as a reminder, "Washington Post" reporting on September 6 that there are documents describing a foreign government`s military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities in the tranche of documents that ended up in a broom closet down at Mar-a-Lago.

What did you make of that language and what do you make of her posture as it relates to national security?

BEN RHODES, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, I think it`s totally reckless. It`s a little bit insane, Alex. And we see these filings, you know, they have the look of legal documents, it bestows the legitimacy on them.

But this makes no sense. And this is a judge that has no background whatsoever in national security. Her main qualification is that she would be a rubber stamp for Donald Trump and the Republican Party`s agenda.

And if you think about the classification issue, just think of one example -- I had the highest security clearance in the U.S. government for eight years. There`s a cover sheet. It has the classification on it. Every single page of the document is stamped top secret or secret.

There`s not a question as to whether these are classified. That`s an absurd thing for her to be asserting. It`s marked all over the documents themselves. The Justice Department as part of the intelligence community is well aware of what the classification status is of these documents.

And so she`s basically imposing like a Trump defense rationale on her own legal opinion and it has nothing at all to do with the underlying reality that there are a hundred classified documents that apparently have very significant and sensitive secrets of the U.S. intelligence community of them, that are just going to be passed around here in some process. That`s totally unnecessary, and it`s going to disrupt the government`s ability to understand why Trump had those documents.

And, by the way, Alex, to understand as DOJ said in its filing, why there are like document folders that are marked classified that are empty in Mar- a-Lago, too? They need to try to understand whether there are more documents out there.

And so, this is just throwing a wrench into the gears in a way that is totally disrespectful of any equity that the national security and intelligence community might have about why these documents were Mar-a-Lago in the first place.

WAGNER: Well, and like let`s keep in mind people -- the FBI agents who were tasked with reviewing these documents, some of them did not have the security clearance necessary to review the classified documents. And now, because of this order from Judge Cannon, I mean, you could feasibly have a former crossfit lawyer or Rudy Giuliani looking over some of what Barb McQuade called the crown jewels of our national security infrastructure. I mean, that prospect should terrify everyone regardless of party affiliation.

RHODES: It should. I mean, I`ll just take one example of what`s been out there in the press, right, this "Washington Post" report about information about a foreign nuclear weapons program, right? This is not like a memento that Donald Trump had on the wall. This is not a letter from a foreign leader. This is a report presumably prepared not just for Donald Trump but for people who need to know about that foreign country`s nuclear weapons program.

The information in that document which is certainly more than one page would include sources and methods of intelligence gathering, multiple sources and methods of intelligence gathering, perhaps signals intelligence, you know, intercepts, perhaps information derived from human sources who are out there in the world right now today wondering whether or not somebody might have compromised information they provided to the U.S. government, whether or not they might be in danger.

These are the questions that are on the forefront I`m sure of the minds of the people at DOJ, and the only question that seems to be on the forefront of the mind of this judge is how she can run political interference for down Donald Trump. And I think we have to call this what it is. This is not normal. It`s not like a lot of precedent for what this judge is doing.

Alex, if I had these documents here in my basement, like in Los Angeles, I`d be in prison right now.


RHODES: Like I couldn`t walk out with 100 documents.


You know, we just have to be -- bear in mind, what we were watching is there are two systems of justice in this country according to this judge. One for every American and one for Donald Trump. And the idea that we even entertaining a conversation where one of these lawyers is going to be sitting there reviewing nuclear weapons information about another country just to satisfy Donald Trump`s desire to show some seeds of doubt about what the government`s doing here, that`s an absurd role for a judge to be playing.

WAGNER: Well, and thus far the judicial system has acted as a check on Trump`s ambitions, right? And this -- and we now have a judge explicitly calling a page from the Trump playbook, saying even-handed procedure does not demand unquestioning trust in the determinations of the Department of Justice. The institutional atrophy is now infected the judicial branch and branch and we are watching it play out before our very eyes.

RHODES: Yeah. I mean, Alex, you know you and I have talked about like authoritarianism a good bet over the years. It sounds like a fun conversation to people watching. But really one of the things that I point out as you know, as I`ve looked at authoritarianism different countries is the first thing that would be autocrats do when, they`re trying to shift the democratic system to an autocratic system is they try to pack the courts with judges who will find in favor of their power grabs.

We`ve seen this everywhere from Russia to Hungary. And so, what Donald Trump tried to do is appoint people who were highly unqualified in certain cases for their positions, including this judge for that matter, whose main bona fide was fealty to a Trumpian agenda. They weren`t subtle about it. They picked people who were very young, very inexperienced, who come up through a pipeline of judges who were very ideological.

And we are seeing the results of this across American life. We obviously see it at the most extreme level in the Dobbs case of the Supreme Court. But bear in mind now, there are judges in the system that that it`s not whether or not they disagree with my particular philosophy of governance, not whether they disagree even about certain aspects of what`s in the Constitution and what`s not.

This is someone inserting themselves into like a fairly routine criminal prosecution when you consider what Trump has taken with him outside of the government nobody could deny that it`s a crime to take classified documents down to your basement in Mar-a-Lago and creating you know rationales to throw sand in the gears of that process and to shift the rule of law. So that it`s not the equal administration of justice in this country.

And so, that national security is secondary as an interest to Donald Trump`s personal legal interest, and his reputational interest that`s actually what she says here, you know? And so, I think we have to see this as part of the danger to democracy that we`re facing not just a danger of national security, but the danger of this kind of radical approach to a judiciary that puts the interest of a political actor above the national interest.

WAGNER: It should be distressing not just the ruling itself but what it signifies more broadly.

Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security adviser and the Obama administration, it`s always good to see you, my friend. Thanks for your time.

RHODES: Thanks, Alex.

WAGNER: Ahead, my interview with John Fetterman, Democratic nominee for Senate in the state of Pennsylvania. His answers to questions about his health, Republican attacks, how the Supreme Court`s abortion ruling is playing out on the trail and trolling Dr. Oz.

And the latest Republican stunts using migrants as political pawns show, just how low some GOP governors are willing to go to make a political point. A place like this are not new. In fact, they have a very long history in America and we will explain all that coming up.




JOHN FETTERMAN (D), PENNSYLVANIA U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: I`m John Fetterman and I approve this message.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Oz made a fortune on TV. I remember his show. He had a magic pill for everything. Raspberry Ketone`s, Sea buckthorn, alpha cyclo dextrin, yacon syrup, Garcia cambogia. Dr. Oz pushed all those pills. And he knew they didn`t really work.

DR. MEHMET OZ (R), PENNSYLVANIA U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: There is not a pill that is going to help you lose way without diet and exercise.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He took advantage of his viewers. Now he expects us to trust him as a politician? Forget about it.


WAGNER: That is the latest campaign ad for Pennsylvania, nominee, Democrat John Fetterman.

Fetterman has been blessed with one of the most unintentionally funny opponents incentive history, television medical personality Dr. Mehmet Oz. And the Fetterman campaign has in many ways made the campaign about Dr. Oz himself, how rich he is, how many homes he has, and where those homes actually are. Specifically, that the only just moved to the state, he is now trying to represent.

With personal politics on display here have not gone unnoticed by the Oz campaign, which has responded in turn by going very, very personal. Days before the primary back in May, Fetterman suffered a stroke. He has since made it back out on the campaign trail, holding rallies and getting the campaign mostly back to normal. But Dr. Oz has done all he can to make the focus not on any particular issue but instead on Fetterman`s health.

As much as this race is about Dr. Oz`s larger than life persona, or John Fetterman`s health, or even the state of Pennsylvania itself, this race is also ultimately about which party will ultimately control the Senate come December, and that means only is Pennsylvania`s Senate seat on the line, but so are abortion rights and health care and Social Security and everything else Republicans would like to get their hands on if they get a majority.


Earlier today, I sat down with John Fetterman to ask how his campaign is going.


WAGNER: John, thank you so much for being with us tonight.

And let me just first start with how you`re feeling? And if you could tell us how this whole recovery process has been for you. I mean, I think we haven`t really focused on the incredible strides you`ve made in the last few months, but also the difficulties I`m sure we don`t even know about.

JOHN FETTERMAN (D), PENNSYLVANIA U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: Thank you. Now, it`s so wonderful to be here with you today.

And the recovery has been really kind of like a miracle, because it simply could have ended my life if I -- with the stroke. But thankfully, I happened to be in the right place and happened (ph) at the right time and got me to the hospital in about 20 minutes. And that allowed them to save my life.

And since then, I`ve been making a recovery that has now left me able to run the kind of campaign, do rallies, do interviews and be evaluated by doctors and everyone, who all agreed that I`m absolutely up to run this race.

And, you know, right now, Dr. Oz has really -- he`s making a very, very big spec (ph) -- making fun of or mocking somebody, you know, the health challenge.

And that -- at rallies, I asked. I asked people, you know, who has -- who`s had a major health challenge in their lives? You know, what about your parents? What about children? What about grandparents?

And by the time most of the hands are up and, you know, they say, I sure so sorry that you`re having these kinds of challenges, but I hope you never had a doctor in your life making fun of you or saying that you`re not able to do your job and to work.

But unfortunately, I have a doctor in my life saying those kinds of things. And if we`re not able to send him back to New Jersey, he`s going to be in all of our lives saying these kind of absurd things and cruel things to people.

WAGNER: You know, you make a great point that you are doing interviews. We`re so thrilled to have you on the show. You`ve done a few others as well.

FETTERMAN: Glad (ph) to be here.

WAGNER: I -- there was a -- there was a convalescence period, though, and I wonder if you could just tell us a little bit about what it`s been like. I mean, take us back to that moment in early May. And how was your summer? What was happening? What were you thinking about life and your candidacy?

FETTERMAN: Sure. No, it was absolutely -- you know, my wife saved my life. I was on the way to an event, and she said, oh my gosh, you`re having -- you`re having a stroke. And I`m like, no, no, it`s fine, I`m kind (ph) -- come on, we`ve got to get to the event.

And actually, no, she said you`ve got to get there, and that`s exactly what happened. And it was very bracing to face the fact that I could have died. And, you know, thinking about that, reflecting on that, that, you know, the father of three young children and a wife, and thinking of all those things. I promise you that is 10 times bigger and 10 times harder than the kind of cheap shots that Dr. Oz has chosen to choose in his campaign.

But again, it`s his story. He`s got to tally the way he needs to but he needs to own those kind of words because a doctor who`s choosing to mock somebody who`s making -- recovering from a stroke I don`t believe demonstrates that here`s a guy that has lost his way. In fact, he`s never had his way. But, right now, we have the kind of campaign that we have right now.

WAGNER: Apart from -- and we`re going to talk a little bit about the verbal and cognitive concerns, but emotionally, has it changed you?

FETTERMAN: Sure, it`s definitely changed me. You know, before the stroke, I thought I was a very empathetic and I really understood what it was like, you know, with people dealing with these kind of challenges. But after it happened, it made me even more -- ten times more empathetic and understanding that through (ph).

And I really have been able to connect with people in the audiences all across Pennsylvania that have stopped and tell me, hey, I am (ph) dealing with cancer, I had a stroke, or, I have these kind of issues. And they`re like, thank you for what you`re doing.

I`m like, no, no, thank you for supporting me and supporting, you know, the kind of race that is about standing for basic democratic values and issues that I think a majority of Pennsylvania supports.

WAGNER: You know, your campaign, as of yesterday, has agreed to a debate with Dr. Oz at the end of October. And I know as part of that, one of your conditions is using a closed captioning system. Can you explain to people how and why that`s necessary?

FETTERMAN: Sure. Absolutely. I`m speaking with closed captioning right now, just because after the stroke that could have taken my life, the actual -- is the lingering issue of auditory processing. And sometimes I may not be able to hear things, I might miss a word. And now I just want to make sure that I know exactly the question that`s being put to me.

An example of kind of what happened, you know, having the stroke, it was -- let me give you an example.


You know, thought I was going to -- I was going to Wegmans (ph), I actually in a Redner`s (ph) and I turned around and said, well, I`m actually at Wegner`s, you know, combining two words together to create something that doesn`t actually exist either.

You know, that`s really the simple truth.

WAGNER: Do you -- I mean, a lot has been made of your health, especially by Republicans. There are viral videos, mash-ups of your, I think, cognitive, vocal errors, things that they think suggest cognitive decline.

What do you say to Pennsylvania voters who see some of this stuff on the Internet, who hear the ads from Dr. Oz`s camp and are worried about your fitness for office? I mean, what do you say to skeptics who think, I don`t know about this guy? Is he -- is he operating at 100 percent?

FETTERMAN: All of -- all of my doctors on the team believe that I am absolutely fit to serve. I just confront -- I just took a test, just -- I think it was yesterday that confirmed that I`m absolutely fully functioning in the range as well, too.

You know, the one side that wants to try to lie about that, they want to run away from the truth, they don`t want to confront really basic issues like abortion. And Dr. Oz is unwilling to address that and answer it straight up.

WAGNER: Let`s talk about abortion. This week, Senator Lindsey Graham proposed a 15-week federal abortion ban. What did you think when you heard that?

FETTERMAN: Well, Dr. Oz might be a joke, but it`s not funny, because abortion is on the ballot.

And, you know, it`s a simple question. Dr. Oz, do you support the gill -- excuse me, the GOP bill to ban abortion? Yes or no?

WAGNER: So you think this is a question that Dr. Oz needs to answer. Does he support Lindsey Graham`s federal abortion ban?


WAGNER: And do you believe that this is -- I mean, when you first heard Lindsey Graham propose this, did you think, this is a gift to Democrats who are looking to beat Republicans in Senate races?

FETTERMAN: No, I don`t consider it`s a gift. I mean, it`s actually dangerous kind of law, and what`s even more scary is, is that Dr. Oz would vote to eliminate abortion rights here in America.

The truth is, is that it`s -- he may be a clown but a clown with a vote is very scary, and we need to make sure that we send it back to New Jersey where he lives and make sure that we stand for abortion rights, we stand for the union way of life, we stand for -- we stand for minimum wage and we stand for health care. And we stand for making sure health care can have the opportunity that saved my life for everybody and not turning around and making fun of somebody that`s challenging (ph) a stroke.

WAGNER: How are you feeling about the race right now? There are a couple of weeks left, you`re on the mend. You`re going to have the first and only debate. You are out there talking to the media. The race is expected to tighten.

What`s your state of mind right now?

FETTERMAN: Sure. I`m feeling really great about the race. I`m getting stronger, better and better every day.

And, you know, whether you look at all the different polls -- excuse me, the ones yesterday, you have nine -- I think nine points and five points. And we`re going to run like we`re down five points, you know, every day. This is kind of campaign that we`ve always run as well, too.

At the end -- at the end of this, we are going to take this all the way to November 8th, and we`re going to make the kind of argument all across Pennsylvania that a man from New Jersey with 10 or 12 mansions, that somebody that believes that abortions should -- the decision should be held in their -- in their choice, not women and their doctors, whether that`s a kind of candidate that believes that the union way of life needs to be taken away, or you have a belief that the minimum wage is just fine at $7:25.

And I believe, at the end of the door -- excuse me, at the end of day, the majority of Pennsylvania voters all agree with me, and we`re going to see November 8th when it all comes down. And I sure hope -- I sure hope Pennsylvania and America doesn`t have a doctor in your life that has chose to spend their campaign ridiculing somebody that had a stroke.

WAGNER: I`ve got to say, it sounds like you`re having fun trolling Dr. Oz. Is that a fair assessment?

FETTERMAN: I mean, he -- he is -- he`s -- he`s a gift, you know? Like he puts out such raw material, whether the fact that he lives in New Jersey or, he has -- you know, you know, pointing out that he`s got 10 or 11 homes. He really makes -- he`s very rich for a material.

WAGNER: He`s got plenty of material.

John Fetterman, this is an extraordinary race, and an extraordinary state, and an extraordinary time in American politics. Lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania and, of course, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate -- good luck, sir, and thank you so much for spending some time with me tonight.


FETTERMAN: Thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me.


WAGNER: Coming up, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is using people as props. DeSantis use taxpayer dollars to pick up migrants in Texas to lie to them and then fly them across the country and leave them with nothing. I wish I was kidding. That story is next.




MARGARET MOSELEY, CO-FOUNDER, NAACP CAPE COD: Most of the people who came had only a shopping bag with perhaps one change of clothing, no money, knowing nobody. It was one of the most inhuman things that I have ever seen.

BETTY WILLIAMS, DAUGHTER OF 1963 REVERSE FREEDOM RIDER: My mother was told she was going to have better everything. She was going to have a job. She was going to be able to support her family and her children were going to get an education, be able to go to school. You know, that alone was not the truth.


WAGNER: Throughout the summer and fall of 1962, hundreds of Black Americans arrived at Cape Cod, Massachusetts, near the summer home of President John F. Kennedy. They arrived in their Sunday best, dresses, pearls, white hats. They had little asked pack for what they expected to be a permanent move, mostly because they had little else.

Segregationists from Southern states convince them to travel to Massachusetts on buses by promising the world -- jobs, permanent housing, a new life, a meeting with President John F. Kennedy. None of that happened.

These people, women and men and children, were lured, lied to, and sent to Massachusetts with nothing. Kennedy wasn`t there to greet them, but the Cape Cod NAACP was, because they caught wind of the trick.

The whole thing, if you can believe it, was on purpose. Real people with real lives and real human needs were used as pawns and again concocted by white segregationist southern leaders who are angry about the push for racial integration. They were angry about the activism of the Freedom Riders in 1961, who aimed to integrate interstate bus travel. They were so angry they punished innocent people on purpose, putting them on what they called Reversed Freedom Rides. Back up north.


GEORGE SINGELMANN, NEW ORLEANS GREATER CITIZENS COUNCIL MALE: The ultimate accomplishment has already been obtained, and that is to focus attention on the hypocrisy of the Northern liberals and the NAACP, Urban League and people like that especially.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We intend to continue it until the people in the majority tell those politicians we are through with this foolishness about civil rights and things that you are using for political purposes.


WAGNER: You might say that we are seeing something eerily similar plan today, just in color, and this time, targeting another group of people of color, immigrants.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: We are not a sanctuary state, and it is better to be able to go to a sanctuary jurisdiction and yes, we will help facilitate that transport for you, to be able to go to greener pastures.

All of those people in D.C. and New York were beating their chests when Trump was president, saying they were so proud to be sanctuary jurisdictions, saying how bad it was to have a secure border. The minute even a small fraction of what those border towns deal with every day is brought to their front door, they all of a sudden go berserk.


WAGNER: Yesterday Florida`s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis flew 50 migrants to Martha`s Vineyard, a small island of the Massachusetts coast. The governor used some of the $12 million the state legislator satisfied for transporting or migrants out of state Florida. The plans originated in San Antonio, Texas, but stopped in Florida first.

Many of the migrants that Florida flew to Martha`s Vineyard were told they were headed to Boston, which means yesterday Florida Governor Ron DeSantis became the third Republican governor during the likes of Greg Abbott and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey in trying to turn our nations immigration system into some kind of political prank, using people as pawns, to own the libs, and prove once and for all the Democrat led states and cities are not actually sanctuaries for migrants. He will show those states.

NBC got a chance to talk with one of the migrants have arrived at Martha`s Vineyard yesterday.


REPORTER: Can you tell me about the events of the last 24 hours? Tell me about how you got here, how did that all happen? From when you arrived in the U.S. on American soil to now here on the island that`s part of the state of Massachusetts.

KATIUSKA: Well, we arrived in San Antonio. There they offered us help to come. From there, we came -- we spent two days in a hotel and from there, they moved us here. They told us that we would arrive in Boston, from Boston -- we never arrived in Boston but we arrived here.

These were the most uncertain 24 hours we`ve ever had.

REPORTER: Were you worried?

KATIUSKA: Scared, more than worried. Scared because we didn`t know where we would arrive.


WAGNER: Scared, worried and deceived. It is the year 2022, but this stunt echoes what we saw a 60 years ago when the segregation southerners bused Black Americans up to Massachusetts. We are again seeing a group of disenfranchised Black or Brown people used as pawns, because the vision of those very same Black and Brown people being fully integrated into American society is terrifying to certain conservative leaders.


You will have more on this, just ahead.


WAGNER: Fox News was the first to learn that 50 migrants would be arriving in Martha`s Vineyard yesterday on chartered planes funded by the state of Florida.


They got this footage, not because of amazing shoe leather reporting because Governor DeSantis tipped them off. DeSantis reportedly even hired a videographer to ride on the plane with 50 migrants. He did not, however, give a heads up to local authorities, who could`ve helped the migrants when they arrived.

The point was chaos and cruelty. And the cameras were meant to capture that.

DeSantis`s decision to use state funds to try and create this chaos follows the actions of Governor Greg Abbott who is busing migrants from Texas to cities like New York, Chicago, and D.C., including today to Vice President Harris`s home, all without telling authorities in those cities ahead of time.

When it comes to Florida, NPR reported on how DeSantis concocted this chaos and persuaded 50 migrants to leave Texas for mother`s vineyard.

Quote, the migrants said when they identified as Perla approach them outside the shelter and lure them into boarding a plane, saying they would be flown to Boston, where they could get expedited work papers. She provided them with food. Migrants said Perla was telling trying to recruit more passengers just hours before their flight.

One migrant from Venezuela said, quote, Perla offered us help, help that never arrived, Andres said. Now we are here. We got on the plane with a vision of the future of making it. Look, when you have no money and someone offers help, well, it means a lot.

They got on the plane because of a promise of help. They received none from Governor DeSantis, only cameras.

Joining us now is Julian Castro, former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, and secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration.

Mr. Secretary, Mr. Mayor, thank you so much for being with us.


WAGNER: So, you were the former mayor of San Antonio. We have reporting that the bus load of migrants traveled first to San Antonio and then eventually Martha`s Vineyard.

From a mayoral municipal level, what does it mean to have busloads of migrants arriving near a city with no heads up and no action plan in order to help them? What does that practically mean on the ground?

CASTRO: What it means is it causes chaos. You have to scramble to try and provide the resources the city can and also recruit nonprofits, whether churches or other nonprofits to do what they can. That`s exactly what we have seen in each of these cities, where these migrants have been bused. That is actually the story, I think, that shows the compassion and the humanity of the American people.

But the flip side of that is, as you well pointed out is, Governor DeSantis and Governor Abbott and Ducey being so mean-spirited, being so cruel and lying to these migrants about what is going to happen to them.

It`s really a measure of how cruel they think they have to be to be successful in the 2024 Republican primary that they all want to run in for president.

WAGNER: I -- it might also be illegal. I want to bring attention, everybody`s attention to a tweet you issued earlier this afternoon. Governors Abbott and DeSantis are lying to immigrant families to learn traffic them out of state on the taxpayers dime to help themselves politically. It`s pure cruelty. It may also be illegal. The DOJ should investigate.

Do you think this could be criminal? Do you think could there be legal repercussions here?

CASTRO: Oh, I absolutely think the DOJ should investigate here. They are sending people across state lines under false pretenses. They are essentially trafficking these people for their own political gain.

There are human traffickers that traffic for money. These people are trafficking these migrants for a political gain. It`s mean-spirited, it`s cruel, it`s not effective as immigration policy, and it`s inhumane.

You know, the willingness of so many Republicans to go along with this, I think also says something about that Republican base. My hope is that not only will the DOJ investigate but that these three governors are going to pay the political price for doing this at home in their state.

WAGNER: The dehumanization of immigrants in this country, largely the hands of Republicans, and I`m thinking of the family separation policy that was the hallmark of the Trump administration, this would be contenders in 2024, it plays well on Fox News. The border is a singular focus of conservative media. I just wonder, as the tide of history turns, will we look upon this chapter the way we look upon the Reverse Freedom Rides of the 1960s? Or is this something that Republicans are going to continue to run on and to make a central plank in their policy platforms in the years ahead?

I feel like I`m not sure that they`re going to be turned off by the discussion we are having. They`re going to ask for more of it.

CASTRO: Yeah. I mean, look, they are trying to find somebody who is as mean-spirited and as cruel to migrants as Donald Trump was without the baggage of Donald Trump. I think, Alex, that this goes in cycles.


This isn`t the first time in American history that we have seen this kind of cruelty and hatred toward immigrants to the country. It won`t be the last time that we see this. But I think that every time you see a push back, and you do see the better angels of the country prevail, at least for a while.

So, I think we are going to look upon family separation and what DeSantis and Abbott and Ducey are doing as shameful in the years to come.

WAGNER: Well, they will be asked to defend it if they ran for president. We know that.

Julian Castro, former mayor of San Antonio, former secretary of HUD, thank you so much as always for your time.

CASTRO: Thank you.

WAGNER: We`ll be right back.


WAGNER: That does for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.


Good evening, Lawrence.