Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: December 8, 2015 Guest: John Cassidy, Suhail Khan, Spike Lee, Gary Peters (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN -- GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: You`re increasingly being compared to Hitler. Does that give you any pause at all? HAYES: Donald Trump stands by his plan. Tonight, the political and global eruption over the Republican leader`s plan to ban Muslims from coming to America. Plus, the industry of fear -- a look at the Islamophobic conspiracy theorists inspiring Trump. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s really this larger idea of submitting to Sharia. HAYES: Then, a contentious Spike Lee on Chiraq and Chicago. SPIKE LEE, FILMMAKER: I didn`t get off the turnip truck. HAYES: I`m not accusing any of that. LEE: Let me finish. HAYES: And as the leaders of the free world race to try and save the planet in Paris, Ted Cruz held his own climate summit in D.C. today. SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a hearing on the science behind claims of global warming. HAYES: ALL IN starts now. (END VIDEOTAPE) HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Donald Trump is now putting the Republican Party on notice, that if they don`t treat him better, he may run as an independent. And today, he reiterated his support for his widely condemned proposal to ban all Muslims coming into the U.S. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): What it is is common sense. Now, remember this -- until our country`s representatives can figure out what is going on, we`re not talking about the Japanese internment camps. No, not at all. But we have to get our hand around a very serious problem. And it`s getting worse. BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS: Do you regret your ban on Muslims which some people think is un-American? TRUMP: Not at all. We have to do the right thing. Somebody in this country has to say what`s right. It`s short-term. Let our country get its act together. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Earlier today, Trump tweeted, "A new poll indicates 68 percent of my supporters would vote for me if I departed the GOP and ran as an independent." It was based on a new poll from "USA Today." Now, that wouldn`t be enough to win a general election but the threat he began making at the beginning of his campaign and was sort of put to rest when he signed the RNC pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee and not run as an independent candidate. In fact, he held a press conference specifically to show off that signed piece of paper and that the event in early September, I asked him why we should believe he`ll stand by the pledge. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: You bragged in the past about how when it suits you, you used bankruptcy laws. You joked to the audience in Alabama about taking the lobbyist money and screwing them over afterwards. Why would anyone think this pledge means anything? TRUMP: This is a self-funded campaign. We have our heart in it. We have our soul in it. I don`t need money. I don`t want money. And this is going to be a campaign like I think no other. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: In other words, he did not answer the question. And since then, he`s made noises about the importance of being treated fairly. Today, in the wake of gentle to strong criticism of his call to ban all Muslims coming to the U.S., Trump reprised his threat with that tweet. It may have been triggered by RNC chair Reince Priebus who after remaining silent yesterday today told "The Washington Examiner" about Trump`s policy, "I don`t agree. We need to aggressive take on radical Islamic terrorism but not at the expense of our American values." When asked a follow question about the implications of Trump`s plan on the future of the GOP, Reince said that`s as far as I`m going to go. Elsewhere, condemnation has been swift and forceful. Just moments ago, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton slammed Trump`s proposal. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is both a shameless and a dangerous idea. At a time when America should be doing everything we can to lead the fight to defeat ISIS and other radical jihadists, Donald Trump is playing right into their hands. And some of his Republican candidates are saying that his latest comments have gone too far. But the truth is, many of them have also said extreme things. They are all driving the exact narrative that have jihadists want to advance. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Today, Republican leaders in both the House and Senate distanced themselves from Trump`s position. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: With regard to the remarks by one of the presidential candidates about restricting Muslim travel to the United States, let me just first say, that would be completely inconsistent with American values. REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This is not conservatism. What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for. And more importantly, it`s not what this country stands for. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Other Republicans speaking out against the Trump proposal include Senator John McCain, former Senator Bob Dole, former Speaker John Boehner, former Vice President Dick Cheney and Mitt Romney. But here`s the important point: they have stopped short of saying they would not support Trump if he were the GOP nominee, sometimes by insisting he will not be the nominee. Some Republican presidential candidates, notably Jeb Bush and Governor John Kasich have criticized Trump vociferously, while others like Senator Ted Cruz have simply said they don`t agree with him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CRUZ: I disagree with that proposal. I like Donald Trump. A lot of our friends here have encouraged to criticize and attack Donald Trump, I`m not interested in doing so. But I believe we need a plan that is focused on the direct threat and the threat we`re facing is radical Islamic terrorism. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Bear in mind that Cruz was holding a press conference on his proposed bill, the Terrorist Refugee Infiltration Act which is notable, because while many Republicans are trying to distance themselves from Trump and his proposal, his call to ban Muslims entering this country is actually just combining two GOP policies prescription for Syrian refugees and applying them more broadly. Senator Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee all favored some sort of religious test for refugee entrance in the wake of the Paris attacks. And the Republican-led House voted last month to pause admitting Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Trump has taken those two policies, a religious test and a temporary ban and applied it more broadly to anyone seeking to enter the country. Now, everyone is wondering what will the next step be on his road to what we`re calling here of ALL IN fascism. Joining me now, former governor and former DNC chair, Howard Dean, MSNBC political analyst. Well, Howard -- where to start with this. I mean, look -- HOWARD DEAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Another unbelievable day on the campaign trail. HAYES: Yes, I mean. DEAN: Unbelievable. HAYES: Deeply dispiriting and disturbing. Let`s start with the Reince Priebus. You headed up the DNC for a while. There`s some level which the head of the party has to remain neutral while a campaign is going, while a primary is going on. At the same time, you have a candidate floating an idea that`s so obviously odious. So sort of toxic that you think they would be stronger. What do you think of Reince Priebus` statement? DEAN: I think he probably did what he had to do. You`re absolutely right. I would never have said anything like that. I don`t have candidates like Trump and Cruz to have to worry about. I mean -- so -- you know, his problem is he fears for the future of the Republican Party as he should. So, his -- rule number one is, you`ve got to the stay completely neutral. Rule number two is you`ve got to save your party when you`re the chairman. I think that`s what he chose to do. The two rules conflicted with each other and he did what he had to do. I think that was the right thing to do. HAYES: You know, there`s two ways I think of viewing what`s happening here. One is Donald Trump is sui generis; he`s tapping into something, some part of the Republican base that is sort of caught up in this nationalist xenophobic fear and suspicion. And, you know, he`s being condemned by other people in the Republican Party. The other way of looking at it is, the Republican Party has laid the groundwork in many ways -- DEAN: That`s right. HAYES: -- in the mainstream for what Donald Trump is proposing. How do you see it? DEAN: I see it as the second. I think this goes all the way back to the Southern strategy of Richard Nixon who made it a deliberate strategy to pull the Southern Democrats who were racist out of the Democratic Party into the Republican Party. And that will really -- that swing group then became Republican and that kind of thing has been going on for a long time, even Ronald Reagan who many people really like used to dog whistle stuff about, you know, welfare people driving around in Cadillacs. I don`t think people were white that he was talking about. I mean, there`s a lot of that kind of stuff that has been going on ever since 1968 and now, it`s coming home to roost. This is the election where the Republicans have to decide whether they want to appeal to young people who aren`t going to put up with any of this stuff no matter how conservative they are economically or whether they want to ride this pony right off into the dust, because that`s where they`re headed right now. HAYES: You know, there`s also a debate whether Trump is tapping into something specific to this moment in American politics. There`s some conservatives attempting to blame Barack Obama for Donald Trump`s rise, or whether he`s just taking advantage of this new landscape both in terms of money and funding and media and the decline of the party`s strong institutions to sort of channel a voting bloc that`s been there a very long time. DEAN: Trump is a master showman. He really is. I don`t think he would have gone this way unless he knew what he was doing. One of the things I have counted him out at least eight times since this all started last March or whenever it was. The guy knows what he`s doing. The only problem is what he`s doing is, A, not good for the country, and B, probably not a good strategy to win a general election. But he absolutely could win the Republican nomination. And I think a lot of Republicans know that and it scares the daylights out of them. HAYES: You really think that? DEAN: I do. I think Donald Trump right now, he wouldn`t get to 50 percent of the odds because there`s so many candidates, but I think he has the best odds of winning the Republican nomination of any candidate out there. That doesn`t mean he will, But I think he`s got a good shot. HAYES: We should note that there are a lot of people speculating part of his announcement yesterday had to do with a new poll showing him behind in Iowa to Ted Cruz. Although polling out today showing him with a pretty commanding lead in New Hampshire. So, Howard Dean, thank you very much. DEAN: Thank you. HAYES: All right. Joining me now, John Cassidy, staff writer for "The New Yorker" who recently wrote a piece "Donald Trump is now America`s Marine Le Pen", a reference to the far right national front in France. The national front in France just enjoyed a huge victory in the elections there. What do you mean by making this parallel? JOHN CASSIDY, STAFF WRITER, "THE NEW YORKER": Well, France has long had a national front people which appeals to the disaffected white guy and runs as a separate party. On Sunday, they actually won enough seats in regional elections to end up running six major departments in France. So, they`re actually going to be running a lot of local governments. And the message they`ve been running on is very similar to what Trump`s been running on -- close the borders, Marine Le Pen, the leader of the party, says no more immigration, no legal, no illegal immigration, stop the Syrian refugees. Number one, close our borders, and then, shut down Islamic mosques, have a real crackdown on suspected Muslims. Generally, take a sort of very authoritarian approach very similar to what Donald Trump`s been talking about here. HAYES: And one of the things we`re seeing here that I think is worrisome is the migration of things that were fringe towards the center. So, "The New York Times" yesterday I think in writing up Trump`s proposal had a great clause that said an idea normally associated with hate groups, which is a sort of diplomatic way of saying that this is sort of fundamentally odious. And we`ve seen that. Are you watching that happen here in American politics? CASSIDY: Yes. I mean, Trump has a genius for pushing the envelope, right? He`s been doing it for months. And it`s working for him. And Trump is basically a gambler. He`ll stick with it when this strategy as long as he thinks it`s winning. First of all, he goes out and says, let`s deport 11 million undocumented -- HAYES: His first day he says they`re all rapists and criminals. CASSIDY: Exactly right, 11 million, completely impractical policy. Everybody says it`s crazy. It takes him to the top of the polls. Then, last month or so, it looked like he was dipping a bit and then the French terrorist attack starts. You know, as you mentioned, Ted Cruz was challenging him in Iowa. It wasn`t quite -- Ben Carson was doing well. If you`re Trump, you`re thinking I need to do something to reassert my lead. Bang, France blows up. What do you? He comes out and says let`s have a registry of Muslims. President Obama is not protecting the country. Let`s crack down on the Muslims. That works. OK? The trouble is, all the other candidates support that and he`s not really differentiating himself. HAYES: Well, that`s not true. The registry of Muslims -- CASSIDY: He backed off a bit and said a database. HAYES: Right, a lot of people said -- we shouldn`t say all candidates agree with him. CASSIDY: Yes, sorry, they agree with the database of suspected radicals. The fact is they went some way in his direction. So, he had an incentive to going further and he comes up with this idea of banning travel to all Muslims. We`ll have to wait and see if it works in the polls. There`s no immediate indication that it`s going to damage him. HAYES: Part of the problem here, too, is that the logic that`s been created and the rhetoric that has been joined by many people in the media and in politics, in the wake of Paris or San Bernardino, makes this not as insane or offensive as it might have been, right? Because if you keep look at these people. Next question becomes Syed Farook who was a shooter, who was an American citizen, OK? So what are you going to do about that, right? You can imagine he`s already in favor of rounding up and deporting 11 million other folks. I mean who knows what -- CASSIDY: I think two things need to be said. Number one, there`s a legitimate worry which lots of people have got they`re going to be some crazy guys going around shooting Americans in shopping malls. HAYES: Yes. CASSIDY: Theaters. That`s perfectly legitimate. It`s perfectly legitimate for people who say what`s the government going to do about it? Trump, though, takes that legitimate concern and twists it in a very particular direction where he knows the rest of the party can`t really follow him, because this is such a clear violation of American values, maybe a violation of the religious freedoms under the Constitution. HAYES: Right. CASSIDY: He`s talking about American servicemen not being able to re- enter the country because of their religion. It`s crazy, right? You think it`s crazy. But actually it may be politically quite smart because there is a rebel of concern out there that sort of goes to the Trump`s central strength which people don`t think of him as a regular politician. He`ll say anything. He`ll do anything. HAYES: I mean, there`s two lessons here. One is lesson is, as Howard Dean said this, people have been looking for the breaking point forever from almost the first day. There is no breaking point. I don`t think this will be a breaking point. Some percentage of people want this, they desire this. He`s giving it to them, A. And, B, whether it`s politically smart or not, there are real genuine consequences both around the world and here. We`re going to be talking about some of that when people start talking like this. John Cassidy -- a great pleasure, thank you. CASSIDY: Thank you. HAYES: All right. Coming up, the industry of Islamaphobia and debunking the poll that Donald Trump touts at the reason to keep Muslims out of America. Plus, a former George W. Bush official who has been accused of being a secret Muslim radical will join me. And later, Spike Lee gets candid about his film, his latest film, the movie "Chi-Raq", and what he has to say about the criticisms of the film. My interview, ahead. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Do you recognize that that term, I think part of the objection to that term right is that -- (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER (D), PHILADELPHIA: He`s taken a page from the playbook of Hitler. Donald Trump is literally trying to radicalize our fellow Americans against our American-Muslim and international Muslim brothers and sisters. REPORTER: He feels that we are at war with Muslims. NUTTER: He`s an (EXPLETIVE DELETED) hole. I mean, what -- I mean, I apologize, reverends. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: That was Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter with an impassioned response to Donald Trump`s proposal to ban Muslim visitors to the country and immigrants. The press conference was held alongside the leaders of the Philly religious community after, this is important, a bloody pig`s head was found thrown at a local mosque overnight, an incident that was captured on surveillance tape. Also, it`s not the only potential hate crime reported today. A Somali restaurant in North Dakota was set on fire overnight, the same restaurant where just last week, Nazi graffiti had been painted on the exterior and the words, "Go home". We`ll take a deeper look at Islamophobia in America, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: This was from the Center for Security Policy, very highly respected group of people who I know actually. This is people living in this country. Twenty-five percent of those polls agreed, violence against Americans is justified, is Muslims, 25 percent. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Unveiling his plan to keep Muslims out of country last night, Donald Trump cited polling that claims to show large members of Muslim Americans support jihad against the West, which is terrifying if true but, of course, it`s a terrible poll. As Georgetown University`s Bridge Initiative points out, it was a non- probability based opt-in survey conducted online by a conservative polling firm which means the results don`t actually really mean anything in any scientific sense. And there`s the matter of the group that commissioned the poll. The Center for Security Policy which Trump up calls highly respected is run by a man named Frank Gaffney, a former Reagan official whom the Southern Poverty Law Center which tracks hate speech, calls one of America`s most notorious Islamophobes. Throughout the Obama years, Gaffney has been stoking a right wing fear of Muslims, advancing the campaign against the so-called Ground Zero mosque in New York, spreading the theory the American Muslims are secretly plotting to replace the Constitution with Sharia law and accusing the Obama administration as being a front for the Muslim Brotherhood, even calling explicitly for McCarthy style hearings to root out the supposed infiltrators. Among the specific individuals he`s charged with, carrying water for the Muslim Brotherhood, besides President Obama are Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan and perhaps most head scratchingly, anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist. In fact, Gaffney wrote a whole book accusing Norquist and other Republicans of forming an Islamist front group. And that book was enough to get him barred from CPAC, the annual conservative gathering. In a statement today, the Center for Security Policy stood by the poll findings Trump cited and said, quote, "The Southern Policy Law Center by inaccurately and slanderously describing Americans who raise legitimately warnings about jihad as Islamophobes is aiding jihad`s perpetrator is by suppressing speech that is critical to them." Frank Gaffney still maintains some serious poll among conservative Republicans. This is not a fringe figure. Some of the presidential candidates participated in a forum he already hosted over the summer in New Hampshire. He`s holding another one on Monday in Las Vegas on the eve of the next Republican debate. And we will be waiting to see just who attends. Joining me now, Suhail Khan, a former official in the second Bush administration who has been accused by Frank Gaffney of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Those are spurious and specious allegations, just to be clear. Suhail, your -- I want to hear from you the connection between the groundwork that`s been laid by individuals by Frank Gaffney and what Trump did yesterday. SUHAIL KHAN, FORMER BUSH ADMIN. OFFICIAL: Well, thanks for having me on. Absolutely, Frank Gaffney for over a decade has been insidiously smearing the good name of Americans in public service, folks as you pointed out on both the Republican and Democratic side of the aisle just because of their faith and because of these efforts, he`s been marginalized by members of Congress, by senators, by various groups, particularly conservative groups who has Paul Ryan has rightly pointed out about Trump`s comments, that there is no place for such bigotry within the conservative movement. Unfortunately, unfortunately, he has been able to take his bigotry to presidential candidates like Dr. Carson and now Donald Trump and has pushed this bigotry out into the mainstream of the campaign. Unfortunately, these candidates have taken his bigotry and this bogus data and pushed it out there. I say, if bigotry is a disease, Frank Gaffney is the patient zero and he`s really the Bob Ewell of politics, if I can mix my metaphors. And his hatred now has become mainstream with some in the presidential field. I`m confident the vast majority of conservatives and indeed all Americans will reject this bigotry very soon when it comes time to vote. HAYES: Let me ask you this -- you quoted Paul Ryan who gave a fairly impassioned and definitive thorough speech about Trump`s proposal or comments about this. There`s no place for bigotry in conservatism. But that strikes me as sort of an aspirational statement more than a descriptive one at this moment. I mean, Donald Trump is running in a Republican primary. He`s getting 25, 30 percent. There is a indubitably a market for this. Frank Gaffney didn`t just appear out you have nowhere. There is some portion of the Republican base and it`s backed up by lots of polling. I mean, you`ve got, you know, lots of American Republicans telling pollsters that they think Islam is incompatible with American democracy, a slim plurality in certain states even saying that it should be illegal. KHAN: A couple of points. First, Donald Trump, Dr. Carson, they`ve been successful so far in this primary season largely because they`re outsiders, they`re taking advantage of very anti-Washington establishment sentiment out there. And that`s real. That feeling obviously is real. We just saw the change in the speaker in the House due to a significant segment of House members feeling that they wanted a change in leadership. But I would argue that people like Frank Gaffney are taking advantage of that popularity, taking advantage of that anti-Washington establishment sentiment out there and latching on with this anti-Muslim and anti- immigrant type of hysteria. Unfortunately, I`m not letting Dr. Carson or Mr. Trump off the hook. They are completely responsible for putting this hate out there. But we need to be aware, as you rightly pointed out in the beginning of the segment, that there is a genesis for this and that is hate groups like Mr. Gaffneys that are pushing this out and getting candidates to adopt this and pushing them out into traffic on this type of bigotry. HAYES: Part of the issue is this sort of suspicion that has waxed and waned how it blankets Muslim-Americans. I mean, how do you feel personally? Like when you are -- when someone accuses you, Suhail Khan, that you have the name you have and the faith tradition you have and you must be some cryptoplant of jihadists, what does that feel like? KHAN: Thanks for asking. Of course, when he first started coming after me and my family, I can`t lie. There was a sting to that hatred and that bigotry, particularly because it wasn`t true. But having a good circle of friends and support both from my family and my friends here in Washington, D.C., I`ve come to brush off those accusations. It hasn`t hurt me professionally or personally. But what does hurt meet is when innocent people in public service are the next targets. And that`s why I`ve always felt that it`s important for me to stand up in defense of those and in defense of innocent people. If you`re a young American thinking about getting into public service and you see that there are these bigots out there targeting you, trying to demean you and your family, traditions, just because as loyal as American you may be, because you might follow traditions that might be a little different, that I think is most reprehensible and why I feel it`s important to stand up to that bigotry because in fact we are Americans and we are under attack here. There are vicious violent terrorists who want to do us harm. We saw that in San Bernardino. We need to stand together against this bigotry and only give in to the terrorists by dividing ourselves based on religion, but instead we should join together as Americans regardless of our ethnic and religious background to fight this enemy and defeat them. HAYES: All right. Thank you, Suhail Khan. KHAN: Thank you, Chris. HAYES: Still to come, my interview with Spike Lee on his new controversial movie "Chiraq". What he said happened in his meeting with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LEE: He was trying to convince me to change the title "Chiraq". First of all, I didn`t come up with the title. HAYES: Right. LEE: Local Chicago rappers came up with the title. His reasons for changing the title were troubling to me. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKER: This morning he was under attack on his own side of the Atlantic for suggesting Muslims, all one and a half billion of them presumably, should be banned from coming to the U.S.
( SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE )
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Republican front-runners plan to bar Muslims from entering the U.S. has been almost as big a news story around the world as it has been here. And Trump has at least one international supporter, Geert Wilders, he`s the head of the far right Dutch Freedom party, who tweeted, I hope Donald Trump will be the next U.S. president. Good for America, good for Europe. We need brave leaders.
For the most part though, reaction around the world has been overwhelmingly negative. Representatives of the French and British governments both condemned the Trump`s proposal, while in Egypt the top religious authority said it amounted to quote, "hate rhetoric".
Londoners were incensed at Trump`s comments about no go zones in their city.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP: We have places in London and other places that are so radicalized that the police are afraid for their own lives.
We have to be very smart and very vigilant.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: London mayor Boris Johnson responded in a statement. "Crime has been falling steadily both in London and in New York - and the only reason I wouldn`t go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump."
Even the London police weighed in with an official statement. "We would not normally dignify such comments with a response, however on this occasion we think it`s important to state to Londoners that Mr. Trump could not be more wrong. Any candidate for the presidential election in the United States of America is welcome to receive a briefing from the Met Police on the reality of policing London.
Then there was this from another Brit, Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling, "How horrible. Voldemort was nowhere near as bad."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dude, this is about life and death, about a community that`s a wreck, and you want to sit here and talk about how women behave? Fool, we trying to free these slaves, slaves to the madness, slaves to this violence and what you just want us to silence? We going to make sure these fools put down these guns, and stop thinking that this craziness is fun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Spike Lee`s new movie is called CHI-RAQ. It is a fantastical, mythical modern adaptation of the Greek play Lysistrata. A story in which the characters speak largely in rhyming couplets as you saw there, and where women, (inaudible) in the Greek play, band together for a sex strike to put an end to the gang violence in their Chicago neighborhoods.
Film has been controversial from the start. From the title, which conjures up the images of a distant war zone, to the premise, which has been criticized as an affront to residents of Chicago, where gun violence is a deeply serious reality.
I sat down with Spike Lee to talk about the movie, some of the criticism it`s received, including a series of tweets from Chance the rapper, whose father, Ken Bennet, is Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel`s deputy chief of staff and director of the mayor`s office of public engagement.
I began by asking spike if this movie is really about the city of Chicago.
(BEGIN COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SPIKE LEE, MOVIE DIRECTOR: This is a movie about America, because a big take away for me for the film is guns. And it`s a question that we`ve, I don`t know if we`re afraid to deal with it or don`t want to deal with it, or whatever. I don`t know what it is, but I think that it is insane, it`s complete insanity that 88 Americans die every day due to gun violence in this supposed civilized country that we live in.
HAYES: I mean, part of what I think some of the criticism of the film has received, particularly from folks in Chicago, let`s just stipulate, if you make a movie, if you`re not from a place and you make a movie about that place people are going to be, why did you make a movie about this place.
LEE: Also if you`re me -- HAYES: Right. There`s a certain amount that comes with the territory.
LEE: I understand that.
HAYES: But part of it also, you know, when I watched the movie I thought to myself, this is -- it`s a myth. It`s a myth. It is a mythological film as much as it is a realistic depiction of actual urban violence.
LEE: It is, for me, I use the term heightened reality. Just the fact that we took this play written by the great Greek playwright Aristophanes. There was -- he wrote in 4 b.c., and moved it to the south side of Chicago where the premise is women take control by withholding sex. I mean, it`s heightened reality.
HAYES: What do you mean by that?
LEE: Is that people are not going to start breaking into song and dance singing, and people aren`t going to walk around today speaking in verse and rhyme. So this is a heightened reality.
HAYES: Chance the rapper who is from Chicago, and who is actually, as he was coming up, particularly before he became big, was rapping a lot about precisely this issue, was rapping a lot about violence in Chicago, went off.
He said, "The idea that women abstaining from sex would stop murder is offensive, a slap in the face to any mother that lost a child. You don`t do any work with the children of Chicago. You don`t live here. You`ve never watched someone die here. Don`t tell me to be calm." LEE: First of all, Chance rap will say full disclosure. His father works for the mayor. He`s the chief of staff whatever the title is. His father is the chief of staff. Show me any criticism, if he`s so concerned about Chicago, do your research. Show me where he`s made a criticism about the mayor.
I think your findings will be surprising. He has not criticized the mayor. Why? His father works for the mayor.
And, on top of that, Jennifer Hudson is in the film. She plays a pivotal role. Jennifer Hudson`s mother, brother, and nephew were murdered in Chicago.
Why would she be part of a film if -- if what Chance rapper is saying is true, then why would Jennifer be in the film?
HAYES: And you just mentioned the mayor. Obviously the mayor is under tremendous --
LEE: The feds are in town.
HAYES: The feds are in town?
LEE: The feds are in the city of broad shoulders.
HAYES: Now -- LEE: The feds. F-E-D-S.
HAYES: You met with the mayor before you started filming.
LEE: We met in preproduction.
HAYES: What was that meeting like?
LEE: It wasn`t good.
HAYES: He was not happy?
LEE: He was not happy. He never said, Spike, you can`t make this film. I mean he couldn`t do that, but he didn`t say that. He said he liked my films in the past. But he also said that he wish -- he was trying to convince me to change the title of CHI-RAQ.
First of all, I didn`t come up with the title. Local Chicago rappers came up with the title. And his reasons for changing the title were troubling to me.
He said the title CHI-RAQ would hurt tourism and economic development.
HAYES: But you understand why, you know, and I recognize that Spike Lee didn`t come up with CHI-RAQ, right? It comes from folks in Chicago. You recognize that term, part of the objection to that term is that sometimes when we talk about urban violence, and I`m talking about us, me, the media, okay?
LEE: All right.
HAYES: You can talk about something in West Baltimore, you talk about West side of Chicago, you can talk about Detroit, a lot of places. It`s very easy in communicating how bad it is and how traumatic it is to live there to make it seem like some other place. That`s not us. That`s CHI-RAQ. That`s some other place.
LEE: I totally disagree with that because if you saw the film, Angela Bassett, you might have forgotten, Angela Bassett has a scene where she says, first of all, people don`t know what they`re talking about. A character in the movie says she hates the word CHI-RAQ.
HAYES: You have characters in the movie saying everything.
LEE: Because people have to have a right. They want to see the different viewpoints. As a filmmaker, I`m not going to have every character in my movie say what I believe.
HAYES: Right, no.
LEE: That`s what he artists do.
HAYES: So the other reason that people, I think -- this has true before people saw the film. Like my impressions going in and what the film were were not the same, right? Is that, in the wake of the last two years of Black Lives Matter protests, one of the things we hear all the time is black on black crime. You guys are protesting because you know, a cop shot this young black man, but young black men kill young black men all the time.
There`s a sense in which people feel like that is a disingenuous misdirection on the part of some people, not everyone obviously.
LEE: First of all, people look at my body of my work. I`m the director that made Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, I could go on for another three hours. So, look at the body of work. I didn`t get off the turnip truck. Let me finish.
HAYES: Right, right.
LEE: Sir, it doesn`t matter to me what color or complexion that pulls the trigger. As an artist, I`m going to look at both sides. There`s a specific scene where Samuel Jackson talks about it. He`s in the middle, there`s a gang banger on one side and a Chicago cop on other.
If you`re a parent -- whether your child got killed by a gang banger or cop, you still feel the same.
LEE: Your child is dead, and your child is never coming back to you forever, and for the rest of your life, you are going to have a hole in your soul.
So, it doesn`t matter. I`m going to forget about -- it doesn`t matter to me. As a cowriter, director, producer of this film, it doesn`t matter. We dealt with both in this film.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Spike Lee`s CHI-RAQ is now playing in theaters nationwide. I have watched it. I can honestly say it is unlike anything I`ve seen in a very long time, possibly ever.
Still ahead, as world leaders work against the clock at the Climate Change Summit in Paris, these unbelievable images out of China where the levels of air pollution have triggered a red alert in the capital city.
All that`s coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HAYES: As world leaders race to avert full on climate crisis, Republican law makers in America exercise full on denial. That`s next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) Today, right now, nearly 150 world leaders are gathered in Paris, racing to get a deal on global carbon emissions that could save the planet from climate catastrophe.
Meanwhile, back in Washington, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a man hoping to join the ranks of those world leaders, just wrapped up a senate subcommittee hearing on climate change titled, "Data or Dogma".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TED CRUZ, TEXAS SENATOR: I believe that public policy should follow the actual science, and the actual data and evidence, and not political and partisan claims that run contrary to the science and data and evidence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: GOP presidential hopeful follows in the footsteps of his fellow Republicans in the house who have reliably used the platform of the science committee to spread junk science and misinformation.
Earlier today, Democratic senators slammed the hearing and Senator Markey of Massachusetts dubbed Cruz and his fellow Republicans of the committee a quote, "sub cult of deniers".
The witness list of the hearings certainly bears that out. There were three scientists who were notable climate deniers, plus a right wing author with no obvious scientific credentials. And just one lone scientist who affirms the massive consensus that the planet is warming, in part due to human activity, and that if we do not do anything to change the status quo, we`ll be faced with the catastrophic consequences of our action.
That lone scientists was invited to testify by Democrats on the committee.
Joining me now, one of those Democrats, Senator Gary Peters, Democrat from Michigan, ranking Democrat on the Senate subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness. Senator, what was this hearing about today? There were not that many people there. This seemed to me like essentially a Ted Cruz campaign event held in the capitol.
SEN. GARY PETERS, (D) MICHIGAN: Well, I think that`s a pretty accurate description. You had some folks testifying who were basically denying that climate change is caused by humans and is a significant threat. It`s a debate that seems to continue to go on in the halls of congress but as you mentioned in opening this segment, it`s not happening in the world community, it`s why we`ve got nearly 190 countries coming together in Paris. We have 97 percent of the scientists, climate scientists in this country, who believe that climate change is real and not only is it real, humans have a significant play in it and we have deal with it.
We also have the major companies in this country that have all come out to deal with it. So, to have Senator Cruz put this show together is really disappointing, particularly to use the science committee.
We should be talking about how do we deal with this issue? We know that we have potentially catastrophic impact as a result of climate change. We should be looking at how do we further study this so we can put together the kind of public policy that can mitigate this. We can deal with it but have to put our best minds to trying to solve it as opposed to trying to deny its existence.
HAYES: Do hearings like this one -- and there have been many hearings in the House committee that have drawn a lot of criticism for essentially being used to harass scientists, but do hearings like this one do actual tangible harm or are they just a sideshow?
PETERS: Well, I think it`s somewhat of a sideshow in the fact that we`ve got to keep moving forward. We`ve got to be able to put ideas forward. In dealing with climate change, as well, I mean this is an opportunity for us to be looking at economic development, as well. In my state of Michigan, solar, wind, are economic drivers. This is about doing what`s good for the economy, about creating a sustainable economy, while at the same time addressing climate change issue.
But for whatever reason, Senator Cruz believes that this good politics for him. And I`m sure it is with parts of his Republican base. But it is bad public policy and for someone who aspires to be the president to think you would be making public policy when 97 percent of the scientific community says that what you`re trying to do is wrong to me really is a testament to his lack of ability to provide the leadership necessary for this country.
HAYES: Is denial disqualifying to be president of the United States in your mind?
PETERS: I think it is. I think that if you are not willing to work with the vast majority of the scientific community to figure out how to deal with this issue -- I mean, this is a national security issue. Our witness was a former admiral in the navy. He was in charge of meteorological services for the U.S. Navy. And, you, know, he had made the comparison which I thought was very important is that if you`re a military commander making decisions and you`re using intelligence to help determine whether or not your operation goes forward, if you had 97 percent certainty, you would definitely act. In fact, it would be malpractice not to act. You could lose your whole army if you don`t act when you have 97 percent certainty.
This is something that we need to deal with and to have someone who wants to be a commander-in-chief but doesn`t understand how important it is and how much evidence is behind it is, I think, is very telling.
HAYES: Senator Gary Peters, thanks for joining me. Appreciate it.
PETERS: Thank you.
HAYES: We will go live to Paris to see how the negotiations are going on there be next.
HAYES: This is a live look at Beijing where today, millions of Chinese children remain out of school, factories closed, half the city`s vehicles continue to be shutoff the roads after Beijing`s first ever so- called red alert over air pollution.
The toxic smog that blanketed much of the nation`s capital was so thick and intrusive that hospitals were overwhelmed by sick children looking for respite.
The episode puts China`s position as the world`s top emitter of carbon dioxide front and center and increases pressure on Chinese officials to come to a deal in Paris.
Joining me now live from Paris for an update on the climate talks, MSNBC national reporter Tony Dokoupil. And Tony, what is the latest from the talks there?
TONY DOKOUPIL, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Chris. Thanks for having me.
Well, the UN process here makes congress look fast acting and nimble. So everybody on Earth, all the countries on Earth, they have to ratify this treaty, this 21-page document. Consensus, not one dissenter.
And so right now, as we get to Friday where they are going to make their final vote, everyone has kind of gone to their respective corners. They have their arms crossed and their backs turned and they`re making demands. China is saying, yes, we`re going to cut our emissions, but we don`t want anyone to watch it and look at what we`re doing. We don`t want it to be verifiable.
The United States is saying, hey, I know we`ve contributed a lot to the global warming, but we don`t want to an infinite bill for that. We don`t want to pay loss and damages to island countries and to poorer countries that are suffering the effects.
And then have countries like India that are saying okay, fine, give us a chance to grow as rich as you guys have grown by burning all these fossil fuels. And they`ve drawn these various lines in the sand and now everyone is standing there to see who blinks first, right, and turns back to the negotiating table.
And then on Friday we`ll have this tremendously interesting moment where everybody reconvenes and the appointed president, the French foreign minister, comes to the podium and he says do we have consensus on this historic agreement? Do we have consensus.
It`s a speak now or forever hold your peace moment. And if no one dissents, he bangs the gavel and have a deal. We`re far from that now, but we`re inching toward it.
HAYES: Wait. They`re really going to have 190 representatives in a room and there`s going to be a moment where the minister says, everyone cool? And then there`s going to be a pause and a hope that one says anything?
DOKOUPIL: Yeah. That is how it works. It`s an astounding process. And everyone on Earth at that moment who is paying attention to this issue is going to be holding their breath.
And when he bangs that gavel, if there is not a peep -- you know, in 2009 Venezuela raised their hand and said actually we have an issue. If there`s not a peep this time -- I mean, it`s going to be pandemonium. The scene, the conference center where tens of thousands of journalists and delegate members are gathered, it`s going to be like -- the whole thing is going to be like NASA`s control room on the moon landing, just cheers and celebration and then filing, rushing to file and get the news out there.
HAYES: Well, that is fascinating. Tony Dokoupil, thank you for joining me. I`m looking forward to that moment. Let`s hope it works out well.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END