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All In with Chris Hayes, 3/25/2016

Guests: Michael Ware, Linda Sarsour, Gabe Sherman, Betsy Woodruff, Ben Jealous

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: March 25, 2016 Guest: Michael Ware, Linda Sarsour, Gabe Sherman, Betsy Woodruff, Ben Jealous


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This garbage does not belong in politics.

HAYES: Just when you thought things couldn`t get any lower.

CRUZ: It is a smear that has come from Donald Trump and his henchmen.

HAYES: The incredible new depths of the Republican primary as the stakes of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz come into high relief.

Plus, Donald Trump`s stunning admission to "The Washington Post."

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I buy a slightly smaller than large glove, OK?

HAYES: Hillary Clinton continues her pivot.

JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN: Try to have some fun. This is like your dream. Pretend you`re enjoying yourself.

HAYES: As crowds keep flocking to Bernie.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, you see, this little bird doesn`t know it.


HAYES: Tonight, why Elizabeth Warren is suddenly making waves.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I`m still cheering Bernie on.

HAYES: All that and journalist Michael Ware on his new documentary on the birth of ISIS.

MICHAEL WARE, JOURNALIST: Oh, my God, I`ve not seen this.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.

If there is one single solitary lesson in this campaign so far, particularly on the Republican side, it`s that whenever you think it`s hit rock bottom, there`s always a new low. Whenever you think you`ve found the final Russian nesting doll ignominy, there`s another one there.

And today was no different. Ted Cruz today responding to a "National Enquirer" story, one that has not been confirmed by any other outlet or any named sources or any reproducible documentation, a story that claimed private investigators are investigating allegation that Cruz had several extramarital affairs.

This afternoon, he said the allegations were completely false and offensive.


CRUZ: Let me be clear: this "National Enquirer" story is garbage. It is complete and utter lies. It is a tabloid smear. And it is a smear that has come from Donald Trump and his henchmen.


HAYES: The senator from Texas went on to blame Trump`s long-time former aide Roger Stone, who was quoted in the "Enquirer" piece for planting the story.

Trump responded, asserting his campaign was not involved, saying in part, quote, "I have nothing to do with `The National Enquirer` and unlike Lyin` Ted Cruz, I do not surround myself with political hacks and henchmen and then pretend total innocence. Ted Cruz`s problem with `The National Enquirer` is his and his alone, and while they were right about O.J. Simpson, John Edwards and many others, I certainly hope they are not lying about lying Ted Cruz."

While Donald Trump may have had nothing to do with "The National Enquirer" story, he has had quite a relationship with the magazine and its CEO, the Dickensian named David Pecker. In 2013, Trump tweeted, quote, "Time Magazine should definitely pick David Pecker to run things over there. He`d make it exciting and win awards."

Two years later, he wrote an exclusive column for the tabloid. Earlier this month, the paper actually endorsed Trump saying, "Trump must be president!".

But if "The National Enquirer`s" totally unsubstantiated allegations dominating the campaign trail wasn`t enough, Ted Cruz`s campaign manager this afternoon questioned Trump`s mental health, tweeting, quote, "Missing, #sleazyDonald. Why no events in four days; none planned for 8. Ever had psychological eval? What is hiding in medical records. Exclamation point. Release, exclamation point. Why is everyone tweeting like Donald Trump?"

Donald Trump followed by retweeting someone saying, #lyingTed blames real Donald Trump for so many things I am starting to think he is having a mental health crisis.

Meanwhile, the real estate mogul`s connection to David Pecker, the CEO of "Enquirer", have alienated some of his biggest supporters. Today, Michael Savage, the right-wing radio host urged Trump to distance himself from the publisher.


MICHAEL SAVAGE, RADIO HOST: I go where the truth is. I`ve supported Cruz -- I mean, I`ve supported Trump and probably still will. But if he won`t disavow this guy Pecker and this story, I may withdraw my support from anyone in this campaign, I`ll tell you right now.


HAYES: Joining me now, Gabe Sherman, national affairs editor at "New York Magazine", who has written in the past about Donald Trump`s relationship with "The National Enquirer."

And, Gabe, I was actually reading your work that revealed these connections to me. I had no idea about -- that Trump and Pecker went back as far as they do.

GABE SHERMAN, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Yes. It`s a fascinating relationship. And it really is another window into how Donald Trump has used his understanding of the New York media to sort of short-circuit this political campaign and call on these relationships and really use it to his advantage.

HAYES: The Trump campaign of course says they had nothing to do with this piece. Do you find that credible?

SHERMAN: Well, I think -- I think both sides can kind of -- it`s a win- win. They can deny it. Although my reporting I`ve heard from sources inside the David Pecker has told the staff not to write negative articles on Donald Trump.

So, whether or not he`s spoon-fed these rumors to the "National Enquirer" it`s clear that these two men are friends and that the coverage reflects the "Enquirer`s" favorable treatment of Trump when you look at the way it`s covered the other candidate. It`s gone after Ben Carson. Today, obviously, it`s gone after Ted Cruz. It`s gone after Jeb Bush in the past. So, really, the coverage speaks for itself.

HAYES: And we should also put this in a broader context, which is that Trump is basically a creature of tabloid media, has been since he was a kind of young heir.


HAYES: And also is someone who is on close personal terms with a great many large and powerful media figures.

SHERMAN: Of course. And I think this is just another example of how Donald Trump is rewriting the rules of American politics.

You know, every other presidential candidate would run away from a tabloid story. Donald Trump runs towards them. He loves this stuff. Look at the way he`s been engaging Ted Cruz on Twitter. Look at the way he goaded Ted Cruz and tweeted that he would, quote, "spill the beans" on his wife.

This is the terrain that Donald Trump wants to play on. He is comfortable in the mud. And other candidates who try to get down in there with him just flail around and slosh around. Trump is the only one who can stay on balance down in the muck.

HAYES: Yes, but he stays on balance but the problem of course is that it also does hurt him. It hurt him not in the short run project he has of securing the Republican nomination, although I think it does hurt him a little bit there, and we should all keep in mind this is heading into Wisconsin, which is neck and neck. But it does hurt him in his favorables. I mean, it turns out that when you play the heel the audience starts to boo. When you play the difficult house member in the reality show who`s not there to make friends, you become a villain.

SHERMAN: Yes, that is true. I think the unfavorables, his standing with women, obviously there are some longer-term liabilities he has if he does get the nomination going into the general election.

Although I do think it`s another example, just once again, how Donald Trump is a lot smarter and savvier of the mechanics about the way our media culture works. He understands the American media in a way that no other modern presidential candidate has. And whether or not this gambit is successful, I think the fact that we`re talking about it today is another reason that he is sort of on new terrain here. Something we have not seen before.

HAYES: What does he understand? What is the key insight he has about the American media?

SHERMAN: Well, he understands that conflict and controversy are not necessarily liabilities. He actually stokes them. He knows that reporters, producers, anchors need storylines. At his heart, Donald Trump is a producer, and he is producing this show.

HAYES: What he gets, and I`ll say this as someone who works in the media, he gets more than anyone else, the desperation that comes from a media environment that is more competitive now than it has ever been. The competition for attention across all spheres, not just in media but in politics for everyone, attention is the most valuable and scarcest commodity in the 21st century, and he understands that I think better than anyone I`ve ever seen.

SHERMAN: Without a question. I think that is why his campaign has from the moment he announced been the topic of conversation, because he`s willing to go places that no one else is willing to go.

HAYES: Gabe Sherman, thanks for being here. Appreciate it.

SHERMAN: Good to be with you.

HAYES: Today, Donald Trump did not have any public events, instead weighing in on the day`s events via statement.

Cruz, on the other hand, had three events in Wisconsin, turning his attention to that winner-take-all primary election. With the latest polling has Cruz and Trump essentially tied with less than two weeks to go and 42 delegates at stake. Trump now has 752 delegates while Ted Cruz is at 470, and there are a whole bunch of different models from different sources and platforms that show that basically Trump is right on the cusp of being able to make it to that magic number of 1,237 and clinch the nomination outright.

But a winner-take-all loss in Wisconsin would do quite a bit to bump him off track.

Joining me now: Joy Reid, MSNBC national correspondent, Betsy Woodruff, politics reporter at "The Daily Beast".

Betsy, let me start with you. You`ve got a byline in a piece that basically says there were a bunch of people looking into the subject of the "National Enquirer" today, even Breitbart, who refused to run it because it was too thinly sourced.

BETSY WOODRUFF, THE DAILY BEAST: Exactly. And it was kind of funny. We thought about writing this story several months ago but we didn`t want to broadcast baseless rumors that had no connection to reality by saying, hey, these rumors are going around. So, when the story broke and when it really blew up on Twitter today, we thought, all right, let`s pull the trigger.

The reality is operatives who oppose Cruz and in certain cases operatives who are supporting Rubio, they`re not part of his campaign, had been pushing this story for at least six months. They`ve pushed it to almost -- to a significant number of major media outlets in this country. Of course, it would be a huge scoop if it was true. Put it in the realm of true category. But nobody was willing to even touch it. Except of course for "National Enquirer", and here we are.

HAYES: I have to say, Joy. I`m trying to figure out how to cover this. Take people behind the curtain here.


HAYES: When you`re a political reporter, people come up to you. Sources come up to you. People e-mail you, in bars. People -- rumors about a politician having affairs, there is not a single politician that I`ve not heard scuttlebutt about. There`s a rumor, oh -- even things like oh, that shoe`s about to drop. It`s going to come out.

REID: Yes.

HAYES: The fact of the matter is rumors are rumors for a reason. Reporting is reporting for a reason. And there`s a distance between two.

REID: No, absolutely. But here`s the problem, is that we are no longer the gatekeepers of that stuff, right? Even if you go all the way back to the Gary Hart era where you have these things come out, there`s some sort of a funnel that it goes through that is called the mainstream media that can decide what`s worth covering.

By the time I heard about this, it had been -- the hashtag had been used more than 300,000 times on Twitter. Social media is already advancing something into the atmosphere that is not really even controlled. The problem for Ted Cruz is that it doesn`t matter whether or not it gets picked up by a mainstream media source, whether or not people run with it or not. It`s in the ecosystem, while he`s in Wisconsin trying to campaign.

HAYES: Right. And I will say this, Betsy. I think part of the reason that this story achieved the level it had today was because he on the record addresses it, right? So, in some ways that gives everyone a news story, right? Because then you talk about it, you can`t talk about it without the predicate for it.

At the same time, Betsy, he is in an impossible situation for the reason that Joy said. I can`t believe how sympathetic I find myself to Ted Cruz on this Friday evening. But he has to sort of address it.

And I do think the context of Wisconsin`s important here. I mean, this is actually a real like nail-biter battle. And I think the Trump people think they could lose it.

WOODRUFF: Certainly, without a doubt. And the Cruz folks, their view is that as long as they`re talking about policy and as long as they`re talking about concrete issues, they`re in good shape. Remember particularly in Waukesha County in Wisconsin, which is Scott Walker territory, Cruz is doing quite well. A lot of the conservative infrastructure in Wisconsin, which might be better organized and more mobilized than the conservative infrastructure, almost any other state, we`re seeing those folks align behind Cruz. Charlie Sikes who`s perhaps the most influential conservative radio host in Wisconsin, a big Cruz booster.

So, the stars are kind of aligning in Cruz`s favor. He`s slashed Trump`s lead over the past few weeks. But now, of course, all of the sudden, Trump seems to at least be enjoying this sex scandal story because it undercuts Cruz`s basic appeal, which is Cruz can say, I`m a good guy, I`m like you, I share your faith, I share your values.

If this story is true and if the doubt is effectively introduced, it gets tougher for him.

HAYES: You know, I`ve got to say this is a theme now, which is you have someone who acts in such sort of anti-social ways I guess is the politest way I can describe Trump`s behavior, right? Monstrously would be the uncharitable way to describe the behavior sometimes.

You have someone who acts that way towards people. It makes them sort of sympathetic. You lose sight of the fact that Ted Cruz from a political perspective would be if he were the nominee so off the charts in terms of how extreme he is. I think very difficult to elect in a general election, holds a variety of views that I personally find deeply objectionable, was talking about surveilling Muslims. But because it ends up -- it does becomes the psychodrama every day, I do wonder if it does have this Overton window effect where Ted Cruz seems like he`s a sort of stand-up guy and he`s not Donald Trump.

REID: Maybe. Except Ted Cruz doesn`t have much of a rear guard. Ted Cruz rose to fame as the tea partier who came to Washington to burn down the Republican establishment, shut down the government, with no regard for the brand of his own party. And remember the two groups that are in place to come to Cruz`s defense, the two groups upon which he`s building his Trump alternative, are evangelical Christians -- but not just any evangelical Christians, white evangelical Christians, frequent churchgoers.

So, the most religious of the evangelical Christians and movement conservatives. The sort of Erick Erickson wing of the party that says we need to put a real movement guy in.

He is completely now being distracted from that movement conservative brand by this story because now he`s having to sling mud like a tenth-grader with Donald Trump, which you can`t win against Donald Trump. And then the other part of it, the evangelical piece, any grain of doubt in a state like Wisconsin that has a significant evangelical base, that is part of why Scott Walker`s popular, Scott Walker is a extremely doctrinaire religious conservative. Any crack in that gives Trump the opening.

That is the problem with this story. And we weren`t talking about him being at Lambeau Field today. And that`s a problem for ked Cruz.

HAYES: Or getting a big Green Bay Packer endorsement as I saw right before I went to air.

Betsy, I guess my question to you is, in what kind of shape is that Cruz campaign right now?

WOODRUFF: Spirits seem to be decent. You know, not -- people are nervous, of course. It`s not to say it`s a stress-less situation.

But things in Wisconsin look good. One source of confidence for them, the sense that I get-s that they`re very well-connected with conservative activists. They`re connected with a lot of party leaders at the state level. Which means if this goes to a contested convention, which, of course, is their only road to the nomination -- speaking realistically -- they think they have an edge there just because of those relationships.

As Joy was saying, the hardcore movement conservatives, people who door knock, people who are really invested and have been invested in conservative politics for years, those folks are much more on board with Cruz than they are with Trump. Cruz`s team thinks that that`s going to help them out if we get to a contested convention.

That said, they`ve got to do well in Wisconsin. And this story is not great for them. It`s not what they want to be dealing with. There might be some positive backlash, whatever the good version of that is. But it doesn`t help.

HAYES: I do think people have been wrong so often talking about backlash and beat Trump and all that stuff. I am a believer that there`s backlash. I`m just going to put that out there. And I think there will be some.

Joy Reid, Betsy Woodruff, thanks for joining me.

REID: Thank you.

HAYES: Still ahead, Bernie Sanders` unique position in the Democratic race and the comment from Elizabeth Warren that has everyone talking.

Plus, Donald Trump opens up about his harrowing fight to prove his hands are perfectly normal. Lucky for us, it`s all on tape at length.

Later, the accidental voting bloc. How anti-Muslim rhetoric from both Republican front-runners is driving Muslim Americans to vote.

Those stories and more ahead.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Bernie Sanders can still win. Is it time for him to consider dropping out or should he stay in all the way to the convention?

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Bernie`s -- he`s out there. He fights from the heart. This is who Bernie is. And he has put the right issues on the table for the Democratic Party and for the country in general. So I`m still cheering Bernie on.


HAYES: Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren says she thinks Bernie Sanders should stay right where he is, campaigning to be the Democratic nominee for president.

But the current president is reportedly, at least privately insinuating otherwise. According to "The New York Times", the president has told donors that the time is coming to unite behind Hillary Clinton. While he did not explicitly call on Mr. Sanders to quit the race, a private fund- raiser last week, some attendees took his remark as a signal to Mr. Sanders that perpetuating his campaign could only help Republicans recapture the White House.

There`s no doubt that Sanders` path to victory right now is an uphill climb but at this point in the race, it`s certainly not impossible. Right now, Hillary Clinton is up by nearly 300 pledged delegates, meaning that Sanders will need to win around 64 percent of the remaining 2,000 or so pledged delegates to win.

His best shot at getting there is in caucus states where he`s already beat Hillary Clinton seven out of nine times. And three states hold caucuses tomorrow -- Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington. A total of 142 pledged delegates are up for grabs.

And on April 5th, there`s the Wisconsin primary, where he`ll be battling for 86 pledged delegates. While Sanders` odds of getting the nomination have diminished in the last month, his grassroots momentum has not slowed down one bit.

Thousands showed up for a rally in Portland, Oregon, this afternoon. He has a rally tonight at Safeco Field, the baseball stadium where the Seattle Mariners play. And if Bernie Sanders doesn`t make it to the finish line, he seems recently to perhaps be starting a kind of negotiation over what changes, he wants to see to the party to get his endorsement.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we don`t win -- and by the way, we are in this thing to win. Please understand that.

What is the Democratic establishment going to do for us? Are they going to create a 50-state party? Are they going to welcome into the Democratic Party the working class of this country and young people? Or is it going to be a party of the upper middle class and the cocktail crowd and the heavy campaign contributors?


HAYES: Sanders today had a bit of an interruption at his rally in Portland, though unlike other campaign events disrupted by hecklers or protesters, this one was enthusiastically received by the crowd. We`re going to play that must-see tape for you after this short break.



SANDERS: Now, you see, this little bird doesn`t know it. Oh --


I know it doesn`t look like it, but that bird is really a dove asking us for world peace!


No more wars.


HAYES: In case you were wondering why the #birdysanders is the number one trending topic on Twitter right now, now you know.

Joining me now is Ben Jealous, former president NAACP and Bernie Sanders supporter, and Joan Walsh, national affairs correspondent for "The Nation," MSNBC political analyst, and Hillary Clinton supporter, author of a new piece titled, "What`s wrong with Bernie Sanders` strategy."

And I want you to answer that question. But, first, I just want to note that that moment, is there a spiritual and tonal opposite to an American candidate sliming a photo of the wife of his opponent? It is the little bird joyously landing on the podium in the middle --


HAYES: We all needed that.

WALSH: I mean, when Bernie Sanders replaces Cruz sex scandal as the main hashtag, there is a God.

BEN JEALOUS, BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTER: I mean, frankly, it really speaks to the spirit of his rallies, having spoken at many of them. And to be out there sometimes in very tough conservative parts of the country, a tenth of the crowd might be in camouflage.

And the biggest -- when I speak before him the biggest applause line is always when I say, you know, Mr. Trump, there is something more powerful than fear and violence and hatred. It is love and unity. Black, white, camouflage, no camouflage. Everybody goes crazy. That`s what folks are yearning for. I think that`s what that bird wanted too.

HAYES: I want you to enunciate your strategy, what you think the problem with his strategy is. Because one of the things I think has been striking is we`ve been focusing on consolidation or lack thereof on the Republican side, right?

WALSH: Right.

HAYES: So, you got the situation which Trump can`t seem to break 40 percent. Trump is a very different -- sui generis.

On the Democratic side, it`s been interesting. I mean, Hillary Clinton was the favorite, she continues to be the favorite, she`s up 300 pledged delegates, but it is not the case we`ve seen some sort of like cascading domino effect. You saw this in 2004.

Kerry won and everyone was like --

WALSH: It`s over.

HAYES: -- we`re done, we`re getting in line.

WALSH: Right.

HAYES: People are anticipating, the Clinton campaign anticipates sanders will win. He`s still getting huge wins.

WALSH: Some more states.

HAYES: In the next three days.

WALSH: Oh, yes.

JEALOUS: Like we did a few days ago.

HAYES: Right. What is the flaw in the strategy here?

WALSH: I think the flaw in the strategy -- it actually reminds me something of 2008 in that Hillary --

HAYES: Reversed.

WALSH: Hillary Clinton wouldn`t go away. But the other really weird thing about what`s flipped is that in 2008, Barack Obama was getting the vast majority of black voters. In 2016, it`s Hillary Clinton. And it started out that way.

And I think that Senator Sanders did not anticipate the difficulty of introducing himself to the African-American voter and also the extent to which African-American voters now are actually pretty -- not pretty loyal, very loyal to the Democratic Party. And so, he continues, although he`s running in the Democratic primary and I support, that I`ve always said that is a good thing, and I also continue to say he should continue to run.

I think that his constant carping about the party, his ambivalence about the party, not having been a Democrat, and even now as he runs to be the party leader, frequently putting the party down, is problematic with black voters for him.

HAYES: What do you think about that?

JEALOUS: It`s strange as the former president of the NAACP. I`ll just say that, given that statement.

WALSH: But you loved my book "What`s the Matter with White People."


HAYES: It`s empirically true. As a matter of math it is true.

JEALOUS: What is true is what happened on Super Tuesday really hasn`t happened since. What you`ve seen is as we`ve moved into the Midwest, black support has shot up way over Super Tuesday. And the trend line is up. And the Clinton campaign doesn`t want to talk about the trend line.

WALSH: Ben, I don`t know what --

JEALOUS: Hold on for a second. Just hold on for a second, please.

The -- when you listen to voters, and I really believe you have to listen before you lead. There are two big camps in our community. One is black voters 60 and above.

HAYES: Right.

JEALOUS: The other is black voters 30 and below. The ones 30 and below are the biggest group of supporters in the black community for Bernie by far.

HAYES: That`s true.

JEALOUS: And the 60 and above for Clinton by far. When you listen to them the ones 60 and above talk about the Clintons, they talk about the Clinton years. They remember those years as good years. When it felt like all boats were rising.

The ones who are 30 and below, they may or may not remember the Clinton years, but what they really know is what they`ve learned. And what they`ve learned is that the struggles that we`re dealing with now, a lot of them go back to policies that were passed and signed by President Clinton then.

So, the doubling of extreme poverty, the doubling of the incarceration rate, the evisceration of Glass-Steagall and what that yielded for our country. And so, you know, that`s -- I think the difference really is young voters -- there`s a great piece in "Rolling Stone" today by a young voter and maybe why we should pay attention to them. In the end, they`re totally focused on the future.

One thing that surprised me that comes up again and again is they see her as the biggest hawk in this race. And they`re very afraid of a country that stays in endless war after endless war.

HAYES: What do you think about the generational thing, which is something that is both black and white, right?

WALSH: Absolutely.

HAYES: Take race off the table for a second. The largest cross-tab difference in the race on either side is this generation.

WALSH: Absolutely. But she is still winning with black millennials in every poll I`ve seen.

HAYES: That is true.

JEALOUS: She lost in Michigan. I was there.

HAYES: We should also say this about black voters, the cross-tab, to establish it. According to exit data he won by about 30 points in Michigan, which was much narrower than the 50 or of 0 points that had been in places like Louisiana --

JEALOUS: Similar to Ohio, Oklahoma --

WALSH: She won 29 percent of the black vote in Michigan. He won 29 percent in Illinois.


JEALOUS: Do the cross-tabs by age. That`s what we`re --

HAYES: How do you understand -- he laid out on argument --

JEALOUS: Do the cross-tabs by age in South Carolina.

HAYES: Why that is in terms of South Carolina --

WALSH: She still won but --

HAYES: What do you think the argument is?

WALSH: I think Ben is largely right about why that is. I think also younger people, it`s true of younger white people, younger people are extremely angry about the levels of student debt and the low levels of opportunity. They don`t -- I don`t know what they know about the Clinton years. But they know that these years they haven`t gotten what they hoped for. Also, young people really are excited about change and change in a big way. It`s true that older people think it takes more time.

HAYES: I think one big question coming out of this in terms of consolidation and in terms of young voters is making an argument to young voters that the system is rigged and can be unrigged because I think that - - the experience -- Bill de Blasio said this to me in an interview the other day, which I though was really interesting. He`s a Clinton supporter.

He said, look, a lot of people just experienced nothing but basically a system that seems fundamentally broken.

WALSH: Right.

HAYES: And that`s going to be I think the challenge in the general for whoever`s the nominee about sort of making that case.

Ben Jealous and Joan Walsh, thank you so much for your time.

JEALOUS: Thank you. Thank you.

HAYES: Still to come, after listening to the frightening anti-Muslim rhetoric from the two Republican front-runners, Muslim-Americans are coordinating a response. What that will look like, ahead.


HAYES: Donald Trump wants you to know that he has zero issues with the size of his hands. And to show you he has zero issues with the size of his hands he will talk about the size of his hands at length at an editorial board meeting ostensibly about foreign and domestic affairs. That`s exactly what happened the other day when trump met with the editorial board of The Washington Post. Trump insisting. quote, "my hands are normal hands."

So normal Trump talked about them for about four minutes, as one does when they have normal hands.

Trump made it clear he did not care for Marco Rubio`s campaign trail jabs on the size of his hands. And what it seemed to suggest about the size of another part of his anatomy.

You see, according to Trump, Rubio`s remarks really created a lot of problems with Trump fans out on the stump.


TRUMP: And what happened, I was on line shaking hands with supporters. And one of the supporters got up and he said, Mr. Trump, you have strong hands. You have good-sized hands. And then another one would say, oh, you have great hands, Mr. Trump, I had no idea.

I said, what do you mean?

He said, I thought you were like deformed. I thought you had small hands.

I had 50 people -- is that a correct statement, Hope? I mean, people were writing, how are Mr. Trump`s hands? My hands are fine. You know, my hands are normal, slightly large, actually. In fact, I buy a slightly smaller than large glove. Okay?


HAYES: A slightly, slightly smaller than large glove, okay?

Trump also bemoaned the most recent cover of The New Yorker seen here characterizing the illustration as, quote "a hand with little fingers coming out of the stem." He insisted he had, quote, "no choice but to respond to Rubio`s attacks on Trump`s hand size at the presidential debate. Earlier this month a statement that required a follow-up question.


RUTH MARCUS, WASHINGTON POST: You chose to raise it during the debate. Can you explain why you had no choice?

TRUMP: Yeah, because I don`t want people to go around thinking that I have a problem. I`m telling you, Ruth, I had so many people. I would say 25, 30 people would tell me -- every time I`d shake people`s hands, oh, you have nice hands. You have good hands. Why shouldn`t I?

And by the way, by saying that I solved the problem. Nobody questions...

MARCUS: You told us...

TRUMP: I even held up my hand. I said look, take a look at that hand.



HAYES: For those that who are bullish on Trump`s general election chances the key argument is basically that he is able, or will be able, to mobilize and turn out voters who have become alienated and apathetic, particularly white working-class voters, or the so-called missing white voters, as Sean Trend describes, a large portion of the demographic change we saw in the 2012 electorate was not due to increased turnout but rather a drop in white participation.

One of the tactics Trump has used to animate and turn out his supporters has been a brand of nationalist and xenophobic rhetoric. And the thing about that kind of political mobilization is that there is no action without an equal and opposite reaction.

For instance, one of the groups that`s been particularly targeted by Trump are of course Muslims with outright lies about cheering Muslims in Jersey City when the World Trade Center came down to a steady diet of Islamophobia.


TRUMP: I want to surveil -- I want surveillance of these people that are coming in, the Trojan horse. I want to know who the hell they are.

Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country`s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.

I think Islam hates us.


HAYES: I think it`s fair to say that this is the most offensive sustained bout of bigotry targeted at a specific American religious group by a prominent public figure in recent memory.

And it turns out they`re not having it. Plans are now under way to register and mobilize American Muslims as described in this New York Times piece, although Muslims make up only about 1 percent of the population of the United States, civil rights groups have set a goal of registering a million new voters.

Now, this is a constituency that prior to 9/11 tended to lean Republican, even voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 election by a wide margin. But since 9/11 that voting population has tended to vote for Democrats, a 70 percent affiliation with Democrats in a 2012 Pew research study with similar margins in presidential and midterm elections since then.

Particularly when joined with other voting blocs with majorities viewing Trump negatively like Latinos and women, it has the potential to become a pretty potent coalition.

Joining me now is Linda Sarsour, executive director Arab American Association of New York. Great to have you here.


HAYES: I remember reporting on the the Muslim Republican caucus in 2004 on that -- at that convention. And there was a lot of hand wringing, because these were folks who were -- a lot of them Pakistani-American doctors and Egyptian-American engineers who are sort of kind of rock-ribbed conservatives who just didn`t know what the heck was going on. We`ve now seen them completely move away from the Tepublican Party.

SARSOUR: Oh, absolutely.

Many Arab-Americans and Muslim Americans have been Republican mostly for social issues and conservative family values and other issues like that. But the Republican Party has literally I think ostracized the entire Republican Muslim population.

And if there are some that you might hear about here and there, they`re like literally one-man shows, maybe five Republicans might vote in the Republican primaries.

But the Democrats also aren`t perfect. And I think that we are leaning towards the Democrats, but we`re not really loyal to the Democratic Party either because they also, many of them on the state level and some members of congress have engaged in Islamophobia as well.

But we`re fired up. Donald Trump is firing up a particular class of voters, and he`s also firing us up. We`re voting for those that see us as a community, for those that respect us. And we`re going to vote against those who demonize and vilify us.

HAYES: Are you going to -- are there actual -- is there evidence that there`s actual mobilization happening?

SARSOUR: Oh, absolutely.

I mean, Michigan. No one -- there was no poll, even Nate Silver himself who`s supposed to be the most accurate pollster did not see that coming, and that Bernie Sanders, a Jewish candidate, rode the Muslim and Arab- American vote in a place like Dearborn and you look at a place like Illinois, very large Muslim population, very close for Bernie Sanders.

You look at places like Missouri. And know -- I will tell you this, the overwhelming majority of young American Muslims are on the -- we`re feeling the Bern. Bernie Sanders. And I think that`s important...

HAYES: Why? What`s that about?

SARSOUR: Bernie Sanders has a approach for us especially on issues of Israel-Palestine, just very balanced. He`s sincere. He`s authentic. He doesn`t read prompters. He`s -- we just feel that he`s -- President Obama took seven years to go to a mosque into his presidency. Bernie Sanders has visited mosques across the country. He has met with Muslim leaders. He`s had Muslim surrogates speaking at his rallies. And he`s allowing us to march to the polls unapologetically Muslim.

HAYES: Do you -- I`ve asked you this before, and in some ways it`s only gotten worse. I want to ask you again. The rhetoric that we`re seeing, can you be -- what`s the best thing that can happen out of this I guess is my question.

SARSOUR: I mean, the best thing that`s happening out of it is that our community is saying enough is enough, we will not continue to be scapegoated, we will not allow Donald Trump and Ted Cruz to scapegoat us and our communities. And we`re joining allyship with Latinos and African- Americans and white progressive and Jewish progressive in coming together and organizing. I mean, we`ve been infiltrating and organizing against Trump rallies. We`re -- there`s one coming up in New York that we`re going to come and say hello to Mr. Trump and not welcome him into his own city.

But I`m so proud of young Muslim Americans who are not retreating and standing up and saying I`m unapologetically Muslim. I`m not going to be ashamed to be Muslim. I`m not going to apologize for being Muslim and I`m living in this country and I`m going to participate in the democratic process, and that`s why we live here and that`s why we`re Americans.

HAYES: Linda Sarsour, it is always such a pleasure to hear from you. Thank you for coming in. I really appreciate it.

SARSOUR: Thank you so much.

HAYES: Still ahead, a journalist sent to Iraq for what was supposed to be three weeks ends up staying for seven years. Michael Ware has a new documentary coming out about his experience. Shot on his own handheld camera and he joins me to talk about it ahead.


MICHAEL WARE, FILMMAKER: That`s my breathing. That`s all I`m doing.



HAYES: Got a disturbing story to tell you out of my own Brooklyn, New York involving the arrest of an African-American postal worker on duty by four plain clothes police officers. Last week, 27-year-old Glenn Grays was reportedly getting out of his mail truck to deliver a package when he noticed a car making a sharp turn onto the street where his truck was parked.

As The New York Times reports, Grays shouted at the driver climbing back up the steps to avoid getting sideswiped. The black car, in Mr. Gray`s telling, came tearing back his way in reverse. The driver said to him, Mr. Grays recounted, "I have the right of way because I`m law enforcement."

Police then approached Grays as he arrived at an apartment building to deliver the package. And onlookers started filming.

Video shows Grays getting handcuffed by plainclothes police officers, frisked and taken to the unmarked car. Officers repeatedly tell Grays to stop resisting arrest even though the video shows absolutely no evidence of resistance.

The Times reporting Grays says that he was then placed in the back seat of the unmarked car with his hands cuffed without a seat belt, compelling him to leave the mail truck unattended.

The driver who turned around to taunt him hit the vehicle in front of them, Grays said, causing him to bang his shoulder against the front seat.

Grays, who is engaged to a New York City police officer he met on his delivery route, was issued a summons for disorderly conduct and was then released. The NYPD says the incident is under review.

And Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, himself a former police officer, says his office is looking into the matter.

Quote, "I believe there were federal violations. Number one, leaving that truck unsecured," the mail truck that is. "Number two, interrupting the delivery of mail. There are clear NYPD procedures when you`re arresting a federal employee," he said. "We don`t know if even those basic procedures were followed." (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: New details tonight in the Brussels terror attacks with authorities confirming that DNA from 24-year-old Jajim Laachraoui, one of the suicide bombers at the airport, was found on a suicide belt at the Bataclan music venue in Paris following the terror attack there four months ago.

A dozen suspects were detained last night and today in raids in Belgium, France, and Germany with explosions and gunfire heard on the streets of Brussels.

In one dramatic scene in the neighborhood of Schaerbeek, Belgian special forces shot a suspect in the leg at a tram stop and coaxed a young girl away from the scene before deploying a bomb disposal robot.

Also today, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that ISIS`s finance minister, who went by the name Jaji Imam, a senior leader in the terror group, had been killed during an operation this week.

The Pentagon also confirmed the killing of another top ISIS leader, Omar al Shashani in an earlier operation.


ASHTON CARTER, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We are systematically eliminating ISIL`s cabinet. Indeed, the U.S. military killed several key ISIL terrorists this week. These leaders have been around for a long time. They are senior. They`re experienced. And so eliminating them is an important objective and achieves an important result.

But they will be replaced and we`ll continue to go after their leadership.


HAYES: When we come back, I`m going to speak with the man who spent seven years covering the Iraq War who has a new documentary illustrating the massive difference between what you hear from politicians and the stark reality of what you see on the ground. That`s next.



WARE: For the Marines, nothing in this city is quite what it seems. A family man with a phone, wires, rubber tubing, all possible bomb-making equipment, gunshot residue on his hands.

UNIDENIFIED MALE: that color. He`s got the specs.


It`s definitely been firing a weapon in the last couple days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: XO, what`s going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About 100 meters down, there were two guys turkey baking (ph). So, they did that two or three times.


WARE: What kind of day is this?



HAYES: It`s a clip from the documentary "Only the Dead See the End of War,"which debuts Monday night on HBO. And joining me now is the man behind that film Michael Ware who starting in 2003 spent seven years covering the war in Iraq for TIME and CNN where he used a handheld camera to capture hundreds of hours of footage of what was happening on the ground.

Michael, it`s great to have you here.

Just coming over the wires, Iraqi security officials say a suicide bomber has attacked a football stadium south of Baghdad killing 29, wounding 60. It looks like ISIS is claiming responsibility for this.

WARE: Of course they are. Yeah.

HAYES: And this is, it struck me when I was in Brussels, ISIS released an infographic of their martyrdom operations for the week and there were 12. And the only one I knew about...

WARE: Was Brussels.

HAYES: There had been 11 of that happening throughout Syria and Iraq.

WARE: Look, it`s a constant drumbeat of death that`s going on in Iraq and Syria. You know, what is extraordinary for us, because of the size of the carnage in Paris or the shocking nature of the most recent attacks in Brussels, that`s the Iraqis` almost daily life. And no one outside of the country really cares. And no one outside of the country is really keeping tabs.

I remember there was a day in Baghdad at the height of the war, you know, the man who created the Islamic State unleashed 11 bombings in that one city in one day alone. And it hasn`t got that frenetic pace now, but the blood continues to flow, you know, a couple of times a week.

HAYES: The film sort of looks at two things. One of the things, the sort of main narrative arc is about Abu Musab al Zarqawi.

WARE: Yes.

HAYES: Who in the pantheon of terrorist figures is possibly the most brutal and savage of them all.

WARE: Oh, without a shadow of a doubt. You know, this is a man -- because look, this is the man who created the Islamic State.

HAYES: Which was al Qaeda in Iraq when he created it.

WARE: No. It was something before that.

HAYES: Oh, that`s right.

WARE: The Islamic state has had like four or five different name changes. It`s had four different leaders. It all began with Zarqawi. Let`s never forget that we`re the ones who unwittingly and inadvertently unleashed the Islamic State upon ourselves and upon...

HAYES: ...on the world.

WARE: ...the world with the invasion of Iraq.

Now, no one could have seen that coming. It was impossible to predict. But it`s a direct result.

Now, Zarqawi had a vision of holy war that was so barbaric, so violent, and so unrelenting that he terrified Osama bin Laden. And in fact, they were rivals.

HAYES: And we have correspondences essentially from al Qaeda central saying you are a psychopath, cut it the hell out.

WARE: Absolutely. The current leader of al Qaeda, Ayman al Zawahiri, wrote an open letter to Zarqawi saying, you know, bless your work but dial down the carnage. And each time that happened he`d turn the dial straight back up.

HAYES: And what we have -- I mean, the Pandora`s box was opened by the destruction of the Iraqi state, which was precipitated directly, unequivocally, by the American invasion of Iraq. That carnage has reverberated through. It has given rise to the Islamic State. And one of the things I think that comes through really well in this documentary is what it means to be drenched in that kind of trauma all the time for society.

WARE: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

HAYES: What does it mean?

WARE: Well, this is the thing. You know, obviously, we`re in the silly season of politics with the presidential campaign. And it`s very easy from behind a podium to talk about taking the fight and sending troops and doing all of these things. I saw what it cost our children when they had to reach out and touch a darkness like the Islamic State, even to combat it, you know? We have the dead. We have the -- we have the living dead. And it shaves away at the soldiers and marines` souls, having to fight something like this.

And let`s not forget the Iraqis. We have now...

HAYES: Hundreds of thousands of whom have died.

WARE: Of course. But think about the living too. I remember during the height of the civil war kids would walk out the front gate and turn left to go to elementary school and they`d come across a beheaded body, most likely someone from their neighborhood they knew.

Even a top insurgent commander in the war said to me, Michael, we`re not the ones I`m worried about, it`s our children. We now have two or three generations who have grown up bathed in blood and violence.

HAYES: Yeah. And when you think about connecting the dots here, we look at Brussels or we look at Paris and we say how did this happen and then we go to walk to Molenbeek and we say, well, the third generation of these folks are marginalized. But it`s hard to imagine us being where we are now without that first domino of the Iraq war.

WARE: Of course not. That was the genesis. And in the film, you will see the birth of the Islamic State. I witnessed it. I went to one of the first Islamic State training camps that there ever was. So I`ve seen inside this beast. And what we`re seeing now being exported to the west, this is the Islamic State trying to project its threat from beyond its own borders. I`m telling you, I`ve seen it all before.

HAYES: All right, the documentary which is really quite gripping, "Only the Dead See an End to War" debuts Monday on HBO. And Michael Ware, it was really a great pleasure.

WARE: Chris, great pleasure. Good on you, mate.

HAYES: That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.