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All In With Chris Hayes, Transcript, 6/3/2016

Guests: Liz Plank, Adam Green, Bob Garfield, Michael Burgess, Sarah Isgur Flores, Rick Wilson, Gregory Vega

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: June 3, 2016 Guest: Liz Plank, Adam Green, Bob Garfield, Michael Burgess, Sarah Isgur Flores, Rick Wilson, Gregory Vega


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

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`re building a wall. He`s a Mexican. We`re building a wall between here and Mexico.

HAYES: Donald Trump under fire.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: If you are saying he can`t do his job because of his race, is that not the definition of racism?


HAYES: Tonight, what the presumptive Republican nominee doesn`t understand about his bigoted attack on an American judge.

And is the Trump campaign coming unglued?

Plus, Hillary Clinton keeps up her attack as the scandal around Trump U widens.

Then, a look at the latest flash of violence on the campaign trail.


HAYES: And what it says about this unprecedented election.

And Michelle Obama enters the 2016 fray.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: We don`t build up walls to keep people out.

HAYES: We`ll show you her not so veiled remarks when ALL IN starts right now.


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

Even by the standards of this election, the last 24 hours have been nothing short of astounding. There`s a lot going on tonight, and we are trying to keep our eyes on all of it.

But first, for the first time since Donald Trump became the GOP`s presumptive nominee and since once skeptical party leaders finally fell in line behind him, the Republican Party now confronting blowback from perhaps the most openly bigoted statements to date by their newly minted standard bearer, coming so egregious even members of his own staff are sounding the alarms and talking off the record to reporters.

For months, Donald Trump has been publicly vilifying the federal judge who`s overseeing one of the multiple lawsuits against his now defunct business venture Trump University. In just the past week, Trump has accused Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel of being hostile, calling him a hater, and just casually mentioning his ethnicity, incorrectly identifying the judge as being from Mexico.

Curiel was born and raised in Indiana. But last night, Trump went further, telling "The Wall Street Journal" that Judge Curiel`s Mexican heritage presents an absolute conflict in the case. To be more specific, quote, "I`m building a wall. It`s an inherent conflict of interest." A logical conclusion of that statement that people of certain ethnicities and races are incapable of unbiased judgment because of their ethnicity or race is on its face, of course, racist.

But in a truly jarring interview airing this afternoon, Trump stood by his assertion, calling on the judge to recuse himself.


TAPPER: You can criticize every decision. What I`m saying is, if you invoke his race as a reason why he can`t do his job --

TRUMP: I think that`s the way he`s doing it. I think that`s why he`s doing it.

TAPPER: But if you are saying he can`t do his job because of his race, is that not the definition of racism?

TRUMP: No, I don`t think so at all.


TRUMP: No. He`s proud of his heritage. I respect him for that.

TAPPER: But you`re saying he can`t do his job because of it.

TRUMP: He`s proud of his heritage, OK?

I`m building a wall. I think I`m going to do very well with Hispanics. But we`re building a wall. He`s a Mexican. We`re building a wall between here and Mexico.


MADDOW: Just to do reiterate, as Jake Tapper did to his great credit repeatedly throughout that interview, Judge Curiel was born and raised in the U.S.

Hispanics are not the only identity group that Trump has some real trouble talking about. Just watch this exchange earlier today in a rally in Redding, California.


TRUMP: We had a case where we had an African-American guy who was a fan of mine. Great fan, great guy. I want to find out what`s going on with him. Look at my African-American over here. Look at him.


HAYES: Trump`s new comments about Judge Curiel come just over 24 hours since his soon to be general election opponent Hillary Clinton delivered a blistering, full scale attack on Trump`s temperament, lack of qualifications, and his habit of attacking entire categories of people.


CLINTON: It also matters when he makes fun of people with disabilities. Calls women pigs. Proposes banning an entire religion from our country or plays coy with white supremacists.

America stands up to countries that treat women like animals or people of different races, religions, or ethnicities as less human. What happens to the moral example we set for the world and for our own children if our president engages in bigotry?


HAYES: This also crucially comes just one day, in fact just a matter of hours, since the lone remaining holdout among top Republicans, the most powerful Republican in the country, House Speaker Paul Ryan, finally climbed on board the Trump train.

Trump is really and truly their guy now, leaving them no choice but to answer for his unanswerable statements. In a local radio interview today, Trump offered a fairly tepid condemnation of Trump`s remarks to "The Wall Street Journal."


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The comment about the judge the other day just was out of left field for my mind. It`s reasoning I don`t relate to. I completely disagree with the thinking behind that. And so -- he clearly says and does things I don`t agree with. And I`ve had to speak up from time to time when that has occurred and I`ll continue to do that if it`s necessary. I hope it`s not.


HAYES: Similarly, Mitch McConnell displayed only mild disapproval, remarking he`s, quote, "unfamiliar with this particular judge."


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: What I am willing to say is that Donald Trump is certainly a different kind of candidate.

ANDREA MITCHELL, ANDREA MITCHELL REPORTS: Is he wrong in attacking the Mexican background, some generations back, of this very highly regarded judge who`s won cases against the drug cartel?

MCCONNELL: I`m unfamiliar with this particular judge, but I did say the other day and I`ll say again today, I thought it was completely unfortunate, unnecessary, for our nominee to attack the governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez.

I think he`s attacks don`t serve the candidate very well at this point. We ought to be trying to unify, he ought to be trying to unify the party behind him.


HAYES: Behind the scenes, however, concerns about Trump`s racialized attack on a federal judge are mounting. This afternoon, NBC News correspondent Katy Tur reported, "Trump aides not happy with Trump`s attack on Judge Curiel`s impartiality, telling me these are the things that will defeat us."

Joining me now, Congressman Michael Burgess, Republican from Texas, who has endorsed Donald Trump.

Congressman, thanks for being here.

Let me start with this, do you believe Judge Curiel, because he is of Mexican heritage, should recuse himself or is incapable of being unbiased as a federal judge because of his ethnicity?

REP. MICHAEL BURGESS (R), TEXAS: Look, Chris. First off, no surprise, I agree with Paul Ryan, the remark was kind of out of left field.

Let me just say, I know nothing about this lawsuit. It`s a private matter. Sure, I got to wonder why it wasn`t settled prior to the presidential campaign, but apparently, the principal in the lawsuit feels he has a good chance to win. So, I think that needs to be litigated in the courts. That`s where it belongs.

HAYES: Sure, but --

BURGESS: It doesn`t belong on television.

HAYES: OK. Let me ask you this.

I want to be straight on this. Regardless of the merits of the case, the argument that the candidate of your party, the man you`ve endorsed and you will vote for, is that due to the ethnicity of this specific judge, it renders him incapable of giving unbiased judgment.

Do you agree with that principle?

BURGESS: Look, I don`t know enough about the case to really give you an answer on that.

HAYES: I`m asking about the principle of a man having a heritage being --

BURGESS: Well, let`s -- you know. Let`s stick to the issues at hand. It has been an odd week for both candidates. I think we`ll both agree on that. And for the people who want to write Donald Trump`s political obituary, the highway is littered with the carcasses of people who have done that over the past year.

HAYES: Congressman, I`m really just asking a simple question about the federal judiciary, its role, and federal judges. The man you`re going to vote for, the nominee from your party who you have endorsed, has said that this man is incapable of doing his job as a federal judge because of his ethnic heritage. Do you agree with that?

BURGESS: First off, I don`t really think that`s what Mr. Trump said. But again, Chris, I know nothing of the merits of the lawsuit. I know it is --

HAYES: The merits of the lawsuit aren`t at issue. It is possible the judge has behaved terribly or the lawsuit is totally without merit. The question is whether it is -- whether it is true that he cannot render the judgment because of his ethnicity?

BURGESS: Chris, it should be litigated in the courtroom, leave ate at that. You and I don`t know enough about this --


HAYES: Congressman, I did not bring up this judge. I did not start talking about the judge --

BURGESS: Nor did I, nor did I. As I told you, I agree with Paul Ryan, this is out of left field. I don`t think it`s one of the things that the Trump campaign needs to be talking about right now.

HAYES: With due respect --

BURGESS: Hillary Clinton yesterday giving a major foreign policy speech, no one has called her about her 2002 vote for the authorization for use of military force in Iraq. Did she review the classified documents before she made that vote? Based on those classified documents, why was that vote rendered? Then, why was the policy pursued in 2011 to withdraw from Iraq?

HAYES: Sure.

BURGESS: None of this makes sense to me.

HAYES: OK, Congressman --

BURGESS: We`re talking about what a great foreign policy speech she gave, but honestly, it`s not something that`s clear to me.

HAYES: OK. On Iraq, I would commend your attention to the 2008 primary in which that was litigated extensively. It`s been litigated extensively here. It`s not that people have ignored that.

I am not raising the issue of this Mexican-American judge`s ethnicity out of left field as Paul Ryan referred. In fact the man who runs your party, who is going to be your nominee, started raising it in February when he referred to the man as, quote, "Spanish." He`s repeatedly attacked a member of the federal judiciary, does that trouble you --

BURGESS: I have no participation on this lawsuit, no participation with this lawsuit.

HAYES: Does it trouble you?

BURGESS: There`s a lot things that have troubled me over the past year but we are where we are. Donald Trump has won the votes of the majority of the Republicans and he will be the nominee following the Cleveland convention. It`s my intention to support him. You know, I`m all in for Donald Trump.

HAYES: Are you proud of the way he`s conducted himself as the presumptive nominee?

BURGESS: Look, there`s a lot of things I`m not proud of this campaign on both sides the last 12 months --

HAYES: Are you proud of the way he`s conducted himself?

BURGESS: -- we are where we are. Look --

HAYES: It`s a simple question.

BURGESS: I want someone who can win. I believe Mr. Trump can do that.

HAYES: But that`s not an answer to the question. Are you proud of way he`s conducted himself as the nominee for your party?

BURGESS: Again, there are lots of things that have troubled me the last 12 months on both sides. About how this presidential campaign --

HAYES: I`m going to take that as a no.

BURGESS: I`m not running for president, I`m not ever going to run for president. These are people who know a lot more about it than I do. I`m a simple country doctor trying to do the Lord`s work in the United States House of Representatives. That`s what I`m doing.

HAYES: You are a humble and a good sport as always, Congressman Michael Burgess, and I appreciate it. Thank you for coming on.

BURGESS: Thank you.

HAYES: I`m joined now Sara Isgur Flores, former deputy campaign manager for Carly Fiorina, and Republican media strategist Rick Wilson, who vocally opposes Donald Trump.


HAYES: You know -- this is going to be the next five months. Again, look. I just want to be clear. We`re not raising this judge. No one in the media was talking about this judge or making him the center of this issue until Donald Trump made him the center of the issue. To me, Rick, when you watch that interview with Jake Tapper, what is so evident is that he cannot help himself. He can`t help himself.

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN MEDIA STRATEGIST: Listen, this is part of the bigger picture of Donald Trump is that he is not mentally fit to serve as president. The things that come out of his mouth, this is like political Tourette`s. Everything he thinks, he says. That`s not candor, that`s lunacy.

This is a guy who is letting out -- you know, expressing this thing that turns on the id of a lot of his supporters, calling this guy a Mexican, look at "my" African-American, like a guy is a pet. I mean, this is a guy who is unfit for duty. He is unfit to be president. It`s obvious, it`s evident.

It is painful to watch someone like the congressman just now try to defend the indefensible. It is painful to watch Reince blink out the word "torture" in Morse code when he`s standing next to the guy. These are people who have compromised themselves so profoundly, and they`re going to have to own every crazy word, every lunatic tweet, every racist statement out of this guy`s mouth for the next five months.

It`s -- they should be run for the hills but they`ve been in such fear of Trump`s minions and Trump`s craziness and they`re afraid of being put on blast by Donald Trump that they`re behaving like the Stockholm syndrome is real and these guys are all stuck with it.

HAYES: Sarah, the context here also, aside from the fact that he is essentially saying this person`s incapable of doing their job because he is -- because of his heritage, because of his ethnicity, there`s also this I think somewhat troubling attack on the judiciary. I mean, this is a person who will be appointing judges.

In fact, the Republican Party is currently holding a judicial seat on the Supreme Court open for this man to appoint while he goes about in public laying waste to a member of the federal judiciary.

SARAH ISGUR FLORES, FORMER FIORINA DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: You know, a lot of Republicans don`t think Donald Trump`s a Republican, but they also believe that it was worth voting for him to save the Supreme Court. He put out that list of conservative judges that he`d sort of cobbled together from Heritage and the Federalist Society, it was a great list of judges.

What I think troubles a lot of people in the last day is that it now looks like he can`t possibly appoint people from that list because he doesn`t actually believe that that`s the role of the judiciary. He`s an authoritarian.

And more to the point, though, this all plays into Hillary Clinton`s hand. He can`t have a referendum on Donald Trump and win. It has to be a referendum on Hillary Clinton. This was a huge opportunity for Republicans in this cycle.

And Republicans have blown it by nominating someone who is a liberal just like Hillary Clinton, corrupt just like Hillary Clinton, and she`s going to make it a referendum on him and we`re going to lose that fight.

HAYES: Let me say, I know you like to say Donald Trump is a liberal, and we can get into a long definitional dispute. But I think whatever you want to call him, you can say he`s not a Republican, though he`s the nominee of the Republican Party, I think it`s pretty clear he`s not a liberal.

FLORES: He`s an authoritarian.

HAYES: Those are different things.

FLORES: He loves executive power.

HAYES: Call him a statist if you want to.

Rick, you nodded about this sort of referendum question. To me, the dynamic that has become so crystal clear just locked in the last 24 hours between Hillary Clinton`s speech and today is Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are going to be cooperating on one goal, which is making this election a referendum on Donald Trump. Because Donald Trump wants it to be a referendum on Donald Trump because that`s how he is built. And Hillary Clinton wants it to be a referendum on Donald Trump. And in that one enterprise the two of them are essentially cooperating.

WILSON: Well, that`s true. Because Donald Trump`s ego is the only defining characteristic of Donald Trump that you can always rely on. His views will change moment to moment. But his self-regard is the centerpiece of his entire being. He will walk into that trap over and over and over again by making it all about him. By making these things part of his personal drama that he wants to play out again and again.

You know, the question of the judges, interest reminds, Trump puts this list out. He`s never heard of any of these guys before. He got somebody to put a list together, Jeff Sessions or someone. The fact of the matter is if the behavior he`s exhibiting now, if he makes this the election all about him, we`re not going to have a chance for any possibility of a conservative justice because it`s going to be Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer running the confirmation process even if Trump were to win.

You know, his constant bring it back to me problem is where Trump is very different from every other candidate who becomes mindful at some point that you have to tell Americans you`re talking to them. You`re talking about them -- their concerns, their issues. And not just make it, build my golden statue ten feet higher.

FLORES: You see the problem with that also, the interview we just saw, which is Hillary Clinton did give a foreign policy speech that was a disaster. Her foreign policy`s always been a disaster.


FLORES: Every decision she`s made has been wrong. Yet, that`s not what we`re talking about. He couldn`t talk about that because he is stuck talking about Donald Trump.

HAYES: As a critic on the record avowed of numerous elements of the foreign policy, including what we`re doing in Yemen, the Libya intervention and its aftermath, let me just interject to say, I disagree with that characterization, but continue.

FLORES: The point being that Republicans who have endorsed Donald Trump, who are down-ballot as Rick just said, have a problem, because this is going to be a referendum on Donald Trump. So every time Hillary offers huge opportunities, the I.G. report that came out showing that her e-mail usage was egregious and a threat to our national security, her foreign policy speech which should have highlighted all of her missteps on foreign policy, we`re not talking about.

HAYES: You`re right. The point that is you would have to respond to that with some sort of substantive engagement on Libya and its aftermath, right? You would have to respond to substantive engagement on Syria. You have to respond to some substantive engagement of the refugee crisis, and the nature of the E.U., and whether NATO can hang together in the face of 21st century threats. None of which is in the purview of the person that your party has nominated to be the president of the United States.

FLORES: Which is why he is not a Republican and doesn`t represent Republican Party well.

HAYES: He`s the Republican nominee. I hate to tell you this, you guys don`t get to say in the matter when he`s the nominee.

Sarah Isgur Flores, Rick Wilson, thank you very much.

FLORES: Thank you.

WILSON: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: Still to come, much more on the disturbing images outside the Trump rally, a look at why this is becoming all too chillingly familiar.

But, first, meet the federal judge Donald Trump is hammering on the campaign trail. The fascinating story of Judge Curiel. I`ll talk with the man who`s known him almost his entire life, right after this break. And we will back in two minutes.



TRUMP: This is a hostility toward me by the judge. Tremendous hostility. Beyond belief. I believe he happens to be Spanish, which is fine. He`s Hispanic, which is fine. And we haven`t asked for a recusal, which we may do.


HAYES: Donald Trump started his personal vendetta against the federal judge presiding over just one of his civil fraud lawsuits involving Trump University back in February, and has been hammering him ever since, including just a few hours ago.


TRUMP: He`s a member of a society where, you know, very pro-Mexico, and that`s fine. It`s all fine --

TAPPER: Except that you`re calling into question his heritage.

TRUMP: I think he should recuse himself.

TAPPER: Because he`s Latino?


HAYES: Part of what is so maddening about watching this unfold, of course, is that Judge Gonzalo Curiel cannot defend himself against Trump`s attacks. But many people who know him are quick to point out Curiel`s biography. But he was born in Indiana, as TPM"s Josh Marshall wryly noted, Curiel`s father emigrated to the U.S. before Trump`s mother. Not, of course, that that matters.

But the brother of the judge told our sister network Telemundo in an interview that when Judge Curiel was a federal prosecutor, he had to move and go into hiding under government protection after he received assassination threats from a Mexican drug cartel that he had been prosecuting.


RAUL CURIEL, BROTHER OF JUDGE GONZALO CURIEL: Luckily for him, he wasn`t in a relationship, he wasn`t married then, as he is now. He`s happily married now with a young daughter. But we were still very concerned, very worried about him at the time that we heard about the death threats.


HAYES: He`s happily married now, young daughter. A fact that has not stopped the Republican party`s presumptive nominee from tweeting out the city that the judge lives in, just to let his millions of followers know.

Joining me now, Greg Vega, former U.S. attorney for the southern district of California, close friend of Judge Curiel, who`s known him since the ninth grade.

Mr. Vega, your reaction to watching all this unfold?

GREGORY A. VEGA, FRIEND OF JUDGE GONZALO CURIEL: It`s silly. Here you have a federal judge that was a career federal prosecutor, prosecuting some of the most notorious drug cartels, and then to have name-calling. It`s just silly.

I mean, here we are in 2016. I thought name-calling was way behind us, but apparently not.

HAYES: You yourself have practiced in the federal courts. And just independent of your relationship with Judge Curiel, have you ever seen anything quite like this, just in terms of a litigant in an active litigation, spending so much time publicly trashing the judge overseeing their case?

VEGA: In all the years that I`ve practiced law in federal courts, I have not seen this.

HAYES: Is there any way for -- is there any recourse that the judge has? I mean, do you think he`s essentially trying to get him to recuse himself by insulting him enough?

VEGA: You know -- first off, I`m not a judge, so I don`t know what, if any, avenues are available to a judge. But regardless, it`s not going to have any impact on Judge Curiel.

HAYES: What do you mean by that?

VEGA: Well, he`s going to follow the rule of law. I mean, if you talk to lawyers in the community, criminal defense attorneys, prosecutors, civil attorneys, he has all the attributes that you want in a judge.

He`s smart. He`s hard-working. He`s patient. He`s thoughtful. I mean, that`s exactly the type of person you want as a judge.

HAYES: It was striking to me that he was confirmed, he was appointed by President Obama but confirmed on a voice vote, which is relatively rare insofar as a lot of the nominations by President Obama to the federal judiciary have met with tremendous amounts of resistance or have been hotly contested votes. That speaks to the fact that there was pretty broad-based consensus support for his appointment.

VEGA: Well, sure.

But not only that the other thing I think you have to keep in mind is that he came to the federal court from the state court, the San Diego Superior Court. And he was appointed to the San Diego Superior Court by a Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger -- which tells you that both Democrats and Republicans think he is a highly qualified person to be a judge.

HAYES: All right. Craig Vega, thanks for your time. Appreciate it.

VEGA: You`re welcome.

HAYES: Coming up, Hillary Clinton finds her stride in attacking Donald Trump. New polling shows her lead expanding to double digits nationwide. That story right after this break.


HAYES: Last night, we saw disturbing images out of Donald Trump`s rally in San Jose, California, where some protesters gathered outside the event, assaulted Trump supporters, those attacks, of course, become the contest of a long campaign that has featured many incidents of violence at Trump rallies, much of it prior to this, by Trump supporters against anti-Trump protesters. Students being pushed around by a self-avowed white supremacist, to a young man being punched in the face at a rally in North Carolina.

The violence at times encouraged either explicitly or tacitly from the podium by Donald Trump himself.


TRUMP: Get him out. Get him out, troublemaker. Get him out of here.

Like to punch him in the face, I`ll tell you. In the old days, they didn`t come back, I can tell you that. They were gone. They were taken out, they were gone.

They realize that there are no consequences to protesting anymore. There used to be consequences. There are none anymore.

So, if you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. OK? Just knock the hell -- I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.


HAYES: Ahead, we`ll show you one clip from last night that captures, I thought, the tensions running through Donald Trump`s rallies.

Stay with us.



TRUMP: I think Hillary is very weak. I think she`s pathetic. I think she should be in jail for what she did with her emails.

And honestly, folks, look, beyond me, if you choose Hillary Clinton, this country is going to die. It`s going to die.


HAYES: There`s a new poll out today that gives a very different snapshot of the presidential race than the one we`ve been lately. It shows showing Hillary Clinton with a double-digit lead over Donald Trump nationally. Clinton at 46 percent, Trump at 35 percent, that`s after it being essentially tied in the same poll in May.

Polls over the past few weeks have shown a tight race between the two with Trump appearing to have gotten a bump from locking up his party`s presidential nomination, something Clinton of course has yet to do. This week, we may have seen a turning point as Trump has flowered amid questions over his delayed donations to veterans` groups, the suspect practices of Trump University, which is being sued for fraud, and now his racist attacks on a Latino federal judge.

Clinton has turned herself into a vessel for anti-Trump sentiment, unleashing a blistering speech yesterday assailing the presumptive GOP nominee that prompted Trump to claim today that Clinton, quote, "made up things that I said or believe but have no basis in fact."

The Clinton camp responded Trump, quote, "literally said all those things" proving its case on a web page and in a video.


CLINTON: It matters when he makes fun of people with disabilities.

TRUMP: Oh, I don`t remember.

CLINTON: Calls women pigs.

TRUMP: She`s a disgusting pig, right?

CLINTON: Proposes banning an entire religion from our country.

TRUMP: A total and complete shutdown of Muslims.

CLINTON: Or plays coy with white supremacists.

TRUMP: I don`t know anything about white supremacists so -- I don`t know.


HAYES: Today, Clinton made clear she would not be easing up on Trump any time soon.


CLINTON: I didn`t make any of that up. I mean, it would be hard to make up. And by the end of working on that speech, even I was saying, did he really say all of this? Well, indeed he did. And I believe, absolutely, that he`s not only unprepared to be president, he is temperamentally unfit to be president.


HAYES: Joining me now, Liz Plank, senior correspondent and a producer at Vox.

It is interesting to see them arrive, the campaign, on this temperamental technique as sort of the central one.

LIZ PLANK, PRODUCER, VOX: Absolutely. And I think -- I mean, competency is a bipartisan issue, I mean, it`s an issue that both Democrats and Republicans and independents can agree with. And that`s why I think it was such a strong, simple strategy to just say, he is not fit, and he doesn`t have the competency to be president.

And underling his weakness was about to underline her strengths. The fact that, I mean, foreign policy of all things, Hillary Clinton is more apt than any other person who ran for president, including on the Republican side.

HAYES: Yeah, and I think that there`s -- it was interesting also in the last 24 hours for them I think the light has come on to make this a fundamentally a referendum about him, that she -- that all the ways in which people talk about her complicated relationship to her own political abilities, that the best way to sort of unburden her of that is to make the election about him in a weird way.

PLANK: Exactly. Add I mean, it makes sense. And that`s again a simple strategy. I mean, people internationally agree that Donald Trump -- I mean, they view Donald Trump as a clown, like, as a joke. Like you cannot have this guy be president.

So she didn`t talk about the wall, she didn`t make it about identity. I mean, if she did talk about the wall it`s not the biggest takeaway from the speech. So, she didn`t really have to make it about these issues. She`s was just like, this guy, really?

HAYES: That`s right. That`s exactly right. This guy, really? And I have wondered, because in the beginning it looked like they were running a campaign that was like, well, he`s going to cut taxes for the rich, or he`s bad on these different policy angles. And really the strongest argument, and the one they seem to be turning to is like, no, obviously you can`t elect this person as president.

PLANK: Right. And she`s not even giving legitimacy to some of those policies, which I think is the right thing to do. And she`s also not falling into the trap other Republicans have fallen into.

HAYES: Right. The Rubio shtick.

PLANK: Exactly. Being like, I`m going to read his mean tweets.

She I think called out his lack of control by showing control. She set the terms of her attack on him and she`s been on the offensive and now we see it in his reaction, I mean, the way that he`s reacting is very defensive. And he`s not -- I mean, he`s probably preparing an attack, but I don`t think he`s able to have -- he hasn`t had one that`s eloquent so far.

HAYES: Someone pointed out to me today that I hadn`t thought of is, we have seen her, she`s run two campaigns for president, both of those have been in primaries. She lost one. She`s going to win this one almost certainly, barring some huge change in the next few days. And in both cases she has struggled in certain ways. I mean, obviously she`s defeated Bernie Sanders so far, and she`s won more votes, but I think she has done less well than a lot of the people thought she would.

But in both those cases, she was attempting to distinguish herself from someone who was either to the left of her or quite close to her substantively. She was not running against someone like him, with whom there is this massive gap.

PLANK: Exactly. I think that gap is helping her ultimately, right? I mean, when she`s -- and it`s weird that in a week -- I mean, last week she was trying to just prove that she was the frontrunner and that she could be the Democratic candidate to run against Donald Trump. And now, you know, it`s like, Bernie who?

So it`s very interesting for her to pivot and I think it`s a good pivot, because again you know -- I mean, one of her biggest issues is that she`s not trustworthy, that we can`t trust her. But, you know, can we trust Donald Trump with the nuclear codes? I mean, that contrast is so huge.

HAYES: That`s exactly right. I mean, that is why, actually, the sort of - - and it is such a weird thing because of all the stuff that`s been written about her trying to become the first woman president, that in this weird way, this sort of intentional deflection ends up like aiding her in a way that I hadn`t realized until yesterday when she gave a whole speech about him.

PLANK: absolutely. And I think the words -- obviously it was a well- prepared speech, the speech she delivered very well. And I think the choice of words was really interesting. I mean, calling his policy positions rants, that he`s thin- skinned, showing herself as dominant in a way almost, quote-unquote masculine, and having that upper hand compared to him, something that again no other Republican was able to do.

HAYES: Was able to pull off.

Liz Plank from Vox and Hello Kitty also here, thank you both for your time tonight.

PLANK: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, President Obama`s unexpected embrace of a central issue in the Bernie Sanders campaign.

Plus, the first lady delivers a powerful and pointed commencement address today, that`s right after the break.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: I have seen how leaders who rule by intimidation, leaders who demonize and dehumanize entire groups of people often do so because they have nothing else to offer.



HAYES: There has been a lot of talk about when Democrats will have their secret weapon regularly deployed on the trail, sitting president with an above 50 percent approval rating.

Today, graduating students at City College of New York got a preview of the other not so secret weapon with the last name Obama.


MICHELLE OBAMA: Despite the lessons of our history and the truth of your experience here at City Colleges, some folks out there today seem to have a very different perspective. They seem to view our diversity as a threat to be contained, rather than as a resource to be tapped. They tell us to be afraid of those who are different, to be suspicious of those with whom we disagree. They act as if name-calling is an acceptable substitute for thoughtful debate.

Here in America, we don`t give in to our fears. We don`t build up walls to keep people out, because we know that our greatness has always depended on contributions from people who were born elsewhere, but sought out this country and made it their home.


HAYES: Those are Michelle Obama`s veiled attacks on the presumptive GOP front-runner, but she saved the most powerful part of her speech for the end, a message no other first lady in history could deliver. We`ll play it in 60 seconds.


HAYES: Today, First Lady Michelle Obama closed her commencement speech at the City College of New York with an impassioned message about the American dream and what it`s meant for herself and family.


MICHELLE OBAMA: It`s the story that I witness every single day. When I wake up in a house that was built by slaves and I watch my daughters, two beautiful black young women, head off to school waving good-bye to their father, the president of the United States, the son of a man from Kenya who came here to America for the same reasons as many of you -- to get an education and improve his prospects in life.

So graduates, while I think it`s fair to say that our Founding Fathers never could have imagined this day, all of you are very much the fruits of their vision, their legacy is very much your legacy and your inheritance. And don`t let anybody tell you differently.




BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can`t afford to weaken Social Security, we should be strengthening Social Security. And not only do we need to strengthen its long-term health, it`s time we finally made Social Security more generous and increased its benefits so that today`s retirees and future generations get the dignified retirement that they`ve earned.


HAYES: OK, that didn`t get a huge, you know, siren breaking news alert, but that was a big deal what happened there. President Obama calling for expanding Social Security of Wednesday, marking a complete 180, a sea change in policy for the president who just a few years ago was proposing reducing Social Security benefits in an attempt to reach a grand bargain with then House Speaker John Boehner.

Hillary Clinton, who last year appeared noncommittal on Social Security expansion, sent this tweet today, quote, "we can never let Republicans cut or privatize Social Security. We should protect and expand it. Thanks, POTUS."

Bernie Sanders has applauded President Obama`s evolution on Social Security, a move that is not at all surprising since advocating for an expansion of Social Security benefits is one of the Sanders campaign`s central themes.

Joining me now, Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee that has been working very hard to move this agenda. How did we get here?

ADAM GREEN, PROGRESSIVE CHANGE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE: So, seachange is exactly the right word. And three-and-a-half years ago, the entire progressive movement was martialing resources against a Democratic White House that was intent on cutting a deal to cut Social Security.

So, in mid-2013, a bunch of progressive leaders in a room, a side room at the (inaudible) nation conference -- us, Democracy for America, MoveOn, the Working Families Party, the AFL-CIO. And we made a concerted decision to pivot from defense to offense. We figured that in a world where the entire spectrum of debate was cuts or nothing, the most we would ever get is nothing. So, we decided to look for expansion.

And fast forward to today, we have 43 of 46 Democratic Sanders on the record for expansion, over half of House Democrats, candidates across the country campaigning on this, and both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders saying no to cuts and yes to their own expand proposals. So, it`s seachange.

HAYES: Who are Senators that have -- I mean, elizabeth Warren is one who comes to mind as sort of adopting this in the United States Senate, Bernie Sanders another who adopted this and ran with it fairly early on.

GREEN: Yeah.

Brian Schotts from Hawaii actually won a very competitive primary campaigning on expanding Social Security.

HAYES: Fascinating, huh.

GREEN: Tom Harkin who retired, but from the first presidential state of Iowa, showed what creative populism is all about as he won the first bill to expand Social Security among many others.

HAYES: What do you think the roll of this primary has been -- I mean, the president -- that was the president making news saying that right. I mean, that`s the first time he said that.

What effect -- how much relationship do you think there is between the contested Democratic primary and the president saying that this week?

GREEN; You know, I think that he was doing it to get his legacy in order. History is going in a certain direction. He doesn`t want to be on the wrong side of it. But I do think it`s undeniable that Bernie Sanders has, if not forced Hillary Clinton to change her position, certainly gotten her to increase the volume on positions like expanding Social Security, debt- free college, jailing Wall Street bankers. and I think that will serve Democrats better in November, especially when we`re up against a faux economic populist like Donald Trump.

HAYES: What do you say to people that say, this is all essentially abstract and theoretical because no Republican`s ever going to vote for it?

GREEN: For expanding Social Security?

HAYES: Yeah.

GREEN: Well, you know, if the spectrum of debate in the Democratic Party is Hillary Clinton`s limited expansion of benefits and Bernie Sanders` extension for everybody, that is a sea change from Democrats actually helping to cut.

So the fact that cuts are off the table is by itself the big game changer. Now we`re in a great territory where we`re actually arguing about hypothetical positive benefits.

And our hope is that the Democratic platform actually endorses this, and kind of cements it into law.

HAYES: That will be very interesting to watch happen in Philadelphia what the position is of the party.

GREEN: absolutely. sea change.

HAYES: Adam Green, thanks for joining us, appreciate it.

GREEN: Thank you.

HAYES: Up next, the moment from outside last night`s Trump rally that seemed to perfectly encapsulate the tension of this election. I`ll show you right after the break.


HAYES: Last night outside of Donald Trump`s rally in San Jose, we saw some really upsetting scenes of violence. Protesters by the hundreds, anti- Trump protesters, gathered outside Trump`s campaign rally. Most of the demonstrations were peaceful, things at times did turn violent.

Out of all the videos and images that came out last night, there was one that stood out to me in particular for the complexity and intensity of emotion it showed.

You see a man in a Trump hat with other men pushing him, while female anti- Trump protesters surround him trying to intervene yelling "no violence, no violence" another men taking him from behind and escorting him away from the folks that are trying to punch him.

it was a really bad scene, and yet oddly becoming a familiar one at Trump`s rallies even if the violence in the past has generally gone in the other direction.

Events have become cauldrons of hatred and reaction to that hatred and speaks to the disturbing nature of what is being built around the Trump candidacy, around his rallies in particular.

Joining me now, Bob Garfield, co-host of WNYC`s On the Media.

And Bob, I was watching those images last night, and upset, you know, you`re watching people who have got -- attended a political rally, who are walking to their cars getting punched in the face, sucker-punched, egged. This is not acceptable means of political expression.

BOB GARFIELD, CO-HOST ON THE MEDIA: No, it`s clearly not an acceptable means of political expression. It`s horrible. And of course it was completely inevitable.

Trump has been spewing all sorts of hate speech. This is the harvest of that. He has been divisive, polarizing, hateful, and people take that personally. And it was simply inevitable that in a campaign such as this, that people would behave badly. In previous cases, it`s been Trump supporters incited by this guy. In this case, it was the perceived victims of his rhetoric. But we will be seeing more of this, not less.

And with the TV cameras on, it just exacerbates an already bad situation.

HAYES: Here`s what Trump had to say. And again this sort of has been in line with the way he`s approached violence or calls for violence at his rallies with this sort of kind of wry wink and nod.

He says, great evening in San Jose, other than the thugs. My supporters are far tougher if they want to be, but fortunately they are not hostile.

What do you think of that?

GARFIELD: Well, he`s obviously a really macho guy, and so are his supporters, and he`s quite a man. I really look up to him, because -- and you know what, I hope my kids do too, because it`s all about who can beat up the other guy.

HAYES: What is your sense -- I`ve gotten the sense -- obviously you host a fantastic show about the media, it`s called On the Media. It`s a weekly show. And you guys have been covering the way the media deals with Trump. You`ve been writing about this as well.

It seems to me this week if we look back that there`s been a little bit of a corner turned. I mean, starting with that press conference on veterans - - the veterans` donations through the Jake Tapper interview today about Curiel, that the tenor of the coverage this week feels different to me.

GARFIELD: Yeah, I think there has been a corner turned. And I`m not sure what is the cause of that. I`ve been yapping about how toothless the press has been through the whole duration of this Trump phenomenon, and how we as an institution have been enablers.

This week a few things happened. CNN started on their chiron, their crawl, along with the graphics that you all put on your screens, to create the illusion of urgency, they started truth squadding their own chiron, which I thought was pretty great.

Trump says so-and-so, and then in parentheses it says, not true, or something like that. So, that`s different behavior from the media.

And Adam Liptack (ph) on the front page of The New York Times questioned whether this candidate has any respect for the separation of powers, our constitutional protections, and the rule of law, which made me happy because in my view, watching the press deal with Trump for the last eight or nine months, has been like watching UN peacekeepers deal with the Bosnian Serbs. They have been so tangled up and paralyzed by the rules of engagement that they have let him get away with, well, with mayhem.

And I think the rules of engagement need to be changed, and maybe this week was evidence that there is a shift.

HAYES: I want to hone in on this, though, because there`s sort of two different critiques here. One is the raw quantity of attention, the other is the nature of that attention.

Now, one of the things that I -- people talk to me all the time, and I`m just walking around the city, taking my kids to school, or I`m buying a cup of coffee, and they talk about why are you covering Trump so much? There`s this idea that the quantity of the attention is, a, unwarranted, and b, is soret of feeding the beast.

I tend to think this is a story that`s worthy of a tremendous amount of attention. It is in a literal sense essentially unprecedented that someone like this would be a major party nominee. That`s different from the way that it`s covered, which of those two...

GARFIELD: It sure is different.

HAYES: Right, so which of those is the critique from you?

GARFIELD: Well, the critique is that this man is an ongoing carnival of distractions. And there are certain things he`s done and said over the past year that have been fundamentally disqualifying for public life, but every single day there`s a new outbreak. And every single day the press turns its attention to the latest Trump-ruption.

The problem is they have often very little to do with why the guy should never, ever, ever serve as the president of the United States. But the press cannot resist novelty. They can`t resist the notion of advancing the story.

But I think as I`ve said on your air, the story has not changed. The story is, there are a half dozen reasons why this guy is incapable of being the president of the United States. And hate speech that we started this conversation talking about is just one of them. His disrespect, contempt for basic constitutional guarantees,is another.

And what I saw Jake Tapper go through today on CNN, it made myheart hurt. Because he was so tied up in knots wanting to confront the man, and yet the best he could do was use the sort of journalistic language that rendered him I believe relatively impotent. And it made me sad.

HAYES: I`m going to respectfully disagree on that point, because I thought that -- and you`re right, I think within the confines of what the genre is, what the constraints are, I thought he did an excellent job today.

Bob Garfield, thanks for joining me. I appreciate it.

GARFIELD: Chris, thanks for ruining another one of my Friday nights.

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