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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 8/18/2016

Guests: Sarah Isgur Flores, Ben Domenech, Brad Woodhouse, Jane Newton-Small, Samantha Allen, Henry Enten, Hunter Walker, Dave Zirin

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: August 18, 2016 Guest: Sarah Isgur Flores, Ben Domenech, Brad Woodhouse, Jane Newton- Small, Samantha Allen, Henry Enten, Hunter Walker, Dave Zirin

JOY REID, MSNBC GUEST ANCHOR: Good evening from New York. I'm Joy Reid, in for Chris Hayes.

Tonight, Donald Trump is holding his first big campaign rally since overhauling his campaign leadership -- again. And he just did something I don't think he's ever actually done in public. Apologize.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Sometimes in the heat of debate, and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don't choose the right words, or you say the wrong thing. I have done that.

And believe it or not, I regret it.


Thank you.

And I do regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain. Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues. But one thing I can promise you this, I will always tell you the truth.


REID: Now, that would seem to contradict the message that Trump set with his big new hire -- Breitbart news chairman Stephen Bannon, the campaign's new CEO, a man known for his combative style and provocative politics, more likely to echo Trump's own instincts than to enforce discipline.

Trump's delivery has been more constrained, reading scripted speeches from a teleprompter all week, but the substance is squarely within the Breitbart wheel house, stoking fears about Muslim immigrants infiltrating the U.S. and invoking law and order and other racially coded language about crime.


TRUMP: In addition to screening out all members of the sympathizers of terrorist groups, we must also screen out anyone with hostile attitudes toward our country or its principles, or who believe that Sharia law should supplant American law.

The problem, in our poorest communities is not that there are too many police. The problem is that there are not enough police. To every law- breaker hurting innocent people in this country, I say, your free rein will soon come crashing to an end.


REID: Joining me now is Robert Costa, national political reporter for "The Washington Post" and an MSNBC political analyst.

Robert, thanks for being here.

You just heard us play back Donald Trump sort of surprising, very vague mea culpa. He says, sometimes you don't say the right words, or you say the wrong thing, I have done that and I regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain.

What do you think he's getting at specifically in all of the things that he's said over the last year?

ROBERT COSTA, THE WASHINGTON POST: Donald Trump can read the polls, as well as anyone, and especially his new campaign team can do that same. And they're looking at the next 80 days, and they see themselves behind.

According to my conversation today with people close to Trump, he's willing to do things that he hasn't done before, whether it's apologizing to voters, whether it's moderating his message, at least in terms of his temperament, because he recognizes he has a problem, especially with suburban voters, with women voters, he needs to turn the corner if he wants a shot.

REID: And, Robert, you know the way the media typically works, if you give a blanket apology, the next step is that typically for reporters is to say, what are you apologizing for? Are you apologizing for the Muslim ban? Are you apologizing for the Mexicans are rapists?

Is he prepared to go down a rod of a series of interviews, assuming he gives them, where he specifically makes apologies for some of these comments?

COSTA: I've not seen that so far in my reporting or heard that. It could be a possibility. But what I do expect to see is more of what we're seeing tonight, which, to me, is a mix of the Conway influence, Kellyanne Conway and of Steve Bannon. From the Bannon side, you have the trip to Baton Rouge. I hear from Trump associates, he was recommending Trump go down to Louisiana to talk to people who have been affected by the floods. And the apology, the whole presentation tonight, it's right out of Kellyanne Conway's playbook.

REID: And tell me what that playbook would entail. We know Kellyanne Conway has been involved in trying to help Republicans do better with women voters. What specific issues that he is suddenly doing a more modulated line? Because he's talking law and order in these campaign rallies. Is that going to change, or are you talking same message, milder tone?

COSTA: Kellyanne Conway's strategy in past campaigns has often been to connect with female voters. You have to first engage them and have a real rapport with them. And then you can go to the issues you want to talk about and perhaps if you're a Republican candidate, sell them on some kind of conservative ideology.

For Trump, my reporting tells me that she's trying to break through this barrier, that Trump seems to keep hitting in the polling, where some women voters remain skittish, some suburban voters, male and female, remains skittish about Trump, and he has to engage them on some level before he can give them the Trump pitch.

REID: And, Robert, your paper has reported there is some buzz around Republican consultants who are urging the RNC to pull funds away from the Trump campaign, concentrate that money in down-ballot races. Do you see that as having influenced the campaign, to say, maybe we'd better change direction here? Is there anything to the idea that the RNC would actually start doing that?

COSTA: Well, for Trump to do well in states like Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New Hampshire, where there are competitive Senate races, he's going to need all the help he can get, because those are very tough races. So, there's not so much pressure from the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus has been working closely with truck.

But when you look at the campaigns of Toomey, and Kirk and Ayotte, they can't have a big gap between the presidential candidate and their own campaigns to remain competitive. So whether it's coordinated or not, Trump has to be part of changing the dynamic of all these races in these states.

REID: And lastly, do you see this apparent attempt to modulate the tone and maybe court women voters, will the Trump campaign repudiate the alt- right? Because that would mean repudiating

COSTA: Steve Bannon doesn't characterize himself as someone who is part of the alt-right. It's perhaps the fine line for many people and I understand, because the lines are somewhat blurred. Bannon likes to characterize himself as a populist nationalist. That's how he characterizes himself, and some people in the Breitbart community see the alt-right that is more perhaps based on race grievance and other issues. Breitbart sees itself as something political reporting, political coverage and that has a populist impulse.

REID: All right. Robert Costa, thank you very much. Really appreciate you being here. Thank you.

COSTA: Thank you.

REID: And joining us now, Sarah Isgur Flores, who's a former deputy campaign manager for Carly for president.

So, Sarah, you heard what Robert Costa just reported there. You heard Trump's semi-walk back. He didn't say anything specifically he wanted to apologize for.

But let's start where we ended with Robert Costa, this idea that Stephen Bannon doesn't consider himself a member of the alt-right, but is pretty openly associated with it, they've written laudatory articles about the alt-right, people like this fellow (INAUDIBLE) written for, has been a part of that community.

How could Donald Trump realistically disassociate himself from something like Breitbart, when all the content is right there online presumably for reporters to dig up?

SARAH ISGUR FLORES, FORMER DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MAGR., CARLY FOR PRESIDENT: Well, and I don't know that we're seeing a total new campaign here. We have seen Donald Trump modulate his tone before, when Manafort came on. We've seen it happen a couple times and it does last for a few days, and then something sparks a new controversy and he's back off message. So I'm not quite willing to buy into the new Trump campaign just yet.

That being said, today at least, has had Kellyanne Conway's fingerprints all over it in a very positive way. If you watched her interview in the last hour on this network, I thought, it's so clear now that she is by far best surrogate for the Trump campaign. I think it's an extraordinarily smart move, putting her in a position where she can be a more forceful surrogate with that title.

I think we've yet to see what position Bannon is actually going to play in the campaign, because today has clearly been owned by Kellyanne. So if Bannon is going to play the role that some people think he is going to play, then I tend to agree with you. I don't see how he moves away from the Breitbart audience.

REID: Yes, I think journalists can't pretend that the Breitbart audience doesn't exist, or that Bannon isn't who he said he is. You speak to people who have worked with him, and they talk about his own sort of racially caustic views that he's expressed openly.

I have to wonder whether or not a so-called at least one-day rhetorical pivot absent some interrogation of Bannon, who he is, do you think the Trump campaign can get away with that by putting Kellyanne Conway out there?

FLORES: Well, Kellyanne Conway is the one with the title. We'll see what's all of that means and how that all shakes out, but Steve Bannon basically came on as a senior adviser, but Kellyanne Conway, as far as we've been told, is running the ship. She's supposed to be traveling with Donald Trump, the chief surrogate for the campaign.

And let's not kid ourselves, a major problem with the Trump campaign to this point has been failures of their surrogates. The surrogates have distracted, particularly this week of all weeks, when they're trying to move forward on a different message. It's been the surrogates who have tripped up the campaign message.

So, if Kellyanne is able to consolidate some of that and be the surrogates for the campaign moving forward, then we've yet to see what role Bannon will really play in any of that.

REID: Yes, and what do you make of this -- they're going to start advertising. There's now a word of about a $4 million ad buy across four states. The Clinton campaign having spent considerably more, they spent about $61 million today on battleground ads. Is $4 million a serious ad buy for a campaign with 80 days to go before the election?

FLORES: I've said this before, I don't think this election will depend on advertising dollars nearly as much as past campaigns. We have two candidates that are well known, name I.D., as close to a hundred percent as you can get.

REID: Sarah, hold on a second. I'm going to hold you off for just a moment. We want to dip in and listen to the Donald Trump speech in progress right now.

TRUMP: We are going to work closely African-American parents and children. We are going to work with the parents, students. We are going to work with everybody in the African-American community, in the inner cities and what a big difference that is going to make. It's one of the things I most look forward to doing.


This means a lot to me, and it's going to be a top priority in a Trump administration.

On health care, we are going repeal and replace the disaster called Obamacare.


Countless Americans have been forced into part-time jobs. Premiums are about to jump by double digits yet again. And just this week, Aetna announced it was going to pull out all over, but also in North Carolina.

We are going to replace this disaster with reforms that give you choice and freedom and control in health care at a much, much lower cost. You'll have much better health care at a much lower cost and it will happen quickly.

REID: All right. We're back with Sara Isgur Flores and let's bring in Ben Domenech. He is the publisher of "The Federalist". Thank you both for hanging on.

And, Sarah, you were in mid sentence talking about this attempt, at least, at a one-day rhetorical move. What do you make of this idea of sort of an apology without specifics? Do you think that that alone suddenly changes the minds of women voters?

ISGUR: No. Certainly, one day in any campaign doesn't move the electorate, very often at least. But what you're seeing in the speech that we just heard, the segment that we just heard, that speech could have been delivered by any number of Republicans. You know, you just change out the voice.

It's an extremely effective attack on that business as usual hasn't been working, Obamacare hasn't been working, reaching to communities that Republicans haven't traditionally done well with. His speech on Monday was very good on that as well. So if that's the direction, it could be a positive one with a number of voters who are uncomfortable voting with Hillary Clinton, but haven't been able to convince themselves to vote for Donald Trump.

REID: That's an important point, Ben. "The New York Times" has done a lot of work on this idea that there just aren't enough white men in the population to elect any Republican, absent getting at least a significant share of the women's vote. And Republicans typically win, particularly white women, white married women, without getting some share of voters of color.

What do you make of this sudden decision to talk about working with African-American parents? That's a sudden and marked shift for Donald Trump. What do you make of that?

BEN DOMENECH, THE FEDERALIST: You know, one of the interesting things about this cycle is you would think that Trump would be doing better with African-Americans than he is. He's doing so poorly at this stage. And I wonder if that message is in part meant to be delivered to college educated white Americans who are concerned about voting for a candidate who might be viewed by some as being racist or race-baiting.

I think it is much about reaching out to those white college educated suburbanites who had been uncomfortable with some of Donald Trump's statements, as it is to reaching out to black communities, particularly those who have not experienced a lot of recovery in recent years.

REID: And, Ben, I think you're absolutely right. I think that's a time- honored tradition of trying to sort of get out particularly suburban voters don't want to vote for a party that's labeled as being racist. They want to be associated with something that seems more positive. I think you're really smart to talk about that.

But let's dig a little bit deeper into this question of trying to, in one speech that he's giving right now, sort of soften the image. We know what the numbers are. Donald Trump is doing terribly not only with voters of color, but also with women, and he's even losing among several cohorts among white voters.

The Steven Bannon hire the day before this Kellyanne Conway orchestrated pivot, is there any way to hide the alt-right under a bushel enough that white college educated voters don't notice it?

DOMENECH: You know, this is the thing that I'm just unsure about, because I'm really not sure how we're going to see Steve Bannon's fingerprints reflected in this campaign. We don't really know yet, in part, because he has no campaign experience. He's never worked on a campaign at any level.

So I think that, you know, listening to his tone tonight, it's certainly going to be something that's encouraging to a lot of Republicans. But the question really is, how long are we going to see this tone play out? We've seen Trump do this before, where he can sound presidential for one speech, but then he kind of returns to the kind of speech he used in the primary to great effect.

And for someone in politics for a short period like Trump, he's the kind of candidate who typically falls back on the things that he thought got to this point in the first place.

REID: Yes, and Sarah, I think that is the point, right? I mean, all the reporting you've heard about Trump, he's unhappy being scripted. He's unhappy being constrained. He just wants to be the free-wheeling guy that makes him feel good. So, isn't it more to be expected that he returns to Trumping within the next 12 to 24 hours?

FLORES: I think that's true. It's true for all of us. When I get tired, I become more of myself. I retreat to my sort of safe zone.

I think when Trump feels trapped, when he feels scared, insecure, when he's down in the polls, of course, you see him revert to what he is most comfortable doing.

That being said, Kellyanne Conway is a persuasive person. And she's in his ear every day. And we're seeing that today. We'll see. This could be more than one day.

REID: We'll see. I think it's going to be a challenge for the media too. Because you can't pretend the entire last year didn't happen. But we'll see what happens. They're certainly banking on people doing that.

Sarah Isgur Flores, and Ben Domenech -- thank you very much. I appreciate it.

DOMENECH: Good to be here.

REID: All right. Still to come, why big crowds don't always equal big turn-out. A cautionary tale for Donald Trump ahead.

But first, the new efforts by the GOP in North Carolina to suppress voters. That story is coming up.

But before we go to break, some breaking news and a big announcement tonight. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will appear back-to-back in a commander-in-chief forum that will air in primetime on MSNBC and NBC on September 7th. The forum will take place in New York and the event is the first of its kind. It will be hosted by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. The two candidates will answer questions from NBC News and an audience that includes military veterans and active service members.

Again, commander-in-chief forum. Both presidential candidates in primetime on September 7th on MSNBC and NBC.

We'll be right back.



TRUMP: Sometimes in the heat of debate, and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don't choose the right words, or you say the wrong thing. I have done that.

And believe it or not, I regret it.


Thank you.

And I do regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain.


REID: And joining me now is Democratic strategist Brad Woodhouse.

All right, Brad. What did you make of that unexpected, very broad kind of apology from Donald Trump for I'm not sure what specifically?

BRAD WOODHOUSE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, look, I don't -- I don't take it to heart very much. I mean, if you listen to the crowd, they didn't even believe it. They started chanting "Trump, Trump, Trump." He kind of smiled, like wink, wink.

So, he didn't regret or apologize for anything specific. It was very tortured. It sounded like it was something he was urged to do to try to prove that this latest campaign shake-up represents a real pivot.

But, you know, I think it's hard to take somebody at their word that they regret anything, who has so repeatedly offended people and lied throughout the course of the campaign.

REID: I mean, the other piece of this is this contradictory change in the campaign, to hire somebody like Stephen Bannon, who is, whatever he wants to call himself, is very much associated with the alt-right. has been the source of conspiracy theories that just somehow wind up almost always being directed against African Americans, against Muslim Americans, immigrants, and in really pretty ugly tones.

And you bring that guy on board, and we're told he's now listening to Kellyanne Conway, his long time pollster, and saying things that sound softer for women and suburban voters. That's very contradictory.

But as a strategist, do you think it makes sense?

WOODHOUSE: Well, look, I think it makes sense if Donald Trump wants to be believed as a real candidate for president, for him to soften his tone, to try to expand his vote.

What is contradictory, as you suggested there, is bringing on, you know, the editor of Breitbart, bringing on someone who has, you know, lived in these conspiracy theories. You know, you're talking about a publication that is very anti-Jew, has been very anti-black. So I don't understand how that push and pull is going to exist.

My guess is, is that Trump will eventually retreat to his instincts, which are Bannon's instincts and not Conway's instinct instincts.

REID: And one other piece I want to just play to you, Donald Trump -- this is him also talking in Charlotte tonight in this rally and making a pitch for African American voters. Take a listen.


TRUMP: We're going to reject bigotry, and I will tell you, the bigotry of Hillary Clinton is amazing. She sees communities of color only as votes, and not as human beings worthy of a better future. It's only votes.


It is only votes that she sees. And she does nothing about it. She's been there forever and look at where you are.

If African American voters give Donald Trump a chance, by giving me their vote, the result for them will be amazing.


REID: Your thoughts on that?

WOODHOUSE: Well, that is completely outrageous. I mean, let's remember here, here's someone who was in Wisconsin the other day, talking, you know, talking about a -- a good game about the African-American community in front of an audience that was 95 to 99 percent white. He's rejected every invitation to speak before African American audiences, NAACP and others. And here's someone who lived in birtherism.

Joy, I mean, this birtherism against President Obama was nothing more than a dog whistle to tea party voters at the time, to say that the president is other. He was other. He was Muslim, he was Kenyan, and he was black.

And so, you know, this is an unbelievable from Donald Trump. You can't trust him on these issues. And this suggestion that somehow Hillary Clinton is only out for votes, this is someone who was involved in helping women and families and children long before she had any eye on politics. So, I would trust her core on this a lot more than I would ever trust Donald Trump's.

REID: And, Brad, thank you for coming in and taking on some of these other issues that are taking place, while Donald Trump is in North Carolina.


REID: I have We have to talk about your brother, Dallas Woodhouse, sent out a message to the North Carolina County Board of Elections in the wake of the kitchen sink voter law, the voter I.D. law that was passed and overturned in the state of North Carolina, essentially urging them to -- they can and should make party line changes to early voting, essentially urging the county elections boards to make changes that make it harder, essentially for African Americans to vote.

You excoriated him for that, by the way, but what do you make of it?

WOODHOUSE: I did excoriate him for it. And before I go on, I want to be clear that, I don't believe that my brother is a racist. In some ways, Joy, I almost regretted weighing in on this today, because this is not about me -- not about me and my brother and what he is doing in North Carolina.

This is about an attempt that has been going on for years now, obviously decades, it's been going on, to suppress the African American vote. But this issue of rolling back early voting that has succeed in getting more people to the polls, has been something that has gone on for so many years. I've spent five years at the DNC, working with our voter protection unit, to highlight these type of things, that are clearly intended to make it harder for African Americans or young people, or people that would tend to vote Democrat to vote, but disproportionately, these things hurt African- Americans.

And I was disgusted when I read the e-mail that went out from the party, that went out from my brother, that, you know, that was obviously intended to restrict voting among this cohort of people.

And, Joy, it wasn't me. It was the fourth circuit court of appeals when they overturned the previous law that said that the Republicans were, with surgical precision, trying to prevent African Americans from being able to vote.

REID: Yes, absolutely. We appreciate you being on to talk about this.

Brad Woodhouse, thank you so much, sir, for joining me. Appreciate it.

WOODHOUSE: Great. Thank you, Joy.

REID: All right. Coming up, down in the polls, Trump is turning to a new marker of success. Look how big his crowds are. How that's not turned out so well for politicians in the past, coming up.


REID: While polls show Donald Trump in free fall, the candidate and his supporters have another metric they believe show he's actually winning. That's next.



TRUMP: I actually think I'm doing good. I have the biggest crowds. You're there. You see them. Nobody's ever had crowds like this, they say.

But you know, outside we have a lot of people trying to get in. And downstairs there's a room and it is loaded with people. It's almost this size. And we're really, we're really doing a job.


REID: Donald Trump likes to boast about the size of the crowds at his rallies, and make the case that they reflect the strength you just can't see in the polls that show him losing by a significant margin.

But history shows that rallies aren't a reliable indicator when it comes to who actually wins an election. In 1984, Walter Mondale was pointing to the big size of the crowd at his Boston rally and claiming there's a smell of victory in the air. And we went on to lose 49 of 50 states.

Four years ago, as Republicans claims polls showing President Obama was ahead was skewed. The Mitt Romney campaign drew confidence from huge crowds in Pennsylvania, only to learn they ultimately didn't mean much.

And this year, Bernie Sanders' supporters pointed to his massive rally in Brooklyn, to argue Sanders was stronger than the polls showed. Nope, he went on to lose the New York primary by 16 points.

And joining me now is Henry Enten, senior political writer and analyst and for 538, and Hunter Walker, national correspondent for Yahoo News. Thank you both for being here.

I have to first start by asking you, and I'm going to go first to my pollster friend here, what do you make of this idea of trying the rhetorical pivot, which we're told is being engineered by Kellyanne Conway, the pollster for Donald Trump, that he needs to say soft words, like I've said wrong words. I've said words that don't sound good? Does that work?

HENRY ENTEN, 538: It can't hurt. I mean, he's polling at 2 percent among African-Americans before the speech. He was pulling in fourth behind Jill Stein and Gary Johnson plus Hillary Clinton. So it can't hurt.

But remember, Trump has a long history of rhetoric. I was talking with a cab driver, an African-American cab driver in Washington, D.C., and this was long before Trump ever did anything, and he remember the Central Park jogger case, right, where Trump had that ad in the newspaper.

So, he has a long history of long rhetoric, it's going to take more than just words, it's going to take actions. But, hey, at least this is perhaps a start.

REID: Yeah, and it's interesting, because we do want to talk a little bit about this kind of polar trutherism. You had a very interesting interview with Michael Cohen, who is an attorney for Donald Trump. Because the other thing that Donald Trump tried to do tonight, was to -- you know, as Harry was just saying, to make these pivots about the African-American community.

Michael Cohen was involved in that in the past.

HUNTER WALKER, YAHOO NEWS: Right. So, I spoke to Michael Cohen a couple months ago and he had led an effort to, as they described, get 100 percent of the black vote, because Donald Trump does nothing small.

And, you know, it was really centered around these 100 black evangelical ministers and pastors that they brought into Trump Tower. And Omarosa, from the Apprentice, is technically leading his black outreach effort. But Michael Cohen said to me that he was actually instrumental in finding these pastors and putting that together.

And I spoke to him after this sort of viral CNN interview that he had this week and he pointed to two reasons that they don't believe the polls. And one was crowd size, and the other was, he said, look the 1 percent, single digit number with African-Americans, I'm talking to these 100 guys, they love Donald Trump.

REID: And just in case people aren't familiar with the Michael Cohen sort of epic, viral video interview on CNN the other night, let's take a little clip of it right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You say it's not a shake-up, but you guys are down. And it makes sense that there would...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Polls. Most of them, all of them.

COHEN: says who?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Polls. I just told you, I answered your question.

COHEN: OK, which polls?



REID: Harry, you crunch numbers, is it possible that 100 percent of the polls say one thing, but the opposite is true, that crowd size actually can be a substitute for the kind of data that you crunch at 538?

ENTEN: Look, the polls could be wrong, it's possible Trump wins this election, but crowd size doesn't tell us anything. I mean, you cited, obviously, the example of Mondale in '84, George McGovern in 1972, Mitt Romney last time around. Each losing candidate points to the crowd. Oh my god, we're going to pull a Harry Truman, we're going do this great thing. Bruce Braley (ph) last year, or two years ago in Iowa was like, oh my god, you know, the crowds are fantastic for me, and then he lost to to Joni Ernst.

We've heard this before. The polls are the way to go. Polls are accurate. Kellyanne Conway knows what she's doing. And she says that Trump is behind.

REID: And do pollsters have some sort of political kind of bit they go into when they're formulating their samples. Is there some way that they try to skew them for one candidate or the other?

ENTEN: This is ridiculous.

Look, these are guys and women who have their professional reputations on the line. They get paid to be right. They don't get paid to be wrong.

There's no grand conspiracy. We're not all going to be defending juries later on. They want to get it right and they have historically gotten it right and my guess is, they're right right now.

REID: There's nothing wrong with Ben and Jerry's.

Hunter, you know, yet you do see this pervasive just dismissal of the idea of polls. Polls as a conspiracy, what you might call poll trutherism creeping in among Trump voters. Do you see it out in the world on the campaign trail the way that we see it on TV?

WALKER: I think there's a little bit of a disconnect. And I've traveled all around the country. And I think liberals in the coast and in the cities think, oh, the media is enabling Trump, this isn't real. And you know what, it might be 20 or 30 percent, but he really does have a base. He really activated something in this country.

On the other hand, when you go into his rallies, they're like, look, we're all here. It's huge. This is a movement. And the truth is really somewhere in the middle. I think one thing people screw up a bit is you have national polls. And some of those just show a single digit difference. But then you look at the electoral map and it's really hard to see a path to victory for Donald Trump.

So, whereas the difference between the two parties nationally might be small, that's not how we calculate the winner here.

REID: And that is important, right, Harry, because when you look at it, there are those two separate metrics. The national polls don't really mean all that much because that isn't the way the elections work in the U.S.

ENTEN: If you tally up where Hillary Clinton has the lead of at least 9 percentage points or more in our 538 models, it totals 273 electoral votes. It's awfully difficult for Donald Trump to get to 270 if Hillary Clinton is already above it.

REID: Is already at 273. All right, Harry Enten and Hunter Walker, thanks to you both, really appreciate your time.

And still to come, what we know about the truly bizarre unfolding story of Ryan Lochte's alleged robbery. We will have the latest coming up.

And later, meet the right-wing doctor pushing the conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton's health, and that doctor's connection to the new head of Trump's campaign. That and more ahead.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I think as you know, our prison system is a disaster, a complete disaster all over the country. Almost everything we have, Chris, if you want to know the truth, is a disaster.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: Really? America's got great...

TRUMP: You take a look...

I do think we can do a lot of privatizations and private prisons. It seems to work a lot better.


REID: Thing one tonight, while Donald Trump argued during the primary that private prisons seem to work a lot better, this year the for-profit prison industry has been the source of several largescale investigations at odds with that assessment, including a six month series by The Nation documenting dozens of questionable deaths at private prisons.

An extensive Mother Jones report in which journalist Shane Bauer spent four months undercover as a private prison guard, witnessing a rash of stabbings, a prisoner escape and a prisoner who lost both legs to gangrene.

And just last week, a review released by the Justice Department's inspector general concluded that private prisons incurred more safety and security issues and had higher rates of assault, both by inmates on other inmates and by inmates on staff.

Today this happened: these charts show shares of the two largest for-profit prison corporations in America over the first five days -- for five days, and that steep drop-off that you see represents what happened to those two stocks today. And I'll tell you why in thing two in 60 seconds.


REID: Today, America's two largest private prison companies, Corrections Corporation of America and Geo Group saw their share prices go into free fall, each dropping more than 40 percent at one point. And that following a monumental announcement by the Department of Justice that it will end its use of private prisons.

The decision applied to the 13 for-profit prisons that house federal inmates, representing about 12 percent of the federal prison population. Now, the change won't happen overnight, but rather the DOJ will no longer renew contracts with private prison companies.

Today Hillary Clinton sent a personal tweet responding to the decision, "this is the right step forward."



RYAN LOCHTE, U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMER: They pulled us over. They pulled out their guns. They told the other swimmers to get down on the ground. They got down on the ground. I refused. I was like, we didn't do anything wrong, so I'm not getting down on the ground. And the guy pulled out his gun. He cocked it, put it to my forehead and said get down, and I was like, I put my hands up, I was like, whatever.


REID: Now that was the story that Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte told NBC's Billy Bush on Sunday, claiming that he and three teammates were robbed at gunpoint in Rio.

Tonight, Rio police claim that's not what happened. According to them, Lochte and his teammates left a local club in the early hours, got in a cab, and stopped at a gas station, where someone in the group vandalized the bathroom. They apparently tried to leave, but were stopped by gas station security guards at least one of whom pointed a gun at the swimmers.

The swimmers finally left after paying the gas station for damages.

Now Ryan Lochte's already back in the U.S., but two other swimmers were pulled off their flight last night and questioned by Rio police for hours today.

Moments ago, Reuters found those two swimmers back at the airport again. And it's unclear where they were heading.

And joining me now is Dave Zirin, sports editor at The Nation. His latest piece, Ryan Lochte is one of many privileged first world tourists and Brazilians are fed up.

All right, Dave, this has been one bizarre story, that started out with Ryan Lochte claiming he was lobbed. That story started to look really sketchy and start to fall apart. He kind of stood by it, changed some details. At this point, what do you make of it?

I mean, I'm somebody with a healthy skepticism of police. So, you sort of listen to the police account and you want to have the healthy skepticism, but what do you make of it?

DAVE ZIRIN, THE NATION: Well, we have closed circuit TV footage that's been played in Brazil at this point. And so we do know that the story that Ryan Lochte simply told isn't true. We also know that he said that robbers who -- originally he said they were dressed like police, took his wallet. And yet you can see him on more closed circuit TV putting his wallet on a metal connector when they come back to Olympic Village. And there's a huge time discrepency. And there's the little fact that he high-tailed it out of Brazil, leaving his three compatriots back there to deal with police questioning.

So none of this looks good for Ryan Lochte.

To be clear, none of these people face any sort of jail time. All of this is misdemeanor stuff.

But I can tell you from being in Rio -- I just got back to D.C. -- what these guys have done, what Lochte has done, is absolutely step into the vortex of every Brazilian sensitivity right now about hosting the Olympics, that's what makes this such a huge story, because being down there, people are very upset about the plunder that the Olympics have brought to Rio, about the pain that it's brought, about the fact that billions of dollars are going to the Olympics when schools and hospitals are in disrepair.

But paradoxically, they're also proud that even though the country is in one of its worst economic crises in decades, they're holding it together. They're hosting the Olympics. They're trying to make it work, and here is one of the most famous Olympians in the world basically saying, yeah, I was held up by the police and then, oh, by the way, my story is different. So he also represents, and this is very important, he represents this I think very real stereotype that people in Brazil have of the ugly American who comes to Rio and basically treats it like their spittoon of debauchery.

There's an old expression, there's no sin below the equator, that was once an expression that was coined in Western Europe about Rio. And people there legitimately resent the fact. And so that's what we're dealing with.

REID: And very quickly, I have to get your response to this quote from Mario Andrata (ph), the Rio Olympics spokesman, saying these kids were trying to have fun. Let's give them a break. Sometimes you take actions you later regret. It's part of life, et cetera. The sort of, I don't know, treating Ryan Lochte, who is 32 years old, as just a kid trying to have fun? What do you make of that?

ZIRIN: You remember from Donald Trump Jr was called a good kid at the RNC? He's 38 years old. I mean, why do the the wealthy white men among us get to be called kids into their 30s and somehow Tamir Rice is an adult at 14?

REID: Yeah, well said as always. Dave Zirin, thanks so much for joining us. Really appreciate it.

All right, and up next, the doctor peddling the latest Hillary health conspiracy. Stick around.


REID: Donald Trump is still trying to keep the baseless conspiracy theory over the state of Hillary Clinton's health going. And now he's getting some extra support. Enter TV's Dr. Drew Pinsky, or Celebrity Rehab fame, who's now voicing his concern over the quality of Clinton's health care.


DR. DREW PINSKY, TV HOST: It just seems like she is getting care from somebody that she met in Arkansas when she was a kid. And I just -- you got to wonder. You've got to wonder. and it's not so much that her health is a grave concern, it's that the care she's getting could make it a concern.


REID: Quick fact check. Hillary Clinton moved to Arkansas when she was an adult. But nevertheless, Pinsky's comments were snatched up the crew at Fox and Friends who requested comment on the matter from one Newton Leroy Gingrich, ironic voice of reason.


NEWT GINGRICH, FRM. SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I'm always dubious, with all due respect to television doctors, when you have a doctor who has never seen the patient, begin to give you a complicated, fancy-sounding analysis based on what.

I think we have to recognize, that's kind of junk medicine, that's not the real deal.


REID: Voice of reason, Newt Gingrich.

Joining me now, Jane Newton Small Washington correspondent for TIME, and Samantha Allen, staff writer for The Daily Beast. And one of her recent stories profiles the doctor who's peddling this latest Hillary health conspiracy, a favorite of the Breitbart website. Thank you both for being here.

And I'll go right to you on this, Samantha. Tell us about this doctor, who's sort of cooked up this conspiracy theory.

SAMANTHA ALLEN, THE DAILY BEAST: You know, we're getting to the point where Hillary Clinton could sneeze and people would say that she had a heart attack. This doctor, her name is Dr. Jane Orient, she's the executive director of a group called the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. And so of course when she raised questions about Hillary Clinton's health, Alex Breitbart said, look, the executive director of a physician's association is worried about her health.

But when you look into that organization, it's a small, conservative libertarian nonprofit, based in Tucson, with only about 5,000 members. And for comparison, the American Medical Association has well over 200,000 members. So this is not an authority on Hillary Clinton's health, by any means.

REID: And Jane, some of her other sort of positions that we know about this woman, Dr. Jane Orient, she -- the group that she is a part of, suggests that abortion causes breast cancer, that vaccines cause autism. We could go on. They also opposed, of course, the Hillary Clinton attempted to make health care plan of 1993.

What do you make of this person becoming kind of the authority along with Dr. Drew behind this conspiracy theory?

JANE NEWTON-SMALL, TIME: Anytime you see a doctor -- who tries to diagnose somebody from television or try to diagnose somebody who's never actually seen this person in their physical presence, it's always kind of a disaster, right? I mean, it was not so, eight years ago, that you had Bill Frist, who was then Senate majority leader, who based off of videos, diagnosed Terry Schiavo, as somebody who didn't -- who was not brain-dead. And then of course, years later, when Teri Schiavo finally died and the conservative fight to keep her alive failed, it turns out she was actually brain dead. But what does -- I mean, Bill Frist was a legendary transplant surgeon, and what did he know?

And so -- I mean, you talk to these doctors and they have very specific specialties. And somebody who is a doctor for like let's say Celebrity Rehab, who's essentially a nutritional doctor trying to diagnose a head trauma is like me trying to write about Wall Street. I mean, it's just -- I kind of know a little bit about Wall Street, I read the news every day, but by no means am I an expert. And that's ludicrous you would ever have me on to talk about Wall Street.

REID: Yeah, let's listen to the sort of Donald Trump in action, sort of pedaling this theory and sort of doing with Sean Hannity. Sort of a way of their full concern for her health.


TRUMP: Let me just say, she's totally protected. I've never seen anything like it.


TRUMP: And she doesn't really do do that much. She'll give a speech on teleprompter, and then she'll disappear. I don't know, she goes home and goes to sleep. I think she sleeps.

HANNITY: Takes weekends off.

TRUMP: I guess she takes a lot of weekends -- she takes a lot of time off.


REID: And Samantha, that's just sort of one of the areas where they do -- their places where he or his folks have been a bit more explicit, claiming that there's something physically wrong with Hillary Clinton.

In your reportage, is this doctor, this Dr. Jane Orient, somebody who is talking to the campaign? Is she communication with Stephen Bannon? What is her relationship to Trump world?

ALLEN: You know, she had some nice words to say about Trump's supporters in her blog post on Hillary Clinton's health. But when I asked her directly if she was a Trump supporter, she told me that the question was irrelevant.

REID: That her question was what?

ALLEN: Yeah, but it is relevant that the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons spent the better part of the 1990s in a legal battle with the Clinton administration, over Hillary Clinton's health care plan. So there's political involvement there.

REID: And Jane, what could be the fallout of this kind of a line of attack against a woman candidate, briefly?

NEWTON-SMALL: well, this is the kind of attack where it's like when Donald Trump says, oh, she's too old to be president, but he's actually six months older than she is. It's an attempt to make her look weak, to make her look frail, to make her look incapable of doing the job. And it's, frankly, crazy. I mean like you can't -- you can't diagnose somebody off of television, essentially, and then say they're unfit to do the job physically, when there's plenty of evidence that she has a very grueling schedule and clearly manages that schedule very well.

So, again, it's just an attempt to undermine her.

REID: Yeah, and you've seen this sort of pivot, where apparently in the Kellyanne Conway era of the Trump campaign, so, yeah -- do you expect, Jane, very quickly, for them to incorporate changes in this narrative into that?

NEWTON-SMALL: Look, Kellyanne Conway, I've interviewed her a bunch. She's an expert in getting out female voters.

REID: Yeah.

NEWTON-SMALL: And so -- and this is clearly targeted at getting women to see Hillary as weak. It's getting people to see Hillary as weak.

REID: All right, well, Jane Newton-Small and Samantha Allen, thank you very much both of you.

And that is all for this evening. I'll be back tonight at 11:00 p.m. eastern. Don't go away.