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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 8/26/2016

Guests: Rick Perlstein, Charlie Pierce, Tara Dowdell, John Nichols, Massimo Calabresi

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: August 26, 2016 Guest: Rick Perlstein, Charlie Pierce, Tara Dowdell, John Nichols, Massimo Calabresi


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

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He has built his campaign to prejudice and paranoia, helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party.

HAYES: Hillary Clinton keeps warning America, and Republicans not named Trump aren`t really objecting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We haven`t seen prominent Republicans stand up and defend him in the last 24 hours. Why do you think that is?

SEAN SPICER, RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I don`t know. I mean, Congress is in recess. It`s August.

HAYES: Tonight, the fall-out from Hillary`s alt-right speech and why it has left Donald Trump scrambling.

Plus, from Breitbart to Bridge-gate, new questions about the Republicans` new hires.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We`re going to use our best people.

HAYES: New questions about Donald Trump and hiring foreign workers for jobs in America.

And the new audio of an angry governor losing his cool.

GOV. PAUL LEPAGE (R), MAINE: I`ve spent my life helping black people and you little son of a bitch socialist (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


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

In the wake of Hillary Clinton`s methodical evidence-based indictment of Donald Trump yesterday for trafficking in and encouraging racism in his campaign, Trump has, with some success, been working to bait the media into covering the issue as a simple back and forth. An exchange of racially charged accusations as "The Washington Post" put it.

Today, Trump recalls himself the law and order candidate, says police need to get much tougher, released an ad attacking Clinton for her support of tough on crime polices that disproportionately affected African-Americans in the 1990s.

In an interview last night, he doubled down on his claim that his rival is, quote, "a bigot".


TRUMP: She is a bigot, because when you look at what`s happening to the inner cities, and you look at what`s happening to African-Americans and Hispanics in this country where she talks all of the time --

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: How is she bigoted? Bigoted is having hatred toward a particular group.

TRUMP: Well, because she`s -- because she`s selling them down the tubes, because she`s not doing anything for those communities. She talks a good game.

COOPER: So, you`re saying she has hatred or dislike of black people?

TRUMP: Her policies are bigoted -- her policies are bigoted because she knows they`re not going to work.

COOPER: But you`re saying she`s personally bigoted.

TRUMP: She is. Of course, she is.


HAYES: While Clinton cited numerous examples yesterday directly link Trump to racism, Trump as that sound byte illustrates is putting forth very little evidence to support his claim. The key to understanding how asymmetrical this debate really is to consider the Republican reaction to Clinton`s speech. Now, normally, the GOP would rally around its presidential nominee after such an attack, particularly when he`s being linked to something as odious as explicit racism.

Instead, we`ve mostly heard crickets from top Republicans, perhaps because Trump and his policies have already been deemed racist, either explicitly or implicitly by so many members of Trump`s own party. You remember back in June, House Speaker Paul Ryan called Trump`s attack on a federal judge for his heritage, quote, "the textbook definition of a racist comment."

Today, when asked of the speaker`s reaction to Hillary Clinton`s speech, his spokesperson said, quote, "Doubt he saw it". Spokesperson for Mitch McConnell, Senate majority leader, made the same claim, quote, "I don`t think he saw the speech."

And as for Trump`s charge of bigotry, Sean Spicer, Republican national committee`s spokesman, could not bring himself to back his nominee in an interview with MSNBC this morning.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think Hillary Clinton`s a bigot?

SPICER: No, I mean -- I think some of the policies that she`s supported have not helped the African American, but I think anybody who knows me, I just don`t tend to use certain words. But again, I`m not -- so I don`t -- that`s not something they might personally say, no.


HAYES: In her speech yesterday, Clinton made clear she does not view Trump as representative of the GOP as the whole, approvingly citing Bob Dole, George W. Bush and John McCain for pushing back against racist rhetoric, even pointing that Trump campaign chairman Steve Bannon had attacked Paul Ryan for his, quote, "social justice Catholicism".

In an interview with MSNBC this morning, Clinton discussed her choice to deliberately cleave Trump off from the rest of his party.


CLINTON: I am reaching out to everyone -- Republicans, Democrats, independents -- everyone who is as troubled as I am by the bigotry and divisiveness of Donald Trump`s campaign. And I`ve said repeatedly, this is not a normal choice between a Republican and a Democrat. We`re not just discussing our different views on tax policy or anything else of importance. We are facing a divisive candidate whose loose cannon temperament and his complete lack of preparation make him unqualified to be president and temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief.


HAYES: Joining me now, MSNBC contributor Katie Packer, deputy campaign for Mitt Romney`s 2012 presidential campaign, author Rick Perlstein, contributing writer at "The Nation", who this week argued that Clinton should let Paul Ryan and the GOP, quote, "go down with the Trump ship." That piece was in "The Washington Spectator".

So, let me start I guess with you, Katie.

So, there`s this really interesting tactical decision the Hillary Clinton campaign has to make, which is, do you cleave Trump off from the GOP or attempt to yolk Trump to the rest of the GOP, right?

So, however, Paul Ryan is troubled by that comment, he`s going to vote for him, as are many other Republicans. What do you think of this strategy, strategic choice he`s made to cleave him off from the rest of the GOP?

KATIE PACKER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think it`s interesting. And Hillary Clinton has clearly seen an opportunity, given the fact that Trump is only attracting 70 percent of Republican voters. Normally that number, by the time you get to a general election is up in the 90s. So, that means there`s 23 percent of Republican voters who aren`t comfortable with this nominee. And so, she`s trying to appeal to them.

At the same time, she does have to take some responsibility for her party and the fact that they have failed the African-American community and many minority communities. If you look at the inner cities --

HAYES: What do you mean by that?

PACKER: -- they`re almost all over the place, you know, run by Democrat leadership.

My home city of Detroit, Michigan, has had Democrat mayors, Democrat city council, Democrat county commissioners for my entire lifetime, and that city has struggled and the African-American community --


HAYES: And you think that`s because of the party in charge? What do you think about the governor of Maryland cutting off billions of dollars in transportation infrastructure investment to the west side of Baltimore just a few months after the uprising that happened there, as an example of limitations of municipal governments to be able to invest in and underserve their communities?

PACKER: I don`t know enough about that example.

HAYES: It`s a perfect example, isn`t it?

PACKER: I don`t know enough about that issue to respond to it. But I think successful local municipal governments are governments that work with their governors of both parties. And I do think that that`s something that the Democratic Party has to answer to.

HAYES: Rick, what do you think?

RICK PERLSTEIN, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, THE NATION: It`s something the Republican party has to answer for. Detroit basically won World War II for the United States of America, saved us from fascism and Hitler, saved the world from fascism and Hitler. And its reward was the white people fled the city after African-Americans were invited to work in the factories. They basically put up a wall --

PACKER: That`s not how it happened. That`s not how it happened.

PERLSTEIN: That`s exactly how it happened.


PACKER: -- came in as mayor as the city of Detroit and basically --

PERLSTEIN: The county supervisor in Oakland said that he`s --


HAYES: Wait a second. Are you saying that white flight is not a real phenomenon that`s happening in American cities?

PACKER: No, it is a phenomenon. I`m speaking specifically to the city of Detroit, Michigan, where the Democrat Mayor Coleman Young basically asked the white people of the city of Detroit to leave. That`s what caused white flight at that time.

HAYES: That`s your argument for where the white people left the city of Detroit?

PERLSTEIN: Chris, this argument is not worthy of your respect.

PACKER: Regardless of white flight, that city has been governed by Democrats my entire lifetime --

HAYES: Katie Packer, Katie Packer --

PACKER: -- and that city had failed the black community in that city.

HAYES: First of all, you think white flight happened in Detroit because a black mayor told people to leave Detroit? Is that the story of Detroit white flight?

PACKER: Chris, I grew up in Detroit. You talk to people that live in Detroit and you`ll have a better understanding of how that happened.

HAYES: Yes, if you talk to white people that left Detroit, I imagine that would happen.

PERLSTEIN: I live in Michigan, too, Katie.

HAYES: Rick, what do you think about the tactical decision of Hillary Clinton to cleave Donald Trump off from the Republican Party that has had its own issues with racial dog whistles for decades?

PERLSTEIN: I think it`s disappointing basically strategically. Politics is a team sport. She`s running on a ticket.

And I think of one of the e-mails that was fleshed out from the WikiLeaks, it was from March of 2016. So, this has been a long time coming. It is from Luis Miranda, the communications director of the DNC, complaining vociferously that their instructions was to separate Trump from the Ryan, or the Ryan wing, to say that Trump was crazy and not normal, and Ryan was normal. And that to connect them makes Trump look normal.

And Miranda was complaining that they couldn`t run congressional campaigns this way. When Hillary Clinton says that Paul Ryan is a social justice conservatism and all these other Republicans which I guess would include Trey Gowdy and I guess would include Louis Gohmert, and I guess what include the people who said she killed Vince Foster, right? Now, she`s saying that Trump has turned the party over to paranoia. If she`s saying the rest of the party is okay, then it makes it very hard to tell a story to the American people that the problem is conservatism, the problem is the Republican Party.

If imagine that she can go to Washington in January and govern with Paul Ryan as a partner. But Paul Ryan sees Democrats very different.

HAYES: Katie, do you think -- how do you think this works in terms of the down-ballot? I thought that DNC exchange that Rick was talking about was fascinating, because there are dual incentives here, right? If you`re running the DNC or the DCCC, or DSCC, what you want to do is, you don`t have the gift of a Donald Trump, right? What you want to do is tie your candidate to Donald Trump, if he`s Rob Portman or if he`s Pat Toomey, or if you`re in a contested House seat. Whereas Hillary Clinton does have the gift of Donald Trump and maybe it`s easier for her just to not lift that stone.

PACKER: I mean, I do think it`s a smart strategy for a presidential candidate. It does kind of sell her down-ballot candidates down the river. But the same thing`s happening on the Republican side in the reverse, that there are a lot of people that are suggesting that the down-ballot candidates sort of leave the presidential candidate on the curb. So, it`s the reverse thing happening on both sides.

HAYES: All right. Katie Packer, Rick Perlstein, thank you both. I really appreciate it.

PERLSTEIN: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: Joining me now, MSNBC contributor Ben Jealous, senior fellow of the Center for American Progress and former president and CEO of NAACP.

Let`s talk about this. This is a story I hear all the time from conservatives. They say that people need to get off the quote -- black people need to get off the, quote, "Democratic plantation", a term Breitbart loves, and that Democrat, not Democratic for some weird reason, leadership in city after city from Chicago to Baltimore to Detroit, all those cities, has failed, and black folks in those cities are doing terribly and therefore the Democratic Party is responsible.

What do you think about that?

BEN JEALOUS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: You know, look, right now, we are fighting over who is going to control the White House. And we`ve seen Donald Trump go a bridge too far, but it`s not the first bridge too far. It`s like the fifth bridge too far. And his party, apparently likes to hang out on the fourth bridge too far. For them to turn around and say, well, you know, the Democrats have been the problem.

When we have governors like Logan -- by the way, I`m doing this from West Baltimore, right? And we`ve seen these Republican governors in states across the country, constrain what our cities can do, bankrupt their schools, bankrupt transportation and then point at the mayor and say it`s the mayor`s fault. That`s just kind of a weak, you know -- it`s just weak. And that`s the game the Republican Party plays.

But we have to get back to the big issue which is that we have Donald Trump way out there, just staying on this road to stupid that the Republican Party has been on for like 50 years. It`s getting worse and worse and worse, and finally, we found out that many people in his party, actually, they`re cool with the road to stupid, they`re cool with three or four bridges too far, but the fifth bridge is just too much.

HAYES: So, you`re making the point that Rick was making. I mean, you think there`s more continuity here than discontinuity between Donald Trump and the rest of the party, and in terms of how Hillary Clinton is choosing to kind of play this?

JEALOUS: Absolutely. I mean, you look at Mitt Romney, right, his comments about free stuff, which he did at the NAACP convention when I was president. Then you look at the way that quite frankly, it`s like every Republican we`ve had since Nixon has made the one before him look better, right? Like Reagan made Nixon look better. You know, Ford did that too, by the way.

George W. Bush, you know, made Reagan look better. You know, Romney, quite frankly, was more racially hostile when he first ran than George W. Bush was when he ran in 1999. So, they just keep getting worse. And Donald Trump is just the kind of logical conclusion of this, you know, kind of stupid poem that they`ve been writing for 50 years. I mean, it`s just -- this is where it is.

HAYES: Yes. I just want to -- I want to say one thing, to distinguish two things here, because I think it`s important. I don`t want to say that Democratic leadership in America`s cities has been uniformly excellent, and in some cases it has been terrible and disastrous. There are all kinds of terrible problems with the leadership in the city of Chicago, that we have documented in depth on this show, or the leadership in Baltimore, which we have documented in depth in the show.

But that`s wholly distinct from saying it is the reason that inner cities in America, particularly poor and black areas, are having a hard time is because of Democratic leadership, when everything we know about the accrued history of white supremacy and red lining and segregation and white flight, and disinvestment is the reason largely that`s brought us to this moment. That if you elected a Republican mayor you would be in a different situation, strikes me as implausible counter-factual.

JEALOUS: I mean, what the Republican Party did at the time of desegregation is they decided to become the, quote/unquote, "white man`s party". They took people from the Democratic Party, the old Dixiecrat base throughout the `60s, `70s, and `80s, and they played their roll.

Now, look, absolutely, both parties have had poor leaders who deserve a lot of blame. But the reality is, that when you hear Miss Packer say that white flight in Detroit happened because Coleman Young asked white people to leave, that`s kind of when I stopped listening.

HAYES: Ben Jealous, thank you for being here tonight.

JEALOUS: All right. Thank you.

HAYES: Still to come, down-ballot Republicans trying to weather the remaining days of Trump`s campaign. We`ll check in on where the battleground state stands ahead.

But first, Donald Trump often drags about having, quote, "the best people". His most recent hires raise some questions about the company he keeps. That story right after this two-minute break.



TRUMP: We`ve got the best people.

I know the best people. I know the best managers. I know the best deal makers.

I have the most dedicated people. I have the best people.

I have the best people.

I know the best people. We know the best negotiators in the world. We have great people.

We`re going to use our best people and we`re going to bring back our jobs!


HAYES: That`s been the core of Donald Trump`s pitch on trade and the economy in general, he`ll bring in the best people to renegotiate deals and turn things around.

But if Trump`s campaign is a model for how he`d run the White House and who he`d hire, it raises a lot of questions.

Campaign`s brand new chief executive Steve Bannon has already been under questions for his tenure at Breitbart News, the self-described platform for the alt-right, now we`ve learned thanks to a scoop by "Politico" that he was charged in 1996 with misdemeanor domestic violence and battery for an incident with his then-wife. Bannon pleaded not guilty, the charges were dropped when the alleged victim didn`t show up in court.

The three men who`ve now headed up the campaign over the course of Trump`s run, two of them have been charged with battery against a woman. In Lewandowski`s case for grabbing a female reporter in an event. In both cases, the charges were later dropped.

The other one may be under federal corruption investigation for ties to Ukraine`s pro-Kremlin political party. Today, news brook that Trump`s campaign hired veteran New Jersey operative named Bill Stepien as its new national field director. There`s a chance that name might right a bell. Stepien was Chris Christie`s campaign manager for both of his gubernatorial campaigns and is now on track to take over the New Jersey GOP as its chairman, until his name appeared on some compromising e-mails related to the Bridgegate scandal, released along with the infamous message from another Christie aide, time for some problems -- traffic problems in Ft. Lee.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I was disturbed by the tone and behavior and attitude of callous indifference, that was displayed in the e- mails by my former campaign manager, Bill Stepien. And reading that, it made me lose my confidence in Bill`s judgment. If I cannot trust someone`s judgment, I cannot ask others to do so. And I would not place him at the head of my political operation because of the lack of judgment that was shown in the e-mails that were revealed yesterday.


HAYES: Reports cite Jared Kushner, Trump`s son-in-law as the main force behind Stepien`s hire. Governor Christie, now the chairman of Trump`s transition team and a close adviser says he was not involved.


CHRISTIE: I wish Bill the best of luck and I wish the campaign the best of luck as they go forward. And I wish Bill all the best. I did not consult with Donald Trump on this decision one way or the other. Mr. Trump`s campaign has confidence in him, they hired him.


HAYES: Then, there`s a guy named Jerry DeLemus. He`s co-chair of veterans for Trump in New Hampshire. He is not to be confused with Al Baldasaro, a Trump`s veterans adviser from New Hampshire also who called for Hillary Clinton to be executed by firing squad.

Today, Baldasaro clarified importantly that she should be tried for treason first, according to due process and then shot.

Now, this is Jerry DeLemus, a former marine, who took part in a tense armed stand-off, I should say deadly armed stand-off between anti-government ranchers and federal officials at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada two years ago. DeLemus just pleaded guilty to multiple felony charges and could serve up to six years in prison.

Joining me now, Charlie Pierce, writer at large for "Esquire".

Charlie, what -- I mean, the Bannon stuff is, you don`t hire Bannon for a million reasons, mostly because you imported every Breitbart headline into your campaign, but this also is, I mean, another good reason not to hire him.

CHARLIE PIERCE, ESQUIRE: Well, I mean, he`s what -- you know, those of us who occasionally write about hockey would call a goon, plain and simple. He`s out there for his scoring ability. He`s out there for his ability to start fights. And at the same, I mean, you`ve got -- you know, Bill Stepien, who we at least know will do what the boss tells him to do, at least for a while.

And, you`ve got Kellyanne Fitzpatrick who is kind of, you know, a green room celebrity, so she is a getting a pass. But this is a woman who called homosexuality a, quote, "corrupting influence". And you`ve got vice president --


HAYES: Kellyanne Conway?

PIERCE: Sorry, Fitzpatrick was the name before. And you`ve got Mike Pence who, you know, virtually blew up his entire state`s tourist economy with an anti-gay bill that would allow discrimination against gay people. And gay people is the one group of people that Donald Trump hasn`t gone out of his way to insult, and you didn`t even mention the fact that his personal physician seems to be the alien studies guys from Independence Day.

HAYES: I`m glad you bring up Dr. Harold Bornstein, a man I have no independent knowledge of in terms of whether he`s a good doctor or not good doctor, and I don`t want to cast aspersions on him. But I think it`s fair to say that when his letter testifying to Donald Trump`s health circulated, it raised some eyebrows, largely because the language sounded so much like himself, including his physical strength and stamina are extraordinary.

"If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency", which seems a difficult claim to verify.

Today, NBC News caught up with Dr. Harold Bornstein and talked a little bit about the conditions under which he wrote that letter. Take a look.


REPORTER: Is that the way that you wrote most of your letters?

DR. HAROLD BORNSTEIN, TRUMP`S DOCTOR: No, but for Mr. Trump, I wrote that letter that way.

REPORTER: Did he ask you to describe it to describe it that way, or did you pick up his kind language by spending time with him?

BORNSTEIN: I think I picked up his language and interpreted it to my own.

I thought about it all day and then at the end, I get rushed and I get anxious when I get rushed, so I try to get four or five lines done as fast as possible that they would be happy with.


HAYES: Charlie, I should say, this is while a limo waited for him to courier the letter back to Donald Trump. I don`t want to make of this. My thing is just -- I`m out of words to describe the characters that have been assembled around Mr. Trump.

PIERCE: Well, not just that, but in keeping with what Rick Perlstein said earlier, I mean, this is far from the first time that high ranking Republican people have been associating with the fringe of their ideology. The Council for Conservative Citizens, which was the successor of the White Citizens Council, that went on for years until Trent Lott finally got caught at it. There was a lot of back and forth among the militia groups and various members of Congress out west throughout the 1990s and the 2000s.

The Bundy people were very, very prominent on what was perceived to be mainstream conservative media outlets during their --

HAYES: That was, for sure, true.

PIERCE: So once again, Donald Trump is proving to be merely modern Republicanism without an interior monologue.

HAYES: All right. Charlie Pierce, thanks for your time. Appreciate it.

PIERCE: Thanks.

HAYES: Coming up, Donald Trump claims Hillary Clinton`s immigration policy will take jobs away from hard-working Americans, which coincidentally is something he is guilty of doing right now. I`ll explain after this break.



TRUMP: Hillary Clinton would rather provide a job to a refugee from overseas than to give that job to unemployed African-American youth in cities like Detroit.


HAYES: Donald Trump immigration logic from building the wall to deporting 11 million people, is all about protecting American jobs. Right there on his website, "put American workers first."

But Trump hasn`t always put American workers first in his own business career. In fact, he`s currently at this moment, employing foreign guest workers at his Mar-A-Lago resort and has been since 2010.


TRUMP: The Mar-A-Lago club is a very successful club in Palm Beach, Florida. The Mar-A-Lago club. And during the season, it`s very hard to get employees.

INTERVIEWER: The local employment agencies say they have more than a thousand people --

TRUMP: We interview -- and we have a lot of people. We come with a lot of people. But it`s very, very hard to get people in Palm Beach during the Palm Beach season. It`s called the Palm Beach social season. And what we do is we sometimes have to bring people in.


HAYES: It`s not a new idea for Trump. He notoriously employed undocumented Polish workers in 1980, to demolish a building to make way for Trump Tower, a point raised back in February by senator and then presidential candidate, Marco Rubio.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: I also think if you`re going to claim that you`re the only one who lifted it into the campaign, that you acknowledge that for example you`re the only person on this stage that`s ever been fined for hiring people to work on your projects illegally. He hired some workers --

TRUMP: No, no, I`m the only one in the stage that`s hired people. You haven`t hired --

RUBIO: He hired workers from Poland and he had to pay a million dollars in judgment --

TRUMP: That`s wrong, that`s wrong. Totally wrong.

RUBIO: People can look it up. I`m sure people are Googling it right now. Look it up, Trump Polish workers, you`ll see a million dollars for hiring illegal workers on one of his projects.


TRUMP: It`s false.

RUBIO: That happened.


HAYES: So, Trump said that was totally wrong. Now, a damning new report shows Donald Trump absolutely knew what he was doing. And the author of that report joins me next.



RUBIO: He hired workers from Poland and he had to pay a million dollars in a judgment...

TRUMP: That`s wrong. That`s wrong.

RUBIO: That`s a fact.

People can look it up. I`m sure people are Googling it right now. Trump Polish workers, you`ll see a million dollars for hiring illegal workers on one of his projects.


HAYES: Senator Marco Rubio tried his best to call out Donald Trump on his evident hypocrisy on immigration. Tonight, new details about what Trump knew and when he knew it. And joining me now Massimo Calabresi, senior correspondent for TIME, author of what Donald Trump knew about undocumented workers at his signature tower.

And Massimo, can you just explain to us the context here of the project and who was hired?


So Donald Trump had been seeking to do a marquee project in Manhattan. He had started in Queens, and he had managed, through considerable effort in 1979, to secure the rights to build an enormous tower that would become his home and campaign headquarters and business headquarters, right on Fifth Avenue in mid-town. And he was inspecting a work site next door at a property he also owned when he saw some Polish workers there, and according to testimony in trial, the case files of which I reviewed, he told the foremen, hey, those Polish guys are good hard workers and the story unfolds from there.

HAYES: And so then what happens next?

CALABRESI: Well, he finds out who the guy`s boss is, according the boss`s -- who the Polish worker`s boss is, according to the boss`s testimony, calls him into his office. The guy had never done demolition work before, but Trump wanted to hire him and the Polish workers to demolish the old Bonwit Teller Bbuilding to make room for the tower at 56th and 5th Avenue. And he instructed this boss, according to the testimony in the case, that he needed to start a new company and get new insurance and they discussed price.

The boss said the Pols would work day and night, seven days a week, to get the building done.

HAYES: These individuals did not have proper documentation at the time, am I right?

CALABRESI: Well, they were undocumented. That was an established fact. And in fact no one, including Donald Trump, ever denied that that was the case. He denied knowing many times over the years, but nobody -- that`s an established fact.

HAYES: So they were undocumented. He denied knowing. The court documents you reviewed would seem to suggest that that`s not true, that he knew exactly what he was doing. In fact, that was part of why he was doing what he did.

CALABRESI: Well, the lawyer for some dissident union members who were behind the case where Trump was testifying and where all of this evidence was amassed, said in court that the reason Trump -- the only reason Trump would have for hiring this man, whose name was Kazicki (ph), to employ the Poles was because he had this cheap Polish labor and that they were undocumented.

HAYES: And then the most amazing coda on this is that he then wants to deport them at the end of this.

CALABRESI: So despite hiring them at a very, very low wage through the subcontractor, the Poles end up not being paid and Trump takes over the job from the subcontractor. And they still don`t get paid and they get a lawyer, the lawyer threatens to put mechanic`s liens on the property, which would prevent Trump from selling any part of the property, and work slowed down and eventually Trump hires a labor consultant who tells him to fire them. He fires the Poles and then this -- at trial the labor consultant testified that Trump not only knew that these guys were illegal, but other people at the trial also testified that Trump threatened to have them deported, to call the INS -- through his lawyer, threatened to call the INS and have them deported.

HAYES: All right, Massimo Calabresi, great piece of reporting, thank you very much.

Still to come, Trump`s floundering poll numbers are rubbing off on down ballot Republicans. We`ll have a look at battleground matchups ahead. But first, we`ll haev tonight`s Thing One, Thing two, right after this break.


HAYES: Thing one tonight, Maine`s Republican Governor Paul LePage, a man who previously said that drug dealers named D. Money are coming to his state and impregnating, and I`m quoting, white girls, appears to be on a mission to out-do past controversies. It started Wednesday night when LePage was asked why he hasn`t created a more welcoming atmosphere for people of color. He responded by saying he`s kept a record of the drug dealers arrested in his state.


PAUL LEPAGE, GOVERNOR OF MAINE: I don`t ask them to come to me and sell their poison, but they come. And I will tell you that 90-plus percent of those pictures in my book, and it`s a three-ring binder, are black and Hispanic people from Waterbury, Connecticut, the Bronx, and Brooklyn.


HAYES: The governor`s office has refused media requests to verify the alleged racial trend. Yesterday, a day after those comments, a local reporter asked the governor what he would say to those who would call him racist. According to the Portland Press Herald, LePage asked who had called him that, and the reporter said he talked to Representative Drew Gattine, but didn`t say Gattine had called the governor a racist.

Governor LePage apparently did not appreciate hearing that and decided to make a phone call.


Mr. Gattine, this is Governor Paul Richard LePage. I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you (EXPLATIVE DELETED).


HAYES: It only gets worse from there. And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES: After Maine`s governor Paul LePage heard a lawmaker may have called him racist for saying 90 percent of drug dealers in his state are black or Hispanic, the governor left this voicemail yesterday.


LEPAGE: Mr. Gattine, this is Governor Paul Richard LePage. I would like to talk to you about your comment about my being a racist, you (EXPLETIVE DELETED). And I want to talk to you. I want you to prove that I`m a racist. I`ve spent my life helping black people and you little son of a bitch, socialist (EXPLETIVE DELETED) I need you to just frigging -- I want you to record this and make it public, because I`m after you.

Thank you.


HAYES: It`s nice he ends with thank you. But if the voicemail wasn`t bad enough, LePage followed up with this comment to the Portland Press Herald.


LEPAGE: What a snot-nosed little guy from Westbrook calls me a racist. Now I`d like him to come up here, because I`ll tell you right now, I wish it was 1825 and we`d have a duel, that`s how angry I am. And I wouldn`t put my gun in the air, I guarantee you, I would not be Hamilton, I`d point it right between his eyes, because he is a snot-nosed little runt.


HAYES: The governor then broke into a rendition of a song from Hamilton -- I kid, of course.

Now Representative Gattine denies ever calling the governor racist in the first place, claiming he said the kind of racially charge comments the governor made are not at all helpful in solving what the real problem is. Governor LePage issued a statement today standing by his characterization of drug dealers, but apologized for the language used in the voice message.

As for challenging Gattine to a duel, he told reporters today the point was if I could I would, but I can`t because it`s no longer legal.

This afternoon, Maine Democrats announced the governor is unfit for office and called his resignation. And you will absolutely never guess who Governor LePage is supporting for president.


HAYES: Donald Trump is heading back to the battleground state of Iowa tomorrow to headline Senator Joni Ernst`s annual roast and ride. Right now, Trump is tied with Hillary Clinton in the latest Iowa poll. And we were there in January on the eve of the very first presidential contest of this very lengthy election cycle when there were still 15 candidates running for president.

There we met Jay and Sheryl Semerad (ph). They were a retired couple, both registered Republicans, both undecided at the time, living in a suburb of Des Moines.

MSNBC`S Jacob Soboroff traveled to their home and got a glimpse of what your average Iowan goes through in the months and weeks leading up to the caucuses -- mailers, robocalls, and political ads galore.


UNIDENITIFIED MALE: Here we go, we`re getting ready for commercials. Here we go. First one.

TRUMP: I`m Donald Trump and I approve this message.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sounded like you wanted the bill to pass?

SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: Of course I wanted the bill to pass.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To me, he`s pretty effective at hitting other folks.

CHERYL SEMERAD: Oh, my gosh. I mean, have you ever seen anyone better? And I`ll tell you, coming from a sales and marketing background, in my opinion Donald Trump is the best salesmen.

JACOB SOBOROFF, MSNBC: Genius marketer, right?

CHERYL SEMERAD: Genius marketer. And says America`s broken, and they`re pouring in. I mean, you kind of get this image of rats coming through the house or something.

JAY SEMERAD: He`s going to build that wall and Mexico is going to pay for it.

SOBOROFF: All right. Shall we do Hillary here?

JAY SEMERAD: Let`s see their approach.

CLINTON; I want to go to bat for them every single day, get incomes rising, get equal pay for women, cut the cost of health care and childcare.

UNIDENITIFIED FEMALE: She just nailed it all.

SOBOROFF: She nails it, huh?

CHERYL SEMERAD: In my opinion, she does.

CLINTON: I`m Hillary Clinton and I approve this message.

SOBOROFF: She has what it takes to get things done. That`s a Hillary Clinton ad paid for by Hillary Clinton.

UNIDENIFIED FEMALE: Paid for by her. She didn`t tear down America, She didn`t tear down Bernie. She didn`t tear down anybody else.


HAYES: You can sort of hear where she`s going there.

Shortly after that piece aired, Jay caucused for Rand Paul, Cheryl caucused for Marco Rubio. Now, nearly seven months after the Iowa caucuses, Paul and Rubio are long gone. Jay and Cheryl have a new choice before them.

Jacob met up with them again this week to see if they have picked a candidate.


CHERYL SEMERAD: If I was to vote today for president, I would vote for Hillary Clinton.

SOBOROFF: For Hillary Clinton, even as a Republican?

CHERYL SEMERAD: Oh yeah, even as a Republican.

SOBOROFF: What about you, Jay?

JAY SEMERAD: I go back and forth. Right now, I`d probably vote for Hillary, but then, I would think, well, maybe I`ll vote for Trump. I know Sheryl doesn`t want to hear me say that.

He`s not what I would like to see in a president. I mean, he`s doing this thing again where he`s now saying Hillary Clinton -- he`s not saying it, but he`s kinda heard that she`s kinda sick and maybe she`s not gonna make it, but he did that with a number of people.

SOBOROFF: And how long have you realized that you`re not going to go for Trump?

CHERYL SEMERAD: From the beginning. I mean, he was entertaining, but then he started bringing up immigration issues, hateful issues toward women, hateful issues toward minorities. He just wasn`t -- he didn`t know who he was. And he was saying anything hateful against every -- who hasn`t he insulted, Jacob? I mean, that`s the question. And he`s going to be out on a world stage, representing our country.

And he thinks nuclear is okay, And he thinks it`s okay to ban the press. There`s too many issues I have with him. I don`t think he`s got the temperament.

I want to see the debates. I am looking forward to the debates.

JAY SEMERAD: I really sound like I`m anti-Trump and I kinda am because I`m willing to vote for Hillary Clinton.


SOBOROFF: And did you ever think you would say that, Jay?

JAY SEMERAD: No. No. Especially she`s got baggage. At least it`s always in the press about her baggage. And whether it`s Benghazi or the emails, they just don`t seem to go away.

CHERYL SEMERAD: You know, the Republican Party is being really divided and split. And Jay and I have been active for a long time, and I could cry, to be honest with you. It breaks my heart that moderates, and I would classify us both as moderates, there`s really a very small voice of us left in the party. And Donald Trump is probably not going to win over the moderates. I really don`t think he`s going to. I think it would take a huge change. He doesn`t have enough time.

He`s not the candidate for the moderate voice in my opinion. And I do think some people might not vote the president -- they might not click the box and click all the others. I`m going to vote for who I think is competent, and so that`s why I`m going with Hillary.


HAYES: All next week, Jacob Soboroff will be in Iowa with the latest installment of his up for grabs series, visiting swing voters in the swing state.

Up next, we`ll look at the key states where Donald Trump could cost his party the Senate.


HAYES: Big question for Republicans going to the fall is how much Donald Trump`s, well, travesty or absence of a campaign would drag down other GOP candidates. In the senate, 34 seats are up for grabs, 24 of them are currently held by Republicans, which means the extent of the Trump effect could determine which party controls the chamber in the next session. A few GOP incumbents are bucking the trend, or at least trailing by smaller margins than Trump, one is Pat Toomey, first term senator from Pennsylvania and a relative moderate, or at least by his branding he is.

Thanks to his work on the 2013 background check bill, which failed by six votes. Toomey just won an endorsement from Gabby Giffords` gun safety group.

While Donald Trump trails Hillary Clinton by an average 9.2 points in Pennsylvania, Tommey is about 2.5 points on average behind his opponent Katie McGinty.

Joining me now, Democratic political consultant Tara Dowdell and John Nickles, Washington correspondent for The Nation.

And Tara, maybe let`s starts with this Pennsylvania race, because I think it`s a very interesting race. There was a lot of hope about Trump in Pennsylvania, a lot of talk about how he`s going to goose the white vote in Pennsylvania. So far he is almost double-digits behind.

Toomey is out-performing and still behind. He`s in exactly that kind of perilous place where you realize the rock that these candidates are pushing uphill.

TARA DOWDELL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Exactly. And what`s very fascinating about this race is that as Hillary Clinton has risen, so has McGinty. So clearly Hillary Clinton`s popularity in the state of Pennsylvania is impacting McGinty, because if you look at this race very closely, they are hammering her very hard, Katie McGinty there. They are hammering her on her energy policy. She`s unapologetically behind clean energy in a state where people say that might be a risky position to take.

But they are hammering her, the Chamber of Commerce has targeted her. Koch-backed groups are targeting her. They even had ad that was basically saying she would kidnap your kids. I mean, they are really going after her hard. And she`s still leading in that state.

HAYES: And what`s interesting, too, is that Toomey has used this one bit of sort of heresy on guns, right? Where he and Manchin were going to do the bill after Newtown on background checks to kind of build an image as a moderate, despite the fact that his economic policies, he`s extremely far to the right. He was a Club for Growth guy, that`s the world he comes from.

DOWDELL: Yes. Exactly. And on top of that, in addition to that, he has the support from all of those groups, so there is the money which we talked about, which is important in this type of race. But in addition to that, he hasn`t really pushed back money, which is important in this type of race.

But in addition to that, he hasn`t really pushed back that hard against Trump.

HAYES: That`s a good point.

DOWDELL: He`s kind of like waffled.

HAYES: Right, he has not taken...

DOWDELL: He`s trying to play both sides.

HAYES: He has not taken the Mark Kirk approach.

And John, I want to talk to you about the two races up in your neck of the woods. There`s Illinois and there`s Wisconsin, which I think are seen as the two most likely Democratic pickups, partly because of the margins in those states, partly because of the candidates.

Now, Mark Kirk in Illinois has probably taken the most anti-Trump stance of an endangered senate candidate. He`s still down seven points.

Ron Johnson hasn`t pulled the full Kirk and he`s also struggling. What has his approach been?

JOHN NICHOLS, THE NATION: Well, Ron Johnson`s approach has been genuinely bizarre. Very early on when almost the entire Republican establishment was Wisconsin was Never Trump -- in fact, remember that Trump lost the Wisconsin primary to Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson was running around talking about how much fun it might be to campaign with Donald Trump and even saying they might go out as the Ronald and the Donald.

And ever since then, he`s sort of been fits and starts. He says that he`s not really making a big endorsement of Donald Trump, but he does support him. The messages have been very mixed. And oddly enough, it`s almost exactly the wrong approach for Wisconsin, I think. And I think that`s why he`s down quite a bit in the polls, because you do have in the Wisconsin Republican Party, a very strong never Trump community, people who don`t like Trump. And if Johnson had hooked in with that, he might well have been able to get, you know, most of the Trump vote as well as some of this, but he hasn`t done that.

HAYES: And he also has the, you know, the disadvantage of running against Russ Feingold who of course was a two-term senator there, who was very popular. In some ways, that 2010 election, was sort of caught up in a wave bigger than he was in terms of what that electorate looked like. Now he gets to run in a presidential and you have got a whole different electorate that will likely be at the polls.

NICHOLS: I can`t emphasize how true that is, Chris.

In Wisconsin, the drop-off in Democratic vote from an off year election versus a presidential is very striking. The Democratic vote just falls in the off-year elections. And 2010 was classic off year.

It`s similar in Illinois. And so, though Illinois is a somewhat more Democratic state than Wisconsin, the fact of the matter is, that in these off-year elections, the Republicans can get their operation together.

In a presidential, they struggle.

HAYES: Well, that`s the funny thing about this cycle, right. So all of these people who are on the six-year cycle were exactly in the same position, which is they had the 2010 electorate, which was the Tea Party, the backlash, much whiter electorate, much older electorate. Now, because of the way the timing works out, right now they`ve got to run in a presidential.

And you have got Rob Portman, who actually is probably performing the best of anyone I would say right now, in terms of putting space between himself and over-performing where Trump is. He`s up 6.4. And here`s the thing I find so fascinating about Portman. Here`s a guy who was the U.S. trade representative, who is a free trade dude, who is now trying to sort of reinvent his trade policy in the era of Trump.

DOWDELL: You just raised a great point. But Ted Strickland`s campaign has not pointed that out in a meaningful way, in a consistent way with ads. Part of the problem is that Ted Strickland is getting hammered. He`s getting blamed for everything that happened as a result of the recession...

HAYES: When he was governor.

DOWDELL: When he was governor of the state of Ohio. He`s absorbing all of that and there has not been significant pushback from his campaign, to a, define Portman for who he is, and also part of that is that people, the polling shows -- a lot of people in Ohio actually don`t know who Portman is.

HAYES: Right.

DOWDELL: they actually don`t know him.

HAYES: He`s just sort of keeping his head down.

DOWDELL: And that`s what he`s been doing. He`s been leveraging that and taking advantage of it. He`s laying low.

HAYES: Yeah. It`s sort of fascinating how effective that has been thus far. We`ll see how long it will last.

Tara Dowdell, Jon Nichols, thank you both for your time tonight. Have a great weekend.

That is All In for this evening.