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Trump surrounded by existential legal threats. TRANSCRIPT: 7/24/2018, All In w Chris Hayes.

Guests: Richard Blumenthal, Jacob Soboroff, Elizabeth Holtzmann

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: July 24, 2018 Time: 20:00

Guest: Richard Blumenthal, Jacob Soboroff, Elizabeth Holtzmann



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just remember, what you`re seeing and what you`re reading is not what`s happening.

HAYES: Trump under threat as Democrats edged closer to taking the House in 105 days.

RUDY GIULIANI, LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP: It is for public opinion because eventually, the decision here is going to be impeached, not impeach.

HAYES: Tonight, the stakes for Democratic control of Congress, the President`s new gambit with the Mueller probe. And new details about what his former fixer has on tape.

TRUMP: One of my personal attorneys, good man.

HAYES: Then, why Republicans are so scared, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE, NEW YORK: When we talk about things that everybody wants especially like if you`re a parent.

HAYES: Plus the Commerce Secretary caught lying to Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because it is from the Department of Justice, we are taking it very seriously.

HAYES: And a brand new book from Sean Spicer as accurate as you`d expect.

SEAN SPICER, FORMER PRESS SPEAKER, WHITE HOUSE: This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration period.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. As Donald Trump faces mounting existential legal threats to his presidency, there is one institution that has protected him at all costs. That`s the House Republican majority and it is now facing its own existential threat, the voters. A week from today the President`s former Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort is going on trial. Prosecutors have already started naming the witnesses set to testify against him.

Meanwhile, the President`s former lawyer and fix her Michael Cohen is repeatedly signaling his willingness to cooperate with investigators. A person close to Cohen telling Vanity Fair when Michael says that he wants the truth out there and that the truth is not the President`s friend. He is not talking about marginal issues, he`s talking about core issues at the heart of the Mueller probe. OK, the President for his part is still trying to defend his alarming performance in Helsinki last week to limited effect.

In a brand-new Quinnipiac poll, 68 percent they`re somewhat were very concerned about the President`s relationship with Russia, 68 percent. And all that might help explain why the President at an event today actually said this.


TRUMP: Just remember what you`re seeing and what you`re reading is not what`s happening.


HAYES: Do not believe what you see or read echoes a line from George Orwell`s 1984 "The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears, it was their final most essential command." That assault on reality comes amid new signs the President`s bulwark in Congress as I mentioned is really about to crack where 105 days until the midterms and this is the big headline from Sabato`s Crystal Ball, that`s the gold standard for election forecasting, the House tilts towards the Democrats. Crystal Ball today just changed its ratings for 17 individual House races, all of them moving in one direction in favor of Democrats and that includes the race for Congressman Steve King`s seat in Iowa. It`s no longer safe for the GOP since King was outraised by his Democratic opponent.

A runner Democrat Connor Lamb who won that hotly contested special election in Western Pennsylvania solid Trump country only have to turn around and run again due to redistricting. A shocking you Paul today has Lamb up double digits over his Republican opponent who is a incumbent way beyond expectations. If Democrats succeeded taking back the House, that is the end of the President`s protection there. Democrats on the majority would almost certainly subpoena his tax returns, his business and bank records, the membership roster and the guestbook at Mar-a-Lago. They could subpoena testimony from the Trump Organization and every staffer at the White House.

And that, that peril the President faces should things not go his way this ball might have something to do with the president proposing a new $12 billion bailout to farmers harmed by his own trade war because those are voters he can`t afford to lose. It almost certainly explains why the President`s legal team is now offering the special counsel a presidential interview that does not include obstruction of justice. They argue once again the President can`t be criminally liable for actions falling under his executive authority like firing the FBI Director. Rudy Giuliani telling The Wall Street Journal we think the obstruction of it is handled by Article Two of the Constitution.

But even if that were true, and that`s a big if, it doesn`t mean the President can`t face political consequences for obstructing justice, just ask Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. Not long ago Giuliani himself acknowledged Trump`s words -- Trump world`s attack on the Mueller probe have always been about one thing, impeachment.


GIULIANI: To a large extent, remember, Dana, we`re defending here it is for public opinion because eventually, the decision here is going to be impeached not impeach. Members of Congress Democrat and Republican are going to be informed a lot by their constituents so our jury is -- as it should be is the American people.


HAYES: For more the President`s Mueller interview and how the midterms are playing into his deliberations I`m joined by Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senator, a colleague of yours in the House Adam Schiff said this in response to the Giuliani no obstruction offer. "Giuliani`s new offer the special counsel, you can ask the President conspiracy but only if Trumps answers can be limited to no collusion, no collusion, no conclusion, as for obstruction of justice, no questions at all. Enough is enough, time for a subpoena. Do you agree?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT), SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I agree. It is really at the point where a subpoena from the special counsel would be entirely appropriate. This offer of a limited interview would be laughed out of his office if Rudy Giuliani were still U.S. Attorney. As a prosecutor, as U.S. Attorney in Connecticut, I would have laughed it out of my office. And I think that the special counsel in fairness to the country ought to talk about a subpoena and give the Giuliani and Trump camp a definite time limit on complying and then go to court if necessary and that action may eventually go to the United States Supreme Court where as you know, the nominee in question believes very strongly that maybe the Nixon tapes case ought to be reconsidered and the President should be above the law.

HAYES: We mentioned that last night. Brett Kavanaugh is saying that at an event I think in 1999 that maybe the Nixon tapes, the unanimous Nixon tapes case decided wrongly. The issue here right is the subpoenas a powerful thing that brings us to Congress right? What would change if the -- if there was a congressional majority in either House of Democrats with subpoena power?

BLUMENTHAL: There would be committees who could compel truth-telling by public officials or at least production of records not only tax returns from Donald Trump but also internal files from within agencies. There would be no need to rely on freedom of information requests which can be delay delayed by these agencies. There would be compelled production of those kinds of evidentiary documents from the EPA, from the Department of Labor, from all kinds of agencies that may be concealing and hiding relevant evidence that in turn may show illegality on the part of the Trump campaign. The American people really want accountability. They want change. That`s what this poll and what I`m hearing from my constituents shows and that`s what the recent election shows as well.

HAYES: The President today after -- I mean we`re still sort of dealing with the fallout of that astounding performance in Helsinki and you know then the "wouldn`t-would" absurdity and then he sort of threw it all out yesterday and was back to hoax. And then today he said this. "I`m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming election. Based on the fact no president has been tougher on Russia than me. They will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don`t want Trump." Vladimir Putin literally stood next the president and said he wanted Trump. What is that about?

BLUMENTHAL: The American people really are in fact believing what they see and hear. What they`re watching is a president who puts his own interests above America, in fact, blames America first instead of putting America first and Vladimir Putin loves it. In fact, as you just pointed out, Chris, he said in that now-infamous press conference that he wanted Trump to win not Trump`s opponent. So what we have here is an effort to deny what Americans can see and hear and that`s why the poll numbers are moving against it. But more fundamentally and really importantly this nation is under attack. That`s what Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence said. The warning lights are blinking red again and it is an attack on our electoral process, the pillars of our democracy. And whether you believe that the Russians want Trump or the Democrats when the point is to stop this attack on America.

HAYES: All right, Senator Richard Blumenthal, thanks for your time tonight.

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

HAYES: For more on how the midterms are shaping up a 105 days until the election I`m joined by Democratic Pollster and MSNBC Political Analyst Cornell Belcher and MSNBC Contributor Betsy Woodruff, Politics Reporter for The Daily Beast. Cornell it`s been interesting you know, the President`s approval ratings are quite immovable, right? I mean, all sorts of crazy stuff happen do you think OK, and do they kick up they take down it`s between 40 and 43 percent of the country approves, between 53 and 56 percent in the country disapproves. The generic ballot between Democrats and Republicans has varied a lot more and seems to be moving in the Democrats favor fairly decisively in the last months, few weeks. What do you make of that?

CORNELL BELCHER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I think the President -- and we talked about this before -- the President`s approval numbers, they don`t move up four or five points. He has -- his ceiling and his -- and his floor are not that far apart right, from where he -- where he was on an election day, but the core of the Republicans stay in. What`s interesting is what you see happening with independent voters and we`re seeing independent voters move away from the Republican Party in ways that quite frankly I didn`t even see in 2006 when we saw the last wave when I was working for the DNC. And the 61 percent that white college-educated voters right now, now disapprove of Donald Trump`s performance says that the suburbs are going to be a real heart hole for Republicans come November.

HAYES: Betsy, do republic -- how do you see this playing out among House Republican members of Congress? Do they -- are they acting as if they understand what`s coming?

BETSY WOODRUFF, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: My sense is that particularly House Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are increasingly almost resigns to the prospect that the House will flip and that they`re going to have to go through impeachment proceedings. Now remember --

HAYES: Really? Wait, you really think that?

WOODRUFF: This is something based on conversations I`ve had with members. Yes, they`re bracing themselves for that. They aren`t positive it`s going to happen but if you talk both to folks on House Judiciary and to people in Paul Ryan`s inner circle, the operating assumption, what they are bracing themselves for is for the House to flip. And of course, what Republicans expect very much is that if the House does flip, the first thing Democrats are going to try to do is to impeach the President.

Now, that doesn`t mean those Republicans are right. I think Democrats themselves again, particularly on House Judiciary are trying to sort of rein things back, be cautious, not use the "I" word too much they don`t want to telegraph that they`re counting their chickens before they hatch or anything along those lines. But look, particularly on this key committee that would oversee any impeachment proceedings, people are seeing you know, the writing on the wall.

Of course, another thing that you hear from talking especially to folks in politics and additionally to members is that these -- the outcome of the midterm election is probably going to be determined in the last couple of weeks. We can look at the numbers right now and try to extrapolate what`s going to happen, but these races can change quickly. They`re of course always October surprises depending on what the President does in September or October that could shift dynamics. So there`s lots that`s up in the air. But speaking broadly, people on Capitol Hill are gearing up for the House to flip.

HAYES: You know, Cornell, it`s interesting to me. One of the races that Sabato moved today and it was interesting to go through them, one of them was he moved -- I think he moved the West Virginia Senate race which you know Manchin -- if you look at the numbers right the most imperiled Democratic Senatorial incumbent is got to be Joe Manchin, right? Trump wins West Virginia by I think 30 points OK. He moved it from toss-up to leans Dem and there`s a bunch of reasons for it. But what`s interesting to me is the President is so central the way people think about politics is a moment and yet it doesn`t seem to be the case that he`s providing the kind of positive coattails for Republican senatorial candidates in contested races that you would have guessed given the margins by which he runs -- won some states like North Dakota and West Virginia.

BELCHER: No, I think that`s right. He has not expanded his base, right? He has not brought in more people to the Republican Party. He`s actually sort of in certain ways shrinking it. And then when you look at the sort of party identification for Republicans right now, it`s shrinking, it`s not is not expanding and -- but those who`s sticking with the Republican Party are stuck in and they`re all -- and they`re all for him, to see that you know, the 70 to 80 percent of who are still for him. Here`s a president who`s not going to have a lot of coattails so I think you see when you see what`s happening in West Virginia even though they still -- the President still not as unpopular as in rest of the country, he does not help Republican -- he doesn`t help Republican challengers anywhere and he`s certainly harmful to a Republican incumbents.

HAYES: You know, Betsy the other thing I keep thinking about that House Republican caucus is there -- the big signature achievement was the tax cut. And you know, I talked to a lot of House Republicans on this program and I talked to people sort of around that world off the record and other correspondences, I think they really thought that was the thing they`re going to go campaign on, that the voters would just love it. And correct me if I`m wrong, it doesn`t seem to be a huge part of the message right now. It doesn`t seem like it`s getting them much traction.

WOODRUFF: Not particularly, and I think part of the reason for that is that increasingly Republicans are coming to grips with the fact that people don`t vote to say thank you. People don`t get off their couches because they may have seen their paycheck go up in a small amount and they feel so grateful to leaders of Congress in Washington that they can`t wait to hit the voting booth. That`s just not the way people generally think about elections. So the tax bill itself isn`t something that necessarily is going to be a magic silver bullet for Republicans.

And also you can see this reflected in the President`s tweets. When the President tweets out supporting a candidate, he basically always tweets the same message no matter who that candidate happens to be. He tweets that the candidate is pro-police, is going to stand up for law enforcement and he tweets the candidates opponent, loves MS-13 and wants to get rid of ICE. That`s the message the president is pushing and this isn`t just the president going rogue, these messages are crafted. Even though the President tweets sometimes out of his own accord, he also gets lots of advice from advisers, people close to him, and the message Republicans are coalescing behind is Democrats hate police, Democrats love gangs. That`s what they`re pushing, that`s what we`re going to be hearing.

HAYES: Yes its crimes and borders, its crimes and borders, crimes and borders, and Nancy Pelosi as a member MS-13 which is basically I think what Mike Huckabee tweeted essentially.

WOODRUFF: That`s right.

BELCHER: Quickly if I can jump Chris. Double down on the tax thing. Not only are Republicans not using it dip, you`re going to see Democrats in certain targeted House races actually using it as an attack because it`s so unpopular and they`re seeing massive cuts and things that middle-class families want. We`re actually going on the offensive with the tax.

HAYES: I talked to Democratic congressional candidate who said it was very useful in that way and it a very contested race. Cornell Belcher and Betsy Woodruff, thank you both.

WOODRUFF: Sure thing.

BELCHER: Thank you.

HAYES: Next, the battle between the President and Michael Cohen. New details about the recordings Cohen made and what he might know about that infamous Trump Tower meeting. Emily Jane Fox is the latest in two minutes.


HAYES: Michael Cohen has a story to tell. That is at least according to some of the people closest to him. New York Times report on Friday the President`s former lawyer recorded private talks with Donald Trump. Federal prosecutors now in possession of 12 recordings. We don`t know how many of them are with the President. Vanity Fair reports today quoting a friend of Cohen`s saying that and I`m going to read this. It`s not the recording that is valuable, it`s the backstory. As to what that backstory could be, three people familiar with the situation believe the Cohen has discussed information about the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower during which Don Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort met with a Russian lawyer with ties the Kremlin who promised to provide them dirt on Hillary Clinton.

With me now the author of that piece Emily Jane Fox, a Senior Reporter of Vanity Fair, MSNBC Political Contributor and Author of Born Trump: Inside America`s First Family. So you know, your piece is a few sort of amazing quotes. One of which is that what he can talk about goes to the core of the Mueller rank or inquiry not marginal stuff. What does that mean?

EMILY JANE FOX, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: What was expressed to me was that what he knows is not just about payments made to women and of course he knows about that and of course that is valuable to the investigators in the Southern District of New York. But there are a lot of other things that Michael Cohen knows according to people who are very close to him and those things according to one person I spoke to yesterday strike at the heart of the Special Counsel`s investigation.

HAYES: Forgive me if I`m skeptical but the incentives here, of course, are for Michael Cohen to make it seem to the President, to Mueller, and everyone else that he knows a lot right? I mean, those are the incentives for him sitting in that Hyatt Regency day after day right, to make everyone think he has the goods.

FOX: The reality is it doesn`t matter who thinks he has the goods or if they don`t think he has to good. Either he has the goods there he doesn`t have the goods and they won`t make a deal with him unless he has.

HAYES: Right. I get the --

FOX: They don`t just say -- they don`t just say I have the goods and the prosecutors are like oh great we`re going to cut you a deal and that`s going to happen anyway. He has to show them what the goods are before he`s able to cut the deal. So it doesn`t -- right now we may be in a little bit of a spin zone from both sides but at the end of the day he has what he has, he knows what he knows and from the people who are close to him it seems like he does know a great deal. And whether or not he has the goods to back that up, we will all see.

HAYES: You know, one thing I keep thinking about is the recording right? The one recording that has a President`s voice. And the origins of how it came about a little strange and Giuliani confers in the record, It strange to me that everyone seems to have such a good recollection of exactly what was said in that meeting, like that seems implausible. If the President knows exactly that it`s exculpatory, it`s like I have a lot of conversations. As someone said, you know, someone taped you. I wouldn`t necessarily know what`s on the tape.

FOX: But there is -- there is a transcript of the tape and they do have --

HAYES: Oh, they have it.

FOX: So this is why --

HAYES: I see.

FOX: -- there are a number of hands who have touched these recordings since the FBI seized this from Cohen`s office or hotel room or wherever it was from. And so Michael Cohen and his attorneys heard the recording when they got it back from the government, President Trump and his attorneys --

HAYES: So this -- right, this is circulated in this Special Master privilege process --

FOX: That`s how it all came to be. Now, I will say that there is a differing account of what is on that transcript so we still don`t exactly know. Giuliani went on the record saying this is what it said. It`s completely exculpatory, people close to Cohen have told me it`s not exculpatory and the narrative that we have with the tape is not the narrative that we have of the tape. So there`s a lot of back-and-forths and you know, the truth I`m sure somewhere in the middle.

HAYES: We should say the Special Master, another filing today which basically hacked in half the things that I think Michael Cohen said were privileged and is going to turn -- the half they say no. Michael Cohen (INAUDIBLE) probably they`re not over to investigators.

FOX: Sure, so what that means is the government is going to essentially have everything that was seized in April.

HAYES: I mean, almost everything.

FOX: Almost everything. Like almost four million files, documents, electronic devices and so they have almost anything with just truncate a bit what Michael Cohen is able to bring to them in terms of the physical evidence. But what Michael knows in terms of the backstory that`s not in that evidence could be potentially --

HAYES: All right, final questions. So CNN report today is Stormy Daniels lawyer Michael Avenatti wanted to discuss (INAUDIBLE) with Michael Cohen, that there was a meeting maybe even set up. Then Avenatti tweets this just a few hours ago. "In light of the events and info learned over the last 48 hours we now know that Michael Cohen is trying to play both sides while he is, in reality, courting a pardon. He`s looking out only for himself and Mr. Trump. He will never change. Let the chips fall where they may. #Basta."

FOX: We`re at this like really (INAUDIBLE) in the reality show right now where all the bit players are sort of doing insane things to further their own interest and I don`t really know what all these interests are. I think that --

HAYES: Do you have any report -- let me ask this, do you have any reporting that that confirms that there was conversations between the two sides?

FOX: I believe that they`re more conversations about having conversations between the two sides. I do not think that a conversation -- a formal conversation happened. I did report last week that the two ran into each other at dinner on the Upper East Side of Manhattan because what else would happen in this this part -- in the part of the drama. But I don`t think that there was a formal conversation yet to happen.

HAYES: All right, Emily Jane Fox, thanks for joining us.

FOX: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, why is the right so focused, so focused on Democratic congressional candidate for the Bronx? Conservative obsession with Andrea Ocasio-Cortez and what it means for the midterms after this.


HAYES: Just 105 days until the country votes for the midterm elections. Have you noticed how obsessed some conservatives have become with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? She, of course, is the Democratic Socialist who won an upset victory last month, surprised everyone in Democratic primary in New York`s a 14th Congressional District. And the day after she won, Trump T.V.s Sean Hannity put up this amazing graphic lamenting her gender with her absolutely shocking support for women`s rights, fighting climate change, and supporting seniors.

Ocasio-Cortez has recently been in the Midwest campaigning for progressive candidates alongside Bernie Sanders which prompted another round of conservative hand wringing. The conservative Fox Business Network tweeted at a portion of one speech without comment in what appeared to be a warning about these words from the scary socialists.


CORTEZ: We will not rest until every person in this country is paid a living wage to lead a dignified life.


HAYES: Showing stuff. An editor the Conservative Daily Caller went to one of the rallies writing that she "saw something truly terrifying, I saw how easy it would be as a parent to accept the idea that my children deserve health care and education. She elaborated on Trump T.V. this morning.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They talk about things that everybody wants especially like if you`re a parent. They talk about education for your kids, health care for your kids, these -- the things that you want and you know, if you`re not really paying attention to how they`re going to pay for it or you know, the rest of that it`s easy to fall into that trap and say my kids deserve this, and you know well, maybe the government should be responsible for helping me with that.


HAYES: So what is it about this woman that has the right so worked up? What does it mean for the midterms and beyond? Joining me now, New York Times Columnist Michelle Goldberg whose latest columns headlined, Democrats Are Moving Left Don`t Panic, also with me MSNBC Contributor Sam cedar, Host of the Majority Report and Briahna Gray Senior Politics Editor at The Intercept whose latest pieces headline Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went to war with partisanship in Kansas. What do you think? You`re a long time -- you`re a long time connoisseur, fetishist for conservative media, somewhere in between --

SAM SEDER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: That`s fair. That`s fair. Look, I think there`s a couple of things. One is they have spent years and years saying that Barack Obama is a secret socialist, that this person`s a secret socialist and it was the secret part that sort of created the suspicion. When it`s out in the open it becomes a lot more difficult for them to be --

HAYES: It`s like scrambles the wires.

SEDER: It scrambles the wires. And so then there`s this other element of like it`s so irresistible, like this honestly this was a formula that used with -- forgive me -- with gay sex.

HAYES: Right.

SEDER: There was a doctor Paul Cameron who argued this. He was one of the foremost sort of the anti-gay conservatives who wrote in opined that gay sex was the best sex, therefore it was that much more dangerous and in some respects that is like the same formula. Like this --

HAYES: Well, that was --

SEDER: So enticing that you could fall into this trap of actually wanting your kids to have health care.

HAYES: They deserve to have.

SEDER: Right, I mean --

HAYES: You were -- you were in that did you -- am I right that you were out there? You went and covered that rally.

BRIAHNA GRAY, SENIOR POLITICS EDITOR, THE INTERCEPT: I did. I was in Kansas, and, you know, keeping in mind that everyone said it wasn`t going to work in the Midwest and this was a complete waste of time and a disaster, you know, the venue had to be changed the night before because it sold out within 10 hours and something like 4,000 people showed up at this bigger venue at 1:00 in the afternoon on a friday in triple digit degree heat.

You know, that`s not nothing.

HAYES: That`s not nothing.

GRAY: And I think that...

HAYES: That doesn`t mean that candidate is going to win, by the way.

GRAY: No, it doesn`t. Of course, none of this can be, you know, reduced in that way, but I think what it shows is that there is a message that is beyond partisanship. And when she talks about wanting to implement programs that speak to human dignity, that speak to basic material needs, people hear that and people understand that who might not otherwise associate themselves with one party or the other.

HAYES: That is a good point.

And it sort of goes to what the Daily Caller person was saying, right, because she was saying, like, none of the signals were there to tell me that this is a bad thing that I shouldn`t like. And I can see people being, you know, seduced by it.

GRAY: Exactly.

GOLDBERG: I mean, I actually disagree that that goes beyond partisanship, right. I mean, I think you have one whole political party that genuinely does find this kind of language threatening and quasi-utilitarian and believes that, you know, first, you are talking about children deserving health care the next second you`re being reindoctrinated in FEMA camps.

But I think that inasmuch as there are swing voters, and there are not very many swing voters anymore, you know, in an electorate that`s polarized every election is a base election. But inasmuch as there are swing voters they`re not the kind of people that Beltway types like to pretend they are these kind of judicious centrists carefully considering.

HAYES: Cross-pressured on the issues.

GOLDBERG: Those are the people I think -- who kind of are most motivated by appeals to their basic material needs.

HAYES: Let me just also say one thing here, just to be clear, she also has a tremendous amount of distinct political talent. I mean, like, just to be clear, like these people are not created out of thin air. Like she is very good at doing this that doesn`t just like, it is a little beyond the message.

SEDER: Without a doubt.

But I don`t mean to repeat myself, but I think the policy prescriptions are almost secondary. there`s nothing offensive in what she is saying in terms of like people wanting their kids to have health care.

But I think the idea that it is being straightforward, that is completely laid out there, speaks to the whole broader issue that politicos don`t necessarily contemplate, but it`s just like basically like do I think that person is authentic? Are they telling me what they believe, they are. And they seem to be pretty confident about it. And I think that a lot goes further than we imagine.

GRAY: I there is something to the delivery of course. But you can`t also ignore that something like 70 percent of all congressional candidates who are in swing districts, Democrats who have won, ran health care as a central policy. When I was in Kansas, I got a ride home from the airport with a 75-year-old Trump voter and her daughter. And when I asked her, you know, what she was doing, because she talked to me about how she appreciated that her grandkids could be on Health Care longer, because of Obamacare.

She appreciated that she was on Medicare and wanted -- it was all about Medicare expansion. She was concerned that both of her adult children were living at home, couldn`t get a working -- a living wage, and didn`t have health care.

And when I explained to her that I was going to a Bernie rally, and these are things that Bernie cared about, it didn`t take but a 10-minute car ride to get her on board.

And I think that you can`t undervalue the fact that people don`t have to be policy wonks to understand that basic policies that enable them to live a life in a wealthy and moral America matter, as Ocasio-Cortez says, matter. And it would have been a disservice to not have had them all these years.

HAYES: This is the Joe Lieberman column who is a sort of like perfect kind of...

GOLDBERG: Health care hero.

HAYES: I mean, Joe Liberman who said people should vote for Joe Crowley wh is still on the ballot for the working families card, because Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hurts the party, congress, and even America.

I think one of the things that she does here, which get this, right, which is like there is always the like but how are you going to pay for it, right? Oh, yeah, it sounds great to like do all of this stuff but like let`s be real.

And I think part of the path that has been plowed by the Republicans it`s like why are you even going to talk about that? Why play that game? The president just pulled $12 billion out of thin air to like basically make some cash payments to some farmers. He is screwing on his trade policy. Like why even play the game?

GOLDBERG: And I think also she has kind of parried that kind of question really well which is we are laying out a marker for the kind of society that we want to create, right. I`m not coming to you with white paper about legislation that I am going to introduce next year.

SEDER: The problem is is that the faux concern about the deficit, and we can argue as to whether or not there is money -- I mean, they came up with $70 billion a year for the military. We didn`t need that. But the notion of the deficit is no longer one of those sort of signifiers, one of those cultural IDs that like guns, god -- was. it used to be the deficit

HAYES: That got cast aside.

SEDER: And that got cast aside quickly.

HAYES: The last thing, though, I will say here, right, like -- so, you know, obviously this is someone who is running -- who is probably going to win, I think, in her district. It`s Bronx/Queens, a very liberal district, majority people of color. You know, you have got like Conor Lamb. You got people running in very different ways.

Like, I`m not quite sold on the idea, right. Like, the sort of -- the thesis here, right, that the Bernie like thesis is like this is universal stuff. You can go to Kansas and do it. And I am not sold yet that that is true.

GRAY: Well, what if we look at the fact that Bernie Sanders won every district in the primary in West Virginia.

GOLDBERG: And Hillary won Mississippi, like that doesn`t mean that her brand of politics is viable there.

GRAY: Well, no, because a general election and a primary election are very different.

People are choosing based on pure partisanship in a general election. And I think that being overly dismissive of people on the ground who articulated a choice for a more progressive vision of the world, who articulated a choice for policies that spoke to their genuine material concerns is a fool`s errand.

HAYES: Whether it`s a fool`s errand or not, I am just saying it is an unanswered question, right, about like the -- like I am going to go run as a Socialist in Kansas and that`s going to work.

GOLDBERG: I think these tensions are somewhat overplayed, right. I mean, every district sort of choose somebody who is appropriate. I don`t necessarily. I have no opinion about this primary in Kansas. I do know that when I was in Pennsylvania I met people who worked for both Conor Lamb an also for some of the socialist candidates who won in the state house, and they didn`t see them as being on opposite sides of some kind of great divide.

HAYES: Michelle Goldberg, Sam Seder, and Brianna Gray, thank you both -- all for being with me tonight.

Still ahead, hundreds of immigrant parents that were separated from their children at the border and then apparently deported. So, what happens to the children left behind? That`s coming up.

Plus, Sean Spicer rides again in tonight`s ignominious Thing One, Thing Two, next.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was infamously terrible at that job for a couple of big reasons. Number one being of course lying all the time to our faces from his very first day on the job.


SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration period both in person and around the globe.


HAYES: Spicer often had trouble keeping the facts straight and he was just bad at communicating, which, you know, is basically the entire job of being press secretary, all of which was on display in this notorious briefing where he attempted to compare Hitler favorably to Syrian leader Bashar al- Assad.


SPICER: You had a -- you know, someone as despicable as Hitler who didn`t even sink to the -- to using chemical weapons. He was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing -- he brought into the holocaust center, I understand that.


HAYES: The Holocaust centers?

Well, our old friend Sean has a new project. He has written a book. It`s out today. And would you believe it contains lies, factual errors and a really awkward language? "The Briefing" by Sean Spicer is Thing Two in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: Sean Spicer is out with a new book today detailing his short time in the White House. And wouldn`t you know, just like his briefings, it has got some whoppers. There`s a reference to a presidential news conference Barack Obama supposedly held in 1999, a full decade before he became president. And there`s a line about the Steele dossier, which Sean Spicer attributes to Michael Steele. And, boy, that would be a big revelation if, in fact, MSNBC contributor and former RNC chairman Michael Steele was the real author of the Steele dossier, not former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.

And then there`s some of Spicer`s signature really awkward terms of phrase, like this description of his former boss. Donald Trump, quote, "he is a unicorn riding a unicorn over a rainbow," just the kind of description we have come to expect from a man that brought us this.


SPICER: Melania Trump said the strength of your dreams and willingness to work for them, Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony said this is your dream. Anything you can do in your dreams you can do now.


HAYES: But of course, no work by Sean Spicer would be complete without a good old lie so he threw this one in, "the Wall Street Journal falsely accused me of taking a mini-fridge from junior staffers,: which again, if that was false, I would be angry too.

It sounds too ridiculous to be true, but according to six former staffers, Sean Spicer totally did steal a mini fridge from the office of low level administration officials in the Eisenhower executive office building.

Oh, Sean, it is good to have you back?


HAYES: Since the day Donald Trump took office, his administration has worked tirelessly, and sometimes behind the scenes, to create structural advantages forthe minority of the country that voted for him. And central to the effort has been the administration`s decision to add a question to the census that inquires about citizenship.

Now, that is unprecedented, at least in recent memory. Experts and advocates have warned that the move will depress turnout and hinder the mission of the census, which is to get the most accurate count of the population as possible. And low count could take away representation and federal funds from states with large immigrant populations, largely blue states.

And with stakes that high, you can understand why congress was curious as to who it was that was behind the push to add this very controversial and possibly toxic question. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross testifying several times before congress under oath very clearly said the request did not come from me.


WILBUR ROSS, COMMERCE SECRETARY: We have had a request, says everyone, is aware from the Department of Justice to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

The Department of Justice, as you know, initiated the request for inclusion of the citizenship question.

The Justice Department is the one who made the request of us.


HAYES: The Justice Department initiated, they made the request all from the Justice Department?

Now thanks to documents released for a lawsuit, we know that wasn`t quite accurate. In fact, we have an email from Wilbur Ross himself to a colleague at Commerce that reads, quote, I am mystified why nothing has (sic) been done in response to my month`s old request we include a citizenship question. Why not?"

His colleague responded, tellingly, "we need to work with Justice to get them to request that citizenship be added back as a census question."

In other words, getting the Department of Justice to formally request the change, which they eventually did months later, was simply a pretext to get them to do Wilbur Ross`s bidding. And that means the Secretary of Commerce apparently lied to congress not once, not twice, but three times. You would think they would care about something like that.


HAYES: The Trump administration appears to have kidnapped the children of as many as 463 immigrant parents. And I do not use that word kidnap lightly.

New data showing possibly as many as 463 immigrant parents, whose children were taken from them at the border, may already have been deported without getting their children back. The government, by court order, must reunite -- reunify immigrant families by a Thursday deadline. But here`s the thing, the Trump administration is arguing in court that those deported parents have lost the right to reunite with their children.

Here to help me understand all this, MSNBC`s Jacob Soboroff, who has been reporting on these separations all summer, and former Democratic Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzmann, who last week quit a homeland security advisory council, writing about family separation, quote, this is child kidnapping, plain and simple.

Let me start with you, you listened to the status conference. You have got this lawsuit. The judge orders reunification, two categories of the under 5 kids. Now you`re dealing with a much bigger set of 2,500 kids between 5 and 17. What`s going on?

JACOB SOBOROFF, MSNBC: It is actually pretty remarkable to listen to the judge on these status conference say how, quote, unquote, deeply troubling the government`s role has been here and there needs to be an accounting. So, that`s what they`re trying to do, they`re trying to put the pieces back together for these 2,551 kids right now that, again, reminder, forcibly separated. Didn`t have to be this way. We didn`t even need to be having this conversation.

1,600 of them are eligible for reunification, 1,607. And the government says they`re on track to do that by Thursday, the deadline. The catch is, they said today, 55 percent of those people that are eligible for reunification are slated to be deported. They have what are called final orders of removal. 900 of those people.

HAYES: So, again, I want to just make clear, 2,500 people, right? So, put aside, about 1,600 of those, they are saying we`re going to reunify. They`re eligible. We`ll talk about where those other people are. They`re eligible and we`re going to reunify them. Half we`re going to reunified and say get the heck out of here.

SOBOROFF: You`re out of here. And the ACLU is just scrambling right now. What they announced tonight, Lee Gelernt who you`ve talked to many times, was saying that they think that 700 of them, or whatever the remaing group is, they are all going to be reunited at one place, the Cairns Center in South Texas at one time over the course of the next few days.

ACLU is basically begging the judge for seven days between the time those reunifications happens and any potential deportations, to get them legal counsel so that they can argue their asylum case...

HAYES: They do have asylum claims.

SOBOROFF: To stay in the United States, exactly.

And the government is saying, we don`t want that to happen.

HAYES: OK, then I want to come back to you about what they`re doing with these other one whose parents were deported.

You wrote this letter and you said it is child kidnapping and I can`t be on this advisory council. Why did you use that word?

ELIZABETH HOLTZMANN, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Because that`s what it is. Because the government has taken parents -- children, deliberately away from parents -- toddlers, kids who are breast feeding, young children, and taken them away deliberately. This is for the purpose of deterring other people from coming. It is cruel, it`s inhuman, it is depraved, and they did it in a way so that they weren`t prepared for family reunification at all.

In fact, it`s this only happened because ACLU intervened. Reporters reported about it. But the government just didn`t care about reunifying these children.

If you take children from parents without due process, it is kidnapping in my view and under the law.

HAYES: OK, so this now gets us to the part that they are ineligible. This is really -- I have a hard time processing this.

SOBOROFF: It`s pretty mindblowing.

HAYES: They`re saying that 900 or so of these kids...

SOBOROFF: 917, yeah.

HAYES: ...they`re not eligible. And of that, some big chunk of them are ineligible to be unified because, whoops, we already deported your parents.

SOBOROFF: And so if any of them are going to have a chance to stay in the United States, first of all, none of the others have to be reunited by Thursday. That`s the big carve out. So, the government can say we were successful at the 1,607 were reunited by Thursday.

Piecemeal. One by one, the ACLU has to basically request and get information and then go through the cases. 463 of the 917, the government admitted tonight, may have already been deported before this court case basically mandated that you have to keep these families together and there had to be a process to work this out.

So if you`re gone, there is no reunification process. You`re gone.

HOLTZMANN: Is this depraved or what? That`s what I called it. I said it`s not only child kidnapping, but this is depraved. Government officials have no right to take children from parents. No right, unless a court orders it for some reason of danger to the child.

HAYES: And to keep them.

I mean, if you take someone`s kid and you send them back to Guatemala or Honduras or El Salvador or wherever, and you have them, what`s the point? You were just going to take...

HOLTZMANN: They didn`t care. These are not human. These children aren`t human. They`re the wrong color. And the parents aren`t human. They`re wrong color. That`s what this country has come to under the president. And this is horrifying. I couldn`t be on the commission anymore. I couldn`t be on advisory council. There`s nothing to say to a human being who wants deliberately to take a child away from a parent and has done it and is refusing to return the child to the parents.

SOBOROFF: It is hard not to feel that way -- you know, we were talking before the show that, you know, I got to go inside the facility in McAllen and see the kids in the cages on the floor, and it is truly sickening.

And when you hear about the fact that those 463 parents that are now outside the country, their only recourse is to basically go to their consulate in their home country and say, whoops! I think I might have been deported mistakenly, because I got an old form. There`s a new form now that`s given out post this case that basically says you have more rights than you might have gotten on that original form.

And that`s only because of this case. You have to go to the consulate and basically beg say, I made a mistake on my form.

HAYES: One other thing you wrote in here. You said as the author of Refugee Act in 1980 along with Senator Ted Kennedy, "I believe the treatment of refugees by you and President Trump violates that law and our treaty obligations to refugees. What do you mean?

HOLTZMANN: Many of these people are coming in and claiming asylum. Is a penalty for claiming asylum to take your children? U.S. government has not right to do that under our treaty and under our laws.

HAYES: There`s a statute.

HOLTZMANN: They`re supposed to treat them in a humane way and allow them to make their application to a court and let the court decide whether they`re here legally or not.

HAYES: And that`s part of the bigger picture here past just child separation is what`s being done to both asylum and refugee law.

Jacob Soboroff and Elizabeth Holtzmann, thank you both.

Before I go, a quick reminder, we have a new episode of our podcast up today. I have to say it is episodes like this one that made me want to do the podcast in the first place. It`s a topic that it`s hard to do here on cable news, but I could do it there.

Giorgio Angelini, he`s a filmmaker that spent years putting together a documentary about housing in America explaining how the American dream of owning a home was designed to be easy for some and nearly impossible for others. You can also hear me confess to my very weird real estate browsing habit. There`s lots in there to enjoy. Download, subscribe to Why is This Happening everywhere like Apple Podcast and let me know what you think using our hashtag #withpod.

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