Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: October 15, 2018 Guest: Rula Jebreal, McKay Coppins, Ariel Edwards-Levy, Emma Gonzalez, Ramon Contreras, Gyasi Ross, Sabrina Siddiqui, Charlie Pierce
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just spoke with the King of Saudi Arabia.
HAYES: Donald Trump investigates.
TRUMP: The king firmly denied any knowledge of it.
HAYES: And presents an alternate theory of the death of a Washington Post columnist.
TRUMP: It sounded to me like maybe it could have been rogue killers.
HAYES: Tonight, multiple reports that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is also floating the president theory. Plus --
TRUMP: I will give you a million dollars if you take the test and it shows you`re an Indian.
HAYES: Elizabeth Warren calls Donald Trump`s million-dollar bluff.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: You know, the President likes to call my mom a liar.
HAYES: Then 22 days out. Why the president wants a referendum on him?
TRUMP: Lesley, it`s OK. In the meantime, I`m President and you`re not.
HAYES: And Parkland survivor Emma Gonzalez on her campaign to get young people to vote.
EMMA GONZALEZ, ACTIVIST: We call B.S. that us kids don`t know what we`re talking about, that we`re too young to understand how the government works.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
GONZALEZ: We call B.S.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. This morning the President of United States floated a wild theory that so-called rogue killers could be the blame for the death of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Tonight there`s new reporting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is considering changing its story and it`s lining up with the President`s suggestion to say the death was a result of a kidnapping gone wrong.
The Washington Post columnist was last seen almost two weeks ago walking into a Saudi consulate in Turkey and he has not been seen in public since. Turkish officials have said they`re confident Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered inside the consulate citing audio and video recordings they say prove it. And for nearly two weeks, Saudi Arabia has consistently denied the accusation even trying to sell a story that Khashoggi had left the consulate.
But tonight comes new reporting that the Saudi government is now considering a different explanation. NBC News reporting tonight that Saudi Arabia`s government is discussing a plan to admit that missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. One source told NBC News that "the Kingdom will claim that rogue operatives killed Khashoggi during an interrogation or a rendition attempt that went horribly awry.
There`s that phrase again, rogue operatives. NBC News report goes on to say that this plan could give Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman "plausible deniability to say he didn`t order the killing and didn`t know about it. In other words, Saudi Arabia apparently just meant to kidnap, interrogate, possibly torture Jamal Khashoggi and his murderer was just simply an unfortunate accident.
Now this news comes mere hours after the President the United States took it upon himself to stand before the cameras and defend the honor of the Saudi monarchy.
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TRUMP: The King firmly denied any knowledge of it. He didn`t really know. Maybe -- I don`t want to get into his mind but it sounded to me like maybe this could have been rogue killers, who knows.
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TRUMP: It`s unclear if the rogue killers hypothesis is something Donald Trump thought up on his own or if it came from Saudi King Salman or whether the President of the United States was trying to set the stage for what very much looks like a cover-up of murder from the Saudi government. Here with now-former Deputy National Security Adviser under President Barack Obama and MSNBC Political Contributor Ben Rhodes.
I mean, the phrasings is the same, a rogue operators. It sounds like the President was floating the cover-up trial balloon for the Saudis this morning.
BEN RHODES, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, yes, right from Trump`s lips to your reporting. And look, Chris, let me be very clear here. Anybody who`s worked with the Saudis knows that is a top-down centralized decision- making tree there and that has only become more so under Mohammed bin Salman. The notion that this kind of operation 15 people flying to Turkey to at a minimum render were a very prominent journalist, the notion that Mohammed bin Salman wouldn`t know about that and wouldn`t have ordered it is completely unbelievable to anybody I think, who said any experience working with the Saudis.
HAYES: I mean, it seems to me that this is very similar in some ways to what we`ve seen with the Russians and Skripal where they attempted to murder this guy with chemical weapons on English soil and basically done a lot of yadda-yadda-yadda gas lighting, and now we watch the Saudis do it with this and the president participating them. I mean the President is complicit in the cover-up at this point.
RHODES: Yes, there`s basically three steps to this. One, they want this to get attention. They want the message --
HAYES: To hold --
RHODES: -- the whole point, right? Is for any other dissident as journalists anywhere in the world to know I might not be safe anywhere in the world if I criticized Mohammed bin Salman. That`s the first point. The second point is, how do we get through this? You know, people aren`t coming to our investment conference. How do we kind of weather this for a few weeks and come out on the other end and suddenly all those Western investors turn up again, suddenly people are praising mob and summoned again. That`s the problem they have to solve, right?
So point three, Donald Trump steps in and says just like he said, say next to Vladimir Putin. Well, he makes a very credible case. I believe him. Suddenly he`s saying, well King Salman says he didn`t do it, these are rogue killers. He`s creating the basis for them to kind of slowly put this on a glide path to averting the attention of the West, avert the cup type of consequences that they should be facing for this and we can all move on.
HAYES: He is the blocking back for a regime that stands accused of murder.
HAYES: This is the President on denials, forcibly denies it, if it`s the right person.
RHODES: Only if it`s right person.
Hayes: Only if it`s right person. Take a listen.
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TRUMP: Roy Moore denies it. That`s all I could say. He denies it. And by the way, he totally denies it.
I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.
He says he`s innocent and I think you have to remember that he said very strongly yesterday that he`s innocent.
I just the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of what took place with regard to as he said, the Saudi Arabian citizen. I`ve asked and he firmly denies that.
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HAYES: The adverb that doesn`t work, strongly, firmly, he totally denies it.
RHODES: Yes. But meanwhile, you know, Elizabeth Warren has to produce DNA evidence, Barack Obama released a birth certificate, right? I mean --
HAYES: But the Saudi say, no we didn`t whack the guy.
HAYES: If he says --
RHODES: Well, then what do these people have in common, right? The Saudis and the Russians are both people who you know, maybe have been working with Trump in various ways to support his political interests. If somebody who he believes has other information on him or has investments in things that he`s done which the Saudis very well may have with him or Jared Kushner, suddenly we believe their denial.
HAYES: I want to say one more thing here which is the Saudis have already used this game plan with the civilians they`ve killed in the Yemen war which the U.S. is supporting actively. They bombed a school bus, they said we didn`t really do it, they said yes, we did and they said we kind of feel sorry about it. There`s still routine bombings in Yemen.
You were working the White House when the US government started to back the Saudi war in Yemen. What do you think about what`s happening now? Did you get that wrong and what should happen then?
RHODES: Yes, I think we did. Our thinking was if we -- if we supported it but put restraints on it so sometimes we would withhold weapons from the Saudis if there was a civilian casualties incident. We were definitely trying to pressure them in a diplomatic solution. We thought we could shape their actions. In retrospect, that was wrong. This is a humanitarian catastrophe.
HAYES: Millions of people are about to starve.
RHODES: This this could be a Syrian scale humanitarian catastrophe, right? And the fact is this Khashoggi case is not the first proof we`ve had of not Mohammed bin Salman true nature. I`ve heard a lot of reporting that now we see his darker side. His darker side is on display every time a child is killed in Yemen, was on display when the prime minister of Lebanon in another country was held hostage inside of Saudi Arabia. It was on display when he rounded up a bunch of political opponents and put him in prison at the Ritz-Carlton. I mean, this --
HAYES: Possibly torture one to death unclear.
RHODES: Yes, I mean he has shown a brutal side at the same time the Trump and Jared Kushner have been embracing him. That`s not a coincidence either. He thought he had immunity and now we see the result of him being treated with impunity by the leader of the most powerful country in the world.
HAYES: All right, Ben Rose thank you for your time. I want to bring in Rula Jebreal Foreign Policy Analyst, Journalist and friend of Jamal Khashoggi and Pulitzer Prize-winning Reporter Philip Rucker, Whitehouse Bureau Chief of the Washington Post and MSNBC Contributor whose most recent piece is all about the relationship between Jared Kushner and the Saudi Crown Prince. And you know, we have, Philip, we have David Ignatius for this remarkable thing about how basically back in you know, before the big purge of his family, Jared Kushner is staying up late in a hotel room apparently kind of co-plotting a family coup with Mohammed bin Salman. I mean these guys are very close.
PHILIP RUCKER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: They`re extraordinarily close, Chris, and I think both of them from the beginning of the Trump presidency saw that this could be a mutually beneficial relationship. Prince Mohammad saw Jared as somebody who could vouch for him, who could champion him as a reformer as someone who would bring Saudi Arabia into modernity.
Jared Kushner saw Muhammad as somebody who could help him you know, advance his Middle East peace deal that he`s wanted for Israel and the Palestinians, as someone who could present this beautiful sort of first foreign trip for President Trump with the red carpet and the fighter jet flyover and all the bells and whistles that Trump expected from that trip. And we`re finding out now that there`s a bit of a reckoning for Jared Kushner. He`s having to realize that Prince Mohammed is not everything he thought he was.
HAYES: What --
RULA JEBREAL, FOREIGN POLICY ANALYST: Well --
HAYES: Yes, what`s your response to that?
JEBREAL: Well, he didn`t think that but why was he was slipping to him information, classified intelligence that he knew he would use to liquidate these opponents. I mean, to call Mohammed bin Salman a reformer is like calling David Duke a civil rights activist. You needed just to look at from the moment he took power two years ago even as defense minister. Bombing Yemen to oblivion, starving people to death, torturing people. I mean all of this information, I might not have access to all of them but the President does, Jared Kushner does. So to say that he believed a king who`s 80 years old, who has dementia over his intelligence, that means he wants to cover up this because America`s foreign policy today under this administration boils down in all its vulgarity and all of it -- in a mercenary -- it`s -- you can get away with murder just buy weapons and buy apartment from Trump.
HAYES: And we -- Philip, I mean, it`s you know, the President is sort of running a little bit of cover for the Saudis today with the -- floating the rogue elements. Steve Mnuchin, everyone has dropped out of this conference basically --
RUCKER: Except for Steve Mnuchin.
HAYES: Except for Steve Mnuchin. You got Pompeo going there. I mean, it seems to me the White House is trying to figure out how to save the Saudis essentially and how to save Bin Salman having been caught red-handed murdering someone.
JEBREAL: Who threatened them by the way, Chris.
RUCKER: They`re trying -- they`re trying to buy a little bit of time here too. The final decision has not been made yet about the Treasury Secretary. Although as of now he remains on the agenda for this conference later in the week but the White House may and they`re pulling him depending on how this meeting with the Secretary of State Pompeo has in Riyadh over the next couple of days.
HAYES: What`s the -- what`s the -- what does Pompeo there to do as far as you can understand?
RUCKER: As far as we know, Chris, he`s been sent by the president, by Trump to try to get to the bottom of this and find out what`s going on, what happened in that consulate in Istanbul but I`m not sure he`s going to hear anything other than what King Salman told President Trump and other than what Prince Mohammad, MBS told Jared Kushner last week which is in the president`s words a vehement denial. There does not seem to be any indication that Pompeo can do a true investigation on the ground there, but of course he could be there to work out some sort of a deal if the Saudis were to own up to this interrogation gone wrong cover story.
HAYES: What does it do for the region -- for journalists from the region around the world and political dissidents around the world that this is happening in plain sight the way it is?
JEBREAL: Look, they used to say in the Middle East if you`re an intellectual and this is what all the things that Jamal used to tell me. If you`re an intellectual, either you cease to be in the Middle East or you cease to be an intellectual. They made sure that a journalist who lived in Washington ceased to exist. The Saudi regime sending a message to all of us you will be -- we will come after you regardless.
And the fact that the president is covering up this hideous crime and Jared Kushner is probably someone bragged I think to somebody saying Kushner is in my pocket. Now we know how deep these pockets are. It`s a blood Saudi money who is buying consensus and basically telling the Saudis for the first time threatened even Americans. I believe that they put statement to your -- two days ago where they said if you come after us with sanctions, basically it will be -- we will stab your economy.
They use the word stab. This is the regime that send a death squad basically to -- with a forensic expert, with a (INAUDIBLE) and now is claiming that they know nothing about this murder, that it was a rogue. No, we have a rogue prince who`s been committing atrocities for the last two years.
HAYES: There`s also this -- Philip, it just seems to me also this sort of like everyone waking up to a reality now about bin Salman and the Saudis which has been true for a very long time even predating Mohammed bin Salman. Yes, well, but Prince Mohammed, MBS as he was named the Crown Prince last year, there was a real media campaign to try to present him as this reformer. He allowed women finally to drive in Saudi Arabia and that has been held out as an example of how advanced he is in his thinking and yet it`s completely overlooked how brutal and ruthless he has been in consolidating power inside the kingdom which we`ve now seen with the suspected killing, murder, gruesome murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
HAYES: Two questions I think the White House has to answer is, the extent of their financial entanglements with the Saudis which we do not know because we don`t know anything and what the U.S. government knew about this. There`s some reports early on that intelligence intercepts had picked up on this. Like, the government should say what they knew.
JEBREAL: The intelligence -- at this point clearly the president will not be doing anything and he loves his dictators, he hate journalists so it doesn`t matter. He keep insisting Jamal is a Saudi citizen. It`s like he`s not one of us.
HAYES: He keeps repeating that.
JEBREAL: He`s not one of my people. It`s just somebody else. Well, now we are in the hand of Congress but above all we`re -- people around the world is looking up to Congress. And for the next -- that`s why the midterm election is important. It`s about morality, legality, the rule of law and saving American democracy.
HAYES: All right, Rula Jebreal, Philip Rucker, thank you both for being here tonight.
JEBREAL: Thank you.
HAYES: After the break, Donald Trump puts himself on the ballot as Rula just said, with both Democrats and Republicans making the midterms a referendum on the presidency. We`ll talk about which side can turn that into a winning strategy in just two minutes.
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TRUMP: Nobody`s been able to do what I`ve been able to do. Remember that. Nobody`s been able to do anything like this. Actually, most people didn`t even try because they knew they didn`t have the ability to do it.
Lesley, it`s OK. In the meantime, I`m president and you`re not.
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HAYES: There you have the Donald Trump doctrine. He`s the president and you`re not. His entire worldview has always been centered on the notion that he matters more than anyone else and it was the central theme of his convention speech in which Trump described a nation in freefall and insisted that "I alone can fix it."
When the Midterm Elections approaching Trump has gone all-in on that claim casting the midterms explicitly as a referendum not on any issue or any party but on him and him alone.
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TRUMP: And I`m not on the ticket but I am on the ticket because this is also a referendum about me. A vote for Marsha is really a vote for me. A vote for Cindy is a vote from me. I want you to vote. Pretend I`m on the ballot. A vote for Steve is they vote for me. Remember this, a vote for David is the vote for me. I`m not on the ballot but in a certain way I`m on the ballot so please go out and vote.
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HAYES: I can go both ways, of course. Here with me now to discuss McKay Coppins Staff Writer at the Atlantic and Ariel Edwards-Levy, he`s a Reporter and Polling Editor at The Huffington Post. McKay, you`ve got a great new piece out about Newt Gingrich and about sort of the politics that he pioneered and how much he loves Donald Trump. And this strikes me as extremely similar in that Trump`s model of this and it his work well so far is just base, base, base, base, base, like that`s the people the 39 the 40 percent of the country that are with you, that`s all that matters and that is the way that he is campaigning into the Midterms.
MCKAY COPPINS, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Yes, there`s no question. You know one of the things that struck me about Newt Gingrich was that he -- when he talked about Donald Trump, he didn`t talk about him as this great you know, ideological visionary or you know, certainly not a historian or an intellectual the way he sees himself. He talks about Trump, he compares him to the grizzly bear in the revenant.
He talks about him as this kind of you know, aggressive, combative, angry, force to be reckoned with and that`s what he loves about Donald Trump. It`s not it`s not his ideas or anything else it`s his attitude and his style and I think that frankly that`s what a lot of the Republican party likes about Donald Trump and it`s always been what they`ve liked about him regardless of all the policy discussions and the kind of ideological ideas that we try to overlay on top of Donald Trump.
HAYES: Now, as we know Arielle from polling and reporting like a lot of people don`t like that. And there are majority the country -- there a majority of the country on Election Day in 2016 and their majority of country now and it seems to me inescapably Trump is embracing what is true no matter what which is that the Midterms end up being a referendum on him. You`ve got this data that shows Trump disapproval in the Democrats advantage on the generic ballot and you see them essentially converging. Like it`s a very similar poll. That`s what we`re seeing in the numbers right?
ARIEL EDWARDS-LEVY, REPORTER AND POLLING EDITOR, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Yes. I mean, I think Trump is actually completely right as a political scientist. The question is the wisdom of that as a political strategy and you know, midterms obviously it`s going to be a lot about who you can motivate to turnout. He`s going to motivate his base to turnout. The question is, is he also going to motivate his opponents to turnout. And when you look at the percentage of his opponents who strongly disapprove of him, that`s always been so much higher than the percentage of his supporters who really approve of him.
HAYES: Yes, that`s asymmetry has been key. And McKay, I think what would what Republicans are banking on there is this projection put out by YouGov, CBS, its turnout is low. The Republicans hold on to the House by one seat. They`re banking on the fact that they already have a structural advantage and a habitual advantage of midterm voting. If they could just have normal midterm voting they`re going to be fine and the president going to all these areas even in places like Pennsylvania where it`s not clear he helps that much is going to help them get that.
COPPINS: This has been the pattern in Midterm Elections. Republicans generally have an advantage in these midterm elections because turnout is lower than in presidential years, right? Now, the difference, of course, is that Donald Trump is president. He`s been president for the past year and a half and you know, this isn`t a theory or an abstract hypothetical that Democrats are running against anymore. They`re running against him and his policies. This is the double-edged sword of making it a referendum.
He`d probably will energize his base but I have to believe that the left and the resistance and you know, Democratic activists are going to get just as much energy if not more out of making this about Donald Trump.
HAYES: And this gets Ariel to this question about how you model turnout or even think about turnout. It seems that pollsters are having a hard time with this. A lot of people are sort of really there`s this very open question of what the electorate on Election Day looks like.
LEVY: Yes, absolutely. It`s always the perennial challenge and you know it`s a cliche to say it all comes down to turnout but you get to this point where if you look at who turned out in past midterms maybe that`s not quite as good of a guide if there is this blue wave, but you also can`t entirely depend on people saying they`re going to vote because people who are certain that they`re going to vote, not all of them are going to. So you end up with this sort of gap. And you know we have to sort of wait and see and it kind of depends on where we are in the news cycle and what`s happening when people are casting a vote that really motivates them to get out there.
HAYES: I`m also struck, McKay, finally, that just how much it`s just all of the stuff that Republicans said they were going to run on is gone. Like no one`s running on the tax cuts, no one. Like you can go on YouTube and you could look at the ads in every contestant district like look at Ted Cruz isn`t running on the tax cuts. In Texas no one`s running on that and there`s -- they`re not running on the wall that`s not built. Some mention the economy but basically, it`s like all this cultural warfare stuff and the mobs is going to come and get you in the cult of personality Donald Trump and that`s the package.
COPPINS: This is why I don`t think that fundamentally Donald Trump has ever been about this kind of nationalist populism that was attributed to him. Now he did running on that as a camp -- a presidential candidate in 2016 but he didn`t govern like that right? He governed like a pretty straightforward conservative Republican. And now you see conservatives kind of reverting back to the stuff that they think Trump actually -- that actually got Trump elected which was immigration and issues about race and you know, civil rights and things like that. Those are the issues that that realistically were most helpful in ginning up Trump`s base and I think that other Republicans running in these Midterms know that.
HAYES: All right, McKay Coppins and Ariel Edwards-Levy, thank you both for being with me. Up next, the forces that started the March For Our Lives are making a big push to get young voters to the polls. Parkland survivor Emma Gonzalez and March for Our Lives Strategist Ramon Contreras join me right here next. Don`t go anywhere.
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GONZALEZ: The people in the government who are voted into power are lying to us and us kinds seem to be the only ones who notice and our parents have called B.S. Politician who sits in their gilded House in Senate seats funded the NRA telling us nothing could have ever be done to prevent this. We call B.S. that us kids don`t know what we`re talking about, that we`re too young to understand how the government works. We call B.S. If you agree, register to vote. Contact your local congresspeople and give them a piece of your mind.
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HAYES: That was Emma Gonzalez just days after a former student entered her high school in Parkland, Florida armed with an AR-15 assault rifle and murdered 17 people, 14 of them students. Emma Gonzalez is now a powerful advocate for gun safety doing the hard slow daily work of holding politicians accountable because "it`s their job to make our world better." Joining me now is Emma Gonzales who contribute in a new book with other founders of the March for lives movement called Glimmer of Hope. Also joining me Ramon Contreras, National Field Strategist for March for Lives. They both participated in the Road to Change Tour this summer to mobilize young voters throughout the country. The tour takes off on October 28th for a final push before the Midterms. Good to have you here.
GONZALEZ: Thank you for having us.
HAYES: How are you doing?
GONZALEZ: It`s nice. It`s very chilly outside. It`s not what we used to have from Florida but yes.
HAYES: You and your classmates were in such an inconceivably awful situation and also in the midst and right on the backs of that -- in the national spotlight and I always just wondered like how you have been able to process that all with a little more time?
GONZALEZ: My mom says I haven`t processed it so we`re still working on that personally. But in general, I`m doing the best I can and I`m trying to connect with my friends as much as possible and contribute to my life as a human being in that manner.
HAYES: Yes, the work you guys are doing is specifically targeted at young voters, am I right?
RAMON CONTRERAS, NATIONAL FIELD STRATEGIST, MARCH FOR LIVES: Yes.
What is -- what is a sort of idea about how you get young voters who the data shows particularly with Midterms don`t vote very high rates, how you reach them.
I mean, for a very long time you know, when people are going out and doing GOTV and when people are going political campaigns, they`ll reach out to the young people right they don`t create messages that connect with young people. They don`t talk about issues that connect with young people. And a lot of the times, right, young people are always looking for ways to get involved. But how can you get involved with a candidate or any type of political process when you just can`t connect with it, right?
And after the you know, terrible mass shootings that happen, a lot of young people were starting to fear for their own lives because they`re going to these schools every day and you don`t know if their school when they might get shot up. So people started to feel you know -- you know empathy for these people and they started to say, OK, you know young people my age are dying right, and they open up the door to gun violence and in there -- in different communities and they made an intersectional right?
Kids every day are dying in black and brown communities. Kids are dying every day when they go to school. Kids are dying when you know, they`re walking down the street and people feel connected to that especially when it`s someone your age.
HAYES: How -- what have you learned in this process of doing this kind of work?
GONZALEZ: So much. There`s -- I`ve completely -- I`ve learned so much more than I`ve ever learned in high school. And that`s not a diss on my teachers, that`s a diss on the public education system in this country. It`s pitiful. But, you know, I`ve learned so many individual experiences that I never knew about. I learned so much about Native Americans that the history books like burned records of practically. There`s such a lack of...
HAYES: And this is from going around the country and meeting...
GONZALEZ: Yeah, going around the country.
HAYES: ...and meeting with different groups of people from different backgrounds.
GONZALEZ: We met with the Native Americans in Standing Rock and the Standing Rock Reservation. We met with people in Chicago. We met with people in almost like, was it over so many states.
CONTRERAS: 63 cities.
GONZELZ: Yeah. At least -- we made at least 63 stops. And it was like over 90 events at the end of the whole summer, which is more than any tour ever had. And I cannot stress how much of a different person -- how much more grown I am and more fleshed out as a human being I have become because of that.
HAYES: What is the sort of -- what is the block in terms of the efficacy of politics, particularly at the sort of basic mundane level of registering and going to vote, right? Like the problems are huge and massive and life and death. The actions you take are these small little minuscule parts of a larger thing, right, like a lot of people need to vote to change those. But taking that action is important, like how do you communicate that?
CONTRERAS: well, you know, a lot of issues that we talk about, you know -- also being on the summer tour I learned a lot about my country. And I learned a lot of the controversy, a lot of things that people disagree with is usually in congress and not within the actual American people, right.
Speaking to different Republicans and counter protesters, even speaking to countless Democrats, we realized that we agree on a lot of issues that we discuss, right, that, you know, out of all the policy points like universal background checks, which 90 percent of Americans, you know, agree with, right, out of ARPO (ph), out of disarming, you know, domestic abusers, right people are on board with this. People support it, right. But the lack of information being received to certain people and, you know, with our elected officials not representing each American, you know, sometimes people feel a need to be able to combat that rhetoric and that theory that`s being pushed out.
And what we do is we have those conversations, right. We cross the streets. We talked to those counter protesters. And we say here`s what we believe. We put the politics aside and we talk about real issues, and we talk about our real issues, that`s when we meet a common ground, and a middle ground.
HAYES: I hear that so often from people that are spending a lot of time in political conversations with people that are not professionally in politics, that exact same theme. Was that what you encountered as well?
GONZALEZ: Yeah, exactly. There are so many people that I met. They were, like, I don`t agree with what you`re saying. And we were, like, do you know what we`re saying? And then we told them what we were saying. And they were like, oh, OK, I think you say that more. And we`re like -- we -- that`s all we`ve every been saying. You just haven`t been listening to us.
But it`s not even their fault, like a lot of that messaging doesn`t get through to the other side based on the type of media that they consume as a person. And it`s hard to reach out and go to other news sites if they`re talking about things that you don`t want to listen to. But sometimes you just need to branch out and find out as much information about a topic as possible.
HAYES: I think there is a sense when you guys started doing the work that you`re doing right in the wake of what happened at your school that like, oh, these kids are passionate and idealistic and it`s great, but like the political system is messy and it`s going to chew them up a little bit. And I wonder like a year later are you more or less hopeful about how things work?
GONZALEZ: I`m super hopeful, because I know that there are so many more people in this country who are registered to vote and they`re going to vote. They`re actually going to turn out to vote, and like just because there`s a lot of people turning out to vote, doesn`t mean that you can slack off and not vote. OK, go that. It`s very important.
So, but just in general, like there`s so much more...
HAYES: You feel like you`ve seen the light bulb come on with other people...
GONZALEZ: Yeah, I`m so much more connected to this country now. I feel way more politically involved than I ever have been. Obviously, I`m advocating in politics. But, you know, it comes to a certain point where if you just talk to somebody, you look at them on the street, and you`re like, don`t forget to vote -- like everybody is getting further -- like closer and closer to that point. Also, every day we get closer to the mid- terms.
CONTRERAS: Yeah, and Chris, you know, November 6, you know, America is going to see young people shift the culture of politics in this country. Young people have had enough. Young people have rallied. They`ve marched, right. They`ve rallied with us in our summer tours and we have spoken to young people. We have organized young people and young people are still organizing across the country, right.
Young people are tired. They`ve had enough. And they want a congress that represents them. And that is exactly what they`re going to do on November 6.
GONZALEZ: And what is really important to remember is that even if you don`t see something on your ballot that`s like, there`s nothing on my ballot that talks about gun reform. The people that you are voting into your office talk about gun reform. Go look on their websites and make sure that they are going to put into effect what you want then to put into effect, any type of topic.
HAYES: Do you have a way of tracking who votes and who -- like do you have metrics for yourself. Do you have targets for yourself about getting people to the polls?
CONTRERAS: You know, we want to create nonvoters into voters, right. We`re not going to specific demographics of people. We are not going to specific voters. We`re trying to reach a large group of Americans that just don`t have confidence or have lost hope.
HAYES: More than half of Americans, let`s just be clear. Like in mid- terms, it`s the majority of eligible voters do not vote.
CONTRERAS: Yeah, but there`s a reason for that, right, Chris? You know, there`s a lot of voter suppression that goes on, especially in the state of Texas. There are people who are not educated about, you know, when they have to vote, and when, you know, they have to even register, the deadline.
HAYES: I saw this crazy thing that Millennial -- like young people don`t vote because they think they`re not educated enough, like they think -- I saw this poll where like a lot of Millennials were like, well, I`m not smart enough about the issues to vote.
And it`s like -- no, no, you`re an American. You can totally vote. Like that`s the whole point.
CONTRERAS: I mean, who is to blame, you know? This goes deeper, you know. It goes into our education system. We need to make sure we implement curriculum that teaches people how to be civically engaged and teach them how to vote.
And once we get to that point in this country where we`re actually trying to get people out to vote and not suppress them, then we`ll have a better functioning democratic process in this country.
GONZALEZ: And if people who feel like they`re not smart enough to vote, that`s because the system is progressively pushing people down and making you feel like this process is too difficult. You don`t have a place in it. Yes, we do, every place in it.
HAYES: That`s the whole point, we all do.
GONZALEZ: We debated this so that we would have a representative democracy, and if it`s not representative then we need to continue to change that by voting and actually getting out there.
HAYES: All right, Emma Gonzalez, Ramon Contreras. Thank you very much. That was awesome.
GONZALEZ: Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, what to make of Elizabeth Warren`s move to release results from a DNA test, escalating battle between the president and the senator coming up.
Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, most presidents do a bit of redecorating when they move into the White House, but most presidents don`t have the design sensibility of its current occupant. Donald Trump reportedly referred to the people`s house as, quote, "a real dump." And, yeah, you know, compared to this, anything not just covered in gold is going to be a huge let down. And so since he`s moved in, Trump has done some interior decoration choosing gold drapes, and gold-toned upholstery for the Oval Office, of course, adding a portrait of Andrew Jackson, a man infamous, among other things, for ordering the forced removal of Native Americans leading to thousands of deaths, and apparently hanging a blown up framed county by county map of the 2016 election results in the West Wing.
Oh, but there`s more. Eagle-eyed followers of the "60 Minutes" Twitter account noticed a new work of art greasing the walls of the White House in this image from Leslie Stahl`s interview with the president last night. Is that dogs playing poker? That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: So, the world got a glimpse of Donald Trump`s newest art acquisition last night, courtesy of "60 Minutes," a painting titled "The Republican Club" featuring Trump having drinks with a group of former presidents, some dead, some alive, all Republican.
There was a little confusion at first about the artist, some people assumed it was the Sean Hannity favorite and painter of conservative dreams, John McNaughton. He, of course, the creator of this work titled, "The Forgotten Man Showing President Obama Stepping on the Constitution." Look at Thomas Jefferson, he can`t take it. What are you doing?
But, no, Trump`s painting is actually the work of this guy, Andy Thomas, and it`s a bipartisan series that also includes this one titled "The Democratic Club," featuring Barack Obama having a beer and hanging out with a bunch of his predecessors.
Trump, of course, has the Republican version. You`ll of course notice Abe Lincoln in front there apparently captivating everyone with tales of what he`s been up to the last 150 years. It`s a flattering depiction of everybody, but I have got to say Trump in particular looks healthy.
The artist said he wanted to make everybody look as good looking as they can, and try to shed the pounds where I need to. Thomas told The Washington Post that Congressman Darrell Issa gifted his work to the president, but revealed it`s not actually the original artwork, but a high-quality laser print which anyone can purchase from AndyThomas.com starting at just 155 bucks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They call her Pocahontas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No criticism from me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know Elizabeth Warren, right?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Most people find offensive Senator Warren lying about her heritage to advance her career.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you remember her heritage ever coming up during the hiring process?
UNIDENTIIFED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
(END VIDEO CLIP))
HAYES: Today, Senator Elizabeth Warren released results of a DNA test showing her Native American ancestry along with a campaign style biographical video in response to the months of racist taunting by Donald Trump and his allies.
Now, tor Trump this kind thing is nothing new, he has had these precise racist views about Native Americans or decades. Here he is in 1993 testifying before congress, the Native American Affairs Committee, where he attacked operators of Native American casinos.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If you look at some of the reservations that you`ve approved, you, sir, in your great wisdom have approved, I will tell you right now, they don`t look like Indians to me, and they don`t look like the Indians maybe - - now maybe we say politically correct or not politically correct, they don`t look like Indians to me and they don`t look like Indians to Indians and a lot of people are laughing at it, you`re talking about how tough it is, how rough it is to get approved. Well, you go up to Connecticut and you look -- now, they don`t look like Indians to me, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank god that`s not the test of whether or not people have rights in this country or not whether or not they pass your look test.
TRUMP: Depends whether or -- yeah. Depends whether or not you`re approving it, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In releasing a nearly 6 minute video today, Warren decided to not only tackle the issue of her ancestry, but tell her story in a way that makes a presidential run appear to be inevitable. She also wants Trump to make good on his million dollar bet and that is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And we will say I will give you a million dollars to your favorite charity, paid for by Trump, if you take the test and it shows you`re an Indian.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: Now, the president likes to call my mom a liar. What do the facts say?
CARLOS BUSTAMANTE, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: The facts suggest that you absolutely have a Native American ancestor in your pedigree.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Today, Senator Elizabeth Warren released DNA results showing strong evidence of Native American ancestry six to ten generations ago, according to a reputed geneticist from Stanford University. Today, the president twice tried to clarify his position, making matters worse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, you said...
TRUMP: Who cares?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...you would donate $1 million.
TRUMP: I didn`t say that. You better read it again.
What`s her percentage? 1/1000th?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t have the exact number.
TRUMP: Well, tell me when you have the percentage, tell me what the percentage...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE; What about the money you told her you would...
TRUMP: You mean, if she gets the nomination in the debate where I was going to have her tested? I`ll only do it if i can test her personally, OK? That will not be something I enjoy doing either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What the hell is that?
For more on all the implications of this story, I want to bring in attorney Gyasi Ross, member of Blackfeet Nation, host of Break Dances with Wolves podcast; Sabrina Siddique, political reporter for The Guardian; and Charlie Pierce, writer at-large for Esquire.
And Charlie, I`ll start with you as a long-time Elizabeth Warren chronicler. What did think of this?
CHARLIE PIERCE, ESQUIRE: Well, I think a couple of things. First of all, it was a really good campaign video. I mean, it reminded me a lot of the Bernie Sanders-Paul Simon song video that came out before the 2016 cycle really got rolling.
One of the things I don`t like about my profession is that so many people in it think they`re political consultants. We won`t know whether this works for a while. But what I do know is that ignoring this kind of stuff doesn`t work. And I can refer you to President Dukakis, President Kerry, or President Hillary Rodham Clinton as people backing me up on that.
This is her taking this guy head-on and saying, look, OK, if this is your best shot, we`re playing on my field now. And I think that, because, at 6:00 tonight, after -- when the story was sort of rolling, she tweeted out a tweet that essentially said, OK, now I have a family story for you, let me tell you about this multi-generational criminal conspiracy.
HAYES: Right, which was clearly the sort of what she was working up to.
But there is so much going on here. Gyasi, I wanted to talk to you. I was reading a lot of different native writers and thinkers about this today. The Cherokee Nation came out with a statement basically saying look, there are tribal identities and tribal procedures for determining that identity that are not DNA. And there was a lot of, as far as I can tell, a lot of anger and lack of enthusiasm among the native writers I was reading today.
What do you think of happen had today?
GYASI ROSS, HOST, BREAK DANCES WITH WOLVES PODCAST: There is definitely a level of anger. There is definitely a level of tone deafness to Elizabeth Warren`s statement, this spectacle that she chose to unveil.
Honestly, both Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren should give that million to the National Indigenous Women`s Research Center for both of them making indigenous ancestry into a campaign prop. And I think that`s what most people have a level of consternation about.
Now, to be honest and to be straight forward, of course there is bigger fish to fry for native people.
ROSS: We have thousands of native voters being disenfranchised in real- time with the blessing of the Supreme Court in North Dakota. We have native children being separated from their families in Texas according to the federal court there. But this is something that is just another example of white tone deafness to native concerns and native voices.
HAYES: Sabrina, so I heard that from folks today. I saw Republicans saying -- basically moving the goalposts. There is sort of this real question about like -- there is a different question here of like how do you deal with Donald Trump running around saying something vile, right? That`s the fundamental issue. He runs around the country saying Pocahontas, Pocahontas, Pocahontas, it`s like what do you do with that when you want to run for president? And this is an attempt to deal with that.
SABRINA SIDDIQUI, THE GUARDIAN. Absolutely. I think that this is very much similar to when he continued to push conspiracies around President Obama`s birthplace and ultimately that led to the release of President Obama`s birth certificate.
And frankly, Elizabeth Warren, there are going to be questions about her decision to engage with Trump. This does reinforce that Democrats are still very much playing by his rules. But she knows that if she is going to be running any sort of campaign, she`s going to continue and face questions about her claims of Native American ancestry.
And I do think that it`s not going to bring about any change in how Trump approaches the issue, because it`s really not about the veracity of her statement, it is ultimately a dog whistle that plays into the grievances of his base, his overwhelmingly white base. And it goes into multiple themes that are at issue for conservatives, predominantly around affirmative action and whether or not there are people who are sort of cheating the system by claiming to be minorities.
It`s also just important, though, while we talk than aspect of the story to reinforce that in the investigation that The Boston Globe did, they did not find any evidence that Elizabeth Warren did professionally gain from claiming to be of Native American ancestry.
HAYES: And Charlie, you covered -- I mean, you were covering back in 2012 when she ran the first time. This was the go-to -- I mean, the Boston Herald, the conservative paper in Boston, conservative media, this was like the thing they talked about.
PIERCE: Oh, absolutely. And concentrating on it is one of the reasons why Scott Brown is not a senator anymore.
PIERCE: Because in adopting this thing, Scott Brown had two things going for him when he ran in 2012 against her. People thought he was nice guy, and he was the incumbent. And by engaging and by weaponizing this particular attack, he sacrificed both of those. He sounded like a drive- time talk radio host, and he was no longer a nice guy.
So, I mean, this -- I`ve said all along that Elizabeth Warren is one of the best people I`ve ever seen at learning politics on the fly, at learning how to do politics on the fly coming from what was essentially a standing start in law school.
And I think that somebody at some point has to not care what conservatives say about how Democrats and liberals and progressives run for office.
PIERCE: That`s got to stop being a factor sooner or later.
HAYES: Gyasi, part of what I think is unnerving about the attack, right, and the weirdness of this conversation is just this sort of this weird race science essentialism that like, you know, you saw in the clip before like doesn`t look Indian to me.
This whole idea that there is this very specific thing that is the identity that people are going to fight about from the outside.
ROSS: And that`s the whole problem with both the attack and the response, that, you know, Elizabeth Warren legitimized by even responding with these pseudo science DNA test -- see, the thing about native people is number one, nobody else gets to define who is native except for native people. So for white people to be arguing from the outside.
ROSS: From the periphery about who is and who is not native is really, really weird, especially when we`re not part of the conversation.
And then secondly, there`s native people that specifically, specifically do not like the notion of DNA tests.
HAYES: Right, which was coming up today.
ROSS: Which is a way to measure of our authenticity.
And to ignore those voices is very tone deaf and possibly racist on behalf of both of the parties involved that are non-Native.
PIERCE: Wait, wait, wait. Wait a minute, Chris. With all due respect, first of all, she is not claiming to be Native American, she is claiming that she had a Native American ancestor. And DNA testing is dispositive on that. She is not claim anything tribal identity.
ROSS: She is very clear about the statement. That was the basis for the bet. That was the basis for the wager was if that she can prove that she`s an Indian, that was the word, then she can have this money...
HAYES: Just to be clear at 59:55, that she says in that statement, she`s not claiming tribal identity. To Gyasi`s point, that is essentially Donald Trump`s definition of what being Indian is, although that definitional question is the one that is before us today.
Gyasi Ross, Sabrina Siddiqui, and Charlie Pierce, thank you.
That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END