Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: October 24, 2018 Guest: Philippe Reines, Jon Lovett, Vanita Gupta, Astead Herndon, Jalani Cobb, Sabrina Siddiqui, Josh Barro
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: As I said, we will listen to the President at his coming rallies and learn if he has the interests of the country at heart or rather some other interests. And 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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of these packages contain a pipe bomb type device.
HAYES: Multiple bombs sent to multiple Democrats and CNN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was clearly is an act of terror.
HAYES: Tonight, what we know about who sent the explosive devices to Barack Obama, Eric Holder, George Soros, and Hillary Clinton.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: It is a troubling time isn`t it?
HAYES: And why Democrats are rejecting the President`s response based on past rhetoric.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Knock the crap out of them. I called the fake news the enemy of the people and they are.
HAYES: Plus, the under-covered story of right-wing violence in America.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The Republicans just don`t do this kind of thing.
HAYES: And 13 days from Election Day, the new biggest Republican deception to date.
TRUMP: Republicans will always protect Americans with pre-existing conditions.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. At this hour in the wake of a series of pipe bombs being sent to targets of his personal invective and as the hunt for a likely domestic terrorist targeting Democratic politicians is underway, Donald Trump is holding a raucous campaign rally in Wisconsin where the crowd was chanting "lock her up" before he hit the stage. It was much like the event Trump held six days ago in Montana where he exuberantly praised GOP Representative Greg Gianforte for a physical, criminal assault on a journalist.
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TRUMP: Any guy that you do a body slam, he`s my guy. He is my guy.
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HAYES: Last year Trump tweeted out a video of himself body slamming and punching a man with a CNN logo in place of his head. Today, CNN`s New York newsroom was evacuated after the discovery of a package containing a pipe bomb. The bomb was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, an MSNBC and NBC News Contributor who Trump harshly attacked this summer. Those attacks were amplified and echoed over and over on Trump T.V. Federal investigators have identified five packages containing pipe bombs that appear to be substantially similar.
In addition to Brennan, the recipients included regular Trump targets, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, as well as liberal donor George Soros who we covered yesterday and who Trump and his allies have been attacking with increasing frequency. A bomb was also sent to former Attorney General Eric Holder who has been a staple of Trump T.V.s efforts to characterize the left as wanting "mob rule." That package was sent to the wrong address. It was discovered at the district office instead of former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz whose name and address the bomber put on all of the packages as a return address.
There was also a sixth package which appears to be related to others that was addressed to another Trump target, frequent guest this show, Representative Maxine Waters of California. At this point, federal officials have not definitively linked that package to the other five. Thankfully, I should stress here, none of the bombs went off and no one was hurt. Also, an important cautionary note here, we do not know who sent these bombs.
In 2016-2017, there are roughly two thousand fake bomb threats made against Jewish institutions, the culprit turned out not to be neo-Nazis but rather an Israeli-American teen. It was a reminder we should not jump to conclusions. But here`s what we do know. The list of targets are people and institutions that are atop the enemies list of the President, his allies, and supporters. Today, Trump condemned political violence and called for unity, even as national Republicans released yet another attack ad demonizing Soros and other Democrats.
In a joint statement, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer said the President`s call for unity and condemnation of violent was meaningless "President Trump`s words ring hollow until he reverses his statements that condone acts of violence. Time and time again the President has condoned physical violence and divided Americans with his words and his actions expressing support for the congressman who body-slammed a reporter, the neo-Nazis who killed the young woman in Charlottesville, his supporters at rallies who get violent with protesters, dictators around the world who murder their own citizens, and referring to the Free Press as the enemy of the people.
Joining me now for the latest on the investigation WNBC Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst, also an NBC News Contributing Correspondent. First,. do we know if all the bombs have been located, the most pressing question?
JONATHAN DIENST, NBC NEWS CONTRIBUTING CORRESPONDENT: As of now, we don`t know the answer to that question. What we do know is the five you mentioned plus the sixth with Congresswoman Waters, and then the question is, is there a seventh. The law enforcement officials we spoken to say there is concern a 7th package is out there addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden and that it is being looked at and that they think the address was wrong on that package and it`s being sent back perhaps to Debbie Wasserman-Schultz office in Florida.
The search is underway for that potential package. There`s information from the Postal Service that it`s out there. They`re running trying to find it to see if that package is in fact linked to all the others and that is ongoing at this hour.
HAYES: OK. In the case of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, we do know though it is definitive that it was -- it was mailed to Eric Holder and it was an incorrect address and got returned to sender and the return dress was Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
DIENST: That`s right. All the packages had Debbie Wasserman Schultz as the sender, the suspect using her name, her office address as the return sender.
HAYES: A very strange detail and I don`t actually know if we have the illustration of it but you can tell it to me. There was a lot of people notice some kind of sticker affixed to at least one of the bombs, I don`t know if all of them.
HAYES: You can see it right there.
DIENST: And it appeared at first, that looks like an Isis flag, an Isis terrorist symbol attached to that under closer examination. And when you spoke to law enforcement officials who confirm it, it contains the phrase, "get er done" which is made famous perhaps from the Cable Guy show --
HAYES: It says -- it says -- just to be clear, it says "get er done" in sort of faux Arabic script meant to essentially look like an Isis flag.
DIENST: Right. It`s almost like I`m making a mockery of the ISIS flag. It also contains images of women sort of --
HAYES: Silhouetted women you see on mud flaps.
DIENST: That you`d say so. That`s sort of what`s on that. Which also raises the question of are these devices in fact real. They certainly contain all the components necessary for bomb. And we heard the police commissioners say explosive device and other law enforcement. But as they look and this really will be up to the FBI, bomb techs, and the lab as they go through it on with the NYPD bomb squad, they`re going to examine to see if they were actually operational. Again, none of them as you said exploded and they contained all of the ingredients, but was it set up right.
HAYES: That`s key though. Right, so there`s a question of we`re these fakes of our prank. What we do know is that there were the components necessary to make an explosive in there. This wasn`t just a fake, right?
DIENST: That is correct.
HAYES: We don`t know if they were actually active, however.
DIENST: Were they operational, right. Were they operational, that remains to be seen.
HAYES: And the one other thing is, were these delivered through the regular mail?
DIENST: Everything we are hearing for the most part, except for maybe CNN where there`s some talk out of CNN that it was couriered over, but everything I`ve heard from law enforcement is that all the other packages they believe were sent through the mail. And you`re saying well, how can that be? It doesn`t have a postage marking from going through the postal system. These are odd shaped packages and it`s explained to the law enforcement officials from the post office, if you have an odd-shaped package, it doesn`t go through the machine, it doesn`t necessarily -- not everyone gets hand stamped. It just goes and gets delivered or returned.
I think we saw images on one of them where there is sort of like this vague marking where we`re trying to make out what it says but that`s a simple explanation of the complicated postal process --
HAYES: That was very -- that was very helpful, actually. I feel like I learned a lot from that Jonathan. Thank you very much, Jonathan Dienst. With me now for more of the investigation, MSNBC National Security and Intelligence Correspondent Nick Rasmussen, former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center. I guess the first question, Nick, is based on what we do know, what is the investigation and what are folks now zeroing in on to try to find the person that did this?
NICK RASMUSSEN, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Sure, Chris, and thanks for having me on. It`s important to remember that the FBI working with other federal law enforcement and with local law enforcement entities has extraordinary investigative capacity and capability. And of course, all of that right now is focused on identifying perpetrator or perpetrators. And of course, what they have right now are the devices.
And as Jonathan was reporting, there`ll be a tremendous amount of focus on learning whatever is possible, whatever can be learned from the design, the technical components, the possible lineage of where the materials might have been acquired. All of which might provide clues that start to give you something to follow in terms of identifying the perpetrator. And I think the one thing we all can be confident about with the FBI is that they can overwhelm a case like this with mass and force.
They have -- you know, I would expect by this evening there are literally hundreds of FBI Special Agents, if not thousands of special agents working the problem and starting to follow up various threads. So I have pretty high confidence that the -- that the technical forensic capability of the bureau will lead us in the direction of having answers as to the perpetrator. Now, that`s only the start of the -- of the equation of course, and there`ll be a lot to learn about that perpetrator`s mindset, his or her motives whether he`s linked to other individuals or other groups. All of those questions remain to be answered as well.
HAYES: You know, in the past, there`s two sort of very notable cases of attacks via the mail that I thought of Unabomber being one of them, and the other being the anthrax attacks 2001. In both those cases, it was hard to find the perpetrator. It`s -- it is a form of attack that people have gotten away with at least for a certain period of time, if we got better at tracing these things.
RASMUSSEN: I believe so. And of course, you`re right. You know, some of the other domestic terrorism attacks in recent years have involved individuals with a firearm, and of course, it`s much easier if someone`s willing to you know, show themselves with a firearm in it in an attack setting to figure out who the perpetrator is. But again, I would argue that the FBI`s technical capabilities and the technical ability, the forensic ability of the bureau has advanced pretty significantly in recent years.
And again, it may take time. I don`t want to overstate or understate how difficult the problem may be, but I`m pretty confident that if the -- if the grains of sand are there to be looked at, they will find -- they would use those grains of sand to find clues that will allow them to work upstream until they find this individual.
HAYES: Final and broader question here, I want to be clear that you know, politics is politics. It revolves around conflict. Politicians criticize each other all the time. They attack their political opponents and foes all the time. They do it sometimes quite strenuously. That said, as someone who worked in counterterrorism, who worked in the White House under Barack Obama and served through the President Trump before resigning, what effect do you think the President`s rhetoric has on the country and on the job, the folks in counterterrorism are trying to do?
RASMUSSEN: Wow, tough question, you know, but the one thing I think that unites individuals who would carry out an international terrorist attack and those who would carry out a domestic terror attack such as the one this seems to be, the one thing that unites them is some sense that the target of their attack is subhuman or we`ve heard the word demonized a lot but. It really is if your target is dehumanized and it doesn`t feel like violence against that target is somehow illegitimate or wrong, that`s what sets the frame or sets the stage for these kinds of attacks. And of course language like enemy of the people, language like mob, I would argue contributes to that to that setting. I don`t want to overstate it. I don`t want to you know necessarily draw a causal link between any one statement, any one remark, and what may motivate an individual, and we`re going to learn a lot about what motivated this individual, but it certainly contributes to an environment that lowers the barrier that might -- that might otherwise inhibit someone from taking action like this.
HAYES: All right, Nick Rasmussen, thank you very much for sharing all that.
RASMUSSEN: Thanks for having me on.
HAYES: Over on Trump T.V. the hosts have been relentlessly pushing the idea the viewers should vote Republican or face the "liberal mob." Last night is a network we`re pressing that narrative. My next guests appear to get quite a response when he made this point.
PHILIPPE REINES, FORMER ADVISOR OF HILLARY CLINTON: In the last ten days, Donald Trump used the name George Soros for the first time in his presidency and the guy had a pipe bomb in his mailbox last night and we`re talking about whether or not -- whether or not Sarah Sanders gets her Cornish hen.
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: Whoever put a pipe bomb in George Soros`--
REINES: Why do you think -- why do you think they did? You think it was coincidence?
CARLSON: Because Trump criticized George Soros, one of the richest people in the world?
REINES: Because Donald Trump -- Donald Trump --
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HAYES: Joining me now, the man you saw in the clip, one of them, the one who wasn`t laughing, former Hillary Clinton Advisor Philippe Reines. The laughter there seems less funny today.
REINES: Much less funny. You know, if you and I had been talking on Monday morning, we could be having this exact same conversation. Is Donald Trump responsible for unleashing the hate and the hateful vicious violent environment that we`re living in, and I would have said then, yes. The only difference between now and Monday morning is that we`ve seen that someone has acted on it.
And I know I`m supposed to say that we don`t know who it is, we don`t know why they did it, but look --
HAYES: Well, we don`t.
REINES: We don`t. We don`t. And you know, you have people like Nick Rasmussen who are more thoughtful and you know, hold back than I do. But this isn`t John Hinckley who had some crazy fetish with Jodie Foster or the Unabomber who had some very complicated 15 yearlong hatred of industrialized America. This is someone who has weaponized Trump`s Twitter feed and made it into a hit list. And even if you want to give him the benefit of the doubt, we just saw him at this rally. Even if he tones it down tonight which I doubt he will, he`ll resume tomorrow.
But what we`ve seen to date is someone who whips up the crowd. He is addicted to their response and they are response -- they are addicted to his vitriol. And while he might think that he`s just putting on good T.V., all you need is one person who doesn`t realize that, and one person who thinks it`s OK to do this. Someone tried to murder Barack and Michelle Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, two sitting members of Congress, two former cabinet officials, and a news network. This is not a coincidence. And now you`re reporting Joe Biden.
HAYES: Well, let me ask you this. I mean, I should note that before the president appeared at the rally tonight, they were already chanting locker her up, which has become obviously a kind of incantation at these events. But it seems important to me to sort of maintain the distinction between speech and violence, right?
So people say things in the context of American democratic exchange and debate, they can say that they`re, you know, they`re their political opponents represent a dire threat to the country. You can say about Exxon and fossil fuel companies that they`re literally bankrupting the future of the planet because of climate change, right? That`s distinct from whether an individual takes it upon themselves to act in a violent fashion and attributing cause is -- I just want to be careful about making that attribution.
REINES: Absolutely. And look, I hope I`m wrong. I hope a few days or a week from now this turns out to be some absolute wacko, I don`t know. But there`s a difference between -- let`s look at what happened or what the right loves to invoke which is the Steve Scalise shooting.
HAYES: Yes. You`ve never heard a single solitary Democrat saying well, Scalise voted this way, he deserves it. You just never heard one. Today, and you were showing the clip, we have Rush Limbaugh, you have Laura Loomer, Candace Owens, Ann Coulter, these people are literally saying that this is a hoax. This is a different level of vitriol and nonsense that we`ve seen. And the problem with Trump is that even if you want to give him the benefit of doubt, he has a -- there`s a second aspect to this. He has a unique opportunity and a unique responsibility to do something about this.
My voice is not equal to Donald Trump. Your voice is not equal to Donald Trump. He can say this has to stop. These are not conspiracy theories. The -- I have disagreements with John Brennan but this cannot happen. He won`t say that. The best we can hope for is that he shuts his mouth tonight and doesn`t call Maxine Waters low I.Q. or all his various other attacks.
HAYES: Well, I should know that some of them -- people you mentioned we`re not saying that the people who received the bombs deserved it but rather it was a plant and a hoax in a false flag. And one of the things is striking is the President is never more than one stone`s throw away from the most insane, fevered, and vile conspiracy theories because of what he consumes. It seems only a matter of time until that someone gets that before him.
REINES: Well, I think we need to be honest here. His -- you know I`ve been able to vote since every President, George H.W. Bush. I don`t know if you`re that much older or younger than I am. I didn`t vote for either Bush. I didn`t support the Iraq war, but I never for a moment doubted that every president before now woke up and wanted to do the right thing for the entire country. Half the country might have disagreed with them, but they wanted to.
What you have now is you have a man who wakes up and he only cares about 30 percent of America. And that 30 percent of America doesn`t want to see him try to do right by the other 70 percent and they have rationalized this entire ends has justifies the means and there is no option. They want this path of hatred and that`s the path we`re stuck on. And to compare someone sending pipe bombs to someone taking Sarah Sanders supper away is absolutely insane.
HAYES: All right, Philippe Reines, thanks for being with me.
REINES: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Next, while we don`t know yet who is responsible for what happened today, there is -- this is established -- there`s been a rise of right-wing violence in America with multiple cases. Just today, a far-right groups facing charges of inciting riots and assault. Those details in two minutes.
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LIMBAUGH: Republicans just don`t do this kind of thing. Even though every event like mass shootings, remember every mass shooting there is, the Democrats in the media try to make everybody think right off the bat that some tea partier did it or some talk radio fan did it or some Fox News viewer did it. It turns out it`s never ever the case.
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HAYES: Well, not really. In the wake of a series of pipe bombings being sent to prominent Democrats, there are those on the right who want to deny any link between right-wing ideology and violence, but the evidence often suggests otherwise. Today the FBI charged four members of a white nationalist group, a violent white nationalist group The Rise Above Movement with inciting riots. The leader of the group was arrested after fleeing to Central America.
A month ago, four members of the same group were arrested in connection to the violent Charlottesville rallies last year and allegedly "assaulted an African-American man, two females and a minister wearing a clerical collar. The NYPD has now arrested half a dozen people for a street brawl after the leader of the hate group Proud Boys spoke at the Metropolitan Republican Club in New York and a bunch of his members beats people on the street outside. In April, a jury convicted three Kansas militia members who plotted a bomb an apartment complex of Somali refugees on the day after Trump`s election.
There is no ideological group in America that has a monopoly on violence. The gunman who fired on a Republican baseball practice last year had consistently espoused anti-Republican views but extremist right-wing violence is far more common, it is just a fact in this country, the domestic terror from other parts of the ideological spectrum.
Let`s bring in Jon Lovett, former Obama Speechwriter, Host of the podcast Love It Or Leave It and Pod Save America which is now a hit show on HBO, and Vanita Gupta President of Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and former Head of the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department.
It`s hard to talk about this because we do not know who did this. It`s like we know what this context of the speech is. We know who the victims were with you know, it`s a very obvious category of people. We do not know the assailant. What we do know is that there is right-wing political violence in this country that sort of grinds on beneath the headlines day in and day out.
JON LOVETT, FORMER OBAMA SPEECHWRITER: Yes. It`s also -- we have such a strange relationship to large cultural forces that create the conditions for violent people, broken people to commit acts that draw the national attention. And the fact that we don`t know in any one case what`s responsible, we find out that this is a crazy person. Will that make Donald Trump`s rhetoric less reprehensible, of course it won`t.
LOVETT: Of course it won`t. You know, we have two things that we have to accept at once. One, that there is a problem on both sides but primarily on the right that is about stoking violence, stoking anger that contributed to death of people like Heather Heyer, that contributes to a toxic culture that goes all the way down from Breitbart, down to the to the nether regions of the right, and all the way back up to the present. It`s a huge problem. And the fact that mainstream Republicans have capitulated to it is a moral calamity that we deal with every day.
Second, we also have to deal with the fact that as a culture, we are creating -- there`s a -- there`s a deeper phenomenon in which an individual pulling a reason for whatever broken mental problem that person is dealing with, whatever narcissistic, evil, violent idiocy, they pull up that reason and then we take that reason and we make it sacrosanct.
LOVETT: When what we`re really doing, again and again, is telling people that if you want to do something violent, you can have the national --
VANITA GUPTA, PRESIDENT AND CEO, LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE ON CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS: Yes, look, I just think that we are in a time where the President has been using rhetoric that has been incredibly divisive, has demonized every single one of the targets that received those threats today. He`s been doing it since he was electioneering in 2016. And when I was at the Justice Department, we saw a spike in hate crimes and the FBI was recording it in part because this kind of rhetoric no matter who actually committed it today, you`ve got to acknowledge that the President has emboldened these forces of hate in division and that is why we`re now bearing the fruits of this rhetoric today. And that`s incredibly dangerous for a place to be.
HAYES: He also does something that I think no one else in public life really does which is that he praises violence.
GUPTA: Yes, well --
HAYES: At the rallies he praised violence. It knock the hell out of them. If you attack someone, I will pay your legal bills. Five days ago as President of the United States, to great hooting and hollering and whooping of everyone, praised a member of Congress for violently assaulting a reporter. Like no one else in public life does that.
GUPTA: There`s -- this is the thing. As we are at a point right now where we are so beyond the pale. I mean, you would -- a president should be setting the standard for some kind of aspirations that we set as ourselves as a country. He actively promotes this kind of stuff, the lock her up chants are ongoing today. And the reality is he may you know, condemn it in his -- in his words for like five seconds, but he immediately returns to it.
One would have hoped in this instance that as President of the United States, when people freaking out about these bomb threats, that he actually would have spoken to the country in any kind of real way to like assuage anxieties. And instead, what does he do he goes straight to a political rally where all of this stuff is just getting laid out and exacerbated over and over again.
HAYES: And he also spoke, we should say, spoke earlier at the White House in very like sort of teleprompter speech. But --
LOVETT: Fascinating, fascinating. He reads it like a hostage.
HAYES: Yes, absolutely.
LOVETT: When Donald Trump wants to cut somebody down, when he wants to make a point, nobody`s better at doing it.
HAYES: He savors it. It`s so true.
LOVETT: When it comes -- when it comes to criticizing Vladimir Putin or criticizing the Saudis, the edges disappear, right? He doesn`t -- he loses the ability to make a point.
HAYES: Such a good point. And you saw today -- and you see -- you know, we`ve got reporting from Woodward later that when he came out with his sort of take-backsides of the Charlottesville statement where he did all of the basic parts of American civic --
LOVETT: Held the today`s newspaper and read the statement.
HAYES: Yes. That he was -- after someone was murdered that he said was the worst speech that anyone made him do.
GUPTA: Yes, I mean, there is --
HAYES: He hates doing it.
GUPTA: It just -- it doesn`t feel authentic.
GUPTA: And the reality is when he say that for five seconds but his actions before and then his actions later just belie it all.
HAYES: And he just said tonight and I should say this, he just said tonight there was a point and I`m just reading a report from a reporter who was there that the people started booing on the Democrats. He said -- and he said something like, you see, oh I`m being nice. You see how nice I`m being? See how nice I`m being?
GUPTA: I mean --
HAYES: We`re going to keep it that way the whole night. Like everyone understands what`s going on.
GUPTA: But Chris, can I just say -- these folks Eric Holder, President Obama, Hillary Clinton, they have families. Their -- people are freaking out. It has much larger reverberations across the country. And I think we have gotten to this place where this was all considered so legitimate and normalized but there is nothing normal about the kind of rhetoric that is coming out of the White House and out of our politics today. It is the basing, it is -- it is dangerous. And we`ve kind of like sometimes lose perspective because we`ve been hearing it for so much week after week after week and yet like what happened today --
HAYES: Feels like a wakeup call about that.
GUPTA: Yes, it`s terrifying.
LOVETT: But I still -- my fear today as I was watching this unfold, and even the way it is immediately put in a partisan lens for good reason --
LOVETT: -- for good reason because we live in a time which Donald Trump is saying violent rhetoric all the time, I think we might look back on this moment and still feel as though we were na‹ve, till feel as though we were silly. I mean, look at what it took for one random person to draw the national attention. Nobody got hurt today. We`re really lucky that nobody got hurt today but there is -- I think sometimes because we have lived through so much peace inside of the United States that Donald Trump may be a wake-up call. But we are still not confronting just how close we are to something far worse. It is right there.
HAYES: I were -- I genuinely worry about that. I think you know, the guy who shows up with a gun outside a pizzeria in Washington D.C. because he`s been told literally believes, I mean, literally believes, actually believes that there are child slaves inside this building because of what he`s been reading. He`s been pumped full of brain poison and he has a gun and goes there. Like there are millions of Americans, our fellow citizens consuming brain poison every day. That brain poison goes into I should say, the bloodstream of the President of the United States. It is not fought -- like it literally the worst conspiracy theories, Alex Jones the President said was a great guy had a great --
GUPTA: Rush Limbaugh today.
HAYES: I mean, that is also what`s so upsetting to me is that the man who is charged -- tasked with leading the country, he gets the worst kind of information in the world.
LOVETT: Oh yes, well look, there`s another story today and it would seem unrelated that the President is speaking on unsecured lines but his staff doesn`t care because he doesn`t know anything. Why, because where`s he getting his information from? He`s getting it from the dumbest worst sources in America.
HAYES: Right. They don`t care --
LOVETT: They don`t care. They don`t care because he doesn`t know anything because he`s just a low information voters in the White House. But on top of that, it`s not just that there`s this right-wing swamp, it`s that the intimacy of Facebook, the intimacy of Twitter, and the ability of everyone to touch everyone else makes everyone feel so close to the news and so connected to the politics of this moment that every person out there who has the fantasy that they could do this understands that they are connected to Donald Trump in a personal way because we`re all connected to each other now in a personal way.
GUPTA: But let`s not lose the focus of what`s about to happen on November 6th, which is voters have a choice. we have been hearing this, and it`s getting worse and worse, and it just feels like there is no bottom. But voters in America have a choice to vote for the kind of people that they want to see in office who actually bring us to our higher ideals as opposed to kind of bringing us down with every tweet and every piece of rhetoric.
And that is what`s at stake. I mean, all of the policies that are at stake, but we`ve also got -- we`re at a moment in this country where it`s almost like frankly unrecognizable, the kind of political rhetoric and cross demonization that`s happening right now and it is becoming, as I said, completely legitimized.
This election is America`s chance to actually speak up for the kind of politics and politicians that they want.
HAYES: And I will say that when you go and you pay attention, a lot of these local races, statewide races, local races, in a lot of cases despite ads about George Soros, what you`re seeing, and the caravan and all this nonsense, a lot of these debates look like good normal democracy at work, like people fight about things like should people have health care or not, should we cut Medicaid or not, they don`t sound like Donald Trump. They don`t sound like the purveyors of brain poison. They sound like people engaged in normal American democracy.
LOVETT: And yet, Kevin McCarthy is running ads with George Soros.
HAYES: Kevin McCarthy, today on a radio show did not rule out the possibility of the caravans being organized by George Soros.
LOVETT: And so -- you know, I take Paul Ryan at his word, I take Republicans at their word when they denounce political violence, but they won`t do the harder thing, which is denounce the kind of rhetoric that leads, indirectly, to political violence. They will not do it because it`s hard. Not only that, they benefited from it every single day.
Paul Ryan`s super PAC running some of the most racist ads all across the country, the laundering of Donald Trump`s rhetoric, racial hatred, violent, animus, violent provocations, right, gets laundered into the building blocks of the Republican message every single day.
So, rejecting these people is rejecting political violence, it`s a fact.
HAYES: John Lovett and Vanita Gupta, thank you both for making some time tonight. I really do appreciate it.
LOVETT: Thank you.
GUPTA: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, there are just 13 days left until election day, as Vanita was talking about. The president is adding a new lie to his arsenal, and maybe his most dangerous, high stakes lie yet. I`ll explain right after this.
HAYES: 13 days until the midterm elections, Republicans are closing with a familiar scare tactic with ads warning of, quote, the left, unhinged mob, and with several thousand Central Americans very slowly heading towards the U.S./Mexico border.
But as election day nears, it`s become clear the scare tactics may not be enough. And with the number one issue for voters being health care, Republicans are turned to health care message that is at odds with the truth. Take for instance one of the most preposterous claims ever from Donald Trump, which is saying something, who wrote on Twitter today Republicans will totally protect people with preexisting conditions, Democrats will not. Vote Republican.
Never mind, of course, Republicans spent much of 2017 trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act or the fact that Trump hosted an event in the Rose Garden last year to celebrate a House vote that would gut health care for millions of Americans. The White House right now is backing a federal lawsuit in Texas that would shred Obamacare, including its rules protecting preexisting conditions.
For more on the Republican turn on health care, I`m joined by Maya Wiley, MSNBC legal analyst, senior vice president for social justice at The New School; and Josh Barro, MSNBC contributor and business analyst for New York magazine.
Someone made this joke that said it would be like in 2004 if Republicans ran on being the party that was against the Iraq War. Like, it`s literally the defining political fight we`ve had over the last few years, it is a remarkable thing to try to pull off.
JOSH BARRO, NEW YORK MAGAZINE AND MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It`s like 2010 when Republicans ran and won as the party that would protect Medicare. I mean, they`ve run that specific playbook before, although at that time, at least, Democrats had really passed the Affordable Care Act that really had cut Medicare spending.
But this time I mean, you know, I don`t know that this line is connecting. You see in the polling there`s like an immense Democratic advantage on health care generally and specifically on this question of protecting preexisting conditions. So, you know, the president, he said, you know, insurance for everyone and much cheaper and much better and it`s going to be great, but the president is unpopular, not quite as unpopular as he was, but just because the president`s out there saying it I don`t think means people are buying it.
MAYA WILEY, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, especially when the president had his Attorney General Jeff Sessions file a brief in June that said kill this thing.
HAYES: Actively right now. It`s not just -- this vote that happened in the past, like right now in court.
WILEY: I mean, and let`s be clear what the brief said. It said because the Supreme Court found the penalty, right, that said if you don`t sign up you might have to pay $90 a year, unconstitutional, but left the rest of the act in place, what the charge from the Trump administration is, well, that means that you can no longer require insurance companies to guarantee that they will issue insurance to someone who wants it.
WILEY: Or that you can -- that you can protect consumers from wildly different costs for the insurance, meaning if I say need cancer treatment, they could say, OK, sure, we`ll give you cancer treatment if you pay an extra several thousand dollars in premiums, which is the same thing as saying no, forget it.
HAYES: And the brief basically says you have to scrap the whole thing, basically.
WILEY: There`s also the fact that part of the deep rot here, and Phillip Klein who is a conservative writer on health care who I really enjoy, because he`s honest, the deep rot here is once you commit to community rating, which is that you`ve got to charge everyone the same and you can`t say well, you have diabetes and you have cancer, and I`m charging you $20,000 a month, a lot of stuff flows from that. Like, you don`t get one without the other.
BARRO: Yeah, I think when you press a Republican candidates on this, and you know well the lawsuit will undo this, they`ll say things like well, we`ll come back and we`ll do a thing that just does the preexisting condition thing and protects it. And it`s a combination of dishonesty and I think also that a lot of these elected officials, especially on the Republican side really don`t understand health care policy at all.
And it sort of makes intuitive sense. Like, you have a rule and say, well, they can`t charge more if they have cancer. The problem is if you impose that rule by itself and say you have to charge everyone the same price then no one...
HAYES: The whole market just blows up.
BARRO: Because you`ll set some price and all the really sick people buy your insurance and then you go bankrupt as the insurance company and so you have to impose all these other rules, layer them on top of each other, and when you`ve done it you`ve basically rebuilt Obamacare. And that`s the thing people like Phillip Klein understand, but a lot of these Republican elected officials don`t understand that you have to take this as part of a package deal and if you want the preexisting condition protections, you have to take a lot of other big government stuff the Republicans hate.
WILEY: And this is why the trade industry itself has said this is a bad idea.
HAYES: The health insurance companies.
WILEY: I mean, the health insurance companies.
But the other thing about this is that when you add to the fact that you have about -- on estimate up to 129,000 Americans, not including the elderly, that have a preexisting condition, it`s outrageous.
But the other thing is that remember that the Republicans actually did propose a preexisting condition bill.
WILEY: That sounded like they were actually offering something. It had people like Lisa Murkowski and others. The problem with it was because it just said OK preexisting condition, but did not include these other protections that...
WILEY: The Affordable Care Act have that we`re talking about, essentially meant it was a meaningless preexisting condition bill. And so all you could assume that you will get under a new plan from the Republicans would be a meaningless bill.
HAYES: Well, and they`re also not going to do it. I mean, that`s the thing. The thing here is like this is just -- this is literally a get me through the next 13 days lie. Like, you know what I mean?
And in a weird way, I actually think they would be looking at a loss of 60 seats if they had succeeded in actually repealing the ACA. I think it`s much easier for them to lie about a vote they cast that ultimately was inert than it is to defend an actual law that`s going to hurt people.
BARRO: Yeah. And I think, you know, part of -- we`re seeing a political problem with the Affordable Care Act here, which is it`s extremely complicated. And the changes you might make to it are extremely complicated and voters can`t look at that and tell whether the complicated change that is being proposed is workable or not.
I mean, one thing Republicans talk about doing that they conceivably could do, I`m not sure that they would, is a rule that basically says, well, if you have health insurance then your insurer has to keep selling it to you even if you have a preexisting condition, and it has to be portable. And if you leave your job, you have to take it with you. And you could build something around that.
The problem is, why do people lose their health insurance? Very often it`s because they lost their job. They don`t have 600, 800, if it`s a family well over a thousand dollars a month lying around to pay those premiums. And so in the real world people have breaks in coverage and that portability system won`t work.
But it sort of sounds, when you describe it, like a thing that conceivably could work and Republicans talk about it.
HAYES: but it sort of doesn`t. I mean, my point here, so to get back to the political point, right, what`s fascinating to me is after all these years, it took a while, the thing that people predicted about expansions of essentially social insurance has now taken hold. It took a long time. But basically the idea was when you expand social insurance, people come to like it and depend on it. They don`t want you to take it away. And that was the fear of the Republicans, and it was the hope of Democrats. And it took a really long time for a bill that was unpopular as heck for a while, we have finally here in 2018 arrived at that point.
WILEY: Well, and one of the reasons it was unpopular as heck had nothing to do with the bill itself. I mean, although I agree with Josh that it was very complicated for people to understand. But people actually if you described what they would get and didn`t call it Obamacare, they said I want that. If you called it Obamacare, they`d say I don`t want that.
HAYES: And now Obama`s gone...
WILEY: So, now that they`ve got it, they`ve got the thing that is the actual thing...
HAYES: It`s amazing how potent it is to me. Literally in 2020 Donald Trump`s going to look into a camera and say only I will protect Obamacare. In fact, I am Barack Obama and that`s why.
Maya Wiley and Josh Barro, thanks for joining us.
BARRO: Thank you.
HAYES: Still to come, after having control of the government for two years, the Republican Party still does not have a closing message with less than two weeks to the mid-term. Their desperate, last ditch tactics coming up.
HAYES: One year ago, the election everyone had their eyes on was the Virginia gubernatorial election. Remember that? Democrat Ralph Northam running against Republican Ed Gillespie. And as election day approached, Gillespie did something very familiar for Republicans, particularly in the era of Donald Trump, he went all in on a strategy of racism and xenophobia and fear mongering.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: MS-13 appears to be surging again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A dangerous street gang MS-13 are responsible for the recent murder in Bedford County.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE; Those crimes have been increasing around our region.
UNIDENTIIFED FEMALE: MS-13 is a menace.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ralph Northam wants to take down Virginia`s civil war monuments.
RALPH NORTHAM, GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA: I will do everything I can to remove the statues at the state level, remove the statues at the state level.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ralph Northam will take our statues own.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: He`ll take our statues.
Confederate statues and MS-13, that was Ed Gillespie`s big strategy to close the gap between himself and Ralph Northam as he was down going into the head stretch. And for a time it seemed to work. Polls showed a deadlocked race mere weeks before election day, and then Gillespie lost, badly, by nine points, much worse than Donald Trump did in that state, wasn`t even close.
Ralph Northam`s victory is worth remembering now, though we`re approaching yet another election with the national GOP playing the exact same hand.
Ed Gillespie didn`t have a closing message then and the Republicans don`t have a closing message now. They have a closing tactic, a transparently desperate one. But when you hear now the Democrats somehow don`t have a message, that protecting access to health care and the basics of democracy are not a message, remember that millions upon millions of voters understand exactly what is going on.
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ANDREW GILLUM, DEMOCRATIC FLORIDA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: We`re really seeing a collapsing of our political discourse. My opponent as soon as he won the Republican nomination for governor went on Fox News and said, to float voters here in the state of Florida not to monkey the state up by electing me. It was followed up that same week by Neo-Nazis making calls into the state of Florida to attack my character, jungle music in the background, and the calls of monkeys being heard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Republicans seem to be acting on the premise that talking about race is a winning issue for them, but Democrats have been increasingly challenging that assumption during these midterms, The New York Times noting today, quote, "many Democratic candidates across the country, after years of tiptoeing around issues of race out of fear of alienating white voters, are slowly adopting the language of anti-racist activists."
Here to talk about the role of race in this election, Astead Herndon, who is a national politics reporter for at The New York Times who wrote that piece I just quoted, Sabrina Siddiqui, political reporter at The Guardian and Jalani Cobb, a staff writer at the New Yorker.
Astead, I thought your piece was really, really sharp, because it was precisely about the fact that I think there`s been this sense, particularly in the Trump era, this sort of weaponized white identity politics and that Democrats are kind of on the defensive, like we don`t want to talk about this. We don`t want to talk about that. But you went out and you did reporting and you`re finding like people -- Democratic candidates are talking about these issues from the other direction.
ASTEAD HERNDON, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yeah, exactly. You see this not as just the one side of the Republicans have Democrats, but you have Democrats actively on the front foot saying I want to embrace issues of racial justice. I want to embrace issues of social justice. And that`s in swing districts, that`s in tough senate races, that`s even in Democratic primaries.
You`re having people across the spectrum for more comfortable to be vocal on those issues.
HAYES: I mean, Lucy McBath who you profile on the piece, I mean, this is a woman whose son was murdered at a gas station by a white man. She became an activist about guns for it. She`s running in that same Georgia sixth. And she`s running Georgia six, right. She`s running like what was -- when everyone did that special election Jon Ossoff, like the most milquetoast district -- the most, like, oh, it`s educated, white suburbanite. And here is Lucy McBath like grieving mother gun activist going right at those issues.
JALANI COBB, NEW YORKER: I mean, look, when we see like across the country, we saw even with the Antonio Delgado situation, which is him being maligned as a rapper, we saw the comments that Andrew Gillum just pointed to, we see what`s happening in Georgia where it seems as is it`s 1956 all over again. It is impossible for the Democratic Party to say that they want to keep the base, which is overwhelmingly African-American women, committed to the party and to continue along the lines of saying we have to try to appeal to the kind of fabled white working class voter that was never really Trump`s base of support anyway.
HAYES: Yeah, what I also find -- Sabrina, I want to play this clip from Andrew Gillum tonight, because I found the way that he has handled his race fascinating. I mean, Florida is nothing if not a swing state. In fact, the president`s approval rating there is higher than it is in a lot of other places. It`s a contested state-wide race. He would be the first black governor of Florida. It`s the first time a Democrat would win in 20 years.
Listen to how he talks about Ron DeSantis and his sort of rhetorical connection to racism and racists in the debate. Take a listen.
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GILLUM: First of all, he`s got Neo-Nazis helping him out in this state. He has spoken at racist conferences. He`s accepted a contribution, and would not return it, from someone who referred to the former president of the United States as a Muslim N-I-G-G-E-R. When asked to return that money he said no. He`s using that money to now fund negative ads.
Now, I`m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist, I`m simply saying the racists believe he`s a racist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s a pretty good line.
SABRINA SIDDIQUI, THE GUARDIAN: It is. And I think the fact of the fatter is, that the president is pretty much operating off the same playbook he did in 2016 where it`s central to his strategy to inflame racial divisions and stoke fear around immigrants and people of color, and it`s striking that`s a closing argument for Republicans after for nearly two years they have controlled both chambers of congress and the White House, so the lack of an agenda to run on is something that the party and the president own.
So, I think Democrats are, in turn, recognizing that there is some sense of fatigue among voters around a closing argument or even just a campaign strategy that`s not rooted in substance, but rather in perpetuating unsubstantiated claims that are intended to drive voters to the polls out of fear.
And I also think that it`s worth pointing out that Democrats have an opportunity in these midterms to engage and turn out core constituencies who helped propel them to victory, which includes voters of color, it includes women, it includes Millennials, and those who have a different view on the politics of fear and on the racial dynamics that you are seeing at play in these mid-terms.
HAYES: One key ingredient here I think is the diversity of the candidates Democrats are fielding. And for a long time, there`s been a big representational gap between who votes for the Democratic Party who their candidates are. You know, outside of districts that are majority black or overwhelming Latino is mostly white candidates, particularly at the state- wide level. There`s much more diversity now you`re seeing. And to me, this is a key part of the Democrats embracing what they`re going to be in this era.
COBB: Or being pushed to embrace it. Let`s be very clear, none of these are candidates that the Democratic Party was kind of thinking they were going to field.
HAYES: They did not line up behind Andrew Gillum, I`ll tell you that.
COBB: And clearly, too, in Georgia. Stacey Abrams faced a very stiff primary challenge, even though she had the status that she had as a former minority leader in the legislature.
So I mean, I think that this is key.
The other thing that I will say about the rhetoric that`s important to remember here is that they are dealing with issues of turnout. They are speaking very specifically. They want to be inspirational and they want to be motivational. And they`re trying to -- both Gillum and Abrams are running these campaigns that are built on bringing their own electorate to the polls. So they really have to speak directly to the people who they`re hoping to get to come out.
It`s very different from kind of saying we know what the numbers are, we just are kind of going to give the same sort of milquetoast thing that we always give.
HERNDON: Yeah, I think that people want -- the candidates right now are thinking about authenticity. And just like across the country with folks like Abrams, with folks like Andrew Gillum, you have even in tougher House districts, places that voted for President Trump by overwhelming margins, candidates like Lauren Underwood in suburban Illinois, or like Antonio Delgado in upstate New York who decide that rather than play for that middle of the road voter, I`m going to be myself. I`m going to embrace all parts of myself, and they think voters will actually come to that from a better place than if they try to play up something that felt inauthentic.
COBB: One thing really quick, also there`s another point here, which is that the different calculations for Kemp or for DeSantis or for very many instances the GOP under Trump, the belief is that you can actually cater to the ultra-right and you won`t alienate the people who are moderately right.
And there`s an exact opposite logic that`s being played for Abrams and Gillum, which is that you will appeal to whites who want to think of themselves as not racist, and so they`re trying to actually say you are...
HAYES: If you are authentic.
COBB: If you are authentic, right.
HAYES: Yeah, Sabrina, that`s an interesting way of thinking about it, right. Like the key is sort of like leaning into the authenticity, being who you are, which is unavoidable, particularly if you`re an African- American candidate in the south in America.
SIDDIQUI: Absolutely. And I think it goes back to your point about how you have one of the most diverse fields when you look at the Democratic candidates who are running across the country, a record number of people of color, a record number of Muslims, a record number of women. And I think that the Democratic base wants to see elected officials who are more reflective of the diversity across this country.
And so it`s certainly a stark contrast to what you`re seeing on the Republican side where it very much is overwhelmingly white and overwhelmingly male candidates on the ballot.
HAYES: All right. Astead Herndon, Sabrina Siddiqui, Jalani Cobb, thank you all for your time.
That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.
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