IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Bomb suspect previously tweeted threats. TRANSCRIPT: 10/26/2018, All In w Chris Hayes.

Guests: Philippe Reines, Barbara Boxer, Ben Schreckinger, Michelle Goldberg, Leah Wright Rigeur, Matt Miller

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: October 26, 2018 Guest: Philippe Reines, Barbara Boxer, Ben Schreckinger, Michelle Goldberg, Leah Wright Rigeur, Matt Miller

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: So what does the President think of this guy? Because if you watch Trump and his rallies, he seems to light up at the displace of a truly gung-ho Trumpites and the chants of "lock her up." So again, what does Donald Trump think about the man arrested today for terrorizing the same list of enemies that come nastily dripping from his own lips? That`s HARDBALL for now. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I`d love to be in command of this case when I have the guy`s motive plastered all over his van.

HAYES: The suspect in the attempted bombing of twelve Democratic leaders and supporters --

AMERICAN CROWD: Trump! Trump! Trump!

HAYES: A massive Trump fan, went to the President`s rallies and drives a van covered in right-wing propaganda.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did not see my face on the van.

HAYES: Tonight, Trump defends his violent rhetoric.

TRUMP: I think I`ve been toned down. Do you want to know the truth, I could really tone it up.

HAYES: While still attacking the media. Then --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are not hoax devices.

HAYES: The false flag narrative pushed by the President and his supporters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barack Obama probably sent his to himself.

HAYES: And with 11 days until the election, a desperate push by Republicans to change the subject.

TRUMP: We have to start the momentum again.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. He is being called the MAGA bomber and tonight it is confirmed that the man authorities say mailed at least 14 explosive devices to a dozen people including former presidents, senior Democratic officials, and some of the most prominent critics in the President was himself a devoted member of the cult of Trump. Fifty-six-year-old Florida man Cesar Sayoc had a prolific social media presence posting aggressive pro-Trump propaganda on Twitter and Facebook. He also used the platforms to threaten the lives of people who have criticized the President.

Sayoc`s van seized by authorities today was a virtual Trump mobile. The windows covered in stickers and pro-Trump propaganda along with pictures of the President`s political enemies with targets on their faces. Sayoc was also apparently a frequent and enthusiastic crowd member at Donald Trump`s MAGA rallies. His social media feeds featuring photos and video of him attending multiple events.


TRUMP: You take a look at this people, you study these people.

CESAR SAYOC, MAIL BOMBER: Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump!


HAYES: At this hour, the President is holding one of those MAGA rallies, this one in Charlotte, North Carolina. Members of the crowd there have been chanting CNN sucks and lock her up and many think the arrest of the so-called MAGA bomber today is fake news.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just because somebody has a Trump sticker on their car doesn`t mean they`re a Trump van.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barack Obama probably sent his to himself. And Hillary Clinton probably sent hers to herself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think I heard it something being Bernie Sanders supporter.


HAYES: OK. Shortly before Sayoc was taken into custody today, Trump gave a nod to wacky hoax theorist who have been proliferating all around the American riot claiming the GOPs political momentum had been slowed by this bomb stuff and he put the word bomb in quotes, the President of the United States, about this masked plot to bomb the most significant members of the opposition party two weeks before an election. The President did that. And then the President appeared before a MAGA hat-wearing crowd of a White House where he laughed when someone shouted for one of the Bombers targets George Soros to be put in jail.


TRUMP: They`re called globalists. They like -- they like the globe. I like the globe -- I like the globe too but we have to take care of our people. We have to. Globalist --


TRUMP: Lock him up.


HAYES: Lock him up. The guy that someone tried to murder. Sayoc stands accused of mailing pipe bombs 12 people, many of whom he had threatened online. The list includes Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, George Soros, Eric Holder, John Brennan, Maxine Waters, Joe Biden, and Robert DeNiro. Today, authorities said bombs were also sent to Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, James Clapper, and Tom Steyer.

Sayoc has been charged with five federal crimes including illegal mailing of explosives. Officials were able to find him thanks to in part to a fingerprint discovered on one of the envelopes. The director of the FBI today did not put bombs in quotes.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR, FBI: We can confirm that 13 IEDs were sent to various individuals across the country. Each device consisted of roughly six inches of PVC pipe, a small clock, a battery, some wiring and what is known as energetic material which is essentially potential explosives and material that give off heat and energy through a reaction to heat, shock, or friction. Though we`re still analyzing the devices in our laboratory, these are not hoax devices.


HAYES: The 14th device was discovered after that news conference and we should note there could be more. Before he left for the rally today, Trump said that despite his inflammatory rhetoric, he deserved no blame for apparent attempt to kill his political enemies.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you to blame at all for what happened Mr. President?

TRUMP: No, not at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does it bother you at all?

TRUMP: Not at all. No. That`s -- there`s no blame, there`s no anything.


HAYES: Joining me now is Philippe Raines who is a longtime adviser to Hillary Clinton. Of course, one of the bomber`s targets. Philippe, I had you on the program earlier in the week, we did not know the identity of the bomber, we now do, your reaction.

PHILIPPE REINES, FORMER ADVISER TO HILLARY CLINTON: We didn`t know the name of the bomber but we know who to blame. And I feel as strongly today as did the other day. I mean this is pretty simple. He goes to his rallies, he has the same 15 names that he recites over and over, he spews vitriol at them, he works up the crowd, someone in crowd drives around in a van-a-festo and then that person sends bombs the 13 of the 15. How can anyone with a straight face say there`s not a direct connection?

And I think we`re not lawyers but it`s a simple test. But for Donald Trump reciting these names, these names would not have received pipe bombs. And it`s not just the 13 that have been sent. Now that he knows this is a possibility, does anyone really think he`s going to stop? Of course, not. And while he puts bombs in parentheses, we should be put in prison parentheses.

HAYES: Wait a second. The people that the President, some of them who were on that list, I mean Hillary Clinton for instance who you worked for, you know, those are prominent political foes of the President. The President and in any politician is going to be very lasing when talking about political foes, describe to me what`s different here. What is different qualitatively about how this President talks other than the sort of normal rough and tumble of politics.

REINES: Well, there`s a difference between -- there`s a reason why Maxine Waters received a bomb and not Dick Durbin. There`s a reason why Robert De Niro received a bomb and not Debra Messing. There`s a reason why these people, in particular, are receiving bombs. He has, by the way, use the word bomb in previous tweets and such. He is clearly by the nature of his very election and the nature of his relationship with his supporters especially these rallies, he is fomenting hate. He is riling them up and now we are seeing a very acute result of it.

And by the way, this is not the only result we`ve seen. We`ve seen this in small ways but hugely impactful in terms of racism, probably in terms of domestic abuse, spousal abuse, child abuse and on and on and on. He is saying this. These things are happening. It is direct. I don`t know why we`re over complicating this.

HAYES: I should note that they`re just dozens, probably too many to count at this point of examples of racist taunts being chanted of people, racist intimidation in which people invoke the name of the President as part of the racist intimidation, the racist taunts, the racist assault. That`s well-established and there`s dozens of those examples. I want to play you a portion of what the President had to say tonight in his MAGA rally where again, there were people in the crowd chanting CNN sucks, there were people chanting lock her up, in which he talked about the assault and shooting of Steve Scalise. Take a listen.


TRUMP: We have seen an effort by the media in recent hours to use the sinister actions of one individual to score political points against me and the Republican Party. Yet when a Bernie Sanders supporter tried to murder congressional Republicans and severely wounded a great man named Steve Scalise and others, we did not use that heinous attempt at mass murder for political gain because that would have been wrong.


HAYES: What do you say?

REINES: He acts like he`s doing some kind of favor. I mean, what happened to Steve Scalise is terrible. The person if he had not been shot and killed should have been apprehended, punished, and put away. But there are huge differences between these instances. First off, Steve Scalise was not being taunted by Nancy Pelosi every time Nancy Pelosi is in front of a television.

Second, no Democrat in any way ever challenged the legitimacy of it. We didn`t say, oh well, you know, the bullet didn`t kill him so what`s the big deal or I bet the Republicans staged this and shot themselves just for some sympathy. We never did that. We would never do that. That is not who we are. And that is the difference here.

If you and I probably spend too much time reading conspiracy theories, the bombs didn`t go off so what`s the big deal. George Soros sent it to himself. And my favorite is how would a Republican even have the addresses of these people?

HAYES: Yes, there are -- there were mainstream figures in the America. Lou Dobbs comes to mind, a series of tweets he deleted --

REINES: Rush Limbaugh Ann Coulter --

HAYES: And Rush Limbaugh today talking about how the stickers weren`t sun- faded enough to actually be there. And the President putting bombs in quotes. I mean, they are basically false flagging even after the apprehension in some cases. Philippe Reines, thanks for being with me tonight.

REINES: No, thank you, Chris.

HAYES: For more, I want to bring in MSNBC Contributor Sam Seder, Host of the podcast Majority Report and former Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, Host of the Boxer podcast. Senator, I`ll start with you. This feels like a new low, the level that we`ve reached in the country, the development of this week, and the President`s response.



BOXER: OK. I think the President`s response is atrocious, it`s horrible for this nation. You know, he and I are about the same age. I`m a little older but we`re about the same vintage, and we lived through three assassinations of leaders John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King. And to think that his response to this is to double down on going after the press not to look at the people and say, you know what, I get heated sometimes, if my rhetoric had anything to do with it --

We are dealing with someone who is a bully inside and out, has no compassion didn`t even mention the names of two former presidents. We`ve only had 45 and this bomber who did the act, let`s be clear he did the act, the bomber did, the roadmap was the President of the United States and everyone that he singled out for hatred.

So the politics of hatred, when practiced by a President, has resulted in a nightmare for our nation and we have a President who has to be checked and balanced in this next election.


SAM SEDER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I mean, even if someone wants to make the bizarre claim that there was no relationship between what Donald Trump has been doing and what this guy did, Donald Trump`s actions after the fact to not even call the former President of the United States, to not even call the former Secretary of State, to not even to say like we are committed to protecting the people is basically sending the message to the other potential bombers out there hey, you know, I don`t blame you. I can understand why you would do this. Hey -- and B, I`m at the point like where the outrage about Donald Trump is useless. There are people --

HAYES: He is who he is.

SEDER: There are people who have enabled him, who continue to enable him for their own political and frankly money profit. And those people are members of the Republican Party, they are the leadership of the Republican Party --

HAYES: And the conservative establishment and the conservative media.

SEDER: And the conservative establishment, they heard when Donald Trump said hey, if you beat up that protester I`ll cover your lawsuits. I mean, they still rallied behind this guy. Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, every other Republican leadership should have to answer more than he does. They need to come up and deal with it.

HAYES: Yes, what do you think of that, Senator?

BOXER: Well, absolutely. That`s why we are having an election.

HAYES: Right.

BOXER: It`s the Midterm. It`s not an election where Donald Trump is physically on the ballot but his style of politics, the politics of fear, and hate, and we see the result of that, that is on the ballot. And I have to say this. There are many issues that are going to impact people. This is one of them. We have to look deeper inside the Republican Party. Not only are they enablers but they want to take away things from the people of America, their Social Security, their Medicare, their health care. We are not going to forget about that.

This man must be checked. And yes, it all lies with the House and Senate leadership. We need to take back both the House and the Senate to restore sanity to this country, to restore hope for this country.

SEDER: Well, I mean, first off, with all due respect to the former Senator, that will not restore sanity in this country.

BOXER: Well, I don`t agree with you, sir. I don`t agree with you.

SEDER: The Democrats -- OK, that`s fine. But the Democrats can take back a House. But just like when Barack Obama thought that this would break the fever, this is not going to break the fever. The establishment of this country, we all know who they are, they sit and seats in these rooms as well, they need to start holding the Republican leadership to account, not just implore people to go and vote. This isn`t a question of people going voting. You saw the assessments of those people in line at the -- at the valley. They thought it was you know Bernie Sanders or they thought that Barack Obama had mailed this to themselves. The reporters in this country, the establishment media figures who even entertained the notion of some type of false equivalency --

HAYES: Or symmetry.

SEDER: -- between upsetting the -- Mitch McConnell at a restaurant, some nameless person protesting at a restaurant versus the President of the United States not even telling people of this country you shouldn`t have done this --

HAYES: Right.

SEDER: -- that nobody should do this, we are beyond -- I mean, the election is one thing, but make no mistake about it, sanity will not return if the Democrats take the House or the Senate.

HAYES: Let me say --

BOXER: The election -- the election isn`t one thing. The election is the thing. You know, you can write your columns and I to be a reporter and I love to write. You can go on television, the people have the power. You got to take away the power from the Mitch McConnells, from the Paul Ryans, from the Dean Hellers, and I could go on, and the only way to do that is to vote. Because all this outrage doesn`t mean anything if the same people are in power.

HAYES: I will say this. My own take on this is that it`s necessary but not sufficient, right? Some sort of political check on power the President and the Republican Party is necessary to contain the worst impulses. The deeper pathologies that are on display, they`re on display for anything -- I mean, anyone that looks at those rallies, anyone that looks the way the President conducts himself, conducts himself not as President but as a human being, as a human being who rules of the earth with some sense of humanity and empathy for fellow human beings is horrified.

Unless they are under the sway of this deeply, deeply toxic and pathological cult that the President has built up. That`s what it is and there is no symmetry in American politics between what has been created there and the profound toxicity of it and anything else right now in America life. Those are the facts and that`s the world we live in and it`s going to be that way until something very, very profound changes in the power structure of the country. Sam Seder and Barbara Boxer, thank you both. I appreciate it.

SEDER: Thank you.

HAYES: Still to come, what we know about the Trump fanatic now under arrest and charged with sending bombs to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Democratic members of Congress and other critics of the President, that is in two minutes.


HAYES: The suspect in the attempted bombing of Democratic officials and leading critics of the President appears to be a pretty big fan of Donald Trump. This as far as we can tell was Cesar Sayoc`s van in 2015, nondescript, regular old white van. This, in contrast, is Sayoc`s van now. The winters are covered in decals which appear to be -- to be clear, custom decals that he like printed out in the fix there praising Donald Trump but particularly targeting opponents of Donald Trump using photos of specific people and in some cases putting crosshairs over their faces.

Sayoc also attended Trump rallies including a rally in Florida last year where he held up an anti-media sign and he`s not the only Trump rally goer with such unusual viewpoints. Even today, people waiting for the President`s rally in North Carolina refused to acknowledge that fellow Trump supporter might be responsible for the attempted bombings.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barack Obama probably sent his to himself. And Hillary Clinton probably sent hers to herself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you don`t think this guy actually sent these bombs to these --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, probably not.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They probably had it done. They may have paid him to do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These radical people on all sides, they can be people that are problem creators. They create problems like people on the left prey on people in the alt-right, and create them -- it`s a two-way street you know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s your reaction to the fact that A, they caught the guy, but B, that he may seem to have some kind of pro-Trump sentiment to him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that theory is ridiculous, honestly.


HAYES: Here with me now two reporters who know very well the viewpoints of many of (INAUDIBLE) supporters, Ben Collins of NBC News and Ben Schreckinger of Politico who has covered a lot of the rallies. Let me start with you, Ben Collins. Just give us a sense of the sort of digital world in which this individual was immersed.

BEN COLLINS, REPORTER, NBC NEWS: Sure. On Facebook, he was in lots of pro-Trump Facebook groups, but he also -- like it appears he was created probably. He was the only friend of a page called kill George Soros, right. So that`s where we`re at really. He spent a lot of time on Twitter threatening people he didn`t like, sometimes private citizens he disagreed with, sometimes George Soros who was again, he was a big fan of threatening.

He was -- it lived in an ecosystem online that is for some reason very much allowed where you can just threaten random politicians all the time and just get away with it because that`s how it is and that`s how it`s been.

HAYES: Rochelle Ritchie had this to say on October 11th. This is a woman who appeared on Fox News, Political Analyst on Fox News. On October 11th today I made comments about Kanye West and tweeted. I received a tweet from this guy who is saying things such as hug your loved ones before you leave your home, threatened to throw me in the swamp and the Everglades. Twitter did not suspend the account, we should note, even though she filed a report with them.

COLLINS: Yes, he also told George Soros that he will soon vanish. So like -- this guy had every red flag available on the Internet and it wasn`t caught on to because honestly, it`s part of how people speak from that side, from that really dark corner over the right.

HAYES: Ben Schreckinger, you`ve gone to Trump rallies, and one thing that you hear all the time and I`ve sort of experienced this firsthand as well during the campaign, the difference between people interacting with you is like a person. Like hey, I`m an accountant, how are you, reporter, oh, and then their behavior as part of the crowd.

BEN SCHRECKINGER, REPORTER, POLITICO: That`s right. If you meet someone in line, if you`re out on the floor interviewing people, you tell them you`re a reporter, they tend to be friendly, they tend to think it`s cool that they`re talking to a reporter even if they may say that they distrust the mainstream media. They still tend to be friendly and interact with you like you`re a person. Once you`re inside that pen, once President gets going about his gripes with the media, it`s like a switch has been flipped. Things get ugly. There`s booing, there`s worse than booing. It`s like night and day.

HAYES: What`s the worse than booing.

SCHRECKINGER: Jim Acosta I think mentioned recently last week seeing someone do a motion like this, a throat-slitting motion at him. You hear threats, you hear vile language, occasionally not always, but you do hear that stuff and you do see things like what Jim Acosta saw last week.

HAYES: What is the -- get our hands around like what is this dark corner and how big is it? I mean that`s sort of what -- because this is not like -- one of the things that was frightening me is like, oh I`ve encountered many people as I make my way from the digital world indistinguishable, more or less from this guy`s online presence.

COLLINS: Yes, I mean --

HAYES: It`s like not -- it`s not like oh, I`ve never seen anything like that. It`s like oh no, no, no, I`ve seen a lot like that.

COLLINS: If you spend enough time near it you`re just going to encounter somebody like who pushes that rhetoric. They don`t make bombs and send it to people and that`s the scary part right? You don`t -- now you really don`t know right? Are they going to be the person that sends a bomb in the mail and that`s the issue is that you know, this place is -- these people are allowed to congregate these spaces and there`s no reflection going on right now. So they always looking at -- there`s a -- the largest Trump community on the web is on Reddit, it`s called the Donald. And they spent the whole week calling a false flag right? And they figured out it wasn`t a false flag, and at the end today was there any like -- was -- do they look inward, did they think about this? No, they didn`t.

They said you know, we don`t have to apologize for this. This isn`t one of them. And also the bombs, are not even supposed to go off so what`s the big deal? So that`s like it`s not going to change. There`s not going to look in and see like are we speaking too caustically to one another? That is just how it is until somebody changes like the leadership in the country or until the leadership in the country says we can`t do this, we can`t talk like this.

HAYES: How distinct is this political ecology in your mind as a reporter, Ben Schreckinger?

SCHRECKINGER: This is its own world, its own bubble. You go and talk to believers in the queue conspiracy theories at the rallies. It`s like someone who`s had a religious conversion experience. They tell you with great certainty that Donald Trump and Robert Mueller are secretly working together, that they have 50,000 sealed indictments of child molesters prepared and ready to go. They do not listen to what is said in the mainstream media. They listen to what they hear on Infowars. And many of them take it as literal truth and have no doubt about it.

HAYES: And I want to be clear, conspiracy theories flourish in every ideological corner of the internet. I get them in my e-mail from people that watch this show who say things like maybe some conservatives are paying off the caravan to which I reply no, that makes no sense. There`s reporters there. That`s not true. You shouldn`t believe that, right? The difference is that the President of the United States is conspiracy theorists.

The person at the top of the entire pyramid who made his bones in American public life and quite began his glide path for the presidency by lying about the birth certificate of the President of the United States Barack Obama, like it`s all at the top right. That`s the difference.

COLLINS: Right. That`s what we`re saying. If you were 30 miles outside of a metropolis in this country, you will see a truck that looks like that truck, or looks like that van.

HAYES: Or in the metropolis.

COLLINS: Exactly. And for 30 years you have no matter who the president was, liberals would have that truck that said 9/11 was an inside job. The difference is --

HAYES: I`ve seen that truck.

COLLINS: Exactly. The difference was there wasn`t somebody at the top who is like maybe, I don`t know.

HAYES: There wasn`t a guy who`s the President of the United States who`s getting briefings from the FBI presumably as a domestic terrorism incident is playing out in the United States and 13 of the most high-profile figures in the political opposition two weeks before an election have received bombs who is saying bombs in quotation marks so all the people who are reading threats about how it`s false flags can get the wink and a nod. That`s what`s different. Ben Collins and Ben Schreckinger, thank you for your time.

Ahead, the President denies any personal responsibility for the MAGA bomber going so far as to defend his extreme and violent rhetoric. That`s next.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you call President Obama or any of those targeted to update them?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If they wanted me to. I think we`ll probably pass. Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE; Would you yourself pledge to tone down the rhetoric for the next few days?

TRUMP: I think I`ve been toned down. If you want to know the truth. I could really tone it up.


HAYES: President Trump told reporters today, he thinks he could really tone up his rhetoric even further. It`s pretty remarkable considering his history of encouraging and praising violence.


TRUMP: Knock the crap out of him, would you? Seriously. OK. Just knock the hell -- I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.

You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this, they`d be carried out on a stretcher, folks.

I`d like to punch him in the face, I`ll tell you.

Any guy that can do a body slam, he`s my kind of -- he`s my guy.


HAYES: That`s the man with the most powerful megaphone in the country, possibly the world.

I`m joined now by NBC News presidential historian Michael Beschloss.

Michael, I have watched you on television, and I have read you, and I think everyone is trying to articulate just how deeply abhorrent and anomalous this behavior from this individual in this office is. Give it another shot.

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Right. Well, you know, I spend my whole life looking for historical parallels, Chris, and I am striking out because I`ve never seen a president encourage violence this way, so unwilling to fulfill his role to unify the nation, and also just so lacking in empathy.

You know, maybe one runner-up. You know, one thing I was reminded of through all this, in the spring of 1972 George Wallace was campaigning for the Democratic nomination for president. And he was shot in Maryland and the news was brought to Richard Nixon and he was told that there was a suspect, Arthur Bremmer who lived in Milwaukee. And just about Nixon`s first reaction was, well, maybe we should get someone to plant literature for George McGovern in Bremmer`s apartment so that people will think that George McGovern was behind the shooting of Wallace.


BESCHLOSS: And the reason I`m reminded of this is not because there`s any sign that Trump is, you know, thought of doing something like that, but the stunning lack of empathy. And the immediate effort to just turn this into politics. It`s just not in him, it`s not in his software to unify the country. And, especially, you know, a little bit over a week before these midterms, he`s so intoxicated with trying to unify his base and pit group against group.

HAYES: But here`s the distinction, and I`m not the historian here, but I`ve been thinking about this too, going back and reading Nixon, Nixon would do all that covertly.


HAYES: All of the dirty games and the dirty tricks, all covert. When he went out and made a speech, he could plausibly pretend to care. He understood the stations of the cross of American civic religion, that would go through and say things about it`s a terrible tragedy and the riots and this and that.


HAYES: This president is incapable of doing that.

BESCHLOSS: Doesn`t know...

HAYES: The public performance is not within his register.

BESCHLOSS: Totally. It`s not -- it`s not something he knows as part of the presidency. And if he ever knew he doesn`t care.

And you`re a great scholar of Nixon, so I think you`re absolutely right here.

And remember with the inaugural slogan was for Nixon in 1969, bring us together. And I think for a moment at the beginning he meant it. But Nixon`s instinct was to do the opposite, but nothing like this.

HAYES: I want to play another -- another moment in the rally tonight, which is this is a very common rhetorical trope of the president that I find as menacing, or more menacing even, than the explicit parts. Take a listen.


TRUMP: Maxine Waters. But I`m going to be nice tonight. So I won`t say it. I won`t say it. I won`t say it. I`m going to be nice. I want them to say he was so nice tonight.


HAYES: What is that?

BESCHLOSS: What is that? He is completely indifferent to or maybe aware of the fact that he says things like that tonight, he may be causing violence against someone like Maxine Waters by singling her out and by saying I`m going to be nice tonight it`s sort of the point you were making about Nixon, Chris, that any words he says, and he said a few words tonight that looked good on paper. He obviously didn`t mean them. And by saying I`m going to be nice he`s basically saying don`t take this seriously if I say something that unifies.

HAYES: Yeah, exactly. He`s telling everyone don`t take it seriously. And he`s also, to me, intimating every -- he`s letting everyone fill in the blanks in their mind, all the despicable things he said about Maxine Waters, let`s take a moment and think of them again, again, on the day that they apprehended a guy who`s going to those rallies, who sent two pipe bombs to try to blow Maxine Waters up.

BESCHLOSS: We have never seen a president react to something like this in such an unbelievably aberrant way. And it is very important in this time now that we keep on remembering the way that normal presidents would have reacted to this, you know, or Ronald Reagan, or Barack Obama, or a John F. Kennedy, you know, if there was a reaction to something like this, it would have been in public to try to unify the nation and make people feel safe, enforce the rule of law, and also private feel for the person even if it was a political adversary. That`s what America is. He doesn`t understand that.

HAYES: Final question to you, what do you think historians, the Michael Beschloss`s of the future, when they`re writing about this period and this president in this period, what their judgment will be about his moment at this -- his role in this moment in American politics?

BESCHLOSS: I think they will say this exposed the kind of person he really is. He can`t even pretend in public to be otherwise, can`t pretend to be a unifier. And as bad as it is in public, it`s probably a good thing for him that there are no Donald Trump tapes because, Chris, can you imagine what he might have been saying in private about this the last 36 hours? I don`t even want to imagine.

HAYES: Michael Beschloss, thank you for joining me.

BESCHLOSS: My pleasure.

HAYES: Up next, what the person in charge of homeland security was focused on last night instead off the possible mass assassination attempt against President Obama and other senior Democrats.


HAYES: All right, so even before today`s big news, the apprehension of the suspect who allegedly sent these bombs, something extraordinary happened last night. In the middle of a major domestic terrorism incident, as yet unsolved to that point, the secretary of homeland security, you know, tasked with looking out for security of the homeland, Kirstjen Nielsen, went on Trump TV not to talk about the attempted assassination of an ex- president and secretary of state and various critics of the president, including senators, but in what looked like some kind bizarre joint production to talk primarily about desperate migrants 1,000 miles away from the United States who want to ask our country for asylum.

Pretty blatant and cynical attempt to distract Americans from the actual threat to the homeland that was taking place at that very moment.

Here to talk about that stunning spectacle, former chief spokesperson for the Department of Justice and an MSNBC justice analyst Matt Miller, and former federal prosecutor and MSNBC legal analyst Paul Butler.

Matt, I`ll begin with you. I am still sort of gobsmacked that that happened last night.

MATT MILLER, FORMER U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: Yeah, me too. And it was -- you know, you saw really until today kind of a complete abdication by everyone in the administration. You didn`t see the attorney general out until today when they had this press conference.

There is a White House homeland security adviser, a former admiral, who is currently serving White House homeland security adviser, we haven`t heard from him all week in the midst of this going on. That`s the person who typically would be taking information from the Department of Justice, from the FBI as it`s coming in, and feeding it to the president. We didn`t hear from him. We didn`t hear from the secretary of homeland security. We didn`t hear from anyone today until this plot was all wrapped up.

What we did hear is the president kind of spinning conspiracy theories this morning after you have to suspect the FBI and the Justice Department had already informed him that they knew who the suspect was and they knew his political leanings.

HAYES: Paul, in some ways it`s a testament I guess to the ways in which Americans -- American civil service can kind of function independent of any demonstrable leadership on top that people were able to go about tracking this person down because there are many career members of the government who work very hard and take their job very seriously no matter what the president is tweeting.

PAUL BUTLER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, this was a very good day for the FBI, which it desperately needed. After the debacle of the Brett Kavanaugh investigation, the bureau proved today that it knows how to investigate a crime and find the perpetrator.

And so, you know, the point is that this is not a hoax. And I think Director Wray`s comments today, to that effect, were a direct rebuke to the president.


BUTLER: This is about a national emergency. This is about domestic terrorism. This is not a hoax.

HAYES: You know, there was something else that happened in the last day that`s been sort of ignored, I think, because everything else that happened, the man went into a Krogers in Louisville, Kentucky. He shot two African-Americans, killed them, tried to break into an African-American church, and Adam Serwer (ph) at The Atlantic had this to say, "in the past week, someone has tried to assassinate the leadership of the opposition party with bombs, a white supremacist terrorist killed two people and the DHS secretary is on Fox News discussing whether or not the U.S. government is going to gun down unarmed Latino refugees -- Matt.

MILLER: Yeah, that`s exactly right.

Look, this right wing terrorism like we saw the man who went into Kroger who had tried to go into a black church and kill people, happens all the time. I mean, there are incidents all the time. They get very little coverage from the press. They get zero attention from the administration.

And you only have to think about what would happen is, say -- say these bombs weren`t sent to, you know, members of the Democratic Party, let`s say they were sent to business leaders or random citizens and say that, you know, ISIS had taken responsibility for them. You`d see the president talking about this all the time. You`d see everyone in the administration out talking and tweeting about it. You`d see a full scale effort, and instead you saw none of that. You saw the administration actually trying to change the subject away from a mass assassination attempt, a mass terrorist attack.

And again, the president -- you know, it`s even worse than that. I mean, we talk about them changing the suspect. I think the president`s tweet this morning was actually trying to fan the flames of a conspiracy theory. So, it`s not just changing the subject, it`s the president coming out and reading the script when he has to, saying the right words, but doing what he`s done before. Doing -- he`ll come out and read the words about, you know, Russia interfered in our election, he`ll come out and read the words that Neo-Nazi violence is unacceptable, but he always finds a way after the fact to send the signal to supporters that they don`t really have to believe that. They can cling onto the conspiracy theories that advantage their side.

HAYES: Paul.

BUTLER: Yeah, and so what that means is that the president`s inflammatory and violent rhetoric inspires these murderers and bad guys. Now, they can`t use it as a formal defense, but it`s clear it`s obvious that he`s inspired the conduct. And all these false flag theories that blame the left, all they do is serve as distractions that make it harder for law enforcement and embolden copy cats.

HAYES: Yeah, that`s the thing that I keep coming back to is that the sort of wink, wink, nudge, nudge, the rhetoric. And this as well, and this goes down to Nielsen, it`s not just the president, this is why the Kirstjen Nielsen thing is to me remarkable. Bill Shine, who was kicked out of Fox and rendered unhirable anywhere else because of his alleged complicity in covering up sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, he`s now working at the White House where he sort of co-produces things with his former employer Fox.

And it`s not just the president, everyone around the president essentially functions as cogs in the wheels of sort of creating this sort of alternate distraction economy.

MILLER: Yeah, they create the alternate distraction economy and then they`re also stuck in this place where they`re kind of bound by the president`s words.

So, you saw Chris Wray today asked at the end of this press conference, when did you brief the White House? A typical question that you would get. Usually the answer would be we briefed the White House immediately when we found this guy. Most White Houses would want the public to know that they were on top of this and were managing it. But he couldn`t give that answer because the answer is we briefed the White House last night, it would make it clear the president were circulating conspiracy theory this morning.

So, you see this -- the president`s, you know, kind of failure to treat this seriously and the president saying things that aren`t true, kind of permeate the administration where other people are stuck kind of covering up the things he does or kind of carrying them out.

HAYES: Paul, as a former federal prosecutor, how much faith do you have in the ability of people throughout the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security, who do work in the civil service, to function in this environment?

BUTLER: I mean, I think today we saw why we should have faith in the ordinary women and men, the postal employees and law enforcement officers who keep us safe.

This was CSI stuff, Chris. They knew about this bombing five days ago and now we have the perpetrator. So we should give them a shoutout, even if the president does not.

HAYES: I totally agree.

Matt Miller and Paul Butler, thank you for being here.

President Trump today made it clear he is concerned about the bomb threats against his critics. He`s concerned it could be a problem for Republicans in the midterms. That`s next.


HAYES: Robert De Niro is one of the 12 people targeted by the so-called MAGA bomber this week. The device was sent to his production office here in New York. A retired NYPD detective who works for De Niro noticed that the unopened package was similar to the packages he had seen on the news and called the bomb squad.

In a statement, De Niro said I thank god no one has been hurt and I thank the brave and resourceful security and law enforcement people for protecting us.

There`s something more powerful than bombs and that`s your vote. People must vote.

De Niro is not the only one with the midterms on the mind, the president is doing his level best to move on from the attempted mass murder of senior Democratic leaders and their supporters.


TRUMP: I think that we`re running a great campaign. People love what we`re doing. They love what we`re saying. The Republicans had tremendous momentum, and then of course this happened where all that you people talked about was that, and rightfully so. It was big thing. Rightfully so. But now we have to start the momentum again.


HAYES: Joining me now, Leah Wright Rigeur, assistant professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Michelle Goldberg, a columnist for The New York Times.

Michelle, I`ve been sort of -- I find it sort of morbidly amusing the way the degree to which both the president and his supporters have been so sort of explicit about how bummed they are that this spate of terrorist violence against the opposition has stopped people from talking about the migrants in Central America.

Like, this is Lou Dobbs. He says fake news has just successfully changed the narrative from the onslaught of illegal immigrants and broken border security to suspicious packages. Let`s get back to the left-wing driven caravans and the dims who encourage them.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Right, so there is this sort of like double helix of dishonesty, right, both in that this is all a distortion -- in that this mass assassination campaign is a distortion from the real news. And also that the caravan poses any sort of danger to the American people. I mean, that has been one of the most despicable things in this period is that we`ve all talked about the caravan with this faux savvy of is it bad for the Democrats? How should they talk about it? And what has been lost is the fact that the president of the United States is running a demagogic hate campaign against a group of desperate people who are coming here and planning to turn themselves in at the border and ask for asylum.

HAYES: Leah, there were sort of competing rallies tonight. I want to play you this sound from Barack Obama who was in Detroit tonight. He has been all over the place. He was in Nevada. He is in Detroit tonight. And he is having a rally about the midterms as well. Take a listen.


BARACK OBAMA, 44TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president said he - - he was going to pass a middle class tax cut before the election. Congress isn`t even in session before the election. Just made stuff up. They all say they`ll protect your preexisting conditions. The current Justice Department is in court right now trying to strike those protections down. So that`s not spin, that`s not exaggeration, that`s just lying.


HAYES: This has been the sort of playbook. And you can see Barack Obama does a very good job of skewering it. But it is -- we`ve been covering it here, it has been sort of one of the main pillars of the final message down the stretch.

LEAH WRIGHT RIGEUR, HARVARD: Right. It is the whole you`ve been bamboozled, you`ve been led astray. And I think one of the things that Barack Obama is doing is pointing out the fact that the president of the United States has re-ignited a cultural war because it plays really, really well with his base.

So we can see this with his response to the MAGA bomber, or, you know, however we`re labeling him. We can also see this with the launch of saying we`re putting 800 troops on the border in anticipation of this caravan, which, you know, if it even makes it to the United States border, may actually take months.

So really pointing out that this is all about smoke and mirrors. This is all about dishing out a little bit of snake oil. And in order to, you know, pull us away from the fact that those promises -- and it was interesting to see at the Trump rally, there were signs about promises made, promises kept, well, actually we know those promises made on the campaign trail haven`t actually been kept. Trump is not pointing to actual hard concrete accomplishments aside from perhaps the Kavanaugh hearing and a little bit of the tax bill because there isn`t really much concrete to point to.

HAYES: Well, I also -- I want to follow up on something you just said, Michelle, and jumping off what Leah just said, that, you know, there is a sense in which we know what the president is doing, right. So, this sort of demagoguery down the stretch, the cultural war; but I do think there sometimes this weird Jedi mind trick that happens to people like, oh, this works. There is just not evidence that it does. I mean, yes, he got elected, but it`s also the case that like in Virginia a year ago, Ed Gillespie tried to do this, got his butt kicked.

The polling about the president right now is not good. The polling for Republicans in competitive districts is not good. And we`re at a near high point in the number of Americans who say they feel immigrants are positive in America. If anything, there has been a backlash effect.

And I know you`ve been doing a lot of reporting out in these kind of swing districts, and I wonder what you see there.

GOLDBERG: You know, I think it`s really hard to say because things are so polarized.

HAYES: Right, exactly. It depends on who you talk you.

GOLDBERG: He is not trying to convince anyone, he just trying to keep his rabid supporters in a hermetically sealed chamber of terror and lies. And the question is whether people who are outside that chamber are kind of sufficiently repelled to go out and vote against him.

And I think, you know, I`m here in Georgia which is one place that could potentially do that. It`s astonishing that the Democratic candidate, an African-American progressive woman is running even close to the kind of Trump clone who is running for governor against her and so and could very well win.

So there is a backlash against Trump, but at the same time, he has managed to create this entire parallel world in which a lot of his followers don`t really have to contend with any kind of contrary information and can believe that these bedraggled migrants who are going to arrive at the border in a month or so are some sort of invading army.

HAYES: You know, Leah, you wrote a really good book about black conservatives, black Republicans specifically, and there was an event for them today at the White House, which was a strange event. It felt like a MAGA rally in the White House.

But I`m struck by the fact that often when people talk about the sort of demagogic play the president is doing, these identity politics, there are backlash effects as well, right. It didn`t have to be the case that African-Americans voted 90-10 for Democrats, it was a response to a bunch of decisions and rhetoric and policies taken by the Republican Party.

And the same pertains down the stretch of an election depending on your messaging.

RIGEUR: Absolutely. And so, you know, Trump is pulling from this playbook that worked really well for him in 2016, or enough for him to squeak out a win in a national election, but that subsequently we`ve seen that that same playbook when adopted on the ground hasn`t worked out so well for people, you know, people running on the right or running, you know, pretty far right or running as Trump Republicans.

So there are consequences. There hey be a backlash to the backlash. We know that independents particularly across the country who are really, really important in not just national elections, but in midterm elections and local elections and state elections are kind of swayed by all of these things that are going on.

On the one hand, they claim that they hate, you know, PC culture and they don`t want a culture of censorship and things like that, but they also really don`t like, you know, people going out and putting pipe bombs in politicians mailboxes.

So, there`s a lot at play here. And of course it`s going to bubble up, you know, in the closing days, in the last 10 days, 10, 11 days before an election.

And, you know, for Trump, in particular, he is playing a really, really risky game, but it`s also the only game he knows how to play.

HAYES: Yes. That`s right. And I think that`s the key part, like they are playing this hand, because it`s the one available to them, Michelle.

GOLDBERG: Right. And I think that, you know, in terms of their own confidence in their own message, they are kind of amok efforts at voter suppression here and in many other states I think says something about their confidence in their ability to win in a fair fight.

HAYES: All right, Leah Wright Rigeur and Michelle Goldberg, thank you for joining us.

I should mention we have a new episode of our podcast out that talks about a campaign issue that more and more progressives are getting behind, Medicare for All. We know that it`s been a huge issue on the campaign trail in a lot of races. What would it take to actually make that happen? What does it actually look like?

Abdul El-Sayed has put a lot of thought about all that and gives such great insight into the topic. You can find that episode anywhere you get your podcasts.

I should mention, Abdul was a hugely popular guest suggestion by listeners who tweeted using the hashtag #withpod. See, I told you we`re keeping an eye on that.

Just let us know what you think. Don`t forget to rate and review as well.

That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.


Copy: Content and programming copyright 2018 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2018 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.