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

President Trump vows to fight all Democrat Subpoenas. TRANSCRIPT: 4/24/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Joshua Matz, Aisha Moodie-Mills, Tara Dowdell

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  And that`s HARDBALL for now.  Thanks for being with us.  "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now. 

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening from Houston, Texas I`m Joy Reid in for Chris Hayes.  And I am in the great city of Houston because today it was my honor to co-moderate today`s She The People Candidate Forum which was held at Texas Southern University where eight of the soon-to-be 20 Democratic candidates had the chance to speak directly to and answer questions from the women of color who make up such a critical part of the Democratic vote in the primaries.

It was really an amazing event that featured Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O`Rourke, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren.  And if you missed any of it as it was live stream this afternoon, you are in luck because tonight during this hour we will bring you extended highlights that you will not see anywhere else.

But we must first begin tonight back in Washington D.C. where the President of the United States continues to pull out all the stops to impede Democratic lawmakers as they try to conduct investigations.

Last night Donald Trump told The Washington Post he`s opposed to White House aides testifying before Congress and today he doubled down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We`re fighting all the subpoenas.  Look, these aren`t like impartial people.  The Democrats are trying to win 2020.  They`re not going to win with the people that I see and they`re not going to win against me.  The only way they can maybe luck out and I don`t think that`s going to happen, it might make it even the opposite, that`s what a lot of people are saying.  The only way they can luck out is by constantly going after me on nonsense.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID:  Trump`s comments follow several days of escalating confrontation between the President and House Democrats.  Today the DOJ told the House Oversight Committee that a top official will not appear for a deposition that`s scheduled for tomorrow.  That came after that same committee moved yesterday to hold the former White House official in charge of the security clearance process in contempt for following Trump`s instructions not to testify.

The Washington Post reported that the White House is planning to fight a House Judiciary Committee subpoena for former White House Counsel Dan McGahn.  And the Trump Treasury Department simply ignored Democrats second deadline for Trump`s tax returns.

Meanwhile, Republicans have been noticeably silent about Trump`s stonewalling especially considering their strong feelings about President Obama and their fantasies about his conduct of his office.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The President has taken actions that he himself has said are those of a king or an emperor.

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA):  The president has acknowledged that he is of a king.  So common sense tells means you shouldn`t act like one.

CHRIS CHRISTIE, FORMER GOVERNOR, NEW JERSEY:  This president is a petulant child.  Whenever he can`t get what he wants because quite frankly the American people have rejected his agenda.  Now this president wants to act as if he`s a king.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID:  But despite Trump`s best efforts to impede House investigations, some are arguing this course of action could land him in even bigger trouble.  Greg Sargent writes today in a Washington Post piece "If the White House continues down this path, it will make it still harder for House Democrats to resist an impeachment inquiry.  Because if they launched one their legal case for doing things such as compelling McGahn`s testimony and getting Trump`s tax returns will get even stronger than it already is.

Joining me now are Jennifer Rubin Washington Post Columnist and MSNBC Contributor.  Her column today is titled President Trump Constitutional Menace.  And Joshua Matz, Publisher of the Take Care blog and the co-author of the book To End A Presidency: The Power of Impeachment.  Thank you both for being here.

And Jennifer Rubin, let me play you what Elijah Cummings the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee had to say today.  This is a warning from Chairman Cummings.

Oh, let me actually read it.  "Both President Trump and Attorney General Barr are now openly ordering federal employees to ignore congressional subpoenas in simply not show up without any assertion of valid legal privilege.  These employees and their personal attorneys should think very carefully about their own legal entry rather than being swept up in the obstruction schemes of the Trump administration."

What could be the consequences of simply ignoring subpoenas, ignoring demands to testify, and just pretending Congress doesn`t exist?

JENNIFER RUBIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Well, normally when this happens, you have the contempt procedure.  If you go down the road of a criminal contempt procedure, the problem is that the Justice Department is now run by obviously Trump surrogates.  So you have a problem there.  You might pursue civil contempt and try to get a court to find them.

But really what we have here is a declaration of attack against the Constitution.  What is really going to be interesting is when a court decides to enforce these subpoenas, what will the administration do then.  Are they going to defy a court order because it is at that point I think that Republicans have no choice but to acknowledge that he is unfit for office and has completely violated his oath.

It`s already bad enough because he is raising spurious charges.  How can Don McGahn be protected by the executive privilege when he spent 30 hours with the special counsel who then wrote it all up in a report that was released to the American people.  This is how it took bad faith that they are now operating.

Now I think Democrats are going to have to think long and hard about how and when they pursue impeachment hearings, but certainly the public case for his lawlessness, his abuse of process, his abuse of power, he`s certainly making the case I think maybe better than some of the Democrats could.

REID:  And Joshua Matz, it feels like Donald Trump is trying to make the case for impeachment post-Mueller Report based on new activity.  I mean, Richard Nixon ultimately produced the tapes that were subpoenaed.  He never tested the constitutional strictures there.  Donald Trump is rolling right over them and telling his staff not to testify.

And yet today you had Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former First Lady Hillary Clinton wright in an op-ed, Congress should hold substantial hearings that on the Mueller report and fill in its gaps, not jump straight to an up or down vote on impeachment in 1998.  The Republican-led House rushed to judgment.  That was a mistake then and it would be a mistake now.

It`s hard to imagine a more clear-cut case for impeachment than a president defying congressional subpoenas, but that is where we are.  What is the case for waiting, Joshua Matz?

JOSHUA MATZ, PUBLISHER, TAKE CARE BLOG:  Well, you`re absolutely right that the President`s defiance of Congress here is an extraordinary of use of power and a departure from very well-established traditions and principles of our constitutional system.  And prior presidents have in fact faced articles of impeachment for this kind of obstruction of Congress.  Here I have in mind one of the articles of impeachment against Nixon.

The dilemma though is that the president`s categorical resistance to any oversight by Congress has invited this weird circumstance where the only way for Congress to exercise its ordinary run-of-the-mill investigatory powers may be to at least consider impeaching him.

And that would raise the -- raise the cost of engaging in the core congressional function figuring out what`s happening in the executive branch and legislative accordingly to an intolerable degree.  Because of course an impeachment is an explosive undertaking and can ricochet in all sorts of complicated directions. 

And so here I think it`s important for the House of Representatives and for the Congress as a whole to protect its prerogatives and to consider impeachment as an absolute last resort.  But there may be step shy of that that could at least help ameliorate the current crisis.

REID:  But how many denials of congressional subpoenas should Democrats tolerate before they simply look weak, Jennifer Rubin?  Back in 2014, one Ted Cruz -- he used to consider himself Mr. Constitution wrote the following.  Obama is not a monarch.  It`s in his op-ed.  When the President embraces the tactics of a monarch, it becomes incumbent upon Congress to wield the constitutional power it has to stop it.

Congress representing the voice of the people should use every tool available to prevent the president from subverting the rule of law.  When the president usurps the legislative power and defies the limits of his authority it becomes all the more imperative for Congress to act and Congress should use those powers given to it by the Constitution to counter a lawless branch or he will lose its authority.

Under Ted Cruz`s standard, how many more subpoenas should Democrats allowed to be defied before they must act on the Ted Cruz model?

RUBIN:  Well, first of all, I don`t think they should allow their subpoenas to be ignored.  They need to come up with a legal strategy whether it`s contempt or other processes to insist that their subpoenas be honored because that would be a horrible precedent going forward.

But I tend to agree with Hillary Clinton that what you need here is to bring the American people along before you formally entitle hearings -- impeachment hearings.  That was the Watergate model.  We had the Watergate hearings that went on for over a year before you actually had the impeachment hearings in the House.

And by that model you could bring all the evidence in front of the American people, the vast majority of who in this case have not read the 448 pages.  You can supplement that by all kinds of additional information.  You can bring Mueller to explain himself before the American people.

And as this process goes on, I think we will begin to solidify a view that either the President is a menace and even Republicans are nervous about sending by him, or that he is so toxic that he is unelectable.  And then Republicans are not going to have to make a decision to go down with the ship or maybe go with Mike Pence or somebody else.

But I think that process can`t be skipped over because this is a political process and the primary duty right now of Congress is to cut through all the gibberish that Trump has been spreading around and explain exactly what`s so bad about Donald Trump.  And the only way they can do that I think is in public hearings.

REID:  Joshua Matz, it`s pretty simple.  Congress called people to come and testify before them and the people said no or didn`t even answer.  Then Donald Trump told them keep saying no, you don`t have to listen to these people.  What can Congress do?  If impeachment isn`t the way to compel compliance, what can they pragmatically do to make these officials comply with their subpoenas?

MATZ:  Well, I agree with everything that Jennifer said and that really does lead to this question of how does the House make a case to the public that the President is a menace.  How does it articulate the problem that`s happening here in a way that really matters to people?

You know, I think there are a number of steps that they can take.  Jennifer referred to a potential criminal contempt though that`s tricky because the U.S. Attorney for D.C. probably wouldn`t act on it.  They can initiate civil contempt proceedings and try to go to a federal court and seek emergency relief to get quick access to the documents and witnesses that they need to carry out their constitutional function.

Going a bit broader, a Congress also has some other creative remedies available to it.  The House could link some key funding for federal agencies on compliance with its requests.  It could consider stripping the salary away from executive branch officials who refuse to comply with its demands.

In an extreme case, Congress might not impeach the president but instead could consider impeaching members of his cabinet who are the instruments and orchestrators of this campaign of defiance.  Ultimately I do think --

RUBIN:  And that`s exactly --

MATZ:  I`m sorry.  I think impeachment does have to be on the table but it should be the last resort and not the first resort.

RUBIN:  To Joshua`s point --

REID:  Yes, we are -- I wish we had --

RUBIN:  I would just say --

REID:  Very quickly because we`re out of time.

RUBIN:  I`ve been an advocate of impeaching Mr. Barr for some time and I think my assessment has been borne out.

REID:  Yes.  Well, we shall see what they do next.  Jennifer Rubin, Joshua Matz, thank you both very much.  I really appreciate your time.  And still ahead, a crowded, a crowded Democratic field.  Eight presidential candidates took part today in a special forum with She The People answering questions from women of color about everything from immigration to women`s health, to white nationalism.

Tonight we are going to blow out the whole rest of the show to bring you the highlights from every candidate as they make their case to win the nomination.  So settle in because you are not going to see this anywhere else and it starts next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEAH DAUGHTRY, FORMER CEO, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION COMMITTEE:  And we say to the candidates, you can overlook us, dismiss us, demean us, and patronize us if you want to, but you do it at your own peril.  You put us last on your list, we put you last on our list, because our votes matter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID:  I am in Houston tonight for a very special reason.  This afternoon I joined Aimee Allison to co-moderate the She The People presidential forum which was held at historically black Texas Southern University for all you Beyonce homecoming fans.  It was the first ever candidate forum hosted by and focused on women of color.  And a reminder that black women, in particular, are a key voting bloc for any candidate who hopes to claim the Democratic nomination.

Eight Democratic presidential candidates took to the stage, Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O`Rourke, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren.  They answered questions from the moderators and members of the audience.  And tonight exclusively on ALL IN, we are bringing you the best moments starting with Senator Kamala Harris` response to an 18-year-old immigration activist named Lucy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LUCY PULIDO, ACTIVIST, UNITED WE DREAM ACTION:  I have family members who are undocumented and live in danger every day now.  As President, what will you do to stop deportation agents from tearing more families apart?

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  So first of all, we need a president of these United States who understands that we are a nation of immigrants and instead of vilifying folk because he`s trying to scapegoat folks to distract from the fact that he hasn`t done nothing.

We need to have a present United States who understands that if we are going to be true to the values of who we say we are, if we are going to be true to the actual history of what created us and who we are, then we will have a commitment from the President of the United States which is the president United States I will be that will pass comprehensive immigration reform that will stop allowing the United States government to commit a human rights abuse at the border which is what this this family separation policy has been.

I will be a President of the United States that keeps our word to those DREAMers that we gave DACA protection instead of pulling it out.  I will be a president who understands that those young people who are DACA recipients and DREAMers did not just fall out of the sky onto the earth.  They have parents who also deserve protection.

And we just need a present United States who uses her bully pulpit in a way that understands that if we are going to be strong as a country, we must be committed to our stated values.  That`s part of what has given us strength on this globe.  And right now we are ceding that power when we have a president in the United States that is using that bully pulpit to divide and to sow hate.  We`ve got to end that.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

AIMEE ALLISON, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, SHE THE PEOPLE:  Senator, as a brief follow-up to the last question, what would be your immediate action in the first 100 days related to tent cities and detained migrants and the whole infrastructure that`s been set up at the border.

HARRIS:  So first of all, what we have to do is that there needs to be real resources that are put into allowing these families to have their process for determining their status in terms of -- in particular asylum.  And again we need to -- this is the problem -- part of the problem with the issue is that it as been mischaracterized by very powerful people.

Let`s understand what`s happening.  We have families that are fleeing murder capitals of the world.  They -- most people don`t want to leave their home.  Like -- just think about the nature of it.  Most people don`t want to leave the place where they were born, where their parents were born, where their grandparents were born, with the place that is familiar to them, the culture that is familiar to them.

When people leave, it is usually because they have to.  So let`s first of all understand the nature of what we`re talking about.  OK.  So then we are talking about what have been documented to be murder capitals of the world.

Then let`s talk about the fact that there are families who have made a decision, parents who have made a decision to put their children in what they know could be a perilous journey of traveling through the entire country of Mexico to come to the United States because those parents decided the fate that they are now facing if they stay at home is worse than what they may endure.

And then what happens when they arrive at our borders?  We who have erected the Statute of Liberty, they arrive at our borders and we say go back to where you came from.  That is inhumane and it is immoral.  And so I come at -- I come at the subject from that perspective.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

REID:  Another member of the audience Destiny Lopez asked candidate Julian Castro, the former HUD secretary and Texas native son, how he would counter steps taken by conservative lawmakers to limit access to abortion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DESTINY LOPEZ, CO-DIRECTOR, ALL ABOVE ALL:  Bans on insurance coverage of abortion often create an insurmountable barrier to women of color already struggling to get affordable health care.  How will you ensure that everyone can get insurance coverage for abortion in your first term as president?

JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Thank you.  Thank you very much for the question.  Let me begin by saying that what I believe in is that everybody in this country should get health care not just health insurance, right.  That too often in our nation health insurance is you getting a denial letter that tells you the two or three reasons why you can`t actually get the procedure or the treatment that you need.  Health care is actually getting that treatment.

I also believe in a woman`s right to choose that is an issue of reproductive freedom and justice.  And so I don`t think that whether a woman has the resources to cover her reproductive health care needs should determine whether she`s able to get that health care.  And so I would absolutely support and work for the opportunity that everybody have to exercise their choice.

And you know, I disagree with measures that have been taken to essentially stymie the ability of some women to not have that choice.  Here in Texas that`s a -- this is a tremendous example of what happens when people with a right-wing ideology take hold and they`re able to keep some people out, right.  As president, I will ensure -- do everything that I can to ensure that everybody has that right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID:  There are so many candidates still ahead.  We will hear from Senator Elizabeth Warren, Beto O`Rourke, and Senator Bernie Sanders who had -- who had the love of the crowd.  We will show you next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID:  In our She The People presidential forum today here in Houston, we addressed a wide range of issues with the eight Democratic candidates including how they will win over a broad Democratic base.  I asked Senator Bernie Sanders about a particular challenge that he might face if he were to win the nomination this time around.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REID:  But in order to consolidate the nomination, you have to win over Hillary Clinton voters.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Yes.

REID:  What are you doing to try to win over those voters which includes a substantial share of the women of color, of the black women who voted in 2016.

SANDERS:  Let me make -- good question.  Let me -- let me answer it -- let me answer it in a couple of ways.  First of all obviously, we are working really hard to win the Democratic nomination.  And if I do that we`re going to work really hard to defeat the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country.

And to your point, the Democratic Party has got to be united, all right.  I hope to win the nomination and I hope to have my fellow candidates, people who are seeking the nomination, many of whom are personal friends support me if I win.

But my pledge to you is if I do not win, I will do everything that I can to make sure that that Democratic candidate becomes the next president of the United States.

We are -- this is no time for petty divisiveness, this is a time to stand together in the fight not only to defeat Trump and his racism, and his sexism, and his homophobia, this is a time for the American people to come together in the fight for economic justice, social justice, racial justice, and environmental justice.  And that is what this campaign is about

REID:  And for black women specifically?

SANDERS:  For black women will be an integral part of what our campaign and what our administration is about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID:  Also during the conversation, my co-moderator Amy Allison, asks Senator Sanders about the rise of white nationalism in this country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMY ALLISON, CO-MODERATOR:  As president, what would you do with the rise of white supremacist violence to protect our communities?

SANDERS:  Absolutely.

You know, as somebody who -- I know I date myself a little bit here, but I actually was at the march on Washington with Dr. King back in 1963.  And as somebody who actively supported Jesse Jackson`s campaign as one of the few white elected officials to do so in `88, I have dedicated my life to the fight against racism and sexism and discrimination of all forms.

And as president of the United States at the very top of our agenda will be the understanding that discrimination of all forms has got to end.  Period.  And you do that using the bully pulpit and you use that doing legislation.

If someone wants to go around perpetrate hate crimes, that person will pay a very, very heavy price indeed.

ALLISON:  Thank you.

REID:  I think what the questioner is getting getting at is a phenomenon that is actually global.  We are seeing it throughout western Europe as well as influxes of immigrants from the Middle East com in.  You are seeing the same kinds of rises of white nationalism.

SANDERS:  Well, let me just say a word on -- that`s correct.

REID:  Yeah, so as president, what would you do to return the U.S. to global leadership on that issue?

SANERS:  Well, you reverse exactly what Trump is doing.  Trump is a cowardly authoritarian president.  He is trying to throw 30 plus million people off health care who is trying -- he hides the reality that he has tried to throw 30 plus million people off health care, give huge tax breaks to billionaires, cut Medicare, cut Medicaid and education.  You can`t win an election doing that.  So what do you do?  You do what demagogues in Europe and in this country have always done, you scapegoat, you go after immigrants, you go after people of color, you go after minorities.  You say those people are the problem.  It`s not Wall Street, it`s not the drug companies, it`s not the insurance companies, it is undocumented immigrants.  That is demagoguery. 

You are right.  It exists in this country, it exists all over the world.  As as president of the United states, our foreign policy will not be as the current one is to support the authoritarian bigots all over the country, it will be a policy of supporting democracy and human rights.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID:  Health care was also a big issue for the She the People crowd at Texas Southern.  It came up multiple times today, including in a question to Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar in the form of a question from an elder care giver from Miami.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  How would you lead the creation of an inclusive care system that ensures that everyone can have access to quality care and care -- care givers who do this work can live with  dignity?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, (D-MN) 2020 PRESIDENTIAL  CANDIDATE:  Thank you.  That`s a great question.

My dad is in assisted living, so I see firsthand how hard care givers work every single day.  So, let me start with this, first of all you should have good pay, and that means a $15 minimum wage at a minimum, all right.  Secondly, unions should be able to organize and not cut down on those rights.

And we have an administration in place right now that seems to try to talk the talk of standing up for workers, but then every time there is a choice for a judge, they pick one that is anti-union, right?  Any time there is a choice for legislation, or someone they put in the National Labor Relations Board, they go with someone who is anti-union.  That`s wrong.

The third thing is your health care.  Everyone in this country should have a right to affordable health care.  And right now we have something that we worked on very hard to get in place and that is the Affordable Care Act.  That was President Obama`s signature work.  But that was the beginning and not an end.  And I believe we have to do more. 

The first thing I would do is immediately put in place and put forward legislation for a public option so that we don`t, s o we have an option that is either Medicare or Medicaid-based.  The second thing I would do is take on the pharmaceutical companies.  They think that they own Washington.  They don`t own me.  They don`t own me.  And that means negotiation for Medicare prices, it means bringing in less expensive drugs, it means stopping this practice where they keep their competitors off the market.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID:  After the break, you will hear from Beto O`Rourke, Tulsi Gabbard -- and later on, a remarkable story from Senator Elizabeth Warren about how her family kept their home.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID:  We are back with more of today`s She the People presidential forum from Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas, a candidate forum centered on women of color.

I got the chance to ask Beto O`Rourke the question that was central to this entire event.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REID:  With so many people running, 20 and counting, we don`t know, there could be 40 by next week.  And with so much diversity among those who are running -- women, people of color, why should women of color choose you?

BETO:  So -- it`s...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We`ll wait.  We`ll wait. 

REID:  Take your time.

BETO:  I will.  You know, not something that I`m owed, not something that I expect, something I fully hope to earn by the work that I do on the campaign trail, by showing up and listening to the people that I want to serve.

I was just talking to Sheila Jackson Lee backstage, extraordinary leader and mentor to me when I was a member of congress.  We talked to reparations and her House bill 40 that is so important to the future of everyone in this country to ensure that we know our history, our true story, so that we stop visiting injustices on future generations and begin the work of repair.

I remember meeting with Counsel member Amanda Edwards, again here in Houston, Texas on access to capital for communities that have been excluded from capital from the very foundation of this country.  Talking to Elisa Simmons (ph), who heads up the NAACP in Arlington, Texas.  This state is at the epicenter of a maternal mortality crisis.  Three times as deadly for women of color.  She explained to me that in a community like Arlington that does not have a mass transit system, even if you`re covered, try getting to a clinic or a hospital.  And then someone else interjected, even if you get to that clinic or hospital, there is disparate treatment for women of color in this country that also helps to explain a disparity in infant mortality that is greater now between white America and black America in 2019 than it was in 1850, 15 years before the abolition of slavery.

So, showing up, listening, incorporating what I hear everyone`s experiences into this campaign, into our service is how I hope to earn the support and the vote of the people of this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID:  Former Congressman Beto O`Rourke is one of two Texans in the race.  There was also one current member of congress there, Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.  The congresswoman is known for her controversial stance on Syria.  And I asked her about that as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REID:  Do you believe that the U.S. should stop engagement militarily in Syria?  And what would be your posture as president toward Bashar al-Assad.

REP. TULSI GABBARD, (D-HI) 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Our troops deployed to Syria initially to work with the Kurdish forces on the ground to go after and defeat ISIS.  That mission has largely been accomplished.  Unfortunately, as this was happening since 2011, covertly initially with the CIA, there is a regime change war that was lunched during that time.  As part of that war, and many of you may not even be aware of this, but our taxpayer dollars were being used to provide both direct and indirect support to terrorist groups in Syria like al Qaeda and others in order to go in and topple the Assad government.

I had a chance to go to Syria where I heard from the Syrian people.  I heard from religious leaders who pleaded and begged for the United States to stop this support, because they knew whether there were some who supported the Assad government, others wanted to see him go and they knew if the United States countries were successful in this regime change war, the most powerful force on the ground would fill that vacuum, and the most powerful force were these terrorist groups like al Qaeda whose sole mission was to wipe out Christians and other religious minorities in Syria.  Anyone who did not adhere to their extremist ideology.

So, this is the reality that we face.  There are unfortunately a lot of bad people in the world.  Some of them dictators and leaders of these other countries.  The United States cannot continue to be to be in a position thinking that we can be the policeman of the world, spending trillions of taxpayer dollars coming out of our pockets, coming out of our communities, to go and launch these wars that we have seen in Iraq and Libya and Syria, have caused so much suffering, taken countless lives.  This cost is something that we cannot accept.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES:  And still to come, we will hear from Senator Cory Booker.  And the candidate who may have had the best reception of the day, Senator Elizabeth Warren.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID:  We are back from Houston, Texas.  New Jersey Senator Cory Booker got a nice reception from the crowd of Democratic primary voters, particularly when he answered a question from the audience about freshman Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and the attacks that she`s faced from Donald Trump and other Republicans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARISMA DARDEN (ph), STUDENT:  My name is Charisma Darden (ph).  I am a student at the illustrious and notable Texas Southern University.  My question is about Ilhan Omar.  She was recently critical of the outsized influence of AIPAC in determining U.S. foreign policy, including funding of Israel.  Subsequently, she has received condemnation from the president and members of her own party as well as death threats.  What will you do as president to protect the right of courageous women of color to criticize U.S. policy even when directed at allies?

SEN. CORY BOOKER, (D-NJ) 2020 P RESIDENT CANDIDATE:  Charisma (ph), thank you for you question.

The criticisms of Congresswoman Omar, what Donald Trump has been saying about her is reprehensible, it is trafficking in Islamophobia, and it should be condemned by everyone.  This kind of selective condemnation should be a chorus of people condemning.

And more than this, the kind of language our president uses, especially about black women in power, the kind of language this president uses, it is toxic.  It fuels the kind of hate we see in our communities manifesting itself in the kind of terrorism that has been most seen in our nation since 9/11.

Most of the terrorist attacks in our nation since 9/11 have been right-wing extremist attacks, the majority of those have been white is supremacist attacks. 

And so when you have a president uttering such bigotry and uttering such racist attacks, talking about nations where black and brown people have come from in this nation as shithole countries, that is giving license to hate and to violence that we should not be tolerating.

And so it`s not just important to be an ally, as one of our great black women has said in the past, it`s not enough just to say I`m not a racist.  We must -- where racism exists, all be anti-racist.  Because if we are not dealing with this issue in our country, we will continue to see these kinds of attacks and we will continue to see the kind of vicious violence that has been affecting our nation from black churches to synagogues to Muslim mosques as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID:   That moment with Cory Booker was one of the big moments of today`s She the People forum.  And then there was the performance by Elizabeth Warren who really had the room in the palm of her hand during her appearance, including when I asked her about the tough calculation a lot of voters are making after Hillary Clinton`s loss in 2016.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REID:  When I talk with women of color in my own life, they`ll say, wow, that Elizabeth Warren has great plans.  She`s got specific plans.  She`s got great ideas.  But there is a fear in a lot of people of color, and a lot of women of color, that say after the experience of 2016, they don`t have the confidence in the electorate of this country to elect a woman president.  They want to vote one way, but their fear says they may need to flee to the safety of a white male candidate.

How do you address...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I think that`s called side eye.

REID:  How do you address people who are not confident, they`re not confident the country is willing to elect a woman.  How do you address people who maybe interested in voting for you, but maybe afraid?

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D-MA) 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  So, let me just say this about confidence.  You bet.

Look, this is the heart of it, it`s how are we going to fight, not just individually, but how are we going fight together.  Are we going to fight, because we`re afraid?  Are we going to show up for people that we didn`t actually believe in, but because we were too afraid to do anything else?  That`s not who we are.  That`s not how we`re going to do this.

Here`s how I see this. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Tell us how you see it.

WARREN:  I`ll tell you how I see it, we got a room full of people here who weren`t given anything.  We got a room full of people here who had to fight for what they believe in.  We have a room full of people here who had to reach down deep, and no matter how hard it was, no matter how scary it looked, they found what they needed to find, and they brought it up, and they took care of the people they love.  They fought the fights they believe in, that`s how they got into these seats today.

You know, this is how I see it from where I sit.  I was in middle school when -- it`s just my mama and my daddy and my -- me.  The boys are gone, my three older brothers.  They`ve all gone off to the military.  My daddy has a heart attack.  Everybody thinks he is going to die.  He comes back home.  He can`t work.  My mother has never worked outside the home.  We lose our family station wagon.  My mother is terrified.  I hear at night, I hear her cry.  I learn words like mortgage and foreclosure from my parents late at night while I`m supposed to be asleep. 

And I do remember the day I walk into their bedroom -- I`m just a kid -- and I see the dress laid out on the bed.  You all know the dress, the one that only comes out for weddings, funerals, and graduations.  And my mother is standing there in her slip and her stocking feet, and she`s crying, and  she`s pacing.  And she`s saying we will not lose this house.  We will not lose this house.  We will not lose this house.

She was 50 years old, and she had never worked outside the home, and she was terrified.  I watched her face while she looked at that dress and she looked at me and she looked back at that dress, and finally she reached over and she pulled that dress on.  She blew her nose.  She put on her high heels.  She walked to the Sears, and she got a minimum wage job answering the phones.  The minimum wage job saved our home and it saved our family.

Now let me just say about this, that day my momma taught me three lessons - - it took me a while to learn them -- but the first one was it doesn`t make any difference how scary it looks, how hard it is out there, you reach down, you find what you have to find, you pull it up and you take care of the people you love. 

I learned over time that wasn`t just what my momma taught me, it`s what millions of people across this country have taught their daughters and their sons through the years.  You do what has to be done to take care of the people you love.

But the third thing I learned eventually about that story is it`s a story about government and how no matter how hard you work, the rules that are made by the people in government will still make the big difference in your life, because when I was a girl, a full-time minimum wage job in America would support a family of three.  It would pay a mortgage.  It would cover the utilities, and it would cover food.  Today, a minimum wage job in America will not keep a momma and a baby out of poverty.  That is wrong.  It is worth fighting for.  And it`s why we`re all going to stay in this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Senator Elizabeth Warren!

WARREN:  Thank you, thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID:  And for more on what we heard today, I am joined by Democratic strategist Tara Dowdell and Democratic Strategist Aisha Moody-Mills, a fellow at Harvard University`s Institute of Politics.

Ladies, I`ve been saying to friends that this -- what this race needed was sort of a Lord of the Rings moment, an Arya Stark moment, a moment when one of these candidates breaks out and rallies the troops to say that Democrats, darn it, can win this.

Elizabeth Warren had that moment in front of that crowd.  The crowd loved her from the moment she walked out until the moment she left that stage.  That story was riveting.  I thought that she had the strongest day.  What did you guys make of it?  Let me start with you, Aisha.

AISHA MOODIE-MILLS, FELLOW, HARVARD INSTITUTE OF POLITICS:  Yeah, so we have long known that Elizabeth Warren was the smartest person in the room, and that Elizabeth Warren has a plan.  Today, she showed us that she also has deep empathy and a real deep grasp of the structural  inequalities that are race-based that affect our communities.  I think that she hit it out of the park.  I feel her.  I feel like she can hold us in the palm of her hand.  She can fight for us, because she feels us, and that is why everyone there was so thrilled and excited to hear from her.

Everyone else at that forum, particularly the men, in my opinion, missed an opportunity to really connect with people.  And she connected with our souls.  It was powerful.

REID:  And, you know, Tara, it`s interesting, because it`s a She the People forum, right.  And so the obvious kind of natural advantage went to the women.  Kamala Harris also as soon as she walked out, all of her soarors (ph) were in the audience, you know, could hear them skee weeing (ph) in the audience.  So, she had like a natural base in that crowd as well.  And I think did really well.

Of the guys, Beto O`Rourke got a warm reception, so did  Julian, the two hometown guys.  And I thought Beto really -- he did a good job in saying he has to earn that vote.  I thought that was a very smart answer.

On the other end of the spectrum, tough day today for Bernie Sanders.  A lot of jeering.  A lot of people in the crowd even sort of cat calling him.  He had a little bit of heckling going on in the crowd when he gave answers like he marched to the march on Washington and didn`t give specific answers on questions of race. 

Tulsi Gabbard, a lot -- you know, had a tough time with that crowd too, but I think she held her own, answered her question.  But those two I think had the toughest day.  What did you make of the  performances?

TARA DOWDELL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Well, I agree 100 percent with Aisha.  I think that Elizabeth Warren was electrifying.  And we do know that she can be electrifying, because in 2016, I think people forget how she rallied crowds, how she was one of the great surrogates out there on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

So I think that people forget that she has the ability to do that.  She just hasn`t gotten the news coverage I think that she is deserving of, and that`s why we haven`t been able to see her really shine in the way that I think that she in fact does.

I do think it is a challenge for Bernie Sanders because he still seems to be reluctant to really  tackle race-based issues head-on.  And so I think that`s going to be an ongoing challenge with him,  because what you see from the Democratic Party, particularly from black voters, is a want for candidates to come out and speak forcefully, unapologetically on an agenda for black people who are disproportionately affected by any issue, any economic issue is even more acute if you are African-American in this country.  And we know that race is playing a big role in hindering the progress of the black community, and people want to whatever that what the solutions are.

REID:  Indeed.

Tara Dowdell, Aisha Moodie-Mills, I wish we had more time.  We`ll talk about this more.  Thank you for joining me tonight.

You can hear a lot more from Senator Warren this weekend when we`ll have my one-on-one interview with her AM Joy.  You can tune for that on Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

And Saturday night, Reverend Al Sharpton sits down with the leading 2020 contenders to talk inequality in America.  Watch Not Just Black and White: Race and the 2020 Election, Saturday at 8:00 p.m.

And my final note on this today, I think all these candidates really did a great service to the electorate by showing up today, talking about issues, bringing their A game.  I think everyone acquitted themselves in fine fashion just by being there.  It`s an important electorate, and they had to be there.

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

  THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END