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Joy Reid's new book on Trump. TRANSCRIPT: 6/25/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Raul Ruiz, Jon Tester, Maxine Waters, Philippe Reines, CornellBelcher



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Are you concerned with the conditions of these border facilities?


HAYES:  Donald Trump`s migrant nightmare continues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  100 migrant children moved out of a Texas Border Patrol facility described as appalling have just been moved back into that facility.

HAYES:  Tonight, what we know about what`s happening with these children as the House votes on an emergency funding bill and this guy just got a job back at the Border Patrol.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That is a soon to be a MS-13 gang member.

HAYES:  Then Maxine Waters on her plan to stop the President from launching a war on Iran.  Joy Reid on Donald Trump and the unraveling of the American story.  And how does a member of Congress who allegedly use campaign money to fund extramarital affairs with lobbyists get to keep his job?

REP DUNCAN HUNTER (R-CA):  Whatever she did on that`ll be -- that`ll be looked at too I`m sure, but I didn`t do it.

HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES:  Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes.  The House is expected to vote on emergency funding for the border within the hour even among worries from some Democrats that the measure proposed does not do enough to restrain the President`s immigration policies.

Donald Trump has already threatened to veto that measure even as his administration`s mix of cruelty and incompetence continues day by day to exacerbate a humanitarian crisis at the border.  We reported yesterday about the more than 300 migrant children held in truly horrifying conditions at a border station in West Texas, in Clint.  Last night an eye witness to some of those conditions firsthand described an appalling situation.


WARREN BINFORD, PROFESSOR OF LAW, WILLAMETTE, UNIVERSITY:  We saw children here are being forced to live in horrendous conditions that no child should ever have to live in.  You`ve mentioned the Influenza outbreak where children were put into isolation, you`ve mentioned the lice infestation in one of the rooms that resulted in the border patrol guards removing all of bedding from the -- from the cell that the children were being kept in and forced to sleep on the cement ground.

Many children reported that they regularly were forced to sleep on the cement including infants, and toddlers, and preschoolers.  We heard about - - we saw the children who were dirty and some of them smelled.  We saw their clothes were stained.  There was no soap.  They were infrequently allowed to brush their teeth or take a shower and even then it was only for a moment or two.


HAYES:  Reports of those conditions spurred immediate outrage and soon came word that 300 children were being moved out of that facility.  But then came two pieces of news today, first that the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection who`s overseeing this entire thing John Sanders was stepping down, and second that some children had been moved back to that facility in Clint, Texas.

New York Times reporting a CBP official said, "The agency was able to send about 100 children back to the station because overcrowding there had been alleviated.  The official disputed the lawyers accounts of conditions of the facility insisting that migrant detainees housed by the agency were given access to periodic showers and were offered unlimited snacks throughout the day.

The Border Patrol station in Clint is not the only facility with problems, let`s be very clear here.  There have been similarly terrible conditions reported in McAllen, Texas where one lawyer said the water tastes like bleach and we`re "It was so bad the mothers would save any bottled water they could get and use that to mix the baby formula."

In El Paso, men were left to bake in the sun for up -- for weeks in a makeshift holding area, the one University professor who witnessed it firsthand described as a human dog pound.  The perhaps is not surprising that this keeps happening when the people running our nation`s immigration infrastructure constantly denigrate insult and dehumanize immigrants.

From President Trump referring to migrants as an infestation or invasion to Mark Morgan who was briefly had a border patrol under President Obama and will reportedly be named by President Trump as his new acting head of CBP.


MARK MORGAN, ACTING DIRECTOR, ICE:  I`ve been in the detention facilities where I`ve walked up to these individuals that are so-called minors 17 or under, and I`ve looked at them, and I`ve looked at their eyes, Tucker, and I said that is a soon-to-be Ms-13 gang member.  It`s unequivocal.


HAYES:  Wow, amazing talents by Mr. Morgan.  He can unequivocally determine the future culpability of a child.  Well, think about the entire worldview that leads a person to say something like that about a child that they`ve looked into the eyes of.

The chaos were out the Trump immigration infrastructure has gotten so bad that even get this, agents in Immigration and Customs Enforcement typically hardly the most sympathetic to migrants are now reportedly getting annoyed with the administration`s incompetence.

The president has not succeeded in reducing border crossings nor is he succeeded in saving taxpayer money on this issue.  Instead, he has only succeeded in sowing confusion in punishing and traumatizing blameless children and in casting fear over millions of immigrant communities throughout the country.

Joining me now Julia Ainsley, NBC News Correspondent covering Departments of Homeland Security and Justice, has broken a number of immigration stories over the past year and a half and he`s been reporting this out as well.

So we got these two pieces of news.  Let`s focus on the kids for a second in Clint, Texas.  What happened there?  Like do we have any indication of whether they`re taken away and brought back?  Does the facility been change?  What`s the deal?

JULIA AINSLEY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  It was shocking today, Chris.  We heard this on a press call with reporters that even though there were 300 children moved out of that facility yesterday to tents outside of a border station, tents that were supposed to be air-conditioned and better equipped and more sanitary to take care of these children, 100 were actually moved back because they decided they didn`t have the space.

It seems that some of the children may have actually been new arrivals so it`s not necessarily you know one-third move from here, to there, to there, but there are unequivocally some children who are spending the night tonight in the place that they wanted to escape from.

And it`s hard to imagine that they would have sanitized this place or made it sanitary.  You heard all of those conditions, the lice, the flu, the stench.  I can`t imagine how that would have gone away in 24 hours.

And what this reminds me of is some reporting from Jacob Soboroff a few weeks ago about those children a year ago who were going to be taken to be reunited with their parents and then they had to wait in that van -- in a van in a parking lot.

It`s that they try to come up with quick solutions when there`s pressure to do so but the management isn`t quite there.  So that is why I think -- and we`ll get to that second piece of news but I think that`s why it`s significant that what we`re now learning in the past 24, 48 hours is that it`s not just a funding issue, it`s a management issue.

It`s not just they need more money, they actually need people in place who know how to move children and take care of them.

HAYES:  So let`s get to that.  The acting head or CBP, again, as far as I can, tell no one here has been Senate-confirmed.  It`s like all acting up and down the chain of this entire thing.  The acting had announcing he`s resigning today.  Do we know what prompted that and do we know what Mr. Morgan`s plans are there?

AINSLEY:  So it looks like it was not something that he was forced to do unlike some of the other resignations we`ve seen.  This seems like it really came out of his own conscience.  He felt like he could not continue to serve.  I saw a letter that he sent out to employees of Customs and Border Protection trying to boost their morale and telling them to carry on.

But I could tell you one thing and that is that John Sanders was never seen in the same way Mark Morgan was seen.  Not Mark Morgan who we expect to be named to take that place.  Mark Morgan is a hardliner.  He was pushing for those raids over the weekend, the ones that were pulled back at the last minute.

And in this administration, that kind of talk gets you favoritism, not like John Sanders.  So he did not have people to surround him and protect him in this situation.

HAYES:  What -- when you say -- I want to return to this because there`s going to be a vote later today and there`s a political dispute right now, legislative dispute about funding.  Elaborate on your point about management versus funding.  What is your reporting indicate about what breakdown is happening here?

AINSLEY:  Yes, OK.  So about two-and-a-half weeks ago, we got these numbers that were staggering that showed how many children were stuck in these border stations across the border.  Most of the overcrowding was in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso where that Clint facility was and in Yuma.

And then at that point, we said OK, they`re overcrowded because yes, they have a lot of unaccompanied children crossing the border and then there`s not enough capacity for them to be sent to Health and Human Services where they would be better taken care of.  It seems pretty straightforward it was a sort of a backlog.

Now, it seems that OK, even if they do have more funding, if they can expand capacity, there are some basic human needs that aren`t being taken care of.  The maximum time they`re supposed to be there 72 hours, they`re staying weeks.  That can be part of the backlog.  But even if you`re there for 72 hours, a fresh change of clothes, a shower, toothbrush, soap, having people take care of you, that`s something that needs to be managed.

The other thing is what made Clint so unique is that the chief there decided to take his unaccompanied child population and separate them into another facility.  You usually don`t have to separate a child from an adult that they came with oftentimes a grandmother or someone else who was not a parent.

You wouldn`t separate them until they moved to Health and Human Services.  But for some reason this chief decided to move all of these children, take your most vulnerable population and move them to a place where they have very little adult supervision.

So it shows that not only did that chief perhaps act in a way he shouldn`t have but that there wasn`t enough oversight to keep that from happening.  An Inspector General of DHS is now looking into this but the fact that there was so much autonomy that something like that bridge that you described, that human pound for adult men, that was the same chief in El Paso.

There`s a lot that`s been happening in this sector and I think it`s the one to watch and I think it also shows that the people at the top are not able to control the people and these border sectors if they`re able to make such sweeping decisions.

HAYES:  All right, Julie Ainsley, thanks for that great reporting.  Democratic Congressman Raul Ruiz of California has introduced a bill that would set out basic standards from CBP to meet the humanitarian needs of those in its custody.  He`s here with me now.

Describe your legislation and how it differs from the legislation that it appears the leadership is backing that`s going to get a vote in about half an hour.

REP. RAUL RUIZ (D-CA):  Thank you, Chris.  First of all, I`m a board- certified emergency physician.  I am a public health expert trained in medical pre-hospital command as well as humanitarian aid from Harvard and the ICRC in Geneva, and this appropriation bill will not meet the humanitarian needs of children and families.

This bill is a desperate measure for a desperate situation to fund items into a dysfunctional system with an administration that doesn`t believe that children are worthy of toothbrushes, blankets, or soap for personal hygiene.

My bill the humanitarian standards for individuals in CBP custody will change behavior and that it will change the protocol and the way the individuals under their custody and responsibility are treated in situations with health care.  For example, high-risk individuals, children, pregnant women, elderly will get a health exam consisting of an interview, vital signs, physical examination, assessment and plan with medical consultation within three hours.

In terms of shelter, it would ensure that individuals get two meters squared of space, that they will have lights off at ten, allow them to sleep, keep the temperatures in a humane setting.  In terms of water, they`ll get one gallon per adults.  In terms of food, they will get 2,000 calories per adult an age base and weight based appropriate food and calories for children, pregnant women, and the elderly, so it`s very different and -- yes, go ahead, Chris.

HAYES:  So what I`m hearing from you is that your legislation will lay out minimum basic standards of humane treatment, medical examination, care or feeding and the like for the population detained by CBP, and that that is totally absent now and essentially only governed by the Flores Settlement and which seems to be honored in the breach as much as we`ve seen?

RUIZ:  Correct.  In this, the changes that have been made to appease some members and to make an attempt to move as towards more towards my legislation is to allow CBP to come up with those standards.

HAYES:  I see.

RUIZ:  Allowing CBP to come up with those standards is like asking the fox to guard the chicken coop.  And they already have standards and those are the standards that allowed six children to die under their responsibility.

HAYES:  So -- I see.  So the current legislation -- again, the leadership - - the House Democratic leadership is backing, it`s going to be voted on and maybe 15 minutes, it requires standards but delegates the CBP to come up with it.  Your legislation would specify the bare minimum standards.

RUIZ:  Yes, correct.

HAYES:  Does that mean -- does that mean that you`re a no on this -- on this bill that`s going to come up?

RUIZ:  No, Chris because we`re between a rock and a hard place here.  This is a desperate situation and a desperate measure and we need to stop the bleeding.  If CBP is saying, listen, we don`t have any food to give to children or blankets, you know, we got to at least fun food and blankets.  But this is an administration that has been serving frozen burritos to children.

You know, this is an administration that if we fund for example the trains or soap, they don`t believe that children are worthy of using soap or bathing once a day which my bill would allow them to do.

HAYES:  All right, so it sounds like though that you are a yes on this which suggests to me that the dissenters in the caucus who are significant -- I talked to Pramila Jayapal and others that this is -- that`s going to pass then, and then the President is going to veto it anyway, right?

RUIZ:  You know, I -- you know, you never know what the president says.  He changes his mind all the time.  But that`s what he`s -- that`s what he`s saying right now.  But you know, we cannot be fooled that this bill is going to solve the problem or meet the humanitarian needs of the children and families.  We got to continue to push hard to get the humanitarian standards for individuals, the CBP Custody Act into law.

HAYES:  CBP Custody Act.  Congressman Raul Ruiz, thank you so much for your time.

RUIZ:  Thank you.  I want to turn now to the other side of Capitol Hill, Democratic Senator Jon Tester of Montana.  Senator, the House is going to vote on legislation that the White House has already issued a veto threat towards the Senate, has voted on something I think at least out of committee that had bipartisan support.  Where do you stand on this?

SEN. JON TESTER (D-MT):  Well, I supported in committee, in Appropriations Committee when this -- when this bill was put up last week.  I think Congressman Ruiz is correct.  We need to do something to take care of the humanitarian needs on the southern border and the Senate bill is our best effort to do that.

It`s a -- it`s a compromise bill.  If I have written the bill, it would look different but nonetheless, I think where we`re at right now this is the best that the United States Senate is going to do.  And so I think it`s a step in the right direction.

HAYES:  You know, you`re a member of the United States Senate, an august body and trusted by the U.S. Constitution to provide advice and consent to the executive in the filling of appointments in the executive branch.  Here are the folks that are running DHS at least until today.

Kevin McAleenan who`s the head of DHS, acting, has not been confirmed by the United States Senate.  John Sanders who resigned today is the Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, not confirmed by the U.S. Senate to that position.  Mark Morgan, Acting Director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, expected to be named Acting Director of CBP also not confirmed by the U.S. Senate to the position he serves in.  Is this a problem?

TESTER:  It`s a huge problem.  I mean, everybody in this administration that deals with immigration or customs is an acting position.  That`s crazy.  How can you get -- how can you put forth -- how can you enact policy?

I mean Congress can put policy forth but the fact that these are all acting and quite frankly can be kicked out at the whim of the president if they want to try to do something right, as I told Kevin McAleenan when you got appointed, I says you try to do something right, the president is going to get rid of you.

So that`s a problem.  And the Constitution is such that they need to bring these folks in front of the Senate so we can give them advice and consent on whether the right for the job.  You`re exactly right, Chris, the President is not -- is not doing what he needs to do to try to get people in a position in a permanent way so that they can be held accountable.

HAYES:  Well, so I actually don`t quite understand this.  Mitch McConnell currently as the majority leader of the U.S. Senate where he has a Republican majority that allows him to control much of what happens on the floor of that body.  It`s not like if there was a Democratic majority who said we don`t like Donald Trump and we`re not going to confirm these nominees, this situation would make more sense.

I don`t understand how it is a crucial position after crucial position particularly in the immigration and infrastructure of the United States the president is so focused on doesn`t have anyone who said it confirmed.

TESTER:  I just don`t think they`re sending them over.  I mean, I`m ranking member on the Veterans Affairs Committee.  We`ve been trying to get a Director of the Health Administration confirmed for months many, many, many months and the White House has yet to send the person over to the committee.  The person they want to send over I think who could get confirmed by unanimous consent but they don`t send them over, and I think that`s the problem.

I don`t know if the Senator McConnell is working with the administration on this or not, but I can tell you that if they don`t send the people over, we can`t have the hearings in committee and they don`t get to the floor.  And so consequently, the President can do whatever he wants to do.  And he as much has said that he`d prefer to have these folks in temporary positions.

Look, it is apparent to all of us that Congress`s a nuisance to this president.  And quite frankly that`s not how the Constitution is written and we need to be able to hold him accountable and we have yet to do that.

HAYES:  Well, it strikes me.  I mean, do you think there`s a cause and effect here, right, between the kinds of conditions we`re seeing things that are being managed by the executive insulated from congressional oversight and the fact that they have treated Congress in the way they have.

TESTER:  What`s going on in the border right now didn`t just happen in the last week or two.  We`re seeing numbers that are that are very, very high.  When I was at the border three weeks ago and the facilities were jam-packed then and I`m sure it`s gotten worse.

But the fact is every time the president talks about closing down the border, every time he every time that we come up and talk about, well, maybe we should give some aid to Guatemala and El Salvador and Honduras so these folks can stay there because they`re starving to death whether it`s from climate change or some other reason, it`s not even considered.

The fact is we talk about separating kids from their parents and that kind of stuff.  That`s not what this country is about.  And quite frankly like I said, Congress needs to be able to do their job.  We can but it`s going to take Senator McConnell standing up to the President and saying no more.  This is the way it`s going to be.  We`re going to -- we`re going to act as a check and balance on the executive branch.

HAYES:  All right, Senator Jon Tester, thank you much for making time.

TESTER:  You bet.  Thank you, Chris.

HAYES:  Next, Congresswoman Maxine Waters explains her efforts to prevent an attack on Iran as the President steps ever closer and closer to armed conflict.  Congresswoman Waters joins me in two minutes.


HAYES:  President Trump is yet again ratcheting up the rhetoric with Iran taking every step possible to March us to the brink of war with that country, and then to bask in the applause of not pulling the trigger.

He continued this morning on Twitter promising overwhelming force and obliteration and ignoring the fact that not only is Iran the second most populous country in the Middle East but the U.S. still has about 14,000 troops next door in Afghanistan and another five thousand next door in Iraq.

One of the fundamental issues here is that Trump appears to think it is his decision and his decision alone whether or not to wage war or Iran.


TRUMP:  I like the idea of keeping Congress abreast but I wouldn`t have to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Sure.  Nancy Pelosi actually said you must have Congressional approval.  So you disagree with her on that?

TRUMP:  I disagree.  I think most people seem to disagree.  But I do like keeping them -- they have ideas.  They`re intelligent people.  They`ll come up with some thoughts.  I actually learned a couple of things the other day where we had our meeting with Congress which were I think helpful to me.  But I do like keeping them abreast but I don`t have to do it illegally.


HAYES:  Well, no, he does.  It`s literally in the Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, the Congress shall have power to declare war.  Now, some members of Congress are pushing back unveiling an amendment to key defense legislation today that will specifically prevent federal funds from being used for military strike against Iran without congressional approval.

Joining me now is one of the lawmakers supporting that amendment, Congressman Maxine Waters of California.  Congresswoman, explain to me how this amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act would work.

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA):  Well, it`s very simple and it works this way.  After September 11th attack on our country and what happened in New York, the authorization for the use of military, that is AUMF came into being.  And it was designed basically for what was going on at that time, giving the president the authorization to do what needed to be done in order to you know not only deal with the attack as it was taken.

But now this president wants to use that authorization in order to go into Iraq -- Iran, I`m sorry with the possible war without coming before the Congress of the United States.  He wants to say that that authorization gives him the right and the power to do that.  We absolutely disagree with that and we are pushing back on it.

We have already organized that we`re going to have a caucus no war with Iran caucus.  And some of us who created the push back on the Iraq war out of Iraq are going to be engaged in this making sure that we do everything that we can to get the true facts out, to push back on this president, to disseminate information, to do speaking engagements, to rally, to do everything that we can to prevent us from going into war with Iran.

HAYES:  OK, but all of that, speaking engagements, getting the facts out, whatever, like you know, you`re a member of Congress, you -- the Democrats control the House, like you can -- you can pass if leadership is behind it right?  I mean, you can attach some riders to the Defense Authorization Act which is needed as part of the appropriations process for the entire military, right, that says, you cannot strike Iran.

WATERS:  That`s right, absolutely.

HAYES:  Like that -- is that the plan to pass that rider or do you have buy-in for that?

WATERS:  Well, as you know, Barbara Lee has already attached to the biggest appropriations bill that in fact, that the authorization does not apply to Iran.  In addition to that, we have some legislators with legislation to make sure that that is clarified and he cannot use it to go into war without coming before Congress.

So a lot is going on to try and make sure that we don`t allow this president making unilateral decisions to go into war and to strike Iran.  And we just think that any little incident could cause us to go in.

We think that he is not having the advice of advisers who would make sure that he does not bumble and stumble into war because he doesn`t have anybody around him.  He doesn`t have a defense secretary.  He doesn`t have people -- Mr. Bolton and Mr. Pompeo, certainly their war hawks and we`re really worried about the advice that they`re giving him.

HAYES:  Final question just to make sure I understand the later end.  Is House leadership, the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House leadership committed to putting a rider in legislation, must pass legislation before the floor that would explicitly bar the President from using authorization to attack Iran?

WATERS:  Yes, absolutely.  Nancy Pelosi is committed to that.

HAYES:  OK.  So that`s going to happen.  OK, good.  Congresswoman Maxine Waters, I want to clarity on that, thank you very much.

WATERS:  Well, you`re so welcome and thank you.

HAYES:  All right, still to come, in just 24 hours, the first round of Democratic debates will be taking -- the candidates will be taking the debate stage.  We`ll discuss why it will be unlike any political event we`ve seen over the last few years right after this.


HAYES:  We got the rules in hand for -- we got the rules in hand for tomorrow and Thursday night`s opening Democratic debates which will feature a slate of 20 candidates over two nights and be hosted by MSNBC, NBC News, and Telemundo.

Now, the rules make it clear that crisp answers will be of the utmost importance because to make time for each of the ten people on stage, each night there will be no opening statements and candidates will have a tight 60 seconds to answer questions and 30 seconds to respond to follow-ups.

There`s another factor that will be central in this debate: it will really be the first time since Donald Trump came down the escalator four years ago, that a political event does not really revolve around him, and the truly historic levels of deception he`s inclined to spin off.  Instead, it will be a debate among a lot of people with genuine, sometimes conflicting, policy substances who are more or less in the main -- tethered to the basic rules of reality and fact.

Ace fact checker Daniel Dale looked at the Democratic candidates` speeches this weekend in South Carolina, and while he did, to be clear, find some exaggerations and manipulations, most candidates did not say a single thing that was objectively false or misleading, quot e, "there was a lot of subjective rhetoric about Trump and such, but the stats they cited, the factual assertions they made, were either entirely correct or supported by enough evidence not to call false.

In other words, tomorrow night is basically a whole new world.

Joining me now, Democratic strategist Cornell Belcher an MSNBC political analyst, and Philippe Reines, who was former adviser to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton who helped Clinton prepare for the general election debates by playing Trump in debate prep.

Philippe, big question here, the early part of this primary really has been, I think, characterized by a lot of policy proposals, substantive and weighty ones, ambitious ones, how much do you focus on that, if you`re a candidate up on that stage tomorrow night.  You have a limited amount of time, and for particularly 15 out of 20 candidates, I think a lot of people don`t even know you`re running.  How is that the thing you try to focus on and breakthrough with?

PHILIPPE REINES, FRM. HILLARY CLINTON ADVISOR:  Well, I think ideally your game plan is to go up there and say what you would say on any other day, whether it is in South Carolina, in Iowa, in Florida, because you have a message, and the point is, you want to keep repeating it so that it resonates and it actually people hear it and absorb it.

If you`re going up there tomorrow night or Thursday saying something completely different than you do otherwise, you have a problem, because either what you`re saying normally isn`t working or you can`t be disciplined enough. 

And, look, you know, you made the comment before about time, I`m talking right now longer than what most of the candidates are going to be able to speak to tomorrow.  But it`s...

HAYES:  I know.  My producer is in my ear telling me that.

REINES:  And, you know, but it`s also important, you`re going to have five moderators, you`re going to have at any given time Lester Holt and two other moderators.  You know, the moderators don`t just say, OK, Julian Castro, what do you want to say to the camera, they have a question. 

HAYES:  Sure, of course.

REINES:  They`ll say, what do you think about Iran?  So, you not only have 60 seconds, you`ve got to answer a question and then pivot to your message in 60 seconds.

HAYES:  And here`s the other big the question, right, so the question of your message and how sort of substantive, how much do you engage.  The other question, Cornell, I think, is how much you talk about the president.  And this has been a really interesting through line throughout the 25 plus candidates on the trail, how much they talk about Trump or not.

You know, everyone in that room is going to be united in this feeling about Trump.  It`s a place to go in this sort of emotional core of a Democratic primary voting bloc that like everyone agrees on, but it also in some ways strikes me as kind of a wasted opportunity, because everyone already agrees on it, what do you think?

CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER:  No, if I were being paid to consult, I would say, don`t talk about Trump.  I mean, you take a shot at Trump, but most of this field, they`re at 2, 3 percent support, you have got to talk about yourself.  You guys, you got to make the case, you have got to have a moment there that breaks through, that`s about you, because most of the Democratic primary universe, they have very little idea of you unless your name is Joe Biden or Senator Sanders, they have very little idea of who you are.

So, if you`re one of those candidates sitting at 2 or 3 percent support, I would not waste a moment of my time talking about Donald Trump, I`d be talking about me and why I should be the  president.

HAYES:  Philippe, what do you think?

REINES:  You know, I actually disagree, and I`ll tell you why.  Yes, 100 percent of the audience both in Miami and at home are going to agree that Donald Trump is terrible and needs to be removed.  But 38 percent of them think it should be Joe Biden, 15 percent think it should be Elizabeth Warren, 1 percent thinks it should be Jay Inslee.

So, while there`s vigorous unanimity in the goal overall, you still want to show that you can go toe to toe, the way people are assuming that some of the bigger names -- it seems that Joe Biden, I mean, it seems that Joe Biden is really benefiting from this notion that he has what it takes to take on Trump.  And you want others -- other people want to show, hey, I can do it too. 

And you don`t need to do that by fighting with Joe Biden, you can do it by looking into the camera.

BELCHER:  Right, but here`s...

HAYES:  I want to make sure I understand that.  You are saying that the way you show you can take on Trump is to take him on in absentia, that that`s a way -- there`s a marker to people who are looking to someone who can do that.

REINES:  For all intents and purposes there`s going to be an 11th person on stage both nights, it`s going to be Donald Trump.

HAYES:  Cornell.

BELCHER:  But I don`t think that distinguishes you.  I think what distinguishes you is how you contrast yourself from other people on the stage, because you`re not running against Donald Trump  right now.  At some point you have to contrast yourself from the people who are in front of you and whoever is in your lane.  If you centrist Democrat, and one of those other centrist Democrats that`s in your lane, you better be contrasting yourself to one of them or even to a certain extent Joe Biden, because you have to take away support from him and you`ve got to figure out sort of who is in your land to come at you from who is in your lane.

REINES:  And Chris, the mini-debate that Cornell and I are having is going on right now in 20 different campaigns.

HAYES:  Yes, exactly right.

BELCHER:  That`s exactly right.

HAYES:  Well, here`s the interesting thing, you said the lane thing.  I think I learned -- so, two things, I think I learned the lesson from the Republican race, don`t think about lanes.  Because I think that in some ways, the electorate -- here`s my basic idea, is you should be really good.  And what I mean by that is, essentially -- no, no, what I mean here is that my way I think voters will see this is show don`t tell, which is as opposed to say, like here`s why I could beat Trump, it`s if you sparkle, if you`re good, if you`re compelling, if your message is strong, that shows that you`re a good candidate.

Like to me, much more important than almost anything else is to perform in such a way that you are memorable and impressive, above anything else you do, because everything flows out of that, what do you think, Philippe?

REINES:  I do.

I mean, you know, for all intents and purposes, you should answer questions as if the moderator said, OK, just speak for 60 seconds, because...

HAYES:  It drives me insane when people do that on my show.

REINES:  Because I think that`s why Elizabeth Warren is in great position tomorrow night, because whatever she`s been doing out on the campaign trail has been working, and she has a -- this is just another audience.

But you know there`s also a part of this we`re not discussing, which is the totality of the whole thing.  When it comes up at 9:00, we see 10 people, only five of them are going to be white guys.  There are going to be three women on stage.  I don`t think there`s ever been more than one woman on a stage.  You`re going to have, I think, five people of color.  I mean, this is -- it`s going to energize the Democrats.  And people are going to say, you know what?  And I think the point earlier about people are going to hear that we have ideas.  The contrast to what`s going on with Trump, you know, listening to Senator Tester talking about immigration, or listening to Congresswoman Waters talk about Iran, people are going to be just so worked up and ready to go.

HAYES:  Yeah, I remember the first at the House swearing-in of the new class, just the striking visuals of the contrasting coalitions in American political life at this moment.

REINES:  They should all wear all white tomorrow night.

HAYES:  Yeah, we`ll see. 

Cornell Belcher, Philippe Reines, thank you both for being with me.

Remember, right here -- right here tomorrow night, the first Democratic debate of the 2020 cycle.  Yours truly will be part of the coverage starting at 7:00 p.m. eastern.  Be sure to tune in.

Still to come, some shocking new details about one of the sitting Republican congressmen facing felony charges, one of the two.  As his lawyers argued, he should only be tried in a district won by Trump.

Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.


HAYES:  Thing One tonight, we watched as one swampy Trump administration official after another has gotten the boot mired in scandal.  Now, Axios has obtained nearly 100 leaked Trump transition vetting documents that show red flags about some officials who have gone on to get some of the most powerful jobs in U.S. government.

The list of red flags may sound very familiar -- for example, here is one, former EPA administration Scott Pruitt, quote, "allegations of coziness with big energy companies."  Huh, it`s not like the Trump administration needed a private detective to tell them that, they just needed the Google.

The red flag on Rex Tillerson?  His Russia ties go deep.  Huh, you think?  Well, maybe they saw the picture of Rex getting Putin`s Order of Friendship medal.

Rudy Giuliani`s foreign entanglements red flags they were so vast, they required a 25 page business research dossier. 

All this was known, it`s just that they didn`t care.  So, it`s really no wonder the president has had the least Senate confirmed nominations of any president going back to George H.W. Bush, has withdrawn twice as many nominees as President Obama at the same time point in his administration.  And there was one person the president really wanted on the team that he just couldn`t get, and her red flags were on display for everyone to see.


JANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS:  If the devil called me and said he wanted to set up a meeting to give me opposition research on my opponent, I`d be on the first trolley to hell to get it.


HAYES:  Jeff Sessions spiked Judge Janine is Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES:  Now, Donald Trump we know loves Trump TV.  But his favorite shows are the truly excellent ones: Hannity, Trump TV & Friends, and, of course, Justice with Judge Janine.


PIRRO:  My title for Hillary Clinton`s new book instead of What Happened is, Living in Denial and in Need of a Lobotomy.


HAYES:  Now, I`m convinced that`s an Andy Kaufmann-esque bit that she`s doing, but Trump and the Judge actually go way back.  And Pirro has visited the White House several times since Trump took office.

And according to The Washington Post, Trump was interviewing her for a top Justice Department position under Jeff Sessions, which she lobbied hard to get.  But when it came down to it, Jeff Sessions blocked the appointment.  Ouch.

Judge Janine reportedly did not take this well, and so she went back on TV and said this.


PIRRO:  The man who has the honor to carry the prefix, United States Attorney General before his name, Jeff Sessions, is indeed the most dangerous man in America.


HAYES:  Pirro also met privately with Trump in November 2017 reportedly to discuss investigating Hillary Clinton, which Sessions opposed.  And soon after that meeting, Trump again publicly attacked Jeff Sessions.

In the end, of course, Sessions lost his job, but Pirro didn`t get hers either.  Reportedly, the White House felt she`s more effective for him on the outside.


PIRRO:  What was he supposed to do?  Take a gun out and shoot Putin?  Putin said I didn`t meddle in your election, so the president should say, hang on, let me execute this guy?  Did it get Trump elected?  No.  Did it change one vote?  No.  Everybody needs to snap out of i t.



HAYES:  In the era of Trump, it`s so very easy to forget there are there are actually two sitting Republican congressmen who are, right now as I speak to you, facing a bevy of federal felony criminal charges.  One of them is Chris Collins of New York State, who is charged with insider trading.  And he`s set to face trial next year.  And the other is none other then the vaping congressman.  I speak, of course, of Duncan Hunter of California who has, truth be told, has had a pretty bad run of things in terms of his case the last few weeks.

You`ll recall that Hunter, seen here stepping over a vehicle barrier he was pretending marked the U.S.-Mexico border, even though it is squarely within the United States, was indicted last year, along with his wife, Margaret, and accused of using more than a quarter million dollars in campaign funds for personal expensive.

When the charges were filed, and there`s no really polite way to say this, Hunter promptly threw his wife under the bus.


REP. DUNCAN HUNTER, (R) CALIFORNIA:  When I went to Iraq in 2003 the first time, I gave her power of attorney, and she handled my finances throughout my entire military career.  And that continued on when I got into congress, because I`m gone five days.  I`m home for two.  So -- and she was also the campaign manager. 

So, whatever she did on -- that will be looked at, too, I`m sure.


HAYES:  That perhaps, not surprisingly, has come back to bite him.  Hunter`s wife pled guilty and struck a cooperation deal with prosecutors. 

And it looks like she had plenty of incentives to do so.  In a new court filing the Justice Department says Congressman Duncan Hunter conducted several extramarital affairs, five of them, actually, in total, which might have been something to deal with, privately in the context of his marriage, but for the fact that he was, one, using campaign finance funds to conduct the fairs.  Two, that three of the affairs were with lobbyists, one was a staffer, another was a woman who worked for House leadership.

So why did prosecutors reveal the affairs, well, quote, precisely because each of the women worked as lobbyist or congressional professional staffers, Hunter may suggest he was justified in spending campaign funds on all of his meetings with these individuals.  Evidence of the intimate and entirely personal quality of Hunter`s specific encounters with these women is essential to demonstrate that his spending to facilitate those encounters was improper.

Oh, but there`s more.  In a particularly tantalizing passage, prosecutors say there`s some other unspecified activity that is so bad they can`t disclose it because doing so would risk improperly taint the jury pool.

Now, this would normally be the point at which the party leadership would call Congressman Hunter up and say, probably time to go, buddy.  But it`s Donald Trump`s Republican Party and Duncan Hunter knows it.  His lawyers even want his trial moved out of San Diego and into an area where Trump got more votes than Hillary Clinton, because in Trump`s Republican Party, you can get away with pretty much anything.

My colleague Joy Reid has just published a new book about how the president remade the party  and the country`s political culture.  And she joins me next.


HAYES:  There`s a case to be made that literally the most successful con job in history, and I mean all of history, was carried out by the man who got himself elected president even he lost by3 million votes.

In her new book "The Man Who Sold America," my colleague and friend Joy Reid takes a look at the strains of American history that Trump has pulled together to manage the con, a con that is built on the nation`s oldest con: selling prejudice and bigotry on behalf of entrenched power, quote, "Trump seemed to normalize a public display of thuggery and open racism by white Americans who felt empowered to assert themselves as the arbiters of cultural legitimacy in his name.  Donald Trump was indeed waging a new American civil war."

Joining me now is Joy Reid, host of MSNBC`s A.M. Joy.  Congratulations on the book.

JOY REID, HOST, AM JOY:  Thank you very much.  And you caught the Bowie reference.  I heard you almost catch it.

HAYES:  Yes, yes, I did.  I stopped myself.

You know, to me, the book is wrestling with these competing ideas, which is there is something new and different about Donald Trump and what he is in this moment and there is something deeply old and as American as apple pie about him.

REID:  Yeah, they`re both.  Because Donald Trump, the newness and the novelty of him, the fact that he`s a celebrity whose real expertise is pretending to be something he`s not -- pretending to a successful (inaudible) who could date Princess Diana, pretending to be rich when he lost $413 million and gone $1 billion in the hole.

You know, there is anecdote in the book about when The Apprentice first started, the crew goes to Trump Tower to set up the boardroom and the place looks, like, shabby.

HAYES:  That`s a great passage.

REID:  Yeah, the lack of current wealth is obvious.  But, you know, Mark Burnett helped to build this character that seemed like this incredibly posh and successful man, and he sold that to the public, and to people who thought that not that he could get them rich, but that he could restore in America where white Christian men had primacy and where women had to sit down, where black athletes had to sit down, and where immigrants would be deleted from the population so that they would not overwhelm the population of the United States.

So the newness and the novelty of this celebrity allowed that old ugly thing that`s been living with our country from the beginning, he can sell that thing.

HAYES:  Right.  And you talk about -- there is a chapter about -- you just call The New Civil War where you talk about the sort of strains of white backlash, white reaction that he`s playing on.  He`s taking his sort of -- and he is -- the one thing he is genuinely talented at being a con man.

REID:  He is.  He`s George Wallace.  I mean, George Wallace was really good at this, too.  He was glib and he could tell a joke and a story.  He starts out being pro-black and then he turns all the way anti-black.

HAYES:  He loses an election and famously says I will never get out "n" worded again.

REID:  And Donald Trump used to sort of play at being sort of friendly with black people, but only black celebrities.  And there are two kids of black people to him, right, rich and famous black people who he wants to take pictures with, and every other black person who he thinks live terribly, if they ever got hold of the country would ruin it.  And he thinks, in a way, Barack Obama is that second type.  Why the hell is he president?

HAYES:  But you can also see him using the kind of like con man sensibility starting in 2011 to put his finger on what`s the most powerful con in American history?

REID:  That`s right.  And he understood better than anyone else in the Republican establishment what would actually trigger base Republican voters, because he is a guy from Queens who thinks that way, right.

Sam Nunberg in the book likens him to like a retired cop who thinks the neighborhood is going to hell because all these black people moving in.  He`s that guy.

HAYES:  He 100 percent in every way has the politics of a certain kind of like retired New York City suburban white cop.

REID:  Right.  And so he`s not -- you know, I quote a guy in the book who is from Alabama who says, look, if he had been a southerner with a southern accent he wouldn`t have gotten away with it so easily, because he would have been tagged with the kind of racism...

HAYES:  That`s really interesting.

REID:  You`d think he`s racist.

HAYES:  That`s very interesting.

REID:  But he`s got a New York accent. He`s from Queens.  The New York media understands  him and is friendly with him.

HAYES:  That`s the key, too.  They had given him -- he had been fetted...

REID:  He`s their guy.

HAYES:  He had been fetted and tolerated -- and, you know, Frank Rich wrote that great essay, and you write about this a bit in the book, that he had been someone who was part of the New York establishment, even if he was always a little bit on the outside and always looked down at.

REID:  And people looked down on him a little bit but found him entertaining.  And I think they continue to find him entertaining right up until he started caging children, right.  And he has it over the media -- you know, I was talking this morning -- I was on Morning Joe talking about the fact that Donald Trump doesn`t read briefing books.  He isn`t very smart about policy, and he doesn`t read books books, but he does read what he wants to read.  I guarantee he understood what the lineup was going to be in South Carolina when those Democrats were speaking at that convention and fish fry, and he interrupts the speech by Kamala Harris by just walking out to say nothing.

HAYES:  Right.

REID:  But he`s constantly trying to reprogram the media.  Look at me, look at me, look at  me, and to tell his base I got your back.

HAYES:  Joy Reid.  The book is called "The Man Who Sold America."  You can get it wherever you get your books.  And you should go get it.  It`s excellent. 

A.M. Joy airs of course weekends here on MSNBC at 10:00 a.m.  Thank you so much for coming by.

REID:  Thank you so much, Chris.

HAYES:  If it`s Tuesday, that means there is a new episode of our podcast Why is This Happening out now.  New York Congressman Max Rose, freshman Democrat who flipped a Trump district in the 2018 mid-terms, I think one of the most interesting members of this freshman class, someone to watch especially going into 2020.  Went ahead and dropped that interview in your podcast feed, safe and sound, so go check it out.

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

Good evening, Rachel.