CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: As a peace corps volunteer in Africa, thousands of miles from home, I had only a short wave radio and of course the shared hope of mankind. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you say Democratic Congresswomen should leave if they`re not happy, where should they go?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s up to them.
HAYES: The president stands by his racist remarks.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): How shameful to hear him continued to defend those offensive words.
HAYES: As Democrats use their power to condemn the president.
PELOSI: Every single member of this institution Democratic and Republican to join us in condemning the president`s racist tweets.
HAYES: Tonight, as frustration boils over --
REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D-MO): I abandon the chair.
HAYES: And White House spin continues.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: What`s your ethnicity?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is that relevant?
HAYES: The actual cost to us all as Republicans defend the president.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Well, the president is not a racist.
HAYES: Then --
REP. AL GREEN (D-TX): What do you do when the leader of the free world is a racist?
HAYES: Congressman Al Green on his push to impeach the president in the wake of his racist attacks.
GREEN: You follow articles of impeachment.
HAYES: Plus, what exactly is the deal with Lindsey Graham?
SEN. LINSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): That can`t go where Donald Trump takes the party and I think the country.
HAYES: And why new numbers out today suggest the massive Democratic field could shrink to single digits soon, when ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from Newark. I`m Chris Hayes. Just an hour ago, the House voted to condemn President Trump`s racist tweets telling four Democratic Congresswomen of color to "go back where they came from."
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D-GA): I rise with a sense of righteous indignation to support this resolution. I know racism when I see it. I know racism when I feel it. And at the highest level of government, there`s no room for racism.
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HAYES: Every single Democrat plus independent Justin Amash voted for the measure. Only four Republicans voted to condemn the president`s remarks though that does make it a bipartisan resolution.
What we saw today was the political representation the Republican Party for a minority of the country, the base, that shows up in poll after poll supporting the president going to work, to bend over backwards to defend the president from public condemnation for his words. Even going so far as I try to invoke parliamentary procedure in their battle, because it`s apparently not polite to point out when the president behaves in a blatantly racist manner.
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PELOSI: These comments from the White House are disgraceful and disgusting and these comments are racist. How shameful to hear him continue to defend those offensive words, words that we have all heard and repeat not only about our members but about countless others.
Every single member of this institution Democratic and Republican to join us in condemning the President`s racist tweets. To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of our values and a shameful abdication of our oath of office to protect the American people. I urge a unanimous vote --
CLEAVER: The gentleman from Georgia.
REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): I was just going to give the gentle Speaker of the House if she would like to rephrase that comment.
PELOSI: I had cleared my remarks as a parliamentarian before I read them.
COLLINS: Then take it -- I make a point of order that the gentlewomanƒ_Ts words are unparliamentary and request they be taken down.
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HAYES: The petty nature of the ceaseless procedural whining from Republicans led to a visibly angry Congressman Emanuel Cleaver who`s presiding over the House to drop his gavel and leave in frustration.
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CLEAVER: I came in here to try to do this in a fair way. I kept warning both sides, let`s not do this hoping we could get through, but we don`t ever, ever want to pass up it seems an opportunity to escalate, and that`s what this is. I`ll dare anybody to look at any of the footage and see if there was any unfairness. But unfairness is not enough because we want to just fight. I abandon the chair.
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HAYES: Here`s a thing we all know what`s happening right now over the last few days in a divided polarized country where people don`t agree on anything. Everybody knows what`s happening, all of us. The president is a racist and he said a racist thing, and the majority of the country recognized that. A minority of the country either denies it or they recognize it and is in the President`s words fine with it.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does it concern you that many people saw that tweet as racist and that white nationalist groups are finding common cause with you on that point?
TRUMP: It doesn`t concern me because many people agree with me and all I`m saying, if they want to leave, they can leave.
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HAYES: Many people agree with me. The crazy thing is that condemnation from the House would be expected and basically any other workplace in America. If any of us -- one of us said to a co-worker like in a meeting what the president said about those congresswomen, we would expect repercussions.
In fact, get this, here`s what the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which police`s workplace law and civil rights. Here`s what they say about immigrants employment rights under federal anti-discrimination laws. I`ll read it. Examples of potentially unlawful conduct include insults taunting or ethnic epithets such as making fun of a person`s foreign accent or comments like go back to where you came from, whether made by supervisors or by co-workers.
That is how crystal clear cut this issue is. This is not, of course, the first time the president has done something like this. We can probably all recite the litany together. The president has praised white supremacist as very fine people. He`s called Haiti and countries in Africa shithole countries. Multiple people have alleged that Trump used racial slurs including the n-word as the host of Celebrity Apprentice.
You may even remember that he began the entire campaign by saying Mexico was sending drug dealers and rapists. Literally the first time, the first time ever that Donald Trump shows up in the New York Times was when he and his father weren`t renting to black people and got sued by the Department of Justice for discrimination.
Here`s the article, "major landlord accused of anti-black bias." That`s Donald Trump. But the perverse effect of Donald Trump on this party in this moment is that while he is a symptom of the underlying appeals to white racial grievance that have increasingly defined the Republican Party and indeed conservatism over decades, Trump is also in his aggressive violation of polite taboos radicalizing the base and Republican officials who then have to go out look into cameras and say ridiculous things like it`s not racist to tell people of color to go back to your country.
Here`s Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell today twisting in the wind when asked if it would be racist as someone asked his wife Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao who came to the U.S. from Taiwan as a kid the very same question.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re married to an immigrant as a nationalized U.S. citizen. If someone were to say to her, she should go back to her country because of a criticism of her federal policies, wouldn`t you consider that a racist attack?
MCCONNELL: Well, the Secretary of Transportation came here at age eight legally, not speaking a word of English, and has realized the American dream. And I think all of us think that this is the process of renewal that`s gone on in this country for a very long time and it`s good for America. We ought to continue it.
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HAYES: So we find ourselves once again with the fundamental reality of the man in the White House Donald Trump. No matter what your interpretation is of the Constitution`s provisions of high crimes and misdemeanors, what that means technically, one thing is clear. It has been clear from day one. The man is fundamentally unfit for the office that he holds.
Joining me now are Christina Greer, Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University and Josh Marshall Editor and Publisher of Talking Points Memo. To me the most exhausting thing is the gaslighting around. Like we all know and Mitch McConnell know, all these people know, right. Like no one`s pretending -- everyone who`s pretending they don`t know is pretending they don`t know.
CHRISTINA GREER, PROFESSOR, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: They know better but problem is we`re dealing with the man who has no shame, and we`re now seeing that the Republican Party and all the members of his administration who support him don`t have any shame either. I mean, you know all the footage.
You showed some of it with Lindsey Graham saying this man is absolutely not qualified. He doesn`t respect the office. He cannot be president. And we don`t know what this president has done to this senator because he has made a direct 180 and he`s now calling for sitting members of Congress communist and socialist and worse.
So, unfortunately, the norms of our institution that we`re supposed to uphold and respect, this President has come and blown out -- you know, blown into the water, and the Republican Party is silent. I mean, this vote with only four Republicans saying that this is inappropriate language, behavior, unfit of the presidency. I mean, the fact that only four Republicans have the --
JOSH MARSHALL, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER, TALKING POINTS MEMO: And I think two of those are retiring.
HAYES: Yes, right, exactly.
MARSHALL: So in practice, it`s like two Republicans.
HAYES: Exactly, yes.
GREER: Exactly. I mean, it`s shameful. And what really frustrates me and angers me is that the level of fear that this president evokes in American citizens, you know, their stories about local New York stories about parks this weekend that were completely empty, desolate, you know, the anxiety -- I grew up under Reagan and I think I`m a political scientist now because he frightened me as child. The Voice, the things he said, how my community felt whenever he was on television.
There is a whole generation of children now who are going to look at the role -- the office of the presidency and have a certain level of anxiety. He`s calling my relatives rapist and murderers. He`s saying that they should be banned. He`s saying that the countries of origin, the flags that they probably have on their walls in their homes don`t belong there. They`re they don`t belong there.
I mean, he is a white nationalist and I don`t know when we`re going to start sort of putting that out there and being very clear about like a white supremacist vision of this country in 2019 cannot stand. And there are far too many Americans who are saying well, I`m not going to vote for him but I`m not going to tell my relatives that I vote for them and I`m not going to you know say anything. That`s someone else`s private things when they go into the voting booth. We cannot do that. I mean we -- if this man gets another four years, we will be lucky if the Republic stands.
HAYES: I think that part of it too is that the -- it`s not just the silence, it`s just complicity. And you know, at this point, the complicity is an old story. But every time it gets ratcheted up a little bit to me it`s a little like breaking someone into a criminal gang where you have them do the theft. You`re like -- they`re getting -- so that they`re --
MARSHALL: Or that thing we`ve got to kill someone before you really --
HAYES: Yes. It`s like now Mitch McConnell -- like everyone gets sort of like jumped into the gang where it`s like, now you`re out there, even if you`re a person who in private life, I`m sure there are Republicans who voted today who in a private office, if someone said that to someone in front of them when their staff would be like, what the hell are you doing. I`m sure they exist.
GREER: Mitch McConnell --
MARSHALL: Among those hundreds --
HAYES: Mitch McConnell might be even that person.
GREER: -- not being able to say a definitive statement when someone asked about his wife.
HAYES: But now they`re -- this is the way the radicalization works is now they jump into the gang.
MARSHALL: Yes. Yes. No, it`s a wild thing because I was thinking about this today. I think even as bad as things have gotten right now, I think there are actually very few Republican elected -- Republican members of Congress who if they did that could survive it.
HAYES: Yes, that`s right.
MARSHALL: Even that you couldn`t --
HAYES: No, he`s Steve King --
MARSHALL: If some Senator did that, these people --
HAYES: Donald Trump is Steve King. He just happen to be in the White House.
HAYES: You know what I mean? Like Steve King is they have like -- had to kind of like quarantine a little bit and took him away his committee. But there`s not that much big a difference between him and --
MARSHALL: It`s hard -- it`s hard for me to think of anything Steve King has said that is worse than that string of outbursts.
MARSHALL: I mean, the things --
HAYES: That`s a great point.
MARSHALL: Even as -- or even as bad. Yes, yes.
HAYES: But here`s one thing I think it`s also important here is the politics of this. Like there`s a sort of argument this strategic mastermind by the president but I don`t think -- like this is not a popular thing. When they -- when he after Charlottesville, he had a job approval rating low of 34 percent.
This is not to say that the country doesn`t have a long history of white supremacy and racism but like go back to where you came from, it`s not appealing to a majority of Americans. Right, am I crazy?
GREER: But go back to where you came from is from the racist playbook.
HAYES: Right, right.
GREER: I mean, so I don`t think that this is some mastermind like that`s just -- that`s the old faithful, right.
GREER: If I had -- if I had a dollar for every time someone told me to go back to Africa, I could buy this building twice over, right. Like that`s just -- and the second part of the playbook is I don`t have racist bone in my body. It`s like OK, well, that not the definition of racist.
HAYES: One following the other.
GREER: They go -- they go hand in hand.
GREER: And so I don`t think that he`s you know, trying to distract us from the fact that he was accused of rape two weeks ago. I don`t think he`s trying to distract us from the fact that Iran deal is falling party and he`s trying to invite dictators to the White House. I don`t think he`s trying to distract us from that. Sometimes a racist is just the races and they have a rant. Like the have a moment.
And we know that strong women especially strong women of color have a certain ire in him that he just goes off the rails.
HAYES: It is -- it is earnest what he`s coming across. Christina Greer and Josh Marshall, thank you both.
GREER: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Joining me now, the former Republican governor and congressman from South Carolina Mark Sanford who`s considering a potential presidential run against Donald Trump. Mr. Sanford, would you have voted -- how would you have voted today if you were still in the House.
MARK SANFORD (R), FORMER CONGRESSMAN: I don`t know. I`d have to look at I didn`t look at the resolution. I`ve heard the commentary in terms of what you all were just saying on air. I would put it -- again, I have not seen the resolution so I don`t know.
What I`d say is the obvious, which is the comments made no sense, period, end of story. But what I`m trying to do in hypothetically looking over the next thirty days as to whether or not I should challenge the president is on the discussion that`s not taking place.
And the discussion that`s not taking place is on debt and deficit and how much our government is spending and whether or not that sustainable. Whether you`re from the left or from the right I think what we`d all agree upon is whatever government we have, we wanted to stick around for a little while so that indeed it can pay Social Security benefits or can pay for children`s health care go down the list.
HAYES: Do you -- do you think that`s -- do you think that`s the most pressing issue the country faces?
SANFORD: Positively. And it`s the least discussed.
HAYES: Wait, hold on a second. Hold on a second. Hold on a second. The account balances in the various accounts of the United States government in 20-year projections is more pressing to you than children at the border and or the carbon in the atmosphere that is on track to warm the planet above four degrees or five degrees centigrade?
SANFORD: We`re talking about both of those. But we`re not talking about those account balances that you just mentioned. Think about this. In just one year, we will spend more on interest than we do in children in terms of all federal programs, and that`s education, that`s welfare, that`s aid to families.
HAYES: Let me ask you this. l would like your theory. I would like your theory --
SANFORD: Wait, well, one other thought here. One other thought here though. In three years, we will spend more on interest than we do on our entire national defense budget.
SANFORD: And so we can talk about border security, we can talk about a whole plethora of different issues, but we`re not talking about our ability to pay for any of those different issues.
HAYES: OK, but why -- so let`s talk about why that is, right. Because I`ve -- this has been my life in politics and I want you to explain to me how -- why this is the case. Republican Party under Ronald Reagan massively expanded spending on the military and increase the deficit because of tax cuts. George W -- so that was one.
SANFORD: Wait, let me just interject. Let me just interject. Thus, it was David Stockman who wrote the book the Triumph of Politics at that time.
HAYES: That`s right. That`s right. So then George H.W. Bush comes in. He votes for tax hikes. Famously the Republican Party basically revolts against when he gets booted out. Bill Clinton reduces the deficit, George W. Bush comes in.
Now, all the time Republicans are saying deficit, deficit. George W. Bush comes in we get trillions of dollars in war and we get huge tax cuts, huge deficits, right. And then Obama comes in, the Republicans say deficits, deficits, deficits, and then we get Donald Trump and what do we get increased military spending, increased domestic spending, and also tax cuts.
So every time Republicans control the government, we get huge deficits and they stop caring. And then when Democrats come back into power, they start caring. How do you explain that?
SANFORD: Well, welcome through the world of politics. We both know it`s always pin the tail on the donkey or pin the tail on the elephant. So whoever is not in power--
HAYES: Wait, so wouldn`t the problem solve itself? Wait, but why do you have to run for president? The problem will solve itself when Democrats get power again. Then everybody that is in your caucus, and in your family, and in your party is going to get very excited about deficits again.
SANFORD: Well, your simple analogy is a little bit more complex than you`re laying out. I hear you.
HAYES: No, that`s literally how it works.
SANFORD: But as we both know -- no, give me a break. There was plenty of blame to go around on both sides.
HAYES: No, no, but republicans get extremely fired about the deficit and debt when the Democrats controlled the government. We could agree on that.
SANFORD: Wait, wait, wait. Tell me the Republicans are extremely fired up about it right now.
HAYES: What`s that?
SANFORD: Tell me the Republicans that are extremely fired up about it right.
HAYES: No, I know because you guys controlled the government. The point is that if there`s a Democratic president, I will bet you everything -- I would make -- whatever friendly wager, some New York food versus some Charleston food, whatever you want, but the second there`s a Democratic president your concerns --
SANFORD: Let`s go with Charleston food.
HAYES: Don`t you worry, Mr. Sanford, I just promise you -- and I understand you. You don`t think it`s being talked about enough. But if you want people to talk about the deficit and debt, I have a piece of advice, get a Democrat elected president. Because nothing will make people talk about the debt and deficit faster than a Democrat being in the White House.
SANFORD: No, no, no, I would -- again, what you`re really saying is when Republicans in control Democrats, will talk about it, when Democrats in control, Republicans are talking about it. And what I`m saying is I just got through watching two presidential debates on the Democratic side and there was not one question from the moderator side or from a panelist side, candidate side, on deficit ad government spending.
And I listen to the president who says I will not touch any of the things that drive our debt and spending. And so I`m simply saying, oh my goodness. If you look at the numbers, this problem is not our grandkids problem or our kids problem. This is our problem and it`s going to come in the next couple years. And if we don`t tackle it before the next presidential race, debate, and cycle, we`re in trouble.
HAYES: So -- all right, but you don`t have a feeling one way or the other about whether the president`s tweets are racist?
SANFORD: No, but I just think you -- there been thousands of hours of commentary. You`re making my point on again, I said it`s a dumb comment. I mean --
HAYES: But that`s not racist.
SANDFORD: And you have ten other folks -- wait, wait, wait, you`ll have ten other folks talking about it, condemning it --
HAYES: I`m asking you. I`m just asking Mark Sanford who was -- you used to be a member of Congress, a governor of the state, an incredibly talented politician who was ticketed for a possible presidential run for years. If you, the man who has a very large public profile think the tweets were racist.
SANFORD: I think the tweets -- the tweets are racist. I don`t -- as to whether or not Trump is a racist, I don`t know. I can`t --
HAYES: I`m not asking about that. I`m just asking the tweets. I`m just asking you about the tweets.
HAYES: OK, good. Well, I`m glad we did that. Hey, I want to talk more about the deficit. I have to go now but I want to talk more about the deficit.
SANFORD: Bring it back all right.
HAYES: We`ll do this again. I got a Rush Limbaugh quote I`m going to play for you. Mark Sanford, thanks for your time. Next up, he`s the Republican senator who said Donald Trump`s election would lead to the slaughter of his party. Today that Senator is providing cover for the president in the wake of his racist tweets. The Curious Case of Lindsey Graham in two minutes.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And joining us right now, we`ve got Senator Lindsey Graham Republican from South Carolina, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Looked like a fun day.
GRAHAM: It was a fun day and Trump is the best golfer. You`re the best golfer.
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HAYES: One of the questions people ask me all the time is just what`s the deal with Lindsey Graham. Now, I can`t look into the man`s heart or read his mind but the plain publicly observable fact is that there is no single political figure who has done more of an insane 180 on Trump than Graham who is currently one of the President`s greatest champions.
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GRAHAM: I just can`t go where Donald Trump takes the party and the country.
These policies are really bad for the country.
He`s not fit to be president in United States.
He is empowering radical Islam.
He`s becoming a jackass.
I think he`s a kook. I think he`s crazy. I think he`s unfit for office.
Donald Trump is not strong. He`s actually weak. He`s a bully. He`s a cartoon character.
I think Donald Trump is a political car wreck.
Trump`s foreign policy is a complete disaster.
He`s a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot.
I don`t know if anybody`s worse than Trump.
If he continues to do what he`s doing, he`s destroying the party.
We would get slaughtered as a party if Donald Trump is our nominee and quite frankly we would deserve it.
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HAYES: Now, some has speculated that Graham`s evolution is merely a cynical political calculation. The South Carolina senator is up for reelection 2020 and Trump`s approval rating among Republicans is hovering around 90 percent.
So Graham has fended off any serious primary challengers, but he does now face a legitimate challenger from the Democratic Party. Jamie Harrison, the first black Chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party who`s been building a small donor army in his race against Graham. And Harrison faces an uphill fight.
Trump won South Carolina by 14 points in 2016 and no Democrat has won statewide there since 2006. Jamie Harrison insist he has a winning message and he joins me now. Mr. Harrison, what is your understanding of the evolution of the man that represents your home state of South Carolina Lindsey Graham?
JAMIE HARRISON (D-SC), SENATE CANDIDATE: Well, first of all, Chris, thank you so much for having me. I`m actually not in South Carolina right now. I`m visiting a family. But listen, George will put it perfectly. Lindsey Graham is a political windsock. This is a guy who cares more about keeping his own job than the jobs of the people in South Carolina.
And so what he has done is he has evolved. He`s a chameleon. He`s changing his colors just to benefit himself. He epitomizes what people hate about politics. This is somebody that I used to think had some type of moral compass, some type of background. But we have found in South Carolina -- the question that you said that you`re hearing from tons of people what happened in Lindsey Graham, I hear that all the time in the grocery stores, and restaurants, walking on the street.
People have said this is a guy I used to look up to but now he has no backbone. He`s just doing what`s in his best interest. And that`s sad and that`s why we`re building an army, jamieharrison.com to send Lindsey Graham back home.
HAYES: Let me -- let me ask you -- let me give you the devil`s advocate defense of the political windsock here that you know, it`s a state that the president won by 14 points. He represents a Republican Party in which the South Carolina Republicans, I`m sure, of an approval rate of what 90 percent or something for Donald Trump.
He`s just representing his constituents, South Carolina`s -- South Carolinians in the main like Donald Trump. So Lindsey Graham is there to defend Donald Trump. What`s wrong with that?
HARRISON: Listen, yes, I know a lot of people in Washington and New York and everywhere think that South Carolina is so ruby red that a Democrat could never win there but they`re wrong. And we showed that in 2018.
You know, Joe Cunningham won a seat that your previous guest Mark Sanford held for a long time. And most pundits and most people I talked to in D.C. before that election said there`s no way that a Democrat is ever going to win that seat. Well, we did.
We also won a state House seat that was -- a state Senate seat that was held by Republican for 30 years. Things are changing in the south. Yes, there`s this evolution of Renaissance, a new South that is being created. And so it`s about investing in those people, investing in the diversity in those areas, and just bringing hope back to these communities that have lost all sense of it.
You know, Lindsey Graham just doesn`t do anything. I can`t recall the last time he had a town hall. But I can tell you he probably was on Fox News last night or if not last night the day before. I mean, he does more there than he does for the people in South Carolina. Our hospitals are closing, kids are saddled with thousands and thousands of dollars of student loan debt. We need someone who will just fight for us. And that`s not in Lindsey Graham right now.
HAYES: If you had -- if you got to decide the one issue this election would be decided on, what would it be?
HARRISON: Well, you know, character matters and I think character really infuses everything that we do. It`s the values that we bring to the table as we look at policies. And I would say the number one policy right now is health care.
In South Carolina, we have had four rural hospitals. I grew up in a rural community in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Our next-door neighbor Bamberg, their hospital closed. There have been for rural hospitals that have closed in South Carolina.
So if you live in those communities, Chris, it doesn`t matter if you voted for Trump or Hillary Clinton, it doesn`t matter if you vote for Lindsey Graham or you vote from me. It doesn`t matter if you`re a Democrat a Republican. But if you have a heart attack or you have a stroke or diabetes complications and you have to go to the hospital, instead of it taking you 15 minutes or 10 minutes, it takes you 35 or 45 minutes, that`s a death sentence.
And we have to look at this as right and wrong. It`s wrong for rural hospitals to close and to have Lindsey Graham propose a bill like Graham- Cassady that makes even impossible for more hospitals and in rural communities to close. That`s wrong and that`s why he`s going to lose this election and we`re going to send him home or send him to Mar-a-Lago or somewhere.
HAYES: Jamie Harrison is a Democratic Senate candidate challenging Lindsey Graham in South Carolina. Thanks for being with me.
HARRISON: Thank you, Chris. Next, what the Trump administration does reflects what he says. The continued outrages at the border and racist policies in action next.
HAYES: The president`s bigotry isn`t just evident in the things he says or tweets, it`s evident every day in the actions and the policies of his administration, it`s evident in the systematic targeting immigrants and the horrifying conditions those that are detained are kept in for weeks at a time, evident in the child separation policy in which children, sometimes babies, are ripped from their parents` arms, sent to camps. Every day it seems we get another official Trump administration policy that effectively dehumanizes entire groups of people that the administration and the president personally does not like, like this ghastly story about how a border patrol agent asked a 3-year-old Honduran girl with a heart condition to pick a parent, to choose one in an attempted family separation.
The child`s name is Sophia, or Sophie, for short. One parent was going to be sent back to Mexico, the other would stay in the U.S. It`s not just an attack on immigrant populations, critics say the president`s civil rights record is abysmal as well. Today, we learned that Attorney General William Barr reportedly overruled his own civil rights division in deciding not to file federal charges against the NYPD officer in the death of 43-year-old Eric Garner.
As you may remember, the grand jury failed to indict that officer who is seen in this video with his arms around Garner as Garner desperately repeats over and over, "I can`t breathe. I can`t breathe" shortly before he died.
Here with me now Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director counsel NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
I want to start with on that last bit of news. The Eastern District of New York recommended no charges. The civil rights division of the Justice Department recommended charges. The attorney general personally intervened to make sure that no charges were filed. What`s your reaction to that?
SHERRILYNN IFILL, NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATIONAL FUND: Well, if this was to be a civil rights prosecution, the people who have the expertise on these kinds of claims are in the civil rights division. This had dragged out for five years, that`s also problematic, and very painful for the family. But here we see Attorney General Barr, you know, an attorney general who basically received basically no questions about civil rights, of what he would do with the civil rights division during his confirmation hearing, but who also has essentially cosigned the priorities of Jeff Sessions.
So we`re not entirely surprised by this outcome. It is deeply dismaying. And it tells us, it confirms for us that this Justice Department is not in the business of vigorously enforcing the nation`s civil rights laws, and that matters.
We should remember that the man who shot and killed Walter Scott in South Carolina, Michael Slager, would not be in prison today were it not for the federal prosecution. He was tried on state charges and the jury was hung.
IFILL: You know, the officers who beat Rodney King would never have served any time had it not been for the federal prosecution. They were acquitted at the state level.
We count on the Department of Justice, that`s the place that you go when the state and local system has failed African-Americans traditionally. And it`s been very clear since the Trump presidency, and since Jeff Sessions and now cosigned by Attorney General Barr, that that resource is no longer available to us.
This is -- this is a very important moment that we have to recognize. And so this is true with policing. Sessions announced he`ll do no pattern and practice investigations of unconstitutional policing, that means the Baltimore investigation would have never happened. The Ferguson investigation would have never happened.
We`re seeing the incursions in the Department of Education. We`re seeing what Ben Carson is allowed to do in HUD. We`re seeing across the board a full-on retreat from the federal government being involved in enforcing civil rights law.
HAYES: Someone says, well, there is the president`s words and his tweets and then there is the actions of the government, and -- what is your understanding of the action between the worldview the president articulates and a tweet like "go back to your country" and the way he has run the federal government?
IFILL: Well, you can find exactly what we think in two lawsuits we filed. We were first out of the gate suing the president and charging the president of the United States with racism when he created that election integrity commission and claimed that 3 million illegals had voted.
And we also sued him, challenging the recision of Haitian TPS. And there we laid out all of his statements about shithole countries, all the ways in which attempted to demonize this particular population.
This has not been an easy thing to do. It`s an unusual charge to make.
HAYES: How so. Explain that.
IFILL: Well, most of the time when we think about civil rights, we think about challenging state and local governments who are engaged in discrimination or even private parties. The Department of Justice is very often your partner in making those challenges. Since this Trump administration, we`ve sued six cabinet secretaries. This is unheard of in the history of the Legal Defense Fund.
And the fact that the federal government is actively engaged in violating civil rights laws, in demonizing populations in the way that we see at the border, in creating a narrative, and that`s what the president does with this language that dehumanizes people and allows people to be targets, it`s actually dangerous. It`s dangerous when he says it about women sitting in the United States Congress, it`s dangerous when he says it about immigrants, it`s dangerous when he talks about people in African-American communities and who they are, it`s dangerous when he calls NFL players sons of bitches. It`s dangerous when he uses language, because he`s sending a signal, no matter whether you like him or not, he is the leader of this country, he is the see the president of the United States, and there is a consistency that listens to him and takes their cues from him.
HAYES: You know, one of the things that is striking to me about the era of immigration law and what`s happening at the border, is there is a place where there is just a tremendous amount of executive latitude.
IFILL: Yes. Yes.
HAYES: So, you know, when you are talking about DOJ, how affirmative or not affirmative they are in pursuing things. In the area of this like 50,000 people detained, it`s like the executives running the entire thing. And that latitude is precisely what you`re seeing play out in the lives of the people that are detained.
IFILL: Yes. And you`re seeing it in the behavior and the conduct of the border patrol officers who believe that they can engage in this conduct and who have this Facebook account and who are talking to immigrants in this way. This is the signal that he is sending.
And when we see the vice president, as we saw this weekend, standing in front of the cage with Lindsey Graham and with others and viewing human beings as though they were animals in a zoo, and then coming out and describing something that is completely contrary to what we all saw, this is part of what Trump brought to this country.
And it`s really important that we recognize what it is and that we not play this game as though we don`t know what racism is. We know what it is. We know it when we see it.
HAYES: Sherrilyn Ifill, thank you as always.
IFILL: Thank you.
HAYES: Next, Congressman Al Green today filed impeachment articles against the president. And he will join me next. Don`t go anywhere.
HAYES: Immediately after the House passed the resolution condemning the president`s tweets, Democratic Congressman Al Green took to the House floor and once again made his case for impeaching President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. AL GREEN, (D) TEXAS: In all of this, the aforementioned Donald John Trump has by his statements brought the high office of the president of the United States in contempt, ridicule, disgrace and disrepute, has sown seeds of discord among the people of the United States, has demonstrated that he is unfit to be president and has betrayed his trust as president of the United States to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And Congressman Al Green of Texas joins me now.
Congressman, my understanding of the articles that you talked about today, they are new and in response to the tweets themselves. Is that right?
GREEN: Well, thank you for having me on, Mr. Hayes. Yes, they are new in the sense that we took on the condemnation resolution. We believe that the resolution condemning the president is in tandem with our articles of impeachment. I think this is -- the condemnation was a first step, impeachment is the next step. And I trust that my colleagues will find the same reasons to vote to impeach that they found to condemn.
HAYES: Well, so I guess let me ask this -- I mean, Andrew Johnson was the first presidential impeachment. There was an article of impeachment, among many, that talked about intemperate things he said -- he had talked about hanging members of congress angrily. He was an out and avowed racist as well.
Do you think presidential words, racist invective like he has dealt itself constitutes a high crime demeanor worthy of impeachment?
GREEN: Well, Andrew Johnson was impeached for a high misdemeanor in Article 10 of the articles impeachment against him in 1868. I think the president does more than speak words. These words are very harmful. Your previous guest was quite accurate in assessing the harm that can be caused.
You might recall in Charlottesville that a lady lost her life at the hands of bigotry. She was there protesting lawfully. And she was killed, murdered, in fact, in my opinion.
So I think that the president is sowing the seeds of discord, but he is also sowing the seeds of anger to the extent that people are being harmed, and we have no way of knowing to the extent that people have been harmed.
HAYES: OK. But I guess let me just return to that question, like as just a constitutional matter, and this president has said lots of things I think that are blatantly racist and bigoted, I think you and I would agree on that, does that itself, to you, constitute an impeachable offense? Is that the kind of thing you think the president should be impeached for?
GREEN: I think that the president`s words are more than simply condemning, the president incites and his words are insightful to the extent that they cause others to act. And sometimes these actions have been harmful.
I have been accosted by people. In my office now when you walk in, the first thing you see is a person with a gun. We never had this problem before the president started his rants.
I believe that we must check him now or we will find someone being harmed, perhaps a member of congress.
HAYES: There was an article today about members of congress who favor impeachment, but who are worried about, quote, your rogue go at it. This is something you`ve been out front about impeachment. You`ve drafted articles. You`ve talked about privileged resolutions to get them to the floor, et cetera. Do you have response to concerns of others in your caucus who actually support the eventual goal, but think it has to be done in a more managed process that begins with an inquiry formally to do fact- finding?
GREEN: Well, the framers of the constitution did not require this. This outsourcing of impeachment is something that we decided to do. The Justice Department should not be the agency to investigate the executive branch of government. We decided to do this.
So managing it through the Justice Department, which is an agent of the executive branch, allows the president to do exactly what he has done, to deny us access to witnesses, to demand that people not appear, to make sure that we can`t even get Mr. Mueller to cooperate with us to the extent that we`d like to, in my opinion.
So my belief is that each member has this right. I have only done what the constitution allows. And my hope is that members will understand that it`s not about me, it`s about democracy, it`s about the republic, it`s about maintaining liberty and justice for all, and this president`s words are stoking the fuels, the fires, the flames of confusion such that people are at risk.
HAYES: Do you think that in your caucus -- I mean, it seemed for a while there was a kind of growing groundswell, and the leadership was working very hard to tamp that down. I`ve seen a few new members come out in favor I think in the last day or two. Where is the caucus in terms of momentum? What direction do you see it moving at in terms of support for immigration (sic)?
GREEN: Well, my hope is that this vote to condemn him is an indication that the caucus is willing to take the next step. We voted to condemn. Those same votes can be used to impeach. There will be no appeal of the impeachment votes. There is no standard that has been imposed upon us. Each member decides based upon his or her conscience and casts that vote
If 218 members decide, assuming that 435 are voting, then the president will be impeached, only a majority of those voting is required.
HAYES: All right. Congressman Al Green, thank you for making some time tonight.
GREEN: Thank you.
HAYES: We`ll be right back. Don`t go anywhere.
GREEN: Thank you.
HAYES: We have some sad news that just broke just moments ago. John Paul Stevens, the third longest serving United States Supreme Court Justice, has died tonight. Stevens joined the Supreme Court in 1975. He retired in 2010 when he was 90 years old. In that time I was fortunate enough to meet him personally. My wife, Kate Shaw, clerked for him in the year of 2007. He was just an exceptional human being among everything else he was exceptional about.
He was appointed by the Republican President Gerald Ford. He often voted with the court`s liberal wing. NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams looks back at his life and legacy.
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: The Supreme Court`s only Gerald Ford nominee, John Paul Stephens, arrived as a moderate conservative.
JOHN PAUL STEVENS, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: I thank the president for his expression of confidence in me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here is the nomination.
WILLIAMS: But he quickly headed in his own direction, becoming an independent-minded justice and the court`s most prolific dissenter. He insisted he never varied and said the court shifted around him.
STEVENS: I really don`t think I have changed, and I still consider myself quite conservative.
WILLIAMS: At first skeptical of affirmative action in government contracting, he eventually supported it in college admissions. He voted with the court`s liberals to restrict police powers, give prisoners greater rights, keep a high wall between church and state and support the right to choose an abortion.
And though he never voted to declare the death penalty unconstitutional, he became one of the court`s most vocal skeptics about its fairness.
STEVENS: The fact that most of the judges who preside and often make the final life or death decision must stand for reelection creates a subtle bias in favor of death.
WILLIAMS: But Stevens sometimes voted with the conservatives. A decorated World War II navy code breaker, he dissented when the court struck down laws that would have banned flag burning and he led a unanimous court in ruling that a president could face a civil lawsuit while in office, allowing a sexual harassment suit to proceed against President Clinton.
Stevens underwent heart bypass surgery and treatment for prostate cancer but maintained a vigorous life off the bench. He had four children and nine grandchildren and divided his time between Washington and a home in Florida, communicating with his law clerks electronically.
STEVENS: It`s enabled me to spend more time on the golf course.
WILLIAMS: He remained fiercely loyal to his native Chicago, even throwing out the first pitch at a Cubs game as an 85-year-old right-hander.
At age 90, Justice Stevens retired in June of 2009, after 34-and-a-half years on the court.
In 2012, Barack Obama presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of his lasting effect on the law as the third longest serving justice in U.S. history.
Pete Williams, NBC News, at the Supreme Court.
HAYES: A few months ago I was fortunate enough with my wife, Kate, to attend the 99th birthday party and clerkship reunion of John Paul Stevens down in Florida. And I can just say it is a testament to the kind of man he was, both as a public figure and in private, the integrity and wisdom, kindness and grace with which he led his life. The people around him, you cannot find a single person who would say anything but that he was one of the finest human beings that they ever had the pleasure of being around.
Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the third longest serving justice, died tonight of complications following a stroke. He was 99 years old.
HAYES:l There are at least 24 people on the Democratic side running for president. And tomorrow we`ll find out which of them have qualified for the debate stage in Detroit in two weeks. And then it`s on to the third debate in September where stiffer qualifications will likely result in far fewer candidates.
What`s always been pretty clear to me, at least, is that for all the jokes about the size of the field, and it is indeed unprecedented, there is just not enough money out there to keep these operations going all the way to February 3, which is when the Iowa caucuses are.
The second quarter individual contribution fund-raising numbers are in for most of the candidates. And while the top contenders are getting the cash needed to keep in the competition, others are actually spending more than they are raising.
Politico pointing out that Beto O`Rourke and Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand all saw more money go out than in.
Now, if that kind of thing keeps up, and there is pretty good reason to think it will, at least for some of the candidates in the field, we are likely see the field winnow down pretty quickly.
Joining me now to talk about this is Tiffany Cross, co-founder and managing editor of The Beat D.C. and Chris Kofinis, who is a Democratic strategist.
Tiffany, what do you think these FEC quarterly filing numbers, particularly for the folks that are not in the top five or six, mean for the durability of a field this big, say, in four of five months?
TIFFANY CROSS, MANAGING EDITOR, THE BEAT D.C.: Yeah, so I think it`s really dangerous to call people the front-runner when we are quite a bit a ways away from the first round of voting. So I`m always hesitant to use that phrase.
Listen, I think a lot of what we see about the top five candidates who are fund-raising well, you have to look at the amounts and the number of donors contributing. So, when you see people contributing $5 or $10, that`s a vote. I mean, a lot of people who are maxing out, that`s a check in the box. They`re contributing to everybody to make sure they have a friend in the White House no matter what the outcome. When somebody is giving you $5 or $10 or $20, that`s someone who supporting you and believe in your candidacy.
I do find it fascinating, though, that, you know, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, as we know, he struggled with communities of color, and I think a lot of his ground swelling that initially kicked off his campaign was due to a media incredibly lacking in diversity who was excited about his candidacy. And you just are not electable if you cannot resonate with communities of color.
I will say, though, I think Pete has definitely -- Mayor Pete has definitely -- definitely done his work and tried to make an attempt to reach out to communities of color. He`s introduced policy that speaks specifically to communities of color, but we have to see how that ends up resonating.
And with us being so far away, I`m not sure that we can necessarily call any one of these top five candidates of the fund-raising wing the front- runner at this point.
HAYES: Well, I would agree about the front-runner. But it`s -- to me, the issue with the fundraising is less who is the front-runner and more who can survive.
CROSS: Yeah, right, that`s fair, totally.
HAYES: Because if the polling changes -- the poll is going to change. But Chris, at a certain point, unless -- you know, John Delaney has a personal fortune. He loaned himself $7.75 million after only raising $284,000 in individual contributions. So he can do that and he can stay in the race, but there is going to be -- not a viable financial path forward for candidates if they continue to spend more than they take in.
CHRIS KOFINIS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: There is nothing that kills a campaign quicker -- or faster than if you run out of money. And this becomes a bit of a self-fulfilling prophesy.
You know, you have a bad debate or you`re not in the debate, you don`t get the poll bump, if you don`t get the poll bump, you don`t get the donor bump and then you basically make less money.
And so the one thing about campaigns, especially for folks who have never done one, the money is always going out, especially when you`re running essentially for a lot of these campaigns two, three, four-state types of races.
KOFINIS: So there is always going to be a problem with money. But if it doesn`t come in, it gets worse real fast. I think that the problem for some of these candidates is going to be really simple, you know, your going to have 20 in these next two debates. That third debate in September where the criteria changes is going to be a really tough one for some of these campaigns. And if they don`t get in, at some point you have to ask the tough question, how do you stay in if you don`t have the money and you don`t have the poll numbers?
HAYES: Which I think -- yeah, go ahead, Tiffany.
CROSS: Well, I just don`t think we can discount the role the media plays in this. I mean, look, I think Julian Castro had an incredible announcement. He`s introduced several initiatives that resonate with a lot of communities across America, but he doesn`t get the coverage that maybe Joe Biden gets or maybe Bernie Sanders gets.
And so I think we have to acknowledge that. And we also have to look at polling. Who is responding to these polls? A lot of the polls they go through land lines, people who are answering their phones in the middle of the day from an unknown number. Well, how many younger people do you know who does that?
And when you look at...
HAYES: Well, there`s -- we should say, there is a variety of methodologies. There are folks who do cell phone. There are folks who do online.
CROSS: Well, I`ll just say, though, Chris, that I have been voting for over 20 years and I`ve never been polled. And I think there are a lot of people.
But, look, I used to work for Cornell Belcher, so I`m sure -- you know, he`s a great pollster and I`m sure he cringes every time I say that. But I do think that we have to consider some of the sourcing of thee polls.
I also know other voters who have never been polled. So, I think it`s a very relevant question. We can`t let polls dictate who the front-runner is. And I think that a lot of -- when we even see the coverage, again, that some of the -- too many people over depend on how people are covered in capable news echo chambers and we have to encourage people to look at the policies that these candidates are introducing and what resonates with them.
HAYES: Well, and there`s -- I wonder, Chris, if there is a difference between folks doing grassroots fund-raising and those who are doing more high-dollar max out stuff. Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, who are all doing sort of more traditional, both grassroots and big high-dollar max out. And then Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren who have more money just from grassroots fund-raising.
KOFINIS: I mean, listen, here is the cruel reality about politics today, you have to have some type of campaign that gets media attention, gets social media attention, something that gets attention to spur and spark those donations to come in.
I think there are some campaigns that clearly have done a really good job of it. I would say Warren has been at the top of that list. I think Harris has actually done that.
The others are struggling, especially the second and third tier candidates. If that doesn`t change, how do they stay in for long?
HAYES: Tiffany Cross and Chris Kofinis, thank you so much for joining us.
That is 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