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Trump on his racist attacks: "I have no strategy." TRANSCRIPT: 7/30/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Raja Krishnamoorthi, Linette Lopez, Erin Banco, Jim Manley, TomPerez


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  I`ll be back at 10:30 for post-debate coverage.  "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes right now.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  What are you talking about by political strategy?  Are you talking with respect to Elijah Cummings?

HAYES:  As the president`s racist meltdown continues --

TRUMP:  There`s no strategy.  I have no strategy.  There`s zero strategy.

HAYES:  Tonight, the actual source of Donald Trump`s rage at Elijah Cummings as Democratic Oversight uncovered the central con of the Trump campaign.

TRUMP:  America first folks, America first.

HAYES:  Then --

TRUMP:  The Washington Post called Mitch McConnell what?

HAYES:  Mitch McConnell gets defensive about killing election security measures.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY):  I was called unpatriotic, un-American, and essentially treasonous.

HAYES:  And the growing firestorm over the Trump advisor trying to fast- track nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.

TOM BARRACK, EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, COLONY CAPITAL INC:  What I`m going to do is something different.

HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES:  Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes.  The President of the United States is in day four of another racist meltdown.  He is binge- watching Trump T.V. and it`s making him feel really racist and he`s expressing that and he can`t or won`t stop the feedback loop that we`re all now trapped in.

Meanwhile, there are all these anonymous Trump officials and defenders on Trump TV running around to vouch for the Chessmaster work.  And then today, the president looked in the camera and threw a wrench into that argument.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What`s the political strategy here because it seems to be causing -- these attacks seem to be causing a lot of division --

TRUMP:  What are you talking about by political strategy?  Are you talking with respect to Elijah Cummings?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I`m talking about your attacks against Elijah Cummings and the tone of the attacks.

TRUMP:  There`s no strategy.  I have no strategy.  There`s zero strategy.  All this is pointing outing out facts.


HAYES:  I just sit and I watch the TV and then I get angry and then I tweet.  It`s what I do.  I mean, there is, of course, a strategy.  It`s not very sophisticated but it is quite clear.  It`s not something where Trump is anticipating three moves ahead about what the marginal white voter in Michigan wants to hear.  No.

Trump is mad at Democratic congressman Elijah Cummings.  he wants to cause Elijah Cumming some psychic pain and discomfort and he wants chiefly to intimidate him.  We`ll get into why in a minute.  But Trump has no reason to think is bullying strategy won`t work because it works just about every other time.

I mean, think about this.  Just a week ago, Robert Mueller himself said he gave up trying to interview the president because it wasn`t worth a protracted legal fight.  Here`s another one.  In the past few months, Donald Trump has doubled down on his attacks on Federal Reserve, Chairman Jerome Powell.  Here`s what he said about the independent body just this morning.


TRUMP:  I would like to see a large cut and I`d like to see immediately the quantitative tightening stopped.  It should be stopped.  I`m very disappointed in the Fed.  I think they acted too quickly by far and I think I`ve been proven right.  People have said I was right, they were wrong.  The Fed is often wrong.  The Fed is often wrong.


HAYES:  So whether all the bullying get the president, well, the Federal Reserve widely expected announced a rate cut tomorrow even though as Trump will typically be the first to tell you the Stock Market is at record highs, unemployment is near record lows.

It`s hard not to see some correlation when the president has repeatedly berated Fed Chair Jerome Powell`s decision making.  Now, to be clear, Donald Trump has operated this way for 40 years, breaking the law, violating contracts, stiffing workers, steamrolling, berating and bullying anyone who challenges him.  And by and large, he`s gotten away with it.

I mean, he`s not the only person in the world that`s true of the headlines are filled with him every day.  You may have heard about Trump`s old party pal Jeffrey Epstein seen here at Mar-a-Lago.  That was Epstein`s M.O. as well.

But the reason that Trump is mad at Congressman Cummings is because Cummings heads up the House Oversight Committee which is leading a slew of investigation into the president and his family.  And Trump probably should be mad because those investigations are devastating.

Just in the past week, Cummings subpoenaed Trump`s daughter and son-in-law, the corrupt legacy cases who have no business being in their positions.  Cummings is also looking into the central con of the Trump campaign embodied by the America first phrase.

The whole idea that Trump is putting America`s interests above all else when from day one it has been clear you`ve been pursuing foreign interests in his own bottom line.  From the Moscow Tower deal that Trump lied about, that Michael Cohen lied about and for which Cohen is now serving prison time, to Trump`s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn publishing an op- ed on election day to advance the interests of his Turkish client.

Now, the House Oversight Committee is found that Flynn and Trump`s inaugural committee chairman Tom Barrack was trying to get sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia against the concerns of people who fear it will be weaponized.

And if you want the most excessively tried, almost overwritten example of the preposterous con, here it is.  It is Trump`s America first speech they gave in 2016 on energy policy, a speech that thanks the report released by Congressman Cummings committee, we know Tom Barrack submitted to United Arab Emirates officials for review and added their suggestions.

Joining me now, a member of the House Oversight Committee conducting these investigations Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, also a member of the Intelligence Committee who questioned Robert Mueller last week.

Congressman, first I guess, let`s -- do you think that the President is attacking Cummings specifically because of the chairs work on these investigations?

REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL):  Oh absolutely.  I think he`s attacking Chairman Cummings because he`s effective.  I`ll just give you a couple of examples.  You know, Chairman Cummings was the one who led the charge in removing the citizenship question from the census.

He is the one who has been leading the charge for instance on these security clearance issues including you know, investigating why the heck Jared Kushner has access to top-secret clearance and then last among other things, he`s been leading the charge on the immigration issues on the border and the separation of children and families, and also holding people like Kevin McAleenan in the CBP accountable for the money that`s being sent down to help with the humanitarian crisis, a crisis that I`m actually going down tomorrow to the Mexican border to view on behalf of the Oversight Committee along with my colleagues.

HAYES:  The subpoenas that have been issued for the President`s daughter and Jared Kushner her husband, the President`s son-in-law among a few others, what is the substance of those subpoenas?

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  Gosh, you know, as you know, these folks are the subject of various investigations.  Everything from security clearance issues to whether or not they are using their personal e-mails for official business which would be a violation of the Presidential Records Act.

And so these are things that touch intimately obviously on the president`s family, but that`s obviously something that he has caused himself by appointing these people to such high positions.

HAYES:  The Oversight Committee`s work, the report they just released is quite damning I think in many respects.  It traces out the degree to which foreign influence through flow -- sort of flowed through the campaign, but am I correct that that deal is still being pursued and is a live issue?

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  This particular deal, the issue with regard to the sensitive and nuclear technology?

HAYES:  Yes.

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  Yes, this is something that they`re actively pursuing.  Tom Barrack, and IP3, and others.  Apparently, in December 2017, Rick Perry actually gave preliminary approval on behalf of the Department of Energy for transferring this technology.

Now there`s something called the Section 123 Act -- Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act which requires congressional approval for such transfers namely to make sure that there are safeguards such that such technology cannot be used to make a nuclear weapon.

This is called the "gold standard" which Tom Barrack and IP3 and other Trump associates want to water down or completely kill in order to basically make sure that the Saudis end up purchasing their technology.

HAYES:  Do you -- the president -- one consistent -- the most consistent through-line in the president`s foreign policy which I think is even more consistent than his behavior towards the Saudis, I mean he broke with American tradition to go there as his first act.  He has -- he has sort of lavished praise on the man who according to U.S. intelligence agencies sent his goon squad to murder and then hacked to death with a saw an American newspaper columnist.  At every turn, he`s back Saudis, the war on Yemen, and their Iran policy.  Are you confident he`s doing that because of his foreign policy judgment and not because of his bottom line?

KRISHNAMOORTHI:  No, I`m not at all.  I think he`s totally -- this is -- this is the same issue that we see with Vladimir Putin, OK.  There`s something in the financial ties between the Trump family and the Saudis or Trump interests or people associated with Trump and the Saudis that motivates this very strange behavior.

And in this particular case, we know that Tom Barrack is one of his largest donors.  He`s the chairman of the president`s inaugural committee, and he`s a confidante and he is trying his darndest to try to skirt congressional approval and transfer this technology.

But you know, I got to say, we can`t trust the Saudis with a bone saw you know, let alone a nuclear weapon.  They should never get their hands on a nuclear weapon in this -- in a region that`s basically a tinderbox and I hope that we oppose this on a bipartisan basis in Congress.

HAYES:  Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, thank you very much.


HAYES:  Joining me now, Zerlina Maxwell, MSNBC Political Analyst, Senior Director of Progressive Programming for Sirius XM and Linette Lopez Senior Finance Correspondent for Business Insider.

You -- this sort of bullying approach which he clearly is now bringing down upon Elijah Cummings, clearly in a retaliatory fashion, right?  He doesn`t like what Cummings is doing on Oversight.  I mean, you went through this in the campaign, right.  You work in the Clinton campaign as did 15 other people that faced him in the primaries.  And what`s sort of unnerving about it is how effective it can be.

ZERLINA MAXWELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, it`s effective but I think that there`s a distinction between when he attacks Adam Schiff versus a black person or a person of color for example.  So I think that distinction is actually where we need to focus.

When he`s attacking somebody who`s just conducting oversight who isn`t a person of color, you know, he may call him a pencil neck or give him a cute nickname, but he doesn`t go straight to the racism.

HAYES:  And he doesn`t talk about how the district --

LINETTE LOPEZ, SENIOR FINANCE CORRESPONDENT, BUSINESS INSIDER:  This is like something that comes from deep inside Donald Trump.

MAXWELL:  Right, it`s deep inside.  And of course, it`s sort of his default position.  He doesn`t have a strategy.  This is who he is.

HAYES:  So you take him at his word when said that because I do as well.

MAXWELL:  Correct.

HAYES:  Right, yes.

MAXWELL:  Correct.  And again, I don`t even care if it was a strategy --

HAYES:  Yes, who cares, right?

MAXWELL:  Because racism is bad and we -- it shouldn`t be a part of any serious conversation.

LOPEZ:  If he had a strategy, he would be able to talk about other things.  He had a better-than-expected GDP number on Friday.  He should be talking about that.

HAYES:  That`s right.

LOPEZ:  He should be talking about how great the economy is.  Obviously, we discussed the Feds, we`ll take you there, but he has other things that he can be talking about that he should be touting to the American people.  It`s an election -- it`s election time.

HAYES:  Right.

LOPEZ:  But no, he cannot stop frothing at the mouth at Elijah Cummings and yes, OK, maybe it`s to protect his family, but at the same time, you know, this is not the same thing we`re getting for Adam Schiff.  And also, can I just say, did Jared Kushner not think that Middle East peace was a hard enough puzzle?  Did he think that maybe giving the Saudis the nuke would be --

HAYES:  Which by the way is --


HAYES:  I`m going to have more on later the show.

MAXWELL:  That`s terrifying.  One of the things I`ve been thinking about a lot this week is whether -- you know, we`ve been talking about it whether it`s a strategy or a tactic or whether it`s going to work or not work.  I don`t think it`s about whether it`s going to work, I think it`s that he`s willing to rip the country completely apart in order to win re-election.

He doesn`t care about the consequences of basically ripping the scab off of white supremacy in the history of racism in this country which already is leading to violence, can lead to more violence.  It`s like a tinderbox.  And he`s basically letting it go free and he doesn`t care if anybody gets hurt and that`s a scary part for me.

LOPEZ:  But think about the story.  The story he`s hiding is that his son - -

HAYES:  Son in law.

LOPEZ:  -- son in law, got together with an American billionaire to profit from selling secrets -- nuclear secrets between murderous foreign governments.

HAYES:  In the most dangerous part of the world, an impossible violation of the -- impossible circumvention of the guardrails that are supposed to be put --

LOPEZ:  What -- this is what Jack Bauer is supposed to stop.  This is Bond villain stuff.  And it seems to -- it seems to be to me that he will stop at nothing.  And if that means exploding racism in the United States, that`s what we`re going to do and that`s what we`re all going to have to live through.

HAYES:  It`s also -- I mean, I think it`s also the case, and this is important to not sort of lose sight is like this -- you said it`s got a role.  This is who -- like he is -- when he says it`s not strategy, like it is who he is and it is going to get worse over time, and in some ways the most sort of -- there`s a lot of effects of it that are horrible.  But one of them is just watching him March the line forward and watching everyone else fall in to defend it.

You know, there`s like at what point -- like everyone should stop expecting that Mick Mulvaney will do anything but what he`s doing or Mitt Romney or Mitch McConnell.  They`re in.

LOPEZ:  Yes.  At what point am I supposed to start believing that the Republican Party is for me.

MAXWELL:  That`s the problem we`re having in this moment.  The Republicans are completely invisible.  They`re absent.  They go along with whatever he says and I don`t see the racism as simply a debate or a conversation about strategy.  I think it`s a threat.  It`s basically threatening us with going full racist which can lead to violence in order to win re-election because certain people like Elijah Cummings are looking into the corruption in his administration and he is afraid of that.

HAYES:  And there`s -- there is -- right, the part of it when the -- when the anonymous folks go out to tell reporters that this "he likes it" or whatever, it is a little like nice country you have would be ashamed of something.  Like there is this like, oh you think this is bad.

MAXWELL:  There`s a threat.

HAYES:  Wait until -- wait until he really throws his back into it.  Wait until we`re eight months from now or a year from now or we`re a week away from the Election Day.

MAXWELL:  (INAUDIBLE) kids in the cages now, wait until you see.

LOPEZ:  He has no -- he cannot deescalate.


LOPEZ:  I don`t -- I don`t think that there is.  We have hit bottom America and we are just going to dig from here.  Sorry to tell you.

HAYES:  Well, there`s also -- I mean, whether we`ve hit bottom or not, we have 15 more months.  I mean, there is a long way to go here and they have clear -- I mean, the other thing is what will happen on the Oversight side is there will be more oversight.  There will be more investigations and that`s only going to precipitate more of them.

LOPEZ:  It`s like there are too many leaks in the ship.  You`ve got New York State demanding tax returns, you`ve got California passing legislation here that would reveal more financial information.  You`ve got guys like Tom Barrack who are going to start being investigated who has a very shady you know, long history on Wall Street.  You`ve got you know, Wilbur Ross who is maybe on his own out --


LOPEZ:  -- but also who was in these meetings.  They had Rick Perry minding the nuclear store.  Why America, why?

MAXWELL:  I mean, this is what --

LOPEZ:  Rick Perry, a Dancing with the Stars fame.

MAXWELL:  This is what happens before the dystopian future.  I think we just have to be vigilant in this moment because this can go bad really fast.

HAYES:  Zerlina Maxwell, Linette Lopez, thank you both.  Coming up, there`s a lot more to talk about regarding the story of the Trump adviser who tried to use his connection in the White House to push a Saudi nuclear deal.  Details about the ongoing investigation in two minutes.


HAYES:  On January 20th, 2017, as Donald Trump stood in front of the American people delivered his first inaugural address, his soon-to-be National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was reportedly texting a business partner about a multi-billion dollar plan to build nuclear reactors in the Arab world.

According to a whistleblower who spokes at the House Oversight Committee back in 2017, Flynn texted his associate to let him know their nuclear plan was good to go now that Donald Trump was president.  Michael Flynn was not the only member of the Trump campaign who is pushing for the potentially lucrative though possibly rather dangerous Middle East nuclear project.

We now know that the chairman of the Trump inaugural committee Tom Barrack, a longtime friend and advisor to the president was also pushing a plan to help Saudi Arabia acquire nuclear reactors.  We know all these thanks to the aforementioned 50-page House Oversight Committee report that details how Barrack used his influence in the White House to push for this nuclear power plant deal with the Saudis.

According to that report, he was "advocating on behalf of foreign interests seeking to obtain this U.S. nuclear technology."  Those foreign interests happen to be Saudi Arabia specifically helping the country develop its nuclear program by going around a long-standing U.S. policy that prevents them from doing just that, much to the alarm of proliferation experts.

Now, questions about whether or not Tom Barrack was working on behalf of a foreign power did come up in the special counsel`s investigation.  In fact, we know the Robert Mueller referred that investigation into Barracks ties to the Middle East to the U.S. Attorney`s Office in Brooklyn which right now has an open and ongoing investigation on that topic.  America first indeed.

Joining me now is Erin Banco, National Security Reporter at the Daily Beast who has an extensive reporting on the Trump world campaign to export nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.   Erin, so first just give us a sense of Barrack`s role in Trump world, the inaugural committee, how close he was to the top and the decision-makers.

ERIN BANCO, NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST:  Right.  So starting back, all the way back into the Fall of 2016, you have this firm called IP3 which is sort of made up of former generals who get in touch with former national security adviser Mike Flynn, and then are later introduced to Tom Barrack, about a plan to export American technology overseas to help build nuclear reactors.

And the original plan is pretty broad.  It`s to build over 40 nuclear reactors in a couple of different countries.  And it isn`t until much later that that plan gets sort of honed down to Saudi Arabia, and that`s where Barrack really comes into play because he has connections in Saudi Arabia, he has connections in the UAE.

And so Barrack -- you know, as Flynn leaves the government, Barrack really becomes IP3`s point person to help try to push through this plan and to get Trump administration officials to sort of recognize that this is good for American businesses.  That`s the plan on IP3`s part.

But as we know from the report that we`ve seen come out yesterday that there are a couple of ethical concerns and more importantly there are some national security concerns along with this plan as well.

HAYES:  Yes, what are the national security concerns?

BANCO:  So it`s a little complicated, but our government needs -- the U.S. needs to do a couple of different things in signing a nuclear agreement with a foreign country.  It needs to have a one, two, three agreement which Congressman Krishnamoorthi spoke about a couple of minutes ago.  It needs to have all these additional protocols for nuclear safeguards.

But then in 2009, there`s the development of what`s called the Gold Standard which you can -- the publican thing about a sort of the strictest nuclear safeguard that you can possibly have.  And what countries do, foreign countries, they say, OK, U.S. we`ll subscribe to this Gold Standard and we will in perpetuity not use our nuclear fuel to develop a nuclear weapon.

HAYES:  Right.

BANCO:  And so this is first signed with the UAE and the U.S. has tried to uphold these standards since then.  There have been a couple of agreements we have signs that have not had this standard in place.  But on a public- facing front, the administration tries to get everyone to agree to this gold standard particularly with countries that are a little risky especially in the Middle East like Saudi Arabia.

HAYES:  And we should note that during the Obama administration, they refused to agree to the gold standard.

BANCO:  That`s right.

HAYES:  And Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said without a doubt if Iran develops a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.  So there`s this huge Saudi interest in possibly having the ability to break out of a peaceful system.  Then you got Tom Barrack and Michael Flynn working over and inside the scenes to try to advance this cause.

Do we know if Barrack has any financial interest in this or is being paid by anyone or there`s any investment angle to it as he`s working on behalf of this foreign interest while connected the president?

BANCO:  So that`s part of what the Eastern District of New York is looking into now as we know from some of the fantastic reporting from the New York Times and other outlets on this.  We know that Barrett has been questioned about some of his work related to the Saudi nuclear project.

We don`t have a clear understanding yet what kind of compensation if any Barrack received to help push forward this plan, but that`s definitely a big line of inquiry in Brooklyn right now.

HAYES:  He also, Barrack, I think stepped down if I`m not mistaken from Colony Capital I believe as the fund that he was managing.  It does seem like there is some intense heat on him at this moment.

BANCO:  Yes.  I mean, especially with this report coming out and with the ongoing investigations in Newark related to the inaugural committee.  The Daily Beast has done supporting -- some reporting around that as well.

It seems like Barrack is sort of emerging as a central figure in a couple of different probes in New York.  And I think this Saudi nuclear story as it -- as it is sort of important to understanding the lobbying work that Barrack did and some of the compensation aspects to his time working as an advisor for President Trump.

HAYES:  Yes, that -- there`s a bunch of unanswered questions about that as well.  Erin Banco, thank you very much.

BANCO:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Ahead, why does Mitch McConnell keep blocking election security bills?  Moscow Mitch as he has been called in the threat of Russian interference next.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Thank you for your question.

TRUMP:  Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Mr. President, will you tell Russia not to meddle in the 2020 election?

TRUMP:  Yes, of course, I will.  Don`t meddle in the election, please.


HAYES:  You know, my buddy Vlad over there, big guy.  Just about everyone who is in a position to know has been very clear again and again about the fact that Russia is working once again to interfere in our elections.


CHRIS WRAY, DIRECTOR, FBI:  The Russians are absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our elections.

DAN COATS, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE:  We assess that foreign actors will view the 2020 U.S. elections as an opportunity to advance their interests.  We expect them to refine their capabilities and add new tactics.

ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL, RUSSIA PROBE:  They`re doing that as we sit here and they expect to do it during the next campaign.  Much more needs to be done in order to protect against intrusive not just by the Russians but others as well.


HAYES:  So what exactly are we doing about it?  Well, Congress has passed a few relatively minor bills, and last year it distributed $380 million to help states with election security upgrades such as strengthening cybersecurity, updating voting equipment, and improving post-election audits.

But election security experts generally say that`s not nearly enough, and we are still learning just how bad things are.  Just last week, one day after Robert Mueller`s testimony, a bipartisan Senate report found that Russia targeted election systems in all 50 states back in 2016.

Democrats and some Republicans are trying to pass bills to combat the Russian effort.  The Democrat-led House passed a bill directing $600 million to help states secure their elections.  Lawmakers have put forth legislation requiring campaigns to report offers for help from foreign governments, the FBI, as well as a bill to protect lawmakers from cyberattacks, a bill requiring internet companies to disclose who was buying political ads, and a bill to sanction any entity that attacks a U.S. election among others.

None of these bills are getting a vote in the Senate and that is thanks to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who insists the federal government is already doing enough to protect our elections so none of the legislation is necessary. McConnell`s refusal to take up the legislation has earned him the nickname "Moscow Mitch" from some critics, which has been trending on twitter along with permutations like Moscow Mitch McTreason, which is a lot to say.

It has also prompted columns like Dana Milbank`s blunt "Mitch McConnell is a Russian asset." Yesterday, McConnell took to the Senate floor to whine about being criticized simply because he has repeatedly blocked bills designed to protect our democracy.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER:  I don`t normally take the time to respond to critics in the media when they have no clue what they`re talking about. But this modern-day McCarthyism is toxic.


HAYES:  Modern day McCarthyism? Joining me now is Senate veteran Jim Manley who is chief spokesperson for former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Jim, what did you make of that performance yesterday?

JIM MANLEY, FORMER HARRY REID SPOKESPERSON:  For Senator McConnell, it was a miniature -- nutty. You know, he rarely if ever, you know, gets that dramatic and/or gets that ramped up. But obviously he is feeling the effects of something. Something is going on. And I think that`s that he is getting really uncomfortable with where the president is trying to take this whole debate.

HAYES:  Wait, say that again?

MANLEY:  A couple of different things. First of all, you know, I think he is really uncomfortable with where the president -- what the president is doing.

HAYES:  I see.

MANLEY:  He thinks that something should be done. But as long as the president isn`t for it, Senator McConnell is never going to go for it. Why? Because he is afraid of the president. He is up for election in 2020, and the last thing he wants is a primary.

HAYES:  Right. And so, I see. So he doesn`t want to jam the president on this.

MANLEY:  Exactly.

HAYES:  So he is blocking it to protect the White House, but he is feeling upset and hurt and frustrated and vulnerable, which is why he took to the floor to whine because he is being squeezed, essentially.

MANLEY:  Exactly. And like I said, he is smart enough to know that, you know, there is an idea out there with the American people that something`s got to be done to deal with this Russian stuff. You know, the president can sit in the Oval Office all he wants and rail against these investigations and, you know, deny that anything happened.

But the reality is much different, and McConnell knows it. And here he is acting no better, no worse than a lowly House Republican freshman whose only goal in life is to avoid getting a primary by not upsetting the president.

HAYES:  We should note also he has got a history here of protecting Trump on this front back in 2016.

MANLEY:  He sure does.

HAYES:  There was that meeting that has been widely reported. And Joe Biden talked about this recently that he refused to sign on to a bipartisan statement about Russian interference. He was sort of the lone objector.

When the White House wanted to come out and say look, they`re doing this and we know they`re doing it and we don`t want this to be a partisan thing, and he said I will do it as partisan and he questioned the intelligence. That was hugely helpful to Donald Trump.

MANLEY:  It was. And so, again, I`ll try it one more time. I mean, he just wants to go about confirming his nominations as he works to try and get re- elected.

HAYES:  Right.

MANLEY:  Now, he is getting jammed. He`s got to have to deal with the real issue and he doesn`t like it. And he lashed out yesterday, the likes of which have I never seen by McConnell. He is being put in this position. He knows it`s wrong but -- and so all he can do is lash out at his critics --

HAYES:  That`s interesting.

MANLEY:  -- by that outrageous suggestion of McCarthyite tactics.

HAYES:  There is also something else that he now has to do and I think this is pretty interesting. So you got John Ratcliffe who` just been nominated by the president. I don`t even actually know if he has been formally nominated to be honest. Sometimes they say the nominated people they don`t actually nominate -- 

MANLEY:  He has not, no.

HAYES:  No. So, he has been tweet nominated by the president.

MANLEY:  Exactly.

HAYES:  Whether he would be nominated is another thing. This is a member of the House Intelligence Committee who served on that committee for just a few months, has no real national security experience other than having clearance as a U.S. Attorney. This is what the president said about him today, which I don`t think is going to help his case over in the Senate. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESDIENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I think that John Ratcliffe is going to do an incredible job if he gets approved. He`s got to get approved, but I think he`ll do a great job. I hope he gets approved. I think we need somebody like though. We need somebody strong that can really rein it in because as I think you`ve all learned, the intelligence agencies have run amok. They`ve run amok.


HAYES:  I just think, I mean, am I wrong to read the president being like I need this guy to rein them in because they ran amok is not the best way to count to 50 votes over in the Senate to get this guy confirmed?

MANLEY:  Yes, I mean, you know, my rough calculation is they`ll probably get you 10 republican votes in the Senate Republican Caucus because they hate the intelligence agency so much. But for an awful lot of these folks, they`re going to be really upset if forced to vote on this guy because he is obviously highly unqualified, A, for the position.

And B, you know, they like to pretend that they are or they like to say, excuse me, you know, that they are defenders of the intelligence agencies. And they know damn well what`s going on here. That Trump`s trying to, you know, get protection by getting this guy confirmed.

HAYES:  The Richard Burr quote on this I thought was amazing. This is Burr who is, of course, the chair of Senate Intelligence doing his best Mariah Carey impersonation.

He says, "I don`t know john Ratcliffe. I look forward to getting to know him, and if I get an official nomination, I`ll process it through committee." Which to me is such a tell because that`s what Republican senators always say when someone gets floated, if it`s Herman Cain or Ken Cuccinelli for a Senate-confirmed position that they don`t want to confirm. They always say if they`re confirmed.

MANLEY:  Yes, and you know, that for me was the quote that stuck out as well. Having said that, I`m not so sure that Senator Burr is exactly a profile on courage --


MANLEY:  -- but, you know, again all the signs show that this guy is tanking fast and, you know, I seriously question whether he is going to be able to survive over the next couple of weeks once the Senate goes into recess.

HAYES:  This will be really interesting to watch. Jim Manley, as always, thank you for sharing your insight and experience.

Still ahead, DNC Chair Tom Perez on defeating a racist president and tonight`s "Thing 1, Thing 2" starts next.


HAYES:  "Thing 1" tonight, the more that Trump continues to attack the city of Baltimore as a place where no human would want to live, we`re getting more and more stories about the landlords. Last night, we introduce you to Kushnerville, the Baltimore housing owned by Jared Kushner and his family where one tenant said she had a mouse infestation that was severe enough that her 12-year-old daughter recently found one in her bed.

Today, a reminder of a story that another housing complex outside Baltimore, this one owned by Fred Trump, that would be the president`s father, 40 years ago. The story is pretty mind-blowing. The "Washington Post" reports the conditions there were so horrendous, that federal officials asked Trump to come down and meet them in person.

And when Trump got there, he was arrested and to his outrage, briefly jailed. Fred Trump was accused of subjecting black tenants to poor conditions just a year after settling a lawsuit with the federal government which alleged the Trump Organization refused to rent to African-Americans.

But that`s just how Fred Trump made his money. And he gave all that money to Donald Trump. So, whose side do you think he is on? Trump`s awful behavior doesn`t go completely without consequences in polite society. And that`s "Thing 2" in 60 seconds.


HAYES:  Trump spent the first part of his day once again attacking Elijah Cummings and lying about the people of Baltimore before leaving for an event commemorating the 400th anniversary of Virginia`s first legislative assembly where he was met by a member of the Virginia House in the audience.


TRUMP:  Right here in Virginia, your predecessors --

IBRAHEEM SAMIRAH, VIRGINA DELEGATE:  Mr. President, you can`t send us. Virginia is our home. Mr. President, you can`t send us back. Virginia is our home.


HAYES:  Ibraheem Samirah, a Palestinian-American dentist who this year became the second Muslim to be elected to the Virginia House Delegates, said he protested because he found Trump`s presence in the state insulting.

That was the only first uninvited guest to Trump`s speech. The man so concerned with what he calls Baltimore`s infestation seems to have brought an extra attendee along with him.


HAYES:  OK, so you`ve probably heard of Pete, not Buttigieg, P-E-A-T. You might have used it in your garden or tasted it in your whiskey. It`s a spongy material formed by organic matter like moss that decomposes very slowly over a long period of time. Peat is usually found in wetlands and can build up to thick layers. I`ll let this Canadian scientist demonstrate.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is just moss and peat and it`s so soft, you can actually drive your arm right down into the soil, right up to the elbow -- past the elbow. It`s just solid vegetation.


HAYES:  OK. Careful there, buddy. That solid vegetation does something else that`s important. It draws down carbon dioxide and traps it underground, which is great unless the carbon doesn`t stay there. You see, this June was the hottest June on record across the globe.

Even in parts of the Arctic which is actually warming at about twice the rate of the worldwide average, which has contributed to drying out peat lands in that region, turning the peat into one of the most flammable substances in nature and essentially a giant carbon bomb that is now on fire.

More than 100 wildfires, I say that correctly, have burned in the Arctic Circle since June, creating so much smoke they can be seen from space. And because the underlying peat has caught fire in several cases, those fires are emitting enormous amounts of carbon dioxide, 121 mega tons so far this year, that is more than the entire country of Belgium emits annually.

This is an example of what scientists call the climate change feedback loops. Carbon emitted from these fires contributes to more warming which in turn makes conditions ripe for more fires and more carbon emissions and more warming. And, you know, you start the feel that panicky feeling inside.

As Jay Inslee said to me last week`s WITHpod, the sad truth about all these, about the climate crisis, which is probably the biggest challenge to civilization we`ve ever faced as a species, is that there is only one party here in the U.S. willing to deal with it. The other party is just intent on making it worse. So at this point, electing Republicans is like lighting the planet on fire.


HAYES:  As the president continues his racist meltdown, he`ll have to deal with voters` attention being focused elsewhere during this week`s Democratic debates, while the candidates all continue to workshop their approaches to the vortex of insult and bigotry that is the president of the United States.

Here with me now is the head of the Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez. Tom, we`ve seen this awful racist outburst by the president now going day after day after day. And interesting conversations among Democrats about how to deal with what will clearly be a centerpiece of his re-election campaign. What are your thoughts?

TOM PEREZ, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE:  Well, let me put on my hat as a former head of the Civil Rights Division first, Chris, because when you see this rhetoric, this divisive, racist rhetoric, it should come as a surprise to no one that we see increases in the number of hate crimes across America.

You can`t sit here and foment unrest and then feign surprise and regret when you see hate-fueled violence take place. So, that`s point number one. And that`s unconscionable. It`s un-American. And it`s unbecoming the commander-in-chief. And we should -- we should always make sure that we articulate our values as Democrats, and we will.

I`m a proud Marylander. I love Baltimore and I love Elijah Cummings and we will continue to call this out. At the same time, we understand that his playbook is about division, it`s about distraction, it is about making sure that people aren`t focused on the issues at hand, and he doesn`t want to talk about health care.

I mean, I think he`s had 40,000 tweets or something like that and there`s a small handful about health care. I understand why because he wants to take it away. And when he goes low, I know that the First Lady said when they go low, we go high. When they go low, we go vote. And when they go lower, we get more people who can vote out to vote.

And I said to folks here today in Detroit, when they go even lower, and he will, let`s get a caravan of people out who vote who are eligible to vote. That will give new meaning to caravans in America. We`ll have caravans of voters.

HAYES:  There`s an interesting law today signed by Gavin Newsom. I don`t know if he signed it or just announced his intent to sign it. It`s a law that would create a constraint on the availability of or the ability to appear on a primary and it would require candidates to give five years of tax returns to appear on a California state primary ballot. Lots of interesting legal questions about this clearly aimed at the president. Do you think it`s a good idea?

PEREZ:  Well, listen, this should be unnecessary. As you know, I think every candidate on the Republican and Democratic side since -- I think it was Richard Nixon, has voluntarily turned over their tax returns until Donald Trump. And that`s what he should do, but we know he hasn`t that`s why I applaud the actions of Chairman Neal.

States have to take whatever action they deem appropriate for their interests. And so I wouldn`t even remotely try to second guess what the -- what Governor Newsom is doing because he`s trying to make sure that voters have access to all the information they need before they make their judgment about who to support.

HAYES:  I understand why you don`t want to second guess the governor. Just to follow up on that as someone who is an accomplished lawyer himself and did work at the DOJ, I mean, you can imagine versions of this that would be pretty noxious, right? The Alabama state saying you can`t appear in our primary unless you have a long form birth certificate or something like that.

PEREZ:  Well, the thing about tax returns is that the American people have I think an obligation or I would say the candidates have an obligation to make sure that they`re completely transparent with voters, and we haven`t had to pass a law to vindicate that principle.

HAYES:  Right.

PEREZ:  People want to know, where is your source of income? And in the case of this president, I mean, we -- you know, why is he so cozy? Why is he Putin`s poodle? I think one of the answers is that he`s compromised, and the problem is we can`t see his tax returns to verify or not verify that and so we`re left with a series of imperfect options.

But this is a problem not of anyone in California`s doing. This is a problem squarely of this president`s doing. And it`s unprecedented. And I hope that Congress will act. I know McConnell won`t do anything. This is another reason we have to take over the Senate and take over the presidency so that we can enshrine once and for all something that, frankly, shouldn`t need to be enshrined, but we now know it does.

HAYES:  There are a lot of bills -- you just mentioned Mitch McConnell --a lot of bills that are passed by the House that he has blocked including some campaign finance and election access reform, a $15 minimum wage passed by the House and some election security legislation that actually bipartisan sponsors in the Senate which he blocked.

He was very, very upset that people criticized him for that and called him "Moscow Mitch." He said the media outlets were fomenting modern day McCarthyism. What do you think? Do you think he`s got a point?

PEREZ:  Absolutely not. I mean, Chris, we know from this report that the Russians interfered with our elections in 2016. They did so with the intent of hurting Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump. They have had no accountability for this. They`re doing it again.

Director Mueller said so. We must take prompt action. The House of Representatives, a number of these bills, as you correctly pointed out, were bipartisan. A bill to say I believe if somebody comes from a foreign government and tells you they`ve got dirt or information, an obligation to report that.

Leader McConnell, like, what`s wrong with that? This isn`t about right versus left, this is about right versus wrong. And his absolute fealty -- he`s such a lap dog to this president and he should really be ashamed of himself. This is election security. This shouldn`t be a Republican or Democratic issue. This is an issue of patriotism.

HAYES:  You`re the head of the DNC. You guys sort of oversee the kind of national party apparatus, obviously. The debates are sort of running the primary process. The DCCC, which is a sort of associated organization but distinct that runs congressional campaigns, just had a very big staff shake-up.

A whole bunch of senior staff left and there were complaints about diversity of the staffing at organization. Are you concerned about what`s going on over there? Do you think the complaints about diversity were legitimate?

PEREZ:  Well, I know Speaker Pelosi and Chair Bustos take those complaints and concerns very, very seriously. I am confident in their leadership in attacking these challenges and I know that they`re going to move forward because we have -- we`ve worked to hard to gain control of the House of Representatives.

I think we`re going to get more seats in 2020 and we want to make sure that we are fully together and we`re certainly going to do everything we can to work together with them. I`m proud of what we`re doing at the DNC, to be a partner to all of our alphabet soup of federal and state and local counterparts so that we can elect Democrats.

Because, Chris, we need to focus 100 percent of every single day on defeating Donald Trump, plainly and simply. We can`t be distracted, whether it`s by Donald Trump or by anything else, and that`s why we need to focus our attention, and when issues come up we will listen and we will address them promptly and fairly and comprehensively so we can get back to the task at hand, which is restoring our democracy.

HAYES:  All right. DNC Chair Tom Perez in the spin room at the Democratic debate. Thank you for taking a little bit of time. I really appreciate it.

PEREZ:  Chris, always great to be with you.

HAYES:  One last thing before we go, we have a new episode of our podcast out this week. It`s called "Fury in Puerto Rico." It is the story of the hundreds of thousands of people who took to the streets over two weeks to protest the governor of Puerto Rico that led to his resignation. That story is still developing with people still in the streets day after day.

Our podcast discussion breaks down the texting scandal you may have heard of along with the long-simmering frustrations of corruption in the U.S. territory. It`s an amazing story of mass mobilization and Julio Ricardo Varela is a phenomenal journalist that can explain what pushed people to take to the streets and demand a change in leadership.

As always, you can find it wherever you get your podcasts and don`t forget to rate and review while you are there. That is ALL IN for this evening. A special edition of "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts now.