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Comparing candidate gaffes. TRANSCRIPT: 8/9/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Josh Partlow, Todd Schulte, Charlie Pierce, Natalia Salgado, Robinson Meyer



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want people to know that if they come into the United States illegally, they're getting out.  They're going to be brought out.  And this served as a very good deterrent.

HAYES:  The President basks in his raids as the family horror continued.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How scared are you right now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I'm scared because -- I'm really scared because I don't know what to do.

HAYES:  Tonight, new reporting on how the President's own companies hire the very people he's demonizing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Are you confident there were no undocumented immigrants working at your Bedminster property of other Trump golf properties?

TRUMP:  That I don't know because I don't run it.

HAYES:  Then putting Joe Biden's gaffes into Trumpian perspective.  Close up new details and new high profile names from today's release of Jeffrey Epstein documents.  And as the ice caps keep melting, the scary new warning from climate scientists about the way we used land when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES:  Good evening from New York I'm Chris Hayes.  This week we saw the worst targeted mass murder of Hispanics in recent American history and the largest ever single state rate of unauthorized immigrants overwhelmingly Hispanic as well.

There are still people in custody in Mississippi whose sole crime was doing the grueling work of rendering chicken for Americans to eat without authorization to do so, so you and I can drive up to a window and have a bag of nuggets handed to us.  There hundreds of kids who've been traumatized by the raid and as far as we know none of the owners of these chicken plants have been prosecuted or arrested or detained.

It was just four days after the mass murder of 22 predominantly Hispanic people in El Paso by a person who said he was fighting back against an invasion, the very same word used repeatedly by the president and his propagandists.

We now know that when the shooter turned himself into police, he told them I wanted to kill Mexicans.  Many people have cited the similarity between the shooter's manifesto and the president's rhetoric but it's more than just a passing resemblance.

The core of the president's rhetoric about immigration is always as a threat, as a danger, as an invasion that fundamentally immigration is an infection plaguing the country, an evil seeping across our borders.

An analysis by USA Today found Trump use words like invasion, criminal, animal, and killer to discuss immigrants at rallies more than 500 times.  The president is lying.  We know he's lying because those are the things he says while he's whipping up fear.  But he's also a businessman who tries to do what's best for his bottom line.

Businessman Donald Trump doesn't view unauthorized immigrants as invaders, as criminals, as an infant station.  In fact, that Donald Trump has the correct view on immigrants.  The view that correlates with how the vast majority of America operates that immigration in the United States is a profound net benefit.

Washington Post reports today the Trump Organization has used a crew of Latin American stone workers as its golf courses up and down the East Coast.  Several of those workers were unauthorized immigrants.  Some of the former employees show pay stubs from the Trump own construction company Mobile Payroll Construction LLC.

After it was reported earlier this year that trumps golf clubs also employed on authorized workers, several of the clubs on authorized workers were fired.  That didn't happen at mobile payroll construction.

Here's the reality of immigration in the U.S. as opposed to the ridiculous demagogic slander from the president.  A bunch of people work, many in jobs Americans don't want to do.  They get paid and take that money back home.  They do good work and the business benefits and you know what everyone benefits.

No one is harmed and the Trump Organization knows it.  One of the Trump's former workers told The Washington Post "if you're a good worker, papers don't matter, and he's right.  In fact, it wouldn't be a bad bumper sticker for the government's policy.  It's a long way from they're sending rapists and drug dealers.

It's important to push back against the deep ugliness the president's rhetoric on immigration, the dangerous atmosphere he's clearly created.  But also, you don't need to look further than the Trump Organization itself for a parable about the actual affirmative positive effects of immigration in the United States America.

Joining me now one of the authors of The Washington Post story on Trump's unauthorized workers Josh Partlow Washington Post National and Foreign Affairs Reporter.  He has been covering the Trump Organizations use of unauthorized workers for months.  Josh, what did you find out in reporting this story?

JOSH PARTLOW, NATIONAL AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST:  So basically what we found out is that President Trump's company for nearly two decades has been relying on a crew of immigrants mostly from Guatemala and Ecuador to do stonework at several of his properties golf courses along the East Coast's from New York, New Jersey, Florida as well as his winery in Virginia.

So there's a lot of similar look at these courses, stone fountains, waterfalls, rock walls, and this work has been primarily done by this crew that other Hispanic employees of the Trump Organization call The Flintstones.  So they've been you know, doing a lot of -- a lot of jobs at several courses over many years.

HAYES: And what did those workers and the other workers you've talked to because you've been reporting on this beat for a while and there are large pools I think about authorized immigrants at various properties in the Trump Org empire.  What have they told you about the level of concern by management about their status?

PARTLOW:  Pretty much everybody that I've spoken to who has worked there without papers which is now more than 40 people, they say that their supervisors were aware they were undocumented and that they say there was very little concern among managers at the Trump Organization about this.

They say they were -- you know, they did provide documents almost everybody purchased fake documents, social security cards, green cards, things like that, and then they go -- those go in the files but there apparently has been very little effort to verify if those were are real by the Trump Organization.

There's been a lot of joking that we've heard from other workers and previous stories with their managers about their undocumented status.  And the I mean, I think the really important thing is that there's also you know, difference in how they get treated.  They get paid less often.  They don't get benefits, no health insurance, so there's there seems to be you know a two-tier system at the Trump Organization.

HAYES:  I see.  So there's a kind of -- those who are regularized and have status and sort of are under the full color of the law have one set of standards and those who are outside it, they're sort of more management can get out of those folks in terms of their wages and benefits and things like that.

PARTLOW:  Yes, exactly.

HAYES:  Has the Trump Organization ever crossed over in any legal trouble on this score?  Obviously, it is against a lot of knowingly hire folks that are undocumented.  Prosecution on that part or even any kind of civil infractions is exceedingly rare as we know.  But have they faced any consequences ever?

PARTLOW:  No, not that we know of.  There have been certain incidents where local police, for example, have alerted Trump management officials.  There's a golf course in New Jersey where this happened where one of the workers was told -- they were told was undocumented.  But in terms of investigations, there's -- there hasn't been too much happening.

The New York State Attorney General has interviewed a few dozen of these workers, golf course workers, but in terms -- there hasn't been a resolution to that basically.  And there have been calls by Congress for other investigations by the FBI or DHS but so far there doesn't appear to be any action.  ICE, for example, hasn't raided the Trump Organization ever.  So yes, there hasn't been much progress in terms of the investigation.

HAYES:  So you're telling me ICE has -- ICE has never showed up particularly in the President's term with say a bunch of agents, dozens of them, and sweep through one of the Trump properties and grab people and put their hands behind their back in plastic wrist ties and march them off.  That hasn't happened.

PARTLOW:  That has definitely not happened.

HAYES:  This is a sort of human aspect of this, but are the folks here reporting on OK?  Are they going to be OK?

PARTLOW:  Yes.  I mean, everybody we've talked to, there was -- after the initial stories about this, about undocumented workers at the president's golf courses came out in December, the Trump Organization you know, claimed that this is the first time they were hearing about it.  They did an audit they say, and they fired several workers.

We know of at least 20 that have been fired at golf -- at least five golf courses.  We believe the number is higher than that.  We have not heard of any deportations of anyone who has worked at the president's company.  You know, these workers, a lot of them we've talked to have found other work after leaving the Trump Organization.  They are -- they are OK, you know.

And I guess more broadly to answer your question, we've also interviewed a lot of people who have returned with on their own to their home countries.  We wrote a story a few months ago out of Costa Rica where dozens of people over the years since 2002 had helped physically build Trump's Golf Course in Bedminster, New Jersey.  You know, bulldoze the land, carved the holes, the whole thing, and then you know, and worked there up until -- up until this year.

And they you know, they returned home with the money they earned in that job and they you know, they look back on it as a good experience.  They made more than they could in their -- in their small village in Costa Rica.  You know, some owned land.  They have their own houses.  They have cattle.  So you know, for them this was a positive experience.

There are people who also tell you that that you know, they had bad experiences with individual managers who are abusive or a very demanding, who essentially knew they were undocumented and can exploit them, but a lot of people are very thankful for this job.

HAYES:  Yes.  I mean, in some ways it's sort of the paradigm of a kind of win-win in that benefit, right.  I guess everyone here has -- in this contractual relationship that was entered into seem to benefit from it.  Josh Partlow, thanks for great reporting.

PARTLOW:  Thank you very much.

HAYES:  Joining me now Victoria DeFrancesco Soto Director of Civic and Engagement for LBJ School of Public Affairs at University of Texas, Austin and an MSNBC Political Analyst and Todd Schulte President of Forward U.S. a group of business and tech leaders committed to meaningful immigration and criminal justice reform.

Victoria, let me start with you.  Just at the first level, to me what striking here is A, the Trump properties haven't been raided, B, that the employers in Mississippi apparently face no sanction, and C, that when Trump is acting as a businessperson, he doesn't view these people as a threat at all.

VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  It's Econ 101, Chris, in terms of folks come here to the United States to work, migrants come here because there's a demand, because there's your Trump Organizations, there's your organizations in Mississippi that need poultry processing workers.  So there's a demand by the employers, that's why they're coming.

If there wasn't a demand, they wouldn't come.  And we actually saw that borne out Chris if you remember in the height of the Great Recession around 2009-2010 when we saw net migration from Mexico actually result in negative.  You had more people for Mexico of Mexican descent going back because there was no work.

So if we really want to get to the issue of undocumented immigration in this country, it's about going to the root cause.  It's about going to the employers.  What we have on the books right now is what was put into place in 1986 with IRCA.  That was eons ago.

What we need is actually technological resources to be put into place and the actual finds that are on the books to be put in place in going after the employers, not going after these folks who are just trying to make ends meet and also feeding us as a country.  Because if they weren't here doing it, I don't know if Americans would, Chris.

HAYES:  Todd, you know, I was struck by this little news item the Clarion-Ledger another people had reported that the very same food processing company Coke had just paid a $3.75 million discrimination lawsuit that they had settled.  The workers and the EEOC had alleged that they had subjected Hispanic employees and female employees to harassment.

And it strikes me that one of the problems here isn't that there are immigrants working, it's that the very fact that they are undocumented makes them ripe for exploitation and abuse.

TODD SCHULTE, PRESIDENT, FORWARD U.S.:  That's right.  And I think it's really important to have the conversation we should be having here.  Obviously, if the president is going to hire people who are undocumented, he's willing to put them on a pathway to citizenship.

We shouldn't be having a conversation about who does and doesn't get deported.  We shouldn't have a conversation about how to train a bus driver to know whether or not they have to wait to see if a parent is home when they drop a kid off.

There are 11 million people here.  They were undocumented.  There is no good enforcement regime.  We should put people on a pathway to citizenship and have a humane and working immigration system centered on a pathway to citizenship, centered on improving our legal immigration avenues to come here.

That's what we need to actually be doing as a country and unfortunately, the president is just pushing us in the wrong direction in so many ways.

HAYES:  Well, and not just that, Victoria.  Strikes me that you know, one of the things you'll see the president today, he's all about illegal immigration, illegal immigration.  But way back when they tried to -- when they tried to do a DACA deal, who came along but Tom Cotton and the President to essentially propose in the most extreme reduction of legal immigration since the 1920s.

SOTO:  So President Trump knows that this issue fires up his base.  I mean, he started off his campaign on the issue of immigration.  He was able to harness it throughout his campaign, got him into the White House, has can using that.

So it doesn't do him any good to actually do something to curb immigration, to do something at getting at the root causes, to provide foreign aid to Central American countries so that folks don't have to migrate out.  All of the real policy solutions, the tangible solutions don't come into the picture because ultimately he needs a problem to scapegoat for political purposes because as we mentioned earlier, there is the idea of having a pathway to citizenship.

In 2013, we saw the gang of eight put forward a very reasonable bipartisan solution.  We could easily go back to that.  But it's easier to have a scapegoat and saying you know what, we've got this massive problem, this invasion, these caravans and for political purposes that works.

SCHULTE:  Just to jump in there.  I think it is so important -- to go back to that DACA deal.  This is not about border security, this is not about legality.  What we saw there was when all the cards are on the table and the president could get the big beautiful press coverage that he wanted, he turned on $25 billion for the wall because it didn't come with a 50 percent cut to legal immigration.  This isn't about rhetoric, this is a policy architecture about slashing all legal immigration avenues.

HAYES:  I mean, is it your -- you work on this day in day out, Todd.  I mean, I follow your feed and your work on this.  I mean, is your understanding the position of Stephen Miller particularly who I think it everyone recognizes is the mastermind, sort of behind the president's policy, take him at his word, he wants to greatly reduce the amount of immigration into the country legal and illegal partly because of the demographics, the ethnicity, the language and the race of the people that are the bulk of immigrants?

SCHULTE:  Yes.  I think the taking at your word thing is important.  And to pull back for a second, if you look at what these groups who are anti-immigrant groups like Numbers USA, FAIR, the Center for Immigration Studies, they're very clear, it's about overall numbers of immigration, and five or six times as many people numbers their legal channels a year.

That's why I mean you see what's happening at the border, it's about ending asylum.  They've cut the refugee program by 90-95 percent.  And you know, Chris, you do a great job on the show.  People should name this for what it is.  It is an attack on immigrants and immigration.  It is not about these ideas about like tough at the border.

HAYES:  Yes.  Victoria DeFrancesco Soto and Todd Schulte, thank you both.  That was great.  Next, as we continue from Chicago, the FBI has just announced the arrest of man promoting white supremacist ideology who's planning multiple attacks in Las Vegas.  More on that breaking news in two minutes.


HAYES:  Breaking news tonight.  The FBI has arrested a white supremacist in Las Vegas who they say had illegal firearms.  The man allegedly discussing -- discussed attacking a synagogue and it sketched a picture of an attack on a gay bar.

NBC News Investigative Reporter Tom Winter has been following details.  He's here with me now.  Tom, what do we know?

TOM WINTER, NBC NEWS INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER:  Well, we know this a 23-year-old person named Conor Climo from Las Vegas is somebody the FBI identified was communicating and they say -- and they don't say clearly how this came out but they say that their Joint Terrorism Task Force became aware of discussions he was having with popular white supremacist groups, a group called the Atomwaffen Division, and there was some similar neo-Nazi type groups that he was engaging in conversations with.

They introduced a confidential human source to him, began discussions, and then an FBI person undercover began discussions with him online.  And I think some of the things that are pretty disturbing here, Chris, is that he had actually scouted locations for the ADL, for a Jewish synagogue, expressed on several occasions his desire to kill Jewish people.

And then on top of that, he also made statements apparently after his Miranda warning.  According to the federal criminal complaint filed in Las Vegas later today that he made statements -- derogatory statements about African Americans, about the Jewish people, and about homosexual people as well.

In addition to that, the FBI says that they found at his house in the course of the search warrant sketches that he drew of a gay bar in Las Vegas where the attack would occur from the outside as well as from the inside.

They found an AR-15 at his house, a bolt-action rifle.  In addition to that, they found several bomb-making components, certain chemicals which I'm not going to identify on the air, but a bomb technician did search the house.  And they also found the necessary electronics to possibly put together a bomb as well.

So this person wasn't just aspirational, they also had some of the materials for possibly carrying out an attack.

HAYES:  You know, those details are important because there have been cases in the past particularly with related to sort of ISIS sympathizers or Jihadi terrorism where someone sort of has an idea.  They're introduced to a human source who is actually an FBI agent who kind of you know, floats these ideas in front of them and they're kind of going along with it whether or not that makes them more or less culpable.

But it sounds like here this was more ideation and this wasn't him being sold on this idea, that he was actively in touch with people discussing this kind of thing at least according to the criminal complaint, what's alleged.

WINTER:  That's perfectly put, Chris.  I mean, this is a situation where he's having these conversations before the FBI is introduced to this.  Anytime you see the actual physical components -- and that's what he's been charged with here is illegally possessing a firearm, anytime you see those components.

HAYES:  Right.

WINTER:  On top of that, he's in -- he's in a video with the local ABC affiliate.  They did a story on this guy.  He's going through his own neighborhood and in he's wearing a -- he's got an AR-15 on him.  We're looking at the video now.  He's got this AR-15 on him.

And this particular section of the video, I was watching it just before came on to speak with you tonight, he's got those magazines, he's got 30 rounds, he says, in each one of those magazines.  The reporter says there's four.

So we've have 120 rounds of ammo on an AR-15 assault-type rifle.  He's got his knife there.  I mean, this is somebody that you've done a lot of damage.

HAYES:  Yes.  I want to just play a little.  If you -- if you Google this gentleman's name, the first hit is this local news package on him where he was patrolling his neighborhood for reasons somewhat unclear.  Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  How many bullets are in here?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Times four magazines.  Conor Climo says the weapons are necessary since he's patrolling alone.

CLIMO:  If there is a possibly very determined enemy, we have at least the means to deal with it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  So you were briefly in the army.

CLIMO:  Very briefly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  That's all Conor would say about that.  As far as what he's going to be looking for -- to find suspicious activity.  What does that mean?

CLIMO:  People like they're out -- they're outside when they're probably not supposed to be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  How will you determine that?

CLIMO:  You know, I just be walking and then I just see you know, like show low lights.


HAYES:  So I mean, who could have predicted, I guess.  But you know, what struck out to me in that press release -- and incorrect me if I'm wrong, Tom.  This is your area of expertise and not mine but there were -- it comes from the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

And Joint Terrorism Task Force is generally associated at least in my mind with focus on things like ISIS sympathizers or Jihadi kinds of groups.  It was striking to me after all the criticism and the kind of discussion about the focal point of FBI investigation that that Joint Terrorism Task Force is involved in this case in some way.

WINTER:  Yes.  There's definitely something that left out of me.  As a matter of fact, the agent that filed the -- part of the criminal complaint they have to file an affidavit.  In other words, your honor, this is why we arrested this guy.  This is what we found, and this is the evidence that we've already gathered in the course of our investigation.  That there was an agent assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force as you just said, Chris.

And I think the FBI faced some criticism over the last several months only amplified in the last week or so after what we saw in El Paso about whether or not they were doing enough on domestic terrorism. 

This is a case that began back in May of this year, amplified and then kind of grew in the past several weeks.  So yes, the Joint Terrorism Task Force he are fully engaged into your point earlier taking some of the steps that they might if this person was an ISIS sympathizer or have made statements in support of terrorism say from al-Qaeda.

So we're seeing the exact same thing kind of the same recipe here play out enabled -- in the course of them coming up with this case.

HAYES:  Well, I will say, innocent until proven guilty here in the United States.  These are criminal complaint.  These are all allegations, of course.  But it does appear at least from the data we have to be a pretty job well done by law enforcement there.  Tom Winter, thanks for that reporting.

WINTER:  Sure.  Will a national media that was obsessed with Hillary Clinton's e-mails be able to cover race between Donald Trump and a candidate that occasionally misspeaks.  Putting today's Joe Biden gaffe in the context next.



TRUMP:  Joe is not playing with a full deck.  He made that comment.  I said, I thought -- because I was on something.  I had a television.  I saw his comment.  Joe Biden is not playing with a full deck.  This is not somebody you can have as your president.  But if he got the nomination, I'd be thrilled.


HAYES:  That was an extremely warm President of the United States fully capitalizing on a gaffe by Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden.  What Trump says was Biden speaking last night at a forum hosted by Asian and Latinx activists.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We had this notion that somehow if you're poor you cannot do it.  Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids, wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids.


HAYES:  He quickly corrects himself but yes, cringe-inducing for sure.  The clip quickly made a trade around the internet with this caption from a trump campaign Twitter account "yikes, have fun mitigating that one."

Of course, the person who wrote that tweet works for the Trump campaign doing rapid response.  And this small moment is a perfect microcosm that sheers surreal asymmetry of running against one Donald Trump.

If the Biden gaffe is a gaffe, how should we describe the President of the United States getting the name of a city where a mass shooting just happened wrong referring to Dayton is Toledo even though he's reading off of a prompter?  Or how about the president releasing a triumphant propaganda video of himself smiling, and glad-handing, and soaking up adulation in the hospitals treating the wounded of two gun massacres?

Or him tweeting completely nonsensically about the Fed, his continued downright bizarre words of near romantic infatuation with the North Korea dictator, not to mention the completely mud brain nonsense he unspools in nearly every occasion on any and every topic?

The problem though is that most of this behavior so commonplace, so expected it barely registers.  When it comes time for the general election, you can imagine how strong the temptation will be to put the Democratic nominee, whoever it is, on a roughly similar footing to Trump.  In fact, we lived through this before with the emails.

Here with me now Charlie Pierce, a writer at-large for Esquire; and Natalia Salgado, senior political strategist at The Center for Popular Democracy.

Charlie, to me there is actually a fundamental problem here which is the old news cliche that dog bites man is not news, man bites dog is news, right.  So, you know, Donald Trump said today, like, he talked once again about he got a beautiful letter from Kim Jong-un.  And that's -- it's nuts.  It's bizarre the way he talks about him.  If Cory Booker said that or Kamala Harris said that, it would probably be news, but in some strict sense with the president, it's not news precisely because he does it so often.

CHARLIE PIERCE, WRITER AT-LARGE ESQUIRE MAGAZINE:  Well, we've seen this before, Chris.  We saw this with President Reagan, especially in his second term.  We saw this with George W. Bush in the debates with Al Gore.  You had the right word for it before, it's asymmetry, it's Democratic sins are amplified by a right wing media apparatus that has not only its own faithful convinced, but also has the elite political media buffaloed.

HAYES:  There is also the fact, Natalia, which I think is so interesting here -- and this I think is a very deep issue, and it goes become to 2016 -- the Trump campaign and Trump have no ideology really.  They have sort of dispositions.  There is nothing -- no view of the world they're really fighting for, aside from a few core instincts like bigotry, for instance.  And so they will attack from the left and the right simultaneously.

So, this is the Trump campaign being like, oh, your candidate said something racist or racially  insensitive, but that's ridiculous coming from them.

NATALIA SALGADO, SENIOR POLITICAL STRATEGIST, THE CENTER FOR POPULAR DEMOCRACY:  It's absolutely ridiculous.  I mean, I think that the fearmongering that has come out  of the White House in the last couple of months has really sort of risen the temperature around this country.

I mean, just looking at the response of what folks -- what happened in Times Square earlier this week.   The country is terrified.  They're terrified because the highest office of the land is out here inciting violence against people of color.  So for him to come out and just try to use this moment to point at someone else as being the problem is absolutely ridiculous.

HAYES:  Well, and there is also -- Charlie, there is also, to Natalia's point about someone else being the problem, like there is this weird rubber and glue thing that, you know, I'm not the puppet, you're the puppet, he says to Hillary Clinton while Russia is actively working in a criminal and  systemic fashion to get him elected that like this is a guy who literally can't get through a paragraph  without saying something completely head-scratching.  He wants to go -- he is going to go around talking about someone else is losing it.

PIERCE:  Right.

And, you know, to be completely honest, Joe Biden has had these problems before.

HAYES:  Right.

PIERCE:  He's had this specific problem before, which was back in 2008 where he talked about Barack Obama being clean and articulate, or whatever it was.  So I don't think this is a function of age, I think it's a function of Joe Biden being a terrible presidential candidate.

But in any event, he will pay in certain circles, and some of them not entirely of the conservative sort, a higher price for saying what he said than Donald Trump will pay for literally calling for extra legal solutions, shall we say.


HAYES:  Well -- yeah, Natalia?

SALGADO:  So I have to completely agree with Charlie.  I think that, you know, let's stop talking about his mental state, right, let's get off that, because if we really want to talk about mental state, let's talk about the commander-in-chief.  And there has been enough written and said about that.

I think that what we need to talk about is the problem with Joe as a candidate, and the problem  with Joe addressing issues around race.  I think this gaffe sort of encapsulates where he's at.  He doesn't get the nuances.  He doesn't get the complexities, and it's starting to show time and time again.

HAYES:  That's true, although the other response to that is that -- and I've seen people  write this analysis, and I think there is something compelling about it, Charlie, is that there is a kind of resilience that Joe Biden has on this stuff that maybe another candidate doesn't, right.  In the same way Trump kept saying things during the Republican primary and people kept like, all right, he is done.  and it's like, no, he is not done.  Joe Biden has said things or been attacked on things where there has been a lot of the commentarial saying, well, he is toast, and the polls show his position essentially unchanged, so something -- maybe there is a sort of similar dynamic happening with Biden because of the goodwill he's built up.

PIERCE:  Well, I think -- I think that's the difference, what you just said.  He has built up goodwill.  Donald Trump doesn't know how to do that.  Donald Trump couldn't build up goodwill in a Mongol horde, let alone normal human beings.  If you surrounded him with Genghis Khan's army, he couldn't be the person with goodwill.

But you may be right, I mean certainly Biden's leading the polls has been durable.  It's outlasted all of these so far.  Again, it's, you know -- again, it's August of 2015, and who knows what will happen, but, you know, I would be wary if I were the people running his campaign of giving him unguarded moments, because he's proven he doesn't know what to do with them.

HAYES:  Natalia?

SALGADO:  Yeah, have I some theories around that.  I think name recognition is a big deal, let's not underestimate that.

HAYES:  Yep.

SALGADO:  And I think that when folks are scared, they want to be able to point or to be someone that they know, right?

HAYES:  Totally.  Yes.

SALGADO:  And for better or worse, folks know Uncle Joe.   And they know his position with Barack Obama.  They know how much he was esteemed by an esteemed president.  And when you're scared and you're worried about your future and you're worried about your kids' future, you're going to go with the safe choice.

HAYES:  That's as good a bumper sticker articulation of the Biden phenomenon as I've heard -- Charlie?

PIERCE:  Yeah, I think there is also a great desire out there in the world to get things back to normal.

HAYES:  Yes.  Right.

PIERCE:  You know, let's all get back to normal.  Let's take a knee.  Let's take a couple of plays  off.  And then we'll start the actual work of becoming a sane country again once we all catch our  breath.  And I don't think that's something you can minimize when taking Biden's candidacy into  account.

He does represent a return -- a return to normalcy, as they used to say around the Harding administration.

HAYES:  All right, Charlie Pierce and Natalia Salgado, thank you both.

Coming up, another dire climate report, and this one sets off alarms for our food supply and the way we use our land.  But first tonight's Thing One, Thing Two starts next.


HAYES:  Thing One tonight, the deputy director of national intelligence, Sue Gordon, announced yesterday she's resigning along with her boss Dan Coats after being passed over to fill his role.  Gordon left the president a note making it clear it was not her preference to leave, but her departure cleared the deck for President Trump to put whoever he wants in that important DNI role, and he wasted no time announcing via Twitter last night that he chose an Admiral Joseph Maguire, current director of the National Counterterrorism Center, to be acting DNI.  And Trump elaborated on that choice today before leaving for vacation.


TRUMP:  I will say that the admiral is such a great choice from the standpoint of now.


HAYES:  Yes, a great choice.  I'm sorry, from the standpoint of what?


TRUMP:  I will say that the admiral is such a great choice from the standpoint of now.


HAYES:  Such a great choice from the standpoint of now.

It makes perfect sense.  You know, it actually reminds me of the time that the president talked about a hurricane in a similar fashion.


TRUMP:  This is a tough hurricane, one of the wettest we've ever seen from the standpoint of water.


HAYES:  From the standpoint of facts, Donald Trump does this a lot.  And that's Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES:  From the standpoint of presidential speaking ability, Donald Trump is not among the  best we've had, but that doesn't make it any less fascinating or fun to study his oratory.  Tonight, we examine Trump from the standpoint of Trump.


TRUMP:  This is a tough hurricane, one of the wettest we've ever seen from the standpoint of  water.

There has never been anything like it that we've seen.  From the standpoint of water, not even close.

About as bad as it gets, certainly from the standpoint of a water dump.

I'm surprised at how badly it's all gone from the standpoint of a negotiation.

But if you look at it from the standpoint of gridlock...

From the standpoint of crime...

From the standpoint of land...

From the standpoint of respect...

The planes are incompatible from our standpoint, not from the standpoint of compatibility, but from our standpoint.

I'm just saying from the standpoint of somebody that maybe has used social media better than anybody.

I hear from the standpoint of the beauty of a country, there is no country more beautiful.

So I'll be signing now a very, very important bill from the standpoint of people and jobs and loans and getting out there and building a business.

I have been against from the standpoint of bible.

From the standpoint of moving.

That's a good thing from the standpoint of conservative.

They've done a great job in Saudi Arabia from the standpoint of women.

I think the feeling is mutual from the standpoint of liking each other a lot.



HAYES:  In 1862, Abraham Lincoln created the United States Department of Agriculture, and two-and-one-half years later in what was to be his last annual message to congress before he was assassinated, Lincoln said it is precisely the people's department in which they feel more directly concerned than any other. 

More than 150 years later, that still rings largely true.  For all the demonization of the big bad federal government, Americans across the country in every last pocket of the land rely on the USDA in some form or fashion.  Among its many crucial functions, the USDA produces a ton of research for America's farmers to use.  And much of that research is done by two agencies, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and the Economic Research Service.

Here are some of the kinds of things those agencies look at -- assisting farmers and ranchers in times of stress, providing opportunities for military veterans interested in pursuing careers in agricultural, and devoting time and attention crucially to studying the safety of our food.

But now the Trump administration has more or less succeeded in destroying those research  agencies.  Last summer, Agricultural Secretary Sonny Purdue announced he would relocate both agencies from Washington, D.C. to Kansas City.  As for all the people who work there, the mandatory report date for relocating employees in Kansas City is September 30, 2019.  If you want to keep your job, pack your stuff.

About two-thirds of the agency's nearly 400 workers won't be going to Kansas City, destroying hundreds of years of acquired knowledge and technical know-how.  This is the brain drain we all feared, possibly a destruction of the agency Jack's Payne,. University of Florida's vice president for agriculture and natural resources has told The Washington Post last month.

And this of course was the entire point of the whole move.  As Mick Mulvaney recently frankly admitted before a crowd of South Carolina Republican donors, "you've heard about drain the swamp.  What you probably haven't heard is we're actually doing.  I don't know if you saw the news the other day, the USDA just tried to move, or did move, two offices out of Washington, D.C.  Yes, you can applaud that one.  That's what we've been talking about doing.  Guess what happened?  Guess what happened?  More than half the people quit.  It's nearly impossible to fire a federal worker," Mulvaney said.  "I know that because a lot of them work for me and I've tried."

Mulvaney explained by uprooting people suddenly you can get them to quit, and, quote, "what a wonderful way to sort of streamline government, to do what we haven't been able to do for a long time."

Ah, yes, draining the swamp by liquidating the agency that literally might issue reports on, say, how to drain a swamp to turn it into arable land.

It's not enough to pull out of the Paris climate accords.  It's not enough to call climate change a Chinese hoax and made mind-breakingly stupid jokes whenever it snows, the Trump administration is actively making U.S. government stupider collectively so that our farmers will have a harder time coping with climate change's effects.

This is shooting yourself in the foot and then hopping around bragging about what a good shot you are.


HAYES:  Yet another dire warning from the inter-governmental panel on climate change, which is basically the UN's blue ribbon panel of international scientists.  In a report released yesterday, the IPCC found that climate change is not only going to threaten the global food supply, scary enough, but also force us all into a series of difficult choices about how to use the finite land surface and clean water that we have access to.

In the report, data available since 1961 show that global population growth and changes in per capita consumption of food, feed, fiber, timber, and energy have caused unprecedented rates of land and fresh water use.

The Atlantic's Robinson Meyer, who wrote about the report, noting the report's political explosiveness lies in the profound questions it raises about land use at the global scale.  The relationship between people and land is the most treasured and unresolved idea in global politics.

And joining me now is Robinson Meyer, staff writer at The Atlantic, where he covers climate change and technology.

It was a great piece, Robinson, because I had read an article on the report, I don't think the full depth of what they were saying sunk in.

So, what is your read of the report both at the sort of food supply level and then the one level deeper?

ROBINSON MEYER, THE ATLANTIC:  Yeah, absolutely.  Well, thank you for having me. 

I think on the food supply level, you know, the scariest aspect of the report is that when the world warms 1.5 degrees Celsius, which is about 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which can happen as soon as 2030 or 2050, we start running the risk of what the authors call multiple bread basket failures. 

So, multiple kind of bread basket regions on multiple continents, including, you know, northern Europe and the U.S. Midwest, could start having large-scale crop failures at the same time, and that could induce this kind of planet-wide food insecurity.

I think at the deeper, more profound level, what the report is saying is like the global economy, as this massive planetary kind of metabolic process that humans are somewhat in control of is kind of driving the planet -- is part of what's driving the planet into global warming and part of what's making the planet hotter and part of what's driving up carbon pollution.

We need to get a handle on that and get a handle on how we're managing this one planet that we have if we want to start seriously addressing climate change.

HAYES:  Well, and there's also this sort of these forced choices.  So, one of the things you'll read about -- and there's a report about I think recently about like reforestation, right.  So, we've got too much carbon in the atmosphere.  And there's one technology we know how to take carbon out of the atmosphere, that's forests.  Trees are very good at this.

But if we wanted to plant a ton of land to do that, a lot of land we would do that on would be on the same kind of farmland that we're going to need to grow food as farmable land shrinks.

MEYER:  Exactly, exactly.  So right now, like, humans kind of manage 70 percent of the earth's land surface, and 30 percent of it is wild.  And, you know, if -- when we cut into that, like wild third, what we're often like getting back is the kind of most productive, most arable, best farming land on the planet. 

And if we want to start planting trees to pick up carbon, which as you said, that kind of recent study said, if we planted an entire continental United States worth of trees, we could actually mitigate two-thirds worth of climate change, but we would be planting an entire continental United States like worth of trees.  And if you look, like, there's not a continental United States like worth of land to just go around on the planet.

HAYES:  Right.

MEYER:  So exactly, we start hitting these trade-offs extremely rapidly.  And in fact, we already are.

HAYES:  When you talk about the food supply, I mean, one of the things that connects what we were just talking about in this story is the USDA does have climate scientists who work on researching how climate will affect crop yields.  There's been some crazy research about the way that warmer temperatures strip the protein out of rice, which is, it's the main protein source for like a crazy number of people on the globe.  Like, there is going to be other effects to just the actual nutritional richness of the food that we grow and eat based on how warm it gets.

MEYER:  Yes, exactly.  So, one of the big recommendations in the report, which is very important, is that it would make our -- you know, it would make mitigating climate change way easier if hundreds of millions, basically, of people who live in the global north, so that's us and are relatively affluent, switched to plant-heavy and relatively meat-light diets.

At the same time, the report also cautions that when we start getting carbon dioxide levels  that are where they could be at the end of the century, food might be 20 percent less nutritious, 13 percent less nutritious.  Like wheat, these basic staple crops, could be much less nutritious than they are now.  And so there's even like a physical, like geochemical trade-off based into all of this in that the actions that we need to be taking also work worse for us as individual people, as the century wears on.

HAYES:  I want to go back to that first point and sort of maybe end there, because it's concrete and tangible.  Meat and animal protein grown for the consumption of the first world is one of the most carbon intensive things we could do.  And a lot of people view it as essentially like big gas-guzzling SUVs at some point.  It will become less and less sustainable.

MEYER:  Yes, exactly.

So the more that the northern world like voluntarily switches its diet, and it's easier for us to eat these plant-heavy diets, the better.  I would say on the side of like climate policy and things the  government can do, and back to the USDA point, there's actually a lot that ranchers could be made to do that would make the meat we already eat like much better for the climate.

So, for instance, if they closed all the open manure pits, that would save us a lot of methane emissions.  But that's hard, and like ranchers don't want to do, and the government needs to make  them. 

And so not only like are there great benefits to us switching our diets, but actually, there's a real opening for policy here to make like the diet that we're eating right now much better for the climate, too.

HAYES:  All right, Robinson Meyer, thanks a lot for joining us.

MEYER:  Absolutely, thank you.

HAYES:  That is ALL IN for this evening.  “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now.  Good evening, Rachel.