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Log Cabin republican quits. TRANSCRIPT: 8/20/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Jennifer Horn, David Wasserman, Joshua Johnson, Jeff Merkley,Alyssa Ayres

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  From the looks of this case, people truly tried.  And that`s HARDBALL for now.  Thanks for being with us.  "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat --

HAYES:  The Trump campaign of division leads to more subtraction.

TRUMP:  I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge for great disloyalty.

HAYES:  Tonight, new data on the president shrinking base and my interview with a log cabin Republican who resigned after the group endorsed Donald Trump.  Then --

TRUMP:  Kashmir is a very complicated place.

HAYES:  Is this the man the world needs mediating a standoff between two nuclear power?

TRUMP:  We have the Hindus and you have the Muslims and I wouldn`t say they get along so great.

HAYES:  And an NBC News exclusive --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hey do you want to see something extremely interesting.

HAYES:  Ben Collins on the Trump-supporting conspiracy theorists behind the most viewed news content on Facebook and YouTube.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And now you can try it yourself by clicking that button below.

HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES:  Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes.  Back in 1971, Pat Buchanan wrote a memo to President Nixon arguing that Nixon`s path to re- election was via waging ruthless culture wars.  Nixon, Buchanan argued, had to keep hammering the issues that most polarized the country and activated Nixon supporters.

He said we will "cut the Democratic Party and the country in half.  My view is that we would have far the larger half."  Donald Trump now has the same strategy but with an amazing wrinkle which is that he has a smaller half.  Donald Trump is rerunning the Nixon playbook but instead of the silent majority, he has a loud minority.

But -- and this is the craziest part of all -- it`s been successful so far.  He is running the country despite receiving just 46 percent of the vote.  He`d lost the popular vote by three million votes.  It just so happens the coalition you put together is better distributed for the purposes of Electoral College.

Never where you look, right now, Trump is digging into this strategy of high-risk aggressive culture war that polarizes the country along these lines where he has the smaller half.  The President though only remember is that it worked the first time around.

The Atlantic`s David Graham writes "recent polling shows that Donald Trump has managed to reshape American attitudes to a remarkable extent on a trio of the key issues, race, immigration, and trade.  There`s just one catch.  The public is turning against Trump`s views.

On a day that he continues to baselessly accuse Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of violence, he continued his stream of constant insulting taunts with this.


TRUMP:  Where is the Democratic Party gone?  Where have they gone where they`re defending these two people over the State of Israel?  And I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty, all right.


HAYES:  What?  I`m sorry?  80 percent of Jewish Americans voted for Democrats.  Loyalty to whom exactly?  You`re with us or against us, Trump likes to say it basically every turn.  And it is true and this is the important part, it is working with one specific demographic astoundingly wet, OK.

White men in this country without a college education of whom there are millions distributed throughout the country particularly in the Industrial Midwest, that`s key to Trump`s 2016 victory, they just happened to be in the right place for him.  And Trump`s message is clearly working with them.

Look at these wild numbers from latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.  70 percent of white men without a college degree approve of Trump compared to 25 percent who disapproved.  He is 45 points above water with that subgroup.  But the thing is, what pumps up support among that subgroup at least in the ways that Trump does it also has the effect of alienating just about everyone else.

First, are African Americans and Hispanics and Asians who didn`t vote for him the first time and he`s losing them by enormous margins.  But if you just look at white people, white voters in the quadrant opposite men with high school education, women with a college education, they`re basically a mirror image, 72 percent disapprove while 26 percent approved.

Now, that group only voted for Hillary Clinton by six points in 2016.  That is a 40 point drop for Trump.  Now, there are white men with a college education normally a Republican group.  Here Trump is underwater by seven points.

Finally, there are white women without -- with a high school degree, OK.  Now, in 2016, they went for Trump by almost 30 points.  Now he only has a four-point edge.  Look at that.  And for all the talk about how the Trump wedge is all about the white working-class particularly in non-urban areas, keep in mind, these women who are almost split 50-50, they work for the same companies.  They face the same challenges or worse as men without a college degree.

They also live in factory towns who have been ravaged by the industrialization and bad trade policies.  They also have watched loved ones succumb to opioid addiction.  They`ve also seen rural areas hollowed out, the also felt the contempt of liberal media.  All the same issues and Trump is barely holding on there.  That`s the state of play right now.

Donald Trump thinks he can run this strategy that cleaves the country to two chunks where he gets 40-plus percent.  He thinks he can win and he can govern with that 40-plus percent.  And it is a wild test of American democratic mechanics to see if that is going to work a second time.

Remember, things that Trump does to consolidate his base also alienate other people.  After the Log Cabin Republicans and national LGBTQ organization Republicans announced they were endorsing Trump`s reelection, one of their board members Jennifer Horn decided it was just too much for her.

And she resigned from the board yesterday telling the Washington Post "there is no world where I can sit down at the dining room table and explain to my children that I just endorsed Donald Trump for president and she joins me now.

Jennifer Horn, thanks so much for joining me.  First I guess your history and Republican Party politics.  You have been a very active member of the party and an avowed conservative for a while.

JENNIFER HORN, FORMER BOARD MEMBER, LOG CABIN REPUBLICANS:  Yes, I absolutely have been.  I was the nominee for Congress in the Second District up here in 2008.  I served two terms as chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party and I very proudly was very honored to have been recruited to serve on the board -- the National Board of the Log Cabin Republicans, an organization that I joined believing that it would be the opportunity to engage in a principled fight to expand civil rights for all Americans.

And this is you know, one of the reasons I am so adamantly opposed to this president and to this endorsement is because he does not support civil rights for all Americans.

HAYES: What has he done that to you makes an endorsement from the Log Cabin Republicans anathema?

HORN:  Well, listen.  He -- the question is what hasn`t he done.  You know, frankly, I made this decision a long time ago when I first got involved in politics that I would never say or do anything that I could not explain or defend to my own children.

When I was chairman of the party up here, I picked off a lot of Republicans because when Donald Trump was running and he became our nominee, I had to choose between defending our party`s principles or defending our party`s nominee.

And I defended our principles and I continue to try to do that too today whether we`re talking about transgender rights, the recommendation coming out of HUD, some of the actions being rolled back through DOJ, protecting transgender students.  I mean the list goes on and on.

But it`s not just the LGBTQ community that this president targets.  When we look at immigrants, when we look at people -- anyone that he thinks that he can somehow use to anger his base to -- he doesn`t care if he has to divide on racial lines, on ethnic lines, on educational lines.  He will divide and damage and destroy this country in any manner he thinks he needs to advance his own political power.

HAYES:  Did you vote for him in 2016?

HORN:  I did not.

HAYES:  Was that the first time you hadn`t voted for the Republican nominee?

HORN:  It was the first time in my life that I have not voted for the Republican nominee.

HAYES:  Let me --

HORN:  I did vote Republican.

HAYES:  You voted for Republican other than Donald Trump.

HORN:  Yes, yes.  I wrote in --

HAYES:  Oh you wrote in someone.

HORN:  I did.  I did.

HAYES:  Is that your plan this time around or do you feel like given everything you`ve articulated about him that you will vote for the Democratic nominee?

HORN:  I can`t imagine myself voting for a Democratic nominee because I am a Conservative.  I do believe in the core principles of the party of Lincoln.  I don`t know what I`m going to do in 2020 other than I will not be voting for Donald Trump.

HAYES:  Can I ask you this?  You know, it`s interesting because we were just doing this whole you know, demographic analysis and demographics are painting with very broad brushes and we`re talking about millions of people and the millions of people are very diverse, they have all kinds of views even within them.

HORN:  Right.

HAYES:  But you`re -- but you have a college degree as I saw from your bio I believe, and you`re a white woman, you`re a white woman Republican.  What are the conversations you have with the people in your social circle who are similar, who are lifelong Republicans and who are generally in the same kind of social strata as you?

HORN:  Sure.  I don`t -- I don`t -- there are very few people in my social circle, in my circle of true friends and family who disagree with my position.  The introduction you gave at the beginning of the show going through those numbers I think are very reflective not just of my circle but of the electorate here in New Hampshire as well.

You know one of the things that people are not looking at very closely and I think that they should is to how fewer people identify as Republican today than they did on Election Day in 2016.  It`s enough to sway an election in many states including New Hampshire.

So I think that those numbers that you referenced are very reflective of what`s happening across the country.

HAYES:  All right, Jennifer Horn, thank you for making some time tonight.  I really appreciate talking to you.

HORN:  Thank you for the invitation.  I appreciate it.

HAYES:  All right, joining me now is Joshua Johnson, host of One A on NPR and David Wasserman House Editor for the Cook Political Report.  And Dave, you know, there`s a weird kind of like almost demographic arbitrage that president from pulled off that in which he was able to kind of like juice this certain kind of voter that happened to be distributed in this way that was able to sort of take a 77,000 vote margin throughout the industrial Midwest and overcome a three million vote loss in the popular electorate, and that same structure still exists, right?

DAVID WASSERMAN, HOUSE EDITOR, COOK  POLITICAL REPORT:  That`s true.  Democrats have to be careful not to think of 2016 as a fluke because it is possible Donald Trump could lose the popular vote by five million votes in 2020 and still win reelection.

Part of the reason is that most of the demographic change benefiting Democrats nationally is occurring in states that are not near the tipping point of the Electoral College particularly California and Texas where Democrats could afford to add a million votes to their lead, their margin in California when not a single additional electoral vote cut Trump`s lead by 800,000 in Texas and still fall short there.

So the key is really do Democrats nominate a candidate who can break through particularly -- and this is the group that I`m most focused on white women without college degrees who don`t attend church regularly.  I think that`s the key demographic in the Midwest.

HAYES:  Joshua, there`s a broader question here just like the basic structure of Democratic politics that were sort of confronted with, right.  The weird inversion of the Buchanan play which is look, cut the country in half will get the bigger half, and you know, in the `72 election they did, right.  They famously trounced McGovern even though they`ve committed some illegal crimes on the way to doing that.

There`s a question about like what does it mean for Democratic legitimacy and representational legitimacy in a country in which there`s a decent strategy to govern with 45 or 43 percent of the country.

JOSHUA JOHNSON, HOST, ONE A:  Well, I think that`s part of why Democrats have been trying so hard to shore up every little piece of the base, right.  I mean, the analysis that we just heard is very well put and I think it`s a lesson that Democrats need to take very seriously because that`s what happened in 2016.  There were just enough people and just enough of the right places that President Trump could eke out a victory.

I mean, he could if I`m not mistaken from the analysis, he could lose Michigan and Pennsylvania, keep all the other states that he won and win reelection.  I think that part of what I`ve been seeing from the Democrats particularly on the campaign trail at some of the events like the union forum with AFSCME in Nevada, the forum for Native American voters and others, you know, having three of the candidates speak at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Miami this month or near Miami this month, is to try to Telegraph that the Democrats are building this broader coalition across the country.

And it feels like the messaging is we really do want everybody to the polls, not just to have voter access but to recognize that we`ve the Democrats are the party of all the people.  And if that message is effective, then maybe Democrats who chose to stay home in 2016 enough Democrats who would have flipped the election will say no, no, no, this is a party that speaks for me and all Americans.  I better show up.

HAYES:  You know, it`s a great point because there`s sort of two different pockets of voters, right?  There`s the iconic Obama-Trump voters which people talk about a lot, and there`s also voters that voted for say Barack Obama in 2012 and then did not show up in 2016 at all.  Those are -- those are generally different sets of people.

But it`s also the case, David, and I think it`s important that when we talk about these subgroups, like the margins everywhere matter, right?  I mean, if you do a little better every group which is a possibility, that enough can be it.  You`d certainly have to pick some like subcategory.

WASSERMAN:  Yes.  The question that I hear a lot is do Democrats try and turn back the clock and win a higher share of working-class whites or do they try and revert to turning out more African-Americans and young people who didn`t show up in 2016.  I think the answer is it has to be a little bit of both.

And in order to do that, I think Democrats can use a few issues in particular to drive wedges in into the Trump coalition.  I think background checks and abortion rights, in particular, are issues that divide elements of Trump`s base, particularly in those Midwestern states.

HAYES:  You know, I think you`re particularly -- I think you`re right on both of those.  And I think particularly in the wake of the specter of Roe being overturned, you know, Joshua, it`s interesting because we hear so much about issues that have come forward in the primary in the Democratic primary like for instance decriminalizing a unauthorized entry or Medicare for all.

And there`s some polling that support the contention that for instance decriminalizing unauthorized entry isn`t particularly popular in the broader populist, but overturning Roe is like a 30-70 issue.  When you look at those gender splits particularly among white women and white men without college degrees, it suggests to me there are some ground to be -- there`s some hay to be made there.

JOHNSON:  There`s hay to be made there and frankly as I looked at that poll, it`s worth noting that men with college degrees and white women without college degrees are within the margin of error.  Men with college degrees are about a point -- a percentage point outside.  Women with no college degrees are basically within the margin of error.

There are plenty of Americans including some we talked to on our show and some that have been reported on since the president got elected who were kind of voting for Trump while holding their nose.  And now they`re looking at the election and they`re looking at their lots and licence and saying well, my lot in life is better.  I don`t like how much he tweets and I wish he would be a little nicer, but based on what I asked him to do for me and for the country I`m good.

I`m not sure yet if the Democrats have made enough of the case to make those voters go I need to reconsider, but if they can`t, they will lose because we already know how they lost the last time.  And if they can`t pull enough for those voters there side who are like, OK fine, Trump, they`re going to lose in 2020.

HAYES:  Or -- I mean, Jennifer Horn, the woman that we just interviewed is an interesting case, right?  I mean, she wrote in someone else, right.  So that`s a vote that`s essentially like a blank vote in terms of the -- in terms of the ledger.  But the question is like if she does that again, how many of those people, right, are motivated to actually make the affirmative choice like I can`t do this anymore, I`m voting for where the Democrat is.

JOHNSON:  Well, and also, I was interested with what Jennifer Horn said.  While she was speaking, I looked at the Log Cabin Republicans statement and they talked about President Trump putting more money into fighting HIV/AIDS which is true.  He also has been fighting against the Affordable Care Act in Medicaid where he`s one of the primary ways that low-income LGBTQ people especially women of color get access to prep.

They talked about how the president`s employment plan, the job programs have been good for LGBTQ people.  But last week the president propagated a proposed Labor Department rule and a statement to the Supreme Court that would make it easier for businesses federal and private to discriminate against LGBTQ people with impunity.

So it may come down to people reading between the lines and saying what is there everything that the administration has done and does it behoove me to vote for him again.

HAYES:  All right, Joshua Johnson and David Wasserman, thank you both.  Next, a Trump administration that has seen multiple migrant children die in its custody is now decided to stop providing flu vaccines at border detention camps.  Senator Jeff Merkley calls a decision barbaric and nonsensical and he joins me right here in studio next.  Don`t go anywhere.


HAYES:  We learned today the Trump administration will not be providing the flu vaccine to immigrants held in its detention centers.  Neither CBP nor its medical contractors administer vaccinations to those in our custody.  They claim they are doing this because immigrants are only supposed to be in their custody for 72 hours or less, but we know that is usually not the case.  In some cases in 30, 40 days.

Now, aside from the egregious cruelty here, one would think that perhaps the very strong CBP union that so vociferously supports the president would maybe, I don`t know, want to have working facilities where there isn`t the constant threat of flu epidemics, maybe.

This comes on the heels of news yesterday of a sweeping class-action lawsuit filed against the Trump administration over the absolutely horrible medical care in immigration centers.  And this is all the latest in a constant series of policy announcements and actions designed to deter people from migrating to the U.S. to seek asylum by convincing them that our administration hates them, will make their lives miserable and perhaps endanger their health.

Joining me now is Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon who was instrumental in shining a light on immigrant detention centers more than a year ago.  He`s the author of the book America is Better Than This: Trump`s War Against Migrant Families.  Great to have you here.

SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D-OR):  Good to be here.

HAYES:  First, your reaction to this policy decision that they will not provide flu vaccines to migrant families that border detention camps.

MERKLEY:  Is this America that we have refugee children three of whom have died of flu over this last year and is being --

HAYES:  Specifically of flu.

MERKLEY:  -- of a flu, that was a contributing factor to their death.  And here we have folks who are just absolutely packed into tight spaces.  I`ve seen maybe 150 packed into very small rooms, and disease travels enormously in that situation.  So why would we not provide a vaccine when people come in?

They say because they don`t do them.  Well, change your mind and do them.  This is the same factor when I was confronting the administration over the lack of medical care for children coming across the border and they said well, we don`t do that.  Well, change your policy and do that.

HAYES:  I mean, part of it seems to me is that these facilities are designed to hold people for less than 72 hours where they don`t have programs in place to do these kinds of things are now holding people for 30 and 40 days.  So there`s this crazy mismatch between what the facility is designed to do which is like basically an overnight holding cell and a jail that becomes a long-term place where people have to get you know, the basics of life.

MERKLEY:  Well CBP facilities, they have held people for several weeks.  They do attempt to move people out in three to five days.  But three to five days is plenty for flu to spread among the population.  And this is just part of this ongoing strategy, for example, this law -- this mass action lawsuit that says that Trump appealed to say well, we don`t want to be held to the law to provide hygiene and nutrition.

Are you kidding me, for Refugees, for children, for people fleeing persecution, we`re not going to provide just the basics when people come into this country?

HAYES:  There`s news tonight that they are planning on trying to tear up or change the Flores Settlement.  The Flores Settlement, of course, is a civil suit and a consent decree entered into by the plaintiff`s parties and the government that guides the detention of minors particularly in families.  And it will permit family detention beyond the 20 days that is currently the limit by Flores.  What do you think of that?

MERKLEY:  Well, if we go back a year, the last June in 2018, the Trump team held a press conference with the president and a whole bunch of senators and said we`re ending child separation.  But the fact is the document that was in front of the president didn`t in a child separation, that was done by a judge.

What it did was have three strategies in it to terminate the limit on holding children.  We want to be able to hold children and FAMILIES indefinitely in family internment camps.  They`ve been at this through a strategy of overturning a former court decision, of passing regulations, or passing a law.

And this by the way, this aspect of passing a law, this shows a vast difference between Democrats and Republicans.  There are 40 Republican senators who signed on to a bill that Senator Tillis had for indefinite detention of migrant children and their parents and that could go on for years being held in prison in America like World War Two with the Japanese- Americans.

There are 40 Democratic senators who have signed on to my bill to stop the cruel treatment of migrant children and not one Republican.  So what a divide we have that the president has created.

HAYES:  Although we should note that President Barack Obama did experiment essentially with family detention during the big crisis in 2014.  There were periods of time in which the Obama administration did try to hold families together for long periods of time before they abandoned that partly under judge`s pressure.

MERKLEY:  And a recognition that it was just absolutely wrong for the children because of so many child psychologists and therapists have come forward to say when you imprison a child, you are doing deep damage.

HAYES:  I want to ask you a question about the economy -- this today, JP Morgan put out a forecast that the tariffs currently that are part of the president`s sort of unilateral trade war -- of course he hasn`t gotten congressional authorization due to this, he`s doing it through executive action on somewhat dubious natural security grounds -- could cost us families up to $1,000 a year.  That`s $1,000 Trump tax.

MERKLEY:  That`s right.  And the same analysis says that if the tariffs go up to 25 percent, it might be $1,500 to a family wiping out any little few dollars that the working-class families might have benefited from the 2017 tax bill.  They never noticed an improvement.  They will notice when they`re losing $1,000 to 1,500 out of their annual income.

HAYES:  What is it -- how does it play in Oregon?

MERKLEY:  Well, I must -- I must say it`s chaotic.  There is the relationship that we have with Asia so we are trading state, so that reverberates a great deal.  You have groups like Columbia Sportswear or Nike that will be profoundly affected by these tariffs.  We do not have the same agricultural commodities as the Midwest --

HAYES:  That are exporting, right.

MERKLEY:  That are exporting so that changes that dynamic.  But what people really see is why this is a chaotic enterprise.  It doesn`t seem like there`s a coherent plan to actually bring manufacturing back.  It`s basically a stone-throwing contest.  We`ll throw these stones, they`ll throw back at us and who gets hit?  Well, we`re all waiting to see who`s next.

HAYES:  Today there`s news that Congressman Ben Ray Lujan was the highest- ranking House Democrat to come out to support an impeachment investigation has come out in support of it.  Laura Underwood who was in a front-line district in the Illinois suburbs where she switched -- she flipped a seat that had been held by a Republican, she came out supporting the current inquiry which was called an impeachment inquiry recently in court filing.

The count of Democratic House members supporting impeachment 126.  Do you support an impeachment inquiry?

MERKLEY:  Absolutely.  Before I would have said I`m waiting for the Mueller report, let`s see what he says.  But what did he say?  He laid out four cases of obstruction of justice in which he said all three essential components have substantial evidence and this included witness tampering.

And if we are going to truly have above our Supreme Court those words "equal justice under law" then we can`t have a situation where the evidence is all laid out that the president committed crimes and we don`t even have a conversation about it in the House of Representatives.

HAYES:  Do you and your colleagues anticipate this is something that you`re going to be dealing with on your side of the -- of Capitol Hill when you come back in the fall?

MERKLEY:  Well, we only deal with it if the House acts.

HAYES:  Right.

MERKLEY:  And so we`re waiting to see what happens there.

HAYES:  Do they tell you?  Like are there -- I was wondering if you guys talk to each other in the House and Senate, not that much.

MERKLEY:  Well, a fair amount.

HAYES:  It`s sort of a separate conference.

MERKLEY:  It is and sometimes it seems like a half a world away.  But on this topic, there is a lot of conversation.  And I think there`s a growing understanding that while Trump is damaging our institutions, he`s damaging the court, he`s damaging the presidency, Mitch McConnell is damaging the Senate, but there`s other institutions like principles, like equal justice under law.  And for the House not to act deeply damages that principle.

HAYES:  All right, Senator Jeff Merkley, it`s great to have you here in studio.  Thank you for coming through.

MERKLEY:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Coming up, what is sometimes the most viewed news creator on all of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter also believes that Donald Trump was sent from heaven to destroy the Communist Party.  That unbelievable exclusive reporting after this.


HAYES:  All right, so this morning my friend sent me a link to a clip of a Dr. Steve Brule bit on YouTube.  And before I can enjoy the comedy stylings of John C. Reilly, which I recommend, I was served this absolutely bizarre ad for a newspaper.


UNIDENTIFIED M ALE:  Hey, do you want to see something extremely interesting well take a look at this.

While Jeffrey Epstein has been in the news a lot over the last week, how many newspapers do you find reporting this?  His questionable source of wealth as well as his ties to the Clintons as well as how Trump actually barred him from Mar-a-Lago many years ago.

The Epoch Times is one of the only sources you can get information like this, because we do our investigations without any hidden agendas, and we don`t have any false narratives to push.  We give you the facts and let you make up your own mind.


HAYES:  Yes, clearly, no agenda tying into the Clinton and excusing Donald Trump`s connection to him.

But that is weird, right?  What the Epoch Times.

Well, strangely enough I happen to know what it is, which is a small newspaper that spent more  money on pro-Trump Facebook ads in the last six months than any organization outside the Trump campaign.  It is a non- profit organization that dwarfs all of these other media outlets in page views running and engagement running essentially a massive, full-time pro- Trump propaganda operation. 

That`s just the tip of the iceberg, our own Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny, have this jaw-dropping exclusive look into this publication and its background.  And Ben Collins joins me right here to explain us all about it.

So, first, let`s talk about the scale, right.  So, there`s lots of different publications out in the world.  They don`t all have a big reach, like it`s not a big deal.  But this has a very big reach.

BEN COLLINS, NBC NEWS REPORTER:  We`re talking billions of view, with a B.  That`s where we are at.  This is larger than any -- in April it was larger than any traditional news outlet, period.  In fact, it was larger than any but 10 other people make videos in the whole world on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.


COLLINS:  Yeah.  It`s true.

And they do -- OK, here`s the thing, though, it sounds impossible and you`re like I haven`t heard of this thing, ask somebody over 50, ask anybody over 50, because they`ve probably seen an ad from them.  They spend $1.5 million just in the last six months putting this stuff out there.

HAYES:  And pushing it particularly to people...

COLLINS:  They target it to people over 50 on Facebook.  And that`s something that we know.  And also they send physical fliers to people in the mail, mostly to elderly people that show how Hillary Clinton is running a cabal that`s ending the world.

HAYES:  OK, so the editorial slant is, you know, pro-Trump kind of right wing conspiratorial, yes?  Who runs this thing?

COLLINS:  It is -- it sounds unbelievable, but it`s true.  It is run by a group called Falun  Gong is an anti-Chinese Communist group -- anti- Communist Chinese group -- that believes that the world is coming to an end soon.  In fact, they think that judgment day is 30 years late and that all Communists on this judgment day will go to hell and everybody else will go to heaven, and anybody who is sympathetic to Falun Gong, and they believe that Donald Trump was sent in part to bring about this judgment day.

HAYES:  So part of their spiritual belief, and it is a sort of spiritual practice, right, spiritual group, is that Donald Trump is like a key figure in delivering the final judgment and victory over Chinese Communism that they so anxiously wait for.

COLLINS:  That is 100 percent correct.  That`s, we talk -- look, when we heard this story -- a guy walked into our office, he told us this stuff and we`re like you`re nuts, man.  And for five months we reported this story out, and that`s exactly what we found from various different ex-employees.

HAYES:  Now, I want to be clear here, if you know anything about the Falun Gong, like they really have been the subject of horrible treatment by the Chinese government -- torture, imprisonment, it`s an incredibly repressive regime, and I don`t want in any way make light of, like -- like, they come by their hatred of the Chinese state honestly, let`s just be clear about that.

COLLINS:  Two things can be bad at once.

HAYES:  Right.  But what is like the -- when did this thing start?  And how did it grow?  It`s such a bizarre thing for them to take on as a thing they`re doing?

COLLINS:   T he Epoch Times?

HAYES:  Yes.


HAYES:  I mean, there`s lots of people with spiritual beliefs and practices all over the world.  I mean, it`s not anyone that`s running like largest publisher of like pro-Trump right wing news in the U.S.?


They have this -- they have the leader -- the leader of is spiritual group is named Li Johnzhi, and he has said like we need to become normal media.  Like they have this thing kicking around, which was just about spreading the gospel of this thing.  And they said we need to become normal media.  And this is a few years ago.

And ever since then, they try to hire western journalists and they would bring them on and they would learn how to sort of talk like Americans, and then they would fire them.  And that`s what happened here, too.  They had a whole staff of American journalists and they fired them 10 days before the election in 2016.  And now they have people who sound like that guy who`s, you know, really close to sort of like sounding the part, but it`s not all the way there.

HAYES:  So they -- they have now published -- I`ve been sort of looking at them, they say this is hit piece.  And that you`re...

COLLINS:  We`re Chinese spies.

HAYES:  And you`re Chinese spies and you`re towing the Chinese Communist line.

What is the -- I mean, what`s end game here?  Like they just keep growing and spreading their message and they hope that like Donald Trump delivers some final victory over the Chinese Communists?

COLLINS:  Yeah, sure.  Look, they are deeply entwined with the administration.  They`ve -- you know,  I had a 40-minute sit down with Laura Trump a couple of weeks ago in Trump Tower.  The president`s Facebook page has shared their content six times.  Donald Trump Jr. has shared it twice.

When they sent a letter back to us with responses, they actually published it as an article, and Devin Nunes tweeted that response as like, ha, they got you NBC.

So like they are -- this is -- they really wrapped up in this.  They are very deeply tied into conservative media.  You may not see it if you`re, again, you`re under 50, if you`re in some different filter bubble...

HAYES:  Look for it now, though.

COLLINS:  The second you say it out loud you`re going to get an ad for it.

HAYES:  I saw it this morning right before Steve Brule. 

Well, it`s a fantastic piece of reporting and really a fascinating look into the sort of current ecosystem of the media.  Ben Collins, thanks a lot, man.

COLLINS:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Ahead, the president weighs in on some of the world`s most fraught conflicts including a standoff between two nuclear powers.  We`ll talk about that.

Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two will blow you away.


HAYES:  Thing One, tonight, over the weekend an exciting new pop up experience debuted in Denver, Colorado, it`s called the Bed Cinema, and it is an outdoor movie night under the stars where everyone watches from the comfort an an actual bed -- inflatable mattress, complete with blanket, pillows, even LED lit bed side tables.  There are food trucks and free popcorn, although the tickets don`t come cheap, $50 to $70 depending on the size of the bed.

The venue for this four nights only event was Runway 35 Park in northeast Denver, the site of the old Stapleton Airport.  Denver resident Robb Manes was at the park Saturday afternoon lounging with his fiancee and a friend at the pool right next to where the Bed Cinema was setting up for a 7:00 p.m. showing of Back to the Future when all of a sudden the sky darkened, the wind started  blowing and he saw this coming towards him.

The great mattress migration of 2019 is Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES:  So there were 150 inflatable mattresses setup in a Denver, Colorado park on Saturday for an outdoor movie night and then the wind picked up creating a strangely mesmerizing scene of mattresses roaming free.


HAYES:  We`ve got two exciting updates for you, our dear All In viewers.  First, in case you missed it last night, we announced a new series of Friday night special editions of the show done in front of a live studio audience.  Now the seats for this Friday`s show are already gone.  A huge thank you to those who rushed out to get them.  If you missed them this time around you can still tune in this Friday for inaugural show.  We`re going to show it on the TV machine as well at 8:00 p.m. just like always.

Plus, we will have free tickets for next Friday`s show soon, and I`ll let you know when those  become available.  The other news I have tonight is about our podcast Why is This Happening because it is Tuesday.  That means we have a new episode.

And this week`s interview, I think, is unlike any that we`ve ever done.  Here on All In, we`ve dedicated a lot of time to covering the humanitarian crisis at the southern border and the impacts of the migration policy of the Trump administration.  And often the way we talk about those seeking asylum is through numbers and statistics.

We try to convey the extent of the crisis by showing images of crowds of people caught in limbo.  And it can start to feel like this undifferentiated mass of humanity that is fleeing some faceless misery.  But each individual human being that is seeking refuge has a unique story, and each story has its own depth and its own trauma and its own heart.

So on this week`s episode of WITHpod, we interviewed one person who sought asylum in the United States.  His is name is Luis Mancheno.  And his is one of the most emotionally powerful stories that I`ve ever heard.  It was an honor to have him share his journey with me and with our listeners.

The response to our conversations has already been overwhelming, so if you have not yet, make sure, go check it out now.


HAYES:  All right.  I`m going to show you some headlines of the Trump administration`s foreign policy pronouncement in the world`s hot spots, and they essentially amount to Donald Trump sauntering around a barn with dry straw tossing matches, hither and yawn. 

On the Brexit question, which among a slew of serious issues, involves one of the most contested and, for awhile, violent borders in the world for decades, that`s the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is of course part of Great Britain and what to do about that border if there is a hard Brexit with no deal.  Donald Trump essentially says just go do it.  See what happens.  Just figure it out.

Then on Russia`s continued occupation of Ukraine`s Crimea, which is what got Russia kicked out of the G8, it`s the subject of an ongoing, sometimes violent, conflict in eastern Ukraine, President Trump says let Russia back into the group.  Should be the G8.  Sorry, Crimea.  Sorry, Ukraine.

And meanwhile, there are 1.7 million people in the streets of Hong Kong protesting the Chinese government, and Donald Trump has said all sorts of things, sometimes contradictory.  He said the Hong Kong thing is a very tough situation, which I guess is true.  And just yesterday he said it would be hard to make a trade deal with China if Hong Kong became another Tienanmen Square, which I guess was a warning, but it`s unclear what exactly he`s trying to say.

And then there is literally possibly the single most dangerous and contested piece of land in the entire world, Kashmir, which is simultaneously claimed by two nuclear powers, Pakistan and India, who have fought numerous wars over it, have gone to hair trigger terrifying brinkmanship in the past.

And last month when the Pakistani prime minister came to the White House, the president just out of nowhere, apparently just lied and said that the Indian prime minister had personally asked Trump to solve the Kashmir problem.

And then India had to say, no, no, that`s not true.  No such request has been made.  And then in turn, the hyper-nationalist Indian leader who, in some ways, is a kind of Trump-like figure in Indian politics, just imposed this really disturbing crackdown and curfew on where they have gone completely radio silent.  We don`t know really what is happening there, which brings us to where we are right now.

This is our president`s insight on the topic today.


TRUMP:  It`s Kashmir, and Kashmir`s a very complicated place.  You have the Hindus and the Muslims, and I wouldn`t say they get along so great.  And that`s what you have right now.  A lot has to do with religion.  Religion is a complicated subject.


HAYES:  Joining me now, a true expert on the subject, Alyssa Ayres.  She served as deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia from 2010 to 2013.  She`s now a senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia for the Council on Foreign Relations.

Alyssa, I guess I first want to start with what do we know.  I`ve sort of been watching reporting on this.  I`ve been watching folks on social media who have relatives in Kashmir.  What do we know about what the Modi government, the Indian government, has done to kind of curfew on Kashmir in the last, say, week or two.

ALYSSA AYRES, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS:  Right.  Well, first, let me thank you for spending time on this issue, because it doesn`t get the level of attention that it deserves.  This is really important.

There are three components to the Kashmir that India administers -- there is the Jammu region, there`s the Ladakh region, and there`s the Kashmir region. 

Now, the administrative changes that the government of India made were accompanied by a communications blockout -- a blockade -- and by the preventive detention of a number of politicians, particularly in the Kashmir region.

It seems that many of these restrictions have been lifted.  They were lifted earlier in Jammu and in Ladakh.  The communications are gradually being restored to the Kashmir region, but many of the politicians are still detained and that`s a real concern.

HAYES:  OK.  Two things.  So there are Kashmiri politicians who are in Indian-controlled Kashmir who have been detained.  And the communications blackout was what sort of sent chills up my spine.  Did they just like knock out people`s Internet service or their cell phones?  Like what was that?

AYRES:  All of that above including some land lines.  The government of the territory have joined Kashmir created some emergency lines that people could use, but it did create, you know, basically no ability to have normal communications with loved ones.

HAYES:  So what is Modi`s play here?  Like what -- there is obviously a very tense status quo.  It is not a settled status quo.  It has not been a settled status quo for a long time.

AYRES:  Right.

HAYES:  Modi is a very nationalist figure.  And what is he doing here?

AYRES:  The idea, and first I should note that removing the autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir has long been a priority for Modi`s party.  So the fact that they wanted to implement something like this is not a surprise.  It was the timing that actually was a surprise.  And as you alluded to earlier in the segment, some people in India attribute this to a real fear in India that there might be a lot more international attention to the region and the time to act was now.  They are also fearful of a region signal security situation that may worsen following the presumed withdrawal of international troops.

But the way the Indian government has explained this to the public is that they hope to bring down terrorism and militancy by amping up development, economic development, and that it will be easier to encourage investment by having this administrative change in the region.

HAYES:  So, they`re changing the fundamental way in which the politics are administered there.

AYRES:  Yes.

HAYES:  There was sort of a kind of autonomy that was granted there.  The BJP party that Narendra Modi represents has had kind of like reacquiring it as a goal for a while as part sort of part of the nationalist project and now they`re just sort of gone and doing it.

AYRES:  Yeah.  And, in fact, the way that this has been done, there are actually some cases that have been filed before the supreme court.  So there is a judicial process that will unfold in India, questioning whether this was in fact the correct way to do so.

HAYES:  You know, I don`t think that -- obviously the American president isn`t the thing that  triggers -- this is a longstanding point of contention that precedes Donald Trump, but does it matter what the American president does or says about this kind of extremely delicate issue?

AYRES:  It is delicate.  I mean, I think the government of India was concerned about feeling like all of a sudden there was going to be some effort at U.S. mediation, particularly coming on the heels of the visit of Pakistan`s prime minister.

Now, remember, Pakistan also administers portions of what is the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.  And Pakistan also has a number of terrorist groups that have been fomenting and sending terrorists across into Kashmir.  There was a terrorist attack just in February that escalated tensions.

So this is a very unstable combination of issues here.  And I think the best role that the United States can play would be, first of all, to encourage Pakistan to really crack down on these terrorists and to continue encouraging both countries to have a dialog with each other, have some safeguards there.

HAYES:  And not just have Donald Trump make the deal himself, as he floated the idea.

Alyssa Ayres, thank you so much for that.

AYRES:  Thank you.

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

Good evening, Rachel.