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America's original terror resurgence. TRANSCRIPT: 8/23/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Michelle Goldberg, Mehdi Hasan, Sherrilyn Ifill, Chris Murphy,Peter Souza


ANNOUNCER:  Tonight on a special edition of ALL IN before a live studio audience.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We have initiated our domestic terrorism, hate crimes, fusion sale.

ANNOUNCER:  The resurgence of America`s original terror threat.  Once again markets crater after a reckless Trump tweet.  And shade, Barack Obama`s White House photographer Pete Souza is here.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I think at this point Peter and I are like an old couple.

ANNOUNCER:  Now, live from Studio 6A in Rockefeller, Plaza here`s Chris Hayes.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST:  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  That was impressive.  Thank you very much.   Thank you.  We`ve got a full house here in Rockefeller Center tonight, all of your lovely faces.  Thank you for being here.  Thank you for being with us at home.  It`s Friday in the age of Trump which means it`s the end of another deeply bizarre and confusing upsetting and unnerving week with lots of weird pronouncements, lots of weird actions, and tweets, the president wanted to buy Greenland.  I don`t know.

It looks so big on the map.  There`s been a lot going on this week but there`s something else that`s been happening away from the spotlight, away from the president that I`ve been thinking about a lot.  In the last three weeks since the killings in El Paso, there have been at least six arrests of white supremacist who have allegedly been plotting or threatening violence.

One who was arrested said he was thankful that Donald Trump will "launch a race war."  Another was talking about a plot against a Jewish Community Center.  And the guy that they found had an arsenal that included a 40 caliber anti-tank gun.

Of course, all this is like I said, it`s just in the period since a white supremacist drove himself all the way down to El Paso for the explicit purpose of committing mass murder against Hispanics in order to drive Hispanics from the country and change the demographic composition of the country.  All motivated by an obsession with a non-existent invasion that the president and his allies are constantly demagoguing about.

And we`ve seen this in the wake of El Paso.  There`s been a kind of wake-up call, right?  People are like what is going on here?  There`s increasingly calls to take white supremacist, terrorism seriously in the United States.  According the Anti-Defamation League, domestic extremists, right, folks like this kill at least 50 people in just the last year.  And that does not count what happened in El Paso.

And a lot of people are making the point.  You heard a lot, right.  If this were ISIS, if this were ISIS, we would view as an existential threat, right?  I mean, after al-Qaeda, terrorists killed 3,000 Americans.  We made complete changes into the nature of the American state and how we live our lives.

I mean, 18 years after I got tried to light a shoe on fire, right, we still take our shoes off of the airport.  Unless you`re smart enough to get that TSA.  But the comparison to Jihadi terrorism makes sense, right?  It also is kind of weird when you think about it for this reason.  You don`t actually have to look abroad to some foreign analogue, some terrorist entity like ISIS for the threat of American white supremacist seeking to use violence to impose a white ethno state in America, right?  That`s an American tradition.

In fact, it`s not just an American tradition.  It`s really the sort of inception of what terrorism in America is.  I mean, first there were white settlers, and they often use terror and violence to take land from indigenous peoples.

But then the very first real terrorist cell in America, first terrorist organization America was made up of white supremacist forces of the defeated Confederacy in the aftermath of the Civil War.  And they arose because they didn`t like the demographic change that was happening, right?  They want to preserve a white man`s Republic above all else.  And so they used their weapons to terrorize free black people of the south.

They slaughtered and murder people in Memphis Tennessee in 1866.  They slaughtered and they murdered people with the backing of a local militia and sheriffs in 1866 in New Orleans.  They organized the Ku Klux Klan for nitrate.  They shot people in the dead of night.  They ransacked people`s homes.  They left nooses.

They roughed black people up on the way to the polls.  You know, there were more than 2,000 murders in the state of Kansas in the election related to election of 1868, 2,000 murders, mostly of black people and white Republicans, the party that was at that point invested in their enfranchisement.

And all of this was done, all of it with the explicit purpose of what that individual went down to El Paso to do what he wanted, to stem the tide of the erosion of the demographic power in American democracy for the white man.

We are not taught about this history.  I don`t know about all of you.  I was not taught this history.  I went to like good public schools.  I didn`t learn this history.  But at the time, at the time, it was the number one issue in the country.

When Andrew Johnson was president at the time and sort of tacitly wink- wink-nudge-nudge in all this violence, he would go around to speak, and the crowds would heckle him.  They would say what about New Orleans?  What about Memphis?  What about the white terrorism at South that you`re doing nothing about?

And when Johnson was succeeded by Ulysses S. Grant, the Republicans had to pass three separate pieces of legislation to enforce the law against white terrorists themselves.  They actually called them the enforcement acts, like no seriously we mean it.

And the third the third enforcement act was called the Ku Klux Klan act.  It`s the first anti-terrorism legislation in the country.  It allows the President to suspend habeas corpus throughout the south.  It was so dramatic because they were at their wit`s end about what to do about white supremacists terroristic violence.

And to the credit the Grant administration, the Grant administration under the aegis of the newly created Department of Justice one year earlier, they did something that hadn`t done before.  They start going in the south and they start prosecuting federal crimes against the klan.

The white terrorists of the south who were killing and burning and murdering and looting and intimidating, they start prosecuting them in federal court and the reason they do that is because local courts won`t arrest them, won`t prosecute them, and local white juries will not convict them.

And two things happened.  One is they won that battle.  They stamped out the clamp for a few decades.  And the second is they lost the war because the enforcement of anti-terrorism laws against white supremacists in the south end when Federal troops were taking out.

And when they were removed the violence came back and this time the white supremacist violence throughout the south that extends all the way into the 1920s and 30s and 40s and 50s and 60s and 70s, the lynching, the atrocities we all know, it worked.  It was effective.

The white terrorist violence in the south, the white nationalist terrorism, it accomplished the aim that the shooter in El Paso explicitly said that he wanted.  It preserved the political power of white people for decades to come.

And that is why white terrorism and white supremacist terrorism in this country is not some weird analogue to al Qaeda or ISIS.  It`s not some foreign thing that looks like something that we`ve been fighting in the war on terror.  It`s actually fundamentally as American as anything.  And it is an existential threat to the multiracial and pluralistic equal and open democracy that we`ve been fighting for in this country since people died on the battlefield in a civil war.

And here`s the thing.  Right now these folks, it`s unnerving to think about this but they are organized.  Organize coordinate attempts to use violence and intimidation again.  The guy who was arrested in Ohio this week for threatening to shoot up a Jewish Community Center, as best as we can determine, here he is in Charlottesville.  And the guy next to him, that`s the guy who drove his car into a crowd of people later that day murdering Heather Heyer.

To me, the lesson of the KKK act is that white supremacy as a force can never be eradicated permanently.  But with the will of the state, violent terror can be vanquished.  And our government`s job, a president`s job, our nation`s job is to vanquish.

I want to talk to someone who spent her adult life fighting against hatred, renowned civil rights attorney Sherrilyn Ifill.  She`s a president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.  Sherilyn, you and I have talked a lot about the federal government`s role in all this and I think of you as a civil rights attorney.  When you hear the discussion about white supremacist terrorism, you see these arrests, what are you thinking about the kind of policy regime that you want to see?

SHERRILYN IFILL, PRESIDENT, NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE FUND:  Well, thank you, Chris.  And I`m so glad you`re having this conversation.  What I think is very much connected to what you said that it was the marshaling of the power of the federal government that played the most important role in pushing back white supremacist violence and terror.

You described the enforcement acts and the Ku Klux Klan acts.  These were all passed during Reconstruction.  The first civil rights statute that was passed since reconstruction was the Civil Rights Act of 1957 which created the Department of Justice.  And the Department of Justice played a vital role in the late 1950s and in the early 1960s in addressing the role of white supremacist violence.

If we think about the bombing of the Birmingham Church, if we think about the killing of Goodman Chaney and Schwerner, all of these acts of white supremacist violence were investigated by people like John Doar in the Justice Department who by the way was a white Republican and Burke Marshall who headed the Civil Rights Division.

It was the creation of the Civil Rights Division that really focused that attention.  Remember, four decades before that, Congress refused to pass an anti-lynching statute.  So we had no civil rights legislation.  Then we get the Department of Justice in the Civil Rights Act of 1957 which is empowered to protect African Americans and the right to vote to investigate these kinds of racially motivated crimes, to coordinate with other departments within the Department of Justice to try and address this issue.

It doesn`t mean that we haven`t had any white supremacist violence in the - - in the last few decades but what it does mean is that the marshaling of that apparatus towards this violence was important.  Then we had the passage of the hate crimes legislation, the Matthew Shepard James Byrd Hate Crimes Act once again showing a kind of targeted intention of the federal government in the Justice Department.

And what we do not have at this moment despite everything you described at the top of the hour, Chris, and the moment that we`re in is we have no concerted plan, we have no concerted articulation, we have no sense of urgency that has been communicated to the public about the Department of Justice and the need to lean in to this white supremacist violence.

HAYES:  How much does it matter, the leadership at the top -- I know it matters a tremendous amount in civil rights enforcement areas you work in what the Education Department is doing, what we`re doing about redlining, the enforcement of laws already on the books.  How much does it matter to have this president or to have a president who very clearly doesn`t care about this?

IFILL:  Well, it`s interesting, Chris.  You know, your colleague Rachel Maddow always says you know, don`t just listen to the words, listen to what he does.  In this area, the words align very closely with the policy actions.  The president making a false -- sense of false equivalency in Charlottesville, you know, very fine people on both sides, the deflection always to talking about urban crime in places like Chicago, the denigration of places like Baltimore.

All of this to turn attention away from on what ought to be the focus of this president as the leader who has the bully pulpit who should be bringing Americans together, who should be articulating the ways in which this kind of violence is something that should be in our rearview mirror and tears us apart.

This week when we were just a week or so, two weeks away from El Paso, when we have seen as you point out these arrests of the six individuals since El Paso, what did we hear Attorney General Barr talking about?  We heard him attacking newly elected progressive prosecutors, state prosecutors in places like Massachusetts.

So almost like the president, the Attorney General rather than demonstrating his intention to marshal his resources to his areas of work where his team ought to be leaning in is instead also deflecting and now trying to talk about urban crime and talking about progressive prosecutors.

So you see alignment.  And this is what I think is most disturbing.  This is our Department of Justice.  We have the right to expect the federal government to use its power, to use its investigatory power through the FBI.  We have asked over and over again.

Civil rights organizations sent a letter to Jeff Session in October 2018 as we saw this rise asking him to articulate the plan to deal with hate crimes.  And we`ve heard nothing from Jeff Sessions, and now we`ve heard nothing from Attorney General Barr that demonstrates his understanding of the urgency of this issue.

HAYES  Sherrilyn Ifill a the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, I always learn a ton from you.  Thank you very much.

IFILL:  Thank you, Chris.

HAYES:  We`ll be right back.  Senator Chris Murphy is trying to work with the White House on something.  He`s going to be here.  We`re going to talk about it.  Don`t go away.


HAYES:  In a week where President Trump canceled the state dinner called Jews disloyal, today the president called the Fed chair a man that he appointed an enemy.  After that the President "hereby ordered -- those were his words -- hereby order that U.S. companies should come home from China sending the Dow to a spiral which he later made a inscrutable joke about.

All that makes you wonder about the capacity and the fitness of the man in charge.  But while all that is happening, the fact the matter is there`s business, the nation`s business to still do.  Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut was tweeting yesterday, he`s actively working with the White House to try to get something done on background checks.  And Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut is here right now.

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT):  I am -- I thought we -- I thought we`d agreed we`re not gonna wear ties.

HAYES:  You look very sharp, senator.  You had this tweet yesterday I thought was really interesting.  You said, I spoke of the White House today, they`ve not walked away from improving background checks.  That was a reporting earlier in the week they had.  I am skeptical we can reach consensus but I`m willing to stay at the table over the next few weeks.  Maybe I`m a fool for trying but stakes are too high.

MURPHY:  Yes, I wear --I wear my fears on my sleeve in dealing with this White House.

HAYES:  Yes, it`s a good hedge.

MURPHY:  I`ve been through this before.  I went over to the White House after the Parklands shooting on that meeting that was televised.  The President said that day that he was going to work towards strong background checks.  He nearly sends Dianne Feinstein into a heart attack by telling her that he might work with her on an assault weapons ban.  And then a day later the NRA came into his office and everything changed.

And so I understand the rug may be pulled out from under us again but two weeks later, despite some of this reporting, the White House is still telling me that they want to sit down and try to talk about whether there is some common ground to find on background checks.  Maybe it`s not as far as I would like but you know, if we can at least get background checks extended to these gun shows in to some of these online sales, we will literally save lives.

This is a life-or-death debate that we`re having here and so I just -- I get it -- I get it that the football may be pulled out again as I run up to kick it this time, but I feel like I`ve got to at least give a shot.

HAYES:  Well, here`s what I find interesting watching this all to play out.  You know, the president is a strange person but he has -- he has some political instincts that are quite good.  And you can watch him almost in real-time be cross-pressured on this.  You can see that he understands that background checks are popular.

You could just see it in the way he talks about it and then Wayne LaPierre calls him up.  And you can watch him kind of wriggle around trying to get out of this trap.  Do you think you can extract him from it?  Like the problem is you can never be the last person that talks to.

MURPHY:  Right.

HAYES:  Right?  Like you could be very persuasive but then there`s someone else is -- Wayne LaPierre is going to come in the office after you.

MURPHY:  Yes.  I`m not going to talk to him as often as Wayne is going to talk to him.  No, listen, the politics have changed and they have changed radically.  Even from 2016 to 2018, all of a sudden this is an issue that swing voters vote on that turns out young people to the polls.  And yes, it may be that Donald Trump gets it.  It maybe that the reason that Mitch McConnell has interestingly opened the door to a possible debate in the United States Senate is that he`s not really interested in sending out all of these vulnerable 2020 Senate Republicans without taking a vote on background checks, and that is proof of what we have been attempting to do for the last seven years which is to build a political movement around anti-gun violence that is as strong, if not stronger than the gun lobby.

HAYES:  So I saw this article in The Washington Post about the mental health proposal being floated.  And I got to say the more I hear him talk about -- the President talking about mental health, the more freaked out I get honestly.  It really seems like just to cite -- like sci-fi dystopia.  They want to do something like DARPA which is the notorious Pentagon like research Association called HARPA, OK.

It`s going to develop breakthrough technologies with high specificity and sensitivity for early diagnosis of neuropsychiatric violence.  The document goes on to list a number of widely used technologies it suggests could be employed to help collect data.  Apple watches, Fitbit, Amazon Echo, and Google Home.

This -- whatever they`re doing on guns, the mental health stuff they`re talking about strikes me as genuinely scary stuff.

MURPHY:  Yes, and listen.  This is -- this is a very difficult issue to talk about because we absolutely do need more research into the intersectionality of the brand and instincts to violence.  But Donald Trump is probably not the guy to thread that needle.

I just think you know, every time we talk about this, we need to put the facts on the table.  And the facts are that if you are living with mental illness today you watch more likely to be the victim of violence than you are to be the perpetrator of it.

Of all the people in this country who have ever committed a homicide, less than five percent of them have a diagnosed mental illness.  And in fact, less than half the people who have committed mass atrocities have been diagnosed with mental illness.  You can still do really horrible things in this country it doesn`t mean that you are mentally ill and we`ll just shield people from ever receiving treatment if we try to equate the two.

HAYES:  Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, thank you so much for time.  I really appreciate it.

MURPHY:  Thank you, Chris.  I appreciate it.

HAYES:  We`ll be right back here with obama white house photographer Pete Souza.  Don`t go anywhere.


HAYES:  President Obama`s official White House photographer has had a pretty fascinating post-Obama public life.  His photographs which he posts on social media and Instagram, you probably have seen because they get thousand likes, thousands and thousands of likes.  They become a kind of visual reminder of the insanity that we live through because he`s constantly posting in response to the news and he`s showing what it was like when we had a president who was not this one.

It was a person who I think it`s fair to say it was in so many ways personality-wise in every way the opposite right.  He was a -- he was very self-controlled, disciplined, and pathetic, and he turned some of those photos into a book.  It`s called Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents.  It`s coming out in paperback in October with new pictures.

And joining me now Pete Souza.  Hi, Pete.  Good to see you.  Have a seat.  So you started photographing Barack Obama the first day that he sworn in as a U.S. senator when you`re with the Chicago Tribune, right?

PETER SOUZA, PHOTOGRAPHER:  Yes.  I was based in D.C. working for the Tribune when he was elected to the Senate in `o4 and then joined up with him that first day that he was sworn in.

HAYES:  You know, you`re -- you have these sort of images like this one where he`s walking down the street and no one knows it`s Barack Obama.  You know, it`s interesting, you know, he had this -- he had this -- obviously had a national profile because that speech in the convention, but those sort of early years of him as a Senator, he was not very far removed from being a guy that like took the car to the car wash --

SOUZA:  Well, he still had school loans. You know, he still had school loans.  This picture on a trip to Russia.  So we`re like this is a sidewalk in Red Square.

HAYES:  Amazing.

SOUZA:  And he`s walking around Red Square and not a single person recognized him and I was very conscious of that because I knew you know, if he ever did become president that the scene would never be repeated.  I don`t think he could go to Red Square now and --

HAYES:  No.  Did you -- what was your impression of him -- those early years before he becomes President of the United States, his general sort of personality and how he carried himself.

SOUZA:  Very laid back.  For a photojournalist, was an amazing subject in that the presence of my camera, my presence, taking pictures, did not bother him in the least.  I mean, I used what I call a small footprint, meaning I`m not using a loud motor drive, and I`m trying to be quiet about how I went about my business.  But he was very unusual and just the presence of my camera not affecting him one way or the other.

HAYES:  Do you think that was something about the kind of person he was?

SOUZA:  Yeah.

HAYES:  That sort of composure?

SOUZA:  I think so.

HAYES:  How so?

SOUZA:  I think being brought up in Hawaii, you know?  People in Hawaii are -- you know, he was born in Hawaii.  I don`t know if you knew that.


HAYES:  I forgot where we ended up on that whole thing.

SOUZA:  He`s a laid back guy.  He still is.

HAYES:  You then started -- you were photographing him for the trip, and then you went to work at the White House.  Second White House you`ve worked in, and you got to see -- you know, he`s sworn in amidst just the world is falling apart.  And you`re there through all these moments of unbelievable high stakes and stress.

SOUZA:  Well, especially those first few years, you know, trying to get us out of what was the greatest recession since the Great Depression, and he`s working every weekend.  I mean, I was there every Saturday and Sunday.  He had meetings with his economic team, trying to figure out what levers he can push to try to right the economy.  So yeah, it was a very stressful time.

HAYES:  This is maybe one of the moments of maximum stress.  It`s also one of the most famous photographs not just you`ve taken but I think in the modern era, honestly.

This is the night that the bin Laden raid happens.  Tell us about what that was like to be in that room.

SOUZA:  Well, we were in that room for 40 minutes.  They were monitoring the raid as it happened in real-time.  People jammed into this little conference room right across from the main Situation Room, because this is where the communications link had been set up.

They did not know that the president wanted to be there while the raid was taking place.  So it was sort of a little unexpected.  He walked into the room.  Brigadier General Webb that you see seated at the head of the table, saw the president of the United States walked in, stood up to give up his chair.  President Obama said to him, you stay right where you are.  You`ve got work to do.  I`ll just pull up a chair next to you, which is why he`s seated where he is.

I`d also like to point out to people that you`ve got the most important powerful people in the executive branch of our government all in this room at the same time, and they`re essentially powerless.  There`s nothing they can do to effect the outcome of what they`re monitoring.  It`s up to those guys on the ground.  They made their decision in the days and weeks before, and now it`s up to those guys on the ground, and all they can do is watch.

HAYES:  What is it like?  You had worked in the Reagan White House and obviously you`re used to this.  You are a photojournalist, but you`re in that room too.

SOUZA:  Yeah.

HAYES:  All those people are in that room, and they are some of the most powerful people in the United States government.  What is it like for you to be in that room?  Did you acclimation yourself so much to being in the situations that the stress, didn`t penetrate you?

SOUZA:  Oh, no.  I was stressed.  I was stressed.  It was a stressful situation.  And part of it was that room -- there were so many people jammed into that room that I picked a corner, and I couldn`t really move at all.

I can remember at one point my rear end hit a printer and the printer started printing.  And Bob Gates looked at me and just kind of smiled.

HAYES:  You -- these are sort of some images that are the kind of, like, the most intense ones that you see the president there just the stress sort of aware.  You can see it bearing down on him, but there`s a lot of images you captured that show an extremely human side of the president and also I think the historic nature, obviously, of the first black president.

There`s one photo that again I think has this kind of iconic view to it now.  It`s...


HAYES:  What`s going on in that moment?

SOUZA:  So, this is a young Jacob Philadelphia.  His dad worked for the foreign service, was leaving the White House.  President Obama invited the family for a family snapshot.  And I think it was his mom, Jacob`s mom said, Mr. President, Jacob has a question for you.

Now, imagine being 5-years-old in the Oval Office and your mom just said you`re going to ask  the president of the United States a question, and it was more like Mr. President, my friends say that my haircut is just like yours.  And President Obama bent over and said go ahead and touch it.  And I got one frame, and it was over.

HAYES:  That`s it.  That`s the one.

SOUZA:  One frame.

And, you know, I think the picture resonates for a couple reasons.  One, you got a 5-year-old African-American kid touching the head of the president of the United States that looks like him.

But two, I think it tells you something about Barack Obama, that at the behest of a young kid, you would go ahead and bend over and let that kid touch your head.


SOUZA:  I`m quite certain that wouldn`t happen today.

HAYES:  No, no.

SOUZA:  Actually, I don`t think we would want that to happen.

HAYES:  Lord knows what would happen.


HAYES:  You know, part of your job is being very close to this individual and this couple.  Michelle Obama has a great memoir that she wrote.  She talks about how hard it is, how hard it was for her, how hard it was for her family, to go from private citizens to having the entirety of your life be public.  And you -- you know, there`s some amazing photos you`ve taken of the two of them, but these are very -- you know, there are a lot of very intimate moments that you are there to capture.

SOUZA:  Yeah, this one in particular, this was inauguration night going from one inaugural ball to another.  They`re in a freight elevator.  And I kind of kind of like this picture, because it shows what you`re talking about.  They`re sharing this private moment, but then you have got the staff and the Secret Service in the background trying not to like...

HAYES:  I like the side eye from the guy in the back.

SOUZA:  But that is the nature of being in that position.  And I think, you know, I`m sure -- I mean, Michelle talks about this, it`s not easy to get used to always being in the public eye like that, but somehow they managed.

HAYES:  You clearly came to have a great, deep affection, friendship, with President Obama.

What was that -- the development of that relationship like?  You`re there all the time playing this role, and then you become friends?

SOUZA:  I mean, I think part of it is -- it`s like a professional friendship mostly.  And I sort of like to say to people that I was there for all the different compartments of his life -- family pictures, stressful moments in the Situation Room, economics meetings on the weekend -- And so I knew all these emotions, because I was in the room where it happened all the time.  And I think that -- because of that, we have a bond that`s never going to go away, because I knew exactly what he was experiencing from day today.

HAYES:  It`s so interesting, just as you say that, because it`s such a strange job.  There are so much come compartmentalization.  And there`s one person in his whole life who sees him in full at all moments, that`s Pete Souza, right.  Like, the private person and the public person.  You also did this, you were the deputy in Reagan`s White House.  And you got to see him up close as well.  And from what I`ve heard of interviews of you, you think highly of him -- or thought highly of the president.

SOUZA:  I -- policy-wise, I wasn`t necessarily aligned with him, but he was a decent human being, and to me, that`s what mattered.  I don`t think -- like, I couldn`t work for Trump, because I don`t respect him, and I just don`t think he`s a decent human being.


SOUZA:   But the Reagan that I saw respected the office of the presidency and respected other  people.

HAYES:  I wanted to ask you about -- and this clip that came out of Reagan of calling these African diplomats in the UN monkeys.

SOUZA:   Very disturbing.

HAYES:  A lot of people around him expressed surprise and they were upset.

SOUZA:  I mean, it was during the Nixon administration, so it was many years before I knew him.  I didn`t see that at all when I was there.  I did not know Reagan nearly as well as I knew President Obama, but I was in lots of private meetings, and I never saw that come out.  So that was -- but it was still disturbing to hear.

HAYES:  This is a picture, this final picture is a picture of our current president, President Donald Trump with President Barack Obama, 44 and 45 together.  And it`s I think snapped -- this is during their one meeting in the transition, is that right?

SOUZA:  This is actually on inauguration day.

HAYES:  Oh, it`s on inauguration day.

SOUZA:  January 20th, 2017.  And they were just about to leave the White House together to get in the limousine and drive up to the Capitol for the inauguration, and President Obama pulled the incoming president aside to brief him on a national security issue.  And, you know, there`s not much confidence in the person on the left, I don`t think.

HAYES:  Well, let me ask you this as a sort of final question.  We watched you sort of develop over the course of the Trump administration, the beginning there`s very sort of subtle jabs.  You know, that posting photos and something in the news.

SOUZA:  I have no idea what you`re talking about.


HAYES:  Well, I mean, it`s gotten less -- I mean, it`s clear where you stand on this president, and you seem like a fairly kind of retiring in the background sort of person in your nature.  What is it that has sort of pushed you, nudged you to be more open and public about that?

SOUZA:  It didn`t take much.  It didn`t take much.  To me, we have a president that lies to us all the time and bullies other people I think disrespects the office of the presidency, and that`s what bothers me the most.

I mean, I`ve said this before where if, you know, Jeb Bush or John McCain or John Kasich or another Republican had become president, I wouldn`t be doing this, because even though I would vehemently disagree with some of their policies, I think all of them would have respected the office  and would respect other people.

HAYES:  Yeah.


HAYES:  Pete Souza, everybody.  "The Paperback of Shade" is coming out October 27th.  A whole bunch of new photos.  Thank you for being with me.  Appreciate it.

Still ahead, Michelle Goldberg, Mehdi Hasan, Joy Reid, they`re all  coming here, so join me.  Don`t go anywhere. 


HAYES:  There are a whole lot of things that happened this week that I want to talk about, starting with this piece in The Atlantic.  James Fallows argues, persuasively to my mine, that in literally no other job but president of the United States, if supported by the Republican Party, could you do any of the things the president has done just in the last week and not be fired from your job and dragged out by security -- not a pilot, not a surgeon, not an accountant, not a teacher.

As Fallows writes, quote, if Donald Trump were in virtually any other position of responsibility, action would already be underway to remove him from that role.

Here to discuss that with me New York Times columnist, MSNBC political analyst Michelle Goldberg; a columnist for The Intercept, a host of Up Front on Al Jazeera, one of the best interviewers in the game these days, Mehdi Hasan; and finally the author of "The Man Who Sold America: Trump and the Unraveling of the American Story," the host of AM Joy here on MSNBC, my colleague Joy-Ann Reid.


HAYES:  The Fallows piece -- I mean, I`ve heard this a million times, but for some reason he just did a very good job of making the basic point.  Like I remember talking to staff during the send her back, which is like if someone on my staff said that, like you`re done.  You`re done.  Like, in any environment.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, NEW YORK TIMES:  You violated EOC guidelines, right.

HAYES:  Literally violated.

GOLDBERG:  ...guidelines of what constitutes racism in the workplace has those exact words.

HAYES:  Send her back.

JOY REID, MSNBC:  And just take the two examples that Fallows mentioned, just imagine you`re on -- anywhere, imagine you`re on an airline and the last thing you hear before take off is I`m the king of Israel, the second coming, right?  Sent by god.  The second coming of god.  I mean, seriously, imagine you`re going to have surgery and the last thing you hear before the ether takes over, right, is I`m the king of Israel.

MEHDI HASAN, THE INTERCEPT:  I`m a very stable genius.  I`m a very stable genius.  I wouldn`t want to hear that as I`m going under the knife.  I`m a very stable genius, I`m like a smart person.

REID:  Right, but chosen by god would be worse.  If you heard I`m chosen by god...

HAYES:  Again, you would say the person...

REID:  You`d want to get off.

HAYES:  There`s something wrong with them.

HASAN:  If you`re on a subway -- no, seriously, you would move away from that person.

HAYES:  No, you would.

HASAN:  Listen, I know, serious point, the media has tiptoed around this subject for too long. There`s been far too much normalization.  He does a crazy rant in the Rose Garden or a press conference and the next day too many journalists still report the contents of it and don`t say, by the way, this crazed guy gave this crazy rant.  We`ll tell you what he said later.  That should be the top story.

HAYES:  That`s true, but part of dealing with it, the opposite thing I see now, which is like you see stories about he`s increasingly X.  Like, we say on the show that the increasingly adverb is banned.  Well, because it`s like -- yes, this week was bad, but we`ve had 20 of these weeks, you know what I mean?

GOLDBERG:  I mean, I feel like it`s felt like something has to give...

HAYES:  Since day one.

GOLDBERG:  Right, since day one, and kind of the thing that`s given is us, right.  I mean, it`s given, like our, our kind of sanity, our like capacity to remember what a normal country and a normal presidency was like.  But that -- because we`re all so inured, and I myself struggle with this, how do you figure out what`s worse when the baseline is already total chaos, total ineptness. 

I do think -- and I`ve gone back and forth on this even over the course of the week, right, the Greenland thing, in part because it wasn`t even ideological, it was just so out of left field, it was such a weird fixation, right.  It was like the fixation that somebody would have when they`re really losing touch with reality.

You know, then I talked to Tim O`Brien who is on this network who wrote a book about Trump, and he says he`s always been like that.

HAYES:  Right.

REID:  But I mean, isn`t it the responsibility then -- I think about those walkthroughs that he  does, because he`s replaced his press secretary with himself.  And isn`t there a responsibility for the journalists who are talking to him, because he essentially overruns them.  He says insane things.  They then ask him a normal question that they would ask Jeb Bush, and they keep insisting on asking multiple part questions that they would ask any president not matter what he says.

HAYES:  Although, he also -- this is a savvy thing he does in replacing -- we call it talking to the shrubs, where he -- no, because he -- with the chopper going in the background, it`s like you could barely hear and he goes -- and he points, and then if he doesn`t like the question, he just goes to someone else.  So, it`s like he`s actually created a whole situation in those press briefings he gives where he can control, right, like follow-up questions or anything like that..

REID:  What if one of the people who was questioning him simply said, Mr. President, where is Greenland?


HASAN:  Where is Kashmir?

REID:  Where is Kashmir?

HASAN:  You saw the Kashmir answer this week.  I mean, that`s -- he says -- he`s asked about Kashmir, he says Hindus, Muslims, they don`t get along, right.  My 6-year-old could do a better answer than that.  And we take -- we laugh about it, but on the other hand we are also taking him seriously, if not literally, or literally if not seriously, I can`t keep it correct.  But I just find -- we have to call this stuff out.  We need to be talking about the 25th Amendment every day of the week.


HAYES:  I mean, that`s the point.

HASAN:  We all know that.

HAYES:  The point is like calling out or whatever, it`s like there are two constitutional remedies for removing a sitting president.  There`s the 25th Amendment, which is actually a higher bar then impeachment, and then there`s impeachment.  And like, we can all talk all we want about the fact that we`re watching this person, who if he were the pilot of an airplane or the CEO of a public company or anything, he would be removed.  But like the constitutional remedies, Michelle, as we talked about on the show a million time, like they`re there, it`s a question of whether the Democrats want to pursue it.

GOLDBERG:  Right.  And the Democrats are pursuing it.

HAYES:  Yes, they are.   That`s a good point.

GOLDBERG:  So, right now, what Democrats -- and them pursuing it sort of has very little to do with actually removing him and putting the country in stable hands, right.

HAYES:  That`s a great point.

GOLDBERG:  Democrats are pursuing it to hold him accountable and to at least have some sort of public reckoning with his criminality and obstruction of justice and emoluments violations et cetera, the only people who can actually step in and say, this has gone too far, have shown no inclination to do so.  And I guess that to me is the big political question is like whether that starts to crack around the edges.

HAYES:  Which leads to today`s news perfectly, right, because I completely -- Republicans they sit there and they basically -- well, Republicans and a certain part of sort of the American plutocracy has decided they had can tolerate all of this for a big tax cut, judges and a looser regulatory environment, like that`s the trade.

Today, I mean, I`ve got to -- like he comes out of nowhere.  He does this I hereby order thing, which again is weird, creepy, totally bizarre.  I said on Twitter that I hereby order the Cubs to win the next 20 games, which of course they probably lost, because it doesn`t work that way.

But the markets are tanking.  He right now is locked in a weird zone where he is doing active, tangible, material harm to the American economy day after day after day.


REID:  And just last week, you had the man whose company runs companies like Equinox, you have billionaires still raising money for him, despite the fact that he is destroying the very market that was the trade.  The trade was supposed to be their wealth, he`s now even jeopardizing that.  There is silence among Republicans who only really exist to increase the wealth of big corporations and rich  people.  And the rich people who are willing...

HASAN:  I think they have morphed, now, it`s not just -- I think Chris is right, and you`re right, to highlight that as the tradeoff, whatever the Faustian bargain,  but now it`s also a personality cult.  The Republican Party is now a personality cult, so therefore, reasoned argument doesn`t work.  If he says the Federal Reserve chair is the equivalent of a foreign dictator who runs gulags, the Republicans just fall into lockstep.  If he says Jews are disloyal, Republicans say not one word...

GOLDBERG:  And they`re saying we have always wanted to buy Greenland.

HASAN:  Tom Cotton, deficit hawk, said let`s buy Greenland.

HAYES:  This is where the fall is a test to me for this reason about -- it really will reveal the nature of the Republican Party, right.  So, we are going to run an experiment.  Is it a cult of personality that revolves around Donald Trump or is it fundamentally their just sort of vouchsafe the interests of a certain strata of American society? 

Because those two are going to pitted against each other.  If he keeps doing this on the trade stuff, they are going to come back to congress.  And the fact of the matter is the constitution gives congress the power over tariffs.  If there`s one thing that the founders were clear about, it`s that tariffs belong to congress.  and they have allowed him to, through executive  fiat, using this national security rationale, being I`m raising them 10 percent.  I`m raising them 15 percent.  They can stop i if they want to and that will be the test.  Are they a cult of personality or do they actually...

REID:  Do they have the fear -- I mean, think about what he is planning to do.  This new round of tariffs would increase everything -- something like 70 percent of what you buy in Walmart is sourced from China.  And so if you raise the prices -- that`s all tariffs are, raise...

HAYES:  It`s a consumption tax.

REID:  Raise it by 25 percent or 30 percent, you are essentially going to tank the U.S. economy just before Christmas.  If the Republican Party is that much of a cult -- and I think to your point it is a religion at this points -- well, you know what kicking brown people out of the country is real expensive if you are willing to go broke, you`re willing to lose your farm, you`re willing to lose everything because you hate brown people so much you are willing to literally kill yourself economically for it.  It`s insane.

HASAN:  I mean, just on the cult point, Larry Kudlow is his national economic adviser who is a mad free trader, but now defends tariffs on TV.  Two years ago, or three years ago, Republicans in the country were hawks on Russia and free traders, now they like tariffs and they are doves on Russia.  This is the power of a leader -- I mean, it`s amazing.

HAYES:  No, it`s amazing.  It`s amazing.

HASAN:  I mean, historians will look back and say what on earth happened here?  How did this kind of guy from "Home  Alone 2" come along and transform an entire political movement?  He did it, though.

HAYES:  But I do think -- I mean, I am in -- Michelle, I`m in the camp that thinks that the economy is actually the big weakness, right.  So, there are some people who think like his floor is his floor, it doesn`t matter what happens to the economy, I think it`s the Jenga piece.  I think an America that goes -- there`s no way Donald Trump can get to 20 percent approval absent a recession, but I do think a recession would do that.

GOLDBERG:  No, I do think it`s right for two reasons.  First of all, because it`s harder to lie about, right.  I mean, you can tell people the wall is being built.  You can tell people that we are respected all over the world.  You can`t tell people they have a job or that they got a raise if they didn`t.

So people are kind of aware of it in a way that they maybe are not aware of other ways that he is trashing American power.

And then also, it`s the central thing that he promised, right.  It`s they kind of say, he might be crazy, he might say wild, intemperate things, but he has his business genius, so that`s where you can show the emperor is naked.

HAYES:  I think we may -- I mean, we may find out -- I hope we don`t, because I hope we don`t have a recession, but we may find out nonetheless.

Joy Reid, Mehdi Hasan and Michelle Goldberg, thank you all.

Much more, much, much, much more of our special edition of All In coming up next.  Don`t go anywhere.


HAYES:  I want to thank everyone here who joined us tonight for our first ever All In live in front of a studio audience.  They were so kind.

To you -- those of you here with me in historic Studio A and everyone at home watching, we will do this again next Friday, August 30th, so please, come be part of the audience for that.  These people had a great time.

Tickets are free and available right now.  You can find them at  I hope to see you right here live in New York next Friday, August 30th.  And that is All In for this evening and the moment you have been waiting for.  The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.  Good evening, Rachel.