CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Then imagine the leader of the world`s greatest country behaving just this way. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Having them inside the room is better than having them outside the room.
HAYES: Stunning new reporting about the President`s open feuding with world leaders to allow Russia back in the G7.
TRUMP: My inclination is to say yes, they should be in.
HAYES: And as the trade war grinds on.
TRUMP: The trade war hurts them. It doesn`t hurt us.
HAYES: New reporting on the growing frustrations of Trump-voting farmers. Plus --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today is a day of power.
HAYES: What we learned from the Jeffrey Epstein accusers who spoke out in court today. My interview with the Attorney General who just won the landmark opioid decision against big pharma.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The defendant has caused an opioid crisis.
HAYES: And Stacey Abrams on her latest push to protect the vote when ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. We knew about Donald Trump`s public antics, the G7, and the haphazard whirlwind of lies, and insults, misstatements, and disruption. But it turns out what the President was doing behind closed doors was worse and in many ways more destructive.
We now learned that when the cameras were away and Trump wasn`t performing out of some weird desire for publicity or a vendetta he had with the press, he was arguing almost like lawyer for the interest of Russia. We heard him say before and after summit Russia should be back in the G7 making it the G8, and that it`s better if Russia is in the tent.
Now, of course, it is not the first time Trump said or done something that seems to only benefit Russia. There is the time he declined to verbally support NATO`s virtual aid clause and says an attack on any NATO country is an attack on all, the time you backed out of a cold war-era nuclear arms treaty allowing Moscow to begin expanding its arsenal.
There`s the time he tried to sell America on forming what he called an impenetrable cybersecurity unit with Vladimir Putin to guard against election hacking. And, of course, there`s a time Trump famously failed to support America`s intelligence services over Vladimir Putin.
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TRUMP: My people came to me, Dan Coates came to me, and some others. They said they think it`s Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it`s not Russia. I will say this. I don`t see any reason why it would be.
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HAYES: Right. Why would they do it? Why would they interfere to the election to get me elected so that I would stand up here and say that they didn`t do it? Now, to be clear, it`s not obvious whether Trump`s invitation from Russia to rejoin the G8 even toes an existing Russian line.
I mean, Vladimir Putin has made it plain he would like Western sanctions remove and he wants Crimea to be recognized as part of Russia, but it`s not like Putin has made a big thing about rejoining the G8. But now the Washington Post says behind-the-scenes account of Trump at the G7 -- and he is not just arguing for the Russian position and to exculpate them for ongoing violation of international law that is the continued occupation of Ukrainian territory. No, it doesn`t end there.
Speaking to the leaders of the world`s premier democracies at the table, just him and six others, the President of the United States was basically running down the importance of democracy. The entire 44-year vision of the G7 gathering according to the non-U.S. participants is to hash out global issues among like-minded democracies.
So the discussion quickly turned even more fundamental whether the leaders should assign any special weight to being a democracy officials said. Most of the other participants forcefully believe the answer was yes. Trump believed the answer was no. The pushback against him was delivered so passionately the U.S. President`s body language changed as one leader after other dismissed his demand according to senior official who watched the exchange.
He crossed his arms, his stance became more combative. Here, there`s a fundamental difference of views, one official said, rough-and-tumble said another. On Sunday morning, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told French President Emmanuel Macron pumping his fist, he did very well there last night. My God, that was a difficult one.
Bien Joue, the newly elected British leader said in private comments that were caught on an open microphone using the French raise four well played. If you wondered if it`s an act, it`s not. It`s not an act. In fact, if there`s one thing the President believes him private and says in public is attempting to shape American foreign policy around. It`s that democracy just isn`t actually a very good system and he wants to make sure the world knows it.
Joining me now for more on the President`s continued advocating for Russian interests Ambassador Wendy Sherman former U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs. She is now an MSNBC Global Affairs Contributor. Having been around diplomatic circles and meetings of high-level principles and world leaders, your reaction to that behind-the-scenes account from the Washington Post.
WENDY SHERMAN, MSNBC GLOBAL AFFAIRS CONTRIBUTOR: It`s quite disturbing, Chris. I think others have said it so I won`t be the first. But the President seemed to be more concerned about his country club than he was about our country and certainly the other countries at the table who face Russian aggression particularly the Europeans all of the time.
So I think that his reporting is quite concerning because it says that the president doesn`t care about Russia`s interference in our election and the elections of other democracies around the world. He doesn`t care that Russia used chemical weapons against a former spy on foreign soil.
He doesn`t care about Russia`s interference in Syria and support for Maduro and for Assad. He doesn`t care for what Russia does to hold back the human rights of Putin`s own citizens. So this is a very disturbing situation. But as you point out, not a surprising one because the president has been in this place for a very long time in all the ways that you outlined in your opening. So I think, again and again, we all wonder why.
HAYES: Yes. I mean, there`s a "what`s the deal here" quality to this. And obviously, we have the Mueller report. There`s -- we believe a kind of counter intelligent aspect to that report that is classified that we don`t have public access to that may have looked at vectors of compromised.
We do know that the president`s campaign lied about the duration of the business interests. He was pursuing them actively into the campaign and all that. But in some ways it`s like it`s almost -- his Kim Jong-un behavior is almost is inexplicable.
I mean he seems to think that that guy`s like one of the best world leaders around and he talks about how much he loves him.
SHERMAN: Yes. I think he talks about Kim Jong-un that way because he believes he can get a deal done and it was a deal that Barack Obama didn`t do. He`s all about being whatever Barack Obama wasn`t or what Barack Obama was that Donald Trump doesn`t want to be.
But, again, this is all comes back to Donald Trump`s own sense of people should be listening to me. I know what`s going on in the world. But he really doesn`t care what anybody else thinks and what his colleagues at the G7 were sitting there in horror wondering why Donald Trump was advocating for Vladimir Putin to come back into the G7 when the entire G7 collectively agreed to boot Russia out in 2014 and said unless they de-escalated conflict in Crimea, unless they ensured the sovereignty of Ukraine, they could not come back.
HAYES: Yes, you make a good point that in the interim they`ve launched a chemical weapons attempted murder on the soil of Boris Johnson`s country which is a tough thing to brook. I mean, the other thing I think about what I see him on the world stage, we talked about how he talks in public and then in private about this sort of fundamental question about democracies is that A, that I think the president honestly believes that. He doesn`t think democracy is some kind of superior system.
But B, what the consequences are, American foreign policy is often to honor democracy in the breach, right. All kinds of anti-democratic leaders that we`ve supported anti-Democratic movements particularly the Cold War are all sorts of awful authoritarian regimes that have had U.S. backing through the years.
But the stated principle was that we do value democracy and we want to see the world do that. And that has kind of ebbs away from American foreign policy.
SHERMAN: It`s ebbed away from American foreign policy. And everybody should remember, there are other forums. The G20 was created to embrace everyone whatever their form of government. But the G7, originally the G8, was meant to be a place where the largest economies, democratic economies came together to really solve major problems in the world because they had the weight and the power to do so.
And the president has retreated from that. He thinks that this makes sense because people are very anxious in the United States and around the world for the uncertain future ahead of us whether that`s because of artificial intelligence, the change in the job market, very fast-paced social change. Whatever makes people anxious that certainty and safety comes not from democracy which is an open system but comes from authoritarianism which gives people a false sense of security and really trample on the basic rights that America stands for.
HAYES: Final question. Have you ever in your long diplomatic career ever had to brief American officials or an American president for dealing with the world leader like this? I don`t know, Berlusconi comes to mind because he was so given to sort of braggadocio and weird personal vendettas and things like that.
But if you had to go through a briefing where we pull someone to the side and say like listen, here`s the readout on this guy.
SHERMAN: Oh we certainly and I have certainly done briefings with leaders with secretaries of state about characters that they might meet for the first time. Certainly, I`ve been to North Korea once before. Secretary Madeleine Albright went and so I tried to give her some idea of that weird society, that weird circumstance she was going to walk into.
And if you recall, there was a prime minister in Canada who was a Mayor of Toronto who was pretty -- not prime minister, mayor of Toronto who was pretty off-the-wall and ended up in terrible circumstances. So yes there are leaders in both democracies and authoritarian governments that are pretty strange.
HAYES: All right, Wendy Sherman, thank you very much for that. The state of the global economy was front and center at the G7 and of course, the global economy is shaky right now and it continues to be made shakier because of the President`s unilateral trade war.
He`s waging it without Congress although China is retaliating in part. And for months, we`ve been reading stories about the farmers of America who have been hit the hardest by the policies, the tariffs, and basically grinning and bearing it. But there are some indication anecdotally and in reporting that they are reaching the end of their rope.
This is a stressful time in agriculture. They should be grateful that we`re taking one for the team as the president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association told Trump`s AG secretary at a recent Town Hall, things are going downhill quickly.
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BRIAN THALMANN, PRESIDENT, MINNESOTA CORN GROWERS ASSOCIATION: President Trump is trying hard to make these trade deals but some of the rhetoric, farmers are starting to do great again. We`re not starting through great again. Things are going downhill and downhill very quickly.
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HAYES: Joining me now for more on how Trump`s trade war is impacting American farmers I`m joined by Ohio soybean farmer Christopher Gibbs, previously served as a county executive director for the USDA Farm Service Agency. He`s a registered Republican and in fact, serves as the chair of the local Republican Party and voted for Donald Trump for president in 2016.
Mr. Gibbs, first I just -- you are a soybean farmer that seems to be the crop that has been most adversely impacted by the tariffs that China has put on a retaliatory fashion. How are things looking from where you stand?
CHRISTOPHER GIBBS, SOYBEAN FARMER, OHIO: Well, no different than the downward movement we saw since the President put the punitive tariffs on way back in March through July of 2018. At that time specifically soybeans, we lost 20 percent of our pricing right there which put us below the cost of production.
We`re now currently still below the cost of production quite considerably about. I just calculated it today before I walked in here about $25.00 an acre for new crop below the cost of production. So nothing has moved in the soybean market and corn is about the same way and that`s also well below the cost of production. So we`re not moving forward with any good trade.
HAYES: So you mean that -- I just want to make sure I understand this. For two years, two seasons that you have been producing below cost of production, does that mean you`re losing money on soybeans?
GIBBS: That means we`re losing money on soybeans and certainly in corn as well. Certainly, the administration has put forth the bailouts, I call it hush money, to keep farmers sedated. But they put together dollars from the taxpayer. And let`s be very clear, those dollars do not come from China no matter how many times the president says it.
Those dollars come right out of the Treasury right from the American taxpayer and to farmers. And the only saving grace to that is that farmers do not set on that money. They take it to the local hardware store, they take it to the feed store, they buy things with it. And when farmers buy things, we buy things, by the way, that are manufactured and they`re made out of steel and they`re made out of aluminum.
HAYES: Right. It`s a sort of weird cyclical conundrum. What is the reaction been among folks that you talked to that are in your line of work, that farm and particularly in soybean and corn.
GIBBS: Well, certainly there`s been support for the farmer -- for the -- for the president in this throughout. And it`s been from my perspective somewhat surprising. I got off the Trump train a long time ago and particularly through this tariff fight. I`ve spoken out against this for over a year.
But farmers have hung in there. They`re tough. And what they were -- what they were hanging their hat on was the President`s a rhetoric that trade wars are easy to win. Trade wars are good and trade wars are easy to win.
And I believe that the president proudly told many of the commodity organizations and the advocacy bureaus that hey maybe six months, maybe nine months and we`re out. And that was borne out by the Secretary of Agriculture who said after the first round of hush money that there wasn`t going to be anymore.
And then lo and behold, the president comes up with another $16 billion that actually hasn`t been dispersed yet.
HAYES: I want to follow up on that. Question, do you just get a check? Like is there a form you fill out that says we`ll grow this many acres and they pay you per acre? Like how does it work?
GIBBS: Yes, two ways. Last year was on a per bushel basis. Whatever you grew just for soybeans, I think I forget what it was, $1.67 a bushel maybe. This year it was different because there was kind of an uproar that other crops may not have been treated quite fairly.
GIBBS: So it`s going to be just done by and per acre basis on a per county basis. So every county has a per acre -- dollar per acre number. You go into your local USDA office, sign up, and say I planted this many acres of crops this year and then money shows up in your checking account.
HAYES: I mean it`s wild because if any candidate proposed that for some other group of people, like I don`t know waiters, like every waiter would just get a big check from the government based on how many tables they did in their shift, people would be like you can`t do that.
GIBBS: Yes. You can`t do that. You got to realize how much money this is. And certainly, I want to be -- I want to be very clear. It`s appreciated but we appreciate the taxpayers for it. And again, it`s going to local hardware stores, it goes into rural communities. So the money is used certainly.
HAYES: Yes -- no, I don`t think it`s a bad policy. I mean, you know, better than I guess the alternative, but it`s a strange situation to find yourself in. And I guess --
GIBBS: Well, look at it -- look at it in perspective. The President couldn`t get $5.7 billion for a wall, OK, but we did $12 and $16 billion just with a pen stroke. That`s perspective.
HAYES: Well, how about this? I mean, (INAUDIBLE) wrote an interesting comment recently and said look, everyone financial markets, international observers, the Chinese themselves, a lot of people, farmers have thought this isn`t going to get that bad, right.
They`re going to sort of dance around each other. There`ll be a little tete-a-tete and there`ll be some deal and he`ll do what he did with NAFTA, right, railed against NAFTA and then signed a thing that didn`t look that different from NAFTA and everyone gets to go home. But at a certain point, it really starts to draw a blood. I mean how long can this go on?
GIBBS: Well, it can go on a long time certainly but what I want to make your viewers aware of is this. You need to divide it into two different discussions Mexico, Canada, Japan, the E.U., those are all trade discussions. But when you talk about China, trade is secondary or maybe even a tertiary issue of what`s going on here.
This is about containment and that`s what the president was never ever forthright with the American people and he was never forthright with farmers that this was about containment. And I`ll tell you something else.
Let`s say that there was a trade negotiation that President Xi just automatically calls up since apparently he calls up all the time, and he said, all right we`re going to solve this thing right now and we come to this grand deal over coffee and crumpets or whatever we -- whatever that President Trump does. And at that point it`ll be something else because it`ll be --
GIBBS: It will be Hong Kong or something. This is about containment.
GIBBS: And what the president needs to be square with the farmers with is that these markets are not coming back in this fashion no matter how many soybeans they want, no matter how much pork they want, these markets are not coming back because supply chains have changed -- supply chains have changed and they`ve moved to Brazil and they`ve moved to other places.
HAYES: All right, Christopher Gibbs, that was extremely illuminating. Thank you very much. I hope we can have you back.
GIBBS: Take care.
HAYES: All right, coming up, the scene inside a New York courtroom where Jeffrey Epstein accusers told their stories. I`ll talk to a reporter who heard their testimonies about what happened and where the investigation goes next in two minutes.
HAYES: There is a remarkable scene in federal court in Manhattan today as nearly two dozen alleged victims of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein told their story in a crowded courtroom whether in person or through their lawyers about how Epstein had sexually assaulted and abused them.
The judge went out of his way to make this space available for victims since Epstein`s apparent suicide less than three weeks ago ended what would have been a trial. There were no cameras inside the courtroom but one of those accusers Chauntae Davies read part of her statement outside the courthouse. A warning, what you`ll hear next is extremely disturbing.
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CHAUNTAE DAVIES, ACCUSER OF JEFFREY EPSTEIN: Before I knew what was happening, he grabbed onto my wrists and tucked me towards the bed. I tried to pull away but he was unbuttoning my shorts and pulling my body onto his already naked body faster than I could think.
I was searching for words but all I could stay was a meek "no please, stop." But that just seemed to excite him more. He continued to rape me. And when he was finished, he hopped off and went to the shower.
I pulled my shorts up and I ran as fast as I could back to my own villa. My feet bloody from the rocks. I cried myself to sleep that night.
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HAYES: Now, with the official dismissal of the case against Epstein on the horizon due to his death, the question for those survivors, her and others is now what? Here with me now Renae Merle of the Washington Post who was at that scene hearing today. What was it like in that room?
RENAE MERLE, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: It was just really emotional. I mean, this entire thing since Epstein was charged by -- in Manhattan has been a really emotional thing and this is the -- you know, it`s a time that so many of the victims got to speak was just a really emotional intense environment.
HAYES: Were there people there who hadn`t come before -- come out before or these are mostly people who are already on the record?
MERLE: I think several of them had already come forward or had filed lawsuits but some were saying that they were just now coming to terms with what happened. And so you saw several cases where people were still coming up and talking but we`re going up anonymously as a Jane Doe.
HAYES: Oh wow.
MERLE: And so --
HAYES: You have people there who wanted to give their account but we`re Jane Doe`s and we`re anonymous because they have not been public.
MERLE: Because they have not been public and they just weren`t ready. They said that they were just -- you know, still needed more time to process what had happened to them so long ago.
HAYES: I don`t know how criminal procedure usually works in these circumstances when a defendant dies, but the judge didn`t have to do this. He did, but what happens the case now assuming it gets dismissed, right?
MERLE: The criminal case -- yes, it`s going to get dismissed. That`s just the technical procedure of how it goes but there`s still a lot more that can happen.
HAYES: What can`t happen?
MERLE: We`re going to seize -- the prosecutor said there`s going to be investigations of what happened to Epstein, his apparent suicide. There -- you know, when they filed charges against Epstein, they said that new women are coming forward and that they`re going to be investigations potentially of the enablers of the Epstein.
HAYES: You say the enablers of Epstein. I mean, someone who has featured extremely prominently in multiple stories of women who have accused Epstein of sexually assaulting them when they were underage, rape, etcetera is Ghislaine Maxwell who is both a friend of Epstein and ex-girlfriend we believe and a partner.
And in these accounts, I mean, woman after woman have on the record and by name accused her of essentially working to groom them, in some cases, assaulting them themselves. Do we know where things stand on investigations of her?
MERLE: No we don`t. Right now, the prosecutor weren`t really saying that much about it though they kind of wanted to assure everyone that there could be more charges, that the investigation is continuing. But it was really interesting to see all of these women come forward and named Maxwell and almost put her on par with Epstein in a lot of --
HAYES: You`re saying today in the court?
MERLE: Today in court. They put her on par with Epstein a lot of case saying that I was a victim of Epstein and Maxwell.
HAYES: Oh wow. So women today in court in these statements were coming forward and saying, I was a victim of Jeffrey Epstein and Maxwell.
MERLE: And then turning to the prosecutors and saying this isn`t over. Don`t forget us. There`s more to be done.
HAYES: Oh wow. I mean, we do know is Ghislaine Maxwell is a free woman and she`s walking around.
HAYES: Presumably prosecutors know where she is and that there are a ton of allegations right now against her.
MERLE: Yes, there is. You know, I don`t know how fast the prosecutors are going to -- are going to move on all of this, but there`s certainly a lot of pressure for them to do something for these victims.
HAYES: That`s wild. So they were naming her and looking at the prosecutors while doing so today in that courtroom.
HAYES: Renae Merle, thank you. That was great reporting.
MERLE: Thank you.
HAYES: Ahead, a landmark ruling in fighting the opioid epidemic. My interview with the Attorney General who just want to fight against Big Pharma after this.
HAYES: Today NBC News is reporting that Purdue Pharma owned by the Sackler family and the makers of the now notorious opiate OxyContin has offered to settle more than 2,000 lawsuits over Purdue`s role in accelerating the opioid epidemic for $10 to $12 billion which tells you both how enormous the scale of the issue is and how profitable the company is that could settle for that and still walk away.
The news comes one day after a judge ruled that Johnson and Johnson, another huge drug maker have to pay $572 million for its role in producing the opioid epidemic in the state of Oklahoma. The company says it plans to appeal. Among its arguments during the trial was that there were clear addiction warnings on its products.
But Judge Thad Balkman believed the responsibility squarely at the feet of the company for deceptive marketing of its opioid products.
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THAD BALKMAN, DISTRICT COURT JUDGE, OKLAHOMA: Specifically, the defendant caused an opioid crisis that is evidenced by increased rates of addiction, overdose deaths, and neonatal abstinence syndrome in Oklahoma.
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HAYES: Joining me now, the Attorney General of Oklahoma Mike Hunter who brought the suit. Mr. Hunter, maybe you could just describe the legal theory that you were able to successfully argue in this case.
MIKE HUNTER, ATTORNEY GENERAL, OKLAHOMA: Well, I`m happy to, Chris. We applied Oklahoma Public Nations law. And essentially you have to demonstrate to a court that there is harm occurring to the citizens of your state and that there is a defendant in this case who is the cause of the harm. And then that allows the judge to provider -- to provide a remedy. And the remedy is abatement of the epidemic. And that was the focus of his opinion.
With respect to causation, he categoric (ph) in explicit terms the misconduct and misfeasance of Johnson & Johnson in our in our state with regard to the oversupply and over-prescribing of opiods.
HAYES: So it`s those two things, right. If -- you have to show -- or you had to show and did show, at least according to the judge, that there was, as you just said, misfeasance, right, that they were deceptive in their practices, they were intentionally over-prescribing, are those the contentions that you made in court?
HUNTER: So it`s sort of a systemic approach to the responsibility of the defendant in this case. So this all began in the mid-90s with this view that there had to be something that would allow prescribers to address pain as the fifth vital sign. Of course there is no way to judge that objectively. And so the idea was drug companies came up with a magic drug, in this case they reformulated opiods, and then conducted a multi-year brainwashing campaign to convince prescribers that opioids really aren`t addictive. That`s how they marketed these drugs.
And Johnson & Johnson, when we say they are the kingpin that`s not hyperbole. They started this by buying a poppy farm in Tasmania. And over the past two decades, they provided 60 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredient for prescription opioids in this country.
HAYES: You had asked, I believe, for, if I`m not mistaken $17 billion in damages. The judge declared an award of $572 million, and the Johnson & Johnson stock price actually rose on that news, a kind of sigh of relief, I guess, from its investors. Do you see it as a victory or a defeat? What is your way of reckoning with the gap between what you were asking for and what the judge found?
HUNTER: Well, I quoted Browning yesterday, I`ll quote him again for you, Chris. A man`s reach should exceed his grasp or what`s a heaven for.
We came up with a comprehensive plan that over a multi-year basis would conclusively deal with all of the ramifications of the opioid epidemic in our state. You know, certainly $17 billion plus was our goal. But any time you can walk away with half a billion dollars that you`re going commit to dealing with, all the folks that need help, all the folks that need counseling and rehabilitation, money that`s going to be put to education and prevention, it`s a big victory, and that`s how we view it very much so.
We`re going make sure that money is wisely and well.
HAYES: Yeah, can you elaborate on that? I mean, the money itself, what are the -- what are the sort of strings attached vis-a-vis its purpose. It`s not going to be used to say subsidize a sports stadium or something, is it?
HUNTER: Of course not.
So, the remedy here, as the judge has outlined in his decree yesterday, is this money`s earmarked -- I mean, it`s subject to the court`s jurisdiction.
HUNTER: ...to abate the epidemic.
Certainly there is going to have to be implementing legislation, and we`ve already begun talking to legislative leadership and the governor`s office about how we do that. But the most important thing over the next several months is getting this appeal headed off, ensuring that this judgment is going to survive an appeal, and getting this money out there to the people who need it.
HAYES: You have already settled with two other drug company, one of them Purdue Pharma for north of $100 million. And today there is some news that they`re looking to settle a whole bunch of lawsuits. I think there is about 2,000, a lot of them have been consolidated, for somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 billion to $12 billion.
Do you think there is a relationship between the judge`s announcement of the ruling in your case yesterday and that news today?
HUNTER: I don`t know. We actually settled with Purdue Pharma for $270 million. Most of that is headed to the OSU, the Oklahoma State University health sciences center program for wellness and recovery. And that money is intended to essentially be an endowment.
We`re hopeful that that is the national center for addiction science, that it could be the MD Anderson of addiction science in our country.
So, $270 million was the number for us. Oklahoma represents about 1.3 percent of our country`s population. So do the math with regard to our settlement and what`s being discussed.
HAYES: All right. Attorney General Mike Hunter of Oklahoma, thanks for being with me tonight.
HUNTER: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Still ahead, Stacey Abrams on her fight for a fair election and whether Democrats are doing enough going into 2020.
Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two start next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, I can`t say for sure, but there is probably a whole chapter in "The art of the Deal" on how important it is to win every handshake you engage in because, you know, you have to establish dominance over the local asbestos inspector or whatever. At least that would explain why it felt like nearly every time Trump would shake hand in public he would manhandle the guy on the other end, yanking him around the room to show who is boss around here.
We documented the old yank and pull maneuver here time and time again until some of the president`s counterparts started to figure out what was going on and came up with defensive strategies, like the firm hand on the shoulder technique deployed here effectively by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
But as we all know, sometimes the best defense is a good offense. And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: There was a dramatic power play at the G7 in France this week when President Emmanuel Macron invited the Iranian foreign minister to stop by, raising a lot of questions about who knew about the invite and when.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Macron, did you -- did you seek President Trump`s permission before you invited Foreign Minister Zarif? Or did you simply inform him that he was coming?
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: Thank you for the precise question. I did it on my own. I informed before making it. President Trump was informed at each minute about the situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Emmanuel Macron does not bow to Trump and he clearly takes that very seriously. This became very evident when it came time for the battle for control tugging contest that is any public handshake with Donald Trump.
In this round we were the match to the Frenchman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Thank you very much. That`s fine.
MACRON: Thank you.
Merci a vous. I will wait for the end of this press conference to have a press conference with the president (ph). I will leave you. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Just holds on there, talks to them, keeps it there, comes back, uses the arm, expertly done.
President Macron has said he sees a handshake with Trump as a, quote, moment of truth. That`s how you ensure you are respected. You have to show you won`t make small concession, not even symbolic ones.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: So thank you very much. That`s fine.
MACRON: Thank you.
TRUMP: Thank you.
MACRON: Merci a vous.
I will wait for the end of this press conference to have the press conference of the presidency. I will leave you. Thank you. Thank you.
TRUMP: Good job.
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HAYES: Today 17-year-old Ismail Ajjawi should be settling into his dorm at Harvard University, enjoying orientation, getting ready for his first day of classes; instead, he is back in Lebanon after the Trump administration denied him entry into the country because they didn`t like his friends` social media posts, at least according to him.
Ajjawi is a Palestinian refugee who lives in Lebanon and who managed to not only gain admittance to Harvard University, but also land a scholarship from the Hope Fund, which offers money and support to underserved Palestinian youth, many of them refugees in the Middle East who want to study abroad. Basically, a life-changing dream come true.
But when he got to Logan Airport in Boston on Friday night with his student visa, he was held and questioned by a Customs and Border Protection officer who he says took his phone and computer and searched him for hours. In a statement to the Harvard Crimson newspaper, he wrote that after five hours, the CBP officer called me into a room and she started screaming at me. She said she found people posting political points of view that oppose the U.S. on my friends` list.
I responded I have no business with such posts, that I didn`t like, share, or comment on them. I told her I shouldn`t be held responsible for what others post. I have no single post on my timeline discussing politics.
After eight hours in Boston, the CBP officer revoked his visa and sent him back to Lebanon. where he is now. CBP confirms that Ajjawi he was deemed inadmissible on the U.S., quote, based on information discovered during the CBP inspection.
In a statement Harvard said it is working closely with the student`s family and appropriate authorities to resolve this matter so he can join his classmates in the coming days.
But once again, we have to ask the question, how exactly does this make America great? What single solitary American is helped by this? Does this do anything for the soybean farmers or the steelworkers or anyone else? No, of course not. Ohio farmers get soybean tariffs, rich people get boatloads of tax cuts and a Palestinian teenager with a bright future gets his life turned upside down for no reason.
That`s what MAGA means. And it`s not just this one case. Harvard`s president wrote to the State Department in July complaining about the president`s immigration policies, quote, :students report difficulties getting initial visas from delays to denials. Scholars have experienced postponements and disruptions for what have previously been routine immigration processes such as family visas, renewals of status, or clearance for international travel."
According to the Brennan Center`s Faisal Patel, quote, "we are likely to see more and more of these cases as the government, quote, is rapidly expanding its collection of social media information and using it to evaluate the security risks posed by foreign and American travelers."
So, if you have friends visiting from abroad or family or workers or colleagues, they might want to check their social media feed because under Donald Trump, nearly anything can be a pretext to upend their life, even what their friends post on Facebook.
HAYES: As everyone looks ahead to the 2020 polling, I think the baseline expectation is that, like the last time, there will be a handful of swing states with rather narrow margins that will determine the next president.
In 2016, you will recall there were fewer than 80,000 votes across Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that made Donald Trump president despite him losing the popular vote. The margins are even smaller in all kinds of elections, you see month after month. Here in New York this year, the insurgent Queen`s candidate for district attorney Tiffany Caban lost by just 60 votes out of more than 90,000 cast.
And that`s why, at the margins, obstacles put in front of voters really do matter. They can make or break an election at any level, even up to and including one for president. And those obstacles are the focus of Stacey Abrams`s organization Fair Fight, which has been mobilizing around issues of voter protection and voter suppression.
Most recently, she announced Fair Fight 2020, which is an initiative to train polling workers in 20 background states ahead of the election.
And joining me now is Stacey Abrams, former Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia.
Tell me about this initiative. What do you envision? And when you talk about training poll workers in battleground states?
STACEY ABRAMS, FOUNDER, FAIR FIGHT: Well, poll workers are only one part of the process. We are actually setting up permanent voter protection teams in the 20 battleground states. They`re going to be embedded in the state parties. And they are going to include a voter protection director, a deputy director, a hotline manager and a field organizer.
And so while polling workers will be part of it, we`re addressing voter protection from being able to register and stay on the ballot -- I`m sorry, being able to register and stay on the rolls, being able to cast a ballot and ensuring that that that ballot is casted. Because that spectrum is what comprises voter suppression.
HAYES: So that stuff is sort of the downstream of the policy, right. So, you have the policy that is passed by state legislatures and then implemented by secretaries of state or by different aspects of government. Then there are folks experiencing it, right?
So you`ve got those folks doing the protection. When you look at the trends at the state level on things like voter ID, voter purges, polling place removal, what trends are you seeing?
ABRAMS: We`re seeing that there is an aggressive increase in the number of precincts being closed. States that have not imposed voter ID but still see a shift in their populations. Those who see democracy and Democrats moving closer to power, they`re trying to move to increase the restrictions on who has an ID and what that ID can be.
But it`s also happening in places like New Hampshire with college students. In New Hampshire. We are seeing it in Florida. We`re seeing it in Texas. But we`re also seeing restrictions placed on native Americans requiring residential addresses when those have never been required before and sometimes aren`t available.
The point of the work we`re doing is that we know that as this country becomes more and more diverse and as Democrats gain more and more power, the impetus to restrict is going to get stronger and we are trying to get there ahead of time by being embedded early so that we`re there before the primaries happen, long before the general.
HAYES: You know, the principle here strikes me as sort of sacrosanct, right? Everyone who is a citizen and eligible to vote should be able to vote.
HAYES: But I wonder, what is your read of what the data say about the effects of these sort of -- of these sorts of moves that have been made, removing polling locations, increasing the, you know, the threshold of what you get to ID, in terms of what it actually means in turnout and discouraging voters?
ABRAMS: Voter suppression works. When you make it difficult to leverage a basic right, you not only have an effect on that direct voter, but you also create the penumbra, the atmosphere that it`s just too much work.
AMBRAMS: America is one of the few industrialized countries, one of the few democratic countries, that puts the onus of registration almost entirely on the citizen. Most other countries find a way to make this work.
But we not only make it hard to get on the rolls, we make it hard to stay on the rolls with use it or lose it laws. We make it difficult to cast a ballot with absentee ballots not showing up or what happened in Arizona where they`re restricting vote by mail access.
We make it difficult to make your vote counted, absentee ballots being rejected. Provisional ballots being handed out instead of regular ballots, because low-income communities can rarely come back a second or third day to prove that they have the right to vote the first time.
HAYES: You just mentioned the fact that the U.S. actually has a weird system compared to other places with voter registration. I think all of us almost take it for granted, it`s a two-step process. You become an eligible voter. Then you have to go and register and then you have to go and vote. And you don`t necessarily have to have that. There are states that have passed, I believe Oregon has, New York tried and failed, automatic voter registration.
Is that something that you think should be a national goal for lawmakers and policy makers?
ABRAMS: Absolutely. HR1 would promote -- would require automatic registration nationwide, but we just saw it adopted in Michigan. It was adopted in Nevada. The challenge is not only adopting it, but making certain that those who are responsible for implementation do their job.
And that`s one of the reasons Fairfight2020.org exists. We`re going to be in those states like a Michigan where you have a new Democratic leadership, but you still have a Republican legislature that is holding the purse strings tight to make certain the money isn`t available to educate people about these new rights.
And so we`re going to be in all of those states where the presidential election will matter, where a Senate race can be decided, and where down ballot races, including secretaries of state and state legislative races where you can flip a chamber and decide redistricting for 2021 and beyond. We`re going to be in place long before we have a nominee, because voter protection has to start early.
HAYES: I want to play you something that Cory Booker said in one of the debates about this issue and get your reaction. Take a listen.
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SEN. CORY BOOKER, (D-NJ) 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We lost the state of Michigan because everybody from Republicans to Russians were targeting the suppression of African-American voters. We need to say that. And so I will be a person that tries to fight against voter suppression that can activate and engage the kind of voters and coalitions that are going to win states like Michigan and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
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HAYES: Are you satisfied that this issue, the sort of basic sort of democratic issues, democratic access, are front and center enough right now as we talk about this election?
ABRAMS: I think it`s getting there. I`m proud of the candidates who have raised their voices about this issue. The candidates that have offered proposals to address it.
But of course we need to talk about it and it needs to continue to be amplified. It is the bedrock for every moment of progress we want to see. We will not address climate change. We will not address lack of access to education. We will not address access to healthcare. Those issues will not become manifest unless the right to vote is real for everyone. And my mission is to make certain that in 2020, no matter what the state is, that if you`re a battleground state you have the pieces in place, the infrastructure long before it becomes necessary.
What happens typically is that you see voter protection stand up in September right before the November election. It`s generally supported by national organizations that are doing amazing work, but if they don`t know what`s happening in Halifax County in North Carolina, if they don`t know what`s happening in Clay County in Georgia, if they don`t about the new law that`s happening in Las Vegas and can`t answer the questions, or if they need to speak a language that may not be manned by that hotline, we want to make certain that no matter what state you`re in, if you`re in those 20 battleground states, we`re there to help you early and to help build out the infrastructure so it`s not just about this election but every election going forward.
HAYES: Briefly. Final policy question. T here have been some calls to abolish the electoral college. There`s been some controversy over this week of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calling for it. The president emailing his supporters about how terrible an idea that was. Do you favor that?
ABRAMS: Absolutely. The electoral college was not designed to make sure people in small states weren`t subject to the tyranny of people in urban areas, that wasn`t the conversation at the time, it was because those in power did not believe that working people that the intellectual capacity to directly elect the leader of the free world. We have long passed that time and it`s time for direct election and popular vote.
HAYES: All right, Stacey Abrams, thank you so much for making time.
ABRAMS: Thank you.
HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.
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