Bernie Sanders TRANSCRIPT: 2/21/20, All in w/ Chris Hayes

Guests: Denny Heck, Vera Bergengruen, Adam Jentleson, Stephanie Valencia, Jennifer Palmieri, Dave Weigel

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.



REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): This is dangerous. This is dangerous to our country.

REID: The President trying to hide Russian efforts to get him reelected.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They said today that Putin wants to be sure that Trump gets elected. Here we go again.

REID: Tonight, as Mitch McConnell continues to block any attempt to secure the 2020 election, new details about Russian interference to help Trump and to help the Democratic frontrunner too.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Here`s the message to Russia. Stay out of American elections.

REID: Then, the latest effort by Republicans to mess with the census.

REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): This fake census from the RNC will only serve to increase confusion and distrust.

REID: And on the eve of the Nevada caucus --

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a very few non- disclosure agreements.


BLOOMBERG: Let me finish.

WARREN: How many is that?

REID: A big announcement from Bloomberg about the women who accused him of sexual harassment. ALL IN starts now.


REID: Good evening from Las Vegas. I am Joy Reid in for Chris Hayes. The President of the United States is allowing an attack on our country to take place right now. The New York Times reported this week that Donald Trump fired his Director of National Intelligence after an Intel official briefed Congress that Russia is already interfering in the 2020 election to try to get Trump reelected.

Today, Trump ridicule the consensus view of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia did attack our election in 2016, and is doing it again. And he tried to shift the focus to the man polling in the lead to challenge Trump for the presidency.


TRUMP: They said today that he wants to be sure that Trump gets elected. Here we go again. Putin wants to make sure I get elected Listen to this. So doesn`t he want to see who the Democrat is going to be? Wouldn`t he rather have, let`s say, Bernie? Wouldn`t he rather that Bernie who honeymooned in Moscow?


REID: To be clear, it is not Democrats who are saying that Russia is interfering to help Trump, it`s the U.S. Intelligence Community. And today we learned more about Russia`s ongoing efforts to influence the presidential election. The Washington Post report, Senator Bernie Sanders has been briefed by U.S. officials that Russia is also trying to boost his presidential campaign. But unlike Donald Trump, Senator Sanders confirms that he had been briefed on reports and he delivered what should obviously be the standard patriotic response of any American political leader.


SANDERS: Look, let me just say a word about Russia. Mr. Putin is a thug. He is an autocrat. He may be a friend of Donald Trump so he`s not a friend of mine. Let me tell this to Putin. The American people whether you`re Republicans, Democrats, or Independents are sick and tired of seeing Russia and other countries interfering in our elections.

The Intelligence Community has been very clear about it. Whether Trump recognizes it or not, or acknowledges or not, they did interfere in 2016. The Intelligence Community is telling us they are interfering in this campaign right now in 2020. And what I say to Mr. Putin if elected president, trust me, you are not going to be interfering in America elections.


REID: But Russia`s continuing attacks on our democracy do not stop with the presidential election. Time magazine reports "The Russians are also meddling in congressional races, aiding some Republican candidates and targeting some Democratic ones." One official said "the Russians understand our system and they know the president needs the Senate to remain in friendly hands in order to carry out his agenda."

The return of Russian interference is a huge deal. It matters for the very credibility of our democracy. Former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell called Russia`s 2016 attack, "the political equivalent of 9/11." Russia denied it, Trump did too. But here`s the thing. The U.S. Intelligence Community did not. Even Trump`s appointees went out and said yes, Russia helped Trump and they are trying to help him again.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said it, former CIA Director Mike Pompeo said it, former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said it. It`s partly why the President got rid of him. And now the president is at it again firing the Acting Director of National Intelligence for speaking the truth and replacing him with one of his cronies.

Now, former intelligence and law enforcement officials are sounding the alarm about the President`s latest collusion with Russia. Former Deputy Attorney Sally Yates tweeted "This is a screaming red siren, but in the daily barrage of crazy, can we hear it?" Former CIA Chief John Brennan tweeted, "We are now in a full-blown national security crisis. By trying to prevent the flow of intelligence to Congress, Trump is abetting a Russian covert operation to keep him in office for Moscow`s interests, not America`s."

And not only are House and Senate Republicans doing nothing to beef up our election security, even as their own elections now seem to be in the sights of Russian interference. They`re essentially stripping away our defenses. Just last week, Russia -- Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn blocked three election security bills, the same week the intelligence officials briefed Congress about the Russian threat.

But this could not come as a surprise because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his team have been protecting Trump from day one. As the Atlantic`s Adam Serwer writes, "the Republican Party is slowly transforming into a regime party, one whose primary duty is to maintain control of the government at all costs. The benefits here are mutual by keeping Trump in power, the party remains in power."

Joining me now is one of the members of Congress who was in that election security briefing last week, Democratic Congressman Denny Heck of Washington. And Congressman Heck, thank you so much for being here. I want to get right to that meeting.

REP. DENNY HECK (D-WA): You`re welcome.

REID: Thank you, sir. I want to get right to that meeting. What I`m interested in knowing about your Republican colleagues, and I know that there`s limits on what you can say about what you all were told, but what seemed to be their response? Was their response in your view, one of saying, this is a threat, we take it seriously or one of saying, we don`t want to hear this. This only could hurt Republicans. Don`t tell us.

HECK: Well, Joy, thanks for the question. Obviously, as you indicated, I can neither confirm nor deny anything that went on in that meeting. And I`m not one to characterize the utterances of my colleagues within a classified setting. However, the past three years have been instructive enough, have they not? After all, we`re really in a same song, same verse circumstance here.

The Mueller report clearly documented that the Russians interfered in our elections in furtherance of Donald Trump then-candidate`s election. And I have said repeatedly over the last three years, when asked, do I think the Russians will be back. My response is back, I don`t believe they ever left. And so that is what it is.

Furthermore, as outrageous as this is, as violative as it is of our national security, the fact of the matter is, the plain fact of the matter, cold-blooded, clear-eyed fact of the matter is, the remedy is November.

REID: Well, if November if it`s a free and fair election. Let me just ask you this question as somebody who sits on the Intelligence Committee in the House. Is it true that in general, Republicans benefited more and do benefit more from Russian interference than Democrats?

HECK: Well, they certainly did in the year 2016, when the Russians effort was to elect President Trump and the down-ballot benefit of that. But listen, we have to be honest with ourselves, Joy, about this as well. The Russians also take it is an important objective to divide us and to sow discontent and disunity.

And frankly, and I`m going to put this bluntly, as a Democrat, and somebody watched the presidential debate on Wednesday night, it seems as though we don`t need a whole lot of help in that regard because what I saw was more akin to a middle school food fight than it was an honest debate about a future direction for our country and a vision for it, and a strong appeal to our better angels.

REID: But sir, you know, with all due respect, and you know, I have a great deal of respect for you for what you do as a political leader. It wouldn`t help if the Democrats were 100 percent unified if we`re going into an election in which a foreign country is putting its thumb on the scale and attempting to help the party in power in the United States Senate and, or course, the party that now holds the White House to stay in.

You know, if Democrats were 100 percent unified but Russia still attacks our election, and Republicans let them in and let them help and take their help, then we`re not just talking about Donald Trump being a problem, we`re talking about an entire political party that is accepting foreign help. Unity isn`t going to stop that. There has to be action. Is there any action Democrats can take to stop that?

HECK: Well, Joy, your point is well taken. The fact of the matter is that the only action and remedy that I had available to me was to vote for only the third time in the history of our great republic to impeach Donald Trump, and that did not succeed. So as a consequence, we are going to have to seek remedy in November. And yes, I do believe that if we become more unified at some point soon, I hope, then we`re going to have a better chance to power through the fact that a foreign government is putting their thumb on the scales.

REID: Let`s ask about Senator Sanders news as well. Back during the -- as the Mueller report came out, we remember that the Mueller report said the following about Senator Sanders. By February 2016, internal internet research agency documents referred to support for the Trump campaign an opposition to candidate Clinton, main idea use any opportunity to criticize Hillary Clinton and the rest -- and the rest except Sanders and Trump. We support them.

We now know that Senator Sanders was brief that Russia is attempting to come in and help him as well. His statement was the following. "I don`t care frankly, who Putin wants to be president. My message to Putin is clear. Stay out of American elections. And as President, I`ll make sure that you do." Are you concerned now that Russia is playing a two-part strategy as much as they did in the French elections to also help the potential Democratic nominee?

HECK: Joy, I`ve never stopped being concerned about Russia`s interference in our election. It literally keeps me up at night. But oh, by the way, let`s be clear, I don`t have a dog in this fight. I haven`t publicly endorsed any candidate. I did have an opportunity to see Senator Sanders` comment about the briefing he received and Russia interference in the 2020 election. And I found him to be extremely authentic.

And as a matter of fact, while I don`t know him well, I would assert this categorically, you will never see senator Sanders call a press conference and actively and openly solicit Russian interference in our election, as we did candidate Trump in 2016. Nor will you ever see staff members on his behalf, repeatedly meeting with multiple parties on behalf of the Russian government, as you did candidate Trump.

REID: That is a distinct difference for sure. Congressman, Denny Heck, thank you very much, Danny Heck, thank you very much, sir.

HECK: You`re welcome.

REID: And joining me now -- thank you, sir. Thank you. And joining me now for more on the latest attack on our elections is Vera Bergengruen, she is the Washington correspondent at Time Magazine, as well as Glenn Kirschner, former Federal Prosecutor who`s now an MSNBC Legal Analyst. And Ms. Bergengruen, I`m going to start with you. I hope I pronounced your name correctly. What do we know about the extent of the attack from Russia that`s taking place right now, and how much of it is level -- is aimed at boosting the Sanders campaign, and how much is leveled at boosting the Trump campaign?

VERA BERGENGRUEN, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, TIME MAGAZINE: Well, I suppose we don`t really quite know that yet. We just know that they`re really, you know, that they are actually interfering on behalf of a candidate that they prefer. And, you know, I would be very careful with what is out there and kind of assuming, reading a lot into their motives, and assuming that we know not only who they`re trying to boost, but the reason why they`re boosting them as we learned in the 2016 election as well.

REID: Right. And, you know, it does occur to me, Glenn, that, you know, the way that Russia sort of played this in the past and France actually did a great job of repelling it, is that they tried to go in and help the far- right candidate but also trying to boost the far-left candidate. But the goal was to keep the far-left scattered right, to keep the left fighting so that they could get the candidate they wanted. What do you see out there as the sort of nature of the threat if it`s a two-pronged strategy from Russia?

GLENN KIRSCHNER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: You know, Joy, it seems like the real concern here is, you know, if we go back to the Mueller report, volume one, everybody just seems to accept this gospel that well, you know, I guess Bob Mueller found no obstruction, no collusion. But, you know, it`s important to note that even during the Mueller investigation, what Bob Mueller and his team were able to uncover at were 140 instances of contacts and coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. And frankly, the only reason he was unable to make it conspiracy, at least in part, was because of the obstructive efforts undertaken by Trump and company to keep a lid on that incriminating information.

So, you know, this is more of the same. And we now of course have a potentially have an acting director of national intelligence, Rick Grenell, who reportedly has no intelligence experience whatsoever, in a job that actually requires extensive intelligence experience.

And Joy, this is just -- I`d like to say it`s more of the same, but the same has been so dangerous because apparently, Mitch McConnell is determined not to let any of the House election security bills actually come to a vote. So what we have is Russia running roughshod over our free and fair elections, and Donald Trump doing nothing to stop it.

So it`s the president continuing to dismantle our government brick by brick, really, it seems like for the sheer joy of destroying the government because it`s not like there is any ideology behind it. It`s just really seems to be for pure destructions sake.

REID: And Vera, is there any reporting of movement on any of these bills? I mean, the Senate could easily put an election security bill on the floor. It`s hard to understand why Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader would not do that if he had any interest whatsoever in stopping a foreign adversary from invading our elections, even if that help -- would help his party.

BERGENGRUEN: Right. I mean, a lot of them -- what they basically say is that there`s no, you know, that these bills, they debate them and say that they wouldn`t actually necessarily improve -- you know, it wouldn`t really make the elections any safer. And, you know, really what I think is important to remember as well, is that ultimately, what they -- you know, what Russia has been clear that it wants is to undermine faith in the election -- in election -- democracy among Americans as a whole.

And whichever way they can get to that whether it`s attacking candidates or like we, you know, now after the 2016 election after having spoken about this for four years, you know, clearly that has taken a toll on Americans believing what they read, always thinking that somebody else is behind, you know, things that they`re hearing about certain candidates. And so, you know, there doesn`t seem to be much movement in a lot of these election security bells.

And it does -- I think that is something that would really, really help with a sense that, you know, that these -- that elections can be trusted and that we know that is the number one thing that Putin and the Russians have really thought is to just -- it doesn`t matter how they throw the chaos is just to kind of instill this questioning of the democracy itself.

REID: And Glenn, you know, how much more -- I mean that the sort of worst- case scenario is that you have a president who`s willing to openly seek foreign help, who tried to strong-arm foreign help from Ukraine, who got away with all of that because his political party locked down by his side. And then even if laws were broken in attempting to get forward help, you have an attorney general who will do anything about it because he`s locked down any investigations of foreign interference in his own office. Is there any other entity out there that can protect American elections if Mitch McConnell won`t do it, and William Barr won`t do it, and Trump won`t do it?

KIRSCHNER: Sadly, I think the answer might be no, Joy. Because traditionally, when the executive branch was involved in crime, abuses, and corruption, the Department of Justice and often the FBI would take the lead, would be investigating executive branch crimes. But because Bill Barr really does believe that the President is above the law, you know, you think back to the old Richard Nixon, David Frost interview, where Richard Nixon said, if the President does it, it is not illegal.

That seems to be the approach that not only Donald Trump is taking but that Bill Barr is supporting. So I have to agree with Congressman Heck when he said pretty poetically that the you know, cold-blooded, clear-eyed remedy to this seems to be November in the elections. But as you say, Joy, that`s only if our elections are free and fair.

REID: Yes, that`s a big if at this point. Vera Bergengruen, and I think I`ve gotten your name correct, thank you so much being here. Glenn Kirschner, always, thank you to you. Thank you both. All right, up next, the impeached President continues to surround himself with nothing but loyalists and to purge those not ready to fall in line. Where this all leads into minutes.


REID: This week the Atlantic writer who coined the phrase the cruelty is the point, Adam Serwer had another social assessment about the state of our democracy is Donald Trump purges people who tell him truth he does not want to hear. And as the Attorney General helps shield the President`s cronies from punishment.

"The Senate acquittal mark the beginning of a fundamental transition of the United States from a democracy however flawed toward authoritarianization. It was in short, the end of the Trump administration and the first day of the would-be Trump regime.

Here with me now someone who was on the front lines in the Senate working on the opposite side of Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Adam Jentleson, the former Deputy Chief of Staff to then-Democratic Leader, Senator Harry Reid. Thank you very much for being here.


REID: And I saw Senator Reid here earlier. He was doing an interview with Chris Matthews. And it made me sort of wistful but also reminded me of one of I think one of the most frightening things that happened in 2016, which was when President Obama went to the leaders of the United States Senate and said, let`s do it together. Let`s do a bipartisan announcement of what Russia is doing to us, and Harry Reid said no. At the time was there -- could you we really can even get wrap your head around why you would say no.

JENTLESON: Mitch McConnell?

REID: Yes.

JENTLESON: Yes. No, I mean, Senator McConnell, I think the key thing to know about him is that he wants power.

REID: Yes.

JENTLESON: And he wants it at all costs. And I think he`s willing to do things that increases power, even if they`re bad for the country.

REID: Even if his regime and in the Trump regime and Republican power is propped up by a foreign country by foreign adversary, he`s okay with that?

JENTLESON: I don`t think he cares. I mean, I think that`s the reality that we have to deal with. I think that there`s sort of a self-justification that goes on, the idea that, you know, they`re advancing an agenda and getting Republican conservative judges confirmed, and getting tax cuts for the rich people is more important, and that the ends justify the means, essentially, I think is the approach that he takes.

REID: Yes.

JENTLESON: And I think it`s terrifying because, you know, the Senate is one of the only checks and balances we have in the government capable of stopping the things that Adam Serwer is talking about in this article, but they`re clearly not going to do that.

REID: Devin Nunes who`s another person who seems to have the same kind of mentality, according to Washington Post, senior intelligence official told lawmakers that Russia wants to see Trump reelected. Here`s a little bit of it. Donald Trump learned about the remarks that were made to the House Intelligence Community from Devin Nunes. The committee is ranked -- his ranking Republican and a staunch Trump ally said one person familiar with the matter, and he`s suspicious of the Intelligence Community, often been fueled by Nunes."

You have the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee running to the White House, not to say oh my god, there`s a foreign entity interfering, but saying the Intelligence Community is snitching.

JENTLESON: Right. And what`s important understand about this is there are penalties for disclosing classified information. You`re not supposed to do that.

REID: Yes.

JENTLESON: But for those penalties to be enforced, the people who are capable of enforcing them have to enforce them. And I think that Nunes and his staff seem to be operating under the knowledge that those penalties won`t be enforced.

REID: We now know that Russian interference is not just about Donald Trump, that they are now reaching down into Congressional races. We know that the internet research agency went after both the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee but only released in discord what the Democrats had.

So it`s clear that Russia has a dog in the fight between the Democrats and Republicans. So how -- what do you make of the fact that Mitch McConnell will not put these election security bills on the floor? Here are the bills that have been blocked so far. There`s one the Foreign Influence Reporting in Elections Act. So just reporting on it.


REID: The Securing America`s Federal Elections Act, and The Duty to Report Act. A law that would say that you must report if a foreign country, if China, if the Saudis, if the Israelis, if anybody decides to jump into our elections, they`re saying not, you have to report it?

JENTLESON: Right. And I think the important thing to know about those bills is they would probably all pass immediately in Senate terms. You know, maybe a few days, a week or so.

REID: Sure.

JENTLESON: But they would pass with a bipartisan healthy majority and go over to the House, which is controlled by the Democrats, will probably pass them to right and go to the present for a signature right away.

REID: Yes.

JENTLESON: So the reason I think the McConnell problem He doesn`t want to put them on the floor is that he knows they would quickly pass and go to Trump, and Trump will be forced you to sign them or not sign them. And since running interference on the front end by preventing these bills from ever entering the system and making their way to Trump`s desk.

REID: Let`s talk about Senator Sanders very quickly. He had actually the right response. And good for him that he actually said, I don`t want foreign help.


REID: But it`s still happening, whether he wants it or not. What do you make of what influence Russia could wind up having on his campaign?

JENTLESON: I think the most important thing is what you what you just said that he said he doesn`t want it. And I think you know, we can`t help, you know, what Russia is going to do except to condemn it and take all steps we can possibly take to stop it.

REID: Sure.

JENTLESON: And he doesn`t control the Senate floor and Mitch McConnell controls the Senate floor, and he`s not putting the bills on the floor, as we just talked about, but Senator Sanders is condemning it, he`s calling it out, and I think that`s important.

REID: As somebody who`s worked in the business, do you trust that the November election will be a free and fair election?

JENTLESON: It`s, you know, I trust that we`re going to come out of this OK.

REID: You think so?


REID: That`s good. I usually scaring is caring after whatever the last word is, but you`ve actually made me feel better. Adam Jentleson, thank you very much.

JENTLESON: Good to see you, Joy.

REID: I really appreciate you being here. All right, well, still ahead, Senator Elizabeth Warren landed one of the biggest blows of the week`s debate calling Bloomberg out for his NDAs. Well, now Bloomberg is responding, and that is coming up.


REID: The President of the United States regularly campaigns on and frankly luxuriate in xenophobic division. Last night, he took his white nationalist rhetoric to an entirely new level, attacking the Oscars for picking the Korean film Parasite as Best Picture while pining for a movie that in the modern era has been best known for its grossly romanticized vision of slavery.


TRUMP: And the winner is a movie from South Korea. We the hell was that all about? We got enough problems with South Korea, with trade. On top of it, they give them the best movie of the year. Was it good? I don`t know.

You know, I`m looking for like, let`s get "Gone With the Wind." Can we get like "Gone With the Wind" back, please?


REID: Ah, yes, more "Gone With the Wind," slaves and antebellum romance, that`s what Hollywood needs.

Donald Trump does not seem to be big fans of anything or anyone that comes from outside our borders. He and his right-wing adviser Stephen Miller have pursued cruel xenophobic policies meant to both reduce illegal immigration, and crucially legal immigration.

And it has worked, the number of people obtaining lawful permanent resident status has, those would be legal immigrants, has declined steadily while Trump has been in office. But as most of us know, the United States actually really needs immigrants, lots of them. And you know who understands that, none other than acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who was secretly recorded Wednesday night stating that the Trump administration needs more immigrants for the U.S. economy to continue growing, quote, "we are desperate, desperate for more people. We are running out of people to fuel the economic growth that we have had in our nation over the last four years. We need more immigrants."

The demonization of immigrants is central to the pitch Trump is making to his almost entirely white base, but as his chief of staff understands, there are realities of our demographic and economic needs that transcend politics. And anyone who has any grounding in reality realizes that, even if they only say it in private.



WARREN: He has gotten some number of women, dozens, who knows, to sign nondisclosure agreements, both for sexual harassment and for gender discrimination in the workplace. So Mr. Mayor, are you willing to release all of those women from those nondisclosure agreements so we can hear their side of the story?

And when you say they signed them, and they wanted them, if they wish now to speak out and tell their side of the story about what it is they alleged, that`s now okay with you? You`re releasing them on television tonight?


REID: Elizabeth Warren challenged Michael Bloomberg at Wednesday`s debate to release his employees from their nondisclosure agreements. Well, yesterday, she went a step further, telling Bloomberg that he could, quote, easily release the women who have accused him of sexual harassment from their NDAs by just signing a document that Warren herself, a former contract law professor, had drawn up. She offered to text the document to him any time.

Well today, Warren got some of what she was looking for. Bloomberg said his company would release three women who had complained about inappropriate comments they said he made from their nondisclosure agreements. In a statement, he added, quote, "I have done a lot of reflecting on this issue over the past few days, and I have decided that for as long as I`m running, running the company, we won`t offer confidentiality agreements to resolve claims of sexual harassment or misconduct going forward."

To talk more about this and what to expect from tomorrow`s caucus here in Nevada, I`m joined by Jennifer Palmieri, former communications director for Hillary Clinton`s campaign and the White House and the Obama White House, and Stephanie Valencia, former deputy Latino vote director for the 2008 Obama campaign, two veterans of campaign world and White House world.

I`m going to get each of you to just give me your comments on what you think about -- and I`ll start with you, Stephanie -- what do you make of the fact that Bloomberg has turned on the dime on this?

STEPHANIE VALENCIA, FORMER DEPUTY LATINO DIRECTOR FOR 2008 OBAMA CAMPAIGN: Mike Bloomberg has spent a lot of time apologizing in the last few weeks and I think those apologies have fallen really short, whether it`s stop and frisk or whether it`s what happened at the debate the other night, or how ill-prepared he was for the debate, there`s a lot of apologizing he`s been doing and I think voters are seeing that.

REID: Let`s play Elizabeth Warren reacting to Bloomberg`s change of mind on the three women getting out of NDAs. Let`s listen.


WARREN: Michael Bloomberg needs to do a blanket release so that all women who have been muzzled by nondisclosure agreements can step up and tell their side of the story in terms of what Michael Bloomberg has done.


REID: Jennifer, what do you think?

JENNIFER PALMIERI, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN: Yeah, I mean, he`s not -- don`t kid a kidder, right, I noticed a very carefully worded statement from the Bloomberg campaign. We have identified three cases, you know, they`re not saying -- we don`t know how many there are. I imagine there`s more than three.

REID: Yeah.

PALMIERI: Warren`s got her hooks in him, and she will continue to push until they either release, you know, until they accept her text message and release every one or voters decide this is untenable.

But she was remarkably effective, I thought, in drawing him out on this. And you know, Michael Bloomberg has not been an elected official for a long time. And he`s a very powerful man that probably doesn`t get challenged a lot. And you could see just in some of the language he used on Tuesday night, in addition to not really being prepared. I don`t think that`s a staff problem. He has really good staff working for him. That is a -- I know what that looks like, that`s a candidate that`s not willing to do what you need to do in order to meet voters, to address concerns, really legitimate concerns that voters have.

REID: You know, it strikes me that -- and you know with the last election having been a lot about the robbing of a woman of the White House, when women got so close, you know -- and as a black voter, you know, getting there with Barack Obama, and you worked on that campaign as well and you worked for the Obama White House, it mattered. And the idea that women got so close and didn`t, it strikes me that now we`re in a race where even women say, well, the woman can`t do it. But now you have this woman who in 24 hours, she got action from...

VALENCIA: Well, the question really is how is she going to materialize that action into real momentum? And I think, you know, she raised a lot of money off of that debate. And now there`s real momentum around her that could change the ground in Nevada, that could change the ground for Super Tuesday for her in subsequent states. So, I really think voters paid attention. We saw the record-breaking numbers of who was watching the debate. And so I think, you know, people will have real questions in their mind about who Mike Bloomberg the next time they see a commercial on television.

REID: Yeah, you also now have Nevada Democrats demanding -- this is per the New York Times -- caucus site leaders sign nondisclosure agreements.

PALMIERI: Oh, I know. I know. It`s such a -- I mean, it just -- I always knew that the primary process needed some tuning up, to say the least, but I didn`t us to have watch it disintegrate in real-time the way we are, but like we`re seeing all of the flaws in the way that the campaigns have been executed in the last, you know, few cycles. And it`s in desperate need of some serious rehabilitation.

REID: It feels like the whole thing does, right. I mean, you have this process, right.

PALMIERI: All of it. All of it, yes.

REID: Even our polls, there`s a poll we have here, it`s a tiny sample size. I probably won`t even put it up, because the polls were before the debate. People are already voting in Colorado, or in California. It`s possible that Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders or whoever did well, they could be making votes now.

VALENCIA: And polls change the nature of the conversation. And I think we need to be responsible consumers of that information, but also responsible in what we put out as polls that help to shape that narrative, because it does shape the narrative of who is selectable, who is likable. And I think as we head into tomorrow, we`ll see where the energy lays.

I`m really excited that Nevada is -- this will be the first time that Latinos, API voters, and black voters in a real way will put their stamp on the nomination. And so it really will reflect the diversity of the party and of the country, and I`m really excited to see the levels of turnout. We already saw record turnout in the early vote portion of the caucus, but now we will see the kind of turnout -- hopefully the rain won`t hamper that tomorrow. I think they`re predicting some pretty -- despite how sunny it is here in Las Vegas usually, there`s supposed to be pretty bad weather tomorrow.

REID: I am thankful for my braids, because that won`t bother me at all. It feels, in a lot of ways, like if women want the White House, they are going to have to take it, and they are going to have to take it by saying you know what we just want a woman, and there`s nothing wrong with wanting to have a woman for the sake of having a woman be president. But women seem reluctant about that -- but women of color are not.

PALMIERI: Women of color are not. Women of color are the best voters, and women of color are not as reluctant to just grab that. So, I think that -- I mean, you know, I experienced that with Clinton and what I was really dispirited to me to hear all of the time women saying I love Elizabeth Warren or I love Amy Klobuchar, but I don`t think that a woman can win.

And it`s like, well, if you -- you know, we`re in the position of having the power to change that. And that performance of Warren`s was so strong, I think what was also smart about what she did was talk about how this is going to impact Bloomberg`s electability, which I love her turning the electability question on its head about a man mistreating women, that`s like a problem if you`re electable or not.

REID: That`s right. And we saw with Donald Trump an October surprise. With Bloomberg, I think what she`s saying is you don`t know what`s going to come out, and Democrats might react to that differently than Republicans. Republicans didn`t care.

PALMIERI: Democrats will care.

REID: Democrats will care.

PALMIERI: Democrats care about bad behavior toward women.

VALENCIA: Right, right, right. And I think one of the best things that happened to Joe Biden was Michael Bloomberg. He created another foil for him, and I think Joe Biden had his best debate on Wednesday night, because Michael Bloomberg was the foil for everybody else.

REID: Absolutely, we`ll see what happens. And you know what, you`re not going to know where this election is going until states with lots of color vote. That`s the bottom line. I think it`s important to know that. Jennifer Palmieri, Stephanie Valencia, thank you both for being with us tonight.

And coming up, with the Nevada caucuses tomorrow, and Super Tuesday just around the corner, which campaigns are low on cash heading into Super Tuesday? The money primaries just ahead.


REID: The constitution mandates that every 10 years we count all the people living in the United States, all the people, in the U.S., including the non-citizens. That count is called the Census. And this year, 2020, in addition to being a make or break election year, is a census year. It is extremely important that we get an accurate count, because the census is used to reapportion seats in the House, to redraw congressional state and local districts, and to determine how much money states and local communities get from the federal government.

There is a lot at stake. Just last year, the Trump administration tried to manipulate the count by adding a citizenship question to the census form. That question would have reduced responses from immigrants and non-citizens who tend to be clustered in Democratic-leaning areas. But then the U.S. Supreme Court blocked it, keeping it off the Census form.

But that defeat has not stopped Republicans from trying to manipulate the count. The Republican National Committee has been mailing out documents across the country that are labeled 2020 congressional district census. They come in envelopes labeled do not destroy official document. And as the L.A. Times notes, they include a lengthy questionnaire on blue tinted paper, similar to the type used by the real Census.

The point is to confuse people and lower response rates on the real census. Last week, Democratic Congresswoman Katie Porter pressed the Census Bureau director about what he was doing to fix the problem.


REP. KATIE PORTER, (D) CA: Have you asked the RNC to cease and desist from using the term 2020 census, or official census, in its mailings?

STEVEN DILLINGHAM, DIRECTOR CENSUS BUREAU: Congresswoman, I would have to look and see. I`m not sure who sent that out.

PORTER: This mailing has already gone out, so the time to stop it was actually before it happened. And when the first reports came in to your office. We know Californians have called the RNC, somebody`s elderly -- someone`s parent got this, an elderly parent. The child, the adult child called the RNC, asked them to stop sending these things to their parent, and the RNC, which I realize you`re not responsible for, but the RNC told them, quote, "this was an order by Donald Trump to send out to people, and they must comply with us."


REID: It was ordered by the president, he said.

Now listen, if you get this letter, do not be fooled, We need to make sure everyone is counted.



WARREN: What I said the very fist day I campaigned for president I said let`s all agree no Super PACs, please. And as people came into the race, I said can we all just agree no Super PACs, please? I have repeated that plea over and over and over. And do you know how many Democratic presidential candidates agreed to it? Zero.

So if all the Democrats would stand up and say we`re done, we`re not going to use Super PACs, man, I`m all in. I`ll lead that charge. That`s what we should do as Democrats.


REID: That is Elizabeth Warren with some real talk, basically explaining why as of this week she see is accepting the support of a Super PAC. We live in a Citizens United world, and she`s got to try to compete.

And beyond Nevada tomorrow it really gets tough. Here`s the map of the 15 Super Tuesday contests just 11 days from tonight, competing in all these places at one time is not cheap. The Wall Street Journal reports that as of last night neither former Vice President Joe Biden nor former Mayor Pete Buttigieg has invested in a single Super Tuesday commercial, according to an ad tracker.

Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar has spent less than $2 million on Super Tuesday combined, while Senator Bernie Sanders has spent $11 million on paid media in Super Tuesday states so far, and the self-funding billionaire Michael Bloomberg dropped about $156 million on TV and radio.

As of the latest FEC filings, Sanders had twice as much cash on hand as the other non-billionaire candidates. And joining me now to talk about where the money primary stands is Sahil Kapur, national political reporter at NBC News, and Dave Weigel, national reporter covering politics for The Washington Post.

We`re going to go to the in-house guy first, Sahil. I mean, it does feel like the close proximity of South Carolina and Super Tuesday means that Super Tuesday could be a stopper, because you might not have enough money to keep going.

SAHIL KAPUR, NBC NEWS: I think Warren has decided that she`s not going to unilaterally disarm. She`s running out of money, money is running dry for everybody except the Billionaires and Bernie Sanders at this point, so I think she`s decided that she`s not to going to be -- you know, if she has - - you know, if she`s going to have a shot at Super Tuesday to stay alive in this nomination fight, she`s going to need a lot of money.

But it is a really remarkable reversal, an abrupt reversal, from a candidate who set that standard. You know, no money from billionaires, no Super PAC. She got a lot of praise at the time from progressive for doing that, and now she`s shifting, and frankly some of the candidates who tried to follow that standard are no longer in the race.

REID: And she also got a lot of heat from people who said it`s unilateral disarmament, and so you might argue that she`s bowing to realism.

But let`s talk about who is actually spending any money. Because it looks like, you know, obviously there`s the money sort of flood from Bloomberg and then there`s everybody else.

DAVE WEIGEL, THE WASHINGTON POST: No, that`s true. And Warren`s decision here does reserve a year of what she`d been saying. I think her website at the time she did said she would disavow a Super PAC, she`s no longer doing it.

I think what she saw was that Joe Biden was even more intense in some ways saying he would not have a Super PAC, didn`t disavow it. It hasn`t even been a question in the debates. He has one, it`s on the air.

So when she did this, she had already pulled some money off the air in South Carolina, only added a little bit back. This now puts her in play in South Carolina, equal to the Vote Vets (ph), which has been running ads for Pete Buttigieg, or Unite the Country, which is running ads for Joe Biden.

It really is everyone except Bernie Sanders giving up on this pledge.

But doing so because Sanders has some outside supports, some groups that don`t have to reveal all their donors, but not a Super PAC created to support him like this.

KAPUR: That I`ll quote one Democratic campaign operative who told me that if money can buy you an election, Tom Steyer would not be polling at 2 percent. So, obviously you need more than that, but money is necessary to stay alive, to stay afloat, and that`s what these candidates are struggling with, including Pete Buttigieg who blew through a lot of money in the month of January.

REID: And we know that there is this story that there`s a sort of I guess a funder for him then started giving money to Vote Vets, so there`s sort of a mutual sort of beneficial thing to it.

But the problem, I think the change about Super Tuesday that`s been the most significant has been because it`s also got California in it and it`s got Texas in it, those are hugely expensive states to advertise in.

WEIGEL: Right. And there are campaigns that have been organizing the whole time in those states, but Bloomberg changed things. I`m not -- excuse me, but Warren did, but the presence of Tom Steyer moved some votes, got people interested in a candidate they had not heard of (inaudible)than that. And the presence of Mike Bloomberg meant that the first candidate people were seeing in four months in Texas and to an extent in California was Mike Bloomberg.

So, yeah, they have not -- they have organized earlier than him. He`s opened a lot of campaign offices. I was on the trail with him in Texas about a month ago and he has rallies, people show up to them. But they`re all going to be disadvantaged by Mike Bloomberg`s money. That said, they all fairly competitive, even Elizabeth Warren in a lot of polls taken now were before the debate. She probably is weaker in those polls than she might be right now.

She was fairly competitive with Bloomberg in Texas despite all this, despite not running an ad.

REID: Well, she is originally from an neighboring -- she`s from Oklahoma, right?

WEIGEL: And she went to the college of University of Houston. She had that.

But really it was -- the problem here has been Joe Biden, the front-runner for most of last year, did not have the resources Hillary Clinton did, and in these states where Hillary Clinton was able to blitz Super Tuesday, as soon as -- basically in the same point of the race, as soon as Nevada happened, he is not. He is not -- the PAC is barely able to. That is the real distorting effect here, that he might be less competitive financially in these states. He made less money in January than Elizabeth Warren did, and she`s not having a good month either.

REID: And she was not a former vice president of the United States.

Let`s talk about a little bit -- Bloomberg has so much money that he`s running trolling ads against Donald Trump saying he failed running casinos here in Nevada, that`s how much money he`s throwing around.

KAPUR: Right, he is lapping the field I think in terms of money spent. There are billboards around town mocking and denigrating President Trump.

And look this is part of his appeal to Democratic voters, frankly. I`ve heard Democratic voters at rallies of figures like Pete Buttigieg and even Bernie Sanders who say that like he`s so rich and that, in the words of some voters I spoke to, mean enough -- to take on Trump. They like that he`s denigrating him, not the kind of pose of outrage that Hillary Clinton had, not the how dare you, sir. It`s more like the emperor has no clothes is Mike Bloomberg`s message

REID: Can you explain Tom Steyer, because Tom Steyer as you said has been flooding South Carolina with lots of money. He`s been putting money out here in Nevada. It isn`t helping him that much, but he is sort of resonating a little bit in South Carolina, but it isn`t necessarily the thing that buys you in.

WEIGEL: He is. It`s a combination, he invested very early in black outreach in South Carolina. Even in Iowa at the last event I covered with him there, I one was in Waterloo, one of the few parts of Iowa with a big black population, his event was focused on black issues. He had HBCU literature, reparations literature, he did that in South Carolina, he did it importantly in a state that many people were not taking very seriously because they looked at the calendar, they said Joe Biden has got a lead, and then they took a nap and went to wherever else.

REID: I mean, I guess we have to come back at the end. So at the end, it feels like Bloomberg -- is going to make -- he`s not playing in the first four states, so it matters like three days after South Carolina what he`s able to do there.

Is there effort -- is he doing more than spending in these Super Tuesday states? Is he organized there?

KAPUR: It`s an advantage and a disadvantage, right. He`s not on the ballot in Nevada and South Carolina, so if he took a pummeling in that debate, which we know he did and it hurt him here, he can say I`m not even competing here.

So, I -- the big question for Mike Bloomberg is can he pour tens, hundreds of millions of dollars, maybe billions of dollars by Super Tuesday and try to overcompensate for that poor performance and the kind of beating that he took on that debate stage? I mean, he is building on extraordinary organization. He`s picking up stoppers all over the place. They`re being compensated pretty generously, according to reports. So, he is formidable in that sense.

REID: He`s formidable with that.

And the question, I think, also is whether Warren can come back. I mean, she`s raised like $5 million off of that debate performance. It`s where do you spend it? Where do you even spend it?

KAPUR: Nevada is so key for her.

REID: And Nevada is absolutely key.

Sahil Kapur, thank you very much. Dave Weigel. Thank you both for being here.

That is All In for this evening. You can catch me again on MSNBC tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern on my show AM Joy.

But don`t go anywhere, Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.