JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: I want to note that early voting is already underway in Florida. And this Sunday is Soul to the Polls day in that state, a major effort to get voters to turn in their mail-in ballots or get to the in- person voting locations to drop them off. And no matter which state you`re in, please make sure that you register and vote. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts now.
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SAM SEDER, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN. Trump 2020, it`s gone from "keep America great" to "Hey, everybody, Joe hates God." How did the campaign to reelect the president come to this?
Then as Trump calls a press conference from the 19th hole, the human toll of the failure to pass any real Coronavirus relief.
Plus, the head of the Postal Workers Union on the plot to demolish the Post Office before Election Day.
And the cult of Trump rides to the President`s defense on his amazing journey to Thighland. ALL IN starts now.
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SEDER: Good evening from New York. I`m Sam Seder in for Chris Hayes. It may not come as a total surprise to you to hear that Russia is once again trying to interfere in our presidential election to help Donald Trump, but the twist today is that the Trump administration is the one that is claiming it.
This afternoon, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a statement updating the foreign threat to our elections. "We assess that Russia is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden in what it sees as an anti-Russia establishment. Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump`s candidacy on social media and Russian television."
Donald Trump`s own intelligence is publicly saying that Russia is actively trying to help him and hurt Joe Biden. The Trump campaign released a statement saying, "We don`t need or want foreign interference. President Trump will beat Joe Biden fair and square."
But given all of the President`s lies over the last five years, not one word of that statement is believable. Remember, Donald Trump`s Plan A for reelection was to get Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, and then to use that to go after him. This is literally what he said last October after the story of his abuse of power had broken and congressional investigations are underway.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, what exactly did you hope Zelensky would do about the Bidens after your phone call?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I would think that if they were honest about it, they`d start a major investigation into Bidens. It`s a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens. And by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.
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SEDER: But that was only the first part of Plan A. The second part was to run on the booming economy he inherited from President Barack Obama. And he sure did tweet about it an awful lot. However, he might have been tempting fate, because then everything changed. Donald Trump got impeached for his Ukraine Plan A and the economy went down the tubes, thanks to his failure to deal with the Coronavirus.
And since then, the President has been ticking through a bunch of half- hearted plans trying to get reelected some of which have backfired spectacularly. Plan B, the virus is contained. Plan C, the virus will magically go away. Plan D, we should reopen the economy. Plan E, we should reopen the schools. Plan F, a vaccine might be here by Election Day. Plan G, slow the mail down. Plan H, demonize the act of voting by mail. Plan I, label Biden Sleepy Joe. Plan j, question Biden`s cognitive ability. Plan K, brag about his own cognitive ability. Plan L, claim Biden will hurt the Bible and hurt God. Plan M, get Kanye West on the ballot to steal votes from Biden.
Plan after plan after plan, and now Trump has landed on Plan N which is a kind of bunch of those combined. He`s going to undermine the election, sue everyone in everything he sees as a threat, and try to pander to the base by claiming Joe Biden will hurt God.
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TRUMP: He`s going to do things that nobody ever would ever think even possible because he`s following the radical left agenda. Take away your guns, destroy your second amendment, no religion, no anything, hurt the Bible, hurt God. He`s against God.
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SEDER: How does a man who Trump says is too sleepy to be president and mentally not up to the job can land a blow against God? But if all else fails, the President is relying on his Department of Justice and a pending report from Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham.
Last May, Attorney General William Barr ordered him to investigate why the CIA and the FBI began looking into Trump and Russia. Last week, the Attorney General said he would not rule out a pre-election release to the Durham report. Earlier this week, NBC News reported the probe may be nearing its conclusion. But if Joe Biden being an existential threat to God does not sway people to vote against them, it`s hard to believe the Durham report, which most likely has nothing to do with Joe Biden will do the job.
Joining me now is Christina Greer, Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University, Barbara Boxer former U.S. senator from California, now a Teaching Fellow of Political Science at USC. Thank you both for joining us. Christina, let`s just start with you. Joe Biden is against God. Is this going to have a lot of resonance? I mean, it`s sort of -- you`d expect there to be a little bit more reporting on something like this.
CHRISTINA GREER, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: Right. We`ve reached the spaghetti noodle phase of the campaign from the Trumps. And so, he knows that his name-calling hasn`t really worked, the colossal failure of how he`s dealt with Coronavirus has exposed his incompetence on so many different levels, and the economy is not recovering the way it should or could. And we still have so many millions upon millions of Americans who were out of work, and many of their industries are not coming back.
To say nothing of the 150,000 Americans who have already died of the Coronavirus, and we know that, you know, by scientists` reports, a second wave is coming. And so, the President has you know, as you really laid out, multiple strategies. One, he`s hoping for some sort of interference from his friends in Russia. Two, he`s hoping that the voter suppression and voter disenfranchisement efforts from his DOJ and from his Republican governors from across the country will assist him.
And three, just blatant misinformation to either suppress turnout. And he`s hoping that he can slice off that small percentage of black male voters, possibly this Kanye West attempt. We`ve seen that the GOP is trying to help Kanye get on the ballot in several states like Wisconsin and Illinois and Michigan. And so he`s he`s obviously a little desperate and nervous because he has not handled the American economy or the health of the American people in a way that`s acceptable.
Ideally, yes, I think a lot of Democrats would like to see a different turnout with their Democratic nominee in the long run, but we play the cards that we`ve had. And thus far we know that Joe Biden is pledging to do no harm, and we`ve seen the harm that President Trump has done in the past three and a half years.
And so he doesn`t have a foundation to run on and this is why you were able to lay out A through N of a miscellaneous strategy. And we still have a global pandemic. We cannot leave this nation because no one else wants us. We have become the S-hole countries that Donald Trump spoke about. And so many Americans are struggling financially and it`s only going to get worse the closer we get to November 3rd.
SEDER: Senator Boxer, I mean, what do you do if you`re a politician and you`re running against a candidate who, as Christina said, is basically running on doing no harm and you know that you`ve been responsible for that much harm? Like, you know, it feels like Trump is flailing around and cannot get a toehold. What do you do in that situation?
BARBARA BOXER, FORMER SENATOR OF CALIFORNIA: Well, if you`re asking what I think Trump should do, Sam, is that your question, or what we should do?
SEDER: Well, I`m asking as your experience as a politician. Well, I guess I`m asking just from insight from a politician. You have no way to run against Joe Biden at this point, and so what are you left with if you`re Donald Trump?
BOXER: OK, I got you. Well, look, this isn`t going to work. The two of you have laid it out beautifully. And the reason none of it will work, A, B, C, all the way to N, is because the reality of people`s lives are weighing in on this election. So, he can say anything he wants to about how he -- the virus is disappearing, everything is great. He could talk about Joe Biden`s fault. That`s all projection.
I was schooled in economics, but I have friends who are psychologists who tell me everything he says, you know, Joe Biden hurts God means he Trump hurts God. You know, Joe Biden, oh, he`s got problems, you know, being sharp and his cognitive abilities, he knows that he, Trump, has that.
This isn`t going to work. Look, take my demographic, the older set. And let me tell you what`s happening to us, those of us who are fortunate enough to stay healthy and stay away and duck this virus. Our golden years are turning into our stolen years because, you know, we love and miss our families so much and they`re scared to death to visit us.
You know, so Trump can say whatever he wants, I think older voters get that our lives are upside down if we`re fortunate enough to still be alive. And then you know, our kids who are in their 40s, 50s, that age group, they`re worried sick about their kids in their education, and their moms and dads that they miss, and it goes on and on.
So, everything you said that he`ll try, I believe he will try. He asks everybody for help, as you said, from Russia to China, if you`re listening, to Ukraine, if you`re listening. Even if you`re not listening, he`s asking you for help. But it`s not going to break through because people`s lives are really precarious right now.
SEDER: Christina, do you think -- I mean, look, Trump`s only play, it seems to me is to -- is to try and keep Joe Biden voters some segment of Joe Biden voters home. And I do think that he is having trouble doing that on some level simply because Biden is basically -- I mean, in some respects, I mean, you know, part of its COVID, but part of it is he`s just laying low. There is no toehold. He can`t do that.
I mean, and part of it is that a lot of what he worked on last time with the issues of race and gender, and he doesn`t have those falling in his favor, at least his perception of his favor in terms of how he`s appealing to his voters. I mean, so does he have any angle whatsoever?
GREER: I mean, I think Joe Biden`s letting the president just, you know, do whatever he is going to do, and see how that`s turning out. And mean, as the senator laid out, you know, many Americans go to the polls, in political science, we talk about pocketbook issues. And so President Trump knows that Americans will be going to the polls asking themselves, am I better off today than I was four years ago, and the vast majority of Americans are going to say no.
Now, some will lean on their white nationalist tendencies that the President has laid out for them. And it doesn`t matter that they`ve lost loved ones, it doesn`t matter that they`ve lost their home and their job, they`re still going to vote for Trump. And that`s his solidified base that won`t leave him ever.
But there are quite a few people, weak-leaning Democrats, Independents, weak-leaning Republicans, they may not -- they may not be in love with Joe Biden, but they recognize that he will actually hire people who are not interested in enriching themselves, but actually want to be public servants and get this country back on track.
I mean, when we talk to our international partners, and they look at us and they`re just shaking their heads. I mean, we`ve become a developing nation when you look at our demographics and how our economy is laid out, when you look at the kleptocracy that we have become, when we look at the fact that we have a DOJ that reports just to the president and hasn`t upheld their sworn duty to the Constitution. I mean, we are turning into the nations that we used to go visit to monitor their elections. And we know that our 2016 election, it`s been proven that had external interference.
And so I think Joe Biden is essentially saying, I`m going to put out some policy papers. I`m going to start surrounding myself with people who will help me think about a larger vision post January 20th. He`ll hopefully choose a vice-presidential nominee that will help bolster that message and get that out there for voters for November 3rd.
But what Joe Biden really needs to do is inspire people to make sure that they understand that we`re -- the existential threat that our democracy is facing is tantamount to something we`ve never seen before. And if we don`t get November 3rd correct, we have to really question what kind of nation we`ll have moving forward.
So I think the President knows that he has been a colossal failure as Senator Boxer laid out. Every single thing the president says is a projection about how he knows he`s not up for the task. He thought that a 40 something-year-old black man, if he could do it, I could surely do it. And he`s realizing the job is actually quite difficult.
And you actually have to know how to work with the legislative branch. You can`t just put people in the judicial seats just to have them become sycophantic rubber stampers. But he doesn`t understand how governance works. I mean, I`m convinced that the President has not read the Constitution to fully understand what the role of the executive is.
SEDER: Well, certainly I don`t know if you had a chance to see any of his press conference tonight from his golf club, but he basically made your argument there that he had really no sense of how these things work. Sen. Barbara Boxer, Christina Greer, thank you --
BOXER: Sam, can I say one fast thing.
SEDER: Sure, one quick thing.
BOXER: You know, I think the fact that he did that presser at a country club, he wants to run a country club, not a country. Let`s say fine, go back to you country club. When we have our voting day, bye.
SEDER: Fair enough. I mean, maybe somebody should flow that to him. Sen. Barbara Boxer, Christina Greer, thank you both. Next, we`ll talk about what in the world the bizarre scene we just saw the president deliver at a golf club tonight, as he took some time from his golfing weekend to address the country and his fellow golf buddies.
SEDER: This was the scene at Donald Trump`s private Bedminster golf club in New Jersey tonight, where the club fees reportedly run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. All those paying customers were waiting for Donald Trump to emerge at his hastily called press conference to listen to what the President had to say as negotiations for a rescue bill to save struggling Americans collapsed on Capitol Hill tonight.
Both the added jobless benefits and the federal eviction moratorium having now expired, millions of people are suffering. So tonight, Donald Trump use the occasion to say he would go it alone and sign executive orders if there`s no deal while still giving himself plenty of time to rail against protesters in Portland and to ramble about the trajectory of the Coronavirus across the country.
Here with me now, someone who has been covering the ins and outs of those negotiations, Leigh Ann Caldwell, NBC News Correspondent. Leanne, what just happened there at the golf club?
LEIGH ANN CALDWELL, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, 7:00 at Friday night in the middle of August is usually not the most opportune time to get your message out if you`re the president of the United States. It was hastily assembled when we got noticed, you know, maybe an hour before the press -- the 7:00 press conference was supposed to start. Of course, it was late. And he didn`t even really address the big issues of the day.
Of course, he talked about the tragedy that happened in Beirut. He said that the United States is offering humanitarian support there. But then he went on to talk about Portland protesters. He talked about prescription drug prices. He barely addressed the pandemic that is ravaging the country. He barely addresses the status of negotiations that have completely broken down on Capitol Hill.
And you know, why he decided to hold this press conference at this time? It`s unclear to me. He did get a couple -- a couple of swipes that his opponent, Joe Biden, of course. But, you know, the biggest news that came out of it is when he was asked by a reporter about the negotiations, and he said that his lawyers are drawing up executive orders that they hope to have out by the end of the week, Sam.
SEDER: I mean, it the timing of the whole thing was really bizarre. And I don`t know, maybe -- I mean, I have a theory that maybe there`s a certain amount of press conferences that are -- that come in with your Bedminster membership, that maybe he`s got to fulfill those because otherwise it`s sort of an explicable in terms of the timing. I mean, do you have a sense of what`s happening on Capitol Hill right now? Like where are the negotiations?
CALDWELL: Yes, the thing that happened on Capitol Hill today is the entire negotiating process completely broke down. They started this morning without a time set to continue these negotiations after it was a rough go yesterday. And they`re in that meeting, Speaker Pelosi, Democratic Leader Schumer, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
But in this 90-minute meeting that was scheduled in the middle of the day with the last-minute notice, the posture coming out of that meeting was the same exact one is going in. The two sides are extremely far apart, and there doesn`t seem to be any will for the administration to come up from their $1 trillion cap of what they want to spend.
And these COVID relief bills, you know, the Democrats, they have a $3.4 trillion bill. It is a massive bill. They are saying that today they are willing to come down in their price, but that the administration isn`t willing to budge. You know, I got a text from a Democratic source just 30 minutes ago, who said it`s mind-boggling that the President, less than 90 days before an election, would not get on board with a $3 trillion bills to send a lot of money to a lot of people around the country. Democrats thought they had the upper hand and they just don`t understand why the administration is not signing on to this.
SEDER: Is there a sense of what`s happening in terms of like the Senate? I mean, is it clear that the Republicans are on the same page because it does seem absurd that the President -- I mean, the president comes out, he gives this half-hearted, you know, announcement at that press conference, I guess, at a golf club. It`s not exactly the best optics if you`re talking about worried that the American public is suffering because of the shutdown, you know, following the Coronavirus.
I mean, is there a sense that there`s some type of dissent amongst the Republicans between the administration and maybe what`s happening in the Senate?
CALDWELL: There`s a huge dichotomy in what`s happening as far as Senate Republicans are concerned. They are definitely not on the same page. There`s some Senate Republicans who don`t want to spend another dollar, and then you have the Senate Republicans who are running for re-election this year and who have tough races.
The Senate map does not look good right now. The President`s electoral prospects don`t look good right now. So those Senate Republicans do have these tough races in blue or purple. And even some red-leaning day want there to be a bill passed to bring money home to their state. But you know, there`s a whole host of Republicans who don`t want another dollar spent.
And then sitting at the table in these negotiations is Mark Meadows. Just a few months ago, he was a congressman, the head of the very conservative the Freedom Caucus. He ran on a Tea Party platform when he got elected, you know, years ago. And he has -- his instinct is to say no to government spending. And he has really been the most pessimistic and resistant throughout this entire process.
And a Democratic senator said yesterday that he represents the divisions among the Republican Party on this issue where some Republicans are wanting to pass something, but a majority just aren`t. And it seems like the president is listening to his chief of staff and those Republicans who don`t want any more money spent and as we heard tonight, the President also railed on this one issue that I am told is central to these negotiations not coming together and this is the money first state.
Democrats want almost $1 trillion to give to states who have been hurting because of the pandemic and the Republicans want almost the zero dollar. The President thinks that it`s a bailout for blue state, which will only help Joe Biden. And that is a huge issue that the President doesn`t seem to be able to get past and one reason why these negotiations have completely fallen apart. Sam?
SEDER: Meanwhile, millions of Americans are facing eviction, are facing a huge reduction in their unemployment insurance. Leigh Anne Caldwell, thanks for being here tonight.
Next, Governor Cuomo announced his New York schools can reopen this fall. What will it take to safely send students to the largest school district in the country? After this.
SEDER: Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that schools across the state including in New York City, the largest school district in the country, will be allowed to hold in-person classes this fall as part of a hybrid model that includes remote learning. L.A. and Chicago, the country`s second and third-largest school districts respectively, have decided to begin school exclusively online.
A growing number of school districts have learned that when you reopen in parts of the country where the virus has not been controlled, what follows is an outbreak. In Georgia, 260 district employees were forced to quarantine a day after composite campuses opened up. In fact, at least two students from a high school in Dallas, Georgia were initially suspended for posting these images of a crowded hallways in their school.
In Mississippi, over 100 kids had to quarantine after their first week of school. And in Tennessee, three school districts have already closed schools or altered their schedules as a result of exposure to the virus. The question facing every parent and teacher in this country right now is how can schools reopen safely. It`s the same person we`ve had since many schools shut down in the spring, and we still do not have an answer.
Joining me now to talk about why this is the case is Dr. Kavita Patel, a primary care physician who served in the Obama administration. Dr. Patel, thank you so much for joining us.
KAVITA PATEL, FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTE: Thanks for having me, Sam.
SEDER: So, one of the things that I think it`s fairly obvious to say but it`s still sort of stunning is that there does not seem to be -- I mean, never mind universal directions as to what schools should be doing. There doesn`t seem to be any, like universal principles from which local school districts or states or however -- whatever unit you wanted, can actually use those to assess where they are and what they should do going forward. I mean, how is that possible at this point?
Well, Sam, you`re absolutely correct. And honestly, I mean, you know, six months into this now, and we`ve gotten used to the fact that we have a national problem with no national strategy. And it seems like the people bearing the greatest responsibility in this are the people who have received the least kind of support. I`m talking working American parents, teachers, students themselves.
And so you`re right. We got here when we decided for various reasons that starting even in March. We wouldn`t take a national approach to this. And what`s really troubling is that -- I don`t think there`s anybody including myself with questions, the importance of getting children back to routines, getting into schools. But Sam, this is the same debate we had with reopening the country. If you do it too soon, the virus has no boundaries and will find its way. And I think we need to have some humility when we think about the risks we`re putting children and the staff into.
SEDER: All right, well, I`ve got to be honest with you. You know, part of the reason why I want you on here tonight is because I`m a parent of two New York City school kids, and I`m trying to figure out what we should do with our kids. And so, let`s -- I mean, one of the things that seems to be missing is that there is no, I guess, priorities of risk and of benefit in this situation.
I mean, can you give us a sense when we`re talking about kids starting from K to 12, and maybe even we can talk about college students, but are we talking about the same risk of all these children or are there different cohorts of risks? Are there -- are the risks different for high school students than they are for elementary school kids?
PATEL: Yes, that`s a great question. And I can see that you got your public health degree kind of thinking along the way in the Coronavirus, because it is actually in no matter what situation, it`s all about risks and benefits. So just to be candid, there was this debate about you know, are children able to transmit the virus? Can they pose a risk to themselves or others? And the answer is yes, we know especially for children aged 10 and older, that we have a very credible science that shows that they have just as much likelihood of transmitting the virus as an adult.
So that, getting back to your question, puts them potentially in a maybe a different risk category. But I also think it has to do with your local coronavirus rates, which in New York, where you are, are low for now, and what that trend is going to look like. Then the second layer of risk, Sam, is what support does your school have locally? What support do you have to get testing easily? What is the plan in place if somebody does test positive? Do you shut down a cohort? You know, do you shut down the whole school?
And then third, I think in terms of thinking about your own children, you`re right, there is enough evidence to show the value of in-person learning is much higher, the younger the child. So, we do know that some schools have even thought about prioritizing, you know, pre-K to third or fourth grade and then remote learning for older children. So, we know that there`s a process of learning that has recently benefits as well.
And I think maybe ultimately, though, I would say that again, I don`t think any parent feels comfortable if they don`t think that their school or their teachers feel safe about reopening. So, I would just say a very basic technique we use in public health is actually doing kind of what we call tabletop exercises. Some schools have done this, by the way, Sam, where they have parents coming in to kind of mimic what the children will do.
And think about how realistic it is to wear masks stay physically distance, walk in one direction to go to the bathroom, and avoid anybody else, and I think you have to deal with that. And then finally, Sam, I`ll just be honest, I`m a working parent. I don`t want my children to feel the anxiety that I might have in thinking about whether they`ll be safe or not.
So the ultimate risk, I think, is really, how much of this are you willing to take on in your household and how confident are you in your health and schools ability to work together in a timely fashion?
SEDER: Well, why haven`t we seen more of what -- you talked about in terms of like putting an emphasis maybe on younger children, and I say this as a parent of a high schooler and an elementary schooler. But it`s much easier to social distance kids if you have more space. And if the elementary school had access to the high school, I mean, it seems like none of these things have been examined. And the same time we`re holding on to this idea that the school -- the schools have to open at the same time as normal which just seems utterly bizarre.
PATEL: And I`ll do you even want better. I mean, I`ve been talking with after school childcare leaders who want to try to go into some of these closed spaces, these office spaces. I mean, you`re absolutely right. If we`re going to emphasize distance and a physical location, why not take over some of the tech office buildings that are sitting vacant and empty because everybody`s doing remote work, and reconfiguring some of that?
And candidly, Sam, this is why I think that Governor Cuomo did what he in his best advice and in his best judgment needed to do. But I think a lot of people in the local school districts and parents feel frustrated that now they`re left kind of thinking about their own plans. While that might seem flexible, people are looking -- this is unchartered territory. People are looking for advice. They`re looking for how to think about what the right actions are.
And so to your point, I do believe that we should have a much more robust discussion between the public sector and candidly even private sectors, because if you`re working and you`re apparent which most Americans are trying to be, then if you have remote learning, you also have to think about childcare and being responsible and not putting your own child at risk just because you don`t have options for safe childcare after they`re doing their remote school or during their remote learning.
SEDER: Yes, it`s true. It is -- I mean, my heart goes out to all parents out there and to everybody who`s dealing with this because they`re just -- it`s such a moving target. And there`s so many different points of information that contradict each other. And we just don`t have a unified voice in this country that is at least giving those broad principles. Dr. Kavita Patel, thanks for joining us tonight.
SEDER: Coming up, the head of the Postal Workers Union on the plot to demolish the post office before Election Day. That`s just ahead.
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TRUMP: When young Americans experience the breathtaking beauty of the Grand Canyon, when their eyes widen in amazement as old faithful bursts into the sky, when they gaze upon Yosemite`s towering sequoias, their love of country grows stronger.
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SEDER: A few days ago, our President who is not great at reading off a teleprompter or reading in general, butchered the name of one of the nation`s most treasured national parks. It`s Yosemite, not yo-Semites. And he had a similar moment yesterday in Ohio.
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TRUMP: Your foreign competitors move their factories to prevent the level playing field and to avoid liability, shifting production to Thighland, and to Vietnam -- Thailand and Vietnam.
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SEDER: It`s not Thighland, as you probably know, it`s Thailand. Now, this was obviously a mistake by the President. Even he knew it. He corrected himself almost immediately. And look, sometimes it`s difficult to read off a teleprompter. I might make a mistake while reading off of this teleprompter.
But the difference is there will not be a bunch of people insisting that I did not make a mistake, if I clearly did, which brings me to this guy. Name is Dinesh D`Souza. He`s a conservative propagandist and a convicted felon. Yesterday he tweeted this in response to the jokes about Trump`s Thighland mistake.
"I`m highly amused to see supposedly sophisticated media types snickering Donald Trump for saying Thighland. These faux-sophisticates don`t realize Trump`s way of saying it is right. Tai-land is the crude lingo of people who have never been to Thighland."
Well, that is not true. But do not take it from me, you can take it from a guy named Dinesh D`Souza.
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DINESH D`SOUZA, AMERICAN-INDIAN AUTHOR: The most amusing for this -- for this reason. You have these multinational companies that are employing people in Thailand and in Calcutta.
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SEDER: See, Thailand. He gets it, or at least he used to. But Dinesh D`Souza is a member of the cult of Donald Trump. As such, he is incapable of admitting that the President messed up. But hey, he owes the guy. Back in 2018, the president pardoned him on his conviction for violating campaign finance laws.
Now, I don`t think anyone really expects a strong commitment to truth and accuracy from a guy who claims that progressives are responsible for slavery, Civil War, Ku Klux Klan, and the Holocaust. Let`s give them the benefit of the doubt. So, Dinesh D`Souza, if you`re listening, please pay attention.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thailand, Thailand, Thailand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEDER: Politics watchers were stunned earlier this week, some of us very happily so, when aggressive Cori Bush defeated 10-term congressman, William Lacy Clay, in the Democratic primary in Missouri. Now, she`s running to fight on behalf of some of the people who are now suffering from this horrible toll of the pandemic.
She knows a bit about what that`s like. She`s a single mother of two who did not even have a health insurance when she started the race. Now, she`s running for Congress. Cori Bush is here with me now. Cori, welcome. Congratulations. Thank you for being here.
CORI BUSH (D), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE OF MICHIGAN: Thank you.
SEDER: You`re going to go very possibly, I think very likely, you`re going to head into Congress, and you are going to have set of experiences that are more consistent with what I think America -- millions of Americans are about to go through in many respects than I think the vast majority of members of Congress can even imagine or even have access to people who are going through.
Here`s my first question for you. Assuming you get into Congress, assuming you are the today and they were still in session, what would you tell them about what people are going through when they`re facing something like eviction, when they`re facing a huge cut in their unemployment benefits, all of this together? And what would you say to them?
BUSH: Well, first of all, when we think about when someone is being evicted, it`s not just that you have to leave your home, you know, you may not have the money to move, you know. So when that -- you know, you have 10 days pay or vacate, you know, you may not have the money to go to the next place. So, then what do you do?
I have been in a position where I didn`t have the money for boxes when I needed to move. You know, that`s a very real thing. You know, it`s so many pieces to it. Do you have the money to then go to another place? If you find another place, can you get your utilities turned on? Can you -- there are so many pieces to eviction by now with people losing the $600, you know, that they were getting with their unemployment. You know, that was helping to sustain so many families.
You know, I have people in this district who have been -- who have been evicted, you know, over the last month, you know, even though there is a hold on it again now, but people lives turned upside down when they`re evicted, when they lose, you know, even five or $600 even a month.
You know, if for me before, if I had -- if something happened with a car, you know, and I had to pay $400 out of my pocket with a car, that would mess up my rent money, so it`s a very real deal.
SEDER: Yes, I mean, I think that`s the thing that I think a lot of people don`t understand is that living in poverty, not having money is actually expensive, right?
SEDER: Go ahead. Explain.
BUSH: Yes, it`s really expensive because you end up spending -- you spend more money because you`re trying to do things without money. So, it`s more expensive for me to -- so if I -- if I have car insurance, then yes, that saves me from having problems later if something happened to me. But if I don`t have the money for car insurance, and then I still decided to go ahead and drive, which some have -- and I`m not saying you should you need to do that, you need to have car insurance, but for those that don`t, it`s real. And so, if they get into an accident, now they have -- or any other problems that now it cost them more money.
You know, when you think about -- you know, if you go to a grocery store. I`ve been in this position. I`ve gone to a grocery store. And if I want to buy fruits and vegetables, you know, it cost me so much more to buy fruits and vegetables than it does for me to buy packaged meat, you know, buy something that is really bad for me.
And so, what ends up happening is I`m buying this stuff that`s really bad for me, because that`s what I can afford, but then eventually starts to wear on my body. So now I`m spending more money because I`m dealing with possibly hypertension and diabetes and you know, high cholesterol. So, it`s just this cycle.
SEDER: Well, Cori Bush, I can`t wait to hear more from you, and I can`t wait until you are on Capitol Hill saying that to fellow lawmakers. But thank you for that perspective. I think it`s incredibly important at this time where we see Congress is doing absolutely nothing, the President is doing nothing, but giving a speech to people who have a $300,000 a year or some membership at his golf club. Cori Bush, thanks so much for being here tonight.
BUSH: Thanks for having me.
SEDER: Now, a big part of Donald Trump`s campaign strategy has been to try and undermine the legitimacy of the election. Then, if he loses, he can just dismiss the whole thing as corrupt and claim victory anyway. It`s a two-pronged approach. On the one hand, he`s falsely casting mail and voting, which we desperately need during a pandemic is unreliable and corrupt while at the same time, his administration is making cuts to the Postal Service, which would cause problems for mail-in voting.
There have been reports of mail delivery being delayed across the country. The situation has gotten so bad that Democratic Senator Gary Peters of Michigan is launching an investigation into the delays.
The guy overseeing all this is Trump`s newly installed Postmaster General, a guy named Louis DeJoy. He`s a top Republican donor who used to run a logistics company. So, he presumably has a good understanding of what you would need to do to slow down mail service. The policies he`s instituted have been barring overtime and having workers leave mail behind if they`re running late.
He admits to making the changes saying they are necessary to cut costs. But today, Louis DeJoy denied that he slowing down the mail on the President`s behalf, and that there`s any slowdown happening at all.
Joining me now is someone who might have some thoughts on all this, Mark Dimondstein, President of the American Postal Workers Union, which represents almost 200,000 Postal Service employees. Mark, welcome to the program. All right, so give us the straight story. Has something changed at the Post Office?
MARK DIMONDSTEIN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN POSTAL WORKERS UNION: Something definitely changed at the Post Office. A few weeks ago, the new public Postmaster General put in some policies that we don`t think can do anything but slow down mail. And so far, that`s what the results have been. We hear from postal workers all over the country and we`re hearing from customers all over the country.
You just can`t arbitrarily cut hours of work, still have the same work there, and expect it to get done. You just can`t arbitrarily stop the transportation of mail to its destination and expect it to get there. It`s something were completely opposed to. It`s something postal workers are completely opposed to.
It`s our DNA to treat the mail like our own, to get it to the customer. That`s what we`re about. And anything that does something different is something that we`re very much opposed. And we`ve shown that during this pandemic courageously on the front lines, serving the people of our country in these dangerous and troubling times, proudly doing so and connecting the country and connecting the people with each other.
SEDER: So, Mark, you know, people are talking about the implications for mail-in voting, but this assault on the Post Office by the Republican Party, specifically, has been going on for at least 15 years, hasn`t it? I mean, part of the reason why they talk about the post office is or the Postal Service is supposedly, you know, in deficit is because of a requirement that a Republican Congress instituted back in the aughts. Tell us about that.
DIMONDSTEIN: Well, in all fairness, the facts are that that was actually a bipartisan act that the Republicans were in power then, but not always -- and it was a bipartisan bill that passed. But that`s something that`s out there that has to be dealt with, and a lot of people in Congress on both sides of the aisle do want to fix that problem.
The real financial crisis right now is the impact of the COVID-induced economic crisis that`s affecting us all so deeply, deeply affecting the United States Postal Service. And Congress needs to act. There`s a $25 billion part of the Heroes Act from the House of Representatives that would provide emergency relief to the United States Postal Service.
That`s not really for CEOs and for shareholders, that`s relief to the people of this country that depend on and support this invaluable service, this national treasure. It`s now in the hands of the Senate and this administration, and they need to get it right. In the end of March, they had a chance. They took care of the private sector with over $500 billion of relief, nothing for the Post Office. They need to get it right this time.
SEDER: Well, just quickly, I mean, is the Post Office going to be able to deliver the ballots? I mean, it`s -- the Post Office can handle this, can it?
DIMONDSTEIN: The Post Office can absolutely handle it if we have the support. Mail-in ballots, we`ve been doing for generations. We proudly do it. We`re not beholden to any candidates, any political parties. We`re beholden to the American people and to help give them access to the ballot box. That`s part of our civic duty. It`s going to be ever more needed in this pandemic where people are going to have to -- in order to vote safely, they`re going to have to vote by mail.
So we do it, it`s secure, there`s virtually no fraud. That`s what all the history said. But they need to support to get it done and get it done right and get the mail there on time.
SEDER: American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein, thank you so much for being with me.
DIMONDSTEIN: Thank you.
SEDER: That is ALL IN this Friday night. I`m Sam Seder. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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