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House Dems force issue, sue Trump Admin. TRANSCRIPT: 7/3/19, The Beat w/ Ari Melber.

Guests: Eleanor Holmes Norton, Tim O`Brein, Melissa Mark-Viverito, BasilSmikle, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Berit Berger, Tim O`Brien

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Wonderful July 4th holiday and "THE BEAT" starts right now. Yasmin Vossoughian is in for Ari.

Good evening to you, Yasmin.

YASMIN VOSSOUGHIAN, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Steve. Good seeing you. I`m Yasmin Vossoughian everybody, in for Ari Melber. And we have a lot in tonight`s show. Some news breaking just moments ago. Trump`s Justice Department saying they were ordered to try to add a citizenship question to the census despite that public rebuke by the Supreme Court.

And heart breaking new drawings from children held at immigrant detention centers but we begin tonight with Trump facing a backlash for his July 4 celebration tomorrow. Critics saying he is politicizing the holiday and the United States military. Here`s what we know so far.

The tanks are all, ready on the National Mall, you can see them in this video right there. The Trump White House is under fire for issuing special VIP tickets to the RNC while ignoring the Democrats, a political move not typically seen with July 4 celebrations despite the Trump administration saying that it is a bipartisan event.

Also the National Park Service had to divert $2.5 million to cover the event. Trump still owes DC $7.3 million for his inauguration. The district`s mayor talking earlier about how unusual this is. Watch.


ANDREA MITCHELL, HOST, NBC NEWS: The city has not been repaid $7.3 million of the cost from the Trump inaugural.

MAYOR, MURIEL BOWSER, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: And that`s unusual. We don`t know what our total local costs will be if we have extraordinary police costs for example, we will seek that reimbursement from the federal government.


VOSSOUGHIAN: So Trump has ordered the country`s top military leaders to stand beside him during the celebrations. Flyovers by Airforce One and other jets will cause Reagan National Airport to ground flights for 1.5 hours. Critics saying Trump seems intent on mimicking the kind of military event favored by dictators like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un.

Protests are expected. We might see an appearance from the Trump baby blimp last seen during a protest and finally Trump will give his speech on the steps of yes, the Lincoln Memorial, the very same steps where Martin Luther King Junior, you see right here delivered his iconic as we well know, `I have a dream` speech, over 50 years ago.

And yet tomorrow it`ll be President Trump on those very same steps in front of that monument. In a moment I`m going to be joined by MSNBC Military Analyst Colonel Jack Jacobs and Tim O`Brien here in studio with me. Executive Editor of Bloomberg View and author of Trump Nation but we`re going to start with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton who represents DC and actually helped organize the march on Washington as a young activist.

Congresswoman Holmes Norton, thank you so much for joining us this evening, very much appreciate it. I first want to start with your thoughts on Trump giving his speech tomorrow in the same location as we just saw as MLK, over 50 years ago.

REP. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON (D-DC): Certainly, the Mall is - any President can go there, no President has gone there, particularly on occasion like July Fourth, a Veterans Day. That space is almost seen as sacred space in DC. Yes, Martin Luther king was there but you can - it`s hard for you to name anybody else who`s been there and certainly no President.

One thing we don`t want to do is to politicize much less militarize that area and I must tell you the march on Washington did just the opposite, brought everybody together. What the President is doing now in the ball is splitting us apart. I hope he will reconsider it, when you see tanks on the Mall, leave aside the damage it does, in this country we have been spared wall.

That`s why there`s no Bastille like celebration here and essentially that`s what he`s trying to do here, he couldn`t do anything for Veterans Day so he`s trying again on Memorial Day and all he`s doing is attracting controversy.

VOSSOUGHIAN: It`s actually interesting because Nixon actually made an address from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial just seven years after the march on Washington so it seems as if then President Nixon made this decision to make to make a speech there before President Trump.

HOLMES NORTON: Well, for that matter there have been occasions and they`ve almost all been very special occasions where one of these holidays, the President`s spoken for example Harry Truman on the 175th anniversary of July Fourth.

Clinton at the turning of the century but there has always had to be a very special occasion and here they didn`t dominate any holiday, they simply appeared and left the holiday to the American people.

VOSSOUGHIAN: I want to bring in my other guest Colonel Jack Jacobs and Tim O`Brien, thank you guys for joining me here on set, appreciate it. Colonel, I`m going to start with you on this one. You associate - one associates military parades with countries like North Korea, with countries like Russia and we know the President was inspired by the military parades that he`s seen in those countries.

He also was inspired by the military parade commemorating Bastille Day in France when he was visiting with President Emmanuel Macron. What do you make of the President`s decision here to celebrate the Fourth of July, the way in which he is.

COL. JACK JACOBS, MSNBC MILITARY ANALYST: Well, it`s a bit ironic to surround himself with - here`s a guy who dodge service in Vietnam, dodged service, period to surround himself with the trappings of a military establishment who are providing these things reluctantly by the way, I might add. I`ve spoken to a number of people who say that they are really reluctantly providing these assets.

The interesting thing about this is as you mention, there are tank countries, Russia, China, North Korea and there are non-tank countries. We`re a non-tank country. We`ve got lots and lots of tanks by the way. We`ve got something like 1300.

VOSSOUGHIAN: So what do you mean by that then? What do you mean we`re a non-tank country?

JACOBS: We - if you are really strong, if you were genuinely strong, you don`t have to demonstrate that you`re strong and those who are weak, generally speaking, parade this stuff around, we don`t have to do it. The fact that we`re doing it is very troubling.

VOSSOUGHIAN: Yes, it is such an interesting point Tim because when you see a military march in North Korea, it is very transparent as to what they are trying to exhibit to the world. There are often times where we question on air while we`re watching these military parades and I think I`ve actually been on with you Colonel, when we see some of these military parades and which we say, we don`t even know if these missiles are real that they`re rolling out in North Korea.

Because they want to show the breadth of their strengths, right? They want to show to the world what they have because what we know well about North Korea is they have basically no economy, right? They`re close off from the rest of the world so all they have it seems, is their military, right?

And that`s where they gain their pride from and yet here we are, the United States of America with the strongest military in the world, the leader of the free world. And yet, we are having a military parade just like a country like North Korea.

TIM O`BRIEN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, BLOOMBERG VIEW: You know Trump tweeted earlier today. He said you know tune in tomorrow to the Fourth of July, it will be the greatest show ever and that`s about as much of a key as you need to what his thinking is about.

Donald Trump does not think strategically, he thinks theatrically and he thinks cinematically. He had outfitted his guards at one point in Trump tower in the early 1980s in military garb. He has always loved this idea projecting power through toys, through uniforms, through all the surface things that people who were actually confident with power and know how to project real authority don`t rely upon including senior members of the U.S. military who are deeply uncomfortable with this event.

I think the other thing to think about that and Jack hit on it is that Donald Trump avoided service five - he got five draft deferrals to keep from serving during the Vietnam War. No one in his family has ever served. There`s no one in the Trump family, up and down the line who`s ever served. It didn`t cross his children`s minds and I think there`s something really troubling when I think the Commander in Chief is enthralled with projection of power and pomp and circumstance.

But doesn`t actually associate that with the sacrifices involved behind it.

JACOBS: By the way, I want to say one thing, when I`m talking about watching an armored division trundle down Independence Avenue, there are two Bradley fighting vehicles and two M1 Abrams tanks in stationary exhibit, that`s it. And so that`s what he`s doing. He`s surrounding himself with the -

VOSSOUGHIAN: On the steps Lincoln Memorial, mind you. It`s interesting that you bring up some of the people that you`ve spoken to in the military, Colonel because the Defense Department has actually put out this kind of message to many of the service numbers that are going to be serving tomorrow, that are going to be sitting along some of these tanks.

We have not obtained this but Mother Jones has obtained this and it says basically it`s asking these service members to say that they are proud to serve this nation and proud to be a service member meaning if someone walks up to you and says what are you doing here, you know what is this tank say next to you then you say, I am proud to serve the nation, I`m proud to be a service member, I`m proud to honor the nation and the armed services during the Independence Day celebration.

It tells people to make positive statements. Don`t use acronyms or jargon, don`t say anything that you want to be heard or recorded, don`t guess, lie or speculate. I mean, it is instructing people how to talk and what to say to individuals they`re going to be encountering on the Mall on July 4.

JACOBS: These are people isolated away from their units standing around -

VOSSOUGHIAN: But also encouraging them to be positive. If you are a service member of the United States of America on the fourth of July, why would you have to encourage these service members to be positive unless in fact they were reluctant to be there in the first place jumping off of what you said.

JACOBS: If you go approach any service member of any service, 9 times out of 10, in any circumstance, you`re right, 9 times out of 10 unprovoked, he will tell you he loves -

VOSSOUGHIAN: Absolutely, every time I speak to a service member, they love what they do and they are happy to serve and yet, why are they being encouraged to stay positive on a day like July 4.

O`BRIEN: Because the Trump administration`s profoundly worried that this event that this event won`t go off properly, they`re worried that he`s not getting enough RSVPs from VIPs to sit with him and his family in front of the Lincoln Memorial. There`s a very strong chance this could have the numbers, could have that same kind of Inauguration Day hangover where they didn`t get a big turn out on the mall, they`re very worried about Trump puts this together at the last minute. The White House, the military and everyone else involved had to scramble to make it work.

VOSSOUGHIAN: Congresswoman, there`s this idea that this could easily turn into a campaign rally type event tomorrow considering that the President has decided to surround himself with I`m considering that the invitations have just been put out to members of the Republican Party, what do you make of that?

HOLMES NORTON: Well, you have special tickets for the RNC, what more could you say? The President has announced that he`s running again therefore he has to be very scrupulous about his appearance at events. There are two events that he`s tried to appear at, Veterans Day.

Now Memorial Day which had been reserved as classic non-partisan, non- political events. He`s turning them into political events and I`m sure disappointed that in this dam - district Maryland, Virginia, remember where he is, he would have to almost surely attract people from this jurisdiction.

They`re not used to coming to this place, they`re used to going to the foot of the capital and seeing fireworks and my own prediction is that`s what they`re going to do this time but remember, this event starts in the middle of the day and goes for almost 12 hours. Who do you think is going to come out for all that time?

VOSSOUGHIAN: Especially when it`s 90 degrees or so in the middle of the day in Washington DC. I`ve been in that heat, it`s not comfortable. Colonel Jack Jacobs, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, thank you both. Tim O`Brien, you`re going to stick with me for a bit, appreciate it.

Coming up, disturbing new reports from inside the border patrol including one agent telling another, "Happy hunting," before a raid. And heart- breaking new images drawn by children inside of those detention facilities showing kids behind bars.

Also a dramatic reversal in the fight over adding a citizenship questions to the census, it could lead to a showdown with the Supreme court and a top Republican identifying one Democratic candidate as "the most dangerous political threat to the President." We`re going to tell you which one. I`m getting Yasmin Vassoughian in for Ari Melber and you`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.


VOSSOUGHIAN: Welcome back. Amid the border crisis, searing images surfacing today showing what detention facilities look like through the eyes of the kids who are kept there, a social worker obtaining pictures drawn by a 10 and 11-year old children recently released from border patrol custody.

This picture showing kids in cages lying under blankets without beds. Another showing kids in a cage with sad faces as people with what appeared to be guns standing nearby. So kids in cages with guns standing nearby. This is what these kids are drawing. A third drawing showing an empty cell with two toilets.

And then Donald Trump tweeting late today this, "If illegal immigrants are unhappy with the conditions in the quickly built or refitted detention centers, just tell them not to come. All problems solved."

All this is newly released documents detail ICE agents responses to plan nationwide immigration raids in 2017. The Daily Beast describing them "excited, even giddy anticipation of the raids by immigration agents." One emailing agents, "Happy Hunting."

With me now is Melissa Mark-Viverito, Senior Adviser for the Latino Victory fund and former New York city Council Speaker, also NBC News Contributor, Raul Reyes. Melissa, I`m going to start with you on this one, let`s bring those pictures back up guys and I`d like you to comment on that.

Just think about the lifelong implications of what is happening at these detention centers and if you had any question in mind that there weren`t any, now you know the answer.

MELISSA MARK-VIVERITO, SENIOR ADVISER, LATINO VICTORY FUND & FMR NYC COUNCIL SPEAKER: Look, you know this has been going on for over a year and so you know, the fact that we`re responding in visceral way, we should be but where was that anger and frustration a year ago when we knew that these conditions were happening. We have leaders in the Congress that had -

VOSSOUGHIAN: But the anger and frustration was there, the anger and frustration has been there for here because we here have been covering this story for over a year now especially when the family separation policy began. Why haven`t the solutions and maybe this is what you`re getting at -

MARK-VIVERITO: Exactly - the frustration that there is inaction, right? And what we`re seeing is depraved indifference. This is terrorism that is occurring to these children that they`re going to be living the consequences of this for decades, for their lifetime. The parents that are being ripped apart from their children, they have no idea where they are, this is something that we cannot be witness to anymore.

And I feel personally, a sense of frustration that every day we wake up and we don`t know what actually we`re going to do to stop it and that is what we need the leadership from our representatives in Congress, definitely the GOP is complicit in this because they are not willing to put an end to this.

But this is torture, this is state sponsored terrorism of these children and that is the reality. We want to use tough language. It is very hard to sit here calmly but it is a very tough reality that we are bearing witness to and what are we going to do? We`re going to continue to just sit on the sidelines and watch it happen? Or what are we going to do to take action?

And obviously voting and elections do matter but I believe that there`s more that could be done at the moment.

VOSSOUGHIAN: So the tweet that the President just sent out about an hour or so ago. I believe that tweet gets to the crux of the problem.


VOSSOUGHIAN: And I want to reiterate what  he said. he said, "If illegal immigrants are unhappy with the conditions in the quickly built or refitted detention centers, just tell them not to come. All problems solved."

It seems as if there is a lack of understanding as to why these men, women, children, mothers, fathers are leaving these countries like Honduras to come to the United States and I put - and - I want - I just want to put it simply like this, if you woke up tomorrow and you do not have a job, didn`t have money to put food on the table for your children, recognize the safety of yourself and the safety of your children was at risk.

And you didn`t know if your wife would come home that night because her safety was at risk as well, would you stand by and wait for something to happen? Or would you flee for the land of opportunity?

REYES: Not only would they flee for the - most  reasonable people flee for the land of opportunity, they are also fleeing to exercise a legal right to apply for sanctuary, for asylum and other forms of humanitarian relief and I think when you describe this President`s tweet as showing a type of a difference or unwillingness to understand the problem, I think that`s a very kind way of putting it because I honestly I feel like he has - he has shown time and again, he has no compassion for these children.

He has very little compassion for brown people at the border. He has - he has said repeatedly that these - even these young people you know, I`m not even talking about the parents, that these young people, he has associated them with MS-13, being potential drug mules.

And we should be disturbed about this Inspector General report but the fact is, this is the ninth one in two years and every single one of the reports have faulted. Now this is coming from the government, have faulted their standards of care, the lack of access to medical you know, to doctors or medical facilities.

So this has been an ongoing problem, we just - it just resurfaces in the news periodically but it`s happening.

MARK-VIVERITO: The other thing is the other tweets that you did not read are the ones what he`s talking about the CBP agents doing a good job, right? When we`ve seen this culture of violence within this agency with the Facebook - the secret Facebook.

VOSSOUGHIAN: Happy Hunting.

MARK-VIVERITO: Exactly. I mean, and this is - this President emboldening those, saying you`re doing a good job when we know that there`s this culture of violence, that where they have dehumanized these children, where they don`t see them as human, they see them as vile and that is something that really is a great concert.

VOSSOUGHIAN: So I just want you to pause for a second because actually Ari interviewed a border patrol agent last night. And I want to take a listen to what he had to say and then I want your response to it.


JENN BUDD, FORMER BORDER PATROL AGENT: Everybody knows about it, it`s the dirty little secrets of the border patrol and every time one of their agents does something like this or somebody discovers a secret page or web -website or whatever, the management always says, well, this is just not like us, we`re honorable, we only want the most honorable people but yet it keeps happening over and over and over again.


VOSSOUGHIAN: So in a way you she is actually backing up what you`re saying. this is a systemic problem that has been ongoing and yet the President of United States is applauding these border patrol agents.

MARK-VIVERITO: Right, I mean organization -

VOSSOUGHIAN: And of course there are many people inside a border patrol that are very good people, well-meaning people but there are also bad actors as well.

MARK-VIVERITO: Well, as Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez had tweeted when you have half of the agents part of this group, secret group, there is a pervasive and real systemic issue and all organizations have a culture. This organization has a culture of violence and that again as we`re saying, where now these agents are being told by the chief executive that they`re doing a good job.

When we see how these children are being treated when we see how these families are being dehumanized day in and day out, it`s approving that behavior and it`s - it`s really -

REYES: It`s emboldening it.

MARK-VIVERITO: It`s emboldening it, yes.

REYES: That`s what the dehumanization comes directly from the President. I mean, this is a fact. Our border patrol, our ICE, our detention system, it is broken. One of the reasons these system are broken is because they operate largely in secrecy.

VOSSOUGHIAN: We`re running out of time. So I really do want to get this in because we can sit here and we can talk about how aghast it is, how disturbing it is, how horrible it is, how much it`s going to affect these kids for years to come.

What is the solution? Who is responsible? And that`s, I think the biggest issue is nobody really knows to a certain extent and how things can get done.

MARK-VIVERITO: Well, that was part of the debate, right? When the bill about funding and the internal conversations are happening within the Democratic caucus, right? That there were those - that were vehemently opposed because it is a way of again saying, what we`re going to give you more money to keep doing what you`re doing.

How do we use that as an opportunity to try to really -

VOSSOUGHIAN: But even at the basic level to provide necessities for these children like tooth brushes. The stories that we were talking about last week. That they didn`t have soap and toothbrushes.

MARK-VIVERITO: I think the international community needs to weigh in. I really think that we should be demanding the United Nations to somehow be involved and somehow step in. This is demean -

REYES: Because United States certainly would be doing it if this were happening in a - in a different country, absolutely so I think - I think you`re right, it`s time for more international organizations to step in and for right now, in reality on the ground, I think the only hope that we have is that more journalists continue to shine light on these type of conditions as well as advocates.

And you know, members of Congress who can go there.

MARK-VIVERITO: We have some great congressional reps like Debbie Mucarsel- Powell in Homestead, Florida, where we have Veronica Escobar in El Paso right there that have been really shedding light and I`ve been talking about this but deplorable conditions.

That`s why representation matters, that`s what election matters, we need more representatives that are going to step up to the plate.

VOSSOUGHIAN: Right, Raul Reyes, Melissa, you`re sticking with me, well, thank you so much for joining us, appreciate it. All right, ahead Trumps` allies are willing which Democrat they think is the biggest threat in 2020 plus late breaking news about Trump trying to add a census question about citizenship despite the Supreme Court`s rebuke. We`re back in 30 seconds.


VOSSOUGHIAN: Since Trumps` election, women have made a big political mark from the `MeToo` movement to the women`s march to a record number of women winning in the midterms and yet today The New York Times is reporting, some top Democrats are still asking the question, can a woman be elected, President. Reporting that, "the question comes up frequently in early primary states with voters" and that "a portion of the party`s voters suggest they`re eager to see a woman on the ticket but fear that putting her in the top slot could cost them the White House again."

The concerns emerges as Elizabeth Warren rises in polling and as Kamala Harris makes huge gains post-debate making herself a top contender and although it is early some of Trump`s allies are taking notice.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One thing I`ll say about Kamala Harris and I said this before, she`s got game. She is very talented, she`s very smart and she`ll be a force to be reckoned with.

NEWT GINGRICH, HOST, NEWS WORLD PODCAST: Kamala Harris, who I think, I just wrote a piece for Newsweek, I think she is probably the most dangerous to the Democrats.


VOSSOUGHIAN: All right, back with me Melissa Mark-Viverito, senior adviser for the Latino victory fund, Susan Del Persio, Republican strategist and Basil Smikel as a Democratic strategist. Well, so what do you make of this debate going inside - going on inside the Democratic Party right now.

Asking themselves this question can a woman actually win the White House. I mean it`s - it`s to me as a feminist, as someone who believes in women and in representation that we need to increase women`s representation and power, we only have 24% of women in the U.S. Congress, there`s a lot of work to do. I think it`s also reflective of you know, in a way, a moment in time where we continue to live in a paternalistic and sexist society, that we do in some ways and some women not myself because I`m very aware of these issues.

But other women that may somehow and you know, manifest in doubting themselves and their ability to lead and so I think that we have to push against that narrative, you know as someone that is advocating strongly, at Latino Victory for instance, we endorse candidates.

Where last year was the year of the Latina, we saw record number of women and Latinas running for office and getting elected, that`s where our focus has to be about continuing to build a bench and show the capacity and the capability women to lead.

I think between the candidates, we have there the Democratic Party right now, we have a future President and I would like to see a woman obviously be represented and also obviously, a Latino at some point in time but we have the self-doubt and I`m hoping that we can overcome it and I think we can.

VOSSOUGHIAN: Susan, here`s a direct quote from this New York Times article, "Much of the concern centres not on what Democratic voters themselves say they want but a prediction of what they believe others will support," i.e. if they were to ask their neighbors, if they would - or predict if their neighbors would vote for a woman, they would say no.

However I would. I would vote for a woman, this is them saying it and yet, I don`t believe my neighbor would necessarily.

SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes, I think the numbers in that story were two-thirds of the people said yes, I would vote for a woman and yet only one third believe that their neighbor would, which is - it`s just a weird way of looking at things because I mean, maybe it`s because I`m from New York and I see all the things that women are achieving.

It`s - I don`t think it`s an - it`s an issue in that there will always be this - at least right now, the paternal and yes, sexist side of our society which dominates in government as well. But when I looked at that debate, the two debates especially Kamala Harris, I didn`t see a woman of color, I didn`t see a Democrat, frankly. I just saw a woman who looked like she was ready to be --


VOSSOUGHIAN:  Contender for the White House.

DEL PERCIO:  Yes.  And she didn`t -- you know, we happen to be using she, but that person was ready to take on Donald Trump and could easily I could see her as president.

VOSSOUGHIAN:  Do you have even Republicans in this piece dismissing this idea?  A direct quote from a Republican strategist saying this.  I don`t believe gender plays a role in their ability to win.  Our Democrats are our own worst enemy here.  You think back to the days -- whether you liked him or not, you think back to the days of Karl Rove during the Bush era right, and people say either he was a genius or an evil genius when it came to organizing around a Republican candidate right.

Think about who people supported in the 2016 election.  They got behind the most despised candidate Donald J. Trump to run president and he won and they are still behind him.


VOSSOUGHIAN:  And yet Democrats are asking the question within their own party can a woman become president?

SMIKLE:  I actually don`t think it`s a Democrat a Republican issue.  I think it`s -- it is across the board.  I debated a number of folks when I was supporting Hillary Clinton and for years before she even announced that she had her first grandchild, I remember somebody saying she probably won`t run for office because she wants to be with their family.

And I said, but you don`t ask John McCain that question.  You don`t say that about him.  And so there`s all of this real sort of submerged sexism and misogyny that is rather pervasive far more than maybe we want to give credence to, I do think the same is true for race.

But having said that, we have had to confront it.  We confronted the race issue with Barack Obama, I think we`ve had to confront gender with Hillary Clinton.  And there are a lot of voters that will tell you I`ll vote for a woman but I don`t want gender issues to dominate the conversation.

And that`s also an interesting problem, maybe generational also in the sense that now we`re dealing a lot more with race openly and I expect we`re going to deal with gender a lot more openly, and I think that`s a good thing for the party ultimately.

DEL PERCIO:  But let me tell you a little secret about the Republican Party.


SMIKLE:  Yes, please.

They will -- they will --

VOSSOUGHIAN:  I love secrets.

DEL PERCIO:  And we`re all aware of it.  They will in fact, put a woman as a candidate in this -- what they think in a state or in a district, congressional district that they think may not even be as qualified as their male counterpart or the support because they want to show that their -- they will use women to show they support women to kind of break out of that.

VOSSOUGHIAN:  And authentically so.

DEL PERCIO:  Yes.  And it`s something that when people talk about waiting their turn, waiting their turn, if you`re a Republican, if you`re a person of color, or you`re a woman, you will leapfrog ahead of in the party apparatus of people who have been waiting white and who can wait longer.

VOSSOUGHIAN:  Well, Melissa, it seems like people are getting on board.  Because if you look at the latest polls, the Quinnipiac poll that came out post-debate, right -- and I thought this poll was incredible, it came out last night.

We have Kamala Harris at 20 percent just within the margin of error, Joe Biden at 22 percent, then you see Elizabeth Warren there 14 percent who many people believe -- many people believe won the first night of the debates.  That is a huge jump from Kamala Harris.  I mean, she really did an incredible job on that night two of the debates.

MELISSA MARK-VIVERITO, INTERIM PRESIDENT, LATINO VICTORY FUND:  And there was -- there`s some poll that was done looking at Latinos and within those two Kamala Harris and Julio Castro came out on top.  So she`s also making headway with other groups and I think that`s right.

I mean, as a feminist, again, when I saw the debates, I did not see -- I saw a qualified woman.  I saw someone who wasn`t going to be bullied.  I saw someone who was principled and was really holding her own, as the images obviously show right there you`re showing.

But you know, that`s definitely what we need to keep pushing and I think the issue of electing more women up and down the ballot across this country is critically important to continue to show.  I mean, in the city of New York, yes, we call ourselves a Progressive City, you know, less than 20, 22 percent of our city council is women.

At the state level, 23, 24 percent of our state legislature is women.  It`s you know, it`s a problem and a pervasive problem where the parties have to be very vigilant.  We can`t sit on the sidelines and say well, things are great.  We`re living in is hunky-dory society.  We have to be -- continue to be vigilant because gender, race, does matter.

We need unique government to be reflective of those governs and it is grossly negligent in that right now in our levels of government.

DEL PERCIO:  What`s so great about -- what`s so great what you just referred to in those polls is that the biggest leap for her was just not in those numbers but in can you see her -- who is best to take on Donald Trump, and she really dug into Biden`s lead there.

VOSSOUGHIAN:  Yes.  And that`s always been the big question this entire time is who`s going to be best to take on Donald Trump.  All right, thank you guys very much.  I appreciate it.  Susan Del Percio, Basil Smikle, Melissa Mark-Viverito, thank you.

And I apology -- apologized for my phone.  That was neither of theirs.  It was a mine, everybody.  Apologies.  I just don`t want you guys to take the blame for it.  I am taking the blame. 

DEL PERCIO:  Right.  Who`s phone was ringing?

VOSSOUGHIAN:  I`m taking it.  Still ahead, a sudden reversal on a legal fight over adding a citizenship question to the census.  Plus, new questions about what exactly is hiding in Trump`s taxes.  I`m going to talk to one of the few journalists who`s actually seen them.  And a big update on one of the breakout candidates from the Democratic Debate.  Stay with us.


VOSSOUGHIAN:  Breaking news tonight.  Trump`s Justice Department apparently ordered to try to add this citizenship question back to the census despite that stinging rebuke by the Supreme Court.  That dramatic reversal coming in a hastily convened hearing this afternoon.

The government lawyers saying quote we have been instructed to examine if there`s a path forward consistent with the Supreme Court that would allow us to include the citizenship question on the census.  Instructed by whom though?  The lawyer did not say.

Just yesterday, two separate agencies in the Trump administration said in writing that they were printing the census without that question.  But this morning Trump called those reports fake and said we are absolutely moving forward.

A larger context to all of this, Trump has suffered one legal defeat after another in recent days all related to this immigration issue.  A federal judge blocked Bill Barr from detaining immigrants indefinitely if they`re seeking asylum, another judge blocked Trump from using billions of dollars in military money to pay for the border wall, and a different judge ordered the Trump administration to let doctors into detention centers to care for immigrant children.

Joining me now is Berit Berger, former Federal Prosecutor in the Southern District of New York.  Berit, good to see you.  Thank you so much for joining me this evening.  What do you make of this sudden reversal of the census?

BERIT BERGER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR:  Yes, I mean it`s odd to say the least.  Here you have these lawyers that went out and said yesterday we`re not going to be going forward with adding this question.  It`s -- the questioner is going to go to print without this in there.

And then you have this really stunning change of course which seems to be based almost entirely on the President`s tweet.  So you have a situation where it really seems like the left hand in the right hand or not communicating with each other and are not working towards the same goal here.

But essentially what -- where we are now is back where we were when the Supreme Court issued its decision that they have to come back with a new rationale for why they`re going to want this citizenship question.  And if they can`t come back with a rationale that passes muster, they`re going to be in the same position that they are now.

VOSSOUGHIAN:  OK.  So a couple of things out of that.  Let me first go with what you just said which is they have to come back with this new rationale.  So how long could that process take if in fact, that is their way forward?

BERGER:  Well, it depends.  I mean, they have to go back before the lower court now.  My guess is that will take some time to gather the evidence together to come forward with something that`s going to convince the district court judge that their previously offered explanation of this Voting Rights Act explanation, that that wasn`t the only rationale that there is now this new rationale that will appease the Supreme Court.

But they`re in a little bit of a hard spot here because they really put their eggs completely in this Voting Rights Act basket which both the district court and the Supreme Court really flatly rejected as being purely pretextual.

VOSSOUGHIAN:  And then the DOJ lawyers are saying that they were instructed to do this.  Instructed by whom is really this -- the big question.

BERGER:  Yes, that`s exactly right.  I mean presumably the first time many of these lawyers heard about it was from the President`s Twitter account.  I mean, here you have the president saying the reports that they`re not having the question are fake news.  But these reports were from his own Department of Justice and his own Commerce Secretary.

So I think that they had not gotten the memo that they were going to be pushing forward and so you know, this probably came as news to them as they had already told the court a different thing.

VOSSOUGHIAN:  And just to remind people, one of the arguments against adding the citizenship question -- one of the arguments against adding the citizenship question is basically because it could intimidate people from answering the citizen -- the census in general because if you have illegal immigrants or immigrants in general or families of illegal immigrants, they could be intimidating because they don`t want to then be the focus of possibly a raid by ICE or something like that, right.

I mean that has generally been the defense of why people don`t want the citizenship question to be added to the census.

BERGER:  Absolutely.  And there`s a huge fear that if even this idea that this will be -- I mean, first of all, let me just be clear.  They are not allowed to share this data, right.  So federal law prohibits anyone who`s collecting this census data from actually sharing it.

The real fear though is not that it will be shared with ICE or with other agencies, but that this idea that people will be scared, that somehow --


BERGER:  Yes, exactly.  That they won`t have faith in the system to answer these questions, so that`s the real threat here.  I mean, the worry is that regardless of what happens with adding the question or not adding it, that the damage may actually have already been done, that there is so much out there swirling and perhaps misinformation swirling around that you`ll have many communities that even if the citizen question is not actually on the census, they may be fearful and refuse to even you know, answer the door for a census taker to take this questionnaire in the first place.

VOSSOUGHIAN:  What is the likelihood the Trump administration could actually make headway with this after the Supreme Court decision?

BERGER:  Yes.  I mean, I think it`s an uphill battle.  First of all, it`s a timing issue.  I mean, they`ve made representations that they have to have this you know, final draft, they have to get it out by October.  So that gives them only a few months to have to make their case before the District Court and then presumably go back up before the Supreme Court again and that`s a quick turnaround so that could happen.

But even beyond sort of the specific timing issues, I think it`s a substance issue.  They have to come up with a rationale for why it is appropriate to have this question on there that the court will not find to be a pretext and I think that`s going to be a challenge.

VOSSOUGHIAN:  You think it`s going to be a challenge.  You don`t think they can turn it around and come up with some other rationale that wouldn`t have the pretext in which the Supreme Court went against?

BERGER:  I mean, that`s the question.  If they`ve got a great rationale, perhaps they would have already used that in the you know, in the proceedings that have come before it.

VOSSOUGHIAN:  Right.  If they had it, they would have used it.

BERGER:  Correct.  And what they`re left with now is the more nakedly political explanation and perhaps that would ultimately convince the Supreme Court but I think it`s going to be a challenge.

VOSSOUGHIAN:  While I have you, I know this isn`t going to be quick but it should be quick.  Is the Mueller testimony -- we know he`s going to be testifying in just a couple of weeks, two weeks or so, what are you expecting to hear from Bob Mueller despite the fact that when he made his nine minutes statement a couple weeks ago he said look, even if I were to testify, I`m going to say exactly what was in the report which some people argue is exactly what he should say it.

Even if you stood up there for eight hours and you read 400 maybe pages of the Mueller report, that would suffice,.

BERGER:  Yes.  I think that`s exactly right.  I think he is going to stick very closely to the four corners of the report.  I think we should expect very few fireworks at least on Mueller`s half.  I think he will be very reticent to try to go beyond that and I think we`ll push back if he`s getting questions that are asking him to hypothesize about things or really questions that are trying to get too far into sort of the prosecutorial process.  He`s going to be loath to talk about that.

VOSSOUGHIAN:  All right, Berit Berger, thank you so much.  I appreciate it.  All right, coming up, Democrats turning up the pressure on Trump to reveal his taxes.  What`s he hiding?  I`m going to talk to the journalist who`s actually seen some of them.  And some big news about Marianne Williamson who made a lot of headlines in that first debate.  We`re going to tell you what it is when we come back.


VOSSOUGHIAN:  Welcome back.  It is one of the central mysteries surrounding Donald Trump.  What is in those tax returns and why is he hiding them?  This week House Democrats, they`re turning up the heat suing the Trump administration in federal court for six years of returns.

In a moment, I`m going to talk to one of the few people who have actually seen some of Trump`s returns Reporter Tim O`Brien.  O`Brien says they reveal a lot.  The new lawsuit accuses the Treasury Department of defying the 1924 law that states, "The Secretary shall furnished the committee with any return or return information specified in such request."

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin argues though the subpoena for Trump`s taxes serves no "legitimate legislative purpose."  Watch this.


REP. ALMA ADAMS (D-NC):  So do you think the American people have a right to know what`s in those tax forms -- tax forms?


ADAMS:  Do you know what he`s hiding?  I mean he didn`t want anybody to see them, certainly not --

MNUCHIN:  I don`t think he`s hiding anything but --

ADAMS:  OK, so you don`t know.  Is that what you`re saying.

MNUCHIN:  Correct.  I don`t know anything about his tax returns.

ADAMS:  All right.


VOSSOUGHIAN:  And with me now, the man, the myth, the legend, Tim O`Brien.  The man we`ve been waiting for who`s seen the taxes.  His 2005 book TrumpNation drew a lawsuit from Trump over-reporting that Trump was not a billionaire.  That lawsuit was dismissed in court.  Tim, good to see you.

TIM O`BRIEN, AUTHOR TRUMPNATION:  Good to see you again.

VOSSOUGHIAN:  So first I want to talk about the terminology or how they lay this out which is the Secretary shall furnish the committee with any return or return information specified and such requests.  And the keyword here is shall, i.e. must.

O`BRIEN:  Must.  This stems from the Teapot Dome scandal of the 1920s when the federal government decided it was time to keep an eye on the executive branch because of scandals around financial self-dealing in the Warren- Harding administration.  It dates back to that.  And it is purely about Congressional oversight of the executive branch.

And it`s well within not only the constitutional guidelines about the way that the Congress should act with regard to the executive branch, it`s been instituted as some of the law that came out of the Teapot Dome scandal.

So I think when Neal asks for this, he`s well within his rights.  Now, the argument he`s actually made, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is that they`re trying to monitor -- he`s made a technical argument.  They`re monitoring the annual audit of the presidential tax returns and they can only make sure the IRS is doing that in a -- in a clear and clean way if they could access themselves to the tax returns.

The argument the White House is making is that it`s a fishing expedition, that the only reason Democrats are after this is to embarrass the President and therefore there`s no legitimate legislative purpose associated with it so therefore no.

VOSSOUGHIAN:  OK, so you are one of the few people that have seen these tax returns.  I know you`re under court order not to reveal some of the details of what you`ve seen but what can you tell us as to what`s inside these returns?  What is the President trying to hide?

O`BRIEN:  Well, he clearly is trying to hide a number of things.  I think you know, his business has never been as robust or as profitable and the wealth that he`s generated out of that business as he said it has.  He`s never been as generous a philanthropist as he said he -- as he had said he was.  The tax returns would reveal those kinds of things.

I think what`s germane now for a President Trump as opposed to a citizen Trump is the tax returns would also show his sources of foreign income and that gets to the issue of whether or not foreign entities from places like Russia for example, or Saudi Arabia for example, could have traction or a hold on the President`s decision-making and policymaking apparatus because of financial relationships he has with them.

Having said that, I also think the tax returns are going to have a fairly limited amount of information as well.  It`s not going to be --


O`BRIEN:  Well, because Neal has only asked for six years.  He`s looking for a period 2013-ish I think to the president, 2012 to the present.  I don`t think those are the years that are going to be consequential if you want to understand all of the financial relationships that Trump had prior to becoming president and those that may be compromising.

There`s this very interesting period in the mid-2000s when a lot of cash came into the Trump Organization that`s never been very well explained.  Those are the tax returns they need to get their hands on.

VOSSOUGHIAN:  But there is no chance they would ever be able to get their hands on those types of tax returns from that time period that they could - - that they could justify wanting to get their hands on those tax returns unless they found a reason, a legislative reason to do so.

O`BRIEN:  Well, it`s been a tradition for the president to release --

VOSSOUGHIAN:  A tradition.

O`BRIEN:  It`s a tradition, it`s not a law.


O`BRIEN:  And it`s because the president is not subject to conflict of interest laws that other members of the federal government are.  There`s a constitutional wreath the framers believed you would hamstring string the president too much if you did that.

So the president has a lot of leeway but every president prior to this has given years and years of tax returns.  They could go back that far if they wanted.  They just have to have the backbone to do it.

VOSSOUGHIAN:  To do it.  All right, thank you, Tim.

O`BRIEN:  Thank you.

VOSSOUGHIAN:  Good seeing you.  All right, ahead, some news about Marianne Williamson and the next Democratic Debate.  Stay with us, everybody.


VOSSOUGHIAN:  And finally tonight, self-help guru Marianne Williamson was not included in that splashy Vogue photo spread of women running for president, but The New York Times reporting she will -- says, she will make the next debate, which means millions of people will see more of this.


MARIANNE WILLIAMSON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We don`t have a health care system in the United States, we have a sickness care system in the United States.  This man has reached into the psyche of the American people and he has harnessed fear for political purposes. I`m going to harness love for political purposes.  I will meet you on that field and, sir, love will win.

And the fact that somebody has a younger body doesn`t mean you don`t have old ideas.  And I would tell her, girlfriend, you are so wrong.



That does it for me.  Enjoy your 4th of July holiday.  You can catch me mornings on "FIRST LOOK" at 5:00 A.M. Eastern.

"HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews starts right now.