Impeachment caucus grows. TRANSCRIPT: 8/30/19, The Beat w/ Ari Melber.

Guests: Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, Clarence Page, Bob Kuylen, Steve Cohen,Danyelle Sales, Madeline Cronin, Tom Steyer

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Be sure to join me Sunday for "MEET THE PRESS", with the latest obviously on Hurricane Dorian; look at the generational divide in the Presidential race, among my guests will be somebody who would like to see that divide go in his favor, Julian Castro.

THE BEAT starts right now. Chris Jansing is in for Ari. Hello, Chris.

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC HOST: Hey good to see you Chuck, thank you.

TODD: Good to see you.

JANSING: I am Chris Jansing in for Ari tonight. We`re following a lot of stories. The walls are closing in. Trump, losing support as his trade war blows up as his administration cut millions of dollars from FEMA.

Plus, more fallout as Trump threatens to deport seriously ill children. I`ll talk to one family whose five-year-old is receiving life-saving care in the U.S., but has been told to get out.

And the slow burn in the impeachment caucus, why dozens more Democrats have come out in favor of impeaching Trump since the Mueller hearing.

We`ll get to all of it, but we begin with an update on Hurricane Dorian, as the monster storm barrels toward Florida. NBC Meteorologist, Bill Karins is with us. Bill what should people be preparing for?

BILL KARINS, NBC NEWS METEOROLOGIST: Well, that`s the million dollar questions. You`re prepared in case you`re told to evacuate. I mean, that`s kind of the bottom line. First thing, the area of concerns in Northern Bahamas and then we`re going to talk about South Central Florida on the East Coast, and then possibly right up through the Florida Coast into the Carolinas.

And yesterday the trend was - oh, oh, this looks really strong and it looks further to the South. Today in the last 24 hours, the trend has been, "It still looks really strong, but maybe - just maybe, we can stall this thing out enough and curve it out to sea to avoid a devastating blow on the East Coast of Florida and even the Carolina.

So let me explain the latest in the Hurricane Center. 115 mile per hour winds and look at how well-defined the eye is now - very symmetrical. It just looks like a classic major hurricane right now, wouldn`t surprise me at all if it gets up to a Category 4 overnight tonight into tomorrow morning. And I still think this may even have a shot at some point in the next 48 hours, it coming close to a Category 5.

So that gets your attention enough right there. We know we`re going to have this huge beast of storm that could potentially do extreme damage, just like Michael last year, some of the big huge ones have done in the past.

The forecast path in the Hurricane Center, we`re through the Bahamas Sunday into Monday. So we know that that part in the forecast, all of our models are saying that`s going to happen. That looks like it`s pretty much set in stone. They`re rushing to either get out of the way or rush to completion in areas of the Northern Bahamas.

And then we have this northwards turn and this the big debate between all the meteorologists and why the forecast wiggles and changes a little bit. When is that turn going to occur that`s all being guided by an area of high pressure up here near Bermuda?

If it`s a little stronger it sends it straight into areas of South Florida and Central Florida. If it`s weaker, the storm stalls and then it can curve and turn, and that`s kind of been the trend as we`ve gone throughout the day today. A little bit of a weaker high and so that allows the storm to stall and then kind of make a drifting trend.

Now, if it drifts as a Category 4 right along the East Coast of Central Florida, that`s horrendous, that`s like worst case scenario for them. But if we can kick it just a little bit more offshore, say like what this computer model does, then it would just be a glancing blow.

But you noticed, the majority of them are either on the shore or right along the coast all the way from about Vero Beach, Palm Bay, down the Indian River and then kicking it through the Space Coast up here towards Flagler County, Daytona Beach areas and then towards Jacksonville. And now we`ve added into the cone Savannah and even Charleston too. So we haven`t eliminated the possibility of even a direct hit up there.

And here`s our two computer models, this is our American model. We get these updated about - the big updates every 12 hours. It has the storm as we go throughout 2 a.m. Tuesday, that`s how far back we`ve pushed this now - 2 a.m. Tuesday, just off the coast of Florida. But the European model, even further, still over the Northern Bahamas.

Then as we fast-forward it, European model off coast; American model comes right along the coast and then off the coast. So we`ve got a lot to watch on this one Chris. And I hate to say, it`s a flip of a coin right now. But if you watch that cone of uncertainty, we call it this white area in here, 50% of that is now offshore. The other 50% is either over Florida or over here in western portions of Florida.

So you know right now it`s just too early for us to say if we`re even going to get a Category 4 landfall. But it`s still a possibility and as long as that is the case, you have to prepare.

JANSING: Yes, no kidding Bill Karins, thank you for that. All of the preparations for the storm coming just after the Trump administration announced a plan to take away funding from FEMA, shifting a $155 million from FEMA`s disaster relief funding to pay for the President`s border priorities.

And when it looked like Dorian could hit the already battered Puerto Rico, the President sent multiple tweets, attacking the island and its leaders, calling them corrupt and incompetent. All this, as Trump faces growing pressure on everything from his trade policy to immigration plans.

With growing signs of frustration from a key part of Trump`s base, farmers, getting hammered by Trump`s trade war and new ethanol rules, plus public outcry after the administration eliminated a policy to defer deportations for families with a member undergoing life-saving medical treatment.

Now children with cancer and cystic fibrosis could get kicked out of the country within weeks. And there`s new turmoil in the West Wing with President Trump`s personal assistant abruptly resigning today after the President found out about comments she had made to reporters in an off-the- record briefing.

With me on all of this, Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, a Professor at the University of Texas and Clarence Page columnist for "The Chicago Tribune". It`s good to see both of you. A lot to get to.

Victoria, there was a lot of coverage of a President staying home to monitor the storm this weekend, but Dorian`s coming right after he cut money from FEMA`s budget. He attacked Puerto Rico again. In fact, he seemed to complain about another big storm heading to the island. So how does he prove he`s actually committed to these areas hit by storms?

VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, LBJ SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS: I don`t think he`s necessarily caring whether it shows up that he`s committed or not. We know that he is at a very tumultuous relationship with the Island of Puerto Rico, with their leadership.

And he in his actions, in taking that funding away from FEMA, because let`s not forget that it`s only been two years since Hurricane Maria and the island is still recovering, so I don`t think he really cares that much.

I think where it`s really going to hurt, though, Chris, is in Florida. Because when we first thought that the bulk of the storm was going to go to Puerto Rico, that`s a different story that when it hits Florida and you have all that full electorate of a purple swing state there that`s going to be affected. So I`m going to be really curious to see if he changes his tune when we see the impact of the storm closer to the U.S. mainland.

JANSING: Clarence, the front page of Puerto Rico`s leading newspaper today said Mr. President your numbers are fake, because he said Puerto Rico got $92 billion in hurricane recovery. He keeps repeating that.

When Congress and the executive branch, it`s been said over and over again, only approved $49 billion, and just about half of that has actually gotten to Puerto Rico already. So what does it mean that he just keeps saying this over and over and over again, no matter how many times he`s corrected?

CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE COLUMNIST: The President has had a math problem with Puerto Rico from the time of the first hurricane when we saw that he remember way underestimated or understated the number of casualties there, saying they were somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 or 40 something like that. And turns out it`s a well over a thousand.

These are the kind of - this is the kind of attention he`s given to Puerto Rico in the past. It`s a very strange kind of a passive neglect, if you will. While at the same time, Florida is a very important state for him politically, as well as important state for him financially, because he`s got two very important properties there Mar-a-Lago and the other hotel but he wants to have the G7 conference.

And that`s the difference between those two as far as the attention goes. So I suspect we`re going to see him paying a lot more attention, especially as the storm gets closer to Orlando and Highway 4, which is a pivotal area of independent swing voters in Florida, which could carry that very important state`s electoral votes one way or the other.

JANSING: Yes. We know he canceled the trip to Poland, but he`s about to get on a flight to go to or I guess, the helicopter to get to Camp David. But in the meantime, I talked to the former FEMA Director Craig Fugate earlier today about the cuts, taking money away from FEMA for border projects, especially the timing.

You know going right into the hurricane season and Fugate had some really fascinating insight about who should actually worry about that money going away. Here`s what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRAIG FUGATE, FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE FLORIDA DIVISION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: --to me it will not affect response to this hurricane. A bigger problem will be older disasters that if FEMA starts running low on money responding to this hurricane, they may have to stop work on older disastrous until Congress is able to refund that account.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JANSING: Until Congress can refund that account. Look, you might say Victoria, "Oh of course, Congress would replenish FEMA funds. Well, I mean I do think a lot of people thought they take care of 9/11 victims too, but we saw how protracted that was, right?

SOTO: I mean, regrettably we`ve become so hyperpartisan in this era and Congress has become so deadlock that pretty much everything is a tug of war. And anything that would - before would not be considered contentious is considered contentious now.

So the issue of FEMA funding is one of these issues where you think it`s going to pass. It`s absolutely going to pass and it doesn`t. And Chris, I want to take a further step back in terms of the shuffling around of the money from FEMA out of Department of Homeland Security. Let`s also think about what happens when we`re taking money away from the larger national security perspective.

So we`re funneling all of our money to the border, all of our money to detention centers, but not only are we neglecting FEMA, but we`re also neglecting maybe cyber security. We`re neglecting providing for protection from other things that are maybe not physical in nature, but cyber in nature.

So, I mean, this is really worrisome. How we see the reshuffling of money toward the one project that is really about Donald Trump`s central piece for his electoral strategy.

JANSING: Well, when all this is playing out Clarence, is Congress wraps up its summer break. They`re coming back to DC soon and Senate Republicans are reportedly getting anxious about Trump`s handling of the economy.

POLITICO reporting one GOP officials say officials saying "Everyone acknowledges that the economy is good. But they`re still uneasy about their own circumstances. I am nervous that people will lose their patience and want to start seeing results." And just as an aside another Republican member of the House announced today that he will not be running for re- election.

Do you think that there is a point at which Republicans will abandon the President on this?

PAGE: We keep asking that, don`t we, ever since the President was elected. And we don`t see Republicans defecting in any significant way. And quite the opposite, they have no place to go but to stand together, unless they do want to leave Congress all the other, which as you mentioned, a startlingly large number have done.

But right now, the Republicans are concerned about the perceptions of a depression being on the way or a recession rather. And economics is really 90 percent psychological impressions anyway if you feel prosperous than you are politically. If you don`t feel prosperous then that`s a problem for the status quo as far as the officeholders currently in office.

And so that`s going to be a big question now as we see President Trump constantly looking for somebody to blame for the pessimism some people feel. And of course, the press is handy to blame, so is the Federal Reserve. You name it. He goes after anybody he can. And he seems to be doing more of that lately.

JANSING: Yes, and we also mentioned frustrations among farmers with the President`s trade policies. Well, today, "The New York Times" Paul Krugman called it "the frauding of America`s farmers". Writing, "farmers` support for Trump should be seen as a form of affinity fraud in which people fall for a conman whom they imagined to be someone like them. And as is often the case in such frauds, the conman and his associates actually have contempt for their marks."

Joining us by Skype from his North Dakota farm is Bob Kuylen and a wheat farmer, who says he`s lost $400,000 since Trump took office. Beautiful piece of property you have there Bob. What`s been happening with your business?

BOB KUYLEN, NORTH DAKOTA FARMER: Well, we lost pretty much all of our markets since Trump took over. He`s dropped out of the TPP, got rid of NAFTA. I raised a lot of wheat on my arm and the Pacific Rim countries, they like high protein wheat and that`s what we raise here.

So being market is low ever since last year at harvest this time I sold wait for 5.70, the market today is 5.82. There used to be up to a $1 bonus on protein from 12 protein to 17, the dollar spread, right now there`s $0.05 cents. So we raise a lot of high protein wheat, so we`re just about taking a $2 hit from last year - $2 to $3 hips. And we are about $70 to $75 an acre we`re losing by harvesting a little bit above average crop right now.

JANSING: So how do you keep going?

KUYLEN: Well, older guys like us, we built up equity all our lives, so most farmers are our land rich and cash poor. So we`ll take out lost loans and stuff against our land and go backwards on the land that we paid for. But there`s a lot of young farmers out there that don`t have equity and I worry about them, because they`re going to - they don`t - they`re not going to be able to withstand this.

One of my neighbors - young neighbors told me the other day, he said that his banker said, wheat is 4.50, there`s going to be bloodbath this fall. So it`s not looking good for farmers at all. I know we`re getting some payments coming in here. Where I`m at, we`re going to get like $15 an acre, so that`s going to still put me at a $60 an acre loss.

JANSING: Wow. You did not vote for President Trump you told us, but polls show he does still have some support from the farming community. But are you sensing in the people around where you live, a change, a shift?

KUYLEN: I think there was a lot of people who voted for him that want to stay loyal to him. But it`s going to get to the point where financially if it`s between supporting the President or losing your family farm, this is something we`ve had in our family for four generations and I know there`s families with five or six generations on the same farm. If they`re going to lose that, I think they`re going to lose their loyalty really fast.

JANSING: Well, Bob Kuylen and we wish you well. It`s one of the great American resources is the family farm and thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today.

KUYLEN: Thank you.

JANSING: Clearance Page what do you say to that, he`s saying there could be a bloodbath?

PAGE: Indeed. I - because of this current crisis, I learned that Illinois leads the country on soy production. I didn`t realize that. But Illinois`s a manufacturing state and agricultural state and we`re seeing the same kind of reaction in downstate Illinois as a result of this current crisis.

It`s - nobody really knows where this current trade war is going to go. Trade wars are a dangerous matter to get into. And our President Trump is doing all he can to make it look good. But people are feeling the pain out there and that doesn`t help anybody.

JANSING: No, it does not. Clarence Page, thank you. Victoria DeFrancesco Soto please stay with me. After a quick 30 second break, something THE BEAT team put together, a special look at the slow build of Democrats coming out for impeachment since Mueller`s testimony.

So Trump`s new policy that could deport migrants with severe illnesses. I`ll talk to the family of a five-year-old boy Samuel Costa. This isn`t political for him. It`s a matter of life and death.

And later our one-on-one with billionaire and Presidential candidate Tom Steyer. I`m Chris Jansing in for Ari Melber, you`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC back in 30.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JANSING: It`s turning into one of the biggest political surprises of this summer, the growing movement to impeach President Trump. 41 more Democrats coming out in favor of impeachment since Mueller testified before Congress in July, bringing the total number of House members supporting an impeachment inquiry to 135.

Just this week, after reports Trump offered to pardon aides if they had to break the law in order to speed up progress on a border wall, a top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee said that issue would be added to ongoing proceedings about whether to impeach Trump. Meanwhile, the slow burn of the growing impeachment caucus continues.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One additional Democrat Lori Trahan of Massachusetts got behind and moved toward impeachment after Mueller`s testimony. 96 Democrats are calling for an impeachment inquiry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 98 House members back in impeachment inquiry, a surge of congressional Democrats. The impeachment caucus is swelling to a 108 members.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 116 Democrats, if you`re counting, takes you up to a 117 House Democrats. If one more Democrat comes out in favor, it`s half of the caucus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel we can no longer wait.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel compelled to call for an impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do not come to this decision lightly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The American people deserve the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A majority of House Democrats are now on record publicly supporting an impeachment inquiry. The number of Democrats supporting impeachment and greed now 124.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: 126.

AYMAN MOHYELDIN, MSNBC HOST: NBC`s count now up to 133 Democrats. That brings the number of House lawmakers backing impeachment to 135.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JANSING: I`m joined now by Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen, a member of the Judiciary Committee. It`s good to see you Congressman. You have supported impeachment since late 2017. Why do you think that now almost two years later, so many of your colleagues are changing their minds?

REP. STEVE COHEN (D-TN): The Democratic base is very much in favor of impeachment. The Mueller testimony really was eye-opening to some and that it showed clearly that five of the obstruction charges had all the constitutive elements had been met, and that there 10. And so the arguably you had 10 obstructions, but five all the elements were met and that there were over a 100 contacts with Russia in the Trump campaign during the election.

And while there might not have been a conspiracy there was cooperation and welcome of the Russian involvement and all those things together, the Democratic base has made a lot of people come out to say they`re for an inquiry.

I`m all for an inquiry. I`m pleased to see 135 people there. I think I was second or third in the Congress to come out for impeachment, not for a inquiry. Because I don`t think - while it`s important that we get the facts out there at hearings, and that`s what we can have to really influence and show the public the need to impeach this man. There`s no question he`s committed innumerable impeachable offenses and he should be impeached.

We`re beyond the stage of simply having an inquiry. He has basically come out and shown us his violations of the Emoluments Clause, his obstruction of justice and his total disregard for the rule of law that he should be impeached and removed.

JANSING: So you say the Democratic base - the Democratic base is for impeachment. So I want to play what constituents were asking your colleague Katie Porter of California about impeachment at a town hall she had recently.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): I believe that the impeachment of Donald Trump is a big mistake. He must be defeated at the ballot box in November 2020. I came out in favor of impeaching Donald Trump, because I believe that no American, especially not a democratically elected President, can be above the rule of law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JANSING: So I`m sure you heard the reaction. I mean, this is someone who, I`m sure you know. She beat an incumbent Republican. She flipped that Republican seat in California. So if there is this sort of growing sentiment among the Democratic base that the time has come, how do you move Nancy Pelosi into that category?

COHEN: You know, Katie is a great representative and Nancy`s a great Speaker, but I don`t know how to move Nancy, really. I mean I`m we`re friends and she`s got a - her ear to the ground and she`s listening to different vibrations then I`m listening to when I put my ear to the ground. I just don`t know how to move her on that.

JANSING: What does she tell you and do you ask her that? Do you ask her what are you hearing that I don`t understand?

COHEN: Well, she never I think tells me the full story. I mean, I think that she says and then I agree with her that we`re going to continue to do impeachment inquiry. We`re going to have hearings in the House and Judiciary Committee. We`re going to have one on the emoluments in my Subcommittee in September.

There will be other hearings if we can get the witnesses in and we need to proceed in court with our subpoenas and get the evidence - possibly the grand jury testimony that we`re seeking and get McGahn and Lewandowski and all those folks to testify. And as that material comes out, we will go where the facts lead us.

And I understand that and I agree with that and that makes sense. But at the same time, we know what they`re going to say, because it`s in the Mueller report. And those facts are that the President obstructed justice.

And there`s no question about the Emoluments Clause. Every time he takes in dollars from foreign governments at Trump hotels or Trump Towers and now he`s so blatant that he wants foreign governments to pay him at the Doral. This is just gone too far. And I`m afraid they`ll run out the clock the Trump they`re doing all they can to avoid court hearings.

They`re trying to appeal when they lose and they`re going to stall the clock where it`s too late, so that`s why I think we need to just impeach the guy. And he - while he won`t be convicted, it`s important to put him and have the House to its proper deed to say this is wrong. We have a certain line that lines the Constitution of the Constitution has been violated.

JANSING: Congressman Steve Cohen thanks so much for coming on the program.

COHEN: Thanks for having me on. I just want to say John Shimkus who announced he wasn`t running as a Republican, he`s a good guy and it`s a shame the good people like that are leaving and it`s partly because they`re minority and partly, I suspect, because they don`t want to be around this President.

JANSING: Thank you so much for that. Appreciated Congressman.

Turning next to Trump`s new policy that could deport migrants facing severe illnesses. I`ll talk to the family of Samuel Costa, a five-year-old boy from Brazil getting desperately needed treatment here in the U.S.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JANSING: Tonight public health officials expressing worry over a stunning new report about conditions in detention facilities that hold migrants. The CDC reporting on a large-scale outbreak of mumps, almost 900 cases across 19 states, plus dozens more staffers infected. The majority of patients got the mumps while in ICE custody.

One public health professor told BuzzFeed that based on CDC`s data, an ICE detainee had roughly at least a 4,000 fold greater risk of getting mumps than a non-detainee in the United States at large. This comes after months of reports of crowded and unsanitary conditions for detainees and as a new front is opening in the immigration fight.

Activists are sounding an urgent alarm over a new Trump policy to deport severely ill migrants, not from detention centers, but people who are here for critically needed medical attention. And today dozens of Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to top Trump immigration officials about this new policy, asking them to turn over documents within two weeks.

So here`s the question, why these patients, many of them children, are being targeted, despite Trump having claimed his real immigration concern was the quote "invasion from criminals and gangs."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is an invasion. When you see these caravans starting out with 20,000 people, that`s an invasion.

We`re talking about an invasion of our country with all types of criminals and gangs.

People hate the word invasion, but that`s what it is. It`s an invasion of drugs and criminals and people and in many cases and in some cases, you have killers coming in and murderers coming in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JANSING: Trump warning of gangs. But the new policy is affecting people like this five-year-old boy. His name is Samuel Costa. He`s from Brazil and is currently getting round-the-clock specialized medical care in the U.S. for a condition affecting his internal organs. His family says he cannot get this treatment in Brazil.

But earlier this month, the family received this letter, telling them to leave the U.S. within 33 days. I want to bring in Madeline Cronin, the attorney for the family you see here. Samuel is sitting on his mother`s lap, Selene (ph) and Danyelle Sales is Samuel`s cousin. She is speaking for the family. The most important and first question, Danielle, how is Samuel doing today?

DANYELLE SALES, COUSIN OF SAMUEL COSTA: Samuel is doing all right today. Thank you for asking.

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC NEWS ANCHOR: You are a U.S. citizen.

SALES: I am.

JANSING: How important is it for Samuel to be able to stay here in the U.S.?

SALES: For Samuel to stay here, he keeps pretty much his life. Him leaving the country, he wouldn`t have the special treatment that he has right now. He`s currently having a monitorized health treatment that he`s having here right now.

JANSING: So, literally, this is for him --

SALES: It is.

JANSING: -- what he absolutely needs to stay alive.

SALES: Exactly.

JANSING: Madeline, what happened here? What did the letter say about why Samuel would have to go?

MADELINE CRONIN, ATTORNEY FOR SAMUEL COSTA: Well, there actually was no reason or analysis given in the letter. We submitted an application, a detailed application about what his condition is and the seriousness of it. And we just got this boilerplate letter that said you have 33 days to leave the country or be put in deportation. So there was no analysis. It was obviously a boilerplate letter.

JANSING: Wow. So you say his life is at risk here and you get back basically a boilerplate.

CRONIN: Correct. No public announcement since then either.

JANSING: I know you`ve been working with the ACLU and other groups to try to bring attention to this. So this obviously isn`t just him impacting Samuel. How broad a problem could this be?

CRONIN: Well, there are no fixed numbers on how many cases there are across the United States, but I`ve heard it`s up to a thousand cases. So up to a thousand across the country. I have met with a couple of other new people that I saw this week that are facing the same problem. Great, great humanitarian problem.

JANSING: So they also got a letter saying you have a certain amount of days and then you have to leave the country.

CRONIN: Yes. And they presented these letters, and thinking they were alone in isolation, that for some reason they alone were getting these letters, not knowing that it was a blanket situation across the country.

JANSING: Danielle, how long could Samuel go on without treatment? Is it something that he absolutely needs every single day?

SALES: Samuel receives his nutrition, his medicine, his everything that he needs through a central line to his heart that takes 12 hours daily by two machines using two machines, two. That`s what he needs every single day.

JANSING: What has it been like for you? What has it been like for his mom and for his family ever since this letter came in? Can you even put into words the emotional toll this is taking on you?

SALES: I wish we could have words to describe what we`re feeling it, but I think that currently there`s no words for me to describe exactly what everything has been going, not only with his mother, but with everybody around us, the family, the friends and everybody who has been supporting us this past few months, and this past two years that this has been going through.

JANSING: Madeline, I just want to clarify, if something can`t be done, if your efforts through the ACLU and others are unsuccessful. What are your options? Is it possible Congress could get involved? We heard that they have written a letter. I mean, what are your thoughts? The clock is ticking.

CRONIN: Well, we know that he can`t leave, so the 33 days is just impossible. We also know that we are working in exploring all legal options. We haven`t heard anything from Acting Director Cuccinelli. This policy has been in place since the mid-70s. It`s a complete and abrupt reversal of this longtime policy. So other than that, this is a last effort by families to expose themselves, and to request help, because of dire situation.

And now, it`s completely been done away with. And other than legal action, it`s asking the Immigration Service by putting a real face to this problem to go back to the long standing policy of deferred action in humanitarian cases.

JANSING: Well, Madeline Cronin, thank you so much. And I know that this would not be high on the priority list for a sick little boy and his family to come on television and have to talk about this. But it`s so important and we thank you. And of course, we`re sending a big hug to Samuel, who is a beautiful, beautiful boy. And we hope you`ll keep in touch with us and let us know how things are going.

CRONIN: Thank you very much.

JANSING: Thank you. Let me bring back in Victoria DeFrancesco Soto. I don`t even know what to say here or what question to ask you. What`s your reaction to what you`ve just heard?

VICTORIAL MARIA DEFRANCESO SOTO, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS LBJ SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Cruelty and agony. That`s my initial reaction, Chris. But you know, I think through, why is this happening? I`m asking myself, how could we have gotten to this point? And then, you know, kind of, I get my academic hat back on. I go, "Wait, we saw this coming."

We have seen a cut to refugee and asylum programs in the United States like nothing we have ever seen before. So when President Obama left office, we were providing 110,000 visas to refugees and asylums for humanitarian reasons, for lifesaving reasons. The Trump administration in the last fiscal year cut it to 30,000 people.

This is just that next step in extremity of denying the humanity of folks who are immigrants, because really this is a matter of life and death, Chris. You know, these folks cannot leave by their own accord. What is this going to happen? What I`m wondering here is what are the optics of this going to be? Is this going to be a zero tolerance situation like what we saw at the border last summer, Chris, where the American public rises up and says no more, we`re not going to stand for this. My hope is it doesn`t get to this.

JANSING: Wow.

DEFRANCESO SOTO: But this is such an extreme that I do think we`d see that back, Chris.

JANSING: I mean, I think, you know, the timeline being so short. And you just have to go back to the argument that the president has made over, and over, and over again that his immigration policies are a national security issue. Look at Samuel. What national security threat does he pose?

I don`t know if you saw the cover of the front page of "The New York Times", I think it was yesterday. Another immigrant, Maria Isabel Bueso, who has a rare genetic disease, told "The New York Times", "I`ve been feeling super scared and overwhelmed. The treatment that I receive keeps me alive." Is she a national security threat?

DEFRANCESO SOTO: These are the polar opposites of what the quote, unquote, "bad hombres" are. These are children. These are youth. These are innocent people. And let`s also talk about, Chris, the fact that the deferred action is also needed for their caretakers, because you can`t leave a five year old by himself in a hospital room. You need a mother. You need a father there.

So, I mean, this from every angle is, I think, one of the most cruel policies I have ever seen. You know, I`m speechless. When I saw this policy by the Trump administration, which, by the way, came without a review period, because usually when we have rules put out from the executive office --

JANSING: Yes.

DEFRANCESO SOTO: -- there is a period where there is comment. There was none of that.

JANSING: Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, let`s hope people are watching and paying attention tonight. Thank you so much for being on.

DEFRANCESO SOTO: Thanks, Chris. Coming up next, I`ll talk to billionaire and presidential candidate Tom Steyer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JANSING: We`re back with new comments from Donald Trump, who`s on his way to Camp David tonight about the abrupt resignation of his personal assistant after she made comments about the first family and an off-the- record meeting with reporters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: She said she was drinking a little bit, and she was with reporters and everything she said was off the record. Mentioned a couple of things about my children. It was an off the record and, of course, the press breaks off the records all the time, because they are very dishonorable. Many of them, not all of you, but many of them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JANSING: He says he spoke with her tonight and he wishes her well. Either you`re in or you`re out. That`s the harsh reality for half the Democratic 2020 field, because look, what`s anybody talking about? Not the folks who will be watching from home, but about the first face off between the top three, about whether any of the candidates polling at two percent could have a breakthrough.

And, of course, they`re talking about the first ever battle between Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren as her rise in the polls has some other contenders nervous. My next guest missed the debate by just one poll, and as a result, maybe missed a lot of attention.

2020 Presidential candidate, Tom Steyer, is here. Good to see you again. Thanks for joining us.

TOM STEYER, 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Chris, thank you for having me.

JANSING: So let`s take a realistic look at this. You spent an awful lot of money. You came close, but no cigar. What needs to happen now for you to believe and frankly, for people to believe that this campaign is viable?

STEYER: Well, the rule is that we needed to be at two percent in four polls in the early primary states. The public polls that the DNC doesn`t accept have me somewhere between six and seven percent on average in those four states.

JANSING: But you know going in what the rules were. That`s what the DNC would say.

STEYER: But in the last few weeks, they`ve only gotten one poll. So we just got to have some polls.

JANSING: And you`re going to just continue to spend money until --

STEYER: What we can see, Chris, is that my message that we have a broken government, that corporations have bought the government, that we need to re-establish the democracy in order to get the kinds of policies in health care and education, a living wage, clean air and clean water, in order to get those policies to happen is actually working. People believe that for the last 10 years, I`ve taken these corporations on and beat them. So, of course, I`m going to keep going. There`s no question it is working. They just haven`t run polls.

JANSING: But what do base that on?

STEYER: The polls that are on the ground right now and have been on the ground for the last six weeks. The actual polls in the early primary states where I`ve been spending my time actually show that I`m somewhere between fourth and fifth place. So we can see from polls on the ground that the DNC doesn`t accept that my message is working, that people are responding. So it`d be crazy not to keep going. And I`m definitely going to.

JANSING: Okay, you`re going to keep going. In the meantime, we heard the DNC announcing today they`re going to block a virtual caucus in Iowa, that critical first caucus state. The Des Moines Register says the, "Iowa Virtual Caucus blew up." If you`re not a political nerd, why should people care? What`s your take on this?

STEYER: Well, I think the virtual caucus was a way for people to vote, who were, for some reasons, couldn`t find the time to get to a caucus, which takes several hours. So that means people are homebound, who might be seniors. It means people who have two jobs and have to be at work. It means people who can`t find child care. People estimated that if, in fact, the virtual caucus were allowed, there would be up to a third more participation. So I`m absolutely in favor of the enfranchisement of Iowan voters who otherwise can`t get to the polls. I think this is a terrible decision.

JANSING: Do you not buy their explanation, which is they couldn`t assure the security of such a system?

STEYER: Look, I think there are some security issues, but I think they`ve had months to work on it, I think they`ve got another five months to get that in order and get a back-up system in line. So I think this is something that is doable. And when you`re talking about disenfranchising a third of Iowa Democrats, it seems to me it`s important enough to make sure you can do it, because I believe they can.

JANSING: So you think the wrong decision was made on the caucus? You`re not alone in that. This week, you also ran an ad in Iowa criticizing the DNC over the debate requirements. And there`s also been a lot of ongoing unhappiness about nixing the climate debate. Are you happy with the DNC and its leadership and their influence on this campaign?

STEYER: Look, Chris, I`m a political outsider. For 10 years, I`ve been taking on corporations and beating them as an outsider in the political system. I`ve also started the Need to Impeach campaign, which was getting over eight million Americans to sign a petition to impeach and remove our criminal president. In all of this, I`ve been pushing the system to try and be more democratic. I`ve started an organization to register, engage and drive voters to the polls, which did a historic job in 2018.

So as far as I`m concerned, my job over the last 10 years has been to reinvigorate democracy at the expense of corporations and political insiders. I don`t see myself as being in a different position here. I`m with the people. I think every one of the stances that I`ve taken have been to try to reflect the fact that human beings feel shut out by this government, shut out by this political system, and that for us to reinvigorate our democracy, we`re going to have to take it back. And that`s what I`ve been trying to do and that`s what I continue to try and do.

JANSING: Tom Steyer, thank you so much for coming on. Have a good holiday.

STEYER: Thank you, Chris. You, too.

JANSING: Coming up, we`re tracking Hurricane Dorian as it heads to the Florida coast. We are live on the ground, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JANSING: Now back to that monster storm gaining strength 600 miles off the coast of Florida. A hurricane warning has been issued for the northwestern Bahamas as Hurricane Dorian barrels toward Miami. The storm bringing with it 115 mile per hour winds and growing stronger as it approaches the mainland. It`s expected to make landfall late Monday or early Tuesday. Joining me now MSNBC is Mariana Atencio, who is in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

You and I first talked at about 9:00 this morning. Are the crowds still coming in and how are people bracing for Dorian.

MARIANA ATENCIO, MSNBC REPORTER: So, Chris, we`ve spoken throughout the day several times. I got here at 7:00 in the morning and the line went around this Costco in Palm Beach Gardens, because as it stands this city is 14 miles north of West Palm Beach. The storms seems to be heading this way. Now that could change, but it is a monster of a storm. And right now it is headed here. That has sent out shoppers lining up for the most sought-after basics, the non-perishable foods, medicine. There`s a big retirement community here.

Now the place is abuzz, because they just got news that generators were brought in here. There was a line outside the local Home Depot at 5:00 in the morning for generators. There were 80 people in the line and only 60 generators, so the overflow came here, and now it`s flying off the shelves.

But I`d have to say the number one item is water. People desperately lining up for water here to the point where they had to limit the amount of water that was being sold to two cases for a customer. And, in fact, the manager here at the Costco telling me that just today alone they sold 4,000 cases of water at this location.

So people, Chris, they are preparing for the worst case scenario. Preparing as if the storm was coming here. And so far that looks to be the scenario.

Yeah, I read at some other stores they actually had clerks wearing little signs that said, "No more water."

JANSING: Mariana Atencio, thank you so much. We appreciate it. Up next, a new report about potential charges for associates of Jeffrey Epstein

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JANSING: We`ve got an important update for you. Weeks after the death of Jeffrey Epstein, the criminal case against him has formally closed. But new reports are providing new insight into what prosecutors may be looking at concerning his closest associates.

"The New York Times" reporting that according to two people with knowledge of the inquiry, Epstein relied on, quote, "An organized network of underlings, women to aid him, people who were training girls in sexual acts, who booked cars and travel logistics, who recruited others to ensure Epstein", quote, "Always had a fresh supply of teenage girls at the ready."

Some of these women even previously were named as "co-conspirators" in that infamous Florida plea deal that granted them immunity. One of Epstein`s victims, Theresa Helm, also spoke about them in her statement to a federal judge on Tuesday, saying they need to be held accountable for helping him with systematic recruitment and abuse.

And Gloria Allred, attorney for several of the victims, says she spoke about this with Jeffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY-AT-LAW: I was very concerned that, obviously, that there was mention of the co-conspirators in the original indictment of Mr. Epstein. What was going to happen to that and are they really going to continue the investigation? He assured me that this is a serious investigation, it`s going to continue. And, you know, it is always possible. It is possible that there will be another indictment.

JANSING: Some of the women cited for helping Epstein, like former girlfriend and longtime associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, have not made any public comments since his arrest almost two months ago. Maxwell has denied any wrongdoing and has not been criminally charged. However, the Times is also reporting that some of these women may initially have been victims themselves. Investigations into Epstein`s death remain ongoing as well. "THE BEAT" will stay on this story. That`s going to do it for me. I`m Chris Jansing. "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews is up next.

 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END