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President Trump TRANSCRIPT: 8/4/20, All In w/Chris Hayes

Guests: Cory Booker, Stuart Stevens, Vanita Gupta, Dale Ho

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Yes. Keyvon Scott, thank you so much for being here.  I really appreciate you. Best of luck to you. And that is tonight`s  REIDOUT. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now. Thank you.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN. Donald Trump`s dishonest attack  on democracy. As a president threatens more lawsuits to sabotage the  election, why he`s now backtracking on just one state where mail-in voting  is apparently not so bad? 

Then, "it is what it is." President`s words on the American Coronavirus  death toll. Laurie Garrett is here on why it doesn`t have to be this way.  Stuart Stevens on Trump`s catastrophic interview with Axios and why Donald  Trump`s order to stop the census is an unconstitutional power grab, when  ALL IN starts right now. 


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Donald Trump and the  Republican Party are waging a war on the very mechanisms of voting ahead of  the upcoming election in November. And they are running some real risks not  just for their democracy, but also their own campaign. I`ll explain. 

There`s a situation with the Postal Service. We`ve talked about that a lot  on this show because it is pressing and important and urgent. The  President, of course, installed his crony, a wealthy Republican donor named  Louis DeJoy, that`s him right there, he should be famous, as Postmaster  General earlier this year. 

And this is Louis DeJoy, and this is the board of governors, all appointed  by President Trump, a pretty homogenous looking group of old men. Those are  the people running the Post Office right now. And now, DeJoy is  implementing a bunch of changes at the U.S. Postal Service allegedly to cut  costs that are quite clearly slowing down mail delivery nationwide. 

That could potentially create huge problems for mail-in voting as the  pandemic still rages across this country. And if the mail takes too long to  get back to the -- into the offices, then they can`t count the ballots. Not  to mention that it`s hurting countless small businesses across the country  in red states and blue states, rural areas and urban that depend on the  Postal Service in the midst of a vast economic downturn. 

And then there`s the legal battle. The Trump campaign is suing state and  county elections officials in Pennsylvania, saying their use of Dropboxes  for mail-in ballots is unconstitutional. The campaign is asking a federal  court to bar them in November. Think about that. You can`t use the  dropboxes so you got to use the mail which we`re slowing down. That`s the  play. 

In Nevada, the state Republican Party and Republican National Committee  sued Clark County officials in June in part over their plan to mail  absentee ballots to "inactive voters." And President Trump threatened  further legal action just yesterday, after the governor of that state Steve  Sisolak signed a bill ensuring that all the citizens in his state can vote  by mail November, a very common-sense approach when it might be dangerous  to go to the polls. 

In fact, the RNC now lists a total of 17 states where they in the Trump  campaign are engaged in legal battles related to mail-in voting and other  ways that they say Democrats are assaulting the integrity of the elections.  Of course, assaulting the entire elections meaning here, making sure people  can vote. 

This is a full concerted effort by the entire Trump administration, and  crucially, the Republican Party, whether they like Trump or not or they  roll their eyes or not or they think he`s uncouth, the whole party to  undermine the legitimacy of the election, to cast aspersions on voting by  mail, and attempt to actually bar people from voting by mail, all while  we`re in a deadly pandemic that has killed almost 160,000 of our fellow  Americans. 

And then above all else, there`s the constant rhetorical war led by the  President. It isn`t just baseless, it`s ludicrous. It doesn`t even make any  sense. It`s just pure, deceitful propaganda. It`s like something straight  out of North Korea. The president can`t even keep his own talking point  straight.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, we have a new phenomena.  It`s called -- it`s called mail-in voting where you send -- 

JONATHAN SWAN, POLITICAL REPORTER, AXIOS: New? It`s been here since the  civil war. 

TRUMP: In terms of kind of the kind of millions and millions of ballots,  I`ve never -- 

SWAN: It will be bigger this year because of the pandemic. 

TRUMP: Bigger? Not, bigger, massively bigger. 

SWAN: Yes, because of the pandemic. I honestly don`t understand this topic. 

TRUMP: Go ahead. 

SWAN: The Republican Party has an extremely well-funded vote by mail  program. Your campaign puts out e-mails telling people to vote by mail. 

TRUMP: Correct. 

SWAN: Your daughter in law, Lara Trump, she had robocalls in California  saying it`s safe and secure, mail in voting. 

TRUMP: Let me tell you. We have no choice. 

SWAN: The Republicans won. That was an old mail-in race. 


HAYES: The President has been spewing this anti-mail-in voting propaganda  for weeks and he seems to have just realized it might be a bit of a problem  for him in the key state of Florida. Now, Florida is always an important  state, but this year, it`s going to be in a especially important position  and this is why. 

The polls closed relatively early in Florida on election night, OK, 7:00  p.m. Eastern, and that state typically counts mail-in ballots pretty  quickly. So, add it up together. If Joe Biden wins in Florida, right. If  they were to say early in the night that Joe Biden has won in Florida, it  will be very difficult for Donald Trump to win the presidency, almost  impossible. It`s really hard to see a path. 

And in an election where we almost certainly see a big increase in mail-in  ballots -- I mean, just look at what the mail-in voting has been like so  far in Florida ahead of the August 18th primary there, Democrats lead and  mail-in ballots returned so far is 11 points, a complete flip from the 2016  primary when Republicans lead mail-in ballots by 11 points.

So with Coronavirus, still raging in Florida, and of course, the state  filled with many, many senior citizens, many of whom are Republicans who  may not want to risk going out to the polls, and why would they, the  President cannot afford to discourage his senior elderly Floridian  supporters from voting by mail and risk losing the whole thing on election  night without any of the prolonged battle he`s preparing for. 

This was obvious, of course, to everyone watching. So today, he just  completely reversed himself tweeting what basically amounted to a big,  please disregard. "Whether you`re calling vote by mail or absentee voting  in Florida, the election system is safe and secure, tried and true.  Florida`s voting system has been cleaned up. We defeated Democrats`  attempts to change. So, in Florida, I encourage all to request a ballot and  vote by mail. MAGA." 

There`s likely going to be only one more big piece of legislation signed  before election day, the COVID relief bill that is currently being hammered  out in Congress. And if there is anything to be done to make sure the  election happens in the safest, most efficient manner possible, with the  Postal Service appropriately funded, that legislation is our last shot.

I`m joined now by Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey. Of course,  Senate is in negotiations now between various members of Democratic  leadership in the White House over this relief bill. But before we get to  that, look, just what is your reaction to watch the president do this, to  sort of sow this sense of paranoia, conspiracy, illegitimacy around  American elections, and then today put an asterisk next to it and say, but  in Florida, that`s fine.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): I mean, it`s so transparent and painful to watch.  One of the great stress tests of our democracy is having a President of the  United States, during a pandemic, attacking the very systems of our  democracy. And the hypocrisy is deep because we have entire states that  have been doing only vote by mail, and has been working fine. And then  today, with the tweet that you showed, where he suddenly realizing that  certain states that are pivotal to him, he`s now going to declare that  they`re OK.

And so, we have a whole host of challenges right now going on in our  country. But for the very fundamentals of our democracy, the voting  process, for him to be attacking it trying to delegitimize it, is a real  stress test for our democracy as people are having to deal with the  reality, feeling an urgency to vote but also wanting to protect their  safety. So, it is shameless, but it also overall dangerous to the  continuance of our democracy. 

And I think he is setting himself up to have a means with which when Joe  Biden, God willing, beats him thoroughly to question the legitimacy of the  election, which will be in and of itself another stress test, for the first  time in my lifetime, we`ve seen us have to question the peaceful transition  of power.

HAYES: And I mentioned, of course, the key role that the post office plays  in all this. There`s some reporting that actually the Postmaster General is  going to meet with some of the folks who are negotiating this. You`re  nodding so I think you`ve heard you`ve heard this news. 


HAYES: There is real concern about what`s going on there. And there`s real  question -- I mean, this bill is it. Like, this is the last ship to set  sail before the election. So the Postal Office and election administration  gets funded here or it doesn`t. How important is this? How much of a red  line do you see this as? 

BOOKER: Well, here`s a major red line. That these Trump appointees, this is  not to debate, they have slowed down the Postal Service. And their slowdown  is hurting private citizens as you shown, it`s hurting small businesses,  but it`s really threatening to further complicate an election process that  Donald Trump is intent on questioning the legitimacy of.

So, he, in many ways, is causing the problem that he is then going to turn  around and use as another factor to make his crazy conspiracy theory that  something was illegitimate in this election. And so, this is what he does.  He did it in his own election with these millions of people that were the  voter fraud that he alleged. He formed a commission on it, then he  dismissed the commission when his allegations of the improper voting in the  last election were called out. 

So, we`ve seen the playbook in a smaller way then, but this could be a  really serious thing he`s doing and he`s complicating it. Not only is he  complicating this election, but what he`s doing with the census, which goes  directly into the apportionment of power and resources and the drawing of  lines. 

He`s using the gears of government to undermine basic elements of our  democracy -- the Postal Service mentioned in the Constitution, the Census  mentioned in the Constitution, is absolutely unacceptable. And  unfortunately, it`s going to be, as I said, a great stress test for us all  of our democracy.

HAYES: What strikes me as so dangerous here is not just the president, but  the fact that increasingly it seems to me the Republican Party is --  doesn`t think it can win in a majoritarian contest, right? That they need  to use anti-majoritarian means, the Electoral College, the apportionment of  the United States Senate, the judiciary, to essentially govern the country  they think is rightfully theirs to govern from a position of 40 to 42 to 44  percent of the country, and not a majority. And that gives them an  incentive to essentially attack democracy itself. 

So you -- I mean, Trump, you got DeSantis, and the full Republicans who  gang up to reinstate fines and fees as a barrier to voting after a state  referendum says that people who`ve served their time down in that state can  vote. You`ve got the RNC launching all this. You got Mitch McConnell hasn`t  taken up the Voter Rights Act. The entire party seems very much dead set  against the basic participation in the franchise.

BOOKER: Yes. I mean, you see it from Texas, having the most restrictive  voting registration laws there are. You see in states like North Carolina  that even a federal judge called them out for -- with surgical-like  precision moving to pass laws to disenfranchise African Americans. You see  this as a party and so many elements on the state level, and here on the  federal level, doing everything they can to undermine what we should all  want, as a democracy with vibrant participation. 

And I think that you`re hitting on something about this idea that they have  very rarely of recent decades, one presidency by also getting the popular  vote in the United States Senate. We may be in the minority as Democrats,  but we represent millions of more voters than they do. They seem to start  to realize that their appeal to the -- to the broad majority of our country  is dwindling. 

And as opposed to trying to change their message or to reach out their  party, they seem to be doubling down on doing things that`s going to make  it harder to vote, harder for people to participate, and have us to be a  less a vibrant democracy. That is anti-democratic. And we see a president  who admires Putin and Duterte. He admires authoritarian leaders who may  have nominal democracies. There actually are elections in Russia, but  they`re very corrupted. 

And we see that these are the people he admires, and his behavior is more  akin to what they are trying to do than it is akin to other traditions and  institutions of our democracy.

HAYES: Final question for you. And I know that you`re not directly a party  to negotiations that were happening among a small number of members of the  White House and Senate and House leadership on the Democratic side, but I  just -- I find this outrageous and insane that Republicans are sort of  fiddling while the country is burning. And people are going to get evicted  and people are going to lose their unemployment lifeline, and it`s cruel  and nuts politically to me. I guess the question is, is there going to be a  deal? Where are we on this?

BOOKER: Well, this is where you can`t even use the word Republicans because  Republicans who have to run things, counties, cities, towns, are all saying  we need help, we need support. The last COVID package we passed, which was,  you know, $2 trillion, was at the time that everyone believed that the  crisis wasn`t going to be as great as it is now. 

Well, now, our economy is tanking at a significant level, human suffering  is continuing to go up at a dangerous arch, and they seem to be having a  conversation with how low can they go in terms of the package they get out.  Now, I don`t care Republican or Democrat, you have everybody from the head  of the Fed to economists on both sides of the aisle saying we need to  stimulate this economy. 

And technically, one of the best ways to do that is to get money to people  who are going to be putting up money in our economy, i.e. Unemployment Insurance, so I just don`t understand. This is the biggest point of crisis  I`ve seen in my lifetime. It demands a big response, but they`re trying to  whittle it down, cut key benefits, and are more interested in giving a full  ride-off for corporate lunches than to actually help people, 40 percent of  American families with children are food insecure, and they don`t even want  to give additional help with food stamps or snap aid.

So this is a real crisis in our country, and I`m hoping that the  negotiators can bring them to some sanity. This isn`t partisanship. It`s  about patriotism and being there for people in need.

HAYES: Well, I wish I could be in the meeting with Louis DeJoy, the  Postmaster General tomorrow. But hopefully, we`ll hear how that goes.  Senator Cory Booker, senator from New Jersey there in Washington, hopefully  where he`s going to be voting on something soon, thank you so much for your  time tonight.

BOOKER: Thank you always, Chris.

HAYES: Next, the President`s response to the 1,000 people or more in this  country who die every day from the Coronavirus, "It is what it is."  Pulitzer Prize-winning a Laurie Garrett on the President`s deadly  disinterest in confronting the pandemic after this.


HAYES: There`s an interview with President Trump that aired last night  which is getting a lot of attention and for good reason.


TRUMP: I think it`s under control. I`ll tell you what -- 

SWAN: How? 1,000 Americans are dying a day.

TRUMP: They were dying. That`s true. And you have -- it is what it is. But  that doesn`t mean we aren`t doing everything. We can, it`s under control as  much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague that beset us. 

SWAN: You really think this as much as we can control, 1,000 deaths a day?

TRUMP: Well, I`ll tell you -- well, right here, the United States is lowest  in numerous categories. We`re lower than the world. 

SWAN: Lower than the world? What is that?

TRUMP: We`re lower than Europe. 

SWAN: In what? In what?

TRUMP: Take a look. Right here. Here, it`s case death. 

SWAN: Oh, you`re doing death as a proportion of cases. I`m talking about  death as a proportion of population. That`s where the U.S. is really bad. 

TRUMP: Well -- 

SWAN: Much worse than South Korea, Germany, etcetera.

TRUMP: You can`t -- you can`t do that. You have to go -- 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why can`t I do that?

TRUMP: You have to go by -- you have to go by where -- look, here is the  United States, you have to go by the cases.


HAYES: That room right there, I cannot stop thinking about it. I`ve watched  it a whole bunch of times. And we`re months now into this once in a century  plague, the President called it, which it is. We have arguably the worst  response in the world. Certainly, the worst response among rich countries.  That just is true. 

What`s amazing about this moment is that Donald Trump is so checked out, he  cares so little, I mean, so little about what`s actually happening or  actually solving it. He couldn`t even be bothered to remember the  disingenuous talking point he was supposed to be pushing. Think about that.  He couldn`t get his brain to remember the following sentence. 

We have a lower-case fatality rate than many other countries. Think about  that. You can just memorize that sentence, right? That sentence is too much  for him. He couldn`t do it. All he remembers, his sum total of investment  in this, is that someone once showed him a graph with colored lines, with a  good color line for the U.S. That`s it. That is the level of care and  attention that is being directed to this once in a century catastrophe from  the president. 

And the fact the matter is that yes, Jonathan Swan is right. The percentage  of Americans we are losing to this disease day in day out from our  population, the ultimate cost is near the worst in the world. Look at this  Financial Times chart. The U.S. is in the top 10 of total deaths per  million people behind the hardest-hit European and South American countries  right up there near the top. It`s getting worse every day and it`s probably  going to get even worse in the weeks to come. 

Joining me now is Pulitzer Prize-Winning Science Journalist Laurie Garrett,  author of The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of  Balance. And Laurie, it`s always great to talk to you. This to me is  something that has become clearer over time. It was clear in the beginning,  but when you go through the metrics, we -- it is worse here. And fatalities  are one of the key ways of understanding how bad it is here, and it just is  worse than the rest of the world.

LAURIE GARRETT, MSNBC SCIENCE CONTRIBUTOR: Without a doubt. I mean, we`re  not the absolute worst in deaths per 100,000 or deaths per million  citizens, but where the worse in absolute numbers. And when you go by  deaths per thousand, hundred thousand, or million, whatever marker you  choose, we`re right up there, as you said, horribly in the top 10. 

And that means that we`re being rivaled by countries like India, countries  that -- where we should be the scientific lead of the planet. We should  have the best results on Earth. We have the strongest scientific community.  We have the National Institutes of Health. We spend more money on health  than any other nation on Earth. 

This is -- what`s intriguing to me about the President`s responses to Jon  Swan`s questions is that when he wants to brag about achievement, he owns  it as a federal response. But when he wants to talk about failures, he says  the feds don`t have anything to do with that, that`s the states. They  screwed it up, and then perhaps even blames a governor specifically by  name. 

He can`t have it both ways. It`s either there is a federal response or it`s  not. And of course, we all know that the federal government has completely  lost this war, and has allowed it to be completely fragmented across the  nation into smithereens with no coherent overall response at all.

HAYES: And it`s so easy to lose sight. I mean, I know that, you know, in  the first wave of this, particularly because New York City was the hardest  place in the world, it was just so omnipresent among people that, you know,  have friends and family in New York, and you`re sort of moving through it.  But I`ve been reading dispatches from the Rio Grande Valley right now. So  this is one of the poorest areas in America in terms of per capita income.  It`s got hugely disparate health disparities to exist with, and right now  is rivaling New York in terms of deaths per population.

This one piece, incredible piece, in the L.A. Times about the Rio Grande,  just to get a sense of what deaths means here. This is someone who is  moving bodies around who`s gone from transporting 15 bodies a week to 22 a  day. That`s what`s happening. So many bodies I lost count. The grim  business moving Latino Coronavirus victims as death toll spikes. Like, the  ravages here at the ground level are incalculable and inconceivable when  you think of them in terms of these numbers and these lines in the graph.

GARRETT: Chris, you know what`s striking to me is that this squabble now  between Deborah Birx and the president, the latest little twist and  permutation in the White House internal warfare. And she was trying to make  the point, look, we`ve got so much virus in so much of the country now that  we can`t easily bring this under control. It`s not confined in two cities.  It`s not confined to Los Angeles, New York. It`s in remote parts of  Montana, middle of nowhere South Dakota, off the beaten track Oklahoma. 

And what this means is, it`s now hitting places that don`t have medical  capacity even for a routine flu season, that don`t have, you know, multiple  ICU beds ready and ventilators and all the equipment that we so desperately  needed and used here in New York City at our peak. And so -- and where they  don`t have public health infrastructures to do contact tracing. And you  know, we`re going into poor and poor and more and more distant parts of  America. And this is going to make everything about controlling this  pandemic harder.

HAYES: Well, and then there`s just -- you know, the absolute level is so  insane right now. And when you think about the fire metaphor and embers  which I, you know, really find useful is, you know, the fire gets put out  in one place, it`s raging and another, it`s going to ping around. Now, you  know, there`s some reason to be optimistic in Sunbelt in Arizona and  Florida and Texas particularly started to come down in cases, but the  absolute number of cases is such that the virus is everywhere. 

And you keep seeing stories like this, like the Rutgers football team in a  state that doesn`t have a raging outbreak anymore, New Jersey. Of course,  it was the hardest-hit state and deaths per capita in the first round.  They`ve got 28 players connected to the Rutgers football team. And that`s  because if you put a bunch of people together anywhere right now in this  country amidst the absolute level of virus raging through the country  community transmission, that is what you`re going to get. 

GARRETT: Well, and one of the things that I think when we get to the fire  metaphor, I think about the famous Oakland-Berkeley Hills fire many years  ago, about 20 years ago, where the firefighters thought they`d brought it  under control, they hose down a couple of houses and walked away. And it  turned out the embers were not under control at all. The wind picked up,  and by the time that fire was over, you know, thousands of homes had been  destroyed and people have been utterly devastated. And that`s where we are  now. 

You know, here in Manhattan, one of our local news organizations, The  Gothamist, reported on finding all these underground, almost speakeasy-like  nightclubs scenes that are pop-ups that people find out about on Instagram.  And they go and party, no masks, lots of booze, everybody having lots of  fun. We`re seeing this kind of thing everywhere across America. And you  can`t stop a pandemic, if you can`t stop that kind of activity.

HAYES: Well, oh, gosh. You just gave me a knot in my stomach, Laurie  Garrick, as you`re very good at doing, although that`s just the reality of  the world and you`re good at interpreting it. Laura Garrett, thank you very  much.

GARRETT: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, Stuart Stevens on the President`s disastrous interview  and what it shows about the Republican Party that has fallen in line behind  him.


HAYES: My hope is that anyone involved in politics or anyone connected to  reality for that matter, would be mortified by the sheer combination of  idiocy, narcissism, and pettiness on display throughout the President`s  entire Axios interview. It`s -- I mean, even three and a half years, it`s a  shocking thing to watch. I mean, we know who he is. 

But this is the Republican Party right now, the whole thing, this guy,  floundering through one disaster after another for half an hour before the  interview ended on this unbelievably petty moment.


SWAN: How do you think history will remember John Lewis?

TRUMP: I don`t know. I really don`t know. I don`t know. I don`t know John  Lewis. He chose not to come to my inauguration. He chose -- I don`t -- I  never mention John Lewis, actually. I don`t believe him. 

SWAN: Do you find him impressive? 

TRUMP: I can`t say one way or the other. I find a lot of people impressive.  I find many people not impressive, but no. But I didn`t -- 

SWAN: Do you find his story impressive. 

TRUMP: He didn`t come -- he didn`t come to my inauguration. He didn`t come  to my State of the Union speeches, and that`s OK. That`s his right.


HAYES: That`s it. That`s all he has to say about John Lewis, he didn`t come  to my inauguration, he says it twice, state of the union. By the way, you  know, Lewis also skipped the first inauguration of President George W. Bush  following that 2000 recount. As the Washington Post report at the time,  John Lewis spent the day in Atlanta district. He thought it would be  hypocritical to attend Bush`s swearing-in because he doesn`t believe that  Bush is the true elected president. He had a decent case for that. 

Now, George W. Bush was a complete disaster, omni-directional disaster as  president, the worst president in a very long while before Trump came  along, although now he has competition. But at least he has the basic level  of human wherewithal to go and give a gracious speech at John Lewis`  funeral, just like you would expect just a person could do that. 

Well, Trump wants us to only remember John Lewis as the guy who skipped his  inauguration. There are profound issues in the Republican Party that  brought us to this moment where that individual is running the whole  country and adored by the rank and file. He is what it means to be  Republican, Donald Trump. 

But there are still Republicans who watch this with the appropriate level  of horror. One of them is Stuart Stevens, a longtime Republican Political  Consultant. He`s got a new book out titled It Was All Lie: How the  Republican Party Became Donald Trump. And Stuart, it`s good to have you on.  I`m curious what your thinking was watching that interview.

STUART STEVENS, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL CONSULTANT: It`s still just  unbelievable this man is president of the United States. He`s a guy that  really you wouldn`t want to sit next to in a long plane flight. Just across  the board, he`s an idiot. This is why people are always trying to give  Trump this idea that well, you know, he`s doing this in its fourth- dimensional chess or fifth-dimensional chess or tenth-dimensional chess,  because otherwise you just have to come to grips with the fact he`s a  blithering idiot. But he`s a blithering idiot. He can`t even carry on a  conversation about current events of which, God forbid, he is at the center  of those events. 

I don`t really see how is it American, forget Republican, Democrat,  whatever -- how if you really care about America, you can honestly say the  country is in good hands with this person as president of the United  States. It`s inconceivable to me.

HAYES: You know, I want to just play this clip where you`re talking about  blithering idiot, I mean -- or he can`t carry on conversation. I mean, this  moment, and props to Jonathan Swan for sort of stepping in when Trump did  his like, they say thing and said, who says. But this is just -- this is --  this is the President of the United States. He`s someone who`s talking  about the single most important issue facing the country in the world in  his presidency, the biggest governing challenge probably in 100 years. This  is what he had to say about reading the manuals.


TRUMP: There are those that say, you can test too much. You do know that.  Who says that? Oh, just read the manuals, read the books.

SWAN: Manuals, what manuals?

TRUMP: Read the books. Read the books.

SWAN: What books?

TRUMP: We`ve come up with so many different tests. The only thing that we  have now is some people have to wait longer than we`d like them to. We want  -- 

SWAN: That`s a big problem.


HAYES: So, here`s my question to you. And it is a question that you can  answer for yourself, but I`m curious. I mean, you`ve been in Republican  politics at the heart of Republican politics for a very long time, dozens  and dozens of successful races, multiple presidentials. If you gave the  people in your old life truth serum, they all react the same way, right?  They understand that this is -- this person has no business being president  at a deep level.

STEVENS: Stupidity is not contagious. The ability to ignore stupidity is  contagious. And that`s what`s happened here. All these people that I work  with, they all -- they`re appalled by Donald Trump, they`re frightened by  Donald Trump. This is why, you know, this sort of trope is developed in the  Trump administration. Like it would be worse had I not been there, which  actually probably is true, but I`m going to start saying I stopped an alien  invasion yesterday. What`s my proof? We weren`t invaded, were we? So, it  has to be. I should get credit for that.

HAYES: Right.

STEVENS: It really -- I`m just shocked that at some level of just basic  patriotism, and moral decency. We haven`t even gotten into what he said  about Maxwell in this interview. Why that isn`t just --why you couldn`t  stand up and say no. This is bad to the country. It`s appalling. It`s a  fundamental patriotic test and a fundamental moral test that the Republican  Party is failing.

HAYES: You write -- you have a new book out about your career in the party.  In fact, you and I had a long discussion about it on my podcast, Why Is  This Happening, which is out this week, and you can get wherever you get  podcasts. In an op-ed from The Times last week, you said, "I saw the  warning signs about the Republican Party but ignored them and chose to  believe what I wanted to believe. The party wasn`t just a white grievance  party. There was still a big tent. The other guys were worse. Many of us in  the party saw this dark side and told ourselves it was recessive gene. We  were wrong. It turned out to be the dominant gene." I thought about that  phrase in the book a lot. What do you mean by it?

STEVENS: Well, there was always this tension within the party. I mean,  post-World War II, you go back to Eisenhower, McCarthy. I came out of call  it the Bush-wing of the party where we really believed the party was  flawed. We admitted it was flawed, calling compassionate -- conservatives  and compassionate conservatism. Renaming, it is an admission that  conservatism was not being seen as compassionate. 

And we thought that our vision of the party would emerge, that we`re on the  right side of history and we`re on the right side of political history. I  don`t know how to look at this. Trump just say we were wrong. The party is  comfortable with Donald Trump. I mean, we are the party now that attacks  John Bolton and endorses Roy Moore. 

Trump says he has 95 percent favorability with Republicans. That`s an  exaggeration. Like everything to say he has 89. What else can you say? This  is what`s happened. And you know, it`s not like we were perfect before, but  we admitted our flaws, I think, and we aspire to something better and  bigger. And I think that`s significant. I think the first step to change is  to admit that you`re wrong. 

So, we used to talk about a big tent party. Now you don`t even hear that.  The fundamental rule of politics that it`s about addition not subtraction  has been forgotten. We`re shrinking. 

HAYES: No, I think -- I think the politics in this goes back to myself,  Cory Booker, substantive governing outside, and obviously I think the Bush  administration was a world historical disaster in many ways, but the  politics from Reagan particularly and George W. Bush, was a politics of a  confidence that you could win a majority of Americans that you could  persuade people to come over your side. 

The politics or Republican Party does not have that fundamentally is kind  of nihilistically convinced of its own shrinking minority status and is  fighting that action to kind of preserve power in spite of that. I think  that`s a huge difference you get into your book which I would recommend, It  Was All a Lie by Stuart Stevens. You could also check out our podcast.  Stuart Stevens, thank you so much for making time tonight. 

STEVENS: I appreciate it. 

HAYES: Coming up, why is the census stopping its count one month early?  Dale Ho and Vanita Gupta are here to explain the dangerous implications  ahead.


HAYES: a Huge part of the point of the Black Lives Matter protests that  have followed the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown in Ferguson  and George Floyd in Minneapolis resulted in the largest street protests in  America in a generation possibly ever, is the struggle to bring attention  to the basic lived reality of the level of quasi authoritarian fear of law  enforcement that a huge percentage of Americans live with constantly.

The live reality day in day out in America for Black people, for Latino  people for other people of color is often the state authority or adjuncts  to state authority act with terrifying capriciousness. And that continues  to be the daily truth in America. And here are two more very recent  illustrations of it.

The Washington Post reports last Thursday, while two black moms sat with  their babies in their car park not far from the White House, here in the  land and free in the home of the brave, a secret service cruiser drove into  their parked car, then uniformed Secret Service Officers pointed a rifle at  them yelling at them to get out of the car. 

Over the next hour, the woman said, they were handcuffed for that reason,  separate from their crying babies, and handled by police who at first did  not wear masks to protect against the Novel Coronavirus. According to a  letter from their attorney demanding an investigation, for about 45  minutes, the babies wailed in the backseat of the car while the women were  in handcuffs.

The doors to the car were open which made the mothers worry about their  children overheating. One of the moms asked if she could breastfeed her son  but was ignored, she said. The women say they were released without  apologies or answers to their questions. The Secret Service says they are  "looking into the matter." 

And Sunday in Aurora, Colorado, a trip to the nail salon ended with a  police forcing a black family, including girls between 17 and six years old  at gunpoint to lie face down on the parking lot concrete because of  confusion about a possibly stolen vehicle. Two were handcuffed, and you can  hear the terrified girls sobbing as a police stand over them with guns  drawn.

Does that look like freedom to you? Liberty? Aurora`s new police chief  apologized and launched an internal investigation. But by the way, do you  remember Elijah McLain, the young black man who played the violin where the  police called on him because he was wearing a ski mask, because he had  anemia and like to stay warm, and who tried to tell them police, begged  them he was an introvert and he was not trying to start trouble before they  pinned him down until he passed out and later he died?

Those officers were also part of the Aurora Police Department in Aurora,  Colorado. And so were the police officers who took photos of themselves  smiling and performing mock chokehold on the spot where McClain was  arrested. So, we`re the officers dressed for battle who broke up this  peaceful vigil for Elijah McLain just over a month ago. 

I`m sorry, but there is something wrong with that police department. It  seems pretty clear. Incidents like these are why 71 days after George Floyd  was killed underneath the knee of a member of the police, the people are  still protesting in the streets. And thank goodness they are.


HAYES: The United States Census is in the Constitution for a reason. It is  one of the most important things the government does. It fundamentally  creates the underpinning for all of our political maps. Every political map  in the country is drawn off of census data. So if you mess with the census,  if you tilt the scales in terms of certain states or areas or demographics,  you can lock in political power for favor groups for a decade. 

The Trump ministration has been trying to do that from the beginning.  Remember, they wanted to add a question to the census about people`s  citizenship status, even though that would almost certainly have resulted  in an undercount among immigrant populations who are worried about getting  that information to the government. 

And the Trump ministration was so obviously lying about why they wanted to  add that question that John Roberts, Chief Justice of the United States  Supreme Court himself called out the administration`s reasoning as quote  contrived, which is highly, highly, highly polite way of saying it was  utter B.S. 

And now, gets this. The Census Bureau just announced out of nowhere, they  are stopping their counting efforts one month early, just out of nowhere.  We were just going to leave clock out narrowly. It`s unprecedented.  Everyone is raising the same kind of alarms they did about that citizenship  question because populations of color, hard read populations, places like  homeless shelters, other marginalized people are going to be undercounted  likely as a result.


JULIE MININ, DIRECTOR, NEW YORK CITY CENSUS 2020: We need that door  knocking. We need that in-person contact that we`ve not been able to have  in large part because of COVID. And so, for the Trump administration to say  they`re going to cut short the door knocking by one month is really going  to hurt New York City and our efforts to achieve a fair and accurate count.


HAYES: It`s not just New York City, it`s all kinds of places around the  country. Joining me now, Dale Ho, he`s the director of the Voting Rights  Project at the ACLU. He`s one of the people who argued the case over that  Census citizenship question before the Supreme Court, argued successfully.  And Vanita Gupta, former head of the Justice Department`s Civil Rights  Division, and current president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and  Human Rights, who was an op-ed in the Washington Post titled "Congress must  intervene to make sure Trump doesn`t sabotage the Census."

And Vanita, let me start with you on this question. So, you know, the  census happens every 10 years, there is a lot of planning. I have  interacted with people the Census, and they are some of the most  knowledgeable, incredible civil servants who know what they`re talking  about and will like, just get on the phone with you and explain things to  you. They`re real professionals. Does it scam to you that it`s possible  this is a good faith decision to suddenly announce they`re cutting things  short by a month?

VANITA GUPTA, FORMER HEAD OF CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION, DOJ: You won`t be  surprised to hear, Chris, that no, I don`t think this is a good faith  decision. I believe that the professionals at the Census Bureau are  probably deeply unhappy and distressed about this decision. This is a  partisan political move by the Trump administration. 

In fact, last week, the Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham testified  that he learned about the Trump administration`s desire to cut short the  door to door outreach that is so crucial to reach immigrants, renters,  people of color, the most vulnerable communities, this is how the bureau  reaches on, that he learned about this through the media in the same -- at  the same time that you and I did. 

So, this is a real setback for the Census, but let`s be very, very clear  that this is part of the ongoing agenda by the Trump administration to  sabotage the census, and Congress is going to need to fix it.

HAYES: I just want to be clear. I was struggling all day now just popped in  my head about how to communicate, how aberrant it is to just announce this  thing you`ve been planning for 10 years. Like we`re just -- it`s like if I  just ended tonight`s show at 8:45 and knocked off, like that just doesn`t  happen. Like I`m not -- I can`t do that. I have a job to do. The show goes  till 9:00. Like, that`s how the Census should be.

GUPTA: I mean, and look, the Bureau of Professionals have been planning  this for years, as you said. And this is part of the typical course, which  is after several months of self-response, the Census Bureau then moves into  the phase of door to door outreach. And this is the phase by which to reach  the most vulnerable folks that need assistance to fill out the census. 

These are the very people that the Trump administration wants to exclude  and really essentially erase from the count and from Congressional apportionment. It`s why at the same time that they are making this  announcement to cut short a census amid a global pandemic. 

Already the Bureau was hit by a global pandemic. The leadership conference  is working on a census counts campaign in 50 states. The field operations  have been gravely hit by the pandemic and the Bureau said give us these  extra weeks so that we can make sure we can do everything we can. Billions  and billions of taxpayer dollars have already been spent on the census. The  results are going to last for 10 years and boom, at the very last minute,  the Trump administration withdraw support for the extension, a support that  they hadn`t given before and suddenly yanked the carpet out from under and  says no, you will finish one month early entirely for partisan political  reasons rooted in their effort to exclude immigrants and people of color.

HAYES: So Dale, you have a lot of experience with sort of blatant  politicization of this. And part of what made your suit successful was to  show that they hadn`t even done the basics required by law, right, to show  cause for what they were doing. Given how sort of blatantly bad faith they  acted in the case that you litigated, your reaction to seeing this.

DALE HO, DIRECTOR, ACLU VOTING RIGHTS PROJECT: This is obviously just  another act of bad faith by this administration. And it`s directly related,  I think, to the effort to include a citizenship question on the Census.  Just two weeks ago, the Trump administration announced that the Census this  year for the first time in history would exclude undocumented immigrants  from the count of the nation`s population that is used to apportion the  House of Representatives. No president has ever tried to do that in the  history of our republic. 

And the timing of all of this is highly suspicious. That announcement by  the President that he`s going to seek to exclude undocumented immigrants  from the count is sowing a lot of confusion in immigrant communities about  whether or not they need to participate in the Census. It`s causing a lot  of fear that the Census has actually target them, and it`s going to  exacerbate the undercount and completely sabotage the Bureau`s follow up  efforts. 

HAYES: There was alarms raised back in June when these two individuals,  Nathaniel Cogley and Adam Korzeniewski were sort of put into the Census.  These are political appointees. They sort of answer to the White House. And  one of them is like a failed Republican candidate, kind of a YouTube  personality, the other is an academic, but he sort of moves in right-wing  circles. 

You know, this happens in June. A lot of people raising red flags and  alarms like, who are these people, why are they here to answer to the Trump  administration. Now we`re getting these actions. Like what do you think  about the integrity of the Census as an independent entity that`s doing its  best in good faith under the Trump administration, Dale?

HO: I mean, this, to me is an escalation of attacks on voting rights that  we have seen getting more and more intense over the last 10 years. You  know, we`ve been fighting back against a wave of laws that have been making  it harder for people to register to vote or cast a ballot. And what I mean,  when I say that this is an escalation is that we`re no longer just fighting  about sort of the rules of voting and participation. Is there too much  access, is there too much fraud, which, you know, I think the other side  doesn`t really make a good faith argument on that issue but at least it`s a  legitimate ideological debate. 

What we see happening right now with the attacks on the Census, and the  attacks on the Postal Service when more people than ever are trying to vote  by mail are attacks on the very machinery of our democracy itself, and to  me is a very, very, very disturbing escalation.

HAYES: That is the story so far of 2020, amidst the pandemic and everything  else. 

Dale Ho and Vanita Gupta, thank you so much, both of you. That was great. 

That was ALL IN on this Tuesday night. 

I have great news for you. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now with  the one and only Rachel Maddow. 

Great to have you back, Rachel.