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Nevada Governor TRANSCRIPT: 8/3/20, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell

Guests: Nicole Cannizzaro, Marc Elias

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Well, you know, what better time, Nicole, than to  be -- to have a front seat to everything that is going on. You know, in 20  years they`re going to ask us about 2020. What were you doing in 2020? And  I`ll have a good answer. 

You just mentioned Kris Kobach. Kind of remarkable, he was at the beginning  of the Trump administration part of the voter fraud panel that was set up.  Remember Donald Trump set up a panel to show us how bad voter fraud was in  the last election and it came up with goose eggs? 

NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: Well, do I remember? That was sort of the  beginning of my unraveling. I remember shouting at the television, there is  no voter fraud. That was -- if you look at them as bookends, that was the  first lie. And now, they`re picking up with the second lie. 

What`s remarkable to me, having once been a Republican, is that the RNC is  also now saying the quiet part out loud and saying that this guy is what  threatens their Senate majority. The guy that threatens our Senate majority  is the guy in the office with no corners. 

VELSHI:  That`s absolutely right. Nicolle, good to see you.

By the way, you are joining a very small club of MSNBC anchors who have  officially two-hour long shows. You have been anchoring that for a long  time. But it`s official. So, welcome to the club. 

As I tweeted out earlier, more Nicolle Wallace is what the country needs  right now. 

Thank you, my friend. Have the rest of the evening to yourself and enjoy  it.

WALLACE:  You`re so kind. Thank you. 

VELSHI:  All right. We begin tonight with the numbers. Spain, zero new  cases. France, zero new cases. Canada, which is one-tenth the population of  the United States, 285 new cases. The United States, 48,849 new cases. 

There are now more than 4.7 million cases of coronavirus in the United  States and over 156,000 reported deaths. The rate of new cases in the  United States is higher than Europe combined and any other single nation. 

And Donald Trump`s only real strategy to combat the coronavirus remains the  same, denial. It will disappear. States will disappear. Do less testing.  Take hydroxychloroquine. 

The medical experts surrounding Donald Trump who are not Dr. Fauci, even  though they are now refuting his outright lies.

Here`s what Dr. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary at HHS, said about  using hydroxychloroquine. 


DR. BRETT GIROIR, ASSISTANT SECRETARY AT HHS:  I think most physicians and  prescribers are evidence-based and they`re not influenced by whatever is on  Twitter or anything else. And the evidence just doesn`t show that  hydroxychloroquine is effective right now. I think we need to move on from  that and talk about what is effective. 


VELSHI:  Well, the rest of us have moved on from it, but some people like  to keep bringing it up. 

Dr. Deborah Birx yesterday, the coordinator of the president`s coronavirus  task force, warned that the outbreak we`re experiencing now is in some ways  worse than earlier this year because of how widespread it is. 


DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE COORDINATOR:  What  we`re seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily  widespread. It is into the rural as equal urban areas. And to everybody who  lives in a rural area, you are not immune or protected from this virus. And  that`s why we keep saying no matter where you live in America, you need to  wear a mask and socially distance. 


VELSHI:  Saying the virus was extraordinarily widespread garnered two  reactions inside the Trump administration. Dr. Fauci confirmed and  amplified Dr. Birx`s comments. Donald Trump called it pathetic and claimed  that Dr. Birx took the bait and hit us.

The coronavirus continues to affect the entire country with new cases  increasing in 16 states and Washington, D.C. with the new school year weeks  away, it is not surprising that Americans are worried that their children,  their parents, their grandparents, well, they`re all going to be in danger. 

The president`s response to their fears, no plan. Just repeatedly demand  that children go back to school. 


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We must focus on protecting  those at highest risk while allowing younger and healthier Americans to  resume work and school with careful precautions. Ideally, we want to open  those schools. We want to open them. 


VELSHI:  Now, keep in mind you probably know this, of course, Trump is  powerless to actually tell school districts what to do. He made that demand  to open schools today after the largest and second largest school districts  in the country, New York and Los Angeles, have already said they will not  be returning in full -- to full in person school in the fall. D.C. public  school will not be returning to full in person instruction this fall  either, nor have the neighboring schools in Maryland and Virginia. 

But some schools across the country have begun to reopen with troubling  results. A school in central Indiana is temporary -- temporarily closing  two days after starting the school year because at least one staff member  tested positive for coronavirus and several others are quarantining. The  school will close for one week of virtual learning before reopening again. 

Similar results occurring across the country. In the Atlanta area, 260  employees of one single school district in Gwinnett County tested positive  or were in quarantine last week before classes resumed. 

So much of this pain and suffering during this pandemic has been self- inflicted, exacerbated by poor leadership. And with the unemployment rate  above 11 percent, the worst since the Great Depression, with so many  businesses unable to operate at capacity or in some cases open up at all,  with congressional Republicans pulling the rug out from unemployment people  when they let the $600 unemployment benefit expire at the end of the week,  the Democratic-led house passed an extension back in May. 

Here is what Nancy Pelosi said about Republicans not wanting to extend the  unemployment insurance benefit. 


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF TE HOUSE:  Millions of people could  have fallen into poverty without this $600. They`re so fussy about any  anecdotal information they have about somebody not going to work because  they make $600 on this but so cavalier about big money going to companies  that really shouldn`t be having it. So the $600 is very important in the  lives of the American people. 


VELSHI:  Leading off our discussion tonight, Dr. Vin Gupta, a pulmonologist  and affiliate assistant professor at the University of Washington Medical  Center. He`s an MSNBC medical contributor. 

Jared Bernstein is a former chief economist and former economic policy  adviser to Vice President Biden. He was doing this, by the way, in the last  recession. So, he knows a thing or two about this. He`s a CNBC contributor.

Welcome to both of you.

Dr. Gupta, I need to start with you. This may not be a popular thing for me  to say. But the whole country is going to run to the defense of Dr. Deborah  Birx, all of a sudden, because Trump called her pathetic. She hasn`t been  like Fauci. She hasn`t been steadfast in speaking the truth in the face of  the president. She`s actually been on far right media a lot defending the  president, calling him smart and saying that he`s well read and understands  public health. 

And now, we have 155,000 dead people in America and 45,000 new cases today.  I think at some point, we`ve got to call a spade a spade. 


You know, as to Dr. Birx and her history here, I empathize with the  situation that somebody like her, she has a career history in the U.S.  Armed Forces. She has nothing to prove when it comes to her career in  public health. Now she`s in this position. 

I agree with you. She has contributed to the mixed messaging, which has  been frustrating for those of us who previously looked up to her as a  leader, and she has not always amplified the right messages and tones of  Dr. Fauci. What`s clear more than anything is that I hear constantly from  teachers, from school districts, from parents, from former patients of  mine, that they need rapid testing. 

That`s the solution. That is the prescription here for a safe reopening of  schools. And right now, we just don`t have enough of them. We need a moon  shot on it, Ali. We need that type of tests which exists, that 30-minute  test, we need that at scale. 

VELSHI:  In fact, I have just got a tweet from Chuck Grassley who said just  saw on TV the president took exception to some interview Dr. Birx said  about the status of the pandemic. I hope the president knows she is a  scientist and not a politician. 

The president says he likes to hear all sides. So, you heard Dr. Birx. You  might disagree. Use love, not anger. 

Let me ask you about the testing thing, Dr. Gupta. The president continues  to say day after day, he tweeted it again that the reason we have more  cases in America is because we have more testing. Can you just deliver for  our audience the logical fallacy there? Because we have a commensurate  increase in deaths. Testing definitely doesn`t lead to death. 

GUPTA:  Well, here are the facts. Our aggregate total of testing peaked on  July 24th. Go to If any of your viewers want to actually  look at the data as it is, without me -- you don`t have to trust me. Just  look at the data. 

Aggregate tests peaked at 933,000 on July 24th. And we`ve seen a sustained  decline ever since. You know what happened, Ali, in the interim? Deaths  have actually increased steadily since the beginning of July. 

So we`re having a rise in deaths with a commensurate decline in testing.  That is a recipe for disaster, Ali. This is nothing, absolutely nothing to  do with more testing. 

One, we have the wrong type of testing. We have the type of testing that  you get results in seven to 10 days. It is virtually useless for  individuals to actually interpret, for public health officials to act upon. 

So, we don`t have the right type of testing. But we have less than a week  ago and deaths continue to climb. 

VELSHI:  Jared Bernstein, let`s talk economics for a second here. It galls  me, the conversations that I`m hearing. Mitch McConnell said we`ve done  enough. We have a number of senators saying we`re paying people to stay  home. 

We have endless money to keep interest rates really low. We have record  stock markets because there is no other game in town but to invest in  stocks. People who are wealthy are gaining money in the stock market and  they`re refinancing their homes at sub 3 percent mortgages. 

The rich are getting richer. But we can`t afford 600 bucks a week for  people who are out of work through no fault of their own. 

JARED BERNSTEIN, FORMER CHIEF ECONOMIST TO VP BIDEN:  Yeah. This is just  not only terrible economics but just deeply immoral. You`re talking about a  bunch of politicians who have a perfectly curb cushy jobs and are delaying  vital help to people who desperately need it. 

These are folks who rarely have any savings to fall back on. When they were  laid off from work, they didn`t get any paid leave. They have been  dependent on these checks to make ends meet, which means putting food on  the table and avoiding evictions. It has been very clear, and Democrats  have been really promulgating this message all the way back to May when  they passed their legislation, which Congress on the Republican side didn`t  take up until far too late, as we`ve seen, that these -- that these  enhanced benefits have been a lifeline for these workers. 

VELSHI:  Think back to the recession of 2008/2009 after which you took  office. And what lessons did we learn? We let too many people lose their  homes. We didn`t get involved fast enough. We did ultimately help out the  banks in terms of helping people save their homes. 

But once you`re passed that wave, rebuilding it, putting Humpty-Dumpty back  together again is much harder than stopping him from falling in the first  place. 

BERNSTEIN:  Yes. So, here are some of the great questions, here`s some of  the lessons we have learned. If we were doing this intelligently, we`d be  doing all the things Dr. Gupta just talked about, of course, because if we  don`t control the virus there is no economic recovery. It`s that simple. 

But, yeah, looking back then, first of all, enhanced support not just for  unemployment benefits but nutritional support through food stamps, now  called SNAP. State and local fiscal relief, extremely important, also  occurred back then. 

But the other thing that happened back then is that the impact of the  stimulus ended before the economy was ready to really come back on its own.  We found ourselves in a similar situation. Obama and Biden tried to do more  but Congress once again blocked them. 

So the tendency is to do too little, not too much and that`s exactly what  we`re seeing now. By the way, the really important difference between then  and now, and this was Joe Biden at work just to get that on the record, was  execution and implementation, right? It is not enough to pass these  measures if you don`t oversee them with the kind of execution and  implementation attention that we tried to implement back then under Biden`s  leadership. 

VELSHI:  I recall, Jared. You remember that`s where you and I got to know  each other well during those days because I was reporting on it and you and  I would argue on it back in those days, but you know these things. 

Dr. Gupta, can you clarify for me? Because every day we go to bed putting  this hydroxychloroquine story to rest and every morning I wake up to Donald  Trump talking about hydroxychloroquine again. 

GUPTA:  (AUDIO GAP) Ali, I feel like I have done this five times in the  last week. 

VELSHI:  Yeah. 

GUPTA:  Here`s the data on hydroxychloroquine. In in-patient studies, what  we know is that if you`re admitted to a hospital with COVID-19, and you  take hydroxychloroquine, you have a greater risk of adverse effects than if  you don`t take hydroxychloroquine. 

You aren`t taken off the ventilator more quickly. You actually have higher  rates of mortality, higher rates of cardiac arrhythmias and other side  effects. So there is no benefit. It is actually harmful to take  hydroxychloroquine if you are admitted to the hospital with COVID-19.  Clear, case shut. 

VELSHI:  Thank you to both of you. Dr. Vin Gupta and Jared Bernstein,  thanks for joining us and kicking us off tonight. 

Coming up, the people of Nevada have scored a big victory in having the  choice to vote safely by mail during the pandemic, something everybody in  the country should have the right to do. Donald Trump says he will take  Nevada to court to stop that. 

Coming up next, we will talk to the lawyer who`s going to meet him there.  Marc Elias, he`s been fighting and beating Republican attempts to prevent  people from voting in November.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  What Nevada has been doing,  if you look over the last few days, you have to look at what they have  done. We will be suing in Nevada, and that`s already been taken care of.  We`ll probably file something tomorrow. 


VELSHI:  OK. So let`s look at what Nevada has done that is so bad, so awful  that Donald Trump is going to sue them for it. Nevada today became the  eighth state plus Washington, D.C., that will automatically send ballots to  all registered voters for the presidential election happening during a  pandemic. 

This afternoon, the state`s Democratic governor, Steve Sisolak, signed it  into law and had this message for Donald Trump. 


GOV. STEVE SISOLAK (D), NEVADA:  I understand that there is an attempt to  suppress voting. You know, it is my job to make sure that we give everybody  that wants to vote the opportunity to do so and remain as flexible as  possible. 

That`s what this bill does. I`m confident it will be well received. I was  proud to sign it, and I`m proud to work the legislature did.


VELSHI:  OK. We`re not going to play Donald Trump`s comments about voting  by mail. But, instead, we`re going to quote this report from "The Nevada  Independent". The Nevada secretary of state, a Republican, who opposed the  bill, reported no evidence of voter fraud in 2018 election and no such  reports came in during the primary in June.

But Nevada states senator, Nicole Cannizzaro, the leader of the Nevada  Senate is mad. She`s really mad about the Republican smear campaign around  helping more people vote safely. She tweeted at the head of the RNC. I`ll  be damned if I`m going to let a partisan hack like you use this pandemic to  suppress Nevadans` right to vote. Nevada will have a free and fair secure  election this November. 

Joining me now is the person who wrote that tweet, Nevada State Senate  Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro. She`s a Democrat who represents parts of  Las Vegas. She`s also a chief deputy district attorney in Clark County,  Nevada, which is relevant to us, Senator, because I want to start by  saying, I don`t even understand what standing Donald Trump has in this. 

He doesn`t cast a ballot in Nevada. I`m not sure why anybody is voting  against everybody getting a ballot. But is this even a relevant lawsuit? 

STATE SEN. NICOLE CANNIZZARO (D), NEVADA:  Ali, it is great to be here with  you. And I think this is exactly the same sort of strategy that we have  seen here in Nevada and nationally. And it is an effort to frankly suppress  the vote of people in this next election. 

We here in Nevada have faced this type of a lawsuit before with unfounded  claims of voter fraud. And, frankly, we`re happy to have that fight again.  These cases have been dismissed, and we feel very confident that we are  standing up in the right way to make sure that all Nevadans can safely and  securely exercise their right to vote this November. 

VELSHI:  I was speaking to the secretary of state from Colorado the other  day. The things that states that want to have everybody vote by mail want  to do, there are concerns but they`re logistics concerns. They`re not fraud  concerns. 

CANNIZZARO:  And, Ali, I would say this. We actually here in Nevada just  implemented a mostly vote by mail election this last June for our primary  and we were able to successfully do that. We have record high turn-out for  the election. We had many people who participated in that election. Our  local election officials here in the state are able to really execute those  elections, and we know that we can do that again this November. 

And, frankly, again, these allegations of voter fraud are simply unfounded  and we even heard testimony that there were no instances of voter fraud. 

So I really think we are going to see an election here in Nevada come  November where people can safely and security exercise that constitutional  right to vote. 

VELSHI:  And I just want to put on the screen the percentage of people  voting on Election Day in Nevada. In November 2018, you had 34 percent in  person. November 2016, 30 percent in person. June 2016, 29 percent. And  2020 at the top of the chart, that`s the one you were just talking about,  1.6 percent voted in person because we were in the middle of the pandemic. 

But you succeeded in getting record voter turnout because people were  allowed to vote by mail. 

So the bottom line is, your goal in Nevada is to get more people to vote  and by doing it by mail, you can achieve that. 

CANNIZZARO: Absolutely. And I think we should be doing that. We should be  standing up for that constitutional right that so many people have fought  so hard for. And we`ve seen that here in Nevada. 

We know what we`re seeing in terms of these allegations of voter fraud is  simply a Republican strategy that they don`t want to be part of an election  where there is high turn-out because as the president said in his tweet  earlier today when more people vote they`re afraid they can`t win, and we  want to make sure people can vote. And I think that`s exactly what we saw  this June and I`m very much looking forward to having an election that is  taking place in the middle of a pandemic that we are still facing and we  still have to do everything we can to protect people. 

VELSHI:  Thank you for joining us this evening. Nevada state Senate leader. 

Joining us now is the person who they will face in court should they chose  to fight Nevada`s vote by mail law, Marc Elias. He`s a Democratic voting  rights attorney and the founder of Democracy Docket, a platform fighting  against voter suppression.

Mark, I thought of you today because I listened to President Trump saying  absentee voting is great. It`s fine. He even does it. Lots of people in  Trump orbit do absentee voting but vote by mail is terrible. And my puny,  little brain can`t get my head around what the difference is. 

MARC ELIAS, DEMOCRACY DOCKET FOUNDER:  There isn`t any difference. Thank  you for having me on. And no matter how many times Donald Trump and his  minions try to contort or confuse, the fact is that their lawyers in  federal court in Pennsylvania filed a pleading in which they said the two  terms, vote by mail and mail-in voting are used interchangeably. And that`s  because they are used interchangeably. They both are ways in which  individuals who don`t want to go to the polls because they`re out of town  or they don`t want to risk illness with COVID are able to receive a ballot  in the mail and return it. 

VELSHI:  There seem to be two distinctions the president is making. One of  them is the universality of it. He seems remarkably and deeply offended  that everyone who qualifies for the franchise in Nevada or elsewhere would  actually get a ballot. That`s wild. 

But the second one is in a number of states, you have to have a reason to  vote absentee. And being afraid of catching coronavirus doesn`t qualify. 

ELIAS:  Yeah. So there is actually three distinctions. One is universal. In  other words, that`s automatic in that the ballot is automatic automatically  sent to you. 

The second is no excuse absentee voting, which is one of the predominant  method is in this country. In other words, anyone who wants to vote by mail  or vote absentee is free to do so. The third are states that allow excuse  only absentee voting, which is the minority of states. 

And the problem is that Donald Trump and his aides are mixing these.  Something tells me that what Donald Trump is not concerned about  (INAUDIBLE) is Oregon and Hawaii, which are states that have automatic vote  by mail. He`s probably not also worried about the most of the states that  have excuse only absentee. 

What most of the states that are called battleground states (INAUDIBLE) who  wants to vote by absentee and if they want to vote in person, they can. And  all -- you know, there is nothing wrong with that either. 

VELSHI:  Marc, I want to ask you about colleges. We do not know in many  cases. We`re just starting to find out which colleges are going to have  people on campus and which ones are not. And some of them are going to make  decisions later and some are leaving it up to some of the students. 

That becomes very confusing for voting. We have already seen evidence that  young people are a little confused about this whole mail-in balloting thing  anyway. Gets a little more complicated when you are living away from home  and you have to get a mail -- a ballot at a certain time. Give me your  thoughts on this. 

ELIAS:  Yeah. So, I`m glad you asked. I actually wrote a piece on about the five steps that colleges and universities  need to take today to ensure that we don`t have colleges disenfranchised,  and I started a petition that I would everyone signs.

The problem that college students face is that they have the uncertainty  not only of what the rules are where they want to vote in normal times but  they face the unique circumstance now where they`re being told part of  their learning may be remote. Part of their learning (INAUDIBLE), it could  be that they start in person and then wind up going remote. And it`s  incumbent on colleges to be the gold standard of information and to provide  accurate information to students so that students know if they are at home,  they`re entitled to vote and that the local community, whether it is the  elected officials or the town needs to accommodate that. 

We have an epidemic (INAUDIBLE) why we needed the 26th Amendment  (INAUDIBLE). And even today Republicans throughout the country tried to  prevent young voter from voting, particularly (INAUDIBLE). It is really  important that colleges pick this up and help solve this problem. 

VELSH:  Marc, thanks for joining me. Appreciate it. Marc Elias is a  Democratic voting rights attorney, founder of Democracy Docket. 

It`s a platform fighting against voter suppression. I would recommend for  those of you on twitter you follow him, because every time nonsense comes  out about voting, Marc tweets the truth about it. 

All right. Coming up, there`s no other way to say it. Donald Trump isn`t  limiting his attacks to his opponent. He`s declared war on the election  itself, an all out desperate attempt to make people doubt the process and  outcome three months ahead of election day. Why? Well, it`s obvious. The  polls are showing him trailing Joe Biden, and a Manhattan district attorney  may have offered another reason today in court. David Frum joins us on  that, next. 


VELSHI: Before the break, we showed you what Donald Trump is doing to  delegitimize the presidential election. Now we`re going to look at why he`s  doing it.

There`s the fact that he`s trailing Joe Biden in national and battleground  state polls. There`s the fact that the latest -- Trump`s latest Gallup job  approval rating shows him at 41 percent with 56 percent disapproving as the  dual health and economic crisis continue to rage.

But there is also this. In Donald Trump`s ongoing fight to keep his tax  returns secret, today the Manhattan district attorney told a federal court  its investigation into Trump and his business is much wider than we knew.  "The Times" reports quote, "The Manhattan district attorney`s office  suggested on Monday that it had been investigating President Trump and his  company for possible bank and insurance fraud, a significantly broader  inquiry than the prosecutors have acknowledged in the past. In the new  filing, the prosecutors did not explicitly identify the matters under  scrutiny in the grand jury inquiry, which by law, is conducted in secret."

Joining us now David Frum, senior editor for "The Atlantic" and a former  speech writer for George W. Bush. He`s the author of "Trumpocalypse:  Restoring American Democracy". David, my friend, good to see you.

Years ago, you may or may not remember this, we were in our native land in  Canada. We were in (INAUDIBLE) I think in a conference and you were  lamenting that the Republican Party that you had joined and were part of  had, you know, opened up several ballrooms to the right of you. And that  was your chief complaint. And that was in the pre-Trump era.

Now it is just weird. Now you`ve just got a president who`s rampantly  dishonest and seems to conduct his business illegally on an ongoing basis - - a whole different problem than the one you were trying to fix a few years  ago. 

DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR FOR "THE ATLANTIC": It is, indeed. And it`s why,  as you said, President Trump`s personal legal problems and this election  overlap because he knows should he lose the election he is in for a world  of grief. And this Vance investigation in New York is an example of it.

Let me just mention one example of the kind of thing that Cyrus Vance has  in his gunsights. In October of 2019, ProPublica the investigative Web site  that does amazing work got hold of lease documents from two Trump buildings  for the tax year 2017. And they discovered that Donald Trump had reported  significantly different amounts to tax authorities and lending authorities  for what the buildings were paying.

And it`s hard to imagine an innocent explanation of this. It looks like  what he did was either bank fraud or tax fraud or maybe both. 

VELSHI: Right. So he underrepresented it, it looks like, to tax authorities  so he`d pay less tax and overrepresented to the bank. And either way you  are doing something illegal. 

FRUM: Exactly. 

VELSHI: But to your earlier point, Donald Trump is in for a world of hurt  if he leaves. We know that from a lot of people including the New Your  attorney general Letitia James.

The issue though is that he may not have an out for this one. At this  point, he`s tanking even among those Republicans or people leaning  Republican who had supported him for a while. He`s now down to that base in  the mid to high 30s, which I don`t think he`ll ever lose. And that may  prevent him from holding on to office and the immunity that he gets with  that. 

FRUM: Well, this month may be a very dramatic one. President Trump has been  able to hold on to about 40 percent despite all the bad news. But as I  think everyone who watches this program knows, on July 31st those Americans  who were out of work lost that $600 federal supplement. And American  parents and American school children are about to discover that they are  not going to be going back to school in the fall or in August, whenever  school starts.

And that is a devastating fact for many families, it`s a devastating fact  for those children and I think that has an impact. You know, when I think  about the school year, I mean there`re so many stories to think about. But  I worry about are the kids who are in academic trouble in about grade nine.

If they miss this next few months of the school year, they may leave high  school altogether, never finish. And we may see in the coming years a huge  bump in high school dropping out because of the failure to get hold of the  COVID problem. 

VELSHI: David, good to talk to you, as always. Thank you for joining us.  David Frum is the author of "Trumpocalypse", senior editor at "The  Atlantic" and a former George W. Bush speech writer.

Coming up another day, another inside look at the Trump administration that  Donald Trump doesn`t want you to see. We`re going to show it to you next. 


VELSHI: Time after time, the Trump administration has tried to silence  insider accounts that show how dangerous it is to have Donald Trump in the  White House surrounded by enablers. Donald Trump didn`t want you to read  the damning tell-all books by his niece Mary Trump or by his former  national security adviser John Bolton or by the renowned journalist Michael  Wolfe or by the Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Bob Woodward.

And now the latest work that Donald Trump does not want you to see is here.  It is a documentary. "Immigration Nation" was released today on Netflix.  "The Week" calls it, quote, "the most damning inside portrait of the Trump  administration yet". 

We now have this important account of history, thanks to our next guests,  two daring film makers who were granted unbelievable access to follow ICE  agents in early 2017. I`m fascinated by how they got this access.

Donald Trump was just beginning to implement his racist and inhumane  immigration agenda. Over three years, Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau  captured the unconscionable and unbounded cruelty of Donald Trump`s  immigration policies. 

"The New York Times" reports quote, "As the documentary neared completion  in recent months, the administration fought mightily to keep it from being  released until after the 2020 election. The film makers said they were told  that the administration`s anger over the project came from all the way to  the top," end quote. 

Here are some of the real stories Donald Trump does not want you to see.  ICE officers lying to immigrants to gain access to their homes, mocking  them after taking them into custody. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I see a warrant? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not obligated to show it to anybody. 

I have a warrant. I`m not in here without it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He knows that he`s done. There is no judge for him. 


VELSHI: In multiple occasions, the film makers witnessed ICE officers being  told by supervisors to arrest as many people as possible, even those  without criminal records. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, what`s up, man?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t care what you do, but bring at least two people  in. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He knew you guys were with me, right? 



VELSHI: The documentary also reveals the administration`s misinformation in  action. Here`s the ICE spokesman preparing talking points with misleading  information while pushing an ICE agent to inflate the percentage of  immigrants detained with a criminal record. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The field officer stats that 91 percent crime or  criminal arrest. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are not going to have that today. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I`ve got that. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I mean for this op. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those are local stats. Yes, I know, we`re not going to  have -- 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean for this op. I mean, I think we`re about 35  percent. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes. That`s fine. Yes. I mean just own it. Yes,  absolutely. Yes. 


VELSHI: Just own it. And the heartbreaking stories of those who guided by  desperation risked their lives to cross the most arid conditions. Some just  don`t make it alive across the Arizona deserts, others are rescued on the  borderline of death. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s up, man?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to reach my family. 


Yes, you can tell he`s already been eating cactus and stuff. He`s in pretty  rough shape. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened to your hand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were coming to the United States and the guide that  brought me abandoned me in the desert.

I`m going to Los Angeles. Where am I right now? I don`t know. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tucson. This is Tucson.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where is -- and Los Angeles?


VELSHI: And the story of a U.S. marine who was deported after serving his  country and now advocates for other deported veterans like him. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That should have never happened. This is a tear in the  American fabric of our society and we need to mend it. And we need to mend  it with actions, not words. We need to do it now. Save me, please. 


VELSHI: All right. This all exposes how the Trump administration seeks to  inflict maximum pain on immigrants through a bureaucratic system filled  with falsehoods. The documentary shows that the administration`s policy of  deterrence is a political lie used to validate violence against immigrants.

After the break, the two film makers who captured all of this suffering  will join us to talk about what has become one of the darkest chapters in  American history. 


VELSHI: In the new documentary "Immigration Nation", the filmmakers got  rare access to the inner workings of ICE and the agents who carry out the  immigration policies of the Trump administration. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not going to be easy. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m a dad. Nobody wants to see children hurt. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can`t tell you how exhausting it is day in and day out  to be putting cuffs on people doing exactly what I would do in their  situation. 


VELSHI: Joining us now, the directors of "Immigration Nation" released on  Netflix today. Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau Thank you for being with  us today. We appreciate this.

I am fascinated by how you got the access you got. Did they not know that  you were there with cameras and mics and recording what they were saying  because in just the few clips we`ve played, Christina, I`m fascinated that  they let you tape that. 

CHRISTINA CLUSIAU, "IMMIGRATION NATION": Yes. You know, we had about two  and a half years of access within ICE. And it started back previously from  an acquaintance that we had. And we asked ICE if they wanted to do  something under the Obama administration, and they said no.

And so when Trump got elected, we decided to go back to them and ask them  again if they`d be interested. And this time they said yes. 


VELSHI: So they thought it was a better idea to do this after Trump was  elected? 

SCHWARZ: Yes, I think the agency was coming under a lot of heat. They  understood that the rhetoric from the campaign would bring heat to the  agency. You know, keep in mind that ICE is a very special law enforcement  agency. It changes quite quickly under political shifts. And I thought they  felt that they would come under pressure and wanted someone to come in and  document and, you know, we were obviously thrilled to do the story. 

VELSHI: Christina, talk to me about your impressions of the people who work  for ICE. Was there at any point empathy that you had for the job they had  to do? Or did they come across as the instruments of a racist government  policy? 

CLUSIAU: You know, I have a lot of empathy for the ICE officers. After you  spend a lot of time with them through the couple of years, you start to --  you find common ground. And I think that was one thing to recognize.

And so the common ground also led to conversations and so on and so forth.  But you understand that in a culture of policies that are enacted under  immigration, when you see from the top down that they`re meant to install  fear, it sometimes trickles down into the culture. 

SCHWARZ: To add to that, I think -- 

VELSHI: Sorry. Go ahead. There`s a little bit of a delay, so it`s hard when  there`s a space. Go ahead. 

SCHWARZ: I think we saw them to some degree like, you know, people were  asking us, are these guys horrible? Are they monsters? The truth is,  listen, they have been put in a very hard position.

As the rhetoric around immigration got so heated and, of course, zero  tolerance and children separation coming in, the ICE officers got put into  this impossible position.

So, you know, on one hand we saw people -- some of the people kind of  embracing it and maybe becoming more bullies themselves and taking this  kind of out. But on the other hand, we saw a lot of doors not opening.

We saw people who first at ICE were thinking Trump`s the best thing that  ever happened to us. Well, suddenly became the most hated agency in the  government. So, you know, I think to add to Christina, feeling for them to  a degree, you see people struggling doing their job.

And at the end of the day, they are the enforcer. They`re not the decision- maker. I think many of them agreed that the system is broken which I think  comes across strongly in the film. 

VELSHI: Christina, tell me about the problems. What is the legal threat  from the administration look like? 

CLUSIAU: You know -- 

SCHWARZ: For two and a half years, we had incredible access. And for that  we`re grateful to the men and women of ICE for showing us a very honest  picture that I think has never been shown before.

But in order to get that access, we had to sign a contract called a  multimedia agreement. It`s a common contract for people working with DHS to  sign.

And at the end of that process, we had to show the tape to them under the  condition that factual inaccuracies and what is called police enforcement  sensitivities, meaning if they`re using a certain tactic that would give  away their work, would be -- you know, they would have authorized to ask  for changes.

Unfortunately, when the review process began, they asked for a lot more  changes than that, and we pushed back and said, no, you may not  editorialize the show, and this is not the way the contract works.

And when that got worse, we kind of got bullied and threatened for a while,  and eventually there was some delay of time games and eventually they even  asked -- tried to pin us to releasing the show in November.

I think the good news is that the show is the show we intended to do. The  show -- you know, our First Amendment rights won, and I`m happy the people  will get to see it as it was intended. 

VELSHI: And what do you want the takeaway from this to be? When people  watch it, what are you hoping they leave with? 

CLUSIAU: I really hope they leave with the fact that they know that the  immigration system is complex in this country. And that it`s vast. And that  there`s a lot of important conversations to be had. But when it`s such a  divisive and political issue, a lot of those conversations aren`t being  had.

And also that there`s a human toll that`s at the cost of this all. That  it`s not just the ICE officers but it`s the toll on families, on lawyers,  on advocates that really are swept up and chewed up in this immigration  system. 

SCHWARZ: And if I can add to that -- 

VELSHI: We heard a little bit -- yes, go ahead. 

SCHWARZ: I`m sorry. The lag`s getting us. I think there`s a lot more that  we can agree on on immigration than it seems. You know, in the show, for  example, we show Caesar, a deported veteran. I think most conservatives  would actually agree that we shouldn`t be deporting people who were willing  to die for this country.

There`s issues that -- like this that polarize this country, particularly  since the Trump administration came, but historically. And if we can  actually try and find some common ground to at least agree to things that  we can change, like deporting veterans that shouldn`t be happening, then  the human toll and suffering that we saw in the broken system -- and every  ICE agent out there says the system is broken and most people agree to that  -- we could really scale back some human suffering. And I think you`ll see  that in the show. 

VELSHI: What about the degree to which the mission of ICE has been expanded  under this administration? We have heard of missions that ICE has  undertaken, places that they are going to, things that they are doing that  are not what Americans understood that ICE was meant for.

In fact, you called for some people -- you got people who started calling  for the abolition of ICE as a result. How do the ICE officers feel about  that? 

SCHWARZ: Again, I think they`re in a very difficult position. I think when,  you know, they are very angered by the Abolish ICE Movement which obviously  really took off after the zero tolerance policy.

But this is some of this administration`s goals. They as a tactic,  political tactic, decided that they would install fear under this thought,  under this idea that, you know, if we make your life hard enough, you`re  probably just going to leave.

Now, that`s clearly not been successful. What it has done is put people  more in the shadows, and I think that`s unfortunate. But I think the ICE  agents -- again, it`s a big agency. Some people are going to be tougher.  Some people are going to be emboldened to kind of being more bullies.

Others are just placed in a very hard position to do their jobs. They`re  not used to being hated daily. In any event some of the men and women of  ICE do important stuff like I think most countries need an immigration  police so when there is a criminal immigrant that needs to be removed, I  think it`s ok that there is a unit that does that. The question is under  the rhetoric where it goes and what that does to us as a nation. 

VELSHI: Is it going to be clear from your documentary, though, that maybe  there are men and women in ICE who are empathetic, good beings and that  this is a government policy problem? Or can you make that distinction when  you`re watching some of these people? 

SCHWARZ: I think -- I think that`s a little bit in the eye of the beholder.  I think the viewer -- we -- you know, it breaks your heart to sometimes see  the toll. It really does. And I think to some degree there is a toll on the  ICE agents themselves.

But mostly, of course, the toll is on the immigrants. I think we`ve seen  not only undocumented immigrants but people who try to follow the law get  hurt. And that`s when we`re really turning our back on our history. 

VELSHI: Thank you for making this. It`s a remarkable effort, and it`s  available now. You can stream it on Netflix. 

Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz, thanks for joining us tonight.

And that is tonight`s LAST WORD.

"THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS" begins right now.