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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 08/25/15

Guests: Katy Tur

CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: That is "ALL IN" for this evening. THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now. Good evening, Rachel. RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Also, a spot of the very rare phrase "I don`t know" -- HAYES: Yes, I know. MADDOW: -- on cable news. That`s like seeing a dodo and unicorn all wrapped up in one. HAYES: Yes, we`re sorry to our viewers. It will never happen again. MADDOW: It was really inspiring actually. HAYES: Yes, it was. MADDOW: Thank you, Chris. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. I don`t know. It has been an absolutely wild day in politics and we have a lot to get to tonight. But we`re going to start with the answer to a little bit of a cliffhanger. I did not think this was going to get answered this quickly, but we`ve got an answer. Last night, you might remember we reported very late-breaking news that poor old Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas, Rick Perry had fallen on yet further hard times in his beleaguered run for the presidency this year. As you know, things really started to go downhill for Rick Perry when FOX News wouldn`t let him into the primetime Republican candidates` debate on August 6th. FOX consigned them to the kids` table debate instead of the real debate. And then to add injury to that insult, Rick Perry did a bad job even at the kids` table debate. Since then, Governor Perry has sunk lower in the polls than he was before. He`s approaching scratch territory in some polls. His fund-raising is also dried up to the extent that he has had to stop paying all of his campaign staff. Well, last night, we reported late-breaking news that the chairman of Rick Perry`s presidential campaign in Iowa had just quit. He`s a man named Sam Clovis, not a national figure at all, but Sam Clovis is very recognizable in Iowa Republican and conservative politics. He`s a former U.S. Senate candidate. He`s a right wing talk radio host in Iowa. Sam Clovis has been running Rick Perry`s Iowa campaign. Last night, we reported that he was leaving the position. He said that he had great admiration for Rick Perry. He thought it was an excellent man and an excellent candidate, but said it was, quote, "Time to move on." The cliffhanger, though, was that we did not know where he was moving on to. And it`s an interesting question, right? I mean, put yourself that mindset. If you were a Republican operative involved in presidential politics this year and for whatever reason, you picked the wrong horse, you signed up this year with a candidate who you thought would do great, but your candidate is failing. So, you signed up with a Chris Christie or Rand Paul or Rick Perry, any of these guys who look like they might have a shot but they`re now really failing and doing poorly this year. If you were in that situation, and you as a Republican operative decided you were going to switch horses midstream, you were going to get off one of those losing campaigns, so you could join another more promising one, whose campaign would you join? Who would you sign up with? Last night, we knew that Sam Clovis was breaking up with Rick Perry in Iowa. But we did not know who he was going to jump into bed with instead. Now, now we know. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sam Clovis, in fact, I think he`s probably someplace in the room. Where is Sam? Why don`t you answer the question yourself, Sam, that would be better, Carl? I think so, right? Come on up, Sam. Maybe come up to the mic. Thank you. And a terrific guy. SAM CLOVIS, TRUMP CAMPAIGN NATIONAL CO-CHAIR: I`m here as the new national co-chair and senior policy advisor for Mr. Trump in this campaign, and I`m excited about the opportunity and a chance to change the status quo in America and I think he`s the man that can do it. That`s why I`m here. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Up until five minutes ago that man was running the Rick Perry for president campaign in Iowa. But today he let it be known he has signed on with Donald Trump instead. Robert Costa at "The Washington Post" reporting not only that move, but actually bunch of other ones, too. The Donald Trump campaign today staffing all over the place. Mr. Trump not only picked up Sam Clovis, this Iowa conservative, as a new national co-chair of his campaign. Mr. Trump also today hired a new state director in Nevada. He hired two new staffers in New Hampshire. In South Carolina, he`s made two new hires as well, including a woman named Nancy Mace, who was the first woman to ever graduate from the Citadel. She`s now working on Donald Trump`s campaign in South Carolina. And, individually, right, none of those hires, none of those announcements is the sort of thing that would make for a spectacular and entertaining television from a celebrity candidate, right? None of those is a celebrity move at all, none of them zingers. But they are the kinds of serious staffing hires that will impress Beltway, in terms of whether or not Donald Trump`s campaign for president gets treated as a political campaign rather than just an ongoing and admittedly hilarious publicity stunt. I mean, on the political basics, stuff like staffing, stuff like polling, today was actually one of the biggest days that Donald Trump has had since he started running for president. The political news today started with this rocket from Public Policy Polling. Public Policy Polling is generally described as a Democratic-leaning firm, they are. They were also, though, a firm that was distinguished by their accuracy in the last round of presidential polling. PPP just put out a poll today from New Hampshire. And on the Republican side in New Hampshire, Mr. Trump, look at his lead. Look. He leads by the biggest margins of any state all year. He leads by margins that absolutely slay all the supposedly more mainstream candidates that are supposed to be trying to keep up with him now. I mean, in this New Hampshire PPP poll, they`ve got Donald Trump at 35 percent of the vote. That`s not just him lapping the person in second place, that`s him lapping the person in second place more than three times. He`s more than tripping the poll numbers from the person who does second best against him in that poll. If you want to get a sense of how dominant he is in New Hampshire right now, look at the supposedly most mainstream, most viable candidates in the Republican race if you listen to the Beltway. If you add up their support, you add up the New Hampshire support for Jeb Bush and Scott Walker and Scott Walker and Marco Rubio, if you combine all their results, all three of them, and then double their combined number, that`s what Donald Trump is getting in New Hampshire. That`s New Hampshire today, PPP. There`s also a South Carolina poll that`s out today from Monmouth. In South Carolina, looks kind of the same, doesn`t it? Donald Trump polling at 30 percent, which has him doubling the candidate doing second best in South Carolina and, again, Mr. Trump is not only way out front, he pushes all these supposedly more viable supposedly more mainstream candidates down into single-digits low single digits for the most part, all of them, just total dominance, a huge day for Donald Trump in those early state polls, news that is very bad for the supposedly mainstream candidate who the Beltway keeps saying are his real competition. But here`s one thing to notice. In that PPP poll in New Hampshire, yes, Donald Trump does better than Jeb Bush and Scott Walker and Marco Rubio, but neither Jeb Bush nor Scott Walker, nor Marco Rubio even comes in second to Donald Trump in New Hampshire. None of them comes in third in New Hampshire. In that New Hampshire poll, Donald Trump comes in first, second place is John Kasich, third place is Carly Fiorina. What? Look at the South Carolina poll -- John Kasich doesn`t do great in South Carolina but Carly Fiorina does great there, too. I mean, in that South Carolina poll, Donald Trump first by a mile, then Ben Carson is second, Jeb Bush comes in third in South Carolina, but then Carly Fiorina is tied for fourth place with Marco Rubio. Carly Fiorina relatively speaking is doing great right now. I mean, she`s not doing like Donald Trump great but her numbers have absolutely been going up in all the places where it counts and her numbers have been going up steadily for the past few weeks. Even though FOX News would not let her compete in the primetime Republican candidates` debate on August 6, her numbers have been going through the roof since then. What is truly incredible, though, is that next Republican presidential debate which is due to be held September 16, that one is hosted by CNN, not by FOX -- CNN, I should say, has been much more transparent, much more above board and professional than FOX was in terms of explaining their criteria for who they`re going to let on to that debate stage. But even though CNN has been more transparent about it and their criteria are being published in advance and they don`t seem to be just bumbling their way through it like FOX did. Even so, CNN is planning on keeping the kids table format where there`s one real prime time debate and one consolation prize other debate that nobody watches and doesn`t get taken that seriously and that implicitly disses all of the candidates forced to sit at it. Not only is CNN planning on keeping that kids table format that FOX used to such disastrous effect on August 6th, not only is CNN keeping that format, but in CNN`s case, the criteria they have chosen for who will make the real stage and who will be shunted to the kids table, their criteria is on track to keep Carly Fiorina at the kids table in the next debate, even though she`s doing so well in these early states around the country. I mean, point of personal privilege here, and I`ve got nothing for or against Carly Fiorina as a candidate, but that`s ridiculous, CNN. That is ridiculous. Just let them all debate. If you need to break them into two heats, randomly assign them. You`ll be fine, seriously. But just let them all debate. The kids` table format is an intrusion into the Republican presidential primary process. It is complicated. It`s a distraction. It is a huge disservice to a whole bunch of candidates who do not deserve it. And right now, that kids table format is set to keep out of the debate the person running third in New Hampshire beating Jeb Bush and Scott Walker and Marco Rubio and the rest of them. She`s running fourth in South Carolina but she is not going to be allowed on to the debate stage by CNN because somehow they believe she doesn`t qualify to be there. It`s ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. And there`s still time to change it. You should change it. Regardless of what happens with that debate, though, and with these lower tiers of Republican candidates overall, bottom line story right now is that the front-runner status of one campaign on the Republican side is clearer than it has been in this entire process. Donald Trump is further out ahead tonight than he has been all along. Tonight, he`s holding a rally in Dubuque, Iowa, his campaign says they`ve got 3,000 RSVPs for that rally. Before the rally, what was supposed to be a short Q&A session with the press went on much longer than it was supposed to because Mr. Trump had some very unexpected and unscripted moments, and he kind of seemed to enjoy himself and he kind of let himself get out of hand. Something very unscripted happened at that media availability today. It was thanks to a reporter named Jorge Ramos who works at Univision. Mr. Ramos initially was not called on by Mr. Trump to ask a question but Jorge Ramos stood up anyway and started asking the questions he wanted to ask. What ensued wasn`t a heckler situation because Jorge Ramos is a reporter and not a heckler. But this was a very confrontational and tense moment. And this may have happened before and I don`t know about it. But at least as far as I know, this is the first time I have seen Donald Trump, presidential candidate, confronted so bluntly in a way he could not control. And that tells you something about Jorge Ramos, the reporter, but it also today showed us something about Donald Trump, and about how he deals with direct personal confrontation he was not expecting, and it turned out to be super tense and super fascinating to watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JORGE RAMOS, UNIVISION: Mr. Trump, I have a question about immigration. Your immigration plan -- TRUMP: OK, who`s next? Please? RAMOS: Mr. Trump, I have a question. TRUMP: Excuse me. Sit down. You weren`t called. Sit down. Sit down. Go ahead. RAMOS: No, no, Mr. Trump. I`m an immigrant, a citizen. Sir, I have the right to ask a question. TRUMP: No, you don`t. You haven`t been called. RAMOS: I have, I have the right to ask a question. TRUMP: Go back to Univision. Go ahead. Go ahead. RAMOS: This is the question: You cannot deport 11 million, Mr. Trump. You cannot deport 11 million people. You cannot build a 1,900 mile wall. You cannot deny citizenship to children in this country. (CROSSTALK) TRUMP: Sit down, please. You weren`t called. RAMOS: Those ideas. I`m a reporter and I have -- don`t touch me, sir. Don`t touch me, sir. TRUMP: Go RAMOS: I have the right to ask questions. I have the right to ask a question. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, if you`re in order. RAMOS: I have the right to request ask a question. TRUMP: Yes, go ahead. Hi, Jeff. Yes. REPORTER: Roger Ailes says you need to apologize -- REPORTER: Mr. Trump, you`re running for president and one of our country`s top journalists, the man main anchor of Univision, was just escorted out of your news conference. Do you think you handled that situation correctly? TRUMP: I don`t know. I mean, I don`t know really much about him. I don`t believe I`ve ever met him, except he started screaming. And I would -- I didn`t escort him out. You`ll have to talk to security. Whoever security has escorted him out. But certainly, he was not chosen -- I chose you, I chose other people to answer -- you`re asking questions. He just stands up and starts screaming. So, you know, maybe he`s at fault also. But I don`t consider that. I mean, somebody walked him out. I don`t know where he is. I don`t mind if he comes back, frankly. KASIE HUNT, MSNBC: President Obama has taken some tough questions from Jorge Ramos. Is there a reason why you won`t? TRUMP: Because he was out of order. I would take his question in two seconds but he started screaming. HUNT: Would you -- would you let him back in now? TRUMP: I told you already if he wanted to I`d love to. But you can`t stand up and scream. I was saying something to somebody else to, is that correct? I was saying, yes, and this guy stands up and starts screaming. He`s obviously a very emotional person, OK? So, I have no problem with it. I don`t know him. I have no idea, but I would love to have questions from him. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: I don`t know him. Stick a pin in that for a moment because that`s clearly not true. Now in terms of them dragging Univision reporter Jorge Ramos out of that room there, I don`t know what happened after Mr. Ramos was taken out of the room but it`s interesting. After he was questioned, Mr. Trump was questioned by other reporters saying, "Hey, what did you just do to Jorge Ramos? Are you willing to talk to him? Why won`t you answer his questions?" Eventually, Mr. Ramos was brought back into the press conference. They brought Jorge Ramos back in, and then Donald Trump called on him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RAMOS: So here is the problem with your immigration plan. It is full of empty promises. You cannot deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. You cannot deny citizenship to the children in this country. You cannot build -- TRUMP: Why do you say is this that? RAMOS: You cannot that. TRUMP: Well a lot of people think -- no, excuse me. RAMOS: You have to change the constitution. TRUMP: A lot of people -- no, no, but a lot of people think that`s not right, that an act of Congress can do it. Now, it`s possibly going to have to be tested in courts but a lot of people think that if you come and you`re on the other side of the border -- I`m not talking about Mexico. Somebody on the other side of a border, a woman is getting ready to have a baby, she crosses the border for one day, has the baby all of a sudden for the next 80 years, hopefully longer, but for the next 80 years, we have to take care of the baby. (CROSSTALK) TRUMP: I don`t think -- no, no, no, I don`t think so. Excuse me, some of the greatest legal scholars and I know some of the television scholars agree with you, but some great legal scholars agree that`s not true. That if you come across -- excuse me, just one second. RAMOS: You`re not answering me, Mr. Trump. TRUMP: No, no, I am answering. If you come across for one day, one day, and you have a baby, now the baby is going to be an American citizen. There are great -- excuse me, there are legal scholars, the top, that say that`s absolutely wrong. It`s going to be tested. RAMOS: The question is, how are you going to build a 1,900 mile wall? TRUMP: Very easy. I`m a builder. That`s easy. I build buildings that are 94 -- can I tell you what`s more complicated? What`s more complicated is building a building that`s 59 stories tall. OK? RAMOS: But it`s really unnecessary. It`s a waste of time and money. TRUMP: You think so? Really, I don`t think so. RAMOS: Of course. TRUMP: A lot of people don`t think so. RAMOS: Almost 40 percent of immigrants come by plane, they overstay their visa. So, you would -- TRUMP: I don`t believe that. OK? If you`re right, I don`t believe it. And the drugs come I see -- they have pictures, they have everything, crawling over the fences which are, by the way, this high. I mean, you have fences that are not as tall as I am. RAMOS: Well, they`re coming by plane. So -- TRUMP: Well, they`re coming by many different ways but the primary way is being right through, right past our border patrols who are tremendous people, they can do the job but they`re told not to. RAMOS: How are you going to deport 11 million -- TRUMP: Here`s what I`m going to do, ready? RAMOS: Are you going to bring the army? TRUMP: No, no, let me tell you. We`re going to do it in a very humane fashion, believe me. I have a bigger heart than you. We`re going to do it in a very humane fashion. The one thing we`re going to do. (CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One question? Is there one question you want to add? Because we need to move on, Mr. Trump has -- TRUMP: OK? The one thing we`re going to start with immediately are the gangs and the real bad ones and you agree there are some bad ones. Do you agree with that or is do you think everyone is just perfect? No, no, I ask you a question. Do you agree with that? We have tremendous crime, we have tremendous problems. I can`t deal with this. Listen, we have tremendous crime. We have tremendously -- we have some very bad ones and I think you would agree with that, right? RAMOS: Just a little. TRUMP: OK. There are a lot of bad one, real bad ones, because they looked at the gangs in Baltimore. They look at some of the gangs in Chicago. They looked even in Ferguson. They`ve got some rough illegal immigrants in those gangs. Do you mind if I send them out? Now, if they come from Mexico, do you mind if I send them back to Mexico? (CROSSTALK) TRUMP: No, no, do you mind if I send them back to Mexico? RAMOS: If they`re criminals, there`s no problem. TRUMP: OK. So, those people are out. They`re going to be out so fast your head will spin, all right? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Donald Trump tonight with Jorge Ramos, the Univision anchor, basically having an extended fight in front of the national press. Extended, unscripted, very tense fight which culminated with Donald Trump bragging to Jorge Ramos who, again, works for Univision, it culminated with Mr. Trump bragging to Jorge Ramos about how great, how beautiful, how huge his lawsuit against Univision is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Go ahead, Jorge. RAMOS: I want to ask you about the Latino vote. You say that you`re going to win the Latino votes. TRUMP: I think so because I`m going to bring jobs back. RAMOS: I`ve seen the poll. The Univision polls say 75 percent of Latinos -- TRUMP: How much am I suing Univision for right now? Do you know the number? No, no, tell me. RAMOS: That`s -- TRUMP: Tell me. Do you know the number? And you know you`re part of the lawsuit. How much am I suing Univision for? RAMOS: The question is, Mr. Trump, I`m a reporter -- TRUMP: It`s $500 million. OK, good, and they`re very concerned about it. I have to tell you. I`m very good at this stuff. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Remember when he said he didn`t know who Jorge Ramos was? "You`re part of the lawsuit." Now, Jorge Ramos, in this extended confrontation tonight, he obviously wanted it to be about Donald Trump`s immigration policies, pressing him for specifics and specifics. Mr. Trump wanted it to be about how giant his Univision lawsuit is. He started suing Univision, or he said he would sue Univision after Univision dropped Mr. Trump`s beauty pageant from its airwaves in protest of Mr. Trump`s anti-immigrant comments on the campaign trail. This spectacle tonight, this is the first time we have seen Mr. Trump as a presidential front-runner have to deal with an extended personal confrontation. Nothing like this happened in the debate, right? With him as the increasingly distant front-runner for the Republican nomination, this was the first of these kinds of confrontations he had. It will probably not be the last. I mean, the way that Mr. Trump has dealt with critical press coverage up until now has been to banish certain news outlets or pick fights with certain news outlet he is thinks have been too harsh with him. This exact press availability today in Dubuque, Iowa. he banished somebody from that. "The Des Moines Register" is the largest newspaper in Iowa. "The Des Moines Register" had their Dubuque, Iowa, reporter at that event and the Trump campaign banned "The Des Moines Register`s" reporter from this press availability because of an editorial that "The Des Moines Register" wrote a couple months ago criticizing Mr. Trump`s comments about John McCain. So, he`s used to banish news outlets he doesn`t like, even the biggest paper in Iowa. In terms of television media, Mr. Trump is now engaged in an ongoing and increasingly heated fight with the FOX News Channel, of all places, where he is decided he doesn`t like one of the FOX News Channel`s prime time hosts. His objections to the way he`s been treated on FOX News in the past have led to him to threaten to boycott all appearances on that network, which might cause the FOX News network to collapse, I don`t know. It`s one thing to control the universe in which you operate. All candidates, all presidential campaigns try to do that to some extent, to try to put their candidate in the best light. Ultimately, though, you have to campaign in the real world which includes confrontation and includes people who don`t like you, and includes people who will say not nice things to you and won`t shut up when you ask them to. Today, we started that chapter of the Donald Trump era in Republican presidential politics. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I do a lot of things by myself. People would be surprised. (LAUGHTER) People are shocked at how smart I am, right? OK, thank you. Thank you. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Still ahead tonight, the political equivalent of Godzilla versus Mothra. Only it`s bigger! And dustier! Save yourselves. That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Out of all the candidates in the Republican field this year, there`s one candidate who`s appeared on FOX News Channel more than any other -- by a mile. Guess which one? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To Donald Trump on if these type of events are just asking for trouble. He joins me on the phone. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Great to see you, Mr. Trump. Thanks for being here. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald Trump, who`s on the phone. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, he wanted his first post-announcement interview to be on "The Factor". Good for us. Here it is. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 2016 GOP presidential candidate himself and the latest one to get in and create the most noise arguably, Donald Trump. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Moments ago, Donald Trump going on the record. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump, welcome. TRUMP: Thank you. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joining us now from his New York city headquarters is Donald Trump. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the GOP establishment is afraid of Donald Trump and I asked him why. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joining us from his lavish headquarters in New York City is Donald Trump. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: On and on and on and on. And if three months leading up to the first Republican presidential debate on August 6th, those three months Donald Trump appeared on FOX News Channel dozens of times, more than any other Republican presidential candidate. Donald Trump any time, any place early morning on FOX News, daytime on FOX News, prime time on FOX News, on set, on the phone occasionally from his lavish headquarters in New York. Donald Trump before the August 6th debate was a potted plant if FOX News studio crew members kept finding new sunny places for. He was always there: I mean, ahead of getting into the race, right? Donald Trump was a celebrity but in terms of making the leap that he has made from celebrity to political candidate, no entity midwifed that process more effectively and more determinately than FOX News did. FOX News basically gave him a rolling live platform on which he could become increasingly more of a candidate on their airwaves everyday. Until 9:00 p.m. Eastern, Thursday, August 6th, when it turned out Mr. Trump did not like the way FOX News asked him questions in that first debate. Didn`t like what the FOX News hosts and moderators were asking him about. He expressed his displeasure about that on social media and on TV news over and over and over again. But not on FOX News. He stopped going on the FOX News Channel after that first debate. He had been wallpaper on the FOX News Channel. He was all over FOX News basically every day until that debate. That Thursday night at the beginning of August. After that debate he didn`t go on FOX News the following Friday, or the following Saturday, or the following Sunday. In fact, that Sunday after the first debate he went on almost every other TV network news show in the country -- but not FOX News. By Monday morning, he had still not been back on FOX News. But by Monday evening they made up. "The New York Times" reporting that Donald Trump and the FOX News president Roger Ailes spoke Monday night after the debate and all was well again. Mr. Ailes told "The Times", quote, "I assured Mr. Trump we`ll continue to cover this campaign with fairness and balance. We had a blunt but cordial conversation and the air has been cleared." And it was. The following morning, Mr. Trump was back on with "Fox and Friends" like the good old days, everything honky-dory. Some sort of truce was worked out in that phone call. The air was clear. Now, apparently, the air is no longer clear. That truce is apparently over. As of last night, the war is back on, the leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination is back at war with the unofficial official TV network of the Republic Party that`s hard to understand in terms of what it`s going to mean for Republican politics. For whatever reason last night, Mr. Trump kicked it back on. He went back to criticizing FOX News, specifically criticizing their conservative primetime host Megyn Kelly. He sent out a series of tweets and retweets criticizing her and her FOX News show, sometimes in profane terms. But in response, something very unusual happened. FOX News is a competitor of ours at MSNBC but, honestly, they`re also something unlike anything else in the media landscape. They are Republican Party television. So we compete with them but we cover them as a political entity, you have to if you want to cover Republican politics. So, in that context I have been covering FOX News as a Republican political entity for years now. And over those years that I have been covering them in that way, I cannot remember a time when they did anything like this before they did this today. The head of FOX News is Roger Ailes. He`s been chairman and CEO of FOX News for 19 years. He`s very skilled at his job. FOX has achieved unimaginable success both commercially and in terms of their political influence on the Republican Party, under Roger Ailes` iron-fisted direction at FOX. But as far as I know, Roger Ailes has never before responded to criticism in the way he did today. First, there was this blizzard from FOX News talent. Clearly, Mr. Ailes or somebody else at FOX News gave some sort of directive or suggestion or go ahead to the talent across the FOX News Channel that they should go ahead and criticize Donald Trump publicly, they should criticize him specifically for the way he went after that one FOX News host. Almost simultaneously, there was just a torrent of statements from FOX News talent telling Donald Trump he`s wrong and must never say anything like that again about a FOX News host. And then, on top of that, Mr. Ailes himself put out what I think is an unprecedented statement and not only put it out in writing. They read it on live TV. And through all of the years I have spent goggling at FOX News as a political entity and being amazed by the things they will do, I have never seen them do something quite like this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump tweeted out personal attacks about our own Megyn Kelly. In response to those attacks, our boss, FOX News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes has just issued this statement. He writes, "Donald Trump`s surprise and unprovoked attack on Megyn Kelly during her program last night is as unacceptable as it is disturbing. Megyn Kelly represents the very best of American journalism, and all of us at FOX News Channel reject the crude and irresponsible attempts to suggest otherwise. I could not more proud of Megyn for her professionalism and class in the face of all of Mr. Trump`s verbal assaults. Her questioning of Mr. Trump at the debate was tough but fair, and I fully support her as she continues to ask the probing and challenging questions that all presidential candidates may find difficult to answer. Donald Trump rarely apologizes, although in this case he should. We have never been deterred by politicians or anyone else attacking us for doing our job, much less allowed ourselves to be bullied by anyone and we`re not going to start now. All of our journalists will continue to report in the fair and balanced way that`s made FOX News Channel the number one news network in the industry." (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The number one news network in the industry. Of course they have to end it with that. They always do that, it`s so funny. They always do that. FOX`s highest-rated host is this man, who you may recognize, his name is Bill O`Reilly. One of the very funny and very reliable things about Mr. O`Reilly for years now is that wherever he gets called out for anything -- for example, earlier this year, it was revealed he was not telling the truth about his time covering the Falkland`s war back in the `80s, his response, FOX News`s response to questions and criticism about that was really, really funny. In our covering that scandal, we sent FOX News questions about Bill O`Reilly`s reporting in Argentina in the 1980s. Their response to us was, "Here are a bunch of documents showing just how great Bill O`Reilly`s ratings are." Totally irrelevant, and very funny. It is a funny, reliably ridiculous thing about FOX News. FOX News is very commercially successful but the "our ratings are bigger" response is part of the reason nobody takes them too seriously as a supposed news organization. Now we know, though, this is Godzilla versus Mothra part, right? Now we me one funny thing about FOX News, they`re -- you criticize them, they say they have great ratings. We know that is not only true about them, it`s also true about Donald Trump. Because here is how Donald Trump rejected this unprecedented statement of criticism from FOX News today. Mr. Trump put out his own statement in response to Roger Ailes saying how wrong FOX News and Roger Ailes are to defend this host Megyn Kelly and he reiterates how much he doesn`t like that one particular FOX News host, but then he finishes up his statement with this. Look. "More importantly" -- "more importantly, I`m very pleased to see the latest polls from Public Policy Polling showing me at a strong number one with 35 percent in New Hampshire and the Monmouth University poll showing me at number one with 30 percent in South Carolina. It was also just announced that I won the prestigious corn kernel poll at the Iowa state fair by a landslide." Look at my landslide in the corn kernel poll. Sometimes the universe delivers poetic justice. On the one hand, this feels like Godzilla versus Mothra, right? I mean, Republican news network versus front-runner Republican presidential candidate. Two monsters of roughly the same size. How can I fight between them possibly end? On the other hand, if you want a more monster specific -- a more specific monster metaphor that`s maybe more accurate, it may be less Godzilla and Mothra and more like Frankenstein and his own monster, because when Donald Trump wanted to become a real candidate and not a celebrity, when he wanted to start being treated like a candidate, FOX News did that for him. They created this thing, which they are now fighting. And the fight is happening on the exact terms that FOX News itself invented. Ignoring the substance totally and fighting on the basis of "my ratings are bigger, my poll numbers are bigger, therefore I can`t hear you and I don`t have to hear you." That`s been pure FOX News for years now. And now, it is pure Donald Trump and the way he`s at war with FOX News. The universe is a snake that eats its own tail. In an era where FOX News is dominant as Republican television, can a Republican candidate for president win without them? Or more to the point, can a Republican candidate for president win while being against them? My personal sense is no. My personal sense is that FOX News will endure no matter who the Republican nominee is and there can be no Republican presidential nominee without FOX News championing them. But that`s my personal take. I mean, if it`s true, and this has to end somewhere different than it is right now. If the Republican front- runner and FOX are at war, then that person cannot be the Republican front- runner anymore. FOX must win. I know it has to end that way someday. But I do not know how we get there. Rarr! (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Today was the day when the political news was off the hook. One of the off-the-hook things in today`s political news is that the ghost of Ronald Reagan is back haunting today`s headlines. And the ghost of Ronald Reagan is haunting the political headlines on the Democratic side. And that story involves a sheep barn in Missouri. Not kidding. That`s still to come tonight. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Roger Ailes said you need to apologize to Megyn Kelly. Would you do that? TRUMP: No, I would don`t that. She actually should be apologizing to me, but I would not do that. REPORTER: Why does she need to apologize to you? TRUMP: Because I thought her questioning and her attitude was totally inappropriate. So, it just -- if you look -- all you have to do is look on the Internet today and you`ll see who people favor in that one. But I couldn`t -- it`s a very small element in my life, Megyn Kelly, I don`t care about Megyn Kelly. But no, I would not apologize. She should probably apologize to me but I just don`t care. KATY TUR, NBC NEWS: What`s your strategy behind the Twitter fights? TRUMP: The which? TUR: The Twitter fights? The late-night tweeting about Megyn Kelly. TRUMP: It takes two seconds. You do a couple of tweets. TUR: But why? TRUMP: Because when people treat me unfairly, I don`t let them forget. And maybe we should have more of that in the country and maybe the country wouldn`t be pushed around so much. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Donald Trump tonight defending his war with the unofficial official channel of the Republican Party. Mr. Trump has been a permanent fixture as a guest on FOX News Channel TV programs this year, but he spent last night and today and tonight attacking the FOX News Channel and the FOX News channel spent the day and the night tonight attacking him right back. What happens where the Republican nomination and the place where Republicans watch TV decide they`re not on speaking terms? What`s the strategy here? Or what`s the math here? Joining us is NBC News correspondent Katy Tur. She`s following the Trump campaign for NBC News. She was there at the press availability today. Katy, great to see you. TUR: You, too, Rachel. MADDOW: First, I have to ask you because you were there in the room, I have to ask you first about this huge confrontation between Jorge Ramos from Univision and Donald Trump today. You were in the room. What happened there? Did anybody know that was going to happen? TUR: Well, Jorge Ramos was sitting one person down from me and we saw that he was on one of her colleagues planes. We knew he was coming. He`s been trying to get an interview with Donald Trump since the racist -- not the racist, the immigrant remarks earlier this -- a couple months ago when he was announcing for his presidency. He has not been able to get an interview with him so we knew when he was there, there was going to be fireworks. Donald Trump came in, took the first question from Carl Cameron of FOX News, then Jorge Ramos stood up and started asking him about -- trying to ask him about the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country. Trump immediately felt like he did not want to answer that question. He felt sandbagged by having, or seemed like he did for having Jorge Ramos there, and the mood gotten very tense. He kept trying to shut him down, saying "sit down, sit down, sit down," and then going to a question from another reporter, at one point looking at his body man and giving him just a look to say, "Get this guy out of here", and that`s when he was escorted out. It was definitely a tense moment within the room but I think everybody in there knew it was coming because they had seen Jorge there and they knew he was trying to get an interview with him for quite some time. MADDOW: Katy, in all the time you have been covering this presidential campaign this year, seeing Mr. Trump at these events, obviously he`s getting big crowds and lots of reporters. Have you ever seen him have a confrontation like that before today? TUR: No, that was maybe the strongest confrontation he has had. He usually gets into a scuffle with reporters during the press conferences. He`s told me to sit down a number of times. He`s told another reporters he think it`s a dumb question. He moves on. He`s not polite to the reporters. He`s never been polite to the reporters. This might have been the most tense exchange. But it wasn`t surprising. I mean, I think everyone expected there to be some fireworks within that room. MADDOW: Katy Tur, NBC News correspondent following the Trump campaign -- always an adventure. Katy, thank you very much. TUR: Thanks. MADDOW: All right. We`ve got lots ahead tonight, including that promised Reaganesque remodeled sheep barn. Please stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: If you`re feeling like you haven`t seen or heard from Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton in a little while, that`s because she`s been on vacation. She`s been taking a little break from the campaign trail. She`s been in the Hamptons. But tomorrow, the break is over. Hillary Clinton breaking off her vacation early to hold three events in Iowa tomorrow and then she`ll off to Ohio and Minnesota. The big news for her campaign today came actually from New Hampshire. Big political news out of New Hampshire this morning was not just that Donald Trump has widened his lead even further over his Republican rivals in New Hampshire. The other New Hampshire news is that Bernie Sanders is winning there. Bernie Sanders is leading Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire 42-35 in this PPP poll that`s out today. This is the second straight New Hampshire poll to show Bernie Sanders leading Hillary Clinton. Earlier this month, it was a "Boston Herald" poll that showed him leading her by seven points. Now, today, he leads Clinton by seven again in a poll from Public Policy Polling. Tell me again why Vice President Joe Biden is the guy who could challenge Hillary Clinton from the left? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANNOUNCER: NBC news presents, "Preview: The 1976 Republican National Convention". Now reporting from the NBC News Convention Center in Kansas City, here are John Chancellor and David Brinkley. DAVID BRINKLEY, NBC NEWSD: Kansas City has done a good job setting up for the first political convention since 1928. It has even emptied a barn, normally filled with sheep, run air conditioning into it and made offices in it for Republicans and what Kansas City gets for its effort is a convention genuinely interesting. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: NBC`s David Brinkley not lying when he said it was going to be genuinely interesting. That Republican convention in 1976 was the last time we went in to a convention not knowing who the nominee was going to be from a major party. I mean, at the time, Gerald Ford was president. But that was thanks to Richard Nixon. Gerald Ford had never been elected president or even vice president. So, the Republicans had to decide whether they wanted to nominate Ford for a whole term in his own right. But he was facing a strong challenge from the right, from former California Governor Reagan. So, it was a dramatic situation heading in to that convention in 1976. News agencies at the time were keeping a rolling whip count of the Republican delegates at the convention, about whether Ford had enough delegates to sew it up, whether Reagan could potentially take it away from him. And the tail was finally told decades later, that the Reagan campaign was so freaked out by looking the whip count was going against them, three week out ahead of the convention, that they decided on the Reagan campaign they would throw the biggest Hail Mary they could think of. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT: As I now feel the people of the delegates have a right to know in advance of the convention, who the nominee`s vice presidential choice will be, I am today departing from tradition and announcing my selection. I have chosen the distinguished United States senator from Pennsylvania, the honorable Richard Schweiker. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That had never been done before. Surprised everybody. Front page of "The New York Times" the day after the announcement said literally, a total surprise, a bold gamble. A make or break move. It turns out it was a break. It was not a make. Reagan did something nobody had ever done before, he announced his running mate ahead of the convention. It didn`t work. He didn`t win at that convention. Ford got the nomination and earned him the privilege to lose in the general election to Jimmy Carter. But for Reagan in `76 when you are desperate you are desperate and there`s only so many Hail Mary moves in politics. Right now, things are unsettled and unprecedented enough in a lot of ways in this presidential race that possibility, that Ronald Reagan 1976 Hail Mary move is being talked about as a possibility on the Democratic side. There was a huge amount of press this weekend over a meeting held between Vice President Biden and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren for further steam under that kettle arriving when Senator Warren said she didn`t want to talk about whether she would run for re-election of her Senate seat. But now, it`s being raised and the pundit press again, this possibility of Elizabeth Warren running with Vice President Joe Biden. Them running as a team, there`s so much interest in that possibility in fact, that there was a stakeout outside Elizabeth Warren`s house in Cambridge, Massachusetts, today, just for people to try to get some comment on the possibility of this being a story. You know, if they did it, I don`t know that would make the prospect of Mr. Biden`s run more viable or even anymore likely, but something is happening. Something is going on. Today, reporting that Vice President Biden`s inner circle is working aggressively behind the scene to line up big donors even before he formally makes a decision. We also know that Vice President Biden is planning to meet with major Democratic fund- raisers over the Labor Day weekend. And now, there`s new news from "The New York Times" today about the national Democratic Party meeting which is happening this week. All five candidates set to address that meeting on Friday. Linc Chafee, Jim Webb, Martin O`Malley, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton all speaking Friday. Vice President Biden declined an invitation to address the meeting. That was the word as of yesterday, but today, they scheduled a call tomorrow afternoon for the vice president and DNC members on the subject of the Iran deal. Two committee members who received the invitation said they couldn`t remember a conference call with Mr. Biden on a foreign policy issue before. So, this could be an effort to raise his profile with top members of the Democratic Party right before they`re about to hear from all the other candidates. I have been a skeptic from the very beginning that Joe Biden is going to run, but something is really going on here and it cannot remain a mystery much longer. That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL." Good evening, Lawrence. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END