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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 7/6/2016

Guests: Susan Page, Edmond Jordan, Ellen Tauscher

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: July 6, 2016 Guest: Susan Page, Edmond Jordan, Ellen Tauscher

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, "ALL IN": That`s "ALL IN" for this evening.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now with Steve Kornacki, in for Rachel.

Good evening, Steve.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC GUEST HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks for that.

Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Rachel has the night off.

And we`re going to start tonight with the decade that won`t leave us, the 1990s. They are back. Bill and Hillary Clinton, they were big back then, they`re big now. Donald Trump was big back then, he`s big now.

And now, Newt Gingrich, he`s back too.


NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: Is there a single person here who believes that if you had done what Hillary Clinton had done, that you would not be prosecuted?

Let me tell you why I`m so proud to be here. I used to study and teach history. I spent a little bit of time in politics. I have never -- I know of no example in American history of a moment where the leader and the American people came together as fast as they have in the last year with Donald Trump.



KORNACKI: You can consider that his audition. That was just a few hours ago in Cincinnati, Ohio. Gingrich warming up the crowd at a big rally for Trump.

Now, of course, Gingrich was speaker of the House back in the 1990s. He was then pushed out of office in 1998 by his fellow Republicans. This came after his party suffered a surprisingly poor showing in that year`s midterm elections.

But Gingrich never really went away after that. He was back running for president four years ago, and now tonight -- well, tonight, it looks more possible than ever, based on what happened at that rally, that he`ll end up as Trump`s running mate.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Newt has been my friend for a long time. And I`m not saying anything, and I`m not telling even Newt anything, but I can tell you, in one form or another, Newt Gingrich is going to be involved with our government. That I can tell you. OK?

We all love Newt. Newt gets it. I`ll tell you one thing, folks. I`m not saying it`s Newt, but if it`s Newt, nobody`s going to be beating him in those debates. That`s for sure, right? Nobody. Nobody`s beating our Newt in the debate.


KORNACKI: And before that rally tonight, Gingrich and Trump met in New York at Trump Tower. This, the latest in a string of similar meetings that Trump`s been holding with possible running mates over the last few days.

Now, there are obvious liabilities to picking Gingrich if that`s who Trump lands on for his V.P. Gingrich has tremendous ethical and personal baggage. As 73 years old, he`ll be one of the oldest vice presidential candidates ever. He`s also older than Donald Trump, who just turned 70 years old. Gingrich also wouldn`t automatically put a swing states into play.

But on the other side of the ledger, there is some logic to the idea of a Trump-Newt ticket. Obviously, Washington experience, something Trump has said he`s looking for, something that Gingrich has plenty of. He served in Congress for a total of 20 years.

But it`s more than just that, more than just the experience question. Trump and Gingrich also seem to view the political system and the game of politics pretty much the same way. They both define themselves as anti- establishment figures. They both delight in bashing the media. They both talk in grand, sweeping terms about their own potential to change the world. They both seem to see themselves as leaders of average people rising up against elites.

They`ve also both mastered the art of merging the personal and the political when it comes to branding. Gingrich along with his wife has made a fortune selling all kinds of non-fiction books and children`s books and documentaries and tapes, all through their Gingrich productions media company.

Gingrich also once offered awards to small business owners and entrepreneurs, but he required the potential recipients to first join his group at a cost of $5,000. It`s the kind of entrepreneurship we`ve come accustomed to with Donald Trump. But Gingrich has been there too.

Gingrich also knows how to tap the grassroots for cash. His political action committee raised more than any other organization of its kind, a record $52 million over the four years leading up to his 2012 campaign.

Money, obviously, this is an area of concern for the Trump campaign these days. We learned just a few weeks ago, the Trump campaign had just $1.3 million cash on hand. That was a shockingly tiny sum. It called into question Trump`s basic ability to compete against Hillary Clinton financially in the fall campaign.

Today, though, a new development on that front to tell you about. The Trump campaign revealing fundraising numbers for the month of June that are a bit less bleak. The company now says they raised a total of $26 million in June. That is still less than the $40.5 million Hillary Clinton brought in but it`s much more that Trump had on hand heading into June. It`s also possible, Gingrich could help him when it comes to raising money.

Gingrich has also been telegraphing his interest in joining the ticket hard. He wants this. It`s very clear. He came to Donald Trump`s defense on a number of key issues in this campaign. A month ago, Gingrich was criticizing the presumptive nominee`s racist remarks about the Hispanic judge overseeing the Trump University case. Newt Gingrich had first called those remarks inexcusable.

But after saying that, he seemed to reconsider and said that Trump actually just a gifted amateur and that it was just a mistake. He said Trump is, quote, "learning very, very fast."

Gingrich has also done a 180 on the topic of trade. Gingrich for decades now has supported free trade deals. When he was in Congress, he helped to push through the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, which Trump now routinely bashes on the campaign trail. But now, Gingrich, with that free trading record, he actually says he supports Donald Trump`s restrictive trade policies which would end huge trade deals that are currently in place.

Gingrich has flipped in preparation for potentially joining the ticket. But the biggest thing in Gingrich`s favor right now, when it comes to possibly being Trump`s running mate, it`s the fact that if he`s asked, he would definitely say yes. That`s more than you can say about a lot of the other candidates who are on the supposed short list for Trump, or who a lot of people mention as likely VP possibilities.

There`s a tradition of potential vice presidential candidates coyly turning down the gig in public in order to not appear like they want it too hard. That`s not necessarily what`s happening on the Republican side right now, at least when it comes to the noes that Trump is getting. The usual suspects are saying, no, they really aren`t interested.

Last night, for instance, Senator Bob Corker from Tennessee, respected Republican in Washington, he joined Trump on stage at a rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, key swing state. This after meeting personally with Trump and his family in New York, seen like an audition there for the vice presidential spot.

But then this morning, hours after that event, Corker took himself out of the running. On July 4th, Trump also met with Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, the fueled obvious speculation that she too is on the short list. She makes a lot of sense as a possible short lister, but tonight, sources telling NBC News that Ernst pretty much told Trump during that meeting that she doesn`t want the VP slot.

So, Bob Corker, out. Joni Ernst looks like according to our reporting, that she`s out as well. Doesn`t mean she`s any more reticent to stay in the spotlight, though, because today, we learned that Ernst has been given a prime speaking slot at the Republican convention coming up in less than two weeks, along with Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor and former Republican presidential candidate, both of them confirmed to speak at the Republican convention.

Walker giving a sort of endorsement of Donald Trump today, saying, quote, "Last August, I said I`d support the GOP nominee. It`s now clear who the RNC delegates will vote to nominee, and he is better than she is." That was Scott Walker today, endorsing Donald Trump without actually using his name there.

Trump has made it clear that he wouldn`t ask any of his former opponents to speak at the convention unless they first endorsed him. That`s sort of a traditional move there for nominees. Trump insisting on it, but he could have some trouble on that front.

Ted Cruz, for instance, hasn`t yet endorsed him. There were some reports that today though that Cruz staffers are working with the Trump campaign to come up with some deal that would allow Cruz to speak. Cruz`s spokesperson has denied those reports.

We`re going to find out the full line-up of speakers, though, tomorrow. Keep an eye on that.

But even if the convention process is finally starting to come together for Trump and the Republicans, the struggle for the Trump campaign, it`s still the matter of the veepstakes, of finding a running mate, of finding a qualified candidate, somebody who can help electorally and somebody who`d say yes. In the past, that`s been straightforward. The process there has been pretty easy to follow. You look for who the nominee wants to run with, the nominee asks that person and the nominee always gets "yes" in return.

But with Donald Trump, there is a new variable. There`s a twist. Isn`t there always? It`s this, the question this time is not just who he wants to run with him. It`s who would actually say "yes" to him.

Joining us now, Susan Page. She`s Washington bureau chief for "USA Today".

Susan, thanks for joining us tonight.

So, you saw the rally. Newt spoke, Trump spoke, you saw `em together on the stage.

What did you think watching that? Do you think you`re looking at a ticket there?

SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY: I think it could be. I mean, they do seem to like each other. Trump seemed to be very engaged with Gingrich. I think that`s underestimated when we think about political calculations, swing states, what are their ages, that sort of thing.

I think a lot of candidates, including maybe especially Donald Trump really want somebody where the chemistry is pretty good. That`s true with Gingrich. I think that`s also true with Christie.

And the question is, is that true with Mike Pence, who is a name that is suddenly gotten a little bit of additional buzz in the last day or two?

KORNACKI: Yes, it`s interesting. I mean, I was watching him with Corker last night, and Corker obviously taking his name out of the mix today. But that chemistry you`re talking about, I wasn`t picking up on it watching Corker and Trump last night. I was picking up on it watching him with Gingrich. But if he is interested in Gingrich, and if this only increases Trump`s interest in Gingrich, what about that issue of the baggage?

I mean, he was forced out as speaker. He had the ethical reprimand, the record fine at the time back in 1997 when he was a speaker. Obviously, the personal history with Newt Gingrich. How much do you think that factors into this?

PAGE: You know, I think traditionally, it would factor in a fair amount. I mean, among them -- between them, they have six marriages. That might be a factor. It`s about two decades since Newt Gingrich ran for office. You know, one of the issues that Donald Trump has, he doesn`t have any electoral experience. Maybe he could use somebody on the ticket with more current experience in that.

But with Donald Trump in particular, don`t you think he`s going to make a call with his gut, as opposed to doing a list with pros and cons for each of the candidates? It`s hard to picture Donald Trump doing that.

I remember four years ago, when I was in Wisconsin, when Mitt Romney came in to do an event with Paul Ryan. And Paul Ryan was not then considered a favorite for the vice presidential slot on the Republican ticket. The two of them just clearly got along so well, that by the end of two or three rallies, I thought he may pick him just because they`re kind of a nice fit.

And as you said, I think you saw a little bit of that with Gingrich tonight.

KORNACKI: I also wondered too, we see Ernst apparently not being interested. Corker pulling out of the mix on this.

The idea that the vice presidential candidate has to pretty much fall in line on everything. Anything Trump goes out there and says between now and Election Day, it`s the job of the vice presidential candidate to support it, to echo it, to defend it, to never show any distance between him or herself and the candidate.

And I wonder with Donald Trump, if what separates Newt Gingrich from the other candidates potentially is his willingness to do that.

PAGE: Yes. It seems to me, you`re pretty much all in if you`re Donald Trump`s running mate. I would distinguish I think a little bit between what Corker said, which seemed to be clearly saying, I`m not going to be the vice presidential candidate this time around and Joni Ernst, who said the more traditional thing, like I want to focus on my home state, which is something you do say until you`re offered the job of running mate.

So, I thought Corker was pretty unequivocal. I`m not sure about Senator Ernst, whether you put her quite in the same category. I do think Donald Trump is not the kind of person who`s going to spend a lot of energy coaxing somebody who is not eager to be his running mate to get on the ticket. I think he`ll want somebody who is pretty avidly in favor of themselves getting that job.

KORNACKI: Yes, yes. I guess the traditional approach is you don`t want to look like you want it. But obviously, that`s not a problem Newt Gingrich has right now.

What about from the Clinton campaign`s standpoint though? Let`s say it was Newt Gingrich. Let`s say it`s a Trump-Gingrich ticket coming out of the Republican convention. If you`re trying to counter-program that, if you`re the Democrats, if you`re the Clinton campaign, how do you approach that?

PAGE: Well, you know, it would not be a problem I think for the Clinton people. It`s more a problem if Donald Trump chose an Hispanic to be his running mate. That might put some pressure on them, or a young person, somebody with a lot of -- who might some appeal to millennials. That might be put some pressure on the Clintons.

Choosing a 73-year-old guy who hasn`t run for office in 20 years, who was, in fact, last prominent in American politics as a practitioner when Bill Clinton was president, I think, leaves the field pretty wide open for Hillary Clinton. She might want to choose somebody a little younger than the other three people who will be running, but it seems to me, it does not put a lot of electoral pressure on her, either in terms of the demographics of a running mate, or in terms of the geography of the running mate.

KORNACKI: All right. Susan Page, Washington bureau chief for "The USA Today", thanks for your time tonight. I appreciate it.

PAGE: Hey. Thank you, Steve.

KORNACKI: All right. And one thing to note about a potential Gingrich vice presidential nomination, Newt Gingrich, we just mentioned it here, he is 73 years old. That`s three years older than Donald Trump.

But here`s a surprising bit of trivia. He would not be the oldest vice presidential candidate in history. That honor is held by one Henry G. Davis. He was 80 years old when he was nominated to run with Democrat Alton Parker back in 1904 against Teddy Roosevelt.

By the way, that Roosevelt ticket in 1904, the combined ages of the president and vice presidential candidate, that was the youngest ticket in history, going up against the oldest VP ever. A bit of pointless trivia for you.

And we`ll be right back.


KORNACKI: When we last left off the fight over gun bills in the House of Representatives, Democrats had just staged their 26-hour sit-in on the House floor. This was before the fourth of July recess. Speaker Paul Ryan announcing last week the House would vote on legislation to block terrorists from buying guns.

But now, Congress is back from its Fourth of July recess. That plan is suddenly on hold. Any vote on any gun legislation now pushed back indefinitely. And the reason, resistance to Ryan`s bill from conservatives. And more specifically, the House Freedom Caucus is refusing to cooperate unless they can offer amendments and have a chance to make changes to the bill.

There are also some who don`t want to hold a vote on gun bills right now, because they think it would be seen as, quote, "rewarding the protests". We`ll keep you updated if and when the vote is scheduled.


KORNACKI: NBC News has obtained disturbing new video of an African- American man being shot and killed by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It comes just hours after the Justice Department opened an investigation into the deadly confrontation.

There are still a lot of unknowns about this case, but here`s what we do know so far. Police were dispatched shortly after midnight early Tuesday morning. They were responding to a 911 caller who police say claimed to have been threatened by someone with a gun outside of a local convenience store.


BATON ROUGE POLICE DISPATCH: Copy suspicious code 2 at 2100 North Foster, cross of Fairfields.

Selling CDs on the corner. Gun in his pocket. He pulled a gun on a complainant and told him he couldn`t be around there.


KORNACKI: Police say when they arrived on the scene, they confronted 37- year-old Alton Sterling. Police say a, quote, "altercation" then ensued.

Now, we do not know what led to that altercation but a portion of it was captured on cell phone video by a witness who is in a nearby car. And as a word of warning here, and as word of warning here, the video we`re about to show you is very graphic. It appears to show an officer push Sterling onto the hood of a car, he`s then wrestled to the ground. Seconds later, one of the officers appears to shout, he`s got a gun, gun.

And shortly thereafter, gun shots are heard.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s got a gun! Gun!







KORNACKI: And earlier this evening, NBC News obtained another video of this incident. This was taken by the store owner outside where that incident took place. Now here`s a portion of that video.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s got a gun! Gun!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you move, I swear to God --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get on the ground!



KORNACKI: Now, the store owner who took that video says that he saw one of the officers remove a gun from Mr. Sterling`s pocket. Still images from this footage, you can see officers remove something from his pocket. It`s unclear what it is they removed based on these images alone that you see on your screen there.

Earlier today, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced that the case would, in fact, be turned over to federal authorities. He said he, too, has serious concerns and the video is disturbing to say the least. Those are the governor`s words there.

The officers have been placed on administrative leave, that is standard procedure in cases like these.

Earlier today, Mr. Sterling`s 15-year-old son wept uncontrollably as his mother delivered a statement.


QUINYETTA MCMILLAN, MOTHER OF STERLING`S SON: The individuals involved in his murder took away a man with children who depended upon their daddy on a daily basis.

My son is not the youngest. He is the oldest of his siblings. He is 15 years old. He had to watch this as this was put all over the outlet. And everything that was possible to be shown.


KORNACKI: And joining us now is Edmond Jordan. He`s an attorney for the Sterling family, as well as a Louisiana state representative.

Thanks for joining us.

Well, first, how is the family doing tonight?

EDMOND JORDAN, ALTON STERLING`S FAMILY LAWYER: Obviously, they`re having a rough time. The family is grieving. They`re exhausted. They haven`t slept for two days. They`ve had trouble eating. So, it`s been a rough two days for them.

KORNACKI: The news here on the legal front is state and local authorities basically ceding this investigation to federal authorities, the Justice Department, the federal Justice Department coming in.

How significant do you think that is, and why do you think that decision was made so quickly?

JORDAN: Well, let me tell you, it`s very significant. You know, I`ve been involved in these cases for many years, and what I`ll tell you is this. Sometimes the Justice Department won`t get involved in cases at all. When you think that you`ve got a pretty clear-cut case. And other times, it takes months for them to get involved.

So, to say that they got involved in less than 30 hours, I think, is pretty significant. But I think that`s a testament to the people here in Baton Rouge. You can probably see behind me, they`re still protesting to the governor of Louisiana John Bel Edwards, and to Congressman Cedric Richmond.

So, I think it`s a testament to all of them and the collective community here in Baton Rouge. I mean, again, this is a pretty significant measure and we don`t -- we don`t take that lightly. But let me tell you this, Steve, I think when you say that the city ceded to the federal authorities, it almost sounds like there was some acquiescence. I mean, look, make no mistake about it, this was an order.

And short of it being -- of the city being ordered to do that, they would not have.

KORNACKI: And, obviously, this is something the authorities are trying to piece together, just as people watching this, everybody`s trying to piece together as much information as we can. We have that store owner who offered that second video we just showed a clip up, saying that Mr. Sterling, that police removed a gun from Mr. Sterling, the close-up pictures there are too grainy, too blurry for us to be able to tell. They clearly took something from his pocket. We have no idea what it is.

What is your understanding? Do you know if he was armed?

JORDAN: No, I don`t know that. So I`m hoping that the investigation will clarify that for us. I`m not sure if he had a gun on him, or if it was a gun that was actually pulled out of his pocket, or something else happened.

So -- but, you know, the family definitely wants to get down to the truth. And if the truth was he had a gun, so be it. There are other ways to disarm an individual. I mean, that`s no different -- Steve, look, Louisiana has -- you can have a concealed carry permit. So if somebody was concealed and had a weapon and there was some 911 call saying someone had brandished a weapon, there are other ways to take, to disarm that individual short of shooting him four times at point blank range.

KORNACKI: Do you know any more details just in terms of -- obviously, we have the 911 call, but in terms of what precipitated this confrontation here? Do you know -- have any more details about what happened when the officers first arrived there?

JORDAN: I have not. I mean, it`s my understanding that the officers arrived on the scene, didn`t explain to Mr. Sterling why they were there, why they were confronting him. I think he was trying to get an explanation as to why they were there and couldn`t get one. And then (AUDIO GAP) precipitated on the video.

KORNACKI: And if I understand this right, the officers had body cameras on them, or were supposed to have body cameras on them. And the word is that the cameras were dislodged from both of these officers during the confrontation. I don`t know if I should take that to me the cameras were still rolling somewhere nearby.

Do you know any details about -- if there was any sort of additional recording of this that`s available from those cameras?

JORDAN: Well, it`s my understanding that they had some recordable information, but it may not have been useful information. So, I don`t know. I just -- you know, if you tell me that the cameras -- the camera was dislodged on one officer, I understand that, but on both officers, I just find that a little bit improbable.

KORNACKI: All right. Edmond Jordan, state representative, also the attorney for Alton Sterling`s family -- thanks for the time tonight. I appreciate it.

JORDAN: Thank you.

KORNACKI: All right. Much more to come tonight, including some late breaking political news. Be right back.


KORNACKI: Just ahead, we got arguably the biggest news of the 2016 presidential campaign this week on a case that has been put to rest legally now, but that is definitely not over politically, with Republicans, or at least the top Republican in Washington, trying to upend the tradition that was started by President Harry Truman. All that and more is ahead.


KORNACKI: Well, it`s now official. There will be no charges against Hillary Clinton.

Tonight, Attorney Loretta Lynch releasing this statement. Quote, "Late this afternoon, I met with FBI Director James Comey and career prosecutors and agents who conducted the investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton`s use of a personal e-mail system during her time as secretary of state. I received and accepted their unanimous recommendation that the thorough, year-long investigation be closed and that no charges be brought against any individuals within the scope of the investigation."

So, that is the end of the Justice Department investigation of Hillary Clinton. But for politics, for congressional Republicans, the investigation may just be starting. The house oversight committee is jumping right in, bringing James Comey, the FBI director, in tomorrow to testify about his investigation.

Next week, the House Judiciary Committee is set to question Loretta Lynch on the matter as well. And the House Intelligence Committee is also taking a look at it. So is the Senate Homeland Security Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committees chairman is reportedly itching to dig in. Add all of that up and that makes five congressional committees controlled by Republicans, potentially investigating the investigation of Hillary Clinton. And this was before Loretta Lynch announced her decision not to prosecute.

There have been some calls for a special prosecutor, maybe even some kind of a special committee to look into all of this. This is pretty much coming from across the board when it comes to Republicans. Reince Priebus, the Republican national chairman, yesterday suggested an Obama administration conspiracy to protect Clinton, putting out a statement that said, quote, "The Obama administration were never going to prosecute Clinton`s criminal behavior because they`re counting on her to deliver their failed agenda a third term."

The chair of the House Judiciary Committee called Lynch and Comey`s actions unusual, said the FBI`s decision, quote, "just doesn`t smell right." Donald Trump for his part is now claiming that Hillary Clinton bribed Loretta Lynch to stand down. Trump saying she is dangling the possibility of reappointing lynch as A.G. in a Clinton administration and this is why Lynch won`t be prosecuting.

This morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan, a top Republican in Washington, endorsed the new and potentially new congressional inquiries and he went a step further and called for something else.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I was on the ticket in 2012. After the convention, you get the full deep classified information as part of transition, as part of being a nominee. I think the DNI, Clapper, should deny Hillary Clinton access to classified information during this campaign, given how she so recklessly handled classified information. I think that`s something that the administration should do on its own, but we`ll look into seeing if that`s something we can do as well.


KORNACKI: Those briefings that Ryan is talking about have been a staple of presidential campaigns since back in 1952. Both parties` candidates receiving intelligence briefings after the convention and during the campaign. This was a tradition started by Harry Truman who became president suddenly upon the death of FDR in 1945, and 12 days after taking office, Truman first learned about something called the Manhattan Project.

Truman didn`t want any incoming president to ever be as uninformed or unprepared as he was at that point. Ryan, though, saying the Clintons should not be allowed to receive the traditional briefings while running this fall. So that so far has been the Republican response to all of this.

Meanwhile, the Clinton response -- well, it`s been pretty much nothing. The campaign issued a three-sentence statement yesterday declaring the matter resolved. Another one today slamming Republicans on the House Oversight Committee for, quote, "politicizing the FBI investigation." But no interviews with the candidate, no interviews with the campaign, no rebuttal of the scathing rebuke from Comey, the FBI director, no attempt to explain or defend the discrepancies between what Hillary Clinton has said over the past year and what the FBI director said yesterday.

And there`s a lot to explain here. Hillary Clinton has said she never sent or received information that was classified at the time it was sent or received. She pointed to the government practice of up-classifying documents, after the fact. Meaning they`re retroactively classifying them as -- retro -- excuse me, retroactively classifying them years -- months or years after they`ve been sent.

But Comey revealed yesterday that 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains contained classified information at the time they were sent or received. Clinton has also made the more specific claim that nothing she sent or received was marked as classified at the time. But, again, Comey revealed yesterday there were a small number of e-mails that did have classified markings, on them. He added that even for those that didn`t, quote, didn`t know, quote, "participants who know or should know that the classified matter is -- that the matter is classified are still obligated to protect it."

And there was also said, Comey saying that, quote, "hostile actors gained access to the private commercial email accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account. He also said it`s the FBI`s assessment that those actors may have gained access to Hillary Clinton`s account.

Now, in response to those specific revelations and contradictions, we have heard nothing from Hillary Clinton or from her campaign. The question is, can they really just continue to say nothing about this? And if they do have to say something about this eventually, what are they going to say?

Joining us now is Ellen Tauscher, former California congresswoman who also served under Hillary Clinton as under secretary of state for arms control and international security. She`s a Hillary Clinton supporter.

Thanks for joining us.

Let me start with, doesn`t Hillary Clinton owe an answer to what James Comey said yesterday and what he revealed?

ELLEN TAUSCHER, FORMER UNDER SECRETARY OF SATE IN OBAMA ADMIN.: Well, I think that the State Department gave partly an answer today when the State Department pushed back pretty significantly. They have done their own research of these e-mails. In the case of the e-mails that were potentially characterized as classified, so said FBI Director Comey yesterday, the truth of the matter is, that was a mistake. At least two of those e-mails were mischaracterized and actually did not contain classified information.

So I think the real issue here, Steve, is that --

KORNACKI: But I don`t mean to interrupt you, but you`re saying at least two. Let`s make sure we get the numbers straight. We`re saying, from this FBI review, what the director of the FBI said was 110 --

TAUSCHER: But he said there were a few --

KORNACKI: -- 110 contained classified information.

TAUSCHER: But he said that there were a few that were --

KORNACKI: That had markings on them.


KORNACKI: But he also said, of the ones that didn`t have markings, I want to read his exact quote here. This is what he said. He said, "Any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton`s position, or in the position of those with whom she was corresponding, would have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation."

TAUSCHER: So, let`s look at this. And the State Department`s already come out today and said that what Dr. Comey said is incorrect. Two of the e- mails that actually said that they were classified were incorrect. They were not classified e-mails, but they did have markings on them.

KORNACKI: Doesn`t Hillary Clinton owe this answer? If the FBI is saying 110 e-mails, not two, 110 contained classified information.

TAUSCHER: No, I think too many people that don`t know enough about this are talking about it.

KORNACKI: Do you think the FBI director doesn`t know about this?

TAUSCHER: I think that plenty of people on TV and some of my former colleagues in the House know nothing about this because they`ve chosen --

KORNACKI: What about the FBI director, he`s the one who said, 110 e-mails had classified information when they were sent. He`s not just somebody on TV. He`s the director of the FBI.

TAUSCHER: What is that about? I mean, from my point of view, I had classified e-mails coming to me all the time when I was under secretary on the classified servers. The point is --

KORNACKI: But he`s saying these passed through the personal server, not the classified server. That`s the problem he`s raising.

TAUSCHER: He`s raising things and keep in mind what the secretary said from the beginning, that she wished she hadn`t done this, that this was a mistake. I don`t know what emails he`s talking about. The State Department came back and said at least two of the e-mails that had classifications on them were actually not classified. It was a human error.

So, I think there`s some question as to actually about these hundred of e- mails out of 30,000.

KORNACKI: Does anything, though, in what he said and what he revealed yesterday concern you?

TAUSCHER: Of course, it concerns me. But I`m also going to be somebody that`s informed by the facts, not by the political part of this. And the truth of the matter is that the Department of Justice has made it very clear that there`s not going to be a prosecution here, that there was no intent by the secretary. That is a key piece of this, there was no willful action on the part of the secretary to ignore the law or put secrets in jeopardy. That is the collective opinion of career prosecutors and FBI agents. And I`m willing to take them.

KORNACKI: The opinion expressed was -- and he said the reason for the recommendation of no prosecution was no intent, but he did say, this is careless --

TAUSCHER: But that`s the law.

KORNACKI: -- and he said anybody in Secretary Clinton`s position should have known.

TAUSCHER: Because that is the law, Steve.

KORNACKI: His words were, "should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that," does that concern you?

TAUSCHER: It concerns me because most people don`t understand that the way he would know that is to have opened the email. If there`s no header and footer that says it`s classified, you`re going to open an e-mail and then you may actually see that somebody sent you something, probably mistakenly --

KORNACKI: But if you`re talking about 110, shouldn`t you at some point figure out between zero and 110, that that is a problem?

TAUSCHER: I think that`s something the State Department is working on with the FBI to understand what these things are. We certainly don`t know what they are. I don`t think anybody in the public knows what they are. Perhaps we`ll find out.

But what I find to be shameful is that my Republican colleagues, my former colleagues in the House can`t take the facts for an answer. Can`t take career prosecutors and agents for an answer because they pre-decided that they wanted this to be a criminal activity and that`s where they`re going.

KORNACKI: All right. Ellen Tauscher, a Hillary Clinton supporter, former congresswoman from California, also a former under secretary of state -- thanks for the time tonight. Appreciate it.

TAUSCHER: Thank you.

KORNACKI: All right. A lot more to get to tonight, including late word on what could soon be an endorsement from Bernie Sanders of Hillary Clinton and one -- we`ll be right back after this. Excuse me.


KORNACKI: One quick note about something I said earlier in the show. I was talking about the possibility of a Trump-Gingrich ticket being one of the oldest on record. I also said that the Teddy Roosevelt-Charles Fairbanks ticket back in 1904 was the youngest joint age of a presidential ticket in history. Well, it turns out I was wrong.

Much more recently than that, you can find an example for this. The Clinton-Gore ticket in 1992, they were a combined age of just 90. And then, four years later, when they ran for re-election, their combined career age was 98, equal to that Teddy Roosevelt ticket in 1904.

That`s what happens when you try to do presidential ticket math on the fly. We`ll be right back.


KORNACKI: It was five summers ago when President Obama walked up to the podium in the East Room to announce that the United States was going to start pulling out a substantial number of troops from Afghanistan.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Tonight, we take comfort in knowing that the tide of war is receding. Fewer of our sons and daughters are serving in harm`s way. We`ve ended our combat mission in Iraq with 100,000 American troops already out of that country. And even as there will be dark days ahead in Afghanistan, the light of a secure peace can be seen in the distance. These long wars will come to a responsible end.


KORNACKI: That was back in June of 2011. At that time, we had 100,000 troops in Afghanistan. Three years later, in 2014, President Obama went to the Rose Garden to announce that he would pull virtually all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2016.

Since those two announcements, the number of American troops in Afghanistan has decreased to just under 10,000 American service members in Afghanistan, until last fall, in October. That`s when President Obama announced that a U.S. military presence in Afghanistan would be extended yet again. He announced that Afghanistan was too fragile. And instead of continuing the drawdown, we would keep the 10,000 troops there through most of 2016.

After that announcement, President Obama had not planned to take questions, but he did take one from a reporter who shouted out a question as he finished up about how disappointing it was for him to decide the troops could not yet come home. This was part of his answer.


OBAMA: We`re going to continually make adjustments to make sure that we give the best possibilities for success, and I suspect that we will continue to evaluate this going forward, as will the next president.


KORNACKI: As will the next president.

We`re in our 15th year at war in Afghanistan. Now, that`s the longest war we`ve ever fought. The plan for U.S. troops level in Afghanistan for 2017 was to cut the forces by half from 10,000 down to 5,500. That was the plan until earlier this month when the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan sent recommendations to the president on how many Americans should remain in Afghanistan next year, in 2017. Today, President Obama went to the Roosevelt Room to announce his updated decision on troop levels based on those recommendations.


OBAMA: In January, the next U.S. president will assume the most solemn responsibility of the commander in chief, the security of the United States and the safety of the American people. The decision I`m making today ensures that my successor has a solid foundation for continued progress in Afghanistan as well as the flexibility to address the threat of terrorism as it evolves.

Instead of going down to 5,500 troops by the end of this year, the United States will maintain approximately 8,400 troops in Afghanistan through the end of next year. I strongly believe that it is in our national security interests, especially after all the blood and treasure we`ve invested in Afghanistan over the years that we give our Afghan partners the very best opportunity to succeed.


KORNACKI: President Obama announcing that he will keep more troops in Afghanistan through 2017 for when the new president assumes office. The announcement today was not a huge change in terms of numbers. It was, as the approximated said, more of an adjustment.

But symbolically, it`s a important change. It means President Obama does not get to end the war in Afghanistan during his presidency. It means he does not get to bring back the troops and it means in one of his final acts as president, he is sending more troops into that conflict in Afghanistan at the same time we`re sending troops back into Iraq and now into Syria, increasing our involvement in the longest war we`ve ever fought in Afghanistan, 15 years now and counting.



KORNACKI: Today marks exactly month since Hillary Clinton officially became the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. It`s a month that has passed without the endorsement of her primary rival, Bernie Sanders. But now that could be about to change.

NBC News learning tonight the two camps are in talks over a possible endorsement and joint appearance that could come as early as next Tuesday in New Hampshire. That`s the same state where Hillary Clinton endorsed then-Senator Barack Obama after their bitter and long fight eight years ago.

Now, while details need to be ironed out, Sanders age tell NBC that Sanders would like to endorse Hillary Clinton before the Democratic convention. And that likelihood came one step closer to reality today when Hillary Clinton unveiled an updated plan to make in-state public college tuition free for families who make less than $125,000 a year. A new plan moved her closer to the free tuition for all plan put forward by Sanders.

And in the last hour with an interview with Chris Hayes on "ALL IN," Sanders praised Hillary Clinton`s new plan while acknowledging an impending endorsement was likely.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are now working with the Clinton campaign. We came together on higher education and let me congratulate her. I think this is an extraordinarily powerful proposal that will mean so much to millions and millions of young people. We`re working on some other ideas. And I think at the end of the day, there is going to be a coming together and we`re going to go forward together and not only defeat Trump, but defeat him badly.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: That`s key. So you`re not denying reports there are talks about a possible endorsement?

SANDERS: That`s correct.


KORNACKI: So that news tonight of an impending endorsement of Bernie Sanders for Hillary Clinton comes after patience was wearing thin among Democrats on Capitol Hill. During a tense closed door meeting this morning, at least some House Democrats booed Sanders when he refused to unveil a line for his endorsement. Some lawmakers reportedly begin shouting, "Timeline! Timeline!"

One senior Democrat complaining that Sanders was, quote, "squandering the movement he built with a self-obsession that was totally on display."

Then again, the question might be asked at this point, how much does a Sanders endorsement even matter? While Clinton took only four days to endorse Obama back in 2008, there were examples of times when it didn`t happen at all. Jerry Brown back in 1992 never endorsed Bill Clinton after losing the nomination to him. But Clinton still went on to win easily that fall.

While Democrats spent the early part of the summer worrying about party unity amid polls showing Hillary Clinton neck and neck with Donald Trump since capturing the nomination 30 days ago, her lead was only expanded over Trump. The presumptive Republican nominee has spent the past month mired in controversy after controversy amid several missteps, while Clinton herself has been busing holding joint campaign appearances with Democratic heavyweights like Elizabeth Warren and President Obama.

And next up, Vice President Joe Biden, who`s going to join her in Pennsylvania on Friday. All this while Clinton continues to raise boatloads of money and is outspending Trump on the airwaves with 15-1. So, while a little more unity hurts, right now, Democrats are already feeling pretty good about Hillary Clinton`s chances in the fall, even without a Sanders endorsement.

That`s going to do it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.

Now, it`s over to Lawrence O`Donnell for `THE LAST WORD" -- Lawrence.