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Trump meets with Putin at G20 summit. TRANSCRIPT: 6/28/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.

Trump meets with Putin at G20 summit. TRANSCRIPT: 6/28/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST:  Yes, that`s a wonky conversation, but the question is, there is a certain amount of good communication that gets you so far.  And there`s a certain amount that, like, you will face backlash. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So, 40 to 50 percent of people are not voting in our elections, right?  At some point, you got to figure out how to get those people off the couch. 

HAYE:  Right, if you do that, you win.  Good luck with that. 

(INAUDIBLE) and Maya Wiley, thanks for your sharing your thoughts.

That is ALL IN for this evening. 

"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. 

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Chris.  That was an excellent discussion.  I enjoyed that very much. 

HAYES:  Thank you very much.

MADDOW:  Yes, good to be back.  Thanks, my friend.

Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.  I just flew in from Miami and, boy, are my arms tired.  You knew it was coming. 

Actually, the reason my arms are actually tired is because I landed in time to watch the end of the U.S. women`s soccer team match where they beat France.  That amazing game.  There was a lot of hands in the air cheering and fist pumping and very exciting.  USA, USA, USA. 

Honestly, it has been just super exciting few days.  I can barely tell whether I am coming or going.  I`m both so excited still and so fried.  This might be one of those shows where things go wrong.  Just letting you know right now. 

I will say also, just this week, one of the disorienting things about all the excitement is I feel like I just had a little space walk out of the news for a few days because of this two-night Democratic debate eclipsing everything else. 

I mean, it`s like the country barely noticed, but the president`s campaign chairman really did just get perp-walked through a courthouse to face his next set of felony charges.  That`s a remarkable thing to have happen on the day that Democratic candidates are starting their primary to pick someone to run against President Trump.  I mean, there is President Trump`s campaign chairman in handcuffs.  While his deputy campaign chairman also awaits sentencing and his national security adviser also awaits sentencing and his personal lawyer is in federal prison for crimes prosecutors said the president directed him to commit. 

I mean, it`s not being made into a big issue in the campaign, honestly, for better or for worse, it`s really not.  But what that means is that, you know, for us citizens, here and now in our time on earth as Americans, we really do just have images like this on the president`s campaign chairman in handcuffs, right?  That`s sort of waltzing along the margins of the news with nobody taking much notice and the president planning to run for reelection. 

We also got the conservative dominated Supreme Court catching the Trump administration in the act of trying to jerry-rig the census so it undercounts Latinos and thereby undercuts Latino voting power.  They tried it and lied to the courts about why they were doing it and how and the court stopped them incredibly interesting and dramatic ruling from the Supreme Court yesterday. 

At the same time almost literally at exactly the same time, we also got the court giving thumbs up to the states totally rigging congressional districts to benefit whichever party is in control in that state.  I know the whole gerrymandering thing sometimes just sounds like another fine print process thing, but that gerrymandering ruling from the Supreme Court, it utterly scrambles the playing field for electoral politics for the next decade and urgently changes what both parties are going to need to prioritize right now for the next year and for the next election, because whatever happens in the presidential election in 2020, whatever happens in the House and the Senate elections in 2020, all of a sudden, thanks to that ruling yesterday, we now know that the thing you are some day going to care the most about in terms of what happened politically in 2020 is not necessarily the presidential race or the Senate or House race.  It`s the elections for your state legislature, of all things. 

Because whichever party controls state legislatures next year, that party will -- they have been given unfettered power to draw districts in that state in ways that more or less permanently disenfranchise the other party, in most cases for a decade at a time until there is another census in 2030. 

I mean, just as an example, Democratic states and Republican states have drawn partisan gerrymandered maps.  One of the maps that ended up before the Supreme Court was a map from North Carolina.  North Carolina Republicans ended up in court in the Supreme Court case because they devised a plan where if North Carolina voted straight down the middle where half the votes in the state were cast for Democratic legislators and half were cast for Republican legislators, it was an even split in the state vote, that would result in 10 North Carolina seats going to Republicans and only three going to Democrats.  Even vote, 10-3 outcome. 

That`s how much they rigged the game in North Carolina.  Equal vote from equal voters in both parties, Republicans get 10 seats, Democrats get 3.  That was the case the Supreme Court was looking at from North Carolina when they said this week, yesterday, that`s fine.  We have no in telling you not to do that. 

So I know that Democrats and Republicans have done this.  They were also looking at a Democratic-gerrymandered map in Maryland.  But the two parties have come to different positions on this as an ideological issue.  Republicans are very, very happy with gerrymandering, and Democrats are getting to be uncomfortable with it.  Now, thanks to the Supreme Court ruling, Republicans are free to do that extreme form of gerrymandering or worse wherever they are in control, wherever they hold the state legislatures. 

And now, the only way Democrats can compete against that is if they do the same thing in the states they control.  I mean, when I say that the two parties come to a different place on this, if you look at Democrats` policy proposals on this right now, and there is a lot of Democratic activists right now, what you`ll see is Democrats proposing big, good government disarmament.  Democrats are saying let`s have our districts chosen by nonpartisan commissions.  Let`s take the parties and self interest and the partisanship out of it. 

That`s how Democrats have been approaching.  With the Supreme Court ruling that, is now over or at least that would be unilateral disarmament on the part of Democrats that ensure permanent control of Congress by the Republican Party for at least a decade and beyond that for the foreseeable future. 

So, I mean, Democrats had been trying -- including a lot of Democrats on the debate stage and say this shouldn`t be a partisan thing.  The Supreme Court has now said this is going to be a partisan thing.  Democrats, it`s your choice whether or not you play, but Republicans have free reign.  Republicans are perfectly are happy to go with it. 

So, what does this mean?  Whether you are a Republican or Democrat watching right now, if you know someone who ought to run for something or if you ought to run for something, the thing you or your friend ought to run for is the state legislature or state senate in your state.  And you better do it right now, because whoever is elected in this next election specifically, whoever is elected in state legislature in 2020, whichever party gains control of state legislatures in 2020 is going to get to set district maps for a decade which will decide control of the U.S. House for a decade and control your state for a decade. 

If you were ever going to run for something or support a campaign running for state legislature or senate, now is the time.  That Supreme Court ruling is absolutely huge.  That happened yesterday in the midst of all this stuff.  And President Trump is meeting with Vladimir Putin again alone, again at the start of this meeting.  Only Russian state-controlled media were allowed in and not the American press, because our president is comfortable with that. 

While meeting President Putin, President Trump started talking about terrible fake news and ranting against the free press.  President Trump chose to do that today on the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, where a guy stormed into the newsroom in the "Capital Gazette" newspaper in Annapolis and shot dead five reporters and editors. 

The president has never stopped denouncing the press as the enemy of the people and the fake news and on today`s one-year anniversary of the "Capital Gazette" shooting, he joked with Vladimir Putin about fake news and the terrible media and how it should be gotten rid of.  He also laughed with President Putin about Russian meddling in U.S. elections. 

But as Democratic candidates compete now in earnest to try to win the right to compete against Trump in the general election, one of the things we`re seeing happen already is that we`re seeing the impact of the debate this week, the debate last night and the night before, being felt in dollars and cents.  Maggie Severns and Zach Montellaro at "Politico" today rounded up some of the very early, basically instant fund-raising consequences of the debate for some of the Democratic contenders.  The Democratic debate sparked fund-raising gusher. 

Julian Castro, President Obama`s housing secretary, former mayor of San Antonio, he had a huge fund-raising response to his performance on night one.  His campaign says Julian Castro raised triple the amount of money he had raised on any previous day of his campaign, including his launch day in the 24 hours after his debate appearance two nights ago. 

New Jersey Senator Cory booker was also a night one contender.  He also says he had a big fund-raising bump from his night one performance.  His campaign says yesterday was the third biggest fund-raising day of his campaign so far. 

Kamala Harris of California had not even made it a full day since her debate performance last night.  But by 4:00 this afternoon, her campaign was already touting that not even one full day, they had already raised more money today than on any day since her very big launch day in Oakland, California, back in January of this year. 

And I know money isn`t everything.  But there is two ways those candidates are qualified to get up there these last two nights.  One of them is polling, but one of them is fund-raising.  And, honestly, they all need fund-raise their hearts out in any event, because Sunday this weekend is the end of the fiscal quarter.  They`re all going to have to publicly release their quarterly fund-raising totals. 

And that`s a practical consideration when other donors and voters even are looking at the viability of the various candidates, judging their strength, and whether that candidate can raise sufficient money to really compete is a serious part of what people look at. 

The candidates also need to fund-raise their hearts out because they all need to make it into the next debate which has the exact same qualifications threshold as the debate did this week.  That next debate is gong to look much the same.  It`s a month from now and it`s going to be 20 candidates again, two nights again, 10 candidates each night again, and again you will be able to get into that debate only by meeting the same threshold that you had to meet in order to get into this first one. 

You need a certain number of donors from a minimum of 20 states.  You need at least 1 percent in the polls, in national polling or in polling in the four early states.  That was the threshold to make it on to the stage for this week.  It will be the same threshold for next month. 

But, it doesn`t mean we will see the same 20 people next month.  We know, for example, that there are two very well-known, totally credible candidates who didn`t hit the threshold for this debate this week.  Montana Governor Steve Bullock and Massachusetts congressman, decorated Iraq war veteran Seth Moulton.  But Bullock and Moulton were excluded from the debate this week, but they are not giving up their campaigns.  They are both absolutely in contention to make those thresholds to make it into the next debate.  The CNN debate a month from now. 

If Moulton and Bullock are going to do it though, they`re going to have to knock other candidates out.  There is still only going to be 20 podiums.  So, if they`re going to make it up there, they`re going to have to surpass two of the people who we saw compete over the last two nights. 

And that I think is an interesting dynamic and a brand new one.  I may tell you something here that you may not believe this at first.  I`m not sure I would have believed it in the abstract before it happened. 

But having been there the last two nights in person, I do think this is true.  I wouldn`t have expected it, but I think it`s true.  However you think any of the candidates did in this first debate, night one or night two, whether there was a candidate who blew the roof off or a candidate who got his or her butt kicked or whether you think that the contrast between two candidates in particular really shown one up and dinged out the other, I mean, however you think any of the individual candidates did on the stage, every single one of them who was on the stage for this debate these last two nights, every single one of them, I believe, did well for themselves. 

I mean, every single one of them, even if there was one or two who you thought got shellacked, I mean, it -- every single one of them had at least one moment on stage from which they can build and raise money and attract interest and boost their chances of making the next debate, too.  And I think this is to the detriment of Bullock and Moulton.  I think both Bullock and Moulton are strong candidates, even though they didn`t make the first debate.  I think they both have good records and good skills.  You know, I would put them up on the stage with any of those other guys and I can imagine them going toe to toe. 

But them not having made the first debate sets them at a disadvantage, because the first debate itself gave 20 people, gave every person who was behind the podium on either of those last two nights something pretty significant to build on.  They all had at least one highlight, replicable moment.  And I know you don`t believe me, but it`s true.  I will show you.  I will prove it to you when we come back. 


MADDOW:  It is my contention that every single candidate who made the debate stage for the Democrats these last two nights did themselves some degree of good.  And I know that is not the common wisdom.  I know that some candidates came out on the short end of a confrontation with another candidate and some candidates had dull spots, or places where they wish they had done better.  I get it. 

But, every single one of the candidates also had at least, A, good for them.  B, I think it`s interesting about the debate that was possible when there was 20 of them over the course of two nights.  That`s the last thing I would have thought was possible heading into that format.  But, C, I think it`s also potentially important going forward now because this was just debate one.  There is like a dozen, right?  And it`s a long primary. 

And they all now need to scramble the next threshold to make it into the next debate.  That`s another debate where not every candidate is going to make it.  And they`re going to have to cross that threshold with polling, right, by appealing to people, and also appealing to enough people who will tell pollsters that`s who they prefer in the race.  But it`s also -- that they need to attract donors from lots of different places around the country to get a podium at the next debate, too.  And having a good moment in that first debate may be basically the most priceless thing you can do for your campaign at this point. 

But I will prove to you that every single one had a moment.  I am going to draw -- I`m so exhausted, this is going to be a catastrophe, I can tell you.  But I am going to draw candidates out of a hat in random order because I`m going to prove that every single one of them has at least something from the debate that played in the room and I could tell because I was there, but I also think will play with their existing fans and that will likely make new people interested in them -- every single one of them.  So, at random. 

Number four.  Mayor Pete Buttigieg.  I numbered them in alphabetical order. 

So, Mayor Buttigieg of Indiana, right?  He is the youngest candidate.  There had been questions asked this week about whether or not he would even still attend the debate given the uproar of police shootings in his city, and the rage and grief and anger in his city.  In the wake of that, some of the anger directed at him. 

The first question I asked him at the top of the second hour was a question about that controversy in his hometown.  He answered that with contrition, that was very striking and I think it`s selfless.  It was an important moment. 

But I picked out this moment to show you because I think this was sort of a lightning bolt from him and this caused heads to snap around and pay attention to him maybe even from red states.  Watch. 


PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  The Republican Party likes to cloak itself in the language of religion.  Now, our party doesn`t talk about that as much, largely for a very good reason, which was we are committed to the separation of church and state, and we stand for people of any religion and people of no religion.  But we should call out hypocrisy when we see it.  And for a party that associates itself with Christianity, to say that it is OK to suggest that God would smile on the division of families at the hands of federal agents, that God would condone putting children in cages, has lost all claims to ever use religious language again. 


MADDOW:  Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, not the only candidate to reference his or her faith last night from the stage, but the who did so I think to the most effect and with the most rhetorical power, super striking moment from him. 

Next candidate, I`m picking them at random out of a hat.  Look, it`s a system.  Marianne Williamson. 

All right.  You have to admit Marianne Williamson is the candidate you were least likely to know anything about before she appeared on the stage.  If you never heard her speak before, you were like, what is this interesting mid-Atlantic accent.  I don`t know -- it`s like a total surprise to most people who are seeing her as the candidate for the first time. 

And her closing statement got the most attention.  But for me, the thing that I thought more Marianne Williamson totally brought it, there were a few candidate who is had the best moment on this issue, but when she talked about the Trump administration taking kids away from her parents.  She was not the only one who was super eloquent on that issue, but what she said, I didn`t know her from Adam heading into this debate and it was powerful and a huge response in the room and worked for her. 


MARIANNE WILLIAMSON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  If you forcibly take a child from their parents` arms, you are kidnapping them.  And if you take a lot of children and you put them in a detainment center, thus inflicting chronic trauma upon them, that`s called child abuse.  This is collective child abuse. 

When this is crime, both of those things are a crime.  If your government does it, that doesn`t make it less of a crime.  These are state-sponsored crimes.  What President Trump has done is not only attacked these children, not only demonized these immigrants, he is attacking a basic principle of America`s moral core.  We open our hearts to the stranger. 


MADDOW:  Marianne Williamson, obviously not a typical insider candidate, not an insider candidate.  We`ve got a few outsiders running this year on the Democratic ticket.  Powerful moment from her on the issue of kids being taken away from their parents.  You could hear it very well-received in the room. 

All right, another candidate chosen at random.  Vice President Joe Biden. 

Vice President Joe Biden, right, the guy with the most at stake, the far out front-runner from before he even announced.  Vice President Biden knew he would take heavy fire all night and he did.  He gave the other candidates like Kamala Harris and Eric Swalwell really big moments of their own when they took aim at him.  All the press you have seen all day and night is how hard of a night he had. 

But watch actual Joe Biden, too.  Don`t just watch the other candidates throwing bashes at him.  Watch Biden speaking on his own terms.  In doing so last night, he was exactly who he wants the country to know is running. 

We got all of this press and certainly all of this negative attention in terms of the way he was on the receiving end of it from the other candidates, but watch how he presented himself in terms of policy and also on emotion.  Watch this. 


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  When my wife and daughter were killed in an automobile accident, my two boys were badly injured, I couldn`t imagine what it would be like to not have adequate health care available immediately.  And then when my son came home from Iraq after a year, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and he`s\ given months to live. 

I can`t fathom what would happen if they said, by the way, the last six months of your life, you are on your own and we are cutting you off.  You used up your time.  The fact of the matter is, that the quickest fastest way to do it is build on Obamacare and build on what we did. 


MADDOW:  Build on what we did.  Less Obama mentions in the debate overall, but moments like that with Vice President Biden saying we did that.  President Obama and I did that, let`s build on it.  Nobody else is in a position to say that in that same way. 

OK.  Out of the hat, who`s next?  Congressman Eric Swalwell, the second youngest candidate in the race.  He`s a year older than Mayor Pete Buttigieg.  And he was on the far edge of the stage.  He`s one of those lecterns in the wings last night, but he just brought this absolute fire to the stage and as I mentioned, trained it on Vice President Biden.  Watch. 


REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I was 6 years old when a presidential candidate came to the California Democratic convention and said it`s time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans.  That candidate was then Senator Joe Biden.  Joe Biden was right when he said it was time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans 32 years ago.  He is still right today. 

If we are going to solve the issues of our nation, pass the torch.  If we are going to solve climate chaos, pass the torch.  If we`re going to solve student loan debt, pass the torch.  If we`re going to end gun violence for families who are fearful to send their kids to school, pass the torch. 


MADDOW:  Congressman Eric Swalwell of California having his moment.  He`s already made a t-shirt that says "pass the torch". 

Kudos also to Vice President Biden there when he responded, after Eric Swalwell said that, he didn`t sort of address the content of it, he`s just sort of kept going on what he was doing, but for having popped with a big grin while he was throwing that at him, kudos to both of them. 

Governor John Hickenlooper.  OK.  So, Hickenlooper, one of two guys without a huge national profile, both from Colorado, both on the same stage last night, both he and Michael Bennet are up against that.  You are from where and have what to do with each other? 

Governor Hickenlooper, I will say, gave a great closing statement where he was like, as governor of Colorado, I have done all the stuff that you guys are proposing and bragging that you came up with.  It was a great closing statement, but like Marianne Williamson who also had a good closing statement, John Hickenlooper I thought had his moment of the night when talking about kids being taken away from their parents by the Trump administration.  He`s not a hyperbolic guy, and for him to have put this emphasis, where he put it in this line, you will hear how it resonates.  Watch.


JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Certainly, the images we have seen this week just compound the emotional impact that the world is judging us by.  If you had ever told me in my life that this country would sanction federal agents to take children from the arms of their parents, put them in cages, actually put them up for adoption, in Colorado, we call that kidnapping, I would have told you -- I would have told you it was unbelievable. 


MADDOW:  Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado, again, not a high profile candidate on the stage.  He didn`t get the most talking time, but when he landed as he did with that line, he landed and other candidates quoted back that line of we call it kidnapping. 

Next one.  Secretary Julian Castro.  Very interesting.  Secretary Castro. 

All right.  So, Julian Castro was Obama`s housing secretary, mayor of San Antonio, widely perceived I think -- I don`t think this is controversial to say to have way overperformed expectations in this debate both because of his fund-raising and his polling coming into this.  I don`t think people expected him to be a stand-out candidate on either night, but he definitely was. 

I think part of that was eloquence and his seriousness.  But what I want to play here is not one of his eloquent sound bytes.  I want to play a clip of him basically starting a fight and taking out his home state rival.  Another young Texan, Congressman Beto O`Rourke. 

Secretary Castro is an even keel, very serious, sober guy.  I`m not sure anyone expected him to bring the fire like he did.  This is part of how he elevated his profile on the stage.  This is basically him being shot out of a cannon at the rest of the field and this is why he was such a wow factor in the debate. 



The very fact that I can say that tonight shows the progress that we have made in this country.  Like many of you, I know the promise of America.  My grandmother came here when she was 7 years old as an immigrant from Mexico and just two generations later, one of her grandsons is serving in the United States Congress and the other is running for president of the United States. 

If I`m elected president, I will work hard every single day so that you and your family can get good health care, your child can get a good education and you can have good job opportunities whether you live in a big city or a small town.  And on January 20th, 2021, we`ll say "adios" to Donald Trump. 


MADDOW:  OK, I screwed it up.  I cued up the wrong sound byte.  That was him having his closing statement.  I told you I was tired and something was going to go wrong.  It was a goods closing statement. 

What he was getting the most attention for up until that moment was picking a fight with Beto O`Rourke, but I`ll get up for you.  We`ll turn that around on a commercial break.  I will play one more before we take a break. 

Senator Gillibrand, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.  Senator Gillibrand, very interesting take on the stage.  Right from the very beginning she was jumping in.  She was -- I mean, everybody had to decide whether they were going to interrupt.  Senator Gillibrand from the beginning not only interrupted to get herself time, but to try to get time for other women on the stage who she felt were being stepped on by the other male candidates on the stage, which was an interesting dynamic in itself. 

Her fighting for her own air time and at least in one instance fighting for other women`s air time itself was a statement, but when she did get the microphone and she did get to comment on the stuff that she wanted to comment on, she let loose, including with what was the most eloquent moment of the night on abortion rights. 


SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Thirty states are trying to over overturn Roe v. Wade right now, and it is mind-boggling that we are debating this on this stage in 2019 among Democrats whether women should have access to reproductive rights.  I think we have to stop playing defense and start playing offense. 

But let me tell you one thing about politics because it goes to the corruption and the deal making.  When the door is closed and the negotiations are made, there are conversations about women`s rights and compromises have been made on our backs.  And so, what we need to know is imagine this one question.  When we beat President Trump, and Mitch McConnell walks into the Oval Office, God forbid to do negotiations, what do you want when that door closes to be sitting behind that desk to fight for women`s rights?  I have been the fiercest advocates for women`s reproductive freedom for over a decade. 


MADDOW:  Senator Kirsten Gillibrand not only making that as forcibly as she did, but also opening herself up to explain down the road who exactly she was talking about in Democratic politics, who behind closed doors has tried to trade away women`s reproductive health.  If you know the recent history of Democratic politics and reproductive health, you can pick out some high profile names she might be aiming at.  She didn`t them from the stage last night, but I think she is setting us up to name them soon. 

So, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, I think that was a far-sighted interjection and also a moment that landed with power on its own.  All right.  I have the rest of the hat and we`ll be right back. 

Stay with us. 


MADDOW:  OK.  Next one, Congressman Beto O`Rourke. 

At last night`s debate or at two nights ago debate.  What`s today, Friday?  Congressman O`Rourke has taken a lot of heat in particular because of confrontation launched by Julian Castro against him and his response to that.  His center place on the stage, people are wondering is he going to bring the fire? 

I think Congressman O`Rourke has taken the brunt of the post-debate coverage almost to the extent that Vice President Biden has, but as with Vice President Biden, I think it`s worth looking at the way Congressman O`Rourke performed on his own terms, because, yes, he definitely mixed it up with other candidates and, yes, you can definitely contrast him with whoever you want and he was there in the milieu that he was in, but when standing on his own two feet talking about things on his own terms, particular on issues that he does not opine on very often like this clip I pulled right now, there is a reason why he came close to winning a Senate seat in deep red Texas, right?

This was Beto O`Rourke on the issue of impeachment.  There`s very little talk over the two nights about the issue of impeachment and related matters.  Beto O`Rourke on this was eloquent and sort of classic Beto.  Watch. 


BETO O`ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  One of the most powerful pieces of art in the U.S. Capitol is the Trumbull painting of General George Washington resigning his commission to the Continental Congress, at the height of his power, submitting to the rule of law and the will of the people.  That has withstood the test of time for the last 243 years. 

If we set another precedent now that a candidate who invited participation of a foreign power, a president who sought to obstruct the investigation into the invasion of our democracy, if we allow him to get away with this with complete impunity, then we will have set a new standard, and that is that some people because of the position of power and public trust that they hold are above the law.  And we cannot allow that to stand. 

So, we must begin impeachment now so we have the facts and the truth and we follow them as far as they go and as high up as they reach, and we save this democracy.  And if we have not been able to do that in this year or the year that follows, under my administration, our Department of Justice will pursue these facts and ensure that there are consequences, there`s accountability and there`s justice.  It`s the only way we save this country. 


MADDOW:  Beto O`Rourke last night on the issue of impeachment, potential prosecution of the president after he leaves office if he is not impeached. 

Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado.  Michael Bennet, the senator from Colorado, right, he suffers from as I mentioned being one of two Colorado Democrats in the race who doesn`t have a preexisting national profile and he`s one of seven Democratic senators who`s in contention for the nomination.  And so, you know, he blends in, but then on stage, he opens his mouth and tells this story of his own family and what Donald Trump has turned the U.S. border into in the eyes of the world. 

And Senator Bennet just nails it.  Watch this. 


SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  When I see these kids at the border, I see my mom because I know she sees herself, because she was separated from her parents for years during the Holocaust in Poland. 

And for Donald Trump to be doing what he`s doing to children and their families at the border, I say this as somebody who wrote the immigration bill in 2013 that created a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people in this country that had the most progressive Dream Act that has ever been conceived and 68 votes in the Senate, that had $46 billion of border security that was sophisticated 21st century border security, not a medieval wall and the president turned the border of the United States into a symbol of nativist hostility that the world is looking at when what we should be represented by is the Statue of Liberty that brought my parents to this country to begin with.  We need to make a change. 


MADDOW:  To have hit the emotional core at the end while he is being wrapped and to still hit it and to hear the audience, Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado. 

All right.  Mayor bill de Blasio of New York, total wild card heading into this, right?  Not a national figure.  I mean, not a national politician, certainly a national figure as the leader of the nation`s largest city. 

People thought, well, what`s Bill de Blasio going to want to talk about and mix it up on?  Is he going to be brush interrupting New Yorker?  Is he going to bring out on every topic? 

And this was the moment when he brought it -- he interjected himself on the debate on national security and made it personal at the same time.  This was a brilliant moment for him. 


BILL DE BLASIO (D), PRESIDENTAIL CANDIDATE:  We have learned a painful lesson as Americans that we have gone to war without congressional authorization.  Look, this is very personal for me.  I know the cost of war.  My dad served in the Pacific in World War II in the U.S. army, Battle of Okinawa, and had half his leg blown off and he came home with scars, both physical and emotional, and he did not recover.  He spiraled downward and he ultimately took his own life. 

And that battle didn`t kill him, but that war did.  And, look, even in the humanitarian crisis and I think we should be ready, Congressman, to intervene.  God forbid there is genocide, but not without congressional approval.  Democrats or Republicans both in the Congress have not challenged presidents and let them get away with running the military without congressional approval.  We learned a lesson in Vietnam.  We seemed to have forgotten.  Decisions need to be made by Congress in the name of the people. 



MADDOW:  Mayor de Blasio of New York interjecting him on a national security matter saying I have something to add and bringing it to his family`s personal story. 

Out of the hat -- Governor Jay Inslee of Washington.  Everybody knows he declared himself to be the climate change candidate.  We are asking him about income inequality and everybody knows he is going to go to climate.  Everybody is expecting he is going to go to green jobs.  That`s where he`s going to start with.

He doesn`t start there at all.  And instead, he`s the first person to go to this topic from the debate stage in a way that wakes the audience up like they had been in a nap before.  Watch this. 


DEBATE MODERATOR:  How would you address income inequality? 

JAY INSLEE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Well, I`m a little bit surprise.  I think plans are great, but I`m a governor.  And we got to realize, the people who brought us the weekend unions need to bring us a long overdue raise in America.  I`m proud of standing up for unions.  I have a plan to reinvigorate collective bargaining so we can increase wages finally. 

I marched with the SEIU folks.  It is not right that the CEO of McDonald`s makes 2,100 times more than the people slinging hash at McDonald`s. 


MADDOW:  Governor Jay Inslee goes to union rights, when everybody knows he`s going to go climate, he does immediately thereafter, but interjects that into the debate, and you can hear the audience picks it up.  Great moment for Governor Inslee. 

All right.  Back to the hat.  Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey.  Senator Booker, you might have seen got the most words of any candidate on the first night of the debate.  That`s interesting.  Honestly, that`s just math, though.  It`s moments people remember and stories. 

I picked out a sound byte from Senator Booker.  This is one of a handful of times he took an issue and like we saw with Mayor de Blasio there, brought it to his own experience and thereby kind of stopped everybody in their tracks. 


SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I hear gunshots in my neighborhood.  I think I`m the only one, I hope I`m the only on this panel who had seven people shot in their neighborhood just last week.  Someone I know, Shahad Smith, was killed with an assault rifle at the top of my block last year. 

For millions of Americans, this is not a policy issue, this is an urgency.  And for those not directly affected, they are tired living in a country where their kids go to school to learn about reading, writing and arithmetic, and how to deal with an active shooter in their school. 

This is something I`m tired of.  I`m tired of hearing people all they have to offer is thoughts and prayers.  In my faith, people say faith without works is dead.  So, we will find a way, but the reason we have a problem right now is we`ve let the corporate gun lobby frame this debate.  It is time we have bold actions and a bold agenda.  I will get that done as president of the United States because this is not about policy.  This is personal. 


MADDOW:  Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, known as a rhetorical magician, but somebody who brought it with exactly the right calibration there on an issue.  You see the emotion with it.  You see him making it personal and you see the audience reacts. 

I mean, I know the audience in the room is not the 20 million people around the country, but super powerful moment on an issue where a lot of people had powerful things to say. 

OK, one more and we`re going to take a break.  Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.  This was a fascinating moment.  She was not directly asked this question.  She jumped in. 

We asked Tim Ryan a question about Afghanistan.  He had said that the reason the U.S. was not able it get out of Afghanistan, he mentioned something along the line that the U.S. had not stayed engaged, I mean, basically that while we have been there for a long time, we`ve sort of been ignoring it.  And Congresswoman Gabbard took acute exception to that and invited herself into that discussion and leveled Congressman Ryan with this. 


REP. TULSI GABBARD (D-HI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Is that what you will tell the parents of those two soldiers who were just killed in Afghanistan?  Well, we just have to be engaged? 

As a soldier, I will tell you that answer is unacceptable.  We have to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.  We are in a place in Afghanistan where we have lost so many lives.  We`ve spent so much money, money that`s coming out of every one of our pockets, money that should be going into communities here at home, meeting the needs of the people here at home. 

We are no better off in Afghanistan today than when this war began.  This is why it`s so important to have a president and commander-in-chief who knows the cost of war and is ready to do the job on day one.  I am ready to do that job when I walk into the Oval Office. 


MADDOW:  Tulsi Gabbard -- each night, we had an Iraq or Afghanistan veteran on stage.  When she brought that experience to jump in and respond to Congressman Ryan`s answer on Afghanistan, as you heard, it brought the house down. 

OK.  We`ll take a quick break.  We`ll be right back.  Stay with us. 


MADDOW:  My contention is that every single person who was behind the podium on the last two nights had something to build on in terms of the way the Democratic primary proceeds from here on out.  They`re all going to try to make the next debate.  They`re going to make tomorrow`s quarterly fund- raising deadline. 

Some of did better and some did worse, but I think every single person had at least one moment that they are going to be able to take to the bank.  And to prove it, I`ve got all of them in this hat and I`m picking them at random, I will tell you each one of them had at least one great moment. 

All right.  Andrew Yang.  Wild card, right?  Outsider, nobody knows quite what to expect from him.  Is he going to mix it up with all the candidates and all the other issues?  Is he going to stick to his own issues, which are different than everybody else`s and try to put things on his own terms?  He chose the latter, including a closing statement that was perfectly crafted, got to his main stuff, and told you why he is different and why that`s good and goes to the question of electability. 

Andrew Yang. 


ANDREW YANG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I am proof that our democracy still works.  Democrats and Americans around the country have one question for the nominee, and that is who can beat Donald Trump in 2020?  That`s the right question.  The right candidate will be solving the problems that got Donald Trump elect and have a vision of a trickle up economy that is already drawing thousands of disaffected Trump voter, conservatives, independents and libertarians, as well as Democrats and progressives.

I am that candidate.  I can build a much broader coalition to beat Donald Trump.  It is not left.  It is not right.  It is forward.  And that`s where I will take the country in 2020. 


MADDOW:  Andrew Yang had less time, less speaking time than the other candidates on stage.  That was his closing statement though.  Memorable to the point on his own issues and to the concern of electability.  That was very good. 

This one requires no introduction.  This one -- this one you heard about this, the moment of the debate, probably the moment of the two nights.  This is going to be Senator Kamala Harris inviting herself into the discussion here and addressing her comments to Vice President Biden.  I will stand back from this one. 


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  There is not a black man I know, be he a relative, a friend, or a coworker who was not been the subject of some of profiling or discrimination.  Growing up, my sister and I had to deal with the neighbor who told us her parents couldn`t play with us because we were black. 

I will say also that in this campaign, we`ve also heard and I`m going to direct this at Vice President Biden.  I do not believe you are a racist.  And I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground, but I also believe and it`s personal and it was actually very -- it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senator who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country.  And it was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing. 

And, you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day.  And that little girl was me. 

So I will tell you that on this subject it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats.  We have to take it seriously and act swiftly.  As attorney general of California, I was proud to put in place a requirement that all my special agents would wear body cameras and keep those cameras on. 


MADDOW:  That swivel of Vice President Biden`s head toward Kamala Harris when she said that little girl was me, that was him and everybody else in that room looking to see the new front-runner in the Democratic presidential nomination race, at least in terms of who was on that stage that night.  Just -- I mean, I can`t say more about it than had been said already, but it was like the weather changed.  Just a stunning moment. 

All right.  Former Congressman John Delaney.  Congressman John Delaney is campaigning as the most moderate, most centrist, most practical guy on the stage.  He knows he is going to be come in from the lecterns on the wings.  He knows he doesn`t have a ton of room to turn to move at the progressive base crowd, right, who was there to cheer moments like that from Senator Harris, but he does so basically with perfect pitch. 


JOHN DELANEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We need to get things done.  That`s why I believe we need to operate in a bipartisan manner.  Listen, I will sign into law bills that come to the White House that are passed on a party line basis, absolutely.  But all the big transformative things we have done in this country`s history have happened when huge majorities of the American people get behind them, which is why we need real solutions, not impossible promises. 


MADDOW:  Congressman John Delaney of Maryland.  In terms of him introducing himself to a candidate and to a field that didn`t necessarily know what to expect from him as well. 

OK, Senator Bernie Sanders knows he is going to get the inevitable socialism question handles it where he doesn`t have to come up with a practice response, right?  He knows what the response, right?  He is perfectly comfortable in his own skin.  Great moment from Senator Sanders. 


DEBATE MODERATOR:  What is your response to say nominating a socialist would reelect Donald Trump? 

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Well, I think the responses at the polls had us 10 points ahead of Donald Trump because the American people understand that Trump is a phony, that Trump is a pathological liar and a racist and that he lied to the American people during his campaign.  He said he was going to stand up for working families. 

Well, President Trump, you are not standing up for working families when you try to throw 32 million people off their health care that they have and 83 percent of your tax benefits go to the top 1 percent.  That`s how we beat Trump.  We expose him for the fraud that he is. 


MADDOW:  Senator Sanders had to know the socialism question was coming.  Make it a beat Donald Trump question.  That`s his -- the way he knew he was going to handle it and it landed like a nuclear bomb in the room.  It was a great moment for Senator Sanders.

All right.  Congressman Tim Ryan got the short end of the confrontation with Tulsi Gabbard for sure.  He has a powerful message on his own, though, one that that resonated like it was struck with a fork.  This is the central message of his campaign.  He went right to it. 


TIM RYAN (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We have a perception problem with the Democratic Party.  We are not connecting to the working class people in the very states that I represent in Ohio, in the Industrial Midwest.  We`ve lost all connection.  But we have got to change the center of gravity of the Democratic Party from being coastal and elitist and Ivy League, which is the perception to somebody from the forgotten communities that have been left behind for the last 30 years. 

To get those workers back on our side to build electric vehicles and build solar panels.  But if you want to beat Mitch McConnell, this better be a working class party if you want to take his rear end out. 


MADDOW:  Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio.  This needs to be a working class party. 

All right.  Two more.  Which one?  Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.  Senator Klobuchar is another one of these candidate who knows who she is and never tried to be anybody else and is all about being practical and getting things done. And in this case, going after Donald Trump. 


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  The president literally went on TV on Fox and said that people`s heads would spin when they see how much he would bring down pharmaceutical prices.  Instead, 2,500 drugs have gone up in double-digits since he came into office.  Instead, he gave $100 billion in giveaways to the pharma companies.  For the rest of us, for the rest of America, that`s what we call all at home, all foam and no beer. 

We got nothing out of it.  And so, my proposal is to do something about pharma, to take them on, to allow negotiation under Medicare and bring in less expensive drugs from other companies and pharma thinks they own Washington.  Well, they don`t own me. 


MADDOW:  Well, they don`t own me.  I have time for one more exactly.  And it is our last, and it is Senator Elizabeth Warren.  Last one in the hat. 

Senator Warren is in full teacher mode here.  This is one of the moments where she is talking about something where the right comes in and said this will be a liability for you.  You`re not going to want to help this later.  But they don`t account for the fact that she is willing to sell it.  She is willing to teach the American public why this is her position. 

And here`s her in sort of unleashing the teacher. 


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I spent a big chunk of my life studying why families go broke.  One of the number one reasons is the cost of health care, medical bills.  And that`s not just for people who don`t have insurance.  It`s for people who have insurance. 

Look at the business model of an insurance company.  It`s to bring in as many dollars as they can in premiums and pay out as few dollars as possible for your health care.  That leaves families with rising premiums, rising copays, and fighting with insurance companies to try to get the health care that their doctors say they and their children need.  Medicare for all solves that problem. 

And I understand, there are a lot of politician who is say oh, it`s just not possible, we can`t do it and have a lot of political reasons for this.  What they are really telling you is they just won`t fight for it.  Well, health care is a basic human right and I will fight for basic human rights. 


MADDOW:  Senator Elizabeth Warren saying, you know, you can say me saying I`m for Medicare-for-All and that`s a liability for me, let me explain to you why I`m know, you can say me saying I`m for Medicare-for-All and that`s a liability for me, let me explain to you why I`m for it and let me bring the house down while explaining to you while I`m for it.

Anyway, I know this is an unpopular take and everybody wants theirs to be winners and losers and it`s clear that some people definitely suffered for their participation.  Every single one of those 20 candidates have something to bank on and build on for the future and the next debate is pretty soon, and not all of them are gong to qualify.  They all need to build on something. 

Anyway, thanks for watching the last two nights.  Thanks for watching tonight.  See you again on Monday.


Good evening, Lawrence. 

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