Dorian upgraded to category four hurricane. TRANSCRIPT: 8/30/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.

Guests: James Keith, David Cicilline, Mark DeSaulnier, Jamal Simmons

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST:  Our last studio show is next Friday, September 6th.  So, please, come be part of the audience for that.  Tickets are free.  You can find them at our website, msnbc.com/allin.  They are available now.  I hope to see you live in New York next Friday. 

That is "ALL IN" for this evening.  Thanks so much to everyone here.  Thank you to everyone watching at home.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now with Joy Reid, in for Rachel.

Good evening, Joy.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Chris.  I love it.  I love the live show.  Love the sartorial splendor.  I love it. 

Do it for like ever.  We love it.  I love it.

HAYES:  Thank you very much.  Have a great night.

REID:  Thank you very much.  Cheers.

All right.  Thank you very much to you at home for joining us this hour.  Rachel has the night off.  But she will be back next week. 

Now, as we head into this holiday weekend, all eyes are on Hurricane Dorian, which is beating a path toward Florida and gaining strength as it goes.  The warm waters of the Atlantic are cranking up the storm.  Now, in the last half hour, Dorian was upgraded to a category 4 hurricane.  That means it has sustained winds over 130 miles an hour. 

The latest models have Dorian making landfall late Monday night or early Tuesday morning.  But where it hits and how much destruction it causes are open questions.  For now, the entire east coast of Florida, all the way up to Georgia, are in the danger zone. 

Joining us now with the latest forecast is NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins. 

Bill, thank you so much for being here tonight.  What is the latest? 

BILL KARINS, NBC NEWS METEOROLOGIST:  So much is changing and so quickly.  So, we knew this storm would become this category 4, who knows, maybe a category 5 in the days ahead.  The big question was, where is it going to go?  And there`s big changes with that that I`m going to get to a second. 

But I`ve got to show just how impressive the storm is right now.  I zoomed in close.  These are one minute images from a satellite.  We compile them together.  It`s a three-hour loop.

You can see, it clears out the eye, very symmetrical.  This is as powerful a form as you will see in satellite images.  Just incredible.  But it`s still three days away from land.  So, that`s where we want the powerful storms like this. 

Not like last year when Michael intensified before it went onshore.  So, as long as we still have this wiggle room, I`m OK with it being this intense right now.  And as we mentioned, 130 mile per hour winds, still 600 miles away from South Florida. 

So, let`s get into the good stuff.  Let`s get into the positive stuff.  This is our latest upgrade updated computer models.  These come in every six hours or so. 

And all of a sudden, these squiggly lines, which yesterday were going straight through central Florida, all of a sudden, we have one, two, three, four of these which never make landfall.  The hurricane center saw this trend with the European model earlier, now our American model, closer to in the cost.  The storm taking its turn further out to sea. 

So, right now, the cone of uncertainty goes from Charleston, south of Miami and includes all areas towards Tallahassee.  But this trend is our friend.  We want this to go offshore.  I don`t care if we have a cat 5 that`s off the coast, that doesn`t hit any land areas. 

Now, for our friends in the northern Bahamas, unfortunately, all these lines are dangerously close to you.  You`re going to get a direct hit from a powerful hurricane.  We know that.  They are getting out of there.  They`re preparing for that.

But we`d like to avoid that for our friends here in areas of Brevard County, all the way up the coast.  I mentioned the Brevard County, because just in case it doesn`t make that turn, they`ve already issued the first mandatory evacuations starting Sunday morning for the barrier island islands, the mobile homes, manufactured homes, low lying areas, places you would expect it evacuate first. 

So, we still have to prepare in case this is a category 4 as it moves onshore.  But we are still at least a glimmer of hope we can avoid this multi-billion dollar weather disaster if we can keep it off the coast.  Here`s our American model.  Our latest one this afternoon, it does bring up right along the space coast, the Kennedy Space Center right here, the Melbourne area.  It does bring it onshore. 

But look how late the timing is.  We keep delaying this thing.  That`s actually good.  The further we delay it, the better chance of going off the coast. 

I mean, this is 2:00 a.m. Wednesday now.  I mean, now we are looking at Saturday all clear, prep day, Sunday all clear, prep day.  Weather going downhill the end of Monday, maybe Tuesday hurricane conditions on the coast. 

I mean, we keep delaying this more and more.  It gives us more time.  Hopefully, it can change. 

The only thing that`s not the good news for our friends in Savannah, Charleston, all the way up here through Myrtle Beach, the Wilmington area, the outer banks, this is the region now that could deal with a powerful storm.  It won`t be a cat 4 but it could be a category 1 or 2. 

We have to watch you.  This is Wednesday, Thursday into next week.  So, Joy, you get the idea. 

We`re going to respect this thing.  The unpredictability of the path, it`s a huge storm right now, the category 4.  It could go to a five or a three over the next couple of days.  You know, we`re gong to have to wait and see where that turn goes. 

And this is the cone of uncertainty, you know?  If you are in that cone, you prepare for it as it`s coming to you. 

REID:  And really quickly if I can ask you, the squiggly lines before with all the different colors, European model that showed all the places it can go, is there a way to know which one is more likely?  Can you explain the color coding? 

KARINS:  Yes, let me get back to that.  So, that`s the European model, by the way, which was the first one to stall, and it kind of reverse through the maps here.  Now, the lines that we watch here with all of the squiggly lines, you know, we have a lot of weather computers that come up with these forecasts. 

And what they do is, there are different agencies that do some of them.  This is the hurricane wharf is one of the ones, that`s the Hurricane Center, they have a special model just for them and they do a lower resolution, just on a specific area.  And so, a lot of these different lines, they do have grades on them to show you which are more accurate than others. 

And, you know, some of the ones that I look at the most is hurricane wharf, this yellow line, that`s a very popular.  That one right now still does bring it onshore. 

The American model, which is right here, that`s right along the coast but doesn`t make landfall.  Canadian model, they have a model.  We have Japan has one, U.K.  A lot of people have these models. 

And they take all the same data.  They have little different permutations with the physics that go into the models.  And that`s why they spit out little differences.

REID:  Right.

KARINS:  What we really look for, Joy, is we don`t look specifically at this.  We look for the trend in all of these.  The trend yesterday was south, people in Miami were starting to get really worried, and heading through central Florida.  And now that trend is slower, stall it out and then make that big bend.  If it can bend out to sea, it would really save so many people. 

REID:  My last question to you would be, what does it depend on?  Is it the warmth of the water?  What actually could cause it to either hit or maybe veer off? 

KARINS:  If you pay attention to the summertime, you may have heard the Bermuda high.  It`s high pressure in the summertime that sets up over the top of Bermuda.  And it can provide heat that happens on the East Cast.  There`s a high pressure system there.  That`s steering the storm. 

So, I will go over here.  Bermuda is located over my hand.  The flow around that is going like this.  So, that`s why the storm can`t just hook and go to the north right now.  That high pressure is what`s steering the storm. 

If that weakens, which now it looks like it`s going to by the time we get to Tuesday and Wednesday, it stops pushing the storm towards Florida.  That high pressure doesn`t have the strength to push it.  That`s why it`s going to slow down and could devastate the northern Bahamas. 

We will see how far west it gets.  We still have two days to go.  If the high pressure systems trends stronger, it`s back into Florida.  If it trends weaker, then we can hook this thing and head it to the north and out to sea.  So, that`s the key is this area of high pressure. 

Your government taxes are paying for an aircraft to fly up in the atmosphere, out here over the open Atlantic, they take measurements that go into our computers to try to give you the most accurate information.  We can`t measure, Joy, every inch of atmosphere.  We don`t have the technology.  But when we get these information from the aircraft flying out here, it goes into the models.  It gives us a more accurate forecast, and your government taxes are doing that for you right now.

REID:  Bill Karins, we learned something tonight as well.  Thank you very much.  I really appreciate that.  Thank you for explaining that.  Our NBC meteorologist, thank you.

All right.  The state of Florida unfortunately has a Labor Day hurricane history.  In 2016, it was Hurricane Hermine, tearing through the Sunshine State over Labor Day weekend.  Labor Day 2010, it was Hurricane Earl barreling up the coast.  In `08, it was Gustav.

Labor Day weekend 2004, they got a storm the size of Texas, Hurricane Francis.  In `85, Hurricane Elena.  In `79, Hurricane David ripped through Florida with winds that could peel the metal roof off of a building.  Happy Labor Day.

But the worst Labor Day hurricane to hit Florida happened before they gave storms human names, back in 1935.  What became known as the Great Labor Day Hurricane decimated the Florida Keys.  It was so powerful, it derailed trains and wound up as the eighth deadliest hurricane in continental U.S. history. 

"The Sun Sentinel" in South Florida did the math.  At least seven hurricanes have hit Florida over a Labor Day weekend.  It looks like the state might have to add one more to the tally as you just heard.  Hurricane Dorian is on track to hit Florida this Labor Day.  Dorian is slowly churning through the Atlantic where warm waters are turbo-charging the storm. 

As we have been reporting, just in the last hour, it was upgraded to a category 4, meaning it has sustained winds of over 130 miles an hour.  Dorian is expected to make landfall late Monday or early Tuesday.  The precise path of the storm has been hard to predict. 

But the latest models have it shifting to the northeast as you heard from Bill Karins.  The National Hurricane Center predicts, quote, life- threatening storm surges and devastating hurricane force winds.  The unpredictability means it`s still not clear where and when folks will have to evacuate. 

In Miami, where they are in the midst of a king tide, low lying areas have started to flood.  If that doesn`t have you sitting up and paying attention, how about this?  This is footage of Dorian from space.  All those glowing purple lights, that is pockets of lightning inside the hurricane.  As Rachel likes to say, buckle up. 

Joining us now is Keith James.  He`s the mayor of West Palm Beach, Florida. 

Mayor James, thank you very much.  I know it`s very busy for you tonight.  So, thank you for taking a little time to be with us here tonight. 

MAYOR KEITH JAMES, WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA:  Joy, thank you for having me. 

REID:  Absolutely. 

So, we just heard Bill Karins talk about the unpredictability of the storm.  There is still a possibility, according to all the squiggly lines that he showed us, that West Palm Beach and the Palm Beach area could be hit.  Since there are a couple extra prep days, this could hit 2:00 a.m. Wednesday morning as Bill was saying, what are you taking advantage of that extra time to do to prepare the city? 

JAMES:  Well, what we are continuing to do is preach from the pulpit of preparedness.  And by that I mean, we are continuing to get the message out to residents that they need to prepare for this as a significant weather event.  They need to stock up on the essentials, water, food, medicine, gasoline.  And if we have a couple of extra days to do that stocking up, that`s all the better. 

We are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. 

REID:  So, I lived through a few hurricanes living in Florida 14 years.  I remember going through Wilma, which is also a category four.  It`s pretty frightening for those who have not lived through it.  It`s pretty scary. 

How are the stores handling it?  Because I remember one thing is when we went out to try to stock up, as you just said, stores empty out real quickly.  All the water is gone.  Bread is gone.  Basics are gone. 

Are stores going to have time to get trucks in, to put fresh food and water et cetera in before Tuesday? 

JAMES:  We are very optimistic that that will be the case.  The stores have already started emptying out.  You know, the one thing about a hurricane is generally before the hurricane, it`s nice weather.  So, if we get a couple more days of nice weather, that should enable the major stores to stock up. 

And again, what I don`t want to happen is for residents to get complacent and say, it`s never going to happen.  This is a major weather event.  Residents, please, take it seriously. 

REID:  And the other issue that I can recall just from being down there was gas lines.  People not being able to get gas for the car, because if there is a major evacuation, is it better for people to go ahead and stock up on gas, stock up on extra gasoline?  Or do you worry about long lines and thick lines of cars and people trying to get on the road as the store is coming in? 

JAMES:  Well, we don`t know what the evacuation plans are yet.  Palm Beach County will be handling that and we will abide by those.  The county handles it because the evacuation routes are outside of our city limits.  The gas lines have started.  That`s one advantage of having more time is that people will have an opportunity to find a station. 

And listen, gas supplies are getting low as well.  But I`m proud and happy to say that our governor has authorized the gas trucks to be escorted by the Florida highway patrol.  So, they will be hustling into the various stations as well to restock. 

REID:  One of the things that I hear a lot of sort of commentary on from folks who worry about the state of immigration in this country is that people who are undocumented are sometimes afraid to flee.  They are afraid to evacuate.  They are afraid to participate in what would did he life saving measures because of their immigration status. 

As mayor of West Palm Beach, can you please advise, what is -- do people who are undocumented and their families have anything to fear if they evacuate?  And would they be able to take advantage of the services that citizens are able to take advantage of in the event that the storm is as bad as it could be? 

JAMES:  Absolutely.  They are -- we are encouraging them to take advantage of shelters.  If you are in an evacuation zone, absolutely not.  We`re not going to discriminate because someone is an immigrant. 

At this point, our highest priority is to save lives.  And we don`t care what color, what country of origin those lives are from.  As the mayor of this country, I`m concerned that every citizen, every resident of my city is safe and secure after this storm. 

REID:  Thank you very much, sir, for saying that.  Keith James, the mayor of West Palm Beach, Florida, thank you so much for taking time. 

JAMES:  Joy, one matter of personal privilege.

REID:  Yes, sir.

JAMES:  If I may. 

REID:  Yes, sir. 

JAMES:  I know my mother is watching and I apologize for being in an informal outfit.  I have been working at EOC all day.  So, mom, I`m sorry.  I should have been in a suit and tie.  She`s a big fan of yours, Joy. 

REID:  Thank you very much.  Tell her thank you.  I hope you guys absolutely stay safe. 

You are right, my godmother who get on me if I wasn`t dressed for TV.  I`m sure your mom will understand.  You are working hard, sir.  Thank you very much. 

JAMES:  Thank you very much.

REID:  Cheers.  Thank you.

All right.  We`re going to be keeping an eye on Hurricane Dorian tonight, and all weekend long and into next week, too.

We also have a lot of political news to bring you tonight.  A lot of stories ahead. 

Now, with the hurricane bearing down, Donald Trump canceled his trip to Poland saying that he is doing so to monitor the storm.  Now, because he pulled the plug on that trip, the president is conveniently enough skipping a meeting with another world leader that is raising some eyebrows.  We`re going to have more on that later in the show. 

Now, rather than flying to Europe, Trump took off for Camp David where he will be on storm watch, but not before bragging about how totally prepared they were for Hurricane Dorian to hit Puerto Rico and how he is not at all concerned about whether his private club, Mar-a-Lago, which is in the path of the storm, will got Molly whop with the rest of the state. 

Now, we also have news about a story that this show has been following all week.  The story of the Trump administration suddenly telling immigrants who need lifesaving medical care they can no longer have a medical deferment from being deported, telling them they have 33 days to get out of the country. 

That story has continued to develop.  And we`re going to get the latest from a member of Congress who has been advocating for a constituent of his on this issue. 

We`re going to take a look at the surprise horse race news of the week and why Senate Republican Mitch McConnell seems a little bit antsy about his majority. 

All of that and more is ahead on the show tonight.  So, please, stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID:  So, we continue to keep an eye on Hurricane Dorian, which has been upgraded to a category 4 storm as it heads toward Florida.  And that storm already had one consequence in Washington, D.C. 

The House Judiciary Committee has canceled its plans to come back early from the summer recess to work on a package of gun control legislation, a plan they announced earlier in the month in the wake of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. 

The committee will now have to squeeze in any new gun legislation along with everything else they have on their plate when the full house returns September 9th.  This is, of course, the same committee that`s been asking for documents and testimony in an ongoing inquiry into whether to recommend impeaching the president.  And since they left for summer break, the list of things they may need to consider has just been getting longer and longer.  I mean, consider for a moment the week that Donald Trump has had, this one past week. 

It started with his erratic, largely incoherent performance at the G7 conference in France.  There was a moment when Trump was asked if he attended the meeting at the G7 that was about climate change.  He responded by saying it hadn`t happened yet, and it was going to be next.  It, in fact, had just happened and he wasn`t there. 

Then the White House press secretary put out a formal statement explaining that the reason Trump had not gone to the climate session was because instead, he was having bilateral meetings with the leaders of India and Germany.  Well, here is a picture of a climate meeting.  There`s the leader of Germany.  There`s the leader of India.  There is Trump`s empty chair. 

Trump did not skip the climate meeting so that he could meet with them.  They were at the meeting.  And he wasn`t there. 

Then there was this worrying exchange. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER:  Mr. President, any second thoughts on escalating the trade war with China?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Yes, for sure, why not?

REPORTER:  Second thoughts?  Yes?

TRUMP:  Might as well.  Might as well.

REPORTER:  You have second thoughts about escalating the war with China?

TRUMP:  I have second thoughts about everything. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID:  Yes, sure, I got second thoughts about everything. 

Trump`s top economic advisers had to go on TV almost immediately to say the president hadn`t heard the question or actually had meant the opposite of what you heard.  Also, there was this. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  China called last night our top trade people and said, let`s get back to the table. 

REPORTER:  Mr. President, I asked you, could you tell us a little bit more about the calling you referred to?  When will the next round of negotiations with China start?

TRUMP:  Well, we have gotten two calls, and very, very good calls.  Very productive calls. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID:  OK.  So, this is where the deep voice narrator says, in fact, there were no calls. 

From CNN today, quote, aides privately conceded the phone calls Trump described didn`t happen the way he said they did.  Instead, two officials said Trump was eager to project optimism that might boost markets and conflated commends from China`s vice premiere with direct communication from the Chinese. 

Which, honestly, if the president of the United States lied about phone calls with China in order to boost the markets, that seems pretty bad.  But it`s probably better than him just making up phone calls or having said calls take place only in his mind.  Now, pick your poison. 

Speaking of White House aides cleaning up weird pronouncement lies from the president, here was one headline this week.  White House clarifies that Melania has not met Kim Jong-un.  So, Trump just volunteered to reporters apropos of nothing, quote, the first lady has gotten top know Kim Jong-un and I think she would agree, he is a man with a country that has tremendous potential. 

Quote: As Trump mentioned his wife, a camera cut to Melania in the audience, who cocked her head slightly and looked somewhat quizzically at the president.

Several hours later, as the president and first lady flew back to Washington, the White House press secretary issued a statement.  Quote: While the First Lady hasn`t met Kim Jong-un, the president feels like she`s gotten to know him.  OK. 

And then, of course, Trump wrapped up the G7 by using his presidential podium to do an infomercial for one of his golf clubs, and why it would be the perfect place to hold the next G7 which he wants to turn back into the G8 by inviting Vladimir Putin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  With Doral, we have a series of magnificent buildings, we call them bungalows.  They each hold from 50 to 70 very luxurious rooms with magnificent views.  We have incredible conference rooms, incredible restaurants.  It`s like such a natural. 

And we have many hundreds of acres so that in terms of parking, in terms of all of the things that you need, the ballrooms are among the biggest in Florida and the best. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID:  We have the biggest ball rooms in Florida.  How could you not host the next gathering of world leaders there?  I mean, it`s near the airport.  There are things we call bungalows.  Putin would be so comfortable there. 

Unless you think that was a wildly inappropriate sales pitch or off the cuff Trump thought, the official White House Twitter feed captioned those as an official announcement.  Quote: President Donald Trump shared the location of the next G7 summit hosted by the United States, which would be fantastically unconstitutional if the president were to force foreign leaders to put money directly into his pocket by making them stay at his own hotel. 

The rest of the week brought news that Donald Trump has ordered his subordinates to begin seizing private land and even break the law if they have to in order to get his border wall built.  And he will pardon them afterwards if they get into trouble.  And the news that his administration is ordering the deportation of sick children receiving life saving medical care in the United States.  We will have more on that later in the show. 

Now, just today, Trump issued this strange and confounding tweet that appears to contain a U.S. government satellite image of a damaged Iranian rocket launch site.  There`s been no explanation from the White House.  But experts tell NBC news it`s likely a classified image. 

NBC`s Andrea Mitchell reported today, quote: Legally, the president has the authority to declassify what he wants.  But that does not answer the question of why he did and whether it is wise.  Outside experts are dumfounded. 

Asked by reporters this evening where the photo came from, Trump said, quote, you will have to figure that one out yourself.  OK. 

Now, I know every week is clown car full of crazy these days.  And it`s easy for it to start feeling like background noise, really unsettling background noise.  But if Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have said that some of the things that Trump has done just this past week, like his move to hold the next G7 at his golf club and his offer of pardons to administration officials to break the law to build his border wall, that some of those things ought to be part of their investigation into whether to recommend impeachment. 

The number of House Democrats in favor of an impeachment inquiry keeps steadily rising.  It is now 134 lawmakers, well over half of the Democratic Caucus.  And consider this latest headline from the great Dahlia Lithwick, legal correspondent at "Slate". 

Let`s compare Donald Trump`s week to the impeachment articles brought against Richard Nixon, Clinton and Johnson.  Quote: If one were to consider the articles of impeachment against the three sitting presidents who have historically faced impeachment proceedings, not only has Trump clearly achieved all of them, he actually now achieves most of them in under a week. 

So, here is the question.  If the House Judiciary Committee has to investigate all of the president`s potentially impeachment offenses before it can recommend impeachment and the president keeps committing new potentially impeachable offenses every week, how does this investigation ever end? 

Joining us now is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman David Cicilline of Rhode Island. 

Great to have you with us tonight, sir. 

REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI):  Thanks for having me. 

REID:  So, we`re at 134 House Democrats now favoring impeachment.  That`s over half of the caucus.  Does that now reach the threshold where leadership agrees with those of you who want to proceed toward an impeachment -- a formal impeachment?  Does that mean House leadership is now on board? 

CICILLINE:  Well, obviously, an increasing number of the members of the Democratic Caucus have come out in support of the Judiciary Committee proceedings.  I think the chairman has made it very clear in the last pleading that was filed in court that we are in the midst of a proceeding as to whether or not we will recommend to the full House articles of impeachment against the president. 

So, we`re in the midst of this.  It will require us to bring witnesses before the committee to seek the production of documents so that we will able to make a recommendation to the full house the chairman said by the end of this year.  As you point out, every week or every day, it feels as if there are additional things that require examination.  Those will be added to the judiciary agenda.  We will look at those things. 

But there will come a point, I presume, that we will have enough to make a determination as to whether or not articles of impeachment should be filed.  The president shouldn`t benefit by continuing to commit impeachable offenses and preventing us from ever taking action.  So, I think there will come a point when the committee will make a judgment based on the evidence presented to the committee and the witnesses we heard from and the documents we reviewed as to whether we recommend to the full House articles of impeachment against the president. 

REID:  But do those who now support proceeding toward impeachment include the speaker? 

CICILLINE:  Well, I would never presume to speak for the speaker.  I think she`s made it clear that she believes the president must be held accountable.  No one is above the law, and that we should continue the robust oversight of the committee.  That`s what the Judiciary Committee is going.

REID:  Yes.

CICILLINE:  Obviously, the speaker will weigh in whether or not we take up articles of impeachment before the committee or on the floor.  But our work remains.  We need to continue to bring witnesses before the committee, litigate because the president has directed witnesses not to come, to not produce documents.  So, we are litigating these things to be sure we get the evidence we need to make informed judgment. 

REID:  OK.  Let`s talk about some of the potential articles or potential things you will investigate.  We now have Donald Trump pushing to use his private club as a hosting site for the G7, which, by the way, would put global leaders in Florida at the height of hurricane season, which doesn`t quite safe or wise. 

Is that one of the things that you believe should be investigated as a potential article of impeachment?  Aside from the Emoluments Clause issue?

CICILLINE:  Yes, this is one more way that this president is attempting to enrich himself, his family and his real estate empire by using the office of the presidency.  This is a terrible abuse of power.  It`s an abuse of his office.  It`s -- seeking gain from being president of the United States, which we have never seen this before. 

This is a president who sees this as a money-making enterprise, as do members of his family.  That is not what the presidency is for.  And to require foreign leaders to participate in this only by paying Donald Trump and his organization would be completely inappropriate, likely illegal, and certainly a violation of the Emoluments Clause. 

So, that will be added to the list, I`m sure, of the ways that this administration and his president has enriched himself that the committee will review.  We want to be sure that when the president of the United States or any elected official is acting, they are acting in the best interest of the American people, not because there`s some financial gain that they are getting or their company or family is getting. 

It violates a number of conflict of interest prohibitions.  It certainly violates the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution.  But this is just one more example of the president who is using this office as a money-making enterprise. 

REID:  Yes, indeed.  We didn`t get to the attorney general paying him to throw his holiday party there.  We can do that another time. 

CICILLINE:  It`s holiday party.

REID:  Absolutely.

Congressman David Cicilline, member of the House Judiciary Committee, thank you so much for your time.  Really appreciate it. 

CICILLINE:  My pleasure. 

REID:  Thank you.

  And all right, up next right here tonight, a member of Congress who is fighting to keep one of the young people in America who the Trump administration wants to kick out, even though it will likely mean that she will die, that is next. 

Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID:  It has been yet another week of horror and confusion in this country.  This time for immigrant kids with cancer, kids with cystic fibrosis, kids with genetic diseases, kids with heart transplants.

A week ago, the Trump administration announced that immigrants living in this country under an exception to receive medical care would now have that status taken away.  Under this new policy, all those immigrants with medical deferments were told to ditch their doctors, ditch their medicine, ditch all the things keeping them alive and leave the country within 33 days or be deported. 

When this policy first made the news this week, the administration said the medical deferments would not be ending, they`d just be handled by an entirely different part of the government, by ICE, which apparently was news to ICE.

According to multiple reports, no one from the Trump administration told ICE that it was now their responsibility to keep these sick kids alive.  And today, we got even more clarity on what ICE intends to do with this mystifying new policy.  A spokesperson for ICE told WBUR radio in Boston, quote: ICE does not exercise discretion on a categorical basis to exempt entire groups of aliens from the immigration laws enacted by Congress. 

In other words, no, ICE will not be taking applications for medical deferrals.  That program for sick immigrants in this country is over.  Full stop.

Today, the slow trickle of outrage over this story turned into a flood.  One hundred and twenty-seven members of Congress have signed this letter to the Trump administration today demanding an explanation.  Next week on Friday, the House Oversight Committee will hold hearings on this.  They are calling on the acting director of ICE and the acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that first sent the families a letter telling them they have to leave, after a week in which families have struggled for information or answers or hope, they at least now have the prospect of seeing lawmakers put their questions directly to the Trump administration.

And joining us now is Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, a Democrat from California.  And Congressman DeSaulnier is on the House Oversight Committee, which is overseeing those hearings next week.  He`s also Isabel Bueso`s congressman.  Isabel is the young woman Rachel profiled on the show last night who under this new policy will be deported, and therefore loss access to her lifesaving medical treatments as a result of this new policy.

And, Congressman DeSaulnier, thank you so much for your time tonight. 

REP. MARK DESAULNIER (D-CA):  My pleasure. 

REID:  So, does Congress, in addition to holding hearings, which I think is important, does Congress have the power to stop the Trump administration from removing these immigrants who need medical care in the United States? 

DESAULNIER:  Well, first, we have a question of where they got the authority, where the president got the authority to do this anyway.  So, we`re trying to identify that law.  Obviously, as usual, the administration is not being helpful.  We didn`t find out about this, at least myself, until my constituent and her mom came in to show me the letter they had gotten a week before. 

REID:  And Isabel Bueso is obviously your constituent.  What can be done or what is your office trying to do to help her specifically? 

DESAULNIER:  Well, we`re trying to do everything.  Lots of media, trying to make people aware of the injustice of her situation.  She came to this country at invitation of the federal government, the FDA, to be in a treatment for her rare disease. 

And she came when she was 7.  She`s now 24.  Her participation has helped not just herself but many other people with her disease.  She can`t get the treatment if she`s forced to go back to Guatemala. 

The letter said they would be forced to go back to Guatemala by September 14th.  So, we are running against that time.  And trying to get information from these departments has been very frustrating to say the least. 

REID:  If someone dies as a result of this policy, what will Congress do about it? 

DESAULNIER:  Well, Isabel`s doctor who is a very well nationally respected doctor at UCSF here in the Bay Area has written a letter that said she will die.  He said more diplomatically that her life will be shortened, because she won`t be able to get the treatment she gets for one day every week.  This is intense treatment. 

So, it`s really just a horrible situation.  We have sent letters.  Senator Harris has joined a letter with me.  We have been on that -- as a co-author on the letter you referred to. 

We are introducing a bill on Monday specifically for her.  But mostly, we`re trying to get attention to somebody in leadership in the White House to realize what they`re doing.  They are sentencing this young woman, who has been here legally and was invited by the federal government.  They are sentencing her to death. 

REID:  And, you know, getting someone in the White House to realize what they are doing, one presumes they know what they are doing, right?  And if one presumes that, because their cruelty has been pretty open, if you have agencies like ICE that are perpetrating this cruelty on people, we just learned it from your very committee, staffers were prohibited from going in and performing oversight over facilities that the Department of Homeland Security is operating, holding migrants. 

There was a story apparently that came out of some of the facilities that one detainee alleged that a border patrol agent told a child who spilled soup that the child would not receive more food unless the child drank the spilled soup off the floor.  This is dehumanizing and despicable.  If it was in another country, we would call for the U.N. to go. 

Should Congress keep funding ICE and DHS if this is the way they are behaving toward human beings, toward children?  Why not just cut the funding off?

DESAULNIER:  Yes.  Well, that`s what we tried to in the supplemental bill, many of us put more restrictions on that $4.6 billion we sent, because we were concerned how they would spend the money.  And, of course, we got in a battle with the Senate and some of us in the caucus over that. 

So, we have to try to hold them accountable.  I`m of the opinion that until a federal judge holds the secretary in contempt of a federal court and puts them in jail, nothing is going to happen.  We have a sociopath in the White House.  And he acts like a mobster rather than a president. 

REID:  Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, Democrat from California on the House Oversight Committee, thank you for being here.  We will definitely keep an eye on what you all are doing.  And we hope you will keep us apprised as this story develops.  Thank you very much. 

DESAULNIER:  Absolutely.  Thank you. 

REID:  Thank you, sir.

All right.  Still ahead, a story that Rachel wanted to get to last night but didn`t have time for.  That is next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID:  While everything else was going on in the news, Donald Trump canceled a trip that he was supposed to leave for this weekend to Poland.  The president said that he isn`t going because of the hurricane that is bearing down on the east coast of Florida. 

One of the consequences of Trump cancelling this trip is not just the Trump won`t be in Poland meeting with the president of Poland, but he also was set to meet on this trip with the president of Ukraine.  That was the plan. 

But now, that meeting is canceled, too.  And that may be just the way it goes.  Hurricane shows up and you call off your meeting with the president of Poland and the president of Ukraine. 

Or it might be more consequential than that.  Ukraine, of course, is the country that Russia invaded in 2014, and from which Russia seized the party of Ukraine that is Crimea.  It was the first time since World War II that the borders of a country in Europe were changed by outside military force. 

In response to Russia invading and seizing Crimea and waging a low grade war in eastern Ukraine ever since, Western nations led by the United States took steps to punish Russia.  There were strict new sanctions against the Russian oil and gas industry, for example.  It really hurt the country`s fragile economy. 

The G8 countries decided they would become the G7 instead, kicking Russia and Putin out.  The U.S. Congress passed a military aid package for Ukraine to help them resist Russian military aggression. 

All of that happened after Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014 under President Barack Obama. 

And then, over last few days, we have seen the current president, Donald Trump, repeatedly and insistently argue that Russia should be let back in to the G7.  Even though the reason they were kicked out was Ukraine, and what Russia is doing to Ukraine hasn`t changed at all. 

And Politico.com reported this week that Trump has also blocked the delivery of military aid to Ukraine, that military aid that was passed into law by Congress.  It`s the very same military aid for Ukraine that was supposed to help, quote, keep Russia at bay. 

And yet, Donald Trump has been slow walking it all year.  And now, if he keeps blocking aid, through the end of next month, through the end of September, the money will disappear for the year.  And you know who would love that?  Russia. 

Maybe it`s all completely coincidental.  I mean, there really is a monster storm coming.  It is all happening at once and it all has consequences, that just happen to be very good for Vladimir Putin who Donald Trump just keeps pleasing and appeasing for whatever reason. 

We`ll be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID:  A weird thing happened last week when Mitch McConnell who styles himself as the Grim Reaper of the Congress put out this op-ed in which he, the Senate majority leader, was suddenly defending the filibuster because, quote, America needs the Senate to be the Senate.  I recognize, he wrote, it may seem odd that a Senate majority leader opposes a proposal to increase his own power.  Certainly, it`s curious that liberals are choosing this moment when Americans have elected Republican majorities three consecutive times and counting to attack the minority`s powers. 

Now, of course, our last memory of Mitch McConnell using the filibuster is from when he was minority leader and he used it against President Obama, more than anyone had used it since the 1960s when the utilizers were right wing segregationist southern Democrats and the target was civil rights legislation.  It seems like it could be the Republican`s parties lead attack dog in Congress is starting to worry about maintaining the Senate majority. 

And he might be preparing his team to operate from the minority again.  Just this week, we saw a thing that could make that a possibility more likely.  There was already a Senate seat up in Georgia with first term Republican incumbent David Perdue up for reelection in 2020.  And then on Wednesday, all of a sudden, boom, two seats are open in Georgia. 

Three-term Republican Senator Johnny Isakson announced he will retire at the end of the year because of health challenges.  In terms of 2020, this means that his seat will be up in a special election next November, meaning Georgia will have two Senate races on the ballot.  So, now, with the combination of Republicans weirdly seeming to retire all over the place, and Mitch McConnell`s uncharacteristic lack of overconfidence, it`s looking like maybe Democrats really do have a shot at flipping the Senate in 2020. 

Democrats obviously have to defend their share of seats, too, perhaps especially the one they now hold in Alabama, thanks to their defeat of Judge Roy Moore.  You remember him.

But having both of those Senate races up in the state of Georgia which gives Democrats two bites of that apple or a peach is probably a better analogy is a pretty big deal.  Democrats only need to net four seats to flip the Senate.  Georgia already trending blue could be a game changer. 

Joining us now is political analyst and Hill TV host, Jamal Simmons.  Jamal worked for President Bill Clinton and was an advisor to President Barack Obama`s 2008 campaign. 

Jamal, thanks for being here tonight. 

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Thanks for having me, Joy.

REID:  You know a few things about Georgia, having worked with a certain senator there, Max Cleland. 

SIMMONS:  I did.

REID:  Yes.  How likely is it that Democrats can pick up one or even two seats when both are up? 

SIMMONS:  I mean, everybody needs to sober up just a little bit.  This is still Georgia. 

But Georgia is now at a tipping point.  I mean you saw this with the Stacey Abrams race where -- I mean, frankly, I think she won that race.  I think she won that race, but the current governor probably did a few things that kept him in the hunt longer than he should have been.  It`s going to be a tough race, but Democrats can win.

And having a second seat may help.  Here`s why.  I was talking to a couple of friends down there today.  One of the things that could happen is you could end up -- there are no African-Americans running for David Purdue`s seat. 

But you may have a couple of African-Americans who get into the Johnny Isakson seat, and if that happens, then you have an African-American on the ballot in November of 2020 while the presidential race is going on, and you might have a surge in turn out that could bring one of those senators over the finish line. 

REID:  And let`s be clear, that one of those African-Americans will not be Stacey Abrams.  She`s made that pretty clear.

SIMMONS:  She`s made that very clear that she`s not going to do it.  But there are some other names that are out there, people like Michael Thurmond who`s been longtime, statewide elected in the state.  There are a few people who are out there. 

Raphael Warnock, who is the pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church -- sorry, my earpiece keeps coming out.  Raphael Warnock may get in.

So, there are a few people who might do it. 

REID:  Let`s talk big picture, because let`s say that Democrats could even get one of the two.  They need net four.  Let`s Alabama is a tough race to win a second time because Trump is probably going to clear that state by like 12 points or so. 

But you`ve got -- besides Georgia, you`ve got North Carolina, which Democrats have managed to win statewide in the governor`s race.  You`ve got Arizona, which they managed to win statewide, the other Senate seat.  There`s the Martha McSally lost last time.  It`s up.

You have got Texas where Beto O`Rourke came within three points.  You`ve got Colorado which looks -- the Republicans looks doomed and you`ve got Maine where the Republican looks doomed. 

How are Democrats looking in terms of being able to get that net four?  Or even just get a tied Senate and if they win the White House, they get the V.P. to break the tie.

SIMMONS:  Well, if you think back, this is the Senate election that has all those seats from 2014 when the Republicans did so well when they were running while Barack Obama was president.  So, all those Republican senators are now up this year.  And so, what you really may have is something people didn`t expect, which is that the Democrats may be able to take and win the Senate. 

REID:  We shall see.  It certainly is a motivator for a lot of Democratic voters because they have been talking Senate a lot. 

Jamal Simmons, political analyst and Hill TV host, man, thank you very much.  Really appreciate you joining us tonight. 

SIMMONS:  Thanks for having me.  Have a good weekend. 

REID:  Thank you very much.  You too. 

All right.  Up next, the next event that might give us some indication of what will happen in Election Day 2020.  And no, it has nothing to do with the next debate. 

Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REID:  There is one more race that you should keep an eye on if you`re looking for early hints at which way the political headwinds are blowing ahead of next year`s presidential election. 

North Carolina is holding a do-over election for the congressional seat in the ninth district.  It happens in less than two weeks. 

Now, here`s what you need to know about that.  Donald Trump won this district by nearly 12 points in 2016.  When this seat was up for grabs last year, the unofficial results show that the Republican, a Baptist preacher named Mark Harris, winning by a razor thin margin of 905 votes.  But the reason we don`t have official results from last year`s race and the reason this do-over election is even happening is because the state election board threw out the results from last year after evidence emerged that a consultant tied to the Republican`s campaign allegedly committed extensive ballot fraud. 

The Republican`s consultant was arrested back in February and has been charged with multiple felonies.  The Republican candidate from last time, Mark Harris, decided not to run in the redo. 

So this time you have the same Democrat, a marine veteran named Dan McCready, running against a Republican, a state senator named Dan Bishop.  So, it`s the same Democrat who barely won last time, who almost flip a congressional seat in a district Trump won by double digits.  Naturally, a lot of Democrats are hoping that this time, hopefully without significant ballot fraud working against him, Dan McCready just might win. 

But Democrats are not the only ones who think that might happen.  Republicans right up and into, including Donald Trump, are worried enough about this seat that a ton of them are swooping in to campaign for Dan Bishop.  The swoopers include House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Vice President Mike Pence, Donald Trump, Jr., and the president himself who`s set to appear at a campaign rally the night before the election. 

The latest polling in the race just out today from inside elections shows that the Democrat Dan McCready is actually ahead by 4 points.  That election is happening on September 10th.  Mark your calendars. 

And that does it for us tonight.  Rachel will be back next week, and you can catch me tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. for my show "A.M. JOY."

"THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL" is up next. 

Good evening, Lawrence. 

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