CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: And we hope that you tune in.
That is ALL IN for this evening.
"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Honestly, as you head into your third one, are you thinking, whoo, it`s the last one, it`s been so much extra work, it`s been hard, are you thinking, darn it, it`s the last one, can`t we plan more of these?
HAYES: I have -- yes. More of that one honestly, and I have loved doing it and it`s -- you know, I have neither built an airplane nor flown one, but it`s easy to fly one than build one, if that makes sense.
MADDOW: Yes, right.
HAYES: It was hard to get a new thing up on the air. It was stressful. But once it`s up, it`s -- the sort of ratio to stress enjoyment sort of tips in the right direction. It`s been tremendously rewarding.
MADDOW: Well, they have been -- I mean, I like you on TV no matter what you are doing. But those live shows, to my mind as a viewer, have been just the coolest thing you`ve ever done.
HAYES: Thanks. Thank you.
MADDOW: So, I hope you keep doing it.
HAYES: I hope so, too. All right.
MADDOW: Thanks, my friend. Much appreciated.
Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy to have you here.
Big show for you tonight. It`s been a busy news day, including a big development we need to tell you about in a story that we have been covering for pretty intensely on the show, which is that the Trump administration targeting sick kids, targeting kids with life-threatening illnesses, putting them on notice that they need to stop the life-saving medical care that`s keeping them alive and get out of the country in a month, all of a sudden.
We have been covering that for more than a week now. There was a very interesting development on that story today. We`re going to have that for you a little later on in the show this hour.
We`ve also got a key California congressman joining us live tonight to talk about one of the big problems with the Trump administration`s plans to raid funds for the U.S. military to take those funds away from the military and instead use them to build the wall, the wall that the president said Mexico would pay for.
There`s an emerging serious problem with that plan by the Trump administration. We`re going to be talking about that tonight and more. Lots still to come.
But, of course, the developing story that we have been watching very closely all day and that we will be tracking all night tonight is Hurricane Dorian. Holding steady as a category 2 hurricane, hugging the coast of the Carolinas, crawling north. For most of the day, the eye of the storm was just inching its way north off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where they declared a state of emergency this afternoon.
But as we are heading into the overnight tonight, North Carolina is in the crosshairs. The hurricane`s eyewall is going to hit in just a few hours in Wilmington, North Carolina, and then toward morning, Hurricane Dorian will be out over the outer banks where there is an evacuation order in place right now. Storm surge, of course, is a big concern across the Carolinas tonight. They are looking at storm surges of up to six feet.
Already, flash floods and high winds are snapping trees and downing power lines. Duke energy is predicting more than 700,000 homes without power across North Carolina alone by tomorrow morning. One of the other notable things about Hurricane Dorian, thus far, is that it has been spawning tornadoes. As if a hurricane this size and this strength isn`t enough, it spawned at least 23 tornadoes thus far just across the Carolinas, just in the past 24, 48 hours.
There are tornado watches in effect across North Carolina tonight and into the early morning hours until sunrise. So, this is going to be a long night for that part of our country as this still very powerful storm grinds its way up the map from the Carolinas and ultimately toward Virginia. But then there`s also what Dorian has left behind, most particularly in the Bahamas.
The stories coming out of the Bahamas right now are not just heart- wrenching, in many cases, they are scary. In some cases, they seem unreal. Not just because of what the residents there went through during the storm as the storm hit, but what they have faced afterwards in the days since, including into today as the death toll continues to rise.
We don`t know how high the death toll is going to go in the Bahamas, but the signs are not good. Dorian made landfall on the Bahamian island of Abaco four days ago as a category 5, strongest storm to have been ever known to have hit the Bahamas. But then the storm stayed there for a day and a half.
Now, the official death toll has risen over the last few days. It started at five this weekend. It was seven as of Tuesday. The death toll was 20 as of last night. As of earlier this evening, the official death toll was announced at 23.
But the health minister for the Bahamas, who we`re going to talk to live in just a moment, also had an ominous warning when the death toll was announced to have risen to 23. The health minister predicting earlier today that the final death toll will be much higher, quote: the public needs to prepare for unimaginable information about the death toll and human suffering.
Well, since then, since that statement from the health minister, that same minister, Dr. Duane Sands, has said that the death toll has risen already tonight. Now, it is 30. He is telling NBC News just this past hour, quote, I certainly believe based on the findings in the field that even that new number 30 as the death toll will rise dramatically.
They are currently flying morticians to the Bahamas to help them process the bodies that they have. One thing we are starting to realize is that a limiting factor already here may just be the numerical capacity of the country`s morgues, how many bodies they are able to process at once.
The United Nations is now estimating that there are more than 57,000 people in the Bahamas tonight who are in need of immediate humanitarian relief. An international relief effort is gearing up and getting into action, but you can see the scale of what they are up against. And, honestly, it`s clear that the efforts that are going to be -- need to be international efforts, and they`re going to need to be sustained national efforts.
They can`t start soon enough. I mean, all day long, we have been seeing footage of heart-stopping rescues. This family was trapped in their home when the water started rising. Rescuers plucked them one by one from the attic.
We`ve also been hearing toward and over the last 24 to 48 hours from the survivors and the stories of what they had to go through already, what they`ve had to see already as they have saved themselves from this fate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need help. We need help. That`s all I could say. That`s it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Physically, there are a lot of people that lost limbs. There was a guy that tried to save his mom. He lost his arm. But the current took another guy. He lost his son.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a friend right now who lost to sea. He was trying to save a little boy`s life. He ran back in to save the other child and the tide took him out. We haven`t heard from him since.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As we were running, we were pushing bodies on the side to get through.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bodies -- pushing people, deceased people?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, that were floating in the water.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are on the roof grabbing your brother. And a debris does this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Des this to me. I didn`t let him go, because if I let him go, he would have gone in the wind, with the surge --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Washed away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Washed away. I watched my friends die in front of me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Joining us now live from Nassau in the Bahamas is Dr. Duane Sands, the nation`s health minister.
Dr. Sands, sir, thank you for taking time to join us during this difficult time. I appreciate it, sir.
DR. DUANE SANDS, HEALTH MINISTER OF BAHAMAS (via telephone): Good evening.
MADDOW: Good evening.
I know that you have said within the past hour that the death toll in the Bahamas has risen to 30. You`ve also made some very sobering statements to the effect that people should expect the numbers of dead and injured to rise considerably. What can you tell us about that tonight, sir?
SANDS: Well, you know, this has been an historic, devastating weather event. We have islands stretching in total about 200 miles, covering almost 1,200 square miles. This massive monster came through smashing many settlements that are widely separated.
So there have been a number of deaths. We have been somewhat slow to confirm or verify the deaths. But to imagine the logistical challenge of covering that great distance, that large square footage to retrieve bodies and to confirm deaths, to bring them into the health system. So, we expect that the death toll will rise significantly.
MADDOW: We understand from the reporting that we`re able to piece together often by just observing rescue efforts and observing the efforts of family members and friends to find one another, it would appear that the number of people still considered missing at this point may be in the thousands.
What can you tell us about efforts to reunite people who maybe found themselves stranded in desperate areas, communication on the various Bahamian islands and also rescue efforts?
SANDS: This has been a big challenge. It has only been 24 hours that conditions were adequate to get into Grand Bahama and 48 hours to get into Abaco. And, yes, we have communication challenges, roads have been torn up. You have significant floodwaters.
It has been virtually impossible to land any major aircraft on either island. Certainly, Grand Bahama, the airport is still underwater. On Abaco, the major airport is closed, although the runway is now passable.
You put these things together and you have a serious logistic challenge. And to go from door to door, house to house, it`s going to take a very long time.
MADDOW: Sir, what resources do you need now that you don`t have? You talked about the challenges of clearing the runways, making the runways passable. Getting the airports open, getting roads passable. The challenges -- just the shoe leather challenges of getting door to door in some of these most impacted areas. What resources does your country need now that you don`t have? What are you looking for from the international community and from individual donors who may just want to help?
SANDS: Well, expertise, equipment and the incredible outpouring of support, most particularly from the United States of America, but from Canada (INAUDIBLE) Great Britain. It has been immeasurably helpful in having the technical ability to evacuate injured patients from Abaco. We evacuated more than 90 injured patients. In total, even today, almost 250 persons who have been rendered homeless, some of them with lesser injuries.
But to have aircraft, land movers, heavy equipment, water makers, all of these things are so necessary in the relief effort.
MADDOW: Dr. Duane Sands, Bahamas health minister, sir, thank you for taking time to talk with us. Please be back in touch with us and let you know what you need our viewers to know.
SANDS: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thank you, sir.
SANDS: All right. Back here at home, the question now is what is ahead for from this slow moving still very powerful storm. Just over the next few hours.
Now, as I mentioned minutes ago, Dorian is still alive and kicking. It is currently moving northeast ward up the East Coast of the United States as a category 2 hurricane. So, overnight, for the first time since leaving the Bahamas, the eye of the storm tonight will be back over land. That will be the first time since it was above land in the Bahamas.
Eastern North Carolina may see winds up to 100 miles per hour tonight. Storm surges that could reach up to six feet, up to a foot of rain on top of that. The worst is expected in the early morning hours, between 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m., and the worst of the worst is expected in Carteret County, in North Carolina, that`s the area we`re told is most at risk over the next few hours. That`s coastal North Carolina, Emerald Isle, Morehead City.
Earlier today in Charleston, South Carolina, wind gusts topped 80 miles an hour. Major flooding smashed into the city. Power lines are down and trees. Rescuers pushed cars down the road and through flooded streets.
This is a live look, I believe we`ve got a live look, yes, right here at Wilmington, North Carolina, where the storm right now, as you can see, is bringing heavy rain that looks like bad special affects rain. But that`s heavy fire hose style rain tonight from Dorian.
Again, officials warning, though, that Dorian could be making a direct hit on the outer banks tomorrow. So, MSNBC will have live coverage tonight as Hurricane Dorian continues its way up the Eastern Seaboard. We`ll also be back with more news of the political sort in just a moment right after this.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Here`s an unexpected twist. Last month, we reported several times on that mysterious fatal explosion in the northwest corner of Russia. Despite early assurances to the country from the Russian government, that explosion appears to have had a nuclear aspect to it and it appears to have been a quite serious accident. The Russian government ultimately had to admit to seven people being killed in the accident, including five nuclear scientists.
Since then, there`s been this very ominous sort of gray area of misinformation and implausible denials and contrary self-contradicting statements from the Russian government about what exactly happened there. And importantly, how dangerous that situation might be in an ongoing way to people who live near the site of that mysterious nuclear blast.
Concerns have been heightened by the fact that a number of medical personnel who treated people who were injured in that explosion themselves were exposed to high levels of radiation. The doctors themselves were reportedly shipped off in pretty good numbers to Moscow to themselves be treated for potentially dangerous exposure to radioactivity because they had treated people injured in the explosion.
Well, now, we`ve learned about a new source of worry, and honestly, a new source of mystery for people who live nearby this still puzzling and worrying Russian explosion. Radio Free Europe now reporting that one day after the blast, for some reason, this little barge, this floating platform, was towed by Russian authorities out of the sea and up on a nearby beach. Then, five days later, a second similar floating barge was dragged up next to the first one.
What are those barges and where did they come from and what are they doing there? It led to this headline for Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty. Quote: Angry villagers, beached pontoons, irradiated flotsam, more clues to mysterious Russian explosion.
Now, reporters with Radio Free Europe and multiple Russian news sources have tried to figure out what they can about these barges, about these floating platforms. They have produced, for example, this helpful graphic identifying individual pieces of equipment that seem to be on board this barge, including stuff that appears to be blown up and busted. In the upper left-hand corner, it does say container for nuclear material, right next to all the other smashed up stuff.
The Russian news service Meduza has also posted this video which appears to show a Russian journalist approaching nearby to where the barges have beached. They are using handheld Geiger counters, effectively, to check the radiation levels on nearby junk. Here you can see Geiger counter going slightly nuts what was reportedly a tow rope used to drag a barge up on the beach. You can see the counter going slightly nuts, as to the reading that`s getting off that roof.
Here is a second rope that I think the implication was used to tow up the second barge. You can hear it beeping. You can see the numbers there. I`m not going to purport to read these radiation measurements on TV via video in Russian through -- two different Russian news agencies.
But the basic idea of what these journalists in Russia are reporting is that part of whatever went wrong with the nuclear blast in Russia a month ago resulted in these random pontoon barges being dragged up onto a beach nearby. They do appear to be quite reactive themselves. They are not fenced off or sequestered at all. Their flotsam and jetsam is sitting there on the beach around them and itself appears to be radioactive. It doesn`t seem good.
That`s how you get really dramatic headlines like this, right? The mysteries remain. The villages are furious. And stuff appears to be very radioactive and nobody is owning up to it or telling anybody how to take care of themselves.
One of the other odd things, though, about the aftermath of this strange Russian explosion is that, have you noticed there`s been no international response to it whatsoever? I mean, specifically, there`s been no NATO response to it.
I mean, what just happened in Russia a month ago was a big, terrible accident involving some sort of novel experimental nuclear powered weapon of some kind. At least that`s everybody`s best guess.
There was a very interesting CNBC report last week that cast it a little differently but still it was bad. According to CNBC sources, a U.S. intelligence assessment found that that accident didn`t happen during the launch of this new nuclear-powered Russian missile. The explosion, according to CNBC sources, happened instead when the Russians were trying to find one of the nuclear powered missiles they lost from a previous failed test.
CNBC quoting a person with direct knowledge of a U.S. intelligence assessment about that blast saying, quote, this was not a new launch of the weapon. Instead, it was a recovery mission to salvage a lost missile from a previous test. There was an explosion on one of the vessels involved in the recovery. And that caused a reaction in the missile`s nuclear core and that`s what led to the radiation leak.
OK, that`s worse, right? I mean, that implies not only is Russia trying to launch experimental new nuclear-powered weapons and they are failing in those efforts, but once they fail in those efforts, one of the things that can additional go wrong is that when you send out equipment out into the sea to try to clean up the mess from their failed nuclear tests, there can be another nuclear explosion in the salvage effort, too, with the missile that already failed to launch.
I mean, that`s bad, right? Not only is the weapon experimental and super dangerous but the failures of the weapon are super dangerous in their own nuclear sense. So, this kind of reckless nuclear experimentation and testing and accidents is the sort of thing that would usually engender an international response. It would usually engender specifically a NATO response, since this is a weapons accident.
This was a catastrophic accident in Russia that caused multiple fatalities. Even the doctors treating the injured were themselves irradiated in an uncertain and apparently ongoing way, right? No response from NATO at all. It`s been a month.
A reporter named Mitch Prothero at "Business Insider" had a report a few days ago that shed some potential light on why there`s been no NATO response to this botched nuclear experiment and testing by Russia.
Quote: Since a radioactive explosion in Russia this month, NATO has been watching closely. And according to sources in the alliance, quickly concluded it was part of a reckless test to development an experimental new nuclear powered cruise missile. However, NATO has felt incapable with taking a hard line with President Vladimir Putin over his weapons program in part because of U.S. President Donald Trump`s troublingly friendly approach to Russia. That`s according to three unnamed officials.
One military intelligence official based at NATO headquarters in Brussels saying, developing a nuclear powered cruise missile to carry and deliver nuclear warheads is obviously something that concerns NATO. Another NATO official based in a western European capital says, quote, Putin wants back in the G8, but he is testing wildly irresponsible weapons systems. A NATO official based in Brussels says, quote, the current leadership of the West appears to be OK with ignoring this incident. But shooting nuclear reactors into the sky at Mach 8 poses a danger to everyone, not just to Russian scientists.
Quote: to follow this disastrous aggression with Trump suggesting Russia`s reinstatement in the G8 means Putin doesn`t need to fear new sanctions. And even with tests like this, he might get old sanctions lifted.
Well, now, we have the latest insult to add to the injury to pile on top of the ongoing mystery here about this Russian disaster, because Vladimir Putin today was at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok and he was discussing this experimental nuclear-powered missile, specifically he was saying he`s already discussed this experimental nuclear-powered missile with U.S. President Donald Trump.
He says he discussed it with Trump because he is planning on making the United States buy it. He says the United States is going to pay for these missiles. He said at the plenary session today alongside the leaders of India and Japan, quote: I told Donald, that`s what he calls him in public, Donald, I told Donald, if you want, we`ll sell them to you. That`s how we keep everything balanced.
So, who`s going to pay for the wall? Mexico. Who is going to pay for Vladimir Putin`s new disastrous nuclear powered experimental weapon that blows up? America, he says. He says he has talked to Donald about it.
The fate of the Russian villagers near the source of that blast, the Russian government`s ongoing lies and information about that nuclear accident, those are all still questions that remain to be answered. But for us in terms of our government, it is also now becoming clear that there`s something else going on involving our own government here. And that`s brand-new in today`s news. And that`s next.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: 2014, five years ago, Russia is hosting the Winter Olympics in Sochi, on the Black Sea. The eyes of the world are upon Russia and specifically upon Vladimir Putin. Putin is in his glory.
Before the games were over, though, Russia and Putin in particular got very embarrassed, when a huge pro-democracy uprising took over the streets of the capital city of Ukraine. Russia had taken care in Ukraine to prop up a pro-Putin strongman as the leader of that country. He, by the way, employed Paul Manafort, Donald Trump`s soon to be campaign chairman as his top political adviser in Ukraine.
But in 2014, in the face of mass protests by Ukrainians demanding their country be a Western facing country, that it integrate with Europe, that it no longer be controlled as a corrupt outpost of Russia and the Kremlin, that pro-Putin Ukrainian leader initially responded by killing lots of civilian protesters. And, wow, that looked just terrible alongside all the Olympic coverage, didn`t it?
Ultimately, though, he ended up fleeing. He fled first to Eastern Ukraine and then he ultimately fled to Moscow. The protesters had won. Ukraine would turn West and start to disentangle itself from the Kremlin. But, of course, Putin was not having it.
And ultimately, in 2014, Putin would choose to address this problem, embarrassing problem in Ukraine with military action, including just invading and seizing a big portion of Ukraine, Crimea. For Europe, it was the first use of military force by one country to move borders and take a piece of another country since World War II. In addition to seizing Crimea and making it part of Russia, Russian forces also dug in for a long war and occupation in other parts of Ukraine.
And while Russia plainly thought this was its right and Ukraine was it`s to take if it wanted to, that`s not how the world is supposed to work anymore. This is a big deal. It`s a big departure from the way countries are supposed to interact, particularly countries that are in Europe or on Europe`s borders. And so, the international reaction was swift and unsettle and very serious.
And a whole bunch of things happened to Russia in response to that behavior by them. And because they are still keeping Crimea and because they are still occupying and waging war inside other parts of Ukraine, these repercussions for Russia haven`t ended. It`s been a long five years.
But right now, we are starting to get a very clear picture in the U.S. about our own government that you can see very clearly when you look at the sort of menu of the main things that were done to Russia, the things that were supposed to happen to Russia basically as punishment for that behavior. Russia, of course, was subject to very sanctions, not just U.S. sanctions, but international, binding sanctions at the oligarchs, people close to Putin, key Russian economic sectors, serious and damaging sanctions. That was one part here, one pillar.
Also, the G8 became the G7. Russia and Putin were kicked out of that group of the world`s most influential countries. That was one part of it.
Also, the United States started directly providing lots of aid, lots of assistance to Ukraine, to allow Ukraine to stand up against Russia. And in addition to that, a fourth pillar of the response to what Russia did to Ukraine, in lots of different countries in Europe, the U.S. set up something called the European Deterrence Initiative. When President Obama announced it in 2014, it was called the European Reassurance Initiative, then changed to the European Deterrence Initiative. Ultimately, the basic idea was the same.
Quote: To reassure allies of our solemn commitment to their security and territorial integrity as a, quote, necessary and appropriate show of support to our allies who are now deeply concerned about Russia`s occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea, and other provocative actions in Ukraine. The United States stands by its allies as they have stood by us. That`s how the Obama administration announced that new European Reassurance or European Deterrence Initiative.
So, those are four big things the U.S. did with the international community to punish Russia for their bad behavior, to push back against Russia to stop them from doing more, to pressure them to reverse their actions. Sanctions, kicking them out of the G8, aid to Ukraine and this European initiative, right?
What happened to all four of those things?
With sanctions, we know that that was the main point and the bottom line of all the known myriad connections between the Trump campaign and various people associated with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election. At the time the Russian government was intervening in the U.S. election to try to help Trump win, all these emissaries from the Russian government were imploring various people associated with the Trump campaign that the sanctions all needed to go. It all sort of looks like when you look back at the 2016 campaign that that might have just been a Russian operation targeting the sanctions, because that was what they went to the Trump campaign on over and over and over again in all of those myriad connections. Sanctions.
We`ve also seen the Trump administration try to unilateral unilaterally lift sanctions since they`ve been in power. We have seen Trump slow-walk other Russian sanctions whenever he can, even though Congress at times has resisted him on that. So, that`s the first pillar, sanctions, trouble, right?
Well, then, there`s the second pillar, Russia kicked out of the G8. Last week at what is now the G7 summit, we saw President Trump repeatedly arguing that Russia ought to be let back in. It should go back to being the G8. He might invite Putin to do that himself.
So, that`s the first two pillars, sanctions, hmm, G8 becoming the G7, hmm. Well, the third one, aid to Ukraine? Last week, "Politico" had the scoop on that third pillar of the response to what Russia did, which is America`s aid to Ukraine.
"Politico`s" scoop, quote: Trump holds up Ukraine military aid meant to confront Russia. Quote: U.S. military aid to Ukraine is seen as a litmus test for how strongly the American government is pushing back against Moscow. Scaling back that existence could expose Trump to allegations that his policies are favoring Moscow. Oh, we could.
Trump asked his national security team to review the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. The funds for Ukraine can`t be spent while they are under review. The money will expire on September 30th if it is not spent by then. So, if that Ukraine assistance isn`t spent by the end of this month, it goes away. And as long as it`s under review, it can`t be spent. So, that means Ukraine is apparently no longer going to get aid from the United States government.
And that`s the third thing that happened, right? Well, now, there`s this fourth point. The European Reassurance Initiative, the European Deterrence Initiative. It`s the last of those four pillars. Trump is kicking that out as well.
There`s been controversy and criticism this week over the Trump administration announcing that it turns out Mexico won`t pay for President Trump`s wall. Instead, they`re going to raid U.S. military funds to pay for it. That`s led to headlines like these all round the country, as cities and states all over the U.S. learn about what`s being taken away from U.S. military facilities and U.S. troops to instead build Trump`s wall. Hey, what about Mexico?
But aside from what they are taking away in the United States, they are also taking away money from a very specific list of overseas projects. You might have seen the tiny little print on the spreadsheet that they put out listing the stuff they are cutting in order to fund Trump`s wall with that money instead. This is a White House decision about what money they`re going to take from the military, what they are going to de-fund in the U.S. military so Trump can have his wall.
And it`s a whole bunch of different items and a whole bunch of different countries, all with technical language and military acronyms and stuff. But if you look closely, if you get out your magnifying glass, there`s a trend here. You see this? See that first initial ERI, ERI, EDI, EDI, EDI, EDI?
A lot of the items on the spreadsheet about stuff they are cutting overseas start with this acronym, either EDI or ERI. Well, EDI, European Deterrence Initiative. ERI, what it used to be called, European Reassurance Initiative. At least 25 of the overseas military projects that Trump is summarily defunding by executive action are specifically, these projects that were designed by the Obama administration and have been implemented since to form a bulwark against Russia, to specifically help our NATO allies be reassured that we`ve got their back and that we will help them develop their capacity to stand up against Russia, given what Russia has been doing with its bad behavior in their neighborhood, including invading other countries and taking parts of them for itself.
And this stuff is not like, you know, building baseball fields or painting scary faces on the front of fighter planes, however important those things are. I mean, this is the stuff that the military brags about as its serious deterrent mission abroad. I mean, here`s the "Air Force Times" from earlier this year, airmen will continue stepping up to deter Russia in Europe.
This is "The Air Force Times" talking about what`s being funded by the European Deterrence Initiative this year. The funding will go to air base improvements in Eastern Europe, including a munitions storage facility in Malacky air base, from Malacky air base in Slovakia, and a taxiway at the U.S. base in Norway. Both of those items are on this list of things that are now being cut by President Trump.
I mean, here is the Air Force chief of staff bragging in light of the European Deterrence Initiative funding. Quote: Russia`s aggression is not simply a matter for Ukraine. It`s a threat to the region, to Europe, to the United States and to the stability of the international order. But don`t worry with this European deterrence initiative, we`ve got your back, NATO allies in Europe. That was earlier this year, except now Trump announced he is cutting all of those things.
Here is the U.S. Naval Institute sort of aghast today at what exactly is being defunded to fund Trump`s wall instead. In Spain, for example, $21.6 million for port operations facilities as part of the Pentagon`s European Deterrence Initiative, that is being deterred -- excuse me, deferred. That base is home to four U.S. missile destroyers.
Another $66 million in funds for P-8A Poseidon airfield upgrades at a U.S. naval air station in Italy. That`s being cut to pay for the wall, too.
And, again, this is -- I mean, this is serious stuff. This is -- you know, Special Operations forces training facilities and operations facilities in Estonia, ammunition storage in Poland, air field upgrades in Hungary, Slovakia, Romania.
So, it`s been interesting to watch this particularly in local newspapers all around the country, right? There`s lots of people all over the country who are starting to get mad about what the president is taking money from to pay for his wall.
And, I mean, it does include some incredible stuff like day care centers and elementary schools for the kids of U.S. service members. They are literally de-funding the day care center at Andrews Air Force Base, which is the home of Air Force One. Enjoy your flight, Mr. President.
But these overseas cuts, the overseas ones, they have a specific message, to Russia, that everything, all four of these pillars that the United States set up as its response to Russia for what Russia did over the last five years, to respond to them invading and seizing another part of a country, all of that -- I mean, the sanctions, kicked out of the G8, military aid to the country they invaded and now our assistance to our NATO allies to help them build up their capacity to deter what Russia is doing, all of that, one, two, three, four, all of it piece by piece dismantled by the Trump administration.
Yes, but don`t worry. Russia is clearly back in the box, really cowed and worried about further bad behavior and what might happen to them internationally, just as soon as they get done with this new round of exploding experimental nuclear weapons and shoving all the radioactive flotsam up on nearby beaches since they`re pretty sure nobody will care about it if they do it.
As soon as they`re done with that kind of thing, they`ll get back to being the good, responsible international citizen that deserves everything they are getting from President Trump and I`m sure more.
I`m sure there`s lots more.
MADDOW: President Trump is going to try to move ahead to raid billions of dollars from the U.S. military in order to fund the section of border wall instead. But there will be a legal fight over that as sure as the sun rises. And Democrats in Congress have seen this coming. And among other things, they have explicitly blocked him from doing this in the language of the bill that funds the military.
Joining us now is Congressman John Garamendi, the chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness.
Sir, Congressman Garamendi, thank you so much for being here. Really appreciate your time.
REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D-CA): My pleasure, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, it`s been interesting to watch the country react to this on a few different levels. First of all, can the president -- first of all, isn`t Mexico paying? Second of all, can he raid the Pentagon? Can he raid the U.S. military to do this?
You are seeing local reaction to the kinds of projects that the president is trying to de-fund.
MADDOW: The overseas projects he`s trying to defund have some pretty serious foreign policy consequences.
MADDOW: Is it a done deal? Or do you think this is something that still might be blocked?
GARAMENDI: We have to stop it. There`s absolutely no choice about having to fight back on this. And this is going to be one big, big battle.
Not only because of the affect, as you so correctly pointed out on our relationships trying to push back on Putin, making sure that he doesn`t have the opportunity to overrun Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which he could do in three short days if we were not there, if those countries were not part of NATO.
Beyond that, this is a fundamental issue of the Constitution, the very democracy of America is at stake here. If this man, this president is able to literally appropriate his money for his own purposes, then the balance of power, the power of the purse has been taken away from Congress. And we may not even exist in any meaningful way in the future.
Keep in mind, the Vietnam war essentially ended when Congress said, no, we`re not going to fund this anymore. So, it goes.
So, all of this is critical and important for the defense of Europe, pushing back on Russia as well as our own system of government.
MADDOW: Do we know, sir, how decisions were made as to which projects would lose funding and which ones wouldn`t? I mean, obviously, there appears to some rhyme and reason in terms of what they chose to de-fund through this process. But was the House Armed Services Committee, for example, brought in on this decision making at all?
GARAMENDI: Absolutely not. This is my responsibility. Every one of those programs are programs that the Readiness Subcommittee has analyzed over the last half decade and said these are important for the reasons that you stated and the other projects for many, many other reasons have to be built if we`re going to have a military that is ready to do what must be done whenever it must be done.
So, this is a long process. All of these projects have been thoroughly reviewed. They have been stacked as to their importance. And these are the ones that must be done now. Unless, of course, you want to just shrug your shoulders and let Russia and Putin do anything they want to do in Eastern Europe.
And I will tell you, the Congress of the United States, the Armed Services Committee and my colleagues are saying, no way. Trump, you cannot do this. You do not have the power of the purse. And we`re not going to allow you to de-fund these programs that are critical to our NATO allies, to the countries on the eastern border up against Russia.
MADDOW: California Congressman John Garamendi, who is the chair of the subcommittee on readiness in the House Armed Services Committee -- sir, I really appreciate your time tonight. Keep us apprised. I know this is going to be a big fight. I would love to say in touch with you on this as it unfolds.
GARAMENDI: It will be a monumental fight --
MADDOW: Thank you for coming. Thank you, sir.
GARAMENDI: -- for both the constitutional reasons as well as the defense of Europe.
MADDOW: All right.
We have news on another effort to try to block the administration, in this case, on the Trump administration`s plan for targeting sick and dying children. The story that we`ve been covering over the past couple of weeks took an interesting turn today.
That`s next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Update for you on a story we have been following extensively on this show.
Today, the ACLU of Massachusetts and other civil right groups filed suit to try to block the Trump administration from abruptly deporting families who are in this country while their kids and family members are here legally receiving medical care for life-threatening illnesses. Last month, with no warning, the Trump administration sent families to these kids letters telling them that they need to stop their lifesaving medical treatment and get out of the country within 33 days.
Well, now, after a national uproar, the administration seems to have backed off that immediate threat to those families they have already targeted. But this new lawsuit will try to block the administration from making this change to this policy at all.
Joining us now is Matt Segal. He`s legal director of ACLU of Massachusetts, one of the organizations that filed today`s suit.
Mr. Segal, thanks for being here. I appreciate your time.
MATT SEGAL, ACLU OF MASSACHUSETTS LEGAL DIRECTOR: Thank you, Rachel, for what you`re doing to spotlight the incredible lifesaving work of my client the Irish International Immigration Center -- Immigrant Center. And also these families and individuals who desperately need America`s help.
MADDOW: The Irish International Immigrants Center, it`s interesting, looking at your lawsuit today, I sort of -- I don`t know if I expected but I was interested to see that the named plaintiffs in your case are not the individual kids and family members, people receiving medical treatment for life-threatening illnesses but rather the Irish International Immigrant Center that has been representing them in a number of these cases.
Why did you file -- why did you approach the case that way to have the advocacy group be the plaintiff here?
SEGAL: Well, the law recognizes that organizations sometimes are appropriate to sue against policies and government actions that affect both individuals and organizations. And this is a perfect example for why that is. The IIIC speaks for people who cannot speak for themselves -- a 10- year-old -- a baby who had a stroke, a 10-year-old girl who has eye cancer, an 18-year-old with burns over 70 percent of his body. I mean, these are people battling life and death situations and they cannot all be expected to sue the federal government, particularly at a moment when they desperately need that very same government`s grace.
MADDOW: In terms of the process and where we are in this process thus far, there was initial reporting on the Trump administration taking these actions from "Commonwealth Magazine", from WBUR and from "The Boston Globe", "Miami Herald" picked it up, ultimately "The New York Times" did a front page story on one of these cases that had a very big impact. As we`ve seen the coverage of this story spread out, including here on this program and other TV shows, there`s been a real uproar, and the Trump administration sort of pulled back. They never announced the policy change in the first place. They then announced essentially they wouldn`t go forward with the deportation threats they had issued in these letters.
Do you have any understanding, though, of the status of this policy and what is going to happen to the individual clients? Is it clear to you?
SEGAL: Well, what is clear the administration has definitely terminated this program, USCIS`s deferred action program going forward. They say there may be some opportunity for people who filed before August 7th to get this deferred action, but that does -- it`s not clear what that does for the people who filed before August 7th and certainly does nothing at all for the people who filed since then.
The IIIC actually filed on August 16th an application for deferred action on behalf of someone who is dying from breast cancer. So, unless this course of action is changed, unless it is stopped, this is going to hurt people. It`s going to amount to a death sentence for countless people going forward.
MADDOW: Matt Segal, legal director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, today has brought suit to try to block the Trump administration from rescinding this policy -- sir, I appreciate your time tonight. Please -- keep in touch with us about this as this progresses. I know that you`re trying to move this as fast as possible. I appreciate it.
SEGAL: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: MSNBC will have live coverage overnight tonight as Hurricane Dorian continues its slow march up the Eastern Seaboard. The storm is working its way towards coastal North Carolina, dangerous storm surge expected there, winds that could reach 100 miles an hour. Sometime after midnight tonight, the eye of the storm is expected to hit land again if the first time since it decimated the Bahamas.
Again, we`ll be live overnight tonight. Stay with MSNBC for the latest.
That`s going to do it for me for now. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END