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Trump denies assault allegation. TRANSCRIPT: 6/24/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell.

Guests: Adam Smith, Jim Himes, Elora Mukherjee, Elora Mukherjee; JonathanRyan

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Rachel.

And I first started reporting on her violation of the Hatch Act, as soon as I saw her actually doing it, actually doing it on camera.  And so, it`s not surprising that it`s come to this.  And the White House refusing to comply with what is clearly an oversight issue on a law that Congress passed called the Hatch Act.  It`s a pretty important thing they want to talk to her about. 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  The principle of the Hatch Act is that you shouldn`t use the powers of the government to get yourself elected, and that`s a really important thing in America and in our constitutional republic. 

And if that has been thinned out, if that`s something we`re going to scoff at in terms of a law because people having gone to jail for it in the past, that`s a really big change for us to go through as a country right when we`re heading into an election with a president who`s happy to break lots of norms. 

O`DONNELL:  And one thing that`s included in this area of the law is that you cannot use government property, like, say, the White House driveway or the White House premises in any way.  It`s one of the reasons, for example, senators, members of the house have to get up and leave their offices and go to a private building, which is not far from the capitol, to make phone calls involving their campaign and especially involving campaign fundraising.  They`re not allowed to use the phone right there on their desk in their Senate office to make a call about fundraising.  But the Trump White House doesn`t seem to know any of this. 

MADDOW:  Well, or they know it and they think it`s bureaucracy.  They don`t think it`s important.  I just -- this is one of those things that you have all those details about it, which is the way it works in practice.  That`s so engrained in federal officials because people have just assumed that the basic principle was important, but I think the Trump White House would contest both bureaucratic niceties of this, but also the principle. 

I think they`ve absolutely hold that the Hatch Act is trying to separate government service from political advantage in a way that they don`t respect. 

O`DONNELL:  As we`ve said several times, we`ve never seen anything like it. 

MADDOW:  Yes.  Thanks, Lawrence. 

O`DONNELL:  Yes, thank you, Rachel.

Well, Joy Reid is joining us tonight.  She has a new book coming out that explains everything about the news of the day, and news of most days because it is a very thorough consideration of the Trump presidency and how it got to the Trump presidency.  Joy will join after we have from two members of the House of Representatives who now support impeachment proceedings against President Trump. 

Congressman Adam Smith is the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, very important committee.  And Congressman Jim Himes who is the second highest ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee will also join us.  Congressman Himes announced his support for impeachment on the House floor today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT):  Mr. Speaker, I know I will be asked if my motive today is to pressure the speaker of the House whose service has been superb.  It is not.  She leads us today in the epic mission of defending our democracy.  That mission requires a vigorous debate and competing ideas, but it also requires care, discipline and a measure of deference. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  We`ll discuss impeachment with Congressman Himes and Chairman Smith, but that`s not all.  We will get their reactions to the Trump administration`s treatment of children at the southern border.

And later in this hour, we will hear from a lawyer who has actually visited those children and seen the conditions they are living in and the conditions that some of them have died in.  That lawyer will tell you that the conditions that she saw on her trip last week are the worst, the worst conditions that she has ever seen children being held at the southern border.  One of the children that her team met with is five months old. 

Republicans are not so much trying to defend the conditions that the children are suffering in as much as they are trying to blame Democrats for those conditions.  The president threatened to launch wide scale deportation raids all over the country this week, and then this weekend called off his own menacing threat.  It was the domestic equivalent of what the president did with Iran last week, threatening Iran with retaliation for Iran shooting down an American drone and then congratulating himself for calling off the retaliatory strike against Iran that the president himself had ordered.

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Adam Smith, was part of the congressional leadership meeting at the White House with the president when the president was considering how to retaliate against Iran.  So he got as close an exposure to the president`s thinking on Iran as any Democrat could get. 

And today, the president announced new sanctions on Iran.  "The New York Times" reports that the new sanctions are aimed at preventing some top Iranian officials from using the international banking system or any financial vehicles set up by European nations or other countries.  But the Iranian officials likely do not keep substantial assets in international banks, if any at all, or use those institutions for transactions and any additional pressure from the new sanctions is likely to be minimal. 

Joining our discussion now, Democratic chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Adam Smith of Washington. 

Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for joining us tonight.  I really appreciate it. 

I`d like to start with Iran and the meeting you were in at the White House before the president went through this series of decisions, and you tell us, was it before he decided to order the strike and then stand down from the strike?  Where was that meeting in the sequence of events? 

REP. ADAM SMITH (D-WA):  It was right before.  It was the day before all of the events that we read so much about.  It was interesting, during the discussion it was obvious the president was wrestling with what the right thing to do was.  I think it was equally obvious that Vice President Pence, national security adviser Bolton and Secretary of State Pompeo wanted the strike. 

Now, the president, we had a very long discussion about what would the right response be, and a number of us, mostly Democrats pointed out, you don`t know where this is going to go.  If you bomb Iran, they`re going to respond, and then you stumble into that open conflict that he`s claimed he doesn`t want to stumble in.

And to the president`s credit on this point, he seemed responsive to that message and genuinely worried about what would happen if they did launch a military strike. 

O`DONNELL:  So in this discussion, was it obvious to you that he the president had already been presented with all the possible collateral damage from the options that had been presented to him? 

SMITH:  It`s hard to imagine that he wasn`t.  What was said to us by him and a number of others is DOD has presented them with options for months.  It wasn`t hard to participate given the sanctions placed on Iran, given the maximum pressure campaign that Iran would do something like this. 

So, these options had been put in from of the president for quite sometime.  Now, you know, did they give him a precise number on the strike, how many people will be destroyed (ph), probably not, but there`s no way he didn`t know from the get-go that we`re talking north of 100 people who would likely be killed in this kind of a strike. 

O`DONNELL:  Now, the president, when he was explaining why he changed his mind, claimed that he just discovered that it was not what we call a proportional response.  It would involve killing 150 people and the Iranian strike didn`t kill anyone.  And, of course, there was no one we`ve encountered that doesn`t believe he wasn`t presented with that information before that. 

But what he said to Chuck Todd since then, for example, is something that suggests a possibly wildly disproportionate response.  He said to Chuck Todd, I`m not looking for war, and if there is, it will be obliteration like you`ve never seen before. 

And so, Mr. Chairman, it doesn`t seem that Donald Trump has the vaguest idea of what proportional response means. 

SMITH:  No, and more concerning, and I`ve asked this many times of the administration, what`s the plan?  OK, they`ve got a maximum pressure campaign, and what the president led us to believe at this meeting was it`s all about stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.  Now, if that was the case, why did he pull out of the agreement that was stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon? 

Well, part of it is when the president was speaking to us, he said some things about the JCPOA, the agreement to stop Iran, that simply weren`t accurate.  But if that`s the case, what do we expect Iran to do in answer to this pressure campaign?  And what the administration expects is Iran basically to say, OK, you got us, we`ll do what you want. 

But that`s not going to happen.  When that doesn`t happen, when they respond the way anyone could have predicted, which is what they`re doing, then what?  What`s the plan?  What are you trying to drive Iran to the negotiating table to accomplish, and how do you think you get there? 

I think it`s kind of clear they don`t really have a plan for that, and what I`m really worried about is there`s people around the president who really want regime change.  That`s what they`re pushing for, so they`re willing to take on a lot more pain and a lot more risk than the president is. 

And how does that play?  As we saw, within 10 to 15 minutes, if we take the president at his word from stumbling into a rather nasty conflict. 

O`DONNELL:  Mr. Chairman, let me ask you about impeachment.  You are chairman of the Armed Services Committee, you are an ally of Nancy Pelosi`s.  When you came to the decision to support impeachment proceedings, did you check with the speaker on that? 

SMITH:  I did not.  I think we, as all individual members of Congress, have to make our decision.  There is a couple pieces. 

I mean, certainly there is a mountain of evidence at this point that the president has done things that are deeply troubling.  Now, there is no specific words on what an impeachable offense is.  You know, high crimes and misdemeanors on open to interpretation, so I think it is up to Congress and the American people to decide what constitutes grounds for removing a president from office.  But the biggest thing for me at this point is I think we need to focus our investigations. 

We`re investigating a lot of different things.  I think an impeachment inquiry gives us the opportunity to say, we`re investigating to see if this president should be removed from office.  Let`s focus on that, figure out what the grounds of impeachment are, how many counts of impeachment we want to put forward so we can begin to clarify it for the American people. 

I mean, part of the problem is there are so many scandals, so many things going on on a daily basis, but when you`re talking about impeachment, we need to be clear about what actions it is that we are pursuing.  So, I think we need to narrow the focus and say, what are we looking at?  What exactly do we think rises to the level of impeachment or not?  I think it`s time to focus that investigation. 

O`DONNELL:  And, Mr. Chairman, I want to turn your attention to the southern border and the children that are being held there.  We`re going to be joined later in this hour by a lawyer who has been inside, seen them, met with -- including infants in her last visit, saying it`s the worst conditions she has ever seen children held in custody. 

What`s your reaction to what the president has been saying about this, that he could solve it but the Democrats don`t let him solve it? 

SMITH:  The president created this crisis to begin with.  And he created it with a zero tolerance policy.  If he really cared about taking care of the migrants on the border, many of them, as you`ve pointed out, children.  Look, he declared an emergency and found $6 billion in the Pentagon to start building his wall.  He could easily find the money to provide better facilities and better care for these migrants and start working on a strategy so that they don`t feel the need to come.  But he`s not doing that. 

And just today, we have a bill coming up in the House that would fund more care for the migrants coming in -- facilities for them to live in, food, clothing, shelter.  He issued a veto threat, because at the end of the day, that`s not his objective.  His objective is not to take care of these people.  His objective is a rabidly anti-immigrant policy. 

He wants, as he`s said on more than one occasion, a maximum pressure campaign on the migrants just like he has in Iran, I guess, to deter them from coming.  In more than one occasion, you know, you had the Attorney General Sessions saying, we want them to suffer so they don`t want to come. 

There are the tools there for a bipartisan solution.  The suffering here is unimaginable.  We ought to -- whatever our feelings are about immigration, that`s a separate debate.  The debate right now is how do we get the money down there to properly care for these migrants who are in such horrific conditions. 

We`re prepared to do it.  We`re going to pass a bill this week.  We support it, but the president doesn`t want to take the money to do that.  He wants to use the money for other purposes, and that`s the problem. 

O`DONNELL:  Congressman Adam Smith, thank you very much for joining us.  I really appreciate it. 

SMITH:  Thanks.  Appreciate the chance. 

O`DONNELL:  And today, Congressman Jim Himes invoked his state`s history when he announced his support for impeachment proceedings against the president of the United States. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HIMES:  I represent the people of southwestern Connecticut, the Constitution State.  From my house, I can walk to the hill where General Israel Putnam made a daring escape from British cavalry in 1779 Americans would never have to answer to a tyrant for their opinions, politics or religious beliefs.  Just up the road is the town of Ridgefield where General Daniel Wooster and 21 young patriots died in April of 1777 so that Americans would be spared ever living under a capricious and arbitrary power. 

Mr. Speaker, there are moments for careful calculation, for weighing political expediency and conflicting interests.  And there are moments for clarity and conviction.  This is that moment. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  Continuing our discussion now is Democratic Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut.  He`s a member of the House Intelligence Committee and the House Financial Services Committee. 

And, Congressman Himes, who did you alert that you were going to make this announcement?  Did you talk to the speaker about it?  Did you talk to the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff? 

HIMES:  Well, you know, this was obviously a decision taken in my own head in consultation with my constituents.  You know, I heard from constituent after constituent who were enormously frustrated about what are very legitimate questions, which is how does impeachment affect the politics?  When will courts rule to enforce subpoenas of the Congress? 

And eventually I just developed the conviction that as you played in that speech I made on the floor that one of the things that could most sort of galvanize the American public, educate the public would be if we set aside the calculation in favor of really clear statements of right and wrong, and, of course, in favor of an impeachment inquiry, which would be a public airing of the facts, a fair public airing of the facts so the American people could learn about some of the things that most of them did not read in the multi-hundred-page Mueller report, but this was really an issue of sort of satisfying, I think, a call for clarity on the part of my constituents. 

O`DONNELL:  What do you think the timetable for impeachment proceedings has to be? 

HIMES:  Well, you know, fortunately, since I`m not the Democratic leader of the speaker of the House, I don`t need to make that decision.  But it is certainly true that there probably is a clock ticking right now because there will come a moment in 2020, and I don`t know if that`s in the spring or the summer, at which point people`s attention and much of what happens in American politics will be given over to the November 2020 election. 

So I can`t tell you it is absolutely now.  I defer to the speaker of the House.  She`s forgotten more about electoral politics and about, you know, how you get out to the American people in order to shape sentiment than I will probably ever know.  But you`re right in sort of implying that there is almost certainly a clock ticking on this issue. 

O`DONNELL:  Is the speaker just letting members makes their own choices on this?  Is she trying to persuade members to wait for more time in making decisions about this? 

HIMES:  She is not.  I gave her the courtesy of telling her what I intended to do.  I believe in sort of being a good team player, so I didn`t surprise her with this.  And I know the story of others who have done the same.  At no point has she discouraged anybody from doing this. 

Look, I think -- sometimes the story is that, well, now we`re up to 70, or whatever the number is, of a caucus of 225.  When that number hits 120 or 130, at that point, is she under tremendous pressure? 

Look, Nancy Pelosi is already a historic figure, the first female speaker of the House.  She, I think, understands that this moment, the next two years, is probably, along with the passage of the Affordable Care Act and all the stuff that happened in the first term of the Obama administration, her legacy.  So, this is not a question of numbers, this is a question of Nancy Pelosi doing what she believes is right for the American people, and in fidelity to the Constitution of the United States. 

O`DONNELL:  And, Congressman Himes, let me get you on your reaction to what`s been happening to the children of the southern border.  We`ve had a new string of reports last week in the same week when the administration was in federal court arguing that it is perfectly humane and perfectly safe and sanitary to not provide children with beds to sleep on, forcing them to sleep on cement floors.  They don`t need soap, they don`t need toothbrushes, they don`t need toothpaste in order to be sanitary according to the Trump administration. 

HIMES:  Yes, Lawrence, I`m very much on the same page with Adam Smith who you just interviewed.  We can have and should have a long and vigorous debate on the nature of our immigration system.  But put that aside.  I was in Texas probably nine months ago, and I saw some of those facilities, and it was some of the toughest hours I`ve had in the United States Congress. 

And I`ll just say this, Lawrence -- again, we should have a vibrant discussion over how we best control our border.  But the treatment of children, and these are largely children, the knowledge that as we go to bed comfortable tonight there will be five-year-olds sleeping on concrete floors under metal blankets, that will be a stain on the moral history of this country. 

And, look, I understand that my Republican colleagues have other interests with respect to this president, but you would think that that story and the sight and the thought of children suffering in that way would set everything else aside.  As Adam Smith said, we`ve got the money.  Let`s at least make sure we are doing what we are doing today with some decency and with some moral fiber.  But that, of course, is not what is happening right now. 

O`DONNELL:  Congressman Jim Himes, thank you very much for joining us tonight.  Appreciate it.

HIMES:  Thank you, Lawrence. 

O`DONNELL:  And when we come back, we`ll be joined by a lawyer who has seen the deplorable conditions that the Trump administration is providing and the things they are not providing, the basic human safety and sanitary measures they are not taking for the children in their custody at the southern border.  That`s next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL:  Our next guest has been visiting children in custody at the southern border for 12 years.  She says she has never seen conditions as bad as what she saw last week.  That is when the Trump administration was in federal court arguing that they can provide safe and sanitary conditions for the children without providing the children with soap or toothbrushes or toothpaste and that it is perfectly safe and sanitary to sleep on cement floors where so many of the children are now forced to sleep. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It`s within everybody`s common understanding that, you know, if you don`t have a toothbrush, if you don`t have soap, if you don`t have a blanket, it`s not safe and sanitary.  Wouldn`t everybody agree to that?  Do you agree to that? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, I think it`s -- I think those are -- there`s fair reason to find that those things may be part of safety and sanitary. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Not maybe -- are a part.  Why do you say maybe?  You mean there are circumstances when a person doesn`t need to have a toothbrush, toothpaste and soap for days? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, I think in CBP custody, it`s frequently intended to be much shorter term, so it may be that for a shorter term stay in CBP custody, some of those things may not be required. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL:  But they are not short-term stays.  Many of the children are left in those conditions for weeks. 

Elora Mukherjee is one of the lawyers who got inside and saw the children.  She told the "New York Times": There is a stench.  The overwhelming majority of children have not bathed since they crossed the border. 

Joining our discussion now is Elora Mukherjee.  She is the director of the Immigrants Rights Clinic at the Columbia school of law.  Thank you very much for joining us. 

ELORA MUKHERJEE, VISITED BORDER PATROL FACILITY IN CLINT, TEXAS:  Thank you for having me. 

O`DONNELL:  You were there last week. 

MUKHERJEE:  I was. 

O`DONNELL:  Seeing exactly what was reported in all the recent reports.  And tell us the ages of the children you met with and interviewed. 

MUKHERJEE:  I met with children ranging between the ages of five months to 17 years old.  On Monday morning when we arrived at the facility, there were more than 350 children detained there in an adult holding facility that were designed for just over 100. 

The children who we interviewed last week were dirty, hungry, sick, scared and many of them had been detained for days on end, for weeks on end, some nearly a month.  Many of the children had been held incommunicado without the opportunity to call their loved ones and their loved ones have no idea where they are and how to get their beloved children back.  Nearly every child in that facility has family members in the United States who are eager to get their children back and the children want to be with their loved ones, too, but the length of detention has just been too long. 

There is a federal law that was passed unanimously by both houses and signed by President George W. Bush which provides for detention in Customs and Border Protection facilities for children for not longer than 72 hours. 

O`DONNELL:  Tell us about the infants.  You met one child who`s five- months-old child.  What did you -- how you interview a five-month-old child?

MUKHERJEE:  The five-month-old was accompanied by her teenage mom.  The child was extremely dirty, as was her mother.  The child and the mother both had bodily fluids on their clothing, nasal mucus. 

The mother had breast milk stains all over her shirt.  They had crossed the border a significant time beforehand and had not showered or bathed in days.  There is also no place, no way for the children detained there to wash their clothing and put on clean changes of clothes. 

When I interview children in detention facilities, I try to sit closer to them so that I can help to build rapport while we`re talking about extremely sensitive and traumatic information, and with some of the children who I met last week, that was hard to do because of the stench emanating from them. 

O`DONNELL:  There are other infants who are apparently not accompanied and are being cared for by other children who get that assignment, they either volunteered for it or sometimes the guards are suggesting, why don`t you take care of that infant? 

MUKHERJEE:  That`s exactly right.  So we heard reports of children as young as six months old, one year old, two years old, three years old, who are being cared for by children unrelated to them in these holding cells and in these pens. 

And when I say the children are older than them, we`re talking about children who are seven years old, eight years old, nine years old.  They are being ordered by the guards to care for the younger children.  And it leads to all the problems you can imagine because these young children are not equipped to take care of toddlers. 

One of my colleagues, Warren Binford, was interviewing an eight-year-old child who was tasked with caring for a two-year-old.  And when Warren asked whether the child, the two-year-old, needed diapers, the eight-year-old said no, and the child, the two-year-old, promptly peed on the chair that the child was sitting on. 

These are not safe and sanitary conditions.  There was an influenza outbreak at the facility, flu and lice were spreading.  The children don`t have access or the ability to wash their hands with soap.  Most of the children who I had spoken with had not brushed their teeth once for weeks on end. 

O`DONNELL: And the information that you and other lawyers are gathering is what is being brought into those courtrooms where we`re seeing that kind of argument, the Trump administration defending this and saying, to be sanitary you don`t need soap.

And obviously those three Appeals court judges had never heard anyone say anything like that before.

MUKHERJEE: That`s exactly right. I would invite those DOJ lawyers to go into the facility at Clint and other CBP facilities where adults and children are being held in dangerous, overcrowding conditions without access to soap, toothbrushes, clean clothes, showers and invite them to then consider whether these facilities -

O`DONNELL: They knew you were coming, they had three weeks warning that you were coming, the people working on site had all of them, had a minimum of a week`s knowledge that you were coming. So there`s reason to believe that they dressed the place up as best they could, that three weeks ago, it could have looked much worse even.

MUKHERJEE: That`s exactly right, some of the children told us that during the days we were there last week, they were allowed to make their first phone calls. During the days we were there last week, they got their first shower, they got their first tooth brush. They got a chance to go outside for the first time.

I spoke with many children who had not been outside once during their detention at Clint and the three children who I spoke with who reported outdoor opportunities told me that they couldn`t bear to bring themselves to play because they were trying to conserve their energy to stay alive.

Nearly every child I spoke with reported that they were hungry because children are given the same ration of food on the same size tray regardless if they are one years old or 17 years old or a teenage mother whose breast feeding and has higher caloric needs.

O`DONNELL: Laura, thank you very much for joining us. Really appreciate it.

MUKHERJEE: Thank you so much.

O`DONNELL: And please come back with more reporting on what you find there, really appreciate it, thank you very much. When we come back Maria Teresa Kumar will join us along with the Director of a Refugee and Immigrant Center in Texas.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

Warren Binford is another one of the lawyers who toured the border patrol facility holding immigrant children in Clint, Texas. She told The New Yorker, "There were children at this facility who came across with parents and were separated from parents. There were other children at the facility you came across with other adult family members. We met almost no children who came across unaccompanied.

The United States is taking children away from their family unit and reclassifying them as unaccompanied children but they were not unaccompanied children and some of them were separated from their parents. Joining our discussion now is Johnathan Ryan. He`s Executive Director for the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services in Texas.

Also joining us Maria Teresa Kumar, the President and CEO of Voto Latino and an MSNBC contributor. And Maria Teresa, I just want to get your reaction to what you just heard in the previous segment from a lawyer who`s actually been there and visited with the children, last week.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR, PRESIDENT & CEO, VOTO LATINO & MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It`s clear that cruelty is the point of this policy by the President and it is clear that when he pledged to end family separation last year, almost to the day Lawrence, he has done quite the opposite. He is basically done a switcheroo with the American people. The American people came out in mass if you recall.

Tens of thousands of people came out and marched against family separation. The President claimed to have listened, he`s claimed to have stopped the policy and instead what we`re finding is not just hundreds but possibly thousands of kids that continue to be separated.

And the only reason is to ensure that they are treated as animals, they`re treated in an undignified manner in a country that has set and created the asylum laws for the rest of the world and this is beneath us and unless we make sure that he is held accountable and the people that are carrying out his orders are held accountable.

This will be the beginning and we have to make sure that we hold strong and that we do not forget these children but more importantly, let these children know that we are fighting for them.

O`DONNELL: And Johnathan, one of the challenges is getting information out there. You do that on a regular basis through social media and other ways and I`m grateful for what you`ve been delivering to us but getting that first hand report from actually inside the facility from one of the lawyers is I think the most important sourcing we have because we`re at the point now where lawyers are just about the only people who get in there.

JONATHAN RYAN, ADVOCATE FOR REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS: And they`re lucky when they do actually Lawrence because you know, for example these lawyers were allowed or able to get into this facility thanks to the Flores settlement, this law that`s been discussed now that we know that the administration is bent on getting rid of, it`s simply thanks to that law that they have the ability to go in and to inspect these DHS facilities where children are kept and it`s also only thanks to that law that organizations like mine, like RAICES is able to go and provide legal services inside of the HHS facilities where children go after they`re in these deplorable conditions.

And it just boils my blood to hear this reporting, knowing that this is how our country is treating children. It gives me a little bit of hope because it might make clear to us really just how simple this is. You cannot treat children this way. No country in fact, any country can be judged by how it treats children and if this is the litmus test for us, we are failing miserably.

This should be a touch point moment for us when again we see the atrocities occurring at our border in our name against children and vulnerable people and we must take stock and realize it`s being done in our name and if we don`t do something to stop it now, we don`t need to wait for an election, we don`t need to wait for politicians to intervene.

We at RAICES have seen the power of the people when they decide to support us or this or to come out against this treatment. We need to stand up right now as a nation and say enough is enough, this has got to stop.

O`DONNELL: I want to read a quote from another lawyer one with either more experience, 10 more years` experience at this. This is Holly Cooper, she said, "In my 22 years of doing visits with children in detention, I have never heard of this level of inhumanity." And Maria Teresa so that is what we`re hearing hear and during a commercial break earlier, I asked Laura what does she do when she speaking to a child who`s too young to even speak, how do you interview the child who is too young to speak, who is unaccompanied who doesn`t have her mother there, his father there.

And she said all she can do is observe the child closely and make notes on what she sees, how dirty the child is, what the child is wearing, the conditions in which the child is being held, what kind of cage it is, things like that. Since there`s no actual information that can be obtained from an infant who can`t speak.

KUMAR: I mean, you said it right there, in a cage, we are caging children, this is an eye witness report, credible individual, professional who actually knows how to process these cages - these cases.

And the American people need to keep in mind many of these children, they are not allowed to be held, they`re not allowed to be sued, neither by individuals working at the facility, neither by the lawyers, neither by the children themselves.

This deep psychological impact of what we are creating by a government dollar, our tax dollars is inexplicable and think about it, these individuals, these children, they walked and traverse Central America to become to the beacon of hope of opportunity and love and prosper so that they can actually have a shot at something.

And it`s largely directed because our government is cutting out their aid to their government. They`re cutting out the opportunity for those governments to actually be sustained and find the solutions. This is not the first time that we`ve had a resurgence of influx of individuals at the border.

Obama addressed it even though we had tens of thousands of people doing the same thing but he mitigated. He actually provided resources in order to stop the flow. He allowed so that minors can go into the U.S. embassies at their location of origin so that they wouldn`t have to traverse these.

And what are the Trump administration do? It`s one of the first things he zeroed out. What did he do on Friday? He got it aid to Honduras, to Guatemala, to El Salvador because they weren`t taking care of the problem. You can`t take care of a problem if you exasperated and unless we start making sure that we are continuing shining a light, it demonstrates what the priorities are in this country.

And let`s be clear Lawrence, the moment the AP came out with an article talking about that the crass conditions of these borders, what does the government do? They immediately shut it down and moved these kids to better conditions. What that says is that this President only knows one thing and that it means bad publicity.

So we need to make sure that we continue to shine a light on it like you are tonight but we also need people and bodies, we need American people coming out in droves. Last year, to this day, Veto Latino and half a dozen organizations went and marched in Tornio, Texas and we helped shut that facility down.

We can`t stop because the children are the ones that at the end of the day are the ones that actually give us hope, they give us life and we`re not doing justice by them.

O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa Kumar, Jonathan Ryan, thank you both for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

KUMAR: Thank you Lawrence.

RYAN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: And when we come back, Joy Reid will join us on her show Saturday morning, she interviewed journalist and author E. Jean Carroll about her accusation of rape against Donald Trump after E. Jean Carol told her story on this program, Friday night.

Tonight the President has offered a new defense to this new rape charge and his defense has an element of confession in it which I`m sure, he didn`t realize. Joy Reid will consider the President`s new defense and we`ll discuss Joy`s new book, `The Man Who Sold America.`

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O`DONNELL: On Sunday, Axios released a trove of leaked vetting documents from the Trump 2016 transition team identifying what they called `red flags` for potential Trump nominees. Those red flags range from allegations that people like former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue had numerous conflicts of interest and were too close to the industries they were regulating.

When assessing former Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach who was in the running for Homeland Security Secretary vetters listed white supremacy as a vulnerability and cited accusations that he had ties to white supremacist groups.

Tonight the Hill has released an interview with President Trump in which he denies the rape accusation against him that you heard on this program, Friday night from the journalist and author E. Jean Carroll and on Sunday morning, E. Jean Carroll also told her story to Joy Reid on Joy`s show here on MSNBC.

In his interview with the Hill tonight the President said, it never happened. The President actually began his response to the rape accusation, his response to the Hill in that interview with a lie. The lie was his first words, I`ll say it with great respect.

The President has never said anything with great respect. And what he said about E. Jean Carroll`s accusation was not said with great respect. And so after that first lie, here are the presence exact words. "I`ll say it with great respect. Number one, she`s not my type. Number two, it never happened, it never happened, OK?

So to say she`s not my type in a rape defense, to have that, that be the very first thing you want to say in your rape defense is another way of saying, I would rape someone who is my type. We`ll get you Reid`s reaction after this break.

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O`DONNELL: It says right here on the back of this book, Joy Reid masterfully combines the immediacy of new reporting, the intimacy of a memoir and the sweep of the history book from an anti-immigrant know- nothing party of the 1850s to Nelson Mandela`s post-apartheid attempt at reconciliation.

Because I wrote that on the back of her book. `The Man Who Sold America` delivers a compelling account of how we got to Trumpism and what will happen next and joining us now is Joy Reid, MSNBC National Correspondent host of AM Joy on MSNBC and author of `The Man Who Sold America: Trump and the Unraveling of the American story`

So the Trump story that is unraveling tonight because there`s always a Trump story unraveling at all times. I mean, we have the you know, I just discovered that some people might get injured if I - if I you know have a missile strike at Iran, that unraveled, that lie.

He now says tonight about E. Jean Carroll who you met and interviewed this weekend, who I interviewed on Friday night. He says that the rape accusations he`s making cannot be true because and this is the first thing he says, these are his words, she`s not my type.

JOY REID, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT & HOST OF AM JOY, MSNBC & AUTHOR OF `THE MAN WHO SOLD AMERICA: TRUMP AND THE UNRAVELING OF THE AMERICAN STORY`: Yes, it was shocking and I was sitting here listening to you read the story. I hadn`t heard it before. It is shocking but it`s not shocking coming from him. I mean the thing about Donald Trump that is consistent is that he`s in politics because he`s just being who he is and who he is, is, it might frighten people but appealing to a certain number of people, particularly white American men who feel that society has stopped letting them be who they are.

And stop letting them be men and stop letting them be macho, has stopped letting them have it over women and minorities and you feel victimized and Donald Trump agrees with them and he feels victimised and he feels like you know, he should just say whatever he wants, but his attitude toward women is particularly relevant, I think to who he is because part of what`s changed in America is that women have rights and equality.

And it`s one of the things that bugs the people who like Donald Trump.

O`DONNELL: What is it that he gets to signal through these controversies with women because I mean E. Jean made the point that the she thought the way she was watching it happen in 2016 during the campaign and one reason why she didn`t come out publicly then is she wasn`t ready to and we all understand.

People are ready when they`re ready. But she said she thought it was actually working in Trump`s favor. He was somehow turning it in his favor with his supporters, how does that work?

REID: Absolutely, I mean there was a certain point in which I told my team, this reporting we`re doing on the access Hollywood video is helping him. This is not hurting him at all. This is actually making him more popular because the reality is, is that what Donald Trump is a reset.

Donald Trump is a signaling to certain Americans who feel that the country is slid in, there`s polling that shows that if you believe that America was a better place in the in the 1950s than it is now, that it was a morally better place when white Christian men had dominion over other people, socially and culturally, there was - that question being asked specifically, if you believe that, you`re a Trumpist.

You are for Donald Trump so what he`s signaling in the Access Hollywood video, in the way he talks about E. Jean Carroll is that a man needs to be able to be a man in the way that he used to be able to be in the forties, and in the thirties, in the twenties and this new-fangled modernism is hurting white Christian men.

And that he is the guy who`s going to let them be who they are, he`s an avatar for putting things back the way they used to be.

O`DONNELL: Your sweep of history in this book is really impressive. What do you think is the essential element in how we got to Trump?

REID: I think what happened is the Republican Party had a belief that the elite end, that what Republicanism was about since Barry Goldwater was small government deregulation and tax policy but in reality, what the Republican Party was about was what Nixon said it was about.

It was about the so called silent majority and people who believe that the United States had turned its attention away from poor Americans, white Americans and started to turn its attention toward niche Americans, new immigrants, brown immigrants, black immigrants, women, gay people, everyone who wasn`t white Christian men and that the country is going to the dogs because of it.

That the country`s going downhill so Donald Trump got that, he understood it. He wasn`t always a Republican but he was always Donald Trump, he was always bad guy and he signaled to people like him that he could set the country back the way it was and if you look at the data on when white nationalism and extremism peaked, the two data points are the first time the United States Census announced that white Americans would become a minority in the United States by 2052.

And the second time which is in about the late 1990s, like 1998 and the second time which was in August of 2008, while Barack Obama was running for President and the idea that he could become President because of a non- white surge demographically and the acceleration of that date from 2052 to 2047, that actually was in the news that summer.

And you saw increases in anger, resentment and frankly, white nationalism as a result and I`m not saying all of his supporters are white nationalists but the resentment factor data wise is what elected him. The three things that signal that you are going to vote for Donald Trump, you`re already Republican, you`d vote for any Republican.

You want lower taxes because you`re affluent or you have demographic panic and resentment, that is what elected, immigration.

O`DONNELL: It is all in Joy Reid`s book, `The Man Who Sold America.` I have read this book.

REID: Thank you for the blur by the way, it was awesome.

O`DONNELL: I learned a lot. Joy, thank you very much.

REID: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: I really appreciate it. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts now.

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