LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Well, you know, of course, Rachel had to rest up and take tonight off for what`s coming. This is going to be a great week.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST, "A.M. JOY": Yes, it will be that. But also, me in the hallway with a soccer ball --
O`DONNELL: I know exactly where you will be tomorrow night.
REID: It`s going to be exciting.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Joy.
REID: Have a great show. Bye.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
Later in this hour, we`ll be joined by one of the Texas reporters who contributed to the extraordinary "New York Times" front page expose of what is really happening inside the border patrol station in Clint, Texas. A team of six reporters from "The New York Times" and the "El Paso Times" contributed to this in-depth account of what it`s like inside Clint`s razor wire.
Their sources include current and former border patrol agents said they repeatedly tried to warn supervisors about the inhumane conditions. One agent who worked at Clint told the "New York Times": I can`t tell you the number of times I would talk to agents and they would get teary eyed.
We begin with the attorney general tonight. The attorney general who said today that he believes he`s going to find a legal way in the next couple of days to get around a Supreme Court decision that forbids questions about citizenship on the next census. But on the most important new case announced today by the Justice Department, the attorney general has recused himself. The attorney general of the United States did not recuse himself from decisions involving the investigation of the president who made him the attorney general of the United States, that would seem to be an obvious conflict of interest for Attorney General William Barr, but it takes an awful lot for William Barr to recuse himself from anything.
But he did recuse himself from the biggest case the Justice Department announced today, the federal sex trafficking case against Donald Trump`s old friend, Jeffrey Epstein. Here is the attorney general`s explanation of why he recused himself in this case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I`m recused from that matter because one of the law firms that represented Epstein long ago was a firm that I subsequently joined for a period of time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: By William Barr`s standards, that`s a very weak reason to recuse himself. Very, very weak. William Barr has another connection to Jeffrey Epstein that is even closer than the one he mentioned today. William Barr`s father, Donald Barr, hired Jeffrey Epstein. He hired Jeffrey Epstein to teach high school students, high school boys and high school girls.
Before Jeffrey Epstein became a rich player on Wall Street, Williams Barr`s father hired Epstein to be a math teacher at one of New York City`s most exclusive private schools, the Dalton School, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and there was something very, very strange about Donald Barr hiring Jeffrey Epstein. Jeffrey Epstein was not even a college graduate and that was and is unthinkable on faculties of elite private schools, but Donald Barr hired Jeffrey Epstein anyway.
And a year later, Donald Barr resigned from the battle on school after the board of trustees hired what the "New York Times" called an outside committee to study the school and to assess its operation under Mr. Barr and not long after that, Jeffrey Epstein left the Dalton School. He gave up teaching high school boys and high school girls and went to Wall Street.
But he wasn`t finished with high school girls. Jeffrey Epstein was never accused of a crime while he was a teacher at Dalton. Today, Jeffrey Epstein was charged by federal prosecutors with sex trafficking of girls of high school age. Girls who were in high school at the time or should have been in high school at the time. The indictment said Epstein intentionally sought out minors and knew that many of his victims were, in fact, under 18 and including because in some instances minor victims expressly told him their age.
Now, sometimes the indictment of an old friend of Donald Trump`s for sex trafficking has nothing to do with Donald Trump, but this is not one of those times, because the Florida federal prosecutor who made a very forgiving deal with Jeffrey Epstein on similar charges that allowed Epstein to avoid prison is now Donald Trump`s secretary of labor. Now, we have no idea if he would have blocked this prosecution if he had not decided to recuse himself from the case. We don`t know whether William Barr would have saved president Trump from the problem of having to deal with Labor Secretary Alex Acosta`s decision to let Jeffrey Epstein off the hook for the same conduct that the U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York just indicted Jeffrey Epstein for.
Here`s what Donald Trump said about his old friend, Jeffrey Epstein, in 2002. I have known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He`s a lot of fun to be with. He`s even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it, Jeffrey enjoys his social life.
On the younger side. Donald Trump knew about Jeffrey Epstein and what Donald Trump called the younger side. Terrific guy. That`s what Jeffrey Epstein was to Donald Trump. To this day, Donald Trump has not said a negative word about Jeffrey Epstein.
Donald Trump has attacked the leaders of countries that are the strongest allies. Donald Trump has attacked Congressman Justin Amash this weekend for leaving the Republican Party. Donald Trump has attacked Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, he`s attacked me. Donald Trump has attacked hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and thousands of people but he has never once said a single negative word about Jeffrey Epstein, not one word. Jeffrey Epstein did not see it coming when his private plane took off from Paris.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEOFFREY BERMAN, U.S. ATTORNEY SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NY: Epstein was arrested this past Saturday evening at the Teterboro Airport aboard his private jet that had just landed from Paris, France.
Contemporaneous with the arrest of Epstein at Teterboro, agents executed a search warrant on his mansion in New York City. They recovered and seized and that was a search pursuant to a valid warrant, agents seized evidence including nude photographs of what appear to be underage girls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Jeffrey Epstein pleaded not guilty today.
Leading off our discussion tonight, Berit Berger, she`s a former federal prosecutor for the Easton and Southern Districts of New York, and an MSNBC legal analyst.
And Tim O`Brien is with us. He`s the executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion and an MSNBC contributor.
And, Berit, your reading of this indictment today?
BERIT BERGER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, this is a stunning indictment to say the least. I mean, it would be stunning in its own regard just because here you have very serious charges being leveled against a powerful person. Given the posture though of how this compares to the case that was prosecuted or walked away from in Florida, it makes these changes more stunning, because quite frankly this is what should have happened in Florida.
These are the charges that the Florida U.S. attorney`s office could have brought and probably should have brought. I think this leaves a lot of open questions about why the federal prosecutors in the southern district of Florida walked away from these kinds of charges. Why Epstein was allowed to plead to a minor state charge in that case and why the victims in that case were intentionally excluded from this whole process. So, these are stunning charges for a number of reasons and given the posture, they are more stunning.
O`DONNELL: So, the U.S. attorney answered very few questions today, but one of them, the most interesting was, why is this case being brought by the Public Corruption Unit and you`re a veteran of the Southern District, the office where this is happening.
Does that sound as strange to you as it does to us?
BERGER: So, the answer is it`s hard to tell. So, Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District.
O`DONNELL: Who is a Donald Trump appointee, let`s recall.
BERGER: Correct. He came out firmly and said please don`t read anything into the fact that this is being prosecuted by the federal corruption unit and maybe that`s right. I mean, it`s hard to know.
I prosecuted some sex trafficking cases when I was a member of the terrorism section in the Eastern District, simply because those charges came in and I had experience. So --
O`DONNELL: But did it mean they originated through the terrorism unit?
BERGER: No. That`s the thing. Staffing decisions, people can start off in one section and move to another. So, look, maybe there is a connection between the Public Corruption Unit and these charges, but it could simply be a matter of assistants who were working on some aspect of the investigation. They started in one section, then moved.
So I do think we have to take the U.S. attorney at his word that it`s hard to read too much into this staffing decision.
O`DONNELL: Tim O`Brien, what is the Trump problem in this case?
TIMOTHY O`BRIEN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the Trump problem is there is possibly other shoes to drop about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. You know, Donald -- I spent a lot of time with Donald in the mid-2000s. He routinely spoke fawningly of Jeffrey. He admired Epstein`s lifestyle, he admired his freedom, and I think there is a synchronicity between these two guys. They are not much different.
At one point, Trump and I went -- he took me to the Miss Teen America headquarters on the East Side. He just acquired the rights to it and we went to the headquarters and he was saying he was glad he acquired this business to find girlfriends for his son, Eric. And we got up there and he was very jazzed to show me the different women, young women who were part of the pageant.
I suspect that`s something tied into Jeffrey Epstein. Trump himself has not kept that under wraps very much. He likes younger women. He is very bold face and bald faced about it, and they spend a lot of time together.
Jeffrey Epstein was a member at Mar-a-Lago. And I think what a lot of people, probably on both sides of the aisle, politically, were connected to Jeffrey Epstein, are probably worried about what else investigators are going to find when they examine files in his home in the Virgin Island, in Palm Beach, and in New York, because there could be sort of a Pandora`s box of embarrassing information.
O`DONNELL: Well, let`s go to the other side of the aisle. We have a statement from President Bill Clinton tonight who has been known to associate with Jeffrey Epstein. I`m going to read it in full. This is a written statement from his office.
It says: President Clinton knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago or those with which he has been recently charged in New York. In 2002 and 2003, President Clinton took a total of four trips on Jeffrey Epstein`s airplane, one to Europe, one to Asia and two to Africa which included stops in connection with the work of the Clinton Foundation. Staff, supporters of the foundation and his Secret Service detail travelled on every leg of every trip. He had one meeting with Epstein in his Harlem office in 2002 and around the same time made one brief visit to Epstein`s New York apartment with a staff member and a security detail. He has not spoken to Epstein in well over a decade and never has been to little St. James Island, his ranch in new Mexico, or residence in Florida.
And that island is a reference to an island that Epstein owns off of St. Thomas in Caribbean where a lot of this activity is presumed to have occurred.
What possibly could Jeffrey Epstein offer to the prosecutors that would -- that might be worth more than prosecuting Jeffrey Epstein?
BERGER: I mean, from where I sit, it would have to be something pretty extraordinary. As a general matter, prosecutors don`t like to give cooperation agreement to child sex traffickers for good reason. I mean, it is the sort of worst of the worst and it would have to be really extraordinary information for them to take that kind of extraordinary step into trying to cooperate.
Now, that doesn`t mean he won`t try or there won`t be a discussion, but I would be absolutely shocked in they offered somebody charged with not just a one off case, but the pattern of doing this over years with as they say in the indictment and in the detention memo, dozens of victims in both Florida and New York. I would be shock if they ended up offering him some sort of a cooperation agreement.
O`DONNELL: Tim, very thorough statement by Bill Clinton tonight. If any piece of that proves to be untrue, that would be a big problem, but he`s never been to the private island and some accused him of being. Donald Trump, I can`t imagine Donald Trump issuing a statement with that kind of precision that Bill Clinton issued tonight.
O`BRIEN: Because he couldn`t. Clear and plainly, he couldn`t issue a statement like that.
I think the reason Bill Clinton is also issuing it is any time an embarrassing moment comes up for Trump whether it involves the rule of law or foreign diplomacy or episodes like Jeffrey Epstein, you have Trump supporters saying, what about Hillary Clinton? What about Bill Clinton? Either one neither are in office anymore and none have been in the public scene for quite a long time. It becomes a convenient way to support Trump, to say that Trump`s critics or the media is not paying enough attention to the Clintons.
Cy Vance`s name came up today in the same regard. If you are going to criticize people who overlooked Jeffrey Epstein`s misdeeds, why aren`t you paying attention to Cy Vance? All of this is a distraction from the reason people are paying attention to Donald Trump.
He`s the president of the United States and he has a skeleton in his closet that is a mile deep. It includes people like Jeffrey Epstein. People are asking the question because he is wielding authority and power right now, and Bill Clinton isn`t.
O`DONNELL: So, let`s take the case down the road, hypothetical road. Let`s assume you got to a point of a conviction with Jeffrey Epstein. At that point, he doesn`t have any, in effect, fear of incrimination.
So, could you then take him, if he was convicted of this, before a grand jury to get under oath testimony from him? If he doesn`t have Fifth Amendment rights to protect?
BERGER: You could, although theoretically, he may, you know, have some sort of arguments that there was other rights that he still had, but absolutely. I mean, I think the issue really is that after someone is convicted and received a significant sentence, they don`t have a lot of incentive to sort of play ball.
I mean, look, they may be legally obligated to go in front of a grand jury and tell the truth, but if he is facing decades in prison at 66 years old, it`s a drop in the bucket.
O`DONNELL: So, Tim, what would the worries be in Donald Trump`s mind tonight?
O`BRIEN: Well, I think he`s going to be worried about what compromising information Jeffrey Epstein has about Trump and the relationship. The other big mystery about Jeffrey Epstein is not just the video goods he might had on different people. No one really knows his sources of funding other than --
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump`s sources of funding?
O`BRIEN: Donald Trump or Epstein.
O`BRIEN: So, Epstein is a prominent money manager, but no one ever really know what his sources of funding were. His original client was Leslie Wexner, founder of Victoria Secret and other clothing companies. He was a multibillionaire.
As far as most people in the press and New York know, Wexner was the only single large sort of investor in Epstein`s funds. He clearly had a resources, $100 million in real estate and supported the lifestyle that came long with that, without any clear indications of how he was raising his money. That`s very interesting because it`s a similar issue that Donald Trump has, where do the mystery millions flow into the Trump Organization and where do the mystery millions fall into the Jeffrey Epstein`s funds? And I think that`s another thing that will be interesting as the investigation progresses.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to the U.S. attorney today outlining the specifics of the allegations in the crimes against Epstein.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: The beginning of at least 2002 and continuing until 2005, Epstein is alleged to have abused dozens of victims by causing them to engage in sex acts with him at his mansion in New York and at his estate in Palm Beach, Florida. The victims all underage girls at the time of the alleged conduct were given hundreds of dollars in cash after each encounter either by Epstein or one of Epstein`s employees.
The underage girls were recruited to provide Epstein with massages and often did so nude or partially nude. These massages became increasingly sexual in nature and would typically include or more sex acts as specified in the indictment. As alleged, Epstein also paid certain victims to recruit additional girls to be similarly abused. This allowed Epstein to create an ever expanding web of new victims.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Berit, the details there include what would be statutory rape in the state of New York and in the state of Florida. But in federal law, there are no rape charges. So, he is just changed under federal law with sex trafficking.
Does this evidence package open up the possibility of statutory rape charges in the state of New York and possibly the state of Florida?
BERGER: Possibly. I`m not sure what the state of Florida would do, but possibly New York. I mean, the only incentive to get involve side if they needed someway that Epstein could sort of cordon of or being pardoned, right? I mean, the charges he is facing in the Southern District are going to carry significant penalties. And so much more than a statutory rape conviction theoretically would in the state.
So, I don`t think it`s not a matter of, you know, he needs to be confronted with these serious changes, but he`s facing as serious of a charge you can get right now. So, it`s not a matter of that.
At the end of the day, if they wanted -- almost like they did with Paul Manafort. They wanted the charges that could be part and proof, perhaps those could be New York state charges. But I think it`s too early to say.
O`DONNELL: Can you imagine a pardon for Epstein?
O`BRIEN: I think Donald Trump can imagine a pardon for almost anyone. So, as much as I don`t think I can imagine a pardon, for someone like him, I think Donald Trump could.
O`DONNELL: Tim O`Brien and Berit Berger, thank you very much for starting us off. I really appreciate it.
And when we come back, Attorney General William Barr thinks he has found the secret way, the secret path to the citizenship question on the census. Neal Katyal will join us to decode what William Barr said today about the census.
O`DONNELL: Today, the attorney general of the United States says he has found a secret way to get around a Supreme Court decision that forbids a question about citizenship on the census.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARR: We have been considering all the options that I have been in constant discussions with the president ever since the Supreme Court decision came down, and I think over the next day or two, you will see the approach we are taking. I think it does provide a pathway for getting the question on the census.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Here is Donald Trump`s version of his conversations with William Barr.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can do an executive toward. We`re looking at different things, but there are other alternatives. And, again, I believe our attorney general, fantastic man. And I think he`s got it very well under control.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The Justice Department said the attorney general is going to assign new lawyers to the case, but the lawyers opposing the citizenship question in the census filed a motion today demanding, quote, clear articulation of satisfactory reasons for these lawyers` withdrawals and unequivocal assurances from defendants that these withdrawals will not delay the conduct of this case.
And when I heard what the attorney general said today, I was wondering what is Neal Katyal doing tonight at 10:00 p.m.?
Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general joins us now. He`s the former acting solicitor general in the Obama administration and MSNBC legal contributor. He represented the House of Representatives in the census case.
And, Neal, luckily you can join us. Can you decode for us what you think you heard the attorney general say today?
NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, sure. So, Barr is saying he has a path forward. He doesn`t bother explaining what it is and didn`t sound persuasive as to whether that path will work. And we know one thing, which is it`s not persuasive to the lawyers at the Justice Department because, Lawrence, as you said, we saw something really extraordinary about four hours ago. I`ve never seen it in my time.
All of the trial lawyer experts at the Justice Department withdrew from these census cases. I don`t think that happened in my lifetime. I certainly can`t recall it. And these are the elite federal program officers, lawyers who handle major administrative and constitutional litigation against the United States.
And so, now, Trump and Barr are stuck defending this ridiculous census strategy with lawyers from, I kid you not, the consumer protection division, which obviously has nothing to do with the census. It has to do with protecting consumers from, you know, financial fraud or whatever, no relationship whatsoever to the census.
And, Lawrence, I will say something else. You know, this is the Justice Department of the United States. This is not the Justice Department of Donald Trump. And I think it is outrageous that Barr announced this yesterday and the lawyers withdraw today with not a word of explanation to the American people about why all of these lawyers are withdrawing and why they are subbing in their handpicked people.
And, you know, the Justice Department made representation after representation and the Supreme Court said, we are contrived and wrong. Now they are doubling down on the strategy and what they are doing is torching the relationship of the Justice Department to the Supreme Court of the United States. I can`t imagine something more corrosive or sad.
This is a president who thinks he owns the Justice Department when all of us who have been lucky enough to serve, we are temporary stewards for an institution that`s far greater who was set up in 1789, the solicitor general in 1870. Every solicitor general wants to avoid something like this.
O`DONNELL: Given what we know, and it`s limited what we know today, is there any way of guessing, I suppose the word is, or calculating whether the attorneys who withdraw have all withdrawn of their own volition or whether they were pushed out? Is there anything in this maneuver that indicates that one way or the other?
KATYAL: There is nothing that indicates that, but, boy, if they can keep lawyers on, you would. When I defended the Affordable Care Act, for example, and indeed any piece of federal legislation, there were one group of lawyers I always wanted in my side, which was the lawyers at federal programs. It`s like, you know, literally like going into a war without not just your generals, but everyone below that down to, you know, the foot soldiers, you know, being out of the case.
It`s just insane and not something anyone responsible would ever do.
O`DONNELL: Let me get your reaction to what William Barr said today proudly. He has been on the phone constantly every day since the Supreme Court decision with the president. Just your reaction generally to the Supreme Court ruling on the issue of concern to the president of the United States and the attorney general after that ruling comes out is just constantly on the phone with the president trying to figure out how to get around the Supreme Court.
KATYAL: So I have no problem with the attorney general having discussions with the president about a Supreme Court loss. That happens all the time. Zero problem with that and zero problem with trying to react to a Supreme Court decision. I have two problems with this.
Number one is that he didn`t bother telling his own lawyers. Remember, his own lawyers went in to federal court after the Supreme Court decision and said, don`t worry. We are going to print the census without this question and the lawyers even the next day with all these presidential tweets said we don`t know what`s going on. So, it`s a weird thing for Barr to say I`m in the loop and not let his lawyers know that he was in a loop.
I mean, that isn`t a way to run a Justice Department or any organization. And the second thing is, the problem is even if they come up with some gambit, some reason that they invent, the problem is they have gone to federal court and the Supreme Court of the United States and said, Supreme Court, you have to decide this by June 30th. That`s our drop dead date. Now it`s July 8th and they are trying to add the question.
It`s way too late and calls into question everything this Justice Department has said not just in this case, but in all the cases. This is an administration that plays fast and loose with the facts and fast and loose with the law. And now, the American public and the federal courts are seeing it.
Chief Justice Roberts called President Trump`s reason contrived. You don`t see that in Supreme Court opinions.
O`DONNELL: Well, if it was contrived then, what they would be coming up with next would be publicly contrived. We will have watched them publicly contrive it.
KATYAL: Contrive squared, Lawrence. Exactly.
O`DONNELL: And, Neal, just underline this for the audience. The fact that they are changing lawyers in your view is you are losing the A-team, the very best experienced litigators for exactly this kind of case involving government interests being decided by the Supreme Court, and they are moving down the ladder to people who have never handled matters like this. This is not an upgrade in legal experience handling this case now.
KATYAL: Right. It`s not like you are subbing in the B team. You are sending in the F team. I don`t mean any disrespect to those lawyers, it`s just that this is not what they do they do consumer protection. This is like one of more integrate questions about the census and constitutional and administrative law. It`s completely, completely outside of their zone. And I think the most important point here is, Lawrence is, if they are going to do this, they better don`t tell the American people why they are doing this. Why are these lawyers all withdrawing all of a sudden?
O`DPNNELL: Neal Katyal, thank you very much for joining us once again on one of these nights when we needed you Neal, thank you. When we come back, we will come back to the airports. The airports during the Revolutionary War. Donald Trump thinks that that`s how George Washington won the Revolutionary War by controlling the airports. He actually said it when he was standing behind that rain-covered glass, unable to even see the people drenched in the rain in front of him. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: Here is the perfect picture of the Trump presidential campaign. It shows how Donald Trump just can`t get through to a majority of voters. This is just blocked from ever reaching a majority of voters. At the same time it`s the perfect representation of the inside of Donald Trump`s mind. That`s where Donald Trump was standing and that`s what Donald Trump was seeing when he talked about the battle for the airports. Yes, the airports during the Revolutionary War.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: In June of 1775, the Continental Congress created a unified army out of the revolutionary forces encamped around Boston and New York and named after the great George Washington, commander in chief. The continental army suffered a bitter winter of valley forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown. Our army manned the airports it rammed the ramparts and it took over the airports and did everything it had to do and at Fort McHenry under the rockets` red glare, it had nothing but victory.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: They took over the airports. They did everything they had to do. Took over the airports. That is either the most dramatic demonstration yet of Trump ignorance or the most dramatic evidence yet of Trump neurological decline. Donald Trump has been posting video edits of his government funded July 4th event on Twitter to which Stuart Stevens, a veteran of the Bush and Romney Republican Presidential Campaigns tweeted this is a campaign add. If the FEC means anything, it should be all over this. Other politicians have tried the similar in less obvious ways like appearing in state lottery ads and then stopped.
In 2004 when we were making convention film for President Bush, we were expressly prohibited from using official White House-shot video and now Trump White House is not only using video, but paying for full production. This is probably $500,000 of your tax dollars.
Your tax dollars spent in what is as of now, a losing Presidential Campaign. We have the latest bad news polls for Donald Trump with Cornell Belcher and Jennifer Rubin after this break.
O`DONNELL: Another bad new poll for Donald Trump. A new poll shows Joe Biden with a 10-point lead over Donald Trump. A new "Washington Post" ABC poll shows that among registered voters, Joe Biden gets 53% to Donald Trump`s 43%. The rest of the top tier candidates are tied or in a statistical tie with Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders gets 49 to Donald Trump`s 48. Kamala Harris gets 48 to Donald Trump`s 46. Elizabeth Warren gets 48 to Donald Trump`s 48. Pete Buttigieg gets 47 to Donald Trump`s 47.
Joining our discussion now, Cornell Belcher a Democratic Pollster and MSNBC Political Analyst and Jennifer Rubin, an opinion writer at the "Washington Post" and MSNBC Contributor. And let me go to the pollster about the new poll. Cornell you got an incumbent President he is running 10 points behind the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. Another four or five candidates are running tied with the incumbent President.
CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Lawrence, I don`t put a lot in the horse race number right now. I look at what`s underneath the horse race. If you go back to 2012 at this time, Obama was not running away with the race and a horse race either. Underneath those numbers there was some interesting things where the President certainly doesn`t have his under waters approval around taxes which was interesting for Republican. He is under water heavily around health care. He is under water around a lot of poke book issues as well as immigration in foreign policy.
Overall he is being held down by people disapproving of his job. What I find interesting in that poll number is that the President hovers around 48 or 47%. He is a guy who won with less than a plurality of the electorate. To me is really not even about what Donald Trump`s number is going because he is going to get his 47 or 48 or 46%.
Can democrats get that 50 to 52% and hold that together the way Obama did in 2012, but what we failed to do in 2016? Can he in fact win again with less than a plurality of vote and can he win again and say Florida with the same percentage that Romney lost with in 2012.
O`DONNELL: Jennifer Rubin, if Donald Trump is reelected, he will be the only reelected President in history who never once tried to speak to voter who is didn`t already vote for him.
JENNIFER RUBIN, THE WASHINGTON POST OPINION WRITER: That`s true. It seems to be that he is bad at math in addition being bad at history as you pointed out earlier in this show. He is bad at math because when you don`t have a majority and you narrow and narrow your appeal, the number gets smaller and soon you don`t have enough people to go around no matter how screwy are electoral colleges. They are simply aren`t enough votes.
What was interesting about that poll is he is virtually tied with some of the candidates who 20, 30 percent of the Democratic Electorate doesn`t know enough about to offer an opinion. So these people this is sort of, I`ll vote for everybody with a D after their name kind of a poll in my book. My sense is that it matters very much for the Democrats, but as the Democrats will unite to get around anyone who is nominated and then I think you`ll going to see that number bounce up again to where sort of Biden is.
I don`t think the Democrats can sit back and relax. I don`t think they can get a poor candidate. I think they have to get someone who is as compelling as possible. Because Donald Trump certainly compels his voters, but do I think that if you had to pick the team right now, there is no question he`ll pick the G team.
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump`s approval and disapproval in this poll is pretty standard according to the most of the polling that we have seen on that. On his immigration, he is getting even worse disapproval ratings. He`s getting 57% disapproval and 47% approve. And let`s listen to Kamala Harris who may be that campaign has been reading this poll because there Kamala Harris is stepping straight into this issue taking on Trump directly on immigration. Let`s hear that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m absolutely in favor of border security. We have to - any nation has to be concerned with that. And we of course do. We can`t accept a false choice. Yes on border security yes on comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway towards citizenship. Yes on protecting our DACA young people and reinstating those DACA protections immediately including protecting the parents of the DACA young people. All of that can coexist in the America I think we believe in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Cornell, that`s what someone who is speaking to 60% of the voters on immigration sounds like.
BELCHER: All right, that is. But unfortunately Donald Trump started his campaign beating up immigration and he has been driving that fear of the other consistently. That`s the core and base of his support. Republicans have long thought that job one is to energize and gin up the base entangle chase persuadable voters. When you look at what Trump is doing, he is not growing or expanding the Republican Party.
The Republican Party is not as large as it was under George Bush. However again can he get another inside straight and can he win again with 47 or 48%? It`s not a national election it is a state by state election. How is he looking in Michigan? How he is looking in Wisconsin? Again I think he will probably get that same 46 or 47% in Wisconsin and Michigan again, but what can the Democrat pull together that Obama correlation again?
O`DONNELL: Jennifer there is one fascinating item in this poll about Trump being un-presidential. 65% said he is un-presidential only 28% say that he conducts himself properly. What that says is, a very large number of Trump voters think that Donald Trump is un-presidential.
RUBIN: That`s right and it also makes me wonder what is going on with this 28% of Americans. Come on guys. This is the Trump voter. They know he is a liar in many instances and they know he`s a jerk. He`s their jerk. He is their pluralist. And so if the other side is going to have somebody tough, we`re just going to have someone tougher. And that`s the attitude of these evangelical value voters mind you. But nevertheless it is.
I want to say one thing quickly about immigration. This is a critical issue for female voters, female white suburban and college educated women. They hate this issue. You have seen that gap open up in the Democrat`s favor tremendously since 2016 when 52% of white women voted for Donald Trump. You are seeing that number turned around and that gap grow. That`s because women in particular are so offended, so horrified by this, they will vote for practically anyone other than Donald Trump.
O`DONNEL: And you are identifying the white component of those women because that was the Trump -- so many of them went to the Trump side. Jennifer Rubin and Cornell Belcher, thank you both for joining us. I really appreciate it.
BELCHER; Thank you.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, we will be joined by one of the six reporters from "The New York Times" in El Paso Times who teamed up to deliver the most important reporting yet from inside the border patrol station in Clint, Texas.
O`DONNELL: Hungry, scared and sick. A new report from "The New York Times" in collaboration with the "El Paso Times." Detailed the conditions inside the border patrol station in Clint, Texas. The children cried constantly. One girl seemed likely enough to try to kill herself that the agents made her sleep on a cot in front of them so they could watch her as they were processing new arrivals.
One border patrol agent that worked at Clint since it opened told "The Times" that they were "following orders to take beds away from children to make more space in holding cells part of a day routine that he said had become heartbreaking.
The Times reports the agency`s leadership new from months that some children had no beds to sleep on and no way to clean themselves and sometimes went hungry. Its own agents had raised the alarm and found themselves having to accommodate even more new arrivals. Texas state Representatives Rep. Mary Gonzalez who toured the Clint border patrol station last week said she heard similar concerns.
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STATE REP. MARY GONZALES, (D) TEXAS: Here is what I did hear on the ground from my own agents in my district that they have been signaling up the ladder that they have been in a crisis for months, and that those conversations have not been heard higher up.
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O`DONNELL: Aaron Montes of the El Paso Times who co-wrote this important story will join us after this final break.
O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Judy Chu from California is one of the people who has been inside the border patrol station in Clint, Texas.
REP. JUDY CHU, (D) CALIFORNIA: We went to the warehouse where between 100 to 200 children had been housed and it`s like a gigantic steel shed but at that time had no air conditioning and the temperature went up to 100 degrees. But I`ll never forget being at the Cinder Block Cells where we did see the children locked behind it and seeing a tiny toddler just so miserable but once he saw us smiling and waving at him came and pressed his little face against the cell door, it was heartbreaking.
O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Aaron Montes, an Investigative Reporter with the "El Paso Times." The "El Paso Times" teamed up with "The New York Times" on this report. Aaron thank you very much for joining us tonight. What is your reaction to President Trump saying quote "The New York Times" story is a fabrication?
AARON MONTES, EL PASO TIMES INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, generally a journalist can`t share his opinion but in this reference, I`ll just say that we stand by our reporting, and I stand with "The New York Times" and "The El Paso Times" in this reporting on this story.
O`DONNELL: And Aaron one of the things that is so special about your reporting and I think you`ve covered some ground here we haven`t seen before as thoroughly and that is border patrol agents themselves as sources and former border patrol agents as sources and we get a wider frame on the picture of who they are as human beings. They -- many of them seem very, very concerned about what is happening to those kids.
MONTES: Sure. Plenty of border patrol agents are neighbors, many of them joined the agency here in El Paso and certainly many people in El Paso know a border patrol agent they know a CBP agent and this reporting, yes, you`ll see a little bit of take, if you will, of what a BP agent might tell their family member, what they might talk with their friends after work. But simply what we`re trying to do is trying to relay the truth, trying to relay the story of what`s going on in the Clint facility.
O`DONNELL: And the higher up commanders in the department are claiming that they didn`t know anything about this and the sources you have are all insisting we`ve been pushing this information up the line but in effect, they just haven`t cared about it.
MONTES: Well, it wouldn`t be for me to say whether or not they care about it, however, whenever I talked with the border patrol agent, whenever I talked with the CBP agent, their first thought about this whole issue and the border is that they need more resources, that they need help from Washington from their section leaders and certainly we`ve reported that many times. It shouldn`t come as a surprise at least for the leadership to know that their agents are asking for assistance in this particular case.
I spoke with a border patrol agent who asked not to be identified. He certainly said that some agents had asked for help.
O`DONNELL: Aaron Montes, thank you very much for joining us tonight and thank you for your extraordinary team reporting. I really appreciate it. That is tonight`s Last Word. The "11th hour" with Brian Williams starts now.