LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And I think we might have heard more from Amy Klobuchar tonight than in the debate because there are so many people up there in that stage.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Everybody is going to try to maximize their word count.
O`DONNELL: Yes, and then there`s all the interruptions and all of that.
Julian Castro is going to join us in this hour.
O`DONNELL: And he might just get more time here than he ends up getting at the debate, but it has been fascinating to see even with those constraints how candidates like Julian Castro and others have been able to have their moment, have been able to have that spot where they pop in the debates and the pressure is all the greater on this next round.
MADDOW: I mean, even with just the first debate is the only under our belt so far, we`ve already seen the impact that that debate can have on the fortunes of individual candidates. The stakes couldn`t be higher.
O`DONNELL: Two weeks away.
Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Well, presidential candidate Julian Castro will join us tonight, as I just said. This week, he has given the strongest and clearest statement ever made by a presidential candidate about police use of force. Now, I have been writing about this subject since the 1980s when I published a book called "Deadly Force", about police use of deadly force. And I can tell you that most presidential candidates in our history have never mentioned the subject, including most modern presidential candidates.
So, Julian Castro does not have much competition for the strongest statement ever made by a presidential candidate, but he has done that. He has delivered that. And he delivered it about the Eric Garner case in New York City.
He will be on the debate stage with the mayor of New York City who has ultimate jurisdiction over the Eric Garner case and what happens to the police officer in that case. And we will discuss that with Julian Castro at the end of this hour tonight. We`ll get his reaction to president Trump today pretending that he disagreed with his rally crowd last night chanting "send her back".
Julian Castro will be on that debate stage in two weeks with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and seven other presidential candidates. It will be a difficult stage for all of those candidates. Julian Castro performed strongly in the first round of debates, and will surely be in the thick of it the second time around. Julian Castro actually made his national television debut as a possible presidential candidate on this program when he announced that he was exploring a presidential run and we are glad to welcome him back tonight.
And we begin tonight with what the president did today. What the president did today is news, but it is not new. It is not new to see the president lying, provably lying as he did today. The president lied knowing everywhere except the Fox propaganda channel, we would be showing you the video that proves the president was lying to America today. That isn`t new. He has done that before.
What is new is the president finding fault with his own supporters, saying he was not happy with them, doesn`t agree with what they did at his rally last night when his 15-minute lying rant about four members of Congress took his audience right up to the edge where they started chanting, "send her back " about one of those members of Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Mr. President, if I may, when your supporters last night were chanting send her back, why wouldn`t you stop them? Why didn`t you ask them to stop saying that?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, number one, I think I did. I started speaking very quickly. It really was a loud -- I disagree with it, by the way. But it was quite a chant, and I felt a little bit badly about it.
But I will say this. I did start speaking very quickly. It started up rather fast as you probably know.
REPORTER: So, you`ll tell your supporters never to say that again?
TRUMP: Well, I would say that I was not happy with it. I disagree with it. But again, I didn`t say -- I didn`t say that. They did. But I disagree with it.
REPORTER: But they were echoing what you said in your first tweet, that they should go back.
TRUMP: Well, I don`t think if you examine it, I don`t think you will find that. But I disagree with it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Now, Donald Trump knows we are going to examine it and he knows what we are going to find. Why didn`t you ask them to stop saying that? Number one, I think I did.
No, he didn`t. And he knows that we are going to find he just lied. That he did not start speaking very quickly. He did not try to stop anything. He did the opposite.
He gave the chant the space it needed to fill the room.
Here`s the president last night lying about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar as he pushes the audience to the logical point of their chant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And obviously and importantly, Omar has a history of launching vicious anti-Semitic screeds.
CROWD: Send her back! Send her back! Send her back! Send her back! Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!
TRUMP: And she talked about --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: There it is, the proof of the lie.
And a few minutes later last night, the president said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Tonight, I have a suggestion for the hate-filled extremists who are constantly trying to tear our country down. They never have anything good to say. That`s why I say, hey, if they don`t like it, let them leave. Let them leave. Let them leave.
They are always telling us how to run it and how to do this, how to -- you know what, if they don`t love it, tell them to leave it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Last night, the Trump audience was just following the president`s lead, saying what they were sure he wanted to hear. They were simply echoing what they already heard from him.
But today, maybe enough Republicans must have privately found a way to get the president to pretend that he disagreed with what his crowd said last night. There has been much comparison today to the John McCain moments in the 2008 campaign and how much better presidential candidate McCain handled that moment than Donald Trump ever could or would.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t trust Obama. I have read about him and he`s not -- he`s not -- he`s a -- he`s an Arab. He is not -- no?
JOHN MCCAIN, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: No, ma`am. No ma`am. He`s a decent, family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: You just can`t watch that enough these days. John McCain says no ma`am and reaches in and takes that microphone away.
John McCain has gotten a lot of well-deserved credit for that moment over the years, but here`s the most important thing. At that time in American politics, any other response by a presidential nominee was unthinkable, absolutely unthinkable. What John McCain said then was what most members of the United States Senate would have said in those same circumstances at that time. John McCain`s decency level was not higher than average for United States senators during his time in the United States Senate.
But now that Mitch McConnell has driven decency out of the Republican side of the United States Senate, it`s hard to remember the way things were before the Trump-McConnell alliance. But we still have examples of politicians who know what to do when they don`t like what their supporters in a crowd are doing or chanting or saying. They don`t make the excuse that the audience misbehavior started too fast for them to handle and they don`t lie after the fact about what happened.
Here`s an example of that. Here`s one of the congressmen who President Trump has been attacking for days and attacked last night. Here`s one of those congresswomen stopping her own supporters in an audience when she didn`t like their reaction to someone who was disagreeing with her in a town hall about climate change hosted by Chris Hayes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we come back maybe to universal basic income a little bit later?
CROWD: No! No!
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): Hey, hey, hey! That`s unacceptable and that`s the difference between me and Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Decency still lives. Decency lives in the four congresswomen who Donald Trump attacked for his audience last night, and the congresswoman who Donald Trump supporters want to send back, actually went back to her congressional district today and here was the scene when Congresswoman Ilhan Omar arrived at the airport in Minneapolis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Welcome home, Ilhan! Welcome home, Ilhan! Welcome home, Ilhan! Welcome home, Ilhan! Welcome home, Ilhan! Welcome home, Ilhan! Welcome home, Ilhan! Welcome home, Ilhan!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight are Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress, and Renee Graham, associate editor and opinion columnist for "The Boston Globe".
And, Neera, I want to get your reaction today. I am mystified by two things. I do not understand why the president disagreed and decided he had to disagree with his rally audience today. I don`t understand why he was more orange today than he has been in a long time. That`s a separate point that I will leave to the mysteries of the Trump world.
But I really don`t get what happened here that made him step back and say I disagree with that rally audience.
NEERA TANDEN, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS PRESIDENT: I think we should take note of this turn of events. For the last several days, we heard a lot of pundits. A lot of Trump watchers say, you know, he has a secret plan. This is a perfect strategy. It`s going to help him win reelection.
And like so many things that the president does, it got out of control, you know? What happened last night, I think he recognized and I think he recognized only because Republicans who were up for election recognize that the imagery of this crowd of thousands of mostly white people screaming "send her back" to about a woman from Africa who was a refugee, a refugee who was a citizen of the United States and a congresswoman was too much for them to bear.
I don`t think they had a moral conscious. I think they had a political reckoning, which is the polls show that 60 percent of Americans think this is racist. Independents think the president -- majority thinks his behavior is racist and he was looking at a political problem and actually did an about-face.
So, the idea that he has master strategy should also go out the window this evening.
O`DONNELL: Renee Graham, your reaction to what we saw the president do and the story as it unfolded.
RENEE GRAHAM, OPINION COLUMNIST, THE BOSTON GLOBE: Well, I think what I found interesting about it, he made the comment and I tried to stop it. Unless he was trying to do it telepathically with his supporters, I certainly didn`t see it. He also doesn`t express disapproval with what`s going on. He stands there passively for about 15 minutes while this chant is continuing.
And it made me wonder, was this even spontaneous? You know, the chant has that same rhythm as lock her up. Are we to believe that the supporters spontaneously came up with this chant and he knew nothing about it?
He doesn`t seem at all surprised when it occurs. He said I disagree with it, but I think he is having it both ways. He is trying to seem like somehow he was innocent in all of this, and that this was just something that happened with his supporters, while not bothering to acknowledge how much his rhetoric was ramping them up.
O`DONNELL: You know, Renee, I wonder that same thing. It`s a perfectly composed chant that comes out of the Trump chant book, the Trump hymnal as it were, so perfectly balance to lock her up. I listened to this audio repeatedly and it doesn`t answer the question. You come away from it saying I don`t know. This could have been organized somehow. And it backfired on the Trump campaign and they decided to pull it down based on the polling.
And, Neera, as you say, we showed that polling. It was devastatingly bad for the president. They were much more confident about where they stood last night because what the president was doing there was rare for him. It was a teleprompter speech for the most part at a Trump rally. Most of what we heard him say was actually written by the Trump team before he walked into that audience.
TANDEN: Let`s be honest. The audience is basically saying what Trump has been saying. I mean, this was what`s so weird. I disagree with what they said, but I`m the one who said it day after day after day. So, does he subsequently disagree with himself?
I mean, obviously, this whole thing is ridiculous and absurd. The crowd is simply giving back to Trump what they think he is saying himself and has been saying, which is essentially that Ilhan Omar is not a citizen of the United States.
But I think the Trump campaign is trying to otherize people and the potential of hope here is that the American people recognize that calling everyone an immigrant -- everyone who is an illegal immigrant not American is itself un-American. And they have lost this policy and political debate and they have to retreat. We`ll see. We`ll see if he tweets the same stuff this weekend, but at least for the day, it seems like he recognized he has gone too far.
O`DONNELL: "The Charlotte Observer" editor board is, of course, saddened by this event and doubly saddened it happened in North Carolina. They wrote: Send her back, Donald Trump supporters chanted, without seeing the irony that it was they who were moving backwards. Send her back, they cried and it was both a reminder and a warning that here in North Carolina, in America, going back is not that far a journey.
And, Renee, I thought that was a powerful point they were making. One of the things we have been hearing people say a lot and I understand politicians saying it because they take a more optimistic view of things generally than the rest of us did, we are better than this. We are better than this chant.
And it turns up, no, we`re not. A minimum of 40 percent is not better than this. And that`s on display in that crowd.
GRAHAM: Well, you know, I think that`s often the problem, when we have an incident like this and the first thing is like this isn`t who we are. We`re better than this.
No, this is exactly who America is. This is exactly who we are. We are this because we have not dealt with the issues for centuries.
You know, it`s easiest to look at Donald Trump and say this started November of 2016. It didn`t. It started centuries before and because it`s unattended for so long, we now have a president who can stand in an arena in front of thousands of people and encourage his supporters to say "send her back" about a sitting congresswoman who is an American citizen.
So, there is always this feeling of, wow, we need to be better than this. Let`s do that. Donald Trump doesn`t become president if we had been better than this.
O`DONNELL: And, Neera, as the news of the day developed, I knew two things for sure would be in the first minutes of tonight`s program. One, the John McCain video. The other, the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez video that I remember watching during Chris Hayes` town hall. Those were her people filling up that hall on climate change.
And when one of the people she was debating disagreed in a way the audience didn`t like, they started to yell at him. You saw what she did. That point she made that that`s the difference between her and Trump is so true and it is the tip of the iceberg of the difference between her and Trump.
TANDEN: Absolutely. But the real difference is leadership. Leadership is telling your supporters and not just the people you disagree with, but your supporters that you have to actually hear from the other side. We haven`t heard that in years from Donald Trump.
O`DONNELL: Neera Tanden, Renee Graham, thank you very much for starting us off tonight. I really appreciate it.
And when we come back, more members of the House of Representatives now support impeachment as they showed in a symbolic procedural vote on the House floor yesterday. One of the Democrats who voted to support impeachment yesterday on the House floor will join us next.
And is individual one going to get away with committing the crimes that Michael Cohen is currently in prison for? The Justice Department has officially closed the investigation of the Michael Cohen case, which means it closed its investigation apparently of President Trump`s involvement in the Michael Cohen case.
But former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner says he doesn`t think it`s over. And that makes two of us.
And, later, presidential candidate Julian Castro will get tonight`s LAST WORD.
O`DONNELL: The House of Representatives conducted a symbolic vote yesterday on a hastily written impeachment resolution by Democratic Congressman Al Green in reaction to the president`s tweeted comments that the House of Representatives voted to condemn as racist. The impeachment resolution had nothing to do with the Mueller investigation and referred only to the president being unfit for office because of the language that he has used recently about members of Congress and immigrants and asylum seekers as is common with resolutions like that, which virtually every Democrat agrees with in part.
The Democratic leadership used the procedural device of a vote on tabling the motion, basically sat -- putting it aside so that technically the vote was not directly on the issue of impeachment. The vote was simply on whether to proceed with that resolution and send it to the Senate or to delay the resolution.
Ninety-five Democrats voted not to table the resolution which means we have a new count of house Democrats in favor of impeachment, 95 is significantly higher than the number of Democrats who prior to yesterday have taken a position in favor of impeachment.
And we are joined by one of those 95 Democrats, Democratic Congresswoman Robin Kelly of Illinois. She`s a member of the House Oversight Committee.
I think there was no surprise about what was going to happen on that motion to table yesterday, but I was struck by -- by the way, many people in favor of impeachment actually stood and voted against it saying -- because what it would have done is simply sent it straight to the United States Senate without any judiciary committee hearings on impeachment. But you can also see in that vote of 95, the frustration of where the House of Representatives is on impeachment now.
REP. ROBIN KELLY (D-IL): I think that`s exactly what it is. People are frustrated and they were disgusted by his tweets and his comments. I know for me, I felt like I had to vote the way I voted because I was so frustrated and just to send some kind of message to my constituents that this man needs to go.
And we also realize and even if we do impeach him, that Mitch McConnell is not going to do anything. That`s how frustrated my colleagues and I are at this point.
O`DONNELL: And today, continuing to show that you can legislate and investigate and condemn at the same time, the House passed a giant increase in the minimum wage in history -- $15 minimum wage, knowing that Mitch McConnell will never take it up on the Senate floor.
So, what is the difference between the House Democratic leadership`s approach to legislation like minimum wage, which they know Mitch McConnell won`t bring it to a vote in the Senate. And impeachment which they also know would have troubled to put it mildly in the Senate.
KELLY: You know, I think with impeachment, we are walking a fine line. We just got back the majority and the reason we got back the majority is because so many new colleagues flipped Republican seats. So, we have to be strategic in what we do and we have to make sure we are a tracking the people we lost. We have to make sure we are attracting independents and so many people despite the president, they don`t want us to go through the impeachment. You know, they want us to take care of business.
In fact, on my way over here, the person that drove me saying the regular everyday person doesn`t care about the things you guys keep talking about. They care if they have a job. They care about their health care, about their taxes.
So, you know, I think that`s part of it, too, striking a balance.
O`DONNELL: I want to listen to what Congresswoman Omar said about her safety given that the president is in effect publicly inviting threats to her. Let`s listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Are you scared for your safety right now?
REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): I am not. What I`m scared for is the safety for people who share my identities. When you have a president who clearly thinks someone like me should go back, the message that he`s sending to every single person who shares an identity with me, and he is telling them -- you guys are going to be all right -- he`s telling them that this is not their country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: She says she is not afraid for her safety. Are you afraid for her safety?
KELLY: Yes, I`m afraid for her safety and the others also, but particularly her safety. I`m sure she has some concerns about her safety also. I hope she does, that of her family also.
O`DONNELL: What is it like day to day now serving in the House where you don`t know who`s next. You don`t know who is the president going to target next.
I think you can be absolutely sure he`s going to be targeting Congresswoman Omar for a long time. He has been targeting.
But this is not something that prior to the Trump era, members of the House or Senate had to worry about.
KELLY: No, I mean, this is absolutely ridiculous. It`s embarrassing. It`s almost I would say unbelievable, but he does something new every week. He as my grandmother is saying, getting into the gutter.
And it`s scary about what happened in North Carolina yesterday. So many people shouting "send her back" and applauding him, saying he`s not a racist. That`s very scary that these are citizens of the United States.
O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Robin Kelly, thank you very much for joining us.
KELLY: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: I really appreciate you being here.
And when we come back, could individual one be prosecuted for the same crimes Michael Cohen is now in prison for? That`s next.
O`DONNELL: The William Barr Justice Department says it has closed the investigation of Individual-1, a federal judge in Manhattan ordered the release of some investigative documents in the case of Michael Cohen now that the Justice Department says it has closed the investigation.
Those documents detail the timing of phone calls between Michael Cohen and the President and Hope Hicks and others engaged in trying to cover up Donald Trump`s relationships with Stormy Daniels and Former Playboy Model Karen McDougal during the presidential campaign.
Chairman Nadler the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Hope Hicks today demanding that she return to the committee because her previous testimony "Appears to be inconsistent with evidence unsealed this morning by a Federal Judge in New York."
But the biggest mystery about the Justice Department closing the case is the fact that federal prosecutors in court said that Michael Cohen committed the crimes he is now in prison for "In coordination with and at the direction of individual-1" who is of course Donald Trump.
The charges that Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to say that, "He committed crimes with Donald Trump and at the direction of Donald Trump in order to help Donald Trump to win the Presidential election in a conspiracy against the United States of America."
If Attorney General William Barr shut down this investigation simply to protect the President, what prevents the next Attorney General appointed by the next President from reopening this investigation and charging Individual-1 with exactly the same crimes Michael Cohen is now in prison for?
For the answer to that, we turn to Glenn Kirschner, Former Federal Prosecutor and MSNBC Legal Analyst. And Glenn, so glad you could be here. I have been wondering this all day. If this is William Barr shutting down this investigation which is only one of the possibilities in front of us, let`s deal with this one first.
If that`s what it is, shutting it down to protect the President, if just over 18 months from now, we swear in a new President and get a new Attorney General, can it be reopened?
GLENN KIRSCHNER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It can be reopened Lawrence. It should be reopened. But here`s the thing. I don`t know that it needs to be reopened. And here`s why? As you set out in the run up to this segment, we already have more than enough evidence to prove that together with Michael Cohen, then candidate Trump broke the law Campaign Finance Violations.
Because we already had that evidence, it has been reinforced and corroborated by the release of the documents that we saw today. But because we already had that evidence, I think the only thing stopping the Southern District of New York from indicting Trump right now is that ill advised OLC memo that says you can`t indict a sitting President.
So if a Democrat wins in 2020 and a rational Attorney General, one who actually represents the people and not the President, is nominated and confirmed, I don`t know that he or she would have to reopen the investigation. All that person would have to do is tell the Southern District of New York prosecutors now with all of the evidence that you collected previously, I want to you prepare an indictment.
That`s what I expect will happen. I can`t speak for the Southern District of New York prosecutors, but I can speak as a prosecutor for 30 years. What I see publicly reported would lead me to draft up an indictment for President Trump, both a conspiracy charge for acting with Michael Cohen and a felony Campaign Finance Violation charge.
And on the day President Trump became private citizen Trump; I would walk into the Grand Jury present that indictment and ask them to return those charges against Former President Trump.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Adam Schiff, Chairman of the Intelligence Committee who is himself a former federal prosecutor said this today. The inescapable conclusion from all of the public materials available now is that there was ample evidence to charge Donald Trump with the same criminal election law violations for which Michael Cohen pled guilty and is now serving time in prison.
Glenn, let`s look at this in another frame. Let`s presume no William Barr interference nothing elicit going on and the decisions being made in the Southern District of New York. How would you explain the closing of the investigation without introducing a concept of some kind of protective element for the President?
KIRSCHNER: So here`s how I would explain that. When you read the judge`s order when he was saying I`ve taken the prosecutor`s position under advisement and I`m deciding that there no longer is a basis to continue to have these documents under seal because the public has a right to know.
All that means is the investigation itself has been run to ground. The prosecutors and the FBI agents working this particular investigation have done everything they need to do. Therefore there is no longer a risk of interfering with the investigation if the judge were to unseal the documents.
That, I suggest, Lawrence, is different from somebody concluding that the Southern District of New York doesn`t have enough to prosecute will not prosecute now, will not prosecute ever. I suspect the only thing stopping the Southern District of New York from prosecuting right now is the OLC Memo.
I don`t think there is any inconsistency between them announcing okay, judge, we don`t have an ongoing investigative reason to keep these matters under seal anymore. But that doesn`t mean we are not going to charge the President in the future.
I would say stay tuned and I would bet those Southern District of New York prosecutors, who as you said already announced in open court through Michael Cohen`s guilty plea that the President participated in these crimes. I`ll bet they are champing at the bit to move forward. They just can`t do it because that ill advice OLC Memo says they can`t.
O`DONNELL: Glenn, quickly, could this be the Southern District say in effect offering up their material to a possible impeachment investigation?
KIRSCHNER: That`s a great point. Because just as Bob Mueller said he wouldn`t come right out and say the President committed obstruction of justice offenses because that was up to the Congress. There is a parallel between that and the Southern District of New York saying okay, here are all the materials. Our investigation has concluded, but we can`t charge anybody. So Congress, why don`t you take it from here? Because you are the one empowered by the constitution to now hold this President accountable.
O"DONNELL: Glenn Kirschner, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I appreciate it.
KIRSCHNER: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, should the next Attorney General appointed by the next President reopen the case of Individual-1? I will ask Presidential Candidate Julian Castro, next.
O`DONNELL: Here are some of the Democratic Presidential Candidates responding to President Trump`s attacks this week on four Democratic Congress women.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I personally have been told that go back to where you came from. It is vile. It is ignorant. It is shallow. It is hateful. And it has to stop. It has to stop.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is the most racist outbreak of statements from a President that I have heard in my lifetime and it must be universally condemned.
JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It was despicable. To stand and attack those four women in the way he did, talking about them going back home the racist basic taunts.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He is trying to stir up as much hatred and dissension in this country as possible because it serves his political ends.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now is another Democratic Candidate for President, Julian Castro Former Secretary of Housing Urban Development under the Obama Administration and the Former Mayor of San Antonio, Texas.
Secretary Castro, welcome to THE LAST WORD and I want to get your reaction to the President`s tweeted attacks against the four Congress women and what he had to say about them for 15 minutes at his rally last night. Along with that the surprise today that he seems to at least want to publicly claim that he disagrees with his audience chanting "Send her back".
JULIAN CASTRO (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks for having me, Lawrence. His behavior and his comments are disgusting they are racist. We have not seen at least in the last 50 years, a politician who has made his career as successfully as Donald Trump by trying to divide Americans along racial, ethnic, and religious lines.
This is racial priming. He is the biggest identity politician that there is. The rally yesterday was one great example of that. These tropes that he is using about go back and the comments from the crowd about "Send her back", this is harkening an era that we thought that we were making good progress in our country getting past.
But he is bringing us right back. He`s moving this nation backward in a very tangible way and making life more difficult not only for the four Congress women, certainly for them, but also for school children that are out there that may be black or they may be Muslim or maybe Latino or Asian- American.
But in the classroom they go to, they are the other. Their classmates are more likely to see them as the other because of this President`s words and his actions. So he is hurting our country by doing it.
O`DONNELL: Is that something you have experienced anyone saying to you at any point in the course of your life, go back to where you came from?
CASTRO: Oh, well, absolutely in politics whether it`s e-mails or these days on Twitter. A few years ago, it was more old fashioned letters when I was a younger city councilman. Yeah, I think you would be hard pressed to find many candidates of color or politicians that are minorities that haven`t gotten some sort of comments along those lines. I have gotten plenty over the years.
But let me contrast that to an experience I had last year. I was at the Ursula Processing Center, McAllen with a group of activists protest the Family Separation Policy of this administration. As sad as what was happening in that center on the border was with children and their families, what gave me hope is that the activists that were there.
They were white they were black they were Latino, Asian-American and Native American they are from different parts of the country. So you could see that the values that people have of basic respect for humanity of compassion of understanding of love of reaching out a hand to people in need. Those are stronger than the division and the fear and the paranoia that this President is trying to stoke for his own political ends.
O`DONNELL: The Justice Department has apparently closed the investigation of the Michael Cohen case in which federal prosecutors said that Donald Trump ordered Michael Cohen directed him to commit those crimes and committed those crimes with him, the crimes which Michael Cohen is imprisoned tonight. If you`re elected President, would your Attorney General reopen that investigation and examine indicting Donald Trump?
CASTRO: If I`m elected President, this is what I would tell my Attorney General. You treat him like you would treat any other citizen. Can I believe that if he were treated like any other citizen, he absolutely would be prosecuted? He`d be behind bars.
O`DONNELL: Secretary Castro, we`re going to try to squeeze in a break. So we can get more time discussing this. I want to discuss your policing reform proposals when we get back. And what I heard you say this week on this matter, which is the strongest statement I have heard about police use of force by a Presidential Candidate ever, which as you know, doesn`t have a lot of competition. It`s not something a lot of Presidential Candidates talk about. We`re going to do that right after this break. Thank you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CASTRO: We saw on video that the officer engaged in excessive force against Eric Garner, that he used a choke maneuver that is not supposed to be used by NYPD. He did that for seven seconds it was clear what he was doing. Mr. Garner said 11 different times that he couldn`t breathe, and so this officer had plenty of warning. He should have understood what he was doing, that he was killing Eric Garner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Presidential Candidate Julian Castro is back with us. You are saying that in reaction to the Justice Department, the William Barr Justice Department deciding this week not to prosecute the officer involved in the killing of Eric Garner.
The next stage of this is up to the city of New York, it`s the question of should that officer be fired? Do you believe that that police officer should be fired? You`re going to be on the debate stage next time with the Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio. And is this something that you will bring up at that time?
CASTRO: I absolutely believe that the officer will be fired. I hope we had the opportunity to speak about the issue of police reform as you know, Lawrence, I`m the only candidate that`s put forward a police reform plan. This is one more powerful example of why we need it.
I would just ask your listeners there, how many of these videos do we have to see, video after video after video of especially young black men that are treated differently by police, that excessive force is used on before we understand that it`s -- even though we do have great police officers out there and I worked with some as Mayor of San Antonio, this is not a case of just a few bad apples.
The whole system is broken, and we need a plan to fix it. That`s what my police reform plan would do by increasing transparency and accountability, setting a national use of force standard that says that lethal force should only be used if an officer has exhausted all other reasonable alternatives under the circumstances.
It would also create a list of decertified offers, national lists so that they can`t get decertified because of misconduct in one police department and then just go down the road and get another job at a different police department. And it would demilitarize our police.
Because in the last 20 years especially through this program where military equipment is given to police departments across the country. We`ve really created more of a military, more aggressive kind of mind-set in our police. I think that we need to ensure that they have the tools to do their job effectively, but not create a militaristic police.
So those are some of the things that I think that we can do. And I hope that folks will go to my website, juliancastro.com and check out the whole plan.
O`DONNELL: What would you do about the Justice Department process here? They had the Eric Garner case for five years. They`ve been investigating it for 5 years before they decided the day before the statute of limitations ran to announce that we aren`t going to prosecute.
CASTRO: Well, look, I know they wrestled with it. They wrestled with it through the Obama Administration and into this administration. But one other things I mentioned later in the clip that you played was that the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department actually recommended charges be brought against Officer Pantaleo, and still charges were not brought and Attorney General Barr made a decision as I understand it, he was personally involved in making the decision not to go forward.
They should have taken the recommendation of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department and brought charges against this officer because he deserved it. You know, a lot of times this actually mirrors what happens with prosecutors at the local level in Counties across the country, is that they`re skittish. They are reluctant to bring these kinds of charges when they should.
O`DONNELL: I`m going to give you a little debate practice timing here. We have 45 seconds left for you to answer the question. What is the single most important thing you want to talk about in the next debate?
CASTRO: What I want to talk about are things that we can do at a-to-make sure that every family in our country is able to prosper. How we are going to make sure that you and your family have good health care when you needed, that your children and grandchildren can get a great education in our country so they can reach their American dream?
And how are we going to make sure that you can have a good opportunity, whether you live in a big city or small town? Those are the kinds of things that I`m focused on. And I look forward to the next debate in a couple of weeks. We just got the lineups today, so we`re going to look to do a good job on July 31st.
O`DONNELL: You`re going on the second night of the next round of debates.
CASTRO: That`s right.
O`DONNELL: We will be watching. Presidential Candidate Julian Castro, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.
CASTRO: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: That is tonight`s LAST WORD. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END