RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: And case after case, the companies allowed the drugs to reach the streets of communities large and small despite persistent red flags that those pills were being sold in apparent violation of federal law and diverted to the black market."
"The Post" has been reporting out the details of what they are learning from this database that they have pried loose from the government. They`ve also to their credit, released it now for every body to see and to search for your own community.
You just click on your state, click on your county and see the exact number of pills per person that have been unleashed on your community during this time period. It`s just a remarkable tool. We`ve got it for seven years. Hopefully, we`ll get it for every year.
A lot of powerful companies wanted to keep this secret, but now we all have access to it thanks to the work of these journalists who kept fighting and didn`t take no for an answer. Thanks to "The Washington Post" and West Virginia`s "Charleston Gazette Mail."
I don`t know if you love your local paper or you hate your local paper. If you haven`t read it in so long you don`t remember, but regardless, do it anyway. Subscribe to your local paper. Your country needs you to. That does it for us tonight. We will see you again on Monday. And now it`s time for the "LAST WORD." The great Joy Reid, sitting in for Lawrence tonight. Joy, I took your first 58 seconds. I`m very sorry.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: No, it was very much worth it. An I have to tell you, as I`m listening to you, Rachel, this is drug dealing, right? I mean, if this was like the 80`s and you transport this back, these would be drug dealers, you know.
And so we are treating it because it`s prescription drugs like it is something other than drug dealing, but that is what it is, right. I mean what you just described as massive national drug dealing rings essentially.
MADDOW: At a corporate scale and with corporate data management to match it. I mean, for Wal-Mart to know -- Wal-Mart to have the information that in a town of 4,000 people in Virginia, they shipped 3.4 million opioid pills into a town of 4,000 people over the course of one year.
MADDOW: They knew that. They had that information and they did it anyway and it got worse year after year after year.
MADDOW: All these companies knew it and they kept doing it. And we never had the data to prove it before and now we do.
REID: Yes. And now we do -- and also you said Wal-Mart, I mean, they`re preying on the poor. I mean, I lived in Florida for 14 years. Massive, massive epidemics that they kind of -- like they extrapolate, right? Like once people are addicted to one kind of pain medication, sometimes and they go and migrate to other kinds of narcotics. And so you`re creating this whole addictive nation.
It`s like a combination of the drug dealing epidemic of the 1980s, right, or just, you know, constant, constant drug dealing, along with the tobacco industry where they knew what they were doing and they knew it was killing people, but they kept doing it. It`s like those two scandals combined.
MADDOX: It is. It`s like, I mean -- and actually the legal effort around trying to hold the companies to account parallels the tobacco industry I think more than it parallels anything else. The difference here is that the pills that we`re talking about here as opposed to tobacco are all the more deadly and (inaudible) at a shorter timeframe.
REID: Yes. It`s insane.
MADDOX: It`s stunning and it`s amazing work of public service journalism for us to have this database now.
REID: Yes. Keep journalism going, it`s very important. Thank you very much.
MADDOX: Subscribe to your local paper. Thanks Joy.
REID: Absolutely. Absolutely. You are a godsend. Thank you so much, Rachel. I appreciate you. All right, coming up -- oh, no, not coming up, right now. I`m Joy Reid in Lawrence O`Donnell. And tonight, here`s the question. Is Hope Hicks in trouble?
The former White House communications director is being called back to the White House Judiciary Committee to clarify "inconsistencies" in her testimony about those illegal hush money payments made to silence women during the 2016 campaign who claim to have had sexual affairs with Donald Trump while he was married to his third and current wife. Now, we will break down the legal troubles that Hicks might be facing.
And it was lock her up in a white hood. That`s how North Carolina`s largest newspaper described the racist chants at the president`s rally this week. We will speak to the editor who wrote those scathing words.
But first, that didn`t last long. Having read the talking points that was scrambled into his hands by nervous Republicans for almost an entire day, Donald Trump pulled a full Charlottesville today, praising his supporters who chanted "send her back" to attack Congresswoman Ilhan Omar at his North Carolina campaign rally as "incredible patriots."
Yes, just 24 hours ago, Trump, per those nervous Republican talking points, claimed that he disapproved of the racist chant about Congresswoman Omar and he even tried to stop it, he says. He got some nice headlines that were claiming that he was disavowing the chant from some of the news media who indulged in the perennial false balance tick of pretending whatever the president says is true and it`s a given fact. But not everybody fell for the banana in the tailpipe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump, you said you were unhappy with the chant. However the chant was just repeating what you said in your tweet. Do you take that tweet back?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know what I`m unhappy with? You know what I`m unhappy with? I`m unhappy with the fact that a congresswoman can hate our country. Those people in North Carolina, that stadium was packed, it was a record crowd and I could have filled it 10 times, as you know.
Those are incredible people. Those are incredible patriots. But I`m unhappy when a congresswoman goes and said I`m going to be the president`s nightmare. She`s going to be the president`s nightmare. She is lucky to be where she is. Let me tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And Donald Trump didn`t even stop doing the underlying thing and just kept on fanning the flame that to be clear, put her in danger by continuing to attack Congresswoman Omar. Trump has provided zero evidence that Congresswoman Omar ever said that she hates the United States.
And earlier this week, she in fact said "I probably love this country more than anyone that is naturally born." But for Trump supporters, who cares what the actual facts are since whatever he says or tweets is the news.
Hours later, Trump broadened his attacks to include all four members of the squad, Omar as well as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You can`t speak about our country the way those four congressmen. They said garbage. They say things about Israel that is so bad I`m not even going to repeat them right now. They can`t get away with that act. Not the right thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: They can`t get away with it. Trump`s statement as a "Washington Post" points out, is at odds with the Constitution, which grants every American the right of free speech -- but details.
But continued attacks on the support for people who shouted a racist chant is becoming standard Trump playbook where the Republican Party now faces the daunting possibility of having to own as the theme of the 2020 campaign that kind of rhetoric.
Meanwhile, real leaders are speaking up. And they are not offering the mealy mouthed both sides rhetoric that avoids confronting Donald Trump like we`ve heard from Mitch McConnell and other wobbly-kneed Republicans.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama issued a rare rebuke on twitter saying, "What truly makes our country great is its diversity. I have seen that beauty in so many ways over the years. Whether we are born here or seek refuge here, there is a place for us all. We must remember it`s not my America or your America, it`s our America."
And the condemnation, the disgust aimed at the president of the United States is not just global, I mean, isn`t just local. It`s global. Here`s Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA: I think the comments made were hurtful, wrong and completely unacceptable. And I want everyone in Canada to know that those comments are completely unacceptable and should not be allowed or encouraged in Canada.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: German Chancellor Angela Merkel had a stronger criticism of the president`s racist attacks on four American congress women.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): Do you personally feel solidarity with the women who were attacked?
ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY: Yes. Yes. I distance myself firmly from this and feel solidarity with the three women who were attacked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: The world is watching. And today, it is the United States of America, the former beacon of the free world that is the subject of global revulsion and disgust because of the raw ugly racism and ethno-nationalism of our president.
As for the congresswomen at the center of Donald Trump`s racist attacks, they are showing the strength and the resilience that actually is what this country is supposed to be about and refusing to back down in the face of Trump`s ugliness.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): It`s taken us 240 years for us to have this unique composite of a Congress in this moment, and we will not go back.
We will not go back.
We will not go back to the days of injustice. We will not roll back our rights. We will not deny liberty to our trans brothers and sisters. We will not deny our own humanity at the border. We will not go back. We will go forward.
But we sure as hell will not stand still.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Leading off our discussion are Daniella Gibbs Leger, former special assistant to President Obama and she`s the executive vice president of communications and strategy for the Center for American Progress.
And Tara Dowdell, Democratic strategist and the president of the Tara Dowdell Group, and she was a contestant on the third season of "The Apprentice." I`m going to start with you Tara her at the table. I mean, you have been very open even during the campaign of saying Donald Trump is a racist.
TARA DOWDELL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Right.
REID: OK, full stop. We know that from his history. But where he is going now is separate from racism. It`s white nationalism, right. And that is defined as wanting to have a country that is for white people, right. And that kind of rhetoric, that`s not something I think even a Republican Party was prepared for, but did it surprise you that he is now openly going in that direction?
DOWDELL: It doesn`t surprise me at all because he has been escalating, he`s been testing the waters all along. He saw that he got away with saying Mexicans are rapists. He saw that he got away with attacking Congresswoman Maxine Waters saying she was low I.Q.
His consistent attacks against women of color, women generally, but in particular, women of color. We saw that with April Ryan. Remember that whole episode?
DOWDELL: We saw that with Abby Philipps. We saw that with a number of a black female journalist. And so I think that he`s tested the waters. He`s saying that his base has not only responded well, but responding extremely well and are parroting back those things that he is saying.
So because he has escalated his behavior, it was no surprise to me that he will continue to do it until he stopped.
DOWDELL: That`s what -- to me that is what this is indicative of. Until someone stops Donald Trump, until he is held accountable, he`s saying that he`s not going to be held accountable by his own party.
DOWDELL: He`s saying that the base is going to reward it and he`s rewarding it. And he`s saying that the Democratic Party hasn`t really done much to hold him accountable. So why would he stop?
REID: Yes. And Danielle, you worked for one of Donald Trump`s chief triggers, right, President Obama. And when Donald Trump led the birthierism crusade, that crusade produced a lot of threats to President Obama, who already had the most threats of any president before him because he was black and a black man, you know, serving as the president of the United States.
Well now what we`ve seen is that Democrats, fellow Democrats are afraid -- they are actually afraid for the lives of these women particularly Ilhan Omar.
"Politico" is reporting that senior Democrats are now calling for authorities to evaluate security for Ilhan Omar as well as the three others lawmakers who Trump called out by name at his Wednesday night rally in North Carolina, warning that Trump has escalated the risks of threats or even acts of violence toward the four minority freshmen.
Let me quickly play Amy Klobuchar who is from -- is Representative Omar`s state. She is a senator from that state and here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): One, is what he is saying to the people of this country about the nature of immigrants. Well, we all come from immigrants. The second is that he is actually putting her in a threat situation. He`s putting her at risk.
If I were her, I would, you know, immediately call the FBI and say, what do I need for protection? Do you think I need more protection? Are there threats? It`s hard to believe she is not going to get threats` coming out of a rally like that that was on every T.V. station in our country this morning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: I mean, Danielle, have you ever thought that you would see the president of the United States become a physical threat to a member of Congress let alone any American citizen?
DANIELLA GIBBS LEGER, EXECUTIVE V.P. OF COMMUNICATIOSN, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: You know, honestly, I never thought I would see the day. You know, I have a podcast that I co-host for CAP and I was ranting this week about how, you know, I used to hear the "go back to Africa" and things like that when I was a kid growing up and I never thought that I would hear those words from the president of the United States.
And it is clear that he does not care that his words are potentially putting these women`s lives in danger. Congresswoman Omar was walking down the street the other day and I was legitimately worried and concerned about her safety because it didn`t appear that she had any security around her.
And you know, I just want to echo something that Tara said, like the reason why Donald Trump is doing this is because he can, because he`s getting away with it, because nobody is checking him, because his party, they have decided that they are OK with white nationalism. They are OK with racism because it will allow them to what, get their tax cuts passed. It will allow them to stack the courts with right wing judges.
They don`t care about the safety of their fellow members of Congress. They don`t care about the decorum of the president of the United States. They just care about protecting the wealthy few. And I don`t know if you can hear it in my voice, but it really is upsetting and irritating.
REID: Yes. I mean, I`ve read (ph) a little bit of St. Louis Post-Dispatch (inaudible), two questions for you, Tara. So, the St. Louis Pos-Dispatch editorial board called out Republicans who haven`t condemned Trump`s and given the bright red line that Trump is so enthusiastically crossed.
This week, the question of whether to continue supporting him, either assertively or through inappropriate silence, is no longer merely an indicator of party loyalty or party priorities. It has become a test of courage, character, and fundamental decency. All of these elected officials have failed it.
Two questions on Republicans. They could have gotten tax cuts for the rich, you know, walked (ph) up the rivers with pollution and let the polluters pollute. All those policies that they want, the judges, same judges would have been Jeb Bush`s judges, Marco Rubio`s judges. They could have gotten the same policies.
So what does it say about the party that they would rather have this guy who specifically using an ethno-nationalist a set of tropes in order to remain in power?
DOWDELL: It says what -- I said this yesterday. I was asked by one of your colleagues on "Hardball." I was asked if Donald Trump was going to stand behind what he disavowed, right. And I said he was not going to stand behind this disavow. I said he was going to back track.
And I was right. I said just like he did in Charlottesville like you said at the top of the show. That`s what he was going to do. Donald Trump saw and I will say this again and I`m going to keep saying it. He saw the writing on the wall with the Republican Party. He saw that reaction that the Republican Party had to President Obama`s presidency. People literally lost their minds over this black man becoming president.
REID: So did he.
DOWDELL: And he did too, but I wanted to point something out. When President Obama was first elected, Donald Trump praised him at the very beginning. But when he saw how the party responded to President Obama, people calling him all kinds of racist names who were party officials across this country --
DOWDELL: -- not just any old people. These were party officials who were calling Michelle Obama a monkey, and ape in heels, all of that stuff. He saw that and he knew the Republican Party, they wanted to do their racism through dog whistles. They wanted to do it through a whisper where they could have plausible deniability if someone called them out.
Trump saw that the base wanted it out front.
DOWDELL: He saw that and so he rode that wave through birtherism and has continued to ride that wave, but he did not incite the party or bring the party along. The party was already there.
REID: They were already in. Very quick before I go back to Danielle? Does he care if one of these women gets hurt, do you think? You know him.
DOWDELL: I don`t think he cares because the only thing Donald Trump cares about is himself.
REID: Is himself.
DOWDELL: He would talk about having people riot if he wasn`t -- if he didn`t win the election.
REID: Yes. I mean, this was a guy who also wanted to have a black versus white apprentice to have literally a race fight on "The Apprentice." Daniella, before the Democrats then, you know, the response so far I think has been smart. It`s been unity. It`s been sticking together saying it doesn`t matter what your differences are, what these women`s policies.
The policies don`t matter. Trump did not attack the policy. He attacked them and their bodies. He attacked them because they are brown and black, period, that`s it. But is there some other action that Democrats in your view should be taking that is stronger than condemnation?
LEGER: Yes. You know, I think that, you know -- but first of all I just want to say I am glad at least that they all stood together and they did pass that resolution out of the House. But I think they need to keep talking about this, but they also need to tie it to the fact that this president is an ineffective, awful president.
That he made a bunch of promises to people that he has broken and they need to tie it all together because I think the American people understand that he`s a racist. They understand the words that they are saying.
But I think they also need to understand that they are tied to racism with his policies and what he`s not doing for the American people. And they need to also highlight the fact that while he`s doing all of this, he`s trying to take away their health care.
While they`re doing all of this, they`re being inhumane treatment is happening at the border. So they need to tie it all together and make people understand that like Donald Trump is a vortex of awful and this is why he needs to be voted out of office.
REID: Yes. It`s the shiny keys of racism while he is essentially picking the American`s pocket and giving it all to the rich right in front of his supporter`s faces in shiny keys of racism. It`s pretty incredible. Daniella Gibbs Leger and Tara Dowdell, thank you both very much.
And coming up, the newspaper in the largest city of North Carolina has issued a stinging rebuke of Donald Trump and his party after the president`s racist rally in the state. The author of those editorials joins me next.
And today was the last day on the job for Labor Secretary Alex Acosta. But his departure doesn`t mean the Jeffrey Epstein story or any of the other legal perils encircling this president will go away any time soon.
And later, fears that Donald Trump`s ugly attacks are inspiring people who would like to see America become a white nation.
REID: Thirteen seconds, that`s the amount of time Donald Trump paused during his speech at a rally in Greenville, North Carolina to take in and to bask in his supporters` racist chant -- "Send her back. Send her back. Send her back." Thirteen seconds.
While Trump tried temporarily to clean it up later by claiming that he didn`t support the chant, he even tried to stop it by jumping in with more of his speech. Some members of the media called BS and pointed to that 13 seconds of smug silence during the racist chant.
The day after that North Carolina rally that shocked so many people in this country, including people who thought they could no longer be shocked by Donald Trump and including people living in North Carolina, a state that Trump won with 50 percent of the vote and it is represented by two Republican senators.
The editorial board of "The Charlotte Observer" in North Carolina published an editorial entitled, "Send her back: A dark reminder of who we are." Here`s a piece of the editorial, "The chant rose quickly from a handful of voices to a chorus of bigotry. It was a chilling moment. It was lock her up in a white hood. It was despicable. It was both a reminder and a warning that here in North Carolina, in America, going back is not that far of a journey.
"The Charlotte Observer`s" editorial board also called on Republicans to condemn Donald Trump`s racist comments in an editorial entitled, "Are you OK with a racist president, Republicans?" The editorial says, "Our leaders need to stand up and say something. The Republican Party is firmly Donald Trump`s party now. It`s the party where insults and other ugliness are just being rough around the edges instead of standing up for who we should be, they`re bowing to the worst of who we are."
And joining us now is Peter St. Onge, an associate editor on the "Charlotte Observer`s" editorial board. And Peter, thank you so much for being here. So, the pieces that were written in the paper today, very scathing. I wonder, first of all, have you gotten a lot of response to them already?
PETER ST. ONGE, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: We have. You know, the response probably mirrors what you are hearing and what people in Washington are hearing. Democrats and moderates were outraged at the president`s tweet and Republicans for the most part either jumped to his defense or didn`t want to talk about it.
I think the Greenville thing was a little bit different. I think more people were kind of troubled by it including Republicans, but I think that they were able to point to the crowd and say that this doesn`t reflect our values and ignore the fact that the president pretty much said the same thing three days before.
REID: Yes. I mean, Tom Tillis was one of the defenders of Donald Trump who went with him to see the men in the cages. He was sort of in the back where he is walking along with Donald Trump and two others. There you can see him. He is sort of in the back pack there, seeing these men who were in the cages with the vice president. What do you make of his response because what Republicans have been trying to do is say, well the crowd might have been not great, but the president, wonderful.
ST. ONGE: Well, you know, with Republicans, I think that we know what Donald Trump is and we know what he always has been, and it may ratchet up a little bit as 2020 approaches. But the Donald Trump that we`ve seen is the Donald Trump that we`re going to get and always have gotten.
The difference that we see -- spoke about it in the editorial, is the shift in Republicans and how they speak to that decency question, you know, that back in 2016, they were willing to raise their hand and say this doesn`t represent our party and doesn`t represent our country.
And this week, we have seen exactly how much of a shift we`ve had. You know, Tom Tillis pretty much decided that he was going to pretend that he hadn`t read twitter and didn`t even know that Donald Trump had a tweet. It just shows that this party has fully become Donald Trump`s party now.
REID: Yes. And he was actually there at the rally. We should make that point. Stewart Stevens wrote this for the "Washington Post." "Southerners like me know the game Trump is playing. We have seen it sadly time and again. Trump is the rightful heir to Lester Maddox`s ax handles and George Wallace standing in the school house door. This open racism will never be forgotten. Trump long ago made his choices. The question for Republicans is simple. What choice will you make?"
You know, I had a guy that I interviewed for my book say to me that if Donald Trump had a southern accent, every thing that he`s doing will be immediately have been (inaudible) as racism long ago. He wouldn`t have gotten this far politically. What do you make of the fact that Donald Trump is the person who now in 20 years, will be the Lester Maddox potentially of our time?
ST. ONGE: You know, it`s interesting, when we were writing about the 2016 election and we said, and a lot of other people said too, that this is a decision about where our country was going go and what we wanted our country to be. And I don`t know that we knew exactly how true that was.
And we see that so often now, and in Greenville we saw so much and so starkly that I think that as we head to 2020, you know, people are going to have eyes wide open. They`re going to know what choice they are making even more so than they did in 2016.
REID: Yes. No one`s going to be able to pretend it was economic anxiety. If you vote for him again, you know exactly what you`re doing and we will know what you are doing as well. Here`s Lindsey Graham, what he said. He says in a tweet today and this was rich.
Lindsey Graham says, "Something I have learned, if you are a Republican nominee for president or president, you will be accused of being a racist. John Lewis compared John McCain`s campaign to being like that of George Wallace. It comes with the territory unfortunately." Well, here`s one person who did what Lindsey Graham said in terms of calling a guy running for president named Donald Trump a racist. Here he is right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): He`s a race baiting xenophobic, religious bigot. He doesn`t represent my party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: What do you make of the fact that Republicans seem to know that Donald Trump was racist three years ago, suddenly I don`t remember that and now are accusing the people who are horrified by Donald Trump of being unfair to him?
ST. ONGE: I think this is the shift that we`re seeing and not only with Lindsey Graham but, you know, Mr. Tillis as well. Back a couple of years ago, he was at least willing to waiver a bit on Donald Trump. He was willing to stand up to him before backed down.
And now we see that he is not really even willing to engage on the question. I think we are seeing that throughout the party, that the Republicans are seeing that it`s just not worth it for them, in their minds, to take the heat when it comes to even talking about the president and decency.
REID: Yes. I do have to say that Mayor P.J. Connelly, who is the mayor of Greenville, North Carolina, did issue a pretty strong statement on the racist chants so, kudos to him. Some people are trying to speak up. Peter St. Onge, thank you very much for your time. Really appreciate it.
ST. ONGE: Thank you.
REID: Thank you. And coming up, if you think the president caused a lot of political chaos this week, what do you think will happen on Wednesday when Americans hear from Special Counsel Robert Mueller? That`s next.
REID: On Wednesday Americans will finally get to hear Former Special Counsel, Robert Mueller. The Democrats are working to make sure that his day of testimony leaves an impression on people who have not read his report.
A staffer on the Judiciary Committee told NBC News the Democrats are not expecting dramatic new revelations from Mueller`s testimony. But what`s important is there is truly shocking evidence of criminal misconduct by the President - not once, but again and again and again that would result in any other American being criminal charged in a multiple count indictment.
Mueller highly anticipated hearing comes as a former Trump aide could face legal jeopardy. Yesterday that House Judiciary Committee demanded that Hope Hicks return to clarify what it called inconsistencies in her June testimony about her knowledge of illegal hush money payments to silence women alleging affairs with Trump in the final weeks of the 2016 election.
Unsealed documents in the Michael Cohen case revealed repeated contact between Hope Hicks, Michael Cohen, Donald Trump, and others during the time these payments were being arranged. Joining us now is Joyce Vance Former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama and MSNBC Legal Analyst and Matt Miller Former Spokesman for Attorney General Eric Holder and an MSNBC Contributor.
Joyce I have to come to you first, these are the five things that Democrats want to focus on in their probe of Mr. Mueller. Donald Trump repeatedly directing Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller him telling Don McGahn to deny that he had been ordered to fire Mueller asking Corey Lewandowski to direct Jeff Sessions to limit the investigation telling Lewandowski to let sessions know that he is fired if he doesn`t meet with Lewandowski and potential witness tampering with Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen. Is that that the right place for them to go to focus on the obstruction?
JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA: It is absolutely the right place. Mueller identified 10 potential incidents of obstruction in Volume II over the report. These five pieces actually are three of those issues that Mueller looked into and they are the strongest arguments for obstruction. I think that they are all meritorious for prosecution.
REID: You know it is interesting Matt, that you have a President here who but for being President would probably have been prosecuted for obstruction on these 10 different counts. And who now has his former lawyer sitting in prison for committing a crime that we now know he actively participated in orchestrating.
Are we now at the point where the Justice Department - well, this Justice Department won`t do it but maybe a future Congress should look at the memo that says that a President essentially is above the law?
MATT MILLER, FORMER SPOKESMAN FOR A.G. ERIC HOLDER: I think the Congress ought to look at it and I would hope it the future Justice Department ought to look at it. You have seen some of the Democratic Presidential Candidates say that they would expect their Attorney General to look at that OLC opinion and potentially issue a new one.
I think it is one thing to have an OLC opinion like that that basically puts the President above criminal law, but when you pair that with a Justice Department that seems to be unwilling to tell Congress what it finds at the end of investigations, then you have this system where the President is ultimately above the law.
Where he cannot be investigated and charged by the Justice Department, but where the Southern District of New York can end an investigation into his conduct as they did earlier this week. And the Justice Department won`t say how that ended they won`t say whether the Attorney General was involved in the decision and it won`t answer questions to Congress.
So I think they`re going to have to look at the next Attorney General is going to have to look at either one, withdrawing that memo putting something stronger - putting something different in place. Or two, making it very clear that if DOJ is going to have this no indictment policy, they are going to cooperate 100 percent with Congress at the end of any criminal investigations they conduct into a sitting President.
REID: And what about - I mean his staff. Hope Hicks may have lied to Congress. What even might happen to her because William Barr is running the Justice Department which is essentially Donald Trump`s defense agency?
VANCE: Right, that`s true and there is also the prospect that she could be pardoned by the President if she were charged now. So I think Representative Nadler is running very smart strategy here by re-subpoenaing her or at least asking her to come back and testify. She will either have to double down and repeat the lies in which case she could be prosecuted she could be indicted as late as July of 2024 that`s how long -
REID: That`s long.
VANCE: --it would be before the statue run or maybe there is some chance that looking at the many years of life she has ahead of her and this President`s diminishing term in office, maybe she`ll decide it`s time to tell the truth.
REID: What would you want to ask Mueller?
VANCE: I think the most important thing for the Democrats is to make sure that they let Mueller tell the story of his conclusions. The information in the report is so damaging, it got lost in the middle of Barr`s early summaries. Now is the time for the American people to hear it fresh.
REID: What do you think of - for the Democrats to consider a successful hearing with Mueller should they be trying to get out of him in your view now?
MILLER: So I think they ought to try to elicit an answer to the big question everyone is have which is if Donald Trump were not the sitting President of the United States, would he be under criminal indictment today? He`s not going to directly answer that question, so you have to have some very smart creating ways of doing that.
One way is to ask about certain conducts and whether that conduct merits criminal behavior for example, is asking a witness to create a false document contradicting his sworn testimony. Is that criminal behavior? The answer is yes. And then asking if the President`s conduct fits that pattern? Did the President asked a witness to create a false document? The answer to that question is yes.
And then I think the second thing I would want to do is to ask him some very specific questions about statements made by the Attorney General and by the President. Did your report confirm that there was no collusion as the Attorney General said? Did your report find no obstruction of justice as the President has said?
Elicit yes and no answers I think they are going - the questions are going to be crisp and ought to be not meandering. You`re going to ask yes no questions that take him kind of on a walk to answer things to give clear answers to questions that he answered very obliquely in the report.
REID: Yes, indeed all right. Stay with us because before Robert Mueller testifies on Wednesday, tune in Sunday night as MSNBC looks at the Mueller report`s biggest revolutions in the Mueller report. What you need to know with Ari Melber Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. eastern. Up next how the Jeffrey Epstein case could continue to haunt Donald Trump?
REID: Today was Alex Acosta`s last day as Donald Trump`s Labor Secretary. He resigned last week amid controversy over the sweetheart deal that he brokered for convicted sexual predator and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein a decade ago.
It was a deal negotiated in secret without the victim`s knowledge and it allowed Epstein to serve just 13 months in prison, a sentence during which he was able to leave prison for hours nearly every day to be driven to an office "To work".
Well now the deal is under new scrutiny. Earlier this week we learned that at least one woman has come forward to say that she was sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein, wait for it, while he was on his day out of prison work release. So he literally left prison with government permission and used his time outside to keep committing the crime he went to prison for.
Today the "Miami Herald" is reporting that the Palm Beach County Sheriff`s Office has opened an internal affairs investigation into whether it properly handled Epstein`s case. Joyce Vance and Matt Miller are back with us. This deal that allowed a sexual predator to go to work every day and still somehow get access to children, I assume that`s unusual.
VANCE: This is really a shocking deal that Epstein had. I mean this is just unprecedented to be in prison on these kinds of changes to be in jail in this case and to have this ability to go out and access more minors? Someone who was asleep at the switch and I`m not particularly impressed at least by these early reports that indicate that the Sheriff who is in place during Epstein`s very generous conditions of release that he will be conducting this investigation apparently into his own conduct.
REID: It`s strange. Matt Miller, let me read a little bit of the Epstein`s accusers lawyers Brad Edwards on what Epstein had women - how he had women over to the office during his work release. Remember he is in prison; he is out on work release. According to Mr. Edwards, he was in the office most of the day and what I can tell you is he had visitors, female visitors. I don`t know that any of them were underage age and the female visitors were there not for business. It was sexual in nature. Which is not just conduct that I think should be described as that of a model citizen when you are in jail.
I mean the idea that somebody could literally be on a work release from prison presumably being guarded while he is in a public space at his office working and still be able to have access to women or maybe girls your thoughts?
MILLER: It`s absolutely appalling and the thing that appalls me the most in the aftermath of all of these coming out is the way that everyone involved in the deal that Jeffrey Epstein got his pointed the finger each other. And no one is willing to take responsibility.
You`re seeing the state prosecutor or the local prosecutor point fingers at the U.S. Attorney. The U.S. Attorney that point fingers back at the local prosecutor and - then U.S. Attorney Acosta is also pointed fingers at the local Sheriff for the conditions under which Epstein was held.
And I think the actual truth is every person responsible or every person who should have been responsible for holding Jeffrey Epstein accountable failed. They failed the victims in this case they failed the interest of society.
And there is not one of them that ought to be conditioning to hold their positions of public trust, especially when they as the local Sheriff and the local prosecutors still are - are still charged with policing and investigating and prosecuting these kinds of cases going forward.
REID: Yes, I want to read a little piece from the Palm Beach post of you Joyce. And this is what Palm Beach post wrote. The Palm Beach post revealed that daily probation laws show Epstein was once accused of violating the terms of his house arrest when police found him wandering along a boulevard and sweating profusely one afternoon.
Epstein claimed he was taking a secured route to work. Another time when probation officers knocked on the door of Epstein`s Palm Beach Mansion no one answered and the officers are Epstein`s car drove off. When the officer returned later Epstein appeared at the door since the officer said he couldn`t confirm Epstein was driving the car. He concluded no violation occurred.
It is the reason - is it potentially true that the reason that this investigation is in the Public Corruption Unit of SDNY because there may have been corruption involved in the way Epstein was allowed to be essentially free to continue to commit crimes while on probation or could it be the deal itself?
VANCE: I think it`s difficult to know why it`s in the Public Corruption Unit. For one thing the U.S. Attorney said not to read anything into it, but being suspiciously minded I`m willing to read a lot into it. It`s more likely that it involves people that were involved with Epstein and his conduct as opposed to how these conditions of punishment played out.
But frankly, the more we learn, the more suspicious it looks and every aspect of this needs to be reinvestigate and reassessed and as Matt says the people who were involved need to be held accountable.
REID: Yes, indeed and should we trust William Barr to be in charge of this?
VANCE: I think it`s difficult to do that because we have seen him protect this President over and over again. We have to be concerned if that investigation were to come close to the President or to his interests that Barr might intervene.
REID: Yes, and the fact that he has no shame doesn`t help. Joyce Vance and Matt Miller thank you guys very much. Coming up, the fear that Donald Trump`s racist rhetoric intended to insight white voters could excite white nationalists. That`s next.
REID: Okay, what you saw there and didn`t necessarily hear was Illinois a Democratic Congresswoman Robin Kelly talking about the fear that she has for the safety of her house colleague Ilhan Omar in the wake of Donald Trump`s racist attacks on Omar and three other freshman Congress women over the past week.
Congresswoman Omar said this week that her concerns are for the safety for everyday people around the country who look and pray like her. But Congresswoman Kelly is not alone in her concerns for the safety of her colleagues.
Yesterday, House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson sent a letter to the Sergeant at Arms calling for an emergency meeting of the U.S. Capitol Police Board to discuss potential threats to members of Congress. Congressman Al Green who earlier this week led the effort to impeach Donald Trump over his racist statements has introduced a measure to provide more security for house members.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. AL GREEN (D-TX): These are dangerous times. Every member of this house needs additional security. I`m going to file a bill asking for more security for the members of this house. I want to thwart the efforts of those who might want to harm members of this house.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: So what does it mean when members of one branch of government fear for their safety and the safety of their colleagues because of the actions taken by the head of another branch of government? I`ll ask Security Expert Jim Cavanaugh about that next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): The President put millions of Americans in danger last night. His rhetoric is endangering lots of people. This is not just about threats to individual member of Congress but it is about creating a volatile environment in this country through violent rhetoric that puts anyone like Ilhan anyone who believes in the rights of all people in danger. And I think that he has a responsibility for that environment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Joining us now is Jim Cavanaugh, an MSNBC Law Enforcement Analyst and Retired ATF Special Agent In Charge. Jim, a couple of things here a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center shows there has been a surge in white nationalists were flocking to a messaging app called Telegram.
"Neo-Nazi`s, white nationalists and antigovernment extremists are publishing volumes of propaganda advocating terrorism and mass shootings on Telegram, a Hatewatch review of hundreds of channels in app shows".
I want to let you listen to the Capitol Police Chief regarding the number of threats that are happening to Congress. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About two years ago, we received a briefing that the threats against the members of Congress were at a historic high. Where are we today as far as the threats against members of Congress? Has it subsided some or is it still growing?
STEVEN SUND, UNITED STATES CAPITOL POLICE CHIEF: We continue to see the threat assessment cases that we are opening are continue to grow. We are on par to probably break last year`s record.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: So those threats beginning about two years ago, increases in white nationalist activity. Have you ever heard of these kinds of increases in hate and potential hate crimes being tied to a President of the United States?
JIM CAVANAUGH, FORMER ATF SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE (RET.): That`s very, very unusual, Joy, to have that happen. You know, when you get more power, your words carry more weight. When you get into this undercurrent of the Nazis and the white nationalists, and the clans I mean I this ill, they feed off of this.
They feed off of public figures, on regular media in the government, Congressman, Senators, the President saying the things that they always say. It bolsters them. It gives them strength and power. And they`re always talking as the Southern Poverty just they`re Hatewatch team just uncovered recently about the messenger now.
They`re calling for a murder of lawmakers in the last 30 or 40 days. Now we have on top of this, our four Congressmen who are under direct attack. So the Capitol Police, I have worked with them. They`re great. The time for talk is over. These four Congressmen have to get protection. They have to get security briefings right now. Letters from the Congress to the Capitol Police, that`s too slow. They need to take this on now, because the hate groups are there. They`re active and they`re foaming at the mouth.
CAVANAUGH: It is very, very dangerous moment.
REID: And we know that Donald Trump`s rhetoric has been linked to these hate groups, catching on to it, calling him the dear leader and glomming on to him whether he wants to be or not, he is seen as sort of a leader and they sort of catch on to him.
Are you concerned as a security expert that because we have already seen people who spout Pro Trump identities then turn around to be charged with threatening - people threatening to bomb people, threatening to kill people that literally Donald Trump is himself a vehicle for igniting potential hate crimes?
CAVANAUGH: Sure. It gives them a license. It gives them fuel. It gives them energy. It makes them feel they`re wanted. They have support. Even the President when challenged by a reporter about saying this said I have many people who agree with me, many people who agree with me. See that`s the problem. That`s where they draw the strength.
The Republicans and Congress needs to stand up to the racial bigotry. The country needs to stand up. People need to stand up. It`s a political rally. It shouldn`t be akin to a clan rally where we`re yelling that people should go back. That`s what you hear at clan march.
Joy, I was struck the other night by that I just I have associated to see it`s like we`re back in `63. Is it Bull Connor again has he waited 15 minutes to let the Freedom Riders be beaten at the Birmingham Bus Station until he sent the police.
He didn`t do anything he just waited, he just waited and the clans beat to freedom riders. We don`t need Bull Connor we don`t need him leading anybody, we don`t need that kind of talk. We don`t need anybody doing that. This should be randomly condemned.
But the Capitol Police need to step up quickly on these four Congressmen. And there are some Republican Congressmen there was four that voted against racial hatred and there was Justin Amash who has stood up himself and been ousted by his caucus. So they need to look at them too. That`s the first thing. And as a broader feel they got to look at all of them.
REID: Yes, absolutely. Jim Cavanaugh, thank you very much. I really appreciate you joining us. Please be sure to join me tomorrow and every weekend morning from 10:00 a.m. to noon Eastern for my show.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END