ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: That does it for us tonight. I`ll see you again if you tune in at 6:00 p.m. eastern on my show "THE BEAT" with Ari Melber. I`m wishing you a wonderful weekend. And now it`s time for "THE LAST WORD." Joy Reid is in for Lawrence tonight. Good evening, Joy.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Ari. Thank you very much. I hope you have a great rest of the night.
MELBER: Thank you.
REID: Thank you very much. All right, I am Joy Reid in for Lawrence O`Donnell and this week my colleague, Joe Scarborough, and then a hashtag full of equally disgusted Americans dubbed him Moscow Mitch. Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate Majority Leader has made it clear he will ignore Robert Mueller`s warnings about ongoing foreign interference in our elections.
He will continue to block all election security bills that could protect your vote from the Russians or the Saudis or the Chinese or Donald Trump`s newest best dictator friend, Kim Jong-un. Mitch McConnell will do that because clearly he believes Donald Trump might need foreign help to get elected just like he had in 2016.
And so, he will not allow Congress to stand in those foreign governments` way. And Moscow Mitch needs Donald Trump to win to keep the spigot of far right judges flowing. We`re going to have more on this growing Republican shame in tonight`s show.
We`re also hearing disturbing new details about the 18-year-old American citizen who was detained by Customs and Border Protection for three weeks, even after showing officials his I.D., his social security card and his birth certificate. That is coming up as well.
But first, we are crossing a threshold. That is how one House Democrat described the new impeachment developments coming out of the House Judiciary Committee. Chairman Jerry Nadler suggested that his committee is now in effect conducting an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re saying there`s no difference between what you`re doing now and an impeachment inquiry, correct?
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: In effect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: That statement comes in the wake of a court filing from the new committee demanding grand jury material from Robert Mueller`s investigation. In that request for Mueller`s underlying evidence, the House Judiciary Committee explicitly states that it wants the information because, "this committee is conducting an investigation to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment."
So there it is. The House Judiciary Committee is finally investigating the possible impeachment of this president. Now, if you don`t think that that`s tantamount to opening an impeachment inquiry, don`t take my word for it. Here`s how some committee members describe this step to "The Huffington Post."
Congressman Jamie Raskin said, "From my personal point of view, we are in an impeachment inquiry." And Congressman Eric Swalwell said bluntly, "This is an impeachment investigation." The key difference between a formal impeachment inquiry and what the Judiciary Committee is doing now, according to Chairman Nadler, is that the committee is not solely bound to deciding whether to file articles of impeachment, but could opt to move in an entirely different direction.
This action appears to be a way to bridge the divide inside the House Democratic caucus over whether to formally begin the process that would lead to impeachment. Ninety-eight House members back an impeachment inquiry at the moment, according to NBC News. And that number is growing. Here`s Democratic Congressman Mike Levin who just announced his support for an impeachment inquiry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE LEVIN (D-CA): We have witnessed his contempt for Democratic norms and institutions, including his repeated failure to respond to legitimate requests for documents and information, making it impossible for Congress to exercise its constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities. As a result, I feel we can no longer wait. I must now support an impeachment inquiry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: But there is still a major split among members of the House Democratic leadership over how to proceed. "The New York Times" reports, "Chairman Nadler has gradually become convinced that his panel should proceed with impeachment hearings and do so expeditiously as possible, though he has not stated so publicly, according to lawmaker and aides familiar with his thinking." And here`s how Speaker Nancy Pelosi framed the debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of your Democratic colleagues believe you`re simply trying to run out the clock on impeachment. Are you trying to run out the clock?
REP. NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: No, I`m not trying to run out the clock. Let`s get sophisticated about this, OK? We will proceed when we have what we need to proceed. Not one day sooner. And everybody has the liberty and the luxury to espouse their own position and to criticize me for trying to go down the path in the most determined positive way. Again, their advocacy for impeachment only gives me leverage. I have no complaint with what they are doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Leading off our discussion tonight is Democratic Congressman Lloyd Doggett of Texas. He`s a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. And Congressman, when the speaker says that the advocacy for impeachment among some members of her caucus gives her leverage, do you understand who she believes she now has leverage over?
REP. LLOYD DOGGETT (D-TX): Not exactly. What I reflect on is that tomorrow will be 100 days since the Mueller report was released. August is approaching. I don`t know what more we need in order to undertake an impeachment inquiry, and I came to that view after hearing all the alternatives and seeing how ineffective they were and how really rather timid or tepid they were.
At this point until today, Democrats had not filed any legal action concerning the Mueller investigation except the -- I guess the somewhat related, belated inquiry on tax returns. We`ve just been defending the trump attacks in the legislative as well as in the litigation. I think people will look at what Chairman Nadler did today and say it`s about time.
REID: And what he did today, let`s talk about that specifically. In your view, because there`s a little bit of a back and forth about this, is what was started today an impeachment inquiry?
DOGGETT: Whether you call it an impeachment inquiry or an impeachment investigation, I think it`s really parsing words. What he did was to tell the court in order to get these grand jury proceedings, which are normally private but which were made available in prior impeachment proceedings, that impeachment was one of the possibilities that his committee was considering.
I believe they are conducting an investigation, an impeachment inquiry, and that`s what we need because President Trump is engaging in total obstruction. It`s kind of the mafia gang approach of don`t tell anybody anything and don`t produce any documents.
And with that kind of strategy, we can either sit back and take it or we can stand up and fight. I think the American people want us to stand up and demand a little accountability from this lawless president.
REID: And you know, one of the theories behind why the Speaker is so reluctant to go forward on impeachment is that potentially she doesn`t have 218 votes in the House, that if impeachment were to come to the floor, it wouldn`t pass, not just because of Republicans, but because of Democrats. Do you agree with that?
DOGGETT: Well, I have the greatest respect for the Speaker. She is a great leader. I don`t agree with her entirely on the approach concerning this matter. I believe that our duty is not one of just taking a poll or doing the politically acceptable thing.
We have a duty under the Constitution. What we do about this lawless president will set the standard, will set the precedent for what happens when we have a president -- I don`t know if it`s possible to have a worse president than Donald Trump, but when we have another president, be it Democratic or Republican, who threatens our democracy the way he has. We need to say that when there is this much lawlessness, we are demanding accountability. And to investigate it thoroughly and objectively is what needs to be done and done now.
I think we can do that in a way that is respectful of some of our colleagues who are a little more reticent about it who represent districts that have a significant number of Republicans who may well have been fooled by some of the misstatements, the propaganda of the president`s taxpayer- paid attorney, Mr. Barr, and all of his statements, the repeated no collusion, no obstruction, which is absolutely in conflict with the findings of the Mueller report.
REID: And to your view, what is the primary or what are the primary reasons, just very quickly, that you think the president should be impeached? Why?
DOGGETT: Well, I think the 10 examples of obstruction that he engaged in, I think his lying. I think the fact that whether he was involved in a formal conspiracy with the Russians, just a useful idiot, as they say, was concerned only with his commercial interests, that the Russians were involved in undermining our democracy.
And Donald Trump`s attitude was and remains come on in, fellows, welcome. And that is really a subverting. It is welcoming an attack on the very basis of our democracy. Now, we know at the same time from this new report the Republicans were meddling in all 50 states --
REID: The Russians.
DOGGETT: -- and threaten our elections -- excuse me, of course. The Russians were threatening all 50 states and they are continuing to do that and the president and Mitch McConnell are blocking -- aren`t taking effective action to preserve our election system.
REID: Indeed. All right, Congressman Lloyd Doggett, thank you so much. Really appreciate joining the discussion.
DOGGETT: Thank you.
REID: Now, let`s bring in Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor and legal correspondent for slate.com and host of the podcast "Amicus" and Danielle Moody-Mills, the host of "WokeAF" of SiriusXM. Dahlia, I want to ask you this first because is this just playing with words, this impeachment investigation versus impeachment inquiry? Is there a difference?
DAHLIA LITHWICK, SENIOR EDITOR AND LEGAL CORRESPONDENT, SLATE.COM: For constitutional purposes, no. We don`t know. The Constitution doesn`t say impeachment starts with this action or that action. So for our purposes, we can sort of say that starting to think about doing an investigation into an inquiry feels kind of hedging.
LITHWICK: But for constitutional purposes, Article I gives sole power of impeachment to the House, so that`s when it starts.
REID: And do Democrats by having an impeachment investigation get the same stepped-up rules in terms of subpoenas, meaning that they have more power to make somebody show up when they are subpoenaed and turn over documents?
LITHWICK: That`s one of the reasons, Joy, that this is important is that you put aside the parsing of language. And it really does bolster their authority, for instance, to drag Don McGahn in --
LITHWICK: -- because he has refused to show up. It bolsters their authority to get access to this grand jury material that`s redacted that they can`t get any other way. So I think that once the House is acting in its judicial role as opposed to its oversight role, then the courts are going to be much more inclined to say, OK, if this is for purposes of an impeachment investigation, then we`re going to be much more likely to grant the things you want.
REID: Even the Supreme Court?
LITHEWICK: Well, that`s a different question.
REID: Let me have with the politics of this too. Let me play Jamie Raskin -- he was on with Ari Melber the last hour, asked whether this is an impeachment probe. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Is this an impeachment probe?
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Sure. We were just confronted with overwhelming evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors, 10 episodes of obstruction of justice. A presidential candidate and his campaign welcoming with open arms foreign interference in our presidential election.
You know, if Bill Clinton can be impeached for telling one lie about sex, that`s low crimes and misdemeanors. This is in the category of high crimes and misdemeanors, and we`re investigating it and we`re trying to figure out whether these are high crimes and misdemeanors that justify impeachment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Danielle, does this end up working for the Democrats politically? They`re getting out of town now for a multi-week recess. They put in something that they don`t want to call an impeachment inquiry for whatever reason. Have they solved their problem?
DANIELLE MOODY-MILLS, SIRIUSXM HOST, #WOKEAF: They are their problem so, no, they haven`t solved it at all. I think that the conversation around semantics actually matters to the American people. When we use terms like impeachment, it gives them a sense of gravitas to the situation that we are currently in.
All of these investigations can be spun by Republicans to seem like it is just a vendetta that Democrats have against Donald Trump. When we move into an impeachment inquiry, that means that something very serious has happened and compromised our constitution and compromised the office of the presidency.
Americans understand that differently, right? And so words here actually matter. And this is what Republicans are always so good at and Democrats constantly struggle. We are 100 days removed from the Mueller report dropping, and there has been no movement. Just a few, what was it, 90 days after Ken Starr dropped his report on Clinton --
REID: Ninety-nine days.
MOODY-MILLS: Ninety-nine days --
MOODY-MILLS: -- then we were in full-blown investigation over, as Representative Raskin said, one lie. Donald Trump has told, I don`t know, 1,000 probably just today.
MOODY-MILLS: So, where`s the action here? So, words matter and their action matters. And the fact that Nancy Pelosi also is not pointing to her members and saying, you know what, you`re going home. Each and every member of the Democratic Party needs to be holding town hall meetings on impeachment the way that Justin Amash did because that matters.
REID: I mean, the possibility though is that they won`t be able to avoid that because the Democrats are going to go home, I think for six weeks. There`s a possibility that their town halls as they want to have them on health care are going to get taken over by people demanding impeachment, right?
So, I wonder if -- does the strength of an impeachment -- I`ll ask you both -- does the strength of an impeachment inquiry depend on it being immediate? Meaning that you say you`re launching an investigation and then something happens right away, or does the five or six weeks in the middle, you know, interregnum where they could be pummeled by their base, in a sense could that actually help impeachment?
MOODY MILLS: I think that showing them being pummeled by their base does help impeachment because it shows that the people actually care and are paying attention --
MOODY-MILLS: -- which is what I believe that most people do. The ones that I talk to on my show, they tell me that they care. They want to know why their members are not standing up for the Constitution. It looks like political theater and act right now instead of an act of outrage about what`s happening in the White House.
REID: Yes. Former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe has said impeachment. It`s happening a lot. Here`s another question for you because Lawrence Tribe, Professor Lawrence Tribe has put forward the idea that Democrats could impeach Donald Trump, essentially convict him in their version of a trial in the House and then not send it to the Senate. And that they would have impeachment. He`d be impeached and Mitch McConnell couldn`t touch it. Is that true?
LITHWICK: I think that`s true and I certainly trust Lawrence Tribe`s opinion more than mine. I also think it`s really worth, just to circle back to what Danielle just said, I think the most important mistake that Nancy Pelosi is making right now is this notion that we`re going to find some smoking gun evidence, right.
That we`re going to get a gotcha. We`re going to have a John Dean moment. We`re going to have the erased tape. And this notion that we keep tilting at that thing as though that`s going to just -- tomorrow, that was the thing that Mueller was supposed to be on Wednesday.
LITHWICK: And I think that we`re making this mistake over and over again, Joy, by thinking that some piece of evidence is going to come to light that is going sway public opinion. Everything that Mueller said on Wednesday, we knew. We`ve known for a hundred days. And so I think this kind of weird Zeno`s paradox where we`re inching closer and closer to the thing that is going to change public opinion, what will change public opinion is starting to have impeachment inquiry --
REID: Yes, absolutely.
LITHWICK: -- starting to talk to Don McGahn.
REID: Yes. One coherent thing where they bring all of those people, Don McGahn, everybody in front of (inaudible) instead of all these little investigations everywhere. It`s a strange strategy. Anyway, Dahlia Lithwick and Danielle Moody-Mills, thank you both very much.
Coming up, the Republicans led by Mitch McConnell are blocking bills to protect U.S. elections. Why would Mitch McConnell do that? New reports may show why.
And later, Donald Trump is really unhappy with his favorite channel`s pollsters.
REID: "Mitch McConnell is a Russian Asset." Those are the scathing first lines of a column by "The Washington Post" Dana Milbank today. He goes on to write, "This doesn`t mean he`s a spy, but neither is it a flip accusation. Russia attacked our country in 2016. It is attacking us today. Its attacks will intensify in 2020.
Yet each time we try to raise our defenses and repel the attack, McConnell, the Senate majority leader, blocks us from defending ourselves. Let`s call this what it is, unpatriotic. The Kentucky Republican is arguably more than any other American doing Russian President Vladimir Putin`s bidding."
McConnell, who`s now been tagged as Moscow Mitch, is ignoring the warnings of Robert Mueller and from his own intelligence committee regarding Russia`s continuing interference in our elections.
The report from the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, found that Russia targeted election systems in all 50 states in 2016, and that little has been done to prevent it from happening all over again. That`s exactly what Robert Mueller told the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. WILL HURD (R-TX): In your investigation, did you think that this was a single attempt by the Russians to get involved in our election or did you find evidence to suggest they`ll try to do it again?
ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL: It wasn`t a single attempt. They`re doing it as we sit here, and they expect to do it during the next campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: They`re doing it as we sit here. And Mitch McConnell refuses to do anything about it. Just 24 hours after Robert Mueller`s testimony, McConnell, who clearly wants Donald Trump re-elected by any means necessary, blocked two election security bills.
One bill would have required the use of paper ballots. The other would have required campaigns and candidates to report offers of election-related aid from foreign governments. Coincidentally -- I`m certain -- earlier this year Mitch McConnell received a slew of donations from four of the top voting machine lobbyists in the country.
Voting machine companies are not currently subject to any federally mandated security standards, and Mitch McConnell is helping to keep it that way. Joining us now is Evan McMullen, a former CIA operative and former independent presidential candidate. He`s the co-founder of Stand Up Republic.
And Michael Weiss, a columnist for "The Daily Beast," and author of a forthcoming book on Russia`s military intelligence agency. Thank you both for being here. Evan, you ran for president. You worked for the CIA in the past. You have served your country in that regard. Do you agree with Dana Milbank that Mitch McConnell is now essentially aiding Moscow in their future attacks that are already happening on our elections?
EVAN MCMULLEN, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: I do agree that he is. I mean, obviously Dana uses very explosive language there when he says asset, which is a technical term for someone who is under the influence or even control of a foreign power.
So, for me that`s, you know, using that word is, you know, I would use it more technically than that. But I understand his point and certainly Mitch McConnell is blocking efforts to secure our democracy when it faces greater threats than it ever has.
And it`s inexplicable, but for any good reason why he`d do this, the country is clearly under threat. The freedom of American citizens everywhere is under threat right now because our systems of selecting our own leaders are at risk and being attacked by foreign adversaries and being assisted and welcomed by the commander-in-chief.
I mean, it`s an extraordinary position for the country to be in. And how on earth anyone who`s elected by the people could stand there and especially in the position that Mitch McConnell is in as Senate majority leader, and not support a bill that simply says if you`re a candidate and a foreign adversary comes to you and offers assistance in your campaign, which is illegal, that you have to report that to law enforcement.
How on earth could Mitch McConnell oppose that? It`s just -- it`s inexplicable. There`s no good reason for it. It`s political corruption.
REID: Well, you know, an attempt to attempt to explain the inexplicable, let me give you, Michael Weiss, two pieces of data. One is "Washington Post" writer Paul Waldman who has a piece now that says Mitch McConnell is right, secure open elections would elect more Democrats, and so this might be some of the reason why Mitch McConnell doesn`t want to act.
So here are some of the things that in our system today are partisan in the sense that if we were to do them, they would advantage the Democratic Party, securing our voting systems from foreign hacking, allowing every American to vote, making it as easy as possible for Americans to vote and ensuring that all votes count equally.
So Mitch McConnell has a partisan reason to allow Russia back in. And now here is the person for whom Mitch McConnell works, well, they work together to get judges on the court. Here`s Donald Trump telling George Stephanopolous what he would do if he was offered foreign help again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If somebody called from a country, Norway, we have information on your opponent. Oh, I think I`d want to hear it.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOLOUS, ABC NEWS HOST: You want that kind of interference in our elections?
TRUMP: It`s not an interference. They have information. I think I`d take it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: So, Michael Weiss, you know, clearly Donald Trump wants foreign help and he would take it again, Norway, Russia, or whether it`s Saudi Arabia or any other country that wants to help. Those other countries know that, right. So do we now have a system where our elections are not just participated in by Americans but by the whole world or whoever wants to have an advantage policy-wise?
MICHAEL WEISS, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes, and I think the difficulty is once you allow a foreign country, particularly a hostile foreign country into your democracy, they don`t tend to leave. The Russians learned this trick very successfully in New York over the last 15 or 20 years where they`ve been able to manipulate the political systems, buy off politicians, and indeed wage cyber campaigns and active measures.
But look, I think with Mitch McConnell, this is a very simple case of somebody who`s just putting party political interests above national security. This Senate Intelligence Committee report, which by the way, it`s a Republican-led committee, the baseline standard they said for protecting the election is to have the paper ballot backup system, the baseline standard.
How is that a partisan issue? That`s just something that every state ought to have to ensure that voting machines, which might be compromised, or voter registration data, which has already been compromised, I mean, this is the most extraordinary disclosure in this report, 16 states have been hacked or targeted by the GRU, Russia`s military intelligence agency.
The same organization, mind you, that hacked the DNC and started passing information to WikiLeaks and DCLeaks -- 16 states they have already penetrated. One of the states, Illinois, had 14 million voter registration -- I`m sorry -- registered voters, data from 14 million people ex- filtrated, which include not only first and last names, home addresses, dates of birth, but also driver`s license information.
Remember what Robert Mueller found when he indicted the internet research agency or the so-called St. Petersburg Troll Farm? The Russians were also doing identity theft to try and pass themselves off as Americans in order to keep this masquerade or this pantomime going that this is just a domestic political crisis or domestic political development that the Russians had nothing to do with it.
We are allowing them back into our system. And so for a Republican-led committee to say the very least we could do, you know, make sure voting machines don`t have access to the internet so they can`t be hacked, make sure they don`t have exposed USB drives so somebody couldn`t walk in to a booth, put in a thumb drive and upload malware.
Just remember Joy, one voting machine that`s compromised and proven to be so will cause a socio-political crisis particularly in 202, particularly with the president who has already alleged in 2016, an election he won, that the votes were rigged but without any evidence, right.
WEISS: That`s the danger. The Russians don`t have to do very much to completely blow up the entire system.
REID: Right. And so for Mitch McConnell, Evan, apparently it is worth it to him to have those risks on the table if they win.
MCMULLEN: Look, I think you`re exactly right in explaining why Mitch McConnell is doing what he`s doing. You know, I`m so discouraged and disappointed, and as a conservative, to see the Republican Party now sacrifice our system of self-rule so that they can maintain an advantage at a time when they`re struggling in the battle of ideas in the country.
And I say to my fellow conservatives, you know, this isn`t the way to fight. Let`s re-enter the battle of ideas. Let`s compete. We believe or we used to believe in competition. Let`s not abandon that politically. It doesn`t make for a strong party. It doesn`t make for a strong country. And that`s -- but that`s what Mitch McConnell is doing, sadly, and what many Republicans are going along with and it`s just the wrong way.
It`s the wrong way for the party. It`s the wrong way for the conservative movement. It`s the wrong way for the country. And Michael is pointing out something that`s also very important about what will happen if there is hacking again, and there certainly will be in 2020.
I don`t believe that we can say anymore, and it`s uncomfortable, that we had a free and fair election in 2016 in America. Think about that, the gravity of that. But I think that, you know, the American people can look past that. We can move beyond it if it just happens once and in the next cycle we have an election without these irregularities and so on.
But if what happens in 2016 or more or something different but also a foreign attack on our democracy happens again in 2020, we are facing a situation in our country where our elections no longer will have popular legitimacy.
And in that scenario, we lose control and we are not -- we are no longer free, and that`s what`s on the verge of happening. The Russians don`t have to change votes to do that. All they have to do is to hack the voter rolls again. Maybe they do it a little bit deeper, a little more widespread this time.
Then all of a sudden state governments can`t certify the results of election. That would make Donald Trump very happy if all of a sudden everything was just inconclusive.
MCMULLEN: You know, that happens elsewhere in the world where foreign adversaries to democracy or domestic enemies of democracy try to dismantle it, and that`s what we`re facing now in the country.
REID: Yes. And just to build on that a little bit, Michael Weiss, what are some of the other worst-case scenarios? I mean, I was talking earlier -- did an interview earlier in which, you know, the idea that Donald Trump suddenly wins Vermont and then Vermont government is saying, wait, hold on a second. Donald Trump can`t win Vermont.
And then that`s what people think and they can`t certify. Do the Russians actually have to change votes or they have to just scare people or could it be actually disenfranchisement, deleting people from the voter rolls? Give us the worse-case scenarios.
WEISS: Changing votes is actually quite hard to d, but again, they don`t have to do that. They just have to compromise or vitiate the election itself by penetrating the election infrastructure, manipulating data. You know, for instance, one worst-case scenario, which was already wargame by the United States is, what if they go in, and you Joy Reid, they find your home address and they change the home address wherever you`re registered to vote, I assume in New York.
You turn up to the voting booth or your polling place with the wrong address, you might get a provisional ballot, but this is going to cause chaos. It`s going to cause a crisis where people are saying. "Wait a minute, this is where I live. What are you telling me that this is not where I - that this is not my home address."
So, again, they don`t have to even change check marks against Donald Trump`s name versus whoever the Democratic candidate is going to be. There`s a host of other things they can do.
One just final point, Mitch McConnell and the Republicans, I think, they believe they`re picking up a very powerful stick to bash the Democrats over the within 2020. What they`re actually doing those picking up a boomerang, because it`s not just the Russians that are going to start fussing with American democracy.
The Iranians might decide one day we don`t quite like this sanctions regime that this President supposed on our economy, why don`t we start hacking the e-mails of Republican Chiefs of Staff or Republican Senators or Republican Congressman. One of these bills was meant to protect all legislators from cyber intrusion.
If they do that, then won`t the Republicans look silly for saying, well, we had the opportunity to indemnify ourselves and we chose not to.
REID: Yes, absolutely. Or the question of Donald Trump`s legitimacy will become even bleaker after an election that people wonder whether it was free and fair. So for himself, he might want to get on board with protecting his country.
Evan McMullin, Michael Weiss, thank you both very much.
MICHAEL WEISS, THE DAILY BEAST COLUMNIST: Thank you.
REID: And up next, Donald Trump is very, very unhappy with a new national poll. So unhappy he`s attacking Trump TV.
REID: We are just four days away from the second set of Democratic presidential debates. And a new poll put out by Fox News, no less, has some good news for Joe Biden and some bad news for Donald Trump.
That poll finds that in the Democratic presidential primary, Biden leads the field at 33 percent, 18 points ahead of his closest rival Bernie Sanders. This is just one poll. But it does appear to show him regaining some of the support that he lost after the first debate when Kamala Harris stole the show.
The Fox News poll also showed Biden leading Trump in a head-to-head matchup by 10 points. A result that so freaked out the President that he took to Twitter to attack his favorite news organization, quote
"Fox News is that it again. So different from what they used to be during the 2016 primaries & before - Proud Warriors! Now new Fox Polls, which have always been terrible to me, have me down to Sleep Joe."
So they should, what, fix their polls for Donald Trump? Based on that freak out. You might think that the Democratic candidate Trump fears most is Barack Obama`s former Vice President.
But a new piece out from Vanity Fair reveals that several top Republican strategists think the candidate that could do the most harm to Trump is Senator Kamala Harris. I think she`s dangerous and probably maybe the most dangerous from our you.
Once strategist told Vanity Fair, another told the magazine "I have long been most concerned about Harris. I think she has an appeal to the Scottsdale soccer mom who was a registered Republican. Between her appeal and Trump`s women problems, she has probably already won those voters."
So what does all this mean heading into next week`s Democratic debates, I`ll ask Danielle Moodie-Mills and Evan McMullin next.
REID: Danielle Moodie-Mills and Evan McMullin are back with me. OK. Let`s start with Biden. By - this was Joe Biden on a radio interview, Danielle, talking about - still talking about the Harris interview. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via telephone): I thought we were friends, and I hope we still will be. You know, she asked me to go out and - called me and asked me to go to her convention and be the guy from outside of California to nominate her at her convention for the Senate seat. I did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: I`m not sure what that has to do with them running for President. It`s a bit whiney a bit?
DANIELLE MOODIE-MILLS, SIRIUS/XM HOST, #WOKEAF: He`s have been annoying. The fact this is that Joe Biden was very unprepared for the debates that happened and he got slapped up on stage, didn`t know how to react. His team did not prepared him and now he`s come about it. Maybe he should spend some more time preparing for the debates that are happening next week, so then he won`t have anything to complain about.
It doesn`t matter whether Kamala Harris was your friend a couple of weeks ago, a couple of months ago. She`s running for President, not to be your friend. And I think that that`s the problem with Joe Biden in this race right now, is that he thinks that everyone should just kumbaya around him and that`s not the case.
REID: Right. There`s a sense that he feels like a coronation was interrupted and he`s very angry about it and it is he`s not letting it go. Here`s Biden also now turning on a bit of a pivot of an attack on Kamala Harris. And I think this might be what we`re going to see coming up. Here it is.
Maybe we don`t have it. I will read it. This is Biden - this was - oh, I`m sorry, Cory Booker is the one who`s talking about Kamala Harris.
Let`s go to you, Evan, is there a sense do you think that Biden at this point feels entitled to the nomination and annoyed that he`s being questioned?
MCMULLIN: You know, it`s hard to say. But I will say this. There is a certain strategy, I think if you`re if you`re Biden, and you start out leading in the polls, to not eagerly enter the fray, if you don`t have to. And sort of prolong that as long as you can.
Obviously, is the front-runner and the polls you know it`s coming for you anyway, and indeed it did. But I think it would have been unwise for him to behave like he was in a dead heat competition with the other candidates when he wasn`t there yet.
Now after the last debate, and when Kamala did what she did with Biden that started to shift and now Biden has to enter the competition like the rest of the candidates. But I`m not so sure it was unwise for him not to do so before.
Now the question is how he does it. Yes, tone matters. He can`t be entitled to all of that. But it doesn`t surprise me that it`s worked out this way.
REID: Yes, let`s talk about Kamala Harris a little bit, because Cory Booker kind of was talking about Biden, but I sense a bit of a move where he`s kind of hitting potentially both Biden and Kamala Harris with this attack. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will always speak truth to power, and watching the crime bills of the `80s and the `90s that he put into place. This is something that should be talked about. And the response to having substantive conversation about people`s records shouldn`t to go on the attack. And I found these attacks on me ridiculous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: So I think it`s pretty clear, Danielle, that Cory Booker strategy is going to be to try to do what Kamala Harris did to Biden the first time. But when he`s talking about criminal justice, that`s also a weak point for Kamala Harris with a lot of younger and voters of color. So could this be a way for Cory Booker to maybe ping and hit them both?
MOODIE-MILLS: He has to do something, because Cory Booker has not moved in the polls whatsoever. And because he was not on the main stage with Joe Biden last time, this is his going to be his opportunity. He`s going to have to hit Kamala, they all are.
I mean this is a competition. It is a race for the White House, and a very serious presidential race right now. And so they need - he needs to have some type of action. And I do think that criminal justice is the great way to divide them.
REID: And I do you think very quickly that Kamala Harris is as dangerous as Republicans seem to think she is.
REID: To Donald Trump?
MOODIE-MILLS: She absolutely is. Did you see her on the stage? I want to see that against Donald Trump.
REID: Yes. And Evan, same thing to you, because it does seem that Republicans are concerned about her, because even being a prosecutor, which kind of hurts her with some younger voters, it maybe helped her in the general?
MCMULLIN: Yes, look, thinking about President Trump and how he responds to different people with whom he`s in competition, he attacks almost everyone. But there are some people he doesn`t quite attack and - or often or very hard, and it`s the kind of people that he knows will hit him back 10 times harder than he`s hitting them.
And regardless of all of Kamala`s policy positions and all of that, this isn`t a discussion about that. I`ll tell you that I think the President fears Kamala. I think that he looks at her and sees a strong African- American woman who will punch him back harder than he can hit her and he`s afraid to go there, I think.
MCMULLIN: And when he does, I think, he`s going to get what he expects.
REID: And you know what he also probably fear her for, because she`s a prosecutor and his - (CROSSTALK)
REID: --are largely legal particularly when he leaves office. Scared of the prosecutors, Danielle Moodie-Mills, for some reason, and Evan McMullin. Thank you both.
And coming up, the Trump administration is cruelty any competence at the border ensnares, get this, an American citizen. That`s next.
REID: Tonight the Supreme Court ruled that Donald Trump can use $2.5 billion in unspent military funds from the Pentagon to put toward construction of his beloved border wall, which the wall lawsuits are trying to stop him continue through the courts.
This news comes as the President announced a deal with Guatemala to restrict asylum applications by requiring migrants who pass through Guatemala to apply for asylum there. Guatemala, which many of the migrants arriving in our borders, are fleeing from.
If migrants fail to apply in Guatemala, per the Trump ban, they will be denied asylum in the United States. However, the deal still needs to be approved by Guatemala`s Congress, so it remains up in the air.
But this supposed deal does nothing to address the deteriorating humanitarian crisis at the U.S. Southern border. This week the House passed a bill requiring Customs and Border Protection to enact safety and hygiene standards for migrants in their custody. We`ll see how that fares in Mitch McConnell`s Senate.
And today 13 state Democrats who visited the border sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security demanding that the Agency take immediate action to improve the conditions and treatment of migrant children. We`ll see if the administration decide to have to listen.
Conditions have gotten so bad on the border that NBC News reports that active duty U.S. troops are now being stationed inside the border facility in Donna, Texas, a development that some say teeters on violating federal law. That prohibits govern the government from using military forces to there`s a police force within U.S. borders.
But the cruelty of Trump`s immigration agenda doesn`t stop there. Immigration attorneys told courts - reports told courts that border agents separated three young girls from their father because he was HIV-positive against what is supposed to be government policy.
And tonight, we`re learning new details about the American teenage boy who was detained by Customs and Border Protection for more than three weeks even after showing border agents his Texas ID, his Social Security card, and his birth certificate.
18-year-old Francisco Galicia, who was reunited with his mother this week, was held in overcrowded facilities with no access to a shower, forced to sleep on the floor and lost 26 pounds, because he was not given enough food to eat.
He told "The Dallas Morning News" that reports that "It was inhumane how they treated us. It got to the point where I was ready to sign a deportation paper just not to be suffering there anymore. I just needed to get out of there", he said.
Tonight Francisco Galicia spoke with All In`s Chris Hayes about those horrific conditions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCISCO ERWIN GALICIA, AMERICAN CITIZEN (through translator): We couldn`t bathe or brush our teeth. Nothing. You didn`t have anything. The only thing that they would give us from time to time, to clean ourselves were wipes. We would wipe ourselves, but the dirt would stay.
The room was so small that there were people sleeping in the bathroom. We would take turns to be able to sleep. By experience, We went thru one thing inhumane.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: And that is not the only fallout from Trump`s ugly hardline immigration policy. NBC`s Cal Perry traveled took Juarez, Mexico today to see how the Trump administration`s policy forcing migrants to wait in Mexico is impacting migrants who are stalled on the other side of the border. And he`ll join us live after this final break.
REID: He traveled to the border to report on the impact that Trump`s "Remain in Mexico" policy is having on migrants. Joining us now from El Paso is NBC News Correspondent Cal Perry. Cal what did you find out?
CAL PERRY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey Joy. From that child separation policy to metering to now this MPP policy or "Remain in Mexico", well we`ve seen consistently in Mexico amongst a very specific group of people, is that it`s sowing confusion. That group of people, people who are trying to come to America legally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY (voice over): These are just some of the faces of the Trump Administration`s remain in Mexico policy. 70 people living in this one room of a small church.
DYLAN CORBERTT, HOPE BORDER INSTITUTE: If they`re an MPP, they`ve been basically sentenced to be here in Juarez a year, maybe more.
PERRY (voice over): Before finding a place to stay, migrants have to check in across town at a central processing facility. Right now there are roughly 12,000 people waiting at this part of the border for the chance at an immigration hearing.
ENRIQUE VALENZUELA, DIRECTOR, CENTRO DE ATENCION INTEGRAL A MINGRANTES: People here grow impatient at times when they do not call anybody from - to cross.
PERRY (voice over): The confusion and frustration is evident. People are waiting months in a foreign land with no idea of how long it will take.
PERRY: What number are you do you know?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 13,291.
PERRY: 13,291. How long will you wait you think?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 3 months, 15 days.
PERRY: You`ve been here 3 months and 15 days. Do you know however much longer you have to wait?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know.
PERRY: You don`t know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody knows dangers of this country.
PERRY (voice over): The City of Juarez alone is approaching 900 murders so far this year. People are here from all over the globe, from Central America to Africa. Merembe fled violence. She asked us to keep her identity a secret. A gay woman from Uganda, she thought America would welcome her.
MEREMBE, SEEKING ASYLUM: It was the one country that was allowing human rights before, but I don`t know why they are changing everything. Just like all of the sudden.
PERRY (voice over): People like Dylan from the Hope Order Institute provide shelter and food and somehow almost inexplicably a sense of optimism.
CORBERTT: What they`re doing at the border is core to who we are as Americans, because this is a country that has always stood for human rights, for people across the globe. And our border is where we`re going to identity our identity as a country. We`re not going to be defined by these civil rights abuses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: Joy, two things that need mentioning on this story. First, Juarez is one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Someone was shot and killed outside the government center just this week, outside that church, two shootings in the past week according to the people who are there.
The second is you have these smugglers who are preying on these locations where they know people are stranded, they are growing more frustrated and they are providing them with that other option. "We can take you across illegally." Joy?
REID: Very quickly, is there any process at all for people to apply for asylum?
PERRY: After maybe four court dates, nine months, a judge can still turn you around. You can still be sent back from where you came from. There are only three immigration attorneys in this section of the border, who are trying to help people. 12,000 people, three attorneys, chances are incredibly low.
It has changed the entire asylum process that America has known until know, this is Remain in Mexico Policy.
REID: This is depressing. Child - immigrants, it`s depressing. Cal Perry, thank you so much for covering this. Thank you very much.
REID: That is tonight`s LAST WORD and tune into MSNBC Sunday on night at 9:00 p.m. for the premiere of MSNBC series "American Swamp", a four-part investigative series with Katy Tur and Jacob Soboroff on Donald Trump`s business ties and how money impacts campaigns, that`s night at 9:00.
And be sure to watch my show "A.M. JOY" weekend mornings starting at 10:00 a.m. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts snow.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END