LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel. Thank you.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Appreciate it.
Last night on this show, I discussed information that wasn`t ready for reporting. I repeated statements a single source told me about the president`s finances and loan documents with Deutsche Bank, saying "if true" as I discussed the information was simply not good enough. I did not go through the rigorous verification and standards process here at MSNBC before repeating what I heard from my source.
Had it gone through that process, I would not have been permitted to report it. I should not have said it on air or posted it on Twitter. I was wrong to do so.
This afternoon, attorneys for the president sent us a letter asserting the story is false. They also demanded a retraction.
Tonight, we are retracting the story. We don`t know whether the information is inaccurate. But the fact is, we do know it wasn`t ready for broadcast, and for that I apologize.
Tonight, freshman Democratic Congresswoman Katie Porter is back with us after a day of touring southern border facilities in California. She has much to report about what she saw at a family shelter and ICE detention center and a border station at the California-Mexico border. As expected Congressman Porter asked the kinds of questions at the border she asks in congressional hearings. The ICE detention center she saw is a 128-bed unit that`s now housing 900 people.
We`ll hear from Katie Porter about all of that later in this hour, and we`ll hear from Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono, who`s introducing legislation to block implementation of Trump administration changes in immigration rules.
And as we speak, Hurricane Dorian is bearing down on the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett will join us by phone from the Virgin Islands. She represents the Virgin Islands in Congress if we can still get a connection to her, she will be with us later in this hour.
A political hurricane of sorts hit the United Kingdom today with a shocking announcement by the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson that has produced crowds in the streets of London tonight shouting "stop the coup".
And we begin tonight with decisive new polling in the Democratic presidential campaign. That polling is decisive only at the lower end of the numbers because of who the polling has eliminated from participation in the next Democratic debate. And today, that polling forced one of the senators in the campaign to drop out of the race.
Kirsten Gillibrand tweeted: Today, I am ending my campaign for president. I think it`s important to know how you can best serve. Now, let`s go beat Donald Trump and win back the Senate.
Two polls were released today on the final day candidates could meet the qualifications for participation in the next Democratic debate, which is a combination of polling numbers and a number of donors to the campaign. And it`s not necessarily every poll. It`s all of the polls taken together, some individual polls the candidate can perform lower but still survive the cut for this debate. That`s what`s happened here.
No candidate, though, appeared to cross the threshold in today`s final polls, and so, the 10 candidates who have already qualified will be participating in the next debate. A formal announcement by the Democratic National Committee is expected tomorrow on the official lineup of the next debate. The ten we expect, those 10 candidates we know have already qualified are Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang, Beto O`Rourke, Cory Booker and Julian Castro.
A "USA Today"/Suffolk University poll out today shows Joe Biden with a strong lead among likely Democratic primary voters at 32 percent, Elizabeth Warren is at 14 percent, Bernie Sanders at 12 percent, Kamala Harris at 6 percent, Pete Buttigieg at 6, Andrew Yang is at 3 percent, Beto O`Rourke is at 2 percent. Cory Booker is at 2 percent, Julian Castro is at 1 percent, and Tim Ryan is also at 1 percent, although he did not qualify for the polls. Every other -- for the debate.
Every other candidate received less than 1 percent support in that poll. And a new Quinnipiac University poll shows Joe Biden with that same support level of 32 percent, coming out on the same day. That`s among Democratic voters and independent voters who lean Democratic. Elizabeth Warren is at 19 percent. Bernie Sanders at 15 percent. Kamala Harris at 7 percent. Pete Buttigieg at 5 percent. Andrew Yang at three.
Eight candidates received 1 percent support. They are Beto O`Rourke, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Tulsi Gabbard, Marianne Williamson, Michael Bennet, Steve Bullock, and Bill de Blasio. Every other candidate received less than 1 percent support.
These polls follow the highly controversial Monmouth University poll released on Monday that showed a virtual three-way tie at the top among Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Today`s polls sharply contradict the Monmouth poll which many considered an outlier in the polling data when it was released on Monday. And now, the director of the Monmouth poll agrees and issued a new statement after today`s new polls were released.
Every so often, you will naturally have a poll that falls outside the standard margin of error. It occurs very infrequently. But every pollster who has been in this business recognizes that outliers happen. This appears to be one of those instances.
The Quinnipiac poll matched five of the Democratic candidates against President Trump. It showed all of those candidates with solid leads over President Trump. With Joe Biden, again, at the top of the pack, Joe Biden polled 54 percent against President Trump`s 38 percent. Bernie Sanders is ahead of Trump 53-39. Elizabeth Warren is ahead of Trump 52-40. Kamala Harris is ahead of Trump, 51-40. Pete Buttigieg is ahead of Trump, 49-40 in the Quinnipiac poll.
The front runner in the Democratic race, Joe Biden, had a meeting with a small group of people yesterday and we are lucky enough to have someone who was in the room with Joe Biden yesterday in that meeting, Nolan McCaskill, who is a political reporter, who described how the meeting was supposed to go and how Joe Biden immediately changed the expectation.
Nolan McCaskill`s report on the meeting in "Politico" began this way: Joe Biden`s campaign convened a dozen or so black reporters from major media outlets Tuesday for what was offered as a private, off-the-record sit-down with the Democratic front runner. But Biden opened the discussion, allowing himself to be quoted. And then he started talking and he talked some more and before everyone knew it, the former vice president had held forth for 90 minutes, an extraordinary amount of time for a major presidential candidate to meet the media in a single sitting.
One of the highlights of the discussion was what Joe Biden had to say about how he would choose a vice presidential nominee if he wins the Democratic presidential nomination and Nolan McCaskill is here to tell us all about that.
Here is Joe Biden`s latest campaign ad released yesterday in Iowa.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was sworn into the United States Senate next to a hospital bed. My wife and daughter, they`re killed in a car crash. And lying in that bedroom were my two surviving little boys. I couldn`t imagine what it would have been like if we didn`t have the health care they needed immediately.
Forty years later, one of those little boys, my son Beau, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and given only months to live, I can`t fathom what would have happened if the insurance companies had said for the last six months of his life, you`re on your own.
The fact of the matter is, health care is personal to me. Obamacare is personal to me. When I see the president tried to tear it down and others to replace it and start over, that`s personal to me, too. We`ve got to build on what we did because every American deserves affordable health care.
I`m Joe Biden, and I approve this message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight, three highly experienced political reporters who know how to read today`s new campaign polls, and who probably thought they had already heard everything Joe Biden has to say about everything, but Nolan McCaskill has a few things to add to that. Nolan McCaskill is a political reporter for "Politico". Also with us, Sam Stein, politics editor at "The Daily Beast", he`s an MSNBC political analyst. And Jonathan Allen is with us, she`s a national political reporter for NBC News Digital.
And, Nolan, let`s start with you and this extraordinary meeting with Joe Biden yesterday about a dozen of you. And we`re all familiar with that style of meeting. It`s supposed to be off the record. And you`re supposed to gain some insights about the candidate that might not be possible otherwise. But immediately, I guess, Joe Biden put it on the record, is that how it happened?
NOLAN MCCASKILL, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, POLITICO: It was pretty close. Symone Sanders, the senior adviser, convened us all and pretty much right before it the vice president began to deliver opening remarks, he informed us the session will be on the record. So, the vice president ended up speaking for maybe 10 or 15 minutes, delivering his opening statement and then each of us were offered a chance to ask a question, sometimes a couple questions and able to squeeze them in and about 90 minutes later, the vice president was still talking.
O`DONNELL: Yes, I don`t think anyone is surprised at that who knows Joe Biden. Ninety minutes is a short run for him. Nolan, what were the highlights of this session to your mind?
MCCASKILL: I think some of the highlights were the fact that he was very vocal in talking about white supremacy and racism. He was very candid in saying that, you know, racism is a white man`s problem. He was challenging white Americans to be vocal about it, to speak out about it, to embarrass it, to really highlight things that are going on that shouldn`t be happening in this country because he says that`s the best way to fight it.
He also gave insights into his rationale for determining a running mate should he become a nominee. There`s a lot of pressure on some candidates, particularly male candidates to say they`d pick a woman and pressure to have diversity on the ticket by choosing a person of color. But the former vice president says while he prefers to have someone who fits that bill.
His priority is picking someone who`s more so aligned with him. He talked a lot about his experience being vice president to President Barack Obama and how much trust Obama had in him when he was in the White House. He said that`s the most important thing for him if he is to become the nominee, to have someone he trusts even if that person doesn`t fit the bill of being a woman or person of color though he does want to consider that.
O`DONNELL: Yes, Nolan, as I read your account with the quotes of what he said about the V.P. choice, it did sound like he really wants to go in some -- make a diverse choice, if he gets to make that choice.
MCCASKILL: Right. Yes, he told us it was his preference to choose somebody who`s a person of color or a woman, if not both. But he also seemed to suggest that he`s looking at someone who`s possibly more of a moderate, someone who really agrees with him politically. He was telling us that the only disagreement he`s willing to have with someone on the same ticket with him is a disagreement in tactics but he wants somebody who believes the same things he believes so he can trust that person to delegate the big tasks of the presidency so he can continue to focus on the big things that a president has to do.
O`DONNELL: Sam Stein, and then there were 10 on the debate stage.
SAM STEIN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Just ten.
O`DONNELL: It looks like it`s finally going to be a group that you can actually get on the stage all together at once.
STEIN: You know, we act like ten`s not a little debate stage it`s a lot of people. But, no, I think there`s a lot of Democrats who are very relieved, in part because two nights was just tiresome. But also because at this juncture, it really is incumbent upon the main candidates, the top five candidates to actually be able to at the bait one another and that was happening up until this point.
So, what we`ll see for the first time is Joe Biden on the same stage with Elizabeth Warren. Now, whether that changes the dynamics here is another question, because still with ten people it`s an incredibly crowded debate stage. We`re talking about 90 seconds to two minutes for answers tops with rebuttals. That`s not exactly substantive debate but, you know, we will be getting to see the contrast we want to see. And in all likelihood, after this debate, the field will narrow even further, naturally or not, and we`ll get an even tighter debate stage after that.
O`DONNELL: Jonathan Allen, so we`ve got the two polls out today and Monmouth just comes out and says, well, we should all just forget about that Monmouth poll and people were leaning in that direction already anyway. But there`s Joe Biden with this solid 32 percent that`s right back there and he`s right back in that solid position. And everyone else is in an alignment they`ve been settled into now for a couple of weeks with Elizabeth Warren essentially coming in second in these kinds of polls. The rest of the field, the way they`ve been lining up in most of the other polls.
Is this -- is this starting to gel, or is it still -- is this where we still say it`s too early?
JONATHAN ALLEN, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, NBC NEWS DIGITAL: You know, I think it`s still too early. If you were to come up with a big story line so far Joe Biden`s resilience as the leader, the front runner, with roughly a third of the Democratic electorate behind him, certainly number one and number two would be Elizabeth Warren, really having the trajectory that she`s had, coming basically out of nowhere at the beginning of the campaign up into that position of second, maybe perhaps having plateaud a little bit for the moment. That would be the second story line among the candidates.
We`ll have to see them as Sam says on the debate stage for the first time to see if that rocks anything back and forth. I think one of the interesting things to watch will be Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, we saw them in Detroit essentially locking arms as the people agitating for what Elizabeth Warren calls big structural change and not going after each other at all.
It will be interesting to see if they try to do that again with Biden sort of taking the moderate position and how that plays out. He certainly is a stronger advocate for that position than some of the others they were on stage with last time.
O`DONNELL: Nolan, really striking numbers in the Democrats versus Donald Trump part of the poll with Biden with this kind of huge lead. I mean, that`s just a huge lead in polling terms, 54 percent to 38 percent over Donald Trump one on one, Bernie Sanders, 53-39, just about -- within the margin of error, that`s the same thing. And Elizabeth Warren, 52-40, within the margin of error. It`s the same thing.
All the way down to, they only matched this group, Pete Buttigieg, nine points ahead of Donald Trump. This has to be very encouraging for the Democrats and actually possibly free up some of that sense that Joe Biden is the safest possible choice.
MCCASKILL: Right. There`s definitely evidence in this polling that Joe Biden isn`t the only candidate who can defeat Trump, but he does have an advantage, the fact he leads Trump by the largest margins, he does continue to lead the rest of the field by the largest margins. He does well with women, he does well with men, he does well with white voters, he does well with black voters, he does well with Hispanic voters.
I think one of the most interesting things in the polling is the fact you have this historically diverse field of 2020 candidates but the top three are older white people who continue to dominate and that`s just a very interesting perspective. But when you talk about who can beat Trump, other candidates are proving that Joe Biden is not the only one.
O`DONNELL: Yes, and, Sam, there`s other polling information about what voters are thinking in terms of disapproval of the president, polls that aren`t directly related to where the candidates stand that show that the Democrats have a very -- at this stage in the polling, this early stage in the polling, have a very strong advantage over Donald Trump right now.
STEIN: Yes. You know, I`m not -- I think judging head to head polling at this juncture is a little bit of a fool`s errand. Things change dramatically as you all know. We could look back at how Hillary Clinton was faring against Trump at this juncture in 2016.
What struck me about the Quinnipiac poll is not the head to head stuff, although it does matter in the perception of who is, quote/unquote, electable. The number that struck me was the number Trump had on the economy. For the first time voters had a more dismal view about the economic future than a positive one in the Quinnipiac poll.
That seemed highly dubious for Trump. He has really held on to this idea that despite all the histrionics, despite all the drama, despite all the controversy and the lack of ethics, that this strong economy, this robust stock market would propel him among voters to a second term. If that starts to slip, if the public begins to start to doubt their economic future, I think Trump`s in a real world of hurt.
And at that juncture, yes, you will see Democrats across the board scoring well against him in a general election hypothetical matchup.
O`DONNELL: Well, if, on October 31st, Donald Trump`s friend Boris Yeltsin manages to crash the United Kingdom into Brexit, and to create a global recession, then there could be even more problems and we`re going to get Brexit later in this hour.
Nolan McCaskill, Sam Stein, Jonathan Allen, thank you very much for starting us off tonight.
STEIN: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: I really appreciate it. Thank you.
And coming up, we introduce you to freshman Congresswoman Katie Porter months ago by showing you her extraordinary skill in questioning witnesses in committee hearings. But tonight, she will be our witness, your witness to the conditions at the southern border.
Katie Porter drove down to the Mexican border today in California and she made official observations as a member of Congress that you`re going to want to hear and she brought her own feelings as a mother to what she heard today from mothers separated from their families at the southern border.
Katie Porter will join us next.
And later, the United Kingdom has seen it all including world wars, but they have never seen anything like this. Tonight, people on the streets of London shouting "stop the coup", protesting the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson`s decision to suspend parliamentary debate for a full month as the Brexit deadline is approaching at high speed. We`ll go live to London at the end of this hour for the latest on the increasing chaos in British politics and British life.
O`DONNELL: Today, Katie Porter drove south from her California congressional district to the Mexican border where she spent the day at three different border facilities asking the kinds of questions we`ve seen her so effectively ask in congressional hearings, Katie Porter is a freshman Democratic member of the House who flipped a district in Orange County, California, to win the seat in her House.
And so, she went to the southern border today as a member of Congress trying to discover from government officials there exactly who is in charge of what and why, and she saw the conditions there today the way she sees everything, the eyes of a single mother, which Katie Porter is. She spoke to mothers at the border, who have been separated from families. Katie Porter is a former law professor, trained in law school by then Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren.
Today, Katie Porter brought her unique brand of systems analysis to those border facilities, the same kind of common sense, economic and business analysis we`ve seen her bring to cross-examining Jamie Dimon, the head of J.P. Morgan Chase in congressional hearings.
And so, we`re especially fortunate tonight to get Katie Porter`s first degree report on what she found today at the Mexican border.
Joining us now is Democratic Congresswoman Katie Porter from California. She`s a member of the Financial Services Committee.
And, Congresswoman Porter, it`s about, what, an hour and a half, two hours south of your district, you find yourself at the Mexican border. And what are your most important findings of the day?
REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): I think one of the big takeaways is the degree to which people are -- those who are presenting themselves at the border or being apprehended at the border are processing, being passed through many different kinds of facilities relatively quickly. So, one of the things we asked is, you know, what happens here, what happens there, and often the answer was, well, they`re not here very long so we don`t do that. Well, they`re not very long so we don`t do that.
So if you think about a family who might be transferred four or five times from that port of entry or from apprehension until their final destination at each of those locations, there`s a little bit of an effort to say, well, we can`t do that here, we hope the next stop addresses that issue. That was something I saw particularly with regard to the need for additional medical personnel and medical training for border patrol agents.
I spoke directly with those law enforcement officials and they are finding that those of them who have their EMT training are being very strained so I think that`s one of the things we can work on funding and making sure the funding we have given border patrol is going to doing prevention and screening, making sure that we are doing that right from the very start when someone`s put into the custody of the border patrol.
O`DONNELL: I know you have the question of who`s in charge of what, and one of the things you`re looking at OK who is actually in charge of the detention of this person, who decides, where is that decision made, who makes that decision and why is it this person. What did you discover about that?
PORTER: So, this was one of the most surprising parts of the visit for me. As a law professor, I took immigration law in law school. I did some clinical work, some pro bono work on unaccompanied minors, this was 20-plus years ago. So, at the detention facility run by ICE, one of the questions I asked, I met with four women and they would all like to be released back to their minor children.
Two of -- one woman, two of her children are homeless now, and living in a car in Orange County, as a matter of fact, as a result of her having lost her job and being in this detention facility. So I asked kind of what is the standard used to decide who gets paroled, when people are paroled, they`re all adults are given ankle bracelets for tracking purposes, dates to check in and things like that. I said, well, who makes that decision and I was very surprised to learn that it was the head officer there. It`s not an immigration judge who`s deciding who gets paroled.
And so, one of the things that, you know, he freely said to me is that there`s some -- because there`s one person kind of in each of these facilities making those parole decisions that there`s a lot of inconsistency potentially across our border with different folks having different experiences in terms of how long they`re staying in detention. The officials there were very forthcoming. But they told us that their goal is to have people in detention for about 45 days to 60 while their asylum claims are being heard and processed.
But when we talked directly to the four women, they had been there for periods ranging from five months to over a year.
O`DONNELL: And you -- it`s -- you`re talking about people who are being taken from productive jobs that they`re doing in California, California has about a 27 percent population of immigrants. And they are then pulled out of those jobs, disrupting the economic order of that job and then disrupting the economic viability of their families.
PORTER: You know, absolutely. I mean, I asked all of the women I spoke to who had been in the United States and then were picked up, were detained by ICE. And one of the women was actually obtained when she went into ICE to do her regular check-in and she was then taken to a facility. She actually had been checking in for months and at one of her check-ins, she was actually detained and taken to this facility.
But one of the things I`ve heard from them is how disruptive this is to their family and to our local economy. One of the women has four children, all U.S. citizens, described how her oldest daughter dropped out of college in her final semester, right before she was due to graduate, to care for her younger siblings. The youngest of whom is 9.
And so, there is really a strain being created by putting people in detention for long periods of time, uncertain release dates. Because then we`re straining the social safety net to try to care for those families. And I was able to go visit one of the migrant shelters being run by a community organization today and see the incredible work they`re trying to do to meet the needs of these families.
O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Katie Porter, always an honor to have you join us and we really appreciate you giving us your report on what you found there today. Thank you very much for joining us.
PORTER: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, the Trump administration is trying to do everything they possibly can to make it more difficult for people to enter this country. We`ve known that. And now, they are trying to make it more difficult for legal immigrants who are here legally to remain in this country. Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii represents the highest percentages of immigrants of any of the 50 states, and new Trump rules for legal immigrations have created new levels of fear for the residents of Hawaii.
And Senator Hirono is fighting those new rules. She will join us next.
O`DONNELL: Senator Mazie Hirono represents a state where nearly 1 in 5 residents is an immigrant. That leaves about 20 percent of the population of Hawaii at risk of losing their immigration status or having relatives lose their immigration status, because of a new trump administration policy change that could deny Green Cards and citizenship to legal immigrants, if the Trump administration believes that there is any possibility that a legal immigrant might, at any point in that immigrants life, even temporarily, rely on government benefits like food stamps, Medicaid or housing assistance.
Senator Hirono said quote "Donald Trump`s so-called Public Charge Rule will directly hurt hardworking families by punishing them for using critical services or discouraging them from accessing these services out of fear."
You have seen Senator Hirono in action, challenging Trump administration nominees and Trump administration officials in the Senate Judiciary Committee and now she plans to challenge this Trump administration change in immigration rules and we are fortunate tonight to have her with us to explain how she hopes to do that in the Senate.
Joining us now from the only place in the United States where it is still afternoon, Hawaii Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono joining us now from Honolulu. Senator Hirono, I want to get your reaction to the President`s new policy here - the so-called Public Charge Rule, where if you just temporarily for a couple of weeks - very, very briefly fall into using food stamps. He could - that administration could choose to deport you.
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): That`s right. This is yet another action in a long line of actions taken by this administration where I have concluded that cruelty to immigrants or migrants is the point of all of these actions.
And so, yes, with the Public Charge Rule you have a situation where, not only does this administration want to keep people from coming to our country - minority people - from coming into our country. But those who are here, many of them for many years, paying taxes et cetera, they could face deportation.
So needless to say, in a state like Hawaii where there`s a very high percentage - in fact, one out of three people in the State of Hawaii are either immigrants or children of immigrants. So of course the children have a tremendous fear that their parents will be deported under this Public Charge Rule. So it`s having a tremendous negative effect.
And I did talk with a program called the Maui economic opportunities office and this is a Community Action Program and some 85 percent of their clients, which number in hundreds and hundreds of people are Maui, will be negatively impacted by this public charge rule.
O`DONNELL: And the AP is reporting their analysis of it, more than $1 billion in taxes annually is contributed by immigrants in Hawaii. And there`s an economic side of this question that the Trump administration seems to ignore.
HIRONO: That`s because they are blinded in their desire to bring about cruelty - to visit (ph) cruelty on immigrants. And you just talked to Congresswoman Perry (ph) about what`s happening on the border. So it`s a long line of actions taken by this administration, and some of them totally gratuitous, Lawrence.
There is a parole program for Filipino World War II veterans that was put in place by President Obama. There are everyday fewer and fewer of World War II Filipino veterans. They`ve been waiting for decades to reunite with their children. And this administration even got rid of - wants to get rid of this program which is not hurting anyone. So it`s just cruelty upon cruelty.
O`DONNELL: Well, and along that theme, "The Boston Globe" revealed this week that the administration is trying to end the medical deferred action program. So if your child or someone is having surgery - in this case in Boston hospitals that they were finding, that the administration is actually trying to deport these people.
HIRONO: That`s right. So yet another example and we all saw - I think a 16- year-old boy who is given 30 days to get out of our country. So these are people who are here under a legal waiver to enable them to receive medical help that they would otherwise not get. So this is a death sentence for many of these people.
And then you saw the huge ICE raid in Mississippi. Every day, every day this administration is thinking of new ways to previse a cruelty upon the migrants.
O`DONNELL: Senator Mazie Hirono, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I appreciate it.
HIRONO: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, we`ll have the latest on Hurricane Dorian headed to the United States. It has already done damage to the American territories, especially U.S. Virgin Islands, which are just east of Puerto Rico. If the connection still works, we will be joined from St. Croix by Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett who represents the United States Virgin Islands in Congress.
And later, the new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was not voted into office by the British people and tonight British protesters are accusing him of launching a coup, now that he is suspending debate in Parliament, we`ll have a live report on the political hurricane in the United Kingdom later in this hour.
O`DONNELL: We have breaking news at this hour about Hurricane Dorian which could hit the East Coast of Florida this weekend as a Category 3 hurricane. We will have an update on the storms trajectory that 11 p.m.
But first President Trump approved an emergency declaration for the U.S. Virgin Islands, after heavy rains and strong winds from Hurricane Dorian left parts of the islands without power. The three US Virgin Islands - St. Thomas. St. John and St. Croix are east of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico was spared the worst of the hurricane this time.
Joining us now is someone who has dealt with tropical hurricanes before, especially the government response to hurricanes. Joining us now by phone is Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett who represents the U.S. Virgin Islands.
And Congresswoman Plaskett, do we find you in St. Croix tonight?
REP. STACEY PLASKETT (D-VI) (via telephone): I am. I`m home on St. Croix. I`ll be heading to the island of St. Thomas in the morning with our Governor Bryan with our Governor.
St. Thomas, as you are probably aware, received the brunt of the hurricane as it made its way in U.S. territories of the Caribbean.
O`DONNELL: With the President declaring a state of emergency there, do you expect FEMA to be on location? Will you be able to meet with FEMA officials tomorrow in St. Thomas?
PLASKETT (via telephone): Well, I have met with FEMA officials already on St. Croix this morning. We have over 200 federal personnel on the ground right now. We really did try to do an relief preparation for the storm and whatever it would be, particularly because of the fragile state of our own infrastructure here after hurricanes Irma and Maria.
So there are number of federal agencies were already here. FEMA was working and working very closely with the local government to prepare for this hurricane. We tried to anticipate that the hurricane would be worse than it was so that we would be (inaudible).
O`DONNELL: And that`s just two years ago that you`re talking about the other devastating hurricanes that hit St. Thomas. And had St. Thomas completely recovered from those two from the two years ago hurricanes?
PLASKETT (via telephone): No, they have not. So we will say some devastation two years ago, with Irma hitting the island of St. Thomas and St. John and then Maria coming less than two weeks later and really wiping out the island of St. Croix.
So we face this situation where we`re working with FEMA, working with HUD. As you are aware several weeks ago HUD said that we we`re going to slow down the mitigation funding that we were already anticipating receiving.
We`re trying to rebuild now from those other hurricanes. And so we were concerned about what would happen, not only to those individuals we have over maybe 1,200 homes that still have only roots in the Virgin Island between this main island (ph), but also on the infrastructure.
I came an hour ago from a hospital on St. Croix. We have one operating room operational after the devastation two years ago of Hurricane Maria on the island of St. Croix (inaudible) ventures in both of our islands. So we`re concerned about what this tropical storm would have done.
I think we`ve weathered it very well. Our Governor is working very closely with FEMA to ensure that there people on the ground to ensure that our most vulnerable families and individuals, (inaudible) and tomorrow we will quickly getting on the ground to do an assessment of those who may have had severe damage.
O`DONNELL: Congresswoman, Stacey Plaskett, thank you very much for taking the time on this very difficult night for the islands to join us with your reporting and letting us know what`s been happening. We really appreciate it.
And up next we have a live report from London on why protesters tonight have been shouting at the new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson telling him to quote "Stop of the coup".
And before we head to a break, one more note about last night`s show and our coverage of the "Daily Mail" story about Brad Parscale. I incorrectly said Parscale had filed for bankruptcy. It was his father`s company that had filed. And the Trump campaign had issue denial about the reporting that Parscale is getting a cut of 2020 campaign contributions.
Tonight, the Campaign Treasurer, Bradley Crate told us as, "Of the date of this memo today, Brad Parscale has not invoiced or received a percentage of contributions to the campaign or its authorized entities".
O`DONNELL: "Stop the coup" that`s what British citizens and cities throughout the United Kingdom were chanting in protest after the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson took action today that will suspend debate in Parliament from September 12th through October 14th.
That means when Parliament reconvenes in October, they will have only 17 days to find some kind of agreement about the United Kingdom`s departure from the European Union, which faces a deadline of October 31st.
Parliament would presumably need every minute between now and October 31st to come up with such a complex kind of Brexit deal. But Boris Johnson has now made a forced departure from the European Union without a deal, much more likely leaving European Union without a deal. Would mean the United Kingdom was stepping off into the unknown.
Members of the European Parliament are now moving to initiate an investigation into Boris Johnson`s action, calling it an "offence against the democratic process and a constitutional outrage". The world has never seen anything like this since World War II.
The countries in the European Union, including the United Kingdom, have grown increasingly economically interdependent since World War II. That economic interdependence is what Winston Churchill believed and hoped would prevent Europe from falling into war again.
Winston Churchill steered Britain through World War II with a determined decisiveness that now seems absent in British politics. And now Boris Johnson is ready to chuck the economic structure that has brought more consistent peace and prosperity to Europe than Europe has ever seen.
And to what would surely be Winston Churchill`s surprise, Boris Johnson claims, Winston Churchill as a personal hero. The British people never accused Winston Churchill of launching a coup. After this break we will have a live report from London tonight in what is a truly dramatic first draft of history that could be the beginning of the end of the United Kingdom as we know it.
This could cause Scotland to break from the United Kingdom. It could cause Northern Ireland to try to leave the United Kingdom. But in truth tonight, we have no idea what will happen if Boris Johnson gets his way and Boris Johnson doesn`t know either. Boris Johnson is pushing his country toward the unknown. We`ll be back live from London after this break.
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CROWD: "Stop the coup"
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O`DONNELL: Joining us now from London is Cal Perry, International Correspondent for MSNBC and NBC News. Cal, I know that you`ve lived in London. But I`m not sure anything prepares you for what`s happening there now.
CAL PERRY, MSNBC INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No and it`s truly bizarre traveling back and forth to the U.S., landing at Heathrow Airport and thinking Boris Johnson is now Prime Minister and there are X days until Brexit.
Look, the country, is I think, finally in a place where there`s real fear and you saw it in those protests today. This move by the Prime Minister, as you said, just greatly increases the chances that this country, the United Kingdom, will crash out of the European Union on October the 31st with no plans in place.
So there are very real fears about whether or not food will be delivered on time, whether or not medicine will be delivered on time. People are worried about their prescriptions, they`re worried about their doctors and the fear is sort of only growing.
Those days that Parliament has to act, and let`s be honest, Parliament has proved itself incapable of handling this problem since the vote in summer of 2016, are now greatly reduced. There`s only going to be 14 days on the other side of this return to Parliament.
And you have, as leading the government, Boris Johnson, who has become more and more - like Donald Trump, every day when it comes to how to approach the democratic institutions of our time - his view, in his acts today in going to the Queen and getting this dismissal of Parliament, is to just sort of go forward into the breach with no plan and crash the United Kingdom out.
Opposition leaders are looking at maybe a vote of no-confidence. But Lawrence, in the same way that Donald Trump is just kind of boyishly crazy about these things, so too Boris Johnson, seems to be just pushing forward, looking to really, really dissolve not only Parliament, but the way that this country is with the European Union.
O`DONNELL: Is there anything - I know nothing about the parliamentary rules in Parliament and how these things happen. But is there any way that this decision could be reversed?
PERRY: No. Look, the Queen had no choice. She was kind of boxed in. And we`re talking about a country that doesn`t have a written constitution, so your knowledge is probably equal to that of most people here and there and everywhere.
The situation here really is that this was a procedural move. The Prime Minister did not go out of his powers. He didn`t breach his powers. But he created a political crisis regardless there`s a national crisis that faces the United Kingdom.
You mentioned Northern Ireland, how does the United Kingdom stay together and move forward in a situation where Boris Johnson has basically set it up, so there has to be a miracle, a long shot to either vote of no- confidence and again you`re talking about now sort of splitting the remain camp and a vote that would take 14 days out of a calendar that just doesn`t have that kind of time.
The way forward just seems more and more stark every day. And again, in a government that really hasn`t done, at least a job, that many people see a satisfactory to prepare for that hard exit on midnight of their 31st.
O`DONNELL: There`s been a lot of suspicion that the people who have been advocating, basically a so-called hard exit with no deal, have not really meant it and they were using it as a way of trying to force Parliament into some kind of deal. Are any of those people weakening at this point as this crash approaches?
PERRY: No. And strangely enough on the air today on the evening news there was this theory that maybe Boris Johnson was smarter than we all thought he was, and this was his way of signaling to the European Union that if they wanted a tough deal, they had to deal with him.
In reality, the European Union has been dealing with Boris Johnson for many years. Their stance on this is very clear. They will go into their own session in mid-October. Nobody`s expecting them to change the deal.
And again, sort of the big picture here on democracy while we`re talking about overreacting British politicians, John Major, conservative prime minister for nine years here compared the move to Charles Ist, saying that that led to an English Civil War and then the beheading of the prime minister, that`s where we are here on this side of the ocean.
O`DONNELL: This really is the first draft of a very dramatic history. Cal Perry, thank you very much for joining us. Really appreciate it.
PERRY: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: That is tonight`s LAST WORD. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END