tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC August 15, 2017 12:00am-1:00am PDT
unknown. that is our broadcast for tonight. thank you for being here with us as we start a new week. good night from nbc news headquarters here in new york. tonight on "all in" -- >> we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence -- >> two days late, the president changes his tune on charlottesville. >> hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides. on many sides. >> tonight trump's defense for delaying his condemnation of white supremacists. >> they have been condemned. they have been condemned. >> plus, reading between the lines. >> cherish our history. >> other hate groups. >> many sides. on many sides. >> and the reaction from republicans. >> these groups seem to believe they have a friend in donald trump in the white house. >> then, the russia investigation goes inside the
white house. and the president's approval rating hits another historic low. >> and i'm not sure that anybody's done what we've done in a six-month period. >> "all in" starts now. good evening from new york. i'm joy reid in for chris hayes. earlier today this country reached a grim and ugly milestone. the president of the united states succumbing to overwhelming pressure was forced to clarify that he does not in fact support nazis and white supremacists. >> racism is evil. and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the kkk, neo-nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as americans. >> those scripted comments from the president came more than 48 hours after violent clashes broke out in charlottesville,
virginia. at a rally held by a collection of white supremacist groups. where neo-nazis and klan members marched openly in full regalia with polo shirt-wearing so-called alt-right true believers. they chanted bigoted slogans including the nazi german slogan "blood and soil" in the pure light of day. >> blood and soil! >> blood and soil! >> blood and soil! >> blood and soil! >> [ bleep ] you [ bleep ]. >> [ bleep ] you [ bleep ]. >> you will not replace us! you will not replace us! >> listen to how former kkk leader david duke described saturday's turnout. >> this represents a turning point for the people of this country. we are determined to take our country back. we're going to fulfill the promises of donald trump.
>> and later a car allegedly driven by a 20-year-old whose social media is littered with nazi material rammed into a crowd protesting the rally, wounding 19 and killing a 32-year-old woman named heather heyer. the alleged driver who attended the rally as part of a white supremacist group has been charged with second-degree murder and denied bond. and yet when the president of the united states finally addressed what happened, hours later, he chose not to denounce the white supremacists and ignored reporters' questions on the subject. >> we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides. on many sides. thank you very much, everybody. >> mr. president. >> mr. president. >> white nationalists -- >> do you want the support of these white nationalist groups who say they support you, mr. president? >> mr. president -- >> have you denounced them strongly enough? >> would you call that terrorism, sir?
>> those comments were praised by the editor of a prominent neo-nazi website that said, "he didn't attack us. he just said the nation should come together. nothing specific against us. really, really good. god bless him." to just about everybody else, however, donald trump's remarks were an astounding new low. the man occupying the office that has for decades been the leader of the free world refusing to denounce an abhorrent ideology of racist supremacy or to call out nazis by name. the backlash was immediate and bipartisan. with trump's approval rating falling to 34% on the new gallup daily tracking poll. the lowest ever in that survey. this afternoon amid mounting pressure the white house tried for a redo with a reluctant president going before cameras to finally denounce those hate groups by name. but only after ticking through a list of his supposed economic accomplishments first. later at a second public appearance he declined to explain what took so long.
>> mr. president, can you explain why you did not condemn those hate groups by name over the weekend? >> they've been condemned. they have been condemned. >> tonight the president was back to lashing out on twitter. "made additional remarks on charlottesville and realized once again that the fake news media will never be satisfied. truly bad people." i'm joined by new yorker staff writer jelani cobb, jennifer rubin conservative columnist for the "washington post," and msnbc political analyst michael steele, former chairman of the rnc. jelani, donald trump, it took him days to finally denounce the nazis and neo-nazis and others that marched in charlottesville by name. but he was real quick this morning when kenneth frazier who was the ceo of merck, who was african-american, resigned from his manufacturing council. he went right out minutes after that announcement and tweeted "now that ken frazier of merck pharma has resigned from president's manufacturing council he'll have more time to all caps lower ripoff drug prices." what do you make of the reluctance to denounce white supremacists but the speed at
which he denounces people who criticize him? >> look at the relative amount of provocation it took. the letter that frazier sent was fairly respectful, saying he was not going to be part of this council anymore, and gave a very principled explanation for why he would not continue to participate. on the other side of it we've seen a group of people who are allied with a movement that was at the center of a world war that the united states' main claim to moral authority in the world has been centered around defeating this force of evil, which explicitly believes in the inferiority of other peoples. and they were responsible for allegedly the death of an american citizen. and yet we got this evenhanded response to it. so it's unconscionable and it's bizarre but it also opens up these other questions. when he says that racism is evil, so the logical follow-up is do you know rescind the comments you that made about judge curiel when you said he could not be objective because
he was, quote unquote, mexican even though he was born in the united states? do you rescind the comments that you've made about muslims being hostile to the united states and to america? where do we stop here? because there's a reason. people had a real concrete reason for believing he was a person of like mind. so this simply raises more questions. the statement he gave today raises more questions than it answers. >> yeah, jennifer, we've been here before. when the holocaust remembrance statement came out that erased jewish victims from the holocaust and you had this bland statement that a lot of white nationalists tend to go in that direction where they try to take the jews out of the holocaust. and then you have today, the behind-the-scenes from the a.p. saying that trump later expressed anger to those close to him, he was angry he had to do this. he was angry about what he perceived of the media's unfair assessment of his remarks, believing he had effectively denounced all forms of bigotry according to outside observers several trump advisers including his new chief of staff urged him to make sure it would go away and the rising tide of
criticism, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. you have seen from donald trump, who does have a jewish son-in-law, and yet this reluctance to really go directly at nazism when to jelani's point the reason that the president of the united states is leader of the free world is that we defeated the nazis. i don't get it. >> i think there are two things going on. one is these people are part of his base. however he wants to phrase it and gussy it up he wants to call steve bannon part of the alt-right, the white supremacists, the white resentment, the fear, the anger toward non-white americans is what has fueled his campaign from the get-go. and like it or not, that's who these people are. they're not a totality. they're not a majority of his base. but they are part of it. and he does not want to dump on them. second is donald trump of course is a narcissist. the definition of anyone who is a bad person is someone who is disloyal to him.
so he will snap and hurl epithets at someone like mr. frazier or any aide who betrays him in his eyes, at the attorney general. the only qualification for being in his good graces is loyalty. the only disqualification, the only unpardonable sin is disloyalty to him. so i think this is classic donald trump. it's a mix of this very deliberate, manipulative, cultivating of white resentment and donald trump's famous narcissism. >> and you know, michael steele, john harwood had a great piece out today where he talked about the private disgust of republican lawmakers and calling it really remarkable, the personal disgust. and yet publicly you've had a lot of, you know, strong denunciations of the neo-nazis but still this reluctance to make that disgust with donald trump public. i mean, do they get any credit for being privately disgusted? >> hell no. come on. no. not at all.
because this is the moment. this is the seminal moment for the republican party. you're going to be defined by the stench that comes from this. the country's watching. the country wants a response. and you cannot have this both ways. you cannot on the one instance say oh, my god, this is terrible privately and then publicly hem and haw and figure out a way to sort of smooth over hurt feelings in the white house. that's not what this is about. this is about how you hold a country together. this is your lincoln moment as a republican, mr. president. this is not something that is part of reality television because this is real for a lot of people out there, particularly a family that lost a daughter. that lost a sister. and i think that's the thing that's missed here more than anything else. >> and jelani, i don't know why i was surprised, people were so surprised. they're acting so surprised. donald trump hasn't changed. >> no, he hasn't. and this is consistent i think -- people who were new yorkers who remember the central park five, who remember people who
were a generation before that, who remember the housing discrimination issues, this is pretty much vintage trump. and its kind of linear progression from where he's been. and just one other quick point about this i think is interesting, it's notable that we have seized upon the nazi element of this, that this was the line that could not be crossed. but they were there to defend a confederate statue. so we are perfectly willing to countenance a kind of muddy or hazy morality around america's sin of racism. the confederacy being directly connected to the abominable practice of slavery in this country. it's when we talk about something that's external, something that happened in europe, something for which we don't feel morally culpable that we can say okay, here's the line, we have to stop here, we can't tolerate this. >> it's a really good point. michael steele, as we look at those -- on the left side of the screen or the right side of the screen depending on your point of view, those are protesters outside trump tower.
they are protesting outside trump tower where donald trump is expected to be tonight. and michael steele, during the election you had donald trump's namesake son donald trump jr. fly down to mississippi, which was not in contention. it's a deep red state. just to support the confederate flag. you've had these long known positions of donald trump on things like birtherism and republicans applauded and marco rubio said he's honored to help him become president. shouldn't republicans do a little more self-examination? the confederate flag piece of this, the monument piece, republicans have tolerated it for generations. >> i appreciate your use of the words self-reflection because i think that's what's needed here. and you don't have that far to go. go back to what reagan said. go back to what george w. bush said. go back to that convention speech by bob dole in which he pointed out the exit for those who want to bring that kind of filth into the republican party. that's the republican party i think needs to step up right now. this isn't about just supporting
the president. this isn't about just supporting the party. this is how we as a political party want to govern at a very critical time and show the kind of leadership that the american people have come to expect from us. we have a history of standing in that crucible on civil rights, for example. why do we relegate that to the ash bin of history just to get a vote from a neo-nazi? are you kidding me? this makes no sense. >> and jennifer rubin, we've had in durham, protesters have brought down a statue, a confederate-era statue. it is quite ironic, isn't it, that when those statues went up it was democrats that were the southern conservative party and republicans were hated by southern democrats. and now you have a party that isn't really willing to denounce these confederate statues and in fact defending them. >> exactly. i began with nixon and the southern strategy, and it's gotten well out of control since
then. and your other panelists are exactly right. this is something that donald trump has cultivated his whole life. he cultivated it during the campaign. and now i think through our failed education system, through some laziness in the press, people still think there's something to revere in these statues. these are the people who killed hundreds of thousands of americans and fought a war to enslave other americans. so i think we need some public awareness here. >> we're out of time. i wish we had more time. jelani cobb, jennifer rubin, michael steele, i'm sorry. thank you all for your time tonight. and up next, taking cues from the white house. some of the highest staffers in the current presidential administration and their ties to the so-called alt-right after this two-minute break.
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be bigger, better and stronger. >> donald trump and steve bannon have long had a cozy relationship. that was bannon interviewing trump on his first breitbart news daily radio show back in 2015. less than a year later trump made bannon his campaign ceo and then brought him into the white house as his chief strategist. despite his ties to the white nationalist ideology calling itself the, quote, alt-right. bannon once even bragged that his media outlet was, quote, the platform for the alt-right. but bannon is far from the only member of the trump administration with ties to anti-immigrant, anti-multicultural, anti-muslim, and pro white nationalist ideology. there are in fact a disturbing number of top trump advisers who somehow just happen to keep mimicking the talking points of the racist fringe. for example, after the atrocity in charlottesville, "vanity fair's" gabe sherman reported that, "when i asked a senior official why trump didn't condemn c-ville nazis, he said what about the leftist mob? just as violence if not more
so." politics reporter for the daily beast who also spoke to white house officials one of them when asked if he would visit charlottesville, said "why the hell would we do that?" let's start with you on this, gabe. there does seem to be beyond donald trump a reluctance among white house aides to really understand the gravity of the alt-right white nationalist sort of affinity for the president. >> yeah. and i think without questions the last few days we've seen actions speak louder than any of these quotes can. donald trump was slow to acknowledge the atrocity that took place in charlottesville. and i think this gets at the core of really what donald trump's governing philosophy is. this is his base. he speaks the language of sales. he is a salesman first. and he knows that these are his most loyal customers. so why would donald trump including his advisers come out and alienate the people that are going to be buying his product, aka the voting booth. >> do you know who -- can you give us your reporting on who
wrote these two different speeches? well, not really speeches. the remarks that donald trump has given on charlottesville. >> i haven't been able to 100% confirm that yet. having said that, from my reporting over the weekend, i can confirm that in crafting the first speech that the president gave on saturday, addressing the attack in charlottesville, the president when he was talking to aides before the speech was written and of course before he gave it, he specifically stated that he wanted to emphasize a restoration of law and order and the rule of law, which is something he repeated in his speech today and something he repeated on twitter after his initial speech. that's where his head is at. the initial version of the speech was never going to be a specific denunciation of white nationalism or neo-nazis. it was going to emphasize what candidate trump and now president trump had been known to emphasize, even though nazis are back is literally the easiest gimme in the history of
american politics. >> it's a layup. yeah. anything on many sides, there had been speculation whether it was ad-libbed or written. do you know? >> i don't know in specific. i do know in private this is what donald trump has talked about with aides. and i think what the issue is -- i think fundamentally this white house doesn't see the white nationalist movement as a problem. they see it as a legitimate expression of a constituent group. the same way black lives matters is an activist group. they don't see them, i don't think, from my reporting, as, you know, a fundamentally bad actor. so in this calculus the trump white house says well, if white nationalists want to turn out in charlottesville in march they should have the right and that the counterprotesters were as much to blame. and obviously we know that's not the case. >> what's interesting about that is if you actually read what alt-right says about themselves, as when milo yiannopoulos co-wrote this guy to the alt-right on breitbart.com, one of the things it said is the rise of donald trump perhaps the
first truly cultural candidate for president since buchanan. grassroots appetite for more robust protection of the western european way of life. one of the milder things. they also said in group identity, racial identity is a legitimate thing that white americans should pursue and it essentially tells you yeah, we want to pursue white national identity and identitarianism and separation. it is incredibly offensive to equate that with black people saying please don't shoot us. >> right. there's a weird equivalence that happens among not just people who read and write at breitbart on the right, what they like to equate black lives matters and fringe groups like neo-nazis or alt-righters whatever you want to call them. and there is quite frankly that's one of the most dishonest and disgusting arguments going on right now in conservative circles i can think of. and that is a refrain that you will hear fairly frequently including from some conservatives who don't consider themselves pro trump. >> you've never heard, gabe,
anybody that's in black lives matter or any religious -- any religious leaders were there marching against these protests, you never heard people in these counterprotest groups saying things like michael anton, who works in the white house, used to be a right-wing blogger, who when he was blogging as publius, this pseudonym he used, wrote "the ceaseless importation of third world foreigners no tradition of, taste for or experience in liberty means that the electorate grows more left, more democratic, less republican big r, less republican small r, and less traditionally american with every cycle." i don't -- i only see the alt-right talking about the ceaseless importation of third world foreigners. >> many people on the right would reference pigs in a blanket when they talk about -- >> those people weren't black lives matter. go on. >> i think this is a false -- another case of false equivalence. and i think as much as anything this is a test for donald trump's new chief of staff, john kelly, because this is a crisis where we could have seen leadership, where we could have seen a new leadership in this
white house. and donald trump, true to form i think as you pointed out in the last block, he has not changed. he has reverted to the same style of politics as he ran in this campaign. i think it's beyond the point of us expecting to see a new kind of leadership from this white house. >> bannon likely to stay? >> i think the more he is attacked i think donald trump digs in and says that this is the far left pushing his guys out. >> gorka likely to stay even with that medal from -- >> i think bannon has more of a chance of staying than gorka because he is closer to trump than gorka. >> thank you guys very much for being here. appreciate it. and coming up, the robert mueller investigation showing no signs of slowing down. new reports say the special council is looking to interview current members of the trump administration. what they're reportedly looking for next. hi.
just hours ago yet another story dropped on the investigation into ties between trump's campaign and russia. the "washington post" reporting that three days after donald trump named his campaign foreign policy team in march of 2016 the youngest of the new advisers sent an e-mail to seven campaign officials with the subject line "meeting with russian leadership including putin." the adviser, george papadopoulos offered to set up a meeting between us and the russian leadership to discuss u.s.-russian ties under president trump. telling them that his russian contacts welcomed the opportunity. according to internal campaign e-mails read to the "washington post." the suggestion reportedly set off concern inside the campaign including from then campaign chair paul manafort. in a statement to nbc a
spokesman said, "mr. manafort's swift action reflects the attitude of the campaign. any invitation by russia directly or indirectly would be rejected outright." meanwhile, "the new york times" is reporting that the special counsel, robert mueller, is now in talks with the white house to interview current and former officials. the reporter who broke that story joins me next.
administration officials, including the recently ousted white house chief of staff reince priebus. according to three people briefed on the discussions. one of the things mueller might want to talk to priebus about, the president's decision to fire james comb gary his job as fbi director. comey testified to congress he had a number of interactions with the president including a february 14 meeting in the oval office in which he said the president, after shooing everyone else out of the room, asked him to back off the investigation of michael flynn. according to comey, reince priebus was one of the people asked to leave the room. one of the reporters who broke that piece, matt apuzzo, pulitzer prize-winning investigative reporter for the "new york times," joins me now. along with renato mariotti, a former federal prosecutor who has litigated multiple cases of corruption. thanks for being here. matt, i'll start with you. so there aren't any interviews scheduled yet, my understanding is, but what is that process? and how far up the food chain in the white house are we talking about in terms of these interview requests?
>> it doesn't get too much higher up than the now former chief of staff to the president. this is kind of a back and forth process right now. we're not talking about subpoenas. no interviews are scheduled. but certainly if you're the white house, what you're seeing here is a fall season that is going to be pretty busy. and if you're hoping to push your tax cut agenda, if you're hoping to put your domestic policy agenda, you're going to have to deal with robert mueller kind of looming over all of these things. and for all of president trump's kind of allusions to maybe i'm going to fire mueller, that's not decided or stay tuned, the white house is really taking a posture of we are in full cooperation mode, we want to move past this, we want to get this done as fast as possible. i think they know that going to war with the special counsel right now is probably not in their interests. >> renato, i asked that question about the food chain because when i think back to the comey
memos we saw released one of the things he said is jeff sessions, the attorney general, was shooed out of the room. so would it be logical for the prosecutors to want to talk to jeff sessions because comey said he then had subsequent conversations saying keep this guy away from me. >> yeah, there's no question that sessions was a witness to that interaction, that dismissal from the room, which would be important if mr. mueller is going to try to prove that the president had a corrupt intent when he fired james comey, which would be required to prove obstruction of justice. so i would expect sessions to be a witness in that investigation. >> and matt, do we know specifically if the comey firing is all that the mueller team is interested in, or is there more that is related to sort of directly to the russia investigation? >> oh, no, it's very broad. we obviously know that robert mueller is looking at michael flynn, the former national security adviser, and his business dealing. they're looking at paul manafort, the former campaign chairman, not just for russia stuff but for general banking and financial issues.
so there are a lot of irons in the fire for the special counsel and a lot of pressure points. if i'm the white house, i see a lot of pressure points that bob mueller has to put -- you know, to put pressure on my administration. >> and renato, i'm wondering, a, if the fact that we're hearing about the comey piece of this signals that obstruction of justice might be the thing the white house is in jeopardy of here. and b, is there any chance at all that these interviews would not be under oath? >> so first of all, it certainly suggests to me that robert mueller has already looked at the documents related to the comey obstruction piece of the investigation and is ready to move forward on that basis. a prosecutor like mueller would not interview people until he had already reviewed everything else. so it certainly appears to be a focus. regarding whether or not the interviews are under oath, it won't be that important for mueller to have the interviews under oath because an fbi agent will be present for all those interviews and lying to an fbi
agent is a crime. >> that's right. >> so typically, what happens in these investigations is you permit an off-the-cuff interview -- or not off the cuff but more informal interview so that the person's more comfortable and can have their attorney present, but it's still a crime to lie. >> matt, i'm wondering just about the breadth of sort of the lawyering up that's taking place inside the white house. we've heard names pop up like the president's long-time secretary, works out of trump tower but who people still go through to get meetings. obviously reince priebus, people who worked inside of the west wing. are people lawyering up and is there some sort of legal defense fund that donald trump is helping them to pay these bills? >> well, so far i'm not aware of any legal defense fund, but obviously everybody is seeking counsel. and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. frankly, that's a really smart thing in any sort of situation like this. and you know, to echo the remarks that were just made, clearly we know bob mueller has got the -- has got access to the comey memos. we know that that is one thing
that's being looked at. the question of obstruction. and the white house, frankly, the conservative lawyers really believe that the president cannot be prosecuted for obstruction under this sort of unified executive theory of government, that the fbi director really only gets his power to investigate from the president and since the president has the power to pardon can he really be indicted for obstruction? there's going to be a legal back and forth. a little legal dancing that occurs if mueller wants to go down that road. >> you're the former prosecutor here, renato. do they have a leg to stand on saying the president can't be prosecuted for obstruction? >> i've got to say, there certainly have to be cases where a president, if he fired an fbi director or tried to end an investigation for an improper purpose that would be obstruction of justice. you can imagine a president who received a bribe, for example, and ended an investigation on that basis. is it really -- under their theory that president would not be obstructing justice, and that
just can't be right. i don't think a court is going to go that way. >> we shall see. matt apuzzo and renato mariotti, thank you very much. appreciate it. >> thank you. we have breaking news tonight. a second ceo has quit the president's american manufacturing council following donald trump's response to the atrocity in charlottesville. kevin plank, the founder and ceo of under armour tweeting out "i love our country. i am stepping down from the council to focus on inspiring and uniting through the power of sport." plank's resignation follows merck ceo kevin frazier's resignation earlier today. and he also cited the president's response to charlottesville. donald trump has attacked frazier twice on twitter since he quit the council.
following a weeks-long war on mcmaster from alt-right publications including breitbart several prominent republicans are coming to mcmaster's aide. senator john mccain writing tonight, "the recent attacks upon him from the so-called alt-right are disgraceful. such smear tactics should not be tolerated." and one of the gop's biggest donors, las vegas billionaire sheldon adelson declaring his support for mcmaster. yesterday mcmaster repeatedly dodged questions from my colleague chuck todd about his relationship with bannon. >> can you and steve bannon still work together in this white house or not? >> i get to work together with a broad range of talented people, and it is a privilege every day to enable the national security team. >> you didn't answer. can you and steve bannon work in that same white house? >> i am ready to work with anybody who will help advance the president's agenda and advance the security, prosperity of the american people. >> do you believe steve bannon does that? >> i believe that everyone who works in the white house, who
has the privilege, the great privilege every day, of serving their nation, should be motivated by that goal. >> wow. following those notable non-answers, tonight there's new reporting on bannon's future at the white house. and trump allies' foreshadowing of a shake-up. and that is thing 2. in 60 seconds.
"the new york times" reports late tonight that steve bannon is in limbo as trump faces growing calls for his ouster. rupert murdoch has repeatedly urged president donald trump to fire him. and reportedly at a recent white house dinner "mr. trump vented his frustrations about mr. bannon." that comes as anthony scaramucci in his first interview since being fired as communications director offered this veiled prediction of bannon's future. >> you've been tough on steve bannon. does he have to go? >> well, i think the president knows what he's going to do with steve bannon. >> which is what?
>> well, let's leave it up to the president. it's his decision. but i mean, at the end of the day i think the president has a very good idea of who the leakers are inside the white house. the president has a very good idea of the people that are undermining his agenda that are serving their own interests. >> they include steve bannon? >> yeah. look, i mean, we're not on a phone call and a taped phone call, and so we're on live television, and so i would prefer to let the president make the decisions the president needs to make. unpredictable symptoms. crohn's, you've tried to own us. but now it's our turn to take control with stelara® stelara® works differently for adults with moderately to severely active crohn's disease. studies showed relief and remission, with dosing every 8 weeks. stelara® may lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections and cancer. some serious infections require hospitalization. before treatment, get tested for tuberculosis. before or during treatment, always tell your doctor if you think you have an infection or have flu-like symptoms or sores, have had cancer, or develop any new skin growths, or if anyone in your house needs or recently had a vaccine.
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was that domestic terrorism yesterday? >> i think what terrorism is is the use of violence to incite terror and fear. and of course it was terrorism. >> so you do classify that as terrorism. >> well, and from a legal sense there will be a full investigation as you know -- >> i understand. >> -- but certainly i think we can confidently call it a form of terrorism. >> national security adviser h.r. mcmaster certainly had no trouble calling saturday's deadly racist vehicle attack in charlottesville an act of terrorism. attorney general jeff sessions said the attack "does meet the definition of domestic terrorism in our statute."
these statements by members of the trump administration are not insignificant. especially considering his administration's policies toward hate crimes and domestic terrorism. the president's 2018 budget proposal would cut more than $600 million from grant programs to state and local agencies, including predisaster mitigation grants and counterterrorism funding. and in june the administration did away with a $400,000 grant for a group called life after hate, which is dedicated to deradicalizing neo-nazis and stopping white extremism. the trump administration's mixed message on what exactly constitutes terrorism, next.
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authorities say 23-year-old jerry drake varnell has been arrested after 1:00 a.m. on saturday. authorities say he allegedly tried to detonate a van that he had parked in an alley near bank first. he had a quote anti-government sort of ideology. he allegedly intended to targeting the federal reserve building in washington, d.c. first but then switched to the bank first building because
quote i didn't want to kill a bunch of people. >> wow, on the same day as the attack in charlottesville, a 23-year-oldman in oklahoma city acting on hatred of the u.s. government tried to detonate what he thought was a 1,000 bomb bomb. joining me now is va neat that who headed the civil rights division, malcolm nance and ben howe. malcolm, i'll start with you. we know they did a report and found that white supremacists were responsible for 26 homicide, and more than any other domestic extremist group. why do we put so much infamous on people who claim to be islamic and not on white nationalists. >> law enforcement in the united states has their head in the
sand. i train hundreds of homeland security agents every year. and i tell them every time, anyone that you're going to go to guns with is not going to be a member of isis oar al qaeda. those will be extremely limited incidents. if you're going to have a shootout on the streets, it's going tore the sovereign citizens movement or someone in the neo-nazi movement. they have guns and an ideology' they want to use them. so long as we think that terrorism only comes from the muslim world, you're going to get bit and we're finding that out from the individual that the fbi arrested. he had an explosive device of a car boehm, isis style, thousand pounds of explosives but he thought it was real when he pressed the detonator and the fbi arrested him. so long as we hide away, we're going to have incidents that surprise us in the future.
>> going back to oklahoma city, you've had manifestations of this anti-government extremism. in 2012 a gentleman from dhs tried to raise that issue, he was shouted down. they withdrew the report. a bit of reluctance to deal with it. now that we know that richard spencer is going from campus to campus, more of the rallies planned, texas a&m on september 11th, back to virginia, back to florida. is there less reluctance after charlottesville among conservative to deal with this? they're targeting young conservatives. >> i wouldn't say there's more reluctance. i see a lot of pundits and writers that are definitely speaking up saying what they think about all of the hate coming out of charlottesville. but i think that it has to come from the top. and the alt-right which encompasses a lot of the white nationalist movement on the right, and i've been saying that since they made their appearance
a few years ago, they're in the white house. i mean steve bannon is basically the leader of that movement and he's called himself that. he said breitbart news is the platform for it. and when all of these various groups were called out by trump and ever applauded, calling out the kkk and white nationalists, he left out the alt-right and there's in excuse for that. he's only doing that because he know it's part of his base. and until he gives lip service to the idea they need to be condemned, then it's going to be a problem. >> the texas a&m rally scheduled for september 11th has been canceled. vinita, you know, one of the issues that we did see in virginia, according to governor of virginia, these people are young, angry and a lot of them are armed. claiming up to 80% of the people on the streets of charlottesville protesting the removal of the statue were
armed. reason magazine came out and refuted that saying wait a minute, they have the same tanks and body armor that every other city has gotten from the justice department. why wasn't that deployed. >> you're talking about from the civilians? >> from the police. >> a lot of the law enforcement has learned from the lessons of ferguson. there's been a lot of training around deescalation and the like. right now there are questions about the policing tactics that are with engaged that day. but i do have to wonder whether the charlottesville police actually had the kind of training post-ferguson to know that going into the streets with tanks and armor may not be the way to go. people are asking questions is this because folks of a different race that were out on the streets. and yet the harm that was caused was so incredibly severe that
i'm hoping that right now charlottesville is debriefing on what lessons they've learned from managing what happened on friday night and saturday. >> malcolm one doesn't law enforcement have to begin to see just because they're young white men in polos, you need to treat them as radicalized people. >> i understand that they had 1,000 law enforcement officers and national guardsmen there on the site. but there was a failure of intelligence, a failure in their operational tactics on the streets to get the proper heavy sources between the two sides. if they need some help, they need to go to germany and watch how the german police handle it. their job is to come, segregate, keep the forces aside and dissipate. and i think for the most part they're going to have to understand that these rallies are going to get bigger. the neo-nazis are views themselves now as a growing
movement where they own the white house. and they say that. i read their websites. so long as they do that, they're going to look for confrontation but the next time it may be an armed weapons confrontation. the governor said they had guns better than the tate police. you need to put down a heavy state presence so show that you can't be overwhelmingly taken. i don't think they did it this time. >> i think it does have to come from the top. you have people armed who are getting messages that they own the white house. are conservatives powerless to stop this? >> i think the republican party has certainly made clear that they're not going to do anything to disrupt what they consider their base in a lot of ways. the alt-right whether or not it's a fringe -- which i do believe overall it's a fringe was they exalt a lot of power.
they've got their man. i think definitely people are going to find that the alt-right is going to continue to do this and continue to feel emboldened as long as the republican party doesn't really step down and say we don't approve of any of this and if breitbart doesn't change the way they talk about it, we're not going on their radio shows, we're not going to do it any more. so far they're not doing that. >> in durham you had people pull down a statue, one of the confederate generals, you can see they pulled it down saddam hussein style. you have people on the other side not willing to put up with being brutalized by these white nationalists groups. you know, what do you anticipate the justice department response to all of this is going to be? >> look. i think that the fervor in america right now is as strong as ever.
the justice department has opened the investigation. that's good. but we've got to understand, has people have said before, there are folks steps away from the oval office that are promoting an agenda that is an alt-right agenda, have the ear of the president. you have a justice department on a whole host of civil rights issues have had a decidingly issue rights issue. i meanwhile, along with all of the other civil rights groups that are doing this work, very concerned about the attorney general's agenda on voting rights, on lgbt rights on a whole slew of issues trying to lock out key segments of the population that also reflect an agenda that is brutalizing as well. >> the cycle continues. we don't have many answers but we really appreciate you guys for sharing your views. and that is "all in" for this evening.
the 11th hour with brian williams starts now. tonight, donald trump back in new york spending his first night at trump tower since becoming president and given the weekend we've just witnessed, it's a noising crowd below. and after a weekend without condemnation of white supremacists or neo-nazis, the president grudgingly went there today and later called out the media. and news tonight on two other fronts, north korea and russia. including reports robert mueller's looking to meet with west wing staff including the former chief of staff. all part of our world as "the 11th hour" gets under way on a monday night. as we begin a new week, good evening to you, once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 207 of the trump administration. today when the african-american ceo of merck pharmaceuticals resigned from the president's manufacturing council, it took the president 54 minutes to attack him on twitter.