tv MSNBC Live With Ali Velshi MSNBC June 19, 2018 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
[ speaking foreign language ] >> no. that gut wrenching sound, these images of children crying, separated, sons in cages. it's not enough for the trump administration to call for an immediate end. more than 2,000 children are now in custody and designated as unaccompanied minors. to put this into perspective, that's an average of 67 children taken into custody per day since may 5th. our reporters are still trying to get access to many of these shelters. in many cases we are only able
to show video provided by the government. the images that we have seen are enough, though, for many members of congress. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell last hour announcing that the gop conference supports keeping families together. and in just a couple of hours, the president will be on capitol hill, meeting with congressional republicans on the house side on this issue. we'll see if he has heard that outcry or if he's listening, instead, to the people who applaud his policy. >> all we need is good legislation. we can have it taken care of. what i'm asking congress to do is to give us an option, legal authority to detain and promptly remove families together as a unit. child smugglers exploit the loopholes and they gain illegal entry into the united states. they come up through mexico. mexico does nothing for us. you hear it here, they do
nothing for us. they have very, very strong laws. try staying in mexico for a couple of days. see how long that lasts, okay? >> our reporters will be reporting live throughout the hour. we want to start in texas, where nbc news kerry sanders is on a ranch there. kerry, tell us where you are, why you've come here. i understand you're talking to some trump supporters who are possibly supportive of the president's policy here? >> reporter: indeed. first of all, let me set the stage where we are, 33,000-acre ranch, cage ranch, 6300 head of cattle, about 60 miles from the border. for three generations the cage family has had this property and for three generations they've
seen a constant flow of people walking across their property. these are the undocumented migrants making their way into the united states. and joining us are the cages. you support the president's policy. i guess the first question to you is when you see parents and children separated, why do you support a policy that appears to be, to many people, heartless? >> it's basically the laws of our land. trump, i believe, is going the right direction. this, i think, will be a deterrent to keep this from happening. if people adhere to the laws of our land, it wouldn't be a problem right now. >> stephanie, you're a mother, a grandmother of seven. how do you react when you see that the families are being split apart? we heard what we believe is audio of children crying for their parents.
>> i -- of course, it is very upsetting, but i'm as equally as upset with the parents for exposing their children to the dangers of smuggling their children across the border. >> these are parents who start in el salvador, guatemala. they got on a train known as the beast and they make this trip. they say they're fleeing a violence that is forcing them to leave. i see you shaking your head. >> well, i think certainly there is some of that. but i think that's very much exaggerated. i think very few cases are caused by that. i think most of them are just coming over here to try to make a better life in this country and all this country has to offer. >> reporter: stephanie as people are arriving and you say you believe this would be a deterrent we don't have actual numbers to indicate it is a deterrent.
>> we don't. >> reporter: so where does that leave -- >> not yet. i think it will show up sooner or later, if we keep it up. >> reporter: it's a very political debate in our country. >> no doubt about that. >> reporter: do you believe that donald trump is still getting pressure from the republican party, his own party here, that this will stand? >> i think he's getting pressure from all sides. >> reporter: understandably? >> well, i understand the big push for separation of the children from their mothers. that has got to be a real -- that's a big point. and that's so important. but still, we have to stay with the laws of our land. and if the laws aren't right, congress change them. >> reporter: stephanie, you told me as many people might wonder if this is just heartless, explain to me on your property -- you have a large piece of property. we're six miles from a
checkpoint. people coming into this country circumvent around and make their way through your property. how is it that you try to help them and also make sure they're not breaking the laws? >> we have water stations on our property with flags. they have tall flags that can be seen from a distance. we have emergency beacons. we allow the border patrol unfettered access to the property. they can come any time and properly and look for people in distress. our own cowboys patrol the property constantly. we have radios at home. we call for assistance whenever -- whenever anybody is in distress. >> reporter: it's important to point all those things out. there are some pieces of property here where those items that you just listed don't exist and the border patrol don't have easy access. meaning sometimes people walking through -- today we have a day that's cloudy but it can be extremely hot out here. dehydration and death is common. >> that's correct. >> in the last ten years we've had 100 deaths on this property
alone. 100 deaths. and that part is just adults dying on this property. it's very upsetting to anyone. you would have to be heartless to know that. >> reporter: thank you both for sharing your thoughts. we'll be moving up to another ranch a short distance from here. casey, at that ranch the deaths of those that have been documented over the years not only include adults, as he just mentioned, but also children. but, you know, clearly this is a hot button topic and one that despite their thoughts on this, you know it's going to be in the news for a while. >> without a doubt. >> >> reporter: ca >> reporter: kasie? >> thank you, kerry. who is this policy serving? a recent quinnipiac poll shows the president's decision as you know popular among americans with only 27% saying they support it and 66% saying
they're opposed. when you drill down, just that -- that poll to just the republicans, 55% say they support it and 35% are opposed. joining me now, msnbc's stephanie ruhle. what have you heard from the time you've been on the ground there? >> reporter: people are saying the migrant situation is an issue but not a crisis. they need a bipartisan approach. we know president trump, it was a failure to say let's build a wall and have mexico say for t people here in the rio grande valley, the relationship that they have with mexico, their neighbor and number one trading partner, is valuable. they don't understand this approach to go after mexico so hard and now to take these people seeking asylum, most of whom are trying to do it
legally, and rip the mothers and children apart. here is the thing, kasie. whether you're talking about a humanitarian issue or economic issue, it doesn't make sense. these women and children are not stealing the jobs and opportunities of americans in a forgotten part of the country. if you're going to have a zero tolerance policy, is the president going to go after employers who are hiring undocumented immigrants and paying them less than minimum wage? thus far, the answer is no. >> well, steph, too, we've heard reports -- i've done some reporting on the eastern shore of maryland, for example, where they rely on many of these migrant workers and there have been crackdowns and there are, quite frankly, jobs open. it's affecting prices and whole industries. >> reporter: you are 100% right. i remember you were talking crabs down here. they're talking shrimp. these shrimp boats need employees. those migrants want to take those jobs. people have told me there are loads of jobs, many jobs that
americans don't want to fill. they've served a lot of service positions and construction positions. it's been very good for the company. when you think about community, the part unity is very important there. it's a warm and loving place, i have to say. >> stephanie ruhle in mcallen, texas, thank you for bringing us your perspective. president trump is continuing to point the finger at basically everywhere except his own administration. he tweeted earlier, quote, democrats are the problem. and that they, quote, want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour in and infest our country. almost 20 minutes later, the president tweeted, quote, now is the best opportunity ever for congress to change the ridiculous and obsolete laws on immigration. let's revisit some of the mixed messaging we've been seeing so far from this administration just in the last 24 hours. >> i don't think it's so much
meant to be a deterrent. it's just trying to enforce a law. >> why don't we have congress change the laws? congress could fix this tomorrow. we have a long-existing policy. multiple administrations have followed that outline when we may take action to protect children. >> are you intending to send a message? >> i find that offensive. no. because why would i ever create a policy that purposely does that? >> are you considering this a deterrent? >> i see the fact that no one was being prosecuted for this as a factor in a five-fold increase in four years in this kind of illegal immigration. so, yes, hopefully people will get the message and come through the border at the point of entry and not break across the border unlawfull unlawfully. >> it seems as though the
question is not just what is the message for today but this hour, this minute. jeff, we are headed up to the hill where perhaps the president will perhaps clarify, perhaps confuse what he wants down here. what's your latest on what the white house wants the congress to do now that mitch mcconnell says republicans want to do something about this? >> reporter: every sign we've gotten so far is that the white house is reluctant to sign any lnlgsilation specif legislation specific with this issue because the president wants to use this issue as leverage to get stricter border enforcement and larger immigration bill. as you well know, that kind of thing takes time. it's certainly not going to happen this coming week. on the specific issue of what we're dealing with now at the border, the department of homeland security today, case kasie, held a briefing for reporters not to offer new information.
what they were trying to do was amplify or explain much of what kristen nielsen said yesterday. children are being well take eb care of early ert in the day as she was speaking to sheriff's in new orleans, she said don't believe the press. children are being well taken care of. i asked the question of these dhs officials, how does she know that? is she getting hourly reports, psych evaluations? by what metric is she basing this that the kids being detained by the government are being well cared for? officials just pointed to general standard practices, high standards, they said, for how they treat children in their care. they also said that younger children, children who present with special needs are held at specialized facilities, they say, that meet the same standards of state licensed facility facilities these officials say they have everything they need except, one could argue, the
love and presence of their parents. to when we might see pictures of girls and toddlers since the government has only made available young teenage boys images to us. take a listen. >> where are the girls? where are the young toddlers? >> i don't know. i'm not familiar with those particular images. >> do you know where the girls are? >> we have children in dhs care, both. as you know, most of the children after 72 hours are transferred to hhs. i don't know what pictures you're referencing. i would have to refer you to hhs. >> so the update is that now dhs says we can expect to see those government-provided images of girls and perhaps toddlers in detention, they say, within two days. they've been martialing resources to the border to get that information to us. of course, it will be government provided footage and images. we are not allowed by the government to bring our own
cameras into these facilities to capture these images firsthand. >> the other option would, of course, be transparency with the press. geoff bennett at the white house, thank you very much. >> reporter: sure. attorney general jeff sessions' own church is accusing him of child abuse for spearh d spearheading this policy. bringing church law charges, accusing sessions of child abuse, immorality, racial discrimination and, quote, disemnation of doctrines contrary to the standards of the methodist church. as members of the united methodist church we teeply hope for a reconciling process that will help this long-time member of our connection step back from his harmful actions and work to repair the damage he is currently causing to immigrants, particularly children and families. sessions is also criticized for using a bible verse, romans 13,
for the separation. so far, sessions and the justice department have not responded to the complaint. demanding action. republicans and democrats in congress are calling on jeff sessions to put an immediate stop to what the white house calls inhumane and unamerican separation of families at the border so they can work on a legislative fix. i'll ask chris van hollen if he has signed on to the letter. and at expedia, we don't think you should be rushed into booking one. that's why we created expedia's add-on advantage. now after booking your flight, you unlock discounts on select hotels right until the day you leave. ♪ add-on advantage. discounted hotel rates when you add on to your trip. only when you book with expedia. billions of problems. sore gums? bleeding gums? painful flossing?
it has blamed their policy of separating their families at the border on lawmakers in congress. as they are making clear, this is the white house's responsibility and any legislative solution, it always takes a while. now there's a push to put the separation on hold while capitol hill has a chance to get some work done. >> i've got a letter on this very subject that hopefully will end some of this problem. >> what is the letter? >> what? >> what does the letter say? >> basically says that we should not do this and cause people to suffer. it's not american to do this when we work for families and children and for keeping them together. and this is splitting families apart. we would like to see that end. >> that letter is for attorney
general jeff sessions. and we're told it should be delivered by the end of the day. for more on this, i'm joined by maryland senator chris van hollen, who just visited a detention center down in texas. senator, i want to, first of all, get your reaction to this letter. i also was just speaking with an aide, a top democratic aide about what mitch mcconnell had to say earlier today, saying the republican congress does not want this to continue and they want to work with democrats to try to pass something to fix the problem. but this aide told me that, quote, we have zero faith that this could go anywhere, that legislation is a path to a dead end. it's a snake pit and that it's just further indication of the president potentially using a group of vulnerable people as hostages. this aide referenced the dreamers as well. do you agree with that assessment and is this the direction you want your leaders
to go? is there any chance of a narrow legislative fix for this problem? >> first, kasie, with senator hatch's letter, i haven't seen the actual language. if he wants to write a letter to the attorney general, saying that this policy of separating kids from their families, from their moms and dads, is unamerican and it should stop right way and that's what he's going to say in the letter, i'm happy to join him. i obviously have to read it. because that letter would make the point that this administration has the authority today to end this policy that they put in place just six weeks ago. whenever the president says he needs congress' help, congress on a bipartisan basis should say not true. it's all on you, mr. president. you change this had policy six weeks ago. as you said, i was at the border. we've seen a huge increase in the number of kids who have been separated from their moms and dads. that is despicable. the president should not be
using them as hostages to try to pass some other legislation on other immigration issues. let's rescind the order. you can work on legislative proposals but let's not delay the reuniting of these families. >> senator, you all are working on a massive defense spending bill. it's usually considered must pass. in these days who knows if that holds the same meaning it once did. this is obviously a vehicle where there's immense pressure for all of you to vote in favor of it and for the president to sign it. there are some proposals to add language to that that would end this policy. do you think there's any chance that some democrats would be willing to attach a narrow fix to that bill to stop this this week? >> kasie, the issue is what you were talking about earlier. if congress could really do a very narrow fix just on this
issue and through a smart, humane way and get it through this process, we would do that. problem is when one person puts an idea out, everybody else wants to add other stuff. that's what's happening in the house, right? the president is trying to use this separating kids from their families as leverage to get other legislative changes on immigration, which is just outrageous. so, we do need to keep the focus on the white house. in the meantime, look, if you could actually do something quickly through congress that was narrow, sure. but let's not lose focus on the real issue, which is that the president of the united states made this inhumane and cruel decision. he can reverse it today. >> let's talk about that house bill and there are a number of changes to the legal immigration system that's been included and we've been shorthanding it as,
quote, unquote, a compromise bill. this is a compromise among republicans in the house, not among republicans and democrats. what are some changes in that bill that you find to be problematic? >> first of all, as you said, it reduces the amount of legal immigration in the country. here we have the president saying he's just worried about illegal immigration. the reality is that that bill would reduce legal immigration in the united states of america. and that's just a start to the bill. if you want to look at a bill that had bipartisan support that would address the issues of the dreamers and other immigration issues, take a look at the senate bill in march. the president wanted a bipartisan bill. we produced it. he pulled the rug out from under that effort. that was, really, as close as
we've come. if we can get a bipartisan quick fix to this other issue of separation, fine. but remember we're trying to fix a problem that doesn't exist except for the president's order. it started six weeks ago. we can date t they have a memo, they put out a policy. that's why you have this outcry from around the country. the entire religious community republicans and democrats are saying come to your senses, president trump. it is unamerican, as senator hatch said. >> as senator graham said the president could simply end this policy by picking up the phone. chris van hollen of maryland, thank you. i'll see you up there in a few minutes, sir. >> thank you. yes, kasie. up next, we'll take you live to mexico, you'll hear from
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. heart wrenching video inside a detention facility. [ speaking foreign language ] >> we're told the person who recorded that audio is a client of the civil rights lawyer and wishes to remain anonymous. we have not independently verified that audio here at nbc news. in an nbc news exclusive, former director of i.c.e. under president obama confirms children separated are sometimes permanently removed from their families, as sometimes happened under his watch, at a time when family separation was not actually a policy. for more on these facilities, i want to turn to msnbc's jacob
soboroff. >> reporter: i'm at the headquarters of the rio grande valley sector. i had a chance to sit down with manuel padilla. the epicenter of these family separations. we had a long conversation off camera, matter of fact. and what we talked about surprise immediate. he said he said he thinks things aren't that bad in the facility we went in earlier over the weekend where 1,100 kids have been separated from their parents. the whole epicenter of the entire border separation. he said he has seen kids smiling and talking with them about the world. it was shocking, actually, for me to hear, given how visceral my personal reaction was, going inside this facility, seeing kids in cages, on those mattresses on the floor, under the mylar blankets. this is just a thing that has affected everybody so deeply as
human beings. and when you hear the secretary of homeland security say she has been inside detention centers but we hear from our colleague she's not been inside the detention center that's separated more kids than any other it's hard to fathom how or why or if the folks in washington are understanding how things are playing out down here on the ground in south texas. >> jacob, can i ask you about this idea of families being permanently separated? is that something that you have encountered in the course of your reporting, finding people who are separated, who are detained, who eventually leave detention and are unable to find their kids? >> i've heard you can get deported while your kid is still in the custody of hhs or in the custody of that child care side of this whole process in operation. if a parent is deported back to their home country after being separated from their child and the child remains in the united
states pending this process that's run by the hhs, that could very well be a permanent separation unless the child decides to rejoin their parents or there's a process to get that child back to their parents in their home country. it's also new. it's also raw. none of this has been done before on a systematic basis by a presidential administration. people are sort of figuring this out as they go along. i've heard cases of parents being separated from their children inside that first step, in the detention center, going to court, being charged and convicted with time served, coming back to pick up their children and reunited and the kid has been shipped off to hhs. none of this is simple. none of this is easy. and none of it really, frankly, makes a lot of sense when you look at it up close. >> msnbc's jacob soboroff. thank you for your tireless reporting on this very difficult subject. see you soon, my friend. in an attempt to crack down on even more immigration, the president announced he wants to
cut off aide from countries from which the migrants are coming. >> i'm going to go very shortly for authorization that when countries abuse us by sending their people up, not their best, we're not going to give any more aid to their countries. why should we? >> keep in mind, they're fleeing their countries because they don't feel safe there and cutting off aid could increase migrants seeking safety here in the u.s. central america is one of the most violent regions in the world. northern triangle of el salvador and honduras, violence stems from gangs and drug cartels to use extortion to get what they want. gadi schwartz is in the capital of guatemala for us. we, here in the u.s., have read heart wrenching stories, in particular a mother who was
departed to guatemala while her son was left here in the united state states. >> reporter: behind this bus is where the air force is, where planes come in to drop off deportees. i want to show you kind of -- i'm going to start pointing stuff off that illustrate and underscore the violent nature of the facility. this is a pretty safe area. you've got these two police officers walking over here. they are armed. they are guarding this stand where they're selling fried chicken and making tortillas. over there, that's a wendy's.
everywhere you go guatemala city and outside of guatemala, you see men with shotguns and they're basically guards. these buses, drivers and navigators in there, this is one of the most terrifying and dangerous jobs in the world. basically gangs control the routes that these buses take. they are extorting almost all of the drivers and the navigators. try to collect that debt and if that's not paid they kill them right here in front of everybody that's on the bus. they also rob everybody that's on the bus. that's a snippet of life here. there is a war going on between
ms-13, exports from los angeles where they originated. you can imagine being in a small little town where you're marked for death, you're trying to escape. they have no real recourse here. to go to the united states where they might find refuge. kasie, back to you. >> gadi schwartz, what a difficult situation for those families. thank you so much for that report. really appreciate it. i want to continue to look at the violence that these migrants are fleeing. let's go now to mexico and the border town where mariana is. you're seeing there with some children. what have you found in reynosa?
>> i think mariana maybe cannot hear us or may be on too long of a delay. >> reporter: we're waiting out to decide what to do, whether or not to cross to the united states. i wanted to give you a glimpse at what these children are going through. these children are fleeing extremely high levels of violence as told through their eyes. before i speak to them -- can you hear me now, kasie? do i have you? >> i think we'll have to go back to mariana in reynosa. we're having technical difficulty. bipartisan group of former u.s. attorneys to call on attorney general sessions to stop the prying apart of children from families at the mexican border, saying that the responsibility falls squarely on
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controversial policy is all about enforcing the law. those doing the enforcing are speaking out against it. homeland secretary nielsen. policies that separate a child from his or her parent absent that a parent has committed a crime would not only be illegal under most state laws but also may be contrary to the policy views of state legislatures and across this country. also criticizing the policy, quote, as former u.s. attorneys we know that none of these consequences nor the policy itself is required by law. rather its implementation and execution is making policy solely at your direction and the unfolding tragedy falls squarely on your shoulders. joining us now to talk about this is joyce vance, former u.s.
attorney for the northern district of alabama. she not only signed the letter but played a role in putting it together. joyce, it's good to see you. i know we are more often talking about the mueller investigation when we see each other. this is, of course, a very difficult subject matter. but one thing i just want to ask you to try to clarify for all of our viewers, the president keeps repeating that this cannot be changed without an act of congress, that the problem is with a law that. is not the case. can you explain why? >> sure. the president is just wrong when he says this. this is a justice department policy. it's not a law. the policy of the justice department now has become that in five border districts every misdemeanor case in which someone enters the united states has to be criminally prosecuted. >> on your first offense? >> somebody comes into the united states for the first time it's a misdemeanor with a maximum of six months in prison.
a relatively -- crime of much lesser weight than, say, trafficking drugs into the united states or someone who illegally re-enters for the second or third time and has serious criminal history. this is really the palest of the immigration crimes. >> how is what the trump administration is doing, policywise, different than what bush and obama did? >> it removes discretion from federal prosecutors in those border districts, forcing them to prosecute every single one of these unlawful entries into the united states. and you can contemplate that they are forced by this policy, not a law but a doj policy, to do every single one of these immigration cases. >> so under the previous administrations, if you, for example, were a prosecutor in one of these districts, you would be able to see the population that was coming across the border and make decisions based on how important it would be to prosecute a drug
trafficker or someone who is trying to come into the united states and has can committed crimes instead of prosecuting the family? >> that's absolutely right. you might focus your resources on someone who has a history of carteling to crime, who comes into this country illegally. those are people we want to use our resources on. for folks entering with their families, the administrative remedy that doesn't require that they be deported say far more humane implementation than this policy that trump and sessions has spearheaded. >> the attorney general has been one of the trump administration officials who has really made no bones about what's really going on here. he has been straightforward that this is a policy of deterrence, that he's trying to discourage people from coming here. have you heard back from the attorney general and do you hope this will make a dent? >> we haven't heard back from him. it's early times. this was an entire group of united states attorneys who --
former united states attorneys who ironically worked through the father's day holiday, to put together this letter, which was ultimately joined by many of our predecessors, republicans and democrats. it was a real group effort. everyone felt very strongly. it didn't matter if you were democrat or republican, that this policy was immoral, not compelled by the law. and it misallocates law enforcement resources. i would hope that attorney general sessions will read this seriously and will contemplate whether there's a policy that would better serve the interests of the justice department and the american people. we would certainly help in any way if asked to. >> joyce vance, former u.s. attorney, thank you for your time. really appreciate it. meanwhile, nurses and others in the medical community are among the loudest voices against the separation of undocumented children from their parents. particularly because of the long-term impact on the children involved. a group of nurses joined hundreds of people today for a rally in el paso, texas.
in a statement the american nurses association president pamela cipriano said, quote, the code of ethics for nurses sets the expectation that we must always preserve the human rights of vulnerable groups, such as children, women and refugees. and pamela cipriano joins me now. pamela, thank you very much for being here. let's talk a little bit about the impact on these children. what do they face when they are separated? >> these children have come from very difficult circumstances, where they've come with their parents and families, fleeing difficult situations of violence and poverty and other conditions in their home communities. and they're coming, looking for a better place to live and in a safe and secure environment. now they're coming to our borders, expecting to be welcomed and, instead, are being taken away, separated from their parents. the only security and people that they know that they love where they feel safe. and that's just an a tchlanthim
everything we believe in. nurses have written to me saying it's appalling, despicable, imm un-american. statements like i never thought i would live long enough to see something like this happen in our country. we have to stop this practice of separating children from their families. >> one thing that has horrified a lot of people are reports of very young children in some of these facilities crying, looking for some solace and having workers in those facilities not be allowed to touch them or comfort them. what's the reasoning behind that? >> there shouldn't be any rationale for that. the belief is if you're providing care to children, human touch is really important. that's what they've come to expect from the people around them, their parents and family members that keep them safe. there shouldn't be any reason if
we're taking care of children, that would be a very important part of reaching out to these children so they do feel safe and secure. >> thank you so much for your perspective today. i really appreciate it. let's go back, though, to mariana at a shelter in the border town of renosa mexico. i'm told we are able to talk to you. i see you're sitting with a group of children. what are you learning there? >> reporter: we've been talking to mothers at the shelter all day. i figured since we've been discussing on msnbc the kind of violence these children are freeing from, why not ask them how they've seen this violence firsthand? this is edison. he's only 7 years old. what are you simplying fr infle your country of honduras?
>> translator: the violence there is very ugly. my brother's backpack was burn ed. every day these gangs wanted my brother to pay them. they wanted my brother to sell drugs. these are the words of a 7-year-old. here's his little brother hiro. what have you seen in your home country of honduras? >> translator: i have seen violence. i have seen death. and we are here fleeing. if it weren't for the violence, we would be there in our home. >> reporter: you guys have been very brave in talking to us today. gracias. >> i've been to the syrian border talking to the children there. when you talk to the children here, it is hard not to make the parallels. these are refugees and a 7-year-old child shouldn't be talking like this. again, with the very real
possibility that their parents cross the border illegally, they will be prosecuted and also face separation after all the horrors they have lived through. >> it's a vocabulary that young children should never have to actually have at their disposal. they should be out playing. mariana atatencio. had a coach in high school. really helped me up my game. i had a coach. math. ooh. so, why don't traders have coaches? who says they don't? coach mcadoo! you know, at td ameritrade, we offer free access to coaches and a full education curriculum- just to help you improve your skills. boom! mad skills. education to take your trading to the next level. only with td ameritrade.
developing news that attorney general jeff sessions' church, the united methodist church accuses him of child abuse for spear heading the family separation policy. i'm joined now on the phone by reverend david wright. he helped in drafting that letter. reverend, thank you for joining us today. i'd like for you to explain to our viewers, this lays out a series of accusations. the framing is that the members of the church are charging jeff sessions with something. can you explain? >> absolutely. thank you so much for having this conversation. the methodist church has processes for any time a clergy person or layperson is engaged in a certain clearly delineated set of behaviors, that we can address that through a process that calls that individual into conversation, discernment and looking through what has happened and what can maybe be done to make it right.
it's almost always used towards clergy, not laypersons. but we were considering what we could do that might have some impact to one of our brothers in the church, mr. sessions. the hope was that this process, its very first stage calls for his pastors and his regional church leaders to have a conversation with him about these charges, about our concerns. it began as a conversation of two or three friends here in the northwest and quickly became something that was national beyond anything we anticipated. >> do you have signers to this letter in the churches from the regions where jeff sessions is a member, alabama and virginia? >> absolutely. 12 in alabama and i'm not sure how many from virginia, but quite a few. >> what would the consequences be if something moved forward here? you make this distinction between clergy and lay people, of course, which i'm sure is relevant. if in fact there was an emerging
consensus that he had violated the tenets of the church, whats to him as a member of the congress immigration? >> the hopeful outcome is that he and his pastors and church leaders have a conversation. the term often used is just resolution. they come to an agreement about things he can do to address the concerns raised and that he not only stops doing those things but he works to undo the harm he's caused. hopefully then we move forward with him using the significant social power he has as a lifelong methodist to do good in the world, as opposed to the harm we see happening right now. >> reverend david wright, thank you so much for calling in today. that brings this hour to a close for me. please remember to catch "kasie dc" sundays. tonight chris hayes and lawrence o'donnell and stephanie rule will be live from texas reporting on the separation of
families at the border. watch at 8:00 p.m. eastern. and lawrence o'donnell live from brownsville at 10:00 p.m. eastern. "deadline" with nicole wallace starts right now. ♪ hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in washington, d.c. we are just over an hour away from what's expected to be an explosive meeting between the president and congressional republicans, who are typically happy to follow donald trump on his misguided policy choices and to stay mostly silent on this unpresidential conduct, but who today, today, are finally trying to pump the brakes on his zero tolerance immigration policy, one that's left thousands of children suffering in detention centers along the border. trump's own party panicking in the face of the political blowback, underscored this morning by criticism from the wall street