tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC October 27, 2018 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT
good evening and welcome to politics nation, we're coming to you on a solemn evening. 11 confirmed kill ed plus six injured on today's hate attack on the tree of life synagogue in pittsburgh. the deadliest ever on the jewish-american community. the suspect is in custody, 46-year-old robert bowers has expressed explicitly anti-semitic views, both on social media and when he was apprehended earlier this
afternoon by pittsburgh police. >> the actions of robert bowers represent the worst of humanity. justice in this case will be swift and it will be severe. >> the president is slated to take the stage within the hour for a campaign rally in illinois. earlier today he addressed the shooting in pittsburgh. >> this wicked act of mass murder is pure evil, hard to believe and frankly something that is unimaginable. our nation and the world are shocked and stunned by the grief. this was an anti-semitic act. you wouldn't think this would be possible in this day and age. but we just don't seem to learn from the past. >> joining me now is pete
williams, nbc news correspond t correspondent. pete what can you tell us that you've learned so far? >> indeed, in addition to the 11 who were killed, 6 injured, and authorities say none of those -- none of the victims were children. four of the injured were police officers, the other two a 61-year-old woman, and a 70-year-old man. who was wounded by gunfire in the torso. he's said to be in critical condition. law enforcement officials say they did not know anything about robert bowers before today. he was not on the law enforcement radar, he was not known to the local police or the federal authorities before today. they do say they believe he acted alone, and they say when he entered the synagogue this morning at about 10:00, he was carrying four weapons a
semiautomatic ar-15 assault rifle. they don't know which weapons he used in the shooting, he walked into the synagogue, opened fire, and then as the first responders were arriving, he came out, that was his first exchange of gunfire with police. then he went back inside the synagogue to hide from them. they pursued him, there was more gunfire with the police. he was wounded in the outside or inside, and finally, surrendered and he was taken to the hospital. he is in -- said to be in fair condition with multiple gunshot wounds, and whether he's talking to authorities now or not, we don't know. in addition to what happened in pittsburgh, as a matter strictly of precaution, police departments nationwide have on their own -- not because they've been told to, on their own have decided to build up security around houses of worship and
synagogues. new york was the first to do it, as it usually does. not because of any specific threats, they don't think this was part of any larger plot, they think he was acting entirely on his own. just as a precaution, new york has done it, chicago, atlanta, washington, d.c., los angeles, san francisco, seattle, lots of cities around the country are shoring up security, not only at synagogues, but other houses of worship. bowers will be charged by the federal government, the justice department is taking a stand here against this deadly hate crime. he will be charged with a federal hate crime, which makes it illegal to attack someone while they're enjoying a house of worship, and using deadly force to do so. that could bring the death penalty if he's convicted. we expect those charges will be filed in the coming hours. >> i heard at the press
conference, they said it could be as early as tonight. we didn't hear at the press conference a lot about robert bowers, but they did clearly say he will be charged among other things, i would imagine, he'll be charged with a federal hate crime. both the u.s. attorney in pittsburgh and the fbi said that. what is the basis if you know, that they can say it was a hate crime? social media? we're told he said some very explicit things at the scene. give us the picture of what we can ascertain about bowers, even though they did not give us a lot of information. >> three things here, one is the simple fact of the case, he walked in and opened fire on a synagogue while people were engaged in the freedom of worship, freedom of religion, that fact alone probably is enough to merit a federal hate crime, but in addition,
witnesses have said that at the scene, he shouted something about killing jews. and then his social media, which law enforcement people are familiar with, they were pointing it to us earlier today. he has a string of vile anti-semitic comments going back several weeks. and just a few hours before the shooting, he was very critical of a jewish refugee organization that's been around for well over 100 years that helps people that made refugees that are nothing other than the fact of who they are, and their religion, and it's called hias. finally, quoting him from this web posting, screw your optics, i'm going in. so for all those reasons, al, i think they believe they have sufficient evidence to say this is a hate crime. >> now, pete, when we look at
this, the tree of life synagogue, do we know what kind of any security they may have had there at the synagogue? >> we don't. but based on who some of the people associated with the synagogue were saying, i don't think they had much, and if they did, i don't think they had anyone who was armed. this is the point the president was trying to make today. houses of worship need armed guards. clearly, most houses of worship in america, large and small don't have people with weapons. >> now, we are -- clearly this is something that has stunned the nation, stunned people around the world, and we've gone from charlottesville, from before that charleston, where we're seeing people just out wardly dealing with questions of violence. i don't think today is a day of
the blame game, i want to emphasize this is the largest attack on jewish-americans in a place of worship in history, am i correct? >> i don't know about in history. but probably in the u.s. -- >> i mean, in the united states. >> i'm sure in the united states. that's what some jewish organizations are saying today. >> where do we go in terms of the charges that will be filed and clearly the names of the victims have not been released, i would assume they want to contact family members first. and move on. one of the things that i sauem if a sized was the bravery of law enforcement, the first responders, and many of us are very vocal when law enforcement does something we disagree with. they seem to have been heroic acts. i understand a couple of those that have been wounded out of law enforcement, actually ran
into active fire. >> no question about that, you're absolutely right about that, this is extreme bravery and valor under fire by those first responders. knowing there was a man with a gun with semiautomatic weapons. you look at some of the weapons they're carrying, i guess their firepower was matched to his, but i'm not sure that the first ones who arrived on the scene were as well armed as the ones we're looking at now. those are the s.w.a.t. team members. some of them are less well armed than he was, still, nonetheless, immediately ran to the scene. and, you know, there's a saying among law enforcement people, while most people are running away from danger, they're running toward it. this today was certainly an example of that. >> no doubt about it, and they were wounded and risked their lives doing that. >> pete, stay with us. let's bring in msnbc legal analyst danny savalos.
>> i can't stay with you, i have to go. >> okay, pete, we'll go right to you then danny. >> what we know so far, is that the federal government has taken jurisdiction over this, away from the commonwealth of pennsylvania, which is the state of pennsylvania. ordinarily, under federal law, the law presumes that the state will prosecute in cases of hate crimes. there are exceptions, however, if the state asks the federal government to prosecute or if the federal government believes that it is specially suited to handle this hate crime, that's an exception to the general rule that states are responsible in the first instance for prosecuting hate crimes such as this. in the federal system, there are a number of different kinds of hate crimes, several of which provide for a potential death penalty, depending on the circumstances. of course, pennsylvania also has the death penalty, but similar to federal law, or the federal system, no one's been put to
death in pennsylvania for over two decades. it's not used very often. >> we do not know if the state made this request to the federal government or not. but we do know the federal government is in charge of this investigation and charging and whatever other legal process is used to deal withholding this person, bowers, accountable. >> that's correct. this is one of those instances where federal and state law overlap. this is overlapping jurisdiction between the federal government, fbi and other investigators and state and local authorities. this happens a lot in criminal law, this is one of those instances, the federal law is a hate crimes law, and then also in pennsylvania, of course. pennsylvania would handle local murder cases, but it also has an ethnic intimidation law, which is pennsylvania's version of a hate crimes legislation. >> all right, thank you, danny. joining me now is nbc's jeff
bennett. he's following the president in murphysboro, illinois. what is the president doing in the middle of all of this? >> there was a question as to whether or not the president was going to even show up here. for a time today the president wondered allowed whether he may cancel this rally. he ultimately decided to show up here, and i can tell you the people here will be happy to see him, when we drove up, the line of trump supporters stretched about some 300 yards. the thing we're waiting to see is what the president says if anything about today's violence and the up tick in political violence we've seen this past week. the question is, will we see twitter trump or teleprompter trump. when i say that, i'm not being glib. i'm referring to an established ritual, where a political moment requires the president to view to the traditions and
conventions of the presidency. he does that up to a point. today we saw that in the reverse. the president in the immediate aftermath of this pittsburgh shooting was asked about it as he was boarding air force one. he suggested if the synagogue had an armed guard perhaps the results would have been different. he also talked about the policy implications, talked about the death penalty. someone asked if it meant we should have tighter gun laws. i don't think that would make any difference. then a time later, when he got to indianapolis, he said the things you would expect a president to hear. he did say one thing that caught my ear, he said, just because we're all americans and we all come together, doesn't mean we still don't fight hard. that to me was a line that suggested -- that was intended to give him political cover to return back to the divisive stylings of which donald trump is known for. in the speech he delivered before the future farmers of america gathering, he was back at it attacking elizabeth
warren. 9 or 10 days to go before the midterm elections. we know president trump feels he's at his strongest when he's on the offensive, on the attack. we expect when he comes here to the 12th district of illinois, this is a hotly contested house seat. i expect him to be true to form saying a lot of the partisan things you may not expect to hear from a president on a day like today. >> it is 10 days before the election. as tempting as it is for me to take on the president, i think today it's about 11 people dead in a vashs hate attack. we should not get in front of that. thank you, jesh bennett. up next, still a very active scene in pittsburgh. 11 people are dead after a man opened fire in a synagogue. we're continuing to stay on top of the latest developments as we learn more about the suspect. we'll be right back. at this wint telling people that geico has been offering savings for over 75 years.
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we're back with the latest on the shooting in pittsburgh. 11 people have been confirmed dead after 46-year-old robert bowers opened fire on worshippers and law enforcement at the tree of life synagogue. joining me now is joel rubin, fourth generation congress gant of tree of life synagogue. let me ask you, give us a
feeling -- give us the thoughts you have as one that knows this synagogue. and explain to the nation what this synagogue means in that community? >> thanks, reverend al for having me here. that synagogue is at the heart of the community. there are a variety of synagogues in crown jewel, which is the crown jewel of the pittsburgh jewish community. my family as you mentioned we're fourth generation. my grandmother is 96, still lives in pittsburgh, she was born in pittsburgh, proud daughter of immigrants to this country that took care of us, and made us part of the fabric of the city. that's really the point here, is that the synagogues are part of the fabric of pittsburgh. pittsburgh has a rich tradition of openness and tolerance and ethnic diversity, the synagogue
tree of life, beth shalom these are really symbols of america for the american jewish community. and so what took place this morning is an attempt to terrorize our community and it won't work. it's deeply upsetting. >> if someone is trying to make a hate attack on the jewish community, squirrel hill generally and specifically tree of life would be a target that they would go. we don't know whether robert bowers lived there or not, but it would be a place that you would express your hate if you had it toward the jewish community. >> it would be a primary target, think of the apollo theater for an attack against the african-american community. or think of so many venues that
are -- >> or a major church that's been there a century or more. >> yes. it's hard to talk about it without feeling deeply emotional, because it's part of our beating heart, it's part of our soul. it's not anything that a pittsburgh jew doesn't know about. squirrel hill is the heartbeat of the pittsburgh jewish community and it's a saudi arabia rant neighborhood for pittsburgh. it's right near carnegie mellon university, it has a professor's mingle with students there. it's a working class neighborhood with a lot of mom-and-pop stores. it's just a real energizing exciting place. and for the jewish community, yes, this is it. >> i also understand as a minister myself of another faith. both orthodox and non-orthodox
jews worship there. it's really like a center for the faith there, isn't it? >> there are three spaces at that synagogue. there's tree of life, there's another synagogue whose name is escaping me now as i'm working through this. it's reconstructionist, it's conservative judaism, there's reform judaism around the corner, there's an hacidic community right around the street. it's a highly diverse community. >> joel rubin, thank you for joining me. joining me by phone is howard fineman, who is a pittsburgh native. howard, we've known each other a long time. this is an atrocious act. and a sad day, but give us around the country a sense of pittsburgh, in terms of the
demographics and how the jewish community in pittsburgh, the pivotal place that it is and operates as a community in the city of pittsburgh. >> we have known each other for a long time. it's comforting for me to talk to you. >> thank zblup we're buddies, and you can understand the horror and the pain of a place like this. on a day like this. yes, i grew up in pittsburgh, i actually attended and was bar mitzvahed at this synagogue, the tree of life. since you're from new york, you know the role these kind of places play. it's a smaller city in which ethnic neighborhoods live side by side, not to be naive about,
there are rough moments, but generally speaking in great harmony. there's great ethnic pride in pittsburgh, catholic, muslim, hindu, et cetera. because of the layout of the city, with a lot of rivers and bridges and hills and valleys, and so forth, each neighborhood has its own very very distinct identity. it's not like manhattan where things change block by block. you have to go across a bridge to get to another neighborhood. the large jewish community of squirrel hill is right in the middle of the city. it's western pennsylvania, so there are lots of parks and trees and rivers and creeks and valleys and so on. it's a beautiful place. squirrel hill sounds like a country estate. in fact there's squirrels racing all over the place in the big parks that bound the neighborhood. and having grown up there, it was a fabulous place to grow up
as both someone who's jewish and someone who's american. because the civic pride of the city, which is now expressed in the sports teams, the steelers and penguins and so on. is something that everybody in the city participates in. and only a city of that size would feel that way. it's a diverse jewish community as has been said, there's orthodox walking around in their long black dress and hats. secular jews who go away to prep school. the pittsburgh jewish community, squirrel hill in particular, it has everyone from lower middle class people jews who work in gas stations and garages and are
waitresses in restaurants and take the bus. in the old days the trolley every day, to very wealthy captains of industry, who participate in the highest levels of corporate life in the city. and it was a great place to grow up, i have to say, my basic reaction is one of shock and disbelief, that in this sort of paradise that i grew up in and convinced me of the utter sure possibility that any jew could grow up to do anything in america, that this kind of thing would happen, than an anti-semitic attack like this, on a synagogue during a religious ceremony and on the sabbath for the mere fact that these people were jews is just, it shocks me beyond words.
you. >> you know, i said you're a native of pittsburgh. you're a prominent and respected writer, i've read your writings down through the years. we've had communities around the country where there have been clashes and rhetoric and some of us have had to say we went over the line with rhetoric, and i remember mrs. king and martin iii telling me, you have to be careful about what you say. we should all use this as data to look into ourselves. we saw charlottesville, we saw this outright mass murder. we saw charleston. are we normal liesing this? you take charleston and what happened today with tree of life. people go into a house of worship and kill people. where are we at and what do we need to do, howard? >> well, i'm just writing about that, trying to think it through
in my mind. i appreciate what you said, i've known you for a long time. you grew up on the streets, you're a tough customer. and i think you've learned over the years -- in my view, you've become a wonderful voice for peace and discord. we all need to grow up and acknowledge the humanity of everyone we're arguing with. the founders wanted us to argue. i wrote a book about this, they wanted us to have disputes. but they also at least put on paper the idea that all men are created equal, and endowed with certain unalienable rights. we're supposed to argue vehemently, that's good. that's how we make progress, but respect the humanity of others. at some route level. i think what's happened in this country, and i think frankly
donald trump is a part of it, he's not the only reason for it, is that we've gotten into a period of arguing by denying the humanity of others. i think to some extent social media is to blame. i think the nature of our politics where we support the extremes and give money to the loudest voices has hurt. and i think donald trump has -- he has such a jungle based view. such a remorseless cynical view of politics as a cutthroat business where you can only win by cutting down others -- >> well, i -- >> i don't want to sound naive here, but that's the way it's gone. >> no, i understand, and as i said, there will be time for me to deal with what i think about donald trump. i think all of us, including me and everyone needs to reflect
and see where this can lead if we're not all more conscious of humanity as you sid, of all humanity. up next, more on the breaking news we're following out of pittsburgh. where 11 people were fatally shot at a synagogue, and the suspect has been identified. you're watching politics nation. . ♪ go. . take off to the big city. find fortune... romance... ...find freedom, just one touch away. ♪
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you're looking at murphysboro, illinois, where president trump will take the stage any minute. earlier today at a rally in indianapolis, the president addressed the shooting in pittsburgh. >> anti-semitism and the widespread persecution of jews represents one of the ugliest and darkest features of human history. the vial hate-filled poison of anti-semitism must be condemned and confronted everywhere and anywhere it appears. there must be no tolerance for anti-semitism in america or for any form of religious or racial hatred or prejudice. you know that. you know that very well. >> up next, more reaction from
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there was an armed guard inside the temple, they would have been able to stop him. >> as we wait for the president to take the stage in illinois, i want to hear from the faith community about today's tragedy at the tree of life synagogue in pittsburgh. joining me now is joe watkins, pastor of the christ evangelical luther an church in philadelphia and rabbi debra waxman, president of the reconstructionist rabbinical college. i spent the afternoon saying we march together on criminal justice and others. tell me as one that is a leader in the faith what this says to you. we're a little over year after charlottesville. we're here now with the largest mass murder of jewish americans
a synagogue in history. how do you as a person of faith, a faith leader, how do you try and move the community forward? >> thank you so much for having me on and for asking that question. i appreciate the two parts of your question, both my own faith and how to lead and how to talk together with communities about this kind of happening. we -- the jewish community has always felt tremendous amount of hope and of confidence about the place that we could find here in america because of the promises embedded in america's founding documents. that all people are created equal. and so we understand this to be a place full of potential, some of which is realized, but we also understand that we ourselves are only as safe as
the most vulnerable among us, which is why the liberal jewish community has been so identified with refugee rights, with calls for trying to dismantle structural racism. so this is this moment of -- we have been living since charlottesville with uncertainty. is this a blip in time? are we still on this trajectory of inclusion and of fulfillment of potential or is this the harbinger of something different? i think what we do at this moment is as much as possible take comfort from the widespread condemnation and the widespread support that are extended our way, that we turn inward to bolster ourselves and we turn outward to partner with other communities to work to achieve the vision of inclusion and of fulfillment that we think is really truly possible on
american soil. >> you know, reverend watkins, talking about inclusion, the civil rights movement in the '60s that preceded you and i in terms of our active lives because we were kids, there were -- this bond. i talk a lot about and will continue to talk about voting rights and voter suppression and criminal justice. but let's not forget two jews and a black, good man, cheney and southwesterner died to get the right for blacks to vote. we're still fighting ha fight. rabbi abraham, joshua herbal and others marched with dr. king. that will inclusion is something that should be addressed in the pulpits tomorrow of nonjewish faith leaders. >> i agree with you so much, reverend al. you should never play down your great history in civil rights. you've been a champion for people of color and for all americans over the years. >> and you're a republican saying that. >> i'm a republican saying it
because it's the truth. >> thank you. >> we've got to say what's true. i'm also a pastor of a church and our hearts go out tonight to the families of those who lost their loved ones in pittsburgh to all those people, innocent people slaughtered by that man today. and our hearts also go out to the police officers who cared enough for their neighbors to put their lives on the line to try to save them. our hearts go out to their bravely and we're just prayerful tonight. we have to talk about it in our pulpits. it's important for people to talk about these things. if we're going to teach people part of loving god who you can't see is to love your neighbor who you can see, that message needs to be loud and clear and strong. the answer is not for us to have armed guards at the entrance of our church, the church that i serve is a place that welcomes everybody. we're a place of people who in some cases are spiritually sick.
we welcome them in so they can get well. we want them to know the same god we know. and so our churches are meant to be a welcoming place. so the whole message is to be about love and loving your neighbor as your love yourself and tonight, we mourn for those families in pittsburgh but we hope there's hope going forward for our nation to really be together. >> rabbi, you know the president right away said they should have an armed guard there. and we don't know yet what the investigation will say. they have already said that bowers can had one rifle and three handguns. but what i'm concerned about faith leaders dealing with is the moral climate in the country. in one week, we've dealt with pipe bombs and now a massacre. what are we normalizing to our children in this country? of all races and all faiths
where every day is this diet of violence and this diet of man's inhumanity to man? where is the moral compass in this country going? >> i mean, i think that's the critical question. i think one of the things that where the need to arm synagogues and churches i think first of all, four police officers were wounded in this shoot-out. i don't know that any one -- what it would take to have stopped him. it took a fairly massive force to stop him. what i think that does is that diverts attention away from what you just pointed out. what we need to be doing as faith leaders and all the moral leaders across the country is to be articulating what it is that we want to be living for. what it is -- our lives are on
the line. what do we want to be risk? and how do we put forward that vision of love? that vision of recognizing that every individual is created in the jewish tradition we say -- in the image of god. how do we put that forward in ways that are compelling that urge people to step forward, to pro actively build that we want to see and in a way that dismantles and disrupts the hatred and deterioration that we're seeing. >> and i think that is the question before us, joe watkins, how we go forward, continue to fight against wrong, racism, homophobia, xeno phobia. but also do it in a way that we don't become what we're fighting. thank you pastor watkins and rabbi waxman. up next, the latest developments out of pittsburgh and the shooting that has left 11 people dead. be right back. rt tickets or a new snowboard. matt: whoo! whoo! jen: but that all changed when we bought a house.
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mourning over the jewish-americans at the tree of life synagogue. our hearts go out to the brave police officers who sustained serious injuries. these evil anti-semitic attack is an attack on democracy. we must unite to concur hate. mr. balboni, the president making those statements, and certainly i have a lot of issues with the president. but he said earlier we should have armed people at every church. first of all, i don't know how feasible that is because a lot of houses of worship are small and can't even afford that. in your advising homeland security here in new york, is that something that is even possible?
>> i don't think it is. it's not sustainable. when you take a look at this type of violence across the country, it is obviously horrific when it happens but it is not the real problem facing school districts or house of worship. take a look what happened in florida. you had the parkland shooting and many school districts died decided to experiment with having an armed guard. they haven't seen any real reduction in any type of threat that was there beforehand. they have seen an increase in insurance cost. you say that's just a cost to pay. who is going to pay for that. a lot of districts say we never had an issue and will it truly make you safer? there is an individual who knows anything about tactics will go after that individual first. so you'd -- it changes the nature. i advise a lot of school districts. if you want to change the mission, the mission of education, you you don't want to the change the mission of religion.
making into an armed camp, that's something people won't assent to. i work with communities in great neck long, they have synagogues with armed guards, but it's not the answer for everyone. >> danny, where does the investigation and where does the federal government who you told us earlier is now in charge, where is the next step? what should we be looking for over the next day or so as grieving families now have to collect the remains of a loved one who just went to worship today? >> it's horrible. procedurally what happens is the government will likely file an affidavit of probable cause, a criminal complaint laying out the bare bones of a crime. i safely that because they may he amend or supersede the indictment later on once he is indicted and he will be indicted. but for the time being, the mission is to allege crimes that they know can stick for the time being so that they can successfully hold him and he can be detained pending the ultimate indictment that will certainly
come probably in the next week or so. >> we are told he so far looks as though he operated alone. how will they assure us of that over the next couple of days. >> right now they're going through his personal effects, going through his car, through his home, social media footprint. they're talking to everybody who possibly knew him, who is his associates, where did he get the weapons from? that is going to be designed to see did he communicate with someone who said yes, go, or i'll help you with this either wittingly or unwittingly. that's how they'll determine if he acted alone. >> let me thank danny and michael. um next, my final thoughts, stay with us. ts, stay with us but then, we were like. what are we doing? the nicodermcq patch helps prevent your urge to smoke all day. nicodermcq. you know why, we know how.
today has been a painful day. the attack by the shooter was because he was against jews. but the attack was really against all of us. and until we all feel each other's pain, we have not grown to where we should as a country. whether it's blacks in a church in charleston. whether it's people marching gets neo-nazis in charlottesville, whether it is this despicable act today in a tree of life. we must understand that we can disagree without hate, without
venom, and without looking the other way when it's not one of ours. we should all mourn tonight for the 11 families that have lost a loved one and then we ought to get up and do something about bringing this country to one standard and fighting against racism and anti-semitism and homophobia and xeno phobia. because we all have a part in setting the tone. we can't just look at one or two people and talk about how crazed they are if we are creating a climate where people that are crazed feel that they can go forward and done what was done today. today was painful for all of us. we must be big enough to take that pain and use it to water our seeds of growth, where we can become a nation that can debate without debasing others. and where we become a nation where the tone from the top in
the white house, to your house and my house, is saying that we all must have one nation under god indivisible with liberty and justice for all. that does it for me. thanks for watching. i'll see you back here tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. eastern. now, the news continues with alex wit. >> right now, good evening, rachel. >> thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. on sunday night this past weekend police made an arrest after a flight landed from central america at lax. at los angeles international airport. it was a 28-year-old american man who is the leader of a violent white supremacist gang in california, according to california law enforcement. according to people familiar with this case who spoke to "the new york times" on condition of anonymity, this man, this 28-year-old u.s. man had fled from the united states across the southern border into mexico