tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC June 21, 2019 12:00am-1:00am PDT
downing of an american drone was an error. >> i have a feeling that it was a mistake. >> tonight, the potentially catastrophic implications of war with iran that one is talking about. then -- >> here are some other specific examples from the mueller report. >> filmmaker rob reiner on his high-profile push to get americans to read the mueller report. >> that's collusion. plus, the justice department's push to deny beds and soap at migrant detention camps. >> are you really going to stand up and tell us that being able to sleep isn't a question of safe and sanitary conditions? and my exclusive interview with tand hassy coates on the movement for reparations. >> the real dilemma posed for reparations is just that, a dilemma of inheritance.
>> when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. from day one, in fact, stretching back before day one of the campaign, forces within the trump administration and the trump campaign and the republican party and the conservative movement have been pushing for war with iran. now, that has, at times, including the president himself, depending on which side of the bed he woke up on and which cable news hosts he's been listening to. and at every turn, the trump administration has taken concrete steps using its power and authority to heighten tensions with iran, starting, famously, with pulling the u.s. out of the iran nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions, even though iran was in compliance, according to donald trump's own government. and now that they've managed to provoke iran into what seems to be an endless cycle of escalation, they're on the brink of getting what they always wanted. and i have to say, the idea that a war with iran is now on the table is utterly deranged.
we're going to get to the latest developments in the news in just a second, but just, let's take a step back and consider the context. iran is a country of 83 million people. much larger, geographically than either iraq or afghanistan. where the u.s. still has boots on the ground after years and years and years of grinding war. we have up to 15,000 troops in afghanistan today, 18 years after u.s. forces first invaded, the longest war in the republic's history. we've got some 5,000 service members in iraq, another 2,000 in syria. and on top of that, the trump administration has ordered another 2,500 troops to the middle east in just the last month. all of those american service members would be directly in harm's way if we went to war with iran. and yet, war with iran is now a possibility, apparently. that washington is somehow taking seriously, after iran shot down an american surveillance drone last night, the u.s. says the drone was over international waters. iran said it had ventured into iranian air space.
after this latest incident, senator lindsey graham took to every available microphone on capitol hill to share the advice he gave the president. >> so i talked to the president this morning. you need to tell the iranians that if they increase their enrichment program for the uranium, that would be a provocative act towards the united states and israel and all bets are off. i think the target list should include the naval vessels that have created the problem in the straits of hormuz, the iranian naval vessels. that's what reagan did in the '80s. and if you want to break this regime's back and make them stop being provocative, take them out of the oil business. >> what is your sense of how close we are? >> we're a lot closer today than we were yesterday and only god knows what tomorrow brings. >> reporter: this afternoon, the white house summoned national security officials and leaders to the situation room for a briefing where officials warned the president against bumbling into war by accident.
>> we told the room that the democratic position is that congressional approval must be required before funding any conflict in iran. one of the best ways to avoid bumbling into war, a war that nobody wants is to have a robust, open debate, and for congress to have a real say. >> this weekend, national security adviser john bolton, a longtime proponent of attacking iran, will travel to meetings in israel, a country whose prime minister is also a longtime proponent of attacking iran, and i should note that both bolton and netanyahu also pushed very hard and successfully for the war in iraq, which ended up strengthening and expanding the influence of none other than the iranian regime they want to go to war with again. as for the president, who is theoretically, institutionally, technically in charge of the whole situation, he started the day with what sounded like a threatening message, tweeting, iran made a very big mistake, but later clarified that he meant it literally.
>> i think probably iran made a mistake. i would imagine it was a general or somebody that made a mistake in shooting that drone down. i have a feeling that it was a mistake made by somebody that shouldn't have been doing what they did. i find it hard to believe it was intentional, if you want to know the truth. i think that it could have been somebody who was loose and stupid that did it. >> asked about the possibility of military conflict, the president answered with all the gravity of a reality show star teasing the season finale. >> mr. president, how will you respond? >> you'll find out. >> are you willing to go to war with iran over this? >> you'll find out. you'll find out. obviously -- obviously, you know, we're not going to be talking too much about it. you're going to find out. they made a very big mistake. >> i'm joined now by senator mazie hirono, democrat from hawaii, member of the senate armed services committee. the president says "you'll find out" as if he and he alone as the unilateral authority to make decisions about a military attack in iran.
do you agree with that? >> of course not. this is why, you know, you just have to scratch your head as to who's running the show. and with the president, a lot of it is a lot of show. so this is serious business. we have escalating tensions now with iran. and when you have a situation, for example, where the iranians are saying that they shot down the drone in their air space, we're saying it was in international air space, this is the kind of situation that leads to miscalculations. which is why, at this point, congress needs to do what it's supposed to do, which is to tell the president, you cannot go to war with iran in an unauthorized way. so we have an amendment that i hope will be the subject of an amendment to the national defense authorization act, if mitch mcconnell will let it come to the floor. and so far, he hasn't said it will, that will prevent unauthorized military operations
against iran. we need to be that specific to tell the president what's what. but he's acting as if this is some sort of individual thing that he can just run on his own. it's just terribly disturbing. >> is the united states senate getting fully -- do you feel like you're getting good information, fully briefed, being consulted with throughout this process? >> of course not. so, yes, we did get a briefing yesterday, but it is very disconcerting when one must question whether or not you can believe what's coming out of the mouths of the representatives of this administration. and i'm not the only one that has those kinds of thoughts, disconcerting as they are. but when the information came forth that possibly iran had attacked some ships, even our allies in europe and japan said they'd like more information. when our country's credibility is questioned in a situation as
serious as this, i think that it is ever more important for congress to say to the president, through this amendment, that i just mentioned, that you are not going to take military action against iran without congressional approval. >> this is sort of a mood question, but i'll ask it. i feel like i'm watching this thinking, this is insane. this is utterly insane. we're going to go to war with iran. we've got 15,000 troops in afghanistan, another couple thousand in iraq who would be directly in harm's way because of iranian-backed militias there. do people on capitol hill feel that sense that they cannot believe what they're watching? >> i cannot believe what i'm watching and hearing. and one would think that even the president who said that the iraq war was one of the stupidest things that could have happened, and here he says -- and being very flippant, from what i can gather. and so, when you don't have a jim mattis there at the
department of defense, for example, who's running this place? is it bolton? as you mentioned, bolton was right there during the lead up and attack on iraq. have we not learned a thing? the last thing we need is another ground war in iran and in the middle east, because it's already a very unstable area and we'll have further instability. and when we do something like this, one would hope that we would be thinking about the unintended consequences that we obviously did not when we went into iraq. so you can count on it that if there's something untoward that happens, such as our country unilaterally, without congressional approval, attacking iran, you're going to have some consequences that will probably haunt us for a long, long time. because we're still in afghanistan. we're still in iraq. >> senator mazie hirono, thank you for making some time tonight. >> thank you. >> for more on the trump administration's logic, i'm joined by medi.
i just heard someone saying that inside the administration, it's trump versus bolton. and a bunch of different swing votes. and i think to myself, here it is. senior white house official tells me it's bolton versus trump versus how to proceed on iran. trump does not want conflict. pompeo, pence, esper are swing votes, et cetera. the president seems to be essentially a kind of pundit/commentator sitting at a bar on his own administration, as it moves almost inexorably towards actual military confrontation. >> and what's so absurd, as you said in your intro, it depends what side of bed he got out of. he makes hawkish statements one moment, then he says, it's just a small thing, these tanker attacks are not a big deal. and you have people on left and right trying to give trump cover, saying, he doesn't want a war. and i don't buy that. i don't think you can give him a get out of jail free card on this. because he's the one who appointed john bolton, knowing that bolton's lifelong mission
has been to start a war with iran. he appointed mike pompeo who said, when he was a member of congress, that we shouldn't have a deal with iran, he should have 2,000 sorties. that's pompeo's phrase, air strikes. he's appointed these people. you can talk about swing votes or being on the fence, but this is his administration and this will be his word. if god forbid it happens, this is a guy who claims that iraq was a mistake and libya was a mistake. but iran will make iraq and libya make look like a walk in the part. >> as someone who has covered the region for a while, what is your response to lindsey graham and others who are now saying, oh, the reagan recipe, we'll just drop a bunch of bombs on iranian naval ships. what do you think of that? >> lindsey graham, a man who's never met a middle east nation that he didn't want to bomb, invade or occupy. that analogy is silly, a war that america was already involved on, not the same principle at all today. the idea that you can just drop a few bombs, chris, is absurd.
the hawks want to have their cake and eat it. on the one hand, iran is this mad, mesonaic, and on the other hand, we'll drop a couple of bombs on their ships and they'll bow down to us and go quiet. it's the same people that pushed for the iraq war. you mentioned bolton and netanyahu. they said the same thing about saddam, saddam hussein was has been boring al qaeda, when the invasion of iraq gave us isis. so what the hell will the invasion of iran give us? >> what's also striking to me is that the problem that those who want to confront iran put their finger on, and this aspect of it is not completely wrong, which is that the iranians have a kind of expansionist push outwards, particularly in the last ten years, in terms of their influence, is largely borne of the fact that we bombed iraq and
invaded iraq. and that the iranian influence has expanded enormously due to listening to people like john bolton the last time around! >> indeed. john bolton and benjamin netanyahu testified in congress. they're the ones now complaining about the fact that iran controls iraq, allegedly. who allowed them to do that? and knock out the taliban, which was a good thing. nobody likes the taliban. but iran benefitted from that, too. they benefited from many u.s. military interventions in that part of the world. and now you have this situation where lindsey graham and co. are talking about retaliation. the way this is being framed, the united states has to decide whether or not to retaliate to a drone being shot down or a tanker being attacked. in fact, u.s. intelligence says it's iran that's retaliating. senator tim kaine said u.s. officials said that all of the iranian actions so far, all of them, are a response to trump's quote/unquote maximum pressure campaign. so let's get our framing right. it's iran that's been subjected
to massive sanctions, iran that's had the nuclear deal undermined and violated. i'm not defending iranian actions, but who's brought us to this point? it's the trump administration. >> can you imagine what the reaction would be if the iranians happened to hack a u.s. columnist to death in an embassy. imagine what people would say. medi hasan, thanks for joining me. filmmaker rob reiner and his campaign to get people to read the mueller report. and next, if you're still worried about what to call the places that we keep migrant families that we're rounding up, you may want to pay attention to what's inside of them. that reporting in two minutes.
compare comcast business to your current provider. my current service provider does not provide half of what you provide. and to know that i could save money? i'd be thrilled. this sounds like a whole business package, which would be incredible. so what are you guys waiting for? let's do it. (laughs) comcast business gives you a full suite of products with great performance and value. get fast, reliable internet on the nation's largest gig-speed network for less than at&t. that's 120 dollars less a year. better, faster. i mean sign me up. comcast business. beyond fast. amidst the debate about what to call the government-run migrant detention facilities comes a horrifying new story from the ap today. lawyers interviewed more than 60 children at a border patrol station, some place they should be held for a maximum of 72 hours, and what they heard was truly awful. quote. three girls, ages 10 to 15, said they had been taking turns keeping watch over a sick 2-year-old boy because there was
no one else to look after him. when the lawyer saw the 2-year-old boy, he wasn't wearing a diaper and wet his pants and his shirt was smeared with mucus. children told lawyers that they were fed uncooked frozen food or rice and had gone weeks without bathing or a clean change of clothes at the facility. now, you may think, one facility just fell through the cracks, but it's actually worse than that. because, in fact, the government, our government, is now arguing that it doesn't need to provide things like toothbrushes or even soap. right now, detention of migrant children is guided by a legal agreement called the flores settlement. and donald trump has been railing against that agreement and trying to get out of it because it requires minimal standards of care for children in u.s. custody. tuesday, a government lawyer argued before a three-judge panel over the level of care that was required and shocked judges by suggesting what was not needed.
>> are you really going to stand up and tell us that being able to sleep isn't a question of safe and sanitary conditions? you can't be safe and sanitary or safe as a human being if you can't sleep. >> well -- >> and you said in your brief, it doesn't say anything about sleeping, so therefore, there's nothing in here about being able to sleep. >> i think the concern there is, your honor, the court -- finding that sleep, for example, falls under -- is relevant to a finding of no safe and sanitary conditions is one thing. but the ultimate conclusion is, safe and sanitary is a singular category in the agreement. and it was -- one has to assume left that way and not enumerated by the parties because either the parties couldn't reach agreement on how toe numerate that or that it was left to the agencies to determine -- >> or it was relatively obvious. and is at least obvious enough so if you're putting people into a crowded room to sleep on a
concrete floor with an aluminum foil blanket on top of them, that doesn't comply with the agreement. i mean, it may be that they don't get super thread count egyptian linens. i get that. but the testimony that the district judge believed was it's really cold. in fact, it gets colder when we explain about us being cold, we're forced to sleep crowded with the lights on all night long, and all you put us on is the concrete floor with an aluminum blanket. i understand at some outer boundary there may be some definitional difficulty, but no one would argue that this is safe and sanitary. >> what is your strongest argument then? >> well, i -- i mean, i think what i would go to is that when you start enumerating, for example, specific hygiene items, and the way that was done is that the court sort of enumerated these and say, these fall under the rubric, these fall in the category of what
could be required -- >> but, again, it wasn't perfumed soap. it was soap. it wasn't, you know, high-class milled soap. it was soap. >> it's within everybody's kplon common understanding, if you don't have a toothbrush, if you don't have soap, if you don't have a blanket, it's not safe and sanitary. wouldn't everybody agree with that? do you agree with that? >> well, i think it's -- i think those are -- there's fair reason to find that those things may be part of safe and sanitary -- >> not maybe! are a part. why do you say "maybe"? you mean there are circumstances when a person doesn't need to have a toothbrush, tooth paste and soap for days? >> well, i think, in cvb custody, it's frequently intended to be much shorter term, so it may be for a shorter term stay in custody that some of those things may not be required. >> but i don't think that was the situation that the court was confronting. it wasn't as though those people were there for 12 hours and they
moved on to the hilton hotel. no, they were there for a fairly sustained period. and at least according to the evidence that the judge believed, they weren't getting these things for a fairly sustained period. >> all right. so call the facilities where this is happening wherever you want, but arguing that children don't need to be provided beds or soap is, well, nothing short of deplorable. e without using heavy, overwhelming scents? introducing febreze one. it eliminates odors with no heavy perfumes, so you can feel good about using it in your home. for a light, natural-smelling freshness, try new febreze one.
because president trump certainly has committed all kinds of offenses that meet the standard of impeachment. >> the list of house democrats calling for the impeachment of president trump continues to grow. as it stands right now, 72 democrats and one lonely republican have publicly taken that position. this comes as new politico morning consult poll found that 65% of self-identified democrats support impeachment up from 59% just after the mueller report was released in april. meanwhile, legendary filmmaker rob reiner has produced a video for now this explaining some of the more dramatic findings of the mueller report for those who have not read it. >> on august 2nd, 2016, trump campaign managers manafort and rick gates met with a russian agent in a cigar bar in new york city. >> this is one of many meetings where they shared the campaign's internal polling data and their electoral strategy specifically
the targeting of midwestern states. >> let me say that again. trump's campaign manager shared trump's election strategy with russia. >> that's the textbook definition of collusion. >> and rob reiner joins me now. rob, this is the second video -- i think i've seen them both. what is the goal here. >> the goal here is to educate the public. you know, virtually nobody has read the mueller report. and if you do read it, you will see that there is more criminality in that relating to president trump than any other sitting president in american history. and most people just don't know about it. so we're trying to educate the public. it's kind of like a weird cache 22. where if you don't know about what he has done in terms of not only collusion, which it's loaded with, but of obstruction of justice, then how else can you start an impeachment proceeding? i mean, here's the tricky thing.
in the days of nixon, they had hearings, bipartisan hearings in the senate, which educated the public. they had actual witnesses come in public under oath, and you heard what nixon had done. the american public has no idea what president trump has done. no idea. >> you know, it's funny you say that, because i generally think that that's largely true, although it is interesting to me, the polling indicates that the public opinion has moved in the direction of impeachment. that as many as 50% of people think that he should be impeached. i think around half of folks think that he actually coordinated with russia. so what's sort of striking to me is despite the fact that those hearings aren't really happening, if they're happening, they're not happening in the public, some messages are getting through. maybe it's the rob reiner effect. >> i don't know if it's that, but i think people are reacting to the fact that they see a president who is clearly a criminal.
and they see his behavior and they see how, you know, his policies of putting kids in cages and not giving them blankets and soap and all of these things, and they're appalled. and they abhor that, but they don't know specifically what's in the report, which is totally loaded with criminality. >> what was most striking to you? obviously, you've gone through the report and you've been sort of building these segments, right, around what's in there. like, what was striking to you when you went through it? >> nothing. nothing, to be honest with you, chris. because, you know, when president trump first came on the scene, i knew a lot about him. i knew who he was and i was -- my hair was on fire. you can see, i don't have any hair anymore. it all went away. but i mean, i had been apoplectic from the get go. and i launched the committee to investigate russia, knowing full well that these connections were there.
but i also was realizing that the public, it's complicated for them. they don't really understand it. but in the mueller report, it's very clearly laid out. criminality, there are ten instances of obstruction of justice, over a thousand federal prosecutors that serve both republicans and democrats have said that this is a slam dunk case for obstruction. so it's this weird thing now where, you know, nancy pelosi wants to make sure that there's going to be a guarantee of a conviction in the senate. and we know that's probably not going to happen, but you pointed out just now, we're at around 50% thinking that the president should be impeached. when the hearings in watergate started, they were only at 19%. by the time the public was made aware of everything, they moved and moved very quickly. and i believe that will happen here. you know, you remember when mueller came on television for
eight minutes, that's all anybody talked about for two days. >> it's true, yes. >> that's it! hope hicks did not testify. nobody knows about hope hicks. it didn't happen. >> because it didn't happen in front of the cameras. >> and that means it didn't happen. >> spoken like a true hollywood man. >> well, no, but in terms of the public. in terms of the public. they need to see people on television telling the story. if hope hicks, for instance, did what she did in closed session on camera, it would be shocking! and people would be talking about that for days. >> i a hundred percent agree with that. very good point about what we're seeing and what we're not seeing. the book version and the movie version which is sort of the key part of this whole thing. rob reiner, thanks so much for making time. >> thanks for having me, chris. still ahead, my exclusive interview with ta-nehisi coates on the fight for reparations. plus, tonight's thing 1, thing 2 starts next. if you have medicare, listen up.
medicare alone only covers 80% of your cost, leaving you to pay the rest. changes to medicare are no laughing matter. if you don't know the plans available now, you might end up with a doctor you're not so comfortable with, or even worse, being forced to pay thousands in medical expenses due to coverage limitations. that'll be how much? understanding all the options, let's face it, it can be downright confusing. that's why i love healthmarkets, your insurance marketplace. they search thousands of plans from leading insurance companies to find a plan that's right for you. plans that have prescription drug coverage, dental and vision care, and that offer extra benefits you may not even know were available. some plans may eliminate your out of pocket cost like copays and deductibles, and there's even plans with no monthly premium. they can find you a plan to let you keep your doctors. i know that's important for me. you may also qualify for special subsidies that lower your prescription drug costs. healthmarkets doesn't just work for one insurance company. they work to help you, and they do it all for free.
hi, i'm dr. thomas stackhouse. it's a new medicare year and that means more changes and more confusion. many people may worry about the high cost of medical care and prescription drugs. the key to maintaining your health and saving money on your healthcare cost is finding the right plan for you. don't go it alone. make sure to explore all of your options to find the right plan for your needs. having helped enroll people in millions of policies with an a plus customer satisfaction rating, you can trust healthmarkets. you can enroll today. call healthmarkets now for free help. it's easy to find the medicare plan that saves you money, so you can enjoy more of the things you love. call now to take advantage of this free service. now is the time to update your coverage or enroll for the first time. call healthmarkets now. call the number on your screen call this number now.
thing 1 tonight. we now know the trump tax cuts were a scam. they did not deliver on any of the benefits they promised, except for wealthy people and corporations. now, that's not exactly a surprise. all republican tax cuts going back to the reagan area are basically designed to do this. all of them, based on the same economic model from the 1970s, the so-called laffer curve. it's the idea that basically says, you can increase revenue by cutting taxes.
and it's been proven not to work over and over and over again. but that did not stop donald trump from giving art laffer, creator of the laffer curve, the presidential medal of freedom yesterday. >> the now-famous laffer curve, still a very, very highly respected economic curve. >> really one of the best curves. just a legendary curve. but did laffer get that medal because trump really respects his curve? or was it maybe for something a bit more recent? that's thing 2 in 60 seconds. termites, feasting on homes 24/7. we're on the move. roger. hey rick, all good? oh yeah, we're good. we're good.
termites never stop trying to get in, we never stop working to keep them out. terminix. defenders of home. the first survivor of ais out there.sease and the alzheimer's association is going to make it happen. but we won't get there without you. visit alz.org to join the fight. economist art laffer came up with his famous laffer curve back in 1974, but it was something he did a lot more recently that may have been his greatest achievement, because it is perhaps the thing that really brought him to this moment when the presidential medal of freedom was placed around his neck. "trumponomics," a book he wrote with kudlow and steven moore about how smart trump's policies are, which are, of course, their
policies. >> i've heard and studied the laffer curve for many years. the wharton school of finance, it's very important thing that you've done, art. very important. >> very important, though i don't think trump studied it at the wharton school of finance. trump was a student there in the '60s. trump came up with the curve in the '70s. maybe he heard about it from the ferris bueller movie in the' 80s? >> art drew on his napkin a series of lines and a curve that changed history with the now-famous laffer curve still a very, very highly respected economic curve. >> does anyone know what vice president bush called this in 1980? anyone? something d-o-o economics. voodoo economics.
right now there's a national conversation going on about whether this nation should be paying reparations to its african-american citizens. recently, reporter trymaine lee visited georgetown university in washington, d.c., where students are pushing for their school to repair the sins of its past. >> georgetown is one of the most prestigious universities in the united states. it was founded by jesuits in 1789 on the backs of slave labor. the university owned plantations in maryland and even enslaved people on campus. but it wasn't until 2015 that a student researcher discovered
that the university sold off 272 people to stay a float in 1838. those people ended up in louisiana on some of the worst plantations in the u.s. one of their descendants is a current student at georgetown. >> my ancestors were here until members of their families were sold in 1838. so my family and who i am as an american actually goes back 11 generations. >> milison is among a group of activists pushing to make the university the first in the country to pay reparations for slavery. an overwhelming majority of students voted to increase their own tuition by $27.20 a semester. that's 10 cents for each of the people the university sold. the money will go to a louisiana community where many of the descendants live. a community that lacks basic services like a hospital and secondary school.
>> we're not making a gift to these people. their, like, quality of life is directly tied to the actions of the university. even just geographically. being put in communities in louisiana and maryland, if you're put in a community that doesn't have a lot of social mobility and resource, that's directly the result of georgetown selling your ancestors to individuals in this location. >> reporter: shepard thomas is one of the many descendants of 272 people. he still has relatives in that community in louisiana. >> i treat this as justice. so even though you can say justice is victory, i feel like it's fairness for all. equality is one thing, but equity is another. and i would hope for that to come from this. >> reporter: what do you hope for, when you think about the what the university could do? >> i hope for the university fully acknowledging this by providing things which could forward the lives of others, like education, medical help, or other ways that people can go further in life, because they weren't granted certain opportunities that students who go to georgetown university have.
>> georgetown is one of countless american institutions with its foundation and buildings built with slave labor. many of the most iconic buildings in the nation's capital were built in part or whole by slave people. >> there are buildings all around this city that were at least built by slave labor or funded by the sale, i'm sure, including this building right here. >> absolutely. i think the white house is the quintessential american building. its exterior signals purity and grace and grandeur. and behind the scenes, at its very foundation is the work of enslaved people. i think the thing that people need to understand about the issue of reparations, it's an attempt to settle a debt that can never be settled. >> it sounds like you're talking about justice, but sometimes in america, justice is hard to come by. >> justice is incredibly hard to come by, and in these little glimmers, when we see young people invested in the possibilities of justice, it reminds us that even in our darkest hours, that there is hope and that when we show that to other people, that they see
the possibilities in their life, that they didn't know were there the day before. >> yesterday, when of those buildings you saw there built with slave labor, congress held its first hearings on reparations in more than a decade. among those testifying was journalist and author, ta-nehisi coates, whose 2014 article entitled "the case for reparations" helped renew the reparations debate. i'll talk to him about the case for reparations and the pushback from republicans who say they don't want to relitigate the past right after this break.
it was a rare sight in congress. a hearing on reparations held in one of the many buildings in washington built on slave labor. ta-nehisi coates helped kick start this round of the reparations debate. joining me now is ta-nehisi coates, current author of the marvel comics "the "black panther and captain america. thanks for having you here. >> thanks for having me, chris. >> you've never testified at a congressional hearing before.
>> no. >> what was it like? >> there was no possible way to prepare for it. it was completely, completely dizzying. i think the particular intensity -- i mean, as i was joking, i still have the same suit on. so that's a statement. i apologize, but it was dizzying. and i think the particular energy around this was just like, i mean, unlike anything i'd ever seen. i'm a writer, i'm a journalist. i'm used to writing things and going ahead and doing whatever i'm doing. but this is proving to be quite different. >> it's interesting to me, the moment for this particular issue, this is not -- you know, the issue did not arise with your atlantic article. it's a long-standing, and as you say in that article and say in every opportunity, it's built upon decades and decades of scholarship and other folks. but it feels like there's a achi degree of mainstream legitimacy that is new. >> i think two things are responsible for that.
the first is and this is not fair, but i think the atlantic enjoys a kind of space among very serious people. i just have to be frank. i knew this at the time. look, people can be right up on one side and down the other. with the outlet with people that said it and it becomes different. that's not fair. i think trump and trump particularly following barack obama had a radicalizing effect on a lot of people. >> one of the things that we hear a lot about and you talked about yesterday and i want to play the sound of mitch mcconnell and lindsey graham, there is a bunch of arguments. this was a long time ago and no one alive today is responsible for it. take a listen. >> i just think we are so far removed from the effect, it was the original sin of the country. let's just make it a more perfect union rather than looking backward because i don't
know where it stops when you do that. >> i don't know currently alive was responsible for that. i don't think we should be trying to figure out how to compensate for it. it would be hard to figure out who to compensate. >> you addressed that directly in the testimony. >> i did. i think that's an opportunistic notion of citizenship. as i said yesterday, we have ties and debts and credits that we acknowledge that go far back beyond the time in the last enslaved person. you can just look at the building in which these people work. you work in a capital that was built for enslaved people. you are there enjoying the benefits of their labor. if you don't want to acknowledge our ties, as much as you don't want to work on the anacostia river. i'm being flip about that, but this is true. i was doing the research. as latest as 2017, we were
pegging pensions to the last heir of a civil war veteran. we are at this very moment still paying pensions to the veterans of spanish-american war. long before i was alive and you were alive and we don't have a problem with that. >> one of the points that struck me about the georgetown story, this is fascinating. this is one university. it's a laboratory and a little pilot program. in that case, it's like there are records of this stuff. >> sure. >> they have the 272 names and the amount of money that they are going to spend and the community where they can track the descendents. >> listen, as i suggested, this is not just about enslavement. you can track enslavement, but jim crowe, that's easy. i went and found them. >> the hoping of the article is on the west side of chicago. >> it's not hard to find people that would victimize and suffer
and lost wealth and had health stolen from them underneath it. as far as i'm concerned, people who feel like the problem here is we can't identify who it is. why don't you support hr 40 and let's find out. it's just a study. why don't we find out? you feel like that? possibly you are right. let's find out. >> the legislation you were testifying about yesterday is essentially to commission a study to look into all of these different particularitieses of the logistics of it. >> right. your objection is procedural, i don't know if we can find these people. let's have the study. that's what the study is for. how much are we going to pay, who are we going to pay it to. let's have a study. the other thing is we did this before. this is not unprecedented. we did this with japanese-americans who were interned rightfully during world war ii. the city of chicago has done
reparations for the victims of john bird and the state of north carolina has done reparations for the victims of what was a state-wide eugenics policy against black and poor women. this is not unfounded territory here. >> i want to ask you about the politics of this issue. it's interesting to me. mitch mcconnell gets asked about it. it is in the blood stream. here's the polling. four different polls. marist and data for progress and fox. they are all within about 25 or 26% and a big majority saying no. my feeling about reparations is that the case substantively is iron clad. 100% persuaded and it's political suicide for a national politician to run on it on a national campaign. >> first of all, that's not my problem. i would not -- i don't think any
of us would say during a period about marriage equality enjoyed terrible poll numbers that people should have given up on politicians and let up on barack obama or the clintons for signing the defensive marriage act. if i as a writer to the extent became an advocate and i say if it polls well, that's what i will be write being. then i'm dead. part of that polling is that we haven't had serious discussions. that polling is not an abstract figure that is not connected to other things. the fact is we haven't had the discussions that we actually had yesterday. i think to the extent that we can push this forward and have serious conversations like we did yesterday, i would expect that polling to change. >> do you think that one thing that would change that polling
is talking about the nitty-gritty of it? >> listen, there will be -- when i wrote the case of reparations, one of the most shocking things was the sheer number of white people throughout the country who either came up to me or wrote me and said i didn't know about red lining. i legit didn't know. as a writer, my job is to tell you the truth. i have no idea what comes after that. at that point i probably did not view myself -- i would have looked at the possibility of me testifying before congress and so one of the things that shocked me was the ignorance. the people legit don't want to know. you can lay out the facts and they don't care. you are never going to convince them. at the same time there is a large number of people who literally don't know. they have never given reparations a serious consideration. >> you and i discussed this all the time in private conversations about reconstruction particularly and
the birth of this. no one knows the history of it. >> no one knows. >> that are chapter is lost in american history about what happened. >> no one knows. >> there was a comment i want to ask you about what joe biden made. it relates directly about the sort of ways that we can figure our memory of the past. white supremacy and segregation about the fact that there were white supremacists segregationists and democratic senators that he was elected to oppose and he did. he had different views and he was able to work with them. he's talking about this old model of how the senate worked and he has come under criticism and cory booker among anothers. curious what you made of that. >> listen, the problem here is not that he had polite relationships with people who had deeply, deeply deplorable views. the problem is those very polite reaps were premisesed on the
fact that those people's deeply deplorable views actually disenfranchised an entire sector of the electorate. there was a reason why the relationships went away. part of the reason they went away is because black people are a voting force in the south. much toft chagrin of other people. there is a lack of acknowledgement. >> the price of that calmed peace. >> yes, yes. >> you didn't cross them on race. you could deal with all sorts of different things and trade horses on a million things. >> i don't think to the extent that i can credit him, i don't think he realizes that and maybe he doesn't want to, but there is a reason why those were able to be polite with him. i think for a lot of black people when we hit it, it's kind a secondary endorsement as crazy as this sounds of jim crow. that was the basis on which that piece was constructed. >> you don't think joe biden -- >> that's not the point. that's why i said secondary.
like what he's endorsing is the peace. the peace is actually built on something quite horrible. without that horrible thing, there never would have been civility in the first place. >> the peace is the story of american politics. >> the story of reconstruction and redemption and that extends up to him having that great relationship. >> should i say this. in the year 2019, it's remarkable how much untold there is. or news to be retold time and time again which brings me in your nofally that comes out in september. >> are we talking about this? >> we are not. it's rashlgable and really a beautiful piece of work and people should check it out. thanks so much for bringing me here. that's all in for this evening. tonight, the president warns iran has made a big mistake and the united states will not stand for it.
after iran shot down a u.s. drone near the strait of hormuz. but trump leaves himself some options, questioning iran's true intentions. congressional leaders have been briefed and the question tonight on either end of pennsylvania avenue, if and when the u.s. retaliates. also, house judiciary's transcript of hope hicks, the 155 unanswered questions and the ones she did answer and how she broke from the boss. the 11th hour on a thursday night begins now. good evening, once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york, i'm ali velshi in for brian williams. tensions in the middle east have reached a new height after iran shot down an american unmanned surveillance drone in the gulf of oman, adjacent to the strait of hormuz last night.