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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  July 27, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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than human or insects that are infested pieces and parts of this country. that does it for me. thanks for watching. i'll see you back here tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. eastern for a new live edition of politics nation. up next, deadline white house with my friend and colleague, nico nicole wallace. >> aloha, and i apologize to disappoint you, i am not nicolle wall la wallace. a top democrat venturing where no top democrat has gone before. house judiciary chairman jerry nadler suggesting his committee is already in effect conducting an impeachment inquiry against donald trump. >> you're saying there's no difference between what you're doing now and an impeachment inquiry, right? >> in effect. >> it's a new development, the impeachment debate, the
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committee echoed today in writing and in a court filing in fact, that demanded more of robert mueller's underlying evidence from that court filing, quote, articles of impeachment are under consideration as part of this committee's investigation, although no final determination has been made. reporting today in the "new york times" and "washington post," says that nadler whose committee is responsible for recommending articles of impeachment has gone even further behind closed doors in the wake of how to proceed after robert mueller's testimony intensifies among democrats. this is from the "new york times," gnnadler has become convinced they should proceed with impeachment hearings, though he has not stated so publicly. "the washington post" adds this, quote, nadler suggested his committee could begin drafting articles of impeachment. they also argue the public sentiment was against impeachment when the house judiciary started its proceedings over the watergate
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st sk scandal, but support grew through the hearings. that posture has a gap between nadler and nancy pelosi who argued the public must support impeachment first before they act. the one and only phil rutger, amazing joyce vance and the fantastic kimberly at kins, from wbur, and reverend al sharpton host of politics nation, and the president of the national action network, amazing to see you as always, and new york magazine's national correspondent, and infinitely talented, gabe. the whole nadler thing today, after all of this, will there be impeachment? will there not be impeachment? i was on television with you the night after the mueller testifi testified, we have nadler basically saying i'm kind of doing impeachment already.
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what do you think about that? >> well, he's made it clear that that is under consideration. that doesn't mean there's going to be an impeachment trial on monday, for example. there are a lot of steps that have to happen first, and we have heard speaker pelosi be much more cautious and judicious in her approach to this. she said -- and this is her word -- that the democrats need to be sophisticated in how they approach this, that they want to have the best hand possible if and when they move forward with impeachment proceedings, and by that, she means gathering more evidence, having more hearings central to this as don mcgahn, the former white house counsel whose nadler's committee has been trying to bring forward for public testimony, that, you know, remains under investigation, but that would be a big moment for the democrats potentially. but there are a lot of steps here still to come. >> kimberly atkins, i want to ask you a question while playing a nancy pelosi. she doesn't want to do it but she has to make sure the base
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thinks he's open to doing it. let's hear what she had to say in the face of that accusation. >> i'm not trying to run up the pot. let's get sophisticated about this, okay. the decision will be made in a timely fashion. this isn't endless, and when we have the best, strongest possible case. >> so kim, talk to us about what you think nancy pelosi's calculations at this hour are in the wake of mueller now that that's over, not seeming to have changed a lot of minds and certainly a lot of people in the caucus, still some very adamantly impeachment, beginning an impeachment proceeding, some very strongly against, what's the political calculus she's going through as she's heading through the recess. >> i think she's sticking to the plan she has had from the beginning, because of that divergence in opinion within the democratic caucus. democrats that i talked to, both of those who are on -- who are pushing for impeachment proceedings, and those who aren't quite there yet say they
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understand that all of the democrats in the caucus have different considerations with their districts, coming up on what would be a very big election year. a lot of folks are in swing districts. their constituency is a lot more moderate, and may not have an appetite for impeachment while others do. and nancy pelosi is trying to stay that course, and walk that line, and say, hey, we are working. we are doing something. but behind the scenes, i don't think that she is moved by this. i think absent some big ground swell, if there is a change in american sentiment and those folks let lawmakers know during the six week break that they want impeachment and you get dozens of lawmakers back, a majority of democrats coming back and pushing for it, i just don't see where this goes. i mean, chairman nadler made the point he doesn't need the word impeachment to do his investigation and if that's the case, i think you'll see people on the other side arguing then just do the investigation and let's stop talking about impeachment. >> so joyce, i don't know we're
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going to stop talking about it, although it's not clear exactly what we're going to do about it. it's certainly true that nadler in court trying to get at in grand jury testimony that was some of the underlying evidence for the mueller inquiry. we've got nbc news reporting that pelosi signed off on the articles of impeachment language that was in today's court filing that i read a little bit ago. talk to us a little bit about what democrats have to gain potentially from trying to get that evidence and from pressing to try to get don mcgahn up there in front of congress. >> so a couple of things, john, it's important to remember if you divorce for a moment the political and legal aspects of this. legally this is a master move because the white house is forcing democrats to go into court to fight for every little bit of evidence that they hope to acquire, the democrats strengthen their hand in terms of what the law provides by being able to tell the judge, look, this is a proceeding that
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precedent to a quasi judicial hearing which is a fancy way of saying we're investigating whether or not we should file articles of impeachment which after all are very much like an indictment. prosecutors don't walk into the office one day and say let's indict. they investigate first. that's what congress is doing, and the court now recognizes or will likely recognize, it looks like black letter law to me, that this gives them the ability to get information that the white house has tried to block. and don mcgahn is really, i think the prize here. there will undoubtedly be things in the grand jury material that no one has seen before that will be of value. it's hard to assess that until one sees it, but don mcgahn is a known quantity. if democrats can put him in front of congress, a reluctant witness or compliant one, because they have the transcripts that mueller has left him, they know what his testimony is, they will be able to hold him accountable if he
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deviates from it and thaehearin president's former white house counsel telling the story of how the president asked him to fire bob mueller and to cover it up, lie to the press, create fake documents to put in the files, that has the potential to be moving in a way that the mueller testimony, although it was substantively very informative was not very dramatic. >> you've got this recess. people say, we know what the polling says about support for impeachment inquiry, it's not super strong. it's not overwhelming and doesn't seem to be moving in a dramatic way. democrats are going to go home and do town meetings. there's parts of the country that democrats can raise the roof talking about how the president needs to be impeached. by the time we get to labor day, when we come back, and we're looking at mcgahn, we're looking at some of those other things, what's the likelihood we're going to get to labor day, congress is going to come back in session, nancy pelosi is going to see the world in a new
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light. >> i think that one of the things we have to watch is what happens when mcgahn and if something comes out over the six week break that congress is going to have, that would turn some of that tide around. but there are districts that there is going to be a vociferous effort to get an impeachment proceeding going. it's going to fire up some of the congressional members. they are going to have to come back in and have to really try to light a fire, even though they may not be the majority of the caucus, because if i were in a district that is very vehement against trump, which some of them are, you would not want to face a town hall. you would not want to face your constituents because just as it is difficult for those in swing states to really even risk impeachment proceedings, it's even more difficult for those in progressive or even center left
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districts to justify why they're not proceeding, particularly when you have jerry nadler who is not some wild out radical saying the things that he is saying and gradually moving there, so it's going to be uncomfortable for a lot of people that are in the congress. >> so gabe, i want to ask you this: you know, the democrats, a lot of talk, here at the end of mueller week, a lot of democrats said before mule e we've read the book -- mueller, we've read the book, now we have to see the movie. mueller did not want to play a starring role. he gave damming confirmation, reaffirmation on the things in his report, on the substance, merits, but it was not the movie, it was not the independence day. it was not, you know, any of these. a big block buster that changed everything. now democrats try to figure out what do we do with what we got, and i want to put a tweet up
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here. this ted lieu tweet. analogy, mueller gives us a slice of bread, puts ham on it, and then another slice of bread. we say that's a ham sandwich. mueller says i didn't make a determination if it was a ham sandwich because i was instructed i can't call it that but it's still a ham sandwich. that's to me an example of democrats trying to figure out how do we sharpen a message that can maybe pierce the public's lack of interest or the fog of all of this complicated legal stuff, how do you think democrats are doing in approaching that task. >> i think what you saw from nadler today, and what he's been talking about for the last few days is really the answer to that question, if we're going to use, we saw the book, now look at the movie analogy, maybe the movie wasn't a big splash but the investigative mini series might be, they're going to call more people to congress for testimony, mcgahn or other people who have worked in the white house. i think the short answer is these investigations are going to keep going.
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they're going to hope for a splashy headline. if the tide turns it's going to be because there's more pressure from individual members of congress, and they are going to feel the pressure over the last few weeks. it's important to note after the mueller testimony which was widely thought of as a dud, at least in new york and washington, it's not like the number of members calling for impeachment went down. it's continued ticking up towards a hundred now. that is a significant number, and as we've just been talking about, there's going to be more probably in the next few weeks. >> rutger, i ask you the same question, basically when you hear from people on capitol hill, and almost as relevant when you hear from people in that bureau that you run, the people who hang out at the white house, like what's the message that democrats could crack out of what is now out there in the combination of the report, the mueller testimony, the video that exists, what's the message that democrats are trying to craft and to the extent they are crafting it successfully, is the white house worried about that at all or are they just like, hey, man, we're all good now. >> well, john, the white house
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has been much more successful in crafting a message to the american people which while it's not truthful is very simple and easy to understand, no collusion, no obstruction, total exoneration. mueller's six hours of testimony in the house on wednesday refuted that line but it was very sort of complicated and nuanced and difficult to remember. it's not a bumper sticker, for example, and so the challenge democrats have had in the congress is how to communicate to the american people the urgency behind this, and how to communicate what exactly trump did wrong, and what exactly they believe he should be impeached over, and one thing to keep an eye on is the emerged presidential race on the democratic sil democratic side. and so many of those presidential candidates are calling for impeachment. it's the subject not necessarily with voters, but it has been in the debates and it has been in the media interviews that these candidates are giving, so there is this pressure coming from outside of the congress but within the party. >> rutger, you sort of took us
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to the white house fog machine here, and just for the sake of reality and the record, i want to put this up. this is what the fake false lying, grotesque, bs e-mail that the trump campaign sent out on mueller day. here's the fog machine, robert mueller conferred what we already know, no collusion, no obstruction, total exoneration. there it is. so that's what the white house you talked about the clarity of their message. here's the reality, again, just to remind everyone what bob mueller said on those topics, go. >> the president has repeatedly claimed that your report found there was no obstruction and that it complete and totally exonerated him. but that is not what your report said, is it? >> correct. that is not what the report said. >> and what about total exoneration? did you actually totally exonerate the president? >> no. >> now, in fact, your report expressly states that it did not exonerate the president. >> it does. >> so joyce, i want to ask you
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this, given that that is, you know, here's the white house line. it's an abject lie. here's mueller stating categorically that it's false. here's all of the stuff we know, what's the big message that democrats must get across on top of which i'll just add that one of the places that mueller went in the hearings that was a little surprising to people was the extent to which he cast doubt on the president's kr credibility. he got as close to calling the president as a fat liar as he being bob mueller could ever come when he talked about the lack of credibility that he had in comparison to other witnesses. so taken all together, what's the message democrats could potentially drive that the american public really needs to hear. >> you know, i think phil's right when he says the president does a much better job of writing bumper stickers than the democratic party does, but really, it's tough to take these difficult complex issues and turn them into a bumper sticker.
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i guess you can say the president is a crook. but the more important line for democrats to get across is that the president tried to preserve his own self-interest when the country was under attack from russia. maybe the real wisdom here that we get from bob mueller is russia attacked us and the president did nothing. >> joyce, it's always great to have you here. thank you for doing this, and we'll see you on the other side of this weekend. also phil rutger, always amazing to see you. kim you're going to stay with us, and we'll be back to talk to you after this break, hours after moscow mitch, my favorite new nickname for mnitch mcconnell, his party blows the whistle on how widespread the attack on the election really was. and a new flash point days before the next set of debates and the american citizens detained at the border for nearly one month, his unbelievable story offering a glimpse of just how bad things there are.
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oh, what a card he is, donald trump. he might take the threat of russian interference in our elections, seriously but a 67 page report from the senate intel committee says there's nothing fun about it. finds that election systems in all 50 of these united states
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were targeted. the report states quote the russian government directed extensive activity beginning in at least 2014 and carrying into 2017 against u.s. election infrastructure at the state and local level. the report found that the russians took advantage of the nation's decentralized voting system quote exploding seams, that's exploiting those seams and found federal attempts to warn states about potential security breaches did not provide enough information or go to the appropriate people. joining me here at the table, senior fellow at the foreign policy research institute and former fbi special agent clint watson, a man who saw this stuff coming in realtime before almost anyone and we're going to talk about that in a second. i want to ask you, it's a great place to start. because you were so pressing about this in 2016, and followed it as closely as literally any human i know, what did you learn from the senate intel report?
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>> there were two parts of that haven't been talked about it, russia was trying to deploy people to monitor polling places, would someone show up with a weapon at a polling place thinking the election had been stolen. that was any number one fear. what were the russians doing there, were they going to start a provocation. were they going to claim there was some sort of election rigging or voter fraud. the other part was the associated press being an point for the results of the election. could the russians actually hack into there, change the votes in between the actual voting systems and the media such that a false report comes out, which would then create mass confusion and lead everybody to believe there's election rigging. those two things i thought were remarkable and have gone under the table up to this point. >> kimberly atkins, it's one of my obsessive things, in 2016, i remember talking to people, and said this second thing, forget
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about whether the tvotes can be manipulated, whether the systems can be hacked, here's an easy point of entry, on the night of the election, the results start to come in. the secretary of state of vermont sends its report to the associated press, and suddenly there's an announcement, donald trump has won vermont, one of the most democratic states in the country, 92-8, you got the networks going on television saying donald trump has won an overwhelming landslide victory in vermont, everyone says that's not right, that's not real, and all of a sudden you have chaos, not because the votes have been altered but becaused reporti th reporting of the votes has been altered. can you imagine what's happening there, and do you think they will get us to that. >> that is a very real concern. it was a concern in 2016 because if you also remember at that time, donald trump, the republican candidate, had already begun this messaging that if he loses, that means that the vote is rigged in some
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way, that there is something nefarious going on. so he was already planting the seeds in his own campaign messaging, which had some folks concerned that there would be an effort to try to deny the legitimacy of the vote. he ended up winning and so that didn't happen but it could happen again in 2020. there are a lot of soft spots in the election system. we focus a lot on the senate intelligence committee, importantly so, but one of the things that goes on in the background on capitol hill is there have been lots of hearings where lots of local and state people have come in and literally begged congress to act in order to give them the tools that they need to secure up their election systems before the election and congress has not acted. >> i want to read this thing from the "washington post" here that talks about the senate intelligence report. the headline is intel report deepens the mystery surrounding russia 2016 election interference. quote the biggest fear at the highest levels of the intelligence world expressed
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during multiple interviews quoted in the report is russian military were studying the systems in the united states to identify the weakest links in preparation for something much more malicious and chaotic in 2020. i ask you, gabe, as you think about this, we have heard bob mueller in the hearing, they're doing it now, they're going to keep doing it. we have seen christopher wray in multiple public settings saying, dude, my hair is on fire. this is a five alarm fire. we're going to talk in a second about moscow mitch. i'm going to ask you this from what you know, and you talk to political players all the time, how worried are they and how worried should they be? >> extremely worried, more worried about this than maybe anything else when it comes to the actual election day in 2020. they're all very worried about this right now, particularly democrats talk about this a lot. the answer, though, is that they don't know how to be worried about it, because there's no obvious recourse to do anything here. you have people at the state and local levels constantly asking
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for money, new policies to be put in place and new oversight but that's just not happening and when you look at what's happening in the senate, particularly with senate republicans as i know we'll talk about, shutting down election measures, you have democrats in particular, and political players of all stripes saying this is terrible but we don't know what whto do. >> i'm going to get do you right knew. i want to turn to that very question right now, and what republicans did this week in the face of this, this report, and what mueller said, and everything else we know, the reality that despite all of that, you've got mitch mcconnell shutting down a vote on election security measures, two of them. i mean, it's one of the most astonishing things i have seen, most irresponsible, it's not the first time mechancconnell has d something like this. joe scarborough applied the new monitor on mitch mcconnell that
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should be applied ever after. let's play that. >> he is aiding and abetting vladimir putin's ongoing attempts to subvert american democracy, according to the republican fbi, cia, dni, intel committee, all republicans are all saying russia is subverting american democracy, and moscow mitch won't even let the senate take a vote on it. that is un-american. >> un-american? >> absolutely. when you look at the fact, you got to look at the total context. donald trump, mitch mcconnell, and the republicans had tried to convince the american public there was this massive voter fraud. they had people feeling that they were going to steal the election. they set the climate where russia could have and in some cases actually did, so if you're going outside and people are walking by with an umbrella, even though it's not raining, you're getting ready for the
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rain because they took the umbrella out. they're the ones that raised the issue. now they're the ones that's going to shut down looking at any possibility of the fraud. voter id laws and all of these requirements and all of a sudden we don't want anything, and it happens to coincide with the russian strategy, some of us feel that that's a little bit too far. clearly they have set the table for russians to continue to do what they want to do, and i think not only democrats but those of us in the civil rights and voting rights community are appalled. >> very concerned about it. >> when you have been talking about people at the polls. all they need is one disturbance to overturn a vote. that's extremely dangerous. >> kimberly atkins, i want to read something from "the washington post," a column and ask you about what the motivation here is because we've seen republicans capitulate to donald trump who previously did
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not like, currently don't like him, but here's a thing that wrote, why are republicans, the party of flag hunters and fist pumping, the answer is as clear as it is disturbing, that is what president trump wants, and why does trump want the country to lower its guard against a proven ongoing assault from the kremlin is because trump fully expects vladimir putin's interference will help him win in 2020 as it did in 2016. he not just expects, he's inviting it. we saw him on george stephanopoul stephanopoulos basically saying, russia, can you hear me, do it again. and now there are other countries he's inviting to do it too by opening the door, so just, i mean, there's a question in here somewhere, i promise you, but what is the deal here? is mitch mcconnell fully in the back pocket of a totally bankrupt and corrupt donald trump? >> mitch mcconnell, since donald trump has taken office has taken the role of protecting this
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president at all costs, having a republican in the white house to mcconnell is more important than anything else. we know, one, that from the moment he got into the white house and even before, donald trump didn't want to talk about russia, for many reasons, one of which it made it seem as if that cast some doubt over the legitimacy of his presidency, and he was very concerned about that, and he wanted to down play russia completely. then as you pointed out subsequently, we have seen that message sort of shift. well, if it happened it would be fine, and that was basically an invitation for foreign adversaries to engage. we heard from robert mueller. one thing he made very clear on wednesday is that the efforts by russia were meant to aid trump and helps that. >> i want to end this block with you because you're the scariest guy at the table, and i feel like we should be filled with forboding and doom here. as they were probing these
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vulnerabilities maybe they were probing the vulnerabilities because they want to exploit them later. maybe they want us to know they're probing the vulnerabilities, the notion is that if you undermine people's confidence in the system, you have done really most of your work. you don't actually have to change votes or get in the systems. i wonder whether that, the reason i think it's relevant is that they did so many things that were easily detectable. they didn't cover their tracks. when you look at it, do you think what's so insidious about this is they can either manipulate the election or manipulate our faith in the election, either way it's a win for russia. >> it's a double edged sword and that's consistent throughout. they take a small action, even if we as the u.s. government mitigate it, we found an intrusion, and we have patched it and taken care of it, they have already through the action created some doubt. how do you know, how did you fix it, it's three years now. i have no more confidence today than i did three years ago that
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we really have gotten to the bottom of it all, and that we fixed all the patches. when you look at that report yesterday, we don't go through legislation. election integrity, yes, we report to the fbi foreign actress, that is a blueprint in fact, for any actor, foreign or domestic to completely mess up america for three more years after 2020. >> scale of one to ten, ten being totally certain, 0 being totally uncertain, in 2020, russia or another hostile actor will actively interfere with the american election, what's your level. >> it depends on the democratic candidates. that really will change it, it comes down to russia, iran from afar. i think the biggest fear i have is really domestic actors in 2020. everyone is copying this. you're seeing duplication of their methods and contractors for hire in a big big way, foreign and domestic that are trying to play this game. >> thank you giving me another thing to worry about, clint
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washington latins, thank you for messing up -- clint watkins, thank you for messing up my weekend. joe biden is getting tough with kamala harris and cory booker on criminal justice. s and cory boon criminal justice opportunity sales event. lease the 2019 rx 350 for $389 a month, for 36 months, and we'll make your first month's payment. experience amazing. at their reddest, ripest, they make everything better. like our strawberry poppyseed salad and new strawberry summer caprese salad. strawberry season is here. panera. food as it should be. - i like to plan my activities before i take trip, so by the time i get there i can just enjoy the ride. with tripadvisor, it's easy to discover over 100,000 bookable things to do, from walking tours in rome to wine tastings in tuscany, and if you like what you see, you can book it with ease.
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and escalation today on one of the central tensions on the 2020 democratic primary fight, the battle over joe biden's record on race. the front runner is battling back after criticism from two prominent african-american candidates in that race, kamala harris and cory booker, the second set of debates set for next week in detroit where biden, booker and harris will be shoulder to shoulder on stage together. booker circled back on biden extending their several day long running feud over criminal justice legislation and reform. >> i will always speak truth to power and watching the crime bills of the 80s and 90s and all the things he put into place, this is something that should be talked about, and the response
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to having a substantiative conversation about people's records shouldn't be to go on the attack and i found his attacks on me ridiculous. >> kimberly is back, rev is still here, gabe's still here. all people who know a lot about the democratic fight that's happening. i ask you, just tell me, this is now days running. biden, he took some hits from harris after that debate. you saw his numbers sag a little bit. we'll talk about numbers in a bit. he's kind of rebounded on the polling front. he still seems to be simmering a little personally, and taking up after attacking harris and booker repeatedly, and booker is fighting back. let's survey it for me from the standpoint of politics three days into the fight, who's winning and who's losing. >> i think that right now it's pretty much going to be even going in on who's going to win. but i think that -- i hope it doesn't get into political cannibalism where they do trump's work for him. the real problem you have here is you can't raise an issue on a
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candidate and then not expect the candidate to be able to come back and raise issues. i think once that door was opened, they give him the license to move. he just has to be very careful how he moves on them because, yes, 94 drcrime bill was an atrocity, i marched against biden and bill clinton. but stop and frisk, which he has charged booker with is a two or three or four five year atrocity. there is some record that that problem. and the other problem that you've got to watch is if biden hits him with stop and frisk on wednesday night, bill de blasio, who part of him winning for mayor of new york was that he would stop stop and frisk is on that stage. more will come in. this could end up very dangerous for the democrats but the door was open because biden was
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attacked. >> and dangerous, you think, for booker. >> i think dangerous for the whole party because you're going to start getting into in-fights, i think there have been problems on the left that have raised issues about harris's record about attorney general. it becomes fair game, and how do people like me or others say wait a minute, don't say that, when we didn't say that when they were attacking biden, so it's an uncomfortable position. >> kimberly atkins, i want to ask you this. so harris took -- fired a canyon shot at biden in the msnbc debates last month. we saw biden's polls slip as i said, but what we see this week is this monmouth poll from south carolina where biden has 51% support from african-american voters in south carolina, so, you know, he has rebounded to a large extent. so i ask you, as we head into these debates, if biden has rebounded and still has this
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very strong support among black voters. why does he need to go in on cory booker, why does he need to go in on kamala harris if he's in a position where he's strong with the core element of constituency that has made him the front runner is it not dangerous for biden to get in this fight? >> no, you think it's something he needs to do. look, it is summer time, so poo polls, they can't measure outcome. they can measure momentum for sure, and we have seen joe biden largely keep his momentum and we have seen harris and booker and others move forward very quickly. that's one point. i think it's not about the candidates attacking each other, going after each other, i think it's about joe biden doing in this debate what he should have done in the first. kamala harris did go after him, and scored some points and raised her profile, but she did it on his record, and he seemed taken aback. he himself said he wasn't prepared, now what he and his team are telegraphing is when you come for my record this time, i'm going to be prepared
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and go back on your record, which is what he should have done in the first debate. i think he has to keep himself from getting knocked back. he is still the front runner, even though it's early, because of these polls, and i think reverend al is right, it's not just going to be booker and harris. everybody's going to be coming for them because they need to get their own profile raised. i think it's not going to be an easy thing, and joe biden needs to be prepared for offense and defense. >> let's get this fox news poll up here, the national poll with the head-to-head among these top democrats, there you got joe biden beating donald trump. this is the race. we're putting up within their group. that had biden way ahead. biden is beating trump by 10 points in this race, sanders beating trump by 6 points, trump ahead of warren by 1 but that's margin of error and trump ahead of harris by 1 point too. so really in that poll, gabe, joe biden, if the main thing
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that joe biden has to an appeal to democrats in general, and especially to some communities that are central to his support, like african-americans, like i am the guy. i may not be perfect on my record on the crime bill, i may not be perfect on everything, but i have been on your side for a long time. i was barack obama's vice president, and i'm the likeliest guy to beat donald trump, and here's another poll. we saw a poll with him beating trump in ohio, a state that republicans have felt comfortable at. is biden amazingly after all of this, still in a position where he's really the dominant front runner on that basis or is he more fragile that he looks. >> he's certainly more fragile than the numbers would suggest. you see people going after him, they see room to take from his support. there are a number of things going on here. joe biden is saying i'm the electable one, what he's saying is i'm your safe bet and you should vote for me for that purpose, and when cory booker started this whole thing last week and went after joe biden it was on electability terms.
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when we talk about electability, we have to talk about someone who can appeal in large ways to the after can american community, and he was basically saying he wasn't sure if joe biden can actually do that. you see other people saying this electability conversation is a fine one to have but let's be very clear, it is the middle of july of the off year. no one is paying attention yet. >> i want to play donald trump doing his pundit. let's listen to that. >> sleepy joe is okay but he's fading. i think he's fading fast. the only good thing about mueller is it made joe biden look like a dynamo, you watched mueller's performance yesterday. i think probably biden is the one who asked him to go on, so you have him and he's sort of a little bit leading, and then you have a whole group, you have elizabeth warren, formerly known as pocahontas, and i'm sure that will come out because that's a tough thing for her to
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withstand, i believe, because her whole life was a fake. she used that very very adeptly, and it was not good, and you have harris and bernie looks like he's fading to me. >> here's my question, donald trump, you know, has the worst poker face in america, he says what he thinks, and he also says a lot by what he doesn't say. in that group he attacked everybody or dismissed everybody in the top tier of the democrats except for kamala harris. there's been some reporting about republicans looking at her with a little bit of nervousness. what do you make of that reporting. do you think it's right that trump omitting her suggests that he's a little afraid of her, and the white house and the operation see her because of her prosecutorial skill and other factors. >> i think it is absolutely incorrect. i think that when he omitted harris, it is because they are afraid. if kamala harris does the top
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two or even three in iowa, the electability question goes out the window. and that is what happened with hillary clinton and barack obama. i remember when obama won iowa, people that told me i was crazy for being with obama started running over there. if she can breakthrough just in the top three in iowa, the electability question goes out of the window and i think they know that. and if she can't catches fire, that's their worst nightmare to face this younger black woman who he can't call sleepy, he can't call pocahontas and who's a prosecutor. anybody in new york knows the last thing donald trump wants to face is a prosecutor. >> especially if she finishes in the top three and joe biden does not win in iowa, then you have an interesting situation. >> start really getting ready for something. an american citizen detained for a month at a border facility. he says the conditions there were so horrible he considered self-deporting. that story is up next. he consid self-deporting that story is up next. with fidelity wealth management you get straightforward advice,
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free wi-fi... ...and the price match guarantee. so with hilton there is no catch. yeah the only catch is i'm never leaving. no i'm serious, i live here now. book at and get the hilton price match guarantee. we have a new low at the u.s. mexican border, an american born teenager was held for weeks at a detention facility in texas. here is what the 18-year-old told the dallas morning news
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about the horrors he experienced. francisco erwin galicia a dallas born u.s. citizen spent 23 days in the custody of u.s. and border protections in conditions that made him so desperate, he almost opted to self-deport. he says he lost 26 pounds during that time because officers didn't provide him with enough food. he wasn't allowed to shower and his skin was dry and dirty. he and 60 other men were crammed into an overcrowded holding area where they slept on the floor, and were given only aluminum foil blankets. he said some men had to sleep on the restroom area floor. joining in this conversation, former deputy assistant attorney general elliot williams. elliot, how did we get here? >> okay. well, there's two big problems here, number one, none of the facilities that are there at the border are designed for the amount of volume they're having now because we haven't addressed this as the hemisphere wide humanitarian crisis that it is.
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there's that problem. set aside that. the second big problem is what does citizenship mean if a young man who has a copy of his driver's license in his pocket, pardon me, a copy of his pocket -- a copy of his birth certificate in his pocket at the time he's apprehended in his mother produces a copy of his birth certificate at the time he's in detention. yet still the border patrol officers were not believing his claims to u.s. citizenship. citizenship, you know, it's practically something quite sacred, john, and i think even recognizing that agents and officers have a job to do at the border. they have to make hard decisions. but at a certain point we need to take seriously claims when an individual claims he's a citizen of the united states. that just didn't happen here. this natural-born u.s. citizen was just not treated properly. >> we hear about the squalid conditions down at the border a lot, elliot. we do not hear stories of this kind of treatment of american citizens. all that often. something else we don't hear that often is stories about u.s. active duty troops now just feet away from migrants in
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texas. here's an nbc news quote i want to read to you. active due to u.s. troops are stationed inside the facility to provide welfare checks on the migrants, but the officials say that has evolved into a continual presence watching over them. i don't like to use latin on television, elliot. but isn't there some principle posse comitatus? is this not either a violation of law or something pretty close? >> i'm a lawyer. you can use all the latin you want, john. but this gets back to the fundamental question in the united states. we regard immigration as a public safety matter and not an economic matter or a humanitarian matter or a human matter. so think about who's having the conversation in government. you see the president.
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you see the secretary of homeland security out speaking. but there is the humanitarian community, where are the people who frankly can address the public corruption in guatemala and el salvador that can fix this? but at the end of the day when you have a hammer and everything looks like a nail. and when you treat immigrants and migrants exclusively as threats to public safety, yes, you're going to end up with military at the border guarding little kids who are in cages. so this requires a fundamental reshaping and rethinking, how we think of and treat immigration in the united states. and we're just off base here. >> let me ask you one last question, elliot, to stick with your specialty here before we have to let you go. we got some senate democrats who went down there and checked out the situation. they're coming back. anybody who tours down there comes back and says we got to have changes here. political pressure coming from senate democrats in a senate controlled by republicans, specifically mitch mcconnell. how likely is that to actually effect change? >> i don't think it is because,
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again, when this started with using the separation of children from their parents as a deterrent, as a deliberate choice made by the government, it'll be very hard to see how deliberate change will come. now, the democrats were very smart because they asked for very basic and fundamental needs. if you read their letter, they're talking about lights being turned off at night so kids can sleep. there are quite basic needs. so it'll be interesting to see republicans in the senate respond to those requests. >> elliott williams, always a pleasure to have you, not a pleasurable topic, but a pleasure to have you on television because you're so smart. after the break a story straight out of a mad libs book. donald trump's quest to free an american rapper from jail in sweden next. be right back. with moderate to severe crohn's disease, i was there, just not always where i needed to be. is she alright? i hope so. so i talked to my doctor about humira.
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all right. it's one of those headlines that would have sound made up just five years ago. the president of the united states is attacking the country of sweden demanding the release of american wrapper a$ap rocky. the grammy-nominated artist, a has been detained there for nearly a month following a brawl, a charge that he denies. here we have donald trump tweeting, quote, give asap rocky his freedom. we do so much for sweden, but it doesn't seem to work the other way around. kim atkins, i ask you, like, what is to be said and made of
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this? >> all i could make of it was in another tweet that he tweeted about this, he said that sweden was letting the african-american community down. i have yet to hear any black voter put asap rocky at the top of their list of concerns. i am waiting for the tweet for the president to say he's going to get to the bottom of the -- how an american teen had his rights being violated by being detained, even though he had his birth certificate on him. i think that's probably a better place for the president to put his attention. >> that's right. i'm sure it's true. i want to say to you, sharpton, here's the thing. the president has done one thing that the left thinks is good, the criminal justice reform. the act they passed that kushner spear-headed, they like that. it's the one credit he's gotten. and yet this week we got bill barr reinstituting the federal death penalty while the president is also apparently trying to play racial politics of some kind with this asap rocky thing.
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the conflicts are so intense that i can't figure out what he's thinking even from the standpoint of his manipulative political mind. what's the calculation? >> well, i think the calculation is he first of all is responding to requests by kim kardashian and kanye because some of us had said this was unjust. and his mother, asap rocky's mother came up with it weeks before this. and i think that what the president is doing is trying to score to look like he's balanced when clearly a lot of independent voters are talking about his racism. because i think kimberly's right. why would he make this something for the african-american community? for him to specifically say that even when he's trying to be more, let's say, expansive, he still has to segregate the concerns and make him an african-american artist. >> here's the score. on one side pre asap rocky. with the dollar sign up and the
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tweet, on the other side we're reinstituting the death penalty. >> that makes a lot of sense in the same week. you guys are great. it does it for this hour. i was here for nicole. i'll be here on monday for deadly white house at 4:00 p.m. decision time. let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. is there still time to impeach donald trump? if so, how much time? is september as one top democrat told me last night the time to put up or shut up? house democrats claim they're already putting maximum pressure on president trump and his administration. >> the committee is exercising its authority to investigate all these scandals and to decide what to do about them, which could inar


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