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[00:00:00]

The Rachel Maddow Show weeknights at 9:00 Eastern on MSNBC. Happy to have you here this Thursday night. The book is apparently called Disloyal, which is a good title. He tweeted out a picture of the cover of it today. You can see on the cover there's Michael Cohen's very familiar face. You also see the prison bars unsubtle. And then the title Disloyal A Memoir, The True Story of the former personal attorney to President Donald Trump. I think it's helpful to note at the outset that a federal judge ruled very recently that the US Justice Department under Attorney General William Barr, basically concocted a false pretext to lock Michael Cohen back up in prison when the real reason that they locked him back up in prison was specifically to try to stop him from publishing this book.

[00:00:53]

I mean, not to corrupt law enforcement figures of the future or the present, if you're going to jail someone to try to stop their book from coming out, you better succeed or be prepare yourself for the fact that in taking that kind of swing at somebody, you have just made a lot more people want to read that book, if for no other reason than to figure out why the president's attorney general would go through these kinds of acrobatics illegally, according to a federal judge, to try to make sure this never saw the light of day.

[00:01:27]

Boy, is there no better way in our culture to get people interested in something than to tell them they can't see it, to tell them it's too dangerous for them to lay eyes on it? Well, we still don't have the whole book, but we do have what are apparently the first pages of it, the forward. And here's some of it disloyal to forward. The president of the United States wanted me dead or let me say it the way Donald Trump would.

[00:01:57]

He wouldn't mind if I was dead. That was how Trump talked like a mob boss, using language carefully calibrated to convey his desires and demands, while at the same time employing deliberate indirection to insulate himself. Driving south from New York City to Washington, D.C. and I. Ninety five on the cold, gray winter morning of February. Twenty fourth, twenty nineteen en route to testify against President Trump before both houses of Congress. I knew he wanted me gone before I could tell the nation what I know about him, not the billionaire celebrity savior of the country or the lying lunatic, not the tabloid tycoon or self anointed chosen one, not the avatar at real Donald Trump of Twitter fame, but the real, real Donald Trump, the man very, very, very few people know.

[00:02:45]

If that sounds overly dramatic, consider the powers Trump possessed and imagine how you might feel if he threatened you personally. Heading south that day, I wondered if my prospects for survival were also going in that direction. I was acutely aware of the magnitude of Trump's fury aimed directly at my alleged betrayal. I was wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, and I kept the speedometer at 80, avoiding the glances of other drivers. Trump's theory of life, business and politics revolves around threats and the prospect of destruction.

[00:03:16]

Financial, electoral, personal, physical. As a weapon. I knew how he works because I had frequently been the one screaming threats on his behalf as Trump's fixer and designated thug. Ever since I'd flipped and agreed to cooperate with Robert Mueller and the special counsel's office, the death threats had come by. The hundreds on my cell phone, by email, snail mail and tweets on Facebook enraged Trump supporters vowing to kill me. And I took those threats very seriously.

[00:03:45]

The president called me a rat and tweeted angry accusations at me as well as my family. All rats deserve to die. I was told I was a lowlife Judas they were going to hunt down. I was driving because I couldn't fly or take the train to Washington, if I had, I was sure I'd be mobbed or attacked for weeks walking the streets of Manhattan. I was convinced somebody was going to ram me with their car. I was exactly the person Trump was talking about when he said he could shoot and kill someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it.

[00:04:13]

My mind was spinning as I sped toward D.C. for more than a decade, I'd been at the center of Trump's innermost circle when he came to my son's bar mitzvah, a generous gesture that I found touching. He told my then 13 year old boy that his dad was the greatest and that if he wanted to work at the Trump Organization when he grew up, there would always be a position for him. Your family, Trump said to my son and I f ing believed him.

[00:04:39]

Sitting in the green room on the morning of my testimony before the House Oversight Committee, I began to feel the enormous weight of what was about to happen. For some reason, after all that I've been through and all that, I put my family and the country through waiting in that room was the moment when the gravity of what was about to happen truly hit home. The United States was being torn apart, its political and cultural and mental well-being, threatened by a clear and present danger named Donald Trump.

[00:05:02]

And I had played a central role in creating this new reality to half of Americans. It seemed like Trump was effectively a Russian controlled fraud who had lied and cheated his way into the White House to the other half of Americans. To Trump supporters, the entire Russia scandal was a witch hunt invented by Democrats still unable to accept the fact that Hillary Clinton had lost fair and square in the most surprising upset in the history of American presidential elections.

[00:05:28]

Both sides were wrong. I knew that the reality was much more complicated and dangerous. Trump had colluded with the Russians, but not in the sophisticated ways imagined by his detractors. I also knew that the Mueller investigation was not a witch hunt. Trump had cheated in the election with Russian connivance, as you will discover in these pages, because doing anything and I mean anything to win has always been his business model and his way of life. Trump had also continued to pursue a major real estate deal in Moscow.

[00:05:59]

During the campaign, he attempted to insinuate himself into the world of President Vladimir Putin and his coterie of corrupt and billionaire oligarchs. I know because I personally ran that deal and kept Trump and his children closely informed of all updates, even as the candidate blatantly lied to the American people, saying there's no Russian collusion, I have no dealings with Russia. The one thing I can say with absolute certainty is that whatever you may have heard or thought about me, you don't know me or my story or the Donald Trump that I know for more than a decade.

[00:06:30]

I was Trump's first call every morning and his last call every night. I was in and out of Trump's office on the twenty sixth floor of the Trump Tower, as many as 50 times a day, tending to his every demand. Our cell phones at the same address books, our contacts so entwined, overlapping and intimate that part of my job was to deal with the endless queries and requests, however large or small, from Trump's rich and famous acquaintances.

[00:06:53]

I called any and all of the people he spoke to most often on his behalf as his attorney and emissary. And everyone knew that when I spoke to them, it was as good as if they were talking directly to Trump. Apart from his wife and children. I knew Trump better than anybody else did. In some ways, I knew him better even than his family did because I bore witness to the real man in strip clubs, shady business meetings, and in the unguarded moments when he revealed who he really was, a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist predator, a con man.

[00:07:24]

There are reasons why there has never been an intimate portrait of Donald Trump, the man in part, it's because he has a million acquaintances and pals and hangers on, but no real friends. He has no one he trusts to keep his secrets for 10 years. He certainly had me and I was always there for him. And look what happened to me. I urge you to really consider that fact Trump has no true friends. He has lived his entire life avoiding and evading, taking responsibility for his actions.

[00:07:53]

He crushed or cheated all who stood in his way. But I know where the skeletons are buried because I was the one who buried them. When Trump wanted to reach Russian President Vladimir Putin via a secret back channel, I was tasked with making the connection in my Keystone Cop fashion. I stiffed contractors on his behalf. I ripped off his business partners. I lied to his wife Melania to hide his sexual infidelities and bullied and screamed at anyone who threatened Trump's path to power from golden showers in a sex club in Vegas to tax fraud, to deals with corrupt officials from the former Soviet Union to catch and kill conspiracies to silence Trump's clandestine lovers.

[00:08:33]

I wasn't just a witness to the president's rise. I was an active and eager participant. As you read my story, you will no doubt ask yourself if you like me or if you would act as I did, and the answer will frequently be no to both of those questions. But permit me to make a point. If you only read stories written by people you like, you will never be able to understand Donald Trump or the current state of the American soul.

[00:08:58]

More than that, it's only by actually understanding my decisions and actions that you can get inside Trump's mind and understand his worldview. As anyone in law enforcement will tell you, it's only gangsters who can reveal the secrets of organized crime. If you want to know how the mob really works, you've got to talk to the bad guys. I was one of Trump's bad guys. And these dangerous days, I see the Republican Party and Trump's followers threatening the Constitution, which is in far greater peril than is commonly understood.

[00:09:28]

I see them following one of the worst impulses of humankind, the desire for power at all costs. Now sitting alone in an upstate New York prison wearing my green government issued uniform, I've begun writing this story longhand on a yellow legal pad I've often written before dawn. So not to be disturbed in my thoughts. When my fellow inmates awoke, I had to report to the sewage treatment plant for some of us worked for a wage of eight dollars a month as the months passed by.

[00:09:55]

And I thought about this man I knew so well, I became even more convinced that Trump will never leave office peacefully. The types of scandals that have surfaced in recent months will only continue to emerge with greater and greater levels of treachery and deceit. If Trump wins another four years, these scandals will prove to be only the tip of the iceberg. I'm certain that Trump knows he will face prison time if he leaves office. The inevitable cold karma to the notorious chants of Lock her up.

[00:10:22]

But that's the Trump I know in a nutshell, he projects his own sins and crimes onto others, partly to distract and confuse, but mostly because he thinks everyone is as corrupt and shameless and ruthless as he is. It's a poisonous mindset. I know all too well whoever follows Trump into the White House. If the president doesn't manage to make himself the leader for life, as he has started to joke about and Trump never actually jokes, whoever follows him into the White House will discover a tangle of frauds and scams and lawlessness.

[00:10:55]

Trump and his minions will do anything to cover up that reality. And I mean anything. I have lost many things as a consequence of my decisions and mistakes, including my freedom, but I still retain the right to tell this story about the true threat to our nation and the urgent message for the country.

[00:11:11]

It contains signed Michael Cohen writing at the time from Otisville federal prison in Otisville, New York. Now, Michael Cohen was convicted of multiple federal felonies. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison. He was released from federal prison in Otisville, two home confinement at his apartment in New York earlier this year because of the coronavirus epidemic. Now, the White House is denouncing the book already, they put out a statement tonight calling it fan fiction, which means I don't really think they know what fan fiction is.

[00:11:47]

The book is called Disloyal. It's not out yet, but we do have this first chapter, the forward. And I will tell you, I do not know what he's talking about when he says in the foreword that he has evidence that Trump did collude with Russia and that Trump cheated in the twenty sixteen election, quote, with Russian connivance. We don't know what Michael Cohen means by that, but he says it is explained in the rest of the book.

[00:12:12]

I also don't know what Cohen means when he says he was he was tasked by Trump with putting him in touch with Vladimir Putin through a secret back channel. I don't know what that is. I don't know what Cohen means when he references the sexual infidelities of the president, about which he says he lied. Cohen says he lied to first lady Melania Trump. I don't know exactly what he means when he says he was a participant in tax fraud with the president, although that one, I think I may have an idea.

[00:12:40]

I also don't know what he means by Trump's, quote, deals with corrupt officials from the Soviet Union. Again, I could I got some inklings there, but I don't know what details Michael Cohen has and what he's going to spell out. Nor can I illuminate you on what Mr. Cohen might mean when he uses the phrase golden showers in a sex club in Vegas. I mean, that when I could I could I could try to illuminate you as to what that means, but frankly, I would just I would not one, not even if I knew I would prefer to just wait for the book.

[00:13:13]

I'd rather do that in somebody else's words. Michael Cohen, after he was let out on home release because the coronavirus epidemic, briefly, he was locked back up again. The Justice Department said that he had somehow defied or violated or refused to agree to the conditions of his home confinement. There's a lot of confusion about what happened there. He hired new lawyers who brought a lawsuit to allege that this was misbehavior by the government and that he should, in fact, be put back out on home confinement.

[00:13:45]

A federal judge ruled that the Justice Department actually did lock Michael Cohen back up to try to stop him from publishing this book. And the judge ordered him freed once again. And so Cohen is back out on home confinement. And as far as we can tell from the public proceedings in his case, Mr. Cohen and the Justice Department and effectively the judge are still negotiating as to how much Michael Cohen can speak publicly from his position now as a federal prisoner who is on home confinement.

[00:14:14]

We don't know how much public facing stuff Michael Cohen is allowed to do, like, for example, interviews. As far as we can tell, the judge does not appear to have given him explicit and specific permission to release this part of his book today. But Cohen has done so. And so I guess I mean, watch this space. If he is allowed by the court to speak on the record in an interview, I will assure you I will try to be the one who gets that interview.

[00:14:39]

Think good thoughts for me. Cross your fingers. But I mean, again, as he says, whatever you think of him as a man and whatever you think of his previous involvement in Donald Trump's life and as Colin describes it, is misbehavior, if you can step away from him as a personality, the Cohen story really is nuts as a story of our country and this presidency and the rule of law. I mean, it seems crazy when Cohen is warning that the president isn't joking when he says he wants to be ruler for life.

[00:15:10]

It seems crazy that Cohen is warning that Trump will scuttle the election or refuse to leave office if he loses the election. That's crazy stuff. But how much more crazy is it than the rest of what Michael Cohen has actually experienced? I mean, he went to prison for multiple felonies for more than one of those felonies. Prosecutors identified the president as individual one who directed Cohen to commit those crimes and for whose benefit the crimes were committed. We now know that since then, the president's attorney general and sort of new fixer, Bill Barr, personally went to the US attorney's office in Manhattan, which had pursued that case against Cohen and prosecuted that case against Cohen.

[00:15:51]

Bill Barr personally went to that prosecutor's office and pressured the prosecutors working on that case. And after he pressured them, they ended up sitting on it for months and then closing the hush money, part of it, the individual, one part of it, without bringing additional charges against anybody else involved in the scheme, the attorney general then shortly thereafter forced out the US attorney in that office. And then during the coronavirus epidemic, they use the Justice Department, used the Bureau of Prisons, part of DOJ, to get Michael Cohen locked back up when he threatened to release this book to the point where Cohen had to sue for his freedom.

[00:16:28]

And he won. And the judge called out the Justice Department for having gone after him in that way to try to stop the publication of this thing. So, yeah, it seems far fetched that the president might be preparing to try to stay in power by force or treachery against the election, right. It seems far fetched, but all of this stuff that really happened is far fetched. It's so far fetched, it sometimes feels like bad fiction. Sometimes, though, I feel like the news gods give us koans coincidence, right?

[00:17:05]

Simultaneous news stories that can illuminate one another. Sometimes I think they show us something on the other side of the world that helps us understand our own situation better. At least gives us a vocabulary. To recognize just patterns to recognize. On the other side of the world this week, we have been watching a a violent crisis unfold in that country called Belarus, where the authoritarian ruler in charge there got too blatant, too clumsy and stealing his re-election effort.

[00:17:39]

This time, he says he got 80 percent of the vote in that election. People love me. Case closed, President for life for the people know better about what he did. And the people of Belarus, after twenty six years under this dictator, have been demonstrating for a fair count of their votes in this election and for him to step down. And he has responded by turning a military force against the people of his country. The largest demonstrations there ever.

[00:18:06]

More than six thousand people detained and locked up already. His security forces have shot live ammunition at protesters. They've beaten people in the streets. They have dragged innumerable people into unmarked police vans and driven them off to detention facilities. They've shut off the Internet. They've shut down a lot of phone service in Belarus. But among the images that have gotten out of the country, the some of the most upsetting are actually not these terrible shots of violence that we've had.

[00:18:32]

Some of the worst things we've seen are these images of distraught or numb families, mothers and fathers and family members standing outside police stations and interrogation centers and holding facilities, hoping to find their relatives, hoping to find their daughters and sons and mothers and fathers who have been taken by Lukashenko as agents snatched off the streets. And nobody knows where they've gone. And Belarus has a backwards economy very much linked to Vladimir Putin's patronage and in many ways still Soviet style, state controlled entities, even at state controlled entities, we are seeing strikes and walkouts at state controlled factories and workplaces.

[00:19:13]

We've seen women and all white peacefully flooding the streets, calling for the security forces to stop shooting, stop beating people. But what they're doing to people that they're taking inside these police stations and police vans, you know, these these hostage style videos that people have been beaten and injured, obviously terrified, sort of in monotone renouncing their participation in the protests. BBC News crews and others have captured video of a holding centers in these unmarked vans where the visual part of the tape is essentially a static image.

[00:19:43]

But you can hear in the audio is people being beaten and screaming and begging for their lives. This is happening this week. This is Europe in twenty twenty, this is this is not a joke. This is not a game. This is happening right now. That country's got this terrible leader who's been an authoritarian control of that country and its economy for twenty six years, and he's now pulling out all the stops to remain in power. And you see how violent that very quickly becomes.

[00:20:13]

Authoritarianism means rule by force and not by law. If you have power, that's what entitles you to keep power under authoritarian rule. And corruption and authoritarianism always go hand in hand, because if you rule by force and not by law, there's nothing to constrain you. There's no such thing as legitimate opposition to you and there's no legitimate, legitimate check or limit on your power within the government. And so if you've got authoritarian control, you turn the power of the state to your own purposes, whether it's making you and your family and your staff and your cronies rich, whether it's using the power of the government that you control to ensure that nobody else will ever be allowed to replace you at the top.

[00:21:01]

I mean, an example of that type of effort is to use the power of the prosecutors in your government, use the power of the Justice Department in your government to punish political enemies, to threaten political enemies, to bring trumped up investigations and prosecutions of your political enemies, and to reward and protect people who criminally cover up for you or do your dirty work. President Trump, in a new interview with Fox Business, just chastised Attorney General William Barr for potentially being too politically correct to want to bring charges against the people who investigated the Russian attack on our last election to benefit him.

[00:21:38]

He says he doesn't want Bill Barr to be too politically correct to do that. Bill Barr could be one of the greats if he'll just at president say publicly he wants those charges brought effectively. Using your current control of the government to stay in power could also take the form of sabotaging the postal service, might block access to voting in your re-election effort. When your re-election efforts are being held in the midst of an out of control pandemic, which means people may not be able to vote safely any other way than through the Postal Service.

[00:22:13]

The president, as of today, is getting very, very blunt about the fact that he really is messing with the Postal Service on purpose to prevent them from being able to handle ballots in the election. I mean, that is far fetched, right? But that is happening. On the issue of using the government to enrich yourself, we've got plenty of far fetched stuff there, too, including an update on a story we've been covering for a couple of weeks now about President Trump directing his ambassador to the U.K. to tell the U.K. government they needed to move a golf tournament, the British Open, to the president's own golf club so the president could make money on it.

[00:22:54]

That obviously is a corrupt use of his control of the US government to personally enrich himself. The ambassador conveying that information to the British government at the president's direction is also potentially a criminal act, since it basically meets the penal code definition of the solicitation of a bribe.

[00:23:10]

This is a serious thing. Well, yesterday, we received a long delayed, long awaited inspector general report on the U.K. embassy, and it included a sort of long discussion of misbehavior and inappropriate behavior by that Trump appointed ambassador. And that's a whole nother story. What's particularly of interest to me, though, is that that IG report on the U.K. embassy didn't include anything about this golf course thing about the president telling the US ambassador to the U.K. that the British government needed to line the president's own pockets.

[00:23:46]

What we have since learned is apparently that specific matter. Was handled separately. They did the inspection of the embassy and we've now got public release of that inspector general report. It's not good in terms of the ambassador, but this specific matter of the president telling the ambassador to get the British government to give him some money. We have since learned that that apparently is the subject of a standalone separate investigation by the inspector general's office and investigation of those allegations against the president and the ambassador who did this for him, an investigation that has somehow poof since it was reportedly completed in May, which is the same month that President Trump had that inspector general fired without explanation.

[00:24:33]

There is a reason there's no such thing as an ex authoritarian leader, right, ex dictator is not a job title. There's no retirement plan for the Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin's of the world. There's nothing else you can do after you've done that. If you've spent your time in power, your years in power, undermining and destroying the democratic institutions of your country, rendering all opposition criminal. Corrupting all profitable enterprise in your country so that it instead feeds you instead of feeding your country's economy.

[00:25:08]

If you've spent years in power defying any prospective transition of power away from you as a revolution or a coup, that must be quelled with force if you have used your time in office helping yourself to the spoils of state power. Well, practically speaking, then, you have to stay in power because if you ever left, unless some sympathetic or allied foreign power is going to spirited away in the night and shelter you in exile, I mean, if you ever leave power.

[00:25:41]

The people of your country are going to find out everything you did, and they're going to hold you to it. Especially if some of what brought you to power and some of what you did in power constitutes clear criminal behavior. I mean, it's it's nice, I'm sure, if you're president, to have presidential immunity from prosecution to sort of esoteric benefit of the presidency that most US presidents don't use and never seriously need to contemplate using. But if your individual one right, if you have been found as president to have committed crimes and directed the commission of crimes for which other people have gone to prison, then presidential immunity is the most important thing in your life.

[00:26:22]

And as Michael Cohen says in his new book, We Now Know. That means you'll do anything to keep it. Which means you'll do anything to keep yourself in power. And that has led some very serious people to start having some very serious discussions and arguments about what's about to happen here over these next 80 days and who has the responsibility to make sure it's done right. And that very sobering discussion is next. These past few months, I've become a pro at coloring my hair at home, and that's all thanks to the actual pros at Madison Reed, Madison Reed is game changing color.

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[00:27:51]

Hey, it's Chris Hayes this week on my podcast. Why is this happening? I'll be talking with Pulitzer Prize winning author Isabel Wilkerson about her wildly ambitious new book on PCAST.

[00:28:01]

What we view as established, almost natural law is in fact a creation of man. It actually is not real. It is an artificial hierarchy that was used in this particular hierarchy, this particular caste system. In other caste systems, there might be religion that's used as a metric, there could be geography. This used as a metric other forms of lineage. But in this case, it was race as the tool race is the signal race is the clue as to where you fit in the caste system that was created with the founding of the country this week on why is this happening?

[00:28:35]

Search for why is this happening wherever you're listening right now and subscribe. A man named John Nagl, Nagl, who is a respected Army officer, a combat veteran, very respected academic and counterinsurgency scholar at Defense One this week, John Nagl published this open letter calling on the chairman of the Joint Chiefs to pledge to involve the US military, if necessary, to ensure the transition of power to a new president in the event that this president is voted out. But he tries to stand up some kind of private army federal agents or some other kind of Praetorian Guard to keep himself in the White House.

[00:29:21]

John Nagl is a serious person, a serious scholar on these issues, somebody who have a ton of respect for I don't actually know that I agree with him here and him asking the chairman of the Joint Chiefs to make this kind of a pledge. But I will tell you that piece and the fact that he felt compelled to write it scared the bejesus out of me this week. And now there's this.

[00:29:41]

Kyle Murphy is a senior intelligence analyst at the US Defense Department. He served from twenty fifteen to twenty seventeen as a director at the National Security Council in the White House. His time in the Security Council included overseeing the US government's support for nine national elections in West Africa and the US government response to multiple foreign coup d'état attempts. Also the US government response to several foreign terrorist attacks. Professionally, he knows dictators and authoritarian governments and the collapse of democratic governance.

[00:30:14]

He knows that as an expert and as a national security professional. And he has just quit the Defense Department because of what he is seeing here now from this president.

[00:30:26]

Look at this. He says, quote, I left government excuse me, I left government service after more than a decade because I lost faith in the courage of the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to refuse unlawful orders from the president. The president has turned to other eager allies as well, and the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, who believe their components of the federal government can clamp down on dissent with a veneer of legality.

[00:30:50]

In my years analyzing foreign, political and military decision making for senior policymakers, part of my job is to observe whether foreign governments protected their national security services from politicization and whether they committed abuses against their own populations. These are critical measures of the health of a democracy, and failures not only disqualify countries from US partnership, but can also be a warning sign that a country may play a destabilizing role in the world. Our laws enshrine a fundamental belief that a nation's security forces should defend, not undermine, the core principles of democracy and that they are not a leader's personal tool to silence critics and retain power.

[00:31:28]

Respect for this principle is one of the starkest lines dividing democratic and authoritarian leaders. And I see grave similarities between between events in our country and the processes by which autocratic leaders have brought their countries to the brink of civil conflict and beyond. Each day, Trump's approach looks more like the autocrats I warned about as an analyst. Senior defense intelligence analyst Kyle Murphy has now resigned from his position at the Pentagon with this as his statement of protest about why he did so.

[00:31:57]

Joining us now is Mr. Murphy, former senior analyst with the DIA. He also served at the White House at the National Security Council's director for West Africa. Mr. Murphy, thank you very much for being here tonight. I really appreciate your time. Thank you for having me. So I read your piece with great interest, it also resonated with me in a deep and scary way because I feel like what you are saying about why you resigned and what you are recognizing, what's going on in our country right now is very dark and is very serious and feels like a real warning.

[00:32:32]

And I just wanted to ask if if I'm if I'm taking you too seriously here or if you actually mean this as gravely as it seems. No, Rachel, I think you're right. I think this is serious, and I think we need to be thinking about what's happening in our country, the way that we often look at what happens in other countries.

[00:32:48]

So in my personal case, as I said, I resigned because I lost confidence in the most senior Department of Defense leaders after they treated me and others were demonstrating peacefully for racial justice like enemies, saying they were unwilling to stand up to the president.

[00:33:04]

I needed to leave government here what I was seeing and have similar look to other authoritarian states and ultimately do everything that I could to prevent the situation from getting worse. That's a remarkable story about you as a person and how personally you got to that place. I also feel like, though, you're sort of inviting us to tap your expertise as to what the solution is here. When you talk about losing confidence in the military, in the civilian leadership of the Pentagon, potentially in the Justice Department of Homeland Security leadership as well, in terms of whether or not they are standing up for democratic principles, they're standing up for what's right rather than just becoming a tool of the president.

[00:33:45]

I feel like you're the kind of person I would ask about how we as citizens and we as a country, correct for that. I think we all hoped that there would be senior leadership in those entities in our country that would just do the right thing, and that would form a barrier where the president couldn't cross and couldn't do things that aren't supposed to happen in our country if they're not a barrier, if they're not doing the right thing. How do we correct for that?

[00:34:11]

Sure. So as I mentioned in the piece for security, what I've seen in my work and working, looking at other countries is the basics of participatory democracy are what's most effective in countering situations like this. This is massive voter turnout, citizen support directly for campaigns and peaceful demonstrations that are part of enduring social movements that shape electoral politics. There are several key things that all of us can do now and we can help others to do, and that's registered to vote.

[00:34:40]

Protect our voting process. Organize our communities to support the leaders who value democratic institutions and get every eligible voters to cast their ballot and make sure that it's counted. These are the things that when I look at other context in the places that that I have worked on at the White House and before, this is what was effective in either convincing leaders who otherwise we're going to or headed toward disrespecting the wishes of their people to change course or who had actively tried to subvert the will of their own people.

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These are the sorts of things that were effective in changing their minds or forcing their hands. You mentioned about protecting our voting process. I've done a lot of coverage of voting rights issues over the years, we've we've never before had a national election in this kind of an environment with the kind of threats that you're describing where we all also are. A lot of us are also supposed to be getting our ballots and submitting our ballots through the postal service and where the president is now openly saying that he wants to deny resources to the postal service.

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And we're watching his hand-picked leader of the Postal Service restructure it in ways that seem designed to make sure that that breaks. Just in my inbox tonight, since I've been on the air and watching my own staff discussing these letters that we're now getting from multiple states, including Pennsylvania and Michigan and Maryland, where postal services are warning that under their plans for mail and voting, with the changes that the president has instituted there, it's not going to work that I think is causing despair.

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And a lot of people, because it doesn't feel like feel like there are very many workarounds. Are there examples from the international context or examples that, you know of offer principles to apply, to talk practically that should guide us practically in terms of how we saw things like that up, how we how we come to the defense of institutions that we need in order to keep our democracy working.

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So I think there are a few things I think we rely on political leaders and the president.

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We're talking about lack of confidence in political leaders and our top political leader and the president signaling things that would undermine the key roles and institutions. So I think as citizens, as voters, as contestants in elections and as local communities, we need to stand up for these institutions. We need to bolster the role of our apolitical civil servants, of which I used to be, one for which I have great respect for those people who remain in government doing this critical work.

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And we need to ensure that they know that we are counting on them to uphold the values of our institutions. And we also need to be vigilant as we see things like what's happening right now that worry us. And so for me as an intelligence analyst, if I look at our country as though it was looking at another country, the indicators of authoritarianism have been present since very early on. We're talking disputing facts, delegitimizing opponents, demonizing the media to disrespecting institutions, just to name a few that was there early.

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But what we're seeing now is the spring truly is flashing red warning lights. Autocrats aren't the most creative men around. They're all drawing from a similar shallow well of self-interest, which means they often rely on the same tools, which can be quite predictable. But now the use of resources to disrupt protests spy on Americans to actively trying to undermine the upcoming election, like you mentioned, by either floating the idea of delaying it or starting the Postal Service is the resources that it needs.

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These are the kinds of things that we would expect to see in authoritarian contexts abroad. And this is exactly when civil society needs to stand behind the institutions and the elements of government and also to peacefully express their will and to reject any idea that the results of our election and the sanctity of the election process could be challenged by the president. It's helpful, I mean, seeing seeing parallels abroad is scary, I think, for us as Americans, but it does also direct us to look for parallels and look for help abroad, for anti authoritarian movements, enduring social movements and tactics that, like you described, that have been successful in seeing these guys out.

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Kyle Murphy, former senior analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency. I know a lot of people have left the government one way or another because they felt like they couldn't stomach this. Very few of them have articulated their reasons in a way that's really helpful to the rest of us to understand. Thank you for doing so. Thanks for talking to us about it tonight. Thank you for having me. All right. Much more ahead tonight. Stay with us.

[00:39:14]

Hi, everyone, it's Joy Reid I'm so excited to tell you about my new MSNBC show, the Read Out every weeknight, I'm talking with the biggest newsmakers about the most pressing issues of our time, like Joe Biden, the words of president matter and so is President United States.

[00:39:28]

The first thing I'm going to do is stand up and talk sense and be honest with the American people. Level with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

[00:39:36]

We need as many voices as we can have as possible sounding the alarm, encouraging people to wear masks and to take all precautions and to follow the science and the data. Senator Kamala Harris, we send folks into a war wearing camouflage. So what is going on here when you send camouflage uniformed officers into a city and many more?

[00:40:02]

You can listen to the readout as a podcast by searching for the readout. That's r e i o u t one word wherever you're listening right now and subscribing for free. Thanks for listening. I just mentioned some breaking news about what's going on with this ongoing story of the administration admitting now that they are trying to sabotage the post office before we all vote absentee by mail in this election, because the coronavirus today, the president really did just come right out and say that he's undermining the postal service and denying it funds so that they can't handle ballots for the election.

[00:40:37]

Well, late tonight, the Philadelphia Inquirer has just reported this, quote, The US Postal Service has warned Pennsylvania that mail ballots may not be delivered on time to be counted because the state's deadlines are too tight for its delivery standards, casting fresh doubt on Pennsylvania's ability to conduct much of the twenty 20 election by mail. The warning came in a letter from Thomas J. Marshall, general counsel and executive vice president at the Postal Service, and it was sent to the Pennsylvania secretary of state.

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It warned, quote, that certain deadlines for requesting and casting mail in ballots are incongruous with the Postal Service's delivery standards. Quote, This mismatch creates a risk that ballots requested near the deadline under state law won't be returned by mail in time to be counted. And that's Pennsylvania reporting tonight in the Philadelphia Inquirer. We're now seeing reports of similar letters being sent to elections officials in Michigan, also in Maryland. This is this is now a real crisis. That is what we feared.

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It was the White House. The president is now admitting that's what he's doing on purpose. They are sabotaging the postal service to block them from being able to handle ballots for the election. And it appears to be sort of getting worse by the hour. Now, the president of one local postal workers union in Maine saying now that as many as eighty thousand pieces of mail were left behind this week because of the new Postal Service policy to delay mail. He told The Sun Journal newspaper in Maine that instead of waiting an extra 10 minutes for mail to be ready for distribution, trucks were directed to leave the Postal Service processing center, which resulted in eighty thousand letters being left behind.

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Vice news today reporting that the United States Postal Service is removing mail sorting machines from facilities all around the country without any official explanation or reason, quote, In many cases, these are the same machines that would be tasked with sorting ballots. According to this quote, even to local union officials, USPS has not announced any policy, explained what, explained why they are doing this, what will happen to the machines and the workers who use them. Nor has management provided a rationale for dismantling and removing the machines from these facilities rather than merely not operating them when they're not needed.

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Kimberly Carrolls, the head of the Postal Workers Union in Iowa, she responded to this story by saying, quote, I'm not sure you're going to find an answer for why this is happening, because we haven't figured that out either. She told NPR this week that, quote, mail is beginning to pile up in our offices and said that these sorting machines are being removed. She says she doesn't buy that these measures are being put in place to save money, instead saying, quote, I see this as a way to undermine public confidence in the mail service.

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I'll tell you, we're gonna have a lot to ask Kimberly Carroll tomorrow. She's going to be joining us here on the show as we stay on this developing story.

[00:43:22]

Watch this space. So the town of Bend, Oregon, Bend, Oregon, is west of Eugene, it's a good way southeast of Portland, Bend, Oregon. Yesterday morning, local activists there got a tip from a friend that two men who live in Bend had been arrested, picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers by ICE. And the activists didn't know who the men were. He didn't know why they were arrested. But he he tracked them here to this hotel parking lot where ICE agents had loaded them onto these buses to take them.

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Who knows where. I wouldn't explain why they had detain these men. The activists decided he would put his body in front of one of the buses to try to block them from driving these guys away. And he, meanwhile, put out a call on social media for other people to come join him. And one by one, over the course of the day, people started trickling in and they joined him, putting themselves between the buses and the road.

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By the afternoon, it was hundreds of people at this hotel parking lot in bed. Turns out the two men who I said snatched off the street, our guys who have lived in Ben for 15 years, they have families. They both have young kids who are born in the US. They were each on their way to work when they were grabbed off the street. One reporter from Oregon Public Media who was on the scene said when the families of these two men arrived at the protest, they leaned against the sides of the bus.

[00:44:43]

They begged the federal agents to give the men food and water. The two men detained on the bus were apparently not allowed to speak with a lawyer. They tried to communicate with people outside by banging on the sides of the bus and yelling through the metal walls of the bus. Protesters on the ground, you can see pressing their ears to the side of the bus, trying to hear what the men inside were saying. Eventually, the sun went down the parking lot, floodlights came on and the protesters stayed.

[00:45:10]

Those buses still were not able to pull away. The men had been detained and sitting there on the buses for close to 12 hours at this point as the crowd grew and grew. And that is when federal law enforcement officers arrived and helmets and tactical gear when they approached the buses. This is what they found, hundreds of peaceful protesters with our hands in the air. According to reporters on the ground, it was more than 50 federal officers who then stormed that peaceful protest.

[00:45:35]

They fired tear gas. They fired other projectiles. They reportedly started grabbing protesters by their clothes and throwing them to the ground. And amid all of that chaos they created, federal agents slipped the detained men off of the white buses and got them into another vehicle and drove them away. Today, lots of protesters return to that same hotel parking lot in Bend, Oregon. They put flowers in the parking spaces where the white buses had been parked until late last night.

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They decorated the ground with chalk and messages. Lawyers have filed a motion to try to block the deportation of these two long time Bend, Oregon residents, but they remain in federal custody as of this evening. I'll be right back. It's going to do it for us tonight, I would love to tell you that we're going to be watching closely tomorrow to see if there is going to be a relief bill passed through the Senate since all the covid relief measures have expired.

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Do people really need help and need protection from getting evicted and need that boost to their unemployment benefits? But honestly, we're we're not going to be watching for that tomorrow because the US Senate left town today. They are adjourned until Labor Day, which is in September. They left with no deal in sight for any kind of coronavirus relief. But we will be back here with you tomorrow, even if Mitch McConnell and the US Senate won't. The Rachel Maddow Show weeknights at 9:00 Eastern on MSNBC.