All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 05/07/15
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: All right. Good evening from New York. I`m
You are looking live at an image from Salem, Massachusetts, where we
are waiting to hear from the man at the center of the deflategate scandal.
It`s a long way from the witch trials to this event in which Tom Brady is
scheduled to speak and be interviewed and possibly address the fact that a
recent report would seem to incriminate him and essentially conspiring to
cheat – although the report didn`t come out and say that. It said it`s
more probable than not, that some – essentially manipulation had happened
and he, Brady, had been generally aware of that.
We`re waiting for Brady to come in. He has not said anything since a
somewhat infamous press conference that happened during media week back in
the run-up to the Super Bowl. This will be Brady`s first public appearance
since an independent investigation for the NFL led by attorney Ted Wells,
implicated Brady, noting it is more probable than not that Tom Brady was at
least generally aware of a plan to let the air out of the game balls during
this year`s AFC championship game. Eleven out of the 12 game balls used by
Brady and his offense during that game against the Indianapolis Colts were
found to be underinflated and in violation of NFL rules.
Earlier today, Brady`s agent, Donald Yee, issue a statement, calling
the Wells report, quote, “A significance and terrible disappointment. Its
omission of key facts and lines of inquiry suggs the investigators reached
a conclusion first, and then determined so-called facts later.”
We have Steve Kornacki, I believe, on the scene.
Steve, are you there right now?
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC: Yes, can you hear me, Chris?
HAYES: I can hear you. So, there`s introductory remarks happening at
the podium right now.
You`re showing pictures of the scene. Just set the scene a little
bit. It seemed like a truly bonkers situation up there.
KORNACKI: It really is. I mean, this was a long-scheduled event.
When this report came out yesterday, I think people looked at it and said,
well, I bet Tom Brady will cancel, I bet they`ll kick the media out, you
know, close this off from the media. What`s going to happen? Well, he
Now, as you say, the rule is they`re going to do ten minutes of audio,
ten minutes of video and cameras have to be shut off. But in that time, we
expect to hear probably something about deflategate.
But the scene outside here starting 2 1/2 hours, 3 hours before this
event was supposed to start at 7:30. It`s now more than half an hour late.
But starting 4:30, 5:00 this afternoon, people were lining up. At one
point, there were 3,000 people I would say snaking through this parking
It was at a standstill. They didn`t let them in until 45 minutes
before the start of this thing. They slowly started letting them in.
There are people from the press trying to get in, offering some money
to people who had tickets to this thing. People who had tickets to this
thing seeking out members of the press and asking for big money for their
tickets. I had one guy who came up to me, said, are you with the media? I
said yes. He said, national media? I said, MSNBC. He said, good, 3,200
bucks, I`ll give you two VIP tickets to get inside.
I said, well, go talk to the broadcast network guys. We`re basic
cable. We don`t have that money.
But that`s – it`s kind of crazy out here. Of course, it`s filled
with New England Patriots fans. You`re seeing all sorts of number 12
jerseys and –
HAYES: This crowd, my sense is, this crowd isn`t going to be seeking
tough answers from Tom Brady. They basically are rallying to his defense,
KORNACKI: You hear two things from them. Yes. One is you hear the
he did nothing wrong, this is a frame up, this is a vindictive conspiracy
between the NFL and the Colts or something like that. You hear people who
Then, you hear the other the people who look at you, they lower their
voice a little bit, and they`ll say, yes, you know, I think there`s
something to this, but. And the “but” is, they think it`s smaller in scale
in terms of what it`s been blown up to.
I heard one person here liken it to me, he said taking a little air
out of the football is like in hockey when they bend the stick a little bit
more than is legally allowed, maybe the refs catch them, if they do, it`s
two minutes in the penalty box. They say it`s probably on that level for
You hear a lot of fans who kind of rationalize it that way, but those
are the two main camps. I haven`t heard anybody here say, yeah, I`m
disappointed in Brady, I`m here too give him a piece of my point – nothing
He showed up, in fact, two hours ago we heard a big rumbling overhead,
helicopter, landed in the field next to the arena here. Tom Brady gets
off. There`s all sorts of cheers erupt from people watching him get off
that thing. Sort of a hero`s welcome as he gets off the helicopter and
heads into the Division 3 basketball arena behind me.
HAYES: So, wait, I want to be clear, you`re saying the sense you`re
getting from the people there, they think the media might possibly be
blowing this story out of proportion in relation to its actual importance?
KORNACKI: Can you believe that? They also love it because they love
getting to get on camera. I`ve seen that.
HAYES: All right. Steve Kornacki live there in Salem.
An unlikely defender for Tom Brady today in the personage of Chris
Christie who`s in New Hampshire who had this to say speaking up in Brady`s
defense. I guess we don`t have it.
Joining me now, Joe Sullivan, assistant managing editor and sports
editor for “The Boston Globe.”
Joe, what do you make of all this?
JOE SULLIVAN, THE BOSTON GLOBE: Well, it`s quite a situation. I
think that it has been in Boston, this is the news of the day. It
dominates everything. Considering – I noticed the reporter you had up in
Salem, I`m sorry I`m not remembering his name saying how people in New
England feel that this is something that`s been blown out of proportion as
just a small thing. I think that`s probably accurate, but it`s a very
Some of us in “The Globe” newsroom called this the greatest story
about nothing ever.
HAYES: Well, it`s not nothing. It`s – you know, it`s air being
taken out of footballs.
HAYES: I mean, look, part of this, right, the most interesting part
to me about the report are those texts, right? I mean, it really does seem
like whether the scale of the infraction, itself, was meaningful or not,
there was some kind of concerted activity that was going on that was known
enough that you have equipment managers more or less complaining about it,
texting back and forth about it. That seems to me genuinely, genuinely
Here comes Mr. Tom Brady as he enters the room looking tall, composed,
well-dressed, handsome as always. He is, after all, Tom Brady, receiving
not surprisingly a hero`s welcome from the rabid Patriots fans there in
Salem, Massachusetts, in the heart of New England, where they love their
Pats, and they love their four-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady who –
who – we`ll let you soak it up.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
TOM BRADY, PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From the sixth round NFL draft pick, to four-
time Super Bowl champion, Tom Brady has forged a pro-football career like
few others. Some of you likely remember how he led the Michigan Wolverines
to an overtime victory in the 2000 Orange Bowl.
Every one of you remembers him leading the New England Patriots to a
28-24 victory over the Seahawks in the Super Bowl this past January.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was Tom`s fourth championship with the Pats
and Coach Bill Belichick, also a recent Salem series guest and his third
crown as Super Bowl MVP.
I think –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it`s safe to say that his road to the
Hall of Fame was paved long ago.
CROWD: MVP! MVP! MVP! MVP!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re never going to get a chance for Tom to
Off the gridiron, we also know Tom Brady as the husband to supermodel
Gisele Bundchen, devoted father of three, occasional cliff diver, and
champion of multiple charitable causes. Among them, Best Buddies
International, the Boys and Girls Club of America, and the Make-A-Wish
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Joining Tom tonight is another man of legendary
stature in the sports world and beyond. Jim Gray is the voice of a
generation and perhaps also the eyes having witnessed and reported on more
notable events than most of us can even remember. Sports greats, U.S.
presidents, and world leaders have all sat in the hot seat beside him. He
was ringside when Tyson bit off Holyfield`s ear and reporting from Atlanta
when a pipe bomb went off in Olympic Park.
He`s asked the difficult questions of everyone from Pete Rose to
Condoleezza Rice. Tonight we hope he`ll go a little bit easier, but we
expect he won`t.
Ladies and gentlemen, I`m pleased to welcome our 33rd year Salem State
series, Jim Gray and Tom Brady.
BRADY: Thank you.
JIM GRAY, SPORTSCASTER: This is like a Patriot pep rally.
Tom, it looks like you picked a pretty friendly place to reappear.
BRADY: Thank you, guys, for being here. Thank you very much.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you, Tom!
BRADY: I love you, too.
GRAY: So I think – I think when we decided to do this four months
ago, there was a little bit of a different circumstance than what we`re
facing here this evening, so we are going to keep the evening as to what it
was supposed to be.
GRAY: However, however, there is an elephant in the room.
GRAY: You may be the only one who doesn`t see it.
So, Tom, you`re in the news here, and the Ted Wells report was just
BRADY: Jim`s known for hard-hitting questions. We have a show on
Monday nights and this is how it usually goes for me, so I`m used to it.
GRAY: We`re going to deal with it then we`re going to move on in the
evening. What is your reaction, Tom, to the Ted Wells report?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (INAUDIBLE)
BRADY: See, I can`t usually say those things.
But I don`t have really any reaction, Jim. Our owner commented on it
yesterday, and it`s only been 30 hours so I haven`t had much time to digest
it fully but when I do, I`ll be sure to let you know how I feel about it.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
BRADY: And everybody else.
GRAY: Are you that slow a reader?
BRADY: Well, my athletic career has been better than my academic
career, so usually I`m used to reading Xs and Os. This was a little bit
GRAY: When do you plan to address this publicly?
BRADY: Hopefully soon, hopefully soon. There`s still a process
that`s going forthright now, and, you know, I`m involved in that process,
so whenever it happens, it happens, and I`ll certainly want to be very
comfortable in how I feel about the statements that I make.
GRAY: So since those statements right now will speak for you, and you
don`t want to get into the details, how are you handling this controversy?
Is it bothering you?
BRADY: You know what? I`ve dealt with a lot of things in the past.
I dealt with this three months ago before the Super Bowl. I dealt with a
lot of adversary over the course of my career, my life, and I`m very
fortunate to have so many people that love me and support me.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
BRADY: Thank you. Thank you.
You know, life so much is about ups and downs and certainly I accept
my role and responsibility as a public figure and I think a lot of it you
take the good with the bad, and dealing with different adversities in life,
you just try to do the best you can do.
I was raised by a great mom and dad who support me, and I have a lot
of great teammates that support me. So, we`ll get through it.
GRAY: What are those people telling you? Share it with us.
BRADY: They`re a little bias, aren`t they? They love me
unconditionally and I love them unconditionally, and I can say we`ll deal
with this at a date.
This, like you said earlier, this isn`t what this night was supposed
to be about, so I was here to come and have some fun.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
GRAY: Has this, however, detracted from your joy of winning the Super
BRADY: Absolutely not. Absolutely not.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
GRAY: Why not?
BRADY: Because we earned and achieved everything that we got this
year as a team, and I`m very proud of that, and our fans should be, too.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
GRAY: Is the Super Bowl tainted? Should there be –
BRADY: What do you guys think?
BRADY: Neither do I.
GRAY: Your answer was?
BRADY: Neither do I.
GRAY: No, it`s not? Is that what you`re saying?
BRADY: I said ask what they thought.
GRAY: I asked what you thought.
BRADY: I said no, absolutely not.
GRAY: Absolutely not.
Do you care what others think, say, and are writing? You`re getting
pummeled, Tom, maybe not here tonight, but across the country. Do you
BRADY: I think, you know, my nature and my character is one – I
think as a human, you care what people think. I certainly care what the
people that are close to me think and what they care about.
I think also as a public figure, you learn that there`s – not
everyone`s going to like you, either. So good, bad, and different, there`s
a lot of people that don`t like Tom Brady. And I`m OK with that.
So, like I said, I have teammates that I love and support that love
and support me. I have fans. I have family. I`m very blessed.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
GRAY: We move on. It sounds like a good time to jump off a cliff.
Have you done that lately?
BRADY: Yes, I have, as a matter of fact.
BRADY: I asked myself the same question about that 30 minutes after
it happened. I know. We were in Costa Rica with my family, and I had my
wife holding a camera and my son was there with me and it was kind of a
spur of the moment thing, and I hope you guys enjoyed it. I`ll never do it
But I think for all the young guys in the crowd, my wife was there
with me and she said, are you going to do it? Then I had a friend that did
it. So I just still some of the best motivation in life is trying to
impress a girl.
HAYES: Joining me now on the phone is Donald Yee, Tom Brady`s agent.
Mr. Yee, thank you for your time tonight.
DONALD YEE, TOM BRADY`S AGENT (via telephone): Thank you for inviting
HAYES: You had a pretty scorching statement in response to the report
issued by Mr. Wells, Paul, Weiss law firm.
What was wrong with the report?
YEE: Well, you know, I think that the report as I stated in my
statement earlier today left out critical pieces of Tom`s testimony which
would have provided much-needed context to the report. Additionally, to
conclude that it was more probable than not that that my client was
involved in something like deflating footballs. It just was so vague but
also had the impact of implicating Tom, and I thought that was unfair.
HAYES: What context did they leave out? Like, what – fill in the
blanks for us. Make the case. What – what is the context that`s missing
YEE: Well, without going into all of Tom`s specific testimony, which
I don`t really want to nitpick all of it, but, you know, to give you one
example, the report made a lot of the fact that tom had autographed some
balls for staffers. And I think Mr. Wells is trying to imply that there
was some quid pro quo and, you know, the evidence really was a 180 from
Basically every quarterback in the NFL is asked to autograph lots of
things on a daily basis. And that`s part of the culture and that`s part of
the context, and that`s – of their daily life. And for the investigators
to try to connect an act of generosity which the quarterbacks are expected
to show on behalf of the entire team, because they set the tone of
generosity for the entire locker room toward staffers, to try to connect an
act of generosity like that to the alleged events I just thought was
HAYES: Well, will you – do you understand why the texts that are
included in the report from Mr. McNally and Mr. Jastremski make people
somewhat suspicious? It appears pressure is being applied from Mr. McNally
to bring down the pressure of the balls and he`s being given gifts
essentially as a way of getting him, rewarding him for doing that.
YEE: Absolutely. I can understand why people would draw that
conclusion. I wasn`t present for the testimony of the staffers, but as I
understand it from the report, itself, the staffers gave an alternative
explanation, number one.
Number two, Chris, I think if I were to take your cell phone and, for
example, take out snippets of a text conversation between you and a friend
and published that conversation and let`s say the public didn`t know that
friendship dynamic between the two of you. I think it could very easily be
misconstrued as to what you were talking about and how you truly feel and
who you really are.
HAYES: Are you guys going to prepare some sort of formal response to
sort of litigate this? Or are you anticipating that there might be some
sanction from the league?
YEE: I really don`t know what the league is going to do. I`ve just,
like everyone else, have read that, you know, they`re looking into
everything, and trying to determine what they want to do. The recent
history of NFL discipline toward players has been fairly spotty at best
with a number of players who`ve been disciplined having their discipline
being overturned by neutral arbitrators or judgers. So I really don`t know
what`s going to happen.
HAYES: All right. What do you think of all this conversation now
about your client`s, Tom Brady`s legacy, and suspicion that this shows some
sort of deeper character flaw and it`s related, perhaps, to the taping of
practices that happened under the Patriots before, that this is part of a
culture there that bends the rules or even just breaks them?
YEE: Well, you know, I`m a big proponent of First Amendment, Chris,
and I enjoy sports and that`s I guess one of the fun things about sports is
that there are lovers and there are haters and it creates a great bar
discussion. And so, there`s nothing they can do about that, you know, but
I do think that if you saw the Super Bowl this year, and you let two good
teams play, both teams played great, it turns out great entertainment.
And the NFL does a terrific job of that. There are many terrific
people who work in the league. I just think that this particular matter
HAYES: What do you think about people saying they should take the
YEE: Again, that`s great bar discussion.
HAYES: All right. Thank you, Donald Yee, Tom Brady`s agent, for
joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.
YEE: Thank you for having me.
HAYES: All right. Joining me now, Joe Sullivan, again, assistant
managing editor, sports editor of “The Boston Globe.”
What did you think about that scene at Salem there?
SULLIVAN: It`s just not surprising. Patriots fans love their team,
they especially love Tom Brady. I like Tom`s line, where he said it was
like a Patriots pep rally. It sure sounded like that to me sitting here in
Worchester section of Boston.
HAYES: Am I wrong, he both here in this appearance and also in that
appearance he did during media week in the run-up to the Super Bowl when
this was sort of a big story, really does seem kind of pained and
uncomfortable. I mean, it may be just because it`s not the position he`s
normally in. But he certainly doesn`t seem like he`s comfortable with the
way all this is going down.
SULLIVAN: Well, I don`t know who would be. I didn`t see him. I`ve
been listening to him. And throughout his career, he`s adept at dealing
with the media and he sounded the same way to me. I thought he sounded
But one thing he didn`t say, and one thing Don Yee didn`t say to you
or in his statement today was did he know about the deflation of the
footballs? Or did he or did he not? And neither one said that. That`s
what`s left hanging.
HAYES: That really is. And I notice from Mr. Yee`s responses to me
and also from his statement, there`s no actual factual contention, right?
They don`t say they got anything wrong and they don`t provide any kind of
affirmative defense although maybe we`ll see that later particularly if
Roger Goodell comes out with some kind of punishment.
Do you anticipate there will be some kind of punishment?
SULLIVAN: Well, you know, the sort of guesses on this have been all
over the board, and so I can`t say I feel very confident, but I mean, I
think – I think there will be – my guess is, I will say it that way, that
there will be punishment probably a game or two suspension of Tom Brady,
which in a way the things work. Don Yee pointed it out.
Usually there`s an appeal, and it`s reduced. So, that could be what
we see here, too. If the NFL gives him two, or three games, reduced down
to one, something like that, is a believable scenario.
HAYES: Do you think there will be any change in his reputation
outside of – obviously his reputation is not going to change in New
England, but outside New England?
SULLIVAN: No, I think it does. I think – look, my own personal
feeling on this is this is really kind of a minor infraction. A speeding
ticket, let`s say, in the real world. But I think that the Patriots with
four Super Bowls under Bill Belichick are a team that people seem to love
to hate, and I think that his reputation will suffer. He will carry this
for the rest of his life, I believe.
HAYES: Joe Sullivan, thanks so much for your time.
Joining me now from outside Salem State University in Massachusetts
where Tom Brady just spoke, MSNBC`s Steve Kornacki.
Well, Steve, are you wishing you`d paid $3,200 to be in there?
KORNACKI: I tell you, I mean, he could have just started reciting
random letters from the alphabet and that place would have gone crazy.
That was – I mean, you talk about a home-field advantage. I give Jim Gray
a credit. He did try to come at him from a couple different angles. Only
so much the crowd was going to let him do and clearly Tom Brady went there.
I mean, I was surprised. I thought Brady might have a little bit more
to say about it. I wasn`t expecting too much. But even by that limited
meager standard, he basically obviously said nothing in there and just said
he`ll have more to say at a later date. So, we`ll wait for the next giant
press event for that.
HAYES: Yes, that was – that was punting on first down, if I`ve ever
KORNACKI: Yes, it was.
Interesting thing, though, I mean, just the discussion you`re having
there, you know, with your previous guest just about where this goes here,
just from the conversations I`ve had today in just watching, also you had
Don Yee, on there a minute ago, and the posture that Don Yee has taken
today, the Brady camp has taken today, so aggressive, so defiant. And the
way it`s sort of been explained to me, first of all, when it comes to
meting out the punishment, the NFL, you know, more or less can make up the
rules as it goes along. So, it`s unclear what if any precedents really
When it comes to violations of the sort of competitive rules,
violations of competition, supposedly the standard the NFL has in its
bylaws if there`s a preponderance of evidence, the term more likely than
not, if that`s what they can determine, they`re good to go ahead with
punishment. But there`s just an added sort of layer because the NFL is
finding when it comes to Brady in this report more likely than not that he
had general awareness, at least general awareness.
So, you`ve kind of qualified it on both ends there, so it seems like
the Brady camp kind of took that and said, look, NFL, you don`t have
(INAUDIBLE) right, you don`t have the smoking gun, you don`t have the
concrete proof and we`re basically going to dare you to take, you know, the
face of the league in many ways, a guy who`s just won the Super Bowl, guy
who`s won four Super Bowls and on the strength of that kind of evidence
take hem out for a game, two games, four games, eight games.
They`re basically throwing it right back in the NFL`s face. I was
really surprised by that today. But they in a way, they`re cornered.
Another way, they`re a little confident.
HAYES: It`s sort of the smart play, too. Although I have to say
going through most of the report, nearly all of the report, that the
report`s evidence seems stronger than that very, very hedged conclusion
that`s been the kind of graph that people have pulled out.
HAYES: Absolutely. Look, let`s face it, like in the two different
sort of courts here, in the court of public opinion Tom Brady`s been
convicted. In court of public opinion, the New England Patriots as an
organization were convicted eight years ago when the spy-gate thing
happened. So, for the vast majority of sports fans, football fans, sort of
casual fans around the country, it was already pretty clear to them that
something was up here. They look at this report and now you talk about Tom
Brady`s legacy, you talk about the legacy of this era for the New England
I mean, you don`t have too many dynasties in professional sports
anymore, too many dynasties in pro football anymore in the salary cap era.
Here`s a franchise over the past 15 years has kept the same head coach, the
same quarterback, has won four Super Bowls, wins its division title every
single year. You don`t see that in the modern day NFL. It`s so special.
And yet when the history of this era of the NFL is written, it`s going
to be right there no matter what now. Spy-gate was already guaranteed
there`d be some taint on it. Now this, having this on the record, the
whole investigation, the way the Super Bowl was overshadowed a few months
ago by this, when you look back on this era, there are going to be a lot of
I`m a New England Patriot fan. So, it crushes me to say this. But
there are going to be – you know, most sports fans, most sports historians
who look back at it will say about the New England Patriots, wow, an
amazing achievement, how did that put that together? That was fantastic,
but there was this cloud, too.
And you can certainly make the case that when it comes to taking a
little air out of the footballs, as I said the analogy that`s been made to
me, resonates with me a little bit, you think about a stick in hockey.
There`s rules about how much they can bend the stick. They do it a little
more, they get thrown in the box for two minutes. It`s a minor penalty.
And I do in my heart think that`s probably what this is. But again,
this is an organization, not the first time they`ve been down this road and
they are going to pay a price in terms of their legacy for it.
HAYES: All right. Steve Kornacki, thanks a lot.
In other news today, there was other news today, the court came in,
second highest court in the land and said Edward Snowden was right. We`ll
talk about that, ahead.
HAYES: Hillary Clinton picked up a celebrity endorsement today. Fox
Business landed the exclusive scoop when they asked recording artist Jah
Rule who he liked in 2016.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFFREY “JA RULE” ATKINS, RAPPER; I like Hillary.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah?
ATKINS: I like Hillary.
But you know, it`s crazy because, you know, I also – I also think Jeb
is a good, you know, candidate as well. But, you know, I`m a Democrat,
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re a democrat? OK, that was my next
ATKINS: I will vote Hillary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There you have it America, Ja Rule is ready for Hillary and
the fact that we all know this is a sign of the times we live in as the
brilliant Dave Chappelle wisely foretold years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVE CHAPELLE, COMEDIAN: I remember right around September 11, Ja
Rule was on
MTV. That`s what they said. They said we got Ja Rule on the phone. Let`s
see what Ja`s thoughts are on this tragic – who gives a (EXPLETIVE
DELETED) what Ja Rule thinks at a time like this? This is ridiculous. I
don`t want to dance. I`m scared to death. I want some answers that Ja
Rule might not have right now.
I think when bad (EXPLETIVE DELETED) happens to me, I`ll be in the
crib like oh my god, this is terrible, could somebody please find Ja Rule,
get hold of this (EXPLETIVE DELETED) so I can make sense of all this?
Where is Ja?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: A note to cable news Bookers, though, if you are looking to
book Ja Rrule, note that he`s not always there when you call, but he is
always on time.
HAYES: For the first time, a high level federal court ruled that one
of the programs disclosed by Edward Snowden in 2013 is illegal. The
opinion for the unanimous three-judge panel for second
circuit U.S. court of appeals reads as a harsh criticism of the
government`s argument that a massive NSA program to collect in bulk the
domestic phone records of millions of Americans is lawful under section 215
of the PATRIOT Act.
Judge Gerard Lynch wrote “we hold the text of section 215 cannot bear
the weight the government asks us to assign to it, that it does not
authorize the telephone metadata program.”
Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act is set to expire next month unless a
bill is passed to reauthorize it.
Senators Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Mike Lee of Utah, who are
looking to pass a bill to revise the PATRIOT Act, released a bipartisan
statement that reads in part, quote, “congress should not
reauthorize the bulk collection program that the court has found to violate
the law. We will not consent to any extension of this program.”
This, of course, is the program that raised red flags for Senator Ron
Wyden who back in March of 2013 asked Director of National Intelligence
James Clapper this very, very pointed question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RON WYDEN, (D) OREGON: Does the NSA collect any type of data at
all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?
JAMES CLAPPER, NSA DIRECTOR: No, sir.
WYDEN: It does not?
CLAPPER: Not wittingly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director for the
ACLU. It was the ACLU who argued the case before the U.S. court of
appeals. Congratulations on your victory.
JAMEEL JAFFER, DEPUTY LEGAL DIRECTOR, ACLU: Thank you.
HAYES: All right.
How big a deal is this ruling?
JAFFER: It`s a big deal. It`s a great ruling. We`ve been waiting for
it for a long time now.
it`s a case that we filed right after the first Snowden disclosures.
This was the first program that
HAYES: This was the big bombshell one the (inaudible). By way, they
keep going to your cell phone providers and saying, just give us everyone`s
JAFFER: Yeah. Every day, every day they get from all the major
telecommunications providers a list of, you know, essentially this log of
who you called and when you called them, and how long you spoke to them
for, and they get that for everybody, not just suspected terrorists or
suspected criminals, everybody.
And we challenged the lawfulness of that program, both on statutory
grounds and on constitutional grounds. And the ruling today is a ruling
that the program violates the statute. In other words, the law doesn`t
authorize the government to collect information on this scale.
So it`s, you know, it`s a big deal.
HAYES: So just to be clear here, right, there`s the Patriot Act,
which is the statute. There`s the U.S. Constitution, constitutional
grounds. This ruling says– doesn`t touch the constitutional question,
JAFFER: That`s right. So, we had argued both. We had said it violates
the statute. The Patriot Act doesn`t allow it.
HAYES: Even the Patriot Act doesn`t allow this. The text of the law
that got passed in the wake of 9/11 –
JAFFER: That`s right. Even that has limits.
HAYES: Even that has limits that don`t allow you to just get
JAFFER: That`s correct. And we said if you disagree with us, then it
violates the Constitution.
But the court didn`t disagree with us. The court said we agree with you.
The Patriot Act authorizes a lot of things but doesn`t authorize this.
HAYES: How did this even get into court? I mean, so many of these
cases have been kicked out of court on what`s basically national security
How did you –
JAFFER: That`s right.
HAYES: How did you guys get this heard?
JAFFER: Well, we had argued a case just before the Snowden
disclosures in the Supreme Court challenging a different surveillance
program and the Supreme Court held 5-4 that we didn`t have standing, we
didn`t have the right to be there because we couldn`t prove that our
communications had been monitored. And, you know, that was a very
But then months after, just weeks after, in fact, that decision, the
Snowden disclosures came and
gave us among other things standing to challenge this program.
HAYES: Because just on its face, everyone –
JAFFER: Well, everybody is subject to the program.
We happen to be– the ACLU happens to be a customer of Verizon
Business Networks, which is the company that was the recipient of the order
that Edward Snowden disclosed.
HAYES: Okay. So what happens next?
JAFFER: That`s a very good question. I wish I had a clearer answer to
The reason I don`t is that we get this decision coincidentally at a
time when congress is already
in this heated debate about government surveillance, and we`re in this
heated debate because the provision, the Patriot Act provision that
underlies this particular program is set to sunset, to expire
on June 1st.
So, congress is already debating what should we do between now and
June 1st? Should we reauthorize section 215, or let it sunset? Or, do
something else. Reform the provisions, scale it back in someways.
And so this decision kind of throws all of that into a degree of
HAYES: Right, because if that weren`t the case, it would be fairly
clear, right, the government would probably appeal. The Supreme Court would
JEFFER: That`s right.
HAYES: But, if the thing is going to sunset, anyway, it would
essentially – if it expires or is amended in some ways, it`s no longer a
live issue, right?
So it might just be taken out–
JAFFER: Well, it could certainly have an effect on litigation. And,
if it sunsets then you`re right, it mainly moots the case, or it moots most
of the case.
One of the things I think this decision is valuable for, or one of the
reasons it`s valuable is I
think it makes clear that the reforms being considered by congress right
now don`t go far enough. Because the reforms– they`re being championed by
people who are truly privacy– committed to privacy, but they`ve had to
make a lot of concessions to the intelligence community.
And so the bill makes some reforms at the margins. It`s good in some
respects, but it raises concerns in other respects.
This decision I think is going to strengthen the hand of those of us
who have been calling for
more far-reaching reforms that have been considered so far.
HAYES: Is this the clearest – the clearest case of all that we`ve
learned about these programs
throughout the Snowden docs and through other reporting?
JAFFER: You mean is it the worst surveillance program, is that what
HAYES: Yes. The clearest – the sort of clearest violation of its own
authority. Or the clearest constitutional problem.
JAFFER: Well, it may be that this is the clearest violation of a
statute, of a federal statute.
Although there are other provisions – other surveillance programs
that are based on the
same problematic legal theory that the government was advancing here. But
there are other programs
that in some ways are even worse, but they don`t rely –
HAYES: It`s striking to consider this was happening in secret and
there`s no way to challenge it
until you knew about it.
JAFFER: That`s right.
HAYES: Once it came out, it was challenged and the courts say it`s
JAFFER: That`s right.
HAYES: Jameel Jaffer, thanks for joining us.
JAFFER: Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, as the right wing backs away from Pam Geller and
her anti-Islam rallies, I`ll explain why part of me thinks she should hold
rallies like the one the two gunmen attacked in Texas last Sunday.
HAYES: Earlier today I visited a police training facility in New
Jersey to try out a state of the
art virtual reality simulator designed to help police make better split-
second decisions. When they face a potential threat in the field and have
to decide when and if to deploy their weapons or deadly force.
We`re going to bring you the full story of that simulator next week,
and trust me, you`re not going to want to miss it.
HAYES: On Sunday night two gunmen attacked an anti-Islam gathering in
Garland, Texas, which featured a contest to draw a caricature of the
prophet Muhammad with a $10,000 top prize.
The two gunmen, one of whom was in contact with ISIS sympathizers in
run-up to the attack were killed after they shot and wounded a security
They appear to have been motivated by anger over the Muhammad cartoon
context. Depictions of Muhammad are considered offensive to many Muslims.
The violence has brought a lot of attention to the woman who organized
the event, Pamela
Geller, a pretty odious figure with explicitly bigoted views who`s been an
essential figure on the
Geller has alleged that President Obama is a secret Muslim who, quote,
wants Jihad to win, and her organization which paid her nearly $200,00 in
2013 has pushed state bills to counter the baseless
notion that America is being overtaken by Sharia Law. It`s also paid for
ads on public transportation, widely decried as racist for drawing a link
between terrorism and all Islamic believers.
Most infamously, Geller was largely responsible for the furor over the
so-called ground zero mosque, which she casts as a Muslim victory shrine to
the September 11th attacks.
Through all this, Geller remains a fairly respected figure on the
right, making regular appearances on Fox news, giving lectures on Islam.
But after Sunday, something surprising happened. Instead of being
hailed by conservatives as a
martyr, she was cast as a villain.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, MSNBC: Well, was it fair for the police to
knowingly put them at risk by this unnecessary provocation?
I say no.
DONAL TRUMP, THE TRUMP ORGANIZATION: She`s a provocateur. All she`s
doing is provoking and taunting people, and this country has enough
problems right now.
BILL O`REILY, THE O`REILY FACTOR: This is what happens when you light
the fuse. You get violence.
REV. FRANKLIN GRAHAM, EVANGELIST: With this event in Garland, Texas,
was doing was mocking the Muslims, and I`m discouraged that people would do
HAYES: On Monday Geller told NBC News she had no regrets.
PAMELA GELLAR, POLITICAL ACTIVIST: You can smear and demonize for
example Pamela Geller, but the media, and the cultural, academic elites are
doing is they`re emboldening the
savages, they`re sanctioning this violence intimidation, when we should be
doing the opposite. We should be holding these kinds of events every month.
HAYES: All right. I have a very, very dim view of Pamela Geller, I
think she`s bigoted. I think she`s wrong. But, let me tell you something.
There is some part of me that believes that you cannot allow your free
speech, no matter how terrible, provocative, to be curtailed by the threat
We`re going to talk about that, about the hard questions raised by
Pamela Geller`s bigotry, next.
HAYES: Joining me now to discuss free speech within the context of
Pamela Geller`s Islam-o-phobia, is The Daily Beast`s columnist, Michael
Moynihan, and Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council on American-
Islamic relations in the San Francisco bay area.
Zahra, let me start with you. What do you make of the fact that we`ve
now seen the right by in
large sort of distance itself, reject Geller, in the wake of this event?
ZAHRA BILLOO, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS: You know, it`s
unfortunate that it`s these tragic circumstances that are forcing the
narrative to shift, but it`s also a relief that even people on the same
political spectrum as Pamela Geller recognize how damaging she is and what
she`s really doing is championing hate and bigotry.
HAYES: Okay. So, here`s my feeling about this. And I want to get both
We have this debate about Charlie Hebdo, and it was so horrific in
many ways, and then it
became sort of a debate about the actual content of the Charlie Hebdo
speech because everyone says, well, obviously no one should – obviously,
obviously no one should be murdered for anything they write. Clearly.
But am I (inaudible) Charlie, do I really want to endorse what they
did, right? And there`s a debate about that.
Geller, there`s not really a debate. It really is ugly stuff, right?
My feeling, though, in the wake of this, that there`s some part of me
that feels if the thing you`re
worried about is doing an event that will provoke two people rolling up in
body armor and automatic weapons trying to murder people, then it actually
weirdly is important that you do that or it`s important that that be done.
Like, this idea that this was a provocation which, yes it was a
provocation, but I don`t care if
it was a provocation if what it`s provoking is attempted murder because I
want to live in a society that that is essentially not okay and not
MICHAEL MOYNIHAN, THE DAILY BEAST: Yeah, I want to have a
conversation, you know, there are two separate conversations here.
Pamela Geller`s odious and creationist views are on display for
everyone to see. There`s a number of people on the right, I don`t consider
myself part of that, but they have denounced her. Thank God.
The other thing is that, you know, I think the bigger problem here, I
don`t like the fact we are again after Charlie Hebdo, litigating the
content of Pamela Geller`s blog post and her silly contest.
What it strikes me as if people – if provocation to murder, to have a
bunch of 50 knuckle draggers who think Islam is the worst – it`s not
radical Islam. It is Islam.
If it`s provoking people into gunfire, that`s the bigger problem,
right? There`s nothing that can provoke me, I mean, I understand that
people are offended by this, but, you know, you can`t pull out a gun. That
seems like an obvious point.
But that said, there is no legal sort of regime here that says this,
you know, free speech – is it free speech or hate speech? I saw this
today. It can be both.
HAYES: Right. It`s hateful, but it`s still –
MOYNIHAN: Not hate speech in the sort of European sense that it`s
HAYES: Right. What do you think, Zahra?
BILLOO: You know, Michael took the words out of my mouth. It`s two
conversations. But, in thinking about this, I actually think it`s three.
So one is how horrible and hateful Pamela Geller and her people, her
allies are. The other is, of course, that all violence should be condemned.
There should be no words that could provoke me or anyone else to violence
and I think that everyone in talking about Garland, Texas, is in agreement
about that. I`m not hearing disagreement. They`re also not the only people
committing violence. So, violence happens for numerous reasons. It should
always be condemned.
And then the third is the free speech issues, themselves. I would say
I would also agree with what I`m hearing Michael say. I`m not advocating
for a litigation of the content of the speech, but rather conversation
about what does free speech mean? And how do I want to use that to promote
mutual understanding? And to expose the bigotry that others are spreading.
So here`s where – here`s what I want to say.
So I agree with all that, but here`s – here`s an example of how I
think of this in my – from where I sit, right? If someone – if we were
going to do a segment that was about someone that was advertising on the
network and I was kind of on the fence about it or didn`t even like the
segment, right, I thought it was a little unfair maybe. But then someone
came to us and said, you can`t do that segment because of an advertiser,
I`d be like, well, now we have to do the segment.
MOYNIHAN: Yeah, yeah.
HAYES: Because I have to – it has to be the case that we can do that
MOYNIHAN: This is when free speech is necessary.
HAYES: And so, what I don`t like is the notion that there are people
going to be making calculations, particularly like a venue, do we want to
give you venue over to this thing? And the calculation they`re making isn`t
a calculation of do I think this person is bigoted or odious? But, is this
going to create a security footprint that I`m not comfortable with?
Because that seems to me to be a real threat to free speech.
MOYNIHAN: Yeah. I mean, I`ve been –
BILLOO: I think we would agree. I don`t think personal safety should
be what determines how
and when I speak or what you`re permitted to say or what we choose to say,
but I also don`t think that Pamela Geller is a champion of free speech.
Examples of her own work advocating against First Amendment Rights
include what you mentioned about Park 51, her opposition to Al Jazeera.
She`s not a free speech advocate, she`s an anti-Muslim advocate.
HAYES: And that`s the key point, right?
MOYNIHAN: This is an important point. When I was at The Daily Beast
and I published a fantastic piece by somebody who is a free speech
fundamentalist, but he said, let`s hang on here. And note, when there was a
rumor going around, I can`t remember what African country banned Islam,
That is not anyone who celebrates free speech.
The thing is this idea, I really hope that people get away from this
idea of it`s a provocation, we shouldn`t provoke things. I don`t want, you
HAYES: I think that`s the word that I found bothersome. Again, if
we`re talking about a
person that I really just – like, I find her to be odious. But it`s that
word and that word that has been popping up on Fox News that I think I`ve
been uncomfortable with.
MOYNIHAN: It`s very strange, and I think that the idea of the person
being odious is it doesn`t matter. Because there are things that people
that aren`t odious that provoke people with religious beliefs into
violence, whether it`s two men holding hands in the wrong neighborhood,
that`s a provocation to people who are very religious.
HAYES: Michael Moynihan and Zahra Billoo, thank you very much. I
really appreciate it.
That is “ALL IN” for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
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