All in with Chris Hayes, transcript 2/3/2017
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: February 3, 2017
Guest: Bob Ferguson, Farhanka Khera, Gadeir Abbas, J.M. Berger, Steven Clemons, Lee Gelernt
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: I`d call the American people. And that`s
HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. “ALL IN” starts right now.
JOY-ANN REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good evening from New York,
I`m Joy Reid in for Chris Hayes. Breaking news tonight, a federal judge in
Washington State just issued a temporary restraining order nationwide, to
immediately halt enforcement of Donald Trump`s executive order on travel to
the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim nations. Both Washington and
Minnesota sued the federal government over the ban, arguing it was
specifically intended to keep Muslims out of the United States.
Now, this comes as we finally got an information of the number of visas
already revoked worldwide in the weeks since President Trump issued his
executive order. Anywhere from 60,000 visas, according to a spokesman for
the State Department, to a hundred thousand according to a Justice
Department lawyer defending the ban. Minutes ago, Washington Attorney
General Bob Ferguson, talked to reporters about what the judge`s decision
means for the President`s travel ban.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB FERGUSON, WASHINGTON ATTORNEY GENERAL: It`s obviously a historic
decision and an important one, for the rule of law, and for the people in
the state of Washington, and the people of our country. I said from the
beginning, it is not the loudest voice that prevails in a courtroom, it`s
the Constitution. And that`s what we heard from the Judge Robart today.
I want to be very clear about what his decision does, then I`ll turn to
Noah Purcell, for my Solicitor General, who`ll add a few comments as well.
Judge Robart`s decision, effective immediately, effective now, puts a halt
to President Trump`s unconstitutional and unlawful executive order. I want
to repeat that. It puts a stop to it immediately, nationwide. So, for all
those individuals right that, relief is there. Folks can travel to this
country as they could before the executive order, right. That relief is
immediate, it is happening right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: The Attorney General was asked if the timing of the decision might
cause any problems coming late in the day on a Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FERGUSON: The question went to, hey, because this happened at 4:00, will
there be some confusion? I`ll tell you where there`s been confusion, the
President`s executive order. That`s what cause confusion. I`m sorry,
there`s no other way to put it, it`s keystone cops. It really is. That`s
not just me speaking, that`s Republican members of Congress, right. That`s
what caused the confusion. And so, I don`t worry about the confusion –
there`s nothing confusing about the judge`s order and the federal
government will be expected to abide by it and they will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Joining me now on the phone is Farhana Khera, Executive Director of
the Legal Advocacy firm, Muslim Advocates. First of Farhana, walk us
through what this means sort of in real world terms. The Attorney General
of Washington, you just heard say, that it is immediate relief for
travelers. What does that mean in terms of nuts and bolts terms for people
who are getting off planes right now in the United States?
FARHANA KHERA, LEGAL ADVOCACY FIRM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Yes. Good evening,
Joy, and thank you for having me. Let me first commend the Washington
state Attorney General for his tremendous leadership and taking this fight
to the courts. You know, I just can`t underscore enough, how important
this ruling was today because there was some confusion about whether prior
court rulings were effective on a nationwide basis. And the federal judge
in Washington made it clear, that this particular stay is effective on a
And what that means in practical terms is that people who hold visas – who
are visa holders and are nationals of the seven Muslim majority countries
should be allowed entry into the United States. And so, people who may
have been overseas visiting family members overseas, for work will no
longer have to worry and can re-enter the U.S.
REID: Is there a risk? Because we did see with the previous court order
the Trump administration essentially ordering its officials to ignore it,
and to continue to do what they call extreme vetting or keeping people –
either putting them back on planes or keeping people out of the United
States. What would happen if the administration were to simply ignore this
court order and continue to deny people entry?
KHERA: The administration would be in contempt of court. And it would be,
you know, up to the litigants – and I have confidence to the Washington
State Attorney General – to make that clear to the judge and the judge
would take action to ensure compliance with the Judge`s decision.
REID: And presumably, this will be appealed by the administration. Just
walk us through the legal process. Where does it go from here, if they
decide to appeal?
KHERA: Yes. So, there`re certainly – is that possibility of an appeal?
And – or it`s also possible that they won`t appeal the temporary stay,
because this was a temporary stay to allow the judge to hear the case in
its full on the merits. So, it`s possible the administration could wait
until there`s a decision – a full decision on the case. But, you know, I
am feeling confident that the affected communities joined by states and
corporate leaders in America are going to be vigorously, vigorously
challenging this executive order.
And I might add, Joy, that this lawsuit that was brought by the Washington
State Attorney General was supported by major corporations in Washington
like Amazon, Expedia. And it`s really a tribute to – to these companies
for standing up and realizing that closing borders means closing innovation
in our country. And I think no reasonable American can think that`s a good
REID: Yes. Indeed. As well as supported by thousands and tens and
thousands of protesters who`ve really stayed with this over the past week.
Farhana Khera, thank you very much for joining me. Thank you.
KHERA: Great. Thank you, Joy.
REID: All right, cheers then. Joining me now by phone is Gadeir Abbas,
co-counsel for the council on American Islamic Relations which filed a
separate lawsuit stating the order was unconstitutional. So, let`s start
there, Gadeir, what is the status then, of your lawsuit given this stay
that was issued for the Washington State suit?
GADEIR ABBAS, AMERICAN ISLAMIC RELATIONS CO-COUNSEL: Well, it`s still
pending and there`s still a lot of things that need to be done, even with a
stay in place nationwide. Now, just as different parts of the executive
order were stayed over the last weekend, this stay is not necessarily going
to be permanent. It`s temporary injunction that regards to the executive
order, and so, really at the end of the day, what needs to happen and what
our lawsuit and other lawsuits are seeking is a final disposition of the
executive order that would declare it once and for all unconstitutional.
And then appeals process would start from there.
REID: And what do you make of this discrepancy? There`s a pretty big
discrepancy between the number of visas denied for the Homeland Security
Department – for the State Department, sorry, which says 60,000 visas were
denied and then the Justice Department saying it was more like a hundred
thousand. What do you make of this discrepancy just between the
administration`s different department and the numbers?
ABBAS: Well, the Justice Department in court seems to indicate that there
was, you know, about a hundred thousand or so. And regardless of whether
it`s 100,000 or 60,000, those are – those are despicable numbers. These
visa holders are people`s spouses, they are students that have come to the
United States to study, they are people that work at the technology
companies and in other places. And so, that`s – that`s the carnage that
Donald Trump is imposing on America. 60,000 - 100,000 people that can no
longer live their lives in America, as they had initially planned.
REID: And what do you make of the administration`s argument that there`s
something particular about these seven countries, that they decided that
these were the ones they had to single out above any other country and
they`re laying that at the feet of the Obama administration?
ABBAS: Well, there is something particular about these seven countries.
There has been not a single American citizen on U.S. soil that`s been
killed by someone from these seven countries. And so, it`s really just a
level of opportunism and some litigation planning that they have engaged
in, in terms of selecting those countries. I`m – my folks are from Iraq,
I have friends and family from Iran and Libya. And so, in the Muslim
community this is a personal issue and I think there`s been a lot of
inspiration taken from the protests across the country. And so, far the
courts across the country have weighed in vigorously, on behalf of what is
an unpopular minority; Muslims in the U.S.
REID: Yes, indeed. Well, that`s the Washington Solicitor General, called
the Justice Department`s argument – hold a second – and called the
Justice Department`s argument “frightening” in court today. Let me play
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NOAH PURCELL, : I did say, at one point, that the Department of Justice`s
argument was frightening. And the argument was essentially that if the
President says, I`m doing this in the National Security interest, then a
court cannot review whether that`s the real reason or whether there is even
any rational reason for the President`s action. Again, our view is that`s
not the law, that`s a scary view of the law, and luckily the judge rejected
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: So, Gadeir, what do you make of that characterization, if the
argument by the administration that it`s frightening.
ABBAS: It`s true. The Department of Justice has taken the position that
the President has unfettered discretion to determine who comes in, and who
does not come into the United States. And that`s not the law, thankfully.
The constitution places limitations on the ability of the executive branch,
and the legislative branch from discriminating on the basis of race, on the
basis of religion. And remember, the constitution prohibits – religious
discrimination not in one place but in several places. In two places, in
the first amendment; the establishment clause, and free exercise clause,
those provide restrictions on the executive branch`s ability to place
restrictions on people`s religious beliefs.
The equal protection clause, also, redundantly protects people`s but
religious and religious practices. And so, the government – the
government is making a terrifying argument and it`s similar to arguments
that the executive branch has made to – in defense of some of the most
despicable policies including; torture, indefinite detention,
indiscriminate surveillance. And so, we`re seeing a recycling of those
same tired arguments instead of the executive branch`s omnipotent and all
REID: Yes, indeed. Well. Gadeir abbas, thank you very much for being
here, Sir. We really appreciate your time.
ABBAS: Thank you.
REID: Thank you. And joining me now is J.M. Berger, a fellow at the
International Center for Counter-Terrorism at The Hague; Steve Clemens,
Washington Editor at large for “The Atlanta” and MSNBC Contributor; and
former Intelligence Officer, Malcolm Nantz, who`s now an MSNBC Terrorism
Analyst. I`m going to go across with you gentlemen, and I`ll start with
you J.M. Berger. I mean, the administration`s argument is that they chose
these countries and issued this travel ban in order to further National
Security. What do you make of the argument? And what do you make of this
judge`s decision to now at least temporarily halt this travel ban?
J.M. BERGER, INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR COUNTER-TERRORISM FELLOW: Well, I`m
not an immigration law expert, so, I won`t comment on the judge`s decision.
I do think that the ban is more symbolic of the groups that the Trump
administration wants to exclude from the United States than from any kind
of National Security imperative. You know, I don`t think it makes us
REID: And why not? I mean, their argument is well, if these are countries
that are unstable and that internally are having issues with Jihadism that
are facing those countries. That why bring somebody who`s exposed to that
here? Why does it not make us safer, if you could explain.
BERGER: Well, it exacerbates the perception that the United States is at
war with Islam, that there`s a clash between the United States and the
Muslim world. But, you know, even on a pragmatic basis, it basically
fails. We`re talking about really, such tiny fractions, you know, when we
look at this kind of thing as other people pointed out these countries have
not been sources of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil over the last ten years.
But more to the point is we`re really doing – taking actions that impact
hundreds of thousands or millions of people to deal with a problem that can
be counted in handfuls.
REID: And meanwhile, to stay with you just for a moment, JM Berger, the
White House in this CVE with the – this sort of counter-terrorism document
that produced, are excluding American terrorists, white nationalist groups,
etc., from their designation of terrorism in terms of trying to counter
violent extremism. What do you make of that? You wrote about that today.
Can you expound on that?
BERGER: Yes. I mean, the – really the only ever had a token of presence
of White Nationalists in our counter in violent extremism program. So,
these programs are meant to counter-terrorism, by doing community building
and doing different kinds of non-kinetic things, where you don`t arrest
somebody or kill somebody. And they were theoretically color blind,
they`re theoretically – could apply to any ideology, but in practice they
were mostly targeting Muslims.
The decision, which has been reported but not announced, you know, so we`re
still hearing this from sources. Is that, you know, they`re going remove
White Nationalism and Domestic Extremist from that mix and make this solely
focused on Islamic extremism. And similar to the travel ban, you know,
this is really about the optics of who this administration wants to
exclude. You know, throughout the campaign, we saw that White Nationalists
in this country were ecstatic about the things that the Trump campaign was
saying, and they are ecstatic about his first two weeks in office. All of
this is designed to polarize people and to start moving us toward in a
definition of an American identity that is White and Christian.
REID: Yes. And Malcolm Nantz, we know there are at least two people –
two or three people inside of the administration that have this ideology,
that is this sort of the real fight is between the Christian west;
essentially, White Christians, and Islam. And to talk a little bit about
this influence that Steve Bannon, and General Michael Flynn are having on
this administration, and are they making the matter – making matters worse
when it comes to counter-terrorism?
MALCOLM NANTZ, MSNBC TERROR ANALYST: Well, they`re absolutely making
matters worse. That`s just patently obvious, by this blanket travel ban
that they had on these seven countries which obviously were low-hanging
fruit. And I think they were actually test-beds to see how in the future
they can just move forward, and then start excluding people from other
Muslim countries. But like J.M. said a little earlier, there is an
ideology, there is a movement within the White House that I think that
they`re pushing as well, which is this Nationalist Christian Identity of
the United States. And it`s interesting, because I didn`t accidentally use
that word, Christian Identity.
There have been right wing extremist movements in this nation. Dominionist
in nature, which is theologically Christian, who believe the United States
should be a Christian only nation. And who have, actually, carried out
acts of terrorism in the Christian Identity movement itself. But, you
know, Steve Bannon himself, believes in a, you know, a form of political
anarchy against liberal democracy, and people who are liberals themselves
based on the writings of Alexander Dugin, of Russia who is a – the way –
the best way to put it is he`s a Rasputin of the Eastern European
Nationalist movement. And he aligns very closely with him, as well as
General Flynn, who has some very interesting – and I`m being polite –
words, you know, beliefs about what he thinks this alliance against ISIS,
Al Qaeda, Iran, and North Korea, should be. And that he should align, now,
the United States and Russia together as this Christian bulwark to stand
against Islam itself.
All of this, is a validation of Osama bin Laden`s ideology where he
believed that there was going to be a clash of civilizations between
Christian West and Islam. And so, it`s very fascinating to see these top-
tier ideologues, in the White House, fulfilling bin Laden`s wish, so to
REID: Yes, and just to reset for those just tuning in, a judge – federal
judge in Washington State has issued a temporary restraining order – a
nationwide temporary restraining order that immediately halts enforcement
of Donald Trump`s executive order. The travel ban he issued to those
traveling to the United States from seven targeted countries. And then,
this is in response to a lawsuit that was filed, jointly, by Washington
State and a second state. And so, this for now is a halt to the travel ban.
I want to go to Steve Clemons. For just a moment, Steve, because this
ideology that we`re seeing in the White House that does want this sort of
clash of civilizations, between the Christian West including; Russia and
Islam. It`s actually, also being played out in Europe, where these
Alexander duganites are also operating, in places like Germany, and France,
in England. So, this has not just – confide to the United States, right?
STEVEN CLEMONS, THE ATLANTA WASHINGTON EDITOR AT LARGE: No, we have a set
of elections coming up in France. We`re all very interested in what begins
to evolve in France with the rise of Marie Le Pen, and a kind of break-down
of one of the leading conservative candidates, who was looking like he
might win there and black her ascension to some degree. So, these populist
movements that have reacted both to economic troubles, to terrorism inside
their countries, from foreign-trained fighters that have gone into Syria
come in, and wreaked havoc in their countries in addition to the refugee
crisis; has created a politics of pugnacious nationalism in those countries
just like our own.
And so, that`s why, you see Donald Trump hanging out with Nigel Farage;
making common cause with Marie Le Pen; folks in the Dutch Political system
that are on the kind of far pugnacious right as well. But these are not
classic traditional conservatives, these are movement revolutionary
conservatives really trying to turn the structures of their governments
upside down, much like I think Donald Trump is doing now in the United
REID: You`ve even seen Donald Trump criticize the German Chancellor Angela
Merkel, for being too permissive in terms of allowing refugees in. You saw
this weird sort of phone spat with the Australian Prime Minister over the
admission of, maybe 1200 refugees that the Obama administration agreed to
take in; who are currently in Australia. So, we`re seeing this being
pushed now from the United States to Europe. That is unusual, right? I
mean, we haven`t had –
CLEMONS: It`s totally unusual. I got to tell you, I just got off the
plane from Japan. I just arrived two hours ago, and, you know, Japan, you
know, we`ve got Prime Minister Abe coming to town in a few days to meet
Donald Trump. They`re really in shock at the way that Donald Trump treated
Malcolm Turnbull, the Prime Minister of Australia. It`s such a stalwart
ally of the United States, at the time that things are getting tense with
China on a bunch of fronts.
We talk a lot about Europe, but there`s also a kind of brewing set of
equities and problems in Asia that – Malcolm Turnbull encounter, has I
think created some real shock throughout the world; not just in Japan, but
also in Europe. The Angela Merkel kind of slap around was extraordinary
for such a fundamentally important partner of the United States and Europe.
And even, you know, the various questions of NATO, and I find it an
interesting gap between the National Security team like; General Mattis,
General Kelly and others that are trying to calm the waters and the White
House itself which seems to be riling up the waters simultaneously.
REID: And J.M. Berger, I mean, Australia is not just a close ally they
fought with us in war after war, but also is a close intelligence-sharing
ally. How much of a risk do we have now of alienating the people, not only
with whom we fight, but whom we share intelligence?
BERGER: Well, there`s going to be a lot of questions about what
intelligence we share with whom. You know, if you`re in another country,
particularly, intelligence regarding Russia; I think that you have to
imagine that our allies are going to think that this is sensitive material.
But maybe they don`t want to share with the United States at this point,
that they don`t know it can be secure.
That particularly, affects Syria. I mean, in Syria, we`re really –
probably, headed into uncharted waters here. We don`t really know what the
administration`s intentions are. But they`ve made very friendly sounds
toward the Assad regime, and toward the Russian efforts there. And as an
intelligence matter, there`s a potential disaster lurking there because,
you know, there`s a vetted opposition of moderate – moderate rebels in
Syria who we have a great deal of intelligence on.
We collected that intelligence on the basis of being a good faith partner
and, you know, that intelligence is now in the hands of the Trump
administration which may choose to share it with Assad, or Russia, or
REID: That`s not comforting. All right, J.M. Berger, Steve Clemons, and
Malcolm Nantz, stay with me. Also, joining me now by phone is the Attorney
General of Washington State, Bob Ferguson. Mr. Ferguson, Sir, thank you so
much for taking the time to talk with me.
I want to read you, what our Pete Williams – is just now reporting. He`s
reporting that a Department of Homeland Security official is saying, that
the judge – the Seattle judge`s order will have no immediate practical
effect. The official from the Trump administration is saying, all
previously issued visas from the seven affected countries were canceled by
last week`s executive order.
So, anyone hoping to come to the U.S. from those countries would have to go
to consular offices and reapply for a visa. And in the meantime, the Trump
administration is likely to seek a stay of today`s order. Can you make
sense of that for us?
FERGUSON: Yes. I`m not sure – thanks, first of all, for having me on. I
really appreciate it. And I`m not sure if I can make sense of the first
part of that. What I can say in general, at a high level is that, the
judge`s decision here today was very clear. That he said that, he granted
a temporary restraining order that has the effect nationwide of
essentially, nullifying President Trump`s executive order.
So, it allows people now to travel to our country. If there are specific
visas they need to attain; I can`t get to that level of detail, I don`t
have that information. But, at a high level – the judge`s decision,
essentially, strikes it down as a temporary restraining order, until he has
the chance to weigh in on the issue on its merits.
REID: And one of the things that has been confusing when it comes to the
Trump administration is, whether or not it`s clear that they`re willing to
abide by these kinds of orders. You have the Department of Homeland
Security, sounding at least, as if they are sort of refuting what`s in this
judge`s order. What would happen then, if people are getting off planes;
now subject to this stay, and are still stopped from coming into the
country? What sort of relief could they have now that the judge`s order
has come down?
FERGUSON: Sure. I don`t want to be overly dramatic, Joy, but you would
have a constitutional crisis. We are a nation of laws, and that applies to
everybody including the President of the United States. And in a
courtroom, it is not the loudest voice that prevails it`s the Constitution,
and it`s concerning my expectation as the Attorney General for the state of
Washington, that the federal government, including the President, will obey
and follow the order of the Judge Robard. I understand, they may not like
it and they have rights to appeal it, which they`re entitled to. They will
lose, but they`re entitled to appeal but it is their obligation and
responsibility to the people of our country to follow and uphold the rule
REID: And you Sir, could – we`re speaking about with Attorney General Bob
Ferguson, the Washington State Attorney General. Washington and Minnesota,
filed this lawsuit which has now resulted in a Washington State judge,
issuing a temporary nationwide restraining order which immediately halts
the enforcement of the Trump administration`s travel ban to the United
States. If you could just briefly sort of in lay terms, if you could, walk
us through the argument that was made by yourself, and your fellow A.G.
from Minnesota that round up prevailing in this case. Why in your view is
this travel ban not lawful?
FERGUSON: You bet. So, the arguments in court were made by my Solicitor
General Noah Purcell, and the Judge – Judge Robart was very thoughtful, he
asked difficult questions of both the Federal government and of my
Solicitor General Noah Purcell. In essence, the judge went to a couple key
issues. He wants to know, that our government for example, had argued that
Attorney General, the state of Washington, did not have a what we call
“standing” to be in court. In other words, that we do not have a dog in
the fight. That we could not bring this action. And there was a fair
amount of time spent on that issue.
The judge made it very clear in his ruling, that the State of Washington
did have standing, that we could bring this claim. In order to grant a
temporary restraining order, Joy, a judge – it`s a tough burden to meet
for obvious reasons. You`re shutting down this entire executive action by
a President, so, it`s not easy to – to have a judge give you that relief.
One thing the judge has to decide is that, it is likely that the state will
ultimately prevail on the merits of our claim. In order to grant that
restraining order, a judge has to conclude they we`re likely to win when he
gets to the merits, and the judge reached that decision as well as he said
it`s in the public interest. Another standard he must review for this
executive order, to be struck down on this restraining order, until he has
a chance to rule on the merits.
REID: All right. Got it. And now, I want to really quickly play
something, that the Solicitor General said today about the Justice
Department`s argument. Please take a listen, Sir.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PURCELL: I did say, at one point, that the Department of Justice`s
argument was frightening. And the argument was essentially that if the
President says, I`m doing this in the National Security interest. Then, a
court cannot review whether that`s the real reason or whether there is even
any rational reason for the President`s action. Again, our view is that`s
not the law, that`s a scary view of the law, and luckily the judge rejected
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Attorney General Ferguson, why – well, in the view of your
Solicitor General is that a frightening argument?
FERGUSON: Well, I was – I was proud of Noah for saying it, because that
was part of the federal government`s argument is: a court cannot look
behind an executive order. In other words, trust us, National Security,
judge, you cannot take a look at it and what really is motivating that
executive order. You can`t look at whether it favors one religion over
another, you can`t do that. And that cannot be the rule of law in our
We`ve been through too many experiences in our country to know better.
That you have to have everybody be under the rule of law, and that includes
Presidents. And to have that check and balance system, in our system of
government is critical. And so, frankly, Noah Purcell, my Solicitor
General, he got it right. That is frightening and should be frightening,
to the people of our country to think that somehow a court cannot review an
action taken by a President. Is there a deference given to a President,
when he or she executes an executive order? Yes, of course, but that does
not mean that there can be no scrutiny at all. And Judge Robart, got it
right from that stand-point.
REID: And quickly, how important onto your argument was the fact that it
did seem the administration was trying to create a carveout from people
from “minority religions” from these countries. Meaning, you know, if you
sort of go to the logical argument that Christians from these countries
would be able to come in. And how would they determine that?
FERGUSON: Right. And those are all good points. The judge did not, and
did not need to address the specific grounds in which he concluded that we
are likely to prevail on the merits. He gave an oral ruling at the end of
the oral arguments, Joy, he`ll give an – a written opinion later on, that
I suspect will lay out in more detail which arguments persuaded him on
those points. I would not be able to – state with a certainty, what was
about our arguments that actually moved the judge on our specific claims.
REID: So, you – one of the other things you said in you press conference
today was that you said, the administration was, in your words, keystone
cops. Can you explain to us what you mean by that?
FERGUSON: Look, those aren`t just my words. I mean, I think Republican
leaders in Congress, and the Senate in Congress, have made it clear that
this was not a thoughtful process in writing and executing this executive
order. Which is, frankly, deeply troubling when the broad strokes and the
impact of that executive order impact so many people and their lives in a
fundamental way. Not just people in my State, but also, businesses in my
It`s the reason why entities like Expedia and Amazon, wrote declarations
last weekend so we could file them with our complaint on Monday, because
they wrote about the impact on their employees, the impact on their
business, as a result of this executive order. It was not well thought
out. I think, virtually, everybody agrees with that and that did not help
the government`s case today.
REID: All right. Well, Attorney General from Washington State, Bob
Ferguson. Thank you so much for taking the time.
FERGUSON: Thank you. Have a great night.
REID: Thank you. All right. Joining me now is Lee Gelernt, Deputy
Director of the ACLU`s Immigrants` Rights Project, who successfully argued
for the emergency stay of Trump`s executive order. It was issued in
federal court in Brooklyn, on Saturday night. Thank you very much for
being here, Sir.
LEE GELERNT, ACLU`S IMMIGRANTS RIGHTS DEPUTY DIRECTOR: Thank you for
REID: So, what – give us your response to this national stay that`s been
issued out from Washington.
GELERNT: Oh, yes. It`s great. I mean, ours is national as well, but the
more courts reinforce on what`s going on, the better. You know what, I
think what we`re seeing is when judges actually look at this, and look at
the legality, they`re saying, wait, wait, there`s something wrong here. I
think going forward with communities mobilizing, judges looking at this,
we`re going to see a real pushback on this – on this executive order.
REID: And Attorney General Ferguson, you know, of course, would not
speculate on what would happen if the Trump administration did not abide by
this order, but he said there would be a constitutional crisis, obviously.
Do you have concern? Because it didn`t seem that the first time, there was
a stay they were that mindful of it.
GELERNT: That`s a great point. And you know, that would be a bigger issue
than any particular civil liberties issue. An administration, not feeling
like they had to comply with federal court orders and not respecting the
rule of law. What we`ve seen in our Brooklyn case, is non-compliance so
far, and we will go back to the court if that continues.
The judge in our case said, provide them with the list – a nationwide list
of every detainee who`s been affected, so they can provide counsel. We
still haven`t seen that list. It`s Friday, she ordered that on Saturday.
We`ll be back in court, and that`s a scary proposition if the
administration is not going to comply.
REID: What is the redress that`s available to people? I mean, there have
been people who`ve been detained in the airport; we`ve seen children, and
grandmas handcuffed. I mean, it`s been a pretty sort of horrifying sight
to see in the United States of America. What sort of redress is available
for people who`ve been subject to this?
GELERNT: Absolutely. I think to the extent people can get in touch with
people on the outside and counsel, they need to contact the ACLU or other
What`s really scary, though, is that the government is taking the position
that we can`t see the
people in what`s called the secondary inspection area in the airports.
REID: Meaning the lawyers cannot talk to them.
GELERNT: Exactly. And some people don`t have lawyers understandably
already. We would like that go in and say we`re offering you counsel. You
may not want it, but we can`t get back there. So it`s critical we have a
list of everyone who is detained so that we can find a way to try and offer
But that`s the scary thing is that no one knows where everyone is.
REID: And to whom are you making the request for this list of people?
GELERNT: To the United States government.
REID: To the United States government. And is there a court that can
order them give it to you?
GELERNT: There absolutely is. The court in Brooklyn can order it if she
feels they`re not complying. The government has said they`ll try and get
us something by Monday. We`ll see.
REID: And what rationale are they presenting as to why attorneys from the
presumably other attorney can not speak to the people who are being held in
GELERNT: You know, they`re not spelling it out, but that`s their position
always that people can`t go back into secondary inspection areas in the
Well, secondary inspection lasts for 45 minutes, so be it, but what we`ve
seen and what you have
reported over the last week is people languishing back there and then
people getting deported. I mean, that`s the real danger. It`s bad enough
to get detained for 24 hours, but what we`ve heard are people being coerced
into giving up their right to come here and being sent back.
So we`re not only gong to be asking for the list of people who are detained
but the people who are back after our case was filed, because we`re going
to try and get them back. They have the right to get back.
REID: And can you give us an update, because one of the things we`ve been
hearing that is pretty scary is this idea that green card holders were also
being subjected to this sort of – I guess they call it extreme vetting or
in some cases not being admitted in. And there were rumors that people
were being asked to sign a document that would invalidate or make their
green card situation less tenable.
Can you explain whether that is true?
GELERNT: Yeah, I mean, there`s no question that people are being subjected
to questioning, including lawful permanent residents. I mean, we saw one
from our office happen today.
So I don`t know what forms they`re being asked to sign. We`re trying to
document that. But I think there`s no question that people are being
interrogated at the airports. And, you know, it`s one thing to be asked
questions, another thing to be asked invasive questions about your
political views, your religion and that type of thing.
REID: All right, well thank you – hold with me for just a second. Lee
Gelernt don`t go anywhere.
I want to bring in Pulitzer Prize-winning Daily Beast columnist David Cay
Johnson. He`s the
founder and editor of DCreport.org.
All right, David, let me get your reaction to the goings on today. Donald
Trump rebuked by a second federal court. Your thoughts?
DAVID CAY JOHNSON, DAILY BEAST: Well, Donald has a long history of
thumbing his nose at the law. That`s why he was involved in over 4,500
lawsuits. And Donald does what he wants to
do. And it is very important that we have cases brought that say we are
not a law of men, we are a law – a nation of laws.
The idea presented by the administration today that an action of the
president is above the view of the courts should be deeply disturbing to
everybody and is indicative of the fact that Donald in his campaign
repeatedly talked of the job of president as being a dictator. And now
you`re now seeing this in action and you`re seeing in other areas not just
here. And we need to be on guard if we want our republic to survive
REID: And, David, how much of this is Donald Trump and how much of it is
the ideology being served up to him like a blue plate special by people
like Steve Bannon and General Michael
JOHNSON: Well, Donald chose these people to be around him. You know,
Steve Bannon has taken objection to the idea that he`s a white nationalist.
His publication, Breitbart, is a racist publication. Donald Trump has a
long history of conduct where he`s been found to have discriminated against
blacks, women, Asians, in the rental of housing, in employment and other
Donald Trump is a racist. And we need to recognize that we`ve put a racist
in the White House. We also need to recognize Donald doesn`t know
anything, as I`ve been saying for two years now. Donald doesn`t know a
Sunni from a Shi`a from a Sikh, nor why that would matter.
And so he`s very much under the sway of these other people. And all you
have to do is look at the countries were chosen, not the countries where
Trump has investments, not the countries like Saudi Arabia that sent the
9/11 hijackers here, but seven countries that include Sudan where a number
of people work alongside our soldiers, diplomats and spies to help us.
REID: And what do you expect him to do? I mean, having – you know,
tracking him for so long and being a reporter that`s followed him for so
long, what do expect him to do in regards to this executive order,
especially with in someone like Bannon who is a self-described Leninist who
wants to destroy the institutions of the state and may not be counseling
him to abide by this order?
JOHNSON: Joy, the big unanswered question here is whether Dnald Trump will
defy federal judges` orders. You may not like a judge`s order. If a
police officer says stop, you may think he has no reason to do so, but your
obligation is to stop. And he same thing with federal orders.
Now, presumably some of the people around Donald are cautioning him not to
overplay. And if he`s going to defy an order to carefully pick. And this
would be a very, very unfortunate case if he wants to do that for him in
his effort to essentially assume dictatorial powers.
REID: All right. Everybody stay where you are. On that note, we`re to
take a quick break. Everybody much more to come, stay with us.
REID: All right, for those just catching up, a judge in Washington State
has issued a national stay of Donald Trump`s executive order barring Muslim
migrants from seven countries from entering the United States. We spoke
earlier with the attorney general of Washington State who succeed in
getting that order. And we are also joined by the ACLU`s immigrant`s
rights project leader here in New
York who got a separate order so that is breaking news. We`re going to
keep following that.
But meanwhile, we`re getting another window into the world view of the
president`s senior adviser and chief strategist Steve Bannon. The alt-
right former Breitbart editor who`s reportedly calling
most of the shots in the White House. The Washington Post obtained an
outline of a documentary style movie pitch by Bannon from 10 years ago, an
eight-page draft warning of an Islamic State of America.
And joining me now Matea Gold, national political reporter for The
Washington Post who wrote the piece about Bannon`s movie pitch.
So, Matea, just explain to us a little bit about what this script was for,
what kind of movie it was, if the producer just sort of put up that first
passage of it we can look and see the script that you guys were able to
MATEA GOLD, THE WASHINGTON POST: Sure. So we obtained an outline for a
movie, a documentary-style movie, that Bannon considered making in 2007.
This was after he had made a well-received documentary about Ronald Reagan
several years earlier. He was sort of in the midst of a
string of documentary films that really echoed a lot of the conservative
and populist themes we`ve seen come from him since then.
And this was going to be a three-part documentary and what I think is
really fascinating about it is that it did not just focus on the threat of
radical Muslims as the outline put it, but it really warned very darkly
that Muslim community groups such as CAIR were operating essentially as a
fifth column giving a chance for jihadists to sort of hide in our midst.
And it warned that major institutions, The Washington Post, The New York
Times, The CIA, American Jewish community were effectively appeasing some
of these elements in society and allowing them to flourish.
REID: And whatever happened with this project?
GOLD: We don`t know why it was not produced. We were able to confirm
authenticity of the document, but it appears, like many things in
Hollywood, it was an idea that was developed but didn`t actually get
REID: And Steve Bannon, for a lot of people who don`t know, he did sort of
dabble in Hollywood. He owns a little piece of Seinfeld, which is a source
of a lot of his wealth. Was this sort of a serious foray into the movie
business or is he just sort of a crank that wanted to a right wing
documentary because he definitely seems to be still showing these same
strains of anti-Islamic feeling.
GOLD: Well, he had a career in Hollywood both producing, directing and
writing films and it wasn`t just political documentaries, although that`s
what he focused on towards the end of his career
there, but I think what`s really telling about this outline is it gives us
a sense of how long Bannon has been focused on this issue of radical
Muslims as a threat to American security. It`s something he`s spoken about
at length. He actually sees the west in a war with these elements. And he
has suggested that Islam in general is not a religion of peace, is
something to be fearful of as Christians and as Americans, and so I think
we really get a sense of how long his philosophy has been developed around
REID: And this is something he`s repeated in a Vatican speech that he gave
in 2014, on his radio show, his online radio show he did for Breitbart.com.
Matea, it does seem that we`re seeing evidence that he is really in control
or the driver`s seat of
a lot of the policies we`re seeing coming out of the administration. Is
there a definitive reporting that he was behind the idea of doing this
GOLD: We have reported in the Post – I know other news organizations have
as well, that
he had a very strong hand in the drafting of this executive order. And I
think reading this outline 10 years later as this order is now being
debated and its motives are being discussed is really fascinating.
I mean, there`s no question that he is practically without peer in terms of
his influence in the
White House, perhaps only the president`s son-in-law Jared Kushner has more
influence and access to Trump.
REID: All right, Matea Gold of TheWashington Post, thank you very much.
Appreciate your time.
GOLD: Thank you.
REID: All right, I want to bring in former intelligence officer Malcolm
Nantz, now an MSNC terrorism analyst. And Malcolm, this script that was
created by Steve Bannon, this sort of eight-page outline, it opens with a
sort dramatic reading of zooming in on the American flag, but realizing
there`s something wrong with it and that when you look closer you realize
we are no longer the United States of America, we are the Islamic States of
America. And there has been this great takeover of the
And as Matea just mentioned, he see this is vast conspiracy including as
far-flung organizations or conspirators as The New York Times, The
Washington Post, and even the American Jewish community as being
conspirators in allowing this Islamic state to take hold.
What does this say about Bannon`s ideology? And, I mean, it has been
consistent since then, too.
MALCOLM NANTZ, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST: You know, I don`t often use
technical intelligence vernacular but this is crazy. This is not something
that a person 10 years ago would have been believing would be appealing to
anybody other than the farthest farthest right fringe in the InfoWars
conspiracy theorist world.
This is dangerous thinking. We have been at war for almost 15 years, or 15
years or so, in defense of Islam, in attacking the enemies who were
attempted to corrupt Islam. If this actually expands into a story that
bridges over to the Middle East and it becomes very popular or becomes –
they become aware that this is the ideology of the man that is the brains
of President Trump, this
will kill Americans overseas, especially our American service members and
intelligence officers who have to sit elbow to elbow with Muslims everyday,
every night trying to fight the enemies who attack the United States.
And we have these green on blue incidents where our Muslim allies shoot us
because of things and perceptions that they believe were racist.
REID: And very quickly, what does it say to you that both Bannon and
General Flynn, who shares this ideology, this extreme anti-Muslim ideology,
are sitting on the National Security Council?
NANTZ: Well, it`s absolutely terrifying to me. I mean, as a war fighter,
as an intelligence war fighter, these people have the ear of the man that
controls atomic weapons. Now, granted, that`s a little
hyperbole, we certainly hope that that is not part of their strategic
planning, but it shows that their world view is Islam itself is a danger to
them and they are going to take it on. And I think that`s where we`re
going. And this nation will be in great, great danger if that`s true.
REID: All right, Malcolm Nantz, thank you. Please stick with us. We`re
going to havemuch more to come, so everyone stay just where you are. Don`t
REID: We are following major breaking news tonight, a federal judge in
Washington State issued a nationwide stay temporarily halting President
Donald Trump`s entry ban for refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-
majority countries, that was in response to a lawsuit brought by the
attorneys general of Washington State and Minnesota who argued that the ban
specifically discriminates against Muslims.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the decision takes immediate
And I don`t think we have that sound. Nope. All right, joining me now on
the phone is NBC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pete Williams.
All right, Pete, clarify for me this note that I read earlier in my – not
really understanding the legalese. And you said earlier that the
department of homeland security is saying the judge`s order has no
immediate practical affect.
Can you explain what you mean by that?
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC CHIEF JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Sure. I think they`re
right. I think the attorney general of Washington and the government is
right for this reason.
Yes, the order has an immediate affect, but what is the affect? As a
practical matter, nobody
can come to the U.S. under this travel restriction because they don`t have
a visa. All the people who had visas as of before last Friday suddenly
when this executive order went into effect all those visas were in a sense
revoked, so no one who was hoping to come to the country who earlier had a
visa can now, because of this court order, go to the airport and get on a
plane because they don`t have a visa.
So they have to start all over again. And the question is can they start
all over again? I mean, if they go get a visa, then the government will
presumably give them another one, the U.S. would, but in the meantime the
Trump administration would undoubtedly try to get this ruling today put on
hold by going to a federal appeals court.
And stepping back from this, Joy, there are nine other lawsuits now around
the country, there
were ten, one was done away with. In Boston, the judge said the Obama
executive order appeared to be legal and constitutional. There`s going to
be a whole bunch of rulings like this coming in the next couple of weeks.
So we`re going to go through fits and starts with this. It`s not going to
be a pretty
sight, but that`s the way these lawsuits started up.
They started as emergency efforts to get people into the country who were
in danger of being sent back home again. We`re past that now. We`re now
getting into the merits of whether the executive order is legal and
constitutional. But I would guess you`re going to see conflicting rulings
just like we did today. And these rulings stopping and starting.
But the main thing to think of is as a result of this ruling tonight by a
federal judge in Seattle, nothing changes, except that now presumably
these people can try to go get visas again when the consular offices open
again on Monday.
WILLIAMS: Unless another court intervenes and puts a stay. So you know
this stuff is going to play out for a while. Nothing really changes right
REID: Yeah. It stays complicated. Always thankful to have you here to
explain it to us. Pete Williams, thank you very much, sir, appreciate it.
WILLIAMS: You bet.
REID: All right, joining me now by phone is the governor of Washington
state, Jay Inslee. And Governor Inslee, your thoughts on the ruling
tonight, the successful argument by your state`s attorney general and that
GOV. JAY INSLEE (D), WASHINGTON: Well, I think it`s obviously important.
I think it`s somewhat historic. This is, I think, probably the first time
that a state has reined in Donald
Trump`s unconstitutional action. And we`ll probably need a lot more, but
it`s great to know that states can stand up and protect constitutional
rights of all of its citizens, because this depredation action by the
president wasn`t just an insult to refugees and immigrants, it was an
insult to our whole state. It damages our economy, because it prevents
businesses like Amazon and Expedia from selling their products around the
world. It damages our national security by being recruiting poster for
ISIS, and it obviously has huge ramifications and it hasn`t – it does have
immediate impact, because we have people who do have the ability to leave
this country and sell their products today and come back, but until this
decision they`re worried about they wouldn`t be able to come back after
So it actually does have a real world ramification in a very positive way
for the people of my state and congratulations to Bob Ferguson, our AG, for
great work on this.
And the court standing up and being a check and a balance.
Look, our founders were brilliant when they established the checks and
balances system, they realized on occasion executives would need to be
reined in and no more so in this case.
And by the way, this – it`s just heartening that a federal judge – and I
haven`t seen the full text of their ruling, but our claims were several and
not just that this was a religious test which is clearly unconstitutional,
but there were some comments by the judge where he questioned this
assertion that this was a national security basis.
I heard somebody say that he asked the homeland security how many refugees
had been involved in fatal terrorist attacks and he said but he knew the
answer, which is zero. So this is a big step forward.
REID: And governor, you talked about the checks and balances. It doesn`t
seem like the ones in Washington are working too well. Republicans are so
far declining to check or slow down the
administration on anything. Do you see the states becoming now much more
involved in trying to be that check on the administration, whether it`s on
this, on things like sanctuary cities and immigration.
Do you expect to be in litigation with this administration for some time?
INSLEE: I suspect there will be many places where this occurs,
unfortunately, because we have a very unpredictable executive branch, which
seems to relish petty fights rather than helping forge consensus and
listening to people. We saw the horrendously inhumane rollout of the
executive order in a place, which caused so much chaos so I don`t think
this is the end. I don`t think it`s the beginning of the end, I think it`s
the end of the beginning of our efforts to protect our citizens.
And states will be major players on that. And I think this is perhaps the
first victory for states and I think that there will be more.
And it`s not just this, you look at histories like climate change where we
are going to lead the country in climate change. We will not be stopped by
President Trump. These are things within our own destiny and we`re going
to control our own destiny.
REID: Thank you very much.
All right, well, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State, thank you so much
for your time, really appreciate it.
INSLEE: Thank you.
REID: Thank you. And joining me now is Michelle Goldberg, columnist at
Slate and author of Kingdom Coming.
OK, Michelle, a strange two weeks has gotten stranger, but to that last
point are we going to
wind up seeing governors have to be the balance that the Republican
congress will not?
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, SLTAE: I mean, hopefully because we have – because
there`s nobody else standing between the majority of people in this country
who voted against Trump and disapprove of what he`s doing and an
administration that has shown itself kind of unwilling to bend
to normal – to ordinary political norms.
REID: Does it surprise you? We were just talking with an executive, with
a governor of a state that Trump does not seem to have adjusted to the role
of executive of the United States, he seems to still essentially be in
reality show mode.
GOLDBERG: No, because he`s wholly unsuitable to be president of the United
States. I mean, one of the bizarre things that you – maybe you saw it,
too, when you were covering this campaign is that you would go out and talk
to people and they were maybe a little bit skeptical of his demeanor at
Trump rallies, but they assumed that beyond the brash persona was this
sober business genius, right? They assumed he`s as rich as he is, he`s
been playing a mogul on television for however many years that there was a
person behind Trump who was not an erratic megalomaniac unstable demagogue.
And what we very quickly learned is that there`s not. We have a madman in
charge of this country. And so whatever institutions remain that can
protect us are going to be the ones that – if anything is to be salvaged
of this country it`s going to be because governors and judges and people
who aren`t complicit in this regime step up.
REID: Yeah, and you know if he is a madman than his Rasputin is somebody
even more disturbing in a lot of ways, Steve Bannon. What does it say to
you that we have not seen pushback in
Washington from the professionals, the people who do politics and
presumably do it for love of country. No pushback against the presence of
Bannon and Flynn who are extremists.
GOLDBERG: I mean, you see pushback among Democrats, you see pushback among
career bureaucrats. I think that you see a level of complicity among
Republicans that I think is frankly traitorous.
REID: And they don`t appear to be changing their minds. I mean, you`ve
seen Paul Ryan become quite supine in the face of Donald Trump. He seems
to be willing to let him do whatever he wants.
GOLDBERG: I think that they are willing to let him whatever they want to
this country if it means they get tax cuts, voucherized Social Security and
REID: And as somebody who covered the Trump side, the Trump voters, is
there some point at which they say enough?
GOLDBERG: You know, it depends because I think first of all some of them
have to understand what`s actually happening.
REID: Or see it if they`re watching news channels that don`t tell them.
GOLDBERG: Right. And so part of it is when does it actually filter down?
And I think that only starts to happen when and if it affects their
material well-being, which soon enough it most likely will.
REID: Yeah, absolutely. Michelle Goldberg, thank you very much. Really
That`s All In for this evening.
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