Stoneman Douglas students reshaping the gun debate. TRANSCRIPT: 2/21/2018. All In with Chris Hayes
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: February 21, 2018
Guest: Jason Kander, Mark Barden
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being
with us. “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL-IN.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have the power to change this. And if you don`t,
then we will change you.
HAYES: One week after the Florida massacre –
DELANEY TARR, SURVIVOR STONEMAN DOUGLAS SHOOTING: This is to every
lawmaker out there, we are coming after you.
HAYES: Students across America demand action.
AMERICAN CROWD: Shame on you. Shame on you.
HAYES: Tonight, how the Never Again movement is taking hold. How
lawmakers are responding and how the White House is trying to manage the
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Does anybody have an idea
for a solution to the school shooting?
HAYES: Plus, how the far right social media and Youtube are allowing the
smearing of survivors.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only time you`re ever doing anything that actually
matters is when people try stopping you.
HAYES: And NBC News exclusive reporting on Paul Manafort as new charges
are reportedly filed.
TRUMP: I think that`s pretty tough stuff.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. It`s been one week
since a gunman used a legally purchased AR-15 rifle to murder 17 people at
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. And in the
usual cycle of gun massacres in America, we would not be talking about it
anymore. After a week has passed, the nation`s attention would have moved
on. But this is what is cable news looked like today a week since the
shooting covering a new movement launch by the survivors. High school
students who through organizing and sheer moral witness are refusing to let
thoughts and prayers be the end of the story. These kids do not accept the
tired and worn out excuses for failing to address the exceptionally high
levels of gun violence in this country. Today the students Stoneman
Douglas storm the Florida State Capitol for the second day in a row staking
out lawmakers offices rallying supporters to their cause. One week since
having to flee their school under a hail of gunfire, students recounted
what happened to them on that horrific day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LORENZO PRADO, SURVIVOR, STONEMAN DOUGLAS SHOOTING: I was scared and I ran
to the safest place possible which is the sound booth again and I started
to pace back and forward because I did not know what was going on. And the
people in the audience saw me. They saw me and they panicked because I was
matching the same description as Nikolas Cruz. Then the SWAT and I thought
they were here to rescue me but then as I go down the stairs, I find out
that I was wrong. I found out that they thought it was me that killed the
17 people. I had six SWAT members pointing their guns at me. I knew any
move I made would be the end of my life. We students must keep fighting
for our right to live. If I had to drop everything else in my life just to
make these changes happen, I will because to me, to let these victims lives
be taken without any change in return is an act of treason to our great
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The students also issued a warning to the gun lobby and lawmakers
who do its bidding. Senator Chis Murphy put in the tweet the other day,
TARR: This is to ever lawmaker out there. No longer can you take money
from the NRA, no longer can you fly under the radar doing whatever it is
that you want to do because we are coming after you. We are coming after
every single one of you and demanding that you take action, demanding that
you make a change.
RYAN DEITSCH, SURVIVOR, STONEMAN DOUGLAS SHOOTING: They can walk around
any question they want but the more they don`t act, the more they don`t
deserve to be in office.
DMITRI HOTH, SURVIVOR, STONEMAN DOUGLAS SHOOTING: No more. No more
placing nonsensical politics above our lives. No more accepting donations
from the NRA who seem to care more about their right to own a gun than the
lives of American children.
TANZIL PHILIP, SURVIVOR, STONEMAN DOUGLAS SHOOTING: To everyone at the NRA
and everyone affiliated with the NRA, we are not afraid of you, we will not
be silenced by anything that you have to say. We are here, our voices are
loud and we`re not stopping until change happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The students of Parkland, Florida are not alone. High school kids
staged walkouts all over the state, some marching to Stoneman Douglas to
show their support in person. Students march on the White House today to
call for new gun control measure holding signs and calling out chants that
according to reporters could be heard from inside the West Wing. All over
the country, teenagers, kids, students, held walkouts. They organized
themselves to demand that their leaders take their safety seriously. It is
a practice run of sorts for a nationwide march scheduled for March 24.
Everyone who follows politics understands what these kids are up against.
They saw it for themselves at the Florida State House yesterday where
lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected a motion to consider an assault weapons
ban opting instead to declare pornography a health risk.
But as the students force us to hear their voices, we`re watching them in
real-time change the politics of this debate. 66 percent of Americans now
support stricter gun laws, the highest level ever in the Quinnipiac poll.
Elected officials backed by the NRA are playing defense. The Senate`s
number two Republican Senator John Cornyn is now promoting a bipartisan
background check bill. Staff for Florida Governor Rick Scott initially
told students he was too busy to meet with them. He did attended a funeral
today for one of the students killed. Scott changed his mind after the
students put up a fight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMERICAN CROWD: Where is Rick Scott, where is Rick Scott? Where is Rick
Scott? Where is Rick Scott? Where is Rick Scott?
HAYES: The President of the United States who got more financial support
from the NRA than any other candidate in history called a listening session
this afternoon with Stoneman Douglas Survivors, grieving parents from other
school shootings and massacres and other American who`s lost loved ones to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMUEL ZEIF, SURVIVOR, STONEMAN DOUGLAS SHOOTING: Woke up to the news that
my best friend was gone. And I don`t understand why I can still go in a
store and buy a weapon of war, an AR. How is it that easy to buy this type
of weapon? How do we not stop this after Columbine, after Sandy Hook? I`m
sitting with a mother that lost her son
NICOLE HOCKLEY, SON KILLED IN SANDY HOOK: These deaths are preventable.
And I implore you, consider your own children. You don`t want to be me.
No parent does. And you have the ability to make a difference and save
ANDREW POLLACK, FATHER OF A STUDENT KILLED IN STONEMAN DOUGLAS SHOOTING:
It should have been one school shooting and we should have fixed it. And
I`m pissed because my daughter I`m not going to see again. She`s not here.
My beautiful daughter never going to see again. And it`s simple. It`s not
– we could fix it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Making real change policy and laws in this country is obviously
going to be an uphill battle. But the clear signs that these kids are
moving the needle is that now, just a week since they watched classmates
and teachers be murdered before their eyes, these children, these children
are the targets of a concerted smear campaign to discredit their message.
Shannon Watts is Founder of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America,
Jason Kander, former Missouri Secretary of State, President of Latin
America Vote. Shannon, as someone who worked in this – on this issue for
a while, what is happening? What are we seeing happen right now?
SHANNON WATTS, FOUNDER, MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA: You
know, this is an important moment right now in this movement. We are
seeing this generation who we have told for their entire lives that active
shooters are like acts of nature like fires or earthquakes and they`re
waking up and realizing, no, we don`t have to live like this and we
certainly don`t have to die like this. And I am grateful and amazed that
they are able to use their voices already so soon after this tragedy and we
are going to need every American to get off the sidelines to create real
change on this issue.
HAYES: Jason, you were elected to statewide office in a state that is a
pretty solidly red state these days. It`s a state with pretty high
support, high quotient of gun owners, pretty high support for gun rights
and an expansive view of them. What do you see changing or not changing
right now in the politics in this inflection point?
JASON KANDER, FORMER MISSOURI SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I think it`s
pretty clear that one thing we have to remember is that whether or not
action happens on a given day in Congress, that doesn`t really dictate
whether or not we`re winning the argument on this. We being folks who
actually want to have common sense reforms when it comes to guns. As you
just read off the polling, I mean, and even before this happened. The
American people overwhelmingly want to something to happen. And that`s why
you`re seeing right now the president and the people who the NRA controls
in Congress playing a bit of a game trying to – I think what they think is
they`re going to patronize these kids for a bit – for a little while, and
I mean kids across the country. They think maybe they`ll get distracted,
move on to something else.
But I can tell you as somebody who, you know, I was in my mid-20s when I
had the experience of realizing that there were folks in charge who weren`t
looking out, weren`t protecting us who were supposed to be. I was in
Afghanistan in a vehicle with no armor. These kids are in high school and
younger and realizing that people who are supposed to protect them supposed
to do the right thing aren`t. And I can tell you it defines your worldview
from there forward. These kids are not going anywhere. They`re going to -
- it`s going to be a sustained effort because they`re fighting for their
HAYES: Jason just said something, Shannon, that has been the defining
feature of this debate in American life for a long time which is that you
can poll people and you got 2-1 majorities for all kinds of “common gun
sense gun legislation” but it doesn`t happen because there is an intensity
mismatch between the intensity and the organization of the NRA and the
other side. Is that changing?
WATTS: You know, I`ve never seen this intensity gap. I`m the mom of five.
I`m certainly not numb. I wake up every day and fight on this issue as a
volunteer. We have nearly 100,000 volunteers across the country, 75,000
have joined since last week. We`re holding hundreds of events across the
country. I`ve never seen the so-called intensity gap. I`ve seen 90
percent of Americans agree that we need stronger gun laws and a few
lawmakers who are beholden to the National Rifle Association who will not
force any change at the federal level.
HAYES: Well, wait a second. Let me ask you though. If there is no
intensity gap, then why is the legislative record, why is it what it is?
Why is it the fact it is so hard to do very simple and basic things
legislatively both at the state and federal level on anything relating to
WATTS: Because the NRA gives money, gives campaign donations to Donald
Trump and to some members of Congress and to some members of state
legislatures and they will not even allow these bills to be discussed. And
until we change the makeup of Congress and our state legislatures, the will
of the people is not going to be done. And that is what we have to bring
this energy into the midterm elections and agree that we`re going to make
this a priority issue that we vote on. Are your members of Congress or
state legislatures receiving money from the NRA? What`s their rating?
Where do they stand on the issue? Are you registered to vote? And if you
can`t find the right candidate, you may have to run yourself.
HAYES: Jason, you can see when a politician is uncomfortable and I can
watch politicians squirming right now in the face of these kids. Why?
What is it about these dynamic, these voices that we`ve been seeing and I
think a lot of people are really incredibly compelled by, what is it doing
to these politicians?
KANDER: I think these politicians know that they`re wrong and they`ve
known that they`re wrong for a while. And they`ve been making a bargain,
some sort of political bargain where they`ve said, you know, I think what
they tell themselves is well, there`s nothing I can do about it. It`s not
going to change. And I think oftentimes these Republicans in Congress,
they know, they know that you don`t need an AR-15 to walk around in the
streets of America, they know that it doesn`t belong there. They know that
the weapon that I carried in Afghanistan, essentially the same weapon
doesn`t belong on the street. They know that. And they`ve been able to
get away with hiding behind the politics of it with hiding behind their
constituency and now being faced with the humanity of it. And that`s why
they look so uncomfortable.
HAYES: All right, Shannon Watts, and Jason Kander thank you both.
KANDER: Thank you.
HAYES: Mark Barden is the Founder and Managing Director of Sandy Hook
Promise, a group dedicated to gun violence prevention. He`s the father of
Daniel Barden who was murdered at age seven in the Sandy Hook School
shooting. And you were als0 there, sir, today in the White House. And
there`s – I thought a pretty remarkable moment that I`d like you to get
you to elaborate on. The President talked about his idea of essentially
more guns in schools, arming teachers. I want to play that bit of sound
and then have you respond because you had strong words about that. Take a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: But concealed carry for teachers and for people of talent, of that
type of talent. So let`s say you had 20 percent of your teaching force
because that`s pretty much the number. If you had a teacher with – who
was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You raised your voice to say you didn`t think that was a good idea.
MARK BARDEN, FOUNDER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, SANDY HOOK PROMISE: My –
thanks for having me on, Chris. My wife Jackie is a school teacher, a
career educator. She`s been in the Bronx over a decade. She`s in the
rural district now and she will tell you that the teachers have enough on
their plate right now than to have to be trusted with deadly force and with
the responsibility of taking a life, let alone the horrible potential
ramifications of a shoot-out in an elementary school or a middle school or
high school. What we need to do is arm our students and teachers and
parents with the tools, how to recognize somebody who is at risk of hurting
themselves or somebody else and make an intervention and stop this before
it happens. It is preventable.
HAYES: What was your takeaway? I watched that event today and I was – I
was rapt and at a certain point start to get a pit in my stomach that you
just sort of laughed with recognition. Why?
BARDEN: So I will – first of all, I want to tell you that I have to give
credit where it`s due. So they are opening their doors to various people
with different life experiences who can weigh in on this and they are
listening. So we have gotten that far. So they are listening, they say
they`re listening. We have given them our ideas and now we`ll see what
they do with that. I intend to follow up on this and stay on this but I
think we have to give credit where it`s due that they say they are
listening. I will take them at face value on that and I have a lot to
offer to this conversation and I hope they`re listening.
HAYES: So, here is what my – I started to get worried about as I watched
is the – they now – there`s an agreement that we have to do something,
and the question becomes the something. And I heard – I hear these ideas
of arming teachers, I hear this ideas of armed guards, of soldiers,
veterans in schools, of TSA style entrances to schools, and I just started
to worry that this moment might end up with something that looks like the
war on terror brought into every school in America.
BARDEN: So Chris, we have said a long time ago at Sandy Hook Promise, we
don`t want our schools to look like a prison with metal doors and metal
detectors and armed guards and armed teachers. We just – we have to do
better than that. And I know that we can do better than that. And that is
exactly why Sandy Hook Promise found the strategy that we`re working on
prevention. It`s possible, it`s doable, it works. We`ve already done it.
We`ve already prevented school shootings with kids following our prevention
model. It works. We just need to reach everybody. That`s what I`m asking
the White House to do. Help us nationalize our anonymous reporting system.
Help us to nationalize our know the signs programs so that they`re embedded
in all the schools. I know we can make a difference, a substantial
HAYES: What was it like to be in that room with other people who have
experienced something similar? Obviously, no one can experience the same
thing have you experienced but someone who has experienced a lot of people
experiences something similar.
BARDEN: Well, I was just thinking you know, I have been in these rooms
five years ago trying to convince our Congress to do something. I have
been in those rooms subsequent to five years ago along the way. And here
I`m in this room again with another whole new group of people who are
suffering another horrible American tragedy. And I mean, how many times do
we – are we going to be filling rooms with families of victims of these
horrendous tragedies? I`m just saying that the time is now. We have the
tools. Let`s get busy.
HAYES: All right, Mark Barden, thanks for your time tonight. I really,
really appreciate it.
BARDEN: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Coming up, the rapid succession of dominos falling in the Mueller
probe. Now, reports of another set of charges, another set of charges
filed against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. Nick Akerman is here, he`s got
theories as always in two minutes.
HAYES: Another day, another set of charges in the Russia investigation.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller shows no sign of slowing down. Politico
reporting today that Mueller filed new charges in the case against former
Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and his Aide Rick Gates. Now, those
new charges are under seal which means we don`t have a lot of detail on
them. We know they`re there. We don`t know what they are. We do know
that Mueller and his team have been very busy in just the past few days.
Now, remember, on Friday, Mueller indicted 13 Russian individuals, three
Russian companies for interfering in the election. He also announced a
guilty plea from an American man for identity theft saying the man sold
bank accounts numbers made with stolen U.S. identities to buyers abroad
apparently part of the scheme. Over the weekend came reporting that that
former campaign aide Rick Gates, Manafort`s number two is close to a plea
deal with Mueller.
Then yesterday, Mueller announces out of nowhere to all of us following the
case the guilty plea of a Dutch lawyer who was lying to investigators about
his interactions with Gates. Now at some point in there, Mueller also
filed those new charges in the Gates/Manafort case. And while we don`t
know the specifics of those new charges, we do know thanks to exclusive
reporting from NBC News that investigators are now probing whether Manafort
promised a Chicago banker a White House job in exchange for home loans
totalling $16 million. So much money it totals five percent of all of the
bank`s loans. All from a bank that describes itself on Facebook as having
“a focus on V.A. and FHA lending for active duty and retired military and
first time home buyers. Here to help make sense on all of this is MSNBC
Legal Analyst, former Watergate Prosecutor Nick Akerman. Let`s start with
field indictments. What are they? Why are they?
NICK AKERMAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, normally you seal an indictment
when you`re concerned about somebody fleeing and you don`t want them to
know the indictment`s under seal. I think here though, more likely what we
have is the actual plea information that Rick Gates is going to plead
HAYES: So the sealed indictment might be a plea.
AKERMAN: Right, right. And they`ve done that. I mean, Mueller has done
that with other indictments. And so it wouldn`t surprise me in the least
if what`s under seal right now is the Rick Gates plea. It`s very possible.
HAYES: All right. So I want to play two theories for how this is going.
I want you to tell me what you think it is. One is that there were a lot
of extremely stretchy people around the President in his campaign and along
comes an incredibly adept prosecutor of the good staff and he picks up the
rock and goes low on the hole and look at all this criminal activity. I`m
not going to just let this go. You`re laundering money, you`re lying to
federal investigators, you guys are shady left and right, indictment,
indictment, indictment. The other is that what – all the things Mueller
are doing even though seemingly sort of disparate connect back to something
central. Which of those two do you think?
AKERMAN: I think it`s clearly they all connect back to the central notion
that the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government to throw the
election to Donald Trump. That`s where the 13 Russians that you saw were
indicted. You`ll notice right in the front of the indictment it talks
about the various 13 defendants conspirators and others known and unknown
to the grand jury. So they clearly have in mind that they`ve got one
baseline right now. There was absolutely no question about it, Russian
interference in our 2016 election. That`s a given. Then if you take into
account all of the other actions that are going on here.
I mean, it`s almost like a chess board. Right now, Mueller has got a
knight. He`s got, Flynn. He`s got three pawns. He`s got Papadopoulos,
he`s got the Dutch lawyer and he`s got, Rick Gates. He`s also knocked out
one of his castles in the sense of the whole argument about the Russian
investigation being a hoax. And in the meantime, the queen who is Manafort
is being closed in from all sides and faces almost certain jail time. What
we have is we`re getting very close to checkmate. And that`s why you see
all of this crazy activity from Donald Trump where he`s tweeting all kinds
of irrational statements.
HAYES: Yet again today, we should note, yet again today, directing his
Attorney General essentially in a public venue to criminally investigate
his political enemies.
AKERMAN: That`s right. I mean, he`s doing –
HAYES: Which he does normally and which we`ve sort of gotten used to but
AKERMAN: But if you take all of these things together, he also knows from
his joint defense agreement with his lawyers what questions are being asked
people close to him. He knows that the investigation is starting to close
in on him.
HAYES: What do you make of the Dutch lawyer? I mean, a lot of people
thought this was strange, strange for a number of reasons. It`s
extraordinary to indict a lawyer. In fact, you need to actually get
Justice Department permission to do it. He seems somewhat ancillary. The
lies that were told were about this kind of propaganda document that
Skadden Arps have put together to protect a client of Manafort`s, that
Manafort and Gates have worked on. What do you make of it?
AKERMAN: What I make of it is the key piece is a September of 2016
conversation with an unidentified person in that information. That –
HAYES: Which is one of the things that he lied about according to the
AKERMAN: Right. But they – if you notice that information and the
allocution that goes with it that he had to admit to before the court makes
it pretty clear that what is said in that conversation a lot of details are
missing. And it happens right in the middle of the campaign in September
of 2016. And my guess is, that that conversation relates directly to the
conspiracy between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.
HAYES: Really? You really think that?
AKERMAN: Oh, I`m absolutely positive. Why would they ever go after a guy
for something that happened in the Ukraine in 2012? Who cares? Why would
they try and get more evidence on Manafort when they`ve got an indictment
that`s a slam-dunk?
HAYES: Well, I like – I like the fact that you make – you make a
stipulations that are going to be verified or non-verified.
AKERMAN: And I`m willing to know.
HAYES: We will know.
AKERMAN: We will know, exactly.
HAYES: Nick Akerman, thanks for joining me.
AKERMAN: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, reports that Jared Kushner is resisting attempts to
limit his access in the White House which right now is remarkably far-
reaching. The real estate heir turned to geopolitical expert right after
HAYES: Let`s say you`ve just been elected President of the United States
and you`re starting a brand new administration and you`ve got one heck of a
job position to fill. It is an expansive job, all right? The job includes
the following, Criminal Justice Reform, Veterans Administration Reform,
both big things in and of themselves, Government Reform and American
Innovation, again, a big topic, Middle East Peace, a tough nut to crack,
Liaison to the Muslim Community because sure, why not, but also you have to
liaise with China and liaise with Mexico and also you should probably
renegotiate NAFTA for good measure.
You`ve also, I should note, have to manage the opioid crisis and their
response. Now, who might you seek to do that expansive job? I mean, after
it all, it entails so many areas of expertise. It seems to assume
experience in both government and foreign affairs and tackles issues as
difficult as the opioid crisis, peace in the Middle East, intractable
problems that the best and brightest have tried to solve. But the person
you hire for that job is instead the heir to a real estate fortune. A
highly leveraged real estate fortune currently seeking cash infusions, by
the way, an heir real estate fortune whose really greatest claim to fame
was he bought a newspaper in New York called The Observer, at the bright,
bold age of 25 years.
The applicant has no experience in government, foreign policy, health care,
criminal justice, U.S. trade agreements or crisis management. None of that
but you hire him anyway because he`s your son-in-law. It`s the same way
you make your daughter a Senior Adviser and choose her to lead the U.S.
delegation at the closing ceremony at the Winter Olympics just because you
know, family. Now, in the case of Kushner, there has been some reporting
over the past year that his responsibilities have been scaled back, but as
in the case of Middle East peace, they certainly have not been ended, and
not only does the guy you chose for this expansive portfolio have no
experience or no relevant experience, he can`t even get through a
background check. So then what do you do? That`s next.
HAYES: Today we`ve learned there may be a battle brewing between White
House chief of staff John Kelly and White House senior adviser Jared
Kushner, the president`s son-in-law.
But before we get to that, we shouldn`t lose sight of the fact that Kelly
has still not given an adequate or even consistent explanation of why he
allowed former staff secretary Rob Porter access to sensitive information
after the FBI had completed a background check revealing allegations of
physical abuse in both his prior marriages. What Kelly did instead was
frankly lie about the Porter timeline before deciding under the glare of
scrutiny to turn his attention to the dozens of other staffers with interim
So, Kelly has now announced a new policy, and that revokes access to
sensitive information for those people in the White House whose
investigations or adjudications have been pending since June 1st, 2017 or
Now, according to The Washington Post, the move puts a bullseye on Kushner,
citing an unnamed senior White House official. Kushner, according to The
New York Times, is resistant to relinquishing his access to sensitive
material, including the presidential daily brief, quote, “Mr. Kushner,
frustrated about the security clearance issue and concerned that Mr. Kelly
has targeted him personally with a directive, has told colleagues at the
White House he is reluctant to give up his high level access, the official
Of course, there`s probably good reason Kushner`s permanent clearance
hasn`t been granted yet. Remember, he amended his federal disclosure to
get clearance, his SF-86. He amended it four times, including an amended
for it in June that added 100 foreign contacts.
He also released a revised financial disclosure form in July to include 77
assets that wre, quote, inadvertently omitted, according to a family
Jane Coaston is the senior politics reporter at Vox. She`s covered these
issues at length.
I guess I should start with this. What precedent is there for a figure
like Kushner in a White
JANE COASTON, VOX: Well, that`s just it, there really isn`t one. You
know, we`re kind of in uncharted territory when it comes to having the
president`s son-in-law have such a high level platform within the White
House of an official characteristic. And, you know, I think that that is
something that`s extra challenging about this particular situation. A lot
of times these security clearances – you know, if you`re coming from one
branch of the government to the executive office, your security clearance
might not take as along. But, you know, Donald Trump in his effort to
drain the swamp brought in a whole bunch of people who had never had any
experience in government and therefore, would not have gone through the
same security clearance procedures.
So you know, we haven`t seen something like that before. And that`s why I
think it`s especially challenging to figure out what will happen with the
relationship between Jared Kushner and John Kelly.
HAYES: Well, that`s the big question. I mean, Kelly appears to be sort of
issuing a bit of an ultimatum here. I mean, clearly the memo seems aimed
maybe not exclusively at Kushner. But if the memo – if the policy is what
he says it is, Kushner can`t do his job, right. Like, what are the
COASTON: Well, I think it`s worth recognizing that John Kelly, before the
Rob Porter scandal, clearly was well aware of the allegations against Rob
Porter and still allowed him to both travel with the president and help
with the State of the Union. In fact, when he first found about the
incredibly credible allegations against Porter, his first reaction was to
be surprised that Porter was old enough to have two ex-wives.
But, so – you know, it`s kind of unclear what the actual ramifications of
this new memo might be when Kelly in the past has seemed kind of willing to
let this go in a sense. And especially since, you know, in a battle
between John Kelly and the president`s son-in-law, it`s a little unclear
who would win.
HAYES: Well, you raise something actually that just popped into my head
which is that it has seemed for a long time Porter and Kushner were
somewhat parallel cases, which is to say they had long background checks
that were taking a very long time, probably because there were red flags
raised. They had an interim clearance as a way of sort of running an end
around the fact that probably some recommendation came back at some point
that they shouldn`t have clearance, right.
It occurs to me that whatever the red flags are in the case of Kushner,
like in the case of Porter, have probably been raised to someone – Don
McGahn. Kelly may actually know what they are, right?
COASTON: Right. YOu know, what we saw with Porter is that the FBI
submitted its preliminary investigation in March. There was more details
given to the White House personnel office
in July with a final report completed in September. Porter himself was
aware that the allegations against him had been brought up.
In fact, he spoke to one of his ex-wives who had made those allegations
during their FBI background check. You know, during that conversation
asking, did you tell the FBI about the allegations against me?
So clearly, you would have to think that the FBI would have notified the
White House of something going on. If they did so in the case of Porter,
they would have done so in the case of Kushner.
HAYES: Yeah, I just – it`s funny – it`s just occurring to me now that,
like, whatever the red flags are they`re probably known inside that White
House which I would imagine will end up determining what this outcome is,
although ultimately the president, right, can just grant a waiver.
COASTON: Yeah, and I think that that`s really important to recognize. And
I think that that`s why it`s been a little disingenuous of some within the
administration to say let`s put this on the FBI when it is up to the hiring
office to have these security clearances. You know, technically the
president can say obviously you can`t obtain a permanent security
clearance, so I`m going to give you a permanent security clearance. And so
I think that it will depend not so much on the information that the White
House has, but on President Trump`s own decision making.
HAYES: Yeha, it will be interesting to see how that plays out. Reporeter
at Vox Jane Coasten, senior politics reporter. Great to have you. Thank
COASTON: Thank you.
HAYES: Ahead, why is the president`s former bodyguard and personal
confidante Keith Schiller quietly being paid $15,000 a month by the RNC?
We have some Trump`s best people updates coming up.
And quite possibly the highest level of in-law warfare in recorded history
in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, Donald Trump has been obsessed with so-called
chain migration, what many consider an offensive way to refer to America`s
family reunification immigration policy. It allows a citizen to sponsor
their spouse, children, parents or siblings for immigration to the U.S.
Trump talks about ending that policy a lot.
(BEIGN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Need to end chain migration.
Ending chain migration and canceling the visa lottery.
We will get rid of chain migration.
I started talking about chain migration.
Chain migration is one of the disasters.
Chain migration is a disaster.
A total disaster.
We have to end chain migration. We have to end chain migration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So he talks about it a lot.
Now, ending family reunification has long been pushed by immigration hard-
liners, like Steven Miller and Jeff Sessions, but we learned something
today that makes you think it might just be a super passive aggressive
thing against his in-laws. And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The Washington Post has been asking a simple question, the White
House has refused to answer: what is the immigration status of the First
Lady`s parents? Melania`s parents are from Slovenia, but have been living
in America for at least a decade, joining their daughter after she moved
here. Now today, the Post got an answer: “Victor and Amalia Navs (ph), are
legal permanent residents and are close to obtaining their citizenship.
But their attorney declined to say how or when the couple gained their
So, the Post spoke to immigration lawyers, and it`s really likely that
Melania sponsored her parents, which she can do under – wait for it –
America`s family reunification policy, or as Trump likes to call it, chain
“David Leopold, an immigration lawyer and past president of the American
Immigration Lawyers Association said the first lady`s sponsorship of her
parents appears to be the only reasonable way they could have obtained
green cards,” which means if Melania`s parents are here because of what
Trump says is chain migration, then this isn`t a very way to talk about
your in-laws in public.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Chain migration is bringing in many, many people with one and often
it doesn`t work out very well. Those many people are not doing us right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You need people that are truly, truly capable.
We have to get the best people.
I want the best people.
We`re going to have the best people in the world, and you see the people
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Time yet again for the latest in our ongoing series where we check
in with the president`s best people. First, Veteran Affairs Secretary
David Shulkin, an Obama administration holdover, who is viewed an as
noncontroversial, fresh off a rebuke from his own department`s inspector-
general after his staff lied so the secretary`s wife could come with him on
a publicly funded trip to Europe. Secretary Shulkin is now purging the VA,
telling Politico that he is investigating what he called subversion at the
agency and those who have defied his authority won`t be working in my
Then there`s the only administration official working nearly as many jobs
as Jared Kushner, that, of course, is Mick Mulvaney who is both at the same
time the budget director and also the acting
head of the Consumer Protection Bureau, an agency he once vowed to kill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE BUDGET DIRECTOR: It turns up being a joke. And
that`s what the CFPB really has been in a sick sad kind of way.
Some of us would like to get rid of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You`ll be shocked to learn he`s currently dismantling the entire
point of the CFPB, chucking out a lawsuit against exactly the kind of
predatory loaning the bureau is meant to check.
Staffers spent years building a case against Golden Valley Lending claiming
the lender illegally – illegally little charges people up to 950 percent
interest rates. But Mick Mulvaney, who got more than $60,000 from payday
lenders while he was in congress, just dropped the suit without
And finally there`s Keith Schiller, the man who spent the better part of 20
years as Trump`s bodyguard who punched a protester in the face outside
Trump Tower during the campaign. Remember that? Who allegedly escorted
both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal to their encounter with Trump back
in 2006, a man who confirmed to congress that a Russian offered to send
women to Trump`s hotel room in Moscow in 2013, an offer he says they
declined, that Keith Schiller. Who knows where a lot of the metaphorical
bodies are buried when it comes to the president, and who left his job as
director of Oval Office operations in September has just shown up,
surprise, on the payroll of the RNC.
His private security firm is now being paid $15,000 a month, $75,000 so
far, to provide what
the Republican National Committee calls security consultation for the
RNC2020 convention site selection process. If the RNC continues paying
Schiller at this rate, his total fees will likely be north of half a
million dollars, because President Trump`s best people need the best
possible employment terms.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, if you had seen me at our school`s production of
Fiddler on the Roof, you would know that nobody would pay me to act for
anything. I was Motel, and let me tell you what we`ve seen so far has been
a miracle of miracles.
(END IVDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was a student activist from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High
School brushing off one of the insane, and frankly disgusting, conspiracy
theories that`s emerged in the wake of the shooting there last week.
Now, conspiracy theories in the wake of a mass tragedy aren`t new. In
fact, they almost always crop up. But what is new is the speed with which
they are spreading through the incredible prominence they are given major
This is a Facebook post spouting a crazy conspiracy theory about Douglas –
another Douglas high school student, David Haug (ph), who has – it has
since been removed, but as of last night, it had been shared over 111,000
And David Haug was still a top trending topic as of this afternoon. A
conspiracy video about Haug (Ph) was also the top of the trending list on
YouTube this morning.
And if you searched his name, conspiracy videos made up most of the top
results of this kid, of this survivor of a mass murder at his school.
This is what the internet is producing.
These posts and videos have likely now been seen by thousands and tens of
thousands of people. It`s a real time look at the information apocalypse.
BuzzFeed reporter Charlie Warzel describes, where our platform and
algorithmically optimized world is vulnerable to propaganda, to
misinformation, to dark-targeted advertising from foreign governments, so
much that it threatens to undermine a cornerstone of human discourse, the
credibility of fact.
Joining me now by phone from Montana, author of that piece, Charlie Warzel
and Zaynep Tufekci, associate professor at UNC Chapel Hill, author of
“Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest.”
Charlie, let me start with you, because I just quoted that piece, and we
had some technical difficulty, so we have you on the phone.
Why is it – why is it, and how can it be the case, that within 24 hours of
this happening – or not 24 hours – in a few days – that this kid is the
subject of conspiracy theories that are getting the kinds of numbers and
the kinds of prominence on major platforms that we saw?
CHARLIE WARZEL, BUZZFEED: Well, I think it`s two things. I think that,
one, you have these platforms that are set up, and really sort of geared
toward, incentivizing incendiary sensationalism, sensationalist behavior.
They`re engineered for scale, to sort of prioritize that above
And then I think on the other end of that, you have the people who are in
charge of, you know, governing these platforms, of trying to make sure that
this stuff doesn`t sort of crop up. That they can kind of keep a handle on
the true odious stuff that`s there. And I think that there`s an
unwillingness to play that role as well as a, just, I think a difficulty
understanding, maybe, just how bad it is.
HAYES: Zaynep, I have recently come to feel like we are in a real crisis
at this point with the way that the current digital landscape is
constituted, and partly because of the stuff that you`ve written in your
great book, which I`ve read, which is fantastic, and other stuff, but am I
overstating things? Or is it real bad and real dark out there?
ZAYNEP TUFEKCI, UNC CHAPEL HILL: I do think we are in an information
crisis. We`ve always had polarization. What has happened is there`s a
feedback looping which information that polarizes goes viral very quickly
on these platforms. People go and deliberately put it on, these conspiracy
theories don`t come out of nowhere, there`s motivated people who go put it
on and then people who are already kind of prone to believing it start
clicking on it and the algorithm goes ooh, this
is engaging. Then people hate it and people who hate it click on it, and
the algorithm says ooh, this
is engaging. And then people start clicking on it to say, oh, can you
believe this? An the algorithm goes ooh, this is engaging. The algorithm is
constantly behaving the same way.
And you`ve got this massive verality and then if you see something,
especially in the context of say something like Facebook, it`s being shared
by someone you know. It`s not like reading it in a book, it`s peer to peer,
it`s socialization. Socialization is the most potent force in human
society. It`s not like reading a book. It`s not like reading a newspaper.
It`s your friends, your family, your acquaintance, your social affirmation.
And somebody is saying look, these guys are crisis actors. It seeds on
itself with the
algorithm and demand and polarization and yes, we have a crisis.
HAYES: The trust factor, it was remarkable to me yesterday you had a
Republican state rep
in Florida, a staffer in his office sent an e-mail on state e-mail to a
reporter just saying oh, by the way, these kids aren`t real, like with the
conspiracy theory. What was so shocking and upsetting to me in that moment
was he believed that. That the e-mail as phrased is I`m passing on a piece
of information that you should know because he had gotten it from someone
that he had trusted.
WARZEL: I think that speaks to, you know, how, how this sort of online
fever culture has taken root inside of people. I think we`re going to see
YouTube, Reddit, all these sort of places where conspiracies sort of bubble
up and take root in had this conspiratorial thinking metastasizes. Those
platforms have been around for a while, and they`ve been really been
unproven in this way, and I think we`re going to see those people get more,
they`re going to start taking jobs in government and they have, clearly,
and moving on into the world. And we`re going to see the effects of this
socialization for a long time. I think we are just starting to see it.
It also strikes me, there`s a classic sort of negative externality, a
pollution problem. I mean, this is like setting up a factory where you
make something and you dump your effluent in the river and everyone in the
town has got to deal with it. But basically these big platforms are
monetizing the eyeballs, so they`re monetizing eyeballs of someone libeling
and endangering, really, a 16 year old kid who just saw his classmates
murdered. They don`t care, because the pollution just goes in the water.
Like there has to be some way to crack down on that.
TUFEKCI: Yeah, I mean externalization of the pollution is exactly right.
I mean, people use lead in paint for a reason, right, it made paint stick
better. And asbestos was useful. There were all these things that are
useful, it just created all these externalities and then we had to create
all sorts of funds to pay for it.
What`s happened is the platforms legally are under a safe harbor law that
exempts them from liability. So they get to sort of let anything go
through, but nine out of ten in new digital ad dollars is going to Facebook
and Google. So, they get to keep all the money, and they have no legal
liability. And the amount of moderation that is done on these platforms is
both too little and also probably, it`s not completely moderatable under
this business model, because Facebook has 2 billion people,right, it`s this
– really, the business model and incentives are aligned so that it`s
embarrassing, for sure, to hear this on national TV for Facebook employees,
probably, but if you`ve got Facebook stock, you`re doing great. That`s the
problem is that there is no incentive on them to fix this at the moment,
besides the fact that we`re talking about it and it`s causing all these
HAYES: Charlie Warzel and Zaynep Tufekci, both fantastic writers on this
topic. Thank you for joining me. That is ALL IN for this evening. The
Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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