CA sues WH over citizenship question. TRANSCRIPT: 03/27/2018. All In with Chris Hayes
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: March 27, 2018
Guest: Lawrence Tribe, Anna Galland, Michael Avenatti, David Brody, Xavier Becerra
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To be clear, he continues to deny the fundamental
charge that she has which is that she had this sexual encounter with him in
HAYES: The White House gets explicit on Stormy.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: Yes, the president
denied those allegations.
HAYES: Tonight as the President stays quiet.
SANDERS: I didn`t say he punches back on every single topic.
HAYES: The lawyer for Stormy Daniels on the White House denials and Donald
Trump`s continued silence. Plus, just where is the line for White
Evangelicals supporting Donald Trump.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nothing beats the bible.
HAYES: Why the Trump administration`s proposed census question on
citizenship could change American democracy as we know it. And as the
Never Again Movement gains steam, should gun safety advocates start calling
to repeal the Second Amendment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand for us or beware the voters are coming.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from Chicago, I`m Chris Hayes. We have breaking news
tonight. Stormy Daniels` lawyer says that eight women have now come
forward to share stories similar to Daniels, including two who signed
confidentiality agreements, more in a moment with the attorney for Stormy
Daniels. But first, in his time in office, there has seemingly been no
issue too minuscule, too trivial, too petty for Donald Trump to weigh in
on. As President and these are just a few examples, Trump has claimed
Vanity Fair`s Anna Wintour is beside herself in grief and begging for
forgiveness. He has deemed Meryl Streep one of the most overrated
actresses in Hollywood, attack an on-air personality for her supposed
impact on ESPN`s ratings and promoted a Sean Hannity appearance on Fox and
Friends. Yet in the wake of Adult Film Actress Stormy Daniels` appearance
on 60 Minutes where she alleged to 22 million viewers, she was paid hush
money to keep silent about a sexual encounter with Trump, a President who
seemingly never misses a chance to hit back for some reason won`t say or
tweet one word.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You also called him a counterpuncher many times, why
has he not punched back on this one?
SANDERS: Look, the President – I didn`t say he punches back on every
single topic. If he did, he would probably be addressing a lot of stories
that most of you write every single minute of every day. He has a country
to run and he`s doing a great job with that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Despite his public silence, the President is reportedly seething
behind closed doors. Washington Post reported that privately, the
President has lobbed sharp attacks at Daniels in her media tour calling her
allegations a hoax and asking confidants if the episode is hurting his poll
numbers. The President even has griped to several people that Daniels is
not the type of woman he finds attractive which to his credit is a very
funny line. Trump has left it to his surrogates to deny the encounter took
place and to lob attacks at Daniels` credibility.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This woman said she signed false statements, she said
that she told a mistruth to the public. She said she didn`t want her kids
to find out and yet she`s out doing a huge 60 Minutes interview. She has
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think the President slept with Stormy Daniels
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, the Washington has denied the allegations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK, the White House has but the President hasn`t. He has not. He
has not addressed Stormy Daniels` claims in public, not once, not one time.
Late last night, a senior administration official told NBC News that Trump
has discussed Daniels` claims with aides and several had counseled him. It
doesn`t rise to the level of a Presidential response also a funny line,
unlike I suppose for instance, Alec Baldwin`s supposedly dying mediocre
career and allegedly terrible impersonation of Trump on SNL and how they
should bring back Darrell Hammond, funnier and a far greater talent because
SNL casting apparently does rise to the level of a presidential response.
So the big question in all seriousness is why is the President who doesn`t
have a reputation for self-restraint or discipline, why is he being oh so
careful, so canny, so retrained so as not to utter a single word about
Stormy Daniels? Well, my next guest might provide some insights on that.
With me now Stormy Daniels` lawyer Michael Avenatti. And Mr. Avenatti, do
you have a theory on this?
MICHAEL AVENATTI, LAWYER OF STORMY DANIELS: Well, I mean, I guess there`s
twos theories. One maybe we`re not punching hard enough. Maybe we`re not
being aggressive enough and that`s why he`s not counterpunching. So we`re
going to examine that tonight.
HAYES: Do you judge yourself harshly for that if that`s true?
AVENATTI: Yes, I mean, I guess you know, I guess, we`ve been pretty weak
in our approach over the last three weeks and we`re going to have to re-
examine how we`re going to approach this thing. So that`s one theory and
we`re going to go to work on that tonight. And then the second theory and
I actually think this is the theory that holds, he knows it`s true, Chris
and you know, he wants deniability. It`s the same reason why he didn`t
sign the agreement so he could later claim he didn`t know anything about it
and now he sends Sarah and others out to talk to the press so that he can
later claim, well, they didn`t understand what I told them, and that`s
exactly not what I told them, and I didn`t say this and yadda yadda yadda.
I mean, he wants deniability. I mean, that`s why we haven`t heard from
HAYES: OK, but I don`t understand what the exposure is. I genuinely mean
this. I have watched this president, covered this president out for
several years, he`s happy to say things that are untrue. He`s happy to say
things that are manifestly untrue, that everyone knows is untrue. Why is
this? Why is this something – I mean, it almost begins to look like the
White House is literally crafting his public schedule to shield him from
questions. That`s how careful they`re being about this whole thing. And
yet what happens if he gets caught in a lie here? I don`t even understand
what the exposure is, do you?
AVENATTI: Well, I think there could be some considerable exposure. I
mean, if he`s found to have been lying about his knowledge about this
agreement and the $130,000 payment, that can have significant consequences
from a campaign finance violation perspective and other things. I mean,
that could really put him and Mr. Cohen in the crosshairs. Now, I believe
they`re operating under a fallacy which is if he never comes forward and
denies it, that he`s in safe waters. I don`t believe that`s the case at
all because we`re going to get to the bottom of this one way or the other
whether he makes a statement publicly or not.
HAYES: Well, but here`s the thing about this, right? So your – the
complaints you filed, you`re basically saying, look, we want out of this
NDA. It`s an illegitimate contract for a variety of reasons. Firstly, he
didn`t sign it. Second, because there`s actually a public policy
(INAUDIBLE) that he violates. It was a party to an attempt to evade
campaign finance. I thought that argument was well laid out. But all that
can happen is that she speaks. I mean, the point of the hush money was for
her not to talk. She`s talking now, why not just walk it away and just say
goodbye to your $130,000 if all you guys are saying is let us out of this
AVENATTI: Well, I mean, it`s an interesting question but you know, the
approach has been just the opposite. I mean, the president and Mr. Cohen
and Mr. Cohen`s personal lawyer although he`s on the sidelines, in this
case, I really don`t understand what his involvement is, Mr. Swartz, but in
any event, they`ve doubled and tripled down on this. And now they`re
saying they`re going to sue my client for $20 million. Now they`re
claiming they`re going to sue me, trying to threaten and intimidate me. I
mean, they`re not paying attention, Chris. We`re not going away.
HAYES: Well, so yes, here`s my question, right? So Stormy Daniels has
told her story. She told it once to In Touch in 2011, she told it on 60
Minutes. I guess my question is has she said everything she has to say?
Because that is one reason if you were the President or the President`s
attorney or people around him that you would want to keep pursuing this
because you are worried there`s more that she has to say she might have to
say and is that the case?
AVENATTI: Well, there`s no question. I mean, the initial interview was
about two hours and I think that the total time for her on the 60 Minutes
piece was probably 16, 17, 18 minutes. So there`s a lot of information
that was left on the cutting room floor, there`s a lot of details, there`s
a lot of embarrassing information that has yet to come out. There`s a
mountain load of evidence. And so perhaps that`s why he`s continuing to
deny it. But you know, it`s shocking. I agree with you. We didn`t think
that he would stay silent this long and I think it`s pretty clear. He is
scared of my client and perhaps of me and he should be.
HAYES: Will you tell me a bit more about the other women that have talked
to you. Obviously, anyone can call you up and say this happened to me and
that`s something you would have to run to ground. What are the
implications if there are women out there who also have NDAs?
AVENATTI: Well, I think a lot of the implication or the implication would
rise and fall on the timing of those, whether they would have coincided
with the election, you know, in the case of my client we`re talking about
within two weeks of the election so it`s a critical time period as it
relates to campaign finance law. But I think the timing of those payments
would you have a lot to do with it. But again, I want to be clear about
something. I am not vouching for the allegations that we`ve heard from
these other eight women. People come out of the woodwork all the time,
Chris, you know that. They fabricate things. We`re still running that to
ground. What I do know is my client is 100 percent credible bulletproof
and think she proved that the other night to the American public.
HAYES: Final question, the most explosive thing that was aired in that 60
Minutes interview, of course, is the allegation of a threat being
approached in a Las Vegas parking lot I think it was in 2011. You said
you`re trying to figure out who that individual is. Have you made any
progress on that?
AVENATTI: We have made progress over the last 36 hours. We`re not ready
to identify anyone quite yet. We`ve got a lot of work left to do. We`re
going to be very diligent and very careful before we identify that
individual. And we`re hopeful that once we have, we`re going to get to the
bottom of who sent him. We think it`s pretty clear who sent him but we`re
going to prove it and we`re going to let the American people decide if
that`s acceptable conduct, Chris.
HAYES: All right, Michael Avenatti, thanks for being with me.
AVENATTI: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Joining me now is David Brody, a Chief Political Correspondent for
CBN News from the Christian Broadcasting Network. He`s the Co-Author of
the new book The Faith of Donald J. Trump, a Spiritual Biography. And I`m
tempted to make a joke about the book being short. Here`s something –
here`s something you said in the wake of the interview. Attention
mainstream media if you think the Stormy Daniels 60 Minutes interview on
CBS News is going to move the needle downward regarding evangelical support
for Donald Trump, you would be dead wrong. Don`t expect any change. I saw
that and agreed with it. Why is that the case? What`s the fundamental
DAVID BRODY, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CBN NEWS: So many different
reasons underlying that, Chris, but I`ll tell you this. Look, when it
comes to the mainstream media, the Evangelicals do believe in what Donald
Trump calls fake news. And I know that term is toxic and I know Donald
Trump kind of came up with it in the last few years, but look, Evangelicals
are believing that about the mainstream media for a very long time. So the
more the mainstream media piles on Donald Trump and they consider Stormy
Daniels part of the pile on, it`s not going anywhere. That needle is not
moving at all, Chris.
HAYES: Well, OK, but that`s – so there`s one issue, right, where you can
say, well, these are a group of people who just do not trust what they
hear. But here`s what I found really interesting. This is White
Evangelicals being polled on this. Do you believe Trump or the women, OK?
40 percent say the women, 36 percent say, Trump, 24 percent aren`t sure. A
plurality actually believe the women. So the issue here isn`t they`re
saying this is fake, they`re saying yes, I believe this happened. I do not
BRODY: Yes, but Chris, here`s the thing. They believed some of – all
those other stories too from the `80s and `90s and look, Donald Trump got
into this race and everybody knew, this just in. He`s not a boy scout.
And they understood that. They voted for him anyhow. Now, there`s a lot
of reasons as to why we`re getting to all of that but the bottom line is
they see this culture go to you know what in a hand basket and say you know
what, enough of that. They also feel they`re being played by the
Republican Party and say you know what, we`re going to give this guy, we`re
going to give this guy a shot.
HAYES: Well, so from a purely pragmatic perspective, I get that, right?
There are two political coalitions in American life. He`s on my team, he
represents my coalition, he empowers it. I don`t care what he does in his
personal life. I`m going with him. But if that`s true, does that at least
sort of retroactively apply where we`re not going to see evangelicals make
a big deal out of you know, the private behavior of politicians, Democrats
they don`t like. Do they regret everything they said but Bill Clinton when
they were just basically marching to Washington to get they guy run out of
town because of his dastardly private deeds?
BRODY: Legitimate question, Chris. Look, they believe in the grace
principle. And you know, they understand that we`re all in need of God`s
forgiveness. We`re all sinners. And so, you know, where does grace run
out? Well, here`s the good news. Grace doesn`t run out with Jesus Christ
at all. Now, it might run out –
HAYES: Yes but –
BRODY: Well, hang on, Chris, it might run out with liberals or
conservatives or you or me but not God.
HAYES: David, David, I`ve read my bible and I grew up in the church. And
grace doesn`t come cheap and you got to the ask for it and you got to ask
for forgiveness and you have to be pious and you have to pray to your Lord,
God, and Saviour and you have to ask for it. You have to have a change of
heart. You have to reach out spiritually. Is there a single person on
God`s great earth who believes that Donald Trump is doing that?
BRODY: Well, I can tell you this. I interviewed him. You can Google it,
Chris. I interviewed him in 2015 in August – excuse me, September of 2015
and he said he does ask God for forgiveness. He`s talk about that. Now,
look, that`s his word. I mean, I`m not God –
HAYES: He also talked about – he also talked about – when you asked him
what God means to him, he talked about how great his golf course is, that
he didn`t have a mortgage on it.
BRODY: Yes, the bottom line is this, Chris. Evangelicals and Donald Trump
see the world very much in absolutes. Good versus evil, right and wrong,
all of that and I`m telling you, maybe it`s a Dr. Phil experiment at some
point but I`m telling you what`s going on. They`re both are bold in their
views and they`ve also been Chris, they`ve been criticized for those views
and you put it all together and they feel a kinship between themselves.
HAYES: That – again, that I get. Absolute – a set of absolute beliefs
and being in the bunker with him. I think that`s actually quite
descriptive. But here`s the question. Is there a breaking point? Is
there a revelation that could come out about Donald Trump about his private
behavior, about his public behavior, about anything he did? Roy Moore, we
saw this put to the test with Roy Moore, this is a person credibly accuses
of molesting children who still won what 80 percent of White Evangelicals
in Alabama. Is there something that Donald Trump could do to lose the
support or is it just the case he could literally do anything?
BRODY: Chris, Bill Clinton had a Monica Lewinsky. Right now we don`t see
a Monica Lewinsky in the Donald Trump White House. If that happened,
Chris, game set match. It`s over for Donald Trump with evangelicals. Now,
you say –
HAYES: Wait a second. You think – you really think that? OK.
BRODY: Well, let me explain. When I say game, set, match, remember, he
won 81 percent of the evangelical vote, the ones that showed up 81 percent.
He`s not going to get – he will not get 81 percent. And if he doesn`t get
81 percent, it`s game, set match for him. So that`s important to point
out. And you might ask, why in the world does that matter compared to 12
years ago? Because Evangelicals at that point, just like any constituency
would feel played at that point. He`s promoting Judeo-Christian values but
then doing something you know, against that in the year now. That would be
a real issue for them. But once again, we don`t see that. And in the
book, I can tell you that he has so many evangelicals around him right now
from a spiritual perspective that the sense is from our reporting over 100
interviews he is on a spiritual journey that has evolved. And last year,
if you remember, Chris, you`re talking about 10, 12 years ago. We haven`t
seen anything in the last few years. That`s what the book shows.
HAYES: I guess the Lord works in mysterious ways if he is in fact on a
spiritual journey. David Brody, thanks for being with me and I really
BRODY: Thanks, Chris, anytime.
HAYES: Still to come, in the wake of the March for Our Lives, a former
Supreme Court Justice calls for the repeal of the Second Amendment, but is
that the best strategy to achieve more gun safety? We`ll debate that
ahead. And next, the uproar over the new Trump plan to add a citizenship
question to the next census. Attorney General of Arizona has – of
California has already filed a lawsuit to fight it. He joins me in two
HAYES: It may not seem like much at first but the decision by the Trump
administration to add a single question to the upcoming U.S. census is
tonight being called an attack on our democracy which could upend the
balance of power between Democrats and Republicans urban and rural
Americans, white people and people of color. You see, since 1950, the
census questionnaire which every single household has to fill out every ten
years has not asked people about their citizenship status. Immigrants are
understandably cautious about handing over data to the government if they
fear it will be used to round them up. And given what they`ve been seeing
online and on the news lately and coming from the White House, people
picked up on the street hauled away from their families who exactly could
blame them for fearing that. But the Trump administration decided that for
the first time in decades, the next census will ask about citizenship,
raising concerns that immigrant communities won`t be counted accurately.
And that could, of course, stack the deck for the GOP when that data is
used to redistribute political power. Xavier Becerra is the Attorney
General for the State of California who`s now suing the Trump
administration over this citizenship question. I`ll start on a policy
question and then we`ll move to the legal question. Policy question, Ted
Cruz today said, hey, this is great. We should know this information.
What`s wrong with just asking the question?
XAVIER BECERRA, ATTORNEY GENERAL, CALIFORNIA: Well, if Ted Cruz is the one
saying that, that should make you have some real concern. But to give you
a more substantive response, it should concern you because a lot of policy
will be made based on what the census shows us. And if the census has a
severe undercount of the people in this country, there will be many
portions of the country, many regions that will be left without the
resources they should have and perhaps even the Representatives in the
House of Representatives that they should have. So, Chris, it`s crucial
and the reason we haven`t seen this census question in four decades, five
decades is because we know that it could undermine the ability to the
actually get everyone to participate.
HAYES: So that`s the policy rationale is if you ask this question, you`re
just going to get a less accurate count and the whole point of this thing
is to accurately count how many people there are, right? The legal issue
is that`s separate from saying it`s illegal. Last night, in a tweet
immediately after this, came out, you said it`s illegal. What`s your case
BECERRA: Well, because the Constitution requires the Federal Government to
get an actually count of all the people in this country, citizen, and
noncitizen. We`ve been doing that since 1790. It doesn`t say get a count
of the citizens of the country. And so to violate the Constitution would
be to go straight to the heart of what we`re supposed to do and trying to
get an accurate count.
HAYES: So you actually think that this is – you`re making a
constitutional claim that this is a constitutional violation because they
know it will result in a less accurate count and that the Constitution
mandates as accurate a count as possible?
BECERRA: Simple as that.
HAYES: You`ve got a lot of other states supporting you. What do you say
to those people who say, look, this is the states that fear that they`re
going to have power taken away from them?
BECERRA: Well, at the end of the day, it hurts everyone because when it
comes time to deciding what school your child will go to and if you`re
concerned about class size but if a particular child has not been counted
in the census because the parents were afraid to actually submit the
questionnaire because they were immigrants, then all of a sudden, the
monies that would help avoid having large class sizes in our schools those
problems start to surface. And so whether you`re a parent with kids in
school, whether you`re driving on a highway and you`re stuck in traffic,
congested traffic or because there are too pot holes and they have to wall
off a particular lane on the highway, all those things could be determined
because they`re not getting enough resources to build a highway, build
enough schools because the census doesn`t drives the dollars where they
need to go.
HAYES: Yes, so just to be clear, what you`re saying is that that count is
the underlying number for a bunch of different calculations from federal
monies for highways to schools to all kinds of things aside from political
reapportionment, all of which could be skewed if the count is not accurate?
BECERRA: Not only may be skewed, will be skewed.
HAYES: How sure are you of that? How can you know that that`s the case?
BECERRA: The majority of monies that we send to the Federal Treasury
through our taxpayer dollars are redistributed to the states through
formulas that are derived from the census numbers so we can make sure that
we`re distributing tax dollars fairly. If a region is undercounted because
its people did not fill out the census bureau questionnaire, then you will
not get those monies sent back to you even though you`re paying those
taxes. And so it`s not a question, it`s a certainty that regions of the
country will lose. But if regions of the country lose, if California loses
and we`re the economic engine for the country, if we start to have
problems, guess what, pretty soon the rest of the country will feel those
problems, as well.
HAYES: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross who oversees the department in the
Commerce Department that runs the census is making the argument this is
necessary to include this question to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Acts
to protect what he says are minority voters. Is lying?
BECERRA: Chris, you know, that one is really hard to swallow that all of a
sudden, the reason in the dead of night last night right before the
Department of Commerce has to make a decision about what questions to
include they`re now including this because any want to protect the voting
rights of people? I got to tell you, that one is as far away as my wanting
to buy or sell you some real estate in the desert. It`s just – it doesn`t
fly. I know that`s their argument but that`s why we feel very confident
when we go to court that we can prevail.
HAYES: Final question on another topic. Your office has announced an
investigation of the shooting of an unarmed black man in Sacramento and
taking that over I guess from local police. Having just watched Attorney
General investigation in Louisiana clear the police who shot Alton
Sterling, why should people in California have confidence the result here
is going to be any different?
BECERRA: Well, let me make sure the record is straight. We are going to
do an independent oversight of the investigation that`s underway in
Sacramento. We`re not taking it over. We`re going to be providing
independent oversight. That means that we don`t lose our ability to take
whatever action we as the Department of Justice in California think is
necessary whether it`s through investigation or eventual prosecution. But
we are working with the investigation that is being done by the Sacramento
Police Department. What is important to understand is that this should
give us a better sense and hopefully a greater degree of confidence that at
the end, what comes out from this investigation is something that people
can have some faith in. And here`s where I think it`s important and I
believe California is going to try to move the ball further so that people
can have that trust between communities and the men and women in uniform
who serve them.
HAYES: Xavier Becerra, thanks for being here.
BECERRA: Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, a deeper look at the Republican mission to maintain
minority rule of the government and when one of my next guest says asking
about citizenship on the census is “greatest threat to the democracy in the
HAYES: Citizenship question on the census is just the latest example of
efforts by one political party to consolidate power even when this means
abandoning the basic logic of democracy. Republicans at all levels of
government increasingly seem to be using extreme tactics to maintain
control of the government even as a demographic change shrinks their base.
Ari Berman Senior Reporter at Mother Jones, author of Give Us the Ballot,
The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, Christina Greer is a
Fellow (AUDIO GAP) Poverty Policy and Research at NYU and Michelle Goldberg
is an Op-Ed Columnist for the New York Times. Ari, you tweeted about the
census question as a threat to American democracy and connected it to a lot
of reporting you`ve done on voting rights. What`s the connection?
ARI BERMAN, SENIOR REPORTER, MOTHER JONES: Well, the connection is that
the census really forms the basis for voting and for the core
infrastructure of our democracy. The Census forms the basis for how many
Congressional seats and electoral votes states receive. The Census forms
the basis for how congressional districts and state districts are drawn.
And so if the Census is corrupted, if the Census is rigged our entire
democracy is corrupted and rigged as a result. And that`s why the
citizenship question on the census and the larger threat to the Census more
broadly are such a threat to democracy because they impact every single
facet of our democracy.
HAYES: Yes, just to be clear, like, it`s zero sum. There is going to be
435 members of the
House and there`s going to be 538 electoral votes. So, if Illinois, New
York, and California lose population because you don`t count the folks that
are undocumented, they`re going to go to other places. Right, Michelle?
And this has to do with something you`ve written about in your columns
about the sort of desire to kind of use changes to the rules of the game to
maintain a hold on power even as their coalition experiences demographic
GOLDBERG: Right. And it`s not just a desire, it`s a reality. I mean,
they have basically done it. I mean – and it`s not just the fact that we
have a minority president and it`s not a coincidence that it`s the second
minority president out of the last how many, three, four? And that they`ve
both been Republicans, right. So you see this kind of structural advantage
for Republicans at all levels of
government. And some of it is inherent to just the way the population is
You know, liberals tend to be clustered in big cities, but some of it has
been this deliberate attempt to pack liberals into certain districts and
spread out conservative advantages in other districts. There`s a report
from the Brennan Center that says that in the midterms, Democrats will need
to get 11 percent more of the popular vote in order to take back the House.
And other – you know, people have
disputed that number, some people have said, no, it`s really more like 7
But there`s no question they need to vastly overperform just to be – just
to have any power in the federal government, that the majority of the
people have no say in the federal government and it`s entirely possible
that even if they mobilize and go out and try to make their voices heard,
it won`t be enough to overcome these structural impediments.
HAYES: Yeah, I agree it`s been funny to watch people going back and forth
– oh, it`s 11 points, it`s seven points, it`s six points, but it`s like,
well, it`s a national election. I mean, obviously that`s not the way it`s
run, right. I get it. It`s not the system we have. But in a sort of
broad sense of democratic
legitimacy like that should matter.
And, Christina, it`s not an accident, all right, of which way the
demographic and racial divides break in this question.
GREER: Not at all. I mean, as Michelle said, you know, when you`re
gerrymandering particular districts you either pack or crack for the most
part. And what we see with largely African-American and Latino communities
is they are packed into hyper Democratic districts or you know, so there`s
racial gerrymandering, there`s partisan gerrymandering. And when it comes
to voters of
color, there seems to be some sort of overlap considering the vast majority
of black Americans are democratic voters.
And so they`re packed in these particular districts which leaves all these
other districts spread out where Republicans have a really distinct
advantage. And what`s so important about this question about citizenship
is that we already know that communities of color do not like interacting
with the state on a particular level in these institutional mechanisms.
And we know that immigrant communities also don`t like interacting with the
state and these questions coming into your home.
We also know that there`s so many families that are mixed status
households, where you may be documented, but someone – your sister or your
spouse may not be. And so those people are less likely to fill out the
So, what we saw, you know, the last time we took the census was in Queens
actually reporting that they lost, you know, members of the borough, which
we know for a fact is not true, but we also know that Queens is one of the
most diverse and ethnically and immigrant diverse boroughs in the country.
HAYES: And now you`ve got the question, right? So, there`s use of these
different ways the rules actually work like the census map, the
gerrymandering. But then there`s been a development, Ari, I think that is
really worrisome which is that even when those are challenged, this sort of
desire to nullify by Republican legislators. So, in Pennsylvania, the
state`s highest court says, look, this is unconstitutionally gerrymandered
district. You`ve got to refile new districts. And the Republicans
start talking about impeaching the members of the state supreme court.
BERMAN: I mean, the fight for democracy is never over it seems. I mean,
you have Pennsylvania where they`re trying to impeach the supreme court
justices that struck down Republican gerrymandering. The most extreme
example, which I know you`ve covered already, Chris, is in Wisconsin where
Scott Walker just flat refusing to hold special elections for vacant
legislative seats since December. A federal court said, no, you have to
hold these elections. The Wisconsin constitution is very clear on this.
And then immediately after the court orders him to hold special elections,
Scott Walker and the Republican legislature say we`re going to hold a
special legislative session to change the law on special elections so we
don`t have to hold elections.
And this is such a disturbing trend where basically if Republicans think
they`re going to lose
an election, they cancel the election. And if they lose a court order,
they decide they`re going to nullify that court order. This really gets
to shattering core basic norms of democracy.
HAYES: Well, and Christina, when you use the words nullify or think about
massive resistance, right, there is this historical echoes here of like,
no, we`re not going to bow down to what the courts tell us.
GREER: Right. I mean – you know, Chris, we`ve talked about this for well
over a year now with Federalist 51 where we talk about the separation of
powers. We have courts in place to make
sure that no branch overreaches, and that even operates on the state level.
So, we cannot have governors as the executive of their state working with
the state legislature to essentially overturn the rule of law.
But we see this time and time again especially as the civil rights
movement, which is a long arc, where each time we make some strides, there
are different ways the institutional mechanisms of this country work hard
to make sure that there are particular communities that stay marginalized.
And so with this particular political moment, we see the Republican Party
really feeling like they`re losing not just numbers, but obviously, you
know, they are a party that is largely homogenous. So, they fear that as
black, Latinos, Asians, and other marginalized groups sort of form these
coalitions together, they are going to lose ground.
So, their winning strategy is to institutionally just essentially change
the rules in the middle of the game and consistently move the goalposts.
HAYES: And I think, Michelle, they really have come to view anything that
stands in the way of that as illegitimate. Like I think there`s a genuine
view that the institutions that would constrain that aren`t legitimate.
GOLDBERG; Well, right. I mean, you know, I always go back to this one
comment that Trump made at the very beginning of his administration where
he said the only thing that matters is the
uniting of the people, because those other people don`t matter. So when
they talk about the people, they mean a very specific slice of the American
population. And at some point it`s going to be a minority slice, but they
really believe that they have a right to rule.
And so in as much as they`re able to substantive minority rule, I think
we`re heading towards
a real crisis of democracy.
HAYES: I think we are almost – we`re already starting it.
Ari Berman, Christina Greer, and Michelle Goldberg, thank you all for being
here. I appreciate it.
Still ahead, as the Never Again campaign gathers momentum, a former Supreme
calls for just out repealing the Second Amendment. But is that the right
focus for the movement?
And our next story is brought to you by the letter “n.” That`s tonight`s
Thing One, Thing
HAYES: Thing One tonight, Trump, like all of us, is constrained by
character limits on Twitter. And so he has to figure out ways to cut or
abbreviate. Sometimes it`s somewhat cryptic like Senator G, apparently
referencing Lindsey Graham, sound bite on Fox & Friends; or Crooked H
friend Terry M talking about Terry McAuliffe and of course Hillary Clinton.
But sometimes his shorthand seems to
be a random abbreviation like last year when the president tweeted big
increase in traffic into our
country from certain areas while our people are far more vulnerable as we
wait for what should be Easy D.
As Vanity Pair put it, Twitter melts down after Trump tweets about Easy D.
Easy D caused a raft of headlines and speculations. Was Easy D a person?
Do people know what Easy D is? But we never really found out what or who
Easy D was.
But now President Trump has come out with a brand-new abbreviation with a
tweet that ends with build wall through M. Well, how could you possibly
know what M is? One way is to look at what Trump TV was airing. And that,
of course , is thing 2 in 60 seconds.
HAYES: So, some consternation ensued when President Trump tweeted early
morning, because of the $716 billion gotten to rebuild our military,
Capital M, many jobs are created and our M military is again rich, which
itself is weird. I mean, it`s just out tax money.
But, anyway, building a great border wall is all about national defense
capital M, capital D. Built wall through M.
It seems that when Trump wrote build wall through M, he did not mean build
wall through Mexico, some might have thought, or Montgomery or mallow mars
or Marmaduke or muffins. No, the M is for military. Build wall through
And I wonder where he got that idea?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where does he get the money to build a wall that you
say he can build as national defense? Where does he take the money from?
ANN COULTER, CONSERVATIVE PUNDIT: The same place Reagan took the money to
invade Grenada, the same place he took the money to bomb Syria. He has
money to spend on national defense and this is a much bigger problem of
But all of this can be done under his powers as commander-in-chief if he
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Today, The Washington Post reported that indeed Trump is now
pushing for “M,” the military, to pay for his border wall. The president
is following Ann Coulter`s advice perhaps trying
to get back in her good graces. She`s been attacking Trump for signing the
But here`s the problem, Trump can`t simply build wall through “M.” That
would require an act of congress. And he can`t force the military to pay
for his wall just as he can`t make another country foot the bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And who is going to pay for the wall?
TRUMP: And who`s going to pay for the wall?
TRUMP: Who`s going to pay for the wall?
TRUMP: I`ve never done that before. That`s actually cute.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Today, we got a partial answer to one of the mysteries that`s been
sort of lurking around the edges of the story of Russian influence in the
2016 election. And it started with reports like
this, that the FBI`s investigating whether Russian money was funneled
through the NRA to the help elect Donald Trump, specifically Russian money
from this man, that would be Aleksander Torshin, a top banker, alleged
mobster, and close friend of Vladimir Putin.
Now, Torshin is also he is a lifetime NRA member. He`s a real gun
enthusiast. He attended the 2016 convention of the group. And there he
sat next to the Donald Trump Jr. at a dinner and then tried to broker a
meeting between Trump Sr. and President Putin.
Over the course of the 2016 elections, the NRA spent a record amount of
money: $55 million, including $30 million just to support Trump. So, while
investigators look into Torshin, the top Democrat on the Senate finance
committee, Ron Wyden, just asked the NRA directly do they receive
contributions from anyone acting as a conduit acting for foreign interests
and their answer was yes kind of, saying in response to Senator Wyden, we
do receive some contributions from foreign individuals and entities, but
none of those entities or individual is connected with Russia, which is a
very (inaudible) phrase – and none of their contributions were made in
connection with U.S. elections.
Now, the problem with the last assertion is that the NRA has multiple
accounts, including some that don`t require any reporting to the FTC, no
disclosure whatsoever, it`s all dark money, and they also acknowledge
moving money around saying transfers between accounts are made as permitted
Now, the NRA also won`t disclose the amounts or sources of the foreign
donations. So, we know definitively the NRA does take foreign
contributions, which fine, but not how much or from whom. And given what`s
at issue right now, given the pall that all this is cast over the election,
that really seems like something that we should know.
Now the NRA has a former Supreme Court justice calling for the repeal of
the Second Amendment, a big debate on the left about whether or not that
call for repeal is a good strategy. And we`ll have that debate here next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH CHADWICK, STUDENT, STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: This is not a red
versus blue issue, this is a morals issue. And to the politicians that
believe that their right to own a gun comes before our lives, get ready to
get voted out by us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The March for our Lives movement seems to be taking a step towards
real change when it comes to tougher gun laws. There was already evidence
of that. And the movement`s concrete policy demands has a list of five of
them all work within the scope of the Second Amendment as currently
interpreted by the Supreme Court. But former Supreme Court Justice John
Paul Stevens argues the best way for this movement to achieve its aims is
demand a repeal for the Second Amendment as it would eliminate the only
legal rule that protects sellers of firearms in the United States unlike
every other market in the world.
Joining me now to discuss the merits of this argument, Lawrence Tribe,
professor of constitutional law at Harvard, and Anna Galland, executive
director of Moveon.org.
Professor Tribe, I take it you think this is a bad approach.
LAWRENCE TRIBE, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: I do. When I listen to the survivors
of the massacre at Stoneman Douglas, people like Sarah Chadwick and Emma
Gonzalez and others, I`m inspired by their passion, but also by their
practicality. I mean, they realize that it`s money, like money in the
story that you just had before the break, money that is pouring into the
NRA and then in the form of dark money into various campaign coffers,
that`s what is calling the shots.
If energy is put in the impossible task of getting rid of the Second
Amendment, instead of the quite possible task of making gun safety a single
issue matter, the way gun rights have become on the other side, and really
voting out the people who are too spineless to pay attention, that will get
But trying to get rid of the Second Amendment, which the Supreme Court has
said is perfectly consistent with very substantial gun regulations, that
seems to me to be a quixotic venture, not a good one, and in fact, it plays
into the hands of the NRA when they argue that the Second Amendment is an
absolute. It plays into the hands of those who say that every regulation
of firearms is just a step toward confiscating your weapons and getting
rid of the Second Amendment. That`s not true.
But it will seem true if we organize our efforts around the impossible task
of getting rid
of the Second Amendment.
HAYES: Anna, I know that Move On has been doing a lot of work on this
issue. You guys have a petition right now about repealing the Second
Amendment. What is your thought on it?
ANNA GALLAND, MOVEON.ORG: Yeah, so, first of all, I should say I think
everyone can agree right now that everyone who is a person of good
conscience who cares deeply about the lives of our children, our
grandchildren, ourselves can agree that we absolutely need to vote out the
people who are standing in the way of sensible reforms to our gun laws in
this country, one of the most resident chance at the march I attended here
in Chicago was a vote them out. So no disagreement there.
I think the petition you referenced, Chris, was a Move On member petition.
And I can say
what`s coming up from my perspective is that we are in a real movement
moment. This is a big, enormous, vibrant, fiery movement of Americans who
have been inspired by the leadership of not only the Parkland students, but
also young people around the country who have been fighting gun violence in
all its forms for a long time, groups like the Dream Defenders in Florida
And what`s happening is that this real grassroots movement is surfacing
organically all sorts of important policy demands. For example, universal
background checks. For example, raising the age
that you need to be to acquire a gun. For example, limiting weapons of war
in our streets, getting rid
of assault weapons. And, yes, one of the new demands that I`m seeing
coming up from folks in the Move On member communities, not at all a
consensus position is to repeal the Second Amendment.
The fact that the conversation is moving there, including from people with
the stature of Justice Stevens, is a testament to the incredible work these
students have done moving the conversation in the right direction.
HAYES: Yeah, so let`s just say for a second, right, that stipulating that
amending the constitution at this point in the country as polarized as we
have it with the thresholds that exist is really
hard, basically well nigh impossible at the moment, it looks like.
But Professor Trive, to sort of Anna`s final point there, it seems to me –
so forget about, like, should we pursue this to the practical end, but just
as a declaration, of principle, what it seems to me what Justice Stevens is
saying, what others are saying is that what we`re saying is like we just
reject the fundamental content here, that – you know, we have to kind of
bow and scape before the gun owners and say things like I respect the
Second Amendment, but comma, as opposed to I think there are a lot of
people who feel like guns are bad. There shouldn`t be a lot of guns.
People shouldn`t have guns. Maybe it was a good idea at the time. I
reject it. What is wrong with that as a sort of North Star?
TRIBE: I think it`s the wrong North Star. I mean, I`m in favor of every
one of the things that Anna lists – universal background checks, getting
rid of weapons of war on our streets, all of those things are great, but
all of those things will be harder to do if we weaponize the crazy argument
of the NRA that those are all steps toward getting rid of all guns.
You know, in a world that was as peaceful as I`d like it to be, nobody
would have a gun. That`s not our world. Our culture is steeped in guns.
I love the idea of setting up a North Ltar, a lode star, but the lode star
should not be something that is so out of reach that these kids who are so
passionate will simply become disillusioned.
I don`t want them to reach for something that`s impossible and I don`t want
them to buy the idea if personal liberty to many people in this country
includes the idea of having a weapon at home, a firearm at home to protect
you as a matter of self-defense, I don`t want them to think as long as
that`s part of our culture, we have to be awash in guns. And we have to
allows the AR-15s on the street. It`s not an either/or.
HAYES: Anna, do you see part of the job of MoveOn others as thinking of an
alternative world that we could inhabit?
GALLAND: Yeah, I mean, I was going to say I think the North Star that the
students are setting out for all of us is save our lives. That`s the North
GALLAND: That`s the thing that – that`s the challenge they`re putting out
to us. And I do think the role of organizations, institutions, groups that
are out there to support the organizing energy that these students are
calling forth is to help find imaginative ways that we can live into the
world that we need. I think one of the important things for all of us to
understand is it`s not enough to say no in this ear of catastrophic attacks
on all fronts from the Trump administration, from the NRA and others, we
have to talk about what we want to see and what we want to see is a country
that`s safe for everyone.
HAYES: All right, Lawrence Tribe – sorry, Lawrence, I have to go. I have
to hand the show over to Rachel.
Lawrence Tribe and Anna Galland, thank you for joining us.
Everyone, by the way, should read Justice John Paul Stevens` amazing
dissent in the Heller case, which is the big gun case in 2008. It`s a
great read. Very convincing in my mind.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the