Mueller writing report on obstruction of justice. TRANSCRIPT: 04/04/2018. All In with Chris Hayes
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: April 4, 2018
Guest: Joel Clement, Vann Newkirk, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, William Barber, Shelby Holliday, Dan Rather, Elie Mystal, Juliet Eilperin
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
ROGER STONE, CAMPAIGN ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: They know what is coming
and it is devastating.
HAYES: New revelations about long-time Trump adviser Roger Stone and
possible collusion with WikiLeaks. Plus, the Special Counsel still
investigating President Trump.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We know what we did
and what we didn’t do so none of this comes as much of a surprise.
HAYES: Why the White House shouldn’t take a victory lap over reports the
President’s not a criminal target. Then –
SANDERS: We take this seriously and we’re looking into it and we’ll let
you know when we finish.
HAYES: Scott Pruitt hemorrhaging support as ethics scandals envelop the
SCOTT PRUITT, ADMINISTRATOR, EPA: That should not have been done.
ED HENRY, CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: So who did it?
PRUITT: It may be – there will be some accountability.
HENRY: A career person or a political person?
PRUITT: I don’t know.
HENRY: You don’t know? You run the agency. You don’t know who did it?
HAYES: And then there’s Ryan Zinke.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A very special guy that I
made Secretary of the Interior. Does he know the Interior?
HAYES: The truth about what’s really happening in that department from a
scientist who used to work there.
TRUMP: She’s a tough cookie and you’ve done a great job.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And good evening from New York, I’m Chris Hayes. Tonight new
evidence on what could be the missing link between the Trump campaign and
its associates and Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. We
know that the President, of course, cheered Russia’s actions out in the
open promoting Democrats stolen e-mails on the campaign trail and
explicitly calling for Russia’s help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000
e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily
by our press.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But the big question at the heart of the Russia probe is whether
the Trump camp coordinated with Russia behind the scenes on the details of
when or how to release the e-mails that they had hacked. And all along, it
has seemed most likely that if anyone did the coordinating, it would have
been Roger Stone, the President’s long-time confidante, and adviser and
Julia Assange, the Founder of WikiLeaks which released most of the hacked
material. Now, we have an e-mail from August 2016 two the months before
WikiLeaks posted the first batch of Podesta e-mails in which Stone claimed
to have actually met Assange. Responding to a message from former aide Sam
Nunberg showing Hillary Clinton with a big polling lead, remember those
Stone wrote, enjoy it while you can. I dined with my new pal Julian
Assange last night. There it is. Stone implying his new pal would put an
end to Clinton’s lead. That e-mail dated August 4th just days after Trump
made his public plea to Russia into the cameras. The e-mail was posted
online by a reporter for the conservative One America News Network after
first being reported by The Wall Street Journal. Now, Stone denies there’s
anything to it insisting he was just joking. That’s not a very funny joke
but that’s what he says, but on the same exact day, the same day that he
sent the e-mail saying my new pal Julian Assange, he also happens to have
publicly claimed that Assange had the goods on Clinton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STONE: Let’s remember that their defense in all of the Clinton Foundation
scandals has been not we didn’t do it, has been you have no proof. Yes,
but you have no proof. Well, I think Julian Assange has that proof and I
think he’s going to furnish it to the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Where would Roger Stone have gotten that idea? In that same
interview, Stone said he had spoken with Donald Trump only the day before.
That was the start of a long series of hints dropped by Stone about future
WikiLeaks releases including this just a few days later.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STONE: I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe the next
tranche of his documents pertains to the Clinton Foundation but there’s no
telling what the October surprise may be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Stone’s infamous tweet about John Podesta came just a few days
after that. “Trust me, it will soon be Podesta’s time in the barrel.” And
in an interview the following month, Stone manages to somehow predict
exactly how WikiLeaks would stagger the Podesta e-mail releases.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STONE: I expect that Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks people to drop a
payload of new documents on Hillary on a weekly basis fairly soon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: A few weeks later after Stone repeatedly teased an October surprise
from WikiLeaks, the organization lo and behold released the first of many
batches on Podesta e-mails on October 7th. Shelby Holliday is a reporter
for the Wall Street Journal who first broke the story of Stone’s e-mail
claiming to have met with Julian Assange and Dan Rather former Anchor at
CBS Evening News and Host of AXS T.V.’s The Big Interview. And Shelby,
I’ll start with you. Stone says this e-mail is a joke. What’s the context
for the e-mail?
SHELBY HOLLIDAY, REPORTER, WALL STREET JOURNAL: The context of the e-mail
is really important and you weighed it out that it was in response to a
poll that he had President Trump losing the general election. He seems to
be saying, aha, wait until Julian Assange comes into the game. Now Stone
says this was a joke that he dined with Assange. He gave us a screenshot
that he had his first name Roger and it appears to be a booking on a flight
from L.A. to Miami. Obviously, if he had dined with Assange, he would have
had to be in London so it’s unclear if he was physically in London eating
with Assange but it raises up all kinds of question about what – did he
have contact that day, what did he talked about because the next day, he
starts praising Assange on Twitter. He’s calling him a hero. And then as
you just laid out over the next few months, he predicts all of these things
that Julian Assange will do including a few days before he starts releasing
Podesta’s e-mails saying that payload is – the payload is coming. And so,
why does this is really significant is not just the timeline but also the
fact that we know Mueller is looking at this and that means he’s not just
looking at obstruction of justice, he is focusing on his mandate of
investigating coordination between Trump associates and Russian operatives.
HAYES: And Roger Stone is an infamous figure, Mr. Rather. I mean, this is
a guy who has worked to the dark side of politics for literally decades.
DAN RATHER, FORMER ANCHOR, CBS EVENING NEWS: And proudly so. And he’s
been associated with Donald Trump for a very long time. I have a feeling,
Chris, that for many people watching him saying you know, what is all this
about, all this detail about Stone and it may appear to them as complicated
as the wiring diagram for some complicated power plant. But you know, she
touched on it. In essence, to understand this, it’s – Mueller is clearly
trying to determine whether or whether or not Russian intelligence
connected to WikiLeaks, connected to the Trump campaign and maybe is it –
is it to the President himself. That’s the context of this. And Roger
Stone who is a very smart fellow.
RATHER: You sometimes – you say well.
HAYES: He sat at this table.
RATHER: He’s a really smart guy. But that Shakespeare line comes to mind.
Oh, what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive. And he
considers himself a master deceiver.
HOLLIDAY: He embraces that.
RATHER: But he’s never – he’s never met a decipherer of deception of
Mueller’s category and sooner or later, it may be later, we will know.
HAYES: That is a great point. I will also say, one of his political
heroes Richard Nixon, he very famously, we have to show this obligatory
Roger Stone segment, has a Nixon tattoo on his back. That’s it right
there. And he’s also someone who says you know, his rules are attack,
attack, attack, never defend. Admit nothing, deny everything, launch
HOLLIDAY: But that’s what’s so strange to me, actually. I thought about
this because I watched the documentary again this weekend. He didn’t deny
that he sent this e-mail. He never denied it. He simply said it was a
joke. He said it is not what you say. It’s what you do.
HAYES: Well, he probably knew it was out there also.
HOLLIDAY: That also raises an interesting point too because we – Sam
Nunberg when he came on MSNBC multiple times that they have Roger’s e-
mails. I haven’t turned them in yet and I know that they have Roger’s e-
mails. Which means there was likely evidence of a crime if they had to
obtain a search warrant.
HAYES: And if they have Roger’s e-mails also makes me think about the fact
that Stone says, and there’s no evidence to contrary that he has not been
interviewed by Mueller yet, which strikes me as significant.
RATHER: Well, certainly significant because as you’ll recall that Stone
refused when he – his Congressional appearance, he refused to say anything
about the WikiLeaks thing.
RATHER: If and when he’s interviewed by Mueller, he can’t use that as an
excuse. But you know, one of the things here that by any reasonable
analysis, this increases the fear of President Trump. You have to know
that the fear is on the rise because he sees and hears what we have and he
knew it a long time ago and saying he’s got to be saying to himself, listen
if they’re pressing in on Roger Stone and they’re going to get him if they
haven’t already under oath, I’ve really got to be afraid.
HAYES: There’s also the question and I keep coming back to this. We’re
seeing it with Michael Cohen on the Stormy Daniels case. Donald Trump has
operated for a long time with a lot of people in his circle doing things
maybe with his knowledge, maybe with parts of his knowledge, maybe with
none of his knowledge in some sort of gray area by design that one must
wonder if the President himself is now wondering what was done.
HOLLIDAY: I think that’s a really good point. And Roger has said on NBC
that he never discussed the hacked e-mails or leaked e-mails with the
President himself. I mean, you can roll your eyes but –
HAYES: I’m just rolling my eyes - I’m not rolling my eyes at you. I’m
just saying I would love to take that with a grain of salt.
HOLLIDAY: We have no proof that they actually discussed this. We do know
that the President after WikiLeaks release the e-mails, praise the release
of the e-mails and actually started reading some of them at a rally to a
cheering crowd. So he embraced it. We don’t note if he knew about it
ahead of time.
RATHER: But, working against it, I agree with you, we don’t know it, but
President Trump mentioned WikiLeaks 116 times during the month of October
just before the campaign. That would indicate to any reasonable person
that perhaps he had been talking to Stone or did indeed know what Stone was
doing. It’s not a conclusion but I think it’s a reasonable theory based on
HOLLIDAY: Well, and Don Junior started communicating with WikiLeaks.
HAYES: We know that’s also the case. And the big thing here, right, of
course, is that from the macro perspective of two worlds, right, you have
like the world of the Kremlin and the sort of series of associated entities
that move further and further out from like Vladimir Putin himself. The
world of Donald Trump and a series of associated entities and like the
place where the two look the closest to touching are Julian Assange and
Roger Stone at this point. Isn’t that a fair way to characterize?
HOLLIDAY: They look very close and it’s interesting too because WikiLeaks
tried to distance itself from Roger Stone. But after the election, after
President Trump won, they said something to the effect of aren’t you happy
we can now communicate freely. So it is – and you know –
HAYES: That’s a bit interesting.
HAYES: The trail is interesting and the timeline is extremely damning.
HAYES: Shelby Holliday and Dan Rather, thank you for being here.
RATHER: Thank you.
HAYES: The White House today took something of a victory lap over that
Washington Post report we brought you last night. The Special Counsel told
Trump’s Attorneys the President remains under investigation as a subject
but is not currently a criminal target.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is his reaction to learning he is not a subject or
that he is not a target of the special counsel investigation although he is
SANDERS: I’m not going to comment on the on-going and the back and forth
out of respect for the Special Counsel. But as we’ve said many times
before, there was no collusion between the President and Russia so nothing
has changed. We know what we did and what we didn’t do so none of this
comes as much of a surprise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, there’s something kind of hilarious about watching this White
House try to spin the news about the President of the United States under
investigation in a massive criminal probe led by some of the nation’s most
aggressive prosecutors. There was another key bit of news buried way down
the Washington Post report that Mueller’s investigators have indicated to
the President’s legal team they’re reconsidering or they are considering
writing reports on their findings. The Post’s Robert Cost explain what
that might look like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT COSTA, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: They’re working on the Russia
investigation in terms of Russian interference but they’re also working on
a specific report they would like to come out within June or July of this
year that has different conclusions about the President’s conduct, his
behavior while in office, looking at key decisions like the firing of
former FBI Director James Comey. And he believes that he has to figure out
the President’s intent and that’s the missing piece.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Attorney Elie Mystal is Editor in Chief of the Above the Law Blog
and Nick Akerman, former Watergate Prosecutor and now an MSNBC Legal
Analyst. You’re both very smart men, very smart lawyers, and very
opinionated and I feel like you have opinions about these stories so I’ll
start with you. What am I – what should be my conclusion about is?
ELIE MYSTAL, EDITOR IN CHIEF, ABOVE THE LAW BLOG: I don’t care right now
if Trump is a subject or a target or a participle, it just doesn’t matter
right now. If he testifies in front of Mueller and lies, his status will
change by the time he comes back from the bathroom. So that’s not the real
story. The real story is as you pointed out the fact that what’s Mueller
has basically told us how this is going to end. It’s going to end with him
putting a big honking report on Paul Ryan’s desk.
MYSTAL: At which point Paul Ryan will have a press conference and tell the
whole world that he’s illiterate and can’t read the report. That like
that’s how it ends now.
HAYES: Right. And you think that end game is significant?
NICK AKERMAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: I don’t even think that’s necessarily
the end game. I mean, I don’t think this is a story at all to be honest
HAYES: Why not? Why not?
AKERMAN: Well, first of all, subject, target is completely meaningless.
They are very defined terms. Unfortunately, a lot of people took that to
mean target means somebody that you’re looking at, you’re aiming at, you
think you’re going to indict. That is not how the Department of Justice
defines a target. It’s basically somebody that’s about to be indicted. A
subject is anybody who is in the purview of the investigation. What’s
really significant is if someone is a witness as opposed to a subject or a
target. A witness is somebody who just happens to be from their standpoint
at the wrong place at the right time and from the government’s standpoint
at the right time at the right place.
MYSTAL: It’s disappointing actually like, these distinctions are ethical
courtesies by the Department of Justice towards Trump’s criminal attorneys,
right? They’re trying to say like if you’re a target, that means we’re
coming after your boy, ret ready.
HAYES: But in some sense, it’s almost a sort of deep definitional question
which is like, could the President ever be a target because it’s unclear
that you can indict him. So like, could you ever even say to the
President’s attorney yes, the sitting President of the United States is a
AKERMAN: It depends what’s the position you take on whether he can be
indicted. I would take the position he certainly can be indicted.
HAYES: I know you take that position but if you don’t that position then
you cannot by definition.
AKERMAN: Then he can’t be a target. Right. So the whole story is
meaningless. I mean, I do this every day. I did it as a prosecutor. I
would – people would ask me, is he a target, is he a subject or a witness?
I do the same thing when I represent my innocent clients. But the fact of
the matter is, all you can do is take that answer with a grain of salt, try
and make a reasonable judgment based on it. This happens every day in
America. This is not a front-page story for the Washington Post.
MYSTAL: Even these question of oh, can he be indicted? Can he not be
indicted? I don’t think people understand. Constitutionally speaking, the
President can serve out the rest of his term from jail.
MYSTAL: There are two ways to remove a sitting president, 25th Amendment,
impeachment. And so unless we’re talking about what – remember, Ryan and
McConnell at this point are acting like the Crabbe and Goyle to Trump’s
Malfoy, right? Unless Ryan and McConnell decide that they want to do
something about this, then it’s all intrigue.
HAYES: Well, and that’s why I think the report – the idea behind the
report that part of it is this kind of like OK, this is going to be put on
AKERMAN: Yes, but even that’s meaningless because it just says in the –
in the article that they may issue a report. We’ve known that since day
one that they may issue a report.
HAYES: Right, presumably there’s going to be some kind of report.
MYSTAL: They literally have to issue a report.
AKERMAN: I mean, we issued a report in the Watergate prosecution at the
very end. It’s about this thick and we issued a report.
HAYES: Anticlimactic reading after he gets in the helicopter.
AKERMAN: You’re right. But I mean, the fact of the matter is he could
still be indicted. They could make that decision. He could serve his term
in prison. Look at Mayor Curley in Boston.
HAYES: No, he’s not going to serve his term in prison.
MYSTAL: Why not?
HAYES: Guys, get it together. Let’s get it together. That’s not
MYSTAL: What about Paul Ryan makes you think any different? What has he
shown you to this point?
HAYES: No, I just think – here, I’ll tell you what. I think – I think
that Robert Mueller is small C conservative on this. I think that the
standing LLC memo on this question of whether the President can be indicted
even though it’s not a full page memo, it’s not a full memo, it’s a four-
page memo, it sort of stands as precedent as pertains to DOJ practices and
procedures, that he has signed on to essentially guiding himself by those
practices and procedures. It would be a radical departure from the
understanding of precedent for him to bring an indictment against the
sitting president and I don’t think he’s going to do that. That’s my –
AKERMAN: I mean, I think that’s a reasonable position but it doesn’t mean
– it depends on what the evidence is. If they come up with evidence that
he is actually in the hand of Putin, that he is a puppet for the Russian
government, I guarantee you there’s going to be an indictment.
MYSTAL: And there’s also just he’s going to lie. He’s going to sit in
front of Mueller and when he lies, that’s going to change this whole game.
So the only thing that Trump can do is either find a way to not sit in
front of Mueller or somehow find a way to actually tell the truth.
HAYES: And I thought that part of my – part of my reading the sort of the
context of the article was that Trump’s lawyers attempting to lay a
predicate that like going into this interview, you didn’t have him, right?
The idea being like they’re trying to sort of advertise to the world like
you don’t have him yet. You don’t have him yet. It’s only the interview
as if that’s a sort of secondary –
AKERMAN: No, that doesn’t work. I mean –
HAYES: I know it doesn’t work.
AKERMAN: It just doesn’t work because the prosecutor can always change his
mind. Things constantly change. You get new evidence from here from
there. It’s not just from the interview.
HAYES: Elie Mystal and Nick Akerman, it’s great to have you both. Come
MYSTAL: Thank you.
AKERMAN: Thank you.
HAYES: Next, is President Trump done within Scott Pruitt? A sign Pruitt’s
avalanche of scandals may have finally caught up with him in two minutes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there confidence in the EPA administrator at this
SANDERS: The President thinks that he’s done a good job, particularly on
the deregulation front. But again, we take this seriously and we’re
looking into it and we’ll let you know when we finish.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Sarah Sanders today notably declining to say that President Trump’s
confident in the Head of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt
as Pruitt finds himself absolutely mired in an avalanche of scandals from
his lavish travel on the public dime to a sweetheart deal to stay on a
lobbyist’s condo, to allegations he bypassed the White House to give big
raises to his favorite aides including one who had overseen his personal
housing search. Pruitt’s defense on that today on Trump T.V. probably did
not help his case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: If you’re committed to the Trump agenda, why did you go around the
President and the White House and give pay raises to twos staffers.
PRUITT: I did not. My staff did and I found out about it yesterday and
changed it. PPO process should have been respected and I issued a
statement yesterday walking back those pay raises.
HENRY: Should he be fired for that?
PRUITT: That should not have been done.
HENRY: So who did it?
PRUITT: And it may be – there will be some accountability on that.
HENRY: A career person or political person?
PRUITT: I don’t know.
HENRY: You don’t know? You run the agency. You don’t know who did this?
PRUITT: I found out about this yesterday and corrected the action. We are
in the process of finding out how it took place and correcting it.
HENRY: So hang on, both these staffers who got these large pay raises are
friends of yours, I believe from Oklahoma, right?
PRUITT: They are staffers here in the agency.
HENRY: They are from – they’re friends of yours?
PRUITT: Well, they serve a very important person.
HENRY: And you didn’t know that they got these large pay raises.
PRUITT: I did not know that they got the pay raised until yesterday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: With me now (INAUDIBLE) reporters on the Pruitt beat, Washington
Post Senior National – Senior National Affairs Correspondent Juliet
Eilperin. You’ve got a new piece about Pruitt today that connects to this.
It seems to me the core of the Pruitt issue is that he never really moved
to D.C. and he’s been going back and forth a lot and his living
arrangements are what?
JULIET EILPERIN, SENIOR NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON POST:
Well, now he lives – he has his third apartment since moving to Washington
since being nominated and confirmed as Head of the EPA. What we were
writing about today is the fact that there was a gap after he moved out of
a condo owned by a lobbyist where he was paying $50 a night for every night
that he stayed there. There was basically a one-month gap before he moved
into his next apartment. And at that point, he went on extensive travel
first to multiple states, five states over the course of a little over a
week. Then had some back and forth with largely in Oklahoma, went to
Texas, and went back. And so, as a result, he essentially was traveling
nonstop and spending time at home before returning to Washington this fall
where he then moved and move once more to where he lives now.
HAYES: Now, the EPA and Pruitt have been trying to defend the $50 a night
condo setup which again, to me from a just a common sense perspective seems
tough to do. Here’s the exchange had he with Ed Henry. I want you to take
a look and get your reaction,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: So you only paid for the nights that you were there.
PRUITT: That’s exactly right.
HENRY: But that’s kind of a sweetheart deal because your –
PRUITT: No, it’s not.
HENRY: Your house in Oklahoma, you pay a mortgage on that and when you
don’t sleep there – when you don’t sleep there, you still pay the
PRUITT: Not when I’m – yes, but this is a tremendous difference. I
wasn’t using the facility Ed when I wasn’t there. You could go on
Craigslist today and it’s been done the last week.
HENRY: But a cabinet secretary is going to –
PRUITT: Craigslist today shows rentals for one bedroom of less than $1,000
on Capitol Hill near.
HENRY: I never heard of an apartment like that. I lived in Washington
over 25 years.
PRUITT: Well –
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Do you think that scans?
EILPERIN: Well, certainly when we looked at comparable prices on say
Airbnb and elsewhere, we did not find you know, a similar apartment for
that level of rent. So it’s also worth noting that one of the things that
Administrator Pruitt has been emphasizing in his interviews over the last
24 hours is the idea this was approved by ethics officials. It’s worth
noting that they only asked the ethics office to render a judgment late
last week after reports of this surfaced. So this was not something that
was cleared in advance and went through the regular process.
HAYES: You know, there’s also this question, we had a question at the EPA
today which is if he’s going back and forth to Oklahoma a lot which he is,
we know that. Am I right that that’s part of the I.G.’s investigation?
EILPERIN: Absolutely. That’s one of the things that’s under scrutiny by
EPA’s I.G. His frequent trips to Tulsa, to his home where he usually had
one meeting and then would stay the weekend, things like that.
HAYES: Right, so if he has one meeting – so he’s back in Tulsa, right?
He lives in Tulsa. That’s where his home is. He’s got a big mortgage on
that home. So we asked the EPA, is he taking the federal per diem when
he’s in Tulsa because at one level, like well, he’s traveling but he’s also
home. Maybe he shouldn’t take the per diem and this was their somewhat
cryptic response. “When the Administrator is on official travel, he
receives per diem, as all government employees do. When he’s on personal
time, he absolutely does not receive per diem.
EILPERIN: Right. So – and this is certainly something worthy of looking
into. In other words, for those weekends he is certainly not receiving per
diem. One of the questions is, is he receiving the per diem for example on
the Friday when he’s staying home. So that is something that we’ve sought
to examine and will continue to examine because that is a relevant
question. When you look at these trips, again, they are definitely
related. He’s doing meetings that are related to EPA business but
typically, many of his predecessors and other similar cabinet you know,
positions did not seek either reimbursement for their flights or certainly
for staying in their homes.
HAYES: Right. Just to be clear, he’s staying – his home is in Tulsa. He
lives in Tulsa, he has a house in Tulsa. He’s doing official business in
Tulsa. If you’re going home and staying in your house that night and
you’re taking the per diem, I think a lot of people would think I don’t
know about it. Julia Eilperin, thanks for being with me.
EILPERIN: Thank you.
HAYES: Next, not to be outdone by his colleague at the EPA, Interior
Secretary Zinke has been racking up his own scandals. What he’s been up to
HAYES: While Scott Pruitt hoovers up all the attention with his
shenanigans at the EPA don’t take your eye off Interior Secretary Ryan
Zinke. He’s naming this woman, former Texas State Official Susan Combs to
oversee federal policy on wildlife in parks even though she is an ardent
opponent of the Endangered Species Act who once referred to proposed
endangered species protections as incoming Scud missiles. With me now Joel
Clement who is – who quit the Interior Department last year after he was
abruptly moved from his job as Director of the Office of Policy Analysis
and assigned instead to an unrelated job in the accounting office.
Mr. Clement, what was it like to work in Interior under Ryan Zinke?
JOEL CLEMENT, INTERIOR DEPARTMENT WHISTLEBLOWER: Well, you know, when the
new administration came in, we knew we would be under the gun a little bit
with issues of science. And that’s, of course, my background.
So, it was a very intimidating environment for us. A lot of people were
looking over their shoulders wondering how were they going to address
things like climate change and other issues that this administration had
come in with a bit of head of steam about.
So, morale was already – you know, people were on pins and needles right
from the start.
HAYES: The Interior Secretary has been really adamant no one’s making any
scientific documents about climate change. And I want to play you some of
his testimony at a March 13 hearing and see if that jibes with your
experience. Here’s what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN ZINKE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR SECRETARY: There was no incident,
incident at all that I know of that we have ever changed a comma on a
document itself. I don’t know of any document we’ve changed. And I
challenge you any member to find a document that we’ve actually
changed on a report.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Does that square with your experience?
CLEMENT: No. I mean, that – what that squares with my experience that
Secretary Zinke isn’t fully aware of what’s happening always in the
department. But certainly there has, as we’ve recently seen, been some
pretty explicit censorship of scientific and climate change related matters
in the department.
HAYES: We had a report with track changes that came from a reveal which is
an investigative unit that showed exactly that. Had you experienced it
CLEMENT: You know, I never experienced censorship while I was there. I
think, you know, by the time they reassigned me to get me out of the way, I
was no longer privy to some of these conversations. But I have certainly
seen since, and heard from colleagues there at DOI, that this is
a big concern, and it’s got morale on edge.
HAYES: You were reassigned from what to what?
CLEMENT: I was the director of the office of policy analysis. And in that
position, I was the top climate policy official there. I was reassigned to
the office that collects and disburses royalty income from oil and gas and
mining interests. And their original intention was to have me do that in
Tulsa, Oklahoma, so –
HAYES: Wait, wait, wait, wait, you were the climate guy, right?
HAYES: You were the top career climate guy?
CLEMENT: That’s right.
HAYES: And then they pulled you out of that job and they had you tabulate
royalties from oil and gas leases?
CLEMENT: Yeah, I was reassigned to the office of natural resources
HAYES: Why did you think they’d do that?
CLEMENT: Well, it was pretty clear to me their intention was to get me to
quit. And, you know, while you can move a senior executives around, even
involuntarily, it is unlawful to do that in order to – in retaliation or
to get them to quit. And it was my view that they were doing this in
retaliation for my very public views on the impacts of climate change. And
for that reason, I filed a
whistleblower complaint last summer.
HAYES: There’s related news, which is that there’s been a lot of
reorganization among senior
career folks like yourself. And this headline stuck out to me. Zinke’s
Interior Department disproportionately reassigned Native American workers,
that a third of the workers reassigned were Native American. How should we
CLEMENT: Yeah, you know, this was when I was reassigned, as well. You
know it, took – this was such a fishy batch of reassignments. Every
administration when they come in they reassign a few senior executives.
But this was dozens in one night. And it was so fishy that eight Senators
wrote to the agency asking for an investigation. I filed my whistleblower
But there seemed to be more. There seemed to be an unofficial tally of the
people that had been reassigned. It seemed like there might have been some
discrimination. But they wouldn’t release the list of people that were
assigned until I sued the agency and we finally obtained the list. And
sure enough, there’s some pretty clear evidence of discrimination, not just
American Indians, but also a disproportionate number of women were
reassigned that night, as well.
HAYES: It was there were 30 plus of you?
CLEMENTS: That’s right, all in one Thursday night about 8:00.
HAYES: And these are career people.
CLEMENTS: These are all career staff.
HAYES: And your working theory is these are senior career staff who have
views or are working on issues that this political leadership doesn’t like
and then wants to chase them out?
CLEMENTS: There’s certainly evidence that makes it appear as though
retaliation and discrimination were both taking place with this mass
HAYES: All right, Joel Clement, thanks for being here tonight. I
CLEMENTS: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Before you go, I want to tell you about a special show we’re airing
this Friday called “Revolution: Apple Changing the World.” Kara Swisher
and I sat down with Apple CEO Tim Cook for an in depth interview. In fact,
you might have already seen some of the moments from it, because it made a
whole lot of news. The entire hour is just as compelling.
So, I encourage you to join us right here Friday night in this hour. We’ll
be right back with Thing One, Thing Two next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, there’s a thing that happens on Twitter, it’s
called getting ratioed. It happens when your take is so bad that the likes
and the retweets are greatly outnumbered by the amount of replies usually
because the replies are full of people informing you how bad your take was.
Well, Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker got brutally ratioed
last night. Take a look at this tweet, “if you support our bold efforts to
help families and reform government, I need your help right now.” Look at
the numbers, 167 people liked that message, 90 people retweeted, but over a
1,300 people replied savagely ratioing it.
That pitiful ratio is the least of Walker’s worries, however. What
happened in Wisconsin to
prompt the tweet last night is Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: Back in January, Democrats in Wisconsin flipped a state senate
seat, pulling off a
nine-point win in a Republican district Trump carried by 17. And that
night, Republican Governor
Scott Walker tweeted that it should be a wake-up call for Republicans in
Wisconsin. But Scott Walker had a solution, at least a temporary one. He
would just stop holding elections until November, including two Republican
seats vacated in December. Walker planned to keep those seats open for
almost a year.
Now, he was sued because well, state law explicitly calls for prompt
special elections to fill
vacancies, and during the lawsuit he even tried to change state law.
Ultimately, last week, a circuit judge ordered Walker to go ahead and call
the special elections, which will now take place on June 12th.
If you needed more evidence about the political climate Scott Walker is so
scared of, look at what happened in Wisconsin last night. Liberal Judge
Rebecca Dallet won a 10-year term on the
State Supreme Court, the first time in 23 years a liberal judge who not an
incumbent won a spot on that high court. And she won handily, by a 12-
point margin. Walker, who is up for re-election statewide this year, once
again took a turn to Twitter: “tonight’s results show us we are at risk of
a #bluewave in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REBECCA DALLET, WISCONSIN STATE SUPREME COURT: Tonight, we proved that
when the people rise up and stand together, we can beat the special
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Yesterday, President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu had a phone call. And according to the White House readout that
they put out afterwards, apparently the two
did not talk about what was probably the most important thing for them to
talk about, and that’s the fact that just a few days ago, Israeli troops
shot more than 750 Palestinians, killing at least 15. Yes, that is the
correct number, more than 750 Palestinians shot at least 15 dead.
Now this happened at a large protest along the Gaza border on Friday where
as many as 30,000 people gathered to begin what was planned as a six-week
sit-in protesting Israel’s blockade of Gaza and supporting Palestinian’s
so-called right of return to Israel, a right that, I should note, the
Israeli government says doesn’t exist, and if enforced would spell the end
of the Jewish state.
Now, defenders of the Israeli military’s actions will point out the protest
was endorsed by Hamas, which rules Gaza in a thuggish and anti-democratic
manner, and which uses violence and terror in its campaign against Israel.
They will also note that at this particular protest, there were some
protesters who threw rocks and Molotov cocktails and rolled burning tires
at the border fence, all of which is true, but in no way justifies what
Israeli soldiers appear to have done, which is perch on a hill and pick off
protesters with sniper fire, much of it record for all to see, like for
instance this video which shows live shots being
fired at a teenager as he runs through an empty area to retrieve a tire, or
the shooting of this young man as he prayed near the border fence.
As far as we can tell from the video evidence, IDF troops in sniper
positions rained down bullets on unarmed people again and again and again.
And not only did the president of the United States react by saying
nothing, not only have the vast majority of members of congress, Democrat
Republican, been entirely silent about this frankly unconscionable use of
force, the U.S. blocked a UN Security Council statement calling for an
investigation of what happened.
Now, from day one, the Trump administration has sent the message to the
U.S.’s Middle East allies, particularly Israel and the Saudis, that they
can do whatever they want. There will be no raps on the knuckles as there
might have been in days of yore, no more tsk, tsking about restraint. And
our allies are taking that directive and running with it. And that video
of teenagers being shot in the an open field, that’s what it looks like
when they do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT KENNEDY: Do they know about Martin Luther King? Could you lower
please? I have some very sad news for all of you, and I think sad news for
all of our fellow citizens and people who love peace all over the world.
And that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Fifty years ago today, almost to the hour, Martin Luther King Jr.
was murdered. Robert F. Kennedy on the campaign trail in Indianapolis
broke the news of King’s death to the crowd there. Dr. King was murdered
just outside the Lorraine Motel in Memphis right there behind my first
guest, Reverend Dr. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign.
Also joining me tonight,
Charlayne HUnter-Gault, a special correspondent for PBS NewsHour series
Grace Matters, and Vann Newkirk, staff writer for The Atlantic who wrote
the Whitewashing of King’s Assassination for the current issue.
And let me on “The Whitewashing of King’s Assassination”, which is a
powerful piece in a phenomenal issue that I think, Vann, you edited and
helped put together. What do you mean by the
whitewashing of King’s assassination?
VANN NEWKIRK, THE ATLANTIC: So, what I mean there is when we consider the
circumstances underwhich king was assassinated, we like to think that it
was a lone gunman, that’s true. But we don’t consider the factors of how
American public opinion was totally turned against King where he was in his
own life, in his movement. We sort of have a narrative about the civil
rights movement that King won, that he did overcome, that he was
victorious. And in some senses he was, but how do we reconcile that with
the fact that he was killed while he was down for a protest, while he was
initiating the next phase of his campaign with the Memphis sanitation
workers, how do we reconcile that?
And so what I want to get into in that piece is how we built a false
recollection of the circumstances of that day, the circumstances of 1968,
and how in the 15 years after that, when Reagan makes King’s birthday a
holiday, we basically have already forgotten what King was actually
fighting for, what he wanted to do, and that’s had powerful consequences on
our public policy since.
HAYES: Dr. Berber you’re down there, you’re outside the Lorraine Motel as
we speak. And I wonder being there observing the speeches and the
observances that have happened today, what your thinking about what is
important to capture from that last part of Dr. King’s life?
REV. DR. WILLIAM BARBER, POOR PEOPLE’S CAMPAIGN: Well, as I stood at the
place where he fell, I’m reminded that the last thing we can do is have
remembrances and not have a revival of what he stood for. We can’t have
commemoration services and not have a reconsecration to the movement.
Since King’s death, we saw a diminishing of the moral narrative,
deconstruction of voting right
laws, and a defunding of the war on poverty. Now what we have today is we
have a Voting Rights Act that has been gutted, and for 1,745 days today the
congress has refused to reinstate it. That has allowed state governments -
- state legislatures to pass voter suppression laws and gerrymandering, and
many people have gotten elected to office by those means who then once they
get in office pass laws that hurt the poor, and mostly white.
We have 440 million poor and working poor people in this country today with
37 million people without health care. We have – you can buy unleaded
gas, can’t buy unleaded water. We have war and militarism, 63 cents of
every dollar discretionary going toward war and militarism. And we have a
false christian nationalist narrative that says the only moral issues you
ought to be concerned about is being against gay people, for prayer in the
school, against abortion, for tax cuts, for gun rights. and that’s heresy,
that’s a malpractice, which is why we have said we must launch the poor
peole’s campaign, a national national call for a moral revival and address
these five interlocking injustices.
HAYES: You are someone that has both lived and documented this period, the
sort of the civil
rights movement of the 1960s until now. And I think there’s one narrative
in which things go along and they flatten out, and maybe they shoot up.
But I think people have been sort of reckoning more recently the idea of
backlash, of backwards movement. How do you see it right now?
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT, PBS NEWSHOUR: I don’t think that’s anything new.
And by the way thank you for having me with these two wonderful guests.
I’ve interviewed Reverend Barber in the past. And he’s a very interesting
I think about the man I met in 1961 when I was a student, and he was a very
humble man, but at the same time, he was very prescient. At the time he
was in Memphis, he talked about the dark skies and the confusion in the
country, and that was all negative. But at the same time, and I think this
is the case with Reverend Barber, he said that through that darkness you
can see the stars at a certain point. So there was always hope, even
though many of the things that Reverend Barber has just cited are still the
case. But there was trouble back then.
But the question is how do you keep on keepin’ on, as he did, even in the
face of backlash
and, and disappointment at the progress that he felt needed to be made.
HAYES: You know, Vann, there’s this polling of Gallup – you know, Gallup
it’s an institution that’s been polling people for so long that we have
great apples to apple comparison. Public perception of King in ‘66 is two
years before he’s murdered, 32 percent positive, 63 percent negative. They
did not measure public opinion in ‘67 and ‘68.
It is – I wonder how you think of King in the final years and where he was
– because in many ways, when you talk about the narrative of King, one, he
was in a very tough point of his career at that
NEWKIRK: Yes, so if you look at what his friends, his confidantes, his
colleagues were saying to him. He was having a mental health crisis. He
was searching for his role, for the role of civil rights in liberation. He
was trying to figure out exactly what the thing was that he needed to push,
he needed to rail against actually change the material conditions of black
people and poor people in the country. And you see him in those last
couple years orient himself to a fierce economic critique.
I want to give a shout out to Reverend Barber, because he has an amazing
essay in our special issues on this where he has this critique of the very
capitalist system of America, the foundations of our society. He’s
actually taken those foundations, taking stock of them and saying they need
to be replaced.
So you see a much more radical figure than is allowed in our national
consciousness, when we
think about King and people quote the dream speech, they’re not grappling
of these last few years of King really trying to figure out how to make a
non-violent, equal country, and one that serves the purpose of justice
throughout the world.
HAYES: Dr. Barber, King – King offers that critique in the last years of
his life. ‘68 is also the year that Kennedy’s assassinated and in which
Richard Nixon wins the presidential election. Do you see a connection
between that event and where the nation’s politics and Donald Trump are
BARBER: Well, very much so.
In fact, Dr. King had identified those three evils – militarism, racism
and poverty. At the same time, the Poor People’s Campaign was rising, the
southern strategy was being built. The Poor People’s Campaign was partly
assassinated because Dr. King was assassinated, but the southern strategy
continued to rise.
The southern strategy had a 50-year plan to separate poor and working class
whites from poor and working class blacks in order to isolate the politics
and create the likes of Nixon, Reagan, Bush,
and now Trump. And we’re in the 50th year.
But on the flip side of that, I also see the possibility of transformation.
I just left Kentucky and western Virginia, eastern Kentucky where people in
the mountains, coal miners, are joining this Poor
People’s Campaign. Benn in California, been in Alabama where a woman who
lost her child because Alabama refused to expand Medicaid is hooking up
with white poor women from Kentucky and from West Virginia. And what I
want to say is we need right now in this moment, and this is what we’re
going to try to do, a season of non-violent, moral fusion, direct action
not one day, a season of it. We need a season of massive voter
mobilization among the most impacted and poor people in this country, and a
season of power building among poor people to, first, change the narrative.
Chris, one of the most disturbing things is that we’ve had 26 presidential
debates and not one hour on poverty, one hour on voting rights. We cannot
survive as a democracy with that kind of narrative.
HAYES: And yet the kind of fusion politics that King was trying to build,
that Dr. Barber is talking about, have been very hard to make real.
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