Bernie Sanders on his 2020 run. TRANSCRIPT: 02/21/2019, All In w. Chris Hayes.
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: February 21, 2019
Guest: Bernie Sanders, Matt Miller, Jamil Smith, Venita Gupta, Katie Hill
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: But it should never be bad form
for anyone to say I want to wait for all the facts before I react. And if
we created an environment where it is, that is a problem we all ought to
That`s HARDBALL for now. “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
ROGER STONE, FORMER CAMPAIGN ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Oh my God, busted.
HAYES: Roger Stone spectacular smackdown. Tonight, the President`s
longtime advisor gagged by a federal judge. Plus, why the president`s
lawyer was meeting senators on the Hill today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Cohen, any message to the President?
HAYES: Plus Matt Miller on the silence from the President after the arrest
of an alleged right-wing domestic terrorist inside the federal government.
Then, the election fraud hearing in North Carolina takes a stunning turn.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you have any knowledge of a ballot harvesting
operation in this election.
MARK HARRIS (R), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE, NORTH CAROLINA: Absolutely not.
HAYES: And his presidential campaign is two days old and already breaking
fundraising records. My exclusive interview with Bernie Sanders When ALL
IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from Los Angeles, I`m Chris Hayes, and it is another
absolutely insane news day. Indicted Trump ally Roger Stone has been hit
with a strict gag order by the judge in his case after he posted her
picture online alongside an image of crosshairs.
A new congressional election was called North Carolina after an election`s
board hearing on flagrant electoral fraud to boost the Republican
candidate. There`s been a string of reports the Mueller probe may be
poised to wrap up any day as longtime Trump fixer Michael Cohen prepares to
testify three times before Congress next week, and Democrats are taking
their first concrete legislative steps to block the president`s national
emergency declaration at the border with a resolution to terminate his
effort to circumvent Congress to build the wall Mexico was supposed to pay
And then there`s all the action in the race to take on Trump in 2020. New
Time Magazine cover depicting Trump looking back over his shoulder as a
crowded field of declared and potential candidates eyes the Oval Office.
Two days ago, a major candidate formally entered the race properly raised
nearly $6 million in just 24 hours. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the
runner up for the Democratic nomination last time around declaring the time
had come to quote complete the revolution and make his vision a reality.
And joining me now for his first primetime interview since declaring his
candidacy Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders. Senator, let me just
start with the emergency declaration since that`s in the news today. Chuck
Schumer says the Senate is going to introduce a resolution as well to pair
with the House. Do you support that resolution?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Of course, I do. What the president is
doing is unconstitutional, it`s illegal, and it is part of his movement
toward an authoritarian society. This guy clearly is not familiar with the
Constitution, clearly not familiar with the separation of powers. He
thinks he`s got it all. He`s the only one running the government and that
has got to stop.
HAYES: You ran for President in 2016. I think that it was a long race.
It was a hard-fought race. It`s a very different world two years later for
a lot of reasons. There`s probably a dozen or so candidates on more who
will be in the race. The issue, platforms have changed quite a bit.
There`s several candidates who have endorsed Medicare for all or free
college which are issues that you a champion. Why`d you take a look at
this race this time and say I have to run again?
SANDERS: Well, I think for a couple of reasons, Chris. First of all, I`m
proud of what we accomplished in 2016. And I`m proud that we change the
political discourse in this country that ideas that today are widely
accepted are part of the mainstream are being supported by many Democratic
candidates. If you will recall, three years ago, why these ideas was
considered to be radical and extreme and in fringe – and fringe idea.
So we have come a long way I think in transforming the Democratic Party and
making it into a more progressive party.
Second of all, part of the political revolution was to mobilize millions of
people at the grassroots level. And what I`m very proud of in terms of
what we have accomplished in the last two days, the media talks about the
money. That`s great. But we now have close to one million people who have
signed up who want to be involved in an unprecedented campaign.
And why that`s important is that I believe from the bottom of my heart that
if you learn from the civil rights movement, from the trade union movement,
from the women`s movement, from the gay movement, you know that real change
in this country never occurs unless millions of people are standing up and
So if we are going to pass Medicare for all, we need to mobilize millions
of people to stand up to the insurance companies and the drug companies.
That`s what this campaign is about.
HAYES: I want to – I want to ask another question about the – this
campaign versus last campaign because obviously, that was a very hard-
fought primary. It went on for a very long time. It was competitive in a
way I think some people didn`t expect at the beginning of it. And if
you`re going to win this time, there are people who voted for Hillary
because in the last time around whose votes you will need this time in a
Democratic primary, and there`s still some bad blood.
I mean, there are still folks who I talked to who exist in the political
worlds were loyal Democrats who feel frustrated by what they felt was your
lack of loyalty to the party or your support of Hillary Clinton or
extending the primary too long. And my question to you is what is the
message for those folks out there who may still have had sort of feelings
SANDERS: You know, I do understand that, Chris. But let`s get the facts
correct. After I endorse Hillary Clinton, I went all over this country and
I worked as hard as I could to see that she was elected and I think we
should get that clear. I think the main point to be made is that where we
are right now is that many of the major issues that I have been talking
about the years are now widely supported by the American people.
And what we have got to do is take Trump`s desire to divide us up by the
color of our skin or where we were born or our sexual orientation or our
agenda, we have got to bring our people together around a progressive
agenda. Health care is a human right. We`re going to raise that minimum
wage to $15.00 an hour. We are going to in a highly competitive global
economy make public colleges and universities tuition-free and lower
We are going to address the existential crisis of climate change, transform
our energy system and create millions of jobs in the process. Criminal
justice reform, immigration reform, those ideas are now ideas that the
overwhelming majority of the – of the Democratic Party believe in and we
got to bring people together around that agenda.
HAYES: One more question about 2016 and about your campaign because you
were Mayor of Burlington Roth so you have some executive experience but
that campaign was a large enterprise you were managing. There`s been some
complaints, it`s been well reported. I know you met with some folks in the
campaign about the culture and atmosphere and that camp particularly as it
pertains to sexual harassment being tolerated and the diversity of the
senior leadership of that campaign at a time when the Democratic Party is a
diverse party being excessively white and male and not having enough
voices. Do you take those criticisms to heart? Are you doing things
differently this time?
SANDERS: Absolutely. We take those criticisms at the heart. When people
said that our campaign was too white, too male-oriented, they are right.
You take a look at the step that we are putting together right now. Take a
look at who our national co-chairs are. You will see a fundamental
difference in the way our campaign is operating.
In terms of the issue of sexual harassment, that has troubled me immensely.
And we are putting together a protocol now which will be stronger than any
campaign has ever put together so that we prevent any of the problems we
saw in 2016.
HAYES: You just – you just talked about a lot of issues that are issues
that you feel passionately about that you`ve campaigned about, a Medicare-
for-all, climate in the Green New Deal, criminal justice reform, but
prioritization is it seems a key question in this primary and it`s a
question I`ve been asking every candidate we`ve had on which is what is
your first – your inaugurated and by – electoral miracle or a lot of hard
work because the Democrats have majority in the Senate and in the House.
What`s your first piece of big domestic legislation that you move?
SANDERS: I don`t look at it that way, Chris. What I look at is looking at
100 day period and pushing forward that progressive agenda. We`ve got to
raise that minimum wage to a living wage. We have to pass Medicare for
all. We have to transform our energy system. So I don`t see it is one
piece of legislation.
We have enormous crises in this country in terms of income and wealth
inequality, in terms of millions of people living in poverty, in terms of a
shrinking middle class. It`s not just one issue. We need a progressive
agenda. That`s what I`m been campaigning on.
SANDERS: But let me tell you something else for a second –
HAYES: But wait a second. Let me just stop you there for a second.
You`re a United States Senator who knows your way around the legislative
process and you know how important political capital and sequencing are and
prioritization. We know that parties come in and they have priorities and
those priorities when they come in first, those bills get the best sort of
amount of force behind them and then you go later through the
administration and they get less and less. That`s just the facts of how
SANDERS: Well, I think you`re looking at the past. You`re not looking at
I think what life would be like if I`m going to be elected President of the
United States. There`s going to be a sense of urgency. We are not going
to do things the same old way. We have major crises in this country. And
especially after four years of the disaster of what will be the disaster of
Trump if he lasts four years. We`re going to have to move rapidly in
addressing issue after issue after issue.
And let me mention some other issues I think that I have not been talked
about. We have to pay more attention to rural America. Life expectancy
going down, opioid epidemic, young people leaving their communities. We
have to pay more attention to rural communities. We have to pay attention
to the impact that artificial intelligence and robotics is having on our
society in driving people out of the jobs they`ve had for years.
So there is an enormous amount of work to be done and we thought are going
to need a president and a Congress to focus on issue after issue to
transform the economic and political life of this country.
HAYES: We`ve talked a lot about domestic issues and you`ve been fairly
active on some foreign policy issues particularly on Yemen where you`ve
worked with some centers across the aisle on the War Powers Resolution
which was successful in the last Congress and might come up again. And
there`s been reporting about sort of your foreign policy staff being filled
I wonder like is there – is there a Sanders doctrine, is there a way that
you view American leadership and foreign policy were you to become
SANDERS: In 30 seconds or less right?
HAYES: Exactly – well 15. I had to get some other stuff.
SANDERS: All right. All right. You got a president today who supports –
literally supports authoritarian regimes all over the world, who supports
governments run by kleptocrats who are billionaires. My vision of American
leadership in the world is leadership which supports democracy, supports
human rights, supports the entire world coming together to address the
planetary crisis of climate change.
And I see huge potential in the world. People all over the world saying
you know what, it affects China, it affects India, it affects the United
States. We`ve got to work together. I see a world beginning to address
massive global income and wealth inequality where today you have a few
hundred people owning more wealth than the bottom half of the world`s
population. I see us addressing the problems of global poverty.
So I see us being the country where the rest of the world looks to the
United States and says thank you America for supporting human rights,
democracy, and economic justice.
HAYES: I want to ask you about socialism. There`s an e-mail that went out
I think in the last few days from the Trump campaign which of course is
already up and running. It`s a fundraising e-mail. It says Bernie Sanders
announced he will be running for president 2020 with a very simple
platform, full-blown socialism, not partial socialism, full-blown
You`ve called yourself – you`ve called yourself a socialist for years.
It`s been a question interestingly I think on the campaign trail. Other
candidates have said they`re not socialist or capitalist. But there`s this
debate that has ensued about what does that mean. A lot of conservatives
have pointed to Venezuela and said food shortages, increasing
authoritarianism is what socialism means and it`s what Bernie Sanders
What is your definition of socialism? What`s your model for it?
SANDERS: I think that when we look at a modern democratic civilized
society, you are looking at economic rights in addition to political
freedoms. So right now we have a constitution, you have freedom of speech,
freedom of religion, etcetera.
I happen to believe that in the year 2019 with all of the wealth around us,
we can create an economy which guarantees health care to all people as a
human right, which guarantees education from childcare well higher
education as a human right, which guarantees the right of people to have
decent and affordable housing which make sure that you`re living in a
community with water that you are drinking and the air that you breathing
HAYES: Let me ask –
SANDERS: So economic rights is human rights. That`s what I mean. And by
the way, Chris, it`s not a radical idea.
HAYES: But how is that – let me ask you this – right, that`s my
question, right? So what you`re describing is the mixed economy and we`ve
– you know, there`s a National Health Service in the U.K., there are –
the United States Public Housing.
SANDERS: Right. Of course, of course.
HAYES: We have – we have public provisions of those goods. Is there
something above that distinguishes your vision from a kind of welfare state
SANDERS: Well, I should also add that in 1944 this is exactly what
Franklin Delano Roosevelt talked about. He talked about jobs and health
care and education as a human right to be guaranteed by the government.
And what I`m talking about exists in many countries all over the world.
You know, you go to country in Scandinavia, college education is free.
Every other major country on Earth guarantees healthcare to all people as
Most countries have higher minimum wages than we do. So essentially what
we are talking about is making sure that a vibrant democracy, make sure it
guarantees that all of our people can have a decent standard of living and
that we do not have this grotesque level of income and wealth inequality
where three people end up owning more wealth than the bottom half of the
country where a handful of billionaires can spend hundreds of millions of
dollars to buy elections.
That`s what the political revolution is about. That`s what Democratic
Socialism means to me.
HAYES: So I`m going to return to the Venezuela case because it is been so
used by Conservatives in the – in the U.S. on exactly this. You`ve been
critical of the Maduro regime, I think also critical some of the steps
taken by the Trump administration sort of ratcheting up pressure. But what
is the Bernie Sanders theory of the case for why Venezuela is the way it
is. What went wrong there in what was an avowedly socialist project?
SANDERS: Oh well, I mean, that`s a long story that we can`t – I don`t
think we have the time to get into. But this is what I do – will say, and
that is that I think there must be free and fair elections in Venezuela.
The last elections were not free. Second of all, we have got to do
everything0 that we can to provide humanitarian aid along with other
countries so that people do not starve to death.
And thirdly, we need to make certain that the United States does not do
what it has done time and time again in our history and that is get
involved in overthrowing governments in Latin America. We did that in
Chile, we did that in Brazil, Guatemala, other countries. We should not be
doing that now. The future of Venezuela must rest with the Venezuelan
people not the Trump administration.
HAYES: You spoke before about a political revolution, talked about an
ambitious 100-day agenda. One of the kind of bottlenecks for all of that
right now is the House of Congress you call your own the United States
Senate. It has a filibuster which as we know from the history increased
rapidly in its deployment. It`s essentially used as a 60-vote threshold
for almost everything other than a reconciliation and budgeting.
Some people have come out in favor of abolishing the filibuster. Do you
favor abolishing the filibuster?
SANDERS: Well, one of those people is Donald Trump so I think we should be
thoughtful and clear about this is what Trump would like to see. Look,
before we get into that which is a very legitimate question. We need to A,
make sure the Democrats control the United States Senate which is not
guaranteed by any means.
HAYES: No it is not.
SANDERS: And second of all, it`s not good enough to have 51 Democrats or
50Democrats and a Democratic president. It is important to have
progressive Democrats. Because if you think that every Democrat currently
in the United States Senate is going to support a progressive agenda, think
twice, that`s not the case.
HAYES: Right. But isn`t that, even more, the case for 60 votes?
SANDERS: I think what we have got to do – I mean, you`re asking a
legitimate question but I think let`s get first things first. Let`s elect
the Democratic Senate. Let`s make sure that as many as possible are
Progressives. But this is what I believe. It`s what I said a moment ago.
We make change when millions of people demand that change. And I believe
that when people stand up and fight back, yes, you`re going to have the
United States Congress start listening to ordinary Americans rather than
wealthy campaign contributors.
HAYES: All right, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont, thanks so
much for taking time tonight. I appreciate it.
SANDERS: My pleasure.
HAYES: Next, Roger Stone`s dirty tricks catch up with him again. The
amazing scene that unfolded in court between the President`s former
political adviser and a federal judge right after this.
HAYES: Roger Stone is officially gagged. That`s pursuant to an order from
Judge Amy Berman Jackson today in federal court. The hearing called by the
judge herself after the notoriously publicity-hungry Trump adviser posted a
picture of Judge Jackson next to what appeared to be crosshairs.
Stone was apologetic, quite apologetic today in court but the judge was not
buying it. She alluded to the Coast Guard member who officials say
compiled a hit list of public officials and a stockpile weapons saying you
don`t even have to look at the papers beyond today to know that inciting
extremists to violent action is a possibility.
Judge Jackson also warn Stone this is his last chance before she revokes
his bail sending him to jail. “Today, I gave you a second chance. This is
not baseball. You do not get a third chance.” To discuss the judges
actions today and what they might portend to Roger Stone, I want to bring
in two MSNBC Legal Analyst Paul Butler, a former prosecutor worked in the
Department of Justice`s Public Integrity Unit on Cases of Public Corruption
and Maya Wiley, the Senior Vice President of Social Justice at the New
Maya, you don`t see this that often but I guess you don`t see people who
are like Roger Stone that often.
MAYA WILEY, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: It is very rare to have someone –
particularly someone who should be as knowledgeable and who is as well
represented as Roger Stone literally threatened a federal judge. And that
is what happened here. And one of the things that we must focus in on is
one, the judge was restrained. She clearly was concerned but also really
gave him the opportunity.
She – remember that prosecutors wanted him more gagged than she agreed to
gag him. He can still talk about his innocence, he can still ask for
donations for his legal defense, but he can`t talk about the case. And
what he posted by the way, it wasn`t just the crosshairs. I think it`s
really important to elevate that he talked about the Mueller probe as the
And the reason that lends itself to being threatening particularly where he
has named a federal judge as if she is not an unbiased and impartial jurist
is that the deep state reference has caused people to go out and threaten
the lives of others in the past particularly using the Infowars platform
which Roger Stone himself has used.
So just go back to Pizza Gate and the guy who showed up with an assault
rifle after Pizza Gate that he saw. So it`s not theoretical. And she was
both restrained but also trying to protect both the integrity of the
process. And he – I think what was really interesting is he finally got
that you know his dirty tricks as he refers to himself as a trickster, his
dirty tricks here which he may not intend, we don`t know what his intention
is in terms of promotion of violence. Maybe it was just a better way to
fundraise. It doesn`t really matter when people go out and actually commit
violent acts because of what you said.
HAYES: You know, Paul, I`ve seen a lot of – I`ve seen immigration lawyers
and public defenders and defense attorneys weighing in today saying if my
client was out on bail and then posted an image of the judge in the case
with crosshairs, they`re not getting a second chance. What do you think?
PAUL BUTLER, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely. I think the judge went too
easy or Roger Stone. So, Chris, remember the FBI Wray with 29 armed
agents, the SWAT team, the assault rifle, they justified that by saying
this is a dangerous guy. Nonetheless, he got released on bail. And what
does he do he post an image on Instagram of the judge in crosshairs and
then has the temerity to go to a court and lie about it saying I didn`t
know they were crosshairs. I thought it was an occult symbol.
So if this was a guy named Kwame or Pedro, and not Roger Stone, not only
with the judge have locked them up today, the prosecutor would have charged
them with threatening a judicial officer.
HAYES: Yes. I should note one small thing was that the crosshairs were
just adjacent to the judges picture just to be scrupulously factual about
the image that was posted. There`s also, Maya, now – there`s a strange
thing happening on the Roger Stone case which I can`t get my head around so
maybe you could illuminate.
The Stone case is going to go for months right? I mean, he`s going to go
to trial and we have this reporting of the Mueller reports going to be
delivered, but those are Mueller`s prosecutors right? They`re going to
have to stay on that case. Is that your understanding?
WILEY: Look, yes. What I said earlier today was you know, there`s a –
journalists will say this is wrapping because they`re we`re hearing that
there`s going to be a report from Robert Mueller. What lawyers here is
this is – we`re finishing act two of a three-act play and now we`re moving
into the third act.
It`s not because it`s over. There`s not a wrap. There are – there`s a
trial. There may be more indictments and there`s the continuing
investigations that are happening out of the U.S. Attorneys` offices which
are a continuation of the Mueller probe even if they`re not called the
You know, and what we heard and what we learned yesterday from Nicole
Wallace from the Andrew McCabe interview which is so important is he
intentionally organized the probe, what became the probe in a way that
would protect the integrity of the investigations so that they could go
where they needed to go without interference from the White House. That is
BUTLER: And, Chris, there`s –
HAYES: Yes, Paul.
BUTLER: And, Chris, actually, so for today`s hearing some kind of bad news
for Donald Trump. So Roger never apologized, never say you`re sorry.
Stone, he graveled, man. He graveled, he fled, he begged the judge not to
send him to prison. This is a man who does not want to go to prison who`s
charged with five counts of false statements that he does not have a
defense to. That`s why he`s attacking the judge and the prosecutor rather
than making a case.
So unless he`s making a deal, homeboy is going to prison for ten or 20
years. And so the fact today that he clearly does not want to get locked
up means that he`s got to make a deal or again he`s got to be in prison for
the rest of his life.
WILEY: Or you know, Donald Trump pardons him which is apparently he thinks
BUTLER: Yes, that`s true.
HAYES: Right. Well, that`s – but it`s a great point because everyone who
was in that courtroom today and when you saw the transcript was noting that
Mr. Defiant Nixon impersonating down the block tuff Roger Stone was nowhere
to be found as he lay himself before the mercy of the court.
And Paul, it`s a good point because, from a psychological perspective, that
was a tell that the man is not particularly interested in spending time
behind bars which is, of course, the threat that is looming over him right
now which is something the White House might take note of. Paul Butler and
Maya Wiley, thank you both.
WILEY: Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, deafening silence from the White House on the arrest
of white supremacists working inside the government planning a mass terror
attack. What we`re learning about the Coast Guard lieutenant arrested last
week and why Donald Trump hasn`t said anything about it.
HAYES: We`re learning more today about the Coast Guard lieutenant who is
being described by prosecutors as a domestic terrorist who intended murder
innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country, that`s a quote.
Christopher Hason appeared at a hearing this afternoon where the judge
ordered him held for at least two more weeks, and prosecutors revealed that
he spent hours online researching famous mass attackers, including the
Unibomber and the Virginia Tech gunman.
Hason was arrested Friday on drugs and weapons charges. Prosecutors say he
had 15 weapons, 1,000 rounds of ammunition, a stock pile of drugs and a
list of targets, including prominent Democrats
The only reason we found about any of this is because of a college
professor, Seamus Hughes, who is the deputy director of the program on
extremism at George Washington University, tweeted about the the case
yesterday after learning the details from a detention memo that was filed
in a Maryland court.
Naturally, when news outlets saw this, they picked up the story. But to be
clear that`s not how
we normally learn about these kinds of things. This is a case where good
police law enforcement work nabbed someone who appears to be clearly
dangerous before he was able to do something terrible. Usually, law
enforcements wants to take a victory lap when that happens.
And yet nearly a week after the arrest, there was complete radio silence
from the FBI, from the investigator, from the prosecutors, from the Justice
Department, and from the White House, and there`s
still no response from the White House, despite repeated questioning from
NBC News about if or when the president was briefed and if he was aware of
the arrest when he tweeted yesterday that The New York Times is the enemy
of the people.
I`m joined now by someone who used to literally run communications at the
Justice Department, whose job included putting out press releases on these
kinds of cases. Matt Miller, former chief spokesperson at the DOJ and an
MSNBC national security and justice analyst.
OK, Matt, I was scratching my head yesterday about how did we not learn
about this for a week? Am I wrong that this is weird?
MATT MILLER, FORMER DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE CHIEF SPOKESMAN: It`s absolutely
weird. You know, it`s been six days now. You would expect them to put out
a press release when they arrested him on Friday. And if not on Friday,
yesterday when they revealed these details about what exactly he was
And I would say, you know, your point about them wanting to take a victory
lap is true. They very much do want to take a victory lap, but there are
also law enforcement reasons why they like to
publicize these cases, not just for this case, although that`s important,
you`d like to know if there are other people who know information about
them. You`d like them to come forward, but because this isn`t the only
white nationalist domestic terrorist out there. These have been on the
rise and by sending, by publicizing this case, you send the message that
we`ll take it seriously, and you also let other people who might be around
potential domestic terrorists know the warning signs, if someone is
stockpiling guns and reading right-wing manifestos, that`s a warning sign
it`s time to call the FBI.
It makes our country less safe by not publicizing these cases.
HAYES: That`s a great point. So if there`s someone in your life who you
are encountering who is like very obsessed with like, you know,
eliminationist rhetoric and constantly talking about mass
killers and stockpiling weapons, you might be a little concerned and
something like this can sort of give people a little bit of an incentive to
think harshly about that.
MILLER: Yeah, that`s absolutely right. And that`s why the Justice
Department publicizes these
cases, and similar cases. Although, I will say, this isn`t the first time
under this administration they have sat on one of these. There was a case
of a white supremacist last year in Nebraska, last January, who tried to
take over an Amtrak train. He had a gun, took over a train and was subdued
by the crew and passengers. And the Justice Department in that case didn`t
put out a press release either. They only found out because some local
reporter, as happened here, was combing court filings that happened to come
It makes no sense. It`s not the way we did things when I was there. It`s
not the way we did – the Justice Department did things in previous
administrations. It`s really hard to come up with a good reason – I
wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt here, but I cannot come up with
any reason why they wouldn`t publicize this case.
HAYES: Yeah, it`s also the case that I think there`s concern – obviously,
this is – there is a kind of embarrassment factor a little bit, because
the guy is a current officer, a lieutenant in the United States Coast
Guard, he`s in the Marines for 20 years. I mean, you wonder if that plays
into it, too.
MILLER: It shouldn`t for the Justice Department. Obviously, that`s the
case for the military. There`s an uncomfortable question about whether
there is white supremacy on the rise in the military. There have been
studies and polls about that recently that have seemed to indicate that`s
But that`s not the Justice Department`s concern. The Justice Department
doesn`t have any concern about that case, they have a concern about more
than a concern about keeping the country safe. And the way you keep the
country safe is when you arrest these people, you alert the public so they
know how to be on the lookout for others with warning signs.
I can see why the Coast Guard would have this concern, and I know why the
White House might have different concerns, political concerns, but there`s
no reason – no legitimate reason the
Justice Department shouldn`t be talking about this case.
HAYES: All right, Matt Miller, who worked at The Justice Department, thank
you for joining me.
MILLER: Thank you.
HAYES: Just ahead, so what was Donald Trump`s lawyer doing on Capitol Hill
today? One of the members of congress who is about to question Michael
Cohen has some answers next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Cohen, why were you on The Hill today?
Sir, were you meeting with the Senate intel team?
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER DONALD TRUMP PERSONAL ATTORNEY: We`re answering no
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s your message to the president ahead of the
COHEN: Watch your step (ph)…
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Michael Cohen was on Capitol Hill with his lawyer today to review
classified documents with Senate staff ahead of his closed door testimony
at the Senate Intel Committee on Tuesday. He`ll be appearing under
subpoena there before voluntarily appearing before two House committees
later in the week.
His testimony at the House Intel Committee on Thursday will also be closed,
but crucially on Wednesday the whole world will get to hear exactly what
Michael Cohen knows when he testifies at the House Oversight Committee in
an open session. Cohen is taking full advantage of the platform after
House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings announced the hearing yesterday,
Cohen tweeted, quote, “the schedule has now been set, looking forward to
the #americanpeople hearing my story and my voice #truth” with a link to
his GoFundMe defense page.
One of the House Oversight Committee members who will be at that open
hearing on Wednesday and joins me tonight, Congressman Katie Hill of
California. It`s great to have you here. Nice to be in your neck of the
REP. KATIE HILL, (D) CALIFORNIA: Thank you so much.
HAYES: OK, I understand that this may be a thing that the chair of this
committee was handling in the scheduling, but do you have – it was on and
then it was off and now it`s back on. What should we make of it?
HILL: Well, listen, I mean, it was very clear that both President Trump
and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, were intimidating Michael Cohen. So he was
– he was – it came off because of that exactly. I mean, his family was
in jeopardy. He felt credibly in fear for his family`s safety. And so the
fact that we`ve been able to now get him to come voluntarily is something
that we`re really happy about. This is something that the American people
do need to hear in an open setting.
HAYES: There is a sort of document put out by Elijah Cummings office
about the scope and purpose of the hearing. It includes the president`s
debts and payments relating to efforts to influence
the 2016 election, the president`s compliance of financial disclosure
requirements, compliance with tax laws, efforts by the president and his
attorney to intimidate Mr. Cohen or others not to testify. What are you
looking for? You`re going to get a chance to question the man. What are
you looking forward to finding out?
HILL: So, the pieces I`m most interested in are these conflicts of
interest pieces, because I think that there is sign after sign after sign
showing that Trump and his allies, his appointees, the people who are
working for him care more about business interests and who they`re
protecting than they do about the American people, and I think that is
incredibly dangerous, it`s disturbing, it`s something that we all need to
be watching very closely, so I want to focus in on those conflicts of
I also think that the debts and payments around the influence of the
election is something we really need to be paying attention to. There are
attempts to undermine our values and to undermine democracy, western
democracy, as it is. And so all of that needs to be exposed as much as we
can so we can move forward. It`s a travesty
HAYES: You know, that – I want to zero in on the last thing, so it`s a
sort of remarkable thing. The president essentially stands accused in
federal court, according to the Southern District of New York and Michael
Cohen of more or less ordering him, directing him is the word, to commit a
felony, which was the hush money payments in violation of campaign finance
law. Like, that`s just a thing that we all kind of know, but move on.
What do you think about that? How serious is that?
HILL: Honestly, this blows my mind, right, because you look back to Nixon
and Watergate, these are things that were happening in the dark, right.
And these are things that we ultimately got
the tapes and that`s what showed that this was – that, you know, what we
were finally able to bring him
to impeachment and that he ultimately resigned for, was basically the
hiding of things.
HAYES: Right, the smoking gun tape.
HILL: Right, but he`s doing it – Trump is doing it in public, on Twitter,
and it`s almost like you don`t even know – the justice system doesn`t even
know quite how to respond to that, because when somebody`s committing a
crime so blatantly, there`s no hiding it anymore. So I think figuring out
how to – I also think that over the past couple of years, because there
has been just so much noise about this, so much noise about the Russia
investigation, it seemed like partisan politics, at least to many, people
in the beginning, that I think a lot of people are drowning it out, and
they`re getting sort of deaf to it and, that means that we`re losing the
gravity of this. And I think we really need to bring that back up to the
HAYES: Well, it`s interesting you say it, because I think I would agree
with you and I think open hearings are a big part of sort of rectifying
that. I`m curious, you`re a freshman member, right?
HAYES: You ran a race, and I looked at your race, I looked at some of the
ads, it was a race that had a lot to do about health care and the sort of
kitchen table issues. I guess what do you think about communicating to
your constituents about how important this is, how much they should care
about it whether or not they`re knocking down your door about it.
HILL: No, this is literally something that has been on my mind constantly
lately, especially – I just came from the Munich security conference, and
heard all about how Russia is the number one threat to us and to our
allies. And it is known, it is broadly known within the defense community,
it is known within every one of our allies, it`s just common knowledge,
right. But then to see the way that all of this kind of cozening up has
been happening, it kind of brought it all into focus for me of like, wait,
this isn`t just noise, this isn`t just something that`s related to
Democrats and Republicans, this is completely about the security of our
country and who`s in power and who they`re looking out for.
And so I think that, you know, we took an oath to defend – to protect and
defend this country from threats, foreign and domestic, and that usurps
everything else because frankly health care doesn`t matter if we don`t have
HAYES: All right, Congresswoman Katie Hill, thank you very much.
HILL: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, we have a massive development in the Republican election
fraud case unfolding in North Carolina. What happened in that court room
today. Shocking stuff next.
HAYES: Yet another stunning development today in North Carolina`s Ninth
District, where we have been reporting for months about what appears to be
widespread electoral fraud by the Republican campaign. Just hours ago, a
state board unanimously voted to hold a new election, that coming after the
Republican candidate himself, Mark Harris, did a dramatic about face.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK HARRIS, REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Through the testimony
I`ve listened to over the past three days, I believe a new election should
be called. It`s become clear to me that the public`s confidence in the
Ninth District`s seat general election has been undermined to an extent
that a new election is warranted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now remember, Republicans first dismissed any chance of fraud when
ballot irregularities came to light just in the few days after the
elections. And then when it became obvious that something weird did
happen, they said it didn`t involve enough ballots to affect Harris`s
apparent 905 vote lead.
And Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director of the state`s Republican
Party, even attacked the state elections board saying, and I quote him
here, “we think they have abused their discretion and violated the statute.
This will inevitably end up in court. The fact of the matter is Mark
Harris won the race. He got more votes.”
Now, when it became obvious Harris maybe didn`t win after all, Republicans
Harris didn`t know anything about what went on, or about Leslie McCrae
Dowless, the operative who appeared to run the whole illegal absentee
ballot scheme and was paid by his campaign. Then that contention was shot
down yesterday by none other than Mark Harris` own son.
Assistant U.S. attorney John Harris shows up at the hearing and testifies
he emailed his own father in writing back in 2017 about worries that
Dowless was breaking the law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you wanted to be clear that this could all blow up,
be referred to the DA
JOHN HARRIS, ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Yes. There is a legal dimension
which I thought they were illegally collecting ballots.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All of which led to the Republican congressional candidate Mark
Harris, the father of the man seen there testifying kind of against him, a
man who had sued previously to be seated in congress because it was not
fair that led to his emotional reversal before the state board of elections
Here with me now, WSOC TV reporter Joe Bruno, whose stellar reporting on
this story, just won a Polk Award this week and has been following the
Joe, really quite something. What was it like to see Mark Harris in that
room on the stand today?
JOE BRUNO, WSOC TV REPORTER: It was a really interesting day. As one
person put it, it`s been a week full of bombshells, and today was nuclear.
Really after lunch break, it was a really weird feeling inside the room.
We saw people walking back and forth. There were no signs of Mark Harris.
I saw his campaign manager storm out, walk briskly on the phone, that`s
when we all knew something was up. Of course, when the state board came
back in, Mark Harris eventually came in the room, he got on the stand, and
he had his stunning admission saying that he does believe that there should
be a new election.
HAYES: He has fought that for a long time. In fact, they had been
fighting in court. Now that has been called, the question is what happens
next? And what happens next for Mark Harris?
BRUNO: So what happens next is there is going to be a new election, and
recently lawmakers in North Carolina passed a law that will require a new
primary. So, we`re going to have a whole crop of Republican candidates, I
have a feeling, that are going to want to jump in this race. Of course,
they`ll want to look and see if Mark Harris going to run for this seat
again. Maybe they`ll look and see if the former representative of the
seat, Robert Pittenger will jump in the race as well.
But we`re looking at a new election here with a new primary, potentially a
second primary, and
I`m thinking we`re looking at a similar timeline to the third congressional
district seat, which was Walter Jones` before he passed away.
HAYES: Final question, McCrae Dowless, has he faced criminal charges as of
HAYES: No, he has not. And we actually checked in with the Waite County
(ph) district attorney today who is overseeing the criminal investigation
of this manner. It`s a separate parallel
investigation. She has been monitoring this hearing all week. She`s
expecting the state board to send over their findings to their office. And
one thing she stressed no one got any immunity for the testimony that they
HAYES: Yeah, that`s another shoe that seems like it will surely drop soon.
Joe Bruno, thanks again for all your great reporting on this.
Republicans have been fear mongering about fictional voter fraud by
for years. The president even set up a panel to investigate what he
claimed were millions – a preposterous claim – millions of fraudulent
votes in 2016.
Naturally, the panel found nothing because there was nothing to find. In
Texas, the Republican
secretary of state even had to apologize for a false claim about supposed
thousands of illegal votes, one of course which the president tweeted
about. And the grand irony, of course, is that the biggest case of
electoral fraud in recent memory, one that has nothing to do with all the
restrictions Republicans say would solve the non-existent problem of voting
fraud, the biggest case of electoral fraud in recent memory, no, came from
a Republican campaign in North Carolina.
Just imagine for a second if Democrats had done what the Mark Harris
campaign appears to have done in that congressional race? Here to talk
about that, Venita Gupta, the president and COE of The Leadership
Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Jamil Smith, senior writer at
Venita, play out the thought experiment. What would we be looking at if
there was a Democratic congressional candidate who had engaged in what
appears to be flagrantly illegal criminal ballot, you know, ballot fraud.
VENITA GUPTA, PRESIDENT AND CEO THE LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE ON CIVIL AND
HUMAN RIGHTS: I mean, there would be no question that we would have seen
about, you know, 20 tweets from the president and the whole cadre of folks
who have been peddling these lies for so long, really to advance policies
aimed at shrinking the electorate and preventing folks of color, mainly,
from exercising the franchise.
This would be a massive thing just, you know, that they would be using to
justify a whole slew of proposals and policies to shrink the electorate.
And that`s what is so deeply ironic.
I actually think what`s so interesting right now is we`re in this moment in
this country where the November elections brought out voters that were
frankly really annoyed and fed up with the corruption in our political
system and, you know, voting for democracy reform up and down. And we`ve
got HR1 now in congress seeking to end all of these lies. And that`s
where, I think, the American public need to be. But this kind of scandal,
I think, really – the crickets that we`re hearing from that crowd that has
been peddling those lies I think is fairly telling.
HAYES: Jamil, what do you think?
JAMIL SMITH, ROLLING STONE: I think that she`s right. I think we see here
evidence of what actual voter fraud looks like, what ballot fraud looks
like, and I think that we shouldn`t forget
that, you know, North Carolina`s Ninth Congressional district is a very
heavily white district. You have a district that`s almost 80 percent
white, and yet, the primary targets of this fraud were black and Hispanic
voters. And so there is still a lot of missing ballots here. There is
still a lot of things that are left to be investigated. This isn`t over.
HAYES: Yeah, that`s a great point. I want to play a little testimony.
This is a voter in North
Carolina, a Precious Hall, who is testifying before the hearing on Monday
about basically having her vote stolen. Take a listen.
PRECIOUS HALL, NORTH CAROLINA 09 VOTER: After that, my ballot and they did
their signature and then took the ballot. They just took the ballot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So part of the scheme here appears to be, Venita, that this was
both stuffing ballots, sort of taking ballots and filling them out for
people, but also essentially erasing the votes, tearing up or getting rid
of the votes of people they suspected were voting for the Democrat,
GUPTA: Yeah, I mean, look, this is a criminal illegal scheme. And the
Justice Department in Washington should be investigating.
My understanding is the FBI is investigating. Bladen County used to be
covered by the Voting Rights Act. We – you know, the Shelby County
decision gutted that. And we now need to enact and
restore the Voting Rights Act and pass a whole slew of reforms to protect
We saw massive voter suppression tactics just in the most recent election.
This stuff is not from the 1960s and `70s. We are seeing the stuff playing
itself out and undermining people`s faith in our democracy right now. And
that`s why we need to really pass these major reforms that we`re seeing
passed in states around the country, we need to do it federally.
HAYES: Jamil, one of the an ironic details of this is the fact that so
much focus has gone into voter ID on the Republican/conservative side, to
stop what they say is some, you know, vast amount of
in person fraud. In this case – and the thing we know is that that
essentially doesn`t exist. The one place there might be vulnerabilities is
in absentee ballots, which we also know Republicans constituencies tend to
use more than Democratic constituencies.
SMITH: Right. And so the thing I see here is vigilance. I think we`re
not going to see the reforms pass that we need. We`re not going to see the
Voting Rights Act magically restored. What we need to have here is voter
vigilance going forward, at least through the next couple of years,
potentially until we get at least another president, potentially Democratic
takeover in the Senate to get these reforms passed.
Democrats are going to signify what their priorities are in the Senate with
HR1, with perhaps
other legislation. But voters are going to have to make sure that they are
on top of their own stuff. Their state laws, their local ordinances, and
frankly their candidates own morals, as we see with Mark
Harris, to make sure that their votes count.
HAYES: Yeah, do you think there will be fallout from this, Venita, in a
sort of national sense?
GUPTA: Yeah, I mean, look, there is fallout from the 2016 election. I
mean, that I think the kind of level of concern around Russian meddling,
voter suppression targeting and kind of really preying on the vulnerability
of racism in this country by outside actors, by folks inside, the peddling
these lies around, you know, massive illegal voting in person, illegal
voting. All of this stuff is having a really corrosive effect and I think
there is no question that we will see in the upcoming election, these
issues play themselves out in real – on the national stage as they well
HAYES: Thank you both for your time. That is ALL IN for this evening.
“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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