49 killed in New Zealand Mosque terror shootings. TRANSCRIPT: 03/15.2019, All In w. Chris Hayes.
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: March 15, 2019
Guest: Julian Castro, Adam Serwer, Mehdi Hasan, Norm Ornstein, Cornell
Belcher, Aisha Moodie-Mills, Marcy Wheeler, Elie Mystal, Carol Lamb
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Monday is going to be a big night here at
MSNBC. Be sure to tune in early. And that`s HARDBALL for now. “ALL IN”
with Chris Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
JACINDA ARDERN, PRIME MINISTER, NEW ZEALAND: Clearly what has happened
here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.
REID: Horror in New Zealand. A white nationalist terrorist attacks two
mosques murdering 49 people during Friday prayer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just don`t understand why someone would hurt us
like this and in such a way.
REID: Tonight, reaction to the atrocity and the right-wing extremism
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you see today white nationalism a rising threat
around the world?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t really. I think
it`s a small group of people that have very, very serious problem.
REID: Then, Donald Trump tries to spin his massive congressional defeat.
TRUMP: Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the
duty to veto it.
REID: Plus what the latest requests from Robert Mueller tells us about the
status of the investigation. And how a defamation lawsuit could force the
President to testify under oath.
TRUMP: Total lies, and you`ve been seeing total lies.
REID: ALL IN starts now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Good evening from New York. I`m Joy Reid in for Chris Hayes. Well
it`s been nearly day since a terrorist attack in which a gunman massacred
49 men, women, and children in two New Zealand mosques.
A manifesto that appears to have been posted online by the shooter includes
anti-Muslim rhetoric and references the President of the United States in a
kind of mock quiz reading, “Were/are you a supporter of Donald Trump? As a
symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose, sure. Trump was asked
about the spread of white nationalism at a White House event earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you see today white nationalism a rising threat
around the world?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t really. I think
it`s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems. I
guess if you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that`s a case.
I don`t know enough about it yet. They`re just learning about the person
and the people involved. But it`s certainly a terrible thing. Terrible
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Trump did not publicly comment on the attack for 11 hours until
posting on Twitter “my warmest sympathy and best wishes go out to the
people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the mosques. 49
innocent people have so senselessly died with so many more seriously
injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless
Just 20 minutes later, Trump followed with a tweet encouraging Jewish
people to leave the Democratic Party. Before launching into a Twitter rant
accusing the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the CIA of working to spy
on him and “take him out.”
Trump`s tirade about the subject he clearly preferred to focus on included
a litany of his greatest hits, claiming zero crimes when the special
counsel was appointed saying there should be no Mueller report and ending
with this should never happen to a president again, exclamation point.
Speaking earlier, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that while
– when Trump asked what he could do to help, she told him sympathy and
love for all Muslim communities, and she said the Trump acknowledged and
agreed. It was kind of surprising considering everything Donald Trump has
said about Muslims in the past.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of
Muslims entering the United States until our country`s representatives can
figure out what the hell is going on.
Yes, we have to look at mosques we have no choice. We have to see what`s
happening. Because something is happening in there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: – problem in this country, it`s called Muslims. We
know our current president is one. You know he`s not even an American.
TRUMP: We need this question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But anyway, we have training camps growing where they
want to kill us. That`s my question. When can we get rid of them?
TRUMP: We`re going to be looking at a lot of different things. And you
know, a lot of people are saying that and a lot of people are saying that
bad things are happening out there. We`re going to be looking at that and
plenty of other things.
I think Islam hates us. There`s something there`s something there that –
there`s a tremendous hatred there. There`s a tremendous hatred.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: A study by the Anti-Defamation League going back to 1970 found that
in the U.S. 73.3 percent of all extremists related fatalities can be linked
to domestic right-wing extremists while 23.4 percent can be attributed to
Islamic extremists. Donald Trump`s derogatory comments about Muslims and
his refusal to condemn white supremacy have undermined America`s moral
authority when events like what happened in New Zealand take place.
There more than a dozen Democrats currently vying to replace Donald Trump
in the Oval Office and one question for each of them will be how and
frankly if a new president can get that authority back.
Joining me now is one of those candidates who Julian Castro, former
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama.
Secretary Castro, thank you for being here.
JULIAN CASTRO, FORMER SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: Great to
be with you, Joy. So I want to play for you what the director of CARE, the
Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Executive Director Nihad Awad
said the following about Donald Trump. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIHAD AWAD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CARE: It is no secret that Mr. Trump has
campaigned on white supremacist ideology, on division and fear. And now we
see that he was able to normalize Islamophobia and to give legitimacy to
those who fear Muslims and fear immigrants. So it comes back to him and we
tell him that your words matter and your policies matter.
And if he would like to be the leader of the free world, he has to change
his policies and he has to reset the tone by recommitting himself to unity,
equality, not only in words but also in policies. So he has a lot to do
and we hope that he will take the first step by condemning this as a white
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Secretary Castro, when the President of the United States is spoken
about that way by an American Muslim leader in the wake of an attack like
what happened in New Zealand, how does the United States get back its moral
authority to be able to respond in a way – in a profound way when
something like what happens in New Zealand takes place?
CASTRO: Well, you know, unfortunately, I think that as many have said,
this president has lost his moral authority in different ways. He lost it
around Charlottesville when he said that they were very fine people, those
neo-Nazis that were marching in the streets shouting racial epithets.
And we can always hope that the President is going to realize the error of
his ways or be pressured into taking you know a different posture or coming
at this differently in trying to unify the country instead of Fanning the
flames of division, try and build unity in this country and how people view
Muslims and Islam, I don`t think that`s going to happen. I think that
we`ve seen who Donald Trump is. That`s one of the reasons that we need new
In the meantime, I do think that everybody else all of us who recognize
that we should try and build unity, who recognized that the act of a few
people don`t speak for either all white people or any other group when they
commit terrorist acts, and who certainly recognize differently from Donald
Trump that Islam does not hate Americans or the United States.
It`s up to us to help rebuild that moral authority in America. To speak
out in – from our positions of leadership and authority in our houses of
worship, what we teach in schools, all of us as mothers and fathers and
what we teach our children, we have to rebuild that up from the ground
because the President`s leadership is lacking here. It`s entirely missing
and we can`t count on Donald Trump to do that. It`s just not within.
REID: But you know, secretary Castro, you know, Donald Trump is one person
but he was elected by lots and lots of people. He has a lot of very
strident support behind him. He has a party that is 100 percent unified
behind him as we just saw only 12 managed to walk away from even in the
declaration of a national emergency based on this idea of you know, a horde
coming at the southern border.
If you are sworn in as President in January of 2021, what do you tell the
world? When you go abroad what story do you then tell about us as a
country that changes the current view?
CASTRO: Well, I would tell the story of the way that after the synagogue`s
shooting in Pittsburgh that there were Muslim Americans who comforted
Jewish Americans who had been harmed, whose family members had been killed,
a community that that had been completely shaken. And that today there
were Jewish Americans that were comforting Muslim Americans and people of
all different backgrounds in this country that showed the character of our
That character is not reflected by Donald Trump. So all we have to do is
show them the character of this country. And I think once we have new
leadership, we are going to have a president with new moral authority and
the ability to go to other country and say that it`s a new day in the
United States and that we`re here to build alliances and believe in others
and not to tear those things down.
REID: Secretary Julian Castro, Candidate for President, thank you very
much. I really appreciate your time.
CASTRO: Great to be with you, Joy. Thank you.
REID: Thank you. And joining me now Adams Serwer, Staff Writer at the
Atlantic. His latest piece is entitled White Nationalisms Deep American
Roots, also Mehdi Hasan, Columnist and Senior Contributor at The Intercept
and host of The Deconstructed Podcast. He`s also a presenter on al Jazeera
English UpFront. Thank you both for being here.
Adam, I`m going to start with you. You have a harrowing brilliant piece I
have to say in the Atlantic that is I think jarring for even people who
think we got a pretty decent American history education because you go
right in and you talk about some of the white nationalist seeds of even –
that inspire even a Nazi ideology in Germany. Is that to say that this
ideology is embedded in a way that is inextricable from American history?
ADAM SERWER, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Well, I think it`s one side of an
argument that we`ve been having as Americans since the country was founded.
Is this a country that is fundamentally a white and Christian country? And
that is just the fundamental part of it – of its identity without which
it`s no longer really America. Or is America a place where anybody can be
American, anybody of any race creed or color.
And I think we`ve been having that argument for pretty much since the
country was founded and I think we`re going to continue to have it. What I
was trying to do with this essay was contextualized the fact that we`ve
been having this argument for such a long time that Trump is not
necessarily anything new.
In fact 100 years ago we were having a very similar political conversation
and in some ways
was much more grim.
REID: And you know, Mehdi, you know, whatever one thinks about Donald
Trump or you know, his political ideology, it is jarring to hear the
President of the United State`s name kind of dropped in an insane manifesto
by somebody who commits an act like this. And I wonder just how you
contextualize this even for American Muslims. So we`re looking across at
New Zealand and feeling you know, afraid even here.
MEHDI HASAN, COLUMNIST, THE INTERCEPT: Definitely feeling afraid, and
feeling depressed, and feeling worried. And you`re right to mention the
President of the United States. It isn`t normal for him to be mentioned in
a manifesto for the president to be mentioned in the manifesto of a mass
shooter as a some kind of inspiration or sharing a common purpose.
But of course, this guy in New Zealand wasn`t the first to do that. I
wrote a piece a few months ago after the Pittsburgh synagogue – sorry
after the Caesar Sayoc, the guy with the pipe bombs who was arrested, and
just before the Pittsburgh shooting. About the number of people who`ve
been arrested in the U.S. there were guys in Minnesota.
There have been people like – there was a guy in Quebec City, Joy.
Remember, in January 2017, six Muslims gunned down by Canadian white
nationalist shortly after Trump`s inauguration who was inspired by Trump as
well, he said, when he was interviewed by police. There are many many
cases out there. This is not a one-off and this is not new.
And Trump is an enabler of white nationalism. He is the world`s most
prominent Islamaphobe right now. If we talk about Islamophobia, the
world`s most prominent Islamophobe sits in the White House. So when we see
an Islamophobic mass murder in New Zealand, of course, we`re going to talk
about the president`s record.
And I`m glad you played that video at start of all the things he said. I
mean, some of the news he said many more than that. So it is deeply
depressing. I say this is the father of two Muslim American kids you know,
how do you talk to them about the fact that their president basically
doesn`t give a damn about their safety or security, has been inciting
And when he`s asked in the White House today, does he think it`s on the
rise, he said, no it`s just a small group of people. Of course, because
they`re his people.
REID: Yes. And you know, Adam, you know, and as I said to the Secretary,
you know, Donald Trump is one man. There`s a whole infrastructure
supporting the presidency and at the moment, that infrastructure obviously
includes you know, in our government the courts. This ban on travelers
that was originally even sold by Donald Trump as a Muslim ban ultimately
There are policies in place that have got to be jarring for American
Muslims as even as they receive the sympathy of so many people around the
country, do we have to have a deeper conversation just about Americans
ability to empathize with our Muslim brothers and sisters period?
SERWER: Well, I mean, I think politically the country pretty strongly
rejected Donald Trump`s politics, anti-immigrant anti-Muslim politics in
the midterms. So I don`t know that a conversation is going to do it. I
think this is really a question – again, it`s a struggle about who America
is going to be. And when you look at stuff like the Muslim ban, I mean
that in particular is extraordinary because the Supreme Court essentially
gave Donald Trump a roadmap for implementing discriminatory policy.
They said look, as long as you leave the really obvious language out of it,
we`ll be okay with it. As long as you don`t say Muslim in the ban, it`s
fine. And so I think, you know, were it – we`re headed for you know a lot
more bumps in the road beyond just this.
REID: And you know, Mehdi, there`s a global thing that`s happening around
the movement of human beings, around people it`s partly driven by war, by
climate change, by violence, and a lot of it does Center on the Muslim
world. You look at a safe country like New Zealand, they don`t have our
gun issues, they don`t have the kind of gun violence that we have here,
does this kind of thing that make you think more globally about whether or
not that movement that is spurring a lot of white nationalism not just here
but around the world, is there something that can be done to counteract it?
HASAN: Yes. It`s a great question. And just by the way on the gun laws
situation, the prime minister of New Zealand said they`re going to tighten
up their gun laws after one mass shooting. The first response is not
thoughts and prayers, change our gun laws. Our message perhaps to American
politicians. But just on the white nationalism problem, it is on the rise.
They are on the rise.
Trump is talking nonsense when he says today they`re not on the rise. Look
across Western Europe, Eastern Europe. Look down under Australia and
(INAUDIBLE). Look at the United States of America where you have a enable
of white nationalists in the White House. It`s a real problem. And to
pretend – and here`s what you have to do about it, Joy. We have to be
able to talk about the people who are mainstreaming it.
It`s very easy to say you know, the alt-right, the David Dukes, the Richard
Spencers. Fine, it`s very easy to attack them, even Trump can attack them.
Let`s talk about what people in our industry, Joy, doing. Mainstream
journalists and commentators, pundits, the kind of hate speech and
Islamophobia that they are trafficking in regularly on cable news, in
You know, you read that manifesto from this horrific individual in New
Zealand and a lot of that language is language you hear and see in
newspapers, magazines, and on cable news. Who`s going to call that out?
It`s very easy to call out Islamophobia on the day of a mass killing. Are
we going to call out Islamophobia on the other 364 days of the year as
REID: Yes. It is a very important conversation to have. Thank you both
for being here Adam Serwer and Mehdi Hasan. Thank you so much. I really
appreciate it. And coming up, after Congress issued the president a major
rebuke on his border wall spending, the President today issued a veto in a
stunning scene. How the move puts him and his fellow Republicans in a
weakened position. That`s next.
REID: Fresh off a humiliating rebuke from members of his own party with 12
Senate Republicans voting with Democrats to cancel his fake national
emergency, Donald Trump today held a ceremony to formally veto the measure.
The veto siding doubled as a P.R. stunt with the president trotting out old
faithful, he tried – his tired rhetoric about the alleged invasion at the
Trump`s alarmism backed by his favorite T.V. channel has utterly failed to
convince the majority of Americans that they should pay for a wall, a
vanity wall that incidentally Trump promised that Mexico would pay for.
Before he signed the veto to override the will of Congress, Trump engaged
in his favorite form of self-affirmation, surrounding himself with
supporters who one-by-one ritually praised him and applauded his bold move
to circumvent Congress and the U.S. Constitution. Because in the end,
doesn`t every president who lacks the support of a majority of the country
need to be told just how wonderful they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY, UNITED STATES: Mr.
President, thank you always for your leadership and great support.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your declaration of an emergency on the southern border
was clearly authorized under the law.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: I don`t know that I`ve ever
been more proud to be standing next to your desk than I am today and thank
you for keeping your word Mr. President. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our hats are off to you again sir. It`s an honor to be
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We commend you, we applaud you, and I salute you sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re behind you and thank you and God bless you for
what you`re doing.
TRUMP: Thank you, sheriff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Joining me now if Norm Ornstein, president – resident scholar at
the American Enterprise Institute and Contributing Editor at the Atlantic
and MSNBC Political Analyst Michael Steele, former Chairman of the
Republican National Committee. And gentlemen, I don`t think I`ve ever been
more honored to be on television. I think that the two of you just – I
cannot believe how amazing you both are, truly.
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Joy, no, the honor is mine. The
honor is mine. You`re just fantastic. It`s been fantabulous.
REID: The way you tied your tie is just amazing. So let me start with you
Chairman Steele. So Donald Trump –
You`re vice presidential material, Joy.
REID: Absolutely. You know what, yes, I have to start looking a bit
longingly when I talk to you all and we`ll get it together. You know,
Michael Steele, it strikes me that Donald Trump felt that today was
strengthening him, that he was showing those 12 Republicans what for by
showing how much support he has.
But I wonder if you agree with me that he`s actually not only weakened
himself, he`s weakened them because when all of those southwestern United
States senators, people like Ted Cruz and John Cornyn go back to their
constituents, how do they protect them now from things like eminent domain?
They`ve already said it`s OK to take their land. How do they protect their
STEELE: Well, they`ve got out of the constituent protection business quite
a while ago so I don`t think – I don`t think that that`s first and
foremost on their mind. What`s first and foremost on their mind is being
primaried or being weakened sufficiently because of how Trump does not
support them during the camp – during their re-election. And their –
makes them vulnerable to Democrats next year.
I have a different slant on what today was about. You know, for me the
vote of the 12 was rather meaningless because as the President himself
touted, it`s not a big deal. You can`t override my veto so this is all
good. I still win.
So this was a win for the president regardless of how people want to go
back and say how Republicans you know, created their fissures and the
Republicans showed the president you know, they stood strong, give him –
you know, put up 67 votes. Put up – put up a veto number in the house and
then you will have drawn that line in the sand with the president.
But today the president was gloating as he typically does at these things.
He`s not weakened at all. He`s strengthened by this and that`s pretty much
what he was you know, doing short of dancing around the desk. That was his
REID: But you know, Norm Ornstein, you know, Michael Steele`s point, only
one of the Republicans were actually up for reelection in 2020 but the
president. Now, be Susan Collins who`s so endangered for a lot of reasons
she went ahead and voted with the 12. But you know, of the rest of those
20 Republicans that are up next, 19 voted with him.
Is – I mean, the question I would ask you is how do you have a
constitutional republic with checks and balances if one half of the first
branch of government is too afraid to use its checks and balances?
NORM ORNSTEIN, RESIDENT SCHOLAR, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: So let me
first start by pointing out a stunning poll result. The Gallup poll today
showed that four percent of Democrats approve of Trump 90 percent of
Republicans do. That 86-point difference is the largest in history since
we`ve been recording these things in terms of a partisan gap. But as long
as 90 percent of Republicans approve of Trump, most of them are going to
run scared and not take him on no matter what.
And if you look at even the rationale of most of the 12 who voted against
him in this case, it was not we`re going to fight against executive power
and this overreach by Donald Trump, it was oh my God if we allow this to
happen the next Democratic president is going to run roughshod over us with
the new – Green New Deal and with a health care plan, Medicare for all, or
So they were trying to avoid taking on Trump. And when you look at the
responses of people like you know, absolutely cringe word responses by Thom
Tillis, by Ben Sasse who are up next time, the ones who fear of primary
challenge an reversing themselves basically and abandoning all of their
principles, it doesn`t tell us a lot of very good things about checks and
balances from a party now that has basically gone all-in with whatever
outrages Trump promotes or proposes.
REID: You know, myself though, I`m old enough to remember when the kilo
decision, Kelo versus the city of New London like outraged the entire
right. This was a Supreme Court decision about the government being able
to take people`s land. And that was a thing Republicans cared about.
I wonder, what are the chances that somebody like a Ben Sasse draws a tea
party style challenge from – in a primary of someone who says you`re not a
constitutional conservative, we`re running against you.
STEELE: Well, that`s an interesting – that`s an interesting thought. But
it is more than likely that that challenge will come from someone who is
you know double, triple, quadruple down with Donald Trump and will hold up
whatever little you know daylight that may exist between someone like Ben
Sasse and the president as a reason why he should be taken down.
So I don`t think you know – if it`s coming from his right, it`s going to
be someone who`s more aligned with Trump then than the incumbent. And
that`s what has a lot of these individuals in the Senate and the House
nervous about 2020.
Look, they`ve got – they`ve got double problems. They`ve got their right
flank where Trump loyalists are looking to take them on and certainly at
least create some pain for them. And then on their on their left leg
they`ve got center-right Democrats particularly in those purplish states
and states that Hillary Clinton one who are poised to take their seats
So you know, my thing is died on the principle and the flag that you you`re
doing it right for the country and not for Donald Trump but we`re not there
REID: Send them a memo because I don`t think anybody is doing that. Norm
Ornstein, I know that you were quite exorcised about – and I think a lot
of people were this statement that Donald Trump made his tough-guy
statement about having the police and all the tough guys and the bad guys
and the military guys and the bikers in his pocket. What is that is that?
Is that – what is he doing when he`s doing that in your view?
ORNSTEIN: That that to me was the most significant and chilling news story
before the horrible tragedy in New Zealand. This is inciting or at least
threatening violence. When you say I`ve got the military, I`ve got the
police, and I`ve got bikers for Trump and things could get very bad, we
know first of all that there are crazy people out there or people who are
easily persuaded who will take that as a signal that they better keep their
assault weapons locked and loaded.
And we also know that there is a chance and it`s something we just have to
consider, a worst-case scenario whereas Mueller, the Southern District of
New York and others get closer to Trump, he might call on his people to
take to the streets and that could bring us violence.
And that`s where this declaration of emergency which could be used again to
declare martial law is not something that we should view as just alarmist
talk. It`s something we should be talking about and preparing for and we
should be condemning those kinds of reckless statements by a President of
the United States that are unprecedented.
REID: Yes. We are living in dark times, my friends. Norm Ornstein,
Michael Steele, thank you both. I really appreciate your time.
ORNSTEIN: Thank you, Joy.
REID: And up next, former Trump campaign deputy Rick Gates is still
cooperating with several ongoing investigations. We`ll review where those
investigations stand after this.
REID: Another day, another clue about what Special Counsel Robert Mueller
is up to. And today for the first – I mean, for the fifth time, the fifth
time, the sentencing of Trump`s former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates
was delayed because, quote, “defendant Gates continues to cooperate with
respect to several ongoing investigations” according to a joint status
report to the court.
Gates hasn`t been in the spotlight since he testified against his former
boss, Paul Manafort, but he`s been cooperating with the Mueller probe for
more than a year.
To help us sort it all out, I`m joined by Marcy Wheeler, an independent
journalist writing about national security and civil liberties on Empty
Wheel; and Carol Lamb, a former United States attorney for the Southern
District of California and a former superior court judge. Ladies, thank
you very much.
And Marcy, you tweeted today that, again, several ongoing – I`ll just read
your tweet – “ongoing investigations could be SDNY, Greg Craig (ph), Tony
Podesta (ph), the Webber (ph), SDNY, inauguration gift, side group Eliot
Broidy (ph) or possible separate CL.” Can you explain that really quickly?
MARCY WHEELER, INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST: Right, so the thing is that the
president`s former deputy campaign manager knows so much about potential
crimes that we don`t know which of those several investigations are still
ongoing or even if he`s still working on the Mueller probe. So, the key
ones are the inauguration graft, which SDNY, Manhattan prosecutors,
Manhattan federal prosecutors are looking into. He was very closely
involved in that, so he would be a good witness there.
Paul Manaforts` contractors, so Greg Craig (ph), Tony Podesta (ph), Vin
Webber (ph), they`re all under investigation in New York, so he would be a
good witness there too. Side Group (ph) was one of these kind of quasi-
social media spying groups that pitched him and then pitched others in the
campaign. And they were investigated under Mueller, but maybe on their
Eliot Broidy (ph) is a big Republican fundraiser who is also under
And then we know that Mueller investigated some of the Russian active
measures, but there are people like Konstantin Kilimnik, or Oleg Daripaska,
who might be under their own investigation in D.C.
And so all of those would be things that the president`s deputy campaign
manager would have a lot of information on, which may explain why it`s been
a year that he`s bee cooperating.
REID: And, you know, Carol Lamb, I wonder if – you know, for the average
person, we look at this and you`re like, this gentleman, you know, is still
not being sentenced. Is it typical for a cooperating witness to get this
many opportunities to delay? And does the delay indicate that his
cooperation might mean that he`s going to get a really light sentence?
CAROL LAMB, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: So, Joy, it`s very typical for
defendants to have their sentences continued many, many times, because you
can understand from the defendant`s perspective and from his lawyer`s
perspective, the longer they can put off the sentence obviously the better
for them, but also they want to have as much as they can to convince the
judge that they`ve done everything possible to cooperate, that includes
testifying in front of grand juries, meeting with prosecutors, maybe in
some instances – although, probably not this one any more – in some
instances doing undercover calls, and then ultimately testifying at trial -
- if they can lay out everything they`ve done, it`s much more likely that
the judge will accept a prosecutor`s recommendation of a lighter sentence.
I think another thing that`s going on here is, you know, there are 94 U.S.
attorneys offices out there, and they all like to do important and
interesting cases. And when you have individuals, like Rick Gates and Paul
Manafort, who have demonstrated that there aren`t many limitations to what
kind of fraudulent white collar crime they`re willing to get involved in,
they can leave a lot of bread crumbs in different – in different offices
or in different districts where the U.S. attorneys in those districts will
say, hey, you know, maybe there`s something here that I should investigate.
We know that New York State has brought charges against Paul Manafort.
Maybe they`re looking for cooperation from Rick Gates as well. So, there
are lots of paths that this could take.
REID: And so, Marcy, then, if Rick Gates is a veritable movable feast of
information, is there any sense of who he is the biggest threat to? Is it
Donald Trump? Is it one of the Trump children? Or is it just more to pile
on to Paul Manafort?
WHEELER: Well, no, it`s absolutely Donald Trump. I mean, he – I remember
when he flipped, somebody said, well, he used to carry the president`s
phone, you know, so he knows exactly what the president was doing during
this whole time period.
There are still roles in court documents that we`ve seen rolled out that we
don`t know who played that role. For example, who was the one that was
directed to get Roger Stone to go reach out to WikiLeaks to find out what
they were publishing. Stone himself said that was probably Rick Gates.
So that ties Stone right next to Trump. And that witness, that person,
would know who ordered him to tell Stone to go reach out to WikiLeaks.
That`s just one example, but there are going to be tons for Gates.
REID: And very lastly, Carol Lamb, I wonder if there`s a sense that you
have that, you know, even if some of these guys are helping out and
cooperating, they still did a lot of bad stuff. Is it just a layman`s
misunderstanding to say that it seems that most of the people who have been
sentenced so far have gotten pretty light sentences?
LAMB: Well, that`s not a misunderstanding, but these kinds of cooperators,
the one that – the ones that have very, very helpful inside knowledge
they`re going to get a lot of credit for full forthcoming cooperation as
opposed to sort of limited cooperation that we`ve sometimes seen with some
other people. If they really bare their souls and tell all, they`re going
to get very light sentences, generally speaking.
Rick Gates pled to a 51 – I`m sorry, 57-71 month sentence. He`s going to
get a lot of time cut from that sentence, because without that kind of
consideration being given, you`re not going to have important cooperating
witnesses in the future.
REID: Yeah. And I just still think people out there in the regular world
are saying how can I bare my soul to make sure that we get it and get a
Anyway, Marcy Wheeler, Carol Lamb, thank you both very much.
And still ahead, a court rules that the president can be sued for
defamation, setting up a potential – oh, for a deposition related to
allegations of sexual misconduct. Elie Mystal joins me to talk about that
REID: Imagine, if you will, the president of the United States sitting
down under oath to talk about sexual harassment allegations. That is what
happened when the 1994 Paula Jones lawsuit against President Bill Clinton
set the stage for his impeachment.
Yesterday, a Manhattan court ruled that the current president, Donald
Trump, cannot avoid a defamation suit filed by former Apprentice contestant
Summer Zervos. Zervos is one of about a dozen women who came forward to
accuse Trump of sexual misconduct shortly before the 2016 election, which
means that Trump, like President Clinton, could be forced to testify under
Trump`s lawyers tried to block the suit, arguing that the president is
immune from such lawsuits in state court. But a panel of New York
apellette judges disagreed, citing the U.S. Supreme Court`s ruling in, wait
for it, Clinton V. Jones, which established that presidents can be sued
while in office for acts unrelated to the presidency.
To talk about how all this might shake out, I am joined by Elie Mystal,
editor of Above the Law.com, whose latest essay is titled “Lawsuit with the
best chance of putting Trump continues.”
ELIE MYSTAL, EDITOR, ABOVE THE LAW: This is the ultimate Bill Clinton
leave behind, right.
REID: It is such a leave behind, because Republicans felt like they were
spiking the football when they made Bill Clinton have to testify in the
Paula Jones case, but now that has bitten them in the petard.
MYSTAL: It`s important. Look, your last segment with Marcy Wheeler, she`s
so good. And I understand that it`s very difficult to keep all of the
different strings – look, Donald Trump is more legal jeopardy than any
president of the United States in the history of the United States. I`m
including Jefferson Davis in that, like.
But this suit, this is the way – this is the way that you put Donald Trump
under oath talking about his sexual misconduct. If he lies, he ends up
exactly where Bill Clinton ended up. And people forget Bill Clinton was
smart, Donald Trump forgets the subject before he gets to the predicate.
This is – I know Republicans don`t like me to remind them of Bill Clinton,
but this is what Bill Clinton got impeached for, getting cute under oath
about sexual misconduct, and now all of that can happen to Donald Trump.
REID: So, perjury and obstruction of justice, like the same thing.
And so the question is, OK, so Donald Trump will have two choices in these
– in this deposition, he can lie, which is perjury, or he can tell the
truth, and then what happens?
MYSTAL: Yes. So, let`s assume that he lies, because that`s – that`s his
thing, right. That opens him up to all of these perjury issues and all of
these obstruction issues, and it`s very bad for him if we go by the
precedent set under the Clinton years.
If he tells the truth, if he tells the truth, then he is opening himself up
to – remember, we are now up to 23 women who have accused Donald Trump of
sexual misconduct. We have a tape where Donald Trump explains how he
sexually misconducted himself in his own words.
If he tells the truth about what he – about his modus operendi with summer
Zervos, that opens him up to lawsuits from pretty much everybody, because
remember Donald Trump`s entire defense through all of this has been Shaggy,
right, has been just it wasn`t me. I didn`t do it. All these people are
So, having called all these people liars, if the then goes and tells the
truth and says, yes, I did do this to Summer Zervos, then all of these
other women have their – have justice – have an opportunity to access
He`s in a real – it`s not a good place. He should keep his hands to
Well, he says that he just kisses, so – that`s what he said in the tape,
So, here is the question. Now, during the Bill Clinton saga, the smart
people said why didn`t he just settle? If Donald Trump were to settle, and
if there are 22 other women out there, does that, then, open a cascade of
money going out the door?
MYSTAL: Yeah, see, I think that the reason why he won`t settle is because
he can`t settle because Summer doesn`t want his money, anymore, right. She
doesn`t want the fake money that he has, she wants to be treated with
dignity and respect. And that is the one thing Trump is unable to treat
women with, so I don`t think she would settle for anything less than a full
apology that I don`t see Trump giving.
REID: One quick question before we go, if Donald Trump, let`s say, were to
lie in a deposition, it was perjury, who would be the court that would go
after him? Would this be a New York State situation, or would it be
MYSTAL: I mean, it`s – the problem is that, you know – and I think we`re
seeing this a lot with Manafort. I mean, you were kind of talking about it
earlier, like the penalties that we have for perjury are actually not that
great, especially if you happen to be a rich white man.
So, we don`t – so it`s not like perjury puts him in jail. What perjury is
supposed to do, when it happens from the chief executive of the United
States, is that it`s supposed to trigger this political process that we
call impeachment. We`re supposed to hold our presidents to a higher
standard, at least that`s what Republicans told me.
So, that`s really where it should all come down on his head.
REID: Apparently, none of that is true when the president is a Republican,
you have to remember that.
Elie Mystal, thank you very much for joining us.
Just ahead, what we`re learning about the Democratic hopefuls as they take
their campaign to the early primary states.
REID: Democratic presidential hopefuls are already fanning out across the
country, and especially in those early voting states. Senator Kirsten
Gillibrand of New York spoke at a roundtable in New Hampshire, where
Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey also campaigned today.
And that`s not the only thing they have in common. You can see both of
them here on MSNBC on Monday.
Senator Cory Booker will be on Hardball at 7:00 p.m. eastern on Monday, and
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York will be in the battleground state of
Michigan with our very own Chris Hayes for the very first MSNBC candidate
And you can come and see it in person, just head to AllIn.MSNBC.com for
information on how to attend the taping.
And coming up, with more than a year-and-a-half before the actual election,
what`s the signal and what`s just noise? That`s next.
REID: It is 599 days until the presidential election, mark your calendars,
and we`ve already got 11 officially declared major Democratic candidates
with potentially more to come, including A-listers like Joe Biden and
Here to talk about what the field looks like now and what it could look
like on election day, Democratic pollster and strategist Cornell Belcher
and Aisha Moodie-Mills, a Democratic strategist and a fellow at the Harvard
University Institute of Politics. You have to say it like that, Harvard.
You`re supposed to.
All right, let`s go to Cornell first. Cornell, this field is so big and
probably will get bigger, a, is there anything like a front runner now?
And what happens to it if Biden and/or Harris get in?
CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: No, I don`t think you – I don`t
think you have a frontrunner even with Biden getting in. Joy, if you look
at that Iowa Registry poll, and the headline was Biden leads, but Biden was
only ahead of the pack by two points. That`s not really a lead.
I think you have a race tight now that looks a lot more like 2004 than it
did like 2008, or in 2016. And why I say that is you have a crowded field
of a lot of what I think a lot of A-listers. And like 2004 when you had
Lieberman and Gephardt and Terry and even Wesley Clark in there, you had a
lot of candidates all bunched around 15, 16, 17 percentage points in the
And I think you are going to have the same sort of thing here right now.
I think the candidate who is probably that outsider candidate, who can show
some electability, I like their chances, although the dynamics of this race
haven`t unfolded and I don`t think we`ve seen anything quite like this in
REID: You know, in – meanwhile, Aisha, you know you have Beto O`Rourke
coming with all this buzz and like a glossy Vanity Fair cover. The
Democratic Party has tended to like the idea of a southern white male
candidate who is sort of kind of on the younger hip side. Does he have a
natural advantage, even though he doesn`t necessarily have a natural
platform other than anti-the wall?
AISHA MOODIE-MILLS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I don`t know if I`d call it an
advantage so much is the fact that, like, Joy we have to acknowledge that
the man is electrifying, right. He speaks in a way where he`s got a lot of
energy, people listen, so what he has to say – they don`t necessarily go
deep yet to figure out what his experience is. And I think that matters.
I think people want to be excited by the candidate. They want to feel like
somebody is speaking to them and it`s magnetic, and Beto does that for
It remains to be seen, though, when all these candidates are stage I think
there are several of them that are really great orators that have a lot of
energy and a lot of enthusiasm, and so I think that we`re going to start to
see that energy is what matters to people.
People want someone who can stand up next to Trump, look better then him,
kind of fight more aggressively then him, and I think Beto gives us that
REID: And, you know, at the same time, Cornell, you now have sort of the
battle of the white guys, right, which is the Beto, Biden, and Bernie, and
you can see some of the others like Inslee, but then you potentially might
have three African-American candidates. If Stacey Abrams were to get in,
you would then have herself, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. What does that
do to a race like South Carolina?
BELCHER: I think it means it`s a wide open race. And I think it`s a wide
open race either way.
Because, look, I don`t think – I think if you look back at past histories
here, I think – and I have to beat up a lot of reporters about this,
because they think, you know, just the African-American voters are going to
naturally vote for the African-American candidate, which is just not true
in the history of our primaries, or we would have had a Democratic nominee
before Barack Obama. And you`ll remember, Joy, Barack Obama started off 20
points behind in South Carolina to Hillary Clinton.
I think all of these candidates are going to have to work hard for it.
I will say this, I think it gives the white candidates an ever greater
opportunity to compete there, especially if the African-American candidates
are splitting the vote.
So, you could have a white candidate who can carry 25, 30 percent of the
black vote in South Carolina and cobble together a plurality of the white
vote and win South Carolina solidly, that`s what I think this crowded field
REID: And let`s get – and that`s a very fair point. But, you know, at
the same time the south it just happens to be – I mean, it was the place
where Bernie Sanders sort of ceded the election, because he couldn`t do
well with black voters. We know black voters are extremely important.
And so, Aisha, when you talk about Super Tuesday, about half those
primaries on Super Tuesday – take out Texas and California – are in the
south. So is there any candidate who you can look at right now and say
that`s the kind of candidate who can sweep a Super Tuesday, or at least
get, you know, three or four primaries on that night?
MOODIE-MILLS: You know, so my opinion about Stacey Abrams getting into
this race is I think she does best with Super Tuesday with South Carolina
with the African-American vote, largely because she was the one who was
down there stimulating and exciting people in the region most recently. So
I think that she kind of gets that vote right now to me.
In terms of who can sweep, I agree with Cornell, I think that, you know, I
don`t rule our Biden just because there are enough people who are trying to
cobble together and now competing for those African-American voters in that
region that it might leave a plurality where, you know, put those white
folks together and they might go for him, they might go for Beto.
But I don`t – I`m not a pollster, so I leave it to my dear friend to give
us that expert advice. My gut, though, tells me is that it is so early we
are going to be surprised come next February.
REID: All right, yes or no question for Cornell Belcher, does Julian and
Beto cancel each other out in Texas?
BELCHER: No, they don`t cancel each other out.
I will say this real quickly, Joy, that whoever we`ve known as a
frontrunner historically has not done well in that primary, so look out for
a dark horse.
REID: All right, there we go, that was not one word.
Cornell Belcher and Aisha Moodie-Mills, thank you guys very much.
That`s ALL IN for this evening. “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
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