Nunes lawsuit accuses GOP strategist of “smearing”. TRANSCRIPT: 3/19/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests:
Christina Wilkie, Harry Litman, Liz Mair, Aisha Moodie-Mills, Sam Seder, Wajahat Ali
Transcript:

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  The Prime Minister said, we utterly reject and

condemn him.  New Zealand is a land duty bound by a prime minister who

share her country`s heart with a head set on protecting its country.  What

a fresh change.  8,000 miles away from our country of almost 400 million

firearms and a nine members of Supreme Court that can`t tell an AK-47 from

an 18th Century musket. 

 

That`s HARDBALL for now.  “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts right now.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST:  Tonight on ALL IN.

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  So I just heard that they

broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys.

 

HAYES:  The Michael Cohen warrant is unsealed.

 

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY OF DONALD TRUMP:  I`m going to be the

personal attorney to Mr. Trump.

 

HAYES:  Tonight, what we`re learning about the early and intense

surveillance of President Trump`s lawyer and the big questions at all

raises about ongoing investigations.  Plus, growing calls for the President

to denounce white supremacists in the wake of Christchurch.

 

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF, WHITE HOUSE:  The President is not a

white supremacist.  I`m not sure how many times we have to say that.

 

HAYES:  Then Devin Nunes sues Devin Nunes` mob.

 

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), CALIFORNIA:  This is the first of many lawsuits that

are coming.

 

HAYES:  Why Donald Trump`s favorite congressman is testing the First

Amendment by suing Twitter.  And it`s the latest big idea injected into the

Democratic primary.

 

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We can have national

voting and that means get rid of the Electoral College and (INAUDIBLE).

 

HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes.  Just two months into

his appointment as Special Counsel Robert Mueller already had probable

cause to believe the President`s right-hand man and longtime attorney

Michael Cohen was acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign power. 

That`s according to a two-year-old search warrant released today as part of

hundreds of pages of documents related to the FBI raid on Cohen`s

properties in April 2018.

 

It turns out that the most sensational charges to which Cohen eventually

pleaded guilty, those would be the campaign finance violations perpetrated

to cover up the President`s alleged affairs before the election.  Those

were just an offshoot of a much larger investigation.  We still don`t know

what if anything that part of the investigation is yielded.

 

The documents released today show that Mueller obtained a series of

extensive search warrants on Cohen`s e-mail accounts as early as July 2017

seeking evidence that Cohen committed a number of crimes including acting

as an unregistered foreign agent and violating the Foreign Agents

Registration Act or FARA.

 

The warrant specifically sought communications, records, documents, and

other files involving essential consultants LLC.  That, of course, is the

shell company the Cohen set up weeks before the 2016 election to funnel

hush money to Stormy Daniels.

 

But according to documents, that payment, the hush money payments we all

found out about, that was not what Mueller was investigating.  It wasn`t

even on his radar.  Instead, what Mueller was examining or another set of

activities involving that same LLC.  One we first learned about last year

and never really got to the bottom of.

 

It`s a major thread in the Cohen story which remains honestly unresolved to

this day as we wait for the finer Mueller report.  After the FBI raid last

year, we found out that Cohen shell company had received millions of

dollars through consulting contracts with big corporations like AT&T,

pharmaceutical giant Novartis, and a Korean defense firm.

 

Among those payments were hundreds of thousands of dollars for an American

investment firm linked to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.  Remember

that guy?  He`s one of the world`s richest men and he`s suspected of having

ties to Russian intelligence.  And in early 2018 he was stopped on a tarmac

in New York after getting off a private plane and questioned by federal

agents who seized his electronic devices.

 

Yes.  We learned that Vekselberg had actually met with Cohen in person at

Trump Tower to discuss U.S.-Russian relations just days before our Trump

would take the oath of office.  And then, he and Cohen later spent time

together at the President`s inauguration in Washington.

 

And we still don`t know what that was all about or why the firm linked to

Vekselberg started paying Cohen shortly thereafter, but we do know as of

today is that Mueller`s probe of those payments started way before the

hush-money investigation.  And in early 2018 when the special counsel

ultimately handed off the Cohen case to the Southern District of New York,

he did not give them the whole thing.

 

According again to these documents, the special counsel only referred

certain aspects of its investigation into Cohen to the U.S. Attorney`s

Office.  It`s possible Mueller is still pursuing the foreign agent angle,

we just don`t know.  It`s one of many questions that remain unanswered as

we continue to wait for the special counsel to show his cards in some form.

 

NBC News reports today that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who

first appointed Mueller and has been on his way out is now planning to stay

on at the Justice Department a little longer.  Here to break down what

we`ve learned from these new Cohen documents are Christina Wilkie White

House Reporter for CNBC and MSNBC Justice Analyst Matt Miller, former Chief

Spokesperson of the Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder.

 

Christina, you`ve been reporting on this stuff particularly the

investigation around the inauguration and foreign money.  What did you

learn?  What did we learn today from these Cohen files?

 

CHRISTINA WILKIE, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, CNBC:  What we learned was that

Cohen had a very extensive foreign lobbying operation going that Mueller

was aware of it and looking into it as you said much earlier than we

previously known.

 

What we also learned that Columbus Nova which was which is the name of the

American linked firm, the firm linked to Viktor Vekselberg pay – ended up

paining Cohen north of $500,000.  It was part of a million dollar contract

that was signed with Cohen – that Columbus Nova signed with Cohen within

ten days of Trump`s inauguration.

 

Another thing that`s important to remember about Viktor Vekselberg is that

not only did he attend Trump`s inauguration, but he attended a candlelight

dinner, a very intimate event for donors, apparently donors of a million

dollars are over.  Columbus Nova only gave $250,000 so traditionally they

would have been invited to something like this but they were.

 

Vekselberg and his cousin who runs this firm and (INAUDIBLE), and they were

seated with Cohen at this very intimate dinner, and ten days later, you

know, signed him for this million dollar contract.  There`s also a

(INAUDIBLE) bank that Cohen was apparently that was doing political

consulting work for.

 

Often these contracts will say will have very vague language about

consulting as needed on topics as needed.  But one thing that came clear in

today`s documents was that these companies were according to their

employees were paying him for access, for direct access, for direct

consulting on specific topics, on the AT&T Time Warner merger.  You know,

this was – he was making $100,000 in some cases a month for a couple phone

calls.

 

HAYES:  Yes.  So he`s selling access to the President which becomes quite

clear here.  And what`s also striking to me, Matt, is this is not – I

mean, one of the things we`ve learned throughout the last year is that FARA

violations generally go uninvestigated, unprosecuted.  I think that`s

beginning to change and probably for the best.  Good to know when there`s

foreign influence setting the American agenda.

 

But in this case, I mean there`s some kind of trip wire here that Mueller`s

team is freaked out by what they`re seeing going on with this bank account.

 

MATT MILLER, MSNBC JUSTICE ANALYST:  Yes, that`s right.  Look, I would

suspect the FBI was probably already onto Cohen before even July of 2018. 

He would`ve been one of the people that they would have been investigating

2017.  I mean, he would`ve been investigating I would suspect as far back

as the 2016 campaign.

 

He figured very prominently in the dossier, of course, were allegations

that now appeared not to be true that he attended a meeting in Prague, that

related to kind of arranging payment around the Russian hacking.  So I

would suspect that the FBI was on to him early.  And that when Mueller took

over, it was one of the first targets they went very aggressively after.

 

I think it`s remarkable that is really – this is the second day in a row

we`ve seen evidence on someone in the President`s inner circle being

investigated for potentially being an unregistered foreign agent and it`s

showing up in a search warrant application.

 

Remember yesterday, ProPublica reported that Elliot Broidy another RNC

finance chairman like Michael Cohen also is under investigation now by the

criminal division because he was referred by Mueller in the same way that

Cohen was referred to SDNY.  There is – there are all of these people

around the president who are being investigated for money laundering and

for acting as a foreign agent among other crimes.

 

And we`re only now beginning to find out you know, things that they`re not

necessarily charged with but which they at least had probable cause to get

a search warrant.

 

HAYES:  You know, Christina, Matt`s point here I think is an important one

which is there`s so much focus on Russia because Russia is the – is the

foreign power that pulled off this this massive criminal conspiracy

sabotage to try to get one person elected against another.  But when you

look at it, the amount of foreign penetration of this campaign – I mean

Manafort and Rick Gates who are – who are working for Ukrainian Russian

interest.

 

Michael Flynn who`s taking undisclosed sum from Turkey to write an op-ed

advancing Turkish interests on like Election Day, someone who`s a GOP

lobbyist who is already pleaded guilty for an illegal straw donorship. 

Erik Prince, George Nader.  I mean, you`ve got all of these foreign

interests who are trying to get in the door in Trump world and it feels

like we don`t know the full story about all of them.

 

WILKIE:  I don`t think we do.  And the bottom line is that foreign interest

pay more money because it`s harder for them to gain access in the first

place.  So I think another thing we saw today was a portrait of Cohen that

he would prefer we not see as he`s testifying before Congress which is a

guy who after ten years of schlepping after Trump and cleaning up his legal

messes finally was in a position to become a power broker in his own right

was to begin – going to begin selling this kind of access the – he was

becoming the kind of guy who can charge $100,000 for a couple phone calls.

 

There was an interesting detail today in one of the filings that Cohen

spent more than $1.5 million of his $3 million that he took in in 2017.  So

that was just gone.  But part of what he spent it on was membership at a

super elite Wall Street club called the core club which has members like

Steve Schwarzman and Steven A. Cohen.  So it`s a very private billionaires

club.  And that`s – $50,000 initiation fee.  That`s one of the things that

Cohen took his money towards.  So you really got a picture of this guy who

it`s kind of coming out and ready to cash in.

 

HAYES:  On the make.

 

WILKIE:  Yes.

 

HAYES:  You know, there`s also – there`s also – the other striking thing,

Matt, here is just the scope of what they got.  I mean, this first warrant

information be disclosed by Google they want e-mails, drafts, metadata, IP

addresses, contacts, calendar, pictures and files, search and Web history,

cookies, related records.  Like they start hovering up a lot of info about

this guy very early on.

 

MILLER:  Yes.  Look, it`s always – I know people outside the Justice

Department always amazed when they look at a search warrant application or

they see a subpoena and they see just how much information the government

is able to get.  And remember, these were the first – you know, these

Mueller applications that are referenced were the first, then the Southern

District go back for more.  And then you saw them go back even for more

when they – when they went and executed the search warrant on his office.

 

So they were you know coming at trying to find out everything about his

business, everything about his finances, his relationships with foreign

individuals, and eventually one of the things that the Justice Department

has the ability to do, they may be in start – they may start investigating

one crime, but if they find others they`re off to the races which of course

is what happened here with the campaign finance probe that still is under

investigation as we saw today by the fact that that part of the search

warrant application was still redacted.

 

HAYES:  Yes.  I`m going to actually talk about that in just a second. 

Christina Wilkie and Matt Miller, thank you both for joining me tonight. 

For more on what these Cohen documents tell us about the overall probe, I`m

joined by MSNBC Legal Analyst Joyce Vance former U.S. Attorney for the

Northern District of Alabama and Harry Litman former U.S. attorney and

Deputy Assistant Attorney General who`s now contributing columnist at the

Washington Post.

 

Joyce, on what Matt just said.  So there`s an entire section – though the

one thing that we thought was wrapped up in a neat bow on Michael Cohen was

the illegal campaign donation scheme that he`s already pleaded guilty to. 

But there`s an entire section of this that`s redacted and it`s under the

heading illegal campaign contribution scheme.  It`s 18 pages and we don`t

get to see it.  What do you make of that?

 

JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  Well, usually when something is redacted

in a release like this, the logical assumption is that there`s still

investigation that`s ongoing.  So my takeaway is that there`s a case either

on additional defendants, more conduct, or both.  And the reason that we`re

learning about that now is because these redactions were necessary in the

point of view of special counsel`s office lawyers to protect that ongoing

investigation.

 

HAYES:  Harry, there`s also the fact that we know that some things have

been farmed out and some things haven`t.  And it`s hard to make sense of

what has and hasn`t been because we don`t know what has really been

retained although we do know the Manafort prosecution was retained.  Do you

have a sense of what it means ultimately that some things have been given

to local prosecutors, federal prosecutors, and some things have stayed with

Mueller?

 

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY:  Yes.  So first, two points.  I totally

agree with Joyce but they also told Judge Hal it`s to protect the rights of

uncharged individuals.  So it suggests there are third parties.  I think

maybe Elliot Broidy, maybe Trump Jr. who were potentially involved.  On the

farming out point, the most – one of the most interesting things try

reading between the lines of the application is he was farming out over a

year ago to the Southern District of New York.

 

We can see with this is this latter strategy to try to protect the probe. 

But if that`s right, he was thinking in those terms already.  And why do

you do it, I think you know, two reasons.  One, to try to protect and also

to just sort of a distribution of resources.  He`s got a core team and they

were taking on a lot.

 

But I think it`s quite interesting and we didn`t learn until today just how

early into the probe he begins to distribute materials to other offices.

 

HAYES:  There`s also the fact, Joyce, that we – that there`s this

essential question here about was the work Michael Cohen doing a violation

of law.  He has not pleaded to any of the violations that initiate – begin

the investigation.  We don`t kind of know what becomes of the Vekselberg

part of it whether they concluded that this was not chargeable.  But it

seems unlikely they concluded that given some of the other things they did

charge and get him to plea to.  What do you make of that?

 

VANCE:  I think it`s frankly just not possible for us to know right now. 

It could be that they hit an evidentiary barrier.

 

HAYES:  Right..

 

VANCE:  For some reason that`s not clear to us, they just didn`t have proof

beyond a reasonable doubt.  This could be part of the reason that the

Southern District of New York would not enter into a cooperation agreement

with Cohen.  There was clearly something they felt like he was holding back

on.  Maybe it could be this.

 

But that doesn`t really feel right in this particular case.  It seems like

they gave him too much credit.  Credit that they wouldn`t have given him if

there was something big and looming here.  There could of course be an

ongoing case but that again doesn`t feel right.  So my suspicion here is we

just don`t know what the deal is at this point.

 

HAYES:  And Harry, it does seem to me that there`s a kind of qualitative

difference.  You know, the idea of people working for foreign agents in an

unregistered fashion which we think there might be a case farmed out about

that about the former White House Counsel under Barack Obama, Greg Craig

because of his involvement in the Ukraine situation.

 

There`s a kind of way that`s done in Washington which skirts the law which

is sort of hiring these law firms.  You don`t officially do follow lobbying

and then you don`t register.  It`s pretty clear from the timeline here and

the warrant applications, they were freaked out about chunks of money going

into this LLC from all kinds of places to the guy who`s got the ear of the

president.

 

LITMAN:  Yes.  No kidding.  And by the way, this is going to be one of the

sort of fall outs or footnotes of this scandal, the bipartisan Dem and

Republican you know, lobbying efforts.  So Greg Craig looks like he`s in

the soup and previously Tony Podesta.  Yes I – so I agree now.  You know,

frantic, they were looking for everything as Matt says, but that`s what the

feds do and it`s completely methodical here.

 

That`s the other thing that impressed me about this.  You have the

straightforward start with the bank records, then Gmail and Apple, then

enough to get his e-mail and really down the line until the big search in

April of last year.  So it was really a very by-the-book methodical probe.

 

And remember, we thought at first – everyone thought at first was Cohen in

Prague or what`s that all about, and that looks to have been a dry hole. 

That might be one of the reasons why there was an affair at charge.

 

HAYES:  What do you think – is there any conclusion to be drawn about

where things are in the investigation based on the filings of the Mueller

folks and that we`ve gotten both in terms of this release and some of the

filings we`ve seen over the last few days, Joyce?

 

VANCE:  You know, we persistently hear that Mueller is done, that Mueller

is getting ready to hand things off and fold up shop, but the reality,

Chris, is that it`s easy for folks to forget that DOJ is literally the

country`s largest law firm.

 

And so it`s I think a little bit artificial for us at this point to talk

just in terms of the Mueller investigation.  We now have national

investigation in U.S. Attorney`s offices in main justice because we`ve

learned that there pieces of this probe now in the National Security

Division and the criminal division.  It`s not over.

 

HAYES:  Joyce Vance and Harry Litman, great to have you both.  Still to

come, Congressman Devin Nunes has had enough.  He`s filing a lawsuit

against the people who are super mean to him on Twitter.  How the move is

testing the waters on limiting free speech in two minutes.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  Sitting United States Congressman Devin Nunez is suing Twitter, two

anonymous Twitter accounts, and a Republican strategist for a quarter of a

billion dollars because people made fun of him on the internet and it hurt

his feelings.

 

In legal terms, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee is

saying he has been defamed but the nature of the parody accounts makes it

difficult to take the lawsuit seriously.  The complaint written by Nunes`

lawyers literally reads “In her endless barrage of tweets, Devin Nunes and

his mom, that`s not his real mom, that`s the parody count, maliciously

attacked every aspect of Nunes` character, honesty, integrity, ethics, and

fitness to perform his duties as the United States Congressman.

 

Now, the standard for public officials to prove defamation is extremely

high because we live in a free society, almost literally founded on the

idea that you can make fun of politicians.  Last night Nunes tried to

explain his case to a friendly audience.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

NUNES:  So people were targeting me.  There were anonymous accounts that

were – that were developed.  And look, there`s not supposed to be – these

accounts aren`t supposed to exist.  Twitter says that they don`t have

accounts that do this.  So like I said, this is the first of many lawsuits

that are coming but there were several fake news accounts whether it was

regard to the Russia investigation or to me, and we have to hold all of

these people accountable because if we don`t our First Amendment rights are

at stake here.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Joining me now for her first interview since being named in Devin

Nunes` lawsuit is Republican Strategist Liz Mair.  All right, Liz, you`re -

- it is Devin G. Nunes V Twitter, Elizabeth Liz Mair, Mair Strategies,

Devin Nunes` mom and Devin Nunes Cow.  You`re in gust company.  Did you

know this was coming?

 

LIZ MAIR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  No.  I actually was sitting at my kids

karate practice not paying attention to my phone.  and when I got home

prepared to eat dinner, I suddenly started getting phone calls from people

about a lawsuit.  So no, I didn`t.  But here we are and I guess life moves

forward, right?

 

HAYES:  I don`t understand.  People say mean things on the internet about

other people or joking or snide things.  Why you?  Why are you named in

this lawsuit?

 

MAIR:  I don`t think that I`m personally equipped to have any real insight

into what goes on in Devin Nunes his mind or his motivation so I`m not sure

that I can answer your question.  To get an answer to that question, you

would probably have to have him on your show and ask him point-blank.

 

I also am not going to get into discussing the lawsuit itself or his

pleadings.  Obviously, I`m a defendant in this and we will have a response

that is forthcoming, but I don`t want to get into the actual lawsuit

itself.  I`m very happy to talk about the First Amendment implications

though of course.

 

HAYES:  Well, let`s – I want to talk about that in a second, but first I

just want to give an example and you don`t have to respond this, just so

people know the kind of thing that he is saying is defamatory, right, that

he`s suing you over.

 

This is a tweet that`s literally just a headline from the Fresno Bee which

is his hometown paper which was about an event that was done at a winery he

was part of.  And the headline is A Yacht Cocaine Prostitutes, winery

partly owned by Nunes sued after fundraising event.  And you tweet that

with all caps holy crap, which is what he is trying to sue you for.

 

Given how much talk we have had particularly from conservatives about the

First Amendment and also safe spaces and the snowflakes on campus who don`t

like any countervailing ideas, what do you think about a sitting member of

Congress suing a private citizen over a mean tweet?

 

MAIR:  Well, here`s what I`ll say about this.  I`m a Libertarian Republican

and I believe extremely strongly in the Bill of Rights and in our

Constitution, all of it, not just parts of it, all of it, and that includes

the First Amendment.  And I hope that Representative Nunes does too because

he`s actually sworn an oath as a member of Congress to support, and uphold,

and protect the Constitution, and that does include the First Amendment.

 

You know, so from my perspective, I do think that the First Amendment is

incredibly important.  And I agree, you know, on my read of the situation,

the reason that the Framers put that in place is specifically to protect

the ability of citizens to criticize their government.  And in this case

what we appear to have is we appear to have a sitting member of the U.S.

House of Representatives an actual government official who is trying to use

litigation to stifle free speech.

 

He`s trying to use litigation as a cudgel to stifle free speech.  And so as

a Libertarian Republican setting aside what my role is in with regard to

the case, as a Libertarian Republican, as somebody who believes very

strongly in civil liberties, I do have a problem with that, of course.

 

HAYES:  I mean, there`s also a cost here right?  I mean, you`re going to

have to lawyer up and defend yourself in this suit, right?

 

MAIR:  Well, the main cost frankly has been a lot of carnage in my inbox

over the last 24 hours if I`m being honest but –

 

HAYES:  I can imagine it`s not a pretty place.

 

MAIR:  But you know, yes, like again, I`m not going to get into discussing

our – what we`re doing about litigation.  We will have a response that is

forthcoming.  But personally, I do think it is important that everybody

stands up and advocates for the First Amendment and not selectively but

across the board.

 

And I would strongly urge everybody who is watching this program.  If you

agree with me about that and you believe that civil liberties are

important, and you believe that the First Amendment is important, please do

consider donating to the Swamp Accountability Project which is going to be

probably paying for part of my legal fees.  You can go to

SwampAccountabilityProject.com and do it right there.

 

HAYES:  I would also say you can also do your part by just tweeting mean

things at public figures or snide remarks or re-tweeting headlines because

I believe the First Amendment protects that and it would be crazy to watch

them go whack-a-mole on that.  Liz Mair, thank you very much for joining us

tonight.  I appreciate it.

 

MAIR:  Thank you so much.

 

HAYES:  Coming up, why – coming up why – coming up why is this man

refusing to distance himself and white supremacist and white nationalist in

the wake of the slaughter on Friday?

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  Shortly after a 29-year-old man murdered 50 people at two mosques

in Christchurch, New Zealand on a Friday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and

President Donald Trump spoke on the phone.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

JACINDA ARDERN, PRIME MINISTER, NEW ZEALAND:  He ask for offer of support

the United States could provide.  My message was sympathy and love for all

Muslim communities. He acknowledged that and agreed.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  If Donald Trump has offered the Muslim community that sympathy and

love, however, we have not seen it.

 

While Prime Minister Ardern has made it a point to put on a hijab, go

comfort grieving families, Trump tweeted that, quote, we stand in

solidarity with New Zealand, but that`s hardly unusual for this president

who from the start of his rise in politics has played a sort of wink, wink,

nudge, nudge game with white nationalists and supremacists such that the

New Zealand shooter, while saying he doesn`t agree with Trump`s policies,

still wrote in his manifesto, he saw the president as, quote, a symbol of

renewed white identity and common purpose.  He wrote that before murdering

50 Muslims in their mosques.

 

Now, Democrats are calling out Donald Trump`s behavior more than ever

before.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for example, tweeting quote, “what the

president is saying here, if you engage in violent acts of white supremacy

I will look the other way.”

 

Here to talk about what`s going on, NBC News reporter Ben Collins, and New

York Times contributing right Wajahat Ali.

 

Waj, it`s not that the president has, you know, done anything to praise

what happened, obviously, and he gave a kind of preemptory tweet about it,

but what do you make of the sort of notable silence from him in the wake of

this massacre?

 

WAJAHAT ALI, THE NEW YORK TIMES:  It`s the feature not the bug.  Let`s not

forget when it came to Charlottesville, when there were white supremacists,

KKK and the alt-right who repeated the white supremacist conspiracy theory

that Jews will not replace us, Donald Trump responded by saying there were

very fine people and both sides are to blame.

 

And when it`s come to this terrorist attack in New Zealand, which has

claimed 50 lives, including a 3-year-old baby, it`s been five days, Chris,

and Donald Trump has yet to use the T word, terrorism, to describe it.  In

fact, he has yet to reach out to the victims.  In fact, I wish he had half

as much concern for the rest of Americans, including Muslims, that he does

in defending Judge Pirro who promoted anti-Muslim conspiracy theories that

are found in the same ideological swamp shared by these white supremacists

around the world.

 

I wish he would attack the number one domestic terror threat in America,

according to the FBI, which are white supremacists, the number one source

of domestic terror plots in the past 10 years, with as much gusto and

passion that he attacked John McCain, the press, SNL, and Robert Mueller,

but he has not done that, and he hasn`t done it throughout his presidency.

 

And I`ll say something bold here, it`s because I think, Chris, Donald Trump

is racist.  He`s not racially charged, or racially motivated, or has racist

flare-ups, he`s a racist and he has promoted and mainstreamed a white

supremacist conspiracy theory to win the mid-terms elections, which was the

George Soros was funding the caravan, the invasion, the same language used,

by the way, by the Australian terrorist who killed 50 people last week.

 

HAYES:  In fact, if I`m not mistaken, the president used the word invasion

even after the murders.  He used it on Friday to describe immigration to

the United States in front of cameras.

 

Ben, you cover sort of covers of the internet that are steeped in explicit

white nationalism and white supremacy.

 

BEN COLLINS, NBC NEWS:  Yes.

 

HAYES:  What is the relationship between the kind of ways in which the

president just sort of refuses to come out and condemn them often and how

they view Trump and Trump as a kind of icon for them?

 

COLLINS:  So now we see two straight terrorists that have done this sort of

wink and nod to Trump, saying basically, yeah, all that rhetoric is right

about invaders.  Both of them referenced invaders.

 

HAYES:  You`re talking about the synagogue shooter…

 

COLLINS:  The synagogue shooter, yeah, back in October, right before the

mid-terms, and this shooter in New Zealand as well.  But both of them said,

you know, he`s not going far enough.  Like why isn`t he doing something

about all of this stuff that he`s talking about, right.

 

And when you read his tweets, there is this fever pitch.  It does seem like

every day it`s like the vitriol is even more and more.

 

So, when people come together and spend their entire day trying to decipher

these tweets, there are conspiracy theorists that do it in one way,  and

there are regular people that do it in another.  But when these people sort

of get driven down these algorithmic rabbit holes to over and over again

hear these messages and say, like, you know, some of them go even further

and say, hey, the race war is coming, that`s what I`m reading into this,

the race war is coming.  So, why doesn`t somebody do something about it, is

what they are thinking.

 

And that`s really where people on 8chan and 4chan, that`s how they get

egged on to carry out these attacks.

 

HAYES:  There is something said this weekend, I mean, it`s such a good

point, Waj, that that language, the invaders language, which is the

language the synagogue shooter used as well when he was talking about the

caravan, it`s the language that this language used as well, like we, the

pure white gentiles are being invaded by them, the Jewish or Muslim other.

 

This is what Mick Mulvaney said this weekend, which I thought was just – I

had to pick my jaw off the floor.  I want you to respond to it, Waj.  Take

a listen.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF:  You`ve seen the president stand

up for religious liberties, individual liberties, the president is not a

white supremacist.  I`m not sure how many times we have to say that.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  He also, I think, said the president is not an Islamophobe or has

no bigotry against Muslims.  It really feels like gaslighting.

 

ALI:  Yeah.  It`s 2019, you can`t gaslight me, because I remember the

president saying I think Islam hates us.  I remember the president asking

for a total and complete ban on Muslims until we can figure out what the

hell is going on.  I remember the president saying that he saw a tape on

television of Muslims celebrating on 9/11 terror attacks.

 

And I double dare you, President Trump, I`m calling you out, you said you

saw the tape of Muslims celebrating in New Jersey of the 9/11 terror

attacks.  Show me the tape.

 

So, this is a president who is anti-Muslim.  This is a president – again,

I want to say this, Chris, he mainstreamed a white supremacist talking

point in October.  The Jews, led by George Soros, a Jewish Hungarian

American, funding the caravan of rapists, criminals, Muslims and Mexicans,

that is exactly the number one conspiracy theory of white supremacists that

the rest of us are being used by the Jews to weaken the white race, which

was used by the shooter who killed 50 people last week. 

 

You`ve got to call him out.  And you`ve got to call out the Republican

leaders who also mainstreamed it.  That includes Kevin McCarthy.  Call them

all out and ask them do you stand by President Trump`s views of that white

supremacist conspiracy theory?  Reporters need to ask them until they

answer it.

 

HAYES;  is there – I never know how to take the temperature of – you

know, the internet provides crazy subcommunities of all kinds, right, so

like I never know how to gauge the scope of the phenomenon of the, say,

4chan, 8chan white nationalists online.  If this is just a very small group

of people, like there`s very small groups of people involved in all sorts

of things on the internet, or there`s something particularly metastasizing

here?

 

COLLINS:  I think that you can look at the video views on YouTube and see

that it`s a million, sometimes tens of millions, for specific videos.  And

they are completely divorced from reality, like absolutely 100 percent

just, you know, Hillary Clinton is eating kids and stuff.  Those have tens

of millions of views on those platforms.

 

Does that mean everybody is soaking that all in and saying it`s correct? 

No, not necessarily.  But what we do see is we see this rise in people –

the most important thing – people can believe whatever they want, right? 

The most important thing is are they acting on this?

 

And we see this rise – like once a month now, basically, we see some sort

of awful thing happened where, you know, last month a Q Anon believer

murdered his brother, right.

 

HAYES:  Right.

 

COLLINS:  We know within 15 minutes, basically, that it`s been ginned up by

the internet in some capacity.  And that`s the difference.  That`s the sort

of thing that`s brand new.  And we don`t – we need to learn how to stop

it.

 

HAYES:  Ben Collins and Wajahat Ali, thank you both for you time.

 

Coming up, the latest big idea making waves in the Democratic primary, what

to make of Senator Warren`s call to get rid of the electoral college ahead.

 

Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  Thing One tonight, Donald Trump is no fan of the rat race.  Instead

of waking up and going to work every morning like a square, Axios reported

last month that Trump spent around 60 percent of his scheduled time over a

three month period in unstructured, quote, executive time.

 

This is where he watches Trump TV, makes phone calls, and of course, tweets

and tweets and tweets.

 

In a 12 hour period this Sunday alone, Trump sent out 29 different tweets,

although glass houses and stones.  The president embracing embattled Trump

TV host suspended for vile bigotry against Muslims just a day after someone

slaughtered 50 of them in mosques.  He attacked John McCain, complained

about Saturday Night Live, which incidentally had been a rerun – I mean,

come on.

 

Trump insists his time management is extremely presidential, quote, “when

the term executive time is used, I`m generally working, not relaxing, which

is true he`s definitely not relaxing.  “In fact, I probably work more hours

than almost any past president.”  And his adult son couldn`t agree more.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He is truly one of the hardest working people in the

world.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Right, he just does not like the normal things to do

list.

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I`ve never walked into the Oval Office, right, and see

30 people in the office, whether it be generals or whether it be economists

or whether it be special guests or foreign leaders.  I mean, the guy is the

hardest working person there is.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  You just walk into that Oval Office and it`s just generals and

economists, like Grand Central.

 

It turns out Trump isn`t the only member of his administration who likes an

unstructured work environment.  There`s also the guy Trump described like

this…

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP:  He said that he`s pathological and that he`s got basically

pathological disease.  I don`t want a person that`s got pathological

disease.  I don`t want it.

 

So, he`s a pathological, damaged, temper, a problem.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  That pathological member of Trump`s cabinet is Thing Two in just 60

seconds.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  Donald Trump`s choice of Ben Carson to lead the Department of

Housing and Urban Development was, well, shall we say unconventional.  The

former world renowned and much celebrated neurosurgeon initially turned

down the job because in the words of his business manager, Armstrong

Williams, Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience.  He`s never run

a federal agency.

 

Fact check true.

 

But then Carson ultimately took the job anyway.  It hasn`t gotten great. 

He defended buying a $31,000 dining set for his office by blaming his wife. 

His signature HUD initiative has gone absolutely nowhere.  He even

complained that, quote, there are more complexities at HUD than in brain

surgery – huh.

 

So, you`d think he`d be working really hard, right?  Well, new NBC News

report shows that in 2017, Carson only met with senior staff once a week,

only worked a full Friday about half the time, and often cut out early to

fly down to his $4.3 million Florida mansion for the weekend.

 

Just last week, Carson proposed another round of cuts to his agency, which

provides affordable housing to low income Americans.  No word on whether

this time around he knows what exactly he`s trying to cut.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP AL GREEN, (D) TEXAS:  How much from housing vouchers, Mr. Carson?

 

BEN CARSON, HUD SECRETARY:  Rather than go  through a quiz on all the

numbers.

 

GREEN:  It`s not a quiz, Mr. Carson.  I have the time to ask you questions

about things that you should have some knowledge of.

 

CARSON:  I don`t want to open the book and look at the numbers.

 

GREEN:  I see.  So you choose to not to say how much you`re cutting from

housing vouchers.  All right, how much are you cutting from community block

grants, Mr. Carson?

 

CARSON:  I want to talk about…

 

GREEN:  Mr. Carson, you don`t get to talk about what you want to today, you

get to talk about what I want you talk about.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  Right now a humanitarian disaster is unfolding in Mozambique where

a colossal cyclone is absolutely annihilated a large swath of the country,

including the city of Biro (ph) with 500,000 residents, which is 90 percent

destroyed.  Think of that, a city the size of Atlanta basically gone.

 

Here much closer to home, enormous swaths of the Midwest are underwater

after massive flooding.  These are satellite comparison images before and

after of Pacific City, Iowa.  More than half a dozen states are partially

submerged, hundreds have been displaced, a number that is expected to

climb. 

 

And these are just two snapshots of our new normal in the era of climate

change, which most models show will produce more and more extreme weather

events.

 

And the dawning awareness for what that means for every single life on the

planet, every industry, every home and hearth on Earth is driving climate

to the very top of the 2020 agenda and leading to a massive global movement

of protests, protests like the school walkout across the nation and the

world that happened last week. 

 

Now, how we respond to the climate crisis is the central issue and central

debate of our time.  And we are pleased to announce a special event to talk

about the major new policy proposal that has reshaped the American

political discussion The Green New Deal.

 

We`re going to be hosting an hour long prime time special about the urgent

need to meet the climate crisis head on with the freshman congresswoman who

introduced the Green New Deal resolution Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  And

we`re going to do it in our shared home borough of the Bronx.

 

That`s Friday, March 29 right here on 8:00 p.m.  We will have lots more

details in the coming days.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D) MASSACHUSETTS:  We`ve got to abolish the

electoral college.  That`s the way democracy works is when our elected

officials come to ask everybody for their vote.  And that means getting rid

of the Electoral College.  So I`m big on this.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Senator Elizabeth Warren is getting big applause lines on the

campaign trail for her proposal to do away with the Electoral College

entirely.  The fact that a Democrat is calling for this should not be that

big of a surprise.  In 2016, Hillary Clinton won almost 3 million more

votes than Donald Trump.  In 2000, Al Gore won half a million more votes

than George W. Bush, but because of the electoral college, of course, they

both lost the election.

 

As journalist Tim Murphy pointed out on Twitter, and I`ve been thinking

about ever since, quote, “extremely wild Republicans have won the popular

vote exactly once in AOC`s lifetime.”  We`re talking nearly 30 years.

 

Senator Warren is pushing back against  decades of minority rule in her

proposal, something that seems to have become a theme in this Democratic

primary.

 

Joining me now to talk about it, Aisha Moodie-Mills, a fellow at the

Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Sam Seder, MSNBC contributor and

host of the Majority Report.

 

What do you think of the Electoral College line?

 

AISHA MOODIE-MILLS, FELLOW, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT:  Oh, I

love it.

 

HAYES:  I think that`s the view among most Democrats.

 

MOODIE-MILLS:  Well, here`s what I think about the line, because here`s

what I think about the woman.  I think that it is fantastic that Elizabeth

Warren continues to push the policy conversations in a very bold way.

 

She is forcing everybody else in the field to actually have real

conversations about the tangible way that our structures, our systems, our

government work.  That`s what I love about it.

 

HAYES:  You know, there`s two things happening, right.  So there`s like

substantive conversation about policies, right, like I would pass this bill

or not.  And then there`s this conversation happening about the deeper

democratic structure of the country, right, like the filibuster is one of

them, the electoral college, the Supreme Court.  And I think there`s a lot

of energy there among Democrats for that kind of deeper conversation.

 

SAM SEDER, HOST, MAJORITY REPORT:  Right.  And it`s also – I mean, it`s a

deeper conversation in terms of the structure of the government, but it`s

also – it is – there`s been an interesting change over the years in terms

of Democrats.  Not only, I think, has the Democratic Party from a policy

perspective become more aggressively to the left, but there is a almost

like a partisanship, like a willingness to engage in a fight and hold the

Republican Party to account for their attacks on the structure of our

government and our body politic writ large, which I think is also equally

as unique, at least in the past couple of decades.

 

HAYES:  I totally agree, but of course the concern, right, is that that`s a

race to the bottom, right.  I mean, the concern – you saw, you know,

people have been talking – Pete Buttigieg has been talking about court

packing, right, like maybe we should put a bunch more Supreme Court

justices.  And the concern is that like, right, you – everyone starts to

pull at the same thread and you end up unraveling…

 

MOODIE-MILLS:  I don`t think it`s a race to the bottom if we have a real

conversation about voting rights and voter suppression in this country,

right, and tackle that head on.  I think that that`s good thing.

 

The structural piece of it to me is what we often miss with platitudes. 

And what`s going to happen come the first debates this summer is you`re

going to see Elizabeth Warren get out there and say here are my ideas for

how we make America work for everybody and is fair.  And a lot of the other

candidates are not going to have a lot of substance around that.

 

So, I think it`s a good idea.  I don`t think it`s a race to the bottom to

actually have conversations about how we structurally change this nation in

a way that everyone gets to benefit.

 

SEDER:  I mean ,I think that`s correct, but I also say like I mean I

acknowledge that there is a sort of like bringing a knife to a knife fight.

 

HAYES:  Yes, right.

 

SEDER:  And the fact is that for decades the Democrats have said we`re not

going to bring that knife to the knife fight, and that strategy hasn`t

worked either.  And so, you know, often what a bully needs is to be shown

that this works two ways.  And so what`s good for the goose is good for the

gander, and that type of strategically if you want to stop that race to the

bottom, one of the ways to stop it is to indicate to the others that we`re

going to win.

 

HAYES:  Right.  And that`s actually a very interesting idea, particularly

when it comes to things like the filibuster or court packing, right, that

like actually strategically to sort of go maximalist yourself gives you a

sort of mutually assured destruction, like contact of stasis, right?

 

SEDER:  It begins to put stakes on…

 

HAYES:  Right, but here`s my pushback on that, which is that part of the

issue here, right, is like – and I am 100 percent believe one person, one

vote, popular elections to determine who the president is. Like, you can`t

do anything about it.  You`re going to get a constitutional amendment?

 

In some ways, this is the fundamental problem is we have this ideas primary

is like the structures themselves are so ossified, the mismatch between

what`s being said, which is, like, hey, how about the winner gets to be

president and what you can do is so far.

 

MOODIE-MILLS:  It`s something like – is it 270, essentially, you`ve got to

get enough states involved in this.  You say we`re going to ratify our own

constitutional – our own state constitutions.  And you`ve got to get

enough of those states lined up where you get to 270 in terms of the

Electoral College.

 

HAYES:  Colorado just did this, by the way.  Jared Polis signed that into

law.

 

MOODIE-MILLS:  And so there are actually several of them lining up right

now.  Not at 270 just yet, but 200.

 

So, the question becomes – so here is where I fall on all of this, I don`t

think that we`re hesitant to kind of go big and go bold just because it

seems like, you know, the arc is really, really, really long.  I would be -

- I would be not surprised if six, 12 months from now we see a bunch of

other states jump on board and say, you know, what, this is a good idea.

 

HAYES:  But it`s got to go somewhere.

 

MOODIE-MILLS:  But it`s because Elizabeth Warren started the conversation.

 

SEDER:  Right.  But even if you don`t get to the national popular vote

compact, even if that doesn`t get there, my point is, is that you`re

indicating that we`re holding you to account that we`re aware of what`s

going on and we`re aware of the inequities in the context of our

structures, and so that it may not be this solution, it may be another

solution, but the party is ready to make that jump.

 

MOODIE-MILLS:  And what that lets us do, to your point, is it lets us

actually start to say this person, Donald Trump, who was just elected, is

not legitimate.

 

HAYES:  Well, the other – I mean, to me the bigger thing here, which is

what the crux of the crisis of the country is, is majority rule, like, are

we going to have majority rule or not.  And we – as, you know, in 30 years

we`ve had a lot of not majority rule.

 

SEDER:  It`s an issue in the Senate, too.

 

HAYES:  Aisha Moodie-Mills and Sam Seder, thank you for joining us.

 

A couple of quick things before you go, you can catch me tonight on the

Late Show with Steven Colbert.  And you can listen to our newest episode of

our podcast “Why is This Happening?”  Dorian Warren is on the show this

week talking about the crucial work that goes into grass roots organizing

and why it`s key for any 2020 Democratic hopeful.  Download wherever you

get your podcasts.

 

That is ALL IN for this evening.  “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right

now.  Good evening, Rachel.

 

 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY

BE UPDATED.

END   

 

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