Nunes lawsuit accuses GOP strategist of “smearing”. TRANSCRIPT: 3/19/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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?
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
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
(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
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
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.
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
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.
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,
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
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, he just does not like the normal things to do
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
(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
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
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)
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
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
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.
(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
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
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
HAYES: Colorado just did this, by the way. Jared Polis signed that into
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
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
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Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the