Hope Hicks refuses to answer questions. TRANSCRIPT: 6/19/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: I think I`ll try Buttigieg, I tried Beto last
week, maybe I`m getting a little tired of Bernie. It really is like that.
There`s going to be winners next week by the way and candidates would wish
it never happens.
This is 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: Make America great again.
HAYES: As the president kicks off his campaign, the raging controversy
over the growing detention camps on our border and what we call them.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): The United States is running
concentration camps on our southern border.
Hayes: Then, what we learned from Hope Hicks today.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is the White House answer – letting you answer any
HAYES: And what Democrats plan to do about it.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The obstruction of justice –
HAYES: Plus, mounting alarm that the Trump administration is using the
Bush playbook to sell war with Iran.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We learn more and more that there was a relationship
between Iraq and al-Qaeda.
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: There is a connection
between the Islamic Republic of Iran and al-Qaeda, period full stop.
HAYES: And Ta-Nehisi Coates rebuts Mitch McConnell on reparations.
TA-NEHISI COATES, WRITER: For a century after the Civil War, black people
were subjected to a relentless campaign of terror, a campaign that extended
well into the lifetime of Majority Leader McConnell.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Is the Trump
administration currently running concentration camps at the border?
Somewhat remarkably this is a debate we are not having in this the year
2019 as the administration builds out day by day, a sprawling and ever-
expanding system of irregular detention for desperate migrants who the
President rails against and vilifies at every turn.
Of course, many of the President`s apologists have attempted to turn this
urgent humanitarian and world crisis into a debate over what freshman
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OCASIO-CORTEZ: The United States is running concentration camps on our
Southern Border and that is exactly what they are. They are concentration
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Those comments had set off a firestorm of both good faith and bad
faith criticism and there are legitimate reasons to object to the use of
that term in the context. As many pointed out direct allusions to
indications of the horror of the Holocaust are always treacherous
The term concentration camp though predates the Nazi regime and applies to
many camps operated throughout the world throughout history is in the
public imagination in the U.S. intimately tied to the machinery of death
that the Nazis constructed. Analogies to the Nazis always run the danger
of cheapening the sheer scope of the horror of the Holocaust.
What we confront right now in the U.S. is not genocide or mass murder. In
fact, the discomfiting truth is that in fact an expansion of a set of
systems already workshopped by the last Democratic president.
But good-faith objections aside, there was also swift massive efforts made
to turn Cortez`s comments into their own controversy by people who have
shown absolutely no concern whatsoever over the conditions for the human
beings inside those camps themselves or the fact that at least seven
children are known to have died in immigration custody since last year.
These are three of those children, eight-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonso, 16-
year-old Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, they were both suffering from
the flu when they died in CBP custody. CBP says seven-year-old Jakelin
Caal Maquin died for an infection that shut down her vital organs.
According to her family, she was well-fed and a good health when she
arrived at the border with her father.
Now, before these deaths of those children, no child had died in CBP
custody for nearly a decade. Something is wildly horribly wrong. Children
are dying in our care and custody yet so many of those in high dungeon over
the words of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez have shown absolutely zero concerns
about the deaths of these children.
Zero concern about the administration ripping literally thousands of
children even infants from their parents arms. Zero concern about the U.S.
currently accepting fewer refugees fleeing war and oppression than any
Administration in recent U.S. history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I think Congresswoman AOC needs to apologize
not only to the nation but to the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This type of rhetoric from our elected leaders is
irresponsible, reckless, misinformed, and wrong.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): We`ve had there`s a long history if you go back,
Ed, people who really are left-wing zealots ignoring history, ignoring
facts to pursue their causes. At some point you just sort of run out of
ways to describe how ignorant this is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Yes, the rhetoric, the ignorance. Instead of an honest reckoning
with this administration`s policies, professional legacy cases like Donald
Trump Jr. and Liz Cheney along with the other opportunists in their party
try to score cheap rhetorical point in bad faith, something we should note
there well practice that in something that will only intensify as we march
towards the election.
But no amount of debased and craven news cycle trolling can adequately
obscure the moral stakes here. The President of the United States was
greeted for his kickoff rally for his campaign yesterday by white
supremacist supporters flashing white power signs.
One reporter quoted a disillusioned GOP operative who said the Trump
campaign is well aware of the organized participation of Proud Boys rallies
merging into Trump events. They don`t care. And we know how the president
feels about gatherings of avowed Nazis and white supremacists like the ones
who marched in Charlottesville.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You had some bad people in that group, but you also had people that
were very fine people on both sides.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It`s the same President who uses all the darkest rhetoric
authoritarian nationalism to rail against the shadowy forces of internal
enemies. He even uses – he accuses immigrants of infesting the country
like vermin, the way that yes, Nazis talked about Jews and others.
This rhetoric has been made into policy on the ground but right now under
our noses, a vast system of irregular and unjust attention is being
constructed that will be very, very difficult to unbuild where migrants are
held in what DHS`s own Inspector General describes as egregious conditions.
Today, Ocacio-Cortez tweeted in response to the performative outrage over
comments “DHS ripped thousands of their children from their parents and put
them in cages with inhumane conditions. They call their cells dog pounds
and freezers. I will never apologize for calling these camps what they
are. If that makes you uncomfortable, fight the camps not the
I`m joined now by MSNBC Contributor Michelle Goldberg, Columnist for the
New York Times and Charlie Pierce Writer-at-Large for Esquire. I guess at
some level the silver lining here is that we`re talking about the massive
expanding sprawling system of regular detention that is being erected under
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Right. And yes, I mean, I suppose
that`s the only silver lining to this kind of deeply asinine debate. And I
think – like you said, you know, I think that there is an argument to be
had whether the term concentration camp – although we use it in a host of
other context. You know, people use it regularly to talk about the camps
in China, it was used to talk about the Japanese internment camps which are
now being repositioned to hold some of these migrants.
But there is an argument that you know, this is so connected in people`s
minds to Nazi death camps, that people think you`re comparing Border Patrol
to Nazis, and it`s not a useful rhetorical technique and that we should
find another way to talk about these camps where we are concentrating
ethnic out groups in deplorable conditions. Fine.
HAYES: But there is something – but that`s the reality where
concentrating groups that are being vilified by the president who have
extremely little power, who`s showing up at the border, who are migrants,
who are talked about as infesting vermin by the President of the United
States in conditions that our own government has called egregious.
GOLDBERG: And there`s also – there is – you know, I feel like we`re
always charting new frontiers of indignity with this administration or with
this media climate. But there is something so grotesque about seeing
apologists for a white nationalist president who openly traffics in fascist
tropes, then wrapping themselves and they`re kind of unctuous phyllo-
Semitism and using it to lecture in many case Jews.
I mean, it`s bad enough that white nationalists are back, there is – the
idea that white nationalists are going to lecture Jews about the memory of
the Holocaust, I mean it is grotesque.
HAYES: And Charlie, to me this is also just – this is a small taste of
what is to come, right. The sort of – we call it in the office sometimes
a flop, right, like in soccer or basketball right, the sort of performative
taking of umbrage that you see all the time but in this case we`re seeing
it from someone like Don Junior or Liz Cheney that will intensify and there
will be a real test as we head towards the election.
CHARLES PIERCE, WRITER AT LARGE, ESQUIRE: There`s no question. And I –
to get my own two cents on the whole semantic debate, George Takei tweeted
out this afternoon, hey, I was in two of these – two of those things that
were concentration camps. These are concentration camps. I think George
Takei is dispositive on the subject.
That being said, we are coming into a Dark Ages broadswords and you know,
mace and leather apron bloodfest of a campaign. I mean, it is going to be
– and I will – I will become (INAUDIBLE) on this right now. It`s going
to be the worst campaign in American history by far. It`s going to – it`s
going to be worse than any of those ones in the 1850s where people got
HAYES: It`s going to be bad. I mean – and to the point that you were
saying about this sort of fascist tropes, I mean, we had someone arrested
yesterday for assaulting a reporter at that event. We had – again there
are white nationalists who showed up to sign flash white power symbols –
GOLDBERG: Right. And no one has even talked anymore. I mean, this –
HAYES: Exactly. That –
GOLDBERG: – that we`ve all become desensitized to.
HAYES: Well, what`s remarkable is like that happened yesterday and that is
not the driving controversy of the day –
GOLDBERG: Right. The driving –
HAYES: – pertaining to the specter of fascism that may haunt the year of
2019. It is not the people who are showing up to battle they say Antifa or
whatever in the streets, no it`s what words that AOC use.
GOLDBERG: Right, it`s not a president whose chief propagandist Steve
Bannon and openly calls himself a disciple of Leni Riefenstahl who was
Hitler`s propagandist. I mean, these– you have – I know it seems like
ancient history but it`s only a couple of years ago that he had an advisor
Seb Gorka who was a lifetime member of a Nazi-aligned Hungarian group.
And now you have Gorka out there criticizing other people for anti-
Semitism. I mean, we are so far through the looking-glass. And the thing
that really kind of sends me deeper into despair is that on the one hand,
you have people who are – you know, obviously – they`re working on
obvious bad faith. They`re just trolling. They – you know, none of these
people were outraged when someone on the Trump National Security Council
compared carbon-dioxide the demonization of carbon dioxide to the team it
is they Jews not in the Holocaust.
HAYES: Right. And that person has been chosen by the president.
GOLDBERG: Right. But also have you know, I think kind of good faith both
sides mainstream reporters who are reporting this as if this is a you know,
kind of legitimate national controversy instead of a ridiculous sideshow.
HAYES: Well, and that to me, Charlie, that`s – the point here is if
you`re going to report about the controversy which it is news, we`re doing
it here, it`s like it`s a controversy about what actually the conditions
and the camps are.
PIERCE: Right. And you`ve been there, Chris, and I have. And you know –
but everybody I`ve ever talked to who`s been there have said that this
policy is a stench in the nostrils of the world. And just you know, as an
illustration of where we are, was there ever a more pathetic empty suit or
a pair of empty suits then Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio at that rally
In 2012 when he spoke to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Marco
Rubio was going to be the Republican Barack Obama. He was going to be the
guy who lifted the Republican Party up and his issue was going to be
comprehensive and relatively humane and bipartisan immigration reform. And
now seven years later, he`s sitting in the audience –
HAYES: That`s right.
PIERCE: – he`s head bobbing like one of those banjo playing bears at
Chuck E. Cheese watching a madman rant at the podium. I mean, it`s an
astonishing – you know, if I believed in dementors or vampires, I would
say that the souls have just been sucked out of these people.
HAYES: Yes, and he was very touchy on Twitter about his attendance there.
Charlie Pierce and Michelle Goldberg, great to have you. For more on the
reality on the ground for migrants in Trump`s America, I`m joined by Lee
Gelernt, he`s the Deputy Director of ACLU Immigrant`s Rights Project.
OK, this is the data we have. ISIS detaining more than 53,500 immigrants
in jails across the country which is a new record. That number is jumped
by nearly 700 in less than a week. Since late last year, ISIS detained
nearly 10,000 more immigrants. What is going on with immigrant detention
LEE GELERNT, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, ACLU IMMIGRANT`S RIGHTS PROJECT: Yes. It`s
completely unnecessary. Are there some immigrants who need to be detained?
Of course. But what`s happening is there`s no individualized assessment so
they`re detaining everyone not just people who are flight risks or danger.
We`ve always said after a hearing, if they`re determined to be a flight
risk or a danger, then maybe you got to detain them.
But right now they`re just wholesale detaining mothers, fathers, children.
It`s out of control. There are plenty of ways to ensure appearance. And
asylum seekers, in particular, want to be at their hearings because they
don`t want to live in limbo, they want to have a permanent status and they
will show up. And at the end of the Obama administration, there was a case
management system that was developed that ensured appearance at practically
97 percent rate.
HAYES: I mean, we should say – and I want to sort of present the
administration`s case and get your response to which is that the numbers
have gone up unquestionably. There are more people coming to the border.
The causes for that are a little unclear. They say look, we`re
overwhelmed. We don`t have the systems in place to deal with all this and
you too good Liberals are wringing your hands but this is what we got to
GELERNT: Yes. Well, one of these is the numbers are not historically
high. But the other thing that`s going on is all the resources are focused
on law enforcement and putting people in jail rather than allocating
resources to process asylum claims and hold hearings. And so if the
resources were allocated differently –
HAYES: I see.
GELERNT: And so one of the things is the administration says well, these
are all families or what that should say is they`re not dangerous, they`re
just sitting down when they cross the border and say I need asylum. So
they don`t need as many agents out there doing law enforcement, what they
need are people to process the asylum claims.
HAYES: Now, the administration of Barack Obama in 2014 started something
called family detention 2014 when it saw similar surge at the border. It
was criticized I should say by immigration lawyers and civil rights
GELERNT: And we – and we criticized it.
HAYES: And you criticized it. And ultimately – and people then we`re
talking about its uncomfortable relationship to a camp situation back in
HAYES: It was basically ruled in violation of a consent decree called
Flores, right. What is this – is this administration doing family
GELERNT: You know, it`s unclear. Right now it looks like they`re starting
to do it but what we`re hearing is that they want to do it wholesale and
they want to get rid of the Flores consent agreement. And what they
basically want –
HAYES: That`s the only thing binding them from a full-scale build-out of a
larger camp system.
GELERNT: That`s right. And other constitutional rulings. But what we`re
hearing is that they want to do it, they want to put them all in detention
centers, have them give up on their legitimate asylum claims or process the
claim so quickly that people don`t get due process.
And so we are – we will be in court, other groups will be in court to stop
that, but we can`t go back to a system of family detention. You know, the
Obama administration did do it but they ended it quickly. And by the end
of the administration, they had figured out a way to ensure people`s
appearance at court hearings without detention.
And right now the conditions are so bad. I`m not one to make historical
comparisons so I`m going to leave that to others, but the conditions are
horrendous. And not only that, but they are still separating children.
HAYES: What do you think of what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said?
GELERNT: I`m going to leave that controversy to others for – I am the
lawyer, I like to get the facts out. I`m going to let others make this.
But we do need to focus on what is actually going on in the ground.
Because this idea that the administration is only going after hardened
criminals and that everyone`s being treated fine is absolutely wrong.
HAYES: Are the conditions acceptable or humane?
GELERNT: No. The conditions are not acceptable for either adults or
HAYES: All right, Lee Gelernt, thank you very much.
GELERNT: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Next, the President`s former Communications Director stonewalls the
House Judiciary Committee claiming immunity. Congressman Ted Lieu says
what he witnessed behind closed doors today is ridiculous and he joins me
in two minutes.
HAYES: A few days after we found out the number two at the Justice
Department personally intervened on behalf of former Trump campaign chair,
now convicted felon Paul Manafort, the Department of Justice set one of its
lawyers to aid non-government employee Hope Hicks as she testified before
the House Judiciary Committee today.
Democratic lawmakers say that over and over Hicks` DOJ lawyer intervened to
assert absolute immunity over her answers about whether the president
obstructed justice what she saw in the White House or even the most basic
details of her time there.
The height of absurdity that Hicks came to the Hill to remain silent as her
Bill Barr appointed lawyer who worked for the U.S. not the President,
protected the prerogatives of Donald Trump in the never-ending obstruction
of Congress that his administration is waging.
Joining me now one of the Democrats who attended Hicks` interview today
Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu of California. Congressman, what was it
REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): Thank you, Chris, for your question. Let me first
make clear that the Trump administration is obstructing every line of
inquiry from Congress. For example, we want to know why is the Trump
administration suing to eliminate health care coverage for Americans with
pre-existing conditions. They`re blocking us.
Specific to hope Hicks testimony today, they were asserting something that
doesn`t exist. The White House attorneys and Department of Justice
attorneys were saying she has absolute immunity. That`s not a thing. No
court has ever recognized it. They`re going to get destroyed in federal
HAYES: Well, OK. So is that – before I want to get to that, I want to –
you start off with something that I`ve been curious about. We`ve been
tracking and it`s hard to track in this sort of public record a document
production by this White House along a range of questions whether it`s
Puerto Rico, the Census, lots of document requests have come from Congress
doing routine oversight, nothing to do with Mueller. Has any of that, just
the most basic obvious constitutionally empowered oversight, has any of
that been met by this administration?
LIEU: Most of it has not. That`s why you saw the Oversight Committee
actually hold Wilbur Ross in contempt. We are getting some movement from
Attorney General Bill Barr so now they`re letting members the House
Judiciary Committee and House Intel Committee review the underlying
evidence. So we`re getting some movement there. But for most lines of
inquiry, we`re getting total obstruction by the Trump administration.
HAYES: Now, to this doctrine of this absolute immunity, the chair or the
committee Jerry Nadler said the White House is having the doctrine of
absolute immunity which we will destroy in court. I have to say I`m not a
lawyer, but I have never heard of absolute immunity which sounds extremely
powerful, almost comic book-like. What is that?
LIEU: What the White House is asserting is that Hope Hicks doesn`t have to
say a single thing about her time in the White House. That`s patently
absurd. And it was so absurd that we would ask questions such as where`s
your office located? Objection.
And finally, it got so absurd I actually asked a question, I`m very excited
I got through. I basically said, OK, on your first day of work the White
House, was it a sunny day or a cloudy day? They did let her answer that
HAYES: OK. Now I actually now understand this is the first time. So what
– an executive privilege is a claim about the constitutional protection
for the President to get unvarnished advice. That pertains to some
specific subset of discussions that happen in a White House.
What you`re telling me is the White House isn`t making that claim. They`re
making a broader claim that literally no scintilla a fact about her time in
the White House does she have to testify to congressional oversight about.
That`s that what is what separates absolute immunity from executive
LIEU: That is absolutely correct. So for example, she did talk about her
time on the campaign and on the campaign, she was directed by Donald Trump
to basically lied American people about Karen McDougal with the hush money
payments and so on. And then she was asked a follow-up question about a
time the White House because she at that point would have realized that
what she said was a lie and they would not let her answer it because it was
at her time in the White House.
HAYES: So you – I guess the next step will be some litigation about this
in court and whether the courts will find for it you think they`ll be
destroyed. Do you worry that there is essentially now too much riding on
the course, right, that they have essentially met all of your subpoenas and
your calls with blocks and legal maneuvering that will then be litigated in
the courts and that allows them to sort of run the clock out on what you`re
trying to do?
LIEU: That`s a good point. So we have asked for expedited review and then
two of the previous court cases that we won, we got expedited review going
to appellate courts. In this case we`re going to litigate it, we`re going
to win in court. We`re also going to ask – again, for expedited review,
but we can also take a separate action known as inherent contempt where we
can impose fines without having to go through a court process.
We don`t want to do that. We want to try the court process first but that
is always out there to get witnesses to comply.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Ted Lieu, thank you very much.
LIEU: Thank you.
HAYES: Next, is Bolton and Pompeo began to sound more and more like
Rumsfeld and Cheney. There`s new reporting tonight that even the president
is getting freaked out by his own administration`s campaign for war with
Iran right after this.
HAYES: One of the most infuriating aspects of the run-up to the Iraq war
was that the desire to go to war proceeded the rationale. Members of the
Bush administration very clearly wanted a war with Iraq but they had to
come up with the rationale to justify it so what they ended up doing is
throwing a lot of different stuff at the wall to see what would stick.
Now, some of it was actually true like the argument that Saddam Hussein was
a brutal dictator who oppressed and even gas his own people. Completely
factual. But some of the reasons they gave for raiding – invading Iraq
we`re either made up or distorted beyond all recognition like famously the
claim that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, he did not, or that he
was in league with the terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks. He wasn`t.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD RUMSFELD, FORMER UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN: We do have solid
evidence of the presence in Iraq of al-Qaeda members including some that
have been in Baghdad. We have what we consider to be a very reliable
reporting of senior-level contacts going back a decade and of possible
chemical and biological agent training. When I say contacts I mean,
between Iraq and al Qaeda.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Oh yes, Iraq and al-Qaeda. It`s hard not to feel like we`re
watching a rerun right now as the Trump administration tries to build a
public case against Iran blaming the regime for a whole range of bad
behavior, some real, some wildly misrepresented. It`s true that Iran funds
groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthi rebels in Yemen. It may well
be true as the administration claims that Iran was indeed responsible for
recent attacks on shipping the Middle East.
The administration was also claiming that Iran was behind a suicide attack
on U.S. forces in Afghanistan for which the Taliban publicly claimed
responsibility. In what appears to be an effort to co-opt military
authorization passed after 9/11, they`re bringing back one of the Iraq
War`s greatest hits claiming some kind of murky ties to al-Qaeda.
This was the Secretary of State a couple months ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POMPEO: The factual question with respect to Iran`s connections to al-
Qaeda is very real. They have hosted al-Qaeda, they permitted al-Qaeda to
transit their country. There`s no doubt there is a connection between the
Islamic Republic of Iran and al-Qaeda, period full stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`m joined by – now by Erin Banco who is the National Security
Reporter for the Daily Beast who has new reporting tonight the President
has actually told his advisors to tone down the tough talk on Iran.
Erin, your piece jumped out at me precisely for the reasons – the
parallels the President very famously talked about the Iraq war being a
mistake, he talks about now even though he supported at the time to be
clear. And I`ve been wondering you know there`s all these sort of backdoor
reporting about the sort of power vacuum and who`s actually jockeying for
war with Iran . What does your reporting suggest?
ERIN BANCO, THE DAILY BEAST: That`s right. So, as you pointed out, we
know that the Trump administration officials have been coming out and
trying to draw some sort of connection between Iran and al Qaeda. And this
is worrying lawmakers on the Hill who say, you know, we`re concerned that
you`re going to take the 2001 AMF and run with it and bypass congress and
confront Tehran militarily.
And so as these discussions are taking place what we learned is that over
the weekend, President Trump told his advisers, listen guys, we`ve got to
tone down the rhetoric on Iran. You know, we can go out there and blame
the country for attacks on the two oil tankers in the Gulf, but we need to
sort of scale of back a little bit. And this is as he`s headed into the
launch of his 2020 campaign.
And so what we know now is that this has really become a focus of top Trump
administration officials. We saw Brian Hook in front of the House Foreign
Affairs Committee today, who`s one of
the top people working on Iran policy at the State Department, who made it
very clear to all those watching and to lawmakers that the goal is not to
go to war with Iran; instead, it is to get Iran to come to the negotiating
table and to sort of cripple the Iranian economy as much as they can to
sort of destabilize some of their military and nuclear activities.
HAYES: Yeah this again is a stated goal, though part of what the danger
here is, as far as I read the reporting, yours and others, is that there
are different factions within the White House and a president at the center
of it who isn`t – you know, isn`t really on top of managing this. I mean,
there`s very clearly a battle happening behind the scenes amongst different
interests, some of whom very much want military escalation.
BANCO: That`s correct.
And, you know, even lawmakers on the Hill are sort of confused. They`re
scratching their heads saying, wait a minute, I thought a couple of weeks
ago we are almost certain that we were potentially going to go to war with
Iran down the line. And now you`re telling us that, wait a second, no,
that`s not what we`re trying to do here.
And so lawmakers are definitely mistrusting of the Trump administration
when it comes to Iran, especially when it comes to its intelligence and the
way that intelligence has been communicated to the American public.
And as we quoted Representative Cicilline in our story today, who says I`m
not sure what their
end game is here. They don`t seem to really have a strategy. And if they
do have a strategy, they`re certainly not making that clear to us, and
that`s even more concerning for lawmakers.
HAYES: Here`s my theory, he wants to rerun North Korea where and he talked
tough and then he got this big – the pageantry of these two big meetings.
Nothing has come out of it, but he got to like say that he`s a diplomat and
he had a – the problem is that in case of North Korea, there was no deal
in place. They ripped up the deal with the Iranians. Why the hell are the
Iranians going to come back
to the table after Donald Trump ripped up the deal? Isn`t that his
BANCO: Exactly. And so what we know is that the Trump administration has
quietly over the past couple of weeks been trying to reach out to Iran…
HAYES: Get negotiations.
BANCO: That`s right – through the Iraqis, through the Japanese, through
individuals in Oman. And so now we hear that Brian Hook is off to the
Middle East yet again to try to talk to regional partners, we don`t really
know about what, but we know it`s about Iran, and to try to talk to EU
about shoring up support for the U.S.` position on Iran. And it just seems
like a mishmash of different ideas about what we can do here.
But we did learn tonight right before I came is that top officials from the
State Department will be briefing congress come Monday, an all member
meeting, so they should be getting at least a little bit more information
in terms of the intelligence side of this on Capitol Hill Monday morning.
HAYES: All rig ht, Erin Banco, thank you very much.
Still to come, Ta-Nehasi Coates, makes the case for reparations in front of
congress and directly responds to Mitch McConnell in doing so. Highlights
from that remarkable hearing ahead.
And tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, presidents are of course in charge of a lot of
things but Donald Trump seems for fixate, and maybe even obsessed about,
some of the least consequential stuff. We call this the fabric swatches
after this segment with Trump`s former ghost writer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY SCHWARTZ, GHOST WRITER: These businesses that he acquired, the Plaza
Hotel and the Trump Shuttle, he would buy them and there would be a lot of
hoopla. He was interested to that point. And then he had no interest in
running them on a day-to-day basis and no knowledge of how to do it. So he
focused on the fabric swatches. I think, for one thing, it played into
his germophobia. You know, he was always replacing the carpets and the
drapes and he was always talking about deep cleaning the airline seats, you
know. And so that`s what his life became. He would say what do you think
of this piece of velor here, you know, and I`d feel it and we`d talk about
And at the center of all this chaos was this man feeling fabric.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Yes, and then the man feeling fabric became president and has
thankfully actually wasted a ton of time on the small stuff.
One of the first things he did was add a lot of gold fabric to the oval
office along with a
bunch more flags. He worked with Sharpie to create the perfect black magic
marker. And he`s been very hard at work making sure the next Air Force One
is red, white and blue.
But the totally inconsequential thing that Trump seems to care the most
about has to be his big parade, and that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: Back in the summer of 2017, Donald Trump went on one of his first
overseas trips and went to the big Bastille Day parade with French
President Emmanuel Macron in Paris. Trump has been obsessed with having a
parade of his own ever since.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I was your guest at Bastille Day. and it was one of the greatest
parades I have ever seen. We may do something like that on July 4 in
Washington down Pennsylvania Avenue.
I don`t know, we`re going to have to try and top it.
I`d like to have a parade. A lot of the generals would like to have a
parade. We`d have a lot of plane flyovers. I think it would be something
great for the spirit of the country, you know.
We`re thinking about doing on the Fourth of July or thereabouts a parade, a
salute to America parade. We`re thinking about doing something which would
become perhaps a tradition and the fireworks is there anyway, so we just
saved on fireworks – we get free fireworks, because it`s already being
done, so that`s very good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, Donald Trump is finally getting that parade. The Interior
Department released the details today. D.C.`s July 4th festivities will
begin with, quote, marching bands, fife and drum corps, floats, military
units, giant balloons, equestrian and drill teams and more parading down
Constitution Avenue. And then to fully turn it the Fourth of July into a
Trump rally, the president will deliver a speech from the Lincoln Memorial
in the evening followed by music, military demonstrations and flyovers by
Air Force One. Seriously.
And then that new tradition, fireworks on the Fourth of July.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: July 4th in Washington, D.C., come on down. We`re going to have a
big day. Bring your flags. Bring those flags. Bring those American
flags. July 4th.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Today, for the first time in a dozen years, congress held hearings
on reparations for African-Americans to consider legislation that was first
introduced three decades ago. It`s a much more active political issue
today with several candidates in the Democratic primary field coming out in
favor of some version of it. So active, in fact, that yesterday Senate
majority leader Mitch McConnell was asked about it and gave this answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY: I don`t think reparations for something
that happened 150 years ago, for whom none of us currently living are
responsible, is a good idea. We`ve tried to deal with our original sin of
slavery by fighting a civil war, bypassing landmark civil rights
legislation. We`ve elected an African-American president. I think we`re
always a work in progress in this country, but no one currently alive was
responsible for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Today the person probably most responsible for pushing the idea of
reparations into the mainstream, at least today, is Ta-Nehisi Coates who
wrote that seminal essay “The Case for Reparations” in The Atlantic five
He got to testify and responded to McConnell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TA-NEHISI COATES, WRITER: Yesterday when asked about reparations, Senate
Leader Mitch McConnell offered a familiar reply: America should not be held
liable for something that
happened 150 years ago since none of us currently alive are responsible.
This rebuttal proffers a strange theory of governance, that American
accounts are somehow
bound by the lifetime of its generations, but well into this century the
United States was still paying out pensions to the heirs of civil war
soldiers. Beyond the treaties that date back some 200 years, despite no
one being alive who signed those treaties. Enslavement reigned for 250
years on these shores.
When it ended, this country could have extended its hallowed principles:
life, liberty and
the pursuit of happiness to all, regardless of color, but America had other
principles in mind. And so for a century after the civil war, black people
were subjected to a relentless campaign of terror, a campaign that extended
well into the lifetime of majority leader McConnell.
But what this committee must know is that while emancipation dead-bolted
the door against the
bandits of America, Jim Crow wedged the windows wide open. And that is the
thing about Senator McConnell`s something, it was 150 years ago and it was
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The at times impassioned hearing was considering simply whether
there should be a commission to study the issue as the bill proposed called
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. JULIANNE MALVEAUX, LABOR ECONOMIST AND AUTHOR: Poverty is a problem in
our nation but you can`t fix poverty nor can you fix inequality unless you
deal with racism. And dealing with racism is about dealing with
I don`t care about a personal check made out to Julianne Malveaux anybody
else, but how about we fully fund our historically black colleges and
REP. KAREN BASS, (D) CALIFORNIA: slavery might have ended in the mid-1800,
but apartheid and terrorism lasted for 100 years after that. we passed a
bill on lynching last week. Why did we even have to do that? Black folks
fought the Democratic Party. Nobody acts as though the Democratic Party
was not a racist party until there was a movement that fought for justice.
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT, (R) TEXAS: It is important that we know our history
and we not punish people today for the sins of their predecessors in the
Democratic Party. But…
COATES: You lie.
MALE: I just stated all facts. And again, we have people who are denying
MALVEAUX: I want you all congress people to deal with issues of economic
structure. Our economic structure has generated an inequality that makes
it difficult for people to live their lives.
COATES: If I injure you, the injury persists even after I actually commit
the act. If I stab you, you may suffer complications long after that
initial actual stabbing. That`s the case with African-Americans. They`re
people well within the living memory of this country that are still
suffering from the aftereffects of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Tomorrow night we will have Ta-Nehisi Coates right here in the
studio to talk about all of this. And Senator McConnell, you`re welcome to
HAYES: Donald Trump has a few Achilles heels politically these days. But
while Gallup might have his latest approval ratings at a mere 43 percent,
and he is losing head-to-head match-ups with various Democrats in recent
polls, and he was greeted for his campaign relaunch in Orlando with an
editorial endorsing, quote, not Donald Trump, there is one place he is the
favorite with a huge advantage: Donald Trump is the second sitting
president to run for reelection since the 2010 Citizens United decision.
We already know Trump`s inclination, playing fast and loose with ethical
restraints, and for the first time in modern history, the president filed
FEC paperwork for reelection the very same day he was inaugurated.
The combination of incumbency with big money, PACs, super PACs,
millionaires and billionaires who want things directly from this president,
and a small dollar list the campaign has been building since his first day
in office, add up to almost certainly the most formidable money advantage
of any incumbent ever.
In fact, the RNC announced today that Trump campaign had raised $24.8
million in the last 24 hours, more than the first day fund-raising of Joe
Biden, Bernie Sanders, Beto O`Rourke, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren
Here with me to talk about this, Michelle Ye Hee Lee, a national political
enterprise and accountability reporter who wrote about the president`s
fund-raising totals for The Washington Post, and Daniel Weiner who is a
senior council with the democracy program at the Brendan Center for Justice
at NYU`s School of Law and a campaign finance expert.
Michelle, what is different about the fund-raising apparatus Donald Trump
has compared to his predecessors?
MICHELLE YE HEE LEE, THE WASHINGTON POST: Unlike presidents before him,
President Trump started raising money for his reelection as soon as he
became president, which means he`s had a long time already to just
stockpile a lot of money away for his reelection campaign.
In the first 24 hours of his official launch yesterday, he reported raising
$25 million, so that`s about a million an hour. And even after that, he
held a big money luncheon with wealthy donors the day after, which is
today, and the campaign reported raising $6 million. So, that`s a ton of
money just in the past 48 hours and far eclipses anything that the
Democrats have raised so far.
HAYES: You know, Daniel, I remember when during the Clinton years, there
is big money raising scandals about essentially the Clinton – the
president, right, giving donors perks, like you can sleep in a Lincoln
bedroom and all this stuff, and some of that led to some of the campaign
finance reform that would come after, the recognition being the presidency
is sort of a powerful tool for fund-raising and you don`t want to sort of
incentivize what looks like bribery, right, like you can get a spot on my
It seems like that`s blown out of the water here. You`ve got donors going
to Mar-a-Lago, showing up at his hotels, like it just seems like this is so
rife for abuse right now. What is your worry as someone who studies this?
DANIEL WEINER, NYU SCHOOL OF LAW: Well, listen, thanks very much for
having me on tonight, Chris.
You are exactly right. You know, we have a sort of toxic combination of a
president who has kicked the permanent campaign into overdrive, and really
put it on steroids, and a system now where frankly the Supreme Court,
congress, and the dysfunctional Federal Election Commission have all worked
to undermine our campaign finance laws. And so that`s what you get here.
You do have to give the president his due. He is raising a lot of money
from big donors. He`s also raising a lot of money from small donors. And
I think that that is a testament to the fact that this president, whatever
his poll numbers, also has has a very devoted base.
But without question, it is also kicked into overdrive by the fact that we
essentially don`t have a functional system of campaign finance law anymore.
And we have these norms which are going to
persist long after Donald Trump is gone of a permanent campaign from day
one of any presidency.
HAYES: Let me follow-up with that and then I`ll come back to you,
Michelle, but hypothetically, could Sheldon Adelson write a billion dollar
check to a super PAC working to get the president-elected?
WEINER: Well, absolutely he could. And not only can he do that, he could
a billion dollar check to a super PAC that the president set up, that the
president staffed with his own aides, and that the president raises money
for as well. So, that is the world we live in right now.
HAYES: So, follow-up question, could he anonymously give a billion dollars
to said super
WEINER: Well, he couldn`t anonymously give a billion dollars to the super
PAC unless he did it through some other entity, but he could give a billion
dollars to a dark money group, which is a group that doesn`t have to
disclose its donors. Not only could Sheldon Adelson do that, but, you
know, the Russian government could do that. Anyone can do that. And yes,
that money would not be disclosed.
HAYES: All right. Michelle, it`s not just the president has been raising
money, they`ve been spending it, too. I think the Facebook part of this is
fascinating. This is a New York Times graphic. This is Trump`s spending
verse all of the Democratic candidates. Until recently, it was more than
all of the Democratic candidates combined, and even now it`s 2-1 when you
look at the entire field versus how much he is spending. This is clearly a
LEE: Yes. And what`s notable about the president`s campaign spending on
Facebook is that as he spends money on Facebook, he is able to better know
the followers and better fine tune his message to his followers, and he`s
expanding the number of people, the audience that is actually seeing his
The big difference between the Trump campaign`s Facebook advertising right
now and the Democrats` Facebook advertising right now is that Democrats are
basically targeting the same primary voters, the most engaged people who
are actually paying attention, which means they are messaging to a really
narrow set of people who are on Facebook, who are getting those ads.
Meanwhile, President Trump is just expanding the audience getting his ads.
And I wanted to add one more note about the super PAC structure that
President Trump now has which is a big difference compared to 2016 when he
said I don`t have a super PAC. Anyone who has a super PAC is beholden to
the major donors. There is both a dark money and super PAC infrastructure
surrounding the president. They are planning to spend at least $300
million to help him get elected. So all of those big donor are all lined
up behind him, plus the massive small dollar army that President Trump
HAYES: Plus, you have got – Daniel, you`ve got just the normal sort of
schmoozing of big donors that has become kind of the coin of the realm in
Washington politics for a while.
WEINER: Right. Now look, it`s fashionable to blame Donald Trump for
everything that`s wrong in Washington, I just want to be clear with your
viewers, though, that this is a system that we had before Donald Trump. He
has kicked it into overdrive after running against it to some extent in
But this is a great illustration of the very forces that got Donald Trump
elected disillusionment with our system are now perpetuating him in power.
HAYES: Yes. And it`s worth noting what Michelle said, which is that a big
– part of his shtick in 2016, which was sort of honoring the breech a bit,
was like, oh, I`m not beholden to any donors and no, no, no, not it`s like
he is the most donor-backed candidate in history, and certainly the most
WEINER: Absolutely, he is. And, you know, again, we`re seeing this
really sort of unique combination. You know, what I worry about, what you
asked before, though, is again what`s going to be left with when Donald
Trump isn`t on the political scene anymore? And that – this is a model
for campaigns that could persist long after he`s gone.
HAYES: Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Daniel Weiner, thank you so much for
sharing your time.
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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prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
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