49 killed in New Zealand Mosque Terror Massacre. TRANSCRIPT: 03/15/2019, The Rachel Maddow Show.

Julian Castro, Adam Serwer, Mehdi Hasan, Norm Ornstein, Cornell Belcher, Aisha Moodie-Mills, Marcy Wheeler, Elie Mystal, Carol Lamb

Date: March 15, 2019
Guest: Julian Castro, Adam Serwer, Mehdi Hasan, Norm Ornstein, Cornell
Belcher, Aisha Moodie-Mills, Marcy Wheeler, Elie Mystal, Carol Lamb

Date: March 15, 2019
Guest: Brigitte Amiri, Gavin Newsom


MADDOW:  Thank you very much, my friend.  Appreciate it, Joy.

And thanks to you all at home for joining us this hour.  Happy Friday. 

This has been a very, very newsy week and it is a very newsy Friday. 

This is going to be a big show.  We`ve got a lot to get to tonight, including somebody who is here for the interview you are very much going to want to see here with me on set later on this hour.  Of course, the dominant news story in our country and around the world is what happened in New Zealand, where New Zealand is still reeling, and I think much of the world is still reeling today after yesterday`s shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch. 

As of tonight, the death toll from the shootings stands at 49 people killed.  Over 40 people were injured, including a dozen people who were described this evening by Christchurch hospital as, quote, critically ill. 

Initially, there had been four people in custody in conjunction with these killings.  One of those in custody is believed to be the gunman.  He`s already showed up in court in New Zealand today. 

Interestingly, New Zealand authorities announced that his court proceedings today and presumably his future court proceedings as well will be closed. 

They will not be open to the public.  Nobody will be allowed to observe them.  They`re describing that as a security decision.  That may also have implications in terms of how much this guy wants to continue to try to be a propagandist for his terroristic ideas that led him to do this as he`s done in his online writings as well. 

Of the other people who were arrested besides him, police had said originally that it was two men and one woman who were arrested in addition to the guy who is believed to be the gunman.  Police initially said they were picked up because at least some, if not all of them, had firearms near the scene of the crime.  Authorities are now no longer characterizing those three people in any way, except to say that one of those people has since been released from police custody after it became clear that that person was actually trying to help police in stopping the event and he was not part of committing it. 

But these other two people who were arrested besides the guy who is believed to be the gunman, those other two people as of right now remain in custody.  Now we know nothing about them and we know nothing about their potential complicity in this act.  We also really don`t have a clear timeline as yet. 

The vast majority of those killed, 41 people were killed at the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, but seven other people were also killed at a different mosque, at the Linwood Mosque, which is about three miles away. 

One other person later died at the hospital. 

We do know from the way that law enforcement has described that happened, the man in custody, the gunman, the man who is in court today, he drove to the Al Noor mosque first and killed those 41 people there, and then we know from the way police have described what happened that after the killings at the Al Noor Mosque, he got back into his vehicle and drove away.  It is possible when he drove away, he drove to the other mosque three miles away and committed the other killings there. 

But I should tell you, that has not been explicitly laid out that way by police.  They haven`t given us that level of detail.  So that sort of hole in the timeline thus far, that in combination with the fact that other people are still in custody without police saying what their potential involvement in this might have been just means that some of the basics here remain unsaid and we still have a lot to learn about what happened.  

But as of tonight, a lot of people are still being treated for injuries. As I said, Christchurch hospital just said that as many as a dozen people are viewed as critically ill, which means, you know, the death toll may yet rise above the almost unbelievably high number of 49 people already known to have died.  So, we will have more ahead on this still unfolding story tonight.  This in part is going to be the subject of the interview that we`re going to do here on set tonight. 

But before we get to that, we`re actually going to start tonight with an exclusive, with a bit of a scoop.  At the beginning of the Trump administration, there were a lot of somewhat strange personnel choices made by the incoming president.  I mean, even in the cabinet. 


Rick Perry for energy secretary, right?  Rick Perry had not only proposed

abolishing the Energy Department, he also appeared to believe that the

Energy Department was the oil and gas part of the government and not the

part that deals with, like, nuclear weapons.  He didn`t even appear to

understand that once he had been named the secretary of energy.  So that

was a weird choice. 


Also remember the party planner for Eric Trump`s wedding was put in charge

of housing in the northeastern United States.  That was a weird choice. 


Also, the president`s personal bankruptcy lawyer, his bankruptcy lawyer was

named ambassador to Israel for the United States. 


Also, the president really did make an effort to try to make his personal

pilot the head of the FAA. 


So there were some weird choices right off the bat. 


One less high profile but equally weird choice came when President Trump

picked a man named Scott Lloyd to be the director of the Office of Refugee

Resettlement.  That was a weird choice, too, because Scott Lloyd had never

worked with refugees ever.  He had never worked with resettling anyone, so

the idea that he would be in charge of resettling refugees was odd. 


What Scott Lloyd had done in his life is he had been a conservative

activist lawyer from a Catholic group called the Knights of Columbus.  He

basically was an activist anti-abortion guy. 


His body of public writings included stuff like this, quote: Facts about

abortion, why you can`t be pro-life and pro-contraception.  This was all

about how birth control is the same thing as abortion and women shouldn`t

be allowed access to either in this country.  All abortions should be

illegal for American women and birth control should be illegal for American

women, too. 


So that was his public profile before he got put in charge of the Office of

Refugee Resettlement.  If you want to know what happens when you put

somebody with that pedigree and that experience in charge of randomly

refugee resettlement in this country, well, now we`ve done that as a

country.  So, now, we know how that works out. 


Here is a headline from the “L.A. Times,” December 2017, Trump official

sought to block abortion for 17-year-old rape victim.  Scott Lloyd is the

Trump official in question.  Part of this scandal was him writing a memo

outlining his reasoning for blocking a teenage rape victim from accessing



Quote: I`m convinced that assisting with an abortion in this case is not in

her best interest.  I am mindful that abortion is offered by some as a

solution to a rape.  I disagree.  And then he tried to block her from

getting an abortion, using his status as a federal official in charge of

this Refugee Resettlement Agency in order to do it. 


The 17-year-old in that case, the 17-year-old girl who had been raped, she

was one of many kids who arrived in the U.S. applying for refugee status. 

She was sent alone to a shelter operated by the Trump administration.  At

some point along the way, she found out that she was pregnant as a result

of that rape. 


In America, it does not matter whether you are an immigrant or not.  It

doesn`t matter your age.  It doesn`t matter where you`re from.  In America,

you have a constitutionally protected right to get an abortion if you want

one.  The government is not allowed to stop you from getting one if you

want one.  That is a decision that you are allowed to make for yourself. 

It is protected by the Constitution. 


But when Scott Lloyd took over the Office of Refugee Resettlement, he

became the guy who was in charge of all of those kids.  And he decided he

would make it his first priority in that job to block any girl who came

into the clutches of that agency he was running, he would block any girl

under his purview at that agency from getting an abortion. 


The only reason that 17-year-old rape victim from that 2017 case, the only

reason she eventually was allowed to get an abortion, and the only reason

we know about her plight is because she found her way to lawyers at the

ACLU who took her case, who sued the government on her behalf and won.  She

was the first Jane Doe in the case.  She decided she wanted an abortion. 


It`s interesting, in her case, she had raised the funds needed to pay for

it herself.  She had gotten a judge in Texas to explicitly grant her

permission to get the abortion, despite the fact that she had no way of

getting parental consent for it.  She had arranged for travel at her own

expense to and from her doctors appointments necessary for her to get the



But still, Scott Lloyd`s agency, the federal government agency he was

running wouldn`t let her leave the shelter to go to the doctor.  That is

what ultimately became a class action lawsuit led by that pregnant teenage

girl who has literally being forced to continue this pregnancy against her

will by the U.S. government until the ACLU intervened to take her case and

won it. 


Brigitte Amiri is the ACLU attorney who sued on her behalf and we talked to

her about it at the time. 




BRIGITTE AMIRI, ACLU ATTORNEY:  They were literally holding her hostage,

blocking the door, preventing her from obtaining an abortion.  And I do

believe that that was their goal, to hold her hostage until she carried

this pregnancy to term against her will. 




MADDOW:  Brigitte Amiri talking about her client who had the name in court

of Jane Doe. 


As that case made its way through the courts, the ACLU kept turning up more

Janes, more girls who were being held in shelters overseen by this guy,

Scott Lloyd, who were being blocked from getting an abortion. 


And it soon became very clear why.  This was not just some fluke thing

where somebody, like, wasn`t properly trained or something.  This was an

official policy of this agency under this Trump administration official,

Scott Lloyd. 


Brigitte Amiri, the ACLU attorney, she got to depose Scott Lloyd as part of

that ACLU lawsuit.  Here`s how part of that went. 




AMIRI:  You`re personally opposed to abortion, correct? 




AMIRI:  You`ve written on the subject? 


LLOYD:  Yes. 


AMIRI:  You`re personally opposed to contraception, correct? 


LLOYD:  Depends. 


AMIRI:  You wrote an article that said in order to be pro-life, you need to

be anti-contraception? 


LLOYD:  That was the title of the article.  Something along those lines. 




MADDOW:  Yes, something along those lines.  Something like the title of the

article “Why you can`t be pro-life and pro-contraception.”  Something along

those lines.  So those are his views. 


Brigitte Amiri from the ACLU goes on to ask him about how it is when he`s

running this agency that essentially controls the fate and controls the

physical movement of all of these girls who are in this country because

they`re asking for asylum, how it is that all of these girls in that agency

that he`s running keep getting blocked from accessing abortions.  And watch

what she gets him to admit. 




AMIRI:  Have you ever approved an abortion request in your time as ORR



LLOYD:  No. 


AMIRI:  Are there any circumstances under which you would approve an

abortion request? 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Objection.  Calls for speculation. 


LLOYD:  I`m not going to answer that. 


AMIRI:  You can still answer it even though –


LLOYD:  I don`t know. 


AMIRI:  You`ve denied abortion requests, correct? 


LLOYD:  Yes. 


AMIRI:  You`ve denied abortion requests even in the context where the

pregnancy is a result of rape, right? 


LLOYD:  Yes. 




MADDOW:  So the way the system was working under the Trump administration

is that Scott Lloyd was in charge of this agency.  When a teenage girl who

was a rape victim made her way to the United States seeking help in this

country, she has to get permission from Scott Lloyd personally to get an

abortion, because he`s weighing in on all of these cases, blocking these

girls from getting it. 


And so, Scott Lloyd has appointed himself the gatekeeper about whether or

not the girls are allowed to access the thing they`re supposed to have a

constitutional right to get.  He`s appointed himself a gatekeeper and it

turns out he`s never granted that permission any time someone has come to

that gate.  And he doesn`t know under what circumstances he ever would

grant that permission.  So, this was starting to look like a de facto U.S.

government Trump administration policy. 


That deposition with Scott Lloyd was released in February of last year as

the lawsuit was still ongoing.  Then in April, “The New York Times”

reported something that began to shed a little bit of light on how that

policy was carried out.  “The New York Times” reported that Scott Lloyd,

quote, has instructed his staff to give him a spreadsheet each week that

tells him about any unaccompanied minors who have asked for an abortion and

how far along they are in their pregnancy. 


In at least one case, he directed staff to read to one girl a

discrimination of what happens during an abortion.  And when there is a

need for counseling, Mr. Lloyd`s office calls on someone from its list of

preferred life affirming pregnancy resource centers.  So, he was keeping a

spreadsheet with details that amount to a record of pregnant teens`

menstrual cycles and he was using that information individualized to these

individualized girls, teenagers, and some of them younger, to block them

from accessing abortions that they wanted to get. 


After “The New York Times” reported that that spreadsheet existed somewhere

inside the federal government, a progressive super PAC called American

Bridge filed a Freedom of Information Act request asking the government to

hand over that spreadsheet, since that`s apparently federal government

property and federal government employees are doing that, tracking these

individual girls` menstrual cycles and how far along they are in their

pregnancies as federal employees, as people who are working at a federal

agency for the purpose of controlling what happens to those girls`



Well, this week, much to the surprise of the people at American Bridge, as

far as we can tell, the Trump administration did hand that spreadsheet

over, and tonight we have obtained it.  And it`s – it is a – it is a

remarkable thing to look at. 


Here it is.  It is 28 pages long.  Let me just show you what we`re looking

at here, as best as we can tell.  When the government released this

document because of the Freedom of Information Act request, they sent it as

a PDF document.  So they didn`t send it as a spreadsheet you could look at

as a spreadsheet.  That just means the titles of the columns are collapsed

in some cases, but we think we know what each of these things means. 


The first column, we believe, is the date where the pregnancy was reported. 

Second column we think is how the pregnancy was reported.  How government

officials found out about it. 


The next column contains an alien identification number, which is a unique

identifying number for each of these kids who has come over to ask for

asylum.  The government has redacted those here because that would identify

these specific girls in this document.  But Scott Lloyd had access to that

unique identifying information for each girl.  Next is each girl`s age on

this document, the girls` ages range from 12 to 17. 


Next is the name of the shelter where each girl is being held.  Then we

think this next column is the day each girl was admitted to the shelter. 

We`ve partially redacted this column ourselves because it seems like this

kind of information could be used in some bank shot if somebody was trying

to identify some of these women at some of these shelters, so we`ve

redacted some of that ourselves. 


And then you have in this U.S. government document the results of their

pregnancy tests.  They all say positive, positive, positive.  Then you have

the U.S. government`s calculation of the estimated gestation age, how far

along these pregnancies are, tracking them for each of these girls. 


Then, the next line is whether the pregnancy is believed to be the result

of consensual sex or not.  U.S. government keeping track of that for each

of these girls on this federal government employee-provided spreadsheet. 

Then whether or not it was reported as a sexual assault, all those column

lines, either reported, not reported, reported, not reported. 


Then the second to lamb column is TOP requested.  TOP in this context we

think means termination of pregnancy.  So the question of whether or not

this girl has asked for an abortion. 


They`re keeping track of that with each of these girls, including their

age, how far along they are in their pregnancy, the gestational age of the

fetus as believed by the federal government, the circumstances under which

the girl may have become impregnated, whether or not it was reported as a

sexual assault.  And is she asking for an abortion?  The federal government

is tracking all of this for each individual girls, down to age 12. 


And then, finally, the last column is reserved to notes on each case.  You

can zoom in on that notes case.  In one case they`re talking specifically

about the timeline of the girl`s last menstrual cycle as being tracked by

the Trump administration, except they spell menstrual wrong. 


This is literally the federal government tracking a 15-year-old`s period

because of what the federal government plans to do about it. 


Let`s look at one entry and detail here.  This is sort of one at random. 

Just so you can see the kind of data they were collecting. 


This is a case from March of last year, March of 2018.  It`s a 14-year-old

girl being held in a shelter in Illinois.  She`s believed to be about one

month pregnant from nonconsensual sex, 14-year-old girl.  As you can see in

the notes column, it says assaulted by unknown assailant in COO, which we

believes country of origin here. 


So this is the federal government with your tax dollars keeping an

individualized record of pregnant teenage girls` menstrual cycles, whether

they`ve had a positive pregnancy test, what the government knows about how

they believe the girls got pregnant, how they believe this individual girl

got pregnant and whether this girl has requested an abortion and then the

last column, the last column supports what the federal government is doing

about it.  And this record was being kept for the express purpose of

subverting any of these girls` ability to get an abortion.  This was

essentially a spreadsheet designed to facilitate federal government action

to block these girls from getting any abortion they might want, can`t

imagine why any of them would want that given the circumstances described

in the cold, hard spreadsheet cells. 


When you look through this 28-page document, I mean, it`s full of

teenagers, in some cases girls who aren`t yet teenagers who report being

raped and being pregnant as a result.  And here is Scott Lloyd, Trump

administration appointee, compiling this information about these girls and

using it so he can intervene as a government official to block each after

these girls individually from being able to get the abortion they have

asked for.  All the while he was tracking in an ongoing way how far along

each girl in her pregnancy was.  How long he could delay it until it was

illegal, right?  How much he had to keep blocking her from leaving the

shelter that he controlled until she`d be legally forced to give birth

thanks to the U.S. federal government. 


So this document has never been seen before.  This is not the sort of thing

we`re used to seeing.  This is not the sort of thing we expect our

government to be keeping tabs on in the modern era. 


But there is one other element of this that I think is, for me, part of

this that made me want to sort of close the door and yell at this story a

little bit.  The part, to me, that is actually the most shocking part of

it, because, remember, the ACLU had sued to stop Scott Lloyd from blocking

these girls` access to abortion, right?  They did very well in that suit. 


On March 30th of last year, they won a major victory in that case.  Not

only had the original Jane Doe been allowed finally to get the abortion

that she had been seeking, on March 30th, a federal judge granted class

action status to that case and ordered Scott Lloyd and anybody else in

charge at the Trump administration`s Office of Refugee Resettlement that

they need to by court order stop interfering with or obstructing any class

member`s access to a judicial bypass, to a medical appointment related to

pregnancy dating, nonbiased counseling, abortion counseling or any

pregnancy-related care. 


So, as of March 30th last year, the courts have stepped in and stopped

this.  The court March 30th tells Scott Lloyd, this Trump administration

appointee, that as a federal official, he needs to stop interfering with

these girls` decisions about whether or not they`re going to get an

abortion.  March 30th was that order from the court. 


So, we called up Brigitte Amiri today when we obtained access to this

document, this ACLU lawyer who had fought this case.  And one of the things

she told us is that among the things that was most shocking about this

document, which she had never previously seen, was that the dates on the

spreadsheet show that Scott Lloyd kept tracking all the girls` pregnancies

and their menstrual cycles for months after that court ruling.  That court

ruling ordering him to stop interfering with access to abortion. 


I mean, all of these dates on the first page are from June of last year. 

He was supposed to stop this stuff in March.  He just kept doing it. 


And we don`t know if Scott Lloyd continued to physically block girls from

access to abortion services the way he was before the court ruling after he

was ordered not to by a federal judge, but we do know thanks to this

document uncovered this week, which we are making public for the first

time, we do know he kept on tracking them regardless of what the court told



Why would he want to keep a detailed record of individual girls` menstrual

cycles and the pregnancy status of girls and the means by which they became

pregnant and the desires whether or not they wanted to have an abortion? 

Why would he want to keep all of that detailed information, up to date,

week by week for all of these girls if he had pledged that he wasn`t going

to do anything else to block them from getting what they wanted? 


I mean, we don`t know.  We put in a request to HHS to speak with Mr. Lloyd

or get a response from the department tonight.  An HHS spokesperson told

us, quote, we can`t comment because of ongoing litigation on the matter. 


But the fact that this spreadsheet is being produced on your dime, this is

what the federal government does now with individual girls in this

circumstance – well, that`s where we are. 


Joining us now is Brigitte Amiri.  She`s deputy director of the ACLU`s

Reproductive Freedom Project.  She`s the lawyer fighting this case in



Brigitte, thank you for being here.  I appreciate you helping us validate

this document today and understand what we`re looking at. 


AMIRI:  Thanks for having me. 


MADDOW:  I`m right you had not seen this document before we obtained it



AMIRI:  I had not. 


MADDOW:  There had been reporting that the Trump administration was

tracking girls at this level of detail in this one agency.  Seeing the

document, to me, first of all, has a visceral effect.  But it`s also – it

struck me when I read that earlier reporting, I had no idea it was going to

be this detailed. 


Did you know that this was the level of information the government was



AMIRI:  I had a sense it was.  I asked Scott Lloyd at his deposition in

February about what kind of reports he was getting, because at that point,

we knew through emails that we had obtained that he was getting weekly

reports.  So, I had a sense it was at least this level of detail. 


But you`re right, seeing it together and all of these young women and their

specific requests for abortion was really quite surprising. 


MADDOW:  As you told us today when we called you to get your take on this

and before we asked you to come on the air tonight, you said that it seems

shocking or it at least surprising that this level of tracking information

about all of these individual girls continued, even after the court order

in your case, which blocked Lloyd from intervening, blocked the Trump

administration from intervening to stop these girls from getting abortions. 


Is there any reason that you know of or that HHS might have put forward in

your litigation that would explain why they`d need to track this

information about these girls, up to and including the date of their last

menstrual period if they weren`t going to use it to try and continue

blocking them from getting abortions? 


AMIRI:  There is no legitimate government reason to track this information

at all.  We don`t know that there has been any attempt to block any of

these young women, but it`s curious and I would say creepy that Scott Lloyd

was continuing to get this level of information about these young women and

their pregnancies, even after we got the court order, and I think you`re

right, for what purpose?  We are not aware of any obstruction attempts, but

it is concerning and kind of bizarre. 


MADDOW:  Mmm-hmm.  Yes, I mean, seeing this – seeing – the other thing,

to me, that I think was visceral.  You first look at it, it takes awhile to

figure out what you`re looking at.  Then you realize the level of personal

information that they`re getting here and then you realize you`re looking

at 28 pages of it. 


AMIRI:  Right. 


MADDOW:  Part of it is also the volume that there was this many girls that

they were tracking at this level of detail.  Did you know that it was this

many girls who they sort of had their eyes on in this way?


AMIRI:  I didn`t know it was this level of girls they had information on. 

We knew there were hundreds of young women who were pregnant in custody.  A

number of them, some subset of them were seeking access to abortion, but I

did not know there was this level of detail for this many women. 


MADDOW:  Brigitte, as I mention, the HHS spokesperson late tonight

contacted us, returned our call when we had asked for comment and they just

said they can`t comment because of ongoing litigation.  What is the status

of the litigation here? 


AMIRI:  So our injunction is still in place and the government appealed it. 

We`re waiting for a decision from the court of appeals, but in the

meantime, the government is prohibited from obstructing or interfering with

access to abortion for all unaccompanied pregnant minors in their custody. 

And if anyone has any issues, any concerns, any witness to any problems,

they should give the ACLU a call. 


MADDOW:  Do you anticipate on privacy grounds or on any other ground – I

don`t think you can sue for creepiness, maybe Margaret Atwood can sue for

copyright infringement.  But do you anticipate there will be further legal

action simply on the basis of the fact that the federal government has been

tracking this level of personal information on uniquely identified girls at

such – to such an extent and for so long.  Might this be a cause for

additional action on its own? 


AMIRI:  It`s a good question.  I just saw the document a little bit ago.  

Certainly I`ll be talking to my team and we`ll discuss it further. 


MADDOW:  All right.  Bridget Amiri, deputy director of the ACLU`s

Reproductive Freedom Project, again, thank you for helping us today, even

before you knew you could come on tonight.  And thanks for being here.


AMIRI:  Yes, thank you. 


MADDOW:  All right.  Yes, as I mentioned, that is an exclusive here you

won`t have heard that story anywhere else. 


That document was not obtained by my staff.  It was obtained by this super

PAC American Bridge.  We are being transparent about that sourcing.  They

provided it to us so that we could make it public.


But, again, we expect because it was handed over by HHS as a result of a

FOIA request that this is now fair game for further reporting by any other

news organization. 


All right.  Much more to get to tonight.  Stay with us.




MADDOW:  Today at the White House, the president expressed condolences for

the people who were killed and injured in the horrific terror attack in New

Zealand, where at least 49 people worshipping at two mosques in

Christchurch, New Zealand, were shot dead by a man who appears at this

point to be a white supremacist anti-immigrant gunman who apparently

proclaimed his intentions and his motives in a rambling online manifesto

where he ranted about how immigrants were a terrible invasion and how

someone needed to stop these invaders, and how he was going to be the one

to do it. 


So, President Trump expressed condolences for that attack today.  When he

chose his setting for expressing those condolences, he chose to make those

remarks at the White House photo-op where he was set to make a big show of

vetoing the bill just passed by Congress that would stop him from using an

emergency declaration as a way to try to build a wall between the United

States and Mexico.  So, he is using the veto photo-op to talk about New



The way this goes in order is that he starts off by expressing his upset

over the New Zealand massacre carried out by the anti-immigrant zealot who

wrote his manifesto about stopping his invasion.  Then the president

immediately went on to his next thought which was saying about his border

wall, quote, it is definitely a national emergency.  Rarely have we had

such a national emergency. 


Quote: It is a tremendous national emergency.  It is a tremendous crisis. 

We are on track for a million illegal aliens to rush our borders. 


Quote: People hate the word invasion, but that is what it is.  It`s an

invasion, these immigrants.  It`s an emergency.  We have to stop them, the

president says today, moments after expressing his condolences for what

happened in New Zealand less than 24 hours ago. 


Right now, the largest state in the country, the largest state in our

country is pretty much openly confronting the president on his position on

the border and on immigration.  California Governor Gavin Newsom has

already announced the withdrawal of some California National Guard troops

from the southern border.  He said that troop withdrawal was intended to,

quote, refocus on the real threats facing the state. 


Governor Newsom redeployed a third of those troops to prepare for the

upcoming fire season in California.  I should tell you, California is also

one of the 16 states suing the president over his emergency declaration to

try to build his wall. 


Joining us now for the interview here in studio is California Governor

Gavin Newsom. 


Governor, thanks very much for being here. 


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA:  It`s great to be here.  Thank you,



MADDOW:  So when I asked you to come in and be on the show tonight, I

didn`t exactly know what was going on in the news. 


NEWSOM:  Yes, tough. 


MADDOW:  I have to ask you in the wake of what we believe has happened in

New Zealand.  I mean, we know about the extent of the violence and the

terrorist attack that was committed.  We are learning more about what the

gunman may have intended. 


What`s your reaction? 


NEWSOM:  Well, it`s interesting.  I mean, the way you just set this up,

invaders.  It`s just an interesting fact last week when we opened an asylum

center for people that are coming through the border legally, coming

through the border, San Ysidro border, the busiest border in the western

hemisphere, legally surrounded during my announcement were all these Trump

supporters with signs saying invaders. 


MADDOW:  Wow. 


NEWSOM:  That language is real.  It`s out there.  It`s part of the body

politic.  It is intentional. 


And to hear him say that tonight in light of what happened in New Zealand

is an outrage and people should be, I think, more – well, more intense

about that than pretty much anything else that they heard today. 


MADDOW:  Let me ask you about – I have interviewed you a few times. 

You`ve had different jobs in public service, as mayor of San Francisco and

as lieutenant governor in California.  Now as governor of California, and

California is such an important state in terms of size of its population,

the size of its economy, its influence in the country and around the world. 


NEWSOM:  Yes. 


MADDOW:  You obviously have a totally different take on the issue of



NEWSOM:  Yes. 


MADDOW:  And asylum and the border than the president. 


NEWSOM:  Yes. 


MADDOW:  But there is a question about governing differently when it comes

to those issues that is different than how you win the argument, how you

win the fight with somebody who is using those issues for the kinds of ways

the president – this president is using it.  Do you see those as two

different things?  Is it the same challenge? 


NEWSOM:  No.  I think they`re very distinctive challenges.  I love what you

just said. 


Look, let me sort of set this up.  California is the most diverse state in

the world`s most diverse democracy.  We are a majority minority state. 

We`re a universal state that practices pluralism, meaning we are actively

engaged in diversity.  Meaning we are celebrating not just tolerating our



We`re a universal state also in this respect, we brought in 112,000

refugees just in the last 15 years.  Where the federal government walks

away, we step up and step in.  As I said, we were dumping people out on the

streets and sidewalks, 60 to 180 families every single night legally coming

through our border were being dumped off in the bus stations, dumped off on

the streets and sidewalks. 


The federal government doing nothing for them.  The state of California put

25 million up to create a first of its kind migrant shelter.  And we did it

because of our human capacity to empathize and also because we`re a

welcoming people and we believe in the American dream and we believe it

should be afforded to anyone who seeks it legally. 


The Trump administration does not feel the same.  They are making this a

national emergency – legal migrants seeking asylum.  Last year, here are

the facts, last year, we had the fifth lowest illegal border crossings

since 1973 in 46 years, the fifth lowest in 46 years.  


The crisis is nothing more than legal asylum seekers coming through the

border, a crisis that is not just manufactured in the context of the larger

issue, but is substantively manufactured with intentionality by the Trump

administration that is metering those crossings, doing nothing to help

support these people and actually creating the conditions that they`re



This is a farce.  It`s political theater.  And the fact is California is

not going to play part of that. 


Now, how do I make that an argument that can attach itself –


MADDOW:  Leading by example in a different way is one thing.  Confronting

them, defeating them in argument, winning the battle, winning the war of

ideas around this stuff is –


NEWSOM:  Harder. 


MADDOW:  Something in addition to that. 


NEWSOM:  That`s it.  Look, so that`s the separate question.  It`s a more

challenging question.  You can intellectualize it.  You can – facts. 


But then you`ve got a guy who uses emotion.  And he knows the

vulnerabilities of his base and he exploits them every single day.  And the

politics is, you know, it`s pretty – it`s not particularly novel.  It`s

about fear, anger, fear, anger.  It`s a golden oldie. 


MADDOW:  Mmm-hmm. 


NEWSOM:  And it`s an old saw and he plays it very, very well. 


We`ve got to push back with facts, but we also have to push back with

positive alternatives and I`d like to think our state`s that. 


MADDOW:  Governor, I have a bunch of other stuff to ask you about, will you

stay there? 


NEWSOM:  Let`s do it. 


MADDOW:  California Governor Gavin Newsom is our guest. 


Stay with us. 




MADDOW:  Back with us in studio for the interview tonight is Governor Gavin

Newsom, Democrat of California. 


Governor, thanks for staying with us. 


You made national news within the last few days by making an executive

decision in your authority as government to basically stop the

implementation of the death penalty in your state. 


NEWSOM:  Yes. 


MADDOW:  You have made executive decisions in other leadership roles in the

past.  You made a very controversial decision around gay marriage within

your powers as mayor in San Francisco. 




MADDOW:  In this one, though, I`m struck by the fact that California voters

have been asked if they want to get rid of the death penalty and they`ve

said no, as recently as 2016.  You nevertheless decided that this was the

right thing to do, not just for yourself, but for your state. 


NEWSOM:  Yes, Prop 22 in California said marriage is between a man and a

woman as well. 


MADDOW:  And that passed in 2008.  Yes.


NEWSOM:  Yes. 


So there is right and wrong and there are the whims of the majority.  With

respect, you know, we`ve had 164 people in this country since 1973 that

have been exonerated from death row, five in California.  One since the

voters approved a measure to fast-track the death penalty. 


We have the largest death penalty, interestingly, again, in the Western

hemisphere, not just in the United States, 737 people. 


MADDOW:  California has 700 – more than 700 people –


NEWSOM:  Seven hundred and thirty-seven human beings on death row, the

largest in the United States; 120 have died on death row. 


MADDOW:  Without being executed. 


NEWSOM:  Without being executed – suicides or natural causes, including

someone just a week or so ago. 


What`s remarkable, we spend $5 billion.  We`ve executed 13 people, spent $5

billion.  And yet we`re still in a debate, for good reason, because we know

that we`re putting people death that are innocent.  We don`t think that. 

We know that. 


We estimate by conservative estimates 4 percent of people on death row

today or innocent.  Do the math on the 737 in California.  That means I`m

being tasked to literally exercise my authority to execute someone every

single day for two years knowing that it`s likely 30 of them are innocent. 


And with respect, that`s not an intellectual exercise, that`s an exercise

the governor has the power to execute or reprieve.  I chose reprieve. 


I choose not to do this for another reason.  The racial skew is

overwhelming, 2/3 on death row are people of color, 1/3 have severe mental

illness.  Many of them are there for crimes that are more modest, as

horrendous as they are, than folks that are out on parole in California,

based upon as a judge said, lightning. 


It strikes some defendants, the death penalty, and others it does not.  But

it strikes those people of color and those that commit crimes against

whites more than others, and those without wealth are more likely to end up

on death row.  I cannot support that system. 


MADDOW:  I was surprised this year when you went out early with an

endorsement in the Democratic presidential primary. 


I tell you I was surprised for a couple of reasons.  One is because I think

a lot of people looking at this race and the way it`s going to shape up

think that you`re a potential vice presidential choice even if you choose

not to run yourself.  And so, somebody who is in that – I know you`re not

hot for it.  Nobody ever says they do. 


But as somebody who wasn`t talking to you about it and was thinking about

you in the abstract. 


NEWSOM:  Sweet. 


MADDOW:  I thought you`re somebody somebody might consider.  And given that

active possibility, I wouldn`t expect you to endorse.  Two, California is

going to be very, very important in terms of picking a nominee. 


NEWSOM:  Yes. 


MADDOW:  It`s going to put the spotlight on you and on Democrats in your

state in a way that is going to burn hot in the national perspective.  And

so, for you, early on to come out and say that you support Senator Harris

was a not expected bold choice. 


Why did you choose to do that? 


NEWSOM:  Because I think she`s the right person at the right time.  And

I`ve had an up-close opportunity to get to know her over the course of

decades.  I saw her firsthand as district attorney in San Francisco. 


I saw her stand up weeks after we both were elected on principle against

the death penalty and against the overwhelming majority of people that

wanted an individual executed.  And she said I cannot in good conscience do

that.  That was a profile in courage early on. 


I saw her as attorney general when I was lieutenant governor first hand

doing work on mortgage settlements, on issues of implicit bias, on the

issue of overt bias, on issues of independent police investigations.  I saw

the work she did when she got into the Senate and aggressively engaging in

some of the national debate. 


I think she`s impressive.  I think she can take on not only those that are

in the primary but she is the right person to take on one-on-one Donald

Trump.  I have great confidence in her and I could not be more enthusiastic

and supportive. 


MADDOW:  Are you going to campaign for her around the country? 


NEWSOM:  I am.  Yes, I think I`m doing it right here. 


MADDOW:  You did. 




MADDOW:  Governor Gavin Newsom of California, it`s nice to see you. 


NEWSOM:  Great to be with you. 


MADDOW:  All right.  More ahead tonight.  Stay with us. 




MADDOW:  When the president`s campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced

to federal prison for the second time this week, that led to a lot of

expectations that maybe everything related to the special counsel`s office

was wrapping up now, too.  I will say I hope that by now everybody`s

learned to be at least a little bit humble about predicting what`s going on

with the special counsel`s office, since you`ve all been wrong, we`ve all

been wrong, right? 


But when Manafort`s federal criminal cases came to a close this week, it at

least, even if you were being humble, it at least seemed safe to guess

that, OK, at least we now know the Rick Gates case will come to an end now,

too, right?  I mean, these were linked.  Gates was the deputy campaign

chair when Manafort was the campaign chair.  Gates was initially charged

alongside Manafort in the first indictments that were handed down by



After initially pleading not guilty alongside Manafort, Gates was the one

who first took the plunge, changed his mind, pled guilty, became a

cooperating witness.  That included a couple of awkward weeks with him

serving as the star witness against Paul Manafort in Manafort`s trial in

the Eastern District of Virginia. 


Now over the long duration of Manafort`s trials, Gates` sentencing has been

delayed again and again and again.  And that made sense.  He was being used

as a cooperator and a prosecution witness against Manafort in the Manafort

trial, as long as the Manafort case was still alive, it made sense that

prosecutors might want to keep their claws in Rick Gates.  Keep him from

cooperating.  Stop him from going through with this sentencing and moving

on with the rest of his life. 


When the Manafort case finally came to a close in federal court with the

sentencing on Wednesday, it seemed like, OK, Gates will now finally wrap

up, too.  Gates` case scheduled for a status update in federal court today. 

And I think it`s fair to say it was widely assumed that everybody thought

today that we`d learn that Gates was finally coming to the end of the line. 

They`d finally be ready to move forward with sentencing him, too. 


Nope.  Nope.  Nope.  Wrong again.  Prosecutors today asked for another

delay in Rick Gates` sentencing.  They asked for four separate delays in

Gates` sentencing over the course of the Manafort trials. 


Now that the Manafort trials are over, today they just asked for an

extension in Gates` sentencing for a fifth time.  Mr. Gates, quote,

continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations, says

the special counsel`s office. 


And so at least another 60 days, at least until mid-May now before Gates`

case will be back in court after yet another extension.  Gates is still an

actively cooperating witness in several ongoing investigations.  No, we

still don`t know what those investigations are, but, again, trying to stay

humble here, given everybody`s record on predicting stuff in these cases. 


We might surmise it has something to do with gates was number two in the

Trump inaugural.  Trump inaugural didn`t appear to be under law enforcement

scrutiny at the outset of the case against Manafort and gates, but it`s

clearly under scrutiny now.  Trump inaugural was a subject of subpoena from

the Southern District of New York recently.  It`s also been subpoenaed by

the New Jersey attorney general and by the D.C. attorney general. 


It`s also the subject of extensive document requests from the Judiciary

Committee in Congress and Rick Gates was the number two guy – number two

guy in the Trump inaugural committee.  So it`s possible that that`s some of

what he is still cooperating on and why they can`t move forward with his



But given how good everybody`s been at predicting things from here on out

and guessing how things are going with Mueller, it`s also possible it has

something to do with the moon and green cheese, and don`t hold me to it. 

We`ll see when we see. 


Watch this space. 




MADDOW:  It is not uncommon for kids to cut class, especially on Fridays,

but it is uncommon for them to do it on this kind of a scale.  Today, kids

and teenagers in over 100 countries and 1,700 cities skipped out of school

to demand that adults finally do something about climate change. 


This was in London.  “I bet the dinosaurs thought they had time, too.” 


This was Lisbon, Portugal.  “You are killing your mother.”


In Berlin, Germany, “Our house is on fire.” 


Children marched in Bogota, in Seoul and Dublin with signs that said “There

is no planet B,” as in no plan B, no planet B.  In Italy, kids painted

their hands to say “Our future is in your hands.” 


In Cape Town, South Africa, school kids chanted outside the parliament, “We

need change, we need change, we need change.” 


There were crowds in New Zealand.  Yes, even today in New Zealand. 


In Prague, Ukraine, Uganda, also here at home in Washington, D.C.  This was

Paris.  “You are never too small to make a difference.”


More ahead tonight.  Stay with us.




MADDOW:  The bad news is deadline approacheth. 


The good news is they still do have the weekend.  Eighty-one different

people and the entities got document requests from the Judiciary Committee

a couple of weeks ago.  They are all, all 81 of them, facing the same

deadline this Monday for getting those records up to Capitol Hill. 


Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler is asking these 81 people and entities

for information about a gazillion different scandals and issues, everything

from the president`s hush money payments to the Trump Tower meeting with

the Russians, to details about the inaugural committee.  It`s a ton of



Some people who are targeted with these document requests have apparently

said they`re not going to comply.  But Nadler`s office tells us they

actually think they`re getting a good response so far.  They say they`ve

also been working with people who might need a little bit more time, if not

potentially a friendly subpoena. 


But, again, deadline for all of them is on Monday.  We shall see as of

Monday what they get. 


Have a good weekend.  That does it for us now.  We will see you again

Monday night. 


Now it`s time for “THE LAST WORD” with Ali Velshi, sitting in for Lawrence



Good evening, Ali.







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